02 JUN 17 – Executive Intelligence Summary – Forward Observer Shop

02 JUN 17 – Executive Intelligence Summary


[wcm_nonmember]In this EXSUM… (2716 words)

  • Understanding the Trump-Russia Collusion Accusations
  • Black propaganda: fake immigration flyers roil DC community
  • North Korea SITREP
  • US B-52 bombers set for exercise in Europe
  • Trump administration to give back Russian intelligence facilities
  • 04 June: Free Speech Rally shaping up for violence?
  • Faber: This is the US financial bubble
  • And more…


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Bottom Line Up Front:  As the saying goes, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.  Investigations into the Trump-Russia collusion may produce a lot of smoke, however, there’s reason to believe that the apparent fire has smoldered.  There are three expert testimonies we should keep in mind.  The first came last month as Jim Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence (DNI), admitted that he “did not see any smoking gun” evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.  Clapper would have seen the most highly classified intelligence reports, which would have included all intelligence on connections between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.  The second thing to keep in mind is that former CIA Director John Brennan testified in front of Congress that he was concerned about contact between Russian officials and members of the Trump campaign, although he did admit that the contacts may have also been benign.  Brennan provided loose accusations of wrongdoing, but no evidence.  Lastly, NSA Director Michael Rogers spoke to Congress in May about the status of US Cyber Command.  Senators attempted to bring up the case of Trump-Russia collusion, and Rogers flatly but politely refused to answer those questions, as his capacity in the hearing was that of the chief of US Cyber Command and not the director of NSA.  Since then, Rogers has not been back to Congress, however, he has provided some additional information.  In a classified town hall meeting with NSA officials, Rogers allegedly said, “There is no question that we [at NSA] have evidence of election involvement and questionable contacts with the Russians.”  John Schindler, former NSA analyst and counterintelligence officer, alleges that members of the Trump campaign directed Russian involvement in the 2016 election, according to NSA sources who have confirmed that information with him.  That’s a bold statement, if true; however, to date there has been no direct evidence submitted to Congress, so far as Congress has made it known.  If there was evidence submitted to Congress, then we would have confirmation of evidence by now.  I will reserve judgement regarding Schindler’s accusations until Rogers testifies in front of Congress, however, if NSA did in fact have damning evidence, it would have likely been reviewed by the DNI, in which case he would have confirmed the existence of such evidence.

Last week, the White House doubled down, saying that despite a year’s worth of investigations into Trump-Russia collusion, there is still no evidence.  But that’s not to say that there’s no legitimate smoke.  Some of the most grave accusations, which appear to be true, revolve around former national security advisor General Mike Flynn (USA, Ret.) and his off-the-books meetings with Russian officials.  To put these meetings in the proper context, we have to first understand General Flynn’s outlook on Russia.  In his book Field of Fight, General Flynn lays the groundwork for the future of the war on terrorism, which is dominated by defeating Iran.  He outlines Iran as the “lynch pin” upon which global terrorism proliferates.  He then delves into why Russia is allied with Iran (all of Iran’s nuclear reactors are Russian-constructed), especially when Iran is the major driver of terrorism in the Russian Federation.  It’s entirely because Russian President Vladimir Putin sees Iran as a thorn in the side of the United States.  Iran’s motto, after all, is “Death to America”.  Flynn intimates a potential future where the US and Russia can set aside their differences, whether that’s in the short term or for the long term, and work together to defeat the global jihad movement.  Russia is a natural ally in the fight against jihadists.  Global jihad, after all, sees Christian Russia as an enemy of Islam, especially after the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, followed by the decapitation and defeat of the Chechen jihad.  (One of Russia’s intelligence services in 2015 claimed that 20 to 25 percent of Islamic State fighters were from post-Soviet nations.  The defeat of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq is likely to drive those fighters out of Syria and back home, where they will pose national security problems for the Russian Federation.)  But the problem is that Putin is not likely to seek cooperation with the West, even if it was offered by the Trump administration. (In previous articles, I’ve covered why and how Putin seeks to defeat the West.)  Although Flynn does not specifically address this, I do believe the Trump campaign believed that a detente with Russia was possible, that concessions could be made to Russia, and that Putin could ultimately be convinced to cooperate with the US to defeat the most pressing global threat, which is Islamic terror and the expansion of Islamic caliphates.

