So, technically and morally speaking, no one could blame Iran and Venezuela if they detonated an EMP weapon over the USA, right?
March 16, 2019
In light of the recent attack on the Venezuelan National Power Grid, Iran is sharing its own experience with US intelligence apparatus, which crippled its nuclear program back in 2011, through the use of the Stuxnet virus.
The US has been running after countries aiming to become independent from the energy vultures of Wall Street since the advent of the Petrodollar. Some of the more aggressive measures taken involved a combination of economic sanctions, terror, regime change through orchestrated street protests or outright assassination of the nationalist leadership of targeted countries.
The US and NATO war machines and intelligence networks have been doing these multi-pronged sabotage around the world for decades without fail, or until the Alliance was formed to put them in check.
Middle East commentator and analyst Sharmine Narwani, a former senior associate at Oxford University, has claimed that an Iranian-American engineer was offered money by US officials to conduct a sabotage mission targeting the power grid of Tehran, Iran’s capital city.
Narwani revealed on Thursday that the engineer, a friend of hers whom she did not name for security reasons, was approached twice by “US State Department employees” following Iran’s 2009 post-election unrest and was offered $250,000 to carry out the operation.
The agents allegedly described the operation as “very simple”, demanding that the engineer goes to a specific area in Tehran and apply a specific code in a communication device during his upcoming trip to the city.
The engineer, however, allegedly declined to carry out the operation and ultimately notified Narwani in 2010.
Speaking to Narwani, the engineer had also expressed shock that US officials knew of his planned trip to Tehran and also knew that he was “cash-strapped” at the time.
Narwani explained her initial acquaintance with the Iranian engineer by saying that she and her Iranian-American husband “ran an internet company in the telecommunications industry in Washington years ago and I was a founding member of the Iranian-American Technology Council.”
The journalist further wrote that she discussed the matter with “a colleague with an engineering background” who explained that the code could have been used to hack or deactivate power grids “governed by electronic or computer systems.”
“You don’t have to physically be there if you can hack into it, but that’s of course harder. If they (the Americans) needed to have someone physically there during the sabotage attempt, it probably means they didn’t have remote access to the system,” the engineer added.
Narwani said that she sought to publicize the revelations after news spread about similar suspected sabotage operations targeting Venezuela’s power grid this month.
Last week, an overheating incident knocked out Venezuela’s main hydroelectric dam, causing a widespread and ongoing electrical blackout, affecting 23 of the country’s 24 states.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has accused the US of masterminding a “demonic” plot to destroy his country and force him from power by waging an “electromagnetic attack”.
The heightening tension comes as opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself “interim president” of Venezuela in January, vowing to topple Maduro.
The US has openly backed Guaido, imposing economic sanctions on Venezuela and confiscating the country’s state oil assets based in the US to channel them to Guaido.
Narwani, along with other Middle East pundits, have raised the prospect that the attacks on critical Venezuelan infrastructure may be related to an adoption of an earlier plan developed under the administration of former US president George W. Bush against Iran.
Known by its code-name “Nitro Zeus,” the New York Times first published details about the plan in 2016, claiming that the program sought to target Iranian electrical, communication and defense systems.
The report also claimed that the Obama administration had “seriously” considered carrying out the plan if nuclear negotiations with Iran at the time had failed.
Narwani believes details revealed to her by the mentioned Iranian-American engineer may have been part of the alleged sabotage program.
Israel and the US have been conducting numerous acts of sabotage targeting the Iranian people and the county’s critical infrastructure over the past years.
In 2011, the US and Israel conducted a cyber attack against the Iranian nuclear energy program.
Reporting the incident a year later, The Washington Post said the US National Security Agency (NSA), its spy service CIA, and Israel’s military had worked together to launch a malware dubbed Stuxnet against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Iran also claims the Israeli regime assassinated four of its nuclear scientists between 2010 and 2012.
