6 things you may not know about North Korea and dictator Kim Jong Un - We Are The Mighty
Intel

6 things you may not know about North Korea and dictator Kim Jong Un

North Korea is an enigmatic place with a virtually unknown leader, though tales often slip out of the tyrannical domination of the ruling Kim family.

Through snippets of information leaked from the Hermit Kingdom (as North Korea is commonly known), experts have gleaned a picture of the country, its society and its leader, 37-year-old Kim Jong Un.

A new National Geographic documentary, “North Korea: Inside the Mind of a Dictator,” examines the country and the people who live there and delves into the psychology of its young leader.

The series is full of interviews with experts, childhood friends, escaped bodyguards and even former U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, who sat down with Kim during his summits with President Donald Trump.

Before you watch, here are some fundamental things to know about the country and its equally closed-off leader, courtesy of North Korea expert B.R Meyers and his book, “The Cleanest Race.”

1. North Korea has its own brand of communism.

Much to the chagrin of other communist countries, North Korea slowly developed its own kind of “socialist utopia,” seen in the symbolism used by its ruling party. Where most communist countries use the hammer and sickle to symbolize the union of the peasantry and the working class, the Korean Workers Party integrates a Korean calligraphy brush, to incorporate Korean intelligentsia.

6 things you may not know about North Korea and dictator Kim Jong Un
The symbol of the Korean Workers Party replaces the communist hammer and sickle in North Korea. (KCNA)

In traditional Leninism, intelligentsia were considered part of the bourgeoisie, and many found themselves jailed, deported or executed in other communist states. After the fall of the Soviet Union, North Korea purged itself of any link Marxism-Leninism in favor of its own policy, “Juche.”

2. “Juche” is North Korea’s guiding philosophy — and it’s bunk.

In the earliest days of North Korean nationalism, founder Kim Il Sung needed to come up with a guide for his people, similar to Mao Zedong’s “Little Red Book.”

North Korea expert B.R. Meyers says Kim’s official ideology, “Juche,” reads like a college term paper, designed to fill a certain amount of space while ensuring no one actually reads it. The result, he says, is thick books with little substance.

In short, the doctrine pushes for North Korea’s total self-reliance and independence from the outside world. Forget that the country was completely dependent on the Soviet Union for the first 50 years of its existence, Meyers says. North Korea isn’t anywhere close to self-reliant.

“Juche” was meant to be worshipped, not read.

3. North Korea makes money like the Mafia because it has to.

When news stories report that North Korea lives under “crippling sanctions,” that’s both true and misleading. It’s true that the country lives under sanctions that block everything from military equipment to coal. It can’t even get foreign currency. To get around that, North Korea reportedly operates an underground crime syndicate.

It allegedly runs black markets in human trafficking; illegal drug production and smuggling; counterfeiting foreign currency and legal drugs; wildlife trafficking; and arms dealing. There’s even a special office designed just to create a slush fund of cash for Kim Jong Un’s personal use.

4. The North Koreans think they’re better than you.

Not in so many words, but that’s what it amounts to. North Korea’s propaganda machine finds its origins in an ideology similar to that of the Japanese before and during World War II. One of the central tenets of that ideology is that Koreans have a moral superiority above that of all other races.

According to Meyers, this innate goodness is the reason they’ve been invaded and mistreated by foreign powers so often over the years. The goodness of the Korean people is exactly why they need a powerful, charismatic leader to protect them. Someone like, say … the Kims.

6 things you may not know about North Korea and dictator Kim Jong Un
North Korean founder Kim Il-Sung featured in a propaganda art depicting his more parental qualities.

5. Each Kim had his own personality cult.

In “The Cleanest Race,” Meyers describes the pillars that hold up the legitimacy of each successive North Korean ruler. Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Un’s grandfather and founder of the North Korean state, had a cult of personality that relied on protecting the good Korean people from the excesses and evils of outsiders. His strength and military skills kept them safe from being killed by invaders or starving to death.

