Daily SA: Capitol Hill fencing to return – Forward Observer

Daily SA: Capitol Hill fencing to return

Good morning. Here’s your Daily Situational Awareness for Thursday, 09 September 2021. You can receive this briefing by email by signing up at https://forwardobserver.com/daily-sa


  • Capitol Hill fencing to return
  • Logistics capacity contraction
  • DARPA explores biomining
  • Service academy boards gutted
  • China’s propaganda widespread in West

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FENCING: The Capitol Police Board is expected to emplace new security fencing around the U.S. Capitol before an 18 Sep. rally in Washington. The “Justice for J6” rally prompted Congressional leadership to hold a security briefing on preparations and their expectations for violence at the event. Organizer Matt Braynard dismissed concerns as his team is working alongside Capitol Police, Metro Police, and Park Police “on a daily basis for over a month.” (Analyst Comment: Organizers and some Republican politicians are calling those arrested “political prisoners” following the 6 Jan. Capitol Hill protests and indefinite detentions. The event is likely to receive outsized media attention and a resurgence in “insurrection” narratives. – D.M.

LOGISTICS: The Logistics Managers Index (LMI) report for August indicates a “downward trajectory” for transportation capacity while prices continue to increase. The report said, “It will be interesting to see how much longer supply chains can take this type of pressure — especially given that peak season is just beginning.” Transportation capacity has contracted for 15 consecutive months as depleted inventories and port disruptions keep capacity stretched. (AC: The report predicts a massive market correction, but not before carriers are overwhelmed to meet holiday consumer demands. The global logistics backlog is expected to continue for another 12-18 months as capacity expands. – D.M.)

BIOMINING: The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is examining the industrial use of microbes as biofilters in rare earth mineral processing. Designed to reduce U.S. reliance on China’s mineral extraction for defense projects, the Environmental Microbes as a BioEngineering Resource (EMBER) program quietly launched in July. The new venture coincides with the House Armed Services Committee’s assessment that China and Russia “are capable of weaponizing supply chain vulnerabilities.” (AC: The U.S. and other Western nations are rapidly shifting metal extraction away from China, indicating a worsening of relations and recognition of the dire situation in technology and defense supply-chains. -D.M.)

ACADEMIES: President Biden fired 18 Trump appointees to military service academies advisory boards, including alumni of the academies. Removals include; former spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway, former Press Secretary Sean Spicer and former Director of the Office of Management and Budget Russell Vought and former national security adviser H.R. McMaster, and others. Visitors board members are appointed to a three-year term, indicating a severe break in protocol from past administrations. Rep. Womack (R-AR), from the West Point board, said, “It’s an action expected of a dictator, not a Commander-in-Chief. Playing politics with these institutions sends the wrong message to our future military leaders.” (AC: The purging of institutions, political appointees, and military members is a key indicator of a government consolidating power. This is a continued push by the Biden administration to remove any vestiges of the Trump presidency in Defense Advisory Boards. – D.M.)

PROPAGANDA: A Chinese-backed influence operations campaign, aimed at fomenting real world protests was discovered by cybersecurity firm FireEye. The campaign appears to have started in mid-2019 around the Hong Kong protests but metastasized from regionally impactful inauthentic Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube accounts to 7 languages, on 30 platforms, and 40 “niche forums”. Beyond confusing pandemic information, the campaign attempted to motivate real world protests but FireEye doesn’t have any direct evidence of those occurring. Separate protests events have been digitally altered to appear like pro-CCP events and shared across botnets. (AC: Thousands of accounts are using AI-generated account photos and “echoing” in multiple languages across platforms to construct a perception of advocacy across a number of anti-Western issues. – D.M.)

A Photoshopped image of Dr. Yan’s face on a sign (left), shared across nearly all platforms (original photo on the right) Source: FireEye


HURRICANE SEASON: Tropical Storm Mindy is expected to produce heavy rainfall across portions of southern Georgia and coastal South Carolina. Tropical-storm-force winds are expected across southeastern Georgia this morning along with isolated flash, urban and small stream flooding along coastal South Carolina. According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Larry continues to generate coastal swells and rip currents, but is not expected to make landfall in the U.S.

In today’s Early Warning, Troy provides an overview of the bottlenecks in the global supply chain. Upgrade your Situational Awareness to Early Warning here: https://forwardobserver.com/subscribe

Mike Shelby is a former Intelligence NCO and contractor. He's now the CEO of Forward Observer.

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