The poor health insurance provision for Americans is something that concerns the entire world. A BBC survey conducted in Yemen found that more than 90% of people think Obamacare should have been retained.
In Yemen, where two thirds of the population are starving and the rest are being bombed, people are deeply moved by the plight of American workers. “Its the American workers who built the bombers that the Saudis are using to make sure we have the right government,” said Mansur Hadi, “most Yemenis are very sympathetic to the hardships of our American friends.”
The story from the Nation (4 April):
Trump’s Generals Are Considering a Wider War in Yemen
A humanitarian crisis already threatens to starve millions. Deeper US involvement in the civil war will only make it far worse.
The Trump administration is sending signals that it is interested in getting more involved in the Yemen war. Those American voters who saw Trump as an isolationist or antiwar candidate appear to be in for a set of big disappointments. The Yemen conflict is a civil war, with Saudi Arabia and its allies giving air support to the rump government of Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi in the south, which is seeking to dislodge from northern Yemen the rival government run by the Houthi militia. The war has created a humanitarian crisis in the country, pushing millions to the brink of hunger, and there is no universe in which further American involvement will redound to Washington’s credit. Trump’s interest is driven in part by Saudi propaganda that the Houthis are Iran-backed.
Last week, General Joseph Votel testified for the Pentagon before Congress, insisting that Yemen is key to US security. He pointed out that it sits astride the Bab al-Mandeb strait at the mouth of the Red Sea, and could be used by a hostile power to interrupt sea traffic in that key body of water, through which about 10 percent of world trade flows. Arguably, however, it is the war itself that poses the biggest threat to maritime security in the region. In mid-March, what appear to have been Saudi helicopter gunships mistakenly attacked a boatload of Somali refugees fleeing Yemen for Sudan, killing some 40.
Votel also pointed to the danger emanating from the Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The Yemeni press reports that the United States is regularly bombing and droning AQAP there. The murky Yemen civil war, however, is treacherous ground for a superpower. The first significant US military operation in Yemen under Trump was a January 29 raid on an alleged AQAP camp in al-Gheel in the southern Bayda Province, in the course of which as many as 30 civilian noncombatants, including children, and one Navy Seal were killed. The main target, Abd al-Rauf al-Dhahab, however, has switched back and forth between allying with Al Qaeda and with the government of Mansour Hadi. He had recently been enlisted by the latter to fight the Houthis. That is, the raid may have been based on old intelligence from before Dhahab’s recent change of allegiance.
Overall, there is a key contradiction in US policy toward AQAP, inasmuch as the Houthis are sworn enemies of the Sunni extremists. In contrast, the Saudi-led coalition has either willy-nilly permitted or has turned a blind eye to Al Qaeda territorial advances in southern Yemen. The coalition appears to have no scruples about recruiting tribal figures with an Al Qaeda past. By crippling the Sana government and supporting the Saudi-led continual and massive bombardment of the country, the Pentagon has actually given Al Qaeda free rein.
In order to correct the balance of trade, Trump will be banning imports from 16 countries including Thailand. Here is the full list, along with Trump’s explanatory Tweets.
Trump is the first to admit that Marijuana on a stick, like pizza in a cup, was one of the great 20th century inventions. However, Trump Tweeted that “Marijuana cultivation was now one of the fastest growing industries in the USA. We also have the best workers in the world and in a few years they will learn to wrap weed round a stick. We don’t need the Thais, the “American Stick” will make America Great Again.”
Tom Yum Goong.
Spicy Thai prawn soup is extremely popular in the USA where it is regarded as the best cure for constipation. “We don’t need it” Tweeted Trump “anybody who has problems going to the toilet can eat at Taco Bell”. Tom Yum Goong is made from factory farmed, chemically enhanced, Thai prawns. “We can make our own” Tweets Trump. “Prawn can be farmed in South California. Monsanto leads the world in introducing carcinogenic materials into the food supply, prawns on steroids will be no problem for them. We can produce prawns that are twice the size of the Thai ones, I intend to see America lead the world in Frankenfish.”
The Trump Tweet was terse “Americans have their own energy drinks that contains real human waste, we don’t need this Thai Bullshit.”
“America has the best bar girls in the world, we invented the pole dance” was the Trump Tweet. “Just because Thai girls are small and feminine and don’t look like men, even when they are men, is no reason why anybody should be interested. Give me a real American Slovenian girl any day. Just go to Vegas, you’ll find plenty. I recommend the Little Darlings Cub.”
Trumps Tweet was revealing: “Container loads of Mexicans are being shipped from Mexico’s East coast to Bangkok. When the containers reach Bangkok the labels are changed to East Asian Sweat Shop Slaves and then shipped to America’s West Coast. Customs officials are fooled by the fake labels and let them through. This is very silly, because they should know that American companies moved all their sweat shops to Asia decades ago. The only place for a Asian sweat shop slave is in an American owned sweat shop in Asia. So, it is just a trick to bring Mexicans in.”
