As conflict on earth, in space, and in cyberspace becomes increasingly fast-paced and complex, the Pentagon’s Third Offset initiative is counting on artificial intelligence to help commanders, combatants, and analysts chart a course through chaos — what we’ve dubbed the War Algorithm (click here for the full series).
Conversely, AI can speak the ugly truths that human subordinates may not. “There are not many captains that are going to tell a four-star COCOM (combatant commander) ‘that idea sucks,’” Work said, “(but) the machine will say, ‘you are an idiot, there is a 99 percent probability that you are going to get your ass handed to you.’”
Before commanders will take an AI’s insights as useful, however, Work emphasized, they need to trust and understand how it works. That requires intensive “operational test and evaluation, where you convince yourself that the machines will do exactly what you expect them to, reliably and repeatedly,” he said. “This goes back to trust.”
Trust is so important, in fact, that two experts we heard from said they were willing to accept some tradeoffs in performance in order to get it: A less advanced and versatile AI, even a less capable one, is better than a brilliant machine you can’t trust.
“… it’s safe to conclude that AI will be a mandatory part of every new technology start-up within the next two years. It’s also safe to conclude that there won’t be a sector of economy untouched by AI…..”
“There’s no greater sin in the profession” than to suggest that new technology could change the “immutable” nature of human conflict, rather than just change the tools with which it’s waged, Work acknowledged. (He wryly noted he’d waited to make this statement until “my boss, the warrior monk, happens to be out of the country”). But Work is both a classically trained Marine Corps officer and the Pentagon’s foremost advocate of artificial intelligence.
“The nature of war is all about a collision of will, fear, uncertainty, and chance, Work said, summarizing Clausewitz. “You have to ask yourself, how does fear play out in a world when a lot of the action is taking place between unmanned systems?”
Human fallibility is central to Clausewitz and to classic theories of war as far back as Sun Tzu. But if machines start making the decisions, unswayed by fear, rage, or pride, how does that change the fundamental calculus of conflict?
“Uncertainty is going to be different now,” Work went on. While he didn’t use the utopian language of millennial Revolution in Military Affairs — whose promise to “lift the fog of war” with high-tech sensors failed utterly in Afghanistan and Iraq — Work did argue that computerized decision-making aids could help commanders see with greater clarity.
“Clausewitz had a term called coup d’oeil,” Work said, essentially a great commander’s intuitive grasp of what was happening on the battlefield. It’s a quality Clausewitz and Napoleon considered innate, individual, impossible to replicate, but, Work said, “learning machines are going to give more and more commanders coup d’oeil.”
That said, uncertainty isn’t going to go away, Work said. We could guess the capabilities of a new Russian tank by watching it parade across Red Square; an adversary’s new AI will only reveal its true nature in battle. “Surprise is going to be endemic, because a lot of the advances that the other people are doing on their weapons systems, we won’t see until we fight them,” Work said, “and if they have artificial intelligence then that’s better than ours, that’s going to be a bad day.”
Introducing artificial intelligence to the battlefield could create unprecedented uncertainty. The interactions of opposing AIs could form an increasingly unpredictable feedback loop, a military application of chaos theory.
“We’ve never gotten to the point where we’ve had enough narrow AI systems working together throughout a network for us to be able to see what type of interactions we might have,” Work said. (“Narrow” AI refers to programs that can equal human intelligence for a specific purpose; “general” AI would equal human intelligence in all aspects, an achievement so far found only in sci-fi).
So what’s the solution? In part, Work said, it’s the cautious, conservative Pentagon processes widely derided as obstacles to innovation. In particular, he pointed to “operational test and evaluation, where you convince yourself that the machines will do exactly what you expect them to, reliably and repeatedly.”
One crucial restraint we want our AIs to follow, Work emphasized, is that they won’t kill a target without specific orders from a human being. “You can envision a world of general (artificial) intelligence where a weapon might make those decisions, but we certain that we do not want to pursue that at this time,” he said.
“We are not going to design weapons that decide what target to hit,” he said. That doesn’t mean a human has to pull the trigger every time: “We’re going to say when we launch you, you can hit one of these five targets, and oh by the way, here’s the priority that we want to service them in; and if you don’t find the fifth target, you don’t get to decide if you’re going to go kill something else. You will either dive into the ocean or self-destruct.”
The problem with such self-imposed restrictions, of course, is that they put you at a disadvantage against adversaries who don’t share them. If we build our military AIs until we can predict their behavior in testing, will our enemies be able to predict their behavior on the battlefield? If we require our AIs to get permission from slow-thinking humans before opening fire, will our enemies out-draw us with AIs that shoot first and ask humans later?
The Civilians Speak
“If one country restrains itself to not develop artificial general intelligence or living AI….adversaries would have an incentive to develop more complex adaptive machines that would be out of control,” because it could give them a crushing advantage, said David Hanson, CEO of Hanson Robotics. Even outside the military field, Hanson said, “many companies are aspiring to make really complex adaptive AI that may not entirely be transparent and its very value is in the fact that it’s surprising.” AI is potentially more powerful — and profitable — than any other technology precisely because it can surprise its makers, finding solutions they’d never thought of.
That’s also why it’s more dangerous. You don’t need a malevolent AI to cause problems, just a childishly single-minded AI that doesn’t realize its clever solution has an unfortunate side effect — such as, say, global extinction. Blogger Tim Urban lays out a thought experiment of an AI programmed to replicate human handwriting that wipes out humanity in order to maximize its supply of notepaper. In one experiment, Oxford University scholar Anders Sandberg told the APL conference, a prototype warehouse robot was programmed to put boxes down a chute. A surveillance camera monitored its progress so it could be turned off when appropriate — until the robot learned to block the camera so it could happily put all the boxes down the chute. It sounds like an adorable three-year-old playing, until you imagine the same thing happening with, say, missile launches.
We’re a long way away from an AI smart enough to be evil, said venture capitalist Jacob Vogelstein: “What’s much more likely to kill us all than an intelligent system that goes off and tries to plot and take over the world is some failure mode of an automated launch system (for example), not because it has some nefarious intention, just because someone screwed up the code.”
“It’s very hard to control autonomy, not because it’s wild or because it wants to be free, (but because) we’re creating these complex, adaptive technological systems,” Sandberg said. Indeed, the most powerful and popular way to make an AI currently is not to program its intelligence line-by-line, but to create a “learning machine” and feed it lots of data so it can learn from experience and trial and error, like a human infant. Unfortunately, it’s very hard with such systems to understand exactly how they learned something or why they made a certain decision, let alone to predict their future actions.
“It’s generally a matter of engineering how much risk and uncertainty are you willing to handle,” said Sandberg. “In some domains, we might say, actually it’s pretty okay to try things and fail fast and learn from experience. In other systems, especially (involving) big missiles and explosions, you might want to be very conservative.”
What if our adversaries are willing to throw those dice? Work has confidence that American ingenuity and ethics will prevail, and that American machines working together with American humans will beat AIs designed by rigid authoritarians who suppress their own people’s creative potential. But he admits there is no guarantee.
“This is a competition,” Work said. “We’ll just have to wait and see how that competition unfolds, and we’ll have to go very, very carefully.”
US President Donald Trump has launched another bitter broadside against Germany in the latest spat between the White House and Berlin, after he described her refugee policy as “catastrophic” and castigated Germany for failing to pay its way within NATO.
Ukraine and Russia are embroiled in conflict, and this time the battlefield is Twitter. The topic of argument is the heritage of a princess that died nearly a thousand years ago.
The two nations have been passive-aggressively sniping at one another with memes and gifs, an incident that has captured the amusement – and relief – of the internet. Better for nations to fight over Twitter than with guns and bombs, seems to be the common sentiment.
“Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper claimed in an interview that Russians are “almost genetically driven to” manipulate and infiltrate as an explanation for his concern about alleged Russian interference into the US presidential election and alleged ties between Trump senior advisor Jared Kushner and Russian officials.
Clapper was asked by NBC’s Meet the Press host Chuck Todd if he knew about communications between Kushner and Russian officials. “I will tell you that my dashboard warning light was clearly on and I think that was the case with all of us in the intelligence community: very concerned about the nature of these approaches to the Russians,” Clapper replied.
“If you put that in context with everything else we knew the Russians were doing to interfere with the election, and just the historical practices of the Russians, who typically, almost genetically, [are] driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique. So we were concerned.”
In so many words, Clapper admitted he believed in a genetic predisposition of Russian people to lie, manipulate and misrepresent…..”
It was an explanation by several advanced students of deep theologies of the depths and depravities of attempts to improve the human condition by radically modifying and tinkering with the human condition.
Such experiments and theories, the authors explain, are apparently as old as the ages and show up dominantly in the hidden depths. They are also present, though large hidden on purpose from our view, in today’s society and culture. Like most of Joseph Farrell’s books, this is not light reading. Some call this kind of stuff alternative history, but that’s a kind brushing aside of the importance of the deep research that has been done and which he brings to the surface. On the timeline of history, Farrell and his co-author go way way back in order to help you see the trends into the future. I highly commend the bookto your bookshelf so that you may peer into the past, but I am going to zero in on a phrase or term he used on page 136 and discussed for another six or seven pages as the vehicle to assist you in seeing more clearly what’s happening right now and what it’s implications are for the future. [See also http://www.lulu.com/shop/joseph-p-farrell-and-scott-d-de-hart/dialogues-1-transhumanism-in-dialogue/paperback/product-21238670.html ]
Farrell was brought to my attention because I regularly read the blog over at the Solari Project, Catherine Austin Fitts’ private enterprise that teaches people to see and track where the money goes. I got very interested in what Fitts had to say after I’d read her on the topic of 9/11 (she was saying “follow the money” before all the dust had settled in Manhattan), on the topic of narcodollars, and most notably her treatise on the politics of the recent past known as Dunwalke. As part of her development work, she once hired me to help her think through the possibilities of developing a board game, maybe a latter-day version of Monopoly in which people could see how bankers and others extracted financial value from a community and to teach them how to spend, act and shape their own home towns in an assertive and protective manner. I failed that assignment though she paid me the $500 fee anyway, and I turned that money into a life-changing trip down the backside of the Appalachian ridge where I discovered much. She however went on more deeply into Solari Circles, the “Coming Clean” campaign and has since worked with others (including Farrell) to to track covert budgets, an effort that gets updated under the term “Space-based Economy”.
