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Havana Syndrome, Directed Energy Weapons, and the New Cold War

US Navy personnel operate a Directed Energy Weapon
© DVIDS
US Navy personnel operate a Directed Energy Weapon aboard the USS Ponce during an operational demonstration in the Persian Gulf in 2014.
While the jury is still out on who committed the attacks against U.S. officials, or even whether there were any attacks at all, directed energy weapons certainly do exist. Havana Syndrome might be science fiction, but directed energy weapons are very much science fact.

It started in 2016. U.S. officials in Havana, Cuba, began complaining en masse about hearing strange noises, suffering recurring headaches, nausea, hearing and memory loss. From there it spread around the world, with hundreds of U.S. spies and diplomats in the United Kingdom, Colombia, China, Uzbekistan, Germany, Austria, and in Washington itself reporting similar symptoms. Very little about the cases — even the identities of those involved — can be verified. Nevertheless, the story has become a media sensation, appearing on front pages the world over, with journalists speculating that futuristic microwave weapons are the culprit, likely wielded by devious Russian spies. While the scientific and medical community have cautioned not to jump to conclusions, underlining a number of key flaws in the narrative, the existence of directed energy weapons (DEWs), as they are known, is beyond doubt.

Our men in Havana

Tensions with Cuba are high, the island being the home to many cloak-and-dagger plots both by and against the Cuban government, ever since the revolution of 1959, which marked the Caribbean nation as an enemy of Washington. Officials affected typically report hearing a grating sound coming from a particular direction and experiencing pressure in their heads. Those nearby were not affected. The Cuban government's vehement denials, as well as their openness in helping the U.S. with their investigations, shifted suspicion away from them in Washington's eyes, the chief culprit assumed by many to be Vladimir Putin's Russia, although little public evidence of this exists.

Road Cone

The Fed's liquidity problem and when the levee breaks...

Powell
If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break
If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break
When the levee breaks, I'll have no place to stay.

Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan, Lord
Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan
It's got what it takes to make a mountain man leave his home
Oh well, oh well, oh well

Don't it make you feel bad
When you're tryin' to find your way home
You don't know which way to go?
If you're goin' down south
They got no work to do
If you're going down to Chicago.

A-ah, a-ah, a-ah.

Cryin' won't help you, prayin' won't do you no good
No, cryin' won't help you, prayin' won't do you no good
When the levee breaks, mama, you got to move, ooh.

Led Zeppelin
To a man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. To the Federal Reserve, every problem is met with more liquidity. Unfortunately, the Fed has very little control of where this liquidity goes. First, it went into equity markets, fueling an outright equity bubble. Then it overflowed into PE and VC, creating bubblicious demons there as well. Then it overflowed into meme stonks and shit-coins. Not content with the damage they wrought on the financial economy, the liquidity began overflowing into the real economy. There's currently an epic housing bubble, leading to increasing wealth inequality and polarization.

Now, this liquidity is overflowing into the everyday economy — assuming you can even find the item you seek. In the past, only hard money weirdos complained about the gradual creep of inflation — now everyone feels it and has their own story. Everyone is painfully aware that inflation is present and is likely to stay.

Eye 1

Adapt 2030 Ice Age Report: The Global Rationing Plan 2022

ration

The DoConomy Card issued by Mastercard teaming with the U.N will monitor and cut off spending when you hit your carbon max allotment. You can of course buy more carbon credits on the international carbon trading market. This is happening as food nearing 60 year highs and the supply chain from the farmgate to supermarkets is shattered. Meat and poultry price soar as the blame game continues to keep you distracted as the carbon cut off is implemented.


Sources

HAL9000

UN warns artificial intelligence may pose 'negative, even catastrophic' threat to human rights

iPal smart AI for robots for children's education
© Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images
iPal smart AI for robots for children's education are displayed at the AvatarMind booth at the CES 2019 consumer electronics show at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Jan. 8, 2019.



Comment: Some common sense is actually on display from a UN representative. We're floored.


The United Nations has warned that artificial intelligence (AI) systems may pose a "negative, even catastrophic" threat to human rights and called for AI applications that are not used in compliance with human rights to be banned.

U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet on Sept. 15 urged members states to put a temporary ban on the sale and use of AI until the potential risks it poses have been addressed and adequate safeguards put in place to ensure the technology will not be abused.

