Russian submarines and spy ships are aggressively operating near the vital undersea cables that carry almost all global Internet communications, raising concerns among some American military and intelligence officials that the Russians might be planning to attack those lines in times of tension or conflict.
The issue goes beyond old worries during the Cold War that the Russians would tap into the cables — a task American intelligence agencies also mastered decades ago. The alarm today is deeper: The ultimate Russian hack on the United States could involve severing the fiber-optic cables at some of their hardest-to-access locations to halt the instant communications on which the West’s governments, economies and citizens have grown dependent.
While there is no evidence yet of any cable cutting, the concern is part of a growing wariness among senior American and allied military and intelligence officials over the accelerated activity by Russian armed forces around the globe. At the same time, the internal debate in Washington illustrates how the United States is increasingly viewing every Russian move through a lens of deep distrust, reminiscent of relations during the Cold War.
Inside the Pentagon and the nation’s spy agencies, the assessments of Russia’s growing naval activities are highly classified and not publicly discussed in detail. American officials are secretive about what they are doing both to monitor the activity and to find ways to recover quickly if cables are cut. But more than a dozen officials confirmed in broad terms that it had become the source of significant attention in the Pentagon.
“I’m worried every day about what the Russians may be doing,” said Rear Adm. Frederick J. Roegge, commander of the Navy’s submarine fleet in the Pacific, who would not answer questions about possible Russian plans for cutting the undersea cables.
Cmdr. William Marks, a Navy spokesman in Washington, said: “It would be a concern to hear any country was tampering with communication cables; however, due to the classified nature of submarine operations, we do not discuss specifics.”
In private, however, commanders and intelligence officials are far more direct. They report that from the North Sea to Northeast Asia and even in waters closer to American shores, they are monitoring significantly increased Russian activity along the known routes of the cables, which carry the lifeblood of global electronic communications and commerce.
One NATO ally, Norway, is so concerned that it has asked its neighbors for aid in tracking Russian submarines.
Adm. James Stavridis, formerly NATO’s top military commander and now dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, said in an email last week that “this is yet another example of a highly assertive and aggressive regime seemingly reaching backwards for the tools of the Cold War, albeit with a high degree of technical improvement.”
“The risk here is that any country could cause damage to the system and do it in a way that is completely covert, without having a warship with a cable-cutting equipment right in the area,” said Michael Sechrist, a former project manager for a Harvard-M.I.T. research project funded in part by the Defense Department.
Jordan’s ambassador, Dina Kawar, called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council (UNSC) last Friday (October 16, 2015) to deal with the escalating violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The session was televised on C-SPAN. The UNSC is expected to issue a statement exhorting both sides “to show restraint.” State Department spokesperson John Kirby expressed the Obama’s administration’s concern about Israel’s “use of excessive force.” He said, “We have certainly seen some reports of what many would consider excessive use of force.” Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was quick to respond saying: “What do you think would happen in New York if you saw people rushing into a crowd trying to murder people? What do you think they would do? Do you think they would do anything differently than we are doing?”
When it comes to Jews and Israel, the double standard and hypocrisy were displayed again, this time by the 15 members of the UNSC. Apparently, they expect Israeli Jews to submit to Arab Palestinian killers to “avoid excessive force.” That would please the 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and their western lackeys. It would also fit with the long held role assigned to the Jews as people who do not defend themselves, as was the case for Jews in Europe and the Muslim world.
The speeches by the Permanent Members (U.S., Britain, China, France and Russia) echoed one another. The essential message from all of them was “both sides must end the violence.” In order not to anger the Arab-Muslim Bloc, the truth was discarded and replaced by formulaic verbiage that removed the context and the facts on the ground. Moral equivalency was used instead. The facts are crystal clear. Incited Arab Palestinians and Arab Israelis are murdering innocent Israeli civilians without provocation of any kind: old people and young and civilians and soldiers are being targeted for only one reason - because they are Jews. Fortunately, Israeli security forces, and in some cases, individual citizens who were by-standers were close enough to prevent more murders by shooting the killers or incapacitating them. Under any universal law or code of justice, self-defense is permissible, and defending the unarmed and innocent civilians is in fact a civic duty.
Something more insidious occurred at the UNSC emergency session that should concern all people of good will who seek an Arab-Israeli peace. The ambassadors of Malaysia and Venezuela shamelessly targeted only Israel – ignoring the Arab-Muslim perpetrators of violence. They compounded anti-Israel bias with unabashed falsehoods, accusing Israel of “70-years of occupation of Palestine.” This has to be a new angle in the attempt to de-legitimize the Jewish state. It rejects Israel even within the June 4, 1967 lines, and its very existence when they considered the pre-1967 Israel as “occupied” Palestinian territory. At the UN though, lies and distortions by dictatorial regimes are fully permissible and encouraged.
Most of the non-permanent members of the UNSC, (Angola, Chad, Chile, Lithuania, New Zealand, Nigeria, and Spain) employed moral-equivalency in their speeches. Jordan, (representing the Arab League) presented a one-sided view, while Malaysia and Venezuela displayed downright hostility toward Israel. The most hypocritical statements however, were made by the alleged “friends” of Israel, particularly the ambassadors of Britain and France, and U.S. ambassador Samantha Powers.
France’s ambassador Francois Delattre called for international action to find a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It sounded like something akin to an “imposed solution.” He said that France is drafting a council statement that will appeal for restraint by all parties and maintaining the status quo at Jerusalem’s holiest site. Israel never changed the status quo and by his emphasizing the matter, he pandered to the Arab-Muslin bloc. “Restraint by all parties” implied that Israel must restrain itself and not protect its citizenry. The reluctance of western powers to put the blame for the violence on the perpetrators constituted the worst kind of moral equivalency.
The British ambassador Matthew Rycroft best expressed the moral equivalency so typical of the UN. In his opening remarks he stated, "The British government condemns all violence, whether committed by Israelis or Palestinians.” No distinction was made in his statement between the attacker and the attacked. Nor, for that matter was the motivation of the Palestinian attackers presented, which is simply to kill any Jew. Those Palestinian killers have been motivated by hateful incitement coming from Mahmoud Abbas, the Northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel led by Raed Salah, Hamas and disseminated through social media. Neither the British ambassador nor the US ambassador Samantha Powers bothered with that “small detail.”
Samantha Powers repeated again the over used phrase of the “cycle of violence.” What could be reasonably assumed from her remark is that if Israelis will not defend themselves, there won’t be a “cycle of violence.” Powers also emphasized “Israeli settler violence,” which had no relevance to the situation at hand. Moreover, Israeli “settlers” have not attacked innocent Palestinians with knives and meat cleavers. Powers also urged both parties to “condemn the violence,” once again using moral equivalency and falsehood. She was clearly aware that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu condemned the violence and called for an unconditional meeting with Abbas to deal with the situation. Instead, Abbas made inflammatory speeches that heightened the violence. These distinctions however, were not recognized by Powers.
veteran columnist Charles Krauthammer called President Obama “the most unfriendly president to Israel since the founding of the state.” He added, that “U.S. President Obama is drawing moral equivalency between habitual Palestinian incitement to terrorism and extremely infrequent Israeli reaction, thus downplaying the severity of Palestinian actions.” Krauthammer’s comments were in response to Obama’s remarks on Friday that “It is important for PM Netanyahu, and Israeli elected officials, and Palestinian Authority President Abbas and other people in a position of power, to try to tamp down rhetoric that may feed violence or anger or misunderstanding.”
In Denmark, according to the conclusion of a study conducted last year, “Christian asylum seekers are repeatedly exposed to everything from harassment to threats and physical abuse by other [Muslim] refugees in the asylum centers, simply because they have converted from Islam to Christianity.” An eight year old Christian boy was repeatedly bullied and beaten by larger Muslim boys on his way to school, to the point that he dropped out. And someone tampered with a Christian asylum seeker’s bicycle so that he crashed and broke both hands.
It certainly seems so. After all, such persecution is not limited to refugees. Christians of Mideast or Asian backgrounds who have been living in the West for years are also being targeted.
Similarly, in the United Kingdom, a Pakistani man, his wife, and their six children are suffering “an appalling ordeal at the hands of neighbours who regard them as blasphemers.” Their “crime” is converting to Christianity—over 20 years ago. Despite being “prisoners in their own home after being attacked in the street, having their car windscreens repeatedly smashed and eggs thrown at their windows” the Christian family says both police and the Anglican church have failed to provide any meaningful support and are “reluctant to treat the problem as a religious hate crime.”
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