It’s entitled “Violence Once Removed: War Through the Languid Filter of Bored Academia”.
“… Mr. Galeotti has become…somewhat full of himself. Perhaps this owes its manifestations to the sycophantic gobbling of host Brian Whitmore, but whatever the reason, it is encouraging Mr. Galeotti to branch out into areas he formerly stayed mostly away from, and it would be difficult to reach any conclusion but that he now considers himself an authority on everything to do with Russia.”
You probably need a little levity at this time (Nesop doesn’t think we’re headed to war over the shutdown of the Russian war plane).
He has some priceless comments on allies, and sets forth in no uncertain terms how the military stakes have been raised.
He also cites chapter and verse of the Geneva Conventions, but the US seems to have wholly disregarded them for years now. Geneva is a town in Illinois where a bunch of the neocons once got together for a continental breakfast at the local Best Western to drink Starbucks and pocket as many Danish as possible..
You can join in me in counting the moments when he makes clear the absurdity of the situation and the actors in this little drama.
There is the matter of airspace violation, but Nesop also brings insight and clarity to that moment in the ethereal communications quite in keeping with the theme of the Occurrences piece: advanced airborne mathematics. It’s a lengthy 16+-line paragraph with an unusually-illuminating detail that is worth your time to open THE LINK; perhaps you could read it aloud at the dinner table tomorrow over nuts and coffee.
We are today engaged in a fruitless and bland game in wich we chase down the murky details of the social engineering event of the day… the latest “false flag” (we have grown overly fond in our use of the appellation and have thus cheapened its impact and actually enhanced the event by having played into the hands of the perps), the latest mass shooting du jour [ https://www.rt.com/usa/323056-park-mass-shooting-new-orleans/ ] (as if real violence does not exist or is not perpetrated upon others), or some other form of SCAD (as if we adhered to the defintion, or there was actually a democracy against which to commit a crime).
We chase the vague and dim clues — like some kind of junior squad of Jack, Jacqueline or Jacques Clousteaux — in a world long given over to PhotoShopping mastered by mainstream media, voice-mimicry harnessed years ago by intel agencies, and capabilities of video magic developed in some “Area 51” section of covert Hollywood.
We operate in a world in which the clouds of naysayers, paid trolls, hasbarites, and cognitive infilitrators are actively engaged in muddying the waters around anything with an appearance of veracity; indeed, many of them are armed with the tools and understandings of the social media.
Anyone with a modicum of skills in making and uploading a video or writing a blog thinks they can blast out a theory of how, within hours of the blood drying, they have figured out precisely how the event when down. Making this new theory “go viral” requires only a dedicated team with savvy on social media, but none of the new theories have been tested in any crucible of scrutiny outside a small circle of friends.
Most of us have never heard of the corporate communications design tool “Pathfinders”; we are fixated on the use of the word Bernays. The US military has a highly evolved handbook for strategic communications development. [It’s embedded here: CommStrat] We’re still stumbing with search engine optimization. They have mastered search engine degradation and annulment.
Speaking only for myself, “we” have zeroed in — with the speed of the Internet — on the events which played out in some well-chosen arrondissement or third-world luxury hotel or mall or old unused school in a city in a country controlled by intertwined groups of people who do not want you to know what happened there — without ever having set foot in or otherwise experienced the cultures of that city, without understanding any of the three-to-five main languages spoken by the principals involved, or having anything resembling an understanding of the deep cultural, historical and religious gravitas of the place, the moment or the players. (Surely certain exceptions exist and some of the commentators and amateur cloiseaux have to some degree been steeped in those understandings.) [There are a small select group of investigative journalists who write books, but few of us are in that league.]
We operate with the pace and furiousness of our immersion in our world of smart phones without much thought to the fact that, over five decades later, the cloiseaux who specialize in the events of Dealey Plaza have been working with formal journals, having published small libraries, and are still meeting in major conferences and symposia to come to formal conclusion about minutiae. The governmental files still have not been released. Their may be agreement about “who did it” and whether or not that has Oswald in a plaid shirt in the doorway, but no one has been brought to justice yet, criminally or socially, in the last five decades. An army of some eighty “very recognizeble name” experts on 9/11 are called to a telephone conference call six to eight times a year to debate such topics as “What was it that hit the Pentagon?” one day fourteen years ago, the lawnside debris from which was “policed” up by a small handful of people while it was still smoking warm. There is still controversy about a book that was required reading when we were kids.The political powers on both sides of the pond warn us not to discuss these matters.
Whatever happened to discussion boards? A discussion board or Internet_forum can be like a lens in the way it can focus attention and energy. wikihow has an 8-step process for creating one. They have existed in many places, under the shields of larger, more powerful entities, and they have been readily corrupted. Experience will tell you how to prevent that. They are temporary because they have rarely been constructed with purpose or integrity, designed for longevity, with a rules-structure that is both valid and fair, iron-clad and yet forgiving.
A discussion board is where someone can place their suggestions, theories, ideas, suppositions, findings or gleanings into view of others who have registered or indicated their interest in the topic, where they have posted or otherwise established their bona fides, their identity (at least by anonymous avatar that has been subjected to overview and verification), and their willingness to engage in valid and open debate.
Self-publishing, ling thought to be either expensive or foolhardy, is now available to the masses through Scribd, Lulu and others.
[How are we to assure our brain’s own filtering mechanism that the fellow “Hugh G Rection” isn’t the moniker of someone with malicious intent? Is he related to Hugh Jardon?]
[How can people avoid being called trolls just because their own thoughts and persepctives and analyses aren’t 100% in alignment with someone else’s?]
[How can you prevent the infraction of PUI? Posting while under the influence…]
The suggestions, theories, ideas and suppositions must be defended and defensible or risk being related to the trash receptacle on the floor of the assembly.
To the extent that they can be defended, they rise from level to level until they attain a status of having beeen “pinned”; they become eligbible for higher levels of “endorsement”.
I’ve belonged to or participated in a number of such discussion boards. Some of them became spin-offs from other boards, created by people who were banished by larger and more powerful and arguably more corruptible processes. I, or you, and our friends, are always free to construct a new vessel or lifeboat and provision it, and strike off for a different destination.
Here’s the rub. I think it was ordained somewhere in the minor spaces, or hidden in the punctuation, within the declaration of independence, the preamble to the constitution, its first ten amendments, and the life’s experiences of the assembled: everyone is free to make up his or her own mind.
And everyone is free to try to convince the next person of his point of view so long as it is done without violence, intimidation, subterfuge, or force.
Everyone must maintain the wherewithal, the skills, the fortitude, the abilities of enrollment and convocation, to go it alone or to survive being cast off like Captain Bligh.
What we have in the current blogosphere is a lot of very small vessels running about looking for their Pitcairn Islands.
Bloggers have isolated themselves in order to preserve their right to make up their own mind but have given up the ability and the necessity of submitting their personal perspective to the crucible of interaction and scrutiny. Forget counting “likes” or being befriended or measuring blog readership data; there’s already a Diebold in the software system. Most blogs have shut down their comment mechanisms because they require too much time to moderate. Ideas and theories are valid only to the extent that they are tested by non-sycophants.
Technologies existed in the past (Envision, Mooodle, etc.) but I’m sure these have been crushed by the multiple pressures of the sayanim and the hasbarites and the trolls paid by the oligarchs against the anvil of state surveillance. Perhaps discussion boards could be made to exist with encryption if anyone knows how to make that work; most discussion boards had trouble with membership and the perspicacities of moderation.
Can we create a common and legitimated discussion environment in a hermetically-sealed cave on an island off the coast of Iceland?
Could it be an assembly of concentric, stepped chambers where ideas and theories were pushed forward, having survived successive levels of inquiry?
Could we as individuals submit to a set of rules of engagement wherein violence or interpersonal intimidation would be cause for at least temporary banishment? There would have be lesser punishments for lesser crimes which would have been defined, refined and adjudicated in their definition and application by membership rules and a multi-step process under control of the assembly and its designated councils.
This is the essential purpose for the concentric, stepped structure; participation would thus self-described by conduct, contribution and compliance.
But more importantly. understanding and refinement would begin to grow in an atmosphere of committed tenacity in which specific interest and expertise were given some running room and some downfield blocking.
Validity by dint of depth and triangulated verification, multiple methods of inquiry, and the correct placement of evidentiary minutiae against time would lend confidence and credibility.
These would eventually congeal into a narrative bulwark against ridicule, contempt or executive fiat.
Within recent weeks, we have seen a resugence of articles from within the halls of US military, information technology and intelligence agencies and their various PR firms and contractor agencies about the development of and need to use “lethal cyber weapons” or, in other words, computer code that is capable of causing an “enemy’s” critical infrastructure to self-destruct.
This establishes the same kinds of arms races (and arguments about them) about numerous other forms of weaponry, mass destruction, etc., including nuclear weapons, biological and chemical weapons, information warfare, etc.
It is ripe for Hegelian games: we discovered they are working on it, so we must begin to do so ourselves so we can understand how the weaponry works at a technical level and so we can defend ourselves, and force the imposition of controls. Such games soon lead, particularly wirth the application of gaming theory and other advanced pathological hegemonic madness, to:
a “first strike” mentality;
a “let’s do a trial run on some hapless corner of the world” to make sure it works” event;
the development of covert labs and production facilities”;
Two years ago, World Affairs Journal noted the swing to the offensive with DARPA’s Plan X whose goal was “to create revolutionary technologies for understanding, planning, and managing cyberwarfare.”
Like their military counterparts, cybersecurity experts in the private sector have become increasingly frustrated by their inability to stop intruders from penetrating critical computer networks to steal valuable data or even sabotage network operations. The new idea is to pursue the perpetrators back into their own networks. “We’re following a failed security strategy in cyber,” says Steven Chabinsky, formerly the head of the FBI’s cyber intelligence section and now chief risk officer at CrowdStrike, a startup company that promotes aggressive action against its clients’ cyber adversaries. “There’s no way that we are going to win the cybersecurity effort on defense. We have to go on offense.”
Nearly half-a-billion dollars have been set aside for the first wave of funding. The buzz phrases include “cyber fires”, “cyberspace joint munitions”, and other similaly-hybrid terms of warfare.
“‘Cyber joint munitions effectiveness’ describes that a particular cyber capability has been evaluated and its effectiveness is known against a particular target,” she said. The target is a person, place or object a commander is eyeing to neutralize, according to the associated Joint Chiefs of Staff policy.
“Cyber fires” has a broader meaning and “can be used for offensive or defensive objectives, and can be designed to create effects in and through cyberspace,” she said.
“… Yes, I’ve become quite a student of your operations in this region.
Thirty-four mansions, I think it was, pillaged and burned…under Colonel Montgomery’s expedition of the Combahee….”
“First squad, second platoon.
Fall out to set torches.
Prepare to fire the town.”
The discussion surrounding the firing of cyber arms hearkens back to before the days of Manhattan Project, some former military leaders say.
“It reminds me of the run-up to the strategic bombing campaigns of World War II,” said Cedric Leighton, a retired National Security Agency and Air Force intelligence director. “Just like then, the consequences of an attack using cyber munitions will not be completely foreseeable.”
“… In the past, some military academics have voiced concerns about the unintended outcomes of such maneuvers. Malicious code released into networks could backfire and harm U.S. individuals or allies, they warned.
“Due to the ‘system of systems’ nature” of cyberspace, it is very difficult to know exactly what effect” defensive or offensive actions will have on U.S. and ally assets “since we can’t be sure exactly how far out the cyber action might spread,” Dee Andrews and Kamal Jabbour wrote in a 2011 article for Air Force Space Command’s Journal for Space & Missile Professionals. “The difficulty in doing a damage estimate before cyber action is taken makes cyber friendly fire difficult to identify and mitigate.”
There are dozens of bullet points on training support work in the contracting documents.
For example, the hired contractor will runexercises on “USCYBERCOM Fires processes” with the Joint Advanced Cyber Warfare Course, the Army Cyberspace Operations Course, the Air Force Weapons School, the Joint Targeting School and other outside groups, the documents state.
[Ed.: I’ll leave it to the reader to do their own research and riff on the recent history of exercises as “cover” for covert ops.]
Certain contract personnel supporting these so-called cyber fires will be subjected to additional background reviews and will have to comply with “need-to-know” classification rules, according to officials.
Beyond unleashing malware, the chosen contract employees will help repel attacks on Defense Department smartphones housing sensitive data, according to the government. This assignment involves analyzing forensics reports on hacked mobile devices and conducting security assessments of mobile apps, among other things…..”
21stcenturywire.com reminds us about “theStuxnet super virus, one of the most pernicious and reckless military cyber operations to date.
According to the Washington Post, “The brilliance of Stuxnet lay in [the attackers] being under the radar of the target entity,” Thakur said. Both variants of Stuxnet “tried to do damage in a manner that would seem random” to the targeted party.
Despite being caught red-handed, the US ‘defense’ industrial complex has simply upped its offensive operations and are now talking about how cyber warfare can be used to inflicted “collateral damage”…. Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin are some of the defense firms competing for an upcoming $460 million US Cyber Command project to give the American military the power to turn an enemy’s critical infrastructure against them with weaponized code, according to Defense One. A 114-page draft of a 5-year contract released on September 30 details a plan to get private companies to support military operations with cyberwarfare…. [T]his kind of offensive cyberwarfare isn’t esoteric stuff relegated to one strange corner of the US military. In fact, digital arms designed to kill are now explicitly sanctioned under the Pentagon’s newly-published Law of War manual, with an entire chapter devoted to cyber warfare.
Cyber strikes are allowed even if “it is certain that civilians would be killed or injured — so long as the reasonably anticipated collateral damage isn’t excessive in relation to what you expect to gain militarily,” said retired Major General Charles J. Dunlap, executive director of Duke University’s Center on Law, Ethics and National Security. “These are essentially the same rules as for attacks employing traditional bombs or bullets”…
Watch this well-done four-minute video on Stuxnet (Direction and Motion Graphics: Patrick Clair; Written by: Scott Mitchell):
“… A US Defense Department directive [pdf] signed last week sets the stage for safeguards that would limit any collateral damage from dangerous robotic instruments of war, ideally to “minimize the probability and consequences of failures” in drones and other autonomous or semi-autonomous weapons “that could lead to unintended engagements.”
The document, signed by Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, outlines rules stating that those weapons must “be designed to allow commanders and operators to exercise appropriate levels of human judgment over the use of force” by way of “rigorous hardware and software verification and validation.” When those weapons are attacking the cyber-grid, though, the Defense Department doesn’t necessarily seem to think the same precautions need to be put in place.
While the directive is written to explicitly set up safeguards for autonomous and semi-autonomous weapon systems, one subsection of the document acknowledges that it ‘Does not apply to autonomous or semi-autonomous cyberspace systems for cyberspace operations.’….”
“… It is the combination of weapons, ICS and remote control and monitoring technologies which introduces not just more determined threat actors, but also attack vectors via well-known wireless and satellite communication technologies, where a lot of security research has been done.
