FORWARD BASE B

"Pay my troops no mind; they're just on a fact-finding mission."

Category Archives: Intelligence

How To Turn The Educated Against Political Correctness

I grew up with standard politically correct beliefs regarding ethnicity and the sexes and I believed without reservation until I got into college and got my first glimpse inside the workings of the high temple and had my first experience in a wider world as an apprentice adult.  Back then, in the early 00’s, widespread high speed internet had just taken off and the alt-internet was not even an embryo compared to what it has become.
Having held most of the standard beliefs at some point, I can understand their appeal.  Reality cares nothing for our wishes and nature is harsh.  The world is superficially a much more sunny place when you believe that all people have equal capabilities and temperament and that everyone could live in a Swedish utopia but for the barriers of culture and lack of opportunity.
The state religion is not only optimistic, it is aspirational with a clear goal to improve life for everyone.  What’s not to like?  Until you encounter real life, there’s no reason not to believe in it.     Even better, the story comes with a clear villain, people with outdated beliefs on the “wrong side of history” who actually believe stupid superstition like skin color making any difference.  What could be more ridiculous?  Science proves that all our DNA is 99%+ the same.  So anyone that denies that is anti-science.  QED.  Growing up, I’d hear a lot about benighted Christians in Kansas trying to foist intelligent design on the school system while making crazy claims that the fossil record had been placed there by the devil.  There was no contest in the realm of ideas.  It was embarrassing and frightening that there were millions of crazy fundy Christians in the USA in contrast to the seemingly much more rational people just about anywhere else.  The unbelievable stupidity of lowbrow white America was undeniable proof that no race was actually better or different than any other.  It was always knuckledraggers that made such claims.  I can actually understand educated contempt for middle America from the other side.  Anything I heard growing up was slanted in a relentlessly negative light.  Most everything about other points of view was distorted by the straw man treatment, only the craziest crazies and dimwits gleefully given airtime.  Looking back, I can understand how they can adore humble Nicaraguan coffee growers harvesting “free trade” coffee yet despise the working class in their own country who keep their cozy offices lit and air conditioned.
I grew up and learned there was more to the story but we must remember most educated professionals never have to deal with real life beyond office politics, so they never have reason to question what they were taught.  Their whole life is a progression from one sheltered safe zone to the next: grade school(in a “good” district) => college => job echo chamber full of others like them while living in an isolated suburb with people at the same income they make.  They can easily live their whole lives without having to interact with anyone from another caste so that’s what they assume the whole world is like even if it’s actually a very narrow slice.  They can never depart from their group consensus or they get exiled by the only group they’ve ever known.  In their own way, they are as ignorant as the uneducated Latin American villagers they adore.

The most obvious solution is to simply make people deal with the real world.  In the republican primaries, it was the states with significant minority populations that voted overwhelmingly for Trump.  Almost invariably, those who are most in favor of ethnic minority interests are those who interact with them least.  Or at best, if they are activist/charity types they visit the ghettoes as virtue tourists, not as residents just trying to live.  They meet token minorities at work and at school and they model what other races are like based on these outliers.  More importantly, they never interact with other races when they are in the majority.  You don’t know anything about race until you’re the only white guy in the room.  It should be a civic requirement, actually, that everyone have that experience at least once to be in the ethnic minority in a situation like a job, where power matters and you’re not in charge.   The moment whites are in the minority, all the rules instantly change.  The token ethnic coworkers you thought were buddies change their personality like the flick of a switch once they can smell they rule the roost and only ever promote their own kind.  It’s one of the most eye-opening innocence-destroying experiences a sheltered educated person can have.  Once you’re along for the ride in an environment controlled by another people, all the fundamental differences between peoples are revealed.  As it happens, a deep sense of fair play, altruism, and sympathy for outgroups are almost uniquely Western European traits that more insular tribes can easily take advantage of.  4 years of college opened my eyes to the incredible entitlement of women and the evils of feminism but it wasn’t until I was out in the world on my own that I learned what race and ethnicity means in real life.  What any man who has worked jobs in mixed neighborhoods or been to prison knows well, those supposedly the best and brightest of us who make the big decisions are totally clueless about.

It should perhaps also be a requirement that educated people at least once in their lives have to live and work alongside the working classes and unskilled laborers.  The upper middle classes don’t understand how society works because they only interact with others like themselves who read books and are able to handle delayed gratification.  If you live just a little while at crappy hourly wages, you quickly learn most people live in their instinct most of the time thinking or reading very little.  You learn the truth that rational humans as the Enlightenment conceives of them are but a tiny handful of the species.  Once someone grasps this lesson, they can never again see problems of governance the same.
What’s more, that sense of studied contempt sheltered people indulge in dissolves quickly when forced to live with normal people.  They quickly learn the hard way that those who live in touch with their inner beast with a minimum of extraneous fluff are extremely effective at the actual business of survival, that main focus of most living things .  It’s tough to compete with proles in their own element, they are hardened survivors comfortable with being only slightly removed from disaster or deprivation.  Their lack of intellect and foresight limits their scope but within their natural habitat most educated types struggle to survive.

Most upper middle class types have never been truly low in rank.  They were often coddled as children or smothered by helicopter parents, then as overgrown children in college, still indulged.   I’ve met many successful people who earn well but are still spoiled brats.  Just once, everyone needs that ubiquitous prole experience where you hit that hard barrier and find out the fundamental truth that no one cares about you.  That you’re the only one that will ever really care about your own dreams.  Just once, to go up and try to talk to that supervisor and have him turn away and ignore you if your query goes beyond 5 or 6 syllables.  Running up against the hard bounds of reality teaches us how to separate high-minded pablum from what works.  Educated people often believe sentimental ideology like it’s holy gospel because in middling ranks and above of the social hierarchy people will actually listen to your principled bullshit.  People who get an education are generally smarter but their advantage in processing information only leads them further astray if they are given bad information.  Even a great Empire like China becomes easy prey for a handful of toughened no-nonsense Mongols when the state is run by over-educated children and populated by downtrodden peasants who have no reason to care about who’s in charge.
History shows us those Mongols didn’t need college degrees or Confucian exams with 1% pass rates to run an empire.  The downfall of untempered education is you can get caught up in credentials and then reel in shock when someone without a certificate in face punching walks up and simply punches you out.
A more constructive mentality for someone with a decent brain is to understand first that there are objective laws of reality as immutable as laws of physics and to use this baseline to interpret the lessons of education into useful forms rather than let theoretical knowledge distort earth-bound truths into airy figments of fancy.  Riding aloft on feelgood ideas feels great until there’s an enemy at the gates and a crisis that has to be solved right away.

If the educated classes were no longer removed from reality, we would see a re-emergence of noblesse oblige, a sense of duty to society as a whole.  They would be aware of their superior intellect in a world defined by inequality but also understand how this entails their responsibility to guide the rest rather than throw all the biggest decisions to the ravening crowds.  They would understand themselves as the elites of a people rather than worker cog individuals.  Armed with this core concept, they would no longer form unholy alliances with foreign tribes against their own kin as they do now.  Their false pride and smug virtue posing would evaporate if only they had to test their beliefs against the world.

On Herdbeasts

No human can survive on its own, so every one of us has to pander to the group to stay alive, let alone to thrive and have the surplus necessary for reproduction.  Independence is a myth, individual freedom is a thing we must steal in the dark.

So selection for group compliance is heavy amongst human beings.
People often know in their hearts that an absurd popular belief is false or at best uncertain, but they have a strange ability to refuse to admit even to themselves except in the dark of night as they try to sleep.  Their herd instincts overwhelm their reason.  This is the dissonance you see in every washed up careerist schlub you meet.  That middle class guy who lives a secure life with a wife and two kids, yet no one envies him.

This is what drives the evangelist to say “but how do you live without Jesus in your heart?”  They’re speaking to their own deeply embedded fears, not to you.  These fears are all the worse because they can never confront them, like ghosts hiding under a child’s bed.

Group existence is likely the cause of human intelligence.  In a group with just 5 other people, you have 25 possible combinations with them to account for.  Chimpanzees live in bands of perhaps 12-16 they deal with perhaps 144 to 256 different combinations.  Humans are equipped to handle groups up to 150 different people, or 22,500 possible combinations of interactions.
The man with even a slight edge in such a large group ends up with the best women and most of the wealth.
A society where millions interact has innumerable combinations and impossibly complex patterns.  Such a situation is bound to create pressures that produce herd predators that have an edge in exploiting mass trends.

Treated as an aberration in youth, I barely survived, but now I find I have great survival advantages.  I see people following trends and reading the news, while I ask how the trend creators gain and what’s in it for the journalists.  I would hope that I am the future and will do everything in my power to make it so.

I don’t fault them as much as I used to.  I’ve come to understand that every group has rules that serve to weed out specimens that are poorly adapted.
On reflection, I’ve come to realize I’d do the exact same thing if I had power.
I would wield it unapologetically, remembering well what life was like when they were in charge.
I’d naturally make life hard for those who displease me and grease all the wheels in life for the right kind of people.

What Gave Away Bin Laden’s Location

OB-NT344_iosama_H_20110503053717

As you would expect, Osama Bin Laden kept messages to friends and family reasonably secure. However transmissions between his bodyguards and their families were not subjected to the same level of scrutiny. The fact that he stayed in such a high profile house was unusual however. Anyone with the slightest bit of curiosity would wonder about the purpose of a compound with 12 foot concrete walls and barbed wire. It is to be expected that he would have the cooperation of local military and intelligence elites, rebels have a very difficult time operating unless they stack the deck in their favor by allying with neighboring forces. Their lack of technological sophistication is also pretty standard, many documents have been captured unecrypted from insurgents because they don’t understand that encryption is very difficult to impossible to break if done properly.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-South-Central/2011/0502/Bin-Laden-bodyguard-s-satellite-phone-calls-helped-lead-US-forces-to-hiding-place

Satellite phone calls that Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard made from July to August last year are believed to have helped US forces hunt down the Al Qaeda leader in the Pakistani compound where he was killed early Monday, according to local Pakistani intelligence sources.

US intelligence agencies tracked the Kuwaiti bodyguard’s calls from the compound to Al Qaeda associates in the cities of Kohat and Charsada in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, a narrative that was corroborated by several sources.

From Wiki:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Location_of_Osama_bin_Laden#Tracking

American intelligence officials discovered the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden by tracking one of his couriers. Information was collected from Guantánamo Bay detainees, who gave intelligence officers the courier’s pseudonym and said that he was a protégé of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.[5] In 2007, U.S. officials discovered the courier’s real name and, in 2009, that he lived in Abbottābad, Pakistan.[6] Using satellite photos and intelligence reports, the CIA surmised the inhabitants of the mansion. In September, the CIA concluded that the compound was “custom built to hide someone of significance” and that bin Laden’s residence there was very likely.[7][8] Officials surmised that he was living there with his youngest wife.[8]

Built in 2005, the three-story[12] mansion was located in a compound about 4 km (2.5 mi.) northeast of the center of Abbottabad.[7] While the compound was assessed by US officials at a value of USD 1 million, local real-estate agents assess the property value at USD 250 thousand.[13] On a lot about eight times the size of nearby houses, it was surrounded by 12- to 18-foot (3.7-5.5 m)[8] concrete walls topped with barbed wire.[7] There were two security gates and the third-floor balcony had a seven-foot-high (2.1 m) privacy wall.[12] There was no Internet or telephone service coming into the compound. Its residents burned their trash, unlike their neighbors, who simply set it out for collection. The compound is located (34°10′09″N 73°14′33″E) and 1.3 km (0.8 mi.) southwest of the closest point of the sprawling Pakistan Military Academy.[14] President Obama met with his national security advisors on March 14, 2011, in the first of five security meetings over six weeks. On April 29, at 8:20 a.m., Obama convened with Thomas DonilonJohn O. Brennan, and other security advisers in the Diplomatic Room, where he authorized a raid of the Abbottābad compound. The government of Pakistan was not informed of this decision.[7]

AFRIDI_3.jpg.crop_display

US Intelligence services contacted a Pakistani physician through the US NGO Save The Children, to help them set up a fake vaccination program that would allow them to collect DNA to identify the people inside of the compound. This lead to him being arrested and sentenced to 33 years for Treason, supposedly for links to a local tribal terrorist organization:

To identify the occupants of the compound, the CIA worked with doctor Shakil Afridi to organize a fake vaccination program. Nurses gained entry to the residence to vaccinate the children and extract DNA,[9] which could be compared to a sample from his sister, who died in Boston in 2010.[10] It’s not clear if the DNA was ever obtained.[11]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakil_Afridi

Colleagues at Jamrud Hospital in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber tribal were suspicious of Dr. Shakeel Afridi’s, the hospital’s chief surgeon, absences which he explained as “business” to attend to in Abbottabad. Dr Afridi was accused of having taken a half-dozen World Health Organization cooler boxes without authorization. The containers are for inoculation campaigns, but no immunization drives were underway in Abbottabad or the Khyber agency.[11][12]

Pakistani investigators said in a July 2012 report that Afridi met 25 times with “foreign secret agents, received instructions and provided sensitive information to them.”[13] According to Pakistani reports, Afridi told investigators that the charity Save the Children helped facilitate his meeting with U.S. intelligence agents although the charity denies the charge. The report alleges that Save the Children’s Pakistan director introduced Afridi to a western woman in Islamabad and that Afridi and the woman met regularly afterwards.

