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China Exports the Great Firewall
A new study finds that China’s restrictive internet policy and digital surveillance have spread worldwide over the last two years. Over the last two years China’s restrictive internet policies and digital surveillance tools have spread worldwide. The 2018 Freedom House Report found that Chinese companies are furnishing tools that the Chinese government uses to conduct surveillance training in developing countries. China has hosted seminars throughout the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Chinese tech firms have provided internet equipment and artificial intelligence systems for law enforcement in nearly 20 countries. These countries then use the techniques and tools to violate human rights. The report concludes that China’s export of “digital authoritarianism” is a major threat to democratic governance.
- PRI: China exports its restrictive internet policies to dozens of countries, says Freedom House
- The Verge: China is making the internet less free, and US tech companies are
- CNN: China is exporting the Great Firewall as internet freedom declines
- Freedom House: Freedom on the Net 2018: The Rise of Digital Authoritarianism Original Report
Bolton Announces New Latin America Sanctions Package & Praises Brazil’s Far-Right Leader
Just days before US midterm elections, the US national security adviser John Bolton outlined a new US sanctions package in a rare announcement at Miami Dade College’s Freedom Tower. Some analysts have called this an ‘Axis of Evil’ speech. Those targeted by the new US sanctions include: Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, entities owned by the Cuban military, and US citizens partaking in the Venezuelan gold trade. Mr. Bolton’s remarks also included praise for the newly-elected, hard-right President of Brazil, Bolsonaro.
- Reuters: Trump’s Venezuela and Cuba policy in focus in Bolton speech in Florida
- Vox: John Bolton just gave an “Axis of Evil” speech about Latin America
- The Guardian: Bolton praises Bolsonaro while declaring ‘troika of tyranny’
Saudi-UAE troops bomb Sanaa Airbase, MBS hosts US Evangelical Christians at Royal Palace
Earlier today a spokesman for Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen delivered a press statement confirming that the coalition had bombed an air base in Sanaa. The coalition believed that the air base was being used by Shiite Houthi rebels as a launchpad for ballistic attacks. Yesterday KSA’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcomed a delegation of American evangelical Christians to the Saudi palace. Analysts believe that the press statement and hosting of the US religious delegation are part of a broader plan to repair MBS’s image in the wake of Khashoggi’s murder. The delegation was led by a communications strategist.
- Haaretz: Netanyahu: Events at Istanbul Consulate ‘Horrendous,’ but Saudi Stability Must Be Maintained
- Middle East Eye: Saudi-UAE troops in Yemen preparing for major offensive
- Associated Press: Saudi-led coalition bombs air base in Yemen capital
- NBC News: Saudi Arabia’s crown princes hosts Christian evangelical leaders
1MDB: One of the World’s Biggest Financial Scandals
At the center of a multibillion-dollar international fraud are two former senior Goldman Sachs bankers and one Malaysian financier. In one of the finance world’s biggest financial scandals, the three men stole and then laundered billions of dollars from Malaysia’s development fund, 1MDB. US authorities have also charged the men with “paying bribes to various Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials.” One of the American bankers has pleaded guilty; the other has been arrested. But the Malaysian financier remains at large. Prosecutors say that the charges against Goldman Sachs point to large scale institutional flaws and highlight the extent of international graft and bribery.
- Bloomberg: 1MDB Scandal Is Becoming a Goldman Sachs Problem
- BBC News: 1MDB: Ex-Goldman bankers and Jho Low face US charges
- Financial Times: Ex-Goldman bankers charged in Malaysian 1MDB scanda
- NY Times: Goldman Sachs Ensnarled in Vast 1MDB Fraud Scandal
- The Wall Street Journal: Justice Department Charges Ex-Goldman Bankers in Malaysia 1MDB Scandal
European Countries to Test AI Border Guards
The EU has invested nearly $5M in border control checkpoints and are testing AI programs to patrol the border. Coordinated by Luxembourg, the first round of trials is set for Hungary, Greece, and Latvia. It will then go to Cyprus, Poland, Spain, and Germany. Multiple studies and programs have found that AI can be inherently biased. Right now, there are 2 main stages for the passengers: the pre-screening stage and the crossing stage. Prior to arrival, passengers must upload copies of a passport, visa, and proof of funds to an online platform. Then, via webcam, they will have to answer questions asked by a CGI border control agent. Based on the answers, the program assign a risk score for use at the border.
- PCMag: EU Testing AI Lie Detectors at Border Crossings
- Defense One: European Countries to Test AI Border Guards
- SCMP: ‘Lie detector’ system designed to filter migrants at EU borders slammed as pseudoscience
Iran Sanctions to Be Reimposed on Monday
In May President Trump announced that the US would pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a 2015 pact signed by Iran, the 5 permanent UN Security Council members, and the EU. Among other things, the pact lifted all US sanctions on Iran. As a result of the US withdrawal from JCPOA, all sanctions on Iran will be reimposed on Monday. The reimposition isn’t new; it’s part of the 180 day wind down period as set forth in JPACO withdrawal as outlined by the US Department of the Treasury. As of today, there have been no 2018 OFAC Recent Actions. But, President Trump has agreed to grant certain countries waivers. Earlier today, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said that 8 jurisdictions have been granted waivers to allow them to import Iranian oil in the short term.
- Axios: Trump to reimpose all Iran sanctions, with exemptions on oil imports
- US Department of the Treasury: Iran Sanctions official
- Market Watch: Why oil prices are plunging despite U.S. sanctions on Iran’s energy sector
- Economic Times: US agrees to grant India waiver from Iran sanctions
From Deep State Radio
BLOG: WHAT IS AT STAKE NEXT TUESDAY? EVERYTHING.
It is not written in stone that the United States of America must always exist. It is not guaranteed that the country that goes by that name will always be a democracy. You cannot assume the greatness or strength or stature we have grown accustomed to will always endure. Throughout our history we have been reminded of the fragility of the American idea and of the country it inspired. We got off to a fitful start with an ill-conceived system. We have seen civil war and foreign despots committed to wiping us off the map. Continue here
DEEPTECH: Creative gains in AI reshapes global labor force
Amid mounting fears of sector automation, there was reassurance that some jobs would be shielded from the inexorable march of the algorithm. Since AI couldn’t replace human imagination, surely creative jobs are safe. Policymakers will now have to consider whether or not AI can learn creativity and if so, what that means for global labor markets. AI-created ‘artwork’ has fetched nearly half a million dollars at auction. Google Assistant has already passed the turing test; now, it is seamlessly multilingual. While AI has written novels and poems, not all the writing is great. AI can write jokes, but they just aren’t funny. Read the full post here
FP INTERRUPTED: THE UNBEARABLE WHITENESS OF BEING
Remember when we were all obsessed with the Russians and elections? #GoodTimes. Instead, as we go into Tuesday’s midterm elections in the U.S., we’re focused on “immigration” — a mask for race. How things have changed. On this day 25 years ago, in the White House Rose Garden, then President Ronald Reagan signed a bill that made Martin Luther King, Jr.’s January birthday a federal holiday. Today’s occupant of the White House this week has called to end “birthright” citizenship. That would make anyone born in the United States to non-citizens ineligible for U.S. citizenship. Read more here