SoCS — False Flag

“Colonel, I think we’re looking at a false flag operation,” Captain Charles Reynolds told his superior officer.

“Why do you think that, Charles?” Colonel Bradbury asked. “Do you have definitive evidence?”

“Nothing definitive, sir. Not yet, anyway. But my team is working on it,” Reynolds answered. “As you know, sir, the intent of a false flag attack is to shift the blame elsewhere. There are clear characteristics in the hack that point to Iran, but while the techniques applied in this attack are typically used by Iranians, my team has uncovered some telltale signatures in the code that indicate the Russians may be behind it. They, the Russians, sir, are very good at emulating the techniques, and even languages, used by the groups or countries they are trying to frame, which in this case, is Iran.”

“Yes, Charles, that is what the Russians do,” said Bradbury. “They stage their attacks in such a way that it looks to their victims and to the world that another country is behind the cyber attack. They’re very good and masking who’s actually responsible.”

“Indeed,” Reynolds said. “While there are a number of countries that have engaged in this sort of attack, by far the most prolific practitioner is Russia, using its GRU intelligence service and hackers associated with it.”

“What do you think their aims are, Charles?”

“Best case, sir, it’s just to annoyingly infiltrate our systems in order to demonstrate that they can get at us,” Reynolds said. Then he swallowed hard and said, “Worst case, they can potentially bring about widespread chaos by shutting down all electronic communications and infrastructure systems in the country.”

“Well godammit, Reynolds, we need to take action to prevent something like that from happening,” Bradbury barked. “You need to confirm whether this is, in fact, a Russian false flag attack or if it is actually the Iranians. The President is going to want to strike back at whoever is responsible and that strike has to directed at the right adversary or we’re all going to be in deep shit.”

Captain Reynolds crisply saluted Colonel Bradbury. “Yes sir, right away sir,” Reynolds said, as he spun around and left the colonel’s office.


Written for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, where we are asked to use the word “flag” in our post.

Fandango’s Provocative Question #55

FPQWelcome once again to Fandango’s Provocative Question. Each week I will pose what I think is a provocative question for your consideration.

By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest.

What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.

I was born shortly after World War II ended. I was a toddler during the Korean War. I was in high school during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I was in college during the Vietnam War. I was a working man during the Gulf War, the Iraq War, and the never ending Afghanistan War. Now I’m retired and it seems that we are on the precipice of war with Iran.

So my provocative question today is a three parter:

Do you feel that Donald Trump was justified in ordering a drone strike that resulted in the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, in an airstrike in Baghdad last week?

Do you think Trump’s decision will lead America into a hot war with Iran?

Do you think Trump’s motives are political and self serving? 

Before you answer that last question, watch this video from The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

If you choose to participate, write a post with your response to the question. Once you are done, tag your post with #FPQ and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments. But remember to check to confirm that your pingback or your link shows up in the comments.

Who Won The Week? 1/5/20

10CC3057-4EEA-4C80-B8C1-700C0FC6C906It’s time for another Who Won the Week prompt. The idea behind Who Won the Week is for you to select who you think “won” this past week. Your selection can be anyone or anything — politicians, celebrities, athletes, authors, bloggers, your friends or family members, books, movies, TV shows, businesses, organizations, whatever.

I will be posting this prompt on Sunday mornings (my time). If you want to participate, write your own post designating who you think won the week and why you think they deserve your nod. Then link back to this post and tag you post with FWWTW.

This week I am reluctantly picking Vladimir Putin for Who Won the Week. Doesn’t he look happy?E9647072-B37F-4601-BD7C-A96486CA78C8In the wake of Trump’s ordered drone strike at Baghdad’s international airport that killed Major General Qassem Suleimani, head of the elite Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, Iraq’s parliament voted in favor of expelling U.S. troops from that country and shutting down the American embassy.

Putin was already the most influential world leader in the Middle East, including in Turkey, Syria, and Iran. Now Trump has essentially ceded American influence in the region, now including in Iraq, to the Russian leader.

Putin can point to U.S. actions as seeming to justify Russia’s current campaign to push back against the world order the U.S. represented. It also allows Putin to play the sober statesman, compared with the erratic American leader.

By the way, Trump allegedly spoke with Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before ordering the drone strike. Not to any American Senators, but to Putin and Netanyahu! Hmm, I wonder what advice they gave him. No doubt it was in the best interest of the United States, right?

And now it’s your turn, folks. Who (or what) do you think won the week?

Must Read Tuesday

I have attempted to reblog this post from Jill Dennison because, if you have any interest in geopolitics, it’s definitely worth reading. But for some reason, my reblog button is simply not working. Damn you WordPress!

So because I feel this is such an important topic, I ended up copying and pasting her post below.

Please take a few minutes to read this.

TRUMP’S “SAUDI ARABIA FIRST” POLICY

F3F84FB8-853B-49E2-A59F-F73B3223A3FADonald Trump likes ‘tough’ talk, and apparently thinks it is becoming to sound like a B-grade actor trying out for the role of one of Don Corleone’s sons in The Godfather.  This could be forgiven or overlooked if he were a teenager still trying to impress girls despite his pimply face and false bravado.  But no, he is 73 years of age, and more importantly, holds the highest office in the government of a nation of 330 million people.  We don’t need a mafioso-sounding idiot running the nation … we need intellect and compassion, neither of which Trump possesses.

“Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!”

On Saturday, Trump actually called Crown Prince bin Salman to offer U.S. military support.  Besides the aforementioned Cagney-style speech, there is much wrong with this entire scenario.  The first, and most obvious, is that Saudi Arabia is not a member of NATO and thus we have no obligation to come to their defense.

Second, although the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are strategic allies, Saudi Arabia are by no means our friends.  Remember how Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered the brutal slaying of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October?  That was not an act of friendship.

Third, Houthi rebels in Yemen have claimed responsibility for the attacks on the Saudi oil facilities last weekend, and yet, out of his posterior Trump pulls the idea that he thinks Iran is to blame.  The Saudis have also claimed that they believe it was Iranian weapons that attacked, but with no proof whatsoever.  Within hours of the attack, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, despite the fact that Yemen’s Houthis had claimed responsibility, and with not a single shred of evidence, said …

“Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.”

Fourth, it is not up to Donald Trump, even as president, to start a war all by himself.  It requires an act of Congress.  The U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 8, clauses 11–16 give Congress the authority to declare war.  The framers of the Constitution were reluctant to concentrate too much influence in the hands of too few, and thus denied the office of the President the authority to go to war unilaterally. If America was going to survive as a republic, they reasoned, declarations of war required careful debate in open forums among the public’s representatives.

Under the War Powers Resolution of 1973, the U.S. President can send the Armed Forces into action abroad only by declaration of war by Congress, “statutory authorization,” or in case of “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.”  It requires the President to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30-day withdrawal period.

When Trump won the presidency in 2016, few countries were as happy as Saudi Arabia. The Saudis had felt neglected and dismissed under Trump’s Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, who had prioritized reaching out to Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional arch-rival.

They hoped Trump would be friendlier to their interests, and in many ways, he has delivered: signing off on weapons deals, abandoning the Iran nuclear deal and downplaying the Saudi state’s human rights abuses. Trump even made Saudi Arabia the first foreign country he visited, famously posing in front of a glowing orb with Saudi royals during a conference on fighting terrorism.  And then, there was Jamal Khashoggi.  Though U.S. intelligence services confirmed that bin Salman had ordered the killing, Trump said he doesn’t care if the Saudi crown prince played a role because Saudi Arabia is an important ally, one that buys a lot of U.S. weapons and is a key global oil producer.  And if all that isn’t enough, keep in mind that 15 of the 19 hijackers on 11 September 2001 were Saudi nationals.

The implication that the royal family in Riyadh will dictate U.S. actions has many up in arms.

  • “Trump awaits instructions from his Saudi masters. Having our country act as Saudi Arabia’s bitch is not ‘America First.’” – U.S. Representative and presidential candidate, Tulsi Gabbard

  • “Under our Constitution, the power to commence war lies with Congress, not the president and certainly not Saudi Arabia. We don’t take orders from foreign powers.” – U.S. Representative Justin Amash

  • “This administration reneged on the Iran nuclear deal, put in place crippling sanctions and is now openly threatening war. We must hold this President accountable and avoid another wreckless war!” — U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar

And, there is, as there always is where Donald Trump is involved, sheer irony and contradictions run amok.  For example, in 1987, he paid nearly $100,000 for full-page ads in The Washington Post, the New York Times and Boston Globe that spotlighted Saudi Arabia as a country that was taking advantage of the United States’ patronage.

trump-ad-1987.jpgAnd then, there were these …Trump-Iran-Obama-tweets

Secretary of State Pompeo has been biding his time, waiting and hoping for the opportunity to attack Iran for most of his career.  Donald Trump is an ignorant fool.  What could possibly go wrong?  The reality is that the very last thing this country needs is to start a war with Iran.  Anyone who thinks it would be a good idea … go back to bed and wake up when you’ve become an adult.

It’s Going To Be a Bumpy Ride

FBAB2DFD-19E0-4EFA-B5C8-DB797B622840First Donald Trump said, “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and the fury like the world has never seen.”

And then Trump met Kim Jong Un in Singapore and kissed his ass.

Trump boasted that, “Nobody’s been tougher on Russia than I have.” And then Trump met with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki and kissed his ass.

Now tonight Trump tweeted B8921F9B-4B32-4ACD-9610-E613232882D2So what’s next? Is Trump going to meet somewhere with Hassan Rouhani and kiss his ass, too?

As one of my fellow bloggers, James Pyles, said in one of his comments to me in this post of his, “Hold on because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”