Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Some Geo-Politics/Intelligence, Some JSF Thoughts, and More

- for anyone who is considering working in the defense/intelligence space you should think about it carefully. If you do enough background it becomes fairly obvious that what you see on TV is not what it's like in the real world. A lot of defections actually occur because they don't know what they're getting into and/or can often regret doing the work that they do, etc... The other thing is one should note is that defectors often get caught, living on the other side can be worse, the risk may not be worth the reward, etc... For those who are curious, I haven't been looking specifically for intelligence material or material relating to defectors/whistleblowers. They've just come up in my research... Another thing that is apparent, our political leaders aren't supermen/women. They're just people doing the best that they can under the circumstances that they face...
Outspoken Former CIA Operative Lindsay Moran - Interview
VICE News Exclusive - The Architect of the CIA's Enhanced Interrogation Program
An Ex-CIA Officer Speaks Out - The Italian Job
CIA - World's biggest terrorist organization
How the CIA Waged War in Afghanistan
The Secret Government Program _ NSA Spying - NatGeoTV
The Classified Missions of the CIA - Full Documentary - Central Intelligence Agency
CIA Analyst: We Are All Gonna Die
Ray McGovern: the 9/11 Cover Up, 28 Pages
- the good thing is that no matter whatever superpower is involved most countries are holding their ground now when it comes to being exploited. The irony is that since most sides are almost as bad as one another which makes turning one side to another not too difficult
US Imperialism and Oil Politics- Africa, Middle East, Asia
Middle East Documentary 2015 _ Mind Blow Manipulative & Betrayals History 720 HD
- one of the most hilarious stories I heard about the Soviets/Russians was that for every defector they also sent a counter-defector. He was essentially a spy who had not been turned but had feigned the act of turning to confuse CIA/Allied intelligence (don't worry. I'll be covering more about the Chinese in a later post)
My Life as a KGB Spy in America - The Truth Behind Soviet Spies in Washington, DC (1995)
Yuri Bezmenov - 'Unlike Myself, You'll Have Nowhere to Defect To!' (rec. 1984)
Philby the Masterspy - Soviet triple agent's top secret story (RT Documentary)
Anatoliy Golitsyn - Most Important KGB Defector; Exposed the Soviet Union Collapse Lie
Philby the Masterspy - Soviet triple agent's top secret story (RT Documentary)
Double Agent Inside Al Qaeda for the CIA
- wanted to see what the break down of guided versus unguided weapons were given the hooplah over Russia's use of a lot of 'dumb weapons'. Problem with the Russians is that you can never be sure of the numbers thrown at you and estimates vary according to analyst quality. The irony is that both the US/Allied forces and Russia may be operating in similar percentage ranges (single digit) though I haven't looked too extensively...

- after all the controversy with regards the difference between the projected and final cost of the F-22/F-35 fighter jets I wanted to look at some other US aircraft, their development, and the difference between projected and final cost of the project in question. There have been some 'howlers'... I think it's even money whether they'll be able to meet that final projected cost on the F-35 in the time frame that they've outlined...
- I think most people know that basically all 5th-gen options are too expensive (given our current economic environment). I'm thinking that China/Russia may just be waiting to see final numbers to determine future capabilities and numbers for their own 5th-gen fleets. Seems like the cheapest option for development especially as there seems to be a history of continuous, regular, penetration of defense intelligence on both sides (though it breaches seem to occur more on the US/Allied side or may simply be better publicised)
- one flaw with 5th-gen fighters. Since they're so complex it's like the cybersecurity problem. The larger and more complex your attack surface is, the more likely I'll eventually be able to find a flaw that I'll be able to exploit. Here's the other great irony. People have said you can't add a lot of 5th-gen technology in later. Sure, but if you have the right fundamental core components then this is a different issue...
- if you examine performance of jet aircraft towards the end of the Cold War it becomes clear that the Russian aircraft are stronger kinematically than US/Allied aircraft (this seems to be confirmed by pilots who conduct tests themselves). This came at a cost of pilot overload though. If you look at the PAK-FA and it's planned upgrades it's clear that continued developed will make it more than a match for any Western option (though service life may be shorter but I think in general the Chinese/Russians have a different focus and don't generally tend to project force outwards as much as the US and it's allies)
- if you've looked at aircraft in general you'll have noticed a lot of strange similarities between the JSF and a prototype USSR aircraft. I'll be looking further at this aircraft and how amazing (or not) some of the other capabilities in the JSF actually are in another post

