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22 December 2016

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Vic

Fast forward to today. In the GWOT, the west seems to have the initiative compared to ten years ago. I do not credit this to the hearts and minds messaging of the current administration (killing them with kindness), or to the unbelievably flawed military strategy to counter terrorism.

I'd guess that the reason for this is economic. The low price of oil is bankrupting the gulf states. They are no longer as capable of bankrolling radical islamic terrorism around the world. With big American financial institutions now buying Saudi Bonds hand over fist, we might also be paying for our own terrorism (indirectly).

It maybe that the best American counter to radical islamic terrorism is a pro-domestic oil production policy. We need to keep the price of oil low. It would also help to have a foreign policy and take legal actions to undermine and destroy OPEC (price fixing and anti-competitive acts under the WTO).

I'm not a big proponent of soft power approaches to problems. But in conjunction with a new counter insurgency/terrorism military strategy based on attrition, soft power can play a role in the defeat of radical islamic terrorism (out off their outside support).

Just some ideas.

Vic

A.Pols

I told everyone who would listen (a small group at the time), during the 2002-2003 runup to the invasion of Iraq, 2 things.
1.) The invasion would turn into an enormous shit sandwich for us.
2.) "IF" we were going to invade an Arab country for sponsoring terrorism, that country should be Saudi Arabia.

As for #1, we know all about that now, but I still hold that #2 would have been the thing to do, IF we were hell bent on a mission of conquest.

The Saudis' guilt in the terrorism thing is so clear...

LeaNder

thanks, Harper:

There were a lot of rumors around Saudi Arabia post 9/11 and considering the background of the vast majority of the attackers there should have been. But there were also quite a few rumors around the FBI ...

jjc

Thanks for sharing this important story. The Meese led 9/11/ Review Commission was cited by the White House this past summer as having re-established that no new information had been developed and that the "conclusions" of the 9/11 Commission assigning al-Qaeda sole responsibility for the big event remain. But this Review Commission did reference a fact that the FBI had two separate investigating teams: one appointed after the 2002 Congressional Intelligence report demanded that the Saudi angle be investigated, and one appointed by the 2003/04 9/11 Commission to in effect cover this angle up. As suggested by the Meese led Review Commission, the former team continues to believe strongly in Saudi culpability while the latter team's work was used by the official investigations to downplay or deny a Saudi role.

The Saudis have had a close relationship with the darker covert elements of the CIA and related agencies for decades, and official Saudi involvement with future hijackers leads to the "inside job" aspect of the 9/11 attacks.

Les

It was particular prescient that TE Lawrence was recommended reading for US officers stationed in Iraq.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/1208/p01s03-woiq.html

Ten years later, we've had numerous insurgencies in the Middle East.

james

i totally agree regarding saudi's role...exporting wahhabism thru the madrassas is a reward that keeps on giving.. when does the madness stop? apparently the saudis are good friends of the usa.. with friends like this, who needs enemies?

phodges

Just wait a few more weeks on #2. The narrative is changing. I have a sneaking suspicion that Trump will fight a real "war on terror" and the Russians would love some payback for Chechnya, etc. That's a bad combo for Al Saud.

Hood Canal Gardner

SA goose just keeps on laying golden eggs for our MIC .. the damn thing hasn't gone into a molt yet, just keeps on laying I guess as long as Oil and ADM feeds it.

Willybilly

I'd be concerned about Brennan's Boys staying behind at Langley. Pompeo doesn't seem to have the experience or cojones to get rid of Brennan's Caliphate of Langley...

trinlae

When majority shareholders of Citigroup hail from house of Saud, buying Saudi bonds w American deposits is its own reward.

Freudenschade

Just a little update on the Russian hacking investigation. Looks like there's a similarity between the malware used against Ukrainian artillery and the DNC. These forensic investigations are rarely definitive, short of a no knock warrant at the GRU, but this shows some fingerprint.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/cybersecurity-firm-finds-a-link-between-dnc-hack-and-ukrainian-artillery/2016/12/21/47bf1f5a-c7e3-11e6-bf4b-2c064d32a4bf_story.html
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/in-ukraine-more-evidence-of-a-hacking-groups-kremlin-ties/2016/12/22/e9ebec56-c804-11e6-acda-59924caa2450_story.html

Stumpy

I would like some cybersecurity expert to explain to me how an android app and a theft of e-mail files are related? Even if the authors of some software put their names and phone#s in the code, how would you know it was really them? E-mail headers and code snippets are as easy to forge as the phone# of Malaysian telemarketers. Thumb drives are very portable, on the other hand. As are executive laptops.

As far as Ukraine, would it not be simple to pose as an artillery field commander and get your unlock code, by socially engineering some actual FC with a hankering for a pretty smile and a bit of vodka? Just a theory.

It seems hopelessly careless, in the country that invented Google and Stuxnet, that the most basic file security is not maintained in the computer operating system and network hardware itself. Especially if you have something to hide. The snake should be immune to its own poison, imo.

I would test the theory that it was not malware that did these jobs, but social engineering that was the method. I would seriously test the veracity of reports from a captive security firm playing expert witness, as reported from a shamelessly biased news organization.

Freudenschade

Stumpy,

Security is a separate discipline from forensic analysis. Security is usually pretty bad at small companies as it is usually done by generalists with other duties. Having done some in-house penetration testing, I can tell you that getting into the systems of sub 100 headcount companies is too easy. Ransomware outfits have figured out how to monetize this vulnerability.

As far as the Android vs Windows malware question, there's a lot of similarities between cracking into one hardware/OS combo and another. Here's a good layman's description of how crackers leveraged their Windows exploit code into Android. https://www.google.com/amp/www.computerworld.com/article/2474485/mobile-security/windows-malware-finds-its-way-to-android.amp.html

As for a false flag operation, it's not impossible. It's certainly possible to adapt someone else's malware code. Someone false flagging an Android exploit that resulted in the destruction of Ukrainian artillery seems pretty far fetched. For the DNC hack, ask yourself who benefits then see if you can make it anything more than pure speculation.

Stumpy

Thank you, good points of course. While my experience has been more on the local infrastructure side of things than the anti-intrusion side, I see that the DNC victims and the institutions surrounding them do gain some benefit from pointing fingers at the preferred target. Can't rule anything in or out based on what I've seen, but separatists in Ukraine definitely have a clear benefit vs. the wider spectrum of adversaries to Clintonian power. A question remains as to how Assange's org got their hands on the material. Was it Russia all along, going back to Iraq war? Someone with deep pockets and special resources, certainly.

S

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