Information operations · Information Warfare · Iran · Russia

Salisbury CW Attack / Syria / Iran / Russia Ad Hoc Update (109)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

A word of caution, this update lists articles leading off with RT and Sputnik reporting. It’s not obvious unless you look at the URL or click on the link. 

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While Russia argues the plot is  “thinning” in Salisbury, further disclosures indicate the opposite is true. More Russian fakery in saber-rattling propaganda and Medusa details the witch hunt over alleged leaks of hypersonic technology to the evil West.

Latest comments by Rowley on the Novichok attack indicate the CW agent was packaged in an expensive brand name cosmetic bottle in sealed original packaging gift wrapped in cellophane. Speculation in the UK is that a covert ops logistics team put multiple Novichok dispensers into multiple locations before the covert ops hit team arrived, and nobody bothered to clear the dead drops after the agent was deployed. The alternative explanation is not being discussed much in the media is a“диверсионная операция” – a diversionary op (in Russian jargon) intended to create chaos by leaving multiple accessible delivery devices camouflaged to encourage their opening and exposure, either deployed concurrently during the attack on the Skripals, or after the event. That the police are looking for other camouflaged delivery devices and saying so publicly suggests this option is being prudently considered a possibility. It would be consistent with earlier observations.

Iran is playing a very dangerous game that could earn them the martyrdom so many of their leaders appear to desire. Iran claims to have cloned and improved the AIM-54 Phoenix – whether this is real or another stunt of the kind observed before remains to be determined – repainting some legacy AIM-54 stock and applying stencils in Persian is a cheap play to execute. Reverse engineering many key components like radar tubes, the antenna and gimbal, and radome would be major challenge for their technology base. Israel shoots down a Syrian Sukhoi using the Patriot, and a Tochka U / SCARAB TBM using a David’s Sling SAM/ABM. Multiple and very interesting reports on Turkey – Erdogan seems determined to create a schism with the West.

The plot thins: How gel became a liquid and the whole Novichok affair began to smell to high heaven — RT Op-ed

‘Novichok’ survivor Charlie Rowley is in a “safe house” but has been denied access to television and newspapers, according to his brother. The ever-stranger case of the Salisbury-Amesbury poisonings gets curiouser and curiouser.

Amesbury Man Confesses He Gave ‘Perfume Bottle’ With ‘Nerve Agent’ to Girlfriend – Sputnik International

The couple from Amesbury – Charlie Rowley and the now-deceased Dawn Sturgess – was said to have picked up a perfume bottle allegedly containing a nerve agent, with Sturgess ostensibly spraying the substance on her wrists.

Russian Embassy in UK Urges London to Provide Access to Amesbury Incident Probe – Sputnik International

LONDON (Sputnik) – The Russian Embassy in the United Kingdom on Tuesday urged London to provide Moscow with access to the materials of the Amesbury poisoning incident investigation, noting that UK authorities deliberately restrict communication of all victims of poisoning incidents with the outside world.

Russia’s nuclear weapons can wipe out an area ‘the size of Texas’ | Daily Mail Online

The video, released by the Russian defence ministry, shows the bright checker coated RS-28 Sarmat missile, seen leaving its launch silo at a secret location in the Russian Federation.

Supersonic Califraga Ballistic Expialidocious. Russia is investigating an intel leak about its fastest weapons. What are they? — Meduza

Russia’s Federal Security Service is investigating the leak of classified information about the development of hypersonic weapons. Viktor Kudryavtsev — a 74-year-old scientist working at the Central Research Institute of Mechanical Engineering, also known as TsNIIMash (a subsidiary of the Russian space agency Roscosmos) — has been arrested on treason charges. Officials also searched the office of Dmitry Paison, the director of the United Space Missile Corporation’s research and analysis center, and federal agents are studying another 12 people as potential suspects. Meduza asked Vasily Sychev, who reports on military news, to explain what hypersonic weapons are and how they might change the nature of armed conflicts.

Russia released fake footage as evidence of a new cruise missile test – To Inform is to Influence

I said this many years ago.  “50% of what the Russian MOD says is false, the other 50% is fake.” Here the Russian defense ministry is using old footage as “proof” that an anti-ship missile test was successful.   Now, everything the Russian MOD says should be suspect.  </end editorial> Jul 24, 2018 The Russian…

Russia released fake footage as evidence of a new cruise missile test – Defence Blog

The Russian defence ministry on 23 July has released imagery showing the Russian nuclear missile submarine cruiser “Tomsk” launched a cruise missile at a surface target in the Sea of Okhotsk. According to the Russian MoD, An anti-ship missile from Tomsk submarine was successfully hit a target at a distance of 150 kilometers. “The combat training was provided by high-altitude MiG-31 fighters, unmanned aerial vehicles of the Russian Pacific Fleet, and also about 10 warships and auxiliary vessels included nuclear missile submarine cruiser “Tomsk”,” – said in the statement by Russian MoD. Footage used by the defence ministry to prove anti-ship missile successfully hit its target was actually taken in 2016 and filmed during the Kavkaz exercises. The original video is actually showing Bal coastal missile systems hit a target that simulating a surface ship during Kavkaz-2016 strategic command military exercises and was released on 9 September 2016.

Exclusive: Novichok victim reveals perfume he gave partner contained deadly nerve agent | ITV News – YouTube

ITV News Published on Jul 24, 2018 Amesbury Novichok poisoning victim Charlie Rowley has revealed a sealed box of perfume which he found and later gave to his girlfriend contained a deadly nerve agent which killed her. In an exclusive interview with ITV News, the 45-year-old explained how his partner Dawn Sturgess fell ill moments after spraying the liquid on her wrists. He said: “Within 15 minutes, I believe Dawn said she felt she had a headache and asked me if I had any headache tablets. I had a look around the flat and within that time she said she felt peculiar and needed to lie down in the bath, which at the time I thought was a bit strange. “I went into the bathroom and found her in the bath, fully clothed, in a very ill state.” Mr Rowley later fell critically ill himself. Dawn died eight days later. He told ITV News he had found a sealed box in a cellophane wrapper containing a perfume bottle some days earlier, and had kept it at his Amesbury home, before handing it to his partner of two years as a gift. He explained how he struggled to remember where he had originally found the item but was convinced it was legitimate, as it looked like it hadn’t been used, “Which made me think it was quite safe,” he said. The latest development as to how Mr Rowley and Ms Sturgess came into contact with Novichok “raises questions” as to whether Salisbury is now free of the nerve agent, according to ITV News Correspondent Rupert Evelyn. He said: “We are not privy to a lot of the details that police have as part of the investigation, but what Charlie Rowley said today was interesting in terms of the perfume bottle. “He said it was unopened, the box it was in was sealed, and that they had to use a knife in order to cut through it. “That raises the question: if it wasn’t used, is this the only Novichok that exists in this city? And was it the same Novichok used to attack Sergei and Yulia Skripal?”

ITV News on Twitter: “ITV News Exclusive: Novichok victim Charlie Rowley says girlfriend Dawn Sturgess was ‘a lovely lady with a big heart’. Hear the full story of how the couple were poisoned in his own words from 6.30pm on and @ITV…”

Novichok came in ′expensive′ looking perfume bottle, victim Charlie Rowley says | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 25.07.2018

The nerve agent that poisoned two people in Amesbury was packed in a sealed, brand-name perfume bottle, survivor Charlie Rowley told British media. He says he can’t remember where he found the container.

Exclusive: Novichok poisoning victim Charlie Rowley reveals perfume gift he gave to partner contained deadly nerve agent – ITV News

Read Exclusive: Novichok poisoning victim Charlie Rowley reveals perfume gift he gave to partner contained deadly nerve agent latest on ITV News. All the news

Novichok victim found substance disguised as perfume in sealed box | UK news | The Guardian

Charlie Rowley claims nerve agent that killed his partner was boxed and wrapped up. The British man poisoned with the nerve agent novichok has claimed the substance that killed his girlfriend and left him critically ill came in a bottle disguised as a legitimate perfume in a sealed box. Charlie Rowley claimed his partner, mother-of-three Dawn Sturgess, fell ill within 15 minutes of spraying the bottle, which he said he had found, on to her wrists at his home in Amesbury, Wiltshire. In his first interview since he was discharged from hospital, Rowley told ITV News: “I do have a memory of her spraying it on her wrists and rubbing them together. “I guess that’s how she applied it and became ill. I guess how I got in contact with it is when I put the spray part to the bottle … I ended up tipping some on my hands but I washed it off under the tap. “It was an oily substance and I smelled it and it didn’t smell of perfume. It felt oily. I washed it off and I didn’t think anything of it. It all happened so quick.

British man says Novichok nerve agent led Dawn Sturgess to collapse in minutes following attack on Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal – CBS News

Partner says just minutes after spraying substance onto her wrists, Dawn Sturgess collapsed &quot;in a very ill state&quot;

Novichok survivor says partner thought it was perfume

The British man exposed to a deadly nerve agent that killed his girlfriend said he is guilt-ridden because he gave it to her as a present – thinking it was a…

Nerve-agent victim says perfume he found and gave to girlfriend contained poison

In an exclusive interview with ITV News, Charlie Rowley said his girlfriend, Dawn Sturgess, fell ill within 15 minutes of spraying the perfume on her wrists.

Charlie Rowley seen for the first time after hospital discharge – Daily Mail – YouTube

Daily Mail Published on Jul 24, 2018 These are the first images of Novichok victim Charlie Rowley since he almost died from being exposed to the deadly nerve agent.Grinning and looking healthy despite a slight limp he was captured on CCTV at a shop in central Salisbury buying lager yesterday afternoon. Rowley, 45 and his partner Dawn Sturgess collapsed within hours of each other last month after being exposed to the same Novichok which left former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia fighting for life back in March

British Man Says Novichok Was In Perfume Bottle He Gave Partner

A British man poisoned with Novichok has said in interviews that he found a perfume bottle that contained the deadly nerve agent and unknowingly gave it to his girlfriend, who sprayed the liquid on…

Novichok: Did ‘drop team’ leave nerve agent in multiple places? – CNN

The investigation into the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia is looking into whether the nerve agent used to target them may have been left in multiple receptacles in and around the Salisbury area, sources say. London (CNN)Investigators are looking into whether the poison used on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia could have been left in multiple receptacles in and around the English town of Salisbury, sources say. CNN reported last week that British police have identified two suspects believed to have left the UK on a commercial flight shortly after the attack. Now, authorities are looking into whether there was a drop team that planted the Novichok and a second team that carried out the attack — and whether that drop team left multiple sources of Novichok in the vicinity, sources say. Novichok victim Charlie Rowley told CNN affiliate ITV news on Tuesday that he had found a box wrapped in cellophane that he had opened, and that he and his partner Dawn Sturgess were both exposed to the substance inside the bottle contained in the box before falling ill. Sturgess died several days later.

Fears deadly Novichok nerve agent from Salisbury poisoning may kill again as police admit ‘more may be out there’

Charlie Rowley said the bottle he gave to Dawn Sturgess was sealed – sparking fears it isn’t linked to the first Salisbury attack and there could be more Novichok in the public domain

Rouhani says Iran should respond to Trump’s ‘empty threats’ with action | TheHill

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that the country does not need to trade barbs with President Trump, but instead should respond with action.

Rouhani says Trump’s ’empty threats’ not worth a response

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani says there’s no need to respond to President Donald Trump’s “empty threats.” Rouhani’s remarks Wednesday were his

Mattis: Trump tweet just made ‘clear that Iran is on the wrong track’ – POLITICO

The president’s tweet promised in capital letters that Iran would “suffer the consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.’’

Trump Is Pursuing A Totally Incoherent Iran Strategy, Experts Say

But it’s music to the ears of foreign policy hawks like John Bolton and Lindsey Graham.

Trump, Iran, and the Dangers of Presidential Bluffing – Defense One

Last year, the president’s threats targeted North Korea. The outcome holds lessons for a new round of threats.

Iran warns of “countermeasures” in volley of threats after Donald Trump sends Twitter warning to Hassan Rouhani – CBS News

Trump's Twitter warning to Iran's president prompts return threats from military chief of &quot;unimaginable&quot; response&quot;

Fact-Checking Pompeo on Iran – The New York Times

The secretary of state, in a speech to Iranian-Americans, sought their support in an indictment of Iran’s leaders, whom he likened to Mafia gangsters.

Donald Trump’s Reckless Iran Tweet – Defense One

Why would the president threaten war over such relatively inconsequential words?

World reacts to Donald Trump’s furious Twitter rant at Iran

IRAN’S foreign minister has hit back at Donald Trump with a dire warning styled in an imitation of the US President’s explosive Twitter rant, declaring himself: “UNIMPRESSED.” Mohammad Javad Zarif responded to Mr Trump’s warning to the Iranian president to “NEVER EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN” with his own shouty message.

Iran’s copy of US-made Phoenix air-to-air missile goes into production – Defence Blog

Iran held a ceremony on 23 July to mark the start of mass production of the new Fakour long-range air-to-air missile, upgraded and reverse-engineered version of the US-made AIM-54 Phoenix. The Tasnim News Agency reported that on Monday during a ceremony in Tehran, Brigadier General Amir Hatami inaugurated the production line of Fakour, saying it could be mounted on all types of fighter jets. The Fakour is an Iranian air-to-air missile used on F-14 Tomcats fighter jets to intercept and destroy air-to-air targets. It is a local adaptation variant of US-made missile based on the AIM-54 Phoenix. According to the local source, the Iranian variant boasts several improvements over the original platform including a superior guidance system, enhanced range and greater speed. The new guidance system is approximately 30% smaller, and based on the reduced weight of the more modern systems and potential for added propellants the missile’s range can be estimated to have increased by approximately 15% relative to the original AIM-54 Phoenix, allowing it to hit targets at distances of 220km. The minister highlighted Iran’s military preparedness and defense capabilities, stating that any threat against the country will receive a proportional response. Iranian military experts and technicians have in recent years made great headways in manufacturing a broad range of indigenous equipment, making the armed forces self-sufficient in the arms sphere.

Russia Can’t Control What Happens in Syria – Defense One

As the civil war morphs, Putin is trying to position himself as the indispensable power. But a dangerous confrontation between Israel and Iran is …

Russia Offers To Keep Pro-Iran Forces 100 Kilometers From Israeli Border

Russia has offered to keep pro-Iranian forces in Syria about 100 kilometers from the border with Israel as part of an agreement with Washington and Tel Aviv to help guarantee Israel’s security, med…

Israel used for first time newest David’s Sling missile defense systems – Defence Blog

On 23 July, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) for the first time launched 2 David’s Sling aerial defense system interceptors against rockets were from internal fighting in Syria. Following local media reports that the Israel Defense Forces launched interceptors against Syrian OTR-21 Tochka (NATO designation “SS-21 Scarab”) short-range ballistic missiles. According to the IDF’s report, in response to the threat, the IDF launched 2 David’s Sling aerial defense system interceptors. In later reports say that the SS-21s had not been aimed at Israel, but rather were part of the fighting in southern Syria. The decision to intercept them was made at a point in their trajectory which indicated that they might land in Israeli territory, near the Kinneret. It was Israel’s first operational use of David’s Sling multi-tier layered missile defense system that designed to provide mid-tier regional missile defense. “As a result, two David’s Sling interceptors were fired at the rockets, as there was a fear they could strike Israeli territory. The Syrian rockets… landed inside Syrian territory. No damage was caused, and there were no injuries,” the military said in a statement.

Israel downs Syrian fighter jet that breached its airspace – Defence Blog

The Israeli military fired a two Patriot missile at a fighter jet owned by the Syrian Air Force that approached from Syria and infilitrated Israeli territory, confirmed Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman on 24 July. According to the IDF’s report, Two Patriot missiles were launched at a Syrian Sukhoi fighter jet that infiltrated about 1 mile into Israeli airspace. The IDF monitored the fighter jet, which was then intercepted by the Patriot missiles, also noted spokesman. On 24 July, following media reports that the Russian-made Sukhoi was under surveillance when it entered some two kilometers into Israeli airspace and was shot down by two Patriot missiles. Some source reported that the Syrian Air Force lost a Su-22M4 after it was downed by two Patriot PAC-2/GEM+ missiles, fired by Israel. It’s the first downing of a Syrian jet since a U.S. Navy F-18 Super Hornet shot one down over Syria in June 2017 after it fired on U.S.-backed Syrian forces. Since this morning, there has been an increase in the internal fighting in Syria and the Syrian Air Force’s activity. The IDF is in high alert and will continue to operate against the violation of the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement.

Turkey-Israel war of words as Erdogan slams ‘nation-state’ law | Turkey News | Al Jazeera

Bilateral relations soured again since Israel’s killing of Palestinian protesters along Gaza border.

Erdoğan rebuked for claiming Israeli officials have ‘Hitler spirit’ | World news | The Guardian

Netanyahu calls Turkey a ‘dark dictatorship’, in diplomatic spat over new law defining Israel as a Jewish state

Turkish Lira’s Plunge Prompts Concern About a Currency Crisis – WSJ

Turkey’s currency fell sharply amid investor concerns that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s growing influence over the central bank could push the country toward a currency crisis.

Lira Plunges After Turkish Central Bank Unexpectedly Holds Rates – Bloomberg

Turkish policy markers failed to give the market what it wanted, and investors are punishing them for it.

Turkey wants to upgrade all its M60T main battle tanks – Defence Blog

Turkish defence electronics specialist Aselsan has announced on 24 July that the company successfully accomplished with the project to upgrade the first batch of M60T main battle tanks under the FIRAT-M60T program in a record turnaround time. Within a year, Aselsan has developed an improved version of M60T main battle tanks and hand over the first batch of upgraded tanks for the Turkish Army. The military was satisfied and a decision was made to upgrade all M60T main battle tanks in service of the Turkish army. According to the statement made by ASELSAN, it was decided to modernize all M60T tanks in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) inventory under the leadership of the Turkey Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSB). Contract amendment was signed for EUR 96.7 million and TL 25 million increase depending on the additions made within the scope of FIRAT-M60T Project signed between SSB and ASELSAN. As a result of the amendment, the contract amounted to EUR 206 million and TL 50 million.

New Turkish light attack aircraft to make maiden flight in 2022 – Defence Blog

Turkey’s locally built and developed Hurjet advanced jet trainer and light attack aircraft is scheduled to make its first flight in 2022 and expected to be available for delivery to customers by 2025, said in Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI). According to the Daily Sabah newspaper, within the scope of the Hürjet project initiated by the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), a protocol has been signed between the company, the Defense Industry Directorate and the Air Forces Command. A protocol was signed between the Defense Industry Directorate, Air Forces Command and Turkish Aerospace Industries on July 2 on the Hürjet Project, which is planned to satisfy the need for jet training aircraft to be used by the Turkish Air Forces for pilot training for the National Combat Aircraft. Under the protocol, Defense Industry Directorate and Air Forces Command will give strong support to the project. As part of the project, Hürjet will be produced in two configurations. One of them will purely focus on training aircraft, while the second will be an armed variant of the same aircraft. In the armed variant, launch control radar, external load and fire control systems and various task systems will be added to the aircraft.

Congress OKs delay in F-35 jet transfer to Turkey as Pentagon warns of consequences – ABC News

With the finalization of a sweeping defense policy bill, Congress got a step closer to blocking Turkey from acquiring American-made fighter jets.

Congress blocks F-35 fighter shipments to Turkey – Washington Times

Congressional defense lawmakers officially barred deliveries of the fifth-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to Turkish forces, inserting the ban into the final version of the Pentagon’s budget blueprint for the upcoming fiscal year.