• From Nord Stream to Novichok: Kremlin propaganda on Google’s front page

    On 24 May, an international team of investigators announced that a Russian anti-aircraft missile was directly responsible for the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17). Initial analysis of social media reactions to these announcements indicated that Kremlin outlets were struggling to effectively counter the new evidence implicating Moscow in the downing of MG17. However, over the next week, conspiracy theories and disinformation narratives from Russian propaganda outlets found a foothold on an impactful and unlikely medium: Google’s front page.

  • Was there a connection between Russian Facebook propaganda and a foiled terrorist attack in Kansas City?

    On 18 April, a jury convicted three Kansas men of conspiring to use “weapons of mass destruction” against an apartment complex where many of the residents were Somali refugees. They were arrested before they were able to carry out their bomb plot in 2016. All three were known to be very active on Facebook, where they called themselves “Crusaders.” Experts wonder whether the divisive and polarizing ads which Russian disinformation specialists ran on Facebook during 2016 motivated the three to plan the attack.

  • Los Alamos lab designated “No Drone Zone,” deploys counter-drone systems

    Loa Alamos National Laboratory, in collaboration with the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), has deployed a system to counter all unauthorized unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) over its restricted airspace and an additional FAA designated “No Drone Zone.” The Counter-UAS program at Los Alamos will be the blueprint for future programs at three other NNSA sites. Systems are planned for the Pantex Plant in Texas, the Y-12 facility in Tennessee, and the National Nuclear Security Site in Nevada.

  • Tensions among fishing countries rise as climate change drives fish to new habitats

    Out-of-date fisheries regulatory system has not kept up with the realities of global warming and shifting fish populations. New fisheries are likely to appear in more than seventy countries all over the world as a result of climate change. History has shown that newly shared fisheries often spark conflict among nations. Conflict leads to overfishing, which reduces the food, profit and employment fisheries can provide, and can also fracture international relations in other areas beyond fisheries.

  • German police arrest man for building a biological weapon

    The police in Cologne, Germany, on Tuesday arrested 29-year old Sief Allah H. for trying to build biological weapons in his apartment. He came to Germany in 2016 and had been under police surveillance for terrorist sympathies. In mid-May he ordered 1,000 castor seeds — the main ingredient for used in ricin toxin — and a coffee grinder from an online store. In June he managed to produce the toxin June.

  • U.K.: Number of terrorism-related arrests hits record high

    Official figures show that the number of terrorism-related arrests in Britain reached a record high after a series of attacks were conducted around the country last year. In the year ending 31 March, 441 people were held on suspicion of terrorism-related activity, the highest number of arrests in one year since data collection started in 2001, and an increase of 17 percent on 378 in the previous year.

  • Russia’s “malign activity” aims to “degrade our democratic values and weaken our alliances”: Dan Coats

    Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, on 8 June 2018, spoke at the Atlantic Council’s Tocqueville Conversation. He emphasized the magnitude of the threats posed by Russia’s broad, sustained, and sophisticated campaign to undermine Western democracies, discredit open societies and liberal norms, weaken the rule of law, and destroy the rule-based international order. Coats noted that it should not be a surprise that Vladimir Putin has launched this attack on Western values ad norms. “President Putin openly acknowledges that his experience in the KGB has established his approach to politics. Perhaps that is why he thrives in an environment of cynicism, lies, and misdirection.”

  • The partisan brain: Why people are attracted to fake news and what to do about it

    Orwell’s famous novel, 1984, describes a totalitarian state in which the government demands that citizens abandon their own perceptions, memories, and beliefs in favor of party propaganda. In this dystopian nightmare, people are forced against their will to adopt the beliefs of the ruling party. However, modern research in political science, psychology, and neuroscience suggests that people are often quite willing to adopt the (mis)beliefs of political parties and spread misinformation when it aligns with their political affiliations.

  • Recommended: An action plan on U.S. drone policy

    Drones have become a mainstay of U.S. counterterrorism operations and national security policy writ large. The Obama administration popularized the use of armed drones, and U.S. drone policy have only become more salient during the Trump administration – but the Trump administration’s approach to U.S. drone policy has thus far revealed a desire to roll back some of the principles, procedures, and guidelines put in place by the Obama administration.

  • Experts: A 10-year phased denuclearization is safer for both U.S., NK

    Immediate denuclearization of North Korea is dangerous to both North Korean and American interests, say Stanford scholars in a new research report. Instead, they advocate for phased denuclearization to take place over ten years or more, allowing the United States to reduce the greatest risks first and address the manageable risks over time.

  • Shin Bet says it prevented 250 terror attacks in 2018

    Addressing an international conference on terror, Shin Bet Director Nadav Argaman said that his agency has prevented 250 terror attacks in 2018. Argaman said that among the prevented terror attacks were significant ones including suicide bombings, kidnappings, and shootings. Testifying before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee last December, Argaman said that the security service had thwarted more than 400 terrorist attacks in 2017, including 13 planned suicide attacks, eight kidnappings and 1,100 potential lone-wolf attacks.

  • Mozambique’s own version of Boko Haram is tightening its deadly grip

    Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province is being held to ransom by an Islamist guerrilla movement. After months of skirmishes between police and members of the Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah, the region has now erupted into full violence. How did it reach this point? Several factors – social, economic and political – have allowed an Islamist insurgency to develop in the north of Mozambique. Most are local issues rather than the outcome of an international, cross-border conspiracy.

  • The ENCRYPT Act protects encryption from U.S. state prying

    It’s not just the DOJ and the FBI that want to compromise your right to private communications and secure devices—some state lawmakers want to weaken encryption, too. In recent years, a couple of state legislatures introduced bills to restrict or outright ban encryption on smartphones and other devices. Fortunately, several Congress members recently introduced their own bill to stop this dangerous trend before it goes any further.

  • U.S., North Korean in final preparations for Trump-Kim meeting

    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a news conference earlier today (Monday) that Washington is prepared to offer North Korea unprecedented security guarantees, which would go even further than 1994 and 2005 guarantees given by the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. Pompeo said he was optimistic that the summit would be a success, but defined success as an agreement that the negotiations should continue. He said the U.S. was “hopeful that this summit will set the conditions for future talks.”

  • Detecting the threat of nuclear weapons

    Will the recent U.S. withdrawal from a 2015 accord that put restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program make it easier for Iran to pursue the bomb in secret? Not likely, according to Scott Kemp, an associate professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT. “The most powerful insights into Iran’s nuclear program come from traditional intelligence, not from inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency,” says Kemp. But covert nuclear-weapon programs, whether in Iran, North Korea, or elsewhere in the world, are a major unsolved problem, according to Kemp.