“Mixed”… Ξανά!..

Γειά και Χαρά σας!

1. Άγνοια ή και διαστρέβλωση της Ιστορίας προδίδει η καινοφανής άποψη που ακούσθηκε ότι δηλαδή μεγάλοι ήρωες του 1821 και των μετέπειτα εθνικών αγώνων υπήρξαν Αλβανοί.

Γίνεται σύγχυση με τους Αρβανίτες, τους αρβανιτόφωνους Έλληνες. Άλλο, όμως, Αλβανοί και άλλο Αρβανίτες. Υπάρχει μεγάλη διαφορά. Και εξηγούμεθα:

Ο Μάρκος Μπότσαρης, στην μνήμη του οποίου ασεβούν πολλοί, ήταν Έλλην αρβανιτόφωνος, όπως όλοι οι Σουλιώτες. Η ελληνική του συνείδηση φαίνεται και από την περίφημη φράση που είπε όταν πρωτοπάτησε στα Επτάνησα: «Ο Έλλην δεν μπορεί να αισθάνεται ελεύθερος εκεί όπου κυματίζει η Βρεττανική σημαία». Το δε Λεξικό που έγραψε ήταν της αρβανίτικης – όχι αλβανικής – και ρωμαίικης απλής (νεοελληνικής). Άλλωστε δεν θα μπορούσε να έχει αλβανική εθνική συνείδηση, διότι κάτι τέτοιο εμφανίζεται μόλις το 1878 με την Λίγκα της Πριζρένης – Κοσσυφοπεδίου και μάλιστα ως τεχνιτό κατασκεύασμα ξένων δυνάμεων και θρησκευτικών προπαγανδών.

Κατά την Τουρκοκρατία δεν υπήρχε έθνος Αλβανών. Οι κάτοικοι της σημερινής Αλβανίας διεκρίνοντο με κριτήριο την θρησκεία τους. Οι Ορθόδοξοι ήσαν Ρωμιοί, εντεταγμένοι στο ίδιο Γένος με τους υπόλοιπους Έλληνες. Οι Μουσουλμάνοι ένοιωθαν Τούρκοι, εξ ου και ο όρος Τουρκαλβανοί. Εάν μιλούμε για αλβανική συμμετοχή στην Ελληνική Επανάσταση δεν πρέπει να αναφερόμαστε στους Μποτσαραίους, την Μπουμπουλίνα και τους Κουντουριώτηδες, αλλά στους Τουρκαλβανούς που χρησιμοποιήθηκαν από την άλλη πλευρά ως σφαγείς των Ελλήνων.

Οι Βυζαντινοί πρόγονοί μας δεν ανέφεραν Αλβανούς στην Βαλκανική. Ο Κωνσταντίνος Πορφυρογέννητος ονομάζει Αλβανούς μία φυλή του Καυκάσου. Ο Γεώργιος Καστριώτης – Σκεντέρμπεης, που θεωρείται εθνικός ήρωας των σημερινών Αλβανών, ονόμαζε εαυτόν Ορθόδοξον Ηπειρώτη (15ο αιών). Σε έγγραφα της Γαληνοτάτης Δημοκρατίας της Βενετίας στα τέλη του 15ου αιώνος η λέξη «Αλβανός» ερμηνεύεται » Έλληνες από την Ήπειρο και την Πελοπόννησο» χωρίς να αμφισβητείται η ελληνική συνείδησή τους. Η αλβανική συνείδηση είναι οπωσδήποτε ξενόφερτο κατασκεύασμα όπως αποδεικνύουν και μαρτυρίες των ιδίων των ενδιαφερομένων , τις οποίες κατέγραψε ο σύγχρονός μας διαπρεπής Βαλκανιολόγος Αχιλλεύς Λαζάρου.

Όταν η Ιταλία και η Αυστροουγγαρία για δικούς τους λόγους προσπαθούσαν να κατασκευάσουν αλβανικό κράτος ώστε να ελέγχουν την είσοδο της Αδριατικής, οι Τουρκαλβανοί ύψωναν στο Δυρράχιο την οθωμανική σημαία !

Προτιμούσαν την τουρκική παρά την άγνωστη σ’ αυτούς αλβανική εθνική συνείδηση. Άλλωστε και στους Βαλκανικούς πολέμους οι Μουσουλμάνοι της Αλβανίας πολέμησαν, και μάλιστα δυναμικά, στις τάξεις του Οθωμανικού στρατού.

Μετά το 1908 πολλά από τα μέλη του Νεοτουρκικού κομιτάτου, το οποίο σχεδίασε και ξεκίνησε τον διωγμό των Ελλήνων ήταν Τουρκαλβανοί.

Η λέξη Αλβανία, σημαίνει Λευκή Χώρα από το λατινικό ΑΛΜΠΑ : λευκή. Είναι όρος με γεωγραφική και όχι εθνολογική σημασία.

Ο όρος Αρβανίτης που αφορά τους Σουλιώτες, τους Υδραίους, τους Σπετσιώτες και πολλούς κατοίκους των Μεσογείων, προέρχεται από τελείως διαφορετική ρίζα. Συγκεκριμένα από τη λέξη «Άρβανον», τοπωνύμιο της Βορείου Ηπείρου, που το βρίσκουμε ήδη από τον 11ο αιώνα στα κείμενα της Άννας Κομνηνής.

Από το Άρβανον, δηλαδή από την Ελληνικοτάτη Βόρειο Ήπειρο, κατέβηκαν σε πόλεις και νησιά της Νοτίου Ελλάδος ελληνικοί πληθυσμοί που μιλούσαν αρβανίτικα. Δηλαδή μία διάλεκτο ανάμικτη με αρχαία ελληνικά, λατινικά, τουρκικά και εντόπια βαλκανικά γλωσσικά στοιχεία. Οι αρβανιτόφωνοι Έλληνες ουδέποτε είχαν διαφορετική συνείδηση από τους υπόλοιπους Έλληνες. Παρεμφερές παράδειγμα μας δίδουν οι σλαβόφωνοι Μακεδονομάχοι Κώττας, Κύρου, Νταλίπης και άλλοι, οι οποίοι πολέμησαν υπέρ της Ελλάδος κατά των Βουλγάρων κομιτατζήδων. Καθώς και οι τουρκόφωνοι Ορθόδοξοι της Καππαδοκίας που κράτησαν μέσω της Εκκλησίας την ελληνικότητά τους αν και έχασαν την ελληνική γλώσσα. Οι δίγλωσσοι Έλληνες αρβανιτόφωνοι, βλαχόφωνοι, σλαβόφωνοι, κ.λ.π. μας προσφέρουν χαρακτηριστικές αποδείξεις ότι στα Βαλκάνια κατά τους τελευταίους πέντε τουλάχιστον αιώνες η Ορθόδοξη πίστη – και γενικότερα η θρησκεία – διαμορφώνει την εθνική συνείδηση πολύ περισσότερο και από το γλωσσικό ιδίωμα.

Η σύγχυση μεταξύ των λέξεων Αλβανός και Αρβανίτης δημιουργείται μόνον στην ελληνική γλώσσα, διότι φαίνονται να μοιάζουν οι δύο όροι ηχητικά. Η ομοιότης είναι μόνο επιφανειακή. Στην ουσία διαφέρουν κατά πολύ. Άλλωστε οι ίδιοι οι Αλβανοί αποκαλούν εαυτούς Σκιπετάρ και την χώρα τους Σκιπερία : χώρα των Αετών. Τι κοινό μπορούν να έχουν ένας Σκιπετάρ και ένα Έλλην αρβανιτόφωνος ; Ίσως ο ένας να μπορεί να καταλαβαίνει κάποιες λέξεις από τον άλλο. Αλλά αυτό δεν σημαίνει ότι είχαν η έχουν την ίδια εθνική συνείδηση… Μην ξεχνούμε ότι Σέρβοι, Κροάτες και Βοσνιομουσουλμάνοι μιλούν ακριβώς την ίδια γλώσσα, παρά ταύτα συγκρούσθηκαν μεταξύ τους με οδυνηρές συνέπειες.

