This is a very useful, as in jaundiced, discussion by Lawrence Wilkerson on Real News Network, of the US effort to “end” its engagement in Iraq. Wilkerson covers the bigger strategic game, including the perspective of Big Oil, other major states in the Middle East, and China.
The dare at the end about the rich putting their sons and daughters at risk in the event of the reinstatement of a draft is a joke, right?
It was a nice frank discussion of global politics around money and control/military. Hint, hint…there is a growing market in drones around the empire.
It will be interesting to see what happens to the “energy debate” in 2012 as more information comes out about the ongoing Fukushima tragedy. Hint, hint…there is going to be a growing world market for monitoring and educational efforts around nuclear contamination.
The market for drones died when Iran landed one. Yesterday I heard there had been no drone attacks for six weeks. The explanation was some sort of Xmas break. This is false.
The Iranians, probably with Russian or Chinese help, hacked into the drone’s control system and successfully landed it. Think about this carefully.
Drones are like the computer on your desk. It’s prone to hacking. The last line of defense in a drone will be a self-destruct mechanism, designed to go off if the drone’s security is compromised in any way. This did not happen.
It might be the Iranians hacked into the individual drone and landed it safely. In which case, all the drones within range of Iranian radio transmitters will be grounded until security can be regained.
OR it might be that the satellite that controls the drones was hacked. In which case, ALL drones, world-wide, will not only be grounded, but the fuel will be drained and the batteries removed to keep rogue states from taking one over and flying it to the White House.
So which was it? Hack the individual drone, or hack the satellite that controls them all?
Imagine that it was the satellite. We got lots of military spy satellites up there. If China can hack into the DoD, if US/Israel can put viruses into Iran’s nuclear program, then it’s obvious that US military satellites are targets for hostile take-overs. And have been, for a very long time.
So are spy satellites similar to flesh and blood spies? Can they be turned? Do they know who they are loyal to? A satellite does not know from where its commands are coming, nor does it know the value of what it is transmitting, nor who it is transmitting to.
How old is this concern? Back when we invaded Iraq, an obscure Russian website, Venik’s Aviation, was posting transcripts of US military field communication, in real time. Where did they get that? Most likely from satellite transmissions. Which can be easily monitored, since the satellites are in geo-stationary orbits. Way, way up there.
So if I’m right, the Russians and Chinese have had control of US spy satellites for some time but go to great lengths to keep that away from the US. Presumably the Pentagon thinks things are okay and will stay okay so long as they neurotically spin round five times while chanting the Lord’s Prayer backwards. Or some such nonsense.
What about Russian and Chinese spy satellites? Who cares about them! By definition they’re cruder and fewer and who needs them anyway, when you can hack US satellites and make them work for you?
But as tensions ratchet ever skywards, somebody, somewhere, is going to give the game away. I think the Iranians might just have done that. America’s spy satellites are its Achilles heel.
P.S. Merry Christmas to the best blog in the world!
The always well-informed Nick Turse has an article out on the fallibility of drones, not only software controls but hardware failures as well. Apparently, the USAF has logged a fair amount of drone crashes, with around half of all losses this year occurring in Afghanistan and Djibouti…read about it here:
I heard another one of those vanishing news blurbs about 3 days ago on late night BBC. That it was the Israelis, or an Israeli, who gave Iran the code to bring down the drone. Huh?
No surprise to us old guys. The Iran-Contra scandal was about selling arms to the Iranians to release Hezbollah hostages. It was Israeli arms merchants who transferred the arms.
It was proven the Israeli-Iranian relationship was of long standing. It’s almost certain the relationship remains.
No. It’s almost certain it is does NOT continue, except in the sense that Israel would have ties to anti-regime subversive groups, i.e., ex-Savak operatives.
No, it just means that the market for huge multimillion dollar drones is dead or at least on hold. A whole new market will emerge/ is emerging for cheap little sacrificial drones, disposable drones, etc.
John Robb has written about this lately on Global Guerillas.
some info on drones:
“So if I’m right, the Russians and Chinese have had control of US spy satellites for some time but go to great lengths to keep that away from the US.”
Then if your right, clearly the Iranians didnt “hack a satelite” (whith Russian or Chinese help), because that would pretty much be declaring it to the world. BTW IMHO the Iranian take-over of the drone was a very very happy event. Drones are weapons of imperialism and state terror. If the Iranians can land one like an RC plane, then it can be done, and if it can be done, then eventually it can be done by anyone who needs to.
And therefore, of course, we(everyone who doesnt command a fleet of misslie drones) owe Iran a debt of thanks….
Yes, we do owe Iran a debt of gratitude. Thanx, Iran!
I’ll butt in here with some expert comment as rumors propagated by non technical people such as Dave are just plain wrong. My background: Communications Engineer, BSEE, MSEE, and working over 20 years with some time in defense.
“Drones are like the computer on your desk. It’s prone to hacking.” The analogy is patently false. It is actually an absurd statement. Computers by nature use an open architecture operating systems so that third party developers can produce applications. The operating systems are openly distributed and the source code is not difficult to obtain. Therefore despite the efforts to make the operating systems secure and to develop firewalls the systems are vulnerable to hackers who care to spend enough time looking for vulnerabilities to exploit. It is the nature of commercially available products.
Conversely the nature of military communication makes it the polar opposite of your desktop PC. It is a black box of with an unknown interface. It doesn’t have to, nor does it, use a standard interface to the world as a PC does to talk to the internet. Computers have a known language such that they may all speak to each other across defined networks with known protocols. This does not exist in the defense world. The language is encrypted and the communications channel, think of the internet, is unknown to the outside world.
The best way to dispel this is to give an extremely simplified example of a secured communications system. A drone does not communicate in a simple manor like an RC airplane. In the example of a toy, a defined and known carrier frequency transmits the information using a known modulation format such as FM (frequency modulation). Since every thing is standardized we can just buy a transmitter and receiver with the properly designed hardware and they work to pass control information and fly the toy plane.
In a military system first problem in hacking is hack into what? A hacker cant just connect to the Drone as in the example of the PC because there is no known communications channel like the internet or a known carrier like the toy plane. In fact there is no single carrier to transmit the information. Military systems use spread spectrum meaning the carrier itself is constantly changing or “frequency hopping” and to make things worse for a hacker it does this every few milliseconds and in a pseudorandom manor based on complex algorithms which are themselves changing and of course are highly classified. Now even if one was able to steal these algorithms they would be useless in a few hours because they change (by themselves quite cleverly). Furthermore, one would then have to go about building a transmitter/receiver ground stations to mimic the top secret defense satellites hardware just so that they could establish communications. Sound even remotely likely? No it doesn’t. Now lets assume the Iranians did all that with their version of DARPA. Can the take over control? No because all that work would just established the communications link, to speak over it one would have to break the encryption algorithms. Even if one did that then the actual language to control the drone is unknown. Does Dave think there a universal drone command to turn right? This isn’t a PC flight simulator.
I worked in defense over 15 years ago and its come a long way from what I’ve outlined above. The theory of hacking into a Drone is simply not realistic.
Made 1 comment before reading yours. You make my point way better than I could.
The US is miles ahead of Russia or China, or in all probability anyone but Israel in ALL of this sort of stuff. The drone had a malfunction, went down, etc. Big deal. For all you know it was intended they find this particular one and waste a good deal of time trying to figure out a decoy. There is not a chance in hell this program is done. In fairly short order they will be able to target anyone, anywhere, including domestically, within operating range, which will also be extended – all that’s needed are GPS coordinates, even from a cell phone.
I’m not arguing in favour of drones. I utterly despise them. In fact, their emergence in the last few years has brought forward my entire time framework for the overt move to a globalized terror state I’ve been expecting as the most likely outcome of US-based militarized Corporatism for decades.
Drones go down all the time. This one was apparently guided to a controlled landing. Or are you disputing that? GPS spoofing.
I’m saying the particulars are of little to no consequence, as the US has an enormous lead in all this stuff, outspends everyone else by orders of magnitude, that they are already deploying these things all over the world, including domestically (with police forces now acquiring the non-lethal varieties)and that the technology will only get better.
You think the US military would take any chance AT ALL of giving away the store on this? No way. Period.
It is the most frightening development for terrorizing any form of opposition devised to date.
Until there is a change for the better, a change where the people come out on top, the apathy in this country will continue among those who may be next in line to lose what they have worked hard for. This is not the hoppie-changie thing the “O” coined, along with his sprinkle of fairy dust, but real honest to goodness change. Perhaps it will come about in the Spring time, when the revolution – color it which ever you may – then we will see how long the political sycophants hold onto the apron strings of the plutocracy masters.
WATCH WARHAWKS PROMOTE BOMBINGS IN IRAQ
As if they just began after our troops left
Bombings have been Weekly events for years
American press went to Afghan and ignored Iraq
Each bombing will be used by the warhawk freaknuts to attack our beloved President.
TRIPLE A—ANTI CHRIST ANTI AMERICA ANTI WORLD
are you a member of that odious group?
It says a lot in how they left Iraq. A heavily armed convoy driving across the desert for 4 hours. And they call that success? We are being governed by the biggest bunch of liars in the world. Why do you suppose they need to imprison people in secret and indefinitely without trial? Simply because in a court of law their own lies and misdeeds might get some light shone upon them. Their is no other viable reason I can imagine. If anyone has a different idea I’d like to hear it. Till then I’ll remain convinced the real terrorists of the world live reside in Washington DC.
Yeah, as I’ve said before, the only reason for secrecy is dishonesty.
Are we after Caspian Oil? Because Gulf oil is depleted? And isn’t Wilkerson really saying that since we have moved the troops out, the war in Iran will be nuclear?
Logic fails me when I try to go backward from a war for control of mideast oil to why the people of the middle east cannot be trusted to run the oil industry. One thing I come up with is that a rationing system is anticipated and one that will have to be enforced. It makes sense to me that oil is already being rationed but the world is pretending like we are in a big economy-destroying credit bubble. Just a thought.
Over the past few years, Colonel Wilkerson has repeatedly changed his opinion as to why the US attacked Iraq.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Wilkerson#Commentary_on_the_documentary_.22Why_We_Fight.22 (footnote removed)
In the 2007 documentary, Wilkerson states that “Jewish lobby in America, AIPAC in particular” (37:10) was “up there” with oil and WMDs as the major factors that lead to the US attack on Iraq. (@36:46- @37:21) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4T9HNRFs-Oo He went on to emphasize the role the lobbies played. Wilkinson also linked what he calls the “the Jewish lobby” (@7:49-7:58, 15:17, 16:12, 16:39, etc.) to American policy in the Middle East. Wilkerson dismisses, as Bush Administration propaganda, the idea that the war was fought to bring democracy to Iraq (@36:51):
In a different interview with Dutch television, he stated that:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-cXHYCNTOc (at 6:30)
In May 2011 Wilkerson told Op Ed News that “a powerful entity in America is the lobby group AIPAC for Israel,” which he believed to exercise immense influence over Congress. (Page 1) He even compared the tactics of the Israel lobby to those used by Nazi stormtroopers to ensure that everyone saluted their parades. (Page 2)
There are other examples.
In other words, the Iraq war was mainly fought for oil (or not), for Israel (or not), for the neocons (or not), at the behest of Americans who collaborated with Israel and AIPAC (or not), or for democracy (or not). It seems, as far as Col. Wikerson is concerned, to depend on the day.
It is interesting to note that, along with Saddam Hussein, Palestinian suicide bombers have disappeared from the scene. I seem to recall that Saddam Hussein was one of their major financial backers by virtue of supporting the families of bombers after their deaths. The oil – weapons of mass destruction (WMD)controversy may unfortunately have diverted attention from this connection. Moreover, if the intention was to remove the suicide bomber threat, it was a major coup: getting the Americans to do it and pay for it with bills and blood. The loss of the WMD card by revealing a lack of WMD after an invasion would not have been seen as a problem because Iran has admitted to a nuclear research program, thus allowing for the safe resurrection of the WMD scare.
