“From the Farm to the Schoolhouse” with Catherine Bertini

INSCT Faculty Member Catherine Bertini was recently interviewed for the International Food Policy Research Institute’s (IFPRI) Nourishing Millions podcast series.

In the episode, “From the Farm to the Schoolhouse,” Bertini explains how education is central to creating opportunities for girls and women as key players in the effort to end hunger and malnutrition …

… we talk with Catherine Bertini, professor at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and 2003 World Food Prize Laureate, about the many challenges that face women living in low- and middle-income countries today.

Professor Bertini details the role of women as the cooks and caregivers of the household, and laborers within agriculture, dual roles that make them critical to ending hunger and malnutrition. She proposes that girls’ and women’s education is the foremost step to creating not only opportunities for women, but also increasing the agricultural productivity and economic opportunities within their countries.

The episode relates some innovative solutions to ensuring that families keep their daughters in school, and Professor Bertini’s vision of a world in which all women can lead fulfilling lives.

“Proliferating Attacks”: Corri Zoli Discusses Paris & London Terrorism with CNYCentral

Counterterrorism expert talks violent streak abroad

(CNYCentral | June 20, 2017) A day after terror tore through the heart of London yet again, terrorism experts here at home say it’s a reminder that this fight is far from over.
Corri Zoli, a counterterrorism expert at Syracuse University says while the U.S. remains a target, it’s more frequent overseas.

“We’ve had attacks, of course, Orlando for instance, San Bernadino, others. But we haven’t had the kind of proliferating attacks that Europe and Britain have had,” Zoli explained.

Zoli says there are a few reasons why we don’t have them as frequently here in the U.S.

Police here have a better handle on terror threats compared to Europe and the U.K.

“Law enforcement has been on it’s back foot instead of really leaning in to this issue,” said Zoli, “I think it has to do with the present government and the last government reducing the size of law enforcement significantly, which is a huge mistake in the current climate.”

It’s also a matter of geography.

“We have an ocean on either side of protecting us so we have a kind of luck of geography that helps with our security that other European nations do not have,” explained Zoli …

To read the full story, click here.

 

It’s Time to Address the Real Motive in Westminster, Manchester, and Now London: Sectarian Hatred in Our Own Back Yards

By Corri Zoli

(Re-published from The Huffington Post | June 9, 2017) Within 12 hours of the London Bridge attacks on June 3, 2017, Prime Minister Theresa May finally said “enough is enough” and called for an explicit, unapologetic focus on Islamist extremism, which is being incubated in far too many British enclaves—in London, Birmingham, Manchester, and elsewhere.

Admitting what British-based security critics have long known—that “there is far too much tolerance of extremism in our country”—May even asserted “the superiority” of pluralistic British civic values. Better late than never, perhaps, but it is still worrisome that it took the UK government three attacks in under three months, with 30 dead, 10 of whom were under 20 years old, to remember that this (and most) nation’s civic values are better than the jihadists’.

Our prevailing logic—exemplified in the The New York Times—has been exactly backwards. After terrorist attacks, victims of terrorism need not exercise “maximum vigilance” lest we all fall prey to “divisive ethnic, racist and religious hatreds.” It’s extremists who promote and use violence and who are beset by hatred. Salman Abedi killed British teenagers because he views them through a prism of prejudicial hate—their “Western” ethnicity, British nationality, assumed religious beliefs, and secular lifestyles (young girls enjoying music in public). ISIS made this case in Dabiq, “Why We Hate You & Why We Kill You,” just as London Bridge attackers fanned out from their low-tech terrorist van, as per ISIS instructions, to murder pedestrians on the open street. Such bigotry is thus operationalized not only to spread hatred but to kill.

It is time to name the sectarian hatred—against Western culture, minority religions, ethnic groups, gender and sexual identities, and others—that motivates much global terrorism and defines thousands of Islamist organizations. Policymakers who tell us “we will not be divided” are like Alice in Wonderland’s white rabbit—too late. Each attack brings officials who have tumbled down the rabbit hole of confused logic and policy, imploring the public that the best response to murderous hate is unity—something victims never contested. Suspects are scooped up by law enforcement in a brief frenzy, while weaponized systems of sectarian hatred in neighborhoods and networks are left to fester.

