Posts by: Jason Payne

Profiling Somali Piracy

The recent hostage rescue by US Navy SEALs off the coast of Somalia has focused media attention on the growing threat of piracy to international shipping in the Horn of Africa. We have applied our advanced analysis capabilities to data published by the International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Centre,  as well as open source news reports. We have focused on geo-temporal patterns of attacks, as well as the financing network of the Central Regional Coast Guard, a federation of Somali pirates:

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West Nile Virus Infections in the US 1999-2007

Since 1999, the Centers for Disease Control have published reports for West Nile Virus. Using data through 2007, Palantir has plotted the westward expansion of infections using our Map Application and Palantir Heatmap Helper. The cyclical nature of West Nile and the temporal jumps in the disease pop-out as we discover the local hotspots and the states most at risk in the past and in the future.

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With the recent arrest of General Laurent Nkunda, one of the key rebel leaders fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo, we decided to take a look at an ongoing conflict that has involved armies from across Africa and defied numerous attempts to establish a lasting peace. Our analysis focuses on the complex relationships of the numerous warring parties, local and international sources of funding fueling the conflict, and interpersonal relationships of key leaders and financiers of the CNDP, one of the main rebel groups.

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Infowar Monitor Uncovers GhostNet Cyber Espionage Network

Our friends at the Information Warfare Monitor, a joint initiative between the SecDev Group and the Citizen Lab, have just released findings of a massive suspected cyber espionage network affecting 1,295 computers in 103 countries. From the New York Times article: “This is also believed to be the first time researchers have been able to expose the workings of a computer system used in an intrusion of this magnitude.”

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Not all terrorist organizations are rootless groups engaging only in international terrorism. Many terrorist groups are socially intertwined with the local population, highly territorialized and directly compete for governance.Terrorist groups such as the IRA, Hamas, Mahdi Army, Sendero Luminoso and Hezbollah are past and present examples of a socially intertwined terrorist organization. These groups present significant, but different challenges to our national security than Al Qaeda does and a different strategy to defeat them may be in order.

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