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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

War For Survival

Armed Refugees,

Syrian War update from Moon of Alabama, the soon-to-be-retired French Colonel's assessment:
For now everyone waits for the U.S. to retreat from northeast Syria as Trump has ordered. Idleb will only be attacked when that proceeded.
The Islamic State as a territory holding entity is finished. It will continue to exist for some time as an underground terrorist movement in Syria and Iraq and as a brand that local groups elsewhere will use for their misdeeds.
Since the end of last week the last holdout of ISIS is down to a few thousand square meters. The U.S. is now again negotiating with the terrorists instead of finishing them off:
More than 300 Islamic State militants surrounded in a tiny area in eastern Syria are refusing to surrender to U.S.-backed Syrian forces and are trying to negotiate an exit, Syrian activists and a person close to the negotiations said Monday.
The DeirEzzor 24, an activist collective in eastern Syria, said several trucks loaded with food stuff entered IS-held areas in Baghouz in Deir el-Zour on Monday morning. The group also reported that ISIS released 10 SDF fighters Sunday without saying whether the supplies of the food stuff were in return for the release.
DeirEzzor 24 said that the truce reached between ISIS and the SDF last week has been extended for five more days as of Sunday.
A French colonel who led an artillery group in the fight against ISIS criticized the U.S. way of fighting that war:
Colonel Francois-Regis Legrier, who has been in charge of directing French artillery supporting Kurdish-led groups in Syria since October, said the coalition's focus had been on limiting its own risks and this had greatly increased the death toll among civilians and the levels of destruction.
"Yes, the Battle of Hajin was won, at least on the ground but by refusing ground engagement, we unnecessarily prolonged the conflict and thus contributed to increasing the number of casualties in the population," Mr Legrier wrote in an article in the National Defence Review.
"We have massively destroyed the infrastructure and given the population a disgusting image of what may be a Western-style liberation leaving behind the seeds of an imminent resurgence of a new adversary," he said, in rare public criticism by a serving officer.

MUNICH — Vice President Mike Pence repeated warnings to Turkey not to proceed with the purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system, a day after Turkey dismissed the first of two deadlines to cease with the planned sale.
Pence, speaking at the Munich Security Conference, told attendees “we will not stand idly by while NATO allies purchase weapons from our adversaries. We cannot ensure the defense of the West if our allies grow dependent on the East.
"The U.S. had set a Feb. 15 deadline for Turkey to respond and signal their intentions to cease with the sale, a U.S. official told Military Times. If Turkey refuses, a forthcoming sale of a Patriot missile defense system from the U.S. will be halted.
“We have been clear with Turkey,” the U.S. official said. “The will not receive the Patriot if they purchase the S-400."​ 
(Erdogan shakes in fear!)​

In his first major public address since the US formally pulled out of the INF arms-control treaty, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Wednesday that Russia would point its new arsenal of hypersonic missiles - which can purportedly bypass NATO's ABM systems - directly at the US if it dares to reintroduce ground-based intermediate-range missiles to Europe...
 Though Russia won't deploy weapons preemptively, Putin said that if the US does place weapons in Europe, Russia will deliver an "asymmetric" response and target not only the host countries of those weapons, but "decision-making center" in the US (presumably Washington).
Still, Putin said he's hoping the US and Russia can work out their differences.
"We don't want confrontation, particularly with such a global power as the US."

​At least the Empire is winning the Trade-War...​
Chinese state-run newspaper the Global Times warned - or perhaps threatened - late Tuesday that failed trade negotiations would have dire consequences for global stocks.  
The threat of a market catastrophe has pigeonholed the US into striking a deal with Beijing, the report suggests although many are confident that the situation is flipped...
Why China's implicit threat? Perhaps because, as Shard's Bill Blain noted earlier today, at least in the context of its economy, China is already losing the trade war, and therefore has little to lose by escalating the war of words. This is what Blain said overnight:
The recent data highlights the Chinese economy may be slowing faster than XI can maintain his grip – he’s weaker than ever before. (Raising one scenario threat of a long-drawn out period of uncertainty if he is marginalised/deposed and a power struggle follows. That could be very destabilising and disruptive for the Occidental economies desperate to sell the China!)
We reckon XI knows he’s out of time and has to settle – handing Trump a critical victory. Long-term the US-China tech-war is difficult to call. Trump is determined to garner payback for China IP theft, and its difficult to imagine the rest of Asia adopting Chinese tech systems if they lose the current trade war to the US. However, you can’t just undo years of China tech development. My techy contacts tell me Huawai’s boasts about the US’ inability to close them is partial bluff and bluster – it’s not as advanced or robust as it claims, plus the US is going to insist on wrecking it – which could prove another long-term friction point.