- been looking back through some of my old work recently. I submitted my 'Cloud and Internet Security' report to the Australian Federal Government and Department of Defense a long time ago (for clearance of content and to help them with some cyber security issues that they were facing)(worked on this stuff on and off for years before publication of material) and have since placed them in the Google Play store and on Amazon. The current metadata scheme may have stemmed from something on page 240... Ironically, the implementation was meant to occur in such a way that would require the use warrantless, automated inspection in order to achieve a better balance between privacy and security for the general public (you're still supposed to get a warrant in the end though to dig further). It would use algorithms that would be inspected by members of judiciary, IT specialists, intelligence, defense, and other specialists not the dumbed down version which seems to be going into place... As to why they're collecting so much data, why they won't release more details, etc... think about 'Anti-Forensics' and how difficult investigations are to conduct at the best of times. Check the 'INVESTIGATIONS' chapter starting on page 382 of my book as well as other relevant chapters such as 'CLEANINING UP', 'DATA WIPING', etc...
- NSA's operation Sharkseer program seems something similar to stuff that I was working on, on page 399-404 of my 'Cloud and Internet Security' report

- is it possible to create a wrapper between 32 and 64 bit DLLs. Sure, but there aren't any guarantees

- accessing non-native filesystems under Mac OS X as well as Linux can be painful at times

- frustrating when you know how big the Internet is (and how much duplicated data is out there) and you can't find exactly what you need/want. Have to report to using hacks, alternative search engines, etc...

- cross compiling can be frustrating at times especially when you have a development system that isn't the same as what others are using. Luckily, over time re-packaging something in less about 30 seconds becomes natural... Another trick is converting an RPM into a suitable DEB by using 'alien'. Quick and sometimes easier than using 'alien', automated package management is not available, etc...

- useful for saving required Debian packages

- other choices for mathematical processing languages include DC and BC. Similar to my encounter to MySQL and it's mathematical/statistical capabilities a long time ago. Limited and had to come up with hacks to make things work really. Better off just using the best available tool for the job at hand whether that be SAS, SPSS, Matlab, R, etc...

- if you've ever wanted to backup a DVD of yours to your HDD (to watch later on your laptop without an optical drive) you first need to overcome the encryption (something like AnyDVD) so that you can take the image

Some interesting quotes in my recent meanderings...

- Nuclear warheads are complex, highly-engineered devices with limited shelf lives. The National Nuclear Security Administration and America’s national laboratories rely on computer simulations and tests of non-nuclear components to assure the safety and reliability of the U.S. stockpile.

But simulations can’t tell you everything … like if a warhead doesn’t work when it freezes.

The Los Alamos National Lab began developing the W-80 thermonuclear warhead in 1976 for America’s new generation of cruise missiles.

About the size and shape of a fire hydrant minus its hose connections, the W-80 is a “dial-a-yield” device. Detonating its plutonium core alone yields five kilotons, while engaging its deuterium-tritium gas injector and the dry lithium fuel will ignite a fusion reaction and boost its yield to 150 kilotons.
- The original mistake with Syria, as with Vietnam, was for leaders in Washington to believe that civil wars and insurgencies taking place halfway around the world represent a critical national security interest. Back then, the illusory “domino theory” – the idea that if one nation went communist it would start a chain reaction leading all the other nations in the region to do the same – justified the decision to engage in a tiny nation that itself represented zero threat to the United States. A version of that logic is at work again.
- US military power cannot compel democracy in foreign lands; neither can it force change amongst foreign populations. Only those governments and their people can effect political change if they themselves want it. That is just one of the many lessons that Vietnam can teach the current administration – if, that is, they are willing to learn.
- “It is going to be like [playing] Pac-Man,” said Angel GurrĂ­a, the secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, during a recent visit to Brazil. “You run like crazy simply to stay where you are.”
- Don't mess with cows!
An ACC spokeswoman said it was important to note that the number of cattle, sheep and horse related injuries was proportional to the animal population in New Zealand, not because the animals presented a greater danger.

