Friday, December 09, 2011

China tunnel and nuclear warhead follies....

China tunnel and nuclear warhead follies....
By Peter Lee

The recent hubbub over the size of China's nuclear warhead stockpile and its underground maze of missile hidey-holes, the notorious "Underground Great Wall of China" is, on one level, a battle between sensationalizing amateurs and incensed arms control professionals.

On another level, it highlights a continuing nuclear security stand-off between the United States and China.

The furor was kicked off by a November 29 article by the Washington Post's William Wan. It described a study of China's strategic nuclear missile program prepared by a team of students working under Phillip Karber, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, in an arms control seminar. Wan's breathless opening set the tone:
The Chinese have called it their "Underground Great Wall" - a vast network of tunnels designed to hide their country's increasingly sophisticated missile and nuclear arsenal.

For the past three years, a small band of obsessively dedicated students at Georgetown has called it something else: homework.

Led by their hard-charging professor, a former top Pentagon official, they have translated hundreds of documents, combed through satellite imagery, obtained restricted Chinese military documents and waded through hundreds of gigabytes of online data.

The result of their effort? The largest body of public knowledge about thousands of miles of tunnels dug by the Second Artillery Corps, a secretive branch of the Chinese military in charge of protecting and deploying its ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads.

The study is yet to be released, but already it has sparked a congressional hearing and been circulated among top officials in the Pentagon, including the Air Force vice chief of staff.

Most of the attention has focused on the 363-page study's provocative conclusion - that China's nuclear arsenal could be many times larger than the well-established estimates of arms-control experts. [1]
The coverage also provided an incendiary estimate:
Based on the number of tunnels the Second Artillery is digging and its increasing deployment of missiles, [Karber] argues, China's nuclear warheads could number as many as 3,000.
The story as Wan presented it contained several irresistible elements, to whit: 1) A team of renegade students displays 2) ingenuity and elbow grease to 3) expose the errors of pointy-headed so-called experts while 4) revealing Chinese perfidy and 5) alerting the people of America to terrible threat.

This wonderful story had just two flaws: the parts of it that were true weren't new, and the parts that were new appear not be true.

The true part of the story concerned that immense network of Fu Manchu-like caverns, the "Underground Great Wall of China". Ever since Douglas MacArthur threatened the People's Republic of China (PRC) with strategic nuclear bombing during the Korean War in the early 1950s, the Chinese communists have been industrious tunnelers, as tourists who have enjoyed Beijing's Underground City - and the 500-meter airfield residing inside a hollowed-out mountain at the Air Force Aviation Museum at Xiaotangshan outside the capital - can attest.

The existence of the strategic missile tunnels is also rather widely known, although it seems to have escaped William Wan in his research for his article. Wan incautiously wrote:
While the tunnels' existence was something of an open secret among the handful of experts studying China's nuclear arms, almost no papers or public reports on the structures existed.
Unless one considers the tens of millions of readers of Xinhua and Global Times or the millions who watch Rupert Murdoch's Phoenix Channel "a handful of experts", Wan's statement is, regrettably, false.

In 2009, China's Second Artillery Corps opened their underground facilities to journalists in order to publicize the investments the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has made in improving the survivability of its nuclear arsenal and, thereby, maintaining the credibility of the PRC's deterrent.

A Phoenix TV segment aired footage of tunnel construction and interviews with PLA talking heads who proudly revealed that construction was now a matter of mechanization and automation, not manual labor, banishing the Mao Zedong-era paradigm of blue ants grubbing away at the naked rock with their bare hands. Indeed, the new tunnels, with their automated blast doors and tiled surfaces, evoke modern construction marvels like the Channel Tunnel. [2]

In December 2009, Xinhua ran a Global Times piece that careful invoked extensive foreign reporting to reveal a massive project to harden China's nuclear sites.

The story reported that, with the advent of more accurate missiles and more powerful spy satellites by China's potential antagonists, the previous strategy of hardening surface sites and mixing them with decoy sites was no longer effective. Therefore, the government embarked on a massive, 10-year program to put its entire nuclear deterrent deep underground, several hundred meters below the surface.

The program was first revealed on national television in 2006, apparently as a riposte to claims by US analysts that China did not have a credible "second strike" capability; ie the ability to launch a nuclear counterattack after absorbing someone else's nuclear incoming.

With its usual subtlety, Global Times put the key money quote - the opinion of a "Western expert" - in boldface:
If nuclear bunker-busting missiles were employed against China's missile bases, it would take a strike of several tens of missiles with yields of tens of megatons each striking at the same point to penetrate; and it would take several more missiles to destroy the facility completely.
The article let it be known that the project might extend as far as 5,000 kilometers (just short of 3,000 miles) and that it had been dubbed "the Underground Great Wall". The source: "foreign analysts". [3]

That was the state of play in 2009: the tunnels were built, nicknamed, displayed on television, and their length and other characteristics discussed in the media; interested foreign spooks, analysts, and national security types were well aware of the situation.

It is unclear what additional insight Karber's hardworking team at Georgetown (which reportedly suffered from a dearth of Chinese-speaking members) actually added to specialists' understanding of the tunnel project.

But it was the "3,000 warheads" claim, illustrated with what might go down in arms control history as "The Karber Curve", that roused arms control analysts to their greatest anger.

