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BRICS Summit? What BRICS Summit, Kim just stole the show!

North Korea’s hydrogen bomb test threatens to overshadow China’s BRICS Summit and compel Beijing to instrumentalize its vital aid as a punishment against its neighbor in order to save face before the international community, thereby falling into a dangerous trap that the US may have set for it.

Andrew Korybko

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Kim Jong-Un conducted his country’s sixth nuclear test, this time experimenting with an ICBM-capable hydrogen bomb that’s reportedly the strongest munition that it’s ever wielded. Analysts had been warning that a move such as this could have been expected for some time, but it nevertheless caught observers off guard that it occurred right on the eve of China’s BRICS Summit in Xiamen.

This fact alone disproves the Mainstream Media-promulgated lie that North Korea is purportedly China’s puppet, since Beijing in no way approves of what just happened and is actually incensed that the young Kim is trying to steal the spotlight during the most important event that the People’s Republic has hosted all year. Just a few months ago during the Belt and Road Summit, Kim did the same thing, except that time he provocatively test-fired a missile instead.

He’s clearly outdone himself this time with the H-Bomb test, which was a message to China just as much as it was one to the US. Everyone’s aware of why Pyongyang and Washington are at odds, but comparatively few people even recognize that there’s an ever-widening chasm of distrust between China and North Korea.

There was a time when North Korea was solidly under Chinese influence, but those days are long gone, especially now that Kim Jong-Un is in charge. The youthful leader (or the junta behind him, depending on who the reader believes is truly calling the shots in the Hermit Kingdom) has figured out that he can extract concessions more successfully from China than from the US, but has overplayed his hand and is now in danger of losing it all.

China’s security interests vis-a-vis North Korea are simple enough — prevent the US military from ever again reaching the banks of the Yalu River like during the early days of the Korean War (which implies working against a reunification solution that could allow just that), and uphold stability in North Korea through food and other forms of limited aid in order to avoid a human tidal wave of Weapons of Mass Migration swarming across the border if the state collapses.

North Korea acutely understands this state of affairs, hence why it assumed that it could do whatever it wanted in terms of weapons tests and the like while taking the aforesaid Chinese aid for granted, but that appears to be changing now because of just how much he’s embarrassed China, which admittedly seems to have been on purpose.

It can never be known with any certain degree of accuracy what Kim Jong-Un or his junta backers are thinking, but observations about North Korea’s behavior suggest that it’s intentionally trying to irk China a bit because it might have gotten too paranoid about the prospects of Beijing cutting a deal with Washington against Pyongyang. Ironically, however, North Korea appears to be making this fear a self-fulfilling prophecy through its short-term actions of always trying to upstage China in the international arena.

Instead of resulting in more aid, which for all intents and purposes serves the role of bribes for the North Korean “deep state” (permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies), Kim Jong-Un risks forcing China to downscale the said assistance in order to save face in front of the international community and consequently endanger the stability of his country.

As respectable of a goal as the Juche self-reliance ideology may be, it’s practically impossible for North Korea to implement under contemporary international conditions because it lacks the natural and agricultural resources to do so, thereby making its survival dependent on China for the foreseeable future, and trapping Beijing in a relationship of complex interdependency that the US is more than eager to exploit to its gain.

Washington never misses the chance to draw attention to this relationship in order to pressure Beijing to “do more” against Pyongyang, knowing full well that the only outcome of this policy is that China would decrease or cut off its aid to North Korea and resultantly destabilize its most unpredictable and nuclear-armed neighbor. The end goal, as the US hopes it will be, is to redirect or at least “rebalance” some of North Korea’s military attention against its former patron, which might be an implied American precondition for holding the one-on-one talks that Kim Jong-Un has said that he wants.

The only scenario in which North Korea would lash out against China is if the latter goes along with US suggestions in squeezing the country through a diminishment of aid, which could endanger its stability to the point of putting Beijing in Pyongyang’s nuclear crosshairs just as Seoul, Tokyo, and Guam currently are.

If the US felt that it had successfully turned the two former allies into hated enemies just like it did with the USSR and China in the Old Cold War and is actively working to do as regards China and India in the New Cold War, then it’s expected that Washington would tone down its hostility towards Pyongyang and possibly reinitiate one-on-one talks, keenly understanding that this would unbalance North Korea’s military attention for the time being by making it relatively more concentrated against Beijing in that case.

The point here isn’t to actually resolve North Korea’s nuclear weapons issue, but to simply redirect or “rebalance” the targeted focus against China, in which case could the West would then attempt to replace Beijing as North Korea’s most important donor and reverse the complex interdependency relationship.

It should be remembered at all times that if North Korea’s small number of nuclear weapons are a credible deterrent to the US, then they’re even more effective in this capacity against China, which has comparatively less nuclear potential than America and is much easier for North Korea to inflict substantial damage against due to its obvious geographic proximity.

For this reason alone, it’s plausible that the US is attempting to manipulate North Korea into behaving belligerently against China in order to achieve this dreamed-of goal, but that this can only happen if Washington is able to engineer the circumstances under which Beijing would instrumentalize its vital aid to Pyongyang as a punishment for its missile and nuclear tests, ergo the recent US provocations which pushed North Korea into testing its H-Bomb on the eve of China’s BRICS Summit.

Should the US-controlled Mainstream Media succeed in shaping the perception that Kim’s latest nuclear test overshadowed China’s BRICS Summit, then Beijing might fall into the trap of de-facto sanctioning North Korea via a dramatic downscaling of its aid in order to save face before the international community, though with the inadvertent risk of becoming the new object of Kim Jong-Un’s ire if this move ends up seriously threatening the stability of his government.

There’s no “good way” to deal with North Korea, and it might turn out that this is the “least bad” option that China has available, but either way, the consequences of this action hold the very real threat of backfiring on Beijing and working out to the US and, interestingly enough, even Kim Jong-Un’s grand strategic favor if both play their cards right and cut the ultimate “win-win” deal against the People’s Republic.

DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.

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Shannon
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Shannon

This is a very logical, reasonable, well thought out analysis. But I can’t believe that China (as in the PLA) would ever be “surprised” by North Korea. Surely, they have precise Intel about all of Pyongyang ‘s moves.

Jon Burness
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Jon Burness

I would think China and NK, are working together behind the scenes

Shannon
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Shannon

Me too. Difficult to prove, though.

Gonzogal
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Gonzogal

Your might find this an interesting read in support of your statement: http://www.globalresearch.ca/avoiding-nuclear-war-why-kim-jong-uns-strategy-makes-sense/5603657

7.62x54r
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7.62x54r

Seems absurd that NK would militarily threaten China with its nukes. The US might have turned China against the USSR 50 years ago, but NK will never trust the US.

seby
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seby

Indeed absurd. Even more absurd to anulyse any US msm anulysis. BS and gossip factor high.

Dorthyredison
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Dorthyredison

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Gonzogal
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Gonzogal

“- There is no combination of U.S. sanctions, threats, or pressures that will make Beijing take steps that are fundamentally contrary to China’s vital national security interests. (Here, the «vital national security» of China means just that, not the way U.S. policymakers routinely abuse the term to mean anything they don’t like even if it has nothing to do with American security, much less with America’s survival.) Aside from speculation (which is all it is) that China could seek to engineer an internal coup to overthrow Kim in favor of a puppet administration, maintaining the current odious regime is Beijing’s… Read more »

Le Ruscino
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Le Ruscino

Did anyone ever think that NK was China’s “SHOW” all along to dismantle US bases & begin Dollar transition from US Dollar to Chinese Dollar? 1 – US dare not attack NK under any circumstances so Trump is on a hook he can’t get off easily 2 – US Dollar hegemony is built today solely on the strength of US Military 3 – NK is as disposable to China as SK is to USA but neither will pull the trigger 4 – US Military weakness has been exposed in Syria & recent Naval disasters For US to now do nothing… Read more »

Anthony Enos Wicher
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Anthony Enos Wicher

The only way to deal with North Korea is cooperation between the U.S. and China, not this endless geopolitical maneuvering.

