Russian warships Arrive in Cuba, Complete with Hypersonic Missiles

Meanwhile, our Commander in Chief has left the United States for a G7 Summit in Italy.

Cuban armed forces said in a statement Thursday, confirming the military exercises first disclosed by U.S. officials on Wednesday.

The Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces said the Russian missile frigate Admiral Gorshkov, the nuclear sub Kazan, the oil tanker Pashin and the salvage tug Nikolai Chiker are included.

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(exact text from USNI)

THE PENTAGON – A nuclear Russian submarine carrying guided missiles with a range of 1,000 nautical miles is operating off the East Coast as part of Russian missile drills in the Atlantic.
Kazan, a Yasen-M-class guided missile submarine, is part of a naval action group the Russian Ministry of Defense deployed to the Atlantic. The group is bound for the Caribbean as part of military drills ordered by the Kremlin against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, according to the MoD.

On Tuesday, Kazan and the advanced guided-missile frigate Admiral Gorshkov tested anti-ship missiles in the Atlantic at targets with a range of more than 350 miles before resuming its transit to a previously scheduled port visit to Havana on Wednesday, the Russian MoD said in a statement.

Ship spotters are tracking the Russian action group off the coast. The group was operating just east of the Florida Keys as of Tuesday afternoon and is under surveillance by at least three U.S. guided-missile destroyers and a P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine aircraft, according to public flight and ship tracking data.

A Navy spokesperson referred USNI News to the Office of the Secretary of Defense when asked about the U.S. warships. A Pentagon spokesperson would not confirm the details, but provided a Monday statement about the Russian exercises.

“Russia will conduct heightened naval and air activity near the United States. These actions will likely culminate in a global Russian naval exercise this fall. We are expecting that Russia will temporarily send combat naval vessels to the Caribbean region and these ships will likely conduct port calls in Cuba and possibly Venezuela,” reads a statement from OSD.
“There may also be some aircraft deployments or flights in the region. Russia’s deployments are part of routine naval activity and we are not concerned by Russia’s deployments, which pose no direct threat to the United States. “

While Russian ships operating in the Caribbean is not new, the submarine and the frigate are among the most advanced Russian warships and their presence is the largest visit of Russian Navy ships to the region in years. For example, last year the training ship Perekop sailed to Havana.

The modern Kazan and Gorshkov both field a variety of anti-ship and land attack weapons. While it’s unclear what weapons the two ships used during the Tuesday test fire, they both can field the 1,000-mile range 3M-54 Kalibir NK land attack cruise missile, the P-800 Oniks anti-ship missile and the 3M-22 Zircon hypersonic anti-ship cruise missiles.

According to a report in RUSIKazan could field up to 32 P-800s, 40 Kalibirs and an unknown number of Zircons.

The Kalibir, modeled on the U.S. Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles, is a key weapon for the Yasen submarines.

The silent operation and weapon load out of the 13,800-ton submarines are reasons U.S. officials have used to describe the boats as some of the most capable in the world.

For the Yasens, “long-range strike missions appear to … a primary task. This will likely necessitate a change in how NATO manages the anti-submarine warfare challenge in the High North, given that a strategy of barrier defense at the Greenland–Iceland–U.K. gap may actually do little to impact Russian submarines, which may have little need to traverse this barrier in order to achieve their operational ends,” according to RUSI.

Last year, then-commander of U.S. Northern Command Gen. Glen VanHerck said the deployment of cruise-missile submarines off the coast of the U.S. is increasing and is a growing concern for homeland defense.

“[The risk is] absolutely increasing. Within the last year, Russia has also placed their [Yasens] in the Pacific,” he said.
“Now not only the Atlantic, but we also have them in the Pacific and it’s just a matter of time – probably a year or two – before that’s a persistent threat, 24 hours a day. … That impact has reduced decision space for a national senior leader in a time of crisis.”

8 ISIS-K Arrested in 3 Cities After Crossing the Southern Border

In part from USA Today, hardly tells the whole story about this case.

WASHINGTON ― U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in recent days arrested eight foreign nationals in the U.S. suspected to have ties with the terrorist group ISIS, a U.S. official familiar with the investigation confirmed.

The eight individuals were detained on immigration charges from New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Each is from Tajikistan and entered the U.S. at the southern Mexico border, the official said. They remain in U.S. custody.

The official said no derogatory information was detected about the individuals during their initial screening at the border but the U.S. later learned information that tied them to ISIS. They don’t currently face any terrorism charges. More here. 

A deeper dive:

The FBI had been tracking these operatives for several weeks, long before the most recent fake Biden Executive Order on the southern border. Obviously the White House ignored not only the case and intelligence but continues to ignore the warnings put forward by FBI Director Christopher Wray in several congressional hearings.

Bill Melugin
@BillMelugin_
BREAKING: Per federal source familiar, ICE, in conjunction w/ the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, arrested 8 Tajikistan nationals w/ suspected ISIS ties in NYC, LA, and Philly in recent days. I’m told all 8 crossed the southern border illegally, received “full vetting”, and had no initial derogatory information that flagged. I’m told derogatory info/potential national security concerns flagged later on – apparently after release into the US. Source was unable to say when and where they crossed illegally into the US. All are now in ICE custody pending removal proceedings and an active federal investigation. This was initially scooped by

& New York Post, who report at least one of the individuals was caught on a FBI wiretap talking about bombs. FBI/DHS joint statement to

“Over the last few days, ICE agents arrested several non-citizens pursuant to immigration authorities. The actions were carried out in close coordination with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces. The individuals arrested are detained in ICE custody pending removal proceedings. As the FBI and DHS have recently described in public and partner bulletins, the U.S. has been in a heightened threat environment. The FBI and DHS will continue working around the clock with our partners to identify, investigate, and disrupt potential threats to national security. ”

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In part from CBS:The official noted that it is very difficult for the U.S. to deport migrants to Tajikistan due to both operational and diplomatic reasons. In fiscal year 2023, ICE deported only 4 migrants to that Central Asian country, according to agency data.

The arrests were carried out in close coordination with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security said in a statement, adding that the individuals who were arrested are in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.

“As the FBI and DHS have recently described in public and partner bulletins, the U.S. has been in a heightened threat environment,” the statement went on to say. “The FBI and DHS will continue working around the clock with our partners to identify, investigate, and disrupt potential threats to national security.”

*** Per UPI:

“Now increasingly concerning is the potential for a coordinated attack here in the homeland, akin to the ISIS-K attack we saw at the Russia Concert Hall,” Wray testified in April.

“As the FBI and DHS have recently described in public and partner bulletins, the United States has been in a heightened threat environment,” according to Tuesday’s statement on the arrests.

“The FBI and DHS will continue working around the clock with our partners to identify, investigate and disrupt potential threats to national security.”

According to the National Counterterrorism Center, IS-K is among the deadliest branches of ISIS, conducting attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as in Iran, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan while seeking to conduct similar operations in the United States and Europe.

It was sanctioned by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization in 2016.

Actor George Clooney’s Wife Plays Key Role in ICC Arrest Warrants for Netanyahu

Imagine having to defend your country for years against terrorists and using every humanitarian tactic seen and unseen and then have the International Criminal Court issue an arrest warrant for doing just that. Imagine how many other leaders have never been investigated or have an arrest warrant…those like Bashir al Assad, President of Syria to killing innocent civilians with bombings and even chemical weapons. Imagine purposely starving and jailing dissenters and never having an arrest warrant…how about allowing children that are classified as migrants being sold or turned over to known sexual predators or being housed as slaves to work off the debt to human traffickers…..

Yes, all that and more…yet Amal Clooney says it goes something like this –> Oh and she for sure along with George is a globalist…

“There is no doubt that the step taken today by the prosecutor is a milestone in the history of international criminal law,” the group added. “There is no conflict that should be excluded from the reach of the law; no child’s life valued less than another’s. The law we apply is humanity’s law, not the law of any given side. It must protect all the victims of this conflict; and all civilians in conflicts to come.” source

Don’t kid yourself, this is part of the Biden administration’s ploy for a regime change in Israel…

The court’s prosecutor, Karim Khan, accused Netanyahu, Gallant, and three Hamas leaders — Yehya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh — of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders condemned the move as disgraceful and antisemitic. U.S. President Joe Biden also lambasted the prosecutor and supported Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas. source

Amal Clooney launches her own award in partnership with Prince's Trust ...

