Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO, likely didn’t set out to steal anyone’s thunder — but it was hard for anyone at the G7 Summit in Germany to ignore the man on Monday.
Affable, seemingly awkward sometimes, the former prime minister of Norway has been a steady, usually unflappable presence on the international stage, especially during the years when Donald Trump was U.S. president.
In typical understated fashion, he peeled back the curtain on anticipated decisions by NATO leaders later this week in Madrid, Spain
When one says 300,000 Western troops, drawn from 30 countries, will be put on a higher state of readiness; it’s fair to say people would sit up and take notice, especially with the horrors of Ukraine on full display and Russia’s waving around of nuclear missiles last spring.
The announcement is almost an eight-fold increase in the size of the NATO response force, up from the existing 40,000 troops, aircrew and sailors.
Separately, but in tandem, the Western military alliance plans to turn its eight battalion-sized battle-groups already in Eastern Europe on Russia’s border — including the one led by Canadians in Latvia — into full combat brigades, effectively doubling their size, depending on the contingent and their composition.
Stocks of extra military equipment will be sprinkled at pre-positioned points across Europe and taken up by tens of thousands of reinforcements that would be rushed to the continent’s eastern flank with Russia in the event of a crisis.
“Together, this constitutes the biggest overhaul of our collective deterrence and defence since the Cold War,” Stoltenberg said at NATO headquarters on Monday.
All of it will have profound implications, especially for Canada.
‘Canada has already stepped up:’ Stoltenberg
Both Britain and Germany, which lead the multinational battle-groups in the other two Baltic states — Lithuania and Estonia — have already signaled they intend to beef up their presence in the countries where they have troops.
Canada has been silent.
Originally conceived as a reassuring presence for Eastern European allies unnerved by Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, the battle groups have been described somewhat pejoratively as “trip wires” for NATO; big enough to buy time, but only that.
Since the invasion of Ukraine, Baltic leaders have demanded something more substantive.
Canada and Spain had been the two biggest troop contributors to Latvia for almost five years, but following the full-on invasion of Ukraine, Denmark dispatched several hundred reinforcements to the country.
NATO is looking to those countries first to further fill out the ranks in Latvia, and to Canada in particular as the leader of the force.
Watch: Western military aid to Ukraine ‘not sufficient’: NATO Secretary General:
Perhaps even more politically and institutionally troubling for Canada will be the expectations surrounding the increase to the NATO response force and the demand that troops be kept at a higher state of readiness.
“To do this, we will need to invest more,” Stoltenberg said.
Last winter, Defence Minister Anita Anand indicated 3,400 soldiers, sailors and aircrew were set aside under the old NATO reinforcement plan.
Speaking to CBC News Network’s Power & Politics late Monday, Stoltenberg said there are expectations Canada will have to meet.
“There will be specific targets for different countries, including Canada,” he said. “I’m not able to share with you the exact number for Canada now, but what I can say is that Canada has already stepped up.”
Recruiting challenges in the Canadian Forces
Canada did dispatch modest reinforcements to Latvia — an artillery battery — last spring.
Last weekend, the Department of National Defence quietly let it be known that two of its coastal defence vessels, ships originally conceived as minesweepers (HMCS Summerside and HMCS Kingston), were joining NATO’s deterrence mission in Europe, bringing the total number of Canadian navy ships in the region to four.
However, it is in the demand that troops be kept at higher state readiness, where the real ponying up of cash will have to take place.
Being ready means being trained and being trained costs money and there has to be troops, aircrew and sailors around to exercise and the Canadian military faces recruiting challenges.
The country’s top military commander, Gen. Wayne Eyre, told a defence conference last fall that it could take up to seven years for the Canadian military’s recruitment efforts to recover from the fallout of both the sexual misconduct crisis and the pandemic.
Figures presented last fall showed the full-time military was 7,500 people short of its required strength — an enormous gap in a regular force of around 70,000.
Filling the ranks is going to be expensive and time consuming.
Last spring, Eyre said the readiness level of the military was “one of the things that keeps me awake at night,.”
The federal budget, tabled last spring, boosts defence spending by $8 billion over five years.
Stéfanie von Hlatky, an associate professor and defence policy expert at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., said the bulking up of NATO forces in Eastern Europe had been expected, but she wonders how nations will react when the bills start coming in.
Political cohesion across the alliance, not just in Canada, will be a problem, she said.
“I believe people’s assessments of the situation when they say it’s going to be a long war and this is exactly why I identified political cohesion as the foremost challenge to NATO going forward,” von Hlaky said. “Because even though in the short term everyone has rallied [around Ukraine and NATO’s response], in the long term, it’s really unpredictable to see how that political unity will be maintained.”
That political unity will be further tested as Canada faces increased pressure to meet NATO’s benchmark goal of spending two per cent of its gross domestic product on defence.
“I expect all allies, including Canada, to invest more and to meet the two percent guideline,” Stoltenberg said.
At the moment, Canada spends 1.5 per cent of its GDP on defence and more significantly has no clear, stated plan to reach the alliance’s goal.
Beware the Darkverse and the Cyber-Physical Threats it Will Enable
DALLAS, August 8, 2022 – Trend Micro Incorporated (TYO: 4704; TSE: 4704), a global cybersecurity leader, today released a new report warning of a “darkverse” of criminality hidden from law enforcement, which could quickly evolve to fuel a new industry of metaverse-related cybercrime.
To read a full copy of the report, Metaverse or MetaWorse? Cyber Security Threats Against the Internet of Experiences, please visit: https://www.trendmicro.com/vinfo/us/security/news/cybercrime-and-digital-threats/metaworse-the-trouble-with-the-metaverse.
The top five metaverse threats outlined in the report are:
- NFTs will be hit by phishing, ransom, fraud and other attacks, which will be increasingly targeted as they become an important metaverse commodity to regulate ownership.
- The darkverse will become the go-to place for conducting illegal/criminal activities because it will be difficult to trace, monitor and infiltrate by law enforcement. In fact, it may be years before police catch up.
- Money laundering using overpriced metaverse real estate and NFTs will provide a new outlet for criminals to clean cash.
- Social engineering, propaganda and fake news will have a profound impact in a cyber-physical world. Influential narratives will be employed by criminals and state actors targeting vulnerable groups who are sensitive to certain topics.
- Privacy will be redefined, as metaverse-like space operators will have unprecedented visibility into user actions – essentially when using their worlds, there will be zero privacy as we know it.
Bill Malik, vice president of infrastructure strategies for Trend Micro: “The metaverse is a multibillion-dollar hi-tech vision that will define the next internet era. Although we don’t know exactly how it will develop, we need to start thinking now about how it will be exploited by threat actors. Given the high costs and jurisdictional challenges, law enforcement will struggle to police the metaverse in general in its early years. The security community must step in now or risk a new Wild West to develop on our digital doorstep.”
As imagined by Trend Micro, the darkverse will resemble a metaverse version of the dark web, enabling threat actors to coordinate and carry out illegal activities with impunity.
Underground marketplaces operating in the darkverse would be impossible for police to infiltrate without the correct authentication tokens. Because users can only access a darkverse world if they’re inside a designated physical location, there’s an additional level of protection for closed criminal communities.
This could provide a haven for multiple threats to flourish—from financial fraud and e-commerce scams to NFT theft, ransomware and more. The cyber-physical nature of the metaverse will also open new doors to threat actors.
Cybercriminals might look to compromise the “digital twin” spaces run by critical infrastructure operators, for sabotage or extortion of industrial systems. Or they could deploy malware to metaverse users’ full body actuator suits to cause physical harm. Assault of avatars has already been reported on several occasions.
Although a fully-fledged metaverse is still some years away, metaverse-like spaces will be commonplace much sooner. Trend Micro’s report seeks to start an urgent dialog about what cyber threats to expect and how they could be mitigated.
Questions to start asking include:
- How will we moderate user activity and speech in the metaverse? And who will be responsible?
- How will copyright infringements be policed and enforced?
- How will users know whether they’re interacting with a real person or a bot? Will there be a Turing Test to validate AI/humans?
- Is there a way to safeguard privacy by preventing the metaverse from becoming dominated by a few large tech companies?
- How can law enforcement overcome the high costs of intercepting metaverse crimes at scale, and solve issues around jurisdiction?
About Trend Micro
Trend Micro, a global cybersecurity leader, helps make the world safe for exchanging digital information. Fueled by decades of security expertise, global threat research, and continuous innovation, Trend Micro’s cybersecurity platform protects hundreds of thousands of organizations and millions of individuals across clouds, networks, devices, and endpoints. As a leader in cloud and enterprise cybersecurity, the platform delivers a powerful range of advanced threat defense techniques optimized for environments like AWS, Microsoft, and Google, and central visibility for better, faster detection and response. With 7,000 employees across 65 countries, Trend Micro enables organizations to simplify and secure their connected world. www.TrendMicro.com
Mike Tyson up in arms with Hulu claims it stole his story
Los Angeles, United States of America (USA)- Former heavyweight boxing champion, Mike Tyson, has accused American streaming service, Hulu, of making a biographical series about his life without his approval and providing him with compensation.
In an Instagram post, Tyson made it clear that he doesn’t support the series, called Mike, and said that Hulu is the streaming version of the slave master.
“Don’t let Hulu fool you. I don’t support their story about my life. It’s not 1822. It’s 2022. They stole my life story and didn’t pay me. To Hulu executives, I am just a n—– they can sell on the auction block.
Hulu tried to desperately pay my brother (UFC president) Dana White millions without offering me a dollar to promote their slave master take-over story about my life. He turned it down because he honours friendship and treats people with dignity. I will never forget what he did for me just like I will never forget what Hulu stole from me.
Hulu stole my story. They are Goliath and I am David. Heads will roll for this. Hulu is the streaming version of the slave master. They stole my story and didn’t pay me. Hulu’s model of stealing the life rights of celebrities is egregiously greedy.
(Neither) Hulu nor any of their supercilious team ever tried to engage in any negotiations with this black man. In their eyes, I am still just a n—– on the auction block ready to be sold for their profit without any regard for my worth or my family. They say this story is an exploration of a black man. It’s more like an exploitation of a black man.
Hulu thinks their tracks are covered by hiring black sacrificial lambs to play the part of frontmen for their backdoor robbery is appalling, but I will always remember this blatant disregard of my dignity.
Someone should get fired from Hulu. Producers were lying to my friends saying I supported the unauthorized series about my life,” said Tyson in an Instagram post.
The eight-episode season of Mike which is set to premiere on the 25th of August stars Michael Jai White, George C. Scott, Paul Winfield, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, and Tony Lo Bianco. The show is directed by Uli Edel.
According to Hulu, Mike is an eight-episode limited series, which explores the tumultuous ups and downs of Tyson’s boxing career and personal life from being a beloved global athlete to a pariah and back again.
Chad’s military junta signs ceasefire agreement with over 40 rebel groups
Doha, Qatar- Chad‘s military junta has signed a ceasefire agreement with more than 40 rebel groups.
The national reconciliation talks are planned for August 20. Ahead of those talks, the military government in Chad vowed to not take any military or police operations against the signing groups in countries neighboring Chad.
Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, told those at the national reconciliation talks that other groups will join the march of reconciliation and peace, with a view to achieving the aspirations and dreams of the Chadian people.
“The initial peace agreement we are celebrating today will be an important turning point towards stability and prosperity for the Chadian people,” said Al Thani.
Besides the ceasefire, the agreement signed on Monday includes a disarmament program, amnesty and the safe return of rebels outside Chad, the end of recruitment by rebel groups, and the release of prisoners on both sides.
Nevertheless, the signing of the agreement was overshadowed by the absence of Chad’s most powerful armed group, the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), which refused to join in the accord, making any prospects for a return to stability all the more uncertain.
FACT said in a statement ahead of the ceremony that it rejects the accord that will be put to signatories on Monday, calling for a new committee to organize new talks and saying participants in the national dialogue would not be treated equally.
The Union of Resistance Forces, which tried to oust the elder Déby in 2019 by sending a column of fighters in 50 pickup trucks from Libya only to be beaten back by French airstrikes signed the agreement, but another powerful group, the Military Command Council for the Salvation of the Republic, rejected the pledge.
After Chad’s longtime autocratic ruler, Idriss Déby, died while fighting against rebels in April last year, his son Gen. Mahamat Idriss Déby seized power and vowed to lead the country through an 18-month transition period.
Human rights organizations have criticized Déby for a broad crackdown on peaceful protests and the arrests of hundreds of members and supporters of the opposition.
“Chad’s significant military commitments in the fight against terror have meant that the international community has felt comfortable turning a blind eye to the serious human rights violations in the country,” said Human Rights Watch’s director for Central Africa, Lewis Mudge.
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