INTEL TODAY DIARY — July 6 2017

North Korea new missile test: A game-changer? — Investigators explore if Russia colluded with pro-Trump sites during US election — US: Army Issues New Counter-WMD Doctrine — EXCLUSIVE: Documents expose how Hollywood promotes war on behalf of the Pentagon, CIA and NSA

North Korea new missile test: A game-changer? — BBC

North Korea’s confident announcement that it has successfully launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of striking the US is another iteration in the high stakes game of international poker that Pyongyang appears to excel at.

Carefully timed to coincide with the 4 July holidays in the US, Kim Jong-un’s triumphal blast has simultaneously allowed the North Korean authoritarian leader to make good on his promises of military modernisation to his own people while exposing the hollow overconfident tweets of President Donald Trump that an ICBM launch “won’t happen”.

The launch of the North’s Hwasong-14 rocket is in practical terms merely an incremental step forward from an earlier launch in May, when a similar rocket flew for 30 minutes, to a height of some 1,312 miles (2,111km) over a distance of some 489 miles.

The most recent missile added seven to nine minutes of flight time, an extra 400 miles or so in height and a further 88 miles in overall distance. (…)

Right now, Washington (for the sake of the region and the wider world) urgently needs a long-term, sustained and calibrated strategy for dealing with the North that is more than a reactive game of eye-ball to eye-ball posturing.

An impulsive, attention deficient and hyper-active President Trump would be better advised to switch from playing poker to chess.

Investigators explore if Russia colluded with pro-Trump sites during US election — Guardian

The spread of Russian-made fake news stories aimed at discrediting Hillary Clinton on social media is emerging as an important line of inquiry in multiple investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

Investigators are looking into whether Trump supporters and far-right websites coordinated with Moscow over the release of fake news, including stories implicating Clinton in murder or paedophilia, or paid to boost those stories on Facebook.

The head of the Trump digital camp, Brad Parscale, has reportedly been summoned to appear before the House intelligence committee looking into Moscow’s interference in the 2016 US election. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee carrying out a parallel inquiry, has said that at least 1,000 “paid internet trolls working out of a facility in Russia” were pumping anti-Clinton fake news into social media sites during the campaign.

Warner said there was evidence that this campaign appeared to be focused on key voters in swing states, raising the question over whether there was coordination with US political operatives in directing the flow of bogus stories.

Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed by the justice department to oversee the investigation into the Russian role in the election, is thought to be looking into all these issues, as well as possible links between Russian fake news factories and far-right sites in the US.

It is a wide-ranging investigation that is examining the unusually large number of contacts between Trump associates and Russian officials during the campaign, as well as the possibility that the Kremlin has personal or financial leverage over members in the Trump camp, including the president himself according to his own remarks on Twitter.

US: Army Issues New Counter-WMD Doctrine — Secrecy News

Countering weapons of mass destruction is “an enduring mission of the U.S. Armed forces,” the US Army said last week in a new doctrinal publication.

Counter-WMD operations are defined as actions taken “against actors of concern to curtail the research, development, possession, proliferation, use, and effects of WMD, related expertise, materials, technologies, and means of delivery.”

The Army document does not refer to any specific countries such as North Korea.

Instead, it says generally that “Conventional forces and SOF [special operations forces] capabilities may be necessary to stop the movement of CBRN materials, WMD components and means of delivery, WMD-related personnel, or functional weapons into or out of specified areas or nations. Such actions may require boarding vessels and using search and detection capabilities to secure and seize shipments.”

Counter-WMD activities are directed not only at the weapons themselves but at the networks that produce, sponsor, fund and utilize them.

“Interacting with and engaging networks requires the use of lethal and nonlethal means to support, influence, or neutralize network members, cells, or an entire network. As part of this effort, commanders select, prioritize, and match effective means of interacting with friendly networks, influencing the neutral network, and neutralizing threat networks,” the new Army publication said.

Documents expose how Hollywood promotes war on behalf of the Pentagon, CIA and NSA — Medium.com

US military intelligence agencies have influenced over 1,800 movies and TV shows.

The previous best estimate, in a dry academic book way back in 2005, was that the Pentagon had worked on less than 600 films and an unspecified handful of television shows.

The CIA’s role was assumed to be just a dozen or so productions, until very good books by Tricia Jenkins and Simon Willmetts were published in 2016. But even then, they missed or underplayed important cases, including Charlie Wilson’s War and Meet the Parents. (…)

Alongside the massive scale of these operations, our new book National Security Cinema details how US government involvement also includes script rewrites on some of the biggest and most popular films, including James Bond, the Transformers franchise, and movies from the Marvel and DC cinematic universes.

A similar influence is exerted over military-supported TV, which ranges from Hawaii Five-O to America’s Got Talent, Oprah and Jay Leno to Cupcake Wars, along with numerous documentaries by PBS, the History Channel and the BBC.

National Security Cinema also reveals how dozens of films and TV shows have been supported and influenced by the CIA, including the James Bond adventure Thunderball, the Tom Clancy thriller Patriot Games and more recent films, including Meet the Parents and Salt.

The CIA even helped to make an episode of Top Chef that was hosted at Langley, featuring then-CIA director Leon Panetta who was shown as having to skip dessert to attend to vital business. Was this scene real, or was it a dramatic statement for the cameras? (…)

In all, we are looking at a vast, militarised propaganda apparatus operating throughout the screen entertainment industry in the United States.

It is not quite an official censor, since decisions on scripts are made voluntarily by producers, but it represents a major and scarcely acknowledged pressure on the kind of narratives and images we see on the big and small screens.

In societies already eager to use our hard power overseas, the shaping of our popular culture to promote a pro-war mindset must be taken seriously.

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INTEL TODAY DIARY — July 6 2017

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