Archive for July, 2015


July 31, 2015

Wall Street Journal on July 30, 2015, in a commentary reported on how Jews from eastern Ukraine seek refuge further west in Ukraine from the Russian invasion. Among the justifications Vladimir Putin has offered for his hostility to the democratic government of Ukraine is that it is led and supported by “anti-Semitic forces.” But sit down with some of the Jews who have fled Russian-instigated violence in the east to find refuge in the capital of this supposedly neo-fascist state, and another story emerges. Excerpts below:

Consider the Kvasha family, among several thousand Jews uprooted by Mr. Putin’s invasion. You enter the family’s building on the outskirts of Kiev through a dim reception, where the walls have long turned a dark gray and a dank stench hovers. The Kvashas—dad Sergey, mom Valeria and their two boys Nikita, 17, and Arseny, 8—are crammed into a one-bedroom apartment on the fourth floor.

Inside the neatly kept apartment, a menorah sits atop a piano that has seen better days. It’s all a far cry from the Kvashas’ happy former lives in eastern Ukraine.

When I visited on Tuesday, Mr. Kvasha was at work at a printing business, where he’s a manager. Back in Luhansk, the family had its own printing firm, while Mrs. Kvasha worked as a general engineer at the local college. In addition to their apartment, the Kvashas owned a dacha, or vacation home. They were prominent and successful members of a vibrant Jewish community existing within what they describe as a tolerant Donbass society.

Then Mr. Putin launched his invasion. “When the fighting started a missile hit our building,” Mrs. Kvasha recalls. Five of their friends and neighbors were killed in attacks. Having already sent the kids to Kiev in early June 2014, Mr. and Mrs. Kvasha caught the last train out of Luhansk a few weeks later. Two bags stuffed with summer clothes were all they managed to take with them, and by August they had depleted their savings.

Building new lives in Kiev hasn’t been easy. Finding a permanent apartment was the first challenge. Landlords are reluctant to rent to refugees, seen as itinerant and unreliable.

In dire straits, the Kvashas turned to the Joint Distribution Committee, an American-Jewish organization. While the parents were still unemployed, the JDC provided the family with some $142 in monthly food assistance as well as blankets and other winter relief—crucial assistance, since their flat, once they’d secured one, cost about $165 a month. The organization continues to help the family pay rent.

The JDC also helped the Kvashas find a sense of belonging. Like many of Ukraine’s 350,000 Jews, the family’s connection to Judaism is more cultural than religious. At a Jewish community center in Kiev called Beiteinu, or Our Home, they found new friends. The JDC supports 21 such centers across Ukraine, and Mrs. Kvasha now works at Beitanu, helping other refugees find their footing.

I sat down on Tuesday with Ms. Brook, Mr. Fireman and four other elderly displaced Jews at one of the 32 social-welfare centers, or Heseds, the JDC runs across Ukraine, normally serving some 65,000 elderly and impoverished Jews, to which 5,200 have been added since the war began. Most escaped with little more than the clothes on their backs,…

Such Jewish charities operate openly here, under a government that frequently describes all Ukrainians displaced by the fighting, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, as compatriots. Ukraine, far from being the anti-Semitic nation of Putinist fantasies, has given them refuge. As one of the Hesed clients told me: “Write in your paper, we people from Donetsk and Luhansk love our country. We are patriotic. We don’t want to leave Ukraine.”


July 25, 2015

Fox News on July 25, 2015 reported that Russia seeks to test the United States at every opportunity and divide the NATO alliance, posing the most significant long term threat to US national security, the head of the U.S. Special Operations Command, General Joseph Votel , told the Aspen Security Forum. Excerpts below:

“Russia is looking to challenge us wherever they can,” Votel told Fox News’ Catherine Herridge. “The intent is to create a situation where NATO can’t continue to thrive.”

He said Russia is using a “hybrid approach to warfare” where state and non-state actors are mixing military and non-military capabilities. The result is “a coercive effect…using information operations, using manipulation of media , using social media.”

