US officials have claimed to have hacked and planted malware into critical Russian infrastructure “just in case” Russia decides to interfere in the upcoming US election. Is this the beginning of a cyber war?
Ever since WikiLeaks and hacking groups began releasing incriminating evidence against the Democrat National Committee and their Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton, the US establishment has consistently blamed Russia for the leaks despite no evidence. Now, in a “preemptive” strike to presumably dissuade attempts at disrupting this Tuesday’s election, US officials have claimed that US military hackers have successfully comprised Russia’s entire electric grid, telecommunications networks, and the Russian government’s command systems. The hackers goal was to make these systems “vulnerable to attack by secret American cyber weapons should the US deem it necessary.” With tensions already high, thanks to the Obama administration’s demonization of Putin and the Syrian government’s battle for Aleppo, this will likely only add to the extremely strained relationship between the two superpowers. However, according to NBC news, the hack was carried out in preparation for waging a full-scale cyber-war with Russia.
The US has previously threatened Russia with “unprecedented cyber covert action” in mid-October in retaliation for Russia’s “alleged interference,” prompting the Obama administration to draft plans for a “wide-ranging” and “clandestine” cyber operation designed to harass and “embarrass” Russian leadership. They appear to have made good on their threat, dragging Russia and the US into unprecedented territory as the line between cyber-warfare and real “kinetic” warfare is not clearly defined. Yet, according to NATO’s perspective, cyber-warfare is justification for physical war. NATO announced this past June that if a NATO member country is the target of a cyber attack by people in a non-NATO country, then NATO’s “collective defense” provision requires all NATO member nations to join the targeted nation, if they decide to physically attack those responsible for the cyber attack. Not only does this suggest that Obama’s cyber-warfare against Russia is laying the foundation for a full-scale war, but it also means that a full-scale war would erupt with Russia if it chooses to retaliate.
Despite the high stakes, Russia has now threatened the US with retaliation if the claims of “state cyber-terrorism” are confirmed. Russia has demanded an explanation from Washington regarding the alleged hacking of their infrastructure soon after it was publicly announced. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said: “If no official reaction from the American administration follows, it would mean state cyber-terrorism exists in the US. If the threats of the attack, which were published by the US media, are carried out, Moscow would be justified in charging Washington.”
It’s worth pointing out that the only country with a record of conducting cyber attacks on other nations is the US itself. The US, in collaboration with Israel, infected the computer networks of Iranian facilities handling uranium with a virus known as Stuxnet. Stuxnet targeted industrial controllers of centrifuges in order to destroy them, but eventually spread to other networks, leading to its identification by major cyber-security companies. Based on this evidence as well as the fact that there has never been any evidence linking Russia to “interference” in the US election, it seems clear that the real aggressor here is the Obama administration. Obama’s administration seems hell bent on pushing the world to the brink of war, if only to defend Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House. With the US literally one step away from instigating a full-scale war, is it really worth Obama’s desire for continuity of leadership? The answer should be obvious.
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