CNN Letter to Sean Davis (with apologies to Abe Lincoln & Horace Greeley)

There are many who seem confused by the MSM’s behavior toward China, Russia Iran and even towards the efforts to arrest the spread of the Corona / Wuhan Virus in the US. This behavior has drawn harsh responses from conservatives and confusion to those who believe the media operate in the pubic interest. For those who might be confused this letter might explain their actions:

CNN offices,
Atlanta, March 22, 2020.

Sean Davis The Federalist:
Dear Sir.

We have just read your tweet of the 21st. addressed to ourselves through that medium & previous statements through the Federalist. If there be in it any statements, or assumptions of fact, which we may know to be erroneous, We and other mainstream media do not, now and here, controvert them. If there be in it any inferences which we may believe to be falsely drawn, We do not now and here, argue against them. If there be perceptable in it an impatient and dictatorial tone, We waive it in deference to a fellow member of the media although as you are on the right you don’t really deserve such deference.

As to the policy We “seem to be pursuing” as you say, we have not meant to leave any one in doubt.

We would save the Union from Donald Trump. We would save it the shortest way under the Constitution or outside of it. The sooner the national authority of our allies in the Deep state in general and the Democrat party in particular, can be restored; the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” before those horrible days of the internet, Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge in the days before he decided to join our noble cause.

If there be those who would not save the Union from Donald Trump, unless they could at the same time attack Communist China or Putin Iran and save the nation from the spread of the Corona Virus , We do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy Communist China, Putin or even Iran, We do not agree with them.

Our paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union from Donald Trump, and is not either to save or to destroy Communist China, Putin Iran or even the Corona Virus. If we could save the Union from Donald Trump without helping Communist China, Russia, Iran or even the spread of the Corona virus we would do it, and if we could save the Union from Donald Trump by directly helping Communist China, Russia, Iran and the spread of the Corona Virus we would do it; and if we could save the Union from Donald Trump, by helping Communist China, Russia, Iran and the spread of the corona virus in some cases and hindering Communist China, Russia, Iran and the spread of the Corona Virus in others we would also do that.

What we write, broadcast and report about Communist China, Russia, Iran and the Corona Virus,we do because we believe it helps to save the Union from Donald Trump; and what we forbear, we forbear because we do not believe it would help to save the Union from Donald Trump.

We shall do less to help efforts to fight the Corona Virus in the US whenever we shall believe what we are doing hurts the cause of defeating Donald Trump in November, and we shall do more to help efforts to fight the Corona Virus whenever we shall believe doing more will help the cause of defeating Donald Trump in November. We shall try to correct errors when shown to be also errors in our efforts in obtaining that goal of Trump destruction; and we shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be in aid of that effort to destroy Donald Trump.

We have here stated our purpose, shared by other members of the media on TV, online and in print according to our view of the official duty of the media to destroy conservatism in general and Donald Trump in particular; and we intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free of Donald Trump in particular and conservatism in general.

Yours,
CNN.

If you wish to read a slightly modified version of this letter which was sent by some fellow named Abe Lincoln to a newspaperman by the name of Horace Greeley on August 22nd 1862 in response to critiques of his actions concerning fighting of the American Civil War you can read it here.

Why calling out Russia matters

Maritime Safety Information Bulletin, from the Jacksonville Coast Guard Website

In the midst of all the impeachment news was a Maritime Safety Information Bulletin issued by the Coast Guard concerning the Russian vessel Viktor Leonov, an intelligence surveillance ship that has been prowling the East Coast. The vessel has been in international waters, which while annoying to the United States is in fact very legal. However, unlike in previous years, this year it decided to behave in an unsafe manner. The bulletin spelled it out pretty clearly:

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has received reports indicating that the RFN VIKTOR LEONOV (AGI-175) has been operating in an unsafe manner while navigating through USCG Sector Jacksonville’s Area of Responsibility. This unsafe operation includes not energizing running lights while in reduced visibility conditions, not responding to hails by commercial vessels attempting to coordinate safe passage and other erratic movements. Vessels transiting these waters should maintain a sharp lookout and use extreme caution when navigating in proximity to this vessel.

Maritime Safety Information Bulletin, U.S. Coast Guard

The VIKTOR LEONOV’s operations should be a lesson as to why we build and maintain a Navy and Coast Guard. Navies aren’t cheap…the 2019 budget for the Navy alone is $194.1 billion dollars. In comparison, the United Kingdom spent about $79 billion on their entire military. The cost of not building a Navy is far worse though. The VIKTOR LEONOV is only a surveillance vessel, but she is likely preparing the battlespace for any future conflict in the Atlantic. The only credible deterrent to her operations is a solid response from a Navy, which she has received since entering the Western Atlantic.

Countries without Navies can’t enforce their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ). Every country is given exclusive rights over resources within 200 nautical miles of their coast. While that sounds nice in theory, in reality other countries are quick to take advantage of any countries inability to patrol their EEZ. China is exploiting EEZs to illegally fish in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans, as far away as South Africa. Small nations are struggling to keep out the hoardes of Chinese fishermen, who bank on China’s use of economic power to stop any action against their illegal fishing. China has also shown its willingness to illegally drill in another countries waters for oil, which it did in Vietnam in 2014. Even the United Kingdom illegally used waters for fishing, fighting three different “Cod Wars” with Iceland before recognizing Iceland’s EEZ.

A Navy isn’t cheap, but its cheaper to have one than watch another nation plunder your resources. It’s better to fight in waters far away from the Western Atlantic than on your own door step. As tensions continue to rise between the US and peer competitors, the Navy and Coast Guard will be the first to push back against any attempts at aggression on our shores.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, US Coast Guard, or any other government agency.

Does Russia even need a carrier?

Russia’s aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov on fire. Image from Reddit.

Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, is on fire, and not in a good way. A large fire spread throughout the ship during recent welding work, and has so far killed one crew member (likely more, due to the extent of the fire). Anyone that has seen the fires aboard Forrestal can’t help but make an eerie connection.

Fighting the fire aboard the Forrestal. By Official U.S. Navy Photograph – This Image was released by the United States Navy with the ID USN 1124794 1124794#mw-category-media.

You would think this would be big news, but its barely scratched the Google News feed. Given that its Russia’s only carrier, you’d think this might change their Naval strategy or ship building priorities. For Russia though, this might prove to be overall a good thing.

Unlike the United States, Russia doesn’t have nearly the amount of foreign interests around the world. Most of Russia’s interests are right next door to them, in Eastern Europe and the South and Central Asia. These nations don’t require a Navy to reach. When war broke out in Syria and the Kuznetsov couldn’t launch and recover planes, Russia shifted to using other nearby airbases.

This is quite different from the United States, which uses aircraft carriers to project power around the world. The U.S. has multiple islands, two entire states and a number of Caribbean and Pacific territories to defend. Additionally, there are a significant number of Americans overseas, as well as a number of American owned companies that do business around the world. The U.S. needs a Navy to protect all these interests.

Russia’s Navy, in contrast, exists to foil the U.S. Navy. The small Russian economy can’t produce 11 supercarriers. Instead, Russia builds small, extremely capable vessels (such as the Buyan) that are fast, difficult to track and yet carry capable weapons such as the Yakhont anti-ship missile. Russia also builds an extensive and capable submarine fleet, with anti-ship missiles for use against carrier strike groups and fast attack submarines against U.S. ballistic missile submarines.

Remember too that Russia doesn’t need an outright win in any U.S. conflict. It’s sufficient for Russia to slowly take back former Soviet Union territory and keep the U.S. out of a conflict. Georgia and Ukraine are prime examples of Russia “nibbling on the edges of NATO” but keeping the U.S. at bay. In a possible large conflict, Russia would need a quick strike that would hurt the U.S. and convince them to do nothing. A strike on a carrier strike group from a Russian submarine, or an exchange of fire from a small Russian vessel against a NATO surface group, might be sufficient.

So for Russia, it would come as no surprise if they scrap their carrier. It doesn’t fit their naval strategy, and the cost to repair would be far better used building more submarines and smaller, more capable surface vessels. While we might laugh at them for this, given our wasting of money on stealth destroyers that can’t deploy or small ships that can’t fight, perhaps we have something to learn from the Russian Navy.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

The problems with Open Source Intelligence

Did you know the Chinese detonated an underwater nuclear device in the South China Sea?!?

Even the Russians are worried!

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=ru&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.fontanka.ru%2F2019%2F11%2F22%2F078%2F%3Fref%3Dt

The Chinese are dismissing the claim as coming from some racist website. Well, we don’t believe them, do we?

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/military/article/3039040/us-far-right-bloggers-south-china-sea-explosion-claims

Except…it probably didn’t happen.

https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2019/11/no-china-did-not-secretly-detonate-a-nuke-in-the-south-china-sea-to-signal-the-start-of-wwiii/

The military has been asked more and more often to include news articles, social media and other internet sources into their intelligence analysis. Called Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), this information can sometimes be pretty insightful, especially in the case of Humanitarian Assistance missions, when cultural and long standing issues reported by the media can become central to solving a crisis.

The Russians in particular are great OSINT analyzers. Russian operatives scour over contracts, budget requests and laws in various governments, gleaning information such as weapons requirements that speak to future strategies. While its an often grueling process, it can turn up intelligence that can guide future decisions, without the risk of trying to steal classified documents.

But OSINT suffers from fake news. The above “nuclear explosion” is just one of many dead threads. Old pictures of ships in port passed off as current. Troop movements that just don’t exist. The list goes on, and there is no way to eliminate the fake news from the real news.

There is one age-old trick though: verifying source data. Looking at the metadata stamps on pictures makes it easy to find old material. Reading the data from a medical study debunks many of their wild claims. And in the case of the nuclear explosion, looking at NOAA and other nuclear montioring sites, plus understanding the actual units of radiation measurement, make it easy to see a normal background radiation measurement.

We’ll never ban fake news, but perhaps fake news will make us a more skeptical news consumer.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.