Trump Says He May Scrap Russia Sanctions

US President-elect Donald Trump

US President-elect Donald Trump

 President-elect Donald Trump has hinted that he may lift sanctions on Russia and won’t stand by the “One China” policy unless Beijing improves its currency and trade practices.

Trump told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published Friday that he would keep intact “at least for a period of time” sanctions President Barack Obama’s administration imposed on Russia last month over Moscow’s alleged cyberattacks to influence the US election.

But, if Russia helps the US on key goals such as fighting violent extremists, Trump suggested he may scrap the punitive measures altogether.

He also said he was prepared to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin after taking office January 20.

Trump, who sees an opportunity to cooperate with Moscow in fighting Takfiri groups like ISIL, has expressed admiration for Putin.

Turning to the longstanding US practice of not recognizing Taiwan diplomatically, Trump said: “Everything is under negotiation, including One China.”

Trump has already irked China by accepting a congratulatory phone call from Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-Wen after he won the election, upending decades of diplomatic precedent in which the White House has foregone direct communication with the island’s leader.

He defended that move in his interview with the Journal, saying: “We sold them $2 billion of military equipment last year. We can sell them $2 billion of the latest and greatest military equipment but we’re not allowed to accept a phone call. First of all, it would have been very rude not to accept the phone call.”

Beijing considers the island to be a breakaway province to be brought back within its fold, by force if necessary

Trump has threatened to get tough with what he sees as unfair Chinese trade practices, and suggested that the “One China” policy could become a bargaining chip in other disputes.

Source: AFP

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Russian Cyber Troops And US Presidential Election

January 11, 2017

Written and produced by SF Team: J.Hawk, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watson

The months after Hillary Clinton’s stunning loss to Donald Trump in the US presidential election have been dominated by stories concerning “Russian hackers.” If US media reports are to be believed, swarms of Fancy Bears and Cozy Bears have been roaming the Grizzly Steppe in order to throw the election to Donald Trump by…revealing the corruption within the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton camp. Naturally, these stories are the product of the last-ditch effort by the outgoing administration to trigger a new “cold war” with Russia and to shift attention away from Democrats’ failings. However, they have had the side effect of bringing attention to Russia’s cyber-war capabilities and the global cyber battlefield.

This is not the first time Russia’s cyber capabilities came into the spotlight. The concept of the “Russian hacker” entered Western consciousness during the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia, and then resurfaced during the conflicts with Georgia and Ukraine, with a number of countries with Russophobic leadership, such as the Baltic States, routinely complaining of being a target of Russian cyber attacks.

Russia does in fact possess cyber war capabilities. The Information Operations Troops officially became operational in 2014 under the command of Deputy Defense Minister Pavel Popov, with several distinctive entities focusing on technology development, communications security, and recruitment of specialists versed in hacking methods and tactics. IO Troops are also receiving support from the Special Research Center of the MOD, research institutes such as the NII Kvant, and specially formed “scientific companies” of military draftees and contract soldiers already possessing applicable skills and talents recruited from Russia’s extensive hacker community who would help unravel and reverse-engineer Western malware being used against Russia.

National cyber-war capabilities are very difficult to assess because of the covert and non-kinetic aspect of their operations.  However, circumstantial evidence suggests Russian cyber-forces possess state-of-the-art capabilities that few, if any, other countries surpass. Obama’s and McCain dismissal of Russia as an inconsequential and backward country is ludicrous when one considers that it possesses the combination of capabilities required for waging cyber warfare effectively: mathematical and programming prowess. The skill of Soviet and Russian mathematicians is evident in the realms of nuclear and spaceflight technologies, where Russia has long been a world leader. Russia is also home to a sophisticated programming culture born out of sheer necessity. Once USSR began to fall behind the West in processor power, that lag forced its programmers to become efficient at writing code that could perform without overtaxing limited processing power. It is that skill that made Russian programmers so highly sought after USSR’s fall.

Russia’s cyber-war prowess is also testified to by the fact that there is not a single cyber operation that can be definitively ascribed to Russian state operators. In other words, if Russian cyber forces are in fact operating around the world, they are doing so in a way that defies detection or at least attribution. It is also evident that the US government has proven to be extremely wary of entering into a cyber-conflict with Russia. While the Obama Administration has laid out a number of alternatives to supposedly “punish” Russia for supposedly “hacking” the US elections, its officials and experts openly acknowledged they did not wish to risk a Russian cyber-retaliation against the sprawling US cyber-empire.

The cyber-battlefield thus became yet another area in which Russia successfully deterred US aggression thanks to its own capabilities. In the longer term, once the US intelligence community comes to terms with this fact, this clash may lead to international norms regulating and, in fact, prohibiting cyber warfare against sovereign states. Ironically, it is Russia that has been consistently proposing an international legal framework governing cyber operations, starting with the 2009 proposal for an international information security treaty and the 2011 “International Code of Conduct for Information Security” that was presented to the UN General Assembly. Predictably, both were rejected out of hand by the Obama Administration. However, the US unwillingness to entertain international agreements on cyber warfare was correctly interpreted–and later confirmed by Edward Snowden– as a sign of US desire to use offensive cyber-war capabilities in the future, possibly in support of “color revolutions”, that led to the 2014 establishment of IOT. If the relations between Russia and US do improve during the Trump Administration, addressing the problem of cyber-warfare will likely be part of that agenda.

The Stuxnet Connection to Fukushima

Posted on January 2, 2017

 

[ Ed. note – Normally Dane Wigington of Geoengineering Watch doesn’t have a lot to say about Israel. But in this, the most recent installment of his weekly radio show, Wigington gets into a lengthy discussion not only about the UN Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements but also the likely connection between Stuxnet and the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The Stuxnet computer worm is believed to have been developed by the US and Israel. While its first use likely took place in 2009, in an operation targeting Iranian nuclear facilities, the story didn’t come to light until the following year. One of the earliest articles on it was this piece published in ZDNet on September 14, 2010. I am including, among the articles posted below, a piece by a Japanese writer reporting that Stuxnet had been found on 63 personal computers in Japan. That piece was published originally on October 5, 2010. The Fukushima nuclear disaster occurred just over five months later.

Stuxnet was presumably developed specifically to target Iranian nuclear plants, but it seems to have gotten loose, spread around the world, ending up, finally, causing a calamity at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. The Iranians dodged the bullet for the most part, while the Japanese got hit with a tragedy they are still dealing with today.

In the radio show, Wigington points out the all-too-obvious hypocrisy, namely the Obama administration’s angry denunciations of unproven allegations of Russian hacking of the US presidential election–while the very same administration is guilty of having launched a cyber attack on Iranian nuclear facilities–an act of war essentially. I am reproducing below the three articles Wigington cites in his discussion on Stuxnet, plus the additional one I found on the discovery of the Stuxnet worm in Japan five months before the nuclear disaster. ]

***

Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyber Attacks Against Iran

NY Times, June 1, 2012

WASHINGTON — From his first months in office, President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America’s first sustained use of cyberweapons, according to participants in the program.

Mr. Obama decided to accelerate the attacks — begun in the Bush administration and code-named Olympic Games — even after an element of the program accidentally became public in the summer of 2010 because of a programming error that allowed it to escape Iran’s Natanz plant and sent it around the world on the Internet. Computer security experts who began studying the worm, which had been developed by the United States and Israel, gave it a name: Stuxnet.

At a tense meeting in the White House Situation Room within days of the worm’s “escape,” Mr. Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency at the time, Leon E. Panetta, considered whether America’s most ambitious attempt to slow the progress of Iran’s nuclear efforts had been fatally compromised.