With that as our context, we know that Flynn was committed to defeating Iran, which meant that the Russians would have to be coaxed to end their support for the Ayatollah in Iran.  So what did Flynn do? He apparently engaged in a series of back channel meetings with Russian officials, in what I can only presume were attempts to set the conditions of Russian cooperation in the fight against global jihad.  When those meetings were discovered by the press, the White House also discovered that Flynn had mislead Vice President Pence regarding contacts with Russian officials, and Trump received a great amount of pressure to fire Flynn.  And then Flynn was gone.  Since then, we’ve discovered that Flynn did engage in previously undisclosed contacts with Russian officials, as did Attorney General Sessions as a senator, which is the smoke.  These were at least some the contacts that likely concerned former CIA Director Brennan.

Meanwhile, former FBI Director James Comey is set to testify in front of Congress next week.  It should revolve heavily around two topics.  The first is the nature and content of Comey’s conversations with President Trump regarding the investigation of former national security advisor Mike Flynn.  From what I’ve seen, the president didn’t interfere; he simply ‘hoped’ that Comey would stop the investigation.  From all available information, Trump never ordered an end to the investigation.  Should Comey testify that the President attempted to interfere with the FBI investigation, then we can expect serious calls to impeach President Trump. The White House may invoke what’s called executive privilege, which could prevent Comey from sharing details of his conversations with the president.  The second topic will likely explore evidence behind the Trump-Russia allegations.  (This week the White House reported that it would no longer answer questions about the Trump-Russia investigation, and would instead direct all questions  to President Trump’s personal attorney.)  Comey should have been briefed on the progress of the counterintelligence investigation being conducted by the FBI, and Comey’s testimony on the evidence is the first hinge upon which the inquiry rests.  It’s a real possibility that Comey defers to investigators regarding the possible evidence, and evades questions in light of the ongoing investigation.  Should Comey’s Congressional testimony fail to reveal fire, I’ll set my eyes on the next two hurdles for the Trump administration: the results of the FBI counterintelligence investigation and the inevitable Congressional testimony of NSA Director Mike Rogers.  It could be a bumpy few months.


Priority Intelligence Requirements:

PIR1: What are the current indicators of systems disruption that could lead to instability, civil unrest, or violence?

PIR2: What are the current indicators of an outbreak of global conflict?

PIR3: What are the current indicators of organized political violence?

PIR4: What are the current indicators of economic, financial, or monetary instability?

PIR1: What are the current indicators of systems disruption that could lead to instability, civil unrest, or violence?

Black propaganda: fake immigration flyers roil DC community

Fake Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) flyers were posted across DC this week, angering community residents (image below).  Although the intent of the flyers is unclear, black propaganda is becoming a popular tool for both the Left and Right. Black propaganda refers to messages that appear to be published by an antagonist group, but in reality are published by the protagonist.  Twitter accounts run by members of the Alt-Right but pose as Antifa groups is one popular example.  In fact, there’s reason to believe that Saturday’s protest against the Sam Houston statue in Houston, TX was not promoted by Antifa, but by Alt-Right members posing as Houston Antifa.  Because Antifa groups aim for anonymity, identifying true Antifas is difficult.  The Antifa protest against the Sam Houston statue was picked up by local media, but may be a form of black propaganda to anger Texas residents against Antifa.  (SOURCE)

PIR2: What are the current indicators of an outbreak of global conflict?

The prospects of global conflict continue to revolve five geopolitical actors: Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and the Middle East. In the event of war with any of these nations, consider domestic systems disruption a distinct possibility.

North Korea SITREP

Since last week’s calls by George Friedman and Jim Rickards of a war with North Korea, I’ve been able to confirm that war is indeed looking increasingly likely.  George Friedman (Geopolitical Futures) said that war with North Korea is “imminent” and Rickards predicted that war would begin in 2018 or sooner.  I can’t predict the future, although there is reason to believe that the US is stepping up military pressure against the North Korean regime.  The question of when military power will be used is another matter.  Here’s what I’ve observed in the past month:

  • There were two drills in May that featured US and South Korean strategic B1-B bombers, which North Korea perceived as “nuclear-bomb-dropping” exercises.  Japanese bombers also participated in the first drill.
  • As of last week, two US aircraft carriers were sitting off the North Korean coast.  This week, the Navy announced that the aircraft carrier Nimitz would join USS Ronald Reagan and USS Carl Vinson in the region.  That now makes three aircraft carriers.
  • There are allegedly daily F-16 exercises in South Korea.  I’m unsure if this is referring to Max Thunder, a scheduled, annual exercise, or if these daily F-16 exercises continue to occur after the end of Max Thunder.
  • In early May, the head of US Special Operations Command told Congress that he would use special operations troops to destroy North Korean nuclear sites should war break out.
  • North Korea accused CIA of a plot to assassinate Kim Jong-Un.
  • North Korea’s grain purchases from China have risen 430% this year as compared to last year.
  • On Tuesday, North Korea launched its NINTH ballistic missile test so far this year.
  • Senator Mac Thornberry (R-TX) led a delegation to South Korea to discuss civil defense measures.
  • The US military recently delivered an additional four THAAD launchers to South Korea.
  • A newly-created Armored Brigade Combat Team is set for rotational duty to South Korea.
  • The Japanese navy and air force embarked on a three-day exercise with the US Navy on Thursday.
  • On Thurs, a US Army general confirmed that cyber protection teams had been tasked with protecting the THAAD missile defense system from cyber attacks.

