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Security backdoor found in China-made US military chip

Side NoteI find this to be extremely funny. CHINA IS PWNING THE US MILITARY!

…it would be in their ‘National Interests’ of course, so therefore it is JUSTIFIABLE.
Oh… wait, that argument NEVER works when its the other way around, huh? 


Cambridge University researchers find that a microprocessor used by the US military but made in China contains secret remote access capability

A microchip used by the US military and manufactured in China contains a secret “backdoor” that means it can be shut off or reprogrammed without the user knowing, according to researchers at Cambridge University’s Computing Laboratory.

The unnamed chip, which the researchers claim is widely used in military and industrial applications, is “wide open to intellectual property theft, fraud and reverse engineering of the design to allow the introduction of a backdoor or Trojan”, they said.

The discovery was made during testing of a new technique to extract the encryption key from chips, developed by Cambridge spin-off Quo Vadis Labs.

The “bug” is in the actual chip itself, rather than the firmware installed on the devices that use it. This means there is no way to fix it than to replace the chip altogether.

"The discovery of a backdoor in a military grade chip raises some serious questions about hardware assurance in the semiconductor industry," wrote Cambridge University researcher Sergei Skorobogatov and Quo Vadis Labs research Christopher Woods in a draft paper.

"It also raises some searching questions about the integrity of manufacturers making claims about [the] security of their products without independent testing."

Filed under News China US Military Technology Computers Cambridge University

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"Super-Soldiers" Fight Disease With Bionic Implants


The U.S. military plans to implant soldiers with medical devices, making them harder to kill with diseases.

The military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, announced plans to create nanosensors that monitor soldiers’ health on the battlefield and keep doctors constantly abreast about potential health problems.

DARPA’s plan for nanosensors reflects a larger trend, as scientists are trying to harness technology to improve health care across the globe. Doctors are already quickly adopting mobile technology to improve patient care, carrying around iPads to better explain procedures and inventing smartphone apps tooversee drug users’ progress and watch for signs of stress in at-risk patients.

DARPA called the implants “a truly disruptive innovation,” highlighting how healthier soldiers would change the state of modern warfare because most medical evacuations occur due to ordinary illnesses and disease, not injuries. If the U.S. can lead the way in this kind of high-tech monitoring, it could give the military another leg up on adversaries still beset by everyday illness.

Nanotechnology continues to find a place in the medical field as well. Stanford University researchersare developing tiny robotic monitors that can diagnose illnesses, monitor vital stats and even deliver medicine into the bloodstream, similar to the devices that the military plans to create. The two projects have yet to link up, but their similar goals suggest the military could benefit from coordinating efforts with leading university scientists.

The U.S. military regularly invests in the latest mobile technology, not only in healthcare but in its ground operations as well, as the military encourages app developers to develop apps for warfare. The Army is actively incorporating smartphones into battlefield equipment, recognizing the devices’ ability to revolutionize combat.

Still, the U.S. is not the only country in on the action, as China developed an iPhone app to give the People’s Liberation Army information.

The military runs on the strength of its soldiers, and this latest innovation holds promise to bolster the U.S. armed forces by decreasing preventable illnesses and keeping its men and women at the peak of their health.

Filed under News US Military DARPA Transhumanism nanosensors health USA China

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Michigan town near Ohio could become ‘China City’

415-unit housing complex would be home to Chinese business people.

By Steve Bennish

The southeastern Michigan city of Milan, a 40-minute or so commute to Toledo or Detroit industrial centers, might become the new home for a 200-acre or larger “China City” that would house Chinese business people.

Milan, a city of 6,000 surrounded by farm fields, is the locale for an unusual deal in the industrial heartland as the rocky relationship continues between the People’s Republic of China and the United States.

A group of mainland Chinese known as Sino-Michigan Properties LLC paid $1.9 million for 200 acres of farmland on Milan city limits in purchases this year and in 2011, according to local officials and property records.

Milan (pronounced MY-lan) is located on U.S. 23 a half-hour from the Ohio border and a short drive from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor — a destination favored by Chinese students.

The city straddles the border of Wastenaw and Monroe counties and is best known regionally for the Milan Dragway race track and a federal prison that can be seen from the highway.

The investors intend to build a 415-unit housing complex complete with artificial lakes and up to 6,000-square-foot homes, as well as a cultural center, Michigan officials briefed on the project said.

