Sunday, December 21, 2014

Horrific week overseas week before Christmas; DPRK seems to up the ante Sunday afternoon with more contradictory, bellicose statements; Zakaria on "bullying"


This past week, right before Christmas, has had more “bad” world news than any in recent memory, even if Wall Street fiddled.  There was the attack in Pakistan where children, used as pawns in a religious power struggle within radical Islam, were murdered at school for “revenge”.  Boko Haram massacred civilian “infidels” in Nigeria (UK Mail story ) so ISIL has no monopoly on this kind of behavior.  These specific events seem less significant to western homelands. 

There was the “loan wolf” psychopathic attack in Australia, which appeared to be ISIS-inspired, and the shooting in Brooklyn Saturday may have elements of radical foreign extremism as well as “racism”.  So far, nearly all of these attacks seem to come from individuals with severe personality or mental disorders, who are then disaffected by their own inability function.  The gunman Ismaaiyl Brinsley Bratton had written on Facebook “You ain’t been through what I been through, You not like me and I not like you.”  You can see the tone.
  
And all this brings us back to the Sony Hack.  The very latest story from CNN reinforces the contradictions in the bellicose statements from North Korea.  Yesterday, hackers had claimed there would be no more attacks if Sony destroyed the movie.  (I’ve seen this kind of extortion regarding media objects before.)  Then in "the interview" with Fareed Zakaria, Sony CEO Michael Lynton suggested it really would figure out a way to release the movie that distributors and retailers, perhaps with additional security precautions, could accept.  Then early Sunday afternoon EST, CNN reports this boastful statement from the DPRK that there would be much bigger cyberattacks on the US mainland, specifically the US government, link here. “Worse is coming”, link here.  As of 4:30 PM Sunday afternoon, ABC and Vox had yet to report this.  The DPRK rhetoric also contained old Cold War rhetoric about IS “imperialism” and capitalism.
  
Zakaria has an op-ed in the Washington Post, where he reinforces Obama’s statement that the DPRK’s extortion behavior can threaten all free speech, and must be repelled, here.   Zakari apologizes for a 2009 piece at Yale where he defended Yale’s not publishing the actual cartoon drawings relative to the Jyllands Posten Cartoon Controversy (here).  There was also an interesting comparison to how "The Dictator", satirizing Hitler, played out in 1940. 
  

This story is changing quickly.  But the rest of American business should shore up its security (including administrator encryption) quickly, and the power industry needs to keep its transformers off the actual public Internet.
  
There are suggestions that Congress should pass laws indemnifying public spaces property owners from terror attacks, especially if associated with state-sponsored (including DPRK and ISIL) or known extremist groups.  It’s interesting, but little known and hardly ever enforced, that Internet users actually “indemnify” producers now.  This whole idea of “indemnification” could explode as a policy debate in 2015 (like SOPA did in 2011).
  
The Pentagon is actually increasing missile defenses with a “balloon” system, suggesting that it may take the idea of an EMP strike (as in the novel “One Second After”), warned by Newt Gingrich, more seriously than it admits. 

Update: Dec. 22

David Carr has a Business Day article "How the Sony hacking became a horror movie", link here.  Carr notes that the New York Times has been threatened numerous times (with hack attempts) after controversial story, so Obama's comment Sunday to Candy Crowley on news coverage has already happened repeatedly.

Fox News and not the AP have reported the latest bluster from DPRK here

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