Saturday, September 3, 2011

NUCLEAR-CONTROL CHAIN'S WEAKEST LINK






This appeared in The Toronto Star in 1986


Picture this: It is summer, 1984, and the world is about to enter another of its seemingly endless crises.

Ten thousand Afghan troops have crossed the border into Pakistan (to “chase” rebels). The United States places its naval units in the Indian Ocean of Defence Condition (DEFCON) Three, an increased readiness stance activated only once since World War II. The remainder of the U.S. military machine goes from normal DEFCON Five (peacetime defence) to DEFCON Four (DEFCON One means nuclear war).
In northern Canada, a 32-year-old operator at an aging Distant Early Warning line station focuses a watchful eye on his radar scope, some of whose supporting components are older than he is. Suddenly, “targets” are probably being caused by the intense atmospherics of the North Pole region.
He also estimates that the “targets” are moving south at a nominal speed of 50 miles per hour, thus confirming his suspicions. Dutifully, he reports them via a computer terminal to his commander. The aged computer accepts the operator's report, but malfunctions by adding a single digit and prints the speed of the “targets” as 500 miles per hour, the speed of most Soviet cruise missiles.
The “confirmed” report (another station submits the same target report) is forwarded to the to the National Command Authority (NCA) in Washington. Due to the panic already created by a crisis situation (the “Soviet” incursion into Pakistan en route to her much coveted warm-water port), the report is taken at face value: Possible Soviet nuclear missiles have been launched toward the United States.
The U.S. President is alerted and he immediately decides to evacuate Washington and enter his Boeing 747 National Emergency Command Post. The Soviets, monitoring U.S. Communications, are alerted to this highly unusual activity and decide that further intelligence information is necessary. They launch five spy satellites which are always maintained in a state of readiness for “clarifying the picture” during such emergencies. The satellites are directed to fly over the United States to collect data.
The U.S. National Command Authority receives a report from its own spy satellite over the U.S.S.R. that five ICBMs have been launched and are on their way to United States, impact expected within three minutes.
There is no time to think, double-check or deliberate. The President, airborne, decides that before he loses the ability to control the situation he must demonstrate to the Soviets that he means business. So he orders a limited nuclear strike against pre-selected, non-populated Soviet targets. Two minutes later his orders are received aboard the U.S.S. Mississippi, a Trident class ballistic missile submarine. The button is pushed and all 24 missiles are launched.
There is no “recall” or “self-destruct” capability available.
***
Most people, including some extremely well-educated authorities who should know better, may feel the above scenario is just not possible due to the checks and double-checks inherent in the nuclear forces of both sides today. It is also widely, though incorrectly, believed that the president will wait until absolute confirmation of a nuclear attack (i.e nuclear bursts on U.S. territory) before initiating a response, a notion which supports the “second strike” concept.
However, there are certain aspects of modern strategic nuclear forces that, if examined more carefully, will clearly indicate that an accidental nuclear exchange is not only feasible, but a serious risk.
The ageless axiom that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link is more than applicable to the political-military infrastructure that controls the employment of nuclear weapons. The weakest link in that chain has been repeatedly identified as the Command, Control and Communications of the strategic forces.
The Communications which support Command and Control of the U.S. strategic forces are sophisticated and expensive, but highly vulnerable. The system employs all forms of modern equipment, including land-line phones, radios, optics... right up to satellite relay systems.
The entire magnetic spectrum from Very Low frequency to Extremely High Frequency is engaged to complicate an enemy's potential ability to sever communications. Unfortunately, almost all military (and most civilian) communication depends upon this electro-magnetic spectrum through the use of radio waves and its related equipment (switchboards, transmitters, receivers, etc.).
Airborne Links
The president exercises control of his strategic forces through the National Command Authority via ground-based communication links to regional and sub-regional commanders. The backup behind this system is a fleet of command aircraft that will take commanders aloft and away from vulnerable land-based command posts. These airborne commanders will still have the ability to exercise command and control over their forces through airborne radio links with their individual units... or will they?
Today, it is common knowledge that sunspots (or increased solar activity) have substantial effects upon communications. This is due to increased disturbance of the electro-magnetic spectrum, the medium by which all radio communications travel.
A burst from a nuclear weapon at high altitude acts like a giant susnspot and will cause black-outs or distortions in most of the electro-magnetic spectrum. This effect is known as Electro-Magnetic Interference (EMI).
The effects of a nuclear burst can best be illustrated by a natural phenomenon we all take for granted. Messages are transmitted across oceans by bouncing radio waves off the upper part of the Earth's atmosphere, the ionosphere. The Sun, with its outpouring of nuclear-fueled energy, affects the ionosphere so considerably that during daylight hours the ionosphere sits substantially nearer to the Earth than at night. The Sun's eruptions excite atoms inside the ionosphere and causes their electrons to escape; the atmosphere becomes ionized—charged—and this acts as almost an impenetrable barrier to certain radio waves. An air-burst nuclear explosion creates the same effect.
Fortunately, Very High Frequency communications, which provide the basis for satellite communication, are not badly affected by EMI disturbance. That's good news.
The bad news is this: There is another aspect of a nuclear burst that does indeed affect, if not totally destroy, this vital satellite link. It is known as Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) and was first observed just before the cessation of nuclear atmospheric tests in 1962. EMP is a wave front of electro-magnetic energy that emanates from a nuclear burst.
Throw a stone into a quiet pond and watch the ripple of water that results. EMP works on the same principle, though in three dimensions. If one explosion were high enough and strong enough, it would create a rippling EMP that would blanket the entire United States. It degrades communication by damaging the related support system.
Electronic equipments today is ultra-sensitive and works on voltages measured in thousandths of one volt. If only one volt of electromagnetic energy is induced, an entire computer can be knocked out, programs erased, receivers zapped...and the list goes on. The result could be complete equipment failure either on a permanent or temporary basis which would not be limited to communications, but may affect missile-guidance equipment, firing circuits, launchers, etc.
Protective measures
The protection of circuits against EMP and a similar phenomenon known as Transient Radiation Effect on Electronics is possible, but no one knows how effective these protective measures will be since atmosphere nuclear tests are no longer permitted and laboratories cannot possible create conditions that could properly test system size equipment. (A Defence Nuclear Agency fact sheet declares that, “it is not particularly difficult to shield against the effects of EMP.” What is particularly difficult, we discovered, is to find anyone at either the agency of the Pentagon who can substantiate this misleading report.)
Satellites are not protected against EMP, nor will it be possible to protect them in the foreseeable future. Hence, satellite communications, the primary means of communication deployed by the strategic forces, may be virtually wiped out by the first high-altitude 10-megaton burst. It can be said with confidence that less than 100 well-placed nuclear detonations can completely wipe out the strategic forces' ability to communicate (the Soviet Union's strategic warhead arsenal is estimated at 9,000).
Hamstring response
Soviet military strategists are well aware that one well-placed high-altitude nuclear explosion would wipe out between 40 to 70 per cent of all electromagnetic communication within the United States and dispatch a strong EMP over the entire country. This single tactic could effectively hamstring an American response to but a small trickle of retaliatory nuclear strikes.
That is precisely why the President cannot afford the luxury of waiting until a “confirmed” attack has taken place, but must push a button that might better remain untouched.
There have been recent breakthroughs, including the use of optic fibre communication, which it is thought will one day lead to protection from EMP. But these “advances” are at least 20 years away from operational use.
Recalling the scenario at the beginning of this article, you will note that vulnerable communications was not the sole thrust to disaster.
The situation described was taking place during a “crisis”. Recent history has proven that a time-tested communications system which operates perfectly during peacetime cannot be relied upon to do its job as well in a crisis situation.
The classic example occurred on June 6, 1967, when the U.S.S. Liberty was strafed, torpedoed and nearly sunk, with heavy casualties, by the Israeli Self Defenc Forces. The ship was under the direct authority of the National Security Agency (NSA), which shares a communications system with the National Command Authority.
The military uses what is termed Emergency Action Messages (EAM) to relay to its combat units vital information, including war and nuclear release orders.
On the morning of June 6, 1967, NSA became aware that the Israelis might attack the Liberty; the communications vessel was spying on Israeli advances into Egypt. At least three hours before the attack, NSA sent an EAM to the Liberty via the prescribed high-priority communication channel. This emergency warning to “move off” was never received by the ship. Nor were two other EAMs which followed. The first ended up on the Philippines, another in North Africa, and the third God know where else. The result—34 lives lost and one U.S. naval vessel out of service, permanently.
More incidents
Why? No one really knows, or at least is not saying. And all this happened in a clear, pure, untainted electromagnetic environment free of Electro-Magnetic-Interference.
Within two years there were two more incidents involving vital communications failures during a crisis: The North Koreans captured the U.S.S. Pueblo and shot down an EC 121, a U.S. spy aircraft.
Although exhaustive attempts have been made to upgrade communications during a crisis situation, a vast amount of evidence remains that what works well in peacetime falls apart when the going gets tough.
For the rest of this decade and the next, the vulnerability of Command, Control and Communications, compounded by a crisis situation, could be the catastrophic prescription for accidental nuclear war.

