19 August 2017

*** How Not To Become A Target On Social Media

It's August and for much of the world that means it is vacation time. In recent days I've seen ample evidence of this as people have tweeted, posted on Instagram and otherwise announced their vacation plans to the world. In many cases they even provide play-by-play updates. While sharing this information with friends can be fun, these details are being broadcast to a wider audience that is not well known to vacationers, if at all. And this is where the danger lies: Crooks are increasingly finding social media to be a criminal intelligence gold mine.

Nobody's Home

Advertising one's vacation plans is like sending out a notice to criminals that your home may be unoccupied. You may have plans to have the mail picked up and even timers on the lights to make it appear that someone is home, but widely announcing that you will be gone for a week or two is an invitation for criminals to pay a visit. This can be compounded by people posting photos of all their nice belongings on other social media and by either listing their address or having loose privacy and location settings that reveal exactly where the photos were taken. These posts not only tell criminals that the house is vacant, but also show what is worth stealing and where the house is.

Unfortunately, with the explosion of social media, more people are increasingly, and unwittingly, providing this information to anyone who is watching. I have seen colleagues who have thousands of followers on Twitter (and certainly they do not know all of them) announce they are not home by posting that they have arrived in airport X or announce that they are going to attend a conference in city Y for a week. They even tag the locations they are posting from. When I see such a post, I grit my teeth because I imagine a criminal thanking them for the information that their house is vacant or that their wife and small children are now home alone. If one wants to share these details on social media, it is far better to do so after the fact rather than before or during travel.

*** The logic of India’s response to China

Harsh V. Pant

For India, there is only one option regarding the Doklam standoff: standing up to China resolutely to protect its core interests

Amid the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam area in the Sikkim sector, national security adviser Ajit Doval’s visit to China has come and gone. Nothing much has changed on the ground. Beijing continues to harangue and wage its psychological warfare, sometimes by reminding India of 1962 and sometimes by suggesting that countermeasures from Beijing would be unavoidable if the Narendra Modi government continues to ignore the Chinese warnings. Chinese officials even went to the extent of informing a visiting Indian media delegation that Bhutan has conveyed to Beijing through diplomatic channels that the area of the standoff is not its territory though, of course, no evidence for this claim was provided. Thimphu later denied these claims. 

China is also provoking India by asking what New Delhi would do if it “enters” Kalapani region in Uttarakhand or at some place in Kashmir. This is the first time that the issue of Kashmir has been raked up by China at the official level. “The Indian side has also many tri-junctions. What if we use the same excuse and enter the Kalapani region between China, India and Nepal or even into the Kashmir region between India and Pakistan,” Wang Wenli, deputy director general of the boundary and ocean affairs of China’s ministry of foreign affairs, said. 

*** China wants war with India, make no mistake


As the Doklam standoff drags on, China continues its sabre rattling against India. It has threatened to teach a bigger lesson to India than it did in 1962 when it carried out a surprise trans-Himalayan invasion just when the world faced the spectre of a nuclear Armageddon during the Cuban missile crisis between the United States and the erstwhile Soviet Union.

Today, China’s warmongering against India is occurring at a time when another missile crisis is haunting international security — North Korea’s threat to target America’s Gaum island territory with ballistic missiles


But while China was not involved in the Cuban missile crisis, it is central today to the US strategy against North Korea. A US-North Korea military conflict could easily draw in China, which has vowed to support the hermit kingdom in the event of an American preemptive strike.

Consequently, Beijing confronts the possibility of war on two separate fronts — the Korean Peninsula and the Himalayas. This could be one reason why China thus far has not acted on its unremitting threats since June 26 to teach India a lesson.

India, however, cannot afford to be complacent. Just because Chinese President Xi Jinping’s regime has not attacked India thus far does not mean that it won’t act even if it finds circumstances propitious for action.

Redrawing the arc of influence

M. K. Narayanan

Indian diplomacy needs to display higher levels of sophistication for New Delhi to play a global role

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s schedule of foreign visits has been extremely impressive, and he has managed to inject a degree of dynamism into a system accustomed to a more leisurely pace. Estimating outcomes from these visits is, however, more difficult.

Taking the two most recent visits, for example, one can easily see the contrast in outcomes. The U.S. visit was a carefully calibrated one producing few surprises, despite the U.S. President having a reputation of being highly unpredictable. For his part, the Prime Minister charted a time-tested course, concentrating mainly on counter-terrorism and the defence security partnership, avoiding contentious trade-related issues. The naming of the Hizbul Mujahedeen chief as a “specially designated global terrorist” and a “new consultation mechanism on domestic and international terrorist designations listing proposals” were the high points of the counter-terrorism agenda. Reiteration of India’s position as a major defence partner and confirmation of the sale of the Guardian Unmanned Aerial System to India, reflected the deepening security and defence cooperation.

