Britain’s Trident nuclear program at stake in Scottish independence vote

It’s important to note that Scotland, although part of the UK, is more EU friendly than it is British friendly. The EU wants NATO out and to isolate Great Britain as well. It wouldn’t be surprising if Scotland and the EU were working hand-in-hand behind the scenes.

 

For decades, Britain’s contribution to the threat of global Armageddon has found a home on the tranquil shores of Gare Loch, where soaring green mountains plunge into murky gray waters plied by sporty kayakers, weekend yachtsmen — and nuclear-armed submarines.

The subs slip past this garrison town as quietly as sea monsters. Their dark hulls breach the water’s surface on their way from base out to the deepest oceans, where British naval crews spend months poised to unleash the doomsday payload.

But if Scotland votes “yes” in an independence referendum next month, the submarines could ­become nuclear-armed nomads, without a port to call home. Washington’s closest and most important ally could, in turn, be left without the ultimate deterrent, even as Europe’s borders are being rattled anew by a resurgent Russia. Continue reading

Agent Albert: MP listed as secret KGB informant in Russian archives

A federal Labor MP was among a list of secret KGB informants, according to newly released Russian intelligence archives.

The former Labor member for the NSW electorate of Hunter, Albert James, is listed as an informant of the Soviet intelligence service in the papers of former KGB archivist and defector Vasili Mitrokhin, which were released by the Churchill College Archive in the United Kingdom last month.

The late Mr James, a former NSW policeman and  Labor MP who served in Federal Parliament from 1960 to 1980, is one of a number of Australians recorded in Mitrokhin’s list of KGB agents and informants active in Australia during the 1960s and 1970s.

Mitrokhin’s notes do not reveal what information James may have  passed to the Soviet Union, but they do confirm his status as a KGB informant, albeit with the insecure codename of ‘‘Albert’’.

James  was highly critical of the United States, strongly opposed Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War and praised Fidel Castro’s communist regime. Continue reading

BRICS nations could rival US in global influence

The rise of the BRICS countries–Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa–may challenge the world order and lead to the end of US domination.

The five countries set up the New Development Bank during a recent summit in Brazil, which offers an alternative to the US-led International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The five countries participating in the economic cooperation forum are likely to deepen their cooperation in various fields, which may rival the dominance of the United States and G7 countries in the world.

The BRICS countries will also increase their sway if they can improve their governance, considering the fact that they account for 42% of the global population and their GDP and trade volume each make up for about 20% of the world’s total. Continue reading

Chinese spy ship arrives at giant U.S.-led naval exercise off the coast of Hawaii

A giant U.S.-led naval exercise with 22 nations from around the world got an unexpected visitor on Sunday — a Chinese spy ship perched in international waters.

The 24th Rim of the Pacific exercises (RIMPAC) in and around the Hawaiian Islands features more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel. China is part of a host of nations taking part, which also includes Australia, Canada, France, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, the United Kingdom and others. Continue reading

Global firms becoming keen on using yuan

The use of the renminbi in trade settlements increased sharply this year, according to HSBC’s annual renminbi survey.

The survey which began last year covered eleven countries, four of which were added this year. All seven markets surveyed in both years posted increases, the largest of which were in Germany, Hong Kong and the U.S.

Of the German companies profiled, 23 percent are using the renminbi to settle trades, up from 9 percent last year, while usage in Hong Kong rose to 58 percent from 50 percent and to 17 percent from 9 percent in the U.S.

Usage of the renminbi among French companies – a new addition to this year’s list – was high at 26 percent.

Prospects for next year are bright as nearly 60 percent of global companies plan to increase their cross border activity with China over the next 12 months. Currently, 22 percent of companies globally trade in renminbi. Continue reading

Brussels job rotation

The probable nomination of the President of the European Commission at the European Council in late June is only the first stage in a process that will renew the leadership of European institutions — a political and diplomatic game of musical chairs marked by rituals and secrets that is played out between the capitals of the continent. Excerpts.

How do you come out on top in the grand reshuffle in Brussels? There is no single strategy. This is one conclusion that we can draw from a series of interviews with European civil servants, ambassadors and former ambassadors to Brussels. The second conclusion is that strategy alone is insufficient: “Chance and the luck of the draw also play their role,” explains the former ambassador of one small member state. Continue reading

EU states let NSA tap data cables, Danish media say

BRUSSELS – Classified files leaked to Danish media suggest some EU states are allowing US spies to install surveillance equipment on cables in order to intercept the emails, private phone calls, and Internet chats of their citizens.

