ACD Weekly Briefing, March 15 – 21

By ACD Staff
Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 @ 7:05PM

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Obama and Kerry Deny Recognition of Israel as the Jewish State,

by Rachel Ehrenfeld

On March 20, 2013, in Jerusalem, President Obama recognized Israel as the Jewish State. Moreover, he insisted the “Palestinians must recognize that Israel will be a Jewish state, and that Israelis have the right to insist upon their security.” … Exactly a year later Obama is denying Israel’s right to be recognized as a Jewish State. … Testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on March 13, Kerry said, “I think it’s a mistake for some people to be raising it [recognition of Israel as a Jewish state] again and again as the decider of their attitude towards the possibility of a state and peace, and we’ve obviously made that clear.” On Saturday, March 15, State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said: “The American position is clear, Israel is a Jewish state. However, we do not see a need that both sides recognize this position as part of the final agreement.” …more…

Can Technology Protect Americans from International Cybercriminals?, Testimony of Steven Chabinsky

In order to get security risks under control, whether in the “physical” or cyber worlds, security experts rely upon the levers of vulnerability mitigation, threat reduction and, should the first two fail, consequence management. In the area of cybersecurity, vulnerability mitigation has been our nation’s predominant approach. Unfortunately, the majority of our government and private sector resources focus on having potential victims fear for the loss of their data, rather than having actual hackers fear for the loss of their freedom….more…

Shi’a Jihadis in Syria, by Rachel Ehrenfeld

At least 11,000 Sunni foreign fighters are among the 100,000 rebels fighting Assad. Conflicts among various Sunni groups like al Qaeda and ISIS, and between the Sunnis and secular rebels have garnered a good deal of attention. As in Bosnia, Iran is not only backing, supplying, and training jihadists to join Hezbollah and fight for Assad, but it also recruits and trains growing numbers of foreign fighters to join the jihad beyond Syria…more…

U.S. Futile Sanctions Against Russia, by Rachel Ehrenfeld

Barack Obama today announced that 7 Russian and 4 Ukrainian citizens who will be sanctioned by the United States as retaliation for Russia’s expected unlawful takeover of the Crimea. This comes after Crimea’s 95-percent-plus decision by referendum to leave Ukraine and join the Russian Federation, and before Russia’s recognized Crimea’s independence tonightmore…

The [Chinese] emperor has no clothes by Sol Sanders

The shudder that relatively minor bad news from China sent through world markets last week was a warning that the halcyon days of Beijing’s economy are over. Indeed, reluctantly because of self-interest and wishful thinking, a universal consensus finally is emerging that the Chinese economy is in deep trouble, a crisis that could perhaps overturn the regime itself…more…

News and Commentary:

California leads states in identity fraud and computer hackings, report says, Christian Science Monitor

(Quoting ACD Director Rachel Ehrenfeld)

“California is a global leader on a number of fronts and, unfortunately, transnational criminal activity is one of them,” says a report by California Attorney General Kamala Harris, calling the state the top target in the United States for fraudulent and lawless organizations originating everywhere from China to Africa to Eastern Europe…. and recommends what to do next…  “More power to her,” says Rachel Ehrenfeld, director of the New York-based American Center for Democracy. “This is an issue that sorely needs our attention. Many people are asleep about this.”…more…

Massive Cyberattacks Slam Official Sites in Russia, Ukraine, Christian Science Monitor

The open cyber flareup began last Thursday when attacks clearly originating in Russia targeted an unidentified computer network in Ukraine. The next day, a powerful attack temporarily knocked out websites for the Kremlin, the Russian central bank, and Russia’s Foreign Ministry…more…

Cyber-war: In deed and desire, Iran emerging as a major power, Christian Science Monitor

As high-level international talks in Vienna over Iran’s nuclear program edged closer to a deal last fall, something curious happened – massive cyber-attacks that had hammered Wall Street bank websites repeatedly for about a year slowed to a near stop…more…

Mt. Gox Bitcoin Exchange Finds Missing Millions, Time Magazine

The Tokyo-based Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, which recently filed for bankruptcy protection, says 200,000 missing coins were found in a wallet thought to be empty. The recovered loot accounts for a large portion of the 850,000 coins Mt. Gox said it couldn’t locate…more…

Bank of England warns of Ukraine impact on commodities, RTE News

The Bank of England has warned about the impact of the Ukraine crisis on global commodity prices, minutes of their last policy meeting showed today…more…

Crimea and the Lessons of Frozen Conflicts. Vladimir Putin’s manipulations in Ukraine show us that the West needs to pay more attention to frozen conflicts among Russia’s neighbors, by Svante Cornell

Sunday’s Referendum in Crimea makes it almost inevitable that the territory will now join Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Transnistria as another of Eurasia’s “frozen conflicts.” If the West is to counter Putin’s aggression in the long term, it must learn from two decades of failed policies related to these conflicts and the unrecognized states they have spawned. … But Putin’s Ukraine policy is directly drawn from Russia’s experiences manipulating internal conflicts to divide and rule across Russia’s western and southern periphery. Indeed, grabbing Crimea probably seemed like a good idea to Putin in part because he thinks such a strategy has served Russia well in its efforts to undermine pro-Western states in Russia’s neighborhood for more than twenty years. ...more…

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 ‘Cyber Hijack’ Theory Emerges, International Business Times

According to Sally Leivesley, a former scientific adviser to the UK’s Home Office, the Boeing 777’s speed, direction and altitude could have been changed using radio signals sent from a small device…more…

Hearings:

The Geopolitical Potential of the U.S. Energy Boom, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, March 26, 2014.

National Security & Foreign Policy Priorities in the FY 2015 International Affairs Budget, U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, March 25, 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, Latest News, Russia and East Europe, U.S. Foreign Policy, Ukraine

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