"We cannot afford to continue playing catch-up regarding AI — allowing its use with limited or no boundaries or oversight and dealing with the almost inevitable human rights consequences after the fact," Bachelet said in a statement.

"The power of AI to serve people is undeniable, but so is AI's ability to feed human rights violations at an enormous scale with virtually no visibility. Action is needed now to put human rights guardrails on the use of AI, for the good of all of us," the human rights chief added.

Her remarks come shortly after her office published a report that analyzes how AI affects people's right to privacy, as well as a string of other rights regarding health, education, freedom of movement, and freedom of expression, among others.

Control Panel

The strange China feud of Soros and BlackRock amidst developing economic crisis

George Soros
A bizarre war of words has erupted in recent days in the pages of financial media between billionaire hedge fund and color revolution specialist, George Soros, and the gigantic BlackRock investment group. The issue is a decision by BlackRock CEO Larry Fink to open the first foreign-owned mutual fund in China presumably to attract the savings of China's new (and fast disappearing) middle income population. In a recent newspaper interview Soros called the BlackRock decision a threat to BlackRock investors and to US national security.

This seemingly absurd clash of views between two financial predator giants of Wall Street hides a far larger story — the looming systemic collapse inside China of a financial debt pyramid that is possibly the largest in the world. It could have a domino effect on the entire world economy far greater than the September 2008 Lehman Crisis.

"Global economic terrorist..:"

On September 6 Soros wrote a guest Editorial in the Wall Street Journal sharply criticizing BlackRock for investing in China: "It is a sad mistake to pour billions of dollars into China now. This is likely to lose money for BlackRock customers and, more importantly, harm the national security interests of the US and other democracies." Not like Soros to cite US national security... He went on to say, "The BlackRock Initiative threatens the national security interests of the US and other democracies because money invested in China will help advance President Xi's regime, which is repressive at home and aggressive abroad." BlackRock issued a response stating, "The US and China have a large and complex economic relationship...Through our investment activity, US-based asset managers and other financial institutions contribute to the economic interconnection of the world's two largest economies."

Comment: The West's vulture capitalists are circling the dragon to the East. Will they lend a toxic band-aid to China's ailing economy - or will they be blown out of the sky as Beijing tends to its wounds? And an even bigger question: just how contagious is China's systemic financial meltdown?


Broom

America's woke generals and the Military Industrial Complex must be purged to save the nation

Austin Milley
© Getty Images
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin • Chair of Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley
Revelations from a new book, Peril, by Bob Woodward and Rob Costa, reveal just how deep the spiritual rot in the military goes. In the days after the January 6 protest, General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, promised, in the event of a war, to give aid and comfort to China. According to the Washington Post, after the Capitol protest, Milley sent secret communiques to the head of the People's Liberation Army, promising that "If we're going to attack, I'm going to call you ahead of time. It's not going to be a surprise."

In a decent country such a brazen act of collusion with a foreign power by one of the most prominent leaders of the armed forces would be met with immediate and unrelenting backlash. Instead, this betrayer of the Constitution and the principle of civilian leadership of the military is a liberal darling. At the inauguration, Joe Biden thanked Milley for undermining President Trump in the final weeks of his presidency.

Milley, before reaching out to China, sat down with the service's top officers and demanded from them what amounted to an oath — none of them would launch a nuclear weapon without his approval. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff went behind the President's back to secure control over the nation's most important weapons.

Comment: Tell it like it is. If reality must split...we should make one version better!


Cardboard Box

The world is still short of everything. Get used to it!

Gjesdal
© Tim Gruber/NYT
Kirsten Gjesdal stopped ordering some products for her kitchen supply store.
Like most people in the developed world, Kirsten Gjesdal had long taken for granted her ability to order whatever she needs and then watch the goods arrive, without any thought about the factories, container ships and trucks involved in delivery.

Not anymore.

At her kitchen supply store in Brookings, S.D., Ms. Gjesdal has given up stocking place mats, having wearied of telling customers that she can only guess when more will come. She recently received a pot lid she had purchased eight months earlier. She has grown accustomed to paying surcharges to cover the soaring shipping costs of the goods she buys. She has already placed orders for Christmas items like wreaths and baking pans.

"It's nuts," she said. "It's definitely not getting back to normal."

The challenges confronting Ms. Gjesdal's shop, Carrot Seed Kitchen, are a testament to the breadth and persistence of the chaos roiling the global economy, as manufacturers and the shipping industry contend with an unrelenting pandemic.

Comment: This dire global supply-demand crisis is a direct result of mandated lockdown measures, not the virus. The focus was on calculated maneuvers to produce just such an outcome in order to cripple industry and reduce access to goods and services. Who does this serve? Not industry. Who benefits? Not the people.


Bullseye

Russian elections: Pro-Putin party loses support but keeps supermajority; Communists get big boost but allege count was rigged

Supporters/Zyuganov
© Sputnik/Alexey Maishev
United Russia political party's supporters
Leader of Russian Communist Party Gennady Zyuganov speaking to media
The votes are in and the results are out. Russians have cast their votes in parliamentary elections and, with almost all of the votes counted, there is little doubt that the governing party will be returned with a supermajority.

Half the seats in the State Duma are awarded by proportional representation, while the others are assigned by 'first-past-the-post' results in single member constituencies. United Russia, the ruling party, has officially received close to 50% of all votes cast, while sweeping the overwhelming majority of constituencies, with 99% of votes counted.

The Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF), the largest opposition grouping, has come in a distant second in the local races. It did, however, significantly extend its share of the overall vote, gaining about a quarter more ballots than it did in the 2016 elections and taking its support to around 19%.

Comment: Russia's Communists claim falsification and won't recognize result:
Russia's Communist Party has revealed that it will refuse to recognize the votes of electronic voting in the single-mandate constituencies in Moscow, and will instead ask for an investigation, believing that votes were falsified.

Russia introduced electronic voting this year in select regions. Although all of the other areas using the technology reported their results shortly after the polls closed, Moscow's declaration was delayed. The Communists, along with some other opposition figures, believe that this time was used to rig the election.

According to Yuri Afonin, the first deputy chairman of the party's central committee, his candidates "confidently won" parliamentary elections in Moscow but were robbed by the online portion of the election. Afonin believes that Moscow's results are fake. For example, in the city's District 196, outspoken communist politician Valery Rashkin was leading by 1.35%, with just 0.41% of the votes left to be counted. Once all ballots were totaled, he ended up losing by a whopping 13.87%.
"They would have won if that notorious e-voting system had not been introduced. We do not recognize the e-voting system. In Moscow, this system has only started to come together now since morning, although in other regions, all the results were known last night,"
Party leader Gennady Zyuganov also decried the results, calling for experts to "investigate."

The city's officials have denied the party permission to protest the result, citing Covid-19 restrictions.

Throughout the three days of voting, many videos shared online appeared to show voters and officials filling ballot boxes with multiple voting slips. According to Central Election Commission Chairperson Ella Pamfilova, "12 cases of ballot stuffing have been confirmed."



Oil Well

Skyrocketing energy prices could cripple Europe's economy

oil refinery
© Unknown
Surging energy prices in Europe are hurting more than just consumers. The price spikes have started to hit industrial activities, threatening to deal a blow to the post-COVID recovery in European economies with a triple whammy of reduced consumer purchasing power, lower industrial production, and higher operating costs.

Giant European firms, from chemicals and mining to the food sector, say sky-high gas and electricity prices are hitting their profit margins and forcing some of them to curtail operations.

Some factories have shut down because of record natural gas prices. More idling of industrial activity across Europe is likely in the coming weeks, analysts say.

Meanwhile, the record European natural gas prices are sending Asian spot prices of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to record levels for this time of the year — between peak summer demand and ahead of the winter heating season.

Europe's tight gas market, low wind speeds, abnormally low gas inventories, and record carbon prices have combined in recent weeks to send benchmark gas prices on the continent and power prices in the largest economies to record highs. Almost daily, gas and power prices in Europe surge to fresh records, putting pressure on governments as consumers protest against soaring power bills.

