Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 15, 2020

Trump Authorized CIA To Wage Cyberwar On Iran And Others

Recently there have been a number of incidents in Iran where unexplained fires or explosion have destroyed some infrastructure:

Since June, fires or explosions have erupted at six factories and other facilities, two of them military in nature—the Parchin missile-production plant and the Natanz nuclear site.

There was an explosion of a gas tank near a missile assembly facility in Khojir, some trouble at a transformer station near Tehran and some other incidents. Most remarkably was an explosion and fire at the centrifuge assembly facility in Iran's nuclear complex in Natanz.

While the incident in Natanz certainly smells of active sabotage the other incidents, like a recent explosion of gas cylinders at a hospital, look more like plain old accidents.

Someone is amplifying a number of rather normal accidents that occur in any large industrialized country in an attempt to sow fear and uncertainty in Iran.

Today a fire broke out on a shipyard in Bushehr. Some Twitterati immediately speculated that it was part of the incident chain and related it to Iran's nuclear reactor near that city.

Such speculation is nonsense. Fires on shipyards break out all the time. Just ask the U.S. Navy who's USS Bonhomme Richard has now been burning for three days after a fire broke out during yard maintenance. That fire turned a one billion dollar ship into 40,000 tons of feedstock for a blast furnace. Today's yard fire in Iran slightly damaged seven laid up dhows (vid), small civilian freight ships build from wood and used for coastal traffic in the Persian Gulf.

Israel has indirectly claimed responsibility for the Natanz incident:

[A] Middle Eastern intelligence official with knowledge of the episode said Israel was responsible for the attack on the Natanz nuclear complex, using a powerful bomb. A member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps who was briefed on the matter also said that an explosive was used.

I have my doubts about such self serving Israeli claims. It is more likely that the CIA has its fingers in these games.

There is a rather intense CIA program being run against Iran. Trump has not only appointed the aggressive Michael D'Andrea, the 'Prince of Darkness', to head the CIA's Iran Mission Center but he gave the CIA wide ranging new powers to run cyber attacks against the country:

The Central Intelligence Agency has conducted a series of covert cyber operations against Iran and other targets since winning a secret victory in 2018 when President Trump signed what amounts to a sweeping authorization for such activities, according to former U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

The secret authorization, known as a presidential finding, gives the spy agency more freedom in both the kinds of operations it conducts and who it targets, undoing many restrictions that had been in place under prior administrations. The finding allows the CIA to more easily authorize its own covert cyber operations, rather than requiring the agency to get approval from the White House.
The “very aggressive” finding “gave the agency very specific authorities to really take the fight offensively to a handful of adversarial countries,” said a former U.S. government official. These countries include Russia, China, Iran and North Korea — which are mentioned directly in the document — but the finding potentially applies to others as well, according to another former official. “The White House wanted a vehicle to strike back,” said the second former official. “And this was the way to do it.”

This was another stupid step taken by the current administration. Letting the CIA run an unsupervised war against the basic infrastructure of other countries will likely come back to haunt it:

The finding has made it easier for the CIA to damage adversaries’ critical infrastructure, such as petrochemical plants, and to engage in the kind of hack-and-dump operations that Russian hackers and WikiLeaks popularized, in which tranches of stolen documents or data are leaked to journalists or posted on the internet. It has also freed the agency to conduct disruptive operations against organizations that were largely off limits previously, such as banks and other financial institutions.

Another key change with the finding is it lessened the evidentiary requirements that limited the CIA’s ability to conduct covert cyber operations against entities like media organizations, charities, religious institutions or businesses believed to be working on behalf of adversaries’ foreign intelligence services, as well as individuals affiliated with these organizations, according to former officials.
The CIA has wasted no time in exercising the new freedoms won under Trump. Since the finding was signed two years ago, the agency has carried out at least a dozen operations that were on its wish list, according to this former official. “This has been a combination of destructive things — stuff is on fire and exploding — and also public dissemination of data: leaking or things that look like leaking.”

Such loose definition of allowed targets will inevitably lead to operations that should be out of bounds.

The big danger here is that all sides can play such games. The U.S. does not have a monopoly or even a large advantage in waging cyber wars. It is in fact more vulnerable than others. Edward Snowden provided proof that the NSA is unable to protect its own secrets. Wikileaks published Vault 7, the CIA's own secret cyber attack tool collection. If even the NSA and the CIA can not protect their systems one can only imagine how bad the security situation is in private institutions like U.S. banks, media organizations, charities, religious institutions or businesses.

If the CIA targets such institutions in other countries counter attacks on similar U.S. entities become legitimate.

The CIA's operations like the Natanz explosion only increase instability. Iran has more facilities where it can assemble its centrifuges. The attack will not hinder its progress in enrichment technologies. But the explosion created suspicion in Iran that the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who visit these facilities, are U.S. directed spies. In consequence Iran may limit their access to its nuclear sites. That again would decrease the knowledge about what Iran is or is not doing in its nuclear facilities.

That should not be in anyone's interest.

Posted by b on July 15, 2020 at 17:17 UTC | Permalink

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I thought D'Andrea was dead?

Posted by: C | Jul 15 2020 17:29 utc | 1

My opinion is Iran will continue to suffer setbacks as long as they keep tip-toeing for Western clemency that will never come.

Posted by: J W | Jul 15 2020 17:43 utc | 2

Yeah, sure the US and Israel are running operations against Iran. They don't dare do an open attack, so it depends on who they can persuade secretly.

If they have more success, it might suggest there's more discontentment in Iran.

An Iraqi I know, with connections to their embassy, told me yesterday that there's been a lightening of Iranian interventions in Iraq, because of the economic problem in Iran, the catastrophic fall in the value of the currency (i.e. sanctions). I have yet to validate this story, or see how it really is. We'll see what happens.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 15 2020 17:43 utc | 3

Since Iran now executes US spies rather than keeping them for diplomatic swaps it's clear than the time for talk is finished. It appears that the US is getting desperate, and panicked, when one assess the entire arena. Deagle, a forecast outfit, now predicts US population to drop to 54 million by 2025...tinyurl [dot] com/ycftu6os

Posted by: Walter | Jul 15 2020 17:48 utc | 4

There were rumors last Jan after Solomani was murdered, that Michael D'Andrea that had been killed while visiting Afghanistan when his plane crashed. It was never confirmed by the CIA but I haven't seen or heard anything about him since then (not that he was a publicity hound, but people would talk about him), since Jan though, nothing except rumors of his death, so either he died or he went quiet so he could work on his Iran terror campaign with his death being a cover story.

Posted by: Kadath | Jul 15 2020 18:01 utc | 5

After the US/Israel Stuxnet attack on Iran its young people eagerly studied hacking techniques and joined associations to defend Iran against the West.

This is blow back on a US that is more vulnerable than Iran. Russia, China, and Iran are more than capable of bringing down major infrastructure in a US that doesn't yet realize it has met its match.

If the US doesn't stop increasing its threats then it will come to a war that the US cannot win. It doesn't have to go nuclear. The US will grind to a halt from cyber attacks. The US/Israel have taught how to do it.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Jul 15 2020 18:05 utc | 6

Is this the Trump that some commenters here think is fighting the Deep State that the CIA is part of?

It seems to me that the US/empire is executing an undeclared war by any and all means....and they are losing it because the curtain has been torn back from the puppets of empire showing craven inhumanity and religious exceptionalism only lead to MAD or mouth-foaming capitulation.

What is the next overreach of empire that will turn even more countries against it? The Covid bad example seems to not be enough to reach the tipping point.

Serious finance/trade war is on the horizon but it is unclear how the sides will form up and if there will be cross axis trade at all.

Very interesting times indeed.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 15 2020 18:29 utc | 7

thanks b... nothing like having the cia provide service for israel and wall st.... there doesn't seem to be an american politician who can see the short sightedness in this either! great... now when these countries respond in kind, how is the usa going to feel?? jesus fucking christ, but the usa is fucking stupid...

Posted by: james | Jul 15 2020 18:32 utc | 8

At this point i doubt we can separate CIA and Mossad especially in regard to Iran. What happened could be attributed to both agency or even including other from five eyes country in the mix such as French and UK.

Someone has said this before but IRGC need to put the movement of those IAEA staff that come into their country under control or at least under close watch. This is the same game that they play in Syria during those ceasefires and Foreign aids, which also the very same game they played in Lebanon back then.

Posted by: Lucci | Jul 15 2020 18:37 utc | 9

hey b: your thoughts on the China-Iran deal and Iran's (rumored) stepped up activity in Syria? Is this amplified and part of Israeli self-serving nonsense? And is the propaganda preparing us for something?

