Adonis Diaries

Archive for August 31st, 2016

US moving nuclear missiles from Turkey to Romania?

Aug. 19, 2016 A recent report that the U.S. moved nuclear weapons from Turkey to Romania bears the hallmarks of disinformation.

By George Friedman

An article appeared on EurActiv.com yesterday, claiming that the United States was moving nuclear weapons it had stored in Turkey to Romania.

The report cited two anonymous sources. The story obviously had significance. It indicated that the breakdown in U.S.-Turkish relations had reached a new level.

It indicated that the Romanian and U.S. governments were colluding to take highly significant actions without informing the Romanian public.

It also indicated that there had been a massive breakdown in U.S. security, because the location of nuclear weapons should be the most secure secret.

Were classified government secrets leaked, or was this a case of spreading false information?

In today’s Reality Check, chairman George Friedman examines the validity of a recent significant report on U.S. nukes.

(I lean toward believing the report: There are no secrets any more when the US army default on auditing its $trillion mishandling and mismanagement)

If true, it was a major story. Clearly, by journalistic standards, it was well beyond the threshold required for publication. There were two sources, who I will assume were seemingly good sources.

They obviously required anonymity, because to tell this they had to be breaking someone’s rules on secrecy. And the story was obviously important to the European public who the journalists serve.

The problem with the story, to begin with, is that it assumes both sources had access to the deepest secrets of the United States and were prepared to provide EurActiv with this secret. (Can’t see this problem)

The location of U.S. nuclear weapons is extremely classified for a simple reason. If any enemies knew the location of the nuclear weapons, they could destroy them with conventional weapons. (Doubtful reasoning: The US is the main source and cause in all its pre-emptive wars)

If the U.S. is moving these weapons, secrecy is necessary to protect against terrorists stealing them. (As if Romania is safer than Turkey?)

The United States therefore holds location and movement information very tightly. (Ground breaking piece of intelligence)

Sometimes, I would suspect, they give false information on location so that any accurate leak would be mixed in with false ones. I don’t know this, but that’s what I would do if I were the U.S. government. (You are wiser than all of the US government: So, most probably, there are no false information in that regard)

There is a great deal to be found on the internet about locations. And then there is pure guesswork, starting with the obvious (there are nuclear weapons stored at U.S. nuclear submarine bases) and ranging to what might be called “cafeteria gossip.”

U.S. bases have cafeterias where people will meet and gossip, overwhelmingly over things they know little about, or about their pay or upcoming leave or something of this nature.

That cafeteria gossip makes its way to Washington, to reporters and think tanks, and is reported. (Inclined to trust the cafeteria gossip over any formal or informal government disclosures)

Since I have no way of knowing what’s true, I can’t judge what is false, but as a citizen I would be appalled by the implied security breach if what I heard from cafeteria gossip in Washington were accurate.

It is altogether possible that the United States had tactical nuclear weapons in Turkey, although I’m not sure what we would do with them.

Sometimes they are a symbol of mutual trust between two nations. Putting them at Incirlik air base would be quite a sign of trust, since it is under Turkish command.

I could understand the basing more clearly than I could understand the mission.

Nuking the Islamic State is not practical. You do not destroy a light infantry force with nukes, especially when you don’t know which way the wind blows. And you do not hit the Russians with nukes, as they will hit back. But still, Turkey and the U.S. have been allied for a long time, so maybe they had nukes there.

Now the U.S.-Turkish relationship has deteriorated.

The Turks want Fethullah Gülen extradited from the United States. The U.S. wants the Turks to help out with IS. But for all the hollering, neither side has truly broken the relationship.

The U.S. does not want to lose its relationship and Turkey has gone to the line, but not over it. And we should all remember how the Turks turned on the Russians and then made up with them.

Turkish foreign policy is, shall we say, dynamic. If there are nukes in Turkey, pulling them out right now might not be the ideal signal. The U.S. is trying to move calmly through the storm and Vice President Joe Biden is going to Turkey next week. (When Biden gets on the move it is damned serious)

As for moving nukes to Romania, there is again the nasty question of what use they could serve. The United States is not going into a nuclear exchange with Russia, no matter what happens in Ukraine.

I assume that U.S. nuclear weapons require secure storage that allows for maintenance and servicing. That would probably take a while to construct. And then there would have to be a base security comparable to Incirlik.

I don’t know the security levels at Romanian bases, but the U.S. is extreme on this subject. (Dream on)

Plus, the last thing the U.S. wants is a political upheaval in Romania over weapons that fit only into fantasy scenarios. Romania fits into real world issues. You don’t upset real world interests for fantasy modeling. The United States needs Romania as an ally, not as a nuclear base.

Given all this, I strongly doubt that this is a valid story, although I understand why it was published.

However, from the standpoint of intelligence analysis and geopolitics it doesn’t stand up. Had there been a massive leak, it would have been followed by arrests. I doubt we will see any arrests. (The government will Not let you see)

I doubt that two people with security clearances high enough to know nuclear weapon movements would separately give the media this information. One perhaps, but two simultaneously, facing 30 years in prison at Leavenworth, is unlikely.