As yet, the project hasn’t been formally reviewed by two townships that must approve it, and questions abound.

A presentation last month to the Milan City Council by the city administrator said the project “would be marketed to Chinese business people who want to start companies in the United States,” reported the Milan News Leader newspaper.

Attorney Arthur Dudley II, of the Detroit firm Butzel Long, the registered agent for Sino, declined comment.

He also declined to put a reporter in touch with the investors. “I can’t comment on anything about that,” said the attorney, who in 2008 was selected by Crain’s Detroit Business as a top-three finalist for “Deal Maker of the Year.”

But Doug Smith, senior vice president for business and community development for the Michigan Economic Development Corp., met with the investors.

“It’s a group that wants to build a China city, starting with housing over there in Milan,” Smith said.

A veteran of efforts to attract Chinese investment who led a trip to China last year with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, Smith said proximity to the auto industry is a potential plus for the group, as is closeness to the University of Michigan. “One of the big reasons they come here is to put kids in school,” he said.

Smith also noted an uptick in interest by China to locate factories in the U.S. to avoid tariffs and transportation costs.

“If they want to be in the American market, they have to have manufacturing here. They want to get out ahead of that,” Smith said. Local Michigan township approval awaits action and will require much more information if it is to happen, said township and Milan city elected officials.

Phil Heath, 57, Milan Twp.’s supervisor since 2008, said he has more questions than answers at this point, such as how local schools could handle the influx.

“People got questions, people want answers. It will be an interesting topic for the next six months. I hope somebody comes up with some answers and facts. All I know is they want to propose this development. There is a pretty little map and that is where it ends,” Heath said.

Milan Mayor Kym Muckler, who said she has not met with the project principals, said she understands the deal to be from “a conglomerate” of Chinese businessmen who paid cash.

Muckler, a former reporter at the local newspaper, said approving the project requires extending water and sewer from the city to the township.

How natural wetlands on the property are handled could also be an issue.

“Township residents have many concerns with this project,” Muckler said. “I have my concerns and many are the same that the folks in the township have. The political climate is sensitive — we are the city and have services, but townships are where the land resides.”

Analyst Thilo Hanemann of the research analysis firm Rhodium Group, a close tracker of Chinese business activity, said he’s never heard of anything similar to the Milan proposal.

“I have not seen a project of this large scale targeting Chinese businessmen,” he said. Real estate inflation in China is pushing investors to low-cost places to place money, he added. “You can be sure the price of property in Shanghai is a multiple of what it is in Michigan.”

There have been no meetings, or hearings, or any other official action scheduled on the project, London Twp. Supervisor Barb Henley said Wednesday. “My only question is, ‘Why Milan?’ ”

Concluded township supervisor Heath: “In this economy, it’s unusual for anybody to say they want to build something.”

Filed under News Neoliberalism imperialism China USA Michigan Industry Economy Business

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Pentagon sets up new spy agency to eavesdrop on a changing world

Defense Clandestine Service will focus on global threats and emerging economic and military powers

The Pentagon is to create a new spy service to focus on global strategic threats and the challenges posed by countries including IranNorth Korea and China. The move will bring to 17 the total number of intelligence organisations in the US.

The Defense Clandestine Service is supposed to work closely with its counterpart in the CIA, the National Clandestine Service, recruiting spies from the ranks of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and deploying them globally to boost the flow of intelligence on perceived long-term threats to US national interests.

US military news website Insidedefense said the defence department had asked Congress for authority for spies to work undercover posing as businessmen when conducting covert operations abroad.

The move by the defence secretary, Leon Panetta, emerged in briefings to US journalists.

"You have to do global coverage," a senior defence official said, according to the Los Angeles Times. The new service would seek to “make sure officers are in the right locations to pursue those requirements”, the Washington Post quoted the official as saying.

The Pentagon argues that the new service is necessary because the DIA spends most of its time and manpower reporting tactical intelligence about battlefields such as Afghanistan, and not enough time looking at strategic issues.

Obama administration officials have said they want to switch US national security focus away from the Middle East to address long-term issues such as China’s rise and nuclear threats in North Korea and Iran. Pentagon sources suggested the new service would also focus on Africa, where al-Qaida affiliates are on the rise.

The new service will be relatively small, increasing in numbers “from several hundred to several more hundred” over the next few years, according to defence department officials.

