Sunday, October 30, 2016

Bergen interviews US military commander, who warns of ISIS influence on young through social media, something Donald Trump will jump on


Peter Bergen, CNN security journalist and now professor at Arizona State, interviews General Joseph Votel of the U.S. Central Command on CNN.

While ISIS is losing territorial integrity with largely specialized operational contributions by the US forces, the danger of ISIS Internet recruiting is likely to grow, according to Votel.


 
A large segment of mostly younger adults and teens (often in deprived or violent backgrounds) are surprisingly vulnerable to other user-generated content from terror groups on social media.  This could lead to calls for security crackdowns on Internet publishing platforms and more restrictions on what users may do, to relieve a common threat (although most of the propaganda material comes from overseas), particularly if Donald Trump is elected.

Friday, October 28, 2016

ABC reports on why "good" kids are duped into joining ISIS; also porn found on jihadist computers


ABC news reports (Claire Weinraub et al) that honor student Muhammad Dakhlalla had thought he was helping others when he and girl friend Jacyln Young were arrested for trying to fly to Turkey to join ISIS.  They had been students in Mississippi.

He claimed he was na├»ve, and did not grasp the group’s capacity for evil.  After all, it had claimed to restore Muslim law and was helping the poor and disabled.
 
Another ABC story reports on the amount of violent pornography found on jihadist’s computers and devices when seized on battlefields, in complete violation of normal interpretation of Koranic law.  

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Russia may attack Baltics after US election, conceivably Finland; also Russia has a new EMP weapon


Russia may be building up the biggest confrontation since the Cold War, with strategic plans to recapture the Baltic countries (Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia) in eastern Europe, according to a Vox story here.  Estonia is interesting in that it offers “digital citizenships” to one day visitors.
Putin could test NATO with an invasion early in 2017 with a new president.  It’s hard to say if he would feel more emboldened were Trump to be elected.



But in my own “Angel’s Brother” novel, a US CIA agent travels to Russia, drives N of St Peterburg (following a route in the 1985 novel “The Red Fox” by Anthony Hyde) pretending to vend porn, to pick up a secret weapon stored near an old radioactive waste depot (a pet topic of the Nuclear Threat Initiative).  Then he drives it across the border into Finland (through the ceded area Karelia -- like the "Karelia Suite" of Jan Sibelius" -- near Lake Ladoga), and the Russians chase him, creating an international incident that will be followed by a bizarre ransomware attack on the west.  All of this is fiction.  But it is sounding like an exchange that could start WWIII, so far the province of novelist’s imaginations, could come true. (As I write this and ponder the news story, I realize I have some more loose ends in the manuscript to clean up.)



Russia is said to have unveiled a “Satan 2” nuclear missile that could destroy an area the size of France of Texas, at least with an EMP blast.  (story by Sebasitan Shukla and Laura Smith-Spark).

Wikipedia attribution link for map by Jmienenmaa , CNU 1.2

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

TISA could incorporate a Section 230-like clause; ISHR publishes model law


A couple of brief stories came across my inbox today.

EFF, in an article by Jeremy Malcolm, discussed both TPP and TISA, the Trade in Services Agreement, and argues that the US model for Section 230, protecting service providers from downstream liability for defamation and similar torts, be used as a model worldwide.     This sounds more important in Europe, especially Britain, where defendants generally have a harder time in defamation cases (as Kitty Kelly once explained back in 1997).


 
The International Service for Human Rights in Geneva today published a “Model Law for the Recgonition and Protection of Human Rights Defender”, pdf here

Sunday, October 23, 2016

China plans to assign every person and every company a public "social karma score" by 2020


According to a story by Simon Denyer in the Washington Post, front page on Sunday, October 23, 2016, China is preparing to develop an extension of the credit score concept in the U.S., an uber-score or “karma score”, or “social credit” score. It could be implemented by 2020

The score would incorporate information about minor legal infractions, civil disputes, family issues like failing to visit or provide for parents or other elderly relatives (“filial piety”), and most of all, social media postings.  Criticism of others or of the government would lower the score.
 
The writer brings up the 2002 film “Minority Report” and the concept of “pre-crime”.  But it also invokes Communist ideology of a “socialist utopia” in this “People’s Republic of Capitalism”, as Ted Koppel called it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Private initiatives in Europe help refugees with employment


Liz Alderman has an important article about private initiatives to help refugees in Europe find employment.

There would be the obvious question as to whether this sets an example for the U.S. and Canada.
 
Alderman has other provocative stories that I noticed, particularly about proposals for “deposit taxes” in Greece to help bridge the financial crisis.  That reminds me of the idea of “negative interest rates”, which eventually penalize people for “hoarding” savings.

Friday, October 7, 2016

NYTimes has detailed story in legal issues surrounding West Bank settlements


The New York Times has a detailed article by Isabel Kershner on the desire of some Israeli’s to build “illegal” settlements on the West Bank (it’s apparently not limited to “Zone C”).

There are limits to how far even a right-wing government in Israel can go in allowing these.  The article suggests that Palestinians are being compensated in eminent domain arrangements, but not allowed to keep their lands.  Some of the land is agricultural.

This story needs to be put in perspective against earlier stories of Palestinians being driven from their homes.

Wikipedia attribution link for picture of Salfit, by Anan Jalal, under CCSA 3.0.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Vladimir Putin threatens to retaliate against NATO if US interferes with his strikes in Syria backing Assad


Russian newspapers, tabloids and Anonymous (and Wikileaks) are all reporting that Vladimir Putin will retaliated against NATO if the US opposes his attacks on civilians in Aleppo to support Assad.  Gay magazines, to ridicule his anti-gay propaganda law in 2013, still show his outdoor horseback pictures with a hairless chest and now big teats. 


The major media hasn’t talked about this much.  Some are saying a “Cuban Missile Crisis II” could start  OAN journalist Trey Yingst (from American University, News2Share, and well known to local station WJLA, having already traveled to conflict areas connected to Russia) tweeted bluntly that Putin was threatening WWIII today (if he shoots down any US planes).   


Monday, October 3, 2016

North Korea plans an "October surprise"


Dugald McConnell and Brian Todd on CNN warn that Kin Jung Un may try an "October Surprise" to disturb the US presidential election, in a an article and video today here.

Beyond Parallel, a website about Korean unification, weighs in on its website here.

It would sound possible that Un could try a direct attack on South Korea, even with a small nuclear warhead, which he seems to have. Imagine how a president Donald Trump would react if this happened his first day in office.

CIA chief John Brennan now warns that North Korea is our most serious national security threat (but that was the belief in the 1990s).