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Global Proxy War Escalates: "Destabilizing Operation" Sends Bolivia Into Political Chaos

Authored by Michael Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,



Two days before Bolivian president Evo Morales was pushed out by the country’s military, Mark Weisbot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research penned a warning about what was happening, and what might unfold, in a Nation article titled, The Trump Administration

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Is Undercutting Democracy in Bolivia.



He noted:




Multilateral organizations like the Organization of American States (OAS) have a certain perceived impartiality because they are, in theory, controlled by a diverse group of nations. But sometimes a great power can wield a disproportionate influence. It could theoretically be a coincidence that both the Trump administration and the OAS have tried—without offering any evidence—to discredit Bolivia’s national election in the past couple of weeks. But it’s more likely that this dangerous, ugly, and destabilizing operation is being pushed by Washington.






This “destabilizing operation” came to a head yesterday when Morales resigned under pressure from the military amidst a wave of protests and violence. The situation is Bolivia is complicated, but one thing you can be sure of is anything you hear or read in U.S. mass media will be a heaping pile of lies and propaganda. Fortunately, I came across a really helpful thread courtesy of Kevin Cashman.




Morales was barred by the constitution from running for another term, but he attempted to override this with a referendum which he lost 51% to 49%. The Bolivian Supreme Court later ruled that term limits were unconstitutional, so he decided to run again. He then won this new election in the first round by the 10% spread required, but the Organization of American States (OAS) immediately called into question the validity of the result. This sparked weeks of protests and culminated in yesterday’s military coup. According to Mark Weisbot, the OAS has provided zero evidence of election fraud, and also notes that approximately 60% of the OAS budget comes from the U.S. government.



Personally, I think Morales should’ve accepted the referendum result and stepped aside, but the military deciding the situation (with likely assistance from the U.S. government/CIA) is not something anyone should cheer on.





It seems likely what went down in Bolivia is part of the global proxy war the Trump administration is waging against countries like China and Russia in order to push back against the ongoing transition to a multi-polar geopolitical world. Natural resources always play a key role in such struggles, and Bolivia is no exception thanks to massive lithium reserves, some of which Morales agreed to develop with China earlier this year.



As Reuters reported back in February:




Bolivia has chosen a Chinese consortium to be its strategic partner on new $2.3 billion lithium projects, the government said on Wednesday, giving China a potential foothold in the country’s huge untapped reserves of the prized electric battery metal.



China’s Xinjiang TBEA Group Co Ltd will hold a 49 percent stake in a planned joint venture with Bolivia’s state lithium company YLB, the Bolivian firm said…



Bolivia has some of the world’s largest reserves of lithium – a key component in batteries that power electric cars – but has yet to produce the metal at a commercial scale.




It’s going to be very interesting to watch how things unfold in Bolivia from here. Although Morales lost the referendum to run for another term, my guess is a lot of those who voted against him at the time aren’t pleased with the military coming in to handle the situation. Although it’s not often highlighted in U.S. mass media, Morales achieved a great deal of success economically and socially during his presidency.



For instance, poverty plummeted dramatically:





Then there’s this.





Whether you love him, hate him, or feel indifference, there’s no denying Morales did a lot for many Bolivians who probably won’t take too kindly to what’s being done to him and his supporters by the opposition and military. Let’s not forget he was also the first indigenous president of Bolivia, a country with the largest proportion of indigenous people in Latin America. This story is far from over.



Bigger picture, the escalation in Bolivia is further evidence of the ongoing trend of political chaos around the world, which is likely get worse and spread to ever more corners of the globe. I continue to believe this unrest is largely symptomatic of the death throes of a dying geopolitical and financial paradigm that’s dominated the world for decades. Keep your seatbelts fastened; things can change, and change very quickly irrespective of where you reside. Such are the times we live in.



*  *  *



Liberty Blitzkrieg is now 100% ad free. To make this a successful, sustainable thing consider the following options. You can become a Patron. You can visit the Support Page to donate via PayPal, Bitcoin or send cash/check in the mail.




Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 23:45


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by Richard Enos

It’s not clear whether Facebook was truly conceived by an innocent genius with noble intent, but one fact has become abundantly clear: Facebook is now a mouthpiece and tool for the proliferation of mainstream perception.

This is specifically designed to enrich the global elite and continue to disenfranchise ordinary citizens and any attempts to bring important truths to light that would threaten the elite. And, of course, Mark Zuckerberg is now a ‘junior partner’ in this global elite.

The episode of the Jimmy Dore show found in the video below, which is wo
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rth watching to get the full context of the discussion, introduces whistleblower Vikram Kumar, a former promoter of third-party videos on Facebook. Dore brings interesting insights into Facebook’s latest strategies in terms of controlling the news commentary.


Read Entire Article »
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<p>Jamie Heinemeier Hansson speaks out about her experience on the receiving end of a black box algorithm, which deemed that her husband, tech entrepreneur David Heinemeier Hansson, was worthy of a credit limit 20 times hers. </p><br /><p><em>On November 7, tech entrepreneur and Ruby on Rails creator David Heinemeier Hansson shared a disturbing story on Twitter, alleging that the Apple Card was discriminating against his wife. Both he and his wife Jamie Heinemeier Hansson applied for the Apple Card, but he received a credit limit that was 20 times what she was giv
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en&#x2014;even though the couple files joint tax returns and she has a higher credit score than he. </em></p><p>Read Full Story</p><div class="feedflare"><br /> <br /></div>
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Will Julian Assange Die In Prison?

Authored by Barbara Boland via TheAmericanConservative.com,



Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is suffering significant “psychological torture” and abuse in the London prison where he is being held, and his life is now “at risk,” according to an independent UN rights expert. A senior member of his legal team believes Assange may not live until the end of the extradition process.

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>



Assange mumbled, stuttered, and struggled to say his own name and date of birth when he appeared in court on October 21. The Wikileaks founder is being subjected to long drawn-out “psychological torture” as he battles to prevent his extradition to the United States where he faces a slew of espionage charges, warns Nils Melzer, the UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.




“Unless the UK urgently changes course and alleviates his inhumane situation, Mr. Assange’s continued exposure to arbitrariness and abuse may soon end up costing his life,” Melzer said in a statement on Friday.




“His physical appearance was not as shocking as his mental deterioration,” writes former British ambassador Craig Murray, who was present at the October hearing. “When asked to give his name and date of birth, he struggled visibly over several seconds to recall both… his difficulty in making it was very evident; it was a real struggle for him to articulate the words and focus his train of thought… Until yesterday I had always been quietly skeptical of those who claimed that Julian’s treatment amounted to torture… and skeptical of those who suggested he may be subject to debilitating drug treatments. But having attended the trials in Uzbekistan of several victims of extreme torture, and having worked with survivors from Sierra Leone and elsewhere, I can tell you that … Julian exhibited exactly the symptoms of a torture victim brought blinking into the light, particularly in terms of disorientation, confusion, and the real struggle to assert free will through the fog of learned helplessness.”




“One of the greatest journalists and most important dissidents of our times is being tortured to death by the state, before our eyes. To see my friend, the most articulate man, the fastest thinker, I have ever known, reduced to that shambling and incoherent wreck, was unbearable,” writes Murray.




Melzer, who is not speaking on behalf of the UN, visited Belmarsh prison in May and conducted an extensive review of Assange’s physical and psychological condition. Melzer told the AFP news agency that his increased alarm is based on “new medically relevant information received from reliable sources” that indicate “Assange’s health has entered a downward spiral of progressively severe anxiety, stress and helplessness typical for persons exposed to prolonged isolation and constant arbitrariness.”




“While the precise evolution is difficult to predict with certainty, this pattern of symptoms can quickly develop into a life-threatening situation involving cardiovascular breakdown or nervous collapse,” he told AFP.




Assange is kept in complete isolation for 23 hours a day, and permitted 45 minutes exercise. When he has to be moved, guards clear the corridors and lock all cells to guarantee he has no contact with any other prisoner outside the exercise period.



Assange “continues to be detained under oppressive conditions of isolation and surveillance, not justified by his detention status,” said Melzer, who pointed out that Assange completed his prison sentence for violating his British bail terms and is “being held exclusively in relation to the pending extradition request from the United States.”



The US charges that Assange, an Australian citizen, violated the U.S. Espionage Act in 2010 when he published a series of leaks provided by Chelsea Manning. Those leaks include the Afghanistan war logs, the Iraq war logs, the Collateral Murder video, and classified U.S. State Department cables. For her role, Manning was court martialed and sentenced to 35 years in prison. After serving seven and a half years in prison, Manning had her sentence commuted by President Obama, but she has since been jailed again for her refusal to testify against Assange.



The U.S. has claimed that Wikileaks’ publications have caused the deaths of Americans serving overseas. But no evidence has ever surfaced to prove this, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in 2010 that such claims were “significantly overwrought.”



Nevertheless, the U.S. wants Assange because the information he published was deeply embarrassing to the government. The British courts have already signed off on an extradition order and he will remain behind bars until the hearing, which isn’t until early next year, according to The New York Times.



And curiously, even though mainstream media once heralded Assange’s publications, there is substantially less coverage of his current plight, former CIA officer Raymond McGovern told The American Conservative.



To McGovern, the timing of the U.S. decision to press charges is particularly suspect; charges were announced right after Assange published that the CIA has cyber-tools that can leave a false digital footprint. McGovern, who had visited Assange during his seven-year asylum in the the Ecuadoran embassy, has been a vocal supporter since the beginning.




“The CIA can hack into a system and make it look like the Russians did it,” said McGovern. This challenges the official narrative that Russians hacked the DNC server, exposing Hillary Clinton’s emails. “Imagine that.”




The October hearing was Assange’s first public appearance since May. Illness has prevented him from attending previous hearings.



The UK ignored earlier pleas that to protect Assange’s health and dignity, Melzer said, and his condition has progressed to the point where “his life was now at risk.”



In fact, when Melzer tried to raise the alarm in the media, The Guardian, The Times, the Financial Times, the Sydney Morning HeraldThe AustralianThe Canberra Times, The TelegraphThe New York Times,The Washington Post, Thomson Reuters Foundation, and Newsweek all refused to publish his op-ed.



Instead of addressing Assange’s health, “what we have seen from the UK government is outright contempt for Mr. Assange’s rights and integrity,” said Melzer. “Despite the medical urgency of my appeal, and the seriousness of the alleged violations, the UK has not undertaken any measures of investigation, prevention and redress required under international law.”



Assange has lost 33 pounds during his imprisonment, according to Australian filmmaker John Pilger. He attended the hearing and has visited Assange in Belmarsh prison.



“To see him in court struggling to say his name, and his date of birth, was really very moving,” said Pilger. “When Julian did try to speak, and to say that basically he was being denied the very tools with which to prepare his case, he was denied the right to call his American lawyer. He was denied the right to have any kind of word processor or laptop. He was denied… his own notes and manuscripts.”



Assange’s “access to legal counsel and documents has been severely obstructed” undermining “his most fundamental right to prepare his defense,” charged Melzer.



The judge refused to grant Assange’s request to delay the February trial.



The lack of legal process in the hearing was “profoundly upsetting,” to watch unfold, writes Murray, because it is “a naked demonstration of the power of the state.”




“Unless Julian is released shortly he will be destroyed,” writes Murray. “If the state can do this, then who is next?”





Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 23:05
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Tune in as we analyze what's at stake during this pivotal time in US - and human - history! Share this link!
181
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Earth's magnetic North Pole has drifted so fast that authorities have had to officially redefine the location of the magnetic North Pole. The extreme wandering of the North Pole caused increasing concerns over navigation, especially in high latitudes.

Earth's magnetic field is known to have wandered and flipped in the geologic past. Earth's magnetic field is a result of spinning molten iron and nickel 1,800 miles below the surface. As the constant flow of molten metals in the outer core changes over time, it alters the external magnetic field.

What we've seen in t
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he past hundred years is that the location of the magnetic North Pole has moved northward. That migration of the magnetic North Pole was switched into overdrive in the past few years, causing the pole to rapidly move.
This map shows the new location of the magnetic North Pole (the white star). NOAA NCEI/CIRES
Read Entire Article »
0
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Humankind had come a long way from the time when the Internet became mainstream. What started as a research project ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) funded by DARPA has grown exponentially and has single-handedly revolutionized human behavior.

When WWW (world wide web) came into existence, it was meant to share information over the Internet, from there part through natural
0
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Turkish President Erdogan "Thoroughly Rejected" Trump's Letter And "Threw It In The Bin"  

Update (Oct. 17 5:40 am est.): President Trump sent a harsh letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday. 



Trump warned the Turkish president doesn't want to be responsible "for slaughtering thousands of people," and that Trump - consequently, doesn't "want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy," adding, "

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trong>and I will." 



On the day Erdogan received Trump's letter, the Turkish military launched a cross-border assault against Kurdish-led forces.



Erdogan's response to the letter, confirmed by BBC News Turkey (on Thursday morning), is that he "thoroughly rejected it, threw it in the bin." 




Trump has been criticized for the withdrawal of special operations troops in Northern Syria, which his critics have said gave Erdogan the ability to launch attacks on the Kurds.



About 129 members of Trump's party joined Democrats on Wednesday to formally denounce the move in a vote. The measure, which passed, 354 to 60, has called for Erdogan to halt military operations in Syria. 



* * *



President Trump shot off a very direct letter to Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, according to Fox News's Trish Regan, who obtained a copy.





Trump warned the Turkish president doesn't want to be responsible "for slaughtering thousands of people," and that Trump - consequently, doesn't "want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy," adding "and I will.



"I have worked hard to solve some of your problems," Trump continues. 



"Don't let the world down. You can make a great deal. General Mazloum is willing to negotiate with you, and he is willing to make concessions that they never would have made in the past."



"History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way," Trump said, adding "It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don't happen." 



"Don't be a tough guy. Don't be a fool! 



I will call you later." 





The letter follows Erdogan's Wednesday refusal to speak with Vice President Mike Pence regarding a cease-fire agreement in Syria, after Trump said he would send Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to negotiate.  



Erdogan told Sky News, "I'm not going to talk to them. They will be talking to their counterparts. When Trump comes here, I'll be talking." National security advisor Robert O’Brien and the special representative for Syria, James Jeffrey, are also slated to be on the trip. 





Perhaps the NSA / CIA / NSC and FBI will fill us in on the details of Trump's next call with the Turkish leader, which the White House will have to correct with a transcript. 




Tyler Durden

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 06:22


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Politics

0
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More bias exposed
0
9 Views
Security incidents occur. It's not a matter of 'if' but of 'when.' There are security products and procedures that were implemented to optimize the IR process, so from the 'security-professional' angle, things are taken care of.

However, many security pros who are doing an excellent job in handling incidents find effectively communicating the ongoing process with their management a much more
0
10 Views
<p>28 of the top 100 shows on Amazon Prime Video aren&#x2019;t available with a membership.</p><br /><p>Maybe you know the feeling. You&#x2019;re scrolling around on Amazon Prime Video, minding your own business, and you stumble upon the perfect Saturday night movie. But when you go to click on it, you realize&#x2014;wait a tick&#x2014;it&#x2019;s only available to rent or buy.</p><p>Read Full Story</p><div class="feedflare"><br /> <br /></div>
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EU Backs Off Turkey Arms Embargo As Erdogan Holds All The Cards... 3.6 Million Of Them

If you've been paying attention you might have picked up on the irony that Turkey now appears the most powerful country in Europe thanks to the refugee threat. It's further appeared unfazed that the EU has appeared ready to ban all arms deliveries to Ankara over its internationally condemned military incursion into Syria, following Germany and France over the weekend announcing

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a temporary suspension, fearing weapons would be used against Syria's Kurds.



But alas on Monday the EU proved once again its position is too weak to act: "European Union countries committed on Monday to suspending arms exports to Turkey, but stopped short of the EU-wide arms embargo that France and Germany had sought," Reuters reported. “Member states commit to strong national positions regarding their arms export policy to Turkey,” EU foreign ministers said, stopping short of a Europe-wide weapons embargo.



Speaking to Deutsche Welle on Germany's imposed ban which took effect Saturday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said any such move would “just strengthen us.” Not only does Ankara appear unfazed, also as Europe is likely to do nothing really of substance to halt the Turkish operation, it clearly has all the leverage. 


Refugees along the Turkey-Syria border, via Reuters.

As one op-ed commented related to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Sunday phone call demanding that Erdogan put an “immediate end” to 'Operation Peace Spring', why would he listen?... "After all, he has 3.6 million reasons not to."



Erdogan threatened last week, not for the first time: "Hey EU, wake up. I say it again: if you try to frame our operation there as an invasion, our task is simple: we will open the doors and send 3.6 million migrants to you," he said. 



Comparing even the tone of each side's rhetoric, European leaders are treating Erdogan with kid gloves, while his is full of bravado and very specific extreme threat of action. 



“We have a common desire that this offensive ends," French President Emmanuel Macron said alongside Merkel. "This offensive risks creating an unsustainable humanitarian situation.” And EU Council President Donald Tusk on Friday: “Turkey must understand that our main concern is that their actions may lead to another humanitarian catastrophe, which would be unacceptable.”



With 'threatening' words like "unacceptable" and empty threats of "dramatic consequences" with no follow through — no wonder Turkish leaders feel free to positively boast "this will just strengthen us"



Erdogan's response strikes a tone of one who is holding all the cards:




“Are we allies in NATO or have you taken a terrorist organization into NATO, but we don’t know about it?” he told local channel NTV on Sunday. “Very weird approach. Are you with us or with the terrorists?




But like with the migrant crisis which previously hit a peak in 2015, it is the right-wing and nationalist European parties that have picked up on Erdogan's blackmail attempts, and could stand to benefit, by perhaps being the only to fiercely push back. 



For example, the Foreign Policy Spokesman of Alternative for Germany party (AfD), Petr Bystron said Monday: “The EU pays Turkey €3 billion every year for the so-called Refugee Pact, while Recep Tayyip Erdogan still sends thousands of illegal migrants to the Greek isles and threatens to swamp Europe with even more.


Image via Bloomberg

The AfD statement continued, “In addition, the EU will pay Turkey €9 billion between 2007 and 2020 for an EU accession nobody wants, while Turkey turns away ever more from the Western community and values.



“The German taxpayer largely has to pay these astronomical sums, so the Turkish tyrant can maintain the largest military in Europe, make territorial claims against Greece, Syria and Iraq, and now wage a brutal war of aggression against Kurdish civilians in Northern Syria,” the statement added. “Germany and the EU must immediately halt all payments to Turkey and instead invest in our own border protection, or we will be guilty of supporting Turkey’s war crimes against the Kurds.



However, we doubt EU leadership will do little more than impose a temporary arms embargo merely threaten "dramatic consequences" which will have little to no actual impact on NATO second largest military.  




Tyler Durden

Mon, 10/14/2019 - 11:05


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This comes as IG FISA report set to be released this week -- share this link across all systems!
0
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<p>&#x201C;We&#x2019;re very sorry for inconveniencing our customers,&#x201D; said Comcast in a statement.</p><br /><p>Your neighborhood cable conglomerate could have overcharged you for broadband data you didn&#x2019;t even use, thanks to a recently discovered bug.</p><p>Read Full Story</p><div class="feedflare"><br /> <br /></div>
0
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Mobile app SDKs sport dodgy crypto defaults, set bad examples – updates available

It has been revealed that Adobe's Experience Platform mobile SDKs, used to create apps that interact with the company's cloud services, until recently contained sample configuration files that created insecure default settings.…

0
7 Views

Continuing the new normal of fixing things after major security breaches, Facebook has once again made it into the news.



Facebook Makes Changes To Groups API Following Privacy Breach on Latest Hacking News.

0
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This week Google has made a revelation for their users regarding a zero-day vulnerability in the Google Chrome browser under



Google Discloses Zero-Day Vulnerability In Chrome Browser Under Active Exploitation on Latest Hacking News.

0
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[Mark Bunker at the Portland event, 2013]

We’ve kept a pretty close watch over many of Scientology’s ‘Ideal Org’ opening ceremonies, but there’s one that will always have a special place in our hearts. That’s when Mark Bunker had such a wild day trying to film the Portland Ideal Org grand opening in May 2013, and [...]

0
7 Views
Mozilla, in partnership with Facebook, Cloudflare, and other IETF community members, has announced technical specifications for a new cryptographic protocol called "Delegated Credentials for TLS."

Delegated Credentials for TLS is a new simplified way to implement "short-lived" certificates without sacrificing the reliability of secure connections.

In short, the new TLS protocol extension aims
0
9 Views

 Scientology’s newest ‘Ideal Org’ opened on Saturday in Kansas City, and the next day, Sunday November 3, it had its first wedding, with Hubbardite rites and all the feels.

Now, it seems to us that the first Scientology wedding at the new Scientology cathedral is kind of a big deal, but Scientology itself hasn’t said anything [...]

0
6 Views
Microsoft seems a bit hazy on what 'disable' actually means

A security hole in Office for Mac can be exploited by miscreants to potentially run malicious code on victims' shiny computers without anyone noticing.…

0
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<p>The high-profile and tech-friendly Senator believes the deal will only make a big player bigger, and personal data even more unsafe.</p><br /><p>Tech-savvy Senator Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, came out swinging against Google parent Alphabet&#x2019;s plan to acquire the health wearables and data company Fitbit. Alphabet may want Fitbit&#x2019;s technology to extend into the health wearables space.</p><p>Read Full Story</p><div class="feedflare"><br /> <br /></div>
0
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Everis, one of the largest IT consulting companies in Spain, suffered a targeted ransomware attack on Monday, forcing the company to shut down all its computer systems until the issue gets resolved completely.

Ransomware is a computer virus that encrypts files on an infected system until a ransom is paid.

According to several local media, Everis informed its employees about the devastating
0
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Everis, one of the largest IT consulting companies in Spain, suffered a targeted ransomware attack on Monday, forcing the company to shut down all its computer systems until the issue gets resolved completely.

Ransomware is a computer virus that encrypts files on an infected system until a ransom is paid.

According to several local media, Everis informed its employees about the devastating
0
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[Miscavige and his accomplices]

It’s always interesting to see which local figures are so desperate for attention that they accept an invitation to give a speech at the local Scientology ‘Ideal Org’ grand opening and then pose with church leader David Miscavige.

It’s especially interesting to see who is willing to pose with the diminutive pope of [...]

0
4 Views

 Attorney Scott Pilutik wrestles with the news of the day, from a lawyerly perspective…

[Regarding this story: ‘Get the emails’: Revealed memos suggest Mueller probe failed America. Can Congress fix it?]

Over the weekend a slew of documents were made public as a result of a FOIA request by BuzzFeed and CNN to obtain unpublished Mueller investigation [...]

0
4 Views
Including Spanish camgirl sites spill info, domain registrars hacked

Roundup  Let's check out some of the more recent security happenings beyond what we've already covered.…

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The Great Decoupling Has Begun, Sinophobia Erupts, DJI Drones Banned 

Before a complete fracturing of the US and Chinese economies, there have already been numerous signs of decoupling that are currently taking place behind the scenes. 



But before we tell you about the decoupling and the latest evidence we've found. You must be asking: Where are we in the trade war? Beginning innings? Imminent trade deal?  



The flurry

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of trade headlines from the US and China over the last 15 or so months have certainly been confusing. The fact is, there's so much fake trade news that it's hard to tell exactly the progress between both countries. 





But what's certain is that the trade war is in the beginning innings and nowhere near being resolved. Yes, there's a Phase 1 deal being floated around, but that's only for President Trump to save Midwest farmers and to create positive sentiment ahead of the 2020 election to pump the stock market. 



In reality, the trade war is a winner take all game, it's really about empire, and how Washington is attempting to prevent China from becoming the next global superpower. Hence the reason for tariffs, which is an attempt by President Trump, the Pentagon, and US corporate elites to limit China's ascension. 



The decoupling will be slow at first, then rapid. We're already seeing small to medium-sized Chinese companies being denied IPOs on Nasdaq. President Trump has already banned Haweui access to key US markets. And now, the next evidence that the decoupling is gaining momentum comes from the US Department Of The Interior. 



The Department has grounded its entire fleet of 800 drones for fear that Chinese hackers could spy on critical infrastructure, reported The Wall Street Journal.




"Secretary Bernhardt is reviewing the Department of the Interior's drone program. Until this review is completed, the Secretary has directed that drones manufactured in China or made from Chinese components be grounded unless they are currently being utilized for emergency purposes, such as fighting wildfires, search and rescue, and dealing with natural disasters that may threaten life or property," the Department told The Verge via an email statement. 




US officials worry that the Department is relying too heavily on Chinese drones and has put critical infrastructure at risk of being spied on by the Chinese. 



Last month a bipartisan bill was introduced that would limit federal agencies from purchasing Chinese drones. 



Several years ago, the Department of Homeland Security warned federal agencies from purchasing Chinese drones, specifically ones made by Shenzhen-based SZ DJI Technology Co., Ltd.





A DJI spokesperson told The Verge in a statement that the latest grounding of their drones by the Department Of The Interior is rather "disappointing." 




"We are aware the Department of Interior has decided to ground its entire drone program and are disappointed to learn of this development...As the leader in commercial drone technology, we have worked with the Department of Interior to create a safe and secure drone solution that meets their rigorous requirements, which was developed over the course of 15 months with DOI officials, independent cybersecurity professionals, and experts at NASA. We will continue to support the Department of Interior and provide assistance as it reviews its drone fleet so the agency can quickly resume the use of drones to help federal workers conduct vital operations," the DJI spokesperson said.




The Department's decision to ground Chinese drones is a clear trend of what's to come in the year ahead: more groundings across a wide array of agencies. 



Just wait until the groundings start hitting state and local municipalities and lower-level agencies. It's going to be a nightmare. 



Nevertheless, when the government starts banning certain Chinese products from consumers, you'll know the great decoupling between the US and China is imminent. 



For this to all happen, the Trump administration will need to ramp up Sinophobia propaganda to convince the American people that decoupling is the right move. 



 




Tyler Durden

Sun, 11/03/2019 - 20:05
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[Brisbane ‘Last Samurai’ Ideal Org event]

How do you get Scientologists to come to fundraising parties when they know they’re going to be hounded for donations for new building projects? Themed costume parties continue to be a popular strategy, and we’ve seen them use everything from gangster and vampire films to Star Wars and yes, the [...]

0
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If you're alive in 20 years, you may be able to live forever.

In 1786, average life expectancy was just 24 years. A hundred years later (1886) it doubled to 48. Right now a newborn can expect to live an average of 76 years. With recent discoveries in biology, many scientists predict that life expectancy will continue to triple-digits. In fact, if they are correct, humans shouldn't have to die at all in the future.

"Over half the baby boomers here in America are going to see their hundredth birthday and beyond in excellent health. We're looking at life spans for t
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he baby boomers and the generation after the baby boomers of 120 to 150 years of age." — Dr. Ronald Klatz of the American Academy of Anti-Aging.


Read Entire Article »
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How Controlling Syria's Oil Serves Washington's Strategic Objectives?

Authored by Nauman Sadiq,



Before the evacuation of 1,000 American troops from northern Syria to western Iraq, the Pentagon had 2,000 US forces in Syria. After the drawdown of US troops at Erdogan’s insistence in order for Ankara to mount a ground offensive in northern Syria, the US has still deployed 1,000 troops, mainly in oil-rich eastern De

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ir al-Zor province and at al-Tanf military base.





Al-Tanf military base is strategically located in southeastern Syria on the border between Syria, Iraq and Jordan, and it straddles on a critically important Damascus-Baghdad highway, which serves as a lifeline for Damascus. Washington has illegally occupied 55-kilometer area around al-Tanf since 2016, and several hundred US Marines have trained several Syrian militant groups there.



It’s worth noting that rather than fighting the Islamic State, the purpose of continued presence of the US forces at al-Tanf military base is to address Israel’s concerns regarding the expansion of Iran’s influence in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.





Regarding the oil- and natural gas-rich Deir al-Zor governorate, it’s worth pointing out that Syria used to produce modest quantities of oil for domestic needs before the war – roughly 400,000 barrels per day, which isn’t much compared to tens of millions barrels daily oil production in the Gulf states.



Although Donald Trump crowed in a characteristic blunt manner in a tweet after the withdrawal of 1,000 American troops from northern Syria that Washington had deployed forces in eastern Syria where there was oil, the purpose of exercising control over Syria’s oil is neither to smuggle oil out of Syria nor to deny the valuable source of revenue to the Islamic State.



There is no denying the fact that the remnants of the Islamic State militants are still found in Syria and Iraq but its emirate has been completely dismantled in the region and its leadership is on the run. So much so that the fugitive caliph of the terrorist organization was killed in the bastion of a rival jihadist outfit, al-Nusra Front in Idlib, hundreds of kilometers away from the Islamic State strongholds in eastern Syria.



Much like the “scorched earth” battle strategy of medieval warlords – as in the case of the Islamic State which early in the year burned crops of local farmers while retreating from its former strongholds in eastern Syria – Washington’s basic purpose in deploying the US forces in oil and natural gas fields of Deir al-Zor governorate is to deny the valuable source of income to its other main rival in the region, Damascus.





After the devastation caused by eight years of proxy war, the Syrian government is in dire need of tens of billions dollars international assistance to rebuild the country. Not only is Washington hampering efforts to provide international aid to the hapless country, it is in fact squatting over Syria’s own resources with the help of its only ally in the region, the Kurds.



Although Donald Trump claimed credit for expropriating Syria’s oil wealth, it bears mentioning that “scorched earth” policy is not a business strategy, it is the institutional logic of the deep state. President Trump is known to be a businessman and at least ostensibly follows a non-interventionist ideology; being a novice in the craft of international diplomacy, however, he has time and again been misled by the Pentagon and Washington’s national security establishment.



Regarding Washington’s interest in propping up the Gulf’s autocrats and fighting their wars in regional conflicts, it bears mentioning that in April 2016, the Saudi foreign minister threatened that the Saudi kingdom would sell up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets if the US Congress passed a bill that would allow Americans to sue the Saudi government in the United States courts for its role in the September 11, 2001 terror attack – though the bill was eventually passed, Saudi authorities have not been held accountable; even though 15 out of 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals.



Moreover, $750 billion is only the Saudi investment in the United States, if we add its investment in Western Europe and the investments of UAE, Kuwait and Qatar in the Western economies, the sum total would amount to trillions of dollars of Gulf’s investments in North America and Western Europe.



Furthermore, in order to bring home the significance of the Persian Gulf’s oil in the energy-starved industrialized world, here are a few stats from the OPEC data: Saudi Arabia has the world’s largest proven crude oil reserves of 265 billion barrels and its daily oil production exceeds 10 million barrels; Iran and Iraq, each, has 150 billion barrels reserves and has the capacity to produce 5 million barrels per day, each; while UAE and Kuwait, each, has 100 billion barrels reserves and produces 3 million barrels per day, each; thus, all the littoral states of the Persian Gulf, together, hold 788 billion barrels, more than half of world’s 1477 billion barrels of proven oil reserves.



No wonder then, 36,000 United States troops have currently been deployed in their numerous military bases and aircraft carriers in the oil-rich Persian Gulf in accordance with the Carter Doctrine of 1980, which states: “Let our position be absolutely clear: an attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”



Additionally, regarding the Western defense production industry’s sales of arms to the Gulf Arab States, a report authored by William Hartung of the US-based Center for International Policy found that the Obama administration had offered Saudi Arabia more than $115 billion in weapons, military equipment and training during its eight-year tenure.



Similarly, the top items in Trump’s agenda for his maiden visit to Saudi Arabia in May 2017 were: firstly, he threw his weight behind the idea of the Saudi-led “Arab NATO” to counter Iran’s influence in the region; and secondly, he announced an unprecedented arms package for Saudi Arabia. The package included between $98 billion and $128 billion in arms sales.



Therefore, keeping the economic dependence of the Western countries on the Gulf Arab States in mind, during the times of global recession when most of manufacturing has been outsourced to China, it is not surprising that when the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia decided to provide training and arms to the Islamic jihadists in the border regions of Turkey and Jordan against the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the Obama administration was left with no other choice but to toe the destructive policy of its regional Middle Eastern allies, despite the sectarian nature of the proxy war and its attendant consequences of breeding a new generation of Islamic jihadists who would become a long-term security risk not only to the Middle East but to the Western countries, as well.



Similarly, when King Abdullah’s successor King Salman decided, on the whim of the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, to invade Yemen in March 2015, once again the Obama administration had to yield to the dictates of Saudi Arabia and UAE by fully coordinating the Gulf-led military campaign in Yemen not only by providing intelligence, planning and logistical support but also by selling billions of dollars’ worth of arms and ammunition to the Gulf Arab States during the conflict.



In this reciprocal relationship, the US provides security to the ruling families of the Gulf Arab states by providing weapons and troops; and in return, the Gulf’s petro-sheikhs contribute substantial investments to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars to the Western economies.



Regarding the Pax Americana which is the reality of the contemporary neocolonial order, according to a January 2017 infographic by the New York Times, 210,000 US military personnel were stationed all over the world, including 79,000 in Europe, 45,000 in Japan, 28,500 in South Korea and 36,000 in the Middle East.



Although Donald Trump keeps complaining that NATO must share the cost of deployment of US troops, particularly in Europe where 47,000 American troops are stationed in Germany since the end of the Second World War, 15,000 in Italy and 8,000 in the United Kingdom, fact of the matter is that the cost is already shared between Washington and host countries.



Roughly, European countries pay one-third of the cost for maintaining US military bases in Europe whereas Washington chips in the remaining two-third. In the Far Eastern countries, 75% of the cost for the deployment of American troops is shared by Japan and the remaining 25% by Washington, and in South Korea, 40% cost is shared by the host country and the US contributes the remaining 60%.



Whereas the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) – Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar – pay two-third of the cost for maintaining 36,000 US troops in the Persian Gulf where more than half of world’s proven oil reserves are located and Washington contributes the remaining one-third.



*  *  *



Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based attorney, columnist and geopolitical analyst focused on the politics of Af-Pak and Middle East regions, neocolonialism and petro-imperialism.




Tyler Durden

Sat, 11/02/2019 - 23:30


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