PeaceTech News Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


PeaceTech Roundup
Weekly News Highlights, February 27 - March 5, 2014


Peace Channel

Featured Story:
You Think Innovation Means Better Drones? We've Been Out-Innovated for the Last 13 Years
by Thomas Ricks


Media and Social Media

Technology and Science

Media and Social Media

How the Canadian Media Fuels Violence
Corporate media can't be all things to all people, but its ability to set the agenda for self-serving interests shouldn't be underestimated, since it inflicts great harm on the world. Its selective coverage deliberately veils windows to the world that need to be exposed. For example, when Canada announces that it is ramping up its arms dealing to Colombia and Saudi Arabia, the media coverage is accurate in the details but lacks comprehensiveness.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Mark Taliano, 3/3/14)
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Russian Invasion Of Crimea Fuels Press Freedom Concerns
Concerns about press freedom in Crimea are growing after an attack on the Crimean Center for Investigative Journalism in Simeropol over the weekend. A group of about 30 masked gunmen assumed to be Russian militia broke into the Crimean Center for Investigative Journalism on Saturday, the Global Investigative Journalism Network reported. The event was the latest in media censorship as Russian troops invade and take over the Crimea region in Ukraine.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Catherine Taibi, 3/3/14)
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Russia Blocks Pro-Ukraine Groups on Social Media
As Russia's military tightens its grip around Ukraine, the country has taken new measures to hinder its opposition's ability to organize online. The Russian Prosecutor's General Office has ordered Roskomnadzor, a federal media oversight agency, to block access to the pages of 13 "Ukrainian nationalist organizations" on VKontakte, the most popular social network in the region, to users in Russia.
See the full article (Mashable, Fran Berkman, 3/3/14)
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Ukrainian Activists Work to Counter Russian Narrative on Social Networks
Faced with what they call misleading reports on Russian state television that ethnic-nationalist violence is sweeping Ukraine, Internet-savvy Ukrainian activists drew attention on Sunday to video and images posted online that showed street protests in support of the new government in Kiev, and acts of violence instigated by men waving the Russian flag.
See the full article (New York Times, Robert Mackey, 3/2/14)*NYT subscription may be required to access full story
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Want to Shoot Japanese War Criminals? China's State Media Has a Game For That
Amid increasing tensions over territorial disputes and Japanese World War II atrocities, the social media arm of China's state-run People's Daily has released an online game called 'Shoot the Devils,' in which players shoot Japanese war criminals. The 14 Class A war criminals players get to choose from are honored at Yasukuni Shrine, to which Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid a controversial visit in December.
See the full article (Time, Per Liljas, 2/28/14)
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A Worldwide Protest Condemns Egypt's Arrest of Al Jazeera Journalists
Prominent journalists, politicians and free speech advocates around the world are appealing for the immediate release of three British Al Jazeera journalists imprisoned in Egypt since December on terrorism charges. Social media users united their online protest under the hashtag #FreeAJStaff and wrote messages of support. More than 3 million people worldwide read posts on the subject, according to Al Jazeera.
See the full article (Newsweek, Max Strasser, 2/27/14)
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What Does Ukraine's #Euromaidan Teach Us About Protest?
The Ukrainian protest cycle since November provides us with important insights into the often misunderstood dynamics of popular mobilization. It follows a number of patterns known from other cases of mobilization, but it also highlights some underexplored aspects and provides important correctives, not least to accounts of protests given by journalists and analysts "in the heat of the moment."
See the full article (Washington Post, Olga Onuch and Gwendolyn Sasse, 2/27/14)
Click to read " New European Institute of Peace Prepares for Debut" an Olive Branch Post by Jonas Claes.
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Social Media, Youth Mentoring: Tools to Fight Urban Violence
In many countries across the Global South, urban centers are also centers of crime and violence. In Mexico, online social networks are extremely popular with young people, but they are also used by organized crime groups to facilitate kidnappings. In response to citizen alarm over the increasing risk of abduction, the government of Mexico City created the Cybercrime Prevention Police.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Josephine d'Allant, 2/27/14)
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Featured Story from Foreign Policy's Peace Channel

You Think Innovation Means Better Drones? We've Been Out-Innovated for the Last 13 Years by Thomas Ricks
To the American military, innovation means technology. Innovating on the battlefield is synonymous with more electronics, bigger robots, and better fighter jets. To non-state actors, insurgents and terrorists, innovation has taken on a fundamentally different meaning. Their tactics are moving away from technological solutions and into realms where technology does not play a role.
See the full article

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Technology and Science

Benefits of Palestinian Economic Initiative Slow to Show
It's been more than half a year since U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced an ambitious economic plan to channel $4 billion into Palestinian business sectors ranging from agriculture to telecommunications by 2016. If there's one nagging reminder for Palestinian information technology professionals about the tenuous state of the Kerry economic initiative, it's the persistent refusal by Israel to give Palestinian network providers access to 3G network frequencies.
See the full article (Wall Street Journal, Joshua Mitnick, 3/5/14)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Syria's Humanitarian Crisis and the International Response" on March, 12, 2014 at 10:00am.
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Zello App Gains Popularity With World's Protesters
Linda Wertheimer talks to Patrick Tucker, the technology editor for Defense One, about Zello - a walkie-talkie app. That app is becoming a key tool for protesters in Ukraine and Venezuela.
See the full article (NPR, Linda Wertheimer, 3/5/14)
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Russia and Ukraine in Cyber 'Stand-Off'
As diplomatic efforts are stepped up to ease tensions in Ukraine, security experts have warned that Kiev and Moscow are locked in a cyber stand-off. Security forces in Ukraine have accused the Russian army of disrupting mobile communications. Smaller-scale attacks have seen news websites and social media defaced with propaganda messages. Cyber-attacks were utilised heavily during Russia's 2008 conflict with Georgia.
See the full article (BBC, Dave Lee, 3/5/14)
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Here's Why the Ukraine Crisis Won't Affect Russia, U.S. Space Collaboration
On Earth, the United States may be trading bitter accusations with Russia over Ukraine. But in space, it's a different story. The space collaboration between the two nations has survived other diplomatic kerfuffles. And there's no need to worry, NASA says. "We do not expect the current Russia-Ukraine situation to have any impact on our civil space cooperation with Russia, including our partnership on the International Space Station program," said Allard Beutel, a NASA spokesman.
See the full article (CNN, Faith Karimi, 3/5/14)
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Unexpected Africa: Investigating New Ways to Think About the Continent
We think of America, Europe and Asia as technology hubs. But Africa is the world's fastest-growing region for smartphones, and a place where even farmers use cellular technology to conduct business. Mobile technology is even helping to save lives, connecting doctors with far-flung villages.
See the full article (New York Times, Tom Marshall, 3/4/14)*NYT subscription may be required to access full story
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Spy-Satellite Plan Keeps Eye on Threats in The Sky
A newly declassified military space program will place satellites on the lookout for threats to national-security spacecraft high above Earth. Four satellites launched in pairs, the first late this year from Cape Canaveral on a Delta IV rocket, will provide new eyes on exactly what is flying in geosynchronous orbit 22,300 miles up. And should an adversary's spacecraft move too close to U.S. assets - to learn more about them or potentially launch an orbital attack - the action won't go unnoticed.
See the full article (USA Today, James Dean, 3/3/14)
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Tech Can Give Women the Space to Fight for Their Rights
Aid agencies have ambitious goals to empower women in the developing world. Yet many feminists believe donors' gender policies are depoliticised - that they fail to address the unequal power balances between men and women. One truth must not be lost in this debate: poor women rate daily survival as a far greater concern than equalising their power relations with men. Small-scale technology can make all the difference to their lives. It may also give them the time and space to demand their political rights.
See the full article (Thomas Reuters Foundation, 3/3/14)
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Satellite Images Show City Destroyed in South Sudan Conflict
South Sudan's Jan. 23 ceasefire was supposed to put an end to more than a month of violence that threatened to unravel the fragile social fabric of a fledgling state that has been independent for just 31 months. In the Feb. 20 images below, published for the first time here, the extent of the conflict's destruction and ferocity is evident from space. The images, captured and distributed by the the Satellite Sentinel Project, show that nearly half of the city is flattened, with indications that the fires were deliberately lit to wipe out houses.
See the full article (Time, Noah Rayman, 2/27/14)
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