28 June 2023

India signs Artemis Accords, tightening ties with US in space race with China


WASHINGTON — India has signed the Artemis Accords designed to set norms for exploration and exploitation of the Moon, Mars and potentially mineral-rich asteroids, in what Biden administration officials and experts say is a strategic win for US space policy.

“India signing the Accords is a transformative moment for the Accords and the Artemis program,” Mike Gold, a former NASA official who did much of the original negotiating on the accords, told Breaking Defense.

The signature was formally announced by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden in a press conference this afternoon. The deal came as part of a package of agreements inked during Modi’s first official state visit to Washington that began Wednesday.

“By taking the decision to join the Artemis Accords, we have taken a big leap forward in our space cooperation. In fact, in short, for India and America’s partnership, even the sky is not the limit,” Modi said.

Modi met with Biden this morning, and tomorrow will attend a lunch meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris, who chairs the National Space Council, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, whose department is leading the Biden administration’s charge to establish international norms of behavior for military space activities.

In particular, officials and experts said, New Delhi’s adherence to the Accords represents a boost to US efforts to rally allies to help counter China’s expansion of its own civil and military space activities, as well as Beijing’s use of space as a soft-power tool on the global stage. India long has seen China as its key geopolitical rival — for example joining the US, Australia, and Japan in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, commonly known as the Quad, in 2007.

China-Pakistan economic corridor: Beijing’s expansionist ulterior motives in Gilgit-Baltistan

Roland Jacquard

Its no secret that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is less about economics and more about strategy – China’s strategy. The veneer of economics and development is maintained only to hide the real driving force behind China pumping in tens of billions of Euros into Pakistan. China is now the largest creditor of Pakistan and the latter is likely to become yet another example of China’s debt trap diplomacy. For China, CPEC has no intrinsic value. The real worth of the projects lies in China having not just a footprint but virtual control of two critical pieces of real estate – Gwadar port and the region of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB).

The importance of Gwadar, a port strategically located on the Arabian Sea, lies in the fact that a naval base there will give China a big hold over the maritime traffic passing between West Asia and therefore a say in the global energy economics. On the other hand, control over GB, a landlocked region that is disputed between India and Pakistan, is important because it borders China’s restive Muslim majority province of Xinjiang. Creating a ‘buffer zone’ in GB will assist China in blocking Islamic terror groups access to Xinjiang. In other words, if Gwadar is critical for China’s external power projection, GB is critical for internal security as China fears that this region could become the route for Islamic terrorist groups infiltrating into the country.

Reports of the growing Chinese presence in GB first came around 2010, nearly three years before CPEC was announced. At that time, several hundred Chinese soldiers were believed to be present in GB to secure road links, build infrastructure projects, including nearly two dozen tunnels. After the announcement of the CPEC, the presence of Chinese nationals in GB grew further, ostensibly in connection with the CPEC projects being built in the area. Around 2015, the Chinese started expressing serious concern about security of not only their projects but also their personnel. Later, in 2017 there were reports that China wanted Pakistan to incorporate GB as a province under the country’s Constitution, in order to be on firmer legal basis in so far as Chinese investments in the area were concerned.

Imran Khan on the failed India-Pakistan thaw and why he’s ‘prepared for everything’—even death

Wajahat Khan

Imran Khan, Pakistan’s former prime minister, has been on the warpath in the streets of Pakistan against the military-led establishment ever since he was voted out by parliament last year. Once seen as the military’s darling and reportedly assisted by the military and its intelligence agencies in the elections that brought him to power in 2018, he has now turned on the army and its chief. In an interview with the Atlantic Council this week, he also claimed that the former army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa told him “frequently” that the army was not equipped or prepared for a war with India.

In the interview, conducted June 18, Khan confirmed that there was indeed an opening for peace with India—despite New Delhi’s rescinding of disputed Jammu and Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status in 2019—and the Pakistani army chief favored it. (Bajwa had previously revealed this plan to reporters.) Normalizing trade between the two nuclear-armed countries was reportedly one of the steps that was to be taken before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi could visit Pakistan.
Watch the full interview

However, despite successfully deescalating a military standoff in 2019, Khan couldn’t explain why he faltered on trade normalization with New Delhi after India changed its relationship with the disputed territory of Kashmir by removing its special status in the Indian union. Khan responded to India’s Kashmir move by closing the border for trade with India.

“I don’t remember the trade talks,” Khan said. “All I know is that there was supposed to be a quid pro quo. India was supposed to give some concession, give some sort of a roadmap to Kashmir, and I was going to then host Prime Minister Modi in Pakistan. But it never materialized.”

The Horror of Being Christian in Muslim Pakistan: Just One Month

Raymond Ibrahim

"[T]here was absolutely no case. There was no proof against Noman, and none of the witnesses produced by police could corroborate the blasphemy allegation against him.... This is murder of justice." — Lazar Allah Rakha, lawyer for Norman Masih, a 22-year-old Christian man, sentenced to death for "blasphemy", Morning Star News, May 31, 2023,

"Several people have been lynched over false accusations of blasphemy in Pakistan. At least 57 cases of alleged blasphemy were reported in Pakistan between Jan. 1 and May 10 [2023], while four blasphemy suspects were lynched or extrajudicially killed during the same period..." — Morning Star News, May 22, 2023

"The blasphemy laws have been consistently misused to settle personal disputes, persecute minority groups, and incite mob violence and hatred. We demand prompt action and a collective effort by the government to address these human rights violations." — Retired Justice Nasira Javaid Iqbal, Morning Star News, May 22, 2023.

[A] Muslim policeman, hired to protect a Catholic school run by the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, instead attacked the school and murdered two young girls. — British Asian Christian Association, May 16, 2023.

"[T]he incident [murder] has been officially blamed on the 'mental health' of the man, without investigating his possible relations with Muslim extremist groups." — bitterwinter.org, June 1, 2023.

"[W]hy this horrific terrorist event occurred at the missionary school is due to a hatred of education for women, in radicalised Pakistan." — British Asian Christian Association, May 16, 2023.

In yet another incident... a Muslim family — with the aid of police — beat, tortured, and illegally confined a Christian house-cleaner, soon after she tried to resign due to pregnancy.... When her husband, rickshaw driver Gulfam Masih, went to police to report her missing, officers arrested him instead.... Asma [the cleaner] reported her illegal confinement and beating to police, but officers dismissed her complaint without even bothering to question her. Angered that she had the temerity to report them, the Muslim family registered a theft charge against Asma and her husband, which police did take very seriously. — Morning Star News, May 26, 2023.

Chinese Firm Sent Large Shipments of Gunpowder to Russian Munitions Factory

Ana Swanson and John Ismay

The previously unreported shipments between a state-owned Chinese company and a Russian munitions factory last year raise new questions about Beijing’s role in Russia’s war against Ukraine.

A former Russian base in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine was filled in November with mortar rounds, ammunition and discarded Russian uniforms.Credit...Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

On two separate occasions last year, railroad cars carrying tens of thousands of kilograms of smokeless powder — enough propellant to collectively make at least 80 million rounds of ammunition — rumbled across the China-Russia border at the remote town of Zabaykalsk.

The powder had been shipped by Poly Technologies, a state-owned Chinese company on which the United States had previously imposed sanctions for its global sales of missile technology and providing support to Iran. Its destination was Barnaul Cartridge Plant, an ammunition factory in central Russia with a history of supplying the Russian government.

These previously unreported shipments, which were identified by Import Genius, a U.S.-based trade data aggregator, raise new questions about the role China has played in supporting Russia as it fights to capture Ukrainian territory. U.S. officials have expressed concerns that China could funnel products to Russia that would help in its war effort — what is known as “lethal aid” — though they have not said outright that China has made such shipments.

Speaking from Beijing on Monday, Antony J. Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, said China had assured the United States that it was not providing lethal assistance to Russia for use in Ukraine, and that the U.S. government had “not seen anything right now to contradict that.”

“But what we are concerned about is private companies in China that may be providing assistance,” Mr. Blinken said.

China's cyber assault on Taiwan


Last August, as China captured the world's attention with its large-scale military exercises off Taiwan, another offensive was taking place more subtly in the digital realm.

Across social media, fabricated stories claimed that China was evacuating its citizens from Taiwan and missiles were targeting a local airport, just days after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had arrived on the island.

At the same time, messages appeared on hacked digital signage in 7-Eleven convenience stores throughout Taiwan that had been changed to read: "Warmonger Pelosi, get out of Taiwan!" At a train station in the southern port city of Kaohsiung, altered digital signs called Pelosi "an old witch."

Hackers even brought down Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen's official government website for around 20 minutes.

The cyber front to China's offensive against Taiwan was in full swing.

"We are already at war," Kitsch Yen-Fan, assistant director for the Global China Hub at the Atlantic Council, told 60 Minutes. "This is a constant thing."

According to a 2022 report by the Digital Society Project, a venture of the Swedish institute Varieties of Democracy, Taiwan has ranked as the biggest target for foreign disinformation in the world for nearly the last decade. Taiwanese politicians and researchers say the majority of those attacks originate from China.

Data show that cyberattacks targeting Taiwan spiked ahead of Pelosi's visit to the small island in August of 2022, both in hacking attempts and in disinformation that spread across popular social media platforms, like Facebook, YouTube, and LINE, an instant messaging app popular in Taiwan.

U.S.-China tech battle entering its ‘primetime’ — and generative A.I. could be the next frontier

Arjun Kharpal


A hallmark of U.S-China tensions in the past few years has been the battle between the two nations for tech supremacy.

Washington has sought to cut off China from key technology like semiconductors while China has looked to boost its self-sufficiency and wean itself off American technology.

Now analysts say that generative artificial intelligence, the technology behind OpenAI’s ChatGPT, could be the next battleground between the two nations.

China’s President Xi Jinping (R) met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The U.S. has looked to cut China off from key technologies like advanced semiconductors over the past few years. The two sides likely discussed tech tensions but analysts said not much is likely to change even as the two sides look to improve relations.

Generative artificial intelligence, the technology that viral chatbot ChatGPT is based on, could be the new battleground in the battle for tech supremacy between the U.S. and China, according to one analyst.

Despite the two nations seeking better relations after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Chinese President Xi Jinping this week, analysts said the tech tensions will continue.

Washington has sought to cut off China from key technology like semiconductors while China has looked to boost its self-sufficiency and wean itself off American technology, touting its domestic sectors.

“The status quo isn’t likely to change much on any front — from sanctions to business pressure,” Abishur Prakash, CEO of Toronto-based advisory firm, The Geopolitical Business, told CNBC via email.

AI, which is seen as a critical technology by both nations, will likely be dragged into the battle between the two sides.
AI in the ‘crosshairs’

The Wagner Group Is a Crisis of Putin’s Own Making

On Friday evening, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner Group, a Russian private military company, accused the Russian military of ordering an aerial attack on his forces in Ukraine, and vowed a “march for justice” to stop the Russian military’s “evil” leadership. Prigozhin may have claimed that his main enemies were defense officials, not his longtime patron and protector, Vladimir Putin, but the effective battle lines were clear. The state security agency, the F.S.B., opened a criminal investigation against Prigozhin for “organizing an armed rebellion.” By the next morning, Wagner units controlled the center of Rostov-on-Don, a city in southern Russia that is home to more than a million people and the military headquarters overseeing the war in Ukraine. Prigozhin was inside the garrison, appearing to negotiate with top generals. From there, Wagner units claimed to take control of Voronezh, a city three hundred miles from Moscow, and a column of Wagner troops and armor sped off toward the capital, the main target and prize, where Prigozhin’s gambit would succeed or be put down.

Prigozhin had always been a man on the make. He turned his past as a small-time bandit into a successful restaurant and catering business—in the early two-thousands, he hosted Putin and high-profile guests at his St. Petersburg establishments—which grew into a business empire that earned millions on contracts to provide meals to the Russian military and public schools. He was clever, nasty, boorish, with a shade more personality and spunk than most operators who nurtured their fiefdoms in the shadows of the Putin system. In 2013, he launched the Internet Research Agency, otherwise known as the St. Petersburg troll farm, which came to employ hundreds of young people who spread propaganda, engaged in influence operations, and otherwise caused mischief on social networks, including in the run-up to the 2016 Presidential election in the U.S.

David Remnick on how Yevgeny Prigozhin’s rebellion exposed the Russian President.

88 Temples, 750 Miles, Untold Gifts: Japan’s Shikoku Pilgrimage

Marta Giaccone

A famed route on the smallest of Japan’s four main islands offers breathtaking views and an array of lessons on history, culture and generosity.

Three weeks into my trek, as I ascended a steep path toward Yokomine-ji, the 60th of 88 temples along the Shikoku pilgrimage, I found myself enveloped by an unforgiving fog. In an instant, the colorful forest around me — mostly red cedar trees and fern bushes — faded, leaving me in a world of muted gray. Able to make out only the faintest shapes in the surrounded trees, I was convinced that I’d stumbled into an eerie fairy tale.

Quietly, in the distance, I began to hear a chorus of small bells. Then, suddenly, the party of accidental musicians came into view: a large group of Japanese pilgrims who, coming toward me, all stopped neatly in line to let me walk past.

