17 January 2017

** A Trade-Off in the Brexit Negotiations

London is in a tricky position going into the Brexit negotiations. Since roughly 44 percent of its exports go to the European Union — the source of about 53 percent of its imports — the United Kingdom will likely try to maintain as much access to the bloc's markets as possible. But membership in the EU internal market entails accepting workers from countries in the European Union. This is a sticking point for British voters in the "leave" camp and for British Prime Minister Theresa May's government, which has promised to reduce immigration by withdrawing from the union. If the United Kingdom closes its borders to EU workers, however, the European Union is unlikely to grant it continued access to the internal market for fear that other countries would try to follow its example.

In a televised interview on Sunday, May offered some insight into her plans for navigating the difficult negotiations ahead. The prime minister clarified that her administration is not interested in trying to "keep bits" of the United Kingdom's EU membership and has prioritized recovering full control over its immigration policies in its negotiations with Brussels. Her statements suggest that London will renounce its membership in the EU internal market in favor of a trade agreement with the Continental bloc. Negotiating such a deal will not be easy, but it could pave the way for other member states thinking of leaving the bloc to keep their economic ties with the European Union regardless of membership status.

* The Future of Jihadism in Europe: A Pessimistic View

By Thomas Hegghammer

So why is Thomas Hegghammer pessimistic? In his view, violent Islamist activity in Europe will most likely increase over the next ten years because of four macroscopic trends – 1) the continued growth of “economically underperforming” Muslim youth on the continent; 2) the spread of local jihadi entrepreneurs; 3) persistent conflict in the Muslim world, and 4) continued freedom-of-action for clandestine actors on the Internet.


This article presents a ten-year forecast for jihadism in Europe. Despite reaching historically high levels in recent years, violent Islamist activity in Europe may increase further over the long term due to four macro-trends: 1) expected growth in the number of economically underperforming Muslim youth, 2) expected growth in the number of available jihadi entrepreneurs, 3) persistent conflict in the Muslim world, and 4) continued operational freedom for clandestine actors on the Internet. Over the next decade, the jihadi attack plot frequency in Europe may follow a fluctuating curve with progressively higher peaks. Many things can undercut the trends and lead to a less ominous outcome, but the scenario is sufficiently likely to merit attention from policymakers.

*** In Its Nuclear Race With India, Pakistan Catches Up

The nuclear race between India and Pakistan is intensifying, thanks in large part to Islamabad’s fear that its military is starting to lag behind New Delhi’s. Over the past decade, Pakistan has become alarmed by the widening gap between its ability to wage conventional war and India’s. Pakistan has turned to its nuclear inventory to level the playing field.

But in doing so, Islamabad has spurred its nuclear competition with New Delhi forward even faster, a rivalry that culminated in Pakistan’s Jan. 9 test-fire of the Babur-3 submarine-launched cruise missile. The test of the sea-based nuclear-capable weapon was the first of its kind in Pakistan, underscoring the country’s investment in mitigating the threat looming on its eastern border. But as Islamabad takes steps to bolster its nuclear deterrent, New Delhi will almost certainly follow suit, each state engaging in a dangerous contest to stay one step ahead of the other.


Unable to match India’s massive military expenditures, Pakistan has taken an asymmetric approach to compensate for its comparative weakness: building up its nuclear arsenal. In fact, Islamabad has already begun to design and develop tactical nuclear weapons that could someday be deployed against Indian troops on the battlefield. Now, Pakistan is searching for the second-strike capability that the Babur-3 might provide. With a reported range of 450 kilometers (280 miles), the newest cruise missile could reach most of India’s major cities, though much of the country’s interior — including the capital of New Delhi — would still be out of range.

Offsetting India’s Gains

Pakistan has its reasons for pursuing these capabilities. For one, India is ramping up its investment in anti-ballistic missile defense systems in response to recent advances in the field by Pakistan and China. This, in turn, has prompted Pakistan to shift its attention to producing cruise missiles as an alternative delivery method to ballistic missiles.

India has also begun to develop its own sea-based nuclear deterrent. Based primarily on submarine-launched ballistic missiles, this deterrent would make India’s second-strike measures far more credible, pressuring Pakistan to respond in kind by boosting its second-strike capabilities to better discourage a nuclear attack. This objective has become all the more important to Islamabad in recent years, since its introduction of tactical nuclear weapons has lowered the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons in the region.