The Story from the Nation (2 April):
THAILAND will be among 16 countries to be targeted by the Donald Trump administration in its attempt to narrow the United States’ massive trade imbalances.
US President Trump has signed two executive orders directing his administration to review the country’s trade deficits and clamp down on countries that abuse trade rules. He said the new executive orders signed on Friday (yesterday Thailand time) would start a new chapter for American workers and businesses.
“I’m signing two executive orders that send this message loud and clear. And that set the stage for a great revival of American manufacturing,” Trump said at his office in the White House.
In Washington DC, the US leader largely blamed “unscrupulous foreign powers” for his country’s trade imbalance. He said those countries were aided by US special interests that have helped push through bad trade deals.
He promised to crack down on “foreign importers that cheat”, saying that the new executive orders would lead to a historic reversal of the nation’s trade deficit.
“They’re cheaters! From now on, those who break the rules will face the consequences and they’ll be very severe consequences,” Trump was quoted as saying by USA Today. One of the two executive orders requires a report on the reasons for the trade imbalance within 90 days. That report will focus on 16 countries with which the US had a significant trade deficit in goods last year – China, Japan, Germany, Mexico, Ireland, Vietnam, Italy, South Korea, Malaysia, India, Thailand, France, Switzerland, Taiwan, Indonesia and Canada – according to the newspaper. The US Commerce Department and the US trade representative will be required to conduct a 90-day review of the causes of the massive US trade deficits. The study will be on the effects of abuses such as dumping of products below cost, unfair subsidies, “misaligned” currencies and “non-reciprocal” trade practices by other countries.
“We’re going to investigate all trade abuses, and, based on those findings, we will take necessary and lawful action to end those many abuses,” Trump said. “Thousands of factories have been stolen from our country, but these voiceless Americans now have a voice in the White House. Under my administration, the theft of American prosperity will end. We’re going to defend our industry and create a level playing field for the American worker, finally,” the US president said.
Trade volume between Thailand and the US was worth was an average US$37 billion (Bt1.29 trillion) annually over the past four years. Thai exports to the US in 2015 and 2016 were valued at $23.6 billion and $24.3 billion respectively, according to the Customs Department.
Over the past four years, Thailand has had a trade surplus with the US – $8 billion in 2013, $9 billion in 2014, $9.8 billion in 2015, and $12.2 billion in 2016. The surplus with the US last year represented 68 per cent of Thailand’s total trade surplus of $17.9 billion.
The problem with buying three obsolete Chinese submarines is finding a crew to man them. However, North Korea still uses them, so a crew might be found from there.
What they are going to be used for is a bit more problematic. These days submarines tend to carry nuclear missiles. For example, Britain is spending 205 Billion Pounds to build four Trident submarines. These will hide under the polar ice caps (before they melt). When the Russian’s launch a nuclear strike against Britain the subs will be safe, then they can come out and fire at Russia. This will teach the Russians a severe lesson, so they will not do it again. This strategy will not work with ground based nuclear missiles because the Russians could take them out in a first strike. Britain does not have ground based nuclear missiles so the Russians will just have to nuke Britain’s cities instead.
Submarines with nuclear missiles make a lot of sense, but what about other submarines? There are hunter killers, these are nuclear powered but do not have nuclear missiles. Their job is to hunt subs with nuclear missiles and kill them before they can get out from under the melting polar cap. However, Thailand’s S26T submarines will not be nuclear powered. Nobody knows exactly what a S26T is, but their diesel engines are hardly suitable for chasing down a nuclear sub. They can, however, be used against surface warships such as those in the US Seventh Fleet. Yes, the Thais will be proud when their three plucky diesels venture out to take on the might of the American Navy. Unfortunately, the waters of the Gulf of Thailand are clear and shallow, which means the Thai subs will be spotted and tracked by satellite as soon as they leave port. It would be a bit like attacking a bulldozer with a rolled up newspaper and telling the dozer crew three days in advance. Of course, if the subs have North Korean crews this is very likely to happen.
Historically, submarines have been used to attack merchant shipping rather than warships. This is what the Germans did in the first and second world wars. Here Thailand’s subs could be very useful. Due to bilateral trade agreements Thailand can not impose restrictions on imports without having its own exports reduced. However, Thailand’s subs could sneak out into the South China Sea, hide under one of the numerous floating islands of garbage, and torpedo foreign merchantmen sending exports to Thailand. This would make enormous reductions in imports from countries like China (ironically) without hurting Thailand’s exports. The resulting improvement in the Balance of Trade would cover the submarine purchase price of USD $1.02 billion within a few years.
