9 July 2024

Countering China’s Himalayan Advantage: India’s Zorawar Tank Adds Zing To Its Army’s Mountain Warfare – Analysis

Girish Linganna

On Saturday (July 6), the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully tested its light battle tank, Zorawar, in Hazira, a suburb and transshipment port in Surat City of Gujarat. The Zorawar tank, developed collaboratively by the DRDO and Larsen & Toubro, is being designed for the Indian Army. Dr Samir V Kamat, DRDO chief, had recently reviewed the project’s progress.

A Significant Day: DRDO Chief

Kamat lauded the performance of the light tank in action and said it was a testament to the hard work that had gone behind this feat. In just two to two and a half years, we’ve not only designed this tank, but also built the first prototype. Now, this prototype will go through development trials over the next six months. After that, we’ll be ready for user trials. We expect Zorawar to join the Indian Army by 2027, once all trials are completed.”

According to The Print, the tanks underwent initial track trials, after which some upgrades were recommended and implemented. The tank will next be tested in desert conditions alongside the army and will, eventually, undergo trials in the high-altitude regions of Ladakh. These tests will evaluate its performance in challenging terrains and harsh winter conditions. If everything goes as planned, the tanks could be added to the Indian Army by 2027.

Japan declares victory in 'war' on floppy disks

Kelly Ng

It's taken until 2024, but Japan has finally said goodbye to floppy disks.

Up until last month, people were still asked to submit documents to the government using the outdated storage devices, with more than 1,000 regulations requiring their use.

But these rules have now finally been scrapped, said Digital Minister Taro Kono.

In 2021, Mr Kono had "declared war" on floppy disks. On Wednesday, almost three years later, he announced: "We have won the war on floppy disks!"

Mr Kono has made it his goal to eliminate old technology since he was appointed to the job. He had earlier also said he would "get rid of the fax machine".

Once seen as a tech powerhouse, Japan has in recent years lagged in the global wave of digital transformation because of a deep resistance to change.

For instance, workplaces have continued to favour fax machines over emails - earlier plans to remove these machines from government offices were scrapped because of pushback.

Southeast Asia Wants U.S.-China Conflict to Stay Lukewarm

Hunter Marston

There is an increasingly real possibility of a second Trump administration entering office in January 2025. Southeast Asia is better prepared this time around than it was in 2016. Regional leaders are not panicking about the former U.S. leader potentially returning to office.

Most learned to live with President Donald Trump 1.0 despite occasional challenges, particularly the former president’s proclivity for singling out individual countries such as Vietnam for perceived trade imbalances, even as many Vietnamese favored his team’s full-throated condemnation of Chinese actions.

Autocrats appreciated the free pass during the Trump years, a departure from Washington’s usual lectures or sanctions over human rights abuses and democratic erosion. Trump welcomed then-Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha of Thailand to the White House and praised then-President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal handling of the drug war in the Philippines.

How China is using Silicon Valley Will CCP bureaucrats triumph over Western free thinkers?

Jacob Dreyer

Up until the 16th century, China was the most technologically advanced region in the world. While aristocrats ruled Europe, China’s meritocratic literati made exquisite scientific discoveries: gunpowder, the compass, papermaking and printing, among others. Now, China hopes to return to its golden era, with the Chinese state once again fixated on science and technology.

Already, China is unnerving American and European policymakers with its relentless supply of Electric Vehicles. But the EV boom is a symptom of a broader trend, and Beijing is busy masterminding similar revolutions in the fields of electric planes and medicine.

So is China the future of science? The numbers alone are intimidating. There are currently nearly 50 million diligent Chinese students at college today. In 2025, 77,000 STEM PhDs will graduate from China’s universities. Most of these graduates will spend their lives pursuing state-funded research within Chinese institutions. They will be given everything that they need to make scientific breakthroughs.

China’s History and Current Threat


China has existed for thousands of years. But since 1949, its name has not been China. The country is the People’s Republic of China (PRC). That is a very important distinction.

Post-World War II, China experienced a brutal and bloody civil war with more than seven million dead, and what emerged in victory in 1949 was the infant PRC. That civil war, won by Mao Zedong’s forces, determined that communism would be the political system in China. Yet China under Chiang Kai-Shek and through WWII was an ally to the West. In 1949, China was weak, and its new government was in its infancy. It had suffered greatly in WWII at the hands of Japan. Despite this weakness and the chaos of years of war, Mao and other Chinese leaders had a vision for China unknown to the West.

The Chinese historically refer to themselves as the Middle Kingdom. With a culture that goes back thousands of years, a culture that dominated Asia, a culture with a rich history of invention and innovation, the Han Chinese see themselves in both historical terms and culturally as superior to all others. Mao embraced this ideology of Chinese superiority and, combined with communism and brutal methods, thus began China’s modern rise to greatness.

The Dragon and Phoenix: How Beijing is Winning Battles in Its “Peaceful War” with the United States

Professor Patrick Mendis and Professor Antonina Luszczykiewicz-Mendis

Peaceful War?

With thriving diplomatic outreach and trade connectivity, China is heading for neither Cold War 2.0 nor a hot war—but manifesting the art of “Peaceful War.” Regardless of the national history, geography, and culture of each country, the significance of the red thread is that China is destined to be the unifying force in building a “community with a shared future for mankind” through trade and development.

China’s foreign policy agenda was shrewdly revised when President Xi Jinping’s new Defence Minister Dong Jun unveiled it at the Shangri-La Dialogue security forum in June 2024. Admiral Dong depicted China as a benign power, whose military “never acts from the so-called position of strength.” It was indeed a sarcastic criticism of America’s perennial “peace through strength” doctrine, which is associated originally with President George Washington’s Farewell Address and more recently with President Ronald Reagan.

Ironically, however, China’s words contradict its actions. Mere days after Taiwan’s inauguration of its democratically elected president on 20 May 2024, Beijing staged aggressive military exercises encircling the island with Chinese vessels and aircraft.

Coincidentally, history is repeating itself—and not for the first time. For example, when President Barack Obama expressed concerns about the Chinese militarisation of artificial islands in the South China Sea (SCS) in 2015, President Xi assured him that China did not have such intentions. A year later, however, Beijing admitted that it was building “necessary military facilities” in the SCS; thus, breaking its promise to the US president of peaceful “Chimerican” leadership.

Why China's Missile Arsenal Could Outmaneuver U.S. Military Might

Brandon J. Weichert

The Growing Missile Threat: China's Plan to Dominate the Indo-Pacific

China has committed itself to challenging the US military in its near-abroad. First, by modernizing their forces over the last decade. Second, by expanding the size and scope of their navy. Third, by enhancing their rocket forces. All the meanwhile, China has become a key player in the global race to dominate what most experts refer to as the “fourth industrial revolution,” thereby strategically benefiting from all the advancements made in industries, like quantum computing, biotechnology, hypersonic weaponry, and many others.

At its core, though, China has married its grand ambitions of displacing the United States as the dominant power, at least in the Indo-Pacific, by the hundredth-year anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China—2049—with an affordable and practical defense strategy (unlike the decadent war planners in Washington).

Missles: China Plans to Beat America Cheaply

Specifically, China has made a commitment to rebuffing the threat that forward deployed US military forces pose to them. This has come in the form of what’s known as “anti-access/area denial” (A2/AD). Rather than do as the Soviet Union once did in the Cold War, Beijing is not trying to match their American rivals ship-for-ship or plane-for-plane. They are seeking cost-effective weapons that can keep US forces over-the-horizon, buying Chinese forces the time and space they need to conduct offensive operations against their neighbors, such as Taiwan.

Chinese government bonds are on fire. That’s ringing alarm bells in Beijing

Laura He

Money is rushing into Chinese government bonds, sending their prices soaring and yields plunging to record lows as investors hunt for a safer alternative to the country’s ravaged real estate market and volatile stocks.

The yield on China’s onshore 10-year government bond, which is a benchmark for a wide range of interest rates, touched 2.18% Monday, the lowest since 2002 when records began. Yields on 20-year and 30-year bonds are also hovering around historic lows. Bond yields, or the returns offered to investors for holding them, fall as prices rise.

Lower borrowing costs should be welcome in an economy struggling to recover from a property crash, sluggish consumer spending and weak business confidence. But the sharp move in bonds is sparking talk of a bubble and triggering acute anxiety among China’s policymakers, who fear a crisis similar to the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) last year.

China’s Xi urges regional leaders to resist ‘external interference’ as security bloc grows to counter US

Nectar Gan

Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Thursday urged regional leaders to resist “external interference” at a gathering of a Eurasian security bloc touted by Beijing and Moscow as a counterbalance to Western power.

Addressing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)’s annual leaders’ summit in Kazakhstan, Xi called on member states to “consolidate the power of unity” in the face of “the real challenge of interference and division.”

“We should work together to resist external interference … and firmly grasp our own future and destiny, as well as regional peace and development, in our own hands,” Xi was quoted as saying by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

The 10-member bloc must handle internal differences with peace, seek common ground, and resolve difficulties in cooperation, Xi added.

China’s Growing Appetite for a Space Fight With U.S.

Gabriel Honrada

A new RAND report emphasizes China’s rising risk tolerance and growing strategic maneuvers in space, an aggressive push forged to challenge US dominance in the domain.

The RAND report examines open-source Chinese defense literature, providing a comprehensive overview of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) perspectives on space-based escalation over the past two decades.

It asserts that China’s leaders view the US as a dominant but declining power and anticipate aggressive future tactics, including the growing militarization of space.

The report says the PLA’s strategy encompasses both deterrence and coercion, a tactical mix that aims to force adversaries to bend to its political objectives or face a devastating space-based war.

The report outlines the PLA’s evolving views on space-based escalation. These views reflect a growing desire to assertively shape the fast-evolving strategic environment. Initially, the PLA’s strategic thinking was mainly theoretical, focusing on conflict prevention.

Starmer Will Have To Walk a U.S.-China Tightrope


Later this year, the U.K. and the U.S. could both have new leaders: Prime Minister Keir Starmer and President Donald Trump. The “special relationship” between the two countries will then enter a new, likely strained period, and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will figure in the tensions between Washington and London.

So, what should U.K. policymakers and investors be considering ahead of all this?

Trump has been clear that on trade he wants to confront China directly, and that he’d like to accelerate the U.S.’s decoupling from China’s economy for both economic and national security reasons. This includes revoking China’s “most favored nation” status, adopting a four-year plan to phase out Chinese imports of essential goods, restricting outbound investment in China, as well as Chinese investment in the U.S.

Trump also plans to impose a “universal tariff” of 10 percent on goods imported to the U.S., which will likely apply to free trade agreement (FTA) partners and allies including the U.K. Tariffs on Chinese imports will be at least 60 percent, with current U.S. President Joe Biden’s recent tariff announcement spurring Trump on. And he will use these tariffs to demonstrate his readiness to protect U.S. workers — and to force other nations to the negotiating table.

U.S. Should Out-Compete China, Not Cooperate

Michael Sobolik

On May 26, 2022, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the Biden administration’s long-awaited China strategy. “Under President Xi,” Blinken asserted, “the ruling Chinese Communist Party has become more repressive at home and more aggressive abroad.” He went on to name the CCP’s offenses: mass exportation of digital surveillance technology, violating international waters in the South China Sea, exploiting American companies, and oppressing its own people. The secretary was equally clear about the entity with the most to lose from the CCP’s actions: —the international order: “China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it.”

It is an odd thing for the chief diplomat of a sovereign nation-state to elevate the health of global institutions above the interests of his or her own government. Blinken couched his remarks not in terms of the United States’ history as a great power, nor its ideological heritage from the eighteenth century, but in relation to the establishment of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Throughout his remarks, Blinken’s references to the international order outnumbered his mentions of U.S. vital interests. The subtext was unmistakable: the Biden administration’s top priority in its relationship with Beijing is perpetuating the liberal international order. Secretary Blinken is far from alone. President Biden insisted in his remarks at the United Nations in 2021, “All the major powers of the world have a duty, in my view, to carefully manage their relationships so they do not tip from responsible competition to conflict.”

Restrictions on AI Development and the Chinese Threat

A plurality of Americans agree that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) becoming the world leader in AI technology is a greater risk to American safety than rapid AI development in the US.


In 2022 the White House published the “Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights.” Although not legally enforceable, this bill of rights may inspire future legislation restricting AI. Limiting AI development in the US may allow China to become the world leader in AI technology.


The results show that the threat of China becoming the world leader in AI can soften support for restrictions on AI development in the US. However, rapid development is still a minority position.

Preference for AI Development Restrictions
  • 66% of Americans prefer policies that limit rapid AI development in the US, including 66% of Republicans, 64% of Democrats, and 65% of swing voters.
  • 65% of New Majority and 67% of Left Minority voters prefer limiting rapid AI development in the US.
  • 19% of Americans prefer policies that allow rapid AI development in the US.

Electricity grids creak as AI demands soar

Chris Baraniuk

“Every time you query the model, the whole thing gets activated, so it’s wildly inefficient from a computational perspective,” she says.

Take the Large Language Models (LLMs) at the heart of many Generative AI systems. They have been trained on vast stores of written information, which helps them to churn out text in response to practically any query.

“When you use Generative AI… it’s generating content from scratch, it’s essentially making up answers,” Dr Luccioni explains. That means the computer has to work pretty hard.

A Generative AI system might use around 33 times more energy than machines running task-specific software, according to a recent study by Dr Luccioni and colleagues. The work has been peer-reviewed but is yet to be published in a journal.

The Fight Over China’s Electric Cars Is Upside-Down

Paul Hockenos

Reason would dictate that Germany’s tenacious automakers—the leaders in the European market—would vehemently demand an import charge on China’s subsidized and cut-price electric vehicles (EVs). Observers fear sleek and thrifty Chinese clean tech could overtake the European market, which is already on the back foot. Last year, almost a fifth of EVs sold in Europe were made in China, and this year, that share of European sales could climb to a quarter. That should be no surprise, as the Chinese automaker BYD sells its chic little Seagull for about $12,000, while Europe’s lowest-cost EV is the Dacia Spring, with a price tag of $18,500.

In the same way, environmentalists should be expected to oppose any surcharge that makes clean tech, such as EVs, more costly. The European Union’s ambition is to almost triple the number (currently 12 million) of zero-emission cars on European roads by 2030—and the chief obstacle to EV expansion for years has been their prohibitive cost.

But the reality has been the other way around: German carmakers have been the ones demanding that newly announced EU tariffs on Chinese cars be shelved, while environmentalists have warned against doing so. The former are concerned about Chinese retaliation; the latter are worried about undermining key promises of the European Green Deal: namely, economic momentum and high-wage jobs within the EU.

From Iron Dome To Cyber Dome: Defending Israel’s Cyberspace – Analysis

Rohit Kumar Sharma

Threat actors linked to Hamas and its allies have been incessantly targeting Israel since the onset of the Israel–Hamas conflict in October 2023. According to the Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD), which is responsible for securing Israel’s national cyberspace, the intensity of cyberattacks has increased threefold since the beginning of the conflict.1 The head of the agency also shared concern over coordinated attacks by Iran and Hezbollah across various sectors in Israel. In response to growing attacks against its infrastructure by formidable adversaries like Iran and its proxies, Israel recently announced that they are building a ‘cyber-dome’ or a digital ‘Iron Dome’ system to protect Israel’s cyberspace to defend against online attacks.2

Explaining Cyber Dome

While there are no definite details regarding the mechanism and tools that constitute the cyber-dome initiative, one can parse the official statements and specific initiatives to get an overview of the rationale behind such a system. The concept can be traced back to the first public speech in 2022 by Gaby Portnoy after being appointed as the Director General of INCD. He presented the cyber-dome as a new big data and AI-driven approach to proactively defending domestic cyberspace.3 He singled out Iran as Israel’s dominant rival in cyberspace. The initiative aims to provide tools and services to elevate the protection of national assets by synchronising real-time detection of threats at a national level to mitigate emerging threats. Furthermore, Portnoy also emphasised the need to replicate cybersecurity protocols used for critical infrastructure in other sectors.

Orthodox In Kazakhstan Seeking Autocephaly Find Half-Way House In Ukrainian Uniate Congregation Subordinate To Rome – OpEd

Paul Goble

Even before Putin launched his expanded invasion of Ukraine and the Moscow Patriarchate blessed that action, some churchmen in Kazakhstan hoped to obtain autocephaly for their church. But the war has increased the urgency and number of such calls for independence from the Moscow church.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople has not yet come out in direct support of this effort, although judging from its actions in Ukraine, Lithuania and elsewhere, Fanar (the name of the region in Istanbul where the headquarters of that church is located) is very much on the side of the Orthodox in Kazakhstan who are pursuing autocephaly.

But now, according to Father Yakov Vorontsov, one of the leaders of this drive in Kazakhstan, Orthodox believers in that country have found a half-way house in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Almaty where they can worship according to the principles of Orthodoxy but in a community not subordinate to Moscow (sibreal.org/a/smenit-moskvu-na-konstantinopol/33004030.html).

Who Might Replace Biden on the Top of the Ticket?

Chris Cameron and Adam Nagourney

President Biden’s poor performance in the debate against former President Donald J. Trump has prompted widespread panic and pessimism within the Democratic primary over Mr. Biden’s status as their presumptive nominee. As the president is said to be weighing his political future, some Democrats are raising the possibility of nominating an alternative candidate and considering a roster of names.

At the top the list is Vice President Kamala Harris, whose status as Mr. Biden’s running mate makes her an easy candidate for the party to turn to as an obvious successor. But a crop of Democratic governors and other figures are often mentioned as well.

A candidate switch would most likely require Mr. Biden to agree to step aside. The risks of him doing so are real. Some of the highest-profile figures listed below have never endured the vetting and road test of a presidential race. There is a long list of candidates who looked great on paper and withered on the campaign trail.

“It’s not as easy as it sounds,” said Barbara Boxer, the former senator from California. “Being vetted for president is like no other vetting. We don’t know how these people would do.”

Ukraine War Has NATO Lagging on the Other Big Threat: AI - Opinion

James Stavridis

This should be a victory lap by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The alliance is holding its 75th anniversary summit in Washington, will name a new secretary general following a very successful decade under Jens Stoltenberg, and Sweden and Finland are settling into their place as frontline NATO states on Russia’s northwestern flank.

But things are hardly rosy. Notably, there is the potential return of former President Donald Trump — a confirmed NATO skeptic, to put it charitably — to the White House. The poor debate performance by President Joe Biden has caused major concern across the other 31 member nations. And then there is the war in Ukraine, dragging into a third bloody year without visible progress toward victory for either side or even a meaningful negotiation.

America Is in Denial About NATO’s Future

Daniel Treisman

U.S. President Joe Biden has said for years that Ukraine will one day become a member of NATO. In fact, he was asserting this before most Ukrainians had any desire to join the alliance. “If you choose to be part of Euro-Atlantic integration, which I believe you have, then we strongly support that,” he announced on a trip to Kyiv as vice president in 2009. In Ukraine that year, only 28 percent favored NATO membership for their country, while 51 percent opposed it. Biden has remained committed to the idea in principle. “Ukraine’s future lies at NATO,” he insisted again in Vilnius, Lithuania, last summer.

At the same time, he has made extremely clear that the United States is not prepared to go to war with Russia to defend Kyiv. Any direct involvement of U.S. troops in the current conflict could mean “World War III,” he said in 2022, and “we will not fight the third world war in Ukraine.” Biden raced to pull all U.S. troops out of the country ahead of Russia’s invasion in February 2022. And, to avoid provoking Moscow, he has delayed supplying Kyiv with advanced weapons and has restricted their use in ways that critics say have hamstrung Ukraine’s defense.

There’s no direct inconsistency in these positions. After all, Ukraine is not a NATO member yet. And Biden has said the country will not become one until after the current war is over. It is eminently reasonable for a U.S. president to worry about nuclear escalation. And at times the White House seems to have received alarming intelligence about Russian preparations to use tactical nuclear weapons.

How France Fell to the Far Right

Cécile Alduy

On June 9, Emmanuel Macron gambled his narrow parliamentary majority by calling a snap election. The president did so minutes after it became clear that France’s far right had won 40 percent of French votes in the European Union parliamentary contest. That outcome, Macron thought, would frighten and mobilize his base to turn out en masse in a new national election. He hoped the result would give him a more comfortable majority in the National Assembly and halt the rise of the National Rally—France’s main far-right party. Macron, who sometimes seems to aim to be a kind of god (he once said he aspired to be “Jupiterian”), may also have enjoyed flexing his constitutional powers at a moment when he was losing his grip on the country. The result was the shortest electoral campaign in France since 1958. Parties and candidates had only three weeks to organize, and voters had to scramble to make sense of the new political landscape.

For Macron, the scheme backfired spectacularly. The president’s centrist alliance won just 21 percent of the vote in the first round, coming in third. It is expected to lose between 155 and 210 of its current seats. But the defeat is far more than just Macron’s. The election’s biggest winner is not some other mainstream political party, but the National Rally, which came in first. After the runoffs, it may control a majority. Macron, then, has put France’s democratic forces and republican ideals in jeopardy.

How Keir Starmer Can Fix the UK’s Tech Industry


The UK’s new government already has big plans. In the first few weeks after the election, it will signal to the world that Britain is “back” as a leading global player and rekindle ties with old friends in Europe.

Yet Britain’s calling card, when it comes to tech industry credentials, is not as sparkling as it once was. Its big bet on tech, allegedly a priority for the Conservative party following Brexit, has yet to manifest into a new golden age for the industry.

In fact, the UK tech landscape has survived many things during the 14 years of consecutive Conservative governments: Brexit; a tech talent pipeline problem; a two-and-a-half-year hiatus of its membership in Europe’s key science and innovation program, Horizon; overreliance on foreign investors; and a worrying lack of appeal as a place to grow startups or go public. A majority Labour government could change all that and turbocharge the tech industry into a new renaissance—if politics don’t get in the way.

OpenAI's internal AI details stolen in 2023 breach, NYT reports

A hacker gained access to the internal messaging systems at OpenAI last year and stole details about the design of the company's artificial intelligence technologies, the New York Times reported, opens new tab on Thursday.

The hacker lifted details from discussions in an online forum where employees talked about OpenAI's latest technologies, the report said, citing two people familiar with the incident.
However, they did not get into the systems where OpenAI, the firm behind chatbot sensation ChatGPT, houses and builds its AI, the report added.

OpenAI executives informed both employees at an all-hands meeting in April last year and the company's board about the breach, according to the report, but executives decided not to share the news publicly as no information about customers or partners had been stolen.

OpenAI executives did not consider the incident a national security threat, believing the hacker was a private individual with no known ties to a foreign government, the report said. The San Francisco-based company did not inform the federal law enforcement agencies about the breach, it added.

Ethics and Information Technology

Michael Townsen Hicks & James Humphries & Joe Slater


Large language models (LLMs), programs which use reams of available text and probability calculations in order to create seemingly-human-produced writing, have become increasingly sophisticated and convincing over the last several years, to the point where some commentators suggest that we may now be approaching the creation of artificial general intelligence (see e.g. Knight, 2023 and Sarkar, 2023). Alongside worries about the rise of Skynet and the use of LLMs such as ChatGPT to replace work that could and should be done by humans, one line of inquiry concerns what exactly these programs are up to: in particular, there is a question about the nature and meaning of the text produced, and of its connection to truth. In this paper, we argue against the view that when ChatGPT and the like produce false claims they are lying or even hallucinating, and in favour of the position that the activity they are engaged in is bullshitting, in the Frankfurtian sense (Frankfurt, 2002, 2005). Because these programs cannot themselves be concerned with truth, and because they are designed to produce text that looks truth-apt without any actual concern for truth, it seems appropriate to call their outputs bullshit.

We think that this is worth paying attention to. Descriptions of new technology, including metaphorical ones, guide policymakers’ and the public’s understanding of new technology; they also inform applications of the new technology. They tell us what the technology is for and what it can be expected to do. Currently, false statements by ChatGPT and other large language models are described as “hallucinations”, which give policymakers and the public the idea that these systems are misrepresenting the world, and describing what they “see”. We argue that this is an inapt metaphor which will misinform the public, policymakers, and other interested parties.

The World’s Most Popular 3D-Printed Gun Was Designed by an Aspiring Terrorist


Every year, on Easter Sunday, Irish republicans commemorate their martyrs, remembering lives lost during the 1916 Easter Rising and in the years since. Such events have a pattern: a street parade, speeches, and flowers at the cemetery. The 2022 commemoration, however, was unusual for the presence of four men wearing balaclavas and dressed all in black. They were members of the dissident republican paramilitary group Óglaigh na hÉireann (ÓNH).

This was the group’s first public appearance since its ceasefire announcement in January 2018—but it also carried wider significance for terrorism experts because of the weapons that two of the men were carrying. This was the first time paramilitary members in Northern Ireland had been seen with 3D-printed guns—specifically, a .22 calibre modification of the FGC semiautomatic firearm. FGC stands for “fuck gun control,” and the acronym reflects the ideological leaning of its designer—and many others involved in the development of 3D-printed weapons.

The first 3D-printed firearm emerged in May 2013 with the release of the Liberator, a handgun created by Cody Wilson, a University of Texas law student and libertarian pro-firearms activist. Essentially a proof of concept, Wilson let the BBC film him firing the gun before releasing the open source design for anyone to download. Its release caused a sensation: The gun was pictured on the front page of the New York Post, with fears it could be smuggled past metal detectors onto planes (in fact, a metal detector would spot the gun’s metal firing pin and any ammunition).