Friday, September 2, 2011

THE ENEMY WITHIN





This appeared in the (UK) Sunday People on May 4th, 1986



Terror plan to 'smash the rich scum and their lackeys'



THE angry Brigade is back. The ruthless anarchists who brought terror to Britain more than a decade ago are manipulating an ultra-left plot to turn out cities into bloodbaths.

The sinister network of fanatical anarchists are motivated solely by a desire to destroy, to maim and to sabotage.

They are bent on whipping up a nationwide hate campaign which will erupt with a summer of riots.

Their evil intent is summed up in this chilling warning. “We fight the cops with all our strength with bricks and petrol bombs, we maim them and kill them because we hate them.”

The anarchists hope there will be an explosion of violence to mark Prince Andrew's marriage to Sarah Ferguson on July 23.

As the Sunday Mirror revealed last week, the underground newspaper Class War showed a photo of the couple under the sick headline Better Dead Than Wed.


Campaign


And an activist told us: “We would be over the moon if there were riots on the day of the Royal wedding.”

The Sunday Mirror has infiltrated several anarchist movements and we have uncovered their plot to join forces in a campaign of violence.

MI5 believe Angry Brigade urban guerillas are playing a sinister behind-the-scene role in the plot.

They have close links with terror groups abroad.

And they are also closely linked to the shadowy world of British anarchists.

The most active of the British cells is Class War whose driving force is former punk musician Ian Bone, 38.

Their charter states: “Together we can do our bit to smash the rich scum and their state, courts armies and lackeys.”

Class War has close ties with VIRUS, a communist-anarchist group who publish a paper called The Enemy Within.

The winter issue says: “Virus gives a welcome to the burning and looting...take it, it's yours! Burn it, it's rotten!”


Sabotage


A journal called Crowbar in Brixton, South London, offers advice on how to commit sabotage.


And BLACK FLAG, also based in Brixton, are thought to be linked with a Belgian terror group.


The Bristol-based group ACAB--which stands for All Coppers Are Bastards--call on their followers to attack expensive cars.


Their leaders often visit Ian Bone at his council flat in Hackney, North-East London.

This is the main way that informal links are made between British anarchist cells.

Intelligence chiefs know that most of the groups were active during the riots last year in Brixton and Tottenham.

They are likely to be the flashpoints again this year.

One police officers warned that anarchists might also start riots in other areas of London at the same time.


FORCES OF HATE


SECURITY chiefs are alarmed at the close cooperation between the Angry Brigade and terror organisations in Europe.

And our inquiries revealed that a meeting was held in London last year between leading UK anarchists and the Belgium terror group, CCC, the Cellules Communists Combattantes.

The CCC are linked with West Germany's Red Army Faction and with the ultra-Left French group Action Directe.

Intelligence services are now concerned that European expertise will lead to terrorists in Britain becoming more and more sophisticated.

A former police chief said: “The Angry Brigade has always had strong continental connections—that will continue to be the case.”


