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Ara 06, 2019, 06:32 ÖÖ
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Başlatan Karabasan, Tem 13, 2019, 12:04 ÖÖ
Tem 13, 2019, 12:04 ÖÖ
MIDDLE EAST DICTATORS BUY SPY TECH FROM COMPANY LINKED TO IBM AND GOOGLE
IT IS THE size of a small suitcase and can be placed discreetly in the back of a car. When the device is powered up, it begins secretly monitoring hundreds of cellphones in the vicinity, recording people's private conversations and vacuuming up their text messages.
The device is one of several spy tools manufactured by a Chinese company called Semptian, which has supplied the equipment to authoritarian governments in the Middle East and North Africa, according to two sources with knowledge of the company's operations.
As The Intercept first
reported on Thursday
, since 2015, Semptian has been using American technology to help build more powerful surveillance and censorship equipment, which it sells to governments under the guise of a front company called iNext.
Semptian is collaborating with IBM and leading U.S. chip manufacturer Xilinx to advance a breed of microprocessors that enable computers to analyze vast amounts of data more quickly. The Chinese firm is a member of an American organization called the OpenPower Foundation, which was founded by Google and IBM executives with the aim of trying to "drive innovation."
Semptian, Google, and Xilinx did not respond to requests for comment. The OpenPower Foundation said in a statement that it "does not become involved, or seek to be informed, about the individual business strategies, goals or activities of its members," due to antitrust and competition laws. An IBM spokesperson said that his company "has not worked with Semptian on joint technology development," and refused to answer further questions.
Semptian's equipment is
China's ruling Communist Party regime covertly monitor the internet and cellphone activity of up to 200 million people across the East Asian country, sifting through vast amounts of private data every day.
But the company's reach extends far beyond China. In recent years, it has been marketing its technologies globally.
After receiving tips from confidential sources about Semptian's role in mass surveillance, a reporter contacted the company using an assumed name and posing as a potential customer. In emails, a Semptian representative confirmed that the company had provided its surveillance tools to security agencies in the Middle East and North Africa -- and said it had fitted a mass surveillance system in an unnamed country, creating a digital dragnet across its entire population.
The mass surveillance system, named Aegis, is designed to monitor phone and internet use. It can "store and analyze unlimited data" and "show the connections of everyone," according to
provided by the company.
"We have installed Aegis in other countries [than China] and covered the whole country," stated Semptian's Zhu Wenying in an April email. He declined to provide names of the countries where the equipment has been installed, saying it was "highly sensitive, we are under very strict [nondisclosure agreement]."
Similar equipment has been used for years by Western intelligence agencies and police. However, thanks in part to companies like Semptian, the technology is increasingly finding its way into the hands of security forces in undemocratic countries where dissidents are jailed, tortured, and in some cases executed.
"We've seen regular and shocking examples of how surveillance is being used by governments around the world to stay in power by targeting activists, journalists, and opposition members," said Gus Hosein, executive director of London-based human rights group Privacy International. "Industry is selling the whole stack of surveillance capability at the network, service, city, and state levels. Chinese firms appear to be the latest entrants into this
of influence and data exploitation."
Asked whether there were any countries it would refuse to deal with in the Middle East and North Africa, Zhu wrote that Iran and Syria were the only two places that were off limits. The company was apparently willing to work with other countries in the region -- such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Sudan, and Egypt -- where governments routinely abuse human rights, cracking down on freedom of speech and peaceful protest.
Documents show that Semptian is currently offering governments the opportunity to purchase four different systems:
Aegis, Semptian's flagship system, is designed to be installed inside phone and internet networks, where it is used to secretly collect people's email records, phone calls, text messages, cellphone locations, and web browsing histories. Governments in most countries have the power to legally compel phone and internet providers to install such equipment.
Semptian claims that Aegis offers "a full view to the virtual world," enabling government spies to see "location information for everyone in the country." It can also "block certain information [on the] internet from being visited," censoring content that governments do not want their citizens to see.
The Owlet and Falcon devices are smaller scale; they are portable and focus only on cellphone communications. They are the size of a suitcase and can be operated from a vehicle, for example, or from an apartment overlooking a city square.
When the Owlet device is activated, it begins tapping into cellphone calls and text messages that are being transmitted over the airwaves in the immediate area. Semptian's documents state that the Owlet has the capacity to monitor 200 different phones at any one time.
"Massive interception is used to intercept voice and SMS around the system within the coverage range," states a document describing Owlet. It adds that there is an "SMS keyword filtering" feature, suggesting that authorities can target people based on particular phrases or words they mention in their messages.
The Falcon system, unlike Owlet, does not have the capability to eavesdrop on calls or texts. Instead, it is designed to track the location of targeted cellphones over an almost 1-mile radius and can pinpoint them to within 5 meters, similar in function to a device known as a
, used by U.S. law enforcement.
When Falcon is powered up, it will "force all nearby mobile phones and other cellular data devices to connect to it," and can help government authorities "find out the exact house which the targets [are] hiding in," according to Semptian's
Falcon comes equipped with a smaller, pocket-size device that can be used by a government agent to pursue people on foot, tracking down the location of their cellphones to within 1 meter.
The fourth system Semptian sells to governments, HawkEye, is a portable, camera-based platform that incorporates facial recognition technology. It is designed to be placed in any location to create a "temporary surveillance scene," the company's
HawkEye scans people as they walk past the camera and compares images of their faces to photographs contained in "multi-million-level databases" in real time, triggering an alert if a particular suspect is identified.
Zhu, the Semptian employee, wrote that some of these tools had been provided to authorities in the Middle East and North Africa region, known as MENA. "Aegis, Falcon and HawkEye are our new solutions for [law enforcement agency] users," wrote Zhu. "All the three products have successful stories and some in MENA."
Elsa Kania, an adjunct senior fellow at the
Center for a New American Security
, a policy think tank, said that Semptian's exports appear to fit with a broader trend, which has seen Chinese companies export surveillance and censorship technologies in an effort to tap into new markets while also promoting China ideologically.
"The Chinese Communist Party seeks to bolster and support regimes that are not unlike itself," Kania said. "It is deeply concerning, because we are seeing rapid diffusion of technologies that, while subject to abuses in democracies, are even more problematic in regimes where there aren't checks and balances and an open civil society."
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Tem 13, 2019, 01:39 ÖÖ
A Spy Case Exposes China's Power Play in Central Asia
In a top-secret operation earlier this year, Kazakh counterintelligence officers swooped in on a Soviet-era apartment block and detained a senior government adviser on charges of spying for China.
Months later, the authorities did something unusual. They allowed information about the case to leak in local media, a rare instance of open push back against Beijing's growing influence in Central Asia's largest and richest country.
The arrest of Konstantin Syroyezhkin--a former Soviet KGB agent accused of passing classified documents to Chinese agents, according to people with knowledge of the investigation--comes as Kazakhstan's leaders struggle to balance a hunger for Chinese investment with fears of encroachment by their giant eastern neighbor.
"By making this story public, the Kazakhs are sending China a message--not to get too bold in Kazakhstan or go too far," said Vasily Kashin, a China expert at Moscow's Higher School of Economics.
For decades after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan's leaders have tried to juggle relationships with the West along with ties to their old paymasters in Moscow. But in recent years China has emerged as a new and powerful player in what is now a three-way balancing act.
Kazakhstan's new president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, elected last month after being tapped by longtime leaderNursultan Nazarbayev as his successor, has pledged to maintain the equilibrium among Chinese, Russian and Western interests. Mr. Tokayev is fluent in Russian, Chinese and English.
In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Tokayev described China as an important strategic partner. "We enjoy a very close relationship in the economic area," he said. "At the same time, we're developing our political cooperation.
But the arrest of Mr. Syroyezhkin, one of the former Soviet Union's foremost China experts, on espionage charges exposes Kazakhstan's growing unease over China's clout, and its deepening sense of vulnerability sitting at the crossroads of Asia.
The country stretches from China's western border to the easternmost reaches of Europe. It was here that Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the launch of his country's Belt and Road Initiative in 2013.
China was one of Kazakhstan's top investors last year, and people close to the government say loans from Chinese state banks and lending institutions to the Kazakh state have skyrocketed to tens of billions of dollars. But now Kazakh officials say China is trying to take advantage of those economic ties to boost its political influence, and they are trying to impose some boundaries.
The Kazakh Foreign Ministry has said China is an important partner in the Central Asian country's attempt to balance relations with Russia and the West, but a spokesman wasn't available to comment on whether China was taking advantage of its growing clout.
China's Foreign Ministry didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
"China's presence in Kazakhstan, the investments they're making, it's become a divisive issue, and fears are growing that they're getting too powerful," said Ruslan Izimov, a China expert at the Institute of World Economics and Politics in the capital of Nur-Sultan, which advises the Kazakh government.
Among other things, Beijing recently lobbied Kazakhstan's government to allow Chinese security contractors to operate in Kazakh territory, according to one person with knowledge of the negotiations, a thought anathema to the Kazakh security services.
In some instances, Chinese businessmen have demanded holdings in Kazakh companies to keep up the flow of loans for big projects, the same person said. It is unclear how the negotiations progressed.
China responded to the allegation that Mr. Syroyezhkin spied for Beijing by describing it as a "piece of news created out thin air," a foreign ministry official said.
The U.S. presence in Central Asia has faded. Moscow has tried, with limited success, to counter Chinese economic influence by exercising its longstanding political ties to the former Soviet state, but even Russian officials privately say they feel their influence in Kazakhstan waning.
The case against Mr. Syroyezhkin could serve as a warning shot. It is likely to be popular in Kazakhstan, where analysts say anti-Chinese sentiment is growing among some parts of the population because of China's harsh crackdown on Muslim Uighurs directly across the border in China's northwestern Xinjiang region.
As many as a million Uighurs have been forced into re-education and labor camps, which doesn't sit well with Kazakhs, many of whom share cultural, linguistic and religious ties with the Uighurs. Some ethnic Kazakhs have also been interned in the camps. Nationwide protests in 2016 forced the Kazakh government to abandon plans to sell land to Chinese.
"The government right now doesn't want to publicize its ties with China, because it's a sensitive issue," said Mr. Izimov, the China expert at Kazakhstan's Institute of World Economics and Politics.
President Tokayev in his interview rejected suggestions that anti-Chinese sentiment was widespread, dismissing it as a relic of the past.
Yet while commercial ties with China are flourishing, accounting for a 12% of Kazakhstan's total trade and growing, a chill has slowed some of the larger state-backed Chinese-funded projects, including plans for a light-rail system in the capital. A separate $27 billion investment program between Chinese and Kazakh companies has all but collapsed.
The case against Mr. Syroyezhkin, who holds both Kazakh and Russian citizenship, threatens to strain relations further. He was arrested on Feb. 19 in his hometown, Almaty.
People with knowledge of the investigation say it revolves around accusations that he passed secret documents to people associated with Chinese intelligence. Others familiar with the investigation say Mr. Syroyezhkin might also have received cash as payment.
In his role as a top adviser on relations with China, he counseled Mr. Tokayev, who was then prime minister, on negotiations with Chinese officials over the demarcation of the Kazakh-Chinese border. Mr. Syroyezhkin has written extensively on China and was considered one of the foremost experts on Beijing in the former Soviet Union.
Kazakhstan's security agency couldn't be reached for comment. Mr. Syroyezhkin and his defense team also couldn't be reached.
China runs extensive espionage and intelligence-gathering operations across Asia, Europe and the U.S., where Chinese agents have used offers of cash and other rewards to recruit Americans to spy for them.
U.S. courts have convicted people of acting as agents for China, and Beijing has also run intelligence operations in Russia, a country it considers a strategic partner. In Russia and Kazakhstan, semiofficial Chinese think tanks play a role in reaching out to people viewed as potential assets, followed by requests for information and promises of cash.
"It's a standard practice for them when working to recruit agents, and it works in Kazakhstan as well as anywhere else," said Mr. Kashin, the China expert at Moscow's Higher School of Economics.
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Tem 14, 2019, 07:33 ÖÖ
A NEW IDEA FOR FIGHTING CHINESE THEFT OF AMERICAN DEFENSE TECHNOLOGY
China is engaged in an organized effort to mass-produce counterfeit goods for resale abroad. This counterfeiting and copyright and trademark infringement harms America's business owners, consumers, inventors, investors, and workers. China's
campaign of theft
simultaneously seeks to obtain U.S. military technology to gain a decisive material advantage in a future armed conflict. To fight back, the U.S. government should allow American plaintiffs suffering intellectual property misappropriation and infringement by foreigners to file suit in the legal jurisdiction of Washington, D.C. if the copyrights, trade secrets, or patents in question are subject to defense export controls.
Trade talks between Beijing and Washington
are at an impasse
, and the related issue of Chinese theft of American intellectual property
, with the United States
requesting hundreds of changes to Chinese law
on this topic, according to China. What if President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump ultimately cannot reach agreement on this issue?
As diplomats negotiate, the theft of intellectual property continues. The 2015 agreement between President Barack Obama and President Xi regarding economic cyberespionage against commercial targets appears to have reduced theft somewhat, but a senior U.S. intelligence official stated in 2018 that China continues to
violate aspects of the accord
In 2017, President Trump released
Executive Order 13773,
which tasked the administration and the U.S. intelligence community with determining the impact of transnational organized crime, including intellectual property theft, on the United States. The resulting report, which was not made public, revealed a significant impact on American prosperity and serious distortions of the U.S. economy from intellectual property theft. Overall losses from intellectual property theft alone -- much of which is attributable to China -- are as much as $600 billion a year, nearly equivalent to the gross domestic product of Switzerland. Similarly, malicious cyber activity alone
between $57 billion and $109 billion in 2016, according to the Council of Economic Advisers.
While many countries engage in cyberespionage for commercial purposes, including U.S. allies, America's defense industrial base is a primary target of China's campaign of theft, which presents a special danger. A dramatic
U.S. Navy report
earlier this year asserted that China derives from cyberespionage "an incalculable near- and long-term military advantage… altering the calculus of global power."
that work with the Navy are under attack, as well. A senior official described the Navy as "under siege. People think it's much like a deathly virus -- if we don't do anything, we could die." An executive of cybersecurity firm FireEye aptly described this Chinese hacking as "preparation for great power conflict."
Despite the significant national security impact of intellectual property theft and cyberespionage, federal penalties for these crimes are minimal compared to those for other serious crimes, such as narcotics trafficking or terrorism.
trade secret theft
carry maximum sentences of one to ten years, whereas drug and terror crimes routinely and appropriately result in decades-long sentences. For example, in March, two Baltimore drug dealers received sentences of thirty years and life in prison, respectively, and in June, a New York City man received a sentence of twenty years for attempting to join the Islamic State.
U.S. laws have not
with the pace of technology or with adversaries' use of intellectual property theft as an instrument of national strategy. For example, neither computer fraud nor the violation of digital copyrights can form the basis of a prosecution under the
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations
(RICO) statute, and the law
wiretaps in criminal investigations does not provide for warrants to discover evidence of intellectual property theft.
Fixing these intellectual property issues in current trade negotiations may prove out of reach. A comprehensive trade deal encompassing both the issue of intellectual property theft and the $419 billion annual trade imbalance will be difficult to reach. The United States may lack sufficient leverage to exert its will on China for reasons of neglect decades in the making. It will remain so until the United States repairs its public finances, eliminates or accepts North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's nuclear arms and intercontinental missiles, and rebuilds naval assets needed by Indo-Pacific Command's Third and Seventh Fleets.
Economically, politically, and militarily, America's strength vis-a-vis China is at a low ebb. China holds
over $1 trillion
in U.S. federal debt, while the projected U.S. federal budget deficit for 2019 is
$910 billion and rising
. Beijing's diplomatic assistance is key to Washington's ongoing efforts to denuclearize China's neighbor and client, North Korea. The 289-ship U.S. Navy is both smaller than China's 400-ship navy and stretched farther afield, with responsibilities in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans along with several seas, rather than just the western Pacific.
As a result of the power imbalance and the complexity of the deal, a broad economic agreement encompassing both trade and intellectual property may be impossible to reach. But that does not mean that the United States must fail to address the issue of intellectual property theft: It can and should act unilaterally to do so.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the rest of the U.S. intelligence community lack experience in civil litigation, while the civil division of the Justice Department lacks the inclination or resources to pursue complex and long-term lawsuits in the area of cyberespionage. With cybersecurity and law enforcement measures clearly insufficient to deter or defeat Chinese espionage and intellectual property theft against U.S. victims, America's business community and private practice law community need to enter this fight. The U.S. government should remove the obstacle standing in their way.
Under current federal law, any suit alleging patent or copyright infringement must be filed in the judicial district in which the defendant resides, or in the district where they committed infringement and have a regular
place of business
. This makes sense for garden-variety commercial disputes between American businesses. It usefully prevents "venue shopping" for plaintiff-friendly districts, in which lawyers seeking to pursue claims find reasons to file them in pro-plaintiff jurisdictions.
However, the current geography-based structure for intellectual property lawsuits makes little sense in cases wherein Americans are burgled by foreign companies acting as government proxies executing national policy. Intellectual property theft by old-fashioned burglary may happen abroad or the theft may take place online via a keystroke in Shanghai by the
Third People's Liberation Army's Unit 61398
and parastatal actors. Yet most foreign courts are unlikely to be fair venues for American civil plaintiffs seeking to be made whole by pursuing politically sensitive claims, especially those involving defense technology.
This is especially true in China. While some progress has been made recently, and some Chinese provincial jurisdictions appear to be
to foreign civil litigants than others, damages for intellectual property theft under Chinese law are still limited, and in the end, Chinese
report to the Chinese Communist Party. As a 2018
by the United States Trade Representative put it, notwithstanding recent positive developments, "China remains a hazardous and uncertain environment for U.S. right holders hoping to protect and enforce their IP rights," as "interventions by local government officials, powerful local interests, and the Chinese Communist Party remain obstacles to the independence of the courts and rule of law."
To help counteract the Chinese threat, the U.S. government should amend the relevant statute --
Section 1400, Title 28, of the U.S. Code
. American plaintiffs who suffer intellectual property theft should be allowed to file suit in the District of Columbia if the defendant's business is located outside of the United States and the infringed copyrights or patents are integral to articles subject to the
Export Administration Regulations
International Traffic in Arms Regulations
. Haul foreign civil parties into U.S. District Court, where plaintiffs and defendants of any nationality receive fair treatment.
The administration cannot implement this proposal alone; it will require a legislative fix. President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would have to reach across the aisle to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to get this done. But protecting Americans from intellectual property theft should not be a partisan issue. While some American lawyers who represent foreign defendants in intellectual property theft cases will be displeased, both parties' leaders and voters are already displeased with China's activities and would likely be supportive of the proposed change.
Intellectual property suits against foreigners will still present challenges, even in U.S. federal courts. Civil defendants based in foreign jurisdictions may still hide or destroy evidence, try to bury plaintiffs under mountains of non-responsive foreign-language documents (which need to be translated and reviewed at great expense), or seek to avoid paying judgments. Some bad actors may remain over the horizon and beyond the reach of American law. But other foreign companies that notoriously act on behalf of Chinese intelligence often have subsidiaries to sue and attachable assets to seize in the United States, rendering some cases against them worth bringing, in economic terms.
Americans ought to be allowed to play this tough game on their home field. The U.S. government should give the American business community and the private bar a tool to take up this important fight on behalf of fellow citizens and servicemembers.
Kevin Carroll served as a Senior Counselor to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, and earlier as a CIA and Army officer.
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Tem 17, 2019, 06:23 ÖS
Pentagon Announces New Digital Modernization Strategy
The Defense Department this week published a multi-pronged digital modernization strategy targeting four areas that can benefit most from a new approach to the digital age: a Pentagon-wide data storage cloud; artificial intelligence; command, control, and communications; and cybersecurity.
Across dozens of objectives, the strategy encompasses current and future efforts like those underway at the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center and in iterative software coding centers to fuel innovative technologies, as well as to make the Pentagon's information technology enterprise more efficient and capable, boost network security, and cultivate a digital-savvy workforce.
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Tem 17, 2019, 07:03 ÖS
: Tem 17, 2019, 07:10 ÖS by Southwater
Intel işinin makinalara, analistlere devri 70'li yıllardan itibaren tartışılan bir konu.
Angleton ve Intelci bir amiral (ismini unuttum şimdi) yamulmuyorsam bu işin öncüsü.
Ama sonra İran'da devrim oluyor ve bakıyorlar ki sahayı bilen operatörleri yok veya çok az.
HumInt her dem önemli kalacak bence.
Tech geliştikçe İKK da gelişecek, ama honey her zaman yapışkan olacak veya para her zaman akılları alacak.
Ekle= Stansfield Turner amiralin adı.
Tem 23, 2019, 08:08 ÖS
Americans reported hearing torturous sounds in Cuba--and now their brains seem changed
Beginning in late 2016, government officials from the United States and Canada stationed in Cuba started reporting clusters of symptoms that seemed a bit like a concussion: a sudden onset of headaches, dizziness, and confusion after hearing a high pitched noise. The illness soon became referred to as "Havana syndrome" and the cause has been subject to intense debate, and some experts have suggested that the condition is purely psychological. But a new study, which found that those affected have differences in their brains compared to healthy people, pushes back on that skepticism.
The research builds on a previous study from the same research team outlining the neurological problems experienced by people who lived in Cuba and who reported symptoms. "This is the imaging findings that underlie those clinical symptoms," says study author Ragini Verma, a professor of radiology and a brain imaging specialist at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
The new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), used brain scans to look at three different aspects of brain function in 40 people who were clinically evaluated after reported exposure to the as-yet undetermined phenomenon. It looked at the overall volume of various regions in their brains; at the fine structure of brain tissue in the cerebellum, which regulates movement and controls balance; and at the connectivity of brain networks involved in hearing, vision, and high-level cognitive skills like memory.
The authors selected those brain regions and networks based on the observed clinical symptoms, Verma says. "It seemed like there should be something wrong in the cerebellum, and that helped form our hypothesis," she says. Patients in the study also reported visual, auditory, and memory problems.
Images from the brains of those patients were compared with two control groups who had different educational backgrounds. "The first was matched to this population, with at least a college degree, good motor skills, and jobs that require multitasking. The second was a traditional traumatic brain injury control group," Verma says. The team was not able to build a control group of unaffected government personnel also stationed in Cuba, which is a limitation of the analysis, says Dorina Papageorgiou, a neuroimaging specialist at Baylor College of Medicine. They also didn't have scans available for patients from before symptoms started, which would have allowed them to have an established baseline for each person and thus pinpoint changes case-by-case.
The analysis found that the patients who had been stationed in Cuba had less volume of white matter, which contains the parts of neurons that connect brain regions together, than the control groups. They had differences in their cerebellum to the control groups, and had lower connectivity in the auditory and visual networks of the brain (though not those involved in executive function).
Notably, Verma says, the patterns of changes in brain volume and in the cerebellum, were unlike the patterns of changes seen in any other diseases--they didn't look like the changes seen in patients with traumatic brain injuries, for example, or other neurological conditions.
"To the best of my knowledge, this is something unique to these patients," she says. Seeing a new pattern, she says, is extremely rare.
The findings do indicate, though, that there are structural and functional changes in the brain that offer a potential basis for clinical symptoms. It's a counter to some criticisms levied on the team's prior paper that evaluated the neurological symptoms of this patient group, which included skepticism that their experiences weren't just psychogenic. "The clinical element said there should be a problem in the cerebellum, and the imaging showed changes in the cerebellum. It's an objective measure," Verma says.
However, it's not clear what the overall changes seen in this study mean clinically, for patient function, according to an accompanying editor's note also published in the JAMA. It's also not clear how significant the changes between the two groups are, says Gerard Gianoli, a neurotologist (someone who specializes in neurological disorders of the ear) at the Ear and Balance Institute in Louisiana. Gianoli says he's more convinced by a 2018 paper that showed inner ear damage in those affected. The new paper, though, still provides important data. "It's a part of the puzzle, and it adds a piece of information," he says.
The changes in these patients, both in the brain and in the inner ear, could be caused by multiple different things, Gianoli says--this research doesn't answer questions about the initial trigger. It may never be clear what happened, Verma says. "If you asked me, did something happen, I would say yes. But this doesn't tell us how or why."
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Tem 31, 2019, 05:51 ÖÖ
Pentagon Pumps Millions Into German Universities for Research - Reports
Although most German universities are allowed to conduct only non-military research, some of them have received grants from the US Department of Defence for projects with dual commercial and military purposes. These projects range from explosives to radar systems, as Der Spiegel found out.
German universities and research institutions have received $21.7 million in grants from the Pentagon since 2008, the German magazine Der Spiegel calculated after examining US budget data. According to the outlet, 260 such transfers have been registered with some of the universities repeatedly receiving financing from the US
. The support is mainly focused on technical and scientific disciplines.
Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU) in Munich is said to be the leading individual recipient, receiving nearly $3.7 million from the US Department of Defence since 2008 over 23 individual transfers. Additionally, it was the Bavarian university that was apparently paid the largest single grant when it received $1.72 million to finance a project,
chemicals and possible replacements for an explosive called RDX, widely used in the
Other leading recipients are the Technichal University Darmstadt and RWTH Aachen, which has been given more than $1 million since 2008.
The outlet points to a contradiction with educational regulations, stating that universities should be committed to peaceful goals and fulfil their special responsibility for sustainable development, which some interpret as a clear requirement to reject military funding.
The corresponding clause was introduced in one German state, North Rhine-Westphalia, and remains in force despite discussions to abolish it. However, the data, studied by Der Spiegel, suggested that three universities there have been funded by the Pentagon since 2014: RWTH Aachen University, Ruhr University Bochum, and the University of Paderborn.
RWTH Aachen, when commenting on the matter expressed commitment to peaceful research and denied that it had conducted armaments research, saying its goal is to "be the academic foundation for sustainable solutions to respond to today's and tomorrow's civil challenges".
As Der Spiegel concludes, the problem is that a lot of
can be used for both militarily and civilian purposes, ranging from communications technology to robots and software, so accepting the US Department of Defence's funding is "a tightrope walk".
The US military, in several project descriptions, notes unambiguously that it is interested in basic research, which is "related to the improvement of army programs and operations or has such a potential". Other documents outline the objective of "maintaining technological superiority in the scientific fields relevant to the needs of the Air Force" as well as the goal of preventing "technological surprises for our nation", meaning the US, and develop such surprises "for our opponents".
Examples of such dual-purpose research include several projects at RWTH Aachen. The university, however, has defended its ventures, including a $530,000 grant for research called "A scalable and high-performance approach to the readout of silicon qubits" that explores important components of quantum computers. The university insisted in a statement that although it was initially driven by the ability to decrypt messages, economic usage is now in the foreground. Another project concerns stable power supply for ships, also funded by the Pentagon.
Despite receiving $300,000 from the US military, the university argues that it was "basic research that could be applied to any kind of ships". One of RWTH's projects developed textiles for military and commercial applications that are designed to repel insects using only physical agents without insecticides.
Non-university research institutes also were among US funding recipients with dual-use projects. The most generous grants have gone to the Max Planck Society, to the German Aerospace Centre, and to the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven. They included funding for an infrared-based automated whale detection project by AWI researchers, who received a total sum of $973,000. As the outlet points out, this could be used for hunting gigantic mammals as well as submarines.
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