In concrete terms, not much else took place during the visit, despite an oblique reference in the joint statement to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and reiteration of support for “freedom of navigation” in the Indo-Pacific. What was most obvious was the U.S. tilt towards transactional rather than strategic aspects.


Lt Gen SL Narasimhan (Retd)
The stand-off in Doklam is entering the third month. It is worrying to see the kind of coverage that this incident has generated. Practically, every analyst seems to have war on his mind and they have been taking lot of pleasure in painting various scenarios. Television channels have been running operational discussions and some analysts from the West have been painting war scenarios and working on games theory. It appears the whole world would be happy to see India and China go to war. Needless to say, most of the people, covering the issue, do not know the Doklam area well.

Some reporters and analysts have written about the three warfares. Readers would recall a series of articles on that subject published by Defence Aviation Post. It is quite likely that China has put into action the three warfares technique.

The frequent question that one hears everywhere in India these days is that whether there will be a war between India and China. War is a very serious business and it should not be thought of in a cavalier manner like this. Fates of countries and societies change due to wars. One does not have go far to realise this. Let us take our minds back to the 1962 War.

Though the Indian Armed Forces alone cannot be blamed for the outcome of that war, it worked on their minds in addition to that of politicians, bureaucrats, diplomats and people of India, for almost three decades. This affected the bilateral relations between India and China adversely. Thankfully, it is fading away. Similarly, the result of 1971 war is still hurting all Pakistanis. The century of fumiliation has been on the minds of the Chinese and that may be a reason for the present stand-off in Doklam.


Maj Gen Raj Kaushal (Retd)

We must not wish for a two-and-a-half front war. Let us first prepare for this eventuality and only then enter in brinkmanship

It is a matter of serious concern that senior members, representing our national security apparatus, have made some wayward statements in the recent past, which seems rather bizarre to say the least.

We have also seen the professional head of our Army talking about the present Indian stand-off with China in Doklam. He said that the Indian Army is fully prepared for a two-and-a-half front (China, Pakistan and internal security requirements simultaneously) war. What an astounding statement? But whom did the Army chief have in mind when he postulated this as a strategic dogma?

Three weeks after his statement, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) spokesman, Col Wu Qian, called the Army chief’s statement “extremely irresponsible” and asked him to “stop clamouring for war”, and learn from “historical lessons” — an oblique reference to the 1962 war with China.

We got so peeved about the statement made by a comparatively lower rank officer that the Defence Minister entered the ring to take on Col Wu Qian. He did not let the Ministry of Defence spokesman respond.

One was also wonder struck when a very senior and sagacious leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) warned Pakistan against sponsoring terror and if not it should learn from “historical lessons” of 1971. In the prevailing geo-political and geo-strategic scenario, can we do a 1971 to Pakistan? ‘Unimaginable’ will be a short answer.

Doklam and beyond

Gen VP Malik (retd)

THE ongoing China-Bhutan-India confrontation at the Doklam grazing ground is characterised less by soldiers sitting eyeball to eyeball and more with bullying, threatening and disparaging language being used by China against India. With soldiers from both sides digging in, the consequences of this confrontation remain unpredictable.

On China’s India-specific attitude, I will start with the Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the India-China Border Areas signed in1993. As a senior Army officer then, I was involved in discussions regarding military confidence-building measures with China, as well as advising Bhutan on the India-Bhutan-China border issues. 

Para 2 of the agreement stated: ‘The two sides agree to reduce their military forces along the LAC in conformity with the requirements of the principle of mutual and equal security to ceilings to be mutually agreed. The extent, depth, timing and nature of the reduction of the military along the LAC shall be determined through mutual consultations between the two countries. The reduction of military forces shall be carried out by stages in mutually agreed geographical locations sector-wise within the areas along the LAC.’ However, after the agreement, despite our best efforts, China backed out on the delineation or disclosure of its perception of the LAC, which had to be the start point for any troop reduction or relocation by either side. 

India’s FDI Reforms Under Modi: Once a Fountain, Now a Drip

In our July update, we reviewed the Narendra Modi government’s progress in completing a list of 30 important domestic reforms pending since May 2014. The government started fast, completing six reforms in its first year but only three more in the subsequent two years. This month we look at the Modi government’s progress in liberalizing India’s foreign investment regime. Since coming to office, the Modi government has executed 37 reforms easing India’s restrictive foreign direct investment (FDI) rules. The majority of changes to the FDI regime came in the second year of the Modi government, with relatively few reforms in years one or three.