Ordinary people are plotted against as “soft targets,” neighbors and family desperately report radicals to authorities that demur, and victims are lectured to by helpless politicians who defend failed policies as the new normal (it’s not). Meanwhile, pub and concert goers, tourists, and school teachers pay the price for authorities’ failed understanding, as they fight off strategic killers in public places with chairs and bottles, while forced to play battlefield medics, using shirts as tourniquets for mortally wounded compatriots.

Thankfully, this empty narrative and emptier policy response is eroding, largely due to public pressure …

To read the whole article, click here.

 

A Darkened Age—The Rule of Law in Protecting Morality and Humanity

By David M. Crane

There is a growling of a discontent, an unrest, just below the surface, festering ready to erupt into a boil of frustration. The salve of the rule of law diluted or unavailable. The world today shifts to the right or spins helpless, struggling to find an anchor, a safe harbor in which to balance itself.

“The world wobbling, citizens looked to new political leaders who promised to restore greatness, an elusive idea that cannot be attained alone in this new century.”

There is no light towards which we can step towards, hopeful that mankind is moving in a direction that is right and proper. Our kaleidoscopic future looms, where tried and true customs and norms shrink from this new thinking of looking inward and away from a global village that was beginning to change the world stage.

In another context we have been here before. For 50 years we saw a stasis that saw the rise of the dictator. The Cold War was a desperate time trying to maintain a balance that would avoid Armageddon. Death and destruction by heads of state against their own citizens was rampant, with little checks against internal struggles. Mankind simply looked the other way as long as loyalty towards one side or the other was maintained. Tens of millions perished, disappearing into the sands of time forgotten as if they never existed.

As the Cold War ended there was a sense of optimism that we had changed for the better, the rule of law began to take hold, the UN taking its intended position of guiding the international community [PDF] towards a real peace and security never attained before. Tyranny shrank before this blinding light and dictators faced accountability. The new millennium held promise, more so than any other millennial event.

It all came crashing down with the towers on September 11, 2001. A fundamental shift took place, at the time seemingly correct, wrapped in a ragged cloth of righteous fury. But the pain of that day stripped away our innocence, our hope, our desire to build a global village where all mankind would benefit. America turned into itself, seemingly trying to lead, to fight against a new and elusive adversary, yet chasing its tail against itself. American civil liberties were challenged. The world watched and stepped away, subtly looking for other leadership and other ways to survive in a world of struggle with a weakened America, the loss of a land that was a bright and shining light that dimmed, barely visible in the storm of extremism that blew across the world.

To survive nation-states began to look for their own solutions seeking new directions. Major international institutions such as the UN, the North American Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union (EU) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) shrank in influence against the onslaught of that extremism. There seemed to be no solutions that were viable. The world wobbling, citizens looked to new political leaders who promised to restore greatness, an elusive idea that cannot be attained alone in this new century. The rise of the nationalistic right a desperate attempt to grasp hold of the fog of this new kaleidoscopic world …

To read the whole article, click here.

Ransomware: Beware the Users, & Other Things As Well

By Christopher Folk (LAW ’17)

Various media outlets have reported a dramatic rise in ransomware attacks, and The New York Times reported that the most recent attacks impacted more than 200,000 machines running the Windows operating systems (OS) across 150 countries.  The Times article posits that hospitals, academic institutions, and technology companies were targeted during this cyberattack. The article goes on to state that it is likely that exercising caution while online may have prevented the malware from infiltrating and infecting the networks from the outset. 

“One would think that the concept of security updates and remaining current with patches would be a no-brainer—clearly that is not the case.”