The other factor is that in the event of a Red Shirt uprising the three submarines would be capable of accommodating Thailand’s Cabinet and all the military leaders as well as storing Thailand’s gold reserves. The S26T has a considerable range and would have no problem reaching Paraguay where the Thai Cabinet would be made at home by Hitler’s descendants.
The story from Asia One (24 march):
Thailand to get 3 Chinese submarines at the price for 2
It's finally Chinese submarines for Thailand. But the government would pay for only two as the third one was "a free gift", Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha revealed at his weekly press briefing yesterday.
The announcement by the PM ends a wait of over two decades for the Navy. Thailand had four submarines in 1937, the first country in ASEAN to have submarines and only the second in Asia.
Made in Japan, they became damaged over time and were beyond repair.
Following the defeat of Japan in World War II, the submarines were discharged in 1951.
Since then, Thailand has never had any submarines.
The Thai Navy revived its quest for some submarines to be deployed in the Thai waters, especially in the Gulf of Thailand, in 1995.
Several western countries - Germany, Sweden, France - and Russia were eager to offer new submarines at good prices, but the Navy's dream was hampered by budget shortage and political problems.
In 2010, the Navy made another try, eyeing six submarines from Germany, though they were second hand.
The Navy then readjusted the plan, eyeing one brand new submarine from either Germany or South Korea, but even that bid was suspended.
It was only when the current military government took power in 2014 that the Navy felt itself closer to realising its dream.
The three submarines are Yuan Class S26 T, which have been developed exclusively for Thailand based on China's Yuan Class Type 039 A.
They would be nearly 78 metres long and 9 metres wide, equipped with the latest technology AIP (Air Independent Propulsion) system, that would allow them to dive consecutively up to 21 days without surfacing.
Normal nuclear-based submarines can dive around seven to 10 days.
The deal would cost Thailand Bt3.6 billion (S$145.6 million).
Sensing the criticism of the Navy's obsession with acquiring submarines, Prayut urged the public to understand why the country needed the subs, and that too from China.
"The submarines from China are the cheapest with the quality relatively acceptable. It has also offered services after purchase, something extra that we have received. I asked my Deputy Prime Minister Prawit [Wongsuwan], and he is ready for any examination of their worthiness.
"We are not rich, and we don't have much money to spend [on them]. We cannot build them on our own so we have to buy them from others," said Prayut.
The alt-left revealed its secret weapon against Trump when they sent hundreds of Hawking holograms to Washington and other places. A Hawking hologram appeared on Capitol Hill and immediately sent Trumpcare into a black hole.
Hawking is also held to be responsible for an outbreak of Schrödinger cats at the White House. Melania Trump is at her wit’s end. “They are terrible” she said, “they are neither there, or not there, until you try to look at them, at which point they usually disappear. They are worse than Schrödinger Republicans.”
Hawking is famous for writing a book about time which sold more copies and was read by fewer people than any other physics book in history. Hawking believes that Trump is a time traveler who has come back from an apocalyptic future where zombies rule the earth. Hawking also believes that Trump is not alone and that other time travelers from a more primitive future include Boris Johnson, Jim Carrey, Lloyd Blankfein and Snoop Dog.
It is not Trump Bills going into Black Holes or Schrödinger Republicans that has people worried in Washington. It is the statement that recently emerged from Hawking’s 1980s speech synthesizer: “I regard Corbyn as a disaster”. Coming from the world’s most famous theoretical physicist and cosmologist, people assume that this is something that could threaten the existence of the universe. However, few people knew what a corbyn is, until it was explained by the Washington Post. A corbyn is produced when a neutrino is mated with a quark. The existence of a corbyn was considered to be just a theoretical possibility until the British produced one in a special apparatus known as a “Labourcongress”.
Hawking hates Trump, has criticised Trump’s policies, and told the Guardian that he would not be welcome in the US under Trump.
However, Trump responded to this on Twitter saying that Hawking’s ideas on physics were epistemologically unsound. According to Trump, Hawking’s ideas are unverifiable in principle and are, therefore, in contradiction to the tenets of Logical Empiricism. Basically, what we know comes from what Russell called Knowledge by Acquaintance, that is, from our own senses. Mathematics is an invention of the human mind, said Trump espousing the constructivist theory of mathematics, its there to help us understand our empirical experiences (see Gregory: Arithmetic and Reality). However, Hawking postulates time going backwards which is in direct contradiction to our immediate experience. In order to believe Hawking you would have to be, epistemologically, some sort of existential phenomenolist but also be a realist as far as the philosophy of mathematics is concerned. Which is nonsense, said Trump.
Private Tye believes Trump. If were are supposed to believe a theoretical physicist about politics why not believe a politician about theoretical physics?
