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Monday, August 29, 2016

The Forgotten War in Kashmir Is Turning Nasty
By Baba Umar

Ever since they entered into a cease-fire agreement in the disputed Kashmir, relations between Pakistan and India never seemed to be unraveling.

Over the past month and a half, however, the South Asian giants are on the brink of redefining their relationship and essentially unscrambling thanks to a full-blown pro-independence uprising in India-controlled Kashmir.

It began with the killing of a popular and talismanic rebel commander, Burhan Muzaffar Wani, on July 8 in south Kashmir. In no time, Kashmir erupted in anger.

The funeral prayers for the 21-year-old—offered back-to-back 40 times—were participated in by more than 200,000 locals, despite a government clampdown. Countless absentia funeral prayers in Kashmir’s mosques followed.

Since then, the valley has been witnessing tense nights and curfewed days. About 70 stone-pelting protesters and bystanders have been shot dead. Kashmir’s hospitals are full of patients targeted with bullets and other lethal ordnance. Their number has swelled to 8,500 in the past 51 days as the longest-ever and strictest curfew of the last 30 years endures.

India has come under fire for using deadly pellet-firing shotguns (or the pump-action shotgun). Officially, more than 1.3 million rounds of pellets have been fired on protesters in Kashmir, blinding or maiming hundreds. New official data reveals that more than 1,400 have received ricocheting pellets in the eyes. Billed as “non-lethal” weapons by the Indian paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), pellets are taking lives in Kashmir. A few weeks ago, doctors at one of the region’s key hospitals discovered more than 300 pellets in the torso of a dead boy.

The pump-action shotgun is also used as a war weapon. These guns are used in close-quarters combat and were used by the U.S. Army in the Vietnam War.

The doctors’ association in Kashmir is worried over how to pass pellet-hit patients through MRI scanners. The scanners, the association says, generate a strong magnetic field as a result of which pellets lodged in the body could move. Doctors say this would be particularly dangerous if the iron or lead pellets are located near vital organs like the brain, heart or spinal cord.

The use of pellets in Kashmir has been likened to the use of white phosphorus in Gaza or the use of chemical weapons in Syria. New reports suggest that India could introduce “PAVA shells,” a chili-based ammunition, after widespread condemnation of shotguns.

Other weapons Indian authorities have used to block the Kashmir rage include oleoresin grenades, flash bombs, electron shells, plastic bullets, pepper balls and stun grenades. Recently, Indian armed forces admitted using electron shells against protesters without offering any description of the newly introduced weapon.

These arsenals, according to a doctor friend, have taken a toll on suckling and expecting mothers, the elderly, and heart and asthma patients. As well as more doctors, Kashmir urgently needs weapons experts to better advise the embattled government on the effects of ordnance before it is used.

China will get involved if India foments trouble in Balochistan: Chinese think tank

RAWALPINDI: China will have “to get involved” if any Indian “plot” disrupts the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in the restive Balochistan, an influential Chinese think tank has warned India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reference to Balochistan in his Independence Day speech is the “latest concern” for China and among its scholars, Hu Shisheng, the director of the Institute of South and Southeast Asian and Oceanian Studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), told IANS in a freewheeling interview, says a report published in Hindustan Times.

The researcher, at one of China’s most powerful think tanks, which is affiliated with the ministry of state security, also said India’s growing military ties with the US and its changed attitude on the disputed South China Sea are ringing alarm bells for China. “The latest concern for China is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech from the Red Fort in which he referred to the issues like Kashmir and Balochistan,” Hu said. “It could be regarded as a watershed moment in India’s policy towards Pakistan. Why Chinese scholars are concerned is because this is for the first time India has mentioned it,” he added.

Hu said China fears India may use “anti-government” elements in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan where Beijing is building the $46 billion CPEC -- a key to the success of its ambitious One Road One Belt project. “There is concern that India may take the same approach, which is believed by the Indian side Pakistan is taking, asymmetrically using anti-government factors in Pakistan,” Hu said on the expansive and leafy campus of CICIR. 

Indian Police Arrest Key Kashmiri Separatist Leader

SRINAGAR – Police in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir said Aug. 27 that they have arrested one of the key separatist leaders spearheading protests against Indian rule in the disputed region.

Police arrested Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who was already under house arrest, late Aug. 26 and locked him up in a government facility in Srinagar, the region's main city, a police officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity in keeping with department policy.

Farooq is among the leaders who have been jointly issuing schedules of protests to challenge India's sovereignty over Kashmir.

A strict curfew and a tightening crackdown by authorities have failed to stop some of Kashmir's largest protests against Indian rule in recent years, triggered by the killing of a popular rebel commander on July 8. Since then, tens of thousands of people have defied the curfew, staged protests and clashed with government forces.

At least 67 civilians have been killed and thousands injured, mostly by government forces firing bullets and shotguns at rock-throwing protesters. Two policemen have also been killed and hundreds of government forces have been injured in the clashes. 

India Pakistan Military Kashmiri
Obamacare is in trouble
By Rick Newman
Business Insider

Critics of Obamacare, President’s Obama’s signature health-reform law, have sounded all kinds of exaggerated alarms over damage the program might cause. But one worrisome prediction may be coming true, in some places: the descent into an economic spiral that could render the program unviable.

Higher-than-expected costs have led several insurers such as Aetna (AET), UnitedHealth (UNH) and Humana (HUM) to pull out of marketplaces established under the Affordable Care Act, while others have scaled back coverage. That’s leaving more markets with just one or two insurers offering plans under the ACA—the point at which competition peters out and the cost of premiums potentially soars. Since Obamacare relies mostly on competition to keep costs manageable, a withdrawal of carriers in some markets could drive patients away and undermine the program.

Nobody knows where that point might be, but the trend is troubling. New analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 19% of Obamacare enrollees seeking coverage in 2017 will be in a market with just one insurer, up from just 2% this year. Another 19% will have access to just two carriers, up from 12%. Those able to consider plans from three or more insurers will drop from 85% this year to 62% next. “It’s certainly not ideal,” says analyst Gary Claxton of KFF. “If the program gets over this set of troubles, it could do well. If it doesn’t, we could end up with more consolidation.”

Obamacare has been a political football from the beginning, and it’s getting kicked around as much as ever in the 2016 presidential race. Republican nominee Donald Trump calls the ACA “disastrous” and blames it, with characteristic hyperbole, for virtually every major healthcare problem in the United States. He has seized on news of steep premium hikes in some areas as one of many reasons to repeal the ACA. Democrat Hillary Clinton wants to expand the ACA and find new ways to lower costs. Americans remain conflicted, with slightly more opposing the law than supporting it.

Obamacare as a whole is far from doomed, and in places such as Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Seattle, premium hikes have been small and the ACA seems to be working. But in other areas, the pullout of insurers could push costs up by enough to discourage people from signing up, which in turn would make cost problems worse. In general, the ACA has attracted more sick people seeking more costly care than expected. Insurers set their rates for 2014, the first full year of Obamacare coverage, based on what they thought their costs would be. On average, they raised their premiums by 2% in 2015 and 5% in 2016, according to KFF. For 2017, the nonprofit group predicts a 9% increase in premiums for a typical plan. 

America, Obama LIED His ASS OFF to YOU and YOU...............Well at LEAST Half of YOU were To Stupid or to Blind by the Politics to SEE what Obamacare WAS Really ALL About...................The Fricking Control of 20% of the U.S. Economy and 100% of ""We the People""!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To Control Healthcare in America GIVES Washington the ability to go after what YOU Eat and Drink and How Much YOU Eat and Drink. If Your Determined to be Over Weight Washington can Tell You that YOU'RE a HIGH Risk and will tell you Lose Weight or will raise Your Premiums and Co-pays. Folks THIS "IS" the Kind of Power YOU Gave UP because YOU Bought into Obama's BULLSHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well ""Hillarycare"" IS Coming IF you People out there are Ignorant enough to Elect HER in November and HER Attempts to Save Obamacare WILL Destroy the U.S. Economy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Folks, The Government couldn't RUN a Fricking ""FREE LUNCH"" without Screwing it UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   

Nets Cover for Failing ObamaCare, Silent on Missed Enrollment Forecast
By Nicholas Fondacaro

The news broke Monday that ObamaCare has again missed enrollment forecasts from the Congressional Budget Office, resulting in grossly limited options and high prices for consumers. “Enrollment is simply nowhere near what the congressional budget office thought it would be,” reported Fox News correspondent Kevin Corke, “Now what that means is higher costs for those of you who that take part, and for the insurers, it means they're losing money.” Even with that dire fact the “Big Three” news networks chose to cover for the Obama administration.

Corke did admit that the initial estimates by the CBO were “pretty high,” and noted that the actual rate of enrollment into the program is only at half of what the projections predicted. “New analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows a third of ObamaCare exchange customers will only have a single insurer offering for the upcoming year,” Corke continued, “And that means many insurers have simply stopped offering plans all together.”

And according to Corke the losses the insurance companies are experiencing are absolutely huge, some would even say “yuge”:


""And we're not talking tens of millions of dollars, we’re talking to the tune of billions with a "B." Billions of dollars…

Let me just show some of the big losses. I think this will probably surprise you, as well. United Health Group announced that they lost a billion dollars for 2015 and 2016. Health Care Service Corp, well north of 2 billion in the first two years. Highmark, $600 million in 2015 alone. And Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, projected losses of $400 million in just the two years.""

Ignoring the failings of ObamaCare as it rots from the inside has become a trend for the liberal network news outlets. In mid-August, ABC and NBC skipped over the story of insurer Aetna pulling out of two thirds of the ObamaCare exchanges they were involved in. And back in mid-July MRC’s Mike Ciandella found that for the year, up to that point, broadcast evening news spend a scant 23 seconds on ObamaCare’s slow breakdown. CBS made up the totality of that 23 seconds for the year.

Transcript below:

Obamacare and what EVER Hillary turns it into WILL be the Cause of America's NEXT ""GREAT Recession"" in 2017............................For GOD Sake Fricking READ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hillary.....................The Most Dangerous Woman on Planet EARTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Be Very Afraid of What Comes NEXT in America after November 8th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

FBI alert sparks fears that state voting systems are under digital assault

Could hacks of Arizona’s and Illinois’ voter databases be part of a Russian attempt to meddle in the U.S. election?
By Cory Bennett and Eric Geller

The FBI’s decision to issue a nationwide alert about the possible hacking of state election offices after breaches in Illinois and Arizona is raising concerns that a nationwide attack could be afoot, with the potential for creating havoc on Election Day.

It’s possible that the motivation behind the two state hacks was less about the political system and more about cash. Voter registration data sets include valuable information — such as names, birth dates, phone numbers and physical and email addresses — that criminal hackers can bundle and flip on the black-market “dark web” for thousands of dollars.

But some cyber experts said the FBI’s alert, first revealed by Yahoo News on Monday, could be a sign that investigators are worried that foreign actors are attempting a wide-scale digital onslaught.

A former lead agent in the FBI’s Cyber Division said the hackers’ use of a particular attack tool and the level of the FBI’s alert “more than likely means nation-state attackers.” The alert was coded “Amber,” designating messages with sensitive information that “should not be widely distributed and should not be made public,” the ex-official said.

One person who works with state election officials called the FBI’s memo “completely unprecedented.”

“There’s never been an alert like that before that we know of,” said the person, who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive intergovernmental conversations. 

EXCLUSIVE: Russia-Backed DNC Hackers Strike Washington Think Tanks
By Patrick Tucker

The same Kremlin-backed group that hacked the Pentagon, State Department, and DNC targeted DC insiders last week.

Last week, one of the Russia-backed hacker groups that attacked Democratic computer networks also attacked several Russia-focused think tanks in Washington, D.C., Defense One has learned.

The perpetrator is the group called COZY BEAR, or APT29, one of the two groups that cybersecurity company CrowdStrike blamed for the DNC hack, according to founder Dmitri Alperovitch. CrowdStrike discovered the attack on the DNC and provides security for the think tanks.

Alperovitch said fewer than five organizations and 10 staffers researching Russia were hit by the “highly targeted operation.” He declined to detail which think tanks and researchers were hit, out of concern for his clients’ interests and to avoid revealing tools and techniques or other data to hackers. CrowdStrike alerted the organizations immediately after the company detected the breaches and intruders were unable to exfiltrate any information, Alperovitch said.

Defense One reached out to several think tanks with programs in Russian research, one of which was the Center for Strategic and International Studies, or CSIS. “Last week we were under attack, but our small staff was very responsive. Beyond that, I’m not going to discuss the details because it is under active investigation,” the H. Andrew Schwartz, CSIS Senior Vice President for External Relations, said in an email. 
Folks Do Planet EARTH a Favor And Spread the Word about what YOUR Reading HERE..................Do it For the Children!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm NOT Cherry Picking the NEWS Here.....................This "IS" the Shit that's Happening NOW that The PRESS especially in America don't want YOU to Know About!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
Something happened in the latest home sales figures: Biggest national sales decline since April 2011.
By Dr. HousingBubble

The housing recovery has really been an odd one.  It has been driven by low inventory, anxious builders, and an army of investors.  In the end what has occurred is that the homeownership rate is near a generational low, we have 10 million new renter households over the last decade, and home prices are up on relatively low sales volume.  How can there be big sales volume when inventory is so constrained?  It is a good question to ask.  In any market you will have periods of capitulation, where people simply give in.  You see it happening in this market where people purchase crap shacks as if taking their medicine when they were a child.  The place physically sucks and is overpriced but hey, you need to do it because mommy told you it was the right thing to do.  We’ve been in a holding pattern for a couple of years yet last month, sales did take a rather big drop.  It was the biggest drop since April 2011.  Is this simply an anomaly or are people priced out?

The latest dip in home sales

It should be noted that sales volume drops before any impact is reflected in prices.  This is simply the way things go in housing.  In fact, you’ll need a good year or two of lackluster sales to really have any pull on prices.  Any journey needs to take a first step and it is abundantly clear that housing values are being jacked up in manic ways in many areas.

First, let us look at the drop in sales: 

Bursting Bubble Alert—-Housing Markets In Aspen, The Hamptons And Miami Are All Crashing
By Tyler Durden

One month ago, we said that “it is not looking good for the US housing market”, when in the latest red flag for the US luxury real estate market, we reported that sales in the Hamptons plunged by half and home prices fell sharply in the second quarter in the ultra-wealthy enclave, New York’s favorite weekend haunt for the 1%-ers.

Reuters blamed this on “stock market jitters earlier in the year” which  damped the appetite to buy, however one can also blame the halt of offshore money laundering, a slowing global economy, the collapse of the petrodollar, and the drastic drop in Wall Street bonuses. In short: a sudden loss of confidence that a greater fool may emerge just around the corner, which in turn has frozen buyer interest.

A beachfront residence is seen in East Hampton, New York, March 16, 2016.

We concluded this is just the beginning, and sure enough, several weeks later a similar collapse in the luxury housing segment was reported in a different part of the country. As the Denver Post reported recently, high-end sales that fuel Aspen’s $2 billion-a-year real estate market are evaporating, pushing Pitkin County’s sales volume down more than 42 percent to $546.45 million for the first half of the year from $939.91 million in the same period of 2015.

