Our picksThe Job of the Pentagon’s New UFO Office | China Became Jihadis’ New Target | Chinese Spies Academia, and more

Published 28 November 2021

·  U.S. to Remove Colombia’s FARC from Terror List

·  China May Steal Encrypted Data Now to Decrypt in Years to Come, Report Warns

·  Why Medium-Sized Autocracies Are Projecting More Hard Power

·  How China Became Jihadis’ New Target

·  The Pentagon’s New UFO Office Has a Specific Job

·  COVID-19 Conspiricism and the Four Ds of Stochastic Terrorism

·  QAnon Hero Michael Flynn Secretly Said QAnon Is ‘Total Nonsense’

·  How the Far-Right Is Radicalizing Anti-Vaxxers

·  As U.S. Hunts for Chinese Spies, University Scientists Warn of Backlash

U.S. to Remove Colombia’s FARC from Terror List (AFP / VOA News)
The U.S. government has notified Congress that it will remove the official terror group designation from former rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a congressional source told AFP Tuesday.
The decision comes on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the peace pact between the Colombian government and FARC, which led to it being disarmed and dissolved after decades of fighting.

China May Steal Encrypted Data Now to Decrypt in Years to Come, Report Warns (Brandi Vincent, Defense One)
Quantum computers promise to render today’s encryption largely obsolete. A Booz Allen report says it’s time to start managing the risks.

Why Medium-Sized Autocracies Are Projecting More Hard Power Abroad  (Economist)
as America retreats from its role as globocop, it has opened space for medium-sized powers to become more assertive.
Turkey has occupied a chunk of Syria, sent troops to Libya, helped Azerbaijan vanquish Armenia and dispatched its navy in support of dubious claims to Mediterranean waters. Iran backs militias that prop up Syria’s despot, have a chokehold on Lebanon and were accused this month of trying to murder Iraq’s prime minister with an explosives-laden drone. Pakistan helped a group of misogynistic jihadists take over Afghanistan. Belarus hijacked a plane and has been giving migrants bolt-cutters and ordering them to cut through Poland’s border fence. Cuba trains Venezuelan spooks. Saudi Arabia bombs Yemen. Medium-sized menaces are on the march. They are making the world more confusing and more dangerous.

How China Became Jihadis’ New Target  (Raffaello Pantucci, Foreign Policy)
International terrorist organizations long considered Beijing a secondary focus. That’s changed.

The Pentagon’s New UFO Office Has a Specific Job  (Tara Copp, Defense One)
Defense leaders want to make sure they can spot and track “phenomena” trespassing over training ranges.

COVID-19 Conspiricism and the Four Ds of Stochastic Terrorism  (Gerard Gill, Gnet)
With its diverse range of actors, all with their own motivations and ideologies, an instructive way to look at COVID-19 conspiricism is as an environment of stochastic terrorism. According to the influential article that popularised this term, “Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to stir up random lone wolves to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.” The stochastic terrorist may deliberately incite violence or simply be indifferent to its possibility. In either case, the danger posed is very real, if somewhat intangible (until it is too late).

QAnon Hero Michael Flynn Secretly Said QAnon Is ‘Total Nonsense’  (Will Sommer, Daily Beast)
Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn has embraced his position as a hero to QAnon conspiracy theorists. He took the QAnon oath, sold QAnon T-shirts, and even auctioned off a QAnon quilt. He appeared at a QAnon convention and signed books with a QAnon slogan. Some QAnon followers even believe that Flynn is “Q,” the mysterious figure behind QAnon.
But a recording released late Saturday night by a one-time Flynn ally suggests that the retired three-star general privately believes QAnon to be “total nonsense.”
Flynn’s disavowal of QAnon would mark a blow to the conspiracy theory movement, which claims the world is run by a cabal of cannibal-pedophiles that can only be defeated by Trumpworld stars like Flynn. In May, Flynn was feted as a hero at a QAnon convention in Dallas, where he endorsed the idea of a Myanmar-style coup in the United States.
Wood’s publication of the audio comes as part of a growing feud between Lin Wood, an ardent Trump supporter, and Flynn and other figures active in the attempt to overturn the 2020 election. The fight kicked off last week when recently acquitted Kenosha shooting defendant Kyle Rittenhouse, a former Wood client, accused Wood in a Fox News interview of deliberately keeping him in jail to raise money off of his case.

How the Far-Right Is Radicalizing Anti-Vaxxers (Nick Robins-Early, Vice)
Far-right groups have latched onto anti-vaccine protests and rallies, creating a pipeline to extremism.

As U.S. Hunts for Chinese Spies, University Scientists Warn of Backlash  (Amy Kin, New York Times)
A chilling effect has taken hold on American campuses, contributing to an outflow of academic talent that may hurt the United States while benefiting Beijing.