Changes in India’s foreign investment rules are notified in two different ways: 

Press Notes: For the vast majority of sectors, FDI regulatory changes are notified through a Press Note issued by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). These Press Notes can also alter other types of regulations on centrally regulated sectors, such as extending the validity of industrial licenses. Some of these Press Notes, such as Press Note 12, 2015 and Press Note 5, 2016 liberalize multiple sectors simultaneously. 

Legislative Change: A small minority of FDI changes are the result of legislative action. This avenue really only applies to the insurance and pension FDI caps, which are set by legislation, and to the coal sector, where recent legislative changes allow private firms—including foreign-owned firms—to establish merchant coal operations. 

China and India are dangerously close to military conflict in the Himalayas

NEW DELHI — As nuclear posturing between North Korea and the United States rivets the world, a quieter conflict between India and China is playing out on a remote Himalayan ridge — with stakes just as high.

For the past two months, Indian and Chinese troops have faced off on a plateau in the Himalayas in tense proximity, in a dispute prompted by moves by the Chinese military to build a road into territory claimed by India’s close ally, Bhutan.

India has suggested that both sides withdraw, and its foreign minister said in Parliament that the dispute can be resolved only by dialogue.

Yet China has vociferously defended the right it claims to build a road in the Doklam area, territory it also claims.

Since the dispute began, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has issued an angry stream of almost daily denunciations of India and its “illegal trespass” and “recklessness,” along with demands that New Delhi withdraw its troops “if it cherishes peace.”

Incursions and scuffles between the two countries have long occurred along India and China’s 2,220-mile border — much of which remains in dispute — although the two militaries have not fired shots at each other in half a century.

Analysts say that this most recent dispute is more worrisome because it comes as relations between the two nuclear-armed powers are declining, with China framing the issue as a direct threat to its territorial integrity. For the first time, such a conflict involves a third country — the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan.

Analysis: Taliban propagandists release ‘open letter’ to President Trump

The Taliban has published an “open letter” to President Donald Trump, urging him to “adopt the strategy of a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan instead of a troops increase.” The letter was clearly penned with the Trump administration’s ongoing debate over the war in Afghanistan in mind.

Senior administration officials have reportedly prepared several plans, ranging from a complete withdrawal to a small increase of several thousand American troops. Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, favors the latter while alternative scenarios have also been presented to the president.

President Trump has been reticent to commit additional forces, as he would then take ownership of the longest war in America’s history. The Taliban obviously knows this and is trying to influence the debate inside the US.

But readers should keep in mind that the new letter is propaganda and should be read as such. The letter is laced with erroneous and self-serving statements. And some of its key points, crafted for Western readers, are contradicted by the facts.

Allied with al Qaeda, which exports terrorism around the globe

The Taliban describes itself as a “mercy for Afghanistan, [the] region and the world because the Islamic Emirate does not have any intention or policy of causing harm to anyone and neither will it allow others to use the Afghan soil against anyone.”

Lashkar-e-Taiba Wreaks Havoc in South Asia, Threatens the U.S.


While much of the United States’ attention in South Asia has centered on battling al Qaeda, ISIS, the Haqqani network, and the Afghan Taliban, several other militant organizations, most notably Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), consistently wreak havoc in the region and directly threaten U.S. interests and security. Although LeT does not have the notoriety of ISIS and al Qaeda, it has previously attempted to strike the U.S. homeland and continues to keep America squarely in sights.

“LeT is arguably the most capable South Asia-based group when it comes to international terrorism,” Stephen Tankel, assistant professor in the School of International Service at American University, told The Cipher Brief. “Its ability to threaten the U.S. homeland directly, i.e. to execute its own terrorist attack, is probably higher than any other group in South Asia.”

Lashkar-e-Taiba, which literally translates to “army of the pure,” was formed in the early 1990s as the militant wing of the prominent Pakistani Islamist organization Markaz al-Dawa-Wal-Irshad – a group that was established in 1986 – and later sent fighters to aid the Taliban’s conquest of Afghanistan in the mid-1990s. Under the guidance of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, known as the ISI, LeT shifted its focus to attacking Indian targets both in the disputed Kashmir region and in India itself. In essence, LeT operates as an extension of the ISI and has evolved into Pakistan’s proxy in Kashmir, similar to the role that the Haqqani network has assumed in Afghanistan.

In Pakistan, Vulnerability Is the Price of Independence

By Kamran Bokhari

There has been one geopolitical constant in South Asia since British colonial rule ended there in 1947: the bitter rivalry between India and Pakistan. On Aug. 14, Pakistan celebrated its 70th year as an independent nation state. India marked its own independence one day later. Both countries indulged in the usual festivities: parades, flags, fireworks and other expressions of patriotism. But when it comes to one another, patriotism bleeds into nationalism and suspicion of the other.

In some ways, this is the natural outcome of the cataclysm that was the partition of India. When the British Raj was split into the states that became India and Pakistan, it triggered a massive migration; 12 million people traversed the newly drawn border, in both directions, to reach their new country. Nearly a million didn’t survive, many falling victim to a terrible episode of communal violence.

Seventy years later, there are few people alive in either country who witnessed these events, but that hasn’t stopped the partition from shaping the national identities of both countries. Competing recollections of partition inform the national psyche and narratives that are taught to children on both sides of the border. Why partition happened is itself the subject of great debate.

Sri Lanka, China and Hambantota


Sri Lankans still hope to get jobs and incomes from Trinco development plans — it has not happened in the case of Hambantota.

In signing off around 70 per cent of the Hambantota Port holdings to a front company of the Chinese Government, as against the originally proposed 80 per cent, the Maithiri-Ranil leadership has done more than what predecessor President Mahinda Rajapaksa had done in his time. Whatever little might have been left open then have been sealed, and for good, and in China’s favour.

Incumbent Ministers defending the present ‘split-agreement’, with one company with controlling stakes for Sri Lanka in port administration and security continue to talk to and in the air as the Rajapaksa aides, if at all, did in their long years in office. The fact is that successive governments have surrendered before the emerging Chinese hegemony (?) in the region, replacing what India-baiters in Sri Lanka loved to call as ‘Indian hegemony’.

After presiding over the Cabinet meeting that cleared the twin-pacts, President Sirisena’s camp has claimed that he got a new, enabling clause for future amendment(s) incorporated and got it accepted by the Chinese side. He has also since claimed that the government will do nothing that would compromise the nation’s ‘sovereignty and dignity’.

Put China’s Intellectual Property Theft in a Larger Context

China competes unfairly in international trade, it has long-standing policies to extract intellectual property (IP) from Western companies, and its companies often show scant respect for IP protection. Confronting China over these practices is long overdue, but the central issue is not IP theft but the unfair treatment of U.S. companies in China.

Calculating the value of intellectual property is difficult. One way is to estimate what stolen IP would fetch on the market if offered for sale or licensing. Companies can value their intellectual property by estimating the income it produces or is expected to produce. The most common error is to value IP at what was paid to develop it. The real value (and hence the cost of IP theft) is how much a product made with the IP will fetch on the market. If I spend a billion dollars to develop a square car tire, its market value is zero, not a billion, and the loss from IP theft is zero. Similarly, if I steal IP and can’t figure out how to make a product with it, the loss from the theft is zero.

The most accurate measure is to look for competing products. If there aren’t any, the harm to the victim is zero. A country could steal “$600 billion” in IP and not gain $600 billion in value. Can we point to products made in China with stolen IP? This explains the difficulty China has faced in its efforts to create a domestic semiconductor industry. Making high-tech products requires “know-how” that can’t be obtained by stealing IP. At the high end, there are products in telecom hardware, high-speed trains, and solar power. Copies of designs for consumer goods—furniture, toys, clothing—do real damage to Western companies. However, these losses, while troubling and harmful are not the issue anymore, and IP theft does not explain China’s advances in technology.

A Powerful China Won’t Respect India

China’s harsh language over a border standoff shows it has no intention of treating India as an equal.

As India’s Himalayan border standoff with China enters its third month, one thing has become glaringly obvious: Beijing has no intention of treating New Delhi as an equal. Belligerent official statements and bellicose articles in Chinese state-run media suggest that, in “Game of Thrones” parlance, President Xi Jinping expects Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “bend the knee.”

The standoff dates to June when Indian troops entered a plateau claimed by both China and the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan to block the Chinese from upgrading and extending a rudimentary road. From India’s perspective, China’s road building on disputed territory looks a lot like its construction of islands in the South China Sea—an attempt to create military advantage by building infrastructure.

Indian analysts fear that the roadwork would make it easier for China to cut off the so-called chicken’s neck, a narrow strip of land that links northeastern India to the rest of the country. Since India has a close treaty relationship with Bhutan, Indian officials play down the unusual step of intervening in a territorial dispute where technically India isn’t a disputant.

China usurps Northeastern tribe to corner India, prove Arunachal Pradesh as part of Tibet

Geeta Mohan

China's unrelenting efforts to prove Arunachal Pradesh as part of Tibet have continued for years. In its latest efforts, the Chinese government has employed a two-pronged approach: psychological (spreading rumours to intimidate the enemy and break down will); and cultural (assimilating different cultural trends) and media warfare (manipulating what people see and hear).

Mail Today has accessed magazines and websites funded by China to further its claims over Arunachal Pradesh being an 'integral' part of Tibet (i.e. China).

Even as the border crisis in Doklam continues, an article published last month in 'China Travel Guide' magazine ferociously promotes tourism in 'southern Tibet' and 'Ziro' as a tourist destination. Interestingly, Ziro lies very much within Arunachal Pradesh.

To further Beijing's argument, the magazine describes the composition and demography of the place and speaks at length of the inhabitants, the Lhoba Apatanis, a 'Chinese' tribe.

Renowned writer and columnist Claude Arpi has argued as to why the Indian government is not countering the Chinese move by 'documenting the rich culture of Arunachal (and Northeast in general) and invite Indian and foreign visitors to come and see for themselves the beauty of the people, their culture, their villages and their wiser sustainable way of life'.

What Is the Best Way to Deal with the Problem of Islamic Terrorism?

Hugo Kirk

The Center for the National Interest partnered with the Charles Koch Instituteto host a foreign policy roundtable. Among the topics addressed was: What is the best way to deal with the problem of Islamic terrorism? Watch the rest of the videos in the series “Today’s Foreign Policy Challenges.”

Reducing the threat of Islamic terrorism has been a primary focus of American foreign policy for more than 15 years. The Bush administration declared a global war on terror, seeking out terrorist groups in their own countries and taking the fight to them. The Obama administration extended this strategy to new theaters. In practice, this has meant war in Iraq and Afghanistan, drone campaigns across the Middle East, and local partnerships to disrupt terrorist networks and destroy their safe havens. The global war on terror has been expensive—a new study from Brown University puts the tab at $5 trillion. Surely these efforts have made America safer?

A panel of top international relations experts thinks otherwise. Collectively, these scholars believe that America’s deep engagement in the Middle East has not helped improve American security. Instead, in the words of Boston University’s Andrew Bacevich, “On balance, U.S. military intervention in the Islamic world has made things worse—at great cost to ourselves and, frankly, at great cost to the people we’re supposedly liberating.” The panelists discussed a number of issues relating to the roots of Islamic terrorism and its implications for U.S. policy. They focused on how Western policymakers perceive the problem and how this has shaped our strategic response. Finally, the scholars discussed practical solutions that the United States should adopt and ways that these might differ from current policy.

In Ukraine, a Malware Expert Who Could Blow the Whistle on Russian Hacking


KIEV, Ukraine — The hacker, known only by his online alias “Profexer,” kept a low profile. He wrote computer code alone in an apartment and quietly sold his handiwork on the anonymous portion of the internet known as the dark web. Last winter, he suddenly went dark entirely.

Profexer’s posts, already accessible only to a small band of fellow hackers and cybercriminals looking for software tips, blinked out in January — just days after American intelligence agencies publicly identified a program he had written as one tool used in Russian hacking in the United States. American intelligence agencies have determined Russian hackers were behind the electronic break-in of the Democratic National Committee.

But while Profexer’s online persona vanished, a flesh-and-blood person has emerged: a fearful man who the Ukrainian police said turned himself in early this year, and has now become a witness for the F.B.I.

“I don’t know what will happen,” he wrote in one of his last messages posted on a restricted-access website before going to the police. “It won’t be pleasant. But I’m still alive.”

Israel Girds for Next Round of Battle in Gaza Strip

Israel on Thursday released detailed intelligence on how Hamas is using newly constructed residential buildings in the coastal strip to disguise the expansion of underground tunnels and command centers from which the Jewish state says the group plans to wage urban war against it.

Israel released the intel to make its case for what it insists is an unwanted, yet potentially necessary new round of combat in Gaza.

Briefing reporters here, Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir, commander of the Israel Defense Forces’ Southern Command, described two homes carefully mapped out by military intelligence ― complete with geolocation target coordinates ― that he insists prove “beyond a shadow of doubt that Hamas is operating within and underneath the cover of civilians, in preparation for the next war.”

During the highly unusual briefing aimed at bolstering Israel’s case should it need to destroy the structures built in heavily populated residential neighborhoods, Zamir insisted Israel possesses “many more such targets beyond what we’re showing you.”

He repeatedly referred to the structures ― one a six-story building and private parking lot with access to a tunnel network, and the other a family home with an entrance to a tunnel that connects to a nearby mosque ― as legitimate targets. “I say these are legitimate military targets, and whoever is endangering himself and his family needs to hold Hamas responsible for what happens,” he said.

The IDF commander said Israel is “fully aware” of the humanitarian distress to the nearly 2 million residents of Gaza, many of whom are subsisting at below poverty levels with a mere four hours of electricity each day. If Israel has to act, Zamir said, it will do so with technology, tactics and procedures aimed at minimizing the so-called collateral damage to uninvolved civilians.

Nevertheless, he acknowledged that civilians would be harmed, which is exactly what Hamas and other Gaza-based groups are counting on “in order to try to damage Israel’s legitimacy.” …

Keeping the North Korean Threat in Proportion

By Anthony Cordesman

There is no question that North Korea poses a major threat to its neighbors and can drag the United States and potentially China into a serious regional conflict. There also is no little doubt that it has some current nuclear strike capability with air delivered weapons and may already have a marginal capability to deliver missiles with nuclear warheads against city-sized targets in South Korea and Japan. In a period of months to years, it will be able to conduct enough tests to develop a reasonable probability of delivering a moderate fission-sized weapon against an American city with a high chance of success. No one should downplay the threat from the so-called Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), or take the proposal that any use of force could escalate to a major war on the Korean peninsula casually.

At the same time, no one should exaggerate the threat to the point of panic, or make North Korea into some kind of towering threat. It may be the most militarized nation in the world, and no one can count on its dictator showing restraint. North Korea has sheltered artillery forces within range of Seoul and they could inflict major damage over time. However, it would take considerable time to do the level of damage some press reports talk about, and the casualties would be far lower, unless Seoul's citizens decide to stay and wait to be targets over day-after-day of bombardment with both South Korean and the U.S. military forces failing to react.

The Road to Radicalism in Charlottesville

“Of course, it was terrorism,” said General H.R. McMaster on Sunday morning, the day after James Alex Fields, Jr. allegedly plowed his gray 2010 Dodge Challenger into a crowd of anti-white supremacist protestors, then reversed and, bumper dangling by a thread, hit still more people on the way back. When he was done, one person, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, was dead and 19 more were injured. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Monday that the attack was an act of “domestic terrorism” and that the Department of Justice was investigating him. Fields is being held without bail on a second-degree murder charge.

In being an act of violence with an apparent political motive, Fields’s alleged actions clearly “count” as terrorism according to most definitions of the term. But there are also parallels between Fields and other terrorists in aspects of his route to Charlottesville.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about Fields, but there is evidence that he was an adherent of a violent and extremist ideology. Just hours before he allegedly drove his car into that crowd, he was seen marching with and carrying a shield featuring the insignia of Vanguard America, a known white-supremacist group. According to Fields’s former high-school teacher Derek Weimer, Fields was also infatuated with the Nazis. “It was obvious that he had this fascination with Nazism and a big idolatry of Adolf Hitler,” Weimer told The Washington Post. “He had white supremacist views. He really believed in that stuff.” A paper Fields wrote in high school, according to the teacher, was a “big lovefest for the German military and the Waffen-SS.”

Leapfrogging: Terrorists and State Actors

by Mohammad Naved Ferdaus Iqbal

The paper attempts to establish that there is an inadvertent exchange of intelligence and counterintelligence (CI) capabilities between terrorist groups and national intelligence as both seek to learn from each other’s successes and failures and adapt accordingly. While national security and intelligence pose as an existential threat for terrorist groups, these violent non-state actors (VNAs) tend to employ high regards for intelligence and CI and, actively pursue a faster pace of learning and adapting to their volatile operating environment. The groups’ competitive edge in asymmetric warfare with state actors have also been a catalyst in altering the intelligence and CI environment, particularly the modus operandi (MO) of national intelligence. The alterations, however, are reciprocal, suggesting leapfrogging between VNAs and state actors. When terrorist groups develop themselves as learning organizations, the ramifications of changes that become evident in their operating environment get quickly incorporated into their MO as well. This expanding intelligence and CI capabilities of terrorist groups, therefore, surface as a considerable threat as opposed to hostile states actors. In order to establish that there is an inadvertent exchange of intelligence and counterintelligence capabilities between terrorist groups and national intelligence, the paper is, organized to lay out how VNAs learn to adapt from past activities; gauge where intelligence and CI activities of VNAs are similar and contrary to those of national intelligence; probe how intelligence and CI activities of VNAs and national intelligence have caused alterations in each other’s intelligence and CI capabilities; and finally, evaluate the magnitude of threat posed by VNAs as opposed to hostile states actors with a national intelligence apparatus.


As you progress in the Army as an officer – and sometimes as an NCO – you’re bound to end up on staff at some point or another. Like death or taxes, it is inevitable – and sometimes as equally dreaded. One of the perks of staff – besides the feeling of constant dread and the ability to always walk around with a cup of lukewarm coffee with the consistency of sludge – is getting to work with people from other branches.

When your career path edges you into higher echelons of the staff, you end up rubbing elbows with people from a multitude of branches – some that you never knew even existed. And nowhere are the differences in personalities from each branch more apparent than on staff. What follows is a breakdown of the type of staff officers that you’ll be wont to come across in your career.

Infantry staff officers – If you can’t ruck it, shoot it, smoke/dip it, drink it, or make it do pushups, the infantry staff officer doesn’t really care about it.

Armor staff officers – Does your course of action involve tanks? Does any part of the operation involve tanks? If not, why? And if yes, then all the tanks need to be doing tank things: namely, rolling over and through the enemy, no matter who they are.

Subs, Swarms, and Stricken Infrastructure: The Vulnerability of the United States to Non-Traditional Terrorist Threats

by Robert Bunker

A thesis submitted to Johns Hopkins University in conformity with the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Global Security Studies, Baltimore, Maryland, May 2017 

The lack of mass casualty domestic attacks in the United States, carried out by

foreign fighters, since 9/11 should not be taken for a sign of future invulnerability. Major Islamic terrorist organizations have previously conducted attacks focused on splashy news headlines and high body counts. However, Al-Qaeda‟s original stated goal was to bankrupt the West, not kill everyone in it. Is the United States simply impervious to such an attack aimed at causing extensive financial or economic damage? Or is the United States vulnerable, and ultimately a sitting duck? This paper will argue the latter.

By examining the relationships between Islamic terrorist organizations and drug- trafficking organizations in Central and South America, and investing the use of advanced narco-submarines by the latter, the goal is to explore a viable means for inserting a group of armed, trained men undetected into the United States. Case studies examine the effectiveness of swarm-style terrorist attacks when compared to WMD and lone-wolf terror attacks. Further case studies seek to highlight extensive vulnerabilities within the U.S. energy and economic infrastructure that, if taken offline via terrorist attack, would result in long-lasting and immensely expensive consequences if attacked. 

What people don’t understand about Life in the Army: Daughter of an Army Officer

Amrit Mann

Nobody is a fan of loose talk and I am no exception. What boils up every drop of blood in me are misinformed conversations that give birth to misinformed opinions.

I recently overheard two so-called ‘educated, suited-booted gentlemen’ discuss the Pathankot terrorist attacks that killed seven of our brave soldiers. In a matter-of-fact manner, they discussed how the slain soldiers’ families will get ‘mota paisa‘ (a big amount) as compensation.

How and what could I possibly tell those men for whom the Army seemed to be just a four-letter word.

“Hume bhi fauj mein hona chahiye tha, bhai (We should have also been in the army)” – the conversation ended with a smirk and a smouldering cigarette butt on the floor.

I should have reacted, given it back to those guys, but I stood there – completely numb. How and what could I possibly tell those men for whom the Army seemed to be just a four-letter word.

The year began on a tragic note for the nation. Waking up to the news of terrorists attacking the Pathankot Air Force station shattered me. What followed were innumerable attack theories, high-level government meetings, blame-game and questions being raised on the country’s security mesh – things that typically happen after an attack in our country.

Silent Attack – Weaponizing Sound: How A ‘Silent’ Sonic Weapon Might Work — And Cause Hearing Loss Without Any Of The People Involved Noticing A Painful, Audible Sound

Tia Chose, who writes for the website, Live Science.com, had an article posted on the August 14, 2017 edition/website Seeker.com, explaining how U.S. diplomats in Cuba may have had their hearing abilities severely damaged, as well as suffering persistent painful headaches, exhaustion, and other unexplained mysterious illnesses/symptoms in the fall of 2016. Numerous media outlets reported last week that as many as eight or nine U.S. diplomats stationed in Havana, Cuba had their tours cut short after suffering severe hearing loss, while others, who chose to remain, suffered less debilitating symptoms. Some Canadian diplomats stationed in Cuba, also suffered similar debilitating symptoms. CBS News, among many other news outlets, reported on their website, August 10, 2017, that “after months of investigation, U.S. officials concluded that the American diplomats had been exposed to an advanced [covert surveillance] device that operated outside the range of audible [human] sound; and had been [deliberately/secretly] deployed — either inside, or outside their residences. It was not immediately clear,” CBS News noted, “whether the device was a weapon used in a deliberate attack, or had some other [surveillance] purpose.” 

Ms. Chose decided to do some informed speculation as to what was responsible for the debilitating symptoms that our diplomats and Canada’s suffered. “While the mysterious story has a lot of holes,” she wrote, “one possibility is that the worker[/s] were exposed to infrasound, or low-frequency sound waves that are below the audible [human] hearing rang,” said Dr. Charles Liberman, Director of the Eaton-Peabody Laboratory at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston.