His son, Kim Jong Il, took over with an entirely different set of issues. He rose to power after the fall of the Soviet Union and amid a growing famine in North Korea. His personality cult centered around his military ability. The famine would undermine his economic abilities, so instead his cult created the idea of a looming threat from outside North Korea — America.

He implemented the infamous “military first” policy that left many North Koreans to fend for themselves, redirecting what few resources the state had to what was then the fourth-largest army in the world and a developing nuclear program.

The famine lasted four years and killed somewhere between 2 million and 3.5 million North Koreans.

6. Kim Jong Un was expected to be a reformer.

6 things you may not know about North Korea and dictator Kim Jong Un
Kim’s official titles include General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, and Chairman of the State Affairs Commission. (KCNA)

After Kim Jong Il’s 2011 death, his son Kim Jong Un took over. Given his extensive experience with the West, many thought he would be more willing to open North Korea up to Western culture and ideas. Others thought he might abandon the country’s nuclear program and turn North Korea into a Chinese-model economy. Others, Like Foreign Policy Magazine’s Victor Cha, weren’t so certain.

Instead, Kim Jong Un developed a nuclear missile capable of reaching the United States. He also consolidated his power by executing rivals. Kim even told Trump about how he executed his own uncle and displayed the body. It’s now believed that Kim Jong Un is empowering his sister Kim Yo Jong to do the dirty work, while he works on becoming more of a world leader.

Learn more about the life and regime of Kim Jong Un by watching “North Korea: Inside the Mind of a Dictator” on Monday, Feb. 15, on the National Geographic Channel.

— Blake Stilwell can be reached at blake.stilwell@military.com. He can also be found on Twitter @blakestilwell or on Facebook.

Intel

These helicopter halos are named for two soldiers killed in action

Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan — and many people who have trained at sandy places like the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California — know about the beautiful halo of light that surrounds helicopter blades at night when the air is full of dust.


6 things you may not know about North Korea and dictator Kim Jong Un
(Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Daniel D. Kujanpaa)

What most people don’t know is that photojournalist and Special Forces veteran Michael Yon learned that these halos didn’t have a name and so decided to give them one. He chose to honor two soldiers, an American and a Brit who died from wounds suffered in Afghanistan in 2009.

The Kopp-Etchells effect is named for U.S. Army Ranger Cpl. Benjamin Kopp and British Cpl. Joseph Etchells. Kopp was a soldier shot and MEDEVACed to the U.S. where he later died. His organs were donated, including his heart which went to a family member’s friend.

Etchells was an infantryman and athlete known for how well he prepared his men for combat. He died of injuries suffered during an explosion on a foot patrol.

6 things you may not know about North Korea and dictator Kim Jong Un
(Photo: U.S. Army Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod)

Jill Stephenson, Kopp’s mother, later learned about the halos named for her son and told Fox News in 2013 that she was deeply touched by the gesture.

“What I see in it, even four years later, is the beauty in a tragedy,” she said.

Intel

This Video Shows What The Military’s Awesome ‘Iron Man’ Suit May Look Like

The Pentagon is working on an “Iron Man” suit it hopes will be on special operations forces by 2018, and a new video released from Revision Military gives an idea of what it could look like.


Also Read: The 7 Coolest High-Tech Projects The Military Is Currently Working On

The suit, officially dubbed TALOS, or Tactical Assault Light Operators Suit, “was chartered to explore and catalyze a revolutionary integration of advanced technology to provide comprehensive ballistic protection, peerless tactical capabilities and ultimately to enhance the strategic effectiveness of the SOF operator of the future,” Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel III, commander of Special Operations Command, said recently.

The suit is a result of rapid prototyping between the Pentagon, academia, tech companies, and special operators coming together to build out the best platform.

6 things you may not know about North Korea and dictator Kim Jong Un

Which means a focus on operator safety while maintaining freedom of movement.

6 things you may not know about North Korea and dictator Kim Jong Un

The suit should offer helmets with heads-up display technology, while other prototypes may come with heating and cooling systems and sensors to monitor vital signs, according to DoD News.