The US already has 16 different intelligence organisations scattered around the defence, state, justice, homeland security and energy departments, as well as the armed services.

After the attacks of 11 September 2001 revealed a lack of co-operation and intelligence-sharing among them, the Bush administration restructured the “intelligence community”, putting it all under a director of national intelligence.

Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary for most of the Bush era, attempted to increase the Pentagon’s espionage capability dramatically but the attempt was rebuffed by the CIA, which was at loggerheads with Rumsfeld’s defence department over Iraq.

The Pentagon insisted that this time its new clandestine service would be set up in close collaboration with the CIA, which is led by the former military commander General David Petraeus. The fact that Panetta is a former CIA director is also said to have helped smooth co-operation.

Not all intelligence experts are convinced that the creation of a new organisation will help America’s espionage capacity, however. Some argue that the move reflects turf battles and empire-building.

"I’m not sure what they are supposed to achieve that the CIA doesn’t," Joshua Foust, a former DIA Middle East analyst told the LA Times. "This seems like a territorial thing: ‘Hey, the CIA has this – why don’t we have it, too?’ … I’m pretty sceptical that it’s necessary or good."

Filed under News War Pentagon Spying CIA Iran North Korea China Defense Clandestine Service

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Increasingly in Europe, Suicides ‘by Economic Crisis’


TREVISO, Italy — On New Year’s Eve, Antonio Tamiozzo, 53, hanged himself in the warehouse of his construction business near Vicenza, after several debtors did not pay what they owed him.

Three weeks earlier, Giovanni Schiavon, 59, a contractor, shot himself in the head at the headquarters of his debt-ridden construction company on the outskirts of Padua. As he faced the bleak prospect of ordering Christmas layoffs at his family firm of two generations, he wrote a last message: “Sorry, I cannot take it anymore.”

The economic downturn that has shaken Europe for the last three years has also swept away the foundations of once-sturdy lives, leading to an alarming spike in suicide rates. Especially in the most fragile nations like Greece, Ireland and Italy, small-business owners and entrepreneurs are increasingly taking their own lives in a phenomenon some European newspapers have started calling “suicide by economic crisis.”

Many, like Mr. Tamiozzo and Mr. Schiavon, have died in obscurity. Others, like the desperate 77-year-old retiree who shot himself outside the Greek Parliament on April 4, have turned their personal despair into dramatic public expressions of anger at the leaders who have failed to soften the blows of the crisis.

A complete picture of the phenomenon across Europe is elusive, as some countries lag in reporting statistics and coroners are loath to classify deaths as suicides, to protect surviving family members. But it is clear that countries on the front line of the economic crisis are suffering the worst, and that suicides among men have increased the most.

In Greece, the suicide rate among men increased more than 24 percent from 2007 to 2009, government statistics show. In Ireland during the same period, suicides among men rose more than 16 percent. In Italy, suicides motivated by economic difficulties have increased 52 percent, to 187 in 2010 — the most recent year for which statistics were available — from 123 in 2005.

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Filed under News economic crisis Suicide Greece Europe Financial crisis China Ireland

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FBI fears American universities ‘swarming with spies’


Foreign spies have become much more common in America’s higher education institutions over the last five years, reports Bloomberg. The FBI says many of them are Chinese nationals.

The end of the Cold War did a lot to deepen international scientific collaboration, prompting universities to broaden their global activities. Students on American soil have become even more multi-ethnic and multi-cultural. But this openness also exposed the vulnerability of academic institutions to scientific and industrial espionage, as well as to the theft of advanced technologies, US national security officials believe.

“We have intelligence and cases indicating that US universities are indeed a target of foreign intelligence services,”Frank Figliuzzi, Federal Bureau of Investigation assistant director for counterintelligence, told Bloomberg.

The FBI believes American universities are the ideal place for recruiting informers and agent penetration.

Agents’ activities could range from conducting research with respected scientific teams and taking photos of hi-tech equipment and documents, to barefaced copying of files with sensitive data from personal laptops.

Hi-tech espionage targets academic centers and corporations’ scientific and technical research alike, the FBI says.

According to a 2011 US Defense Department report, attempts by East Asian countries, China in particular, to gain access to developing technologies and cutting-edge research in the US grew a stunning eightfold in 2010 compared with the previous year. Above all, foreign intelligence activities concentrate on information systems development, construction of lasers, aeronautics research and underwater robot production, the report said.

In order to preserve its key role in science and technology, America declared itself open to talented researchers from all around the world. The US has become so welcoming of foreign students that citizens of other countries could make up over 40 per cent of graduates in such renowned institutions as Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Georgia Institute of Technology, according to a federal survey.

The hundreds of thousands of Americans studying overseas are also under threat of being recruited by foreign intelligence, Frank Figliuzzi told Bloomberg.

Chinese impostors in American education

China alone directed 76,830 students to US universities in 2010-2011, more than any other country. The FBI says many Chinese researchers who have received an American education and started working in American companies do have a tendency to commit corporate espionage. 

China’s intelligence service deploys networks of freelance volunteer students and researchers to collect information wherever they study, do research or work, says David Major, president of the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies in Falls Church, Virginia and former FBI official. 

In addition, more than 3,000 Chinese false-front companies pursue new technologies directly on American soil, writes former CIA officer S. Eugene Poteat. 

To help repulse the foreign infiltrators’ attack, the FBI has teamed up with academia with a national board of representatives from universities and national security agencies. The initial board was created in Pennsylvania State University in 1995, and was later transformed into a national body. 

All members of the board have security clearance, Bloomberg reports. The FBI considers potential sensitive cases in research programs while campus officials guide investigations through peculiarities of the national higher education system.

Filed under News China USA University FBI Spies CIA

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American Decline: Debated, Contested, Obvious

By William Pfaff

Is the United States in decline? You would certainly think so from the publishers’ lists, although some of the new books, written by determined neoconservatives resisting indictment for complicity in causing the decline, such as Robert Kagan, are arguing that it’s only a very little decline, and temporary, and will end in November when the teapot boils. Certainly President Barack Obama forswears declinism. Anyone who says that America is in decline, “or that our influence has waned, doesn’t know what they are talking about,” he said in his State of the Union address.

Well, actually, the only people who can really say that are those who haven’t been to Europe or the major Asian states recently, where everything works beautifully, even if Europe’s debts are not paid off. The 200 mph trains that crisscross Europe not only run on time but give you money back if they are late. The hotels in Singapore, Tokyo and the Arabian Gulf surpass all rivals. Their national airlines provide unparalleled service, and even room enough to sit comfortably in economy.

Even the American government luxuriates abroad. Have you ever been an overnight guest in the visiting officers’ apartments of any major American military base abroad? (Not in a combat zone, to be sure!) I have. It’s like Air Force One. And you can bet that everything works, every luxury and comfort provided, every wish granted and whim gratified. What great fun for the little Obama girls! The rest of us usually fly economy.

Why the decline? First: globalization and what it did to destroy the domestic American economy in which ordinary people live. Globalization was the product of an economic ideology that said removing all regulation would guarantee free markets that would automatically produce maximum economic efficiencies, and consequent profit, in every realm of human activity, except war and peace. (Other priorities governed war and peace.)

Second: mindless oversimplification plus ignorance, following from collapsing public education. The latter has a cause that it has not been politically acceptable to identify: the liberation of women. In the United States before the Second World War, teaching in public (or parochial) schools was virtually the only serious work open to university-educated women. They educated America. They now have other things to do, for which we give thanks. But the nation suffers the consequences.

Another factor, which is not trivial, is the huge and credulous audience that has been created for the political fantasies that talk radio and Fox television demagogues promulgate. A consequence of that has been the intellectual corruption of political debate and the money corruption of American political practice and government, which has placed plutocracy in the saddle, with no visible way to unseat him.

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Filed under Commentary US Decline Obama China Japan Europe United States

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Cyber War and Peace

By Joseph S. Nye

Two years ago, a piece of faulty computer code infected Iran’s nuclear program and destroyed many of the centrifuges used to enrich uranium. Some observers declared this apparent sabotage to be the harbinger of a new form of warfare, and United States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has warned Americans of the danger of a “cyber Pearl Harbor” attack on the US. But what do we really know about cyber conflict?

The cyber domain of computers and related electronic activities is a complex man-made environment, and human adversaries are purposeful and intelligent. Mountains and oceans are hard to move, but portions of cyberspace can be turned on and off by throwing a switch. It is far cheaper and quicker to move electrons across the globe than to move large ships long distances.

The costs of developing those vessels – multiple carrier task forces and submarine fleets – create enormous barriers to entry, enabling US naval dominance. But the barriers to entry in the cyber domain are so low that non-state actors and small states can play a significant role at low cost.

