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Hezbollah, an ignored danger

It has been around for a while. There has been a clear view on how we perceive things, it is in part fuelled by the media and in part through governments that use the flim flam artist approach of ‘watch here‘ whilst the action has been ‘there‘. We have seen a larger growth of anti-Semitic and even anti-Saudi ‘presentations’ and articles. Even though there has been a clear issue with several sides towards the ‘unnatural ending’ of Jamal Khashoggi, the media was way too eager to merely use Turkish innuendo, whilst to a larger extent no verifiable evidence has been produces, even some of the claims have been contradictive. This does not mean that Saudi Arabia is innocent in this, but the critical questions had remained absent to a much larger degree and that too is being swept under the carpet. Yet there is a lot more in all this and it’s important to look at one of the larger puppets Hezbollah. You see, they are very much connected in all this.

Historical

For me personally there is history, I was never part of UNIFIL, yet I was part of the United Nations Security Council and I knew people who were part of UNIFIL, so when I was exposed to ”One year later, following a comprehensive operation by the institute and due to growing international attention to UNIFIL’s failures – and despite EU pressure to prolong the UNIFIL commander’s term – his term was discontinued“, as well as ““The European continent has turned into the lifeline – the oxygen line – for Hezbollah’s terrorist activities,” said Prosor. “If Germany, and then the European Union, would designate all of Hezbollah as a terrorist entity, it would suffocate part of the organization’s ability to function.” For more than a year, the institute researched and produced an investigative documentary on Hezbollah activity in Germany. The film was produced entirely in the German language and with German and international experts“, I was decently shocked. The Jerusalem Post gave us in addition: “the lack of professional background of the commander who was leading the force and his blind eye toward Hezbollah’s violations on the Israel-Lebanon border, deeming them as activities of “shepherds and hunters.”“, the fact that there was this level of complacency was just unheard of. The fact that the other media is seemingly ignoring parts of this is just way too weird. Now, we can consider that the Jerusalem Post is biased, yet when we consider both The documentary was first shown at the 2018 International Conference on Counter-Terrorism and at the presentation to the German Parliament at the end of this month, we should realise that this is a much bigger issue, in addition UN Nikki Haley publicly criticized UNIFIL at the UN, one would think that this is due more visibility then we have so far seen, and when we also see: “while it seems obvious in Israel and America that Hezbollah’s military and political arms are both sponsors of terrorism, in Europe this is not so obvious. There, they make an artificial differentiation between the military arm – a designated terrorist group – and the political arm“, It is almost like the entire IRA issues we saw in Europe in the 80’s and 90’s and whilst Europe remained cautious in regards to the IRA, it is seemingly willing to embrace the political arm of Hezbollah that is every bit as dangerous as its military counterpart.

A facilitating gravy train

There are two additional parts here. The first is less than a day old when we are ‘treated’ to: ‘Hezbollah money laundering has a ‘safe home in Germany”, again from the Jerusalem Post, that even whilst we are given “Lax German illicit terror finance policies permitted Hezbollah to run a vast enterprise to raise funds through a money laundering operation in Europe and South America. French prosecutors put 15 members of the criminal organization on trial last week in Paris. According to three German media outlets – NDR, WDR and the Süddeutsche Zeitung – two of the accused men lived in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and an additional two men who were charged lived near the city-state of Bremen in northern Germany“, I could not find any references in other large media (outside of Germany and France). If they have it, it was hidden pretty efficiently. It seems to me (very speculative) is that there is optionally a growing link between the political branch of Hezbollah and the secular press as the Americans call it and that is pretty dangerous. When we consider that Hezbollah is directly engaged in Yemen, the ignoring of such events is a lot more damaging than you could imagine.

There are additional sides in this, yet most of this is given in opinion pieces, which is a factor that we must take into consideration. The first comes from the Khashoggi family (aka The Washington Post), who (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/to-rescue-yemen-the-us-must-end-all-military-support-of-the-saudi-coalition/2018/11/12/aca29358-e6ad-11e8-b8dc-66cca409c180_story.html) gives us ‘To rescue Yemen, the U.S. must end all military support of the Saudi coalition‘, now, it is a viewpoint that a person should be allowed to have. I do not think it is a realistic one, apart from the fact that ‘Houthi’ is mentioned twice and Hezbollah does not get any mention and they are both firing missiles into civilian areas of Saudi Arabia (and that is all besides the absence of Iranian activity fuelling it all). Yet the passing of a ‘blogger aficionada‘ (aka Journalist) takes front seat to a setting where that person should not really be an issue to the degree he is shown. The stage gives us “in which more than 16,000 civilians have been killed or injured“, yet the mention of 50,000+ deaths from disease, famine and other means where Houthi’s are allegedly using Hezbollah tactics does not get any mention either.

It is that filtered view that is giving light to a behind the curtains support setting to Palestine and Hezbollah. Now, to be fair, a person should be allowed to be pro-Palestinian, if people are Pro-Israel, the other should not be denied, yet Pro-Hezbollah, to be in support of a terrorist organisation is a much bigger issue and that hidden part is becoming a lot more visible, especially when the news is shown to be so unbalanced, even when it is ‘fronted’ as an opinion piece. so when we see the links (as an image), whilst it is almost all openly ‘anti-Saudi’, yet the fact that the atrocities that Houthi and Hezbollah have been largely the cause of, that absence is making the news not democratic, but a shadowy version of niche events presented as factual truth, whilst the given view on the larger scale shows this absence to be close to utterly unethical, especially for a paper like the Washington Post, whether they are now staff-1 or not.

1982 kilometres from Beirut

So how should we react to: “Even U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres submitted evidence to the Security Council that Iran was supplying ballistic missiles to Houthi rebels in defiance of U.N. resolution 2231“, which links to a 2014 article, yet the truth is that this has been ongoing and even as Western Europe is puckering up towards Iran to a much larger degree, leaving the political response against Hezbollah unanswered and more important Mohammed Ali al-Houthi is not seen as the guilty party he should be seen as. It is often stated that any aspiring tyrant will consider peace on the eve of defeat and that is what we see now. Even as we are treated to ‘Arab coalition to allow Al Houthi medical evacuations from Yemen: UK‘, we also see ‘Wounded Al Houthi rebels to be evacuated‘, yet what about the 80,000 children on the brink of death due to famine? Even as some might applaud the Saudi Coalition victory, seen though: “Recent high-ranking defections among erstwhile allies of Al Houthis signal further such splits as the Iran-aligned militia suffers setbacks at the hands of the Saudi-led coalition, experts said. This week, Abdul Salam Jaber, who had served as the information minister for Al Houthis, defected from the militia and fled the Al Houthi-controlled capital Sana’a for Riyadh. He said the rebels were “breathing their last”“, the biggest responsibility should be to the Yemeni civilian population in such distress through famine and disease alone. Even Deutsche Welle reported ‘Yemen Houthis seek truce with Saudi coalition‘, yet nothing on those starving to death and even as the Deutsche Welle gives us “The three-and-a-half-year-war has pitted forces loyal to President President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, backed by the Saudi-led bombing, against Houthi rebels associated with Tehran. Saudi-led coalition has recently intensified the bombing in the key strategic area of Hodeida. A blockade of the port city could trigger unprecedented famine“. Even as the blockade might be tactical, the fact that food has been withheld from the civilian population to a much larger degree through the Houthi whether or not employing Hezbollah tactics is also absent here.