John Karimi
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John Karimi

I don’t see this move at all as a surprise and face losing act by Pyongyang. It drives home the message to the US that military options are out of the question when trying to deal with North Korea. China has every interest in sending that message and showing Washington that no matter what economic sanctions Trump may threaten China with if it does not reign in Kim, in the end the one deciding over these matters is North Korea itself. North Korea somehow initiating secret deals with the US against China seems even more outlandish, considering it is the… Read more »

220VOLTS
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220VOLTS

Unfortunately, for the US, Kim is the one holding the moral high ground here. It’s painfully clear that the US is using South Korea as a vassal state when a US General says Seoul was “appeasing” the North. Listen; the Korean peninsula belongs to the Korean people. If the South wants to make nice with Pyongyang – so be it.
Let’s get those 30,000 US troops out of the South and let the Koreans settle the matter between themselves (just like the US did in its Civil War.

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Trump witch hunt dots connected: CNN to Steele to John McCain (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 110.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss documents released which show that Christopher Steele admitted to using posts by ‘random individuals’ on the CNN community website ‘iReport’ in order to back up his fabricated Trump dossier.

President Trump took note of Steele’s use of CNN citizen journalist posts, in a twitter tirade that blasted the British ex-spy for running with unverified community generated content from a now now-defunct ‘iReports’ website as part of his research.

Trump the proceeded to rip into late neocon Arizona Senator John McCain, tweeting that it was “just proven in court papers” that “last in his class” McCain sent the Steele’s dossier to media outlets in the hopes that they would print it prior to the 2016 US election.

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Via The Daily Caller

A federal court unsealed 43 pages Thursday of a deposition that former British spy Christopher Steele gave as part of a lawsuit over his infamous anti-Trump dossier.

To the disappointment of many observers, the full deposition was not unsealed in Thursday’s motion. Instead, portions of Steele’s interview, which he gave in London on July 13, 2018, were unsealed in separate court filings submitted in the lawsuit.

Steele’s full deposition totaled 145 pages. The portions published Thursday focus mainly on questions about the dossier’s claims about Aleksej Gubarev, a tech executive who Steele alleges took part in the hacking of Democrats’ computer systems.

Gubarev has vehemently denied the claim and sued Steele and BuzzFeed News, which published the dossier on Jan. 10, 2017.

U.S. District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro, who handled the lawsuit, ordered a slew of previously sealed documents to be made public Thursday. Ungaro dismissed the lawsuit on Dec. 19 but did not weigh in on whether the dossier’s claims about Gubarev were accurate.

It is unclear whether Steele’s entire deposition will be released. A source familiar with Steele’s interview tempered expectations of any bombshells in the document, saying that Steele avoided going into detail about his efforts to create the dossier and his sources.

A deposition given by former State Department official David Kramer was perhaps the most enlightening document contained in the dump.

Kramer, a longtime associate of late Arizona Sen. John McCain, was BuzzFeed’s source for the dossier. Kramer shared the dossier with at least 11 other reporters, including CNN’s Carl Bernstein. (RELATED: John McCain Associate Gave Dossier To A Dozen Reporters)

Kramer obtained the dossier in late November 2016 after visiting Steele in London. Steele acknowledged that Kramer and McCain were picked as conduits to pass the dossier to then-FBI Director James Comey. McCain met with Comey on Dec. 9, 2016 and provided all of the dossier’s memos that had been written up to that point.

“I think they felt a senior Republican was better to be the recipient of this rather than a Democrat because if it were a Democrat, I think that the view was that it would have been dismissed as a political attack,” Kramer said in the deposition when asked why Steele and his business partners at Fusion GPS wanted McCain to meet with Comey.

Via Washington Examiner

Former British spy Christopher Steele admitted that he relied on an unverified report on a CNN website for part of the “Trump dossier,” which was used as a basis for the FBI’s investigation into Trump.

According to deposition transcripts released this week, Steele said last year he used a 2009 report he found on CNN’s iReport website and said he wasn’t aware that submissions to that site are posted by members of the public and are not checked for accuracy.

web archive from July 29, 2009 shows that CNN described the site in this manner: “iReport.com is a user-generated site. That means the stories submitted by users are not edited, fact-checked, or screened before they post.”

In the dossier, Steele, a Cambridge-educated former MI6 officer, wrote about extensive allegations against Donald Trump, associates of his campaign, various Russians and other foreign nationals, and a variety of companies — including one called Webzilla. Those allegations would become part of an FBI investigation and would be used to apply for warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

During his deposition, Steele was pressed on the methods he used to verify allegations made about Webzilla, which was thought to be used by Russia to hack into Democratic emails.

When asked if he discovered “anything of relevance concerning Webzilla” during the verification process, Steele replied: “We did. It was an article I have got here which was posted on July 28, 2009, on something called CNN iReport.”

“I do not have any particular knowledge of that,” Steele said when asked what was his understanding of how the iReport website worked.

When asked if he understood that content on the site was not generated by CNN reporters, he said, “I do not.” He was then asked: “Do you understand that they have no connection to any CNN reporters?” Steele replied, “I do not.”

He was pressed on this further: “Do you understand that CNN iReports are or were nothing more than any random individuals’ assertions on the Internet?” Steele replied: “No, I obviously presume that if it is on a CNN site that it may has some kind of CNN status. Albeit that it may be an independent person posting on the site.”

When asked about his methodology for searching for this information, Steele described it as “what we could call an open source search,” which he defined as “where you go into the Internet and you access material that is available on the Internet that is of relevance or reference to the issue at hand or the person under consideration.”

Steele said his dossier contained “raw intelligence” that he admitted could contain untrue or even “deliberately false information.”

Steele was hired by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS to investigate then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016. Fusion GPS was receiving funding at the time from the Clinton campaign and the DNC through the Perkins Coie law firm.

The series of memos that Steele would eventually compile became known as the “Trump Dossier.” The dossier was used in FISA applications to surveil Trump campaign associate Carter Page.

When asked whether he warned Fusion GPS that the information in the dossier might be “Russian disinformation,” Steele admitted that “a general understanding existed between us and Fusion … that all material contained this risk.”

Steele also described his interactions with Sen. John McCain’s aide, David Kramer, whose own deposition showed that he provided BuzzFeed with a copy of the dossier and had spoken with more than a dozen journalists about it.

“I provided copies of the December memo to Fusion GPS for onward passage to David Kramer at the request of Sen. John McCain,” Steele said. “Sen. McCain nominated him as the intermediary. I did not choose him as the intermediary.”

When asked if he told Kramer that he couldn’t “vouch for everything that was produced in the memos,” Steele replied, “Yes, with an emphasis on ‘everything.'”

When asked why he believed it was so important to provide the dossier to Sen. McCain, Steele said: “Because I judged it had national security implications for the United States and the West as a whole.”

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Trudeau’s Top Bureaucrat Unexpectedly Quits Amid Growing Corruption Scandal

In a scathing letter to Trudeau, Wernick said that “recent events” led him to conclude he couldn’t hold his post during the election campaign this fall.

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Via Zerohedge


Since it was exposed by a report in Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper earlier this month, the scandal that’s become known as the SNC-Lavalin affair has already led to the firing of several of Trudeau’s close advisors and raised serious questions about whether the prime minister was complicit in pressuring the attorney general to offer a deferred prosecution agreement with a large, Quebec-based engineering firm.

And according to the first round of polls released since the affair exploded into public view…

…it could cost Trudeau his position as prime minister and return control to the conservatives, according to the CBC.

Campaign Research showed the Conservatives ahead with 37% to 32% for the Liberals, while both Ipsos and Léger put the margin at 36% to 34% in the Conservatives’ favour.Since December, when both polling firms were last in the field, the Liberals have lost one point in Campaign Research’s polling and four percentage points in the Ipsos poll, while the party is down five points since November in the Léger poll.

Meanwhile, as the noose tightens around Trudeau, on Monday another of the key Canadian government officials at the center of the SNC-Lavalin scandal has quit his post.

Michael Wernick, clerk of the privy council, the highest-ranking position in Canada’s civil service and a key aide to Justin Trudeau, announced his retirement Monday. Trudeau named Ian Shugart, currently deputy minister of foreign affairs, to replace him.

In a scathing letter to Trudeau, Wernick said that “recent events” led him to conclude he couldn’t hold his post during the election campaign this fall.

“It is now apparent that there is no path for me to have a relationship of mutual trust and respect with the leaders of the opposition parties,” he said, citing the need for impartiality on the issue of potential foreign interference. According to Bloomberg, the exact date of his departure is unclear.

As we reported in February, Canada’s former justice minister and attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, quit following allegations that several key Trudeau government figures pressured her to intervene to end a criminal prosecution against Montreal-based construction giant SNC. Wernick was among those she named in saying the prime minister’s office wanted her to pursue a negotiated settlement.

Wernick has since twice spoken to a committee of lawmakers investigating the case, and during that testimony both defended his actions on the SNC file and warned about the risk of foreign election interference, as “blame Putin” has become traditional Plan B plan for most politicians seeing their careers go up in flames.

“I’m deeply concerned about my country right now, its politics and where it’s headed. I worry about foreign interference in the upcoming election,” he said in his first appearance before the House of Commons justice committee, before repeating the warning a second time this month. “If that was seen as alarmist, so be it. I was pulling the alarm. We need a public debate about foreign interference.”

Because somehow foreign interference has something to do with Wenick’s alleged corruption.

Incidentally, as we wonder what the real reason is behind Wernick’s swift departure, we are confident we will know soon enough.

Anyway, back to the now former clerk, who is meant to be non-partisan in service of the government of the day, also criticized comments by a Conservative senator and praised one of Trudeau’s cabinet ministers.

Wernick’s testimony was criticized as overly cozy with the ruling Liberals. Murray Rankin, a New Democratic Party lawmaker, asked the clerk how lawmakers could “do anything but conclude that you have in fact crossed the line into partisan activity?” Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said he seemed “willing to interfere in partisan fashion for whoever is in power.”

Whatever Wernick’s true motives, he is the latest but not last in what will be a long line of cabinet departures as the SNC scandal exposes even more corruption in Trudeau’s cabinet (some have ironically pointed out that Canada’s “beloved” prime minister could be gone for actual corruption long before Trump). Trudeau had already lost a top political aide, Gerald Butts, to the scandal. A second minister, Jane Philpott, followed Wilson-Raybould in quitting cabinet.

Separately, on Monday, Trudeau appointed a former deputy prime minister in a Liberal government, Anne McLellan, as a special adviser to investigate some of the legal questions raised by the controversy. They include how governments should interact with the attorney general and whether that role should continue to be held by the justice minister.

As Bloomberg notes, the increasingly shaky Liberal government hasn’t ruled out helping SNC by ordering a deferred prosecution agreement in the corruption and bribery case, which centers around the company’s work in Moammar Qaddafi’s Libya. Doing so would allow the company to pay a fine and avoid any ban on receiving government contracts. That decision is up to the current attorney general, David Lametti; of course, such an action would only raise tensions amid speculation that the government is pushing for a specific political, and favorable for Trudeau, outcome.

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France To Ban Yellow Vest Protests In Neighborhoods With “Ultra” Radicals

Philippe added that he has asked the State Judicial Agent to “systematically seek the financial responsibility of troublemakers.”

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Via Zerohedge


France is cracking down on “yellow vest” protesters following a weekend of renewed violence – as the Macron administration announced on Monday that it would ban demonstration in several areas of france – including the Champs Elysees in Paris, if “ultra elements” are present, according to Interior Minister Edouard Philippe.

‘We will ban demonstrations if ultra elements’ are present, said Philippe, according to CNEWS.

The ban will apply to “neighborhoods that have been most affected as soon as we have knowledge of” the “ultras.”

“I am thinking of course the Champs-Elysees in Paris, the place Pey-Berland in Bordeaux, the Capitol Square in Toulouse”, Philippe added, where “we will proceed to the immediate dispersal of all groups.

Philippe added that he has asked the State Judicial Agent to “systematically seek the financial responsibility of troublemakers.”

Saturday marked a significant escalation in violence during the group’s 18th straight week of protests – which began as a revolt against a climate-change gas tax and expanded into a general anti-government movement.

As we noted on Sunday, the riots were so severe that French President Emmanuel Macron cut short a vacation at the La Mongie ski resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées following a three-day tour of East Africa which took him to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Macron said over Twitter that “strong decisions” were coming to prevent more violence.

Macron said some individuals — dubbed “black blocs” by French police forces — were taking advantage of the protests by the Yellow Vest grassroots movement to “damage the Republic, to break, to destroy.” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Twitter that those who excused or encouraged such violence were complicit in it. –Bloomberg

Sounds like things are about to get a lot more violent in Gay Paree.

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