Categories: Общая Date: Dec 29, 2015 Title: Who downed Erdogan? Terrorists gave a command to the Turkish pilotWho downed Erdogan? Terrorists gave a command to the Turkish pilot
By Anatoly Klepov
No one doubts the competence of the former US President Bush, who was also the CIA Director. Anyone can envy his knowledge of the developments in the world of cryptography. Let me remind those who may have forgotten that he reorganized the US National Security Agency after the September 11 attacks and turned it into the world's largest electronic intelligence agency engaged not only in securing information but also its global interception. Probably, NSA reports made it possible for him to formulate his statement and announce it in Congress. He said that terrorists could listen to almost any of our phone conversations, hack and read our e-mail.
Let’s consider the possible version of the incident over the skies of Syria when Russian Su-24 plane returning from an anti-terrorist mission was downed by a Turkish fighter jet.
Three parties were deployed in that frontier zone in close proximity to each other: the Turkish army, the Russian Air Force and LIH terrorists. (This terrorist organization is banned in the Russian Federation). It’s obvious today that the Russian Su-24 was shot down by a Turkish Air Force fighter jet pilot. But could Islamic terrorists also be involved in that incident? If so, how could it happen since they don’t have any fighter jets and medium and long range air defense systems?
According to experts, terrorists can withstand a regular army using only interception and communication monitoring equipment of various complexity levels. Covert command and control system is most essential in modern warfare. A successful military operation fully depends on communication performance. Its interruption may cause tragic results and even major defeats.
It’s not surprising that military extremist gangs are armed with such equipment. Due to political chaos in the Middle East and North Africa during the “Arab spring” terrorists obtained samples of the most advanced information weapons purchased by the overthrown rulers of Libya, Yemen, Tunisia, Iraq, Egypt and other countries. They were often left behind during the “democratic” reforms in those countries and there were many people, most obviously LIH militants, who intended to get that valuable equipment. In a program broadcast over the All-Russian TV Igor Korotchenko, a well-known Russian military expert, Editor-in-chief of “National Defense” journal, suggested an opinion confirming such a possibility: “Given the huge amounts of money that LIH has at its disposal – tens of billions of dollars in cash – the result of illegal oil trading and captured Iraqi banks - militants can afford all modern communication and navigation equipment and, of course, warfare means.” Korochenko admits we should proceed from the fact that “our pilots’ communications are intercepted” (...by terrorists in Syria – A.K.), and “apparently our military commanders proceed from the premise that there’s such a potential possibility when they are planning and conducting military operations.” It's hard to disagree with it.
But what’s the attitude of the Turkish military command towards the fact that terrorists possess information weapons? Does it take into account the threat they are posing? By the way, there are lots of examples in history when radio games were used as a weapon. In 1914 the Russian army faced that phenomenon for the first time. Why did the German troops defeat General Samsonov’s Army? The Germans intercepted communications between Russian units; they knew all the routes the Russian army was planning to use and gave it false commands. There were similar cases in 1941-1945, in 1973 in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Iraq, and, apparently, in Syria and Turkey.
In his book “For President’s Eyes Only” Andrew Christopher, a British historian, an expert in international relations and the history of the special services, described radio games and events that happened during a so-called “Suez Crisis”, a military conflict between Israel and the Arab countries in October, 1973. He wrote:
“According to another CIA report, however, SR-71 spy planes „provided the intelligence community with up-to-date knowledge of the disposition of Arab and Israeli forces. SIGNINT provided the best intelligence. Though nearly all the details remain classified, it is known that decrypted signals on October 16-17 enabled Lieutenant Colonel Ariel Sharon of Israel to trap and destroy Egypt’s 25th Armored Brigade on the shore of the Great Bitter Lake, thus opening the way to the crossing of the Suez Canal. Other intercepts revealed that Syria’s 47th Armored Brigade was headed toward the Sea of Galilee; its commander was heard boasting that in an hour’s time he would “bathe in it.“ Kissinger devoured “every shred” of intelligence revealed during the war.”
No doubt, half a century later Arab terrorists studied the war experience and used similar tactics that helped their opponents to defeat the enemies. It seems military experience can teach good lessons.
Hackers assisting terrorists have great opportunities. They have first-class avionics at their disposal that was utilized by security services in the Middle East. Besides, they probably can’t do without the assistance of highly qualified experts and former security officers, experts in interception systems. No wonder stunning statistics were announced at the British Parliament hearings on cyber security. It turned out hackers earned up to $ 400 billion a year! Hackers-criminals are rapidly merging with hackers-terrorists, so, obviously, they don’t have any financial problems with using innovative equipment and engage first-class specialists - their “major league”.
What about combat performers of the LIH electronic army scattered around the world – data collectors, hackers of personal accounts working primarily in social networks? It doesn’t seem they need interception equipment, and their ability to decipher information can be compared with that of some secret services three years ago. For example, hackers can pick 56 billion e-mail or social network passwords per second using modern graphic computers available in retail stores!
Let’s get back to the incident on the Syrian-Turkish border and analyze, putting it mildly, the strange conduct of the highest Turkish government officials after the news about the downed Russian bomber was published. Strange as it may seem President Recep Tayyip Erdogan kept silent for 8 hours and then unexpectedly declared that during the attack the Turkish Air Force didn’t know Su-24 was a Russian plane! Turkish officials, including the Prime Minister, claimed that Turkey didn’t want to escalate the conflict. Does it mean they wouldn’t have shot it down if they knew the plane was Russian?! Isn’t it a paradox statement, especially taking into consideration that besides Russian warplanes there were combat aircraft of the United States and occasionally Israel executing their missions in the region. Syrian Air Force aircraft carried out combat missions in another zone.
Memorandum of understanding was signed between the Russian Defense Ministry and the Ministry of Defense of the United States of America on October 23, 2015. Russia strictly observed the rules and regulations to prevent incidents between the warplanes of the Russian Defense Ministry and the coalition countries involved in the operation.
In accordance with the agreements, the US Air Force representative passed information from the Russian Air Force Command center at the Hmeimim airbase and specified the flight areas and flight levels for two Russian Su-24M bombers. Therefore, the statements of the Turkish officials who claimed they were not aware that the aircraft was Russian seem to be puzzling. Whom did the Turks plan to down - the Americans or the Israelis?
Let's try to answer another question. What action had to be executed before pressing the launch button? Of course, there had to be a command given over the communication channel during the flight. Who gave a command to the Turkish pilot to down the plane of the allied country? You’ll certainly agree such extraordinary actions are within the competence of only military top brass of the country.
Experts at the Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten (DWN) share this point of view. A few days ago DWN reported that the administration of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded the resignation of the national Air Force Commander Abidin Unal who had allegedly taken an independent decision to attack the Russian plane. The supporters of the ruling party organized a campaign against him in social networks. They called him “an incompetent loser” hiding behind Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s back who didn’t want to confess his guilt.
According to the German newspaper, the Turkish press wants to defend Erdogan against all suspicions and accusations pointing at the Turkish Air Force General as the only person guilty of shooting down the Russian aircraft. However, Russia is unlikely to accept this version because only Erdogan, the commander in chief of the Turkish armed forces, could order to shoot down a Russian Su-24. Therefore, the attack on the Turkish Air Force Commander Abidin Unal can be regarded as nothing less but another subterfuge of the Turkish leader to relieve tension in the relations with Russia, the newspaper reported.
What an absurd situation. Even if the Air Force Commander ordered to attack the plane of the friendly power, the President (who is also the Supreme Commander) didn’t know about it several hours later and was “outraged” by the behavior of his subordinates. And the Air Force General denied everything even a few days after the incident!
However, that wasn’t all about the absurdity of the situation and inconsistency of the Turkish side’s versions. Right after the incident it was reported in press that the Turkish pilot communicated with the Russian pilot during the flight and warned him about something. The Turkish authorities said the recording was a fabrication. Besides, only one voice – supposedly that of the Turkish pilot - could be heard in the audio recording, but it is not evident from the recording that there was radio communication with the command station or the Russian crew.
Moreover, a BBC journalist asked the Turkish authorities who was authorized to give a command to down the plane. He was told that the Turkish military engaged in protecting state borders were authorized to independently take a decision to use force in the event of a military invasion that represented a security risk to national borders!
Do you believe that the pilot of a modern aircraft which could carry a nuclear weapon on board and belonged to Turkey, a member of the NATO alliance, and an ordinary border guard received the same command from their commanders? I don’t. Besides, this version, as we see, is completely contrary to the accusations against the Turkish Air Force commander.
But there’s another one. According to a WikiLeaks source, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan allegedly ordered to shoot down the Russian aircraft conducting an anti-terrorist mission. It is not clear why the Turkish leader was so confused after the incident and why he justified the attack. I’m sure you’ll agree that if he gave such an order, he certainly had to consider all the possible consequences and take the responsibility for the incident. He wouldn’t have kept silent for eight hours trying to get through to President Putin!
The following conclusion can be made if we compare all leaked versions of the incident. The Turks completely lost control over their military communications system. Up till the present neither the pilot nor the senior management understands who gave a command to shoot down the Russian aircraft! In fact, a link in the command and control system was broken. A similar incident could happen not only with an aircraft, but also with tanks and missiles... But here’s another question: where did WikiLeaks find the evidence that only Erdogan was responsible for the downed Russian plane? The network takes information mainly from secret anonymous sources or leaked data spilled by hackers into the global information network. The portal refers to Fuat Avni, an anonymous Turkish Twitter whistleblower - except that such information is not available on his Twitter account. Only one message on some other subject was published there after November 24 (the day when SU-24 was shot down). Thus there’s one more version of the incident in the skies over Syria. Bearing in mind that terrorist groups have considerable technical capacity to conduct electronic warfare we cannot exclude the possibility that the Turkish pilots received a false command to down the Russian plane from…LIH. It’s not a difficult technical task.
The first alarm bells indicating there were problems in the “Turkish kingdom” were heard last year when the recordings of Erdogan’s wiretapped cell phone conversation with his son appeared in the Internet. The published conversation touched upon the issues of corruption that caused upheavals and political unrest in Turkey. In fact, Erdogan was on the verge of overthrow. He called the record a fake and it saved him. However, Erdogan officially admitted that his mobile phone conversation could be falsified. (As you may know, a mobile phone is, simply speaking, the same as an aircraft radio station but it uses other frequencies and encryption systems.) If criminals could forge his voice over a cell phone, they could forge the voice of any other Turkish high-ranking official, including military, speaking over aircraft communication systems. For example, they could hack a communication system between an aircraft and a command post and give a false command to a pilot on behalf of Erdogan or the Chief of Staff, or the Air Force Commander General.
A few months before Erdogan’s cell phone had been wiretapped I gave an interview to Hurriyet, one of the largest Turkish newspapers, and warned the Turkish leaders that senior officials could also be wiretapped because public servants’ personal data were insecure. Besides, criminals’ technical capabilities to intercept information have substantially improved in recent years. Unfortunately, my warnings were not heeded.
The next step may be as follows. By means of wiretapping LIH can create incriminating evidence, for example, on half the staff in the Turkish army, presenting them as their “agents” and “secret associates”. Then LIH can either make them cooperate with them or organize a new leakage bringing the most recalcitrant persons to trial before the military tribunal as “traitors”. By the way, there’ve been quite a few trials like that in Turkey recently...
During the NATO - Warsaw Pact confrontation the conflict center was located mainly in the zones of nuclear arsenals - Washington and Moscow. Today there’s a new hazard - terrorists armed with information weapons. Everyone knows that the most advanced missiles, tanks and aircraft can turn into a useless heap of metal if their command systems are disrupted. If terrorists can manage these weapons (remember how hackers seized control over jet planes) and even control them they can engineer a conflict at any level, including nuclear. Who will sort out where a command to launch a nuclear missile came from or who blew up a nuclear reactor? We’ve already entered the information era and there’s no way back. There are terrorists in this world who possess the most advanced super weapons but don’t respect morals and law. The international community must stop uncontrolled sale of modern wiretap systems to dictatorship regimes. I’ve already emphasized that important problem. Advanced information weapons should be thoroughly regulated like nuclear arsenals. Maybe today Erdogan feels embarrassed to admit that neither he nor his army controls Turkish military communication systems. It is all the more dangerous because nuclear weapons are deployed on the territory of this NATO country and nuclear power plants are built there.
In the long term such a scenario is possible on the border of any country where there are terrorist organizations. By the way, during the interview the correspondent of the Turkish Hurriyet newspaper was very much interested why a powerful Iraqi army had been so quickly defeated in the war against the Western coalition. I explained that the Americans had seized Iraqi strategic communication systems before the war and could wiretap and control the troops. As a result there was chaos in Hussein’s army and it was defeated.
Some time ago modern information technologies were available only to security services. Unfortunately, due to some reasons (the main reason is that they are designed by private companies) they pass into the hands of hackers and terrorists who use them to conquer the world. The world community should be reminded about it. Naturally, terrorists’ main goal is to generate major political conflicts around the world in order to distract attention of the countries fighting against them from their criminal activities. Terrorists have technology and financial recourses to reach their goals. They can engineer a conflict and thus expand their activities and strengthen their positions in occupied zones. They seize strategic communication lines of entire countries. Today they attack and help to shoot an aircraft. Tomorrow they can make a nuclear missile take off. Who will examine who has given the command in case of a nuclear conflict? How will it be possible to understand it? It’s scaring. Of course, such a scenario will be beneficial for only one side. Terrorists make no disguise that their goal is a global catastrophe - it will distract the attention of the countries from antiterrorist fight.
My warnings published in the largest Turkish newspaper with about 5 million readers were probably not heard by those whom they’d been addressed to, first of all the country's top leadership. Turkey didn’t avoid one crisis and suffered another one. The next even more serious crisis is just around the corner. For example, terrorists can give the same false command to a pilot of Saudi Arabia, a member of the coalition...
Maybe, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will come to reason and start creating a secure communication and control system for his army. Otherwise there may be another confrontation that will be dangerous not only for Turkey but also for its neighbors. It’s obvious today that terrorists’ accomplices gave a command to down the Russian plane over Syria.
Turkey should urgently examine the problem, convey apologies to Russia, compensate the losses, restore good relations with our country and jointly fight against the main enemy, who has the most modern and the most formidable weapons of the XXI century – information weapons. No wonder the heads of the leading technological powers, the USA, Israel and Japan, believe that cyber security is the most important task for their countries, and the main task of the whole world is to prevent hazardous incidents in the global information space.
Summing up the processes in the Middle East, almost instant collapse and chaos of power in many Arab countries, we can assume that “informational fascism” can be formed in the region. There are several prerequisites for it in this explosion-dangerous region. First of all, LIH starts forming a global caliphate, uniting people over such ultra-reactionary grounds as nationalism and religious fanaticism. Even Nazi Germany was formed under the main ideology - nationalism and genocide against Jews, Gypsies and Slavs. Terrorists create a global fascist organization. It is aggressive and cruel not only to Christians residing in Arab countries but also to the followers of other versions of Islam. Billions of dollars in cash obtained from crimes and kept in LIH leaders’ reserves. This is another sign of a possible tragedy. And the third sign is that terrorists can purchase any modern conventional weapons, including information weapons. But it’s not enough for them - they want to possess even nuclear weapons. If LIH militants succeed in all the spheres mentioned above another “information Hitler” will probably appear soon and dictate his conditions to the whole world. It shouldn’t happen.