The story from the Nation (25 March):
HONG KONG - Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has spoken to a Hong Kong audience by hologram, showcasing the growing reach of a technology which is making inroads into politics, entertainment and business. The British scientist appeared Friday before an audience of hundreds who cheered and snapped pictures with their phones as he discussed his career and answered questions about the possibility of life on other planets, the use of technology in education and the impact of Brexit on Britain.
The 75-year-old said the election of US President Donald Trump was one in a string of "right-wing successes" that would have grave implications for the future of scientific innovation and discovery.
"With Brexit and Trump... we are witnessing a global revolt against experts," he said, making his first appearance in Hong Kong since 2006.
The swing to the right has come at a time when the world is facing multiple environmental crises, from global warming to deforestation, he added.
"The answers to these problems will come from science and technology," he said.
Trains in Thailand will now be in line with what Americans consider to be politically correct. Each train will have five carriages. One comprising gay and lesbian toilets, one with transgender toilets, one with transvestite toilets, and one with toilets for men who like to dress as men during weekdays but as women at the weekends. Oh, and a sixth carriage will have passenger seats. In addition to the new trains, the State Railways will make sure that all stations are equipped with the new transgender ATM machines.
However, these progressive moves have had criticism from the shills and trolls at Reddit. They point out that the new trains will only cater for a fraction of the 52 genders recognised by UNESCO and the BBC. Railway officials have been nonplussed and said that they simply did not have engines strong enough to pull 52 carriages.
Private Tye interviewed the Railway’s Official Spokesthing. We asked the Spokesthing if the shortage of seats might cause problems for Chinese tourists. The thing said that this was not a problem because passengers on Thai Railways spent all their time in the toilets. Private Tye suggested that this might be because Railway food contained massive amounts of E. Coli, rather than anything to do with gender. The thing refused to answer and stormed out of the restroom.
There is the real possibility that the railways could become obsolete. A new bus service, Crapper Coaches, has just started between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Phooey Crapper, the owner of the new company, explained how it works. “Instead of seats, each coach is equipped with 13 individual toilet cubicles. Each passenger on this VIP service gets their own cubical”, Phooey explained. “They will spend the entire 10 hour journey on the Po. We had to make the windows small to stop perverts looking in, but each cubicle has a large screen so that the passengers can watch non-stop YouTube cat videos all the way to Chiang Mai. Its suitable for all 52 genders and all sexual proclivities. In fact, its so liberal that even heterosexuals can use it” said Phooey proudly.
All of this fades into insignificance compared to projects proposed by Australian Company “Bog Standard Solutions”. Managing Director John Dunny talked to Private Tye. “The plan is to completely revolutionise Bangkok offices. Partitions will be heightened by one and a half meters and the partitioned space equipped with a lockable door. The office chair will be replaced by a throne and each worker will have their own wash basin. The space will enable workers to relax completely and concentrate on their business. Corporations will save large amounts of space by removing conventional washrooms and corridors. Lots of office equipment, such as shredding machines, will be unnecessary”. Dunny explained that studies show that, in the average office, two hours out of eight working hours is spent on trips to the restroom.
To get to the bottom of the business, Private Tye went to interview Dr Hong Nam at Thailand’s Babbarbabor University. Dr Hong told us that Dunny’s study was misleading because it was conducted in America. “In Britain people socialize in a pub, in France they socialize in a Restaurant or Cafe, in Asia they socialize in a tea house or food market. In America it is different, for them the toilet is the center of their social life. Look at American movies and TV series, everything important takes place in a toilet. Office intrigue, politics, philosophy, ethics and love are discussed in the toilet. Americans even go to the toilet to box, shoot, stab and garrote each other. The movies make it clear that Americans spend more time looking under the doors of toilet cubicles than they do eating hot-dogs. Now compare European and Asian Films and TV series – most of them do not have a single toilet scene.”
“Thais are worried that if they do not go along with Political Correctness the USA will send the CIA, a carrier fleet and ground troops to bring about regime change. However”, Dr Hong continued, “this is nothing to worry about. Its like democracy; most Asians don’t care, because whoever you vote for you always end up with a racketeer billionaire or a crony capitalist general on top. So, most Asian countries have some sort of voting farce that keeps the Americans happy. Did you know that most Americans think Indonesia is a democracy?” asked Dr Hong laughing hysterically. “We can do the same thing with political correctness, just put one of those unisex signs on every toilet. That will keep them happy. Remember its not gender issues, but toilets that are really important to them”.
The attack was ordered after GCHQ located Musthava Carzy at a wedding party in the Brick Lane area of London. Air Marshal “Bomber” Harris reported that the Carzy has been killed along with 25 other people. The 25 dead were known to be associates of the Carzy because they were at the same wedding party. Carzy was identified as the mastermind behind a series of lone wolf terrorist attacks in Britain and Europe.