​War of the Worlds... A lot has happened on this field of battle since this prescient October 2018 article was penned.
Today America is locked in a struggle for high-tech supremacy with China. The battlefields range from lasers, hypersonic weaponry, and advanced unmanned systems for the military, to artificial intelligence, robotics, quantum computers and even driverless cars in the civilian sector. One is transparently clear: whoever wins this struggle will become the dominant superpower in the 21st century; and one of the most decisive contests will be over 5G wireless.
Fifth-generation or 5G technology is much more than the future of global telecommunications, offering more bandwidth than anyone ever imagined (think of downloading entire movies in a few seconds) and enough to make the Internet of Things a daily reality. The rollout of 5G also demands billions of dollars to install the fiber-optic networks needed for these high-capacity systems, and billions more to operate them. Which companies and which countries design and invest in this new infrastructure, will have a hefty say in not only how 5-G transmits information, but also how others are to access the system.

​5G is a poisoned chalice. These frequencies are weaponized by the US military to beam at crowds, making them flee in pain.​ 
Samsung and telecom company Verizon made a joint announcement on Monday that was supposed to be unequivocally exciting news: the blazing-fast fifth generation wireless cellular network — known as 5G — is slated to be more accessible in the United States in the first half of next year (2019).
Yet public health experts, professors, and watchdog groups are increasingly concerned about the untested aspects that this next-gen cell network requires — including more cell towers and a constant chorus of higher-energy photons streaming through human bodies and dwellings.
https://www.salon.com/2018/12/03/why-public-health-experts-are-worried-about-5g-the-next-generation-of-cell-network/

​Charles Hugh Smith:
Those who are betting on Central Planning do not understand the essential role of adaptation.
The global economy is in the midst of a grand experiment pitting centralization (Central Planning) against the evolutionary model of adaptive, self-organizing networks. Centralization is the dominant dynamic of the Status Quo everywhere: the economies of China, Japan, Europe and the U.S. are all dominated by Central Planning: central banks, central state agencies, and Deep State / private sector nodes of wealth and power that pull the systemic strings.
Central Planning--the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of the few--is presented as the "solution": in China, the "solution" is a Total Information Awareness Social Credit Score system of centralized control of the populace...
That which is rigid and inflexible cannot adapt to rapid change, and thus it fails to adapt and vanishes from the Earth. That is the essence of evolutionary dynamics...
 Central Planning strips out the all the core dynamics of adaptation as dangers:dissent, experimentation, decentralization of power and capital, and a diversity of competing narratives. These are all mortal threats to Central Planning, which is by its nature rigidly hierarchical...
Adaptation can't be faked. Organizations that cannot adapt quickly and efficiently implode. This is a scale-invariant dynamic: the organizational size doesn't matter. Size and scale do not provide magical protection. Households, corporations, governments and empires that fail to adapt will collapse.
There is a real solution: decentralize, diversify, open the economy and society to dissent, experimentation and self-organizing networks of peers. Rapid adaptation requires radical decentralization, autonomy, transparency, flexibility and experimentation.

​Target Venezuela (Hey, Brazil, too!):
The real prize that these powerful international oil giants are eyeing likely lies well to the east of the Orinoco heavy oil fields where they now operate. The real prize is the ultimate control over one of the best-kept secrets in the oil industry, the huge oil reserves of a disputed area straddling Venezuela, Guyana and Brazil. The region is called Guayana Esequiba. Some geologists believe the Esequiba region and its offshore could contain the world’s largest reserves of oil, oil of far better quality that the heavy Orinoco crude of Venezuela. The problem is that owing to the decades-long dispute between Venezuela and Guyana the true extent of that oil is not yet known.

HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba denied on Tuesday it has security forces in Venezuela and charged the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign of lies paving the way for military intervention in the South American country.  

​Venezuelan military moves to defend all borders. "Over our dead bodies!"​
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-02-20/trump-warns-no-way-out-maduro-deploys-military-borders-block-aid

Death Of Sailor In Iconic VJ-Day Photo Reminds Americans Of Halcyon Days When Wars Still Ended

​Helen of DesTroy (unattributed) wrote this fun piece for RT:
The boy who became the face of “white privilege” when an edited video of his confrontation with an indigenous protester went viral is suing the Washington Post for defamation, asking for its entire value in a 2013 sale as damages...
The suit claims the Post “wrongly targeted and bullied” the high schooler in order to “advance its well-known and easily documented, biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump” because Sandmann is white and wore the red Make America Great Again hat that has become an iconic symbol among the president’s fans – and his detractors.
By implying that Sandmann “engaged in acts of racism by ‘swarming’ Phillips, ‘blocking’ his exit away from the students, and otherwise engaging in racist misconduct,” the Post “fanned the flames of the social media mob into a mainstream media frenzy,” compounding the threats and bullying directed at the teen, while its failure to fact-check – the unedited video was freely available at the time of publication – confirms its “utter and knowing disregard for the truth.”


​That's not a bug, it's Charles De Gaulle's designed-in feature of the 5th Republic.​
Outside France, many economists tend to ascribe the yellow vest movement to the fact that the French are rebellious and that France is politically unmanageable. But what is special about France is not its people but its institutional system, which differs vastly from those of other European​ ​countries. Three dimensions seem to me particularly relevant in the current context.
The first concerns the political system. Under the current constitution, power is far more personalised than elsewhere. France is not a parliamentary democracy like Britain or Germany. Sure, all three have a lower and an upper chamber, but political parties play a fundamentally different role in France.
There, the dominant party is a creation of the president Рlike the RPR was a creation of Jacques Chirac, the Socialist party was created by Fran̤ois Mitterrand, and La R̩publique en Marche is the creation of Emmanuel Macron, around whom the party entirely revolves...
The second French peculiarity concerns the role of intermediate institutions, and in particular labour unions. Among the large European countries, France is where the rate of union membership is the lowest. In 2015, it was 36% in Italy, 25% in Britain, 18% in Germany, 14% in Spain, 12% in Poland and barely 8% in France. And the current practice further weakens the role of labour unions in the management of social conflicts.
The third concerns the organisation of the country’s territory. Metropolitan France is the largest country of the European Union by land mass, with 550,000 km2, compared with 499,000 km2 in Spain, 349,000 km2 in Germany, 304,000 km2 in Poland, 294,000 km2 in Italy and 242,000 km2 in Britain. Among these six countries, France is also the one (just behind Spain) with the lowest population density, with 119 inhabitants per square kilometre against 236 in Germany and 275 in Britain.
Despite this situation, France is the most centralised of the six biggest EU countries. According to the OECD, the share of sub-national entities in total public expenditure is only 20% in France against 50% in Spain, 47% in Germany, 32% in Poland, 30% in Italy and 26% in Britain.
The conclusion is incontestable. France is the European country where there is the most rebellion against its leader, because his power is the most personalised and the most centralised among the six big EU countries.
The personalisation of power, the weakness of Parliament – with a dominant party dominated by a single person – and the weak role of intermediate bodies like labour unions all combine to create a situation where citizens have no recourse to make their voice heard other than taking to the streets and demanding the resignation of the president.

​Like the old days...​
The Ten Years for Agroecology study shows that agroecological and organic farming can feed Europe a healthy diet, while responding to climate change, phasing out pesticides, and maintaining vital biodiversity.
The study suggests that agroecology – using ecological principles first and chemicals last in agriculture – presents a credible way of feeding Europe by 2050. But it says action is needed now, with the next 10 years critical in engaging Europe in the transition. The agriculture bill now going through parliament in the UK makes no mention of agroecology, although an amendment drafted by a cross-party group of MPs proposed that farmers using the approach should receive some sort of payment.
“The idea of an entirely agroecological Europe is often considered unrealistic in terms of food security because agroecology sometimes means lower yields,” said Percival. “But this new research shows that by refocusing diets around plant-based proteins and pasture-fed livestock, a fully agroecological Europe is possible.”

​"Inconceivable!"​
Replenishing the world’s forests on a grand scale would suck enough carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to cancel out a decade of human emissions, according to an ambitious new study.
Scientists have established there is room for an additional 1.2 trillion trees to grow in parks, woods and abandoned land across the planet.
If such a goal were accomplished, ecologist Dr Thomas Crowther said it would outstrip every other method for tackling climate change – from building wind turbines to vegetarian diets.

​Sequestering Carbon​

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