There have been several examples of attacks. The Iranian Military claimed to have used GPS jamming attacks to force a UAV into an autonomous mode and caused a denial of service, while some researchers, such as Samy Kamkar, have demonstrated command and control over UAVs via wireless protocols.
Researchers have even conducted attacks against tele-operated surgical robots over the Internet and over the last decade there have been many examples of Advanced Persistent Threats using malware such as ‘BlackEnergy’ to target ICS.
The main problem in this arena is the fact that there are zero international laws or treaties on cyber warfare. This is a serious issue given that the strongest cyber weapons, attacks on infrastructure, disproportionally target the weak. These attacks on infrastructure could take out power to hospitals, elderly homes and could render the digital communication, transportation and businesses useless, leaving innocent civilians as the victims. For more see The Tallinn Manual. Improving the accuracy of current systems. This is where computing in warfare has gone the furthest. Drones, Tomahawk missiles and laser guidance systems have allowed for a more humane asymmetrical war. The flip side is that this gives the countries who can afford it an excuse to go to war for less egregious reasons.
According to Stefano’s definition: a cyber weapon is:
A device or any set of computer instructions intended to unlawfully damage a system acting as a critical infrastructure, its information, the data or programs therein contained or thereto relevant, or even intended to facilitate the interruption, total or partial, or alteration of its operation.
“… ‘Unlike traditional espionage malware or even the Stuxnet virus that sabotaged Iranian nuclear centrifuges, cyber fires would impact human life, according to former Defense officials and a recently released Defense Department ‘Law of War Manual’ … The manual lays out three sample actions the Pentagon deems uses of force in cyberspace: ‘trigger a nuclear plant meltdown; open a dam above a populated area, causing destruction*; or disable air traffic control services, resulting in airplane crashes.’ …”
* Reminiscent of the Johnstown, PA flood book by David McCullough and the PBS documentary based on it
[I could not find a reference online or in my own archives to the pronouncement by McCullough narrating the film, but it is relevant here.]
# # # # # #
What happens when a logic bomb escapes the lab?
What happens when one of the people comes to deeply understand the ramifications of the work going on inside one of these secretive offices or schools and gets a conscience? WIll be or she be defenestrated?
Who will write the new novels about the new Dresden and the new Hiroshimae?
Wasn’t Fukushima one of these?
Will we see oligarchs hiring computer hackers to create chaos out of which they can create future wealth, like the hurricane in New Orleans or the actions of some driving cultural chaos in Europe?
Will we see bloggers writing satirical pieces about waking up in a world of moral midgets?
Will we see position papers developed by groups of medical care responders, teachers, and others from under the umbrella of “Citizens for Social Grace”? [Added on edit the next morning: This just in, by request: http://futureoflife.org/]
Will the people who write those position papers be fired from, and blacklisted away from, meaningful employment?
Paris Attacks – Nine Eyes Intelligence (Spectre) – Serco Digital Fires
Only Serco Digital Fires with Nine Eyes Intelligence (Spectre) could pull off Paris attacks “Digital Fires Instructor Serco – Camp Pendleton, CA Posted 377 days ago Uses information derived from all military disciplines (e.g., aviation, ground combat, command and control, combat service support, intelligence, and opposing forces) to determine changes in enemy capabilities, vulnerabilities, and probable courses of action.
• Works directly with customers and team members to determine project scope and specifications.
• Provides research and analysis to support military organizations.
• May support development and analysis of products, including training modules, evaluation tools, etc.
• Presents analysis or products to customers.
• May support policy and procedure development for agency, interagency, or community-wide support.
• May interact with outside customers and functional peer groups.
• Participates in the development, testing, maintenance and delivery of training and educational programs and related materials in support of complex products and/or procedures.
• Knowledge on the operational employment and TTPs of the following C2 systems and software applications in the COC operating environment is required:, AFATDS, FBCB2-BFT, JADOCS, and supporting C2 systems/software applications found available for use the regimental/battalion Combat Operations Center (COC).
• Conducts training sessions and assists in evaluating the effectiveness of training activities.
• May assist with updating course documentation on a continuous basis to ensure timeliness and relevance.
• May work with engineering, technical support and manufacturing to ensure that course material reflects current product features. Desired Skills and Experience
• Requires a bachelor’s degree in a related field; graduate degree preferred, plus 3 years’ experience as a Military Analyst and/or formal military training. Appropriate clearance level required.
• Work is usually performed at a government site, some of which may be remote.
• Working conditions may vary.
• Travel may be required.
• Have attended DoD formal instructor courses, such as the Marine Corps’ Formal School’s Instructor’s Course, or service equivalent
• Four years of documented experience instructing and employing their respective C2 system in support of MAGTF operations
• Background as an 0844 or 0848 MOS (USMC MOS, or equivalent USA MOS appropriate), with formal training and experience utilizing AFATDS (Advanced Field Artillery Target Data System), EMT (Effects Management Tool), PSS-SOF (Precision Strike Suite – Special Ops Forces)
• Active Secret Clearance or the ability to obtain a Secret clearance is required.
• Formal AFATDS Training required, Strike-Link, PSS-SOF, JADOCS experience desirable”
“… Putting cyber soldiers in the trenches isn’t simple. To start with, they have to be physically fit and qualified on a range of weapons — not exactly the stereotypical computer geek. They need computer and communications gear light and rugged enough to take into the field, and vehicles to carry it. They also need to communicate clearly with combat arms soldiers, a cultural chasm one general compared to understanding “dolphin speak.”
To work out all the myriad implications for training, tactics, manning, and equipment, the Army has begun embedding cyber teams in combat brigades conducting wargames (“rotations”) at the CTCs, considered the pinnacle of realistic field training. “We’re actually doing this now for every rotation,” said Cardon.
Most of the teams so far have been defensive cyber operators, trained to protect a brigade’s network against hostile hackers. But on two occasions, they’ve been contingents from the elite 780th Military Intelligence Brigade, the service’s offensive cyber unit. The brigade’s based at Fort Meade, Maryland, headquarters of NSA and Cyber Command, which focus on strategic cyber, but it has sent tactical teams to join light infantry and Ranger units in exercises.
In the wargames, the four-person detachments from the 780th were able to monitor and even block “enemy” communications, including over social media, said the brigade’s commander, Col. William Hartman. Speaking at the same Association of the US Army conference as Cardon, Hartman was cagey with details, but he did divulge that the Offensive Cyberspace Operations (OCO) teams not only stopped the opposing force from “obtain[ing] certain content,” they were in some cases able to prevent (simulated) “lethal” attacks.”
The teams learned plenty of painful but necessary lessons, too. “We needed better cyber kit,” said Hartman. Selling cyber to a muddy-boots ground commander is hard enough, he said, and it’s even more difficult to get his buy-in “when you need to get four people to lift your kit and put it in back of a Humvee.” To compound the problem, no one initially gave the cyber team their own Humvee, so they had to beg and borrow one.
“We built a device that could do everything. It had little servers in there,” Cardon said. It was also too big and too delicate, requiring the team to halt to set it up — something the hard-marching infantry had no patience for. “We realized we don’t need something that advanced, [so] we’ve already lightened it significantly.”
“At the JRTC yesterday,” the linchpin of the 82nd Airborne’s cyber and electronic warfare efforts “was the EWO,” said Maj. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, commander of the Army’s cyber school. “He really understood….how important it was to pull everybody together,” Fogarty told the AUSA conference. “He really understood how to synchronize effects on the battlefield. He really almost acted as a translator for some of the other capabilities,” bridging the culture gap between technical specialists and combat commanders…..”
