Tag: Southeast Asia (page 1 of 2)

Meanwhile, In The Philippines

It’s clearly time for a caption contest.

President Trump joins other world leaders in a handshake with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte,
right, during the opening ceremony of the 31st ASEAN Summit. Photo @dougmillsnyt

Also, how did Medvedev get an exemption?

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China Unveils “Magic” Island-Building Ship On Eve Of Trump Arrival

In a move that appears to validate Joint Chiefs Of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford’s concerns about China’s strategy of slowly expanding its territorial and military footprint in the Pacific, the Chinese government unveiled on Sunday a “magical” island-building ship on the eve of Donald Trump’s visit in a move likely to renew fears about its claims to territory in the South China Sea, the Financial Times reported.

Measuing 140 meters, the Tiankun is the biggest dredger in Asia, with cutters and pumps capable of smashing the equivalent of three Olympic pools of rock an hour from the sea floor and shooting it up to 15 kilometers away to create artificial land. Over the past five years, China has used similar vessels to create a string of strategic islands to support its claims to 85% of the territory in the South China Sea.

China has been widely criticized by the international community for its land-reclamation efforts in in the Spratley islands, where China has been building manmade bases over some of the since 2014. China has asserted its dominance of several groups of tiny islands in the South and East China Seas. China last year said it would not accept a ruling against it made in a key international legal case over the strategic reefs and atolls that China has asserted its authority over. In that ruling, the ICC decided that the islands belonged to the Philippines.

According to Newsweek, the US estimates China has added 3,200 acres of land on seven features (which includes rocky outcrops and reefs) over the past three years.

Between 2013 and the middle of 2016 – the peak phase of the island-building efforts – China created seven islands and reclaimed 2,000 acres, and built airfields, missile bases and radar systems.

Last year, Beijing appeared to signal it was halting large-scale dredging. However, the creation of the Tiankun would suggest otherwise. Launched at a shipyard in Jiangsu province on Friday, the Tiankun will enter service next year with Tianjin Dredging Company, an arm of state-owned China Communications Construction Company that has carried out most of the dredging in the South China Sea.

The Marine Design and Research Institute in Shanghai, which designed the vessel, described it as a “magic island-maker” on Saturday.

The US military has taken a more hard-line approach to China’s territorial claims in the Pacific since President Donald Trump took office. Since inauguration day, the US Navy has conducted at least four “freedom of operation” missions whereby US destroyers have sailed within 12 miles of the controversial islands. The most recent such mission occurred in mid-October. Each time, China has scrambled fighter jets and ships to intercept the US vessel.

As the FT pointed out, Washington’s opposition to China’s claims remains an irritant in bilateral relations, and the topic is expected to be an important point of discussion with Xi Jinping, China’s president, when Trump arrives in Beijing on Wednesday for a two-day visit.
 

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1MDB Scandal Resurfaces As Singapore Cops Investigate Goldman’s Lucrative Bond Issues

We have another instalment in the investigation into the mind-boggling level of corruption at 1MDB, (1Malaysia Development Berhad), the Malaysian state-owned investment fund. Members of the Singapore police’s economic crime unit have interviewed current and former Goldman employees with respect to the 1MDB bond offerings arranged by the bank.

By way of a recap into this messy saga, the fund was set up in 2009 by Prime Minister Najib Razak who headed its advisory board. The aim of the fund was to promote economic development through global partnerships and attracting foreign investment. Instead, the fund built up $12 billion of debt, while a Malaysian parliamentary committee identified more than $4.2 billion of “irregular” transactions. Investigations into embezzlement and money laundering have been taking place in ten countries as investigators try to trace just how much money was illegally diverted into personal accounts.

Aside from Najib, a central figure in the 1MDB scandal is the “party boy” (he dated Paris Hilton) and Malaysian financier, Low Taek Jho. Low acted as a consultant for 1MDB and set up shell companies to collect proceeds from the fund. He has been identified as a “key person of interest” by the Singapore authorities.

Turning to Goldman Sach’s role, the bank earned a staggering $593 million from managing three incredibly lucrative (for Goldman) bond sales in 2012-13, which raised $6.5 billion.

As we asked in “US To Seize $1 billion In Embezzled Malaysian Assets Which Goldman Sachs Helped Buy”, considering that a typical fee for an emerging market sovereign or quasi-sovereign bond offering between $1bn-$5bn would be between 0.1 per cent and 0.3 per cent, according to Dealogic, this is nothing short of kickback to Goldman, and raises questions about why Goldman wilfully accepted such an overblown fee for a deal which any of its competitor banks would have done for a fraction of the cost.

Last year, Tim Leissner, Goldman’s Southeast Asia chairman resigned from the bank after writing a reference letter for Low on the bank’s letterhead. He was subsequently banned from the securities industry in Singapore (for 10 years) and US (indefinitely). As we noted here, Leissner had become irritated.

Irritated that Goldman wouldn’t support his move to Los Angeles to be with his famous wife Kimora Lee, irritated that the firm wouldn’t let him give an internship to the son of a shadowy, as-yet-unnamed go-between in a deal to finance a controlling stake in an Indonesian copper mine, and especially irritated that the bank seemed to be looking a lot harder at the deals he was working on in Southeast Asia in the wake of the 1MDB scandal. And why shouldn't he be frustrated? After all, Leissner built Goldman’s SE Asia operation…And as far as 1MDB goes, Leissner didn’t recall anyone in New York complaining when the bank raked in hundreds of millions in underwriting fees for the deals that helped finance Najib’s slush fund. “It’s not my fault Najib messed the whole thing up,” Leissner must have been thinking. In any case, Goldman had seen enough by the start of 2016, and sensing that the tide was shifting, decided to pull a Fabrice Tourre and prepare Leissner for the proverbial sacrifical offering.

Fast forwarding to today and Singaporean prosecutors and police are probing more deeply into Goldman’s relationship with 1MDB. As Bloomberg reports

The Commercial Affairs Department, the police’s economic crime unit, and city prosecutors have interviewed current and former Goldman Sachs executives who worked on bond offerings from 1Malaysia Development Bhd., said the people, who asked not to be named because the queries are confidential.

 

Investigators are also looking into the firm’s links with Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, who the U.S. has alleged controlled a plot to siphon billions of dollars from the bond proceeds, the people said…

 

The interviews, which took place as recently as October, add to the scrutiny the New York-based bank faces over its role in raising almost $6 billion for 1MDB in 2012 and 2013. The money was meant for development projects but U.S. prosecutors allege that the bulk of it was diverted by high-level 1MDB officials and their associates. Investigators in Singapore have asked for details about specific meetings involving Goldman Sachs officials concerning the bond deals, the people said. They’ve also quizzed the current and former bank employees about the nature of the firm’s relationship with Low, and whether he was considered a client, according to the people.

While the investigators told Bloomberg that the bank itself is not the focus of the investigation, it’s clear that there is renewed scrutiny on the outsize fees which Goldman earned from the bond issues. Bloomberg continues…

It’s not clear whether Singapore’s investigation will result in any charges, and if so, against whom.

 

Goldman Sachs’s work with 1MDB has also drawn scrutiny from U.S. authorities, including the Justice Department and New York’s banking regulator. Goldman Sachs earned some $593 million in fees and commissions for arranging the 1MDB bond deals — a sum that drew scrutiny from Malaysian politicians.

 

Investigators in Singapore have asked the current and former employees about the fees the bank received, as well as if any fees were due to the Abu Dhabi government-owned fund International Petroleum Investment Co. for guaranteeing two of the bonds, the people said.

In July 2016, a US lawsuit alleged that the offering circulars related to the bond issues contained “material misrepresentations and omissions”. These included how the proceeds would be used and whether officials from 1MDB and other related entities would benefit personally.

We expect that Goldman will stick to its previous defence that its fees somehow reflected the underwriting risks and market conditions at the time, however nonsensical that sounds.

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“We’re Back”- China’s Largest Crypto Traders Are Relocating

How things change in crypto – in January 2017, before the crackdown by the authorities, China accounted for nearly 100% of bitcoin trading

In the “golden era” of Chinese crypto trading, mainland operators built up considerable expertise before they were forced out of business. Some of those operators of Chinese exchanges are setting up again in “friendlier” jurisdictions around Asia, as Bloomberg reports, and their aspirations are global.

From OKCoin to Binance.com, Chinese exchanges and wallet services are seeking a second life in friendlier Asian jurisdictions as the mainland clamps down on trading and coin offerings. They’re applying for licenses in Japan – solo or via partners – setting up over-the-counter shops in Hong Kong, or laying the groundwork to operate from Singapore and South Korea. Forced out of their own home turf, the players that once dominated the world’s largest digital currency market are betting that investors harboring an insatiable demand for alternative investments will follow. Going abroad may help operators hedge risks, attract new customers and stake out other corners of the $170 billion industry.

“China used to account for a significant share of the cryptocurrency market, so we think the demand is there," said Hong Kong-based Lennix Lai, the financial market director for OKEx, which is backed by OKCoin.

 

“As formerly one of the biggest operators in China, we think we have a good chance of competing globally.”

The favourable treatment of cryptocurrencies by the Japanese authorities is a draw for some operators, according to Bloomberg. Exchange start-ups live or die by their ability to execute transactions, which is why it matters where their operations and servers are located…

Japan has emerged as a safe haven for many operators because of favorable policies: the domestic financial regulator approved 11 exchanges in September alone, with some like BTCBox already servicing a wide base of Chinese customers. The agency’s close involvement reflects a desire to root out money laundering and also prevent another fiasco like the collapse of Mt. Gox. That helped Japan regain its title as the world’s largest cryptocurrency market in past weeks. There’re at least 19 companies applying for a Japanese license. Zhao Changpeng, CEO of exchange operator Binance.com, says he too is looking for local partners and even considering acquiring an operational exchange. Others including Beijing-based Bixin have also expressed interest. Its overseas app is known as Pocket IM, a messaging service that doubles as a bitcoin wallet. The initial reception has been warm.

