In Alternative War, former police officer turned investigative journalist James Patrick tackles Russian interference in the UK’s Brexit referendum and the US election of President Donald Trump head-on, exposing the reality of the third world war in the face of fake news and sophisticated disinformation campaigns.
The production of the book was funded through Byline and a number of copies have been funded for distribution to key individuals and public officials.
The book is due for worldwide release on the 18th of August 2017 and will be available through all retailers and online stores in ebook, paperback, and hardcover editions. You can already pre-order the Kindle edition via Amazon, and paperback and hardcover editions can be pre-ordered through publisher Cynefin Road…
I didn’t know any of this in 2016. Like everyone else, I thought the world had simply fallen victim to a deceitful bus and some idiotic, gun-toting rednecks. I was wrong, I’m not ashamed to admit. We all were. But from that mistake arose what I see as a collective duty, to at least try and put things right and make sure it never happens again.
The term ‘hybrid warfare’ was first mentioned sometime around 2005, so the story goes, and the year after it was used to try and describe the tactics deployed by Hezbollah in Lebanon. Since then, the term “hybrid” went on to occupy most of the discussions around modern and future warfare, while also being broadly adopted by senior officials and military groups.
The concept of a “hybrid threat” was first introduced in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s Strategic Concept of 2010 and then incorporated in the NATO Capstone Concept, defining hybrid threats as “those posed by adversaries, with the ability to simultaneously employ conventional and non-conventional means adaptively in pursuit of their objectives.” Their 2010 Strategic Concept, entitled Active Engagement, Modern Defence (AEMD) was, according to the organisation: “A very clear and resolute statement on NATO’s values and strategic objectives for the next decade.” They set their stall out decisively, I suppose as an aid to the uninitiated, saying: “Collective defence, crisis management and cooperative security are the Alliance’s essential core tasks in today’s transformed security environment, an environment the Alliance is equipping itself for both politically and militarily.”
I have always thought of myself as relatively aware of the world in which we live, dared to believe I was in the know, even, but the first concession I had to make was that I knew very little – and not least about NATO. It was just something I’d grown up hearing mentioned all the time but my understanding of it, even after policing, was limited. I now understand this was simply because I have been privileged to have lived through a period in history when war was always very far away. When things were comfortable on the doorstep. I’ve been lucky enough, like many of us, to not need to know.
According to the organisation itself, recapping essential history in the concept’s preamble: “The political and military bonds between Europe and North America have been forged in NATO since the Alliance was founded in 1949; the transatlantic link remains as strong, and as important to the preservation of Euro-Atlantic peace and security, as ever. The security of NATO members on both sides of the Atlantic is indivisible. We will continue to defend it together, on the basis of solidarity, shared purpose and fair burden-sharing.” Straight away it became obvious why NATO is perceived as a threat to its enemies, and why – very squarely – Russia is placed in the category of a potential threat, with particular focus on its ballistic and nuclear weapons being placed on or located within reach of the European borders. NATO makes clear an active and effective European Union contributes to the overall security of the Euro-Atlantic area, defining the union as a unique and essential partner. “The two organisations share a majority of members, and all members of both organisations share common values. NATO recognizes the importance of a stronger and more capable European defence,” the AEMD states, adding: “We welcome the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, which provides a framework for strengthening the EU’s capacities to address common security challenges.” They also clearly refer to the value of the United States, saying non-EU Allies make a “significant contribution” to these efforts. From the beginning, it is easy to see why a country such as Russia may have wished to involve themselves in the affairs of both EU member states and the United States. A response to a response, to a response. Yet, the hand of reciprocal co-operation was firmly on offer.
“Notwithstanding differences on particular issues, we remain convinced that the security of NATO and Russia is intertwined and that a strong and constructive partnership based on mutual confidence, transparency and predictability can best serve our security,” the AEMD adds.
Though the idea of a hybrid threat has come a long way since the concept was first introduced, it was drafted to included cyber-threats, political disruption, state-engaged criminality, and extremism, in addition to traditional warfare threats. Reading it in 2017, it feels like they had a good idea something was cranking up but not precisely what. Perhaps it was the deus ex machina moment, a device introduced to solve the unsolvable. The draft Capstone Concept, while it sounds like something straight out of Jason Bourne was a document completed in August 2010. It articulated the “unique challenges posed by current and future hybrid threats” and explained why these developing challenges required an adaptation of strategy by NATO, so it could adjust both its structure and capabilities accordingly. Capstone discussed both a general approach to dealing with the (then) new hybrid threats, as well as laying down a framework for the organisation to deliver an effective response should such threats manifest in reality. The draft was central in informing the development of the new AEMD Strategic Concept and, even in those early days, NATO was sure “analysis and maturation” would support Capstone’s implementation. The paper also suggested broader implications for NATO’s core military components.
Capstone’s Integrated Project Team (IPT) was established in early 2009, indicating how long the threat we face now had been on the horizon. The IPT subsequently developed a detailed campaign to “assess both hybrid threats and the broader challenges facing NATO within the emerging security environment,” according to Royal Marine Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hills, the IPT’s Lead Concept Developer. “Between 2009 –2010 a number of ACT led international workshops were held to both focus the key analysis and better inform the development of the concept. The workshops included a broad range of participants from NATO and non-NATO organisations,” he said.
Capstone, led by the IPT, asserted that hybrid threats involve any adversaries, including “states, rogue states, non-state actors or terrorist organisations,” who may employ a combination of actions in an increasingly unconstrained operating environment in order to achieve their aims. Almost ten years later, they were proven right.
While not a new problem, at the time NATO said “the interconnectedness of the globalised environment now makes hybrid threats a far more significant challenge for the Alliance and its interests, whether encountered within national territory, in operational theatres or across non-physical domains.” I found the description used chill-inducing: “Hybrid threats will apply pressure across the entire spectrum of conflict, with action that may originate between the boundaries artificially separating its constituents. They may consist of a combination of every aspect of warfare and compound the activities of multiple actors….”
Based on interviews, documents, and information from both sides of the Atlantic, including an expedition to Sweden to explore Russian-sponsored alt-right disinformatsiya, this book uncovers the truth about the undeclared conflict which has rocked democracy, peace, and stability across the West.
Over the course of an extensive investigation spanning Europe, North America, and beyond, Patrick has brought together experts, classified intelligence reports, public records, and witness testimony to build the most extensive and accurate account of Vladimir Putin’s assault on the NATO allies to date. The book documents how detached and deniable assets, including Wikileaks and the far-right – including UKIP and Republican officials – were engaged by Russia to successfully subvert two of the world’s superpowers and install managed democracies in the execution of a strategy planned over decades, to enhance the Russian position and destabilise its perceived enemies.
Alternative War exposes the depth and complexity of a hybrid world war and captures the methods used to profile and manipulate populations in order for Russia to emerge victorious. The book leads us to question everything about Western regulation and enforcement, setting accountability at the highest levels while empowering the people everywhere to help ensure the world is never taken by surprise again.