Treasury Hits Russian FSB for Underwater Reconnaissance of Internet Cables

An undersea fiber optic cable

An undersea fiber optic cable / Getty Images

 

Moscow plans to attack undersea cables in future conflict

The Treasury Department on Monday announced the imposition of economic sanctions against Russian entities engaged in targeting undersea internet cables and cyber spying inside critical U.S. infrastructures.

The department announced sanctions on five companies and three Russians linked to the Federal Security Service, the main Kremlin intelligence service, known as the FSB, that has been linked to Russian election meddling in 2016.

For the first time, Treasury revealed one of the sanctioned companies, Divetechnoservices, has worked with the FSB since 2007 to spy on underwater cables used to connect the internet around the world.

Russia has been active in tracking undersea communication cables which carry the bulk of the world’s telecommunications data,” the department said in announcing the sanctions. Continue reading

In Open Dissent

BERLIN (Own report) – The G7 summit in La Malbaie, Canada, ended in open dissent on Saturday without a joint final declaration. After the G7 state and government leaders had already agreed on a joint statement, US President Donald Trump withdrew his endorsement. The document is still supported by the other six G7 states and is occasionally referred to as the “G6” declaration, to point out the deep rift in the traditional West. Whereas German business circles still call for making concessions in the trade conflict with Washington, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is considering new cooperation frameworks with states “beyond classical alliances, such as NATO.” This however would be in contrast to the agreement reached at the G7 summit on a mechanism aimed at a common response to cyber attacks and attacks such as the nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury. According to scholars of the German Bundestag, Moscow’s alleged responsibility has still not been proven.

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China hacked a Navy contractor and secured a trove of highly sensitive data on submarine warfare

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China’s sole operating aircraft carrier leaves Dalian in northeast China for sea trials last month. (Li Gang/Xinhua/AP)

 

Chinese government hackers have compromised the computers of a Navy contractor, stealing massive amounts of highly sensitive data related to undersea warfare — including secret plans to develop a supersonic anti-ship missile for use on U.S. submarines by 2020, according to American officials.

The breaches occurred in January and February, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. The hackers targeted a contractor who works for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, a military organization headquartered in Newport, R.I., that conducts research and development for submarines and underwater weaponry.

The officials did not identify the contractor. Continue reading

Merkel Urges Europe to Step Up in Trump’s New World Order

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Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor and Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party leader, speaks at the CDU party conference in Essen, Germany (Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg)

 

(Bloomberg) — Chancellor Angela Merkel made a forceful pitch for Europe to play a more assertive role in global affairs as U.S. President Donald Trump dismantles the post-World War II order, setting the stage for a potential tense standoff at the Group of Seven summit this week.

The German leader again questioned the durability of trans-Atlantic relations by referring to eye-raising comments she made over a year ago in which she said that “the times when we could fully rely on others are to some extent over.” Those words, spoken at a beer-tent election rally, were a reaction to Trump hectoring European leaders for not spending enough on defense at a North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Brussels. Since then, more fuel has been added to the fire.

“That was my takeaway from the NATO summit, and in the meantime I continue to feel confirmed by my statement,” Merkel said in Munich on Wednesday, this time to a meeting of the European People’s Party, a grouping of center-right parties in the European Parliament.

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Turkey, an Ally no More, Shouldn’t Get F-35s

In the case of Turkey, which clearly hasn’t been an ally of ours, they should indeed not be allowed to have F-35s. The problem with this, however, is that they will turn to China or Russia for their next generation fighters. What’s more, they will make it official that they are allied with China and Russia, and possibly even join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Should Turkey be allowed to purchase F-35s, they would likely pass the technology on to Russia and China, resulting in America’s newest deployed weaponry being compromised. America is in a catch-22: Give Turkey what it wants and lose ground in air supremacy via technology transfer, or lose an entire nation to the axis powers. The former is the lesser of two evils in the sense that it delays the issue for a while, whereas the latter only keeps feeding Turkish belligerency and continued backstabbing.

 

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met yesterday with his Turkish counterpart, who would have us believe Turkey is still a U.S. ally.  In fact, it is no more. Continue reading

Merkel Backs Macron’s European Army Initiative

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“I am in favor of President Macron’s proposal for an intervention initiative,” the German chancellor told Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper on Sunday.

The topic has been under discussion since September, when French President Emmanuel Macron laid out his vision for a pan-European “military intervention force” with a shared military budget funded by aggregated tax receipts and supervised by a single finance minister. Macron’s vision – which is central to his integrationist message – was similar to a proposal laid out during a speech last summer by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who declared at the time that “soft power alone is not powerful enough.” Continue reading

NATO Won’t Help Israel in War with Iran

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(Photo Credit: Office of President of Estonia)

 

During an interview published Saturday by the German newspaper Der Spiegel, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg revealed it’s not his organization’s responsibility to protect Israel should it come under fire from Iran.

While the Jewish state is considered an “active partner” of the U.S.-led alliance, it is not a full member and therefore is not able to invoke Article V of the NATO Charter. This provides a “security guarantee” to all full members by declaring any attack on a member nation is an attack on them all. Continue reading

Iran to increase uranium enrichment. US-Israeli strike on nuclear facilities comes closer

 

Iran is to inform the UN nuclear watchdog in Vienna on Tuesday, June 6, of its decision to increase uranium (UF6) enrichment capacity in response to the US exit from the 2015 nuclear accord. Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi, announcing this, did not mention a date for this process to begin or the grade of enrichment. Supreme ruler Ayatollah Khamenei’s said Monday night: “I have ordered Iran’s atomic energy agency to be prepared to upgrade our (uranium) enrichment capacity” if the 2015 nuclear deal with the world powers falls apart after the US withdrawal. Chairman Ali Akhbar Salehi of the atomic organization forecast this development some days ago. Continue reading

U.S. Military Set To Deploy THAAD Anti-Missile System In Germany

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The United States is looking to establish a powerful missile shield in Germany in a potential move that would further inflame tensions with both Moscow and Tehran.

Though NATO has long insisted that its missile defense systems are not directed at Russia, the Kremlin has repeatedly condemned what it sees as NATO encroachment in Eastern Europe, especially after countries like Romania — which is not engaged in any ongoing conflict with Russia — have recently installed their own US-supplied ballistic missile systems, with renewed multi-billion dollar Patriot missile expansions to follow. Continue reading

Turkey May Purchase Russian Stealth Fighters If Delivery Of US F-35s Is Halted

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A U.S. Senate committee swiftly passed the latest version of a $716 billion defense bill last week, including a hard-hitting measure to block Turkey from acquiring Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jets.

Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Senator Thom Tillis are responsible for the new amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would eliminate Turkey from the F-35 program over its recent purchase of Russian S-400 anti-missile system.

In response, Turkey pivoted towards Russia, and is expected to acquire Sukhoi SU-57 fifth-generation fighter jets, if Washington chooses to suspend Ankara from the F-35 program. Continue reading

Willingness to Engage in a Power Struggle

LONDON/BERLIN (Own report) – The German government still has no evidence to substantiate serious allegations it used to justify its participation in the mass expulsion of Russian diplomats from several western countries. In its response to a parliamentary interpellation, the government admits it has no findings of its own on the Salisbury nerve gas attack other than the alleged evidence presented by the British government. At the same time, the “arguments” that have been presented so far to suggest Russian guilt are loosing their credibility. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), for example, had to contradict the claim of its director general that up to a half-cup of novichok was used in Salisbury. The assumption that only Russia could have produced the neurotoxin has been refuted, since it became known that Germany had also been in possession of the agent. These unproven allegations show, more than anything else, an unrestrained willingness to escalate the power struggle with Moscow. Continue reading

Sweden distributes ‘be prepared for war’ leaflet to all 4.8m homes

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The new pamphlet prepares the population for cyber and terror attacks and climate change, and includes a page on identifying fake news. Photograph: DinSäkerhet.se

 

Defence pamphlet shows how population can prepare in event of attack and contribute to country’s ‘total defence’

The Swedish government has begun sending all 4.8m of the country’s households a public information leaflet telling the population, for the first time in more than half a century, what to do in the event of a war.

Om krisen eller kriget kommer (If crisis or war comes) explains how people can secure basic needs such as food, water and heat, what warning signals mean, where to find bomb shelters and how to contribute to Sweden’s “total defence”. Continue reading

How Russia and China Gained a Strategic Advantage in Hypersonic Technology

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(Strategic Culture Foundation)

 

A hot topic in military prognostications regarding China, Russia and the United States revolves around the development and use of hypersonic technology for missiles or UAVs as an invulnerable means of attack. As we will see, not all three countries are dealing successfully with this task.

The United States, China and Russia have in recent years increased their efforts to equip their armed forces with such highly destructive missiles and vehicles seen in the previous article. Putin’s recent speech in Moscow reflects this course of direction by presenting a series of weapons with hypersonic characteristics, as seen with the Avangard and the Dagger. Continue reading

Russia’s Navy Establishes Permanent Presence in Mediterranean Sea

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said a naval standing force, including warships with Kalibr long-range land attack cruise missiles, will be permanently deployed in the Mediterranean Sea. The statement was made at a meeting with top military officials and defense industry leaders that took place in Sochi on May 16. One of the missions is delivering strikes against terrorist targets in Syria. 102 expeditions of ships and submarines are planned in 2018. The force will go through intensive training.

The Russian Black Sea Fleet has become a much different force in comparison to what it was just three years ago. Since 2015, the year the operation in Syria was launched, it has received 15 new ships, including two frigates and six conventional submarines armed with Kalibr cruise missiles. With S-400 and S-300V4 air defense systems, Krasukha-4 electronic warfare systems and shore-based anti-ship Bastion batteries deployed on the Syrian coast, the ships in Eastern Mediterranean operate in a relatively safe environment. Kalibr missiles have already been fired from frigates and submarines at terrorist targets in Syria. Continue reading

US, Sweden and Finland Boost Military Cooperation to Form New Alliance

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The US, Swedish, and Finnish defense ministers signed a trilateral Statement of Intent (SOI) to expand defense cooperation on all fronts. The signing ceremony took place in Washington on May 8. In 2016, the two Scandinavian nations finalized separate defense SOIs with America. Now they have signed a joint document to unify those previous agreements and enhance their interoperability.

The Scandinavian visitors claimed this was just a starting point for a more mature relationship. The agreement emphasizes the countries’ combined joint exercises and streamlines the procedures that have been established to manage them.

Other issues covered by the SOI include regular trilateral meetings at all levels, the exchange of information (including about weapons systems), increased practical interaction, cooperation in multinational operations, improved communications, and the promotion of the EU-NATO strategic partnership. The latter issue will transform the Scandinavians into a connecting link that will eliminate the chance of any European deterrent that could operate with any real independence from its North American “big brother.”  Washington wants to make sure that the PESCO agreement will not protect Europe’s defense industry from US companies. Continue reading