Quoine, a Japanese fintech company attempting to build a global liquidity platform in cryptos, is negotiating with a number of potential Chinese partners, From Bloomberg.

“We’re talking to almost all of those guys. They’re all desperate now,” said Mike Kayamori, head of Quoine, which last month won a license to operate a bitcoin exchange in the country. Kayamori expects to sign a deal with a Chinese partner by the end of the year.

 

There’s a lot of Chinese retail people reaching out to us, but we can’t handle it. So if a Chinese partner can handle all of those and they connect to us, that will be much easier.”

Singapore is another option.

Others are exploring Singapore as a backup option, though the island nation has yet to enact specific regulations. Bitmain, which operates the world’s largest mining collective, said it’s opening a regional headquarters there. Co-founder Wu Jihan said he wants to recruit talent from Southeast Asia, and tap a hub of commerce that serves as research bases for the likes of Nvidia Corp. and Alphabet Inc.

Some Chinese firms are not only going it alone, but are looking to attract business from mainland China…indirectly.

OKEx is one of those going it alone, and in Hong Kong. It wants to corral Chinese investors who’ve resorted to peer-to-peer trading over messaging apps like Telegram since the clampdown: basically Chinese investors can still buy from individuals who’ve access to overseas markets. OKEx wants to scale that by rolling out its own over-the-counter trading platform in Hong Kong. They’re now trying to recruit people to act as third-party market makers, who’ll chaperone deals, make money off a spread and then split the revenue with OKEx. Lai expects to attract customers mostly from China, Russia and the U.K.

The Bloomberg report finishes on a cautionary note…

Wherever Chinese operators end up, one thing is clear: as regulatory winds continue to shift, exchanges and other cryptocurrency players need to be nimble enough to swiftly operate and move across various jurisdictions.

…because unlike other markets these days, the problem with cryptocurrencies is volatility, both in terms of regulation and price.   

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Russian Ships Deliver Military Equipment To The Philippines

In the latest confirmation that President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat to diversify the country’s military ties away from the United States and toward China and Russia was not hollow, AP reports that three Russian navy ships arrived in the Philippines on Friday and two others are coming, to deliver donated military equipment in the country’s third naval visit under Duterte, who as discussed previously, has launched a historic pivot in the country’s geopolitical posture away from the US and toward regional Superpowers.


Admiral Panteleyev, a Russian anti-sub ship, prepares to dock in Manila

Three Russian antisubmarine ships docked in Manila on October 20 in time for Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s upcoming visit to the country, said Rear Admiral E. Mikhailov, the task force commander.


Russian Navy crew member cleans the guns of the Admiral Vinogradov,

a Russian anti-submarine ship, in Manila, Philippines, on Friday, Oct. 20, 2017

Two other vessels arrived on October 21 at the port of Subic Bay, northwest of Manila to unload donated military equipment, the Philippine Navy said in a statement.

Next week, Shoigu will be attending a meeting of 10 Southeast Asian defense ministers with counterparts from other countries, including the United States and China.

“I am assuring you that we will do our best to make this port call a significant contribution to the strengthening of friendly ties and cooperation between our two nations in the interest of security and stability in the region,” Mikhailov said.


Rear Admiral Eduard MIkhailov receives a garland of flowers from a member of the Philippine Navy

Russian news agency TASS reported that the Russian Navy will allow local residents of Manila to take tours of the large antisubmarine vessel Admiral Panteleyev during its stay in Manila.

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Xi’s Roadmap To The Chinese Dream

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times,

China's Belt and Road Initiative – the New Silk Road – will spark the country's development and turn the dream into reality…

It all starts with Hong Kong as a major BRI financing hub.

Now that President Xi Jinping has been duly elevated to the Chinese Communist Party pantheon in the rarified company of Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory, the world will have plenty of time to digest the meaning of “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.”

Xi himself, in his 3½-hour speech at the start of the 19th Party Congress, pointed to a rather simplified “socialist democracy” – extolling its virtues as the only counter-model to Western liberal democracy. Economically, the debate remains open on whether this walks and talks more like “neoliberalism with Chinese characteristics”.

All the milestones for China in the immediate future have been set.

  • “Moderately prosperous society” by 2020.
  • Basically modernized nation by 2035.
  • Rich and powerful socialist nation by 2050.

Xi himself, since 2013, has encapsulated the process in one mantra; the “Chinese dream”. The dream must become reality in a little over three decades. The inexorable modernization drive unleashed by Deng’s reforms has lasted a little less than four decades. Recent history tell us there’s no reason to believe phase 2 of this seismic Sino-Renaissance won’t be fulfilled.

Xi emphasized, “the dreams of the Chinese people and those of other peoples around the world are closely linked. The realization of the Chinese dream will not be possible without a peaceful international environment and a stable international order.”

He mentioned only briefly the New Silk Roads, a.k.a. Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as having “created a favorable environment for the country’s overall development”. He didn’t dwell on BRI’s ambition and extraordinary scope, as he does in every major international summit as well as in Davos earlier this year.

But still it was implicit that to arrive at what Xi defines as a “community of common destiny for mankind”, BRI is China’s ultimate tool. BRI, a geopolitical/geoeconomic game-changer, is in fact Xi’s – and China’s – organizing foreign policy concept and driver up to 2050.

Xi has clearly understood that global leadership implies being a top provider, mostly to the global South, of connectivity, infrastructure financing, comprehensive technical assistance, construction hardware and myriad other trappings of “modernization”.

It does not hurt that this trade/commerce/investment onslaught helps to internationalize the yuan.

It’s easy to forget that BRI, an unparalleled multinational connectivity drive set to economically link all points Asia to Europe and Africa, was announced only three years ago, in Astana (Central Asia) and Jakarta (Southeast Asia).

What was originally known as the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road were endorsed by the Third Plenum of the 18th CCP Central Committee in November 2013. Only after the release of an official document, “Visions and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Roads”, in March 2015, the whole project was finally named BRI.

According to the official Chinese timeline, we’re only at the start of phase 2. Phase 1, from 2013 to 2016, was “mobilization”. “Planning”, from 2016 to 2021, is barely on (and that explains why few major projects are online). “Implementation” is supposed to start in 2021, one year before Xi’s new term expires, and go all the way to 2049.

The horizon thus is 2050, coinciding with Xi’s “rich and powerful socialist nation” dream. There’s simply no other comprehensive, inclusive, far-reaching, financially solid development program on the global market. Certainly not India’s Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC).

Have BRI, will travel

It starts with Hong Kong. When Xi said, “We will continue to support Hong Kong and Macau in integrating their own development into the overall development of the country”, he meant Hong Kong configured as a major BRI financing hub – its new role after a recent past of business facilitator between China and the West.

Hong Kong’s got what it takes; convertible currency; total capital mobility; rule of law; no tax on interest, dividends and capital gains; total access to China’s capital market/savings; and last but not least, Beijing’s support.

Enter the dream of myriad financing packages (public-private; equity-debt; short-long term bonds). Hong Kong’s BRI role will be of the Total Package international financial center (venture capital; private equity; flotation of stocks and bonds; investment banking; mergers and acquisitions; reinsurance) interlinked with the Greater Bay Area – the 11 cities (including Guangzhou and Shenzhen) of the Pearl River Delta (light/heavy manufacturing; hi-tech venture capitalists, start-ups, investors; top research universities).

That ties up with Xi’s emphasis on innovation; “We will strengthen basic research in applied sciences, launch major national science and technology projects, and prioritize innovation in key generic technologies, cutting-edge frontier technologies, modern engineering technologies, and disruptive technologies.”

The integration of the Greater Bay Area is bound to inspire, fuel, and in some cases even mould some of BRI’s key projects. The Eurasian Land Bridge from Xinjiang to Western Russia (China and Kazakhstan are actively turbo-charging their joint free trade zone at Khorgos). The China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor. The connection of the Central Asian “stans” to West Asia – Iran and Turkey. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) from Xinjiang all the way to Gwadar in the Arabian Sea – capable of sparking an “economic revolution” according to Islamabad. The China-Indochina corridor from Kunming to Singapore. The Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) corridor (assuming India does not boycott it). The Maritime Silk Road from coastal southeast China all the way to the Mediterranean, from Piraeus to Venice.

Yiwu-London freight trains, Shanghai-Tehran freight trains, the Turkmenistan to Xinjiang gas pipeline – these are all facts on the ground. Along the way, the technologies and tools of infrastructure connectivity – applied to high-speed rail networks, power plants, solar farms, motorways, bridges, ports, pipelines – will be closely linked with financing by the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the security-economic cooperation imperatives of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to build the new Eurasia from Shanghai to Rotterdam. Or, to evoke Vladimir Putin’s original vision, even before BRI was launched, “from Lisbon to Vladivostok”.

Xi did not spell it out, but Beijing will do everything to stay as independent as possible from the Western Central Bank system, with the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) to be avoided in as many trade deals as possible to the benefit of yuan-based transactions or outright barter. The petrodollar will be increasingly bypassed (it’s already happening between China and Iran, and Beijing sooner rather than later will demand it from Saudi Arabia.)

The end result, by 2050, will be, barring inevitable, complex glitches, an integrated market of 4.5 billion people mostly using local currencies for bilateral and multilateral trade, or a basket of currencies (yuan-ruble-rial-yen-rupee).

