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MemosJul 2, 2020 | 18:32 GMT
Fred Burton's Summer Reading List
Fred Burton has put together a few books to add to your warm weather reading list. Some are classics and others are brand new — I can’t wait to read Brad Thor’s new thriller NEAR DARK. The Scot Harvath series never disappoints.
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AssessmentsJun 9, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, one of the main opposition candidates running in Poland's 2020 presidential election, greets locals and supporters in Wieliczka, Poland, during a campaign event on June 5, 2020. 
Poland After the Presidential Election
Poland’s upcoming presidential election could increase political instability at a time of already mounting economic uncertainty, should a less Euroskeptic opposition candidate defeat President Andrzej Duda and secure the power to veto legislation. Regardless of who wins, in the months ahead the Polish government will need to defend both its economy from further harm due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as its access to EU farming subsidies and cohesion funds in the bloc’s 2021-2027 budget. Over time, growing debt levels and a worsening deficit could damage the government’s popularity and open the door to political change by impeding Warsaw’s ability to expand social welfare benefits.  
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AssessmentsApr 16, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A pumpjack outside the Russian city of Surgut.
The Golden Age of Russian Oil Nears an End
Russia's easily accessible oil reserves have long been the cornerstone of its economy. But these conventional fields are depleting, leading to the need to invest and expand into more untapped sources. This transformation will not be easy or cheap, as various factors have led to a poorly optimized oil sector that's ill-equipped to soften the blow of rising costs. The key to maintaining a strong energy market, and securing the capital needed to develop new and expensive fields, will instead rest on whether Moscow can secure its foothold in China's increasingly oil-hungry market. In any case, Russia may have little choice but to accept that its glory days of oil dominance and high profit margins are nearing an end. 
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On SecurityApr 14, 2020 | 11:00 GMT
When an Economic Crisis Collides With an Unprecedented Espionage Threat
I've seen a number of news reports discussing how the lockdowns and travel bans resulting from COVID-19 are hindering the ability of intelligence officers to do their jobs by preventing them from being able to conduct in-person source meets. The inability to conduct face-to-face source meets, and to make personal contact with recruitment targets to develop relationships with them, is a valid concern. I would like to suggest, however, that the economic crisis resulting from COVID-19 will also provide intelligence officers a golden opportunity to spot and recruit new agents.
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AssessmentsMar 26, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (center) addresses the media in Pretoria after concluding a meeting with various business and political leaders on matters relating to the COVID-19 outbreak on March 22, 2020. 
A Perfect COVID-19 Storm Closes in on South Africa
With only 709 confirmed coronavirus cases as of March 25, South Africa may be lagging a few weeks behind the outbreaks now unfolding in Europe and North America. But when the pandemic does eventually hit the country, it will hit hard. With high rates of people living with HIV or tuberculosis, much of South Africa’s population is immunosuppressed and thus believed to be at risk of dying or in need of significant medical care if they contract the virus. Such a widespread outbreak could, in turn, quickly collapse the country's already fragile health care system and economy, forcing the government to abandon its new austerity budget for expensive relief efforts.
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On SecurityMar 3, 2020 | 15:54 GMT
'The Turner Diaries,' by National Alliance leader William Pierce, provides a blueprint for conducting terrorist operations as an underground organization.
The Right-Wing Extremist Threat in Context: External Extremist Actors
Last week I had the opportunity to speak with someone in the process of setting up a protective intelligence program at a large corporation. During our conversation about various concerns and threats, the topic of the current wave of right-wing extremist attacks arose. We discussed how that threat manifested itself differently when the actor was an outsider versus an insider, as well as steps the company could take to protect itself against these threats. After thinking about that conversation for some days, it occurred to me that there might be broader interest in the topic, and that it might be worth writing on it to place the threat posed by right-wing extremism into context. With that in mind, I have decided to address external right-wing extremist actors and insider extremists.
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AssessmentsJan 28, 2020 | 17:36 GMT
Environmentalists stage a protest against a World Economic Forum briefing meeting in Brussels on Jan. 27, 2020.
For the Global Economy, a Sluggish 2020 Awaits
For the global economy in the year ahead, challenges won’t be far away, with uncertainty from unpredictable policymaking on trade and investment, coupled with potential geopolitical disruptions and financial vulnerabilities, leading the way. And if these risks come to pass, the world's leading economies will be hard-pressed to respond in a coordinated, effective manner. Already, international cooperation is frayed as countries look increasingly inward, while slower growth with stagnant incomes could encourage even more economic nationalism than exists at present. Ultimately, the host of threats presents the world's policymakers with a tricky path toward safeguarding growth in the global economy.
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AssessmentsDec 30, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
A natural gas line runs outside Donetsk, Ukraine, on March 11, 2015.
A New Gas Transit Deal Won't Keep Ukraine and Russia Together for Long
For the short term at least, Ukrainians and Europeans won't have to worry about shelling out more to heat their homes this winter. An eleventh-hour extension to an energy transit agreement will guarantee the continued flow of natural gas from Russia to Europe through Ukraine over the next five years, but there is little indication that the current deal will presage longer-term cooperation between Moscow and Kyiv. Indeed, lingering distrust between the two capitals will lead Ukraine down the path of producing its own natural gas to achieve self-sufficiency in the longer term, while Russia will strive to shift shipments to pipelines in the Baltic and Black seas that don't present as much of a political nuisance. Ultimately, the emergence of other transit routes will reduce the calming effect that natural gas transit deals have had on the two countries' larger political disputes over hot-button issues like Crimea, eastern Ukraine
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On SecurityDec 3, 2019 | 12:15 GMT
A corporate surveillance team examines security footage of an office entrance.
Your Company’s Data Could Be Most at Risk in the Places You Least Expect
When asked why he robbed banks by a reporter, the notorious robber Willie Sutton apocryphally retorted "because that's where the money is." Sutton later denied having made this remark. But regardless of who (or if) anyone said it, the quote nevertheless highlights a fundamental truth of crime: criminals will select a target that has the item(s) they wish to steal. This same principle also holds true for corporate espionage. Your company's secrets are a target wherever they reside, including (and perhaps especially) in locations assumed to be less at-risk. Because of this, it's important to understand that espionage is a truly global and multifaceted threat -- and requires security programs equally robust in nature and scope to protect sensitive information from malicious actors.
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Contributor PerspectivesNov 29, 2019 | 09:30 GMT
In this photo, authorities raid a fashion storefront in downtown Los Angeles on Sept. 10, 2014, as part of an investigation into the alleged laundering of narcotics profits by Mexican drug cartels.
Tariffs, Sanctions and the Problem of Trade-Based Money Laundering
"Value touches everything," an anti-money laundering specialist once said. This motto conveys the nuanced interconnectivity of supply chains, finance and politics. The "anti" in anti-money laundering is somewhat misleading as simple prohibitions in this area, for the most part, do not work. After all, liquidity often follows the path of least resistance, making a world of dams impractical. Trade-based money laundering (TBML) exploits the fungibility of value in something often referred to as an art form by investigators. TBML schemes can involve misrepresentations of prices, quality or quantity in trade invoices. TBML designs use any good with any value and typically incorporate traditional money laundering methods, such as structured payments, or common laundry tools like shell companies. The challenge of anti-TBML is so widespread and common that some describe it as searching for a needle in a haystack.
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AssessmentsNov 21, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
During the latest protests, the government of Iran has shut off access to the internet in most of the country.
The Growing Power and Threat of Government-Imposed Internet Blackouts
Amid the recent bout of nationwide protests in Iran, government-enforced blackouts have taken more than 90 percent of the country's internet offline and blocked most Iranians from communicating with the outside world. The move has drawn substantial international media attention, and #Internet4Iran has been a worldwide trending topic on Twitter. Tehran blocked the internet during protests in late 2017 and early 2018, but the scale of the current blackouts is unprecedented in Iran. Governments are likely to continue to use internet blackouts for the foreseeable future, especially as they gain more control over internet and mobile networks.
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AssessmentsNov 5, 2019 | 10:30 GMT
Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev listens during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel prior to a meeting on Jan. 21, 2019, in Berlin.
Uzbekistan Comes in From the Cold
For years, isolationism guided Uzbekistan's interactions with the wider world. Now, however, reforms stemming from a political succession in Central Asia's most populous country are reverberating far beyond Tashkent. As part of its political evolution, Uzbekistan has strengthened cooperation within Central Asia while also becoming an increasingly attractive partner for Russia, China, and the United States as they engage in a strategic competition for influence and investment in the region. The opening presents significant opportunities for Uzbekistan to expand its economic and security outreach to its neighborhood, yet the changes also pose risks, as the competition among these larger powers could pull the country in directions it doesn't want to go.
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AssessmentsOct 26, 2019 | 13:31 GMT
Argentina’s economic problems have opened the door to a return of populist policies after the presidential election in October.
In Argentina, an Economic Crisis Portends Political Chaos
In the primary presidential vote on Aug. 11, populist candidate Alberto Fernandez, handily defeated the country's conservative president, Mauricio Macri. For months, polls had given Macri a fair chance of winning the Oct. 27 presidential ballot, and Fernandez's victory caught financial markets largely off guard, deepening the country's economic tailspin.  Instead of using the upset to fight even harder for his reelection, Macri will spend the next few weeks trying to prevent the country's financial situation from deteriorating further. But in doing so, the Argentine president faces a steep uphill battle. This means that the influx of uncertainty now shrouding country's future will likely only get murkier in the lead-up to the October vote -- and probably long after that, should a protectionist government wind up back in Buenos Aires before the year's end. 
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On SecurityOct 22, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
A woman walks in front of an office belonging to the Israeli cybersecurity company, NSO Group, in August 2016 near Tel Aviv.
When Espionage Skills Are for Sale, So Is Your Security
Reports emerged Oct. 16 that UAE-based cybersecurity company DarkMatter recruited officers who had previously worked for Israel's elite cyber intelligence outfit, Unit 8200. Interestingly, the story also noted that many of the Unit 8200 personnel had first worked at the Israeli cybersecurity company NSO Group before reportedly departing the company for larger salaries at DarkMatter. Both NSO Group and DarkMatter have generated a great deal of media coverage for allegedly arming governments with intelligence tools to spy on potential dissidents and journalists, among other targets. These cases, however, undoubtedly only scratch the surface of a much larger threat -- that is, the increasing proliferation of intelligence tools and skills on the open market. Today, more actors than ever can purchase advanced intelligence capabilities, forcing us to reconsider the way we think about, analyze and protect against corporate espionage threats.
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Contributor PerspectivesOct 17, 2019 | 09:30 GMT
This photo shows a protester in Hong Kong waving a banner of support for NBA team executive Daryl Morey.
China Calls a Foul, and the NBA Jumps
A groundbreaking game four decades ago in Beijing gave the NBA a toehold in basketball-crazy China. Over the intervening years, the league has tapped a gold mine in the country worth billions of dollars in TV rights and endorsements. The importance to the NBA of maintaining its Chinese operations became evident in the careful steps it's had to take to escape the political minefield that it found itself thrown into by an executive's tweet over Hong Kong.
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