Open Source Intelligence Analysis – Demographics

Getting good demographics can help you to quickly understand the context of messages that circulate through different websites. The easiest method for large websites is to look them up on http://www.quantcast.com/

For instance, we an obvious pattern that hispanics and blacks tend to visit conspiracy websites much more often than whites. We also see that many of the sites tend to have older visitors with higher incomes. The exception are data driven websites like Wikileaks, which tend to be lower income but highly educated viewers who are mostly white or asian.


If you can find facebook groups for websites like this, you can cross-check some of the basic information by looking at user photos, names, and ages (keep in mind that facebook users tend to be younger than average):

To get a quick introduction to the character of a website, simply do an imagesearch of it on google, e.g.: site:http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php

Search through the websites looking for mentions of states and/or cities using google, e.g.: texas site:infowars.com (don’t add a space between the search command and the website, so use site:websitehere.com). Look for introduction threads or user profiles that list locations. Twitter accounts can also assist in this process.

With this information you can cross-correlate the cities members live in to get an idea of their general make-up, and how it compares to other demographic sources.

If there are a lot of unique images on the website, use google’s image search function to look around for other websites with the same images, which will expand your understanding of the psychographics of the users by finding similar sites and images.

For more google search ideas, look at “How to solve impossible problems: Daniel Russell’s awesome Google search technique”:

http://www.johntedesco.net/blog/2012/06/21/how-to-solve-impossible-problems-daniel-russells-awesome-google-search-techniques/

If you want to map out keywords and connections, use a graph similar to this:

http://www.touchgraph.com/seo

A basic search gives us something like this:

Which shows us that we can also harvest data from youtube and amazon, as well as the smaller linked websites.

Now we have the basic demographics, we look for commonalities. Search through abstracts of psychology journals using pubmed.gov or google scholar, looking for keywords related to conspiracy theories, demographic information and psychology journals.

We end up with some curious things like this:

http://heb.sagepub.com/content/32/4/474.short

This article examines the endorsement of conspiracy beliefs about birth control (e.g., the belief that birth control is a form of Black genocide) and their association with contraceptive attitudes and behavior among African Americans. The authors conducted a telephone survey with a random sample of 500 African Americans (aged 15-44). Many respondents endorsed birth control conspiracy beliefs, including conspiracy beliefs about Black genocide and the safety of contraceptive methods. Stronger conspiracy beliefs predicted more negative attitudes toward contraceptives. In addition, men with stronger contraceptive safety conspiracy beliefs were less likely to be currently using any birth control. Among current birth control users, women with stronger contraceptive safety conspiracy beliefs were less likely to be using contraceptive methods that must be obtained from a health care provider. Results suggest that conspiracy beliefs are a barrier to pregnancy prevention. Findings point to the need for addressing conspiracy beliefs in public health practice.

And:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/0162-895X.00160/abstract

This study used canonical correlation to examine the relationship of 11 individual difference variables to two measures of beliefs in conspiracies. Undergraduates were administered a questionnaire that included these two measures (beliefs in specific conspiracies and attitudes toward the existence of conspiracies) and scales assessing the 11 variables. High levels of anomie, authoritarianism, and powerlessness, along with a low level of self-esteem, were related to beliefs in specific conspiracies, whereas high levels of external locus of control and hostility, along with a low level of trust, were related to attitudes toward the existence of conspiracies in general. These findings support the idea that beliefs in conspiracies are related to feelings of alienation, powerlessness, hostility, and being disadvantaged. There was no support for the idea that people believe in conspiracies because they provide simplified explanations of complex events.

And:

http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3791630?uid=2&uid=4&sid=21101379127527

From this information we can break them into traditional psychographics using stock models:

Now you can create a database that can be used for advanced analytic operations, using R, excel, SAS or a programming language like Python. R tends to be more effective for smaller sets less than 2GB because of it’s memory usage, but it has nearly all statistical functions anyone has thought to use which makes it very useful for experimental projects. SAS is commercial software that is mainly effective for large data sets. Excel is a decent entry level solution. Python is not quite as flexible as R yet, but it’s modules are improving and it can be interfaced with R.

Open Source Intelligence Analysis – We NSA Now

Working Thoughts:

1. Wikileaks can act as a secondary database. What we’ve seen so far makes it clear that most of the classified material is common knowledge but it could be useful.
2. Robert Steele is right that the humanitarian goodwill approach is superior. We’ve spent a lot of money in Afghanistan, but most of it was spent in unpopulated areas that were safe, the people who needed it didn’t get it. Lots of corruption. A tighter approach could be made.
3. Fiverr and penpal sites can also be useful for general cultural understanding or simple local tasks, e.g. : http://fiverr.com/worryfustion/help-you-learn-about-the-ethnic-groups-in-vietnam

http://fiverr.com/vann97/answer-10-questions-in-great-details-about-vietnam
4. Nearly all current prediction markets operate as zero-sum or negative-sum markets.


More OSINT Links:

“Dradis is a self-contained web application that provides a centralised repository of information to keep track of what has been done so far, and what is still ahead.”

http://dradisframework.org/

Links for OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) by Randolph Hock
http://www.onstrat.com/osint/

City Data:
http://www.city-data.com/

Public Records:
http://publicrecords.onlinesearches.com/

Name/Location Search Engine:
https://pipl.com/

“creepy is an application that allows you to gather geolocation related information about users from social networking platforms and image hosting services. The information is presented in a map inside the application where all the retrieved data is shown accompanied with relevant information (i.e. what was posted from that specific location) to provide context to the presentation.”
http://ilektrojohn.github.com/creepy/

Here is a recent example that uses the Palantir platform and OSINT:

Less than four months ago, the Southern portion of Sudan seceded and formed South Sudan, only the 5th country to be created this century. In this session, we will demonstrate how Palantir can draw from a plethora of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) data sources (including academic research, blogs, news media, NGO reports and United Nations studies) to rapidly construct an understanding of the conflict underlying this somewhat anomalous 21st Century event. Using a suite of Palantir Helpers developed for OSINT analysis, the video performs relational, temporal, statistical, geospatial, and social network analysis of over a dozen open sources of data.

See also:

Detecting Emergent Conflicts through Web Mining and Visualization

https://www.recordedfuture.com/assets/Detecting-Emergent-Conflicts-through-Web-Mining-and-Visualization.pdf

&

Maltego

http://www.paterva.com/web6/

Open Source Intelligence Analysis – Palantir Does Indeed Kick Ass

Messing around with the Palantir Government suite right now. You can get an account and mess around with it here:

https://analyzethe.us/

You have the ability to import/export data, filter access, set up collaborative teams and access to the open archives of the US Gov and some non profits. There are two tiers of users, novice users and power users:

Workspace Operations
Restrictions for Novice Users
Importing data

Novice users can only import data that is correctly mapped to the deployment ontology. Power users are exempt from this restriction.

The maximum number of rows in structured data sources that a Novice user can imported at one time is restricted by the NOVICE_IMPORT_STRUCTURED_MAX_ROWS system property. The default value for this property is 1000.

The maximum size of unstructured data sources that can be imported by a Novice user at one time is restricted by the NOVICE_IMPORT_UNSTRUCTURED_MAX_SIZE_IN_MB system property. The default value for this property is 5 megabytes.
Tagging text

The maximum number of tags that a Novice user can create using the Find and Tag helper is restricted by the system property NOVICE_FIND_AND_TAG_MAX_TAGS. The default setting for this property is 50.

Novice users cannot access the Tag All Occurrences in Tab option in the Browser’s Tag As dialog.
SearchAround search templates

Novice users cannot import SearchAround Templates from XML files.

Novice users cannot publish SearchAround templates for use by the entire deployment, and cannot edit published templates.
All other SearchAround features remain available.
Resolving Nexus Peering data conflicts
The Pending Changes application is available only in the Palantir Enterprise Platform, and is only accessible to Workspace users who belong to the Nexus Peering Data Managers user group.
Nexus Peering Data Managers use the Pending Changes application to check for, analyze, and resolve data conflicts that are not automatically resolved when a local nexus is synchronized with a peered nexus.
Deleting objects

Novice users cannot delete published objects.

Novice users cannot delete objects created or changed by other users.
Resolving objects

The maximum number of objects that Novice users can resolve together at one time is restricted by the NOVICE_RESOLVE_MAX_OBJECTS system property. This restriction does not apply to objects resolved by using existing object resolution suites in the Object Resolution Wizard or during data import.

Novice users may use the Object Resolution Wizard only when using existing object resolution suites. Novice users cannot perform Manual Object Resolution, and cannot record new resolution criteria as an Object Resolution Suite.
To learn more, see Resolving and Unresolving Objects in Workspace: Beyond the Basics.
Map application restrictions
All map metadata tools in the Layers helper are restricted.
Novice users cannot access features that allow sorting of layers by metadata, coloring by metadata, or the creation of new metadata. All other Layer helper functions remain available.

In case you didn’t get what I just said, you have access the same tools the FBI and CIA use, except some minor limitations and no access to classified documents. If you have access to Wolfram Alpha/Mathematica and can google for history on your topic of interest then most of the classified files will become redundant.

What about data mining on a budget?

Consider relying on a GPU(s). A CPU is designed to be multitasker that can quickly switch between actions, whereas a Graphical Processing Unit(GPU) is designed to do the same calculations repetitively while giving large increases in performance. The stacks in the listed papers, while giving exponentially higher speeds, did not use modern designs or graphics cards, which hindered them from running even faster.

http://www.azintablog.com/2010/10/16/gpu-large-scale-data-mining/

The GPU (Graphics Prossessing Unit) is changing the face of large scale data mining by significantly speeding up the processing of data mining algorithms. For example, using the K-Means clustering algorithm, the GPU-accelerated version was found to be 200x-400x faster than the popular benchmark program MimeBench running on a single core CPU, and 6x-12x faster than a highly optimised CPU-only version running on an 8 core CPU workstation.

These GPU-accelerated performance results also hold for large data sets. For example in 2009 data set with 1 billion 2-dimensional data points and 1,000 clusters, the GPU-accelerated K-Means algorithm took 26 minutes (using a GTX 280 GPU with 240 cores) whilst the CPU-only version running on a single-core CPU workstation, using MimeBench, took close to 6 days (see research paper “Clustering Billions of Data Points using GPUs” by Ren Wu, and Bin Zhang, HP Laboratories). Substantial additional speed-ups are expected were the tests conducted today on the latest Fermi GPUs with 480 cores and 1 TFLOPS performance.

Over the last two years hundreds of research papers have been published, all confirming the substantial improvement in data mining that the GPU delivers. I will identify a further 7 data mining algorithms where substantial GPU acceleration have been achieved in the hope that it will stimulate your interest to start using GPUs to accelerate your data mining projects:

Hidden Markov Models (HMM) have many data mining applications such as financial economics, computational biology, addressing the challenges of financial time series modelling (non-stationary and non-linearity), analysing network intrusion logs, etc. Using parallel HMM algorithms designed for the GPU, researchers (see cuHMM: a CUDA Implementation of Hidden Markov Model Training and Classification by Chaun Lin, May 2009) were able to achieve performance speedup of up to 800x on a GPU compared with the time taken on a single-core CPU workstation.

