Global Supply Chains Paralyzed After World’s 7th Largest Container Shipper Files Bankruptcy, Assets Frozen

After years of relentless decline in the Baltic Dry index...

... today the largest casualty finally emerged on Wednesday when South Korea's Hanjin Shipping, the country's largest shipping firm and the world's seventh-biggest container carrier, filed for court receivership after losing the support of its banksleaving its assets frozen as ports from China to Spain denied access to its vessels.
For those unfamiliar with the company, here is a brief overview from its website:
Hanjin Shipping is Korea's largest and one of the world’s top ten container carriers that operates some 70 liner and tramper services around the globe transporting over 100 million tons of cargo annuallyIts fleet consists of some 150 containerships and bulk carriers.


With 4 regional headquarters in the U.S., Europe, Asia and South East & West Asia, approximately 5,000 global staffs as well as container terminals in world’s major ports contribute to Hanjin Shipping’s world-class logistics network around the world.
As Reuters reports, banks led by state-run Korea Development Bank withdrew backing for the world's seventh-largest container carrier on Tuesday, saying a funding plan by its parent group was inadequate to tackle debt that stood at 5.6 trillion won ($5 billion) at the end of 2015.
Suk Tai-soo, president and chief executive officer of Hanjin Shipping Co, arrives
at a court in Seoul, South Korea, August 31, 2016.
South Korea's biggest shipping firm, announced the filing for receivership and a request to the court to freeze its assets, which the Seoul Central District Court planned to grant, a judge told Reuters.
As part of the company's insolvency process, the court will now decide whether Hanjin Shipping should remain as a going concern or be dissolved, a process that usually takes one or two months but is expected to be accelerated in Hanjin's case, the judge said.A bankruptcy for Hanjin Shipping would be the largest ever for a container shipper in terms of capacity, according to consultancy Alphaliner, exceeding the 1986 collapse of United States Lines.
Coming as no surprise to anyone who has followed the persistent decline in worldside trade, global shipping firms have been swamped by overcapacity and sluggish demand, with Hanjin booking a net loss of 473 billion won in the first half of the year. 
South Korea's ailing shipbuilders and shipping firms, which for decades were engines of its export-driven economy, are in the midst of a wrenching restructuring. According to Reuters, KDB's decision to stop backing Hanjin Shipping shows the government is taking a tougher stance with troubled corporate groups.
The fallout from the country's unprecedented bankruptcy invoked a statement from South Korea's Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho, who said that "the government will swiftly push forth corporate restructuring following the rule that companies must figure out how to survive and find competitiveness on their own while taking responsibility."
To be sure, this decision is a fresh breath of air in a world in which mega-corprations across the globe have become "too big to fail" by default, and in many cases anticipate a government bail-out.
According to South Korea's Financial Services Commission, Hyundai Merchant Marine, the country's second-largest shipping line, will look to acquire its rival's healthy assets, including profit-making vessels, overseas business networks and key personnel,  A Hyundai Merchant Marine spokesman told Reuters nothing had been decided about the potential acquisition of Hanjin assets and that the firm will hold talks with KDB. Hyundai Merchant Marine is also in the process of a voluntary debt restructuring.
The question now is whether as a result of the bankruptcy process there will be an unexpected failure in the global supply-chain:South Korea's oceans ministry estimates a two- to three-month delay in the shipping of some Korean goods that were to be transported by Hanjin Shipping, and plans to announce in September cargo-handling measures which could include Hyundai Merchant Marine taking over some routes, a ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.
Making matters worse, Reuters adds that KDB's move to pull the plug was already having an impact on Hanjin's operations, with the company's various shipping assets already frozenPorts including those in Shanghai and Xiamen in China, Valencia, Spain, and Savannah in the U.S. state of Georgia had blocked access to Hanjin ships on concerns they would not be able to pay fees, a company spokeswoman told Reuters.
Another vessel, the Hanjin Rome, was seized in Singapore late on Monday by a creditor, according to court information. "Now Hanjin must do everything it can to protect its clients' cargoes and make sure they are not delayed to their destination, by filing injunctions to block seizures in all the countries where its ships are located," said Bongiee Joh, managing director of the Korea Shipowners' Association.
Finally, while jarring Hanjin's bankrtupcy was inevitable: shipping industry economics have deteriorated. Charter rates for medium-sized container ships have dropped from around $26,000 a day in 2010 to $13,000 per day now.  Container rates from Shanghai to the U.S west coast have more than halved since then, from around $2,000 per 40-foot container in January 2010 to $596 per 40-foot box last week, data from the Shanghai Shipping Exchange shows.
Shares in Hanjin Shipping have been suspended after plunging 24% on Tuesday.
The global implications from the bankruptcy are unknown: if, as expected, the company's ships remain "frozen" and inaccessible for weeks if not months, the impact on global supply chains will be devastating, potentially resulting in a cascading waterfall effect, whose impact on global economies could be severe as a result of the worldwide logistics chaos. The good news is that both economists and corporations around the globe, both those impacted and others, will now have yet another excuse on which to blame the "unexpected" slowdown in both profits and economic growth in the third quarter.