6 things you may not know about North Korea and dictator Kim Jong Un

This is a pretty early prototype, so there are definitely some changes to be made. But this video of where they are so far is pretty impressive.

6 things you may not know about North Korea and dictator Kim Jong Un

Now watch the full video from Revision:

NOW: This Technical Error In ‘Hunt For Red October’ Is Among Hollywood’s Worst

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Intel

The British Army is forming a new Ranger Regiment

The name Ranger commands respect in the military community. Synonymous with top-tier units like the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, the Philippine Scout Rangers, and the Nepalese Mahabir Rangers, they are elite warfighters in the military community. The U.S. Army’s Rangers trace their history back to Francis Marion, the legendary Swamp Fox who employed guerilla tactics and maneuver warfare against the British during the American Revolution. The British Army, who also fielded a Ranger unit during the Revolution, are forming a new Ranger Regiment for the 21st century.

6 things you may not know about North Korea and dictator Kim Jong Un
A soldier from 4 RIFLES advises Iraqi forces (MOD)

In early 2021, the UK Ministry of Defence announced the formation of a new special operations brigade, the core of which will be the Ranger Regiment. Comprised of four battalions, the regiment will be a proactive rather than a reactive force. “The best way to prevent conflict and deter our adversaries is to work alongside partners to strengthen their security and resilience,” said Defence Minister Ben Wallace. “These Ranger battalions will be at the vanguard at a more active and engaged armed forces.”

Over the next four years, £120 million will be invested into the formation of the new brigade, with the Rangers receiving a portion of the funds. The thousand-strong regiment is scheduled to be established in August 2021 and hopes to deploy by early 2022. To build its ranks, the Ranger application is open to all members of the British Armed Forces. However, the regiment will begin an exclusively infantry unit. Four specialized infantry battalions, 1 SCOTS, 2PWRR, 2 LANCS, and 4 RIFLES have been selected to seed the regiment. They will form the nucleus of what will eventually become an “all-arms, all-Army” unit.

6 things you may not know about North Korea and dictator Kim Jong Un
Mortarmen of 2 PWRR conduct a live fire (MOD)

As global threats evolve, so too must the warfighters that meet them. Basic infantry skills will be vital to any prospective regiment applicant. However, Rangers will have to adapt to the complexities of the modern battlefield, “Matching brainpower with firepower, data and software with hardware,” said Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith.

The new Ranger Regiment will be routinely deployed around the globe, supporting allied nations in defense and security operations. “They will be able to operate in complex, high-threat environments, taking on some tasks traditionally done by Special Forces,” the Defence Command Paper said. “This work will involve deterring adversaries and contributing to collective deterrence by training, advising and, if necessary, accompanying partners.” So far, Mozambique and Somalia have been announced as two countries under consideration for the Rangers’ first deployment.

Intel

Russia and China aim to challenge US in space, say Space Force leaders

Recently, U.S. Space Force General David Thompson, the Vice Space Operations Chief, sat down for a virtual talk with the Association of Old Crows.

Gen. Thompson emphasized the intraservice utility of the Space Force but also of the branch’s need to create and sustain enduring relationships with the other branches, the intelligence community, and other agencies and departments within the US government.

The Space Force is responsible for capabilities and mission-sets such as navigation, orbital warfare, missile defense, satellite communications, electromagnetic operations, and GPS services, among other tasks.

“We have enduring relationships with the National Reconnaissance Office and the rest of the intelligence community,” said Thompson. “We not only need to maintain those but deepen those as well, especially because we’re now partners with them in the need to defend and protect these capabilities from threats.”

Thompson highlighted that the space in a domain where several countries—and even companies—are looking to expand their presence for economic, civil, public safety, and national security purposes. He suggested that the Space Force might be looking to partnerships where there are common interests and goals.

6 things you may not know about North Korea and dictator Kim Jong Un
U.S. Space Force General David Thompson, Vice Space Operations Chief, speaks to representatives during an Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations Leadership series event with the Association of Old Crows, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Jan. 13, 2021. (DoD photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. Brittany A. Chase)

The Space Force achieved a landmark point in December when General John “Jay” Raymond officially joined the Joint Chiefs of Staff, becoming the 8th member of the highest military council of the US.

“We recognize it clearly as a warfighting domain. And we also know that we, the United States, we’ve got to maintain capabilities in that domain if we are going to continue to deter great power war,” General Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during the ceremony. “This is an incredibly important organization for the United States military and for the United States as a country. And it’s really important what we’re doing today, which is [to] induct you as an official member into the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”

The commercial sector is another point of interest for the Space Force despite the high-risk it might entail. The ability of private companies to rapidly field and test new technology appeals to the Space Force, which often has to contend with the lengthy test, development, and acquisition timelines found in any bureaucracy.

As for what the Space Force is looking for in future recruits, Thompson said that digitally fluent and cyber-savvy candidates are essential for the Space Force to continue its contribution to the fight but also expand its capabilities.

Headquartered in Virginia, the Association of Old Crows is an international nonprofit professional organization specializing in electronic warfare, tactical information operations, and related disciplines.

In another virtual even, Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten talked about America’s near-peer competitors and their space capabilities and aspirations.

“Russia and China are building capabilities to challenge us in space because if they can challenge us in space, they understand as dependent as we are in space capabilities that they can challenge us as a nation,” said Gen. Hyten during an online event at the National Security Space Association.

Gen. Hyten added that it falls to the Pentagon to continue the education of Americans about US space capabilities but also about the dangers posed by China and Russia and how to best deal with them.

Intel

Russian soldier gets shot in the head by an AK round, sergeant pulls out the bullet

This Russian soldier has been dubbed “The Terminator” after catching an AK-47 round between the eyes. The video description is light on details, so we’re thinking if — IF — this is real, the bullet had to have been a ricochet. A direct shot to the head from a 7.62mm would go right through, Russian “Terminator” or not.


Still, here’s a crazy video of a guy using a pair of pliers pulls the bullet out of his noggin. And then the soldier is all smiles.

Watch:

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Intel

The second season of the incredibly popular ‘Serial’ podcast may focus on Bowe Bergdahl

The second season of the incredibly popular “Serial” podcast produced by NPR will focus on the Bowe Bergdahl case, The Hollywood Reporter is confirming.


The Bergdahl case has attracted plenty of interest nationwide, following the soldier’s release from Haqqani Network captivity in exchange for five Taliban detainees. The Army sergeant is currently facing charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy at his court-martial after he allegedly walked away from his combat outpost in 2009.

Bergdahl’s attorneys claim he was trying to reach a nearby base to report troubling conditions in his unit, while many soldiers he served with believe him to be a deserter responsible for lives that were lost while they searched for him.

Via Maxim:

All of this is ripe material for Serial host Sarah Koenig’s Rashomon approach to investigative journalism, which she deftly applied to the case of Adnan Syed, a man currently serving a life sentence for the 1999 murder of his high school ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee.

Koenig went to great lengths to examine the case from every possible angle—interviewing witnesses whose testimonies were never heard in court, and pursuing other leads abandoned during the investigation that led to Syed’s conviction.

First debuted in 2014, the “Serial” podcast quickly rocketed to the top spot as the most popular podcast of all time. According to Maxim’s reporting, reporters from “Serial” have been seen inside the courtroom at Bergdahl’s trial.

NOW: These rare colorized photos show World War I like never before

Intel

These countries still force people into their militaries

Conscription in the United States military — also known as “the draft” — ended with the Vietnam War. Today men and women serve because they want to, not because they have to, but it wasn’t always that way.


Throughout history, when a country waged war and needed a large Army, it turned to drafting its people. The U.S. applied conscription as early as the Revolutionary War by drafting men into the militia and state Army units.

But every time a government turned to conscription, it stirred controversy, exposing fault lines of race, culture and social class. Some say it unifies the country, others argue it tears a society apart. Despite the all-volunteer force of the United States as an example of defense without conscription, there are many countries which still use a draft in 2015.

Watch:

popular

Tom Cruise ‘Deepfake’ videos fortell the future of warfare

The Greek tragedian Aeschylus famously wrote: “In war, truth is the first casualty.”

Well, in this new era of so-called “hybrid” or “gray zone” warfare, truth is not only a casualty of war — it has also become the weapon of choice for some of America’s contemporary adversaries.

Recent “deepfake” videos of the actor Tom Cruise illustrate the power of the new technological tools now available to foreign adversaries who wish to manipulate the American people with online disinformation. The three videos, which appear on the social media platform TikTok under the handle @deeptomcruise, are striking in their realism. To the naked eye of the casual observer, it’s difficult to discern the videos as fakes.

Equally as stunning is an artificial intelligence tool called Deep Nostalgia, which animates static, vintage images — including those of deceased relatives. Together, these technological leaps harken back to the famous line by the writer George Orwell: “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.”

The technology now exists for America’s foreign adversaries, or other malign actors, to challenge citizens’ understanding of their present reality, as well as the past. Coupled with the historic loss in confidence among Americans for their country’s journalistic institutions, as well as our addiction to social media, the conditions are certainly ripe for deepfake disinformation to become a serious national security threat — or a catalyst for nihilistic chaos.

“The internet is a machine, but cyberspace is in our minds. As both expand and evolve faster than we can defend them, the ultimate target — our brains — is closer every day,” Kenneth Geers, a Cyber Statecraft Initiative senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, told Coffee or Die Magazine.

According to a September Gallup Poll, only 9% of Americans said they have “a great deal” of trust in the media to report the news “fully, accurately, and fairly.” On the other hand, when it comes to trusting the media, six out of 10 Americans, on average, responded that they had “not very much” trust or “none at all.” Those findings marked a significant decline in Americans’ trust for the media since polling on the topic began in 1972, Gallup reported.

“Americans’ confidence in the media to report the news fairly, accurately and fully has been persistently low for over a decade and shows no signs of improving,” Gallup reported.

That pervasive distrust in the media leads to increased political polarization and is bad for America’s democratic health, many experts say. Americans’ loss of trust in the media could also portend a national security crisis — especially as contemporary adversaries such as Russia and China increasingly turn to online disinformation campaigns to exacerbate America’s societal divisions.

In fact, Russia already used deepfake technology in its disinformation campaign to influence the 2020 US election, said Scott Jasper, author of the book, Russian Cyber Operations: Coding the Boundaries of Conflict. In advance of the election, Russian cybercriminals working for the Internet Research Agency created a fake news website called “Peace Data,” which featured an entirely fictitious staff of editors and writers, multiple news agencies reported.

“Their profile pictures were deepfakes generated by artificial intelligence,” Jasper told Coffee or Die Magazine. “The fake personas contacted real journalists to write contentious stories that might divide Democratic voters.”

A Soviet doctrine called “deep battle” supported front-line military operations with clandestine actions meant to spread chaos and confusion within the enemy’s territory. Similarly, modern Russia has turned to cyberattacks, social media, and weaponized propaganda to weaken its adversaries from within. According to an August State Department report, Russia uses its “disinformation and propaganda ecosystem” to exploit “information as a weapon.”

“[Russia] invests massively in its propaganda channels, its intelligence services and its proxies to conduct malicious cyber activity to support their disinformation efforts, and it leverages outlets that masquerade as news sites or research institutions to spread these false and misleading narratives,” wrote the authors of the State Department report, Pillars of Russia’s Disinformation and Propaganda Ecosystem.

Some experts contend that the cyber domain has become the proverbial “soft underbelly” of America’s democracy. In the past, America’s journalistic institutions served as gatekeepers, shielding the American people from foreign disinformation or propaganda. However, due to the advent of social media and the internet, America’s adversaries now enjoy direct access into American citizens’ minds. Consequently, the ability to manufacture video content indistinguishable from reality is an exponential force multiplier for adversaries intent on manipulating the American people.

The emerging deepfake threat spurred the Senate in 2019 to pass a bill mandating that the Department of Homeland Security provide lawmakers an annual report on advancements in “digital content forgery technology,” which might pose a threat to national security.

