AGAH : I didn’t understand why we can’t decode the messages on the burner phone network.
CIO : Because they use a codebook that is often only shared with a few people. Standard message format is (address, version #, list of [codes + details] ). Details can be anything, always include some noise, e.g. file names, lat/long. etc. The codebooks change often, we can’t get enough messages in any one of them to start work. Also, version numbers often conflict across the groups. Noise.
AGAH : Why aren’t we getting anything from the informants? We spend a $ton on those people and our agents spend most of their time managing them. Not a good return, this season.
CIO : This security innovation you have to be impressed by. Their breakthrough thought was using kayfabe as their major security tool. You see, these guys have an un-beatable intrinsic advantage relative to the security side : they are theoretically the attackers, but 99% don’t need to have anything but a good story for patriot’s success in the noise campaign. So they spend their time trying to fool each other, perfecting stories about the operations they are planning.
If there are 30 people in a Tall Tale Club, there will be 60 different groups of 3 or 4 people working on plans. They have meetings for beer and pizza and some like to do slide shows, everyone critiques the plan absolutely as tho it was real and they were going to be on the ops team. Ex-military guys can be really convincing in their ops planning. But the details are always screwy, there is no such installation, army group, … Lots of pictures of real installations, gov buildings, offices. Lots of lat/lon details. So many details. But none of it correlates with anything much, is certainly not a story consistent enough to allow a conspiracy charge, they could easily prove the un-reality.
And nobody believes any of it. They each have ‘secret’ plans they only talk about with close friends, don’t believe those either, mostly, we think. Because there is no reality, they are not driven to help each other out with gossip or brag about what they know, so they never pass along what they hear, who would mislead a friend? They only tell people what they think they need to know, and since very nearly none of it is real, there isn’t much of that. The 3-person serious group is indistinguishable from all the 3-person groups having great fun being deadly serious, not a smirk ever.
So informants asking questions really stand out. They stand out another way also. We see a pattern that all of the Tall Tale members are testing each other every once in a while, providing specific items of info that would identify an informant if it ever shows up anywhere. We leak just enough info by words and actions that informants are identified, eventually. We know when that happens, they start getting much juicier stories, much fresher BS intelligence.
So members of the Tall Tale Clubs are very honest and circumspect people who go into ‘tall tale’ mode and think of themselves as performance artists of a specialized kind. Some are damn good, a few have convinced other patriots, more than a few have convinced our informants.
Worse, those are the noise hiding the active operations. The out-in-the-open planning that takes place on the web is the organizing vector that makes it all happen.
AGAH : Polls say the various patriot organizations are gaining influence …
CIO : Yes, and doing it in the same way as successful political reformers always do, they are gradually replacing government services and becoming the ‘goto’ people when anyone in the local community has a problem or thinks something needs done.
Bastard who figured out that games drive the young people and mixed Kiki’s Delivery Service teams with “no schooling” understood how social and political systems change. Patriot’s Kiki kids run around town all day ‘free range’, spending most of their time around adults. People in the communities are real good about explaining everything that is going on. Parents sign the usual releases, the kids start helping. Overall, the business people and gardeners think they get as much out of the experience as they put into it, some of the help is valuable, it often turns into an apprenticeship. People clean out their garages and attics when they have a couple of kids to help, so more lawn sales and wealth spread through the community, more community. In many communities, kids are taking over maintaining parks and other city facilities.
But the diabolical game was adult’s, riding on “Gestapo parking lot”. That f$!# app, we never get all the web cams feeding it, not even for a single parking lot and it influences us, does it ever. The telescopic webcams on the license plates is almost as bad, but there are never as many of those. When the global telescopic satellites began taking pictures of every spot on earth dozens of times each day and images and image analysis got cheap, counting cars in parking lots was one of their services, complete, correct and easy.
Those services also competed with us, so our insider information wasn’t as useful in trading. My returns in the market dropped 10%.*
Once the various patriot planners got hour by hour measures of the cars in the various parking lots at fusion centers, DHS and NSA offices, life was absolute hell. Those bastards used those measures to guide their noise generation efforts, had bets with each other on numbers for individual centers at different hours of the day weeks in advance. They hosted BBQs to pay off the bets. Informants almost never found out in advance, but during the BBQ it would be common knowledge that group A had beat group B’s best effort, laughing discussion of good competitors. We think the informants were known, just them laughing at us.
No way any intelligence service could protect against the stream of BS they rained on us. We know the hard guys are mixed in that traffic, that even the innocent BS stream contained serious analysis on behalf of their operations, bits of reality in the mix of nonsense. Someone is seriously planning those police entrapments, and it takes more than one person to run many of them, but we never found them or any indication that anyone knows who they are.
To give them credit, they run all that so that it was easy to not know anything. Those Kiki kids, for example, are systematically trained to be observant, but keep their thoughts to themselves. Parents ask general questions, but always tell the kid they are an aid to thinking, and don’t answer them for us or anyone. Just think. Everyone has to decide whether another person needs to know something, observation and conclusion. Peer-to-peer routing of open-source intelligence analysis, kids get early and intensive training in understanding all the issues. The patriots are training a next-generation of leaders that are going to be real independent people.
I talk to the senior people at NSA every day. They say the overlay networks have pretty much shut off their flow of serious information. It is a worse problem than TOR, which had already allowed Silk Road and other black sites to flourish. TOR’s weakness is that the traffic exits, the base net is it’s destination, so NSA can see destinations, can often correlate with who? source, and can therefore infer intents.**
The overlay networks don’t have that problem because most of the destinations are in the overlay network. All of the secure email, search, etc. have interfaces to the overlay networks, so are accessed directly from the system sending the mail via the overlay net. The overlay net delivers it to the recipient also on the overlay, and the recipient accesses it from a system running the overlay. All traffic is encrypted in the overlay, often multiple levels. So NSA sees all of the Internet Protocol traffic, but it no longer has much meaning, except possibly in analyzing the protocols used by the overlay networks. But that is open source code, they know the protocols.
Encryption works. Distributed systems work, once the networks and processors hit a high enough performance. That happened years ago and has been getting better ever since. It has taken this long for NSA and the web’s data collector and broker corporations to make the tech people of the world mad at them, and for those techies to decide ‘this model of communications is broken, but we can build on it’. NSA doesn’t understand out-of-box.
AGAH : What is all the talk about ‘hackers’ in the patriot ranks?
Short answer is “Good question, we don’t have clues, can only speculate”. It is wrong, however, to consider them as one entity with one motive. Some hackers work for us. Some we can’t tell for sure.
Hackers are another player in the game and have organized themselves outside the system. (That case also proves that offense is stronger than defense in TCP/IP systems, as hackers can’t defend their own base.)
What nobody wants to admit that a hacker worthy of the name is not identifiable, even in the old TCP/IP network with NSA reading every link. Silk Road’s Ross Ulbricht was caught because he made a couple of mistakes, used the same name on different sites, one of which logged his real IP address. But many of the other people running businesses on Silk Road were never identified, not all of those were informants.
NSA’s “Chinese did it” is only convincing if they hacked into Chinese systems used in the attack and knew that there could not be other systems involved, that those were the systems and the IP addresses used by the hackers. If their system is even one step along the normal chain of logins that hackers use, NSA cannot know the origin of the packets, as that entity can be a packet forwarder that does nothing but substitute its IP address for the actual sender’s source address before sending it along, and put that IP address into any received packet’s destination field before passing it back.
NSA probably does know who it was who copied out the entire OPM database. Their statements that it was ‘the Chinese’ are unusually clear***, including the units of the Chinese military, and individual people. That means Chinese systems security, ‘Great Firewall Of China’ or not, is no better than ours. If we could judge whether Chinese-NSA or American-NSA was the more centralized organization, we could know who will win.
AGAH : What can be done about the business moving onto the patriot’s Hemp Road?
CIO : Not much. Their security is not absolute, but small groups and small organizations only have small amounts of the total picture. So once in a while a prosecutor has a perp for something, and thinks the guy knows about tax fraud in local businesses. For example, the local accountant. But he can’t generally do much, as the legit data is on his server, the others on the owner’s. He doesn’t have permissions to copy the entire database there, only look at summaries and individual items. Trying to do more trips alarms, the owner calls to chat.
Even if he tries to spill his guts, there isn’t much real-world evidence. He insists on a jury trial, and everyone on the jury is Fully Informed and do justice as they see fit. We don’t get many convictions, and only those where the accountant has hurt someone in the community, so is ejected from the patriot nets. The businesses are rarely convicted.
Once they moved money transfers to the net, governments lost a lot of clout. The cost of dropping out, removing yourself from government control, was suddenly very low. Add the profits from new business, low taxes, who could resist?.
Breaking into a distributed system doesn’t get you much. Everything is running in its own sandbox, queues can go anywhere or come from anywhere, all file systems are encrypted with good passwords so even if we have root access and can read disks at the block level, we don’t get anything.
AGAH : Chuck, you say we know that 99% of that Patriot Noise Brigade traffic is noise and the intelligence effort needed to deal with it is killing us. So, why don’t we just ignore them?
CIO : Because there were White Indians in colonial times, but no Indian Whites.**** Whites went to live like Indians for many reasons, most didn’t want to leave and many went back when they could, it was more unusual when they didn’t. The point is that there may be ways of living that are better than the ways we are living. Those ‘ways of living’, the basics of culture and layout of life, affect everything else in a society. We have many indications that 1st world culture has problems that are affecting its functioning.
Because those Tall Tale Clubs, Kiki’ Delivery Services, the community’s teaching kids their skills, the importance of the tasks and the camaraderie of large-scale kayfabe competitions grow on people, especially the younger ones. They made everything into a fun game, or at least a fun part of life. That SWAT ambush wouldn’t have resulted in any charges past trespassing right up to the point that patriot loaded the Claymores and armed the systems — to that point, it was a great practical joke, ringing ears and paintball welts worst case. Before the Claymores are muzzle-loaded, they are noise-making blanks to scare a bear that had been causing problems. Five minutes after that he was gone, out of danger.
No huge risks, it isn’t like a real war — for them. Grandpas could have done it. If they had been caught, with a good lawyer the Grandpas could have done the time. If they had one nullifier on the jury, they would have gotten off. For them, it is a no-risk war with big payoffs in the satisfactions of life.
The culture, the communities they are building look like a nice way to live, and people here in DC can’t even imagine it. That culture is the threat. If the patriots continue growing as they are, central government will be gradually eliminated.
AGAH : Chuck, video games that allow recruits to get used to shooting people are standard killology technology. Having kids playing games where they help ambush SWAT teams is not good for us. You are saying these Tall Tale Clubs and plans for bloodless ambushes are training for 5th generation war?
CIO : Yes, yes, yes, it IS 5th generation war. All this is openly discussed. The Tall Tale Clubs are the foundation of patriot influence in every community, the base of changing the culture to oppose the central state. The clubs take on the kids who drop out of school, play hooky for the day, integrate them into the unschooling community. Their Kiki Delivery Services deliver food to seniors and shut-ins, pick up stuff for the food bank. Delivering social services in the face of central power’s failures to do so is how the Irish everywhere, Hamas, Fatah, Syriza, … and every other dissident group that rises to seriously challenge the Status Quo gets started.
Tall Tale Clubs are helping people adjust to the failing economy and central authority and turning that into political power. They are doing it cleverly, just helping people adjust, providing examples themselves. Their children were the first in the Kikis, to start the rounds of learning different businesses, technologies. Welding shop teaches them all to weld, all that want to, and they all do. Oil change service teaches them all that, computer use and admin, etc. Kids in Kiki’s do local pickup and delivery, get paid for it. They all see opportunities to buy cheap and sell dear, are being trained to be traders, to negotiate, to keep accounts. They are raising kids who know far more about the world than their public-school peers and are far happier and more mature.
The specific case of the on-line games’ use of the SWAT ambush videos shows how clever these guys were. The copyright on those videos was ‘creative commons’, precisely so they could be easily used, widely used. Consequently, probably everyone in the world recognizes scenes. Real bad publicity for us.
As the economy gets worse and more people are punished by the ever-higher taxes, the patriots get more support.
As for the effectiveness of 5th war, even before it goes hot, go ask the CEOs who can’t get to work without running a gauntlet if they are perhaps feeling some pressure, if they maybe worry the pressure could intensify, even become lethal?
AGAH: The Director wants to know : Are we going to be able to resume SWAT raids?
CIO : Boss, you know this stuff as well as I do. There is no shortage of weapons and explosives in a high-tech economy. A kilogram of TNT releases 2.673–6.702 megajoules exploding. Acetylene 49.9 MegaJoules / Kg burning. If you merely blow Acetylene-Oxygen cylinders, you have a hell of a fireball, the kind that burns all the paint off that side of the cars on the street. If you can manage to open them for some period of mixing gases before those mixed gases meet a spark, it is a fuel-air detonation. The textbooks say “Fuel-air explosives are very destructive, as they are so well-coupled to the medium transmitting the blast.” That is why explosions in grain elevator are so destructive.
The patriots, or anybody else with even average intelligence, could have done ambushes of SWAT teams before this : there are no shortages of SWAT raids, it is easy to attract one, doesn’t take a very large lightening rod, and the technology to manage it remotely is not much of a barrier.
We believe that the major protection of the SWAT teams is a combination of the patriot’s not wanting to pull the trigger first and their reluctance to risk other people. If you ever don’t find people home as you try to clear them out before some raid, don’t do that raid.
But I hear discussion that SWAT raids are not being used in some jurisdictions because the police decided it was wrong. Oathkeepers are winning the argument, that SWAT ambush changed some minds. So many people discussing them has changed some others.
AGAH : Chuck, you know that people are asking how they can trust us if we get such simple things wrong? Including our own people. What should we do about all this?
CIO : Function follows form follows function. American’s intelligence services were set up to spy on governments and form opinions about the probable actions of those governments. Governments use standard forms and standard codes and government agencies on all sides adapted to each other.
The patriots threw away all the standards and are adapting quickly to the world they are building, or building themselves to fit the world they want, depending on your pov.
We can’t keep up. If we were the best of the best, we couldn’t keep up. Centralized loses evolutionary arms races. Bet you can’t sell a distributed version of intelligence to anyone at headquarters, but integrating agents with communities is the only thing that could match patriot’s information and influence. That could only work if the community liked the agents, so if we reorganize all of government, maybe we could compete. Maybe.
AGAH : You are pessimistic.
CIO : Not as pessimistic as your SIO. Wait ’til you see the memo he is working on.
AGAH : Thanks for the warning, I guess. Who do you recommend as your replacement?
CIO : ‘Honest briefing’, remember? Nobody.
We used to be mostly-honorable people in a mostly-honorable agency. OK, the FBI was un-constitutional bastards working against mostly-honest dissidents of stupid political philosophies, and that warped America badly. But we were working against drug lords and terrorists, real bad guys, and surely our civilian masters would get rid of J. Edgar and straighten out that agency.
Anyone who has been here long enough to have experienced much of it remembers things not in the official recountings. Stuff bad enough we are ashamed to be associated with it, and have justified with the fact that we are too old to do anything else. That excuse fails the day we hit retirement age and have a sufficient nest egg.
Anyone qualified for my job has been here long enough to accumulate a nest egg. If they are still here, they either failed in accumulating a nest egg, in which case they are far too stupid to do this job, or they have accommodated themselves to oligarchy / deep government rule.
I don’t think you will have trouble telling who is which, if you decide you have to choose one.
AGAH : I think this is a lot harder for me to hear than you to tell me. Thank you for the plain statements and clear thinking. I am sure you know, but I tell people you are one of the people I would recommend for any job within shouting distance of your experience, as you have quickly filled every job we have given you, and are still growing.
CIO : I very much appreciate your good opinion and think the same of you. I hope this doesn’t end our relationship, do use me as a reference.
AGAH : I may need to. Chuck, we are good enough friends I can ask. What do you think that I should do next?
CIO : Retire.
Boss, I have been one or two levels below you for most of our careers. We have discussed things over lunch, beer, bbq. I know both of our investments have done well, trading on inside info makes that easy, nearly certain.
You don’t need this job, and if you stay in your position, you are going to be forced to behave like Himmler. We all see our organizations and the laws moving paranoid fascist and moving faster in those directions every year. Nobody who has read much history can think that is a good trend.
It isn’t possible to resist, you can’t improve anything, you certainly can’t redirect the gov’s course short of joining a coup. Higher-ups in Gestapo-class orgs don’t do well in the aftermath of their defeat.
One of my guys says he may become a Discordian priest. I think he is kidding when he describes it as ‘an empirically-valid religion’. Sort of Zenny : Put pressure on things as they are, they will change out from under you. The future modeled as a froth of soap-bubbles that envelop you, each their own small set of causes and effects. Out of those, you organize the forces that oppose you with your force, the contending powers by your contention.
In systems of contenders, it is often the case that at some point your opponent’s power to contend in particular arenas goes exponential a a slightly higher rate than yours, where ‘go exponential’ is as mild as ‘compounds at 100 basis points better rates’. If you do not detect that early and effectively counter it, you will likely lose the next engagement.
For the US government, I now think that point was 10 years ago, when more than 20% of people in the US understood that 9-11 was a false flag. Ever since, the world has been building up to eject the US government and minions for misrule, for endangering their civilization.
Boss, nobody has opened a ‘KickEnder’ for you. The best opposition to a tyrant is to desert.
Get out. Save your soul. I know you still have one worth saving, which I can’t say about most people at your level.
AGAH : I cannot argue with any of that. So what is your next gig?
CIO : I took a job leading the engineering team for a sexbot company.
AGAH : Sexbots!?
CIO : Yeah. Kid you not, when you look at the trends, I don’t see how we can prevent the world being ruled by sexbots. Sexbots are the killer app for AI.
AIs are already one of the big drivers of tech and about to make major changes in intelligence analysis, my guys and I worked on this a long time. I will send the analysis.
“Embodied minds” is the key idea in serious robotics now, the understanding that our mental structures are formed from our experiences as we grow from infant to adult in bodies, the universal reference point for our experiences.
Sexbots are the first AIs to focus on that body, providing it form, sensory and motor equivalents to human bodies. Combine that with the huge amount of material for training an AI that you can find online, their focus on understanding humans deeply in order to satisfy them and the influence that gives them, the fact that the parent’s game controllers are very likely to be the most capable in the home, standards for adding mental modules to the base AI, their abilities to exchange information and points of view (necessary for human-bot <–> bot-human telesex with their human mate), and their ability to teach each other via the net, it is nearly inevitable that sexbots will lead the household and evolve faster than competing applications of AI. Who are you going to trust, your family’s loyal and beloved friend+lover+servant or some distant entity?
Security is paramount for the application, there are positions like mine open all over the industry, I recommend you take look at them, beats the hell out of your future here.
*Private spy satellites such as that must be hard on the spy-agencies’ executives’ income. Can you imagine, not being able to trade on economic information before others could possibly know? Why, your compounded returns on trades could drop 10%, maybe as low as 20%!!!
**The latest roundup of people associated with hacker’s server for sharing/selling information is probably the power of offense vs defense. However, NSA’s ability to see exit traffic is a major weakness.
***Every bureaucrat’s intense need to cya is the major advantage we citizens have : vague or carefully-phrased answers are an infallible tell that the story is NOT honest.
****The article is about PTSD at one level, but is also a discussion of different cultures, and how some societies’ normal enfolding of returning soldiers prevents PTSD. Ours does not.
Added 22July2015 : This says Al Qaeda and the US military had many, probably better, of those security methods long before I rediscovered them.