The collapse in transactions means that Aspen’s high-end real estate market “one of the most robust in the country, with dozens of options for buyers ready to spend more than $10 million” finds itself in its first-ever sustained nosedive, despite “dense summer crowds, soaring sales tax revenues and high lodging occupancy.”

Like in the Hamptons, the question everyone is asking is “why”? There are many answers: 

U.S. Housing..................Now Comes the Correction Toooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fear Spreads of a Housing Crash in Canada
By Wolf Richter

More Canadians sour on their Magnificent Housing Bubble.

Canadians have been gung-ho about their magnificent housing bubble, feeding it with an endless willingness to pay every higher prices, even as regulators and international institutions issued warnings, as short sellers began circling, as subprime liar-loan scandals made their reappearance, and as a generation was getting priced out of the hottest housing markets in Canada, the metros of Toronto and Vancouver, and as locals came up with an acronym to describe what has fired up the market: HAM – Hot Asian Money.

But the Vancouver housing bubble, the hottest even in Canada, hit rough waters in early summer. By July the first serious troubles appeared. Even as apartment prices soared 27% year-over-year and detached house prices 38%, overall sales plunged 19%, while sales of detached homes plummeted 31% [Vancouver Housing Bubble, Meet Pin].

Then on August 2, British Columbia’s notorious 15% transfer tax on home purchases involving foreign investors took effect. Preliminary data indicate that sales over the first two weeks in August plunged 51% year-over-year, with sales of detached homes down 66%.

And this flood of news on the Canadian housing bubble and speculations about a Canadian housing crash have now begun to slice into the previously imperturbable confidence of regular Canadians in their housing miracle.

The housing related part of the Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index just had its worst spill in the history of the monthly data series, going back to May 2013: The percentage of the respondents who expected a decline in local home prices jumped from 12% to 20.5% in one fell swoop.

The percentage of those who expected home prices to rise dropped 2.3 percentage points to 41.4%, and the percentage of those expecting little change dropped 5.3 percentage points to 36.3%. Bloomberg:

Surging Bets on Canadian Home-Price Decline Dent Confidence
By Greg Quinn

Canadians may finally be getting skittish about real estate.

The share of survey respondents who expect a decline in local housing prices jumped by 8.5 percentage points, the most since weekly polling began three years ago for the Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index. The increase to 20.5 percent from 12 percent dragged the broader sentiment index down from 2016 highs.

The reading marks a change from almost unbridled consumer optimism in a housing market that has carried the Canadian economy since the 2008 global financial crisis, even as policy makers warn price gains in some cities are unsustainable. Preliminary data this month from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver show recent government measures to cool the market may be taking effect.

Countering the deterioration in housing market sentiment, the share of respondents who say their personal finances improved over the past year jumped 6 percentage points to 25.8 percent, also the largest increase since weekly polling began. The move coincides with government measures to increase monthly payments to lower-income families.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau implemented the new child benefits as part of a program of deficit spending, with the first payments sent out last month.


Canada......................RECESSION Dead Ahead!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
Well it's TIME Again to Re-post Ray Dalio Lesson on How Economies Work to help Explain the Hellish Reality of the Articles Below.....................Planet EARTH the Central Banksters have Totally SCREWED UP this TIME and NO Amount of ""QE"" can STOP what has already begun......................""THE GREAT Rest""!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio.................The best 30 Min. Lesson on Economics YOU Will ever View and the BEST Part to this story "IS"......................It's FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NOW READ what YOU have Coming at YOU in 2017!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

+ This.................Folks NO Way IN Hell will ""BIG Government"" make this MATH Work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hide YOU CASH and Prepare for something FAR Worse than what the History Books tells YOU what Happened in the 1930s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Even The Academic Math of This Economy Is Pointing To The Unfortunate Existence of The Long Run Consequences
By Jeffrey P. Snider

One of the articles referenced in Janet Yellen’s Jackson Hole speech last week was a piece written for the Peterson Institute for International Economics by Senior Fellow Olivier Blanchard. Dr. Blanchard has, as noted earlier today, all the “right” credentials, which is why his conjecture gets included into the speeches of Federal Reserve Chairmen. Having taught at both Harvard and MIT, becoming chair of the economics department at MIT for five years, landed Blanchard the role of research director at the IMF. Private experience is obviously missing from his resume.

Dr. Blanchard’s article was an attempt to “explain” the yield curve in the United States. Economists like Blanchard are so indoctrinated in central bank and QE mythology that what is exceedingly simple is dismissed as impossible. Persistently low interest rates are proof of “tight” money in the real economy; but that just can’t be with QE and all the amassed central bank intellectual capacity in that area. Instead, they must make the most absurd arguments to try to square a circle of their own often circular logic or paradoxes (central bankers know everything about money but now central bankers are stumped, therefore it can’t be money?).

You can read his whole argument and decide for yourself, of course, as I will only highlight but one of three reasons he specifies as really a window into this academic divide. One of the primary correlations in this view, which isn’t necessarily consistent with actual data, is that low rates are a function of low productivity and expectations for continuing low productivity. Blanchard tries to argue that while the crash in 2008 might explain the lack of productivity in the immediate aftermath, it doesn’t do much to render understanding about why it appears to have lingered.

To have become permanent, he contends, is the partial responsibility of “gloom”; I’m not making this up. He actually writes, “I believe that this bad news about the future largely explains the relative weakness of demand today.” And that sets up what is a very good example in how economists think not about the economy in which we all live but the “economy” where models prevail.

Nobody but an economist would think like this; and while this example is meant as a means to translate a very real phenomenon into the math-speak of regressions that academics use, he is seemingly unaware of the translation and thus the potential for error in even attempting it. In the world of high-credential universities, actual phenomenon must be converted into linear functions. That means that “gloom” has to be accounted for across several variables that can be each modeled in such a way that it makes sense to the mathematical versions of reality (and thus to economists who think I equations first).

Any non-indoctrinated non-statistician can immediately recognize the problems with thus thinking math-first. If you need to translate the real world into nonsensical linear mathematics before you can attempt to understand said world, then the bond market will really be a mystery to you.

In the world of the real, businesses don’t invest because their revenues don’t expand; end of story. Revenues aren’t expanding because businesses won’t hire no matter what the unemployment rate says; end of story. This was all, of course, one of the factors that quantitative easing was meant specifically to address – derived from the statistically modeled understanding of expectations rather than the actual conditions of them. The “wealth effect” was supposed to break the economy out of any gloom, as rising asset prices, especially the repeated and emphasized “record highs” of stocks, bonds, or anything in between, would surely negate any immediate “gloom” as it rolled over into expectations of an impeccable future.

Economic theory just does not allow for the possibility that asset prices, particularly stocks, are anything but completely efficient. But that is increasingly what we find, even in the math of orthodox construction. As noted earlier, the CBO has been keeping account of the withering failure of monetary policy in a manner that economists don’t want anyone to explore. Rewriting economic “potential” within these very mathematical functions serves to undermine the core of orthodox economics itself, especially since the CBO is not just proving the lack of recovery but rewriting most of the 21st century economy with it.

It isn’t just the CBO, however, who has been pressed by regression into an impossible reconciliation. The Fed’s own models show almost exactly the same condition as the CBO with regard to shrinking “potential.” In the latest FOMC projections, released coincident to the June FOMC meeting, the models reduced the upper bound of the central tendency for long run real GDP to 2% from 2.1%; the lower bound of 1.8% remained the same. 

The "Devastating" Truth Behind America's Record Household Net Worth

Every quarter, as part of its Flows of Funds statement, the Fed releases a detailed breakdown of America's assets and liabilities, of which the most interesting section is the one dealing with US household wealth and debt, and most importantly, their net worth. The last such release in June showed that as of March 31, total US household assets rose decidedly above $100 trillion, hitting an all time high $102.6 trillion, offset by $14.5 trillion in liabilities, resulting in $88.1 trillion in household net worth. It is worth noting that of this $100+ trillion in assets, 69% was in the form of financial assets (stocks, mutual funds, pensions, deposits, etc), and only $31.5 trillion was real, tangible assets including $26 trillion worth of real estate.

To be sure, the media loves reporting this number as proof of successful Obama policies: after all how can anyone complain when US households have never been richer, at least according to the Fed's estimate of their net worth?

Well, if the chart above was indeed an accurate depiction of the prevailing US net worth, then it would indeed be a thing to celebrate. Alas, it is anything but, and as Pedro da Costa points out, when one looks beneath the surface, a "devastating" picture emerges: US inequality like no-one has seen it before.

To help with this peek behind the scenes, we look at the latest, just released CBO report on Trends in Family Wealth, which shows that far from equitable, US wealth has never been so skewed.

The picture in question:


Here are the CBO report's summary findings: 

Personal Income And Spending Change Again
By Jeffrey P. Snider

The only economic data of note today was the notoriously unreliable personal income and spending figures. The data series contained within the suite are subject to not just major benchmark revisions but significant revisions within just the high frequency time frames. Perhaps the most pertinent example of this is the personal savings rate which has been revised all over the place such that there cannot be any confidence whatsoever in the statistic.

As of this moment and the latest data, the personal savings rate is thought to be 5.7% in July 2016, up from 5.5% in June. Last month, the savings rate for June was originally believed to be 5.3%, but is now higher because income was revised up for the past four months.


While spending figures were revised slightly lower, more income can only mean then a temporarily greater savings tendency at least until both spending and income undergo repeated significant revisions in the future. In terms of real disposable income less transfer payments, one of the income series that the NBER somehow relies upon to aid its search for cycle peaks, what was a flat trend in all of 2016 has now been remodeled into a decrease at the start of the year and then a gentle upslope out of it.


It is not, however, significantly different in economic terms because what actually matters is that the decrease at the start of the year survives (so far); meaning it increasingly likely (as that shift lingers throughout subsequent revisions) that there was a real interruption in income growth at the start of the year that was likely felt by US consumers. If only there could be some certainty as to whether or how much of any of that occurred.


Even with the latest revisions, income has significantly slowed. From that perspective, the lack of further economic growth in Q2 2016 as represented by GDP makes some sense even though quarter-over-quarter PCE was better than Q1. Had income not been interrupted or declined at the start of the year in actual economic conditions it is possible Q2 GDP would have amounted to a much more substantial bounce (or even a rebound at all).

Instead, we are left wondering just how damaged the overall economy has been under this “rising dollar” period, a task made incredibly difficult from this perspective by not just the constant reshaping of trends and patterns via significant revisions but also the inclusions of large and unnecessary (in my view) imputations and phantom economic accounts in the first place. In other words, there is a good chance that “something” happened at the start of 2016 that may explain the rest of this year in some part; it is just impossible to tell from these ever-changing numbers (and the way they are put together in the first place) what it was and by how much.

In long run terms, however, economic damage is perfectly clear and consistent with what I wrote about this morning with regard to downgrades in “potential”, as even revisions don’t accomplish much in any direction. 

The American MIDDLE Class has been Totally SCREWED by Obama and the FED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Bernie Madoff wakes up every morning with the WSJ and I'm sure he asks himself, ""WTF am I doing in here when the REAL Crooks are Still Running the Biggest ""PONZI"" Scheme in the History of Money out of the ***City of PAIN***(Washington D.C.)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Debt, Deficits & Economic Warnings
By Lance Roberts

Debts Deficits Economic Warnings Taxes

While the world has been focused on the Federal Reserve, the markets, and the upcoming election, few have noticed the expansion of the deficit in recent months which is now in excess of $667 billion up from a recent low of $530 billion. The chart below shows the history of U.S. surplus/deficit:


During the financial crisis, the deficit ballooned to a record of $1.35 trillion as tax revenue declined as Government spending swelled. Importantly, the Federal Deficit was approaching 10% in 2009, a historical record for the U.S., but still remains at levels associated with weaker economic growth rates and recessions.


The decline in the deficit was artificial in many ways as it was primarily due to the reforms from the “2011 Budget Control Act” which including tough spending cuts and a big tax bite that impacted a large majority of the middle class. Much of that “austerity” has now been reversed.

Tax The Rich

The surge in tax revenues was a direct result of the “fiscal cliff” at the end of 2012 as companies rushed to pay out special dividends and bonuses ahead of what was perceived to a fiscal disaster and higher tax rates. The large surge in incomes was primarily generated at the upper end of the income brackets where individuals were impacted by higher tax rates. Those taxes were then paid in April and October of 2013 and accounted for the sharp decline in the deficit. Also, it is important to remember that payroll taxes also increased due to the expiration of the payroll tax cut from 2010. (Note: the increased tax collection from payrolls remains currently.)

This surge in tax revenue can be seen more clearly in the chart below of tax receipts as a percentage of GDP.


While there are many that expect that the markets can repeat the secular bull market of the 90’s, and by extension, receipts could test the previous high, this is not likely. The demographic and economic makeup, valuation levels and interest rates currently weigh heavily against that probability.

It’s The Deficit Stupid

As stated above, as the “rich” invest in productive investments it leads to higher employment, strong consumer demand and economic growth. In turn, this leads to higher tax revenue. 

Janet Yellen The FED 

Red Ponzi Ticking—-China And The Dark Side Of The Global Bubble, Part 1
By David Stockman

…..Donald Trump is absolutely correct that China is a great economic menace. But that’s not owing to incompetence at the State and Commerce Departments or USTR in cutting bad trade deals.

Nor is it even primarily due to the fact that China egregiously manipulates it currency, massively subsidizes its exports, wantonly steals technology, chronically infringes patents and hacks propriety business information like there is no tomorrow.

If that were the extent of China’s sins, a new sheriff in the White House wielding a big stick and possessing a steely backbone—-attributes loudly claimed by The Donald—-might be able to reset the game. After hard-nosed negotiations, he might even obtain a more level and transparent playing field, thereby eventually reducing our current debilitating $500 billion import trade with China and retrieving at least some of the millions of jobs which have been off-shored to the far side of the planet.

But as we demonstrated in Chapter 5, the world fundamentally changed in the early 1990s when Mr. Deng and Chairman Greenspan jointly initiated the present era of Bubble Finance. The latter elected to inflate rather than deflate the domestic US economy and to thereby export dollar liabilities in their trillions to the rest of the world.

At the same time, having depreciated the yuan by 60%, Mr. Deng discovered that to keep China’s nascent export machine booming he needed to run the printing presses in the basement of the People Bank of China (PBOC) red hot, thereby sopping up the massive inflow of Greenspan’s dollars and keeping China’s exchange rate pegged to the US dollar.

So doing, Beijing kept domestic wages and prices cheap and turned China into an export powerhouse by draining its vast rice paddies of history’s greatest warehouse of untapped industrial labor. In fact, in less than two decades it mobilized more new industrial workers than had existed in the US, Europe and Japan combined at the time in the early 1990s when Mr. Deng proclaimed that it was glorious to be rich.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the half of it. Greenspan’s dollar profligacy was inherently contagious. By the 1990s, the governments of most of the developed world were run by statists and socialists who were loath to see their exchange rates soar in the face of Greenspan’s epic flood of surplus dollars.

So rather than harvesting social gains from the cheap American exports Greenspan had on offer, the new ECB and the BOJ reciprocated with monetary expansion designed to keep their exchange rates down and protect domestic industries and labor .