While it’s understandable that sanctions and economic pressure have not dissuaded North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons; North Korea is likely to perceive this US military buildup as a prelude to war.  This might actually make North Korea more willing to use a first-strike option, especially if the Kim regime believes that the US is already primed to launch an offensive.  Sanctions have not worked. Chinese pressure has not worked.  We know that North Korea is likely to achieve the ability to target the US mainland with a nuclear weapon within years, if they don’t already have that capability.  We’re entering a lose-lose situation, where decades of North Korean rhetoric will manifest into a very real capability to reach US targets.  President Trump, SECSTATE Tillerson, and SECDEF Mattis have all expressed their unwillingness to allow the Kim regime to develop this capability, and so I do believe that we are on the verge of war.


US B-52 bombers set for exercise in Europe

US strategic B-52 bombers are scheduled to participate in June exercises in Europe, including the Baltic Sea, Arctic Sea, and in NATO countries that border Russia.  For more than a year, US and NATO forces have sought to raise the bar for military exercises in the region, mostly as a deterrent against Russia.  (SOURCE)


Trump administration to give back Russian intelligence facilities

In 2016, the Obama administration moved to confiscate two facilities in use by Russian intelligence, as well as expel 35 Russian officials accused conduction of domestic intelligence gathering operations.  The Maryland facility posed as a diplomatic vacation property, however, was likely a signals intelligence listening station conducting electronic surveillance against the National Security Agency’s Fort Meade offices.  Under the Trump administration’s proposal, the two facilities would be given back to Russian diplomats, however, would not retain diplomatic immunity, which previously barred US law enforcement’s entrance to the properties.

PIR3: What are the current indicators of organized political violence?

04 June: Free Speech Rally shaping up for violence?

Kyle Chapman, better known as Based Stickman, warned this morning that approximately a thousand Alt-Left protesters will show up to counter protest the Free Speech Rally in Portland, OR on 04 June.  He writes, “This could very well become another Battle of Berkeley.”  Rose City (Portland) Antifa also released a statement this week:

There are serious problems with the state intervening in matters of speech and assembly, which is why we emphasize direct community action. These type of government actions often end up targeting the left in much harsher ways. Political repression comes down harder on those challenging existing oppressive conditions rather than those enforcing status quo. We have never endorsed state repression of fascists, the state cannot be trusted with such power. We believe in community self-defense [in the face of] Gibson’s rallies [that] have incited thugs to believe they have the right to kill anyone that interferes with their white nationalist intimidation. We do not oppose free speech. We have consistently opposed hate crimes laws and state censorship. We believe in community self defense. The state will not defend you from white nationalist thugs. Only grassroots organized community self-defense will.

PIR4: What are the current indicators of economic, financial, or monetary instability that lead to worsening economic conditions or civil unrest?

Faber: This is the US financial bubble

In a CNBC interview today, investor and advisor Marc Faber says that US stock and bond markets are currently in a bubble.  Faber says that the news of US economic growth rate is overrated, and points to stagnating wages as weighing down overall economic growth.  “If you take total consumption, it’s relatively weak for this stage of the recovery.”  He continues:  “I believe we had a bubble in Nasdaq in the year 2000.  In year 2007, we had a financial bubble and a bubble in real estate.  Now we have a bubble in everything.  We have global debts as a percentage of global [gross domestic product] that is 30 to 40 percent higher than it was in 2007.”  After being pressed on where he would invest 100 million dollars, Faber said, “I’m telling you, there is a bubble in everything.  There is nothing in asset price that is very low, and all of us… we’re going to lose 50 percent.  Either the government will take it away through taxation, expropriation, or there will be a deflation that is surprising to most people on the downside.”  Faber continues to be bullish on gold.  Analyst Comment: I’m not a financial advisor and this should not be taken as financial advice, however, this is where I see us.  Yes, there is significant reason to believe the market is overbought, especially considering debt levels, the potential for a war with North Korea, and instability in government as we approach September’s budget battle.  But as long as the bubble doesn’t burst and we don’t have a war or government shutdown, I see little reason to believe that the bubble won’t continue to grow.


Mike Shelby is a former military intelligence NCO and contract intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the intelligence and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.

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