China, Russia Deploying ‘Sharp Power’ to Quietly Penetrate Democracies

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with China’s President Xi Jinping / Getty Images

 

Sharp power centers on distraction and manipulation

China and Russia have spent billions of dollars over the past decade on state-run propaganda campaigns disguised as commercial ventures in an effort to shape public opinion and policy debates in democracies around the world, according to a new report by the National Endowment for Democracy.

To accomplish this, Beijing and Moscow have deployed a diverse array of tools, including people-to-people exchanges, cultural activities, educational programs, and the development of media enterprises with global reach.

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Maduro to Create Venezuelan Cryptocurrency ‘To Overcome the Financial Blockade’

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro / Getty Images

 

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro wants his own version of Bitcoin, announcing Sunday that his socialist government will create a cryptocurrency.

Maduro said on his television show that the new “petrocurrency” will be backed by reserves in oil, gas, gold, and diamonds, Bloomberg reports. Bitcoin, the world’s largest digital currency, hit new highs last week, and Maduro declared that his plan will counteract the economic disaster that is befalling the Venezuelan bolivar, which has experienced hyperinflation as the country’s economy has collapsed. Continue reading

Iran Deploying Warships to Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico

Iranian military frigate and light replenishment ship are seen docked for refueling / Getty Images

 

Iranian supreme leader instructs navy to expand presence

Iranian military leaders announced on Tuesday the country will send a fleet of warships into the Atlantic Ocean en route to the Gulf of Mexico, where the Islamic Republic aims to solidify ties with several Latin American states, according to the commander of Iran’s navy.

Following orders from Iran’s supreme leader, the newly installed commander of its navy, Rear Adm. Hossein Khanzadi, announced a fleet of Iranian warships would soon be making their way into the Atlantic Ocean, despite what Iran claims is opposition by U.S. officials. Continue reading

How Vulnerable Is The Electrical Grid?

Power

 

When the electricity stops in modern civilization, pretty much everything else stops. Not even gasoline-powered vehicles can get far before they are obliged to seek a fill-up—which they cannot get because gas pumps rely on electricity to operate.

When I wrote “The storms are only going to get worse” three weeks ago, I thought the world would have to wait quite a while for a storm more devastating than hurricanes Harvey and Irma. But instead, Hurricane Maria followed right after them and shut down electricity on the entire island of Puerto Rico except for those buildings with on-site generators. Continue reading

Report: Trump Admin to Expel Most Cuban Diplomats From United States

Cuba and USA flags / Getty

 

The Trump administration will tell Cuba on Tuesday to remove the majority of its diplomats from Washington, D.C. after the U.S. cut its own embassy staff in Havana last week, according to a new report.

American officials told the Associated Press that the administration will request that Cuba withdraw 60 percent of its diplomats from the U.S. The move comes amid heightened tensions between both countries after at least 21 U.S. embassy personnel in Havana were sickened in mysterious sonic attacks. Continue reading

Venezuela Publishes Oil Prices in Chinese Yuan, Snubbing the ‘Tyranny of the Dollar’

 

Could this trend lead to the erosion of the dollar’s reserve-currency status?

On September 15, Venezuela began to publish prices for its oil in the Chinese yuan rather than in United States dollars, following President Nicolás Maduro’s promise earlier in the month to rid the South American country’s economy of the “tyranny of the dollar.” News emerged on September 13 that Venezuela was telling oil traders that it will stop receiving or sending payments in dollars.

The Venezuelan Oil Ministry published a statement about the decision to publish prices in yuan, saying, “This format is the result of the announcement made on September 7 by the president [Maduro] … that Venezuela will implement new strategies to free the country from the tyranny of the dollar.”

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Russia, China Playing Major Role in Keeping Venezuela Afloat

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro / Getty Images

 

The countries ‘have provided capital, goods, services, and political backing’

Russia and China have played a major role in keeping the dictatorial Maduro regime in Venezuela afloat, according to expert testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Wednesday.

Evan Ellis, a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a professor at the U.S. Army War College, appeared before the Western Hemisphere subcommittee of the Foreign Affairs Committee for a hearing on the malicious influence of state and criminal actors in the Latin American nation’s ongoing breakdown.

