Monday, July 02, 2018

Time Marches On. Today, in Global Security.

Here are a few plums from Foreign Policy's latest security review.

NBC News reports that Kim Jong Un has pulled a fast one on the Dotard from Merde-a-Lardo.  Even as Trump was assuring his Gullibillies that he had tamed Rocket Man and they had nothing more to fear from Kim, the North Koreans have been stepping up production of weapons-grade nuclear materials. The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, reports that satellite reconnaissance images reveal that Kim is also expanding his solid-fuel missile production sites. Which means that Rocket Man has conned one of the greatest con-artists of our day, DJ Trump. Well done, Dotardo.

Trump's mercurial national security advisor, John Bolton, put in an appearance on CBS's "Face the Nation" yesterday and said Kim could give up his nuclear and biological arsenal within just a year. Yeah, Johnny, sure. John really shouldn't start drinking that early on a Sunday morning.

And SCL, the one time parent of now dissolved Cambridge Analytica, is reported to be conducting a lucrative trade in dodgy passports.

In the Eastern Caribbean, where SCL quietly operated in at least six countries, some of its work had an indirect objective: Assisting a lucrative trade in passports. The sales are legal, and lucrative, with the world’s rich thought to spend over $2 billion on “citizenship by investment,” or CBI. But reporting and interviews with industry insiders show how a nexus of buyers, officials, citizenship agents, and consultants has helped enable criminals and ignited political wildfires that continue to rage even now.

In at least five Caribbean nations, the company’s campaigns were backed by Christian H. Kalin, the chief executive of Henley and Partners, a London-based firm that markets and sells second passports, and helped support politicians thought to be sympathetic to Henley’s interests. With a friendly politician in office, according to people familiar with the arrangement, Henley could then become that country’s primary passport merchant, giving it the right to earn lucrative commissions on every sale.
A perfect scam. You work your election manipulation magic and a grateful head of state gives you a lucrative franchise to flog citizenship and passports.

After years of benign neglect of the Dark Continent, American special forces are getting busy waging secret wars across Africa. Barely a decade ago the Pentagon couldn't give Africa the time of day. Then the Chinese got interested and - voila - Africom.

This is sexy. The Pentagon is spending half a billion dollars to train US soldiers to fight underground.
Late last year, the Army launched an accelerated effort that funnels some $572 million into training and equipping 26 of its 31 active combat brigades to fight in large-scale subterranean facilities that exist beneath dense urban areas around the world.

For this new type of warfare, infantry units will need to know how to effectively navigate, communicate, breach heavy obstacles and attack enemy forces in underground mazes ranging from confined corridors to tunnels as wide as residential streets. Soldiers will need new equipment and training to operate in conditions such as complete darkness, bad air and lack of cover from enemy fire in areas that challenge standard Army communications equipment.
If you find this bizarre, Canada has been preparing to fight in urban centers for some years. Check this out:

See anything out of the ordinary? How about that uniform in the center of the photo?  Here's a closer image of it.

It's purpose designed to suit "the urban environment" typical of the streets, alleys and underground in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

Moving on to space, you've probably heard that Trump wants to create a separate branch of the armed forces focused on achieving military domination of low-Earth space. has a look at what a space skirmish involving the US, Russia and China would mean. In a nutshell, you would instantly be transported back to the 1950s, back when all the stuff you have now wouldn't work worth a tinker's dam. Lights out, everybody.

Okay, one more. This is about cyberwarfare and election meddling from The New York Times. American tech giants recently had a sit down with government intelligence types to figure out what could be done to help secure the mid-term elections in November. One snag -
The meeting, which was initiated by Facebook, was seen as a hopeful first step to ensure that the midterms were not a repeat of the Russian interference in 2016, said the three people who attended the meeting.

But the people who attended described a tense atmosphere in which the tech companies repeatedly pressed federal officials for information, only to be told — repeatedly — that no specific intelligence would be shared.
Oh my goodness. Seriously, I read this crap every day. It's a perpetual motion FUBAR machine spinning right in front of our eyes.


Karl Kolchak said...

Know what would minimize "election meddling" from Russia or any other hostile power? A second New Deal, national healthcare, revitalizing unions, etc, etc, etc. The real "clown show" is that anybody believes it was Putin put Trump in office and not every national American politician since the 1980s who have slavishly done the bidding of billionaires while throwing the bottom 80% wolves, all the time failing to recognize that doing so would create fertile breeding ground for fascism and eventually, collapse.

Anonymous said...

"American special forces are getting busy waging secret wars across Africa..."
One of the reasons to O'bomb Libya was to stop Chinese expansion there, and in the North Africa. It worked.
So much for the Nobel Prize. I have read somewhere that some members of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee have been regretting the decision.

The Mound of Sound said...

I agree on your prescription, Karl, but I'm not totally with you on your diagnosis.There was a gaggle of gremlins in play that contributed to the election of Trump. Russia was one. As you say, the evolution of dysfunctional government was another. Soaring inequality was another. The Robert Mercer/Cambridge Analytica crew had a hand in it. Media manipulation played a discernible role in sowing confusion and manufacturing consent. None of these factors can be dismissed but none of them can be exclusively blamed for the outcome either.

John B. said...

Get started right away on your path to Economic Citizenship.

"Obtaining a second passport could be one of the best investments you’ll ever make. …

"Right now, in 2018, may also be the best time to buy a second passport, because several citizenship by investment programs have gone ON SALE due to the devastating effects of the 2017 hurricane season. …

"[C]ompared to other investment options, a donation to a government fund oftentimes lands you a cheaper passport."

I wonder how this guy's premium content compares to what SCL is offering.

The Mound of Sound said...

It's a racket, isn't it John? Interchangeable citizenship, offshore banking and investments. We went from multi-nationals to trans-nationals to supra-nationals, corporations independent of national connection or affiliation. Now the richest of the rich are doing something eerily similar for themselves.

Trailblazer said...

WOuld love to see just how many passports the 1% have.