Iran-North Korea Military Link Suspected by Pentagon

(screengrab of Fox News video post)

Newsmax, by Karl Nelson, May 5, 2017:

Pentagon suspicions of a military connection between Iran and North Korea have been heightened by Tuesday’s attempted Iranian launch of a cruise missile from a type of “midget” submarine operated only by North Korea.

The missile test – which failed – provided the Pentagon with more evidence into North Korea’s influence in Iran, according to Fox News.

The same type of submarine sunk a South Korean warship back in 2010.

While others have worried about a North Korean missile capable of reaching the U.S., experts worry that if Iran or North Korea can launch nuclear warheads into Earth orbit they can knock out all power grids and communication lines below.

It’s suspected that North Korea could “place a satellite into orbit with a nuclear payload,” yet again this year, which is being viewed right now as the number one threat to U.S. security, said Henry Cooper, former director of the Pentagon’s Strategic Defense Initiative Organization, per The Daily Star.

“Both nations could deliver an EMP attack on the United States by simply detonating a nuclear weapon carried by one of their satellites as it passes over the United States,” said Cooper.

“I believe we have had a clear warning of the nature of this threat for years, and are collectively continuing to ignore and take ineffective countermeasures to deal with it,” he added. “We are essentially defenseless against this plausible threat.”

Adm. Harry Harris, head of American forces in the Pacific, said the U.S. has no “short- or medium-range” missiles located on any land because it endorses the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF).

However, Iran and North Korea aren’t under any such treaty.

“We are being taken to the cleaners by countries that are not signatories to the INF,” said Harris.

In January, Iran tested a ballistic missile the Pentagon believes was based on a North Korean design, and last summer Iran conducted another launch similar to a North Korean design, which was apparently successful.

“The very first missiles we saw in Iran were simply copies of North Korean missiles,” said Jeffrey Lewis, a missile proliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, per Fox News. “Over the years, we’ve seen photographs of North Korean and Iranian officials in each other’s countries, and we’ve seen all kinds of common hardware.”

“In the past, we would see things in North Korea and they would show up in Iran,” Lewis said. “In some recent years, we’ve seen some small things appear in Iran first and then show up in North Korea and so that raises the question of whether trade – which started off as North Korea to Iran – has started to reverse.”

North Korea’s Latest Missile Test was a Warning, Not a Failure

Center for Security Policy, by Frank Gaffney, May 4, 2017:

Last week’s dramatic congressional briefings on the threat from North Korea apparently failed to address its single most worrisome feature. That serious oversight was highlighted, though, by the North’s missile test on Saturday, in which a ballistic missile flew to an altitude of 71 kilometers, then exploded.

Initially, the test was depicted as yet-another in a long line of failures. But it actually demonstrated the North’s capability to use a single nuclear warhead to unleash a devastating electromagnetic pulse (or EMP) attack against our friends and forces in South Korea, destroying unprotected electric grids and electronic devices.

Experts have long warned against such an attack against our country, too – perhaps launched from a tramp steamer off our coast or an orbiting satellite. We must protect our grid against such threats – and the world against the North’s pathological despot, Kim Jong-Un.

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VP Mike Pence from Korean Demilitarized Zone: ‘Era of Strategic Patience Is Over’

Breitbart, by Michelle Moons April 17, 2017:

Speaking from Freedom House within the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), Vice President Mike Pence delivered strong words to American and Republic of Korea (ROK) military troops, reassuring South Korea of U.S. commitment to denuclearization and warning North Korea that every option is on the table.

“The patience of the United States and our allies in this region has run out, and we want to see change,” Pence warned.

Pence made clear that the U.S. wants to see the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (DPRK), or North Korea, abandon “its nuclear program and its ballistic missile program” and that the U.S. hopes to see China take actions necessary to achieve this change.

The Vice President recalled more than a quarter-century ago, when the U.S. became aware North Korea’s attempts at developing a nuclear weapon:

We want to see North Korea abandon its reckless path of the development of nuclear weapons. And also its continual use of and testing of ballistic missiles is unacceptable. That clarity we hope will be received in North Korea, and that they will understand that the United States of America, the people of South Korea, our allies across the region are resolved to achieve our objectives through peaceable means or ultimately by whatever means are necessary to protect the interest, the security of the people of South Korea and to bring stability to the region.

He went on to tell the group:

We are heartened by the support of allies across the Asia Pacific, including China, who will continue to advance this objective on the Korean Peninsula. And I’m here to express the resolve of the people of the United States and the President of the United States to achieve that objective through peaceable means, through negotiations, but all options are on the table as we continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of South Korea for the denuclearization of this peninsula and for the long-term prosperity and freedom of the people of South Korea.

Pence again recalled his father’s military service in the Korean War. “People across the world should know that the bonds between our people are not simply strategic and military and economic, but they are personal, and they span generations of Americans and South Koreans,” he said.

Asked about what role China could have in denuclearizing North Korea, Pence stated that he and the President are “heartened by some initial steps that China has taken in this regard, but we look for them to do more.”

The Vice President said that he and the President hope to achieve denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula “through peaceable means” with the cooperation of China, South Korea, Japan, and other allies in the region.

“All options are on the table to achieve the objectives and ensure the security of the people of this country and the stability of this region,” said the Vice President, who was clear that the Administration stands by its policy of not talking about military tactical decisions. He also reaffirmed that the U.S. stands with the people of South Korea.

Asked what message he had for the “people on the other side of this line,” Pence responded, “We seek peace, but America has always sought peace through strength. And my message here today standing with U.S. Forces Korea, standing with courageous soldiers from the Republic of Korea, is a message of resolve.”

“The alliance between South Korea and the United States is ironclad.  We will fulfill that alliance for the sake of our people and the people of South Korea,” Pence continued. He went on to say, “As the President has made very clear, either China will deal with this problem or the United States and our allies will.”

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana 

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Gorka on Mark Levin: Trump ‘Inherited a Global Firestorm’ from Obama Admin.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Breitbart, by John Hayward, April 13, 2017:

Host Mark Levin welcomed Dr. Sebastian Gorka, former Breitbart News national security editor and current deputy assistant to President Trump, to his radio show on Tuesday evening.

Gorka said that current American policy in trouble spots such as Syria and North Korea was consistent with President Trump’s positions during the 2016 campaign.

“Very simply put, the man that was Donald Trump before January the 20th is the same man who is the president today,” he said. “He has re-instigated American leadership around the world. We’re not going to perpetuate the vacuum created by President Obama that was exploited by people like Assad, like Putin, like the crazy regime in North Korea.”

“We are reasserting the values that made America great and will make America great again,” he said, alluding to Trump’s campaign slogan. “It’s leadership from the front, and it’s standing up to the founding principles of the Republic. It’s that simple, Mark.”

“For all the people who supported Donald Trump on November the 8th, I’d like them to think about one thing: what we did on Thursday is not 2003 nor is it the first Gulf War in 1991,” Gorka said.

He suggested:

The president is clear. He’s not about invading other people’s countries and occupying them, but he is not going to let dictators use weapons of mass destruction against unarmed women and children. If you have a problem with us launching a cruise missile strike on an airfield used to execute such an attack, you need to look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, what is the problem with taking that action and making a red line a real red line?

Levin said some disappointed Trump supporters feel he has “embraced the McCain wing of the Republican Party” with his Syrian intervention.

“I say they really need to look at the facts,” Gorka countered. “The idea that deploying 150,000 troops into the Middle East is the same as one of our ships sitting in safety, in the middle of the Med, launching unmanned vehicles to take out this airfield — the two can not be compared.”

“Also, there’s a very important point here: statecraft, leadership is nothing if it doesn’t understand that diplomacy must be backed up by force,” he continued. “We had eight years of just words — words that were exploited by our enemies and, on top of that, the support of our enemies when you look at the JCPOA, the Iran deal, the ransoms and everything else.” He said:

We understand, and the president understands this implicitly, diplomacy is nothing if you’re not prepared to back it up with force. Everyone who needs to understand what we did in Syria on Thursday understands it. Look at the nations that have an issue with it and you will see just how morally sound our actions were — and also how they overlapped with our national security as well.

Gorka noted that Russia’s response to the strike on the Sharyat airbase in Syria has been thus far limited to “some very predictable statements that they have to make for domestic, internal purposes, but I think they are drawing the necessary conclusions.”

“There is a point at which your satrapy, your client state maintaining a state like Assad’s state is no longer in the interest of even the Kremlin,” he said, making one of those necessary conclusions explicit. “I think they’re starting to understand that as well.”

Levin proposed that Russia’s weak economy would hinder them in a conflict with the United States.

“This is one of the things that Ronald Reagan understood,” Gorka agreed:

In one of his first meetings in the NSC, he asked, “What is the GDP of the Soviet Union?” He was told it was roughly on par with California. Then he understood how much of a paper tiger the Soviet Union was. So yes, if you look at the GDP, if you look at their resource-intensive economy, if you look at their demographics — 600,000 people die a year in Russia, more than are born. That’s a demographic reality. So yes, we look at the world as it is, not as we would wish it to be, which was the last White House.

Levin asked for an update on North Korea, which Gorka said he could deliver only with caution because, “unlike the Clinton administration and unlike the Obama administration, we do not give our game plan away — we do not tell our adversaries what to expect from us, as Clinton did in the Balkans, and as the last president did in Iraq.”

“I think people understand, and that the movement of our vessels, the action we took on Thursday, they’re all part of the same kind of deck of cards,” Gorka said. “We are reinforcing the statements made by the president, by Secretary Tillerson, with actions that fill the vacuum created by the Obama administration.”

Levin observed that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is “a very dangerous man.”

“The problem with that nation, in particular, is that unlike other countries, including I would say even the Russian Federation, you simply cannot model them on the rational-actor models that we use,” Gorka said. “When ideology overtakes reasoned cost/benefit analysis, nations like North Korea are very difficult to model. That’s why other messages are needed.”

“That’s the similarity between Iran and North Korea. We are not looking at your standard, rational actors in either case,” he said.

“It’s very important that everybody, whether you voted for him or not, is clear on this issue that there is no desire, and no intent, inside the White House, inside the Oval Office — the president does not wish to be some kind of global policeman,” Gorka stressed. “That is not what we’re talking about.”

However, he agreed with Levin’s point that “we have inherited a global firestorm” from the Obama administration.

“If you look at any cardinal point on the compass — north, south, east or west — the world is on fire,” he said. “Just one thing: if you listen to the United Nations, we have 65 million refugees in the world today. That’s more than we had in 1945, after the death camps and the destruction of World War II.”

“That is, in part, a direct function of the feckless foreign policy and a lack of leadership under the Obama administration,” Gorka contended. “We can’t ignore that because sooner or later that will have a national security impact on every American living in the United States as well.”

Levin feared that even Trump’s request for increased military funding was not enough and that Congress was not moving quickly enough to provide the funds requested.

Gorka said that “certain individuals” in Congress saw the urgency of rebuilding the military, although it was not a “groundswell” yet.

“There’s a lot of freshmen congressmen, many of them, who are actually Iraq veterans. Some of them are my friends,” he said:

They fully understand it. When you look at the U.S. Marine Corps, in the last eight years, ended up having to cannibalize active aircraft they were using so they could use those spare parts for other aircraft. That is the dire situation that we inherited. The president is serious about fixing that as well. But it’s separation of powers, so as you rightly note, we have to have that requisite support on the Hill to make things happen. The purse strings are there. The intent exists in the White House. We’ve already set with the increase in the budget the direction we need to go in, but it’s not just up to the president.

Levin concluded the interview by asking Gorka what it was like to “be under constant attack, in ways that really are quite vicious,” and if he was still glad to be at the White House after dealing with such abuse.

“Look, Mark, I’m living the dream,” Gorka replied. “I was an immigrant. I chose this country because I truly believe it’s the last great hope. I came here nine years ago, and I’m walking around the West Wing every day. God has smiled on me, and I’m thankful for that.”

“With all of these fake news attacks — there’s going to be another one in USA Today tomorrow — I just smile and I laugh. Why? Because I’m not in the cellar of the secret police headquarters in Budapest being tortured, like my father in 1950. So bring it on. Call in Karl, Ben Rhodes, Politico — I laugh in your face because it is pathetic and it’s only words,” he declared.

Also see:

Gertz: ‘America Is Extremely Vulnerable’ to Cyber Threats

iwarBY: Washington Free Beacon Staff
January 3, 2017

Washington Free Beacon senior editor Bill Gertz said that the United States is “extremely vulnerable” to cyber attacks during a radio interview with Sean Hannity on Tuesday evening. Gertz appeared on Hannity’s radio show to discuss his newly released book, iWar: War and Peace in the Information Age.

To begin the interview, Hannity asked Gertz what he thought of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s assertion that he did not receive hacked emails of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign from Russian sources.

“We’re going to have to wait to see what the [Obama] administration’s investigation of the Russian influence operation is,” Gertz responded.

Hannity then referenced his previous interview with Assange in which the WikiLeaks founder claimed to have hacked into NASA at the age of sixteen, prompting Gertz to explain how vulnerable the U.S. is to what he described as information attacks.

“America is extremely vulnerable, and I think that’s the bottom line of this book, iWar. We’re getting killed in the information space,” Gertz said.

Gertz defined the information space as twofold: one part encompasses the use of cyber and technical attacks and the other involves information and content.

In the second chapter of his book, Gertz details the sophistication of North Korean cyber attacks, including the 2014 Sony breach after the entertainment company released a comedic movie that made fun of the North Korean regime. Gertz described an interview with a North Korean defector who “issued a dire warning” that the American government needs to do something to “counterattack North Korean information warfare operations.”

Continuing on this point, Gertz asserted that the CIA needs “dire reform.” Under the leadership of current CIA Director John Brennan, the organization, Gertz noted, has focused too heavily on drone strikes instead of clandestine information operations.

Hannity then played a brief snippet of his interview with Assange in which he repeatedly denied that the Russian government was behind the leaked Clinton and DNC emails during the 2016 election. Hannity asked Gertz what he thought of Assange’s adamant denials of receiving the hacked emails from Russian sources.

“On Assange I think it’s clear until he reveals where he obtained the information that he leaked, then I think the onus is going to be on him,” Gertz said. “And if he doesn’t reveal it, that’s going to be a problem.”

Later discussing America’s relationship with Russia and the country’s president, Vladimir Putin, Gertz declared that “we are definitely entering a new Cold War.” Gertz explained that in his new book he lays out Putin’s strategy to “reestablish the Soviet Union without communism.”

Hannity then asked Gertz what the new Trump administration can do to confront Iran after what he described as President Obama’s capitulation to Tehran with the Iran nuclear deal and the $1.7 billion payment early last year to the Iranian regime to free American hostages.

“We’ve got to use an information warfare campaign against Iran,” Gertz said, adding that the Obama administration missed a golden opportunity to do so during the Green Revolution in Iran in 2009.

Gertz suggested that the American government could establish a new institution to combat foreign enemies and administrations by using information and political warfare to spread American messages of freedom and democracy.

iWar can be purchased today in print or as an e-book from Amazon and a variety of other booksellers. It can be downloaded as an audiobook through iTunes and Audible.

Gertz is the author of seven books, including the New York Times best-selling Betrayal: How the Clinton Administration Undermined American Security.

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Bill Gertz’s ‘iWar’ Now Available as Audio Book

The new book by Free Beacon Senior Editor Bill Gertz, iWar: War and Peace in the Information Age, is now available in print and as an audio book.

Gertz is a long-time national security correspondent and columnist for the Free Beacon and Washington Times. He is the author of seven books, including the New York Times best-selling Betrayal: How the Clinton Administration Undermined American Security.

Gertz published iWar to explain the digital battle being waged between the United States and foreign adversaries like Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran.

A five-minute excerpt of the audio book is embedded below.

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The following is an excerpt from the book

Chinese Information Warfare: The Panda That Eats, Shoots, and Leaves

Meet the New Authoritarian Masters of the Internet

Getty Images

Getty Images

Breitbart, by John Hayward, Sept. 29, 2016:

President Barack Obama’s drive to hand off control of Internet domains to a foreign multi-national operation will give some very unpleasant regimes equal say over the future of online speech and commerce.

In fact, they are likely to have much more influence than America, because they will collectively push hard for a more tightly controlled Internet, and they are known for aggressively using political and economic pressure to get what they want.

Here’s a look at some of the regimes that will begin shaping the future of the Internet in just a few days, if President Obama gets his way.

China

China wrote the book on authoritarian control of online speech. The legendary “Great Firewall of China” prevents citizens of the communist state from accessing global content the Politburo disapproves of. Chinese technology companies are required by law to provide the regime with backdoor access to just about everything.

The Chinese government outright banned online news reporting in July, granting the government even tighter control over the spread of information. Websites are only permitted to post news from official government sources. Chinese online news wasn’t exactly a bastion of freedom before that, of course, but at least the government censors had to track down news stories they disliked and demand the site administrators take them down.

Unsurprisingly, the Chinese Communists aren’t big fans of independent news analysis or blogging, either. Bloggers who criticize the government are liable to be charged with “inciting subversion,” even when the writer in question is a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Chinese citizens know better than to get cheeky on social media accounts, as well. Before online news websites were totally banned, they were forbidden from reporting news gathered from social media, without government approval. Spreading anything the government decides is “fake news” is a crime.

In a report labeling China one of the worst countries for Internet freedom in the world, Freedom House noted they’ve already been playing games with Internet registration and security verification:

The China Internet Network Information Center was found to be issuing false digital security certificates for a number of websites, including Google, exposing the sites’ users to “man in the middle” attacks.

The government strengthened its real-name registration laws for blogs, instant-messaging services, discussion forums, and comment sections of websites.

A key feature of China’s online censorship is that frightened citizens are not entirely certain what the rules are. Huge ministries work tirelessly to pump out content regulations and punish infractions. Not all of the rules are actually written down. As Foreign Policy explained:

Before posting, a Chinese web user is likely to consider basic questions about how likely a post is to travel, whether it runs counter to government priorities, and whether it calls for action or is likely to engender it. Those answers help determine whether a post can be published without incident — as it is somewhere around 84 percent or 87 percent of the time — or is instead likely to lead to a spectrum of negative consequences varying from censorship, to the deletion of a user’s account, to his or her detention, even arrest and conviction.

This was accompanied by a flowchart demonstrating “what gets you censored on the Chinese Internet.” It is not a simple flowchart.

Beijing is not even slightly self-conscious about its authoritarian control of the Internet. On the contrary, their censorship policies are trumpeted as “Internet sovereignty,” and they aggressively believe the entire world should follow their model, as the Washington Post reported in a May 2016 article entitled “China’s Scary Lesson to the World: Censoring the Internet Works.”

China already has a quarter of the planet’s Internet users locked up behind the Great Firewall. How can anyone doubt they won’t use the opportunity Obama is giving them, to pursue their openly stated desire to lock down the rest of the world?

Russia

Russia and China are already working together for a more heavily-censored Internet.Foreign Policy reported one of Russia’s main goals at an April forum was to “harness Chinese expertise in Internet management to gain further control over Russia’s internet, including foreign sites accessible there.”

Russia’s “top cop,” Alexander Bastrykin, explicitly stated Russia needs to stop “playing false democracy” and abandon “pseudo-liberal values” by following China’s lead on Internet censorship, instead of emulating the U.S. example. Like China’s censors, Russian authoritarians think “Internet freedom” is just coded language for the West imposing “cultural hegemony” on the rest of the world.

Just think what Russia and China will be able to do about troublesome foreign websites, once Obama surrenders American control of Internet domains!

Russian President Vladimir Putin has “chipped away at Internet freedom in Russia since he returned to the Kremlin in 2012,” as International Business Times put it in a 2014 article.

One of Putin’s new laws requires bloggers with over 3,000 readers to register with the government, providing their names and home addresses. As with China, Russia punishes online writers for “spreading false information,” and once the charge is leveled, it’s basically guilty-until-proven-innocent. For example, one of the “crimes” that can get a blogger prosecuted in Russia is alleging the corruption of a public official, without ironclad proof.

Human-rights group Agora estimates that Russian Internet censorship grew by 900% in 2015 alone, including both court orders and edicts from government agencies that don’t require court approval. Censorship was expected to intensify even further throughout 2016. Penalties include prison time, even for the crime of liking or sharing banned content on social media.

Putin, incidentally, has described the entire Internet as a CIA plot designed to subvert regimes like his. There will be quite a few people involved in the new multi-national Internet control agency who think purging the Web of American influence is a top priority.

The Russian government has prevailed upon Internet Service Providers to block opposition websites during times of political unrest, in addition to thousands of bans ostensibly issued for security, crime-fighting, and anti-pornography purposes.

Many governments follow the lead of Russia and China in asserting the right to shut down “extremist” or “subversive” websites. In the United States, we worry about law enforcement abusing its authority while battling outright terrorism online, arguing that privacy and freedom of speech must always be measured against security, no matter how dire the threat. In Russia, a rough majority of the population has no problem with the notion of censoring the Internet in the name of political stability, and will countenance absolutely draconian controls against perceived national security threats. This is a distressingly common view in other nations as well: stability justifies censorship and monitoring, not just physical security.

Turkey

Turkey’s crackdown on the Internet was alarming even before the aborted July coup attempt against authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey has banned social media sites, including temporary bans against even giants like Facebook and YouTube, for political reasons. Turkish dissidents are accustomed to such bans coming down on the eve of elections. The Turkish telecom authority can impose such bans without a court order, or a warning to offending websites.

Turkey is often seen as the world leader in blocking Twitter accounts, in addition to occasionally shutting the social media service down completely, and has over a 100,000 websites blacklisted. Criticizing the government online can result in anything from lost employment to criminal charges. And if you think social-media harassment from loyal supporters of the government in power can get pretty bad in the U.S., Turks sometimes discover that hassles from pro-regime trolls online are followed by visits from the police.

Turkish law infamously makes it a crime to insult the president, a law Erdogan has already attempted to impose beyond Turkey’s borders. One offender found himself hauled into court for creating a viral meme – the sort of thing manufactured by the thousands every hour in America – that noted Erdogan bore a certain resemblance to Gollum from Lord of the Rings. The judge in his case ordered expert testimony on whether Gollum was evil to conclusively determine whether the meme was an illegal insult to the president.

The Turkish example introduces another idea common to far too many of the countries Obama wants to give equal say over the future of the Internet: intimidation is a valid purpose for law enforcement. Many of Turkey’s censorship laws are understood to be mechanisms for intimidating dissidents, raising the cost of free speech enough to make people watch their words very carefully. “Think twice before you Tweet” might be good advice for some users, but regimes like Erdogan’s seek to impose that philosophy on everyone. This runs strongly contrary to the American understanding of the Internet as a powerful instrument that lowers the cost of speech to near-zero, the biggest quantum leap for free expression in human history. Zero-cost speech is seen as a big problem by many of the governments that will now place strong hands upon the global Internet rudder.

Turkey is very worried about “back doors” that allow citizens to circumvent official censorship, a concern they will likely bring to Internet control, along with like-minded authoritarian regimes. These governments will make the case that a free and open Internet is a direct threat to their “sovereign right” to control what their citizens read. As long as any part of the Internet remains completely free, no sector can be completely controlled.

Saudi Arabia

The Saudis aren’t too far behind China in the Internet rankings by Freedom House. Dissident online activity can bring jail sentences, plus the occasional public flogging.

This is particularly lamentable because Saudi Arabia is keenly interested in modernization, and sees the Internet as a valuable economic resource, along with a thriving social media presence. Freedom House notes the Internet “remains the least repressive space for expression in the country,” but “it is by no means free.”

“While the state focuses on combatting violent extremism and disrupting terrorist networks, it has clamped down on nonviolent liberal activists and human rights defenders with the same zeal, branding them a threat to the national order and prosecuting them in special terrorism tribunals,” Freedom House notes.

USA Today noted that as of 2014, Saudi Arabia had about 400,000 websites blocked, “including any that discuss political, social or religious topics incompatible with the Islamic beliefs of the monarchy.”

At one point the blacklist included the Huffington Post, which was banned for having the temerity to run an article suggesting the Saudi system might “implode” because of oil dependency and political repression. The best response to criticism that your government is too repressive is a blacklist!

The Saudis have a penchant for blocking messaging apps and voice-over-IP services, like Skype and Facetime. App blocking got so bad that Saudi users have been known to ask, “What’s the point of having the Internet?”

While some Saudis grumble about censorship, many others are active, enthusiastic participants in enforcement, filing hundreds of requests each day to have websites blocked. Religious figures supply many of these requests, and the government defends much of its censorship as the defense of Islamic values.

As with other censorious regimes, the Saudi monarchy worries about citizens using web services beyond its control to evade censorship, a concern that will surely be expressed loudly once America surrenders its command of Internet domains.

For the record, the Saudis’ rivals in Iran are heavy Internet censors too, with Stratfor listing them as one of the countries seeking Chinese assistance for “solutions on how best to monitor the Iranian population.”

North Korea

You can’t make a list of authoritarian nightmares without including the psychotic regime in Pyongyang, the most secretive government in the world.

North Korea is so repressive the BBC justly puts the word “Internet” in scare quotes, to describe the online environment. It doesn’t really interconnect with anything, except government propaganda and surveillance. Computers in the lone Internet cafe in Pyongyang actually boot up to a customized Linux operating system called “Red Star,” instead of Windows or Mac OS. The calendar software in Red Star measures the date from the birth of Communist founder Kim Il-sung, rather than the birth of Christ.

The “Internet” itself is a closed system called Kwangmyong, and citizens can only access it through a single state-run provider, with the exception of a few dozen privileged families that can punch into the real Internet.

Kwangmyong is often compared to the closed “intranet” system in a corporate office, with perhaps 5,000 websites available at most. Unsurprisingly, the content is mostly State-monitored messaging and State-supplied media. Contributors to these online services have reportedly been sent to re-education camps for typos. The North Koreans are so worried about outside contamination of their closed network that they banned wi-fi hotspots at foreign embassies, having noticed information-starved North Korean citizens clustering within range of those beautiful, uncensored wireless networks.

This doesn’t stop South Koreans from attempting cultural penetration of their squalid neighbor’s dismal little online network. Lately they’ve been doing it by loading banned information onto cheap memory sticks, tying them to balloons, and floating them across the border.

Sure, North Korea is the ultimate totalitarian nightmare, and since they have less than two thousand IP addresses registered in the entire country, the outlaw regime won’t be a big influence on Obama’s multi-national Internet authority, right?

Not so fast. As North Korea expert Scott Thomas Bruce told the BBC, authoritarian governments who are “looking at what is happening in the Middle East” see North Korea as a model to be emulated.

“They’re saying rather than let in Facebook, and rather than let in Twitter, what if the government created a Facebook that we could monitor and control?” Bruce explained.

Also, North Korea has expressed some interest in using the Internet as a tool for economic development, which means there would be more penetration of the actual global network into their society. They’ll be very interested in censoring and controlling that access, and they’ll need a lot more registered domains and IP addresses… the very resource Obama wants America to surrender control over.

Bottom line: contrary to left-wing cant, there is such a thing as American exceptionalism – areas in which the United States is demonstrably superior to every other nation, a leader to which the entire world should look for examples. Sadly, our society is losing its fervor for free expression, and growing more comfortable with suppressing “unacceptable” speech, but we’re still far better than anyone else in this regard.

The rest of the world, taken in total, is very interested in suppressing various forms of expression, for reasons ranging from security to political stability and religion. Those governments will never be comfortable, so long as parts of the Internet remain outside of their control. They have censorship demands they consider very reasonable, and absolutely vital. The website you are reading right now violates every single one of them, on a regular basis.

There may come a day we can safely remand control of Internet domains to an international body, but that day is most certainly not October 1, 2016.

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Technology CEOs Shamefully Lubricate Internet’s Surrender by Frank Gaffney

Congress has just showed why so many Americans are sick of their politicians and ready to throw the bums out. The Senate and House leadership have agreed to President Obama’s surrender of your Internet to freedom’s enemies.

The deed was done yesterday when Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed through the Senate a funding bill without a prohibition on the Internet give-away.  The House is expected to rubber stamp it today.

Political cover came from something called the Technology CEO Council.  This group of interested parties, whose lobbyists give generously to politicians’ campaigns, blithely assured Congress: “Placing stewardship of these technical but important functions beyond the control of any one government or group of governments will best secure the principles of Internet freedom and de-politicization of technology.”

Shame on the CEOs for disseminating such transnational rubbish – and the Congress for swallowing it.

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John Bolton on Obama’s Internet Handover: ‘Within Ten Years, the Internet as We Know It Will End’

icann-tim-halesassociated-press-640x480Breitbart, by John Hayward, Sept 22, 2016:

On Thursday’s Breitbart News Daily on SiriusXM, former U.N. ambassador John Bolton predicted that the impending transfer of Internet domain control from American supervision to an international body will mean the end of the Internet “as we know it.”

Speaking to Breitbart Editor-in-Chief and SiriusXM host Alex Marlow, Bolton explained that we should be “very concerned” about the transfer from “a national-security perspective.”

“What we’ve gotten out of the Internet, under the shelter of a private American organization that contracts with the Commerce Department, [is] one of the few cases that I can think of in our history where we’ve had that kind of government involvement without regulation and interference,” said Bolton.

He continued:

But because it’s entirely a U.S. government proposition with U.S. people involved, the Internet has been free and open. If, as the Administration wants to do, it’s transferred to an international body, I will predict right here: within 10 years it will come under the control of the United Nations, and the Internet as we know it will end because there are governments around the world that are already doing everything they can to prevent a free and open Internet in their countries, and it will extend to ours in due course.

Bolton called the Internet handover “a mistake of such colossal proportions that you would have thought we’d have a huge debate about it in this country.”

LISTEN:

“Ted Cruz has been leading the charge in the Senate to prevent this from happening,” he said. “There may be legislation passed in these last days of this Congress, as they try and wrap the budget up. But really, people need to wake up to this. This is something from Obama I have feared for eight years, his tendencies toward global governance. I’ve been surprised to have to say he hasn’t done more, but in his last days in office, we may see the full flowering of it, and this transfer of control of the Internet is perhaps the worst example right at the moment.”

Bolton elaborated on what he meant by the Internet as we know it dying within 10 years:

What they’re talking about is succumbing to the demands of foreign governments and foreign interests who say, in what is effectively a global means of communication, it’s just wrong to have the United States in charge of it.

But the fact is, under American control, it’s had remarkable growth. It’s been kept free. It’s been able to withstand a lot of pressure to try and set rules that favor one side or another. And in an international environment, I can tell you from my own experience, when you get all kinds of governments from all over the world setting standards and making decisions, it will be far less free than it is now.

And I don’t think the particular kind of transfer we’re talking about now is the end of the game. This is a black-and-white, binary choice: it’s either under American control, or it’s not. And once we let go of it, we are never getting it back.

Marlow turned the conversation to Barack Obama’s final speech to the U.N. General Assembly, describing it as a “toned-down Obama” with a few condescending lines, but not as much “fiery rhetoric” as he anticipated.

“I think he wanted this to be his swan song,” said Bolton. “It was a very pedestrian speech, so I think he certainly failed in that effort. A lot of was just domestic American politics, which personally I think is unseemly in a speech to the U.N. or an international forum. I think the President, especially a lame duck President, should be above that.”

“I think it shows that, really, Barack Obama is not a statesman. He is a political hack, when it comes right down to it,” Bolton judged. “He was unsparing in his criticism of many countries — criticism I agree with, in the case of Russia, North Korea, and so on — but he couldn’t withstand the temptation to criticize America. Thank God he’s the smartest man in the country, and he can tell us what we’re doing wrong.”

Bolton said he was “utterly struck” by “the reaction in the hall — which was essentially no reaction.” He noted there was “very perfunctory applause by the international community, after years where they’ve repeatedly interrupted him.”

“My sense was, they understand he’s a lame duck now. Maybe they’re just as tired as many Americans of being lectured by this morally superior being, and they’re happy to see the back of him.”

Marlow asked for Bolton’s take on the state of the United Nations and if there was still anything productive emerging from its meetings. Bolton replied that “things are happening, but not because it’s the U.N.”

He explained:

This week in September is just a very convenient point, where a lot of leaders come to New York. You can do a lot of business in a short period of time without having to travel all over the world, although traffic in New York makes it feel like it takes forever to get from one place to another. But it’s less about the U.N. than it is about other forms of diplomatic business.

That said, I believe that if Hillary Clinton wins, she will do what I expected Obama to do, which is try to transfer more and more American sovereignty into international organizations across the range of issues — whether it’s climate change or the conduct of international affairs. I think Obama didn’t do as much as I expected in that vein because he really just doesn’t care about international affairs as much as he cares about ‘fundamentally transforming’ our country.

I think Hillary does have even grander ambitions, and so that’s why what we started off, the end of ICANN or the effective control of ICANN over the Internet, is an excellent example of global governance replacing American sovereignty in effect. And I think she’ll be much more on that. I hope that’s something Trump emphasizes in the upcoming debate.

Turning to last weekend’s terrorist attacks, Bolton said they were “evidence that the terrorist threat continues to increase, as senior intelligence officials of the Obama Administration itself have testified in an open session of Congress.”

“It’s a demonstration of the diversity of the sources of terrorism and the kinds of terrorism that we see,” he continued, referencing the Chelsea bomber’s evident affinity for al-Qaeda, rather than ISIS, and the Somali origins of the Minnesota mall stabber. “It doesn’t all come from Syria or Iraq in the Middle East. It comes from as far away as Somali or Afghanistan.”

“And I think it’s also a measure of the kind of terrorism, that some people want to call it ‘lone wolf’ terrorism because they’re trying to downplay its significance. But it’s not lone wolf terrorism,” Bolton argued. “We’re seeing increasingly the networks, the connections of these two terrorists. ISIS has claimed credit for the one in Minnesota. We see how the terrorist arrested in New Jersey was in communication with terrorists in Afghanistan.”

“Terrorism doesn’t look like a corporate organization chart. That doesn’t make it any easier to deal with, or any easier to prevent,” he warned. “I think it’s one reason what that issue is so important in the 2016 campaign, and it should be.”

Marlow brought up the nuclear threat from North Korea, saying that “half the time, I feel like this is a joke, and half the time I feel like this is one of the scariest things happening on Planet Earth.”

“Unfortunately, it’s the latter,” Bolton said, explaining that the Communist dictatorship in Pyongyang presents a real danger to the United States and its allies:

The regime has always struck most Americans as a joke. Who can believe these people who talk and look the way the Kim family dictatorship has over the years?

But serious military officials, both American and South Korea, have repeatedly ramped up their judgment of what the North is capable of, and they’ve been saying for some time now that it’s only a very short period of time before North Korea is able to take their nuclear devices — and they’ve now tested five — and miniaturize them, and put them under the nose cone of their increasingly sophisticated ballistic missiles, and hit targets on the U.S. West Coast.

So the need for missile defense, at an absolute minimum — national missile defense for the United States, a program the Obama Administration gutted when they came into office, with the full support of Hillary Clinton. Dealing more effectively with North Korea, and I think trying to get more intelligence on whether and to what extent there is a connection between the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea — because these may seem like very different threats, but we know that for 20 years, if not more, they’ve cooperated on their missile programs, and I personally think there’s every reason to believe they’re cooperating on the nuclear programs as well.

We just don’t have enough information, and people don’t take this threat of the ‘Axis of Evil’ seriously enough. But if either or both of them get the capability to deliver nuclear by ballistic missile, we’ll take it seriously then.

Bolton concluded with his thoughts on the situation in Syria, where he sees the Russians and Iranians as having a “very distinct interest,” namely keeping Bashar Assad in power, while Obama’s goals and strategies remain vague and ineffective:

The ISIS threat is something that could have been dealt with a year, year and a half ago, if the Obama Administration had had a coherent foreign policy, but it doesn’t. And I think now we’re seeing continued chaos in Syria. ISIS may have lost some territory, but it’s still there, still recruiting terrorists. The Assad regime is still in place. Russian influence has increased, Iranian has increased, American influence has decreased. Really, how could it get much worse?