Things seem to be moving quickly so I'm also wondering about your thinking on:

- Will Netanyahu annex West Bank before or after Trump's re-election?

- Will Trump freeze Chinese US-based assets (pending 'China virus' lawsuits) before or after the election?

- Will Erdogan try to take Sirte (prompting Egypt's entry into Libya) before or after the election?

- Will Germany refuse Nordstream II gas from Russia before or after the election?

- Will Trump interdict Iranian oil tankers? In international waters or Venezuelan waters? (I'm thinking Venezeulan)


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 15 2020 18:37 utc | 10

A number of years back I used to contribute patches for inclusion in the Linux kernel and stayed up to date on day to day submissions. One thing that surprised me back then was how many were coming from Iran. Iran was one of the top ten countries where fixes and new features for Linux were coming from.

After the CIA's Stuxnet attack on Iran back in 2010, Iran began to transition away from using Windows operating system towards using Linux. This is because it was clear that Microsoft played a part in distributing the Stuxnet code to computers in Iran embedded within otherwise normal OS updates.

Presumably the version of Linux authorized for use in Iran by the military and in strategic infrastructure is a custom distribution that has be heavily audited for security. Iran certainly has the domestic talent to accomplish this so I have no doubt that the rumors of it are true. This dramatically increases the difficulty the CIA faces in launching their cyber attacks. Most of the CIA's tools use backdoors that software vendors design into their products just for that purpose, but since you can build Linux from source code it is difficult to hide backdoors that competent programmers cannot find in that source code.

Basically, the biggest impact of letting the CIA go wild like this is that it will encourage more people, institutions, and countries to ditch Microsoft products. That is a very good thing.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 15 2020 18:39 utc | 11

These are all acts of war &/or war crimes by sociopaths directed at civilian populations. They undermine the rule of law and whatever legitimacy remains of US power, making us beggars to our own demise.

Posted by: BaseCommanderSparky | Jul 15 2020 18:40 utc | 12

The new Huawei equipment practically sells itself.

Posted by: Meng Wanzhou | Jul 15 2020 18:50 utc | 13

Iran needs a thermonuclear capability. That much is clear.

Posted by: bjd | Jul 15 2020 18:50 utc | 14

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 15 2020 18:37 utc | 10

- Will Netanyahu annex West Bank before or after Trump's re-election?

The annexation is stalled, not because of Trump, but because Benny Gantz doesn't

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 15 2020 19:00 utc | 15

Nice to see you comment, Walter!

The flailing rage of a dying Empire will continue to wreak harm globally, particularly in those nations that have overcome the siege, like Iran and Cuba. Having overcome the siege, those nations then become models for their proven deterrence/defense policies. A review of the past 20 years shows a growing ability to withstand and counteract Outlaw US Empire aggression. And what has really enraged it is China and Russia's economic performance, particularly the former, and its rapidly growing attractiveness as proven by the 130+ nations wanting to participate in BRI and acceptance of Russia's Eurasian economic area, EAEU. The strongest reply those three allied nations can provide is to continue their work developing their economies and commercial networks, which the Outlaw US Empire is trying so hard to derail. Yet, the continuing success at overcoming the siege serves to attract more participants and increased confidence in the overall project, which in reality is still in its developmental process. Lavrov talked about all this at length in his presser I linked to, which again can be found here.

In rather stark contrast we have the Outlaw US Empire's domestic situation where it's literally falling apart economically thanks to its parasitic Rentier Class. The escalating heat wave over the Eastern half of the nation invites a counter by Iran aimed at the electric grid that will cause black- and brown-outs knocking out air conditioning and data communications, although the situation's already grim to the point where Iran doesn't really need to do anything as Trump's gross mis-management of COVID-19 is doing the job--why interrupt a president busily killing his own citizens while destroying his nation's economy!

Within Eurasia, COVID-19's being mastered and commerce's rebounding. Yesterday I posted info saying ASEAN-China commerce has actually increased during the first half of 202 despite COVID-19 and Trump's Trade War. Again, the examples to be emulated exist there, not in NATO-world where anti-examples abound. This Sergei Karaganov essay from late June, "The Future of the Big Triangle," is guarded when it comes to anticipating open war, but similarly optimistic in the world's nations to deal with the sinking Outlaw US Empire.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 15 2020 19:02 utc | 16

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 15 2020 18:37 utc | 10

What Trump does is entirely random, depending on how he's feeling that night.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 15 2020 19:03 utc | 17

Cyber or physical attacks? I totally agree that this is largely the work of the CIA but how do we know that these are Cyber attacks. The U.S. has lots of contacts with MEK, money to burn and no scruples. We could just be throwing money around and dispatching Flying Monkeys to do our dirty work. I mostly read about Iran capturing and then executing Iranians who were bribed by our CIA.

At this point, I'd be surprised if Iran kept their infrastructure accessible with Windows OS.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Jul 15 2020 19:07 utc | 18

Basically, the biggest impact of letting the CIA go wild like this is that it will encourage more people, institutions, and countries to ditch Microsoft products. That is a very good thing.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 15 2020 18:39 utc | 11


The Intel x86 processor family is compromised by the existence of Intel's secret Management Engine, developed by the Intel Architecture Development Group of Tel-Aviv.

The processor runs everything is boots inside a container to which only Intel and the friends have the keys.

It is insecurable by design.

Posted by: Meng Wanzhou | Jul 15 2020 19:10 utc | 19

thx for that.

Posted by: humblebum | Jul 15 2020 19:39 utc | 20

The big danger here is that all sides can play such games. The U.S. does not have a monopoly or even a large advantage in waging cyber wars. It is in fact more vulnerable than others. Edward Snowden provided proof that the NSA is unable to protect its own secrets. Wikileaks published Vault 7, the CIA's own secret cyber attack tool collection. If even the NSA and the CIA can not protect their systems one can only imagine how bad the security situation is in private institutions like U.S. banks, media organizations, charities, religious institutions or businesses.

If the CIA targets such institutions in other countries counter attacks on similar U.S. entities become legitimate.

There may be a method to this madness. Last "Open Thread", I linked this op-ed from an American columnist for Bloomberg (via The Japan Times):

The upside of a new cold war with China

Fortunately, this is only a very partial history of Cold War America. The fever of McCarthyism broke by the mid-1950s; the country’s institutions proved stronger than the challenge that movement posed to them. On the whole, the superpower rivalry was a force for constructive change.

It seems there's an eschatological thesis among many post-war American intellectuals (many of whom are certainly working for the CIA, in one position or another) that constant (perpetual) warfare against foreign enemies can solve the USA's own inner capitalist contradictions. That, if America's enemies attack it with all their guile and force of will, America will inherently develop its own means of repelling their attack and, at the same time, develop itself.

Certainly, this "theory" arose, in part, by necessity: as liberal democracy became less and less compatible with capitalism, the USG had to resort more and more to foreign events and States of Emergency to pass the legislation needed to satisfy the interests of its own elite (bourgeoisie). The most illustrative example of this was the Patriot Act, born from the ashes of the Twin Towers.

But I don't think it is just that. The author mentions many legitimate episodes during the Cold War where the USA reformed directly because of pressure exerted by the USSR (the Civil Rights Act of 1968). He could be even more eloquent and simply mentioned the concept of Welfare State in Western Europe - which was only invented because of the shadow of the USSR, cast from the other side of Berlin.

So, in this case, I think there is a significant portion of the American intelligentsia who genuinely believe in this mad thesis that perpetual war will always solve positively all the domestic problems of the USA. I don't think this is pure cynicism: many of those Cold War living fossils really envision an even better America for their children and grandchildren by promoting an all-out war against China, Russia, Iran, North Korea et al - even in the stances where USA proper is attacked and Americans directly die because of it.

Posted by: vk | Jul 15 2020 19:45 utc | 21

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 15 2020 18:37 utc | 10

"Will Trump freeze Chinese US-based assets (pending 'China virus' lawsuits) before or after the election?"

Maybe not for a while since there are over a billion dollars worth of assets sitting in Hong Kong they're trying to sell.

US govt wants to sell multimillion-dollar Hong Kong property as it revokes city's special status

Posted by: One Too Many | Jul 15 2020 19:47 utc | 22

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 15 2020 18:39 utc | 11

"Iran was one of the top ten countries where fixes and new features for Linux were coming from."

Well Microsoft tried to put the kibosh on Iranian software developers when they purchased Github, but it's rather trivial to get around that.

Posted by: One Too Many | Jul 15 2020 20:08 utc | 23

"This was another stupid step taken by the current administration. Letting the CIA run an unsupervised war against the basic infrastructure of other countries will likely come back to haunt it"
b, July 15 2020

I agree with this observation. In fact, it's so stupid that I don't believe that Trump would relinquish so much control to what is a virtual secret society infested with 'Israelis' and other misfits and control freaks with no moral compass...
as I suspect, Trump wants to get 'Israelis' out of the USG and US Politics (ref: those stupid ME wars which have cost this country 6 Trillion dollars).
And an ironic way to do that would be to let Bibi think that Trump thinks it would be OK for 'Israel' to attack Iran directly. Bibi is certainly stupid enough and insane enough to accept such an implied invitation. And the World would become a better place within a month. Iran is extremely unlikely to dither if openly attacked by 'Israel'.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 15 2020 20:09 utc | 24

There is a lot of information on this long blog from
Confirming b’s analys. And adding their perspective. They have clearly been following the Iran developments closely.
Worth the read.

Why do I get the feeling the worlds desending into Trump / US insanity ?

Posted by: Mark2 | Jul 15 2020 20:12 utc | 25

It is nonsense to claim fire in wooden ships in a shipyard on 'cyberwar'. If CIA was behind it, the methods were entirely different.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jul 15 2020 20:20 utc | 26


That is correct. Backdoors were baked into every piece of equipment and random number generator the US and friends are able to influence. Hardware and software.

Read up on how cisco networking equipments were/are intercepted enroute for 'extra' attention by US Intel depending on where they're going to. With full assistance from cisco. Other manufacturer also play the same game.

This was the genesis of Huawei, to cut reliance on US network gear and it is also why China is doing its own silicon. Huawei with the Kirin which is an ARM based processor and also x86 via the AMD JV and VIA/Cyrix.

Fabs aside the Kirin can cut it with the best and the x86 are about 2-6 years behind but rapidly improving depending on who you ask.

Their achilles heel is the Fabs where China is about 2-3 generations behind. Today Huawei is relying on Taiwanese Fabs to produce its cutting edge chips to Huawei's design.

However, these are just a function of investment in research and time, China is well past the tipping point for self reliance and they'll get to parity and beyond soon enough. So the west's game is already lost.

Reading between the lines, when China is cut out of the west's networks who then could the 5 peeping Tom's look at? Yup, the serfs, and that's the game plan all along.

Posted by: A. L. | Jul 15 2020 20:23 utc | 27

Within Eurasia, COVID-19's being mastered and commerce's rebounding.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 15 2020 19:02 utc | 16

This is tad optimistic (if you are a Eurasian, not a Kakirasian, check Eu and Kaki meaning), the accumulated COVID-19 deaths are mere 51% of world total. More seriously, deaths in Iran and Russia are not decreasing.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 15 2020 20:31 utc | 28

There were rumors last Jan after Solomani was murdered, that Michael D'Andrea that had been killed while visiting Afghanistan by: Kadath 5 <== Michael D'Andrea is the likely guest of Epstein..

.. letting the CIA go wild .. will encourage more people, institutions, and countries to ditch Microsoft products. William gruff @ 11 <=no doubt Linux has encouraged many new secret distros with erased and removed back doors. Competent Linux, in competent hands, is democracy in action. Linux is likely to defend humanity from some very high 5g activity health risk.

Meng Wanzhou @ 13 statement "Huawei equipment practically sells itself" is not only an understatement, but also suggest the USA will protect the American monopoly racketeers against all competition, until there is no more American market.

The Intel x86 processor family is ..insecurable by management engine design.. by: Meng Wanzhou @ 19.. U/Can say that again.

There is a significant portion of the American intelligentsia who genuinely believe ..that perpetual war will always solve positively all the domestic problems of the USA. [These characters] really envision ..[success].. by promoting all-out war against China, Russia, Iran, North Korea et al - even in the stances where USA proper is attacked and Americans directly die because of it. by: vk 21 <== America should be understood to be a colony, and the USA to be the group the Oligarchs hired to manage their private colony.

by: Hoarsewhisperer @ 23 <= I wish Trump cared enough about America to be concerned.

Posted by: snake | Jul 15 2020 20:35 utc | 29

posted by AriusArmenian - 6
After the US/Israel Stuxnet attack on Iran its young people eagerly studied hacking techniques and joined associations to defend Iran against the West...

I recall, in the aftermath of The Shah's ouster, a group that in my memory was composed of students -young revolutionaries, certainly not of employees of any administrative, official gov'ment agency because there was no refined, functioning government as the smoke was clearing and the last martyrs being buried. That "group" painstakingly sorted through and pasted back into readable form hastily-shredded CIA documents. The revelations were obscured, effectively obliterated from The American Weltanschauung, of course. I recall someone, whose words were not translated for the MSM 6 o'clock news-watchers. He was waving one around, mad as hell, with the confidence of a person with indisputable evidence in hand, while the TV narrator gently reported it as part of the mob-takeover of our embassy and the seizing of hostages (euphemism for spies).
If I have a point to make, it is something like: Fastfood, Whoop-de-doo, Superhero America is out of their weight class in this clash with the people within the lines drawn for political reason on the world map and labeled Iran, whose culture and experiments with Civilization date back to the first written words on clay – which, I think, were an accounting of some battle between warlords. Fortunate Son Pudgy T thinks he can force Iranians to their knees because he can't imagine enduring a weekend without golf and chocolate cake. And he can't imagine a situation you can't rectify simply by telling the puppet boss or bosses, "You're Fired!" He doesn't understand that for some,living outside corporate-structure thinking, fighting doesn't have anything to do with winning. Got to have self-pride to understand that.
So yeah, I imagine Iranian hackers (substitute a more poetic term if you have one) are going to be a force capable of fucking up you tee-time at Mar De Caca.

Posted by: defaultcitizen | Jul 15 2020 20:37 utc | 30

The spate of gas explosions are unlikely to be accidents. One maybe but not a spate of them. Unlikely to be cyber as both a physical leak and ignition source are required.

Sat image of the site of the first explosion and grass fire

The gas tank can be seen on google,51.6513532,92m/data=!3m1!1e3
Out away from buildings and easy to access. Something to create a leak and a delayed ignition source is all that's required.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 15 2020 20:41 utc | 31

"out of bounds" not "out of bounce".

Last line.

Posted by: Jay | Jul 15 2020 20:56 utc | 32

Piotr Berman--

Here within the Outlaw US Empire, the virus is on a rampage as people lack the amount of willpower to collectively shut it down that's the polar opposite of China's ability, which most Eurasian--particularly ASEAN--nations are emulating. As for the impending economic malaise, I suggest spending about 13 minutes watching the first half of this Keiser Report.

IMO, the Insurrection Factor within the Outlaw US Empire is exponentially higher than the current minimal level within Iran.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 15 2020 20:57 utc | 33

Can we please dispense with the pretense that Trump has supreme power? (I hope I didn't contribute to that with my questions.)

Trump does what he's told. His #1 job as front man is to propagandize, bullshit, and show the flag.

The strategy and timetable against Russsia, China, Iran, and others is devised by others.

Americans were not prepared for war (Cold or Hot) in 2016. It has taken a concerted and well-planned effort to move the country to prepare USA and allies for the total break with Russia/China/Iran/Venezuela/North Korea/etc. and the possible WWIII that may follow.

The 2020 US Presidential Election is an opportunity for Trump/Deep State to cement US policy against anti-Empire countries. I expect that Trump/Deep State will avail themselves of that opportunity. That means antagonizing everyone and pushing forward to a total break with those countries that defy the Empire. Then blaming those countries for causing tensions to rise.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 15 2020 21:07 utc | 34

by: Hoarsewhisperer @ 23 <= I wish Trump cared enough about America to be concerned.
Posted by: snake | Jul 15 2020 20:35 utc | 28

I compare the unpleasantness of Trump's 'strategies' with what The Swamp's Satanic Vampires have been doing to the world since before WWII. That makes Trump seem like a blokey version of Florence Nightingale in comparison.
He's got 1001 Cheap Tricks up each sleeve and he'll have at least a dozen which will neuter Biden's lead - when the time is right.
And let's not forget that Americans have been brainwashed into accepting the most preposterous lies as Gospel Truth, when delivered with "sincerity".

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 15 2020 21:08 utc | 35

@William Gruff #11:

Presumably the version of Linux authorized for use in Iran by the military and in strategic infrastructure is a custom distribution that has be heavily audited for security.

Similar to Russian Astra Linux.

Posted by: S | Jul 15 2020 21:26 utc | 36

@defaultcitizen #29

The documents gleaned from the 1979 revolution that the Iranians chose to release, including the shredded ones they pieced together,
are available from the below site, via one torrent about half a terabyte, or a large number of individual .pdf files.

