Dec 2, 2019
Since a few things became clear to me last year, I’ve consistently forecasted a significant worsening in U.S.-China relations and remained adamant that all the happy talk of trade deals and breakthroughs is just a lot of hot air.
What first appeared to be a unique quirk of Donald Trump has morphed into bipartisan consensus in Congress, and clear signs have emerged that the general public has likewise become alarmed at China’s growing global clout.
Due to this, as well as a litany of other factors outlined in prior posts, it’s highly unlikely the current trajectory will reverse course and result in a return to what had been business as usual. Instead, we’re probably headed toward a serious and historically meaningful escalation of tensions between the U.S. and China, with what we’ve seen thus far simply a prelude to the main drama. If I’m correct and the ship has already sailed, we should focus our attention on how we respond to what could quickly become a very dicey scenario filled with heightened emotions and nefarious agendas. There’s a good way to respond and a bad way.
In our individual lives we face various daily challenges, but every now and again something really big hits us, a personal crisis of sorts, and how we respond to these major events determines much of our future. The same thing happens to nation-states, particularly in the current world where virtually all human governance is structured in a highly centralized and statist manner. When such an event hits nation-states the public tends to be easily manipulated into a state of terror and coerced into granting more centralized power to the state, an unfortunate state of affairs that accurately summarizes the reality of 21st century America. With each crisis, the empire has grown stronger, the public weaker, and two decades later we find ourselves in a neo-feudal oligarchy where one half of the public is at the other half’s throat for no good reason. This is what happens when you respond poorly.
Three major crisis events have rocked the U.S. this century, and much of the public has embraced, or at least accepted, the worst possible response in all cases.
Three crises, three horribly destructive responses. This entire century has been an unmitigated march in the direction of stupidity.
What needs to be done is the exact opposite of this. We need to admit a country of 330 million people cannot, and should not, be governed like a gigantic uniform blob.
We need more decentralization/localism and less centralized state power/empire. https://twitter.com/ewarren/status/1201364350436593664 …
My goal is to get elected—but I plan to be the last American president to be elected by the Electoral College. I want my second term to be elected by direct vote.
I’ve become convinced the next major event that will be used to further centralize power and escalate domestic authoritarianism will center around U.S.-China tensions. We haven’t witnessed this “event” yet, but there’s a good chance it’ll occur within the next year or two. Currently, the front runner appears to be a major aggressive move by China into Hong Kong, but it could be anything really. Taiwan, the South China Sea, currency, economic or cyber warfare; the flash points are numerous and growing by the day. Something is going to snap and when it does we better be prepared to not act like mindless imbeciles for the fourth time this century.
When that day arrives, and it’s likely not too far off, certain factions will try to sell you on the monstrous idea that we must become more like China to defeat China. We’ll be told we need more centralization, more authoritarianism, and less freedom and civil liberties or China will win. Such talk is total nonsense and the wise way to respond is to reject the worst aspects of the Chinese system and head the other way.
If you’re horrified by China’s human rights abuses, then push for an end to murderous U.S. wars abroad based on lies. If the Chinese surveillance panopticon concerns you, we should move in the exact opposite direction with less corporate and state surveillance, not more. If China launches a state-sanctioned digital currency system designed to monitor, and if desired, restrict transactions, we should reject this approach and embrace open, decentralized and permissionless systems like Bitcoin. We should fight lack of freedom with more freedom.
The only reason any of us see the U.S. as a giant blob that must be governed uniformly from the top-down is propaganda. There’s no ethical or sensible logic behind such a position.
Given our track record this century, I’m skeptical Americans will respond in a positive and productive way to increased tensions with China, although perhaps I’ll be pleasantly surprised. I hope we can finally face a challenge without cowering in fear and surrendering more freedom in order to feel safe and powerful. I hope we can recognize that empire is not an asset, but a liability. That empire strengthens the state and weakens the public. I hope we can be wise enough not to embrace further authoritarianism to defeat authoritarianism. For once this century, I hope we can respond in a thoughtful and intelligent manner.
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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says Washington, “desperate” over its defeats, is resorting to acts of sabotage against the country’s power system, including a “high-tech electromagnetic” attack that resulted in a massive power cut Monday.
Caracas and other parts of Venezuela were hit by a massive power cut on Monday, a few months after a similar nationwide blackout, which Maduro blamed on Washington as well.
The Monday blackout was caused by a “high-tech electromagnetic attack,” Maduro said Wednesday while addressing the opening of military exercises.
Sabotage at a hydroelectric plant that provides 80 percent of the country’s power has caused the outage, Maduro suggested, adding that the electricity system has suffered “dozens of attacks” over the last four months.
“The US imperialism is desperate because of its defeats in Venezuela,” Maduro said in the speech carried on radio and television, pinning the blame for the outages on the US government.
The Monday blackout reportedly left chaos on the streets of the capital as traffic lights lost power, and the metro stopped running, forcing many people to walk home from work.
While the government said power has been restored in much of Venezuela on Tuesday, opposition leader Juan Guaido denied that, saying that 16 of the country’s 23 states were still facing at least partial outages.
The blackout came a few months after another major outage in March 2019, which affected at least 18 of 23 Venezuelan states. That blackout was also blamed by Venezuelan authorities on anti-government saboteurs working for the United States.
Fifteen Venezuelan kids with kidney disease reportedly died after being unable to get dialysis during the power outage as President Maduro said at the time a cyber attack prevented authorities from restoring power.
A former US intelligence officer has described the attempts by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to destabilize Iran through a massive network of Iranian moles — just busted by the Iranian Intelligence Ministry — as “an absolute act of war.”
“This is an absolute act of war,” said former American intelligence linguist Scott Rickard during an interview with Press TV’s The Debate show on Monday.
He also pointed to other hostile US attempts against Iran, such as waging cyber warfare to blow up Iranian centrifuges through the Stuxnet virus in collaboration with the Israeli regime and Germany, among others.
Rickard said he was not at all surprised by the news of the latest exposure of American destabilizing spying operations against Iran.
He said that ever since Washington’s “systemic [intelligence] operation[s]” in Iran were disrupted by the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the US “has maintained a systemic nature whereby they’ve worked with everything from humanitarian groups like Amnesty International [and] journalist outlets like Newsweek.”
He then recalled how US-based Newsweek’s native Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari attempted to distort events during post-election unrest in Iran in 2009.
The former US intelligence linguist further praised Iran’s “incredible resilience” in face of what he referred to as persisting efforts “to demonize Iran” by “the American media, the American government, and their Western allies… while they’re maliciously attacking the country with acts of warfare on a constant basis.”
Also participating in The Debate show was the founder of the American Institute for Foreign Policy, Michael Lane, who attempted to justify the all-out US spying efforts against Iran aimed at destabilizing the country as a normal undertaking against an adversary, saying, “It would shock me if CIA was not involved in that kind of activity.”
Lane said he expected to see in “a very near future” that “one or more of Iran’s adversaries” would engage in other sorts of “cyber attack against the nuclear assets of Iran and even to degrade their military in certain circumstances.”
The remarks came hours after Iran’s Intelligence Ministry announced the destruction of an integrated network of spies inside Iran working on behalf of the CIA.
The ministry’s director-general for counterintelligence said Monday that Iran had captured 17 professional spies working for the US spy agency throughout last year and some of those arrested had been handed death sentences.
“The identified spies were employed in sensitive and vital private sector centers in the economic, nuclear, infrastructural, military, and cyber areas… where they collected classified information,” the unnamed official said in a statement.
The official said that the suspects were operating in key organizations and institutions mainly in the private sector.
The United States military launched cyber attacks against Iranian missile control systems and a spy network on Thursday after Tehran downed an American surveillance drone, US officials have said.
US President Donald Trump ordered a retaliatory military attack against Iran after the drone shootdown but then called it off, saying the response would not be “proportionate” and instead pledged new sanctions on the country.
But after the drone’s downing, Trump secretly authorised US Cyber Command to carry out a retaliatory cyber attack on Iran, two officials told the Associated Press news agency on Saturday.
A third official confirmed the broad outlines of the attack. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak publicly about the operation.
US media outlets Yahoo News and The Washington Post also reported the cyberattacks.
The cyber attacks – a contingency plan developed over weeks amid escalating tensions – disabled Iranian computer systems that controlled its rocket and missile launchers, the officials said.
There was no immediate reaction on Sunday morning in Iran to the US claims. Iran has hardened and disconnected much of its infrastructure from the internet after the Stuxnet computer virus, widely believed to be a joint US-Israeli creation, disrupted thousands of Iranian centrifuges in the late 2000s.
“As a matter of policy and for operational security, we do not discuss cyberspace operations, intelligence or planning,” US Defense Department spokesperson Heather Babb told AFP news agency.
In recent weeks, hackers believed to be working for the Iranian government have targeted US government agencies, sending waves of spear-phishing emails, representatives of cybersecurity companies CrowdStrike and FireEye – which regularly track such activity – told AP.
This new campaign appears to have started shortly after the Trump administration imposed sanctions on the Iranian petrochemical sector this month.
It was not known if any of the hackers managed to gain access to the targeted networks with the emails, which typically mimic legitimate emails but contain malicious software.
“Both sides are desperate to know what the other side is thinking,” said John Hultquist, director of intelligence analysis at FireEye told AP.
“You can absolutely expect the regime to be leveraging every tool they have available to reduce the uncertainty about what’s going to happen next, about what the US’s next move will be.”
CrowdStrike shared images of the spear-phishing emails with the AP.
US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Christopher C Krebs said the agency has been working with the intelligence community and cybersecurity partners to monitor Iranian cyber activity and ensure the US and its allies are safe.
“What might start as an account compromise, where you think you might just lose data, can quickly become a situation where you’ve lost your whole network,” Krebs said.
The National Security Agency (NSA) would not discuss Iranian cyber actions specifically, but said in a statement to the AP on Friday that “there have been serious issues with malicious Iranian cyber actions in the past”.
“In these times of heightened tensions, it is appropriate for everyone to be alert to signs of Iranian aggression in cyberspace and ensure appropriate defences are in place,” the NSA said.
Tensions are high between the US and Iran once again following Trump’s move more than one year ago to leave a multinational accord curbing Iran’s nuclear ambition.
His administration has instead imposed a robust slate of punitive economic sanctions designed to choke off Iranian oil sales and cripple its economy.
On Saturday, Trump said the US would put “major” new sanctions on Iran next week. He said they would be announced on Monday.
Tehran said it shot down the US drone on Thursday after it violated Iranian airspace – something Washington denies.
Meanwhile, Iran has denied responsibility for the tanker attacks, and a top military official on Saturday pledged to “set fire to the interests of America and its allies” if the US attacks.
The rapid development of technology allows terrorists to “even more actively” use the internet for “recruitment, attracting funds, hacking and other cybercrimes,” the deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council, Yury Kokov, said at a security-themed event in the city of Ufa in central Russia.
The official said the internet has become the “main mechanism” for various extremists to “control their scattered forces and resources,” while there are currently around 30,000 “extremist and terrorist websites” online.
This allows us to conclude that an age of technological and digital terrorism is approaching. In terms of consequences, [this type of terrorism] may be comparable to the weapons of mass destruction in the nearest future.
Kokov also highlighted the “unending attempts” of terrorists to gain access to “the data on making components of nuclear, chemical and biological” weaponry.
Another surprising tactic that he mentioned is that terrorist groups have begun training frogmen. Kokov said they use divers to “place mines in ports and seize civilian vessels, mostly oil tankers and gas freighters.”
Five years before Robert Mueller was appointed Special Counsel to investigate the allegation that Russia interfered in the 2016 election and had conspired with the Trump campaign, the Pentagon had been waging secret cyberattacks against Russia’s electrical grid. The cyberwar against Russia began in 2012. The timing of the cyberwar against Russia is significant. It was thus not triggered by Russia’s intervention in Syria (2015) or the Crimea referendum in June 2014 that resulted in Crimea leaving Ukraine and rejoining Russia.
During the past year the attacks have accelerated “with the placement of potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before,” according to a new report published by the New York Times based on three months of private interviews with Pentagon officials.
Officials in the Pentagon decided to conceal the details of the operation from Donald Trump out of fear that he might not allow the more advanced offensive attacks to take place. Barack Obama, according to the report, had initially not allowed a full out offensive cyberwar. Obama signed off on the less aggressive cyberwar tactics against Russia but feared that an escalation would make the U.S. infrastructure too vulnerable to counter-attack.
Was Bolton in the Pentagon’s loop?
Trump was kept in the dark but one could reasonably conclude that war lunatic Bolton and Mike Pompeo, the religious zealot who occupies the post of top diplomat, are fully plugged in by the military cabal that now functions as the real power in Washington.
“Mr. Trump had not been briefed in any detail about the steps to place “implants” — software code that can be used for surveillance or attack — inside the Russian grid,” two unnamed Trump officials told the NY Times [because] “he might countermand it…” Who are those two officials?
An important backdrop for this alarming revelation is the Pentagon new military strategy/doctrine announced in December 2017 that profoundly reorients U.S. military and foreign policy so as to prepare the country for “major power” conflict with Russia and China in the coming years.
This is offensive not defensive war
The New York Times article makes explicit that the cyberattacks against Russia are an offensive, not defensive, operation. They are an act of war. Using Orwellian language the commander of United States Cyber Command, Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, characterized the operation as a “defend forward” measure against Russia penetrating “deep in an adversary’s networks,” according to the Times.
During the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis President Kennedy barely held off the Pentagon brass who wanted to start a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. The world was at the brink. Those events should be studied. Kennedy told his closest advisors following the harrowing debates inside the government about how to deal with the crisis that the military leadership “was mad.”
Is it a democracy when the military makes the decisions?
The decision to not tell Trump that the Pentagon is waging offensive military operations against Russia’s infrastructure is one of the clearest signs, among many others, that the reins of power when it comes to matters of war and peace barely remain in the hands of the civilian government. The President is the commander in chief. This is the cornerstone of civilian rule demarcating democratic rule from a military regime. The conceit and arrogance of the uniformed brass’ decision to wage offensive operations against the infrastructure of a rival thermonuclear power – without informing the civilian commander in chief – indicates that they no longer fear accountability, much less retribution, for their seizure of powers that the Constitution insists belong to the elected representatives of the people and not unelected military strongmen.
Trump is such a vainglorious, insecure and ridiculous “leader” that he virtually invited this secret coup against his own authority. He surrounded himself with Pentagon generals in the Cabinet and green-lighted the “independence” of field commanders and their bosses in decision making about the issues of existential importance. “Mr. Trump issued new authorities to Cyber Command last summer, in a still-classified document known as National Security Presidential Memoranda 13,” according to the Times. Perhaps this buffoonish politician occupying the position of commander-in-chief didn’t expect or care those Pentagon commanders would make critical decisions, such as launching offensive cyberwar against Russia, without notifying him.
The Pentagon and Trump are not the only problem. The Democratic Party leadership too has done its part contributing to the looming debacle by spending the past three years whipping up the most vile hatred and demonization of Russia – even while the Pentagon was attacking Russia’s infrastructure — as a diversionary explanation for why such a scoundrel as Trump could win the electoral college. Meanwhile the craven politicians of both parties continue the looting of the national treasury for the enrichment and widening power of the U.S. war machine.
Before the Cold War there were real global wars
A crystal ball is not required to see that, unless the Pentagon war drive is stopped or curtailed, the future of the 21st century will look very much like the first half of the 20th century.
Venezuela is under attack. It’s electric grid crashed repeatedly and they accused the United States of sabotaging the system using its cyberwarfare capabilities. Cuba and Nicaragua are being targeted. Iran abided by an international nuclear deal only to see Trump shred the agreement and launch economic war against Iranians. The danger of another military conflict in the Middle East is threatened. And the Pentagon and all of its derivative D.C. think tanks are preparing the country for major power conflict – and it has already started. Congress is not a check nor is the so-called commander-in-chief.
“Major power conflict” is one of the mind numbing euphemisms used by the Pentagon to describe global conflict. This threat is real now and it has happened before. Capitalist powers prepared for such conflict and initiated it 1914-1918 and again between 1937-1945. The scourge of a third “major power conflict” has been avoided since 1945 largely because the Soviet Union developed a form of nuclear military parity that by the mid-1950s checked the Pentagon’s hyper-aggressive plans for unipolar domination.
When the Soviet Union suddenly collapsed in 1991, however, U.S. imperialism expected that the goal of uncontested global domination could be achieved without engaging in extensive ground operations and drawn-out occupations. As Russia got back on its feet in the last decade and as China emerged as a global power the Pentagon has returned to a game plan that is premised on defeating Russia and China through intensifying demonstrations of military threats in and around these countries and a campaign of systematic weakening of both countries on all fronts – both militarily and through a regime of sanctions and economic warfare. The stakes are high.
Militarism and U.S. capitalism are one and the same. The danger of catastrophic war emanates not from this or that politician but is rather rooted in the foundational structures of late-stage capitalism.
The picture, taken by Tasnim news agency on June 13, 2019, shows an Iranian Navy boat trying to control fire from Norwegian-owned Front Altair tanker in the waters of the Gulf of Oman. (Via AFP)
The past couple of days have seen interesting developments. The US or Israel struck a Japanese ship with small rockets and tried to blame it on Iranian mines. The Japanese shipowner put a halt to the false flag event. He pointed out that the damage was above, not below the water line and that crew members observed objects approaching in the air. https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/06/no_author/the-gulf-of-credibility/
In the New York Times, David Sanger, a generally unreliable reporter, in my opinion, released what a person with my quarter century of experience in Washington would regard as sensitive national security information when he reported that Washington was putting malware into the Russian electrical grid. Who leaked this sensitive national security information? Why aren’t they being arrested and prosecuted for leaking to a reporter? Why isn’t Sanger himself, like Julian Assange, arrested for trumped-up reasons? It makes no sense to give to Russia the information in public disclosure as that allows Russia to find and eliminate the malware. As it makes no sense, it raises the question whether Sanger’s story is correct or merely something handed to him by the NSA which wants to polish its image before it becomes a victim along with Brennan and Comey and Hillary in the attempted Russiagate frameup of President Trump.
Sanger’s story loses all credibility when he repeats the disproven allegation that “Russia’s Internet Research Agency [is] the group at the heart of the hacking during the 2016 election in the United States. It was one of four operations his so-called Russia Small Group organized around the midterm elections. Officials have talked publicly about those, though they have provided few details.”
Ray McGovern, William Binney, and other retired intelligence professionals have proven conclusively that there was no hacking. The information revealed by Wikileaks was a leak from inside the Democratic National Committee.
How is it possible that David Sanger doesn’t know this? How can his New York Times editor not know this?
(CJ Opinion) — The New York Times has published an anonymously sourced report titled “U.S. Escalates Online Attacks on Russia’s Power Grid” about the “placement of potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before” which could potentially “plunge Russia into darkness or cripple its military,” with one anonymous official reporting that “We are doing things at a scale that we never contemplated a few years ago.”
Obviously this is yet another serious escalation in the continually mounting series of steps that have been taken into a new cold war between the planet’s two nuclear superpowers. Had a report been leaked to Russian media from anonymous Kremlin officials that Moscow was escalating its cyber-aggressions against America’s energy grid, this would doubtless be labeled an act of war by the political/media class of the US and its allies with demands for immediate retaliation.
To put this in perspective, The New York Times reported last year that the Pentagon was pushing for the US Nuclear Posture Review to include the strategy of retaliating against serious Russian cyberattacks on American power grids with nuclear weapons.
So that’s scary enough. What’s even scarier is the information that the Times buried way down in the 21st to 23rd paragraphs of its report:
“Two administration officials said they believed Mr. Trump had not been briefed in any detail about the steps to place ‘implants’ — software code that can be used for surveillance or attack — inside the Russian grid.
“Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction — and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation in Syria to the Russian foreign minister.
“Because the new law defines the actions in cyberspace as akin to traditional military activity on the ground, in the air or at sea, no such briefing would be necessary, they added.”
