The Wire from S2 Underground

Text Version of The Wire

//The Wire Weekly Rollup//February 18-24, 2024//


-International Events-

Red Sea/HOA: This week marked significant escalations in the region following the most successful targeting of a commercial vessel by Houthi forces so far during the Red Sea Crisis. Sunday night, the M/V RUBYMAR was struck with multiple projectiles, forcing the crew to abandon ship. Originally the vessel was reported as being sunk, but several days after the strikes, imagery obtained by the BBC confirms that the vessel is still afloat, albeit barely. The imagery confirms that severe flooding has caused severe trim to stern, so much so that her deck is awash at the base of the accommodation superstructure. Additionally, her bulbous bow was almost completely above the waterline in the photos provided. The RUBYMAR was allegedly towed into port Djbouti where salvage operations continue.

In response to the success of this strike, the next day Houthi forces targeted several other commercial vessels, including one which was delivering humanitarian aid to Yemen. The M/V SEA CHAMPION was struck with at least one Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM), but was able to continue her voyage to the Yemeni port of Aden where she offloaded her cargo of grain. In the same engagement, the M/V NAVIS FORTUNA and the USS LABOON (DDG 58) were also targeted with missiles, the former successfully. An American MQ-9 Reaper drone was also shot down by Houthi forces during the escalation, which marks the second drone downed by Houthi forces since this conflict intensified in October, 2023.

Throughout the week CENTCOM forces have continued daily missile strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen. Very few details of these now-regular strikes have been made public.


NY: The revelation of a recent rule change has indicated that potentially tens of thousands of illegal immigrants have been allowed to receive substantial cash payments in addition to the monthly benefits already provided. This follows the announcement of $53 million in prepaid cards being issued to illegal immigrants in NYC, which includes payments of up to $10,000 per illegal immigrant, without any accountability requirements or checking identity documents. AC: Quietly passed last year, the New York Governor’s office changed the eligibility requirements for it’s Safety Net Assistance (SNA) program to include illegal immigrants. Though accountability is virtually nonexistent, city officials estimate that approximately 10% of illegals living in NYC (around 17,000) are receiving benefits through this program.

TX: Border situation continues as before, despite little independent media coverage of the truth on the ground. Events in the vicinity of Eagle Pass have largely developed into politics, with Shelby Park mostly serving as a location for photo opportunities or press events due to the halting of illegal immigration in this very small area.

Last week, Texas announced a $131 million plan to build a Forward Operating Base (FOB) near the southern U.S. border. FOB EAGLE BASE CAMP will be completed in September, and will reportedly be a larger version of similar camps already in place throughout the region.

Washington D.C. – The Biden regime has announced the cancellation of an additional $1.2 billion of student debt for approximately 153,000 people. To date, various federal entities have already canceled (or technically, transferred to the American taxpayer) over $138 billion of student loan debt from approximately 3.9 million individuals.

USA: Thursday morning many cyber events were reported on a variety of platforms, utilities, and critical infrastructure. The main cyber impacts were to AT&T’s cellular network, with the majority of AT&T customers being without cell service for much of the day. In a separate incident, many pharmacies across the U.S. reported computer systems being offline, allegedly due to a cyberattack. Wells Fargo brokerage users also reported problems accessing their accounts Thursday morning. It is unclear as to if this was related to any of the other cyber events reported throughout the day. Occurring nearly simultaneously with the initial cellular outage, significant solar activity was observed throughout the day, but it is unclear as to how much this impacted telecom networks.

Friday afternoon, Pentagon officials (via CBS News) disclosed the interception of an unidentified high-altitude balloon flying at an altitude of 40,000ft over the western United States. The Pentagon released very little information regarding the object, but directly quoting the initial CBS report, “One official said the balloon was over Colorado earlier in the day and was expected to be over Georgia by Friday night. The official said the balloon appeared to be made of Mylar and had a small cube-shaped box, about two feet long on each side, hanging below it.”


Analyst Comments: This week has exemplified the harsh lesson that Murphy’s Law strikes at any time, but usually makes an appearance when least desired. Likewise, the desire to remain objective in the face of homeland threats being ignored by defense officials is exceptionally challenging, especially when every fiber of analytical being, combined with the wealth of American defense policy (and history itself) overwhelmingly indicating that airspace violations are usually a clear and present danger to a populace.

At minimum, these events (if viewed through a purely wholesome, coincidental, and innocent lens) are a fantastic lesson that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. Even if all of the cyber events, cellular outages, systems failures, unidentified aircraft, and solar activity are all perfectly benign and unrelated to any sort of hostile act, the compounding of these events is a constant reminder to remain vigilant.

As very few details have been released regarding the high-altitude balloon, theories abound as to its purpose, none of which will likely be confirmed. Despite Pentagon statements, this balloon is not likely to be of civilian origin. The construction and size of the balloon’s payload, the lack of airspace deconfliction, the lack of required transponder data indicating the craft’s identity, the fact that no hobbyist group or commercial company has claimed the balloon, the flight level of over 40,000ft, and the ability to maintain that altitude without ascending or descending as it traversed the United States all strongly indicate that hobby use of this craft can be ruled out. However, though this does indicate both hostile intent and hostile action, this does not necessarily point to foreign use.

On the one hand, the presentation of this craft based on the information that has been made public clearly indicates that it may be a threat. On the other hand, this craft may also be American in origin; a secret reconnaissance platform that got caught by NORAD’s own defenses. The U.S. is certain to have been developing lighter-than-air reconnaissance craft, and extremely secret projects would not be disclosed to everyone that needed to know, including NORAD.

With this in mind, understanding defensive capabilities with regards to these types of incidents is important. Thousands of unidentified aircraft are detected by NORAD each month, almost all of which remain unidentified. The fact that this particular craft was disclosed in such a way as to keep it quasi-secret indicates that this craft was different. Having a mylar construction is an indicator that it was not civilian in nature; along with the de facto admission by officials that the balloon was remaining at the same altitude as it traversed the United States. The tacit implication that the balloon was not transmitting location data is another strong indicator of nefarious intent. As such, the presentation of both a hostile act (being airborne without permission), AND hostile intent (no communications or response to IFF interrogation) confirms that this aircraft was indeed a clear and present danger to the American public, despite what defense officials have stated.

However, until Pentagon officials begin to tell the truth at press briefings, the American public would be prudent to treat these events more cautiously. Though it is always desirable to have a balanced view of world events, and avoid alarmist perspectives, in the fog of war it is sometimes acceptable to adopt a more cautiously defensive posture, and prepare for the more worst-case scenarios. In a dynamic situation, over-reacting to an unknown variable is preferable until more information can be obtained which more accurately outlines the threat (and hopefully lets everyone rest easy).

Red-teaming the balloon event both for posterity, and for future preparedness, if the high-altitude object was hostile or foreign in nature, this could represent a tactic utilized by national adversaries in time of war. Though it is generally unwise to base so much theory on so little information, we must consider all possibilities that are likely based on what little information has been released.

Understanding and discussing the potential is necessary, no matter how serious the implications may be. Though this is a purely speculative theory based on a hunch, the still-unidentified balloon could have been intended to take advantage of the cellular outage on Wednesday. The timing would have been perfect if the intent was to disable a large number of cellular comms, and surveil whatever signals remained. The balloon itself almost certainly didn’t cause the initial outage, but conducting reconnaissance in the wake of a cyberattack would have provided a wealth of intelligence on the backup procedures and frequencies used by military or governmental agencies during an event such as a national cyberattack. Having a birds-eye view to collect radio signals during communications blackout would be extremely valuable for military planning. Likewise, citizens should also be prepared for the contingency that foreign reconnaissance platforms may be launched from within the United States. Launching spy balloons from the hundreds of miles of terrain already owned by Chinese real estate syndicates would be a logical escalation of Chinese reconnaissance activity within the Homeland.

Analyst: S2A1


Spiritual Preparedness Comments

Listening to this summary of this past week’s events left me feeling somewhat powerless. All these things happening, totally out of my ability to affect. The big main concerns are our own marriage, you guys, and our responsibilities and trials. I can’t close the border or shoot down a balloon. So what difference does all this make? 

A common thread right now among Christians who aspire to understand these times is that we were made for such a time as this, borrowing from the key admonition to Esther. (Don’t remember, or know, the book? It’s in the Old Testament. Great story of life-threatening political times.). God positioned her in a particular place at a particular time to take particular action.

I have to believe that God has positioned us in a particular place in this time to take particular action. We have to look at the reality of these days–the old pathways have deteriorated.

The culture has become hostile to us, doing everything it can to bring us into alignment with the enemy’s plans for us. 

I think we have to take an honest inventory of how we’ve gone with the flow because the flow feels stress-relieving–even in our ministries, families, and priorities. Again, listen to Holy Spirit and invite his conviction. Only then will he open up the specific actions he intends us to take in these times–the peculiar reason he placed us here and now.

To reference back to Esther, her life was very much one day at a time. The other people in her circle mostly just lived their lives in the midst of growing political hatred just trying to make ends meet. But for Esther, and her cousins, Mordecai, one particular action changed everything for their people and earned them a place in the Greatest History Book Ever Written. 

I suspect that every believer who stays attuned to these times, in light of Biblical truth, and draws nearer and nearer to God will find that moment comes up, and the actions we take at that moment will become our defining moments.