Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Will Annexation Be The Flashpoint In The Middle East? Updates - U.S. Trying To Slow Process

Netanyahu talks annexation with Kushner; US said to want to ‘slow the process’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz held separate talks Monday with top US officials about West Bank annexation plans. Netanyahu has stated repeatedly in recent weeks that he intends to move ahead with the annexation of parts of the West Bank, beginning next month.
Netanyahu held a conference call with Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s adviser and son-in-law, who played a key role in drafting Trump’s “Peace to Prosperity” plan for peace, which was unveiled at the White House in late January. Also on the call were Avi Berkowitz, the White House envoy on Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer.
According to a Channel 13 report, citing unnamed American sources, the US officials were exploring precisely if and how Israel intends to proceed with unilateral annexation — which Netanyahu has said would be coordinated with the administration — and came away from the conversations without a definitive answer.
Quoting a senior Israeli source, the TV report also said that the Americans “want to downplay the enthusiasm” for imminent annexation — “to greatly slow the process” — because the administration is preoccupied, among other matters, with nationwide protests following the killing of George Floyd by a policeman in Minneapolis last week, on top of the COVID-19 crisis and accompanying economic fallout.
On Monday afternoon, Gantz’s office issued a statement that the defense minister had ordered IDF chief Aviv Kohavi to “step up preparations for the IDF ahead of diplomatic efforts on the agenda in the Palestinian arena” — a clear reference to annexation.
The Palestinians preemptively rejected the plan. Jordan has threatened to review its peace treaty with Israel over the annexation issue.
Gantz’s stance may impact Netanyahu’s decision on how to proceed, but the Netanyahu-Gantz coalition deal gives Netanyahu the right to advance annexation moves from July 1 — as long as he can secure a Knesset majority, which is almost guaranteed — even if Gantz opposes him.
US officials have given mixed signals, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying in Israel last month that annexation was Israel’s decision to make, while a State Department spokesperson later said in a telephone briefingfor Israeli reporters that annexation “should be part of discussions between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”
Netanyahu, immediately after the proposal was unveiled, said he intended to begin annexation within days, but Kushner rebuffed that plan, and the US instituted a joint American-Israel mapping committee, which has been working since, to determine the specific territory allocated to Israel under the Trump proposal.
Despite Gantz’s statement on Monday, the IDF has for some time been preparing for the potential fallout of unilateral annexation. Channel 13 reported that the IDF has been readying for a wide variety of potential scenarios, including an upsurge in Palestinian terrorism and widespread protests that might necessitate a call-up of reservists. It said two drills for a range of scenarios were planned for the next few days between the IDF and the Shin Bet security service.
However, the IDF top brass still do not know when, or even if, Israel may move ahead with annexation, and if so, on what scale, the TV report said.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who last month announced the severing of security ties with Israel amid the talk of annexation, is to hold “an emergency meeting” in Ramallah on Tuesday night, the TV report said, to discuss how to thwart annexation by “legal and other means.”
The report quoted unnamed Palestinian sources saying that “a wave of violence” would be unavoidable if Israel goes ahead with annexation, since the Hamas terror group “aims to set the [Palestinian] street on fire.”

Iran's Attempt To Poison Israel's Drinking Water - 'Miraculously Failed'

An unprecedented Iranian cyberattack targeted six facilities in Israel’s water infrastructure on April 24-25 nearly dumped lethal levels of chemicals into the Israeli water system. 

Fortunately, the attack impacted some systems but did not cause any disruption in the water supply or waste management. The computer system was breached but the cyberattack was blocked before any damage could be done. 

It has now been revealed that the Iranian cyberattack on the water infrastructure in Israel was not merely an attack on data systems of the type Israel faces on a daily basis. In the attack, the water computer system was breached but the attack was blocked just in time before any damage could be done. The attack was reportedly routed through US servers.
“This was an attack that goes against all codes, even in war,” said an Israeli official to Channel 13. “Even from the Iranians we didn’t expect something like this. This is an attack that cannot be done.” 

 Yigal Unna, Director General of Israel National Cyber Directorate, announced on Thursday addressed an international cyber-conference on Thursday, revealing that the intent of the cyberattack on the water infrastructure was far greater and far deadlier than previously thought, calling it a “historic turning point in cyberwarfare, but this was just the beginning.”

Yigal Unna, Director General of Israel National Cyber Directorate, announced on Thursday addressed an international cyber-conference on Thursday, revealing that the intent of the cyberattack on the water infrastructure was far greater and far deadlier than previously thought, calling it a “historic turning point in cyberwarfare, but this was just the beginning.”
Cyber attacks typically target databases or websites. But this attack was the first of its type, attempting to effect real-world events. 
“We can see something like this aiming to cause damage to real life and not to IT or data,” Unna said. “If the bad guys would have succeeded in their plot, we would now be facing in the middle of the corona crisis, very big damage to the civilian population; a lack of water,” Unna said, noting that the attack was well-organized and not conducted by regular criminals. 

Even more concerning was the aspect of the Iranian cyberattack which attempted to control the release of chemicals into the water system, a cyber-first. “Even worse than that, when you mix chlorine or other chemicals with the wrong proportions within the water, it can be harmful and disastrous,” Unna added.

If successful, the attack could have theoretically poisoned all of Israel’s drinking water.

“It is a part of some attack over Israel and over the national security of Israel and not for financial benefit,” he said. “The attack happened but the damage was prevented and that is our goal and our mission. And now we are in the middle of preparing for the next phase to come because it will come eventually.”

Monday, June 1, 2020

A New Club Of 10 Nations Proposed

A New Global Club Of 10 Nations

The United Kingdom has proposed a plan to create a new club of democratic nations to address the reliance of the world on Chinese technology partners for 5G.  

The COVID-19 crisis has revealed the dangers of relying on outside sources for infrastructure needs but more importantly to many nations is the security risk associated with giving Chinese tech companies so much control over what many believe will be a new technology boom reaching every aspect of our lives. 

5G technology will do much more than just give us faster download speeds and low latency. Through it's increased capacity and connectivity for billions of devices—especially in the areas of virtual reality, the Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence it has the potential to create a network that can connect virtually everyone and everything together including machines, objects, and devices. 

Those countries who can create the infrastructure and roll it out nationwide first have the greater potential to lead in many areas that will have global implications for decades to come.

Such fears have led the US in recent months to take action against Huawei, China's first global tech brand and a maker of network equipment and smartphones. It is now prevented from doing business in the US, as it believes the company is being used by the Chinese leadership to serve their interest instead of the countries it is building it for.  

The UK has also launched an inquiry into Huawei’s involvement in the country’s mobile network upgrade in the wake of US sanctions against the company and has now proposed a far more reaching solution - the 'D10'.

The 'D10' club of democratic partners, which would include G7 countries – UK, US, Italy, Germany, France, Japan and Canada – plus Australia, South Korea and India would aim to create alternative suppliers of 5G equipment and other technologies to avoid relying on China.

These 10 members represent more than 50% of the worlds Gross Domestic Product and would certainly have the economic power to make changes on a global scale. While it is unlikely at this point in time, should these 10 countries create a more permanent and long lasting alliance beyond responding to the 5G issue it would represent one of the most powerful economic alliances in the history of our world.

This proposed club of nations demonstrates that when their is common cause, countries can come together in times of difficulty or crisis.  The initial formation of the G7 came about in response to economic crisis of the past.  The current economic crises caused by COVID-19 could certainly still result in some global alliances as the world looks to unify it's response and policies to deal with a crisis that is far from over.

U.S. To Deploy Military To Quell Violent Protests

Trump vows to deploy military to quell protests as clashes rage near White House

Amid racial unrest across the nation, US President Donald Trump on Monday declared himself “the president of law and order” and threatened to deploy the United States military to American cities to quell a rise of violent protests.
As Trump spoke, an incredible TV split screen developed around the White House. While he addressed the nation in the White House’s idyllic Rose Garden, a series of military vehicles rolled out front on Pennsylvania Avenue and military police and law enforcement clashed with protesters at Lafayette Park.
Those peaceful demonstrators were cleared so Trump could walk across the park to St. John’s Episcopal Church, known as “The Church of the Presidents,” which suffered fire damage in a protest this week. Holding a Bible, he then stood with several of his Cabinet members as the cameras clicked.
“We have the greatest country in the world,” Trump declared. “We’re going to keep it safe.”

President Trump: "I have strongly recommended to every governor to deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets...if a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary...then I will deploy the United States military"
Trump said he would mobilize “thousands and thousands” of soldiers to keep the peace if governors did not use the National Guard to shut down the protests. Loud tear gas explosions could be heard as authorities moved what appeared to be peaceful protests in the park. The escalation came just after Attorney General William Barr came to the park to to survey the demonstrators.
“What happened in the city last night was a total disgrace,” Trump said of the Washington protests. “As we speak I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults and wanton destruction of property.”
“These are not acts of peaceful protests, these are acts of domestic terror,” Trump said. “I want the organizers of this terror to be on notice that you will face severe criminal penalties and a lengthy sentences in jail.”
According to senior defense officials, between 600 and 800 National Guard members from five states were being sent to Washington to provide assistance. Those troops were either already on the ground or will arrive by midnight.
Under the Civil War-era Posse Comitatus Act, federal troops are prohibited from performing domestic law enforcement actions such as making arrests, seizing property or searching people. In extreme cases, however, the president can invoke the Insurrection Act, also from the Civil War, which allows the use of active-duty or National Guard troops for law enforcement.
The officials said that some of the National Guard in Washington, DC will be armed and others will not. They said that the Washington, DC guard members do not have non-lethal weapons. The military police that are visible in the city are members of the Guard.

Immunity Passports

Immunity Passports Are A Threat To Our Privacy And Information Security

With states beginning to ease shelter-in-place restrictions, the conversation on COVID-19 has turned to questions of when and how we can return to work, take kids to school, or plan air travel.

Several countries and U.S. states, including the UK, Italy, Chile, Germany, and California, have expressed interest in so-called “immunity passports” — a system of requiring people to present supposed proof of immunity to COVID-19 in order to access public spaces, work sites, airports, schools, or other venues.

In many proposed schemes, this proof would be stored in a digital token on a phone.
Immunity passports would threaten our privacy and information security, and would be a significant step toward a system of national digital identification that can be used to collect and store our personal information and track our location.

Immunity passports are purportedly intended to help combat the spread of COVID-19. But there is little evidence that they would actually accomplish that.
On a practical level, there is currently no test for COVID-19 immunity; what we have are antibody tests. But we don’t know whether people with antibodies have immunity.
Meanwhile, there has been a flood of flawed tests and fraudulent marketing schemes about antibody tests. Even when validated tests are widely available, they may not be 100 percent accurate.
The system should be a non-starter unless it can guarantee due process for those who want to challenge their test results.
This has often been a problem before; as we saw with the “no-fly” lists created after 9/11, it is very difficult to get off the list, even for those whose inclusion was a mistake.
The problem with immunity passports isn’t just medical — it’s ethical. Access to both COVID-19 testing and antibody testing is spotty.
Reports abound of people who fear they have been infected desperately trying to get tested to no avail.
Analysis has shown that African Americans are far less likely than white, Hispanic, or Asian patients to be tested before they end up in the emergency room.

Mobile testing sites administered by Verily (a subsidiary of Google’s parent Alphabet) require people to have a smartphone and a Google account.
Residents in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods, were turned away from testing sites because they didn’t have cell phones.
Requiring smartphone-based immunity verification to access public spaces like offices and schools would exacerbate existing inequities and reinforce a two-tiered system of the privileged, who can move about freely in society, and the vulnerable, who can’t work, shop, or attend school because they don’t have a cell phone or access to testing.
We’ve been here before. When yellow fever struck the South in the 1850s, those thought to be “unacclimated” to the disease were unemployable.
This burdened Black and lower-income people more than privileged members of society.
As we saw then, conditioning access to society on immunity incentivizes “bug-chasing” — that is, people deliberately trying to get sick in order to get the immunity passport.
No one should have to expose themselves to a potentially deadly disease with no cure to find work.

The  push for immunity passports has largely been premised on the promise of technological solutions to a public health crisis.
proposed bill in California, for example, would use blockchain technology to facilitate an immunity passport system on peoples’ smartphones. We oppose this bill.
Technological advancements such as blockchain technology or other methods of implementation do not address our objections to this type of system in of itself.
Moreover, digital-format immunity passports could normalize digital-format proof-of-status documents more generally.
Advocates of immunity passports visualize a world where we can’t pass through a door to a workplace, school, or restaurant until the gatekeeper scans our credentials.
This would habituate gatekeepers to demand such status credentials, and habituate the public to submit to these demands.
This digital system could easily be expanded to check not just a person’s immunity status, but any other bit of personal information that a gatekeeper might deem relevant, such as age, pregnancy, HIV status, or criminal history.
The system could also be adjusted to document not just a particular person’s status, but also when that person passed through a door that required proof of such status.
And all data of all such passages could be accumulated into one database.
This would be a troubling step towards digital national identification, which EFF has long opposed because it would create new ways to digitally monitor our movements and activities.

2020 Powder Keg, History Repeats

The 2020 Powder Keg

A powder keg is a barrel of gunpowder. The powder keg was the primary method for storing and transporting large quantities of black powder until the 1870s and the adoption of the modern cased bullet. However, the barrels had to be handled with care, since a spark or other source of heat could cause the contents to deflagrate.
I cannot imagine a more perfect storm taking shape. Not of the meteorological variety. But one that’s been taking shape for many years, even decades, tearing apart the fabric of this nation. You know this. There is a very great divide. More than one. 
Attempt to identify and label the sides of the divide. Good luck with that. You might say it’s about the Makers and the Takers (reference Carlson the other night). Or you might say the left and the right. The Dems and the Repubs. Blue and Red. Patriots / Socialists. Freedom vs tyranny. Globalism and one-world rule versus nationalism. The rich and middle-class/poor. Race. On and on… It’s all that and more.
So what’s different right now, 2020? Why a powder keg? I think you instinctively know. It feels like things/events/forces are ramping up to unavoidable confrontation. Not just one. But on many fronts. 
Things are hitting us hard. And in life-altering ways. And it’s far from over. 
The Wuhan Flu / Covid-19 and the repercussions that we’ve seen. The breathtaking swiftness at which rule-by-decree has been accepted in a land called the USA. Home of the brave, land of the free. The world’s power players and their plans to strip away remaining freedom and liberties under the fear and guise of what has been proven to be a initially massively overestimated disease.
Americans have been locked-down for months. People don’t like prison. Even if for some people it’s dangerous outside, people want out. We’re seeing some of the results of this pent up emotion. This is shaking the powder keg.
The lock-down may have helped flatten the curve. But it created other problems, bad decisions, other causation’s for death. Oh, and it destroyed the economy. 
Record unemployment since the Great Depression. 40 million unemployed workers. So many businesses are gone. Bankrupt. There are a lot of former middle class who are no longer. They are unable to pay bills. There is a very large and increasingly desperate class. 
Now the riots popping up all around the country. Blue cities burning. While the excuse of thuggery, pillaging, looting, rioting and burning is the Floyd murder (though horrible), it’s more than “racial injustice”. It is symptomatic of the bigger war that has been simmering among the people. It’s just one front. There are many. 
“The threads of our civic life could start unraveling, because everybody’s living in a tinderbox,” quoted from an article this morning. 
We are headed straight into economic Depression. A full societal meltdown. That’s how I see it.
People are getting very angry. Most have entirely lost faith in the political system, institutions, and government mismanagement.
We have an election in November.

Egon von Greyerz

As we kickoff trading in the month of June, and the world continues to move closer to the next crisis, today the man who has become legendary for his predictions on QE and historic moves in currencies and metals told King World News this is how we know the big collapse is still in front of us.

History repeats itself with staggering similarity. The Crises of the 3rd Century and today have much in common. All empires have the seeds of their own destruction within them. So if we look back almost 2000 years to the Roman Empire we will find exactly the same symptoms as today. 
Deficits, debts, excessive military spending, debasement of currency, breakdown of trade, plague, revolts, wars and hyperinflation. This is exactly what happened in the Crisis of the 3rd century, and right now the world is facing the same disasters. When Marcus Aurelius’ son, Commodus, became Emperor in 180 AD, the silver content of the Denarius coin was almost 90%. But gradually costs were soaring and revenues declining and the empire was running out of real money — gold and silver. More and more money was required to bribe a disloyal army…
By 235 AD, the situation became serious as many Roman legions were defeated by the Germanic peoples. The Roman generals also fought each other for control of the Empire. Between 235 AD and 284 there were more than 50 emperors, most of them murdered or killed in battle. The finances of Rome declined rapidly and debts increased substantially. Taxes were continuously raised but there were fewer and fewer who were in a position to pay tax. Then, in 250 AD, there was a plague that killed major parts of the population.

By changing the names and years to today in the above paragraph, the situation is almost identical. From the creation of the Fed in 1913, the US and the dollar has gradually gone downhill but the acceleration phase started in 1971, when Nixon closed the gold window. 
Again, the similarity with Rome is astonishing. The real decline started in 235 AD, when the Crisis of the 3rd century began. At that time the Denarius had 50% silver content, which over the next 50 years declined to 5%, a 90% fall. Emperor Gallenius presided over this final fall.
The situation today is even worse. In the 50 years between 1971 and today, the dollar has lost 98% of its real value, measured in gold. The fall is now accelerating as the graph below shows. The dollar has lost a staggering 83% in the last 20 years, since 2000.

What is absolutely extraordinary is that the symptoms of the 3rd century are identical today: Deficits, debts, excessive military spending, debasement of currency, breakdown of trade, plague, revolts, wars and hyperinflation. 
Each one of the above circumstances is present today. We obviously have the debts, deficits, etc. We also have social unrest in many countries and right now rampant in the US. We also have the plague in the form of Coronavirus. So far there are no major wars, but sadly with the current geopolitical tensions, the risk is major.
We don’t have hyperinflation yet, which is typically defined as prices going up by 50% per month. But with the dollar having lost 98% over 50 years, and 83% since 2000, it only has 2% to go to ZERO. And with the massive money printing and credit expansion that is now taking place, I cannot understand how anyone believes we can avoid it today. 

Human beings always think that it is different today just because we are here. But how can anyone think that we can solve a debt problem with more debt? And when we look back at history, currency collapses and hyperinflation are very frequent events. Just in the last 100 years, there have been over 60 hyperinflationary events in the world. And in the last 2000 years, the number could easily be over 1,000. What is totally different today is that the whole world is in a similar situation, and when hyperinflation starts, very few countries will be able to avoid it. A global hyperinflation will clearly be both spectacular and devastating.  It is not a question of IF, only of WHEN. 
Many are saying that we have no inflation today so how can we get hyperinflation. What few understand is that hyperinflation is a currency driven event. It arises as a result of the currency collapsing. And the currency collapses due to massive money printing, which we are at the beginning of now.
Hyperinflation happens very quickly, almost out of the blue. As the chart shows below. it can go exponential in a couple of years.

A Question Of Evidence...

The Question Of Evidence When Governments Push Political Narratives

In the last 30 years, there have been many big events which have been questioned. Iraq is the classic example of where a relative few questioning the pretext of that invasion (Weapons of Mass Destruction – WMDs) were insulted and smeared but later vindicated.
Today, in the background of the risk of world conflict and threat to health and our way of life arising from Covid-19, it’s never been more important to be sceptical and understand evidence.
Earlier in my career, I used to adjudicate financial disputes between two parties, weigh up the evidence, and decide the most likely scenario.

...many people think they are not qualified to research or question the politics or science behind government decisions.
I can understand people with busy lives accepting narratives about events in far-away parts of the world. But Covid-19 should really change that given the impact that lockdown may have on our lives for years to come.
This is what Lord Sumption, former member of the English Supreme Court, said about Covid-19 on BBC Radio 4 recently:
What I say to them is I am not a scientist but it is the right and duty of every citizen to look and see what the scientists have said and to analyse it for themselves and to draw common sense conclusions.
We are all perfectly capable of doing that and there’s no particular reason why the scientific nature of the problem should mean we have to resign our liberty into the hands of scientists.
We all have critical faculties and it’s rather important, in a moment of national panic, that we should maintain them.
Lord Sumption is right. I often didn’t have expert knowledge of the area I was adjudicating on. It wasn’t necessary as we would rely on expert evidence, typically independent or from two sources. What I did was just weighing up information — an ability most of us have when applying ourselves.
Evidence comes in many forms: testimony, circumstantial, documents, and research or expert studies.
Below are some established concepts of assessing evidence as well as some pointers about the reality of today’s global scene that’s relevant when reviewing sharply conflicting narratives.


This is a good initial indicator. Similar to detectives investigating a murder, they will be guided towards a suspect who has a criminal record.
In the case of Western governments, their advisors, and media, a look at their previous record on a whole range of important issues will show they’ve been wrong.
However, we should be mindful that just because they’ve always been wrong, that it doesn’t follow they are this time around.
For example, based on their past track record, we should certainly view governments’ response to Covid-19 with scepticism initially and ask questions. The information which flows from this and other material will make up the main body of evidence.


Taking Covid-19 as just one example, it amazes me when someone says, “you seem to think lockdown is not necessary, it states on the news that it’s working, so what proof do you have that it isn’t?”
I probably don’t need to elaborate on this lazy thinking except to say that the onus is on those who assert to prove. So, the duty is on the government to show that lockdown is working by directly reducing infection, and most importantly, is necessary in the big scheme.
The media is a main channel to communicate such evidence, but statements of “we don’t know” or “it’s too early to tell” or “trust the science”, contradictions, and scare stories have been typical of the entire Covid-19 response.
Meanwhile, many sceptical experts and independent commentators have brought much to the table in terms of scientific studies and the questioning proportionality of lockdown measures.
The sceptics as yet have not had the same air-time to put forward their case. But people need to remember that the government has not discharged the onus of proof over Covid-19, and historically, rarely do over other events.


We go back again to our detectives. Who has most to gain from pushing a certain narrative? With Iraq, there were clear agendas in Washington to go to war, so much so that stories appeared in the press of links between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. When this nonsense was dismissed, we moved to the threat of WMDs. We went to war out of a determination by Bush and Blair.
Today, I believe that the UK government is realising their lockdown response was driven by blind panic after receiving incorrect advice on potential mortality rates from their scientists.So, their main motive now is to prevent an angry backlash against the damage caused by lockdown.
Mixed up in all events from Iraq to Covid-19 are the combined interests of numerous parties such as NATO-funded NGOs and investigative sites such as Bellingcat, career journalists, arms industry lobbies, and big pharma. These vested interests include money, career advancement, power, and ideology.
For example, in deciding whether to get involved in Syria, selfish interests worked together. This is why one war after another has been a disaster.
Independent journalists and activists don’t generally have the same motivations and therefore their opposition to their government’s Syria policy is based on the horror of the destruction and threat to world peace.
Thus, understanding the main players and their motives is crucial to understanding evidence.


I recall when adjudicating disputes, the lengths one party would go to, to mislead or pressurise me.
The government, in pushing the narrative of the day, is no different, and has many tools in its armoury, not least a compliant media.
Blaming others, dumbing-down debate, and distracting their audience towards less important issues are classic tactics. For example, when the Covid-19 debate should be about whether lockdown is proportional and necessary, the media focus on scare stories, lack of equipment for health service staff, and blaming China.
The government and media also build a ‘unifying’ theme, encouraging weekly clapping for health workers and constant TV adverts telling us to “stick together to see it through”.
But the mask slips when dealing with the dissenters. Heavy-handed policing of lockdown and outright censorship of those who question the necessity for lockdown, even extending to the views of respected but non-government experts.
Twitter mobs sucked into the frenzy of fear and the new ‘unity’ emerge to smear and insult those questioning the government position.
These tactics have been used prior to every war and during every crisis, only for the narrative to later collapse.
A sign that these people are wrong is that if their position had merit, they wouldn’t censor and would debate.
One of their tactics is to label anyone who questions the prevailing narrative as “conspiracy theorists”. Unfortunately, some dissenters, rather than stick to the position that the government has serious questions to answer, go on to speculate and develop theories which can’t be proven. This provides the opportunity for those pushing official narratives to dismiss powerful arguments based on one error or supplementary theory.