Xi has laid China’s cards – as well as the road map – on the table. As far as the Chinese Dream is concerned, it’s now clear; Have BRI, Will Travel.

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Ethereum (ETHUSD) Daily MACD Trying to Negatively Cross

Ethereum (ETHUSD) Weekly/Daily

Ethereum (ETHUSD) sold off sharply yesterday and continues sliding in today’s Asia morning, arguably breaking below ascending wedge support (on the weekly/daily chart).  ETHUSD is now just a day’s volatility away from the psychologically key 300 whole figure level.  A ETHUSD break below 300 in the next day or so would likely confirm the first red weekly candle in 5 weeks.  Bears will be patiently awaiting any deeper slide in the next few weeks to below the September low, which would signal the start of a downtrend of lower lows.  The October high so far is lower than the August high, which was also lower than the June high.  Weekly RSI, Stochastics and MACD are showing signs of fatigue, and are increasingly weighed down by the already weak daily equivalents.

 

ETHUSD (Ethereum) Weekly Technical Analysis

 

ETHUSD (Ethereum) Daily Technical Analysis

 

Bitcoin (BTCUSD) Weekly/Daily

Bitcoin (BTCUSD) has defied bears so far, and remains in a strong uptrend.  Nevertheless, BTCUSD appears to have made a short-term top just below 6000 as leading Alt Coin Ethereum (ETHUSD) increasingly weakens.  The tiring daily RSI and Stochastics, and soon to negatively cross daily MACD do not bode well for BTCUSD bulls today.  Nevertheless, upchannel support (on the daily and weekly chart) coincides with the psychologically key 5000 whole figure level and should contain the pullback these next few days assuming the weekly MACD blue line has not flattened and turned lower by then.

BTCUSD (Bitcoin) Weekly Technical Analysis

 

BTCUSD (Bitcoin) Daily Technical Analysis

Click here for today’s technical analysis on Cocoa

Tradable Patterns was launched to demonstrate that the patterns recurring in liquid futures, spot FX and cryptocurrency markets can be analyzed to enhance trading performance. Tradable Patterns’ daily newsletter provides technical analysis on a subset of three CME/ICE/Eurex futures (commodities, equity indices, and interest rates), spot FX and cryptocurrency markets, which it considers worth monitoring for the day/week for trend reversal or continuation. For less experienced traders, tutorials and workshops are offered online and throughout Southeast Asia.

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The Quiet Bull Market That Everyone Is Skeptical Of

Authored by Kevin Muir via The Macro Tourist,

Although US stock markets are getting all the attention, Japan is quietly knocking up against 20-year highs.

In 1995, Nick Leeson bankrupted United Kingdom’s oldest merchant bank with his Nikkei futures trading, but at least he has kept his sense of humour about it. I doubt Barings Bank shareholders find it quite so funny, yet it did give us a thrilling trader-turned-OJ chase through southeast Asia, and a not-half-bad-Ewan-McGregor movie. And here we are, some two decades later, and Nick is finally almost even on his trade.

Kidding aside, Japan has been a decent little long trade over the past couple of months. Even though we were trading at these levels in 2015, that was when the Yen was 125, as opposed to the much stronger current quote of 112.

This divergence between the Yen and the Nikkei is the story that is going most unnoticed.

Since the start of Abeconomics, the Nikkei has been tied to the hip of the Yen. The BoJ floods the system with Yen, this causes the value of the Yen to go down, and Japanese stocks get a bid.

Well, you could argue the BoJ is still flooding their financial system with liquidity, but the Yen is no longer declining. But most importantly, this Yen strength is not causing any stress in Japanese financial markets. In fact, it almost appears like capital has concluded that Japan is cheap, and is flowing into Japan.

This summer I suggested it might be time to Sell US – Buy Japan?. The fact that over the last few months, the Nikkei was able to rally even in the face of Yen strength, has only emboldened my call.

I know everyone thinks Abeconomics will end in disaster. Nothing gets more laughs than hopping on twitter and making some joke about the inevitability of the Japanese collapse from all their money printing. Yet if there is one thing that today’s markets should teach us, it is that anything can happen. Maybe eventually Japan will implode in a fiery inflationary mess. Won’t deny that one bit. But in the meantime, there is money to be made.

And sometimes the breaking of a long held correlation is more important than its continuation.

Yen weakness has been the driving force behind Japanese economic strength for the past few years. With this recent divergence, maybe it is the signal Japan is ready to stand on its own?

It seems like everyone is all bulled up on America. Well, sold to them. I am more interested in buying the quiet rising market which everyone is skeptical of, rather than the frothy expensive one that everyone loves.

*  *  *
[ZH: Some context – it has taken 21 years of "buy and hold" to breakeven… and the index still needs to rally 88% further to get back to even from its record highs in 1989.]

 

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US Destroyer Carrys Out Trump’s 4th “Freedom Of Navigation” Operation In South China Sea

In a provocation that’s sure to raise eyebrows in Beijing, a US Navy destroyer on Tuesday sailed within 12 miles of Parcel islands in the South China Sea in what appears to be the first US “Freedom of Navigation” operation in two months.

Reuters reports that the USS Chafee, a guided-missile destroyer, challenged “excessive maritime claims” near the Paracel Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals over which China has territorial disputes with its neighbors. The operation is believed to be the fourth of its kind to take place since Trump took office.

Unlike a previous mission conducted in August, officials said the destroyer didn’t sail within range of the islands, though it did come close.

As Reuters points out, the ship didn’t penetrate a 12 nautical mile boundary surrounding the islands that marks the islands’ internationally recognized territorial limits. Sailing within that range is meant to show the US doesn’t recognize territorial claims.

The operation was carried out even as China and the Trump administration have been working closely together to pass restrictive economic sanctions against North Korea. Recently, China instructed its banks to stop doing business with North Korean clients, and informed North Korean laborers and businesses that they must stop operating in China and return to North Korea.

When approached by Reuters, the Pentagon did not comment directly on the operation, but said the US has carried out regular freedom-of-navigation operations and would continue to do so.

The operation was portrayed by Reuters as an attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters.

China has kept up the pressure on North Korea, though some have speculated that it will loosen up following November’s Communist Party Congress. An op-ed published by the Global Post on Tuesday urged North Korea to take the first step toward peace with the US by giving up its nuclear program. The GP is considered a mouthpiece for the Chinese government.

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US Destroyer Carries Out Trump’s 4th “Freedom Of Navigation” Operation In South China Sea

In a provocation that’s sure to raise eyebrows in Beijing, a US Navy destroyer on Tuesday sailed within 12 miles of Paracel islands in the South China Sea in what appears to be the first US “Freedom of Navigation” operation in two months.

Reuters reports that the USS Chafee, a guided-missile destroyer, challenged “excessive maritime claims” near the Paracel Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals over which China has territorial disputes with its neighbors. The operation is believed to be the fourth of its kind to take place since Trump took office.

Unlike a previous mission conducted in August, officials said the destroyer didn’t sail within range of the islands, though it did come close.

As Reuters points out, the ship didn’t penetrate a 12 nautical mile boundary surrounding the islands that marks the islands’ internationally recognized territorial limits. Sailing within that range is meant to show the US doesn’t recognize territorial claims.

The operation was carried out even as China and the Trump administration have been working closely together to pass restrictive economic sanctions against North Korea. Recently, China instructed its banks to stop doing business with North Korean clients, and informed North Korean laborers and businesses that they must stop operating in China and return to North Korea.

When approached by Reuters, the Pentagon did not comment directly on the operation, but said the US has carried out regular freedom-of-navigation operations and would continue to do so.

The operation was portrayed by Reuters as an attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters.

China has kept up the pressure on North Korea, though some have speculated that it will loosen up following November’s Communist Party Congress. An op-ed published by the Global Post on Tuesday urged North Korea to take the first step toward peace with the US by giving up its nuclear program. The GP is considered a mouthpiece for the Chinese government.

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Yes, The US Government Has Experimented With Controlling Hurricanes

Authored by Derrick Broze via TheAntiMedia.org,

The 2017 hurricane season has wrought more damage on the Caribbean and the Gulf Coast of the United States than any season in the last decade. Tropical Storm Harvey smashed into the Gulf, temporarily swallowing Houston and other low lying areas. Meanwhile, Hurricane Irma caused millions of dollars in damage to Florida, Puerto Rico, and other Caribbean islands, leaving millions without power and water.

Along with the gusts of wind, property damage, and loss of life, this hurricane season also sparked a wide range of conspiracy theories regarding the possibility that the U.S. government or some other government could be manipulating the weather to strengthen hurricanes.

These theories range from the idea that planes were spraying before and during the storms in order to help them grow and/or direct them at specific targets to others who believe the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), or a similar device, was used to heat up the ionosphere and “charge” the storms to cause more destruction.

There are dozens of YouTube channels where individuals focus specifically on weather manipulation and modification. They claim to have the expertise to study radar images and determine whether artificial elements were added to developing hurricanes. If you are interested in that type of research, see this. However, I will not be addressing the issue of whether or not the U.S. is currently manipulating hurricanes. I do not have the technical background to accurately report in that area. Instead, I will focus on the history of weather modification as it pertains to hurricanes. If you have limited knowledge on weather modification — or, perhaps, you even think it is a hoax — I encourage you to read on. If you are familiar with the history or science of weather modification, I also encourage you to read on, as I have included details I have not seen covered elsewhere.

The theories surrounding possible hurricane manipulation have grown to the point that the “mainstream” media has been forced to respond. In early September, Space.com released an article titled “No, We Can’t Control Hurricanes from Space,” which attempted to debunk these theories. “The short answer is that we can’t control weather at any scale, and hurricanes are no exception,” Space.com wrote. Nevertheless, if we go back to 2015, we find an article from Popular Mechanics matter-of-factly stating, “We Could Reduce the Number of Hurricanes By Injecting Particles Into the Atmosphere.” The article discusses research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that concluded sulfates could be spread into the Earth’s stratosphere to “dampen” hurricanes over the next 50 years. The scientists do not claim to be able to “steer” or direct hurricanes, but they do say they have the power to slow them down by 50 percent.

A (Brief) History of Weather Modification

Despite these modest statements, the history of weather modification and the desire to manipulate hurricanes has a history stretching back at least 100 years to people often known as “rainmakers.” The rainmakers were men who studied “pluviculture,” or the act of attempting to artificially create rain, usually to fight drought. Most of these men were seen as scammers, traveling salesman pitching fantasy ideas to the gullible about creating rain. However, one of the most successful rainmakers was Charles Hatfield. Born in 1875, Hatfield migrated to Southern California and studied pluviculture, eventually creating a secret mixture of 23 chemicals he said could induce rain. Using his secret mixture, Hatfield successfully created storms several times and began to find work creating rain.

In 1915, Hatfield began working for the San Diego city council to produce enough rain to fill the Morena Dam reservoir. Hatfield was told he would receive $10,000 once the reservoir was filled. In early January 1915, rain began pouring down over the dam, growing heavier with each day that passed. On January 20, the dam broke, causing mass flooding that led to an estimated 20 deaths. Hatfield told the press he was not to blame, stating the city should have taken precautions. The city refused to pay Hatfield unless he also accepted liability for the damage and deaths. After legal battles ensued, Hatfield was absolved of any wrongdoing when the storm was officially ruled an act of God. However, due to the ruling, Hatfield’s work was seen as a failure, and he was (mostly) relegated to forgotten pages of history.

Beginning in 1947, General Electric, the U.S. Army Corps, the U.S. Air Force, and the Office of Naval Research began attempting to modify hurricanes. The main scientist behind the research was a Nobel Peace Prize-winning chemist named Irving Langmuir. While working as a chemist with GE, Langmuir began to hypothesize about manipulating hurricanes. In October 1947, the researchers decided to seed a hurricane with ice pellets. The hurricane had been drifting to the northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, but after being seeded, the hurricane grew stronger and crashed into Savannah, Georgia.

There was a public backlash and threats of lawsuits against Langmuir and the research team. Despite Langmuir claiming responsibility for affecting the storm, researchers concluded his work did not cause the change in direction. The lawsuits were dropped, but Langmuir continued to work on weather modification. It’s not hard to imagine the U.S. military and General Electric wanting to distance themselves from the destruction by calling their own project a failure. Interestingly, Wikipedia references a 1965 article from the Sun-Sentinel titled “Betsy’s Turnaround Stirs Big Question.” (Betsy was another hurricane reported to have been modified.) The article, written more than a decade later, apparently reports that a hurricane in 1947 “went whacky” and that “[t]welve years later it was admitted the storm had in fact been seeded.” Unfortunately, there is not a digital copy of the article available to verify the claims on Wikipedia.

Most reports on Project Cirrus claim the 1947 hurricane was the only attempt, but a look at records maintained by General Electric indicate there were several more tests on hurricanes. The records list Albuquerque, New Mexico; Mt. Washington, New Hampshire; Burbank, California; and several locations in New York as test sites for cloud seeding with silver iodide. Another section lists cloud seeding attempts in Honduras by Langmuir. The report stated:

“In 1948 and 1949, Langmuir visited Honduras, Guatemala, and Costa Rica to study tropical cloud formations, and particularly to learn what was being done by Joe Silverthorne, a commercial cloud seeder, in seeding clouds for the United Fruit Company. The work was being conducted for the purpose of testing out the possibility of controlling rainfall, and particularly in the hope of stopping blow-downs that result from winds associated with thunderstorms, which occasionally destroy large stands of fruit trees.”

The GE report is well worth your time and attention. It details the contracts between the U.S. military and GE, as well as other historical details regarding GE’s attempts to modify weather.

More recent examples of attempts at weather modification involve programs known as Project Stormfury, Project Cirrus, and Operation Popeye. Project Stormfury was a U.S. government project aimed at weakening Tropical Cyclones by seeding them with silver iodide. From 1961 to 1971, researchers sprayed silver iodide into hurricanes, believing the supercooled water might disrupt the structure of the storm. Officially, the project has been ruled a failure, but it was not the only attempt to manipulate weather in this time period.

One example of seeding a hurricane that may have actually been successful was Hurricane Betsy in 1965. As the Sun-Sentinel reported in 1965:

“Hurricane Betsy was building strength; it looked like it was aiming for South Carolina, posing no threat to South Florida. But on Saturday, Sept. 4, the storm whirled to a stop, about 350 miles east of Jacksonville. When Betsy started moving again on Sunday, she had changed directions. The storm plowed through the Bahamas Monday night, then mauled South Florida a day later.”

Officially, the U.S. government says Hurricane Betsy was designated to be seeded but that apparently, that decision was changed at the last moment. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recalled the event on the 50th anniversary:

“Dr. Joanne Simpson, Project Director, had ordered the fleet of Navy and Weather Bureau research aircraft to deploy to Puerto Rico on August 28th.  Over the next two days, the planes monitored the storm’s slow progress toward the designated part of the ocean where they could carry out their weather modification experiments.  By August 31st, Betsy had just managed to crawl into the area as a hurricane, so a seeding experiment was scheduled for the next day.  The first aircraft had already taken off from Roosevelt Roads Naval Air Station, PR the morning of September 1st when word came from the National Hurricane Center that overnight Betsy had completed a loop in its track and was now headed southward and out of the allowed seeding area.  The seeding experiments were called off and the mission changed to a ‘dry run’, where the same patterns were flown but no silver iodide was released into the storm.  Unfortunately, no one informed the press which had been alerted to STORMFURY’s seeding intentions the previous day.”

The press and the public blamed the researchers for the 138 mph winds and destruction from Betsy. Congress was skeptical of further programs until the researchers were able to smooth things over. “I was totally unaware of the level of emotion and hostility that was directed against anything that had to do with cloud seeding,”  Joanne Simpson, one time head of Project Stormfury, told NASA.  Simpson would go on to work on a cloud-seeding project called FACE (the Florida Area Cumulus Experiment).

With Hurricane Betsy and the 1947 hurricane, we have two situations where cloud-seeding was reportedly happening, and we have two disastrous outcomes. In both situations, the scientists claimed no responsibility, and no one was held accountable. Again, is it that hard to imagine a government official (or a scientist under government contract) lying about the nature of the work? Especially if that work resulted in millions of dollars in property damage and deaths?

The NOAA even acknowledges that “[s]ince no one at Project STORMFURY nor in the Weather Bureau had advised the public or the press that the actual seeding of the storm had been scrubbed, many people believed it had been carried out and the link to its odd path seemed plausible.  Although attempts to clarify the facts about STORMFURY and Betsy were made after the fact, the notion of a link persists to the present.”

Weather as a Weapon of War

Operation Popeye was a now-declassified attempt by the U.S. military to modify the weather in Southeast Asia from 1967 to 1972. The U.S. military conducted cloud-seeding operations over the Ho-Chi Minh trail during the Vietnam War. Cloud-seeding typically involves planes flying overhead and spraying silver iodide into the air. The goal in Vietnam was to extend monsoon season and flood out the enemy. It was reported that the operations were “tightly controlled” by Henry Kissinger, who was serving as Secretary of State at the time. Operation Popeye is the first modern example (that we know of) where attempts were made to use weather as a weapon of war.

In April 1976, the New York Times wrote about the situation and the challenges weather modification created:

Can a nation that tampers with natural balances deny responsibility for what follows? This question, together with recognition that United States policy condemns warfare aimed at civilians, prompted Senator Claiborne Pell in 1973 to introduce a resolution calling for an international treaty to prohibit environmental warfare ‘or the carrying out of any research or experimentation directed thereto.’ The Senate voted 82 to 10 to approve the resolution, which lacks force of law.”

The international treaty referred to is the Environmental Modification Treaty implemented and signed by the United States and other nations to halt global weather modification in the wake of the bad publicity. The Times noted:

Unfortunately it is far weaker than the Senate resolution. For example, it fails to prohibit military research or development of environmental?modification techniques, and allows all ‘peaceful’ work on such things.”

So as long as a nation claims they are conducting peaceful weather modification, they are not violating the treaty. Further, there is no international body to enforce and punish violations of the treaty.

The Times also mentions the Department of Defense’s “Climate Dynamics” program, formerly known as Project Nile Blue. A 1976 report from Milton Leitenberg for the Federation of Scientists elaborates on the origins of Nile Blue. “Beginning in 1969, ARPA, the Advanced Research Projects Agency in the U.S. Department of Defense, began funding a project called “Nile Blue (Climate Modification Research),” Leitenberg wrote.

The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) was the predecessor to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a secretive agency within the  Department of Defense. DARPA is known for developing exotic and emerging technologies for the military. These reports listed above indicated that Project STORMFURY and Project Nile Blue were some of the earliest known military operations conducted in the name of manipulating the weather, including hurricanes.

Leitenberg also noted two examples of times the U.S. has been accused of using weather modification on other nations. The was first related to alleged cloud seeding over Cuba in 1969 and 1970 in an alleged effort to destroy the sugar crops. In the second case, the director of the geographical research center of the University of Mexico implied that the United States was to blame for the effects of Hurricane Fifi over Honduras in 1974. A story from The Naples Daily News on July 15, 1975, expanded upon this claim:

Dr. Jorge Vivo, director of the Geographic Research Center of the University of Mexico, said Monday the United States ‘artificially detoured’ the hurricane to Honduras to save Florida’s tourist industry. But Neil Frank, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, said Monday night U.S. officials did nothing to alter the hurricane’s path. Vivo told the newspaper El Sol de Mexico he held the United States responsible for 10,000 deaths and millions of dollars in damage caused by Fifi in the Central American nation. He said he believed U.S. weather authorities used silver iodide against Fifi as part of what he called ‘a systematic action’ to change its course.

More recently, we have seen accusations that the CIA is manipulating the weather.  In February 2015, while speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Jose, California, Professor Alan Robock discussed the possibility that the CIA is using the weather as a weapon of war. Robock has conducted research for the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) in the past. Robock said he was phoned by two men claiming to be from the CIA and asking whether or not it was possible for hostile governments to use geoengineering against the United States. Geoengineering is another form of weather modification that involves a range of different proposals for combatting climate change.

Despite a lack of concrete evidence to back these claims, we know the military has a history of testing weather modification and has specifically mentioned using the weather as a weapon. For example, In a 1996 document entitled “Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather by 2025”  the U.S. Air Force discussed a number of proposals for using the weather as a weapon.

Whatever view you take of these projects, the fact remains that they helped spur the movement towards using computer models to attempt to predict the weather. Quite simply, the history of computer model weather prediction is intertwined with the military’s attempts to modify the weather. Weather historian James Fleming writes that the two men largely responsible for computer modeling are Vladimir Zworykin, an RCA engineer noted for his early work in television technology, and John von Neumann, a mathematician with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. In 1945, Zworykin was promoting the idea that electronic computers could process and analyze mass amounts of meteorological data and issue accurate forecasts.

The eventual goal to be attained is the international organization of means to study weather phenomena as global phenomena and to channel the world’s weather, as far as possible, in such a way as to minimize the damage from catastrophic disturbances, and otherwise to benefit the world to the greatest extent by improved climatic conditions where ­possible,” Zworykin wrote. According to Fleming, Neumann agreed with this outlook, stating, “I agree with you completely. This would provide a basis for scientific approach[es] to influencing the weather.

Modern Hurricane Modification

In 2005, following the destruction left by Hurricane Katrina, USA Today wrote:

In fact, military officials and weather modification experts could be on the verge of joining forces to better gauge, react to, and possibly nullify future hostile forces churned out by Mother Nature.”

On November 10, 2005, Dr. Joseph Golden, former manager of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and veteran of Project STORMFURY, testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Disaster Prediction & Prevention, warning about the need for hurricane modification.

After the horrendous devastation and loss of life from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, I have been asked several times about the possibility of hurricane modification,” Golden stated. “I firmly believe that we are in a much better position, both with the science and the undergirding technology, than we were when Project STORMFURY was terminated. The need for a renewed national commitment and funding for weather modification research has become more urgent.”

Golden is also involved the Hurricane Aerosol and Microphysics Program (HAMP). In 2010, he gave a presentation discussing how the Department of Homeland Security asked the NOAA to organize a workshop on possible new scientific theory and approaches to hurricane modification in February 2008.

It seems likely that various agencies of the U.S. government began heavily investing in studying weather modification following the destructive hurricane seasons of 2005 and 2008. The idea that the U.S. government could be experimenting with controlling or steering hurricanes may sound like fantasy, but the fact of the matter is the government continues to invest in hurricane modification research. Is it possible that the U.S. government, under the direction of the CIA or the DOD, is working with private industries like General Electric to continue experimenting with weather modification technology? Should the public trust that government officials would fess up to secret experiments?

http://WarMachines.com

The US Government Has Experimented With Controlling Hurricanes

Authored by Derrick Broze via TheAntiMedia.org,

The 2017 hurricane season has wrought more damage on the Caribbean and the Gulf Coast of the United States than any season in the last decade. Tropical Storm Harvey smashed into the Gulf, temporarily swallowing Houston and other low lying areas. Meanwhile, Hurricane Irma caused millions of dollars in damage to Florida, Puerto Rico, and other Caribbean islands, leaving millions without power and water.

Along with the gusts of wind, property damage, and loss of life, this hurricane season also sparked a wide range of conspiracy theories regarding the possibility that the U.S. government or some other government could be manipulating the weather to strengthen hurricanes.

These theories range from the idea that planes were spraying before and during the storms in order to help them grow and/or direct them at specific targets to others who believe the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), or a similar device, was used to heat up the ionosphere and “charge” the storms to cause more destruction.

There are dozens of YouTube channels where individuals focus specifically on weather manipulation and modification. They claim to have the expertise to study radar images and determine whether artificial elements were added to developing hurricanes. If you are interested in that type of research, see this. However, I will not be addressing the issue of whether or not the U.S. is currently manipulating hurricanes. I do not have the technical background to accurately report in that area. Instead, I will focus on the history of weather modification as it pertains to hurricanes. If you have limited knowledge on weather modification — or, perhaps, you even think it is a hoax — I encourage you to read on. If you are familiar with the history or science of weather modification, I also encourage you to read on, as I have included details I have not seen covered elsewhere.

The theories surrounding possible hurricane manipulation have grown to the point that the “mainstream” media has been forced to respond. In early September, Space.com released an article titled “No, We Can’t Control Hurricanes from Space,” which attempted to debunk these theories. “The short answer is that we can’t control weather at any scale, and hurricanes are no exception,” Space.com wrote. Nevertheless, if we go back to 2015, we find an article from Popular Mechanics matter-of-factly stating, “We Could Reduce the Number of Hurricanes By Injecting Particles Into the Atmosphere.” The article discusses research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that concluded sulfates could be spread into the Earth’s stratosphere to “dampen” hurricanes over the next 50 years. The scientists do not claim to be able to “steer” or direct hurricanes, but they do say they have the power to slow them down by 50 percent.

A (Brief) History of Weather Modification

Despite these modest statements, the history of weather modification and the desire to manipulate hurricanes has a history stretching back at least 100 years to people often known as “rainmakers.” The rainmakers were men who studied “pluviculture,” or the act of attempting to artificially create rain, usually to fight drought. Most of these men were seen as scammers, traveling salesman pitching fantasy ideas to the gullible about creating rain. However, one of the most successful rainmakers was Charles Hatfield. Born in 1875, Hatfield migrated to Southern California and studied pluviculture, eventually creating a secret mixture of 23 chemicals he said could induce rain. Using his secret mixture, Hatfield successfully created storms several times and began to find work creating rain.

In 1915, Hatfield began working for the San Diego city council to produce enough rain to fill the Morena Dam reservoir. Hatfield was told he would receive $10,000 once the reservoir was filled. In early January 1915, rain began pouring down over the dam, growing heavier with each day that passed. On January 20, the dam broke, causing mass flooding that led to an estimated 20 deaths. Hatfield told the press he was not to blame, stating the city should have taken precautions. The city refused to pay Hatfield unless he also accepted liability for the damage and deaths. After legal battles ensued, Hatfield was absolved of any wrongdoing when the storm was officially ruled an act of God. However, due to the ruling, Hatfield’s work was seen as a failure, and he was (mostly) relegated to forgotten pages of history.

Beginning in 1947, General Electric, the U.S. Army Corps, the U.S. Air Force, and the Office of Naval Research began attempting to modify hurricanes. The main scientist behind the research was a Nobel Peace Prize-winning chemist named Irving Langmuir. While working as a chemist with GE, Langmuir began to hypothesize about manipulating hurricanes. In October 1947, the researchers decided to seed a hurricane with ice pellets. The hurricane had been drifting to the northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, but after being seeded, the hurricane grew stronger and crashed into Savannah, Georgia.

There was a public backlash and threats of lawsuits against Langmuir and the research team. Despite Langmuir claiming responsibility for affecting the storm, researchers concluded his work did not cause the change in direction. The lawsuits were dropped, but Langmuir continued to work on weather modification. It’s not hard to imagine the U.S. military and General Electric wanting to distance themselves from the destruction by calling their own project a failure. Interestingly, Wikipedia references a 1965 article from the Sun-Sentinel titled “Betsy’s Turnaround Stirs Big Question.” (Betsy was another hurricane reported to have been modified.) The article, written more than a decade later, apparently reports that a hurricane in 1947 “went whacky” and that “[t]welve years later it was admitted the storm had in fact been seeded.” Unfortunately, there is not a digital copy of the article available to verify the claims on Wikipedia.

Most reports on Project Cirrus claim the 1947 hurricane was the only attempt, but a look at records maintained by General Electric indicate there were several more tests on hurricanes. The records list Albuquerque, New Mexico; Mt. Washington, New Hampshire; Burbank, California; and several locations in New York as test sites for cloud seeding with silver iodide. Another section lists cloud seeding attempts in Honduras by Langmuir. The report stated:

“In 1948 and 1949, Langmuir visited Honduras, Guatemala, and Costa Rica to study tropical cloud formations, and particularly to learn what was being done by Joe Silverthorne, a commercial cloud seeder, in seeding clouds for the United Fruit Company. The work was being conducted for the purpose of testing out the possibility of controlling rainfall, and particularly in the hope of stopping blow-downs that result from winds associated with thunderstorms, which occasionally destroy large stands of fruit trees.”

The GE report is well worth your time and attention. It details the contracts between the U.S. military and GE, as well as other historical details regarding GE’s attempts to modify weather.

More recent examples of attempts at weather modification involve programs known as Project Stormfury, Project Cirrus, and Operation Popeye. Project Stormfury was a U.S. government project aimed at weakening Tropical Cyclones by seeding them with silver iodide. From 1961 to 1971, researchers sprayed silver iodide into hurricanes, believing the supercooled water might disrupt the structure of the storm. Officially, the project has been ruled a failure, but it was not the only attempt to manipulate weather in this time period.

One example of seeding a hurricane that may have actually been successful was Hurricane Betsy in 1965. As the Sun-Sentinel reported in 1965:

“Hurricane Betsy was building strength; it looked like it was aiming for South Carolina, posing no threat to South Florida. But on Saturday, Sept. 4, the storm whirled to a stop, about 350 miles east of Jacksonville. When Betsy started moving again on Sunday, she had changed directions. The storm plowed through the Bahamas Monday night, then mauled South Florida a day later.”

Officially, the U.S. government says Hurricane Betsy was designated to be seeded but that apparently, that decision was changed at the last moment. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recalled the event on the 50th anniversary:

“Dr. Joanne Simpson, Project Director, had ordered the fleet of Navy and Weather Bureau research aircraft to deploy to Puerto Rico on August 28th.  Over the next two days, the planes monitored the storm’s slow progress toward the designated part of the ocean where they could carry out their weather modification experiments.  By August 31st, Betsy had just managed to crawl into the area as a hurricane, so a seeding experiment was scheduled for the next day.  The first aircraft had already taken off from Roosevelt Roads Naval Air Station, PR the morning of September 1st when word came from the National Hurricane Center that overnight Betsy had completed a loop in its track and was now headed southward and out of the allowed seeding area.  The seeding experiments were called off and the mission changed to a ‘dry run’, where the same patterns were flown but no silver iodide was released into the storm.  Unfortunately, no one informed the press which had been alerted to STORMFURY’s seeding intentions the previous day.”

The press and the public blamed the researchers for the 138 mph winds and destruction from Betsy. Congress was skeptical of further programs until the researchers were able to smooth things over. “I was totally unaware of the level of emotion and hostility that was directed against anything that had to do with cloud seeding,”  Joanne Simpson, one time head of Project Stormfury, told NASA.  Simpson would go on to work on a cloud-seeding project called FACE (the Florida Area Cumulus Experiment).

With Hurricane Betsy and the 1947 hurricane, we have two situations where cloud-seeding was reportedly happening, and we have two disastrous outcomes. In both situations, the scientists claimed no responsibility, and no one was held accountable. Again, is it that hard to imagine a government official (or a scientist under government contract) lying about the nature of the work? Especially if that work resulted in millions of dollars in property damage and deaths?

The NOAA even acknowledges that “[s]ince no one at Project STORMFURY nor in the Weather Bureau had advised the public or the press that the actual seeding of the storm had been scrubbed, many people believed it had been carried out and the link to its odd path seemed plausible.  Although attempts to clarify the facts about STORMFURY and Betsy were made after the fact, the notion of a link persists to the present.”

Weather as a Weapon of War

Operation Popeye was a now-declassified attempt by the U.S. military to modify the weather in Southeast Asia from 1967 to 1972. The U.S. military conducted cloud-seeding operations over the Ho-Chi Minh trail during the Vietnam War. Cloud-seeding typically involves planes flying overhead and spraying silver iodide into the air. The goal in Vietnam was to extend monsoon season and flood out the enemy. It was reported that the operations were “tightly controlled” by Henry Kissinger, who was serving as Secretary of State at the time. Operation Popeye is the first modern example (that we know of) where attempts were made to use weather as a weapon of war.

In April 1976, the New York Times wrote about the situation and the challenges weather modification created:

Can a nation that tampers with natural balances deny responsibility for what follows? This question, together with recognition that United States policy condemns warfare aimed at civilians, prompted Senator Claiborne Pell in 1973 to introduce a resolution calling for an international treaty to prohibit environmental warfare ‘or the carrying out of any research or experimentation directed thereto.’ The Senate voted 82 to 10 to approve the resolution, which lacks force of law.”

The international treaty referred to is the Environmental Modification Treaty implemented and signed by the United States and other nations to halt global weather modification in the wake of the bad publicity. The Times noted:

Unfortunately it is far weaker than the Senate resolution. For example, it fails to prohibit military research or development of environmental?modification techniques, and allows all ‘peaceful’ work on such things.”

So as long as a nation claims they are conducting peaceful weather modification, they are not violating the treaty. Further, there is no international body to enforce and punish violations of the treaty.

The Times also mentions the Department of Defense’s “Climate Dynamics” program, formerly known as Project Nile Blue. A 1976 report from Milton Leitenberg for the Federation of Scientists elaborates on the origins of Nile Blue. “Beginning in 1969, ARPA, the Advanced Research Projects Agency in the U.S. Department of Defense, began funding a project called “Nile Blue (Climate Modification Research),” Leitenberg wrote.

The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) was the predecessor to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a secretive agency within the  Department of Defense. DARPA is known for developing exotic and emerging technologies for the military. These reports listed above indicated that Project STORMFURY and Project Nile Blue were some of the earliest known military operations conducted in the name of manipulating the weather, including hurricanes.

Leitenberg also noted two examples of times the U.S. has been accused of using weather modification on other nations. The was first related to alleged cloud seeding over Cuba in 1969 and 1970 in an alleged effort to destroy the sugar crops. In the second case, the director of the geographical research center of the University of Mexico implied that the United States was to blame for the effects of Hurricane Fifi over Honduras in 1974. A story from The Naples Daily News on July 15, 1975, expanded upon this claim:

Dr. Jorge Vivo, director of the Geographic Research Center of the University of Mexico, said Monday the United States ‘artificially detoured’ the hurricane to Honduras to save Florida’s tourist industry. But Neil Frank, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, said Monday night U.S. officials did nothing to alter the hurricane’s path. Vivo told the newspaper El Sol de Mexico he held the United States responsible for 10,000 deaths and millions of dollars in damage caused by Fifi in the Central American nation. He said he believed U.S. weather authorities used silver iodide against Fifi as part of what he called ‘a systematic action’ to change its course.

More recently, we have seen accusations that the CIA is manipulating the weather.  In February 2015, while speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Jose, California, Professor Alan Robock discussed the possibility that the CIA is using the weather as a weapon of war. Robock has conducted research for the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) in the past. Robock said he was phoned by two men claiming to be from the CIA and asking whether or not it was possible for hostile governments to use geoengineering against the United States. Geoengineering is another form of weather modification that involves a range of different proposals for combatting climate change.

Despite a lack of concrete evidence to back these claims, we know the military has a history of testing weather modification and has specifically mentioned using the weather as a weapon. For example, In a 1996 document entitled “Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather by 2025”  the U.S. Air Force discussed a number of proposals for using the weather as a weapon.

Whatever view you take of these projects, the fact remains that they helped spur the movement towards using computer models to attempt to predict the weather. Quite simply, the history of computer model weather prediction is intertwined with the military’s attempts to modify the weather. Weather historian James Fleming writes that the two men largely responsible for computer modeling are Vladimir Zworykin, an RCA engineer noted for his early work in television technology, and John von Neumann, a mathematician with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. In 1945, Zworykin was promoting the idea that electronic computers could process and analyze mass amounts of meteorological data and issue accurate forecasts.

The eventual goal to be attained is the international organization of means to study weather phenomena as global phenomena and to channel the world’s weather, as far as possible, in such a way as to minimize the damage from catastrophic disturbances, and otherwise to benefit the world to the greatest extent by improved climatic conditions where ­possible,” Zworykin wrote. According to Fleming, Neumann agreed with this outlook, stating, “I agree with you completely. This would provide a basis for scientific approach[es] to influencing the weather.

Modern Hurricane Modification

In 2005, following the destruction left by Hurricane Katrina, USA Today wrote:

In fact, military officials and weather modification experts could be on the verge of joining forces to better gauge, react to, and possibly nullify future hostile forces churned out by Mother Nature.”

On November 10, 2005, Dr. Joseph Golden, former manager of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and veteran of Project STORMFURY, testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Disaster Prediction & Prevention, warning about the need for hurricane modification.

After the horrendous devastation and loss of life from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, I have been asked several times about the possibility of hurricane modification,” Golden stated. “I firmly believe that we are in a much better position, both with the science and the undergirding technology, than we were when Project STORMFURY was terminated. The need for a renewed national commitment and funding for weather modification research has become more urgent.”

Golden is also involved the Hurricane Aerosol and Microphysics Program (HAMP). In 2010, he gave a presentation discussing how the Department of Homeland Security asked the NOAA to organize a workshop on possible new scientific theory and approaches to hurricane modification in February 2008.

It seems likely that various agencies of the U.S. government began heavily investing in studying weather modification following the destructive hurricane seasons of 2005 and 2008. The idea that the U.S. government could be experimenting with controlling or steering hurricanes may sound like fantasy, but the fact of the matter is the government continues to invest in hurricane modification research. Is it possible that the U.S. government, under the direction of the CIA or the DOD, is working with private industries like General Electric to continue experimenting with weather modification technology? Should the public trust that government officials would fess up to secret experiments?

http://WarMachines.com

Oil Giants At Odds As Saudi-Russian Ties Improve

Authored by Nicholas Trickett via OilPrice.com,

Oil Royalties

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud visited Moscow last Wednesday, the first such visit by a Saudi monarch since the Soviet Union collapsed. Two topics dominated the agenda: Syria and oil. Saudi Arabia has likely found itself in the uncomfortable position of accepting Assad’s grip on power into the future in hopes of drawing Russia further away from Tehran in trying to resolve the Syrian Civil War. To that end, Saudi Arabia is reportedly buying Russia’s S-400 missile system and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on industrial cooperation in the defense sector. Saudi Arabia is trying to use its leverage – financial resources – to influence Russia on other priority areas, namely Iran. As expected, energy played a big role during the visit and deals associated with it.

Reports say that $3 billion in projects have been agreed to between the two countries, including a $1.1 billion petrochemical plant to be constructed in Saudi Arabia by Russia’s Sibur and an agreement between Saudi Aramco and Gazprom Neft on drilling technology. A $1 billion investment fund for energy and technology was also announced. Russia and Saudi Arabia have worked together to try and raise crude prices by lowering production 1.8 million bpd with other producers. But these cuts have disproportionately affected Saudi Arabia’s standing on Asian markets and Russia’s state oil major Rosneft has jumped at the chance to grab market share and assets in Asia. As is so often the case, today’s solutions laid the seeds of tomorrow’s conflict. Saudi Aramco and Rosneft are positioning for a post-cut market, and Saudi Arabia may be offering cooperation to spite Qatar as well as temper the risks of its increasingly active foreign policy and proxy wars with Iran.  

China Syndrome

China has understandably played the leading role in Russia’s attempts to broaden its role as an energy supplier in Asia. Rosneft recently sold 14.16 percent of its shares to CEFC China Energy for about $9 billion by way of the Qatar Investment Authority and Glencore. The move reflected the challenges financial sanctions have created for the firm as well as China’s growing clout as an importer. Chinese demand hit 11.67 million barrels per day (bpd) and had risen 6 percent year-on-year in July. Rosneft was smart to finalize supply agreements with PetroChina set to boost its daily exports to China from 400,000 bpd to 600,000 bpd next year. Rosneft also signed an agreement with CEFC to jointly explore for Eastern Siberian reserves and increase direct deliveries to China.

These deals play into Russian-Saudi competition for the Chinese market. China’s oil imports are up 12.3 percent year-on-year, but cuts haven’t hit Russian exports. Saudi oil exports to China hovered at 1.03 million bpd so far this year, a 1.7 percent drop. Russia’s stood at 1.16 million bpd, a 13.2 percent increase. After closing the CEFC deal, Rosneft announced it expected to deliver 40 million tons of oil to China by year’s end, a 9 million ton increase on their expected deliveries. That would average out to around 800,000 bpd from Rosneft alone, assuring Rosneft’s dominant control over Russian supplies to the Chinese market. The increase in supplies has paralleled a long-standing project to develop a refinery in Tianjin. But the project, first announced in 2009, has no clear end date despite a press release concerning its implementation with CNPC in January.

Saudi Arabia has disproportionately lost share in China for several reasons. For one, it bears the burden of cut compliance. Angola overtook it because of China’s dominant position there and didn’t feel the need to comply. For another, Russian firms have built up new assets and export capacity in Eastern Siberia and the Far East. Russian blends have more physical access to Asia-Pacific markets, making them more competitive than they’ve historically been. Finally, spreads on the market between light and heavy crude have narrowed, making Russia’s lighter crudes more competitive against Saudi heavy crudes. But Saudi Arabia is not without a means of responding.

Saudi Aramco reached a refinery deal with state-owned China North Industries Group Corp. in May around the Belt and Road summit. Though the refinery is smaller than that proposed in Tianjin, Saudi Aramco has one considerable advantage over Rosneft: it lacks the same messy history Rosneft has with China’s state firms and it’s not sanctioned. CEFC was a logical partner for Rosneft in China because, unlike CNPC and state-owned players, it could more easily afford to take the sanctions risk. It can also dangle shares to China. Further, the refinery deal signals a willingness to work with China’s independent refiners. These so-called “teapot” refineries have driven demand growth and provide Aramco greater diversity in business opportunities longer-term than Rosneft’s relationships with CNPC and CEFC afford it.

Ever since the company started talking about an IPO of 5 percent of its shares, China has been a logical partner. A sale to Chinese firms in exchange for investments into China’s downstream would be huge win. The Kingdom also signed a similar agreement for an investment platform with China worth $20 billion in late August, just as it became clear CEFC would acquire stakes in Rosneft. That throws a fair bit of shade on Russia’s $1 billion fund agreed to this last visit. Topping it all off, King Salman and Aramco also signed deals reportedly worth $65 billion with China in March.

Judging Saudi Arabia’s position against Russia’s on daily barrel counts alone is misleading. But Rosneft has signaled intentions to buy some Sinopec assets in Argentina, a move presaging greater interest in China’s petrochemical market. To access that market, it will need Sinopec in particular, a state firm, to ignore sanctions risks. If Aramco can beef up its relationships with private firms and independent refiners, it can limit Rosneft’s room to develop synergies between upstream and downstream operations on the Chinese market.

The Kingdom and India

Rosneft made a major splash by acquiring 98.6 percent of India’s Essar Oil with partners Trafigura and United Capital Partners, gaining the company’s refinery in Vadinar, a port, and 3,500 filling stations. The Vadinar refinery has a daily capacity of 400,000 bpd and assures Rosneft access to India’s growing oil market. However, the sale was meant to deleverage 60 percent of the Essar Group’s debt. There remains the perception that Indian firms lost out on the country’s growing downstream sector. India’s Intelligence Bureau and Home Ministry also red-flagged the deal on security grounds, citing the port’s proximity to the border with Pakistan and nearby military installations. Whatever the reason, there’s clearly significant concerns in India about the sale.

Saudi Aramco was bidding for the Vadinar refinery but didn’t match Rosneft’s willingness to pay off billions in Essar’s debt. As King Salman was in Moscow on Wednesday, Aramco issued statements that it plans to open an Indian subsidiary in the coming weeks. Back in June, the company showed its interest in exclusive talks with Indian counterparts like Indian Oil Corp., Hindustan Petroleum Corp., and Bharat Petroleum Corp. for a stake of a proposed 1.2 million bpd refinery on India’s west coast. Prime Minister Modi is likely facing pressure from two directions on the country’s energy security needs: China has thrown considerable financial resources at Saudi Arabia and now owns shares of Rosneft and India’s firms would be better positioned on Asia-Pacific oil markets with a more diverse array of international partners.

Saudi Arabia’s exports to India dropped 8.4 percent in the first half of 2017 as Russia has begun exporting more. Rosneft already owns an asset, though the US Treasury Department did throw up roadblocks last year. That places it firmly ahead on India’s market. But Saudi Aramco is most likely taking a hit now in the name of driving up prices for its public listing, which will provide a cash infusion exponentially larger than that gained from Rosneft’s privatization of shares last December considering estimates for Aramco’s market valuation. India is also signing more supply deals for exports from the US. Aramco has much better relationships on the U.S. market, particularly evidenced by its complete ownership of the Port Arthur refinery and its 600,000 bpd capacity. The U.S. Senate is looking to scrutinize any potential Rosneft acquisition of Citgo by way of Venezuela. Needless to say that Rosneft has few friends in the United States these days.

The ASEAN+ way forward

Aramco has moved to secure its position in Southeast Asia ahead of its IPO even though production cuts have led it to cut Southeast Asian exports to protect market share on larger markets like Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan. Despite lower exports, Saudi Aramco bought a 50 percent stake of the PRPC Polymers project from Petronas Chemicals Group Berhad (PCG), signing a strategic partnership agreement. Aramco is investing $7 billion into the project, slated for completion in 2019, and will provide up to 70 percent of the petrochemical plant’s crude oil needs.

Last December, Aramco reached an agreement with Indonesia’s Pertamina for a $5 billion expansion and 45 percent stake of a refinery. The expansion, slated for completion in 2021, will put the refinery’s capacity at 400,000 bpd. Aramco sources most of the refinery’s crude supplies. Pertamina and Rosneft are reportedly expected to finalize a refinery deal at the end of this year for a new refinery at the same ownership split, but Pertamina is unlikely to get access to Russian upstream projects.

Russian crude blends have been more attractive to refiners in Northeast Asia but Saudi Arabia has defended its turf. Aramco held on to 40 percent of Japan’s imports in the first half of 2017 without any sustained gains for Russian crudes and agreed to add 1.9 million barrels of crude oil storage on Okinawa. The storage site on Okinawa is also used to deliver crude oil cargoes to South Korea and China. Rosneft has no such relationships, reportedly dangling shares before last year’s privatization in exchange for developing joint projects and creating joint ventures at different stages of production and marketing. But Japanese firms linked political concessions regarding the Northern Territories to any deal, a nonstarter.

Saudi Arabia is mulling the construction of 17.6 gigawatts worth of nuclear power plants by 2032 with the help of firms from China, South Korea, and France. South Korea is set to hold a ministerial visit on October 26 to discuss cooperation in several sectors, including nuclear power. As Saudi Arabia works out the tenders for nuclear projects, it has an opportunity to cement its energy security relationship with South Korea. Nuclear power will free up oil used for domestic power generation, possibly putting downward pressure on prices in Asia-Pacific markets as demand growth slows in the medium-term. Russia’s Rosatom has not gotten any attention for Saudi contracts.

The best laid plans of oil giants

Cooperation is set to deepen between the two countries’ energy sectors, but Rosneft and Aramco have different strategic outlooks that suggest that many of these moves are tactical on Saudi Arabia’s part and opportunistic on Russia’s part.

Most of the deals signed were MoUs, important symbols but relatively insubstantial commitments from either party unless more specifics emerge. Deals focused on Eurasia Drilling Co. and Novatek’s Arctic LNG 2. MoUs touched on Sibur, Gazprom, Gazprom Neft, and Lukoil’s trading arm Litasco. There was talk of cooperation between Rosneft and Aramco on crude oil trades, but there is a fundamental mismatch between the two countries’ intentions: Russia wants investment without political strings attached and Saudi Arabia wants Russia to back off of Iran.

Aramco targeted Rosneft’s competitors for memoranda and deals that would lead to projects for several reasons. Were Gazprom to gain access to Saudi fields or allow Aramco into Russia, it would gain considerable clout as a negotiator and lobby for policy pertaining to Saudi Arabia. Sibur is owned by Gennady Timchenko, a close friend of Putin’s who was named chair of the Russia-China Business Council. China has shown policy success by investing into projects owned by those close to Putin while balancing against drawing too much sanctions scrutiny. In short, Aramco wants to give other players in Russian policy circles a boost against their primary Russian competitor.

The U.S. Treasury Department revised its sanctions prohibitions on new debt on September 29, tightening the limits on Rosneft’s ability to finance major deals with U.S. partners. EU sanctions continue to target state oil firms like Rosneft rather than gas and remain an impediment. Rosneft’s debt to capital ratio has improved in the last year, a good sign for its fiscal health but not necessarily enough to avoid the byzantine dealing it went through for the privatization of shares last December. For its part, Aramco is set to benefit from up to $120 billion in debt Saudi Arabia is aiming to issue by 2020 as the country looks to increase its investments into renewables like solar. That debt alongside the IPO is likely to happen sometime late next year or early 2019 and will provide a dramatic infusion to state coffers to finance reform projects aimed at reducing Saudi Arabia’s oil dependency.

Aramco is set to take its trading operations further afield to begin trading non-Saudi crude oil with an eye towards feeding its growing range of refinery and petrochemical assets. The company is retreating to advance by targeting competitive moves into downstream projects and trading to minimize the effects of losses in market share. The issue remains that higher oil prices are needed for the IPO to maximize the money raised to finance projects like a $50 billion renewable energy initiative that would increase the amount of oil available for export.

Rosneft would also like higher prices, but has already sold all the shares it can while remaining a state-owned firm. CEO Igor Sechin is also fighting to undermine any institutional or informal constraints on his power in the country. Gazprom’s piped gas export monopoly, for example, is in his crosshairs. As a result, Rosneft has no time to waste. It’s going full bore, trying to acquire assets abroad to break out of the financial limitations of sanctions and grow and larger portfolio, expanding Russia’s foreign influence. There’s a reason the company has maneuvered in Venezuela, Kurdistan, and Libya in the last year.

Rather than count barrels, it would be best to consider how the two firms’ interests differ. Rosneft is feeding large amounts of military spending in Russia and is angling for greater power domestically. To a much greater extent, Aramco is the state in Saudi Arabia. It can afford a more measured approach given it always has the nuclear option: a radical break with production cuts and massive increase in production. As such, Aramco is preparing for an Asia-Pacific market where diversifying petrochemical assets will outweigh crude oil market share for profits. Rosneft is moving in the same direction, but may find that sanctions and domestic rivalry will hinder its attempts. Sechin has been on a winning streak for some time, but the elections may change things up. Aramco doesn’t have that problem looming on the horizon.

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Donald Trump: Warmonger-In-Chief?

Authored by Antonius Aquinas via Acting-Man.com,

Cryptic Pronouncements

If a world conflagration, God forbid, should break out during the Trump Administration, its genesis will not be too hard to discover: the thin-skinned, immature, shallow, doofus who currently resides in the Oval Office!

The commander-in-chief – a potential source of radiation?

 

This past week, the Donald has continued his bellicose talk with both veiled and explicit threats against purported American adversaries throughout the world.  In a cryptic exchange with reporters during a dinner with military leaders, he quipped:

You guys know what this represents? Maybe it’s the calm before the storm.  It could be the calm… before… the storm.*

A reporter asked if he meant Iran or Isis which the POTUS responded, “you’ll find out.”  Instead of threatening supposed overseas foes with nuclear annihilation, none of whom have taken any concrete military action against the US, why not go after someone who has actually compromised the country’s security, namely Hillary Rodham Clinton!

While some dismissed the comments as typical Trumpian bluster, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders added further ominous overtones when questioned saying they were “extremely serious.” Later in the week, Trump continued to threaten tiny North Korea, this time in not so veiled terms:

“Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid hasn’t worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, making fools of U.S. negotiators.  Sorry, but only one thing will work”.**

If war erupts either on the Korean Peninsula or in any other part of the globe that the U.S has wantonly poked its nose into, it can be safely assured that neither Trump nor any of the other “military leaders,” with whom he recently had dinner with will be in the midst of hostilities as the bombs and bullets are being cast about.

No, these laptop bombers will be in safe quarters far away from enemy lines, giving orders, making speeches, and praising the troops, while Congress will be hurriedly passing more “defense” funding legislation further lining the pockets of the military industrial complex.

Too far removed from the battlefield…

 

Curtailing the Warmongers

The Warmonger-in-Chief, who has repeatedly bragged about America’s military prowess, had a chance to become a part of the organization he constantly gushes over during his youth at the time of the Vietnam War.  Yet, he escaped military service, due to the machinations of his father, because of a mysterious foot/toe malady.

All those who avoided being conscripted into America’s disastrous imperial exercise in Southeast Asia during those years, whether it was from phony medical conditions, escaping to Canada or beyond, or going to jail, they did so for justifiable reasons.

The war was immoral, since Vietnam had taken no hostile action against the US and what made it worse, the government drafted thousands of America’s youth to fight it.  It is reprehensible that those who got out of military service then are now at the forefront in advocating mass murder (war).

One resolution that would certainly curtail warmongering in the future would be that any legislator, president, cabinet officer, or ambassador who promotes military intervention abroad should be required to directly participate in field operations.  This would quickly put the brakes on threatening talk from the likes of Trump and his crazed UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley.

A country’s leadership personally conducting military operations has a long tradition in Western history.  During the era of the crusades, princes and kings led their retinues and forces into battle risking their own life and limb – such as the great Norman prince, Bohemond, whose courage, tenacity, and military acumen won the day for Christian forces at the battle of Antioch.

From left to right: Bohemond I of Antioch, Bohemond’s troops scaling the ramparts of Antioch in AD 1098, Bohemond’s mausoleum in Canosa di Puglia. Bohemond was the son of Rober Guiscard, the count of Apulia and Calabria. His real name was Mark Guiscard. He was a nicknamed Bohemond after a legendary giant – the name was given to him because he was an unusually tall and strong man, dwarfing those around him. Even for a crusader, Bohemond’s life was unusually colorful. [PT]

 

This venerable ideal can still be seen in Russia when recently one of its generals and two colonels lost their lives in the Syrian quagmire.***   When was the last time a US general has perished in active combat?

It is apparent that the current POTUS does not understand the catastrophic consequences of what his threats, if carried out, would lead to – death to millions, unimaginable destruction, and the end of civilization.

A brief history of US-North Korean relations in the 2000ds

 

Maybe, had he actually suffered through the horrors of combat or had been the victim of US aggression as the peoples of North Korea, Vietnam and Iraq have witnessed, he might refrain from such bellicose language.

Hopefully, cooler heads in the Administration will prevail, however, a more peaceful world is unlikely with the likes of Donald J. Trump at the command of the greatest destructive force in human history.

References:

*Tyler Durden, “President Trump Warns Ominously: ‘It’s the Calm Before the Storm.’”  Zero Hedge.  6 October 2017.

**Tyler Durden, “Trump Hints at War With North Korea: ‘Sorry, But Only One Thing Will Work.’”  Zerohedge, 7 October 2017.

***Alexander, “General Asapov Died Because as a Russian Officer He Led From the Front.”  Russia Feed.  30 September 2017.

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Ethereum (ETHUSD) Rejected Near 50% Fib Retrace of ~400-200 Fall

Ethereum (ETHUSD) Weekly/Daily

Ethereum (ETHUSD) is showing fatigue after about 2 weeks of bouncing off roughly 200, with the selloff today intensifying after failing to hold the psychologically key 300 whole figure level.  300 also represents the 50% Fib retrace of the fall from roughly 400 to 200.  With daily RSI and Stochastics tiring, and the weekly Stochastics and MACD turning down, the weekly Tombstone forming is increasingly ominous for bulls.  ETHUSD continues to be relatively weaker than Bitcoin (BTCUSD), with ETHUSD serving as a leading indicator for BTCUSD price momentum.  Risk:reward will further improve for bears once the daily MACD blue line flattens and begins tilting lower.

 

ETHUSD (Ethereum) Weekly Technical Analysis

 

 

ETHUSD (Ethereum) Daily Technical Analysis

 

Bitcoin (BTCUSD) Weekly/Daily

Bitcoin (BTCUSD) is showing fatigue after about 2 weeks of bouncing off roughly 3000, with the selloff today intensifying after failing to hold the 61.8% Fib retrace of the fall from roughly 5000 to 3000.  With daily RSI and Stochastics tiring, and the weekly MACD trying to negatively cross, BTCUSD could be in the early stages of forming a downchannel (on the daily and weekly chart).  Risk:reward will further improve for BTCUSD bears once the daily MACD blue line flattens and begins tilting lower.

 

BTCUSD (Bitcoin) Weekly Technical Analysis

 

BTCUSD (Bitcoin) Daily Technical Analysis

Click here for today’s technical analysis on EURUSD

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