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office said that Carzy was a high value target, but that the Government regretted collateral damage done to valuable property in the area. The spokesperson reassured Chinese people that London remained a great real-estate opportunity and that no condominiums were damaged during the bombing.
The spokesperson also said that British Military action in Afghanistan would continue until Osama bin Laden is found. This might take some time, he added, because, according to the Americans, Bin Laden is at the bottom of the sea.
Private Tye discovered that GCHQ got its information from Willieleaks.
The story from the Financial Times:
For many international real estate investors, London is no longer the place to be. Since the UK voted to leave the EU in June, investment flows into London commercial property have dropped to less than half their level of a year earlier.
But one group of investors is proving markedly less pessimistic: buyers from China and Hong Kong, who have continued to snap up trophy assets in the City of London and the West End, largely undeterred by Brexit. Peter MacColl, head of global capital markets at the property advisers Knight Frank, describes a “surge of Chinese money” into UK property, including cash from state-owned enterprises, corporations and ultra-wealthy individuals. Demand from mainland China has been at least equalled by that from Hong Kong, says Chris Brett, head of international capital markets at CBRE. “At the moment, there is about £4.5bn of live equity targeting London from Hong Kong investors,” Mr Brett says. “It’s the most activity we see from any international buyers.”
These inflows are helping to limit an overall decline in overseas buying since the EU referendum. While total investment into London property has dropped 55 per cent since the vote compared with a year earlier, to £7bn, Chinese investment is down only 22 per cent, to £1.25bn, making it a much larger proportion of the market, according to data from Real Capital Analytics. And this figure does not include purchases in the process of being rushed through before the end of the year.
Beijing Capital Development Holdings, a state-owned group, is one of the latest to commit to a high-profile London purchase, offering more than £200m for 30 Crown Place, the City headquarters of the law firm Pinsent Masons. Similarly, last month, 20 Moorgate, a building let to the Bank of England, was acquired by Hong Kong-based investor Asian Growth Properties for £154m. Appetite for London real estate extends to other sectors, too. Lee Kum Kee, the soy sauce manufacturer, bought an office building in the Isle of Dogs this month, while the insurer China Life bought the Aldgate Tower in a joint venture with the Canadian group Brookfield in April for £346m, Knight Frank says.
Chinese investments in London commercial property are part of a broader flow of capital from the country into overseas assets, prompted by the decline of the renminbi and fears of greater capital controls. At the same time, cheaper prices for London buildings, partly because of a post-referendum fall in the pound, and the likelihood of steady income, have provided a lure for this capital. “You’ve got a pressure on the Chinese to get their money out before it becomes worth less,” says Mr MacColl, noting state monitoring of outward remittances of as little as $5m, and draft rules to restrict large overseas acquisitions, in a bid to relieve pressure on the currency. Although Hong Kong companies are not subject to the mainland’s capital controls, they have also been seeking to diversify beyond their home market as the semi-autonomous territory feels the impact of China’s market instability. For those of them who can invest in London, a drop in prices generally has combined with a fall in sterling to make London assets more attractive. “Four or 5 per cent, which is now the net yield in the City on prime buildings, is a very acceptable level of return compared to what they can get elsewhere,” Mr MacColl points out.
Its official, Trump has canceled the wall and will, instead, use the funding to send all illegal Mexicans to Mars. Trump lost faith in the wall after he realised Mexicans could sail round it or fly over it. Mars offers a permanent solution to the Mexican problem.
The voyage to Mars was considered impractical because of difficulties with the return trip and life support problems. However, Trump announced, if we just want to build a big ship and fire it in the general direction of Mars, the cost is not prohibitive.
Nevertheless, it will not be just Mexicans, members of the, soon to be illegal, Democratic party could be included. Also, Vladimir Putin has offered support for the Mars venture provided Petro Poroshenko is included among the crew of the first ship.
Trump’s provisional list for the crew of the first Mars Voyager includes: Ted Cruz, Hilary Clinton, John Oliver, the Editorial boards of the Washington Post and New York Times plus the entire staff of CNN. Its going to be a big spacecraft says Trump. When asked why so many people on the list were not actually Mexicans, Trump replied “I will decide who is a Mexican”.
The story from Time (21 March):
(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump signed a bill into law Tuesday that updates NASA's mission to add exploration of Mars and authorizes $19.5 billion in spending for the U.S. space agency for the current budget year.
It's the first time in seven years that there has been an authorization bill for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, also known as NASA, said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a chief sponsor of the bill. Cruz joined several astronauts and other lawmakers in the Oval Office to watch Trump sign the bill.
Last week, Trump sent Congress a budget proposal that would authorize $19.1 billion in agency spending next year. Congress appropriates funding for all government departments and agencies.