Sorting is a very important part of many data mining application. Last month Duane Merrill and Andrew Grinshaw (from University of Virginia) reported achieving a very fast implementation of the radix sorting method and was able to exceed 1G keys/sec average sort rate on an the GTX480 (NVidia Fermi GPU). Seehttp://goo.gl/wpra

Density-based Clustering is an important paradigm in clustering since typically it is noise and outlier robust and very good at searching for clusters of arbitrary shape in metric and vector spaces. Tests have shown that the GPU speed-up ranged from 3.5x for 30k points to almost 15x for 2 million data points. A guaranteed GPU speedup factor of at least 10x was obtained on data sets consisting of more than 250k points. (See “Density-based Clustering using Graphics Processors” by Christian Bohm et al).

Similarity Join is an important building block for similarity search and data mining algorithms. Researchers using a special algorithm called Index-supported similarity join for the GPU to outperform the CPU by a factor of 15.9x on 180 Mbytes of data (See “Index-supported Similarity Join on Graphics Processors” by Christian Bohm et al).

Bayesian Mixture Models has applications in many areas and of particular interest is the Bayesian analysis of structured massive multivariate mixtures with large data sets. Recent research work (see “Understanding the GPU Programming for Statistical Computation: Studies in Massively Massive Mixtures” by Marc Suchard et al.) has demonstrated that an old generation GPU (GeForce GTX285 with 240 cores) was able to achieve a 120x speed-up over a quad-core CPU version.

Support Vector Machines (SVM) has many diverse data mining uses including classification and regression analysis. Training SVM and using them for classification remains computationally intensive. The GPU version of a SVM algorithm was found to be 43x-104x faster than SVM CPU version for building classification models and 112x-212x faster over SVM CPU version for building regression models. See “GPU Accelerated Support Vector Machines for Mining High-Throughput Screening Data” by Quan Liao, Jibo Wang, et al.

Kernel Machines. Algorithms based on kernel methods play a central part in data mining including modern machine learning and non-parametric statistics. Central to these algorithms are a number of linear operations on matrices of kernel functions which take as arguments the training and testing data. Recent work (See “GPUML: Graphical processes for speeding up kernel machines” by Balaji Srinivasan et al. 2009) involves transforming these Kernel Machines into parallel kernel algorithms on a GPU and the following are two example where considerable speed-ups were achieved; (1) To estimate the densities of 10,000 data points on 10,000 samples. The CPU implementation took 16 seconds whilst the GPU implementation took 13ms which is a significant speed-up will in excess of 1,230x; (2) In a Gaussian process regression, for regression 8 dimensional data the GPU took 2 seconds to make predictions whist the CPU version took hours to make the same prediction which again is a significant speed-up over the CPU version.

If you want to use the GPUs but you do not want to get your hands “dirty” writing CUDA C/C++ code (or other languages bindings such as Python, Java, .NET, Fortran, Perl, or Lau) then consider using MATLAB Parallel Computing Toolbox. This is a powerful solution for those who know MATLAB. Alternatively R now has GPU plugins. A subsequent post will cover using MATLAB and R for GPU accelerated data mining.

These are space whales flying through the sun:

Open Source Intelligence Analysis – Software, Methods, Resources

http://www.kurzweilai.net/intelligence-agencies-turn-to-crowdsourcing

Research firm Applied Research Associates has just launched a website, Global Crowd Intelligence, that invites the public to sign up and try their hand at intelligence forecasting, BBC Future reports.

The website is part of an effort called Aggregative Contingent Estimation, sponsored by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (Iarpa), to understand the potential benefits of crowdsourcing for predicting future events by making forecasting more like a game of spy versus spy.

The new website rewards players who successfully forecast future events by giving them privileged access to certain “missions,” and also allowing them to collect reputation points, which can then be used for online bragging rights. When contributors enter the new site, they start off as junior analysts, but eventually progress to higher levels, allowing them to work on privileged missions.

The idea of crowdsourcing geopolitical forecasting is increasing in popularity, and not just for spies.  Wikistrat, a private company touted as “the world’s first massively multiplayer online consultancy,” was founded in 2002, and is using crowdsourcing to generate scenarios about future geopolitical events. It recently released a report based on a crowdsourced simulation looking at China’s future naval powers.

Warnaar says that Wikistrat’s approach appears to rely on developing “what-if scenarios,” rather than attaching a probability to a specific event happening, which is the goal of the Iarpa project.

Paul Fernhout put together a good open letter awhile back on the need for this, it seems IARPA has put some effort forward for this purpose:

http://www.phibetaiota.net/2011/09/paul-fernhout-open-letter-to-the-intelligence-advanced-programs-research-agency-iarpa/

A first step towards that could be for IARPA to support better free software tools for “crowdsourced” public intelligence work involving using a social semantic desktop for sensemaking about open source data and building related open public action plans from that data to make local communities healthier, happier, more intrinsically secure, and also more mutually secure. Secure, healthy, prosperous, and happy local (and virtual) communities then can form together a secure, healthy, prosperous, and happy nation and planet in a non-ironic way. Details on that idea are publicly posted by me here in the form of a Proposal Abstract to the IARPA Incisive Analysis solicitation: “Social Semantic Desktop for Sensemaking on Threats and Opportunities”

So what kind of tools can an amateur use for making sense of data?

Data Mining and ACH

Here is a basic implementation of ACH:

http://competinghypotheses.org/

Analysis of Competing Hypotheses (ACH) is a simple model for how to think about a complex problem when the available information is incomplete or ambiguous, as typically happens in intelligence analysis. The software downloadable here takes an analyst through a process for making a well-reasoned, analytical judgment. It is particularly useful for issues that require careful weighing of alternative explanations of what has happened, is happening, or is likely to happen in the future. It helps the analyst overcome, or at least minimize, some of the cognitive limitations that make prescient intelligence analysis so difficult. ACH is grounded in basic insights from cognitive psychology, decision analysis, and the scientific method. It helps analysts protect themselves from avoidable error, and improves their chances of making a correct judgment.
http://www2.parc.com/istl/projects/ach/ach.html

RapidMiner – About 6% of data miners use it – Can use R as an extension with a GUI
http://rapid-i.com/content/view/281/225/

R – 46% of data miners use this – in some ways better than commercial software – I’m not sure what the limit of this software is, incredibly powerful
http://www.r-project.org/

Network Mapping

Multiple tools – Finding sets of key players in a network – Cultural domain analysis – Network visualization – Software for analyzing ego-network data – Software package for visualizing social networks
http://www.analytictech.com/products.htm

NodeXL is a free, open-source template for Microsoft® Excel® 2007 and 2010 that makes it easy to explore network graphs. With NodeXL, you can enter a network edge list in a worksheet, click a button and see your graph, all in the familiar environment of the Excel window.
http://nodexl.codeplex.com/

Stanford Network Analysis Platform (SNAP) is a general purpose, high performance system for analysis and manipulation of large networks. Graphs consists of nodes and directed/undirected/multiple edges between the graph nodes. Networks are graphs with data on nodes and/or edges of the network.
http://snap.stanford.edu/snap/index.html

*ORA is a dynamic meta-network assessment and analysis tool developed by CASOS at Carnegie Mellon. It contains hundreds of social network, dynamic network metrics, trail metrics, procedures for grouping nodes, identifying local patterns, comparing and contrasting networks, groups, and individuals from a dynamic meta-network perspective. *ORA has been used to examine how networks change through space and time, contains procedures for moving back and forth between trail data (e.g. who was where when) and network data (who is connected to whom, who is connected to where …), and has a variety of geo-spatial network metrics, and change detection techniques. *ORA can handle multi-mode, multi-plex, multi-level networks. It can identify key players, groups and vulnerabilities, model network changes over time, and perform COA analysis. It has been tested with large networks (106 nodes per 5 entity classes).Distance based, algorithmic, and statistical procedures for comparing and contrasting networks are part of this toolkit.
http://www.casos.cs.cmu.edu/projects/ora/

NetworkX is a Python language software package for the creation, manipulation, and study of the structure, dynamics, and functions of complex networks.
http://networkx.lanl.gov/

Social Networks Visualizer (SocNetV) is a flexible and user-friendly tool for the analysis and visualization of Social Networks. It lets you construct networks (mathematical graphs) with a few clicks on a virtual canvas or load networks of various formats (GraphViz, GraphML, Adjacency, Pajek, UCINET, etc) and modify them to suit your needs. SocNetV also offers a built-in web crawler, allowing you to automatically create networks from all links found in a given initial URL.
http://socnetv.sourceforge.net/

SUBDUE is a graph-based knowledge discovery system that finds structural, relational patterns in data representing entities and relationships. SUBDUE represents data using a labeled, directed graph in which entities are represented by labeled vertices or subgraphs, and relationships are represented by labeled edges between the entities. SUBDUE uses the minimum description length (MDL) principle to identify patterns that minimize the number of bits needed to describe the input graph after being compressed by the pattern. SUBDUE can perform several learning tasks, including unsupervised learning, supervised learning, clustering and graph grammar learning. SUBDUE has been successfully applied in a number of areas, including bioinformatics, web structure mining, counter-terrorism, social network analysis, aviation and geology.
http://ailab.wsu.edu/subdue/

A range of tools for social network analysis, including node and graph-level indices, structural distance and covariance methods, structural equivalence detection, p* modeling, random graph generation, and 2D/3D network visualization.(R based)
http://cran.us.r-project.org/web/packag … index.html

statnet is a suite of software packages for network analysis that implement recent advances in the statistical modeling of networks. The analytic framework is based on Exponential family Random Graph Models (ergm). statnet provides a comprehensive framework for ergm-based network modeling, including tools for model estimation, model evaluation, model-based network simulation, and network visualization. This broad functionality is powered by a central Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithm. (Requires R)
http://statnetproject.org/

Tulip is an information visualization framework dedicated to the analysis and visualization of relational data. Tulip aims to provide the developer with a complete library, supporting the design of interactive information visualization applications for relational data that can be tailored to the problems he or she is addressing.
http://tulip.labri.fr/TulipDrupal/

GraphChi is a spin-off of the GraphLab ( http://www.graphlab.org ) -project from the Carnegie Mellon University. It is based on research by Aapo Kyrola (http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~akyrola/) and his advisors.

GraphChi can run very large graph computations on just a single machine, by using a novel algorithm for processing the graph from disk (SSD or hard drive). Programs for GraphChi are written in the vertex-centric model, proposed by GraphLab and Google’s Pregel. GraphChi runs vertex-centric programs asynchronously (i.e changes written to edges are immediately visible to subsequent computation), and in parallel. GraphChi also supports streaming graph updates and removal of edges from the graph. Section ‘Performance’ contains some examples of applications implemented for GraphChi and their running times on GraphChi.

The promise of GraphChi is to bring web-scale graph computation, such as analysis of social networks, available to anyone with a modern laptop. It saves you from the hassle and costs of working with a distributed cluster or cloud services. We find it much easier to debug applications on a single computer than trying to understand how a distributed algorithm is executed.

