February 17, 2017

Cruz to Trump: Name John Bolton as national security adviser

 “One person I think would be very, very strong is John Bolton,” Cruz told CNN
The comment comes as Trump’s national security council is facing turmoil

Washington (CNN)Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is urging President Donald Trump to name John Bolton as his national security adviser, a move that would win conservative support but would anger other Republicans over the former United Nations ambassador’s role during the Iraq War.

“One person I think would be very, very strong is John Bolton,” Cruz told CNN. “He’s someone who understands the world, he understands the threats of radical Islamic terrorism.”
The comment comes as Trump’s national security council is facing turmoil following the sudden forced resignation of Michael Flynn and the decision by retired Vice Adm. Bob Harward to turn down the job.

Trump to interview trio of candidates to replace Flynn

President Trump will interview three candidates this weekend for White House national security adviser, a position left vacant after the president called for Gen. Mike Flynn’s resignation on Monday.

Similar to the manner in which Trump conducted interviews during his transition, the president asked all three men to meet at Mar-a-Lago for separate sit-downs with him and his aides to discuss the position, according to an administration official.

Those invited include former UN Ambassador John Bolton, retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg and Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster. Kellogg was spotted boarding Air Force One with Trump on his way to his beachside club in West Palm Beach, Fla. and was praised by the president in a tweet early Friday morning.

Bolton was thrown into the mix on Friday after Texas Sen. Ted Cruz floated his name in an interview with CNN. The former Bush administration official had previously been under consideration for secretary of state.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/trump-to-interview-trio-of-candidates-to-replace-flynn/article/2615206

 

Give us Kim family’s DNA or no body, Malaysian police tell North Korea

  • North Korea says it will reject autopsy results
  • Three arrests have been made after Kim’s death but no autopsy results
(CNN)In the latest twist in the bizarre murder of Kim Jong Un’s half-brother, Malaysia says it won’t release the body to North Korea without DNA from the Kim family.

Selangor Police Chief Abdul Samah Mat said without DNA from a next of kin, they won’t hand over Kim Jong Nam’s body or release the autopsy report, which could reveal the cause of death.

But North Korea says it will “reject” the results of a “forced” autopsy which was not witnessed by its officials, according to a statement from the country’s ambassador to Malaysia, Kang Chol. The ambassador demanded the immediate release of the body.

France vows to retaliate if Kremlin meddles in its elections as presidential candidate is forced to deny he’s gay following Russian media ‘smear campaign’

  • French Foreign minister says France ‘won’t accept any interference’ in elections
  • Jean-Marc Ayrault warned of ‘retaliatory measures’ in event of Russian influence
  • Comes after a leading candidate in elections accused Moscow of cyber attacks
  • Warnings come amid heightened tensions between Vladimir Putin and the West 

Foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault threatened ‘retaliatory measures’ in the event of interference in upcoming presidential elections in April.

His warning comes after American intelligence accused Moscow hackers of helping Donald Trump win the US presidency.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4234538/France-vows-retaliation-Russia-meddles-elections.html#ixzz4YwmgZEI4

Trump’s choice to replace fired Mike Flynn TURNS HIM DOWN as national security advisor position remains vacant for now

  • Robert Harward was Donald Trump’s pick to succeed Mike Flynn
  • ‘Harward is conflicted between the call of duty and the obvious dysfunctionality’
  • Said to be concerned about reports Flynn’s deputies were told they could stay 

The man President Donald Trump has chosen to be his national security adviser isn’t eager to accept the offer.

Robert Harward, a retired U.S. Navy vice admiral and a long-time special forces veteran, is Trump’s pick to succeed retired Army Gen. Mike Flynn, whom he fired on Monday.

But Financial Times reported Thursday afternoon that Harward has said no.

Citing two unnamed sources, the newspaper published a story describing Trump in crisis mode, trying to persuade Harward to take over a National Security Council left in limbo with Flynn’s unexpected departure.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4233168/Trump-s-choice-replace-fired-Mike-Flynn-TURNS-DOWN.html#ixzz4YwnXZ3Na

NATO Interested in Normalizing Relations With Russia – German Defense Minister

NATO is interested in establishing a stable relationship with Russia, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Friday.

MUNICH (Sputnik) — A stable relationship between the sides is important for fighting international terrorism, she asserted.

“We are interested in establishing reliable relations with Russia again,” von der Leyen said, speaking at the Munich Security Conference.

Also on Friday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the bloc is strongly in favor of dialogue with Russia from the predictable position.

Relations between Russia and NATO, which started in 1991 with Russia joining the North Atlantic Cooperation Council and the Partnership for Peace program, deteriorated in 2014 after Crimea rejoined Russia. With the start of military conflict in Ukraine, all civil and military cooperation between NATO and Russia was frozen.

Since then, the Alliance has increased its military presence in Eastern Europe, using Russia’s alleged aggression as a pretext. Moscow has repeatedly criticized NATO for deploying military facilities and troops near Russian borders.

Moscow has repeatedly voiced its protests against the NATO military buildup saying that will undermine regional stability and result in a new arms race.

https://sputniknews.com/military/201702181050805503-nato-interested-russia-ties/

 

There Is No Solution in Afghanistan

Analysis: The road to Kabul goes through Islamabad and New Delhi

BY:

The American predicament in Afghanistan is at once ridiculous and tragic. More than 8,000 U.S. troops remain in the country, prosecuting the longest war in our nation’s history. Overlapping networks of insurgent groups—most prominently the Taliban—had a good year in 2016, seizing terrain and conducting terror strikes to destabilize the U.S.-backed Kabul government. The American commander in the country wants a “few thousand” more troops. Despite the supporting role that the U.S. contingent is meant to play, casualties are still being sustained, sometimes in places with depressingly familiar names—as in Sangin, seized from the Taliban a few years ago at the expense of gallons of British and U.S. Marine blood. Two Americans were wounded there last week.

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/no-solution-afghanistan/

U.S. Adversaries Closing Gap With American Aircraft Capabilities

Pentagon official: F-35 fighter jet program still vulnerable to cyber threats

A F-35 Fighter performs at the 2016 Chicago Air and Water Show in Chicago / AP

BY:
February 16, 2017 4:15 pm

U.S. adversaries are rapidly catching up to America’s fifth generation fighter aircraft capabilities—a risk that has exacerbated given ongoing cyber vulnerabilities in the F-35 fighter jet program, according to an Air Force major general.

Maj. Gen. Jerry Harris Jr., the vice commander of Air Combat Command at the Langley, Va., base, said Thursday that while the United States maintains an advantage in the stealth and weapons capacities inherent in fifth generation fighter aircraft models, adversaries are “quickly closing the gap.”

“We are trying to maximize our ability to procure fifth generation airplanes and go from a 100 percent fourth generation fleet to a significant mix of fifth generation [planes] so that we have the opportunity to operate in these hostile environments against these threats that are catching us faster than we thought they would,” Harris testified before the House Armed Services Committee.

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/u-s-adversaries-closing-gap-american-aircraft-capabilities/

CIA Director Pompeo denies agency hides intelligence from Trump

CIA Director Mike Pompeo on Thursday denied allegations that the agency was hiding intelligence from President Trump.

Pompeo called reports that the agency was keeping intelligence from Trump “dead wrong.” He added that the reports damage the “integrity of thousands of professional intelligence officers.”

“The CIA does not, has not, and will never hide intelligence from the president, period. We are not aware of any instance when that has occurred,” Pompeo said in a statement Thursday in an attempt to dispute reports that the spy community is withholding information from the commander in chief.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/02/17/cia-director-pompeo-denies-agency-hides-intelligence-from-trump.html

Pentagon found no documents approving Flynn’s pay for Russia TV appearances

The Pentagon hasn’t found any documents indicating that Mike Flynn received authorization to accept money from a foreign government before traveling to Moscow in 2015 for a paid Russian state TV event, according to a letter from the acting Secretary of the Army.