I glanced at a few, this is so long ago that few of the names are familiar, but the ones I saw indicated a sort of relationship
probably similar to what South Korea has now with the US. I could be wrong on that, factually based disagreement welcomed.

Posted by: BillB | Jul 15 2020 21:45 utc | 37

@defaultcitizen #29

Doh. Half a gigabyte, not terabye.

Posted by: Billb | Jul 15 2020 21:46 utc | 38

@William Gruff (11)

I haven't looked at the kernel sources for any significant amount of time for years. It would be interesting to make a tally of what kind of patches were brought in by Iranian contributors. That is to say, if at any time fixes were made to 'bugs' brought/left in by the likes of IBM, Intel, Nvidia et al. Would be a nice holiday project.

I agree with all you said about Linux and about Windows. Anything Microsoft is as tainted and evil as Gates himself.

Posted by: bjd | Jul 15 2020 21:57 utc | 39

Actually it's in everyone's interests that Iran keeps secret its nuclear activities and developments. The IAEA, not unlike the OPCW, certainly is firmly in the pocket of the US, and Iran has every right to defend itself from imperialism -- by any means necessary. A nuclear-armed Iran would be a necessary and stabilising counterweight to Israel and a soon to be nuclear armed Saudi Arabia. US depredations have long been stayed by nuclear-armed powers and one more like Iran can only be a good thing. The pity is, there's no shred of evidence that Iran wants to arm itself with nuclear weapons.

Posted by: Stephen Morrell | Jul 15 2020 22:33 utc | 40

@ BillB 36
Thanks for that. The service in this place is great!

Posted by: defaultcitizen | Jul 15 2020 22:38 utc | 41

" The big danger here is that all sides can play such games. The U.S. does not have a monopoly or even a large advantage in waging cyber wars. "

The problem is that so far the other side seems scared shi*less to actually confront the ZioAmericans. Where are their hack attacks ?

Posted by: Fog of War | Jul 15 2020 23:21 utc | 42

S @35

When pondering what Iran can do and can't do from a technological standpoint, here is an infographic from Forbes showing the top seven countries with the most STEM graduates.

For non-link-clickers:

China -- 4.7m
India -- 2.6m
US    -- 568k
Russia -- 561k
Iran  -- 335k
Indonesia -- 206k
Japan -- 195k

Do keep in mind that these stats are from BEFORE the pandemic, and a little over HALF of the US STEM grads are international students. For example, more than 12,000 are Iranian, and more than 100K are Chinese! Likely a similar number are Indian. Before you draw conclusions you must shuffle these off the US stack and onto their respective homelands' stacks.

Iran has no shortage of people who have the brains to be able to accomplish difficult things. This is most surprising to the majority of Americans who think Iran and Iraq and Afghanistan are all pretty much the same thing.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 15 2020 23:53 utc | 43

Fog of War @41

Other countries are refraining from attacking the US not because they are afraid, but because warfare is not how civilized peoples solve problems.

Please stop projecting your own psychotic urges towards violent aggression onto everyone else in the world. Unlike Americans, violence isn't at the top of the list for problem resolution for most of the planet's population.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 16 2020 0:03 utc | 44


"The new Huawei equipment practically sells itself."

What are you referring to? Trump seems to largely be succeeding in shutting Huawei out of almost all international 5g markets (Canada, UK, Australia [those were givens], but also Singapore,Italy, very likely France, and I expect all of Europe will bow to Trump). Say what you want about US v. China, but at this point Huawei itself is losing badly to Trump in the 5g area, although Ericson and Nokia will have to pay royalties to Huawei.

The US has looked at sanctions to shutdown down Huawei but its equipment was too pervasive, but if countries keep folding to Trump, I think Hauwei could be sanctioned out of existence after it loses its network business, at least as an international force.

Posted by: Schmoe | Jul 16 2020 0:28 utc | 45

Posted by: C | Jul 15 2020 17:29 utc | 1 I thought D'Andrea was dead?

No, that was "Snake" Plissken... :-)

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jul 16 2020 0:29 utc | 46

Iranians have been around much longer than the US. Here is a list of Iranian inventions:

• Protocol and Etiquette- rules of respect, cultured civilization, of order and harmony of everyday life.
• Human Rights – 576 B.C. , cylinder of Cyrus the Great
• System of State and Regions – created by Cyrus the Great (Satrap and Satrapies)
• Iran was The First Real Empire
• First Agriculture System -1000 B.C., the Qanat
• Police- first inspectors were “the Eye of the King” created by Cyrus
• Postal Service – by Cyrus the Great
• First Monotheist Religion- 6000 B.C.,

• Alcohol in Medicine – 864 A.D. , by Rhazès Zakarya
• Founder Book of Modern Medicine- 980 A.D, created by Avicenna
• First Teaching Hospital – 271 B.C., intellectual centre teaching philosophy , medicine, theology, science.
• Anesthesia- 1000 A.D. for the birth of Rostam
• Cesarean – 1000 A.D. the earliest file of ceasarean is in the Shah Nameh, Rostam was born this way

• Guitar- 5000 B.C. Gui means three in old persian and Tar means rope,
• Oldest Ancestor of the Piano – 266 B.C. called tympanon (santur)

• Shoes- 3000 B.C. found in Iran
• Sandals- 3000 B.C.
• Boots- 3000 B.C.
• Trousers- first trousers were worn in the Achemenid period

• Backgammon – 1400 B.C., found in the Sistan-e-Baloutchestan region
• Polo – 521 B.C., persian sport
• Chess – the base of the game invented in India but the evolution was made in Iran
• Poker – 1600 A.D. persian game called “nas”, Iranians showed it to french in louisiana and they showed the game to the world

• Refrigerator- 400 B.C. a large room called YAKCHAL
• Wine – 5400 B.C., Invention of Wine. Discovered in excavations at Hajji Firuz Tepe in northwestern Iran.
• Grape
• Kabab – first kind of kabab was the persian Kabab
• Biscuit, Cookies - 700 A.D.
• Rice
• Ice Cream – 400 B.C.
• Yoghurt

• Battery- 250 B.C. found in Iran
• Coloured Eggs for Easter – Persians first began using coloured eggs to celebrate spring in 3000 BC.
• Valentines (a day of Love) was first founded by Cyrus the Great
• Air Conditioning
• Windmill – 632 A.D
• Introduction of Paper in Occident – 700 A.D.
• Algebra- 800 A.D. Khwarizmi was an Iranian from Khorassan
• First Attempt to Fly- key kawoos, who fell three times
• Tulip – persian flower
• Rose – persian flower
• Ceramic
• Bazaar
• Thousand and One Nights – stories told by Sharzad
• The Brick – 6000 B.C.
• First Pearls- 5000 B.C. , found in the border of Persian Gulf, a necklace of three lines of pearls
• The Water Bed – 3600 B.C. made of sheep’s skin
• Art of Miniatures – 2600 B.C.
• Chariot – 2000 B.C

Posted by: Dick | Jul 16 2020 0:32 utc | 47

That's a rather unrefined point of view. By number of base stations China alone will account of over 60% of world wide 5G deployment. Huawei can be shut out of the entire international 5G market and STILL be at the top. All other markets are merely bonuses.

Posted by: Anon | Jul 16 2020 0:32 utc | 48

Posted by: bjd | Jul 15 2020 18:50 utc | 14 Iran needs a thermonuclear capability. That much is clear.

No, they don't. Nukes are only useful if 1) you have delivery capability, and 2) you have enough of them to be a credible existential threat to your opponent who is also nuclear armed.

Iran is not in that position and can never be in that position with regard to even Israel, let alone the US, certainly not before it would be attacked for even trying. Iran recognizes this and has said so several times. Iran will never have a nuclear weapons program short of some hardliner taking power, as the previous two Supreme Leaders have issued fatwas against them which will expire on the death of Khamenei.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jul 16 2020 0:37 utc | 49

Anon @47--

Thanks for making that vastly important point. With 1.4 Billion citizens, China's internal market and that of the ASEAN dwarfs that of the Outlaw US Empire and EU. If Western-based businesses want product harmony, they'll have to kow-tow to that of the dominant producer--China--in a manner similar to how Microsoft was able to gain leverage despite having an inferior product. Furthermore, 6G is already being seriously discussed within Asia, not to mention Quantum Computing. Trump's MAGA actually means Make Asia Great Again, and we're seeing it happen thanks to his policies and that of other very idiotic Western nations.

William Gruff @43--

Yes, not relying on open war is an implicit point in my initial comment regarding the growing ability to deter against Outlaw US Empire violence. As I wrote at Escobar's FB, today's Barbarians speak English in response to his article on that topic.