"For almost six decades, NASA's work has inspired millions and millions of Americans to imagine distant worlds and a better future right here on earth," Trump said. "I'm delighted to sign this bill. It's been a long time since a bill like this has been signed, reaffirming our commitment to the core mission of NASA: human space exploration, space science and technology."
The measure amends current law to add human exploration of the red planet as a goal for the agency. It supports use of the International Space Station through at least 2024, along with private sector companies partnering with NASA to deliver cargo and experiments, among other steps.
Trump invited several lawmakers to comment after the signing, starting with Cruz before moving on to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. When Trump invited Vice President Mike Pence to speak, Pence suggested that former astronaut and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., be allowed to say a few words.
"He's a Democrat. I wasn't going to let him speak," Trump quipped, to laughter. Nelson did say a few words, praising the bill for putting the agency on a "dual track" with commercial companies making roundtrips to the International Space Station and NASA continuing to explore the universe.
President Hollande praised the soldier who allowed her gun to be taken away from her by an unarmed loony in an airport crowded with civilians and children. He said this showed that Military assault rifles and sub-machine guns are clearly inadequate for French security forces to protect themselves. He emphasized that the security of the security services was paramount and that French security personnel needed to be protected from random attacks by mad members of the public.
The new policy will be to locate the security services away from populated areas but still give them the ability to strike at terrorists, lunatics and people that “look a bit funny”. Tactical nuclear missiles are ideal for this job the President said.
Hollande is the most unpopular person in the history of France. In 2016 his popularity ranking among French people dropped below that of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. However, Hollande remains extremely popular with members of Al Qaeda and Al-Nusra. This morning, Air France reported that all their flights from the Middle East were fully booked by Jihadist wanting to replenish their weapons stocks from French airports.
The Orly incident took place after a Paris born man, with a Muslim sounding name, terrified Parisian Police with a child’s toy pellet gun. After this he had no problem making his way inside Orly airport and taking a real gun away from a soldier.
The story from NBC (18 March):
Paris Orly Airport: Man Shot Dead After Seizing Soldier’s Weapon
by Nancy Ing and F. Brinley Bruton
PARIS — A man was shot dead in Paris Orly Airport after seizing a soldier's weapon and holding her hostage on Saturday in what was being investigated as a possible attempted terror attack, French officials said.
At around 8:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m. ET), the suspect — later identified by prosecutors as Paris-born Ziyed Ben Belgacem — "removed a soldier's weapon, then sought refuge in an airport shop nearby before being shot by the security forces," Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told a local radio station.
The potential attacker did not have time to exchange fire with soldiers or police and was "neutralized quickly," Brandet added. Earlier, officials said the man only tried to grab the weapon.
Paris prosecutors told reporters that Belgacem informed soldiers he wanted to die in the name of Allah.
"According to the soldiers' first testimonies he said and I quote: 'Put down your weapons, hands on your head. I am here to die for Allah, in any case there are going to be deaths,'" Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said at a news conference.
Belgacem had been radicalized in prison, the prosecutor said, and Paris law enforcement were investigating his motives and searching his phone for contacts.
The incident began when Belgacem allegedly struck a police officer with a pellet gun at a checkpoint in Garges-lès-Gonesse, a northern suburb of Paris, and then shot at customers of a suburban Paris cafe with the same weapon. No one was injured at the cafe.
According to the prosecutor's office, the suspect then stole a car and drove to Orly Airport where he took a female soldier hostage with his pellet gun. He then wrestled her assault weapon away from her. When she fell to her knees, fellow soldiers took the clear shot at Belgacem, prosecutors said.
The incident at the airport lasted about two minutes, officials added.
A judicial source at the Paris Prosecutor's office told NBC News that anti-terror officers had opened an investigation into the airport shooting, as well as the earlier one in Garges-lès-Gonesse. Intelligence services were involved with the investigation, added the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to the media.
French President Francois Hollande's office said in a statement that the government would "act relentlessly to fight terrorism, to defend the security of our compatriots and to ensure the protection of the territory."
"Vigilance would be maintained at its highest level," the statement added.
France has been under a state of emergency since a series of deadly terror attacks about a year-and-a-half ago, and this latest incident to put the nation on edge comes only a month before elections between the party system establishment, independent candidate Emmanuel Macron and the far-right National Front's Marine Le Pen.
Security officers who checked the suspect's body did not find an explosives belt or other weapons, according to the Interior Ministry.
Thousands of people were being evacuated and flights redirected. The terminal at Orly, which is south of the French capital, later resumed activity.
Passengers earlier described scenes of panic and chaos after the suspect grabbed a weapon from a soldier who was patrolling the area.
A witness identified only as Dominique told BFM television that "soldiers took aim at the man, who in turn pointed the gun he had seized at the two soldiers."