The Pentagon finding came after lawmakers raised questions about whether the former White House national security adviser and retired U.S. Army general violated Pentagon rules that require retired officers to report income from foreign states.

Mr. Flynn accepted an invitation to Moscow in late 2015 to give a paid, sit-down interview with Russian state television network RT and to attend the channel’s 10-year anniversary gala, where he sat beside President Vladimir Putin.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/02/17/pentagon-found-no-documents-approving-flynns-pay-for-russia-tv-appearances.html

EU must not let US push it to increase military spending – Juncker

EU must not let US push it to increase military spending – Juncker
Europe mustn’t be pushed by the US to increase its military spending, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said. Modern politics is also about humanitarian assistance and development, not only “raising defence spending,” he added.

“It [increasing military spending] has been the American message for many, many years. I am very much against letting ourselves be pushed into this,” Juncker said, speaking on the sidelines of the international Munich Security Conference on Wednesday.

Juncker added that he does not like “our American friends narrowing down this concept of security to the military.”

https://www.rt.com/news/377691-juncker-us-europe-military-demands/

In China, a sense of betrayal after the assassination of Kim Jong Nam

February 17 at 5:13 AM
China’s Foreign Ministry has been at its stonewalling, non-committal best this week after news of the dramatic assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korea’S leader, repeating the mantra that it has “noticed relevant media reports and is closely following developments.”But behind the scenes there is a sense of shock and dismay in Beijing, officials and experts say: if indeed Kim Jong Nam was assassinated on the orders of the North Korean leader, it would be seen as an affront to the country that has afforded him protection for many years.

“China’s inner circle of government is highly nervous about this,” said Wang Weimin, a professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs at Fudan University in Shanghai.

“Kim Jong Nam’s assassination makes China more aware of how unpredictable and cruel the current North Korean regime is, as well as Kim Jong Un’s willingness to abandon China and sell it for his own benefit at any second.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/in-china-a-sense-of-betrayal-after-the-assassination-of-kim-jong-nam/2017/02/17/434d7626-f4f0-11e6-8873-a962f11835fb_story.html?utm_term=.b193301e7301

Russia send shockwaves to the West as Putin unveils new fighter jet in terrifying clip

RUSSIA has released footage of an advanced fighter-jet capable of travelling at more than twice the speed of sound.

The thunderous jet performs a striking demonstration of what the Su-35S is capable of.In the dramatic footage, released by the Russian Ministry of Defence, the pilot can be seen jumping into he deadly machine before shooting off into the sky.

As it speeds through the air, the pilot twists the jet with chilling manoeuvres as blasts through the air.

As the jet touches down a parachute shoots out to help it slow after reaching speeds of up to 1,500mph in the sky.

Russia fighter jetRUSSIAN MINISTRY OF DEFENCE

The jet has the ability to rip through the air at around 1,500mph

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/768452/Russia-send-shockwaves-west-unveil-new-fighter-jet

Turkey says almost taken Syria’s Bab, war monitor cites heavy toll

By Tulay Karadeniz and Angus McDowall | ANKARA/BEIRUT

Turkey’s military said on Friday it was close to taking Syria’s al-Bab from Islamic State, but a war monitor said the jihadists still controlled 90 percent of the town itself and that shelling and air strikes had killed dozens of civilians in recent days.

Al-Bab, an Islamic State stronghold 30 km (20 miles) from the Turkish border, has been a prime target since Turkey launched an incursion last August to push the jihadists from its frontier and prevent gains by a Kurdish militia also fighting them.

Taking control of the town would deepen Turkish influence in an area of Syria where it has already effectively created a buffer zone and allow Turkish forces to press on towards Raqqa, Islamic State’s de facto capital in Syria.

“The operation to gain complete control of the al-Bab region has neared its end and the resistance of the Daesh terror group has largely been broken,” the Turkish military statement said, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

However, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based organization that monitors the war using a network of contacts, said Turkey’s “Euphrates Shield” forces had not made much progress.

