Syrien, USA, Russland, Israel, Iran, China

+ US-Jet schiesst syrischen Jet Su 22 ab, weil  er angeblich krdische Truppen angriff, die mit USA verbündet sind. USA reklamieren Selbstverteidigung. An jener Stelle aber haben sich die kurdischen Truppen bereits zugunsten der syrischen Streitkräfte zurückgezogen.

=> Russland erklärt alle fliegenden Objekte zu Zielen, die sie während ihren Missione antreffen und sie haben die Kommunikationslinie mit den USA unterbrochen, in denen sie jeweils gegenseitig informierten, wer wo einen Einsatz fliegt.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-19/russia-halts-cooperation-us-syria-will-intercept-any-aircraft-russian-areas-operatio

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/06/syria-summary-us-attack-fails-to-disrupt-push-to-deir-ezzor.html#more

+China und Iran üben im perischen Golf ein gemeinsames Manöver.

=> China steht auf Seite Irans, wenn es zu einem Konflikt im Mittleren Osten kommen würde.

+Iran hat als Vergeltung für den Terrorangriff von Al-Qaida Langstreckenraketen auf Daesh-Ziele in Syrien abgefeuert und die Raketen haben ihr Ziel getroffen.

=> Botschaft an Saudiarabien und andere: Wir können uns auch wehren, wenn wir auch nicht direkt iranische Truppen in diesem Gebiet haben. Unsere Raketen sind inzwischen genügend gut.

+Israel unterstützt Al-Qaida im Grenzgebiet der Golanhöhen.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-provides-steady-flow-of-cash-aid-to-syrian-rebels-report/

Weiter zu verfolgen: Arbeitender Mensch abhängig und manipuliert, um mehr Profit zu generieren

Digitale Manipulation Werden Sie Teil der Maschine!

Fast unbemerkt krempelt eine neue wissenschaftliche Disziplin die Welt um. Digitale Überredungstechnik lässt Menschen nach ihrer Pfeife tanzen. Nicht nur Konsumenten, sondern auch Arbeiter.

Eine Kolumne von

Sonntag, 21.05.2017   11:03 Uhr

Das Buch, das alles verändert hat, beginnt mit diesem Satz: „Als ich zehn Jahre alt war, studierte ich Propaganda.“ Geschrieben hat es der der US-Wissenschaftler B.J. Fogg, der seit vielen Jahren in Stanford lebt. Gerade Propagandisten profitieren heute enorm von dem, was Fogg damals niederschrieb.

Der Psychologe hat eine wissenschaftliche Disziplin erfunden, mit deren Hilfe gerade die Welt umgekrempelt wird. Viele seiner Schüler sind mithilfe von Foggs Modellen und Methoden reich geworden, zum Beispiel Mike Krieger, einer der Gründer von Instagram. Fogg selbst findet diese Entwicklung beunruhigend: „Wenn ich mir manche meiner ehemaligen Studenten ansehe, frage ich mich, ob sie wirklich die Welt verbessern oder nur Geld verdienen wollen.“

„Computer gehen dorthin, wo Menschen nicht willkommen sind“

Die Disziplin, die Fogg Mitte der Neunziger erfand, hat er selbst Captology getauft, ein Kunstwort aus der Abkürzung für Computer Aided Persuasive Technology, Überredungstechnik also. Computer seien in mehrfacher Hinsicht viel besser geeignet, Menschen zu etwas zu überreden, als andere Menschen, schrieb Fogg 2003 in „Persuasive Technology“.

Computer seien hartnäckiger als Menschen, böten Anonymität, könnten mit riesigen Datenmengen umgehen, auf diversen Kanälen Einfluss ausüben, leicht skalieren, also Wachstum ermöglichen, und „dorthin gehen, wo Menschen nicht hingehen können oder nicht willkommen sind“. Das war vier Jahre vor dem ersten iPhone, also vier Jahre, bevor das Zeitalter begann, in dem fast jeder Bewohner der industrialisierten Welt immer einen Computer dabeihat, auch im Schlafzimmer, auch auf der Toilette.

Captology ist im Kern die Anwendung hundert Jahre alter lerntheoretischer Prinzipien auf die Welt der digitalen Benutzeroberflächen. Erkenntnisse aus Experimenten mit Ratten oder Tauben werden benutzt, um dafür zu sorgen, dass Menschen mit höherer Wahrscheinlichkeit das tun, was Software ihnen sagt.

Klicken, liken, teilen, kaufen, los!

Klicken zum Beispiel. Liken. Teilen. Kaufen. Noch eine Runde spielen, eine nur. Noch eine Folge ansehen. Noch schnell das eigene Geburtsdatum, den Wohnort, Vorlieben preisgeben. Reiz, Verhalten, Belohnung, immer wieder. In den vergangenen Jahren sind vergleichbare Methoden meist unter dem fröhlich klingenden Schlagwort „Gamification“ verhandelt worden. „Persuasive Technologies“ trifft es aber weit besser.

Nir Eyal ist einer von Foggs Schülern und der Autor eines Buches namens „Hooked“, das Entwicklern erklärt, wie man Produkte baut, von denen man nicht mehr loskommt. Eyal formuliert es so: „Damit eine Handlung eingeleitet werden kann, muss Tun einfacher sein als Denken.“ Es geht immer um „Engagement“. Mach was, Nutzer, los. Und jetzt noch was.

Ein schönes Beispiel ist die Autostart-Funktion von Videoplattformen wie Netflix: Wenn man nichts tut, läuft die nächste Serienfolge sofort nach dem Ende der vorangegangenen an. Weiterschauen ist einfacher als Aufhören. Das ist Captology in Aktion. Oder die „nur noch 20 Prozent, dann ist Ihr Profil vollständig“-Statusbalken, die man von Netzwerkplattformen kennt. Facebooks „Reaction“-Emojis. Amazons „andere kauften auch…“. All das sind keine spontanen Ideen cleverer Designer, sondern Konzepte aus der Verhaltenspsychologie.

„Evil by Design“

In einem Buch mit dem erfrischend ehrlichen Titel „Evil by Design“ heißt es: „Wie bei einem guten Zaubertrick sind die besten Beispiele die, bei denen man nicht einmal bemerkt, dass man manipuliert wird, wenn einen niemand darauf hinweist.“

Unglücklicherweise dienen manche der Plattformen, die heute nach Captology-Prinzipien optimiert werden, Zwecken, denen „erst denken, dann handeln“ als Prinzip besser täte als „Handeln ohne Denken“.

Bei Facebook und Twitter zum Beispiel teilen Nutzer nachweislich Artikel zu politischen – und anderen – Themen, ohne sie jemals gelesen zu haben. So können sich sensationalistische, aber falsche Behauptungen schnell und weit verbreiten. Stichwort: Hillary Clintons angeblicher Kinderporno-Ring. Stichwort: Der Papst empfiehlt Donald Trump.

Eine demokratische Öffentlichkeit, die sich an Orten konstituiert, wo Denken als Hindernis beim „Engagement“ betrachtet wird, bekommt früher oder später Probleme.

Optimierung zur Gedankenlosigkeit

„Aus meiner Sicht sollte die Evolution von Überredungstechnologie nicht allein dem Zufall oder dem Markt überlassen werden“, schrieb B.J. Fogg 2003. Aber genau das ist passiert, und wir haben es nicht einmal bemerkt. Die Ziele, die mit den neuen Techniken erreicht werden sollen, sind am Ende in der Regel monetär, von Ausnahmen wie Fitnesstrackern oder Ernährungshelfern einmal abgesehen. „Engagement“ bringt, Klicks, Daten, Absatz. Für gesellschaftlichen Fortschritt wird eher nicht optimiert.

Die Entwicklung ist aber mit der Optimierung zur Gedankenlosigkeit nicht abgeschlossen. Bei Uber, der Firma, die wie keine andere für die rücksichtslose Ausnutzung digitaler Profitmaximierungsmöglichkeiten steht, ist man schon einen Schritt weiter. Dort wird nicht nur das Konsum- und Kommunikationsverhalten captologisch optimiert, sondern auch der Fleiß der freiberuflichen Fahrer.

Wenn die Maschine sich als Frau ausgibt, ist sie erfolgreicher

Die bekommen ihre Aufträge bekanntlich von einer Smartphone-App, und die wiederum wird zentral so gesteuert, dass immer eine möglichst ideale Zahl verfügbarer Mitfahrgelegenheiten am richtigen Ort ist. Eigentlich sind Uber-Fahrer frei, ihre eigenen Schichten zu definieren und einfach aufzuhören, wenn sie keine Lust mehr haben, schließlich sind sie keine Angestellten. Wenn die Maschine, von der sie ihre Aufträge bekommen, aber weiß, dass ihre Arbeitskraft eigentlich gerade noch gebraucht würde, dann wird die Überredungstechnologie ausgepackt, wie die „New York Times“ berichtete.

Uber-Fahrer in den USA bekommen zum Beispiel, wenn sie sich aus der App ausloggen, also Feierabend machen wollen, unter Umständen Botschaften wie „Sie sind noch 10 Dollar von einem Nettoverdienst von 330 Dollar entfernt – wollen Sie wirklich aufhören?“. Besonders gut funktionieren die Motivationsbotschaften, wenn sie von einer angeblich weiblichen Person kommen. Ubers Fahrer sind überwiegend männlich.

Welcome to the machine

Wenn ein Fahrer von Passagieren gut bewertet wird, kann er virtuelle Trophäen gewinnen, für „exzellente Konversation“, oder „exzellenten Service“. Diese Trophäen sind so viel wert wie Highscores in einem Computerspiel: nichts. Gleichzeitig sind sie die digitale Umsetzung einer Therapiemethode, die in Psychiatrien seit den späten Sechzigerjahren angewendet wird, um etwa Psychosepatienten dazu zu bringen, sich selbst anzuziehen: Token Economies. In der Schule hieß so etwas früher „Gutkärtchen“.

