Archive for January, 2020

Russian Cybercrime Boss Burkov Pleads Guilty

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2020/01/russian-cybercrime-boss-burkov-pleads-guilty/

This article is very relevant to modern thought on security as it presents a 21st century threat to national security: cybercrime. Of course, cybercrime is quite different from cyberattacks (obviously shutting off a city’s power grid is more severe than stealing credit card information), but in the case of this elite team of Russian hackers, I believe there is a security issue. Between two members of Burkov’s forum, roughly $100 million has been stolen from cybercrime victims (some of which American). This not only creates insecure economic situations for Americans, but could also play a role in larger security issues. After all, the Russian government seems quite dedicated to protecting this gang of criminals, obviously alluding to the value the government sees in them. It is possible Putin could be channeling part of this illegally obtained income into potential threats to the US. On another note, the mere fact that the US currently holds a leader of this group is very good for its security as it is possible that a deal can be made with Burkov which could expose the technology and methods used by the gang of cybercriminals. This knowledge is a key facet of understanding how to be better secured against cyber crime.

  • Patsy

Sanders FP Platform at Odds With Democrats

Bernie Sanders’s foreign policy has been more fleshed out with his 2020 run for presidency, positioning himself in opposition to the “America First” stance of the Trump administration. Sanders hopes to decrease our military spending, slash our greenhouse emissions, and reduce our presence abroad, policies that run counter to the mainstream platform of the democratic party. With Sanders’ rising polling numbers, a Sanders presidential nomination is looking more and more likely by the day. However, Sanders is looked at as a radical, and foreign policy ultimately takes a backseat to domestic policy within Sanders’ campaign. If Sanders were to win the primaries and accept the nomination, then the Democratic Party may find itself at odds with moderate democrats hoping to rein in Sanders’ lofty foreign policy objectives.  Ultimately, Bernie Sanders finds himself at odds with DNC heads, and with his weakness in geopolitics and contrary platform, he may find a difficult race ahead of him against his own party.

https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/28495/can-bernie-sanders-foreign-policy-vision-really-lay-claim-to-fdr-s-mantle

-Mitch

Trump Offers Palestine Statehood

Tomorrow, the Trump Administration plans to unveil a peace plan for the ongoing Israeli- Palestinian conflict. Although, the plan has not been officially unveiled, it is expected that there will be a redrawn border between Israel and the West Bank. In addition to the border, Palestine would have limited autonomy that would gradually increase as Palestinian leadership undertook new political measures, and renounced violence. Trump expects that it will have the support of Palestine. Hopefully the plan benefits both sides. Supporting our ally Israel (within reason) should be our primary goal. Allowing Palestine to gain autonomy and eventually becoming sovereign could be beneficial to everyone involved.

– Alec C.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-mideast-peace-plan-expected-to-offer-palestinians-conditional-statehood/2020/01/27/ccaa8696-4120-11ea-b503-2b077c436617_story.html

 

Baghdad U.S. Embassy Attacked

On Sunday, three rockets hit the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad a day after Iran was launching missiles into U.S housing in Iraq. These rockets only injured one person during the strike but it was a very minor injury and was able to get back to work. The secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, viewed this attack as an attempt to distract Iraqi and international attention away from the brutal suppression of peaceful Iraqi protesters by Iran and its proxies. This event increases the already intense tensions between the U.S. and Iran. An attack on the U.S. embassy in Iraq puts the United States in a very stressful and important situation because we most likely will need to retaliate even though nobody was seriously injured. The Trump Administration should show the Iranian forces that any attack on U.S. embassies or troops will not go unnoticed. -Kevin Bach

https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/26/politics/rocket-hits-us-embassy-compound-baghdad/index.html

Al-Qaeda Senior Operative Torture-Court Case

In March 2003, a believed to be senior operative of Al-Qaeda was being held in a secret C.I.A. prison. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was thought to know information that could save many American lives. This is when he met James Mitchell–a psychologist that taught “enhanced interrogation techniques”. A team managed to waterboard Mohammed 183 times in 15 days. That is what brought us to a court hearing that is starting tomorrow. Mitchell will be testifying in Guatanamo Bay against Mohammed and 4 other men who are being charged with helping the plot of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This pretrial hearing will be solely based on the interrogation program. It is also questioned that these 5 members were tortured to acquire Al-Qaeda secrets and the location of Osama Bin Laden.

This is a very difficult issue that is hard to agree on. Many people say these men deserve the harsh way of interrorgation because of what they did to American people. Some other people think that this is inhumane no matter what they did/did not do. This can also be seen as a viable way and the only way to get information that can save our people’s lives. Personally, I don’t see there being an issue in court when this torture is brought up. Interrogation techniques are an unspoken issue in American politics when it comes to terrorist groups. I don’t see this being a different case.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/20/us/politics/911-trial-psychologists.html

–Alexis B.

Poland call for NATO “readiness”

As Poland flexes its newfound political muscle within the EU, political correctness raises it divisive head. During and after WWII, Poland and its culture were nearly destroyed by German forces and Russian occupation. Liberation from both has allowed Poland to grow in both military and economic strength. As its leaders watch what happens in Ukraine, who would blame them for maintaining a strong military posture to include negotiating for a US armored division to be permanently based within its borders and more military integration from the EU? If Putin is truly attempting to re-write the history of WWII, what would be his goal besides a weakening of Polish credibility in the international community. Those who concentrate on social issues while the nation is at risk are missing the true danger. All nations should bring equality to all of their citizens, but to concentrate on “woke culture” issues in order to misdirect the public from the true danger is pathetic. Poland will advance its citizen’s rights according to its citizen’s demands when they demand it. In the meantime, let’s make sure the risk to Poland itself is minimized.

https://euobserver.com/justice/147271

Egyptian Court Sentences ISIS Members

Aswan terrorism court handed down on Monday sentences of imprisonment ranging from 3-25 years to 36 convicts over charges of joining the Islamic State terrorist group (Daesh)- Photo by Ashraf fawzy/ Egypt Today

Aswan terrorism court handed down on Monday sentences of imprisonment ranging from 3-25 years to 36 convicts over charges of joining the Islamic State terrorist group (Daesh)- Photo by Ashraf fawzy/ Egypt Today

Earlier today, several news sources reported that an Egyptian court has sentenced over thirty people to jail for supporting the Islamic State The men were accused of not only spreading ISIS ideology but also planning attacks. The Associated Press said that the court sentenced 29 of the people to jail for between 1 to 15 years, while 8 others will be sentenced to life in prison. An additional 7 people were acquitted of all charges. Many of the people were accused of working with the Islamic State’s branch in Sinai. “The Islamic State has a branch in Sinai, where the Egyptian Army has launched a military offensive against extremists since February 2018. The authorities say some 650 suspected extremists and around 50 soldiers have been killed since then.” (Egypt Today)

There are several weaknesses in the analyses I have read, particularly regarding the specific numbers of people sentenced and the location of the court. The Associated Press claims that 29 people were sentenced to 1-15 years, while Egypt Today claims 28 people were sentenced to 3-15 years in prison. Reuters reported that “A Cairo criminal court sentenced eight defendants to life terms and 29 to terms ranging from one to 15 years. Also, the Associated Press said that the Cairo Criminal Court was responsible for the sentences, whereas Egypt today said that an Egyptian terrorism court in Aswan was responsible. Reuters just said that “a Cairo criminal court” sentenced the criminals. While I do not know that much about Egypt, this does not make sense to me because Aswan is 425 miles away from Cairo. While these aren’t major differences, it does make me wonder which information is accurate and which is a mistake.

“Egypt’s Court: 36 People Found Guilty For Joining IS Terrorist Group”. Egypttoday, 2020, https://www.egypttoday.com/Article/1/80053/Egypt%E2%80%99s-court-36-people-found-guilty-for-joining-IS-terrorist.

Magdy, Samy. “Egyptian Court Gives Life Sentence For 8 IS-Linked Militants”. AP NEWS, 2020, https://apnews.com/38b80ff33b91074702845b56598bccc9.

“Egypt Sentences 37 To Jail For Joining Islamic State: Judicial Sources”. Reuters, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-egypt-court/egypt-sentences-37-to-jail-for-joining-islamic-state-judicial-sources-idUSKBN1ZQ1HQ?il=0.

Post by Katherine

How Afghanistan boys are being breed for terrorism in schools.

In Afghanistan’s eastern province, Kunar, young boys are getting free education but at a price. The price is that they are being taught the Quran but by an Islamic State extremist. Because of this, these boys are being radicalized at a young age. In Afghanistan this is a huge problem, the Afghanistan government has been fighting radicalized Islamists for over a decade, and they are afraid that the end will not be near. The reason why this is so important is that these boys are falling prey to potential extremists and they can be radicalized into eventually being child soldiers or being indoctrinated into a fighting force later in life. It is hard to crack down on these schools because so many of them are doing their normal teachings of the Quran but so many others are not.

 

 

 

https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/01/24/afghanistan-schools-breeding-ground-islamic-state-influence/

Harold Phillips

Who watches the China Watchers

Did I miss it? Did the U.S China Phase One trade deal single the end of the trade war or is this the marvel cinematic trade deal universe where they negotiate and fight over the same issues over and over until it becomes stale and repetitive. Seeing that many of the tariffs are still in effect this seems to be more of a cease fire then an end to the trade war.
The largest winners of this round seem to be the U.S agricultural industry, china promised to buy an additional 200 billion dollars of American agricultural products over the next two years, which could be a good outcome, but China has left lope holes in this promise. Depending on the market the amount may be smaller, and China might have been planning to buy more agricultural goods anyway, so this isn’t as good as it seems.
So, what has changed? Nothing much, the same under lying issues that triggered the trade war are still there. Cheap Chinese goods are still competing against American goods, intellectual property is still being violated. But I don’t think solving these issues is the real goal of the trade war. I think the Trump administration’s real goal is the decoupling of the U.S and China’s economies, which is a whole different conversation.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/15/business/economy/china-trade-deal-text.html

Jakob Frederick Harteis

Pakistan PM Worried Tensions with India Will Flare Again

Prime Minister Imran Khan has spoken to a session of the International Media Council, mentioning the fact that he is worried that India is on the brink of making decisions that would be detrimental to the Pakistani populations in Kashmir and Jammu. The Prime Minister has likened the government in charge of India currently as following a doctrine that is close in ideology to that of Nazi Germany. Prime Minister Khan has mentioned that he has spoken to President Trump about this, and the President has assured the prime minister that he would help mediate peace talks. I do not think that the President should be getting directly involved with this tension between India and Pakistan. While I agree that the tensions need to be sorted out seeing as both countries have arsenals of nuclear weapons, it would be wiser to have a more neutral third party to help mediate peace talks. 

-Olivia

https://apple.news/ADXo4cqExRXWMBacMCwaryA

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