“Should we shut this thing down?” Mr. Obama asked, according to members of the president’s national security team who were in the room.

Told it was unclear how much the Iranians knew about the code, and offered evidence that it was still causing havoc, Mr. Obama decided that the cyberattacks should proceed. In the following weeks, the Natanz plant was hit by a newer version of the computer worm, and then another after that. The last of that series of attacks, a few weeks after Stuxnet was detected around the world, temporarily took out nearly 1,000 of the 5,000 centrifuges Iran had spinning at the time to purify uranium.

This account of the American and Israeli effort to undermine the Iranian nuclear program is based on interviews over the past 18 months with current and former American, European and Israeli officials involved in the program, as well as a range of outside experts. None would allow their names to be used because the effort remains highly classified, and parts of it continue to this day.

These officials gave differing assessments of how successful the sabotage program was in slowing Iran’s progress toward developing the ability to build nuclear weapons. Internal Obama administration estimates say the effort was set back by 18 months to two years, but some experts inside and outside the government are more skeptical, noting that Iran’s enrichment levels have steadily recovered, giving the country enough fuel today for five or more weapons, with additional enrichment.

Whether Iran is still trying to design and build a weapon is in dispute. The most recent United States intelligence estimate concludes that Iran suspended major parts of its weaponization effort after 2003, though there is evidence that some remnants of it continue.

Iran initially denied that its enrichment facilities had been hit by Stuxnet, then said it had found the worm and contained it. Last year, the nation announced that it had begun its own military cyberunit, and Brig. Gen. Gholamreza Jalali, the head of Iran’s Passive Defense Organization, said that the Iranian military was prepared “to fight our enemies” in “cyberspace and Internet warfare.” But there has been scant evidence that it has begun to strike back.

The United States government only recently acknowledged developing cyberweapons, and it has never admitted using them. There have been reports of one-time attacks against personal computers used by members of Al Qaeda, and of contemplated attacks against the computers that run air defense systems, including during the NATO-led air attack on Libya last year. But Olympic Games was of an entirely different type and sophistication.

It appears to be the first time the United States has repeatedly used cyberweapons to cripple another country’s infrastructure, achieving, with computer code, what until then could be accomplished only by bombing a country or sending in agents to plant explosives. The code itself is 50 times as big as the typical computer worm, Carey Nachenberg, a vice president of Symantec, one of the many groups that have dissected the code, said at a symposium at Stanford University in April. Those forensic investigations into the inner workings of the code, while picking apart how it worked, came to no conclusions about who was responsible.

A similar process is now under way to figure out the origins of another cyberweapon called Flame that was recently discovered to have attacked the computers of Iranian officials, sweeping up information from those machines. But the computer code appears to be at least five years old, and American officials say that it was not part of Olympic Games. They have declined to say whether the United States was responsible for the Flame attack.

Mr. Obama, according to participants in the many Situation Room meetings on Olympic Games, was acutely aware that with every attack he was pushing the United States into new territory, much as his predecessors had with the first use of atomic weapons in the 1940s, of intercontinental missiles in the 1950s and of drones in the past decade. He repeatedly expressed concerns that any American acknowledgment that it was using cyberweapons — even under the most careful and limited circumstances — could enable other countries, terrorists or hackers to justify their own attacks.

“We discussed the irony, more than once,” one of his aides said. Another said that the administration was resistant to developing a “grand theory for a weapon whose possibilities they were still discovering.” Yet Mr. Obama concluded that when it came to stopping Iran, the United States had no other choice.

If Olympic Games failed, he told aides, there would be no time for sanctions and diplomacy with Iran to work. Israel could carry out a conventional military attack, prompting a conflict that could spread throughout the region.

A Bush Initiative

The impetus for Olympic Games dates from 2006, when President George W. Bush saw few good options in dealing with Iran. At the time, America’s European allies were divided about the cost that imposing sanctions on Iran would have on their own economies. Having falsely accused Saddam Hussein of reconstituting his nuclear program in Iraq, Mr. Bush had little credibility in publicly discussing another nation’s nuclear ambitions. The Iranians seemed to sense his vulnerability, and, frustrated by negotiations, they resumed enriching uranium at an underground site at Natanz, one whose existence had been exposed just three years before.

Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, took reporters on a tour of the plant and described grand ambitions to install upward of 50,000 centrifuges. For a country with only one nuclear power reactor — whose fuel comes from Russia — to say that it needed fuel for its civilian nuclear program seemed dubious to Bush administration officials. They feared that the fuel could be used in another way besides providing power: to create a stockpile that could later be enriched to bomb-grade material if the Iranians made a political decision to do so.

Hawks in the Bush administration like Vice President Dick Cheney urged Mr. Bush to consider a military strike against the Iranian nuclear facilities before they could produce fuel suitable for a weapon. Several times, the administration reviewed military options and concluded that they would only further inflame a region already at war, and would have uncertain results.

For years the C.I.A. had introduced faulty parts and designs into Iran’s systems — even tinkering with imported power supplies so that they would blow up — but the sabotage had had relatively little effect. General James E. Cartwright, who had established a small cyberoperation inside the United States Strategic Command, which is responsible for many of America’s nuclear forces, joined intelligence officials in presenting a radical new idea to Mr. Bush and his national security team. It involved a far more sophisticated cyberweapon than the United States had designed before.

The goal was to gain access to the Natanz plant’s industrial computer controls. That required leaping the electronic moat that cut the Natanz plant off from the Internet — called the air gap, because it physically separates the facility from the outside world. The computer code would invade the specialized computers that command the centrifuges.

The first stage in the effort was to develop a bit of computer code called a beacon that could be inserted into the computers, which were made by the German company Siemens and an Iranian manufacturer, to map their operations. The idea was to draw the equivalent of an electrical blueprint of the Natanz plant, to understand how the computers control the giant silvery centrifuges that spin at tremendous speeds. The connections were complex, and unless every circuit was understood, efforts to seize control of the centrifuges could fail.

Eventually the beacon would have to “phone home” — literally send a message back to the headquarters of the National Security Agency that would describe the structure and daily rhythms of the enrichment plant. Expectations for the plan were low; one participant said the goal was simply to “throw a little sand in the gears” and buy some time. Mr. Bush was skeptical, but lacking other options, he authorized the effort.

Breakthrough, Aided by Israel

It took months for the beacons to do their work and report home, complete with maps of the electronic directories of the controllers and what amounted to blueprints of how they were connected to the centrifuges deep underground.

Then the N.S.A. and a secret Israeli unit respected by American intelligence officials for its cyberskills set to work developing the enormously complex computer worm that would become the attacker from within.

The unusually tight collaboration with Israel was driven by two imperatives. Israel’s Unit 8200, a part of its military, had technical expertise that rivaled the N.S.A.’s, and the Israelis had deep intelligence about operations at Natanz that would be vital to making the cyberattack a success. But American officials had another interest, to dissuade the Israelis from carrying out their own pre-emptive strike against the Iranian nuclear facilities. To do that, the Israelis would have to be convinced that the new line of attack was working. The only way to convince them, several officials said in interviews, was to have them deeply involved in every aspect of the program.

Soon the two countries had developed a complex worm that the Americans called “the bug.” But the bug needed to be tested. So, under enormous secrecy, the United States began building replicas of Iran’s P-1 centrifuges, an aging, unreliable design that Iran purchased from Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani nuclear chief who had begun selling fuel-making technology on the black market. Fortunately for the United States, it already owned some P-1s, thanks to the Libyan dictator, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

When Colonel Qaddafi gave up his nuclear weapons program in 2003, he turned over the centrifuges he had bought from the Pakistani nuclear ring, and they were placed in storage at a weapons laboratory in Tennessee. The military and intelligence officials overseeing Olympic Games borrowed some for what they termed “destructive testing,” essentially building a virtual replica of Natanz, but spreading the test over several of the Energy Department’s national laboratories to keep even the most trusted nuclear workers from figuring out what was afoot.

Those first small-scale tests were surprisingly successful: the bug invaded the computers, lurking for days or weeks, before sending instructions to speed them up or slow them down so suddenly that their delicate parts, spinning at supersonic speeds, self-destructed. After several false starts, it worked. One day, toward the end of Mr. Bush’s term, the rubble of a centrifuge was spread out on the conference table in the Situation Room, proof of the potential power of a cyberweapon. The worm was declared ready to test against the real target: Iran’s underground enrichment plant.

“Previous cyberattacks had effects limited to other computers,” Michael V. Hayden, the former chief of the C.I.A., said, declining to describe what he knew of these attacks when he was in office. “This is the first attack of a major nature in which a cyberattack was used to effect physical destruction,” rather than just slow another computer, or hack into it to steal data.

“Somebody crossed the Rubicon,” he said.

Getting the worm into Natanz, however, was no easy trick. The United States and Israel would have to rely on engineers, maintenance workers and others — both spies and unwitting accomplices — with physical access to the plant. “That was our holy grail,” one of the architects of the plan said. “It turns out there is always an idiot around who doesn’t think much about the thumb drive in their hand.”

In fact, thumb drives turned out to be critical in spreading the first variants of the computer worm; later, more sophisticated methods were developed to deliver the malicious code.

The first attacks were small, and when the centrifuges began spinning out of control in 2008, the Iranians were mystified about the cause, according to intercepts that the United States later picked up. “The thinking was that the Iranians would blame bad parts, or bad engineering, or just incompetence,” one of the architects of the early attack said.

The Iranians were confused partly because no two attacks were exactly alike. Moreover, the code would lurk inside the plant for weeks, recording normal operations; when it attacked, it sent signals to the Natanz control room indicating that everything downstairs was operating normally. “This may have been the most brilliant part of the code,” one American official said.

Later, word circulated through the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Vienna-based nuclear watchdog, that the Iranians had grown so distrustful of their own instruments that they had assigned people to sit in the plant and radio back what they saw.

“The intent was that the failures should make them feel they were stupid, which is what happened,” the participant in the attacks said. When a few centrifuges failed, the Iranians would close down whole “stands” that linked 164 machines, looking for signs of sabotage in all of them. “They overreacted,” one official said. “We soon discovered they fired people.”

Imagery recovered by nuclear inspectors from cameras at Natanz — which the nuclear agency uses to keep track of what happens between visits — showed the results. There was some evidence of wreckage, but it was clear that the Iranians had also carted away centrifuges that had previously appeared to be working well.

But by the time Mr. Bush left office, no wholesale destruction had been accomplished. Meeting with Mr. Obama in the White House days before his inauguration, Mr. Bush urged him to preserve two classified programs, Olympic Games and the drone program in Pakistan. Mr. Obama took Mr. Bush’s advice.

The Stuxnet Surprise

Mr. Obama came to office with an interest in cyberissues, but he had discussed them during the campaign mostly in terms of threats to personal privacy and the risks to infrastructure like the electrical grid and the air traffic control system. He commissioned a major study on how to improve America’s defenses and announced it with great fanfare in the East Room.

What he did not say then was that he was also learning the arts of cyberwar. The architects of Olympic Games would meet him in the Situation Room, often with what they called the “horse blanket,” a giant foldout schematic diagram of Iran’s nuclear production facilities. Mr. Obama authorized the attacks to continue, and every few weeks — certainly after a major attack — he would get updates and authorize the next step. Sometimes it was a strike riskier and bolder than what had been tried previously.

“From his first days in office, he was deep into every step in slowing the Iranian program — the diplomacy, the sanctions, every major decision,” a senior administration official said. “And it’s safe to say that whatever other activity might have been under way was no exception to that rule.”

But the good luck did not last. In the summer of 2010, shortly after a new variant of the worm had been sent into Natanz, it became clear that the worm, which was never supposed to leave the Natanz machines, had broken free, like a zoo animal that found the keys to the cage. It fell to Mr. Panetta and two other crucial players in Olympic Games — General Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Michael J. Morell, the deputy director of the C.I.A. — to break the news to Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden.

An error in the code, they said, had led it to spread to an engineer’s computer when it was hooked up to the centrifuges. When the engineer left Natanz and connected the computer to the Internet, the American- and Israeli-made bug failed to recognize that its environment had changed. It began replicating itself all around the world. Suddenly, the code was exposed, though its intent would not be clear, at least to ordinary computer users.

“We think there was a modification done by the Israelis,” one of the briefers told the president, “and we don’t know if we were part of that activity.”

Mr. Obama, according to officials in the room, asked a series of questions, fearful that the code could do damage outside the plant. The answers came back in hedged terms. Mr. Biden fumed. “It’s got to be the Israelis,” he said. “They went too far.”

In fact, both the Israelis and the Americans had been aiming for a particular part of the centrifuge plant, a critical area whose loss, they had concluded, would set the Iranians back considerably. It is unclear who introduced the programming error.

The question facing Mr. Obama was whether the rest of Olympic Games was in jeopardy, now that a variant of the bug was replicating itself “in the wild,” where computer security experts can dissect it and figure out its purpose.

“I don’t think we have enough information,” Mr. Obama told the group that day, according to the officials. But in the meantime, he ordered that the cyberattacks continue. They were his best hope of disrupting the Iranian nuclear program unless economic sanctions began to bite harder and reduced Iran’s oil revenues.

Within a week, another version of the bug brought down just under 1,000 centrifuges. Olympic Games was still on.

A Weapon’s Uncertain Future

American cyberattacks are not limited to Iran, but the focus of attention, as one administration official put it, “has been overwhelmingly on one country.” There is no reason to believe that will remain the case for long. Some officials question why the same techniques have not been used more aggressively against North Korea. Others see chances to disrupt Chinese military plans, forces in Syria on the way to suppress the uprising there, and Qaeda operations around the world. “We’ve considered a lot more attacks than we have gone ahead with,” one former intelligence official said.

Mr. Obama has repeatedly told his aides that there are risks to using — and particularly to overusing — the weapon. In fact, no country’s infrastructure is more dependent on computer systems, and thus more vulnerable to attack, than that of the United States. It is only a matter of time, most experts believe, before it becomes the target of the same kind of weapon that the Americans have used, secretly, against Iran.


Where Fukushima Meets Stuxnet: The Growing Threat of Cyber War

Foreign Policy, March 17, 2011

The Japanese nuclear crisis, though still unfolding, may, in a way, already be yesterday’s news. For a peek at tomorrow’s, review the testimony of General Keith Alexander, head of U.S. Cyber Command. Testifying before Congress this week and seeking support to pump up his agency budget, the general argued that all future conflicts would involve cyber warfare tactics and that the U.S. was ill-equipped to defend itself against them.

Alexander said, “We are finding that we do not have the capacity to do everything we need to accomplish. To put it bluntly, we are very thin, and a crisis would quickly stress our cyber forces. … This is not a hypothetical danger.”