In some cases GraphChi can solve bigger problems in reasonable time than many other available distributed frameworks. GraphChi also runs efficiently on servers with plenty of memory, and can use multiple disks in parallel by striping the data.
https://code.google.com/p/graphchi/

Web Based Stuff:

Play amateur Gestapo from the comfort of your living room:
http://littlesis.org/
http://theyrule.net/

Search Professionals by Name, Company or Title, painfully verbose compared to the above 2 tools
http://www.marketvisual.com/

Broad list of search engines

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_search_engines

&

http://www.wired.com/business/2009/06/coolsearchengines/

A tool that uses Palantir Government:
https://analyzethe.us

connected with the following datasets:
http://www.usaspending.gov
http://www.data.gov/
http://www.opensecrets.org/
https://www.epls.gov/
and some misc. others

Database Listings

http://www.forecastingprinciples.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8&Itemid=18

http://www.datawrangling.com/some-datasets-available-on-the-web

http://datamarket.com/

Analytic Methods:

THIS BLOG IS PART OF CLASS PROJECT TO EXPLORE VARIOUS ANALYTIC TECHNIQUES USED BY MODERN INTELLIGENCE ANALYSTS (DELICIOUS ALL CAPS)
http://advat.blogspot.co.uk/

Morphological Analysis – A general method for non-quantified modeling
http://www.swemorph.com/pdf/gma.pdf

Modeling Complex Socio-Technical Systems using Morphological Analysis
http://www.swemorph.com/pdf/it-webart.pdf

CIA Tradecraft Manual

https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/Tradecraft%20Primer-apr09.pdf

Top 5 Intelligence Analysis Methods: Analysis Of Competing Hypotheses
http://sourcesandmethods.blogspot.com/2008/12/top-5-intelligence-analysis-methods_19.html
(the author scores a 4.4 of 5 on http://www.ratemyprofessors.com/ShowRatings.jsp?tid=545372 , 2.4 on the easiness scale)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence_analysis#Analytic_tradecraft
Many new analysts find that getting started is the hardest part of their job. Stating the objective, from the consumer’s standpoint, is an excellent starting point. If the analyst cannot define the consumer and his needs, how is it possible to provide analysis that complements what the consumer already knows.

“Ambassador Robert D. Blackwill … seized the attention of the class of some 30 [intelligence community managers] by asserting that as a policy official he never read … analytic papers. Why? “Because they were nonadhesive.” As Blackwill explained, they were written by people who did not know what he was trying to do and, so, could not help him get it done:
“When I was working at State on European affairs, for example, on certain issues I was the Secretary of State. DI analysts did not know that–that I was one of a handful of key decision makers on some very important matters….”

More charitably, he now characterizes his early periods of service at the NSC Staff and in State Department bureaus as ones of “mutual ignorance”

“DI analysts did not have the foggiest notion of what I did; and I did not have a clue as to what they could or should do.”[6]
Blackwill explained how he used his time efficiently, which rarely involved reading general CIA reports. “I read a lot. Much of it was press. You have to know how issues are coming across politically to get your job done. Also, cables from overseas for preparing agendas for meetings and sending and receiving messages from my counterparts in foreign governments. Countless versions of policy drafts from those competing for the President’s blessing. And dozens of phone calls. Many are a waste of time but have to be answered, again, for policy and political reasons.

“One more minute, please, on what I did not find useful. This is important. My job description called for me to help prepare the President for making policy decisions, including at meetings with foreign counterparts and other officials…. Do you think that after I have spent long weeks shaping the agenda, I have to be told a day or two before the German foreign minister visits Washington why he is coming?”

Interview With Jacob Appelbaum, Member of Tor and Wikileaks

If you’re wondering why they have a microscope embedded so deeply in his ass, he used to be a spokesperson for Wikileaks and he’s also a member of the Cult of the Dead Cow. Hacktivist’s have a six-degrees of Kevin Bacon connection to Wikileaks, it’s likely that not all of the material they receive was purposefully leaked. After credit card companies and banks cut ties with Wikileaks, they were introduced to an extended DDoS attack. As he describe in the interview, looking at metadata and relationships between people, even when using open source information, has created reliatble simulations of outcomttes.

Some of it is as safe as we think it can be, and some of it is not safe at all. The number one rule of “signals intelligence” is to look for plain text, or signaling information—who is talking to whom. For instance, you and I have been emailing, and that information, that metadata, isn’t encrypted, even if the contents of our messages are. This “social graph” information is worth more than the content. So, if you use SSL-encryption to talk to the OWS server for example, great, they don’t know what you’re saying. Maybe. Let’s assume the crypto is perfect. They see that you’re in a discussion on the site, they see that Bob is in a discussion, and they see that Emma is in a discussion. So what happens? They see an archive of the website, maybe they see that there were messages posted, and they see that the timing of the messages correlates to the time you were all browsing there. They don’t need to know to break a crypto to know what was said and who said it.

Traffic analysis. It’s as if they are sitting outside your house, watching you come and go, as well as the house of every activist you deal with. Except they’re doing it electronically. They watch you, they take notes, they infer information by the metadata of your life, which implies what it is that you’re doing. They can use it to figure out a cell of people, or a group of people, or whatever they call it in their parlance where activists become terrorists. And it’s through identification that they move into specific targeting, which is why it’s so important to keep this information safe first.

For example, they see that we’re meeting. They know that I have really good operational security. I have no phone. I have no computer. It would be very hard to track me here unless they had me physically followed. But they can still get to me by way of you. They just have to own your phone, or steal your recorder on the way out. The key thing is that good operational security has to be integrated into all of our lives so that observation of what we’re doing is much harder. Of course it’s not perfect. They can still target us, for instance, by sending us an exploit in our email, or a link in a web browser that compromises each of our computers. But if they have to exploit us directly, that changes things a lot. For one, the NYPD is not going to be writing exploits. They might buy software to break into your computer, but if they make a mistake, we can catch them. But it’s impossible to catch them if they’re in a building somewhere reading our text messages as they flow by, as they go through the switching center, as they write them down. We want to raise the bar so much that they have to attack us directly, and then in theory the law protects us to some extent.

But iPhones, for instance, don’t have a removable battery; they power off via the power button. So if I wrote a backdoor for the iPhone, it would play an animation that looked just like a black screen. And then when you pressed the button to turn it back on it would pretend to boot. Just play two videos. Link

Replying To James G On The Intelligence Gap

First the original post from Roissy/Heartiste:

1. How is the present automation and productivity conundrum qualitatively different than ones from the past (for example, the classic case of the auto replacing the horse and carriage)? If you do not believe it is qualitatively different, explain how we escape the “zero marginal productivity” worker trap, especially in an era when human capital is shrinking due to a combination of dysgenic birth rate differentials and mass migration of unskilled poor? Note: “Humans are fungible” is not an acceptable cop-out.

2. If, say, most of the profits go to the top 10% in society, while the bottom 90% are unemployed or marginally employed, how is it exactly that those top 10% will be able to extract profits from a customer base that doesn’t have the income stream to afford more than the basic necessities? Link

That’s a hell of a statement for anyone to make. Particularly if intelligence and training and the ability to create value that comes from it is being made easier and cheaper to obtain. If Einstein was born into the middle-ages and he spent his life as a banker, would his intelligence of been wasted? In which slice of history was our intelligence and ability to create value fully employed? With all of the resources at our fingertips, do you expect this 90% to just sit on their asses and not try to create something valuable? Or perhaps you expect a dramatic French Revolution ending to play out, with escape goats hanging from lamp posts? Do you really think that turning the US counter-culture into Hezbollah is anymore than dramatic masturbation that ignores the bloody reality of actual combat?

It was classic Tom Clancy stuff, all based on the idea you make war with stuff, not people. These guys just won’t face the fact that for the guerrilla, the key weapon, the only weapon that matters, is people—and starting a guerrilla war means sentencing most of the people in your address book to a very nasty death. Link

James G replies with Henry Hazlitt on how machines change value, you can read the entire piece here.

He then says:

Intelligence is efficient cross-domain optimisation; winning at chess requires efficient optimisation, but only within an extremely narrow domain. Chess is a restricted-domain problem, and a lot of man-hours have gone into developing chess AI, yet unremarkable humans managing computers can still lick an unaided machine.

Now consider a job that even the dullest human can do: supermarket cleaning. This is very cross-domain: it requires the ability to perform such diverse motions as walking, wiping, mopping, throwing, scrubbing and lifting. It requires the ability to communicate efficiently with humans. It requires the ability to change tasks on the fly. For sure, NASA could probably design a fantastically expensive self-cleaning supermarket; but what do you do if a kid throws up on the forecourt, or the roof starts leaking, or the stock layout needs to change? There’ll always be a need for human cleaners, at least until the advent of mobile human-level AI – which probably isn’t separable from the singularity, and a general end to this epoch of human civilisation.

I generally agree with this and think that a better, more correct definition of intelligence will include an individual’s resourcefulness. They will have to not only be able to find and integrate knowledge, but have good heuristics for validating it’s authenticity. “Who benefits?” must be asked constantly.

The new economy appears to be attention, and everyone is creating new and innovative ways of stealing that attention with emotional ploys for a variety of purposes, be it to secure a political campaign or to sell chicken sandwiches.

“this world is like three-dimensional chess, made more complex by the certain knowledge that there can be two things which are both true and yet which are mutually exclusive and contradict each other.”

But the interesting thing is that it’s getting easier and cheaper to close the intelligence gap. The bottom 90% may not have economic integration yet, but many of the important things that lead to value creation are being secured. The end game may involve the creation of a currency outside of the hands of a Nation-State, which isn’t that much of a stretch given how apathetic people are about their governments. Trust and legitimacy are two of the most important things in building financial relationships. At this point if there was an actual revolution in the US, people would be more likely to use GoogleBucks versus whatever the newly established state said was the currency. Any country that tries too hard to restrict the flow of vital information is guaranteeing it’s irrelevance in the modern economy, that’s the burden of an intelligence arms race.

Right now we’re doing very simple stuff with intelligence boosting, magnetic and electrical stimulation to promote cross-hemisphere communication, as well as searching for new nootropic drugs to boost performance. We’re also mapping out what parts of the brain are responsible for thinking,

The research team, led by lead author Shinji Nishimoto and professor Jack Gallant, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and computational modeling to produce videos of what participants were seeing — using only information about their brain signals. This may very well be the closest humanity has ever gotten to mind-reading.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the scientists gathered data on subjects’ brain activity as they were viewing scenes. In this case, subjects reclined in the brain scanner and watched 60 second clips of Hollywood movie trailers for several hours.

As the subjects watched, the fMRI machine analyzed their brain activity and produced something called the Blood Oxygenated Level Dependent signal, or BOLD signal for short. The BOLD signal is simply a measure of blood-flow to an area of the brain. This study focused on the brain area called primary visual cortex, which is responsible for early visual processing prior to consciousness. Link

There are also computer programs that have a limited effect like n-back (brain workshop can use the original Jaeggi parameters and is free) or speed reading training software. A lot of the computer programs are either free or low cost (or can be pirated).

This is from the unofficial n-back FAQ written by Gwern:

One of the nice things about N-back is that while it may or may not improve your IQ, it may help you in other ways. WM training helps alcoholics reduce their consumption28 and increases patience in recovering stimulant addicts (cocaine & methamphetamine)29. The self-discipline or willpower of students correlates better with grades than even IQ30, WM correlates with grades and lower behavioral problems31 & WM out-predicts grades 6 years later in 5-year olds & 2 years later in older children32. WM training has been shown to help children with ADHD33 and also preschoolers without ADHD34Lucas 2008 found behavior improvements at a summer camp. Another intervention using a miscellany of ‘reasoning’ games with young (7–9 years old) poor children found a Forwards Digit Span (but not Backwards) and IQ gains, with no gain to the subjects playing games requiring “rapid visual detection and rapid motor responses”35, but it’s worth remembering that IQ scores are unreliable in childhood36 or perhaps, as an adolescent brain imaging study indicates37, they simply are much more malleable at that point. (WM training in teenagers doesn’t seem much studied but given their issues, may help; see “Beautiful Brains” or “The Trouble With Teens”.) Link

The thing about nootropics is that they are very cheap, each generally costing less than $100 for 3 months of doses. You can build your own brain stimulator for around $30 or less. Modafinil will run about $80-250 for a month’s supply, though it could be substituted for cheaper nootropics from the -racetam family of drugs. They aren’t a miracle drugs, but they are better than nothing.

Genotyping is $299 right now, which can provide you with your genetic profile and a list of diseases you are susceptible too, you have to be pretty jaded to think that isn’t a major advancement (though the treatment costs obviously vary by country, see medical tourism).

Most of these nootropics are useful for at least slowing the effects of Alzheimer’s (Piracetam is the most well documented), and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure here. We haven’t seen the creation of super-expensive brain enhancements that would divide the rich and the poor, not if the poor here in America can afford iPhones and Air Jordan’s. The major exception for America is healthcare, which is a highly debated topic being milked for all of it’s political capital.

You should be able to up your raw IQ by at least one deviation with a combo of the above stuff, the guys at bulletproof exec used n-back and got 18 and 12 points boost respectively. You can’t buy any of this with foodstamps but the barriers to increasing intelligence is going way down. Access to knowledge has never been easier as well: edx, Khan academy, JOVE, Wikipedia and thepiratebay have made sure of that.

One item of interest: imagine what happens when you apply the chess tactical aid to science, I.E. having an AI design and perform experiments aided by a team of human scientists, keeping in mind that we’re getting closer to a real brain-machine interface. We can’t be sure of what the brain-machine interface or anti-aging treatments would cost, but doesn’t mean it would widen the actual gap between the rich and poor.

US-China Economic & Defense News

The current Chinese system is interdependent with the West,  they are in a fast-follower position but lack the political infrastructure to take over as innovators. Here are some assorted pieces of economic/defense related news:

I’ve made previous posts on Chinese espionage attempts, however as we see here bribery can be much more effective than outright theft:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/07/pentagon-contractor-caught-illegally-selling-military-technology-to-china/259469/

A six-year U.S. probe found that Pratt & Whitney, a key military hardware supplier to the U.S., sold China the software and engines needed to make its first-ever modern attack helicopter.

Nothing in the settlement agreement, in which Pratt & Whitney and two related companies, United Technologies and Hamilton Sundstrand agreed to pay a total of $75 million for multiple violations of export rules, directly threatens Pratt’s existing or future government contracting.

http://archives.cnn.com/2002/BUSINESS/asia/01/09/china.loral/

HONG KONG, China — U.S. satellite maker Loral Space & Communications Ltd. has agreed to pay a $14 million fine for passing missile technology to China.

The satellite and communications company will pay the fine over seven years to the U.S. State Department, through its Space Systems/Loral Inc. subsidiary.

The subsidiary neither admitted nor denied the charges but has agreed to pay the fine. It contends the information was “mistakenly sent to the Chinese.”

The investigation started as a criminal case, after the U.S. government adjudged Space Systems/Loral might have broken export laws when it gave technical help to China, on its rockets.

On the other hand, what we get sent isn’t known to be of the highest possible quality. China is extremely diverse and fragmented, the quality products varies highly. Fraud is endemic inside the country. In some cases it might be deliberate sabotage, but we don’t have too much of a reason to believe that most of China’s own parts are in much better condition:

http://defensetech.org/2012/03/28/gao-buys-fake-submarine-parts-from-china/

Remember how the Senate Armed Services Committee held a rather dramaitc hearing on the flood of counterfeit weapons parts coming from China a few months ago?

Well, as part of the committee’s investigation into the problem, lawmakers asked the Government Accountability Office to buy weapons parts from Chinese companies (that U.S. weapons companies sometimes buy from) to see if the Chinese government is doing anything to crack down on the massive problem. A shadow company set up by GAO to buy the parts specifically requested brand new parts for F-15 Eagles, MV-22 Ospreys and two nuclear submarines. What did they get? You guessed it, fake parts from China!

How massive is the problem? Over one million fake weapons parts have been identified as coming from Chinese companies since 2009. You don’t have to be  genius to see the safety nightmare presented by fake parts on incredibly complex systems like submarines, fighter jets and tiltrotors.

Of course, that’s not to say that they only spy on the US:

http://astuteblogger.blogspot.com/2008/03/ethical-country-of-china.html

Prosecutors in Seoul, Korea, indicted an ex-LG employee for spying for a Chinese company in a case they say cost the South Korean economy more than $1 billion. The Chinese company, Changhong-Orion PDP-Chaihong, reportedly paid the LG manager $300,000 per year, an apartment and a car (he was still collecting his LG salary) in exchange for copying 1,182 files from the LG network and giving it to the Chinese company

If you’re interested in finding out more examples of China leveraging it’s fast follower advantage, look to Bruce Hall.

As the US Government has found out, tech companies are required to create the infrastructure for a true “big brother” state.

http://www.wired.com/politics/security/magazine/15-11/ff_chinafirewall?currentPage=all

The Golden Shield hardware — supplied by Cisco and other US companies — is supplemented by human censors who are paid about $170 a month. They sit at screens in warehouse-like buildings run by the Public Security Bureau. These foot soldiers in China’s information war monitor domestic news sites, erasing and editing politically sensitive stories. Some sites provide the censors with access so the authorities can alter content directly. Others get an email or a call when changes are required. Similar methods are applied to blogs. Sensitive entries are erased, and in the most egregious cases blogs are shut down altogether.

The censors also monitor email traffic, looking for politically sensitive content like calls for protest marches and anti-government tracts. Because it would be impossible to screen millions of Internet users, they home in on watchlists of potentially suspicious emailers — known dissidents, suspicious foreigners — and notify investigators of possible violations.

Most of our manufacturing base is directly dependent on Chinese materials in one form or another, supply chain disruption can wreck havoc on even the largest companies. In the event of a serious conflict, large companies will be easy targets for supply chain disruption and cyber attacks. They are slower moving, larger targets that cannot quickly innovate in the face of disruption. Kevin Mitnick showed that you don’t even need superior technical knowledge to break open networks, the people will always be the weakest link in security. In the meantime we are reliant on China for an ever widening base of commodities:

 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/02/magazine/02fda-t.html?_r=3&oref=slogin&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin

Concerns about Chinese drugs have become so intense that just three weeks ago, the Health and Human Services secretary, Michael O. Leavitt, announced that the F.D.A. would open an office in Beijing by the end of the year and offices in Shanghai and Guangzhou next year. The agency still plans to send inspectors to China from the U.S., but the offices will provide “an infrastructure that will make those people more effective,” Leavitt said at the time of the announcement.

China’s leap to one of the biggest suppliers of pharmaceutical ingredients in the world happened over the last decade, as the Chinese government subsidized the construction of manufacturing plants that have undercut prices everywhere. Generic drug makers in the United States, where price competition is fierce, were the first to seek cheaper drug ingredients in China. Last year, generic drug applications to the F.D.A. listed 1,154 plants providing active pharmaceutical ingredients: 43 percent of them were in China, and another 39 percent were in India. Only 13 percent were in the United States. 

We’ve been having on-going problems with obtaining Rx drugs in the US:

https://colonyofcommodus.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/hospitals-experience-drug-shortage/

In 2005, the Food and Drug Administration reported 61 drugs in short supply. By 2011, the number had almost quadrupled, the majority injectable drugs used for cancer treatment, anesthesia and intravenous feeding.
The FDA reports that among many reasons, 43 percent of shortages stem from below-standard drug manufacturing facilities. Numerous FDA accounts describe drugs coming out of manufacturing plants contaminated with microbes, impurities, bits of metal and rust and other particulates.
If you read the FDA inspections of these plants, basically it’s scary,” said Erin Fox, pharmacist and manager of the Drug Information Service at University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics. “It’s crumbling buildings with mold on the walls, rust on the equipment. It doesn’t seem like what you would think a factory in the U.S. would look like.”

Visit this link if you want an educated guess on what’s next to be rolled out by big brother:

http://www.blacklistednews.com/14_Incredibly_Creepy_Surveillance_Technologies_That_Big_Brother_Will_Soon_Be_Using_To_Spy_On_You/20455/0/38/38/Y/M.html

The Pentagon has made a lot of noise about cyberwarfare, which has generally been dismissed by pundits. However the pundits rarely mention “who” the threat might be, generally thinking that the government is worried about anonymous haktivists. They aren’t, the FBI keeps them under control as much you can for a decentralized movement.

http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=249#

For 18 minutes in April, China’s state-controlled telecommunications company hijacked 15 percent of the world’s Internet traffic, including data from U.S. military, civilian organizations and those of other U.S. allies.

This massive redirection of data has received scant attention in the mainstream media because the mechanics of how the hijacking was carried out and the implications of the incident are difficult for those outside the cybersecurity community to grasp, said a top security expert at McAfee, the world’s largest dedicated Internet security company.

In short, the Chinese could have carried out eavesdropping on unprotected communications — including emails and instant messaging — manipulated data passing through their country or decrypted messages, Dmitri Alperovitch, vice president of threat research at McAfee said.

Nobody outside of China can say, at least publicly, what happened to the terabytes of data after the traffic entered China.

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2012/0510/Exclusive-potential-China-link-to-cyberattacks-on-gas-pipeline-companies

Investigators hot on the trail of cyberspies trying to infiltrate the computer networks of US natural-gas pipeline companies say that the same spies were very likely involved in a major cyberespionage attack a year ago on RSA Inc., a cybersecurity company. And the RSA attack, testified the chief of the National Security Agency (NSA) before Congress recently, is tied to one nation: China.

Three confidential alerts since March and a public report on May 4 by the Department of Homeland Security warn of a “gas pipeline sector cyber intrusion campaign,” which apparently began in December. That campaign, against an undisclosed number of companies, is continuing, DHS said in the alerts, which were first reported by the Monitor.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Aurora

Operation Aurora was a cyber attack which began in mid-2009 and continued through December 2009.[1] The attack was first publicly disclosed by Google on January 12, 2010, in a blog post.[2] In the blog post, Google said the attack originated in China. The attacks were both sophisticated and well resourced and consistent with an advanced persistent threat attack.
The attack has been aimed at dozens of other organizations, of which Adobe Systems,[3] Juniper Networks[4] and Rackspace[5] have publicly confirmed that they were targeted. According to media reports, Yahoo, Symantec, Northrop Grumman, Morgan Stanley[6] and Dow Chemical[7] were also among the targets.
As a result of the attack, Google stated in its blog that it plans to operate a completely uncensored version of its search engine in China “within the law, if at all”, and acknowledged that if this is not possible it may leave China and close its Chinese offices.[2] Official Chinese media responded stating that the incident is part of a U.S. government conspiracy.[8]

Cyberwarfare is important, even if most pundits downplay it, because of the vulnerability of our SCADA systems, in the event of conflict an entity would only need to put out a bounty on the system, not even needing it’s own skilled personnel to subvert the system:

 http://spaces.icgpartners.com/index2.asp?NGuid=54D49E8BF0B6431696BB76956FB8AF91

In the past two years, hackers have in fact successfully penetrated and extorted multiple utility companies that use SCADA systems, says Alan Paller, director of the SANS Institute, an organization that hosts a crisis center for hacked companies. “Hundreds of millions of dollars have been extorted, and possibly more. It’s difficult to know, because they pay to keep it a secret,” Paller says. “This kind of extortion is the biggest untold story of the cybercrime industry.”

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228415.400-vital-utilities-vulnerable-to-hacking.html

This was compounded by news of the hack at the Texas water plant, where on 20 November a hacker named “prof” gained access to the plant’s systemsusing a three-character default password on an internet-accessed SCADA made by Siemens of Germany. “No damage was done to any machinery; I don’t really like mindless vandalism. It’s stupid and silly. On the other hand, so is connecting your SCADA machinery to the internet,” he wrote on the Pastebin website.

Nooks/Kindles Reveal What People Read, How Quickly & How Many Pages

Governments are too inefficient and behind the curve to execute a real 1984 type society. Corporations, particularly technology/internet ones, are the kind that have the engineering know-how to create the real big brother. That’s why the government bought Palantir’s products, the best engineers don’t work in government anymore. In a real martial law situation I would expect massive privatization to cover the gaps. Even Wal-Mart is using former intelligence officers now. This of course doesn’t cover the “black projects”, but no one can exactly put their finger on where that money goes and what comes of it.

http://consumerist.com/2012/06/barnes-noble-amazon-know-which-sections-of-fifty-shades-of-grey-youre-reading-over-and-over.html

Data collected from Nooks reveals, for example, how far readers get in particular books, how quickly they read and how readers of particular genres engage with books. Jim Hilt, the company’s vice president of e-books, says the company is starting to share their insights with publishers to help them create books that better hold people’s attention.

Find Out Your States Corruption Ranking (US)

US Expanding Intelligence Operations In Africa

Career Bureaucrats Have More Power Than Political Appointees

Link

There is the assumption that it’s the political appointees who run things or change things or are the real power players in DC. My experience has always been that the real power in DC is the persistent class of senior bureaucrats just below the political level. The appointees typically last about 12-to-18 months, getting up to speed for most of that period and–maybe–having some actual impact if they’re quite focused in their goals. Otherwise they come and go, leaving nary a trace. They may think they run things and we may hold them ultimately responsible, but the truth is they’re more powerless than powerful.

The reality is not the change factor associated with new appointees in an active sense but more in a passive sense: it’s not what leadership they bring but what leadership-from-below that they allow.

This article cites two schools of thought on appointees:

One . . . argues that lots of political appointees can sweep away bureaucratic cobwebs. The other suggests that appointees mostly get in the way of the career professionals who really know how to make government work.

My experience definitely tends to the latter view. I mean, there’s just no comparing the knowledge base and wisdom.

A Big Problem With Alternative Media: Fact-Checking

In my own experience watching alternative media, one of the biggest issues is source checking. The mainstream media doesn’t do it often, but neither does the alternative media. A lot of the empassioned activists simply start making things up, either to push as a narrative that they are convinced is true but no one can see, or as a conspiracy product. John Taylor Gatto was one of the people that did this. One of the more recent pieces flying around that no one did background work on was the Delphi Method:

http://rigorousintuition.ca/board2/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=34423
“As the article correctly goes on to note, it was Christian homeschooling activist and researcher Bev Eakman (“Educating for the New World Order”) who began to paint the Delphi technique very differently. I like Eakman quite a bit, and she was one of the early authors who made me appreciate how much I can learn from people I vehemently disagree with. Her research was impressively & obsessively thorough, and her conclusions were often laughably hysterical. This is when I started learning to parse my sources and it was an invaluable lesson.

Just the same, man, did she ever bork up the Delphi Technique. She claimed it was directly related to “The Alinsky Method” — let’s just take second to consider the lunacy of that: a military industrial, eminently conservative think tank collaborating and conspiring with a Jewish socialist community organizer to infiltrate and neutralize community activism. I’m a student of spooks, and even by the standard of strange bedfellows, that one is a bit of stretch.

The real problem, though, was that Bev Eakman introduced “rules” for the Delphi Technique that she’d invented whole and passed off as actual documentation. Her version of Delphi appears exactly nowhere in the RAND monographs. That’s pretty problematic to me, since it bears a remarkable resemblance to “lying.” I’m sure her intentions were pure, though — zero sarcasm, she was a true believer with a good heart.

It’s important to note that Eakman only used these curious mistakes as a foundation — they were never re-examined, only built upon. She even wrote a whole book about it, “How to Counter Group Manipulation Tactics” which is quite lucid and useful despite the poisoned fruit of false assumptions and mangled history. This is a hallmark of the Conspiratainment Complex: all past work is raw material for future product, there’s very little critical assessment going on.

Peak Intel: How So-Called Strategic Intelligence Actually Makes Us Dumber

Understanding Wikileaks and Julian Assange’s Strategy

“To radically shift regime behavior we must think clearly and boldly for if we have learned anything, it is that regimes do not want to be changed. We must think beyond those who have gone before us, and discover technological changes that embolden us with ways to act in which our forebears could not. Firstly we must understand what aspect of government or neocorporatist behavior we wish to change or remove. Secondly we must develop a way of thinking about this behavior that is strong enough carry us through the mire of politically distorted language, and into a position of clarity. Finally must use these insights to inspire within us and others a course of ennobling, and effective action.”

Julian Assange, “State and Terrorist Conspiracies”

The problem this creates for the government conspiracy then becomes the organizational problem it must solve: if the conspiracy must operate in secrecy, how is it to communicate, plan, make decisions, discipline itself, and transform itself to meet new challenges? The answer is: by controlling information flows. After all, if the organization has goals that can be articulated, articulating them openly exposes them to resistance. But at the same time, failing to articulate those goals to itself deprives the organization of its ability to process and advance them. Somewhere in the middle, for the authoritarian conspiracy, is the right balance of authority and conspiracy. Link

It’s tempting to read Julian Assange’s 2006 essays as the master-key to understanding what Wikileaks represents now, tempting because it makes a really hard problem easy. But it’s also quite clear that Wikileaks has changed quite a bit since 2006, and when Wikileaks tweeted my post (which was sort of where the whole experience became surreal for me), it seems important that they praised it as explicating “one of the key ideas behind WikiLeaks.” That is, one of them, and maybe not even the primary one.

So what are the others? What else is it that Wikileaks is actually trying to do?… Link

China Plans to Open Military Bases Worldwide

Dated 2010:

“It is baseless to say that we will not set up any military bases in future because we have never sent troops abroad,” an article published on Thursday at a Chinese government website said. “It is our right,” the article said and went on to suggest that it would be done in the neighborhood, possibly Pakistan.

http://antemedius.com/content/game-changer-china-plans-open-military-bases-worldwide

Dated 2011:

China is weighing up whether to open an Indian Ocean naval base in the Seychelles in a move which will heighten tensions with India amid fears of a regional arms race.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/seychelles/8953319/China-considers-Seychelles-military-base-plan.html

Dated 2012:

China plans military base in Pakistan
http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/china-military-base-in-pakistan-naval-base-at-gwadar/1/167084.html

More On Snitches

Previous Post Is Here

Behaviors of Brandon’s or others that enabled this kind of damage to be done.

      1. Deferring or listening to men, as opposed to women and/or attacking women in leadership positions. Our patriarchal society has taught us this and we need to deconstruct it.
      2. Charisma and confidence enabled him to assume leadership and control — people deferred even though he had little experience. He cultivated a handful of women and men to become personal assistants who did a lot of his work for him.
      3. Assuming credibility by his associations — Brandon tried to associate himself with other high profile organizers in the activist community.
      4. Preying on and exploiting people’s vulnerabilities and insecurities, particularly using alcohol or other addictions. He liked to “play with people’s minds.”
      5. Bullying. All bullies abuse their power and people let them do what they want because they are afraid of what will happen if they do not go along. They use their physical prowess to intimidate both women and men.
      6. Disrupting group process in meetings, derailing agendas, questioning process, challenging others, or not coming to meetings at all to avoid accountability. Or using secrecy and sub-groups to divide the whole.
      7. Pointing fingers at and ‘snitch-jacketing’ other people, accusing them of being cops, FBI agents, etc. This kept everyone on guard, and created an environment of suspicion and distrust.
      8. Seducing people using power or sex, leaving a lot of pain and destabilized situations in his wake or provoking people to do acts they would not do on their own.
      9. Being persistent and pursuing people, by calling them repeatedly or showing up at their homes, inviting them for coffee, he would wear you down, or find other ways back into important relationships.
      10. Being an emotional/physical wreck, becoming very needy and seducing people into taking care of him. Then people would defend him because of his emotional vulnerabilities or physical needs.
      11. Time and energy suck. Talk endlessly, consuming hours of time and energy — confusing, exhausting, and indoctrinating.
      12. Being helpful or useful — showing up when you most needed support. Brandon would arrive with tools, money, or whatever was needed at just the right time.
      13. Documenting through videotaping or photographing actions but never using it or working on communications systems which he attempted at the RNC. Link

With the growing wave of repression by the state towards direct action oriented struggles, radicals have been bombarded with the shameful concern of snitches and informants. In a struggle which is purely of choice and individual realization, as opposed to a rich cultural or family heritage, a valor dedication to one’s community has been shamefully neglected by some. The following article provides a brief look into how radical communities of the past have approached traitors to the community, while at the same time proposing how more unique struggles can learn from it. It is an excerpt from the zine; “Got the Hollow Points for the Snitches”.

To order a copy of this pamphlet, you can contact the email below: thegreenscare@gmail.com

As Anarchists, we fight in the face of what appears to be insurmountable odds; our project of liberation is the natural enemy of the culture of authority and capitalism we now live under. Considering that our revolt against the institutions of domination are not isolated pockets of resistance, and that we do not live separately from the rest of society, our communities are inevitably affected —and perhaps infected— by the culture we are aiming to destroy.

Snitch Culture is not exclusive to Communities in Resistance, but is one thread of control in the larger social fabric of America. Those in power want people to snitch on each other— especially those from communities that are targeted in particular by the government and are therefore more vulnerable to Snitch Culture— because snitching works to create a climate of fear and mistrust that can fragment the populations that threaten the structures of power.

For example, in the war against the poor and people of color —those that fill the prisons of America— the State promotes snitching as a means to perpetuate crime by creating a ‘revolving door’ in which low-level drug dealers, addicts, and other petty offenders are arrested and released with orders to provide more information in order to create more arrests in order to fill more prisons. The effects of this cycle of snitch-and-prison are that entire communities are torn apart, families broken up, and the United States has the largest prison population in the world.

In Anarchist circles everyone knows that Snitch Culture breaks solidarity among activists and paralyzes our ability to wage effective resistance. Though there is much complaining and handwringing about the divisive role snitches play in our communities, we have engaged in very little constructive action about this serious and persistent problem. This zine is an attempt to educate and foster dialogue in our communities in order to develop effective strategies for dealing with snitches and to forge a resistance that can withstand the attacks of power.

To start, we must realize that Snitch Culture is not a new phenomenon or only particular to Anarchists, and that many Communities of Resistance in North America and Europe have come up with a number of different ways—some more effective than others—to deal with Snitch Culture while maintaining their core values.

There are three components —perhaps of unequal importance— that resistance groups and others have traditionally used to determine their response to snitches: practicality, the agreeability to the core values of the group, and tactical benefit.

The ultra-militant Red Army Faction (RAF) in West Germany tried to use something called “Revolutionary Discipline” to respond to a growing number of snitches. This discipline drew heavily on the promise of immediate personal reprisals for snitching. Snitches both in jail and out were subject to vicious beatings and in one case, a snitch was blinded. This type of response was practical for the RAF because they had a number of supporters both inside and outside of jail. Most snitches could be easily located and jumped by supporters or actual RAF members. It was agreeable to the RAF because it fit in with their concepts of both Revolutionary Discipline and a glorification of violence. However, it did not prove to be an effective tactic for reducing the impact of snitches. By the end of the RAF’s existence, snitches were an important part of the State’s efforts to not only disrupt, but to arrest numerous members of the RAF— including its leadership.

The tactics they employed did not seem to reduce Snitch Culture within their own ranks or of other contemporary militant radical organizations in West Germany. The Weather Underground (WU) also had an extreme but somewhat different strategy when confronting the problem of snitches. The WU used terror as a way to stop the effectiveness of snitches. They required all members to give the names and addresses of close friends and family and were explicitly warned —sometimes while on psychedelic drugs— that if they snitched, they and their family would be subject to violent reprisals. In one rambling message from the WU —written after an AIM snitch took the stand against former comrades— published in radical periodicals at the time and believed to have been written by Bernadine Dorn, stated that the WU was not afraid to support the “[Charlie] Manson approach” when it came to “bringing hell on Earth for pig-snitches.” It went into detail about how violently the WU would deal withsnitches and their friends and family. This approach ended up being completely impractical for the WU because they had neither the members nor the support to pull off such grandiose plans. By the nature of being underground, they were marginalized and had little ability to strike out at snitches in any way. In fact, there is no evidence that any snitch on the WU was ever even bothered by the group. Whether this approach of terror was agreeable to the core values of the WU is hard to say since the WU position on violence and acceptable violence seemed to change constantly. It was however, consistent with the ultra-violent streak in the core leadership of the group. As a tactic is was counter-productive— it caused considerable debate in radical circles and most of it was negative. The cops also had little trouble turning folks associated with the WU, and a number of the most rhetorically violent members of the leadership either turned themselves in, or cut deals.

No resistance group in recent times can compare to the Black Panther Party (BPP) —and its factions— in terms of being completely infiltrated by snitches as well as law enforcement! The BPP, in the popular mind, is associated with violence and ultra-militancy. The image of a tough leather-clad Black Panther carrying a shotgun is an ever present part of the iconography of the radical left. One would think that the BPP’s approach to snitches would be similar to the RAF and the WU; however, they took a completely different approach and relied on community shame as a mechanism for dealing with snitches.

This was a somewhat practical approach because they had a number of widely circulating publications and outlets to get information about snitches out. They also were followed closely by the radical left and had access to a staggering number of mediums to report to the broader cultures of resistance. It was certainly agreeable to the ideals of the BPP, which claimed to be the voice of specific communities and saw itself as a community-based organization. Tactically, the record speaks for itself. There were a large number of snitches, many who were not named until well after the fall of the BPP, and the government —which was particularly brutal and repressive in dealing with the BPP— never had trouble turning members affiliated with the BPP against the organization. In Chicago, for example, the number of snitches was nearly epidemic.

While the above examples are not particularly positive, they illustrate some of the difficulties we face in dealing with snitches today in our own communities —and thus the need for dialogue. However, groups like the Irish Republican Army (IRA), the Basque Separatists (ETA), and namely the WWII French Resistance Fighters (The Maquis), are positive examples of Communities in Resistance that dealt successfully with Snitch Culture. The Maquis, according to Gestapo/Vichy records, show that less than 5% of all detainees were “cooperative”. William Volman, in his book, Rising Up and Rising Down, says that the Spanish —and French— governments have “never been successful in creating a culture of informants”. The key is to learn from the mistakes of the past and forge our own response to snitches that is practical, agreeable to our core values, and tactically beneficial.

To understand why these groups —IRA, ETA and the Maquis— were successful, we have to look not only at their formal and informal policies regarding snitches, but at the movements as a whole. There is precious little written in English about ETA, but from the few sources available, Clean Hands, Dirty Wars, it seems that ETA has been able to avoid widespread Snitch Culture by the very nature of its resistance. It is heavily family- and community-based; nearly everyone knows everyone else and every Basque community has been affected by the draconian repression of the Madrid- State. Since most Basque are deeply attached to their homeland, even the non-nationalists, the idea of snitching on neighbors and comrades is wrought with practical difficulties. Raising the stakes for squealing, neighbors, co-workers and friends would react negatively to the appearance of a snitch, and so anyone caught snitching would not only have to create a new social circle, but relocate.

The IRA put a tremendous amount of energy into prisoner support. In fact it was estimated by Gerald O’Mann that nearly a 1/3 of all money raised by the IRA was spent directly on prisoner support. The Irish nationalist concept of prison support is more extensive than ours and includes family support, the glorification of prisoners, treating ex-prisoners like returning veterans, as well as in-jail support. An IRA prisoner was even elected to parliament while still in jail! This support seriously diluted the benefits of snitching and the consequences (often violent reprisals) greatly outweighed the benefits. The IRA, more than any other group, was successful in reducing the punitive nature of incarceration.

The Maquis used a combination of violent attacks on snitches as well as “reframing” propaganda. There is much written about the beatings and shootings carried out by Maquis, but the historic record actually shows that the Maquis ability to carry out such attacks was extremely limited. They made use of very public reprisals, in no doubt due to the monopoly on news by the occupiers, which, in turn, increased their effectiveness. However, the use of violence can only be seen as a partial explanation for the success of the Maquis in resisting Snitch Culture. The Maquis used an effective propaganda that was based on the idea that they soon would be victorious, which made less attractive the cooperation with illegitimate authorities that would soon be removed. What is surprising when one reads the memoirs of resistance fighters and the historical accounts of everyday French living under occupation is their firm and unshakeable belief that they would be liberated. In fact, most French not only believed they would be liberated, but liberated by the combined French Resistance forces. This belief gave legitimacy to the Maquis and made crossing them a more consequential prospect, since they believed they would come to power— which in fact many did.

In our own present Communities of Resistance there seems to be no clear theory or discipline regarding the issue of snitches, however, as Anarchists, our inherent critique of authority and power, knowledge of security culture, and decentralized style of organizing are certainly beneficial in fighting Snitch Culture. That said, the few approaches we have used in dealing directly with snitches have not been very successful. We seem to mainly operate under some loose code somewhat akin to the “Revolutionary Discipline” of the RAF. The idea that ‘Snitches get Stitches’ is prevalent and agreeable to our politics, however it is impractical in that we lack the sheer numbers — both inside and outside of the jails— to make this a reality. ‘Snitches get Stitches’ functions more like the WU idea of terror and with the exact same results in preventing Snitch Culture: absolutely none. Knowing this, communities have also tried the BPP model of shame, but with the recent evidence of government infiltration of radical groups and organizations, former comrades turning into collaborators with wiretaps, and friends arrested or under Grand Jury subpoenas naming names and cooperating with authorities, there is ample evidence that this too is ineffective and unlikely to stem the continuing tide of snitches.

It is easy to look at all of this and grow desperate. Snitch Culture is not a problem that can be easily solved and the very issues at the core of it run right through the heart of everything we are attempting. And perhaps that is the question and answer to this issue: what are we attempting? Why are some groups, like ETA, the IRA, or The Maquis able to successfully deny attempts by those in power to fracture and break their cultures of resistance? Why do Anarchists, with the goals of destroying power and creating a new world of freedom and mutual aid, turn into ‘cooperating witnesses’ and sacrifice not just their own dreams but those of the communities they belong to?

These are the questions we must ask ourselves if we want to build Communities of Resistance that will hopefully, one day, win. We must think of ways to strengthen our communities of autonomous individuals and build a resistance that is effective and sustainable in the long-term, instead of the current haphazard and reactive scrambling to each and every blow of government repression.

What we can learn from the Communities of Resistance that were successful in defeating Snitch Culture is that they believed wholeheartedly in their struggle. Those that were actively fighting, as well as those who supported them, did not see any choice but to liberate themselves from illegitimate authority and therefore saw themselves individually as part of something larger. This should not be read as a call for individuals to sacrifice themselves on the altar of the collective, but to illustrate that people who believe in what they are fighting for, and identify themselves personally with the success or failure of that fight, are less likely to betray that struggle because that struggle IS them.

However, it must be said that it is probably easier for people to identify intimately with national liberation struggles that have —in a sense— simpler goals, than with something as complex and far-reaching as Anarchy. The Maquis wanted to overthrow the Nazi-collaborator Vichy government and to oust the German occupiers from France. The IRA wants to kick the English out of Ulster. ETA wants autonomy from Spain and France and to preserve the Basque language and culture. These groups are fighting against one particular source of power, whereas Anarchists are struggling to destroy all power.

Considering the fact that Anarchy is more than just the liberation from one particular illegitimate authority and there are as many battlefields as there are stars in the sky, it can become easy to feel disillusioned or ineffective. After all, authority and capitalism still exist and we are drowned in the propaganda that we have reached the End of History; that the Way Things Are will continue unabated, forever. Snitches in Communities of Resistance are often people whose identity with the struggle for total liberation has become fractured, or those who, in the face of the repressive power of the state, betray their communities because they feel there is little chance those communities can win.

If we are to defeat Snitch Culture in our Communities of Resistance, we must refute the propaganda of those in power. It means tearing up the history books because the end is not predetermined by anyone but us. The ways and means of building a resistance that can refute their history and can engage in a sustainable and long-term struggle for freedom, are the same ones needed to give Snitch Culture the final blow. Clearly, the solution is not as simple as the suggestion ‘Snitches get Stitches,’ but is complex and takes us in many directions.

As detailed earlier, there have been plenty of failed experiments in dealing with the issue of snitches and the current epidemic of snitching cannot be stopped through random beatings or through empty threats. While violence against snitches or collaborators may be necessary (for example, the very public targeting of snitches utilized by the Maquis could prove useful) it is often harmful or useless in ending Snitch Culture. Not only can the State outmatch us in terms of the violence it can expend, rendering moot a wholesale campaign of violent reprisals —as in the case of the RAF— it also seems counter to our politics of freedom to use the idea of terror to coerce people into line and could put off sympathetic or interested individuals —much like the WU did. This should not be read as a dismissal of the tactic of violence in our resistance, but as strong critique of violence as a useful tool in combating Snitch Culture.

What has the greatest possibility of working —although it is currently not practiced to the extent that it needs to be— is community shame coupled with prisoner support. Community shame has the benefit of not being irrevocable —how can you make amends for shooting or beating someone terribly if it turns out they were wrongly accused?— as well as providing a powerful disincentive for snitches by denying them friendship and support. Prisoner support is obviously positive in that it helps remove the power of violence that the State holds over people. Prisoners who feel supported and know they will be cared for have less reason to abandon their principles and betray their friends. Coupled together, a strategy of strong communities of autonomous individuals that will not allow collaborators back in, along with a prisoner support in which the benefits of not snitching far outweigh any measure put forth by the State, seems to be the best course of action. Presently, however, these tactics have proved ineffective in the prevention of Snitch Culture. Snitches know that they will be reviled by some, but they can remain in our communities by moving to where they may be anonymous or because there are people who will not ostracize them and allow them to return. And even though our prisoner support is one of our strongest attributes, it fails to be the linchpin that prevents Snitch Culture, mainly because it is limited in scope.

What this leads us back to is the idea of building stronger communities capable of long-term resistance to the powers of the State. Community shame and prisoner support lack their necessary bite precisely because our Communities of Resistance are fractured, with no real communication or trust amongst groups. In tightly-knit societies like the Basque, snitches have nowhere to go because word will travel and they would face social isolation wherever they go.

Shame only works when communities can communicate in a way that is informative and trustworthy. Without information about snitches, communities cannot take steps to isolate or shame that person; and without trust, communities have no idea if the information is reliable or that others will also take steps to ostracize a snitch.

In terms of prisoner support, our current Communities of Resistance offer a heartfelt support; however, due to our lack of infrastructure and support outside of traditional Anarchist circles, we cannot provide the all encompassing prisoner support of the IRA. For instance, in most cases, we cannot offer jobs, money to families, or pay for legal representation. Most prisoners are shunted from public view and only a few are known on a national or international basis. On the contrary, IRA prisoners were glorified and at the height of the Troubles, the majority of the murals in IRA neighborhoods were dedicated to celebrating prisoners and their deeds. The culture of prisoner support in the IRA fostered an environment that made it desirable to not snitch, a desire based on a total community support for the prisoner and family. With some exceptions, this is something that we cannot currently provide. Where this leaves us is on the brink of a solution. While we do seem to utilize the effective tactics in combating Snitch Culture —prisoner support and community shame— they are not actually effective in stopping it. Snitch Culture is not an isolated problem, as mentioned earlier, but an interrelated issue with other problems facing our Communities of Resistance. It comes as no shock to hear that our communities are fragmented and that there is little communication or mutual aid between them. The same also goes for the lack of infrastructure or support of people not traditionally identified with Anarchists or other radical groups. We must seriously and critically examine our communities and search for ways that we can do things better, not just to defeat Snitch Culture, but to win!

The way to strengthen our communities and increase our resistance to Snitch Culture would begin by practicing real mutual aid. Very few groups actually work together in a way that is interrelated and that would actually help build our counter-infrastructure. For instance, people in cities who want to grow their own food and those who already live on farms could participate in projects like the Victory Gardens in Athens, Maine, which helps disenfranchised people in both urban and rural communities develop their own sources of organic food; groups in different cities could pool money and have benefits to pay for the legal costs of prisoners in other places; and those choosing not to work could help provide daycare for working people who have to. The ways in which we can work together and support each other are limitless, and working together on projects and actions is a simple but unrivaled way to build trustworthy lines of communication based on experience— as well as creating networks of autonomous communities that support each other and would not tolerate a snitch among them.

Infrastructure is important if we are to provide support for people in prison that would actually function as a deterrent to snitching. For instance, we cannot always give people jobs —if they want them— when they are out, or provide for people’s families if they are put away. The counter-infrastructure we do have is largely based on entertainment, and while this is a positive thing in our communities, we must move beyond this into other territory. For many obvious reasons, creating an infrastructure that does not rely on capitalism, but is our very own, is absolutely vital to our ability to wage effective resistance. We must also address the lack of support for our resistance in communities outside of Anarchist circles. One way other Communities of Resistance have been effective is that they had a large network of support in larger society. Besides the obvious, this larger support functioned as a way to propel resistance and created a climate of hope —a climate that Snitch Culture does not function very well in. This lack of support may be due to the fact that our definition of Anarchist culture is rather narrow. Although not true in the least, the image of Anarchists as young black-clad punks certainly does persist and is to an extent perpetuated by Anarchist culture. Anarchists should proudly proclaim themselves, but should also move beyond the stereotype and show our many faces: young and old, queer and straight, crusty and freshly-showered.

And obviously, our current prisoner support must continue —and increase— while working on the long-term projects of building infrastructure and widening our circles of support. Prisoner support needs to become something that everyone in our community is working on. Comrades must have the full support of their communities when facing down the courts, the jails, and the prison terms of the State. We need to make prisoner support public and visible, and we need to show comrades on the other side of the wall that they are not forgotten. Murals, benefits, sending letters and birthday cards, attending court dates, and solidarity events are all easy ways to show that we celebrate and stand behind those from our communities who are behind bars. We need to make good on the saying: they are in there for us, so we are out here for them!

It should be clear that there is no simple solution to the persistence of Snitch Culture in our Communities of Resistance. This zine set out to begin a dialog on how we can destroy Snitch Culture once and for all. As we have seen, we may currently be unable to prevent snitches in our fight for liberation because we lack the community support and infrastructure we need. This does not mean that we should ever, ever condone snitching. Snitching represents the most vile betrayal of one’s self and one’s community and although we may not be able to prevent Snitch Culture now, this does not mean that we should not continue in the active removal of snitches from our communities at present and withdraw support from all collaborators immediately. But now we know that this is not enough. To eradicate Snitch Culture we must set ourselves upon the task of building a long-term resistance that can withstand the attacks of power, and that will take time and a lot of hard work. We must create strategies that look beyond today and will allow us to proactively deal with State repression, not only to defeat Snitch Culture, but to create a world made of our desires.

The key to Israeli success was an informant network within the Palestinian community. The Israelis have hundreds of police and military operatives who can pass as Arabs (their families came from Arab countries shortly after Israel was founded in 1947). These Israelis speak fluent Arabic (with a Palestinian accent) and are Arab in appearance. These agents dress as Palestinians and  enter Palestinian areas and, backed up by regular troops, grab suspects and hustle them off, or kill them if they resist. But these agents also move about recruit and run Palestinian informants. Many of these Palestinian informants are doing it for the money. Israelis pay for information. They also use other inducements (help with the bureaucracy, medical care, etc). If that fails, they use blackmail and threats. Palestinian terrorist organizations have been unsuccessful in their attempts to shut down the informant networks, and many innocent Palestinians have died simply because they were falsely accused of being informants.

Actually, the Israelis gain a lot of information on terrorists via electronic intelligence work and UAVs that are constantly in the air over Palestinian neighborhoods. They seek to make the terrorists think that its the gadgets, not informants, that is gathering the information. To the Israelis, inducing paranoia among the Palestinians is seen as a successful weapon. All this has kept helped keep the terrorists out of Israel for the last three years, something no one thought was possible. Link

“Don’t worry about people stealing an idea. If it’s original, you will have to ram it down their throats.”

One can not simply steal the kind of knowledge and expertise so developed. The momentum developed by one technical group cannot be simply transplanted into a competitor, it transcends documentation. No — it resides in our greatest assets: our people, the minds we’ve trained, the conventional wisdom we’ve transformed, the reputation that, through our trials, we have deeply entrenched.

The crucial factor? The common thief is lazy, and the lazy thief is thwarted. As you see, the thief is rarely a person of great motivation, excepting for personal vendettas. If other victims make better targets, one is safe. If all victims defend themselves more vigorously than the notion of honest work in the lazy thief’s mind, an honest society becomes an inevitability. Link

The contrary position is that if you have a strong track record, people will be keeping an eye on you anyway to see what they can copy. When you have competitors, people who live to fight others, that’s when you get imitators. The speed at which they can take in new information, which is affected by how much work they are doing and how much time they have to copy it, will drastically effect this. But for the most part, innovative ideas make people too uncomfortable to think about or try to understand.

A side note on invention and innovation: when you have an idea for a startup„ consult your network. Ask people what they think. Don’t look for flattery. If most people get it right away and call you a genius, you’re probably screwed; it likely means your idea is obvious and won’t work. What you’re looking for is a genuinely thoughtful response. Fully two thirds of people in my network thought LinkedIn was stupid idea. These are very smart people. They understood that there is zero value in a social network until you have a million users on it. But they didn’t know the secret plans that led us to believe we could pull it off. And getting to the first million users took us about 460 days. Now we grow at over 2 users per second.  Link

Cutting Off Water/Electricity/Food – Standard Asymmetrical Warfare Tactic

No water usually means people will have no way of bathing or disposing of their sewage, people will get pretty smelly after about 3 days. If they are cramped into tight spaces it makes them much more likely to crack. If guerrilla’s do any of these forms of disruption, it makes the government look bad because they can’t provide essential services that people pay taxes for.

1. The rebel Chinese village of Wukan, which has driven out the Communist party, has resorted to smuggling in food past a police ring of steel which has cut off its population of more than 20,000.

2. JERUSALEM — Israel warned on Saturday that it would cut the supply of water and electricity to the Gaza Strip if rival Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas form a unity government.

3. Greeks threatened with power cuts if they fail to pay property tax

4. Israel is planning to demolish ‘illegal’ solar panels that are the only source of electricity for Palestinians in West Bank villages

5. SLEPTSOVSK, Russia, Sept 20 (AFP) – The pump at the Chechen refugee camp here stands forlorn, its handle dangling uselessly. The Russian authorities passed by two hours ago and cut off the water.

6. The Ingush refugees’ camp in Karabulak named “Sozidanie” (Creation) housing over 150 forced migrants from Chechnya was left without electricity supply. The refugees view it as an attempt to evict them.

One of the theoritical antidotes, “A space-based power system. The system maintains proper positioning and alignment of system components without using connecting structures. Power system elements are launched into orbit, and the free-floating power system elements are maintained in proper relative alignment, e.g., position, orientation, and shape, using a control system.”

At a more practical level, wikis exist which provide usable countermeasures to disasters, whether they are man made or natural.

3 Snitch Stories & How To Spot Snitches

Brandon Darby:

Brandon wasn’t a master of manipulation, he was volatile and unstable, exactly the kind of guy you would want to plant in an organization to fuck it up.

Anna:

Anna, aka the friendzoner, who managed to stop pot heads who can’t even pay for their own airfare

Jonathan Pollard:

Defeating US security through stupidity

Snitch Spotting 101:

1. Watch people who use drugs or engage in other illegal behavior, if they get charged with anything the police will use that as leverage against them. If they drink or use drugs in a social environment then they will just as likely spill whatever secrets they have anyway.

2. People with large debts generally shouldn’t be trusted, your opponent can offer to help make those debts disappear for the price of turning.

3. If someone is encouraging you to organize for violent actions, they may not be a snitch. But they are unstable enough to get you caught anyway.

4. Watch for people who go around accusing others of being snitches. Accusing others is usually a way for snitches to cover their own tracks.

5. Look for people who magically show up with the critical skills your organization needs at just the right time. Don’t be afraid of subjecting your best friends and best assets to scrutiny.

Top Secret Government Files – One Of The Most Complex Information Management Problems Ever

“There has been so much growth since 9/11 that getting your arms around that – not just for the CIA, for the secretary of defense – is a challenge,” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in an interview with The Post last week.

In the Department of Defense, where more than two-thirds of the intelligence programs reside, only a handful of senior officials – called Super Users – have the ability to even know about all the department’s activities. But as two of the Super Users indicated in interviews, there is simply no way they can keep up with the nation’s most sensitive work.

“I’m not going to live long enough to be briefed on everything” was how one Super User put it. The other recounted that for his initial briefing, he was escorted into a tiny, dark room, seated at a small table and told he couldn’t take notes. Program after program began flashing on a screen, he said, until he yelled ”Stop!” in frustration.

“I wasn’t remembering any of it,” he said.

Underscoring the seriousness of these issues are the conclusions of retired Army Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, who was asked last year to review the method for tracking the Defense Department’s most sensitive programs. Vines, who once commanded 145,000 troops in Iraq and is familiar with complex problems, was stunned by what he discovered.

I’m not aware of any agency with the authority, responsibility or a process in place to coordinate all these interagency and commercial activities,” he said in an interview. “The complexity of this system defies description.Link h/t Justin Boland

Future Trends – Smaller Cities, Decentralization, Toffler’s Third Wave

 (click to expand)

We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.

– Bill Gates

Most analysis on the future, including the Ministry Of Defense’s Trends Out to 2040, take it for granted that cities will keep on growing.

With the advent of industrial technologies and modern medicine, urbanization became possible.

In the graph, the largest cities outside of Asia are listed from 1800-1802, even London would be considered rather small by modern standards. Why did they grow so large so quickly? The economy of scale for mass production favored heavy centralization. Fast Forward 200 years and New York City is home to 21 million people. London has about 12 million people in it’s borders.

The population density made it much easier for government to collect taxes: the positions of factories, the workers on the assembly line and the natural resources they need to produce products are fixed in place. Nearly all work was physical in nature, it’s existence can be proven or disproven. An illiterate idiot and a genius could sit side by side and both contribute the same amount of value on an assembly line. Labor Strikes were also highly effective because everything was fixed into position, you couldn’t simply move operations overseas if you didn’t like how operations were going in your host country.

However that has been slowly shifting over the past few decades. Value is increasingly based off of ideas, closely matching Toffler’s Third Wave Theory. The economy of scale for things like 3D Printing and scientific research heavily favor decentralization. Education is becoming location independent. Trends in warfare, namely 4th Generation Warfare & The Superempowered Individual favor decentralization as well. All of the economic incentives favor smaller, cohesive intelligent groups that can work together to build the things that they need. This is inherently at odds with nearly every analysis that has been made for the coming decades, even the peak oil theories which assume humans are no longer capable of innovation. This does not mean the death of hierarchy, simply that the incentives are heavily skewed towards human branching out and forming smaller more cohesive units.

Connectivity is possible via the internet, anything that can not be done over the internet is increasingly able to be produced and customized locally (and usually of higher quality than what the government/large corporation provides). We haven’t completely reached the point where the Nation-State is outdated however, but all of the trends point heavily in this direction. This will not be a move backwards to pastoral farm-life, at least not for the most talented who are able to use their knowledge to better themselves and their tribe. The tribes themselves may or may not be nomadic. Space also opens up a unique frontier that the two superpowers laid the foundation for many years ago. In the future it may become possible for cities and governments to rapidly form and dissolve as errors in their founding make them unworkable.

Though this may be marketed by populist leaders as hurting the developing world, the exact opposite is true for the most talented who invest in skills that cannot be automated. People from all over the world will be able to form together to work on projects, talent will no longer be hindered by incompetent bureaucratic organizations. The less skilled are likely to form groups based off of the affiliation of race, religion and extended family to take care of their problems.

In the mean time, approval ratings for Congress hovers at around 14%, and voter turn out for the national elections are only about 56%, in spite of all of the campaign promises and efforts of politicians to win votes. Finding someone who isn’t cynical about the current state of affairs is nearly impossible, apathy is now the norm. The default economic solution for the world’s only superpower is to print more money, the EU remains fractured and are forcing energy austerity on it’s member states. China is experiencing rapid growth, but there is reason to believe that the numbers are at least partially inflated by the government. In the US wages have remained stagnant while productivity has actually gone up. There is no shortage of people who are discontented with the status quo.

There is no easy solution in sight, every government in the world now seeks to control the free flow of information between it’s citizens. The US has CISPA (along with states like Tennessee going even further), China has it’s infamous Golden Shield and in the UK saying offensive things on the internet is illegal. But very little innovation comes from the government, that’s not the product that they sell to the public. It’s not surprising that they refuse to bend to our changing future. The question is, can we build something of value with the tools at hand?

The Life Force 8 & Technology

Even when elites are aware of technologies they tend to downplay their importance, even the experts in the field didn’t estimate the changes wrought by gunpowder, automobiles or the pc. Tons of engineers had to change their skills almost overnight when the transistor overthrew the vacuum tube. The cybernetic steam engine governor was made by a kid who just wanted to play marbles. The elite’s curiosity wasn’t stimulated enough and they had too much emotional investment in the status quo.

The life force 8 is a good way of working out predictable human desires (Drew Whitman coined it):
1. Survival, enjoyment of life, life extension
2. Enjoyment of food and beverages
3. Freedom from fear, pain and danger
4. Sexual companionship
5. Comfortable living conditions
6. To be superior, winning, keeping up with the joneses
7. Care and protection of loved ones
8. Social approval

Things like curiosity, cleanliness, efficiency, are all put 2nd to these 8.

%d bloggers like this: