|1. US Security from mikenova (83 sites)|
|Stars and Stripes: Afghanistans opium production rises as Taliban gain ground|
Opium production has nearly doubled in Afghanistan in 2017, reaching a record high, according to a joint survey by the Afghan government and the United Nations.
Stars and Stripes
|Stars and Stripes: More Europe-based troops considered in House budget|
Lawmakers want the military to draw up a strategy for stationing more troops in Europe and to reconsider future base closures, given concerns about a more assertive Russia.
Stars and Stripes
|Just Security: Yemen Strike Raises Questions About Whether the US Follows Its Own Drone Rules|
While we were visiting Yemen this month, the United States conducted a drone strike against alleged al-Qaeda members in Mareb Governorate, reportedly killing two suspects while they were traveling in a vehicle. As one of over 116 drone strikes in Yemen this year, the attack made little news. But the circumstances of this strike, combined with information shared with us by the governor of Mareb, a key U.S. ally, raise very serious questions about whether the U.S. is following its own drone strike rules, or, perhaps, whether those rules are actually in force.
U.S. policy and rules purport preference for capture of suspects
For years, the U.S. government has told the American public and the international community that it only uses lethal force outside areas of active hostilities where conditions laid out in the Presidential Policy Guidance (PPG) (2013) are fulfilled. The PPG was announced to much fanfare in May 2013 by President Barack Obama, and it has been heralded by supporters as setting out strict rules for when lethal force can be used. Indeed, a major national security speech by Obama, and the publication of a summary of the rules in 2013, led to reduced criticism of U.S. lethal force operations in the following months.
The PPG emphasized a preference for capturing, rather than killing, suspects. The first page of the PPG included this key statement:
Capture operations offer the best opportunity for meaningful intelligence gain from counterterrorism (CT) operations and the mitigation and disruption of terrorist threats. Consequently, the United States prioritizes, as a matter of policy, the capture of terrorist suspects as a preferred option over lethal action and will therefore require a feasibility assessment of capture options as a component of any proposal for lethal action.
The PPG then set out that the before any operation could proceed, the following must be satisfied:
(i) an assessment that capture is not feasible at the time of the operation;
(ii) an assessment that the relevant governmental authorities in the country where action is contemplated cannot or will not effectively address the threat to U.S. persons; and
(iii) an assessment that no other reasonable alternatives to lethal action exist to effectively address the threat to U.S. persons.
The rules have been key to U.S. government efforts to legitimize their lethal force: U.S. officials have often relied on these rules in responding to critiques about U.S. counterterrorism actions and allegations of civilian casualties and counterproductive operations.
Two developments under the Trump administration have cast doubt on where and how the PPG now applies to U.S. operations.
In March 2017, reports indicated that the Trump administration had granted Defense Department requests to deem areas of Yemen and Somalia as areas of active hostilities and thereby relax or exempt operations in such areas from the constraints imposed by the PPG.
In September, The New York Times Charlie Savage and Eric Schmitt reported that the Trump administration was preparing to dismantle key Obama-era limits on drone strikes and commando raids outside conventional battlefields. The article discussed a number of concerning proposed changes, but did not mention any changes to the capture feasibility rules. The NYT subsequently reported that the changes went through, although the administration has not released the new rules.
However, we have seen no reports that the rule requiring no feasibility of capture has been rescinded or loosened in the context of U.S. operations in Yemen.
Yemeni official puts capture preference into question
Earlier this month, we spent several hours meeting with Mareb Governor Sultan Bin Ali Al-Aradah. We discussed at length his views about counterterrorism and armed conflict in Yemen. As a local tribal leader and governor of the provincial stronghold of Hadi-led Yemeni government forces, Al-Aradah is a powerful and influential politicianand one of the most powerful Yemeni government officials in the country. A critical partner of the Saudi-led coalition and fierce opponent of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), he is also an important local U.S. ally.
The governor told us that the Nov. 2 drone strike took place in an area that his security forces couldaccess. More generally, the governor lamented the United States failure to inform local officials, or to provide information that could lead or facilitate the capture of suspected members and leaders of AQAP. As long as were able to do the job ourselves, inform us.if we can, we want to arrest, he stated.
The governor is not a drone strike opponent. He stated that sometimes drones work, but he had real concerns about how the U.S. deploys its force in Yemen. He explained why he has voiced a strong preference for capturing al-Qaeda suspects, a preference which he stated he has shared with the U.S. ambassador to Yemen in the past. The governor explained that capture enabled questioning of suspects and created the potential for gaining critical information about armed group activity. He added that the unilateral nature of U.S. counterterrorism concerns him, and makes fighting AQAP harder for his government and security forces: Protect civilian lives, and the psychology of those in the city, and most important, we dont want to pass people to the sympathies of the terrorists He expressed concern about the U.S. relying on poor (mis)information, which led to mistakes in strikes and civilian harm, and the risk of creating more terrorists. The governor also argued that arresting suspects, often by working through tribal relations and customs, would help strengthen the rule of law, and expressed concerns about the legality of and accountability for U.S. drone strikes.
We want the state to stand on its feet and to take every criminal to courtand at the very least countries that use drones to come up with legal accountability for their use, Al-Aradah told us. Thats why I always say the flow of info and actions needs to come through local security agencies. Right now, there is no one to hold accountable.
During our conversation, the governor was flanked by his chief of security, chief of intelligence, and chief of special forces, all of whom expressed strong agreement with his points.
The governors criticism was also echoed by tribal sheikhs we met in Mareb.
The problem is that America takes the exclusive role on counter-terrorism, criticized tribal leader and member of parliament, Sheikh Ali abdu Rabu al-Qadhi.
Sheikh al-Qadhi added that such strikes, especially when they kill innocent civilians and individuals from prominent local families, can lead to AQAP expanding, and communities taking out grievances on tribal leaders and the local government. Sheikh al-Qadhi also criticized the legality of drone strikes: When a country like America chooses to assassinate outside the law, this is a big problem.
Other tribal leaders also expressed disappointment and frustration at the United States lack of information sharing and cooperation with local authorities and tribes who are on the front lines against AQAPfighting to prevent recruitment and influence in their communities.
Its not just about the drone, as another Sheikh put it. This conflict is local and when theres a strike the whole village can join the fight. We believe that it should be our local communities that should fight al-Qaeda.
The leaders also criticized the overly military focus of U.S. counter-terrorism approaches, recommending that far more support is needed for development programs, education, and partnerships.
Questions for the Trump administration
The governors claim that security forces could have accessed the area in which the strike took place raises many questions about the U.S. decision to take the strike.
The Obama administrations PPG was meant to bring some level of constraint and accountability to U.S. counter-terrorism operations. In light of the Trump administrations murky attempts to roll back these rules, the governors account raises crucial questions that merit immediate answers:
Does the capture preference of the PPG continue to apply after Trump administration revisions? Did the U.S. conduct a capture feasibility assessment for the Nov. 2 strike? Did the U.S. government conclude that the governor and his security forces cannot or will not address the threat? If so, based on what information and engagement with local authorities? Why was it not a reasonable alternative to conduct an operation to capture the suspects? Beyond Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, where exactly has the Trump administration declared areas of active hostilities?The Nov. 2 drone strike is not an entirely unique case, and several past U.S. drone strikes in Yemen have also raised serious concerns that attacks were conducted when capture was feasible. The situation in Mareb, however, does seem to be a particularly concerning case.
Mareb is perhaps the most stable governorate in Yemen, with an extensive presence of Yemeni military forces and U.S.-allied Saudi and Emirati advisers and special forces on the ground. At its head is a powerful governor, with deep trust amongst tribal leaders, and eager for more engagement, support from, and security cooperation with U.S. authorities. Yet Governor Al Aradahs account indicates that coordination and information sharing with local allies is minimal. Understandably, hed like to know why.
Image: Mareb, Yemen Photo by: Sarah Knuckey
|In Homeland Security: China Sending Envoy To North Korea Following Trump Visit|
BEIJING (AP) Following President Donald Trump’s visit to Beijing, China said Wednesday that it would send a high-level special envoy to North Korea amid an extended chill in relations between the neighbors over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.
Song Tao, the head of China’s ruling Communist Party’s International Department, will travel to Pyongyang on Friday to report on outcomes of the party’s national congress held last month, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
In Homeland Security
|Washington Free Beacon: Trump on Philippines Visit: I Was Forced to Watch Fake CNN|
President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he was forced to watch CNN while visiting the Philippines, one stop during his 11-day Asia trip.
Trump sent out a series of tweets reflecting on his Asia trip, where he said that the United States is “respected again in Asia.”
He then tweeted his praise of Fox News’ “Fox and Friends,” saying the show will be “showing much of our successful trip to Asia, and the friendships & benefits that will endure for years to come!”
He characteristically didn’t have the same praise for CNN. “While in the Philippines I was forced to watch CNN, which I have not done in months, and again realized how bad, and FAKE, it is. Loser!” Trump tweeted.
Trump has praised “Fox and Friends” several times on his Twitter account for its favorable coverage of his administration and has even said it is one of his favorite shows to watch on the network.
He has also blasted CNN several times, referring to the network as “fake news,” a term he started using during the presidential campaign to go after news outlets he argued were unfairly and inaccurately critical towards his campaign and administration.
The post Trump on Philippines Visit: I Was Forced to Watch ‘Fake’ CNN appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.
Washington Free Beacon
|Just Security: The Internationalists Mini-Forum: Why Has War Declined?|
Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King signing the Kellog-Briand pact in August 1928.(This piece is the first of several on Just Security examining The internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World, written by Just Security editorial board member Oona Hathaway and her colleague Scott Shapiro.)
If we were having this discussion in the late 1920s or early 1930s, most of us would probably be fans of the Kellogg-Briand Pact outlawing war. Not so today, obviously. But back in the 1930s, as Samuel Huntington points out, American academia put the emphasis almost entirely upon the questions of form and structure studied in courses in international law and international organization, aimed at vindicating world organization. After the catastrophic failure of such institutions to ward off fascism and global war, the American study of international relations, as taught in law schools and public policy schools, has embraced a postwar disenchantment brilliantly championed by the great realist Hans Morgenthau. Huntington writes, By the late 1940s, however, American writers were vying with each other in denouncing the moralism, legalism, utopianism, Wilsonism, and sentimentalism of the American diplomatic past.
So Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro know perfectly well that theyre making a bold claim that the Kellogg-Briand Pact represents among the most transformative events of human history. Their new book is cogent and provocative, a gripping study of the diplomats and thinkers who pressed for the outlawry of war, but obviously headed for controversy from critics wary of Whiggish history.
Oona and Scotts point in The Internationalists isnt that Kellogg-Briand ended war, but that it ushered in a new legal order in which war is no longer a legitimate tool for righting wrongs, imposing a restraint on leaders contemplating war. Theyre well aware that the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931 came not long after the fancy signing ceremony in Paris for the Kellogg-Briand treaty in 1928. To their own lists of wars since Paris, you could add the 1962 war between India and China, the Sino-Soviet border conflict, the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, and Vladimir Putins annexation of Crimea, which Condoleezza Rice recently called perhaps the greatest affront to the law-based international order in Europe since World War II.
