On November 8 and 9 a meeting of NATO Ministers of Defence was held in Brussels, Belgium. At the meeting Ministers approved the outline design for an adapted NATO Command Structure and officially launched the expansion of NATO’s cyber warfare program and the inclusion of cyber attacks in the collective defence provisions of the Alliance’s Article 5.
The stated aim of the new commands is to “improve the movement of troops across the Atlantic, and within Europe.”
Emphasis was placed on member nations’ submission of their infrastructure planning and procurement to move troops and military equipment rapidly, including across the national boundaries of its members and partners. Although presented as being for purposes of defence it clearly shows that NATO is preparing to move its troops and equipment against those it declares enemies. The meeting presented as vital the need to update military requirements for civilian infrastructure, such as roads, railways and airports. This means there will be more demands that the national governments of NATO member and candidate member states submit civilian infrastructure, both existing and planned, to NATO Command. It adds that not only governments but the private sector and the European Union “have key roles to play.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said during a press conference following the meeting that since 2014, “we have made good progress in improving national legislation, removing many bureaucratic hurdles to allow us to move forces across Allied territory. But much more needs to be done. We need to ensure that national legislation facilitating border crossing is fully implemented. We need enough transport capacity at our disposal, which largely comes from the private sector. And we need to improve infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, railways, runways and ports. So NATO is now updating the military requirements for civilian infrastructure.”
He later explained that NATO is going to be dictating changes to the laws of member states to serve rapid deployment for war: “It’s about legislation, and of course it’s about making sure that NATO allies implement those standards and those requirements. We formulate the requirements and the standards, but of course it’s nations that have to implement them when they invest in infrastructure, when they make arrangements with, for instance, private providers of transportation.” This raises the possibility that NATO will demand private transport monopolies, for example in rail, come under its military control for purposes of moving NATO equipment and troops. If and when workers act to oppose the deployment of foreign troops in their countries they will be labelled as foreign agents or worse. It raises concerns for Canada specifically as the U.S. considers Canada a transit point for deployment of its forces to Europe. It may be that in building new transport corridors standards will be imposed to ensure that roads, bridges and the like are capable of carrying U.S. military equipment for deployment for war in Europe.
A new NATO Command for the Atlantic Ocean is being established “to ensure that sea lines of communication between Europe and North America remain free and secure.” What this means was not specified but this likely refers to NATO stepping up its control over internet infrastructure, much of which crosses the Atlantic in undersea cables.
A new Command is also being established to “improve the movement of military forces across Europe […] and to strengthen the logistical function across the NATO Command Structure.”
As well, a new Cyber Operations Centre is being established to lead NATO’s cyber war activities and to integrate the cyber war activities of its member states and their police and spy agencies into NATO missions and operations. Of serious concern is that it is reported that the meeting officially established “cyber” as a military domain and that cyber attacks can trigger NATO’s Collective Defense provision Article 5. This would mean that an alleged cyber attack against any member will be considered an act of war against all NATO members, requiring they then respond under NATO, meaning U.S., command.
Attempting to justify this NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg said, “We must be just as effective in the cyber domain as we are on land, at sea and in the air, with real-time understanding of the threats we face and the ability to respond however and whenever we choose.”
“We also agreed that we will be able to integrate Allies’ national cyber capabilities into NATO missions and operations, while nations maintain full ownership of those capabilities, just as Allies own the tanks, the ships and aircraft in NATO missions.”
In response to a question about whether NATO cyber attacks are considered less harmful than bombs, Stoltenberg made it clear that cyber would be a weapon of NATO, part of its arsenal of weapons to be used against the peoples of the world. “Using cyber capabilities may be a more proportionate response and that’s the reason why I welcome that we are now integrating national cyber capabilities into NATO missions and operations and that we have agreed the principles of doing that,” he said.
Covering up that member spy and cyber agencies are being centralized under NATO command to wage war, he said “regardless of whether we speak about a plane or a tank or a cyber capability, the use of these capabilities is going to be in accordance with international law and it’s going to be part of the defensive posture of NATO.”
Increase of Troops in Afghanistan
NATO Ministers also agreed to increase the size of NATO’s Resolute Support training mission in Afghanistan from around 13,000 to roughly 16,000 personnel. Calling it a training and advising mission covers up the fact that approximately 3,000 more foreign troops are being deployed to Afghanistan in order to suppress its people and impose U.S. imperialist interests there. This spells grave danger for the peoples of Afghanistan and Asia in general. Afghanistan shares a border with China and China cannot be expected to ignore 3,000 foreign troops being deployed to a country on its border. This itself shows the dangers which are being created for the cause of peace by NATO.
Canada’s Deliberate Obfuscation of Serious Developments
A statement from Canada’s Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan provides no overview or explanation of the serious developments announced at the meeting so that Canadians can draw warranted conclusions. The Trudeau government is keenly aware that Canadians do not know the extent to which Canada’s armed forces, police and spy agencies and its national territory are being integrated into U.S. and NATO military command and that if they did would say No! The government’s Ministers present everything in the most vague terms with phrases about peace and defence so that no one gets a sense of the dangerous activities in which Canada is being embroiled.
“Standing shoulder to shoulder with our NATO and Coalition Allies, Canada will continue to put forward our expertise and leadership in pursuit of global peace and security. Through international engagements like NATO and the Coalition, Canada continues to demonstrate that we are both committed and capable when it comes to helping build a more peaceful and prosperous world.” Statements like this hide that under the Trudeau government Canada is being made a weapon of war more easily-wielded by the U.S. and NATO.
Following the NATO meetings, Sajjan participated in the Large Group Defeat-ISIS Defence Ministerial chaired by U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, in which Canada no doubt received new marching orders for the role it is to play in the Middle East. Sajjan also co-hosted, with his Latvian counterpart, a meeting of the nations whose troops come under Canadian-led NATO command in its eFP Battle Group in Latvia. They discussed coordination of the Battle Group’s activities and related matters.” Sajjan also participated in a meeting of the five principal nations currently overseeing Ukraine’s neo-Nazi infested defence and security forces – Canada, Lithuania, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
NATO’s Cyber Warfare Harbinger of Grave Dangers
Starting November 28, NATO held three days of cyber war exercises based out of its Cyber Range in Estonia. Considered by NATO its “biggest and most important cyber defence exercise” the training placed more than 700 participants from 25 Allies, as well as NATO partner countries, the European Union, industry and academia under NATO command. The exercise was managed from the Cyber Range but the majority of participants took part remotely from their own “workplaces.”
According to NATO, the “Cyber Coalition tests and trains cyber defenders from across the Alliance in their ability to defend NATO and national networks. From defence against malware, through tackling hybrid challenges involving social media, to attacks on mobile devices, the exercise has a challenging, realistic scenario that helps prepare our cyber defenders for real-life cyber challenges. The training includes testing of operational and legal procedures, exchange of information and work with industry and partners.”
The reference to “hybrid challenges involving social media” shows how NATO is in fact using social media as a weapon just as it claims those it declares its rivals are. This is not new, however it comes at a time that governments around the world are strengthening the state’s powers to criminalize and disinform their own citizens and the citizens of other countries using social media, all the while claiming that this is in response to its use by others. Why NATO is being given a role to police social media is an important question which the Trudeau government seems keen to avoid addressing in its discourse about the need to prepare Canada for possible cyber attacks especially during elections.
Estonian Defence Forces spokespeople in Tallinn, where the NATO base is located, are quoted by Baltic News Service as saying the aim is “to test the ability of allied states and partner countries to withstand various cyber attacks and rehearse cooperation between cyber experts on both national and international levels.
Lt. Col. Andres Kuusk, commanding officer of the exercise said, “The training exercise will definitely be rendered very realistic by the fact that all the member and partner states will be solving these tasks at home.”
In addition to the Estonian military, other Estonian participants included “the Information System Authority (RIA), the cyber defence unit of the volunteer Estonian Defence League, the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence and other institutions of the Estonian state.
Attempts to Hide NATO’s Aggressive Role with Talk About Russian Threat
Although it is unclear to what extent Canada is involved in these exercises, there has been a stepped up push to create fear of Russian hacking in Canada so as to justify expansion of NATO’s police powers in Canada.
Estonia’s Defence Minister Jüri Luik, in an interview with CBC while in Canada for the Halifax International Security Forum, stated, “In some ways, every country is a neighbour of Russia because [a] cyber [threat] recognizes no borders, so you might also say that Canada is a neighbour of Russia.
“There’s no doubt at the moment that we’re dealing with a Russian government who has a very aggressive approach towards the West. It’s not only the Baltic states, but really, if you look at what’s happening in other countries, in big allied countries, interference in elections, in various referenda, I mean, this is a very aggressive hybrid approach towards the West at large.”
NATO is expanding its control over the military, espionage, police and civilian institutions of its members and candidate members in the name of preventing Russian cyber-attacks. It is well known that the U.S. spy agencies along with Canada’s Communications Security Establishment, who are part of the Five-Eyes spy network, have been caught hacking cell phones of foreign leaders for corporate espionage. Fomenting fear of Russian hacking is to hide U.S., Canadian and NATO cyber attacks on politicians and their own citizens and everyone else. It is also to hide the serious violations of national sovereignty being facilitated by the likes of the Trudeau government in the service of supranational institutions of imperialist war, aggression and assassination. Canadians will not accept NATO taking control of political discourse via social media or any other medium in Canada no matter what the fraudulent excuse. It must not pass!
TML Weekly, December 2, 2017 – No. 39