Within an hour, the fog had begun to lift. Within two, it was gone entirely, replaced by an equally unforgiving midday sun. In the newfound clarity of daylight, I began to wonder: Had the courteous band of fellow pilgrims existed only in my mind?

As Putin’s Trusted Partner, Prigozhin Was Always Willing to Do the Dirty Work

Anatoly Kurmanaev and Kyle Crichton

Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, the mercenary leader who led an armed rebellion in Russia on Saturday, was never afraid of a dirty task, many say.

Emerging from jail as the Soviet Union was collapsing, he began his post-criminal career selling hot dogs on street corners in St. Petersburg, Russia. There, he befriended Vladimir V. Putin, then a minor official in the city government, developed a catering business and earned billions on government contracts when his friend Vladimir became prime minister and then president of Russia.

Mr. Prigozhin quickly earned the trust of his benefactor, who assigned him a number of important tasks that were best handled at arm’s length from the government. The first and most notorious of those was overseeing the Internet Research Agency, a troll farm founded in 2013 to flood the United States and Europe with disinformation that discredited liberal elites and promoted hard-right ideologies.

From there, he raised mercenaries to fight in Syria and Libya, and, most fatefully, founded the private military group Wagner, which emerged during Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. It quickly earned a reputation for ruthless violence in pursuit of lucrative diamond and gold concessions, while building political influence for the Kremlin in countries like the Central African Republic, Libya, Mali and Sudan.

Throughout those years, Mr. Prigozhin kept an extremely low profile, never even admitting to the existence of Wagner, let alone his having a role in it.

That began to change during the war in Ukraine, as the Russian military suffered setback after setback and Mr. Prigozhin became disgusted with the greed, corruption and ineptitude he claimed to see in the upper echelons of the military.

Short-Lived Mutiny in Russia Sheds Light on Putin’s Hold on Power

Peter Baker

The armed standoff on the road to Moscow, brief as it was, represented the most dramatic struggle for power in Russia in decades.

President Vladimir V. Putin addressed Russia on Saturday amid an attempted mutiny that American officials saw as evidence of his eroding position.

For more than a year, American officials have quietly asked themselves a question they would not dare pose in public: Could Russia’s botched invasion of Ukraine eventually lead to the downfall of President Vladimir V. Putin?

For a few chaotic, head-snapping hours this weekend, the notion did not seem so far-fetched. But even with the apparent end to the immediate threat posed by Yevgeny Prigozhin’s rebellious mercenary army, the short-lived uprising suggested that Mr. Putin’s hold on power is more tenuous than at any time since he took office more than two decades ago.

The aftermath of the mutiny leaves President Biden and American policymakers with both opportunity and danger in perhaps the most volatile moment since the early days of the invasion of Ukraine. Disarray in Russia could lead to a breakdown of its war effort just as Ukrainian forces are mounting their long-awaited counteroffensive, but officials in Washington remained nervous about an unpredictable, nuclear-armed Mr. Putin feeling vulnerable.

“For the U.S., it’s advantageous in that the Russians are distracted and this will weaken their military effort in Ukraine and make them less likely to continue to instigate new problems in places like Syria,” said Evelyn N. Farkas, executive director of the McCain Institute for International Leadership and a former Pentagon official. “The main thing we care about is making sure that professional military remains in control of all of the nuclear facilities.”

Russians React to Wagner Rebellion Against Putin: ‘Country Will Never Be the Same’

Aday after Russia’s mercenary commander Yevgeny Prigozhin called off a military march on Moscow, and Russia eased back from the brink of civil war, the country reacted with confusion and anger to a series of events that one leading media figure said had risked “cutting society in half.”

The TV anchor and Kremlin propagandist Vladimir Solovyov blasted Prigozhin and his Wagner Group fighters but acknowledged the dangerous divisions their march had exposed within Russia.

“Our country will never be the same again,” Solovyov said Sunday. “The column of Wagnerites didn't just move along the asphalt - it moved through the hearts of people, cutting society in half. We already have a hard time, but yesterday everything hung on a very thin thread.”

Some Russians cheered Prigozhin, who has criticized the Russian military brass for months for what he calls its inept prosecution of the war in Ukraine. Videos posted on social media Saturday showed residents of the southern city of Rostov-on-Don – where Prigozhin’s men had taken up positions and occupied the local military headquarters – applauding the Wagner troops as they departed. Some ran to shake hands with Prigozhin through the window of his SUV.

