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Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Nine US generals send '36-star memo' begging spy chiefs to declassify intelligence showing 'pernicious conduct' by Russia and China

 Nine four-star generals have sent a memo to the heads of the U.S. intelligence community, asking them to declassify evidence revealing the 'pernicious conduct' of China and Russia.

The unclassified memo, first sent last year, has been circulating among America's top spies, pleading with them to reveal more evidence that could help sway public opinion against adversaries, Politico reported on Monday.

Nicknamed the '36-star memo' for the cumulative stars held by the signatories, the letter was organized by Admiral Phil Davidson, the outgoing head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

Eight other regional military commanders signed on, including General Jay Raymond, then commander of U.S. Space Command and now head of the Space Force.

Admiral Phil Davidson
General Jay Raymond

Admiral Phil Davidson, the outgoing head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and General Jay Raymond, now head of the Space Force, were among the letter's signatories

The memo was addressed to then-acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire (above) last January

The memo was addressed to then-acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire (above) last January


The letter argued that only by 'waging the truth in the public domain against America's 21st century challengers' can the U.S. shore up support from allies.

However, it said that these efforts to combat misinformation and propaganda are hamstrung by overly strict secrecy rules. 

'We request this help to better enable the US, and by extension its allies and partners, to win without fighting, to fight now in so-called gray zones, and to supply ammunition in the ongoing war of narratives,' the letter read, according to Politico.

'Unfortunately, we continue to miss opportunities to clarify truth, counter distortions, puncture false narratives, and influence events in time to make a difference,' it added. 

The memo was addressed to then-acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire last January.

The letter did not spell out exactly what evidence the generals wanted to make public, but both Russia and China have been implicated in major hacking campaigns directed against the U.S. 

It is unclear why the memo has now emerged - although top military officials who support its contents are said to have been frustrated at the slow pace at which their suggestions were considered. 

Russian armored military vehicles roll into a Russian Navy large landing ship on Friday after the military drills of the Russian Armed Forces at the Opuk range in Crimea

Russian armored military vehicles roll into a Russian Navy large landing ship on Friday after the military drills of the Russian Armed Forces at the Opuk range in Crimea

Russian Navy ships are seen during exercises off Crimea on Thursday. Russia has been conducting an aggressive buildup of troops and hardware near its separatist allies in Ukraine

Russian Navy ships are seen during exercises off Crimea on Thursday. Russia has been conducting an aggressive buildup of troops and hardware near its separatist allies in Ukraine

Russian troops drill amphibious landings in Crimea on Thursday. Russia has been conducting an aggressive buildup of troops and hardware in the region

Russian troops drill amphibious landings in Crimea on Thursday. Russia has been conducting an aggressive buildup of troops and hardware in the region

Russia has also been conducting an aggressive buildup of troops and hardware near its allies fighting a civil war in Ukraine, and drew condemnation for sealing off areas of the Black Sea to foreign warships.

Pro-Russian separatists are seeking to carve out an enclave in eastern Ukraine, which Russia could potentially use as a land bridge to its seized territory in Crimea. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently claimed that Russia will begin to pull back excess troops -- but revealed he has created an inflatable army outside Moscow which could be deployed to fool enemy drones and satellites.

The Black Sea restrictions came into effect on Saturday evening and were to remain in place through October 31, Russian news agencies reported, citing the country's Defense Ministry. 

According to Russian media reports, the restrictions apply to an area along the Crimean coastline between Sevastopol and Gurzuf, an area near the Kerch Peninsula, and an area near the western tip of Crimea.

The international community refuses to recognize the annexation of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Russia seized from Ukraine in March 2014.

For its part, China has continued to pursue a military buildup in the South China Sea, a vast and resource-rich body of water that Beijing claims as its own.

Chinese President Xi Jinping presides over a ceremony on Friday, unveiling three new warships set to patrol the South China Sea

Chinese President Xi Jinping presides over a ceremony on Friday, unveiling three new warships set to patrol the South China Sea

Xi flexed his military muscles in the South China Sea by unveiling three new warships in a ceremony on Friday

Xi flexed his military muscles in the South China Sea by unveiling three new warships in a ceremony on Friday 

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday flexed his military muscles in the South China Sea by unveiling three new warships.

China's newest assets include an amphibious helicopter carrier, a nuclear sub and a guided-missile cruiser. 

The military ceremony was a show of strength amid increasing tensions with Taiwan. China claims Taiwan as its own territory to be won over peacefully or by force. 

It does not recognize Taiwan's democratically elected government, and leader Xi Jinping has said 'unification' between the sides cannot be put off indefinitely.

China warned the U.S. earlier this month to 'not to play with fire on the Taiwan issue' as Washington continued to strengthen its relationship with Taiwan. 

'There is zero room for compromise and not an inch to give,' Chinese spokesperson Zhao Lijian said.

'We urge the US side to grasp the situation, earnestly abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqu├ęs, refrain from playing with fire, immediately stop official contact with Taiwan in any form.'

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