Orde-Wingate’s Burma Brigade To Be Revived For Cyber Warfare

Brigadier Charles Orde-Wingate’s legendary 77th Brigade “Chindits” is to be revived to fight the growing cyber-warfare and psychological warfare, particularly in social media.

BBC.com story:

Army sets up new brigade ‘for information age’

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British soldiers in silhouette
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The Army is setting up a new unit that will use psychological operations and social media to help fight wars “in the information age”.

Head of the Army General Sir Nick Carter said the move was about trying to operate “smarter”.

The 77th Brigade, made up of reservists and regular troops and based in Hermitage, Berkshire, will be formally created in April.

It has been inspired by the Chindits who fought in Burma in World War Two.

‘Bespoke skills’
An Army spokesman said the unit would “play a key part in enabling the UK to fight in the information age” and that it “consists of more than just traditional capabilities”.

Chief of the British Army Gen Sir Nick Carter. The Army, led by Gen Sir Nick Carter, could face cuts following the general election

He said: “77 Brigade is being created to draw together a host of existing and developing capabilities essential to meet the challenges of modern conflict and warfare.

“It recognises that the actions of others in a modern battlefield can be affected in ways that are not necessarily violent and it draws heavily on important lessons from our commitments to operations in Afghanistan amongst others.”

Recruitment for the brigade, 42% of whose personnel will be reservists, will begin this spring.

Its members will come from the Royal Navy and RAF as well as from the Army.

One former commander of British forces in Afghanistan has warned the new operation should not mean fewer troops on the frontline.

Colonel Richard Kemp said: “My view is that this should not be done at the expense of combat troops. Where are these 2,000 people going to come from?”

“They are likely to come from savings made in combat troops. I think that’s a mistake.

“I think the British forces have already been cut far too much in a very uncertain and increasingly dangerous world.

He acknowledged the need for this type of innovation, but said “it should be added to the forces, not created out of savings found elsewhere.”

The creation of the new unit is part of a major restructuring of the military under the Army 2020 plan, which will see the military scaled down to around 82,000 regular troops in the next five years.

Chindits in the Burmese jungle, 1943
The new unit is said to share the “spirit of innovation” of the Chindits in the Burma Campaign of 1942-45
The unit will also seek “new ways of allowing civilians with bespoke skills to serve alongside their military counterparts”.

The Army spokesman said it would share the “spirit of innovation” of the Chindits in the Burma Campaign of 1942 to 1945.

Chindits was the name given to the Long Range Penetration (LRP) groups that operated in the Burmese jungle behind enemy lines, targeting Japanese communications.

The new unit will also use the old Chindit insignia of a Chinthe, a mythical Burmese creature which is half-lion and half-dragon.

Tony Redding from Kent, whose father was in the Chindits, told the BBC he was disappointed by the move. He said: “Sadly the Ministry of Defence didn’t inform the surviving Chindit veterans of the decision to use the badge in this way.

“I’ve tried very hard to look for similarities and the only common denominator I can find is that the Chindits 70 years ago were a highly unconventional force. Perhaps this new force are to use some unconventional means of warfare.”

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Brigadier Charles Orde-Wingate commanded the 77th Brigade in Burma during World War II and the highly effective guerrilla warfare gave the Japanese Imperial Army a good run for their money.

It is part of the Ministry of Defense (MOD) strategic media game where the control of perception and first impression of the world public matters, in the challenges with dynamism of the integral communication and information at cyber speed and reach.

The ability to control social media has become a priority in the strategy of controlling any fields of warfare.

It is believed that the traditional politically adverse nations to the UK and United States such as Russia, China and even North Korea have invested a lot to be strategically commanding in the cyber warfare game.

The ongoing global warfare against international terrorism such as the current conflict against Islamic State so-called Jihadist is getting more chronic and complicated. The battle has been taken into cybersphere when the US Central Command social account was hacked by pro-IS ‘Cyber Caliphate’.

BBC.com story:

12 January 2015 Last updated at 23:10

US Centcom Twitter account hacked by pro-IS group

Centcom Twitter
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The Twitter and YouTube accounts of the US military command were suspended for a few hours after being hacked by a group claiming to back Islamic State.

One message on Centcom’s Twitter feed said: “American soldiers, we are coming, watch your back.”

It was signed by Isis, another name for the Islamic State. Some internal military documents also appeared on the Centcom Twitter feed.

Centcom said it was “cyber-vandalism” and not a serious data breach.

In a statement, it said there was no operational impact and no classified information was posted.

“We are viewing this purely as a case of cyber-vandalism,” it said. Later on Monday, its Twitter feed became visible again, although not active.

Embarrassingly, the hack happened as President Barack Obama was giving a speech on cyber-security.

Reflecting on major breaches like a recent hack of Sony Pictures, Mr Obama said in his speech the US had been reminded of “enormous vulnerabilities for us as a nation and for our economy”.

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President Obama said the internet creates “enormous vulnerabilities”
His spokesman Josh Earnest said the US is looking into the Centcom hacking.

He said they were investigating the extent of the incident, and that there was a significant difference between a large data breach and the hacking of a Twitter account.

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Analysis – Jonathan Marcus, BBC defence correspondent
This is an irritating hack rather than a matter of major security concern, but it will inevitably lead to a review to see if there are any more fundamental vulnerabilities in the US military’s public facing web and Twitter accounts.

The material posted on the site represents an amateurish and unconvincing attempt to publicise “secrets”. Most of the information is hardly secret at all – the postal address at the Pentagon of the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey.

A variety of maps and diagrams were also posted by the hackers. Two appeared to be slides from a presentation at the Lincoln Laboratory – a government funded think-tank at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

They showed maritime defences on the Chinese coast, but not in any great detail. There were also simple maps of North Korea showing population centres, nuclear installations and missile sites.

You can find maps showing the same things on the websites of many US think-tanks.

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The White House says it is monitoring the extent of the hack
An unnamed Pentagon official told Reuters the hacking was an embarrassment but did not appear to be a security threat.

And Professor Alan Woodward, from the University of Surrey, said he did not consider the attack to be a major breach of security.

“I wouldn’t say it’s trivial, but it’s just a slip,” he told the BBC.

“Twitter accounts are usually looked after by an individual in an organisation – it’s very easy to give away that password.

“In terms of if this is a hack into something secret, or sensitive – no, it’s not. An individual has made a slight mistake.”

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IS have been very effective using the media, which include social media for their publicity. Their psychological warfare which encompasses the recoding of execution of foreign nationals and journos managed to struck fear in the eyes and minds of millions of people worldwide.

This is on top of their overwhelming success in recruiting fighters and sympathisers from ordinary people, through their strategic use of social media.

Thousands of multinationals which include 40-50 Malaysians, not only just men but women too, to be drawn into their organised international terrorism which have since grown into a formidable conventional army in Syria and Iraq.

The inability to control the cyber warfare would prove to be disastrous.

Almost ten years ago, the suicide bombers struck a co-ordinated attack on the London Underground system and bus. 52 people were killed and 770 others were injured. It was later proven that the suicide bombers communicated using ams just before the attack commenced.

That was a very painful lesson for the Brits and their paranoia did prove to be substantial.

Almost three weeks ago, British Prime Minister David Cameron pronounced that encrypted communication which include social media would not be allowed in the UK.

The Telegraph story:

Spies should be able to monitor all online messaging, says David Cameron

The Tory leader said: ‘If I am prime minister I will make sure that it is a comprehensive piece of legislation that does not allow terrorists safe space to communicate with eachother’

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David Cameron
David Cameron Photo: SkyNews
Christopher Hope By Christopher Hope, Senior Political Correspondent3:50PM GMT 12 Jan 2015

The Security Services will be given the powers to read all messages sent over the internet, if the Conservatives win the general election.

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, made the pledge at a campaign event attended by up to 100 Conservative activists in Nottingham.

The police and the intelligence agencies have expressed concerns that they are not able to access the content of some of the new ways to communicate over the internet.

The Prime Minister – who on Monday morning chaired a meeting of the Security Services to discuss lessons that be learned from last week’s terrorist attacks on Paris – said a Tory Government would pass a law in the next Parliament to ensure that the police and Security Services can read internet messages.

The problem at the moment was that new ways of communicating over the internet were impossible for the agencies to keep track of, he said.

Plans for a Communications Data Bill – branded a “snoopers’ charter” by critics – were blocked by Liberal Democrat opposition in the Coalition, but Conservatives have signalled they will revive the legislation if they secure an overall majority in May’s general election.

Mr Cameron said: “The next Government will have to legislate again in 2016. If I am prime minister I will make sure that it is a comprehensive piece of legislation that does not allow terrorists safe space to communicate with eachother.

“That is the key principle: do we allow terrorists safer spaces for them to talk to each other. I say no we don’t – and we should legislate accordingly. And if I am in Government that is what you will get.”

He added: “I have a very simple principle which will be the heart of the new legislation that will be necessary. In our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which even in extremis, with a signed warrant from the home secretary personally, that we cannot read? “Up until now, governments have said: ‘No, we must not’.

“That is why in extremis it has been possible to read someone’s letter, to listen to someone’s telephone, to mobile communications.

“But the question remains: are we going to allow a means of communications which it simply isn’t possible to read. My answer to that question is: ‘No we must not’.

“The first duty of any government is to keep our country and people safe. The attacks in Paris demonstrated the scale of the threat that we face and the need to have robust powers through our intelligence and security agencies in order to keep our people safe.

“The powers that I believe we need, whether on communications data, or on the content of communications, I feel very comfortable these are absolutely right for a modern, liberal democracy.”

Mr Cameron also said that a Tory Government would pass a new law to ensure that the intelligence agencies would be able to track phone calls and internet messages.

He said that this power to track “who made which call, to which person, and when” was “absolutely crucial not just in terrorism but finding missing people, murder investigations, almost every single serious crime.
“What matters is that we can access this communications data whether people are using fixed phones, mobile phones or more modern ways of communicating via the internet.”

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Published in: on February 1, 2015 at 04:30  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Non-conventional warfare? Or is it progress in methods of warfare? From the good old wooden club to bludgeon the enemy’s head to bows and arrows, to crossbows, rifles, machine guns, conventional bombs and now nuclear bombs and Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles.

    From lining up soldiers facing the also lined-up enemy and shooting one another, to snipers stealthily shooting dead the enemy, to Mao Zedong’s “two steps forward, one step backwards” tactics, to all sorts of intelligence gathering and secret commando hits of strategic enemy assets. The British started having “war correspondents” also gathering intelligence and Reuters was born – “overt information” for publication, “covert information” for the authorities to use in planning strategies, tactics, and launching secret raids during World War I-II. Remember, the British succeeded in cracking German secret military codes which greatly helped in winning the war.

    But the British reviving Orde-Wingate’s Burma Brigade is just an attempt to make do with decreasing resources. Other nations could well learn from the British – they are a resilient lot, Winston Churchill refusing to cower under maddening Hitler’s incessant bombing, his bipolar sense of grandiosity, ego and unwavering belief in his own capabilities helped a lot, until the Allied Forces trounced the so-called superior Aryan race and its huge military strength.

    A former Empire, now reduced to just a United Kingdom which almost lost Scotland last year, less than 100,000 troops compared to China’s 1 million plus standing Army, Yes, these days of guided missiles, and unmanned military vehicles of all kinds, one wonders how much soldier numbers determine success in wars. Yes, David Cameron is right – cyber control, intelligence gathering, effective penetration and neutralizing of threats are the key factors these days.

    • “..ensure that the intelligence agencies would be able to track phone calls and internet messages,” David Cameron said. Yet, why the bloody hell do Human Rights Watch this and Human Rights that want to blame Malaysia’s so-called curtailment of freedom in such laws as the Sedition Act?

      They do so even without making serious attempts to understand our laws, especially the highest set of laws in the country – the Constitution. And the circumstances in the drafting of the august and sanctified legal document. That there is no such thing as absolute equality in this country because the Constitution has it enshrined that the Malays and the Bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak have a Special Position. They should also put it into their heads that there is no such thing as absolute freedom. Ever. Anywhere in the world.

      They should be focussing on the advanced countries and yell at electronic eaves dropping and multi-media tracking, and argue on their justification for doing so in the name of the security and well being of their citizens. Talk about the US detention without trial in Guantanamo Bay and the highly restrictive Patriot Act that was enacted after the bombing of the New York Twin Towers.

  2. Because they always work in secrecy, behind locked doors, they try not to be detected, move about in sinister fashion, spies are sometimes thought of as bad or unglamourous people.

    No, they are not bad at all. In fact they are good. Even heroes. What they do often saves a lot of lives and protect the security of the country. The word “spy” has been used with rather unfavourable connotation. Other names for them are “Intelligence Officers” and many are actually intelligent, being able to do the kind of work they do – yes, they even brake secret codes. Now, cyber security codes.

    Look at the James Bond stories, written by Ian Filming, a former real British Intelligence Officer. The actor Sean Connery (knighted a Sir by the Queen) popularized the James Bond character, made the spy/ Intelligence Officer’s life glamourous with Austin Martin sports cars and a bevy of luscious and beautiful girls. Casinos and what nots.

    Be a spy/ Intelligence Officer, anyone? But not the Mat Sabun kind, please. He’d say the communist and other terrorists are heroes.

  3. Wingate was a nutcase. Also a fanatical Zionist after serving in Palestine. The Chindits were glamourised and Churchill, who loved derring-do and last stands etc, was enamoured at first with Wingate’s lone wolf personality but it petered out afrer meeting him. At least that’s what I read. Some of whom who served under Wingate were scathing about him after the war. But in the beginning, Wingate’s exploits were legendary and lifted British morale against the Japs.


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