Battle of Izyum and Balakleia: NATO openly engages in combat against Russia

What dialect and/or Slavic language is THAT?????

This conflagration is swelling into a greater conflict. Those are American mercenaries, speaking ENGLISH.

Pogled.info/

The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation published footage of the transfer of armored vehicles, artillery and personnel to the Kharkiv direction. BTR-82A armored personnel carriers, army trucks, “Msta-B” howitzers moving along the highway are being dismantled. Heavy helicopters are also involved in the transfer.

The transfer of forces is apparently taking place in connection with the latest actions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. According to some reports, our military had to leave at least part of the previously liberated town of Balakleia. It is also confirmed that the Ukrainian Armed Forces occupied Shevchenkovo ​​and Senkovo ​​on the right bank of the Oskol River.

The situation in the Kupyansk region is dire, but the military is holding it together. Residents of the Kharkiv region have been evacuated to the LPR and Russia due to shelling by the armed forces of Ukraine, the head of the region said. According to him, the military is trying to push Ukrainian forces out of the suburbs of Balakleia.

According to Zakhar Prilepin, our fighters have mastered the Kupyansk-Izyum road, and are also on the defensive in the central direction of the front towards Slavyansk. “Mood: Calm. Men work. Thank you for the visible help that has begun to appear,” he wrote.

Earlier, Prilepin complained that Moscow was not using all the power it has: “We are asking you not to turn Izyum into the Brest Fortress. The people will stand, but behind them is Russia, which has 150 million people and an army of two million. I would like to see all of this from Raisin.

As the commander of the Sherwood Forest volunteer battalion explained, the most obvious plan of the VSU is the complete encirclement of the Izyum Group of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation with the withdrawal of the VSU to the Oskolsky Reservoir simultaneously from the north and south. It is easier to do this from a southern direction from Slavyansk (via Svyatogorsk or Raigorodok) than by fighting for Balakleya, he noted.

There can be no talk of any “breakthrough” by the Ukrainian Armed Forces during their “counter-offensive”, Vasyl Nebenzya said at a meeting of the UN Security Council last night. He explained that in the run-up to the latest meeting of NATO defense ministers in Ramstein, Germany, VSU activity increased to “beg” for new weapons.

At the same time, Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin said that Ukraine had achieved some success near Kherson and Kharkiv.

In the meantime, information appeared about the first mini-cell, where the units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were deployed. The territory around Sinikha, Senkovo, Vorontsovka, Fedorovka, Lesnaya stenka, where the forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were previously broken through, was captured by the fighters of the 60th unit of the OMSB “Veterans” and the forces assigned to them are encircled.


Watching from the DPR, military commander Dmitry Seleznyov shared his impressions of the ongoing events:

It has long been known that the National Guard of Ukraine, as well as tank units from Chernihiv, were transferred in the direction of Kharkiv. There are also mercenaries. Although they try to fight not on the front line, but where they are sure that they will be able to retreat, sometimes they are killed – corpses are found. There are also Western military instructors. The HIMARS MLRS now hitting Kupyansk are controlled by the US military, not Ukrainians.

All these movements of VSU did not go unnoticed. Analysts talked about the danger of encirclement of our Ryzyum Group two months ago. Of course, this is not a disaster, but it is definitely an emergency. The armed forces of Ukraine have already reached the Oskol dam and the cities of Kupyansk and Izyum are under threat.

There is a version that this is a kind of “bait” for the armed forces of Ukraine. For example, now that their units have advanced 20-30 kilometers deep into our defenses and communications have stretched, our military will be able to “cut the boilers”. The consequences can be like at Kherson…

Dmitry Seleznev: I don’t believe much in cunning plans. It is clear that the front line that our military has to guard is very long. The breakthrough can happen anywhere. Judging by what is happening, we are moving units from one sector to another, strengthening the front in one place, but exposing it in another. It is fortified near Kherson, exposed near Kharkiv. We don’t have enough reserves. So it is necessary to introduce new reserves, to change something. Time to start getting serious.

It is no longer a secret that Russia is actually at war with the West. All the weapons that Ukraine had were almost gone. Now there is a kind of “depreciation” of the spent military reserves of Ukraine by the Western arsenals. The Armed Forces have American and French howitzers, armored personnel carriers, drones, ammunition, means of communication. Only the military, the “smoke meat”, are Ukrainian there. We defeated the Ukrainian army a long time ago. We are now at war with NATO. Everything is run by NATO generals.

It is necessary to take measures so that Kyiv does not get weapons. I would completely cut off Europe’s gas. They fight against us. Maybe this is planned, just waiting for winter to get more painful. It is necessary to destroy the bridges, power plants, communications and all infrastructure of the enemy. By the way, we have already given enough reasons for this. I don’t even want to talk about the notorious “decision centers”.


The head of the Center for the Study of Social-Applied Problems of National Security, retired colonel Alexander Zhilin, is also sure that Russia is at war with the West:

Now Ukraine’s military potential is growing every month, if not every week. Supplies from the West are colossal, instructors are employed in the military units. As far as I understand, according to a number of signs of intelligence, strategic planning, and even tactical planning, is already carried out not only by the Pentagon, but also by NATO structures. They act, unfortunately, very sensibly.

The combined grouping of more than 40 nations supplies Kyiv with all the intelligence it needs, from satellite to data to help with planning and munitions delivery. In fact, they fight with common, and we only with our resources.

The Anglo-Saxons did what was requested. Today, Ukraine is an instrument of a heated battle between the West and Russia. Ukrainians die there, not Englishmen and Americans. They only supply them with ammunition, equipment and so on. The ideal scheme for war with Russia. Couldn’t we have calculated this beforehand? It was obvious.

And looking at what is happening near Balakleia, in the region of Kupyansk or Izyum. This is no longer of any fundamental importance. Most importantly, the hot phase is organized and launched. And what was built as a project “Ukraine – anti-Russia” is already cemented with blood, mutual hatred. That’s how they bastards work.

I fear we may now declare a mobilization in the hope of winning by manpower. But in our time it is impossible to act like in the Second World War. If Marshal Zhukov could operate in large formations, now they will be immediately swept away by these American HIMARS. Some other solutions are needed. Conflict can be brutal, but it doesn’t have to be long.

WHAT U.S. HEGEMONY IS, HOW IT STARTED, AND WHEN • ERIC ZUESSE #usHegemony #mic #foreverWars

Published on July 15, 2022

Source: South Front

Written by Eric Zuesse

An unquestioned assumption amongst America’s Establishment is that the global dominance that America inherited from having been the last of the major world powers to enter World War II, and from having suffered (by far) the least damage from that War, needs to continue in perpetuity, and that it needs to become total U.S. dominance over the entire planet, and especially dominance over the world’s largest nation, Russia, which is 1.77 times larger than America (the world’s third-largest country) is.

(Russia is 1.74 times larger than Canada, the world’s second-largest country, is; and is 1.78 times larger than China, which is the world’s fourth-largest. It is 2.01 times larger than the 5th-largest, Brazil; and is 2.20 times larger than the 6th-largest, Australia. It is 5.20 times larger than the 7th-largest, India. So, there are only 6 giant countries: Russia, Canada, America, China, Brazil, and Australia.) The term that many scholars use to refer to this belief — this objective, that America’s dominance over the entire world would be good instead of bad — is “hegemony”. Here, this belief will be explained.

Historically, any nation’s Establishment (its aristocracy and their employees and other agents) seeks to control as much of the world’s natural resources as possible, and this craving by them is the leading cause of wars. Russia, as the world’s largest nation, is also the world’s richest in natural resources. That is the main reason why the thousand-or-so people who control America (who mainly are America’s billionaires, America’s richest and best-connected individuals) want, more than anything else, to control Russia, which they don’t YET control. Their top mutually shared (virtually unanimous, if not 100% unanimous) assumption is that, however this is to be done, America needs to achieve control over Russia — that it is a good, instead of a bad, objective to pursue. If any member of America’s Establishment does NOT hold this objective, then that person would be shunned by all of his or her colleagues, and would consequently become targeted by all of them for defeat or conquest, destroying that person’s reputation and/or enterprises. Consequently, none comes forth publicly in opposition to this objective, which is called “U.S. hegemony” when it is not being labelled instead by benign-sounding ideological terms or phrases such as “democracy,” “freedom,” “the American way,” “the liberal international order,” or “the rules-based international order,” all of which presume that America’s continued and increased control over the world will help, instead of hinder, such alleged “values” — which really are global conquest, however that is to be achieved. So, the public join in: they (as workers for, or other agents of, those extremely wealthy individuals), likewise favor continued, and increased, U.S. global rule, hegemony. This goal is accepted by America’s public, as-if it were the very meaning of being an American ‘patriot’, and to oppose it is thus ‘unpatriotic’. This belief, in the virtuousness of extending yet further the American empire, is also the reason why the highest-respected of all institutions in America is “the military.”

Prior to 1898, America had been only a confused but largely democratic country, and not yet an imperialistic capitalist, or “fascist,” country, such as it has been ever since then, except during the Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-1945), when America was — for only that brief time-span — the most fully democratic country that it has ever been. Almost immediately after WW II, America became, even more than it ever had been, an imperialistic capitalist country, effectively controlled by its military-industrial complex, which never before even had existed. This is the reason why U.S. President Harry S. Truman (inspired by the advice that he had received from his hero, Dwight David Eisenhower — “Ike” — the most gifted liar of anyone who became America’s President, except for Barack Obama) created, in 1947, both the U.S. Department of ‘Defense’ (America’s first-ever standing army — which had been condemned by America’s Founders, but Truman and the U.S. Congress dismissed that concern) and the CIA (for producing coups, which America started doing in 1948 Thailand).

Ever since 25 July 1945 (only months after FDR’s 12 April 1945 death), America has been a fascist-imperialist country, under the ideological guise of being ‘anti-communist’ until 1991, when communism ended in Russia and President G.H.W. Bush committed the U.S. and its allies secretly on 24 February 1990 to being simply anti-Russian, even without any continuing ideological excuse, at all, remaining. This new America is today’s version of Nazi Germany, hyper-militaristic, a nation with global ambitions of conquest: aspiring for control over all countries.

Here is a good list of this new, fascist-imperialist, America’s, invasions, ever since the end of WW II — ever since, actually, 25 July 1945 (when the decision was first made for the U.S. Government to take over the entire planet). Few, if any, of those 161 foreign deployments of U.S. troops served U.S. national security (such as the U.S. regime claimed), but all served U.S. billionaires and were propagandized-for by U.S.-and-allied ‘news’-media, at the time, so as to fool the public into believing that this was being done for “national defense” and “democracy” and “human rights” and “freedom,” when it was actually being done for imperialism to benefit America’s billionaires — to increase their access to the least expensive natural resources. As can be seen from that list, the U.S. Government is, now, and long has been (ever since 25 July 1945), controlled by its Military-Industrial Complex, or, more precisely, by America’s hundreds of billionaires who own control over America’s top 100 ‘defense’ (aggression) firms. Those are the only people who gain from U.S. imperialism. Everybody else loses from it, and many millions of people lose their lives because of it — because of these billionaires, who hide their identities behind fronts such as “BlackRock” and “Vanguard” and “State Street”, so that their guilt won’t become known, for what they do, and how they do it.

In addition to conquests by means of invasions, the hegemoniacal President Truman also initiated the long and continuing string of U.S. coups by the CIA, which he created in 1947 as an adjunct to the U.S. ‘Defense’ Department, in order to do dirty work for both that Department and the State Department. The CIA-edited and written Wikipedia (which blacklists — blocks from linking to — sites that aren’t CIA-approved) has a (probably intentionally) incomplete list of “U.S. coups” that excludes both the earliest one, which overthrew and replaced Thailand’s Government in 1948, and the latest one, which overthrew and replaced Ukraine’s Government in 2014, and the Wikipedia article is (likewise probably intentionally) mis-titled “United States involvement in regime change” (a title that few people will Web-search for), instead of “U.S. coups” (a title that many people Web-search for). Obviously, the CIA doesn’t want people to be able easily to find the list of U.S. coups that it contains. However, that list of 45 U.S. coups (all of which occurred, of course, after 1947) is the most-nearly-complete one that is presently on the Web, and you can see that list here. All of the instances of “United States involvement in regime change” that pre-date the CIA’s creation in 1947 were of a fundamentally different type, not U.S. coups, because there didn’t even exist, prior to the CIA, a U.S. agency to plan and carry out coups. So, there have been at least 47 U.S. coups since 1947 (those 45, plus the 1948 one in Thailand, and the 2014 one in Ukraine).

So: after WW II, the U.S. regime perpetrated at least 130+ U.S. invasions (out of 161 foreign military deployments of U.S. troops during 1945-2021, not even including The U.S. Government’s usage of proxy-forces instead of U.S. troops, such as is now the U.S. regime’s standard way of invading, because it’s far cheaper to do).

After World War II ended, the U.S. regime slaughtered or assisted in slaughtering, between 1945 and 2007 (and not even counting more recently, such as in Syria and Yemen), “between 20 and 30 million people in wars and conflicts scattered over the world”. (This count also doesn’t include the numbers, such as in Iraq after the 1990 war, which died as a result of U.S.-initiated sanctions against countries that America’s billionaires wanted to bring under their control that weren’t yet under their control.)

There is every indication that the U.S. regime is even planning to ‘win’ a nuclear war against Russia if America’s preparation of a U.S.-led NATO Operation Barbarossa II (successor to Hitler’s plan) against Russia fails to materialize like they hope it will.

As a consequence of the reality of post-1944 America’s being fascist-imperialist (and its consequent record of doing far more invasions, coups, and sanctions, than any other country does), overwhelmingly the highest percentage of people polled throughout the world on questions of which country poses the greatest or biggest threat to peace in the world say that that country is the United States. No other country comes even close. Soon after Hitler left off, Trumanite America continued on, and far more successfully, but for America’s billionaires, instead of for Germany’s.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse’s next book (soon to be published) will be AMERICA’S EMPIRE OF EVIL: Hitler’s Posthumous Victory, and Why the Social Sciences Need to Change. It’s about how America took over the world after World War II in order to enslave it to U.S.-and-allied billionaires. Their cartels extract the world’s wealth by control of not only their ‘news’ media but the social ‘sciences’ — duping the public.

Another Look at 9/11: Ask Not ‘What Happened?’ but ‘Who Did It?’ – Philip Giraldi #september11 #wtc #crime #911truth

Originally Published on September 16, 2021

Source: Strategic Culture Foundation

The evidence of Israeli involvement is substantial, based on the level of the Jewish state’s espionage operations in the U.S., Phil Giraldi writes.

The twentieth anniversary of 9/11 last Saturday has raised many of the usual issues about what actually happened on that day. Were hijacked airliners actually crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon or was the damage in New York City attributable to explosives or even some kind of nuclear device? These are fundamental questions and the so-called “Truthers” who raise them have been inspired by their reading of the 585 page 9/11 Report, which is most charitably described as incomplete, though many would reasonably call it a government cover-up.

I have long believed that unless one actually sees or experiences something first hand the description of any event is no better than hearsay. The closest I came to “seeing” 9/11 was the panicked evacuation of a CIA office building, where I was working at the time. Another related bit of 9/11 narrative also came from two close friends who were driving into work at the Pentagon when they each independently observed what appeared to be a large plane passing over their cars and striking the building. I consider the sources credible but was it an airplane or a missile? And I was not there to see it with my own eyes, so I am reluctant to claim that my friends actually saw something that in retrospect might have been misconstrued.

Critics of the physical and engineering aspects of the accepted narrative certainly have a great deal of expert evidence that supports their case. The way the towers fell as well as the collapse of Building 7 nearby are suggestive of something other than the impact of an airliner near the top of the structure, but I am no expert in the science of the matter and have avoided expressing a view regarding it.

Apart from what happened, I have always been more intrigued by “Who done it?” I found the 9/11 Report to be conspicuously lacking in its failure to cover possible foreign involvement, to include the Saudis, Pakistanis and the Israelis. Indeed, President Joe Biden has taken steps that have resulted in the declassification and release of 16 pages of the notorious 28-page redaction of documents relating to any possible Saudi role. The document consists of interviews with Saudi student Omar al-Bayoumi, who reportedly helped support several hijackers.

The Saudis are being sued by 9/11 survivors, but it is unlikely that anything really sensitive will ever be exposed, as explained by investigative journalist Jim Bovard. Indeed, the documents released last Saturday did not demonstrate that the Saudi government itself played any direct role in 9/11, though it is clear that wealthy Saudis and even members of the Royal Family had been supporting and funding al-Qaeda. It is also known that that Saudi Embassy and Consulate employees in the U.S. had funded the alleged hijackers.

Friends who were in CIA’s Counterterrorism Center at the time of 9/11 tend to believe that the Saudis were indeed supporting their fellow citizens while in the U.S. but were likely not knowledgeable regarding any terrorist plot. They observed, however, that there was considerable evidence that Israel knew in advance about what was impending and may have even been instrumental in making sure that it succeeded.

The evidence of Israeli involvement is substantial, based on the level of the Jewish state’s espionage operations in the U.S. and also its track record on so-called covert actions simulating terrorist attacks designed to influence political decision making in foreign countries. But, of course, in reporting on the 9/11 tragedy no one in the mainstream media did pick up on the connection, inhibited no doubt by the understanding that there are some things that one just does not write about Israel if one hopes to remain employed. That is true in spite of the fact that the Israeli angle to 9/11 is without a doubt a good story, consigned to the alternative media, where it can be marginalized by critics as a conspiracy theory or the product of anti-Semitism.

In the year 2001 Israel was running a massive spying operation directed against Muslims either resident or traveling in the United States. The operation included the creation of a number of cover companies in New Jersey, Florida and also on the west coast that served as spying mechanisms for Mossad officers. The effort was supported by the Mossad Station in Washington DC and included a large number of volunteers, the so-called “art students” who traveled around the U.S. selling various products at malls and outdoor markets. The FBI was aware of the numerous Israeli students who were routinely overstaying their visas but they were regarded as a minor nuisance and were normally left to the tender mercies of the inspectors at the Bureau of Customs and Immigration.

The Israelis were also running more sophisticated intelligence operations inside the United States, many of which were focused on Washington’s military capabilities and intentions. Some specialized intelligence units concentrated on obtaining military and dual use technology. It was also known that Israeli spies had penetrated the phone systems of the U.S. government, to include those at the White House.

All of that came into focus on September 11, 2001, when a New Jersey housewife saw something from the window of her apartment building, which overlooked the World Trade Center. She watched as the buildings burned and crumbled but also noted something strange. Three young men were kneeling on the roof of a white transit van parked by the water’s edge, making a movie in which they featured themselves high fiving and laughing in front of the catastrophic scene unfolding behind them. The woman wrote down the license plate number of the van and called the police, who responded quickly and soon both the local force and the FBI began looking for the vehicle, which was subsequently seen by other witnesses in various locations along the New Jersey waterfront, its occupants “celebrating and filming.”

The license plate number revealed that the van belonged to a New Jersey registered company called Urban Moving Systems. The van was identified and pulled over. Five men between the ages of 22 and 27 years old emerged to be detained at gunpoint and handcuffed. They were all Israelis. One of them had $4,700 in cash hidden in his sock and another had two foreign passports. Bomb sniffing dogs reacted to the smell of explosives in the van.

According to the initial police report, the driver identified as Sivan Kurzberg, stated “We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem.” The five men were detained at the Bergen County jail in New Jersey before being transferred the FBI’s Foreign Counterintelligence Section, which handles allegations of spying.

After the arrest, the FBI obtained a warrant to search Urban Moving System’s Weehawken, NJ, offices. Papers and computers were seized. The company owner Dominick Suter, also an Israeli, answered FBI questions but when a follow-up interview was set up a few days later it was learned that he had fled the country for Israel, putting both his business and home up for sale. It was later learned that Suter has been associated with at least fourteen businesses in the United States, mostly in New Jersey and New York but also in Florida.

The five Israelis were held in Brooklyn, initially on charges relating to visa fraud. FBI interrogators questioned them for more than two months. Several were held in solitary confinement so they could not communicate with each other and two of them were given repeated polygraph exams, which they failed when claiming that they were nothing more than students working summer jobs. The two men that the FBI focused on most intensively were believed to be Mossad staff officers and the other three were volunteers helping with surveillance. Interestingly, photo evidence demonstrated that they had been seen “casing” the area where they were seen celebrating on the day before, indicating that they had prior knowledge of the attack.