Since January, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia – three traditional U.S. allies – have completed significant nuclear energy deals with Russia. Asked if this is evidence of Putin’s effort to further expand Russia’s reach, and the seeds of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, Votel replied it was proof of Moscow’s push to challenge the U.S. and expand its influence.

Asked about Al Qaeda, Votel said the terror group was diminished in east Africa, Syria and Yemen, but the lesson of the last decade is that the U.S. and its allies must maintain pressure or the groups will reinvent and reconstitute.

Votel also said ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appears to be preparing for his own death by setting up a chain of command to replace him.

The general, who oversees 69,000 members of the Special Operations Community, described the threat environment as complex and characterized by “hyperconnectivity,” with social media accelerating the threat.

One of his main objectives is is the so-called synchronization of the force, which includes geographically distinct combat commands.

“What we try to do is operate across those boundaries. Our adversaries certainly do – they don’t recognize any of that – so we have to be looking transregionally , across the boundaries, at these threats.”


July 21, 2015

Fox News on July 19, 2015, reported that the U.S.-led coalition dropped new leaflets over the de facto capital of the Islamic State group in Syria, promising those below that “freedom will come” to the region according to anti-Islamic groups. Excerpts below

The leaflets had drawings showing dead extremists and their flag turned upside down. Four fighters with the main Kurdish militia, the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, walked down a street in the picture, with two words in Arab below: “Freedom will come.”

The latest leaflet drop comes as YPG fighters have been advancing in northern Syria as close as 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Raqqa.

Coalition warplanes have dropped such leaflets in the past. One previous had a cartoon showing masked Islamic State extremists at a “hiring office” feeding people into a meat grinder.

The Islamic State group holds about a third of Syria and neighboring Iraq in its self-declared “caliphate.”


July 15, 2015

Wall Street Journal on July 14, 2015, published an article by Frederick Kagan who commented that the nuclear agreement with Iran announced on July 14 is an astoundingly good deal, far surpassing the hopes of anyone . . . in Tehran. It requires Iran to reduce the number of centrifuges enriching uranium by about half, to sell most of its current uranium stockpile or “downblend” it to lower levels of enrichment, and to accept inspections (whose precise nature is yet to be specified) by the International Atomic Energy Agency, something that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had wanted to avoid.

But the agreement also permits Iran to phase out the first-generation centrifuges on which it now relies and focus its research and development by exclusively using a number of advanced centrifuge models many times more efficient, which has been Tehran’s plan all along. The deal will also entirely end the United Nations’ involvement in Iran’s nuclear program in 10 years, and in 15 years will lift most restrictions on the program.

Even that, though, is not Tehran’s biggest win. The main achievement of the regime’s negotiators is striking a deal that commits the West to removing almost all sanctions on Iran, including most of those imposed to reduce terrorism or to prevent weapons proliferation.

Thus the agreement ensures that after a short delay Iran will be able to lay the groundwork for a large nuclear arsenal and, in the interim, expand its conventional military capabilities as much as the regime pleases. The supreme leader should be very proud of his team.

The agreement consists of 159 pages of opaque prose, and key sections are referred to but are not clearly marked. Even figuring out the timeline embodied in the deal is hard, but it appears to run about as follows:

“Adoption Day” is the next major milestone, coming either 90 days after the approval of the Security Council resolution or “at an earlier date by mutual consent.” If the Security Council moves smartly, Adoption Day could come in October…

Determining when “Implementation Day” happens is…difficult, since it depends on the completion of a series of negotiations between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency. The timeline for those negotiations, however, is spelled out in a separate document: Discussions are to be complete by Oct. 15, 2015, and the IAEA director general will submit a final report to his board of governors by Dec. 15.

Iran at this point will be rewarded. The European Union will end a large number sanctions; President Obama will issue waivers for a number of U.S. sanctions or rescind the executive orders that imposed them. Iranian banks will be allowed back into the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications system, or Swift, allowing Iran to reintegrate into the dollar economy and move money freely.