But on Sunday the mercenary commander, a prolific poster of often obscenity-laden statements on social media, had gone silent. The deal that ended the mutiny reportedly stripped Prigozhin of control of his personal army in return for amnesty and exile in Belarus.

That was the coup that was


Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?

Why, for if it prosper, none dare call it treason.

- Sir John Harington (1561-1612)

There is an exception to every rule. Yevgeny Prigozhin’s behaviour was certainly treasonous, and for a while his treason prospered. But in the end he backed off. The target of his treason is still President, but he has agreed not to press charges against Prigozhin or his men. They are not even under caution. Friday’s shameful criminality soon to be crushed turned into Saturday’s regrettable hot-headedness that might be excused. This great clash between Putin and Prigozhin, on which the future of Russia and so much else depended, ended as an anti-climactic no-score draw, damaging both men.

In my previous post I provided some background to this conflict and its sudden escalation. I observed that this was a mutiny more than a coup or an insurrection, but possibly to Prigozhin’s surprise and certainly Putin’s alarm it almost turned into something more. I also noted then that these events are surrounded by rumour and this remains the case. There are theories around that this whole crisis was staged to help Putin create the conditions for some new moves in the war. There is no evidence that the crisis was anything other than very real for the participants. It could have ended differently.

Why Did Prigozhin Back Down?

The Wagner boss is supposedly off to exile in Belarus, and possibly on to somewhere a bit more remote where it might be harder to track his movements. Wherever he ends up, when he is not watching his back, he can spend his time devising some new criminal projects and wonder what might have been if he had kept his nerve and not been persuaded to climb down.

Russian War Report Special Edition: Prigozhin and Wagner forces mutiny against Moscow

On the evening of Friday, June 23, Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin effectively broke ties with Moscow and initiated a mutiny against the Russian military, successfully occupying Rostov. Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned Prigozhin’s actions in an address to the nation as Russian authorities secured Moscow and reportedly engaged Wagner forces around Rostov. At the time of writing on the afternoon of Saturday, June 24, Prigozhin appears to have accepted a pause in further escalation, stating that Wagner forces will return to base. Today’s special edition of the Russian War Report provides an overview of the last thirty-six hours, including details on how Prigozhin’s rhetoric escalated into open conflict, open-source analysis of the latest footage, and a review of some of the competing narratives on Telegram and across the Russian information ecosystem.

How Prigozhin used Telegram to declare war on the Russian Ministry of Defense – and then suddenly pull back

The Russian-founded messaging platform Telegram, which became a primary tool circulating pro-Kremlin narratives throughout Russia’s war in Ukraine, achieved an unprecedented level of influence on June 23, with Prigozhin wielding it to vent his rage at the Russian defense establishment and launch a mercenary mutiny. For months, Prigozhin has engaged in rhetorical warfare against his rivals in the Kremlin, in particular Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov. The Wagner founder blamed them for ineptitude over the course of the war in Ukraine, including a months-long public argument about supplying his forces with adequate munitions during its siege of Bakhmut.

Prigozhin’s one-man war against the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) reached new heights in a series of Telegram posts that began on Friday, June 23, and continued into Saturday. At 10:50 am Moscow time, he posted a thirty-minute video to his Prigozhin Press Service Telegram channel excoriating the MoD, accusing its leadership of deceiving Putin and the Russian public in early 2022 into believing that Ukrainian aggression was imminent, and that Russia had no choice but to invade Ukraine.

U.S. Suspected Prigozhin Was Preparing to Take Military Action Against Russia

David E. Sanger and Julian E. Barnes

The information was considered both solid and alarming because of the possibility that a major nuclear-armed rival of the United States could descend into chaos.

American intelligence officials briefed senior military and administration officials on Wednesday that Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the mercenary Wagner Group, was preparing to take military action against senior Russian defense officials, according to officials familiar with the matter.

U.S. spy agencies had indications days earlier that Mr. Prigozhin was planning something and worked to refine that material into a finished assessment, officials said.

The information shows that the United States was aware of impending events in Russia, similar to how intelligence agencies had warned in late 2021 that Vladimir V. Putin was planning to invade Ukraine.

But unlike with the initial invasion, when U.S. officials declassified the intelligence and then released it to try to deter Mr. Putin from invading, intelligence agencies kept silent about Mr. Prigozhin’s plans. U.S. officials felt that if they said anything, Mr. Putin could accuse them of orchestrating a coup. And they clearly had little interest in helping Mr. Putin avoid a major, embarrassing fracturing of his support.