The Israelis were not exactly cooperative, but the FBI concluded from documents obtained at their office in Weehawken that they had been targeting Arabs in New York and New Jersey. The FBI concluded that there was a distinct possibility that the Israelis had actually monitored the activities of at least two of the alleged 9/11 hijackers while the cover companies and intelligence personnel often intersected with locations frequented by the Saudis.

The dots were apparently never connected by investigators. Police records in New Jersey and New York where the men were held have disappeared and FBI interrogation reports are inaccessible. Media coverage of the case also died, though the five were referred to in the press as the “dancing Israelis” and by some, more disparagingly, as the “dancing Shlomos.”

Inevitably, the George W. Bush White House intervened. After 71 days in detention, the five Israelis were inexplicably released from prison, put on a plane, and deported. One should also recall that when the news of 9/11 reached Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was pleased, saying that “It’s very good. Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.” It will “strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we’ve experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.” And, of course, it was conveniently attributable to Israel’s enemies.

The possible role of Israel in 9/11 was first explored in book form in 2003 by Antiwar.com editorial director Justin Raimondo in his The Terror Enigma, a short book focusing on Israeli spying and inconsistencies in the narrative that bore the provocative subtitle “9/11 and the Israeli Connection.”

Currently, the twentieth anniversary of 9/11 has inspired some others to take another look at the possible Israeli role. Ron Unz has recently completed an exhaustive examination of the evidence. He observes that 9/11 and its aftermath have shaped “the last two decades, greatly changing the daily lives and liberties of most ordinary Americans.” He asks “What organized group would have been sufficiently powerful and daring to carry off an attack of such vast scale against the central heart of the world’s sole superpower? And how were they possibly able to orchestrate such a massively effective media and political cover-up, even enlisting the participation of the U.S. government itself?”

Ron Unz answers his question, concluding that there is “a strong, perhaps even overwhelming case that the Israeli Mossad together with its American collaborators played the central role” in the attack. His argument is based on the noted inconsistencies in the standard narrative, plus an examination of the history of Israeli false flag and mass terrorism attacks. It also includes new information gleaned from Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman’s recent book Rise and Kill First: the Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations.

To a certain extent, Unz relies on a detailed investigative article written by French journalist Laurent Guyenot in 2018 as well as on an argument made by an ex-Marine and former instructor at the U.S. Army War College Alan Sabrosky in an article where he records how “Many years ago I read a fascinating discussion of the ‘tactics of mistake.’ This essentially entailed using a target’s prejudices and preconceptions to mislead them as to the origin and intent of the attack, entrapping them in a tactical situation that later worked to the attacker’s strategic advantage. This is what unfolded in the 9/11 attacks that led us into the matrix of wars and conflicts, present (Afghanistan and Iraq), planned (Iran and Syria) and projected (Jordan and Egypt), that benefit Israel and no other country — although I concede that many private contractors and politicians are doing very well for themselves out of the death and misery of others. I am also absolutely certain as a strategic analyst that 9/11 itself, from which all else flows, was a classic Mossad-orchestrated operation. But Mossad did not do it alone. They needed local help within America (and perhaps elsewhere) and they had it, principally from some alumni of PNAC (the misnamed Project for a New American Century) and their affiliates within and outside of the U.S. Government (USG), who in the 9/11 attacks got the ‘catalytic event’ they needed and craved to take the U.S. to war on Israel’s behalf…”

Economist and author Paul Craig Roberts has also been motivated by the anniversary to review the evidence and concludes “Circumstantial evidence suggests that 9/11 was a scheme of George W. Bush regime neoconservative officials allied with vice president Dick Cheney and Israel to create a ‘new Pearl Harbor’ that would generate support on the part of the American people and Washington’s European allies for a Middle Eastern ‘war on terror’ whose real purpose was to destroy Israel’s enemies in the interest of Greater Israel… This is the most plausible explanation, but, if true, it is not one that the U.S. and Israeli governments would ever acknowledge. Consequently, we are stuck with an official explanation long championed by the presstitutes that no one believes.”

Yes, an implausible explanation that no one really believes for the greatest national security disaster in America’s twenty-first century. And Israel gets yet another pass.

Five Israelis were seen filming as jet liners ploughed into the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 …

Originally Published: November 1, 2003

Source: The Herald Scotland

THERE was ruin and terror in Manhattan, but, over the Hudson River in New Jersey, a handful of men were dancing. As the World Trade Centre burned and crumpled, the five men celebrated and filmed the worst atrocity ever committed on American soil as it played out before their eyes.

Who do you think they were? Palestinians? Saudis? Iraqis, even? Al-Qaeda, surely? Wrong on all counts. They were Israelis – and at least two of them were Israeli intelligence agents, working for Mossad, the equivalent of MI6 or the CIA.

HeraldScotland

Five Israelis were seen filming as jet liners ploughed into the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 …
1st November 2003

THERE was ruin and terror in Manhattan, but, over the Hudson River in New Jersey, a handful of men were dancing. As the World Trade Centre burned and crumpled, the five men celebrated and filmed the worst atrocity ever committed on American soil as it played out before their eyes.

Who do you think they were? Palestinians? Saudis? Iraqis, even? Al-Qaeda, surely? Wrong on all counts. They were Israelis – and at least two of them were Israeli intelligence agents, working for Mossad, the equivalent of MI6 or the CIA.

Their discovery and arrest that morning is a matter of indisputable fact. To those who have investigated just what the Israelis were up to that day, the case raises one dreadful possibility: that Israeli intelligence had been shadowing the al-Qaeda hijackers as they moved from the Middle East through Europe and into America where they trained as pilots and prepared to suicide-bomb the symbolic heart of the United States. And the motive? To bind America in blood and mutual suffering to the Israeli cause.

After the attacks on New York and Washington, the former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was asked what the terrorist strikes would mean for US-Israeli relations. He said: “It’s very good.” Then he corrected himself, adding: “Well, it’s not good, but it will generate immediate sympathy for Israel from Americans.”

If Israel’s closest ally felt the collective pain of mass civilian deaths at the hands of terrorists, then Israel would have an unbreakable bond with the world’s only hyperpower and an effective free hand in dealing with the Palestinian terrorists who had been murdering its innocent civilians as the second intifada dragged on throughout 2001.

It’s not surprising that the New Jersey housewife who first spotted the five Israelis and their white van wants to preserve her anonymity. She’s insisted that she only be identified as Maria. A neighbour in her apartment building had called her just after the first strike on the Twin Towers. Maria grabbed a pair of binoculars and, like millions across the world, she watched the horror of the day unfold.

As she gazed at the burning towers, she noticed a group of men kneeling on the roof of a white van in her parking lot. Here’s her recollection: “They seemed to be taking a movie. They were like happy, you know … they didn’t look shocked to me. I thought it was strange.”

Maria jotted down the van’s registration and called the police. The FBI was alerted and soon there was a statewide all points bulletin put out for the apprehension of the van and its occupants. The cops traced the number, establishing that it belonged to a company called Urban Moving.

Police Chief John Schmidig said: “We got an alert to be on the lookout for a white Chevrolet van with New Jersey registration and writing on the side. Three individuals were seen celebrating in Liberty State Park after the impact. They said three people were jumping up and down.”

By 4pm on the afternoon of September 11, the van was spotted near New Jersey’s Giants stadium. A squad car pulled it over and inside were five men in their 20s. They were hustled out of the car with guns levelled at their heads and handcuffed.

In the car was $4700 in cash, a couple of foreign passports and a pair of box cutters – the concealed Stanley Knife-type blades used by the 19 hijackers who’d flown jetliners into the World Trade Centre and Pentagon just hours before. There were also fresh pictures of the men standing with the smouldering wreckage of the Twin Towers in the background. One image showed a hand flicking a lighter in front of the devastated buildings, like a fan at a pop concert. The driver of the van then told the arresting officers: “We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem.”

His name was Sivan Kurzberg. The other four passengers were Kurzberg’s brother Paul, Yaron Shmuel, Oded Ellner and Omer Marmari. The men were dragged off to prison and transferred out of the custody of the FBI’s Criminal Division and into the hands of their Foreign Counterintelligence Section – the bureau’s anti-espionage squad.

A warrant was issued for a search of the Urban Moving premises in Weehawken in New Jersey. Boxes of papers and computers were removed. The FBI questioned the firm’s Israeli owner, Dominik Otto Suter, but when agents returned to re-interview him a few days later, he was gone. An employee of Urban Moving said his co-workers had laughed about the Manhattan attacks the day they happened. “I was in tears,” the man said. “These guys were joking and that bothered me. These guys were like, Now America knows what we go through.'”

Vince Cannistraro, former chief of operations for counter-terrorism with the CIA, says the red flag went up among investigators when it was discovered that some of the Israelis’ names were found in a search of the national intelligence database. Cannistraro says many in the US intelligence community believed that some of the Israelis were working for Mossad and there was speculation over whether Urban Moving had been “set up or exploited for the purpose of launching an intelligence operation against radical Islamists”.

This makes it clear that there was no suggestion whatsoever from within American intelligence that the Israelis were colluding with the 9/11 hijackers – simply that the possibility remains that they knew the attacks were going to happen, but effectively did nothing to help stop them.

After the owner vanished, the offices of Urban Moving looked as if they’d been closed down in a big hurry. Mobile phones were littered about, the office phones were still connected and the property of at least a dozen clients were stacked up in the warehouse. The owner had cleared out his family home in New Jersey and returned to Israel.

Two weeks after their arrest, the Israelis were still in detention, held on immigration charges. Then a judge ruled that they should be deported. But the CIA scuppered the deal and the five remained in custody for another two months. Some went into solitary confinement, all underwent two polygraph tests and at least one underwent up to seven lie detector sessions before they were eventually deported at the end of November 2001. Paul Kurzberg refused to take a lie detector test for 10 weeks, but then failed it. His lawyer said he was reluctant to take the test as he had once worked for Israeli intelligence in another country.

Nevertheless, their lawyer, Ram Horvitz, dismissed the allegations as “stupid and ridiculous”. Yet US government sources still maintained that the Israelis were collecting information on the fundraising activities of groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Mark Regev, of the Israeli embassy in Washington, would have none of that and he said the allegations were “simply false”. The men themselves claimed they’d read about the World Trade Centre attacks on the internet, couldn’t see it from their office and went to the parking lot for a better view. Their lawyers and the embassy say their ghoulish and sinister celebrations as the Twin Towers blazed and thousands died were due to youthful foolishness.

The respected New York Jewish newspaper, The Forward, reported in March 2002, however, that it had received a briefing on the case of the five Israelis from a US official who was regularly updated by law enforcement agencies. This is what he told The Forward: “The assessment was that Urban Moving Systems was a front for the Mossad and operatives employed by it.” He added that “the conclusion of the FBI was that they were spying on local Arabs”, but the men were released because they “did not know anything about 9/11”.

Back in Israel, several of the men discussed what happened on an Israeli talk show. One of them made this remarkable comment: “The fact of the matter is we are coming from a country that experiences terror daily. Our purpose was to document the event.” But how can you document an event unless you know it is going to happen?

We are now deep in conspiracy theory territory. But there is more than a little circumstantial evidence to show that Mossad – whose motto is “By way of deception, thou shalt do war” – was spying on Arab extremists in the USA and may have known that September 11 was in the offing, yet decided to withhold vital information from their American counterparts which could have prevented the terror attacks.

Following September 11, 2001, more than 60 Israelis were taken into custody under the Patriot Act and immigration laws. One highly placed investigator told Carl Cameron of Fox News that there were “tie-ins” between the Israelis and September 11; the hint was clearly that they’d gathered intelligence on the planned attacks but kept it to themselves.

The Fox News source refused to give details, saying: “Evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It’s classified information.” Fox News is not noted for its condemnation of Israel; it’s a ruggedly patriotic news channel owned by Rupert Murdoch and was President Bush’s main cheerleader in the war on terror and the invasion of Iraq.

Another group of around 140 Israelis were detained prior to September 11, 2001, in the USA as part of a widespread investigation into a suspected espionage ring run by Israel inside the USA. Government documents refer to the spy ring as an “organised intelligence-gathering operation” designed to “penetrate government facilities”. Most of those arrested had served in the Israeli armed forces – but military service is compulsory in Israel. Nevertheless, a number had an intelligence background.

The first glimmerings of an Israeli spying exercise in the USA came to light in spring 2001, when the FBI sent a warning to other federal agencies alerting them to be wary of visitors calling themselves “Israeli art students” and attempting to bypass security at federal buildings in order to sell paintings. A Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) report suggested the Israeli calls “may well be an organised intelligence-gathering activity”. Law enforcement documents say that the Israelis “targeted and penetrated military bases” as well as the DEA, FBI and dozens of government facilities, including secret offices and the unlisted private homes of law enforcement and intelligence personnel.

number of Israelis questioned by the authorities said they were students from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, but Pnina Calpen, a spokeswoman for the Israeli school, did not recognise the names of any Israelis mentioned as studying there in the past 10 years. A federal report into the so-called art students said many had served in intelligence and electronic signal intercept units during their military service.

According to a 61-page report, drafted after an investigation by the DEA and the US immigration service, the Israelis were organised into cells of four to six people. The significance of what the Israelis were doing didn’t emerge until after September 11, 2001, when a report by a French intelligence agency noted “according to the FBI, Arab terrorists and suspected terror cells lived in Phoenix, Arizona, as well as in Miami and Hollywood, Florida, from December 2000 to April 2001 in direct proximity to the Israeli spy cells”.

The report contended that Mossad agents were spying on Mohammed Atta and Marwan al-Shehi, two of leaders of the 9/11 hijack teams. The pair had settled in Hollywood, Florida, along with three other hijackers, after leaving Hamburg – where another Mossad team was operating close by.

Hollywood in Florida is a town of just 25,000 souls. The French intelligence report says the leader of the Mossad cell in Florida rented apartments “right near the apartment of Atta and al-Shehi”. More than a third of the Israeli “art students” claimed residence in Florida. Two other Israelis connected to the art ring showed up in Fort Lauderdale. At one time, eight of the hijackers lived just north of the town.

Put together, the facts do appear to indicate that Israel knew that 9/11, or at least a large-scale terror attack, was about to take place on American soil, but did nothing to warn the USA. But that’s not quite true. In August 2001, the Israelis handed over a list of terrorist suspects – on it were the names of four of the September 11 hijackers. Significantly, however, the warning said the terrorists were planning an attack “outside the United States”.

The Israeli embassy in Washington has dismissed claims about the spying ring as “simply untrue”. The same denials have been issued repeatedly by the five Israelis seen high-fiving each other as the World Trade Centre burned in front of them.

Their lawyer, Ram Horwitz, insisted his clients were not intelligence officers. Irit Stoffer, the Israeli foreign minister, said the allegations were “completely untrue”. She said the men were arrested because of “visa violations”, adding: “The FBI investigated those cases because of 9/11.”

Jim Margolin, an FBI spokesman in New York, implied that the public would never know the truth, saying: “If we found evidence of unauthorised intelligence operations that would be classified material.” Yet, Israel has long been known, according to US administration sources, for “conducting the most aggressive espionage operations against the US of any US ally”. Seventeen years ago, Jonathan Pollard, a civilian working for the American Navy, was jailed for life for passing secrets to Israel. At first, Israel claimed Pollard was part of a rogue operation, but the government later took responsibility for his work.

It has always been a long-accepted agreement among allies – such as Britain and America or America and Israel – that neither country will jail a “friendly spy” nor shame the allied country for espionage. Chip Berlet, a senior analyst at Boston’s Political Research Associates and an expert in intelligence, says: “It’s a backdoor agreement between allies that says that if one of your spies gets caught and didn’t do too much harm, he goes home. It goes on all the time. The official reason is always visa violation.”

What we are left with, then, is fact sullied by innuendo. Certainly, it seems, Israel was spying within the borders of the United States and it is equally certain that the targets were Islamic extremists probably linked to September 11. But did Israel know in advance that the Twin Towers would be hit and the world plunged into a war without end; a war which would give Israel the power to strike its enemies almost without limit? That’s a conspiracy theory too far, perhaps. But the unpleasant feeling that, in this age of spin and secrets, we do not know the full and unadulterated truth won’t go away. Maybe we can guess, but it’s for the history books to discover and decide.

Which Crime Syndicate Murdered Darya Dugina? • Pepe Escobar

Source: Strategic Culture Foundation

The vile assassination of Darya Dugina, or terror at the gates of Moscow, is not really solved – as much as the FSB seems to have cracked the case in a little over 24 hours.

It’s now established that the main perpetrator, Azov batallion asset Natalia Vovk, did not act alone but had an Ukrainian sidekick, one Bogdan Tsyganenko, who provided false license plates for the Mini Cooper she was driving and helped to assemble a crude car bomb inside a rented garage in the southwest of Moscow.

According to the FSB, Vovk followed the Dugin family to the Tradition festival, and detonated the car bomb by remote control. The only missing pieces seem to be when the bomb was placed under Dugin’s SUV, and by whom; and whether such a sophisticated cross-border targeted assassination was aimed at both father and daughter.

As recalled by geopolitical analyst Manlio Dinucci, even the Los Angeles Times had made it public that “since 2015, the CIA has been training Ukrainian intelligence agents in a secret facility in the United States”.

Russian intel was more than aware of it. In fact, in an interview to Italian media in December 2021, Darya Dugina herself, based on FSB information, revealed, “they had identified 106 Ukrainian agents who were preparing attacks and massacres in 37 regions of Russia.”

Yet now a high-ranking member of Russian intel – who for obvious reasons must remain anonymous – has shed some information that, in his words, “will add the whole picture to this incident.”

It goes without saying that this is as much as he’s been allowed to reveal by his superiors. According to his analysis, “the tragedy was in the evening. In the next two days the FSB shared the whole data about SBU people who were involved with the incident. The majority of people think that it was a political kill. There are a lot of political kills in Ukraine but this tragedy has no political root. It is actually connected to organized crime money flow.”

The source asserts, “Darya was inside the patriotic movement and had connections in Moscow and Donetsk area. As you know there is a large money flow to the Donbas to restore the economy. This huge money flow provides an extreme incentive for criminal activity. Donetsk crime organizations are more dangerous than others because they operate in the war territory. Thus, someone was afraid that Darya was going to compromise money flow schemes by making this public.”

The source makes the important point that “Boris Nemtsov [a key actor in the liberal reforms imposed on post-Soviet Russia] was also killed by an organized crime group who was afraid that he might compromise some money flow schemes by making them public despite the fact that he was a quite powerful politician. Also [journalist] Anna Politkovkaya. She was given $900,000.00 in cash at Chubais election office during the election days for a political purpose. But some other guys knew it and grabbed the bag. She was slain.”

Cui bono?

Disclosure: I prize my friendship with Alexander Dugin – we met in person in Iran, Lebanon and Russia: a towering intellectual and extremely sensitive spirit, eons away from the crude stereotype of “Putin’s brain” or worse, “Putin’s Rasputin” slapped on him by Western media sub-zoology specimens. His vision of Eurasianism should be granted the merit of an ample intellectual discussion, a real dialogue of civilizations. But obviously the current woke incarnation of the collective West lacks the sophistication to engage in real debate. So he’s been demonized to Kingdom Come.

Darya, who I had the honor to meet in Moscow, was a young, shining star with an ebullient personality who graduated in History of Philosophy at Moscow University: her main research was on the political philosophy of late Neoplatonism. Obviously that had nothing to do with the profile of a ruthless operative capable of “compromising” money flows. She did not seem to understand finance, much less “dark” financial ops. What she did understand is how the Ukrainian battlefield mirrored a larger than life clash of civilizations: globalism against Eurasianism.

Back to the assertions by the Russian intel agent, they cannot be simply dismissed. For instance, at the time he came up with the definitive version of the hit on the Moskva – the flagship of the Russian Black Sea fleet.

As he emailed to a select audience, “the destruction of the flagship of the fleet was planned as a strategic task. Therefore, the operation of delivering the PKR [anti-ship missile] to Odessa took place in strict secrecy and under the cover of electronic warfare. As the ‘killer’ of the cruiser, they chose the PKR, but not the Neptune, as spread by Ukrainian propaganda, but the fifth-generation NSM PKR (Naval Strike Missile, range of destruction 185 km, developed by Norway-USA). The NSM is able to reach the target along a programmed route thanks to the GPS-adjusted INS, independently find the target by flying up to it at an altitude of 3-5 meters. When reaching the target, the NSM maneuvers and puts electronic interference. A highly sensitive thermal imager is used as a homing system, which independently determines the most vulnerable places of the target ship. A stationary container installation secretly delivered to Ukraine was used as a launcher. Thus, after the damage to the cruiser Moskva, which led to its flooding (…) the Black Sea Fleet, unfortunately, no longer has a single ship with a long-range anti-aircraft missile system. But not everything is so bad. A three-band radar ‘Sky-M’ is located in Crimea, which is capable of tracking all air targets at a range of up to 600 km.”