The US, under President Donald Trump, along with its regional allies, has also sought to weaken Iran by imposing strict sanctions on the country and inciting unrest in the country.
In a public speech in December, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei stated that the US had, however, failed to achieve its objectives.
Ayatollah Khamenei stated that the Iranian nation has to remain vigilant as the US may seek similar plans in the upcoming year, despite its previously failed attempts.
Anointed Israel believes that what it’s been doing against Iran is moral and ethical.
Former chief of an Israeli spy service unit has said that the first cyber target in any future conflict with Iran should be its energy infrastructure.
Speaking at a major cyber conference in Israel, former Unit 8200 chief Ehud Schnerosen referred to the energy sector as a “major pillar economy, state’s cardiovascular system.”
“We should not attack water, food, healthcare on ethical grounds, and should not attack banks because of the potential butterfly effect,” he said. “The next 9/11 in cyber will be energy sector.”
The federal government spends a disproportionate amount of its budget for outside contractors in the final month of the fiscal year, as agencies rush to blow through cash before it’s too late.
The federal government spends a disproportionate amount of its budget for outside contractors in the final month of the fiscal year, as agencies rush to blow through cash before it’s too late. Among the more noteworthy expenditures in 2018, according to the watchdog group Open the Books, was $4.6 million for lobster tail and crab.
Such use-it-or-lose-it spending stems from the fact that each federal agency is given a certain amount of money it can spend on outside contractors for the fiscal year. If the agency comes in under budget, Congress might decide to appropriate less money the following year.
Or as The Office‘s Oscar Martinez explains to Michael Scott in “The Surplus”:
“Your mommy and daddy give you $10 to open up a lemonade stand, so you go out and you buy cups and you buy lemons and you buy sugar. And now you find out that it only cost you $9, so you have an extra dollar,” he explains. “So you can give that dollar back to mommy and daddy. But guess what: Next summer, and you ask them for money, they’re going to give you $9 because that’s what they think it cost to run the stand. So what you want to do is spend that dollar on something now, so that your parents think that it cost $10 to run the lemonade stand.”
It works the same way at the federal level. Just replace that $10 with $544.1 billion—the amount federal agencies spent on contracts in the last fiscal year.
Of that $544.1 billion, almost $97 billion was spent in September 2018, the final month of the fiscal year, including $53.3 billion in the final seven days of the month. That’s compared to $47 billion spent in the entire month of August. As the fiscal year came crashing to an end, bureaucrats apparently did their best to spend as much money as quickly as possible.
The Department of Defense led the pack, spending $61.2 billion in September. The Pentagon was followed not-so-closely by the Department of Health and Human Services ($5.7 billion), the Department of Veterans Affairs ($5.4 billion), and the Department of Homeland Security ($4.2 billion).
Federal agencies spent $402.2 million on food that month, with the Pentagon shelling out $2.3 million on crab and $2.3 million on lobster tail.
Also, “agencies spent $2.1 million on games, toys, and wheeled goods,” Open the Books notes, as well as “$412,008 on paint and artist’s brushes.”
A whopping $490 million went to furniture, including a baffling $9,341 for a Wexford office chair. Agencies also spent $49,515 for skis and ski poles, $11,816 for a foosball table, and $258,901 on pianos.
The biggest recipients of the contracts were a trio of military companies: Lockheed Martin ($8.3 billion), Boeing ($5.3 billion), and Raytheon ($3.4 billion).
That $97 billion last September represents a 16 percent increase from the $83.7 billion federal agencies spent on contracts in September 2017. The figure was nearly $73.6 billion in 2016 and $69.6 billion in 2015.
In August, a bipartisan group of senators that included Kentucky Republican Rand Paul wrote letters to 13 federal agencies expressing their concerns about wasteful end-of-year spending. Their efforts appear to have failed.
The hypocrisy is head spinning. As Justin Trudeau lectures audiences on the need to uphold Venezuela’s constitution the Liberals have recognized a completely illegitimate president in Honduras.