A computer worm with a destructive code like the one Stuxnet carried can probably be designed only with state sponsorship, in a research lab with resources like those at the NSA. But private contractors are in a position to provide many of the tools needed for offensive cyber activity, including the software bugs that can be exploited to provide a “back door” into a computer’s operating system. Ideally, the security flaw or vulnerability that can be exploited for this purpose will be one of which the network operator is totally unaware. Some hackers specialize in finding these vulnerabilities, and as the interest in offensive cyber operations has grown, so has the demand for their services.
The world-famous hacker conference known as Defcon attracts a wide and interesting assortment of people each year to Las Vegas: creative but often antisocial hackers who identify themselves only by their screen names, hackers who have gone legit as computer security experts, law enforcement types, government spies, and a few curious academics and journalists. One can learn what’s hot in the hacker world just by hanging out there.
In August 2012, several attendees were seated in the Defcon cafe when a heavy-set young man in jeans, a t-shirt, and a scraggly beard strolled casually up and dropped several homemade calling cards on the table. He then moved to the next table and tossed down a few more, all without saying a word. There was no company logo or brand name on the card, just this message: “Paying top dollar for 0-day and offensive technologies . . . ” The card identified the buyer as “zer0daybroker” and listed an e-mail address.
A “zero-day” is the most valuable of computer vulnerabilities, one unknown to anyone but the researcher who finds it. Hackers prize zero-days because no one knows to have prepared a defense against them. The growing demand for these tools has given rise to brokers like Zer0day, who identified himself in a subsequent e-mail exchange as “Zer0 Day Haxor” but provided no other identifying information. As a broker, he probably did not intend to hack into a computer network himself but only to act as an intermediary, connecting sellers who have discovered system vulnerabilities with buyers who want to make use of the tools and are willing to pay a high price for them.
In the past, the main market for these vulnerabilities was software firms themselves who wanted to know about flaws in their products so that they could write patches to fix them. Big companies like Google and Microsoft employ “penetration testers” whose job it is to find and report vulnerabilities that would allow someone to hack into their systems. In some cases, such companies have paid a bounty to freelance cyber researchers who discover a vulnerability and alert the company engineers. But the rise in offensive cyber operations has transformed the vulnerability market, and hackers these days are more inclined to sell zero-days to the highest bidder.
In most cases, these are governments. The market for back-door exploits has been boosted in large part by the burgeoning demand from militaries eager to develop their cyber warfighting capabilities. The designers of the Stuxnet code cleared a path into Iranian computers through the use of four or five separate zero-day vulnerabilities, an achievement that impressed security researchers around the world.
The next Stuxnet would require the use of additional vulnerabilities. “If the president asks the US military to launch a cyber operation in Iran tomorrow, it’s not the time to start looking for exploits,” says Christopher Soghoian, a Washington-based cybersecurity researcher. “They need to have the exploits ready to go. And you may not know what kind of computer your target uses until you get there. You need a whole arsenal [of vulnerabilities] ready to go in order to cover every possible configuration you may meet.”
Not surprisingly, the National Security Agency—buying through defense contractors—may well be the biggest customer in the vulnerability market, largely because it pays handsomely. The US military’s dominant presence in the market means that other possible purchasers cannot match the military’s price. “Instead of telling Google or Mozilla about a flaw and getting a bounty for two thousand dollars, researchers will sell it to a defense contractor like Raytheon or SAIC and get a hundred thousand for it,” says Soghoian, now the principal technologist in the Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at the American Civil Liberties Union and a prominent critic of the zero-day market. “Those companies will then turn around and sell the vulnerability upstream to the NSA or another defense agency. They will outbid Google every time.”
The government customers may be intelligence or law enforcement agencies who need to know about software vulnerabilities in order to hack into the computers and phones of suspected criminals or intelligence targets. Private companies who have been repeatedly penetrated and are looking to retaliate may also be customers. The vulnerability market has developed to such a point that entire security companies are now devoting themselves exclusively to the discovery and sale of these exploits. Some deal strictly with US government agencies or the defense contractors that act on their behalf, but other companies (and individuals) deal with foreign buyers as well. Perhaps the most prominent is Vupen, a French security firm that sells exploits to a variety of governments.
According to the Vupen website, the company sees itself as “the leading source of advanced vulnerability research.” It describes its role as providing “government-grade exploits specifically designed for the intelligence community and national security agencies to help them achieve their offensive cyber security and lawful intercept missions. . . . Our offensive and exclusive exploits take advantage of undisclosed zero-day vulnerabilities discovered by Vupen researchers and bypass all modern security protections.”
Vupen executives note that they do business only with government agencies, not private buyers, and that the company “has chosen to comply” with European and international regulations restricting technology exports (emphasis added). They say they will not do business in countries subject to US or international sanctions. But the idea of a private company openly boasting of its business record selling hacker secrets and bypassing security protections seems odd at a time when so much of the cybersecurity community is focused on defending computer networks and boosting security protections. And the company’s hint that its compliance with international standards is voluntary, not required, underscores the possibility that other dealers in the shadowy vulnerability market may be willing to sell to more questionable clients.
Soghoian, the ACLU technologist, is among those who say the vulnerability market needs some regulation, such as mandatory reporting of sales transactions. Like other critics, he warns of the possibility that a zero-day vulnerability or some other exploit sold with no questions asked may end up in the wrong hands and get used in an attack on financial institutions or critical infrastructure assets. “The existence of this market is terrifying,” he says.
In ancient Greek mythology there were two twin boys, the sons of the fierce warrior Ares and a most appealingly beautiful and graceful woman with whom he’d had an affair. This warrior loved war for its tumult, confusion and destruction and when he went off to war, his two sons Phobos and Deimos went before him to spread fear, dread, terror and panic.
Egypt and Syria and the Escalating American Proxy War Against Russia
Thu, 11/12/2015 – 04:24 — james
Below is an excellent discussion found at Stop Imperialism. The three-way talk is on the manoeuvring going on in the Middle East and in Vienna. What a difference it makes to have three reasonable people who listen to each other and allow each other to speak. Interruptions are minimal and there are no neocons to scuttle any intelligent analysis.
‘Assured unacceptable damage’: Russian TV accidentally leaks secret ‘nuclear torpedo’ design –Sub apparently designed to bypass NATO radars and any existing missile defense systems | 12 Nov 2015 | The Kremlin has confirmed “some secret data” was accidentally leaked when Russian TV stations broadcast material apparently showing blueprints from a nuclear torpedo, designed to be used against enemy coastal installations. During President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with military officials in Sochi, where the development of Russia’s military capabilities were being discussed, a number of TV crews were able to capture footage of a paper that was certainly not meant for public viewing. The presentation slide titled “Ocean Multipurpose System: Status-6” showed some drawings of a new nuclear submarine weapons system.
Planes and warships just got a lot harder to see with microwave radar. A group of scientists from China may have created a stealth material that could make future fighter jets very difficult to detect by some of today’s most cutting-edge anti-stealth radar. The researchers developed a new material they say can defeat microwave radar at ultrahigh frequencies, or UHF. Such material is usually too thick to be applied to aircraft like fighter jets, but this new material is thin enough for military aircraft, ships, and other equipment.
China just unveiled a new breakthrough in stealth technology. Beijing’s researchers developed a new material they say can defeat microwave radar at ultrahigh frequencies, or UHF, writes Defense One Tech Editor Patrick Tucker. “Such material is usually too thick to be applied to aircraft like fighter jets, but this new material is thin enough for military aircraft, ships, and other equipment.”
How this changes the game: “Today’s synthetic aperture radar use arrays of antennas directing microwave energy to essentially see through clouds and fog and provide an approximate sense of the object’s size, the so-called radar cross section. With radar absorbent material not all of the signal bounces back to the receiver.”
Which means a deadly, screaming jet can appear on radar as an innocent old bird in the sky.