Σέβομαι και κατανοώ τις προσπάθειες πολιτικών και δημοσιογράφων να περιορίσουν τα ενδεχόμενα φαινόμενα ρατσισμού και ξενοφοβίας – αν και οι ρίζες των προβλημάτων δεν έχουν μελετηθεί σωστά – στην κοινωνία μας. Όμως κάτι τέτοιο δεν γίνεται με άγνοια η παραποίηση της ιστορικής αλήθειας. Ας μάθουμε καλά την Ιστορία μας ώστε και τους Έλληνες Αρβανίτες να τιμούμε για την εθνική τους προσφορά και με τον γείτονα αλβανικό λαό να διατηρούμε σχέσεις καλής γειτονίας, χωρίς βεβαίως να λησμονούμε την ελληνική κοινότητα της Βορείου Ηπείρου.

του Κων/νου Χολέβα, Πολιτικού Επιστήμονος

Πηγή: Χιμάρα

2.

Έτσι παραχωρήθηκε η Βόρεια Ήπειρος στην Αλβανία! Τα νησιά του Αιγαίου και οι Μεγάλες Δυνάμεις

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Διαβάστε την ιστορία παραχώρησης της Βορείου Ηπείρου στην Αλβανία από τη χώρα μας με αντάλλαγμα τα νησιά του Ανατολικού Αιγαίου μετά από απόφαση των Μεγάλων Δυνάμεων.

Σαν σήμερα, στις 13 Φεβρουαρίου 1914, οι Μεγάλες Δυνάμεις αποφασίζουν ότι τα νησιά του Ανατολικού Αιγαίου θα κατακυρωθούν στην Ελλάδα, εάν αυτή αποχωρήσει από τη Βόρειο Ήπειρο.

Όλα ξεκίνησαν με το Πρωτόκολλο της Φλωρεντίας που υπογράφηκε στις 13 Φεβρουαρίου του 1914 στην ιταλική πόλη από τις Μεγάλες Δυνάμεις και με το οποίο χαράζονταν τα αλβανικά σύνορα. Η περιοχή της Βόρειας Ηπείρου παραχωρούνταν στην Αλβανία, η οποία είχε αναγνωριστεί επίσημα ως ανεξάρτητο κράτος με τη Συνθήκη του Λονδίνου.

Σύμφωνα με την απόφαση το Αργυρόκαστρο, το Βουθρωτό, το Δέλβινο, η Κορυτσά, η Χειμάρα, οι Άγιοι Σαράντα και η νήσος Σάσων ήταν πλέον αλβανικά εδάφη. Οι Μεγάλες Δυνάμεις, οι οποίες μετείχαν στη συνδιάσκεψη ήταν η Αγγλία , η Γαλλία, η Ιταλία, η Ρωσία, η Γερμανία, και η Αυστροουγγαρία. Η συμμαχία της Ιταλίας και της Αυστρίας, ήθελε ένα ανεξάρτητο κράτος στην περιοχή για να αποτελεί μία ζώνη ουδέτερη που να μπορεί να μετατραπεί εύκολα σε προγεφύρωμα σε πολεμική φάση.

Μέσα σε μια νύχτα οι ελληνικοί πληθυσμοί της περιοχή ανήκαν σε διαφορετικό έθνος. Αρχικά ο Ελευθέριος Βενιζέλος αρνήθηκε να παραχωρήσει την περιοχή. Ωστόσο, τον Φεβρουάριο του 1914 οι Μεγάλες Δυνάμεις έστειλαν υπόμνημα στο ελληνικό κράτος στο οποίο διαμήνυαν ότι αν δεν αποχωρούσαν οι ελληνικές δυνάμεις δεν θα γινόταν αναγνώριση των νησιών του Αιγαίου.

Τελικά, η Ελλάδα έκανε πίσω όμως σύντομα ξέσπασαν αναταραχές ανάμεσα στους Βορειοηπειρώτες και τους Αλβανούς. Ακολούθησε το πρωτόκολλο της Κέρκυρας, με το οποίο η Βόρεια Ήπειρος αναγνωρίστηκε ως αυτόνομη περιοχή υπό αλβανική κυριαρχία.

Η Αλβανία συγκροτήθηκε ως Κράτος με τη Συνθήκη του Λονδίνου τον Μάιο του 1913 και τα σύνορά της καθορίστηκαν με το Πρωτόκολλο της Φλωρεντίας στις 17 Δεκεμβρίου 1913. Οι τότε μεγάλες δυνάμεις συμπεριέλαβαν στο νεοσύστατο αλβανικό κράτος και το κομμάτι της Βορείου Ηπείρου. Στη φωτογραφία το αρχηγείο των Ηπειρωτών στους Αγίους Σαράντα τον Απρίλιο του 1914

Πόσες φορές απελευθερώθηκε η Β. Ήπειρος από τον ελληνικό στρατό

Πρώτη απελευθέρωση της Β. Ηπείρου (Α’ Βαλκανικός Πόλεμος)

Κατά τον Α’ Βαλκανικό πόλεμο, ο ελληνικός στρατός μετά την απελευθέρωση των Ιωαννίνων από τους Οθωμανούς (21 Φεβρουαρίου 1913) είχε απελευθερώσει και όλες πόλεις της Βορείου Ηπείρου.

Δεύτερη απελευθέρωση της Β. Ηπείρου (Α’ Παγκόσμιος Πόλεμος)

Όμως η κατάσταση άλλαξε όταν ξεκίνησε ο Α’ Παγκόσμιος Πόλεμος. Στις 14 Οκτωβρίου 1914 ο ελληνικός στρατός προέλασε για δεύτερη φορά στη Βόρεια Ήπειρο, όμως πάλι με τη λήξη του πολέμου οι Σύμμαχοι επιδίκασαν τα εδάφη στην Αλβανία, με αποτέλεσμα πολλά ελληνικά σχολεία να κλείσουν και η ελληνική μειονότητα να περιοριστεί από το αλβανικό κράτος.

Τρίτη απελευθέρωση της Β. Ηπείρου (Β’ Παγκόσμιος Πόλεμος)

Οι Έλληνες κατάφεραν για τρίτη φορά να καταλάβουν ξανά τα εδάφη στον Β’ Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο όταν αντεπιτέθηκαν στον ιταλικό στρατό και μπήκαν θριαμβευτές στα ελληνικά χωριά της Β. Ηπείρου. Πρώτα απελευθερώθηκαν οι Άγιοι Σαράντα στις 6 Δεκεμβρίου 1940. Το ύψωμα 613 καταλήφθηκε μέσα σε χιονοθύελλα και πολύνεκρο αγώνα εκ του συστάδην, στις 17 Δεκεμβρίου. Στις 19 Δεκεμβρίου κατελήφθησαν, με βαριές απώλειες, από το 6ο Σώμα Πεζικού το στρατηγικής σημασίας ύψωμα Γκιάμι (βόρεια του Πανόρμου) και το ύψωμα Τσίπι (βόρεια του Πύλιουρι). Ανατολικότερα καταλήφθηκε από το απόσπασμα Τσακαλώτου το ισχυρά οργανωμένο ύψωμα Μάλι ε Τζόρετ και ο αυχένας Κούτσι μετά από τριήμερο σκληρό αγώνα που απέφερε στη σημαία του 4ου Σ.Π. χρυσό αριστείο ανδρείας. Στις 21 Δεκεμβρίου, οι Ιταλοί αναγκάστηκαν να εκκενώσουν την πόλη της Χειμάρρας. Πλήθος αιχμαλώτων, ανάμεσα τους και δύο αντισυνταγματάρχες, αλλά και μεγάλος οπλισμός περιέρχονταν στα ελληνικά χέρια. Τη νύχτα του Σαββάτου 22 Δεκεμβρίου 1940, ελληνικά τμήματα εισέρχονταν στην Χειμάρρα και η πόλη επανενώθηκε για λίγο με την Ελλάδα μέχρι τη Γερμανική εισβολή το 1941. Τον Απρίλιο του 1941 μετά την Γερμανική επίθεση που εκδηλώθηκε στα σύνορα με την Γιουγκοσλαβία και τη Βουλγαρία, ο ελληνικός στρατός αναγκάστηκε να εγκαταλείψει για μια ακόμη φορά την Β. Ήπειρο.

Κατοχή – μεταπολεμική περίοδος

Τα χρόνια της κατοχής η αγγλική κυβέρνηση προέβη σε ευνοϊκές δηλώσεις για το βορειοηπειρωτικό ζήτημα στη Βουλή των Κοινοτήτων, αλλά η κατάσταση παρέμεινε ίδια. Όταν ο πόλεμος τελείωσε, ο στρατηγός Ν. Ζέρβας εισηγήθηκε να ενσωματωθεί η Βόρειος Ήπειρος στην Ελλάδα.

Στις 19 Οκτωβρίου 1944 ο Γεώργιος Παπανδρέου ως πρωθυπουργός, διακήρυξε ότι η Βόρειος Ήπειρος είναι αναπόσπαστο τμήμα της Ελληνικής επικράτειας. Ωστόσο, το 1945 ο Ενβέρ Χότζα ανέλαβε την εξουσία και υπήρξαν αντιδράσεις από τους σοβιετικούς αξιωματούχους. Οι Βορειοηπειρώτες υπέστησαν καταπίεση και πολλοί αναγκάστηκαν να μεταναστεύσουν στα αστικά κέντρα. Σημειώνεται ότι σύμφωνα με τη νομοθεσία μόνο όσοι κατοικούσαν στη μειονοτική ζώνη θεωρούνταν Έλληνες. Εκείνο το διάστημα η ελληνική γλώσσα απαγορεύτηκε και ο πληθυσμός διδάσκονταν πλέον την αλβανική ιστορία.

Τον Ιούνιο του 1960, ο Γεώργιος Παπανδρέου σε ομιλία του στη Βουλή επανέφερε το ζήτημα της Βόρειας Ηπείρου: «Εκείνο πάντως το οποίο οφείλουν όλαι αι Ελληνικαί Κυβερνήσεις να γνωρίζουν, είναι ότι το θέμα της Βορείου Ηπείρου υφίσταται. Και εκείνον το οποίον απαγορεύεται εις τον αιώνα, είναι δι΄ οιονδήποτε λόγον η απάρνησις του ιερού αιτήματος…..Καθ΄ όσον αφορά την Βόρειο Ήπειρο… η διεκδίκησις είναι ιερά και απαράγραπτος». Στο τέλος της ομιλίας του ανέφερε: «Αλλ’ εκτός της εθνικής διεκδικήσεως, υπάρχει και κάτι άλλο καθημεριvόν, επείγον θέμα: Η προστασία του πληθυσμού της Βορείου Ηπείρου. Η προστασία της ζωής, της τιμής και της περιουσίας του. Εις το σημείον αυτό, έχομεν χρέος να διεξαγάγωμεν συνεχώς αγώνας. Οι μάρτυρες αδελφοί μας, ζητούν από την Μητέρα πατρίδα μόνον συνεχή στοργικήν συμπαράστασιν. διότι ζουν, υπό το κράτος της αφορήτου τυραννίας. Και αυτήν την στοργήν, οφείλομεν να τους παράσχωμεν!»….

Τη δεκαετία του ’60 η αλβανική κυβέρνηση ακολούθησε μια πολιτική αφελληνισμού της ελληνικής μειονότητας.

Το Μάρτιο του 1984 ο ΟΗΕ εξέδωσε απόφαση με την οποία καταδικαζόταν διεθνώς η καταπάτηση των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων από την Αλβανία, σε βάρος των Ελλήνων της Βορείου Ηπείρου. Τα επόμενα χρόνια οι σχέσεις των δύο χωρών άρχισαν να βελτιώνονται, αν και κατά καιρούς υπήρξαν επεισόδια που καλλιέργησαν εθνικιστικοί κύκλοι.

Σήμερα υπολογίζεται ότι υπάρχουν 99 χωριά όπου ζουν Έλληνες, εκ των οποίων οι περισσότεροι μιλούν την ελληνική γλώσσα και ζουν αρμονικά με τους Αλβανούς.

Φωτογραφία: Η επίσημη ανακήρυξη της βορειοηπειρωτικής αυτονομίας στο Αργυρόκαστρο, την 1η Μαρτίου 1914. Σε πρώτο πλάνο, ο Γεώργιος Χρηστάκης – Ζωγράφος, μέλη της κυβέρνησης, του κλήρου και του στρατού.

Πηγή: Εθνικό και Ιστορικό Μουσείο, Αθήνα

Πηγή: mixanitouxronou

3. 

Τί συμβαίνει; Χιλιάδες ΟΠΛΑ και ΧΕΙΡΟΒΟΜΒΙΔΕΣ βρίσκονται ΠΑΡΑΝΟΜΑ στα χέρια Αλβανών

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Το λαθρεμπόριο όπλων στην Αλβανία ανθίζει όπως δείχνουν τα στοιχεία του Υπουργείου Εσωτερικών της χώρας.

Σύμφωνα με αλβανικό δημοσίευμα, τα στοιχεία που δημοσιοποιήθηκαν εν όψει της προσπάθειας για τον έλεγχο των φορητών όπλων, ελαφρύ οπλισμού, πυρομαχικών και εκρηκτικών για την περίοδο 2019-2024 και του σχεδίου δράσης 2019-2021, δείχνουν ότι η διακίνηση τοχερσαίων συνόρων από άτομα ηλικίας 16 έως 45 ετών.

«Σε γενικές γραμμές στις περιπτώσεις αυτές, τα πυροβόλα όπλα διακινούνται από τα χερσαία σύνορα κρυμμένα σε οχήματα, λεωφορεία, φορτηγά, Ι.Χ. ή μεταφέρονται από άτομα που διασχίζουν παράνομα τα σύνορα.

Από τις υποθέσεις που διερευνήθηκαν, συνάγεται το συμπέρασμα ότι η διακίνηση πυροβόλων όπλων γίνεται σε μικρές ποσότητες, από ένα έως δύο τεμάχια. Οι ηλικιακές ομάδες που εντοπίστηκαν είναι κυρίως άνδρες που κυμαίνονται από 16 έως 45 ετών», αναφέρει μεταξύ άλλων το έγγραφο.

Στη διακίνηση εμπλέκεται και η Ελλάδα, καθώς αναφέρει το έγγραφο πως υπάρχουν περιπτώσεις διακίνησης στα σύνορα Αλβανίας- Ελλάδος, Αλβανίας-Ιταλίας. Πρόκειται για πιστόλια και αυτόματα τα οποία έχουν κλαπεί από στρατιωτικές αποθήκες το 1997, καταλήγει.

Βαλκανικό Περισκόπιο

4.

«Φιτίλι» έτοιμο να ανάψει στα Βαλκάνια: Υπουργός των Σκοπίων κάνει το σήμα της Μεγάλης Αλβανίας.

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Ενδεικτική των προθέσεων των Σκοπιανών, είναι η φωτογραφία, στην οποία εικονίζονται τρεις υπουργοί Αμυνας να σχηματίζουν με τα χέρια τους χαμογελαστοί τον Αλβανικό Αετό, δηλαδή, το σήμα της Μεγάλης Αλβανίας.

Ο ένας μάλιστα από τους τρεις, είναι ο υπουργός Άμυνας των Σκοπίων, ο οποίος είναι Αλβανός. Οι άλλοι δύο είναι ο ένας, του Κοσσυφοπεδίου και ο άλλος της Αλβανίας.

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5. 
U.S. Department of Defense

Feb. 12, 2019
News Release
Press Operations
Release No. NR-026-19

New Strategy Outlines Path Forward for Artificial Intelligence

The Department of Defense on Feb. 12 released the summary of its strategy on artificial intelligence. The strategy, Harnessing AI to Advance Our Security and Prosperity, outlines how DOD will leverage AI into the future.

Key tenets of the strategy are accelerating the delivery and adoption of AI; establishing a common foundation for scaling AI’s impact across DOD and enabling decentralized development and experimentation; evolving partnerships with industry, academia, allies and partners; cultivating a leading AI workforce; and leading in military AI ethics and safety.

The department’s strategic approach to AI emphasizes its rapid, iterative, and responsible delivery and then the use of lessons learned to create repeatable and scalable processes and systems that will improve functions and missions across the department.

AI is poised to change the character of the future battlefield and the pace of threats faced in today’s security environment. The United States, together with its allies and partners, must adopt AI to maintain its strategic position and prevail on future battlefields.