For me the problem is a lot larger, as we clearly see the impact of Hezbollah and the absence in the media, the media is becoming less and less reliable, especially as the stories remain one sided. There is a larger part in all this. Personally I am not convinced that this is the complete picture, and I need to make it clear that this is speculative. It is my personal belief that when we consider The National (at http://www.thenational.ae) and some of its unconfirmed articles, some might have seen: ““This was no rogue operation but, rather, a function of Hezbollah’s “financial apparatus,” which “maintained direct ties” to both Hezbollah commercial and terrorist elements,” he wrote in a report published by the Washington Institute of the US Treasury designation of Nourheddine, which preceded the arrests. “Within days of this designation, Noureddine was arrested in France along with several other accused Hezbollah operatives“, as well as ‘Operation Cedar—of which the Treasury designation was just one part‘. I am amazed that the Netherlands were not more visibly mentioned in all this. It seems weird, almost unfathomable that this was all achieved without the use of Rotterdam as a point of transit. Even as transitional cargo is not really looked as, as the Netherlands was not the end destination, it is the biggest world hub in getting containers and bulk cargo from anywhere in Europe towards Asia and the US (and vice versa). This implies that Hezbollah political players are seemingly active there too. The article does mention the Netherlands, yet in a much more ‘timid’ capacity. We see: “Cash was dropped off at hairdressers in Antwerp in Belgium, a large hotel in Paris, a restaurant in Montreuil or a café in Enschede in the Netherlands. Transcripts showed that Mr Noureddine would hand out orders for the collection of as much as 500,000 euros at a time. Six figure sums were often delivered in small note denominations” and that makes sense for the German part (Enschede – Germany) is a distance you can walk (4.5 km) with a highway to Gronau, so that is a place to easily get into Germany (and the opposite direction), hundreds of containers a day take that route. when we consider the news a month ago, when the Dutch were confronted with: ‘Dutch politician praises pro-Palestinian kite show featuring Nazi symbols‘, my assumptions and speculations might be shown as correct, yet is that the actual part in that? So when the Dutch were treated to: “Rens Reijnierse, a lawmaker from the southern city of Vlissingen” and his Pro-Palestinian view “Kites at Pool Beach. Beautiful autumn day in Vlissingen. No wind so the kites won’t fly but the project for Palestine still succeeded,” he wrote” as it was tweeted gives light to not merely a Pro-Palestinian view (which should be allowed) to an optional facilitating Pro-Hezbollah view (a speculative view by me), which is another matter entirely, if that would prove to be true, and even as I mention one person, I am convinced that the anti-Semitic vandalism as shown 6 months ago in Amsterdam was recorded to have risen by 40%. From my speculative mind, there is no way that this does not include a wave of Pro Hezbollah people giving light to a much larger danger on a global scale.

The size does not matter here, the fact that the media is allegedly shuffling this part to the bottom of the news pile is an issue and the few parts I have shown here, should also give rise that the media to a much larger extent is seemingly doing this. Merely Google ‘Hezbollah‘ for the last 24 hours and I see an absence of The Guardian, The Independent, the Times, and several other large newspapers in Europe. Do you really think I was making that up? It is not merely what we see; it is what we do not get to see that shows us that there is a much larger problem. Optionally there is a hidden danger, which is nothing to speculate or allege to. Those who are not in the news are often quickly forgotten and that is the true danger that Hezbollah is representing on a global stage. You merely have to view the thousands of images that show the nightmare that Hezbollah has been part of to see the danger that they pose, the fact that Iran is willing and has been shown to fund this is the icing on the cakes of Iran and Hezbollah, the fact that the media skates around it makes the cake more delicious for both these players as they are not given the limelight of their actions.

 

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The price of identity

We all have needs, we all have identities. It is important to us, as it is for many others. No one debates or disagrees with it. Yet what to do when identity hinders us? When we see the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/former-nsa-deputy-is-mattiss-leading-choice-to-head-the-spy-service-if-it-splits-from-cyber-command/2018/10/05/1be8d7a8-c73d-11e8-b2b5-79270f9cce17_story.html) giving us ‘Former NSA deputy is Mattis’s leading choice to head the spy service if it splits from Cyber Command‘, we need to consider the impact of identity, corporate identity, governmental identity, military identity, projected and presented identity. They are not the same and can vary to a much larger degree. When someone is part of what used to be referred to ‘No Such Agency‘. We will get the impact of identity; we all know that and many faced it too. Look at any friend or co-worker you have ever known and ask him/her about the impact of a merger and they will tell you, there are changes. Some are subtly, some are not noticed, yet others are, usually in infrastructure and the way things were done. Now the change tends to be for the good in the long run but that is not a given.

So what gives?