Das Softwaresystem, aus dem Uber in Wahrheit besteht, weiß, wer wann wo gebraucht wird, es verteilt Aufgaben, lobt und tadelt, und wenn jemand nicht ausreichend motiviert scheint, stupst es den Betreffenden ein bisschen an, damit er weiterfährt. Zwischen der Management-Ebene des Unternehmens und denen, die die Arbeit machen, ist eine undurchdringliche Schicht künstliche Intelligenz eingezogen. Wer unterhalb dieser Schicht arbeitet, ist kein Angestellter, kein Angehöriger des Unternehmens.

Er ist ein freiberuflicher Teil der Maschine.

Hat die USA mit neuer Nuklearsprengkopftechnologie einen Vorsprung gegenüber anderen Atommächten?

The Saker ArchiveBlogview

Making Sense of the “Super Fuse” Scare

 

For weeks now I have been getting panicked emails with readers asking me whether the USA had developed a special technology called “super fuses” which would make it possible for the USA to successfully pull-off a (preemptive) disarming first strike against Russia. Super-fuses were also mentioned in combination with an alleged lack by Russia of a functioning space-based infrared early warning system giving the Russians less time to react to a possible US nuclear attack.

While there is a factual basis to all this, the original report already mislead the reader with a shocking title “How US nuclear force modernization is undermining strategic stability: The burst-height compensating super-fuze” and by offering several unsubstantiated conclusions. Furthermore, this original report was further discussed by many observers who simply lack the expertise to understand what the facts mentioned in the report really mean. Then the various sources started quoting each other and eventually this resulted in a completely baseless “super fuse scare”. Let’s try to make some sense of all this.

Understanding nuclear strikes and their targets

To understand what really has taken place I need to first define a couple of crucial terms:

  • Hard-target kill capability: this refers to the capability of a missile to destroy a strongly protected target such as a underground missile silo or a deeply buried command post.
  • Soft-target kill capability: the capability to destroy lightly or unprotected targets.
  • Counterforce strike: this refers to a strike aimed at the enemy’s military capabilities.
  • Countervalue strike: this refers to a strike on non-military assets such as cities.

Since strategic nuclear missile silos and command posts are well protected and deeply buried, only hard-target kill (HTK) capable missiles can execute a counterforce strike. Soft-target kill (STK) capable systems are therefore usually seen as being the ultimate retaliatory capability to hit the enemies cities. The crucial notion here is that HTK capability is not a function of explosive power, but of accuracy. Yes, in theory, a hugely powerful weapon can compensate to some degree for a lack of accuracy, but in reality both the USA and the USSR/Russia have long understood that the real key to HTK is accuracy.

During the Cold War, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) were more accurate than submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) simply because targeting from the surface and from a fixed position was much easier than targeting from inside a submerged and moving submarine. The American were the first to successfully deploy a HTK capable SLBM with their Trident D-5. The Russians have only acquired this capability very recently (with their R-29RMU Sineva SLBM).

According to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists just a decade ago only 20% of US SLBMs were HTK capable. Now, with the ‘super-fuse’ 100% of US SLBMs are HTK capable. What these super-fuses do is very accurately measure the optimal altitude at which to detonate thereby partially compensating for a lack of accuracy of a non-HTK capable weapon. To make a long story short, these super-fuses made all US SLBMs HTK capable.

Does that matter?

Yes and no. What that means on paper is that the US has just benefited from a massive increase in the number of US missiles with HTK capability. Thus, the US has now a much larger missile force capable of executing a disarming counterforce strike. In reality, however, things are much more complicated than that.

Understanding counterforce strikes

Executing a disarming counterforce strike against the USSR and, later, Russia has been an old American dream. Remember Reagan’s “Star Wars” program? The idea behind it was simple: to develop the capability to intercept enough incoming Soviet warheads to protect the USA from a retaliatory Soviet counter strike. It would work something like this: destroy, say, 70% of the Soviet ICBM/SLBMs and intercept the remaining 30% before they can reach the USA. This was total nonsense both technologically (the technology did not exist) and strategically (just a few Soviet “leakers” could wipe-out entire US cities, who could take such a risk?). The more recent US deployment of anti-ballistic missile systems in Europe has exactly the same purpose – to protect the USA from a retaliatory counterstrike. Without going into complex technical discussions, let’s just say that this point in time, this system would never protect the USA from anything. But in the future, we could imagine such a scenario

1) The USA and Russia agree to further deep cuts in their nuclear strategic forces thereby dramatically reducing the total number of Russian SLBM/ICBMs.

2) The USA deploys all around Russia anti-ballistic systems which can catch and destroy Russian missiles in the early phase of their flight towards the USA.

3) The USA also deploys a number of systems in space or around the USA to intercept any incoming Russian warhead.

4) The USA having a very large HTK-capable force executes a successful counterforce strike destroying 90% (or so) of the Russian capabilities and then the rest are destroyed during their flight.

This is the dream. It will never work. Here is why:

1) The Russians will not agree to deep cuts in their nuclear strategic forces

2) The Russians already have deployed the capability to destroy the forward deployed US anti-ballistic system in Europe.

3) Russian warheads and missiles are now maneuverable and can even use any trajectory, including over the South Pole, to reach the USA. New Russian missiles have a dramatically shorter and faster first stage burn period making them much harder to intercept.

4) Russia’s reliance on ballistic missiles will be gradually replaced with strategic (long-range) cruise missiles (more about that later)

5) This scenario mistakenly assumes that the USA will know where the Russian SLBM launching submarines will be when they launch and that they will be able to engage them (more about that later)

6) This scenario completely ignores the Russian road-mobile and rail-mobile ICBMs (more about that later)

Understanding MIRVs

Before explaining points 4, 5 and 6 above, I need to mention another important fact: one missile can carry either one single warhead or several (up to 12 and more). When a missile carries several independently targetable warheads it is called MIRVed as in “multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle”.

MIRVs are important for several reasons. First, one single missile with 10 warheads can, in theory, destroy 10 different targets. Alternatively, one single missile can carry, say 3-4 real warheads and 6-7 decoys. In practical terms what look like one missile on take-off can turn into 5 real warheads, all targeted at different objectives and another 5 fake decoys designed to make interception that more difficult. MIRVs, however, also present a big problem: they are lucrative targets. If with one of “my” nuclear warheards I can destroy 1 of “your” MIRVed missiles, I lose 1 warhead but you lose 10. This is one of the reasons the USA is moving away from land-based MIRVed ICBMs.

The important consideration here is that Russia has a number of possible options to chose from and how many of her missiles will be MIRVed is impossible to predict. Besides, all US and Russian SLBMs will remain MIRVed for the foreseeable future (de-MIRVing SLBMs make no sense, really, since the entire nuclear missile carrying submarine (or SSBN) is a gigantic MIRVed launching pad by definition).

In contrast to MIRVed missile, single warheads missiles are very bad targets to try to destroy using nuclear weapons: even if “my” missile destroys “yours” we both lost 1 missile each. What is the point? Worse, if I have to use 2 of “mine” to make really sure that “yours” is really destroyed, my strike will result in me using 2 warheads in exchange for only 1 of yours. This makes no sense at all.

Finally, in retaliatory countervalue strikes, MIRVed ICBM/SLBMs are a formidable threat: just one single R-30 Bulava (SS-N-30) SLBM or one single R-36 Voevoda (SS-18) ICBM can destroy ten American cities. Is that a risk worth taking? Say the USA failed to destroy one single Borei-class SSBN – in theory that could mean that this one SSBN could destroy up to 200 American cities (20 SLBMs with 10 MIRVs each). How is that for a risk?

Contrasting the US and Russian nuclear triad

Strategic nuclear weapons can be deployed on land, in the oceans or delivered by aircraft. This is called the “nuclear triad”. I won’t discuss the aircraft based part of the US and Russian triads here, as they don’t significantly impact the overall picture and because they are roughly comparable. The sea and land based systems and their underlying strategies could not be any more different. At sea, the USA has had HTK capabilities for many years now and the US decided to hold the most important part of the US nuclear arsenal in SSBNs. In contrast, the Russians chose to develop road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles. The very first one was the RT-2PM Topol (SS-25) deployed in 1985, followed by the T-2PM2 «Topol-M» (SS-27) deployed in 1997 and the revolutionary RT-24 Yars or Topol’-MR (SS-29) deployed in 2010 (the US considered deployed road-mobile strategic missiles, but never succeeded in developing the technology).

The Russians are also deploying rail-mobile missiles called RT-23 Molodets (SS-24) and are about to deploy a newer version called RS-27 Barguzin (SS-31?). This is what they look like:

Russian road mobile and rail mobile ICBMs
Russian road mobile and rail mobile ICBMs

SSBNs and road and rail mobile missiles all have two things in common: they are mobile and they rely on concealment for survival as neither of them can hope to survive. The SSBN hides in the depths of the ocean, the road-mobile missile launcher drives around the immense Russian expanses and can hide, literally, in any forest. As for the rail-mobile missile train, it hides by being completely indistinguishable from any other train on the huge Russian railroad network (even from up close it is impossible to tell whether what you are seeing is a regular freight train or a missile launching special train). To destroy these systems, accuracy is absolutely not enough: you need to find them and you need to find them before they fire their missiles. And that is, by all accounts, quite impossible.

The Russian Navy likes to keep its SSBNs either under the polar ice-cap or in so-called “bastions” such as the Sea of Okhotsk. While these are not really “no-go” zones for US attack submarines (SSN), they are extremely dangerous areas where the Russian Navy has a huge advantage over the US (if only because the US attack submarine cannot count on the support of surface ships or aircraft). The US Navy has some of the best submarines on the planet and superbly trained crews, but I find the notion that US SSNs could find and destroy all Russian SSBNs before the latter can launch unlikely in the extreme.

As for the land-based rail-mobile and road-mobile missiles, they are protected by Russian Air Defenses which are the most advanced on the planet, not the kind of airspace the US would want to send B-53, B-1 or B-2 bombers in. But most importantly, these missiles are completely hidden so even if the USA could somehow destroy them, it would failed to find enough of them to make a first disarming strike a viable option. By the way, the RS-24 has four MIRVs (make that 4 US cities) while the RS-27 will have between 10 and 16 (make that another 10 to 16 US cities vaporized).