According to the Deepfake Report Act of 2019: “Digital content forgery is the use of emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques, to fabricate or manipulate audio, visual, or text content with the intent to mislead.”

However, the bill died in the House and has not become law.

The advancement of deepfake technology has been meteoric. Just a couple of years ago, the casual observer would have been able to rather easily tell the difference between genuine humans and their computer-generated, deepfake doppelgangers. Not anymore. Much like the advent of nuclear weapons, the Pandora’s box of deepfake technology has officially been opened and is now impossible to un-invent.

The potential dangers of this technological leap are practically boundless.

Criminals could conceivably concoct videos that offer an alibi at the time of their alleged crimes. Countries could fabricate videos of false flag military aggressions as a means to justify starting a war. Foreign adversaries could generate fake videos of police brutality, or of racially charged acts of violence, as a means to further divide American society.

“I think it’s a safe assumption that video manipulation is a key short-term weapon in the arsenal of less reputable political-military organizations needing to shape some opinions before the contents can be disputed,” Gregory Ness, a Silicon Valley cybersecurity expert, told Coffee or Die Magazine.

There are certain commercially available artificial intelligence, or AI, tools already available to detect deepfake videos with a fidelity surpassing that of the human observer. Microsoft, for example, has already developed an AI algorithm for detecting deepfakes.

Some cybersecurity experts are calling on social media platforms to integrate these deepfake detection algorithms on their sites to alert users to phony videos. For his part, Geers, the Atlantic Council senior fellow, was skeptical that social media companies would step up on their own initiative and police for deepfake content.

“Social media profits from our negativity, vulnerability, and stupidity,” Geers said. “Why would they stop?”

The overarching intent of disinformation campaigns — particularly those prosecuted by Moscow — is not always to dupe Americans into believing a false reality. Rather, the real goal may be to challenge their belief in the existence of any objective truths. In short: The more distrustful Americans become of the media, the more likely they are to believe information based on its emotional resonance with their preconceived biases. The end goal is chaos, not brainwashing.

“If we are unable to detect fake videos, we may soon be forced to distrust everything we see and hear, critics warn,” the cybersecurity news site CSO reported. “The internet now mediates every aspect of our lives, and an inability to trust anything we see could lead to an ‘end of truth.’ This threatens not only faith in our political system, but, over the longer term, our faith in what is shared objective reality.”

Some experts say the US government should get involved, perhaps by leveraging the power of the Department of Defense, to patrol the cyber domain for deepfake videos being spread by foreign adversaries. The Pentagon, for its part, has already been called in to defend America’s elections against online disinformation.

In the wake of Russia’s attack on the 2016 presidential election, the Department of Defense partially shouldered the responsibility of defending against foreign attacks on America’s elections. By that measure, it’s certainly within the bounds of national security priorities for Washington to leverage the US military’s resources to root out and take down deepfake videos.

“Governments will inevitably step in, but what we really need is for democracies to step up and create innovative policies based on freedom of expression and the rule of law,” Geers said.

This article originally appeared on Coffee or Die. Follow @CoffeeOrDieMag on Twitter.

Intel

Someone tried to analyze one of the weirdest insults said in ‘Full Metal Jacket’

6 things you may not know about North Korea and dictator Kim Jong Un


It is perhaps one of the most iconic war movies ever, and certainly one of the best depictions of Marine boot camp, but at least one of the insults to come from Drill Instructor Gunnery Sgt. Hartman’s mouth doesn’t seem to make any sense.

And that’s where the site FilmDrunk comes in, to investigate what in the hell Hartman meant when he would “short-d-ck every cannibal in the Congo.”

I mean, seriously, what the hell is that even supposed to mean? The quote, which comes about halfway into the film, is screamed out by an insanely-annoyed (isn’t he always?) Hartman on top of the obstacle course, as Pvt. Pyle becomes too fearful to get over the top.

“I will motivate you, Private Pyle! If it shortd-cks every cannibal in the Congo!” he says.

