How Obama let Hezbollah off the hook; Pentagon & UFO research; internet & nuclear war, and more

Our picksHow Obama let Hezbollah off the hook; Pentagon & UFO research; internet & nuclear war, and more

Published 18 December 2017

· The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook

· How the Pentagon’s cyber offensive against ISIS could shape the future for elite US forces

· Reports: Pentagon spent millions on UFO research

· New underwater sensors to watch for the Big One

· North Korea biothreat: The cost of a biological weapons program

· Witnesses assess US biosecurity infrastructure as inadequate

· Navigating the latest terrorism trend

· The internet has made nuclear war thinkable – again

The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook (Josh Meyer, The Atlantic)
An ambitious U.S. task force targeting Hezbollah’s billion-dollar criminal enterprise ran headlong into the White House’s desire for a nuclear deal with Iran.

How the Pentagon’s cyber offensive against ISIS could shape the future for elite US forces (Dan Lamothe, Washington Post)
The U.S. military has conducted cyber attacks against the Islamic State for more than a year, and its record of success when those attacks are coordinated with elite Special Operations troops is such that the Pentagon is likely carry out similar operations with greater frequency, according to current and former U.S. defense officials.

Reports: Pentagon spent millions on UFO research (Benjamin Hart, New York Magazine)
The Department of Defense ran a shadowy program whose purpose was to conduct research and analysis into UFOs. (Note to readers under 30: America was obsessed with aliens in the ‘90s, before the horror of the real world surpassed them in the public imagination. So this feels like a nice throwback.)

New underwater sensors to watch for the Big One (Erica Gies, Hakai Magazine)
Canada’s west coast is getting a new earthquake early-warning system.

North Korea biothreat: The cost of a biological weapons program (Brittany De Lea, Fox Business)
As reports surface that North Korea could be developing new biological weapons capabilities, the United States is set to increase the multi-billion dollar budget for one agency tasked with combating biothreats.

Witnesses assess US biosecurity infrastructure as inadequate (Spencer Chase, Agri-Pulse)
Senate Agriculture Committee members can’t say they weren’t warned. A panel of witnesses spoke to the committee on Wednesday and all essentially delivered the same message: the current defense against pests, pathogens, and biosecurity threats to the food system needs work.

Navigating the latest terrorism trend (Brian Michael Jenkins, USNews)
If terrorists continue to employ vehicles as attack weapons, how must our cities adjust to the threat?

The internet has made nuclear war thinkable – again (Rafal Rohozinski, Globe and Mail)
Nuclear weapons formed the basis of strategic stability between the nuclear superpowers for the past 70 years. The threat of instantaneous and mutual annihilation helped concentrate minds, including the establishment of clear and unambiguous “rules of the game” among the superpowers. States continued to compete, but competition was never allowed to compromise overall strategic stability. All of this changed with the internet.

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