While the malware has been identified as a “WannaCry” variant, it seems a security update was made available by Microsoft nearly two months ago, according to the article.  Thus, here we see a double-whammy: 1) administrators were not timely in rolling out updates; and 2) users clicked on or opened e-mails which facilitated the spread (this second point is contentious because some security vendors dispute whether or not the payload was delivered using a typical phishing scheme).

What Now?

Ultimately these ransomware attacks typically seem to come down to user behavior.  While IT professionals can implement policies and procedures to ensure that patches and security updates are applied regularly, it is the user who can make or break nearly any policy or procedure. Until artificial intelligence takes over and heuristics rule the day, we will continue to see successful (and yet rudimentary) attacks. AI and heuristics may help in the future, but they won’t help in the here and now. However, the following might: there are procedures that companies and individuals can implement to limit the damage that ransomware can inflict and hopefully avoid paying a ransom for the return of their un-encrypted data.

One would think that the concept of security updates and remaining current with patches would be a no-brainer—clearly that is not the case.  Therefore, “step zero” is to stay on top of this and ensure that all of your computing devices are using the latest supported versions with the latest patches and security updates applied. A standard user then should then practice good “cyber hygiene”: do not click on or open emails from unknown senders and do not click links in e-mails unless they are from a trusted source or do not exhibit any of the tell-tale signs of questionable emails: misspellings, poor grammar usage, a odd-looking link that points to an unknown domain, etc. 

It is equally important that users maintain backups of data that are in traditional backup format and ideally streamed to the backup device so that the backups themselves stay beyond the reach of ransomware. However, as I found in my previous career, a backup is only as good as the restore, and all too often restores are not fully (if at all) tested—and this creates a terrible scenario.  Ideally, a user would have a full-scale disaster recovery (DR) plan; however, these are largely beyond the expertise of the typical user and even some businesses. Without a DR plan both created and tested, companies will continue to find themselves victims of ransomware. To mitigate risk, they will often decide to pay rather than test their restore capabilities for the very first time.

The Takeaways

  • Know thy sender: if you aren’t certain an email is from a trusted source, delete it rather than opening. 
  • The same goes for any links you are sent: type the address to the domain yourself rather than clicking a link you aren’t sure of.
  • Updates and patches: turn on automatic updates, download and install the latest security updates, and check manually on a regular basis to ensure those “automatic” features are working.
  • Backup: if it is worth saving, it is worth backing up.  Don’t forget that with the technological advances of handheld devices, you should ensure that those are backed up as well.
  • Restore: test your restores, make sure you can restore a file, a folder, and an entire device.  Sometimes a “bare-metal restore” is the only option to make sure you can bring your data back online with an entirely new device.

http://blog.cybersecuritylaw.us/2017/05/16/ransomware-beware-the-users-and-other-things-as-well/

Christopher Folk earned his J.D. from Syracuse Law and his CAS in National Security and Counterterrorism Law from INSCT in 2017.

Very Initial Thoughts on the White House Cybersecurity Order

By William C. Snyder

Actual Presidential Executive Order on Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure

Initial thoughts, observations, and questions on the White House Cybersecurity Order …

  • Once again, the NIST Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity is key.
  • Each agency has 90 days to provide a risk management report to the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
  • DHS, OMB, Commerce, General Services, and White House staff then have 60 days to submit to the president a plan to protect the “executive branch enterprise.” Is that coordination or an ability to designate who is in charge?
  • For any national security system, the SecDEF and Director of National Intelligence (DNI) replace DHS and OMB.
  • An even larger group has 180 days to provide a report on protecting critical infrastructure. That group includes the secretary of DHS, secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the DNI, the Director of the FBI, “the heads of appropriate sector-specific agencies,” … “and all other appropriate agency heads.”
  • The order calls for “market transparency of cybersecurity risk management practices by critical infrastructure entities,” presumably so people can vote with their feet. But, much critical infrastructure is either held/run by regulated monopolies or in the public sector. So, consumer choice is minimal and demand will not be elastic based upon transparency of poor cybersecurity practices. This directive may simply amount to public shaming as the enforcement mechanism.
  • A different large group of public agencies is to promote resilience against botnets and the like.
  • The departments of Energy and Homeland Security and DNI office have 90 days to report on securing the electric grid.
  • For the nation in general, “it is the policy of the executive branch to promote an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure internet that fosters efficiency, innovation, communication, and economic prosperity, while respecting privacy and guarding against disruption, fraud, and theft.” Note that one side of the balance is only “disruption, fraud, and theft.” There is no mention there of preventing terrorist communications or contraband such as child pornography.
  • A report on deterring adversaries is required within 90 days.
  • A section entitled “International Cooperation” also calls for reports, but it gives no indication of whether the Administration still supports “multi-stakeholderism” or will shift to “multi-literalism.”
  • For better or worse, the order does not address investigative abilities and criminal enforcement.
  • The order takes a defense posture and does not promote—yet—offensive cybersecurity.