Oona and Scott might well point to Rices words as evidence that powerful decision-makers stand against aggression on grounds of law and world order. Their argument revolves around a legal shift which causes a cognitive shift in the minds of important leaders. At the same time, they insist upon the role of powerful states in maintaining what they see as a new legal order; their fear, appropriate to these dismal days of Trump, is that the United States will withdraw from that role.
The Internationalists is fundamentally, in Oona and Scotts words, a work of intellectual historynot international law, not international relations, not political science, not diplomatic history, although it obviously contains elements of all of those. Its about how ideas matter (their italics), as carried into practice by Robert Jackson, Hersch Lauterpacht, Sumner Welles, Nishi Amane, and others who influenced and advanced the development of international norms and law worldwide. This is another reason why some realists might not warm to it: neorealist theories of international relations are concerned with the structure of the system, dismissing as reductionist the internal workings of states, including ideas held by individuals within them.
Heres whats not controversial: its well known that there has been a steep decline in interstate war in the decades since World War II. This argument has been powerfully made by John Mueller (who says that war is not a necessity like breathing and eating, but more like obsolete social practices such as dueling and slavery), Richard Rosecrance, and John Lewis Gaddis, who has famously called the absence of major war among the great powers since 1945 the Long Peace. But this good news is usually attributed to, variously, a spreading zone of peace among liberal democracies, nuclear deterrence, the increasing destructiveness of war among industrialized states, declining advantages to territorial conquest, delegitimization of imperialism, economic interdependence, and so on. In his fascinating book The Better Angels of Our Nature, the psychologist Steven Pinker argues that the historical decline of violence (not just interstate war, but violence itself) is due to the ascendancy of our empathy, self-control, moral norms, and reason, exemplified by, among other things, the Rights Revolutions after World War II. For Mueller, in The Remnants of War, World War I was the crucial moment when people in the developed world got disillusioned with the value and efficacy of war, reinforced after the spectacular anachronism of World War II, which he blames almost entirely on Hitler. Ethical and legal constraints are often seen as part of the explanation for the decline of war, but not in the starring role given by Oona and Scott, and without the emphasis on Kellogg-Briand.
What are the observable implications of Oona and Scotts argument? How can you measure mental change in the minds of policymakers? They do a great job of describing the frenetic activism of Lauterpacht and the others, the individuals whom political scientists would call norm entrepreneurs. They have an engrossing discussion of Nishi, the influential Japanese philosopher who introduced Western international law to a Japanese readership. The next step would be showing how the norm cascades outward after 1928 from their norm entrepreneurs into a wider world.
One way to observe norms in operation is to comb through the secret innermost records of government, to see the hidden debates and deliberations which result in policy. While international lawyers will sometimes point to public justifications to see legal rationales at work, political scientists will dig into private debates for evidence (in dreadful social science jargon, process-tracing). If Oona and Scott are right, we ought to see references in internal deliberations to Kellogg-Briand, or at least to its norms. Since its a new norm, on their account, its unlikely that its contents would be so internalized that its impact would go unspoken, or unchallenged.
To look for more such evidence, I did a little hunting in what seemed like a promising place: the secret diary of Kido Koichi, the closest aide to Emperor Hirohito, a deft player in the machinations of the Japanese court and government. This journal was used by the Allied prosecution at the Tokyo war crimes tribunal in 1946-48 as one of their crucial pieces of evidence. Kido was distinctly nationalistic but also suspicious of the expansionists in the domineering army, so would be more likely to have taken note of Kellogg-Briand than militarists like Tojo Hideki.
So what did Kido have to say about Kellogg-Briand during the Manchuria crisis in 1931? Zilch. He wrote neither about it, nor its norms, nor the reputational consequences for violating them. Instead, he privately worried about the renegade Japanese army, coup attempts, and the maneuverings of the imperial court. He (and other civilian politicians) did fret about the prospect of punishment from the League of Nations, or having to withdraw from the League, and he paid some attention to a U.S. statement by Henry Stimson that it could not accept the legality of any changes made by force in Manchuria. Kido feared that a delay in resolving the Manchurian crisis would make it harder to bring the rogue army under control, but not that Japan was violating its treaty commitment or trampling a legal norm against aggression.
Oona and Scott count Stimsons views as evidence for their argument, and theyre right to classify militarist Japan as a country which believed in war as a tool of statecraft. Of course, this Kido inquiry was just one quick test, what social scientists call a plausibility probe. But if Oona and Scott are looking for more evidence which would silence critics, this could be one way to do itexcept, obviously, with results that are the opposite of what was found in this small check. The Imperial Japanese view of the Kellogg-Briand Pact was closer to Mussolinis, who signed it but called it so sublime that it might be called transcendental.
|The U.S. and Global Security Review: News Reviews and Opinions: 8:38 AM 11/15/2017 – Trump: We will be reciprocal….|
News Reviews and Opinions: 8:38 AM 11/15/2017 – Trump: We will be reciprocal….: 8:28 AM 11/15/2017 RED BLUFF, Calif. A gunman killed four people and wounded a number of others | Donald Trump: We will be reciprocal …
The U.S. and Global Security Review
|Stars and Stripes: Pope auctions Lamborghini to rebuild Christian Iraq|
Pope Francis got the keys to a fancy new Lamborghini on Wednesday but he won’t be tooling around the Vatican gardens in it.
Stars and Stripes
|www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: US drone strike in Somalia kills ‘several’ with al-Shabab|
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) – The U.S. military says it has carried out a drone strike against al-Shabab in Somalia that killed several extremists.
The U.S. Africa Command says this is the 28th such airstrike this year in Somalia against both the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab and the new but growing presence of …
www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security
|Security Intelligence: Dont Let a Retail Vulnerability Cause Holiday Havoc|
Retail data breaches have historically occurred during the holiday season. The high volume of transactions and management’s focus on sales and inventory distract attention from a potential retail vulnerability, exposing opportunities for cybercriminals to infiltrate point-of-sale (POS) systems and online transaction streams.
Although the majority of holiday shopping occurs during the weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it often takes companies months or longer to realize they’ve been breached. It’s possible that this year’s thieves have already loaded their attack tools on retailers’ systems and will trigger them to launch when it’s most advantageous for them and least convenient for the retailer.
Retail CISOs need to take a deep dive into their systems and unearth any possible openings that may exist before the rush begins. Here are five actions that CISOs need to undertake immediately to get ahead of breaches during peak traffic periods.
Update Your POS Systems
Every retailer uses some kind of POS system to make sales and collect payments, and all of these systems can be vulnerable to malware. While it may be impossible to protect against every new variant, POS software vendors generally understand the issues and periodically provide patches to close security gaps in their software. It’s up to the retailer to install these updates across all their stores and take advantage of the protections their vendors provide.
Retail CISOs should also ensure that all antivirus systems across the network are updated. If a POS system runs on a device with a standard operating system (OS), such as Microsoft Windows, MacOS, iOS or Android, install all OS patches and update the antivirus systems that protect them.
Lock Down Encryption for User Data
After so many data breaches resulting in stolen user credentials, it seems obvious that sensitive user information, including passwords and credit card data, would be encrypted to the highest level possible. However, data thefts continue to prove that important data is inadequately protected.
Encrypting password stores is inadequate because once the file containing the passwords has been unencrypted, all its contents are exposed and easily usable. CISOs need to go beyond the basics and use a specialized protection scheme designed specifically to secure passwords, such as SHA-2.
Secure the Network
If your POS systems are on the same network as your management controls and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, a breach of one can allow access to the others. Segment your network and ensure you have firewalls or proxies in place. Deploy both intrusion prevention systems and intrusion detection systems that provide alerts when malicious activity is detected.
Provide Real-Time Alerts for Indicators of Compromise (IoC)
CISOs can monitor the myriad IoCs generated and tracked across the globe, but only a relatively few are pertinent to their specific environment. IoC volume is a significant data issue that needs to be addressed by intelligent systems that can filter out irrelevant information and evaluate the remainder against the context of the environment.
Real-time alerts based on relevant IoCs can notify security staff to threats that are either imminent or in progress so action can be taken. At the same time, threat analysis needs to be transparent to the ongoing commerce, especially during peak traffic periods.
Staff education can make a difference in reducing the success and severity of cyberattacks. Coordinate ongoing employee education to raise awareness on how to help prevent intruders from accessing company systems. Train them to use the devices on which POS systems operate only for their intended purpose and not for accessing other applications or the internet. Alert them to practices that thieves posing as customers might attempt, such as using skimmers, USB sticks or other devices they might attach to systems. Put safeguards in place for technicians working on the systems so they are always supervised and properly vetted before they are granted access to equipment.
This holiday season is sure to bring a new crop of cyber intrusions. Take precautions now to make certain your POS systems won’t be compromised.
The post Don’t Let a Retail Vulnerability Cause Holiday Havoc appeared first on Security Intelligence.
|Just Security: The Early Edition: November 15, 2017|
Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Heres todays news.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions appeared before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday and maintained that he had always told the truth about connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, saying that he had no recollection of a campaign round-table at which the aide George Papadopoulos was present until he saw the news reports and added that he had pushed back against the aides suggestion of a meeting between Trump and the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Matt Apuzzo and Nicholas Fandos report at the New York Times.
Sessions addressed the apparent discrepancies between his recent recollections and his previous testimonies about Trump-Russia connections. Democrats on the committee questioned Sessions on his interactions with Papadopoulos and the former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page, who had testified before the House Intelligence Committee over a week ago and said that he had told Sessions of his plan to travel to Moscow in 2016. Matt Zapotosky and Sari Horowitz report at the Washington Post.
The four key points from Sessions hearing are provided by Amber Phillips at the Washington Post.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) asked Sessions about the dossier alleging connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, Jordan drawing attention to the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee (D.N.C.) partially funding the dossier, the F.B.I.s apparent payment of the author of the document the former British Intelligence officer Christopher Steele and the apparent cooperation between the Democratic Party and the federal government to secure a warrant to spy on Trump campaign officials; Sessions responded that the apparent connections were not enough basis to appoint a special counsel. Aaron Blake explains at the Washington Post, saying that the Attorney Generals comments would probably irk the president.
The F.B.I. is scrutinizing more than 60 money transfers the Russian foreign ministry sent to embassies around the world to finance election campaign of 2016, it is not clear how the funds were used by the embassies and the Russian embassy and foreign ministry have denounced the story. Jason Leopold, Anthony Cormier and Jessica Garrison reveal at BuzzFeed News.
The co-founder of opposition research firm Fusion G.P.S., Glenn Simpson, appeared before the House Intelligence Committee yesterday in a closed session, the firm was behind the controversial Steele dossier and a lawyer for Simpson criticized the Trump administration for its attempts to discredit Fusion G.P.S., Olivia Beavers reports at the Hill.
Russias lower house unanimously voted in favor of legislation allowing the government to designate international media outlets as foreign agents today, making the move after the Russian state-funded R.T. television channel complied with a request from the U.S. Justice Department to register as a foreign agent. Vladimir Isachenkov reports at the AP.
Did Sessions changing testimony amount to perjury? Jan Wolfe provides an analysis at Reuters.
Republicans on the Judiciary committee attempted to deflect from the Russia investigations and Sessions hearing was dominated by his inability to recall events that one would think most people would, the New York Times editorial board writes, asking what else are you forgetting, Mr. Attorney General?
Its hard to overstate the mind-blowing stupidity of Donald Trump Jr.s posts on Twitter about his communications with WikiLeaks, an organization that was affiliated with the Russians during the 2016 presidential election, Jill Filipovic writes at CNN.
The Attorney General Jeff Sessions confirmed that he had directed Justice Department prosecutors to evaluate the concerns raised by Republicans about Clinton, an Obama-era uranium deal with Russia and other issues in his testimony to the House Judiciary Committee yesterday. Katie Bo Williams reports at the Hill.
A decision to appoint a special counsel to investigate former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Clinton-related issues would shatter post-Watergate norms and would suggest that the Justice Department has been further politicized and weaponized by the Trump administration. To date, Sessions has largely resisted Republican pressure to appoint a special counsel, but he has been put in a difficult position, Peter Baker explains at the New York Times.
The demands for Clintons prosecution are profoundly inappropriate and degrading to democracy, the Justice Department must commit to the rule of law in the face of the political pressure from the president and his allies, the Washington Post editorial board writes.
CYBERSECURITY, PRIVACY AND TECHNOLOGY
Around one-sixth of U.S. government computers have been using software produced by the Russia-based Kaspersky Lab, the assistant secretary for cyber-security and communications at the Department for Homeland Security (D.H.S.) Jeannette Manfra said yesterday, adding that federal agencies have until Dec. 12 to remove the software which has been connected to Russian intelligence operations. Paul Sonne reports at the Wall Street Journal.
The Trump administration is expected to publicly release revised rules on disclosing cyber security flaws today, according to an anonymous officials, the rules intend to aid agencies in weighing the balance between maintaining secrecy and the need to warn manufacturers about possible breaches. Dustin Volz reports at Reuters.
The British Prime Minister Theresa May and the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy separately claimed that Russian operatives had intervened in European elections, May accused Russia of attempting to sow discord through online and media campaigns, and Rajoy said that Russian bots spread fake news about Spain during Catalonias independence referendum last month. William Booth and Michael Birnbaum report at the Washington Post.
The chief of Britains National Cyber Security Center warned yesterday that Russian hackers have tried to carry out cyber-attacks in the U.K. in a summary of a speech to be delivered today, making the comments following a speech by Theresa May targeting Russia for its interference. David D. Kirkpatrick reports at the New York Times.
Theresa May offered the appropriate response to Putin and Russias interference in western democracies, an approach that sharply contrasts with President Trump. Andrew Rosenthal writes at the New York Times.
China will send a special envoy to North Korea and reopen a channel of dialogue with Pyongyang, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced today, a week after Trump visited China and urged President Xi Jinping to exert more pressure on North Korea; however it is unclear how much Pyongyangs nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles program will feature in discussions. Simon Denyer reports at the Washington Post.
He should know that he is just a hideous criminal sentenced to death by the Korean people, North Koreas state Rodong Sinmun newspaper said today about President Trump, responding the insults Trump leveled at the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The AFP reports.
A war with North Korea would end in a nuclear holocaust, the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned yesterday, making the comments at the last day of the A.S.E.A.N. summit and following Trumps 12-day tour of Asia. Al Jazeera reports.
The U.N. General Assemblys Human Rights Committee approved a resolution condemning North Korea for serious human rights violations yesterday and its decision to divert resources from civilians to developing its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles program. Edith M. Lederer reports at the AP.
The Trump administration unfroze Yemens central bank funds yesterday, allowing the Saudi-backed Yemeni administration to service its debt and resume salary payments, the measure forms part of U.S. efforts to counter Irans influence in Yemen and the region. Katrina Manson reports at the Financial Times.
The Saudi-led coalition bombed an airport in Yemens capital of Sanaa yesterday, according to Yemeni officials, the capital is held by the Houthi rebels and the U.N. stated that most of the airport remained intact and would not impact humanitarian operations. Ahmed Al-Haj reports at the AP.
Houthi officials claimed that the attack on the airport was intended to disrupt humanitarian efforts and said that the air strike destroyed a radio navigation system crucial for coordinating aid shipments. Al Jazeera reports.
The Lebanese President Michel Aoun said today that Saudi Arabia have detained the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, adding that the action was in violation of the Vienna agreements and human rights law. Hariri unexpectedly resigned on Nov. 4 from the Saudi capital of Riyadh in a televised announcement, Reuters reports.
Saudi Arabia is set to be the second country to acquire a T.H.A.A.D. anti-missile defense system from the U.S. defense company Lockheed Martin, a senior executive of the company said yesterday, the announcement coming amid increased Saudi-Iran tensions and a ballistic missile that was launched at the capital of Riyadh by Yemens Houthi rebels on Nov. 4. Aya Batrawy reports at the AP.
Saudi Arabias Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmans approach to domestic and foreign affairs has led to debate around the region about his motivations, with some analysts believing that his bold actions including the ongoing Yemen war, an escalating in tension with Iran, and an intervention in Lebanese politics reflect his conviction that he has the support of President Trump. Ben Hubbard and David D. Kirkpatrick provide an analysis at the New York Times.
The Syrian Kurdish P.Y.D. political party today welcomed Defense Secretary Jim Mattis comments earlier this week saying that the U.S. forces should play a longer-term role in Syria, even after the Islamic State group has been defeated. Reuters reports.
The Turkish foreign ministry said yesterday that the U.S. Defense Departments approach to an agreement between the Syrian Kurdish Y.P.G. militia and Islamic State militants was appalling, saying that the agreement for the Islamic State militants to withdraw from the city of Raqqa, which was reported by the BBC at the weekend, was extremely troubling. Reuters reports.
The bombing of a Syrian market in the rebel-held town of Atareb earlier this week shows that Turkey, Russia and Iran are not effective guarantors of de-escalation zones, at least 61 people were killed by a series of airstrikes according to Syrian Civil Defense search-and-rescue volunteers. Philip Issa reports at the AP.
The Russian defense ministry appeared to rely on photographs from a video game to provide irrefutable evidence that the U.S. cooperated with Islamic State militants in a series of tweets yesterday, the ministry deleted the tweets once the origins of the evidence were thrown into question and blamed the incident on a civilian employee. Shaun Walker reports at the Guardian.
U.S.-led airstrikes continue. U.S. and coalition forces carried out 10 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on November 12. Separately, partner forces conducted one strike against targets in Iraq. [Central Command]
The Zimbabwean military have deployed tanks on the streets of the capital Harare in an apparent coup against President Robert Mugabe, the military have denied that they are staging a military takeover and claimed that Mugabe was safe. The CNN provide rolling coverage of the situation.
Debate over President Trumps ability to authorize an unprovoked nuclear attack has caused division among senators, a session on authorization was held by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday, Karoun Demirjian explains at the Washington Post.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Myanmars leader Aung San Suu Kyi today and said that the U.S. would consider evidence based sanctions against individuals responsible for violence against the Rohingya Muslim minority. Esther Htusan reports at the AP.
The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of a nearly $700bn defense policy bill, Rebecca Kheel reports at the Hill.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (I.C.T.Y.) is set to give its verdict on the former Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic who has been accused of war crimes, Daria Sito-Sucic reports at Reuters.
A U.S.-funded media outlet has been started a campaign to counter the Islamic State groups recruitment in Central Asia, Jessica Donati and Nathan Hodge report at the Wall Street Journal.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee confirmed Trumps nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security (D.H.S.) yesterday, Kirstjen Nielsen is a cybersecurity expert and served under White House Chief of Staff John Kelly when he led the D.H.S., Morgan Chalfant reports at the Hill.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) issued a blistering attack on Trumps nominee to be the general counsel of the Department of Transportation, saying yesterday that Steven Bradburys attempts to justify torture during the Bush administration should disbar him from consideration. Andrew Desiderio reports at The Daily Beast.
The Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte praised China today for its critical role in the campaign against Islamic State-affiliated militants in the southern Philippine city of Marawi, comments that may not be well-received by the U.S. and Australia who support the operation from its early stages. Karen Lema and Martin Perry report at Reuters.
Trumps 12-day adulation tour of Asia was closer to a pilgrimage than a projection of power, David Ignatius writes at the Washington Post, saying that the president failed to articulate U.S. policy, failed to stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and gave space for China to expand its influence in the region and the world.
|Washington Free Beacon: Zimbabwes Army Seizes Power, Targets Criminals Around Mugabe|
By: MacDonald Dzirutwe
HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwes military seized power early on Wednesday saying it was targeting “criminals” around President Robert Mugabe, the only ruler the country has known in its 37 years of independence.
Soldiers seized the state broadcaster. Armored vehicles blocked roads to the main government offices, parliament and the courts in central Harare, while taxis ferried commuters to work nearby. The atmosphere in the capital remained calm.
The military said Mugabe and his family were safe. Mugabe himself spoke by telephone to the president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, and told him he was confined to his home but fine, the South African presidency said in a statement.
It was not clear whether the apparent military coup would bring a formal end to Mugabes rule; the main goal of the generals appears to be preventing Mugabes 52-year-old wife Grace from succeeding him.
But whether or not he remains in office, it is likely to mark the end of the total dominance of the country by Mugabe, the last of Africas generation of state founders still in power.
Mugabe, still seen by many Africans as an anti-colonial hero, is reviled in the West as a despot whose disastrous handling of the economy and willingness to resort to violence to maintain power destroyed one of Africas most promising states.
He plunged Zimbabwe into a fresh political crisis last week by firing his vice president and presumed successor. The generals believed that move was aimed at clearing a path for Grace Mugabe to take over and announced on Monday they were prepared to “step in” if purges of their allies did not end.
“We are only targeting criminals around him (Mugabe) who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice,” Major General SB Moyo, Chief of Staff Logistics, said on television.
“As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.”
Whatever the final outcome, the events could signal a once-in-a-generation change for the southern African nation, once one of the continents most prosperous, reduced to poverty by an economic crisis Mugabes opponents have long blamed on him.
Even many of Mugabes most loyal supporters over the decades had come to oppose the rise of his wife, who courted the powerful youth wing of the ruling party but alienated the military, led by Mugabes former guerrilla comrades from the 1970s independence struggle.
“This is a correction of a state that was careening off the cliff,” Chris Mutsvangwa, the leader of the liberation war veterans, told Reuters. “Its the end of a very painful and sad chapter in the history of a young nation, in which a dictator, as he became old, surrendered his court to a gang of thieves around his wife.”
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change called for a peaceful return to constitutional democracy, adding it hoped the military intervention would lead to the “establishment of a stable, democratic and progressive nation state”.
Zuma – speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) – expressed hope there would be no unconstitutional changes of government in Zimbabwe as that would be contrary to both SADC and African Union positions.
Zuma urged Zimbabwes government and the military “to resolve the political impasse amicably”.
Zimbabwes economic decline over the past two decades has been a drag on the southern African region. Millions of economic refugees have streamed out of the country, mostly to neighboring South Africa.
Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo, a leading member of the ruling ZANU-PF partys G40 faction, led by Grace Mugabe, had been detained by the military, a government source said.
Soldiers deployed across Harare on Tuesday and seized the state broadcaster after ZANU-PF accused the head of the military of treason, prompting speculation of a coup.
Just 24 hours after military chief General Constantino Chiwenga threatened to intervene to end a purge of his allies in ZANU-PF, a Reuters reporter saw armored personnel carriers on main roads around the capital.
Aggressive soldiers told passing cars to keep moving through the darkness. “Dont try anything funny. Just go,” one barked at Reuters on Harare Drive.
Two hours later, soldiers overran the headquarters of the ZBC, the state broadcaster, a Mugabe mouthpiece, and ordered staff to leave. Several ZBC workers were manhandled, two members of staff and a human rights activist said.
Shortly afterwards, three explosions rocked the center of the capital, Reuters witnesses said.
The United States and Britain advised their citizens in Harare to stay indoors because of “political uncertainty.”
The southern African nation had been on edge since Monday when Chiwenga, Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, said he was prepared to “step in” to end a purge of supporters of Emmerson Mnangagwa, the vice president sacked last week.
In the last year, a chronic absence of dollars has led to long queues outside banks and an economic and financial collapse that many fear will rival the meltdown of 2007-2008, when inflation topped out at 500 billion percent.
Imported goods are running out and economists say that, by some measures, inflation is now at 50 percent a month.
According to a trove of intelligence documents reviewed by Reuters this year, Mnangagwa has been planning to revitalize the economy by bringing back thousands of white farmers kicked off their land nearly two decades ago and patching up relations with the World Bank and IMF.
The post Zimbabwe’s Army Seizes Power, Targets ‘Criminals’ Around Mugabe appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.
Washington Free Beacon
|Security Intelligence: Data Storage and Encryption Should Top the CISOs To-Do List|
In today’s digitized world, data storage and encryption are surely top of mind for most chief information officers (CIOs). But given the increasing regulations and privacy implications surrounding data security, these measures should also be on the chief information security officer (CISO)’s agenda.
Most organizations need to house massive amounts of data to comply with privacy regulations, enable cognitive activities, and facilitate the construction and analysis of attack patterns. At the same time, an effective data storage strategy promotes security awareness and encourages employees and users to consider best practices from both a technological and a process point of view.
To protect the organization from unauthorized employees and external threat actors seeking to destroy or otherwise corrupt enterprise data, security teams must deploy protective measures. The most common approach to safeguarding sensitive data is encryption, but it’s important to consider a few technological implications before diving head-first into an encryption strategy.
Choosing the Right Data Storage and Encryption Tools
For any organization, it’s important to encrypt both structured and unstructured data. Storage solutions often deliver encryption capabilities to address part of the CISO’s security concerns. The key is to select the right platform to simplify security procedures and generate consistent cost savings.
Encrypting at-rest data within storage is an attractive option that many companies opt to use on 100 percent of their data. This approach is easy and relatively inexpensive to implement, since it comes standard in many storage solutions and there are no host CPU costs. Of course, hardware-based solutions, which rely on a self-encrypting hard disk or flash drive, are less likely than software-based tools to significantly impact performance. It’s also worth noting that, while encrypting data at rest is an effective way to protect any drive or box that is being retired or repurposed with virtually zero impact on performance, some use cases call for this type of encryption to be combined with technologies capable of encrypting data in motion.
When using storage virtualization, solutions that allow encryption of at-rest data at the virtualization layer offer advantages in terms of simplicity and of costs. However, it’s important to be cautious when encrypting data at rest while conducting data reduction processes such as compression and deduplication, since data reduction fails with encrypted data. To avoid underutilization of expensive storage solutions, the CISO should manage both encryption and data reduction within the same platform. This ensures that the data is reduced before it is encrypted.
Some storage solutions require an external key manager, while others provide local key managementcapabilities. A few tools even enable users to choose between the external and built-in options. Of course, external key management is the most secure option because it centralizes and automates activities across the enterprise. However, built-in key management is preferable for organizations seeking to simplify deployment and optimize costs.
Defining Your Data Storage Strategy
The key to defining an appropriate data storage and encryption strategy is to understand what risks are addressed by encrypting data at rest, in motion and in transit.
Encrypting data at rest means safeguarding data housed in the storage system. This process ensures that information is protected when single disks or flash modules are misplaced or removed from the premises for repair, or the storage system is stolen, discontinued or repurposed. Less effective alternative options include employing a data erasure service to destroy all information residing on the storage system and even buying back the drives and destroying them. Disk encryption is a better method because it renders stolen or misplaced data unreadable without a decryption key.
Still, protecting data at rest is not enough to safeguard all the enterprise’s crown jewels. CISOs must also secure the data that flows between hosts and storage systems, and information that is replicated on various platforms for business continuity. Data traveling through networks is more susceptible to cyberthreats, not to mention the potential for human error and technical failure.
CISOs can address these concerns by combining technologies that encrypt data at rest with those that encrypt data in transit. Some storage solutions are capable of encrypting data at the network level, in networking equipment, and at the application, database, data set or operating system level. Since these solutions are typically more expensive and complex to implement than tools that encrypt data at rest, most organizations use them to secure only the most sensitive information. Such an integrated approach can help each individual organization define the best solution for encrypting its data, maintaining regulatory compliance and reducing management costs.
The Benefits of Storage Virtualization
CISOs should consider using storage virtualization technologies to pool multiple storage devices into a single platform managed from a central console. These solutions offer significant advantages in terms of both cost optimization and application availability, enabling security teams to change storage platforms without disrupting operations and provide continuous data access in case of technological failure.
Companies that use virtualized storage can manage encryption either in the back-end disk systems or, if the solution offers built-in encryption capabilities, in the virtualization layer. The latter option enables security teams to optimize both hardware and management costs, since common encryption services are adopted across heterogeneous storage pools and at-rest data can be protected on any virtualized system, whether it is encryption-capable or not.
To adequately protect enterprise data, CISOs do more than the bare minimum of encrypting data at rest and storing it in the most economic solution. It’s critical to asses the risks associated with data storage and to implement effective security controls and policies driven by your organization’s infrastructure, application ecosystem, people, data and technological capabilities.
Encryption can be the linchpin of your security strategy, but a solution that fails to accommodate your enterprise’s unique needs can only take you so far along your data protection journey.
The post Data Storage and Encryption Should Top the CISO’s To-Do List appeared first on Security Intelligence.
|Stars and Stripes: New robotic hand named after Luke Skywalker helps amputee touch and feel again|
A few weeks after surgeons implanted electrodes into the nerves of Keven Walgamott’s arm, he found himself hooked up to a computer getting ready to touch something with his left hand for the first time in more than a decade.
Stars and Stripes
|The National Interest: In 2030, the U.S. Army Could Be Waging War With ‘Stealth’ Helicopters|
Yes, its possible.
Bell Helicopter engineers and weapons developers and looking at innovative ways to reduce the radar signature of their new, next-generation V-280 Valor tilt-rotor aircraft slated to be operational by the 2030s.
While developers stop short of calling the new project a stealth helicopter, they do acknowledge they are engineering stealthy characteristics — such as infrared (IR) heat suppressing systems and various fuselage contour constructions as a specific way to make the new aircraft less targetable by enemies.
We will definitely employ some passive measures in terms of how we shape the aircraft, to make it invisible. The key is not to be able to target it and reduce the signature passively so radar sweeps do not see anything. In the end, you do not want to get detected or engaged, Vince Tobin, vice president of advanced tiltrotor systems, Bell Helicopter, told Scout Warrior in an interview.
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While, quite naturally, many of the specifics regarding stealth technology are not available, there are a few broad parameters followed closely by developers of low-observability aircraft. They include reducing the heat signature coming from engines or exhaust along with efforts to shape the exterior of the aircraft to be less detectable to pings or return signals to enemy radar.
Radar sends electromagnetic signals, pulses or pings traveling at the speed of light bounces them off of an object and analyzes the return signal to determine the shape, size and speed of an enemy target. For this reason, electronic jamming is another tactic used to thwart or throw off enemy radar systems.
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The National Interest
|fbi – Google News: FBI report for 2016 sees hate crimes on the rise – wtkr.com|
fbi – Google News
|Stars and Stripes: Gunmans family appalled by California rampage|
The mother of a gunman who shot 14 people, killing four, during a rampage in Northern California said he called her a day earlier and told her that he was finished feuding with the small rural community where he lived.
Stars and Stripes
|Stars and Stripes: American returns to Yongsan schools name after public outcry|
After a public outcry, the word American was restored to the name of the soon-to-be-consolidated middle/high school at the Armys Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, officials said Wednesday.
Stars and Stripes
|The National Interest: Su-27: This Plane Could Start a War Between Russia and NATO|
They patrol over the Baltic, intercept NATO and neutral spy planes in international air space and, on occasion, harass the rival planes so aggressively that they have no choice but to flee.
On June 9, 2017, examples of all three of the U.S. Air Forces heavy bombers the swing-wing B-1, the stealthy B-2 and the lumbering B-52 gathered in international air space over the Baltic Sea for a rare photo-op with allied fighters and patrol planes.
They had a surprise visitor. A Russian air force Su-27 Flanker fighter sidled up to the U.S.-led formation and flew alongside long enough to appear in multiple photos. A few days prior, an Su-27 intercepted a B-52 over the Baltic.
The Su-27 was apparently one of seven Flankers that fly from Kaliningrad, Moscows Baltic enclave, sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland and geographically separate from the rest of Russia.
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The Kaliningrad Flankers are arguably the busiestand most dangerousSu-27s anywhere in the world.
They patrol over the Baltic, intercept NATO and neutral spy planes in international air space and, on occasion, harass the rival planes so aggressively that they have no choice but to flee.
If any Russian warplanes end up causing an international incident in the tense Baltic region, it will likely be the Kaliningrad Su-27s.
Over the Baltic on Oct. 3, 2014, an Su-27 with the numeral 24 on its nose in red paint flew so close to a Swedish air force Gulfstream spy planearound 30 feet, according to Combat Aircrafts Babak Taghvaeethat the Swedish crew could clearly identify the Russian jets weapons, including four R-27 and two R-73 air-to-air missiles.
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The National Interest
|Stars and Stripes: Dangerous Hawaii psychiatric patient flew to California|
A man acquitted of a 1979 murder by reason of insanity escaped from a Hawaii psychiatric hospital over the weekend, took a taxi to a chartered plane in Honolulu bound for the island of Maui and then boarded another plane to San Jose, Calif., police said.
Stars and Stripes
|National Security: When the subject is Russia, Trumps advisers have spotty memories|
Those in Trumps orbit have repeatedly had to adjust their stories when confronted with documents or testimony that contradict previous accounts.