Iran warns U.S., Israel of revenge after parade attack; Missile Attack on U.S. Forces?

(Reuters) Iran warns U.S., Israel of revenge after parade attack. Quoting,

The deputy head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards warned U.S. and Israeli leaders on Monday to expect a “devastating” response from Tehran, accusing them of involvement in an attack on a military parade in the city of Ahvaz.

(CNN) Iran blames the US and Saudi Arabia for military parade attack quotes Ramezan Sharif with a theory that is actually plausible. Quoting,

Revolutionary Guards spokesman Ramezan Sharif said the attackers were affiliated with a terrorist group supported by Saudi Arabia, Iran’s state-run Press TV said.

“The individuals who fired at the people and the armed forces during the parade are connected to the al-Ahvaziya group, which is fed by Saudi Arabia,” Sharif said. Saudi Arabia hasn’t responded to the allegations.

The “Patriotic Arab Democratic Movement” in Ahwaz, a southwestern province with a large Sunni minority and slightly seditious tendencies, denies responsibility. ISIS, who frequently claims responsibility for attacks they did not carry out, offered no corroboration of their claim. The upshot is that no claim is accompanied by proof, and there is no contradiction of denials.

The al-Ahvaziya group, still lacking proof, is a partial exception. With support from Saudi Arabia, it could have operated without support from Patriotic Arab Democratic Movement. To Saudi, faced with shooting down Iranian manufactured missiles that have caused deaths, support of the group would be retribution in kind, the common mode of thought in that region.

Neither the U.S. or Israel had anything to do with it. But the  pain of sanctions has motivated Iran to repurpose the event in the service of hard line unity against the traditional national enemies, one of which is defined by the constitution of Iran. It gives the hardliners the grist they need to silence Iranian progressives.  It doesn’t help that Rudy Giuliani (The Guardian) gives speeches to the MEK and   pushes the revolution-in-Iran line. (Newsweek) Rudy Giuliani Says US Will Overthrow Iranian Regime, Blowing Official White House Line.

Hence, the question. Why does Iran use maximum volume to implicate Israel and the U.S., with a little less volume against Saudi?  Iran has transferred to Iraqi Shiite militia proxies the indigenous capability to assemble missiles. (Reuters) Exclusive: Iran moves missiles to Iraq in warning to enemies. As with the similar capability transferred to Yemen’s Houthis, the purpose of the transfer is to facilitate plausible denial. Neither group actually has the indigenous industrial base to make all the parts.

Since the spin on the parade attack appears to be part of a logical process, there is probably a logical reason, with a focal response, such as attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq,  by ground, missile, or a combination of both.

In Iran Sanctions; Bolton on Regime Change, I suggested that the probabilities favor Iran’s response as actions we don’t want, rather than what we do want, specifically, “”chance of positive outcome to sanctions = 14%”. This is really  just a recapitulation of Carl von Clausewitz. The enemy will react. Tactical and diplomatic brilliance are required to cause the enemy to choose the path of our choice, not his. Quoting (italics mine),

“But everything takes a different shape when we pass from abstractions to reality. In the former, everything must be subject to optimism, and we must imagine the one side as well as the other striving after perfection and even attaining it. Will this ever take place in reality?”


But it is necessary for us to commence with a glance at the nature of the whole, because it is particularly necessary that in the consideration of any of the parts their relation to the whole be kept constantly in view.

About the U.S. strategic position, several things may be noted:

  • As noted in Israel says Iran lied on nuclear arms, pressures U.S. to scrap deal, the international ecosystem has blunted the full impact of sanctions.
  • The delicacy of the U.S. position in Iraq is suggested  by inaction in the form of strikes against the missile transfers.
  • The inaction may also be to allow potential targets to ripen. But it does not negate the above.

U.S. planners may feel that air strikes against these facilities could provoke something related to the prediction of  9/29/2017, given in The Kurd Referendum; Implications for U.S. Policy. Quoting,

Unless Brinton’s sequence can be averted, the U.S. position will become untenable. The nature of extremists could make resolution impossible. The curtain on this conflict rises perhaps a year, or a bit more, from now.

If Iran’s planners read von Clausewitz, a missile attack by Iran’s proxies would not be the single mode. It would be accompanied by ground attacks to inflict synergistic pain. As with the U.S. sanctions objective, the Iranian objective will be to make continued U.S. presence in Iraq a question of U.S.  politics.



FBI Evacuates New Mexico Sunspot Observatory; Exercise for Predictors

The aura of exotic mystery makes this a good exercise for aspiring predictors. It might drag you in and keep you engaged. A most informative article is Mysterious Evacuation Of Solar Observatory Overlooking White Sands Smells Like Espionage.