Animal accidents - 2015 financial year:

•Cattle: 4,279 accidents: cost $10,488,616
•Deer: 164 accidents: cost $366,957
•Dog: 19,145 accidents: cost $12,046,400
•Horse: 8.965 accidents: cost $22,277,077
•Sheep: 3,306 accidents: cost $5,908,672
•Other: 46,773 accidents: cost $9,007,119
- Tack and other experts offered a range of theories for why the Russians aren’t using precision-guided missiles in Syria, from their much higher cost (precision-guided weapons cost from $26,000 to $1.1 million each; an unguided bomb as little as $600) and the Kremlin’s relative inexperience in employing them, to looser rules of engagement that allow Russian pilots to identify their targets with relative impunity from discipline over civilian deaths.
- Hatch says Australia has been “greedy” in resisting the longer monopoly period and that the US should never have agreed to it. He says he will carefully study the text of the deal, released on Thursday night, but suggested negotiators might have to go back to the table.

“I understand that renegotiation may be difficult, particularly with so many parties involved,” he said in a speech at the US Chamber of Commerce, which has yet to give a verdict on the pact.

“But at the end of the day, the alternative to renegotiation may very well be no TPP at all.”

Some of President Barack Obama’s Democrats have also suggested renegotiating the deal.

Robb says Australia’s resistance was “strongly supported” by the majority of the 12 nations involved in the negotiations and was ultimately accepted by all parties. But health experts have argued the wording of the deal is “worryingly ambiguous and unclear” and appears to give the US scope to pressure Australia into keeping cheaper biosimilar medicines off the market for eight years.
- A breach-of-contract squabble has spiraled into broader allegations of misconduct against a drone manufacturer with millions of dollars worth of U.S. military contracts. A drone retailer claims that Prioria Robotics bilked the Army by selling a substandard drone that could be outflown by many hobby drones, which are far cheaper, according to a court motion.
- So the newest of the Air Force’s 1,000 F-16s must stick around longer than anyone had expected. As built, Block 40 and 50 F-16s have an 8,000 flight-hour fatigue life. At normal usage of around 300 hours per year, that amounts to 24 years, which would compel the F-16s to retire … well, now.
To be clear, there’s basically no chance an F-16 will need to remain in service nearly 100 years. Although, to be fair, the Air Force’s 1960s-vintage KC-135 tankers and B-52 bombers could be 80 years old by the time they retire.
- A third of the bombs dropped on Iraq were old-style "dumb weapons" - despite suggestions from the Pentagon that 90 per cent of munitions used would be precision-guided.

The first detailed analysis of the coalition air campaign by the commander of US air forces, Michael Moseley, also reveals a heavy emphasis on psychological operations; 32 million pro-coalition leaflets rained down on Iraqis during the campaign and 610 hours of anti-Saddam Hussein propaganda were broadcast.

There were 10 authorised strikes against "media facilities", including the Baghdad office of the Arabic TV news channel al-Jazeera, in which a reporter died.

More than 240,000 cluster bombs were dropped on Iraq, the report shows. Australia refuses to use these weapons, which were said by doctors to have caused injuries to children during allied bombing raids.

Humanitarian organisations want cluster bombs banned because their hundreds of grenade-like explosives scatter as far as half a kilometre, sometimes over urban areas where they can lie undisturbed for years and then explode. During the war, Central Command in Qatar began investigating reports that cluster bombs had killed 11 civilians in Hillah, in southern Iraq, and admitted in April that, while aiming for Iraqi missile systems and artillery, it hit Baghdad suburbs with cluster bombs.

Commander Moseley's assessment of the campaign is based on military records from March 19 to April 18. Called Operation Iraqi Freedom - By The Numbers, it has not been publicly released but is available to military experts. An unclassified version has been obtained by The Age.

Retired Air Vice-Marshal Peter Nicholson said it showed a much higher proportion of precision-guided munitions were fired at the beginning of the campaign but, as the war progressed, fewer advanced weapons were used.

He criticised the number of Tomahawk missiles, each costing more than $1.5 million, used by the US. "They fired far too many Tomahawks just because it kept the US Navy in play," he said. "They could have done the same thing with bombs from aircraft at a twentieth of the cost."
- The most complete survey of all the different bombs, missiles, shells, and weapons so far appears in Appendix A of On Impact: Modern Warfare and the Environment, a report prepared by William Arkin, Damian Durrant, and Marianne Cherni for Greenpeace. This report was prepared for the "Fifth Geneva Convention on the Protection of the Environment in the Time of Armed Conflict" (London, June 3, 1991). The authors infer the total weapons used from the 1991 fiscal year supplemental budget request to Congress which lists weapons required to replenish U.S. stockpiles. The numbers are revealing and staggering. In part, they include:

- 2,095 HARM missiles
- 217 Walleye missiles
- 5,276 guided anti-tank missiles
- 44,922 cluster bombs and rockets
- 136,755 conventional bombs
- 4,077 guided bombs[1]
- JDAMs debuted in the Kosovo conflict, tranforming the accuracy of tactical and strategic warplanes. Unlike the old gravity bombs, or “dumb bombs,” which simply drop to the ground when released, JDAMs are steered to their target. Before the JDAM is fired, it is programmed with its target’s coordinates and when the aircraft carrying the bomb reaches the specified release point the JDAM is fired.

Once let go, the bomb’s Inertial Navigation System/Global Positioning System (GPS) takes over and guides the bomb to its target. An aerodynamic design also helps the bomb maneuver through the air.However, the JDAM does have an Achilles heel.

“While the JDAMs are useful weapons, their dependency on Global Positioning System may prove to be risky,” said David Silbey, a military historian at Alvernia College, in Reading, Pa. “If that gets jammed, we have a problem.”

Also, fatal errors can result if the wrong GPS coordinates are entered as was the case in Afghanistan when a bomb accidentally crashed on American special forces unit.
- Kashin said that this is still an "early stage of a huge Chinese UCAV export expansion." Given the large-scale instability caused by insurgencies throughout the Middle East, UCAVs are a proven key technology for counterinsurgency warfare.
- While the nation's five biggest money managers — Banco do Brasil, Itau Unibanco Holding, Banco Bradesco, Caixa Economica Federal and Banco Santander Brasil — control more than 60 percent of all assets under management, just one of the group's Brazilian equity funds ranks among the 25 top-performing portfolios, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Instead, independent managers not associated with big retail banks are posting the best results.

The reason the smaller shops say they outperform their bigger peers is simple: They have to.

In Brazil, retail investors are still scarce and they almost always choose the managers affiliated with the bank where they keep their checking accounts, said Richard Ziliotto, a managing partner at Taler, a family office, and a director of capital-markets association Anbima.

"It's a matter of survival," he said from Sao Paulo. "Because of the convenience of being able to invest through their regular bank, the client that doesn't notice that the difference in returns can be gigantic over time because of compound interest just checks the products on the shelves and follows their branch manager's opinion. It's an almost automatic process."
- Seeking to assure other Asian nations about China’s broad interests, Mr. Xi said “the idea of peaceful development is the inner gene of Chinese culture.”

“Some people have been hyping China’s threat,” Mr. Xi added. “This is either due to the ignorance of Chinese history, culture and current policy, or out of some misunderstanding and prejudice, and probably for some ulterior reasons.”
- Based overseas, Falun Gong-linked media such as the Epoch Times and New Tang Dynasty TV regularly publish anti-communist reports. Falun Gong in Hong Kong have built strong links with pro-democracy groups, and hold regular demonstrations outside the Chinese liaison office (the CCP’s base in the semi-autonomous city) as well as taking part in the Tiananmen Square massacre memorials and the city’s regular July 1 pro-democracy march.

The group also has a significant presence in Taiwan, where it campaigns against integration with the mainland. Freegate, Falun Gong software partly funded by the US government, is one of the most popular tools for circumventing internet censorship in China. In late 2009, courts in Spain and Argentina indicted Jiang Zemin and other former Chinese officials on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity based on lawsuits and decades of campaigning by Falun Gong practitioners.

“Because of the campaign of suppression [Falun Gong] wound up becoming explicitly political,” said Ownby. “Continued [People’s Republic of China] efforts to suppress serve only to spur Falun Gong to continue their own efforts. To my mind, a wiser strategy for the PRC would be to ignore Falun Gong, but the regime has never been able to adopt a tolerant attitude toward dissent of any kind.”
- “I will tell you what an Arab told me,” he says. “A pretty well-known Arab. He said that if you wear America as your blanket, you are walking around naked.”
- “The No. 1 reason the train and equip thing failed is because when we got those quote-unquote rebels going to train, after we got them and armed them and told them not to fight Assad, because the administration did not want to upset Iran, that is what they wanted to do. They weren’t all that interested in ISIS. Their main thing was to overthrow the government. So they took our weapons and left.”
- In 1965, a cost rise from an estimated 4.5 to 6.3 million dollars per aircraft caused the Defense Department to cut the F-111 program sharply. A contract for 431 production aircraft was placed on April 12, 1965. This was more than 50 percent less than than the amount originally planned. Eleven production F-111As were added to the extensive test and engineering program.
- The total "military construction" cost related to the program was projected to be US$553.6 million in 1997 dollars. The cost to procure each B-2 was US$737 million in 1997 dollars, based only on a fleet cost of US$15.48 billion.[3] The procurement cost per aircraft as detailed in GAO reports, which include spare parts and software support, was $929 million per aircraft in 1997 dollars.[3]

The total program cost projected through 2004 was US$44.75 billion in 1997 dollars. This includes development, procurement, facilities, construction, and spare parts. The total program cost averaged US$2.13 billion per aircraft.[3] The B-2 may cost up to $135,000 per flight hour to operate in 2010, which is about twice that of the B-52 and B-1.[37][38]
- The USAF originally envisioned ordering 750 ATFs at a cost of $26.2 billion, with production beginning in 1994. The 1990 Major Aircraft Review led by Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney reduced this to 648 aircraft beginning in 1996. By 1997, funding instability had further cut the total to 339, which was again reduced to 277 F-22s by 2003.[32] In 2004, the Department of Defense (DoD) further reduced this to 183 operational aircraft, despite the USAF's preference for 381.[33][34] In 2006, a multi-year procurement plan was implemented to save $15 billion but raise each aircraft's cost. That year the program's total cost was projected to be $62 billion for 183 F-22s distributed to seven combat squadrons.[35] In 2007, Lockheed Martin received a $7.3 billion contract to increase the order to 183 production F-22s and extend manufacturing through 2011.[36]

In April 2006, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) assessed the F-22's cost to be $361 million per aircraft, with $28 billion invested in development and testing; the Unit Procurement Cost was estimated at $178 million in 2006, based on a production run of 181 aircraft.[37] It was estimated by the end of production, $34 billion will have been spent on procurement, resulting in a total program cost of $62 billion, around $339 million per aircraft. The incremental cost for an additional F-22 was estimated at about $138 million in 2009.[35][38] In March 2012, the GAO increased the estimated cost to $412 million per aircraft.[39]