As the G-7 Implodes, SCO Meeting Confirms the New Century of Multipolarity

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The historical changes we are witnessing have never been so evident as in the last few days. The G7 summit highlighted the limits of the Atlantic alliance, while the SCO meeting opens up unprecedented possibilities for Eurasian integration.

At the G7 meeting in Canada in recent days, we witnessed unprecedented clashes between Trump and G7 leaders over the imposition of tariffs on trade. We must now conclude that the event has been relegated to irrelevance, as the G7 has heretofore derived its clout from speaking as one voice. Trump even went further, refusing to sign the final draft of the organization’s joint statement after Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau lashed out at Trump’s trade decisions. Trump showed how little he cares for his allies, leaving the summit a day early to arrive early for the meeting with Kim Jong-un in Singapore to make preparations for the long-awaited encounter between the two leaders. Continue reading

USS Truman airborne strike group in place opposite Syria

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DEBKAfile

 

In position off the Syrian coast is the nuclear-powered USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier – from which the US, UK and France launched their April 14 attack on the Syrian army for launching a chemical attack. The US Navy strike group entered the eastern Mediterranean over last weekend. US task force commander Rear Adm. Eugene Black announced that its arrival “sends a powerful signal to our partners that we are committed to maintaining peace and security in the region and everywhere that there is a threat of terrorism.” Continue reading

Treasury Hits Russian FSB for Underwater Reconnaissance of Internet Cables

An undersea fiber optic cable

An undersea fiber optic cable / Getty Images

 

Moscow plans to attack undersea cables in future conflict

The Treasury Department on Monday announced the imposition of economic sanctions against Russian entities engaged in targeting undersea internet cables and cyber spying inside critical U.S. infrastructures.

The department announced sanctions on five companies and three Russians linked to the Federal Security Service, the main Kremlin intelligence service, known as the FSB, that has been linked to Russian election meddling in 2016.

For the first time, Treasury revealed one of the sanctioned companies, Divetechnoservices, has worked with the FSB since 2007 to spy on underwater cables used to connect the internet around the world.

Russia has been active in tracking undersea communication cables which carry the bulk of the world’s telecommunications data,” the department said in announcing the sanctions. Continue reading

War Games in the Pacific

WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) – German soldiers will soon participate in maneuvers in the Pacific and will be on hand as observers on patrols in the South China Sea, according to announcements by the US Navy and the French Minister of Defense, Florence Parly. At a top-level conference in Singapore last weekend, Parly declared that Paris will dispatch warships to the South China Sea in the next few days and will also navigate through the territorial waters of Islands China claims as its territory. According to Parly, German military observers will embark on these ships. At the same time, German soldiers are preparing their participation in the US led RIMPAC 2018 maneuver, taking place mainly near Hawaii. RIMPAC is the world’s largest international maritime exercise. During RIMPAC 2016 German soldiers trained in “liberating” an island, which, according to the scenario, was held by the “Draco” militia. “Draco” is the Latin term for “dragon” – a symbol for China.

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Facebook shared user data with Chinese firm despite warnings by US intelligence

Huawei

 

The online social media company Facebook shares data about its users with a Chinese telecommunications company that has been flagged in United States government reports as a threat to security. The New York Times revealed on Tuesday that Facebook has been routinely giving access to the private data of its users to four Chinese companies since at least 2010. The paper said that the data-sharing agreement with Lenovo, Oppo, TCL, and Huawei Technologies, has its roots in 2007. That was the year when Facebook began an effort to entice cell phone hardware and software manufacturers to include Facebook-friendly apps and features in their products. As part of the agreement, Facebook gave cell phone manufacturers access to its users’ private data, including “religious and political leanings, work and education history and relationship status”, said the Times. Continue reading

Iran: The Hollowing-Out of the Regime

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Pictured: The Iranian city of Mashhad, enveloped in a haze of air pollution. Of the 500 most polluted cities of the world, Iran with 19 cities comes fifth. (Image source: Tasnim/Wikimedia Commons)

 

  • Iran: The Hollowing-Out of the Regime The analogies with the former East Germany suggest that Iran, too, is ripe for regime change. They also suggest that a change may come in weeks, months or years, depending on chance events and particularly on whether the local authorities and their security forces, at least in some areas, get tired of killing people.
  • What is likely to push such developments forward? The answer is that the new American policy, whether by chance or intent, may be as good as anything.

On December 28, 2017, major protests against the Iranian regime broke out in Mashhad and quickly spread to numerous other urban centers. Mostly merely noisy at first, some turned violent and eventually the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) suppressed the phenomenon, killing some and arresting thousands of others. Protests have continued, but news about them is scanty. How are they to be evaluated?

There are interesting parallels with the twilight of the East German regime. By a coincidence, the Iranian regime is in its fortieth year and the East German regime suddenly collapsed just after its leaders had held a large-scale pompous celebration of its fortieth anniversary in the capital, East Berlin. Continue reading

Iran to increase uranium enrichment. US-Israeli strike on nuclear facilities comes closer

 

Iran is to inform the UN nuclear watchdog in Vienna on Tuesday, June 6, of its decision to increase uranium (UF6) enrichment capacity in response to the US exit from the 2015 nuclear accord. Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi, announcing this, did not mention a date for this process to begin or the grade of enrichment. Supreme ruler Ayatollah Khamenei’s said Monday night: “I have ordered Iran’s atomic energy agency to be prepared to upgrade our (uranium) enrichment capacity” if the 2015 nuclear deal with the world powers falls apart after the US withdrawal. Chairman Ali Akhbar Salehi of the atomic organization forecast this development some days ago. Continue reading

Chinese influence in New Zealand threatens intelligence-sharing, says Canadian report

CSIS canada

 

The report, entitled China and the Age of Strategic Rivalry, was authored by experts at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). It contains a summary of views expressed by participants at an academic outreach workshop that was organized in Canada by the CSIS. In a section focusing on Chinese “interference in democratic systems”, the report suggests that, despite its small size, New Zealand is “valuable to China […] as a soft underbelly through which to access Five Eyes intelligence”. In recent years, claims the report, Beijing has adopted “an aggressive strategy” that has sought to co-opt political and economic elites in New Zealand as a means of influencing political decision making in the country. As part of that process, China seeks to gain advantages in trade and business negotiations, suppress negative views of China, facilitate espionage and control the views of the Chinese expatriate community in New Zealand, according to the report. Ultimately, Beijing seeks to “extricate New Zealand from […] its traditional [military and intelligence] partners]” as a means of asserting its regional and —eventually— global influence, the report concludes. Continue reading

If Iran resumes enrichment, the US and Israel poised to attack its facilities

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Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: If Europe fails to back Iran against the US, Tehran will resume uranium enrichment. He is asking for trouble. Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei tried Wednesday, May 23, to counter Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s ultimatum with one of his own for the European powers, the UK, France and Germany, which are trying to save the 2015 nuclear deal after the US walkout. The dictates he put before them included: European banks must safeguard trade with Iran and stop seeking new negotiations on Iran’s ballistic missile program and regional Middle East activities to gratify the US president. The Europeans must further guarantee Iran’s oil sales and compensate Tehran for losses incurred from US sanctions. If Europe fails to meet Khamenei’s demands, Iran will go back to enriching uranium, effectively turning its back on the 2015 nuclear deal, he warned. Continue reading

Willingness to Engage in a Power Struggle

LONDON/BERLIN (Own report) – The German government still has no evidence to substantiate serious allegations it used to justify its participation in the mass expulsion of Russian diplomats from several western countries. In its response to a parliamentary interpellation, the government admits it has no findings of its own on the Salisbury nerve gas attack other than the alleged evidence presented by the British government. At the same time, the “arguments” that have been presented so far to suggest Russian guilt are loosing their credibility. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), for example, had to contradict the claim of its director general that up to a half-cup of novichok was used in Salisbury. The assumption that only Russia could have produced the neurotoxin has been refuted, since it became known that Germany had also been in possession of the agent. These unproven allegations show, more than anything else, an unrestrained willingness to escalate the power struggle with Moscow. Continue reading

China Plans Network of Indian Ocean Bases: Security Analyst

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The Maldives is moving closer to China and Beijing may be interested in taking over the old British air base on Gan in the south of that archipelago

China has plans to establish a network of naval and air bases in the Indian Ocean, according to an article by David Brewster posted on the website of the Lowy Institute, the Australian think-tank, on May 15.

Brewster, who is with the National Security College at the Australian National University in Canberra, argues that Beijing’s aim is to support China’s growing strategic imperatives in the region. Continue reading

EU Could Switch To Euros In Oil Trade With Iran

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The European Union (EU) is considering switching to euros instead of U.S. dollars in the oil trade with Iran, Sputnik reported on Wednesday, quoting a diplomatic source.

Iran, for its part, said as early as in mid-April that it would be switching to euros from U.S. dollars in reporting foreign currency amounts, to reduce the reliance on the dollar as it was expected that President Trump would not waive the sanctions this time around.

The EU vowed on Tuesday to seek ways to work and trade with Iran. Continue reading

Turkey urges Islamic world to unite against Israel, calls summit

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A protester holds a placard reading “Al-Quds (Jerusalem) belongs to the Muslims” as he shouts slogans among people holding Palestinian flags while they all take part in a protest march at the Istikilal avenue in Istanbul on May 14, 2018 (Photo by AFP)

 

Turkey has urged Islamic countries to review their ties with Israel after dozens of Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire on the Gaza border.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told his ruling party in parliament that Ankara would call an extraordinary summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

“Islamic countries should without fail review their relations with Israel,” Premier Yildirim said, adding, “The Islamic world should move as one, with one voice, against this massacre.”

Yildirim said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who currently holds the rotating chairmanship of the body, called the OIC summit on Friday. Continue reading

‘Time to rip off the Band-Aid’: Reports point to FBI spy in Trump campaign, MI5 involvement

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MI5 headquarters

 

The FBI appears to have successfully inserted a spy into the Trump campaign, reports say.

“When the FBI talks about a source, they talk about someone who is an average citizen who uses their credentials, their job as a way of spying for the agency,” the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel reported.

“We can take that to mean that there was somebody interacting with the Trump campaign and reporting back to the FBI, which means the FBI was using human intelligence to spy on a presidential campaign.” Continue reading

Germany’s Priorities

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BERLIN/TEHRAN/WASHINGTON (Own report) – In talks with Iranian government officials on Tuesday, the German government will seek a solution in the dispute over the nuclear deal with Tehran. While trying to defend the interests of German industry, it is aiming for an independent Middle East policy. Because of its close alliance with Washington in the power struggle with Moscow and Beijing, this would be very important, as legitimization of Berlin’s claims to playing a leading role in global policy. While commentators are encouraging the government, the minister of the economy and business circles are warning against exacerbating the conflict with Washington. It is very risky for the German elite’s prosperity, because the United States is the largest market for German companies and, by far, their most important investment site. On the other hand, in Iran, the EU countries’ industry risks irrevocably losing out to China, due to the US sanctions.

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