Pakistan’s own progress in nuclear weapons is part of the reason India has chosen to modernize its nuclear arsenal. But New Delhi is also becoming concerned by China’s attempts to speed up its nuclear program. The fact that India has to account not only for Pakistan’s weaponry but also for China’s will complicate any efforts to negotiate an arms control deal between New Delhi and Islamabad. As a result, India and Pakistan will continue down their circular path of nuclear buildups and deterrence.
Part of a Dangerous Pattern

Still, creating a plausible sea-based second-strike threat requires a submarine fleet that can fire missiles. As of now Pakistan has only five of these vessels, three of which could be considered fairly modern. Nevertheless, Islamabad plans to dramatically expand its submarine fleet: In 2015, it struck a deal with Beijing to buy eight submarines similar to the Yuan-class model. Pakistan is also in the process of moving its main submarine base to Ormara from Karachi, which is more vulnerable to attack than the new location because of its proximity to the Indian border.

But Pakistan’s reliance on diesel-electric submarines, rather than dedicated nuclear ballistic missile counterparts, comes with significant risks. For example, Pakistani submarines carrying nuclear weapons could come under attack from Indian anti-submarine forces that are unable to distinguish the vessels based on their mission. This could lead Pakistani commanders, who may think the attack is part of an Indian effort to neutralize Islamabad’s sea-based nuclear force, to fire their nuclear missiles during what might otherwise be a conventional conflict.

This links directly to a second danger: the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. Because submarines’ nuclear-tipped cruise missiles must be ready to launch before they leave port, an enormous amount of responsibility and power is placed on the shoulders of the officers piloting the vessels. Untrustworthy commanders or breakdowns in the chain of command could considerably raise the risk of the unsanctioned use of nuclear weapons.

*** One Belt, One Road, No Dice

By Jacob L. Shapiro

In September and October of 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative in visits to Kazakhstan and Indonesia. Before Xi, Chinese strategy had been built off of Deng Xiaoping’s warning in the early 1990s for Chinese leaders to “hide our capacities and bide our time; be good at maintaining a low profile, and never claim leadership.” It is tempting to think of Xi’s OBOR as an ambitious economic development program that will vault Chinese political power ahead in the 21st century and break with Deng’s guidance. A closer analysis of OBOR tempers this kind of thinking for two key reasons. First, the mechanisms by which China will carry out OBOR are in their infancy. More than three years after Xi’s unveiling of the policy, OBOR remains ill-defined and underfunded, and faces an uphill battle against many constraints like geography, Eurasian instability and current trade patterns. Second, OBOR is first and foremost about China’s domestic economic inequalities rather than about China spreading its influence around the globe.

One of the most common analogues used in the media for OBOR is the Marshall Plan. This is a faulty comparison. The Marshall Plan was codified into U.S. law as the Foreign Assistance Act of 1948. A comparison of this document with the OBOR action plan published by various Chinese government agencies on March 28, 2015 is striking. The Foreign Assistance Act of 1948 is a dry, 23-page document written in American legalese. It established clear guidelines for organizations set up to administer funds, advisory boards to oversee those organizations, salaries for officials in charge of the organizations and where they were to live. The Marshall Plan was a highly focused and targeted set of measures formulated and executed with a clear goal in mind: rebuild Europe so that the Iron Curtain could not spread further than it already had across the Continent.

Why India’s ICBM Tests Rile China

By Arun Sahgal

Two back-to-back Agni IV and V missile tests have rattled China, particularly as they signal the growing prowess of India’s inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) development program.

Reacting to the Indian missile tests, Global Times, an English-language Chinese state-owned publication, gratuitously advised “India to cool its missile fever.”

It went on to chastise India for attempting to develop an intercontinental missile capability, adding that owning a few missiles does not mean India has become a nuclear power. “It will be a long time before it [India] can show off its strength to the world,” the Global Times concluded.

The underlying reason for the Chinese outburst is India’s attempt at seeking strategic equivalence with China through its intercontinental missile development program, which can pose a threat to China as well as upset the existing strategic balance in Asia.

