ACD Weekly Briefing April 5 – 11, 2014

By ACD Staff
Saturday, April 12th, 2014 @ 1:35AM

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The American Center for Democracy is pleased to announce that Houston T. “Terry” Hawkins, Senior Fellow/Senior Scientist, Principal Associate Directorate for Global Security, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), New Mexico, has joined the ACD Board of Directors.

Hawkins’ experience and authority contribute to ACD’s efforts to bridge the significant knowledge-gaps of our policy makers in the public and private sectors on U.S. cyberspace vulnerabilities, and to encourage partnerships to develop pragmatic solutions to enhance the security and integrity of our critical infrastructure including the electric grid, communication and transportation systems, and the financial sector. more…

The latest from the ACD:

Qatar: Small Nation, Large Schemes – ACD Exclusive by J. Millard Burr

Imagine a nation of slightly more than two million people, a desert kingdom whose sore thumb extends into the Persian (qua Arabian) Gulf; a nation surrounded by Arab and Iranian enemies, a being of nothingness, yet whose policies within the last decade have had an inordinate impact on both America and Europe…more…

ACD-Scientific and Policy Briefing on EMP Threats – 10 April 2014 By ACD & John G. Kappenman and Phil Brooks

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will meet in full committee today to consider “Keeping the lights on – Are we doing enough to ensure the reliability and security of the US electric grid?” ACD will broadly articulate and disseminate solutions for our nation’s continuing exposure to societal collapse from imminent threats to our electricity-dependent infrastructure by celestial Geomagnetic Storms or terrestrially-launched Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) attacks…more…

The Indian Muslims View of the Upcoming Elections – ACD Exclusive By Farah Qureshi

India’s Muslims seem apprehensive of the possibilty that Narendra Modi, will become the country’s next prime minister. Modi is Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate in this year’s elections (April 7 and end on May 12). The three term chief minister of Gujarat, was allegedly involved in the riots in which some 2,000 Muslims were killed in February-March 2002. The riots started after 57 Hindu pilgrims were killed in a fire inside the train. However, the petition to prosecute Modi, was rejected by a Magistrate Court in December 2013 …more…

Identity and Loyalty in Islam and the Middle East by Harold Rhode

Westerners strive to solve problems. When people appear obstinate, we often indignantly say, “Are you part of the solution, or part of the problem?” This is alien to Middle Eastern and Islamic culture. Middle Easterners cope with problems for which they know there are no solutions-akin to living with a chronic illness…more…

Ideology, Technology, and-Coming Up a Poor Third-Common Sense By Sol W. Sanders

Having been ambushed by intrepid technology in the exploitation of natural gas – “the shale revolution” – the country’s energy markets are in partial abeyance. The shale gas has blocked the initial Obama drive to raise fuel and energy prices to force consumers to higher cost (if heavily subsidized even when facing bankruptcy) “alternative energy sources”…more… 

From our partners and colleagues:

Hizbul Mujahideen, JKART and Kashmir Militancy by Animesh Raul in ACD’s Terror Finance Blog

HM and Salahuddin have invested heavily to mobilize popular opinion behind the Kashmir struggle and to find recruits through the provision of relief for the family members of slain militants. For this purpose, HM and its sympathizers have utilized shadow NGOs and educational and humanitarian charities like JKART and the Falah-e Alam Trust to fund militant activities in Kashmir…more…

News and commentary:

JPMorgan’s Dimon Says Cyber Intruders Could Breach Bank Defenses,

Perhaps private sector CEOs are beginning to “get it” when it comes to cyber defense. CEO Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase & Co. recently wrote his shareholders that cyberattack “is going to be a continual and likely never-ending battle to stay ahead of it — and, unfortunately, not every battle will be won.”  He also told them that the company would spend $250 million on cybersecurity in 2014, compared to $200 million in 2012.…more

Satellite Navigation Failure Confirms Urgent Need for Backup,

On April 2, 2014, all of the 24 satellites that make up Russia’s equivalent of the GPS system, GLONASS, failed at once.  The authorities haven’t reported on why this happened, but theories are circulating that “blame faulty system and/or software upgrades, recent solar flares that could cause radio communication outages, or even the possibility that this was a targeted cybersecurity attack.” If this could happen to GLONASS it could happen to the U.S. GPS system, on which almost every communications-related system depends for position and timing.  Furthermore, GLONASS and GPS are to a certain extent interdependent.  For example, U.S. cell phones link to GLONASS as well as GPS for positioning data.  At present there is no backup for these systems.  The military has at least entertained the old LORAN system, long out of use, as a backup.  The private sector remains further behind the curve.…more

Is India Caught In the US-Russia Cyber Warfare Crossfire?, Bindiya Thomas,

There could be more to it than meets the eye in the recent downpour of leaked information on the Indian Air Force’s Su-30MKIs. Anti-Russia hackers, either acting independently or working for the US NSA and other western powers may have targeted Moscow because of the latter’s reunion with Crimea and due to Edward Snowden’s asylum in Russia…more…

Energy companies need insurance cover for cyber attack ‘time bomb’, by Michael Szabo, Reuters

Energy companies have no insurance against major cyber attacks, reinsurance broker Willis said on Tuesday, likening the threat to a “time bomb” that could cost the industry billions of dollars.

Willis highlighted the industry’s vulnerability to cyber threats in its annual review of the energy sector’s insurance market, which called on insurers to find a way to provide cover…more…

The Ukrainian crisis – a cyber warfare battlefield,

Cyber espionage is an integral part of military strategy and foreign policy of Russia towards the countries of the former Soviet Union. Being able to access information systems of diplomatic, government and military organizations for many years, since the USSR collapse, giving Russia a huge advantage in predicting their tactics, actions and analyzing the thinking of their neighbours…more…


Keeping the lights on — are we doing enough to ensure the reliability and security of the US electrical grid? U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources, April 10, 2014

Is al-Qaeda Winning? Grading the Administration’s Counterterrorism Policy, House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, April 8, 2014

Since 2001, the American Center for Democracy has exposed and monitored threats to our right to speak freely and our political and economic freedoms. The ACD does more than identify individual, isolated threats; it also analyzes their synergistic effects on the economic security of the nation. The ACD’s projects and publications focus on early warning systems that alert the public and policy makers to prevent and mitigate threats.

Categories: ACD/EWI Blog, Al Qaeda, EMP, Energy policy, Latest News, U.S. Policy

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