Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Ritika Singh
Tuesday, August 13, 2013, 11:54 AM

Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald starts us off today with this story about the Pentagon’s attempts at “culturally correct” force feedings at Guantanamo Bay.

Robert H. Reid of the Associated Press informs us that, in the aftermath of the Snowden leaks, the U.S. and Germany have begun talks on an agreement to not spy on each other.

The NSA’s nascent plans to detect and thwart incoming cyberattacks are facing massive resistance, also in the aftermath of Snowden’s revelations about the Agency. David Sanger of the New York Times has more.

DARPA is looking into whether publicly-available personal data could pose a national security threat. Shane Harris of Foreign Policy describes the project, saying “[t]he irony is delicious.”

Al Qaeda in . . . New Zealand? J. Dana Stuster of Foreign Policy reports on New Zealand Prime Minister John Key’s comments earlier this month on a radio show, at which he said, “there are people who've been trained for al-Qaeda camps who operate out of New Zealand, who are in contact with people overseas, who have gone off to Yemen and other countries to train.”

Speaking of Al Qaeda in distant corners of the world, the Economist explains who actually runs the organization.

Brookings scholar Kenneth M. Pollack has released a short paper entitled Breaking the Stalemate: The Military Dynamics of the Syrian Civil War and Options for Limited U.S. Intervention. Check it out.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said during a visit to Islamabad that American drones “should be subject to long-standing international law, including international humanitarian law.” Agence France-Presse has more on his remarks.

Come one, come all---to Iran: The Washington Post’s Joby Warrick has a fascinating story on Iran’s recruitment and outreach to Latin Americans on Iranian religion and culture:

The initiative includes not only the recruitment of foreign students for special study inside Iran, but also direct outreach to Latin countries through the construction of mosques and cultural centers and, beginning last year, a new cable TV network that broadcasts Iranian programming in Spanish. Regional experts say such “soft power” initiatives are mainly political, intended in particular to strengthen Tehran’s foothold in countries such as Venezuela and Ecuador, which share similar anti-American views. But in some cases, Iranian officials have sought to enlist Latin Americans for espionage and even hacking operations targeting U.S. computer systems, according to U.S. and Latin American law-enforcement and intelligence officials.

In other news, the CIA was, in fact, snooping on Noam Chomsky in the 1970s, an exclusive report from Foreign Policy’s “The Cable” reveals. The file on Chomsky was apparently tampered with too.

Jeffrey Bachman and Matar Ebrahim Matar remind us of the ongoing pro-democracy protests in Bahrain in this Guardian article, and argue that the national assembly’s recently-passed “draconian policies” prove that the “the Obama administration must not bear silent witness to another massive and violent crackdown that is already being signaled by the Bahraini regime.”

Violence in Iraq continued unabated over the last few days. Sylvia Westall of Reuters has the latest on the bombings during Eid al-Fitr, the celebration marking the end of Ramadan. Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility for the attacks; the AP also reports.

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross has an op-ed in Politico in which he interviews Bill Lietzau. He cites Ben’s posts about Lietzau’s not-jaw dropping, non-U turn of a story.

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