Dick @46--

Thanks for producing that very excellent listing. As is finally being noticed, the 500 years of Western global domination is rapidly evaporating and will vanish within the current generation.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 16 2020 1:02 utc | 50

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 15 2020 20:41 utc | 30

I agree that most of these explosions are probably not "cyberattacks". Despite all the scare stories about hacking destroying infrastructure, it's not that easy, especially in the US where every industry and every company within that industry has their own "standards", which means there are no real standards a hacker can rely on. It's much easier to steal data than it is to influence hardware, although that certainly can be done in many cases.

On the other hand, there are plenty of internal Iranian dissidents and foreign visitors who can be employed by both the CIA and Israel to further a spate of physical attacks.

Obviously these sorts of attacks are going to do next to nothing to actually damage Iranian infrastructure, as Iran is a big country. These sorts of sabotage are merely a psychological warfare ploy. This is amplified by Western media coverage of the incidents which is intended to portray Iran as weak and unable to defend itself.

I've often speculated about what a few hundred saboteurs could do if inserted into the US, armed with nothing but small arms and a decent amount of explosives. Depending on how well they are kept covert and how smart they are in choosing targets, you could bring the US to its knees in perhaps six months of operations. Car bombs, for instance - the US is *made* for car bombs, given our reliance on vehicles and the congestion in the inner cities. Detonate a car bomb in each of the 50 Major Metropolitan Areas simultaneously and do so consistently every week for a month and most of the inner cities would be shut down and under martial law.

That's the kind of actual physical campaign that could produce significant results in a country. These pin-prick attacks in Iran are just a combination of psychological warfare plus perhaps some effects as causing their protective services to be overstretched somewhat.

Mostly what they are is an attempt to provoke Iran into doing something *overtly* against Israel or the US. The neocons want Iran to be the instigator of the war, not the US or Israel. They want Iran to provide a casus belli for the war, so that Trump and Netanyahu can present themselves as blameless for the resulting disaster, much like Bush presented Iraq as responsible for 9/11.

In essence, the US and Israel are acting as Internet trolls, pin-pricking Iran in an attempt to get Iran to engage and thus manipulate Iran for their own purposes.

Hopefully Iran will not take the bait, or if it does so, that it makes sure its retaliations are as covert and deniable as the CIA's while being at least equally as damaging or more so. If I were Iran, I would specifically target the CIA and its assets in the region. It would not be hard to identify the CIA officers stationed in most countries and conduct harassment operations against them, even perhaps engineering "accidental deaths". It would be an analog of the US-Russian Cold War days. Competent spies aren't that plentiful and killing them off tends to put a real crimp in operations while mostly being deniable since all such events would be "classified".

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jul 16 2020 1:05 utc | 51

@William Gruff #42

After re-reading my comment I see that I’ve used a wrong word. I’ve meant to say “similarly”, not “similar”, i.e. that Iran has followed the same path as Russia in making its own, heavily audited and heavily strengthened, Linux distribution. I did not mean to say that Iranians are incapable of doing that and are using Russian software.

Posted by: S | Jul 16 2020 1:24 utc | 52

William Gruff @42

The first ever female winner of the Fields Medal -- considered the 'Nobel Prize' of mathematics -- was Maryam Mirzakhani, from Iran. She was recognised as gifted from a young age in Iran, won numerous mathematics olympiads, graduated from Sharif University of Technology, completed her PhD at Harvard, and taught at Stanford. Sadly, in 2017 at age 40 she passed away from metastatic breast cancer.

Posted by: Stephen Morrell | Jul 16 2020 1:53 utc | 53

@ vk

"So, in this case, I think there is a significant portion of the American intelligentsia who genuinely believe in this mad thesis that perpetual war will always solve positively all the domestic problems of the USA. I don't think this is pure cynicism: many of those Cold War living fossils really envision an even better America for their children and grandchildren by promoting an all-out war against China, Russia, Iran, North Korea et al - even in the stances where USA proper is attacked and Americans directly die because of it."

America is channeling its Inner George Orwell, as the only solution the Americans have to deal with their fading global hegemony and domestic national implosion is to recycle their old Cold War tactic of Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace.

The United States of Oceania has always been at war with East Asia or Eurasia or Osama Bin Goldstein!

America is truly a sick country, and its worse than any COVID-19.

Posted by: ak74 | Jul 16 2020 2:14 utc | 54

@ Posted by: Schmoe | Jul 16 2020 0:28 utc | 44

That these bans will hurt Huawei is non-debatable.

But my hypothesis is this: the USA, the EU and Japan are willing to suffer the losses in productivity in their economies in order to give their respective bourgeoisies circa 5-7 years to deliver a national product that is at least comparable to what Huawei have/will have. It's the good ol' "pay to play".

I'm using the 5-7 years time frame for three reasons: 1) most Western countries are betting this pandemic will be definitely over by 2022, so I'm adding an additional inventory cycle to that date (+5 years); 2) most Western countries are betting on a strong V-shaped recovery of their respective economies or, at least, of that of the USA and 3) Boris Johnson's decree put a deadline to completely removing Huawei from the UK at 2027 (I know that falls flatly at the end of his would-be second term, but this is the latest possible date under his potential control over the country, and the UK has a parliamentary system which is highly susceptible to snap elections, so it is far from granted now the tories will keep Downing Street in 2027).

The signs are very mixed, and the evidence overwhelmingly indicates the West (including here Japan) is acting reactionary, not proactively. China seems to be the initiative. It's a feeble one, but it's there.

First of all, this V-shaped recovery is not founded over scientific evidence. There is absolutely no data indicating the West will enjoy a miracle-type V-shaped recovery after the pandemic is over (even assuming it will really go away by 2022). The only argument in favor of this I've read so far lies simply over the faith that capitalism has done it once (the post-war, 1945-1974) and can do it again. They forgot that the post-war miracle had the reconstruction, a new revolutionary technology (electronics), the new vital space freed by the destruction of the remnants of the old colonial system and feudal system, a new dynamic center in ascension (USA) etc. etc.

Second, we have absolutely no guarantee a national capitalist will be up to the task and serve its nation-state with an equal product to Huawei's. The secret here is not the technology itself (it already exists), but the profitability of its application at home. There's a reason 5G was first developed to a mass distribution level at China, and not at, say, Sweden or Finland. There's a reason Ericson and Nokia didn't develop a good 5G during these last decades and Huawei did. The reason for this is that it wasn't profitable to do so in the West. Even assuming the governments pour those companies with taxpayer money unconditionally, you still have to face the fact that those companies will still be only able to sell them to their respective sphere of influences - and the West here has the short stick. This would still be true even if the western governments outright expropriated all of Huawei's infrastructure and property in their territories, and enslaved all the scientists there to serve their national companies: the profit would still not be there to be reaped.

Third, we have documented evidence that the Western elites themselves are not so sure about what they're doing (or that they are divided). I've recently read a report from a private bank/institution which stated "recovery and growth in China do not guarantee recovery and growth in the rest of the world". The same week Boris Johnson's administration declared Huawei was banned from the UK, you have Angela Merkel's reiteration of her position that the USA's supremacy is no longer guaranteed, and that Europe would have to learn to walk on itself from now on (this is the third time in three months she states this position).

Another mixed sign sent from the West is Wall Street itself. Since the pandemic begun, Dow Jones only spikes for two reasons: 1) American job losses are not as bad as predicted and 2) China continues to grow and show signs of a quick V-shaped recovery. When (1) happens, it usually lasts for one day, and is usually neutered when the updated number of COVID-19 infected in the USA comes out with record new infected. When (2) happens, the spike usually lasts for much more - often for one week or more, until the disappointing data from the USA comes out and it fizzles again. That means that the only faint indication of an economic recovery in the West comes from China (!!).

So yeah, my bet is they'll give Ericson, Nokia and the Japanese one (I don't remember the name) circa 5-7 years to make the miracle happen. If they happen to catch up with Huawei, they'll outright implement it - even if at much higher costs. However, if they do not, then it will be another lost decade to the West, and a chasm that separates them (specially Europe and Japan, not so much the USA) will begin to appear to the naked eye.

Posted by: vk | Jul 16 2020 2:15 utc | 55

.The Indian communist run "Hindu" newspaper:
According to leaked versions of the 18-page “Comprehensive Plan for Cooperation between Iran and China”, being finalised by officials in Tehran and Beijing, the cooperation will extend from investments in infrastructure, manufacturing and upgrading energy and transport facilities, to refurbishing ports, refineries and other installations, and will commit Iranian oil and gas supplies to China during that period.
"a 25-year Strategic Partnership"

Ayatollahs and CCP top best friends? Oil rules, not ideology for autocrats.