Old fashioned economists were wont to call this a race to the currency bottom, and surely it was that. But what it really did was unleash a global tsunami of credit expansion and an economic race of another sort. Namely, to today’s nearly universal malady of Peak Debt.

As we documented earlier, the combined central banks of the world have expanded their balance sheets from $2 trillion to $21 trillion or by 10X during the past two decades. So doing they drove the price of credit and capital to the subterranean zones of economic history and rationality, but they did not abolish the laws of economics entirely.

To wit, the more you subsidize an economic resource, the more of it you get. That’s what happened with credit and capital when China and its global supply chain ran their printing presses fast enough to keep up with the Fed and its DM world counterparts.

In less than two decades, public and private debt outstanding in the world rose six fold— from $40 trillion to $225 trillion. On paper that represented a gain that was nearly 4X greater than the global GDP expansion during that period, but in fact it was far worse.

That’s because as the global credit spree reached its apogee in recent years malinvestment and wasteful, inefficient fixed asset investment became rampant. In effect, the central banks of the world were enabling the “printing” of GDP which wasn’t wealth, wasn’t sustainable and wasn’t the fruit of genuine capitalist enterprise; it was only transient GDP ledger entries destined to become future year write-offs, losses and white elephants.

 Global Debt and GDP- 1994 and 2014

The world’s central bank driven credit binge had a dual impact. In the developed world and especially the US it resulted in a vast inflation of household debt and leverage—-or the equivalent of an internal LBO as we saw in Chapter 6. Accordingly, the aging households of the DM world were able to live beyond their means or level of current production and income for nearly two decades, boosting mightily the call on exports from China and its emergent supply chain from South Korea and Taiwan to the Persian Gulf and Brazil.

At the same time, booming global trade and export demand in combination with red hot central bank printing presses in China and the EM engendered the greatest CapEx boom in world history. Much of it occurred in China, but also in its satellite resource and mining colonies such as Australia and Brazil and in the global shipping and materials processing industries, most especially energy.

Needless to say, there is no possible scenario in which global CapEx could have grown from an already elevated $1 trillion annual rate in the year 2000 to $3 trillion barely a decade later in a world of honest money and market priced capital. Instead, the world’s central banks enabled what old fashioned liberal economics a century ago called a crack-up boom.

As is evident from the chart, rampant gains in global CapEx are now over and done, and a long era of falling investment and payback has begun. In the interim, however, there is relentless deflation—–the natural consequence of massive excess capacity and the lapse into variable cost pricing by firms desperately seeking cash flow to service their gargantuan debts.


Red Ponzi Ticking—-China And The Dark Side Of The Global Bubble, Part 2
By David Stockman

China’s Massive White Elephant——1.4 Billion Tons Of Steel Capacity

Stated differently, even at the peak of recent financial bubbles in London, NYC, Miami or Houston  they did not build such monuments to sheer economic waste and capital destruction. But just consider the case of China’s mammoth steel industry.

Annual production grew from about 70 million tons in the early 1990s to 825 million tons in 2014. Beyond that 12X gain, it is the capacity build-out behind the chart below which tells the full story.

To wit, Beijing’s tsunami of cheap credit enabled China’s state-owned steel companies to build new capacity at an even more fevered pace than the breakneck growth of annual production. Consequently, annual crude steel capacity now stands at nearly 1.4 billion tons, and nearly all of that capacity—-about 65% of the world total—— was built in the last ten years.

Needless to say, it’s a sheer impossibility to expand efficiently the heaviest of heavy industries by 17X in a quarter century. And especially so when, as outlined below, China’s long-run sustainable demand for steel is in the order of 400 million tons or one-third of its current capacity.

Indeed, what actually happened is that China’s aberrationally massive steel industry temporarily created a significant increment of demand for its own products.

That is, in order to build-out 1.4 billion tons of capacity, it needed massive amounts of  plate, structural and other steel shapes that go into blast furnaces, BOF works, rolling mills, fabrication plants and iron ore loading and storage facilities. It also needed enormous amounts of  plate and other steel products to expand shipyards where new bulk carriers were built and also for the huge amounts of equipment and infrastructure used at the iron ore mines and ports.

That is to say, the Chinese steel industry has been chasing its own tail, but the merry-go-round has now finally stopped. For the first time in three decades, steel production in 2015 was down 2-3% from 2014’s peak of 825 million tons and is projected to drop to 750 million tons next year, even by the lights of the China miracle believers.

Massive Malinvestment And An Epic Impending Margin Call

In short, the flip-side of the China’s giant credit bubble was the most massive malinvestment of real economic resources—-labor, raw materials and capital goods—ever known. Effectively, the countryside pig sties have been piled high with copper inventories and the urban neighborhoods with glass, cement and rebar erections that can’t possibly earn an economic return, but all of which has become “collateral” for even more “loans” under the Red Ponzi.

So China has been on a wild tear heading straight for the economic edge of the planet—-that is, monetary Terra Incognito— based on the circular principle of borrowing, building and borrowing and then even more building and borrowing. In essence, it is a giant re-hypothecation scheme where every borrowers “debt” become the next investors “asset”.

Local city and county governments, for example, have meager incomes, but vastly bloated debts based on the collateral of stupendously over-valued inventories of land—-valuations which were established by earlier debt financed sales to developers. 

Red Ponzi Ticking—-China And The Dark Side Of The Global Bubble, Part 3
By David Stockman

A Potemkin Economy Buried In Cement

No wonder the Red Ponzi consumed more cement during three years (2011-2013) than did the US during the entire twentieth century. Enabled by an endless flow of credit from its state controlled banking apparatus and its shadow banking affiliates, China went berserk building factories, warehouses, ports, office towers, malls, apartments, roads, airports, train stations, high speed railways, stadiums, monumental public buildings and much more.

If you want an analogy, the 6.6 gigatons of cement consumed by China during 2011-2013 was the equivalent of 14.5 trillion pounds. By comparison, the Hoover dam used about 1.8 billion pounds of cement.

So in 3 years China consumed enough cement to build the Hoover dam 8,000 times over—-160 of them for every state in the union!

Having spent recent time in China,  we can well and truly say that the Middle Kingdom is back. But its leitmotif is the very opposite to the splendor of the Forbidden City.

The Middle Kingdom has been reborn in towers of preformed concrete. They rise in their tens of thousands in every direction on the horizon. They are connected with ribbons of highways which are scalloped and molded to wind through the endless forest of concrete verticals. Some of them are occupied. Alot, not.

The “before” and “after” contrast of Shanghai’s famous Pudong waterfront is illustrative of the illusion.

The top picture below is from about 1990 at a time before Mr. Deng discovered the printing press in the basement of the People’s Bank of China and proclaimed that it is glorious to be rich; and that if you were 18 and still in full possession of your digital dexterity and visual acuity it was even more glorious to work 12 hours per day 6 days per week in an export factory for 35 cents per hour.

Whether or not this image is precisely accurate as to vintage, by all accounts the glitzy skyscrapers of today’s Pudong waterfront did ascend during the last 25 years from a rundown, dimly lit area of muddy streets on the east side of Huangpu River. The pictured area was apparently shunned by all except the most destitute of Mao’s proletariat.

But the second picture we can vouch for. It’s exactly what you see from the Peninsula Hotel on the Bund, which lies directly across on the west side of the Huangpu River.

Today’s Pudong district does look spectacular—–presumably a 21st century rendition of the glory of the Qing, the Ming, the Soong, the Tang and the Han—all rolled into one.

But to conclude that would be to be deceived. The apparent prosperity is not that of a sustainable economic miracle; it’s the front street of the greatest Potemkin village in world history.

China SHADOW Banking............BANKING Crisis II Coming at YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

QE, End of the Private Sector? Japanese Government Now Largest Shareholder of 474 Big Companies
By Wolf Richter

The two biggest buyers of Japan Inc. are flying blind and don’t care.

The Bank of Japan and the Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) have been buying stocks to inflate the market, create some kind of “wealth effect,” and bamboozle regular Japanese into pouring once again into stocks, after many of them lost a big chunk of their savings when the prior bubble imploded without ever recovering.

In 2014, the GPIF – buckling under the pressure from the Abe administration – decided to plow about 25% (“±9%”) of its assets into Japanese stocks. With assets at the time of still about $1.4 trillion, 25% would amount to about $350 billion. So the fund has been buying a lot! And it has been a disaster! [Read…  Japan Mega-Pension Fund Dives into Stocks, Foreign Assets, Loses Shirt. People Not Amused]

But even after Japanese stocks took a licking over the past year, the fund’s allocation to domestic equities is still 21%, so near its range and no longer a powerful buyer. But to make up for any holes left behind by the pension fund, the BOJ announced on July 28 that it would nearly double its annual purchases of equity ETFs to ¥6 trillion ($59 billion).

The holdings of Japanese stocks by these two entities have nearly tripled over the past five fiscal years to about ¥39 trillion ($381 billion), according to The Nikkei. During that time, the Nikkei stock index soared 70%, “demonstrating their powerful support.”

But, but, but… the index remains 57% below its bubble peak of 1989.

So what has this done to overall government ownership of Japanese stocks? We don’t really know, because it’s kept purposefully opaque, according to The Nikkei:

"Central Banks Now Own $25 Trillion Of Financial Assets"

With 85% of Wall Street telling Citi they expect a "dovish hike signal" from Yellen tomorrow, which means a polite request for another BTFD opportunity, even if as BofA says "expectations for a dovish Fed are coinciding with macro strength in the US (most obviously in housing & consumer spending) as well as highest level of wage inflation since Jan’10"...

Are Central Bankers Coming to a Bitter End?
By Martin Armstrong

Central bankers these days are seriously trapped. They cannot now reverse their policies for that means they have to admit that they have failed. This is why the Yellen is not so eager to move to negative rates and has continued to take the view that rates must be normalized (raised). That is far more serious than you might imagine. To even entertain backing down from negative interest rates means they have to admit that Keynesian/Marxist economics has completely failed and therein socialism, which is based upon the very principle that government CAN and is CAPABLE of managing the economy. This is the real question presented in the American presidential elections, yet nobody will articulate it in this manner. Hillary still preaches the same failed socialist agenda as if government can even do anything other than attack people who earn more money as did Emperor Maximinus of Rome, but pretend to give it to those who produce less.

Abenomics has Totally FAILED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
Italy Consumer Confidence, Business Sentiment Weaken More Than Expected

Italy’s consumer confidence fell to its lowest level in over a year and business sentiment reached an 18-month low in August, preliminary data from ISTAT showed Monday.

The consumer confidence index decreased to 109.2 from 111.2 in July, which was revised from 111.3. Economists had forecast a score of 110.3.

The reading was the lowest since July last year, when it was 107. All sub-indexes declined and fears of unemployment rose.

The manufacturing sentiment index fell to 101.1 from 102.9 in July, revised from 103.1. Economists were looking for a score of 102.4.

The score was the weakest since February last year, when it was 97.4. Order book assessments and production expectations worsened.

Confidence also eased in the construction, market services and retail trade sectors. The overall business confidence index dropped to 99.4 from 103.0. 

Unemployed Italians Lead Europe in Abandoning Job Hunt: Chart

Going from the final quarter of 2015 through March of this year, 37 percent of unemployed Italians gave up their job search, while only 13 percent landed new work and a full half found their status unchanged. On the opposite end of the scale, very few Greeks — just 1 percent — gave up their job hunt while only 4 percent found new employment in the economically hard-pressed nation.


It Was a Union for the Ages, Until Suddenly It Wasn’t. Is Europe Lost?

The U.K.’s vote to quit the European Union is the enterprise’s worst setback since it was conceived in the 1950s. Until now, the EU has always grown in scale and ambition. For the first time, Brexit shows that Europe’s manifest destiny—ever closer union—may not be destiny after all.

Merely knowing that European integration can be reversed is a threat: It makes the unthinkable thinkable. But this isn’t the only danger. The union is increasingly unpopular not only in the U.K. but also in other European countries. Its political capital is depleted. Working through the mechanics of Brexit may deepen divisions, severely testing the union’s ability to adapt.

Brexit could conceivably spur support for the union. But this will demand consensus, flexibility, and farsighted calculation, none of which can be taken for granted. If governments can’t rise to this challenge, Brexit may be the beginning of the end of the European dream.

In one way, today’s discontent is nothing new. There has often been a gap between the grandest designs of Europe’s leaders and the readiness of the continent’s citizens to go along. The EU’s remarkable achievements in securing peace and prosperity in the postwar era required brave, visionary leadership, and voters were rarely up to speed. For years, that was fine. The model was top-down institution-building, followed by good results, then popular backing—in that order.

It all worked beautifully. Europe’s postwar political and economic reconstruction was a modern miracle. But now the model is failing. The Brits aren’t the proof. They’ve always been uncomfortable in the EU, late to the party and a nuisance throughout; their vote to quit was a shock, but probably shouldn’t have been. Lately, though, the disenchantment has spread far more widely. According to one recent poll, the EU is less popular in France—France!—than in the U.K. 

German Savers Lose Faith in Banks, Stash Cash at Home

Low interest rates and the prospect of fees on bank deposits are helping drive a boom in home-safe sales
By Ulrike Dauer

HAMBURG—German savers are leaving the security of savings banks for what many now consider an even safer place to park their cash: home safes.

For years, Germans kept socking money away in savings accounts despite plunging interest rates. Savers deemed the accounts secure, and they still offered easy cash access. But recently, many have lost faith.

“It doesn’t pay to keep money in the bank, and on top of that you’re being taxed on it,” said Uwe Wiese, an 82-year-old pensioner who recently bought a home safe to stash roughly €53,000 ($59,344), including part of his company pension that he took as a payout.

Interest rates’ plunge into negative territory is now accelerating demand for impregnable metal boxes.

Burg-Waechter KG, Germany’s biggest safe manufacturer, posted a 25% jump in sales of home safes in the first half of this year compared with the year earlier, said sales chief Dietmar Schake, citing “significantly higher demand for safes by private individuals, mainly in Germany.” 

Well that's ONE Way of Avoiding a ""BAIL-IN"" when European Banks begin to FAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

GREECE, Italy, Portugal, Spain WILL All play a Part in Ending the EMU, The EU and the EURO and it could happen as Soon as 2017!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Greece PM says EU sleepwalking toward cliff, wants debt relief by end 2016

Greece said on Sunday the EU was “sleepwalking towards a cliff” by sticking to austerity rules that created huge inequalities among members, and it expected a debt relief deal for itself to be honoured by end-2016 so that its economy could recover.

Athens, facing a second bailout review entailing an unpopular loosening of labour laws in the autumn, is keen to show that painful tax rises and pension cuts as part of its 86-billion-euro bailout deal last year will bear fruit.

“Greece has kept its part of the agreement and expects the same from its partners. We are not simply seeking, we are demanding and expecting specific measures that will render debt sustainable as part of the deal we are implementing,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told the Sunday newspaper Realnews.

“This (debt relief) will be followed by reduced (budget) surpluses after 2018, which will open the way for the economy’s recovery,” he said.

Greece has committed to attaining a primary budget surplus – excluding debt servicing costs – of 3.5 percent of economic output by 2018 as part of its third bailout package since 2010.

The IMF, which has yet to decide whether it will fund the third bailout, has said that surplus targets of 3.5 percent beyond 2018 are not realistic for Greece and has pushed for softer fiscal goals to take part in the financing.

Greece’s leftist-led government and the central bank also want lower primary surplus targets, arguing this will give Athens room to cut taxes and help the battered economy return to growth after a protracted recession.

European Banks Prepare For "Economic Nuclear Winter"

While some European bank stocks have scrambled back some of their plunge losses post-Brexit, the current uncertainty over when the U.K. will start the process of quitting the EU has banks on tenterhooks, with a source telling CNBC that banks are "preparing for an economic nuclear winter situation." With negative rates (and a plunging yield curve) banks' earnings are under threat but the concerns over the potential for contagious European break-up and collapse of the pound after Article 50 is signed is existential.

Another dead cat bounce in EU banks? 

Banks prepare for 'economic nuclear winter' Senior banking analyst warns of EU APOCALYPSE

BANKS are preparing for the worst in the second half of the year as it faces an 'economic nuclear winter', a major investment bank expert has warned.
By Zoie O'Brien

A series of political shocks - including Britain's vote to leave the EU - have led to fears the entire Union could crumble, the currency could collapse and economic nightmares could become a reality.

Now it has been revealed this kind of "economic nuclear winter situation" is being prepared for by major banks.

Weak corporate earnings, a banking crisis, and the Brexit vote have sparked disaster planning for the worst case scenarios in the second half of the year.

A major lender told CNBC: "This could mean triggering Article 50, a referendum in other European nations leading to a break-up of the euro or sterling hitting below $1.20 or lower.

"The banks are ready for anything now."

After the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in June, there have been talks a similar referendum may be held in France, the Netherlands and other countries.

The source added: "Markets hate uncertainty and the events this year have unfortunately created a lot of mystery around what is going to happen next."

Kyle Bass AQR Europe Banks...........................I'll WARN You Folks in Europe ONE More TIME........................YOU are About to be FUCKED by the ASSHOLES YOU Sent to Brussels as well as the Socialist YOU Got Running the Mother Country...............READ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

""PIIGS"" are Still ""PIIGS""!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Draghi...........................I Told YOU to Resign a Long Time ago while YOU could still return to Italy with some Honor LEFT.........................Well NOW, you'll be traveling HOME like a Muslim Refugee having to Sneak into Italy when this ""SHIT House"" YOU Built Collapses!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
*****China state firms account for two-thirds of debt defaults this year – media

China’s government-run enterprises account for 66.5 percent of total debt defaults so far this year, China’s official Securities Daily newspaper reported on Monday, citing information from the state asset regulator.

Although only six government-run firms have defaulted on debts so far this year, the total value amounted to more than 16.5 billion yuan (£1.8 billion), the paper said.

The State-Owned Asset Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) will strengthen the way it monitors maturing debts in the coming three months in a bid to reduce the risk of defaults, the paper said, citing an official with the commission.

China could allow industrial firms to convert their debts into equity stakes as early as next month, with the government now putting the finishing touches to a new plan, the official China Securities Journal reported on Monday.

Debt has emerged as one of China’s biggest challenges, with the total load rising to 250 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) last year. The International Monetary Fund warned in June that China’s high corporate debt ratio of 145 percent of GDP could erode economic growth if not addressed.

But China has grown more reliant on often bloated and inefficient state firms to generate economic growth as private investment rapidly cools, raising concerns over whether it will press ahead with reforms. 

Asia Exports Show Little Sign of Recovery Amid Global Slump

Signs of life returning to Asian trade have stirred up some optimism of a recovery, but a closer look at the data coming out of the region indicates the malaise is far from over.

While export figures from Malaysia and Thailand showed surprising strength in June, trade continues to contract across most of Asia in the face of sluggish global growth, lower commodity prices and weaker demand from China.

“There is hardly any room for cheer,” Taimur Baig, a Singapore-based Deutsche Bank AG economist, said by e-mail. “Substantial recoveries in price and demand, both for commodities and electronics/machinery, are necessary for regional exports to return to trend levels, an outcome that is very unlikely.”

Malaysian exports rose 3.4 percent in June from a year earlier, while merchandise shipments from Thailand gained 1.9 percent. That’s in contrast to elsewhere in the region, where exports are still posting declines of more than 10 percent.


Singapore’s non-oil exports — the most commonly-used gauge for trade performance — dropped 10.6 percent in July from a year earlier. Japan said last week shipments fell 14 percent in the period, the biggest drop since 2009, while in the Philippines, exports declined 11.4 percent in June. Customs data for Thailand released on Friday showed a 4.4 percent contraction in exports in July.

According to Deutsche Bank’s calculations, Malaysian and Indonesian merchandise exports in the first half of this year were down more than 20 percent compared with two years ago. China and Thailand, with declines of more than 5 percent, were the best performers under this metric, while exports in Singapore and Japan were about 10 percent lower.

China, like every other major economy in Asia aside from Japan and Vietnam, posted a double-digit export contraction last year, according to estimates from Australia & New Zealand Banking Group.

“After what can only be characterized as a dreadful performance over 2015, the cumulative trade performance for 2016, based on year-to-date exports, looks like it could be even worse,” Weiwen Ng, an economist at ANZ in Singapore, said in an e-mail.


China worries rise amid fears yuan is overvalued
By Carolyn Cui, Lingling Wei
The Wall Street Journal

The calm in China’s currency is making some investors uneasy.

Twice in the past year, sudden drops in the value of the yuan have rattled global markets, sparking concerns that a deeper decline was at hand as officials struggle to orchestrate an economic “soft landing” following years of debt-fuelled growth.

Since then, the People’s Bank of China has calmed the waters by improving communications and the government has increased stimulus in a bid to stabilise growth. The Federal Reserve’s decision to delay rate increases has kept a lid on the value of the US dollar, relieving some of the pressure on the yuan.

Yet in a refrain familiar by now to investors the world over, analysts are worrying that stimulus alone won’t be enough to get China’s growth back on track and support the yuan indefinitely.

Morgan Stanley: China Could Cause the Next Global Recession

As Ahya notes in his Sunday Start note, “several large economies in the world including but not limited to the US, euro area, China, Japan and UK are facing the 3D challenge of demographics, debt and disinflation. Among these economies, we believe that China, which currently accounts for 18% of global GDP and 27% of global manufacturing and contributes 45% to global growth, will be the biggest drag towards lower nominal GDP growth and consequently lower expected returns.”

Surprisingly, unlike many other Chinese doomsayers, Morgan Stanley does not think the catalyst of China’s upcoming “hard landing” will be financial, or debt-related:

Welcome Back Asia 1997..................................AGAIN only WORSE.............MUCH WORSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

""***GLOBAL TRADE***""...............................READ People!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Iran's Launch of Shia Army Threatens to Escalate Sectarian Tensions
By Mehdi Jedinia and Noor Zahid

FILE - Iranian army troops march in a parade marking National Army Day just outside Tehran, Iran, April 17, 2016. A new force was announced Thursday, designed to fight in Arab countries and would recruit heavily from non-Iranian Shi'ite Muslims across the region.

The Iranian government's launch of a "United Shia Liberation Army" is sending signals that Tehran wants to expand its political and military role in Middle East conflicts along sectarian lines, analysts say.

"Using a sectarian Shi'ite identifier with the title of the new army will inflame sectarian tensions in the region," Talha Abdulrazaq, a researcher at the University of Exeter's Strategy and Security Institute, told VOA. "Iran is asserting itself as a regional or even an imperialistic power."

The new force, announced Thursday by a veteran military commander who leads Iranian forces in Syria, is designed to fight in Arab countries and would recruit heavily from non-Iranian Shi'ite Muslims across the region.

In an interview with Mashregh news agency, Mohammad Ali Falaki, a leader in the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard's (IRGC), said the focus of the new force would center on three fronts — Yemen, Syria and Iraq. He said the IRGC already leads Shi'ite dominated forces in Syria comprising fighters who come from Pakistan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. 

Rockets hit Saudi border town as Yemen war flares anew
By Katie Paul

NAJRAN, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - Yemeni Houthi forces are again firing rockets at this corner of southern Saudi Arabia, ending a lull of several weeks and complicating efforts to revive talks on ending Yemen's 18-month-old civil war.

This month's collapse of negotiations on the Yemen conflict - which like the Syrian civil war pits allies of Saudi Arabia against those of its regional rival Iran - is taking a toll in the Saudi city of Najran, albeit on a much smaller scale than in Yemen itself.

Last week, one rocket fired by the Iranian-allied Houthi movement from northern Yemen landed in Najran, which lies 30 km (20 miles) from the border. It hit a car scrap yard, killing five Saudis and two Yemenis as they were driving past. 

Markets can’t afford to ignore the resurgence of major power politics
Robert Gottliebsen, Business columnist
The Australian

Market commentators are always on the look out for potential surprises that will upset their projections.

The standard list of possible nasty surprises currently includes an increase in terror attacks, the election of Donald Trump as US President, a big China setback or the collapse of a major European bank.

But very rarely among market analysts have I seen recognition of the risks posed by the fundamental changes taking place in the global defence environment and shifts in the international balance of power.

For the last half century, major-power conflict has been minimised because everyone knew that the US was the world’s greatest military power and that the US was prepared to use that power. The cold war never escalated into a major war partly because Russia recognised the power of the US.

But in the last decade or so that has changed and both Russia and China now believe that US has fallen behind, which is very dangerous for countries like Japan and Australia who have placed their faith in the continuing recognition of the US military’s global supremacy.

The US top brass will deny that they have let the US fall behind but, to some extent, the facts are irrelevant to the danger — it’s what the Russians and Chinese believe that is important. 

NATO: Russia Increasingly Staging Snap Military Exercises
Radio Free Europe

Russia has conducted large-scale unannounced military exercises "with increasing frequency," straining its relationship with NATO, the alliance's No. 2 official has said.

Speaking on a visit to Bucharest on August 29, NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow said there had been about a dozen such drills in the past two years.

NATO members haven't staged snap exercises since the end of the Cold War, Vershbow added.

He also said the alliance wants to "develop a more stringent regime to increase transparency and ...predictability and a way to better stabilize what is a very unsatisfactory relationship with Russia."

"If there is an interest in Moscow in stability and predictability, then these exercises are not the way to go," Vershbow added.

The comments come after Russia launched on August 25 large-scale snap military exercises on land and in the Black and Caspian seas, increasing worries in Ukraine and other Western neighbors about Moscow's intentions. 

U.S. Marines are training with Eastern European allies to stop a ground invasion
By: Jeff Schogol

U.S. Marines and troops from five Eastern European nations will train to band together to stop an enemy's tank invasion as tensions in that part of the world mount over increasingly aggressive behavior from Russia.

About 300 Marines are headed to Georgia where they'll join troops from Ukraine, Latvia, Romania, Georgia and Bulgaria for a 13-day exercise that kicks off on Thursday. Their mission: To stop an enemy armor attack in the city of Akhaltsikhe, which is about a couple hundred miles from the Russian border.

Georgian tanks and Marine armored vehicles will be on defense in the exercise, during which the TOW ant-tank missile and other anti-armor weapons will be demonstrated, Marine Forces Europe and Africa announced on Tuesday. The training is part of an annual exercise called Agile Spirit, but this year's event is more robust than year's past, said Marine 2nd Lt. Joshua Hays, public affairs officer for Exercise Agile Spirit 2016.

"There will be more multinational participants than ever before, demonstrating the U.S. commitment to deepening the defense and security relationship with Georgia, as recognized in a memorandum signed during the visit of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to Georgia in July 2016," Hays said.

Russia Re-Ups Its Land and Strategic Forces
By Samuel Bendett

The Russian military continues its long-term modernization drive, aiming to re-equip its land and strategic forces. Russian daily reports on the recently declassified new armored personnel carrier for the marines, designated as BT-3F. The prototype was built on the chassis of the long-serving BMP-3 line of combat vehicles and is designed both for export and for equipping Russian units. This new carrier’s armament includes a remote-controlled weapons module, as well as a remote-controlled combat module equipped with a 7.62mm machine gun.

In addition to weapons, the new vehicle is equipped with a thermal sight with a laser rangefinder. Other potential combat modules can include heavy machine guns and automatic grenade launchers. BMP personnel carriers have been a mainstay for the Soviet and later Russian armed forces since the 1960s, with thousands supplied for export all over the world. Numerous BMP upgrades and variants continue to serve with dozens of international forces and have participated in practically all major military conflicts since the line's initial 1967 unveiling. This vehicle remains the mainstay of many land armies, and is expected to operate for decades to come.

According to, the designers decided to get rid of the turret and its 100mm gun -- the weapon choice of the original BMP-3 -- in order to increase the crew capacity of the new machine, which can now transport seven to 14 people. In a 2016 interview with the magazine Moscow Defense Brief, Alexey Losev, the head of export department and planning for Tractor Plants Corp. (KTZ), said that the company took the initiative and designed the vehicle at its own expense, adding that a prototype is scheduled to appear in the Army 2016 military forum this September. According to Lozev, there is already an export potential -- Indonesia recently expressed interest in the new vehicle. further reports that by 2020, a new missile will be developed in Russia that can fly at 6 to 7 times the speed of sound, as stated in a recent interview with Boris Obnosov, the director general of Tactical Missiles Corp. "I think that the beginning of the 2020s will be marked by Mach 6-7 speeds,” Obnosov said, adding that his remarks concerned domestic missiles only. According to the head of Tactical Missiles, the development of such missiles would significantly weaken existing air defenses. "In my opinion, there is nothing to discuss here -- it is clear that with the rocket able to fly in the atmosphere [at such speeds], it greatly weakens all existing anti-missile defense systems." 

Doing the THINGS Needed to Prepare for WAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

China fueling a submarine arms race in the Asia-Pacific
By Elias Groll and Dan De Luce
Foreign Policy

 With China plowing money into its military machine and making aggressive claims to disputed island chains, Beijing's regional rivals are investing in the one weapon that can undercut the increasingly potent People's Liberation Army.

Across South and East Asia, China's neighbors are spending heavily on submarines, purchasing silent diesel-electric machines capable of slipping past Chinese defenses.

So when the Australian reported this week that detailed technical plans — totaling some 20,000 pages — for a French-made submarine had leaked from the manufacturer, the reaction was one of widespread panic. The leaked plans outlined in minute detail the capabilities of a Scorpene-class vessel purchased by India, and New Delhi immediately demanded that French authorities investigate how the respected DCNS shipbuilder had lost control of the plans.

In Australia, where DCNS has been tapped to build the country's next-generation submarine, officials warned the contractor needed to step up security.

The sharp reaction reveals the central place of submarines in Asia's accelerating arms race. Submarines are one of the few weapons with which countries warily eyeing Beijing's military buildup can send a signal that they do not plan to stand idly by as China asserts its interests through coercion and unilateral moves, particularly in the South China Sea. Australia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, and India can do little about the formidable radar installations and missile batteries dotting China's coastline, as well as its expanding fleet of naval ships and warplanes, but they can build vessels capable of slipping underneath Beijing's naval cordon.

That's because while China has spent billions of dollars upgrading many aspects of its armed forces, from fighter jets to naval destroyers, its ability to carry out anti-submarine warfare still lags behind, said Bryan Clark, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. And that has left a tactical opening for China's rivals.

"These countries are really seeing these submarines as the capital ships of their navies," said Clark, a former U.S. Navy submariner and advisor to the service's top brass.

What was for much of the 20th century a mere commerce raider, in other words, is now becoming a way to project power. Jonathan Greenert, the former chief of naval operations — the top job in the U.S. Navy — said submarines are an attractive weapon for countries in the Asia-Pacific, and governments in the region will likely ratchet up their spending on the vessels amid growing concern over China's missile arsenal.

"You can deliver destructive power in a stealthy manner, and that's a deterrent. We see more of that taking place," Greenert said.

That's why this week's news of an apparent leak of classified operating data of advanced submarines is so worrisome to countries like India and Australia, both of which have committed to buy advanced submarines from DCNS, the French shipbuilder. The leak revealed crucial information, such as diving times, torpedo ranges, and above all noise profiles while operating underwater.

Emmanuel Gaudez, a spokesman for DCNS, said the leaks are a "serious matter" that are being "investigated by the proper French national authorities for defense security," who "will determine the exact nature of the leaked documents, the potential damages to DCNS customers, as well as the responsibilities for this leakage."

The submarine race comes as China is denying adversaries access to its coastal waters through an expanding array of missiles and naval bases. Powerful radars light up American, Japanese, and other ships that patrol the Western Pacific. Cutting-edge satellites peer down from space to mark them for potential targeting. And Beijing has deployed scores of missile batteries capable of hitting targets hundreds of miles away all along the coast.

In response, Vietnam, which has repeatedly clashed with China over rival territorial claims in the South China Sea, has bought six Russian-made Kilo-class submarines worth $2.6 billion since 2009 for deployment at Cam Ranh Bay. The Kilo-class diesel-electric subs — able to operate nearly silently and armed with shorter-range torpedoes and sea-skimming anti-ship missiles with a range of 188 miles — would force China to think twice before entering into a confrontation with Vietnam. Hanoi also is looking at acquiring U.S.-made P-3 Orion anti-submarine patrol aircraft to track China's subs.

China Submarines..............A Strategy Identical to Germany in World War II only the Sea Lanes in Asia are Worth a Hell of lot MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

US Air Force Pilot Crunch(Officially it's NOW a Fucking CRISIS)

US Air Force Maj. Gen. Scott Vander Hamm discusses how the service is addressing the looming pilot shortage, with Air Force Times reporter Stephen Losey. 

U.S. Military ""Combat Readiness""!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why Israel and the Arab nations are slowly drawing closer together
By Shashank Joshi

The West’s alliances in the Middle East are in a sorry state. Turkey is flirting with Moscow and shelling our main Kurdish allies against Islamic State. European diplomats fume at Israel’s destruction of EU-funded Palestinian homes. President Obama has publicly criticised his Arab allies as “free riders”, while one of his senior officials memorably called prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “chickenshit”.

At the same time, one rivalry is softening. The Arab-Israeli conflict, which has raged since 1948, shows signs of a modest, but significant, thaw. To be sure, Israel remains isolated. Only 18 of 21 members of the Arab League recognise the Jewish state. Many Arab states fund, shelter and celebrate Hamas, whose charter promises the obliteration of “the warmongering Jews”. And Israel still bristles when the US and Europe sell sophisticated arms to the Gulf. But under the surface, plates are shifting.

Last month, a retired Saudi general met Israel’s hawkish acting foreign minister, Dore Gold, at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, their second meeting in a year. Last summer, Israel’s former ambassador to Washington boasted of his meetings with Arab counterparts, praising them as “exceptional people”. And in January, Israel’s energy minister quietly visited the United Arab Emirates, after announcing the opening of an Israeli office in Abu Dhabi.

Meanwhile, spooks from each side have plotted in secret. The relationship is that of a mistress to a married man: one party eager for public acknowledgment, in hope of legitimising her questionable social status, the other desperate to keep it in the shadows for fear of the domestic consequences. Most Arab states risk popular fury if they were to normalise relations with Israel in the absence of a just settlement to the Palestinian issue.

There is no question about what has prompted this rapprochement. Over the past decade, Iran’s proxies and allies have grown more active and powerful. For instance, the Lebanese militant group Hizbollah, fostered by Iran in the 1980s, points its vast missile stockpile across the border to Israel – but also fights against Gulf-backed forces in Syria and Yemen. Meanwhile, the US and Europe have chosen to avoid a major confrontation with Iran. They struck a nuclear deal with Tehran last year, and even welcomed Iran’s President Rouhani to Paris and Rome. Naturally, the Arabs and the Israelis have acted on the dictum that the enemy of your enemy is your friend. “The Gulf Arabs believe… that they can count on Israel against Iran,” as one senior Israeli official told US diplomats in a leaked cable from 2010. “They believe Israel can work magic.” 

Israel vs. Iran......................This WAR "IS" Coming thanks to Obama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Band of... sisters: Norway becomes the first Nato country to bring in compulsory conscription for women and soldiers even sleep in mixed dorms

    Norway is the first Nato member to bring in conscription for women
    Men and women, who join aged 19, will share mixed dorms during training
    A third of this summer's draft were women, but not all applicants get in
    Norwegian women have been volunteering for military service for decades

By Afp and Ollie Gillman for MailOnline

Norway has become the first Nato member to bring in conscription for women.

Both men and women will have to serve in the Norwegian military, and they will be expected to share mixed dorms.

Most will sign up when they are aged 19, with a third of this summer's draft women.

At the Setermoen army base just above the Arctic Circle, new recruits in an armoured battalion are learning to handle assault rifles for use on combat missions.

'It gives me a bigger recruitment pool to choose from,' the battalion's chief, Lieutenant Colonel Pal Berglund, said of the new gender equal draft.

'I'm still looking for the same competence I always have. And for me it's obvious that this competence is also present within a large part of the female population of Norway.' 

U.S. Military Draft Moving Towards Gender Equality

Vox reports that "the United States is inching closer to doing something that would categorize it with nine other countries in the world: require both men and women to register for enlistment in the armed forces.

"Currently China, Eritrea, Israel, North Korea, Libya, Malaysia, Peru, Taiwan, and, most recently, Norway all draft female soldiers." 

"The Senate passed a defense bill Tuesday that included the requirement for women to sign up for the draft beginning in 2018. The National Defense Authorization Act passed in the Senate with an overwhelming 85-13 majority, drawing support from both sides of the aisle." 

Like it or not, gender equality may soon come to the US military draft
Updated by Katie Hicks

The United States is inching closer to doing something that would categorize it with nine other countries in the world: require both men and women to register for enlistment in the armed forces.

Currently China, Eritrea, Israel, North Korea, Libya, Malaysia, Peru, Taiwan, and, most recently, Norway all draft female soldiers.

The Senate passed a defense bill Tuesday that included the requirement for women to sign up for the draft beginning in 2018. The National Defense Authorization Act passed in the Senate with an overwhelming 85-13 majority, drawing support from both sides of the aisle.

The draft requirement wasn’t included in the House version of the bill, and it’s still up for debate if it will make it through the conference committee between the two bills. If the measure becomes law, women turning 18 on or after January 1, 2018, will have to sign up for the Selective Service System.

Men have been required to do so since the Civil War, though the Selective Service System has only existed in its current form since 1980. Failure to sign up within 30 days of one’s 18th birthday could lead to penalties such as losing federal aid for higher education, including Pell Grants.
Most senators see this as a move toward inclusiveness

The move would reverse a 1981 Supreme Court decision that ruled that women couldn’t be subject to the draft because they did not participate in the front lines of combat. Since the Pentagon changed the rules about women in combat positions in December, the consensus has gradually shifted.

"Because the Department of Defense has lifted the ban on women serving in ground combat units, the committee believes there is no further justification in limiting the duty to register under the Military Selective Service Act to men," reads the bill summary. 

India, US set to become logistical allies
By M.K. Bhadrakumar

This week marks a historic milestone in independent India’s diplomatic history. The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) may be signed in Washington on August 30.

The LEMOA provides for the armed forces of the two countries to use the other globally for supplies, spare parts, services and refueling. Effectively, the US armed forces could operate out of Indian bases on a simple basis.

India has never allowed foreign powers to operate out of its military bases. It rejected ‘bloc’ mentality and treasured ‘strategic autonomy’.

Notionally, LEMOA allows India also to operate out of American bases ‘globally’, but in reality, though, projection of power in such proportions lies in the womb of time, if at all, for the Indian Navy, which can barely cope with the country’s 7,500-kilometer coastline.

It is useful for US to gain access to the tremendous Indian bases without having to build facilities virtually up from the ground. The ‘pivot’ to Asia and the plans to deploy 60% of its surface ships in the Asia-Pacific, arguably, makes LEMOA a useful platform.

However, US may not really need to operate out of Indian bases. For projection of power into Pakistan, Central Asia, Xinjiang or Iran, American bases in Afghanistan serve the purpose. Besides, US military bases are littered all over Persian Gulf, which are home, collectively, to hundreds of fighter and other aircraft, dozens of naval ships, including aircraft carriers, and tens of thousands of military personnel.

The US keeps a base in Djibouti, too. Then, there is the secretive base at Diego Garcia, which enables the US to keep a close watch on the major trade and energy SLOCs from and to China, and is used to keep watch over South Asia. In the Asia-Pacific also, there are dozens of US military bases – Singapore, Philippines, Australia, South Korea and Japan.

So, what is the raison d’etre of LEMOA? Why is it that Washington pulled all stops to get the Narendra Modi government India to the signing ceremony on Aug 30? First and foremost, LEMOA is a ‘foundational agreement’.

It means US is putting one toe inside the Indian tent. Once inside the tent, life can always be made more comfortable. This is one thing.

Second, LEMOA is a key way-station on agreements still to come – Communications and Information Security Memorandum Agreement (CISMOA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geospatial Intelligence (BECA).

Simply put, US and India are navigating their journey through the LEMOA to the ultimate destination – CISMOA and BECA.

Once they reach the destination, India can either buy or use cutting-edge American military technology for its air force and navy – and the US can sell such technology to India. 

The Cyber Threat: iPhone Software Targeted in Government-Linked Hack

Rare zero day flaws found in Apple iOS
BY: Bill Gertz

Years ago during lunch with a recently-retired National Security Agency cyber security official, I immediately noticed the former official’s iPhone as he placed it on the table next to his fork. Wow, I thought, if an NSA electronic spook is using an iPhone, those babies must be secure. Days later I traded in my cell phone for an iPhone and have been using them ever since.

I endured Apple’s proprietary restrictions, like the inability to change batteries, a company tactic that forces customers to buy a new phone every few years as the battery gradually wears out. So too did I accept the iPhone’s inability to expand its memory.

As someone who reports on cyber threats and is not viewed as a favorite reporter by certain foreign governments (and one heavily politicized American one), I decided to accept the limits on Apple handheld devices that today more and more have come to dominate our waking hours. NSA is not alone in adopting the widespread use of Apple devices for better security. Several federal agencies and military services also demand use of iPhones in key locations because of their inherent strong security. There is no question that iPhones are much safer against cyber attacks than other operating systems, like Google’s Android mobile OS.

But that is changing. Last week, Apple sent out an urgent notice to all customers to update their iPhone software with a security patch. Security flaws were discovered in the operating system revealing that the cyber threat to iPhones, once the gold standard for handheld security, is reaching new heights.

Apple didn’t even know about the latest cyber attack against its software until two security companies discovered what security specialists call “zero day” flaws in the iPhone operating system. Zero days are the coin of the realm for hackers and foreign governments seeking to get into information systems, including computers and smartphones.

They’re called zero days because you have zero time to fix the security hole once hackers find them and start using them in attacks. The only solution is to patch the hole after the attacks take place, to limit the data theft or other damage.

The security firms Lookout and Toronto-based Citizen Lab found three zero days targeting iOS software that were used against the iPhone 6 of Ahmed Mansoor in early August. Mansoor, a United Arab Emirates-based pro-democracy activist, was sent text messages promising secrets on detainees held in UAE jails if he clicked on a link. He instead contacted the security firms.

Electronic analysis showed the malware link was a hacking ploy using the three unknown zero days that researchers traced to an Israeli-based cyber security firm called the NSO Group, reportedly made up of former cyber sleuths from Unit 8200—Israel’s electronic intelligence service. NSO sells a software called Pegasus, an electronic intercept software used by governments.

The cyber attack was likely the work of the Emirates’ government that in the past targeted the dissident for harassment. NSO executives aren’t talking. 

Cyber Attack.............The Internet Will prove to be a True ""Weapon of MASS Destruction""!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Finland: America's Next Top Ally?

World War II–era artillery in Helsinki, Finland. Flickr/Dennis Jarvis

The famously neutral nation fears Russian aggression.
By Michael Peck

“Finlandization” is the term for a small nation, located next to a much bigger nation, that maintains a foreign policy of careful neutrality. In return, its bigger neighbor doesn't crush it.

Can you guess which country Finlandization is named after? Good guess! Having your country become a synonym for neutrality isn't exactly a compliment, but if national survival is a worthy achievement, then Finlandization has worked for Finland for almost a century. Despite being on Russia's northern border and losing two wars with the Soviet Union in 1939–40 and 1941–44, Finland has remained independent and democratic.

No, Finland could not join NATO (nor did it even join the European Union until 1995, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.) Yet even if its choices were constrained by the Muscovite behemoth to the south, at least Finland had a freedom of choice that the Poles, Czechs and Hungarians could only envy during the Cold War.

But is Finland about to abandon neutrality and become America's newest Nordic ally?

Finnish Defense Minister Jussi Niinisto told Reuters on Monday that his nation is negotiating a defense agreement with the United States. Niinisto expects the agreement to be signed by this fall.

Niinisto said the agreement would not include any military obligations for either nation. "It would cover areas where we already work together, like military training, information sharing and research," he told Reuters.

Sweden—also another Scandinavian bastion of neutrality—signed a similar agreement with the United States in June for collaboration on antisubmarine and antiair warfare. Both Finland and Sweden attended a NATO summit meeting in July. Though it's worth pointing out that unlike Finland, Sweden doesn't share a border with Russia, hasn't fought a war with Russia since 1809, and never appeared on any atlas as a part of the Tsarist Empire.

Predictably, Russian President Vladimir Putin responded that if Finland joined NATO, he would move troops to the Finnish-Russian border. "Do you think we will continue to act in the same manner [if Finland joins NATO]? We have withdrawn our troops 1,500 [kilometers from the border]. Do you think they will stay there?" he asked reporters. No, we don't expect Russian troops to stay where they are. We do expect them to move closer to the Finnish border, but not cross it. Grabbing Crimea from Ukraine, or supporting a disgruntled Russian minority in eastern Ukraine, is one thing. Invading or destabilizing Finland is something else.

Which raises the question: why is Finland seeking closer military ties with the West? 