In an article titled “Pentagon Keeps Trump in the Dark About its Cyber Attacks on Russia“, Rolling Stone‘s Peter Wade described this jarring revelation as follows:
“New laws, enacted by Congress last year, allow such ‘clandestine military activity’ in cyberspace to go ahead without the president’s approval. So, in this case, those new laws are protecting American interests… by keeping the sitting president out of the loop. What a (scary) time to be alive.”
Pentagon Keeps Trump in the Dark About its Cyber Attacks on Russia https://rol.st/2XShMbe
Stephen F Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at New York University and Princeton University and one of America’s leading experts on US-Russia relations, has been warning for years that exactly this would happen. In an April 2017 interview on Democracy Now, Cohen warned that placing political pressure on a US president to never step back from escalations during a showdown between nuclear superpowers could have potentially world-ending consequences should mounting tensions see a situation similar to the Cuban missile crisis again.
“I think this is the most dangerous moment in American-Russian relations, at least since the Cuban missile crisis,” Cohen said. “And arguably, it’s more dangerous, because it’s more complex. Therefore, we—and then, meanwhile, we have in Washington these—and, in my judgment, factless accusations that Trump has somehow been compromised by the Kremlin. So, at this worst moment in American-Russian relations, we have an American president who’s being politically crippled by the worst imaginable—it’s unprecedented. Let’s stop and think. No American president has ever been accused, essentially, of treason. This is what we’re talking about here, or that his associates have committed treason.”
“Imagine, for example, John Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis,” Cohen said. “Imagine if Kennedy had been accused of being a secret Soviet Kremlin agent. He would have been crippled. And the only way he could have proved he wasn’t was to have launched a war against the Soviet Union. And at that time, the option was nuclear war.”
People rarely take time to deeply reflect on the uniquely important fact that our species came within a hair’s breadth of total annihilation during the Cuban missile crisis. We learned long after it was all over that the only reason a nuclear-armed Soviet submarine didn’t discharge its payload on the US Navy and set off a full-scale nuclear exchange between the US and the USSR was because one of the three men in the sub needed to authorize the weapon’s use stood against the other two and refused. That man’s name was Vasili Arkhipov, and he’s responsible for the fact that you and everyone you love exists today. There’s a good PBS documentary about the event on YouTube if you’re curious.
President Kennedy was constantly going back and forth in communication with the Soviets during the Cuban missile crisis, and any number of things could have gone cataclysmically wrong during that exchange had Kennedy not made certain concessions at certain times and known when to hold back instead of pressing forward. He made a series of diplomatic moves that would not be possible in this current paranoid, leak-prone climate, including secretly recalling the USA’s Jupiter missiles from their position in Turkey at Khrushchev’s request.
For all the outrage that liberals display whenever a high-profile Republican utters the phrase “deep state”, it sure is interesting that the Commander-in-Chief has found himself in a situation where he is at the whim of a collective of warmongers who are advancing pre-existing agendas against a nation they perceive as a geostrategic threat to US hegemony. It begs the question, who is really in charge?
The US war machine is the most powerful military force in the history of civilization, and the alliance of nations that it upholds is functionally the most powerful empire that the world has ever seen. Because so much power depends on the behavior of this gargantuan war engine, it is seen by those with real power as too important to be left to the will of the electorate, and too important to be left to the will of the elected Commander-in-Chief. This is why Americans are the most propagandized people in the world, this is why Russia hysteria has been blasted into their psyches for three years, and this is why we are all at an ever-increasing risk of dying in a nuclear holocaust.
UPDATE: Trump now seems like he might be denying that what The New York Times’ sources said is happening is happening. It’s unlikely that the Times would fabricate a story whole cloth, so if Trump is in fact denying the story then either the sources are lying about what they’re doing in their own purported jobs, or Trump is still being kept in the dark, or Trump is just lying.
“Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia,” Trump tweeted. “This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country. ALSO, NOT TRUE! Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today. They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”
Curiouser and curiouser.
“The American strategy has shifted more toward offense, officials say, with the placement of potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before.”
Trump has not been briefed on the operation because of “the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials.”
The Times wrote:
“Two administration officials said they believed Mr. Trump had not been briefed in any detail about the steps to place ‘implants’ — software code that can be used for surveillance or attack — inside the Russian grid.
“Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction — and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation in Syria to the Russian foreign minister.”
New cyber laws were granted to the U.S. Cyber Command by the White House and Congress last year allowing such “clandestine military activity” in cyberspace to go ahead without the president’s approval.
Trump has lashed back at The Times, accusing the newspaper of committing a “virtual act of treason” over its reporting.
Donald J. Trump
Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia. This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country…..
More importantly, The Times article asked:
“The question now is whether placing the equivalent of land mines in a foreign power network is the right way to deter Russia. While it parallels Cold War nuclear strategy, it also enshrines power grids as a legitimate target.”
The tool used – called EternalBlue – has been used by hackers in North Korea, Russia and China to “cut a path of destruction around the world”, and resulted in billions of dollars in damages.
Now, it has come full circle and is back in the US, wreaking havoc just miles from Washington. In fact, security experts say that attacks using EternalBlue have soared and cyber-criminals are honing in on vulnerable towns and cities, using it to paralyze governments. The NSA’s connection to the attacks had previously not been reported and the NSA hasn’t commented about it since an unidentified group leaked the weapon online in April 2017.
The NSA and the FBI still don’t know whether or not it was leaked by foreign spies or US insiders.
The leak has been referred to as “the most destructive and costly N.S.A. breach in history,” by Thomas Rid, a cybersecurity expert at Johns Hopkins University. He continued: “The government has refused to take responsibility, or even to answer the most basic questions. Congressional oversight appears to be failing. The American people deserve an answer.”
Commenting on the leak in April 2017, Edward Snowden said that the “NSA just lost control of its Top Secret arsenal of digital weapons; hackers leaked it.”
NSA just lost control of its Top Secret arsenal of digital weapons; hackers leaked it.
2) https://medium.com/@shadowbrokerss/dont-forget-your-base-867d304a94b1 …
Don’t Forget Your Base
Dear President Trump,
The software used to be one of the most useful exploits in the NSA’s arsenal. Former NSA analysts spent almost a year finding a flaw in Microsoft’s software and writing the code to target it. The tool was initially called “EternalBlueScreen” because it had a penchant for crashing computers. In fact, it was so valuable that the agency never even alerted Microsoft to the security flaw and instead, held onto the tool for five years before the breach in 2017 forced them to talk about it.
The May 7 Baltimore attack saw city workers’ screens suddenly lock up and a message in broken English demanding $100,000 in Bitcoin ransom. And, as Baltimore has not yet paid the ransom, the city’s computers remain handicapped. Without the former NSA tool, the damage wouldn’t of been as bad.
North Korea was the first to allegedly use the tool in 2017 when they attacked the British healthcare system, German railroads and 200,000 additional organizations around the world. Then, Russia reportedly used the tool on Ukraine and companies that did business in the country. The assault cost FedEx more than $400 million and Merck $670 million. Over the past year, Russian hackers have also used it to compromise hotel Wi-Fi networks, while Iranian hackers have used it to hack airlines in the Middle East. Of course, there is no evidence that any of these actors were behind the reported hacks.
When the tool was leaked in 2017, the NSA finally reached out to Microsoft, who developed a patch – but by then, it was too late and many systems still remained unprotected.
Meanwhile, hackers continue to target areas like Baltimore, San Antonio and Allentown, Pennsylvania – governments that use out of date software. This prompted the Department of Homeland Security last July to issue a warning about the software, urging municipalities to update their infrastructure.
The Allentown attack cost about $1 million to fix, in addition to $420,000 per year in new spending. Matthew Leibert, the city’s chief information officer called the attack “commodity malware” and said: “There are warehouses of kids overseas firing off phishing emails, like thugs shooting military-grade weapons at random targets.”
San Antonio was also hit with an attack last September when a computer inside the sheriff’s office tried to spread EternalBlue across the government’s network. And now, researchers at Palo Alto Networks discovered just last week that a Chinese state group had hacked into Middle Eastern governments using the tool.
Jen Miller-Osborn, a deputy director of threat intelligence at Palo Alto Networks said: “You can’t hope that once the initial wave of attacks is over, it will go away. We expect EternalBlue will be used almost forever, because if attackers find a system that isn’t patched, it is so useful.”
Until about a decade ago, these tools belonged to the NSA only. In fact, they had coined the term “NOBUS”, which stood for “nobody but us” – meaning the NSA thought the vulnerabilities were theirs alone to exploit. But that advantage wore off due to the leaks and because of the fact that anyone can grab the code to a cyber-weapon once it’s posted online.
FBI and Homeland security officials told the New York Times that more accountability at the NSA was needed. A former FBI official said that the leak was akin to the government failing to lock it up “a warehouse of automatic weapons”.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be accountability at the NSA. Adm. Michael S. Rogers, who was director of the N.S.A. during the leak said: “If Toyota makes pickup trucks and someone takes a pickup truck, welds an explosive device onto the front, crashes it through a perimeter and into a crowd of people, is that Toyota’s responsibility? The N.S.A. wrote an exploit that was never designed to do what was done.”
Microsoft views the situation very differently. Tom Burt, the corporate vice president of consumer trust said: “I disagree completely. These exploits are developed and kept secret by governments for the express purpose of using them as weapons or espionage tools. They’re inherently dangerous. When someone takes that, they’re not strapping a bomb to it. It’s already a bomb.”
America has for years been waging an economic war against Venezuela, including debilitating sanctionswhich have dramatically affected the state’s ability to purchase medicines, and even mundane replacement parts needed in buses, ambulances, etc. Alongside the economic war there has been a steady propaganda war, but in recent months, the propaganda has escalated dramatically, from corporate media to US political figures.
Venezuela is described as “the country pilots are refusing to fly to,” as per a March 18, 2019, AP articleon American Airlines cancelling all flights to Venezuela, containing scary phrases like “safety concerns” and “civil unrest.”
On March 9, American cancelled my Miami-Caracas flight on the basis that there wasn’t enough electricity to land at Caracas airport. Strangely enough, the Copa flight I took the following day after an overnight in Panama had no problem landing, nor did Copa flights on the day of my own cancelled flight, according to Copa staff.