Authors Rogoway and Treveithick could be dead on, or close. But as Sherlock Holmes would say to Dr. Watson, the most evident possibility is not necessarily the probability.  It helps to devise  alternative theories for comparison of relative strengths. Holmes’ method of logical deduction emphasized the exposure of contradictions hidden by superficial attraction.

Two theories without evident support are:

  • Something to do with space aliens.
  • Something to do with weapons of mass destruction.

These are examples of conspiracy theories, attractive to emotional disorder, but without any basis in fact. Noting that FBI agents swarmed over the antenna towers on the site, Rogoway and Treveithick find espionage a good fit.   There could have been eavesdropping devices on the towers, which overlook the White Sands Missile Range.

(CNN) Mysterious ‘security issue’ forces a solar observatory to be evacuated quotes a nearby resident: “We were told we had a credible threat through the FBI and to leave,” evacuee Sean Williams told the station. The on site postmaster was required to leave, but Apache Point Observatory, 0.5 miles south, remains open.

“Credible threat” could have literal meaning, or use as a term understood by the general public. This provokes one of the conundrums that would have intrigued Holmes. As a reason, it does not explain why:

  • There is no ground security perimeter.
  • The area under threat is geographically defined with precision.
  • Apache Point Observatory was allowed to remain open.
  • The site is closed “for a week.” Threats are not usually resolved on a timetable.
  • The extensive use of helicopters is not by itself curious, but with the lack of a security perimeter, it is.

So Rogoway and Treveithick are doing pretty good, though Holmes would not be satisfied with the dangling threads. But the above list contains all the information required for a complete solution.

A crucial question, which the news sites are particularly bad at figuring out, is who to consult. They like to cite authorities, meaning, people with badges. We don’t need no stinkin’ badges. Try an electrical engineer, preferably one with experience in RF (radio frequency).

I could give you an informed opinion, but it might seem authoritative, and it would deprive you of legwork. Go run down the electrical engineer. A local ham radio club might suffice. Print this out and bring it along. You’ll have an informed opinion, with a significant possibility of correctness.







Pussy Riot Member Verzilov, Poisoned? Botulin Toxin; A Gareth Williams Clue

(Independent) Pussy Riot activist seriously ill in Moscow hospital’s toxicology department after suspected poisoning. Quoting,

Ms Nikulshina, said that Mr Verzilov woke up and realised that he was losing his sight. …“First it was his vision, then his ability to speak, and then his ability to walk,” she told Meduza.

“Descending paralysis”, starting near the brain and descending over a short time to the legs, is symptomatic of one poison in particular, botulin toxin, which causes a well known form of food poisoning most commonly caused by improperly canned foods.

Was Pyotr Verzilov actually poisoned by the state? Unlike the Salisbury poisonings, forensic evidence will never be obtained. It is my inclination to think that he  probably was. The symptoms should be enough to alert MI-5 with respect to the death of Gareth Williams in 2010. In retrospect, one cause of the ambiguous conclusion was the lack of toxicology evidence. Quoting Wikipedia,

In September and October 2015, Boris Karpichkov, a former KGB agent who defected from Russia and who now lives in Britain, stated during interviews that “sources in Russia” have claimed that the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, also known as the SVR, was responsible for Williams’s murder. According to Karpichkov, the SVR tried and failed to blackmail Williams into becoming a double agent.[36]

In response to the SVR’s attempts, Williams apparently claimed that he knew “the identity of a Russian spy inside the GCHQ.” Karpichkov claimed that Williams’s threat meant that “the SVR then had no alternative but to exterminate him in order to protect their agent inside GCHQ.” Regarding the cause of death, Karpichkov claimed that the SVR killed Williams “by an untraceable poison introduced in his ear.”[37][36]

Botulin toxin is the most poisonous substance known, about 1,000,000 times more potent than Novichok. It acts too slowly to be an optimal chemical warfare agent.  It is not undetectable in patients who have suffered food poisoning, but in the quantity required to cause death via the ear, it probably is.

(New Yorker) A Pussy Riot Activist Is the Victim of the Latest Apparent Poisoning in Russia offers good background as to why Verzilov, hardly a professional politician, would be a target. With the help of a sympathetic judiciary, he defied the security forces. If Verzilov has been poisoned, an occasionally independent judiciary complicates the question of what Russian authorities are ultimately responsible for the decision to poison him.

If there is anything positive about this, it’s the opportunity to take another look at power in Russia. We all want to know if Putin has a pad of Rx forms in his desk drawer, with check boxes for the type of poison. Do mutants of the NKVD troikas, which in the early Soviet Union  issued instant death sentences, survive in modern Russia? It would be a waste to leave this on the level of the tawdry and sensational. So let’s proceed.

