top of page

International press review Extrema Ratio - 19 April

Extrema Ratio focuses on the topics we work on, including geopolitcs, cybersecurity, critical technologies, foreign interference, disinformation, international law & national security.

Have feedback? Let us know at

Follow us on Twitter, on LinkedIn - LinkedIn and on Facebook

Extrema Ratio

The latest visits by various European heads of state testify to the economic and political dependence on China, as well as the fear of Xi's coercive weapon. Mercantilism, therefore, counts beyond all goods, including our physical and economic freedom.
At this point, only the United States can save the EU's independence, ensuring Taiwan's autonomy even with military force. The island is the last strategic security point left standing. If that too falls, the EU will be Chinese.

Commenting on a tweet from Colby, Gabriele Iuvinale points to Chinese documents on the capture of Taiwan. Read more here


  • WaPo: Leaked Documents Show China Is Preparing Supersonic Spy Drone Capability. The Chinese military could soon use a high-altitude spy drone that travels at least three times the speed of sound, according to leaked documents posted to the social media site Discord and seen by the Washington Post.

  • China makes progress on an Antarctic base.TheCSIS think tank scrutinized satellite photography and issued a report that finds "new support facilities, temporary buildings, a helicopter pad, and foundations for a larger main building at the 5,000 square meter (53,820 square feet) station," as Reuters put it. The new station, on Inexpressible Island near the Ross Sea, "is expected to include an observatory with a satellite ground station, and should help China 'fill in a major gap' in its ability to access the continent." CSIS estimates the station could be completed in 2024. Read, here.

Chinese province plans 30 bln yuan semiconductor fund to promote chip industry Reuters Albee Zhang and Brenda Goh China's southern Guangdong province is planning to launch a second phase of a semiconductor fund with a scale of 30 billion yuan ($4.37 billion), state media Securities Times reported on Tuesday.

Hikvision: Chinese surveillance tech giant denies leaked Pentagon spy claim BBC Tessa Wong, Paul Adams & Peter Hoskins Chinese surveillance technology giant Hikvision has denied it is illegally disguising its products sold to the US government to enable Chinese espionage.

The challenges of conducting open source research on China Bellingcat Alison Killing The People’s Republic of China is well known for its efforts to restrict the free flow of information online. With this in mind, this guide provides an overview of some of the challenges facing open source researchers investigating China- focusing primarily on those outside China.

  • G7 statement: ‘We remind China of the need to uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and abstain from threats, coercion, intimidation, or the use of force’. G7Ministers voice concerns over cyber-enabled intellectual property theft, militarisation of the South China Sea, autonomy of Taiwan and Hong Kong, as well as human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Tibet. MOFA.

Beijing hits out at ‘arrogant’ and ‘prejudiced’ G7 statement. Cyril Ip and Dewey Sim. South China Morning Post.
  • The Chinese military could soon deploy a high-altitude spy drone that travels at least three times the speed of sound, according to leaked intelligence reports. A document from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency shows the Chinese military is making technological advances that could help it target U.S. warships around Taiwan and military bases in the region. Christian Shepherd, Vic Chiang, Pei-Lin Wu, and Ellen Nakashima report for the Washington Post.

  • China is making “significant progress” in building the country’s fifth research facility in Antarctica, according to a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. China has hailed the facility as a means to expand its scientific investigation in the Antarctic, but it could also be used to enhance the country’s intelligence collection. A 2022 Department of Defense report on China’s military notes that China’s “strategy for Antarctica includes the use of dual-use technologies, facilities, and scientific research, which are likely intended, at least in part, to improve [the military’s] capabilities.” Simone McCarthy and Sophie Jeong report for CNN.

  • Raytheon, Lockheed executives banned from China. Company execs have been banned from entering the country in response to arms sales to Taiwan. Reuters.

  • Ping An calls for HSBC to separately list Asian arm in Hong Kong. As HSBC’s largest shareholder, Chinese insurer Ping An continues to push for restructuring. Chad Bray.South China Morning Post.

  • Chinese genetic company MGI Tech to rollout gene sequencing machines in the US. MGI Tech was a subsidiary of BGI Genomics, which has been blacklisted by the Biden Administration. It was spun out and listed on the Shanghai stock exchange last year, but BGI founder still holds significant ownership stake. Jamie Smyth and Demetri Sevastopulo.Financial Times.

  • Key takeaways from China’s first quarter economic data. Joe Leahy and Edward White.Financial Times

  • Foxconn wages drop below US$3 an hour in Shenzhen as Apple diversifies supply chains. Hourly rates have been slashed as Apple’s largest contract manufacturer ramps up production in India and Vietnam. Iris Deng. South China Morning Post.

  • China’s undersea capability: Meeting the challenge. An article exploring how the PLA’s submarine capabilities will affect the strategic environment in the Indo-Pacific and how British interests might be challenged.Emma Salisbury. The Council on Geostrategy.

  • Unsafe at the top: China’s anti-graft drive targets billionaires and bankers. Prompted by the sentencing of a former senior official at China Development Bank last week, Hawkins looks at China’s battle against corruption and ‘financial elitism. Amy Hawkins.The Guardian.

  • The perils of the new industrial policy: How to stop a global race to the bottom. Are the US’ Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the CHIPS and Science Act likely to set off a counterproductive subsidy race? David Kamin and Rebecca Kysar.Foreign Affairs.

  • How to survive a great-power competition: Southeast Asia’s precarious balancing act. An analysis of ASEAN’s non-alignment strategy. Huong Le Thu.Foreign Affairs.

  • Why China’s shrinking population is a problem for everyone. How China’s demographic challenges could impact the global economy. Nicole Hong. New York Times.

  • Forced Labour in the Uyghur Region: The evidence. The first in a new series of evidence briefs on Uyghur forced labour from the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice. Sheffield Hallam University.


US charges Chinese government officials in broad scheme to suppress dissent abroad CyberScoop AJ Vicens U.S. prosecutors unsealed charges on Monday against 44 people accused of participating in a wide-ranging Chinese government effort to suppress dissident voices within the Chinese diaspora by disrupting online meetings, deploying fake social media accounts to harass dissenters and operating an overseas police station in New York City.

Social-media account overseen by former Navy noncommissioned officer helped spread secrets The Wall Street Journal Yaroslav Trofimov and Bob Mackin A social-media account overseen by a former U.S. Navy noncommissioned officer—a prominent online voice supporting Russia’s war on Ukraine—played a key role in the spread of intelligence documents allegedly leaked by Airman First Class Jack Teixeira.

Network infrastructure provider CommScope investigating data leak following ransomware attack The Record by Recorded Future Jonathan Greig North Carolina-based network infrastructure provider CommScope confirmed that it suffered a ransomware attack late last month and is now investigating claims of stolen information leaked on the dark web.

CISA, Cisco highlight Russian military targeting of router vulnerabilities The Record by Recorded Future Jonathan Greig The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and technology giant Cisco released advisories on Tuesday spotlighting attacks on routers allegedly being exploited by Russian military hackers.

To stay ahead of China in AI, the U.S. needs to work with China Time Paul Scharre An AI gold rush is underway in the private sector in the wake of ChatGPT, but the geopolitical stakes are even greater. The United States and China are vying for global leadership in AI, a technology that is transforming political, economic, and military power. The U.S. currently leads in AI, but China is rapidly catching up and has declared its intent to be the global leader by 2030. To stay ahead of China in AI, the U.S. will need to work with China. The best competitive strategy for the U.S. is to sustain ties with China in areas where the U.S. benefits disproportionately, such as human talent and computing hardware, while severing problematic ties.

The Washington Times

“Asia Firster” is the term applied to those who argue that the threat Beijing poses to Taiwan should be Washington’s top national security priority. I think Asia Firsters are right about that but wrong to jump to the conclusion that Americans must resign themselves to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin crushing Ukraine and Iranian dictator Ali Khamenei becoming the hegemon of the Middle East. As for other corners of the world, they mostly ignore them. By now, we should have learned that when America retreats, America’s enemies advance — as Mr. Putin did after President Biden surrendered to the Taliban in 2021, as Mr. Khamenei and the terrorist founders of the Islamic State did after then-President Barack Obama pulled out of Iraq in 2011.

  • White House briefs industry groups on upcoming scrutiny of US investment in China. New rules, expected later this month, are likely to introduce notification requirements for investments in Chinese tech and prohibit deals in critical sectors. Gavin Bade. Politico.

  • The Pentagon and some other elements of the intelligence community have moved recently to tighten access to classified information. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin this week announced a 45-day “review and assessment” of the department’s information security procedures. John Hyten, former vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned there should not be an “overreaction” by over-restricting access to intelligence. Gordon Lubold, Vivian Salama, and Nancy A. Youssef report for the Wall Street Journal.

  • U.S. charges 4 Americans, 3 Russians in disinformation case. A federal indictment unsealed on Tuesday adds the Americans and two of the Russians to a year-old case against Aleksandr Ionov, whom prosecutors say founded a Moscow-based, Kremlin-backed organization to covertly sow discord in U.S. society, spread Russian propaganda, and interfere illegally in U.S. elections.

  • AP reports: "The four Americans are all part of the African People's Socialist Party and Uhuru Movement, which has locations in St. Petersburg, Florida, and St. Louis. Among those charged is Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the U.S.-based organization — which was raided by the FBI last summer when Ionov was originally charged."

  • The Pentagon's acquisition chief finally gets a deputy. On Tuesday, the Senate voted, 68-30, to confirm Radha Iyengar Plumb for the post of Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment. Nominated in June 2022, Plumb received a thumbs-up from the Senate Armed Services Committee in September. But Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, placed a hold on her nomination to press the Biden administration about a mine project in Alaska.

  • Fox News has agreed to pay $787.5 million to settle a defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems over Fox’s reporting of the 2020 presidential election. The last-minute deal spares Fox executives such as Rupert Murdoch from having to testify. Dominion argued its business was harmed by Fox’s false claims that the vote had been rigged against former President Trump. Bernd Debusmann reports for BBC News.

  • Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is investigating efforts by former President Trump to overturn the 2020 election, is urging the judge overseeing the matter to disqualify the lawyer representing ten false electors. Yesterday’s court filings reveal that Willis has conducted further interviews with false electors, who have described how other false electors may have violated Georgia state law. Willis argues that it is no longer tenable for ten fake electors to share the same attorney, given that they have implicated each other. Kyle Cheney reports for POLITICO.

  • Multiple people have been indicted on state charges that they intimidated others during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville in 2017, according to a news release by attorney James Hingeley yesterday. While it is unclear how many will face charges, at least three individuals have so far been charged with one count each of burning an object with the intent to intimidate. The felony carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Eduardo Medina reports for the New York Times.

  • Heider Garcia is the latest election official to announce that he will resign after facing death threats from supporters of former President Trump. Garcia, who announced his resignation this week, oversaw elections in Tarrant County, Texas, where, in 2020, Trump became only the second Republican presidential candidate to lose in more than 50 years. Garcia detailed a series of threats he received as part of his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee last year. Neil Vigdor reports for the New York Times.

  • Federal authorities charged four Americans yesterday with roles in a malign campaign pushing pro-Kremlin propaganda in Florida and Missouri. The charges have been made against African People’s Socialist Party leaders Omali Yeshitela, Penny Joanne Hess, Jesse Nevel, and Augustus C. Romain Jr. This is part of an ongoing effort to “expose and prosecute those who sow discord and corrupt U.S. elections in service of hostile foreign interests,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen said. Devlin Barrett reports for the Washington Post.

  • U.S. prosecutors yesterday charged an alleged financier of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Nazem Ahmad, with evading U.S. sanctions imposed on him by exporting $440 million worth of diamonds and artwork. The Treasury Department also unveiled sanctions on a vast international money laundering and sanctions evasion network, targeting 52 people worldwide. Luc Cohen reports for Reuters.

  • Latest in the ongoing Discord leaks saga: The 21-year-old Air National Guardsman accused of posting top-secret U.S. military documents was expected to return to court in Massachusetts on Wednesday. But that hearing has been postponed for about two weeks to allow more time for his defense attorneys to prepare their case. The Associated Press has the latest from Boston, here.

  • Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin announced a new 45-day review of "information security procedures," according to a memo to the force (PDF) made public Tuesday. He's also ordered all units to review their service members' "need to know" classified information, and to ensure everyone with access to "Sensitive Compartmented Information" is well aware of the implications and responsibilities of that access.

  • A second opinion: Some say Austin is going after the wrong thing. Defense One's Patrick Tucker explores why.

  • New: The accused airman's entire unit—the 102nd Intelligence Wing—has been shut down, and its "mission has been temporarily reassigned to other organizations within the Air Force," AP and Air Force Timesreported Tuesday. That unit is, of course, also under investigation by the service, and officials are tasked with finding "anything associated with this leak that could have gone wrong," Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told lawmakers Tuesday.

  • Today on the Hill, U.S. lawmakers are expected to be briefed on the scale and scope of the leaked documents. Among their top concerns: "how the 21-year-old accused leaker got access to the records in the first place and what steps are being taken to prevent it from happening again," according to Politico.

  • SecDef Austin said he thinks the age of the accused leaker is not the issue, he told reporters Wednesday during his visit to Sweden. "The vast majority of our military is young," he said in Stockholm. "It's not exceptional that young people are doing important things in our military. That's really not the issue."

  • The Washington Post's latest secret revelations from those leaked documents include claims that Russia's military has been trying for months to disrupt Elon Musk's Starlink satellite system, which feeds the Ukrainian military internet in remote locations across their occupied country. The system Russia is allegedly using for this task is the Tobol electronic warfare system.

  • The Post also newly reported China has a high-altitude spy drone that travels at least three times the speed of sound, and Beijing is on the verge of deploying it for what's believed to be the first time.


How Mexico became the biggest user of the world’s most notorious spy tool The New York Times Natalie Kitroeff and Ronen Bergman The spyware, known as Pegasus, has become a global byword for the chilling reach of state surveillance, a tool used by governments from Europe to the Middle East to hack into thousands of cellphones. No place has had more experience with the promise and the peril of the technology than Mexico, the country that inaugurated its spread around the globe.

  • Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador accused the Pentagon of spying on his government yesterday and said he would begin classifying information from the armed forces to protect national security. Lopez Obrador’s comments come amid apparent tensions between Mexico’s Navy and the Army, revealed in online leaks of U.S. intelligence. Reuters reports.

  • South of the border, Pegasus phone spyware is quite the drug. Mexico was the launch customer for the infamous Israeli spyware and became its most prolific user. After the government was repeatedly caught using Pegasus to violate its citizens' rights, officials vowed to stop. They haven't. Now the New York Times has a fascinating look at south-of-the-border use of the spyware, which "can infect your phone without any sign of intrusion and extract everything on it — every email, text message, photo, calendar appointment — while monitoring everything you do with it, in real time." Read that, here.

  • Brazil: President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva condemned (The Guardian) Russia’s “violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity” after he was criticized for saying both countries were responsible for initiating the conflict.


  • INDOPACOM commander won't "guess" at a Taiwan-invasion date. Asked by House lawmakers about colleagues' warnings about a Chinese invasion in coming years, Adm. John Aquilino declined to endorse any specific predictions. "I think everybody is guessing," he said at a Tuesday hearing. Asked whether the threat is growing, the admiral responded, "The trends for the threat are in a wrong direction."

  • Such warnings include a 2021 prediction by Aquilino's INDOPACOM predecessor, now-retired Adm. Philip Davidson, who said China could move before 2027; last October's statement by Adm. Mike Gilday, chief of naval operations, who said the U.S. must prepare for possible action before 2024; and January's prediction by Gen. Mike Minihan, former deputy Indo-Pacific commander, of a possible U.S.-China war in 2025. The Financial Times has a bit more, here.

Thailand, Indonesia emerge as bigger links in EV supply chain Nikkei Asia Kenya Akama Thailand and Indonesia have become two of the hottest Asian destinations for investment in parts and materials for electric vehicles, as Japanese, Chinese and South Korean players race to get in at the start of EV production in the region.

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country has built its first military spy satellite and that he planned to launch it on an undisclosed date, state media reported today. Many experts question whether it has cameras sophisticated enough to use for spying from a satellite because only low-resolution images were released after past test launches. Hyung-Jin Kim and Kim Tong-Hyung report for AP News.

  • Norway/Japan: Norway’s sovereign wealth fund said that it will vote against board nominations (Nikkei) of Japanese companies it invests in that have no female board members. The move by the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund could affect as many as three hundred Japanese-listed companies.

  • UN: India to Become World’s Most Populous Country by Midyear. A new report by the UN Population Fund projects that India’s population will surpass 1.4 billion people (Hindustan Times), or 2.9 million more people than China’s population.

  • India: Apple opened its first store in India (CNN) amid a push to expand its manufacturing base beyond China.


Australian businessman accused of supplying suspected Chinese spies with AUKUS information Reuters An Australian man has been refused bail after being charged with a foreign interference offense for accepting cash from suspected Chinese intelligence agents, with a Sydney court saying his close ties to China made him a flight risk. Magistrate Michael Barko said Alexander Csergo was a “sophisticated, worldly businessperson” who had been on the radar of Australian intelligence for some time before his arrest on Friday.

eSafety leads online safety grant programs funded by the Australian Government as part of its commitment to keeping communities safe online eSafety Commissioner The Preventing Tech-based Abuse of Women Grants Program, led by eSafety, is part of the Australian Government’s commitment to improving the safety of Australian women and their children through the prevention of technology-facilitated gender-based violence. The program will be delivered from 2023 to 2028 with a total of $10 million available over at least three rounds.

Ukraine - Russia

West prepares for Putin to use ‘whatever tools he’s got left’ in Ukraine The Guardian Pippa Crerar Western leaders are preparing for Vladimir Putin to use “whatever tools he’s got left” including nuclear threats and cyber-attacks in response to an expected Ukrainian counter-offensive against Russia.

How cyber support to Ukraine can build its democratic future CyberScoop Arthur Nelson and Gavin Wilde Ukrainian officials are now betting that their country’s remarkable digital resilience in wartime — achieved with significant help from international partners — can translate into a cornerstone of its post-reconstruction identity and economy. Prior to the war, Ukraine was growing into a favorite software development destination for multinationals and start-ups alike. Russia’s invasion — and the flood of international tech support to counter it — have only supercharged Kyiv’s aspirations of becoming a major player in Europe’s “Silicon Valley.”

Russia not planning Wikipedia block for now, minister says Reuters Alexander Marrow Russia is "not yet" planning to block Wikipedia, its minister of digital affairs said on Tuesday as a Moscow court handed the online encyclopaedia another fine for failing to remove content Russia deems illegal.

  • The United States has warned Russia not to interact with sensitive U.S. nuclear technology at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, according to a letter the U.S. Department of Energy sent to Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy firm Rosatom last month. The Energy Department letter comes as Russian forces continue to control the largest nuclear plant in Europe. Natasha Bertrand and Tim Lister report for CNN.

  • A Russian court yesterday upheld the detention of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who is being held on an allegation of espionage that the U.S. government vehemently denies. Ann M. Simmons reports for the Wall Street Journal.

  • Russia has a program to sabotage wind farms and communication cables in the North Sea in case of a conflict with the West, according toa joint investigation by public broadcasters in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland. The report suggests that Russia has a fleet of vessels disguised as fishing trawlers and research vessels in the North Sea. Gordon Corera reports for BBC News.

  • British Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden is set to introduce new measures to support businesses “on the front line of our cyber defenses” in response to Russia-aligned hackers who seek to “disrupt or destroy” Britain’s critical infrastructure. Meanwhile, the National Cyber Security Centre will issue an official threat alert to critical businesses. Officials recommend that organizations, such as those behind the U.K.’s energy and water supplies, “act now” to protect themselves against the emerging cyber threat. BBC News reports.

  • Russia is buying Western military-use electronics via Armenia, Kazakhstan, and other countries, despite sanctions, according to senior tax and trade officials. U.S. officials argue that the sweeping sanctions they have imposed in partnership with 38 other governments have severely damaged Russia’s military capacity. While direct sales of chips to Russia from the United States and its allies have plummeted to zero, trade data shows that other countries have stepped in to provide Russia with some of what it needs, particularly China. Ana Swanson and Matina Stevis-Gridneff report for the New York Times.

  • Russia hopes to shore up support in Latin America for its war in Ukraine, with foreign minister Sergei Lavrov visiting Brazil before arriving in Venezuela yesterday as part of a four-country tour. Lavrov is also expected to travel to Nicaragua and Cuba. Luciana Magalhaes and Samantha Pearson report for the Wall Street Journal.

  • South Korea might extend its support for Ukraine beyond humanitarian and economic aid if it comes under a large-scale civilian attack, President Yoon Suk Yeol said. It is the first time that Seoul suggested a willingness to provide weapons to Ukraine, more than a year after ruling out the possibility of lethal aid. Soyoung Kim, Ju-min Park, and Hyonhee Shin report for Reuters.

  • Ukraine's military appears to be gearing up for a counteroffensive. "Patriot air defense systems have arrived in Ukraine," the country's defense minister Oleksii Reznikov announced Wednesday—about three months after Ukraine sent about 65 troops to Oklahoma's Fort Sill to train on the systems. "Our air defenders have mastered them as fast as they could, and our partners have kept their word," Reznikov tweeted Wednesday morning.

  • Germany sent the latest Patriot system to Kyiv to help Ukraine "defend itself against Russia's indiscriminate missile attacks on civilians and infrastructure," Germany's Ambassador to the UK Miguel Berger tweeted. The system can engage enemy aircraft, ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles at a distance of about 60 miles and up to an altitude of about 18 miles.

  • But Russia has been increasingly using glide bombs to hit targets inside Ukraine. And Patriot systems aren't known to be as effective against glide bombs, which are released by jets at a significant distance beyond the Patriot's 60-mile range. Newsweek has a bit more about all that, reporting last week, here.

  • Also new: U.S.-provided Bradley Fighting Vehicles have arrived in Ukraine as well. Kyiv's military tweeted an image of the systems painted in a new color scheme on Monday. A Pentagon official on Tuesday confirmed to The Drive that the vehicles had indeed arrived. The official wouldn't say when they arrived or how many are now in Ukraine; more than 100 are expected. Read more, here.

  • Germany has also sent Ukraine its second of four medium-range IRIS-T air defense systems officials in Berlin pledged last year, according to Der Spiegel. The system has a range of about two dozen miles and altitude coverage about a dozen miles high. The first of those four arrived in October. Egypt has even reportedly "ceded" one of the units it was going to buy from Germany, Der Spiegel reported. Sweden has sent 12 IRIS-T launchers (the system has three main vehicular components—a launch pad, a radar, and a lead vehicle) to Germany for processing and shipping to Ukraine; but finding the other elements hasn't proven terribly easy just yet.

  • Why won't the U.S. send Ukraine long-range missiles like ATACMS, or jets like F-16s? The Pentagon's top policy official offered some insight during an event Monday hosted by Foreign Policy. "We have prioritized what Ukraine needed most in that moment," Colin Kahl said. The country's needs are predominantly three-fold at the moment, he said: air defense, artillery, and mechanized, or armored forces. But U.S. support is "not unlimited," he said. "We could spend all of [allocated funds] on F-16s and those aircraft would arrive 1.5 years from now," he explained. "But those aircraft would be completely irrelevant to this spring and summer," he said. "We have to make those hard choices," he told the audience. Read more at FP, here.

  • Latest from the political front: Ukraine's President Volodymir Zelenskyy finally spoke with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy by phone Tuesday. Zelenskyy's office says he thanked the speaker "for the unflagging bipartisan support of Ukraine from the United States Congress," and told him the country badly needed "armored vehicles, long-range weapons, artillery, air defense and aircraft."

  • Rewind: For months, McCarthy has walked an awkward line on Ukraine aid, simultaneously accusing the White House of being too slow to arm Ukraine while also vowing the U.S. would not aid Ukraine on an open-ended, "blank check" basis. The speaker is also hoping to appease far-right isolationist lawmakers like Florida's Matt Gaetz, who opposes helping Ukraine to the point of introducing a "Ukraine fatigue" bill two months ago.

  • McCarthy hasn't yet tweeted about the chat with Zelenskyy; but he has tweeted several other times since, including about his first trip abroad as House Speaker, which will take him to Israel. Zelenskyy said in March that he's invited McCarthy to Ukraine to see the conflict for himself firsthand; but the speaker declined the offer, and told CNN, "I don't have to go to Ukraine to understand where there's a blank check or not."


Foreign Affairs

Until It Embraces Military Power, Berlin Cannot Lead Europe

Chips Act: Council and European Parliament strike provisional deal Council of the EU The Council and the European Parliament have reached today a provisional political agreement on the regulation to strengthen Europe's semiconductor ecosystem, better known as the 'Chips Act'. The deal is expected to create the conditions for the development of an industrial base that can double the EU’s global market share in semiconductors from 10% to at least 20% by 2030.

American Purpose

From deepfakes to digital trolling, authoritarian state media is devising new ways to manipulate you.

  • EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment to return to EU agenda next month. Major trading nations will insist on discussing the CAI at summits of EU foreign ministers in May, according to EU official. Finbarr Bermingham.South China Morning Post.

  • The European Commission yesterday announced a $1.2 billion plan to counter growing cybersecurity threats. “The EU Cyber Solidarity Act will strengthen solidarity at Union level to better detect, prepare for and respond to significant or large-scale cybersecurity incidents,” the E.U. executive said in a statement. Foo Yun Chee reports for Reuters.

  • EU Reaches $47 Billion Deal on Chips Subsidies. European Union (EU) member states reached a preliminary deal (Reuters) to channel $47 billion in funding toward the bloc’s semiconductor industry in a bid to compete with massive state support for the sector in the United States and Asia. The deal will also include funding for older chips and research and design facilities. As part of the agreement, the bloc set a target to boost its chip production to 20 percent of global output by 2030. The plan will be funded (AFP) by the existing EU budget as well as by private companies.

  • French Publishing Company Criticizes UK’s Arrest of Employee on Terror Charges. The publisher, Editions La Fabrique, said it suspected (BBC) the arrest of an employee en route to the London Book Fair was due to his participation in protests against French pension reform. The case has prompted scrutiny of United Kingdom (UK) and French cooperation under anti-terror laws.


WhatsApp and Signal unite against online safety bill amid privacy concerns The Guardian Alex Hern The rival chat apps WhatsApp and Signal have joined forces in a rare show of unity to protest against the online safety bill, which they say could undermine the UK’s privacy and safety.

  • WhatsApp and other messaging apps oppose 'surveillance' BBC News Shiona McCallum and Chris Vallance WhatsApp, Signal and other messaging services have urged the government to rethink the Online Safety Bill (OSB). They are concerned that the bill could undermine end-to-end encryption - which means the message can only be read on the sender and the recipient's app and nowhere else.

UK cyber security chief to warn of China’s rise as a technology superpower The Guardian China poses an “epoch-defining” challenge to the west, the head of the National Cyber Security Centre is reportedly to warn. Lindy Cameron, who is the director of the GCHQ arm, will use a speech in Belfast this week to warn the UK and allies of the “dramatic rise of China as a technology superpower”.

TUC: Government failing to protect workers from AI BBC Chris Vallance The TUC is calling for stronger rules to protect workers from decisions made by artificial intelligence systems. AI-powered technologies are now making "high-risk, life changing" decisions about workers' lives including line-managing, hiring and firing staff", said the body which represents unions.

Chinese businessman with Tory links ‘hosted secret police station’ The Times Billy Kenber A Chinese businessman linked to a “secret police station” in London has organised Tory fundraising dinners and been photographed with party leaders, The Times can reveal.

  • UK should not ‘pull the shutters down’ on China, says Foreign Secretary. James Cleverly calls for a more nuanced approach to UK-China relations, argues that failing to engage with Beijing would be ‘counterproductive’. Pippa Crerar. The Guardian.

  • UK cyber chief to issue a warning on China’s rise as a technological superpower. Lindy Cameron will deliver the remarks at the CyberUK annual conference in Belfast this week. The Guardian.

  • The UK’s semiconductor industry is vulnerable - but how will Rishi Sunak strengthen it? An argument for securing supply chains through government subsidies. Freddie Hayward.The New Statesman.

Middle East and Africa

  • Tunisian Authorities Close Headquarters of Opposition Party, Arrest Party Leader. Police searched and closed the headquarters (AFP, Al Jazeera) of the Ennahdha party in the capital, Tunis, a day after party leader Rached Ghannouchi was arrested at his home.

  • For Foreign Affairs, Shadi Hamid writes that the International Monetary Fund should condition bailout support for Tunisia on political reform.

  • Russia/Middle East: Russian state gas company Gazprom is setting up a unit (Reuters) in the Middle East, regulatory filings said. Many Russian companies have sought business in the Middle East amid Western sanctions over the war in Ukraine.

  • Shelling Continues in Sudanese Capital Despite Cease-Fire Efforts. Air strikes were heard in Khartoum (Bloomberg) today despite regional leaders’ efforts to negotiate a cease-fire between Sudan’s army and the paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces. More than two hundred people have died since fighting began over the weekend.

  • Fighting in Sudan continued even after the rival generals agreed to a temporary cease-fire. The proposed 24-hour cease-fire was intended to allow Sudanese civilians trapped by the fighting to obtain necessities like food and water. According to the World Health Organization, citing Sudan’s Health Ministry, the fighting has left an estimated 270 people dead over four days. Barak Ravid and Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath report for Axios.

  • Forty-eight million people in Central and West Africa are expected to face acute food insecurity (Reuters) in the coming months amid climate shocks, food shortages, and high food prices, the UN said. The estimate marks the most people in the region at risk of food insecurity in a decade.

Big Tech

Twitter removes policy against deadnaming transgender people Associated Press Barbara Ortutay Twitter has quietly removed a policy against the “targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals,” raising concerns that the Elon Musk-owned platform is becoming less safe for marginalized groups.

  • Twitter to label tweets that get downranked for violating its hate speech policy TechCrunch Sarah Perez Twitter announced today a new policy that it claims will offer more transparency around which hateful tweets on its platform have been subject to enforcement action. Typically, when tweets violate Twitter’s policies, one of the actions the company can take is to limit the reach of those tweets — or something it calls “visibility filtering.” In these scenarios, the tweets remain online but become less discoverable, as they’re excluded from areas like search results, trends, recommended notifications, For You and Following timelines, and more.

Broadcasters go silent on Twitter after 'government-funded' label Reuters Tiyashi Datta, Chavi Mehta and Jaspreet Singh Public broadcasters ranging from U.S.-based National Public Radio to Canadian Broadcasting Corp have stopped posting on Twitter in recent days after the Elon Musk-owned social media platform labeled their accounts as "government-funded".

Artificial Intelligence

Elon Musk says he wants to invent AI that ‘is unlikely to annihilate humans’ The Washington Post Faiz Siddiqui Wary of the dangers of artificial intelligence, Elon Musk said he is launching his own generative AI product that will seek to rein in the excesses of new types of chatbots.

  • Elon Musk says he will launch rival to Microsoft-backed ChatGPT Reuters Hyunjoo Jin and Sheila Dang Billionaire Elon Musk said on Monday he will launch an AI platform to challenge the offerings from Microsoft and Google that he calls 'TruthGPT', a maximum truth-seeking AI that tries to understand the nature of the universe.

Reddit wants to get paid for helping to teach big AI systems The New York Times Mike Isaac In recent years, Reddit’s array of chats also have been a free teaching aid for companies like Google, OpenAI and Microsoft. Those companies are using Reddit’s conversations in the development of giant artificial intelligence systems that many in Silicon Valley think are on their way to becoming the tech industry’s next big thing. Now Reddit wants to be paid for it.

Postcard from an AI-centric TED Axios Ina Fried There's always a fair bit of tech talk at TED, but it's been a while since tech dominated the conversation the way it clearly is this year. In a prelude to what the rest of the week has in store, Metaphysic CEO Tom Graham showed how AI can be used to create videos of one person speaking in another person's voice, with or without the other person's face overlaid on theirs.


Triple threat: NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware returns in 2022 with a trio of iOS 15 and iOS 16 zero-click exploit chains Citizen Lab Bill Marczak, John Scott-Railton, Bahr Abdul Razzak, and Ron Deibert In 2022, the Citizen Lab gained extensive forensic visibility into new NSO Group exploit activity after finding infections among members of Mexico’s civil society, including two human rights defenders from Centro PRODH, which represents victims of military abuses in Mexico. Our ensuing investigation led us to conclude that, in 2022, NSO Group customers widely deployed at least three iOS 15 and iOS 16 zero-click exploit chains against civil society targets around the world.

Cyber diplomacy co-operation on cybercrime between Southeast Asia and Commonwealth countries: Realities, responses and recommendations Pacific Forum Mark Bryan Manantan Amid the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, Southeast Asia’s technological innovation footprint has expanded, and its digital economy continues to mature. However, Southeast Asia’s vulnerability to cyber threats like cybercrime is also accelerating at a pace commensurate with the region’s digital transformation.

Events & Podcasts

The Sydney Dialogue Summit Sessions: Ambassador Baiba Braže ASPI Earlier this month, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute hosted The Sydney Dialogue, a global summit on critical, emerging, cyber and space technologies. In this episode, Dr Jake Wallis speaks to Ambassador Baiba Braže, NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy. The conversation covers the role of NATO, the role critical technologies will play in strategic competition and the tools and tactics that are being used by autocratic governments to challenge the existing rules-based order.


Australia is under cyber-attack and the problem is only getting worse. John Lyons tracks the criminal syndicate behind one of our largest-ever data breaches, finding highly-organised criminal gangs, often based in Russia.

Photo: La Cina di Xi Jinping - Verso un nuovo ordine mondiale sinocentrico? (Italian)

Gabriele and Nicola Iuvinale

ASE 2023

To download the book index, preface and introduction:

10 visualizzazioni0 commenti


bottom of page