The cancellation of flights to Venezuela then lends legitimacy to the shrill tweets of Marco Rubio, Mike Pence, John Bolton, and the previously unknown non-president, Juan Guaido.
I’ve been in various areas of Caracas since March 10, and I’ve seen none of this “civil unrest” that corporate media are talking about. I’ve walked around Caracas, usually on my own, and haven’t experienced the worry for my safety corporate media is telling Westerners they should suddenly feel more than normal in Venezuela.
In fact, I see little difference from the Venezuela I knew in 2010 when I spent half a year here, except the hyperinflation is absurdly worse and in my absence I missed the years of extreme right-wing opposition supporters street violence – a benign term for the guarimbas which saw opposition supporters burning people alive, among other violence against people and security.
So it strikes me that the decision of American Airlines to stop flying to Venezuela is not about safety and security issues, but is political, in line with increasingly hollow rhetoric about a humanitarian crisis that does not exist, even according to former UN Special Rapporteur, Alfred de Zayas.
I asked Paul Dobson, a journalist who has lived in Venezuela the last 14 years, if anything like this had happened before. Turns out it has, also at a very timely moment.
“At the time of the National Constituent Assembly elections, July 30, 2017, the major airlines – including Air France, United, American, pretty much all of the European airlines – suspended their flights one day before the elections, citing “security reasons.” Most of the services were reopened about four days after the elections, some of them two weeks after the elections.”
So were there ‘security concerns? I asked Paul.
“This was towards the end of street violence (guarimbas) that had been going on for six months in the country. Why didn’t they suspend their activity six months before, two months before? They did it the day before the elections, clearly trying to influence votes and the way that people see their country internationally. There were no extra security concerns that day than any day over the last 6 months. So, there was really no justification for it. And it caused massive problems on the ground, around elections.”
I spent most of afternoon in Petare, one of poorest areas of Caracas & the most sprawling series of barrios in Latin America. Ppl I met there spoke about Imperialist & economic war against them, & how they will continue defending their country. Night & day fr these howling idiots
On February 23, a month after a previously largely-unknown, US-backed man named Juan Guaido claimed he was the president of Venezuela, there was a short-lived period of instability at the Venezuelan border with Colombia, when America insisted on forcing aid trucks into Venezuela.
Aid trucks that burned that day were the result of attacks of masked young men on the Colombian side, and not from the Venezuelan military as western corporate media and Marco Rubio would have you believe. Less-known is that the ‘aid trucks’ contained very odd humanitarian aid, including nails and wire.
Were their fake concerns genuine, the US could have done what Cuba, China, and Russia, among others, have done and send the aid through appropriate channels, like the UN and the Red Cross. America’s attempt to ram trucks through Venezuela’s border has been revealed as the cheap propaganda stunt that it was.
A couple of weeks later, suddenly there was a very timely country-wide power outage for six days, affecting most things in Venezuelan infrastructure and life, a reality that Palestinians in Gaza have been living since at least 2006 when Israel bombed their sole power plant, never since allowing them to import the parts needed to adequately repair it.
When I lived in Gaza, I grew accustomed to outages of 16-22 hours a day, for months on end. Near-daily sustained 18 plus hour power outages continue in Gaza, but that’s not something the regime-change squad were or are outraged about.
Talking with journalists of Mision Verdad, an independent Venezuelan investigative news site, I learned that one of the targets of looting was a mall in Maracaibo, where electronics were the items of choice, not food. Another incident reportedly involved looting beer and soft drinks. Odd behaviour for a starving people in a humanitarian crisis.
When I arrived three days into the outage, aside from darkened buildings, empty streets, and in following days long lines at water dispensaries and ATMs, I saw no instability. Instead, I saw and learned of Venezuelans working together to get through the drastic effects of the power outage.
I learned at the Ministry of Urban Agriculture of how they took vegetables and crops to hospitals and schools during the electricity outage, but also of how urban agriculture has become an act of resistance in a climate of war and fake news. At a circular plot next to a social housing block I saw young men and women working the land, bursts of lettuces, herbs, beetroots, spinach, and peppers, as well as plots still being planted.
One of the commune leaders spoke of raising rabbits as an affordable, and easy to maintain, source of protein.
“We’re trying to achieve self sustainability of this produce, for the community. This is what we’re doing against the economic war,” he said.
Two days ago, visiting the Caracas barrios of Las Brisas, I asked Jaskeherry, head of a colectivo (organized group of people) how the community had managed during the power outage.
During a pro-Venezuela, anti-Imperialist march, I asked Paul Dobson of @venanalysis to speak briefly on corporate media/opposition’s attack on colectivos.
“Colectivo means collective, an expression of the organized community, incl workers, women’s, ecological, pensioners…”
I’ve heard from several different people here that one reason for the lack of chaos is that Venezuelans have already dealt with US-instigated crises, and have learned to remain calm at such times, surely to the dismay of US pot-stirrers who hoped for scenes of chaos, the pretext to US intervention.
I’ve gone into a number of smaller and large supermarkets in the lower middle-class areas of Caracas, and in it’s upper middle-class regions of Chacao and Altimira. There is food, including luxury items, which Venezuela’s poor can’t afford.
And in some stores there are empty shelves. The policies of private companies—including the largest, Polar, whose CEO happens to be an anti-Maduro opposition leader—hoarding goods and creating false shortages is well known. That said, this theme that there is no food is one continually pumped by Western corporate media, along with the “humanitarian crisis” claim.
To help the poorest, the government initiated a food box delivery program known by its acronym, CLAP, wherein organized communities distribute government subsidized food to 6 million of Venezuela’s poorest families.
The system is not perfect, and I’ve heard complaints of boxes being late in reaching some communities. However, I’ve been told—including by a woman I interviewed yesterday who herself works in CLAP distribution—that problems lie in corruption on a local level, individuals in communities not distributing fairly or evenly.
Hotheads like Marco Rubio, and script reading corporate media, try to maintain that President Maduro has little support. But massive rallies of support, and a notable absence of opposition rallies of recent, counter that propaganda.
On March 16, for two hours I walked with Venezuelans at their anti-Imperialist, pro-government march, filming them, speaking with them, hearing person after person insist on their support for their elected president, Maduro.
Many or most of those marching were from Caracas’ poorest communities, the darker skinned, Afro-descendant Venezuelans that are scarcely given a voice by corporate media, almost certainly because they are ardent supporters of the government and Bolivarian revolution.
When I asked about their feelings of corporate media coverage of Venezuela, people told me it wasn’t depicting the reality, “they make it up, it’s all lies, all lies. The only president we recognize is Nicolas Maduro. And we want this man, Juan Guaido, to be arrested immediately”.
A young tax lawyer told me:
“We’re here to support our (Bolivarian) project. We don’t want any war. We want medicine for our people—we don’t want sanctions from any government that prevent us from purchasing medicine. It’s very difficult for us to bring what’s needed for our people.”
Leaving the still crowded demonstration, I went towards Caracas’ eastern districts, hoping to attend one of the three or four opposition actions that a local journalist told me they had been tweeting about. None panned out.
A few days later, I went to Bellas Artes metro, the same scenario transpired, I couldn’t find the opposition protest that I’d heard was planned. Eventually, in front of the National Assembly, I did film between 15-20 well-dressed men and women not doing much other than standing around. Eventually, most passed by security and onto the premises. I didn’t hear them issue, or attempt to issue, any opposition statement, nor was there any violence from or against them.
A mass of government supporters arrived on motorbikes. A nearby man told me that these women and men on bikes had come to preserve the peace. He said that opposition had said they would stage a provocation (his words match what the local journalist told me, based on tweets to that effect from opposition/supporters), and that the pro-government bikers were not going to allow that to happen.
On Avila, the mountain overlooking Caracas, I saw long line of tankers being filled by mountain spring water to be distributed around the city and outside, with a long list of hospitals to be supplied.
The US has been forcibly exerting its foreign influence over Venezuela for years, to the detriment of the Venezuelan people it crocodile-tear purports to care about. Most Western corporate media do not mention the manifold adverse effects of the immoral sanctions imposed on Venezuela.
At the end of January, UN human rights expert Idriss Jazairy denounced the sanctions, clearly noting they are, “aimed at changing the government of Venezuela,” and that, “Coercion, whether military or economic, must never be used to seek a change in government in a sovereign state.”
On top of this, America recently withheld US$5 billion intended for the purchase of medicines and raw materials used in medical production, Venezuelanalysis reported, after already freezing numerous Venezuelan assets, apparently holding them for their groomed puppet would-be president, Juan Guaido.
Unsurprisingly, John Bolton recently again menaced Venezuela, reiterating Trump’s, “all options are on the table,” military intervention threat and as though hallucinating blathered on about foreign influence and Venezuela and keeping the Imperialist Monroe Doctrine alive.
In a meeting with the US Peace Council delegation in mid-March, Venezuela’s Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, spoke of the openly-hostile US leadership.
“When you have such an administration saying almost every single day, ‘all the options are on the table.’ And they say the military option is not discarded, then we have to be prepared for all of the options.
We told Mr.Elliott Abrams, ‘the coup has failed, so now what are you going to do?’ He kind of nodded and said, ‘Well, this is going to be a long term action, then, and we are looking forward to the collapse of your economy.’”
President Maduro, in a meeting with the delegation, told us:
“We do not want foreign military intervention. Venezuelan people are very proud of the national independence. These people surrounding president Trump—John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, Marco Rubio, Elliott Abrams —every single day on Twitter, these guys are tweeting about Venezuela. Not about the US, the American people…they have an obsession with Venezuela, like a fatal obsession with Venezuela. This is extremely dangerous, and we need to denounce it and make it stop.”
Having written extensively about the war propaganda and Imperialist rhetoric around Syria over the past eight years, this obsession is very familiar. As Alfred de Zayas, said in a recent interview:
“If you call Maduro corrupt, people will gradually believe, he must be somewhat corrupt. But nobody reminds you that corruption in Venezuela in the 1980s and 90s – before Chavez, before Maduro – was rampant. The press is focusing only on Maduro, because the name of the game is to topple him.”