The way to look at this story is to link in your mind the Stuxnet revelations about the reportedly U.S. and Israeli-led cyber attacks on the Iranian nuclear enrichment facility at Natanz and the calamities at the Fukushima power facilities over the past week. While seemingly unconnected, the stories together speak to the before and after of what cyber conflict may look like. Enemies will be able to target one another’s critical infrastructure as was done by the U.S. and Israeli team (likely working with British and German assistance) targeting the Iranian program and burrowing into their operating systems, they will seek to produce malfunctions that bring economies to their knees, put societies in the dark, or undercut national defenses.

Those infrastructures might well be nuclear power systems and the results could be akin to what we are seeing in Japan. (Although one power company executive yesterday joked to me that many plants in the U.S. would be safe because the technology they use is so old that software hardly plays any role in it at all. This hints at a bit of a blessing and a curse in the fractured U.S. power system: it’s decentralized which makes it hard to target overall but security is left to many power companies that lack the sophistication or resources to anticipate, prepare for or manage the growing threats.)

Importantly, not only does the apparent success of the Stuxnet worm demonstrate that such approaches are now in play but it may just be the tip of the iceberg. I remember over a decade ago speaking to one of the top U.S. cyber defenders who noted that even during the late 90s banks were losing millions and millions every year to cyber theft — only they didn’t want to report it because they felt it would spook customers. (Yes.) Recently, we have seen significant market glitches worldwide that could easily have been caused by interventions rather than just malfunctions. A couple years back I participated in a scenario at Davos in which just such a manipulation of market data was simulated and the conclusion was it wouldn’t take much to undermine confidence in the markets and perhaps even force traders to move to paper trading or other venues until it was restored. It wouldn’t even have to be a real cyber intrusion — just the perception that one might have happened.

What makes the nuclear threat so unsettling to many is that it is invisible. It shares this with the cyber threat. But the cyber attacks have other dimensions that suggest that General Alexander is not just trying to beef up his agency’s bank accounts with his description of how future warfare will always involve a cyber component. Not only are they invisible but it is hard to detect who has launched them, so hard, in fact, that one can imagine future tense international relationships in which opposing sides were constantly, quietly, engaging in an undeclared but damaging “non-war,” something cooler than a Cold War because it is stripped of rhetoric and cloaked in deniability, but which might be much more damaging. While there is still ongoing debate about the exact definition of cyber warfare there is a growing consensus that the threats posed by both state-sponsored and non-state actors to power grids, telecom systems, water supplies, transport systems and computer networks are reaching critical levels.

This is the deeply unsettling situation effectively framed by General Alexander in his testimony and rather than having been obscured by this week’s news it should only have been amplified by it.


Fukushima: US-Israeli Stuxnet Sabotages Thermometers and Water Treatment

TNI, March 4, 2014

With every new report and article coming from the establishment and alternative media about Fukushima, Japan, the gap between their fake reality and the real truth keeps growing further and has by now become so wide that it seems to be very unlikely that the establishment and alternative media will ever pick up the real facts in their reporting about the nuclear power station in Fukushima.

Ever since the 7.0 earthquake hit Japan on March 11, 2011, the cover-up of the actual causes – the eco-terror, the nuclear attacks and the sabotage – has been tightly scripted and expanded by the media, the USGS, the NRC, the Israeli Magna BSP [1, 2], the United Nations, the EU and even the WWF and Greenpeace.

Obviously it can be expected that also the problems in the aftermath of the proven eco-terror, the nuclear attacks and the sabotage will be shrouded in lies and deception. Sadly, we don’t expect any other behavior.

Practically all the ongoing reports about the leaking of water, about pumps and valves that are malfunctioning or were “forgotten” to be switched properly and about the failing thermometers at the Fukushima power station are missing the same crucial piece of information.

It has already been confirmed since at least 2010 and in multiple ways that Stuxnet (malware/virus), created by the U.S. and Israel, infected and continues to sabotage the Fukushima nuclear power station by attacking the Siemens SCADA control systems.

The same Stuxnet is also responsible for sabotaging the thermometers in the nuclear reactors that continue to fail, like it is the case in unit 2, falsely blamed on workers who “cripple” the instruments. Thermometers like in Fukushima are operated through/linked to the SCADA control systems which are still infected with Stuxnet, this means that also the thermometers are exposed to the Stuxnet infection.

The decontamination system for contaminated water at Fukushima was co-developed by AREVA and Veolia Water in “a record-two months“ after the eco-terror and the nuclear attacks occurred. According to Veolia Water data their “state-of-the-art online control of wastewater systems” work with and supplement SCADA control systems:

“The operation and reporting of STAR Control® are based on Internet technology and a graphic user interface is accessed by network browser on LAN, ADSL or similar networks.”

This is surely the reason why Magna BSP’s internet connection with the reactors at Fukushima is so important to those who have created this mess by committing eco-terror and engaging in war crimes. In this way full control can be kept remotely which is necessary when Japan is to be held hostage firmly, as they slowly lose credibility in the international community for a disaster they didn’t even create.

So whenever you encounter a new Fukushima article or report be sure to check if that source has already reported about the real facts, including the eco-terror, the nuclear attacks and the sabotage. If they haven’t done so then it’s very unlikely that their future reporting will be trustworthy since they omit key facts on purpose and leave you in fear with fake radiation charts to stare at.


[ Ed. note – The following is a re-post of an article originally published on October 5, 2010, five months before the Fukushima nuclear disaster occurred, reporting the discovery of Stuxnet on computers in Japan. The re-post of this article was published in 2014 ]

October 5, 2010: Cybervirus Found in Japan/Stuxnet Designed to Attack Off-Line Servers Via USB Memory Sticks

Fukushima 3/11 Truth, January 21, 2014

Yomiuri Shimbun

Stuxnet, a computer virus designed to attack servers isolated from the Internet, such as at power plants, has been confirmed on 63 personal computers in Japan since July, according to major security firm Symantec Corp.

The virus does not cause any damage online, but once it enters an industrial system, it can send a certain program out of control.

Symantec says the virus reaches the servers via USB memory sticks, and warns against the careless use of such devices.

Systems at power plants, gas stations and water facilities are not connected to the Internet to protect them from cyber-attacks.

A Symantec engineer who has analyzed the virus said it was made using advanced technology, and it is highly likely a well-funded organization, not an individual, produced it. The virus has spread throughout the globe via the Internet.

After Stuxnet finds its way onto an ordinary computer via the Internet, it hides there, waiting for a USB memory stick to be connected to the computer, when it transfers itself to the memory stick. When the USB device is then connected to a computer linked to an isolated server, it can enter the system and take control of it.

As computers that harbor Stuxnet do not operate strangely, the virus can be transferred to a memory stick inadvertently.

According to the security company, the virus is designed to target a German-made program often used in systems managing water, gas and oil pipelines. The program is used at public utilities around the world, including in Japan.

The virus could cause such systems to act erratically, and it could take months to restore them to normal.

The 63 infected computers found in Japan were likely infected sometime after June.

According to the company, about 60 percent of the computers that have been infected with the virus were discovered in Iran. Since September, about 30,000 computers there have been found to be infected with the virus. The country’s Industry and Mines Ministry has called the virus an electronic act of war.

Some computers at the Iranian Bushehr nuclear power plant, which is scheduled to begin operation in October, have been infected with the virus.

A supervisor at the plant said the virus has not damaged the facility’s main computer system and would not affect its planned opening.