In this case, the information that the long-running feud between Mr. Prigozhin, who got his start as “Putin’s chef” in St. Petersburg, and Russian defense officials was about to devolve into conflict was considered both solid and alarming. Mr. Prigozhin is known for his brutality, and had he succeeded in ousting the officials, he would likely have been an unpredictable leader. And the possibility that a major nuclear-armed rival of the United States could descend into internal chaos carried with it a new set of risks.

The Cyber Domain in the Russo-Ukrainian War

Eyal Pinko

A police officer inspects remains of a Russian missile which hit a residential area, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine April 9, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Stringer

The Ukraine-Russia war broke out on February 24, 2022, when the Russian army invaded Ukraine following a month’s preparations and a ten-day armed exercise. The war, which is still ongoing, has included many cyber incidents. Cyber warfare changed the face of the military campaign. Some are calling this the first digital war — a nickname with no real basis, especially because a significant cyber campaign was conducted between Russia and Ukraine in 2014.

This article will provide an analysis of the role of the cyber domain in the first year of the Russo-Ukraine war, and what it teaches us about modern warfare.

Credibility of Sources

A critical limitation on available information should first be noted. Descriptions of cyber attacks are based on media reports by publications that have their own agendas. Publications on both sides are often used for psychological warfare. As we have seen so far, both combatants in this war engage in deception and fake news. These factors dominate the battlefield to such an extent that it is impossible to know which side’s version is closer to the truth.

JNS.org - With all Israel’s recent challenges and controversy over judicial reform, the state of the economy and social divisions,...

Descriptions of attacks described in this article are based on media reports and are quoted as they appeared. It should be remembered that the publications focus on attacks whose results are clearly visible. There is no real information on the number of silent attacks that have penetrated computer systems on both sides but not been exposed to the public.

Cyber Attacks Before the War

New-Model Proxy Wars


BRUSSELS – On April 15, a standoff between the Sudanese armed forces and a rival paramilitary outfit erupted into what now looks like all-out civil war. As we write, in mid-May, fighting is tearing apart the capital, Khartoum, and millions are caught in the crossfire, trapped in their homes, and struggling to secure food, drinking water, and other essentials. Those who can are leaving the country. Neither the army nor its paramilitary foe looks likely to prevail – at least not without a protracted struggle and tremendous death and destruction.

The fighting is rooted in Sudan’s struggles to shake off decades of authoritarian rule. While an inspiring countrywide protest movement prompted the ouster of then-President Omar al-Bashir in 2019, his political legacy, particularly his brutal wars on Sudan’s periphery, haunted the revolution from the start.

One protagonist of today’s conflict is Mohamed “Hemedti” Hamdan Dagalo, a warlord from Darfur who was part of Bashir’s genocidal campaign against rebels in that region. Bashir then refashioned Hemedti’s paramilitaries as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and empowered them as a hedge against an army takeover. The other belligerent, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, is a military man deeply suspicious of civilian rule who was also implicated in the Darfur wars.

After the army and the RSF joined forces to overthrow Bashir, they sidelined the civilian leaders with whom they had pledged to share power; now, they have turned on each other. Though the fighting was triggered by Hemedti’s refusal to put his paramilitaries under army command, Sudan’s post-Bashir transition fell apart primarily because both leaders feared that handing over power to civilians would jeopardize their grip on Sudan’s resources and potentially expose them to justice for earlier atrocities.

Adam Tooze: Why the Economic Gap Between the U.S. and Europe Is Growing

Cameron Abadi

The U.S. economy is now bigger than the EU and U.K. economies combined, at $25 trillion vs. $19.8 trillion—a reversal from just 15 years earlier, when Europe’s economy was $1.5 trillion larger. And it’s a trend that seems to be growing. The U.S. economy has low unemployment and continues to grow. The mood in Europe, meanwhile, is grim, with Germany staring down recession and still struggling with inflation. And that mood tracks with the anxieties of European policymakers, who swing from fear that the United States isn’t committed enough to the fight in Ukraine, to anger on its lack of coordination on economic issues ranging from China to climate policy.

The Cyber Domain in the Russo-Ukrainian War

Eyal Pinko

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Cyber attacks have been carried out by both sides in the Ukraine-Russia war to neutralize national infrastructures, banking systems, and government ministries; influence decision-makers, citizens, and soldiers; and gather intelligence. Cyber played no real role in disabling national capabilities or infrastructure, but has had psychological and cognitive effects. The first year of the war sharpened the need to build and upgrade information security measures, especially around critical national infrastructure; strengthen real-time information-gathering capabilities from social networks; strengthen awareness; and maintain information security.

The Ukraine-Russia war broke out on February 24, 2022, when the Russian army invaded Ukraine following a month’s preparations and a ten-day armed exercise. The war, which is still ongoing, has included many cyber incidents. Cyber warfare changed the face of the military campaign, and with some calling this the first digital war – a nickname with no real basis, as a significant cyber campaign was conducted between Russia and Ukraine in 2014.

This article will provide an analysis of the role of the cyber domain in the first year of the Russo-Ukraine war and what it teaches us about modern warfare.

Credibility of Sources

A critical limitation on available information should first be noted. Descriptions of cyber attacks are based on media reports by publications that have their own agendas. Publications on both sides are often used for psychological warfare. As we have seen so far, both combatants in this war engage in deception and fake news. These factors dominate the battlefield to such an extent that it is impossible to know which side’s version is closer to the truth.

Russia is targeting the US homeland with its strategy of Cyber Armageddon

Rebekah Koffler

Arthel Neville welcomes former U.S. Defense Intelligence Officer Rebekah Koffler to discuss the massive global cyberattack that has impacted several federal agencies.
NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Multiple federal agencies were struck with a massive Russian cyberattack, among them the Department of Energy, which manages U.S. nuclear infrastructure and sets America’s nuclear policy. The new attack has been devastating as millions of Americans and countless businesses, organizations, schools and universities had their data compromised with a destructive ransomware bug. But what’s even more terrifying is its intent. Russian President Putin is almost certainly messaging to Team Biden that Moscow has the wherewithal to unleash a much more crippling attack on the U.S. homeland, resulting in a Cyber Armageddon.

As a former senior intelligence analyst specializing in Putin’s mindset and Russian doctrine and strategy, it is my assessment that Russia possesses the capability and the will to launch a catastrophic cyberattack, under certain circumstances. The threshold for such a decision is extremely high. But given that Moscow and Washington are in an ever escalating proxy war over Ukraine, Putin may very well be contemplating it.

Although the top U.S. cybersecurity agency CISA attributed the attack to a Russian ransomware group Cl0P, rather than the Russian state, it is a false distinction whether a Russian government employee or a hired gun that does the actual hacking. Russian intelligence routinely hires cyber-criminals to execute high-profile cyber operations, especially those targeting U.S. high-value targets, to ensure plausible deniability. According to the Russian cyberwarfare doctrine, the Russian president is the one who authorizes the attack, no matter who pulls the cyber trigger.

Capitalizing on spying tools believed to have been developed by the U.S. National Security Agency, hackers staged a cyber assault with a self-spreading malware that has infected tens of thousands of computers in nearly 100 countries. (Reuters)

Update on Russia’s Internal Conflict

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Russia’s private military firm known as the Wagner Group, has accused the Russian military of attacking his forces and said he would answer with attacks of his own. Conflicting reports on social media suggest Russian military vehicles are on the streets of major Russian cities in anticipation of what Russia’s attorney general has called an “attempt to organize an armed rebellion.” Some reports claim that a column of Wagner personnel has passed through the Novoshakhtinsk checkpoint. Another says that at the Voloshino checkpoint there is a column of Wagner forces some 80 kilometers long. It is believed that military police and border guards are not interfering with Wagner’s forces. In the face of what may or may not be a coup attempt, the government’s primary objectives are to increase security in Moscow proper. We cannot confirm at the moment what exactly is going on, but we know that this may be an inflection point in the conflict.

Pentagon mulling new critical infrastructure defense ops plan: VanHerck


WASHINGTON — The Department of Defense is mulling over a new plan for defending critical infrastructure, as well as working to update its Arctic strategy, both as part of a push toward what the head of Northern Command and NORAD said must be a “vastly different” and more forward-leaning vision of the future for homeland defense.

“Domain awareness will be important, but that domain awareness needs to feed a globally integrated air and missile defense capability, where you can do real time collaboration — think of JADC2 [Joint All Domain Command and Control] — and you can do that with allies and partners so they can generate effects forward for me,” Gen. Glen VanHerck told a Mitchell Institute seminar Thursday as the organization unveiled a new policy paper, “Bolstering Arctic Domain Awareness to Deter Air & Missile Threats to the Homeland.”

VanHerck said that in his mind, integrated air and missile defense doesn’t start within US borders using kinetic attacks, but instead must take place “forward” both geographically and in time.

First, NORTHCOM and the US military writ large need improved domain awareness to allow VanHerck’s fellow combatant commanders to “generate those effects further away from our homeland.” For example, he said, autonomous drones carrying sensors, kinetic weapons and non-kinetic “effectors” could be one future tool, not just in the Arctic, but also “off the eastern seaboard, the western seaboard, or around the globe wherever we need to be” to help defend beyond US boundaries.

Second, VanHerck explained, the ability to make rapid decisions using artificial intelligence and machine tools, allows options for action “left of launch,” that is in the run up to conflict. However, he noted that getting from here to a globalized homeland defense strategy will require some “homework” on DoD’s part.

The AI Apocalypse: A Scorecard


What should we make of OpenAI’s GPT-4, anyway? Is the large language model a major step on the way to an artificial general intelligence (AGI)—the insider’s term for an AI system with a flexible human-level intellect? And if we do create an AGI, might it be so different from human intelligence that it doesn’t see the point of keeping Homo sapiens around?

If you query the world’s best minds on basic questions like these, you won’t get anything like a consensus. Consider the question of GPT-4’s implications for the creation of an AGI. Among AI specialists, convictions range from Eliezer Yudkowsky’s view that GPT-4 is a clear sign of the imminence of AGI, to Rodney Brooks’s assertion that we’re absolutely no closer to an AGI than we were 30 years ago.

On the topic of the potential of GPT-4 and its successors to wreak civilizational havoc, there’s similar disunity. One of the earliest doomsayers was Nick Bostrom; long before GPT-4, he argued that once an AGI far exceeds our capabilities, it will likely find ways to escape the digital world and methodically destroy human civilization. On the other end are people like Yann LeCun, who reject such scenarios as sci-fi twaddle.

In between are researchers who worry about the abilities of GPT-4 and future instances of generative AI to cause major disruptions in employment, to exacerbate the biases in today’s society, and to generate propaganda, misinformation, and deep fakery on a massive scale. Worrisome? Yes, extremely so. Apocalyptic? No.

Many worried AI experts signed an open letter in March asking all AI labs to immediately pause “giant AI experiments” for six months. While the letter didn’t succeed in pausing anything, it did catch the attention of the general public, and suddenly made AI safety a water-cooler conversation. Then, at the end of May, an overlapping set of experts—academics and executives—signed a one-sentence statement urging the world to take seriously the risk of “extinction from AI.”



In many ways, we live in the world of The Matrix. If Neo were to help us peel back the layers, we would find code all around us. Indeed, modern society runs on code: Whether you buy something online or in a store, check out a book at the library, fill a prescription, file your taxes, or drive your car, you are most probably interacting with a system that is powered by software.

And the ubiquity, scale, and complexity of all that code just keeps increasing, with billions of lines of code being written every year. The programmers who hammer out that code tend to be overburdened, and their first attempt at constructing the needed software is almost always fragile or buggy—and so is their second and sometimes even the final version. It may fail unexpectedly, have unanticipated consequences, or be vulnerable to attack, sometimes resulting in immense damage.

Consider just a few of the more well-known software failures of the past two decades. In 2005, faulty software for the US $176 million baggage-handling system at Denver International Airport forced the whole thing to be scrapped. A software bug in the trading system of the Nasdaq stock exchange caused it to halt trading for several hours in 2013, at an economic cost that is impossible to calculate. And in 2019, a software flaw was discovered in an insulin pump that could allow hackers to remotely control it and deliver incorrect insulin doses to patients. Thankfully, nobody actually suffered such a fate.

These incidents made headlines, but they aren’t just rare exceptions. Software failures are all too common, as are security vulnerabilities. Veracode’s most recent survey on software security, covering the last 12 months, found that about three-quarters of the applications examined contained at least one security flaw, and nearly one-fifth had at least one flaw regarded as being of high severity.

Why is it so rare to hear about Western cyber-attacks?

Joe Tidy

A cyber-attack that took over iPhones at a Russian technology company is being blamed on US government hackers. Could the attack, and the response from the Russian government, be rewriting the narrative of who the good guys and bad guys are in cyber-space?

Camaro Dragon, Fancy Bear, Static Kitten and Stardust Chollima - these aren't the latest Marvel film superheroes but the names given to some of the most feared hacking groups in the world.

For years, these elite cyber teams have been tracked from hack to hack, stealing secrets and causing disruption allegedly under orders from their governments.

And cyber-security companies have even created cartoon images of them.