AI will impact every corner of the department, spanning operations, training, sustainment, force protection, recruiting, healthcare and others.

The focal point of DOD AI is the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, established last June under DOD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy and led by Lt. Gen. John “Jack” Shanahan, to provide a common vision, mission and focus to drive department-wide AI capability delivery.

DOD’s AI strategy supports the National Defense Strategy and is part of DOD’s overall efforts to modernize information technology to support the warfighter, defend against cyber attacks and leverage emerging technologies.

https://dod.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/1755388/

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NATO Discussing Its Response To ‘A World With More Russian Missiles

By RFE/RL February 12, 2019

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says Russia continues to “develop and deploy” 9M729 cruise-missile systems in breach of a key Cold War-era nuclear arms control agreement.

Stoltenberg made the comments on February 12, two days after a German newspaper reported that Russia had deployed the missile at more locations than previously thought.

The NATO chief also said that the alliance will discuss this week “what steps NATO should take to adapt to a world with more Russian missiles.”

“Any steps we take will be coordinated, measured, and defensive,” Stoltenberg added, insisting that the alliance doesn’t intend to deploy new ground-based nuclear missiles in Europe.

On February 2, the United States announced that it will withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, after Washington and NATO repeatedly accused Moscow of violating the accord by developing the 9M729 cruise missile, also known as the SSC-8.

Russia, which denies the accusation, said it was also withdrawing from the INF Treaty, which banned both countries from developing, producing, and deploying ground-launched cruise or ballistic missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of a two-day NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels starting on February 13, Stoltenberg urged Moscow to seize the “last opportunity” to return to compliance with the INF Treaty.

He said that Moscow “continues to develop and deploy several battalions of the SSC-8 missile, despite the efforts of the United States and other NATO allies – over many years – to encourage Russia to return to compliance.”

Citing an unidentified Western intelligence source, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAZ) reported on February 10 that 9M729 battalions were stationed in Mozdok in Russia’s North Caucasus region of North Ossetia and in Shuya, close to Moscow.

That’s in addition to a training battalion stationed at the rocket-testing development site in Kapustin Yar in southern Russia and one in Kamyshlov, east of Yekaterinburg, the paper said.

Each of Russia’s four 9M729 battalions has four launchers on wheels, each of which has four missiles — meaning that Russia now has at least 64 such missiles, according to FAZ.

NATO ministers were also set to discuss in Brussels NATO’s missions and operations in Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Iraq.

“In Afghanistan, the situation remains difficult, but we also see efforts for peace,” Stoltenberg said, as talks to end the country’s 17-year war involving U.S. and Taliban representatives in Qatar appear to be gaining momentum.

On Kosovo, Stoltenberg said the ministers will “review the level of our support for the Kosovo Security Force [KSF] after the change of its mandate.”

Kosovar lawmakers in December voted to convert its 2,500-member KSF into a national army with some 5,000 personnel and more substantial weaponry, despite fierce opposition from Kosovo’s ethnic Serbs, Serbia, and its ally Russia.

Stoltenberg also said that the defense minister of North Macedonia, Radmila Shekerinska, will take “a seat at NATO’s table” for the first time as an official invitee in all of the ministerial sessions.

Skopje signed a protocol earlier this month that could see the former Yugoslav republic become the military alliance’s 30th member if the move is ratified by all current NATO members.

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/nato-discussing- its-response-to-a-world-with-more- russian-missiles-/29765901.html

Copyright (c) 2019. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

7.

Netanyahu confirms Israel attacked Iranian targets in Syria.

By Associated Press

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to reporters before departing for Poland on Tuesday, explaining that Israel enjoys “very good relations” with every country in the region “except Syria.”

He also confirmed Israel carried out a strike against Iran in Syria a day before.

According to Netanyahu, the focus of Wednesday’s Mideast conference in Warsaw will be Iran, an issue he says “unites Israel, the United States, many countries in the world.”

Wednesday’s conference is co-hosted by the U.S. and Poland and its official focus is Mideast peace and security.

Around 80 countries are participating, including Israel. Iran was not invited, nor will the Palestinians have any representation at the summit.

Netanyahu says he doesn’t think the Trump administration’s “Deal of the Century” peace plan will be discussed.

Rather, he says, participating countries will address “the most important topic for our national security,” namely, Iran.

8. 

S. Korea pays $924 mil. for defense cost sharing deal with the U.S. for year 2019

South Korea and the U.S. have finally reached an agreement on this year’s defense cost sharing deal, with Seoul’s financial contribution for the stationing of some 28-thousand American troops on the Korean Peninsula at 9-hundred-24 million U.S. dollars.

That’s 8-point-two percent more than Seoul contributed last year, reflecting a rise in South Korea’s defense budget this year.

The signing ceremony for the deal was held Sunday afternoon at the foreign ministry in Seoul by both countries’ negotiators, Chang Won-sam and Timothy Betts.

Washington’s top negotiator, Betts, also met with South Korea’s Foreign Minister, Kang Kyung-wha, before signing the agreement.

In their meeting, Kang said the allies were able to close the gap on the size of South Korea’s contribution thanks to goodwill and trust.

She also said she was glad that the protracted negotiations ended with a successful result.

Betts also said the U.S. is pleased with the results, acknowledging Seoul’s contribution to the alliance.

From last March, the allies had ten rounds of talks on the issue and dozens of working-level consultations.

In those, the U.S. had asked South Korea to pay the costs of operating strategic assets, but Seoul said those do not fall under the original scope of the allies cost-sharing agreements, which are meant mainly to pay for the salaries of South Koreans working at U.S. military bases in the country and costs related to facility construction and logistics.

So the costs of strategic asset operations were not included in the final deal.

The two sides had also difficulty on the final amount, as the Trump administration reportedly demanded an annual sum of around one billion dollars when the negotiations were close to an end late last year.

Also, the deal was originally going to be for five years,.. but the U.S. insisted on just one year.

In the end, they struck a one-year deal with no automatic extension.

But a foreign ministry official in Seoul said the deal could be extended if the two sides agree.

The signed agreement is called “preliminary” as of now since it needs to be approved by South Korea’s National Assembly.

The U.S. does not require approval from Congress.

Park Ji-won, Arirang News.

9.

Poll: Netanyahu wins election even if center-left unites

A new survey shows Netanyahu and the Likud party will be in a better position to form a government even if the center-left parties form a single bloc.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Even if the opposition parties unite, the Likud party will still be better-positioned to form a governing coalition, according to a new poll published by Israel’s Channel 12 on Saturday.

The poll follows similar ones published in the weekend editions of newspapers Makor Rishon and Israel Hayom that suggest the left-wing and center-left parties will be in a tough position to put together enough seats after the April 9 elections to meet the 61-seat minimum majority in Israel’s parliament.

The survey found that if the three major opposition leaders combined – Benny Gantz (Israel Resilience), Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) and Avi Gabbay (Labor) – they would in fact garner more seats (36) than Likud (32).

However, they wouldn’t be able to find enough coalition partners to get to 61. According to the poll, a center-left bloc would take 46 votes while a right-wing bloc would reach 49. An Arab bloc would receive 12 seats and an ultra-Orthodox Jewish bloc 13.

Even with the agreement of an Arab bloc, a center-left coalition would cobble together only 58 seats. The ultra-Orthodox would put the right-wing bloc over the top with 62.

While religious parties have joined left-wing Labor governments in the past, with the sharpening of differences between religious and secular Jews, it is extremely unlikely the ultra-Orthodox would join a center-left coalition, particularly one that included Yair Lapid, the leader of Yesh Atid, who has advocated for forced conscription of Orthodox Jews into the Israeli Defense Forces.

10. 

02-12-19

Mike Pence to make first visit to Auschwitz, meet Netanyahu in Poland

JTA – Vice President Mike Pence will visit Auschwitz, his first visit to the Nazi death camp in Poland.

Pence will visit the site on Friday with Polish President Andrzej Duda, The Washington Post reported Tuesday, citing a senior White House official.

The vice president will be in Warsaw for a joint U.S.-Poland conference on Middle East peace and security on Thursday and Friday. On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told government ministers at the weekly Cabinet meeting that he will meet with Pence there, as well as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other leaders.