In Japan, no public utilities have been affected by the virus. Nevertheless, the Cabinet Office’s National Information Security Center has urged electric power companies to exercise extreme care when using USB devices, and to scan any programs that may have been tampered with.

Source: http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T101004003493.htm

Archived: https://web.archive.org/web/20101008111929/http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T101004003493.htm

 

As US Berates Russia For Political Meddling, It Openly Meddles in China

 

December 26, 2016 (Joseph Thomas – NEO) – Despite a concerted backlash against what US political leaders and policymakers claim is Russian interference in America’s internal politics, the US continues to openly interfere in the internal politics of other nations worldwide, including most recently, China.

Berating Russia Over Alleged Hacks 

In an effort to redirect attention and blame for America’s unravelling political fabric, the US political establishment and its media has spent an inordinate amount of time blaming Russia for allegedly “hacking US elections” by infiltrating the Democratic National Committee (DNC)’s e-mails.

The hacks revealed impropriety within the Democratic party as well as e-mails between US presidential candidate and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her adviser, lobbyist and counsellor to US President Barack Obama, John Podesta which revealed everything from admissions US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar were providing material support to the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq to the Clinton Foundation receiving funding from these same state sponsors of terrorism.

The fallout from the revelations has included a media blacklist targeting what is called “fake news,” or, any media outlet that opposes narratives established by Washington, particularly regarding the contents of the leaked e-mails. It also resulted in claims that Wikileaks (who published the leaked e-mails) was intentionally mixing fabricated e-mails in with genuine DNC data, the Intercept would report.

The United States government and policymakers have also promised retaliation against Russia, who is accused of orchestrating the hacks and working with Wikileaks to publish the e-mails.

Considering the gravity the US has viewed alleged interference in its internal political affairs, one would expect Washington to have a solid record of respecting the sovereignty of other nations, specifically in regards to respecting their internal politics and particularly now, as Washington attempts to justify growing hostility toward Moscow regarding alleged meddling.

Do As I Say, Not As I Constantly Do… 

But even as the backlash against Russia reaches a fevered pitch, the US finds itself openly, some may even say, shamelessly meddling in the affairs of other nations on an equal or greater degree than even Russia has been accused of.

The US State Department funded and directed National Endowment for Democracy (NED) openly admitted that its partner, China Digital Times (funded by both NED and Open Society) leaked documents revealing lists of topics deemed sensitive by the Chinese government.

Foreign Policy in an article titled, “All the News Unfit to Print: What Beijing Quashed in 2016,” would claim:

On an almost daily basis, China’s ruling party and the state apparatus it controls relay detailed instructions to news outlets, websites, and social media administrators throughout the country on whether and how to cover breaking news stories and related commentary. A sampling of these are leaked each year and published by the non-profit California-based website China Digital Times. The collection is not exhaustive, but given the opacity of Chinese government decision-making, the orders offer unique insights into party leaders’ priorities and their favored methods of “guiding public opinion” in a changing technological landscape.

Foreign Policy and China Digital Times both admit that the purpose of leaking this information is to undermine Beijing’s ability to control the political narrative within China’s borders. It is a clear effort by Washington to contribute to its decades-long overarching objective of undermining, encircling and containing China’s rise in Asia Pacific to maintain American military, political and economic primacy in the region.

Foreign Policy, China Digital Times and the National Endowment for Democracy may claim that their motives for, and methods of leaking genuine documents to the Chinese public to skew China’s political landscape in Washington’s favour should be irrelevant to the fact that they are also simply exposing the truth. But if they genuinely believed that, their anger and promised retaliation against Russia for doing exactly the same thing, would appear tremendously hypocritical and undermine the gravity Washington is attempting to consign claims of Russian hacking.

If it is wrong for Russia, or anyone for that matter, to leak truthful information to the American public regarding the US government, thus undermining the credibility of American institutions and offices, it would logically follow that it is likewise wrong for the US to do this abroad in nations like China.

That the United States not only partakes in this tremendous hypocrisy, it should be noted that the National Endowment for Democracy and its subsidiaries including Freedom House, exist solely to openly and constantly undermine political order worldwide, including backing foreign opposition parties, street protests in foreign capitals, pro-US media outlets worldwide and even meddling in other nations’ electoral processes through the use of “election monitors” who selectively notice or ignore voting irregularities depending on whether a pro-US opposition party stands to win or lose any given election.

Thus, unlike the US who has large, dedicated organisations openly pursuing political destabilisation worldwide, Russia and China are only accused of doing so, lacking any formal organisations or foundations focused on such activity, and with little to no evidence substantiating US claims.

As the US continues justifying an expanding war of words and actions against Moscow, it is important for observers to note that at the same time Moscow is condemned for interfering in American politics, America is openly and eagerly interfering in the politics of other nations, worldwide.

If other nations are not allowed to cry foul and “retaliate,” why should the US be?

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Russian Ambassador Assassinated: Retaliation, But by Whom?

 

December 20, 2016 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – Just days after the liberation of Syria’s northern city of Aleppo, Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was gunned down while giving a talk at an art gallery in Turkey’s capital of Ankara.

The gunman, identified as a former Turkish police officer, flashed the familiar one finger gesture used by terrorist organizations operating in neighboring Syria including by Jabhat Al Nusra and the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” – while shouting, according to the Guardian:

Don’t forget Aleppo. Don’t forget Syria. Unless our towns are secure, you won’t enjoy security. Only death can take me from here. Everyone who is involved in this suffering will pay a price.

The attack coincided with an alleged security incident near America’s embassy in Ankara, characterized by the US Embassy as a “shooting,” though it may be in reference to the actual assassination.

Western newspapers, however, including the Daily Mail, the UK Express, and The Sun attempted to portray the announcement as a separate incident. This may be a deliberate attempt to portray the US as a victim in tandem with Russia, to divert suspicion away from US involvement.

Assassination Takes Place Days After US Vowed “Retaliation” Against Russia 

US President Barack Obama, US policymakers and pundits, as well as US Senators for the past week have vowed “retaliation” against Russia for alleged “hacking” during the 2016 US presidential election. These threats take place against a wider backdrop of increasingly unhinged outbursts made by Western politicians, pundits, and policymakers amid frustration in advancing their global agenda versus a reemerging Russia and a rising China.

The Guardian in an article published just this week titled, “Barack Obama promises retaliation against Russia over hacking during US election,” would state:

Barack Obama has warned that the US will retaliate for Russian cyberattacks during the presidential election. 

In an interview on National Public Radio on Friday morning, the US president said he is waiting for a final report he has ordered into a range of Russian hacking attacks, but promised there would be a response.

“I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections … we need to take action,” Obama said. “And we will – at a time and place of our own choosing. 

“Some of it may be explicit and publicised; some of it may not be.”

Articles like the International Business Times’ “How Can The US Retaliate Against Russia’s Hacking? Here Are 6 Possible Moves,” would list possible forms retaliation could take, including:

Cyberattack on Russian networks or infrastructure; Release damaging information about Vladimir Putin; Target offshore accounts; Place malware inside Russian espionate networks; Interfere in Russian politics Economic sanctions.

However, it has been noted by many analysts, including those within the US’ own foreign policy circles, that America’s ability to retaliate with “cyberattacks” against Russia in such a manner would range from futile, to even galvanizing the Russian people further behind the Kremlin.

The New York Times in an article titled, “Obama Confronts Complexity of Using a Mighty Cyberarsenal Against Russia,” would note:

But while Mr. Obama vowed on Friday to “send a clear message to Russia” as both a punishment and a deterrent, some of the options were rejected as ineffective, others as too risky. If the choices had been better, one of the aides involved in the debate noted recently, the president would have acted by now.

In all likelihood, an attempted counter “cyberattack” would have ended in further humiliation and isolation for the United States’ ruling circles.


Cui Bono?

The cold-blooded assassination of a Russian ambassador in the heart of Turkey, however, is a very effective “retaliation,” not only for Russia’s role in balancing against the Western media’s influence, effectively undermining the West’s monopoly over global public perception, but also for confounding US geopolitical objectives across the Middle East – particularly in Syria, and particularly in the aftermath of Aleppo’s liberation.

The assassination – a crime and even an act of war by any account – was apparently carried out by a militant drawn from the ranks of  terrorist organizations armed, trained, and funded by the United States and its regional allies, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and even Turkey. And despite this fact, should the US be involved in the assassination, it would be difficult to prove. And even if it was proven, it would be difficult to convince the global public that the US would make the jump from very publicly considering benign “cyberattacks” for the past week to assassinating a foreign diplomat.

Beyond simply “sending a message” as US policymakers sought to do – it also undermines alleged progress made between Ankara and Moscow regarding the former’s role in the ongoing proxy war with Syria. The assassination strains any such progress, even threatening to rollback gains painfully made since Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane over Syria in November of 2015.

While evidence is still forthcoming regarding the assassination, the US – through its own insistence on publicly and repeatedly threatening Moscow with retaliation –  has made itself one of the primary suspects behind the brutal killing. Considering the US’ role in creating, arming, funding, and directing terrorists across the region for years – the US is responsible indirectly at the very least.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook.”   

Russophobia: War Party A Digital 9/11 If Trump Wins

By Finian Cunningham

November 06, 2016 “Information Clearing House” – “Sputnik” – There are disturbing signs that a digital 9/11 terror attack is being readied for election day in the US to ensure that Donald Trump does not win.

Such an attack – involving widespread internet and power outage – would have nothing to do with Russia or any other foreign state. It would be furnished by agencies of the US Deep State in a classic “false flag” covert manner. But the resulting chaos and “assault on American democracy” will be conveniently blamed on Russia.

That presents a double benefit. Russia would be further demonized as a foreign aggressor “justifying” even harsher counter measures by America and its European allies against Moscow.

Secondly, a digital attack on America’s presidential election day this week, would allow the Washington establishment to pronounce the result invalidate due to “Russian cyber subversion”. That option stands to be invoked if the ballot results showed Republican candidate Donald Trump as the imminent victor.

Democrat rival Hillary Clinton is the clear choice for the White House among the Washington establishment. She has the backing of Wall Street finance capital, the corporate media, the military-industrial complex and the Deep State agencies of the Pentagon and CIA. The fix has been in for months to get her elected by the powers-that-be owing to her well-groomed obedience to American imperialist interests.

The billionaire property magnate Trump is too much of a maverick to be entrusted with the White House, as far as the American ruling elite are concerned.

The trouble is, however, that despite the massive campaign to discredit Trump his poll support remains stubbornly close to Clinton’s. The latter has been tainted with too many scandals involving allegations of sleazy dealings with Wall Street, so-called pay-for-play favors while she was former Secretary of State, and her penchant for inciting overseas wars for regime change using jihadist terrorist foot-soldiers.

As one headline from McClatchy News only days ago put it: “Majority of voters think Clinton acted illegally, new poll finds”.

Trump is right. The US presidential election is “rigged”. Despite handwringing condemnations by pundits, it seems obvious that the system is heavily stacked against any candidate who does not conform with the interests of the establishment. The massive media-orchestrated campaign against Trump is testimony to that.

But such is popular disgust with Clinton, her sleaze-ball husband Bill and the Washington establishment that her victory is far from certain. Indeed in the last week before voting this Tuesday various polls are showing a neck-and-neck race with even some indicators putting the Republican narrowly ahead.

Over the weekend, the Washington Post, which has been one of the main media outlets panning Trump on a daily basis, reported this: “The electoral map is definitely moving in Trump’s direction”.

This is where a possible Deep State contingency plan is being readied to scupper a shock win by Trump.

In recent days, American media are reporting a virtual state of emergency by the US government and its security agencies to thwart what they claim are Russian efforts to incite “election day cyber mayhem”.

In one “exclusive” report by the NBC network on November 3, it was claimed that: “The US government believes hackers from Russia or elsewhere may try to undermine next week’s presidential election and is mounting an unprecedented effort to counter their cyber meddling.”

On November 4, the Washington Post reported: “Intelligence officials warn of Russian mischief in election and beyond.”

Apparently, the emergency security response is being coordinated by the White House, the Department of Homeland Security, the CIA, the National Security Agency and other elements of the Defense Department, according to NBC.

These claims of Russian state hackers interfering in the US political system are not new. Last month, the Obama administration officially accused Moscow of this alleged malfeasance.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has lambasted American claims that his country is seeking to disrupt the presidential elections as “hysterical nonsense”, aimed at distracting the electorate from far more deep-rooted internal problems.

The Obama administration and its state security agencies have not provided one iota of evidence to support their allegations against Russia. Nevertheless the repeated charges have a tendency to stick.

The Clinton campaign has for months been accusing Trump of being a “pro-Russian stooge”. Her campaign has also claimed that Russian hackers have colluded with the whistleblower organization Wikileaks to release thousands of private emails damaging Clinton with the intention of swaying the election in favor of Trump.

Wikileaks’ director Julian Assange and the Russian government have both rejected any suggestion that they are somehow collaborating, or that they are working to get Trump elected.

But on the eve of the election, the US authorities are recklessly pushing hysteria that Russia is trying to subvert American democracy.

Michael McFaul, the former US ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014 is quoted as saying: “The Russians are in an offensive mode and the US is working on strategies to respond to that, and at the highest levels.”

NBC cites a senior Obama administration official as saying that the Russians “want to sow as much confusion as possible and undermine our process”.

Ominously, the news outlet adds that “steps are being taken to prepare for worst-case scenarios, including a cyber-attack that shuts down part of the power grid or the internet.”

Nearly two weeks ago, on October 21-22, the US was hit with a widespread internet outage. The actors behind the “distributed denial of service” were not identified, but the disruption was nationwide and it temporarily disabled many popular consumer services. One former official at the US Department of Homeland Security described the event as having “all the signs of what would be considered a drill”.

Could that cyber-attack have been the work of US Deep State agencies as a dress rehearsal for an even bigger outage planned for November 8 – election day?

The Washington establishment wants Clinton over Trump. She’s the marionette of choice for their strategic interests, including a more hostile foreign policy towards Russia in Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere.

But Trump might just snatch an election day victory from the jaws of defeat.

In which case, the shadowy forces that really rule America will trigger a “digital 9/11”. It’s not difficult to imagine the chaos and mayhem from internet blackout, power, transport, banking and communications paralysis – even for just a temporary period of a few hours.

Months of fingering Russia as a destabilizing foreign enemy intent on interfering in US democracy to get “Comrade Trump” into the White House would then serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy. In that event, the US authorities could plausibly move to declare the election of Donald J Trump null and void.

In fact the scenario could be contrived to a far more serious level than merely suspending the election result. The US authorities could easily feign that a state of emergency is necessary in order to “defend national security”.

That contingency catapults beyond “rigged politics”. It is a green light for a coup d’état by the Deep State forces who found that they could not win through the “normal” rigging methods.