An unnamed witness told the television station that three soldiers were targeted, and then tried to calm the man who seized the weapon. Then the witness said he heard two gunshots.
Fourteen years after the Bush and Blair invasion of Iraq, American forces are now closing in on the weapons of mass destruction. These are now believed to be located under the Palace of Nimrud in Mosul.
American action in Iraq has saved hundreds of thousands of lives. First, there was the destruction of the army of Saddam Hussein. Then the disbandment of the Iraqi army and security forces. Then the civil war (because the army and security forces had gone). Then the rise of Islamic State (because the new, American inspired, army and security forces were useless). Now we have the on-going destruction of Islamic State.
More than 4,500 US service members have been killed in Iraq. However, Americans can sleep save in their beds knowing that they are safe from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Not that this matters much because most Americans believe that the Iraqi action is revenge for the World Trade Center (Iraq, Afghanistan, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, what’s the difference?).
The people of Iraq are truly grateful to America for bringing Peace, Democracy and helping to kill off half a million of their bad people. They remember the nasty days when they were ruled by a ruthless dictator who was backed by the USA in a war against Iran. Things got better when the cruise missiles started landing on Baghdad. Even better was the civil war which found suicide bombers blowing up old people and children on an almost daily basis. Better still was Islamic State cutting off people’s heads indiscriminately. Now with American bombers blowing up homes and killing civilian families in Mosul, more than 120,000 people have fled the city and 45,000 more are leaving every week. It just does not get any better than this.
The story from Rudaw (17 march):
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — With an average of 45,000 people fleeing western Mosul as Iraqi forces fight to retake densely-populated neighborhoods from ISIS, the top UN humanitarian representative to Iraq described the strain put on the humanitarian community in the country as overwhelming and nearing a breaking point.
“If pace of displacement accelerates further, to be absolutely frank, it’s going to stretch us to a breaking point,” Lise Grande told reporters in teleconference briefing on Thursday, adding that 45,000 people per week have been leaving the west.
OCHR, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, stated that 13,350 people were displaced on March 3 alone.
“We’re literally constructing around the clock,” Grande said, summarizing that when there’s a plot ready and a tent on it, mattresses inside, water and sanitation, humanitarian organizations inform the military that site is ready.
Grande said 6,800 people left Mosul on Thursday, and there was space available for 24,000 people in displacement camps.
“Tomorrow, if 20,000 people come out [in one day], there’s our capacity,” Grande said.
The humanitarian situation on the west bank has been different than it was on the east bank in two important ways.
“The number of people that are coming out and the pace of the exodus is higher than it was in the east,” Grande said.
Secondly, Grande said: “It is still not clear that on the humanitarian side we have the resources we need in order to be able to respond for what is increasingly looking like a mass exodus.”
Military operations to recapture western Mosul began nearly a month ago on February 19 by the Iraqi armed forces, backed by the US-led international coalition against ISIS, and supported Hashd paramilitaries and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in surrounding areas.
Grande estimated that 120,000 people have left the “right bank” of what was Iraq’s second-largest city, where about 650,000 to 680,000 people remain.
“Whether you stay or whether you go, there are significant risks to civilians,” Grande said, adding those who chose to stay face extreme risks from crossfire, snipers and explosive hazards; while families who chose to leave are equally at risk: families get separated, ISIS targets them and there is a risk of explosive hazards.
Iraqi ground forces moved quickly through the outskirts of western Mosul in the first few days, but over the past few weeks they’ve slowed, having to clear tight alleys and what’s been described by commanders as “closet by closet.”
Rudaw correspondents embedded with Iraqi forces have said that tall buildings such as the Ashur Hotel have been used by ISIS snipers, which results in Iraqi fighter jets striking their positions.
“What appears to be happening in western Mosul, and I have to say appears because we’re not actually on the ground, so these are the reports that we receive from the families that are displaced,” Grande said.
“And one of the things that they are saying is that there appears to be much more destruction, which would imply a heavier use of artillery.”
Although there is no evidence of Russian hacking, there is plenty of evidence that they can plant evidence of hacking and hacked evidence of hacking was behind the assasination of the Montenegrian Prime Minister. There is evidence that the Montenegrian Prime Minister is still alive, however, there is evidence that that evidence is the result of Russian hacking. If you see pictures of Milo Djukanovic walking around Podgorica, its probably a Russian hack, Johnson explained.
We asked about the evidence that CIA hackers were planting evidence to make it seem that they are Russian hackers, Johnson said he had evidence that this was not true. The evidence came from WillieLeaks, he explained, and there is ample evidence that the Russians have hacked into WillieLeaks to plant evidence that there is evidence that the CIA is planting evidence to make themselves look like Russian hackers. In any case, he continued, the CIA are our friends and they would not be planting evidence of Russian hackers unless the Russian hackers were a real problem.
This matter came to the fore when Britian’s GCHQ said they had evidence that Russian hackers could steal emails. The job of GCHQ is to spy on the British people in order to let the Government know what Mrs Smith from Reading bought from TESCOs last weekend. Some people have suggested that the government does not really need to know if Mrs Smith bought Cornflakes or Weetabix. So, GCHQ said that Russian hackers (along with 10 million other 19 year old computer science students worldwide) could steal emails, this was in the hope that this revolutionary evidence would get them a budget increase.
Johnson explained that Russian Hackers had “all sorts of dirty tricks” they can hack into a smart toilet and cause it to explode. That is a very dirty trick, he explained.
Boris was asked “What can be done to counter the Russian hackers?” He explained that Britain was spending 205 Billion Pounds to build four Trident submarines and that these would stop the hackers. The possibilty of Russians hacking into the launch controls and firing our own nuclear missiles at London, was raised. Johnson said that in this case we would know for sure that Russian hackers were at work. What if they were Chinese hackers disguished as Russians, he was asked, Johnson said that would not matter because he could still blame the Russians. “Or Montenegrian hackers?” that also he said.
The full story from the Guardian (12 March):
The foreign secretary has said there is “plenty of evidence” that Russia has the ability to disrupt British politics with cyber-attacks following reports that intelligence officials are to brief political parties on how to defend against hacking from Moscow.
Boris Johnson, due to meet his Russian counterpart in the coming weeks, said there was no doubt Moscow had been up to “all sorts of dirty tricks” in relation to political interference.
Johnson accused Moscow of bringing down French TV stations, hacking the US Democratic National Convention, and suggested it might have engineered an attempted assassination of Montenegro’s prime minister.
The former London mayor’s comments follow a Sunday Times report that said GCHQ had written to Britain’s major political parties with advice on how to block hacking.
Security sources say GCHQ regards protecting the political system from foreign hackers as “priority work”, according to the paper.
Speaking to Peston on Sunday, Johnson said: “We have no evidence the Russians are actually involved in trying to undermine our democratic processes at the moment. We don’t actually have that evidence. But what we do have is plenty of evidence that the Russians are capable of doing that.”
The GCHQ letter, written by the chief executive of its National Cyber Security Centre, Ciaran Martin, warned
the main political parties that their internal databases of voters’ views and personal information collected during campaigns, as well as internal emails, could be at risk.
Seminars will be held to educate politicians on the threat from the Kremlin after its spies were accused of carrying out cyber-attacks with the intention of influencing US and German elections.
Martin wrote: “You will be aware of the coverage of events in the United States, Germany and elsewhere reminding us of the potential for hostile action against the UK political system. This is not just about the network security of political parties’ own systems. Attacks against our democratic processes go beyond this and can include attacks on parliament, constituency offices, thinktanks and pressure groups and individuals’ email accounts.”
In a statement Martin said: “Protecting the UK’s political system from hostile cyber-activity is one of our operational priorities, so we have signposted parties to existing guidance and will deliver tailored seminars on cyber-security measures.
“The seminars will build on our existing advice and will provide an overview of threats, case studies on recent cyber-incidents, practical steps to reduce the risk and advice on incident management.
Asked about the threat on Sunday, Johnson said: “There is no doubt that they have been up to all sorts of dirty tricks – bringing down French TV stations; you have seen what happened in the United States where there is no question at all they were involved in the hacking of the Democratic National Convention. You have seen what happened in Montenegro, where there was an attempted coup in a European state and possibly even an attempted assassination of the leader of that state.”
He added: “There is very little doubt that the Russians are behind these things, to say nothing of what they have done in Ukraine.”
The Speaker of the Commons John Bercow’s Commission on Digital Democracy has called for secure online voting to be an option for all voters by the 2020 UK general election. However, in January, a former head of MI6 warned against the UK moving to an electronic voting system owing to fears of international cyber warfare.
John Sawers, the head of MI6 from 2009 until 2014, said in a BBC Radio 4 documentary, The New World: Axis of Power: “We need to have systems which are robust … The only trouble is, the younger generation of people expect to be able to do things remotely and through electronic devices.
“Bizarrely the stubby pencil and piece of paper that you put your cross on in the ballot box is actually much more secure than anything which is electronic.”
In February, Martin warned that 188 high-level cyber-attacks, “many of which threatened national security”, had struck Britain in the previous three months.
Philip Hammond, the chancellor and former defence and foreign secretary, said the NCSC had been blocking potential attacks on government departments and the public at a rate of about 200 hacks a day.
US intelligence services have accused the Kremlin of breaching Democratic National Committee computers in an attempt to interfere with the presidential election won by Donald Trump. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency said in December that Russia was trying to influence federal elections with “increasingly aggressive cyber-espionage”.