Per the Daily Mail in part:

Amal Clooney played a key role in the International Criminal Court’s decision to issue arrest warrants for Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas’ leader Yahya Sinwar over alleged war crimes, it has been revealed.

Clooney, a renowned human rights lawyer, was named as one of the six legal experts who helped British prosecutor Karim Khan come to the decision, announced today, to seek warrants for Netanyahu, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as three Hamas leaders.

Clooney, who is married to Hollywood legend George Clooney, revealed that she had been asked to help Khan evaluate the evidence of alleged war crimes in Gaza and Israel four months ago.

She added in a statement on her foundation’s website: ‘As a human rights lawyer, I will never accept that one child’s life has less value than another’s. I do not accept that any conflict should be beyond the reach of the law, nor that any perpetrator should be above the law.’

An Israeli official slammed the ICC’s move as a ‘baseless blood libel’ against the country, while senior figures including President Isaac Herzog called the move ‘outragious,’ saying it ‘cannot be accepted by anyone’.

‘[The] ICC prosecutor’s baseless blood libel against Israel has crossed a red line in his lawfare efforts against the lone Jewish state and the only democracy in the Middle East,’ the official said, according to the Financial Times.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday denounced as ‘shameful’ a bid by the International Criminal Court prosecutor to arrest Israeli leaders, rejecting the court’s authority and saying the move put ceasefire efforts at risk.

‘We reject the prosecutor’s equivalence of Israel with Hamas. It is shameful,’ Blinken said in a statement.

A spokesperson for British prime minister Rishi Sunak said: ‘This action is not helpful in relation to reaching a pause in the fighting, getting hostages out or getting humanitarian aid in.’

‘We fully respect the independence of the ICC,’ Austrian chancellor Karl Nehammer said. ‘The fact however that the leader of the terrorist organisation Hamas whose declared goal is the extinction of the State of Israel is being mentioned at the same time as the democratically elected representatives of that very State is non-comprehensible.’

Read the full article here from the Daily Mail for total context.

More about Amal: She has held various appointments with the Government of the United Kingdom and the United Nations, and is also an adjunct law professor at Columbia Law School. In 2016, she and her husband, the American actor George Clooney, co-founded the Clooney Foundation for Justice. Originally from Lebanon, her father is Druze and her mother is Sunni. She enrolled at the New York University School of Law (NYU Law) to study for an LLM degree. She received the Jack J. Katz Memorial Award for excellence in entertainment law. While at the university, she worked for one semester in the office of American lawyer and jurist Sonia Sotomayor, who was then a judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and an NYU Law faculty member. Since 2015, Amal has been a visiting faculty member as well as a senior fellow at Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute, where she co-teaches the Human Rights Course with Professor Sarah H. Cleveland.

Obama’s Radical Relationships are Cloned in the Biden Admin

Does President Obama’s radical past tell us anything significant about his stance on Israel today? Perhaps more important, do the radical alliances of Obama’s Chicago days raise a warning flag about what the president’s position on Israel may be in 2013, should he safely secure reelection? Many will deny it, but I believe Obama’s radical history speaks volumes about the past, present, and likely future course of his policy on Israel.

The Los Angeles Times has long refused to release a videotape in its possession of a farewell dinner, attended by Obama, for scholar and Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi. Obama spoke warmly of his friendship for Khalidi at that event. Unfortunately, the continuing mystery of that video tape has obscured the rather remarkable article that the LA Times did publish about the dinner — and about Obama’s broader views on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. In light of the controversy over Obama’s remarks on Israel in his address yesterday on the Middle East, it is worth revisiting that 2008 article from the LA Times. More here from 2011

***Biden’s NSC Intel Director, Maher Bitar, Is a Former Radical Pro-Palestinian Activst

Meet Maher Bitar and as found on Wikipedia:

Bitar worked at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Malaysia and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Jerusalem.[2]

Obama Administration

During the Obama Administration, Bitar worked at the National Security Council (NSC) as Director for Israel and Palestinian Affairs, and was an deputy to Samantha Power during her tenure at the NSC.[6] From 2011 to 2016, Bitar worked as a foreign affairs officer at the Department of State.[7] At the State Department, Bihar developed a close relationship with Jake Sullivan.[6]

In 2017, Bitar joined the House Intelligence Committee as general counsel for the Democrats, where he played a role in the first impeachment of Donald Trump.[6] He was also legal counsel to U.S. Representative Adam Schiff.[8]

Biden Administration

At the beginning of the Biden Administration in January 2021, Bitar was appointed Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Intelligence Programs at the NSC, succeeding Michael Ellis.[9][6] His appointment was praised by Rob Malley and Ziad Asali of the pro-Palestinian group American Task Force on Palestine.[5]

In January 2024, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan moved Bitar into a new role at the NSC as Deputy Assistant to the President and coordinator for intelligence and defense policy.[10][11]

***

It gets more interesting…

Caroline Glick noted that Bitar’s master’s thesis at Oxford University was about the so-called Palestinian “Nakba,” which is how Palestinians now refer to the displacement of 700,000 people due to a war in which Arab states tried to destroy Israel at its founding.

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), the oldest pro-Israel group in the U.S., also warned at the time of Bitar’s appointment that Bitar’s his rise to a position of prominence at the White House meant that “anti-Israel hate occupies the top of the foreign policy establishment and is set to define the foreign policy of the Biden administration.”

Bitar also played a key role in the first impeachment of President Donald Trump, working for Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) on the House Intelligence Committee. Politico described Bitar as Schiff’s “top legal adviser,” and added:

He served as [National Security Council] director for Israeli and Palestinian affairs during the Obama administration and as a deputy to Samantha Power while she was at the NSC. He also worked as a foreign affairs officer at the State Department. Bitar is close with national security adviser Jake Sullivan from their time together at the State Department.

Bitar served as a senior member of the House impeachment team during Trump’s first impeachment, alongside Dan Goldman who worked as the impeachment manager’s top lawyer. Goldman called Bitar “a brilliant lawyer” and said his experience on the committee would give the new NSC insight into the changes in the intelligence community over the last four years.

The office of the senior director for intelligence receives sensitive information that comes in from the intelligence agencies, especially if it is in hard copy form, and coordinates covert action activities between the White House and the intelligence community. It’s also where the NSC houses the server that stores the most sensitive classified information. source

Perhaps even worse…

Bitar is joined at the hip with Robert Malley and he is under severe investigation. 

The FBI is investigating whether the Biden administration’s Iran envoy, Rob Malley, moved classified information onto his personal email, where it may have fallen into the hands of a foreign actor, according to a person briefed on the case and a letter from Republican lawmakers.

Investigators are trying to determine if any crimes were committed, according to the person briefed on the case and another person familiar with the matter. But it is not yet clear if the Department of Justice will bring any charges against Malley or what the scope of any charges might be. The people were granted anonymity to discuss a highly sensitive issue. Malley’s security clearance was suspended roughly a year ago, and he later went on full-time leave. As President Joe Biden’s envoy for Iran issues, Malley’s position included trying to revive the nuclear deal the United States and other nations had struck with Tehran. Iran hawks, many of whom view Malley as too soft on Tehran, have used the investigation into him to attack Biden’s policies toward Iran.

Biden Ignoring Hybrid Warfare by China Against the U.S.

Active Measures and Three Warfares

Irregular warfare is not new. During the Cold War, Russian services like the KGB waged aggressive irregular campaigns against the United States around the globe. Oleg Kalugin, the former head of foreign counterintelligence for the KGB, described aktivnyye meropriyatiya and similar operations as the “heart and soul of Soviet intelligence” that were used to “weaken the United States” and to “drive wedges in the Western community alliance of all sorts.”1

As the Biden administration takes office, U.S. adversaries are utilizing irregular strategies and tactics. Perhaps the quintessential example is Russia. Under President Vladimir Putin, Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov, and other officials, Russia employs a mix of offensive cyber operations, espionage, covert action, and information and disinformation campaigns to weaken the United States and expand Moscow’s influence. Russia has meddled in U.S. elections and waged a disinformation campaign inside the United States, attempting to inflame social, racial, and political tensions through such issues as Black Lives Matter, Covid-19, the Me Too movement, gun control, white supremacy, abortion, and immigration. Russia has placed malware, such as Triton and BlackEnergy, in U.S. critical infrastructure—threatening power plants, electricity grids, communications networks, and financial systems in the U.S. homeland. Russian agencies have also leveraged shadowy organizations to help conduct information operations and cyberattacks, including the Internet Research Agency (IRA); Kaspersky Lab; networks and online personas with creative names like “Cozy Bear,” “Fancy Bear,” and “Guccifer 2.0”; and private military companies like the Wagner Group.

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Additional reading here. 

China’s perspective of national power is broad and includes several elements which the U.S. government considers either irrelevant or in the realm of private industry and non-governmental organizations. China uses soft power and competes in issues the United States often does not even recognize as a part of a wider conflict. Rand’s Andrew Scobell explains, “China’s current perspective on its relationship with the United States is centered on competition that encompasses a wide range of issues embodied in China’s concept of comprehensive national power.”3 Along with the obvious issues of defense and diplomacy, China’s authoritarian government considers technology, cultural, and internal stability issues essential to national power. China sees a future where “war becomes increasingly civilianized,” relying on non-military means to neutralize threats and gain advantages over competitors.4 The U.S. may not recognize some of these issues are part of the competition, but the authoritarian Chinese Communist Party (CCP) uses all these means to build advantage.

Chinese manipulation and theft of valuable U.S. science and technology (S&T) is a recognized danger. Chinese intelligence services acquire U.S. and other nations’ scientific research and technology through methods that include: hacking, sending Chinese students and researchers to study and work at western institutions of higher education, and purchasing U.S. companies. William Holsten explains, “There is a massive, coordinated assault taking place on American technology, perhaps the largest, fastest transfer of intellectual property in human history, and much of it is taking place on U.S. soil.”5 In 2017, China passed a legislative framework directing all Chinese to contribute to state security.6 The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) assessed, “It is likely that citizens can be compelled to assist PRC state actors in interference efforts if and when those efforts fall under the broader definition of ‘national intelligence work’ and ‘national intelligence efforts’ as noted in the Law.”7 This assessment in combination with the approximately 350,000 Chinese students attending U.S.’ universities, gives China an incredible capacity to use espionage to procure developing technology.8 A second aspect of the theft of science and technology is the acquisition of U.S. businesses and their subcontracted suppliers by PRC-backed private companies. One example is the acquisition of A123, a U.S. company that develops and supplies lithium-ion batteries.9 A123, after receiving approximately $1 billion from private investors and $100 million in federal government backing, as well as technical advice from General Motors, Motorola, and QualComm, went bankrupt and was subsequently purchased by the Chinese Wanxiang Group Corp for $257 million.10 This acquisition gave China the company’s technological research and manufacturing facilities at an incredibly discounted rate.

Within the U.S. government, multiple agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Agency, Federal Trade Commission, work on different aspects of this problem. They observe, detect, and respond individually to the Chinese intellectual property theft. A coordinated U.S. government effort would be more capable of detecting the Chinese malign behavior, creating comprehensive deterrence, and formulating a powerful response. Source

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As a 2020 Department of Defense publication explained, irregular warfare “favors indirect and asymmetric approaches” by countries “in order to erode an adversary’s power, influence, and will.” It includes numerous tools of statecraft that governments can use to shift the balance of power in their favor: information operations (including psychological operations and propaganda), cyber operations, support to state and nonstate partners, covert action, espionage, and economic coercion.

Many of these tools, such as information and cyber operations, can be used for irregular and conventional campaigns. They are simply a means. In irregular warfare, however, a country designs and uses these tools to undermine its adversaries as part of balance-of-power competition without engaging in set-piece battles. Other government officials and scholars have used different terms—such as political warfare, hybrid warfare, gray zone activity, asymmetric conflict, and the indirect approach—to capture some or all of these activities.

In particular, irregular warfare is distinct from conventional warfare, which has sometimes been referred to as “traditional” or “regular” warfare. Conventional warfare involves the use of direct land, naval, air, and other military capabilities to defeat an adversary’s armed forces on a battlefield; control territory, populations, and forces; or annihilate an enemy’s war-making capacity. Irregular warfare is also different from nuclear warfare, which involves the use—or threat—of nuclear weapons against adversaries. Finally, irregular warfare is distinct from routine foreign policy, which can include diplomatic, humanitarian, intelligence, and other activities that have little or nothing to do with competition against adversaries.