Three Reasons World War III Is Not Going to Happen Anytime Soon

Parag Khanna

Nine wars have been predicted to erupt since the early 1990s, and all have failed to materialize. They have neither become the regional-scale conflicts predicted by international affairs experts, nor have any resulted in the much-fabled World War III. And conflicts which have occured, from the civil war in South Sudan to America's occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, were predicted by no one.

As a whole, says Parag Khanna, the world has become a more peaceful place, but not for the reason typically given: trade. Plenty of nations that have traded with each other have gone to war. European nations, for example, consistently traded goods for generations for becoming the wellspring of two major armed conflicts. Today, says Khanna, there are additional reasons we don't go to war.

Financial interdependence is one. More than ever before, countries hold one another's debt in the form of currency reserves, all backed by the American dollar. Acting aggressively has become too financially risky for even the wealthiest countries. Another deterrent against war is "supply chain integration," i.e. the companies of one country making goods in another. Were a (trade) war to break out between the US and China, for example, a corporation like Walmart would have more to lose than the American economy could accept.

Will U.S. Cyberwarriors Be Ready for the Next Big Hack?

By Sandra Erwin

Hackers around the world see weaknesses in U.S. voting systems, electric grids and other pillars of American society.

Russia’s alleged election meddling and other high-profile breaches have created a heightened sense of vulnerability even as new gee-whiz technologies to keep hackers at bay flood the market.

To deter future attacks, experts warn, the United States needs to shore up its defenses and upend the perception that its systems are easy prey.

“I guarantee the North Koreans and the Iranians saw what the Russians did and they’re going to try things in 2018 and 2020,” said former Pentagon cybersecurity policy chief Eric Rosenbach. “We have to change the perception that they’re going to get away with that,” he said at an industry conference last month.

Intelligence analysts have been raising red flags about North Korea taking a page from the Russian playbook. Cyberattacks are part of the regime’s “nontraditional methods that they can use to both support their own goals and gain some leverage in the international community,” said Priscilla Moriuchi, director of strategic threat development at Recorded Future and a former National Security Agency official.

“When it comes to cyber, they have realized that the cyber realm is an area in which they can exercise a degree of power and influence that they don’t have in other more conventional areas,” she said in a recent podcast.

Policing the Dark Alleys of the Internet: The Takedown of AlphaBay and Hansa


On July 5, Thai police arrested a man in Bangkok named Alexandre Cazes, a 26-year-old Canadian, for running an expansive online criminal bazaar called AlphaBay. Previously only known to law enforcement by his online moniker DeSnake, Cazes reportedly made the mistake of using his personal Hotmail email address to communicate with users who had forgotten their login passwords, revealing his real identity to police. Cazes was arrested on behalf of U.S. authorities under charges relating to narcotics distribution, identity theft, money laundering, and other crimes. A week after his arrest, he was found dead in what was reported as a suicide, hanging in his cell at the Thai Narcotics Suppression Bureau while awaiting extradition to the U.S.

At the time of his arrest, Thai police seized his open laptop that was already logged into the server hosting the AlphaBay website – giving authorities control over the site as well as access to a ledger of Cazes’ assets totaling some $23 million.

According to the July 20 announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice, AlphaBay, which was created in 2014, boasted some 200,000 users, 40,000 different vendors for roughly 250,000 toxic chemicals and illegal drugs, including opioids, 100,000 listings of stolen and fraudulent identification documents, as well as counterfeit goods, hacking toolkits, firearms and other illicit commodities. With the site hosting an estimated $600,000 to $800,000 a day in transactions, AlphaBay was comparatively 10 times the size of the reported $1.2 billion Silk Road online illicit marketplace, which was seized in November 2013 with some 14,000 listings for illicit goods and services – the largest so-called darknet marketplace at the time.

The spy's nest

Dilip Bobb

India as a spymaster's Disneyland? So says a new book by a former KGB defector and his co-author.

The Russian agency declared India as "the model of KGB infiltration of a Third World government" with "scores of sources throughout the Indian government, in intelligence, counter-intelligence, defence and foreign ministries, the police ..."

The agency had so many agents and sources that then KGB chief Yuri Andropov turned down an offer by an Indian cabinet minister for a payment of $50,000 in exchange for information. Suitcases of cash were sent to then prime minister Indira Gandhi for her party's war chest, not to mention vast sums of money funnelled to the CPI.

All this and much more is alleged in two chapters of The Mitrokhin Archive II, due for publication in India next month. Extracts, however, appeared in the press, leading to a blizzard of denials and protestations from the Congress and the Left.

Their injured innocence has failed to dent the credibility of the book and its intriguing contents. When The Mitrokhin Archive was published in 1999, the book created a tsunami in western intelligence circles because of the authoritativeness and detailed information copied from thousands of KGB files.