Ideological Warfare Against Nonviolent Political Islam

Paul R. Pillar

Legislation introduced by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Representative Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) is regrettable on multiple counts. It represents a perversion of the FTO list and reflects an attitude that is likely to increase rather than decrease Islamist terrorism.

There was no official U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations until 20 years ago, and no need for one despite international terrorism having been a major official concern well before then. Notwithstanding the common practice in public discourse and the press of referring to how this or that government brands or designates a particular group as “terrorist,” any listing or branding by itself accomplishes nothing in combating such groups or reducing terrorism. The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 created the U.S. FTO list for a very specific practical reason. Other provisions in that law criminalized for the first time the provision of material support to foreign terrorist organizations. To make prosecution under this statute possible, there needed to be a precise way of defining what constitutes a foreign terrorist organization. Hence the creation of the list.

The 1996 legislation established a procedure in which the various departments and agencies involved participate in a lengthy review process to examine which groups should be listed as FTOs. The law spells out the criteria to govern the review, which basically are that the group must be an identifiable organization that is foreign and has engaged in terrorism that somehow affects U.S. interests. The review process has been thorough and laborious, including the preparation of detailed “administrative records” assembling the available information about each group under examination. The secretary of state makes the final determinations regarding listing or delisting.

There has been some political manipulation of the list, though it has been to keep or move a group off the list rather than putting it on. The most salient case of this involved the Iranian cult and terrorist group known as the Mojahedin-e Khalq, which Secretary of State Clinton delisted in 2012. The group, which has killed American citizens in terrorist attacks and clearly met the criteria for being on the FTO list, had not changed its stripes. Instead, the delisting was a response to the group’s long-running and well-financed lobbying campaign to win favor in Washington and especially among members of Congress.

A Congressionally-imposed listing of the Muslim Brotherhood would be the first time such politicization would involve putting an organization on the FTO list rather than taking it off. It also would be the first time a group was listed not because of terrorist activities but instead because of dislike for its ideology. Such a Congressional imposition would be a political end-run around the well-established process for applying the best possible expertise and information to the question of whether a group meets the criteria under the law that governs the FTO list. Such a move would reduce further the credibility in foreign eyes of what the U.S. Government say about terrorism, and lend substance to charges that much of what the United States calls opposition to terrorism is really just opposition to politics and ideologies it does not favor.

The Muslim Brotherhood is a predominantly Egyptian organization with origins that go back to the 1920s. Its establishment was partly a response to the fall of the Ottoman Empire and to the militant secularism of Ataturk and his abolition of the Istanbul-based caliphate. For most of its modern history in Egypt, the Brotherhood has been the principal peaceful manifestation of political Islam. During the rule of Hosni Mubarak, the Brotherhood was officially proscribed but in practice tolerated, being allowed to run candidates for office as independents or under the label of some other party. The extent of the Brotherhood’s popular support was demonstrated after Mubarak’s fall, when in a free election a Brotherhood leader, Mohamed Morsi, was elected president. The Egyptian military coup of 2013 began a harsh crackdown that was aimed at political liberties in general but specifically at the Muslim Brotherhood.

The forms and practices of Brotherhood offshoots outside Egypt have depended on the extent of political liberty in each location. In Jordan, for example, the organization has had a status slightly freer than the Egyptian Brotherhood had under Mubarak. The group in Jordan runs candidates and wins parliamentary seats under the Brotherhood’s own party label, the Islamic Action Front. Where political liberty is lacking, something different evolves. In the Palestinian territories, for example, that evolution involved the creation of Hamas (which has its own place on the U.S. FTO list).

The habit of seeing previous Muslim Brotherhood ties in the violent and extreme activities of other groups disregards how participation in these groups, and especially the use of terrorism, is a rejection of the Brotherhood’s peaceful, gradualist path. Such groups are foes, not offshoots or extensions, of the Brotherhood. The groups that terrorized Egypt in the 1990s explicitly opposed the Brotherhood and thought that its peaceful ways were feckless. The leader of one of those groups, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is now the leader of Al-Qaeda.

The fundamental mistake in suppressing groups such as the Brotherhood, or in effect condoning such suppression with a step such as the Cruz-Diaz legislation, is that closing peaceful channels for the expression of political Islam moves more people into the violent channels. We have seen this process playing out in Egypt since the coup, with the harsh practices of military strongman Abdul Fatah al-Sisi being followed directly by an upsurge in terrorist violence in Egypt. The unfortunate lesson being absorbed by many young men with Islamist inclinations is that all those years of forbearance by the Brotherhood were for naught. The lesson is that only a violent path has any chance of success.

The newly introduced legislation is bad not only as a politicization of counterterrorism but also as a counterproductive approach to Islamist terrorism in particular. Also unfortunate are indications of this approach becoming part of the new administration’s direction. A disturbing part of the testimony this week by the nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, was his seamless lumping of the Muslim Brotherhood with “other agents of radical Islam, like al-Qaeda”. Likely to be even more damaging is the entrenchment of indiscriminate Islamophobia at the center of national security decision-making in the White House.

Researchers confirm that Ukraine outage was cyber attack

Security teams have also linked the incident to a string of other hacks

Security researchers have confirmed the powercut suffered by the Ukrainian capital of Kiev was indeed the result of a cyber attack.

Information Systems Security Partners (ISSP), investigating on behalf of national energy company Ukrenego, reported that not only was the incident the work of malicious hackers, it was also linked to a campaign of similar attacks throughout the country.

The power outage, which occurred last December, took out around one fifth of the city's power for just over an hour. The attack closely mirrors the BlackEnergy hack, an attack on another Ukrainian power station that left around 700,000 homes without power in December 2015.

"The attacks in 2016 and 2015 were not much different," ISSP's Oleksii Yasnskiy told BBC News: "The only distinction was that the attacks of 2016 became more complex and were much better organised."

Europe erects defences to counter Russia's information war

By Andrea Shalal

BERLIN, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Nations in Europe, where Germany and France this year hold elections, are erecting defences to counter possible Russian cyber attacks and disinformation to sway Western politics, but intelligence experts say this might be too little and too late.

The issue of Russian "influence operations" has taken on new urgency after U.S. intelligence agencies released a non-classified assessment that President Vladimir Putin ordered a campaign to move the U.S. election in favour of Donald Trump.

European nations and NATO are setting up centres to identify "fake news", bolstering cyber defences and tracking use of social media which target Russian-speaking communities, far-right groups, political parties, voters and decision-makers.

Russia denies cyber warfare and Internet campaigns targeting Western governments. Kremlin watchers say affecting the U.S. election could bring reward for Moscow, while stakes would not be so high in German and French elections.

German intelligence officials, however, say there has been Russian support for eurosceptic, anti-immigrant parties in Germany and across the EU. Chancellor Angela Merkel said she could not rule out Russia interfering in this year's election.

Donald Trump Is Making the Great Man Theory of History Great Again The president-elect’

By David A. Bell

The imminent ascension to the U.S. presidency of Donald Trump, a man whose supporters and detractors both agree is exceptional in the context of American history, raises a question which historians and social scientists generally prefer to shy away from: To what extent does historical change depend on the actions of a handful of unusual individuals — history’s archetypal Great Men and Women — as opposed to large-scale, long-term, impersonal forces?

Professional academics — historians, political scientists, sociologists, among others — who have tried to offer perspective on Trump’s victory and upcoming presidency have generally emphasized the latter. They tend to identify the key phenomenon of the 2016 election as “populism” — an upsurge of hostility to elites, which they explain by reference to the changing social and cultural conditions that left a large group of white Americans economically vulnerable, fearful of outsiders, and bitterly resentful. They credit Trump with successfully mobilizing this group but devote more analysis to the social phenomenon than to Trump himself.

Sparking creativity in teams: An executive’s guide

By Marla M. Capozzi, Renée Dye

Although creativity is often considered a trait of the privileged few, any individual or team can become more creative—better able to generate the breakthroughs that stimulate growth and performance. In fact, our experience with hundreds of corporate teams, ranging from experienced C-level executives to entry-level customer service reps, suggests that companies can use relatively simple techniques to boost the creative output of employees at any level. 

The key is to focus on perception, which leading neuroscientists, such as Emory University’s Gregory Berns, find is intrinsically linked to creativity in the human brain. To perceive things differently, Berns maintains, we must bombard our brains with things it has never encountered. This kind of novelty is vital because the brain has evolved for efficiency and routinely takes perceptual shortcuts to save energy; perceiving information in the usual way requires little of it. Only by forcing our brains to recategorize information and move beyond our habitual thinking patterns can we begin to imagine truly novel alternatives.1

In this article, we’ll explore four practical ways for executives to apply this thinking to shake up ingrained perceptions and enhance creativity—both personally and with their direct reports and broader work teams. While we don’t claim to have invented the individual techniques, we have seen their collective power to help companies generate new ways of tackling perennial problems—a useful capability for any business on the prowl for potential game-changing growth opportunities. 
Immerse yourself 


 by RC Porter 

Mia de Graaf had an article on the January 13, 2017 edition of London’s the Daily Mail Oniline website on an issue that is worrisome, and deadly — potentially causing hundreds of millions of deaths worldwide in a very short period of time. She begins by noting that “scientists [globally] are racing to create a vaccine for the plague — before terrorists develop,” the means, method, and capability to weaponize a biological doomsday bomb. The plague, known as the Black Death, was responsible for wiping out at least a third of Europe’s population alone in the mid-1300s’. Originating in Central Asia, the plague or Black Death, made its way across the sea, via infected rats on board the various trading vessels making their way to Europe. Once the plague arrived in the summer of 1348, it spread across the continent with remarkable speed; and, was referred to as an equal opportunity killer — a master of peasants and kings alike. Six out of every ten people infected would go on to die a very painful, and miserable death. By the time the disease began to fade nine months later, millions of people across the globe had died. Indeed, the outbreak of the plague in the 14th century is considered the most lethal catastrophe in recorded human history.

Using these same casualty rates, a modern-day outbreak of the plague would result in 5 million dead in London alone, all in just nine months. For the modern day U.S. it could mean nearly 200 million dead in that same time period — a staggering and incomprehensible tragedy. 

Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis Volume 9, Issue 1

The articles in this edition of the CTTA provide a threat forecast for global terrorism in 2017. The featured article speculates on how the so-called Islamic State might adapt to its ongoing losses in Iraq and Syria, while the other pieces present terrorism forecasts for four parts of the world – Southeast Asia; South Asia; Central Asia and China; and the Middle East and North Africa. Unsurprisingly, the various authors conclude that terrorism will continue unabated over the next year and will require new and proven responses.

America's Next Secret Weapon (That Can Paralyze a City): Electromagnetic Pulse Artillery Shells

Michael Peck

If the U.S. Army has its way, America’s next secret weapon may be an electromagnetic pulse artillery shell that paralyzes an enemy city.

These special shells won’t carry high explosive. Instead they will emit EMP bursts, or some other non-kinetic technology, to disrupt the computers, radio communications, Internet links and other ties that bind modern societies. And do so without creating any physical damage.

This is sort of a twenty-first-century version of the neutron bomb, that notorious Cold War weapon designed to kill Soviet soldiers through a burst of radiation, while inflicting little damage to property. Except this weapon targets the radio frequency networks that keep a nation functioning.

Russia's Scary S-400 Air Defense System Is Now Protecting the Skies Above Crimea

Dave Majumdar

Russia is bolstering its anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities in Crimea with the addition of the potent S-400 Triumf air and missile defense system.

The addition of the S-400—which can be armed with the 250-mile range 40N6—would afford Moscow the ability not only to keep the peninsula safe from attack, but also threaten airspace deep inside Ukraine should the Kremlin choose to do so.

“A ceremony will be held in the antiaircraft missile regiment of the 4th Air Force and Air Defense Army of the Southern Military District on January 14 for the command post and the S-400 Triumf battalion to assume combat duty," reads Russian Defense Ministry statement according to the Moscow-based TASS News Agency.

Interactive Missile Map Reveals How Messy a NATO-Russia War Would Be

Robert Beckhusen


The first of 3,500 American troops began rolling into Poland for a nine-month-long mission starting on Jan. 8, 2017. It’s an unprecedented length of time for a U.S. armored unit to stay in Eastern Europe. The U.S. Army’s 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division were heading to Zagan and Pomorskie, with the unit’s 87 M-1 Abrams tanks following on trains.

It’s the beginning of a bulked-up and continuous NATO troop rotation to counter a resurgent Russia. In addition to the tanks, the unit is bringing with it 18 self-propelled Paladin howitzers, hundreds of Humvees and 144 Bradley fighting vehicles which will spread out across Eastern Europe.

There hasn’t been a U.S. military deployment in Europe this big since the Cold War.

The myth of America's invincible military

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

Today, with the long benefit of hindsight, France's stunning collapse in the face of Nazi invasion looks almost unsurprising. But at the time, it stunned the world. France was one of the preeminent superpowers of the day. It had one of the world's biggest land armies, navies, and second-biggest colonial empire in the world. Moreover, as France had led the Allies in World War I, a war that was orders of magnitude more terrible than anything anyone had ever known, it had a reputation for military invincibility. When in 1923 Germany delayed paying back war reparations, France invaded, occupied, and easily steamrolled the Weimar Republic's puny military.

And this reputation for military invincibility was one of the things that held the world order together. There are countless causes for why the world backslid into World War II, but an underrated one was the sense that if Hitler really got out of hand, the French and the British together would crush him.

Today, global peace rests on many things, but one of them is the assumption that the United States military is invincible. We justly fill our headlines with reports of casualties in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, but what is striking in our current era is just how little conflict there is. And one reason for that is that no contemporary military can hope to match the United States', so countries that might want to mess with the U.S. or its allies either don't, or do so through comparatively much less destructive and unconventional means, like hacking.

** The Other Side of the COIN: The Russians in Chechnya

by Joss Meakins

Russian rule of Chechnya has been contested since before Pushkin’s time. The two most recent wars should be viewed in part as chapters in a historical narrative which stretches back more than two centuries. A great deal has been written about the terrible atrocities and human rights violations committed by both sides during the First and Second Chechen Wars but considerably less attention has been devoted to the study of Chechnya as an example of success in counterinsurgency. In 2014, there were 525 victims of armed conflict in the North Caucasus—341 killed and 184 wounded, while ‘the figures for 2015 are likely to be around 260 victims—about 200 killed and 50 wounded’(Vatchagaev 2016). Although such numbers are significant, they are a mere fraction of the death rate at the height of the war. According to statistics from the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), 26,000 people were killed in armed conflict from 1994-1995, including 2,000 Russian servicemen (Izvestia 1995). Considering that the real figures may be much higher and that the Second Chechen War was declared to have ‘officially ended’ (BBC 2009) only in 2009, the relative peace of recent years is impressive.

Yet in spite of this, Western scholars have seemed reluctant to engage with Chechnya as a COIN success. Such hesitancy may be partly due to the extreme unpalatability of Russian tactics, as well as a sense of consternation and bewilderment at their efficacy. Russian counterinsurgency methods in Chechnya read like a checklist of ‘Bad COIN Practices’, as defined by the RAND Corporation’s ‘Counterinsurgency Scorecard’. The Russians used ‘both collective punishment and escalating repression, there was corrupt and arbitrary personalistic government rule’ (RAND 2016, p. 3) and much of the local population was swiftly alienated. These methods stand diametrically opposed to the Western fixation on ‘hearts and minds’, as framed by the 2014 US Military Counterinsurgency Manuel (FM 3-24, chapter 7.8). Numerous Western theorists have underlined the foundational importance of winning and retaining the goodwill of the indigenous population (Thompson 1966, Kitson 1971, Nagl 2005, Kilcullen 2009). David Galula presciently foreshadowed much of this theory when he stated that ‘The soldier must then be prepared to become a propagandist, a social worker, a civil engineer, a schoolteacher, a nurse, a boy scout’(Crandall 2014, p. 187).

How to Battle Terrorism in 2017

Georgi Asatryan

It's time to take stock of 2016. The past year can be termed as one of war against international terrorism. Unfortunately, we have to recognize that it has not brought victory over this phenomenon. Furthermore, I would even frankly recognize that the terrorists have triumphed. 2016 has changed the nature of international terrorism. “The plague of the XXI century” has become absolutely decentralized, diffused and multilayered. Let’s focus attention on the following factors during the analysis of international terrorism.

