ARE THE GLOVES COMING OFF? PART ONE
During last Thursday's News and Views from the Nefarium, I read and reviewed a lengthy op-ed piece by Professor Karaganov that had appeared on RT's website. In the article, Professor Karaganov argued that Russia had to be willing to use nuclear weapons against the West, because the Ukrainian conflict is, for Russia, "existential," i.e., effecting its very national, cultural, economic, social, and political existence. In advocating this view, Professor Karaganov also indicated that, before such use against specified targets of value in the west, that Russia should issue warnings to the civilian populations near those targets before striking them.
As I interpreted this article, this was really the Russian government speaking through the mouthpiece of one of its academic advisors, to the Western leadership, and the message , in between all the radioactively glowing lines of nuclear escalation prose, was clear: the western political elite itself - not the people of the West - are now fair game for whatever measures Russia may think is the best method to pursue them and end them. As I've been warning ever since the "color revolution" and "Maidan coup" days, covert operations are a game that two or more can play, and thus far, it has been largely the West playing these games in the Ukraine. More recently, those games were expanded to bomb attacks on Alexandra Duginova, and even more recently than that, to drone attacks on the Kremlin itself and on dachas and apartments in the fashionable west side of Moscow, where even Mr. Putin is rumored to have a home. It requires little thought to understand that such drone attacks would have had to have been carried out by teams or people on the ground, and that means covert warfare is being attempted against the Russians and their leadership class.
So my reading of the RT nuclear escalation article by Karaganov is relatively simple: if Russia is openly discussing the use of nuclear weapons, then this also means all other operations, including covert operations such as assassinations, drone strikes, asymmetrical warfare and so on, are on the table.
Today there is a bit of corroborative evidence of this interpretation. Consider firstly this article shared by V.T. (with our thanks):
Note that the Deputy Chairman of Russia's security council, former Prime Minister and President Dmitri Medvedev, has himself come out with a clear statement that since the West has attacked the Nordstream pipeline, Russia is under no moral nor legal restraint from attacking similar infrastructure assets:
Following reports attributing the September destruction of Russia's Nord Stream gas pipelines to the Ukrainian or US government, the deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council has declared that President Vladimir Putin should feel free to sever undersea communication cables of the country's "enemies."
"If we proceed from the proven complicity of Western countries in blowing up the Nord Streams, then we have no constraints - even moral - left to prevent us from destroying the ocean floor cable communications of our enemies," said Dmitry Medvedev on Telegram. Medvedev was Russia's president from 2008 to 2012 and is a close ally of Putin.
Notably, this view that the covert/asymmetrical warfare gloves may be coming off are echoed by western experts:
Last month, NATO intelligence chief David Cattler warned of a rising risk of just such a move. "There are heightened concerns that Russia may target undersea cables and other critical infrastructure in an effort to disrupt Western life, to gain leverage against those nations that are providing security to Ukraine," he told reporters. Naturally, the NATO intel officer's list of potential motivations omitted retaliation-in-kind in the wake of the severing of the Nord Stream pipelines.
"The Russians are more active than we have seen them in years in this domain," Cattler told reporters, noting a higher pace of Russian patrols all across the Atlantic and in the Baltic and North seas. "Russia is actively mapping allied critical infrastructure both on land and on the seabed."
The oceans are a target-rich environment. More than 400 undersea cables carry more than 95% of international internet traffic. "Altogether, they carry an estimated 10 trillion U.S. dollars worth of financial transactions every day, so these cables really are an economic linchpin," said Cattler.
Regular readers of this website will recall that in the wake of the coordinated attack on a California electrical substation at the southern tip of Silicon Valley some years ago, and then yet another series of coordinated attacks on internet cables in San Francisco and Arizona some time later, as well as my blogs about internet hacking of major banks and corporations, that I argued these attacks were types of reconnaissance in depth, being coordinated at a high and professional level, and probably either by state actors or by very powerful independent non-territorial actors. Now, finally, after some years and more provocations against Russia, others in the West's leadership are saying the same thing.