On the other hand, if it was the real objective to conceal a Saddam Hussein-suicide bomber connection, it was successful. I have not seen such connections drawn anywhere or maybe just missed those (comparatively few?) that were. Perhaps, then, just coincidence. Alas, we may never know the whole truth. Best, I think, to just keep out of war. Defense is ok, but not in the “attack is the best form of defense” mode.
Why must there be 1 reason only? The record is pretty clear about the 2 overarching reasons for unprovoked butchery:
1) Oil for its own sake should Saudi Arabia indeed prove to be in decline, as Peak Oil writer M. King Hubbert had advised Bush/Cheney (remember Cheney’s “Energy Task Force” – all secret) OR should Saudi Arabia prove less than fully subordinate to US policy post-9/11, and as a global strategic lock on China (and of course, Europe, Japan, etc.)
2) Neocons (essentially Likudites in America)and the Israel Lobby had (and have) an agenda for eliminating ALL of Israel’s enemies by making them America’s enemies.
Democracy had ZERO to do it. WMD was the transparent lie that still served well enough to excuse the wanton slaughter of hundreds of thousands MORE Iraqis on top of the million already killed as a result of Gulf War I (to expel Iraq from Kuwait – which Britain had stolen from Iraq in 1961)and the absolutely brutal Clinton sanctions.
It seems, as far as Col. Wikerson is concerned, to depend on the anticipated response.
Did you hear what he said, or not ?
Did you see how far he is concerned ?
Cheney and his desire to increase halliburton profits were at least half of the war cause.
I remember a comment on one of his threads in which Retired Colonel Patrick Lang said of Colonel Wilkerson:
” I do not care what he has to say. He came late to the battle.” I don’t remember which thread that was on.
(That blog is called Sic Semper Tyrannis, by the way).
Is this the same Col. Lang who claims he was spat on during the Vietnam War by a fat hippie woman who resembled Mamma Cass? Like almost all spitting-on-the-uniform stories, there were no witnesses. He was sitting on a bench outside the SF (where else) airport minding his own business.
Externality says, in his final statement — “It seems, as far as Col. Wikerson [sic] is concerned, to depend on the day.”
It seems (to me) that Externality picks and chooses quotes like a hired hand. I have no evidence of that and sincerely hope that I am entirely wrong. I can pick and choose many of Col. Wilkerson’s quotes that exhibit a consistent interest in truth and moral integrity and self-examination. Disclosure: I’m not hired, although often I wished I were.
Actually, Mr. Sereno, I am a regular poster here and, no, I do not get paid for it.
Which of Colonel Wilkerson’s various explanations for the Iraq war do you believe? Was it “oil?” Or the “Jewish lobby in America, AIPAC in particular?” Or the “neoconservatives?” Or was it “democracy?” All of these? None of these?
If he really had a “consistent interest in truth and moral integrity and self-examination,” he would not have helped Colin Powell mislead the United Nations Security Council and the American people about WMDS in Iraq. He would have resigned his position as Powell’s chief of staff and told the Security Council, as a private citizen, of his belief at the time that the information Powell presented was neither accurate nor a justification for war. That it was, in Wilkerson’s words, “a hoax.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Wilkerson#Iraq_war_intelligence_was_.22a_hoax.22 Someone with his former reputation and position would have been listened to.
Instead, he helped the American Empire wage an illegal war of aggression against Iraq and the Iraqi people. Hardly consistent with a “consistent interest in truth and moral integrity and self-examination.”
I did make a failed attempt to ascertain your views more broadly and perhaps awkwardly tried to cover my “hired hand” innuendo with a disclaimer.
Your response suggests that you’re more interested in my view of Col. Wilkerson rather than a “war of quotes.”
From his days in college (Literature, Philosophy) through his military and diplomatic careers, he clearly pursued “truth” and “morality” albeit with a strong pragmatic bent.
He has acknowledged changes in position and expressed regret for past decisions (as has Ellsberg). In that respect, I hold him in greater esteem than his former boss, Colin Powell.
I agree with you Charles. I also admire people who can change their positions. (I did not always have the views I have today. Was I supposed to?)) Wilkerson is right on target.
I believe you are right to suspect Wilkerson, but for the wrong reason. He knows exactly what he’s saying, and so do his bosses. More below.
One of the greatest tradegies of the needless slaughter in Iraq(and there were and still are many), is the truly insidious horror of Depleted Uranium dust. Some of the particles are much finer than talcum powder–in the nano-particle size. Over 200 tons of this stuff coats god knows how many square miles of land, structures, and human beings! This horror will not stop playing out for millions of years due to its half-life. DU is now circling the globe as we speak. Its sickening manifestations will soon begin to escalate the rate of cancer in Iraqis and retuned vets. What have we done???
It is absolutely stunning that NO ONE seems to discuss the enormity of it.
It seems to me that people need to think about this much more cold-bloodedly, as that is how several decades of policymakers have gone about their reptilian business.
1) The US did NOT “lose” in Iraq. It destroyed the country, and with it the capacity as an independent State ever to become even a remote threat to paranoid, superpower Israel or ever to use its oil counter to US “interests”. It did so not just by pulverising its infrastructure, but by utterly crushing the morale of its people, including deliberately inculcating sectarian mayhem. The oil fields are totally locked down – you hear virtually nothing about security problems on that score. US multinationals are back in, and will rapidly expand. The US is arming and essentially running (15,000 minimum working for State Dept – who knows how many not reported at all) the national security client state that is Iraq, there is little left of the munitions left by Saddam’s military to be used by the few remaining insurgents (anyone who so much as squinted the wrong way was killed), and, contrary to Wilkerson, Iran is in no position whatever to do anything other than disrupt civilian life, not the government or oil production.
2) Same story with Afghanistan. Its capacity for any independence is all but destroyed. Another couple years will “finish the job”. There actually is a limit to how many new “recruits” to the insurgent cause there are ONCE YOU’VE MURDERED (these are war crimes)most of them and utterly terrorized the rest of the population. The Nazi occupation of Europe, or Stalin in the Ukraine is instructive in that regard – the Resistance was of no account whatever on its own. When one side has overwhelming superiority in force, it’s only a question of how brutal it’s prepared to be.
3) Libya was knocked over only for oil for Europe (North Sea in decline) and megabucks in “reconstruction” contracts. The completely non-credible “strategic” cover was fear of a “militant Islamic Egypt” attempting to go for the oil. The 60,000 minimum dead Libyans count for nothing whatever in the calculus.
4) Syria is now a target of opportunity for regime change. What started as protesters brutally put down has morphed into arming opponents of the regime – civil war looms. It is very, very likely that the protesters were themselves infiltrated and used from the get-go.
5) Iran, as noted, is NOT in an enhanced position because of Iraq. Anything but – it is militarily very weak, surrounded, and being slowly throttled. Not fast enough for those driving this, though. And here is where Wilkerson is, in my opinion, lying:
Everyone seems to think a war with Iran would be some sort of Iraq on steroids. Not a chance. If this comes (should Iran not dissolve internally first) there will not be boots on the ground. There will be a series of strikes on dozens, maybe hundreds of “suspected” nuclear facilities, and if Iran responds in any way at all, roughly 10,000 targets of all description will be obliterated. And that’s it. Hezbollah or Hamas will also be destroyed should they be foolish enough to act. It’s over. No occupation. No re-building. Nothing but a burning wreck and tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands dead – and a lasting warning to all who would resist globalized, militarized, corporatist power.
No oil from the region for China except as deemed fit by the US. And the end of the War on Arabs and Islam, a half-century conflict none of these peoples asked for, but got, just because they happened to be living on the ground above the world’s biggest reserves of high- quality, easily produced oil, and objected to having their resources (and in the case of Israel, their lands) stolen, and their cultures pissed on without end.
And all the while, staggering sums of money to be made for elite insiders of all description.
I’m well aware that this is a mighty grim assessment, but I honestly believe we just have to get it through our thick heads that the people calling the shots DO NOT CARE about the US lives lost, or trillions expended, or much of anything else. In fact to them, the whole thing has been/will be “cheap” considering the enormity of what was to them the “prize” – strategic control of the world’s lifeblood through mid-century (in their minds) and a “safe” Israel.