So there you go. The hit on the Moskva was a NATO operation, ordered by the U.S. The Russian Ministry of Defense knows – and the Americans know they know. Retaliation will come – in the time and place of Moscow’s choosing.

The same will apply to the response for Darya Dugina’s assassination. As it stands, we may have 3 hypotheses.

  • The FSB official story, pointing to the SBU in Kiev. The FSB is obviously revealing only a fraction of what they know.
  • The high-level Russian intel agent pointing towards organized crime.
  • The usual Zionist suspects – who loathe Dugin for his fierce anti-globalism: and that would point to a Mossad operation, who in many aspects enjoys way more qualified local intel in Russia than the CIA and MI6.

A fourth hypothesis would point to a perfect storm: a confluence of interests of all the above organized crime syndicates. Once again, resorting to hegemonic American pop culture, and to borrow from Twin Peaks; “The owls are not what they seem”. Black ops can also reveal themselves as much darker than what they seem.

Conflict Alert • Tension Between #United States and #Iran • #Navy #CENTCOM #persianGulf

By: Eric

Source: T’gram: Our Wars Today: According to the United States CENTCOM, an #IRGC support vessel (Shahid Baziar) attempted to seize a US #Navy Saildrone Explorer unmanned surface vessel that was “operating in international waters of the #Arabian Gulf [#Persian Gulf]” and tow it back to #Iran. The Shahid Baziar was intercepted by the #American patrol coastal ship USS Thunderbolt (PC 12) and eventually released its tow. Via atlas.news3 on Instagram. Sail drones are designed to autonomously collect atmospheric and oceanographic data, conduct bathymetry surveys for navigational purposes, as well as carry out monitoring operations. The US Navy’s 5th Fleet began testing the platform in the region earlier this year, which is likely for ISR and mapping purposes.

The United States Navy has released the following footage showing the IRGC Support Ship, Shahid Baziar illegally towing and attempting to detain the Saildrone Explorer unmanned surface vessel in international waters of the Arabian Gulf today.In response, the U.S. Navy patrol coastal ship USS Thunderbolt (PC 12) was dispatched as well as an MH-60S which chased away the Iranian vessel after it detached its tow-cable. The CENTCOM message confirming the incident reads below:

Source: Atlas News


Here are a few titles on origins of tension between America and modern Persia:


The West’s Dangerously Simple-Minded Narrative About Russia and China – Unz Review

The world is on the edge of nuclear catastrophe in no small part because of the failure of Western political leaders to be forthright about the causes of the escalating global conflicts. The relentless Western narrative that the West is noble while Russia and China are evil is simple-minded and extraordinarily dangerous. It is an attempt to manipulate public opinion, not to deal with very real and pressing diplomacy.

Europe should reflect on the fact that the non-enlargement of NATO and the implementation of the Minsk II agreements would have averted this awful war in Ukraine.

The essential narrative of the West is built into US national security strategy. The core US idea is that China and Russia are implacable foes that are “attempting to erode American security and prosperity.” These countries are, according to the US, “determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence.”

The irony is that since 1980 the US has been in at least 15 overseas wars of choice (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Panama, Serbia, Syria, and Yemen just to name a few), while China has been in none, and Russia only in one (Syria) beyond the former Soviet Union. The US has military bases in 85 countries, China in 3, and Russia in 1 (Syria) beyond the former Soviet Union.

President Joe Biden has promoted this narrative, declaring that the greatest challenge of our time is the competition with the autocracies, which “seek to advance their own power, export and expand their influence around the world, and justify their repressive policies and practices as a more efficient way to address today’s challenges.” US security strategy is not the work of any single US president but of the US security establishment, which is largely autonomous, and operates behind a wall of secrecy.

The overwrought fear of China and Russia is sold to a Western public through manipulation of the facts. A generation earlier George W. Bush, Jr. sold the public on the idea that America’s greatest threat was Islamic fundamentalism, without mentioning that it was the CIA, with Saudi Arabia and other countries, that had created, funded, and deployed the jihadists in Afghanistan, Syria, and elsewhere to fight America’s wars.

Or consider the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1980, which was painted in the Western media as an act of unprovoked perfidy. Years later, we learned that the Soviet invasion was actually preceded by a CIA operation designed to provoke the Soviet invasion! The same misinformation occurred vis-à-vis Syria. The Western press is filled with recriminations against Putin’s military assistance to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad beginning in 2015, without mentioning that the US supported the overthrow of al-Assad beginning in 2011, with the CIA funding a major operation (Timber Sycamore) to overthrow Assad years before Russia arrived.

Or more recently, when US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recklessly flew to Taiwan despite China’s warnings, no G7 foreign minister criticized Pelosi’s provocation, yet the G7 ministers together harshly criticized China’s “overreaction” to Pelosi’s trip.

The Western narrative about the Ukraine war is that it is an unprovoked attack by Putin in the quest to recreate the Russian empire. Yet the real history starts with the Western promise to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not enlarge to the East, followed by four waves of NATO aggrandizement: in 1999, incorporating three Central European countries; in 2004, incorporating 7 more, including in the Black Sea and Baltic States; in 2008, committing to enlarge to Ukraine and Georgia; and in 2022, inviting four Asia-Pacific leaders to NATO to take aim at China.

Nor do the Western media mention the US role in the 2014 overthrow of Ukraine’s pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych; the failure of the Governments of France and Germany, guarantors of the Minsk II agreement, to press Ukraine to carry out its commitments; the vast US armaments sent to Ukraine during the Trump and Biden Administrations in the lead-up to war; nor the refusal of the US to negotiate with Putin over NATO enlargement to Ukraine.

Of course, NATO says that is purely defensive, so that Putin should have nothing to fear. In other words, Putin should take no notice of the CIA operations in Afghanistan and Syria; the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999; the NATO overthrow of Moammar Qaddafi in 2011; the NATO occupation of Afghanistan for 15 years; nor Biden’s “gaffe” calling for Putin’s ouster (which of course was no gaffe at all); nor US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stating that the US war aim in Ukraine is the weakening of Russia.

At the core of all of this is the US attempt to remain the world’s hegemonic power, by augmenting military alliances around the world to contain or defeat China and Russia. It’s a dangerous, delusional, and outmoded idea. The US has a mere 4.2% of the world population, and now a mere 16% of world GDP (measured at international prices). In fact, the combined GDP of the G7 is now less than that of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), while the G7 population is just 6 percent of the world compared with 41 percent in the BRICS.

There is only one country whose self-declared fantasy is to be the world’s dominant power: the US. It’s past time that the US recognized the true sources of security: internal social cohesion and responsible cooperation with the rest of the world, rather than the illusion of hegemony. With such a revised foreign policy, the US and its allies would avoid war with China and Russia, and enable the world to face its myriad environment, energy, food and social crises.

Above all, at this time of extreme danger, European leaders should pursue the true source of European security: not US hegemony, but European security arrangements that respect the legitimate security interests of all European nations, certainly including Ukraine, but also including Russia, which continues to resist NATO enlargements into the Black Sea. Europe should reflect on the fact that the non-enlargement of NATO and the implementation of the Minsk II agreements would have averted this awful war in Ukraine. At this stage, diplomacy, not military escalation, is the true path to European and global security.

Jeffrey D. Sachs is a University Professor and Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, where he directed The Earth Institute from 2002 until 2016. He is also President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and a commissioner of the UN Broadband Commission for Development. He has been advisor to three United Nations Secretaries-General, and currently serves as an SDG Advocate under Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Sachs is the author, most recently, of “A New Foreign Policy: Beyond American Exceptionalism” (2020). Other books include: “Building the New American Economy: Smart, Fair, and Sustainable” (2017) and The Age of Sustainable Development,” (2015) with Ban Ki-moon.

All the Way to Odessa – Strategic Culture Foundation

Pepe Escobar

August 26, 2022

Source: https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2022/08/26/all-the-way-to-odessa/

As Eurasian integration will become an even stronger vector, Russian diplomacy will be solidifying the new normal.

Dmitry Medvedev, relishing his unplugged self, has laid down the law on the Special Military Operation (SMO). Bluntly, he affirmed there is a “one and a half” scenario: either to go all the way, or a military coup d’etat in Ukraine followed by admitting the inevitable. No tertium applies.

That’s as stark as it gets: the leadership in Moscow is making it very clear, to internal and international audiences, the new deal consists in slow cooking the Kiev racket inside a massive cauldron while polishing its status of financial black hole for the collective West. Until we reach boiling point – which will be a revolution or a putsch.

In parallel, The Lords of (Proxy) War will continue with their own strategy, which is to pillage an enfeebled, fearful, Europe, then dressing it up as a perfumed colony to be ruthlessly exploited ad nauseam by the imperial oligarchy.

Europe is now a runaway TGV – minus the requisite Hollywood production values. Assuming it does not veer off track – a dicey proposition – it may eventually arrive at a railway station called Agenda 2030, The Great Narrative, or some other NATO/Davos denomination du jour.

As it stands, what’s remarkable is how the “marginal” Russian economy hardly broke a sweat to “end the abundance” of the wealthiest region on the planet.

Moscow does not even entertain the notion of negotiating with Brussels because there’s nothing to negotiate – considering puny Eurocrats will only be hurled away from their zombified state when the dire socio-economic consequences of “the end of abundance” will finally translate into peasants with pitchforks roaming the continent.

It may be eons away, but inevitably the average Italian, German or Frenchman will connect the dots and realize it is their own “leaders” – national nullities and mostly unelected Eurocrats – who are paving their road to poverty.

You will be poor. And you will like it. Because we are all supporting freedom for Ukrainian neo-nazis. That brings the concept of “multicultural Europe” to a whole new level.

The runaway train, of course, may veer off track and plunge into an Alpine abyss. In this case something might be saved from the wreckage – and “reconstruction” might be on the cards. But reconstruct what?

Europe could always reconstruct a new Reich (collapsed with a bang in 1945); a soft Reich (erected at the end of WWII); or break with its past failures, sing “I’m Free” – and connect with Eurasia. Don’t bet on it.

Get back those Taurian lands

The SMO may be about to radically change – something that will drive the already clueless denizens of U.S. Think Tankland and their Euro vassals even more berserk.

President Putin and Defense Minister Shoigu have been giving serious hints the only way for the pain dial is up – considering the mounting evidence of terrorism inside Russian territory; the vile assassination of Darya Dugina; non-stop shelling of civilians in border regions; attacks on Crimea; the use of chemical weapons; and the shelling of Zaporizhzhya power plant raising the risk of a nuclear catastrophe.

This past Tuesday, one day before the SMO completing six months, Crimea’s permanent representative to the Kremlin, Georgy Muradov, all but spelled it out.

He stressed the necessity to “reintegrate all the Taurian lands” – Crimea, the Northern Black Sea and the Azov Sea – into a single entity as soon as “in the next few months”. He defined this process as “objective and demanded by the population of these regions.”

Muradov added, “given not only the strikes on Crimea, but also the continuous shelling of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, the dam of the Kakhovka reservoir, peaceful facilities on the territory of Russia, the DNR and LNR, there are all preconditions to qualify the actions of the Banderite regime as terrorist.”

The conclusion is inevitable: “the political issue of changing the format of the special military operation” enters the agenda. After all,
Washington and Brussels “have already prepared new anti-Crimean provocations of the NATO-Bandera alliance”.

So when we examine what the “restoration of the Taurian lands” implies, we see not only the contours of Novorossiya but most of all that there won’t be any security for Crimea – and thus Russia – in the Black Sea without Odessa becoming Russian again. And that, on top of it, will solve the Transnistria dilemma.

Add to it Kharkov – the capital and top industrial center of Greater Donbass. And of course Dnipropetrovsk. They are all SMO objectives, the whole combo to be later protected by buffer zones in Chernihiv and Sumy oblasts.

Only then the “tasks” – as Shoigu calls them – of the SMO would be declared fulfilled. The timeline could be eight to ten months – after a lull under General Winter.

As the turbo-charged SMO rolls on, it’s a given the Empire of Chaos, Lies and Plunder will continue to prop up and weaponize the Kiev racket till Kingdom Come – and that will apply especially after the Return of Odessa. What’s unclear is who and what gang will be left in Kiev posing as the ruling party and doing specials for Vogue while duly fulfilling the mass of imperial diktats.

It’s also a given the CIA/MI6 combo will be refining non-stop the contours of a massive guerrilla war against Russia in multiple fronts – crammed with terror attacks and all sorts of provocations.

Yet in the Bigger Picture it’s the inevitable Russian military victory in Donbass and then “all the Taurian lands” that will hit the collective West like a lethal asteroid. The geopolitical humiliation will be unbearable; not to mention the geoeconomic humiliation for vassalized Europe.

As Eurasian integration will become an even stronger vector, Russian diplomacy will be solidifying the new normal. Never forget that Moscow had no trouble normalizing relations, for instance, with China, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Israel. All these actors, in different ways, directly contributed to the fall of the USSR. Now – with one exception – they are all focused on The Dawn of the Eurasian Century.

Biden and the U.S.-Israel-GCC axis: It’s not the oil, it’s the money

The New Dark Age

Monday, 1 August 2022 — Struggle – La Lucha

U.S. oil giant Chevron plunders natural gas from the stolen waters off Palestine

Joe Biden didn’t go to Arabia in July to beg for oil. That’s not the nature of the U.S.-Saudi relationship.

He didn’t go to Palestine to promote peace. The U.S.-Israeli relationship is based on endless war. And war is what Biden’s trip was about.

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Conflict Escalation: Gaza Strip

There are continued reports of increased rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, and vice versa. Both sides are claiming to have taken retaliatory strikes.

Red markers indicate locations of Israeli airstrikes
Post destroyed by Israeli airstrike
Israeli airstrikes in Gaza
Iron Dome activated
More Iron Dome footage
Building targeted by IDF (video released by IDF)

Provoking China – Updates from Global Times

🇨🇳 🇹🇼 🇺🇸 #China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has responded to Speaker #Pelosi’s visit to #Taiwan, stating that it “is a serious violation of the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-U.S. joint communiqués. It has a severe impact on the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, and seriously infringes upon China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“It gravely undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and sends a seriously wrong signal to the separatist forces for “Taiwan independence”. China firmly opposes and sternly condemns this, and has made serious démarche and strong protest to the #UnitedStates.”

The statement added that “These moves, like playing with fire, are extremely dangerous. Those who play with fire will perish by it.”

China Launches Live-Fire Drills Off Taiwan With US Carrier Group Nearby, As Pelosi’s Plane En Route To Asia

American Buddhist Net

According to prior comments from President Biden, the Pentagon wants House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to cancel her visit to Taiwan – but now pending her possible arrival in Taipei the US military has moved a Navy strike group into the South China Sea led by the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier.

The USS Reagan left a port call in Singapore and is now patrolling waters near China, with Beijing flexing its own military muscle by launching fresh naval exercises near the self-ruled island – and more worrisomely issuing threats that the PLA military is on stand-by to respond with “forceful measures” if needed.  Turkey’s EHA media outlet on Saturday is circulating (unverified) video purporting to show large US warplane formation flyovers of the South China sea, with destroyers below…

link

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Provoking Beijing, by Moon of Alabama

STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC

The U.S is dancing on the edge of war with Russia and now Washington wants to do the same with Beijing. It’s a mark of the delusions gripping Washington that they think this can end well. From Moon of Alabama at moonofalabama.org:

Yves Smith is aghast about the U.S. eyepoking of China:

The neocons above all seem unable to process that the days of US hegemony are over. It boggles the mind that they are not just eyepoking but escalating greatly with China via the still-planned Pelosi visit to Taiwan in August. As we’ll explain, China is fully cognizant of the fact that Pelosi is number two in line after Harris should something happen to the increasingly addle-brained Biden. And they don’t buy for a second that Pelosi is operating without the explicit approval of the Administration.Note that it’s entirely possible that Pelosi revived her Taiwan trip plan (recall…

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Philip Giraldi: All American Lie Factory

Source: https://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/the-all-american-lie-factory/

[This article is derived from a speech I made at the July 23rd Peace and Freedom Rally in Kingston New York]

There are some things that I believe to be true about the anarchy that purports to be US foreign policy. First, and most important, I do not believe that any voter cast a ballot for Joe Biden because he or she wanted him to relentlessly pursue a needless conflict with Russia that could easily escalate into a nuclear war with unimaginable consequences for all parties. Biden has recently declared that the US will support Ukraine “until we win” and, as there are already tens of billions of dollars of weapons going to Ukraine plus American “advisers” on the ground, it constitutes a scenario in which American and Russian soldiers will soon likely be shooting at each other. The President of Serbia and columnists like Pat Buchanan and Tulsi Gabbard believe that we are already de facto in World War 3 and one has to wonder how the White House is getting away with ignoring the War Powers mandates in the US Constitution.

Second, I believe that the Russians approached the United States and its allies with some quite reasonable requests regarding their own national security given that a hostile military alliance was about to land on its doorsteps. The issues at stake were fully negotiable but the US refused to budge on anything and Russia felt compelled to take military action. Nevertheless, there is no such thing as a good war. I categorically reject anyone invading anyone else unless there is a dire and immediate threat, but the onus on how the Ukraine situation developed the way it did is on Washington.

Third, I believe that the US and British governments in particularly have been relentlessly lying to the people and that the media in most of west is party to the dissemination of the lies to sustain the war effort against Russia in Ukraine. The lies include both the genesis and progress of the war and there has also been a sustained effort to demonize President Vladimir Putin and anything Russian, including food, drinks, the Russian language and culture and even professional athletes. The latest victim is a Tchaikovsky symphony banned in Canada. Putin is being personally blamed for inflation, food shortages and energy problems which more properly are the fault of the Washington-led ill-thought-out reaction to him. There is considerable irony in the fact that Biden is giving Ukraine $1.7 billion for healthcare, while healthcare in the US is generally considered among the poorest in the developed world.

I believe that Russia is winning the war comfortably and Ukraine will be forced to give up territory while the American taxpayer gets the bill for the reckless spending policies, currently totaling more than $60 billion, while also looking forward to runaway inflation, energy shortages, and, in a worst-case scenario, a possible collapse of the dollar.

All of the above and the politics behind it has led me to believe that the United States, assisted by some of its allies, has become addicted to war as an excuse for domestic failures as well as a replacement for diplomacy to settle international disputes. The White House hypocritically describes its role as “global leadership” or maintaining a “rules based international order” or even defending “democracy against authoritarianism.” But at the same time the Biden Administration has just completed a fiasco evacuation that ended a twenty-year occupation of Afghanistan. Not having learned anything from Afghanistan, there are now US troops illegally present in Syria and Iraq and Washington is conniving to attack Iran over false claims made by Israel that the Iranians are developing a nuclear weapon. Neither Syria nor Iraq nor Iran in any way threaten the United States, just as the Russians did not threaten Americans prior to a regime change intervention in Ukraine starting in 2014, when the US arranged the overthrow of a government that was friendly to Moscow. The US has also begun to energize NATO to start looking at steps to take to confront the alleged Chinese threat.

The toll coming from constant warfare and fearmongering has also enabled a steady erosion of the liberties that Americans once enjoyed, including free speech and freedom to associate. I would like to discuss what the ordinary concerned citizen can do to cut through all the lies surrounding what is currently taking place, which might well be described as the most aggressive propaganda campaign the world has ever seen, far more extensive than the lying and dissimulation by the White House and Pentagon officials that preceded the disastrous Iraq war. It is an information plus propaganda war that sustains the actual fighting on the ground, and it is in some senses far more dangerous as it seeks to involve more countries in the carnage while also creating a global threat perception that will be used to justify further military interventions.

Part of the problem is that the US government is awash with bad information that it does not know how to manage so it makes it hard to identify anything that might actually be true. Back in my time as an intelligence officer operating overseas, there were a number of short cuts that were used to categorize and evaluate information. For example, if one were hanging out in a local bar and overheard two apparent government officials discussing something of interest that might be happening in the next week, one might report it to Washington with a source description FNU/LNU, which stood for “first name unknown” and “last name unknown.” In other words, it was unverifiable hearsay coming from two individuals who could not be identified. As such it was pretty much worthless, but it clogged up the system and invited speculation.

My personal favorite, however, was the more precise source descriptions developed by military intelligence using an alphabet letter followed by a number in a sequence running from A-1 to F-6. At the top of an intelligence report there would be an assessment of the source, or agent. A-1 meant a piece of information that was both credible and had been confirmed by other sources and that was also produced by an agent that had actual access to the information in question. At the other end of the scale, an F-6 was information that was dubious produced by a source that appeared to have no actual access to the information.