When asked by Asia Times Online if he had a comment on the issue, Dr Jeffrey Lewis, an arms control authority and author of Minimum Means of Reprisal: China's Search for Security in the Nuclear Age, responded:
Oh yes, the claim that China has 3,000 nuclear weapons is utter bullshit.
China's holdings of weapons-grade nuclear material have been the subject of intense interest and study. Open source and classified government studies apparently agree that China has enough metal for about 400 warheads.

The best informed estimate in the public domain is laid out by Hui Zhang, who lists the range of estimates in a recent paper for the Belfer Institute at Harvard, concluding with his own figure for Chinese military plutonium stocks: 1.8 tons plus/minus 0.5 tons. The high end of the highest estimate is 4.35 plus/minus 2.2.5 tons 6.6 tons. A highly efficient warhead design would require at least 5 kg of material. Per Zhang's midline estimate, that would yield 360 warheads; the highest range of the highest estimate would yield 1,300 warheads. [4]

That is still a long way from Karber's 3,000.

The relatively stingy estimates of China's warhead stockpile is based on the assumption that China's only two plutonium breeder reactors have been shut down since the 1980s.

If Karber's team had discovered a new source of plutonium - or new evidence that China's warhead stockpile had grown significantly beyond the estimates - it would indeed have been a major find, and the arms control community would have had considerable egg on its face.

However, it appears that Karber extrapolated his 2011 numbers from a 1995 estimate in a gossipy Hong Kong political magazine, Trend, which claimed that China had a stockpile of 2,350 warheads.

After becoming aware of Karber's as yet unpublicized claims in September, China arms control specialist Gregory Kulacki investigated the situation in Hong Kong and drew the conclusion that Trend's number - which has circulated on the Internet for years - perhaps itself grew out of 1986 estimates by a US naval officer in a Western defense publication, not China's defense establishment. [5]

The Trend magazine magazine estimate, by a pseudonymous author, filled with enticing detail and the tantalizing statement, "According to information revealed by China's Ministry of Defense on July 15 of this year, as of June 30, 1995, the Chinese Communist nuclear weapon stockpile held 2,350 warheads," remains unsourced and unconfirmed, leading a lonely existence as an extreme outlier in estimates of Chinese warhead stockpiles. [6]

The Georgetown group was not even the first to unearth the Trend estimate; for that matter, it did not even locate the original article. Karber's team leaned on a short essay by a Singapore University graduate student, Yang Zheng, citing the figure, and spin-off references on the Chinese Internet.

Yang's piece had already been ferociously debunked by Jeffrey Lewis in 2004 and 2009. Lewis ultimately determined that Yang also had not accessed the Trend article himself; he had simply availed himself of a summary of the article posted on a Usenet bulletin board by a curious mathematics professor.

This exhaustive sleuthing was missed or ignored by Karber, to Lewis' considerable resentment, compounded by the fact that the Washington Post declined to publish his letter, which Lewis subsequently posted on his blog. It read, in part:
So where does Dr Karber get his wildly divergent estimates? Nowhere does Mr Wan mention that Dr Karber's "analysis" of China's plutonium production relies on a few Chinese blog posts that discuss a single, anonymous 1995 Usenet post, subsequently plagiarized by a Singapore University student, that is so wildly incompetent as to invite laughter. (I have mocked this essay repeatedly on my own blog, Arms Control Actually, Dr Karber doesn't mention this either. His research ended with the Chinese blog posts, which is something that no responsible scholar would do. …
If I take any solace out of this pathetic episode, it is that Dr Karber's students will have learned first-hand how not to do research. [7]
Karber's defense, as summarized in his appearance on al-Jazeera and an interview with the New York Daily News apparently boils down to his conviction that 3,000 miles is just "too much tunnel" for China's stated warhead inventory:
"It doesn't make any sense to build ten miles of tunnels to hide one nuclear weapon," Karber told the Daily News. [8]
Despite its shaky evidentiary and analytic underpinnings, news of the Georgetown study flew around the world, creating the damning image of a massive, secret, sneaky Chinese nuclear surge. Seattle Times: US students dig up China's nuclear secrets: Arsenal could be huge [9]

Al-Jazeera: China's nuclear arsenal 'many times larger' [10]

Daily Mail: China 'has up to 3,000 nuclear weapons hidden in tunnels', three-year study of secret documents reveals [11]

Digital Journal: U.S. study claims massive underground Chinese nuclear stockpile [12]
If the Karber furor was merely a matter of an ambitious national security entrepreneur throwing out an irresponsible estimate in order to generate some career heat for himself; or a case of the media happily seizing on an irresistible China-bashing story without letting facts or serious reporting get in the way; or the old, familiar spectacle of the national security establishment hyping a new threat in order to pad and protect its budget, then perhaps the arms control fraternity would have let the matter go with a cynical shrug.

Instead, arms control professionals have engaged in serious, aggressive pushback. The Wall Street Journal, Agence France-Presse, and, to be fair, the Washington Post's William Wan all reported on the vehement skepticism of specialists in the field.

It appears to have had some effect.

On December 6, Kulacki noted on his blog:
Tomorrow (Dec 7), Prof Karber will apparently present a different graph on the size of China's nuclear arsenal in his talk at the Elliot School of International Affairs. [13] Karber has apparently abandoned the 3,000-warhead extrapolation, and substituted a graphic illustrating the annual rate of warhead production, without giving totals.

However, the claims of production rates apparently rely on the same questionable, bloggy data used to generate the notorious curve.

Kulacki, who appears to have made a journey to Hong Kong expressly to research and debunk Karber's claims, revealed that there are significant policy issues at stake concerning the Barack Obama administration's nuclear negotiation posture with the PRC:
Chinese declaratory policy ... states ... that China's nuclear weapons are to be used only in retaliation after China suffers a nuclear attack.

US participants in the dialogues are trying to force their Chinese counterparts to stop talking about China's no first use assurance, and to stop pressing the United States to offer a similar assurance to China. The US military and diplomatic establishment does not find such an assurance credible, or believe it contributes to stability. But the Chinese disagree. As a result, the talks have been deadlocked for over a decade, leaving the public discussion open for the wild and unfounded speculations of people like Karber. [14]
It looks like the fundamental problem is this: China wants its expeditionary force to cross the Taiwan Strait free of the threat of a US tactical nuclear first strike that negates China's advantages in conventional manpower and materiel. In order to stay America's hand, the PLA has a doctrine of no first use and strategic retaliation. If the United States accepted a no-first-use doctrine, then Chinese military planning would be considerably simplified.

The US military, on the other hand, wants the option of incinerating the PLA's expeditionary force with tactical nuclear weapons, absent the distraction of realizing that defense of Taiwanese freedom may involve the destruction of [insert your favorite US city here]. If only the Chinese would acknowledge it shares a doctrine of first use, then arms control negotiations could be targeted toward reducing the size of arsenals and taking strategic nuclear strikes off the table (while presumably leaving tactical ones on the table).

Nothing doing, as far as the Chinese are concerned. The Chinese leadership apparently likes its plain vanilla retaliatory doctrine just the way it is.

Apparently, for the US security establishment's response to this conundrum is a policy of "I reject your reality and substitute my own."

Writing in Arms Control Today, Kulacki asserted that the Obama administration is forum-shopping, trying to locate first-strike enthusiasts inside the Second Artillery Corps:
The US participants in these talks do not appear to respect anyone, from either country, who takes a no-first-use pledge seriously. To them, the pledge is an expression of na๏vet้ or mendacity. They suspect, therefore, that the Chinese individuals participating in bilateral talks either cannot or will not speak truthfully about China's "actual" nuclear weapons policy. ...
The US response to this impasse is to search for a different set of Chinese interlocutors. US security analysts and military planners scour Chinese military literature to look for kindred Chinese authors who view China's commitment to a no-first-use policy as they do. Some US analysts believe they located strong candidates in authors from the Second Artillery, the branch of the Chinese military that operates China's land-based nuclear missile forces. Obama administration officials responsible for the US-Chinese nuclear dialogue are pressing to talk directly with the leadership of the Second Artillery in the belief that they will speak with a different and more authoritative voice than the officials sent previously by the Chinese government. [15]
Kulacki contrasts the US-China impasse with the US-Russia situation, where both sides are sitting on massive weapons stockpiles they wish to reduce:
Russian and US arms control experts are birds of a feather who can talk for hours and with great enthusiasm about nuclear arms control. The recent negotiations over the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty showed that although it still is very difficult for them to reach a binding agreement, discussions, at least, proceed with a high degree of mutual appreciation and respect. This is largely because the two sides have a common language, common assumptions, and a common objective that emerged from their shared experience as nuclear rivals during the Cold War.

US-Soviet arms control talks proceeded from the assumption that left unimpeded by negotiated limitations, both sides would continue to be highly motivated to seek the ability to launch a disarming first strike against the other. The two sides also shared the belief that the nuclear arms race created by these motivations continually generated new and intolerable uncertainties that could precipitate a large-scale nuclear exchange. The purpose of bilateral arms control negotiations was to establish an assurance that neither side could obtain a decisive first-strike capability.
One can almost smell the booze and hear the jovial teasing: We will bury you! No, we will bury you! More vodka! Na zdarovya!

Discussions with China, on the other hand, are less happy and founder on a fundamental contradiction.

The Chinese, by virtue of their small arsenal, are vulnerable to a US first strike. The leadership has apparently decided not to build up to nuclear parity, modify US nuclear behavior with the threat of a credible Chinese first strike, and then negotiate stockpiles down in a Sovietized, transparent, inspection-intensive program.

For Chinese military planners, nuclear arms control in the current context looks a lot like unilateral disarmament. The PRC has no interest in allowing US inspectors to rummage through its strategic missile infrastructure in pursuit of this goal and determine the vulnerabilities of its strategic nuclear forces. As Kulacki put it:
According to this logic, providing more detailed information about its nuclear arsenal would only leave less to chance and thereby increase the US incentive to launch a pre-emptive first strike in a moment of crisis. China's nuclear forces are small enough to make such a strike a tempting choice.
It simply wants the US to wonder, and worry, about a small but significant number of Chinese nuclear weapons - and decide it is better to abandon the first-strike option.

This, perhaps, accounts for the uproar over the Karber report.

If the 3,000-warhead figure is not rebutted, then the United States can cite the Karber study as evidence of a Chinese build-up toward a first-use capability, even though the actual Chinese policy may be diametrically opposite.

From this perspective, vigorously fact-checking Karber and his Georgetown team can be seen as a step along the path of clear-eyed nuclear realism ... and away from delusional and dangerous atomic bombast. Notes
Georgetown students shed light on China's tunnel system for nuclear weapons, Washington Post, Nov 16, 2011.
2. Click
here for the Xinhua report (in Chinese).
3. Ibid.
China's Stockpile of Military Plutonium: a New Estimate, Harvard.
The Sources of Karber's Sources, All Things Nuclear, Dec 7, 2011.
6. Click
here for text.
Collected Thoughts on Phil Karber, Arms Control Wonk, Dec 7, 2011.
Is China hiding weapons in underground tunnels? NY Daily News, Dec 1, 2011.
US students dig up China's nuclear secrets: Arsenal could be huge, Seattle Times, Nov 30, 2011.
China's nuclear arsenal 'many times larger', YouTube, Dec 1, 2011.
China 'has up to 3,000 nuclear weapons hidden in tunnels', three-year study of secret documents reveals, Daily Mail, Dec 1, 2011.
US study claims massive underground Chinese nuclear stockpile, Digital Journal, Dec 1, 2011.
Prof Karber Adjusts His Report on China's Nuclear ArsenalAll Things Nuclear, Dec 6, 2011.
Nuclear Quacks and Clucks All Things Nuclear, Oct 14, 2011.
Chickens Talking With Ducks: The U.S.-Chinese Nuclear Dialogue, Arms Control Association, October, 2011.

Peter Lee writes on East and South Asian affairs and their intersection with US foreign policy.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The final curtain on the American democracy is about to be drawn. Emergency camps to hold up to 1000 people ready to go.....

December 8, 2011 -- FEMA/Army Corps of Engineers "camps" contract with KBR....

The final curtain on the American democracy is about to be drawn.
Emergency camps to hold up to 1000 people ready to go.....

Government, Defense & Infrastructure

Page 1 of 4

Project Overview and Anticipated Project Requirements

Project Overview:

KBR is establishing a National Quick Response Team for our current Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) work, and for anticipated future contracts. Upon completion of evaluation, certain subcontractors may be invited to establish a Master Services Agreement (MSA) with pre-established lease rates and terms and conditions.

The Continental US will be broken up into five regions as indicated in the map below Services will be required in each State within each region.

Anticipated Project Requirements: Establish services listed below within 72 hours for initial set-up and respond within 24 hours for incremental services. This is a CONTINGENCY PROJECT and it should be stressed that lead times will be short with critical requirements due to the nature of emergency responses. Subcontractors must be flexible and able to handle multiple, shifting priorities in an emergency environment. Supply lines needed must be short but not necessarily pre-positioned. Page 2 of 4

The personnel on site to be covered by these services will depend on the size and scope of the recovery effort, but for estimating purposes the camp will range in size from 301 to 2,000 persons for up to 30 days in length.

The offeror will not have to submit a proposal for each service in each state.

Please identify which state and/or region your company can perform the requested services.

The descriptions of the services are for reference only. Any and all specific requirements will be forthcoming with a detailed Statement(s) of Work in an RFP solicitation.

Catering Services

This service is open to companies that wish to provide food preparation services only, and to companies that wish to provide the food supplies in addition to food preparation services. Subcontractor shall provide food and food preparation services capable of providing meals per feeding sufficient to meet the prime contractor occupancy levels. All meals may be prepared in accordance with the Army 14 Day Menu program (or equivalent like NIFC Mobile Food Services contract ( and may be enhanced based on individual chef specialties and skills.

Temporary Fencing and Barricades

Subcontractor will mobilize, transport, erect, install and demobilize temporary fencing, barricades, and associated equipment according to federal, state and local laws, codes and manufacturer installation instructions. The Subcontractor shall be able to mobilize and deploy key personnel(s) within four (4) hours of NTP to meet with KBR Site Manager at the Responder Support Camp (RSC) site in order to finalize the site design plan and acquire site specific design requirements and layout.

Number of linear footage:

Approximately 2,300LF for a 301 person camp after 36 hours of NTP

Approximately 3,600LF for 1,000 person camp after 72 hours of NTP

Hand Washing Stations

Subcontractor(s) shall provide all labor, management, supervision, transportation, tools, material, equipment, fees, and incidentals to provide portable, self-contained hand-washing stations for temporary camps for emergency First Responders in accordance with OSHA CFR 29 1910 and additional State and Local regulations. Major operations within this function include transporting hand-washing stations for initial placement around camp and repair or replacement, if necessary.

Laundry Services

Subcontractor shall provide laundry services with no more than a twenty-four turnaround time (time from customer drop-off to customer pick-up). The structure can be a tent, fabric shade structure or container of the adequate size to receive dirty laundry and issue clean laundry from separate issue and receive desk. The subcontractor will perform the laundry service at their offsite facility. The facility must be adequate size to meet the services turnaround requirement. Page 3 of 4

The facility shall have equipment capable of cleaning medical and Petroleum-Contaminated clothing. The subcontractor shall perform washing, drying and folding of laundry.

Medical Services

The subcontractor will provide a medical unit(s) capable of handling all medical emergencies in accordance with American Heart Association, Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) at a minimum. The subcontractor shall have the capability to provide medical support during the phase-in of a camp for 100 personnel within 36 hours of notification. The subcontractor must be ready to provide support for full camp occupancy no later than 72 hours after notification. The medical Unit shall be equipped to provide basic care for minor illness and injury; this will include dispensing of common over the counter medications. Medical personnel shall provide medical services to FEMA first responders and contractor employees 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Office Trailers / Administration Area

Subcontractor will mobilize, transport, install and demobilize Office Trailers and associated equipment according to federal, state and local laws, and manufacture installation instructions. The Subcontractor shall ensure flooring, lighting, HVAC and other associated equipment are of good operable condition and function properly in accordance with specified and industry standards The Subcontractor will be capable of transporting, setup and have the office operational within 36 hours from NTP.

Potable Water

Subcontractor will perform, Potable Water Collection, Transportation and Distribution Services according to federal, state and local laws. Major operations within this function include providing Potable Water to abolition units holding tanks, Shower units Holding Tanks. The Subcontractor shall be available 24 hours per day for emergency Potable Water request. Subcontractor shall respond within two (2) hours to emergency water request.

Power Generation, Fuel Delivery / Supply & Electrical Distribution

Subcontractor shall have the capability to provide power generation, fuel delivery / supply and electrical distribution for a camp sized for 2000 personnel capacity. Major operations within this function include providing electrical distribution to a centralized location within site premises for the purpose of providing an electrical connection point for other subcontractors to terminate their main distribution cables.

Refuse Collection

Subcontractor will collect, transport, and dispose of solid waste in accordance with EPA 40 CFR 243 and additional State and Local regulations. Major operations within this function include waste container management and maintenance, emptying of waste containers and disposal of collected refuse in a certified landfill. Additional the subcontractor will support a recycling program with a goal to recycle 35% of waste generated from the RSC operations.

Shower and Toilet Units

Subcontractor shall provide Shower and Toilet units, with HVAC/ECU and associated wastewater collection tanks and potable water holding tanks and equipment associated such as Page 4 of 4

pumps and piping. All water supply equipment shall be rated for potable water supply in accordance with ANSI/NSF 42, 53 and 61standards and applicable EPA, state and local standards and requirements. Water sampling and testing will be accomplished by others.

Tentage, Flooring, Electrical & HVAC/ECU

Subcontractor will mobilize, transport, erect, install and demobilize tentage, and HVAC/ECU and associated equipment. Major operations within this function include providing flooring, pole or clear span tentage, HVAC/ECU, electrical distribution within tents, ceiling lighting, exit signs, and fire extinguishers/smoke alarms.

Waste Water Removal

Subcontractor will perform, Waste Water Collection, Transportation and Distribution Services according to federal, state and local laws. Major operations within this function include removing Waste Water to toilet units holding tanks, shower units holding tanks. The Subcontractor shall be available 24 hours per day for emergency Waste Water Removal request. Subcontractor shall respond within two (1) hour to emergency request.

Advanced Untraceable Anti-tap / Anti-GSM Interceptor Samsung G600 Mobile Phone...

Advanced Untraceable Anti-tap / Anti-GSM Interceptor Samsung G600 Mobile Phone...

This is a GSM untraceable mobile phone UK device which can’t be tapped or traced and is based on the Samsung cellular phone will warn you about any intrusion and interception attempt....LOL

Every time you change the SIM card, the phone will randomize its unique IMEI number automatically. The IMEI numbers that are produced automatically by this phone will never be repeated. The IMEI will also change on every new call that is made and on any sent SMS messages. Interception of calls made or received by such a phone becomes and impossible mission.

You can change the IMEI number of the device to another number of your choice e.g. enter the IMEI number of another person.

The telephone tap defeat / GSM Interception detection is accomplished using in-built fake base station / GSM Interceptor detector technology of which will alert you if either an SMS / text message, outgoing or incoming call is made via such GSM interception technology.

Over the past decades, telecommunications interception has developed into a huge worldwide industry allowing a phone to be bugged remotely.

Different foreign and local agencies, security organizations within almost all countries routinely intercept calls and are able to bug a telephone remotely that may yield sensitive political, military or economic information. The use of wiretapping has become so widespread, simple and uncontrolled that you must assume that records of you private calls end up in the wrong

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Israel's secret invasion of the United States revealed.....

Israel's secret invasion of the United States revealed.....

December , 2011 -- Israelis have a reservation in Louisiana and it's not for dinner....

Israel has suddenly recognized the "sovereignty" of native American tribes in the United States. Israel's interest has little to do with native American sovereign rights and everything to do with the establishment of casinos in the Indian reservations. Israel has long sought to use special sovereignty status to expand casinos, two cases in point being a planned casino, since abandoned, in Jericho in the contested West Bank and the flocking of Israeli interests to the now-defunct South African Bantustan of Bophuthatswana and its Sun City casino complex, owned by South African Zionist billionaire Sir Sol Kerzner.

Israel has now established close links to the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana. Last month, a tribal delegation visited Israel as part of a Louisiana trade mission to Israel. The mission was organized by the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu was a member of the delegation.
The Coushatta Tribe was the first U.S. tribe to recognize the State of Israel and officially welcome an Israeli delegation to the reservation.

Kevin and David Sickey, the chairman and vice chairman of the Coushatta Tribe, respectively, see their tribe and the "tribes" of Israel as having a commonality. The Sickeys believe the Coushattas returned to their homeland in 1972 and 1973 after being recognized by Louisiana and the U.S. government just as the Israelis returned to their "homeland" in 1948. In 2008, the Coushatta Tribe issued an "Affirmation of Friendship" with Israel, recognizing May 14, the Israeli date of independence, as a Coushatta national holiday. The Israeli Consulate General in Houston maintains contact with the tribe and it has sought to expand trade and agricultural links between the Coushattas and Israel.

Israeli companies are already staking a claim in the 700-acre Coushatta reservation in Louisiana. There are smaller Coushatta reservations in Texas and Oklahoma. Coushatta Global Enterprises LLC, a subsidiary of the tribe, has agreed to exclusively market in the United States, Galilean olive oil skin care products manufactured by Israel's Aya Natural company. Israeli-owned mall kiosks across the United States and Canada, selling other Israeli skin care products made from Dead Sea salts, are believed by U.S. counter-intelligence officials to be fronts for Israeli intelligence.

But the real reason for Israeli interest in the Coushatta's is the operation of the Coushatta Casino Resort, complete with golf course and luxury hotel, in Kinder, Louisiana.

WMR's sources in Louisiana report that an aircraft owned by the Coushatta Tribe, a 15-seat, two-engine Hawker 800-P based in Elton, Louisiana, has been flying to some interesting locations as of late, not least of which is Israel. Don't bother checking its travels on flight tracking websites, the Coushattas have ordered aircraft N800PL not to be available for tracking purposes. WMR has been told the tribe is planning to obtain additional aircraft in deals involving Israeli "partners."

In 2001, The Coushatta Tribe retained the lobbying services of GOP uber-lobbyist and noted Israel supporter Jack Abramoff. Abramoff squeezed money out of the tribe for himself and the GOP by double-crossing the Coushatta's into believing they would be spared from competing with native gambling casinos nearby in Texas if they donated money to anti-gambling GOP Christian conservatives....

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Grand geo-economic and geopolitical characterizations of the last 500 years

One obvious take away from our discussion of future forecasting over the last two weeks is that the future has not, does not, and will not occur in a vacuum. Change occurs in a complicated world populated by myriad contexts. But how do we explain these contexts effectively, especially if, in our view, the fundamental structures of the international system are currently undergoing comprehensive, paradigm-shifting change? What constructs or frameworks have maximum explanatory power, not only when it comes to characterizing all this change properly, but also in helping vector our responses well?

Geopolitics, as an explanatory construct and how-to guide for harried foreign policy establishments, has historically taken pride of place here. Indeed, the vocabulary of international relations is saturated with long-familiar geopolitical terms. But, and it’s an important “but” here, are the conceptual baggage and analytic vocabulary first bequeathed to us by Friedrich Ratzel and Halford Mackinder as applicable today as they once were? And what about the actual manifestations of this conceptual baggage – e.g., the traditional geopolitical arrangements, contours and rules of the road that have served us so well in the modern era? Are they now being irretrievably stressed, strained and changed by circumstances around them or are they managing “to hold the line”? Needless to say, members of the geopolitical school feel that any declarations of their theoretical and actual demise are flat out absurd. There are Great Games occurring all around us, they argue. The Arab Autumn, the testy and varied actors vying for influence around Pakistan-Afghanistan, the complex resource politics of Africa, the territorial rush to claim the melting Arctic by self-described Nordic states – what are these phenomena if not 21st century examples of the Great Game?

Indeed, they are real examples of this time-honored political phenomenon and we will look at all of them next week in some detail. However, these confirmations of the continued relevancy of geopolitical thinking and geopolitics itself do not mean that that the geopolitical school of international relations is not divided over just what geopolitics means and represents. Is classical geopolitical thought just as applicable today as ever? Is geopolitics just another word for Western political hegemony? To break free from this hegemony, must we develop genuinely non-Western geopolitical forms? Are such forms actually possible? And will they account for the structural changes occurring in the international system in more accurate and user-friendly ways? There are several schools of thought on all these geopolitical issues, which is what we will focus on this week.

Thus far this week we have examined the beliefs and assumptions associated with classical and critical geopolitics. To round out our general discussion this week, let’s look at a third approach to geopolitics – the world-systems model developed by Immanuel Wallerstein.

By International Relations and Security Network (ISN)

Thus far this week we have examined the beliefs and assumptions associated with classical and critical geopolitics. To round out our general discussion this week, let’s look at a third approach to geopolitics – the world-systems model developed by Immanuel Wallerstein. Unlike its classical or critical cousins, however, one could argue that Wallerstein’s work is not explicitly geopolitical and that his The Modern World-System is best understood as a contribution to either macro-sociology or international history in the Annales tradition of Fernand Braudel. The argument has weight, but so does the one that claims world-systems theory is a vision of world politics grounded in spatial and geographical distinctions. What Wallerstein does, however, is link these distinctions to a global system of economic exploitation. In doing so, Wallerstein divides the international system into three geoeconomic areas: the core, the periphery and the semi-periphery. Regardless of whether we agree or disagree with it, it is a scheme of geographical representation that has received wide sympathy and adherence in those parts of the world he labels ‘peripheral’.

Since the most complete statement of Wallerstein’s world-systems theory occurs in the final chapter of The Modern World-System: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century, let’s review its main arguments and then then examine Wallerstein’s application of world systems analysis at a recent lecture he gave at the L’Internationale Conference in Vienna.

Core, periphery, and semi-periphery

At the core of world-systems analysis is the observation that most of the social systems we have used as units of analysis in history and the social sciences – such as tribes, communities, or nation-states -- are not total systems. If cut off from external forces, they would not function in the same way. Given this truth, the most appropriate units of analysis are total systems, which can be studied in methodological isolation. They include “relatively small, highly autonomous subsistence economies” and/or “world-systems.”

The latter fall into two categories: world-empires, in which a single political system controls most of the geographical areas in question, and world-economies, which are fed by multiple political systems. However, because the plural political structure of world-economies tends to link cultures with spatial locations, they exhibit distinct features. In particular, geographical distinctions emerge between the core, periphery and semi-periphery of world- economies. Advantaged core areas tend to exhibit “a strong state machinery coupled with a national culture” that combine to protect and justify existing material disparities. In disadvantaged peripheral areas, by contrast, states are weak and national cultures less firmly established. Finally, between the two is the semi-periphery, which exhibits characteristics of both areas and serves the critical purpose of deflecting political antipathies that peripheral areas might otherwise direct towards core states.

Historically, whereas most world-economies “tended either to be converted into empires or to disintegrate,” the modern world-economy is unique – it has resisted either fate for more than five hundred years. The secret of this endurance, Wallerstein argues, is the weaker political side of capitalism. Here’s the problem – in a world-economy organized on capitalist lines, “economic factors operate within an arena [that is] larger than that which any political entity can totally control.” What this means for capitalists is that they have breathing room. They have a freedom of maneuver that is structurally based. If there is economic loss to be had, it’s the political entities that have to absorb it. If however there is economic gain to be had, it goes into private hands. This convenient unfairness doesn’t stop here, though. Because accumulated capital is rewarded at a higher rate than labor power, the geographic maldistribution of capital-intensive activity – towards core states and away from peripheral areas -- involves a strong trend towards self-maintenance. And there’s nothing to stop it. The absence of an equally comprehensive central political mechanism makes this geo-economic arrangement very difficult to change.

If you embrace Wallerstein’s argument, as just explained, then you certainly have a problem with imperialism. But it’s not imperialism as many know it – e.g. the temporary hegemony or preeminence of one core state over others. No, in this case it means the domination by the core over the periphery. In world-economies, Wallerstein continues, political-economic struggles among classes (over the modes of production and the terms of exchange) are of greater significance than military-political struggles among the machineries of states (which are merely struggles for control over the proceeds of production and exchange). So, the most salient world-historical feature of our times is the struggle either to curtail or expand the advantages enjoyed by the rich North-Atlantic core over the disorganized and disadvantaged Global South (e.g., the largely South American, South-East Asian and sub-Saharan periphery). It is a struggle between geo-economic exploitation and “the refusal to accept exploitation as either inevitable or just.”

For Wallerstein, this binary opposition between core and periphery is a much more powerful geographical explanation of contemporary world politics than other alternatives. Classical geopolitics, for example, is blind to exploitation, either willfully or not. It gives center stage to the petty struggles in the core for the greatest share of the economic spoils on offer. It does not focus on the true problem – justice-serving political mechanisms that are not comprehensive enough to match and regulate a capitalist world-economy.

Global history since 1945

If we then turn to Wallerstein’s lecture at the L’Internationale Conference in Vienna, we see world-systems theory used to explain the ‘logic’ of global history from 1945 to the present. Conventional geopolitical narratives, he argues, systematically misrepresent and misunderstand this period of world history. Whereas the four-and-a-half decades following the defeat of Nazi Germany are typically regarded as a period of indirect hostilities between the United States and the Soviet Union, Wallerstein seeks to demonstrate that the Cold War was actually an unequal “collusive partnership”. The Soviet Union merely ratified the global hegemony of the United States in exchange for greater control over its near abroad. The terms of this collusion, which Wallerstein refers to as the “Yalta agreement,” were 1) the division of the world into a small, economically insulated Soviet sphere of influence and a much larger American one; and 2) mutual participation in “a very loud rhetorical war known as the ‘Cold War,’” in order to exploit the periphery and control the semi-periphery.

By 1956, however, the semi-peripheries began to recognize this Faustian pact for what it was and tried to assert their autonomy (the Hungarian and Polish uprisings immediately come to mind, as does Egypt’s attempt to nationalize the Suez Canal). On both sides of the Iron Curtain, these initial stirrings led into a cycle of repression and fracturing that culminated in the ‘world revolution’ of 1968. Just as the Soviet Union was again intervening forcibly in Eastern Europe, this time to put down the Prague Spring, the “American version of the Brezhnev doctrine” came into play with the Colonel’s coup in Greece, like-minded coups in Brazil and Chile, and the ramping up of the war in Vietnam. For Wallerstein, 1968 was a world revolution because it occurred simultaneously in each of the world’s three geopolitical arenas – “the pan-European world, the so-called socialist bloc, and the so-called Third World.” In each location, this generalized revolution denounced two things: 1) the hegemonic misdeeds of the U.S. together with the Soviet Union’s collusion in those misdeeds, and 2) the hierarchical structure of the “traditional anti-systemic movements” that had inspired and framed popular struggles for at least half a century. For Wallerstein, this revolution largely exposed American-Soviet collusion for what it was and called for more democratic (e.g., ‘horizontal’) alternatives to it.

Crucially, 1967-73 also marked the end of post-war expansion in the world-economy, and began a cycle of stagnation that persists to this day. In this new economic context, the exploitation of the periphery by the core acquired a new modus operandi. One of the enduring truths of capitalist business cycles is that profits from productive enterprises are much harder to come by in stagnation cycles than in expansion cycles. The solution for this problem is that in periods of stagnation capital accumulation tends to be driven by financial speculation. So, just as the years 1945 -1970 saw the biggest expansion of productive enterprise in history, the years 1970-2000 saw the biggest expansion of financialization in history. While the United States eventually adapted to an exploitation system based on financialization rather than production, the Soviet Union – without a functioning bond market or private sector to speak of – proved fatally less agile. When it eventually proved unable to repay the debt that it had accumulated, it suddenly and dramatically collapsed.

Meanwhile, in the American sphere, exploitation was re-constituted by a program known as ‘neo-liberalism,’ which advocated rolling back advances in social welfare. Neo-liberalism also rejected the previously unquestioned principle of ‘developmentalism,’ or the idea that the periphery was entitled or destined to attain the standards of living and welfare enjoyed by the core. By 1980, neo-liberalism was firmly ensconced in power in the United States and Great Britain. The answer to developmentalism, it argued, was globalization, which meant “embracing the opening of frontiers to the free movement of capital and merchandise, but not labor.” This new freedom of maneuver for the capitalist classes temporarily restored the levels of prosperity that the core had experienced in the initial decades of American hegemony.

The collapse of the Soviet Union, however, was ultimately a disaster for the United States that neo-liberalism proved (and is proving) unable to compensate for, as the post-2008 global financial crisis is demonstrating. Without its trusty imperial sidekick, the reasoning goes, the U.S. cannot stop core areas such as Western Europe and Japan from pushing for greater autonomy, and in the former Soviet sphere ‘rogue states’ have emerged that pursue their own agendas. Moreover, resistance to the financialized exploitation of the periphery cannot be as effectively suppressed without the rhetoric of a common enemy. In the 1990s, “alter-globalization” movements began to coalesce against the core, culminating in the creation of the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2001.

Hegemonic powers, however, rarely go quietly into the night. In that same year, a group of foreign policy intellectuals came to power in the U.S. with a desperate plan to reverse its decline. That plan, the invasion of Iraq, was supposed to scare the rest of the world into submission and inaugurate a 21st century ‘Pax Americana’, or so Wallerstein argues. Specifically, the idea was to scare Western Europe back into old-style conformity, nudge North Korea and Iran into giving up their nuclear weapons programs, and pressure the Arab world into settling the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on Israeli terms. Instead, it reaped almost exactly the opposite effects and confirmed the “precipitate and definitive” decline of the US as a hegemonic power.


But hegemony is not the central story here. It is not synonymous with core-periphery-based imperialism, which is much more comprehensive in scope. The replacement of the current hegemonic power (a waning U.S.) by another one would require adjustments for elites in America, China and Europe, but it would not by itself mean a fundamental change in the logic of international politics and history as it has operated for the last five hundred years. Today, as ever, that logic revolves around the spatial division of the world into peripheral and semi-peripheral areas and their continued exploitation by the states of the core. The deeper world-geographical economic reality still exists, regardless of whether the power enjoying the greatest share of the spoils shifts to another part of the core.

One can of course agree or disagree with Wallerstein’s grand geo-economic and geopolitical characterizations of the last 500 years, but he deserves respect for doing something that isn’t common in this era of hyper-specialization populated by more of Isaiah Berlin’s foxes rather than hedgehogs. We have few Toynbees or Spenglers among us now and maybe that’s all to the good. On the other hand, the boldness and scope of Wallerstein’s thesis amply illustrates that geopolitics, be it classical, critical, or world-systems in its orientation, still has explanatory power for students of international relations today. In the case of Wallerstein, we are reminded that we may be witnessing a great ‘re-convergence’ of standards of living across the world, or what many of us are now calling the “rise of the rest.” For the moment, the extent and direction of this economically troubled phenomenon is unclear, but it just might be heralding a structural change to the international system that we haven’t seen in 500 years. That would be structural change indeed.


Moving into a Post-Western World in The Washington Quarterly; Simon Serfaty, 2011

The Border Between Core and Periphery in Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie; Alberto Vanolo, 2010

East-West Integration and the Economic Geography of Europe ; Center for Social and Economic Research (Poland), 2009

What’s at Stake in the American Empire Debate in American Political Science Review; Daniel Nexon and Thomas Wright, 2007

Disputing the Geopolitics of the States System and Global Capitalism in Cambridge Review of International Affairs; Adam Morton, 2007

The Geopolitics of Laughter and Forgetting: A World-Systems Interpretation of the Post-Modern Geopolitical Condition in Geopolitics; Colin Flint, 2007

US Hegemony and Globalization ; Geneva Center for Security Policy, 2006

Geopolitical Realities and United States Foreign Policy in Political Geography; S.B Cohen, 2003

Globalisation and Industrial Location: The Impact of Trade Policy when Geography Matters ; Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, 2000

The Geopolitical Imagination and the Enframing of Development Theory in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers; David Slater, 1993

World Systems Analysis: An Introduction; Immanuel Wallerstein, 2004

The Modern World System: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World Economy in the Sixteenth Century volume 1; Immanuel Wallerstein, 2011