29 March 2018

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower details Indian ops, mentions JD-U

March 28, 2018 
A United Kingdom-based whistleblower, who is at the centre of a storm over alleged data breaches by Cambridge Analytica, on Wednesday posted information on social media that claims to expose the British consultancy’s work in India dating back to 2003.

Christopher Wylie, a former employee of CA, had told MPs during his evidence before the UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Tuesday that the company had worked “extensively” in India and that he believes Congress was one of its clients.

In a post on Twitter on Wednesday, the 28-year-old also named the Janata Dal-United as a client during the 2010 Bihar elections and brought up some caste surveys carried out in Uttar Pradesh by SCL India -- the parent company of CA.
“I’ve been getting a lot of requests from Indian journalists, so here are some of SCL’s past projects in India. To the most frequently asked question -- yes SCL/CA works in India and has offices there. This is what modern colonialism looks like,” Wylie tweeted.
His message includes documents which indicate that SCL India boasted a database of “over 600 districts and 7 lakh villages, which is constantly being updated”.
Its reach in India is said to include a head office in Ghaziabad, with nine regional offices in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Cuttack, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore, Kolkata, Patna and Pune.

“SCL India was asked to provide research and strategy for the 2010 State Elections for the Janata Dal-United. SCL undertook a behavioural research programme targeting over 75 per cent of households to assist the client in not only identifying the correct battlegrounds, but also the right audiences, messages and most importantly the right castes to target with their campaigns,” Wylie’s document notes.
The JD-U went on to win the 2010 state elections as part of an alliance with the National Democratic Alliance.

Andhra Pradesh: Collapsing Movement

Deepak Kumar Nayak 

A woman cadre of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), identified as Irothu Sundaramma aka Sadhana, carrying a reward of INR one million on her head, surrendered before the Superintendent of Police (SP), C.M. Trivikrama Varma, in Srikakulam District on March 17, 2018. Sadhana was involved in a number of Maoist-linked offenses, including an attack at National Aluminium Company (NALCO) Company at Damanjodi in the Koraput District of Odisha on April 12, 2009, in which 11 Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel were killed.

After the emergency: repairing ties with Maldives

The Maldivian government’s decision to lift the state of emergency after 45 days, just ahead of the expiry of its second self-imposed deadline, comes as cold comfort for those concerned about the turn of events in the islands over the past couple of months. In a statement India said the withdrawal of the emergency is but “one step”, and much more must be done to restore democracy in the Maldives. The opposition, mostly in exile and led by former President Mohamad Nasheed, says the emergency was lifted only because President Abdulla Yameen has established total control over the judiciary and parliament since the February 1 court verdict that cancelled the sentencing of 12 opposition leaders and ordered their release. In a dramatic turn of events Mr. Yameen had then ordered the arrest of two judges, as well as hundreds of activists and politicians including former President Abdul Gayoom, and imposed a state of emergency. The remaining judges overturned the February 1 release order, under what is seen to be coercion by the security forces, which had locked down the Majlis (parliament) and court buildings. Therefore, lifting the emergency does not automatically amount to status quo ante.

Punjab: Deceptive Recovery

Ten persons, including six Policemen, were killed and another 35 were injured in a suicide attack near a Police check post outside the Tablighi Jamaat Markaz (centre) at Raiwind Town in Lahore, the provincial capital of Punjab, on March 14, 2018. A teenage suicide bomber blew himself up when a Policeman tried to stop him from entering the Markaz. At least 70,000 followers of Tablighi Jamaat were present at the annual congregation. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack and threatened more attacks on Police in retaliation for the killing of their “associates” in Punjab.

China Acknowledges Transfer of Ballistic Missile Optical Tracking System to Pakistan Image Credit: ISPR China Acknowledges Transfer of Ballistic Missile Optical Tracking System to Pakistan

By Ankit Panda

China has acknowledged that it sold Pakistan a tracking system for use in developing new ballistic missiles capable of delivering multiple nuclear warheads, according to a report published last week in the South China Morning Post. Chinese government authorities decided to declassify information on a Sino-Pakistani deal last week; a statement posted on the website of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) acknowledged the sale and said that China was the first country to transfer this kind of equipment to Pakistan.

China Prepares Death Blow To The Dollar

By Zero Hedge

On March 26 China will finally launch a yuan-dominated oil futures contract. Over the last decade there have been a number of “false-starts,” but this time the contract has gotten approval from China’s State Council. With that approval, the “petroyuan” will become real and China will set out to challenge the “petrodollar” for dominance. Adam Levinson, managing partner and chief investment officer at hedge fund manager Graticule Asset Management Asia (GAMA), already warned last year that China launching a yuan-denominated oil futures contract will shock those investors who have not been paying attention.

China has the largest illegal fishing operation in the world

China Subsidizes Pirates

China has the largest illegal fishing operation in the world and is a major poacher in foreign waters from Southeast Asia to Africa and South America. The Chinese subsidize several thousand fishing ships to make this poacher fleet profitable and, at least in the South China Sea and other nearby waters, will send warships (heavily armed “coast guard” vessels (to intimidate local fishing patrol boats to back off. But China has not used their coast guard ships long distances from China (off Africa and South America). In those distant waters subsidized fishing boats will do what they can to protect poachers. These subsidized fishing boats are part of a semi-official naval militia that uses unarmed, but willing. Fishing boats and crews to “interfere” with armed patrol boats (which Chinese ships are poaching) or to block foreign fishing boats from fishing areas China claims for its own exclusive use.

TRUMPED Why China Will Lose a Trade War With Trump


“Let me assure those people who intend to fight a trade war,” Cui Tiankai, China’s ambassador to the U.S., told China Daily, Beijing’s official English-language newspaper. “We will certainly fight back. We will retaliate. If people want to play tough, we will play tough with them and see who will last longer.” Most assume, as trade frictions intensify, that China will outlast the U.S.—yet it is America, because it runs persistent trade deficits and for other reasons, that will likely eventually prevail.

Why the South China Sea is critical to security


CANBERRA – When the U.S. aircraft carrier, Carl Vincent, recently made a port call at Da Nang, Vietnam, it attracted international attention because this was the first time that a large contingent of U.S. military personnel landed on Vietnamese soil since the last of the American troops withdrew from that country in 1975. The symbolism of this port call, however, cannot obscure the fact that the United States, under two successive presidents, has had no coherent strategy for the South China Sea. It was on President Barack Obama’s watch that China created and militarized seven artificial islands in the South China Sea, while his successor, Donald Trump, still does not seem to have that critical subregion on his radar.

Way to Judge Chinese Governance


In a fast-changing world, governance systems must support rapid decision-making under conditions of radical uncertainty, while maintaining accountability. That – not the Western expectation of what a governance system should look like – is the standard by which we should be assessing political developments in China. HONG KONG – Following China’s “two sessions” – the annual meetings of the national legislature and the top political advisory body – all Western observers, it seems, are discussing the removal of the two-term limit for the president. Xi Jinping, the international media insists, is consolidating power, and may even be laying the groundwork for a Mao Zedong-style personality cult. But this reading is fundamentally flawed.

China's ‘Preparation for War’ in the South China Sea

By Christopher Bodeen

BEIJING (AP) — A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce and rich in fish and potential oil and gas reserves: EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a weekly look at the latest developments in the South China Sea, the location of several territorial conflicts that have raised tensions in the region.
China’s air force says it recently sent some of its most advanced fighters and bombers for “joint combat patrols” over the South China Sea. Spokesman for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force Shen Jinke was quoted on Sunday as saying that the planes involved included H-6K long-range strategic bombers. The bombers are considered “standoff” weapons that carry the DH-20 land-attack cruise missile, giving it the ability to hit targets as far away as Australia.

What happens to ‘Made in China 2025’ as trade war fears grow

Yingzhi Yang

This strategy, known as the Chinese version of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, had initially raised concerns in the United States and European Union because of the mainland’s goal to wean itself off importing a range of technologies from leading foreign suppliers. “Instead of moving ahead with the progressive market-based reforms announced at the Third Plenum in 2013, state planners are unfortunately falling back on the old approach of top-down decision-making,” Jörg Wuttke, the president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, said in a report.

China needs more water. So it's building a rain-making network three times the size of Spain

Stephen Chen

The system, which involves an enormous network of fuel-burning chambers installed high up on the Tibetan mountains, could increase rainfall in the region by up to 10 billion cubic metres a year – about 7 per cent of China’s total water consumption – according to researchers involved in the project. Tens of thousands of chambers will be built at selected locations across the Tibetan plateau to produce rainfall over a total area of about 1.6 million square kilometres (620,000 square miles), or three times the size of Spain. It will be the world’s biggest such project.

