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Archive for January, 2013

New Iran-Hezbollah Terror Fears

January 31, 2013 Leave a comment

Report: Iran, Hezbollah learning from string of failed attacks, seeking Western targets.Quds & Hezbollah-1

Iran’s elite Quds Force and Hezbollah militants are learning from a series of botched terror attacks over the past two years and pose a growing threat to the U.S. and other Western targets as well as Israel, a prominent counter-terrorism expert says.

Operating both independently and together, the militant groups are escalating their activities around the world, fueling worries in the U.S. that they increasingly have the ability and the willingness to attack the U.S., according to a report by Matthew Levitt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. His report points to two attacks last year — one successful and one foiled by U.S. authorities — as indications that the militants are adapting and are determined to take revenge on the West for efforts to disrupt Tehran’s nuclear program and other perceived offenses. Read more…

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2013 WORLD PRESS FREEDOM INDEX

January 31, 2013 Leave a comment

After the “Arab springs” and other protest movements that prompted many rises and falls in last year’s index, the 2013 Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index marks a return to1-30-2013 6-23-28 PM a more usual configuration. The ranking of most countries is no longer attributable to dramatic political developments. This year’s index is a better reflection of the attitudes and intentions of governments towards media freedom in the medium or long term.

The same three European countries that headed the index last year hold the top three positions again this year. For the third year running, Finland has distinguished itself as the country that most respects media freedom. It is followed by the Netherlands and Norway. Although many criteria are considered, ranging from legislation to violence against journalists, democratic countries occupy the top of the index while dictatorial countries occupy the last three positions. Again it is the same three as last year – TurkmenistanNorth Korea and Eritrea.

“The Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders does not take direct account of the kind of political system but it is clear that democracies provide better protection for the freedom to produce and circulate accurate news and information than countries where human rights are flouted,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. Read more…

Defense in an Age of Austerity

January 27, 2013 Leave a comment

Governments on both sides of the Atlantic have entered an era of austerity in defense spending. In Europe,US soldiers nearly all of the major NATO allies have started cutting their defense budgets. In the United States, the looming threat of a budgetary sequester has portended steep across-the-board cuts in U.S. military expenditures. Financial and economic constraints on both continents have begun to impede NATO’s ability to provide security in the coming decade. Alliance members will have to find ways to provide security with fewer resources.

The cuts thus far have been made with little coordination among allies. If this trend persists, NATO risks losing critical capabilities, while U.S. and European forces will find it increasingly difficult to operate together. As the United States focuses greater attention on Asia and the Pacific in its defense policy, pressure is likely to grow on the European allies to take greater responsibility for security in areas, such as the Maghreb (northwest Africa), where they have strong interests. Several additional steps need to be taken in the short run to sustain the alliance over the long run.

The increased focus in U.S defense strategy on the Asia-Pacific region does not mean that the United States is about to abandon Europe. Read more…

The Measure of a Superpower: A Two Major Regional Contingency Military for the 21st Century

January 27, 2013 Leave a comment

How much military force does a global superpower require? Answering this question has challenged U.S. leaders and defense planners for more than 20 years. With the collapse of the Sovietthe superpower Union and the end of the Cold War, the United States found itself the world’s sole superpower, but one without a significant adversary against which to measure the adequacy of its military capabilities. In the immediate aftermath of the first Gulf War, U.S. leaders decided to use the requirement to conduct two major regional conflicts (MRCs) at the same time as the basis for sizing the U.S. military. Every subsequent review of U.S. defense policy and programs has reaffirmed the two-war standard. In fact, every Administration for the past two decades found that a force sized to fight two wars was essential for meeting the ongoing demands for forward presence, crisis response, regional deterrence, humanitarian assistance, building partnership capacity, homeland defense, and support to civil authorities.

Based on some 20 years of analyses and studies as well as the experiences of Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom, Read more…

11 Body Parts Researchers Will Use to Track You

January 26, 2013 Leave a comment

Cell phones that can identify you by how you walk. Fingerprint scanners that work from 25 feet away. Radars that pick up your heartbeat from behind concrete walls. Algorithms that can tell 11 Body Parts Researchers Will Use to Track Youidentical twins apart. Eyebrows and earlobes that give you away. A new generation of technologies is emerging that can identify you by your physiology. And unlike the old crop of biometric systems, you don’t need to be right up close to the scanner in order to be identified. If they work as advertised, they may be able to identify you without you ever knowing you’ve been spotted.

Biometrics had a boom after 9/11. Gobs of government money poured into face and iris recognition systems; the Pentagon alone spent nearly $3 billion in five years, and the Defense Department was only one of many federal agencies funneling cash in the technologies. Civil libertarians feared the worst as face-spotters were turned on crowds of citizens in the hopes of catching a single crook. Read more…

U.S. Gets It Wrong on Egypt Again

January 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Protests planned around Egypt — particularly in Cairo’s Tahrir Square — on the second anniversary of the January 25 revolution are expected to be an explosion of dissent, revealing the deep

Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi shout slogans at Tahrir Square in Cairo.

Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi shout slogans at Tahrir Square in Cairo.

divisions in the country between President Mohamed Morsy and the Egyptian people.

Opposition to Morsy’s authoritarianism is broader than the world recognizes. In making accommodations for Morsy’s government, the United States is — once again — out of step with the Egyptian people.

Egyptians may not know exactly what they want, but they know what they don’t want. Although an effective political opposition has yet to coalesce, Egyptians from all sectors of society are united in their refusal to accept another repressive regime.

Egypt is on a collision course. An ever growing, if periodically discouraged, Read more…

“Nuclear Iran” is “approaching”: Kissinger

January 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger warned Thursday that a “nuclear Iran” is “approaching” and urged relevant stakeholders to decide how to respond sooner rather than later.Kesinger

“For 15 years, the permanent members of the Security Council have declared that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable, but it is approaching,” the veteran former architect of US foreign policy told a meeting at the annual World Economic Forum (WEF).

“I believe this point will be reached in a very foreseeable future,” he said at a plenary WEF meeting chaired by Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF.

“So in a few years, people will have to come to a determination of how to react, or the consequences of non-reaction,” he added. Read more…

Israel’s Barak: Syria Serves as Warning

January 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Thursday that global inaction on the bloodbath in Syria is a warning to many countries that they cannot count on Barakoutsiders’ help – no matter how dire the circumstances.

He suggested, in an ironic twist, that this applied to Israel itself, discouraging its people from backing risks for peace, such as the return of strategic Palestinian territories in exchange for various assurances.

“Many of our best friends are telling us … `Don’t worry, if worst comes to worst the world will inevitably (help),'” Barak said at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos. “It cannot be taken for granted.” Read more…

North Korea’s third Nuclear Test ‘Needlessly Provocative,’ U.S. says

January 25, 2013 Leave a comment

North Korea’s top governing body warned Thursday that the regime will conduct its third nuclear test in defiance of U.N. punishment, and made clear that its long-rangenorth_korea_nuclear rockets are designed to carry not only satellites but also warheads aimed at striking the United States.

The National Defense Commission, headed by the country’s young leader, Kim Jong Un, denounced Tuesday’s U.N. Security Council resolution condemning North Korea’s long-range rocket launch in December as a banned missile activity and expanding sanctions against the regime. The commission reaffirmed in its declaration that the launch was a peaceful bid to send a satellite into space, but also clearly indicated the country’s rocket launches have a military purpose: to strike and attack the United States. Read more…

Iran Cracks Down on Journalists and Dissidents

January 23, 2013 Leave a comment

In addition to arresting activists, the Iranian regime has also targeted the people who would defend them and tell their stories. Reporting in affiliation with the Center for Investigative Reporting and KQED, Spencer Michels looks at cases of Iranian attorneys and journalists charged with acting against national security.

 

 

Iranian Regime Fortifies its Hold on Power by Resorting to Creating Panic Among its Public

January 22, 2013 Leave a comment

TEHRAN — An eerie silence filled the air as a crowd of around 300 gathered Sunday just before sunrise in a Tehran park. They awaited the arrival of two young men who were about to die.IRAN-1-articleLarge-v2

The condemned stood shoulder to shoulder, motionless, in front of two police trucks with two nooses hanging from extendable cranes, about 15 feet high. Black-clad executioners were inspecting the remote controls they would use to hang the men, both in their early 20s, who were convicted of stabbing a man in November and stealing his bag and the equivalent of $20.

From behind a makeshift barrier of scaffolding, the crowd jostled for position. “Let’s move to the other side,” one spectator whispered to his wife, pointing to the spot where Iranian state television cameras had been set up. “I think we will have a better view from there.” Read more…

An Obama Doctrine on New Rules of War

January 21, 2013 Leave a comment

The Obama administration has an opportunity — perhaps an obligation — to outline a doctrine that lays out criteria by which the United States will develop, deploy and use tactics such as New Obama doctorine on wardrones and cyber attacks. Peter W. Singer and Thomas Wright wrote this memorandum to President Obama as part of Big Bets and Black Swans: A Presidential Briefing Book.

What are the key strategic goals and ethics that should drive development of drones Obama administrationand cyber systems?
When is authorization required for the operational deployment of such technologies versus notification?
How does the United States ensure that technologies that limit physical risk to the operator do not numb us to the political consequences of their use? Read more…