http://blog.cybersecuritylaw.us/2017/05/11/very-initial-thoughts-on-todays-white-house-cybersecurity-order/

100 Days, Trump, & Precaution

By William C. Banks & David M. Driesen

Environmental law embraces the “precautionary principle” as a guide for decision makers in dealing with uncertainty. The precautionary principle supports taking cost effective measures to address catastrophic or irreversible harm even before we have a complete understanding of an environmental threat, lest we act too late. We act on this common-sense principle when we look both ways before crossing a street or purchase insurance before a flood or hurricane occurs.

“Just as we often do not have a complete understanding of potential environmental threats that we must manage, we cannot know for sure what dangers the unpredictable Trump administration may pose to national security.”

The precautionary principle may prove useful in managing the potential threats that an erratic and unpredictable Trump Administration may pose to national security in the next 100 days and beyond. Troubling revelations about the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia and Russian influence on the election dominated much of the first 100 days.

Trump’s surprising decision to bomb Syria in response to a horrific gas attack on civilians and to claim that he was sending an armada to North Korea (when the ships were headed in the opposite direction) have commanded more attention than the Russian ties toward the end of the first 100 days, in spite of a new revelation that a special court found that the government had probable cause to believe that former Trump advisor Carter Page was a Russian agent.

Just as we often do not have a complete understanding of potential environmental threats that we must manage, we cannot know for sure what dangers the unpredictable Trump administration may pose to national security. Trump’s strike against Syria, while widely applauded as an appealing response to a horrific chemical weapons attack, may do more harm than good to our national security by further marginalizing the role of Congress in authorizing military force and causing Russia to repudiate an agreement to avoid interfering with our efforts to defeat Al Queda.

To what extent will Trump’s unconstitutional travel bans aid ISIS and Al Queda recruitment by suggesting that we disrespect Muslims? Will Russia dangerously assume that we will not defend the Ukraine because of Russia’s ties to Donald Trump? And how much damage may future impetuous decisions cause? We just don’t know.

Furthermore, impulsive unilateral measures can cause catastrophic and irreversible harms—the sort of harm that the precautionary principle is designed to address. the President’s bellicose threats to attack North Korea may make for good television sound bites, but they could lead to nuclear war. And by promising to send a battleship toward North Korea whilst it steamed off in another direction, Trump increased the odds of grave miscalculation by adversaries.

Instead of reacting to each new tweet and tick of the Trump administration we should take precautionary measures before irreversible and catastrophic harm takes place. The Constitution places the war power in the Congress precisely to prevent a single person from making decisions that imperil the country. Congress must now exercise its authority to explicitly limit Trump’s discretion to act unilaterally. Congressmen Edward Markey and Ted Lieu have introduced legislation to prohibit first strikes with nuclear weapons. Congress should hold hearings on that bill and consider other limits on Trump’s war power, such as geographic or enemy-specific limits on the use of military force …

To read the full article, click here.

William C. Banks is Director of INSCT. His colleague David M. Driesen is University Professor at SU Law and an expert in environmental law, law and economics, and constitutional law.

Better Alternatives to President Trump’s Foreign Policies

By Louis Kriesberg

(Re-published from OUP Blog | April 16, 2017) President Donald J. Trump has hastily undertaken many misguided foreign policies. They are purported to meet terrible threats; but the threats are misdiagnosed and the crude policies to deal with them are often inconsistent with each other and counter-productive. Going beyond just saying “no,” I will discuss a few core ideas of the constructive conflict approach and relate them to current Trump’s foreign policies and better alternatives.

 “American citizens must resist the current backward steps and work for the better possibilities.”

A primary idea of the approach is that adversaries wage conflicts by various mixtures of non-coercive as well as by coercive inducements. Coercion itself ranges widely in degrees of violence and non-violence. Non-coercion includes diverse forms of persuasion and the provision or promise of benefits for compliance. Trump clearly unduly stresses reliance on military and other forms of coercion. This over reliance in countering the threat of terrorism against the American homeland is particularly misguided. In significant degree, the groups resorting to terrorist attacks are waging an ideological war, which requires recruiting supporters and fighters. Persuading members and potential recruits to such groups that America is not an enemy that aims to harm them is a central element in wining that war. Indeed, America is widely seen in many parts of the world as a model society. It possess great soft power, and was crucial in winning the Cold War. American-Soviet cultural exchanges and other experiences helped undermine Soviet leaders’ faith in their authoritarian Soviet system and seek democratic changes.

Another core idea is that conflicts are socially constructed, since the adversaries seek to define who the enemy is and seek to define themselves. Adversaries contend about these definitions, which undergo changes in the course of a conflict. It is generally useful for an adversary party to characterize the enemy in terms that shrink its size and capacities and characterize itself as large and inclusive. Since each side in a large-scale conflict is heterogeneous, the possibility of splintering the adversary is often present. This and related ideas have important implications for US efforts to defeat ISIS and other such organizations deriving from extremist Islamic thinking. This includes strengthening ties with Muslims in the United States and abroad as well as with the governments of countries with predominantly Muslim populations. Nearly all of them are already hostile to the extremists who claim their radical views of Islam are the only correct one. Another implication is to avoid US immigration policies that target Muslims in any categorical way. That lends credence to Islamic extremists’ accusation that the United States is against all Muslims.

Another core idea is that each conflict inter-connects with many others. Thus, adversaries in smaller conflicts are often also adversaries in larger ones (over time and space) and adversaries in one conflict also engage in different sets of other conflicts. Consequently, a change in salience of one conflict may affect the salience of others, as when a minor enemy moves up to be a major one, new alliances are likely. Bi-lateral relations turn out not to be isolated. Trump is beginning to recognize the problems this can cause, for example in trying to improve bi-lateral relations with Russia. However, there are also opportunities that these complexities can foster constructive conflict transformations. This is the case especially in the Middle East.

Finally, an important constructive conflict idea is that understanding the perspectives of one’s opponents is conducive to better policies. Interestingly, the new Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis (retired Marine General), stresses this. Having expert knowledge of the countries where US officials are engaged should not be limited to bilateral issues. Indeed, such knowledge can help discover shared or complementary interests and thereby transform a conflict.

A major implication of these observations is that the possible contributions of the US State Department are more important than ever. The State Department must play a major role in expanded persuasive efforts on many fronts. It needs to help assess the priority of various foreign issues, utilizing expert knowledge of the foreign actors’ perspectives. Furthermore, much work must be done to alleviate the consequences of wars and prevent their recurrence. Civilians fleeing wars and oppression and entering nearby countries desperately need assistance. The State Department is needed to help build peace in war-devastated countries so that wars do not re-emerge. Yet Trump is dangerously deconstructing the Department of State.

Trump and his close advisers are disrupting many achievements of US foreign policy. The considerable influence of Stephen K. Bannon on Trump regarding these matters is unfortunate. He offers a grand political theory about economic, ethnic, and cultural nationalism, the primacy of sovereignty and borders, and the deconstruction of the administrative state. This theory consists largely of assertions or preferences, but they are not grounded on solid evidence …

To read the full article, click here.

INSCT Afilliated Faculty Member Louis Kriesberg is Maxwell Professor Emeritus of Social Conflict Studies and Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Syracuse University.

The Fist in a Velvet Glove: Hardened Humanitarianism

By David Crane

(Re-published from Jurist | April 21, 2017) The cornerstone to the UN paradigm is to settle disputes peacefully, using force only as a last resort. Yet, restoring international peace and security sometimes requires a hardened approach to ensure that peace and security.

“This hardened approach must be done under law or we weaken our international norms, yet it must be done. Enough is enough in Syria.”

There are decades of international treaties, custom, and precedent that support what I call hardened humanitarianism. When we have to deal with a tyrant, thug, dictator, or rogue head of state who turns on his own citizens, the international community or a member state of that community should step forward with a clear and firm position—stop it or force will be used.

A tyrant only understands one thing—power. When he feels the sting of consequence for his actions that tyrant begins to focus on that use of force against him. The use of this more hardened approach in using force to stop a tyrant’s actions will cause that tyrant to pause, to consider his next steps.

Appeasement in the face of tyranny never works. History is replete with anecdotal evidence of this from the Armenian genocide to the Sudetenland. A hardened policy of seeking a peaceful dialog with the assurance of a forceful resolution, should that dialog fail, makes for a more meaningful discourse.

Our international legal and policy system has drawn lines related to protecting civilians in a conflict and banning certain type of weapons systems per se. Most, if not all, states parties have signed onto these norms. We don’t have to be histrionic when a tyrant ignores these clear lines beating our chests with empty words. When that tyrant steps over a line hit them hard, use force, show the world there are consequences!

US action against Al Qaeda after they attacked the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania are examples of facing down the lawless elements of our society under the international legal concept of reprisal. In 2005 the world came together to create a doctrine that laid down a marker that declared that the international community has a right to step in to block a tyrant or head of state who is turning against his own citizens committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. Called the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), the doctrine was a clarion call to arms should there be alleged violations of international law.

Unfortunately, R2P has fallen short of the ideal based on the political perception that it is a doctrine that can be easily used by various powers against weaker nation states for alleged violations. Despite this the principle idea of this responsibility to protect citizens from their own leaders remains.

The long and tragic kaleidoscopic conflict that is Syria has now gone beyond peaceful resolution. A hardened sense of humanity calls for continued cruise missiles strikes and other military action every time Assad crosses the lines laid out under international norms. Kaleidoscopic conflict is fast becoming a new concept in the dirty little wars of the 21st century. Old doctrines for war fighting and the legal set of rules that surround warfare that have been tested over time are being challenged at all levels. Just when planners think there is a viable course of action developing related to a conflict, such as in Syria, one thing changes and everything changes, hence the term kaleidoscopic. This impacts on what is called the deliberate planning cycle in modern parlance throwing out how international and domestic organizations plan for and deal with conflict on a day to day basis.

At the end of the day we are beginning to face situations where there is no solution under current policy and doctrine. This gives us pause as to how to advise world leaders in dealing with any given conflict. This pause can allow a tragedy, such as in Syria, to go on and on without any foreseeable ending.

These dirty little wars have a direct impact on how parties to a conflict deal with civilians found in and around the battlefield. One of the key cornerstone concepts of the international humanitarian law is that civilians are to be protected and that the intentional targeting of a civilian is a war crime plain and simple. We see around the globe today parties to a conflict flagrantly ignoring this key legal concept. With no apparent repercussion to these attacks on civilians, actors move about the battlefield with impunity. Again this is the conflict in Syria, but can be seen also in the fighting in South Sudan. This is why a more hardened approach to our humanitarian principle of using force where legally appropriate will cause actors to pause and reconsider wholesale destruction in any given conflict.

This hardened approach must be done under law or we weaken our international norms, yet it must be done. Enough is enough in Syria. States parties who for whatever reason give that tyrant support should also be dealt with for their aiding and abetting of international crimes with legal sanctions …

To read the full article, click here.