Weekly Briefing – April 26 – May 2, 2014

By ACD Staff
Saturday, May 3rd, 2014 @ 12:00AM

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Left: Putin Revives May Day Demonstration, Red Square

Leadership as a Last Resort – Richard Perle and Jonathan Perle – The United States has been punching well below its weight for five years, and that’s got to stop. It is hardly surprising that in its second term the Obama Administration lacks a coherent international strategy. There was none in the first term either—and far from learning from its first five years, the Administration seems determined to continue the failed policies and unprecedented passivity that have rendered America a hapless bystander in a world that had grown accustomed to, and dependent on, American leadership…more…

American Internationalists and the Real World – Rachel Ehrenfeld – Americans’ contemporary thinking about the international political mess has the tendency to group the elites in the West as right or left, and ignore the distinction within political and religious blocs. And despite the evidence, many in the West, continue to believe that individual and political freedoms, that we cherish so much are acceptable and shared everywhere…more…

Anti-Semitism and Alternative History – Weapons in the War Against the Jews – Moshe Sharon – Born in Hellenistic Egypt, intellectual anti-Semitism has two main features which go hand in hand; one is the invention of an alternative (or counter) history for the Jews; the other describing them as inferior human beings, filthy, bearers of disease and haters of humanity and of the gods…more…

Al Qaeda’s Expanding Caliphate – Norman Bailey – The successors to Mohammed as leaders of the Muslim religion bore the title of “Caliph”. The Caliphate has undergone numerous historical transformations and was never recognized by the Shiites, who claim that the legitimate line was cut short by illegitimate usurpers…more…

American LNG to the Rescue! Not Exactly – Sol Sanders – When Secretary of State John Kerry tried to lead an LNG posse to rescue the Europeans, blackmailed in the Ukraine affair by their heavy dependence on Russian natural gas, his bluff was soon called…more…

Rewriting Cuban History – Robert D. Chapman  Review of The Longest Romance, The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro by Humberto Fontova – Humberto Fontova has written another book on the Cuban revolution and its aftermath …] His words are bitter and angry; it is a book-long tirade against the media and the artsy Hollywood peopole who continue to support the Castro regime, even though he no longer degrades personalities like Angela Joie or Gisele Bunchen, his new targets include Jack Nicholson, Danny Glover and Kris Kristofferson.  Mr. Fontova describes the horrors that have befallen the Cuban people, but i don’t know where he obtained these doubtful statistics. He writes that between 65,000 to 80,000 Cubans died trying to escape the island…more

The Cyber Threat Industry: Into the Darknet Natalie Novitski Deep in shadowy chat rooms, where normal users never visit, there’s an entirely different world. Its denizens conduct their business secretly, keeping their distance from journalists and information security experts who try to meddle in their affairs. This business has rules of its own — the collection of forums and websites we call “darknet”. The tracks of every virus and malware that threaten innocent users lead there.  Did you ever attempt to enter a specific site while surfing, when suddenly a pop-up window asked you to update a software for you to be able to view the content? In many cases this is a trojan. It’s also important to remember that even if you press X to close that pop-up window you still get infected. …more

News and Commentary:

Ukraine conflict weighs on Swiss commodities sector – SwissInfo.ch – Switzerland finds itself between a rock and a hard place. Imposing sanctions on oligarchs in line with the United States and the European Union would place the alpine nation in the awkward situation of defending both its political neutrality and business interests…more…

Officials Say Russian Hackers May Retaliate for Sanctions – BloombergBusinessWeek – U.S. officials and security specialists are warning that Russian hackers may respond to new sanctions by attacking the computer networks of U.S. banks and other companies.

U.S. officials involved in a White House review of the effects of further penalties on Russia didn’t respond to questions about whether the study explores the risk of cyber-counterattacks. Even so, two people with knowledge of the review said it includes revisiting previous classified exercises in which small numbers of computer experts showed they were able to cripple the U.S. economy in a few days…more…

Why Ukraine Has Already Lost The Cyber War With Russia Fortuna’s Corner  Mr. Tucker adds that “Russia’s access stems from two factors. The first: Ukraine’s communications intercept system, which allows the Ukrainian government tap into civilian electronic communications, very closely resembles the Russian intercept system called SORM. SORM was developed by the Russian KGB as a means to surveil electronic communications. Think of the [NSA] PRISM Program, but far more robust in terms of capability; and, with far fewer legal restrictions on its use. SORM 3 allows the Russian Federal Security Service, or FSB, backdoor access into landline, mobile and communications.”…more…

Iran improves ability to pull off cyber-attacks on US, report finds – csmonitor.com – In the case of one state agency, Iranian hackers “maintained local administrative access” and infected about one-quarter of the agency’s computer systems with malware, Mandiant reports. Along the way, hackers stole more than 150 gigabytes of network diagrams, user passwords, and other data…more…

Abbas Pumps New Life Into HamasKhaled Abu Toameh – Abbas’s “reconciliation” with Hamas is most probably aimed at exerting more pressure on Israel to make far-reaching concessions at the negotiating table. But Abbas’s move will soon prove to be counterproductive. Hamas’s goal is to seize control over the Palestinian Authority and replace Israel with an Islamic empire. Hamas has already made it clear that the deal with Abbas does not mean that it would change its ideology or renounce terrorism…more…

Here’s How Newly Released Benghazi Emails Could Actually Embarrass the White House – TheWire.com – The new documents also include an email sent from a staffer for Rice to a group of employees in her office. It walks through a conversation the State Department’s Victoria Nuland held on background with members of the press on the Wednesday after the attacks. In that conversation, Nuland was similarly vague.”Toria said that she couldn’t speak to the identity of the perpetrators but that it was clearly a complex attack,” the email reads. When Nuland was asked if the attack was linked to the video disparaging the Prophet Muhammed, “she said she could not confirm a connect as we simply don’t know — and we won’t know until there’s an investigation.”…more…

Capitol Hill News:

Lessons Learned from the Boston Marathon Bombing: Improving Intelligence and Information Sharing  Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, Wednesday, April 30.

Corker and Ayotte: Latest U.S. Sanctions on Russia Just a Slap on the Wrist

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.


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