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For many years we have been trumpeting the fact that intelligence gathering and cyber capability is primary to world security, for the simple reason that cyber warfare are most likely to win future conflicts. We speak of the thin blue line protecting the nation’s well-being, but we need to place equal emphasis on our cyber frontlines. I have accordingly been urging people for years to pray into this sphere, even though it is not usually one that spring readily to most people’s minds when they gather together to pray.

Sky News revealed today (10/3/16) the remarkable information that that the personal details of 22,000 radicalised Isis fighters have been handed to the West on a plate – providing not only the names of specific individuals around the world (together with their phone numbers) but also the names of those who sponsored and directed them to join ISIL. This represents one of the most remarkable intelligence breakthroughs in the War against Terror. Even though some of the information will be somewhat out of date this looks like a really useful haul of information. Pray it will be put to right and proper use. The temptation for many jihadists now will surely be simply to disappear!

Inevitably the risk of attacks on western nations remains at an exceedingly high level:

See sky.com/is-documents-identify-thousands-of-jihadis
and sky.com/islamic-state-files-goldmine-of-information
and sky.com/terror-threat-to-europe-highest-for-10-years

All of this highlights what we have long been praying for; that there will be significant breakthroughs in the intelligence sector.

Most people have heard about the vital breakthrough that came about as a result of the heroic process of cracking Enigma Code during the Second World War, an event well charted in the film and book of that name by Robert Harris (my old chess sparring partner at school!)

What I knew nothing about until I read Wyllie and McKinley’s remarkable book Codebreakers: The Secret Intelligence Unit that changed the course of the First World War was the staggering speed at which intelligence work developed between 1914 and 1918.

I would highly recommend this book. It is a truly thrilling account of the principal players of that day, and which led to many serious plots being foiled and very many lives being saved. The authors have a strong case to make in claiming that the intelligence work then proved even more instrumental in determining the outcome of the First World War than during the Second World War. The authors show that this was due to “the genius of the codebreakers themselves, the emergence of the modern security state and the revolution in communications technology” (wireless telegraph) – all of which effectively mark the beginning of the modern Information Age. This review by Film Lover is also helpful.

Reading this account of the work of the predecessors of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ will ensure that you never see the First World War again in the same light!

Sadly but inevitably, the book also charts the stubborn reluctance of so many reactionary military leaders to appreciate the findings of this burgeoning intelligence community. Tens of thousands of people perished needlessly as the result of leaders who woefully failed to grasp or apply the vital and hard won information they were being presented with.

Today, President Putin is playing clever chess games, not just predicting outcomes several moves ahead but quite possibly precipitating them. The equation goes something like this: bomb Syria and people are forced to flee; many people make it to Europe; Europe begins to feel overwhelmed and tensions emerge not only with the people trying to get in but amongst themselves; and unity and purpose are lost. e.g. Independent.co.uk/russia-and-syria-weaponising-refugee-crisis-to-destabilise-europe-nato-commander-claims

By contrast, most western nations remain slow to plan against threats that have yet to materialise– but after so many incidents of successful hacking of everything from banks to the Pentagon’s own website, it is surely right to pray for more resources to be invested in this vital sector. It was only in 2010 that cyber security was finally classified as a “tier one” priority.

There is abundant evidence, for example, that the Chinese are devoting the full-time attention of tens if not hundreds of thousands of technically brilliant graduates tasked to hack into key Western websites. North Korea and Russia are also taking the matter of cyber warfare extremely seriously.

To refresh your memory on certain articles we have published on this subject before, please see ruachmin.wordpress.com/category/cyber-warfare-2/. It is impossible to overstate how serious this issue is when you consider that the whole infrastructure of Western society depends upon not being hacked. These borders may be invisible but they are every bit as important as our physical national boundaries. This article, too, although written in 2011, is by no means out of date in terms of the methods, approach and dangers it describes. It is becoming increasingly easy for sophisticated operators to implant unseen codes in machines and equipment that could be activated at will to cause maximum havoc should relationships at any time deteriorate.

Nor is this frenetic activity limited to Earth itself. If crucial satellites (with their pivotal technology) are effectively jammed, everything changes entirely on Earth. A great deal can be found on the Internet. You might find this article in the Guardian a useful starting point.

This one is interesting too for going into the subject in more depth.

Turkey

The role of Turkey is primary in all that is going on. Everyone must be aware by now that the EU is attempting to drastically reduce the number of people reaching Europe (rather than Syria) via Turkey: – but it can only do this by paying the Turks accordingly to shelter them. The amount of leverage this is giving Turkey is self-evident, not least in its bid to become a regular part of the EU. But all this is playing out at a time when Reporters Without Borders Secretary-General “Erdoğan is moving from authoritarianism to all-out despotism,” and cites examples of this.

This article in the Guardian provides useful background for prayer and this one more in depth coverage.

Russia’s hostility towards Turkey is another complicating factor.

May the Lord raise up a people for His own possession (Titus 2:14) right in the midst of this chaos and tension.

PRAYER

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures for ever.

In the swirling of the nations, and the meddling of well-meaning politicians, let wise decisions be made that affect lives and hearts made sore by suffering.

God be over all and be glorified.

In the dependency the EU has on Turkey to feed and welcome millions of Syrians – the leverage that Turkey would seek to extract and return – the clampdown on free speech that is taking place within Turkey’s borders – in the complicated and provoking puzzles the Russian administration continues to add into the equation – Let your spirit and your presence come, catching hearts and minds first in heavenly embrace and then in clearest leading.

We give You thanks Lord, for You are good;
and Your love endures for ever.

Be over all and be glorified.