So Much This there's always plenty to do

7Jul/110

Hackers Are Everywhere. Panic!

Kind of shocking to see the phrase "false flag events" in PC magazine. I'm inclined to think LulzSec is legit, but who knows?

Out of the blue, Citigroup was hacked, then the CIA, and then the FBI and other groups were hacked. Now I'm finding this a little odd and wondering who is being set up here. Supposedly, some of the hacks of government agencies stem from the arrest of a few hackers in Europe. This is an attempt to make the hackers appear to be online versions of Hezbollah, as there are retaliatory attacks reported. You know, the way terrorists would do it.

It's all possible, but I'm suspicious of the whole scene. These hackers, who are normally casual in their approach, are made to look like bomb throwing Trotskyites from the 1920s, each wielding a Molotov cocktail and out to overthrow the government.

This above mental image, of course, is for public benefit. By making any one of these hackers appear to be a horrendous threat to public safety, a number of initiatives can be rushed through Congress. All sorts of onerous laws will be passed, which probably will not affect the scene at all but will allow more government intrusion into the Internet. It will become illegal to sell any programming tools that can be used by a hacker, despite the usefulness of these tools to security experts. It will also become a felony to attempt to deconstruct a password or enter a system for whatever reason.

I have predicted for years that at some point people are going to have to be registered and licensed to use the Internet at all. You can see it coming as clear as day. These hackers, of course, have to be stopped, and this is how they'll do it.

There are events in history known as false flag events. These are staged by a government usually to distress the public, so the government can do something that the public would otherwise disapprove.

6Jul/110

Hackers reveal government-corporate surveillance plot

Take it as a given that governments and corporations have a vested interest in surveilling the population and subtly swaying it's opinions. Also accept that they sacrifice a considerable percentage of their profits to further those interests. Also interesting here, it was the dreaded hackers, the new terrorist threat, who brought this information to light.

Via: Guardian

After having spent several months studying those emails and otherwise investigating the industry depicted therein, I have revealed my summary of a classified US intelligence programme known as Romas/COIN, as well as its upcoming replacement, known as Odyssey. The programme appears to allow for the large-scale monitoring of social networks by way of such things as natural language processing, semantic analysis, latent semantic indexing and IT intrusion. At the same time, it also entails the dissemination of some unknown degree of information to a given population through a variety of means – without any hint that the actual source is US intelligence. Scattered discussions of Arab translation services may indicate that the programme targets the Middle East.

2May/110

More domestic surveillance

The EFF has released more details about FBI spyware that they can get on target computers with fake links in emails the same way phishing scams do.

What is CIPAV and How Does It Work?
The documents discuss technology that, when installed on a target's computer, allows the FBI to collect the following information:

* IP Address
* Media Access Control (MAC) address
* "Browser environment variables"
* Open communication ports
* List of the programs running
* Operating system type, version, and serial number
* Browser type and version
* Language encoding
* The URL that the target computer was previously connected to
* Registered computer name
* Registered company name
* Currently logged in user name
* Other information that would assist with "identifying computer users, computer software installed, [and] computer hardware installed"

Anyone doing any significant political resistance work should assume that all communications are compromised. If the group itself isn't infiltrated, then at the very least all electronic communications are being monitored.

2May/110

Low-casualty, high-cost performance-art style guerrilla bombings

So, I'm not trying to say that the IRA bombings fit within the purview of civil disobedience, but a War Nerd article I read tonight has changed my mind about the strategy behind the bombings. The WN article argues that at least in the decade preceding the Good Friday Accords, IRA bombings were carried out primarily as displays of force and to cause expensive damage to real estate, not to kill people. Deaths and injuries occurred, but the IRA made significant efforts to minimize casualties, and refused to commit revenge killings after SAS-supported loyalist death squads tortured and murdered Catholic civilians.

I'm reading Gene Sharp's "Waging Nonviolent Struggle" now, and I'm wondering, if the IRA's tactics were dialed back a bit, could they be described as non-violent intervention–Sharp's most extreme category of resistance? The War Nerd article mentions that in 1994 the IRA launched a mortar attack on Heathrow Airport using dud mortars. Could that qualify as nonviolent method number 178: guerrilla theater or 183: Nonviolent land seizure (the airport was evacuated for hours)? Russian art group Voina flipped over police cars as a political art project, could the destruction of a building that resulted in zero injuries be considered non-violent action? What about destruction of data or intellectual property on a massive scale? Computer viruses that freeze police communications? Bluffs or pranks that temporarily close mass transit or halt traffic in a city? Certainly, if someone were in an ambulance that couldn't reach the hospital they could be injured or killed by such non-violent action. Sharp is clear in saying that he does not advocate non-violent tactics for moral reasons, but strictly for pragmatic strategic and tactical ones. He believes that non-violence works better than violent resistance and results in lower casualties, but it does not eliminate casualties. The question is, what is the scale of the problem or the oppression and what scale of action–and resulting consequences can be justified?

As a tangential side note, could Project Mayhem from Fight Club (the movie, not the book) be considered a non-violent resistance movement?

24Apr/110

Police tactics at protests

An Australian activist rights organization has put together a good summary of police crowd control tactics during mass protests. It's worth reading.

One tactic they leave out, however, is the use of agent provocateurs disguised as protesters. While COINTELPRO is an old program (and if you don't know about it, read up) there seems to be an increase in law enforcement agencies' use of provocateurs both during protests and infiltrating both protest groups and domestic "terrorist" groups to encourage violent action. Thankfully, activists are getting wise to this, and often call out the obvious narcs in their midst.

16Apr/110

Propogana Wars

via: Global Guerrillas

raditionally, guerrilla wars are fought in the moral sphere. This means that the side that can hold together its moral cohesion the longest, while simultaneously fragmenting its opponents, will come out the winner (I think this is shifting, but we can save that thought for later).

From this grain of truth, the US government/military reached (primarily due to hindsight bias re:Vietnam) the conclusion that moral conflicts are won through propaganda. In other words, the side with the better propaganda machine wins the war. These organizations are implementing this conclusion in this conflict. Everything from embedded journalists to continuously rosy statements (such as "the tide of history is on our side," "the insurgency's back is broken," "just a few more months and the turning point will be reached," etc.) to pro-war bloggers that regurgitate talking points are part of a propaganda effort deemed necessary to win our current conflict. However, this decision to build a propaganda machine isn't showing signs of working. The reason is that a propaganda campaign within the current complex, global and media/information saturated environment is not only foolish, it is downright dangerous. Why? Here are the reasons:

16Apr/110

Mobile Tech Activists Wary of State Department Cash

via: Wired

If technology advisers to online activists have their way, the mobile phones in the pockets of the democracy protesters reshaping the Middle East will have circumvention and anonymity tools built in to them, and they’ll be able to go blank if pro-regime goons confiscate them. The State Department wants to fund the development of precisely such activist tools. Only the activists aren’t exactly jumping to take the government’s cash.

In a speech last week, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she’d make available $25 million for a “venture capital approach” to underwriting new tools to keep the Internet open in repressive nations. She singled out mobile technologies as increasingly important. But some observers and developers, while lauding the move, aren’t so sure the rigid bureaucracy of the State Department can accommodate the approach.

Nathan Freitas of the Guardian Project, which designs Android-based tools for mobile anonymity, says he’s not going to apply for any of State’s money. “Accounting complexity of process means we’d have to spend 25 percent of it” on an accountant, he says, while praising the idea in theory.