Sunday, July 28, 2013

Political Fairy Tales from America's Enemies

by Peter Huessy

Cyber privacy, while a valid concern, is preventing us from seeing how cyber technology is a tool of war our enemies are busy perfecting. Can you imagine what Iran will do once it has a nuclear weapons shield under which to act, in addition to terrorism, cyber warfare and escalating fuel prices?
The Soviet Union and its successor regime were, and still are, masters at creating "propaganda legends masquerading as historical evidence," writes Vladimir Tismaneanu, the director of Maryland's Center for the Study of Post-Communist Societies, in praising a new book, Disinformation, a history of the secret strategies employed by communism to subvert freedom and promote terrorism.

The book's author, Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking Soviet bloc intelligence official ever to defect to the West, follows up his 1988 Red Horizons, an exposé of the massive crimes of Romania's President, Nicolae Ceausescu.

The dangers of political fairy tales, dreamed up by our foreign enemies and which take hold in America, is the top theme of the book.

The Russian-run National Council of Churches (NCC), for example, held a press conference in March, 1996, announcing a "huge increase" in arson cases committed against black churches in the United States. On June 8, in response, a Federal task force was appointed to investigate; and on June 15, 200 FBI and ATF agents were assigned to the case.

Accounts of arson against black churches snowballed; 2,200 press articles appeared to condemn what one organization called "a well-organized white-supremacist movement." The Geneva-based World Council of Churches flew 38 pastors to Washington to provide more information.

On July 13, President Clinton signed into law the Church Fire Prevention Act of 1996, making church arson a federal crime; and a "Burned Churches Fund" of the NCC quickly raised $9 million.

But then members of the National Fire Protection Association released information proving church arson had been declining markedly, and that they could not confirm any which had been racially motivated.

The hoax perpetrated by the World Council of Churches had been entirely controlled by Russian intelligence. The damage, however, had been done: 40% of Canadian teenagers, for example, agreed that the United States was "evil."

We are now in the grips of two "legends" which are, ironically, not creations of Moscow or Peking or Tehran: they are home-grown.

And both legends are propping up our deadliest enemies, as well as supporting the terrorism about which we are so concerned. Also, both legends are being perpetuated by these same enemies, plus others.

The first involves "Global Warming," And the second involves "Cyber Warfare." Both legends are killing us, literally and figuratively, as well as dramatically undermining both our security and our economic well-being.

Global Warming

The Kyoto agreement to curtail greenhouse gases to diminish global warming was adopted December 11, 1997. It entered into force on February 16, 2005.

Its thesis is simple: that the burning of fossil fuels -- petroleum, coal and natural gas -- heats the planet, and will eventually cause an environmental catastrophe. We are told that as possessors of only 5% of the conventional oil reserves, but consumers of 25% of the oil produced globally, we cannot rely upon fossil fuels for our future energy supply and we therefore should use a lot less energy.

Furthermore, goes the fairy tale, there is no purpose in producing more oil here at home because we simply do not have that much.

Therefore, we are told, we have to accept sky-high oil prices of over $4 a gallon, but that we do not have to worry: higher prices will lead to alternatives such as solar and wind.

Well, what are the "facts"?

Over the past half century, as Robert Zubrin has well documented, every spike in oil prices has led to a U.S. recession. On July 4th, 2008, oil hit $147 barrel and crashed the US economy. The US lost $6 trillion in wealth.

Now, five years later, we still have slower economic growth, stagnant incomes and sluggish job creation.

In 1972, we spent $4 billion on imported oil. By 2006, we spent $260 billion. By 2008, the oil import bill reached $450 billion, with our total oil bill at $900 billion. The world spent $3.6 trillion, at least 60% of which went to sovereign wealth funds and governments.

State-sponsored terrorism is highly correlated with both these state owned petroleum resources and OPEC. As the former Director of Central Intelligence, Ambassador R. James Woolsey, quips, this is the only war in which we are funding both sides. The victims -- the US and the West -- are paying the bill of the attackers -- Iran, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia.

Happily, the technology of fracking has developed both millions of barrels of unconventional oil per year and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas. Shortly, the US will be the biggest producer in the world of fossil fuel energy. Moreover, the substitute of natural gas for coal consumption has lowered our greenhouse gas emissions to a level not seen since the early 1990s.

The mythology of global warming, however, imprisons its enthusiasts into still believing the US has only a very small fraction of fossil fuel reserves.

Given the high cost of energy, it is highly unlikely the "normal economic recovery" we still seek will materialize. Only $28 a barrel in December 2008, oil has hovered around $100 for nearly four years. If you add to that the uncertain regulatory environment on health care and the troublesome debt clouds on the horizon, you will see that America's economic wealth is literally trillions of dollars below its potential. As Dr. Zubrin has explained, the past four years have seen close to a $2 trillion transfer of US wealth primarily to OPEC energy producers, a key number of whom are sworn enemies of the United States. And many of whom are investing heavily in major US financial institutions, control over which has significant implications for US sovereignty.