Large amounts of data are said to be swept up via a programme codenamed “RAMPART-A”, according to documents disclosed by former US agent Edward Snowden and made public on Wednesday (18 June) by Dagbladet Information and The Intercept.

At least 15 member states have some sort of partnership with the NSA, according to former Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald. Continue reading

EU is ‘sleepwalking into a crisis’ warns senior diplomat who believes appointment of arch-federalist as president will hasten Britain’s exit

The appointment of an arch-federalist as the European Commission president risks creating a ‘dramatic’ backlash that will hasten Britain’s exit from the EU, one of the country’s most senior diplomats has warned.

A leaked document said Ivan Rogers, the UK’s permanent representative to the EU, believes the ‘die is cast’ in favour of Jean-Claude Juncker, the former prime minister of Luxembourg.

His proposed elevation to Europe’s top job has been fiercely opposed by David Cameron, who says Britain rejects the founding EU principle of ‘ever closer union’, which Mr Juncker supports. Continue reading

Putin on notice: Two U.S. stealth bombers head to Europe for first time amid tension

Two U.S. B-2 Spirit stealth bombers are being deployed to Europe for the first time. The deployment of the advanced aircraft will be used for “short term deployment” at Fairford, a Royal Air Force base in England — just three hours from Russia. Continue reading

Scottish independence will lead to ‘Balkanisation’ of Britain, warns Swedish foreign minister

A vote for independence in September’s referendum which would see Scotland leave the 307-year-old union would trigger “unforeseen chain reactions” in both the UK and Europe

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt warned on Wednesday that Scottish independence would lead to the “Balkanisation” of the United Kingdom that would have consequences for the rest of Europe.

“The Balkanisation of the British Isles is something we are not looking forward to. It opens up a lot, primarily in Scotland but also in the UK. What are the implications for the Irish question? What happens to Ulster?” Continue reading

Renminbi (RMB) Yuan Clearing Bank To Open In London

A RMB Yuan (CNY) clearing bank will be officially appointed in the United Kingdom (UK) in June, said Mark Boleat, policy chairman for the City of London Corp, in an interview at the weekend.

“There will be a clearing bank in London. In due course, there will be an announcement,” Mr. Boleat said. The news will be an endorsement for London’s efforts to become an offshore yuan center. Other European financial centers in the race to become a Yuan center include Frankfurt, Paris, Switzerland and Luxembourg.

An official clearing bank facilitates efficient clearing of offshore Renminbi transactions, achieved through the appointed bank’s direct cooperation with the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) , the country’s central bank. Continue reading

Over-heating stock markets raise crash fears

The UK’s top professional investors think stock markets in the UK and US are over-valued raising fears of a crash

The number of investors who think the world’s leading stock markets such as the S&P 500 and the FTSE 100 are overvalued has reached its highest level yet, according to a survey of professional money managers completed by the CFA Society of the UK.

Continue reading

RAF Jet Chases Russian Planes Away From UK

Two planes are turned back as they approach Scotland, as the Royal Navy “keeps an eye” on a Russian warship’s movements.

The aircraft, believed to be Tupolev 95s, were spotted off the coast of northeast Scotland.

They were turned away from Britain when an RAF Typhoon was scrambled from Leuchars airbase, near Dundee. Continue reading

Is Ukraine about to go nuclear again?

A new global nuclear arms race may soon begin, and the world will have Putin to thank.

In 1994, Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the United States and the United Kingdom entered into an agreement to remove former Soviet nuclear weapons from Ukraine, later known as the Budapest Memorandum. Ukraine agreed to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In the history of nuclear weapons, only four states have ever walked away from nuclear capabilities: three post-Soviet states (Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan) and South Africa, which had covertly developed a nuclear weapons arsenal. Continue reading

Briton drafts ‘Brexit’ blueprint: UK can join EFTA

Britain’s economy could grow by 1.3 billion pounds if it left the European Union due to less regulation and more trade with emerging economies, acccording to a British diplomat who dreamt up a blueprint for the country’s EU exit.

Britain’s free market Institute of Economic Affairs on Tuesday awarded a 100,000-euro prize to Iain Mansfield, a British diplomat based in the Philippines, who it decided had come up with the best proposal for a ‘Brexit,’ a British departure from the EU. Continue reading