“Wow, Canada sinks to new lows with this. The entire world knows that the Honduran dictatorship has stolen an election, even the OAS (an organization which skews right) has demanded that new elections be held because of the level of sketchiness here. And — as it has for over eight years — Canada is at the forefront of protecting and legitimizing this regime built on fraud and violence.”
The hypocrisy is head spinning. As Justin Trudeau lectures audiences on the need to uphold Venezuela’s constitution the Liberals have recognized a completely illegitimate president in Honduras. What’s more, they’ve formally allied with that government in demanding Venezuela’s president follow their (incorrect) reading of that country’s constitution.
In November 2017 Ottawa’s anti-Venezuela “Lima Group” ally Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH) defied the Honduran constitution to run for a second term. At Hernandez’ request the four Supreme Court members appointed by his National Party overruled an article in the constitution explicitly prohibiting re-election.
JOH then ‘won’ a highly questionable poll. With 60 per cent of votes counted opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla lead by five-points. The electoral council then went silent for 36 hours and when reporting resumed JOH had a small lead.
In the three weeks between the election and JOH’s official proclamation as president, government forces killed at least 30 pro-democracy demonstrators in the Central American country of nine million. More than a thousand were detained under a post-election state of emergency. Many of those jailed for protesting the electoral fraud, including prominent activist Edwin Espinal, who is married to Canadian human rights campaigner Karen Spring, remain in jail.
Ottawa immediately endorsed the electoral farce in Honduras. Following Washington, Global Affairs tweeted that Canada “acknowledges confirmation of Juan Orlando Hernandez as President of Honduras.” Tyler Shipley, author of Ottawa and Empire: Canada and the Military Coup in Honduras, responded:
“Wow, Canada sinks to new lows with this. The entire world knows that the Honduran dictatorship has stolen an election, even the OAS (an organization which skews right) has demanded that new elections be held because of the level of sketchiness here. And — as it has for over eight years — Canada is at the forefront of protecting and legitimizing this regime built on fraud and violence. Even after all my years of research on this, I’m stunned that [foreign minister Chrystia] Freeland would go this far; I expected Canada to stay quiet until JOH had fully consolidated his power. Instead Canada is doing the heavy lifting of that consolidation.”
In 2009 Ottawa backed the Honduran military’s removal of elected president Manuel Zelaya, which was justified on the grounds he was seeking to defy the constitution by running for a second term. (In fact, Zelaya simply put forward a plan to hold a non-binding public poll on whether to hold consultations to reopen the constitution.) After the coup Ottawa failed to suspend aid to the military government or exclude the Honduran military from its Military Training Assistance Programme.
A number of major Canadian corporations, notably Gildan and Goldcorp, were unhappy with some modest social democratic reforms implemented by Zelaya. Additionally, a year before the coup Honduras joined the Hugo Chavez led Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our Americas (ALBA), which was a response to North American capitalist domination of the region.
JOH’s National Party won the presidency and he took charge of the national assembly in the post-coup elections, which were boycotted by the UN, Organization of American States and most Hondurans.
Since JOH stole an election that he shouldn’t have been able to participate in the Trudeau government has continued to work with his government. I found no indication that Canadian aid has been reduced and Canadian diplomats in central America have repeatedly met Honduran representatives. JOH’s Foreign Minister, Maria Dolores Aguero, attended a Women Foreign Ministers’ Meeting Canada organized in Montreal four months ago. Recently Canadian diplomats have lauded the “bonds of friendship between the governments of Canada and Honduras” and “excellent relations that exist between both countries.” Canada’s ambassador James K. Hill retweeted a US Embassy statement noting, “we congratulate President Juan Orlando Hernandez for taking the initiative to reaffirm the commitment of his administration to fight against corruption and impunity” through an OAS initiative.