 

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Red-Light Warning on Now, About Hillary Clinton

Red-Light Warning on Now, About Hillary Clinton

ERIC ZUESSE | 21.09.2016 | WORLD

Red-Light Warning on Now, About Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton, on September 19th, was endorsed for President, by the most historically important, intelligent, and dangerous, Republican of modern times.

She was endorsed then by the person who in 1990 cunningly engineered the end of the Soviet Union and of its Warsaw Pact military alliance in such a way as to continue the West’s war against Russia so as to conquer Russia gradually for the owners of US international corporations. The person, who kept his plan secret even from his closest advisors, until the night of 24 February 1990, when he told them that what he had previously instructed them to tell Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev as the West’s future military intentions about Russia if the USSR were to end, was actually a lie.

He also told them that they were henceforth to proceed forward on the basis that the residual stump of the former Soviet Union, Russia, will instead be treated as if it still is an enemy-nation, and that the fundamental aim of the Western alliance will then remain: to conquer Russia (notwithstanding the end of the USSR, of its communism, and of its military alliances) — that the Cold War is to end only on the Russian side, not at all, really, on the Western side. (All of that is documented from the historical record, at that linked-to article.)

This person was the former Director of the US CIA, born US aristocrat, and committed champion of US conquest of the entire world, the President of the United States at the time (1990): George Herbert Walker Bush.

He informed the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, Kathleen Hartington Kennedy Townsend — as she posted it, apparently ecstatically, on September 19th, to her facebook page after personally having just met with Mr. Bush — «The President told me he’s voting for Hillary!!» She then confirmed this to Politico the same day, which headlined promptly, «George H.W. Bush to Vote for Hillary».

G.H.W. Bush is an insider’s insider: he would not do this if he felt that Hillary Clinton wouldn’t carry forward his plan (which has been adhered-to by each of the US Presidents after him), and if he felt that Donald Trump — Bush’s own successor now as the Republican US candidate for President — would not carry it forward. (This was his most important and history-shaping decision during his entire Presidency, and therefore it’s understandable now that he would be willing even to cross Party-lines on his Presidential ballot in order to have it followed-through to its ultimate conclusion.)

What indications exist publicly, that she will carry it forward? Hillary Clinton has already publicly stated (though tactfully, so that the US press could ignore it) her intention to push things up to and beyond the nuclear brink, with regard to Russia:

German Economic News was the first news medium to headline this, «Hillary Clinton Threatens Russia with War» (in German, on September 4th: the original German of the headline was «Hillary Clinton Droht Russland mit Krieg»), but the source of this shocking headline was actually Clinton’s bellicose speech that had been given to the American Legion, on August 31st, in which she had said:

Russia even hacked into the Democratic National Committee, maybe even some state election systems. So, we’ve got to step up our game. Make sure we are well defended and able to take the fight to those who go after us. As President, I will make it clear, that the United States will treat cyber attacks just like any other attack. We will be ready with serious political, economic and military responses.

Russia denies that it did any such thing, but the US even taps the phone conversations of Angela Merkel and other US allies; and, of course, the US and Russia routinely hack into each others’ email and other communications; so, even if Russia did what Clinton says, then to call it «like any other attack» against the United States and to threaten to answer it with «military responses», would itself be historically unprecedented — which is what Hillary Clinton is promising to do.

Historically unprecedented, like nuclear war itself would be. And she was saying this in the context of her alleging that Russia had «attacked» the DNC (Democratic National Committee), and she as President might «attack» back, perhaps even with «military responses». This was not an off-the-cuff remark from her — it was her prepared text in a speech. She said it though, for example, on 26 October 2013, Britain’s Telegraph had headlined, «US ‘operates 80 listening posts worldwide, 19 in Europe, and snooped on Merkel mobile 2002-2013’: US intelligence… targeted Angela Merkel’s phone from 2002 to 2013, according to new eavesdropping leaks».

But now, this tapping against Merkel would, according to Hillary Clinton’s logic (unless she intends it to apply only by the United States against Russia), constitute reason for Germany (and 34 other nations) to go to war against the United States.

Clinton also said there: «We need to respond to evolving threats from states like Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea from networks, criminal and terrorist networks like ISIS. We need a military that is ready and agile so it can meet the full range of threats, and operate on short notice across every domain, not just land, sea, air and space, but also cyberspace».

She also said that the sequester agreement between the Congress and the President must end, because US military spending should not be limited: «I am all for cutting the fat out of the budget and making sure we stretch our dollars… But we cannot impose arbitrary limits on something as important as our military. That makes no sense at all. The sequester makes our country less secure. Let’s end it and get a budget deal that supports America’s military». She wasn’t opposing «arbitrary limits» on non-military spending; she implied that that’s not «as important as our military».

She was clear: this is a wartime US, not a peacetime nation; we’re already at war, in her view; and therefore continued unlimited cost-overruns to Lockheed Martin etc. need to be accepted, not limited (by «arbitrary limits» or otherwise). She favors «cutting the fat out of the budget» for healthcare, education, subsidies to the poor, environmental protection, etc., but not for war, not for this war. A more bellicose speech, especially against «threats from states like Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea from networks, criminal and terrorist networks like ISIS», all equating «states» such as Russia and China, with «terrorist networks like ISIS», could hardly be imagined — as if Russia and China are anything like jihadist organizations, and are hostile toward America, as such jihadist groups are.

However, her threat to respond to an alleged «cyber attack» from Russia by «serious political, economic and military responses», is unprecedented, even from her. It was big news when she said it, though virtually ignored by America’s newsmedia.

The only US newsmedia to have picked up on Clinton’s shocking threat were Republican-Party-oriented ones, because the Democratic-Party and nonpartisan ‘news’ media in the US don’t criticize a Democratic nominee’s neoconservatism — they hide it, or else find excuses for it (even after the Republican neoconservative President George W. Bush’s catastrophic and lie-based neoconservative invasion of Iraq — then headed by the Moscow-friendly Saddam Hussein — in 2003, which many Democratic office-holders, such as Hillary Clinton backed).

So, everything in today’s USA ‘news’ media is favorable toward neoconservatism — it’s now the «Establishment» foreign policy, established notwithstanding the catastrophic Iraq-invasion, from which America’s ‘news’ media have evidently learned nothing whatsoever (because they’re essentially unchanged and committed to the same aristocracy as has long controlled them).

However, now that the Republican Party’s Presidential nominee, Donald Trump, is openly critical of Hillary Clinton’s and George W. Bush’s neoconservatism, any Republican-oriented ’news’ media that support Trump’s candidacy allows its ‘journalists’ to criticize Clinton’s neoconservatism; and, so, there were a few such critiques of this shocking statement from Clinton.

The Republican Party’s «Daily Caller» headlined about this more directly than any other US ‘news’ medium, «Clinton Advocates Response To DNC Hack That Would Likely Bring On WWIII», and reported, on September 1st, that «Clinton’s cavalier attitude toward going to war over cyber attacks seems to contradict her assertion that she is the responsible voice on foreign policy in the current election».

The Republican Washington Times newspaper headlined «Hillary Clinton: US will treat cyberattacks ‘just like any other attack’», and reported that she would consider using the «military to respond to cyberattacks,» but that her Republican opponent had indicated he would instead use only cyber against cyber: «‘I am a fan of the future, and cyber is the future,’ he said when asked by Time magazine during the Republican National Convention about using cyberweapons». However, Trump was not asked there whether he would escalate from a cyber attack to a physical one. Trump has many times said that having good relations with Russia would be a priority if he becomes President. That would obviously be impossible if he (like Hillary) were to be seeking a pretext for war against Russia.

The mainstream The Hill newspaper bannered, «Clinton: Treat cyberattacks ‘like any other attack’», and reported that, «Since many high-profile cyberattacks could be interpreted as traditional intelligence-gathering — something the US itself also engages in — the White House is often in a tricky political position when it comes to its response». That’s not critical of her position, but at least it makes note of the crucial fact that if the US were to treat a hacker’s attack as being an excuse to invade Russia, it would treat the US itself as being already an invader of Russia — which the US prior to a President Hillary Clinton never actually has been, notwithstanding the routine nature of international cyber espionage (which Clinton has now stated she wants to become a cause of war), which has been, and will continue to be, essential in the present era.

The International Business Times, an online-only site, headlined September 1st«Clinton: US should use ‘military response’ to fight cyberattacks from Russia and China», and reported that a Pentagon official had testified to Congress on July 13th, that current US policy on this matter is: «When determining whether a cyber incident constitutes an armed attack, the US government considers a broad range of factors, including the nature and extent of injury or death to persons and the destruction of or damage to property. … Cyber incidents are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and the national security leadership and the president will make a determination if it’s an armed attack».

Hillary’s statement on this matter was simply ignored by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, NPR, Fox, CNN, The Nation, The Atlantic, Harper’s, National Review, Common Dreams, Alternet, Truthout, and all the rest of the US standard and ‘alternative news’ reporting organizations. Perhaps when Americans go to the polls to elect a President on November 8th, almost none of them will have learned about her policy on this incredibly important matter.

Hillary’s statement was in line with the current Administration’s direction of policy, but is farther along in that direction than the Obama Administration’s policy yet is.

As the German Economic News article had noted, but only in passing: «Just a few months ago, US President Barack Obama had laid the legal basis for this procedure and signed a decree that equates hacker attacks with military attacks». However, this slightly overstated the degree to which Obama has advanced «this procedure». On 1 April 2016 — and not as any April Fool’s joke — techdirt had headlined «President Obama Signs Executive Order Saying That Now He’s Going To Be Really Mad If He Catches Someone Cyberattacking Us» and linked to the document, which techdirt noted was «allowing the White House to issue sanctions on those ‘engaging in significant malicious cyber-enabled activities’».

The writer, Mike Masnick, continued, quite accurately: «To make this work, the President officially declared foreign hacking to be a ‘national emergency’ (no, really) and basically said that if the government decides that some foreign person is doing a bit too much hacking, the US government can basically do all sorts of bad stuff to them, like seize anything they have in the US and block them from coming to the US». What Hillary Clinton wants to add to this policy is physical, military, invasion, for practices such as (if Russia becomes declared by the US President to have been behind the hacking of the DNC) what is actually routine activity of the CIA, NSA, and, of course, of Russia’s (and other countries’) intelligence operations.

It wasn’t directly Obama’s own action that led most powerfully up to Hillary Clinton’s policy on this, but instead NATO’s recent action — and NATO has always been an extension of the US President, it’s his military club, and it authorizes him to go to war against any nation that it decides to have been invaded by some non-member country (especially Russia or China — the Saudis, Qataris, and other funders behind international jihadist attacks are institutionally prohibited from being considered for invasion by NATO, because the US keeps those regimes in power, and those regimes are generally the biggest purchasers of US weapons). I reported on this at The Saker’s site, on 15 June 2016, headlining «NATO Says It Might Now Have Grounds to Attack Russia». That report opened:

On Tuesday, June 14thNATO announced that if a NATO member country becomes the victim of a cyber attack by persons in a non-NATO country such as Russia or China, then NATO’s Article V «collective defense» provision requires each NATO member country to join that NATO member country if it decides to strike back against the attacking country. …

NATO is now alleging that because Russian hackers had copied the emails on Hillary Clinton’s home computer, this action of someone in Russia taking advantage of her having privatized her US State Department communications to her unsecured home computer and of such a Russian’s then snooping into the US State Department business that was stored on it, might constitute a Russian attack against the United States of America, and would, if the US President declares it to be a Russian invasion of the US, trigger NATO’s mutual-defense clause and so require all NATO nations to join with the US government in going to war against Russia, if the US government so decides.  

So, Obama is using NATO to set the groundwork for Hillary Clinton’s policy as (he hopes) America’s next President. Meanwhile, Obama’s public rhetoric on the matter is far more modest, and less scary. It’s sane-sounding falsehoods. At the end of the G-20 Summit in Beijing, he held a press conference September 5th (VIDEO at this link), in which he was asked specifically (3:15) «Q: On the cyber front, … do you think Russia is trying to influence the US election?» and he went into a lengthy statement, insulting Putin and saying (until 6:40 on the video) why Obama is superior to Putin on the Syrian war, and then (until 8:07 in the video) blaming Putin for, what is actually, the refusal of the Ukrainian parliament or Rada to approve the federalization of Ukraine that’s stated in the Minsk agreement as being a prerequisite to direct talks being held between the Donbass residents and the Obama-installed regime in Kiev that’s been trying to exterminate the residents of Donbass. Then (8:07 in the video), Obama got around to the reporter’s question:

And finally, we did talk about cyber-security generally. I’m not going to comment on specific investigations that are still alive and active, but I will tell you that we’ve had problems with cyber-intrusions from Russia in the past, from other countries in the past, and, look, we’re moving into a new era here, where a number of countries have significant capacities, and frankly we’ve got more capacity than anybody both offensively and defensively, but our goal is not to suddenly in the cyber-arena duplicate a cycle of escalation that we saw when it comes to other arms-races in the past, but rather to start instituting (9:00) some norms so that everybody’s acting responsibly.

He is a far more effective deceiver than is his intended successor, but Hillary’s goals and his, have always been the same: achieving what the US aristocracy want. Whereas she operates with a sledgehammer, he operates with a scalpel. And he hopes to hand this operation off to her on 20 January 2017.

This is what Hillary’s statement that «the United States will treat cyber attacks just like any other attack» is reflecting: it’s reflecting that the US will, if she becomes President, be actively seeking an excuse to invade Russia. The Obama-mask will then be off.

If this turns out to be the case, then it will be raw control of the US Government by the military-industrial complex, which includes the arms-makers plus the universities. It’s the owners — the aristocrats — plus their servants; and at least 90% of the military-industrial complex support Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. Like her, they are all demanding that the sequester be ended and that any future efforts to reduce the US Government’s debts must come from cutting expenditures for healthcare, education, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, environmental protection, and expenditures on the poor; no cuts (but only increases) for the military. This is based on the conservative theory, that the last thing to cut in government is the military.

The Republicans used to champion that view (thus the «conservative» in«neoconservative»). But after Obama came into office, the Republican Party became divided about that, while the Democratic Party (under Obama) increasingly came to support neoconservatism. Hillary is now the neoconservatives’ candidate. (And she’s also the close friend of many of them, and hired and promoted many of them at her State Department.) If she becomes the next President, then we might end up having the most neoconservative (i.e., military-industrial-complex-run) government ever. This would be terrific for America’s weapons-makers, but it very possibly would be horrific for everybody else. That’s the worst lobby of all, to run the country. (And, as that link there shows, Clinton has received over five times as much money from it as has her Republican opponent.)

George Herbert Walker Bush knows lots that the ‘news’ media don’t report (even when it has already been leaked in one way or another), and the Clinton plan to destroy Russia is part of that. Will the Russian government accept it? Or will it do whatever is required in order to defeat it? This is already a serious nuclear confrontation.

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