Consider also the following article shared by T.M.:
Notice that the dateline on this article is the same day that I recorded my News and Views reviewing Professor Kaganarov's article on nuclear escalation: June 15, 2023. We'll return to this important point in a moment, but for now, note the following:
U.S. federal agencies are among the latest casualties of an extensive global cyberattack that exploits a flaw in commonly utilized software.
The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has been providing support to an undisclosed number of federal agencies experiencing intrusions through their MOVEit applications, a software impacted by this attack, CNN reported.
CISA is actively seeking to comprehend the extent of the damage and expedite remediation, according to Eric Goldstein, the agency's executive assistant director for cybersecurity.
Uncertainty looms over whether the Russian-speaking ransomware group, which has previously claimed responsibility for multiple victims of the ongoing hacking spree, orchestrated this breach. CISA has not revealed the identity of the attackers or the exact number of federal agencies affected.
This incident adds to an alarming surge of cyberattacks over the past fortnight that has affected state governments, as well as leading U.S. universities. These increasing instances of cybercrimes heighten pressure on federal officials who have committed to curtailing the wave of ransomware attacks crippling schools, hospitals, and local governments nationwide.
According to Google-owned cybersecurity firm Mandiant, the attacks appeared to be orchestrated by state-sponsored Chinese hackers who exploited a security loophole in the widely used email security app, Barracuda Networks’ Email Security Gateway.
While widespread, these attacks interestingly enough appear to be concentrated against American governmental and elite structures; they do not appear to be concerned with small businesses nor their websites.
And this intriguing factoid returns me once again to the article of Professor Kaganarov that was the focus of last Thursday's News and Views. There were two very intriguing take-aways from his article as far as I was concerned, and these two articles seem to buttress my conclusions that the article was sending a message, and that the message was that the gloves are going to come off. The first take-away was that Professor Kaganarov explicitly mentioned that there were about two dozen discrete steps in escalation prior to a full nuclear response from Russia. I submit that with these two articles about direct attacks on western internet and other infrastructure cabling, inclusive of electronic financial clearing (how's that Central Bank Digital Currency idea looking now?) and actual cyber-hacking attacks, that we are indeed looking at two of the rungs on that ladder of escalation. If the US can "try and convict" people and sentence them to "sudden death by drone" for being international terrorists, then one may reasonably expect this action might comprise the next rung on Professor Karaganov's 'ladder of escalation", as Russia tries and convicts specific Western leaders of acts of international terrorism, and sentences them to "sudden death by drone," people like George Soros, for example, against whom Russia has already taken out an arrest warrant for his alleged role in the 2014 Maidan coup in the Ukraine.
And that brings us to the second take-away from Professor Karaganov's article, and that was the strange statement of his that, prior to any Russian nuclear attack on vital Western targets, it should issue warnings to people near those targets to move away from the area: "Attention neighbors and employees of the Soros interests; you might want to consider distancing yourself..." What Karaganov was really saying, it appeared to me, was that Russia has no quarrel with the average population of the West, many of whom are just as disenchanted with their political class as are the Russian leaders. He was signaling, as clearly as possible, that Russia intended to start targeting the western leadership, and the centers of power and infrastructure that sustains it. If western sponsored teams can drop drones on the Kremlin or on apartments in western Moscow, then don't be surprised - he seems to be saying - if a drone or two, or three, or however many are needed to get the job done, start crashing over the homes of Victoria Nuland or Chancellor Scholz.
In short, putting all these articles together, it seems that we're looking at a formal declaration of the factional infighting/Mafia wars that are now going to become, sadly, a common feature of geopolitical life.
Of one thing we may be certain, and that is that the Bai Den Dzho family is entirely safe, because the Russians will not attack the assets of their Chinese ally...
See you on the flip side...
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