Pence and Netanyahu are scheduled to visit together a memorial to the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

Pence also is scheduled to hold defense meetings in Poland, where the U.S. military is considering placing a permanent base for U.S. force, according to the Post.

During his keynote remarks at the conference, titled the Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East,Pence will essentially call out Iran for their actions, an unnamed White House official told the newspaper. He will give a message to those groups that are there, that, you know, if you stand with us, we ll stand with you.

Israel-Palestinian peace deal architects Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt also are scheduled to attend the conference. The Palestinian Authority is boycotting and calling on Arab governments to follow suit.

(Photo – Wiki Commons)

11. 

02-12-19

When President Lincoln fought for the Jews

INN – During Black History Month, we recognize the historical importance of President Abraham Lincoln as the foremost figure in the battle to abolish slavery. But even as Lincoln, whose 210th birthday we mark on Feb. 12, is widely known for his role fighting for equality, he may still be underappreciated. In fact, as a moral compass and a role model for liberty, his influence extends far beyond the specific events for which he is most well-known.

In Lincoln s time, like today, the issue of equality was relevant to many minority groups. While Jews had been living in America for centuries by the time of Lincoln s presidency, anti-Semitism was widespread, even among the abolitionists.

While the Civil War raged in late 1862, Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant wanted to stop the trade of Southern cotton. A number of Jews were involved in the cotton trade, including some in black market activity, and on Dec. 17, Grant issued a shocking order calling for the expulsion of all Jews from a wide swath of the South.

Fortunately the order had little impact because of faulty army communications and to President Lincoln. When Lincoln heard that Grant was attempting to banish Jews, he quickly reversed the order.

To condemn a class is, to say the least, to wrong the good with the bad, Lincoln said. I do not like to hear a class or nationality condemned on account of a few sinners.

To Lincoln, prejudice was abhorrent, and expelling one minority while fighting for the rights of another was unthinkable. It s noteworthy that Grant, who made the order banishing Jews from the area he commanded, regretted his actions later in life. In fact, when he served as president, Grant actively worked to promote Jewish interests in the United States and abroad, bringing Jews into the federal government at an unprecedented rate. Grant later indicated that he had issued the order without fully thinking it through, but his pro-Jewish actions later in life can perhaps be attributed in part to the moral leadership Lincoln displayed in rejecting the order.

On a deeper level, Lincoln can also be seen as the man who truly deserves credit for upholding the idea that all men are created equal. While Thomas Jefferson first expressed the sentiment in the Declaration of Independence in 1776, for some 90 years the principle was selectively applied at best. But Lincoln didn t just speak this value, he practiced it.

In the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858, Lincoln emphasized how applying exceptions to the phrase all men are created equal is a logical fallacy.

If one man says it does not mean a negro, why not another say it does not mean some other man? If that declaration is not the truth, let us get the Statute book in which we find it and tear it out! he said.

The notion of limiting equality was, to Lincoln, a clear rejection of the phrase s keyword: all.

The message of equality that Lincoln fought for was instrumental in abolishing slavery. But it was also a major factor in shaping America into a country that held freedom as a value worth fighting for.

And over the following decades, generations of Americans absorbed the values that Lincoln championed and Grant came to appreciate: That oppression against minorities was intolerable, regardless of the minority.

The fight to defeat the Axis powers in World War II is often called The Good War because of the atrocities committed by the Nazis and the widespread understanding that the war was a battle for justice. While it s true that the America of the 1940s was far from reaching true equality, the underlying values Lincoln stood for were embedded in the hearts of American soldiers.

Take the story of Leon Bass, an African-American native of Philadelphia, who served in a segregated unit during World War II. He was conflicted about being asked to risk his life for a country where he only held second-class status. But when Bass liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp with the American troops, he felt compassion for the prisoners he encountered.

I began to realize, Bass later said, that human suffering is not relegated just to me and mine. Human suffering touches everybody.

Meeting victims of Nazism transformed Leon Bass from a man who was understandably conflicted about his situation to a leader who advocated for social justice for all oppressed people. After the war, Bass spent decades lecturing to audiences about his experiences in the war and the importance of defeating tyranny and hatred.

When the Horwitz-Wasserman Holocaust Memorial Plaza a new public plaza devoted to Holocaust remembrance opened in Philadelphia several months ago, Bass story was included on its Six Pillars, which contrast themes of the Holocaust with American constitutional protections and values.

Just one foot away from the pillar devoted to Leon Bass and Liberation stands another pillar, which is inscribed with the Declaration of Independence s powerful statement that all men are created equal. In the 1850s and 1860s, President Lincoln served as a bridge between the Declaration and Americans who fought the Nazis in the 1940s. In the 19th century, Lincoln underscored the 18th-century Declaration s call for equality, giving 20th-century American soldiers the passion to fight to liberate the oppressed.

While many Holocaust survivors may not have heard of President Lincoln when the war ended in 1945, there is no doubt that they benefited from the great strides he took in the cause for liberty.

Lincoln may already have his place on Mount Rushmore, but we should also be sure to include him in the pantheon of global leaders who persisted in the cause of freedom. Because if we embrace the spirit of Lincoln, we can hold out hope that government of the people, by the people, for all people, will not perish from the earth.

(Photo – Wiki Commons)

12. 

02-11-19

Iranian nuclear scientist working for the Mossad smuggled to the United Kingdom

(ΕΙΝΑΙ ΑΥΤΟΣ ΠΟΥ ΠΕΡΑΣΕ ΣΤΗΝ ΕΛΛΑΔΑ, ΑΝΑΖΗΤΗΘΕΙΣ ΑΠΟ ΜΥ ΑΓΓΛΙΑΣ – Η.Π.Α. – ΙΣΡΑΗΛ / ΔΙΑΒΑΣΤΕ ΠΙΟ ΚΑΤΩ ΣΧΕΤΙΚΟ ΑΡΘΡΟ ΣΤΑ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ)

JTA – An Iranian nuclear scientist was smuggled out of the country and into the United Kingdom in a joint operation involving the Mossad, the CIA and MI6, England s intelligence service.

After the MI6 and CIA questioned the scientist about Iran s nuclear program and its future plans, he was flown to the United States, the Sunday Express reported.

The unnamed scientist, 47, reportedly was an Israeli asset for years who is said to have helped plan the 2012 assassination of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a nuclear scientist and director at Iran s Natanz uranium enrichment facility.

Fearing that the scientist was about to be discovered, the Mossad smuggled him out of Iran in December after hatching the plan with the other security agencies in October, according to the report. The Mossad reportedly debriefed him before he continued on his journey.

This wasn t without its challenges. His absence was noted quickly, and we were informed that a special unit of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had been dispatched, an unnamed British source told the newspaper.

England reportedly did not want to be seen as assisting the scientist, since it is still a signatory to the Iran nuclear deal. The scientist got to France and then had to be smuggled in to the United Kingdom.

We couldn t simply fly him in. Though unusual, it was determined infiltrating him into a group of fellow migrants preparing to cross the Channel by boat offered one solution, the source said.

He joined 11 other migrants on a dinghy that landed on the coast about 30 miles from Dover on Dec. 31.

For our part, we were reassured during our interviews Iran seems to be sticking by the terms of the JCPOA. This is good news, the source also said.

(Photo – Pixabay)

13.

Royal Australian Navy

Navy welcomes historic agreement for future submarines.

Royal Australian Navy

11 February 2019

The Australian Government today ratified a Strategic Partnering Agreement with the French shipbuilding company Naval Group that will see 12 regionally superior submarines designed and built in Australia for the Royal Australian Navy as part of the Future Submarine Program.

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mike Noonan welcomed today’s important milestone.

“The $50-billion Attack Class program will deliver submarines that will meet our Navy’s capability requirements, will be at the forefront of Australia’s defence strategy and will help protect Australia’s security and prosperity for decades to come,” Vice Admiral Noonan said.

“With their inherent stealth, long-range endurance, and formidable striking power, the Attack class are a key part of our Navy’s future,” he said.

The Strategic Partnering Agreement was signed at Russell Offices in Canberra by the Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, the Minister for Defence (Australia), Christopher Pyne, and the Minister for the Armed Forces of France, Madame Florence Parly.

Some work on the future submarines has already taken place under a Design and Mobilisation Contract and this will continue uninterrupted under today’s Agreement. The formalisation of the Strategic Partnering Agreement represents the contractual basis for the program.

The full range of other activities required to deliver this major program, including the development of the submarine construction yard in Osborne South Australia, are continuing.

The first ‘Attack’ class submarine, to be named HMAS Attack, is due to be delivered in the early 2030s.

The decision to partner with Naval Group (formerly DCNS) was made in 2016, following a competitive evaluation process commenced by the Australian Government.

The Attack class submarines are a major pillar of the Australian Government’s $90 billion National Shipbuilding Plan, which will see 54 naval vessels built in Australia, to meet the strategic requirements set out in our 2016 Defence White Paper.

14.

U.S. Department of Defense

Feb. 11, 2019
News
By Jim Garamone
Defense.gov

DIA Report Details Threats to America’s Space-Based World

WASHINGTON — Space enables the modern world, and the United States needs to maintain its progress in this critical domain if it hopes to lead in the future.

That’s the conclusion of the Defense Intelligence Agency’s report titled “Challenges to Security in Space,” released today.

DIA officials spoke to reporters at the Pentagon this morning about the threats facing American dominance in space.

The unclassified report details the space and counterspace threats that pose a significant challenge the United States and its allies. It concentrates on the capabilities under development in China and Russia, but it doesn’t ignore the space threat posed by North Korea and Iran.

Space-based capabilities are key to all aspects of life in the United States. Space’s role in commercial and civilian applications is growing, and it is absolutely vital to employing the U.S. military, DIA officials noted.

Space-based capabilities are becoming more affordable and are technologically easier to build and deploy, and China and Russia are taking full advantage of this to eat into U.S. space dominance, officials said.

Russian, Chinese Capabilities

Russia and China have active counterspace programs. “Both countries have developed robust and capable space services, and these capabilities provide their militaries with the ability to command and control their forces worldwide, and with enhanced situational awareness enabling them to monitor, track and target U.S. and allied forces,” a senior DIA official said, speaking to reporters on background.

Both countries have established their own global positioning system satellite networks.

“Chinese and Russian doctrine indicate that they view space as important to modern warfare and view counterspace capabilities as a means to reduce U.S. and allied effectiveness,” the senior official said. “China views space superiority as part of the ability to control the information sphere and that is a key component of modern warfare.” Russia sees space as a warfighting domain, and winning the battle in orbit will be decisive in future warfare, the official said.

China and Russia have developed counterspace capabilities, including ground-based missiles aimed at satellites, jamming of signals to or from satellites, ground-based directed energy weapons, kinetic-kill vehicles, space-based counters and more. “Both China and Russia reorganized their militaries in 2015, emphasizing the importance of space operations,” the official said. China established a strategic support force to integrate its space, cyberspace and electronic capabilities.

Iran and North Korea have demonstrated satellite jamming and maintain independent space launching capabilities.

The United States has the most operational satellites, followed by China and then Russia. This United States lead is a challenge to Russia and China, and DIA officials said they expect they will continue to develop counters to American capabilities.

One threat is a result of the successes in space. “As the number of satellites grows, so does the threats posed by space debris,” the official said. “That makes tracking satellites and discriminating satellites from threats and nonthreats and predicting and preventing collisions more challenging.”

Space Affects Daily Life

The report is aimed at education; the public needs to understand all that space brings to the United States, its allies and the world at large, said a senior Defense Department official, speaking on background.

When Americans think of space, they think of NASA and space exploration, but they do not necessarily think of all that space brings to their daily lives, the DOD official said. The application on a hand-held device that gives directions, calls rideshare car or locates a lost package is enabled by the GPS constellation operated by the U.S. Air Force.

“Space is fundamental to U.S. prosperity,” the Pentagon official said. “The United States harnesses the benefits of space for communications, financial transactions, public safety, weather, agriculture, navigation and more. Additionally, there is a wave of exciting commercial technologies and investments in space that are expanding the potential opportunities, the benefits we can all enjoy.”

Space has had a profound impact on the military, the official added, allowing American service members to anticipate threats, respond to crises and to project power globally with fewer troops deployed and less collateral damage.

15. 

NATO’s role in cyberspace

12/02/2019

Cyber threats to Alliance security are becoming more frequent, complex, destructive, and coercive. The Allies have taken important steps in cyber defence over the past decade. Most recently, in 2018, they agreed how to integrate sovereign cyber effects, provided voluntarily by Allies, into Alliance operations and missions, as well as to stand up the initial Cyberspace Operations Centre. But is NATO doing enough to address the complex and evolving challenges of cyberspace?

Cyber in focus

The need to strengthen capabilities to defend against cyber attacks was first acknowledged by Allied leaders at their 2002 summit meeting in Prague. Since then, cyber has become an increasingly important focus of NATO’s summit agendas. In 2008, the first NATO cyber defence policy was adopted. In 2014, Allies made cyber defence a core part of collective defence, declaring that a cyber attack could lead to the invocation of the collective defence clause (Article 5) of NATO’s founding treaty. Moreover, in 2016, Allies recognised cyberspace as a domain of military operations, and further pledged to enhance the cyber defences of their national networks and infrastructure as a matter of priority.

NATO Allies are determined to employ the full range of capabilities, including cyber, to deter, defend against, and to counter the full spectrum of cyber threats, including those conducted as part of a hybrid campaign.

Significant strategic, operational and technical strides have been taken by NATO and its Allies to address malicious cyber activity. Nevertheless, Allied leaders warned at their most recent summit in Brussels in 2018 that cyber threats to the security of the Alliance are becoming more frequent, complex, destructive, and coercive.

The enduring challenge yet evolving nature of cyber threats requires that the Alliance continuously evaluate whether it is adapting and responding appropriately. Three questions are key to evaluating NATO’s role in cyberspace:

  • What is NATO’s primary purpose in cyberspace?
  • What challenges does NATO face in achieving this purpose?
  • Is NATO doing enough to address the complexities of cyberspace?

Purpose and challenges

The clearest statement of NATO’s purpose as an Alliance in cyberspace was made first at Warsaw and reiterated in Brussels: “We must be able to operate as effectively in cyberspace as we do in the air, on land, and at sea to strengthen and support the Alliance’s overall deterrence and defence posture.”

Perhaps the biggest challenge to this vision is that, while it is a military outcome, it cannot be achieved solely through military means. All Alliance operations and missions have some degree of reliance on civilian government or private industry, whether in the context of communications infrastructure, logistics, equipment, or host nation critical national infrastructure.

These enabling capabilities, as well as traditional military targets, have already been subject to cyber attack – and would certainly be so during crisis or conflict. Furthermore, malicious cyber activity has not been the sole purview of militaries, but has been publicly attributed to actors ranging from hacktivists to state intelligence services. So, what may be a military challenge is in fact inextricably linked with both civilian government, private industry and even individuals.

Addressing cyberspace threats is also complicated by the significant amount of activity that takes place below the threshold of armed conflict. Though it is complex to determine proportionate and effective response to such malicious cyber activity, individual Allies have been pursuing various strategies.

Some Allies – including Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States – have sought to use public attribution of malicious cyber activity to change behavior. The United States has also signaled a new policy to attempt to reduce malicious cyber activity. The United States Cyber Command now recognises that “adversaries operate continuously below the threshold of armed conflict to weaken institutions and gain strategic advantages,” and the United States will now pursue persistent engagement, by which it seeks to similarly continuously interact with those who would seek to exploit vulnerabilities of the United States in cyberspace.

While NATO is often identified with its Article 5 collective defence commitment, it has a significant history of engagement below the threshold of armed conflict. NATO’s Strategic Concept lays out three essential core tasks for the Alliance: collective defence, crisis management, and cooperative security. Today, for example, NATO has a training mission in Iraq and is engaged in maritime security operations in the Mediterranean. NATO must continue to explore how best to similarly engage in cyberspace, as even a below-the-threshold cyber attack can be highly damaging, disruptive and destabilising.