How might this affect U.S. military technology like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter? Tucker has more, here.
Get your hands on the latest Defense One eBook that digs into the highlights from this year’s Summit, which featured U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, U.S. Army chief Gen. Mark Milley, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, and many more—plus the eBook is free of charge—right here.
After the tragic Kunduz bombing, America’s advise and assist mission in Afghanistan slides under the microscope. More than a month after Afghanistan’s national security adviser reportedly “told a European diplomat his country would take responsibility because ‘we are without doubt, 100 percent convinced the place was occupied by Taliban,’” the AP’s Ken Dilanian and Lynne O’Donnell report “no evidence has emerged to support that assertion.”
Citing new evidence, AP reports the “U.S. special forces unit whose commander called in the strike was under fire in the Kunduz provincial governor’s compound a half-mile away from the hospital, according to a former intelligence official who has reviewed documents describing the incident. The commander could not see the medical facility—so couldn’t know firsthand whether the Taliban were using it as a base—and sought the attack on the recommendation of Afghan forces, the official said.”
The bottom line at this juncture: “The strike raises questions about whether the U.S. military can rely on intelligence from Afghan allies in a war in which small contingents of Americans will increasingly fight with larger units of local forces. Also at issue is how the target was vetted. American commanders, with sophisticated information technology at their disposal, allowed the strike to go forward despite reports in their databases that the hospital was functioning. Even if armed Taliban fighters had been hiding inside, the U.S. acknowledges it would not have been justified in destroying a working hospital filled with wounded patients.” Read their report in full, here.
Your #ThrowbackThursday read—tinfoil hat edition: Do America’s spies need psychics? Time magazine is running a cover story on Edwin May, a former Pentagon scientist who found himself involved in a CIA-funded program at the Stanford Research Institute 40 years ago, three years after “the CIA had embraced ESP,” Time’s Jim Popkin writes. Two years later, in 1977, Langley cut its funding—but “the Air Force, Army and Defense Intelligence Agency kept writing checks.” To follow the entire fairly epic and bumpy story that’s not all that far off from the 2009 film “The Men Who Stare at Goats,” click here.
BreakingDefense.com, the PR/information outlet centered in the Pentagon, brings its own look into current nuclear postures and policies with two articles:
“… Even with the recent budget agreement, the Defense Department faces a number of fiscal challenges, including rising spending on health care and other benefits, rising acquisition costs for a number of weapons systems, and the increased prospect of the reduction or elimination of the Overseas Contingency Operations account. DoD faces serious choices about whether or not to invest in the maintenance of the nuclear triad, the revitalization of tactical aircraft and long-range bombers, and the size of the Army and the Marine Corps…..”
“… in addition to the Long Range Strike Bomber, the Pentagon’s plans to rebuild the “triad” of nuclear delivery systems over the next 20 years include nearly $140 billion to design and build a new fleet of ballistic missile submarines (Ohio Replacement Program), at least $62 billion on a replacement for the Minuteman III ICBM system, $20 billion to $30 billion on a new fleet of nuclear-capable Air Launched Cruise Missiles (ALCM), and additional tens of billions on improved nuclear command and control systems and refurbished nuclear warheads and their infrastructure…. Some observers argue that Russia’s increasingly reckless nuclear rhetoric and actions means the United States shouldn’t consider altering its current nuclear force posture and planning. However, both the United States and Russia maintain more nuclear weapons than they need for their security. Small numerical advantages by either side would not change the fundamental deterrence equation.
Moreover, every dollar Washington spends to maintain a bloated nuclear arsenal is a dollar that can’t be spent on military capabilities more relevant to countering Russia and assuring U.S. allies. It is not in the U.S. interest to engage in a tit for tat race with the Russians to rebuild an excessively large nuclear force….
Prioritizing the nuclear mission could thus do serious damage to conventional capabilities and other national security programs. For example, the Navy is fretting that without supplemental funding from outside its budget, the cost to develop and build the next generation ballistic missile submarine (ORP) fleet will crater the rest of its shipbuilding budget. Advocates of the new bomber are also worried about funding the program, and have begun to echo the Navy in calling for a special funding stream separate from the Air Force budget.
Now is the time for the White House and Congress to chart a more realistic path for our nuclear arsenal. New START is scheduled to expire in 2021. It’s likely that Washington and Moscow will seek an arrangement to replace it. Given the need for a follow-on pact that will coincide with the projected emergence of the nuclear budget bow wave, it would be unwise to proceed full steam ahead with the current plans, which would constrain the force sizing options available to the next president.
The Pentagon has failed to provide compelling reasons why it needs a new penetrating bomber armed with both a nuclear gravity bomb and standoff missile in order to meet the nuclear deterrence requirements of the United States and its allies. This requirement is redundant and unnecessary.
Despite warnings from senior officials that the current modernization plans are unsustainable, the Obama administration and Congress have for the most part failed to make common-sense adjustments. They can and should trim back, and in some cases, forgo redundant and costly systems.”
“He is convinced that a massive cyberattack could take down our entire electrical grid for an extended period of time, and he was horrified to learn that the Department of Homeland Security really doesn’t have a plan for how to deal with this kind of a scenario…..”
Senator Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has demanded that the Obama administration return to his committee every copy of the 6,700-page torture report compiled by his predecessor, Senator Dianne Feinstein.
November 2-3, 2015 – Merkel’s weapon of mass migration borne out of Pentagon plan
By Silvija Germek with Wayne Madsen
The current invasion of Europe by migrants escaping civil war in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan and economic ills in North and sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia was planned by an adviser to the U.S. Defense Department, Ford Foundation, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
In 2010, Kelly Greenhill, an adviser to the U.S. government; chair of the Conflict, Security and Public Policy Working Group at Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center; former Senate aide to John Kerry; and associate professor of political science at Tufts, wrote a book titled, “Weapons of Mass Migration: Forced Displacement, Coercion, and Foreign Policy.” Greenhill’s book has become as much a template for creating social disorder through forced mass migration as retired University of Massachusetts professor Gene Sharp’s books on “themed revolutions” have become road maps for causing government coups through the use of social media.
Unlike Sharp’s methodology of relying on synthetic social and political movements created from outside a targeted country, which can have mixed results as seen in Egypt, Greenhill views weapons of mass migration as the most effective method to achieve sure results.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel began implementing the main tenets of Greenhill’s book after its publication in 2010. In addition to the arrival of new bodies for Germany’s work force, Merkel saw a mass influx by refugees as a way for her to enable the German military, security, and intelligence services to take a more active role in domestic German affairs.
The anti-terrorism forces of the German Special Operations Command (Spezialeinsatzkommandos or SEK) have already swung into action against jihadist “refugees” who have initiated mass violence inside German migrant shelters. It is only a matter of time before the SEK and other security forces begin to take action against newly-arrived jihadist troublemakers in German cities and towns like Hamburg, Leipzig, Cologne, Munich, and Berlin.
Merkel’s government has mobilized the “Regional Backup and Support Staff” (Regionale Sicherungs- und Unterstützungskräfte or RSUKr), a “homeland security” force of military reservists. Since 2012, the RSUKr has had the authority to engage in domestic law enforcement inside Germany. If the RSUKr evokes memories of the Gestapo, it should. Currently content with conducting “anti-terror” raids on mosques and suspected jihadist homes in Germany, Merkel does not seem concerned about putting this counter-terrorism “genie” back into the bottle after it takes care of the jihadist threat.
According to various media reports named W2EU (Welcome to European Union). Migrants in Greece are handed a booklet written in Arabic and published by W2EU that instructs new arrivals in Germany how to travel to Germany and ask for asylum, food, housing and the much-prized Hartz IV unemployment benefits.
Another NGO assisting the migrants is MigrationAid Hungary, which has coordinated Twitter messages to a surprisingly large number of young men with iPhones who are neither refugees nor Syrians. Twitter, the favorite tool of Soros NGOs in coordinating the Lotus Revolution in Egypt and the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, assists migrants to transit the designated corridor from Turkey into Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, and, ultimately, Salzburg, Austria where the German government runs countless special trains into Germany. European media has reported that trucks have been discovered at various refugee collection centers with cargos of blank Syrian passports for sale. In addition, thousands of fake Syrian passports have been issued by human trafficking operations organizing massive streams of migrants from Asia and Africa into Germany.
Soros- and U.S.-engineered mayhem at the borders of Europe. Above, migrants at a Croatian-Serbian border post.
Merkel’s open door policy for migrants, has, at its roots, the desire by large German corporations to produce new ranks of cheap labor to offset the population reduction within the European Union, especially with the first major wave of retiring “baby boomers.” The German Labor Ministry reports that only ten percent of the migrants are employable and many are noticed by German immigration and security authorities to be Salafists. Essentially, Merkel is receiving more Salafists than potential laborers among the new arrivals.
While the policy of importing fresh workers into Germany has the support of Merkel loyalists within her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and her coalition partners, the Social Democrats headed by Sigmar Gabriel, who is willing to sacrifice German workers for Asians and Africans in their own country, it has faced opposition from Merkel’s Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union of Bavarian Minister-President Horst Seehofer.
In a traditional display of Bavarian independence from Berlin, Seehofer has made common cause against Merkel’s migrant “welcome wagon” with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a one-time political acolyte of Soros, and the right-wing Austrian Freedom Party headed by Heinz-Christian Strache. A supranational “Danube Alliance” of Hungary, Bavaria, and the Austrian Freedom Party has emerged to oppose further mass migration of Syrian, Iraqi, and other refugees into central Europe.
The danger of Germany and other European countries being swamped by mostly Muslim refugees is backed up by real numbers and statistics. Merkel approved one million refugees from Syria, Iraq, and other countries. The German government estimates that number may soon increase to 1.5 million because a large number of arriving migrants are made up of family units. German government statistics reveal that each approved asylum seeker brings into Germany an average of 4.5 relatives, which means the current estimate of 1.5 million may soon increase to 6 to 7 million. Currently on foot and other means of transportation are between 500,000 to 700,000 additional migrants who have recently set out for Europe from Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. The UNHCR and the EU are now estimating that 3.7 million migrants will arrive in Europe “within several months.” Such a demographic change for Europe will irrevocably change the face of Europe as we now know it.
At a migrant camp in Leipzig, several hundred radical Afghans attacked another group of secular Syrians, resulting in a number of injuries. Rapes of migrant women in the camps and Germans in nearby neighborhoods outside the migrant camps have skyrocketed. According to media reports, migrant women and children are pimped out by migrant gangs for 10 euros for sex inside camps. Many German women are now avoiding leaving their homes and walking alone out of fear of rape from their new foreign “neighbors.” There are also increasing evidence that pedophiles are now preying on young migrant children. Recently, a four year-old Bosnian boy named Mohamed was abducted, raped, and murdered by a pedophile. The boy was stolen from his mother at a migrant processing center in Berlin. The police discovered that the murderer, who has been arrested, hid the body of the boy in the trunk of his car and used kitty litter to suppress the odor caused by decomposition.
There is a definite difference between jihadist agitators in the migrant camps and the normal migrant populations of women, children, and the elderly. The radicals are young men, many in possession of iPhones, which the jihadists in Syria, Iraq, and other countries have used to coordinate their attacks with great success. These Salafists and jihadists routinely challenge Germans about their Christian religion, consumption of alcohol, apparel deemed “un-Islamic,” and acceptance of homosexuality. The highest number of male radicals are from Afghanistan, followed by Iraqis, Syrians, Bangladeshis, and West Africans. Merkel’s government is working with Facebook owner Jeffrey Zuckerberg to identify and incarcerate not jihadist migrants who are using social media to plan violent acts but Germans who post what are considered “hateful” Facebook messages about the criminal nature of the jihadist hooligans. The German government is guiding the street protests by restricting anti-immigration protests to “free speech zones.” Authorities are also permitting pro-immigration protests in separate designated free speech zones. These opposing protests, with a heavy police presence, feature the far-right and neo-Nazi anti-immigrant PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident) on one side and protesters representing the Soros-funded Green Party and anti-Nazi ANTIFA (anti-fascists), as well as the Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB) who have turned out to be more disruptive and violent than the neo-Nazis themselves. Also arrayed against Merkel’s policies is the Alternative for Germany (AfD), a far-right Euro-skeptic party that has seen increasing popularity.
Merkel, who was rumored to be a strong candidate to succeed Ban Ki-moon as Secretary General of the United Nations, now may be run out of Berlin on a political rail. In 1529, the seventy-year old Count Nicholas of Salm commanded the Viennese troops who defeated the invading Muslim Turks in the first siege of Vienna. Merkel now stands ready to reverse Nicholas’s achievement at the gates of Vienna almost 500 years ago.
—- Coming soon: The Central Intelligence Agency’s blueprint for introducing chaos and destabilization through mass migration.
We have more articles coming as this is growing into a series by sheer volume of material we have. We are processing the exact CIA blueprint and their own written outline as to how to create ‘coercion by weapons of mass migration’ (these are their own words)…. more coming soon, including what methods are being used, what the political objectives are, etc.
The article is up on FB right here. It is in the several thousand hits and is being read at a steady rate of 1,000 per hour (per admin data FB shows us) and being shared widely. It is generating a buzz on a number of other sites where I posted just the link to it. Interesting. Looks like there is a lot of interest in the topic. We have a LOT of great information as this is a giant EU-wide restructuring of demographics, economics, culture, destabilization of democracies, militarization of society as a classic Hegelian blowback to the crisis being carefully created such as the use of SEK (a GSG-9 twin) against civilians with migrant riots as excuse and driver, demand for a new massively militarized EU border police force which sounds like a planned DHS type force with massive anti-terror/anti-riot and Special Ops force which Merkel and key EU pols deem an appropriate response to the crisis they are creating in direct cooperation with Soros under a CIA umbrella plan which even comes with exact academic blueprints we found and evaluated.
Merkel met Zuckerberg in NYC this month and they agreed to begin censoring FB for harsh criticism of her asylum politics. There is indeed a task force of massively intimidating censors working at all German language groups, chats, major MSM articles which threatens and bullies Germans into silence. The aggressive counter-intel trolls deployed on FB are actually catching critics of Germany’s migrant politics, accusing them racism, hate speech and sedition and handing them over to the court systems who have begun convicting them in on-the-spot trials in recent weeks. The last time I saw such total palpable surveillance such as the constant monitoring of the German language social media venues now was when I crossed the Berlin Wall and had Stasi eyes and ears following me around in the 70s. An atmosphere of fear and rage is simmering under the surface in Germany which will erupt into a civil war if this mass migration continues. This is not a normal refugee migration. These are a minority of Syrian war refugees with families and an estimated 80% young men with IPhones whom Viktor Orban aptly called “an invasion, an army”, among whom are known to be thousands of jihadists. German domestic intel confirms collapse of the national security state has long occurred. Police unions went public and declared the same thing, as did mayors and others.
Next step of rapidly evolving freedom of speech restrictions: Political correctness which was first invented by Horkheimer and brought to its twin New School of Social Research in NYC is now being legislated in Germany in the form of new hate speech laws which were implemented last month as a result of the uproar in Germany over this chaotic and dangerous invasion. The first handful of convictions of Germans who made harsh comments criticizing the migrant invasion came through German courts in the last 2-3 weeks. A number of people have hefty financial fines plus years of probation which involves restricted freedom of speech as part of the probation. One German who wrote “I hope that they burn the migrant homes down in my area before they can fill them” was sentenced to 2+ years prison last week and is on his way to serve his sentence. Freedom of speech is dramatically giving way to a crisis which is being created while turning Germany and the EU toward more and more totalitarianism. The entire thing is artificially created to fulfill multiple visible agendas.
Europe is in shock over the invasion and turning to the political right and far right in response while it has been proven even in court that German domestic intelligence runs the neonazi and far right scene to this day as it did during the early Gladio years.
Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance is in tatters and she is now doing business with the Green Party which is on the forefront of aggressive rhetoric of wealth distribution and helped push through real estate confiscation laws so migrants could be accommodated. The push to the right is entirely engineered from above also. Much more coming. If we study Germany in detail now, we will know at least some of the things which are already being sent our way by the same design and controllers above.
Below is Spielfeld this past weekend. Spielfeld is the romantic Steiermark border between Austria and Slovenia on the direct migrant path. Soros groups in a host of countries are actively recruiting migrants to follow Merkel’s call and sending them on their way with guides and exact Twitter coordination to their IPhones how to bypass barricades and break through certain borders. These groups even provide waystations with IPhone chargers so they can continue to direct the migrant tsunami. The mostly young men include many who are highly aggressive, attack police with stones and teargas many seem to have been equipped with. As Hungary’s president Orban said – they are rogue armies, not families fleeing Syria who are the minority among them.
The largest migration corridor goes from various parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East via Turkey, next to Greece over the former Yugoslav republics of Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, bypassing the Hungary bottleneck as Orban has disappeared all of Hungary behind massive concertina wire fences to keep aggressive migrant mobs out. From Croatia, it goes into Slovenia, Austria, Germany where most stay and a smaller number on to Sweden. Germany is bearing most of the brunt of this.
On record, Germany absorbed 200,000 in the last month but this is certain to be a skewed number since thousands disappear off the trains without being registered. It is estimated that 3.7 million more are on the way right now and will arrive in Germany and mostly northern European countries within several short months. Considering that each asylum-seeker brings an average of 4-5 relatives after asylum approval per German official stats, that is a potential 16-20 million more citizens of mostly Germany, otherwise a nation of 81 million which already has a very high number of immigrants from the same countries.
Per UNHCR, there are currently 60 million active refugees world-wide with potential for 100 million if the global war/poverty situations causing this worsen a bit more. How many of them will also be organized to begin mass migrations into Europe?
Spielfeld border of Slovenia to Austria in recent days – borders throughout are overrun or set on fire such as the migrant camp in Slovenia. This is the migrants’ programmed response to being stopped on the border. Their behavior is proven to be orchestrated by various Twitter feeds and apps to their IPhones and we have information on several groups who are responsible for this. The entire effort is closely created and coordinated by Soros and various affiliated NGOs and false leftist German political groups who are long known to be under intelligence control, think tanks and specific police and intelligence structures within Germany which have all been used before in major Gladio efforts.
Dr. Kelly Greenhill is an associate professor at Tufts University and a research fellow in the Belfer Center’s International Security Program at Harvard University. She studies the security of migration change. Her work focuses on new security challenges, including forced migrations, and how these may be used as a political weapon or a tool for diplomacy. Her recent book, “Weapons of Mass Migration: Forced Displacement, Coercion, and Foreign Policy,” won the 2011 International Studies Association’s Best Book of the Year award. Greenhill also was a co-author and co-editor with Peter Andreas of “Sex, Drugs, and Body Counts: The Politics of Numbers in Global Crime and Conflict.” She spoke with the Journal about her work and how she sees forced migrations playing out on today’s world stage.
Rumour Has It: Rumour Adoption in Conflict-Affected Areas
Rumours run rife in conflict areas, and have played a key role in igniting episodes of intense violence, from ethnic riots to genocide. Under what conditions are politically salient rumours treated as truth? When will unverified pieces of information be widely adopted, and when will they be dismissed as false? This paper presents a new theoretical framework, as well as the first empirical analysis of these questions, using original survey data gathered in insurgency-affected areas of Southern Thailand and the Philippines.
We find wide variation in rumour adoption across the conflict areas, and argue that variation is driven by the rumour’s fit within the receiver’s worldview, and its connection to the receiver’s threat perception. Consistent with psychological research, we find strong evidence that patterns of repeated exposure greatly increase rumour acceptance. Contrary to conventional wisdom, we find no evidence that education, income, or gender determine individual receptivity to rumours.
The broader implications and further applications of our theory and findings to Eastern Europe, North Africa and southern Europe and South Asia will also be discussed.
A public lecture [84 minutes] by Professor Kelly Greenhill (Tufts/ Harvard) and Dr. Ben Oppenheim (Resident Fellow, Stanford University Center on International Conflict and Negotiation Senior Fellow and Visiting Scholar, New York University Center on International Cooperation)
Libya’s former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was unpalatable to the West, but since his removal, Libyans fleeing the resulting chaos and unrest have reached alarming proportions. “Sometimes the best of intentions can lead to greater chaos, destabilization, and dispossession of people,” said Kelly Greenhill, associate professor and research fellow at Tufts and Harvard Universities. In this interview, Ms. Greenhill also discusses her book Weapons of Mass Migration, where she looks at how weak actors have used migrants and refugees as pawns in conflicts.
This interview was conducted by Nadia Mughal of the Independent Commission on Multilateralism as part of a series of interviews done on the margins of ICM’s sixth retreat, on forced displacement, refugees, and migration, held on July 10-11.
Your book, Weapons of Mass Migration, examines the idea of how nations and non-state actors use forced migration as a non-military instrument of coercion. Can you talk a little more about it?
If traditional military coercion involves the use of threats or the use of force in order to extract changes in behavior, engineered migration by extension entails the threatened or the actual mass movement of people in order to extract political, military, and/or economic concessions from target states.
Quite often this a tool that’s used by actors that are, relatively speaking, weaker than their targets and the threat to use demographic bombs or use people as weapons can help, unfortunately, level the playing field and give weak actors a sense of leverage to pressure target states in a way that allows them to punch above their weight from a strict capabilities standpoint. Unfortunately, this means that some of the world’s most vulnerable populations end up being pawns in this game between states and their targets.
In the discussion earlier, you said that chaos and unrest, in part, driven by the removal of bad actors, such as dictators, plays a part in the migrant crisis. Can you expand on that?
There are situations where actors who we might find politically unpalatable nevertheless are able to keep areas stable, and when such actors are removed from power, it can create power struggles among those who are left; it can remove the security apparatuses, permit generalized and specific chaos and conflict to erupt.
In the case of the removal of Gaddafi in Libya, despite his many unpalatable characteristics, Gaddafi did play a significant role in regulating migration flows across the Mediterranean, and once he was removed from power, another source of control over the flows across the Mediterranean also disappeared. In addition, there were weapon transfers from Libya to other parts of North Africa, including most recently to Boko Haram in Nigeria. We also know that some of the fighters who fought in the Libyan War then went elsewhere in the region, including the Tuareg fighters who ended up being principal drivers behind the rebellion in Mali. Sometimes the best of intentions can lead to greater chaos, destabilization, and dispossession of people.
You mentioned that states that have ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention do not necessarily open their doors to refugees. How do we address these contradictions?
It’s difficult because states ultimately can claim security and sovereignty-related reasons for failing to treat folks as refugees. They can also simply claim that one or another group is not a refugee, or a group of refugees, but rather simply migrants—thus absolving themselves of having to bear any responsibility for treating people as refugees.
One thing that states, non-state actors, NGOs, and international organizations can do is to point out the disconnect between signatories’ behavior and signatories’ commitments and what they actually do. I actually talk about this in Weapons of Mass Migration—I refer to this phenomenon as the “imposition of hypocrisy cost,” demonstrating the disparity between a stated commitments and actual behavior. While hypocrisy costs on their own are rarely sufficient to change the state’s behavior, they can be an effective force multiplier that can help, on the positive side, to encourage states to do the right thing. On the negative side, because coercers know that international organizations will sometimes impose hypocrisy costs, it can also increase the probability that coercion will succeed because would-be coercers can create migration crises that they know will put target states between a rock and a hard place.
Ultimately it’s impossible to both reject a particular group and accept a particular group, and many within target states are divided as to whether or not, or not sure how they feel about any given group of refugees or migrants. Politicians often find themselves in a situation where it’s easier to give into the coercers demands to make the problem go away, than trying to somehow find a way to both accept and reject a group, which is fundamentally impossible.
The existence of hypocrisy costs can be helpful from a humanitarian standpoint, but they can also help coercers engage in successful coercion. This is a problem that’s far more common than is generally recognized. There’s been approximately one case of attempted coercion, on average, since the signing of the 1951 Refugee Convention, which is pretty significant, and when the tool is used, it tends to be at least partially successful about three-quarters of the time. It might still be a pretty ineffective tool of coercion in that it may only be used by actors who are pretty sure that they’ve got a vulnerable target in their sites, but when it is used, it tends to be relatively successful, tragically for the victims.
How fundamentally new and different is “organized crime” in today’s increasingly globalized world? How extensive are the ostensibly expanding links between international organized crime and domestic, state-based corruption, and how significant a threat do such links pose? And why, since conventional wisdom suggests corruption and criminality are most likely to thrive where governance is weakest, and border porosity greatest, are many of the world’s most significant transnational criminal networks actually based in advanced industrial (democratic) states?
In this cross-national data-analysis and theory-building paper, I demonstrate that while the links between transnational criminal organizations and domestic-level corruption are real and substantial, their effects are highly variable, both in degree and in consequence. In the most egregious cases, the relationships between criminals and corrupt officials may assume an advanced form of what I call “kleptocratic interdependence” – a set of profit- and power-driven, self-reinforcing relationships marked by: 1) a division of political, functional, and social control between state and non-state actors, i.e., the sharing of sovereignty functions traditionally viewed as residing with the state; 2) a privileging of private gain over public good; 3) an absence or dearth of legal and juridical accountability; and 4) some measure of fusion between the licit and illicit economic realms. Indeed, one might usefully think of kleptocratic interdependence as a malevolent stepchild of Keohane and Nye’s “complex interdependence,” which emphasized the significance of the myriad, and growing number of, complex transnational connections between states and societies.
Although these symbiotic and strategic inter-relationships are not themselves novel, in our new so-called “flattened” world, such relationships provide the criminal and the corrupt(able) new economic and political opportunities to exploit. As the paper explores in some detail, these relationships also enable these self-same actors to attain new levels of prominence and power – which permit them to straddle borders, to scale the figurative and literal walls designed to keep them out, and to threaten both national and international security in a variety of innovative and unprecedented ways.
Friday night’s escapist reading and entertainment started with pages 37-55 of Heckler’s “In Search of the Warrior Spirit”, a book that is dog-eared, annotated, highlighted, already heavily excerpted, and still valid and of interest and relevance on re-reading it. The focus of that flipped-to-open reading was on the meaning of warriorhood.
I had no fatherly or brotherly introduction to warriorhood of the kind detailed by Heckler or anything like the numerous experiences he references, but I was introduced to the “berets” at the age of 19. I found that dusty old .30-06 in the attic, but that was no formal introduction. I mastered the stripping, cleaning and re-building of an M-1 Garand because I’d absconded with the cadet commander’s Instant Breakfast when he left it behind in that hidden bivouac of his I’d discovered on a snowy day atop Mount Toby; reference this treatise on authority as well as this one.
I bounced out of that program — I selected myself out (along wiht the nudgings of a roommate and a revered high school English teacher, who shunned me when I showed up in spit-polished jump boots and brass buttons) though the junior cadet sargeant who’d obviously been tasked with recruitment and retention made a significant effort to keep me in.
Perhaps that experience, much of which took place in the same locale and fifteen years earlier than the one recounted in Heckler’s book, was the prime reason I was attracted to the book that day in the bookstore at the local mall. I had just finished a long stint with a state association of emergency physicians which lurched to a difficult ending when the incoming president took great umbrage at my role in writing a postion paper that pointed out the absolute folly of thinking that the world’s better hospitals on the East Coast could care adequately for the victims of a limited nuclear exchange in Europe.
In retrospect, it is clear that I could have — if serendipity and synchronicity had been more active in my life at that time — crossed paths with Dr. Heckler. All the Frost poems in the world are useless if paths from the clearings of the forests of life so not show themselves. But I discovered in Heckler’s footprints a trio of people from a dojo in Tamalpais. I have read those people and many more since then. I never made to California. My loss…
From there, late on Friday night, I naturally — but for no apparent reason — jumped to spending some companionable time with the book “The Miracle of Mindfulness” by Thich Nhat Hanh, where I quickly settled in “The Discourse of the Mindfulness of Breathing” (page 129), which may be the best and shortest pathway to meditation available. Before I personally put this to work, I paused to read the re-telling of Tolstoy’s story about the three questions to the Emperor (page 69), which is a bliss-inducing deliciousness which served as fodder for the meditation. As I prepared, I tarried long enough to re-visit David Richco’s “How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys To Mindful Loving” which in one random page-opener confirmed the same lessons, so I made a note to myself to buy, build and assemble more bookcases so I could finish populating my office with five bankers’ boxes stuffed full of books on spirituality, religion and philosophy.
The meditation began with an awareness that my three domains are up for renewal within the fortnight and I wondered whether I should continue to invest in them or whether there was a different path. I can not renew them and watch them slowly evaporate into the Wayback Machine. I can perhaps renew them and re-name them, re-focusing and re-purposing them as I go. Or I can simply buy a new ones. Heckler’s works sometimes focus on community and so I reviewed my life to wonder where I had experienced or established or been welcomed into community.
I reviewed the results of an exercise I’d done in years past [“Notes on the Perfect Job”], an extension of Bolles’ “flower” exercise (you can find the forms and pdf’s with your favorite search engine). The problem with those results, aside from or because of the fact that they were derived years and years ago, is that the skill groupings are probably pretty out of date. And I’m nearing the end of my life, am on a limited income, and have some health challenges. So the key was to focus on what will be needed by others in the near future that is within the grasp of what it is I can deliver in my current state physically and fiscally.
The breathing meditation began and quickly brought me to a state of relaxed ease in which I envisioned a dusty old burnt- sienna Siena, farms, fresh water, mass food service, doing art (photography, sketching, painting, music ), a coalescence of religious and social service functionaries conversant with the belief system for which that “early settler” in Ohio was noted to have been a missionary, and likely something about personal empowerment.
Here, at least, is a series of explanations about the meditation technique taught by this fellow to Wayne Dyer, the ah meditation.
In search for information about /mind-sound-technology/, I found the July 2013 “hangout” entitled “Jewish & Yogic Power Sounds Decoded”, about the “secret power sounds that have been used by ancient traditions for access Higher Intelligence, to accomplish Effortless Success and to transcendyour current reality”. Here it is: