Daniel Sinclair @_DanielSinclair Building for young people. Not reading @danielsunread. Lurking behind likes and thinking about social media, communication, & China. Jun. 13, 2019 7 min read

Here we go again.

In 2002, the U.S. Armed Forces conducted the Millennium Challenge, a war game designed to simulate an Iranian war. It was suspended in 24 hours after 16 American warships were destroyed, resulting in the deaths of 20,000 U.S. personal.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Challenge_2002 

"The United States will defend its forces, interests, and stand with our partners and allies to safe guard global commerce and regional stability. We call upon all nations threatened by Iran's provocative acts to join us in that endeavor." 😳

This is a great rolling list of updates as The Gulf Of Oman escalation unfolds.  https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/28504/at-least-one-oil-tanker-is-on-fire-in-the-sea-of-oman-reports 

"At 4:10 p.m. local time an IRGC Gashti Class patrol boat approached the MTKC & was observed & recorded removing the unexploded limpet mine... The U.S. has no interest in engaging in a new conflict in the Middle East. However, we will defend our interests"  https://www.centcom.mil/MEDIA/STATEMENTS/Statements-View/Article/1875666/us-central-command-statement-on-june-13-limpet-mine-attack-in-the-gulf-of-oman/utm_source/hootsuite/ 

As all of this unfolds, it's worth noting how far commercial satellite imagery has come since the Iraq War and War in Afghanistan. A lot of intel is now visible to the world.

“Our crew said that the ship was attacked by a flying object... I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship... [The holes were above the waterline, so] there is zero possibility that they were torpedoes.”  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/14/world/middleeast/oil-tanker-attack-gulf-oman.html 

“One of the most complicated CIA cyber espionage networks that had an important role in the CIA’s operations in different countries was exposed by the Iranian intelligence agencies [and dismantled]... We shared info about the exposed network w/ our allies”  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-iran-cyber-idUSKCN1TI1IY 

That comes a day after this report detailed the rapid and unprecedented expansion of the offensive operations under U.S. Cyber Command.

"Iran on Monday said it would surpass its stockpile limit of low-enriched uranium by June 27... 'We have quadrupled the rate of enrichment and even increased it more recently, so that in 10 days it will bypass the 300 kilogram limit'"  https://www.dw.com/en/iran-prepares-to-violate-uranium-limit-in-nuclear-deal/a-49234432 

"Experts on Iran and its national security apparatus point out that Iran has a history of exaggerating its intelligence triumphs. One [former intelligence official] told Yahoo that the new statements made by Alavi were not in line with the facts."  https://news.yahoo.com/amid-increasing-us-pressure-iranian-intel-head-brags-of-uncovering-network-of-western-spies-180516995.html 

"From around 2009 to 2013, the U.S. intelligence community experienced crippling intelligence failures... [It] originated in Iran & spiderwebbed to other countries, and was left unrepaired until more than 2 dozen sources died in China in 2011 & 2012."  https://news.yahoo.com/cias-communications-suffered-catastrophic-compromise-started-iran-090018710.html 

We've heard about this compromise before, and the intelligence community is still picking up the pieces across the globe. In this unstable era, this Iranian escalation is ever more harrowing.  https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/08/15/botched-cia-communications-system-helped-blow-cover-chinese-agents-intelligence/ 

"The Pentagon is sending 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East... [They] are part of a broader military package that were initially laid out to U.S. leaders last month, totaling as much as 10,000 forces, Patriot missile batteries, aircraft & ships."  https://apnews.com/cc0ae3b3f2aa4eba849a37ecac5f5774 

More commercial satellite imagery is appearing. These from @Maxar, taken today, capture both the Front Altair and Kokuka Courageous stranded off the coast of Fujairah, UAE.

This morning, the U.S. Navy also released more photo evidence of what is reported to be the IRGC Navy reclaiming a mine.  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-nuclear/u-s-denounces-nuclear-blackmail-as-iran-plans-to-breach-uranium-limit-idUSKCN1TI0SP 

The U.S. Navy also released forensic photos of the hull blasts.  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-nuclear/u-s-denounces-nuclear-blackmail-as-iran-plans-to-breach-uranium-limit-idUSKCN1TI0SP 

Central Command is now also claiming Iranian-equipped Houthi shot down a drone over Yemen on June 6th, and that an Iranian SAM was fired at a drone capturing the Kokuka Courageous attack in the Gulf of Oman on June 13th, 33 minutes after the distress call.  https://www.centcom.mil/media/statements/statements-view/article/1877252/statement-from-us-central-command-on-attacks-against-us-observation-aircraft/ 

It continues."The Guard said it shot down the drone over Iranian airspace, while 2 U.S. officials told The AP that the downing happened over international airspace in the Strait of Hormuz. The different accounts could not be immediately reconciled."  https://www.apnews.com/e4316eb989d5499c9828350de8524963 

Our state-owned media is reporting that CENTCOM is denying it was operating over Iranian airspace.

"The guardians of the borders of Islamic Iran will decisively respond to the violation of any stranger to this land... We do not intend to engage in war with any country, but we are completely ready for the war. Today’s incident is a clear sign”  https://abcnews.go.com/International/iran-shoots-american-drone-international-airspace-us-official/story?id=63825990 

CENTCOM statement: "Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false. This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset in international airspace." Language is escalating.

"The loss of an RQ-4 isn't just an escalation of what could instantly become a bloody shooting war in the region, it also represents a significant technological loss... Iran & its friends Russia & China would love to get their hands on even pieces of them"  https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/28613/everything-we-know-about-irans-claim-that-it-shot-down-a-u-s-rq-4-global-hawk-drone 

“We didn’t have a man or woman in the drone. We had nobody in the drone. Would have made a big difference, let me tell you. Would have made a big, big difference.” NobODY in tHe dROnE

It’s a good time for me to say that the RQ-4N BAMS-D is hot. They have a 131-feet wingspan, and can fly for 30 hours. Public records say we now only have 3 more of this variant. Pour one out for this robot boi 🙏

Here is a video of Iran’s air defense system shooting down the drone. Have to give them credit for the quality propaganda.

"Trump approved military strikes against Iran... As late as 7 p.m., military and diplomatic officials were expecting [strikes on a handful of targets]... Set to take place just before dawn Friday... Planes were in the air and ships were in position"  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/20/world/middleeast/iran-us-drone.html 

It can't be overstated how close we came in the 11th hour to what would have become the most deadly conflict of our lifetime.

“We have deployed destroyer INS Chennai and patrol vessel INS Sunayna under Operation Sankalp to re-assure Indian flagged vessels operating/transiting through the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman after the maritime security incidents in the region"  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/navy-deploys-two-warships-in-gulf-of-oman-for-security-of-indian-vessels-in-wake-of-attacks-on-oil-tankers/articleshow/69878110.cms 

"Tehran had received a message from U.S. President Donald Trump through Oman overnight warning that a U.S. attack on Iran was imminent. They spoke shortly after the New York Times reported that Trump had approved military strikes"  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-iran-usa-attacks/trump-warned-iran-via-oman-that-u-s-attack-imminent-called-for-talks-iranian-officials-idUSKCN1TM0AY 

United Airlines, KLM, Qantas Airways, Lufthansa, and British Airways have all pulled out of Iranian airspace.  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-21/airlines-avoid-strait-of-hormuz-as-iran-u-s-tensions-escalate?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&cmpid=socialflow-twitter-business&utm_content=business&utm_campaign=socialflow-organic 

The FAA issued an emergency order last night to all U.S. airlines to suspend routes in the region. International organizations are providing similar guidance — and it looks like most airlines will follow.  https://www.npr.org/2019/06/21/734660769/faa-orders-u-s-airlines-to-bypass-iranian-airspace-after-drone-shot-down 

Among precautionary reasons for airlines to avoid this boiling region, a Qatar Airways flight was within the flight path of the Iranian SAM missile when it took down the U.S. drone.

Iranian state TV released pictures of the recovered debris from the RQ-4A BAMS-D. The poor robot deserved a closed casket funeral. RIP.

Of all the stream of consciousness tweets, this one is among the most lucid. Diet Coke did wonders last night.

"Officials said Trump was told earlier Thursday how many casualties could occur if a strike on Iran was carried out and that he had given the green light... [It reinforces] concerns about the Trump administration’s credibility at a time of military crisis"  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/trump-ordered-attack-on-iran-for-downing-drone-then-called-it-off/2019/06/21/24f4994e-93f3-11e9-aadb-74e6b2b46f6a_story.html 

"On Thursday evening, U.S. Cyber Command launched a retaliatory digital strike against an Iranian spy group that supported last week’s limpet mine attacks... The National Security Council declined to comment"  https://news.yahoo.com/pentagon-secretly-struck-back-against-iranian-cyber-spies-targeting-us-ships-234520824.html 

"Iran-linked cyber-operations continue to focus on espionage and not destructive activities... They obviously don’t know what the U.S. positions are and so they’re trying to figure that out... [The] volume and sophistication [has risen over the last year]"  https://www.cyberscoop.com/nsa-iran-cyber-operations-david-hogue/ 

“Trump approved an offensive cyber strike that disabled Iranian computer systems used to control rocket and missile launches... [It was] launched Thursday night by personnel with Cybercom... This is not something they can put back together so easily” 🙃🦠 https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/with-trumps-approval-pentagon-launched-cyber-strikes-against-iran/2019/06/22/250d3740-950d-11e9-b570-6416efdc0803_story.html 

After a relentless decade of devastating operation failures, infiltrations, and leaks, it must feel good to be the NSA today.

"While the NSA and Cybercom have looked at other cyberoptions — including Nitro Zeus, a plan to shut down the country’s power grid and communications systems in the opening days of a war — they concluded the effects on Iran’s population could be huge."  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/22/world/middleeast/trump-iran.html 

The greatest sanction escalation yet: "'Due to U.S. laws and regulations, players in your country cannot access League of Legends at this time,' the message states, as shared by an Iranian player on the official LoL forums." League war incoming 😬  https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2019-06-23-us-government-blocks-league-of-legends-for-players-in-iran-and-syria 


You can follow @_DanielSinclair.



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