In my book The Future of Power, I argue that the diffusion of power away from governments is one of this century’s great political shifts.  Cyberspace is a perfect example. Large countries like the US, Russia, Britain, France, and China have greater capacity than other states and non-state actors to control the sea, air, or space, but it makes little sense to speak of dominance in cyberspace. If anything, dependence on complex cyber systems for support of military and economic activities creates new vulnerabilities in large states that can be exploited by non-state actors.

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Filed under Commentary Cyberwar Cybersecurity US Russia Britain France China Internet US Military US Government Cyber Pearl Harbor

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Mali: U.S. Africa Command’s New War?


President Obama’s statement on defense strategy announced a stronger U.S. presence in Asia-Pacific, while keeping Africa under the radar. Yet, recent developments unequivocally suggest that the Black Continent has become the new U.S. playground of imperial military conquest. Mali is the country currently caught in the eye of the storm. In this article, written in February 2012 when the latest so-called “Tuareg rebellion” erupted in northern Mali, Rick Rozoff connects the dots between these events and Mali’s pivotal role in the U.S. strategy for Africa, conjecturing that, after Libya, the stage is possibly being set for another foreign intervention.

The press wires are reporting on intensified fighting in Mali between the nation’s military and ethnic Tuareg rebels of the Azawad National Liberation Movement in the north of the nation.

As the only news agencies with global sweep and the funds and infrastructure to maintain bureaus and correspondents throughout the world are those based in leading member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, BBC News and Deutsche Presse-Agentur – the coverage of ongoing developments in Mali, like those in most every other country, reflects a Western bias and a Western agenda.

Typical headlines on the topic, then, include the following:

Arms and men out of Libya fortify Mali rebellion” -Reuters

President: Tuareg fighters from Libya stoke violence in Mali” - CNN

Colonel Gaddafi armed Tuaregs pound Mali” - The Scotsman

France denounces killings in Mali rebel offensive” -Agence France-Presse

Mali, France Condemn Alleged Tuareg Rebel Atrocities” - Voice of America

To reach Mali from Libya is at least a 500-mile journey through Algeria and/or Niger. As the rebels of course don’t have an air force, don’t have military transport aircraft, the above headlines and the propaganda they synopsize imply that Tuareg fighters marched the entire distance from Libya to their homeland in convoys containing heavy weapons through at least one other nation without being detected or deterred by local authorities. And that, moreover, to launch an offensive three months following the murder of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi after his convoy was struck by French bombs and a U.S. Hellfire missile last October. But the implication that Algeria and Niger, especially the first, are complicit in the transit of Tuareg fighters and arms from Libya to Mali is ominous in terms of expanding Western accusations – and actions – in the region.

Armed rebellions are handled differently in Western-dominated world news reporting depending on how the rebels and the governments they oppose are viewed by leading NATO members.

In recent years the latter have provided military and logistical support to armed rebel formations – in most instances engaged in cross-order attacks and with separatist and irredentist agendas – in Kosovo, Macedonia, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Libya and now Syria, and on the intelligence and “diplomatic” fronts in Russia, China, Pakistan, Sudan, Iran, Indonesia, Congo, Myanmar, Laos and Bolivia.

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Filed under News Commentary Africa Africom Mali Kosovo Macedonia Liberia Ivory Coast Libya Syria Russia China Pakistan Sudan Iran Indonesia Congo Myanmar Laos Bolivia NATO Turkey Morocco Colombia Philippines central africa republic Chad Uganda Congo

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Putting Syria into some perspective

by William Blum

The Holy Triumvirate — The United States, NATO, and the European Union — or an approved segment thereof, can usually get what they want. They wanted Saddam Hussein out, and soon he was swinging from a rope. They wanted the Taliban ousted from power, and, using overwhelming force, that was achieved rather quickly. They wanted Moammar Gaddafi’s rule to come to an end, and before very long he suffered a horrible death. Jean-Bertrand Aristide was democratically elected, but this black man who didn’t know his place was sent into distant exile by the United States and France in 2004. Iraq and Libya were the two most modern, educated and secular states in the Middle East; now all four of these countries could qualify as failed states.

