Thursday, September 7, 2017

N Korea Threatens To Attack U.S. Power Grid, BRICS Bombshell, Japan And China Strengthen Military Ties, EU Presidency Calls For China-Style Internet Censorship



Millions of American lives could be at stake as North Korea threatens to attack power grid


North Korea may very well have the ability to kill millions of Americans, without directly firing on U.S. soil. For the first time, the pariah country’s state news agency warned it could hit the U.S. with an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) onslaught, a threat that experts contend is both very real and comes with catastrophic consequences.

“The biggest danger would be shorting out of the power grid, especially on the East Coast. Imagine a situation where large sections of the U.S. had no power. Imagine New York or Washington D.C. with no power for just a week. The implications would be hard to fathom,” Harry Kazianis, Director of Defense Studies at the Center for the National Interest, told Fox News. “The casualty rates would be off the charts.”

According to Kazianis, an EMP delivered by a nuclear weapon would not just fry power grids but also carry the destructive power of an atomic device.


“That in it of itself is going to kill thousands if not millions depending on the size of it and where it is dropped. Also, nuclear weapons carry radioactive fallout that would be spread thousands of miles through the atmosphere and oceans,” he continued. “We would be adding to such a casualty count sadly for decades thanks to cancer cases that would arise many years later.”


So how could North Korea pull off an EMP attack? A hydrogen bomb detonated at a high altitude would create an electromagnetic pulse that would knock out key infrastructure – namely prominent parts of the U.S. electrical grid.


The higher the bomb’s detonation, the wider the range of destruction. An altitude of just under 250 miles – around the orbit of the International Space Station – would annihilate electronics in majority of the mainland, including parts of neighboring Canada and Mexico, analysts have said. North Korea exhibited its capacity to reach such altitudes in satellite launches in both 2012 and 2016.









The annual BRICS summit in Xiamen – where President Xi Jinping was once mayor – could not intervene in a more incandescent geopolitical context.

Once again, it’s essential to keep in mind that the current core of BRICS is “RC”; the Russia-China strategic partnership. So in the Korean peninsula chessboard, RC context – with both nations sharing borders with the DPRK – is primordial.

On the global stage, the BRICS are already a major nuisance to the unipolar order. Xi politely put it in Xiamen as “we five countries [should] play a more active part in global governance”.
And right on cue Xiamen introduced “dialogues” with Mexico, Egypt, Thailand, Guinea and Tajikistan; that’s part of the road map for  “BRICS Plus” – Beijing’s conceptualization, proposed last March by Foreign Minister Wang Yi, for expanding partnership/cooperation.
A further instance of “BRICS Plus” can be detected in the possible launch, before the end of 2017, of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – in the wake of the death of TPP.
Contrary to a torrent of Western spin, RCEP is not “led” by China. Japan is part of it – and so is India and Australia alongside the 10 ASEAN members. The burning question is what kind of games New Delhi may be playing to stall RCEP in parallel to boycotting BRI.
Patrick Bond in Johannesburg has developed an important critique, arguing that “centrifugal economic forces” are breaking up the BRICS, thanks to over-production, excessive debt and de-globalization. He interprets the process as “the failure of Xi’s desired centripetal capitalism.”
It doesn’t have to be this way. Never underestimate the power of Chinese centripetal capitalism – especially when BRI hits a higher gear.


Beijing is ready to step up the game. Soon China will launch a crude oil futures contract priced in yuan and convertible into gold.

This means that Russia – as well as Iran, the other key node of Eurasia integration – may bypass US sanctions by trading energy in their own currencies, or in yuan. Inbuilt in the move is a true Chinese win-win; the yuan will be fully convertible into gold on both the Shanghai and Hong Kong exchanges.
The new triad of oil, yuan and gold is actually a win-win-win. No problem at all if energy providers prefer to be paid in physical gold instead of yuan. The key message is the US dollar being bypassed.
RC – via the Russian Central Bank and the People’s Bank of China – have been developing ruble-yuan swaps for quite a while now.








The long-standing defense partnership between India and Japan has been further bolstered, with the two nations announcing more bilateral combat exercises, more equipment and technology exchanges, and more coordinated efforts to check the rapidly expanding geopolitical profile of their mutual rival, China.
During a meeting between Indian Defense Minister Arun Jaitley and his Japanese counterpart Itsunori Onodera, the two nations agreed to expand their bilateral defense relationship, particularly in the fields of anti-submarine warfare and counter-terrorist operations.

"The ministers exchanged views and ideas with the aim to further strengthen defense and security cooperation under the framework of the 'Japan-India Special Strategic and Global Partnership,'" read a joint statement issued by the Indian and Japanese Ministries of Defense.

Japan and India both recently have clashed with China over territorial disputes: Japan over a disputed island chain in the East China Sea (the Senkaku Islands in Japan, the Diaoyu Islands in China) and India over Arunachal Pradesh (an India-controlled state claimed by China) and the Doklam Plateau (disputed by China and India's ally Bhutan). 









Estonia, who lead the current European Union Presidency, has called upon other EU Member States to increase their Internet censorship, following in the footsteps of Communist China, according to a leaked document.


“A Council of the European Union document leaked by Statewatch on 30 August reveals that during the summer months, Estonia (current EU Presidency) has been pushing the other Member States to strengthen indiscriminate internet surveillance, and to follow in the footsteps of China regarding online censorship,” reported European Digital Rights (EDRi), an international advocacy group. “Standing firmly behind its belief that filtering the uploads is the way to go, the Presidency has worked hard in order to make the proposal for the new copyright Directive even more harmful than the Commission’s original proposal, and pushing it further into the realms of illegality.”
In the leaked document, Estonia proposes, “two options for each of the two most controversial proposals: the so-called “link tax” or ancillary copyright and the upload filter.” Both items would be harmful to a free and open Internet, in the opinion of the EDRi.
The document, which was dated August 30, 2017, is available to view in full at Statewatch.


No comments: