December 22, 2017

Open letter to Dr.Manmohan Singh

Dear Dr. Manmohan Singh,

In an uncharitable attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi last Sunday, you accused him of lowering the dignity of his office.

The reason was obvious. You secretly met a former foreign minister of Pakistan and its high commissioner at the residence of a party colleague, and now that it has become public, you don’t know where to hide your face. So you attack. That’s the only way out for you, considering the fact that this party colleague who goes by the name of Mani Shanker Aiyar, had not long ago sought the Pakistani establishment’s help to overthrow the Narendra Modi government in India.

That your laboured rationalisation for the meeting came after your party spokesperson Anand Sharma denied that any such meeting was held, says a lot about the agenda of the meeting.

You asked Prime Minister Modi to “show the maturity expected of the high office he holds,” forgetting that it is you who needs it more. That, however, is not the objective of my writing this open letter to you here. I’m writing this letter to tell you Dr. Singh, how you, have on numerous occasions lowered the dignity of the constitutional office of Prime Minister, when you were holding it.

Dr. Singh ! Let me tell you. Your new-found bravado is not going to change people’s perception about your incompetence as an administrator and impotence as a leader. Because they know. They know that…

The dignity of Prime Minister’s office was lowered when in 2004, immediately after you took over as Prime Minister, you created an extra-Constitutional body called National Advisory Council (NAC), just to create an office for your boss Sonia Gandhi. This helped Sonia enjoy perks of power at taxpayer’s cost, without being accountable to anybody in this country, neither to the Parliament nor to the President of India. The Prime Minister’s office was lowered Dr. Singh, when you let NAC emerge as a parallel cabinet that often overrode the decisions taken by the union cabinet which is the constitutionally mandated body to frame government policies.

The dignity of Prime Minister’s office was lowered in 2013, when Rahul Gandhi, a mere vice president of the Congress at that time, tore up an ordinance passed by your cabinet, at a crowded press conference. But your “insatiable desire” to enjoy the perks of power, did not let you resign as PM or seek Rahul Gandhi’s ouster from the party.

The dignity of Prime Minister’s office was lowered in 2005, Dr. Singh, when you as Prime Minister apologised to the nation for the anti-Sikh massacre of 1984. If anyone ever should have tendered an apology, it should have been members of Rajiv Gandhi’s family or the president of the Congress party which was Sonia Gandhi. But like a committed slave of your mistress, you provided her with an escape route and took it upon yourself to ask forgiveness of the Sikh community, even though YOU HAD NO ROLE WHATSOEVER in the genocide.

The dignity of Prime Minister’s office was lowered when in 2005, from the ramparts of the Red Fort, you declared that Muslims will be given special treatment by your government as they have the first right to national resources.

The dignity of Prime Minister’s office was lowered when you, after a meeting with the Pakistani President, General Pervez Musharraf, in Havana in September 2006, announced that like India, Pakistan too was a “victim of terrorism”, and that the terrorist violence in India was not being perpetrated by the ISI, but by “autonomous Jehadi groups.”

The dignity of Prime Minister’s office was lowered when in 2009, on the sidelines of the Non- Aligned Movement summit at Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt, you gave legitimacy to Pakistan’s allegations about “India’s involvement in Balochistan” by signing a joint statement with Pakistan’s prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani which committed “India to share information on any future terrorist threats in Balochistan.”

The dignity of Prime Minister’s office was lowered when the Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif called you – the Indian Prime Minister – a “Dehati Aurat” in front of Indian journalists, yet your office did not register a protest.

The dignity of Prime Minister’s office was lowered when instead of taking action against your cabinet colleagues who were looting the exchequer, you patted and promoted them.

The dignity of Prime Minister’s office was lowered when your cabinet colleagues changed affidavits to save Islamic terrorists and frame innocent Hindus as ” Saffron terrorists.”

Dr. Manmohan Singh !

To defend your indefensible meeting with the Pakistanis, you ask Prime Minister Modi “why ISI was invited to the strategic airbase of Pathankot?” Your question looks ridiculous in the face of facts which are – a) The Pakistani team was not an ISI team as you claim it to be, it was a joint investigation team consisting of people from various fields; b) when the Pakistani team was visiting Pathankot for Investigation, the airbase was visually barricaded by NIA to prevent any view of its critical areas; and c) You’re forgetting Dr Singh that it was you in September 2006 at Havana, who gave ISI a clean chit by categorically saying that “the terrorist violence in India was not being perpetrated by the ISI, but by autonomous Jehadi groups.”

So, read your past statements before you speak, Dr. Singh!

You can no longer hide your complicity in the loot of exchequer which took place under your watch. The fact is that you are a greedy politician who can do anything to hold on to the seat of power, even if it means disowning your own mentor Narasimha Rao who shaped your political career; even if it means promoting the political career of a NINCOMPOOP by saying that he possesses “OUTSTANDING” qualities to become the PM of this nation.

Dr. Manmohan Singh! You are the MOST DISHONEST POLITICIAN this country has ever seen. Kudos for stooping to yet another low as if all your previous lows were not enough for all of us to hang our heads in shame.

History will not be kinder to you, as you once believed, Dr. Singh!

Thank you!

December 21, 2017

Whodunnit? Russia and Coercion through Cyberspace




Courtesy of Yusuke Umezawa / Flickr

This article was originally published by War on the Rocks on 19 October 2016.

Late in May 2014, a group calling itself CyberBerkutleaked a map of the Ukrainian Dnipropetrovsk Oblast administration’s IT resources, information on the Central Election Commission of Ukraine’s servers, and the correspondence of its staff. In the following days, which included the country’s presidential election, CyberBerkut claimed they had again compromised the election commission’s servers, leaked more confidential information, conducted a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack the commission’s website (which instructed potential voters how and where to vote), and blocked the phones of election organizers. The group also released documents implying that the recently appointed governor of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Igor Kolomoisky, was complicit in pro-European Ukrainian plans to promote the “correct” candidate for president of Ukraine.

Despite the best effort of the Russian group behind CyberBerkut, the center-right, pro-European Petro Poroshenko won the Ukrainian presidency. But CyberBerkut wasn’t finished. Almost exactly five months later, the group used similar tactics in the days preceding the Ukrainian parliamentary elections. The results were largely the same: Pro-European candidates won the majority of seats. An uninitiated observer might be keen to discard these events as failed electioneering. After all, Moscow did not succeed in getting its men elected. But to label the operation a failure is to assume that the primary goal was to get pro-Russia officials elected. Over the course of the past four months, we have seen similar operations unfold in the United States, and — as was the case in Ukraine — there are reasons to believe that swaying the election is not the primary objective. Just as in the case of the CyberBerkut incidents, among the key observers of these operations in the United States have been cyber-security firms like FireEye. The manager of their information operations analysis team recently shared some of their findings with me, which informs the analysis below.

On the surface, the United States has been targeted by a series of cyber operations that have resulted in email and other confidential information falling into the hands of individuals or groups that go by the names “Guccifer 2.0”, “DCLeaks”, and “WikiLeaks.” These monikers have then strategically leaked the stolen information in a way designed to sway U.S. public opinion. Due to the content and timing of the leaks, some posit that this is an attempt by an outside power, Russia, to nudge the U.S. general election to a Trump victory.

This view, however, is myopic and betrays a lack of understanding or simplification of Russian foreign policy and influence operations. Beyond simple electioneering, what we are experiencing is a broader attempt by the Russian government to seed uncertainty in the institutions that underpin American democracy and power — both hard and soft. As Dmitry Adamsky notes, Russia’s strategic doctrine “is primarily a strategy of influence, not of brute force,” which seeks to break “the internal coherence of the enemy system—and not about its integral annihilation.” Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, espouses a similar philosophy in considering how to “radically shift regime behavior.”

As everyone who has read a newspaper in the last few years knows, relations between the United States and Russia are strained. Before the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence outright pointed the finger at Russia for the hack of the Democratic National Committee’s server and other campaign-related compromises, several private cybersecurity companies had attributed the data breaches and subsequent leaks to Russia. Here, I will describe how attribution works in a case like this, highlight some of the key data points that show the Russian state is behind this operation, unpack what these events reveal about Russian organization and motivation around cyber and influence operations, and explore options for a U.S. response.

How Does Attribution of a Covert Operation Work?

All cyber operations are covert, at least in the planning and execution stages. Russia’s cyber operations are no different. According to data provided for this article by the private cybersecurity company, FireEye, two separate but coordinated teams under the Kremlin are running the campaign. APT 28, also known as “FancyBear,” has been tied to Russia’s foreign military intelligence agency, the Main Intelligence Agency or GRU. APT 29, aka “CozyBear,” has been tied to the Federal Security Service or FSB. Both have been actively targeting the United States. According to FireEye, they have only appeared in the same systems once, which suggests a high level of coordination — a departure from what we have seen and come to expect from Russian intelligence. So how does an intelligence agency or company go about attributing behavior that is by definition secretive, and does the fact that this activity is taking place (mostly) online change the procedure?

In essence, experts rely on a bevy of technical and non-technical trend data, or what FireEye threat intelligence analyst Will Glass explains as “the careful accumulation of multiple pieces of evidence in sufficient quantity of time.” These pieces of evidence include things like the scope, scale, and sophistication of an operation, the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) the team employs, as well as any discernable motivation for the attacks. These factors combine to form what Glass describes as the “fingerprint for their activities,” and “informs an analytic assessment of who is likely responsible.”

Thomas Rid and Ben Buchanan further unpack this fingerprint by breaking the attribution process out into three tiers: technical, operational, and strategic. For our purpose, understanding how attributional evidence works, we will depart slightly from their framework and use the same descriptive tiers to discuss the relevant evidence at each level.

The technical layer includes indicators of compromise(like unusual network traffic, anomalous user activity, and geographical irregularities in logins), atomic indicators (like “IP addresses, email addresses, domain names, and small pieces of text” used by the attackers), and the specific tools and malware deployed by the attackers.

The second, operational layer can be described to analyze the human side of an operation. It is at this level that TTPs, like the mode of entry — was it a spear phishing attack, a spoofed website, or some other form of entry? — the stealthiness of the attack, and the way the attacking team operated once they gained access to the system, bear relevance. Finally, the third, strategic layer helps contextualize the event.

The strategic layer widens the aperture of the intelligence analysts’ lenses and allows the would-be attributers to examine things like concurrent and relevant global trends and geopolitics that may help connect technical and operational dots. When the adversary, or group that perpetrates the hacks, also strategically leaks the information obtained from the hack or hacks, the lines between dots of evidence become increasingly clearer.

How Do We Know It Was the Russians?

With the technical, operational, strategic framework in mind, what makes these cybersecurity companies and the U.S. government so confident that Russia is behind these hacks and leaks?

In addition to the usual timestamps and TTPs, one major piece of technical evidence presents itself. According to Chris Porter, who heads FireEye’s strategic intelligence teams, the tools used to compromise the Democratic National Committee, the CHOPSTICK and SeaDaddy malware, are tools that we have only ever seen used by APT28 and APT29 respectively.

Operationally, the way the malware is deployed fits with what we know about Russian intelligence’s offensive cyber operations. They typically either spoof a website or conduct a targeted spear phishing campaign to install a dropper and eventually achieve remote access to machines and infrastructure. Furthermore, FireEye has discerned patterns in the registration of the fancybear.net and dcleaks.com domains that appear to “match up with the domain registration behavior seen from APT28 in the past.”

The modus operandi to spread the hacked information also betrays Russian signatures. First, the agents behind the attacks appear to be coopting well known hacking brands, like Anonymous, Guccifer, and PravSector (a Ukrainian political organization). But the activity of these spoofed identities does not comport with the activities we have come to expect from hacktivist groups and their loose affiliates. For example, the tweets and other social media activities undertaken by a group calling themselves the “official Anonymous Poland Twitter” (@AnPoland) strangely received no attention from other factions within Anonymous when they attempted to spread leaked World Anti-Doping Agency data. And the reasons to believe that Guccifer 2.0 is not who he says he is have been well documented. In short, these groups have assumed identities that seem to tie them to established hacktivist groups, but there is no evidence of any actual affiliation between these new monikers and the established hacktivist brands.

Certain tactics around messaging and timing correlate to what FireEye observed of Russian information activity in Ukraine around the annexation of Crimea and the military action in eastern oblasts. In Ukraine, the group CyberBerkut appeared to run both the network operations (the hacking to steal the sensitive data) and the information operations (the media outreach to disseminate the information). The skillset required to successfully conduct the relatively complex network operations is very different from the skillset needed to effectively leverage an information operation. We have seen the same trends with Guccifer 2.0, DCLeaks, and WikiLeaks. Moreover, according to FireEye’s team, the fact that the data breaches and the information leaks (or announcements that the information is to be leaked) happen in quick succession suggests a team structure with a healthy division of labor, discussed in greater detail below.

Finally, when we take the strategic context into account, the picture sharpens. We have seen the Russian government attempt to manipulate narratives in a way that suits their interests perhaps more than any other state. In addition to the campaign in Ukraine, there is strong evidence to suggest that the Russian state has attempted to coerce political narratives in Estonia, Czech Republic, and within their own country.

Further, as of January 2016, influence operations were officially engrained in Russian national strategic doctrine. According to the doctrine, the national security organs of the Russian state must continue to be prepared for growing confrontation in the global information space, due to the desire of some countries to use information and communication technologies to achieve their geopolitical goals, including through the manipulation of public opinion and falsification of history.

What Can We Learn About the Russian Playbook?

As many others have observed, this type of activity is not exactly new. It is just new that the United States is on the receiving end. Russian information operations do not necessarily push a cohesive message. Instead, they tend to identify key audiences and feed information specifically intended for that group. This leads to inconsistent and even contradictory messaging. In a way, this plays into the hands of the Russian operators whose goal is to sow uncertainty and dissolve confidence in any dominant narrative.

Russian intelligence agencies have been investing in this capability for years, and the organizations appear to retain knowledge over time with regard to how to both organize and operationalize a campaign. As mentioned above, there is reason to believe that a division of labor has occurred within the teams conducting these operations. At least four discrete skills are needed. First are the on-keyboard operators, who are tasked with the network operations, or hacking, portions of the campaign. In support of these on-keyboard operators are researchers who provide the on-keyboard operators with the tools to carry out the job. These tools can be technical tools, like malware, or social engineering instructions. Third, are some more ordinary code developers that help scale the operation and provide the backbone upon which all the others operate. Finally, there are the information operation specialists.

Because the information operators target specific populations and specific journalists with specific information, there is reason to believe that the information operations specialists possess an above average understanding of the local politics and political factions within the United States. Take, for example, the concerted effort to feed damning DNC information to Gawker and the Smoking Gun, two left leaning media outlets, during the Democratic primary. This was a nuanced effort to reach a far left, Sanders-supporting audience to stir up discontent with American institutions, the Democratic Party, and primary. Due to this team structure, and regional specialization, the Russians have been enabled to leverage the pervasiveness of social media to reach their intended audiences in a way that simply was not possible before Facebook and Twitter. According to FireEye’s Information Operations Manager, the overall complexity of these teams is on a level similar to that of U.S. intelligence agencies and is only likely to be housed within a government agency.

What is Russia’s Overarching Goal?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the Russian’s ability to pick out specific messages for specific audiences, several complementary goals appear, aimed at different parts of U.S. society: a general audience and the political elite that are in-tune with national and international security policy.

For the general audience, the goal is likely two-fold. The first is to shake Americans’ confidence in public institutions, to include political parties, democratic processes, and the media. The second, slightly less obvious, goal is likely to deflect some attention away from other Russian actions around the world, like their ongoing questionable operations in Syria and Ukraine.

The U.S. national security intelligentsia likely also see three additional goals. First, Moscow is signaling to the U.S. government, in response to the Snowden revelations of the sophistication and advanced nature of the National Security Agency’s capabilities. Second, and tied to that, this is an attempt to gain a bit of attention and recognition for Russian cyber capabilities and prestige on the world stage. Finally, this is likely an attempt by Russia to figure out where America’s redline might be in this context.

What is to Be Done?

The Russian actions have put the Obama administration in a sticky situation for a number of reasons. There is little the administration can do that would dissuade these operations, because, with Russia’s still plausible deniability, the kind of responses the administration would need be rather severe to make the Russian’s cease operations and could risk an escalatory response from Russia. In order to withstand that type of response from Russia, the administration would need the American public behind them — a tenuous prospect at best.

While the U.S. government’s hands are somewhat tied, there are a couple of simple actions that U.S. organs could take to both inform the Russians that this will not stand and help reshape the narratives the Russian operations have distorted. First, the U.S. government could expel SVR and GRU operatives posed in Washington under diplomatic cover. This is a relatively common tactic to inform an adversary that their intelligence operations in your country are approaching an unacceptable point. Second, U.S. media can do a better job of pointing out inconsistencies in the narratives that the Russians have constructed, as Kurt Eichenwald did last weekwhen he pointed out that he was not, in fact, Sid Blumenthal, despite Russian and Trump camp insistence to the contrary.

About the Author

Robert Morgus is a Policy Analyst with New America’s Cybersecurity Initiative where his research focuses on the intersection of international affairs and cybersecurity

Whodunnit? Russia and Coercion through Cyberspace




Courtesy of Yusuke Umezawa / Flickr

This article was originally published by War on the Rocks on 19 October 2016.

Late in May 2014, a group calling itself CyberBerkutleaked a map of the Ukrainian Dnipropetrovsk Oblast administration’s IT resources, information on the Central Election Commission of Ukraine’s servers, and the correspondence of its staff. In the following days, which included the country’s presidential election, CyberBerkut claimed they had again compromised the election commission’s servers, leaked more confidential information, conducted a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack the commission’s website (which instructed potential voters how and where to vote), and blocked the phones of election organizers. The group also released documents implying that the recently appointed governor of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Igor Kolomoisky, was complicit in pro-European Ukrainian plans to promote the “correct” candidate for president of Ukraine.

Despite the best effort of the Russian group behind CyberBerkut, the center-right, pro-European Petro Poroshenko won the Ukrainian presidency. But CyberBerkut wasn’t finished. Almost exactly five months later, the group used similar tactics in the days preceding the Ukrainian parliamentary elections. The results were largely the same: Pro-European candidates won the majority of seats. An uninitiated observer might be keen to discard these events as failed electioneering. After all, Moscow did not succeed in getting its men elected. But to label the operation a failure is to assume that the primary goal was to get pro-Russia officials elected. Over the course of the past four months, we have seen similar operations unfold in the United States, and — as was the case in Ukraine — there are reasons to believe that swaying the election is not the primary objective. Just as in the case of the CyberBerkut incidents, among the key observers of these operations in the United States have been cyber-security firms like FireEye. The manager of their information operations analysis team recently shared some of their findings with me, which informs the analysis below.

On the surface, the United States has been targeted by a series of cyber operations that have resulted in email and other confidential information falling into the hands of individuals or groups that go by the names “Guccifer 2.0”, “DCLeaks”, and “WikiLeaks.” These monikers have then strategically leaked the stolen information in a way designed to sway U.S. public opinion. Due to the content and timing of the leaks, some posit that this is an attempt by an outside power, Russia, to nudge the U.S. general election to a Trump victory.

This view, however, is myopic and betrays a lack of understanding or simplification of Russian foreign policy and influence operations. Beyond simple electioneering, what we are experiencing is a broader attempt by the Russian government to seed uncertainty in the institutions that underpin American democracy and power — both hard and soft. As Dmitry Adamsky notes, Russia’s strategic doctrine “is primarily a strategy of influence, not of brute force,” which seeks to break “the internal coherence of the enemy system—and not about its integral annihilation.” Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, espouses a similar philosophy in considering how to “radically shift regime behavior.”

As everyone who has read a newspaper in the last few years knows, relations between the United States and Russia are strained. Before the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence outright pointed the finger at Russia for the hack of the Democratic National Committee’s server and other campaign-related compromises, several private cybersecurity companies had attributed the data breaches and subsequent leaks to Russia. Here, I will describe how attribution works in a case like this, highlight some of the key data points that show the Russian state is behind this operation, unpack what these events reveal about Russian organization and motivation around cyber and influence operations, and explore options for a U.S. response.

How Does Attribution of a Covert Operation Work?

All cyber operations are covert, at least in the planning and execution stages. Russia’s cyber operations are no different. According to data provided for this article by the private cybersecurity company, FireEye, two separate but coordinated teams under the Kremlin are running the campaign. APT 28, also known as “FancyBear,” has been tied to Russia’s foreign military intelligence agency, the Main Intelligence Agency or GRU. APT 29, aka “CozyBear,” has been tied to the Federal Security Service or FSB. Both have been actively targeting the United States. According to FireEye, they have only appeared in the same systems once, which suggests a high level of coordination — a departure from what we have seen and come to expect from Russian intelligence. So how does an intelligence agency or company go about attributing behavior that is by definition secretive, and does the fact that this activity is taking place (mostly) online change the procedure?

In essence, experts rely on a bevy of technical and non-technical trend data, or what FireEye threat intelligence analyst Will Glass explains as “the careful accumulation of multiple pieces of evidence in sufficient quantity of time.” These pieces of evidence include things like the scope, scale, and sophistication of an operation, the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) the team employs, as well as any discernable motivation for the attacks. These factors combine to form what Glass describes as the “fingerprint for their activities,” and “informs an analytic assessment of who is likely responsible.”

Thomas Rid and Ben Buchanan further unpack this fingerprint by breaking the attribution process out into three tiers: technical, operational, and strategic. For our purpose, understanding how attributional evidence works, we will depart slightly from their framework and use the same descriptive tiers to discuss the relevant evidence at each level.

The technical layer includes indicators of compromise(like unusual network traffic, anomalous user activity, and geographical irregularities in logins), atomic indicators (like “IP addresses, email addresses, domain names, and small pieces of text” used by the attackers), and the specific tools and malware deployed by the attackers.

The second, operational layer can be described to analyze the human side of an operation. It is at this level that TTPs, like the mode of entry — was it a spear phishing attack, a spoofed website, or some other form of entry? — the stealthiness of the attack, and the way the attacking team operated once they gained access to the system, bear relevance. Finally, the third, strategic layer helps contextualize the event.

The strategic layer widens the aperture of the intelligence analysts’ lenses and allows the would-be attributers to examine things like concurrent and relevant global trends and geopolitics that may help connect technical and operational dots. When the adversary, or group that perpetrates the hacks, also strategically leaks the information obtained from the hack or hacks, the lines between dots of evidence become increasingly clearer.

How Do We Know It Was the Russians?

With the technical, operational, strategic framework in mind, what makes these cybersecurity companies and the U.S. government so confident that Russia is behind these hacks and leaks?

In addition to the usual timestamps and TTPs, one major piece of technical evidence presents itself. According to Chris Porter, who heads FireEye’s strategic intelligence teams, the tools used to compromise the Democratic National Committee, the CHOPSTICK and SeaDaddy malware, are tools that we have only ever seen used by APT28 and APT29 respectively.

Operationally, the way the malware is deployed fits with what we know about Russian intelligence’s offensive cyber operations. They typically either spoof a website or conduct a targeted spear phishing campaign to install a dropper and eventually achieve remote access to machines and infrastructure. Furthermore, FireEye has discerned patterns in the registration of the fancybear.net and dcleaks.com domains that appear to “match up with the domain registration behavior seen from APT28 in the past.”

The modus operandi to spread the hacked information also betrays Russian signatures. First, the agents behind the attacks appear to be coopting well known hacking brands, like Anonymous, Guccifer, and PravSector (a Ukrainian political organization). But the activity of these spoofed identities does not comport with the activities we have come to expect from hacktivist groups and their loose affiliates. For example, the tweets and other social media activities undertaken by a group calling themselves the “official Anonymous Poland Twitter” (@AnPoland) strangely received no attention from other factions within Anonymous when they attempted to spread leaked World Anti-Doping Agency data. And the reasons to believe that Guccifer 2.0 is not who he says he is have been well documented. In short, these groups have assumed identities that seem to tie them to established hacktivist groups, but there is no evidence of any actual affiliation between these new monikers and the established hacktivist brands.

Certain tactics around messaging and timing correlate to what FireEye observed of Russian information activity in Ukraine around the annexation of Crimea and the military action in eastern oblasts. In Ukraine, the group CyberBerkut appeared to run both the network operations (the hacking to steal the sensitive data) and the information operations (the media outreach to disseminate the information). The skillset required to successfully conduct the relatively complex network operations is very different from the skillset needed to effectively leverage an information operation. We have seen the same trends with Guccifer 2.0, DCLeaks, and WikiLeaks. Moreover, according to FireEye’s team, the fact that the data breaches and the information leaks (or announcements that the information is to be leaked) happen in quick succession suggests a team structure with a healthy division of labor, discussed in greater detail below.

Finally, when we take the strategic context into account, the picture sharpens. We have seen the Russian government attempt to manipulate narratives in a way that suits their interests perhaps more than any other state. In addition to the campaign in Ukraine, there is strong evidence to suggest that the Russian state has attempted to coerce political narratives in Estonia, Czech Republic, and within their own country.

Further, as of January 2016, influence operations were officially engrained in Russian national strategic doctrine. According to the doctrine, the national security organs of the Russian state must continue to be prepared for growing confrontation in the global information space, due to the desire of some countries to use information and communication technologies to achieve their geopolitical goals, including through the manipulation of public opinion and falsification of history.

What Can We Learn About the Russian Playbook?

As many others have observed, this type of activity is not exactly new. It is just new that the United States is on the receiving end. Russian information operations do not necessarily push a cohesive message. Instead, they tend to identify key audiences and feed information specifically intended for that group. This leads to inconsistent and even contradictory messaging. In a way, this plays into the hands of the Russian operators whose goal is to sow uncertainty and dissolve confidence in any dominant narrative.

Russian intelligence agencies have been investing in this capability for years, and the organizations appear to retain knowledge over time with regard to how to both organize and operationalize a campaign. As mentioned above, there is reason to believe that a division of labor has occurred within the teams conducting these operations. At least four discrete skills are needed. First are the on-keyboard operators, who are tasked with the network operations, or hacking, portions of the campaign. In support of these on-keyboard operators are researchers who provide the on-keyboard operators with the tools to carry out the job. These tools can be technical tools, like malware, or social engineering instructions. Third, are some more ordinary code developers that help scale the operation and provide the backbone upon which all the others operate. Finally, there are the information operation specialists.

Because the information operators target specific populations and specific journalists with specific information, there is reason to believe that the information operations specialists possess an above average understanding of the local politics and political factions within the United States. Take, for example, the concerted effort to feed damning DNC information to Gawker and the Smoking Gun, two left leaning media outlets, during the Democratic primary. This was a nuanced effort to reach a far left, Sanders-supporting audience to stir up discontent with American institutions, the Democratic Party, and primary. Due to this team structure, and regional specialization, the Russians have been enabled to leverage the pervasiveness of social media to reach their intended audiences in a way that simply was not possible before Facebook and Twitter. According to FireEye’s Information Operations Manager, the overall complexity of these teams is on a level similar to that of U.S. intelligence agencies and is only likely to be housed within a government agency.

What is Russia’s Overarching Goal?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the Russian’s ability to pick out specific messages for specific audiences, several complementary goals appear, aimed at different parts of U.S. society: a general audience and the political elite that are in-tune with national and international security policy.

For the general audience, the goal is likely two-fold. The first is to shake Americans’ confidence in public institutions, to include political parties, democratic processes, and the media. The second, slightly less obvious, goal is likely to deflect some attention away from other Russian actions around the world, like their ongoing questionable operations in Syria and Ukraine.

The U.S. national security intelligentsia likely also see three additional goals. First, Moscow is signaling to the U.S. government, in response to the Snowden revelations of the sophistication and advanced nature of the National Security Agency’s capabilities. Second, and tied to that, this is an attempt to gain a bit of attention and recognition for Russian cyber capabilities and prestige on the world stage. Finally, this is likely an attempt by Russia to figure out where America’s redline might be in this context.

What is to Be Done?

The Russian actions have put the Obama administration in a sticky situation for a number of reasons. There is little the administration can do that would dissuade these operations, because, with Russia’s still plausible deniability, the kind of responses the administration would need be rather severe to make the Russian’s cease operations and could risk an escalatory response from Russia. In order to withstand that type of response from Russia, the administration would need the American public behind them — a tenuous prospect at best.

While the U.S. government’s hands are somewhat tied, there are a couple of simple actions that U.S. organs could take to both inform the Russians that this will not stand and help reshape the narratives the Russian operations have distorted. First, the U.S. government could expel SVR and GRU operatives posed in Washington under diplomatic cover. This is a relatively common tactic to inform an adversary that their intelligence operations in your country are approaching an unacceptable point. Second, U.S. media can do a better job of pointing out inconsistencies in the narratives that the Russians have constructed, as Kurt Eichenwald did last weekwhen he pointed out that he was not, in fact, Sid Blumenthal, despite Russian and Trump camp insistence to the contrary.

About the Author

Robert Morgus is a Policy Analyst with New America’s Cybersecurity Initiative where his research focuses on the intersection of international affairs and cybersecurity

New Geopolitics in the Middle East?



Image courtesy of tetracarbon/pixabay

This article was originally published by the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) on 27 November 2017.

The possible creation of a new geopolitical reality in the Middle East may have snuck under the radar this holiday weekend. The continuing spectacle of the investigations into Russia’s possible involvement in the 2016 Election and the continued naming and shaming of corporate leaders and politicians involved in sexual harassment (as well as Thanksgiving), may have overshadowed the summit in Sochi between the Presidents of Russia, Turkey, and Iran, shortly after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited President Putin in the same city (and thanked him for “saving Syria”).

The three presidents announced the winding down of the radical Islamist threat in Syria and the continued cooperation of their three states until “the final defeat” of the Islamic State and the al-Nusra front. More significantly, they announced the convening of a Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi in the near future, aimed at a “political solution to the crisis through a comprehensive, free, fair and transparent Syrian-Syrian process, that leads to a draft constitution with the support of Syrians and free and fair elections with participation of all people in Syria, under the proper supervision of the United Nations” (not a little ironic, considering the questionable democratic bona fides of the three regimes) and stressed their continued joint involvement in rebuilding Syria. According to the Russian press, Putin called President Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, President Abd el-Fatah a-Sisi of Egypt, and Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and informed them of the details of the summit.

The chiefs of staff of the three states’ militaries met in Sochi as well just before the summit: they discussed the current situation in Syria, outlined further steps to be taken in order to “destroy terrorist groups, ensure security in the de-escalation zones, and to pave the way for political settlement of the conflict.” Russian Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov noted that “the active phase of the military operation in Syria is nearing its completion … Although some issues are yet to be addressed, this stage is coming to its logical end.”

The EU noted “ … the statement of the three Astana guarantors in Sochi [in addition to the agreement of the Syrian opposition on the composition of its delegation to the Geneva talks slated to start November 28] … allows us to now look forward to the next round in Geneva, with the strong hope that the way is now paved for concrete decisions between the Syrian parties including on transitional governance, a constitutional process and UN-supervised free and fair elections.” The Astana process launched by the three powers last year (and largely viewed in the West as a marginal talking shop) is now poised to dovetail with the stalled U.N.-led Geneva process and may, with the heft of the three international players who have put the most skin in the game on the battlefield behind it, open the way to a resolution of sorts to the Syrian crisis.

This is only the formal pinnacle of cooperation which has been developing between Russia and Iran since the beginning of Russia’s intervention in Syria in 2015, and between Moscow and Ankara since June 2016, after Turkish President Erdogan apologized for the November 2015 downing of a Russian combat jet by Turkey, which had led to a crisis in bilateral relations. Russia and Iran have been closely cooperating, strategically, politically, and operationally to first stabilize the Syrian regime and its forces, and then to assist them in advancing towards victory.

The party which seems to have undergone the most serious change in policy, and has come the farthest to the current three-way cooperation, is Turkey. In the beginning of the Syrian crisis, Erdogan’s government was firmly supportive of the Syrian opposition and condemnatory of Assad’s regime – it even hosted the MOM, the Northern military operations center, which coordinated the efforts of several regional and international powers active in Syria. Turkey’s position on the conflict has evolved, as:

the civil war morphed into a parallel war between the regime and foreign powers (including Russia and the U.S.) against the Islamic State, which has carried out a bloody terror war against targets inside Turkey;the Russian intervention reversed the tide and brought the Assad regime close to victory;Kurdish groups – supported by the U.S. – gained more prominence and power as the most effective Syrian force against the Islamic State, raising latent fears in Turkey of possible Kurdish irredentism (which were only fanned by the recent aborted moves by the Iraqi Kurds towards independence).

Turkey’s ire at the United States after the April 2016 coup attempt, which Turkish officials have accused the U.S. of abetting, and the U.S. refusal to extradite Fethullah Gulen, led them to the door of Putin, for whose authoritarianism President Erdogan seems to also feel a kinship. Turkey’s understanding that in the current populist atmosphere in Europe – which has found anti-Islamic and anti-Turkish expressions – has buried their forlorn hopes for accession to the EU, may also have contributed. Turkey is becoming less and less an integral and dependable part of NATO. The Turkish media is rife with reports of intense Turkish-Russian cooperation in the defense industry/security field (including the possible sale of Russian S-400 air defense systems, and construction of a Russian nuclear reactor in Turkey). As Metin Gurcan notes in Al-Monitor, “this year, 66.5% [of [Turkish poll respondents] said the United States is the worst threat to Turkey, up from 44.1% a year before. Last year, only 14.8% thought that strategic cooperation with Russia could be an alternative to EU membership. This year, that figure reached 27.6%.”

Turkey and Iran share a common interest in calming Kurdish national fervor, which will be promoted by an end to the civil war in Syria – whether negotiated or compelled – and a return to more centralized rule, combined with the developments in Iraqi Kurdistan. To contain Kurdish ambitions, Turkey also needs to cooperate with the other countries perceiving a threat from their direction: Assad’s Syria – the key to which is in Russian and Iranian hands – and Iranian-influenced, Shiite-dominated Iraq. The Turkish daily Hurriyetreported in the wake of the summit that President Erdogan ruled out any place for the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), in the Sochi conference; he added that he believes that Putin and Assad share this view.

Iranian newspapers and news sites described the Sochi meeting as a process leading to a “new Middle East.” The reformist Shargh daily wrote, “this summit indicates that the unity among Iran, Russia and Turkey is more prominent than in the past and these countries are engaged in a joint road map that is designed for Syria, and has been pursued in various summits. … Today, Iran, Turkey and Russia are drawing a road map for the new Middle East.”

Saudi Arabia hosted, contemporaneously with the Sochi summit, a meeting of Syrian opposition groups, aimed at forming a united opposition delegation for the Geneva talks. It is not clear how this move meshes with the Russian game plan, or if it runs parallel or even counter to it. In any case, Saudi Arabia may well have contributed to the new regional Great Entente. Saudi Arabia’s overstretched attempt at playing regional architect – and neighborhood bully – is not showing great results, apart from puffing up Iran’s threat to the region and pushing the two non-Arab Muslim powers even closer together. Riyadh is bogged down in Yemen, and absorbing greater and greater international criticism for its role in the humanitarian crisis unfolding there. Its economic war on Qatar – seen as an Iranian ally – has not brought it to heel, but has pushed it even closer economically and strategically to Turkey, which has posted military forces in the peninsular emirate as a deterrent. In addition, its apparent attempt to reengineer Lebanese politics is shaping up to have been “a bridge too far.” The Saudis have neither the strategic experience and acumen nor the military muscle to succeed in the role that has been thrust on them by the lack of American leadership in the region. The promising “moderate Sunni camp,” led by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Jordan, which countered the pro-Assad camp (the regime, Iran, and Hezbollah) at the beginning of the Syrian crisis, is in tatters in the wake of the Russian intervention and the regional reshuffle it put into play.

The key to understanding both the strategic dynamics that led to the Moscow-Ankara-Teheran condominium, and to its possible future significance, is the perceived absence and irrelevance of the West in the Middle East. This is due in a large part to its failure, and specifically that of the United States under Presidents Obama and Trump, to effectively address the crisis in Syria. Russia, Iran, and Iran’s ally and creation, Hezbollah (aided by Iraqi Shia militias), stepped in and turned the tide; Turkey decided to go with the devil it knows (Assad) rather than the anarchic and – for it – even more destabilizing alternatives, to block the Kurds, and to join the winning team. The rest of the world (Israel is a clear exception), including the United States – whose President spoke with Putin for over an hour, “mostly about Syria,” according to Administration officials, two days before the Sochi summit, and seems to have promised President Erdogan in a phone call Friday that military aid to the YPG Kurdish militia will cease – and the EU, are apparently just happy someone (else) is doing the work.

Russia is an important enough player (and has enough other important interests, such as high oil prices and arms sales), that its bloc with Iran and Turkey on Syria does not exclude ties with other players on other issues: Saudi Arabia and OPEC on oil prices, Egypt on arms (look for Cairo’s moving closer to Moscow after the most recent outrage in Sinai) and Israel on de-confliction, as well as containing, and perhaps messaging Iran. Putin will be on his way to winding down the Russian military operation in Syria, and show the Russian public his preeminence as a global leader, before he runs for his next presidential term in March 2018. The Sochi process may also help Iran’s normalization, despite Washington, Jerusalem, and Riyadh’s best efforts.

This attempt to solve the Syrian morass may well go the way of its predecessors. But it seems to bear greater potential than most, both because the regime seems to be close to victory over both the Islamic State and its other opposition, and because the three heavyweights of the Middle East’s northern tier have lined up behind it: “the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.” In any case the new tripartite pact is likely to be able to parley their success into political capital and power in the region, as those who are willing not only to talk but to act decisively, as well to promote Putin as the “go-to” man for regional problems (perhaps outside the Middle East as well).

About the Authors

Joshua Krasna is a Robert A. Fox Fellow in the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Program on the Middle East

The Four Faces of China in Central and Eastern Europe

Image courtesy of the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center/Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

This article was originally published by YaleGlobal Online on 30 November 2017.

An American, a German, and a Chinese gentleman walk into a bar in Prague. The first two order a beer, and the bartender then turns to the Chinese man to ask, “What can I get you?” He simply replies, “The accounts please, I own the place.”

The joke is not entirely removed from reality. The Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI – an economic agenda billed as the Silk Road reincarnated – is putting meat on the bones of Chinese interaction with Central and Eastern Europe. BRI investments play a role in the increased priority attached to the “16+1” – a political format that brings China and the region together. The sixth meeting of heads of states of the Central and Eastern Europe countries and China in Hungary has revealed four faces of Chinese activity in the region: connector, shaper, investor and challenger.

Connector: The Great Wall of China is a longstanding symbol of China’s historic isolationism, but today Beijing steps forward as a major proponent of globalization and flagbearer for international connectivity. This narrative attracts many stakeholders in the CEE region, and the desire to enjoy greater affinity with the global market is a relevant driver behind enhanced China-CEE political relations.

In approaching relations with China, Central European analysis usually focuses on the positive economic aspects of cooperation. Worrying side-effects contained within these benefits are often ignored. Yet it is worth remembering that Beijing invests in the region on its own terms, supporting only those projects deemed strategic, including steel mills, chemical companies, highways and high-speed railways.

China does not need the CEE area to act as a much-mooted “gateway to Europe.” China is already firmly anchored on the continent through trade and investments in the European Union’s big four of Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom. Paradoxically, Beijing may actually serve to re-connect Central and Eastern Europe with the core of the EU as it forces Brussels to pay close attention to Chinese actions in the region.

FDI competition? Europe remains the leading source of FDI for Poland, the largest economy in the Central and Eastern European region, though China promises more (Sources: National Bank of Poland, Ministry of Development, Polish Investment and Trade Agency).

Shaper: China’s proactive attitude has gathered the countries of Central and Eastern Europe around the promise of mutual economic gain. The 16+1 format has developed into a loosely administered club with regular high level meetings, national coordinators and a joint secretariat.

As the CEE-China platform enters its sixth year, there is more understanding among all parties regarding the context of the cooperation. However, China finds it is difficult to curb a tendency to approach the region, exceptionally heterogeneous in nature, as a single bloc. The region’s initial enthusiasm has been replaced with a more cautious stance.

In retrospect, China missed an opportunity to establish a common 16+1 denominator – a goal around which all the countries would unite. China-sponsored big-ticket infrastructure investments have failed to maintain momentum for CEE-Beijing cooperation. As a result, differing opinions have emerged in Central and Eastern Europe on China and its engagement in the region. Hungary and Serbia, the most receptive to capital arriving from Beijing, could be counted among China’s greatest protagonists. Most other CEE governments express a rather neutral stance in regards to the Chinese blueprint, attaching minor relevance to the BRI initiative for their countries.

Chinese authorities’ vision of cooperation with the CEE region is pragmatic, but so far implementation has been weak. Promises of massive investments often do not materialize, including plans for nuclear and coal projects between China and Romania from 2013, and numerous grandiose declarations devoid of real impact inject increasing fatigue into the project.

Investor: Approximately 10 percent of China’s European investments are in the CEE region. Meanwhile, the region itself receives around 90 percent of its investment from the European Union and the United States. China clearly does not consider the region a major investment priority, and the feeling is mutual.

Nevertheless, Beijing’s presence in the region is significant with millions of dollars poured into infrastructure projects, as well as the industrial, service and entertainment sectors. In recent years Chinese CEE investments have followed a similar pattern – concentrating on fusions and strategic acquisitions while leaving greenfield projects aside.

A BRI requirement is that projects should be fully, or at least substantially, executed by Chinese companies and that a local government should guarantee the loan. This approach promotes not only Chinese capital, but also the nation’s technologies and workforce. With such a model, China increasingly looks more like a lender than an investor. Easy access to Chinese money could be particularly risky for smaller 16+1 players, where uncontrolled growth of debt could pose threats to the fiscal stability of their economies. When Montenegro signed a highway contract with China in 2014, it saw its public debt grew by 23 percent. Similar concern about debt burden has led many in Pakistan question China’s massive Belt and Road projects in the country worth more than $50 billion.

The lack of reciprocity in Europe’s investment relationship with China is attracting attention in Europe as well. Whereas Chinese foreign direct investment inflows rise rapidly, the amount of money flowing the other way has stagnated. The asymmetry in investment and trade causes serious concerns in Brussels, but also in other European capitals.

Challenger: As the Chinese economic footprint in Europe expands, so too does the interest paid by Brussels to China’s activities. The Asian superpower – from the perspective of Paris, Brussels or Berlin – is increasingly seen as an economic and political challenger in Central and Eastern Europe and on a wider global scale. After a series of high-profile acquisitions in 2016 and 2017, including those of the Swiss chemical company Syngenta and the German robotics group KUKA, officials in Europe were near a state of panic.

In September 2017, the European Commission’s President Jean-Claude Juncker proposed a screening framework to avoid future foreign takeovers in sensitive sectors. Germany has already tightened its rules on corporate acquisitions, and another 11 EU countries are exploring changes to their national regulations.

Alongside concerns stemming from China’s activities in Western Europe, Beijing’s increased engagement in the CEE region is also regarded as a potential threat to the European Union. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said recently that if Europe does not succeed in developing a single strategy towards China, then China will successfully divide the continent. Warning signs were visible in 2016, when Hungary and Greece – major recipients of the Chinese capital – blocked a strong EU Council declaration on Beijing’s operations in the South China Sea.

Many European officials suspect that Chinese infrastructure projects in Central and Eastern Europe might come with a political price attached. Some countries, seeking not only investments but also alternative political affiliations, are more than willing to play ball.

Beijing’s financial firepower, including tens of billions of dollars in credit lines and the full engagement of mammoth state-owned enterprises, is unprecedented in its scale. It should be remembered in Central and Eastern Europe that China has grown into a promoter of globalization not only out of goodwill but due to its own national interests. And that same pragmatic approach should be adopted by the CEE region and more broadly within the European Union.

About the Author

Michał Romanowski is an expert in Eurasian affairs at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

AAPI QLI hosts 22nd annual gala, honors 4 physicians for excellence

AAPI QLI hosts 22nd annual gala, honors 4 physicians for excellence

 

AAPIQLI (American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin of Queens and Long Island) hosted its 22nd Annual Convention at Huntington Hilton on Long Island, NY on December 16, under the leadership of its President Dr. Rakesh Dua. It was attended by Chief Guest Congressman from NY’s 3rd district Honorable Tom Suozzi, Nassau County Executive elect Honorable Laura Curran, first deputy commissioner at department of health New York State Dr. Eugene Heslin, many dignitaries and more than 600 guests.

Four physicians, Dr. Mohinder Gupta; Dr. Devendra Mehta; Dr. P. Patrick Basu; and, Dr. Usha Krishnan were honored for their life time achievements and money was raised for many local and national charities. Dr. Ajay Lodha, immediate past president of national AAPI and Dr. Gautam Samadder, current president of national AAPI were recognized for their leadership and contributions to the physician community across the nation.

“We are here to celebrate our achievements tonight,” Dr. Dua in his Presidential address. He stated that AAPI QLI was registered in June 1995 as a Not-for-Profit Organization by Dr. Narendra Hadpawat to represent all Physicians of Indian Origin in Queens and Long Island, NY. The Inaugural dinner was held on June 3rd, 1995 at Leonard's of Great Neck, NY and with 150 physicians in attendance.

 

In his address, Tom Suozi praised the contributions of Indian Americans to the larger American society. “In this room, you represent the future of New York And the USA. I see an immense pool of talents among you. We are very lucky to have you. You do so much for the nation,” he said. Tuozi urged AAPI members “not to allow others to pull up the ladder from behind.

 

Echoing the sentiments, Dr. Gautam Samadder, President of AAPI, in his address, pointed out to the ongoing discrimination experienced by Indian American Doctors. He called upon the AAPI members to “stand united, in order to be able to fight for our rights,” while pointing to the fact that Indian American Physicians service every 7thpatient in the nation and contribute to the healthcare industry in the nation.

 

In his inaugural address as the incoming President, Dr. Jagdish Gupta, President-Elect of AAPI QLI, announced the exciting new programs for the members in the year 2018 under his new leadership. “We want to continue to be the most vibrant, transformative and politically active Chapter among all AAPI chapters in the nation,” he said.  

The Mission of AAPI Queens and Long Island has been to represent the interests of all physicians of Indian Origin in the area including providing Continuous Medical Education (CME) and engaging in charitable activities for the benefit of our community at large. Since its inception there was a strong alliance with and support from National AAPI.

 

AAPI QLI grew rapidly in membership and was well accepted by all other local and national professional organizations. From the very beginning the leadership put heavy emphasis on transparency and the democratic process, which is the main ingredient for its enormous success. AAPI of Queens and Long Island currently represents 660 active physicians and donates more than $60,000 annually for charitable purposes. It is also one of the largest chapters of National AAPI.

Ajay Ghosh(203) 583-6750

December 20, 2017

Rahul Gandhi: DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED' Congress President and His Team

A Brief Introduction to the New 'DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED' Congress President and His Team

Son of Rajiv Gandhi will have team comprising of

Son of Tarun Gogoi
Son of Rajesh Pilot
Son of Madhav Rao Scindhia
Son of Murli Deora
Daughter of Sunil Dutt
Son of Madhav Singh Solanki
Son of Bhupender Hooda
Son of Shamsher Singh Surjewal
Daughter of Santosh Mohan Deb
Daughter of Pranab Mukherjee
Son of OOmmen Chandy
Son of A. K. Anthony
Son of Sheila Dikshit
Son of Jitendra Prasad
Son of Saifuddin Soz
Son of Shankar Rao Chauvan

And supporting from allied parties are:

Son of Mulayam Singh Yadav
Sons of Lalu Prasad Yadav
Son of Faruq Abdullah
Sons and Daughter of Karunanidhi
Daughter of Sharad Pawar

.... and so on and on and on

Wow, How Democratic! !

December 19, 2017

How biased is the print media today in India

How biased is the print media today in India.

BJP beats 22 years of anti-incumbency in Gujatat and sweeps Himachal. It grows from 5 states to 19 in 3 years.

Media - This is the beginning of decline of Modi.

Rahul Gandhi's Party loses 29th election in last 5 years. Congress reduced to just 4 states.

Media - Rahul has arrived!

Modi's Achievement on village electrification

Tweet from R Vaidyanathan..

As of 1st April 2015, India had 18,452 villages that were not electrified.
As of 30th November 2017, 15,183 villages from that list have been electrified.

82.28% of target completed in 32 months. Nearly 16 villages per DAY!

If this is not #AccheDin, what else could be?