These are some of the examples from the past decade of how the Holy Triumvirate recognizes no higher power and believes, literally, that they can do whatever they want in the world, to whomever they want, for as long as they want, and call it whatever they want, like “humanitarian intervention”. The 19th- and 20th-century colonialist-imperialist mentality is alive and well in the West.

Next on their agenda: the removal of Bashar al-Assad of Syria. As with Gaddafi, the ground is being laid with continual news reports — from CNN to al Jazeera — of Assad’s alleged barbarity, presented as both uncompromising and unprovoked. After months of this media onslaught who can doubt that what’s happening in Syria is yet another of those cherished Arab Spring “popular uprisings” against a “brutal dictator” who must be overthrown? And that the Assad government is overwhelmingly the cause of the violence.

Assad actually appears to have a large measure of popularity, not only in Syria, but elsewhere in the Middle East. This includes not just fellow Alawites, but Syria’s two million Christians and no small number of Sunnis. Gaddafi had at least as much support in Libya and elsewhere in Africa. The difference between the two cases, at least so far, is that the Holy Triumvirate bombed and machine-gunned Libya daily for seven months, unceasingly, crushing the pro-government forces, as well as Gaddafi himself, and effecting the Triumvirate’s treasured “regime change”. Now, rampant chaos, anarchy, looting and shooting, revenge murders, tribal war, militia war, religious war, civil war, the most awful racism against the black population, loss of their cherished welfare state, and possible dismemberment of the country into several mini-states are the new daily life for the Libyan people. The capital city of Tripoli is “wallowing in four months of uncollected garbage” because the landfill is controlled by a faction that doesn’t want the trash of another faction.1 Just imagine what has happened to the country’s infrastructure. This may be what Syria has to look forward to if the Triumvirate gets its way, although the Masters of the Universe undoubtedly believe that the people of Libya should be grateful to them for their “liberation”.

As to the current violence in Syria, we must consider the numerous reports of forces providing military support to the Syrian rebels — the UK, France, the US, Turkey, Israel, Qatar, the Gulf states, and everyone’s favorite champion of freedom and democracy, Saudi Arabia; with Syria claiming to have captured some 14 French soldiers; plus individual jihadists and mercenaries from Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Libya, et al, joining the anti-government forces, their number including al-Qaeda veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who are likely behind the car bombs in an attempt to create chaos and destabilize the country. This may mark the third time the United States has been on the same side as al-Qaeda, adding to Afghanistan and Libya.

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Filed under News Commentary War Syria United States Afghanistan Libya London Suaid Arabia UK France Turkey Israel Qatar NATO European Union Cuba Obama CIA China Imperialism

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Japan deploys missile defences in Tokyo


 Japan has deployed missile batteries in Tokyo and dispatched destroyers carrying interceptor missiles as it boosts its defences against a planned North Korean rocket launch this month.

Pyongyang says it will launch a satellite for peaceful scientific research between April 12 and 16 to mark the 100th anniversary on April 15 of the birth of founding leader Kim Il-Sung.

But the United States and its allies say it is a disguised missile test and that the launch would contravene UN sanctions aimed at curbing North Korea's missile programme.

Patriot missiles were Saturday deployed at three military facilities in the greater Tokyo region and the defence ministry dispatched three Aegis destroyers carrying sea-based interceptor missiles, reportedly to the East China sea.

"With the latest step, it completes the deployment of PAC3," said a duty officer at the defence ministry, referring to the Patriot missiles.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has given the green light to shoot down the North Korean rocket if it threatens Japan’s territory.

In 2009, Japan also ordered missile defence preparations before Pyongyang’s last long-range rocket launch which brought UN Security Council condemnation and tightened sanctions against the isolated communist state.

That rocket, which North Korea also said was aimed at putting a satellite into orbit, passed over Japanese territory without incident or any attempt to shoot it down.

Filed under News Japan Tokyo North Korea Pyongyang UN United States China

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First deployment of US marines arrives in Australia’s Darwin


About 200 United States Marines have arrived in Australia for a six-month deployment in the Northern Territory, as part of plans to expand the US military presence in the Asia-Pacific.

According to a US Marine Corps spokesman, the first of 2,500 Marines, who entered the northern Australian city of Darwin late Tuesday, are expected to engage in exercises with the Australian Defense Forces and are scheduled to travel to other countries in the region for training and exercises, Reuters reported on Wednesday. 

The spokesman added that the troops will eventually form a rotational Marine Air Ground Task Force. 

The unit was reportedly involved in recent active service in Afghanistan. 

"The world needs to essentially come to grips with the rise of China, the rise of India, the move of strategic and political and economic influence to our part of the world," Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith said in Darwin.

"And we need to ensure that we do that in a way in which the international community responds to that change, manages that change," he noted, adding that he believed the presence of Marines in Australia would support those efforts. 

The troops are deployed under a last November security deal between US President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to increase bilateral military cooperation and training. 

Meanwhile, a senior Pentagon official disclosed last week that Washington was engaging in two sets of trilateral dialogues — one with Japan and Australia and the other with Japan and South Korea — to expand US missile systems to Asia and the Middle East. 

The Australian government also announced last week that it would allow the Pentagon to use one of its remote islands in the Indian Ocean as a base to fly spy missions over South and Southeast Asia. 

Filed under News Australia US Military Marines China India Obama Pentagon South Korea Imperialism

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Mineral Resources behind US push to Africa

Side Note: US imperialism - it’s desire to ‘police’ the world in the pursuit of “national interests” - is far reaching. There really isn’t a place on the globe that isn’t being brutalized by it’s militaristic ambitions. Most American’s are rather oblivious to their own countries impact on the world. I, personally, try to keep abreast on as much of it as I can - from Japan, to China, to the Middle East, South America and the continent of Africa and anywhere else the empire plants it foot (or military bases). Long story short: I APPOSE all of it. I do NOT see the USA as being a ‘force of good’ in the world. I tend to find that whenever the USA purports to be doing something ‘good’ for another nation - it ALWAYS has ulterior motives. I cannot support it.

By Nile Bowie

KUALA LUMPUR - As public interest in African affairs briefly found a place in mainstream talking points following a controversial viral video campaign about Ugandan rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), both the United States and the African Union are mobilizing military forces to Central Africa to counter further threats to civilian safety posed by the group. Following the US deployment of one hundred military personnel to Uganda in 2011, the African Union has recently announced the deployment of a 5,000-solider brigade to LRA affected areas, tasked with pursuing the group and its leader, Joseph Kony. [1] In the United States, a new bill co-authored by U.S. Representative Edward Royce has been introduced to the Congress calling for the further expansion of regional military forces into the nations of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic and the newly formed South Sudan. [2]
Although the Lord’s Resistance Army has been accused of recruiting child soldiers and conducting crimes against humanity throughout its two-decade campaign for greater autonomy against the Ugandan government, the group is presently comprised of less than four hundred soldiers [3] and remains a questionable threat. Meanwhile, China’s deepening economic engagement in Africa and its crucial role in developing the mining and industrial sectors of several nations is reportedly creating “deep nervousness” in the West, according to David Shinn, former US ambassador to Burkina Faso and Ethiopia. [4] As the Obama administration claims to welcome the peaceful rise of China on the world stage, recent policy shifts toward an increased US military presence in several alleged LRA hotspots threaten deepening Chinese commercial activity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, widely considered the world’s most resource rich nation. [5]
As China maintains a record of consistently strong economic performance, Washington is crusading against China’s export restrictions on minerals that are crucial components in the production of consumer electronics such as flat-screen televisions, smart phones, laptop batteries, and a host of other products. As the United States, European Union and Japan project international pressure on the World Trade Organization and the World Bank to block financing for China’s extensive mining projects [6], US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s irresponsible accusations of China perpetuating a creeping “new colonialism” of the African continent remain rather telling. [7] As China is predicted to formally emerge as the world’s largest economy in 2016 [8], the successful aggregation of African resources remains a key component to its ongoing rivalry with the United States.
The villainous branding of Joseph Kony may well be deserved, however it cannot be overstated that the LRA threat is wholly misrepresented in recent pro-intervention US legislation. The vast majority of LRA attacks have reportedly taken place in the north-eastern Bangadi region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, located on the foot of a tri-border expanse between the Central African Republic and South Sudan. However, the small number of deaths reported by official sources in recent times relies on unconfirmed reports where LRA activity is “presumed” and “suspected” [9]. Considering the Congo’s extreme instability after decades of foreign invasion, falsely crediting the LRA with the region’s longstanding cases of violence for political gain becomes relatively simple for those looking to gain enormous contracts for Congolese resources.

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Filed under News Commentary Africa AFRICOM US Government Imperialism Uganda Central Africa Republic South Sudan United States China EU

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