There has been a tendency to personify Russia in Vladimir Putin, while in fact, Putin is a product of Russia, where multiple clans compete. While the Russian judiciary is rarely independent, the very fact that it was in the case of Verzilov should strengthen our appreciation of the complexities.  Putin is blamed for incidents such as these, because it is conveniently simple,  it is not contradicted by open-source, and he is the most powerful individual in Russia.

Putin  collaborates with the system he leads. His ludicrous statement reported in (Telegraph) Vladimir Putin says Salisbury poison suspects are Russian ‘civilians’ and hopes they will ‘tell their story’ is the most recent example.  Putin cannot disavow the actions of the clans. To do so would erode the myth of power.

In Iran/MEK Bomb Plot; Assassinations; Russia Comparison, I wrote

As with the recent misadventure of Russian mercenaries in Syria (Newsweek: ‘A Total F***up’: Russian Mercenaries in Syria Lament U.S. Strike That Killed Dozens), and the Litvinenko hit, this implies  multiple entities, not inherited from the Soviet Union, with varying degrees of competence, which may not be in complete  control of the Kremlin.

This analysis lacks  the benefit of clandestine signals intelligence, which may tip the scales. But even the statements of MI-5,  asserting that the  Skripal poisoning had high level state approval, don’t take it all the way to Putin. In open source, it remains an open question. The troikas may exist.

But if the ultimate responsibility does not go all the way to the top, it implies that Russia is  more dangerous than when we imagined that Vladimir Putin was supremely powerful. We are dealing with a state that shares a characteristic of a non-state actor: the absence of a rational supreme authority that shares core values of decency.

I feel sorry for Sergei Lavrov, whose job is conducting diplomacy under these conditions. (Reuters) Moscow ready to make steps to improve Russia-U.S. ties: Lavrov.

Sergei, you have a hopeless job. All these poisonings are enough for us to seal the borders to Russians with Super-Glue.



Russians accused by UK in spy case: We were in Salisbury for tourism

Reuters: Russians accused by UK in spy case: We were in Salisbury for tourism. Quoting,

“Our friends had been suggesting for a long time that we visit this wonderful town,” one of the men said of the English town of Salisbury in a short clip of the interview played by RT.

They said they may have approached Sergei Skripal’s house by chance but did not know where it was located. They had stayed less than hour in Salisbury, they said, because of bad weather.

“Alexander Petrov” and “Ruslan Boshirov” (aliases) actually visited Salisbury twice, on March 3 and 4. (Telegraph) Guests of two-star London hotel where Salisbury suspects stayed discover Novichok was found in bedroom.

Was the weather really that bad? On March 4, 2018, in Salisbury, it was partly sunny. The high temperature was 51F/35C. There was just the teeniest drizel, about 1/100 inch of precipitation, not enough to dampen the spirit. Visit  Weather Underground, use “calendar”,  and search for Salisbury. On the same day in Moscow, whence you came, it was snowing, with a high of 15F/14C.

We are sorry your stay was so short. Was there anything you liked that might bring you back again? The thrilling stench of death in the air?

Russia the main suspect in U.S. diplomats’ illness in Cuba: NBC

(NBC) U.S. officials suspect Russia in mystery ‘attacks’ on diplomats in Cuba, China.

Only two state actors with conceivably hostile intent have the required technological base, Russia and China. Hence my early suspicion of Russia. Quoting,

The suspicion that Russia is likely behind the alleged attacks is backed up by evidence from communications intercepts, known in the spy world as signals intelligence…

The evolving evidence:

  • Reality of the attacks, of which there was initially considerable doubt.
  • Circumstance.
  • Intent, supplied by signals intelligence.
  • Feasibility, with reverse engineering in progress.
  • Smoking gun. Although an actual instance of use is unlikely to have forensic witness,  a close substitute is the weapon itself.  If it can be made, it can be bought.

Circumstance, satisfied long ago, has been followed by intent. Feasibility and smoking gun remain unsatisfied. But convictions for murder have been obtained solely from circumstantial evidence. There is already enough to indicate that the attacks cannot be a rogue operation.


“Although the U.S. believes sophisticated microwaves or another type of electromagnetic weapon were likely used on the U.S. government workers, they are also exploring the possibility that one or more additional technologies were also used, possibly in conjunction with microwaves…”

In previous articles, I explored ultrasound. Microwave is discussed in Havana “Sonic” Attacks; Microwaves?  Weaponizing either requires  innovation beyond the obvious. So consider:

  • An attack by multiple technologies at different times could deprive brain tissue of the chance to recover from what medicine calls the “insult”.
  • Simultaneous attacks via microwave and ultrasound could produce synergistic damage, analogous to drug interactions.

Havana “Sonic” Attacks; Microwaves?

(CNN) Microwaves suspected in ‘sonic attacks’ on US diplomats in Cuba and China, scientists say.

This is about the newly popular theory that microwaves, not ultrasonic sound, are responsible for the brain injuries of U.S. diplomats in Cuba and China.  Golomb’s paper (pdf) Diplomats’ Mystery Illness and Pulsed Radiofrequency/ Microwave Radiation is a plausibility argument.

I would have preferred  that the statement on page 2,  “Sonic mediation was justly rejected by the experts”,  had not been made.  The word “justly” suggests that the author may have an emotional stake in the outcome.  But the article does establish that the symptoms are compatible with microwaves.  Quoting, the stated conclusion is:

Conclusions and Relevance: Reported facts appear consistent with pulsed RF/MW as the source of injury in Cuba diplomats.

This is not the same as proof that microwaves are causal. New, incompatible facts could emerge that invalidate the hypothesis.

There is a tentative implication that pulses of microwave, not continuous-wave, are required to produce damage. Very slight heating of brain issue is proposed to cause a pressure wave inside the skull which hits the inner ear from the inside.

The bulk of Golomb’s paper consists of anecdotal or uncontrolled experiments that suggest that the modern environment produces widespread exposure to toxic levels of pulsed microwaves. This may be true. I’m one of the bunch who hold a cellphone well away from our heads, and use the speakerphone or earbuds.

Cellphone use may cause the appearance of heat shock proteins in the brain. (PUbMed) Mobile phones, heat shock proteins and cancer. This is an entirely different kind of damage from that produced by ionizing radiation, such as x-rays. There exists the statistical possibility that John McCain’s glioblastoma was caused by diagnostic x-rays.

Heat shock may result in delayed disease, or nothing at all. Induced pressure waves may be causative or benign. On page 12, Golomb remarks

Scientific “skepticism” about RF/MW health effects is well represented in the literature, but is of the industry-fueled stripe(think tobacco): Effects of conflicts of interest on research results (as well as on funding, regulatory agencies, legislation and academics ) vis a vis RF/MW, has been repeatedly documented and decried 93-97…

I’ve written extensively about the ultrasonic hypothesis, where audible sounds are a side effect. Like the microwave Frey effect, ultrasound can “project” audible sound at a distance. I did not consider microwaves because of the absence of a particular feature from the incident reports. If you stick your finger in a low power microwave beam, around 6 milliwatts/square centimeter, at a few gigahertz, your finger will feel noticeable warmth. Warmth is sensed when there is a differential between the upper and lower ends of the skin thermoreceptors.

Reports of sensations of warmth are absent. Quoting Kenneth Foster via Wikipedia on the proposed MEDUSA weapon,

Experts, such as Kenneth Foster, a University of Pennsylvania bioengineering professor who published research on the microwave auditory effect in 1974, have discounted the effectiveness of the proposed device. Foster said that because of human biophysics, the device “would kill you well before you were bothered by the noise”. According to former professor at the University of Washington Bill Guy, ”There’s a misunderstanding by the public and even some scientists about this auditory effect,” and “there couldn’t possibly be a hazard from the sound, because the heat would get you first”.[9]

The absence of “warmth” is not insurmountable, but it adds a complexity,  that the microwave frequency must be low enough to prevent a skin temperature gradient detectable by the skin thermoreceptors.

The GSM “2G” cellphone is the second primary obstacle to the microwave theory. GSM, which dominated the world cellphone landscape from about 1991 to 2005, is a cellphone standard that uses both UHF and  microwave frequencies. Unlike systems that came before or after, GSM is characterized by intense pulses of energy. If you remember hearing strange noises on your radio that you tracked to somebody’s phone, that was GSM. Pulses from GSM phones  interfered with a lot of supposedly well shielded electronic equipment. The phones were banned from sound studios.

GSM is still in operation as “2G”. If you use your phone in a fringe area, absent 3G or 4G coverage, your phone defaults to it. The result is 1 or 2 watts of microwave emitted very close to your skull, in the form of intense bursts. Check out your phone at Highest and Lowest Radiation Cell Phones.

One or two watts of energy up against your head is equivalent to tens of thousands of watts a few hundred yards distant, unless the transmitter has a very large, very conspicuous and not very portable antenna. The larger the antenna, the sharper the beam.  So we have questions:

  • GSM phone are not optimized as weapons. Is the magic of the theory in the shape of the pulses?
  • If a GSM phone is in any way a proxy for the optimized weapon, where are the legions of brain damaged cellphone users?

When it’s all squared away,, we may finally have the answer to a riddle. (Newsweek) Why Does Vladimir Putin Avoid Smartphones?