You really need to break this one down to root words here. The term “shortd-ck” could mean to short change, and so if Pvt. Pyle becomes motivated he’ll be skinnier, and the cannibals will have less fat to eat. Or another interpretation could be that Hartman is willing to do anything it takes, even so far outside of cultural norms, to motivate the recruit.

Or it could just be drill instructor gibberish that makes no sense whatsoever.

Regardless, FilmDrunk collected up plenty of possibilities for this phrase, and the investigation of it is actually quite hilarious.

Check it all out here.

OR CHECK OUT: The 16 greatest quotes from ‘Full Metal Jacket’

Intel

Grab the Popcorn: ISIS and the Taliban declare war on each other [Report]

Not content with fighting against the infidel crusaders from the U.S. and other NATO countries, ISIS and the Taliban have declared jihad against each other, Afghan News Agency Khaama Press is reporting.


Khaama writes:

Nabi Jan Mullahkhil, police chief of southern Helmand province has told Mashaal Radio during an interview that he has received documents in which both the terrorist groups have announced Jihad against each other.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), which holds vast swaths of land in Iraq and Syria, has made moves into Afghanistan in recent months. In March, CNN obtained video of ISIS recruiting in the country, and on Saturday, the group claimed responsibility for a deadly suicide bombing in Jalalabad, according to The Atlantic.

Here’s the full report at Khaama

Articles

How the CIA stole a secret Soviet satellite during the Space Race

In 1967, the Space Race was in full swing. The Soviet Union had made a number of historic firsts, but the United States was racing to catch up while making a few firsts of its own. 

President Kennedy had challenged America to put a man on the moon within the decade. Long after his death, the memory of that challenge was fresh in the minds of everyone, especially those in the U.S. government who were working hard to make that happen. These include agencies such as NASA, the U.S. military and, not surprisingly, the Central Intelligence Agency.

But the United States wasn’t always so close to winning. In fact, for a time, it appeared to be behind — way behind. So far behind, in fact, the Americans were willing to do anything to catch up, even if that meant stealing the Soviet technology. 

They had the world’s first ICBM as well as the first artificial satellite

Declassified CIA documents describe their initial efforts to do just that. While they never conclusively stole Soviet space technology outright, they did have to make a huge effort to get some time alone with the tech. 

Many people know about Sputnik, the first man-made satellite in orbit. Not many others know about Luna (sometimes called Lunik), the first man-made satellite to hit the moon’s surface. Both successful missions took place in 1959. And the Soviets did what any superpower looking to dunk on their Cold War rival would do: they took a victory lap. 

6 things you may not know about North Korea and dictator Kim Jong Un

The USSR sent Sputnik and Luna on a world tour that included stops in the United States. The U.S. was losing the Space Race because the Soviets had better booster and rocket technology than they did. So the CIA decided it would learn everything it could about Soviet space tech through the traveling showcase.

Specifically, the U.S. wanted a detailed look at the USSR’s upper stage. Most in the CIA assumed the Soviets weren’t bold enough to bring an actual Luna on a world tour for everyone to see, but there were some who realized the USSR really had brought the real thing. One night, after the traveling exhibition was closed, CIA operatives gained access to the room. They discovered it really was an actual Luna module and the lone Soviet guard had disappeared.

The CIA spent a full 24 hours with the Luna, taking what information they could with them, but they wanted more. They wanted to get inside of it. That’s when they concocted a complex, almost absurd scheme that would have been stupid – if it hadn’t worked. 

That’s when they hatched a plan to steal Luna, get into it, and return the device before it could be found. They knew it usually had a large guard force posted as sentries at almost all times. They needed to get to it when the guard force was at its lowest number and find a way to get to it when no one would miss it. 

The operatives discovered that the Luna went unguarded when moving by train. A guard checked its crate in at the platform, but he didn’t know what was in each of the crates and there was no expected delivery time for its arrival at the show’s next stop.

CIA agents arranged for the Luna to be on the last truck out of an exhibition. When it was on the way, other CIA operatives tailed the truck, looking for when the Soviet guards rejoined their precious cargo. But the Soviets never came. The CIA stopped the truck driver and “held him in a hotel overnight” (the documents don’t mention how he was enticed (booze, guns or prostitutes were likely involved).

With the driver safely dispatched, the truck was parked in a salvage yard and covered up. At the rail yard, the lone guard there didn’t even know the last truck was expected and he knocked off for the night, none the wiser. The CIA kept a tail on him too, just to make sure he didn’t come to work early. 

6 things you may not know about North Korea and dictator Kim Jong Un
Hey, not every heist requires a shootout

Back at the truck, CIA officers dismantled and photographed the Luna in detail, working through the night to get everything documented so that the Soviet booster technology could be analyzed.

They sealed everything back together, closed the crate and put the original truck driver back on the job. When the rail yard guard checked the crate onto the train in the morning, he suspected nothing and the secret Soviet space technology was on its way to the next stop.

Feature image: Photo by Sergiu Nista on Unsplash

Intel

Army National Guard campaign seeks ‘the next greatest generation’

It is one powerful minute.

The ad begins with a slow build as images of young people, whose options are limited because of the COVID-19 pandemic, few job prospects and skyrocketing tuition, are projected on the screen.

“Who do you think is going to fix all this?’’ the narrator asks.

In a recruiting campaign called “The Next Greatest Generation is Now,’’ which launched last week, the Army National Guard is trying to reach Generation Z.

Gen Z, generally defined as people born between 1997 and the early to mid-2010s, comprises about 20% of the 331 million Americans.

“Ultimately, the ARNG hopes to connect with young people who are interested in making a difference for their communities and our nation, but haven’t considered part-time ARNG service as a means to accomplishing their own life goals and staying true to their other interests,’’ spokeswoman Cheryle Rivas said in an email.

Kathryn Bigelow produces and directs the spots. Bigelow, 69, won the 2010 Academy Award for best director for “The Hurt Locker,’’ a film about the Iraq War starring Jeremy Renner. She was selected after submitting a bid to the Army’s advertising agency.

Three ads were produced in varying formats and will appear on national and local outlets, Rivas said. Ads will be produced in different lengths; one minute is the longest, six seconds the shortest.

Some of the ads can be viewed on YouTube.

“The campaign will employ a mix of youth-targeting advertising media to reach Gen Z prospects across their preferred platforms and areas of interest, including esports and college sports,’’ Rivas said.

The ads began appearing on Monday, Jan. 26, on several online video channels, including CBS, ESPN and Fox Sports, and Hulu. Digital media is slated for Bleacher Report, Twitch, CNN and Gamespot, among others, with a social media push slated for Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and Reddit.

The campaign will appear during regular-season college basketball games and through March Madness. In hoops terminology, the Army National Guard is planning a full-court press to entice new recruits from Gen Z.

“The ads include actual Army National Guard soldiers who are currently serving and are the same age demographics of Gen Z,’’ Rivas said. “Activities depicted in the ads range from the soldiers’ civilian pursuits to their military occupations and scenarios related to the Army National Guard’s federal and domestic missions.’’

More than 100 pieces of contents have been created, Rivas said. The Army National Guard expects them to be in use for up to two years, she said.

It’s an ambitious program — and not a subtle one.

As the action picks up in the one-minute ad, Guard members are shown in rapid-fire sequences as the narrator discusses the opportunities potentially awaiting Gen Zers.

He mentions building bridges and hospitals, saving families from disaster and assisting others in need.

“We’re going to do all this and more, because we have an appointment with destiny,’’ the narrator said. “We invite you to join us.’’

Early returns are that this recruiting mission is having an impact.

After viewing the ad online, one commenter said he was 19 and was motivated to “help my fellow citizens.’’ He said he plans to join the Guard.

That’s exactly what the Army National Guard wants to hear.

“‘The Next Greatest Generation Is Now’ campaign lets Gen Z know that the ARNG understands that they are the future of our organization and is confident that Gen Z’s energy, creativity and determination will solve the complicated problems facing our nation and its communities,’’ Rivas said.

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