The ‘Internet of Things’ increases vulnerability to attack. © Eppenbergerdigital.com

Finally, these challenges – many stakeholders, myriad threat actors and actions in grey space – are compounded by the increasingly rapid pace of change: technology continues to evolve and vulnerability to attack increases as a greater range and number of devices connect to each other and to the internet. To simply keep abreast of the threat requires significant information, investment, human talent and technical capability.

With this understanding of NATO’s fundamental cyberspace objective and the characteristics of cyberspace that make achieving this difficult, let us explore the programme of cyberspace work that has already been undertaken, before moving on to consider whether NATO is suitably ambitious in both its objective and actions.

Current state of work

NATO has devoted serious attention to achieving the military end of operating in cyberspace, while not being able to rely on solely military means or stakeholders. Two main strands of NATO activity are addressing this: first, the implementation of cyberspace as a domain of operations and, second, the enactment of the Cyber Defence Pledge.

Cyberspace as a domain of operations SOS

Since the Allies recognised cyberspace as a domain of operations in 2016, NATO has achieved several important milestones. Perhaps most notably, in October 2018, NATO announced the initial stand up of the Cyberspace Operations Centre, or CyOC, in its trial structure. The CyOC serves as NATO’s theatre component for cyberspace and is responsible for providing cyberspace situational awareness, centralised planning for the cyberspace aspects of Alliance operations and missions, and coordination for cyberspace operational concerns.

Along with this critical organisational adaptation, Allies agreed at the Brussels Summit how to integrate sovereign cyber effects, provided voluntarily by Allies, into Alliance operations and missions. This is fully coherent with NATO’s defensive mandate, as it aligns how NATO defends itself in cyberspace as it does in other domains, with Allies contributing tanks, planes, and ships to Alliance operations and missions.

Strategy and guidance is also maturing. In June 2018, Allies approved the Vision and Strategy on Cyberspace as a Domain of Operations. It is anticipated that, in 2019, NATO’s first cyberspace operations doctrine will be completed, subject to Allied approval, which will provide guidance to NATO commanders.

These structures and concepts are only of value if implemented and put to use. To this end, NATO is adapting its education, training, and exercising programmes. The NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Center of Excellence has been given responsibility for identifying and coordinating education and training solutions in the field of cyber defence operations for all NATO bodies across the Alliance.

Every year, Cyber Coalition, NATO’s biggest and most important cyber defence exercise, involves more than 700 participants from NATO Allies, partner countries, the European Union, industry and academia. © NATO

Cyber-specific exercises are being continually updated in light of changed policy and doctrine. In 2018, Cyber Coalition – NATO’s flagship cyber defence exercise with more than 700 participants from Allies, partners and NATO – exercised the integration of sovereign cyber effects voluntarily provided by an Ally. Other NATO exercises, such as the Crisis Management Exercise (aimed at NATO Headquarters) and Trident Juncture 2018 (aimed at the entire military chain of command), have and will continue to include more robust cyber scenarios.

The Cyber Defence Pledge

Along with this progress at NATO, concurrent whole-of-government adaptation for each Ally is being encouraged through the Cyber Defence Pledge. The Pledge was taken in the context of Article 3 of the Washington Treaty, which states that “Allies will maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack.” As it is impossible to entirely separate military, civil, and industrial concerns in this space, NATO has a strong interest in the improvement of the cyber defence capabilities of organisations outside of the defence establishment.

The Pledge highlights development in areas such as appropriately resourcing cyber defence across government; exchanging information and best practices; and leveraging innovative practices from academia and the private sector. Allies assess themselves on an annual basis against a common set of benchmarks. In their most recent report at the Brussels Summit, Allies highlighted the continued utility of the Pledge – it has brought senior political attention to cyber defence issues and has encouraged intra-government collaboration within Allied nations.

Responding to below-the-threshold cyber attacks

Allies are also taking steps to consider how to more systematically respond to malicious cyber activity that falls below the threshold of armed conflict. At the Brussels Summit, Allies expressed their determination “to employ the full range of capabilities, including cyber, to deter, defend against, and to counter the full spectrum of cyber threats, including those conducted as part of a hybrid campaign.”

Further, they resolved “to continue to work together to develop measures which would enable us to impose costs on those who harm us.” This full spectrum of response, always exercised in accordance with international law and following the principles of restraint and proportionality, is critical to effectively address the prevalence of problematic cyber activity below the threshold of armed conflict.

Working with partners

Lastly, to successfully adapt in this quickly changing environment, NATO is working more closely with an ever-increasing range of partners. In 2016, the Secretary General of NATO came together with the Presidents of the European Council and European Commission to issue a Joint Declaration on NATO-EU Cooperation. Under the auspices of this declaration, as well as a technical arrangement concluded between the incident response teams of NATO and the European Union, the two organisations have increased their collaboration, notably in such areas as information exchange, training, research, and exercises.

Senior officials from NATO and the European Union meet to take stock of recent activities and explore further areas for engagement on cyber defence – 10 December 2018. © NATO

NATO is also deepening its ties to industry through the NATO Industry Cyber Partnership. This overarching programme provides numerous platforms for the exchange of information, threat trends, and best practices. These interactions help NATO build trusted relationships with industry and better enable all parties to prevent and respond to cyber attacks.

Level of ambition

In all these ways, the Alliance and its Allies are actively improving their cyber defences, positioning NATO to defend itself as effectively as it does on land, at sea, and in the air – allowing cyberspace to contribute to the overall defence and deterrence posture of the Alliance.

But are the Alliance and Allies doing enough?

Given the centrality of cyberspace to the modern way of warfare, it is imperative that the Alliance be equally capable in this domain as the others. The approach of the Alliance is sensible: it seeks to address the most significant challenges associated with operating in cyberspace. Ultimately, though, the Alliance must continue to consider how it can do more, since cyber threats are trending only towards more serious impact.

What more, then, should the Alliance be doing?

Allies may wish to consider what aspects of their current work should have the greatest priority and resourcing. The CyOC, for example, is the most significant aspect of adapting the NATO Command Structure for cyberspace. As the CyOC moves towards first initial then final operating capacity, it will be critical that it is resourced with sufficient – and sufficiently expert – personnel.

The level of malicious cyber activity below the threshold of armed conflict will remain a continuous challenge; as Allies consider how best to respond, both individually and as an Alliance, they may wish to consider existing tools. In addition to Article 5, generally the most well-known part of the Washington Treaty, Allies also have Article 4 at their disposal, which allows for consultation whenever any Ally believes an Ally’s “territorial integrity, political independence, or security” is threatened.

Finally, when seeking to keep pace with change in this domain, Allies might see benefit in continuing to evaluate how collaboration with industry might evolve – both how it shares information and how it procures technologies.

The Alliance, in short, should continue on its current path, ensuring that through continued attention and resources, cyberspace can become an ordinary part of business.


Laura Brent currently serves in NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges Division and has previously held cyber policy roles in both the public and private sectors, addressing complex strategy, policy and operational challenges in varied and fast-changing environments.

What is published in NATO Review does not necessarily represent the official position or policy of member governments, or of NATO.

16.

WHY DID MULTIPLE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT WEBSITES GO DOWN AT THE SAME TIME?

Several unconfirmed reports cited that it was possible the websites were under a DDOS attack. However, there was no official confirmation about what was causing the issue from any of the ministries.

BY 
 
FEBRUARY 11, 2019

 

Cyber hackers [illustrative]

Cyber hackers [illustrative]. (photo credit: REUTERS)

A number of Israel’s government websites in Hebrew were down for about 45 minutes on Monday afternoon.

The Jerusalem Post
 checked several government websites with the gov.il URL, including the Foreign Ministry, Defense Ministry and the Public Security Ministry.

Several unconfirmed reports cited that it was possible the websites were under a DDOS attack, which is a type of cyberattack in which bots are used to flood websites making them either crash or extremely slow to access.

One report suggested that it may just be a high volume of traffic causing the websites to go down.

Spokesmen from the Foreign Ministry and Strategic Affairs Ministry confirmed that there had been a “general problem, which has been solved.”

Websites that were still working, but slowly, included the Education Ministry, Finance Ministry, Transport Ministry and Health Ministry, the Knesset websites.

By 2.30 p.m. on Monday afternoon, the Foreign Affairs Ministry website was slow but working again, as was the Defense Ministry’s website. It seemed to be taking some time for the rest of the websites to be restored to full working order.

Late last month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel thwarted “daily” cyberattacks by Iran.

“Iran attacks Israel on a daily basis,” he said at the Cybertech conference in Tel Aviv. “We monitor these attacks, see the attacks and thwart the attacks. In the last 24 hours, Iran has said it will destroy us and target our cities with missiles. They don’t impress us because we know our power on defense and offense.”

A spokeswoman for the Government ICT Authority told the Post that “the browsing issue was caused by an operational failure in one of the network components.

“It was identified and treated within minutes,” she said.

Spokesmen from the Foreign Ministry and Strategic Affairs Ministry confirmed that there had been a “general problem, which has been solved.”

Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.

17.

HOW DID MOSSAD MANAGE TO ACT WITHIN SUDAN TO BRING ETHIOPIAN JEWS ‘HOME’?

Former Israeli Mossad agent reveals how they reused an abandoned Italian diving resort in Sudan to smuggle Ethiopian Jews to Israel.

BY ALON EINHORN
 
FEBRUARY 11, 2019

Pilgrims board a ferry at Suakin port in the Red Sea statePilgrims board a ferry at Suakin port in the Red Sea state. (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMED NURELDIN ABDALLAH)

Gad Shimron, a former Mossad agent, was interviewed for ILTV.tv, revealing the steps that brought the Mossad to act within Sudan, an Arab, hostile country toward Israel, to help bring Jewish Ethiopian Jews who had fled a fierce civil war in Ethiopia to Israel.

Shimron said that the Begin told the head of the Mossad to bring the Ethiopian Jews “home,” following the chief Rabbi’s ruling considering them Jewish, which meant they were eligible to move to Israel under the Law of Return

The Mossad then had to devise a plan that would allow the agents to act within Sudanese land. That is when they decided to use the diving resort as a cover story to allow them to drive freely through the country.

Shimron also noted the uniqueness of the operation, as an intelligence organization working undercover for a humanitarian project, and it being the “first time in African history where ‘white people’ [liberated] ‘black people’ in order to free them and not to enslave them.”

The number of Ethiopian Jews brought to Israel as a result of the operation stands around 7,000, Shimron estimated, while there were between four to fifteen Mossad agents operating in the country.

The Ethiopian Jews were “smuggled via the Red Sea, and later in aerial operations, with Israeli planes landing in the middle of the Sudanese desert and back directly to Israel.” Shimron noted.

In his interview, Shimron pegged the activity, as the Mossad agents felt it to be, as a “Zionist James Bond operation,” especially after being shot at, arrested, and interrogated as part of the operation.

A movie starring Ben Kingsley, Haley Bennett and Chris Evans is being made in Hollywood, telling the story of the operation. The movie however, will not be based on Shimron’s book, although he hopes the movie is “as close to reality as possible,” as well as give the viewers the feel of how great it is to belong to a country that “no other nation is doing.”

18.

Iran’s Supreme Leader: ‘Death to America’ Means Death to Trump

Iran's Supreme Leader: 'Death to America' Means 'Death to Trump'

By Theodore Bunker    |   Friday, 08 February 2019

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, said Friday that when his country uses the phrase “Death to America,” it means “death” to President Donald Trump and several top U.S. officials, The New York Times reported.

“‘Death to America’ means death to Trump,” along with national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Ayatollah Khamenei said Friday, adding, “It means death to American leaders, who happen to be these people at this time.”

The Trump administration withdrew from the nuclear agreement made with Iran, arguing that the country had not complied with the accords. The U.S. also reimposed economic sanctions on Iran and increased measures to affect the country’s leadership.

His official website, Khamenei.ir, quotes Ayatollah Khamenei as saying that “Death to America” will continue to be used in Iran’s official discourse until the U.S. changes its “evil and mean” methods.

Ayatollah Khamenei also criticized the European Union for the conditions it set on a payments vehicle known as the Instrument for Supporting Trade Exchanges, which is supposed to help avoid sanctions set on Iran by the United States.
“These days there is talk about Europeans and their offers. My advice is not to trust them, just like with the Americans,” Ayatollah Khamenei told senior Army Air Force officers during a meeting on Friday. “I’m not saying cut ties with Europe; it is about trust.”
19.

HAMAS ATTEMPTS TO RECRUIT WEST BANK, JERUSALEM RESIDENTS – VIA SATELLITE.

Hamas agents used agreed upon codes via Al-Aqsa TV to gain the trust of those they wanted to recruit to carry out terrorist attacks in Israel.

BY 
 
FEBRUARY 13, 2019 

Hamas attempts to recruit West Bank, Jerusalem residents – via satellite, February 13, 2019 (Shin Bet)

Recruiters use social media such as Facebook alongside Al-Aqsa TV as means to recruit Palestinians, including women, to carry out attacks within Israel.

The Hamas-run television channel had been used to transmit coded messages between the recruiters and their would-be agents.

By placing a coffee cup in an agreed upon moment or citing a specific verse from the Quran, the recruiters were able to gain the trust of their targets.

Hamas showed a great deal of interest in recruiting Palestinian residents of Jerusalem who have Israeli papers and can travel in the country freely, unlike West Bank residentsת who were asked to carry out stabbing attacks or suicide-bombing missionsת those holding Israeli ID’s were asked to photograph sites Hamas thought to be important.

20.

Κοινή επιχείρηση των CIA, MI6 και Mossad σε νησί του ανατολικού Αιγαίου

Ένας εξαθλιωμένος από τις κακουχίες Ιρανός μετανάστης, μαζί με 12 ακόμα συμπατριώτες του, έφτασαν τον Οκτώβρη στην Τουρκία και από εκεί πέρασαν στην Ελλάδα με μία φουσκωτή λέμβο. Τίποτα αξιοπερίεργο μέχρι εδώ. Εκατοντάδες χιλιάδες άλλοι είχαν προηγηθεί, ακολουθώντας την ίδια πανομοιότυπη διαδρομή, σε μία προσπάθεια να προσεγγίσουν την Ευρώπη. Οι μεταναστευτικές ροές, άλλωστε, έχουν κοπάσει σε σύγκριση με το 2015, αλλά παραμένουν σημαντικές.

Γράφει η ΝΕΦΕΛΗ ΛΥΓΕΡΟΥ

Ο 47χρονος αυτός άνδρας, όμως, δεν θα μπορούσε να διαφέρει περισσότερο από το καραβάνι μεταναστών και προσφύγων. Ενδεικτικό της ιδιαιτερότητάς του είναι το γεγονός ότι στο κατόπι του βρισκόταν όχι μόνο μία, αλλά τρεις μυστικές υπηρεσίες. Σε μία σπάνια κοινή επιχείρηση, η βρετανική ΜΙ6, η ισραηλινή Mossad και η αμερικανική CIA ανέλαβαν να διασώσουν τον άνδρα αυτόν από το Ιράν, οδηγώντας τον με ασφάλεια στη Βρετανία. Για να το κάνουν αυτό, τον μεταμφίεσαν σε πρόσφυγα, δημιουργώντας μία κάλυψη 12 ακόμα ανδρών, οι οποίοι στην πραγματικότητα είχαν αναλάβει την προστασία του.

Όλα αυτά γιατί αυτός ο άνδρας είναι γνωστός επιστήμονας, ο οποίος έχει συμμετάσχει στο πυρηνικό πρόγραμμα του Ιράν, κατέχοντας πολύτιμες πληροφορίες. Πιο συγκεκριμένα, φαίνεται να είχε και ενεργό ρόλο στη δολοφονία του κορυφαίου πυρηνικού εμπειρογνώμονα της Τεχεράνης του Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan. Τα τελευταία χρόνια πολλοί από τους σημαντικότερους επιστήμονες που συμμετέχουν στο πυρηνικό πρόγραμμα της χώρας έχουν δολοφονηθεί ή έχουν πεθάνει, υπό σκοτεινές συνθήκες.

Τρεις, μάλιστα, έχουν εκτελεστεί από το καθεστώς της χώρας τους, με την κατηγορία της προδοσίας και της συνεργασίας με τους δυτικούς.
ΜΑΥΡΟ ΚΟΥΝΟΥΠΙΔΙ
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