The agreement also specifies that the EU will lift sanctions against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps; the Quds Force and possibly its commander, Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani; and a large number of other individuals and entities sanctioned not simply for their roles in the nuclear program but for terrorism and human-rights abuses.

The survival of the international arms embargo against Iran, however, depends entirely on the U.N. Security Council resolution passed to implement this agreement.

A new resolution that simply terminates all of the previous sanctions would allow Russia and China to provide Iran with any military technology they choose. To preserve the embargo, the U.S. would need to add the appropriate language to the resolution that must be passed by the Security Council this summer. But that means getting agreement from the Russians, who have already said that the embargo should be ended immediately. The U.S. is not in a very strong position to engage the Russians on this point, since the Obama administration must get the resolution through the Security Council quickly or risk having the entire nuclear deal fall apart.

Experts will debate the value of the concessions Iran has made on the nuclear front, but the value to Iran of the concessions the U.S. has made on nonnuclear issues is immeasurable. It is hard to imagine any other circumstance under which Tehran could have hoped to get an international, U.N. Security Council-backed commitment to remove the Republican Guard and Quds Force from any sanctions list, or to have the fate of the arms embargo placed in the hands of Vladimir Putin.

It is still more remarkable that the agreement says nothing about Iran’s terrorist activities, human-rights violations or role in regional weapons proliferation…

Nor is there much mystery about what Iran will do with these concessions. Tehran has recently concluded an agreement giving Syria’s Bashar Assad a $1 billion line of credit. The Iranian regime has announced that it is preparing to take delivery of the Russian S-300 antiaircraft missile system. The supreme leader has released a five-year economic plan calling for a significant expansion of Iran’s ballistic-missile and cyberwar programs and an increase in Iran’s defense capabilities.

The Obama administration seems to be betting that lifting sanctions will cause Iran to moderate its behavior in both nuclear and nonnuclear matters. The rhetoric and actions of the regime’s leaders provide little evidence to support this notion and much evidence to the contrary. The likelihood is, therefore, that this agreement will lead to a significant expansion in the capabilities of the Iranian military, including the Republican Guard and the Quds Force. It comes just as Iran is straining to keep Bashar Assad in power, dominate the portions of Iraq not controlled by Islamic State and help the Houthis fight Saudi Arabia in Yemen. That makes it a very good deal for Iran.

Mr. Kagan is the director of the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute.


July 15, 2015

Wall Street Journal on July 14, 2015, reported that the nuclear deal signed Tuesday between Iran and global powers aims to make the world a safer place. But many in the Middle East fear the opposite will prove true.

Regional critics say the pact appears to reward Tehran for a series of interventions in conflicts that have ratcheted up sectarian tensions, from Syria to Iraq to Yemen. The conflicts have fueled perceptions in Sunni-dominant countries—and shared by rival Israel—that Shiite Iran is waging stealthy proxy wars to widen its role as a regional power broker and check Saudi Arabia’s influence.

Case in point, said Ahmed Ramadan, a Syrian opposition leader based in Istanbul, are the billions of dollars Iran has spent propping up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime since the start of that conflict more than four years ago.

“Iran’s hands are dripping with the blood of Syrians,” Mr. Ramadan said. “It will have to do a lot to wash this away.”

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the agreement an “historic mistake” and warned that lifting economic sanctions on Iran will give it “hundreds of billions of dollars” to boost support for allies in the Middle East that are also Israel’s enemies. He and other Israeli officials warned they would aggressively lobby against the deal.

Since 2011, when popular uprisings and then civil wars engulfed some Middle East countries, Iran has projected its military and political might to safeguard a sphere of influence spanning from Tehran to Beirut and from Baghdad and Damascus.

Its efforts, many say, have plunged the region into a full-fledged sectarian war between Iran and its Shiite allies against Sunni groups of all stripes. These people fear a rapprochement between Iran and the U. S.—absent any change in Tehran’s behavior in the region—will only add to Sunni grievances, which have increased since the U.S. invasion of Iraq more than a decade ago.

So while Turkey welcomed the nuclear deal, the country’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu hoped it would present an opportunity for Iran to change what he called its “sectarian-driven policies” in the region.

In Iraq, where Iran has played a pivotal role in supporting the country’s Shiite majority, many Sunnis worried the agreement would embolden Tehran further and complicate efforts to build more of a cross-sectarian consensus to battle Islamic State, which controls swaths of Iraq and Syria.

News of the deal comes one day after Iraq’s religiously and ethnically divided security forces announced an incursion into Anbar, the vast Sunni majority province that has long been seen as an incubator for Sunni extremism and resentment against the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad.

“We believe this nuclear deal will make Iran more stable and stronger and this will mean more negative interference in Iraq,” said Sadoun Sadeq al-Dulaimi, a tribal leader from Anbar.

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday cautiously welcomed the deal and said that it has always supported an agreement with Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons with strict verification measures and mechanisms to snap back sanctions if Iran violated it.

However, the kingdom has adopted a more assertive foreign policy since the new king ascended in January. Saudi Arabia has conducted a punishing air campaign against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are seen as allied with Iran.

“What Saudi Arabia is doing is standing up to Iranian influence, which is now decreasing in some regions,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said in Amman last week. “We are insisting that Iran doesn’t have a direct interference in the affairs of the Arab region.”

Throughout the talks and even during its final hours this week, Iran has assured Hezbollah that there will be no change in its support for the Lebanese political and militia group, said Mr. Obeid. Hezbollah’s chief Hassan Nasrallah affirmed that during a televised speech to his supporters in Beirut on Friday, saying Iran would never recognize Israel’s right to exist and would continue its support for allies like the Syrian regime and what he called “resistance movements” across the region including in the Palestinian territories.


July 10, 2015

Washington Times on July 8, 2015, reported Coast Guard Commandant Paul F. Zukunft saying that the U.S. is essentially ceding the Arctic’s emerging trade routes and natural resources to Russia. Excerpts below:

Warming temperatures have opened up the trade routes and access to natural resources, which Russia is taking advantage of with its increased military presences and 27 icebreakers. The U.S. has two icebreakers.

“We’re not even in the same league as Russia right now,” said Adm. Zukunft, who oversees 88,000 personnel, Newsweek reported. “We’re not playing in this game at all.”

The magazine reported that in addition to the resources Russia is sending to the Arctic, it also has filed claims with the U.N. to claim an additional 200 miles of land extending off its continental shelf. The claims will then be examined by U.N. scientists operating under a treaty called the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.


July 5, 2015

As early as 2008 Professor Peter Navarro in his book The Coming China Wars warned of the increasing use by China of asymmetrical warfare. The United States must refuse to tolerate Chinese ongoing “test attacks” on US military computer and satellite systems. A growing problem was China’s ability to acquire sensitive defense industry technologies. Such secrets are often acquirws through highly sophisticated industrial espionage programs. It is often “dual-use” technologies that are transferred by American companies. Professor Navarro then recommended that funds be increased for efforts to detect and prevent illicit technology transfers to China. Existing bans on technology transfer should be strongly enforced. All forced direct and indirect technology transfers in all trade agreements must be banned.

In 2013 then Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel at an international meeting in Singapore referred to the Chinese state and military entities that are stealing commercial secrets from American firms in cyberspace. In a speech to the Asia Society in New York in March 2013, outgoing national security adviser Thomas Donilon said that cyber espionage by state-based or state-funded entities is now at the “forefront” of American-Chinese relations. He added that “US businesses are increasingly speaking out about their serious concerns about sophisticated, targeted theft of confidential business information and proprietary technologies through cyber intrusions emanating from China on an unprecedented scale.” (John Lee in journal World Affairs, September/October 2013).

The report that year by respected cyber security firm The Mandiant estimated that there were more than twenty “advanced persistent threat” (APT) groups operating from China with the government’s support and funding. It designated one of these groups as APT1, describing it as “one of the most prolific cyber espionage groups in terms of sheer quantity of information stolen” and asserting that APT1 alone has stolen hundreds of data terabytes from at least one hundred and forty-one mostly private firms spread across twenty industries. Two of APT1’s four large networks are located in a PLA compound in Shanghai’s Pudong New Area. Given that the compound is host to the PLA’s Unit 61398, whose mission is to engage in “harmful computer operations,” including obtaining commercially valuable data from foreign enterprises, the report reasonably concludes that APT1 is virtually indistinguishable from Unit 61398. This unit reports to the PLA General Staff Department, which, in turn, reports directly to the Central Military Commission—the country’s top military decision-making body, chaired by President Xi himself. If the report is accurate, it can be safely assumed that China’s top civilian leaders in the Standing Committee of the Politburo are well aware of Unit 61398’s activities—and of APT1’s as well.

The Mandiant report concluded that the material stolen from US industry includes electronic data on product development and use, test results, system designs and product manuals, manufacturing procedures, business and strategy plans, negotiation and pricing strategies, and details of joint ventures and collaboration with other entities. Minutes of board and executive meetings and the e-mail content of senior employees have also been targeted.

Estimates by American industry and intelligence agencies put the value of the stolen data in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Washington’s National Counterintelligence Executive flatly stated in a November 2011 report that China is “building its economy” on “US technology, research, and development, and other sensitive forms of intellectual property.”

The Chinese leadership has persisted in its cyber espionage, despite these hazards, because it believes that these activities are essential to the innovation-based economy it sees as its national future. In its twelfth five-year plan (2011–15), the government committed itself to ensuring that the country’s massive state-owned enterprises (SOEs) would continue to dominate key sectors of its economy.

SOEs generate nearly eighty-three percent of the combined Chinese revenues and own more than ninety percent of combined assets of the country’s leading five hundred firms. Indeed, the three largest SOEs in China—Sinopec, PetroChina, and National Grid—make more profit than the combined profits of the five hundred largest private firms in the country, according to 2012 figures released by China’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission and the National Bureau of Statistics.

Yet although some giants such as Sinopec and China Mobile pile up enormous profits each year, as a whole China’s SOEs perform poorly even with their monopolistic advantages, gargantuan size, and the state support and leverage that accompanies it.

Stealing information from foreign firms, whether they are located inside China or on foreign soil, is certainly a cheaper and faster way to remedy innovation deficits than to do the hard work of indigenous development. Cyber espionage is necessary because China has become stuck between the rock of its lofty goals and the hard place of its modest achievement. Burdened by statism and the anti-competitive practices that breed its gnawing inefficiency, China’s state-owned enterprises cannot innovate at the level and pace that will produce self-sufficiency, much less global leader status. Its private sector, which might actually rock the cradle of innovation, is stifled by an unlevel playing field and stunted by the legal system’s failure to protect intellectual property rights and the judiciary’s refusal to robustly enforce contract law.

China’s “national champions” in the state-owned enterprises need to out-perform international commercial rivals to grow their revenues in domestic and foreign markets. Since they appear unable to do this on their own, they use data theft to win the game.

(the information above is from the article in World Affairs by John Lee. He is the Michael Hintze Fellow and an adjunct professor at the Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney and a nonresident scholar at the Hudson Institute).

BBC News in July 2015 reported that in June US officials said China was responsible for a major data breach of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The hacking of federal government computers could have compromised the records of four million employees.

Republican presidential candidates have commented on the recent OPM cyber hack to attack concluding that the Obama administration has failed to protect the United States against Chinese stealing of secrets.

Marco Rubio and Rick Perry have called for the US to threaten sanctions against organizations linked to hacking, while Mike Huckabee has argued that the US should “hack China back”.

The hack against the OPM is not the first time that China is suspected of beeing behind a cyber attack against the US.

An earlier attempt to breach OPM networks was blocked in March 2014, with the US saying China was behind the attack.

In November 2014 a hack compromised files belonging to 25,000 employees of the Department of Homeland Security, as well as thousands of other federal workers

In March 2014 hackers breached OPM networks, targeting government staff with security clearance, but the attempt was blocked before any data was stolen. The intrusion was reportedly traced to China

In 2006, hackers believed to be based in China breached the system of a sensitive bureau in the US Department of Commerce. Hundreds of workstations had to be replaced


July 3, 2015

US Professor J Michael Waller recently visited Lithuania and was interviewed on his views on psychological and political warfare. An interview with Mr Waller was published on May 12, 2015, by the blog toinformistoinfluence. Excerpts below:

Lithuania has a potential to irritate Russia if it moves from defense to offense, information warfare specialist J. Michael Waller, says and provides several examples of how Russian diplomats could be enraged.

As a non-permanent UN Security Council member Lithuania could initiate resolutions on the human rights situation in Russia, the right of nations to self-determination, ecological security and other matters.

While Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council and has veto power, it will be forced to defend itself. That means less time to attack Ukraine, Lithuania and the United States.

Every time Russia has to veto a resolution, attention is drawn to her problems, says J. Michael Waller.

It is possible to provoke Russia to veto resolutions on human rights, security and the right to self-determination. Russia can be forced to defend itself, knowing that they will veto every critical resolution. Thus it would be deprived of their right of initiative and look bad at no cost.

An example could be to focus on the ecological safety of Lake Baikal. A Security Council resolution could bring up the ecological security of the Lake Baikal, as Moscow threatens to devastate the lake. The Buryat people living in the region want to preserve Lake Baikal, because it is their home.

This can bring up the question of self-determination of the Buryats in the United Nations. It can be supported by the Mongols and others. You might lose the vote, but it is not that is important. The most important thing is to win the diplomatic debate by forcing the world to pay attention, according to Professor Waller.

Most irritating to Russia would be if it was left isolated. That would require countries to bring together a broader coalition. For example, the question of the Karelian national minority rights in Russia could be brought up, possibly with the support of Finland. Turkey and Muslim countries are likely to support a resolution on the situation of the Crimean Tatars.

Mr Waller admits that the political landscape in Europe is changing. Strong supporters like Poland’s Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski is at present focusing on internal politics. Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt is out of office. But there are allies outside the political parties.

It might be possible to work with Sikorski’s wife Anne Applebaum, who is a well known journalist and writer.

The question the status of Kaliningrad enclave could be another question of interest.

Before World War II the Kaliningrad region did not exist. It was part of German East Prussia with Koenigsberg, which was renamed Kalinigrad. At the end of the war the Soviets had occupied East Prussia.

At the Yalta Conference the Kaliningrad region was given to to the Soviets. This decision is however not based on any legal document.

The Kaliningrad issue was brought up at the Potsdam Conference in 1945. The Soviet interest in Kaliningrad was mainly that the Soviet Union had no ice-free ports in the area. At the Potsdam Conference the Allies agreed in principle to the Soviet demands, but it was decided that a final decision would be made at a future peace conference. However, the Soviets did not wait and incorporated the area long before the peace conference. The Cold War began and no peace treaty was peace signed.

J. M. Waller says that the West might call into question the legal status of Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave, because according to international law it remains unclear.

Speaking about Russia Waller stressed that, like the Soviet Union, Russia is a heterogeneous country. There are many ethnolinguistic groups. Their situation could be brought up in the international arena.

Karelia is complaining about intensified Russification.This is what we should do. We should support these people. Also the Crimean Tatars. We need to give them the opportunity to speak, to strengthen their position by showing that their claims for ancestral lands are legal. We should help the Central Asian tribes – Buryats, Yakuts – to seek sovereignty or even independence.

J. M. Waller says this would be a major threat to Moscow’s centralism. According to him, similar to the movements contribute and Russians who are unhappy with the Kremlin’s policy in selected areas of the governor, mayors.

“Ordinary Russians in the regions also have no voice in deciding their own destiny. This is dictated by Moscow, which means that much is taken, but nothing is given back.

When asked if he was not afraid that his words could be used by the Russian press as proof that Washington seeks Russian destabilization, Professor Waller said: this is not intended to weaken Russia, but the power of the Chekists, embodied by Vladimir Putin.

“At the end of the Cold War we we supported the Russian Federation, we supported its secession from the Soviet Union, we supported a strong Russia, which is not based on military force, but on market economy and democratic values. The Russian leaders betrayed this idea. The United States provided billions of economic assistance to Russia, and Putin benefited from it. The Americans and Europeans contributed to support the transition of Soviet Russia to a market economy, but people like Putin and his friends have stolen the money and abandoned democracy. Of course, we do not want to weaken Russia, we want to weaken the Chekists, who now own the Kremlin “, says Mr Waller.

Professor J. Michael Waller is an expert on public diplomacy and political warfare. He is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Policy.

Dr. Waller has been a journalist and investigative writer on national security affairs, including intelligence, counterintelligence, and counterterrorism-related issues. His articles have been published in a variety of academic and professional journals, as well as Reader’s Digest, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He is a frequent commentator on the BBC, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, NPR and the Voice of America.

He has researched and written about the political and psychological dimensions of terrorism, insurgency and counterinsurgency since 1983. His coverage of military affairs ranges from the guerrilla wars of Central America and Colombia to the Strategic Air Command. He was on the scene at the Kremlin in the hours before the Soviet Union was abolished, and at the Russian parliament building during the 1993 coup attempt.

He is author of several books on security, terrorism and political warfare, including Third Current of Revolution: Inside the North American Front of El Salvador’s Guerrilla War (University Press of America, 1991), Secret Empire: The KGB In Russia Today (Westview, 1994), and Fighting the War of Ideas like a Real War (Institute of World Politics Press, 2007); co-author of Dismantling Tyranny: Transitioning Beyond Totalitarian Regimes (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), editor of the Public Diplomacy Reader (IWP Press, 2007) and editor of Strategic Influence: Public Diplomacy, Counterpropaganda and Political Warfare (IWP Press, 2008).

He has been a practitioner in the areas in which he has written. In the 1980s he infiltrated and disrupted Soviet international front organizations in the U.S. and Europe, wrote what is considered the definitive work on the politico-psychological support networks for the FMLN insurgency in El Salvador, and advised the Salvadoran army on the FMLN’s international political warfare strategy and its role on ground combat operations. On contracts with the U.S. government in Honduras, he trained 88 commanders and sub-commanders of the Nicaraguan Resistance Army in political warfare and political communication. He also worked in support of Afghan Northern Alliance resistance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud in his war against the Soviets in the 1980s.

In the 1990s Waller worked on U.S. contracts to design and implement political warfare attacks on the Soviet and Russian intelligence services. Since 2001 he has worked on the political, financial, psychological and related networks of Islamist extremists in the U.S. and abroad under private sponsorship, and developed strategies and tactics to employ against them in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In 2006 FBI Director Robert Mueller presented Dr. Waller with a citation for “exceptional service in the public interest.”

Dr. Waller served on the staff of the United States Senate, and as a consultant to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Department of State, the Agency for International Development, the U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, the US Army, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and other agencies.

He is a regular lecturer on information operations, PSYOP, public diplomacy, propaganda and political warfare for the National Defense University and the National Intelligence University.

He holds a Ph.D. in international security affairs from Boston University, where in 1993 he won the University Professors Award for Best Dissertation. Dr. Waller earned his M.A. in International Relations and Communication in 1989, as a John M. Olin Fellow at Boston University’s Center for Defense Journalism, graduating first in his class. He received a B.A. in international relations from the George Washington University in 1985, where he graduated first in his class as a member of Phi Beta Kappa.