• Human trafficking in America

    On a cool, quiet Thursday night, crimes of all types unfurl on South Figueroa Street. This is one of the main tracks for prostitution in Los Angeles, a strip where sex can be purchased from teenage girls on almost any given corner, where pimps, some of them gang affiliated, carefully guard their turf and property. At about 200 blocks, most of them rough, the Fig, as it’s called, can hide a lot. In April it was hiding a 16-year-old named Stacey, missing since December. – Al Jazeera

  • White House tried to destroy Chuck Hagel

    Jet-lagged from a long overseas trip, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had just sat down with his wife for a quiet dinner at an upscale Italian restaurant in northern Virginia when his phone rang. It was the White House on the line. President Barack Obama wanted to speak with him. It was Aug. 30, 2013, and the U.S. military was poised for war. Obama had publicly warned Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad that his regime would face consequences if it crossed a “red line” by employing chemical weapons against its own people. Assad did it anyway, and Hagel had spent the day approving final plans for a barrage of Tomahawk cruise missile strikes against Damascus. U.S. naval destroyers were in the Mediterranean, awaiting orders to fire. – Foreign Policy

  • Canadian SOF mixes it up with ISIS(Video)

    Canadian special forces and Kurdish troops have fought off a significant Islamic State ground offensive in northern Iraq, a Canadian general revealed Thursday night. Major-Gen. Charles Lamarre said Islamic State forces launched a “fairly concentrated and well co-ordinated attack” on Wednesday on the Kurdish lines where Canadian special forces are located. The fighting went throughout the night and Kurdish troops, backed by the Canadians, were able to push back the Islamic State attackers by Thursday. – Ottawa Citizen

  • Chinese information operations

    While China’s foreign policy has traditionally relied on economic leverage and “soft power” diplomacy as its primary means of power projection, Beijing has also been actively exploiting concepts associated with strategic information operations as a means to directly influence the process and outcomes in areas of strategic competition. In 2003, the Central Military Commission (CMC) approved the guiding conceptual umbrella for information operations for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) – the “Three Warfares” (san zhong zhanfa). The concept is based on three mutually reinforcing strategies: (1) the coordinated use of strategic psychological operations; (2) overt and covert media manipulation; and (3) legal warfare designed to manipulate strategies, defense policies, and perceptions of target audiences abroad. – The Diplomat

[Featured imagage: Robert Nickelsberg | Al Jazeera America]