We’re seeing Syria (and Libya, Iraq…) all over again. The demonization of the leadership of a country America wants to dominate. The absurd rhetoric steaming daily from corporate owned media, pretty much in chorus. The troll army ready to attack with an energetic vitriol on social media anyone who dares to present a non-Imperialist perspective. And most worrisome, the acts of terrorism intended to hurt the people and incriminate the government.
Sadly, it seems the United States is ready to stoop to the same dirty tactics it and allies used against Syria over the past eight years: backing and collaborating with terrorists to attack the state. Indeed, last night while trying to finish this article, the power cut and remains off in many areas of the country.
Earlier this week, Information and Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez tweeted that the cause of this recent outage was an attack at the Guri Hydro complex, Venezuela’s central hydroelectric power plant and transmission area.
By today, electricity has been restored to Caracas.
Yesterday in Petare, largest barrio in Latin America (& one of poorest in Caracas), I saw not-starving ppl purchasing similar vegs, plus meats, walking like normal ppl, not like a “crisis”.
Media is lying about a humanitarian crisis.
Same media that doesn’t care about Yemen. pic.twitter.com/Rz3e6bp46q
On the hillside of Avila, the mountain overlooking Caracas, I saw at intervals while riding lines of people collecting spring water in jugs since the power outage has affected water distribution. I also saw lines of tankers, being organized by the municipality and with the military, to distribute water around the city and country. A chart listed over twenty hospitals designated to receive water.
The Venezuelan government has accused America of being behind both the March 7 outage and this week’s, stating the former was a combination of cyber, electromagnetic and physical attacks on the power grids (like the alleged secret US plan to do the same to Iran’s grid), and the latter a direct physical attack on the Guri complex, causing a fire at three transformers.
Clearly, the goal of such attacks is to create so much suffering and frustration among the public that there is chaos, and a “needed” US intervention.
The chaos has not happened, the people have refused it.
The arrival of a relative handful of Russian military personnel this week triggered a flurry of denunciations from Trump administration officials.
“In response to a question about US denunciations of the Russian military presence in Venezuela, the Chinese spokesman stated: “First of all, countries in the Western Hemisphere, including Latin American countries, are all independent and sovereign states. They have the right to determine their own foreign policy and their way to engage in mutually beneficial cooperation with countries of their own choosing.”
“As in colonial times 200 years ago, the US continues to regard Latin America as a zone for its exclusive interests, its own ‘backyard’ and they directly demand that it should obey the US without a word, and that other countries should steer clear of the region,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Tuesday. “
US President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House Wednesday that “Russia has to get out” of Venezuela. Asked how Washington would enforce this demand, he responded, “We’ll see. All options are open.”
Trump delivered his ultimatum during a White House photo op with Fabiana Rosales, the wife of right-wing opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who, with US backing, proclaimed himself “interim president” of Venezuela in January, calling upon the military to overthrow the existing government of President Nicolas Maduro.
Rosales, referred to by Trump administration officials as Venezuela’s “first lady,” is conducting an international tour aimed at drumming up support for the US-orchestrated regime change operation, which has flagged noticeably since the fiasco suffered last month with the failure of a cynical attempt to force trucks carrying supposed humanitarian aid across the Colombian-Venezuelan border.
Both Guaidó and his US patrons had predicted that the provocation would trigger a rising by the Venezuelan armed forces against Maduro. With a handful of right-wing opposition supporters and gang members turning out for the “humanitarian” hoax, security forces easily contained the attack.
The latest US provocation has centered upon the arrival in Venezuela over the weekend of two Russian aircraft carrying approximately 100 military personnel. An Antonov An-124 cargo jet and an Ilyushin II-62 passenger plane landed on Saturday at the Maiquetía airport outside of Caracas.
The arrival of the relative handful of Russian military personnel triggered a flurry of denunciations from top Trump administration officials, who have been orchestrating the bid to bring down the Venezuelan government.
White House national security adviser John Bolton declared that the US “will not tolerate hostile foreign military powers meddling” within the Western Hemisphere.
Earlier this month, Bolton invoked the Monroe Doctrine as the foundation of US policy in Venezuela. This 19th century declaration of US foreign policy initially was directed at opposing any attempts by the empires of Europe to recolonize newly independent republics in Latin America. In the 20th century, it was invoked by successive US governments as a license for US imperialism to use military force to impose its will throughout the hemisphere, resulting in some 50 direct armed interventions and the imposition of fascist-military dictatorships over much of South and Central America.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, meanwhile, told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, in a March 25 telephone conversation, that Washington would “not stand idly by as Russia exacerbates tensions in Venezuela,” according to a spokesman for the State Department.
The State Department called the arrival of the Russian troops a “reckless escalation” of tensions in Venezuela, adding that “The continued insertion of Russian military personnel to support the illegitimate regime of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela risks prolonging the suffering of the Venezuelan people…”
What hypocrisy! Washington has imposed an ever-escalating wave of sanctions that have gravely exacerbated the intense crisis of the country’s economy, with Venezuelan working people paying the price. A Trump administration official briefing reporters last Friday boasted: “The effect of the sanctions is continuing and cumulative. It’s sort of like in Star Wars when Darth Vader constricts somebody’s throat, that’s what we are doing to the regime economically,”
The Russian Foreign Ministry quoted Lavrov as having responded to Pompeo by charging that “Washington’s attempts to organize a coup in Venezuela and threats against its legitimate government are in violation of the UN Charter and undisguised interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the arrival of the Russian troops was in fulfillment of an “agreement on military technical cooperation” signed between Moscow and Caracas in 2001.
“As in colonial times 200 years ago, the US continues to regard Latin America as a zone for its exclusive interests, its own ‘backyard’ and they directly demand that it should obey the US without a word, and that other countries should steer clear of the region,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Tuesday. “[D]oes the US think that people are waiting for it to bring democracy to them on the wings of its bombers? This question can be answered by Iraqis, Libyans and Serbs.”
Meanwhile, a US official speaking to Reuters expressed concern that the Russian military personnel who arrived on Saturday included a team of specialists in cybersecurity.
This concern coincides with a new series of electricity blackouts that began on Monday, affecting much of Caracas and at least 16 states. The Maduro government has blamed the outages on sabotage, including cyber-attacks on the power system’s computerized infrastructure.
Meanwhile the Venezuelan situation has also ratcheted up tensions between Washington and Beijing, with the US forcing the cancelation of a 60th anniversary meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which was set to begin on March 26 in Chengdu.
The Trump administration had demanded that the IDB accept a representative named by its puppet Guaidó as Venezuela’s representative at the meeting. China refused to issue a visa to Washington’s man, Ricardo Hausmann, a Harvard economist and former minister in the government of Venezuelan President Carlos Andrés Pérez, which oversaw the massacre of some 3,000 workers and youth in the suppression of the popular 1989 revolt known as the caracazo. Hausmann has publicly called for the US to invade Venezuela along with a “coalition of the willing.”
A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry defended Beijing’s action on Tuesday, declaring that “Guaidó himself is not a president elected through legal procedures and thus lacks legitimacy,” adding that “changing Venezuela’s representative at the IDB won’t help solve the Venezuelan issue.”
In response to a question about US denunciations of the Russian military presence in Venezuela, the Chinese spokesman stated: “First of all, countries in the Western Hemisphere, including Latin American countries, are all independent and sovereign states. They have the right to determine their own foreign policy and their way to engage in mutually beneficial cooperation with countries of their own choosing.”
He added, in a pointed criticism of US imperialist policy, “Latin American affairs are not a certain country’s exclusive business, nor is Latin America a certain country’s backyard.”
The heated exchanges between Washington, on the one hand, and Moscow and Beijing, on the other, expose the geo-strategic interests that underlie US imperialism’s regime change operation in Venezuela. Both Russia and China have established extensive economic and political ties with Venezuela, which boasts the largest proven oil reserves on the planet.
China has invested upwards of $50 billion in Venezuela over the past decade in loan agreements repaid with oil exports. Russia’s total investments in the country are estimated at close to $25 billion, including in the exploitation of a significant share of the country’s oil fields.
Washington views the Venezuelan crisis through the prism of the “great power” conflicts with “revisionist” states that it laid out in the Trump administration’s National Security Strategy and the Pentagon’s strategy document elaborated at the end of 2017.
US imperialism is determined to wrest control of Venezuela’s vast oil resources for the US-based energy monopolies and deny them to its global rivals, particularly China and Russia. To that end, it is prepared to starve the Venezuelan people and turn Latin America into a battlefield in a third world war.
By Pepe Escobar
Special to Consortium News
Dick Cheney’s Global War on Terror (GWOT) is back, metastasized as a hybrid mongrel.
But GWOT would not be GWOT without a Wild West scarecrow. Enter Hamza bin Laden, son of Osama. On the same day the State Department announced a $1 million bounty on his head, the so- called “UN Security Council IS and Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee” declared Hamza the next al-Qaeda leader.
Since January 2017, Hamza has been a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the State Department – on par with his deceased Dad, back in the early 2000s. The Beltway intel community “believes” Hamza resides “in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.”
Remember these are the same people who “believed” former Taliban leader Mullah Omar resided in Quetta, Baluchistan, when in fact he was safely ensconced only a few miles away from a massive U.S. military base in Zabul, Afghanistan.
Considering that Jabhat al-Nusra, or al-Qaeda in Syria, for all practical purposes, was defined as no more than “moderate rebels” by the Beltway intel community, it’s safe to infer that new scarecrow Hamza is also a “moderate”. And yet he’s more dangerous than vanished fake Caliph Abu Baqr al-Baghdadi. Talk about a masterful example of culture jamming.
Show Me The Big Picture
A hefty case can be made that the Empire of Chaos currently has no allies; it’s essentially surrounded by an assortment of vassals, puppets and comprador 5thcolumnist elites professing varied degrees of – sometimes reluctant – obedience.
The Trump administration’s foreign policy may be easily deconstructed as a crossover between The Sopranos and late-night comedy – as in the whole episode of designating State Department/CIA regime change, lab experiment Random Dude as President of Venezuela. Legendary cultural critic Walter Benjamin would have called it “the aestheticization of politics,” (turning politics into art), as he did about the Nazis, but this time it’s the Looney Tunes version.