Posted by: Antonym | Jul 16 2020 2:28 utc | 56

Posted by: S | Jul 16 2020 1:24 utc | 51

Iran could use the Russian distro as a base and add the code they need instead of building from scratch. Astra Linux is based on Debian, so there's nothing wrong with that. In fact that's the norm with most distros. Why re-invent the wheel?

Posted by: One Too Many | Jul 16 2020 2:31 utc | 57

V @54

Thanks for the response.

1) I agree that there will not be a V-shaped recovery, and especially as layoffs hit higher salaried workers. Yesterday Wells Fargo announced $10b of annual cost savings. That will sadly be a lot of heads rolling. The work from home fad will cease to be a fad and cause a permanent decrease in office space utilization; that will have large ripple effects on downtown small businesses and bank and insurance company balance sheets. Likewise does the US need 7X the retail space of Germany (I could be wrong on the multiple)? Long story short, forget about construction of retail or offices for many years.

2) Current competitor products are almost certainly inferior to Huawei but I think the US views that as "tough shit." If Britain has to pay several billion more to remove Huawei, Trump can laugh at Britain for being p&ssies (the term he would use), but it doesn't change the fact that Huawei will not get that contract even if second rate competitors are used. As for spheres of influence, it is safe to assume India will ban Huawei and as mentioned Singapore largely has. US pressure and leverage via the $ know no bounds (Russia may be an exception). Korea and Japan will surely be off limits to Huawei, but I believe Samsung can make 5g equipment.
There was an article in the WSJ a few days ago where I believe it was Nokia suffered a large setback on 5g via choosing the wrong chip for its stations.

3) You might be right about China recovering well and if any country should hedge its bets it's Germany. On a related note I have read two recent articles that almost no jobs from China are coming back to the US. Didn't see that one coming /s.

As for 5-7 years, maybe it will matter for the next generation of equipment, but I thought once the network is built, it is very hard to change (hence the foot dragging on bowing to US pressure from the actual phone carriers).

Posted by: Schmoe | Jul 16 2020 2:44 utc | 58

In the altered state induced by covid19 there's the sense of the imminence of profound systemic change. The tide has gone out and as Warren Buffet might say, we realize we've all been swimming naked. One can imagine that Andrew Yang's guaranteed annual income might become a reality as an economic vaccine to prevent vast and dangerous social distress. One can see deep structural change happening such as the elimination of the Fed and a reinvention of the financial system. This is a moment of profound opportunity and also existential terror. But what's happening? Nothing. The persistent delusion of business as usual tightens its grip. Donald butthead is posturing and posing, creating global dissension when he should be looking for ways to avoid conflict. The US is behaving badly, so hostile, so parochial, so fucking stupid and self-absorbed. There will be no muddling through this time. We should be so lucky to one day soon see our moronic leaders hanging from lamp posts.

Posted by: jadan | Jul 16 2020 2:55 utc | 59

If D'Andrea was still alive they would certainly have trotted him out at some point over the past seven months to prove the IRI wrong. A true "tell" for me though is a hilariously weak article published by the Atlantic Council titled "Ayatollah Mike and the IRGC's growing credibility gap" (googling it won't be a problem since it seems to be the tagged favorite!). By my reading it tries to argue that up is down, black is white etc... the IRI has a credibility gap for claiming they pwned Ayatollah Mike in Afghanistan? OK then, demonstrate the claim to be incorrect, otherwise the Atlantic Council has the credibility gap, no? If I misread and the article is in fact arguing that the IRI has a credibility gap now that D'Andrea is dead (as hence it is crying wolf over now-bogus claims of covert threats since the Bad Man is dead) then that is even more inane. Bottom line: D'Andrea appears in public to prove the Iranian claim is bogus, or we now know why the red flags in Qom and Mashad were lowered at the end of January.

Posted by: HD | Jul 16 2020 3:58 utc | 60

Why does anybody worry about this absurd "5G"? It will only work in big cities unless they attach a repeater to every tree. And anything above about 12 GHz will not work when it rains.

Whenever it rains, it will fall back to "4G". Don't worry about "5G"!

Posted by: blues | Jul 16 2020 3:59 utc | 61

PS Imagine the millions of Americans who will take to the streets mourning if/when they announce that Iran really did take out America's beloved warrior "Ayatollah Mike." There will be 24-hour news coverage detailing the crush of humanity struggling to get a last glimpse of his casket and to maybe even touch it. President Trump will lead a ceremony where he will pray for Ayatollah Mike and shed public tears, demonstrating his and the nation's sense of tragic loss for the man and his sacrifices. It will be said that those injured in the procession of D'Andrea's casket through major American cities will go straight to heaven. Posters, stickers, cards, and memes with dear Ayatollah Mike's image will abound in stores and on the Internet. Parents will name their children "Ayatollah Mike" in his honor.

Just kidding.

Posted by: HD | Jul 16 2020 4:11 utc | 62

Erm, Stuxnet?
Stuxnet was in the wild since 2007 so at least Bush II or rather Cheney already authorized a cyberwar against Iran, and Obama continued it.

Trump isn't responsible for all the Evil from the Evil Empire. In fact, most things are the fault of his predecessors. Trump is so bumbling and disliked all around, he unintentionally does actual good in the world.

Posted by: malingerer | Jul 16 2020 5:49 utc | 63

blues 60

I watched an interesting doco on youtube the other day on a Chinese factory producing excavators. Steel goes in one end and every ten minutes, an excavator comes out the other end.
All hooked up to the internet and for every one of their machines working in the world there is a light on a large display. If a machines operating perimeters start to change, the light goes red. They can bring up the machine and send a message to the owner or operator to say the machine is developing a problem.

But they are developing machines for 5G. The first is nearly ready to go into production. With 5g the machine can be at a mine, but the cab can be located anywhere. The operator wears 3d goggles and operates the machine. Ideal for a lot of remote mines and so forth. Here in oz, a lot of mines are fly in fly out, a few weeks on and a few weeks off. With that setup, the cabs can be located at population centers and the operators can go home to their families after work each day.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 16 2020 6:37 utc | 64

So when another country does some cyberwar act or is even merely accused of it that counts as a declaration of war. But if the US does it the CIA can handle it on its own for reasons of its own. So you have cases where congress decides over war, there are cases where the president decides, and there are cases where the president outsources war decisions to the CIA. Or to put it differently, there are cases where the population does not know which countries the US is at war with and now there are also cases where even the president does not know. At least in 1984 the population knew.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Jul 16 2020 8:17 utc | 65

@Peter AU1 #63

Keeping the workers off site can have other savings too, as in reducing pilferage.

Posted by: BillB | Jul 16 2020 8:23 utc | 66

From the linked Yahoo article:

"D'Andrea's exact age has not been made public. He is said to be in his mid-50s, born to a North Virginia family whose links to the CIA stretch back two decades. He joined the agency in 1979"

I know my father joined the WW2 partisan resistance at age 14, mostly because it was the best way to secure a regular meal in war torn Europe back then, but i seriously doubt the CIA accepted young teenagers in their ranks in late 1970's USA, let alone find a use for them?

Perhaps Ms Gidda could have done with some additional maths classes on her way to getting her qualifications...

Posted by: Et Tu | Jul 16 2020 9:33 utc | 67

Call me old fashioned but why would anybody have safety critical systems linked to the internet? Especially if they have enemies who know how to use a computer.

Posted by: Johny Conspiranoid | Jul 16 2020 9:48 utc | 68

@Peter 64

That's right, the real value of 5/6/7 whatever G is not in the infrastructure but in developing applications that we don't even know yet. The Huawei/China phobia will just keep the west in technological dark ages for years as they catch up on the network side. All the while the east would hand been pushing out products and technologies that will change lives.

This is a major opportunity for many countries to leapfrog and break the technological stranglehold they are under.

except India, coz they're still working on building more toilets for their call centres to serve the west.

Posted by: A. L. | Jul 16 2020 9:55 utc | 69

@Johny 68

That's only true because certain state actors keeps fking with it, crying wolf and being the wolf at the same time.

Posted by: A. L. | Jul 16 2020 10:01 utc | 70

Posted by: Johny Conspiranoid | Jul 16 2020 9:48 utc | 68 Call me old fashioned but why would anybody have safety critical systems linked to the internet?

They don't have to be. Even a local area network can be infiltrated. IIRC it was speculated that Suxnet was inserted into the Iranian system via flash drives carried by IAEA inspectors. In cases where employees can use their own laptops to do official work or even their phones or do work remotely even using a corporate VPN, malware can be introduced by those means. Depending on physical security measures, it's even possible to breach physical security to gain access to network access points. There are penetration testers, like a guy I'm familiar with named Jason Street, who specialize in that approach. All of that can be made even easier if you can bribe or blackmail an employee to assist. There are a lot of "disgruntled employees" in the world.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jul 16 2020 10:48 utc | 71

Johny Conspiranoid @68: "...why would anybody have safety critical systems linked to the internet? Especially if they have enemies who know how to use a computer."

And that is why China is charging full speed ahead with the development of quantum encryption at the transport level of their communications infrastructure.

Funny how the "evil totalitarians" are on the path towards being the first with truly secure and unhackable data communications that even their own intelligence organizations cannot break into.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 16 2020 10:51 utc | 72

While I have no idea how the explosion in Iran was caused, the methods used @ Black Tom explosion in 1916 were chemical timed incendiaries, a strong acid, a strong oxidizer and a sacrificial barrier and contained by ether glass tube or lead tube. Trivial chemistry. With a bit of ingenuity these pyroclastics could be explosive and also entirely non-metallic (and thus suitable to smuggle through security.

If I had to bet I would guess a planted explosive placed in or next to some highly metastatic material or tank.

This guess is according to Occam's Razor. Of course the "ten transistor" (RF'd via 'puter)approach is also possible.

Anyway lookit Black Tom... especially as Weimar had to pay for the damage and the sabotage arguably was a powerful contributor to, ultimately, the destruction of Imperial Germany - Not the Desired Result, ahemm.

(my absence was to think about things, nice to see my friends again)

Posted by: Walter | Jul 16 2020 12:35 utc | 73

Speaking on the Devil:

It's time for the middle powers to step in

The First World provinces of the American Empire were relegated to "middle power" status. My hypothesis is that they are transitioning to outright peripheral countries. Hence the cognitive dissonance in the EU and Japan (plus South Korea reminding why it is still considered a Third World nation). The only province that ecstatic with all of this is Australia, whose elite thinks the shifting of the geopolitical center to the Pacific will turn it into the new Western Europe.


On the economy, the delusion is still strong:

Good news: China is growing again; just don't ask how

China's short-term growth drivers could end up constraining expansion in months, if not years, to come.

Wait, what? Every long-term recovery begins with an initial short-term recovery. How's China's recovery a sign it will not recover? That doesn't even make logical sense.

It's one thing to state China's recovery won't lift the rest of the world; it's another completely different thing to state China can't recover without it recovering alongside the rest of the world. That may or may not be true, but it's impossible to give priority to such conclusion based on the data we have now.

This is more absurd when you read the very next paragraph:

It's important to remember, too, that China was able to record growth because it went into a shutdown earlier than most countries and was able to resume sooner. Its authoritarian political system could impose the kind of crackdown that has challenged democracies, especially the United States, where something as straightforward as wearing a mask has become a front in a culture war. Many economists project a significant rebound in the global economy in the third quarter after a horrendous couple of months. China may be offering an advance peek at the scale of the initial revival and it isn’t brilliant. Few observers still cling to the idea of a V-shaped recovery.

So, first they claim China was unnecessarily hurting its economy by enforcing a "draconian" lockdown; now this author is claiming it is recovering faster because it enforced a lockdown earlier!

So, which is which: is China "short-term recovery" hampering the rest of the world's recovery, or is China's "short-term recovery" only a spoiler about what's going to happen in the rest of the world?

The author inadvertently reveals what the bankers think: the official propaganda of the MSM states that the West will see a wonderful V-shaped recovery. It is only behind-the-scenes that the Western capitalists talk about the absence of a V-shaped recovery (as I mentioned here earlier, in a private report from a bank). Freudian slip.


About the risk of a "chasm creation" between China and the West:

World splitting into pro and anti-Huawei camps

In 2019, Huawei’s regional sales including network equipment, cell phones and other products were distributed as such: China 59%; EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa) 24%; Asia-Pacific 8%; and the Americas 6%.

Five years earlier, in 2014, the breakdown was: China 38%; EMEA 35%; Asia-Pacific 15%; and the Americas 11%.

So, China's market share to Huawei has grown, not fallen, even though "Over the five-year period, Huawei’s overseas sales almost doubled while its domestic sales increased 4.6 times.". The West's power as a consumer market is dwindling. The Chinese companies don't have the pressure their South Korean counterparts have of having to enter the Western (American + European) markets to become a global player, that's because:

China is the world’s largest and – aside from South Korea – most rapidly advancing 5G market. By the end of 2020, industry sources expect China to account for more than 50% of worldwide 5G base station installations and more than 70% of total 5G subscribers.

The scale of this is:

To add further perspective, as Asia Times’s Spengler (David P. Goldman) put it recently: “Ericsson appears to have a 10% share in China’s 5G buildout … In terms of sales, that’s roughly equal to 100% of the US 5G equipment market.”

That means that, even the "consumer rights power" the Western peoples still think they have is not so powerful anymore.


@ Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 16 2020 6:37 utc | 64

Exactly. The magic of 5G is not that you can have faster internet to consult junk in your smartphone: it's in the fact that many jobs that we couldn't imagine being done "from home" (home office) will now be possible to be done so, with a high gain in labor productivity.

From the same link above:

This is true in Japan as well, where NEC and Panasonic are introducing customized, closed (presumably secure) 5G wireless networks designed for use in the production control systems of so-called “smart factories.”

The increasing industrial sophistication of China, which is also the world’s largest and fastest-growing user of industrial robots, should offset its loss to lower-wage countries of hand assembly work.


Taking a 10-year view, it would be prudent to consider a world in which China becomes more and more like Japan in this regard, only much bigger.

Posted by: vk | Jul 16 2020 12:52 utc | 74

RSH @51

It isn't even necessary to load explosives into vehicles to use vehicles as a means of disruption. I've lived and worked around Pittsburgh most of my life and I always felt that just merely five people with junk cars could disable those cars (and most effectively set them on fire)at notorious choke points and bring the city to a standstill for at least several hours. No, those actions wouldn't immediately cause bodily harm, but there is no lack of aggressiveness behind the wheel in most environs in the US, especially when people's routines are disrupted, and that is abundantly true in the 'burgh. (In large part because automobile traffic in the 'burgh is a nightmare even on normal days.)

I'm fairly certain that this situation prevails wrt many of US automobile arteries. Would only realize we'd been attacked in retrospect. More than one way to skin a cat. Please note: I am not advocating, I'm merely observing. The US is vulnerable in so many ways; keep pushing others around and eventually others will begin to push back - right here in river city. As seen with the pandemic, the US easily absorbs death and suffering, but what it can't survive is disruption of the wheels of commerce - i.e., everyday life.

I post this with some misgivings. But the way I see it, if I can think or conceive of this, others may/must have also. I have no desire to see the US destroyed, merely that it WAKE THE FUCK UP!

Posted by: vinnieoh | Jul 16 2020 12:57 utc | 75

You know what they say, you live by The Net, you die by The Net. Well, maybe they don't say that but I do. It's a keeper and it fits like a glove. The Net, more than anything that may be ascribed to it, is a weapon. That's the beauty of civilization, it weaponizes everything including nature itself. The spirit in the genes.

Posted by: | Jul 16 2020 13:01 utc | 76

Posted by: Dick | Jul 16 2020 0:32 utc | 47

I am not sure you could call tulips and roses "inventions". True both were likely cultivated in Persia, but most likely elsewhere as well given the wide range of their endemic areas. I understood the rose was initially cultivated in China 5000 or so years ago, and, although the tulip was cultivated in Persia, most of the early "inventing" or hybridization took place in Ottoman Turkey.

Anyway, nice list. I have always been in favor of banning the patenting of lifeforms (even viruses and genes), so I can get persnickety about "inventing" forms of life.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Jul 16 2020 13:05 utc | 77

Schmoe @ 45

I think you'll find, that at this point, Canada has not revealed their intentions one way or the other on the Huawei 5G question.

Posted by: Digital Spartacus | Jul 16 2020 13:16 utc | 78

VK 74 "Taking a 10-year view, it would be prudent to consider a world in which China becomes more and more like Japan in this regard, only much bigger."

Japanese tools/goods were junk early on, but quickly rose to top quality. China is the same. Quite a bit of high quality stuff with excellent quality control coming out of China now.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 16 2020 13:19 utc | 79


Name some of it. Give examples.

Posted by: | Jul 16 2020 13:23 utc | 80


What a nightmarish thought. China is Japan but only much bigger. Wow! Awesome! Instead of one melted down nuclear reactor, China will have fifty. Yey! I can't wait, can you? We live in a beautiful world, yes we do.

I believe the Chinese propagandists are confusing China with South Korea. South Korea utilized the Japan model and as such, they became excellent in the span of a couple of decades at electronics and automobiles. Hyundai is as quality as Honda. LG is as quality as Sony was at its pinnacle. China will never be either Japan or South Korea. The culture and political structure will prevent it. Plus, those days are coming to an end. We have reached the end of growth and China collapses without its meteoric growth because it, and many other nations too, have no clue how to manage the inevitable contraction and don't care to manage it because they will not accept the inevitable.

Posted by: | Jul 16 2020 13:33 utc | 81

operations that should be OUT OF BOUNDS, not OUT OF BOUNCE

Posted by: Carlyle Moulton | Jul 16 2020 13:35 utc | 82 @Jul16 13:23 #80

Give examples.

  • PCB boards (custom boards with quick turn-arounds)
  • sports equipment
  • passenger drones
  • Nuclear generators (4th-gen thanks to USA approving the sale of Westinghouse)


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 16 2020 13:39 utc | 83

Posted by: | Jul 16 2020 13:23 utc | 80

NIO has world class electric vehicle that beat Tesla in many respects. They even have integrated AI.

Posted by: One Too Many | Jul 16 2020 13:39 utc | 84


Those examples are not specific enough and not supported.

Quality is a mindset that is built into the system. China has an endemic problem with this that to date it is unable to rectify.

The Sad State of Quality Systems in Most Chinese Factories

The sad truth in China is, 5% of the manufacturers are doing a good job consistently, and the rest have ups & downs that irritate and frighten Western customers.

And, of those 5% that do a good job consistently, 0.5% do so because of good systems and the other 4.5% do so because operations are not very complex and management watches what happens carefully.

Yes, I made these numbers up. But that’s my impression after 12 years spent working here across multiple sectors (from apparel to tier-1 automotive, and from furniture to electronics). Bad suppliers quality is still a real problem in China.

But why can’t these manufacturers even STOP BAD QUALITY? Because of a series of issues in the quality systems.

Posted by: | Jul 16 2020 13:49 utc | 85 @Jul16 13:49 #84

That link is to a site of a quality consultant whose business is consulting with Western countries to find the best manufacturers in China.

He wouldn't exaggerate the problems with Chinese manufacturers ... would he?

And your own bias is clear from your handle: derived from Trump as 45th President of USA?


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 16 2020 14:02 utc | 86


Your endless repetition of scripted neocon talking points lacks any semblance of substance. Are your employers desperate or destitute?

Fun fact: probably over half of the infrastructure, the devices and their constituting components that empower your barfing all over this forum is made in... CHYYNNA!! Apparently it works well enough to get your spew published.

On the other hand, the quality control for ziocon agitprop appears to be in a dismal state. Maybe a cheap mirror from CHYYNNA could be of good use to you?

Posted by: Lurk | Jul 16 2020 15:07 utc | 87


Ignore the troll piece of shit. I'm not sure why b has left it here this long.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 16 2020 15:12 utc | 88

Posted by: Lurk | Jul 16 2020 15:07 utc | 86

"the quality control for ziocon agitprop appears to be in a dismal state"

You mean the latest magnificent show of American quality that is reflected by no less than seven fighter crashes (2x F-16s, 1x F-15, 1x F-18, 2x F-35, 1x F-22) plus the burning helicarrier in a 60-day period? :D

Posted by: J W | Jul 16 2020 15:19 utc | 89

Posted by: | Jul 16 2020 13:49 utc | 84 . "China has an endemic problem"

Well probably has some problems..nothing is immune from problems..But right now it seems that other countries have problems with China.Just heard yesterday that the greedy albion expelled Huawei from the country..maybe chinese products working better than you say dude?..ah yes I forgot you saying that chinese products are low quality,actually nothing is going right for China listening to you..but you know the mocking birds are a particular breed of birds very difficult to move away but easy to recognize.

Posted by: LuBa | Jul 16 2020 16:01 utc | 90

Peter AU1 @87: "I'm not sure why b has left it here this long."

The trolling cannot be entirely prevented. When the troll gets banned, its employer will just create a new persona for the trolling to continue under. Their employers also provide VPN services so that banning a particular IP address is also not an enduring solution. As well, when you have a troll that is so painfully obvious with its trollery, then there does happen to be some argument for leaving it alone. The next troll from the troll pool might be more subtle and thus more dangerous.

So long as our host continues to publish material that threatens the empire, this forum will contain trolls working for the empire. Better the troll you know than the troll you don't know, eh?

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 16 2020 16:25 utc | 91 @Jul16 13:23 #80

Give examples.

Apple ranges, from i-Pod to Mac via phones and tablets

Sundry PC and laptop manufacturers, many with western names like HP

Endless suppliers with endless names of mobile phones

Networking gear ditto

etc etc and that's just IT related. That most of us here use without thinking and rely on every day.

Lots of auto related stuff too.

Very good oak furniture. Brilliant garden furniture that I am looking at now

I'll stop there. Just saying that in general the Chinese seem to be good at making to contract. Buy cheap, don't expect Rolls Royce and vica versa.

Posted by: JohninMK | Jul 16 2020 16:29 utc | 92

Always interesting when someone trots out the "cheap" label against a manufacturing country. JohninMK has it right. Good at making to contract. People never seem to be able to connect the company to the commissioned producer. It's not the manufacturer dictating specifications and costs. You get what you pay for is very much in play at the manufacturing level. That's why companies are there in the first place, because they can turn out the product cheaper and make more profit. Has very little to do with where the manufacturing actually takes place. Unfortunately that sort of logic doesn't fit everyone's narrative or worldview.

Posted by: Digital Spartacus | Jul 16 2020 16:53 utc | 93

It would be interesting to see how many Chinese manufactured parts are in a Rolls Royce.
I'm fairly sure that a lot of stuff from China is built to specifications wanted by the customer.

Posted by: arby | Jul 16 2020 16:55 utc | 94

That's my point arby. It's not the manufacturer saying this is what it's going to be. All about the price point. If it can be made somewhere else less costly, it will move to that country's manufacturing base.

Posted by: Digital Spartacus | Jul 16 2020 17:25 utc | 95

Jackrabbit JohninMK

I buy in a bit of tooling from China and test it to destruction against known name brands. At less than a quarter the price of name brands, the Chinese stuff is either equal to or outperforms the name brands. More and more factories in China are now producing top quality stuff but on a scale that lowers cost per item.

Digital Spartacus
Its not just contract stuff that is made to customer specs, but also goods factories make to various standards - usually European - that is produced as stock and advertised.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 16 2020 17:26 utc | 96

William Gruff @90--

Better the troll you know than the troll you don't know, eh?

Yes, precisely. But they do provide info on what they don't know. Regarding Pompeo's latest bluster, it serves to mask some very important developments that Scott Ritter highlights within his op/ed. The main point being something we already know: The days of unchallenged power projection by the Outlaw US Empire are over.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 16 2020 17:31 utc | 97

I agree Peter, many of the tools I have used are of equal or better quality. Again it always seems to be about price and what you can expect in regards to robustness and longevity. If you're buying product from Walmart that's at the lower end of the quality scale... it is that price because it has been made with, shall we say, economy in mind.

Posted by: Digital Spartacus | Jul 16 2020 17:42 utc | 98

karlof1 @ 97

Is your feeling that this is nothing more than playing to the domestic market?
I still find it hard to fathom that the administration sees the carrier groups as anything more than early warning anchors should a shooting war erupt.

Posted by: Digital Spartacus | Jul 16 2020 17:47 utc | 99

The testimonials are very loud and proclaim the World's Workshop is now located in East Asia and will remain there for several decades at minimum. I imagine it will then move to Africa. The process results from ever more efficient technology replacing outmoded forms of production coupled with lower labor and fixed costs as the previous 250+ years of industrial history prove. IMO, the Chinese are well aware they are riding the current wave, and their future plans foretell the future transition to Africa--that is, if one pays attention.

Greed and its associates hubris and exceptionalism undermined the Anglo Empires and have facilitated the rise of Eurasia. The biggest development that the West is having a very difficult time with is the rebirth of an old form of political-economy based on the communal/symbiotic relationship between citizen and palace that existed 5,000 years ago as exemplified by China--it's far more efficient and just and therefore stable. It's what the West might have become were it not for the rise of political parties and the continuance of Feudalistic selfish desire and exceptionalist contempt for Others--all of which it still maintains to its detriment.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 16 2020 17:58 utc | 100

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