Monday, August 29, 2011

COUSINS AND FRIENDS






This appeared in The Blade (Toledo, Ohio) in 1986


Britain's SIS Operates Hand-in-Glove With the CIA


LONDON—Unlike America's CIA, the British Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6, does not officially exist.
Its address and telephone are state secrets, as is the name of its current chief.
The SIS occupies a 20-story building called Century House in south London, not far from Westminster. It is said to employ a staff of between 1,000 and 1,500.
The extensive filing system used by SIS analysts is known as “The Registry.” (The CIA's central computer is called “The Spider”).
The SIS director-general is known simply as “C.”
OFFICERS are organized geographically into regional “desks”--the United Kingdom (concerned with recruitment and the monitoring of foreign diplomats), the Soviet bloc, Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East.
The SIS maintains only one station in the whole of Latin America, so is largely dependent upon the CIA for intelligence reports from that part of the world. It is said that the SIS station in South America reported Argentina's aggressive intention two weeks before the invasion of Falkland/Malvinas Islands.
The SIS is generally thought to be smaller than the CIA and therefore its officers more broadly trained. While they lack specialization, they are said to be strong on good political analysis.
Americans tend to have an image of British agents, whether or not deserved, as “class acts,” as characters out of spy thrillers: good at their jobs, urbane dashing, polished, in the mold of James Bo
THE SECRET Intelligence Service was created in 1907 as the Secret Service Bureau. In the 1930s it was split into MI5 and MI6. “Five,” as the former is known, is also officially secret.
Attached to the Home Office, the SIS is a sort of British equivalent of the FBI, although MI5 officers do not have powers of arrest. This function is left to the Special Branch, a department of the police which works in conjunction with MI5.
A SPECIAL relationship exists between the CIA and MI5.
They have close liaison in Washington and London, as indeed throughout the globe, sharing both secrets and defectors. They run a joint defector program.
CIA people are called the “cousins,” in the parlance of the secret world; SIS people are called the “friends.” They have jointly mounted operations including:
  • An unsuccessful attempt in 1950 to topple Enver Hoxha's Stalinist regime in Albania. Their sponsorship of Albanian freedom fighters ended in tragedy, betrayed by the notorious traitor, Kim Philby, who was at that time the senior SIS liaison officer in Washington.
  • A successful CIA-SIS cooperative operation in 1953 deposed the Iranian prime minister, Mohammed Mossadeq, and installed Mohammed Reza Pahlavi as the Shah of Iran.
In theory, the cousins and friends do not spy on each others. It is assumed that both the SIS and CIA keeps check on everybody, friendly or not.

The CIA tends to use Britain as a home base for operations in Africa and the Middle East. On the occasion when CIA mounts operations inside Britain, such as reported infiltration of labor unions in the 1960s, it is with the knowledge and blessing of the SIS.
In 1975, Harold Wilson, then the prime minister, said in the House of Commons that everything the CIA does in Britain is known to the government.
CIA operatives abroad are probably closer to their British “friends” than to their own colleagues in the State Department.
UNLIKE the CIA, the SIS does not possess a portfolio for paramilitary operations. These missions are undertaken by the Special Air Service, an elite counterinsurgency force. The size and structure of the three SAS regiments are, of course, secret. The nearest U.S. Equivalent of SAS is the Delta Force, based at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
The most important element of the British and American special intelligence alliance is the Government Communications Headquarters, which works hand-in-hand with the supersecret National Security Agency, its America counterpart. Their function is signals intelligence and decoding.
BRITISH newspapers are banned from printing details about British intelligence. A system known as the “D Notice,” which critics call official censorship, makes the naming of names illegal and subject to public prosecution under the Official Secrets Act.
Much of the information available today on SIS is that obtained in the United States under the Freedom of Information Act.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

FOR SALE: PARAGUAYAN CITIZENSHIP








This appeared in The Blade (Toledo, Ohio) in 1986
Can He Buy Paraguyan Citizenship?

