PeaceTech News Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


PeaceTech Roundup
Weekly News Highlights, April 17- 23, 2014


Technology and Science

Media and Social Media

'Piles and Piles' of Bodies in S. Sudan Slaughter
Gunmen in South Sudan who targeted civilians including children and the elderly left "piles and piles" of bodies. The Rwandan genocide saw kill orders broadcast by radio and it happened in South Sudan, Lanzer said. "It's the first time we're aware of that a local radio station was broadcasting hate messages encouraging people to engage in atrocities. And that really accelerates South Sudan's descent into an even more difficult situation from which it needs to extract itself."
See the full article (Guardian, Jason Straziuso, 4/22/14)
Click to read "Sierra Leone Sends Women Peacekeepers to Somalia" an Olive Branch Post by Debra Liang-Fenton.
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Mountain of Impunity Looms Over Kurdistan Journalists
Iraqi Kurdistan may seem calm compared with much of the Middle East, but the media are vulnerable whenever internal political tensions flare. Amid impunity for anti-press attacks, including murder and arson, journalists say they must self-censor on topics like religion, social inequality, and corruption associated with powerful officials.
See the full article (Committee to Protect Journalists, Namo Abdulla, 4/22/14)
Click to read "Iraqis Back Elections, Democracy Amid Violence and Political Turmoil" an Olive Branch Post by Viola Gienger.
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Facebooking After Dictators: What Happens When A Country Escapes Near Internet Darkness
Myanmar, a country that only three years ago had a lower cellphone penetration rate than North Korea, and even now enforces a policy of one SIM card per family. It's a country where computer schools still lack computers; text messages can take two hours (or two days) to arrive.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Bianca Bosker, 4/21/14)
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Pakistan Media Protest Over Shooting of Hamid Mir
Media workers across Pakistan have held angry protests after a leading journalist was shot and wounded on Saturday. Hamid Mir was leaving Karachi Airport for his office at Geo TV when he was targeted by gunmen.
See the full article (BBC, Shahzeb Jillani, 4/20/14)
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Why are Twitter and Facebook Still Blocked in Iran?
Officially, access to social networks such as Twitter and Facebook is banned - leaving Iranians unable to legally access these sites. Iranians still find ways to access them by illegally downloading virtual private networks to bypass the state's Internet filtering system.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, Melissa Etehad, 4/19/14)
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Journalism in Pakistan, A Threatened Existence
Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists, evidence and data collated by Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and rights organisations have demonstrated. Be it impunity, threats by intelligence agencies or attacks by non-state actors, all point towards an environment not just disallowing free speech but insistent on eliminating any dissent.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, Rabia Mehmood, 4/19/14)
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Libya Media Accused of Incitement
A Lybian government committee has accused the country's media of inciting violence, saying there is no legal avenue to monitor the press. The committee warned that leaders of armed groups often own TV stations that are misused for incitement and defamation.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, 4/18/14)
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Why the U.S. Government is 'Trolling' Jihadists on Social Media
Like no conflict before, the Syrian war, the prime focus of the world's jihadists, is being discussed, disputed -- and waged, in its propaganda aspects -- on social media. In response to this threat, the U.S. government has been "messaging" in social media in Arabic, Urdu and Somali for three years now, attempting to penetrate the virtual echo chambers of jihadist thought with contrary points of view.
See the full article (CNN, Tim Hume, 4/18/14)
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Is Social Media Still a Protest Platform?
With the Guardian and Washington Post newspapers winning the Pulitzer prize for public service for their reporting on the NSA's surveillance activities, we ask where does that leave social media? Why didn't Snowden leak independently on Twitter?
See the full article (Deutsche Welle, Zulfikar Abbany and Chiponda Chimbelu, 4/17/14)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Exploring New Frontiers in Peacebuilding" on May, 21, 2014 at 8:30am.
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Featured Story from the USIP Foreign Policy Peace Channel

I Wish I Knew How to Quit You by Aaron David Miller
The world is addicted to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. But are never-ending negotiations only delaying a day of reckoning?
See the full article
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Technology and Science

United States Accelerates a Counterproductive Drone War in Yemen
Although President Barack Obama pledged to curtail U.S. drone attacks in the war on terror, in recent days in Yemen, he has done just the opposite. Three such attacks have whacked more than 40 alleged Islamist militants. It seems that three civilians were accidentally killed in the attacks. In terms of limiting "collateral damage" to non-combatants, that's a very good outcome, right?
See the full article (Huffington Post, Ivan Eland, 4/23/14)
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'Civil Society Should Be Part of Discussions on Internet Technologies'
The Edward Snowden revelations of mass surveillance make it clear that it is not only the technical or commercial communities that must be at part of the debate but civil society as well, Carolina Rossini from Global Partners Digital Associate told RT.
See the full article (RT, 4/23/14)
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Welcome to The Uighur Web
China's Internet is vast, with millions of sites and more than 618 million users. But nest-egged within that universe is a tiny virtual community comprising just a few thousand websites where China's Uighurs, the country's fifth-largest ethnic minority with a population of approximately 11 million, gather online to communicate in their own language and script.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, Alexa Olesen, 4/21/14)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "China's Roles in the World" on April, 25, 2014 at 8:30am.
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U.S. Promotes Network to Foil Digital Spying
The State Department provided $2.8 million to a team of American hackers, community activists and software geeks to develop the system, called a mesh network, as a way for dissidents abroad to communicate more freely and securely than they can on the open Internet. One target that is sure to start debate is Cuba; the United States Agency for International Development has pledged $4.3 million to create mesh networks there.
See the full article (New York Times, Carlotta Gall and James Glanz, 4/20/14)*NYT subscription may be required to access full story
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Ukraine Crisis Proves Cyber Conflict is a Reality of Modern Warfare
Russia and Ukraine apparently traded cyber attacks during the referendum on Crimea. Media reports indicate NATO and Ukrainian media websites suffered DDoS (denial of service) assaults during the vote, and that servers in Moscow took apparently retaliatory - and bigger - strikes afterward.
See the full article (Telegraph, Jarno Limnell, 4/19/14)
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The Future of War: You Better Be Ready to Fight Like It's a Pre-Electronic Age
Major battles in the 21st century will be confusing and disorganized affairs more similar to the clashes of a pre-digital age than the 'network-centric' combat we've become accustomed to. A new generation of offensive technology targeting the electromagnetic spectrum -- systems such as cyberweapons, electronic jammers, anti-satellite missiles, and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) munitions -- will deprive militaries of the sensor and communications links they rely on. Forget 24-hour streaming video from a Predator drone. Armies of the future may struggle just to use their radios.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, Thomas E. Ricks, 4/18/14)
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Did we miss anything?



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