Islamic State still controls 90 percent of al-Bab town itself and Turkish shelling and air strikes had killed 45 civilians, including 18 children, during the past 48 hours, the Observatory said.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-turkey-idUSKBN15W0PQ

Iran Reaches Lease Financing Deal For 77 Boeing, Airbus Planes

I write about business and economics in the Middle East

Details of the deal remain opaque at this stage and it is not clear who it has been signed with or when it will come into force. However, it is likely to be just the first of several large contracts in the coming weeks and months.

Tehran has signed deals for 100 planes from Airbus, a further 80 from Boeing and 40 turboprops from French/Italian manufacturer ATR. Local airlines have also held discussions with Russia’s Sukhoi and Brazil’s Embraer. All of the deals need to be financed in some way.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/dominicdudley/2017/02/17/iran-lease-finance-boeing-airbus/#5ff649163c51

Israel warns Hezbollah after threats to hit reactor

Israel warned Lebanon’s Hezbollah on Thursday against attacking the Jewish state after the leader of the Iranian-backed militant group threatened to strike its nuclear reactor.

The comments by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah marked the first time his group explicitly threatened to target the reactor in the southern Israeli town of Dimona.

Israel and Hezbollah battled to a stalemate during a month-long war in the summer of 2006. The war broke out after Hezbollah gunmen crossed into Israel and captured two Israeli soldiers. The ensuing conflict killed about 1,200 Lebanese and 160 Israelis before ending in a United Nations-brokered cease-fire.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/hezbollah-state-israel-palestine-peace-45534607

Israeli soldiers hit in cyberespionage campaign using Android malware

More than 100 soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces had their Android phones infected with malware by a cyberespionage group

The attack campaign started in July and continues to date, according to researchers from antivirus firm Kaspersky Lab, who cooperated in the investigation with the IDF Information Security Department.

The Israeli soldiers were lured via Facebook Messenger and other social networks by hackers who posed as attractive women from various countries like Canada, Germany, and Switzerland. The victims were tricked into installing a malicious Android application, which then scanned the phone and downloaded another malicious app that masqueraded as an update for one of the already installed applications.

http://www.cio.com/article/3171267/security/israeli-soldiers-hit-in-cyberespionage-campaign-using-android-malware.html

Grenade-dropping jihadist death drones are ‘insidious’ threat in Iraq – general

As the intense fighting to retake the northern Iraqi city of Mosul continues, Major General Rupert Jones has warned of the “insidious” threat posed by the low-tech aerial attacks employed alongside more conventional methods.

The enemy has tried unsuccessfully to infiltrate back into the east of the city and has indiscriminately fired mortars, rockets and artillery into liberated areas on more than 300 occasions in the last week with a characteristic disdain for human life,” he said in a briefing from Baghdad seen by the Daily Mail.

This tactic, together with their continued use of off-the-shelf commercial drones is all they have left with which to attack the east as they await their fate.

https://www.rt.com/uk/377684-iraq-mosul-isis-drones/

Will the US leave Syrian Kurdish partners for Turkey?

U.S. Chief of Joint Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford is set to visit Turkey on Feb. 17. Following the Feb. 9 visit of CIA head Michael Pompeo, Dunford is the second high-ranking U.S. official’s visit to Turkey, as part of a Middle Eastern tour.

As Pompeo’s visit was announced after a telephone conversation between President Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Donald Trump, the Dunford visit was announced after a meeting between Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık and U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Feb. 15 on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in Brussels.

After Dunford’s discussions with Turkish Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar on Feb. 18, more high-ranking discussions are expected to take place between the two NATO allies: Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence are scheduled to meet in Munich on Feb. 18 during the annual Munich Security Conference.

There is one single issue in common in all those meetings. The Turkish government wants to convince the U.S. administration to change its fighting partner in Syria against the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) before Trump announces his country’s new strategy on it. Trump has given a 30-day deadline to the Pentagon to draft a new anti-ISIL strategy, with the date set to expire on Feb. 28.

Turkey says the fighting partner of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), the Democratic Union Party (PYD), is the Syrian sister of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. for many years. It was thanks to CIA support that the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) was able to capture the PKK’s founding leader, Abdullah Öcalan, in 1999. Now Ankara is telling Washington that it was “wrong to fight a terrorist organization with the help of another one” and that if they end the collaboration with the PYD, the Turkish army and the Turkey-backed Free Syria Army (FSA) will join the U.S. to deliver a coup de grace to ISIL at their headquarters in Raqqa.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/will-the-us-leave-syrian-kurdish-partners-for-turkey.aspx?PageID=238&NID=109851&NewsCatID=409

German parents told to destroy Cayla dolls over hacking fears

An official watchdog in Germany has told parents to destroy a talking doll called Cayla because its smart technology can reveal personal data.

The warning was issued by the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur), which oversees telecommunications.

Researchers say hackers can use an insecure bluetooth device embedded in the toy to listen and talk to the child playing with it.

Manufacturer Genesis Toys has not yet commented on the German warning.

The Vivid Toy group, which distributes My Friend Cayla, has previously said that examples of hacking were isolated and carried out by specialists. However, it said the company would take the information on board as it was able to upgrade the app used with the doll.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39002142

Turkish imam spy affair in Germany extends across Europe

A German investigation into Turkey’s religious officials collecting information on its enemies may be the tip of the iceberg. DW has obtained several documents revealing Turkish activities in Germany and European states.

Stuttgart DiTiB-Moschee (picture-alliance/dpa/D. Naupold)

German police on Wednesday raided the homes of four imams alleged to have spied on the opposition for the Turkish government. The police action is part of an investigation into what documents obtained by DW show to be a broader Turkish effort to collect information across Europe on supporters of the religious movement Ankara blames for last July’s failed coup attempt.

The raids targeted the homes of four Turkish imams affiliated with the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), Germany’s largest Islamic umbrella group with over 900 mosques tied to the Turkish government’s Directorate of Religion, or Diyanet.

The Federal Prosecutors Office (GBA) said in a statement no arrests were made in the raids in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and Rhineland-Pfalz, which aimed to collect evidence into imams conducting alleged espionage against supporters of the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara blames for last July’s failed coup attempt.

The prosecutor’s office said the reason for the raids was related to a September order from Diyanet, a religious body tied to the Turkish prime ministry, for imams to pass information to diplomatic missions on Gulen supporters.

http://www.dw.com/en/turkish-imam-spy-affair-in-germany-extends-across-europe/a-37590672

NATO: Russia targeted German army with fake news campaign

Emails accusing German soldiers stationed in Lithuania of rape were sent to local news outlets and the parliamentary president. NATO officials allege that Russia is targeting the military alliance.

Litauen Bundeswehrsoldaten landen in Kaunas (picture-alliance/AP Images/M. Kulbis)

German soldiers stationed in Lithuania have been the target of false rape claims, German news magazine “Spiegel” first reported on Thursday. NATO diplomats told Spiegel that they viewed this as an attack aimed at undermining the presence of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Eastern Europe, likely perpetrated by Russia.

Emails claiming that German soldiers had raped an underage Lithuanian girl were sent to the president of the Lithuanian parliament and various Lithuanian media outlets on February 14.

Lithuanian authorities investigated the charges and found no evidence that any of the claims made in the emails were true. “To our knowledge, Lithuanian police investigations came to the conclusion that there were neither a victim nor possible witnesses nor any perpetrators”, a spokesperson for the German ministry of defense said.

Some smaller local news outlets reported on the charges, according to Spiegel, but Lithuanian officials quickly discounted the accusations.

Lithuanian police is investigating the incident. The address from which the emails accusing the soldiers were sent no longer exists, according to the German defense ministry, but authorities are looking to track the IP-address.

http://www.dw.com/en/nato-russia-targeted-german-army-with-fake-news-campaign/a-37591978

NATO, Finland deepen cooperation on cyber defense

NATO and Finland on Thursday signed a political framework agreement on cyber defense cooperation that will allow them to better protect and strengthen their networks.

“We look forward to enhancing our situational awareness and exchanging best practices with Finland, including through dedicated points of contact for rapid information exchange on early warning information and lessons learned,” Ambassador Sorin Ducaru, NATO’s assistant secretary general for emerging security challenges, said.

http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/319872-nato-finland-deepen-cooperation-on-cyber-defense

Libya requests NATO help to rebuild security institutions

BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO’s chief says he has received a formal request from conflict-torn Libya to help strengthen its security institutions and that the alliance is looking into exactly what can be done.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that the 28 allies could help build up the Libyan defense ministry and military command structure.

He told reporters at NATO headquarters in Brussels that “Libya needs that framework to be able to develop the forces and stabilize the country.”]

Stoltenberg didn’t say when the effort might start or what exactly it might entail.

http://www.fredericksburg.com/news/news-wire/libya-requests-nato-help-to-rebuild-security-institutions/article_6053d834-8f9e-5cce-831a-33945f4cfac1.html

Melted Nuclear Fuel Search Proceeds One Dead Robot at a Time

  • Third robot abandoned in search of fuel at Japan’s Fukushima
  • Melted fuel still needs to be located before removal begins

The latest robot seeking to find the 600 tons of nuclear fuel and debris that melted down six year ago in Japan’s wrecked Fukushima Dai-Ichi power plant met its end in less than a day.

The scorpion-shaped machine, built by Toshiba Corp., entered the No. 2 reactor core Thursday and stopped 3 meters (9.8 feet) short of a grate that would have provided a view of where fuel residue is suspected to have gathered. Two previous robots aborted similar missions after one got stuck in a gap and another was abandoned after finding no fuel in six days.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-17/race-for-japan-s-melted-nuclear-fuel-leaves-trail-of-dead-robots

Exclusive: Japan to speed up frigate build to reinforce East China Sea – sources

By Nobuhiro Kubo | TOKYO

Japan plans to accelerate a warship building program to make two frigates a year to patrol the fringes of the East China Sea, where it disputes island ownership with China, three people with knowledge of the plan said.

Japan previously was building one 5,000-ton class destroyer a year, but will now make two 3,000-ton class ships a year, beginning from the April 2018 fiscal year, the people said, declining to be identified as they are not authorized to talk to the media.

It aims to produce a fleet of eight of the new class of smaller, cheaper vessels, which may also have mine-sweeping and anti-submarine capability.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-navy-frigates-idUSKBN15W13S

Spy network active in region (Malaysia)

PETALING JAYA: North Korean spies have been operating in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia over the last two decades.

According to an intelligence source, their operation in the three countries is believed to be one of the biggest networks outside North Korea, with Malaysia and Singapore being the preferred choice of the Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB).

The RGB is North Korea’s intelligence agency which manages the country’s clandestine operations.

To blend in and disguise themselves in Malaysia and Singapore, the highly qualified spies would double-up as engineers and technical consultants in the construction industry, and also operate Korean restaurants.

“They used the restaurants as a main front to conduct intelligence gathering and surveillance, targeting Japanese and South Korean poli­ticians, diplomats, top corporate figures and businessmen who visited or were based in these countries,” the source said.

The RGB comes under the jurisdiction of the North Korean State Security Department or State Security Ministry and reports directly to the supreme leader Kim Jong-un.

http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/02/17/spy-network-active-in-region-north-koreas-rgb-spread-wings-over-last-two-decades/#RllGpAkZA2OTLJTd.99

China Blacklists Carfentanil, Closing A Deadly Loophole

AP

The drug is so strong and deadly, it’s been researched as a chemical weapon of warfare; police officers are warned to handle it with extreme care. The opioid carfentanil is 10,000 times more potent than morphine — but until now, it hasn’t been a controlled substance in China, where producers have been exporting it abroad.

U.S. officials are welcoming the news that China will now list carfentanil as a controlled substance, putting it in the same category as fentanyl — the less powerful opioid of which carfentanil is a variant. Fentanyl was blamed for the death of Prince last year.

Potent and addictive, fentanyl and carfentanil have played deadly roles in the opioid epidemic that has swept the U.S. and killed thousands of Americans in recent years, as the drugs have been mixed into heroin or used to create an alternative to that less powerful drug. From 2010 to 2014, officials say, heroin overdoses more than tripled in the U.S. — and part of the problem, they add, is that drug users may not realize how strong the adulterated drugs are.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/02/16/515544874/china-blacklists-carfentanil-closing-a-deadly-loophole

 

US and Russia agree to boost military communications: Pentagon

The US and Russian militaries agree to “enhance communications” after a meeting between their top commanders in Azerbaijan on Thursday, the Pentagon says.

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joe Dunford and his Russian counterpart Valery Gerasimov discuss military relations between the two countries as well as security in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere during their meeting in the capital Baku.

The two sides “have undertaken efforts to improve operational safety of military activities in order to decrease the prospects for crisis and avoid the risk of unintended incidents,” the Pentagon says in a statement. “The leaders further agreed to enhance communications on such stabilizing measures.”

The United States and Russia already maintain a permanent military communications line over their air operations in Syria to avoid incidents between their aircraft.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/us-and-russia-agree-to-boost-military-communications-pentagon/

 

 

A Chip Flaw Strips Away Hacking Protections for Millions of Devices

FOR THE LAST decade or so, hackers have faced a daunting challenge when they try to break into a computer: Even when they get malicious code running on a victim’s machine, they have to figure out where in the computer’s memory that code has ended up. That’s because a security protection used in Windows, Android, and every other modern operating system randomizes where programs run in a device’s memory. It turns the process of digital intrusion into something like an attempt to burglarize a house in total darkness.

But now a team of Dutch researchers has found a technique that undermines that so-called address space layout randomization, creating the You Are Here arrow that hackers need to orient themselves inside a stranger’s computer. That means any of the common memory corruption bugs found in software applications on a daily basis could lead to a much deeper takeover of a target PC or smartphone. And because the attack exploits not software but hardware, it leaves millions of devices at risk regardless of their operating system—and it can’t be fully fixed with any mere software update.

https://www.wired.com/2017/02/flaw-millions-chips-strips-away-key-hacking-defense-software-cant-fully-fix/

 

 

Dopo le forti dichiarazioni del Segretario alla Difesa americano, Jim Mattis, in occasione della riunione della Nato a Bruxelles lo scorso 15 febbraio, pubblichiamo un’anteprima dell’articolo di Stephen Bryen, già Sottosegretario alla Difesa ed ex Presidente di Finmeccanica Nord America, che comparirà nel numero in uscita del Nodo di Gordio “Le Tre Torri. Usa, Cina e Russia: i tre poli dello scacchiere geopolitico”. Il saggio di Bryen anticipa la nuova strategia relativa all’Alleanza Atlantica della nuova Amministrazione di Donald Trump.

La NATO combatterà? E per cosa?

di Stephen Bryen *

L’unica cosa di cui sono certo è che i Russi possono fare la differenza. Conoscono abbastanza bene l’entità e la capacità delle forze NATO dispiegate negli Stati Baltici e in Polonia, e sanno che la NATO, nonostante la recente frenetica attività e l’invio di carri armati e armamenti, è molto lontana dall’essere pronta. I Russi hanno scelto di fare pressione sull’area Baltica e persino su Finlandia e Svezia (entrambe fuori dall’Alleanza NATO) soprattutto per rivelare la vulnerabilità della NATO e metterne in dubbio la pretesa di proteggere i propri membri più recenti.

http://www.nododigordio.org/in-evidenza/bryen-la-nato-combattera-e-per-cosa/

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