Skip to main content

Are CNN’s satellite photos of Arctic military bases in Russia “loose lips”? (Video Update)

Written By | Apr 13, 2021

Composite Artwork – Dave McKinney – share-alike Circpex, kkiks_ (eon), Globe map of North America,, Oyashio class submarine, Mike1979 Russia, Hammer and sickle emblem on a Red star, AzaToth, Towns and buildings, building 34 — ArtFavor (Open Clip Art Library), Wireless tower, Burgundavia, Satellite icon, Maxxl, CCTV surveillance camera, Zapyon,

SAN DIEGO. It appears that CNN is now in the spy business, teaming up with Maxar Technologies who obtained satellite photos of Arctic military installations in Russia.  CNN distributed the private satellite captures readily though no DoD support or clearance is evident. The headline “Satellite images show huge Russian military buildup in the Arctic” hit the press on April 5th.

The story begins with “Russia is amassing unprecedented military might in the Arctic and testing its newest weapons.”

As an expert in the do’s and don’ts of writing about our active-duty military, especially Intelligence matters, a great concern arose seeing multiple satellite images and detailed descriptions of Russian military installations, bunkers, weapons demolition sites (complete with a submarine) taken from space.

The images are all copyrighted property of Maxar apparently obtained for use by CNN. The exact nature of this Russian military surveillance operation in the Arctic is not known to this writer or publisher, CDN.

“The satellite images show the slow and methodical strengthening of airfields and “trefoil” bases — with a shamrock-like design, daubed in the red, white, and blue of the Russian flag — at several locations along Russia’s Arctic coast over the past five years. The bases are inside Russian territory and part of a legitimate defense of its borders and coastline,” reported CNN.

Publishing photos taken by sky satellites over Russia’s Arctic turf? Is that even legal for news companies? For anyone? For one country to do to another?

It appears that military secrets are no longer secret

Maxar Technologies is a space tech company based in Colorado. It appears Maxar and CNN have a private arrangement to distribute Russian military satellite photos. Isn’t that overstepping the United States Space Force (USSF) by essentially spying on the Russians?

The Space Force can learn what adversaries are doing before any other nation knows because of the Defense Department’s exquisite intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities,” said Space Forces’ spokesperson Maj. Gen. Kimberly A. Crider.

“The services rely on satellite communications, and the availability of those communications anywhere around the world is necessary, the general said. So the Space Force must be able to make those services reliable, resilient and secure for those who need them,” added Crider.

The word “secure” stands out.

Did CNN acquire authority from the USSF, Department of Defense, the CIA, or the FAA to broadcast these sensitive surveillance images around the world? CNN used them to promote a nuclear warlike narrative about what the Russian military is up to.

This leads to the question, is the release of images designed to create a narrative for Democrats to force the U.S. Military into yet another senseless war?

In the following Fox News report Tucker Carlson asks Tulsi Gabbard (D) Hawaii why would the U.S. ever consider going to war with Russia? She answers, “It is one we should not do. A nuclear war brings about the end of life as we know it. Our leaders should understand this consequence.” (Update)

Did CNN verify Russia’s current goals in the Arctic?

CNN’s report leads you to believe that at any moment we could be looking at missiles or torpedoes wiping out our coastal areas making them uninhabitable for decades. I live near the California Coast and I’m thinking I better build myself a bunker.

“Christopher A Ford, former assistant secretary of state for International Security and Non-Proliferation, said the Poseidon is designed to “inundate U.S. coastal cities with radioactive tsunamis,” says CNN.

In a video in the story – with the source labeled “CNN”,  there are readiness images obtained from the Russian Defence Ministry. We see Russian jets on what looks like a ship deck or tarmac. We get a peek inside a Russian ship and an underwater view of the new Poseidon stealth torpedo. The super-killer weapon is designed to sneak past U.S. coastal defenses and detonate a nuclear warhead.

Kotelniy Island, Bunge Land and Faddeevski Peninsula together, Russia. By User Keith Edkins on en.wikipedia – Originally from en.wikipedia; description page is (was) here09:12, 6 August 2004 Keith Edkins 300×178 (33,093 bytes)08:50, 5 August 2004 Keith Edkins 300×178 (33,006 bytes), CC BY-SA 3.0,

CNN talks about the “persistent buildup of Russian bases” along its own Northern coastline”.  CNN’s satellite photo (not pictured) shows  Kotelny Island, a thin strip of land that over the last seven years has “seen the growth of a large airstrip.” For seven years has CNN been watching?

Military surveillance from geospace up for privatization. Who gets to be a spy?

The use of military-procured imagery from space is highly restricted. Access to aerial photos is a hard nut to crack. Apparently private space tech companies are allowed to profit from selling military surveillance to civilian private companies. While the U.S. is in a hotbed of foreign relations like we have with Ukraine and Russia’s dispute over Crimea. With Biden saying “Crimea is Ukraine.”  What is the motive here?

Will a Nuclear war over oil, energy, be Biden’s favor owed for Hunter’s Burisma board position?

Can we assume that anyone can pay a company like Maxar to take satellite pictures of not only the Russian military but China, Iran, and North Korea? I doubt if any of our nuclear adversaries would welcome a private/civilian U.S. satellite over their heads. It must be okay for CNN backed by the Democrat party, who are not friends with the Russians.

Have no doubt; Russia is a nuclear near-peer adversary to be both respected and feared. And Biden should be de-escalating, not escalating. CNN’s Russia military photos and war narrative adds further risk to Russia/U.S. relations. Maxar on its website calls the media partnership with CNN “leveraging technology for social good and global transparency.”

Typically, military Intelligence is not about transparency.

Military leaders take great pains to protect the people, infrastructure, survivability of the United States in any event of war. And that means keeping secrets secret.

GROTON, Conn, Jan. 31, 2019. The Virginia-class, nuclear-powered, fast-attack submarine, USS North Dakota (SSN 784), transit the Thames River as they pull into their homeport on Naval Submarine Base New London. U.S. Navy photo Cmdr. Jason M. Geddes

Does private military spying over foreign countries break an international treaty or law?

Can the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) answer if it is legal for private companies to sell and distribute satellite imagery of foreign military bases, radar sites, hardware, and underground military storage in their own country? Or what is the military policy regarding foreign private companies taking pictures of our military bases and the like? (This writer reached out to OSD  for comments and will update the story as needed). Does this threaten our troops in the areas of private spy-for-sale surveillance?

CNN describes underground storage sites on the Arctic coastline. They identify in CNN video locations of “two new” Russian radar stations at Provideniya and Wrangel Island (close to Alaska) and in Anadyr show bombers and jets depicted as a quick reaction alert force (QRF).

“Satellite images provided to CNN by space technology company Maxar detail a stark and continuous build-up of Russian military bases and hardware on the country’s Arctic coastline, together with underground storage facilities likely for the Poseidon and other new high-tech weapons. The Russian hardware in the High North area includes bombers and MiG31BM jets, and new radar systems close to the coast of Alaska,” reports CNN.

You can’t identify anything underground from space. Or identify a QRF from miles high. CNN’s Russia vibe is Cold War reborn.

We only have to remember the panic following the ‘War of the Worlds’ radio broadcast. And we must carefully examine the motives of CNN in releasing material now widely spread over the internet.

In the past, military spying has had dire political consequences.

American pilot Francis Gary Powers captured vital intelligence pictures of Russian military activity for Eisenhower. He flew a CIA U-2 spy plane that was shot down over Sverdlovsk. His nemesis, a USSR newly-developed SA-2 Guideline surface-to-air missile. He was unable to activate the plane’s self-destruct mechanism and was captured, sentenced, and held prisoner.

The U.S. government attempted to deceive the Soviet Union. They lied saying a weather plane had strayed off course. The plane crashed unbeknownst to the government almost fully intact. Leading to the confiscation of the top-secret high altitude camera.

The incident set back talks between Khrushchev and Eisenhower. On August 19, 1960, Powers was convicted of espionage, “a grave crime covered by Article 2 of the Soviet Union’s law ‘On Criminality Responsibility for State Crimes'”. His sentence consisted of 10 years’ confinement, three of which were to be in a prison, with the remainder in a labor camp. (wiki)

Why is Biden and CNN pushing us into a dangerous minefield? 

Biden and the Democrat National Committee (DNC) and party and CNN are one. Both in concert with anti-Russia as the unbridled aggressor preparing to launch nuclear weapons and kill as evidenced in recent news.  (Putin so upset over Biden’s killer comments he moved 28,000 Russian troops to Ukraine border, report)

“Recent press releases from the White House, the Defense Department and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization uniformly communicate the message that the U.S. and NATO are willing, and perhaps are preparing, to enter into armed conflict with Russia over their joint client regime in Ukraine,” reports Strategic Culture.

Russia drew its line in Ukraine and the U.S. deliberately crosses it.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 following a controversial referendum that was largely rejected as illegitimate by the international community. Ukraine considers Russia’s presence in the Black Sea peninsula an illegal occupation,” reports Moscow Times in 2017, adding,

“Senior Russian lawmaker Alexei Pushkov said at that time it’s not up to the United States to decide Crimea’s sovereignty.”

Russia clearly feels that way as Ukraine tries to take back Crimea. Russia warns the U.S to ‘stay out’ or trigger a “severe reaction.”

On March 24, 2021, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky

“…signed a declaration of war against Russia in a document you won’t find in the mainstream media,” reports Tech Startups.

Presidential Decree No. 117/2021 establishes the “de-occupation and reintegration of the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.”

Biden and Secretary of State Blinken continue to egg on Ukraine to conflict.

They apparently intend to finish the job they started during the U.S.-led Ukraine coup in 2014 with Blinken as chief architect.

Defense Chief Lloyd Austin confirmed “a recent $125 million package that featured defensive weapons and other key capabilities to enhance the lethality, command, and control and situational awareness of Ukraine’s Armed Forces.

Is Ukraine any of our business or is the country just “Biden business”?

Ukraine has a history of enriching the Biden family. Picturing Ukraine as a victim of military aggression is not hard for Biden. His escapades fitting a 50’s era  “true crime” publication. The Biden/Burisma scandal of Biden and his son Hunter’s roles in the Burisma Holdings foreign-aid-for-cash-and-influence affair, go largely untouched by DOJ. And the geopolitical consequences go unnoticed. Until now.

A war with Russia is a chess move that could go seriously wrong.

According to the public record, Russia has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, with a stockpile estimated at 6,375 warheads, of which 4,315 are operational (strategic, non-strategic, and reserve). In addition, Russia’s large arsenal of 1,875 non-strategic warheads is not currently subject to any arms control limitations. Meanwhile, the United States only has 5,800 warheads.

A nuclear deterrence policy is defensive in nature. The U.S. does it, as well as China. Any nation in the world that cares about sovereignty prepares to defend it. Poking at Russia in Ukraine is dangerous for America. There is already a violent history of U.S.-led upheaval there. Is it smart to agitate a nuclear power holding Poseidon torpedoes and Tsirkon anti-ship hypersonic cruise missiles in their silos? Or is war DNC and ally CNN’s goal?

This writer reached out to U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps officials, and Maxar Technologies for comments on the CNN satellite images of the Russian military and bases. As of this writing, no response has been received.


Read more from Patriot Profiles author Jeanne McKinney here



Jeanne McKinney

Senior Staff Writer for CommDigiNews, Jeanne McKinney is an award-winning writer whose focus and passion is our United States active-duty military members and military news. Her Patriot Profiles offer an inside look at the amazing active-duty men and women in all Armed Services, including U.S. Marine Corps, Navy, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and National Guard. Reporting includes first-hand accounts of combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, the fight against violent terror groups, global defense, tactical training and readiness, humanitarian and disaster relief assistance, next-generation defense technology, family survival at home, U.S. port and border protection and illegal immigration, women in combat, honoring the Fallen, Wounded Warriors, Military Working Dogs, Crisis Response, and much more. Starting in 2012, McKinney has won multiple San Diego Press Club “Excellence in Journalism Awards,” including eight “First Place” honors, as well as multiple second and third place recognition for her Patriot Profiles published printed articles. Including awards for Patriot Profiles military films. During the year 2020, McKinney has written and had published dozens of investigative articles in her ongoing fight to preserve America the Republic, the Constitution, and its laws. One such story selected for use in a legal brief in the national fight for 2020 election integrity.