USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, July 21 - 27, 2011

Table of Contents

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Iran Accuses Israel and US of Assassinating Scientist
Darioush Rezainejad's death at the hands of motorcycle-riding gunmen prompted speculation that a violent and covert campaign to slow Iran's development of nuclear materials was again underway. Ali Larijani, the hawkish speaker of the Iranian parliament, was quick to apportion blame. "The American-Zionist terrorist attack yesterday against one of the country's scientists is yet another sign of the Americans' degree of animosity."
See the full article (Telegraph, Adrian Blomfield, 7/24/11)
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A Crime Wave in Cyberspace
Listen to the chatter from top officials, and you'd think that World War III was about to break out on the Internet. The scare talk, however, is misplaced. Yes, we're facing enormous cybersecurity problems. But these aren't signs of some impending cataclysmic showdown. They're markers of a rising tide of online crime that, in its own way, could be more dangerous than a cyberwar.
See the full article (Washington Post, Noah Shachtman, 7/22/11)
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Report: China Building Electromagnetic Pulse Weapons for Use against U.S. Carriers
China's military is developing electromagnetic pulse weapons that Beijing plans to use against U.S. aircraft carriers in any future conflict over Taiwan, according to an intelligence report made public on Thursday. Portions of a National Ground Intelligence Center study on the lethal effects of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and high-powered microwave (HPM) weapons revealed that the arms are part of China's so-called "assassin's mace" arsenal - weapons that allow a technologically inferior China to defeat U.S. military forces.
See the full article (Washington Times, 7/22/11)
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Intel Report Says Iranian President Wants to Develop Nuclear Arms Openly
Iran's president wants to shed the nation's secrecy and forge ahead openly with developing nuclear weapons but is opposed by the clerical leadership, which is worried about international reaction to such a move. That view, from a nation with traditionally reliable intelligence from the region, cannot be confirmed and contrasts with assessments by other countries that view Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as relatively moderate on the nuclear issue compared to the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
See the full article (AP, 7/22/11)
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Cyber Threat Will Force Pentagon to Buy Computers Faster and Change Culture
There is no doubt that the Pentagon is gearing up for a cyber war and they're planning to purchase new computers with the speed and efficiency that would make Google proud. Last week, the Department of Defense disclosed a cyber attack in March that exposed a record 24,000 department files. While officials called the incident "mundane" due to the lack of sensitive files stolen in the attack, they anticipate future problems and unveiled a cyber plan that will push the government to replace defense computers at a much faster pace.
See the full article (ABC, Michael Ono, 7/22/11)
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