First of all, looking at the conditional map of terrorist activity, two sub-regions can be identified: Iraq-Syria and Afghanistan-Pakistan. The most significant activity and density of terrorism has been focused here throughout the year. It became obvious that availability of "safe haven", where acts of terrorism could be prepared, assists radical activity. The greatest activity occurred in Iraq. The largest number of attacks occurred in this long-suffering country--almost half of the committed for the full year. The density and the concentration of population have led to the large-scale casualties. Sometimes a single terrorist attack in Baghdad has led to the deaths of hundreds of people.

Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s New Cybersecurity Advisor, Knows Nothing About Cybersecurity!

Rudy Giuliani is going to head a new Cybersecurity Working group for U.S. president-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, a move that has caused many to reflexively wonder — what does the former mayor of New York City even know about cybersecurity?

That’s probably a fair question, because Giuliani served as an undisciplined attack dog for Trump during the campaign, saying a large number of patently and provably false things on a wide array of topics.

It is concerning to some that Trump will put him in charge of solving the very real problem of preventing foreign governments from using hacking to undermine our democracy and getting private corporations to treat cybersecurity as vitally important to the economic, security and privacy interests of their businesses, employees and customers.

But Giuliani is not an unqualified pick for this position, just a cynical one.

Since 2003, his consulting firm Giuliani Partners and its subsidiary Giuliani Security and Safety has at least nominally advised clients on cybersecurity, but people who have worked with his firm say the advice is focused more on liability mitigation for companies rather than implementing best security practices.

Antivirus tools are not good enough, says Google’s senior security engineer

By Kavita Iyer 

Google’s senior security engineer and tech expert, Darren Bilby has told fellow hackers that the antivirus applications are actually useless and questioned the overall effectiveness of them, while speaking at the ‘Kiwicon’ hacking conference in Wellington on Thursday.

Referring tp a series of cyberattacks named ‘2009 Operation Aurora campaign’ that made several computers vulnerable to attacks, Bilby said there is no need of ‘magic’ through ineffective antivirus.

He further said, “We need to stop investing in those things we have shown do not work. Sure, you are going to have to spend some time on things like intrusion detection systems because that’s what the industry has decided is the plan, but allocate some time to working on things that actually genuinely help.

“Antivirus does some useful things, but in reality it is more like a canary in the coal mine. It is worse than that. It’s like we are standing around the dead canary saying ‘Thank god it inhaled all the poisonous gas’.”


Ken Bensinger

These Reports Allege Trump Has Deep Ties To Russia

A dossier, compiled by a person who has claimed to be a former British intelligence official, alleges Russia has compromising information on Trump. The allegations are unverified, and the report contains errors.

A dossier making explosive — but unverified — allegations that the Russian government has been “cultivating, supporting and assisting” President-elect Donald Trump for years and gained compromising information about him has been circulating among elected officials, intelligence agents, and journalists for weeks.

The dossier, which is a collection of memos written over a period of months, includes specific, unverified, and potentially unverifiable allegations of contact between Trump aides and Russian operatives, and graphic claims of sexual acts documented by the Russians. BuzzFeed News reporters in the US and Europe have been investigating various alleged facts in the dossier but have not verified or falsified them. CNN reported Tuesday that a two-page synopsis of the report was given to President Obama and Trump.

Now BuzzFeed News is publishing the full document so that Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government.

US Dim Mak point 2: Vulnerability to cyber/electronic warfare


THE United States is the most advanced country in the world in the field of information technology (IT). Practically all of its industries, telecommunication systems, key government services and defense establishments rely heavily on computers and computer networks. But this heavy dependence on computers is a double-edged sword. Advanced IT has thrust the US economy and defense establishment ahead of all other countries, but this strength has also created an Achilles’ heel that can potentially bring the superpower to its knees with a few keystrokes on a dozen or so laptops.

Other technologically advanced nations like China, Russia, Japan, Germany, and Israel are equally vulnerable to cyber warfare like the US. In a way, cyber warfare levels the playing field for other weak nations, as good hackers can also originate from technologically weak nations, and one needs only a couple of really good cyber warriors to launch a cyber attack against a target nation.

What can a full-scale cyber war look like, say, to a major country like the US? Here is an outline of a possible worst-case scenario: A swarm of cyber warriors begin hacking at America’s business, government and military establishments. America’s command, control, computer, communication, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) system will be one of the prime targets. The US ballistic missile system, the anti-ballistic missile system, and the air defense system would be priority targets as well. (Just imagine US ICBMs reprogrammed by hackers to explode a few seconds upon launch!) Neutralization of these systems through cyber attacks would decapitate the entire US defense and deliver a fatal blow to its center of gravity, such as the North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) computers.

How Should We Think About Cyber War, Where Rules Remain to be Written?

by Aaron Lang

The recent hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the United States’ subsequent decision to impose retaliatory sanctions against Russia poses an important question: what does international law have to say about state-sponsored cyberattacks? Unfortunately, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the answer is, very little. While technological innovation races ahead at warp speed, international law has lagged behind.

There are no international treaties on cyber warfare. The Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, is concerned with bad non-state actors in cyberspace—cybercriminals—not with state or state-sponsored actors. Russia and China have proposed an International Code of Conduct for Information Security, which would require a pledge by states not to “use information and communications technologies, including networks, to carry out hostile activities or acts of aggression.” But the proposal has failed to make much headway.

Others have looked to the traditional laws of war; specifically, the jus ad bellum (the law governing a state’s resort to force) and the jus in bello (the law governing a state’s conduct during war). The Tallinn Manual, drafted by a group of experts under the auspices of NATO, distills from the laws of war ninety-five rules that, the drafters say, ought to govern cyber warfare. Those rules would, for instance, allow a state victim of a cyberattack to take “proportionate countermeasures, including cyber countermeasures.” The manual is not a treaty, of course, and thus it is not binding on states.

Julian Assange’s Reddit AMA is a classic internet trainwreck

Earlier today, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange decided to hold an AMA on Reddit. A virtual online press conference is exactly the kind of thing the attention-hungry Wikileaker craves, but today, things aren’t going to plan for him.

Per Reddit custom, Assange announced the thread early, so that questions could be asked and upvoted to provide a list of popular questions to answer. Unfortunately for Assange, the most-upvoted questions are probably not the kind of thing he wants to answer:

People frequently group you together with Edward Snowden because you’ve both released classified American documents. But your motivations and philospophies couldn’t be more different.

Snowden claims to fight for privacy. He’s called privacy the bedrock of freedom, that one cannot be free without privacy.

You have called privacy obsolete and unsustainable. You’ve said that privacy has no inherent value. You appear to believe privacy and freedom are incompatible, that you cannot be free if others can keep secrets from you. You’ve published the credit card numbers, social security numbers, medical information, and sexual preferences of individuals of zero public interest. Two of your most recent publications are the personal Gmail inboxes of civilians, exactly the sort of thing Snowden has tried to protect.

Attributing the DNC Hacks to Russia

President Barack Obama's public accusation of Russia as the source of the hacks in the US presidential election and the leaking of sensitive e-mails through WikiLeaks and other sources has opened up a debate on what constitutes sufficient evidence to attribute an attack in cyberspace. The answer is both complicated and inherently tied up in political considerations.

The administration is balancing political considerations and the inherent secrecy of electronic espionage with the need to justify its actions to the public. These issues will continue to plague us as more international conflict plays out in cyberspace.

It's true that it's easy for an attacker to hide who he is in cyberspace. We are unable to identify particular pieces of hardware and software around the world positively. We can't verify the identity of someone sitting in front of a keyboard through computer data alone. Internet data packets don't come with return addresses, and it's easy for attackers to disguise their origins. For decades, hackers have used techniques such as jump hosts, VPNs, Tor and open relays to obscure their origin, and in many cases they work. I'm sure that many national intelligence agencies route their attacks through China, simply because everyone knows lots of attacks come from China.

On the other hand, there are techniques that can identify attackers with varying degrees of precision. It's rarely just one thing, and you'll often hear the term "constellation of evidence" to describe how a particular attacker is identified. It's analogous to traditional detective work. Investigators collect clues and piece them together with known mode of operations. They look for elements that resemble other attacks and elements that are anomalies. The clues might involve ones and zeros, but the techniques go back to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.