The debt issue, which arises directly from the energy-triggered poor economic and job growth in the US economy, has in turn led us into a spending cul-de-sac in which the cudgel of sequestration now threatens to destroy our military readiness and future technological strength upon which our national security and military capability must rest.

Our worst enemies could not have designed a better strategy to diminish our nation's power and our national security. Who profits the most? OPEC, Venezuela, Iran and Russia among others.

Cyber Warfare

Not content to crush our economy with unnecessarily high energy prices, we have adopted a second fairy tale that may well be even more economically damaging than $4 gasoline and $100 oil.

The irony of the second fairy tale is that while cyber warfare against the United States is a fact of life, we have lulled ourselves into thinking the culprit is excessive gathering of data by our National Security Agency [NSA]. Or, even more foolishly, that if we do not engage in such data-gathering, nobody else will and somehow we will still be safe. Google alone has 50 million results under "NSA Guilty."

So, while we are arguing over whether NSA is snooping "too much," our enemies are robbing us blind of a significant amount of our wealth and technology by using the very cyber technology we are trying to curtail.

House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers explained the dangers we face, on July 22, at the International Institute of Strategic Studies. Iran, manipulating oil data, took down some 30,000 computers of Saudi Aramco last August. Organized crime, much from Russia and China, attack a single credit card processor some 300,000 times a day.

China and others have stolen intellectual property from the United States, says NSA Director General Keith Alexander, including lost business and technology, to the tune of $2 trillion over the past two years. That technology then gets put into products and services that are put on the market by our competitors or applied to military technology that threatens the US and its allies.

Unfortunately, we are losing this fight. The US, Rogers emphasized, does not, as a matter of course, use cyber warfare against others.

But our adversaries do.

Using cyber warfare, Russia shut down the Estonian economy in 2007 and prepared for its invasion of South Ossetia by attacking Georgia in 2008. China's economic growth of 6-7% annually, says Rogers, is fueled in large part by stolen American innovation.

Some argue that there is little to worry about because everybody can deter everybody else. The theory is that, given our collective reliance upon the internet and computers, as everyone is vulnerable to a very high degree, no one will use cyber warfare on a regular basis out of the fear of retaliation. A corollary to this is that the gravest threat from cyber is not an attack from foreign entities, but from us undermining our privacy.

Soldiers from the Virginia Guard's Data Processing Unit conduct a computer network defense exercise on Sept. 15, 2012 in Fairfax. The exercise used different cyber scenarios of varying difficulty in order to evaluate the proficiency levels of the unit's soldiers in computer network defense. (Source: Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Chairman Rogers explained how China embedded in the US electrical grid source codes capable of shutting it down. Some may see this simply as China taking precautionary measures to be able to threaten retaliation should the US attack first.

This view, however, is misguided, says Rogers. China is simply "preparing the economic battlefield" of the 21st century." One company, American Super Computer, dropped in value from $1.8 billion to $170 million after having its technology stolen during a joint venture. Three years ago, China was identified as the number one cyber threat to America, yet today we are losing the fight; barely keeping our head above water, he warns.

Cyber warfare is not just a tool which countries are using to seek economic advantage; as the name implies it is also a tool of war.

Take for example Iran. It is not as if Iran is minding its own business. "According to the Department of Defense," says Rogers, "Iran is responsible for the death of 600 American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan." Can you imagine, he warns, what Iran will do once it has a nuclear weapons shield under which to act, in addition to using terrorism and cyber warfare?

Unfortunately, he says, the sanctions in place against Iran have not slowed down its pursuit of nuclear weapons. It is even more imperative, therefore, that the US and its allies protect themselves not only from cyber threats but also move to keep both Tehran and its nuclear program in check.

Waking Up

During the Cold War the Soviets lulled us to sleep with wonderful fairy tales about détente and peaceful coexistence even as they rampaged around the globe supporting terrorism masquerading as "wars of national liberation."

For too many years now, the US has been in the thrall of these twin "legends" of "dezinformatsiya" that would make the Kremlin proud.

Global warming has been used as a tool to damage US economic growth while adding to the power of the energy regulatory anaconda that grips our economy as well as to the limits on greenhouse gases which look forthcoming. And cyber privacy, while a valid concern, is preventing us from seeing how cyber technology is a tool of war our adversaries are busy perfecting.

Difficult as it is, failing to "Provide for the Common Defense" is not an option our Constitution allows us. As Rep. Rogers explains, "Years ago we fell asleep. We are now awake and the threats are clear." We have no excuse not to act.

Peter Huessy


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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