The concept of a breakaway civilization is discussed on page 147 in Farrell’s “Transhumanism”, but we really need to step back at least one or two steps for the idea of a “breakaway civilization” comes into focus.
It’s the section of the book that runs from page 135 to 147 that will form the fuel of this blog entry.
The key phrase in particular?: The “GRIN technologies”. I was skimming when I encountered that and immediately went back to find the first reference: what are the GRIN technologies? The acronym stands for Genetic, Robotic, Information, and Nanotechnology.
Genetic technologies, the manipulation by humans of an organism’s genome, have exploded onto the scene in the fields of medicine, food, warfare, the development of laboratory chimera.
Robotics are transforming industry and warfare, aeronautics and space travel, health services including surgery, terrestrial and extra-terrestrial exploration and mining, and in the home environment.
… While the international transhumanist movement has existed for decades, it’s been growing like wildfire in the last 18 months. Media coverage of transhumanism has tripled in the last year according to the Institute of Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Transhumanism is featured in a number of recent blockbuster Hollywood movies, including Transcendence, Lucy, and Oscar-winning Her. And a younger generation—many in high school and college—appear to be embracing it….
If your brain can’t get its synapses around the convergence of these four concepts/technologies, then you surely can understand the concept of a “breakaway civilization” and the fact that some current corporations and governments will work very hard to inform, educate, train and harness financial and other energies and to prevent others from knowing about them and what the powers that be are doing and plan to do with them. That’s why you should be interested in what Fitts and Farrell have to say. The powers that be hasten to effect their escape, leaving the less-fortunate, the not-wealthy, the less informed, the “useless eaters”, to face a world that they have set on a course toward self-destruction.
In Neal Stephenson’s 2015 novel Seveneves, survivors of a worldwide holocaust are tasked with seeding new life on a dormant Earth. Rather than create specific breeds of animals to be hunters, scavengers, or prey, species like “canids” are developed with mutable epigenetic traits, with the intention that the animals would quickly transform into the necessary roles that would be required for an ecosystem to rapidly evolve. Additionally, a race of humans, “Moirans,” are created to survive in space, with the hope that this subspecies of human would be able to adapt to unforeseeable dangers and circumstances, via an epigenetic process called “going epi”.
Two important references noted by Farrell and de Hart in their book are Joel Garreau’s Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies — and What It Means to be Human, and Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology.
Garreau notes that the GRIN technologies overlap and intermingle to create a “curve of change unlike anything we humans have ever seen and that each of them, taken individually, are transformative and “each hold the potential to change human nature itself.” Farrell and de Hart cite Kurzweil when they say that “taken together, or engineered or employed in various combinations, the transformation is even more sweeping”; it is alchemical.
The target, says Garreau, is the very essence of man’s nature. “The goal is to seamlessly merge mind and machine, engineering human evolution so as to directly project and amplify the power of our thoughts throughout the universe.”
“… the ultimate goal of transhumanism is nothing less than the scientific and technological reversal of the Tower of Babel Moment of History, of The Fall of Man, and the alchemical ascent back up the scala caeli, the ladder to heaven…. The implications of this are … breathtaking. At the head of the list is the alchemical fusion of man and mineral in the form of implanted computer chips to “enhance” the abilities of humans to interface directly with computers…. Any human being — a microcosm — will be capable of becoming a macrocosm, of literally stretching out to control [something millions of miles away.]. The next step is toward true computer-enhanced telepathy and interface…, to seamlessly merge mind and machine, engineering human evolutionso as to to directly project and amplify the power of thought throughout the universe.” [page 138, Farrell and de Hart]
It is, according to Kurzweil, tantamount to reverse-engineering the human brain. “Indeed, as he points out, the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, based in Munich, has already engineered a computer chip that allows human neurons to be grown on a computer chip, directly interfacing with it, [as well as] technologies that allow it to detect when specific neurons are fired [and] allow them to cause or prevent certain neurons from firing, in short, to modify human consciousness and behavior directly via computer implants.” [page 139, Farrell and de Hart]
In the transhumanist theory, the world-wide web will become a super-brain or super-consciousness long ago envisioned by Nicola Tesla. “[H]ow does one maintain one’s individuality and freedom in such a world, given the ability of these technologies to directly modify memory, behavior, and individual consciousness? [See BoyDownTheLane.com/metabolization.] And who will be the “system administrators” and “operators” in this brave new world? What is being engineered, in other words, is literally the technological version of the corporate person, where it is no longer a legal metaphor, but a technological reality, a single “distributed and interconnected brain…”. The referenced source is the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Commerce [where Penny Pritzker is the chief]. [The book notes the afore-mentioned Garreau book which in turn references Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance [http://www.wtec.org/ConvergingTechnologies/Report/NBIC_report.pdf ]as well as Gregory Stock’s Redesigning Humans and Metaman.]
The potential military applications are discussed by Farrell and de Hart, especially DARPA’s Continuous Assisted Performance component of their “super-soldier” program, on page 141 through 143. The mission brief of the Defense Sciences Office, described as the DARPA inside DARPA, a coordinating think tank not unlike those used by Nazi Germany, a “secret community of interaction between scientists secretly investigating radical concepts”, in some senses a “breakway civilization” itself, the enhanced isolated from the rest of us, is this: The elite engineered group of new humans will be able to think faster an more creatively, have near-photographic memories, read books with total recall and comprehension in minutes, repair their own bodies and maintain peak health, live longer, require less sleep, and communicate more quickly with greater clarity to allow coordinated action in shorter time periods.
Three scenarios are envisioned [page 145] in the long run:
The “Heaven” scenario, in which the emerging technologies portend a being and blissful future of longevity, of work as play, of sweeping extensions of human group consciousness not only globally but on a cosmic scale;
The “Hell” scenario, in which the same technologies lead humanity to a cart strophic end, due to accidental leaks of deadly viruses, or cataclysmic wars utilizing new weapons, or through simple inability of human society and humans to cope with the sweeping changes as old institutions break down under th technological weight, and crumble into anarchy;
The “Prevail” scenario is, as might be expected, a mixture of the previous twp, full of promise, to be sure, but also of reverses and setbacks, until ultimately, humanity makes choices regarding the technologies, and “muddles through”.
There is much much more in the book; I highly recommend your reading it and/or learning as much as possible as soon as possible about its topics.
For more on the concept of a Breakaway Civilization:
RoboticsTrends notes the top 50 companies in the world for 2016 based on based on their innovation, groundbreaking application, commercial success and potential, and represent many different levels and facets of the robotics ecosystem.
This international compilation spans 11 countries and in addition to the large conglomerates, 20% of the list is comprised of lesser-known startups.
I’ve left this in autoplay: there are two documentaries which follow totaling 80 minutes.
Here’s a map showing “the locations (by zipcode) of companies, universities, government laboratories, and organizations working in nanotechnology around the United States.”
Information technologies will not be covered in detail here; you could probably make your own list, starting with the NSA, including IBM, Apple, et al. If you need further help, here’s Fortune’s list for 2015.
What are the psychic, cognitive and spiritual energies for scientific development of transhumanism?
Who provided the venture capital? Other than business off-shoots created by the CIA, you’ll likely find billionaire transhumanists who are into eugenics, starting with the Rockefellers, and Bill Gates, the very rich fellow who climbed to the top of the information technology heap.
I don’t have a list of the definitive and unbleached histories of the Rockefellers and others of their era and ilk, but the reading list at the bottom of a llong excerpt from Eustace Mullins’ book “Murder by Injection” also notes Tarbell, Coleman, Sutton and others. Here is Chapter ten of that book: http://fr.bio.medecine.narkive.com/pfIwt9hY/murder-by-injection-the-rockefeller-syndicate
According to Wikipedia, transhumanism is sometimes abbreviated as H+ or h+.
Global Financial Crisis Blaming Hackers Coming to a Bank Account near You to Steal Your Life Savings
Add one more way to lose all your life savings. Many of us have heard about the covert “bail-in laws” that already went into effect this year in Europe making theft of private bank account assets “legal” in this topsy-turvy world where chaos and high crimes rule the day. The precedent was set a couple years ago in Cyprus where private citizens woke up one day and found the money they believed was secure in their banks suddenly stolen by the banks. Despite the Treasury Department and MSM propaganda that the bailout cost taxpayers only $21 billion, it actually cost Americans trillions in lost housing wealth, 9.3 million citizens lost their homes from 2005-2014 through foreclosure or short sale along with plenty of lost retirement funds and lots of lost jobs. The untold misery and suffering of so many American people had insult added to injury when not one top financial executive ever faced charges but in fact were rewarded with obscene yearend bonuses. Already knowing the American public will not stand for another massive tax-supported bailout excusing the criminal banking cabal’s gambling addiction for misusing their money that caused the 2008 housing bubble crisis, now the $247 trillion in exposure to casino-generated debt derivatives created by those same bankster gangsters are manipulating governments to deliver deceitful backdoor thievery that will cause the next financial crisis to steal whatever savings they may still have left sitting unsecured in their bank accounts.
But this month yet another potentially equal red alert danger now lurks to steal all our money. This time it’s supposedly neither the private Federal Reserve banksters nor our federal government gangsters. It’s the criminal hacksters who gained access to central banks’ digital assets and pulled off one of the biggest bank heists in history a couple weeks ago. I’m talking about the $100 million grab of Federal Reserve money that managed to recover only $19 million of its lost assets for a grand total theft of $81 million, still making it among the largest bank robberies in history. On the day before US Empire’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, per Saddam Hussein’s instructions to his son Qusay, $1 billion was taken from the Iraqi central bank. And in 2007 Dar Es Salaam Bank guards in Iraq lifted another $282 million.
Of course these greatest bank heists pale in comparison to the conveniently lost trillions by US government officials’ looting of Iraq and US taxpayers. On the day before 9/11 Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced that he and his still unaudited Pentagon couldn’t account for $2.3 trillion. Only hours later co-conspirator New York Trade Center lease owner Larry Silverstein gave the “pull it” demolition order to take down Building 7 an incredible 20 minutes after the BBC reporter prematurely announced it had already collapsed. And then of course Building 7 is where all the Defense Department financial records were conveniently housed. On top of all this, amazingly Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense at the time, has the audacity to go twice on public record pretending he didn’t even know Building 7 was destroyed on 9/11. If lying was a crime, Rummie would be sure to get the death penalty. Perhaps he and the other treasonous 9/11 conspirators in Washington and Israel eventually will get their due for perpetrating the most colossal crime of the century.
In any event here’s what we know about the latest bank robbery. An online digital typo error prevented what would have become the biggest single bank heist in history at a whopping one billion dollars! The still at large hackers managed to navigate past all the security checkpoints of passwords and ID’s to access the Bangladesh central bank’s payment transfers. Overcoming this hurdle, the online bank robbers then made three dozen requests moving money from the Bangladesh bank to entities in the Philippines and Sri Lanka. The sophisticated cyber thieves were able to successfully transfer $81 million to the Philippines but a simple misspelling of the word “foundation” as “fandation” held up the Sri Lanka transaction of about $20 million to the NGO Shalika Foundation. Bank officials say that the routing bank – the nearly bankrupt Deutsche Bank – caught the misspelling error and asked for clarification from the Bangladesh central bank which then stopped the transfer. Reuters was unable to even find any information for the hackers’ NGO Shalika Foundation that apparently isn’t listed as a registered Sri Lankan non-profit organization.
The Bangladesh central bank holds an account at New York City’s Federal Reserve for international settlements. The inordinate number of sudden requests made to transfer funds to private entities also tipped the Federal Reserve off into alerting the Bangladesh bank. It’s believed that the total number of funds requested that were successfully stopped range from $850-$870 million. A rather sobering and even scary realization is had the hacker(s) properly spelled the word foundation, perhaps a billion dollars would have been stolen before anyone in the central banking system would have even caught on that they were duped by some mysterious anonymous cyber-criminal(s) who fortunately for them flunked English spelling class.
The $81 million was deposited into four private accounts at the Philippine’s Rizai Commercial Banking Corporation. Officials of the bank were grilled by the Philippine Congress, underscoring the weak links in finance safeguards worldwide, especially since the stolen money came from a US Federal Reserve account in New York. The high profile incident also exposes liabilities in the global anti-money laundering efforts. This opens the can of worms highlighted in recent years by HSBC Bank scandal with ties to the City of London caught red-handed laundering dirty drug and terrorist money that governments and the terrorism network profit from worldwide drug smuggling operations that have netted billions if not trillions. Sinister military research part of black ops programs is largely financed the drug money that our Western governments criminally generate. The corrupt global financial system is notorious for laundering money through the central banking cabal and mob casinos all over the world. That fact alone has allowed the hackers in this case to use the Philippine bank as its launderer. Legalized criminal secrecy of shadow governments globally enable transactions into the billions to be routinely covered up.
In response to this case the Filipino presidential frontrunner Senator Grace Poe recently stated:
The trend now in the world is having bank disclosures, not bank secrecy. This is to prevent also the funneling of money down to terroristic activities, drug cartels, etc. We should be one with the international community in preventing such activities.
Somehow I very much doubt that her current counterpart in America, the Republican frontrunner Donald Trump would agree as his casinos have been linked to organized crime although he has managed to avoid indictment thus far. In any event, the Rizai Bank accepted the stolen money deposits and then sent them to the local casinos for laundering purposes knowing that the Philippine anti-money laundering law currently does not apply to casinos. In last week’s televised congressional hearing in Manila the bank branch’s customer service manager testified that he witnessed on February 5th after $81 million was deposited at the bank the branch manager loaded near a half million dollars in a paper bag and drove away with it. He also claimed that the manager attempted to bribe him with a sum of over $100,000. Meanwhile the incriminated branch manager’s lawyer said he has emails proving that senior Rizai officers from the main office approved of the money transfer to the casinos.
Back in February 2013 a Philippine senator chaired the hearing and decision that amended the Anti-Money Laundering Act applied to casinos after hearing casino lobbyists tout that their country’s casinos were rivaling other big Asian casinos and hamstringing them would only undermine the rising international competition that brought much needed revenue to the nation. So reluctantly he gave approval for casinos not to be covered by the law. Ironically that same senator is now tasked with investigating how the stolen $81 million ended up moving through the Philippine bank to the casinos and then disappeared. The scandal has opened up a so called black hole in the world’s banking security as well as bank and casino money laundering. The Bangladesh central bank governor and two deputy governors resigned last week. Meanwhile the money trail in the Philippines has grown cold once the $81 million reached the casinos as the hackers may get away with their crime. Though security researchers have attributed partial blame to malware and a faulty printer, the bigger fault clearly lies in the corrupt global financial system itself.
This business of online hackers cracking cyber security systems is anything but new. In 2015 the Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab disclosed that an estimated total of $1 billion has already been stolen by multinational hacking gangsters from up to 100 banking institutions around the globe just within the last two years. Last October a gang of cyber-criminals in Eastern Europe concocted a particularly virulent virus that infected bank records and drained £20m from UK bank accounts.
It’s becoming an increasing threat to life as we know it as louder warnings of worse calamities to come have been bombarding the Western pubic in both mainstream and alternative news media. America’s largest bank, JP Morgan admitted that last summer hackers attacked the bank records holding the names, addresses and email addresses of over 76 million households along with 7 million small businesses. That’s over a quarter of the US population’s personal information has already been compromised.
The elite of elite central banksters, the City of London policy head Mark Boleat said last fall that the next global financial crisis could make a huge bank and all its asset holdings suddenly disappear in an instant. In his words the bad guys will be:
“… Destroying bank records and changing the amounts people have in their accounts,” blowing up the financial system like a “neutron bomb” as “a bank will disappear, a national bank.”
Since virtually every major act of terrorism in Western nations is state sponsored by the Western government intelligence community as the handlers of Muslim jihadist patsies, the latest Brussels airport bombing another case in point, even more easily planned and executed financial terrorism committed by the diabolically minded ruling elite could manifest as the next sudden global crisis blaming an anonymous gang of cyber world criminals for ripping off everything we have insecurely stored as digital bytes in our local banks. We could easily wake up one morning in the very near future and find that all our life savings have just disappeared overnight, and the crime cabal elite could just say “oops, sorry but it’s just those bad guys who are apparently doing it to us again.” For years the federal government has been planning on one of these type cyber-world attacks causing the next international crisis. With their deep state secrecy, who’s to say that this incident was actually caused by some computer geek outlaws or the subhuman psychopaths that own and control the world. Regardless of “who done it,” the catastrophic outcome’s exactly the same.
Mainstream media and the banking industry are pointing the finger at a handful of hacking criminals, the lapses in cyber-security and the money laundering in the Philippines when the real culprit over and above all those smaller players is the global financial system itself. Again the banking industry is based on debt-based thievery with which the elites have enslaved the global masses for centuries, so why should so much commotion be made when a few anonymous hackers rip off America’s central bank when it’s been ripping the people off especially since 1913’s Federal Reserve Act. The crumbling bankrupted global financial system protected by its bought and paid for international crime cabal that presently governs every Western nation is the culprit behind terrorism, war, impoverishment, disease and every high crime committed in this world. Granted hackers can wreak havoc on the globe’s financial system, but clearly the bigger problem facing the citizens of this world is the tyrannical stranglehold the elite is imposing on the global masses.
Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field with abused youth and adolescents for more than a quarter century. In recent years he has focused on his writing, becoming an alternative media journalist. His blog site is at http://empireexposed.blogspot.co.id/Joachim is also a regular contributor toGlobal Research, Sott.net and LewRockwell.com.
The year is 2016. Robots have infiltrated the human world. We built them, one by one, and now they are all around us. Soon there will be many more of them, working alone and in swarms. One is no larger than a single grain of rice, while another is larger than a prairie barn. These machines can be angular, flat, tubby, spindly, bulbous, and gangly. Not all of them have faces. Not all of them have bodies.
And yet they can do things once thought impossible for machine. They vacuum carpets, zip up winter coats, paint cars, organize warehouses, mix drinks, play beer pong, waltz across a school gymnasium, limp like wounded animals, write and publish stories, replicate abstract expressionist art, clean up nuclear waste, even dream.
Except, wait. Are these all really robots? What is a robot, anyway?
This has become an increasingly difficult question to answer. Yet it’s a crucial one. Ubiquitous computing and automation are occurring in tandem. Self-operating machines are permeating every dimension of society, so that humans find themselves interacting more frequently with robots than ever before—often without even realizing it. The human-machine relationship is rapidly evolving as a result. Humanity, and what it means to be a human, will be defined in part by the machines people design.
“We design these machines, and we have the ability to design them as our masters, or our partners, or our slaves,” said John Markoff, the author of Machines of Loving Grace, and a long-time technology reporter for The New York Times. “As we design these machines, what does it do to the human if we have a class of slaves which are not human but that we treat as human? We’re creating this world in which most of our interactions are with anthropomorphized proxies.”
In the philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s 1807 opus, The Phenomenology of Spirit, there is a passage known as the master-slave dialectic. In it, Hegel argues, among other things, that holding a slave ultimately dehumanizes the master. And though he could not have known it at the time, Hegel was describing our world, too, and aspects of the human relationship with robots.
But what kind of world is that? And as robots grow in numbers and sophistication, what is this world becoming?
There are all kinds of reasons why engineers might want to make a robot appealing this way. For one thing, people are less likely to fear a robot that’s adorable. The people who make autonomous machines, for example, have a vested interest in manipulating public perception of them. If a Google self-driving car is cute, perhaps it will be perceived as more trustworthy. Google’s reported attempts to shed Boston Dynamics, the robotics company it bought in 2013, appears tied to this phenomenon: Bloomberg reported last week that a director of communications instructed colleagues to distance the company’s self-driving car project from Boston Dynamic’s recent foray into humanoid robotics.
It’s clear why Google might not want its adorable autonomous cars associated with powerful human-shaped robots. The infantilization of technology is a way of reinforcing social hierarchy: Humankind is clearly in charge, with sweet-looking technologies obviously beneath them.
When the U.S. military promotes video compilations of robots failing—buckling at the knees, bumping into walls, and tumbling over—at DARPA competitions, it is, several roboticists told me, clearly an attempt to make those robots likeable. (It’s also funny, and therefore disarming, like this absurd voiceover someone added to footage of a robot performing a series of tasks.) The same strategy was used in early publicity campaigns for the first computers. “People who had economic interest in computers had economic interest in making them appear as dumb as possible,” said Atkeson, from Carnegie Mellon. “That became the propaganda—that computers are stupid, that they only do what you tell them.”
What matters, in other words, is who is in control—and how well humans understand that autonomy occurs along a gradient. Increasingly, people are turning over everyday tasks to machines without necessarily realizing it. “People who are between 20 and 35, basically they’re surrounded by a soup of algorithms telling them everything from where to get Korean barbecue to who to date,” Markoff told me. “That’s a very subtle form of shifting control. It’s sort of soft fascism in a way, all watched over by these machines of loving grace. Why should we trust them to work in our interest? Are they working in our interest? No one thinks about that.”
“A society-wide discussion about autonomy is essential,” he added.
“… Collectivism is an ideology that exploits our inborn tendency to seek out human connection. It turns the desire for voluntary community into a sociopolitical demand for involuntary and forced community in the name of an arbitrary “greater good”. Individualism is not a product of collectivism, nor is collectivism a product of individualism. They are completely irreconcilable….”
“… One of the primary character traits or strategies of cultural Marxists today is that they rarely if ever actually self-identify as cultural Marxists. This strategy allows them to change their colors on a whim, like a chameleon, and it prevents opponents from pinning down their world view in order to present a solid argument against them. It also allows them to disassociate from past cultural Marxists with negative reputations while holding the same beliefs as those historical figures. The cultural Marxist denies he is a cultural Marxist, then he goes on to argue an ideology which perfectly matches what cultural Marxists have historically believed…..”
Now that you’ve had a thoroughly-disinteresting introducton to wargaming (the Persian Gulf being halfway on the other side of the globe), it’s time to shift to the second area of operation that ought to be of interest to you. And it’s much closer.
Go find a good map of North America.
Don’t worry too much about the quality and nature of that map. You needn’t concern yourself too much with all the detail, the sheer size, the varied terrains.
Remember, this is simply a thinking exercise, and we won’t spend too much time on this AO.
I’ve provided a simple map above that will help you zero in on some essential factors:
Secondly, find yourself a good source of news. I happen to have one nearby — occurrencesforeigndomestic.com — but choose one you can trust as a real barometer of what’s going on with regard to economics, the government and its pronouncements, etc. And get yourself a source of information about active and ongoing weather you can believe and trust.
Thirdly, get down to the library, or the bookstore; there will be books you’ll want to read.
Finally, if you haven’t already done so, sit down with your significant adult members of your household, extended family, and immediate neighborhood, and jump-start a conversation.
Armed conflict is coming to America.
Now, before you go calling the local office of the FBI or Jeh Johnson down at Homeland Security to say “there’s this crank on the Internet…”, here me out and check my logic. It’s pretty simple. And it’s been widely expressed by many others. Serious people who’ve been around for some time.
I said that you won’t be required to buy an assault weapon. Or a shotgun. Or a sidearm of some sort.
There’s no obligation at all.
I can’t make you do anything you wouldn’t think was in your best interests anyway.
But walk though the game scenario and keep a map and a notepad handy, and don’t forget to ask the adult members of your household to follow along with you.
Now, before we get underway, let me tell you that I don’t own a gun. Never have. I am, however, a full supporter of our Second Amendment rights, the right of self-defense, etc. I did, two nights ago, again ask myself the question as to whether I should get one. Previously, I had zeroed in and with the help of the late, great Frenchy, decided on a sidearm and a shotgun. Had ‘em picked out. Thought about it long and hard. Decided that then was not the time. I went though and did the homework last week as to what I could buy (and where) in this state, and looked into where I could take the necessary courses and what it would all cost. All totaled, the bottom line runs to about $4,000. I don’t have that kind of money that I think is important enough to invest in that acquisition. At this time. Tick tock. But I know just what to do, in what order, with whom. I paused to read and learn more about the forthcoming scenario. You can think right along with me.
Armed conflict is coming to America.
Why? Because massive social and financial upheaval is on the doorstep. The situation with Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, quantitative easing, inflation and deflation, the price and supply of oil, the status of the banking industry, the worldwide movement of goods and commodities (actually, the lack of it, given what’s happened ot the Baltic Dry Index), and the viability of the food production processes are all in the news. You can read.
You can sift through the political propaganda that circulates around these topics. If you understand that the valley that provides an eighth of the fresh produce to the US just went through the worst drought in its history…. If you understand that much of the middle of the nation (the breadbasket) which provides much of the wheat, corn, beef, pork, etc. has gone through its own severe cycles of weather…. If you understand that the nation is deeply in debt and that the people who hold that debt are in deep financial straits themselves…. If you understand that the value of our currency is tied to the supply of oil and that the supply of oil is in trouble… If you understand that those who invested in our continued ability to provide oil have seen their investments fail… If you understand that our infrastructure is weak and broken because we have been horn-swaggled into paying for expensive and dysfunctional military hardware and the costs of overseas wars to provide profits for oligarchs and security for small groups of psychopathologically narcisstic and otherwise disturbed and duplicitous peoples…
Well, we’ll maintain the focus here at home. What’s the percentage of people who have solid jobs and incomes in your community? What do you think is going to happen when a lot of people can’t put food on their families?
Now, that’s just a bunch of questions, but let’s look at other forecasts for violence in America. It’s old news now… this is where your library can provide the books … that we’ve undergone a radical militarization of local law enforcement.
Federal agencies have armed themselves and bought up massive amounts of.40-caliber hollow point ammunition, a round so deadly it’s outlawed by most nations, and there’s enough for five rounds for every adult in America.
The US DOJ/ATF debacle known as “Fast and Furious” ships arms to the Sinaloa narcotics cabal in Mexico, and the US has armed and supplied ISIS. Everyone is pointing to Muslim terrorists behind every tree but there are well-armed gangs poised to enter America; some of them are already here.
And we haven’t even broached the idea of global armed conflict involving Russia, China, Israel and the US. That was back in Part One, starting in the Persian Gulf, focused on oil supplies and the trans-shipment of oil.
Another forecast of conflict inside America comes in John Whitehead’s book “Battlefield America”. [Here are theBarnes and Noble andAmazon links so you can read the reviews, comments, etc.]
“There is no end to the government’s unmitigated gall in riding roughshod over the rights of the citizenry, whether in matters of excessive police powers, militarized police, domestic training drills, SWAT team raids, surveillance, property rights, overcriminalization, roadside strip searches, profit-driven fines and prison sentences, etc.
The president can now direct the military to detain, arrest and secretly execute American citizens. These are the powers of an imperial dictator, not an elected official bound by the rule of law…. the schools, the churches, private businesses, service providers, nonprofits and your fellow citizens—many are also marching in lockstep with the police state. This is what is commonly referred to as community policing. After all, the police can’t be everywhere. So how do you police a nation when your population outnumbers your army of soldiers? … Trust me, if it looks like a battlefield (armored tanks on the streets, militarized police in metro stations, surveillance cameras everywhere), sounds like a battlefield (SWAT team raids nightly, sound cannons to break up large assemblies of citizens), and acts like a battlefield (police shooting first and asking questions later, intimidation tactics, and involuntary detentions), it’s a battlefield…. If you haven’t managed to read the writing on the wall yet, the war has begun.”
Whitehead mentions Jade Helm. I’ve written about Jade Helm extensively. It’s a controversial subject and I’m not sure if I’ve clarified the issue or muddied the water, but there’s a lot going on inside that topic that has to do with covert ops, social engineering, and more.
“If you have been following along for some time and have taken in, read, watched, and absorbed the series here that focuses on the advancing totalitarianism and the merger of software, biomedical engineering, simulation and surveillance that seems to be culminating in Jade Helm and which have been discussed serially in
I say that not because I got a mention but because there’s a video there that you need to watch (or listen to).
It’s the Caravan to Midnight episode #309 that comes after 35 paragraphs and a bunch of other videos, and it’s two and a half hours long , and it’s followed by another 40 minute video and then the Hagmann and Hagmann report podcast that runs for another two hours and 45 minutes….”
“two attendees of Bilderberg, Peter Thiel and Alex Karp, have created the database on US Veterans at Palantir that has so infuriates Santilli as he tells us in the video below. Why would Thiel’s database targeting US Veterans match up nearly perfectly with Jade Helm 15’s geography? Is this more proof US Vets are being targeted?”
“Well, folks, this makes what I have already posted about Palantir [see created by elves ] come into sharp focus. It looks like the apps for SmartPhones created by DARPA …were given a test run at the Boston Marathon bombing. Maybe they were concerned that the minute men of the current day would be responding to the mass state police presence (pardon the pun).
That’s what you’re up against.
How smart is your phone? How smart is the fellow carrying your phone?”
SOURCE: DAVID SWANSON
Have you seen Dahr Jamail’s report on U.S. military plans for war games in Washington state? I’m sure some observers imagine that the military is simply looking for a place to engage in safe and responsible and needed practice in hand-to-hand combat against incoming North Korean nuclear missiles, or perhaps to rehearse a humanitarian invasion of Russia to uphold the fundamental international law against Vladimir Putin’s existence.
General Raymond T. Odierno, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, is quoted in an article of the May/June 2012 issue of the Council on Foreign Relations official journal, Foreign Affairs, entitled The U.S. Army in a Time of Transition: Building a Flexible Force, which proposes using the Army to plan and carry out domestic law enforcement missions in the United States:
“Where appropriate we will also dedicate active-duty forces, especially those with niche skills and equipment, to provide civilian officials with a robust set of reliable and rapid response options.”
then it’s probably time you had a good long sit-down conversation with the grown adults in your household and began to consider your role as a bystander, victim, observer, or combatant in the forthcoming conflict and upheaval. Or as “a pawn in a domestic war game”.
It’s probably time you war-gamed your situation and scenario.
The United States Marine Corps is already deeply involved in war-gaming and training for your situation and scenario.
“I’ve trained in every environment, jungle, the desert, the mountains, cold weather, but I’ve never really trained well in an urban environment,” said Brig. Gen. Julian Alford, the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory commander, earlier this month at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) in Orlando, Florida.
“We are going to have these megacities that are ringed with these shanty towns and we are going to fight there because it will be the people who are uneducated, unemployed, the young men who are not married and they are mad about their lot in life,” Alford said.
“We talk about the three-block war, but we are moving quickly to the four-floor war,” he added. “We are going to be on the top floor of a skyscraper . . . evacuating civilians and helping people. The middle floor, we might be detaining really bad people that we’ve caught. On the first floor we will be down there killing them. … At the same time they will be getting away through the subway or subterrain. How do we train to fight that? Because it is coming, that fight right there is coming I do believe with all my heart.”
See Mark Safranski’s perspective on “Beltway chattering ninnies who reek of what military historian John Keegan termed ‘….the air of the seminar’” here.
I’m not suggesting that you sit down and play the game of The Second American Civil War.
You don’t really have the time, the necessities, or the wits unless you’ve already been actively involved.
If you have been actively involved, keep your head down, your wits about you, and God speed.
If you haven’t been contemplating the possibilities and potentials, then you’d best begin.
The idea of a second civil war is not a new one. There are dozens… Call them alternative histories, science fiction, dystopian novels, preppers’ hallucinations…. Characterize them as right-wing terrorism, fringe politics, collapse-oriented predictive novels, whatever.
It might be best if you found one or two that you deemed tolerable enough to read, and you sat down and read them.
There are others; don’t be shy and reticent, fearful, stupid.
If you had a community book club that could go through a stack of these in the next 10 days, I’d suggest doing so. Any effort along these lines could and would constitute an effort at least as good and perhaps more efficient than trying to think about, create or actually play a wargame of an event that would leap like wildfire from geographic region to region, would play out on the mainstream media as well as in the social media (see note below), and which might flare in and out of existence over a period of time.
My best advice, especially if you have never given the whole idea of what it will take to survive in the middle of an “indefinite life-or-death nightmare”, is to read the classic piece of science fiction aimed at young adolescents by the late great Robert Heinlein entitled “Tunnel In The Sky”.There are audiobook and e-book versions available as well.
That’s a fun and painless way to dip your toe into the pool.
But you don’t have a Ramsbotham gate in your town.
Though subway entrances look and feel like they are going to transport you to a new place, it’s still a truth that wherever you go, there you are.
So you are going to have to focus on your own personal situation, environment, and circumstances; you can think through them with a wargaming approach, taking clues from Heinlein and other novels, gathering up some tools, etc.
Do the compilation that Dunningan talked about in your own locale or community and plot out the critical elements of your situation, environment, and circumstances. Get some street maps, highway maps, local emergency management maps, et al and use the hex overlap method to identify critical locations, intersections, supplies, police stations, fire stations, hospitals, urgent care centers, doctors and nurses, known potentiators of disaster, local reserve units, militarized police, MRAP’s, grocery stores, farm stands, soup kitchens, sources for free fresh water, transportation bottlenecks, critical bridges, etc. You must become intimately familiar in depth and breadth with the community in which you live.
Put your intelligence down on paper in a simple graphic shorthand.
He says there are five ways that you can better prepare for community security through intelligence. Mapping is the first, assuming it’s accurate, up-to-date, verified, simplified. Make it highy visual with icons; use sticky tabs cut to the size of your hexes and on which you have written key data or numerics with fine-point indelible marker. You’ll be amazed, once you have a system and a little practice, how much data you can pack into a small space.
Get creative with how you use small items you can find in lots of locations, like your local hardware or crafts stores.
Do hex map overlays on USGS and street maps.
Culper says ‘once you have our maps and map overlays set up, identify and note any critical infrastructure in the area, along with what’s called the human terrain. Pay attention to the people, places, and things that keep life-as-you-know-it up and running. You need to not only know exactly where they are in relation to your AO, but also how they’ll affect your AO. Doing the legwork now in order to understand the community is a top priority, and this work never ends’.
All maps should have easily-retrivable data about distances and travel times for those who travel by car, on foot, etc., as well as some indicator of degree of difficulty of movement during inclement weather through either terrain indicators or some form of modifier. Newer online mapping and GPS software include mass transit; you should include it as appropriate for your locale. Don’t forget to include critical vertical data if there are significant numbers of high-rise buildings. underground facilities, large indoor facilities like malls, etc.
Here is an archive, a veritable treasure trove, of articles and podcasts by Culper which constitutes an advanced education on related topics,. I scratched the surface and pulled out a video, two links and a pdf as a sampler. Pursue more as you see fit.
As noted, I do not own a weapon. I am not trained in their use, in tactical battle skills of any sort, etc. That does not mean I’m a victim-in-waiting, nor does it mean I’m not a capable participant in the Second Civil War. There is a growing number of law enforcement officers who are recommending that you take steps to arm yourselves within the legal limits of the local laws. You may already be armed and proficient, and that’s all well and good. I thank you for your service and your responsibility; it is also possible you will be in a position to teach and train others when and as necessary. If you are between the ages of strong adolescence and early aging, reasonably fit and in good health, you also need not be armed (unless you want and choose to be); there are plenty of other worthwhile things to be involved in, and there is no reason you shouldn’t be involved, especially in terms of awareness skills, unarmed self-defense, etc. At a minimum, you can learn, practice and become proficient at atemi. This is a physical sklll of presence and movement that can save your life. Atemi comes in two categories: soft, and hard.
“Atemi … are often used to briefly break an opponent’s balance (see kuzushi) or resolve. This is the predominant usage of atemi in aikido. A painful but non-fatal blow to an area such as the eyes, face, or some vulnerable part of the abdomen can open the way for a more damaging technique, such as a throw or joint lock. Even if the blow does not land, the opponent can be distracted, and may instinctively contort their body (e.g., jerking their head back from a face strike) in such a way that they lose their balance.” Metaphorically, an atemi move in a sudden encounter may open the path to escape, disappearance, or diversion.” It’s especially important to think of the metaphorical applications of atemi in sudden and potentially combative encounters.
Here is a series of short YouTube videos, set on autoplay, that explain and demonstrate atemi.
This and the learning and practice of a martial art that emphasizes awareness in action and movement is also a form of wargaming that is simultaneously energizing, keeps you in shape, teaches meditation skills, and is fun.
Speaking of fun, in the middle of the middle of my refresher research into games and learning, I discovered this tasty morsel:
I recently saw this video of Ian Bogost (of Persuasive Games fame) talk at UX Week 2013 about fun. He argues that ‘fun’ isn’t something that can be added to a task (a.k.a. the chocolate-covered broccoli model) but that it is intrinsically related to the structures of an activity and is generated by the feeling of operating in a constrained system. This is exemplified in the following quote from the talk:
“[we believe that] we have to bring something to the table that makes intolerable things tolerable … but what if we arrive at fun not through expanding the circumstances that we’re in, in order to make them less wretched, but actually by embracing the wretchedness of the circumstances themselves.”