LONDON—Psst....want to buy Paraguayan citizenship?
A “business consultants” firm named MATRAS based in Hamburg, West Germany, is offering a complete package—a genuine Paraguayan passport, driver's license and, at extra cost, a Bolivian birth certificate in a new name.
Posing as a prospective client, I answered MATRAS' tiny classified in the International Herald Tribune. The promotional bumf arrived by return mail: “In a crisis you can fall back on your emergency passport.” Paraguay is described as “one of the last places of refuge in the world.”
It certainly has been a haven for Nazi war criminals, including the notorious Dr. Mengele.
The material from MATRAS is clearly geared for someone who may one day have to make a quick getaway; the service offered is that of an escape route for persons engaged in tax evasion or other criminal activity.
CURIOUS about how the Paraguayans might feel about such assistance, I spoke with Mr. Alvarienta, the consul-general at Paraguay's embassy in London.
“Come again?” he asked, when I informed him of MATRA'S offer. “Ha, ha, ha. They must be out of their minds.”
Or very well-organized. I put it to Mr. Alvarienta that perhaps this German agency had useful connections in South America.
“Why not?” the consul-general replied. “I can't say we are all saints.”
On one point he was adamant: “Five years' physical presence in Paraguay is compulsory to obtain nationality by residence. There is no way around that.”
The Bolivian consulate was equally vehement.
THE PROPIETOR of MATRAS, Karsten K. Niemann, comfirmed by telephone that the price for Paraguayan nationality and passport would be $6,500—more if I required a whole new identity complete with phony birth certificate.
Would I have to visit Paraguay? “No, no, no,” he replied. I would not even have to set foot in what he called the “Switzerland of South America.”
Mr. Niemann said he would be visiting London and suggested a meeting: “This is no subject to be done by letter.”
Several weeks later I met him in a London hotel. He is in his late 30's, 5-foot-3-inches tall and has rugged American-Indian features.
Over a pot of tea in the hotel's lounge, he reiterated his offer: $12,000 for the whole Paraguayan package.
Mr. Niemann explained enthusiastically that he has been in the business of peddling Paraguayan nationality for six years to people “who may need to escape.”
HE BOASTED of being busy with many clients internationally. He spends half his time in Paraguay, which he first visited in 1973 while working in real estate.
I told him that I wished to move to Paraguay, under a different name, as a Paraguayan citizen.
Mr. Niemann smiled and said this was no problem, claiming that with his bona-fide documents I could “disappear” to Paraguay without a trace—many of his clients had done just that, “but, most wait a few years.”
He told me he has dealt with many clients from Britain and the United States. Most of his customers have tax problems and need new names and nationalities with which they can travel freely, he said.
Lowering his voice to barely a whisper, he explained that he had to be especially careful because Italian terrorists had acquired Paraguayan passports through the same procedure.
“We had a lot of trouble from some criminals, very bad criminals—one who killed Aldo Moro, the Italian president, the other who blew up the [Bologna] train station.”
Dr. Paul Wilkinson, a leading expert on terrorism, later confirmed that neo-fascist terrorists in Italy, called “Black Terrorists,” are known to carry Paraguayan passports.
Mr. Niemann said I would have to get a letter of good conduct from the British police to “cover” is Paraguayan contacts.
“The Paraguayan government has been blackmailed to crack down on criminals,” Mr. Niemann said with a sigh. “And therefore the letter of good conduct is most important.”
A London contact of his could arrange to get me a letter of good conduct from the police under a different name, he promised.
The whole procedure would take six to eight weeks, following which I would be a new person—and a full-fledged citizen of Paraguay.
I have passed my file on MATRAS to the American consul-general and the Internal Revenue Service, which is taking more than a passing interest.


Friday, August 26, 2011

THEY DON'T DEBATE IN ALBANIA




This appeared in The Blade (Toledo, Ohio) in 1984

LONDON—A Frenchman made a fatal mistake this summer. He surrendered to an Albanian border patrol.
Jean-Marie Masselin, 29, an employee of the French Club Mediteranee on the island of Corfu, was on a fishing trip with two colleagues. They strayed into Albanian waters, and their inflatable dinghy with outboard motor soon came under fire by Albanian guards.
They dived into the water. Two of them swam off to a Greek boat nearby, but Mr. Masselin decided to take a chance with the border patrol and swam ashore. He climbed up some rocks and was apprehended by the Albanians. Simon Periatinos, a Greek eye-witness watched as Mr. Masselin was marched away.
Three days later, his body was discovered floating in the sea, a bullet wound in his head.
THE MOST surprising part of all this is that nobody is surprised—this is the sort of behavior the world has come to expect from the Albanians, not a people renowned for their tolerance of foreigners.
Albania is a country of 2 ½ million people. Some 25,000 Albanians, mostly descendants of Illyrian tribes, belong to the secret police.
The official language, an Indo-European tongue, contains Latin, Greek, Italian and Turkish words.
Albania is the only country in the world where the memory of Stalin is invoked with admiration. Enver Hoxha, Albania's iron-fisted leader for four decades, has written of the man under whose tyrannical rule millions perished: “Our beloved friend, the glorious leader, Stalin...”

RELATIONS between Albania and the Soviet Union stiffened considerably after Stalin's death in 1953. Mr. Hoxha staunchly disapproved of Nikita Khrushchev's “revisionism.”
When Khrushchev requested that Albania not spoil its seaside landscape with industry, Mr. Hoxha's reply was terse: “We have no intention of becoming a spa for Soviet functionaries.”
His opposition to the Soviet Union increased when, in 1960, Khrushchev broke with the Chinese Communists and demanded, at a party congress in Romania, that all Communist delegations offer their support.
Mr. Hoxha responded by allying Albania with Communist China, a relationship that remained until Mao Tse-tung's death, but terminated in 1978 when Mr. Hoxha decided that China, too, had become “revisionist.”
HIS LAST STRAW with Moscow came in 1968 when the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia. He abruptly withdrew Albania from the Warsaw Pact, making it the only country to ever pull off such a maneuver.
Albanian soldiers were dispatched to take up positions in the mountains for fear of Soviet reprisals. Weapons were distributed to every village throughout the country as Albanians braced themselves for an invasion. The Soviets never came.
Villagers are still armed to the teeth, a policy encouraged by Mr. Hoxha. (One wonders how the Communist parties of the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Poland would fare if its citizens were permitted weapons.)
Mr. Hoxha, 75, rules supreme in Tirana, the capital. His features adorn most public places, invoking a “Big Brother” style personality cult. His birthplace is a national shrine.
He was elected secretary-general of the Communist party in 1943. For many years he ruled through Mehmet Shehu, the prime minister, and Beqir Balluku, the defense minister.
Khrushchev wrote in his memoirs: “Hoxha and Shehu would sentence the accused to death. Balluku would personally carry out the execution.”
But Beqir Balluku was executed as part of a Hoxha-inspired purge in the mid-1970's, during which eight senior ministers vanished.
Mehmet Shehu suffered a similar, albeit more public, purge in a bizarre incident in 1982. Many eyebrows were raised when his “suicide” was announced. Sources say that a raging argument between him and Mr. Hoxha ended with cabinet-room shoot-out in which Mr. Shehu was gunned down. Known as “the butcher,” he was said to have shot and killed a colleague who dared argue with him during a 1950 cabinet meeting.

ALBANIA is the only country where Marxism truly works, the propaganda machine claims. Propagandists say Albanians are treated badly by both the western and Communist press because (1) the Pentagon doesn't want anyone to know that Marxism can work and (2) the Russians don't wish to acknowledge that Marxism doesn't work in the Soviet Union.
Albania is self-supporting in food. The staple diet consists of rice, bread, paprika and a little goat meat.
The country is also self-supporting in oil and is the fourth largest producer of chromium ore (900,000 tons per year). Natural resources include asphalt, coal, copper and iron.
There is no tax. Medical and dental services are free. Only a half percent of wages are paid in rent.
Churches and mosques were outlawed in 1967. So were beards.
A small travel agency in Britain offers “a chance to have a non-Christmas or non-Easter” in Albania.
There are no foreign books or newspapers.
The last time western countries attempted to interfere was in 1945. A Committee of Free Albanians was financed by the American and British intelligence services, and 300 “Free Albanians” parachuted into Albania and were never seen again. Kim Philby, the British spy, had betrayed the operation.