In the previous presidential election cycle Senator McCain gained notoriety for maintaining that Iraqand Afghanistanappeared to be sharing a border region. Now in 2012, on the other hand, his knowledge of global geography seems to have improved quite a bit. In fact, McCain even went off-script recently: “I’m glad that some of the nations in the Gulf, the Saudis, are providing some weapons [to the Syrian opposition]”, is what he said on CNN on Sunday, 10 June.
As I indicated in earlier entries, the whistle-blower Sibel Edmonds even maintains that the U.S.and Turkeyare providing training for the Syrian opposition, in addition to Saudi and Qatari assistance. The upshot of the conflict in Syriaover the past 15 months has been the loss of at least 10,000 lives, as estimated by the UN. Some opposition groups put the number as high as 14,000.[ii] Does McCain have some kind of an inside source, or is he merely operating his critical faculties??? As such, the Obama administration has recently had to contend with a number of leaks divulging sensitive information concerning the conduct of U.S. foreign policy. The Privacy and Security Fanatic Ms Smith remarks that the “FBI is investigating who spilled national security secrets, this time about Stuxnet and the classified cyberattack program the U.S. launched against Iran nuclear facilities. Senator Feinstein has called for Capitol Hill hearings into the leak since ‘disclosures of this type endanger American lives and undermine America’s national security”.
In the UK’s The Week, Robert Fox writes that the “book Confront and Conceal and a series of articles in the New York Times by David E Sanger [are primarily responsible for the uncomfortable revelations]. The author appears to have enjoyed the status of court chronicler to the Obama circle, much as Bob Woodward did in writing his series of articles and books about the regime of George W Bush. Obama expanded the Bush drone campaigns, but it is the revelation about his commitment to cyber operations that is most startling. According to Sanger’s account – now available as an ebook, though bizarrely not arriving in print for another month – the new president Obama immediately signed up to a series of cyber initiatives and plans under the codename ‘Olympic Games’. The main target was the nuclear fuel refining programme of Iran, specifically the centrifuges at Natanz. The Stuxnet malicious software – malware – was developed with Israel and inserted physically by human agents on the ground”.
So, what about the recent Flame malware??? In Wired, Kim Zetter writes that the “sophisticated espionage toolkit known as Flame is directly tied to the Stuxnet superworm that attacked Iran’s centrifuges in 2009 and 2010, according to researchers who recently found that the main module in Flame contains code that is nearly identical to a module that was used in an early version of Stuxnet. Researchers at Russia-based Kaspersky Lab discovered that a part of the module that allows Flame to spread via USB sticks using the autorun function on a Windows machine contains the same code that was used in a version of Stuxnet that was unleashed on computers in Iran in 2009, reportedly in a joint operation between the United States and Israel. The module, which was known as Resource 207 in Stuxnet, was removed from subsequent versions of Stuxnet, but it served as a platform for what would later develop into the full-fledged Flame malware that is known today. The researchers believe the attackers may have used the Flame module to kickstart their Stuxnet project before taking both pieces of malware into different and separate directions. They’ve detailed the similarities between the modules in Flame and Stuxnet in a blog post”.
And then there are also the drone attacks in Pakistanand Yemen. . . Mister Fox poetically says that President Obama’s “use of drone strikes has been far more profligate than had been suspected up to now”, as revealed in Sanger’s new book, adding that “Obama inherited the drone campaign – used extensively in the Afghan-Pakistan borderlands and in Yemen – from his predecessor, George W Bush”. Or, the more things change, the more they stay the same . . .
[i] “McCain: Gulf states supply arms to Syrian opposition” RT (11 June 2012). http://www.rt.com/news/mccain-gulf-arms-syria-568/.
[ii] “McCain:Gulf states supply arms to Syrian opposition”.
[iv] Rober Fox, “Flame and Stuxnet show Obama’s commitment to Chinese cyberwar” The Week (11 June 2012). http://www.theweek.co.uk/defence/47345/flame-and-stuxnet-show-obamas-commitment-chinese-cyberwar.
[v] Kim Zetter, “Researchers Connect Flame to US-Israel Stuxnet Attack” Wired (11 June 2012). http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/06/flame-tied-to-stuxnet.
[vi] Rober Fox, “Flame and Stuxnet show Obama’s commitment to Chinese cyberwar”.