While they praise JOH’s fight against impunity, Canadian officials have refused repeated requests by Canadian activists and relatives to help secure Edwin Espinal’s release from prison. In response to their indifference to Espinal’s plight, Rights Action director Grahame Russell recently wrote,
“have the Canadian and U.S. governments simply agreed not to criticize the Honduran regime’s appalling human rights record … in exchange for Honduras agreeing to be a ‘democratic ally’ in the U.S. and Canadian-led efforts at forced government change in Venezuela?”
Honduras is a member of the “Lima Group” of countries pushing to oust Nicolas Maduro’s government in Venezuela. Last month Trudeau was photographed with the Honduran foreign minister at the “Lima Group” meeting in Ottawa.
To justify recognizing the head of Venezuela’s national assembly, Juan Guaidó, as president the “Lima Group” and Trudeau personally have cited “the need to respect the Venezuelan Constitution.” The Prime Minister even responded to someone who yelled “hands off Venezuela” at a town hall by lecturing the audience on article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution, which he (incorrectly) claims grants Guaidó the presidency.
Why the great concern for Venezuela’s constitution and indifference to Honduras’? Why didn’t Trudeau recognize Salvador Nasralla as president of Honduras? Nasralla’s claim to his country’s presidency is far more legitimate than Guaidó’s.
The hypocrisy in Trudeau allying with the illegitimate president of Honduras to demand Venezuela succumb to their interpretation of that country’s constitution would be absurdly funny if it didn’t put so many lives at risk.
The Pentagon has failed to properly manage and account for $2.1 billion worth of parts for F-35 fighter jets, a new report by a government watchdog reveals. Now, the military simply has to take the word of Lockheed Martin on that.
RT USA News
15 Mar, 2019
The US military failed to account for 3.45 million pieces of government property – parts and equipment for F-35s, according to a new report issued by the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Office of Inspector General. Pentagon officials have “failed to implement procedures, and failed to appoint and hold officials responsible, to account for and manage government property for more than 16 years.”
Lacking the paperwork and even people to hold responsible for the blunder, the Pentagon has no actual idea how much the aforementioned pile of parts cost, and has to simply trust the word of the main contractor – Lockheed Martin – and its subcontractors, according to the report. The corporation valued the parts at $2.1 billion.
The DoD does not know the actual value of the F 35 property and does not have an independent record to verify the contractor valued Government property of $2.1 billion for the F-35 Program.
While the sum itself is not that big – given the total acquisition cost of the F-35 program, exceeding $400 billion – such a lack of accountability can further damage the ill-fated fifth-generation fighter program, already been plagued by numerous technical issues.
“The lack of asset visibility restricts the DoD’s ability to conduct the necessary checks and balances that ensure the prime contractor is managing and spending F‑35 Program funds in the government’s best interest and could impact the DoD’s ability to meet its operational readiness goals for the F‑35 aircraft,” the report warns.
In order to somewhat improve the situation, the watchdog has recommended the obvious: appoint people to work with the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) and the contractor in order to “to verify the existence and completeness of all F-35 property and account for it on the appropriate financial statements.”
Maria Zakharova hopes for the prompt beginning of negotiations on this issue at the disarmament conference in Geneva
March 15, 2019
MOSCOW, March 15. /TASS/.
Moscow regards as irresponsible Washington’s preparations for putting weapons in space, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news briefing on Friday.
“The United States’ steps taken lately to prepare for the deployment of weapons in space, including creation of a space-based missile defense group, confirm the growing need for international efforts to resist such irresponsible plans,” Zakharova said. “We hope for the prompt beginning of negotiations on this issue at the disarmament conference in the context of maintaining international security and strategic stability.”
Russia sees its priority, Zakharova said, in “drafting a multilateral and legally binding instrument for the prevention of an arms race in space and of the use of force or threats of using force in relation to space objects.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will participate in a full-scale session of the disarmament conference in Geneva on March 20.