AGAH : Chuck, tell me we are making some progress on the patriot problem! The President and the Director are very unhappy with the political trends, those guys are getting more popular, not less. We are looking worse, not better.
This last SWAT ambush has been a disaster for us politically. Do you have any more solid information on who is doing all these police entrapments?
CIO : Boss, wish I had better news, but those guys have defeated most of our tools. Also, I need to warn you, this is ‘the honest briefing’.
AGAH : Jesus, you resigned !
CIO : Yes, put in my papers Friday, end of the month I am retired.
AGAH : Shit! Very sorry to see you go, seems like everyone is retiring, you were one of the last people I could count on in this organization.
CIO : Yes, lots of people are retiring, and the intelligence people are the ones most demoralized and leaving. 9-11 and its implications was a moral crisis for most of us.
AGAH : I can’t …
CIO : Yes, I won’t pursue that line of thought. But you know the situation. Boss, you were West Point, I was OCS. We accepted the fact that we might be the officer assigned to delay the enemy to the last man, luck of the draw. And we knew the level of commitment and individual integrity it took to maintain organizations of people that could live up to that standard. We thought we were such people in such an organization, were real proud of that.
9-11 demonstrated conclusively that our civilian leadership didn’t have integrity and our own leadership was willing to go along with it. After the 1993 WTC bombing, we all thought the FBI guys running that op must be idiots. The OKC story was real fishy, we knew McVeigh’s bomb couldn’t have done that damage, and the lack of a forensic investigation was hard evidence of a coverup, but we couldn’t see what was being covered up. But 9-11 left smoking guns everywhere, they can’t be ignored. All of us have been tip-toeing around the implications ever since, and trying to decide if we have been played for frogs, if it was a long-term plan driving the sequence or ‘just happened that way’.
The paranoia levels in government, almost all of it, increased as the US started getting involved in Afghanistan the first time. 9-11 amplified the paranoia, they started going after good guys like Binney and Drake, clearly did it to intimidate the rest of us. All that has led to changes in the culture and operations of our organizations that have nearly eliminated our effectiveness, independent of anything the patriots have done. Then all the extra interviews with physiological monitoring, everyone hates them. Someone is watching over your shoulder for every computer access, random checks of your person on the way out at night, … People wait for the next increment in pension, and are gone the next day.
All of us have to cuss Snowden, but we know why he did it and the best of us secretly admire him. A genuine hero. Someone who understands and speaks so well and has such presence should be leading us, not hiding in Russia.
Enough grousing, Boss, back to the briefing.
AGAH : Chuck, you know I … Well, bad times. Have you got any more handle on this rifle-scope-sight picture broadcast everywhere every time one of our leaders gets into pubic. Why can’t we do anything about that? The calls are endless.
CIO : Don’t I know it. That ran us ragged for the first 2 months, trying to brief everyone.
The story is that some jerk in the patriot community put up Bunny Bangers, practically an invitation to do your bit for over-the-net sniper assassinations. A leading idea since bows and arrows, probably. Shooting people without them being able to shoot back is nearly the first thing people think of when they get vengeful. That idea has been the plot for half a dozen lousy cliff-hanger novels by now.
Anyway, nearly immediately, those images sprang up. The first appeared to be from one location, but local cops could never find where it was, exactly. Every time they went looking in the building where it must be, it disappeared and moved.
Eventually, there were too many of them, we convinced everyone that there were no sniperscopes, they were synthesized images from all the webcams pointed out street and apt windows and feeding darknet locations. We can’t stop that. The whole thing is linked to ‘spot a celebrity’ feeds, where people put up a telescopic webcam looking over a likely site for celebs. People cleaning house, … will have it up in a corner of a screen, glance at it when they walk by. When someone recognizes a person, they alert everyone via the phone app.
We think the patriots use that to turn on webcams in the vicinity, the video streams go to the “patriot watcher’s” web sites that process the images. It is not quite a real-time image, tho the twitter feeds can make you think so. Celebrity and news sites get them from the patriot’s processing, we think, but it happens in an overlay network, invisible to us. I have heard that the sharpness of the image, the closeness of the closeup reflects the amount of processing power they put into the synthesis, the number of cameras, is proportional to the amount in the official’s KickEnder account. The biggest and baddest’s images are sharp enough to see their shave isn’t even. You can see the strain. Real enough to be scary, for sure.
More noise, so much noise. That so changed the national debate, and the tension keeps climbing. Patriots make the point they aren’t shooting people, the cops are.
Our strategic position relative to theirs is obvious. The patriots did that right out in the open, we knew f* well they were synthesized images, publicized that from the first, and the targets were still hysterical. The KickEnder accounts came along soon after. Our elites don’t go out as much as they used to. Except for the ones trying to be brave.
Everywhere those guys go, people make that popping sound with their cheeks, smack their hands, pop paper bags. They call it ‘the American cheer’. Doing that makes our citizens brave enough that they then go home and pledge more bitcoinage to the ruler’s KickEnder account. Our ruler’s popularity is low. Their security is real nervous.
AGAH : The patriots are profiting from KickEnder?
CIO : Not as far as we know. We think we know that they are behind the sniper-scope images being broadcast. The discussion in the III%-fringe ranks is the hard guys are making they point that they can enforce the Constitution if forced to do so. Standard view is the authorities have all the formal power, but patriots have endless escalation in psychological space — their collective imaginations against ours. They say “Wait for the trials if you think this was stressful. Our psyops stop when you guys are back inside the Constitution, no compromise.”
AGAH : KickEnders certainly came out of nowhere and got really big fast. How did that happen?
CIO : The idea had been kicked around (sorry 8) since the first cave dissident promised his best knife to Ug if he would kill Arg. As soon as the genuinely-anonymous bitcoin(1) met the first seriously secure overlays, it was inevitable. Jim Bell’s “Assassination Politics” was the first modern-crypto version.
The Kickstarter project for the overlay protocol stacks was one of the first completed. As soon as the secure hardware was available, the secureNets happened, game over for NSA’s data collection and analysis, we couldn’t do much with those networks or the OS. There have to be bugs for us to break security, the OpenBSD projects have the cleanest software, ever. And those network servers have the best security, and the best administration and monitoring of security. They automated search for anomalies in files, logs, open ports, network link, etc, so many levels of checks, every system devotes 10% of its effort to that. ParanoidSystems has made a killing building products, we both did well on seeing that coming.
Business began to shift to those networks : why trust anything outside? Meat-space webs of trust followed into networks, pretty honest place, so far, despite the perfect anonymity. So they are busy re-constituting civilization in a network and replacing current financial institutions as they do so. If you are a patriot these days, you accept those anonymous bit-coins, or ‘pictures of local gold’ (will brief you on that later) and a big advantage of those businesses, you don’t have to worry about your data and so a lot of business goes un-reported, a lot of taxes unpaid. They have a better privacy/ownership of data model, and it is out-competing the web.
Once those advantages were apparent, there were a ton of KickStarter projects to produce clean and secure overlay-web resources of all kinds, and they had a lot of open-source people working with them. That all went fast, they had simple versions up quickly, evolved from there.
Based on what the patriots did to the intelligence agencies with their noise projects, God help the web if the patriots ever decide to go after advertising-revenue in the base net. I think those guys don’t yet understand signal/noise problems in data mining, and how little work it would take to really confuse their software deciding on what ads to display. Ad rates keep dropping in the base web. Hard to know about the various overlay dark markets, but there are a lot of odd little pockets of prosperity around the country. Bankers group says it is the first time banker’s incomes have fallen while mainstreet’s rose.