Looking at geography and cruise missiles

Finally, let’s take a look at geography and cruise missiles. Two Russian cruise missiles are especially important to us: the Kh-102 and the 3M-14K(?):

KH-102 3M-14K
Range: 5500km 2600km
Launcher: Strategic bomber Aircraft, ship, container
Warhead: Nuclear 450kt Nuclear (unknown)

What is important with these two cruise missiles is that the KH-102 has a huge range and that the KM-14K can be fired from aircraft, ships and even containers. Take a look at this video which shows the capabilities of this missile:

Now consider where the vast majority of US cities are located – right along the East and West coasts of the USA and the fact that the US has no air defenses of any kind protecting them. A Russian strategic bomber could hit any West Coast city from the middle of the Pacific ocean. As for a Russian submarine, it could hit any US city from the middle of the Atlantic. Finally, the Russians could conceal an unknown number of cruise missile in regular looking shipping container (flying a Russian flag or, for that matter, any other flag) and simply sail to the immediate proximity to the US coast and unleash a barrage of nuclear cruise missiles.

How much reaction time would such a barrage give the US government?

Understanding reaction time

It is true that the Soviet and Russian space-based early warning system is in bad shape. But did you know that China never bothered developing such a space based system in the first place? So what is wrong with the Chinese, are they stupid, technologically backward or do they know something we don’t?

GlobalWarheadInventoriesTo answer that question we need to look at the options facing a country under nuclear missile attack. The first option is called “launch on warning”: you see the incoming missiles and you press the “red button” (keys in reality) to launch your own missiles. That is sometimes referred to as “use them or lose them”. The next option is “launch on strike”: you launch all you got as soon as a nuclear strike on your territory is confirmed. And, finally, there is the “retaliation after ride-out“: you absorb whatever your enemy shot at you, then take a decision to strike back. What is obvious is that China has adopted, whether by political choice or due to limitation in space capabilities, either a “launch on strike” or a “retaliation after ride-out” option. This is especially interesting since China possesses relatively few nuclear warheads and even fewer real long range ICBMs .

Contrast that with the Russians who have recently confirmed that they have long had a “dead hand system” called “Perimetr” which automatically ascertains that a nuclear attack has taken place and then automatically launches a counterstrike. That would be a “launch on strike” posture, but it is also possible that Russia has a double-posture: she tries to have the capability to launch on warning, but double-secures herself with an automated “dead hand” “launch on strike” capability.

Take a look at this estimate of worldwide stocks of strategic nuclear warheads: While China is credited with only 260 warheads, Russia still has a whopping 7,000 warheads. And a “dead hand” capability. And yet China feels confident enough to announce a “no first use” policy. How can they say that with no space-based nuclear missile launch detection capability?

Many will say that the Chinese wished they had more nukes and a space-based based nuclear missile launch detection capability, but that their current financial and technological means simply do not allow that. Maybe. But my personal guess is that they realize that even their very minimal force represents a good enough deterrent for any potential aggressor. And they might have a point.

Let me ask you this: how many US generals and politicians would be willing to sacrifice just one major US city in order to disarm China or Russia? Some probably would. But I sure hope that the majority would realize that the risk will always remain huge.

For one thing, modern nuclear warfare has, so far, only been “practiced” only on paper and with computers (and thank God for that!)? So nobody *really* knows for sure how a nuclear war would play itself out. The only thing which is certain is that just the political and economic consequences of it would be catastrophic and totally unpredictable. Furthermore, it remains very unclear how such a war could be stopped short of totally destroying one side. The so-called “de-escalation” is a fascinating concept, but so far nobody has really figured this out. Finally, I am personally convinced that both the USA and Russia have more than enough survivable nuclear weapons to actually decide to ride out a full-scale enemy attack. That is the one big issue which many well-meaning pacifist never understood: it is a good thing that “the USA and Russia have the means to blow-up the world ten times over” simply because even one side succeeded in destroying, say, 95% of the US or Russian nuclear forces, the remaining 5% would be more than enough to wipe-out the attacking side in a devastating countervalue attack. If Russia and the USA each had, say, only 10 nuclear warheads then the temptation to try to take them out would be much higher.

This is scary and even sick, but having a lot of nuclear weapons is safer from a “first-strike stability” point of view than having few. Yes, we do live in a crazy world.

Consider that in times of crisis both the US and Russia would scramble their strategic bombers and keep them in the air, refueling them when needed, for as long as needed to avoid having them destroyed on the ground. So even if the USA destroyed ALL Russian ICBM/SLBMs, there would be quite a few strategic bombers in holding patterns in staging areas which could be given the order to strike. And here we reach one last crucial concept:

Counterforce strikes require a lot of HTK capable warheads. The estimates by both sides are kept secret, of course, but we are talking over 1000 targets on each side at least listed, if not actually targeted. But a countervalue strike would require much less. The US has only 10 cities with over one million people. Russia has only 12. And, remember, in theory one warhead is enough for one city (that is not true, but for all practical purposes it is). Just look what 9/11 did to the USA and imagine of, say, “only” Manhattan had been truly nuked. You can easily imagine the consequences.

Conclusion 1: super-fuses are not really that super at all

The super-fuses scare is so overblown that it is almost an urban legend. The fact is that even if all the US SLBMs are now HTK capable and even if Russia does not have a functional space-based missile launch detection capability (she is working on a new one, by the way), this in no way affects the fundamental fact that there is nothing, nothing at all, that the USA could come up with to prevent Russia from obliterating the USA in a retaliatory strike. The opposite is also true, the Russians have exactly zero hope of nuking the USA and survive the inevitable US retaliation.

The truth is that as far back as the early 1980s Soviet (Marshal Ogarkov) and US specialists had already come to the conclusion that a nuclear war was unwinnable. In the past 30 years two things have dramatically changed the nature of the game: first, an increasing number of conventional weapons have become comparable in their effects to small nuclear weapons and cruise missiles have become vastly more capable. The trend today is for low-RCS (stealth) long range hypersonic cruise missiles and maneuvering ICBM warheads which will make it even harder to detect and intercept them. Just think about it: if the Russians fired a cruise missile volley from a submarine say, 100km off the US coast, how much reaction time will the US have? Say that these low-RCS missile would begin flying at medium altitude being for all practical purpose invisible to radar, infra-red and even sound, then lower themselves down to 3-5 m over the Atlantic and then accelerate to a Mach 2 or Mach 3 speed. Sure, they will become visible to radars once they crosses the horizon, but the remaining reaction time would be measured in seconds, not minutes. Besides, what kind of weapon system could stop that missile type of anyway? Maybe the kind of defenses around a US aircraft carrier (maybe), but there is simply nothing like that along the US coast.

As for ballistic missile warheads, all the current and foreseeable anti-ballistic systems rely on calculations for a non-maneuvering warhead. Once the warheads begin to make turns and zig-zag, then the computation needed to intercept them become harder by several orders of magnitude. Some Russian missiles, like the R-30 Bulava, can even maneuver during their initial burn stage, making their trajectory even harder to estimate (and the missile itself harder to intercept).

The truth is that for the foreseeable future ABM systems will be much more expensive and difficult to build then ABM-defeating missiles. Also, keep in mind that an ABM missile itself is also far, far more expensive than a warhead. Frankly, I have always suspected that the American obsession with various types of ABM technologies is more about giving cash to the Military Industrial Complex and, at best, developing new technologies useful elsewhere.

Conclusion 2: the nuclear deterrence system remains stable, very stable

At the end of WWII, the Soviet Union’s allies, moved by the traditional western love for Russia, immediately proceeded to plan for a conventional and a nuclear war against the Soviet Union (see Operation Unthinkable and Operation Dropshot). Neither plan was executed, the western leaders were probably rational enough not to want to trigger a full-scale war against the armed forces which had destroyed roughly 80% of the Nazi war machine. What is certain, however, is that both sides fully understood that the presence of nuclear weapons profoundly changed the nature of warfare and that the world would never be the same again: for the first time in history all of mankind faced a truly existential threat. As a direct result of this awareness, immense sums of money were given to some of the brightest people on the planet to tackle the issue of nuclear warfare and deterrence. This huge effort resulted in an amazingly redundant, multi-dimensional and sophisticated system which cannot be subverted by any one technological breakthrough. There is SO much redundancy and security built into the Russian and American strategic nuclear forces that a disarming first strike is all but impossible, even if we make the most unlikely and far-fetched assumptions giving one side all the advantages and the other all the disadvantages. For most people it is very hard to wrap their heads around such a hyper-survivable system, but both the USA and Russia have run hundreds and even thousands of very advanced simulations of nuclear exchanges, spending countless hours and millions of dollars trying to find a weak spot in the other guy’s system, and each time the result was the same: there is always enough to inflict an absolutely cataclysmic retaliatory counter-strike.

Conclusion 3: the real danger to our common future

The real danger to our planet comes not from a sudden technological breakthrough which would make nuclear war safe, but from the demented filled minds of the US Neocons who believe that they can bring Russia to heel in a game of “nuclear chicken”. These Neocons have apparently convinced themselves that making conventional threats against Russia, such as unilaterally imposing no-fly zones over Syria, does not bring us closer to a nuclear confrontation. It does.

The Neocons love to bash the United Nations in general, and the veto power of the Permanent Five (P5) at the UN Security Council, but they apparently forgot the reason why this veto power was created in the first place: to outlaw any action which could trigger a nuclear war. Of course, this assumes that the P5 all care about international law. Now that the USA has clearly become a rogue state whose contempt for international law is total, there is no legal mechanism left to stop the US from committing actions which endanger the future of mankind. This is what is really scary, not “super-fuses”.

What we are facing today is a nuclear rogue state run by demented individuals who, steeped in a culture of racial superiority, total impunity and imperial hubris, are constantly trying to bring us closer to a nuclear war. These people are not constrained by anything, not morals, not international law, not even common sense or basic logic. In truth, we are dealing with a messianic cult every bit as insane as the one of Jim Jones or Adolf Hitler and like all self-worshiping crazies they profoundly believe in their invulnerability.

It is the immense sin of the so-called “Western world” that it let these demented individuals take control with little or no resistance and that now almost the entire western society lack the courage to even admit that it surrendered itself to what I can only call a satanic cult. Alexander Solzhenitsyn prophetic words spoken in 1978 have now fully materialized:

A decline in courage may be the most striking feature that an outside observer notices in the West today. The Western world has lost its civic courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, in each government, in each political party, and, of course, in the United Nations. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling and intellectual elites, causing an impression of a loss of courage by the entire society. There are many courageous individuals, but they have no determining influence on public life (Harvard Speech, 1978)

Five years later, Solzhenitsyn warned us again saying,

To the ill-considered hopes of the last two centuries, which have reduced us to insignificance and brought us to the brink of nuclear and non-nuclear death, we can propose only a determined quest for the warm hand of God, which we have so rashly and self-confidently spurned. Only in this way can our eyes be opened to the errors of this unfortunate twentieth century and our hands be directed to setting them right. There is nothing else to cling to in the landslide: the combined vision of all the thinkers of the Enlightenment amounts to nothing. Our five continents are caught in a whirlwind. But it is during trials such as these that the highest gifts of the human spirit are manifested. If we perish and lose this world, the fault will be ours alone.

We have been warned, but will we heed that warning?

Korea und Trump

History and Hypocrisy: Why the Korean War Matters in the Age of Trump

The DPRK’s recent missile test is a “provocation” according to US state sources. A provocation indeed. Firing things into the air that go bang is clearly not a nice thing to do. People really should ease up on things that explode. I mean somebody could get hurt.

Unfortunately for the Americans, when it comes to making things explode they themselves are hardly innocent. Trump’s recent bombardment of Afghanistan and Syria is a case in point. Maintaining considerable armed forces on the Korean peninsula and making a lot of threatening noise about an “armada” is another. To thus accuse the North Koreans of “provocation” is akin to me objecting to foul language after donning a t-shirt with “I like violence” written across the front and brandishing a knife at complete strangers. It simply makes no sense.

You’ll be lucky to find much in US foreign policy that makes sense, however. The popular media doesn’t help. Spurning any semblance of objectivity at every turn, much of the western press would have you believe that the DPRK is populated by people who are simply insane, all marching in unison to the whims of their stereotypical Bond villain of a leader. The at times racist narrative, so eagerly lapped up by swathes of the freedom loving public, is simplistic to the point of being painful. All the same it persists.

Let’s get a few things out in the open. The DPRK is not the aggressor here. Their nuclear program is hardly in the final stages, and given the recent news of yet another failed test it seems unlikely Pyongyang will be able to develop a reliable mid-range ICBM for some time. Their conventional forces, although sizeable, are also generally in possession of somewhat antiquated technology. Aside from a few outbreaks along the border with the south, the DPRK has never actually engaged in open conflict with any power, at all, since the signing of the armistice that ended the Korean War. All in all this is not a country that’s looking for a brawl for the pure sake of it.

The same cannot be said for others. Since the birth of the DPRK the US has attacked numerous countries across the globe, killing literally millions of people, including fighting a major conflict on Korean soil just five years after using WMDs on Japanese cities. Ever eager to safeguard democracy, the US currently has well over a hundred thousand troops stationed in myriad parts of the world, with over twenty thousand in South Korea itself. American nuclear weapons are able to decimate entire nations at will, with the “progressive” President Obama having pouring over a trillion dollars into their redevelopment and enhancement. All in all this is a nation well accustomed to violence.

The hard truth is that the DPRK has been under myriad sanctions by the US for the vast bulk of its existence, with the fixation on the recent nuclear issue being a sideshow to gloss over an ongoing policy to ostracise, isolate and generally defame the DPRK as a habitual, indeed pantomime, villain. The fact that Korea has been divided by an invading force is rarely scrutinised, nor are the frequent attempts to intimidate Koreans into obedience, from incessant military drills to proposals to withhold food aid and potentially starve millions of people. The current tensions can only be understood within the context of this very unequal, very predatory, context.

A Troubled Past

History matters. The standard narrative on the Korean War of 1950-53 is that the United Nations was forced to commit military forces only after the malevolent Kim Il Sung ordered an entirely unprovoked assault on the south. Like so much else when it comes to both politics and history, the mainstream perspective is convoluted, if not just entirely wrong. The truth of the matter is that, after initial division between north and south in the wake of the defeat of the Japanese occupation, skirmishes between Seoul and Pyongyang had been going on for some time, with the former having carried out several notable (and distinctly hostile) incursions.

For historians such as David Reynolds, some one hundred thousand Koreans had already been killed in border fighting and uprisings in the south prior to the outbreak of formal hostilities. Indeed, analysts have gone as far as to hypothesise that the situation in 1950 degraded so rapidly precisely due to the ROK assault on the north Korean town of Haeju, something that prompted the DPRK to consider redoubled measures against an increasingly aggressive neighbour.

The US were also not about to let a golden opportunity slip by. After losing influence across much of East Asia with the defeat of the pro-US Kuomintang in ’49 (itself a deeply corrupt and authoritarian entity with a propensity for massacring its own people) Washington found itself looking for opportunities to regain lost ground. A reunified Korea under western influence seemed like an eminently desirable scenario. Korea could not be allowed to unite on its own terms, given US fears of left-wing success in national elections. The outbreak of hostilities on the peninsula were too good an opportunity to pass up.

The Americans moved fast. Refusing to wait for authorisation from an already fractured UN Security Council, the US committed itself to an extensive and protracted campaign, ultimately overrunning much of northern Korea before being driven back by the intervention of substantial Chinese forces. In the process, the US inflicted numerous war crimes against the general population, with the air force targeting civilian and military centres with well over six hundred thousand tons worth of bombs and thirty thousand tons of napalm.

By the end of the war, General MacArthur’s order to “destroy every means of communication and every installation, and factories and cities and villages” had been carried out. Much of the DPRK, alongside swathes of the ROK, were in ruins, with US aerial bombardment ensuring the vast majority of urban areas were decimated and their populations either dead or displaced.

Pyongyang was effectively levelled, having gone from being home to some half a million citizens in 1950 to having just two structures left intact three years later. In the south, Seoul changed hands a total of four times in just nine months, with its “liberation” ensuring only the capital building and a railway station were left intact. Over twenty percent of the northern population is believe to have been killed, many of them civilians blown to pieces or immolated in napalm during the incessant pulverisation of their homes. Well over a million southerners also lost their lives.

“We burned down just about every city in North Korea and South Korea both,” claimed one young American officer, Curtis LeMay, “we killed off over a million Korean civilians and drove several million more from their homes”. This was no idle boast. In ’52, William Douglas, himself Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, visited the war-torn nation to see such sights first-hand, remarking “”I had seen the war-battered cities of Europe; but I had not seen devastation until I had seen Korea”.

Massacre at No Gun Ri

Death from above was only one side to the punishment inflicted upon the troubled nation. On the ground, American soldiers soon developed a sense of brazen contempt for the indigenous population, engaging in myriad acts of thuggery against civilians unlucky enough to get in the way.

Those suspected of harbouring political sentiments out of style with the southern authorities found themselves in hot water, with some one hundred thousand potential dissidents being murdered over the course of the conflict. Mass killings and the wholesale slaughter of entire prison populations by ROK security forces were not unknown.

The plight of war refugees was unsurprisingly harsh. In fact it was here that US ground forces carried out one of their most notorious actions of the entire war, slaughtering several hundred civilians being forcibly driven from their homes around the village of No Gun Ri.

Many of the inhabitants of this region had already found their homes set alight, with one particular group being “evacuated” by American troops also in the habit of beating up and occasionally shooting individual Koreans for presumed infractions. Aside from the casual murderousness of the GIs, the refugee’s journey south was uneventful until the middle of the next day when, finding themselves bereft of their gracious escorts, they were suddenly attacked by US aircraft.

The villagers, dazed and frightened, attempted to flee the bombs and bullets only to inadvertently approach positions manned by US soldiers. The response from the troops was to open fire, apparently being ordered to remain on alert for “civilian clad” infiltrators attempting to pass through American lines. Whatever their reasons, the soldiers hosed the panicked column with machine gun, rifle and mortar rounds, killing a sizeable amount of civilians and causing others to flee.

Seemingly not content, US soldiers then rounded up survivors and herded them under a nearby bridge, in the process shooting several deemed too badly hurt to be moved. After forcing some three hundred persons into confinement in this way, the Americans opened fire yet again, ripping in to the Koreans from both sides of the bridge with small arms and artillery.

“We was holding that rail-road bridge to keep them from coming across that,” claimed one Melvin Durham of F Company, 7th Cavalry, himself cited in the seminal text, The Bridge at No Gun Ri. “But those people – there was women, children, old people – we had to eliminate them…our orders was to start opening fire and when we did, there wasn’t nothing standing but a couple of cows. We fired for about an hour, an hour and a half.”

Durham and company weren’t messing around. Few of those trapped under the bridge survived the onslaught, with entire families, infants and elderly included, dying among the detritus of shattered masonry and pulverised flesh. One strapping young patriot, clearly with a mind for America’s glorious colonial roots, claimed “it was like an Indian raid, back in the old days. We just annihilated them”. Another, this time a staff sergeant, likened the action to a “feeding frenzy…guys were shooting because they hadn’t shot before, and they had permission to shoot…it’s like ‘Hey, shoot at anything that moves out there.’”

This wasn’t an isolated incident. Additional orders issued to other US army and air units were clear enough. One such memo, detailed in the 2002 documentary “Kill ‘Em All”, declared officers had “complete authority in your zone to stop all civilian traffic. Responsibility to place fire on them (and) to include bombing rests with you”. Another more direct order instructed units that  “all refugees are fair game. Refugees will be considered (the) enemy and dispersed by all available fire including artillery.”

One reluctant soldier, having the temerity to display something of a conscience when it came to such directives, recalled an unusual morale boosting technique from his commanding officer. Rather than grappling with the ethical complexities of murdering innocent people, the officer in question instead held a gun to the soldier’s head, demanding that he “kill ’em…or I will kill you myself” and begrudging him for “disobeying a direct order”.

Others were not so restrained. “There was a lieutenant screaming like a mad man to fire on everything,” recalled one Joe Jackman, himself a war vet present at No Gun Ri. “Kids, there was kids out there, it didn’t matter what it was. Eight to eighty, blind, crippled or crazy, they shot ’em.”

In addition to mass bombardment and repeat atrocities, the US had other joys in store for Korea. After the Chinese had crossed the border in late 1950 and defeated the US Eighth Army in open battle, the use of atomic weapons became a serious possibility. Clearly irked by the audacity of the Chinese, General MacArthur entertained an ambitious plan to target both Korean and Chinese cities with WMDs, in the process ideally creating a belt of irradiated wasteland between the two nations that would deter any further meddling from Beijing.

He wasn’t playing games. “I would have dropped thirty or so atomic bombs…strung across the neck of Manchuria,” claimed the General, in an interview published after his death. “(I’d) spread behind us, from the Sea of Japan to the Yellow Sea, a belt of radioactive cobalt…it has an active life of between sixty and one twenty years. For at least sixty years there could have been no land invasion of Korea from the north. My plan was a cinch.”

He was probably right. Fortunately his scheme was never approved. Yet such heroics were not to be confined to east Asia. Just three years after the end of hostilities in Korea, the Cold War was still heating up, with the US preparing an extensive list of targets for nuclear bombardment in multiple countries. Ranging from locales as disparate as Warsaw and Beijing, the Americans cited major urban zones as priority targets for destruction, with the total elimination of their high civilian populations the desired outcome.

One small problem presented itself. Given the nature of the weapons to be deployed, the possibility of collateral damage in allied states was a sizeable possibility. Such a scenario doesn’t appear to have caused too much worry for US strategic planners, however, with East Berlin soon being targeted by over ninety atomic weapons as part of a policy of “systematic destruction” that would have also wiped out allied West Berlin and devastated swathes of Europe. The well-being of their own partners, not to mention the lives of millions of men, women and children in multiple nations, from Germany to China, were eminently expendable in the face of US interests.

A cheap shot would be to argue that this is all “ancient history”. Of course, those making such a claim are almost certainly safely ensconced within the US itself, always way out of the line of fire and comfortable in the precedent that catastrophic violence is something that Americans inflict on foreigners rather than the other way around.

Claims that such matters are “history” also make the crass assumption that there is a point of sudden disconnect between US policy then and now, itself a rather clumsy notion that ignores the reality of American aggression over the past several decades. Planning to murder (and in the case of Korea actually doing so) millions of people isn’t something that can be conveniently dismissed by uttering tired maxims such as “forgive and forget”. The current belligerence directed towards Korea highlight this.

Again, history matters. DPRK citizens today make frequent mention of the Korean War. In some instances many families will yet retain a living link to that conflict, with scenes of horrific suffering and sweeping destruction a yet present memory. Even those without relatives around to recall the 1950s will be reminded of the tender touch of US foreign policy every time they go outside, with the near total levelling of many urban centres ensuring that most buildings in modernity are merely decades rather than centuries old.

It would be a serious mistake to assume this finds no echo in Korean politics. Every time news hits of the latest US offensive abroad, from Iraq to Afghanistan to Libya and Syria, Koreans will be further reminded of their own painful past. The continued presence of sizeable American military forces on the Korean peninsula won’t help. Washington’s redoubled threats and moronic macho talk about “looking for trouble” won’t help either.

Declarations from Pyongyang as to sovereignty, retaliation, self-reliance and military prowess will, however, make sense to a people long accustomed to either being the underdog or facing outright annihilation. There is nothing “crazy” about this. Only the most deluded of western cynics could claim Koreans resent the western powers purely because of “state propaganda”. The reality is right there for them to experience. It’s been there for decades. It’s about time this was fully understood.

Daniel Read is a UK-based journalist specialising in human rights and international affairs. He originally studied journalism at Kingston University, London, prior to obtaining post-graduate degrees in both human rights and global politics. He blogs at uncommonsense.me and tweets at @DanielTRead.

Plant USA den Osten Syriens einzunehmen?

Inhalt: Truppenaufstockung an jordanischer Grenze, um Raqqa zu erobern. Dann könnte dort eine dauerhafte US Basis entstehen und diese Ausgangspunkt für Rebellen sein, die die syrische regierung bekämpfen und Anschläge verüben.

Ausserdem würde so verhindert, dass Syrien als Staat in seinen alten Grenzen wieder funktioniert. Jugoslawien Teil 3. Spezialistin für Besetzungen wurde von  Sicherheitsberater McMaster angeheuert. Warum nur, wenn es nicht um eine nächste Besetzung geht.

Der militärische Aufwand und Umfang der Besetzung würden sich mit den US Mitteln erreichen lassen, weil es nicht zu einem grossen Krieg gegen einen gerüsteten Gegner kommt.

Nordkorea oder auch einen Iran kann die USA nicht erobern und dauerhaft besetzen. Einen Teil Syriens, der sowieso bereits unter Kontrolle der Aufständischen ist, ist dagegen kein Problem.

Die Frage bleibt, wie die Russen und Iraner, welche über diese Pläne Bescheid wissen müssten, reagieren können. Stärken von ISIS gegen die USA? Selber vorher einmarschieren und das Gebiet besetzen? Dagegen spricht, dass sie nicht die militärischen mittel haben, um dort anzugreifen und nicht andere Lücken an der Front zu öffnen.

Das schwarz eingefärbte Gebiet soll momentan von ISIS kontrolliert sein und szeigt schön den Umfang des gebietes, welches dann die USA und Verbündete kontrollieren würden. Und dann sind wir bereits sehr nah am Plan zur Aufteilung Syriens in verschiedene Regionen, die unabhängig voneinander sind (Stichwort Jugolsawien und Kosovo)

Ausser der Kontrolle des Euphrat-Tals ist diesem Gebiet nichts abzugewinnen. Aber mit der Zusammenarbeit mit den kudischen Gruppen, die das Gebiet im Norden Syriens beherrschen, lässt sich so der schiitische Halbmond aufbrechen und die Verbindung Iran, Syrien, Hisbollah kappen oder schwierig gestalten.

Bildschirmfoto 2017-04-24 um 12.42.15.png

 

Is Mad Dog Planning to Invade East Syria?    

The Pentagon’s plan for seizing and occupying territory in east Syria is beginning to take shape. According to a Fox News exclusive:

“The Islamic State has essentially moved its so-called capital in Syria… ISIS is now centered in Deir ez-Zur, roughly 90 miles southeast of Raqqa, the officials said.”
(“ISIS moves its capital in Syria”, FOX News )

The move by ISIS corresponds to the secretive massing of US troops and military equipment on the Syria-Jordan border. It creates the perfect pretext for a ground invasion followed by a long-term military occupation in an area that Washington has sought to control for the last 18 months.  Here’s more on the topic from South Front:

“The US military is reportedly concentrating troops and military equipment at the Syrian-Jordanian border. Local sources said that about 20 US Army armoured vehicles (including battle tanks and artillery pieces) carried on trucks were spotted in Al-Mafraq. US troops were allegedly accompanied with the Jordanian Army’s 3rd Division.

The US Special Operation Forces, the UK Special Operation Forces and units from some other countries -have been conducting operations across the Syrian-Jordanian border for a long time. They even had a secret military facility inside Syria where members the so-called New Syrian Army militant group were deployed. However, it was the first time when a notable number of US armoured vehicles was reported there. The US Ro-Ro ship Liberty Passion, loaded with vehicles, had arrived to the Jordanian port of Al-Aqapa few days ago. These moves followed a meeting between the Jordanian King and the US president.

Thus, the US-led coalition could prepare a large-scale military operation in southern Syria. The goal of the operation will likely be to get control over the Syrian-Iraqi border and to reach Deir Ezzor. It will involve militants trained in camps in Jordan and the US-led coalition’s forces.” (“US Military Deployment at Syrian-Jordanian Border, Military Escalation”, Global Research)

Deir Ezzor is a strategically-located city along the Euphrates that the Pentagon needs in order to tighten its grip on the eastern quadrant of the country. Once Deir Ezzor is taken, the US can launch its CIA-backed jihadist militias back into Syria at will putting more pressure on Damascus and eventually forcing regime change. That is the plan at least, whether it works or not is anyone’s guess. The deployment of troops on the Jordanian border suggests that Washington’s proxy-army, the mainly-Kurdish militia or SDF, is either unwilling to conduct operations as far south as Deir Ezzor or doesn’t have the military strength to beat ISIS on its own. In any event, the Pentagon needs fresh troops and equipment to succeed. Here’s more from South Front:

“US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis presented a preliminary version of the new plan to defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq, a Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, said on February 28th. ….The plan submitted by Mattis also includes a proposal to increase the size of the US military contingent to ISIS in Syria… (Note–There are already 400 Special Forces operating alongside the SDF) Without significant US presence on the ground, the SDF will hardly be able to retake Raqqah from ISIS without incurring unacceptable losses….

As to Deir Ezzor, the US can try to use militants trained in Jordan to launch an attack on Deir Ezzor from the southern direction. However, the total failure of this US-backed group in 2016 leaves little chance that it’s able to combat ISIS successfully in 2017. So, the US and its allies will be pushed to deploy special forces units or even ground troops to support the advance there.

The Polish Special Forces have already deployed to Jordan where they will operate alongside their French and British counterparts.  According to reports, the US-led block created a joint command center to coordinate efforts of all sides, which will support the advance against ISIS in the area.”  (“New US Strategy Against ISIS And War In Syria. What To Expect?”, South Front)

Here’s more from Fox News:

“U.S. military drones have watched hundreds of ISIS “bureaucrats,” or administrators, leaving Raqqa in the past two months for the city of al-Mayadin located further down the Euphrates River from Deir el-Zour.”

Let me get this straight:  US military drones located hundreds of ISIS terrorists traveling across the open dessert, but did nothing to stop them. Why?

Is it because the Pentagon needs ISIS in Deir Ezzor to justify a ground invasion?  That’s certainly the most plausible explanation.

More from Fox:  “Questions remain about the hold force necessary to keep the peace after ISIS is uprooted from Raqqa.”

In other words,  readers are supposed to believe that the Pentagon doesn’t already have a plan in place for occupying the cities when the siege ends.  That’s baloney. Check out this excerpt from an article by Whitney Webb:

“The Syrian city of Raqqa – the “stronghold” of terror group ISIS – will be governed by a “civilian council” with the support of U.S. troops following its “liberation” from terrorists….

On Tuesday, the U.S.-allied militias …announced that they had formed a “civilian council” to govern Raqqa after its capture from Daesh militants. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)… claim to have spent six months setting up the council, with a preparatory committee having met “with the people and important tribal figures of Raqqa city to find out their opinions on how to govern it,” Middle East Eye reported.

SDF spokesman Talal Selo stated that some towns near Raqqa had already been turned over to the council following a successful operation to drive out Daesh forces.

The U.S. military had previously hinted that power would be given to rebel groups following Raqqa’s “liberation”…(“After ‘Liberation,’ U.S. To Give Control Of Raqqa To Rebels, Not Syrian Government”, Information Clearinghouse)

Washington has already chosen a group of puppets who will follow their directives when the fighting finally ends.  The leaders will be selected from rebel groups and tribal elders that pledge their allegiance to Washington. The new arrangement will prevent the Syrian government from reclaiming a sizable portion of its sovereign territory or reestablishing control over its borders. A splintered Syria will strengthen US-Israeli regional hegemony and provide the land needed for future US military bases.

But why would Washington opt to occupy another country when previous occupations (like Iraq) have gone so badly?

There’s a two word answer to that question: Nadia Schadlow.  President Trump’s National Security Advisor H R McMaster recently hired Schadlow to join his staff as a deputy assistant to the president for national security strategy.  Schadlow recently published a book that “examined 15 cases in which the United States Army intervened abroad, and the service’s role in political and economic reconstruction.” According to the Wall Street Journal:

(Schadlow’s) “War and the Art of Governance” consists of a collection of case studies, beginning with the Mexican-American War and ending in Iraq. Each examines how the U.S. attempted…to translate battlefield victory into a lasting and beneficial political outcome.
Ms. Schadlow’s case studies tell an often doleful story of America allowing victories to fall apart, leaving behind a suffering populace that should have been rewarded with a better peace. She asserts convincingly that postconflict governance can only be done well by soldiers….

The Army’s Civil Affairs units are the only government entities capable of administering conquered territories, yet Civil Affairs units remain the Army’s neglected stepchildren. … the nation must never go to war again until it can definitively answer Gen. Petraeus’s question about “how this ends.” It ends only when the U.S. Army assumes the mantle of leadership and commits itself to remaining on the field until the lives of the population can be protected, the damage repaired and a political future guaranteed.” (“What Happens After Victory”, Wall Street Journal)

Get it? The woman is an expert on military occupation!

Now answer this one question for me: Why would McMaster hire an expert on military occupation unless he was planning to militarily occupy another country?

The facts speak for themselves.

Notes.

1.  http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/04/21/isis-moves-its-capital-in-syria.html

2. http://www.globalresearch.ca/breaking-video-us-military-deployment-at-syrian-jordanian-border-military-escalation/5584435

3. https://southfront.org/new-us-strategy-against-isis-and-war-in-syria-what-to-expect/

4. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/46907.htm

5. https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-happens-after-victory-1491520385

Vorbereitung auf de Crash: USA und ein neuer Krieg in Syrien, Nordkorea oder anderswo

Donald Trump scheint gewillt, die US- Militärmaschinerie in einem neue Konflikt einsetzen zu wollen. Was allerdings in den Medien verschiegen wird, ist die Tatsache, dass die USA keine Möglichkeiten hat, einen nächsten Krieg erfolgreich abzuschliessen. Weder in Nordkorea noch in Syrien noch im Iran oder der Ukraine. Aus diesen Gründen hat die USa ja bislnag auf Stellvertreter vertraut, die sie mit Waffen, Logistik, Geheimdienstifo unterstützen, aber nicht direkt mit eigenen Truppen und Waffen auf dem Boden eingreifen.

Man muss es sich einfach jedesmal vor Augen halten. Der Irak war 2003 keine militärische Grossmacht, sondern ein – nach 10 Jahren Boykott und mit dem Golfkrieg von 1990 bereits mächtig dezimierten Militär – relativ wehrloses Opfer. Und wie sieht die Situation heute aus? Die Fraktionen der Kurden, Schiiten, Sunniten innerhalb des Irak streiten um Unabhängigkeit und Einfluss. Die USA wird als Hilfe gegen den IS im Irak geduldet, aber mehr auch nicht. Die Stimmung könnte sich schnell gege die USA wenden, sollte sie versuchen, mehr Kontrolle im Irak zu übernehmen.

Insofern kann die USA nur Chaosmanagement betreiben mit der Gefahr, dass andere Operateure ihr in diesem Gebiet das Wasser abgraben bzw. mehr und bessere Kontrolle über die Akteure des Chaos haben. In Afghanistan operiert die chinesische Armee mit; in Libyen zieht Russland seine Fäden mit.

Wie würde ein Konflikt mit Nordkorea aussehen? Die USA könnten die grossen Waffenanlagen/Nuklearanlagen und Truppenbasen von NK angreifen. Aber es wäre nicht auszuschliessen, dass sich NK mit seiner grossen Zahl von Soldaten und Waffen wehren kann und Südkorea sowie Japan mit genügend seiner Raketen und Kanonen beschiesst, um viele Tote und grossen Schaden anzurichten. Möglicherweise könnte die USA nach einem längeren Kampf wie im Irak oder in Afghanistan einige Militärbasen in NK installieren und die Bevölkerung würde, unterstützt von China, dass keine US Präsenz an der eigenen Grenze will, möglicherweise ebenso zu Aufständen und Kleinkrieg greifen.

Insofern ist ein Angriff auf NK eine grössere Bedrohung für CHina, weil dann eine wichtige Grenzregion destabilisert wird und China mit Militär dort gebunden ist. In Anbetracht eines anstehenden Crash in der Finanzwelt wäre eine oder mehrere Konfliktherde, die als Ursache für die Finanzkrise ausgemacht werden könnten, ideal.

Fazit: Die USA können keinen weiteren Krieg gegen einen halbwegs gut gerüsteten Gegner gewinnen. Allerdings würden ein oder mehrere Konflikte an der Grenze zu Russland und China die beiden grossen Konkurrenten der USA zurückbinden und Chaos an deren Grenze hinterlassen, ohne dass die USA davon direkt betroffen ist. Eine Finanzkrise, die sich schon seit Jahren erneut abzeichnet, könnte so auf die militärischen Konflikte, auf China, auf Russland als Schuldige abgewälzt werden, ohne dass die Bevölkerung die eigentlich Schuldigen belangt: Die Banken und Regierungen, welche es zulassen, dass Staatsschulden (die durch die Not-Bankenrettung erst ins Unermessliche stiegen)  nicht abgeschrieben, sondern durch Sparen und Verkauf von Staatsbesitz in die Hände der Banken und deren Besitzer übergeht.

 

Korea 5

Japan Prepares For North Korea „Emergency“

Tyler Durden's picture

Judging by the precautionary actions of North Korea’s neighbors, the next 48 hours on the Korean peninsula could see substantial volatility, because at the same time as China’s largest carrier was said to suspend flights to Pyongyang, the Japanese government has asked the U.S. to provide advance consultation if it is about to launch military action against North Korea, and „has ramped up preparations for emergency situations“ according to Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun, including the potential evacuation of some 57,000 Japanese citizens currently in South Korea.

According to the Japanese publication, PM Shinzo Abe stressed that the region is becoming increasingly tense. “[U.S. President Donald Trump] has stated that all options are on the table. It’s a fact tensions are rising,” he said at the Prime Minister’s Office after receiving a written proposal calling for tougher sanctions on North Korea from the Liberal Democratic Party’s Eriko Yamatani, chief of the headquarters for the abduction issue.

He added that „if an unexpected situation occurs, we’ll ask the United States to cooperate in rescuing the abduction victims.“

The Japanese government, like its South Korean peer, has asked for advance consultation regarding any U.S. military action against North Korea during a series of meetings between Japanese and U.S. officials. The U.S. side is said to have responded positively to the request. This is because Japan would need to take appropriate precautions given that, as an ally of Washington, it could be a target for retaliation should the U.S. military attack North Korea, although in order to preserve the „element of surprise“ it would not be at all
surprising if Trump proceeded to launching a strike unannounced.

As the infographic below shows, the Japanese government is contemplating five potential emergency responses should a military clash break out between the US and North Korea:

  • Logistical support by Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) in the event of a local conflict
  • Use of force by the SDF in the event of a full scale war
  • Protection of Japanese citizens in South Korea
  • Preparation for armed attacks against Japan
  • Civil protection and response to evacuees

There are three main threats Japan would face if Trump launches an attack: in addition to a potential ballistic missile retaliation; the mass evacuation of thousands of Japanese citizens, and what would likely be a massive refugee onslaught by North Koreans.

Furthermore, recall that under its post-war constitution, Japan is not allowed to have offensive military forces. Its Article 9 declares „the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.“ That may copmlicate logistics should war indeed break out in North Korea.

As the Japan Times notes, a North Korean attack on Japan would involve ballistic missiles. The Japanese government has been bolstering defensive measures against ballistic missiles, including making permanent in August 2016 an order to the Self-Defense Forces to intercept and destroy incoming missiles.

There is also the concern of an imminent evacuation:

A difficult issue that would emerge in a contingency on the Korean Peninsula is the rescue and protection of an estimated 57,000 Japanese, including tourists, in South Korea. The government started compiling an evacuation plan in the 1990s and has updated and changed it several times. The government plans to convene a meeting of the four ministers who form the National Security Council to review the strategy for dealing with this issue at an early date.

Security legislation that came into force in March 2016 newly allows the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to take steps to protect, rescue and transport Japanese overseas. The Japanese government plans to use government-chartered aircraft and SDF transport vessels for such evacuations, which would be conducted in cooperation with the U.S. military.

A potential complication here is that the governments of Japan and South Korea don’t really have the best diplomatic relations, a tension that goes as far back as treatment of Koreans by the Japanese during World War II.  “South Korea’s allergy toward the SDF is still strong, so there has not been much progress regarding concrete talks between the Japanese and South Korean governments,” a senior Defense Ministry official told The Yomiuri Shimbun.

The Japanese government must also figure out how to cope with the huge number of refugees expected to descend on Japan from the Korean Peninsula. They would need to be temporarily accommodated, but it also is possible that North Korean agents would slip into Japan with the intention of striking nuclear power plants, heavily populated areas and other targets. As the Shimbun adds, implementing immigration control procedures for those refugees would not be easy.

* * *

So in case airstrikes do begin, will Japan get involved on the offensive, in breach of its constitution, and a development that would in turn put both China and Russia on edge?

While in theory, the SDF is supposed to jointly respond with U.S. forces according to how a contingency on the Korean Peninsula would develop, however in practice a Japanese response would likely be limited: senior Defense Ministry official emphasized the difference made by the security legislation, which permit the limited exercise of the right of collective self-defense: “There has been progress regarding Japan-U.S. coordination for role sharing.”

The most realistic SDF activity would be logistics support for the U.S. military. The SDF is permitted to supply ammunition to U.S. forces and refuel ready-to-fly fighter jets, among other measures, in situations that do not constitute an armed attack but are recognized as having an important influence on Japan’s security and safety.

Still, as Shimbun notes, „in a situation that could result in Japan sustaining damage equal in seriousness to a direct attack, the government would recognize that the nation’s survival is under threat and permit the use of force by the SDF. Using the right of collective self-defense, it would become possible for the SDF to defend U.S. ships by counterattacking enemies that attacked them, based on the SDF mobilization order. The SDF could also conduct other operations, including minesweeping in the open sea to remove mines laid by North Korea.

Under such a situation, the government would simultaneously recognize that Japan is at imminent risk of coming under attack while likely starting preparations based on the Civil Protection Law, such as evacuating residents.

Ideally all of the above contingency scenarios never have to be implemented, and the threat of a US attack on North Korea remains just that, eventaully resulting in de-escalation instead of potentially unleashing another regional conflict and what some would saw „world war“ in addition to the similar development in the middle-east. Unfortunately, considering how long the neo-con warhawks had been „caged“ and prevented from profiting from an all out war, we doubt this optimistic scenario deserves much merit.

Korea 4

The following article by David Haggith was first published on The Great Recession Blog:

Kim Jong-un watches nuclear test
The Korean missile crisis has never been hotter. Trump is turning the screws on everyone to force action. China, Japan, and South Korea join in threatening Kim Jong-un with imminent war, but North Korea’s crackpot despot isn’t backing down.

Trump has dispatched war ships, including the USS Carl Vinson, to North Korea as North Korea continues to show signs that it is preparing to do another nuclear test on Saturday (known as ‘Day of the Sun,’ which celebrates the birth of the present dictator’s grandfather, who was North Korea’s founding president). Voice of America has reported that North Korea “has apparently placed a nuclear device in a tunnel, and it could be detonated Saturday AM Korea time.”

By that time (Friday in the US), I suppose, those American ships will all be in place to do whatever it is they’re going there to do — maybe blow up the facilities around the test site. A US aircraft (Air Force WC-135 Constant Phoenix ) commonly called a nuclear sniffer, used to monitor radiation after a nuclear blast, has been moved up to Japan. The US has two destroyers capable of launching Tomahawk cruise missiles positioned near North Korea’s nuclear test set, and it has heavy bombers in Guam, capable of attacking North Korea.

 

US pre-emptive strike against North Korea on the table

 

North Korean Missile TestsUS intelligence officials told NBC that the US may launch a pre-emptive strike against North Korea if they test another nuclear device. When asked about the NBC story, the Pentagon responded, “No comment.” North Korea, in response, has warned of a “merciless retaliatory attack” if the US takes such action and has said it will hit the US with a nuclear weapon if there are even signs of aggressive reaction from the US armada.  (It is not believed that North Korea has such a weapon … yet.)

A defiant North Korea has said it will do more tests, regardless of US threats, and that it “will not back down.” America’s UN ambassador under Obama already called the threat “extremely grave,” saying last fall that North Korea was more dangerous than ever and a threat to the entire world.

Now the US and South Korea have deployed thousands of troops in the area, and US troops have been practicing the assassination of North Korea’s crackpot tinpot dictator. North Korea confirms that it has no doubt that the US is threatening the life of its leader, and that the US, since the Obama days, has used its own nuclear bombers to push North Korea toward further development of its own nuclear arsenal.

After a recent missile test off of North Korea’s coast, Japan began conducting mass nuclear evacuation drills. In the last couple of weeks, Japan also installed anti-missile batteries around the country, and a report has been circulating that President Trump last week made the extraordinary post-WWII policy change of granting Japan permission to attack North Korea on its own volition so long as China is not already engaged in conflict with North Korea. Japan denies this report. So, this might have been talk to get China more engaged as China would prefer to keep Japan out of North Korea.

It has also been reported on several news sites this week that China has moved 150,000 troops into location along North Korea’s border and has even stated to North Korea it will go to war against it if North Korea attempts another nuclear test. Trump tweeted his confidence in China’s response, saying they would “properly deal with North Korea,” but adding that, “if they are unable to do so, the US, with its allies, will!” Trump also said that, when he met with China’s president, he told President Xi Jinping to remind North Korea that the United States has nuclear submarines.

China issued its own uncharacteristically blunt caution to all parties this week:

 

The United States and South Korea and North Korea are engaging in tit for tat, with swords drawn and bows bent, and there have been storm clouds gathering,”  China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, said in Beijing…. “No matter who it is, if they let war break out on the peninsula, they must shoulder that historical culpability and pay the corresponding price for this.”  (The New York Times)

 

Even the normally reticent South Korea has warned the north that it can expect significant punishment that it will find hard to recover from if it attempts another nuclear test or intercontinental ballistic missile test. So, North Korea’s days of getting away with nuclear tests that defy world conventions are clearly over, and I think the days of negotiation are also past. There will be no more tests without action.

 

North Korea gears up for war

 

 

Kim Jong-un watching submarine's test missile launch.

 

Suspecting trouble, North Korea partially evacuated its capital, Pyongyang, this week in order to reduce the population present to the number that can be accommodated in bomb shelters, and its Supreme Despot, Kim Jong-un (whose plopped-on hairstyle is only trumped by the Donald’s orange swirl), has told journalists to get ready for a big event. This event may have been the ribbon-citing ceremony Kim participated in this week with journalists present, as he showed off Pyongyang’s latest development, but the press is gathered for the upcoming Day of the Sun celebrations, and anticipates something much bigger at this event at which North Korea has in the past displayed missile tests or other evidence of military prowess. As he preps for whatever he’s prepping for and makes his various threats, Kim Jong-un is all smiles like a lunatic with something up his sleeve.

 

 

Kim Jong-un dances with soldiers as he celebrates a North Korean missile test. Everybody is happy.

 

 

All nations are on edge

 

Vice President Pence is scheduled to visit Seoul on Sunday, during his first Asian trip. The timing of his visit, after the Day of the Sun, might indicate the US does not plan any pre-emptive strike against North Korea on the Day of the Sun However, while Pence is ostensibly going to South Korea to talk with the government there about North Korea’s nuclear development, the White House has also said it has contingency plans for the VP’s visit, should North Korea carry out another nuclear test, indicating the possibility of a sudden shift to a war footing if Kim goes ahead with his apparent plans. Said a White House foreign policy adviser of Kim Jong-un,

 

He continues to develop this program, he continues to launch missiles into the Sea of Japan. With the regime it’s not a matter of if – it’s when. We are well prepared to counter that.

 

The Kremlin has reported that it is watching the developments around North Korea with great concern. According to the head of Russia’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachev,

 

The most alarming thing about the current U.S. administration is that you can’t be sure if it is bluffing or really going to implement its threats…. America objectively poses a greater threat to peace than North Korea…. The entire world is scared and left guessing if it strikes or not. (Associated Press)

 

Maybe that is Trump’s plan — to keep everyone off balance so no one feels safe with the status quo in order to push for real change. Plan or not, North Korea’s vice foreign minister says President Donald Trump is more “vicious and aggressive” than President Barack Obama was. You got that right.

 

We are comparing Trump’s policy toward the DPRK with the former administration’s and we have concluded that it’s becoming more vicious and more aggressive.

 

It takes one to know one: North Korea denounced Trump’s “maniacal military provocations.” But maybe that is exactly Trump’s strategy: convince North Korea that he is just as crazy as Kim Jong-un and just as likely to have a hair trigger in order to get the tubby Korean crackpot to back off a little. Convince the world with his recent attacks in other countries that he will act strongly and unpredictably in order to intentionally set everyone on edge.

 

Is the Trump edge shrewd and necessary strategy or a game of tit for tat?

 

Trump is turning the screws hard because, while China and the Kremlin are counseling the US toward further negotiation, decades of negotiation with North Korea, from Clinton on, have already gone nowhere. So, Trump’s recent military moves, including the advancement of this armada, may be intended to rapidly ramp up pressure on China and Russia to do more than talk endlessly about negotiation. That doesn’t mean Trump is bluffing, any more than his actions with Syria and Afghanistan were some kind of bluff. This is a rapid ramp up of real pressure, meaning real action will be taken if North Korea takes one more step toward nuclear armament.

 

“It’s high stakes,” a senior intelligence official directly involved in the planning told NBC News. “We are trying to communicate our level of concern and the existence of many military options to dissuade the North first. It’s a feat that we’ve never achieved before but there is a new sense of resolve here,” the official said, referring to the White House. (NBC News)

 

Trump’s sudden actions in Syria and Afghanistan this week were probably designed to make it clear to the North Korea, China and Russia that they cannot sit easily as they count on him to telegraph his plans to China and Russia. They cannot assume he will wait any longer for action on North Korea. Trump is making it abundantly clear everywhere that China and Russia have little time left to be of any further influence on the so-called Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. He is deliberately keeping all parties guessing about what he will actually do because a ticking time bomb is strong incentive for all parties to do everything they can to avert a conflict that will put them at risk.

While they urge negotiation and sanctions, China is also reluctant to go with sanctions and clearly needs a major push to get there even in the present pressured environment:

 

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said this week that the Trump administration should not expect China to risk instability in North Korea by going along with choking sanctions. China and North Korea are “neighbors with traditional friendly ties, including normal trade activities,” a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, Lu Kang, told reporters on Thursday. (The New York Times)

 

While Trump has been assessing tougher economic sanctions and pushing for them, I suspect his policy looks something like this: “We’ll apply sanction as soon as we can work them out with others, and we’ll engage in talks if North Korea shows signs of stopping its nuclear advancement, BUT we’ll never even get there if North Korea sends up another missile. We’ll simply shoot it out of the sky, and the second the DPRK detonates another nuclear bomb, we’re going to destroy those parts of the nuclear test site and of Korea’s nuclear development facilities to whatever extent they can be safely destroyed.”

(Obviously, we have to be careful that we don’t send a reactor into meltdown mode that could contaminate and kill friends in the region or harm the earth generally. You cannot just knock out its control room without creating your own bomb right beside South Korea, which could also drift contamination over Japan, Russia or China. Those countries may be more concerned about that kind of literal fallout than they are about Kim Jong-un’s retaliation. Japan has also expressed concern that Kim might respond with chemical-tipped missiles, aimed at Japan.)

 

Kim Jong-un sits alone

Personally, I think getting North Korea’s insane leader out of the way could be a big win for Trump. It’s the only situation I see where regime change actually does make sense because Kim is clearly both evil and insane enough to use whatever he has at his disposal. Unlike Assad or Qadaffi or Hussein, Kim directly threatens the US as often and as directly as he can. So, why would we wait until he has whatever he needs at his disposal? If someone is holding a gun to your head while you’ve got one aimed at theirs, do you wait until they start to pull the trigger before you pull yours?

 

CNN, however, can only wring its hands

 

After stating that “four-year-old” Trump doesn’t have the attention span it takes to fulfill his campaign statement that he might be able to “talk ’em out of those damn nukes,” CNN can only wring its hands and say,

 

The price of war is too high to bear, and the time for pre-emption passed on October 9, 2006, when Pyongyang said it conducted its first nuclear test. Doing nothing has only resulted in continued military development and aggression from North Korea. (CNN)

 

That’s a silly statement and is the kind of writhing in the wind that has gotten us where we are. The price of waiting for North Korea to get a nuclear missile is even higher, and pre-emption hasn’t passed if the US can take out North Korea’s nuclear arms before North Korea is capable of moving them to the US. If doing nothing has resulted in further military development by North Korea, and attempts at negotiation by Bill Clinton (before he gave up on that path) and talk by Obama did nothing to slow North Korea down, what option is left, other than an attack aimed at disarming them?

If you want real action here, you’re going to have to apply real pressure, which means real risks because no one in North Korea is listening to all the vain threats. So, Trump may be doing this to push things into action, but it clearly won’t work (because it hasn’t) if the threat isn’t completely real. Trump is saying, “We are past threats. It’s crunch time. Cease and desist immediately, or immediate action will be taken.”

If cease and desist works this weekend, talks will have a little time to proceed along with sanctions. If it doesn’t, there won’t be any further need for talks.

Korea 3

While preparations for North Korea’s celebration of the „Day of the Sun“ have already started early on Saturday morning local time, appropriately enough under a light rain

… with North Koreans placing flower baskets and bouquets below portraits of founder president Kim Il Sung on Friday, showing little sign of concern despite fears the reclusive nation may conduct a nuclear test and the United States would retaliate, the state news agency KCNA kept tensions high after it quoted North Korea’s General Staff, who warned that the country would strike military bases in Japan and South Korea, as well as the South Korean president’s residence in Seoul, if America engages in aggression – preemptive or otherwise – against Pyongyang.

The following map courtesy of @CT_operative shows the effective strike range of North Korean weapons should it retaliate.

As Reuters reported earlier, North Korea’s military promised to “ruthlessly ravage” the US if the American aircraft carrier group that is currently on its way to the region takes aggressive action.

“Our toughest counteraction against the US and its vassal forces will be taken in such a merciless manner as not to allow the aggressors to survive,” a statement from the military said.

“The Trump administration, which made a surprise guided cruise-missile strike on Syria on April 6, has entered the path of open threat and blackmail,” the statement added.

The General Staff also noted that US military bases in the Pacific, Guam, the island of Okinawa, which hosts the bulk of US troops in Japan, as well as the US mainland, are all within reach of North Korea’s strategic missiles.

Earlier on Friday, South Korea warned North Korea against engaging in any “provocation,” such as a nuclear or missile test, to mark the ‘Day of the Sun’, the 105th anniversary of the birth of North Korea’s state founder Kim Il Sung, which the country will celebrate on Saturday. The speculations were fueled further when Pyongyang invited 200 foreign journalists from various media outlets, including CNN, AP, and Japan’s NHK, for “a big and important event.”

Also on Friday, China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, warned that tensions between the US and North Korea had escalated to such a point that “a military conflict may start at any moment.”

“Lately, tensions have risen,” Wang said, adding “if a war occurs, the result is a situation in which everybody loses and there can be no winner.” The Chinese FM called for the crisis to be solved through diplomacy, adding that if one of the sides provokes a conflict, it “will have to accept historic responsibility and pay the relevant price.”

As discussed here on Thursday night, NBC reported that that two American destroyers armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles are positioned some 480 kilometers from North Korea’s nuclear test site. America is contemplating a preemptive strike if it becomes “convinced” that a nuclear detonation by the North is imminent, multiple senior US intelligence officials told NBC News. It was not clear what signs the US would be looking for.

On Thursday, Trump said North Korea is a problem that “will be taken care of,” while expressing hope that China will “work very hard” to help Washington in solving it. The tensions on the Korean Peninsula were extensively discussed during the US leader’s talks with visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping last week.

* * *

So what happens next? At this moment, all eyes are on Pyongyang and whether Kim Jong-Un will unleash the nuclear test many believe is coming, escalating the North Korean crisis to its next stage.

Korea 1

China Warns North Korea War „Could Break Out At Any Moment“

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“North Korea is a problem,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday. “The problem will be taken care of.”

Which prompted North Korea’s rebuke of US President Trump’s „aggressive words,“ overnight.

http://launch.newsinc.com/?type=VideoPlayer/Single&widgetId=1&trackingGroup=69016&playlistId=19132&siteSection=90121_dynamic_one2many&videoId=32265899

Both China (“The situation now is similar to the time before a storm, and this kind of dangerous situation worth of our attention and we must be alert,”) and Russia (watching the developments around North Korea with „great concern“) have weighed in on the increasingly tense saber-rattling occurring between the two nations.

As Bloomberg reports, China warned that a war on the Korean Peninsula would have devastating consequences and „one has the feeling that a war could break out at any moment.“

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged all parties “to stop provoking and threatening each other and not to make the situation irretrievable,“ seemingly fearful that the next step could make war (world-inclusive) inevitable.

 

“No matter who the nation is, if it continues to provoke wars in the Peninsula, it has to bear this historical responsibility and pay its price.”

 

“Once a war really happens, the result will be nothing but losing all round and no one could become a winner,” Wang told reporters in Beijing on Friday, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

These concerns were echoed by a senior Russian lawmaker who, as AP reports, says the US is a greater threat to global peace than North Korea…

Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the upper house of Russian parliament, said Friday „the most alarming thing about the current U.S. administration is that you can’t be sure if it is bluffing or really going to implement its threats.“

 

He says „America objectively poses a greater threat to peace than North Korea,“ adding that „the entire world is scared and left guessing if it strikes or not.“

 

Kosachev says there is a „small hope“ that President Donald Trump’s administration would listen to warnings from Russia and China not to use military force against nuclear-armed Pyongyang.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence heads to Asia on a 10-day trip that will include South Korea. Pence plans to celebrate Easter with U.S. and Korean troops on Sunday before talks on Monday with acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn.

„We’re going to consult with the Republic of Korea on North Korea’s efforts to advance its ballistic missile and its nuclear program,“ a White House foreign policy adviser told reporters, previewing Pence’s trip. Pence will land in Seoul the day after North Korea’s biggest national day, the „Day of the Sun.“

 

The White House has contingency plans for Pence’s trip should it coincide with a another North Korean nuclear test by its leader Kim Jong Un, the adviser said. „Unfortunately, it’s not a new surprise for us. He continues to develop this program, he continues to launch missiles into the Sea of Japan,“ the adviser said.

 

„With the regime it’s not a matter of if – it’s when. We are well prepared to counter that,“ the adviser said.

But, with Trump’s pre-emptive strike looming Damocles sword-like overhead, the world is watching North Korea as speculation mounts that Kim Jong Un’s regime will carry out a ballistic missile or nuclear test this weekend to mark the 105th birth anniversary of his grandfather Kim Il Sung, the nation’s founder, on Saturday.