• The Great Replacement, White Genocide Theories: Prevalence, Scale, Proliferation

    A new in-depth study of the Great Replacement and White Genocide, two racist conspiracy theories with hundreds of thousand followers – some of them violent — in Europe and the United States, has found that the proliferation of theses conspiracy theories was helped by their mainstreaming by elected officials, and the active promotion by alternative far-right media outlets.

  • IAEA confirms Iran enriching uranium in excess of 2015 nuclear deal limit

    The United Nations atomic watchdog agency has confirmed that Iran has surpassed the limits on how much it was allowed to enrich uranium under the 2015 international nuclear deal. The International Atomic Energy Agency said its inspectors verified Monday that Iran has passed 4.5 percent enrichment, breaching the 3.67 percent limit set in the accord aimed at restraining Tehran’s nuclear weapons development.

  • How Fake News Could Lead to Real War

    Who really bombed the oil tankers in the Persian Gulf two weeks ago? Was it Iran, as the Trump administration assured us? Or was it Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates or Israel—or some combination of the three?

  • Transnational Organized Crime and National Security: Hezbollah, Hackers and Corruption

    American law enforcement efforts have become increasingly multifaceted as the government attempts to combat the continuing ingenuity and sophistication of transnational organized criminal groups. Eric Halliday writes in Lawfare that the U.S. government has announced several significant actions taken against transnational organized crime groups. The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) promulgated a slew of sanctions against the financial networks of both Hezbollah and Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG). The Justice Department announced takedowns of drug trafficking rings spanning the U.S. and Mexico as well as a large-scale organized cybercrime ring composed of members from several Eastern European countries.

  • Report: Pentagon Should Assume U.S. Satellites Are Already Hacked

    The U.S. and its allies need to double down on the cybersecurity of their satellites as space infrastructure becomes ever more integral to national security, according to a recent report. The Pentagon and other Western military forces rely heavily on space-based systems to guide weapons, gather intelligence and coordinate operations around the globe, but security gaps in their satellite infrastructure threaten to bring those functions to a grinding halt or worse, a new Chatham House study found. Jack Corrigan, writing in Defense One, quotes the study’s authots to say that as adversaries like Russia and China ramp up their offensive cyber capabilities, the Western world needs to lock down its space infrastructure against potentially crippling attacks. And in the meantime, “it would be prudent” for countries to assume their systems have already been infiltrated.”

  • How Fake News Could Lead to Real War

    Who really bombed the oil tankers in the Persian Gulf two weeks ago? Was it Iran, as the Trump administration assured us? Or was it Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates or Israel—or some combination of the three? Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon write in Politico that they believe in the official U.S. position, that Iran was behind the attacks, trying to prod other countries to pressure the U.S. to relax its sanctions makes sense. But the whole unsettling episode opened our eyes to a deeply troubling reality: The current fake news epidemic isn’t just shaking up U.S. politics; it might end up causing a war, or just as consequentially, impeding a national response to a genuine threat. Thus far, public discussion of deep fakes—and fake news more broadly—has focused on domestic politics and particularly elections. That was inevitable after the Russian interference on President Donald Trump’s behalf in 2016—the dimensions of which were laid out in the unprecedented joint assessment of the National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation in February 2017 and the Mueller Report.
    But fake news’ implications for foreign and security policy may be as far-reaching—and even more dangerous. Misinformation in geopolitics could lead not only to the continued weakening of our institutions but also to combat deaths. Sure, fake news has been a feature of international relations for a long time, but it’s different now: “Advancing technology that can fabricate convincing images and videos combined with the chronic, exuberant dishonesty of the commander-in-chief and his minions has meant that no one can feel confident in assessing life or death choices in foreign policy crisis. For a democracy—one with global interests—this is a disaster,” Benjamin and Simon write.

  • Pentagon Report: Russian Leaders Believe They Are Already at War with the United States—in the Gray Zone

    A group of governmental, military, and outside experts published a white paper urging the US government to jump fully into the so-called gray zone—the conceptual space in which countries take action that lies somewhere on the continuum between warfare and peaceable relations.  Russia, they say, is exploiting it effectively. It’s in the gray zone that Russia meddles with elections, launches online disinformation campaigns, and uses a host of other means to gain greater leverage in places ranging from the former Soviet states to Latin America. Matt Field, writing in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, notes that Russia’s already doing well in this sub-military conflict space. He quotes Nicole Peterson, who writes in the report’s executive summary: “Overall, Russia’s influence abroad is growing, and the Kremlin has mastered the use of ‘hybrid warfare’ in driving Russia’s foreign policy… Russia utilizes a variety of gray zone tactics   around the globe. These include the use of paramilitary forces and other proxies, interference in political processes, economic and energy exploitation (particularly in Africa), espionage, and media and propaganda manipulation.”

  • Could Secret Cables Have Saved Ethel Rosenberg From the Electric Chair?

    At 8:11 on the evening of June 19, 1953, Ethel Rosenberg was strapped into the electric chair at the New York State prison known as Sing Sing. She was 37 years old and the mother of two young sons. The chair, made of oak and iron, had killed hundreds of convicted criminals over the years, including her husband, Julius Rosenberg, a few minutes before. But the chair was not always reliable, which was one reason inmates gave it the cynical name “Old Sparky.” Christopher Dickey writes in the Daily Beast that two years earlier, when both Rosenbergs were convicted of spying for Moscow, Federal Judge Irving R. Kaufman had handed down their death sentences. The Rosenbergs’ crime, he said, was “worse than murder.” But in fact the penalty was not about justice. It was about vengeance for a loss the American public felt was so enormous that someone must be made to pay a horrible price. It was “as if a society turned its magnifying lens on these people until they caught fire and were burned alive,” said novelist E. L. Doctorow, whose The Book of Daniel was a fictional account of the case.  “Even as Ethel Rosenberg was strapped into the electric chair for spying for Moscow in 1953, decrypted cables might have spared her. But they were released only decades later,” Dickey writers.

  • First Responder Radiological Preparedness

    A radiological dispersal device (RDD), or “dirty bomb,” detonation in a local jurisdiction will have significant consequences for public safety, responder health and critical infrastructure operations. First responders and emergency managers must quickly assess the hazard, issue protective action recommendations, triage and treat the injured, and secure the scene in support of the individuals, families and businesses in the impacted community.

  • What to Expect from Wildfire Season This Year and in the Future

    The new normal for Western wildfires is abnormal, with increasingly bigger and more destructive blazes. Understanding the risks can help communities avert disaster. Throughout Western North America, millions of people live in high-risk wildfire zones thanks to increasingly dry, hot summers and abundant organic fuel in nearby wildlands.

  • The Russian Submarine that Caught Fire and Killed 14 May Have Been Designed to Cut Undersea Internet Cables

    A Russian navy submarine caught fire on Monday, killing 14 sailors on board. Two independent Russian news outlets reported that the vessel was the AS-12 “Losharik,” a nuclear-powered vessel that US officials have said is designed to cut undersea cables that keep the world’s internet running. Alexandra Ma and Ryan Pickrell write in Business Insider that Moscow officials have remained secretive about the type of vessel and whether it was nuclear-powered, prompting accusations of a cover-up. President Vladimir Putin canceled a scheduled event on Tuesday and told his defense minister to “personally receive reports” on the investigation into the accident, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

  • Iranian enriched uranium limit breached, IAEA confirms

    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed Monday that Iran has surpassed the stockpile of low-enriched uranium allowed under the 2015 nuclear accord with world powers, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

  • Any single hair from the human body can be used for identification

    Any single hair from anywhere on the human body can be used to identify a person. This conclusion is one of the key findings from a nearly year-long study by a team of researchers. The study could provide an important new avenue of evidence for law enforcement authorities in sexual assault cases.

  • Rectifying a wrong nuclear fuel decision

    In the old days, new members of Congress knew they had much to learn. They would defer to veteran lawmakers before sponsoring legislation. But in the Twitter era, the newly elected are instant experts. That is how Washington on 12 June witnessed the remarkable phenomenon of freshman Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Norfolk), successfully spearheading an amendment that may help Islamist radicals get nuclear weapons. The issue is whether the U.S. Navy should explore modifying the reactor fuel in its nuclear-powered vessels — as France already has done — to reduce the risk of nuclear material falling into the hands of terrorists such as al-Qaida or rogue states such as Iran. Luria says no. Alan J. Kuperman writes in the Pilot Online that more seasoned legislators have started to rectify the situation by passing a spending bill on 19 June that includes the funding for naval fuel research. They will have the chance to fully reverse Luria in July on the House floor by restoring the authorization. Doing so would not only promote U.S. national security but teach an important lesson that enthusiasm is no substitute for experience.

  • Private prisons have a political role in corrections issues in the U.S.

    Private prisons hold more than 120,000 inmates, about 8 percent of all prisoners, for 29 states and the federal government. The two largest private prison companies also operate more than 13,000 beds for immigrant detention. Private prisons play a political role in immigration and incarceration issues in the United States and the industry may face obstacles as well as opportunities in the current political landscape, new research finds.