When we step back, neither the United States nor Turkey would be particularly embarrassed – beyond the fact of a leak from the U.S. Department of Defense.

The country that would be most affected by this is Romania.

Its citizens are somewhat ambivalent on the relationship with the United States. Many would be appalled at the thought of Romania becoming a nuclear target. And they would respond by attacking Romania’s pro-American government for putting them in secret danger. And of course the United States would come under attack.

It took two sources to get the story published. The question then is, who would go to the trouble to set it up? The main beneficiary would be Russia. (Why Not China?)

Russia dislikes the U.S.-Romanian relationship intensely and also hopes to alienate Turkey from the United States. Who else loves to kick off hunts for leaks in Pentagon? Do I know it was the Russians? No.

I don’t even have one source. But that’s why I am in favor of intelligence as a methodology. It allows me to identify likely answers in a world where sources are by definition unreliable, but logical analysis can clarify.

Russia practices disinformation, as does the United States and most countries. It is the common currency of humanity. At it is most effective because invisible.

At other times it can only be sensed. But it is always there. In this case, neither of the two sources had to be working for the Russians. There are probably many degrees of separation between Russia and the sources. It would be impossible to trace the information back.

This is not a big story. But I write about it to remind people of journalism’s vulnerability to disinformation.

At least some of what you read about a company’s new product is planted there by the public relations department, and disinformation is just the PR of the nation-state.

Sometimes, as in the fall of the Soviet Union, there was no source who knew the story. Sometimes 10 sources are all wrong or lying. In the case of this story, it runs into the problem of compounded unlikelihood.

For it to be true, a lot of common sense has to be false. Can happen. Doesn’t often.

Maya Angelou, Poet, Activist And Singular Storyteller, Dies At 86

Poet, performer and political activist Maya Angelou has died after a long illness at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C.

She was 86. Born in St. Louis in 1928, Angelou grew up in a segregated society that she worked to change during the civil rights era. Angelou, who refused to speak for much of her childhood, revealed the scars of her past in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the first of a series of memoirs.

By Lynn Neary

Growing up in St. Louis, Mo., and Stamps, Ark., she was Marguerite Johnson. It was her brother who first called her Maya, and the name stuck. Later she added the Angelou, a version of her first husband’s name.

Angelou left a troubled childhood and the segregated world of Arkansas behind and began a career as a dancer and singer. She toured Europe in the1950s with a production of Porgy and Bess, studied dance with Martha Graham and performed with Alvin Ailey on television.

In 1957 she recorded an album called “Calypso Lady.”

“I was known as Miss Calypso, and when I’d forget the lyric, I would tell the audience, ‘I seem to have forgotten the lyric. Now I will dance.’ And I would move around a bit,” she recalled with a laugh during a 2008 interview with NPR.

“She really believed that life was a banquet,” says Patrik Henry Bass, an editor at Essence Magazine. When he read Angelou’s memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, he saw parallels in his own life in a small town in North Carolina. He says everyone in the African-American community looked up to her; she was a celebrity but she was one of them. He remembers seeing her on television and hearing her speak.

“When we think of her, we often think about her books, of course, and her poems,” he says. “But in the African-American community, certainly, we heard so much of her work recited, so I think about her voice. You would hear that voice, and that voice would capture a humanity, and that voice would calm you in so many ways through some of the most significant challenges.”

Film director John Singleton grew up in a very different part of the country. But he remembers the effect Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise” had on him as a kid. It begins:

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

“I come from South Central Los Angeles,” he says. It’s “a place where we learn to puff up our chests to make ourselves bigger than we are because we have so many forces knocking us down — including some of our own. And so that poem … it pumps me up, you know. … It makes me feel better about myself, or at least made me feel better about myself when I was young.”

Singleton used Angelou’s poems in his 1993 film Poetic Justice. Angelou also had a small part in the movie. Singleton says he thinks of Angelou as a griot — a traditional African storyteller.

“We all have that one or two people in our families that just can spin a yarn, that has a whole lot to say, and holds a lot of wisdom from walking through the world and experiencing different things,” he says.

“And that’s the way I see Dr. Maya Angelou. She was a contemporary of Martin Luther King, a contemporary of Malcolm X and Oprah Winfrey. She transcends so many different generations of African-American culture that have affected all of us.”

Joanne Braxton, a professor at the College of William and Mary, says Angelou’s willingness to reveal the sexual abuse she suffered as a child in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was unprecedented at the time. The critical acclaim and popularity of the book opened doors for both African-American and female writers.

“Maya Angelou brought about a paradigm shift in American literature and culture,” Braxton says, “so that the works, the gifts, the talents of women writers, including women writers of color, could be brought to the foreground and appreciated. She created an audience by her stunning example.”

For Braxton, the world will never be quite the same without Angelou.

“I love her,” she says. “She’s beloved by many, including many, many people who have never met her in person, and who will never meet her in person — but she has extended herself that way, so that her touch extends beyond her physical embrace. That is truly a gift, and we are truly blessed to have known her through her presence and her work.”

Angelou once said she believed that “life loves the liver of it,” and she did live it, to the fullest.

 

Maya Angelou, Poet, Activist And Singular Storyteller, Dies At 86


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