It is my personal observation and a highly speculative one at that. Yet I believe that the Washington Post giving us: “The current head of both organizations, Gen. Paul Nakasone, has urged Mattis to keep the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command under one leader on the grounds that the nine-year-old military organization is not ready to stand on its own, these people said. In recent weeks, Mattis was close to a decision to separate the leadership arrangement, but Nakasone’s counsel has caused him to reconsider, according to two U.S. officials. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations“, is not entirely accurate. I believe that ‘military organization is not ready to stand on its own‘ is not the setting that matter. I believe that Stratfor who gives us ‘A New, More Aggressive U.S. Cybersecurity Policy Complements Traditional Methods‘ is very much at the heart of that. I believe that the general is not ready or perhaps unwilling to set the offensive and aggressive part in motion. Now, this is no bad reflection on the general, let that be a first. He is well decorated, he has seen the field in many ways and he has done a fair share of field events. He has earned his rank. I merely wonder that a man who has seemingly played a defence and protection game is the man for the offense. I think that this is a football moment, and as a non-football expert (and a 49ers fan) I would compare the General to DeMarcus Lawrence from the Dallas Cowboys against what the US seems to demand is a Derrick Henry (Tennessee Titans), or even a Tom Brady (New England Patriots), roles that are not really moveable. Even as a Quarterback might become a really good Derick Henry that Quarterback will never become a DeMarcus Lawrence. The defence and offense game is that far apart. This is where Chris Inglis comes in. He is an analyst (at heart), he is used to counter offensive strategies and introduce strategies of his own (effective one’s mind you). I believe that this is the game that is in the open at present and these two will need to find a way to make it work. Not merely because it is good for the needed strategy, but because the segregation of the two elements might hurt U.S. Cyber Command in a few ways, not merely funding, but the elements that U.S. Cyber Command currently have access to will partially fall away and getting two infrastructures like the NSA is unyielding, unaffordable and in the end will introduce flaws and dangers on both sides of the isle making the setting (as I personally see it) a non-option right of the bat. Stratfor gives us a few other items.

One of them is “A best-case scenario for a U.S. cyberattack would be disabling computer systems and networks being used against U.S. interests to prevent an attack from happening or to disrupt an attack that is in progress“. The problem there is that some of the opponents are getting to be really good at what they do and a few of them are not state driven, not by any state changing the dynamics of the solution. Even as I discussed the hop+1 strategy almost three years ago, settings like that require an expert layer one knowledge and the players cannot both have these experts changing the needs of the infrastructure overnight.

The second consideration is: “Perhaps the main challenge to U.S. engagement in tit-for-tat cyberattacks is that the United States is by far the biggest target for such attacks“. That might be true but that goes beyond mere true enemies, it includes a truckload of students wanting to finger the man (or is that giving them the bird)? Do they really want to waste resources to those people whilst the US has actual enemies in the world?

The larger issue is seen with: “Discussing the strategy, national security adviser John Bolton hinted that the administration had already taken steps to bolster offensive efforts in recent weeks, warning that the United States is no longer just playing defense when it comes to cybersecurity. But despite the Trump administration’s more hawkish tone regarding cybersecurity, it will continue mainly to rely on traditional measures such as the legal process, regulations and cooperation with the private sector when it comes to cybersecurity” It is here when we get the consideration of the resources required. The defence, offense and legal sides of it all becomes a real mess if the two split up giving the chance that targets and issues walk away on technicalities. How does that help?

The strategy s even more profound when we consider “Clandestine, discreet attacks are certainly already key elements of U.S. cyber tactics. There have likely been more examples of U.S.-launched attacks that have not come to light, perhaps because they were never recognized as cyberattacks. While the less known about U.S. cyber capabilities, the more effective they will be when deployed, this by definition limits the deterrence value of U.S. cyber capabilities“, at this point is the setting of ‘discreet’ that comes into play. With the two separated they will get into each other’s fare waters and more important give accidental light to the discreet part of the operation, there will be no avoiding it, only the most delusional person would think that it does not get out when more than one player is involved, because that will always introduce a third item being the intermediary, the cold war taught many players that part of the equation. And that is even before we get to the statement: “recent cases like the September indictment of North Korean cyber operatives, which displayed heavy FBI reliance on private security firms such as Mandiant and Alphabet to collect technical evidence and carry out investigations“, now we see the folly as Mandiant and Alphabet are mentioned, the entire matter grows further as soon as Constellis becomes part of the equation. That is beside the point of realising (highly speculative on my side) that neither three Mandiant, Alphabet and Constellis have the required safe servers in place to prevent names, places and facts from going out into the open. I might not be able to get in, but there are dozens who will get in and that voids the security of the matter to a much larger degree. For arguments sake I will leave Booz Allan Hamilton out of that equation, they have been snowed on long enough.

And even as we see the instance of legal preference, the US must realise that any attack from state or non-state parties in China or Russia has close to 0% of being successful (outside of the exposure part), the entire matter in case of the OPCW in the Netherlands is one. An attack was thwarted, yet was it THE attack? The guardian article (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/04/visual-guide-how-dutch-intelligence-thwarted-a-russian-hacking-operation) reads nice, and we see all these facts and from my point of view, things do not add up. You see, I would have used the car that we see mentioned “In the boot of their car was uncovered an arsenal of specialist electronic Wi-Fi hacking equipment” as a fire and forget consumable, use it as an access point, segregating the hacker from the accessing unit. When you have (as they stated) “cash: €20,000 and $20,000” getting a second car far enough to access yet not be directly linked is seemingly easy enough. Then there is the setting of the photo at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. I am not debating the issue of the photo, it seems genuine enough. In this operation they did not fly to Germany and took the train, or take a car and cross at Oldenzaal, Emerich, or even via Belgium and enter via Antwerp, or Eindhoven. It almost read like they wanted to get noticed. They know that Amsterdam Airport is high tech and nothing escapes their camera eyes. To me (a paranoid me) it comes across as ‘Where did they not want us to look‘. A mere sleight of hand deception, and again the entire GRU mention. A phone outside of that building and they had the taxi receipt? No one merely driving them to the airport in Russia or even them taking a bus from any hotel in Moscow. No a taxi receipt of all things, is anyone buying that? So in this it is not the Dutch, it is the Russian side that makes no sense at all.

How did I get there?

This is the initial setting of offense and defence. The proper application of strategy in all this matters, because we seem to undervalue and underestimate the need of either in all this. Because we get to push a button anywhere and anytime we seem to underestimate on what is recorded, what is collected and what can we verify. That entire mistake is how any offensive strategy can optionally become folly from the moment the instigation of ‘press any key‘ to start gets us. Proper offensive is not about doing what needs to be done, it is about being able to prove who did what. Perhaps Sony remembers that part as they were given that it was North Korea did something, whilst their computers were not even close to PC gaming ready, the mere processor, which was about 25% (at best) of a 1994 Silicon Graphics Indigo system is not the system that gives you what you need to hack the night away. The tools are equally as important as the access and ability to negate identity. When you see that part, the entire hop+1 intrusion path makes a lot more sense.

This now gets us to the end of the Washington Post, where we were treated to: ““As the build of the cyber mission force wraps up, we’re quickly shifting gears from force generation to sustainable readiness,” Nakasone said in a statement in May. “We must ensure we have the platforms, capabilities and authorities ready and available” to carry out successful cyber-offensives. Some former senior intelligence and defense officials oppose separating the “dual-hat” leadership arrangement, including former NSA Director Keith Alexander, former Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. This week, former CIA Director David Petraeus, a retired Army general, said during a Washington Post cyber summit that he’d keep the dual-hat arrangement “for the time being.”” It is not merely the ‘we have the platforms, capabilities and authorities ready and available‘, you see, when we get to capabilities we see the need of offensive players and even as Cyber command might be aces in their field, the offensive game differs to some degree and even as we see that they are way above the student levels, we get back to the Football equivalent you see the application of defence and offense. It is not DeMarcus Lawrence versus Derrick Henry, the question becomes can DeMarcus Lawrence be a Derrick Henry that is good enough, that is the battle within. The mere realisation that if you fail this when the offensive is broken into a train wreck that makes the limelight in every paper, that is the game that is the dilemma that Gen. Paul Nakasone faces as I personally see it.

And when we see Stratfor with the one little gem we did not consider, the mere proposed fact that North Korea has a mere 9,000 IP Addresses, do you really think that they could have done this all, or are we in a setting where someone had the ability to act on BGP hijacking and was able to mask it to the level it needed to be masked at, because that was the offensive play that needed to be considered and there was no way that the evidence had been uncovered to that degree with a backdoor could be removed with a simple reset of routers.

#FourtyNinersRule

 

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