Opinions The United States is finally confronting China’s economic aggression

By Josh Rogin

Lost in last week’s coverage of tariffs and trade deficits was the Trump administration’s landmark decision to confront China’s unfair and illegal practices that threaten our economic security. It’s the opening salvo of the key economic battle of the 21st century and part of a worldwide struggle the United States must lead. The Chinese government’s strategy to amass control of critical technologies while undermining the rules-based trade system built by the United States and its partners will be hard to combat. Exactly how the administration plans to tackle the task remains unclear. But the implications of that long-term project reach far beyond the short-term battle over tariffs or deficits now brewing between Washington and Beijing. 


Lionel Beehner, Liam Collins, Steve Ferenzi, Robert Person and Aaron Brantly

The Jvari Monastery, built in the sixth century, sits high above a central artery that slices through a picturesque gorge linking Gori to Tbilisi. On the fourth day of the 2008 August war, Russian forces advanced as far as nearby Mtskheta, within artillery range of this temple, just outside Tbilisi. The topography of this area would make any advancing army twitchy, given its wealth of natural defensive fortifications, as well as its canopy of forest for cover and concealment. According to Georgian military officials, the Georgian army was prepared to fall back and fight a prolonged insurgency if the Russian forces had advanced farther southeastward. There were reports of Russian aircraft shelling the television tower that soars high above Tbilisi, as European officials scrambled to get both sides to declare a cease-fire. Much of the world were glued to their televisions, but they were watching the Beijing Olympics, not the unfolding war in Georgia. Even a number of Georgians were caught off guard, given that August is when politicians and defense officials typically head for the Black Sea coast for vacation. Even Georgia’s best-trained brigade was in Iraq.

The euro area’s deepening political divide

Ashoka Mody 

Two European elections – in Germany on 24 September 2017 and Italy on 4 March 2018 – warn that the peoples of Europe are drifting apart. Much of the recent deepening of these divisions can be traced to Europe’s single currency, the euro. This column argues that the political divide in Europe may now be hard to roll back absent a shift in focus to national priorities that pay urgent attention to the needs of those being left behind. The University of Cambridge economist Nicholas Kaldor was first to warn that the euro would divide Europe (reprinted in Kaldor 1978). His critique came in March 1971 as a response to the Werner Commission Report, which presented the original blueprint of what would eventually be the euro area’s architecture (Werner 1970). 

Liberal World Order, R.I.P.


America’s decision to abandon the global system it helped build, and then preserve for more than seven decades, marks a turning point, because others lack either the interest or the means to sustain it. The result will be a world that is less free, less prosperous, and less peaceful, for Americans and others alike. NEW DELHI – After a run of nearly one thousand years, quipped the French philosopher and writer Voltaire, the fading Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire. Today, some two and a half centuries later, the problem, to paraphrase Voltaire, is that the fading liberal world order is neither liberal nor worldwide nor orderly.

Pax Trumpia


After a year in which US President Donald Trump did not follow through on his promised protectionism, he has finally done so. It is quickly becoming clear that Trump's attacks on free trade are not just about global commerce, but about the entire rules-based international system. BERLIN – US President Donald Trump is getting serious about translating his contempt for the international system into concrete policies. His decision to impose $50 billion in punitive import tariffs on many Chinese goods could severely disrupt global trade. And while he made a last-minute decision to exempt EU goods from such tariffs, Europe may yet end up in the line of fire.

Tariffs on Imports? What Exactly Is an Import?

When the New York International Auto Show opens on Friday, Audi will be featuring vehicles like the SQ5, one of the German automaker’s latest entries in the highly competitive S.U.V. market. Well appointed and high powered, the SQ5, which ranges in price from $54,300 to nearly $70,000 with options, competes with the likes of BMW, Lexus, Lincoln and Land Rover. It’s a German import, the kind President Trump has threatened with tariffs. The president is miffed at Germany’s “already massive tariffs and barriers” and says he’s going to tilt the track back in our favor. (Technically, Germany doesn’t impose tariffs; the European Union does.) Last year, the United States imported $20.1 billion worth of German cars while its exports of cars to Germany reached $5.7 billion, according to the Commerce Department.

What is freemasonry?

by K.W.

THE literature on freemasonry does not offer straightforward explanations. Is it benign or bent on subverting government? Is it a community of knowledge or of the occult? Such questions are not new. Since its development in the 18th century, freemasonry has drawn the ire of the Catholic church, right-wing politicians and, more recently, Britain’s Home Office. (Fearing that masons in the police and judiciary were giving preferential treatment to other masons, the Home Office between 1998 and 2009 required judicial appointees to disclose their membership.) Freemasonry can appear incomprehensible because it contains no coherent ideology or doctrine, and is defined instead by a commitment to universal brotherhood and self-improvement. Nor does a single governing body exist. It is made up of a loose network of groups, known as lodges, that fall under regional and national grand lodges. What, then, is freemasonry all about?

The Attacker Has the Advantage in Cyberspace. Can We Fix That?


It is not news that cyberspace is insecure. Attackers have had the advantage over defenders for not just years, but decades. Quotes from decades ago make it clear that cyber defenders then faced the same challenges we do today (and with a similar lack of success). When was the last presentation you heard that had anything as smart as the following? “The system designer must be aware of the points of vulnerability, which may be thought of as leakage points, and he must provide adequate mechanisms to counteract both accidental and deliberate events. The specific leakage points include physical surroundings, hardware, software, communication links, and organizational (personnel and procedures).

Cyber-Enabled Economic Warfare: Assessing U.S. Strategy

Mercy A. Kuo

Without a concerted effort, the United States economy will become increasingly vulnerable to hostile adversaries seeking to undermine our military and political strength. While analogies to the dawn of the nuclear age can be overdrawn, we can learn a lot from the rigorous thought that went into assessing the types of intelligence collection platforms, targeting processes, and analytic methods created to deal with that challenge. In this new threat environment, we have much work to do. We must have sustained attention within the U.S. intelligence community to understand the capabilities and intentions of our adversaries. We need greater government investment in the types of R&D that the private sector is not likely to advance. We need a whole of government “observe, orient, decide, and act” loop so that we can properly assess the enemy's escalatory ladder. And we must work closely with our allies to safeguard the networks and systems upon which our economy depends. Researchers like me await the release of the U.S. administration's cyber strategy to help set the country on the path through this dangerous future.

At the Pentagon, theories abound as to why H.R. McMaster didn’t get a fourth star

By Jamie Mcintyre

As the news leaked last week that Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster would soon be replaced as President Trump’s national security adviser, speculation swirled about whether the storied military officer would be given a four-star command somewhere, a soft-landing after a hard run at the White House. Instead, the only active-duty service member in the president’s Cabinet is ending his distinguished 34-year Army career with an inglorious firing. “I am requesting retirement from the U.S. Army effective this summer after which I will leave public service,” McMaster said in a farewell statement released by the White House. So why no fourth star after a stellar career? Theories abound, based on conversations with people at the Pentagon on Friday.

US Army’s Futures Command sets groundwork for battlefield transformation

By: Jen Judson  

WASHINGTON — It’s the beginning of a new era in Army acquisition in which soldiers might not have to wait 10 years or longer to see a new weapon or capability in the field, but instead could get modern, new systems in their hands within just a few short years. That’s at least what service leaders tasked to come up with new road maps for the Army’s top modernization priorities are thinking is possible. The newly vigorous pace is fueled by the frustration created by years of painful acquisition blunders, sluggish bureaucratic processes and wasted dollars, all on top of the fact that near-peer adversaries like Russia haven’t waited to develop weapons systems that would create serious dilemmas for the U.S. Army and its Middle East-tuned equipment if it had to face off in a conflict.

Army, Struggling to Get Technology in Soldiers’ Hands, Tries the Unconventional


WASHINGTON — The platoon of Army Special Operations soldiers was on a routine night patrol in eastern Afghanistan when one of them suddenly opened fire on what looked to the others to be a bush. The bush, it turned out, had been obscuring a militant fighter. He was detectable only to the one platoon member wearing prototype night vision goggles that could detect heat signatures — a happenstance that Army officials say probably saved many lives. That incident took place in 2015. Three years later, soldiers in the field still do not have the new night vision goggles, and that is just one example of a process that can take a decade to get new weapons from the lab to the hands of troops. Worried about that lag, the Army is creating a new and decidedly unconventional department to address it: the Futures Command.

28 March 2018

In a Rare Move, Pakistan Army Chief Likely to Visit the Maldives

The projected visit is being perceived as a ‘political signal’ directed at India.
Devirupa Mitra, 26/MAR/2018

New Delhi: Pakistan army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa will travel to the Maldives this week, probably making him the highest-ranking foreign visitor to the island nation since President Abdulla Yameen’s announcement of a state of emergency – which was lifted after 45 days on March 22.
According to diplomatic sources, Bajwa will be reaching Malé on March 31 for a short trip. There has, however, not been an official announcement from the Maldives government on the visit.
The Wire contacted Ahmed Mohamad, the Maldives ambassador to India, to get a confirmation. “I am not aware,” he responded.
Sources said that Maldivian leadership had been keen on a visit from the Pakistan army chief “for some time,” but the timing of this proposed trip has raised eyebrows.
The Maldives has just emerged from a 45-day state of emergency, which has seen a further fraying of ties with its largest neighbour, India. There has been public disagreement over the direction of political developments, with the latest being over India’s statement to mark the end of the emergency.

If the trip fructifies, this would be the first visit by Bajwa to the Maldives since his appointment as the Pakistan army chief in November 2016. The last visit by a Pakistani service chief to the Maldives was by the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Asif Sandila in October 2013. He was awarded one of Maldives’s top-ranking honours by the then President Mohamed Waheed Hassan for his role in providing relief during the devastating 2010 Indian Ocean tsunami.
With Pakistani naval ships making regular port visits, the Maldives defence establishment has had comparatively more interaction with the country’s naval forces. In fact, the current Pakistan high commissioner and his predecessor are retired naval officers. In contrast, there have been limited links between the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) and the Pakistan army.
In 2016, the Maldives, along with Sri Lanka, took part in the two-week trilateral counter-terror exercise ‘Eagle Dash-1’ in Pakistan.

Tibetan Uprising Day: Why The CIA Aborted Its Mission In Tibet

by Kamalpreet Singh Gill

Behind the Tibetan Uprising and the Dalai Lama’s flight to India lies a Cold War tale of spies, intrigue and a long forgotten CIA mission to foment rebellion in Tibet. On 10 March, Tibetans in exile observe the Tibetan Uprising Day. On this day in 1959, armed Tibetan fighters clashed with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Lhasa in a desperate last ditch attempt to maintain their independence. By the time fighting ended on 21 March 1959, thousands of Tibetans had been massacred by the PLA, and the Dalai Lama was found missing from his residence at the Potala Palace in Lhasa.

Is Abdulla Yameen Handing Over the Maldives to China?


Remember the good old days, when China proudly proclaimed the principle of noninterference in other nations’ internal affairs and pledged never to build military bases overseas? That now seems like a long-forgotten past. The current crisis unfolding in the Indian Ocean nation of the Maldives is a grim reminder of just how much times have changed: China has emerged in recent years, because of its economic ascent, as a neocolonial practitioner of predatory economics, which is sparking a new Great Game in the Indo-Pacific. In the words of former Maldivian Foreign Minister Ahmed Naseem, “What is happening in the Maldives is not just about democracy, it is about peace, security, and stability in the entire Indian Ocean neighborhood.”

Facebook’s Hate Speech Problem

Chintan Girish Modi

There is a fine line between removing hate speech and protecting free speech. Facebook needs to learn where that boundary lies. Mark Zuckerberg is in the news again. This time he is not receiving an honorary degree from Harvard, selling Free Basics, or donating another chunk of his large fortune towards setting up a charity. Facebook, the company he co-founded, is in troubled waters. The sharp currents are being felt not only in the United States of America, where he lives, but all the way across in India as well.  

Beijing’s Anti-Satellite and Missile Defense Systems: A Threat to Its Neighbors

By Davis Florick

Davis Florick is a James A. Kelly non-resident fellow with the Pacific Forum and a senior fellow with the Human Security Centre. Chinese criticism of United States (US), ally, and partner missile defense investments is highly self-serving and ignores China’s own significant expenditure on missile defense and anti-satellite systems. Particularly over the last decade, Beijing has gone to great lengths to expand and modernize these capabilities. It has been aided by missile defense imports from Moscow, particularly the S-300 and S-400 mobile systems. As the US Department of Defense’s 2015 Report to Congress on Chinese Military Power states, “[China] possesses one of the largest forces of advanced long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems in the world.” In parallel, China is developing a range of anti-satellite capabilities including ground-launched satellite interceptors. Taken together, China’s missile defense and anti-satellite capabilities are intended to prevent the US, its allies, and partners from responding to Chinese aggression. In response, Washington must enhance its missile systems and complicate China’s ability to degrade US satellite capabilities.

The World Should Take China's War Threats Seriously

Gordon G. Chang

Taiwan’s national-security and counterespionage chief, in a question-and-answer period at the national legislature, this week warned that China might invade the island republic. “Beijing is prepared to retaliate forcibly once senior U.S. officials touch down on the island,” the National Security Bureau’s Director-General Peng Sheng-chu said, referring to visits encouraged by the Taiwan Travel Act, which recently became U.S. law. Peng’s warning came at about the same time Taiwan’s defense ministry reported that its ships and planes tailed China’s only operational aircraft carrier and its escorts as they transited the Taiwan Strait. The Liaoning group, the ministry announced Wednesday, left Taiwan’s air-defense identification zone on a southwesterly course.

Why America Is So Scared of China’s Biggest Tech Company

By Max Chafkin and Joshua Brustein

U.S. politicians may not be able to pronounce “Huawei,” but they’re convinced it’s a threat to national security. On March 12, fresh off his Twitter proclamation that “trade wars are good and easy to win,” President Trump issued an executive order blocking the biggest tech merger in history. The plan had been for Broadcom Ltd., a Singaporean chipmaker, to acquire San Diego’s Qualcomm Inc., the leading maker of cellphone modems, for $117 billion. Trump said he canceled the deal for fear that Broadcom “might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the U.S.”

China is winning because it can fill a 'black hole' that other countries have left behind


China's influence operations have flourished because the US, Australia, and other leading nations have left a void that Beijing was easily able to fill, according to a former Australian government adviser. President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road Initiative to link 70 countries filled a gap of loans and infrastructure to poorer nations, particularly in Southeast Asia. Hundreds of controversial Confucius Institutes, which are run by the Communist Party, also fill a "black hole" of education on Chinese language and culture that countries failed to provide themselves. The influence of these institutes is so large that US legislators announced this week a draft law to force them to register as foreign agents of the the Chinese government 

More Than A Nuclear Threat: North Korea’s Chemical, Biological, and Conventional Weapons

North Korean development of biological weapons both poses a serious potential threat to the United States and its strategic partners, and illustrates the broader dangers of proliferation. Biological weapons pose dangers that are growing steadily with the proliferation of the civil, dual- use, and military technologies that can be used to develop and manufacture biological weapons – such as genetic engineering and drones. Figures One to Three show that some estimates indicate that Cold War biological weapons could be even more lethal that nuclear weapons, and they have always far cheaper. Such weapons can also substitute for nuclear proliferation. They also do not require and high cost delivery systems like large ballistic missiles that are relatively easy to detect and locate, although they can supplement them. Moreover, they can act as a powerful threat and deterrent on their own, or act as compensation for inferiority in nuclear forces.

Trump announces tariffs on $60bn in Chinese imports

The White House said the actions were necessary to counter unfair competition from China's state-led economy. It said years of talks had failed to produce change. China said it was ready to retaliate with "necessary measures". Beijing also said it would "fight to the end" in any trade war with the US. US stock markets closed lower on Thursday, as investors responded to the announcement. The Dow Jones ended the day at 23,957.89, a fall of 2.9% or 724.42 points - making it the fifth biggest points fall ever.

Nobody Knows Anything About China


As a foreigner in China, you get used to hearing the retort “You don’t know China!” spat at you by locals. It’s usually a knee-jerk reaction to some uncomfortable modern issue or in defense of one of the many historical myths children in the mainland are taught as unshakeable facts about the world. But it’s also true. We don’t know China. Nor, however, do the Chinese — not even the government.

Who Will Buy Treasuries If China Does Not? Lots Of People

from Jeff Miller

There are multiple reasons, but the most important is rarely mentioned. Stories ask, “Who Will Buy Our Bonds?" as if China is the only market. The (overly) simple heuristic is a market with a handful of participants. Country A borrows from B. B calls the debt. Party A must now, hat in hand, go to C or D or E to ask for a loan. This analytical error comes when we focus on the result of building and liquidating positions instead of daily market dynamics. What is the correct answer to the “who will buy" question?

One Morning in Baghdad


One morning in October 2003, I was shaken out of bed by an explosion. I was in Baghdad, leading a platoon of Army Rangers as part of a special operations task force that was hunting down the famous “deck of cards”—the last of the Ba’ath Regime loyalists, and Saddam himself. Because we did all of our work at night, I had only been sleeping for a few hours. When I first felt the explosion, I rolled out of bed, grabbed my M4 carbine, and ran out of the house we were living in on the southern tip of Baghdad’s so-called Green Zone. Improbably, my giant grizzly bear of a platoon sergeant remained asleep, snoring away in the cot next to mine.

At the Pentagon, theories abound as to why H.R. McMaster didn’t get a fourth star

By Jamie Mcintyre,

As the news leaked last week that Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster would soon be replaced as President Trump’s national security adviser, speculation swirled about whether the storied military officer would be given a four-star command somewhere, a soft-landing after a hard run at the White House. Instead, the only active-duty service member in the president’s Cabinet is ending his distinguished 34-year Army career with an inglorious firing. “I am requesting retirement from the U.S. Army effective this summer after which I will leave public service,” McMaster said in a farewell statement released by the White House. So why no fourth star after a stellar career? Theories abound, based on conversations with people at the Pentagon on Friday.

Joseph Stiglitz: The WTO 'is getting hamstrung' by Trump

Nyshka Chandran Martin Soong

The Trump administration's blocking of the appointment of new World Trade Organization judges is worrying, said renowned economist Joseph Stiglitz. The "WTO appellate body is getting hamstrung," he said, referring to the seven-member panel in charge of international disputes. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz sounded a warning on President Donald Trump's resistance to appointing new judges at the World Trade OrganizationPrevious trade skirmishes "were always done in the framework of the WTO, within international rule of law," Stiglitz, a former World Bank chief economist, told CNBC on Saturday at the China Development Forum in Beijing.

South Korea’s Civilian Vulnerabilities in War

By Anthony Cordesman 

The Broader Range of North Korean Threats 

Any effort to look beyond North Korea’s nuclear threat must address the fact that we live in an age of unconventional and asymmetric warfare, and one in which that warfare may take a political and/or economic form or be prolonged and a war of attrition. It must also consider the grim lessons of recent wars. The cost to civilians may go far beyond the number of dead and wounded from direct military attacks in some relatively brief, intense conflict. It may be economic, it may be the impact of being turned into refugees and displaced persons, and it may be a tremendous loss of national wealth, security, and the services that support modern urban life, education, and health. 

Section 301, Tariffs, and Chinese Trade and Investment

On March 22, the Trump administration released the findings of its Section 301 investigation into China’s practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property (IP), and innovation. Responding to the finding, President Trump directed his administration to take a range of actions including additional tariffs of 25 percent on certain Chinese imports; investment restrictions in key technology sectors; and a new World Trade Organization (WTO) case. Among the critical items still to be decided are the Chinese products that will be subject to additional tariffs, as well as the exact nature of investment restrictions. Although China has already signaled its intention to respond, the exact nature of the retaliation is another key unknown.

Who Will Buy Treasuries If China Does Not? Lots Of People

from Jeff Miller

There are multiple reasons, but the most important is rarely mentioned. Stories ask, “Who Will Buy Our Bonds?" as if China is the only market. The (overly) simple heuristic is a market with a handful of participants. Country A borrows from B. B calls the debt. Party A must now, hat in hand, go to C or D or E to ask for a loan. This analytical error comes when we focus on the result of building and liquidating positions instead of daily market dynamics. What is the correct answer to the “who will buy" question?

Are You Ready for the Third Digital Revolution?

The first two digital revolutions — computing and communications — transformed society. Now comes the third, which is fabrication, argues the new book, Designing Reality. The authors say that computerized fabrication such as 3-D printing is the beginning of a trend to change data into objects. But like any revolution, not all populations will benefit equally. The book, which is aimed at helping people prepare for the next tech wave, was written by three brothers: Alan Gershenfeld, president of E-Line Media and former chairman of Games for Change; Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, a professor at Brandeis University; and Neil Gershenfeld, who heads The Center for Bits and Atoms at MIT. Alan Gerhsenfeld and Cutcher-Gershenfeld talked about their book on the Knowledge@Wharton show, which airs on SiriusXM channel 111. (Listen to the full podcast using the player at the top of this page.)

US power grid needs defense against looming cyber attacks

A recent poll showed that more than 90 percent of Americans believe the government is not doing enough to protect the electric grid from cybersecurity attacks. Their fears appear to be justified. This month, the U.S. government revealed its concerns about Russian incursions into the operating systems of domestic electric power plants and noted that the efforts to disrupt date back to 2013. These attacks have the capability to bring down all or part of our electricity service.

Threat From Cyber Hackers Is Growing, U.S. Grid Regulator Says

Ari Natter 

Hackers increasingly threaten sites in the U.S. ranging from nuclear power plants to water processing systems, according to a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, adding his voice to warnings from several agencies and officials in recent weeks. "Cyberattacks have the potential to cause significant, widespread impacts on energy infrastructure," Commissioner Neil Chatterjee said Friday in an emailed response to questions. "Sophisticated hacking tools are becoming more widely available, and cyber threats are constantly evolving, making such attacks more versatile." Chatterjee’s remarks underscore the alarm growing after the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security issued a report earlier this month saying that Russian hackers have been attacking the electric grid, power plants, air transportation facilities and targets in the commercial and manufacturing sectors -- attempting to gain remote access or install malware or make spear phishing attempts.

This KGB Chief Rang the Alarm About Russia-U.S. Cyberwars. No One Listened.


In the late 1980s, when he helped oversee information security at the KGB, Vladimir Rubanov already had a grasp of what cyber wars would look like in the future—and they terrified him. The Americans had far surpassed the Russians by then in most types of technology, not least with the invention of the internet and the personal computer. At the KGB headquarters and other facilities around Moscow, Rubanov had a chance to study these machines—slow, ugly and cumbersome things by today’s standards, but still advanced enough for him to realize their potential in everything his agency did best: subversion, sabotage, intelligence gathering.

Was Destructive ‘Slingshot’ Malware Deployed by the Pentagon?


Earlier this March, cyber-security firm Kaspersky Labs released information on a newly discovered, highly advanced piece of malware dubbed Slingshot. The malware targeted Latvian-made Internet routers popular in the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Kaspersky’s reports reveal that the malware had been active since at least 2012, and speculates that it was government-made, owing to its sophistication and its use of novel techniques rarely seen elsewhere. Those investigating the matter further have drawn the conclusion that Slingshot was developed by the U.S. government, with some reports quoting former officials as connecting it to the Pentagon’s JSOC special forces. For those following the cyber security and malware sphere, this is a huge revelation, putting the U.S. government in the hot seat for deploying cyber attacks that harm a much greater range of innocent users beyond their intended targets.

Cambridge Analytica Scandal And Facebook

from Challenger Gray and Christmas

In light of the revelation that marketing firm Cambridge Analytica, used by President Trump's campaign, mined and utilized Facebook user data to influence voters in the 2016 Presidential Election, stock of the tech giant fell 7 percent on Monday, and continues to fall. Meanwhile, the hashtag #DeleteFacebook has begun to trend on Twitter, prompting users to completely delete their accounts and the data therein. While deleting Facebook profiles will ensure users' privacy, could it also hurt your chances in the job search?

Comparing The 25 Most Notable Cryptocurrencies

While Bitcoin remains the undisputed bellwether for digital currencies, it's also fair to say that the entire crypto landscape has been changing dramatically over the last year. New coin and token offerings have raised billions of dollars, innovative ideas are capturing the attention of investors, and there are now 20+ cryptocurrencies that have at least $1B in market capitalization.

These Countries Generate The Most Electronic Waste

by Felix Richter

Technology plays an increasingly large role in our day-to-day lives and many people constantly strive to own the latest and shiniest gadgets. But what happens to the devices once they're no longer up-to-date? Some are sold, some are properly recycled, but many just end up as undocumented e-waste. According to The Global E-waste Monitor, a report published by the United Nations University, the International Telecommunication Union and the International Solid Waste Association, humanity generated 44.7 million metric tons of e-waste in 2016, which is equivalent to 6.1 kilograms per person.