By that standard, we Americans have been fed a lot of largely fabricated F-6 “fake information” coming from both the government and the media to justify the Ukraine disaster. Here is how you can spot it. If it is a newspaper or magazine article skim all the way down the text until you reach a point towards the end where the sourcing of the information is generally hidden. If it is attributed to a named individual who indeed indisputably had direct access to the information it would at least suggest that the reporting contains a kernel of truth. But that is almost never the case, and one normally sees the source described as an “anonymous source” or a “government official” or even, in many cases, there is no source attribution at all. That generally means that the information conveyed in the reporting is completely unreliable and should be considered the product of a fabricator or a government and media propaganda mill. When a story is written by a journalist who claims to be on the scene it is also important to check out whether he or she is actually on site or working from a pool operating safely in Poland to produce the reporting. Yahoo News takes the prize in spreading propaganda as it currently reproduces press releases originating with the Ukrainian government and posts them as if they are unbiased reporting on what is taking place on the ground.

Another trick to making fake news look real is to route it through a third country. When I was in Turkey we in CIA never placed a story in the media there directly. Instead, a journalist on our payroll in France would do the story and the Turkish media would pick it up, believing that because it had appeared in Paris it must be true even though it was not. Currently, I have noted that a lot of apparently MI-6 produced fake stories on Ukraine have been appearing in the British media, most notably the Telegraph and Guardian. They are then replayed in the US media and elsewhere to validate stories that are essentially fabricated.

Television and radio media is even worse than print media as it almost never identifies the sources for the stories that it carries. So my advice is to be skeptical of what you read or hear regarding wars and rumors of wars. The war party is bipartisan in the United States and it is just itching to seize the opportunity to get a new venture going, and they are oblivious to the fact that they might in the process be about to destroy the world as we know it. We must expose their lies and unite and fight to make sure that they can’t get away with it!

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

Think Tankers Gone Bad • Nuclear Diner

Nuclear Diner

This seems suboptimal.

The FBI has seized the electronic data of a retired four-star general who authorities say made false statements and withheld “incriminating” documents about his role in an illegal foreign lobbying campaign on behalf of the wealthy Persian Gulf nation of Qatar. (AP)

It’s one more instance of what’s been going on for years. People have posts in government and then sell themselves to another country to use what they’ve learned in government to make it favor that country. Members of Congress and their aides. Military personnel. Or they join defense contractors to help them get federal money. Sometimes they edge over the legal line.

Or they join think tanks. General John Allen, referred to above, became the head of the Brookings Institution when he retired from the military in 2017. There are at least two issues here.

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Several Civvies Bombed to Death and Dozens Wounded by Ukraine Days Before Zelensky Advisor Brags on Interview that Ukr Uses Civilians as Meatshields

Digital Empire

These happened on June 11 to 13. Non military targets were shelled. A market was hit. Several houses were hit. Several people were killed, and many more were wounded. Reports say that Tochka-U ballistic missiles were used by Ukr to bomb people’s houses.

And then on June 14, one of Zelensky’s advisors, Mikhail Podolyak, took an interview with the New York Times and boasted that the Ukrainian military’s predominant tactic is to embed themselves into the civilian populace while fighting. Apparently the Ukrainian command sought to take advantage of a directive given to Russian soldiers that forbids Russian soldiers from targeting civilian areas.

In an interview with the New York Times published on Tuesday, Mikhail Podolyak argued that the “Russians fight poorly in the cities.” The Ukrainian official went on to explain that “in the cities, it is possible to maneuver, and find cover, and you minimize losses; you can…

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Croatian Media and Police Covering Up Migrant Violence

Political Reactionary

Croatia used to be an extremely safe country, but this appears to be bound to change. While Croatian police does not have any (public) statistics on violence and identity of perpetators, there is an obvious trend of increase in violence as number of migrants on Croatian territory increases. As usual, multiculturalism leads to violent and dysfunctional society.

Major issue is that real number of migrants in Croatia is significantly higher than the official numbers. In the last few years, only very few cases of rapes, robberies and generally migrant-caused violence had ended up in the media, yet real numbers are far greater. And this is no accident. Migrant violence is being covered up, as can be seen from now two months old case of murder in Zagreb.

Dead body had been found on a tram line 6 in New Zagreb. First information was that the cause of death was unknown…

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BEHOLD: THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF WORLD PROBLEMS & HUMAN POTENTIAL • Risk of Eco-Accidents

“The Great Work” = Enabled by Climate Emergency

Source: http://encyclopedia.uia.org/en/problem/132519

Risk of Eco-Accidents:

NATURE: Abrupt and widespread discontinuities exist in the fossil record of fauna and are considered evidence of widespread mass extinction of species. These low frequency events have been attributed to fluctuations in sea level, reversals of the geomagnetic fields (exposing the earth’s surface to lethal radiation), impacts of the earth by very large meteors (putting tons of dust into the atmosphere cutting off photosynthesis) and supernovae (causing catastrophic but temporary climate changes). There are also a range of potential man-made ecocatastrophes, such as triggering an earthquake with a an underground nuclear explosion. In addition, there are other more fantastic possibilities. The sun will expand into a red star engulfing Mercury and Venus and melting lead on the Earth. The moon can fall to earth, a comet, a swarm of meteorites or a black hole could collide with the earth. The earth will eventually loose its atmosphere. A life form might evolve destroying all of humankind.

This is the source material for the United Nations Agenda 2030 – the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The carrying out of the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is the partnership formed between the United Nations and the World Economic Forum known as “The Great Reset”…

See where this Masonic aptitude takes us…

Will the Military Industrial Complex Permit Good Relations Between the U.S. and China? • Strategic Culture Foundation

Source: https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2021/11/16/will-military-industrial-complex-permit-good-relations-between-us-and-china/

The world would benefit enormously if Joe Biden terminated its ascent by coming to terms with China and Russia, Brian Cloughley writes.

At the recent semi-successful United Nations COP26 conference on climate change there was an unexpected revelation that the U.S. and China had engaged in some thirty virtual meetings on the subject over the past year. Their decision to “jointly strengthen climate action” was very welcome from the environment point of view, and even more welcome because it demonstrated that Washington and Beijing could actually get along in one aspect of international relations. It also raised the question as to whether they could ever sit down together and discuss the equally pressing problem of looming conflict.

When U.S. climate envoy John Kerry announced the agreement he acknowledged that although “the United States and China have no shortage of differences” it seemed that “on climate, cooperation is the only way to get this job done.” In this, however, he seemed to be taking a different track to President Joe Biden, who played into the ever-welcoming hands of Washington hawks on November 2 when he castigated Presidents Xi and Putin for non-appearance at the COP gathering. This, he declared, was a “big mistake” and contrasted with the fact that “we showed up” but “they didn’t show up… It is a gigantic issue and they just walked away. How do you do that and claim to have any leadership mantle?”

It is barely credible that the President of the United States would state that the Presidents of the world’s other most important countries are not effective leaders. The BBC’s record of his diatribe is disturbing, as it demonstrates a desire for confrontation rather than a genuine preparedness to calm things down. He said that “the fact that China is trying to assert, understandably, a new role in the world as a world leader — not showing up, come on.” He continued by declaring that Russia’s wilderness was burning while President Putin “stays mum” about the problem. He did not know, or deliberately ignored the fact that, as the BBC reported, “before Mr Biden’s speech Mr Putin virtually addressed a meeting on forest management at the COP26 summit on Tuesday, saying that Russia takes the ‘strongest and most vigorous measures to conserve’ woodlands.”

There was little surprise that as COP26 was drawing to a close, President Xi warned against a return to “Cold War-era” divisions when it was made known that he and President Biden would meet on November 15. He said plainly that “attempts to draw ideological lines or form small circles on geopolitical grounds are bound to fail,” and China’s Ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang, expanded on the subject at a function in Washington of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, saying that China “always bears in mind the fundamental interests of the people of both countries and the whole world, and handles China-U.S. relations from a strategic and long-term perspective”.

Most people are aware that China has a long-term view on its place in the world, and even President Biden, in his message to the gathering, declared that “from tackling the Covid-19 pandemic to addressing the existential threat of climate crisis, the relationship between the U.S. and China has global significance. Solving these challenges and seizing these opportunities will require the broader international community to come together as we each do our part to build a safe, peaceful and resilient future.” He did not, however, place any emphasis on bilateral negotiations, which was left to President Xi, who wrote that “China-U.S. relations are at a critical historical juncture. Both countries will gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. Cooperation is the only right choice.”

President Xi’s desire that China should get together with the United States specifically to plan a joint way ahead for a peaceful future has not been echoed in Washington where, as reported by the Straits Times, “the White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated that Washington and Beijing had ‘an agreement in principle’ to have a virtual summit before the end of the year.” Her explanation was that “this is part of our ongoing efforts to responsibly manage the competition between our countries,” while stressing that it was “not about seeking specific deliverables.” In other words, don’t let anybody get their hopes up that Mr Biden would pursue collaboration that will lead to improved bilateral relations. He might not go so far down into the insult sewer as to reiterate his previous public declaration that Mr Xi doesn’t have a “leadership mantle”, but it is unlikely there will be long-term substance.

It is not surprising that Mr Biden is reluctant to compromise, because the Pentagon and its associates have already notified the world they consider China to be menacing and that the United States should “meet the pacing challenge presented by the PRC’s increasingly capable military and its global ambitions”.

In its November 3 Report to Congress, the Pentagon details “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China” and presents the Pentagon’s case for continuing to expand the U.S. military and acquire even more staggeringly expensive weaponry. As the New York Times reported, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, said that China “is clearly challenging us regionally, and their aspiration is to challenge us globally… they have a China dream, and they want to challenge the so-called liberal rules-based order.” The Washington Post noted the Report’s concern about China’s global vision, in that it “already has established a military base in Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa. To support its goals, it wants to build more facilities overseas and is considering more than a dozen countries that include Cambodia, Pakistan and Angola. Such a network could interfere with U.S. military operations and support offensive operations against the United States.”

The Pentagon’s warning that China’s establishment of a military base in a foreign country constitutes a threat is absurd to the point of risibility, especially in the context of the U.S. military footprint which extends to “750 military base sites estimated in around 80+ foreign countries and colonies/territories.” Further, it is calculated that the U.S. spends more on its military than the combined defence budgets of eleven major countries : China, India, Russia, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, Italy, and Australia.

It is not surprising that William Hartung and Mandy Smithberger wrote in TomDispatch on November 9 that “The arms industry’s lobbying efforts are especially insidious. In an average year, it employs around 700 lobbyists, more than one for every member of Congress… A 2018 investigation by the Project On Government Oversight found that, in the prior decade, 380 high-ranking Pentagon officials and military officers had become lobbyists, board members, executives, or consultants for weapons contractors within two years of leaving their government jobs.” And of even more concern for the workings of democracy it is sinister, in the words of Dan Auble, that “defence companies spend millions every year lobbying politicians and donating to their campaigns. In the past two decades, their extensive network of lobbyists and donors have directed $285 million in campaign contributions and $2.5 billion in lobbying spending to influence defence policy.”

Good luck to Mr Biden. Let us hope that he will sacrifice popularity for peace and that he will bear in mind the words of his illustrious predecessor President Eisenhower, sixty years ago, that “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” Indeed it has risen. But the world would benefit enormously if Joe Biden terminated its ascent by coming to terms with China and Russia.

US Response To China’s Hypersonic Missile Test Fails For Third Time – National Justice

Source: National Justice

By: Eric Striker

Earlier this week, the Financial Times broke the story that China successfully tested a hypersonic glider capable of delivering a nuclear payload. 

The alleged launch, which Chinese officials are publicly denying, occurred in late July. American defense systems are incapable of countering the technology, which travels through space to complete a revolution around earth. 

The combination of a glider with an orbiter is not groundbreaking and has been replicated in the past by the US. What makes the Chinese prototype unique is that it is designed to strike a target with a mounted nuclear weapon that evades current radar and missile defense technology.  

The timing of the Pentagon leaking this story to the Financial Times appears to have been a deliberate act to build hype for the US’ most recent hypersonic weapons tests this week. 

Yet, in a shocking embarrassment, the booster rockets meant to propel America’s version of the device failed during a trial in Alaska. As a result, the prototype’s hypersonic body could not be tested

This is now the Pentagon’s third failed attempt at launching the space-age weapon since April. Analysts are now warning that China and Russia may be further ahead of the US in the arms race than previously thought. 

The weapons contractor Lockheed Martin has been tasked with taking the lead in developing hypersonic missiles. The company is able to secure contracts from the Pentagon by lobbying and buying off politicians in Congress.

The amount of corruption involved in the Department of Defense’s (DoD) contracts with the military defense industry appears to be catching up to Washington. Last February the US Air Force admitted that Lockheed’s expensive F-35 jet, which was meant to revolutionize American air supremacy, is a failure. The F-35 program in total is expected to waste an eye-watering $1.7 trillion by the time its over. 

China’s military budget is $252 billion a year while America’s is $733 billion. US military spending has long been criticized as a source of graft and fraud that appears to be causing problems for America’s ability to project imperial power as competitors arise.

The Biden administration’s appointment of Lloyd Austin to lead the DoD despite his massive conflicts of interest related to his deep financial ties to the weapons industry has been noted as a personification of this issue. 

Turkey’s existential choice: BRI or bust • The Cradle

By: Matthew Ehret

Source: The Cradle • Turkey’s existential choice: BRI or bust

Two destinies are pulling on West Asia from two opposing visions of the future.

As devotees of the rules-based order laid out by Zbigniew Brzezinski 40 years ago strive to uphold their dystopic model of dividing populations to feed endless wars, a more optimistic program of cooperation is being ushered in by China’s ever-evolving Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

While many nations have jumped on board this new paradigm with enthusiastic support, others have found themselves precariously straddling both worlds.

Turkey plays footsie with great powers

Chief among those indecisive nations is the Republic of Turkey, whose leader was given a harsh wake up call on 15 July, 2016. It was on this date that Russian intelligence provided Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the edge needed to narrowly avoid a coup launched by followers of exiled Islamist leader Fetullah Gulen.

The timing of the coup has been subject to much speculation, but the fact that it occurred just two weeks after Erdogan’s letter of apology to Putin went public was likely not a coincidence. The apology in question referred to Turkey’s decision to shoot down a Russian fighter jet flying in Syrian airspace in November 2015, killing a soldier and very nearly activating NATO’s collective security pact.

For years instrumental in providing weapons and logistical support to ISIS in both Iraq and Syria (via Operation Timber Sycamore), it is possible Erdogan was tiring of being used to further western interests in the Levant, when it had its own, quite different, aspirations in those territories.

Whatever the case, since that fateful day, Turkey’s behavior as a player in West Asia took on an improved (though not entirely redeemed) character on a number of levels. Chief among those positive behavioral changes is Ankara’s participation in the Astana process with Tehran and Moscow to demilitarize large swathes of Syria. Turkey then purchased Russian S400 medium-long range missile defense systems, and has recently advanced plans to jointly produce submarines, jet engines and warships with Russia, while also accelerating the construction of a nuclear reactor built by Rosatom.

That said, old habits die hard, and Turkey has been caught playing in both worlds, providing continued support for the terrorist-laden Free Syrian Army and Al Qaeda offshoot Hayat Tahrir Al Sham in Syria’s Idlib governorate. Turkey now has a total of 60 military bases and observation posts that provide protection for these and other militant groups in the country’s north.

The Middle Corridor option

On an economic level, Turkey’s ambition to become a gateway between Europe and Asia along the New Silk Road also indicates Erdogan’s resolution to break from his previous commitments to join the European Union and engage more intricately with the East.

Turkey’s 7500 km Trans-Caspian East-West Middle Corridor is an ambitious project that runs parallel to the northern corridor of the BRI connecting China to Europe.

This corridor, which began running in November 2019, has the benefit of cutting nearly 2000 km of distance off the active northern corridor and provides an efficient route between China and Europe. The route itself moves goods from the north-eastern Lianyungang Port in China through Xinjiang into Kazakhstan, the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and on to Europe via land and sea routes. Erdogan has previously stated that “the Middle Corridor lies at the heart of the BRI” and has called to “integrate the Middle Corridor into the BRI.”

Other projects that are subsumed by the Middle Corridor include the $20 billion Istanbul Canal which will be a 45km connection between the Black and Marmara Seas (reducing traffic on the Bosporus) as well as the Marmara undersea railway, Eurasian Tunnel, and the third Istanbul Bridge.

Without China’s increased involvement, not only will these projects fail to take shape, but the Middle Corridor itself would crumble into oblivion. Chinese trade with Turkey recently grew from $2 billion in 2002 to $26 billion in 2020, more than 1,000 Chinese companies have investment projects throughout the nation, and Chinese consortiums hold a 65 percent stake in Turkey’s third largest port.

Restraining Ankara’s options

These projects have not come without a fight from both internal forces within Turkey and external ones. Two major Turkish opposition parties have threatened to cancel the Canal Istanbul as a tactic to scare away potential investors at home and abroad. And internationally, financial warfare has been unleashed against Turkey’s economy on numerous levels.

Credit ratings agencies have downgraded Turkey to a ‘high risk’ nation, and sanctions have been launched by the US and EU. These acts have contributed to international investors pulling out from Turkish government bonds (a quarter of all bonds were held by foreign investors in 2009, collapsing to less than 4 percent today) and depriving the nation of vital productive credit to build infrastructure. These attacks have also resulted in the biggest Turkish banks stating they will not provide any funding to the megaproject.

Despite the fact that Chinese investments into Turkey have increased significantly, western Financial Direct Investments (FDIs) have fallen from $12.18 billion in 2009 to only $6.67 billion in 2021.

Dialing down its Uyghur project

As with Turkey’s relations with Russia, Erdogan’s desperate need to collaborate with China in the financial realm has resulted in a change of policy in his support for Uyghur extremists. Of the 13 million Chinese Uyghurs, 50,000 live in Turkey, many of whom are part of a larger CIA-funded operation aimed at carving up China.

For many years, Turkey has provided safe haven to terrorist groups like the East Turkmenistan Islamic Movement, which cut its teeth fighting alongside ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Operatives affiliated with the World Uyghur Congress, funded by the US National Endowment for Democracy and based in Germany, have also found fertile soil in Turkey.

In 2009, Erdogan publicly denounced China for conducting a genocide on Muslims living in Xinjiang (long before it became de rigueur to do so in western nations). After Turkey’s 2016 failed coup, things began to change. In 2017, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu stated: “We will absolutely not allow in any activities in Turkey that target or oppose China. Additionally, we will take measures to eliminate any media reports targeting China.”

There are many parallels to Turkey’s protection of radical Islamic groups in Idlib, but Ankara’s protection of radical anti-China Uyghur groups was more gradual. However, recent significant moves by Erdogan have demonstrated good faith, including the 2017 extradition treaty signed with China (ratified by Beijing though not yet by Ankara), an increased clampdown on Uyghur extremist groups, and the decision to re-instate the exclusion order banning World Uyghur Congress president Dolkun Isa from entering Turkey on 19 September, 2021.

Might the INSTC bypass Ankara?

Not only is Turkey eager to play a role in China’s BRI and secure essential long term credit from Beijing – without which its future will be locked to the much diminished fortunes of the European Union – but Ankara has also factored the growing International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) into its calculus.

A multimodal corridor stretching across a dozen nations, the INSTC was launched by Russia, India and Iran in 2002 and has been given new life by China’s BRI. In recent years, members of the project have grown to also include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, Syria, Belarus, Oman and Bulgaria.

While Turkey is a member of the project, there is no guarantee that the megaproject will directly move through its borders. Here too, Erdogan is keen to stay on good terms with Russia and its allies.

The Middle Corridor loses its shine
Up until now, Turkey’s inability to break with zero-sum thinking has resulted in the self-delusion that Turkey’s Middle Corridor would be the only possible choice China had to move goods through to Europe and North Africa.

This perception was for many years buoyed by the war across the ISIS-ridden region of Syria and Iraq (and the relative isolation of Iran), which appeared to ensure that no competing development corridor could be activated.

However, Iran’s entry into the BRI as part of its 25-year Comprehensive Strategic Partnership struck with China in March, and its ascension to full membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in September, has provided an attractive new east-west alternative route to the Middle Corridor.

This potential branch of the New Silk Road connecting China with Europe via Iran, Iraq and Syria into the Mediterranean through Syria’s port of Latakia provides a unique opportunity to not only reconstruct the war-torn West Asian nations, but to also create a durable field of stability after decades of western manipulation.

This new route has the additional attraction of incorporating Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and other Arab states into a new strategic dynamic that connects Eurasia with an African continent desperate for real development. As of this writing, 40 sub-Saharan African nations have signed onto China’s BRI.

The first glimmering light of this new corridor took form in a small but game-changing 30 km rail line connecting the border city of Shalamcheh in Iran with Basra in Iraq. Work began this year, with its $150 million cost supplied by the semi-private Mostazan Foundation of Iran.

Foreseeing a much larger expansion of this historic connection, Iran’s ambassador to Iraq stated: “Iraq can be connected to China through the railways of Iran and increase its strategic importance in the region … this will be a very big change and Iran’s railways will be connected to Iraq and Syria and to the Mediterranean.”

Ambassador Masjidi was here referring to the provisional agreement reached among Iran, Iraq and Syria in November 2018 to build a 1570 km railway and highway from the Persian Gulf in Iran to the Latakia Port via Iraq.

Already, Iran’s construction-focused investments in war-torn and sanction-torn Syria have grown immensely, boosting estimated trade between the two nations with an additional $1 billion over the next 12 months.

Indicating the higher development dynamic that is shaping the Iraq–Iran railway, Iraq’s Prime Minister stated in May 2021 that “negotiations with Iran to build a railway between Basra and Shalamcheh have reached their final stages and we have signed 15 agreements and memorandums of understanding with Jordan and Egypt regarding energy and transportation lines.”

Indeed, both Egypt and Jordan have also looked east for the only pathway to durable peace in the form of the New Silk Road. The trio of Egypt, Jordan and Iraq began setting the stage for this Silk Road route with a 2017 energy agreement designed to connect the electricity grids of the three nations and also construct a pipeline from Basra to Aqaba in Jordan followed by a larger extension to Egypt.

Iraq and the New Silk Road
In December 2020, Iraq and Egypt agreed on an important oil for reconstruction deal along the lines of a similar program activated earlier by former Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi and his Chinese counterpart in September 2019. The latter project was seriously downgraded when Mahdi stepped down in May 2020, and although PM Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has begun to repair Chinese relations, Iraq has not yet returned to the level of cooperation reached by his predecessor.

To date, the only major power that has shown any genuine concern for Iraq’s reconstruction – and been willing to invest actual resources toward it – has been China.

Despite the trillions of dollars wasted by the United States in its brutal invasion and occupation of the country, not a single energy project has been built by US dollars there. In fact, the only power plant constructed after 2003 has been the Chinese-built 2450 mW thermal plant in Wassit which supplies 20 percent of Iraq’s electricity. Iraq requires at least 19 GW of electricity in order to supply its basic needs after years of western bombardment strategically targeting its vital infrastructure.

To this day, hardly any domestic manufacturing exists in Iraq, with 97 percent of its needs purchased from abroad, and entirely with oil revenue. If this dire situation is to be reversed, then China’s oil-for-construction plan must be brought fully back online.

The kernel of this plan involves a special fund which will accumulate sales of discounted Iraqi oil to China until a $1.5 billion threshold is reached. When this happens, Chinese state banks have agreed to add an additional $8.5 billion, bringing the fund to $10 billion to be used on a full reconstruction program driven by roads, rail, water treatment, and energy grids, as well as soft infrastructure like schools and healthcare.

Where the western economic models have tended to keep nations underdeveloped by emphasizing raw material extraction with no long-term investments that benefit its citizenry, creating no manufacturing capabilities or an increase in the powers of labor, the Chinese-model is entirely different, focusing instead on creating full spectrum economies. Where the former is zero sum and a closed system, the latter model is win-win and open.

If Turkey can find the sense to liberate itself from the obsolete logic of zero sum geopolitics, then a bright future will await all of West and Central Asia.

There is no reason to believe that the Middle Corridor will in any way be harmed by the success of an Iran–Iraq–Syria Silk Road corridor, or by its African extensions. By encouraging the development of collaborative relations, large scale infrastructure, and full-spectrum economic networks, abundance can be created in these regions to offset the underdevelopment and stagnation of recent years.

Israel-Syria war over Golan Heights could be close — BIG BROTHER in the 21. Century

Syria and Israel are seemingly edging ever closer to all-out war. But the Western media isn’t really talking about it. ———————————————————— Detailed U.N. Report on Israeli Occupation of Golan Heights CONTACT@IFAMERICANSKNEW.ORG  MARCH 22, 2019 Israeli tanks in the Golan Heights during Israel’s 1967 invasion of Syria. Occupied Syrian Golan Section V of the “UN Report of […]

Israel-Syria war over Golan Heights could be close — BIG BROTHER in the 21. Century

Thermonuclear Cyberwar • JournaL of Cybersecurity

Journal of Cybersecurity, Volume 3, Issue 1, March 2017, Pages 37–48, https://doi.org/10.1093/cybsec/tyw017

By: Erik Gartzke & Jon R. Lindsay

Abstract
Nuclear command and control increasingly relies on computing networks that might be vulnerable to cyber attack. Yet nuclear deterrence and cyber operations have quite different political properties. For the most part, nuclear actors can openly advertise their weapons to signal the costs of aggression to potential adversaries, thereby reducing the danger of misperception and war. Cyber actors, in contrast, must typically hide their capabilities, as revelation allows adversaries to patch, reconfigure, or otherwise neutralize the threat. Offensive cyber operations are better used than threatened, while the opposite, fortunately, is true for nuclear weapons. When combined, the warfighting advantages of cyber operations become dangerous liabilities for nuclear deterrence. Increased uncertainty about the nuclear/cyber balance of power raises the risk of miscalculation during a brinksmanship crisis. We should expect strategic stability in nuclear dyads to be, in part, a function of relative offensive and defensive cyber capacity. To reduce the risk of crisis miscalculation, states should improve rather than degrade mutual understanding of their nuclear deterrents.


Introduction
In the 1983 movie WarGames, a teenager hacks into the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) and almost triggers World War III. After a screening of the film, President Ronald Reagan allegedly asked his staff, “Could something like this really happen?” The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff replied, “Mr. President, the problem is much worse than you think.” The National Security Agency (NSA) had been hacking Russian and Chinese communications for years, but the burgeoning personal computer revolution was creating serious vulnerabilities for the United States too. Reagan directed a series of reviews that culminated in a classified national security decision directive (NSDD-145) entitled “National Policy on Telecommunications and Automated Information Systems Security.” More alarmist studies, and potential remedies, emerged in recent decades as technicians and policymakers came to appreciate the evolving threat [1–3].

Cyber warfare is routinely overhyped as a new weapon of mass destruction, but when used in conjunction with actual weapons of mass destruction, severe, and underappreciated, dangers emerge. One side of a stylized debate about cybersecurity in international relations argues that offensive advantages in cyberspace empower weaker nations, terrorist cells, or even lone rogue operators to paralyze vital infrastructure [4–8]. The other side argues that operational difficulties and effective deterrence restrains the severity of cyber attack, while governments and cybersecurity firms have a pecuniary interest in exaggerating the threat [9–13]. Although we have contributed to the skeptical side of this debate [14–16], the same strategic logic that leads us to view cyberwar as a limited political instrument in most situations also leads us to view it as incredibly destabilizing in rare situations. In a recent Israeli wargame of a regional scenario involving the United States and Russia, one participant remarked on “how quickly localized cyber events can turn dangerously kinetic when leaders are ill-prepared to deal in the cyber domain” [17]. Importantly, this sort of catalytic instability arises not from the cyber domain itself but through its interaction with forces and characteristics in other domains (land, sea, air, etc.). Further, it arises only in situations where actors possess, and are willing to use, robust traditional military forces to defend their interests.

Classical deterrence theory developed to explain nuclear deterrence with nuclear weapons, but different types of weapons or combinations of operations in different domains can have differential effects on deterrence and defense [18, 19]. Nuclear weapons and cyber operations are particularly complementary (i.e. nearly complete opposites) with respect to their strategic characteristics. Theorists and practitioners have stressed the unprecedented destructiveness of nuclear weapons in explaining how nuclear deterrence works, but it is equally, if not more, important for deterrence that capabilities and intentions are clearly communicated. As quickly became apparent, public displays of their nuclear arsenals improved deterrence. At the same time, disclosing details of a nation’s nuclear capabilities did not much degrade the ability to strike or retaliate, given that defense against nuclear attack remains extremely difficult. Knowledge of nuclear capabilities is necessary to achieve a deterrent effect [20]. Cyber operations, in contrast, rely on undisclosed vulnerabilities, social engineering, and creative guile to generate indirect effects in the information systems that coordinate military, economic, and social behavior. Revelation enables crippling countermeasures, while the imperative to conceal capabilities constrains both the scope of cyber operations and their utility for coercive signaling [21, 22]. The diversity of cyber operations and confusion about their effects also contrast with the obvious destructiveness of nuclear weapons.

The problem is that transparency and deception do not mix well. An attacker who hacks an adversary’s nuclear command and control apparatus, or the weapons themselves, will gain an advantage in warfighting that the attacker cannot reveal, while the adversary will continue to believe it wields a deterrent that may no longer exist. Most analyses of inadvertent escalation from cyber or conventional to nuclear war focus on “use it or lose it” pressures and fog of war created by attacks that become visible to the target [23, 24]. In a US–China conflict scenario, for example, conventional military strikes in conjunction with cyber attacks that blind sensors and confuse decision making could generate incentives for both sides to rush to preempt or escalate [25–27]. These are plausible concerns, but the revelation of information about a newly unfavorable balance of power might also cause hesitation and lead to compromise. Cyber blinding could potentially make traditional offensive operations more difficult, shifting the advantage to defenders and making conflict less likely.

Clandestine attacks that remain invisible to the target potentially present a more insidious threat to crisis stability. There are empirical and theoretical reasons for taking seriously the effects of offensive cyber operations on nuclear deterrence, and we should expect the dangers to vary with the relative cyber capabilities of the actors in a crisis interaction.

Nuclear command and control vulnerability

General Robert Kehler, commander of US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) in 2013, stated in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, “we are very concerned with the potential of a cyber-related attack on our nuclear command and control and on the weapons systems themselves” [28]. Nuclear command, control, and communications (NC3) form the nervous system of the nuclear enterprise spanning intelligence and early warning sensors located in orbit and on Earth, fixed and mobile command and control centers through which national leadership can order a launch, operational nuclear forces including strategic bombers, land-based intercontinental missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and the communication and transportation networks that tie the whole apparatus together [29, 30]. NC3 should ideally ensure that nuclear forces will always be available if authorized by the National Command Authority (to enhance deterrence) and never used without authorization (to enhance safety and reassurance). Friendly errors or enemy interference in NC3 can undermine the “always-never” criterion, weakening deterrence [31, 32].

NC3 has long been recognized as the weakest link in the US nuclear enterprise. According to a declassified official history, a Strategic Air Command (SAC) task group in 1979 “reported that tactical warning and communications systems … were ‘fragile’ and susceptible to electronic countermeasures, electromagnetic pulse, and sabotage, which could deny necessary warning and assessment to the National Command Authorities” [33]. Two years later, the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering released a broad-based, multiservice report that doubled down on SAC’s findings: “the United States could not assure survivability, endurability, or connectivity of the national command authority function” due to:

major command, control, and communications deficiencies: in tactical warning and attack assessment where existing systems were vulnerable to disruption and destruction from electromagnetic pulse, other high altitude nuclear effects, electronic warfare, sabotage, or physical attack; in decision making where there was inability to assure national command authority survival and connection with the nuclear forces, especially under surprise conditions; and in communications systems, which were susceptible to the same threats above and which could not guarantee availability of even minimum-essential capability during a protracted war. [33]

The nuclear weapons safety literature likewise provides a number of troubling examples of NC3 glitches that illustrate some of the vulnerabilities attackers could, in principle, exploit [34–36]. The SAC history noted that NORAD has received numerous false launch indications from faulty computer components, loose circuits, and even a nuclear war training tape loaded by mistake into a live system that produced erroneous Soviet launch indications [33]. In a 1991 briefing to the STRATCOM commander, a Defense Intelligence Agency targeteer confessed, “Sir, I apologize, but we have found a problem with this target. There is a mistake in the computer code … . Sir, the error has been there for at least the life of this eighteen-month planning cycle. The nature of the error is such that the target would not have been struck” [37]. It would be a difficult operation to intentionally plant undetected errors like this, but the presence of bugs does reveal that such a hack is possible.

Following many near-misses and self-audits during and after the Cold War, American NC3 improved with the addition of new safeguards and redundancies. As General Kehler pointed out in 2013, “the nuclear deterrent force was designed to operate through the most extreme circumstances we could possibly imagine” [28]. Yet vulnerabilities remain. In 2010, the US Air Force lost contact with 50 Minuteman III ICBMs for an hour because of a faulty hardware circuit at a launch control center [38]. If the accident had occurred during a crisis, or the component had been sabotaged, the USAF would have been unable to launch and unable to detect and cancel unauthorized launch attempts. As Bruce Blair, a former Minuteman missileer, points out, during a control center blackout the antennas at unmanned silos and the cables between them provide potential surreptitious access vectors [39].

The unclassified summary of a 2015 audit of US NC3 stated that “known capability gaps or deficiencies remain” [40]. Perhaps more worrisome are the unknown deficiencies. A 2013 Defense Science Board report on military cyber vulnerabilities found that while the:

nuclear deterrent is regularly evaluated for reliability and readiness … , most of the systems have not been assessed (end-to-end) against a [sophisticated state] cyber attack to understand possible weak spots. A 2007 nuclear deterrent is regularly evaluated for reliability and readiness … , most of the systems have not been assessed (end-to-end) against a [sophisticated state] cyber attack to understand possible weak spots. A 2007 Air Force study addressed portions of this issue for the ICBM leg of the U.S. triad but was still not a complete assessment against a high-tier threat. [41]

If NC3 vulnerabilities are unknown, it is also unknown whether an advanced cyber actor would be able to exploit them. As Kehler notes, “We don’t know what we don’t know” [28].


Even if NC3 of nuclear forces narrowly conceived is a hard target, cyber attacks on other critical infrastructure in preparation to or during a nuclear crisis could complicate or confuse government decision making. General Keith Alexander, Director of the NSA in the same Senate hearing with General Kehler, testified that:

our infrastructure that we ride on, the power and the communications grid, are one of the things that is a source of concern … we can go to backup generators and we can have independent routes, but … our ability to communicate would be significantly reduced and it would complicate our governance … . I think what General Kehler has would be intact … [but] the cascading effect … in that kind of environment … concerns us. [28]

Kehler further emphasized that “there’s a continuing need to make sure that we are protected against electromagnetic pulse and any kind of electromagnetic interference” [28].


Many NC3 components are antiquated and hard to upgrade, which is a mixed blessing. Kehler points out, “Much of the nuclear command and control system today is the legacy system that we’ve had. In some ways that helps us in terms of the cyber threat. In some cases it’s point to point, hard-wired, which makes it very difficult for an external cyber threat to emerge” [28]. The Government Accountability Office notes that the “Department of Defense uses 8-inch floppy disks in a legacy system that coordinates the operational functions of the nation’s nuclear forces” [42]. While this may limit some forms of remote access, it is also indicative of reliance on an earlier generation of software when security engineering standards were less mature. Upgrades to the digital Strategic Automated Command and Control System planned for 2017 have the potential to correct some problems, but these changes may also introduce new access vectors and vulnerabilities [43]. Admiral Cecil Haney, Kehler’s successor at STRATCOM, highlighted the challenges of NC3 modernization in 2015:

Assured and reliable NC3 is fundamental to the credibility of our nuclear deterrent. The aging NC3 systems continue to meet their intended purpose, but risk to mission success is increasing as key elements of the system age. The unpredictable challenges posed by today’s complex security environment make it increasingly important to optimize our NC3 architecture while leveraging new technologies so that NC3 systems operate together as a core set of survivable and endurable capabilities that underpin a broader, national command and control system. [44]

In no small irony, the internet itself owes its intellectual origin, in part, to the threat to NC3 from large-scale physical attack. A 1962 RAND report by Paul Baran considered “the problem of building digital communication networks using links with less than perfect reliability” to enable “stations surviving a physical attack and remaining in electrical connection … to operate together as a coherent entity after attack” [45]. Baran advocated as a solution decentralized packet switching protocols, not unlike those realized in the ARPANET program. The emergence of the internet was the result of many other factors that had nothing to do with managing nuclear operations, notably the meritocratic ideals of 1960s counterculture that contributed to the neglect of security in the internet’s founding architecture [46, 47]. Fears of NC3 vulnerability helped to create the internet, which then helped to create the present-day cybersecurity epidemic, which has come full circle to create new fears about NC3 vulnerability.

NC3 vulnerability is not unique to the United States. The NC3 of other nuclear powers may even be easier to compromise, especially in the case of new entrants to the nuclear club like North Korea. Moreover, the United States has already demonstrated both the ability and willingness to infiltrate sensitive foreign nuclear infrastructure through operations such as Olympic Games (Stuxnet), albeit targeting Iran’s nuclear fuel cycle rather than NC3. It would be surprising to learn that the United States has failed to upgrade its Cold War NC3 attack plans to include offensive cyber operations against a wide variety of national targets.

Hacking the deterrent
The United States included NC3 attacks in its Cold War counterforce and damage limitation war plans, even as contemporary critics perceived these options to be destabilizing for deterrence [48]. The best known example of these activities and capabilities is a Special Access Program named Canopy Wing. East German intelligence obtained the highly classified plans from a US Army spy in Berlin, and the details began to emerge publicly after the Cold War. An East German intelligence officer, Markus Wolf, writes in his memoir that Canopy Wing “listed the types of electronic warfare that would be used to neutralize the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact’s command centers in case of all-out war. It detailed the precise method of depriving the Soviet High Command of its high-frequency communications used to give orders to its armed forces” [49].

It is easy to see why NC3 is such an attractive target in the unlikely event of a nuclear war. If for whatever reason deterrence fails and the enemy decides to push the nuclear button, it would obviously be better to disable or destroy missiles before they launch than to rely on possibly futile efforts to shoot them down, or to accept the loss of millions of lives. American plans to disable Soviet NC3 with electronic warfare, furthermore, would have been intended to complement plans for decapitating strikes against Soviet nuclear forces. Temporary disabling of information networks in isolation would have failed to achieve any important strategic objective. A blinded adversary would eventually see again and would scramble to reconstitute its ability to launch its weapons, expecting that preemption was inevitable in any case. Reconstitution, moreover, would invalidate much of the intelligence and some of the tradecraft on which the blinding attack relied. Capabilities fielded through Canopy Wing were presumably intended to facilitate a preemptive military strike on Soviet NC3 to disable the ability to retaliate and limit the damage of any retaliatory force that survived, given credible indications that war was imminent. Canopy Wing included [50]:

  • “Measures for short-circuiting … communications and weapons systems using, among other things, microscopic carbon-fiber particles and chemical weapons.”
  • “Electronic blocking of communications immediately prior to an attack, thereby rendering a counterattack impossible.”
  • “Deployment of various weapons systems for instantaneous destruction of command centers, including pin-point targeting with precision-guided weapons to destroy ‘hardened bunkers’.”
  • “Use of deception measures, including the use of computer-simulated voices to override and substitute false commands from ground-control stations to aircraft and from regional command centers to the Soviet submarine fleet.”
  • “Us[e of] the technical installations of ‘Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’ and ‘Voice of America,’ as well as the radio communications installations of the U.S. Armed Forces for creating interference and other electronic effects.”

Wolf also ran a spy in the US Air Force who disclosed that:

the Americans had managed to penetrate the [Soviet air base at Eberswalde]’s ground-air communications and were working on a method of blocking orders before they reached the Russian pilots and substituting their own from West Berlin. Had this succeeded, the MiG pilots would have received commands from their American enemy. It sounded like science fiction, but, our experts concluded, it was in no way impossible that they could have pulled off such a trick, given the enormous spending and technical power of U.S. military air research. [49]

One East German source claimed that Canopy Wing had a $14.5 billion budget for research and operational costs and a staff of 1570 people, while another claimed that it would take over 4 years and $65 million to develop “a prototype of a sophisticated electronic system for paralyzing Soviet radio traffic in the high-frequency range” [50]. Canopy Wing was not cheap, and even so, it was only a research and prototyping program. Operationalization of its capabilities and integration into NATO war plans would have been even more expensive. This is suggestive of the level of effort required to craft effective offensive cyber operations against NC3.


Preparation comes to naught when a sensitive program is compromised. Canopy Wing was caught in what we describe below as the cyber commitment problem, the inability to disclose a warfighting capability for the sake of deterrence without losing it in the process. According to New York Times reporting on the counterintelligence investigation of the East German spy in the Army, Warrant Officer James Hall, “officials said that one program rendered useless cost hundreds of millions of dollars and was designed to exploit a Soviet communications vulnerability uncovered in the late 1970’s” [51]. This program was probably Canopy Wing. Wolf writes, “Once we passed [Hall’s documents about Canopy Wing] on to the Soviets, they were able to install scrambling devices and other countermeasures” [49]. It is tempting to speculate that the Soviet deployment of a new NC3 system known as Signal-A to replace Signal-M (which was most likely the one targeted by Canopy Wing) was motivated in part by Hall’s betrayal [50].

Canopy Wing underscores the potential and limitations of NC3 subversion. Modern cyber methods can potentially perform many of the missions Canopy Wing addressed with electronic warfare and other means, but with even greater stealth and precision. Cyber operations might, in principle, compromise any part of the NC3 system (early warning, command centers, data transport, operational forces, etc.) by blinding sensors, injecting bogus commands or suppressing legitimate ones, monitoring or corrupting data transmissions, or interfering with the reliable launch and guidance of missiles. In practice, the operational feasibility of cyber attack against NC3 or any other target depends on the software and hardware configuration and organizational processes of the target, the intelligence and planning capacity of the attacker, and the ability and willingness to take advantage of the effects created by cyber attack [52, 53]. Cyber compromise of NC3 is technically plausible though operationally difficult, a point to which we return in a later section.

To understand which threats are not only technically possible but also probable under some circumstance, we further need a political logic of cost and benefit [14]. In particular, how is it possible for a crisis to escalate to levels of destruction more costly than any conceivable political reward? Canopy Wing highlights some of the strategic dangers of NC3 exploitation. Warsaw Pact observers appear to have been deeply concerned that the program reflected an American willingness to undertake a surprise decapitation attack: they said that it “sent ice-cold shivers down our spines” [50]. The Soviets designed a system called Perimeter that, not unlike the Doomsday Device in Dr. Strangelove, was designed to detect a nuclear attack and retaliate automatically, even if cut off from Soviet high command, through an elaborate system of sensors, underground computers, and command missiles to transmit launch codes [54]. Both Canopy Wing and Perimeter show that the United States and the Soviet Union took nuclear warfighting seriously and were willing to develop secret advantages for such an event. By the same token, they were not able to reveal such capabilities to improve deterrence to avoid having to fight a nuclear war in the first place.

Nuclear deterrence and credible communication

Nuclear weapons have some salient political properties. They are singularly and obviously destructive. They kill in more, and more ghastly, ways than conventional munitions through electromagnetic radiation, blast, firestorms, radioactive fallout, and health effects that linger for years. Bombers, ICBMs, and SLBMs can project warheads globally without significantly mitigating their lethality, steeply attenuating the conventional loss-of-strength gradient [55]. Defense against nuclear attack is very difficult, even with modern ballistic missile defenses, given the speed of incoming warheads and use of decoys; multiple warheads and missile volleys further reduce the probability of perfect interception. If one cannot preemptively destroy all of an enemy’s missiles, then there is a nontrivial chance of getting hit by some of them. When one missed missile can incinerate millions of people, the notion of winning a nuclear war starts to seem meaningless for many politicians.

As defense seemed increasingly impractical, early Cold War strategists championed the threat of assured retaliation as the chief mechanism for avoiding war [56–59]. Political actors have issued threats for millennia, but the advent of nuclear weapons brought deterrence as a strategy to center stage. The Cold War was an intense learning experience for both practitioners and students of international security, rewriting well-worn realities more than once [60–62]. A key conundrum was the practice of brinkmanship. Adversaries who could not compete by “winning” a nuclear war could still compete by manipulating the “risk” of nuclear annihilation, gambling that an opponent would have the good judgment to back down at some point short of the nuclear brink. Brinkmanship crises—conceptualized as games of Chicken where one cannot heighten tensions without increasing the hazard of the mutually undesired outcome—require that decision makers behave irrationally, or possibly that they act randomly, which is difficult to conceptualize in practical terms [63]. The chief concern in historical episodes of chicken, such as the Berlin Crisis and Cuban Missile Crisis, was not whether a certain level of harm was possible, but whether an adversary was resolved enough, possibly, to risk nuclear suicide. The logical inconsistency of the need for illogic to win led almost from the beginning of the nuclear era to elaborate deductive contortions [64–66].

Both mutually assured destruction (MAD) and successful brinksmanship depend on a less appreciated, but no less fundamental, feature of nuclear weapons: political transparency. Most elements of military power are weakened by disclosure [67]. Military plans are considerably less effective if shared with an enemy. Conventional weapons become less lethal as adversaries learn what different systems can and cannot do, where they are located, how they are operated, and how to devise countermeasures and array defenses to blunt or disarm an attack. In contrast, relatively little reduction in destruction follows from enemy knowledge of nuclear capabilities. For most of the nuclear era, no effective defense existed against a nuclear attack. Even today, with evolving ABM systems, one ICBM still might get through and annihilate the capital city. Nuclear forces are more robust to revelation than other weapons, enabling nuclear nations better to advertise the harm they can inflict.

The need for transparency to achieve an effective deterrent is driven home by the satirical Cold War film, Dr. Strangelove: “the whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost, if you keep it a secret! Why didn’t you tell the world, eh?” During the real Cold War, fortunately, Soviet leaders paraded their nuclear weapons through Red Square for the benefit of foreign military attaches and the international press corps. Satellites photographed missile, bomber, and submarine bases. While other aspects of military affairs on both sides of the Iron Curtain remained closely guarded secrets, the United States and the Soviet Union permitted observers to evaluate their nuclear capabilities. This is especially remarkable given the secrecy that pervaded Soviet society. The relative transparency of nuclear arsenals ensured that the superpowers could calculate risks and consequences within a first-order approximation, which led to a reduction in severe conflict and instability even as political competition in other arenas was fierce [61, 68].

Recent insights about the causes of war suggest that divergent expectations about the costs and consequences of war are necessary for contests to occur [69–73]. These insights are associated with rationalist theories, such as deterrence theory itself. Empirical studies and psychological critiques of the rationality assumption have helped to refine models and bring some circumspection into their application, but the formulation of sound strategy (if not the execution) still requires the articulation of some rational linkage between cause and effect [19, 62, 74]. Many supposedly nonrational factors, moreover, simply manifest as uncertainty in strategic interaction. Our focus here is on the effect of uncertainty and ignorance on the ability of states and other actors to bargain in lieu of fighting. Many wars are a product of what adversaries do not know or what they misperceive, whether as a result of bluffing, secrecy, or intrinsic uncertainty [75, 76]. If knowledge of capabilities or resolve is a prerequisite for deterrence, then one reason for deterrence failure is the inability or unwillingness to credibly communicate details of the genuine balance of power, threat, or interests. Fighting, conversely, can be understood as a costly process of discovery that informs adversaries of their actual relative strength and resolve. From this perspective, successful deterrence involves instilling in an adversary perceptions like those that result from fighting, but before fighting actually begins. Agreement about the balance of power can enable states to bargain (tacit or overt) effectively without needing to fight, forging compromises that each prefers to military confrontation or even to the bulk of possible risky brinkmanship crises.

Despite other deficits, nuclear weapons have long been considered to be stabilizing with respect to rational incentives for war (the risk of nuclear accidents is another matter) [77]. If each side has a secure second strike—or even a minimal deterrent with some nonzero chance of launching a few missiles—then each side can expect to gain little and lose much by fighting a nuclear war. Whereas the costs of conventional war can be more mysterious because each side might decide to hold something back and meter out its punishment due to some internal constraint or a theory of graduated escalation, even a modest initial nuclear exchange is recognized to be extremely costly. As long as both sides understand this and understand (or believe) that the adversary understands this as well, then the relationship is stable. Countries engage nuclear powers with considerable deference, especially over issues of fundamental national or international importance. At the same time, nuclear weapons appear to be of limited value in prosecuting aggressive action, especially over issues of secondary or tertiary importance, or in response to aggression from others at lower levels of dispute intensity. Nuclear weapons are best used for signaling a willingness to run serious risks to protect or extort some issue that is considered of vital national interest.

As mentioned previously, both superpowers in the Cold War considered the warfighting advantages of nuclear weapons quite apart from any deterrent effect, and the United States and Russia still do. High-altitude bursts for air defense, electromagnetic pulse for frying electronics, underwater detonations for anti-submarine warfare, hardened target penetration, area denial, and so on, have some battlefield utility. Transparency per se is less important than weapon effects for warfighting uses, and can even be deleterious for tactics that depend on stealth and mobility. Even a single tactical nuke, however, would inevitably be a political event. Survivability of the second strike deterrent can also militate against transparency, as in the case of the Soviet Perimeter system, as mobility, concealment, and deception can make it harder for an observer to track and count respective forces from space. Counterforce strategies, platform diversity and mobility, ballistic missile defense systems, and force employment doctrine can all make it more difficult for one or both sides in a crisis to know whether an attack is likely to succeed or fail. The resulting uncertainty affects not only estimates of relative capabilities but also the degree of confidence in retaliation. At the same time, there is reason to believe that platform diversity lowers the risk of nuclear or conventional contests, because increasing the number of types of delivery platforms heightens second strike survivability without increasing the lethality of an initial strike [78]. While transparency is not itself a requirement for nuclear use, stable deterrence benefits to the degree to which retaliation can be anticipated, as well as the likelihood that the consequences of a first strike are more costly than any benefit. Cyber operations, in contrast, are neither robust to revelation nor as obviously destructive.

The cyber commitment problem

Deterrence (and compellence) uses force or threats of force to “warn” an adversary about consequences if it takes or fails to take an action. In contrast, defense (and conquest) uses force to “win” a contest of strength and change the material distribution of power. Sometimes militaries can change the distribution of information and power at the same time. Military mobilization in a crisis signifies resolve and displays a credible warning, but it also makes it easier to attack or defend if the warning fails. Persistence in a battle of attrition not only bleeds an adversary but also reveals a willingness to pay a higher price for victory. More often, however, the informational requirements of winning and warning are in tension. Combat performance often hinges on well-kept secrets, feints, and diversions. Many military plans and capabilities degrade when revealed. National security involves trade-offs between the goals of preventing war, by advertising capabilities or interests, and improving fighting power should war break out, by concealing capabilities and surprising the enemy.

The need to conceal details of the true balance of power to preserve battlefield effectiveness gives rise to the military commitment problem [79, 80]. Japan could not coerce the United States by revealing its plan to attack Pearl Harbor because the United States could not credibly promise to refrain from reorienting defenses and dispersing the Pacific Fleet. War resulted not just because of what opponents did not know but because of what they could not tell each other without paying a severe price in military advantage. The military benefits of surprise (winning) trumped the diplomatic benefits of coercion (warning).

Cyber operations, whether for disruption and intelligence, are extremely constrained by the military commitment problem. Revelation of a cyber threat in advance that is specific enough to convince a target of the validity of the threat also provides enough information potentially to neutralize it. Stuxnet took years and hundreds of millions of dollars to develop but was patched within weeks of its discovery. The Snowden leaks negated a whole swath of tradecraft that the NSA took years to develop. States may use other forms of covert action, such as publicly disavowed lethal aid or aerial bombing (e.g. Nixon’s Cambodia campaign), to discretely signal their interests, but such cases can only work to the extent that revelation of operational details fails to disarm rebels or prevent airstrikes [81].

Cyber operations, especially against NC3, must be conducted in extreme secrecy as a condition of the efficacy of the attack. Cyber tradecraft relies on stealth, stratagem, and deception [21]. Operations tailored to compromise complex remote targets require extensive intelligence, planning and preparation, and testing to be effective. Actions that alert a target of an exploit allow the target to patch, reconfigure, or adopt countermeasures that invalidate the plan. As the Defense Science Board points out, competent network defenders:

can also be expected to employ highly-trained system and network administrators, and this operational staff will be equipped with continuously improving network defensive tools and techniques (the same tools we advocate to improve our defenses). Should an adversary discover an implant, it is usually relatively simple to remove or disable. For this reason, offensive cyber will always be a fragile capability. [41]

The world’s most advanced cyber powers, the United States, Russia, Israel, China, France, and the United Kingdom, are also nuclear states, while India, Pakistan, and North Korea also have cyber warfare programs. NC3 is likely to be an especially well defended part of their cyber infrastructures. NC3 is a hard target for offensive operations, which thus requires careful planning, detailed intelligence, and long lead-times to avoid compromise.

Cyberspace is further ill-suited for signaling because cyber operations are complex, esoteric, and hard for commanders and policymakers to understand. Most targeted cyber operations have to be tailored for each unique target (a complex organization not simply a machine), quite unlike a general purpose munition tested on a range. Malware can fail in many ways and produce unintended side effects, as when the Stuxnet code was accidentally released to the public. The category of “cyber” includes tremendous diversity: irritant scams, hacktivist and propaganda operations, intelligence collection, critical infrastructure disruption, etc. Few intrusions create consequences that rise to the level of attacks such as Stuxnet or BlackEnergy, and even they pale beside the harm imposed by a small war.

Vague threats are less credible because they are indistinguishable from casual bluffing. Ambiguity can be useful for concealing a lack of capability or resolve, allowing an actor to pool with more capable or resolved states and acquiring some deterrence success by association. But this works by discounting the costliness of the threat. Nuclear threats, for example, are usually somewhat veiled because one cannot credibly threaten nuclear suicide. The consistently ambiguous phrasing of US cyber declaratory policy (e.g. “we will respond to cyber-attacks in a manner and at a time and place of our choosing using appropriate instruments of U.S. power” [82]) seeks to operate across domains to mobilize credibility in one area to compensate for a lack of credibility elsewhere, specifically by leveraging the greater robustness to revelation of military capabilities other than cyber.

This does not mean that cyberspace is categorically useless for signaling, just as nuclear weapons are not categorically useless for warfighting. Ransomware attacks work when the money extorted to unlock the compromised host is priced below the cost of an investigation or replacing the system. The United States probably gained some benefits in general deterrence (i.e. discouraging the emergence of challenges as opposed to immediate deterrence in response to a challenge) through the disclosure of Stuxnet and the Snowden leaks. Both revelations compromised tradecraft, but they also advertised that the NSA probably had more exploits and tradecraft where they came from. Some cyber operations may actually be hard to mitigate within tactically meaningful timelines (e.g. hardware implants installed in hard-to-reach locations). Such operations might be revealed to coerce concessions within the tactical window created by a given operation, if the attacker can coordinate the window with the application of coercion in other domains. As a general rule, however, the cyber domain on its own is better suited for winning than warning [83]. Cyber and nuclear weapons fall on extreme opposite sides of this spectrum.

Dangerous complements

Nuclear weapons have been used in anger twice—against the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki—but cyberspace is abused daily. Considered separately, the nuclear domain is stable and the cyber domain is unstable. In combination, the results are ambiguous.

The nuclear domain can bound the intensity of destruction that a cyber attacker is willing to inflict on an adversary. US declaratory policy states that unacceptable cyber attacks may prompt a military response; while nuclear weapons are not explicitly threatened, neither are they withheld. Nuclear threats have no credibility at the low end, where the bulk of cyber attacks occur. This produces a cross-domain version of the stability–instability paradox, where deterrence works at the high end but is not credible, and thus encourages provocation, at low intensities. Nuclear weapons, and military power generally, create an upper bound on cyber aggression to the degree that retaliation is anticipated and feared [22, 83, 84].

In the other direction, the unstable cyber domain can undermine the stability of nuclear deterrence. Most analysts who argue that the cyber–nuclear combination is a recipe for danger focus on the fog of crisis decision making [85–87]. Stephen Cimbala points out that today’s relatively smaller nuclear arsenals may perversely magnify the attractiveness of NC3 exploitation in a crisis: “Ironically, the downsizing of U.S. and post-Soviet Russian strategic nuclear arsenals since the end of the Cold War, while a positive development from the perspectives of nuclear arms control and nonproliferation, makes the concurrence of cyber and nuclear attack capabilities more alarming” [88]. Cimbala focuses mainly on the risks of misperception and miscalculation that emerge when a cyber attack muddies the transparent communication required for opponents to understand one another’s interests, redlines, and willingness to use force, and to ensure reliable control over subordinate commanders. Thus a nuclear actor “faced with a sudden burst of holes in its vital warning and response systems might, for example, press the preemption button instead of waiting to ride out the attack and then retaliate” [85].

The outcome of fog of decision scenarios such as these depend on how humans react to risk and uncertainty, which in turn depends on bounded rationality and organizational frameworks that might confuse rational decision making [89, 90]. These factors exacerbate a hard problem. Yet within a rationalist framework, cyber attacks that have already created their effects need not trigger an escalatory spiral. While being handed a fait accompli may trigger an aggressive reaction, it is also plausible that the target’s awareness that its NC3 has been compromised in some way would help to convey new information that the balance of power is not as favorable as previously thought. This in turn could encourage the target to accommodate, rather than escalate. While defects in rational decision making are a serious concern in any cyber–nuclear scenario, the situation becomes even more hazardous when there are rational incentives to escalate. Although “known unknowns” can create confusion, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, the “unknown unknowns” are perhaps more dangerous.

A successful clandestine penetration of NC3 can defeat the informational symmetry that stabilizes nuclear relationships. Nuclear weapons are useful for deterrence because they impose a degree of consensus about the distribution of power; each side knows the other can inflict prohibitive levels of damage, even if they may disagree about the precise extent of this damage. Cyber operations are attractive precisely because they can secretly revise the distribution of power. NC3 neutralization may be an expensive and rarified capability in the reach of only a few states with mature signals intelligence agencies, but it is much cheaper than nuclear attack. Yet the very usefulness of cyber operations for nuclear warfighting ensure that deterrence failure during brinksmanship crises is more likely.

Nuclear states may initiate crises of risk and resolve to see who will back down first, which is not always clear in advance. Chicken appears viable, ironically, because each player understands that a nuclear war would be a disaster for all, and thus all can agree that someone can be expected swerve. Nuclear deterrence should ultimately make dealing with an adversary diplomatically more attractive than fighting, provided that fighting is costly—as would seem evident for the prospect of nuclear war—and assuming that bargains are available to states willing to accept compromise rather than annihilation. If, however, one side knows, but the other does not, that the attacker has disabled the target’s ability to perceive an impending military attack, or to react to one when it is underway, then they will not have a shared understanding of the probable outcome of war, even in broad terms.

Consider a brinksmanship crisis between two nuclear states where only one has realized a successful penetration of the rival’s NC3. The cyber attacker knows that it has a military advantage, but it cannot reveal the advantage to the target, lest the advantage be lost. The target does not know that it is at a disadvantage, and it cannot be told by the attacker for the same reason. The attacker perceives an imbalance of power while the target perceives a balance. A dangerous competition in risk taking ensues. The first side knows that it does not need to back down. The second side feels confident that it can stand fast and raise the stakes far beyond what it would be willing to if it understood the true balance of power. Each side is willing to escalate to create more risk for the other side, making it more likely that one or the other will conclude that deterrence has failed and move into warfighting mode to attempt to limit the damage the other can inflict.

The targeted nature and uncertain effects of offensive cyber operations put additional pressure on decision makers. An intrusion will probably disable only part of the enemy’s NC3 architecture, not all of it (which is not only operationally formidable to achieve but also more likely to be noticed by the target). Thus the target may retain control over some nuclear forces, or conventional forces. The target may be tempted to use some of them piecemeal to signal a willingness to escalate further, even though it cannot actually escalate because of the cyber operation. The cyber attacker knows that it has escalation dominance, but when even a minor demonstration by the target can cause great damage, it is tempting to preempt this move or others like it. This situation would be especially unstable if only second strike but not primary strike NC3 was incapacitated. Uncertainty in the efficacy of the clandestine penetration would discount the attacker’s confidence in its escalation dominance, with a range of possible outcomes. Enough uncertainty would discount the cyber attack to nothing, which would have a stabilizing effect by returning the crisis to the pure nuclear domain. A little bit of uncertainty about cyber effectiveness would heighten risk acceptance while also raising the incentives to preempt as an insurance measure.

Adding allies into the mix introduces additional instability. An ally emboldened by its nuclear umbrella might run provocative risks that it would be much more reluctant to embrace if it was aware that the umbrella was actually full of holes. Conversely, if the clandestine advantage is held by the state extending the umbrella, allies could become unnerved by the willingness of their defender to run what appear to be outsize risks, oblivious of the reasons for the defender’s confidence, creating discord in the alliance and incentives for self-protective action, leading to greater uncertainty about alliance solidarity.