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Oil Rich Venezuela Stops Accepting Dollars

Source: The Burning Platform

 

  • President Maduro ‘ Venezuela will create a basket of currencies to free us from the dollar,”
  • Oil traders ordered to stop accepting U.S. dollar in exchange for crude oil
  • Order comes following calls from Russia and China to find alternatives to current reserve system
  • U.S. Dollar accounts for two-thirds of global trade
  • Venezuela has over ten-times more oil than United States
  • Super powers are gradually turning to gold to avoid using world’s main reserve currency
  • Are we seeing the beginning of the end for the U.S. dollar?

The oil-rich country of Venezuela has stopped accepting the U.S. Dollar as payment for oil.

Last week President Maduro warned that the country would this week ‘free’ itself from the US dollar. Continue reading

New Cases of U.S. ‘Sonic Injuries’ Reported in Cuba

According to the State Department, 21 Americans working at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, have developed injuries related to “sonic attacks” directed at the diplomatic facility.

 

The injuries were newly reported, but appear to have been caused by previous attacks of unknown origin directed at American diplomatic staff. The Cuban government insists it had nothing to do with them, and State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert says no new “incidents” have occurred at the embassy.

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Talks in the Chancellery

BERLIN/CARACAS (Own report) – Chancellor Merkel will meet one of Venezuela’s leading government opposition politicians today in the Chancellery. Julio Borges, who, according to reports, supported the 2002 putsch attempt in Caracas, will discuss the political development in Venezuela with the chancellor. Fierce power struggles are being waged in that country. The opposition, mainly composed of representatives of the traditional wealthy elites, has ties to Western powers und is also supported by Berlin. With its operational assistance, for example in advising Borges’ Primero Justícia (Justice First) party in “political communication,” the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation has been playing a special role. Primero Justícia had also participated in the 2002-attempted putsch. Berlin is pursuing an approach similar to that used in other Latin American countries, wherein it regularly supports the traditional elites. This resembles the German authorities’ interventions in the run-up to the putsch in Ukraine.

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Sonic Attacks in Havana: An Act of War?

 

Let us define our terms: What is an Act of War? There are two types of Acts of War: de jure, which means as a matter of law and de facto, which means as a matter of fact. Unless a nation literally announces (de jure) to the world community, as in a declaration of war, that it committed an attack on the personnel and/or territory of another nation it comes down to a matter of fact (de facto) as assumed by the nation being attacked. Continue reading

More facts revealed about mystery sonic attacks on US embassy in Cuba

US embassy in Cuba

 

Now new information has been disclosed by the United States Department of State. It suggests that, although diplomats began reporting hearing-loss symptoms in as early as fall 2016, the incidents continued until mid-August of this year. In a report published on Saturday, the BBC said that the bizarre incidents had not ended “several months ago” as was initially believed. Instead, they continued even after the last week of May, when the US deported two Cuban diplomats from Washington, DC. The move was in response to what Washington believes was a deliberate attempt to sabotage its diplomatic mission in Havana. The American embassy in the Cuban capital reopened in 2015, 54 years after it was closed down following a series of diplomatic rifts between Cuba and the US during the height of the Cold War.

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War on Cash: A “Wider Cultural Change Agenda”

 

A certain Michael Andrew is the former global director of accounting at KPMG. He’s also the present generalissimo of Australia’s Black Economy Taskforce.

The stated mission of this “taskforce” sets it among the angels — to combat terrorism, narcotics, tax dodging.

Cash is of course the coin of these evil realms. Continue reading

Trump Will Now Become the War President

President Trump has been defeated by the military/security complex and forced into continuing the orchestrated and dangerous tensions with Russia. Trump’s defeat has taught the Russians the lesson I have been trying to teach them for years, and that is that Russia is much more valuable to Washington as an enemy than as a friend. Continue reading

Colombia: Venezuela Crumbles Into Uncertainty

While Venezuela is drifting towards mass starvation, government collapse and civil war Colombia has managed to avoid all that and then some. What Colombia did was not easy. It required nearly two decades of effort to reach the point where a peace deal was agreed to and succeeded in disbanding the major leftist rebel group FARC. With that accomplished (as of the end of June) the second largest leftist rebel group (ELN, a third the size of FARC) now wants to talk peace as well. All these leftist rebels got going in the 1960s but by the 1990s were rapidly losing popular support. It got worse after 2000 because by then the drug gangs and leftist rebels had merged in many parts of the country, and the war was increasingly about money, not ideology. A new reform government took advantage of this and organized an offensive that sharply reduced crime and gave the economy a chance to become the most successful in South America. Continue reading