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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 4/27/17

Hybrid War: Reactive Mismeasures: The New Yorker and the "New" Cold War Propaganda (Part 4)

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11. This paragraph gives the gist of the US's counter cyber policies which basically target Russia, China and Iran. Robert Kanke, NSA director of cyber security policy, summed it up in this quote: "As long as we think we're getting more value from this set of rules than we're losing, then this is the set of rules we want to promote."[So the answer to any question about our counter security polices must be, "Because we think this works better value wise."]

12. A confusing paragraph in which we are told that Russia was developing a "new" doctrine which consisted of "an amalgam that states have used for generations." This calls for a strategy that says an enemy should be destabilized "at minimum cost" by a combination of tactics: "military, technological, political, and intelligence." [This seems like common sense rather than some cunning new doctrine.] This has become known as "hybrid war" and because these rather common place observations were written about in an article by the Russian army's chief of staff (Valery Gerasimov) they have become known as "the Gerasimov doctrine" and although the article was only written four years ago, we are told this generations old amalgam has become "a legend."

13. We are told Gerasimov is 61, looks stiff in photos and frowns a lot. He thinks future wars will have a four to one ratio of non military ("subversion, espionage, propaganda, and cyberattacks") to military actions. He writes that the cases of Libya and Syria point out that a basically stable and functioning state can be reduced to "a web of chaos, humanitarian catastrophe, and civil war" in just a few days by a well planned intervention by a hostile state using the tactics listed above. [Although the US has been successful using these tactics in Syria and Libya, it has basically been practicing the Gerasimov Doctrine avant la lettre against Cuba for over 50 years without success so there must be some sort or hamartia within the targeted state for this Doctrine to actually work.)

14. Gerasimov maintains that in the 21st Century the nonmilitary means can often be more effective than the military.

15. By studying primarily the US the Russians concluded that it is very effective to manipulate information technology. Cyber techniques are superior to handing out leaflets or trying to manipulate radio and television.

16. The authors maintain the Russians used these methods in annexing the Crimea and in "pulling off" a "stage managed referendum." [Other reportage indicates the referendum fairly reflected the views of the vast majority of people living in the Crimea but this article only presents one side of the story].

17. In this paragraph the authors do recognize you can't use these hybrid war techniques unless there is some basic underlying social contradiction at work. "They are less a way to conjure up something out of nothing than to stir a pot that is already bubbling." Knowing that they could have been more objective with regard to who put the pot on the fire in the first place. A weakened regional power such as Russia, in a qualitatively inferior economic and military position vs a vs the US since the Soviet Union, a super power, collapsed, is more likely to be trying to turn down the heat to keep the pot from boiling over, a pot others have overheated. If you went to England to stir up dislike of the Queen you wouldn't get very far as the preconditions for such discontent doesn't exist. This according to Alexander Sharavin a member of the Academy of Military Sciences in Moscow. But the preconditions to stir up trouble against the political order in the US do pre-exist. [As, perhaps, they also do in Russia].

18. Tensions were rising between the US and Russia over the Ukraine and Syria .[it is taken for granted that the US has the sole right to decide the future of both.] The Russians "stung" the US with a "common Moscow tactic" called "weaponized leak" [apparently revealing the truth of an action to the press which the actor would rather not have been known.] What dastardly deed did the Russians do? It seems the US was planning to replace the pro-Russian president of Ukraine with their own puppet behind the backs of the EU and everyone else and the Russians were listening in to a phone conversation between American officials about this plan [the NSA isn't the only one tapping private phone conversations]. During the conversation it was pointed out the EU wouldn't like the US forcing its choice for the next leader into office and the response, from Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, was a very diplomatic "f*ck the EU." The authors tell us the Russians knew releasing the conversation would cause trouble between the US and EU but did it anyway and, horrors!, no "form of penalty was extracted from Russia" for revealing the truth. [Of course the real issue wasn't the release of the profanity. It was catching the US plotting the overthrow of the democratically elected government of the Ukraine and putting in a new leader of its choice. That's what Putin does, not us!]