To add to the conceptual confusion, despite countless “an offer you can’t refuse” antics unleashed by psychopaths of the John Bolton and Mike Pompeo variety, there’s this startling nugget. Former Iranian diplomat Amir Moussavi has revealed that Trump himself demanded to visit Tehran, and was duly rebuffed. “Two European states, two Arab countries and one Southeast Asian state” were mediating a series of messages relayed by Trump and his son-in-law Jared “of Arabia” Kushner, according to Moussavi.
Is there a method to this madness? An attempt at a Grand Narrative would go something like this: ISIS/Daesh may have been sidelined – for now; they are not useful anymore, so the U.S. must fight the larger “evil”: Tehran. GWOT has been revived, and though Hamza bin Laden has been designated the new Caliph, GWOT has shifted to Iran.
When we mix this with the recent India-Pakistan scuffle, a wider message emerges. There was absolutely no interest by Prime Minister Imran Kahn, the Pakistani Army and the Pakistani intelligence, ISI, to launch an attack on India in Kashmir. Pakistan was about to run out of money and about to be bolstered by the U.S., via Saudi Arabia with $20 billion and an IMF loan.
At the same time, there were two almost simultaneous terrorist attacks launched from Pakistan – against Iran and against India in mid-February. There’s no smoking gun yet, but these attacks may have been manipulated by a foreign intelligence agency. The Cui Bono riddle is which state would profit immensely from a war between Pakistan and Iran and/or a war between Pakistan and India.
The bottom line: hiding in the shadow of plausible deniability – according to which what we understand as reality is nothing but pure perception – the Empire of Chaos will resort to the chaos of no-holds-barred hybrid war to avoid “losing” the Eurasian heartland.
Show Me How Many Hybrid Plans You Got
What applies to the heartland of course also applies to the backyard.
The case of Venezuela shows that the “all options on the table” scenario has been de facto aborted by Russia, outlined in an astonishing briefing by Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, and then subsequently detailed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj at a crucial RIC (part of BRICS) summit in China,Lavrov said,“Russia keeps a close eye on brazen US attempts to create an artificial pretext for a military intervention in Venezuela… The actual implementation of these threats is pulling in military equipment and training [US] Special Forces.”
Lavrov explained how Washington was engaged in acquiring mortars and portable air defense systems “in an East European country, and moving them closer to Venezuela by an airline of a regime that is… rather absolutely obedient to Washington in the post-Soviet space.”
The U.S. attempt at regime change in Venezuela has been so far unsuccessful in several ways. Plan A – a classic color revolution -has miserably failed, in part because of a lack of decent local intelligence. Plan B was a soft version of humanitarian imperialism, with a resuscitation of the nefarious, Libya-tested responsibility to protect (R2P); it also failed, especially when the American tale that the Venezuelan government burnt humanitarian aid trucks at the border with Colombia was a lie, exposed by The New York Times, no less.
That plan had already been exposed by WikiLeaks, via a 2010 memo by a U.S.-funded, Belgrade-based color revolution scam that helped train self-proclaimed “President” Random Dude, when he was just known as Juan Guaidó. The leaked memo said that attacking the Venezuelan power grid would be a “watershed event” that “would likely have the impact of galvanizing public unrest in a way that no opposition group could ever hope to generate.”
But even that was not enough.
That leaves Plan D – which is essentially to try to starve the Venezuelan population to death via viciously lethal additional sanctions. Sanctioned Syria and sanctioned Iran didn’t collapse. Even boasting myriad comprador elites aggregated in the Lima group, exceptionalists may have to come to grips with the fact that deploying the Monroe doctrine essentially to contain China’s influence in the young 21stcentury is no “cakewalk.”
Plan E—for extreme—would be U.S. military action, which Bolton won’t take off the table.
Show Me the Way to the Next War Game
So where do all these myriad weaponizations of chaos theory leave us? Nowhere, if they don’t follow the money. Local comprador elites must be lavishly rewarded, otherwise you’re stuck in hybrid swamp territory. That was the case in Brazil – and that’s why the most sophisticated hybrid war case history so far has been a success.
In 2013, Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks revealed how the NSA was spying on Brazilian energy giant Petrobras and the Dilma Rousseff government beginning in 2010. Afterwards, a complex, rolling judicial-business-political-financial-media coup ended up reaching its two main objectives; in 2016, with the impeachment of Rousseff, and in 2018, with Lula thrown in jail.
Now comes arguably the juiciest piece of the puzzle. Petrobras was supposed to pay $853 million to the U.S. Department of Justice for not going to trial for crimes it was being accused of in America. But then a dodgy deal was struck according to which the fine will be transferred to a Brazilian fund as long as Petrobras commits to relay confidential information about its businesses to the United States government.
Hybrid war against BRICS member Brazil worked like a charm, but trying it against nuclear superpower Russia is a completely different ball game. U.S. analysts, in another case of culture jamming, even accuse Russia itself of deploying hybrid war – a concept actually invented in the U.S. within a counter-terrorism context; applied during the occupation of Iraq and later metastasized across the color revolution spectrum; and featuring, among others, in an article co-authored by former Pentagon head James “Mad Dog” Mattis in 2005 when he was a mere lieutenant general.
At a recent conference about Russia’s military strategy, Chief of General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov stressed that the Russian armed forces must increase both their “classic” and “asymmetrical” potential. In the U.S. this is interpreted as subversion/propaganda hybrid war techniques as applied in Ukraine and in the largely debunked Russia-gate. Instead, Russian strategists refer to these techniques as “complex approach” and “new generation war”.
Santa Monica’s RAND Corporation still sticks to good ol’ hot war scenarios. They have been holding “Red on Blue” war games simulations since 1952 – modeling how the proverbial “existential threats” could use asymmetric strategies. The latest Red on Blue was not exactly swell. RAND analyst David Ochmanek famously said that with Blue representing the current U.S. military potential and Red representing Russia-China in a conventional war, “Blue gets its ass handed to it.”
None of this will convince Empire of Chaos functionary Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who recently told a Senate Armed Services Committee that the Pentagon will continue to refuse a “no first use” nuclear strategy. Aspiring Dr. Strangeloves actually believe the U.S. can start a nuclear war and get away with it.
Talk about the Age of Hybrid Stupidity going out with a bang.
As if responding to a bat signal in the skies above Gotham City, the mainstream media have rushed to back the Trump team’s effort to foment an overthrow of another foreign government.. Whenever
As if responding to a bat signal in the skies above Gotham City, the mainstream media have rushed to back the Trump team’s effort to foment an overthrow of another foreign government
Whenever officials in Washington, D.C. set out to overthrow a foreign government, mainstream US media outlets are there to give a helping hand. All pretense of fairness and balance disappear in favor of outrageous distortion. For the most recent example, let’s look at Venezuela.
Both high-level Republicans and Democrats have decided it’s time for Venezuela, with the world’s largest oil reserves, to rejoin the US sphere of influence. Hawks may call for direct military intervention while doves seek punishing sanctions, but all agree that the elected government of President Nicolas Maduro has got to go.
Mainstream media took a particularly rightward turn in January after Juan Guaidó anointed himself as Venezuela’s president, with the blessings from the administration of President Donald Trump. Guaidó is president of the opposition-dominated National Assembly and had never even run for president. A January opinion poll showed he was unknown to 81 percent of the people. He represented an unstable alliance of opposition parties. As I’ve written before, lack of legality didn’t stop the United States and its allies from declaring Guaidó president and pretending he ran an actual government.
As if responding to a bat signal in the skies above Gotham City, the mainstream media rushed to back the Trump team’s policies. The administration, which has proven incompetent and dangerous on other issues, was suddenly a reliable source of information on Venezuela. Statements from the administration and Venezuelan opposition leaders were uncritically reproduced, no matter how untethered to reality. Allow me to offer some examples.
In February, Guaidó announced plans to deliver international aid to starving Venezuelans by mobilizing massive demonstrations at the Venezuela-Colombia border, hoping a significant number of military officers would defect. The plan was obviously flawed because military leaders continued to back Maduro. Sure enough, the aid convoy didn’t get through, and military officers didn’t defect.
Many media outlets reported that Maduro’s security forces burned an aid truck as it attempted to enter Venezuela. In reality, aerial and other photos reported in real time by the leftist website Venezuela Analysis indicated that the fire was started by an anti-government protester. Weeks later, The New York Times got around to reporting that Maduro’s forces didn’t start the fire.
Another example of bias: The Times and other US media focused exclusively on the US aid, ignoring that donated by Russia and Cuba without incident.
In mid-March, Venezuela’s electric grid went out nationwide, causing huge economic dislocation and dozens of deaths. President Maduro said a US cyber attack caused the shutdown. CBS News reported this claim, but gave it no credence, dutifully saying US officials “dismissed the Venezuelan government’s accusation as absurd and an attempt to divert attention from its own chronic failings.”
The Maduro government has yet to provide proof of its assertion. But as a commentary in Forbes showed, the United States could well have launched such an attack. Remember, the US and Israel initially denied creating the Stuxnet virus that disabled Iranian nuclear facilities.
I’ve been a foreign correspondent for forty years and have reported from Venezuela since 1994. I’ve met many journalists in the mainstream media, from The New York Times to CNN and NPR. None see themselves as government mouthpieces, and in private, many will criticize Trump. So why the distorted coverage?
Mainstream reporters and editors take their cues from Washington, D.C. Since bipartisan leaders see Venezuela as beyond the pale, so do the media. They see Maduro as “hard left,” similar to the leaders of Cuba or the old USSR. As a result, they accept US government assertions pretty much without question. They often make no effort to get Maduro’s side, or even to find academics or former government officials who can balance a story with a pro-Maduro views.
In one particularly egregious article, theThe New York Times Washington, D.C., bureau recently quoted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at length about how Russia and Cuba are “propping up Venezuela,” an absurd claim given Cuba’s own economic problems and Russia’s distance. The article contained one perfunctory paragraph with the Venezuelan government viewpoint.
Reporters know there are few consequences for misreporting about Maduro and his allies, but that the roof caves in if they report negatively about the opposition.
In 2017, I filed a series of stories on Venezuela for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s daily website. While reporting government-sponsored brutality, I also noted that the opposition engaged in violent tactics against the police. I wrote that the momentum was shifting away from the anti-government demonstrators. I came under vicious attack online in a clear effort to discredit not only the articles but me as a reporter.
To their credit, CBC editors defended my reporting. A few weeks later, the opposition demonstrations petered out as the country prepared to vote for a Constituent Assembly.
A positive exception
Of course, the mainstream media is not monolithic. Knight-Ridder, now owned by McClatchy, accurately reported that weapons of mass destruction didn’t exist in Iraq during the run up to the 2003 war.
McClatchy reporters have now uncovered covert US arms shipments from Miami to Venezuela. Their article explored possible links between the charter airline carrying the weapons and the CIA’s program in the 2000s of kidnapping and taking civilians to black sites. I hope other reporters follow up—but am not holding my breath.
The government of Venezuela certainly deserves a lot of criticism. Inflation is skyrocketing. Venezuelans face shortages of food and medicine. Unemployment is increasing as work places shut down because of the crisis. But that doesn’t justify US efforts to overthrow Maduro and install an opposition leader.
© 2019 Reese Erlich
March 15, 2019
4th Generation Warfare (fourth-generation warfare or 4GW) is a term used to define the kind of war often waged in the 21st century by the USG (United States Government), the military wing of the NWO (New World Order). It blurs the lines between war and politics, and soldiers and civilians. It includes new forms of attacks such as cyber attacks, EM attacks, infrastructure attacks and propaganda, which can effectively “win” a war for the aggressor without it ever needing to deploy its own troops in the attacked country. A cyber attack took down Venezuela’s power grid last week, and today (Thursday March 14th 2019) another so-called “terrorist attack” ruptured storage tanks at a heavy oil processing plant in eastern Venezuela.
The power outages have taken a grave effect on Venezuela. The Caracas subway came to a halt. Around 70% of the nation was without electricity for at least a day. Food went rotten in fridges. Many people who depend on electric pumps had to resort to getting water from drainpipes and dirty streams. Looting and vandalism increased. People have been seriously inconvenienced and some have even died:
“The exact number of people who have lost their lives due to power outages is unknown. There have been dozens of deaths. The number of people who died at a hospital called Manuel Nunez Tovar in Monagas state was 13. When we add those who depend on dialysis machines or electricity-operated living units at home, the real figure must be much higher.”
Luckily Venezuela was able to get the power back from around 17% to 70% of the country within a day. China also stepped in to assist. USG officials have, predictably, blamed Venezuelan President Maduro and his mismanagement and corruption for the problem, but of course they would, since that’s the appeal of 4GW: destroy a country’s infrastructure and make it look like it was ineptitude so the leader has less support from his own people.
Maduro has come out stating that he has evidence the US was responsible for a cyber attack which affected the Guri Hydroelectric power station. He listed 3 ways the US pulled off the sabotage: 1. used a cyber attack on the computer “brain” of the system; 2. used EM waves or weapons to cut transmission and distribution; and 3. directly burned/exploded the electrical substations:
“This attack has been made through several ways. First, the cyberattack to the brain of the company, the brain of generation in Guri. In Macagua. And cyberattack from the outside to the brain that is located in Caracas, and transmits and distributes to the country. We have a generating brain that was attacked. The screens were blacked out. The conduction map was lost.
The second attack was made through the electromagnetic wave. Mobile devices that emit electromagnetic signals and through the transmission waves, the great cables you see on the roads with great towers, they placed them on the cables. And high electromagnetic frequencies. And it cuts transmission. And when they cut transmission, when the country’s electrical route is being emitted, they interrupted the recovery processes.
The third way—the first is cyberattack to the brain. The second is electromagnetic to the distribution transmissions systems. The third way, physical way, burning, explosions of different systems. Direct burning of substations.”
So what is the evidence the US was involved? It’s quite abundant, given the USG penchant for foreign meddling, its long list of CIA assassinations and toppling of foreign leaders, and its already documented recent interference in Venezuela. We have this Marco Rubio tweet, just minutes after the power outage first happened. How did he know when no one else knew?
Then we have puppet-man Guaido, the joke of a “president” elected by no one, who declared that that the power outage would end only when Maduro goes. Hmmm, interesting. Then we have the 2010 CANVAS memo (CANVAS is another famous subversive NGO) as exposed by Max Blumenthal in his article US Regime Change Blueprint Proposed Venezuelan Electricity Blackouts as ‘Watershed Event’ for ‘Galvanizing Public Unrest’:
“A September 2010 memo by a US-funded soft power organization that helped train Venezuelan coup leader Juan Guaido and his allies identifies the potential collapse of the country’s electrical sector as “a watershed event” that “would likely have the impact of galvanizing public unrest in a way that no opposition group could ever hope to generate.””
Even the mainstream magazine Forbes ran an article stating:
“In the case of Venezuela, the idea of a government like the United States remotely interfering with its power grid is actually quite realistic. Remote cyber operations rarely require a significant ground presence, making them the ideal deniable influence operation. Given the U.S. government’s longstanding concern with Venezuela’s government, it is likely that the U.S. already maintains a deep presence within the country’s national infrastructure grid, making it relatively straightforward to interfere with grid operations.”
Then, we have the copious evidence of the US push for regime change in Venezuela in the last month. I have outlined some of the background and escalation to this in the articles Is This the Most Blatant US Coup Ever? and 8 Venezuela Lies the US Gov. & MSM Want You to Believe. Just last Monday (March 11th, 2019), Trump released his 2020 budget proposal. According to the US State Department, the funds would go towards “supporting Transition in Venezuela: Continuing democracy assistance for Venezuela and including flexibility to provide additional funds to support a democratic transition or respond to the crisis there, including authority to transfer up to $500 million between foreign assistance accounts.”
History repeats itself, and for those who look closely and study the patterns, there are almost always clues in past events. Here are 2 cases in point. The US famously overthrew democratically elected Chilean President Salvador Allende in order to install puppet dictator Pinochet in a 1973 coup. Guess what? They also cut the electricity there too before the actual coup that ousted Allende, as this NY times article reported. Meanwhile, the US-Israeli alliance in a joint operation (Operation Olympic Games) pulled off a damaging cyber attack against Iran’s nuclear facility in Natanz using the Stuxnet virus, widely believed to have been created in a collaboration between the NSA and Israel’s elite cyber warfare unit named Unit 8200.
It is clear that the US, on behalf of the NWO Empire, is attempting to undermine and destroy Venezuela in any way it can – economic hardship, sanctions, fake aid, propaganda, funding terrorist opposition, 4th generation warfare cyber attacks and 4th generation warfare infrastructure attacks. The plan is to inflict as much hardship and misery as possible on the Venezuelans, use plausible deniability to deceive people, blame Maduro for all of it, then tell them the only way out is replace President Maduro (despite the fact he was elected by a huge majority in free and fair elections). It’s classic problem-reaction-solution stuff.
Will US sabotage bring Venezuela to its knees without the need for an outright US troop invasion? That will depend on the spirit and strength of the Venezuelan people, and how well they can distinguish truth from propaganda.
Makia Freeman is the editor of alternative media / independent news site The Freedom Articles and senior researcher at ToolsForFreedom.com, writing on many aspects of truth and freedom, from exposing aspects of the worldwide conspiracy to suggesting solutions for how humanity can create a new system of peace and abundance. Makia is on Steemit and FB.
So, technically and morally speaking, no one could blame Iran and Venezuela if they detonated an EMP weapon over the USA, right?
March 16, 2019
In light of the recent attack on the Venezuelan National Power Grid, Iran is sharing its own experience with US intelligence apparatus, which crippled its nuclear program back in 2011, through the use of the Stuxnet virus.
The US has been running after countries aiming to become independent from the energy vultures of Wall Street since the advent of the Petrodollar. Some of the more aggressive measures taken involved a combination of economic sanctions, terror, regime change through orchestrated street protests or outright assassination of the nationalist leadership of targeted countries.
The US and NATO war machines and intelligence networks have been doing these multi-pronged sabotage around the world for decades without fail, or until the Alliance was formed to put them in check.
Middle East commentator and analyst Sharmine Narwani, a former senior associate at Oxford University, has claimed that an Iranian-American engineer was offered money by US officials to conduct a sabotage mission targeting the power grid of Tehran, Iran’s capital city.
Narwani revealed on Thursday that the engineer, a friend of hers whom she did not name for security reasons, was approached twice by “US State Department employees” following Iran’s 2009 post-election unrest and was offered $250,000 to carry out the operation.
The agents allegedly described the operation as “very simple”, demanding that the engineer goes to a specific area in Tehran and apply a specific code in a communication device during his upcoming trip to the city.
The engineer, however, allegedly declined to carry out the operation and ultimately notified Narwani in 2010.
Speaking to Narwani, the engineer had also expressed shock that US officials knew of his planned trip to Tehran and also knew that he was “cash-strapped” at the time.
Narwani explained her initial acquaintance with the Iranian engineer by saying that she and her Iranian-American husband “ran an internet company in the telecommunications industry in Washington years ago and I was a founding member of the Iranian-American Technology Council.”
The journalist further wrote that she discussed the matter with “a colleague with an engineering background” who explained that the code could have been used to hack or deactivate power grids “governed by electronic or computer systems.”
“You don’t have to physically be there if you can hack into it, but that’s of course harder. If they (the Americans) needed to have someone physically there during the sabotage attempt, it probably means they didn’t have remote access to the system,” the engineer added.
Narwani said that she sought to publicize the revelations after news spread about similar suspected sabotage operations targeting Venezuela’s power grid this month.
Last week, an overheating incident knocked out Venezuela’s main hydroelectric dam, causing a widespread and ongoing electrical blackout, affecting 23 of the country’s 24 states.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has accused the US of masterminding a “demonic” plot to destroy his country and force him from power by waging an “electromagnetic attack”.
The heightening tension comes as opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself “interim president” of Venezuela in January, vowing to topple Maduro.
The US has openly backed Guaido, imposing economic sanctions on Venezuela and confiscating the country’s state oil assets based in the US to channel them to Guaido.
Narwani, along with other Middle East pundits, have raised the prospect that the attacks on critical Venezuelan infrastructure may be related to an adoption of an earlier plan developed under the administration of former US president George W. Bush against Iran.
Known by its code-name “Nitro Zeus,” the New York Times first published details about the plan in 2016, claiming that the program sought to target Iranian electrical, communication and defense systems.
The report also claimed that the Obama administration had “seriously” considered carrying out the plan if nuclear negotiations with Iran at the time had failed.
Narwani believes details revealed to her by the mentioned Iranian-American engineer may have been part of the alleged sabotage program.
Israel and the US have been conducting numerous acts of sabotage targeting the Iranian people and the county’s critical infrastructure over the past years.
In 2011, the US and Israel conducted a cyber attack against the Iranian nuclear energy program.
Reporting the incident a year later, The Washington Post said the US National Security Agency (NSA), its spy service CIA, and Israel’s military had worked together to launch a malware dubbed Stuxnet against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Iran also claims the Israeli regime assassinated four of its nuclear scientists between 2010 and 2012.
The US, under President Donald Trump, along with its regional allies, has also sought to weaken Iran by imposing strict sanctions on the country and inciting unrest in the country.
In a public speech in December, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei stated that the US had, however, failed to achieve its objectives.
Ayatollah Khamenei stated that the Iranian nation has to remain vigilant as the US may seek similar plans in the upcoming year, despite its previously failed attempts.
Anointed Israel believes that what it’s been doing against Iran is moral and ethical.
Former chief of an Israeli spy service unit has said that the first cyber target in any future conflict with Iran should be its energy infrastructure.
Speaking at a major cyber conference in Israel, former Unit 8200 chief Ehud Schnerosen referred to the energy sector as a “major pillar economy, state’s cardiovascular system.”
“We should not attack water, food, healthcare on ethical grounds, and should not attack banks because of the potential butterfly effect,” he said. “The next 9/11 in cyber will be energy sector.”
Let us all take a wild guess on which country did this?
15 March 2019
Russia said it was ready to cooperate to investigate the blackout and help bring the sabotage plotters to justice.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Friday her country considers that Venezuela’s blackout was due to a cyber attack from abroad, the same version provided by the Venezuelan government for the massive loss of electric services across most of the country for five days.
“According to the country’s legitimate government headed by President Nicolas Maduro, as well as to information from other credible sources, Venezuela’s power grid was attacked from abroad,” Zakharova said and pointed out that “it was an attempt to remotely influence control systems at major electrical substations where Canadian-made equipment is installed.”
Last week Maduro denounced that the Venezuelan opposition and its United State allies were behind the blackout, which began Thursday, Feb. 7 and caused multiple damages for the Bolivarian country.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman also said that Russia could investigate the cyber attack.
“If we receive an official request for expert assistance, we will give it proper attention,” Zakharova said in relation to a recent statement by President Maduro’s through which he announced that his country will ask Russia, China, Iran and Cuba to assist in investigating the attack on the electricity grid.
In addition, the Russian senior diplomat said the perpetrators of this aggression against the Venezuelan people are fully responsible for the deaths the blackout caused as many hospitals were left without electricity.
“We hope that this responsibility will sooner or later take the form of a court ruling,” Zakharova stated, as reported by Sputnik.
The obscenity of American imperialism is that it has inflicted huge social misery in Venezuela from years of sanctions and illegal confiscation of billions of dollars in assets belonging to the nation.
US imperialists are so desperate in their regime-change predations over Venezuela, they seem to have a problem controlling their drooling mouths.
The latest orgy of American gloating was triggered by the massive power outages to have hit Venezuela. No sooner had the South American country been blacked out from its power grid collapsing, senior US officials were crowing with perverse relish.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio – who has become a point man for the Trump administration in its regime-change campaign in Venezuela – was a little too celebratory. Within minutes of the nationwide power outage last Thursday, Rubio was having verbal orgasms about the “long-term economic damage”… “in the blink of an eye”. But it was his disclosure concerning the precise damage in the power grid that has led the Venezuelan government to accuse the US of carrying out a sabotage.
Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez noted how Rubio, in his tweeted comments “three minutes” after the power outage, mentioned failure of “back-up generators” in Venezuela’s main hydroelectric plant, known as the Guri Dam, located in Bolivar State. The dam supplies some 80 per cent of the Venezuelan population of 31 million with its electricity consumption.
Rodriguez mockingly ascribed “mystic skills” to Rubio because the Florida Republican senator appeared to know the precise nature of the power failure even before the Venezuelan authorities had determined it.
The Venezuelan government has since claimed that the failure in the electric grid was caused by a cyber attack on the computer system controlling the Guri Dam turbines. Caracas said it will present proof of its claims to the United Nations.
Apart from Rubio’s apparent insider information, there are several other indicators that Venezuela’s latest turmoil from power blackout was indeed caused by US sabotage, and specifically a cyber attack.
The South American country has experienced recurring power cuts over recent years due to economic problems and Washington’s sanctions. But the latest outage was widespread – at least 70 per cent of the country – and sustained for more than four days, rather than being rectified within hours. That scale of disruption suggests an unprecedented event, way beyond intermittent problems of maintenance.
The duration of the blackout in the capital Caracas and other major cities also indicates that the nature of the problem was difficult to reverse, which would be consistent with a cyber attack on the power grid. “It was a kill-shot,” says American political analyst Randy Martin.
Furthermore, US officials like President Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton as well as “special envoy” on Venezuelan affairs Elliot Abrams have been warning that Washington is seeking new ways to pile pressure on Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro to stand down.
Abrams was caught out last week in a prank phone call made by two Russian entertainers posing as Swiss President Ueli Maurer in which Abrams openly advocated crushing the Venezuelan banking system in order to topple the government in Caracas. The American envoy, who was convicted over the Iran-Contra affair in the 1980s for sponsoring terrorism to sabotage Nicaragua, appeared to balk at using overt US military power against Venezuela. That suggests Washington was persuaded on the efficacy of cyber warfare to inflict social chaos and incite popular anger against the Maduro government.
The immediate reaction by Washington officials and the US-backed political opposition in Venezuela was to blame the Maduro government for the power disorder. The failure was flagged up as a sign of “incompetence” and “mismanagement” of the oil-rich country by the socialist administration. Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself the rightful president with Washington’s blessing, conveyed the logic of blackmail when he declared, “the lights will come back on when usurper Maduro is gone”.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also weighed in with repulsive gloating within hours of Venezuela’s power crisis. Pompeo tweeted: “No food. No medicine. Now, no power. Next, no Maduro.”
The delight openly displayed by Washington officials in regard to aggression against Venezuela has broken new ground in terms of the brazenness of US imperialism.
Only a few weeks ago, Bolton announced that the objective for seeking regime change in Venezuela against the elected President Nicolas Maduro was for US corporations to seize the South American state’s vast oil wealth – reckoned to be the largest known reserves on the planet, far exceeding those of Saudi Arabia.
Such is Washington’s unbridled lust for Venezuela’s natural resources that its imperialist advocates are falling over themselves with naked lies and crimes.
When a US Trojan Horse aid convoy was blocked from entering into Venezuela from Colombia last month, American politicians and media immediately blamed the Maduro government for sabotaging the effort. An aid truck was set alight on a border crossing on February 23. US Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Rubio, as well as CNN, condemned the Venezuelan authorities for “callous” destruction of vital aid delivery to its long-suffering people. It turns out, as even the New York Times has now admitted three weeks later, that the aid truck was torched by US-backed opposition supporters on the Colombian side of the border.
The obscenity of American imperialism is that it has inflicted huge social misery in Venezuela from years of sanctions and illegal confiscation (theft) of billions of dollars in assets belonging to the nation. Then it has the audacity to mount a charade seeming to deliver humanitarian aid.
The latest twist to this sadistic game played by Washington is turning the lights off across the entire nation, in homes, hospitals, airports and schools, among other essential services, and attempting to lay the blame on the Venezuelan government.
We may, however, be thankful for Washington’s overweening arrogance and criminality. Because, as Marco Rubio’s rash remarks concerning the latest power outage show, the American gangsterism towards Venezuela is being exposed for the naked aggression that it is.
US-based political analyst Randy Martin, in comments for this column, says that what Washington is doing to Venezuela is tantamount to the “rape of democracy”. “American imperialism has no longer any shame,” he said. “It used to rape countries under the cover a seedy alleyway of false excuses and hollow claims of righteousness. Now it has its trousers around its ankles and trying to rape Venezuela right on the global Main Street.”
Maduro said he has already appointed a “special presidential commission to investigate the cyberattack”
CARACAS, March 13. /TASS/.
The Venezuelan government will ask the United Nations, Russia, China, Iran and Cuba to help investigate the cyberattack on the country’s power grid, which led to massive blackouts in the republic, President Nicolas Maduro said.
“I will request assistance from the UN, as well as from Russia, China, Iran and Cuba, who have vast experience in issues of protection against cyberattacks,” he said on Tuesday in a speech, broadcast via the Periscope app.
Maduro said he has already appointed a “special presidential commission to investigate the cyberattack.”
“I asked to include international specialists in it,” he said.
According to the Venezuelan leader, the government “has already prevailed, and restored the power grid” of the country. “We now need to reinforce it, to make it reliable and impregnable again,” he added.
On the evening of March 7, Caracas and 20 of the country’s 23 regions were left without electricity. The National Electric Company said the blackout had been caused by an accident at the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant, which Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro blamed on “US imperialism.” However, the US Department of State denied any involvement.
Electricity began to be gradually restored across Venezuela on the night of March 8 but the situation worsened later following reports about an explosion at an electric substation located on the outskirts of the city of Ciudad Bolivar. According to Maduro, the country’s law enforcement agencies have arrested two people suspected of being involved in attacks on Venezuela’s electricity grid.
Vice President for Communications and Culture Jorge Rodriguez said on Tuesday that power supplies have resumed in most of the country.