The direction of influence between the cyber and nuclear realms depends to large degree on which domain is the main arena of action. Planning and conducting cyber operations will be bounded by the ability of aggressors to convince themselves that attacks will remain secret, and by the confidence of nuclear nations in their invulnerability. Fears of cross-domain escalation will tend to keep instability in cyberspace bounded. However, if a crisis has risen to the point where nuclear threats are being seriously considered or made, then NC3 exploitation will be destabilizing. Brinksmanship crises seem to have receded in frequency since the Cuban Missile Crisis but may be more likely than is generally believed. President Vladimir Putin of Russia has insinuated more than once in recent years that his government is willing to use tactical nuclear weapons if necessary to support his policies.

Cyber power and nuclear stability
Not all crises are the same. Indeed, their very idiosyncrasies create the uncertainties that make bargaining failure more likely [75]. So far our analysis would be at home in the Cold War, with the technological novelty of cyber operations. Yet not every state has the same cyber capabilities or vulnerabilities. Variation in cyber power relations across dyads should be expected to affect the strategic stability of nuclear states.

The so-called second nuclear age differs from superpower rivalry in important ways [91]. There are fewer absolute numbers of warheads in the world, down from a peak of over 70 000 in the 1980s to about 15 000 today (less than 5000 deployed), but they are distributed very unevenly [92]. The United States and Russia have comparably sized arsenals, each with a fully diversified triad of delivery platforms, while North Korea only has a dozen or so bombs and no meaningful delivery system (for now). China, India, Pakistan, Britain, France, and Israel have modest arsenals in the range of several dozen to a couple hundred weapons, but they have very different doctrines, conventional force complements, domestic political institutions, and alliance relationships. The recent nuclear powers lack the hard-won experience and shared norms of the Cold War to guide them through crises, and even the United States and Russia have much to relearn.

Cyber warfare capacity also varies considerably across contemporary nuclear nations. The United States, Russia, Israel, and Britain are in the top tier, able to run sophisticated, persistent, clandestine penetrations. China is a uniquely active cyber power with ambitious cyber warfare doctrine, but its operational focus is on economic espionage and political censorship, resulting in less refined tradecraft and more porous defenses for military purposes [16]. France, India, and Pakistan also have active cyber warfare programs, while North Korea is the least developed cyber nation, depending on China for its expertise [93].

It is beyond the scope of this article to assess crisis dyads in detail, and data on nuclear and cyber power for these countries are shrouded in secrecy. Here, as a way of summing up the arguments above, we offer a few conjectures about how stylized aspects of cyber power affect crisis stability through incentives and key aspects of decision making. We do not stress relative nuclear weapon capabilities on the admittedly strong (and contestable) assumption that nuclear transparency in the absence of cyber operations would render nuclear asymmetry irrelevant for crisis bargaining because both sides would agree about the terrible consequences of conflict [94]. We also omit domestic or psychological variables that affect relative power assessments, although these are obviously important. Even if neither India nor Pakistan have viable cyber–nuclear capabilities, brinksmanship between them is dangerous for many other reasons, notably compressed decision timelines, Pakistan’s willingness to shoot first, and domestic regime instability. Our focus is on the impact of offensive and defensive cyber power on nuclear deterrence above and beyond the other factors that certainly play a role in real-world outcomes.

First, does the cyber attacker have the organizational capacity, technical expertise, and intelligence support to “compromise” the target’s NC3? Can hackers access critical networks, exploit technical vulnerabilities, and confidently execute a payload to disrupt or exploit strategic sensing, command, forces, or transport capacity? The result would be some tangible advantage for warfighting, such as tactical warning or control paralysis, but one that cannot be exercised in bargaining.

Second, is the target able to “detect” the compromise of its NC3? The more complicated and sensitive the target, the more likely cyber attackers are to make a mistake that undermines the intrusion. Attribution is not likely to be difficult given the constricted pool of potential attackers, but at the same time the consequences of misattributing “false flag” operations could be severe [95]. At a minimum, detection is assumed to provide information to the target that the balance of power is perhaps not as favorable as imagined previously. We assume that detection without an actual compromise is possible because of false positives or deceptive information operations designed to create pessimism or paranoia.

Third, is the target able to “mitigate” the compromise it detects? Revelation can prompt patching or network reconfiguration to block an attack, but this assumption is not always realistic. The attacker may have multiple pathways open or may have implanted malware that is difficult to remove in tactically meaningful timelines. In such cases the cyber commitment problem is not absolute, since the discovery of the power to hurt does not automatically disarm it. Successful mitigation here is assumed to restore mutual assessments of the balance of power to what they would be absent the cyber attack.

Table 1 shows how these factors combine to produce different deterrence outcomes in a brinksmanship (chicken) crisis. If there is no cyber compromise and the target detects nothing (no false positives) then we have the optimistic ideal case where nuclear transparency affords stable “deterrence.” Transparency about the nuclear balance, including the viability of secure second strike forces, provides strategic stability. We also expect this box to describe situations where the target has excellent network defense capabilities and thus the prospect of defense, denial or deception successfully deters any attempts to penetrate NC3. This may resemble the Cold War situation (with electronic warfare in lieu of cyber), or even the present day US–Russia dyad, where the odds of either side pulling off a successful compromise against a highly capable defender are not favorable. Alternately the attack may be deemed risky enough to encourage serious circumspection. However, the existence of Canopy Wing does not encourage optimism in this regard.

Conversely, if there is a compromise that goes undetected, then there is a heightened risk of “war” because of the cyber commitment problem. This box may be particularly relevant for asymmetric dyads such as the United States and North Korea, where one side has real cyber power but the other side is willing to go to the brink where it believes, falsely, that it has the capability to compel its counterpart to back down. Cyber disruption of NC3 is attractive for damage limitation should deterrence fail, given that the weaker state’s diminutive arsenal makes damage limitation by the stronger state more likely to succeed. The dilemma for the stronger state is that the clandestine counterforce hedge, which makes warfighting success more likely, is precisely what makes deterrence more likely to fail.

The United States would face similar counterforce dilemmas with other dyads like China or even Russia, although even a strong cyber power should be more circumspect when confronted with an adversary with a larger/more capable nuclear and conventional arsenal. More complex and cyber savvy targets, moreover, are more likely to detect a breach in NC3, leading to more ambiguous outcomes depending on how actors cope with risk and uncertainty. Paradoxically, confidence in cyber security may be a major contributor to failure; believing one is safe from attack increases the chance that an attack is successful.

If the successful compromise is detected but not mitigated, then the target learns that the balance of power is not as favorable as thought. This possibility suggests fleeting opportunities for “coercion” by revealing the cyber coup to the target in the midst of a crisis while the cyber attacker maintains or develops a favorable military advantage before the target has the opportunity to reverse or compensate the NC3 disruption. Recognizing the newly transparent costs of war, a risk neutral or risk averse target should prefer compromise. The coercive advantages (deterrence or compellence) of a detected but unmitigated NC3 compromise will likely be fleeting. This suggests a logical possibility for creating a window of opportunity for using particular cyber operations that are more robust to revelation as a credible signal of superior capability in the midst of a crisis. It would be important to exploit this fleeting advantage via other credible military threats (e.g. forces mobilized on visible alert or deployed into the crisis area) before the window closes.

One side may be able gain an unearned advantage, an opportunity for coercion via a “bluff,” by the same window-of-opportunity logic. A target concerned about NC3 compromise will probably have some network monitoring system and other protections in place. Defensive systems can produce false positives as a result of internal errors or a deception operation by the attacker to encourage paranoia. It is logically possible that some false positives would appear to the target to be difficult to mitigate. In this situation, the target could believe it is at a disadvantage, even though this is not in fact the case. This gambit would be operationally very difficult to pull off with any reliability in a real nuclear crisis.

Cyber–nuclear coercion and bluffing strategies are fraught with danger. Detection without mitigation might put a risk-acceptant or loss-averse target into a “use-lose” situation, creating pressures to preempt or escalate. The muddling of decision-making heightens the risk of accidents or irrational choices in a crisis scenario. Worry about preemption or accident then heightens the likelihood that the initiator will exercise counterforce options while they remain available. These pressures can be expected to be particularly intense if the target’s detection is only partial or has not revealed the true extent of damage to its NC3 (i.e. the target does not realize it has already lost some or all of what it hopes to use). These types of scenarios are most usually invoked in analyses of inadvertent escalation [23–27]. The essential distinction between “use-lose” risks and “war” in this typology is the target’s knowledge of some degree of NC3 compromise. Use-lose and other cognitive pressures can certainly result in nuclear war, since the breakdown of deterrence leads to the release of nuclear weapons, but we distinguish these outcomes to highlight the different decision making processes or rational incentives at work.

A “spiral” of mistrust may emerge if one side attempts a compromise but the defender detects and mitigates it. Both sides again have common mutual estimates of the relative balance of power, which superficially resembles the “deterrence” case because the NC3 compromise is negated. Unfortunately, the detection of the compromise will provide the target with information about the hostile intentions of the cyber attacker. This in turn is likely to exacerbate other political or psychological factors in the crisis itself or in the crisis-proneness of the broader relationship. The strange logical case where there is no compromise but one is detected and mitigated could result from a false positive misperception (including a third-party false flag operation) that could conflict spiraling [96, 97]. The bluff and coercion outcomes are also likely to encourage spiraling behavior once the fleeting bargaining advantage dissipates or is dispelled (provided anyone survives the interaction).

The risk of crisis instability is not the same for all dyads. It is harder to compromise the NC3 of strong states because of the redundancy and active defenses in their arsenal. Likewise, strong states are better able to compromise the NC3 of any states but especially of weaker states, because of strong states’ greater organizational capacity and expertise in cyber operations. Stable deterrence or MAD is most likely to hold in mutually strong dyads (e.g. the United States and the Soviet Union in the Cold War or Russia today to a lesser extent). Deterrence is slightly less likely in other equally matched dyads (India–Pakistan) where defensive vulnerabilities create temptations but offensive capabilities may not be sufficient to exploit them. Most states can be expected to refrain from targeting American NC3 given a US reputation for cyber power (a general deterrence benefit enhanced by Stuxnet and Snowden). The situation is less stable if the United States is the attacker. The most dangerous dyad is a stronger and a weaker state (United States and North Korea or Israel and Iran). Dyads involving strong and middle powers are also dangerous (United States and China). The stronger side is tempted to disrupt NC3 as a warfighting hedge in case deterrence breaks down, while the weaker but still formidable side has a reasonable chance at detection. The marginally weaker may also be tempted to subvert NC3, particularly for reconnaissance; the stronger side is more likely to detect and correct the intrusion but will be alarmed by the ambiguity in distinguishing intelligence collection from attack planning [98]. In a brinksmanship crisis between them, windows for coercion may be available yet fleeting, with real risks of spiral and war.

Policy implications
Skeptics are right to challenge the hype about cyberwar. The term is confusing, and hacking rarely amounts to anything approaching a weapon of mass destruction. Cyberspace is most usefully exploited on the lower end of the conflict spectrum for intelligence and subversion, i.e., not as a substitute for military or economic power but a complement to it. Yet the logic of complementarity has at least one exception regarding conflict severity, and it is a big one.

Offensive cyber operations against NC3 raise the risk of nuclear war. They do so because cyber operations and nuclear weapons are extreme complements regarding their informational properties. Cyber operations rely on deception. Nuclear deterrence relies on clear communication. In a brinksmanship crisis, the former undermines the latter. Nuclear crises were rare events in Cold War history, thankfully. Today, the proliferation and modernization of nuclear weapons may raise the risk slightly. Subversion of NC3 raises the danger of nuclear war slightly more. Cyberwar is not war per se, but in rare circumstances it may make escalation to thermonuclear war more likely.

NC3 is a particularly attractive counterforce target because disruption can render the enemy’s arsenal less effective without having to destroy individual platforms. US nuclear strategy in practice has long relied on counterforce capabilities (including Canopy Wing) [48, 99]. Deterrence theorists expect this to undermine the credibility of the adversary’s deterrent and create pressures to move first in a conflict [100, 101]. If for some reason deterrence fails, however, countervalue strikes on civilian population centers would be militarily useless and morally odious. Counterforce strikes, in contrast, aim at preemptive disarmament or damage limitation by attacking the enemy’s nuclear enterprise. Counterforce capabilities are designed for “winning” a nuclear war once over the brink, but their strategic purpose may still include warning if they can somehow be made robust to revelation. During the Cold War, the United States found ways to inform the Soviet Union of its counterforce ability to sink SSBNs, hit mobile ICBMs, and show off some electronic warfare capabilities without giving away precise details [102]. This improved mutual recognition of US advantages and thus clearer assessment of the consequences of conflict, but the military commitment problem was real nonetheless. The problem is particularly pronounced for cyber disruption of NC3. As one side builds more sophisticated NC3 to improve the credibility of its nuclear “warning,” the other side engages in cyber operations to improve its capacity for nuclear “winning,” thereby undermining the warning.

The prohibitive cost of nuclear war and the relative transparency of the nuclear balance has contributed to seven decades of nuclear peace. If this is to continue, it will be necessary to find ways to maintain transparency. If knowledge of a shift in relative power is concealed, then the deterrent effect of nuclear capabilities is undermined. This will tend to occur in periods where concern over nuclear attack is heightened, such as in the midst of a militarized crises. Yet there is no reason to believe that states will wait for a crisis before seeking to establish advantageous positions in cyberspace. Indeed, given the intricate intelligence and planning required, offensive cyber preparations must precede overt aggression by months or even years. It is this erosion of the bulwark of deterrence that is most troubling.

What can be done? Arms control agreements to ban cyber attacks on NC3 might seem attractive, but the cyber commitment problem also undermines institutional monitoring and enforcement. Even where the United States would benefit from such an agreement by keeping this asymmetric capability out of the hands of other states, it would still have strong incentives to prepare its own damage limitation options should deterrence fail. Nevertheless, diplomatic initiatives to discuss the dangers of cyber–nuclear interactions with potential opponents should be pursued. Even if cyber–nuclear dangers cannot be eliminated, states should be encouraged to review their NC3 and ensure strict lines of control over any offensive cyber operations at that level.

Classified studies of the details of NC3, not just the technical infrastructure but also their human organizations, together with wargames of the scenarios above, may help nuclear war planners to think carefully about subverting NC3. Unfortunately, the same reconnaissance operations used to better understand the opponent’s NC3 can be misinterpreted as attempts to compromise it [98]. More insidiously, private knowledge can become a source of instability insofar as knowing something about an adversary that improves one’s prospects in war increases the incentive to act through force or to exploit windows of opportunity in a crisis that could inadvertently escalate.

Anything that can be done to protect NC3 against cyber intrusion will make the most dangerous possibility of successful but undetected compromises less likely. The Defense Science Board in 2013 recommended “immediate action to assess and assure national leadership that the current U.S. nuclear deterrent is also survivable against the full-spectrum cyber … threat” [41]. Defense in depth should include redundant communications pathways, error correction channels, isolation of the most critical systems, component heterogeneity rather than a vulnerable software monoculture, and network security monitoring with active defenses (i.e. a counterintelligence mindset). Older technologies, ironically, may provide some protection by foiling access of modern cyber techniques (Russia reportedly still uses punch-cards for parts of its NC3 [103]); yet vulnerabilities from an earlier era of inadequate safeguards are also a problem. For defense in depth to translate into deterrence by denial requires the additional step of somehow advertising NC3 redundancy and resilience even in a cyber degraded environment.

Cyber disruption of NC3 is a cross-domain deterrence problem. CDD might also be part of the solution. As noted above, CDD can help to bound the severity of instability in the cyber domain by threatening, implicitly or explicitly, the prospect of military, economic, law-enforcement, or diplomatic consequences. Cyber attacks flourish below some credible threshold of deterrence and rapidly tail off above it. CDD may also help in nuclear crises. CDD provides policymakers with options other than nuclear weapons, and perhaps options when NC3 is compromised. A diversity of options provides a variation on Schelling’s classic “threat that leaves something to chance.” In some dyads, particularly with highly asymmetric nuclear arsenals and technical capabilities, CDD may provide options for “war” and “coercion” outcomes (in the language of our typology) short of actual nuclear war. CDD does not necessarily improve deterrence and in many ways is predicated on the failure of deterrence, but the broadening of options may lessen the consequences of that failure (i.e. if a machine asks, “Do you want to play a game?” it would be helpful to have options available other than “global thermonuclear war”). The implications of choice among an expanded palette of coercive options in an open-ended bargaining scenario is a topic for future research.

Finally, every effort should be made to ensure that senior leaders—the President and the Secretary of Defense in the United States, the Central Military Commission in China, etc.—understand and authorize any cyber operations against any country’s NC3 for any reason. Even intrusions focused only on intelligence collection should be reviewed and approved at the highest level. Education is easier said than done given the esoteric technical details involved. Ignorance at the senior level of the implications of compromised NC3 is a major risk factor in a crisis contributing to false optimism or other bad decisions. New technologies of information are, ironically, undermining clear communication.

Acknowledgements
We thank Scott Sagan, William J. Perry, the participants of the Stanford Cyber Policy Program (SCPP) Workshop on Strategic Dimensions of Offensive Cyber Operations, and the anonymous reviewers for their comments. This research was supported by SCPP and the Department of Defense Minerva Initiative through an Office of Naval Research Grant [N00014-14-1-0071].

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Lebanon Is Under Maximum Pressure, and the Target Is Hezbollah: Iran Sends Its Support • Katehon

Lebanon is under unprecedented economic and social pressure, paying the price for Hezbollah’s military capability that causes a threat to “Israel”. The options offered by those (US, EU and “Israel”) effectively participating in cornering Lebanon -notwithstanding decades of domestic corruption and mismanagement – are limited to two: either disarm Hezbollah or push Lebanon toward a failed state and civil war. However, the “Axis of the Resistance” has other options: Iran has responded to the request of Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah by regularly sending to Lebanon food supplies and medicine. It is now sending oil tankers, which are expected to reach the country in the coming weeks via the Syrian port of Tartous. Iran is rushing to support one of its strongest allies in the “Axis of the Resistance”, Hezbollah, which is suffering severe domestic pressure, as are the entire Resistance Axis members in their respective countries. Hezbollah’s supporters of all persuasions are affected by the acute socio-economic crisis. But will Hezbollah succeed in overcoming the inevitable result of the current long-term crisis? How serious are the challenges?

In one of his private meetings, Sayed Nasrallah said: “Israel considered that Hezbollah’s military capability constituted a “vexing danger” at the first years of its existence. The level of danger moved up to “challenge” in 2000 when “Israel” withdrew from Lebanon, to the “serious menace” level after the 2006 war, and to “existential danger” after the wars in Syria and Iraq.”

In line with what the Secretary-General of Hezbollah believes, it is common knowledge that “Israel” possesses nuclear weapons. Therefore, no other power in the Middle East can be considered an “existential threat” to “Israel”. However, according to the Israeli military leadership, Hezbollah possesses accurate missiles carrying hundreds of kilograms of explosives each. Thus, Hezbollah needs only ten missiles – not hundreds – to hit 6 electric stations and 4 water desalination plants over the entire geography to render life impossible for a vast number of Israelis. The Israeli leadership stated that there is no need to count the precision missiles that could hit any oil platform, ship or harbour and destroy any airport control tower in any future war.

Consequently, there will be not many Israelis willing to stay, and it is conceivable to believe that a considerable number of Israelis would leave. This scenario constitutes an existential threat to “Israel”, indeed. In this case, as the military command says, “Israel” will never be able to coexist with such an existential threat looming over its head generated from the other side of the Lebanese border. Hezbollah possesses hundreds of precision missiles spread over a wide area in Lebanon, Syria, and mainly along the fortified eastern mountainside that offer ideal protection for these missiles. So what are “Israel’s” options?

Following the failure to subdue Hezbollah in 2006 in the 3rd war, the victory of the “Axis of Resistance” in the Syrian conflict, the prevention of the division of Iraq and the fall of Yemen under Saudi Arabia’s control, the area of ​​influence of the Resistance Axis expanded, as well as its theatre of operations. Consequently, the danger to “Israel”, to the US’s goals and hegemony in West Asia, significantly increased.

The nuclear dossier is not that far away from the threat the “Axis of the Resistance” is confronted with. By increasing its nuclear capability, Iran forced President Joe Biden to put the nuclear negotiation at the top of its agenda during (former) President Hassan Rouhani’s mandate. Whatever has been said about the possibility of future progress in the nuclear talks in Vienna, lifting sanctions on Iran – while Iraq is labouring under heavy financial debt, Syria is subjected to a severe economic blockade, and Lebanon faces a becoming degraded state -seems unrealistic to the US.

To the west and “Israel”, releasing Iran’s frozen funds – which exceed $110 billion – at a time of maximum financial pressure and heavy sanctions, is not logical. Moreover, allowing Iran to sell and export its oil and lifting the maximum pressure means that all the previous US efforts to curb Iran’s will and progress are due to fail just when the results of these sanctions are turning in favour of the US in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

Consequently, maintaining economic pressure on the “Axis of Resistance” has become a US necessity and strategy. With this in mind, the US failed to comply with the nuclear agreement, to improve the leverage of the US negotiator and impose its conditions over Iran to include, above all, its relationship with its allies and the maintenance of hundreds of sanctions in place.

With the arrival of President Ibrahim Raisi to power and his plans to give little time for the nuclear negotiation, the US sees itself faced with two very bitter choices: either allowing Iran to become a nuclear power or removing all sanctions so as to persuade Iran to delay its entire nuclear capability. Both decisions are impossible choices and inconvenient for the US administration. Thus, the US needs to hit Iran’s allies without negotiating with Tehran, because it refuses to include it – as well as Iran’s missile program – in any nuclear talks.

Suppose the maximum pressure on Lebanon fails to weaken Hezbollah. In that case, Washington needs to evaluate future steps to choose between the nuclear threat or the “Axis of the Resistance” threat to “Israel”. And if the US opts for the 2015 nuclear agreement –which is unlikely – then “the Axis of Resistance” will experience a strong revival, recovering from the extreme US pressure. Whatever America’s choice is, it has become more than evident that Iran will eventually become a nuclear power and offer more than adequate support to its allies to keep them strong enough to face whatever challenges.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah cannot provide and has no intention of replacing the services provided by the state. Nevertheless, it is involved in the food supply through “al-Sajjad” cards delivered to families needing to buy food at a sharply reduced price, which raised the number from 150 000 to 200 000. It is supporting thousands of families who have reached the level of extreme poverty. Moreover, Hezbollah brought medication from Iran (more than 500 types) to cover some of the country’s needs when pharmacies are closing their doors and lacking essential medical supplies.

Furthermore, in the coming weeks, Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah have agreed on delivering Iranian oil to Lebanon. Hezbollah will receive the gasoline from the supply to its forces and for covering its daily movements. Hospitals are at the top of the list of those expected to receive the Iranian oil distributed by Hezbollah to prevent their shutting down. Many hospitals closed more than half of their departments. Other medical facilities transferred their patients to hospitals that still have fuel to generate electricity for the next few days. In various parts of Lebanon, hospitals are asking many patients to leave due to the lack of diesel fuel for electricity. The American University of Beirut Medical Centre stopped ventilators and other lifesaving medical devices for the lack of fuel oil.

Also, Hezbollah is expected to deliver Iranian oil to the owners of tens of thousands of private electric generators. The lack of electricity in the country boosted the presence of thousands of privately-owned generators who, for decades, offer their paid services to compensate for the lack of electricity. These are expected to benefit from the oil delivered by Hezbollah to secure electric power supply for people. The shortage of diesel fuel for the owners of generators reached a critical degree in the current hot summer, raising the level of discontent among the population.

Also, diesel fuel will be provided to some municipalities to secure waste removal from the streets for fear of the spread of disease. Al-Amanah Company is also expected to distribute the Iranian oil and diesel to dozens of stations approved by it and other local gasoline stations spread throughout the Lebanese territory.

But Hezbollah will not satisfy everyone in the country and is not able to prevent internal deterioration within the Shia society (-the majority of Shia stand with Hezbollah, but there are others in the Amal movement under the control of Speaker Nabih Berri and not Hezbollah) in the first place and among its allies in the second place. The social decline is at a peak, and Iran’s support is insufficient unless Iran fully achieves its own recovery – if sanctions are fully lifted – and its domestic economy recovers. As far as it concerns Iran, the consent to its allies is mandatory because the “Axis of the Resistance” is united and all share the same vocation.

However, it is not in Iran’s capability to take on the entire burden of Syria and Lebanon’s economy. Iran supported Syria financially throughout the decade of war but is in no position to finance all the needs of the state. Also, Hezbollah started as a popular resistance force against the Israeli occupation, intending to impose deterrence and protect the state from Israeli violations and ambitions. It has been heavily involved in social support to the deprived Shia sect and managed to cover many infrastructure and service holes left by the incapability of the state. But the challenge faced in the last couple of years is beyond Hezbollah’s competencies and probably beyond the means of the state itself.

It should be borne in mind, though, that the flow of the Iranian oil into Lebanon carries with it several potential risks:

First: The risk of an Israeli strike on the supply lines. This will require Hezbollah to strike back “Israel” to maintain the balance of terror and deterrence equation. The tension in the military situation between “Israel” and Hezbollah will reach its climax without going to an all-out war because “Israel” prefers “campaigns between wars” to control the damage that may result from the confrontation. However, if “Israel” strikes the Iranian oil tankers or other countries try to stop the oil from reaching Lebanon, Iran would reply and it is not expected to stop sending its tankers to Lebanon.

Second: The supply route passes through areas not controlled by Hezbollah. What will the other anti-Hezbollah groups do? Will Hezbollah find a solution to convince the (hostile) Druze, Sunni and Christians spread along its supply road to avoid intercepting its trucks, or would it be forced to face groups and be dragged into an internal battle? How will Hezbollah guarantee the cohesion of its areas from the Beqaa to the southern suburbs of Beirut and even to the South of Lebanon so that its environment would be safe from the sectarian incitement the US manipulates and drags the country toward it?

There is no doubt that Lebanon is heading toward the dissolution of the state in a fast-paced manner. This will lead to the security forces’ weakness in general and push each sect or party to provide the necessary support to the membership of its society. Lebanon is expected to live again in the 1980s era when social services were reduced, waste spread in the streets, health and education levels declined, security forces were inefficient and hopeless, and warlords were emerging out of it.

From a specific aspect, the US-Israeli blockade is relatively in the interests of Hezbollah because it receives its financial support in foreign currency. Hezbollah is a regular and coherent organisation, and it will increase its revenue from the sharp devaluation of the local currency, the selling of medicine, oil and food. Hezbollah is expected to sell gasoline and diesel at prices relatively lower than the market price. Furthermore, it is also expected to allow other areas in Lebanon to have access to all the reached products. That will permit Hezbollah to expose greedy Lebanese merchants who monopolise and stockpile medicines and gasoline to starve the market and increase prices. These Lebanese merchants will be forced to sell their goods if these are no longer a rarity in the market. The goods are currently sold on the black market at prices unaffordable to the majority of the inhabitants.

What Lebanon is suffering from is the result of decades of corruption conducted by the US friends who held the political power in the country. The downgrading of Lebanon is primarily due to the US and Israeli interventions and influence in this country: It has lost the name “Switzerland of the East” forever. The disadvantage for Hezbollah will be the security chaos, the fragmentation of the security forces and their inability to impose their authority, and the spread of poverty to hit all walks of life. It is also expected to see the country suffer different sabotage acts, bribes, further corruption- and to become a fertile platform for the Israeli intelligence to operate in. A possible and potential scenario will force Hezbollah to “clean up” the roads to ensure the continuity of its supplies, link all Shia areas together and impose “self-security” to reduce their vulnerability.

Time’s arrow cannot be reversed, and Lebanon will not return to what it was before, not for the next ten years at least. There is a possibility to create Lebanese cantons with different warlords without engaging in a civil war. Each Lebanese party would end up arming its group to support its people and area, not to engage in a battle with other parties, but to defend itself.

The collapse is the master of the situation. The US has prevented Lebanon from benefiting from Chinese and Russian offers to rebuild the country and stop it from deteriorating further. Moreover, the US forbad Europe and the oil-rich Middle Eastern countries from helping Lebanon in this crisis as they used to in the past. After all, Lebanon needs 3 to 4 billion dollars to stand on its feet and regain some of its strength after halting subsidies on various items that gobble up its cash resources.

But the challenge remains for the “Axis of Resistance” members, struggling to survive and resist the US hegemony and confront the US projects to dominate West Asia. Unless the “Axis of Resistance” members take the initiative and move from a defensive to an offensive position and impose new equations that prevent starvation of the population, this pressure will remain and even increase with time. However, supposing the US pressure is maintained, and the “Axis of the Resistance” adopts only survival mode: In that case, Lebanon’s people and the country’s stability will pay an increasingly heavy price, both now and in the years to come.

https://english.almayadeen.net/articles/opinion/lebanon-is-under-maximum-pressure-and-the-target-is-hezbolla

Source: Lebanon Is Under Maximum Pressure, and the Target Is Hezbollah: Iran Sends Its Support

Europa: The Last Battle (2017 Documentary)

This documentary has fallen victim to Zio-Censorism all over the internet. The description from the producer:

Since the mid-20th century, the world has only ever heard one side of the most horrific war in human history. During the 75 years that have now passed, only a single narrative of the great conflict has been heard. This over simplistic narrative totally ignores the previous decades of critical history leading up to World War II, ignores vital information from the actual war years, and outright fabricates lie after lie after lie.

We are today living in the world of the victors of that war and without an objective, rational and balanced view of our history, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes. After World War Two, the victors of the war not only went on to write our history books, infiltrate our media and public education but even going so far as to criminalize the mere questioning of the official story’s orthodoxy. The truth is, that our world today can only be understood through a correct understanding of World War II, the architects of it and the conflicts between Globalism and Nationalism. Between the old-and-new world order. The Traditional and the “Progressive”.

Day in and day out, has the post-war propaganda been pounded into the minds of three subsequent generations. Every medium of mass indoctrination has been harnessed to the task of training the obedient masses as to what the proper and “acceptable” view of this event should be. Academia, news media, public education, book publishing, TV documentaries, Hollywood films and politicians of every stripe all sing the same song.

For very good reasons, most people don’t trust the mainstream media anymore. You have already heard the official history millions of times.

This documentary gives an overview of how Europe has been shaped in modern history. In it, you will find the secret history, where you will find the real causes of the events. Watch this series and uncover the real root causes of World War II. It will take you on an epic timeline that will transport you back in time and lead you on the journey through the Bolshevik Revolution, the communist attempts to take over Germany; hyperinflation during the Weimar Republic, widespread unemployment and misery, Adolf Hitler’s rise to power, World War I & II – all the way to the modern world. It presents the true historical events that lead to this world catastrophe known as the second world war, as well as the aftermath.

Do be forewarned though, your worldview might never be the same. As always, the Truth Fears No Investigation.

This documentary consists of 9 (10) parts, read all about it on
https://europathelastbattle.wordpress.com/watch/

Timestamps:
00:00:00 – Introduction
00:01:39 – Part 1
01:14:55 – Part 2
02:23:51 – Part 3
03:03:32 – Part 4
04:50:04 – Part 5
05:43:15 – Part 6
06:43:02 – Part 7
07:51:19 – Part 8
09:56:22 – Part 9
11:52:15 – Sources & Credits

Heim ins Reich – Pax Germania

—————————— ᛭ —————————— Wappenbund – The Eternal Empire In Heaven [Full Album] Pax Germania – In memoriam somnium. March 12th, 1938 Anschluss Österreichs. Sections: A brief history of the German Reich – Contrasting to the importance of Unity. Anti-German propaganda machine & Ultimate Responsibilities (Hard Truths). Looking back at Aktion T4 – Dekonstruktion des Autismus […]

Heim ins Reich – Pax Germania

Syrian President Forms his New Government Despite the Challenges and Western Threats

Syria

Syrian President Bashar Assad issued a decree today, Tuesday 10 August 2021, forming his new government after his re-elections, a major step in facing the ever-mounting US and EU threats, economic challenges, and continuous fighting terrorism and Israeli aggression.

There were much fewer changes than hoped for by the Syrian people in this new government, most of the ministers kept their posts and only five were changed out of the 29, this can be slightly justified that most of those ministers have only assumed their posts in August last year when the last government was formed after the President sacked the former prime minister and some of his ministers.

Keeping both foreign and defense ministers indicates that there would be no change in Syria’s policies in dealing with other countries and in fighting terrorism and foreign occupation forces in Syria, I can say there would be an increase on these…

View original post 178 more words

US Foreign Policy Adrift: Why Washington No Longer Calls the Shots – from Anti-War Blog

Original: Article Here

Jonah Goldberg and Michael Ledeen have much in common. They are both writers and also cheerleaders for military interventions and, often, for frivolous wars. Writing in the conservative rag, The National Review, months before the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, Goldberg paraphrased a statement which he attributed to Ledeen with reference to the interventionist US foreign policy.

“Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business,” Goldberg wrote, quoting Ledeen.

Those like Ledeen, the neoconservative intellectual henchman type, often get away with this kind of provocative rhetoric for various reasons. American intelligentsias, especially those who are close to the center of power in Washington DC, perceive war and military intervention as the foundation and baseline of their foreign policy analysis. The utterances of such statements are usually conveyed within friendly media and intellectual platforms, where equally hawkish, belligerent audiences cheer and laugh at the warmongering muses. In the case of Ledeen, the receptive audience was the hardline, neoconservative, pro-Israel American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

Predictably, AEI was one of the loudest voices urging for a war and invasion of Iraq prior to that calamitous decision by the George W. Bush Administration, which was enacted in March 2003.

Neoconservatism, unlike what the etymology of the name may suggest, was not necessarily confined to conservative political circles. Think tanks, newspapers and media networks that purport – or are perceived – to express liberal and even progressive thought today, like The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN, have dedicated much time and space to promoting an American invasion of Iraq as the first step of a complete US geostrategic military hegemony in the Middle East.

Like the National Review, these media networks also provided unhindered space to so-called neoconservative intellectuals who molded American foreign policy based on some strange mix between their twisted take on ethics and morality and the need for the US to ensure its global dominance throughout the 21st century. Of course, the neocons’ love affair with Israel has served as the common denominator among all individuals affiliated with this intellectual cult.

The main – and inconsequential – difference between Ledeen, for example, and those like Thomas Friedman of The New York Times, is that the former is brazen and blunt, while the latter is delusional and manipulative. For his part, Friedman also supported the Iraq war, but only to bring “democracy” to the Middle East and to fight “terrorism.” The pretense “war on terror,” though misleading if not outright fabricated, was the overriding American motto in its invasion of Iraq and, earlier, Afghanistan. This mantra was readily utilized whenever Washington needed to “pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall.”

Even those who genuinely supported the war based on concocted intelligence – that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, possessed weapons of mass destruction, or the equally fallacious notion that Saddam and Al-Qaeda cooperated in any way – must, by now, realize that the entire American discourse prior to the war had no basis in reality. Unfortunately, war enthusiasts are not a rational bunch. Therefore, neither they, nor their “intellectuals,” should be expected to possess the moral integrity in shouldering the responsibility for the Iraq invasion and its horrific consequences.

If, indeed, the US wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan were meant to fight and uproot terror, how is it possible that, in June 2014, an erstwhile unknown group calling itself the “Islamic State” (IS), managed to flourish, occupy and usurp massive swathes of Iraqi and Syrian territories and resource under the watchful eye of the US military? If the other war objective was bringing stability and democracy to the Middle East, why did many years of US “state-building” efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, for example, leave behind nothing but weak, shattered armies and festering corruption?

Two important events have summoned up these thoughts: US President Joe Biden’s “historic” trip to Cornwall, UK, in June, to attend the 47th G7 summit and, two weeks later, the death of Donald Rumsfeld, who is widely depicted as “the architect of the Iraq war.” The tone struck by Biden throughout his G7 meetings is that “America is back,” another American coinage similar to the earlier phrase, the “great reset” – meaning that Washington is ready to reclaim its global role that had been betrayed by the chaotic policies of former President Donald Trump.

The newest phrase – “America is back” – appears to suggest that the decision to restore the US’ uncontested global leadership is, more or less, an exclusively American decision. Moreover, the term is not entirely new. In his first speech to a global audience at the Munich Security Conference on February 19, Biden repeated the phrase several times with obvious emphasis.

“America is back. I speak today as President of the United States, at the very start of my administration and I am sending a clear message to the world: America is back,” Biden said, adding that “the transatlantic alliance is back and we are not looking backward, we are looking forward together.”

Platitudes and wishful thinking aside, the US cannot possibly return to a previous geopolitical standing, simply because Biden has made an executive decision to “reset” his country’s traditional relationships with Europe – or anywhere else, either. Biden’s actual mission is to merely whitewash and restore his country’s tarnished reputation, marred not only by Trump, but also by years of fruitless wars, a crisis of democracy at home and abroad and an impending financial crisis resulting from the US’ mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately for Washington, while it hopes to “look forward” to the future, other countries have already staked claims to parts of the world where the US has been forced to retreat, following two decades of a rudderless strategy that is fueled by the belief that firepower alone is sufficient to keep America aloft forever.

Though Biden was received warmly by his European hosts, Europe is likely to proceed cautiously. The continent’s geostrategic interests do not fall entirely in the American camp, as was once the case. Other new factors and power players have emerged in recent years. China is now the European bloc’s largest trade partner and Biden’s scare tactics warning of Chinese global dominance have not, seemingly, impressed the Europeans as the Americans had hoped. Following Britain’s unceremonious exit from the EU bloc, the latter urgently needs to keep its share of the global economy as large as possible. The limping US economy will hardly make the substantial deficit felt in Europe. Namely, the China-EU relationship is here to stay – and grow.

There is something else that makes the Europeans wary of whatever murky political doctrine Biden is promoting: dangerous American military adventurism.

The US and Europe are the foundation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) which, since its inception in 1949, was almost exclusively used by the US to assert its global dominance, first in the Korean Peninsula in 1950, then everywhere else.

Following the September 11 attacks, Washington used its hegemony over NATO to invoke Article 5 of its Charter, that of collective defense. The consequences were dire, as NATO members, along with the US, were embroiled in their longest wars ever, military conflicts that had no consistent strategy, let alone measurable goals. Now, as the US licks its wounds as it leaves Afghanistan, NATO members, too, are leaving the devastated country without a single achievement worth celebrating. Similar scenarios are transpiring in Iraq and Syria, too.

Rumsfeld’s death on June 29, at the age of 88, should serve as a wake-up call to American allies if they truly wish to avoid the pitfalls and recklessness of the past. While much of the US corporate media commemorated the death of a brutish war criminal with amiable noncommittal language, some blamed him almost entirely for the Iraq fiasco. It is as if a single man had bent the will of the West-dominated international community to invade, pillage, torture and destroy entire countries. If so, then Rumsfeld’s death should usher in an exciting new dawn of collective peace, prosperity and security. This is not the case.

Rationalizing his decision to leave Afghanistan in a speech to the nation in April 2021, Biden did not accept, on behalf of his country, responsibility over that horrific war. Instead, he spoke of the need to fight the “terror threat” in “many places,” instead of keeping “thousands of troops grounded and concentrated in just one country.”

Indeed, a close reading of Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan – a process which began under Trump – suggests that the difference between US foreign policy under Biden is only tactically different from the policies of George W. Bush when he launched his “preemptive wars” under the command of Rumsfeld. Namely, though the geopolitical map may have shifted, the US appetite for war remains insatiable.

Shackled with a legacy of unnecessary, fruitless and immoral wars, yet with no actual “forward” strategy, the US, arguably for the first time since the inception of NATO in the aftermath of World War II, has no decipherable foreign policy doctrine. Even if such a doctrine exists, it can only be materialized through alliances whose relationships are constructed on trust and confidence. Despite the EU’s courteous reception of Biden in Cornwall, trust in Washington is at an all-time low.

Even if it is accepted, without any argument, that America is, indeed, back, considering the vastly changing geopolitical spheres in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, Biden’s assertion should, ultimately, make no difference.

Conflicts of Interest: Corporate Press Covers for Israel as It Murders Palestinians By Choice

Share Tweet Pin Mail SMS On COI #143, Kyle and Will break down the latest quarterly report from the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction …

Source: Conflicts of Interest: Corporate Press Covers for Israel as It Murders Palestinians By Choice

From TruNews – ISRAEL SECURES GREEN LIGHT TO BOMB IRAN AS U.S. IS DISTRACTED BY COVID

August 2, 2021:

TruNews, we discuss the preparations for military strikes against Iran and the on-going campaign to gaslight Americans into mandatory vaccination, even after the CDC admitted their ineffectiveness.Lastly, we interview Pennsylvania congressional candidate Teddy Daniels, and ask about his platform and his faith in Jesus Christ.

Rick Wiles, Edward Szall, Lauren Witzke, Matt Skow.

Airdate (8/02/21)