19. It was the kicking out of the elected President of Ukraine that commenced for real the new Cold War but a much more serious kind of Cold War than before.

[The US and EU had plans for Ukraine which included eventual membership in the EU and NATO, the removal of the Russian naval bases in Crimea and the downplaying of Russian influence in Ukraine in general. The Russians responded by asserting their rights and interests and supporting the rights of Russian speaking Ukrainians whose status was being threatened by ultra right Ukrainian nationalists in the replacement government.] How did the US respond to Russia's not accepting the US plans for the future? Here are the quotes from Benjamin Rhodes, one of Obama's top advisors who saw the push back as "Russia's aggressiveness," according to the authors, and said. "Putin's unwillingness to abide by any norms [i.e., US norms] began at that point [the forcing out of the elected President]. It went from provocative to disrespectful of any international boundary."[This respect is not required from American allies such as Israel or from the US itself in its invasions of other countries and bombings across international boundaries. The stench of hypocrisy is overwhelming.]

20. This paragraph reveals two things. First there is a group of hackers called "The Dukes" also known as "Cozy Bear." Nobody seems to know exactly who Cozy Bear is but "In security circles" it is a belief [but not a known fact] that Cozy Bear is "directed by the Russian government." Second, the Russian government is building up it cyber defense forces. But, "Very little is known about the size and composition of Russia's team of state cyberwarriors." There is then a lot of filler about Russia's cyber program.

21. Interesting information about how many may be working in Russia's cyber program. [It seems that many countries are building up their cyber abilities, Russia included.]

22. Cozy Bear [suspected of connections with the Russian government] has tapped into unclassified State Departments computers, unclassified computers in the office of the President and by 2015 "Russian intrusions" into political targets has roused national intelligence director Clapper to tell the Senate the "Russian cyberthreat is more severe than we have previously assessed." [This is all based on actions by Cozy Bear and neither Clapper nor anyone else seems to know who Cozy Bear really is but the language has shifted from a "belief" to sound like it's a "fact" that the "Russians" i.e., the government] is doing this spying. This now becomes the main theme in the same mass media that faked the war films from Georgia --that the "belief' has become a "fact" -- it actually hasn't but it will be drummed into us day and night by the NSA, our politicians, and the mass media that it is a fact, fact, fact, that the Russians are, were and maybe are still inside our internet and websites and our computer systems, etc., that they hacked the DNC and tampered with our elections. Once conjured up this genie of hysteria will be impossible to put back in its bottle or lamp. It will do its job: give us an external enemy upon whom to blame all our woes and to justify even more military spending.]

23. The head of the French spy agency is "reportedly worried'' that Russian agents are working to help Marine Le Pen. [Well he either is or isn't worried.] Russian state media [?] have attacked one of Le Pen's opponents [there are four main people, including Le Pen, running for French president]. A Russian Bank [the authors don't say it's a private bank] has loaned Le Pen money. Le Pen also supports the return of the Crimea to Russia. [Russia actually has a fairly good case for taking back the Crimea but the New Yorker article isn't really interested in presenting the Russian side in an objective manner. This info on France is somehow supposed to make Clapper's beliefs more like facts but they have nothing to do with Cozy Bear.]

24. Bruno Kahl, the head of German foreign intelligence is concerned "that Russian hackers are also trying" to interfere in German politics. He uses as evidence "Russian interference in the American elections." [ This is assuming what is to be proved. The belief that Cozy Bear is directed by Russia and hacked the Americans is used as a fact to provide evidence that the Russians want to hack the Germans. The head of German domestic intelligence says hackers are at work in their elections. [Who is behind it all. He doesn't say].

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Thomas Riggins, PhD CUNY, is a retired university lecturer in philosophy and ancient history and the former book review editor for Political Affairs magazine.

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