The Deep State (And The Rise Of The Unspeakable)

"The state within a state is hiding mostly in plain sight.

The pressure to conform to an authority figure or peer group can cause people to behave in shocking ways.

It is not too much to say that Wall Street may be the ultimate owner of the Deep State and its strategies, if for no other reason than that it has the money to reward government operatives with a second career that is lucrative beyond the dreams of avarice - certainly beyond the dreams of a salaried government employee.

The corridor between Manhattan and Washington is a well-trodden highway for the personalities we have all gotten to know in the period since the massive deregulation of Wall Street."

-Mike Lofgren

As we noted previouslythe deep state seems to have grown, strengthened and tightened its grip.  Can a lack of real money restrain or starve it?  I once thought so, and maybe I still do.  But it doesn’t use real money, but rather debt and creative financing to get that next new car, er, war and intervention and domestic spending program.  Ultimately it’s not sustainable, and just as unaffordable cars are junked, stripped, repossessed, and crunched up, so will go the way of the physical assets of the warfare–welfare state.
Because inflated salariesinflated stock prices and inflated ruling-class personalities are month to month, these should evaporate more quickly, over a debris field once known as some of richest counties in the United States.  Can I imagine the shabbiest of trailer parks in the dismal swamp, where high rises and government basilicas and abbeys once stood?  I’d certainly like to.  But I’ll settle for well-kept, privately owned house trailers, filled with people actually producing some small value for society, and minding their own business.
Can a lack of public support reduce the deep state, or impact it?  Well, it would seem that this is a non-factor, except for the strange history we have had and are witnessing again today, with the odd successful popular and populist-leaning politician and their related movements.  In my lifetime, only popular figures and their movements get assassinated mysteriously, with odd polka dot dresses, MKULTRA suggestions, threats against their family by their competitors (I’m thinking Perot, but one mustn’t be limited to that case), and always with concordant pressures on the sociopolitical seams in the country, i.e riots and police/military activations.  The bad dealings toward, and genuine fear of, Bernie Sanders within the Democratic Party’s wing of the deep state is matched or exceeded only by the genuine terror of Trump among the Republican deep state wing.   This reaction to something or some person that so many in the country find engaging and appealing — an outsider who speaks to the growing political and economic dissatisfaction of a poorer, more indebted, and more regulated population – is heart-warming, to be sure.  It is a sign that whether or not we do, the deep state thinks things might change.  Thank you, Bernie and especially Donald, for revealing this much!  And the “republicanization” of the Libertarian Party is also a bright indicator blinking out the potential of deep state movement and compromise in the pursuit of “stability.”
Finally, what of those pinpricks of light, the honest assessments of the real death trail and consumption pit that the deep state has delivered?  Well, it is growing and broadening.  Wikileaks and Snowden are considered assets now to any and all competitors to the US deep state, from within and from abroad – the Pandora’s box, assisted by technology, can’t be closed now. The independent media has matured to the point of criticizing and debating itself/each other, as well as focusing harsh light on the establishment media.  Instead of left and right mainstream media, we increasingly recognize state media, and delightedly observe its own struggle to survive in the face of a growing nervousness of the deep state it assists on command.
Maybe we will one day soon be able to debate how deep the deep state really is, or whether it was all just a dressed up, meth’ed up, and eff’ed up a sector of society that deserves a bit of jail time, some counseling, and a new start.  Maybe some job training that goes beyond the printing of license plates.  But given the destruction and mass murder committed daily in the name of this state, and the environmental disasters it has created around the world for the future generations, perhaps we will be no more merciful to these proprietors of the American empire as they have been to their victims. The ruling class deeply fears our judgment, and in this dynamic lies the cure.
To learn more about the financial system as a whole, checkout Splitting Pennies - your pocket guide to becoming a financial wizard!

NSA Whistleblowers: Hack of NSA Hacks Was Likely An Inside Job

The mainstream press is accusing Russia of being behind the release of information on the NSA's dirty hacking tools.
Washington’s Blog asked the highest-level NSA whistleblower in history, William Binney – the NSA executive who created the agency’s mass surveillance program for digital information, who served as the senior technical director within the agency, who managed six thousand NSA employees, the 36-year NSA veteran widely regarded as a “legend” within the agency and the NSA’s best-ever analyst and code-breaker, who mapped out the Soviet command-and-control structure before anyone else knew how, and so predicted Soviet invasions before they happened (“in the 1970s, he decrypted the Soviet Union’s command system, which provided the US and its allies with real-time surveillance of all Soviet troop movements and Russian atomic weapons”) – what he thinks of such claims.
Binney told us:
The probability is that an insider provided the data.

I say this because the NSA net is a closed net that is continuously encrypted.  Which would mean, that if someone wanted to hack into the NSA network they would not only have to know weaknesses in the network/firewalls/tables and passwords but also be able to penetrate the encryption.

So, my bet is that it is an insider.  In my opinion, if the Russians had these files, they would use them not leak them or any part of them to the world.
Similarly, former NSA employee, producer for ABC’s World News Tonight, and long-time reporter on the NSA James Bamfordnotes:
If Russia had stolen the hacking tools, it would be senseless to publicize the theft, let alone put them up for sale. It would be like a safecracker stealing the combination to a bank vault and putting it on Facebook. Once revealed, companies and governments would patch their firewalls, just as the bank would change its combination.

A more logical explanation could also be insider theft. If that’s the case, it’s one more reason to question the usefulness of an agency that secretly collects private information on millions of Americans but can’t keep its most valuable data from being stolen, or as it appears in this case, being used against us.

***

The reasons given for laying the blame on Russia appear less convincing, however. “This is probably some Russian mind game, down to the bogus accent,” James A. Lewis, a computer expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank, told the New York Times. Why the Russians would engage in such a mind game, he never explained.

Rather than the NSA hacking tools being snatched as a result of a sophisticated cyber operation by Russia or some other nation, it seems more likely that an employee stole them. Experts who have analyzed the files suspect that they date to October 2013, five months after Edward Snowden left his contractor position with the NSA and fled to Hong Kong carrying flash drives containing hundreds of thousands of pages of NSA documents.
So, if Snowden could not have stolen the hacking tools, there are indications that after he departed in May 2013, someone else did, possibly someone assigned to the agency’s highly sensitive Tailored Access Operations.

In December 2013, another highly secret NSA document quietly became public. It was a top secret TAO catalog of NSA hacking tools. Known as the Advanced Network Technology (ANT) catalog, it consisted of 50 pages of extensive pictures, diagrams and descriptions of tools for every kind of hack, mostly targeted at devices manufactured by U.S. companies, including Apple, Cisco, Dell and many others.

Like the hacking tools, the catalog used similar codenames.

***

In 2014, I spent three days in Moscow with Snowden for a magazine assignment and a PBS documentary. During our on-the-record conversations, he would not talk about the ANT catalog, perhaps not wanting to bring attention to another possible NSA whistleblower.

I was, however, given unrestricted access to his cache of documents. These included both the entire British, or GCHQ, files and the entire NSA files.

But going through this archive using a sophisticated digital search tool, I could not find a single reference to the ANT catalog. This confirmed for me that it had likely been released by a second leaker. And if that person could have downloaded and removed the catalog of hacking tools, it’s also likely he or she could have also downloaded and removed the digital tools now being leaked.
And Motherboard reports:
“My colleagues and I are fairly certain that this was no hack, or group for that matter,” the former NSA employee told Motherboard. “This ‘Shadow Brokers’ character is one guy, an insider employee.”

The source, who asked to remain anonymous, said that it’d be much easier for an insider to obtain the data that The Shadow Brokers put online rather than someone else, even Russia, remotely stealing it. He argued that “naming convention of the file directories, as well as some of the scripts in the dump are only accessible internally,” and that “there is no reason” for those files to be on a server someone could hack. He claimed that these sorts of files are on a physically separated network that doesn’t touch the internet; an air-gap.

***

“We are 99.9 percent sure that Russia has nothing to do with this and even though all this speculation is more sensational in the media, the insider theory should not be dismissed,” the source added. “We think it is the most plausible.”

***

Another former NSA source, who was contacted independently and spoke on condition of anonymity, said that “it’s plausible” that the leakers are actually a disgruntled insider, claiming that it’s easier to walk out of the NSA with a USB drive or a CD than hack its servers.

Michael Adams, an information security expert who served more than two decades in the US Special Operations Command, agreed that it’s a viable theory.

“It’s Snowden junior,” Adams told Motherboard. “Except he doesn’t want to end up in virtual prison in Russia. He’s smart enough to rip off shit, but also smart enough to be unidentifiable.”
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EES: One World Currency introduced by The Cartel – Settlement Coin

Well, it finally happened.  Mark your calendars for the year 2016 as 'the year' a real One World Currency has been announced.  But don't worry - as we explain in Splitting Pennies - Understanding Forex - MONEY DOESN'T EXIST.
How is it possible, you say - when we haven't heard about it in the news?  Let's start with the 'lead' story on this breaking event:
UBS, Deutsche Bank, Santander and BNY Mellon have partnered up to create a new digital currency to facilitate intra-bank settlements, the FT reports. The cryptocurrency will use blockchain technology underpinning the Bitcoin.
Why is this different than any other Bitcoin startup - there sure have been many.  Because these are the banks that control the global currency market, also known as AKA 'the cartel' according to court documents.  
Checkout some of the stories leading up into this climatic moment:
So why does any of this matter?  Central Banking policy has run the global economy into the ground.  Central Banks OWN $25 Trillion of Financial Assets.  $13 Trillion worth of Government Bonds in the world have NEGATIVE YIELDS.  The financial system as it is now, is on the path for implosion. 
Settlement Coin apparently is targeting 'back office settlement' to reduce costs which are about $80 Billion per year.  But why then does RT compare it with SDRs:
If implemented, the new cryptocurrency would be the first to be used officially between major financial institutions. The concept resembles the IMF’s Special Drawing Right (SDR), introduced in 1964. Based on a basket of currencies (the US dollar, euro, the Japanese yen, pound sterling and the soon to be joined Chinese yuan this October), it is used to supplement the IMF’s member countries’ official reserve. As of March 2016, 204.1 billion SDRs equivalent to about $285 billion had been created and allocated to countries.
Has the world gone mad, and people don't understand the difference between "Blockchain" and "Bitcoin" and "Cryptocurrency" and "US Dollars" ?  We have to note here, RT needs to hire some "Forex Experts" to consult with their authors on this topic.
To clarify, the big banks are working on multiple blockchain projects, as well - most of them have filed patents for their own crypto currencies, most notably, Citi: 
Citi Research released a 56-page report on bitcoin saying that it is not going to disrupt banks or credit card networks. It says there will be increased transaction costs for bitcoin to provide increased volume. As for the use of bitcoin in remittance payments, it says bitcoin’s advantage dissipates when the “last mile” cost of converting to fiat currency is considered. The report notes the growth of bitcoin mobile apps in developing countries but sees regulations rising that put them in question. It claims existing payment systems are generally efficient. The report also talks about Ripple and Ethereum as well as government-backed digital currencies. There is also an extensive summary of bitcoin’s legal status in different countries.
Once implemented, these banks have the means to quickly connect this new cryptocurrency "Settlement Coin" to their existing global network, as well as adding their own proprietary currencies such as "CitiCoin."
It will take some time before the cryptocurrency is even released, and still probably years before it's widely accepted.  What makes this week's announcement unique is that, for the first time the banks publicly announced they are making a new digital 'crypto currency' that isn't issued by a central bank, that can be implemented by them across and without borders, which is a perfect fit for a replacement of the US Dollar and other fiat currencies when they completely run out of QE steam.
But here's the real clincher, exposing this as a real One World Currency:
One of those resources is the real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system used by central banks (it's typically reserved for high-value transactions that need to be settled instantly), and the other is central bank-issued cash.  Using the Utility Settlement Coin (USC) unveiled today, the five-member consortium that has sprung up around the project aims to help central banks open-up access to these tools to more customers. If successful, USC has the potential to create entirely new business models built on instant settling and easy cash transfers.  In interview, Robert Sams, founder of London-based Clearmatics, said his firm initially worked with UBS to build the network, and that BNY Mellon, Deutsche Bank, ICAP and Santander are only just the first of many future members.  "Cash is a leg to almost every trade," said Sams, who previously worked for nine years as a derivatives trader with Sanctum FI, also in London. "In order to get most of the benefits of a distributed ledger in settlement, there has to be cash on a distributed ledger rail."  How transactions might be processed, and who will own the nodes, has also not been shared. But what we do know based on a statement from the company is that Clearmatics described the USC as "a series of cash assets" for currencies, including US dollars, euros, British pounds and Swiss francs.
For those who understand that it's monetary policy driving the value of currencies down, not supply and demand, there's no need to read between the lines - they spell it all out real simple.
For a quick primer for those who don't know, the Federal Reserve is the sole issuer of US Currency (not the US Mint, who prints notes and coins.)  The Federal Reserve is a private institution, owned by the banks.  It was previously thought that, the idea of a one world currency was preposterous, because, how would all countries agree on having a single central bank?  But here's the workaround - the Forex banks have a monopoly on the global monetary system.  So by forcing their central bank partners to use "Settlement Coin" in order to save on hefty settlement fees (and it will solve the problem of the recent SWIFT hacks as well - part of the plan??? )
A few scenarios here - one, the banks knew that if they didn't do it, some new players might do it.  Two, this plan was hatched long ago by some clandestine CIA op, starting with the release of Bitcoin, leading into the global one world cryptocurrency, all sponsored by Illuminati.  Three, central banks have legitimate concerns about security (such as because of recent hacks) and have no real way out of QE, they can't stop it and they can't continue it.  This is a parallel financial system in which assets can be transferred over to.
To learn more about Forex, checkout Splitting Pennies - the pocket guide to make you an instant Forex genius!  If you're a non-US citizen or Pension Fund looking for a real Forex investment with a proven track record, checkout Magic FX Strategy.  

Toward a Global Realignment

As its era of global dominance ends, the United States needs to take the lead in realigning the global power architecture.
Zbigniew Brzezinski is a counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and was the National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter from 1977-81. He is the author, most recently, of Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power.