News & commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and published by Daniel Riggs.

1. Nashville bombing suspect’s possible ties to 5G conspiracy theory investigated – reports

2. The Chinese Communist Party vs Western liberalism (Book Review)

3. Intelligence and Vietnam (II): Return of The Top Secret 1969 State Department Study

4. FBI: White supremacists plotted attack on US power grid

5. China at the center of Asia

6. Uighur Diaspora Hails Removal of ETIM From US Terror List

7. “We don’t need any more lines and arrows”

8. Duterte to US: No vaccine, no VFA

9. Opinion: A stable world order relies on terror groups being crushed in Africa

10. Indonesian terror chief reveals JI secrets

11. A ‘Bulletproof’ Criminal VPN Was Taken Down in a Global Sting

12. What Made George Blake Tick?

13. John le Carré: The Novelist Who Demystified Cold War Spying

14. The University as the Woke Mission Field: A Dissident Women’s Studies Ph.D. Speaks Out

15. Perspective | We teach students how to understand the U.S., not to love it – or hate it

 

1. Nashville bombing suspect’s possible ties to 5G conspiracy theory investigated – reports

Newsweek · by Ewan Palmer · December 27, 2020

Did another foolish conspiracy theory drive the Nashville bombing?

 

2. The Chinese Communist Party vs Western liberalism (Book Review)

asiatimes.com · by Scott Foster · December 25, 2020

Conclusion:

“And while Prestowitz thinks incoming President Biden’s first priority should be warning America and the world about the threat from China, domestic issues seem likely to take precedence.

Nevertheless, an advocate must advocate. To better understand both the challenge posed by China and the thoughts of an influential participant in the debate in Washington, DC, read this book.”

 

3. Intelligence and Vietnam (II): Return of The Top Secret 1969 State Department Study

nsarchive.gwu.edu · December 27, 2020

Some interesting history from the National Archives at George Washington University.  Students and researchers may be interested in this.  INR is one of the most unsung organizations in the intelligence community.

Other than East Asia Pacific, the two organizations in the State department I would have enjoyed working in are INR and Policy Planning.

 

4. FBI: White supremacists plotted attack on US power grid

AP · by Amy Forliti · December 22, 2020

 

5. China at the center of Asia

asiatimes.com · by Francesco Sisci · December 26, 2020

This is reprinted from nearly 20 years ago.  A fascinating read given today’s world.

 

6. Uighur Diaspora Hails Removal of ETIM From US Terror List

voanews.com · by Reuters

 

7. “We don’t need any more lines and arrows”

carryingthegun.com · by DG · December 27, 2020

I strongly recommend listening to the three podcasts by seven of our Regiment’s senior NCOs.  Two great quotes in the article below.

The podcasts can be accessed here. 

 

8. Duterte to US: No vaccine, no VFA

globalnation.inquirer.net · by Darryl John Esguerra · December 26, 2020

Do we give into blackmail?  I think Duterte is trying to cut off his nose to spite his face.  The Philippines is our longest standing treaty ally.

 

9. Opinion: A stable world order relies on terror groups being crushed in Africa

The Globe and Mail · by Robert Rotberg · December 26, 2020

Quite the provocative title that is surely open to debate.

Conclusion:

“The incoming U.S. administration should not shirk its already limited extensions of American military involvement, especially since al-Shabab has revealed its intentions to attack U.S. cities; earlier this month, a Kenyan Somali accused of planning to pilot an aircraft into buildings in the U.S. was brought to New York for trial.

Once again, containing a key Islamic State and al-Qaeda outpost is a critical goal of world order. Mr. Biden’s administration can improve chances of world peace, minimize hunger, and reduce flows of migrants and drugs into Europe by joining allies in keeping Islamists at bay, if not on the run. Now is not the time to pull back from Somalia, Mozambique, or the Sahel.”

 

10. Indonesian terror chief reveals JI secrets

au.news.yahoo.com · by Cindy Wockner and Komang Erviani· December 26, 2020

Some fascinating and important information revealed.

 

11. A ‘Bulletproof’ Criminal VPN Was Taken Down in a Global Sting

Wired · by Lily Hay Newman

Excerpt:  

“On Tuesday, Europol, the US Department of Justice, and other international law enforcement agencies announced a coordinated sting against a virtual private network, Safe-Inet, which is popular with ransomware groups, spearphishers, and stolen data vendors. The effort involved seizing three domains used to distribute the VPN—safe-inet.com, safe-inet.net and insorg.org—and neutering other parts of its infrastructure, so users can’t access the service and visitors to the sites simply see law enforcement notifications of their removal. Officials did not provide details about which hacking groups used the VPN, but they said it specialized in “bulletproof” protection, meaning the VPN was tailored to supporting uninterrupted criminal campaigns and ignoring or attempting to diffuse abuse complaints and even law enforcement requests. “Criminals can run, but they cannot hide from law enforcement, and we will continue working tirelessly together with our partners to outsmart them,” Edvardas Šileris, head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre, said in a statement.”

 

12. What Made George Blake Tick?

spytalk.co · by David Charney

Another interesting read.

 

13. John le Carré: The Novelist Who Demystified Cold War Spying

Politico · by Michiko Kakutani · December 26, 2020

Some more Sunday reading for perspective.

 

14. The University as the Woke Mission Field: A Dissident Women’s Studies Ph.D. Speaks Out

newdiscourses.com · Samantha Jones · December 22, 2020

A very provocative essay:

“Lastly, I have focused mostly on academia and education because this is the sector I know best, but I strongly urge everyone, from all walks of life, to embrace your sense of humor (a quality that is conspicuously absent in woke culture). Wokeness should continue to relentlessly mocked and parodied through meme culture (Andrew Doyle’s Titania McGrath is a great example). Just as important: Be courageous. Stand up for the beliefs that have made America a great country. If you hear people treating others as members of groups, articulate the importance of treating people as individuals. As Jordan Peterson put it, “The smallest minority is the individual.” If you encounter people treating others badly because of their gender or skin color, say that this behavior is morally wrong. If you see people attempting to “cancel” others, articulate why this is a terrible way to treat others. If you witness attacks on freedom of speech and advocacy of censorship, or if you meet people who are in favor of “hate speech” laws, or laws to combat “misinformation” (a code word for non-leftist ideas), articulate why freedom of speech is an absolutely essential and non-negotiable value. If you hear people discussing why they think socialism is great, take a stand for free markets and the prosperity they have produced. If you hear people calling for retributive justice and political violence, push against it and discuss why violence is never acceptable. If you encounter attacks on meritocracy, make a case for why merit is essential to the advancement of individuals and societies. I think a lot of liberals, like me, generally, if not naively, assumed that the liberal values underpinning America would simply continue throughout our lives, but these values are under attack and they need to be vigorously and unapologetically defended. Our civilization is at stake and the hour is late.”

 

15. Perspective | We teach students how to understand the U.S., not to love it – or hate it

The Washington Post · by Daniel Immerwahr · December 23, 2020

This should be the ideal but I fear there are extremists on both sides who want to generate feelings of hatred for our history and country, and on the other hand, feelings of blind patriotism.

But we should keep this conclusion in mind.  As I recall my history classes from high school and college (now more than forty years ago) I believe teachers and professors, like my high school history teacher Mr. Fischer, were trying to prepare me and my fellow students for living in our country with all its warts and greatness.

 

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Quotes of the Day:

 

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world.”

– Neil Gaiman

 

“Respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners.” 

– Laurence Sterne

 

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

– Isaac Asimov

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12/26/2020 News & Commentary – National Security ‘Very difficult to defend’: What happens if hackers are inside the Pentagon’s networks?