This brings to mind Papert’s notion of ‘hard fun‘ and the idea that things are not fun despite being hard, but because they are hard.
If you have not already done so, focus on your personal and family health care needs, medications, supplies and training. Get as much emergency and/or medical training as you can.
Discover and map all discoverable means of surveillance; think also in terms ofsousveillance. Lots of people are watching you; to what degree are you observant yourself?
Think, like Samuel Culper says, “in both short and long terms, from afar and nearby, in terms of “threat analysis”. Where are problems likely to arise from? “Threats are broken down into four categories: conventional, irregular, catastrophic, and disruptive.”Jim Acosta points out that “local city, county, and state emergency planners probably have done a “hazard analysis” for their Emergency Operations Plans, and their analysis is public record and available for the asking. They likely had the advantage of access to police, fire and emergency management pros with long memories to better pin down historical hazards in a particular area.”Rob Hanus has more on threat analysis here.
Criminal elements, including and especially gangs, operating in your community may be the biggest threat. Samuel Culper details the analysis of “signature”, profile, associations, contrast and the duration, repetition and timing of exposure that will be eminently useful in identifying threats from criminals and gangs.
“… It is a modern-day assumption that major players in the global political arena are guarded by (and probably otherwise command) sizeable contingents of former military-trained and previously-employed covert operators. Even major influential corporations employ them. There is a burgeoning industry in the tools, vehicles, training etc. for these kinds of forces.
Sourcewatch.org notes that “These services include risk advisory, training of local forces, armed site security, cash transport, intelligence services, workplace and building security, war zone security needs, weapons procurement, personnel and budget vetting, armed support, air support, logistical support, maritime security, cyber security, weapons destruction, prisons, surveillance, psychological warfare, propaganda tactics, covert operations, close protection and investigations.”
Jim Dunnigan, the expert on wargaming noted in Part One, wrote about the payoffs from games that support local decision-making, but also issued some warnings.
Manual games are now created all over the place to support local decision making; note the focus on casualties and terrain in that article. He cautions that there must be some allowance in the game and in your thinking for “command control” problems: “… you could be certain that some of your orders would not be carried out, and you never knew exactly which ones. Bad communications, inept subordinates, misunderstandings, the reasons are endless.” Note that this is said of military chain of command, and is controversial, but how much more communications noise and chaos is going to be present in a civilian environment among pople who may not see themselves as being on the same team?
And ask yourself, asCharles Hugh Smith puts it, “what you are doing every day to build community, health and productive enterprises that generate value, wealth and positive social roles for all participants”.
We live in an a dry tinder world populated increasingly by angry, conniving, well-armed and well-funded bands of angry, immoral and unethical tribalists playing with flammables and matches and several categories of flash-bangs.
There have been, in the last several weeks, concerted reminders by noted authors, Presidential candidates and others that we are at war and that you are a combatant.
Lots of people want to have a war; shouldn’t we pre-think the concept?
In order to help you and those closest to you better understand what is going to go down, and thus perhaps to prepare and survive and come out on the other side without having been consumed or destroyed, I’ll detail several devices or tools by which you can follow the news at home and make the necessary preparations that lie within the realm of your budget, abilities and available time.
This is not about economics, though they are a factor.
This is not about weapons, or arms, though they may be a tool.
You do not need to own or acquire an assault rifle in order to participate. This is not about being in or starting a “militia”.
This does not require that you first buy 100-lb. bags of beans and rice.
I am going to assume that you still have a little time. These tools will help you accelerate your understanding within a short period of time.
I am going to assume that you have precious little in the way of funds that can be earmarked for this project; it’s okay, as the means and the tools I’ll ask you to employ require little if any expenditure.
What we are talking about are mental exercises.
In the very beginning of my e-book Summon The Magic, and throughout it, I cite evidence and examples of how thinking about and using the senses to mentally see an event in advance in a detailed, simulated way is equal to doing it.
The great thing about war games is that you don’t get killed. No one’s legs are blown off. No one has to be Aerovac’ed. What PTSD there is is easily treated with a post-game pizza and beer debriefing.
You can begin these mental exercises — think of it as though you were playing five games of chess at the same time — by availing yourself of online tools, some scraps of notepaper, Post-It notes, tiny cardboard squares, and push pins.
I’m going to walk you through the delightful, zany, silly and deadly serious worlds of wargaming. (I’m not talking here about PlayStation or Nintendo “first-person shooter” or action games likeWar Thunder, though the graphics are good and will draw you in to the experience.) Nor do I include miniatures, but this does not disparage those who are into that form.
“Wargaming is a discipline embodying the creation, use, synthesis, and analysis of wargames, whether to entertain, educate, or analyze. Operations research is scientific and quantitative; wargaming is about decisions and players. The natural alliance between the two is separated by “players,” a messy category that OR would often prefer not to deal with.”
I used to play war games with a very limited number of friends. I started with the Kissingerian strategic board game Diplomacy in high school; it was based on the Congress of Vienna and I was introduced to it by the children of a Pacific Theater military historian.
It is very difficult to find someone to play these kinds of games because they are difficult and complex and they require a very large investment in time, thinking, reading, research, etc.; they often require fine-finger dexterity as well as mental dexterity (unless the game has been computerized), and they require a lot of set-up time as well as closure time; the post-game discussion and de-briefing is the most important part! Then you have to put the game and its myriad components and pieces all back in the box for the next time, unless you’re fortunate enough to have a large dry room with a big table and a locked door. Even the household cat can inadvertently destroy your painstaking re-creations. (I named mine General Thumbs.)
In our case, you are simply going to open your mind; eventually, you must inevitably turn your mind to something else, but you can pick up where you left off very easily.
The best wargames are a notch or two above what would be called a “beer and pretzels” game. Regatta was a fun game that taught me some basics about sailing races, but I haven’t crewed on a one-meter yet. The best tabletop game I ever played was about war of a different sort: manufactured by Tudor, based on the probability understandings of a guy with a Ph.D. in math who spent his Sundays quarterbacking the Cleveland Browns, NFL Strategy offered 86 offensive plays against 13 defensive sets, along with special teams’ kicking game, penalties, and time outs. It’s a simple example of the vast gap between simulation and performance that few outside of Vince Lombardi, Don Shula, or Bill Belichick can close.]
Even that small group of rare friends who will, perhaps with some trepidation or concern for your psychological well-being, participate tentatively in such a strange pastime will wonder why you would want to simulate mass violence and death. One of my friends (a college roommate, my best man and the dude I named my first-born after) said, with high conviction and some authority and accuracy, that playing war games was the same as supporting war.
I tabled that idea (pardon the pun) for some time as I used the art form to better understand a good deal about war, history, battle management, logistics, time vs. movement, and so much more. In my case, I beat the sword of wargaming into the plowshare of emergency management, only to have it smeltered back down into a “Gladio” sword for the induction of chaos. Simulations, models and games are discussed at length in the second or middle section of mywhite paper. Earlier phases in this decades-long inquiry, described in further detail here, enabled the development of the game “Incident Commander”.
Today, I think (as should you) that even the slightest participation in a mental exercise of wargaming may help you save your life and those of your family. Aside from asking you to read a very long article and perhaps do some follow-up digging, I’ll try mightily to limit the degree of “heavy lifting” that you will have to do. Much work has already been done, and I merely have to point you in the right direction. The degree to which you apply it is up to you and the ready availability of intelligent playmates.
My own exposure to wargaming came in stages, courtesy of some old Avalon Hill games, a venture into the lengthy and detailed Sage publication in the early 1980’s of a guide to games and simulations edited by some folks from the North American Simulation and Gaming Association (NASAGA), and eventual exposure to and reading of James Dunnigan. You’ll hear much more about him in due time.
I dabbled in such things as “Railroad Management”, “Wilderness Survival” and “Le Mans”, pausing to recreate my own world of Formula One circuits on paper. (The fact that I drove a Fiat X1/9 also prompted me to create the local equivalent of a mini-Monaco, a tight-cornered, slow-speed 3 AM timed-trial circuit that triangulated the city where used to drive an ambulance, turning down Prospect from the hospital corner at the memorial park, snaking round the hill on Crescent.)
The board game Wilderness Survival will not teach you how to survive unless you’ve spent decades sitting on a couch in some urban megalopolis. Even then, it’s only an introduction. You need water and food, and you’ll die without them. Lots of these types of games are online now; if you want to go down that path, here’s a trailhead.
I’d dabbled in model railroading, and I spent a year as a “plebe” in a very low-level college ROTC special ops training group with overnight 20-mile forced marches, a week-long search and evasion drill in the winter woods, and some hand-to-hand combat and weapons training. BFD.
In college, I learned about Presidential elections through an 18-hour 90-player classroom simulation exercise. I played the centrist media reporter and, in a way that made my professor of political science aghast, I brokered a ticket to break a convention logjam. [I was into free play before I even knew what it was. Carpe diem.]
I moved on to numerous re-creations of the battle of the bulge, built a library of books about the battle, and began to read deeply about strategy and tactics. It takes a lifetime to understand Lao Tzu unless you approach it with an empty glass. I found Clausewitz, revered by others, to be cloying and and annoying. Basil Liddel-Hart’s book “Strategy” (on the value of the indirect approach) was worth its weight in gold, even today. Boydian “OODA Loop” and related matters are available for advanced readers; I’ve gone there, but I don’t profess to be an expert.
I sidetracked into “1776” and “Gettysburg”, read a lot of Revolutionary War and Civil War history, visited some battlefields, and played a really good tabletop game of Napoleonic warfare; that was enough to get me into an intensive study of “Le Grand Armee” and the little corporal, and to have designed and built my own full hex-paper approach to the battles of Spotsylvania, the Wilderness, and Bull Run.
Our first focus will be on the Persian Gulf and the Straits of Hormuz. Recent news items emanating from here focus our attention intensely, if briefly, but I’ll use it as a teaching tool to allow you to explore the two other AO’s on your own time.
The Persian Gulf and the Straits of Hormuz are of intense interest because they undoubtedly will become a major theater of war for numerous reasons. The first is that virtually all of the world’s major military players border on or have a presence and a geo-strategic interest in the Mideast and what is going on there. The second major reason is oil, and its linkage to currency and economy. More than a few people have suggested that these inter-relationships push us inexorably into World War Last. An extension of this geographic focus goes into Syria and the Caucasus region. One wil drive another.
Recent news items that focus our attention are these:
the stories of the wandering riverine boats;
the emerging presence of three new military bases on the fringes of those theater of war.
Your first step is to get as big and as detailed a map as you can find (and manage) of the Persian Gulf and the Straits of Hormuz. Today, of course, a number of maps are available to you right inside your computer monitor.
This is essentially a war game about naval encounters, though there is without question a major land-based element as well. (Any simple survey will disclose other bottlenecks of sea lanes that may be contested.)
We’re going to start our little foray into make-believe war withJim Dunnigan, who has designed over 100 conflict simulations. “In 1979, he wroteThe Complete Wargames Handbook, and in 1980How To Make War. In addition to writing, Dunnigan is a principal in StrategyWorld.Com and chief editor of StrategyPage.Com. Podcasts of his commentaries on history, military affairs, and the contemporary world are regularly posted on StrategyPage.Com… Dunnigan regularly lectures at military and academic institutions, such as the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group, in Newport, Rhode Island.” It’s my understanding that Newport features one of the world’s most sophisticated computerized naval wargame facilities in the world. Of course, it’s open by invitation only. I don’t have one, and the odds are very very high that you’ll never see it either.
Dunningan’s templates are available to you, as are his years of experience. As you consider this first major theater of operation, and the two yet to be introduced, you’ll want to keep in mindhis advice:
Determine the Process to be modeled. Many different aspects of your model must be defined before you can proceed. Scale (Strategic, Operational, Tactical), Environment (Land, Air, Naval, Combined), Intensity (Low, Medium, High), Basic Aspects (Movement, Combat, Order of Battle), Special Aspects (C3I, Logistics, Doctrine & Tactics, Fog of War (Is the situation highly dependent on one, or both, sides being in the dark about what is going on? If so, you will have to model this aspect of the situation.)
What do you want this model or simulation to do? There are several different tasks you can direct your modeling towards. These can include training, research, analysis, etc. For example: You may want to test a hypothesis. This can be historical, contemporary, or future. It can be about weapons, tactics, organization, or whatever. Be rigorous in defining your hypothesis. A model/wargame will eat you alive if you are sloppy. Perhaps you want to better define a process. You may want to break down an existing system into only its essential parts. A wargame building exercise is excellent for this.
How do you want the game to go about its work? Do you want to use a map (most common with wargames), or cards, or a computer interface? The customer, or user, might not even be sure which form of game would work best. You have to figure this out before you proceed.
For our purposes, you’ll stick with maps, a computer file or two, maybe a large bulletin board or flat table, if that. Frankly, most of you will stick with mental visualization and some really simple and cheap paper aides, stick pins, etc.
To help you visualize, you might start by focusing on the Victory Games product entitled “Sixth Fleet”. It’s a relatively-modern example of naval warfare involving the Mediterranean; when I checked thislink, there was a full-boxed game available on EBay for $30. One review is found here.
Once you give some thought to Dunningan’s process notes for each of your “three areas of operation”, you have to start to do some research.
You must, as Dunnigan puts it, compile information.
“Here is a sample checklist.
Area of Operations– Where, in time and geography, is the conflict to take place?
Scale– What is to be represented on the map, a few square miles or a continent?
Significant Terrain– For the Terrain Effects Chart, this is a winnowing process, in which you reduce all the terrain information you have gathered into a usable format.
Order of Battle– Units involved, their movement capability, combat capability, and other characteristics.
Victory Conditions– This is a critical element, and often slighted or overlooked. What were the goals of the combatants?
Combat Results– Attrition rates in combat, with adjustments for other factors as needed and likely distribution of results for use with non-deterministic (unpredictability of combat) procedures.
Sequence of Play– The sequence that appears to work best in most situations is:
1-Planning and preparation operations,
4-Post operations checks (victory, morale, command control, etc.).” [These must include status updates, probably include a refreshed “sitrep”, etc. which begin the cycle again and enable planning and preparation as well as unit/personnel assessment.]
You can also look around for databases and spreadsheets if you care to get that involved or particular. Whoever you are, wherever you are, remember the dictum that “victory goes to the side that is best able to cope with the details”. Remember the adage about generalship about logistics. Your thinking and your data have “to reflect the reality of your current situation as much as possible.”
The game “Persian Gulf” derives from the 1990 land-air battles, involves the Turkish Caucasus region, elite forces, air power, and diplomacy, but, more importantly, note the links down the right side.
Previous military exercises in that theater involved commandos, parachutists, mobile shoulder-firing units, electronic warfare teams, special forces, rapid reaction forces, and helicopter and drone wings. Some units had access to intelligence electronic, anti-electronic and communications systems to jam communications. Surface-to-sea tactical missiles are a new and threateting technology.
Aircraft carriers supported by minesweepers, ballistic missile cruisers, frigates, destroyers, and assault ships carrying thousands of U.S. Marines and special forces may also be operating in the region. Don’t forget the logistics ships, the merchant vessels, mini-subs, fast attack boats, minefields, and shore-based anti-ship missile batteries.
Order of Battle is important and is a place where Dunnigan excelled in his book “How to Make War”. Find a copy in a library somewhere and do some browsing. The data itself is surely outdated by now. For your purposes, some crude but reasionaly accurate informaiton will suffice. If you’re in the military, the hard-core details are provided to you. If you’re an armchair warrior, there is still a lot of data available to you if you want to dig very deeply but, for our purposes, not really relevant. The speed of that anti-ship missile is a meaningless factor when dealing with hexes and the kinds of scale you’ll be looking at. [More on this below…] For most of us, this will play out in your minds or in the news.
The impression I want you to get when creating a mental simulation of warfare in the Persian Gulf and surrounding areas is the sheer density of weaponry and power that is amassed there, and the number of nations that are represented. The nature and quality of armamentaria is equally important. 35 ships from 41 countries were involved in a real-world minesweeping exercise last year, and that’s just the US/NATO team. A year ago, “Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards staged war games in the Strait of Hormuz on Wednesday, including a gunboat attack on a model U.S. warship….”
Beyond a certain curiosity, unless you are an actively-engaged staff officer in some military unit, OOB is unnecessary and will drive you nuts. In your limited mental exercise, much detail is unnecessary and can be submerged into game elements of “factors”, modifiers on outcome tables, etc. Counting Kalishnikovs doesn’t strike me as a worthwhile investment of time. The US is the largest purveyor of small arms and is currently flooding the arena with state-of-the-art fighter planes, helicopters, missiles, battle tanks and electronic warfare systems.
As Mark Gaffney points out, “The peril for the world today in the “Persian Lake” is many times greater than it ever was in the Gulf of Tonkin.” But in the Millennium Challenge wargames of 2008 the Millennium Challenge wargames of 2008, involving 13,500 military members and civilians battling in nine live exercise ranges in the United States, and double that many computer simulations to replicate a number of different battles, “ingenious low-tech alternatives” applied en masse in a coordinated fashion against a certain “schwerpunkt” were shown, in at least one iteration. History bears out the lesson many don’t want to acknowledge; whether it was a young boy with a sling and stone or a collection of day farmers with muskets they used for hunting small game, giants can be brought to their knees.
Ashton Carter, who according toChristopher Bollyn is the Rothschild agent currently running the Pentagon, has been guarded about the detail but is clearly not adverse to using the secretive capabilities of special operations units. Lots of nations have special units, but Israel’s are noted for their ability to appear to be Islamic, their vast capacity in forged passports, and more. The new SOCOM chief Gen. Joseph Votel will perhaps soon have the ability to use torpedo-like, 30-foot mini-submarines to put Navy SEALs on enemy shores.
Special ops units are like the ninja in the old Milton-Bradley simulator of warfare in an age of duplicitious oligarchs entitledShogun, a tabletop game for up to seven players game that is now so rare that it sells for over $300 at Amazon. [I still have mine.] Shogun is a mix of Risk, Diplomacy and the feudal era of Japanese daimyo. [Players must bring their best poker faces.]
“Various technological advances are about to make hundred-drone swarms a reality, and a nightmare for today’s top-of-the-line weapons, writes retired Marine Corps general T.X. Hammes, who is working a study on the matter for the Cato Institute. Read on,here.”
“The U.S. military is banking on an emerging technology called cognitive electronic warfare to give the jet an almost-living ability to sniff out new hard-to-detect air defenses and invent ways to foil them on the fly,” writes Defense One Tech Editor Patrick Tucker.
To understand what cognitive warfare is, you have to know what it isn’t, he writes. “EW makes use of the invisible waves of energy that propagate through free space from the movement of electrons, the electromagnetic spectrum. Conventional radar systems generally use fixed waveforms, making them easy to spot, learn about, and develop tactics against. But newer digitally programmable radars can generate never-before-seen waveforms, making them harder to defeat.”
Tucker puts it all in context—including the overarching concern the U.S. is falling behind its peers in emerging weapons tech, and what to do about it—here.
The social and human dynamics of war, the focus of a new report from the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) , include “a technology shift, a democratization of information technology that now connects and empowers civilian populations. Civilians have access to things like smartphones which mean real-time information at their fingertips…. Rogue actors now have access to things like precision-guided weapons. Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) took a heavy toll on U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, emerging drone and ground robotic technologies are expanding the ways with which improvised weapons can deliver attacks.”
Try not to dwell on how many of these units can carry or deliver tactical or strategic nuclear weapons, or the possible use of chemical or biological warfare capabilities (beyond, of course, the depleted uranium,DIME and white phosphorus already in widespread use).
“… This redesigned nuclear weapon is the country’s first precision-guided atomic bomb, with a computer brain and maneuverable fins that enable it to more accurately target sites for destruction. It also has a “dial-a-yield” feature that allows its handlers to adjust the level of its explosive power.
Supporters of this revamped weapon of mass destruction argue that, by ensuring greater precision in bombing “enemy” targets, reducing the yield of a nuclear blast, and making a nuclear attack more “thinkable,” the B61 Model 12 is actually a more humanitarian and credible weapon than older, bigger versions. Arguing that this device would reduce risks for civilians near foreign military targets, James Miller, who developed the nuclear weapons modernization plan while undersecretary of defense, stated in a recent interview that “minimizing civilian casualties if deterrence fails is both a more credible and a more ethical approach.”
Other specialists were far more critical. The Federation of Atomic Scientists pointed out that the high accuracy of the weapon and its lower settings for destructiveness might tempt military commanders to call for its use in a future conflict.
General James E. Cartright, a former head of the US Strategic Command and a retired vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, conceded that possessing a smaller nuclear device did make its employment “more thinkable.” But he supported developing the weapon because of its presumed ability to enhance nuclear deterrence. Using a gun as a metaphor, he stated: “It makes the trigger easier to pull but makes the need to pull the trigger less likely.”
Another weapon undergoing US government “modernization” is the cruise missile. Designed for launching by US bombers, the weapon – charged William Perry, a former secretary of defense – raised the possibilities of a “limited nuclear war.” Furthermore, because cruise missiles can be produced in nuclear and non-nuclear versions, an enemy under attack, uncertain which was being used, might choose to retaliate with nuclear weapons…..”
If you want to play the nuclear game, check out CityLab. “Mapmakers Anya A’Hearn and Allan Walker recreated the iconic WarGames world map in a fully 1980s digital aesthetic, populated with open-source data on the current whereabouts of the world’s known nuclear weapons.”
And don’t look up, or you might see surveillance satellites, combat in space itself (yes, they wargame that too), or incoming rods of god (militarized or spiritual).
“… Although few people are actually assigned to the JICSPOC, the IC and Air Force bring together several hundred people to run the war games — which is what they really are — and then to figure out what the lessons are and they can improve their performance and implement the lessons learned…..”
But focus… Any wargame or simulation worth a hoot has to be played out at a manageable level. Back in the Straits of Hormuz and environs, where you focused on fleet battle scale, you have to have rules. Most wargames come with a thick booklet that maintains order; you can’t move that aircraft carrier very fast, and it takes a while to get it to turn. Your game has to stay within the limitations of reality, and a set of rules acts as a built-in system of referees.
You have to define how large a hex is, how long a turn is, and what the game intervals will allow. There is an inherent ma-ai (harmony of space) in war gaming. Space, time, and relationship. Nothing kills a good war game encounter faster than a player who debates within himself what move to make for a period of time that is five times greater than the game interval. Chess has a clock. So does life. In war, the clock is merciless. Here is an example of a rules set for a fleet battle game.
Rules give the players “a “window” into “Combat Results Tables”, some basic “trigger and response” behaviors (a critical one is “detection”), and allow you to manage differing scenarios, “missions”, fuel and ammo usage, casualties and damage, and more.
The development and application of computers, operations analysis (OR) and systems analysis during World War II firmly implanted the idea that simulations of war had to, and could, provide precise and unambiguous answers. It was ignored that history based wargames, despite being relatively imprecise and ambiguous, had usually been accurate enough to be useful.
The chapter goes to to discuss the advent of chaos theory in the 1980’s, and discusses the return of investment of timeversus the gain in accuracy of predictability for calculators, spreadsheets, and linear programming with computers. “There is a trade off between the accuracy of your wargame and how much time and resources you have available”.
Says Dunnigan: “People who are into playing or designing wargames do not think like the rest of us. Actually, this applies to most people in the sciences, or anyone who uses the scientific method (testing hypotheses until you get a proof in the form of a reproducible result). Wargamers look at wars, and most other things, in a more analytical fashion, taking into account historical precedents and antecedents….”
Perhaps wargamers are part of what is called the scientific dictatorship as discussed in that e-book and by Andrew Gavin Marshall, an illuminated devotion to science that minimizes faith, belief, emotion and indeed humanity itself.
111 students from the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University in Washington, DC, playing s simulation focused on the Middle East that took 4 hours and 45 minutes of real time, covering approximately 2 months of simulated time (September 19 – November 19 , 2015), representing: ten people from the President’s staff and the National Security Council; thirty-five people from the Pentagon (from the SecDef down through the Joint Chiefs to selected staff from Under Secretary’s and Assistant Secretary’s Offices); thirty-five from the diplomatic community and the office of the Secretary of State; and thirty-one people from the intelligence community.
Paxsims.wordpress.com is a blog “devoted to the development and effective use of games and simulation-based learning concerning issues of conflict, peacebuilding, and development in fragile and conflict-affected states, as well as to the policy application of gaming and simulation techniques”. It’s a very serious place for heavy hitters and is loaded with relevant and interesting posts, links and categories.The editors, associate editors and contributors are all noted here.
the announcement of a wargaming faculty position at the US Naval War College; and
an invitation to sign up for New World Order 2035, a day-long mega-game at McGill University in Montreal on 2/20/16, a “day full of political intrigue, conspiracies, and crisis” “with 100 scheming people in several large rooms while confronting the most pressing global issues of the 21st century”.
While it’s not wargaming, the upcoming World Economic Forum, where “things are arranged to avoid argument, confrontation, provocation”, revoked Ri Su-Yong’s invitation after his country’s recent “test” of a mini-hydrogen bomb. But this event, perhaps like many, aren’t constructed as “free play” events. “The World Economic Forum is an intensely orchestrated event with nothing left to chance,” Frank Vogl wrote in the Global Policy Forum in 2001. “Every topic for discussion is carefully considered and researched, every participant is thoroughly prescreened and every moment of every day is micromanaged. The Forum is programmed to tick like the best Swiss watch.” Certain subjects may be avoided.
“In free-play exercise with no scenario and no rules, orchestrated performance gets tossed out through introduction and simulation of the unexpected. It is a great way to select and test leaders because free play will produce clear winners and losers. Free play involves post-exercise critiques by subordinates. Leaders dislike being contradicted by subordinates, especially when they are correct. Marine Lt. Col Ray Smith, a graduate of the free-play exercises at Fort Pickett, led a battalion during the invasion of Grenada. Intelligence reports indicated a large building flying a curious flag; it was assumed to house one of the revolutionary organizations. A Navy admiral ordered it attacked by Smith’s marines, an order that ordinarily would be carried out quickly without a second thought. But a new fundamental tenet, derived from freeplay experience, the history of maneuver warfare, trust and the OODA loop theory, is to give the officer on the scene the authority to make tactical decisions. A young captain under Smith’s command was not sure the building housed revolutionaries and suggested sending out a patrol. Smith had confidence in him and agreed; he could always call in naval gunfire to level the building. As the patrol approached the building, a civilian came out to welcome them. Dozens of guns were trained on the man; if he had twitched or reached into a pocket, he probably would have died. He waved and said “Gentleman, I am glad to see you; I am the ambassador of Venezuela.”
One of the things I discovered, having been a beta tester for “The Game of Games”, having read a lot ofThiagi, and having had a delightful penne peloponesse dinner with a British game designer at the NASAGA convention in Montreal, was that you can force dialogue and awareness by having players play competing roles in different phases of the simulated event.
I am pretty sure, though it’s no longer within my pay grade or security clearance ( I never had that in the first place), that DARPA and DOD operate sophisticated round-the-globe round-the-clock desktop-to-desktop military simulations covering all branches from platoon-level tactics through logistics all the way up to grand strategy. Perhaps they have progressed to the point where they’ve taken it away from the anchoring office/desk with the advent of smartphones and tablets.
What is unfortunate is that, beyond the entertainment value of things like SimCity, no one has yet placed self-empowering grassroot-level coordination and collaboration simulations, tools or games into the hands of the people.
We’ll assume that you haven’t yet amassed sufficient political cache, coinage or clearance to attend any of those PaxSim-style mega-game events.
This is just as well because you should be staying at home thinking about the two other areas of operation of concern to you.
Veiled Ambition is a simulation that examines the complex relationships in the Middle East in four distinct areas: Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon. In each of these countries, writers constructed plotlines which asked the participants to consider the question of Shi’a and Iranian influence throughout the Middle East, and the shifting posture of the United States in relation to that influence.