Saturday, August 12, 2017

Today's links

The dog barks, the caravan moves on. Russian proverb 

1--Xi Jinping in phone call to Trump: calm down on North Korea

Xi stressed that China and the United States have common interests in achieving denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and maintaining peace and stability there.
The concerned parities should strive to resolve the issue through dialogue and negotiation to reach a political solution, Xi said.

2--Why Does North Korea Want Nukes? Paul Atwood

.... It should be noted that American forces played no role in the liberation of Korea from Japanese rule. However, because the Soviets, as allies of the U.S., wished to remain on friendly terms they agreed to the division of Korea between Soviet and American forces. The young Dean Rusk, later to become Secretary of State under Kennedy and Johnson, arbitrarily drew a line of division across the 38th Parallel because, as he said, that would leave the capital city, Seoul, in the American zone.

Written reports at the time criticized Washington for “allowing” the Red Army into Korea but the fact was it was the other way around. The Soviets could easily have occupied the entirety of Korea but chose not to do so, instead opting for a negotiated settlement with the U.S. over the future of Korea. Theoretically the peninsula would be reunited after some agreement between the two victors at some future date.

However, the U.S. immediately began to favor those Koreans who had collaborated with the Japanese in the exploitation of their own country and its people, largely the landed elites, and Washington began to arm the provisional government it set up to root out the peoples’ committees. For their part the Soviets supported the communist nationalist leader, Kim Il-Sung who had led the guerrilla army against Japan at great cost in lives.


4-- Defense Secretary “Mad Dog” Mattis visits Google and Amazon

On Thursday, Mattis met with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at the tech giant’s headquarters in Seattle.
On Friday, he spoke at the headquarters of Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUX), a Defense Department unit located two miles from the Google campus in Mountain View, California. Among the unit’s advisors is Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

Mattis said the Pentagon’s partnership with Silicon Valley via DIUX would make the US military “more lethal and more effective” than ever before. DIUX awards military technology contracts to US hi-tech firms.
The operation has already awarded more than $100 million in contracts for 45 pilot projects in areas such as artificial intelligence, autonomous machines and outer space. Its web page encourages technology firms to “tap into a $100+ billion market.”

During his visit, Mattis proclaimed, “We’ll get better at integrating AI advances out here into the US military” as a result of the unit, which he said would “grow in influence and impact” on the military. Among the projects rolled out by DIUX, according to Bloomberg News, is a system to coordinate air strikes against targets “such as fleeing vehicles.”

Following his prepared remarks, Mattis added that the US military was “ready” with “military options” against North Korea.

Even more important to the Pentagon than the utility of the tech giants in waging war abroad is the use of their communication infrastructure to shape public opinion and block the expression of antiwar and oppositional sentiment. A major player in this sphere is a thinktank called Jigsaw, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet. Jigsaw is headed by Jared Cohen, a former State Department advisor to both Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton.

Jigsaw’s most prominent project is a web commenting censorship system called “Perspective API,” which it calls “a new tool for web publishers to identify toxic comments that can undermine a civil exchange of ideas.”...

Developed in cooperation with major US newspapers, Jigsaw has already been implemented to flag comments for deletion in the New York Times comments section. This week, WikiLeaks noted that a comment containing the language “The CIA armed Islamists in Syria, killing thousands” would be flagged as 66 percent “toxic” by Perspective API. A comment declaring that “the US government is wonderful” is labeled zero percent “toxic,” while “the US government is corrupt” is flagged as 71 percent “toxic.”

In a study titled “Social media, the vital ground: Can we hold it?” published in April, the Army War College noted, “The impact of social media on the media environment has been widely recognized, as has the ability of extremist and adversarial organizations to exploit the media to publicize their cause, spread their propaganda, and recruit vulnerable individuals.”

It went on to conclude that “Social media will increasingly have a direct impact on virtually all aspects of military operations in the 21st century,” and that the military had to expand its control over social media, “in particular, its use in deception and Psychological Operations (PSYOPS).”
Control over online communication will become increasingly significant amid what one Defense Department report published last month warned was an “increasing chasm between governments and their governed over the basic right to rule.”

That report concluded, “Today, all states are experiencing a precipitous decline in their authority, influence, reach and common attraction,” as populations are presented with “myriad alternative sources of political alignment or allegiance.”

Yet another report, published last year, warned that growing international antagonisms were leading to an intensifying crisis of “social order.”

It concluded that states “now all wrestle with one another over competing interests while standing on quicksand—threatened” not only by national rivals, but by “the fragile and restive social order they themselves rest on.”

5-- Hillary explains our N Korea policy

6--Hair-Trigger Korean-U.S. Situation

7--DNC Makes Unbelievably Feeble Response To Latest Russiagate Debunking Evidence

8--A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack

9-- Will Tough New U.N. Sanctions Work Against North Korean Regime?

(Sanctions aimed at innocent civilians) 
BILL RICHARDSON: Thank you, Rachel - nice to be with you.
MARTIN: How are these new sanctions that much tougher than what the international community has tried over and over again?

RICHARDSON: Well, they affect 90 percent of North Korea's economy. It's a small economy. They embark on cutting off of coal, foodstuffs, a lot of North Korean foreign workers that make money through energy. These sanctions have bite. I have to give the administration credit. And most credit I think has to be the ability to get the sanctions passed in the U.N. Security Council without a veto from China and Russia, especially China.

MARTIN: And I want to talk about China in a minute. But you just noted something. These sanctions are going to target coal and foodstuffs. Doesn't that mean that the people who are going to feel the effects of these sanctions most are just going to be a regular North Koreans, not necessarily the ruling class?

RICHARDSON: Yes, it's going to affect the North Korean people. I've been there eight times. They're in very bad shape economically. Many are starving. But I think what was not passed in terms of the sanctions was oil. I think that may be the next step. These are very, very tough sanctions.

10-- BREAKING: China says it will defend North Korea in event of US invasion

China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten US soil first and the US retaliates, China will stay neutral. If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so....

Now what the latest US threats have managed to do is make China give its first public hint of a Chinese security guarantee to North Korea, with a public statement that in the event of a US attempt to overthrow Kim Jong-un by force China will come to his defence.
This comes with a statement that China sees the survival of North Korea as a Chinese national interest.

11-- US imperialism and the threat of nuclear war against North Korea

The current crisis is the outcome of a policy of naked aggression pursued by US imperialism for the past quarter-century in the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and the Balkans. In the wake of the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, which had acted as an impediment to Washington’s global ambitions, the Pentagon drafted defence guidelines stating that the fundamental US strategy must “focus on precluding the emergence of any potential future global competitor.”

The doctrine of “pre-emptive war” now being invoked by Trump and his advisers to justify an attack, even a nuclear strike, on North Korea was first enunciated by President George W. Bush as the pretext for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. President Barack Obama expanded the Bush doctrine to declare any threat to American “values and interests” sufficient cause for the US to militarily attack another country. This new doctrine is a gross violation of international law. Waging a war of aggression was the chief crime for which the Nazi leaders were charged and convicted at the Nuremberg trials after World War II....

Behind this barrage of propaganda, what is the fundamental character of this looming war? It is a conflict between the world’s most heavily armed imperialist power and an oppressed and impoverished country, whose social and political character is the product of relentless colonialist and imperialist oppression throughout the twentieth century.

After more than forty years of brutal colonial rule by Japan, the US installed a military dictatorship in Seoul and waged a near-genocidal war in the early 1950s to preserve the artificial division of the Korean Peninsula into North and South. Since the end of the war, North Korea has been subjected to a US-led economic blockade, accompanied by repeated provocations and military threats.

The chief target of the Trump administration’s threats of war is not North Korea, but China, which the US regards as the principal obstacle to its regional and global dominance. The US military build-up throughout the Asia Pacific did not begin with the fascistic billionaire Trump, but is a continuation of the “pivot to Asia” developed by the Obama administration. In handing this geo-strategic initiative over to Trump, Obama identified North Korea as the chief military challenge facing the new administration and advised that the North Korean “threat” be used as the pretext for ratcheting up the US confrontation with China.

12--The CIA's grip on journalism

13-- BREAKING: Trump tells French President he’s ready for war and other measures against N. Korea

14--The world on the brink

The threat of nuclear war is not simply the product of a fascistic madman in the White House, but arises out of immense geo-political tensions fueled by the deep economic crisis of American and global capitalism. Trump has the backing of powerful sections of the military and political elites in Washington who have been pressing for the US to challenge and if necessary go to war with China, regarded as the chief obstacle to American global dominance.

The present crisis is the outcome of the political climate prepared by a quarter-century of continuous wars by US imperialism in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, as Washington sought to use its military might to overcome its historic economic decline. It has become a virtual article of faith in American ruling circles that all of their problems on the international arena can be resolved through military action.

The ground was prepared for war against North Korea by the Obama administration, which, as part of its “pivot to Asia” against China, authorised a huge military build-up throughout the Indo-Pacific. The US military has now stationed its most advanced weaponry in Asia, along with 60 percent of its air and naval forces, and secured new basing agreements throughout the region.

The Pentagon could immediately call on more than 28,000 Air Force, naval, Marine and Special Operations personnel based in South Korea as well as many more forces from its bases in Japan and Guam. Moreover, in the event of a war with North Korea, the US would assume operational control of the South Korean military, with its 625,000 personnel and 3,100,000 reservists

15--  “‘I know who leaked them,” Murray said recently. “I’ve met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian and it’s an insider. It’s a leak, not a hack; the two are different things.”

16-- Unmasking Samantha Power-- We still don’t know why Obama officials needed to know the names of so many Trump officials

Of all the Russia storms raging around Donald Trump —the Christopher Steele dossier, the email to Don Jr. promising dirt on Hillary Clinton —there is still only one clear felony we know about: the leaking of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s name after someone had identified him from a classified intelligence report. Funny how this is a scandal no one seems interested in

17-- How to Resolve the North Korea Crisis-- An understanding between the U.S. and Beijing is the essential prerequisite. Tokyo and Seoul also have key roles to play

18--The day the world changed’: Ten years on from global financial crisis experts warn it could happen again

By August 9, respected French bank BNP Paribas had frozen $2.55 billion worth of funds citing an “evaporation of liquidity”. Former Northern Rock boss Adam Applegarth called it “the day the world changed” after the European Central Bank and US Federal Reserve injected $113 billion into financial markets and it proved not enough to calm panicked investors.

One month later, Northern Rock suffered its first run on the bank in 150 years as customers queued to get their money out. By September the next year, Lehmann Brothers had declared bankruptcy marking the start of the full blown crisis that would spread throughout the economy.
At the time, Stenfors said he “couldn’t see the world was going under” and was simply worried about his current trading position. Two years later he was left exhausted after years of waking up to early morning phone calls and suffering from RSI after intense computer training.

19--A decade after the financial crisis, the world is still hooked on the debt that caused it

20--- The stock market is rigged

Steve Kroft: What’s the headline here?
Michael Lewis: Stock market’s rigged. The United States stock market, the most iconic market in global capitalism is rigged.
Steve Kroft: By whom?
Michael Lewis: By a combination of these stock exchanges, the big Wall Street banks and high-frequency traders.
Steve Kroft: Who are the victims?
Michael Lewis: Everybody who has an investment in the stock market.

21--  On the 10th anniversary of the global financial meltdown, here's what's changed

22-- How Capitalist Central Banks Have Been Creating the Next Financial Crisis, Jack Rasmus

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