To begin with, it must be recognized that all legal travellers to-and-from nations of intelligence interest are subjects of inquiry by US intelligence services, principally the CIA and FBI. However, other instruments of government security such as DEA and the various military intelligence agencies, as well as other governmental services that have international briefs, are also authorized to gather appropriate, and ofttimes classified, information on activities of foreign and domestic travellers. In fact, depending on interest in and personal ability to proceed, all major nations, and to some degree and interest, even minor nations pursue the same activity.
In this regard, travel to and business negotiations with Russia by Donald Trump and his various representatives would naturally be a matter of interest for US embassy personnel assigned to track such contacts. Continue reading →
A pair of Gizmodo stories have prompted journalists to ask questions about Facebook’s power to manipulate political opinion in an already heated election year. If the claims are accurate, Facebook contractors have depressed some conservative news, and their curatorial hand affects the Facebook Trending list more than the public realizes. Mark Zuckerberg took to his Facebook page yesterday to argue that Facebook does everything possible to be neutral and that there are significant procedures in place to minimize biased coverage. He also promises to look into the accusations.
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This year’s World Water Day, on March 22, provides an opportunity to highlight what in many countries has become a grim reality: The availability of fresh water is increasingly a defining strategic factor in regional and global affairs. Unless water resources are managed with extraordinary care, the consequences could be devastating.
Last year, the United Nations World Water Development Report once again highlighted how the growing gap between supply and demand could create conflict. The World Economic Forum has ranked water crises as the most worrying global threat, more dangerous than terrorist attacks or financial meltdowns, and more likely to occur than the use of weapons of mass destruction. And research by the Strategic Foresight Group has shown the importance of wise management: Countries engaged in the joint stewardship of water resources are exceedingly unlikely to go to war.
The Middle East serves as a tragic example of what can happen when regional cooperation is lacking. Iraq, Syria, and Turkey have fought over every cubic meter of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. All have lost as a result. Non-state actors control important parts of the two river basins. And water shortages have aggravated the region’s refugee crisis (itself the apotheosis of poor governance).
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