US Military's Worst Nightmare: A War with Russia and China (at the Same Time)

A B-1B Lancer soars over the Pacific Ocean as it maneuvers in for aerial refueling by a KC-135 Stratotanker on September 30, 2005. Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Air Force

What would happen?
By Robert Farley

The United States discarded its oft-misunderstood “two war” doctrine, intended as a template for providing the means to fight two regional wars simultaneously, late last decade. Designed to deter North Korea from launching a war while the United States was involved in fighting against Iran or Iraq (or vice versa,) the idea helped give form to the Department of Defense’s procurement, logistical and basing strategies in the post–Cold War, when the United States no longer needed to face down the Soviet threat. The United States backed away from the doctrine because of changes in the international system, including the rising power of China and the proliferation of highly effective terrorist networks.

But what if the United States had to fight two wars today, and not against states like North Korea and Iran? What if China and Russia sufficiently coordinated with one another to engage in simultaneous hostilities in the Pacific and in Europe?

Political Coordination

Could Beijing and Moscow coordinate a pair of crises that would drive two separate U.S. military responses? Maybe, but probably not. Each country has its own goals, and works on its own timeline. More likely, one of the two would opportunistically take advantage of an existing crisis to further its regional claims. For example, Moscow might well decide to push the Baltic States if the United States became involved in a major skirmish in the South China Sea.

In any case, the war would start on the initiative of either Moscow or Beijing. The United States enjoys the benefits of the status quo in both areas, and generally (at least where great powers are concerned) prefers to use diplomatic and economic means to pursue its political ends. While the U.S. might create the conditions for war, Russia or China would pull the trigger.


On the upside, only some of the requirements for fighting in Europe and the Pacific overlap. As was the case in World War II, the U.S. Army would bear the brunt of defending Europe, while the Navy would concentrate on the Pacific. The U.S. Air Force (USAF) would play a supporting role in both theaters.

Russia lacks the ability to fight NATO in the North Atlantic, and probably has no political interest in trying. This means that while the United States and its NATO allies can allocate some resources to threatening Russia’s maritime space (and providing insurance against a Russian naval sortie,) the U.S. Navy (USN) can concentrate its forces in the Pacific. Depending on the length of the conflict and the degree of warning provided, the United States could transport considerable U.S. Army assets to Europe to assist with any serious fighting.

The Strategies of Global Warfare: War with China and Russia? Washington’s Military Design in the Asia-Pacific
By Prof Michel Chossudovsky


It is important to focus on Southeast Asia and East Asia in a broader geopolitical context. China, North Korea as well as Russia are potential targets under Obama’s “Pivot to Asia”, involving the combined threat of missile deployments, naval power and pre-emptive nuclear war.

We are not dealing with piecemeal military endeavors. The regional Asia-Pacific military agenda under the auspices of US Pacific Command (USPACOM) is part of a global process of US-NATO military planning.

US military actions are carefully coordinated. Major military and covert intelligence operations are being undertaken simultaneously in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and the Asia Pacific region. In turn, the planning of military operations is coordinated with non-conventional forms of warfare including regime change, financial warfare and economic sanctions.

The current situation is all the more critical inasmuch as a US-NATO war on Russia, China, North Korea and Iran is part of the US presidential election debate. War is presented as a political and military option to Western public opinion.

The US-NATO military agenda combines both major theater operations as well as covert actions geared towards destabilizing sovereign states. America’s hegemonic project is to destabilize and destroy countries through acts of war, support of terrorist organizations, regime change and economic warfare.

While, a World War Three Scenario has been on the drawing board of the Pentagon for more than ten years, military action against Russia and China is now contemplated at an “operational level”. U.S. and NATO forces have been deployed in essentially three major regions of the World:

1. The Middle East and North Africa. Theater wars and US-NATO sponsored insurgencies directed against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen  under the banner of the “Global War on Terrorism”
2. Eastern Europe including Poland and Ukraine, with military maneuvers, war games and the deployment of military hardware at Russia’s doorstep which could potentially lead to confrontation with the Russian Federation.
3. The U.S. and its allies are also threatening China under President Obama’s “Pivot to Asia”.
4. Russia is also confronted on its North Eastern frontier,  through the deployment of NORAD-Northcom
5. In other regions of the World including Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, US intervention is geared towards regime change and economic warfare directed against a number of non-compliant countries: Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, Cuba, Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua.

In sub-Saharan Africa, the thrust has largely used the pretext of “Islamic terrorism” to wage counterterrorism ops under the auspices of the US Africa Command (USAFRICOM).

In South Asia, Washington’s intent is to build an alliance with India with a view to confronting China.

Pivot to Asia and the Threat of Nuclear War

War with China: the paths and consequences
Australian Naval Institute

Premeditated war between the United States and China is very unlikely, but the danger that a mishandled crisis could trigger hostilities cannot be ignored. Thus, while neither state wants war, both states’ militaries have plans to fight one.

As Chinese anti-access and area-denial (A2AD) capabilities improve, the United States can no longer be so certain that war would follow its plan and lead to decisive victory. This analysis illuminates various paths a war with China could take and their possible consequences.

Technological advances in the ability to target opposing forces are creating conditions of conventional counterforce, whereby each side has the means to strike and degrade the other’s forces and, therefore, an incentive to do so promptly, if not first. This implies fierce early exchanges, with steep military losses on both sides, until one gains control. At present, Chinese losses would greatly exceed U.S. losses, and the gap would only grow as fighting persisted. But, by 2025, that gap could be much smaller. Even then, however, China could not be confident of gaining military advantage, which suggests the possibility of a prolonged and destructive, yet inconclusive, war. In that event, nonmilitary factors — economic costs, internal political effects, and international reactions — could become more important.

Political leaders on both sides could limit the severity of war by ordering their respective militaries to refrain from swift and massive conventional counterforce attacks. The resulting restricted, sporadic fighting could substantially reduce military losses and economic harm. This possibility underscores the importance of firm civilian control over wartime decisionmaking and of communication between capitals. At the same time, the United States can prepare for a long and severe war by reducing its vulnerability to Chinese A2AD forces and developing plans to ensure that economic and international consequences would work to its advantage.

Key Findings 

More Marines are training to fight in the jungle
By: Jeff Schogol

Image for the news result

After years of fighting in deserts, more Marines are sharpening their jungle warfare skills — and the training is intensifying.

As more Marines are tapped for missions in tropical locales like the Philippines, Honduras and Australia, the Corps has boosted the number of leathernecks that move through jungle training.

Over the last two years, more than 5,000 Marines have attended the Corps' Jungle Warfare Training Center in Okinawa, Japan, annually — an increase of about 30 percent, said 1st Lt. Martin Harris, a spokesman for III Marine Expeditionary Force.

When Maj. Gen. Richard Simcock became the commanding general of the Japan-based 3rd Marine Division in 2015, he said he wanted to see his Marines get better at jungle fighting. Now more Marines rotating through Japan as part of the Unit Deployment Program are being sent through the training center where they face longer courses that test their fighting skills in rigorous terrain as humidity levels soar under double-canopy jungles. 

Preparing Marines to operate in those conditions falls in line with the service's pivot to the Asia-Pacific region. With partner nations growing worried over China's rise and controversial island-building spree in the South China Sea, the Marine Corps plans to base about 15 percent of its force in Hawaii and beyond over the next few years.

Marines are also deploying in greater numbers to Central America, where violent drug cartels and gangs have forced tens of thousands of unaccompanied child migrants to flee for the U.S. border. The Marines train alongside local troops there year-round in mountainous tropical jungles. 

After more than a decade in Iraq and Afghanistan, Marines need to be better prepared for operating in those types of environments, said Col. Michael Kuhn, assistant commander for the 3rd Marine Division, which operates the Jungle Warfare Training Center.

“We have to be able to fight regardless of what our [military occupational specialty] is — non-infantry, infantry units — we are all going to have to be able to fight in the jungle environment,” Kuhn told Marine Corps Times. 

China’s expanding ability to hit Guam with missiles
By Jordan Wilson

Observers of China’s September 2015 military parade witnessed the surprise introduction of a new road-mobile intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), the DF-26, reported to feature nuclear, conventional, and antiship variants and a range of 3,000–4,000 kilometers (km) (1,800–2,500 miles [mi])1—greater than any of China’s current systems except the ICBMs in its nuclear arsenal. This range would cover U.S. military installations on Guam, roughly 3,000 km (1,800 mi) from the Chinese mainland, prompting some analysts and netizens to refer to the missile as the “Guam Express” or “Guam Killer” (derived from the term “carrier killer” used to refer to China’s shorter-range DF-21D antiship ballistic missile).2 Combined with improved air- and sea-launched cruise missiles and modernizing support systems, the DF-26 would allow China to bring a greater diversity and quality of assets to bear against Guam in a contingency than ever before.

China’s reason for developing capabilities to hold locations in the Pacific at risk can be traced to the domestic political interests of its leaders. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) perceives that its legitimacy in the eyes of China’s citizens is based, in part, on its ability to demonstrate that it is capable of strengthening the nation3 and safeguarding China’s territorial interests and claims.4 Yet the CCP leadership believes the United States’ presence in the Asia Pacific—intended to back the U.S. commitment to defending key interests and upholding global norms in the Asia Pacific, such as the security of allies and partners, the peaceful resolution of disputes, and freedom of navigation5—could interfere with its ability to defend these interests and claims if a regional crisis were to arise.6 This concern has prompted Beijing to develop conventional missile capabilities to target U.S. military facilities in the Asia Pacific in general, and Guam in particular, in order to expand China’s options and improve its capacity to deter or deny U.S. intervention during such a crisis. Guam is referenced in many Chinese academic and military writings as a highly important feature in the purported U.S. “containment” strategy,7 with analysts noting its strategic position,8 and its role as an “anchor” of U.S. forces in the region9 and of the “second island chain”* in particular.10 China has been able to reach Guam with nuclear weapons for decades. It could theoretically employ conventional gravity bombs, naval gunfire, and torpedoes as well, but the same air and naval platforms that would deliver these are now equipped with significantly more advanced cruise missiles. This article thus focuses on the more relevant concerns posed by missiles below the nuclear threshold.

First and Second Island Chains Showing Guam. The precise boundaries of the island chains vary among Chinese sources, and have never been officially defined by China’s government. Andrew S. Erickson and Joel Wuthnow, “Barriers, Springboards and Benchmarks: China Conceptualizes the Pacific ‘Island Chains,’” China Quarterly, January 21, 2016, 3, 7-9, 17. (U.S. Department of Defense)
Multiplying Forces Capable of Striking Guam

Several new conventional platforms and weapons systems developed by China in recent years have increased its ability to hold U.S. forces stationed on Guam at risk in a potential conflict:

Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missiles: The DF-26 is China’s first conventionally-armed IRBM and first conventionally-armed ballistic missile capable of reaching Guam. Its inclusion in the September 2015 parade indicates it has likely been deployed as an operational weapon,11 although only a few have likely been installed thus far. The missile also reportedly has serious accuracy limitations:12 a 2015 report by IHS Jane’s assesses its current circular error probable (CEP)** at intermediate range to be 150–450 meters,13 while China’s DF-15B short-range ballistic missile, for example, is reported to have a CEP of 5–10 meters as a precision guided weapon.14 Practically, this means that many more launches would be required to achieve the same degree of confidence in inflicting damage, pending the improvement of the sensor systems on the missile and the space-based systems providing pre- and post-strike intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and position, navigation, and timing data.

Antiship Ballistic Missiles (ASBMs): The DF-26 ASBM version is, like the DF-21D, unproven against a moving target at sea15 but likely to undergo further development.

Air-Launched Land Attack Cruise Missiles (LACMs): China’s newest and most capable bomber, the H-6K, when equipped with up to six recently-developed air-launched CJ-20 LACMs, gives China the ability to conduct precision airstrikes and potentially reach Guam with air-launched weapons for the first time.16 However, these antiquated bombers*** would have a high probability of being detected and intercepted by U.S. aircraft and anti-aircraft systems.17 Such an attack would also outdistance the range of any Chinese escort fighters, according to a 2015 RAND Corporation study,18 and China’s air refueling fleet is still too small to support large-scale, long-distance air combat.19

Air-Launched Antiship Cruise Missiles (ASCMs): The PLA Navy’s H-6 bombers, including its H-6Ks, can carry up to four of China’s new long-range, supersonic YJ-12 ASCMs,20 but would have the same limitations in employing these weapons.

Sea-Launched Land Attack Cruise Missiles: The PLA Navy currently does not have the ability to strike land targets, but China has likely begun to develop a sea-based LACM capability over the last few years.21 The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has stated that this capability may involve China’s forthcoming Type 095 nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) or new LUYANG-III guided missile destroyer (DDG).22

Sea-Launched Antiship Cruise Missiles: PLA Navy platforms equipped with ASCMs, particularly the new YJ-18, could complicate U.S. naval operations near its Guam facilities, provided the PLA Navy vessels were able to get into position without being detected. China’s quietest submarines, however, are diesel-electric and relatively slow in comparison to other types (see comparison in figure below).

China’s new conventional regional strike weapons, as well as ongoing qualitative improvements to its naval operations and C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) systems, provide Beijing with the ability to hold U.S. forces and installations on Guam at greater risk than in the past, despite remaining challenges and gaps that indicate the level of risk is still low. Overall, the efficiency/vulnerability tradeoff between China’s air and naval forces probably factors into why China pursued a third option by developing DF-26 ballistic missiles. Beijing is working to advance its regional strike capabilities across the board, however, indicating concerns will be posed by ground-, air-, and sea-launched types going forward. To evaluate China’s ability to strike Guam in the future, the areas that should be monitored most closely are increased deployments of DF-26 missiles and qualitative improvements to China’s precision strike capabilities, bomber fleet, in-air refueling capability, and submarine quieting technology.

Implications for the United States

Guam is growing in importance to U.S. strategic interests and any potential warfighting operations in the Asia Pacific, even as China’s ability to strike the island is increasing. The island is home to two U.S. military facilities, Apra Naval Base and Andersen Air Force Base, and hosts a total of about 6,000 military personnel23 (with 5,000 more projected to be moved from Okinawa by 202024), as well as four nuclear attack submarines;25 three Global Hawk UAVs;26 continuous rotations of B1, B-2, and B-52 bombers;27 temporary fighter rotations;28 the largest U.S. weaponry storage in the Pacific;29 and a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile battery.30 It is also crucial to U.S. preparations for responding to crises, providing valuable basing capacity31 and a location to which the United States can pull back assets from within China’s precision strike range, if needed.

China’s conventional missile force modernization could complicate the United States’ response in a contingency in which Beijing sought to deny or delay a U.S. intervention. An assessment by the RAND Corporation, for example, estimates that with 50 (hypothetically more accurate) IRBMs, “China could keep Andersen AFB closed to large aircraft for more than eight days (assuming missile reliability of 75 percent and eight-hour repair times), even if the PLA is denied battle damage assessment … With 100 IRBMs, the PLA could make a full sweep of all unsheltered aircraft parking areas and then use the rest of its inventory to keep Andersen shut to large aircraft for 11 days.”32 Of additional concern, China’s leaders could also be more willing to resort to military force in an existing crisis if they believed they could successfully hold Guam at risk, diminishing the United States’ ability to deter escalation, although it is difficult to determine the extent to which better operational capabilities might influence strategic thinking in Beijing.

U.S. experts and analysts have proposed several options that could help mitigate these concerns:

Hardening Facilities on Guam: Investing in improved protection for U.S. assets on Guam could increase the costliness and uncertainty of conventional ballistic and cruise missile strikes against these facilities, and thereby work to disincentivize a first strike and increase regional stability, as noted by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission in its 2015 Report to Congress.33 However, this approach is complicated by the likely high costs of such investments,34 and the potential for China to counter them with an even further buildup of its missile arsenal.

Dispersing U.S. Regional Military Facilities: A greater dispersion of U.S. military facilities throughout the Asia Pacific, or access to an increased number of alternate regional ports and airfields, would multiply the number of targets against which China might employ missile strikes and complicate its ability to disrupt U.S. operations in a contingency, particularly through a first strike.35 This approach does face high financial costs, the possibility that China might respond with further missile deployments, and potential difficulties in obtaining approval and financial support from host countries.36 It also runs counter to efforts to reduce long-term dependence on foreign bases. The United States has nonetheless been able to take steps towards this objective, recently securing access to facilities in the Philippines and entering discussions regarding access to airfields in Australia.37

Investments in New Missile Defense Capabilities: Continued U.S. investments in “next-generation” missile defense initiatives such as directed energy and rail gun technologies, as recommended in the Commission’s 2015 Report to Congress,38 could yield better options for defending U.S. bases and platforms from China’s conventional ballistic and cruise missiles. While current missile defense systems such as THAAD—already stationed on Guam—and PAC-3 (the upgraded Patriot missile system) may help to an extent, they are intended to stop North Korean missiles and would likely not completely protect against an attack from China.39

Revisiting the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty: China’s missile force modernization has contributed to a U.S. policy debate regarding the United States’ participation in the INF Treaty, particularly given Russia’s recent violations of its Treaty obligations.40 Signed by the United States and Soviet Union in 1987, the INF Treaty required “destruction of both parties’ ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (310 and 3,418 miles), along with their launchers and associated support structures and support equipment,” altogether eliminating 846 U.S. and 1,846 Soviet missiles. Although titled a “Nuclear Forces” treaty, INF’s prohibition of conventional systems is the substance of the current debate, as China’s buildup of conventional intermediate-range ballistic and cruise missiles has been a driving force behind concerns regarding the Treaty in recent years.41 As China has engaged in a relatively low-cost buildup of land-based theater-range conventional missiles, including the DF-26, the United States has been prevented under the Treaty from doing so. As policymakers weigh the costs and benefits of continued U.S. participation, three potential actions would allow the United States to carefully explore these questions while remaining in full compliance with the Treaty: reports examining the potential benefits and costs of incorporating ground-launched short-, medium-, and intermediate-range conventional cruise and ballistic missile systems into the United States’ Asia Pacific defensive force structure;42 research and development activities for conventional INF-accountable cruise and ballistic missiles, in preparation for possible changes;43 and discussions with allies regarding whether they would be open to hosting such systems,44 investing in INF-accountable missiles themselves,45 or joining in advocating for a broadened Treaty at the multilateral or global level.46

Maintaining Superiority in Regional Strike Capabilities: The United States could invest in maintaining its ability to strike an adversary’s launchers and support networks as part of its deterrence posture in the Asia Pacific, aiming to prevent conflicts from beginning and to protect U.S. regional assets should one begin.47 Some experts have specifically noted the high number of LACMs carried by some U.S. attack submarines48 and the potential for U.S. procurement programs such as the Long Range Strike Bomber and Virginia payload module (which increases the missile capacity of the Virginia-class SSN) to provide a higher volume of firepower at a more affordable rate than ground-launched missile forces.49 Policymakers could continuously monitor the performance and sustainability of these and other aspects of the U.S. regional force posture to ensure the United States maintains its military edge.


Beijing’s assessment of Guam’s role in the United States’ regional force posture has made it a focal point of developments in China’s conventional regional strike capabilities, although limitations to these systems render the current risk to U.S. forces on Guam in a potential conflict relatively low. At present, the new DF-26 IRBM headlines China’s expanding capabilities, although it likely will remain extremely inaccurate until China successfully extends its precision strike complex. China could also employ surface- and submarine-launched ASCM attacks, should the platforms be able to move into range undetected; while air-launched ASCM and LACM attacks could reach Guam more quickly, but with a high risk of the bombers being detected and intercepted by U.S. aircraft and anti-aircraft systems. The DF-26 ASBM is still unproven, and China has yet to develop a sea-launched LACM capability. China will likely continue to invest in developing these systems, however, even as Guam’s importance to U.S. strategic interests in the Asia Pacific continues to grow. Options such as hardening facilities on Guam, further dispersing U.S. regional military facilities, continuing investments in “next-generation” missile defense capabilities, revisiting the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) Treaty, and maintaining superiority in regional strike capabilities offer potential avenues for addressing these key security concerns. 

Three assumptions that could leave the US vulnerable
Australian Naval Institute

The core task of the men and women who buy America’s weapons is to envision the adversaries and environments of tomorrow and buy forces that are up to the challenge.

This involves generating a similar set of assumptions to those used by operational strategists. Today, three assumptions underpin U.S. acquisition strategy that will leave tomorrow’s forces vulnerable to asymmetric defeat strategies and render the long-term U.S. acquisition plan unaffordable unless these change.

At every level of war, planners generate assumptions by estimating adversary intent, knowledge, strength, risk calculus, and readiness to frame their view of a given problem and place the overall objective in an appropriate operational context. Similarly, planners make assumptions about the availability and capability of their own forces. While an indispensable starting point for analysis, it is easy to see how such assumptions can be incredibly dangerous. The history of military planning shows that misjudging any of these variables can prove disastrous.

We offer an alternative path to an affordable force that can tackle the challenges posed by the increasingly unpredictable security environment.

Assumption 1

Today’s acquisition strategy assumes the availability of space-based capabilities. Because of this it is difficult to find a combat system, let alone a full kill chain, that does not depend on support from space. This comes in many forms. For example, space provides Position, Navigation and Timing (PNT) to U.S. forces through the ubiquitous use of the Global Positioning System (GPS). This enables everything from navigation at sea, on land and in the air to precision strike under any weather conditions. This not only provides immense capability to U.S. platforms but has also made mass precision affordable as cheaper GPS-guided weapons have largely replaced more expensive laser-guided munitions.

Space is also the source of nearly all beyond-line-of-sight communications systems. The long-range networked warfare concepts of today and tomorrow all depend on space-based communications systems. Today’s Unmanned Aerial System (drone) fleet is a great example of the unique capabilities facilitated by space-based communications. Advances in command and control of naval forces and long-range strike aviation further show the force multiplying effect of space. But a smart adversary will always look for ways to turn a game-changing capability into a critical vulnerability. Rather than assuming the availability of space support, our acquisition strategy must assume that space will be actively contested for the duration of any major war. This revamped assumption should drive a two-part solution.

First, we must make our space capabilities more resilient. As part of the Third Offset initiative, the United States is taking important first steps in this regard through the Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center (JICSpOC). This project experiments with a command and control entity capable of conceptualizing and executing the defense of critical space assets. From threat detection to response, the goal of JICSpOC is to operationalize Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) that prepare U.S. space forces to defeat a range of emerging threats through enhanced unity of effort across the entire space enterprise.

Second, we must seek alternatives to space-based capabilities. In the realm of beyond-line-of-sight communications, the United States must adopt advanced radio frequency transport waveforms and protocols while leveraging connectivity solutions such as the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN). This concept re-purposes existing platforms to, among other things, serve as a surrogate to traditional space-based communications relays. This lightens the burden on high-end space capabilities and offers flexibility to the warfighter. This same concept, fielded in low-intensity conflict, can apply to the higher-end fight as well.

The United States must develop alternatives to GPS in the form of navigation systems that do not require support from space. Most contemporary aircraft navigation systems consist of an inertial navigation system that is precise but degrades over time requiring periodic updates from GPS (or highly-capable radar) to maintain an accurate position.

There are several current science and technology initiatives aimed at designing systems that can maintain an accurate position without external updates. These initiatives should be seen as both the future of resilient PNT and as vital enhancements to our current space-based architecture. While the United States must harden GPS in the near-term and continue to improve its capabilities for both defense and commercial applications, we should pursue alternatives to GPS to ensure combat effectiveness. We cannot afford to assume the availability of GPS to tomorrow’s warfighter in every operational scenario.

Assumption 2

The second overarching assumption made by today’s acquisition strategy is that power projection can be affordably accomplished by large fleets of manned fighters and bombers. To be perfectly clear, the era of manned fighters and bombers is far from over. Manned combat aircraft will provide the preponderance of air-delivered power projection for the foreseeable future. However, employing combat aviation in overmatching numbers in support of attrition-intensive air campaigns is no longer an affordable or sustainable approach to warfighting.

Instead, the United States must look for ways to accomplish the mission of combat aviation through a high-low force structure enabled by the concept of manned-unmanned teaming. This Third Offset concept utilizes immensely-capable manned platforms (such as the F-35 and B-21) in conjunction with lower-end UAS aircraft that can serve as sensor platforms and weapons trucks.

This increases the reach and effectiveness of high-end combat aircraft while minimizing risk to exponentially more expensive manned platforms that are difficult to replace in a strategically relevant timeline. In short, numbers still matter and UAS offer the most effective and affordable path to extending the lethality of manned combat platforms.

Today’s UAS fleet was born of the necessities of war and effectively serves the needs of the counterinsurgency fight that spurred its development and fielding. However, the MQ-1/MQ-9 fleet does not have the range, survivability or payload required to be relevant in a high-end fight. New platforms and new capabilities are needed.

Fortunately, the Air Force and Navy have both conducted successful demonstrations of high-end UAS platforms capable of working in conjunction with manned systems. From 2002-2006, stealthy Air Force X-45As successfully demonstrated autonomous multi-ship operations and precision weapons employment. From 2013-2015, the Navy’s stealthy X-47Bs demonstrated autonomous aerial refueling capability and carrier launch and recovery operations. These demonstrate that the capability for drones to fight and survive in contested environments largely exists today. What is missing is a comprehensive vision for integrating these types of platforms into how we fight and a procurement strategy for fielding these systems in sufficient mass.

Much remains to be done in order to make this vision a reality. The cost and complexity of a communications infrastructure (both land- and space-based) capable of supporting a large combat drone fleet is certainly an issue. The operational vulnerabilities of this somewhat space-dependent architecture, as noted above, are another issue. However, as long as the United States pursues the non-space based PNT solutions and robust communications pathways detailed above, such issues can be overcome. Also, further developments in autonomy can also mitigate these issues by allowing unmanned aircraft to operate with minimal communications requirements (depending on the mission set) while preserving human decision-making in the course of a given kill chain.

In short, the United States can no longer assume its high-end manned aircraft can go it alone in the near-peer fight of the future. Instead, force planners should begin work on a high-low mix of aircraft founded on the principle of manned-unmanned teaming capable of affordably providing the required levels of range, survivability and payload needed to project U.S. airpower against tomorrow’s threat.

Assumption 3

The third assumption in need of revision is air refueling. Today’s tanker force was inherited from the Cold War and has successfully underwritten every air campaign since the Vietnam War. But this aging fleet has been stretched thin by decades of high-tempo global operations. While the Air Force built over 800 KC-135s (over 400 are still in service) and later added 60 KC-10s, the Air Force has only begun to recapitalize the fleet with a contract for 179 KC-46s. Given that the fighter/bomber fleet of tomorrow promises to be just as thirsty as today’s inventory, tanker capacity represents another assumption in need of a fresh look.

This problem makes manned-unmanned teaming all the more attractive as a warfighting solution. Relatively small drones designed to augment manned platforms can be fielded with relatively low fuel requirements and, in the future, may be capable of refueling each other. By optimizing the division of labor between manned and unmanned assets, the combat air forces of the future can be more affordable, lethal and versatile than they are today.

As the military services and combatant commands work to combine future warfighting concepts with the campaign plans of tomorrow, it is essential that our assumptions are realistic and provide a sufficient margin of error to hedge against uncertainty. The United States must not assume that the business practices and capabilities born of the 1970s and 1980s will sustain us in the 2030s and beyond.

The defense of this great nation requires a forward-thinking approach that leverages ongoing U.S. advantages in technology and operational innovation. The integration of increasingly autonomous unmanned aircraft, combined with limited dependency on space-based support in tomorrow’s combat air force should play a vital role in this needed transformation. 

Russia investing in new ships, naval bases ‘to project its power’
By Nikolai Litovkin

Since October 2015 the Russian Navy has been conducting combat operations against the Islamic State militants in Syria. Today the fight against terrorism is becoming one of the navy’s priorities and unprecedented funds are being invested in the construction of new ships, bases and infrastructure.

But the story is not just about Syria. Moscow has been aware for some time of the need to modernize its aging fleet, which was allowed to fall into stagnation in the two decades following the disintegration of the Soviet Union. In 2011-12, Russia invested 5 trillion roubles ($78 billion) in the construction of new ships and submarines for the navy. Work is being carried out on a series of six frigates from the Admiral Grigororovich 11356 project.

The Russian Navy is about to receive the third vessel from the project. The Russian defense industry has constructed six Varshavyanka diesel-electric submarines from the 636.3 project for the Black Sea Fleet. These submarines are equipped with the new winged Caliber-PL missiles, which can strike targets up to 1,500 miles away.” The capacities of the new submarines were first demonstrated at the end of last year when the Rostov-on-Don submarine used its Calibers to destroy several terrorist facilities in Syria,” said Igor Kasatonov, former deputy commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy and former commander of the Black Sea Fleet.

According to Kasatonov, defense industry enterprises will build six equivalent submarines for the Pacific Ocean Fleet. “The industry is also building a series of strategic missile submarine cruisers from the 955 Borei project,” he said. The navy has received three of these submarines and will obtain another five by 2020.The Russian Defense Ministry’s main resources are now being invested in the modernization of submarine bases in the Far East, in the city of Vilyuchinsk in the Kamchatka Region (4,150 miles east of Moscow) and in Novorossiysk on the Black Sea coast (940 miles south of Moscow). Four subs from the 995 Borei project are destined for the Kamchatka base and four will be sent to the North Fleet docks.

Three Varshavyanka 636.6 diesel subs with the Caliber winged missiles are on alert in Novorossiysk and within three years, after the construction of all the navy infrastructure is complete, the base will receive the other three subs from the series. Russian experts say that the new program has taken into account the mistakes that the USSR made in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when large Krechet aircraft carriers from the 1143 project were introduced to the navy. The fleet received the vessels but there was no infrastructure to service them and they were forced to remain in the docks on a permanent basis, producing electricity with their diesel engines and burning up their resources, something that resulted in them being written off prematurely. Now an entire series of coastal infrastructure is being created for each ship and submarine.

“Today the navy needs large helicopter carriers, since they transport military cargo and aviation groups to areas of combat operations. Currently for Russia this is Syria,” explained Dmitry Safonov, military observer at the Izvestiya newspaper. In his words, one such helicopter carrier can replace an entire airbase like the one at Khmeimim in Syria.

“Russia is now working on a project to build Priboi large helicopter carriers. It will be completed in 2025 along with the Leader nuclear destroyer and the new Shtorm aircraft carriers, the project for which was presented to the world in mid-2015,” added Safonov. Experts note that today Russia has only one military base outside the boundaries of the former Soviet Union – in Syria.

“Russia does not intend to compete with America in terms of the quantity of ships, bases and presence in the world oceans,” said Safonov. However, he believes that the new aircraft carriers and helicopter carriers will help Moscow project its power, like Washington, in any place on Earth. One of the key problems of Russia’s fleet today is the absence of engines and replacement parts that were previously made by Ukrainian enterprises. Among the largest “lost” contracts is the agreement with the Zorya-Mashproekt company, located in the Ukrainian city of Nikolayev.

The agreement concerned the supply of six turbine engines for patrol boats from the 11356 project. According to Murakhovsky, one of the pressing issues is the repair of “Soviet heritage” ships and their modernization. “We have a large number of missile cruisers and destroyers of Soviet make,” he said. A number of these ships are incapable of executing combat missions but they have still not been written off from the fleet. In order for them to be repaired it is necessary to construct new shipbuilding factories and expand the old ones. These projects require substantial financial investments and progressive long-term work, said Murakhovsky.

Pentagon Details China, Russia & ISIS Threats

Pentagon Joint Chiefs of Staff cites China, Russia, North Korea, Iran and ISIS as threats.

By Jim Garamone - DoD News, Defense Media Activity

FORT McNAIR, D.C., Aug. 23, 2016 — National security leaders must be able to confront today’s threats, and they must develop and maintain the personnel, strategies and equipment needed for an ever more uncertain world, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the new class at the National Defense University today.

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addresses National Defense University students at Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C., Aug. 23, 2016 NDU provides joint professional military education to prepare leaders to think and operate effectively at the highest international security levels. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique A. Pineiro

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford also shared with the members of the class of 2017 his thoughts on the strategic landscape, and the implications to the joint force.

Dunford agrees with assessments that the world is in the most uncertain time since the end of World War II. Still, the U.S. military “is recruiting and retaining quality people,” the chairman said.

“Across the board,” he added, “they are focused. They are committed. They are high quality.”

There are signs of wear in some military specialties and Dunford cited a pilot shortage and the near constant deployments of special operators and other small, but crucial specialties, specifically. But, he noted the closer to a combat environment, the higher the morale.

Assessing Risk

“In the environment we are in today, with the complexity and volatility and variety of challenges we have, how do we assess risk?” he asked. “How do we assess the capabilities or capacities that must exist in the joint force? A part of this is also how to prepare for the unexpected.”

North Korea could soon conduct test of nuclear warhead, analysts say
By Elizabeth Shim

SEOUL, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- South Korea's military and local analysts say North Korea's next step may involve the testing of a miniaturized nuclear warhead mounted on a ballistic missile.

Although the South Korean forecasts are largely speculative, Kim Jong Un has previously stated the launch of nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles should be pursued and made similar remarks last Wednesday, Newsis reported.

"An all-out war with the U.S. imperialists could happen without warning, and in preparation for a nuclear war, the nuclear weapons development of the military sciences department must be accelerated, while at the same time it focuses on their means of delivery," Kim had said Wednesday, according to North Korea state media.

Kim had also said all possible measures must be taken to show North Korea is a major military power.

Better Thaad than dead
By Richard Weitz

WASHINGTON, DC • South Korea is moving forward with plans to host an advanced missile-defence system - known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defence, or Thaad - in partnership with the United States Army. The decision by South Korean President Park Geun Hye has sparked controversy, with China and Russia objecting, and some commentators predicting the start of a "new Cold War".

But China and Russia should welcome Thaad because it alleviates the need for South Korea or Japan to pursue other defence options, which could include the development of nuclear weapons.

South Korea and Japan have good reason to shore up their defences. The threat of North Korean aggression is real and will not be eliminated any time soon. North Korea is escalating its bellicose rhetoric and behaviour as it strengthens its military capabilities, which include weapons of mass destruction, long-range ballistic missiles, and cyber and special forces.

The US has repeatedly warned North Korea not to pursue nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles, to no avail. And diplomacy - both sanctions and inducements - has failed to stop the North.

Many people in South Korea and Japan now worry about the strength of the United States' commitment to defend them from external attack. Recent developments have undermined US credibility, from US President Barack Obama's failure to enforce his "red line" warning against the use of chemical weapons in Syria, to the Republican Party's nomination of tycoon Donald Trump as its presidential candidate.

What are China’s intentions in the South China Sea?
Australian Naval Institute

WASHINGTON: What are China’s intentions in the South China Sea? It’s a question intelligence analysts, diplomats and the senior leadership of the United States and its Pacific allies are all asking in the wake of a range of increasingly belligerent and threatening comments and actions by the rising global power.

Perhaps most worrying is that the Kyodo News Agency and other Japanese outlets have reported variations of a story that China’s ambassador to Tokyo Cheng Yonghua said in late June that the Japanese Self Defense Force would “cross a red line” if they took part in Freedom of Navigation operations in the South China Sea. “(China) will not concede on sovereignty issues and is not afraid of military provocations,” Cheng is reported to have told Japanese officials.

Then Chinese military aircraft, including a bomber, penetrated South Korean airspace yesterday. The region includes part of the Chinese ADIZ declared in 2013. South Korea expanded its own ADIZ as a counter to Beijing. No country accepts China’s assertion of the ADIZ.

China’s new “Air Defense Identification Zone,” which covers the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands — called the Diaoyus by China.
Earlier this month, a fleet of 14 government vessels accompanied several hundred fishing vessels into the East China Sea in waters that Japan claims as its Exclusive Economic Zone.

The first sharp bilateral provocation in this pattern came when the Chinese government-owned and operated newspaper Global Times said in an editorial that China should fire on any Australian vessel participating in Freedom of Navigation operations in the South China Sea: “If Australia steps into the South China Sea waters, it will be an ideal target for China to warn and strike.”

But the editorial didn’t just include the threat. The paper went on to describe Australia as “a unique country with an inglorious history. It was at first an offshore prison of the UK and then became its colony, a source of raw materials, overseas market and land of investment. This country was established through uncivilized means, in a process filled with the tears of the aboriginals.”

Are these the signals of a power bent on war? Are these the actions of a surging power, one eager to change the balance of power in the South and East China seas? And how does the United States — the lone power capable of leading a regional military response, should it come to that — react?

The USS Lassen, which sailed through Chinese-claimed waters in October 2015
USS Lassen performed FON op through Chinese-claimed waters in 2015
This all plainly comes in large part in reaction to the ruling by the International Court of Arbitration (this links to excellent Center for Strategic and International Studies analysis on global support for China’s position on South China Sea claims) that “there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘Nine-Dash Line’” that the Peoples Republic of China claims. China made clear from the beginning it would not accept the tribunal’s ruling and said it would prosecute its claims to the South China Sea.

CSIS study results

But the vigorous Chinese reaction is clearly driven by more than this. “Let’s remember that Xi is going to have to replace almost the entire Politburo Standing Committee. We’ve not seen this situation since 1992. What kinds of political pressures does Xi face?” asks Dean Cheng, Chinese military expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation. How much of this action is Xi playing to nationalist elements in China? It’s very difficult to tell so far.

Cheng believes that China, as has Russia, will practice hybrid warfare to push, prod and test the United States and its allies. “I would expect them to be harassed by Chinese fishing boats, to be buzzed by Chinese planes (not necessarily military), to be shadowed and perhaps ‘locked on’ by Chinese coast guard vessels (many of which are cascaded PLA Navy ships). Are WE prepared to be constantly harassed, perhaps ‘bumped’ and collided with?” Cheng wonders.

He thinks it very likely that Chinese fishermen will use rifles to shoot at foreign ships and Chinese fishing boats or coast guard vessels might ram foreign ships or throw themselves in front of them to incite reactions.

Of course, China has not gone that far recently. He points to the fact that the Chinese “haven’t started shooting. All this is making big scary faces to scare people off.”

For that reason — and others — Cheng is critical of the Obama Administration’s response. “What the hell have we done? We’ve done nothing, absolutely nothing. This administration is giving the Chinese a free pass and it’s therefore no surprise the Chinese are pushing hard.”

And no country has the global diplomatic and military muscle to directly counter the PRC. “The Chinese can out-muscle Australia, and they have a decent chance at intimidating the Japanese,” he says.

What has the administration done so far? The US has performed three Innocent Passage FON operations since October last year: the USS Lassen sailed past the Chinese artificial holding on Subi Reef in the Spratlys. The USS Curtis Wilbur sailed within 12 nautical miles of Triton Island in the Paracels chain near Vietnam. And the USS William P. Lawrence came within 12 nautical miles of the Chinese installation on Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratlys.

Also, in early July, the USS Nimitz’s Carrier Strike Group 5 conducted “routine operations” in the South China Sea. “Our forward-deployed ships are operating here to maintain the seas open for all to use,” Rear Adm. John D. Alexander was quoted in a statement at the time. So while not technically a FON op, the intention was clear.

The United States should perform classic Freedom of Navigation operations, with military ships and airplanes sailing and flying through international waters and airspace and challenging Chinese claims to the area, Cheng believes. So far, we have performed what are called Innocent Passage operations. They help maintain and declare the right of all navies to access the waters and islands within the area the Chinese call the Nine Dash Line, but they do not serve the same purpose as a military ship proceeding through the area and launching helicopters, or using targeting radar or performing military drills.

Cheng called on the administration to convey America’s support for international law and the tribunal’s ruling, as well as for its allies, at the G-20 Summit on Sept. 3-4. He called on President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to raise the issue with China during the summit.

It’s interesting that Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley are in the Pacific region this week.

""GLOBAL WAR"" before the END of this Decade.........................And IF Hillary "IS" Elected in November WAR will come FAR Sooner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Hillary........................The Most Dangerous Woman on Planet EARTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This Is The Way The World Ends...
By Howard Kunstler

Would fate permit it, the election of Hillary Clinton will be the supreme and perhaps terminal act in an Anything-Goes-And-Nothing-Matters society. Yet, even with the fabulous luck of running against a consummate political oaf, she struggles to get the upper hand, and she may land in the White House with the lowest voter turnout in modern history. And then her reward in office may be to dodge indictment for four years while the nation crumbles around her. This is the way the world ends: not with a bang or a whimper but with a cackle.

Imagine the scene following Hillary’s election.

In order to salvage the last shred of its credibility, the Federal Reserve raises its overnight funds rate another quarter percent and crashes the last Potemkin semblance of a “recovering” economy, that is, the levitated stock markets. Tens of millions of retired individuals previously driven into them by zero interest rate policy are wiped out. Even more gravely, pension funds and insurance companies are destroyed, but not before their troubles trigger derivative contracts with big banks which then explode and expose the inability of counterparties to make good on their ends of the bet.

In a blind panic, the Federal Reserve reverses its policy in December, drops the Fed Funds interest rate back to 25 basis points and announces the grandest new round of “quantitative easing” (money printing) ever, while congress is coerced into voting for the greatest bailout of institutions the world has ever seen, along with a “one time” helicopter drop of a cool trillion dollars in the form of combined tax cuts and “shovel-ready infrastructure projects.”

The media rejoices. The US Dollar tanks. Absolutely nobody wants US treasury bonds, bills, and notes. The pathetic remnant of the American middle class stares into the abyss. (If it looks hard enough, it sees the US government down there.)

We’re now living in the setup for this, treating the election shenanigans so far as just another sordid television entertainment. It’s more than that. It’s an engraved invitation to the worst crisis since the Civil War. The crisis may even feature events like a civil war with identity groups skirmishing around our already-ruined “flyover” cities just like the factions in Aleppo and Fallujah. Thank the “Progressive” Left for that. Believe me, history will blame them for chucking the idea of a unifying common culture onto the garbage barge.

And yes, for all our tribulations here in America, the rest of the world will be struggling with its own epic disorders. It remains to be seen whether they will lead to war as, say, the Chinese ruling party attempts to evade the crash of its own rickety banking system, and the inflamed millions of ruined “investors,” by starting a brawl with Japan over a few meaningless islands in the Pacific. Could happen. And, oh, is North Korea for real with its right out front nuclear bomb-and-missile program? What does the rest of the world plan to do about that?

You don’t even want to look at the Middle East. The grisly conflicts there of recent decades are just a prelude to what happens when the House of Saud loses its grip on the government. That will happen, and then the big question is whether Aramco can continue to function, or whether the critical parts of it end up damaged beyond repair as competing tribes fight over it. In any case, the world will begin to notice the salient fact of life in that part of the world: namely, that the Arabian desert, and much of the great band of arid territory on either side of it, cannot support the populations that mushroomed in the nutrient bath of the 20th century oil economy. And they won’t all be able to self-export to Europe either.

Speaking of that interesting region, around the same time Hillary sets up for intensive care in the third floor of the White House, the old order will be swept away across Europe. Farewell Merkel and Monsieur Hollandaise. Farewell to the squishy Left all over the place. Enter the hard-asses. You’d think if anything might unite that continent it might be the wish to defend secular freedom under the rule of law, but even that remains to be seen.

Yes, the world following 3Q 2016 is looking like one hot mess. If you remember anything, let it be this: the primary mission of your cohort of the human race is managing contraction. The world is getting wider and poorer again and the outcome everywhere will be determined by the success of people to manage their lives locally. The big things of this world — governments, corporations, institutions — are losing their traction and whatever we manage to rebuild will get done locally. In victory, Hillary may utterly cease to matter. 

Saudi Arabia Iran ISIS..................Just another WARNING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

In response to the increased deadly attacks on its border, Saudi Arabia recently set in motion a plan to recruit 5,000 Yemenis to protect its southern provinces, particularly Jizan and Najran, Yemeni officials said.

Yemen: 54 killed by ISIS suicide bomber in port city of Aden
News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff

Islamic State claims massive car bomb attack on a militia compound in major port city • Blast targets government troops preparing to travel to Saudi Arabia to train in fight Houthi rebels in Yemen's north.

A suicide attacker set off a massive car bomb in Yemen's southern port city of Aden on Monday, killing at least 45 pro-government troops who had been preparing to travel to Saudi Arabia to fight Houthi rebels in Yemen's north, officials said. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack.

The director general of Yemen's Health Ministry in Aden, al-Khader Laswar, told Reuters that at least 67 other people were wounded in the attack, in the city's Mansoura district.

According to local media, the men were at a staging area near two schools and a mosque where they were registering to join the expedition. The Saudis hope to train up to 5,000 fighters and deploy them to the Saudi cities of Najran and Jizan, near the border, Yemeni security officials said.

Witnesses said the suicide bomber entered the compound behind a truck that had brought breakfast for the conscripts, who had lined up for the meal.

An Islamic State statement carried by the jihadi group's Amaq news agency said, "Around 60 dead in a martyrdom operation by a fighter from Islamic State targeting a recruitment centre in Aden city."

Yemen is embroiled in a civil war pitting the internationally recognized government and a Saudi-led coalition against the Shiite rebels, who are allied with army units loyal to a former president. The fighting has allowed al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula​ and ISIS to expand their reach, particularly in the country's south. 

""Theme SONG"" for MY Worse CASE Story............................Planet EARTH, YOU have Only Yourselves to BLAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Military Montage to Thunderstruck