Comment: Biden administration wonders why oil prices are rising...could it be supply can't reach the demand? That's what happens when the economy is disrupted, the population sequestered, transport is banned and you look for someone else to blame:
The Biden administration is looking into prices at the pump and why they are higher than they are supposed to be. Quoted by Bloomberg, Biden said on Thursday:
"There's lots of evidence that gas prices should be going down -- but they haven't. We're taking a close look at that. We're also going after the bad actors and pandemic profiteers in our economy."
U.S. gas prices have risen by as much as 50 percent since the start of the year. Earlier this week, the average reached $3.19 per gallon, Bloomberg noted, citing data from the AAA, which is the highest since October 2014. The reason for the rise appears to be a strong rebound in fuel demand as the U.S. reopened after pandemic lockdowns. Still, the Biden administration has signaled it had its suspicions about other factors at play.

Last month, the director of the National Economic Council, Brian Deese, has approached FTC head Lina Khan with a request to monitor the U.S. gasoline market and address any illegal conduct that might be contributing to price increases for consumers at the pump. At the time, President Biden also acknowledged the climbing prices at the pump, saying he wanted to make sure that there was nothing preventing gas prices from falling:
"Recently, we've seen the price that oil companies pay for a barrel of oil begin to fall, but the cost of gasoline at the pump for more American people hasn't fallen. That's not what you'd expect in a competitive market."
Also last month, the Biden administration called on OPEC+ to boost oil production in order to help U.S. retail gas prices to fall. The call caused a sour reaction in Alberta, which is the biggest supplier of foreign oil to the United States, and no reaction from OPEC+.
Meanwhile in Lebanon, gas prices rise...again:
The Lebanese energy ministry hiked petrol prices again on Friday - this time by almost 38 percent - as the country continues to dial back fuel subsidies to tackle crippling shortages. The price of 20 litres of 95-octane and 98-octane gasoline increased to 174,300 ($11.24) and 180,000 ($11.64) Lebanese pounds respectively. That is equivalent to just over a quarter of the country's minimum wage.

Mikati has said that lifting fuel subsidies is a crucial step towards pulling the country out of an economic crisis that the World Bank has ranked among the world's three worst over the past 150 years.

George Braks of the Petrol Station Owners' Syndicate told Al Jazeera that Lebanon is heading towards lifting all fuel subsidies by the end of the month.
"Hopefully, we will not be moving from one problem to a new one with whatever new pricing mechanism is adopted. If they decide to price the dollar at the market rate, then this is something we would welcome, because we would continue with the Lebanese pound and not struggle to find US dollars."
Fuel subsidies had allowed importers and distributors to sell fuel at an officially pegged rate of 1,500 Lebanese pounds to the US dollar. But as the value of the pound plummeted by roughly 90 percent, the pegged rate was replaced by an informal rate in the wider market. Economists and analysts say keeping the subsidies ultimately incentivised smuggling, notably into Syria, to sell at a profit. So far, diesel fuel subsidies have officially been lifted, as power cuts plague homes, hospitals and businesses.

Iran-backed Hezbollah delivered the first shipment of diesel fuel from Tehran on Thursday, to be donated to some institutions and sold to others at a discounted price in the local currency. It was one of four vessels of fuel expected to dock in Syria and be delivered to Lebanon.

Laury Haytayan, a gas and oil policy expert, fears that if gasoline is priced in dollars after subsidies are lifted, there would be greater demand for the gasoline distributed by Hezbollah and its web of institutions. He said:
"I don't know how the government would take care of that - having one product in Lebanese pounds and the other in dollars, one is smuggled the other is legitimate. Maybe next we'll see a monopoly in the Iranian product ... because it's priced in Lebanese pounds and discounted as we understood from Nasrallah, and the others are in the market price."



Passport

Polish-Belarusian row intensifies as four found dead near the border

migrants poland belarus border
© REUTERS/Kacper Pempel
Polish border guard officers stand guard next to a group of migrants stranded on the border between Belarus and Poland near the village of Usnarz Gorny
Three people have died after crossing into Poland from Belarus, and a fourth person has been found dead on the Belarusian side of the border following a surge in illegal migration that has caused a diplomatic row.

Polish officials, who announced the three deaths inside Poland, gave no cause of death on Monday. The Belarusian border service identified the person found inside Belarus as "a woman of non-Slavic appearance" but did not say how she died.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said there had been almost 4,000 attempts to illegally cross Poland's border in September and nearly 7,000 over the last two months, and put the blame for the increase in migration on Minsk.

Comment: