Stories We’re Watching
Assad Regime Responsible for 98% of Syria’s Chemical Attacks, Exclusively Targeted Civilians
Researchers at the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPI) have substantiated and “comprehensively confirmed” over 300 chemical weapons attacks during the Syrian civil war. More than 98% of the attacks were committed directly by the Assad regime using chemicals such as chlorine and sarin on Syrian civilians. The authors conclude that the Assad regime purposefully targeted Syria’s civilian population due to budgetary and human resource constraints. Despite pressure from the Trump administration to keep Syria isolated, the UAE and Jordan have already reopened embassies in Damascus.
- BBC: IS ‘trapping 200 families’ in last bastion in Syria
- Gizmodo: Report: More Than 300 Chemical Weapons Attacks in Syria
- Nasdaq: US pressing Gulf states to keep Syria isolated
- Reuters: Assad adviser rejects idea of granting Syrian Kurds autonomy
Trump’s National Emergency Order Faces Multiple Legal Challenges as 16 States File Lawsuit
Yesterday, a coalition of 16 states filed a lawsuit to challenge the Trump administration’s declaration of a national emergency to divert funds for a US-Mexico border wall. Although acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan will have the final say on how much money goes to the wall, legal analysts expect construction to be delayed by multiple, mounting legal challenges. POTUS already faces several, separate investigations led by federal agents and the US Congress as well as by New York City and other State Attorneys General.
- Lawfare: The Supreme Court’s Contribution to the Confrontation Over Emergency Powers
- Vox: Trump says the “Radical Left” is behind state lawsuit over emergency
- WSJ: States File Suit Against Trump Administration Over Wall Emergency
- Quartz: The Pentagon could deny Trump national emergency funds, defense
Chinese & Iranian Hackers Increase Cyber Attacks on US
Analysts at the National Security Agency have attributed recent attacks on multiple entities in the US private, public, and finance sectors. The intelligence briefing highlights how the US government shutdown allowed the hackers to extend their reach. Regional experts attribute the ongoing US-China trade war and the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal as inciting the attacks. Yesterday, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison attributed cyberattacks on members of parliament to state-backed hackers.
- Lawfare: What Is Agreed Competition in Cyberspace?
- Defense One: You Have 19 Minutes to React If the Russians Hack
- Telegraph: Chinese and Iranian hackers increase cyber attacks on US
- Forbes: Can We Wait Any Longer For A Multinational Cyber Treaty?
- Financial Times: Australian political parties hit by cyber attack
Trump Calls on Venezuelan Military to Break with Maduro
Yesterday, President Trump issued an ultimatum to the Venezuela’s military: abandon Maduro and allow humanitarian aid or “lose everything”. Interim President Guiado has given the Maduro administration until Saturday to allow the passage of desperately-needed humanitarian aid detained at the Colombian border. US Senator Marco Rubio visited the Colombia-Venezuela border over the weekend to pressure the Maduro administration. Meanwhile, Maduro has announced a concert to rival philanthropist Richard Branson’s recently announced aid concert.
- Vox: Trump is exploiting the Venezuela crisis in order to win the 2020
- NPR: Venezuela’s Maduro Threatens Military Force To Block US Food Aid
- Reuters: US Senator Rubio warns Venezuela’s Maduro not to act against
- The Independent: Venezuela: Colombian city prepares for showdown over US
- Business Insider: Nicolás Maduro is waging a bizarre contest with Richard Branson
New Round of US-China Trade Talks Begins Today in Washington, DC
China’s trade delegation arrived in Washington, DC earlier today to continue negotiations ahead of the March 2 deadline. Trade analysts say that the talks have stalled over structural changes and enforcement mechanisms—two issues China has forcefully resisted in the past. Insiders report that this current round of talks has centered around pledges to prevent currency manipulation. Despite the lack of progress in negotiations, markets in Asia and the US sustained record highs.
- Reuters: New round of US-China trade talks to begin in Washington
- WSJ: As China Trade Talks Resume, Trump Pushes an Ambitious Agenda
- CNBC: US Chamber of Commerce: China trade deal ‘fails’ if Washington
- Financial Times: Will 2019 see an end to ‘Made in China’?
- Forbes: China Trade War Update: A Trickle Of Soybean, Oil Exports
From Deep State Radio
SECURITY MAGAZINE: Are we ready for the future of war? A Conversation with General (Ret.) Charles Jacoby
In his 37 year career in the U.S. Army, General Charles Jacoby rose to become the commanding general of U.S. Northcom and the North American Aerospace Defense Command and a leading thinker of some of the most pressing issues the U.S. military faces. Today, he chairs the Modern War Institute at West Point, a think tank within the military academy that contemplates the future of conflict, new technologies, shifting geopolitical rivalries and what the consequences may and should be for the U.S. In this wide-ranging discussion, we explore with Gen. Jacoby some of the biggest challenges we face and how best to address them. Don’t miss this vitally important conversation. Tune in!
DEEPTECH: Big Tech Tax Breaks, Phone Security FAQs, Russian Internet Wargames, & More!
Russia Plans to ‘Turn off’ the Internet
Russia plans to completely disconnect from the global internet sometime before April as part of an operation meant to test the nation’s cyberdefenses. The plan is part of a larger “sovereign internet” bill which calls for the establishment of Russia’s own Domain Name System and which reroutes all domestic internet traffic through state-controlled servers. The plan was announced in response to the release of the 2018 US National Security Strategy, which attributes some cyber attacks against the US to Russia. Just two weeks ago, special counsel Robert Mueller accused Russia’s Internet Research Agency troll farm of dezinformatsiya by leaking spurious documents to discredit the investigation. Researchers believe that the operation is being used to facilitate censorship and to prevent foreign interception of Russian internet traffic. Opposition lawmakers have echoed such criticism but have also called into question the Kremlin’s ability to carry out the operation since it calls for equipment that the state can neither manufacture nor afford to purchase. CONTINUE
FP INTERRUPTED: Solidarity?
We’re coming to you from Prague and Berlin this week, where Elmira has dived deep into the importance of gender in press freedom. Ironically, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who represents an administration that actively attacks both women and the press, is just next door in Poland. On his agenda: a summit on Middle East peace. Originally, it was meant to strong arm the Europeans on Iran. Nah-ah said the Euros. We ain’t gangin’ up on the Iranians. (You do that so well on your own…) Washington took note and pivoted. Still, the snubs poured in, namely from Federica Mogherini, the EU external affairs chief, and the French and Germans, who are sending low-level reps. We’re guessing that hurt Jared Kushner, who gave a speech about “peace” between the Palestinians and Israelis on Valentine’s Day. Benjamin Netanyahu, who was in attendance, swooned. CONTINUE