A Humble Ramble

So, hi there. Been awhile or whatever. This is an attempt at using a blog for something cathartic, for something truly for me. Previous posts, it would seem, were written with the intention of telling people things that I felt they needed to hear, in ways that I thought would be more interesting than reading dry academic shit that I was reading. Really, this is a chance for me to talk about the things that’ve gone through my head in the last year and two months of blog silence, etc, but I’m still not going to “talk” about a lot of it. I’ll beat around a lot of bushes, and I’ll probably use character actors that seem a lot like people you might think you know, have bunked with, traveled with, lodged with, camped with, fucked with, picked on, been hounded by, stalked by, or otherwise seem familiar;

 

They’re not the people you think they are, these events are not what you thought they were, when they happened, or where you thought you remembered it being. I made all this shit up, and believe me, it’s just easier this way. Hell, I’ve publicly and blatantly made fun of people for less ridiculous concepts than anything I feel that I can present and support with empirical data, so it’d be nothing short of hypocrisy for me to think that any of this will go without punishment. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

 

The saying “everything happens for a reason” is an old one, and a play on an older phrase, categorically that “God works in mysterious ways”. Arguably, its history could be traced by etymology professors and linguists from military units that give a shit about things like that, but when you’re examining a field of operations that is designed to create a specific set of emotional responses in a targeted individual, absolutely everything must be considered. In no time at all, the number of variables to be considered are exponentially larger than could have been previously planned for; whether trying to determine the number of hops involved in a network contact chain or figure out the number of accounts controlled by any specific persona management unit or series of units on any given operation. Keep in mind, this is different work than, say, having systems designed to penetrate networks, to find all relevant points of contact from which a given address has connected, to find the traveled route of a specially marked packet of data.

 

The grand majority of this research, if it can be called that, what with its lack of professional academics grants, with its lack of institutional backing, with its lack of swarms of interns eager to get their name on the forefront of some professor’s mind, this research, if it’s that at all- is lodged in the collection of data mined for by others, is in the recognition of patterns of behavior and speech, and is mirrored in operational standards not unlike that used by the analysts that conduct the actual work, with the actual tools.

 

This is a blog, y’all. It’s not going to be any shining white paper with academic support, and it’s going to be attacked by multiple factions, although the most commonly employed tactic is to discredit the findings (and their presenter) publicly and lead the masses in ignoring future findings. Since I had no credit (of any type) to begin with, that’s never been a fear for me. If anything, after a year of sitting on the things I feel I know and recognize, by writing about the things that I do in the manner that I choose to, I have hope that it could eventually spark a thought in the mind of a reader with the ability to change the things that they know or learn about.

 

I’m gonna take my time with it this time around. I’m going to edit the fuck out of my own work, I’m going to include more media from various sources, and I’m going to try to do a better job to illustrate what I’m trying to say in a manner that keeps the message colorful and informative, but concise. Here’s to hoping that some day, someone, somewhere, reads this and what follows, and it does something positive and productive for them. I’m going to outline the entirety of what I am working on here, on this wordpress, and choose to fill in branches of the outline as I go along with things I’ve written over the last three years but not released. I don’t ever expect to be paid for writing, I don’t ever expect donations, I don’t ever expect stardom, I hope honestly nothing more than that someone learns something. I have.


The Dark, Afraid

They came through the door in waves, two at a time, until I had lost count. The men that came with my brother were dead, they’d been shot no less than a half-dozen times each in the chest and head. Two of my friends, college students, lay dead on the floor, too, victims of well-placed gunshots from highly-trained men with automatic weapons. My girlfriend died under me, a bullet glancing off of the floor and hitting her in the neck. There was nothing I could do. Amid the cacophony of screams to “GET DOWN” and short bursts of gunfire, I could hear my brother yelling “They’re unarmed, there are no weapons here!” I was pulled off of Angel and a bag put over my head. Then the blows came, and I passed out.

The night before they took my brother, a group of us had been talking about how we got to where we are. Seven young adults, from money with no money, stranded in the middle of nowhere. I told the girls to relax, he’d always come through, it’s what he does. I knew he would. We’d been stuck on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere with a broken truck for almost an hour, and the sun was beating down on us. There was no shade to be found on the side of the road, save for that provided in the truck, and it was HOT in there.

“If he’s always doing the shit you say he’s doing, do you really think he’s going to drop what he’s doing to come all the way out here?” Selena asked, perturbed but by far the calmest of the three girls. She had been raised in Virginia by a woman that wasn’t her mother, a man that wasn’t her father, but provided for her like she was their blood. Both of her adopted parents had worked two jobs weekly to provide for their children, even those that they hadn’t biologically brought into the world. They taught her love and compassion through self-sacrifice and dedication, and she had always, even if just by nature, instilled the same sense of calm and security in her friends that she got from her parents. She just wanted to go home now, and had had enough. I knew things were getting bad if she was starting to lose it.

“Of course he will, even if he doesn’t come out here, he’s always got something. Maybe he’ll just get us a tow truck on his credit card or something” I said quietly. I knew he didn’t have a credit card, didn’t believe in them, and definitely wouldn’t use them, but I also knew he’d come through. He always did, it’s who he is, it’s what he does. I knew I could count on him to make some kind of difference, I just didn’t know how. I thought about what he’d say to me after all of this, the lecture he’d give me about auto maintenance, or responsibility, or why this could have been avoided by “not having my head up my ass.” He’s always so blunt with me that it offends, it stings when he lays into me, and I often leave feeling wounded. It’s normally about 3am on a weekend that I’m drinking with friends, have had enough, and go to bed that I begin to remember what happened before he said the things that set me reeling. It’s just about then that I realize why he always came at me like that, and what he meant to achieve when he did. That’s when I’d normally call him.

He’d always answer, a gruff and low rumbling voice, and after a brief second of confusion, that gruffness would leave his tone and he’d just rumble. I’d spew whatever it was at him that he had said to me, and tell him that I got it now, that I understood, and he’d tell me to stop whining, get my shit together, and do something bigger than me. I’d get mad and hang up, and almost every time, my phone would ring again. After the first few times of answering it and getting laced for being “an emo little shit with a silver spoon hanging out of my asshole”, I stopped answering, knowing that I’d managed to get under his skin, even if it wasn’t the intention of my call. I wouldn’t hear from him for weeks, until we’d cross paths at our mom’s house on a random weekend, and then he’d normally act like nothing happened.

He was a lot older than me, more than ten years, and had been around a lot. He’d done a lot of stuff in his life that always made me think as a child that he was a bad man, but as I grew a little older, I realized that something in him changed somewhere, something clicked, and he lived well beyond himself. He traveled a lot, each time going somewhere with nothing in his pockets, leaving with new friends and enough to get him somewhere else. Then, it stopped. I never really understood why he stopped traveling like he did, and he never told me. I never really understood what actual occurrence made him a shut-in, but something did. He still worked with a lot of people, he still seemingly directed traffic for his friends, so to speak, and helped to make things better for me (even if he tore me a new asshole often.)

He never told me what happened, and the truth is, I never asked. In retrospect I wish I had, I wish I knew what happened, and why, and what series of events led to when they took him. All I know is that they have my brother, and they aren’t letting him go. My family is shattered, shaken to the core, and at some level, it’s my fault. I’m not sure how to fix it, or if I can. I don’t even know how to reach the people he knew, or who they are, or what they did, but I know that I have to. I’m reaching out to you, telling this story, in hopes that you’ll recognize him and help.

Before they came, there were things that he had pointed out to me that I didn’t pay attention to, but should have. I’ve had two days to research what I could remember, which isn’t much. This is an attempt to tell the story of the things that happened that led up to my brother coming to help me and my friends at the side of the road, and the police response that we were met with at a hotel my brother got for us to stay in. This is the story of how the police in a small town in Virginia, aided by Federal agents and paramilitary officers from various agencies, entered a hotel room and killed my girlfriend, a student I went to school with, and two men that had sworn their lives to protect my brother.

To say I know who he knew, or what he did, or how my brother affected people would be a lie. I can only speak from experience of the time I shared with him, and can only speak of the things that I saw him do or knew he did by hearing about it from other people. Our parents had high ideals for him, he was brilliant- but he never did the things they wanted him to. He refused college, he bungled the rigid structure of the military, and yet still had landed good jobs in the past. He’d stay with them until some great rift in personal belief or understanding happened, and he would move on, no cares in the world. The jobs that he started to get later, though, were progressively worse than the predecessor, and his ability to live in the manners to which  he’d grown accustomed diminished to near poverty.

We were driving through Hampton Roads, Virginia, near where he lived one night. Two blocks from his small home was an unmarked white van. It had an antenna on top, similar to the type that you see on news vans. There were soft lights visible through the back windows of the van, although there were no windows on the sides. Aside from the license plate and city tax sticker in the windshield, there were no markings on the van. My brother pointed out to me the small box-shaped protrusion on the roof near the base of the antenna array.

“That, little brother, is a device that acts like a cell phone tower. Any cell phone, lap top, or wireless adapter in range recognizes it as the strongest signal and attempts to connect to it. By design, every device that connects to a network has a signature, like your name, that shows what it is. They use that to identify, track, and ultimately access the phones of people they’re investigating. The problem is that they investigate most everyone these days, and do it on such a wide scale that it’s overlooked, no one even realizes the scope of surveillance in this country.” He spoke with authority, was audibly confident in what he said. Perhaps I inherited his inquisitive curiosity, but when I got home, I googled it. Sure enough, IMSI- International Mobile Subscriber Identification- it works exactly like he said.

Hindsight being 20/20, maybe they took him because he was batshit crazy. Right after telling me what that van looked like to him, he commanded me to stop the vehicle. I did as told, he was older and larger than me, after all, and watched with my mouth agape as he bounded from the car into the night air. He crossed the parking lot at a sprint, running like a huge madman until he reached the van. As soon as he did, he smoothed his shirt over his enormous frame, straightened his ponytail, and knocked on the back window.

I watched the van bounce lightly, sway, and my brother knock again. I rolled down the passenger side window to hear what he was saying. I couldn’t hear what, if anything, the occupants said, but he knocked again.

“Hey guys, uh, yeah. Your dish is spinning and the van’s moving. You can open the door or I’ll call the police, your call!” he exclaimed, knocking a little more urgently. A man opened the door wearing a polo shirt and khaki cargo pants. I could see a badge on his belt. I couldn’t make out the beginning of the occupant’s response, but I clearly heard “interfering with an investigation, now go home”. My brother had insisted that we leave our phones at his house, so there was no way I could record this exchange, but it had the potential to be funny.

“Who or what are you investigating, and with what agency are you employed?” my brother asked, stepping back. The man in the van motioned his hand toward the car and told my brother to “go home and mind your business.” He walked back to the car, a smile crossing his face as soon as his back was turned. As we pulled away and got to the end of the block, my brother told me to turn away from his house and go up two more blocks. We parked there between two cars on the street and sat in silence. I started to ask him why, but he shushed me. We sat.

After about ten minutes, he said “Go back by there, I’m willing to bet the van is gone.” Sure enough, we cruised up two blocks and back over two, and the van was gone. I’d had about enough of the questions in my mind, so I started rattling them off.

“Who do you think they are?” I asked.

“Shhhhh”, he replied.

“What do you think they wanted?” I asked again.

“Shhhhh”, he replied.

“Are you going to tell me anything?” I asked, this time irritated. He said only “Take a right to get to my house.” He was staring out the window. I knew he was lost in thought. Looking back, I think he was scared. I think he knew that they were looking for him. I dropped him off and headed back across the water to my apartment on campus, thinking ceaselessly about the look on his face. I knew that he was concerned when he got back in the car, but he was so carefree when he was interacting with the cops, so cavalier when he smiled and walked back across the parking lot- stress, it seems, impacts people differently. I called him. He didn’t answer.

The next time I saw him was the following weekend at our parents’ home on the northern Chesapeake Bay. He’d been working on the water all day, was coated in sediment and grime from the bottom of the Bay, working oyster cages. His favorite part of working the water was twofold, he’d often proclaim “Cleaning the Bay, and free oysters!” before slurping one off the half-shell. This was one of those times. I approached the back deck where he was seated, and he called me over softly. He was smiling, but looked older than even a week ago. His beard was noticeably unkempt, and I saw for the first time lines near his eyes. How did I not see this before?

As I sat down, he offered me a beer, and leaned the bucket of oysters in shell toward me. I shook my head, he knows I can’t shuck oysters without nearly losing a limb. With a flick of the wrist, he’d plied his knife between the lips of the shell and pried it open, offering its insides to me. I took the shell, cracked it the rest of the way open, and slurped it down. Oysters have the consistency of snot when eaten raw. I’ll probably never do that again. I grimaced, and he laughed heartily.

“So, anything come out of that van we saw last week?” I asked. He shook his head and pulled another oyster from the bucket. “Nope, but then, I didn’t necessarily plan on running up to the Norfolk Field Office of the FBI to ask if it was them. Didn’t even really think who to ask. Just noted what we saw, what they said, and went about my business. Lots to read, lots to write, lot of people to talk to at night, you know” he said with a wry grin. As usual, he was nonchalant in air, but as I noted before, looked tired. I asked if he was okay.

“You know, never better, man. Living the dream an’ all that” he said, this time smiling genuinely. He truly was happy, even if our definitions of what makes a person happy differ. We talked for a few hours then, until well after dark, breaking only to walk to the fridge for beer or to the bushel for more oysters. I saw mom come to the door a couple of times, but as usual, when she sees me talking to brother, she leaves us be. We talked about what he believed, about the ways people can make huge differences for others with little sacrifice to self, and how sad it is that people have to be pushed to see and do that. We talked about how I was doing in school, and about what I wanted to do with my criminal justice degree. I still wanted to join the Coast Guard and be a rescue swimmer, but, I told him, criminal justice will give me something to look forward to when I get out.

It was then that the air changed. The feeling of good times that had permeated the outdoor table we sat at vanished, and I saw the age in his face again. He muttered something about the Civil War, and brother versus brother, and false expectations as he walked inside, the door slamming shut behind him. I sat there, pondering in silence what I had done wrong. It had felt like we were close to having a moment, that we were close to a breakthrough, and just that fast, it was gone. I finished my beer and came inside. Through the front door I could see the tail lights of the car he’d been driving on its way out. Maybe next time, I thought.

A note to the reader: This is a fictional piece, based in fact. This piece represents the first of a continuing series to tell a story of a random man in modern times, faced with modern choices, and the extraordinary events that led to extraordinary acts by people as ordinary as the man it describes. It’s written solely to inform through entertainment. Any technology discussed, mentioned, or described, is rooted in reality and is currently available on various markets in the intelligence/surveillance fields. Any people mentioned here are absolutely based on real people, names, places, events, have been changed for all the right reasons. Hope you enjoy what’s to come.

~Soze


The Sleepless Nights

It all started to spiral pretty quickly, really, when you look at the big picture. It wasn’t so much about secret families of the elite, although they had their place. At the end of it all, it really came down to opportunistic greed, no matter what the cost. It’s painful to consider, really, when you look at how far we had come, how fast our technologies in the artificial intelligence fields were exploding onto themselves, growing exponentially in power with each successive generation of processor and memory- the growth was truly remarkable.

Each new generation had its applications to life at home for the average consumer, but with each placed item came its application for other purpose, the things used daily in innocuous manner had a more nefarious application in the hands of more sinister-intending folk, and harmless algorithms became ways to select targets for removal from families unsuspecting, complex equations designed to make looking up a phone number for an old friend became more complex, and able to place their face with the number, the number itself growing to be representative of the face it accompanied, the names no longer mattered and they became the faceless faces that have yet to give analysts reasons to lose sleep, just yet, just yet. Just yet.

There once was talk in the hills, the halls, the alleys, talk of revolution, but those hushed whispers were overheard by sleepless detectives monitoring the sleepless eyes installed by the small-town bar owner to stop overpours and tip jackers. Words become ones and zeros and burst through the unseen fibrous and wondrous cables to their intended recipients, and anyone else savvy enough to listen for the right codes, ciphers, phrases, they listen for the keywords and they profile the faceless faces in the nowhere towns, with the dusty boots and the hand-me-down jackets, they listen for the words that scare them and they build these profiles, they know you, too, you know. They know you, they know who you talk to, what they talk about when they talk to others that know you, too, oh, they know you. They know which pictures you look at a little longer than others, they see that longing, or that fear, oh, god, do they see that fear. Those sleepless detectives and unsleeping eyes, they watch the bars, sure, but they watch the pipes that bring the magic, too. Oh, god, they watch. Everything you get, they get! It’s like taxing your information, except you never know it’s getting copied and pasted into this file until you figure you should ask them for it, and somewhere along the way some now-hated fellow thought you should probably be able to see that file. Don’t fret, friends, they’ll take that, too. One day, oh, one day.

So they know you, they know where you go, they know who you know and who they know and what you all talk about, but it’s not because they’re evil, it’s because they love that security. They love that, the feeding of their families and they buying of their houses and their cars, just like you love being able to do the same. But, oh, they don’t know the effects of the things that they do, no no, the sleepless nights have not yet come. But they will. Oh, they will.

Yep, that spiral out of control came right fast, a reactionary decision on the parts of millions made by few, and they knew then just how fortunate they were, a chance for their own financial interests to give them that security, and their families, they’ll be fed, and educated, and cared for- it was the right decision, right? Oh, the security they should be able to offer in the jobs that they create, just a large handful of young, bright analysts to listen for the ones, and the zeroes, and the keys, and when they rattle, make a little bark, and a short list, and when that list looks like this list, you put that faceless face on this list over here, and when this list has a faceless face that matches that list of activities, and that list of locations, and “hey!, look! he’s with that other faceless face over here that said something similar over there back at this place!”

And now you’re both on a list you’ll never get to see in a file you don’t know exists, and it’s being sent to a small intelligence hub in a town near you, where another bright analyst is noting that you seem to have said this keyword to this other faceless face at this time, and he said this keyword to you in this keyworded sentence, and things seem to be getting out of hand, all these faceless faces are stringing all these keywords all over the goddamned internet, and all these glorious pipes are piping all kinds of keywords and “SIR! HE SAID IT AGAIN!”

Oh, no, the sleepless nights have not come just yet, the faceless faces haven’t had a face that they know just yet, but so many faces and so many hits and so many cross-referenced lists and “SIR HE SAID IT AGAIN!” and the time is coming for all this data, all these profiles, all these ideas that they have about how you think and all these things they know about what you think you want to do, and “SIR HE SAID IT AGAIN, THIS IS GETTING OUT OF HAND.”

The sleepless nights will not come for them, these bright young analysts have the right connections, to the right networks of magic that keeps dumb people out of situations that real people find themselves facing, and the sleepless nights for the bottom two-thirds starts again, another night without the rest, because now you know and you hear the scratching in the pipes, the steps in the walls, and you know they’re there, and you hear them, hearing you, and you’re scared. And the sleepless nights, they come again.

As you write what it is you know, you realize the absurdity of it all, that the bright young analyst reads this only as strings of numbers that match other strings of numbers, he doesn’t care what it is you’re pouring onto paper or pad, he doesn’t care who you are, a faceless face, worse than just the number all the old-head paranoiacs told you that you were, these bright, talented young minds don’t exist to you, and for their own sanity, you don’t exist to them, no, no, their sleepless nights will not come. You put together a paper based on what you’ve found to be true, you’ve checked your work and you know it’s good, you have presented it to the brightest and most talented, and they’ve given the nod, and as you begin to save it you realize- you realize the absurdity of it all, and the paper goes back to where it came from and the ideas fall quiet and you string together a piece of fiction.

You write about the things the crazies told you, you write about what that homeless guy that claimed to have been special forces said, you write about what that old Marine down the street told you about Vietnam, and you write your little fictions about the parallels to all things scary in the modern world, but it’s a fiction, and it simply doesn’t matter, and it’s best that way. At least you have an excuse for all those keywords.

 


A Curiously Strong Wounded Warrior

“Coffee’s right over there, make yourself at home” he said as he let the door swing shut behind him. The manager of this particular auto-care center was in his lower to mid- twenties, short in stature but carried himself powerfully despite his slight limp. Over his eyebrow and into his hairline a scar arched back into his scalp, over his ear, and ending in a large, heavily knotted and calcified scar. I thanked him and took a seat against the window overlooking the repair bay.

He began covering the basics of the preventative maintenance that my buddy’s selected options entailed, covering in detail the steps while consulting the online manual. He stuttered occasionally, tripped up on a small handful of words, and grew visibly frustrated. He set his hands against the keyboard and looked up to us, upset but composed. “I’m sorry” he began, taking a moment and a breath. I motioned toward the scar. “What branch of the service?”

It was a guess. A hunch. He was in superb physical condition. Well muscled upper body. Clean cut. Two days’ stubble at best.

“Marine Corps” he answered, and looked back to the keyboard. He hadn’t spoken since his apology. I genuinely thanked him, as I do all veterans, for his service and steered away from ideology for a moment.

This isn’t the first time I’ve met people like him. What amazed me about him, instantly and overtly, was that he wasn’t upset about his injury. He wasn’t concerned about the war, his service, or his return to the civilian world. He was concerned about his inability to read fluently as he had previously, and he told me so. He went on to further explain that his memory had begun to slip, and that it had come as a side effect to a mass that had grown in his head post-injury. He was detailed in his explanation of how he was injured, but I will omit those details. His name was Steve, and what amazed me about him was his strength.

“They told me I wouldn’t walk again. I had taken the blast with my head and face, upper shoulders, leg. I was seriously fucked up. I’m 98% disabled now, and that’s because I didn’t want to not be able to work. I need it. You tell a Marine he isn’t going to walk anymore? And he’s infantry? This fucking Marine will run again. And I did.”

I tried to steer him away from his convalescence a bit. I was concerned, honestly, for his slipping memory. Perhaps if this growth that  he had mentioned was making a recurrence, there could be more serious side effects. I pressed on.

“How is the VA helping you with this? Are they scheduling regular treatments and checkups? Your physical recovery is a wonderful story, and it’s inspiring, but it’s common knowledge that veterans aren’t being well cared-for upon return, and it’s concerning to the rest of us paying attention. So… is the VA doing well? Do you have a case officer that gives a shit?”

He looked back to the monitor and back to me, to my friend and back. He looked back at his keyboard and back up and said plainly “Not really, man. Been referred around a few times. Waited for a call back. Been getting headaches again for a little bit, but I figure it was just last year I was injured. Think I should be worried?”

Here’s a man that enlisted, of his own personal story, to escape an economically repressed area. To get financial security through job security. He enlisted to serve his country honorably, to hit his twenty, and retire. Instead, he hit an improvised explosive device and his career was brought to a halt. Like other veterans, his benefits have and are on the chopping block regularly. His treatment is and has been inferior to that afforded to those with better insurance, more money for copays and deductibles, and a higher yield savings plan. Here’s a guy making the decision between going to the doctor or picking up a coworker’s shift to make the shop a better place.

I gave him my contact information and explained that if there was any way I could help, if just to get his case officer’s info and forward it up the chain of command and to his local and state political reps, to write a letter for him, to just send me a message and that I would do it. I told him a little about my story, a little about why I care, a little about how grateful the nation should be for those that are wounded and come back with a better sense of what life means, for those that realize that we, the People, have never been told truthfully why we’re sending our sons and daughters into sovereign nations to take lives… I’m not certain I’ll ever hear from Steve. He strikes me as the strong, silent type, quite literally, that will take his pain and move on with it as long as he can. I didn’t want to invade his personal space anymore than I had, I didn’t want to upset him any more than he already was with his current state, so I digressed.

As we prepared to leave, gathering paperwork and exchanging handshakes, he met my eyes in earnest. He pointed to a tattooed design of a shield, with snakes around it and crossed rifles behind it. Above and below were the words “Death before Dishonor.” He said softly, with nothing short of sincere gratitude “Thank you, Keyser.”

“Steve, there is no dishonor in claiming benefits you’ve earned, nor in asking for help from those you’ve helped.”

The warriors sent to fight these wars aren’t all there because they’re bloodthirsty savages as some left-wing nuts would have you believe. They’re not there to defend the honor of the nation, either. Each of them has their own reason for going, and although there are always commonalities, each of them, at base level, is a human being. And those that have returned have seen Hell. Keep that in mind when you’re out and about in your daily lives. I’m not asking you to elevate veterans onto a pedestal and give them special treatment, I’m asking you to give them what they’ve earned. Respect. Peace. Compassion. Consideration.

Some time soon, I’ll write a piece asking for similar method of thought regarding the activists on the streets fighting for our collective rights as humans to exist in this nation and redress our grievances with the government without the risk of chemical and “less-lethal weaponry”. Look closely, you’ll see another commonality.


Operation Phoenix Comes Home

In the Fifties, Americans had the great General Dwight D. Eisenhower complete his term and step away from government, delivering his now famous speech warning the American people against the dangers of an unchecked and rampant military-industrial complex. His concerns weren’t unfounded.

To understand how vast the MIC is, we have to look at the ideas and concepts on which it was founded and shaped. By the time Kennedy had taken office, even he tried to speak to the American public about secret forces at work against them, to embolden themselves and be prepared to face this evil. This “evil”, so to speak, is rooted in undeniable, plain greed. And like any greedy person or business mogul you may have met or studied, they are willing to go to any length necessary to achieve their endgame. To propose what that endgame is would be errant and entirely supposition, so instead, I want to focus on a few pieces of history, with particular interest paid to the public relations campaigns, supporting legislation, and a handful of historical events for impacted proof of intent and capability.

When we speak of the “military-industrial complex”, the MIC hereafter, the phrase is comprised of two very telling words- implying at the outset that the profits of this business endeavor will have been derived in their entirety from the spoils of war, be it by military contract through the respective warring nations or by, literally, the spoils of war- decades of repayment in resources, trade, or outright money (don’t look up extortion yet.) The companies capable of creating a product that will take the most lives while expending the least will profit the most, every time. But, in war, the win doesn’t always come in outright body count, and the MIC knows this. It pumps an equally ridiculous amount of money into every aspect of warfare, from electronic surveillance to psychological operations and further.

In May of 1961, recognizing a need for a special operations group capable of identifying insurgent activity in light of the French war of attrition in Vietnam, President Kennedy dedicated the initial funding to create the first dedicated special operations teams under United States command. By 1962, Admiral Arleigh Burke had secured the majority of those funds for the US Navy and the SeAL program was born. In initial concept, the US Navy SeALs were supposed to be a guerrilla/counter-guerrilla warfare unit tasked to fight an increasingly unconventional methodology of warfare. With this line of thinking came a very critical change in the school of thought amidst the leaders of the US military: incredibly rapid, swarming movement resulting in extraordinary violence accomplishes every desired task in war- the enemy is defeated at hand, and anyone left to hear about it is psychologically impaired, if only by innate fear.
This is evident in the pervasive legends that surrounded them in combat in the Mekong Delta region of South Vietnam. South Vietnam was a “friendly” area, home to both Armed Republic of Viet Nam fighters and US forces, as well as Hmong fighters from the mountains of north and northwest Viet Nam. Many of the ARVN and Hmong fighters had family, friends, and distant relatives in neighboring Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand, and all of them knew that the riverine boat operators were the same shadowy people known as “the Men with Green Faces.” The Navy liked this legend so much that they made a training/propaganda video about it in the mid-eighties.

When the United States committed American troops to Vietnam in 1964, the first wave of soldiers were special operators with the United States Army’s Special Forces, or the Green Berets. The Green Berets had long specialized in a form of psychological warfare critical to their objective- “winning the hearts and minds” of the local populations while maintaining operational capacity. This was achieved through purposeful planning and careful budgeting to allow for gifts of money or goods to the indigenous people near or within the unit’s area of operations.

These units were primarily for reconnaissance, providing vital hands on intelligence data and physical monitoring of mission-critical sites or personnel.
After its creation in 1947, the CIA wasted no time analyzing after-action reports from various actions in every conflict for which records had been kept. When the quality of intelligence collected was found to be exponentially increased by having physical reconnaissance teams on the ground, the partnership between the CIA’s operations department and the US military’s special operations units was forged inseparably. The first notable incarnation of this marriage was the Military Assistance Command- Vietnam, Studies and Observations Group, or MACV-SOG. MACV-SOG, as far as military units go, was comprised of the absolute baddest motherfuckers on the planet, for lack of a better term. From their corpsman to their support crews and pilots, these operators were peerless. From these units came the Air America units, the famed SEaL Dick Marcinko (of Seal Team 6 fame), and a fat stack of the war hero stories told by guys that probably aren’t really SeALs.

All of this hands-on intel was great to the CIA, but they found that it was impossible to know the inner workings of the Viet Cong guerrilla forces without having an insider to relay the conversations had in underground tunnels and bunkers, behind closed doors, or on the north side of the demilitarized zone. It was quickly decided that getting a turncoat would be next to impossible, and it would take too long to train and set a plant to be actionable. In July 1967, MACV-SOG devised the answer to that plan. Originally titled “Intelligence Coordination and Exploitation for Attack on VC Infrastructure”, the operational plan was soon called just Operation Phoenix, the Phoenix Project, or simply; Phoenix.
The Phoenix Project consisted of two simple facets of operation, the intelligence side and the operations side. Operators would go into the field, to a suspected hotspot for Communist, NVA sympathizer, or VietCong support (and in some cases, just a random village. Who knows, that guy might know something.) Initially, teams of operators were to go into the suspected areas and detain a preselected person of interest for questioning. After the Tet Offensive of 1968, these efforts were ramped exponentially. Stories among ARVN soldiers reflected tales of village leaders being abducted in broad daylight, of people leaving their home briefly for an errand and never returning; families spoke of having loved ones answer the door to be greeted by American voices behind gloved hands moments before a fatal gunshot.

The stories that came out of Operation Phoenix go much further than that. I, personally, was told a story by a Vietnamese refugee named Bang Tran in 1996. His uncle had been picked up during the day for questioning. According to Mr. Tran’s account, after eight days of beatings and simulated hangings, he was released- from a helicopter high enough over a rice paddy to break both of his legs and hips. I had the pleasure of growing up near Mr. Tran, and although he treated me well and with respect, he never looked at my father in the same light after having learned that he was a US veteran. When my father had flashbacks, I told his son Jeff about them, and Jeff told me that his dad, too, had nightmares of the war. After Jeff had talked with his father, he came back the next day to tell me something that I think of often. “My father said when he has bad dreams of the war, every one he has is of men like your father destroying his town. He has those dreams every night that they speak.” Even knowing that he felt that way, he never avoided conversation. Remarkable strength.

I point out the significance of his resolve due to the following figures. Even conservative estimates are staggering. Wikipedia alleges that over 81,000 people were neutralized through the Operation Phoenix program. From the US Congress’s own report, the Phoenix Program took over 20,000 lives. (1965-72 U.S. Congress,Church Committee Report. (1976) B 1 27.) While the disparity between the figures is notable, the simple math- seven years, conservatively speaking, twenty-thousand people… 2800 or so a year, or a little over 7 AND A HALF PEOPLE A DAY. Operation Phoenix became, literally, the infantry version of the Air Force’s Linebacker bombing campaign. A target would be selected, and it would be taken. If he had no information, the team would return under the cover of darkness.

It’s not a matter of American pride, or achievement in military might; it’s a simple truth: if a special operations team is sent for an objective, their methodology is relatively simple. Attack incredibly fast, with extraordinary violence. And that’s what they did on those return trips. The myths of ears on necklaces, villages burned to the ground, people answering their doors to receive a bullet in the head? They aren’t myth. They’re absolute fact, discussed in a VAST number of “literary” works by some of the men that conducted those operations. The United States had officially sanctioned an intelligence organization with the ability to kill. And they used it. Not since the scathing sweeps of the German SS police in World War Two had the planet seen such a rapid, efficient kidnapping and killing machine.

I say all of this with the burden of shame in my heart and fear in my head. I am an American by birth, and I cling to the principles on which this country was founded, the same principles I was taught as a child, to which I’ve sworn allegiance every time I’ve seen the flag. And it’s with that love of this country that I take this piece to its completion. I thank you for having read this far, and I ask that you please, just finish. Do it for the families of those that disappeared during the Vietnam conflict. Do it for the Vietnamese men that sent money across the DMZ to their families in North Vietnam, that were then selected for “aiding the enemy” and assassinated by the world’s finest trained, most highly motivated force.

Last year, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont released the Government Accountability Office’s finding of their audit of the Federal Reserve. While I won’t delve into the specifics of the findings, I will point out that there have been a high number of alleged conflicts of interest discovered (http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/federal-reserve-audit-highlights-possible-conflicts-of-interest/2011/07/21/gIQAJbbnSI_story.html), and that the mathematical figures coming from that audit indicate that the Federal Reserve has been lending more than the entirety of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (http://www.unelected.org/audit-of-the-federal-reserve-reveals-16-trillion-in-secret-bailouts). These conflicts of interest are important not just in substance, but in highlighting a very, very real and important parallel.

Alex Jones and company have, for years, railed on about conspiracies of places like Bohemian Grove and the Bilderberg Group, to name a couple. While the entire mystique of secret societies, social clubs, et cetera tend to drive away most people, the mixing companies of people that attend these meetings, heads of state, foreign dignitaries, domestic intelligence officials, generals; essentially, the movers and shakers of the military’s top brass in the decision-making department, the richest men in the world, and the elected leaders of sovereign nations discussing their trades, respectively, over drinks. If that wasn’t a bad enough concept, and problematic enough in its own right, we now have the richest corporations in the world employing the services of companies founded, run, and staffed by the same men that conduct operations like Phoenix.

Whether the recent Wikileaks findings are taken as damning against the corporations that retained Stratfor remains a mystery this early on, but an interesting and outright frightening aside MUST be noticed. We live in a country that was founded on the principles of rights granted by the Creator to ALL human beings, equally, regardless of race, nationality, or citizenship and that country has denigrated to become a nation that has openly adopted the exact tactics employed by the armed insurgents it now hunts actively in over 100 nations. While there are, undoubtedly, people that would seek to harm this nation, the time to cast a harsh introspective glance is long due.
We live in a country whose top corporations are willing to retain the services of, literally, corporate espionage agencies to conduct insurgent/counter-insurgent, surveillance/counter-surveillance tactics against their opposition, whomever it may be, from rival companies to activist groups of differing opinion. The same men that have conducted all of those operations run these companies, all of which were funded by banks run by men with whom they may have a fraternal relationship. Whether it be an old college friend, a fellow alum, a military buddy or the friend of a friend, those referrals all came on word of mouth in the early days, and it isn’t much different now. The proverbial “good old boy” system is undeniably present, both in this country’s colorful past, and right now in the top ranks of the military industrial complex.

With the great desire for more intelligence, the military strove for more money in research and development of intelligence and data gathering equipment. Any intel is good intel, so research contracts went out for cameras, microphones, communications equipment, cryptography, satellite communications/transmission, you name it- all data collected is intel. With the invention and quick spread of the internet, all data became something different: It became digital. It became binary. It became nothing more than code, which is text. And text can be intercepted. All digital data, at its root, is nothing more than a series of 1s and 0s arranged to form whatever the message/image is that is being transmitted, so the interception of ALL of the intel, not just bits and pieces from multiple sources (many of which were bad, see Stratfor’s HUMINT) became not just plausible but POSSIBLE.
The passing of the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001 made it largely legal for everyone that wasn’t a US citizen. However, with the burgeoning data on the FBI’s Carnivore program, that may not be the case. What’s more, whether all of the data collected during that period was archived or not, there are laws in place to protect your privacy with regards to searches of your property. Those laws, however, do not extend to your data transmitted, in most cases, on the Internet. I won’t discuss privacy legalities, as I’m not well versed there, but understand that, to your government, if it’s in the cloud it’s not private unless otherwise marked. Recent legislation that has been attempted would tie your physical location to all internet activity, which would provide an address for any user. On the surface, again, that isn’t a frightening proposal, if measures are taken to protect that information.

The newest bill to hit the wire and immediately cause flareup among the politically minded youth is the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011, HR 347, which makes it a Federal, felonious offense to protest in presence of a Secret Service covered person or event, whether they are there or will be, whether they know or don’t know. This bill has come just in time for several major planned actions, all of which are widely known about by the Secret Service due to open source intelligence gathering conducted by the various government and corporate intelligence firms now known to be monitoring all social networks.
Still with me? Probably not. Here’s the end, and it’s happy and rainbows and unicorns.

Whether or not there really are FEMA camps, I don’t know. Whether or not the secure communities that have been built, and are being built, will be used to house inmates that aren’t involved with citizenship issues, I don’t know. But I would like to project a very real scenario. Please, read this, and understand that it’s real, and it’s my plight.
People that have, say, taken part in a denial of service (DDoS) protest against a company or website have, according to US cyberterrorism laws, committed an act of terrorism. Under the provisions of the NDAA, the same kind of men that conduct operations like Phoenix have been authorized to come to your home and detain your family members. Your friends. Your loved ones. Because of taking action in an act of protest that has no lasting effect on anything; not the company, not the computer, server, connection: nothing. If you have spoken out in support of those actions, you stand risk of being identified as a sympathizer.

I would like to imagine that, at no point, no American citizen will be confronted with an incredibly rapid assault force, employing explosive violence to confuse and destroy their ability to react. I would like to imagine that no American citizen would ever be arrested for supporting actions that express dissent, for expressing their First Amendment right to express that dissent. I would like to think that Americans have a right to discuss where they will meet to express that dissent, and to do so without fear of being beaten by the armed mass force awaiting their arrival (because the intel’s good, you know.) I’d like to think that there’s no way that anyone that ever expressed dissent online with their banks, the Federal Reserve, or the police would ever be identified as a target and abducted in plain daylight by uniformed men.

I’d like to think all of this, but while I do, let me tell you the rest of the story. I just have to go answer the door real quick.


A kid again (or How I Became an Impatient Little Boy Waiting on a UPS Truck)

So, I’m waiting on UPS. Still. To deliver my parts to build my biggest, most capable-of-whatever-I-want-it-to-do r/c helicopter ever. Of all time. Seriously. Let me give some insight as to HOW this is affecting me.
One year for X Mas, all I wanted was a remote control airplane. I was ten (ish) and had already done and won a Science Fair project on aircraft, been nominated for an award for it, and was ready to take the next step. I asked for an EZ-Bee Nitro Flyer II.
This was my first gas airplane, and I was amped. My mom, like always, made damned sure that that airplane was prepared for X Mas morning. I, like always, was prepared for this morning, too, and stayed up through the night in anticipation. When I say I stayed up, I mean that I watched, with a mirror from a microscope set, my mom and stepdad place the toys under the tree. I watched them go to bed and close the door…
And then I waited. I waited two hours and twenty two minutes, exactly, because I was obsessed with precision and wanted to make no mistakes. I crept out of my room and into the living room. There, I set all of the clocks forward 3 hours and 33 minutes.
I adjusted the VCR, wall clock, tv clock, and the alarm clock in my room. I adjusted the alarm clock in my uncle Steve’s room, the clock on the microwave and stove, and the clock on the bartop.
I then crept, silently in my pajamas, through the kitchen and into the hallway adjacent my mother’s room. I listened carefully and heard two soft snores, and I used my He-Man flashlight to shine the light off of my little microscope mirror, and into her room. I saw the soft green glow of her alarm clock… I slipped into the room.
I adjusted her alarm clock ahead, and crept to the door to insure that the clock matched the stove clock; it did.
As I prepared to leave the room, a sliver of light from the streetlamp outside shone in, and a silver glint from the edge of the bed confirmed my fear: my stepdad had a watch. Not to be deterred, I helped myself to the edge of the bed and lay flat on the floor. With a flick of my fingertips, his watch read 3:48am. I had won.
I slipped out, through the kitchen, back to the living room, and sat beside the box in which my airplane rested. I laid beside it, read all of its sides. I examined the tape that held it closed, tested its strength against the cardboard underneath, gently prying upward to see if the tape would give before the imaging on the box.  At 4:30, I was ready. I woke my sister first; if the baby was up, the parents were up. Then, I made a screaming beeline to mom’s room. I woke them up, hauled ass to the living room, and skidded to a stop beside the box. Mom and stepdad came from the room, wiping sleep from their tired eyes, and ambling slowly to the coffepot. The time read 7:15.
I tore presents open, and my parents beamed at us on the floor. They were so proud, so happy, and Christmas was so successful, as middle-class Christmases go. Mom then wanted to share that joy, and called the Emergency Room at which she worked to wish her colleagues the best, and a joyous holiday season.  All of my fun was brought to a screeching halt by these words:
“Well, good morning Mama Joyce! Merry Christmas!…
What the hell do you mean it’s only 5 til 5?!?!?”
The moral of this story:
UPS drivers apparently do not wear watches.


Collateral Damage?

I’m still pretty new to the idea of recording/writing/noting everything that I do, despite a history of bullshitting my way through various formats of essay-writing, etc. That said, most of what I am about to write is, apparently, old information and technology that’s been in use for anywhere from five to thirty years, and thus, I’m not going to go to incredible lengths to document where/with whom/ etc all of this was conducted. It would be a great big pain in the ass and, sincerely, I don’t believe it’s entirely necessary. Absolutely all of this is Google-able or youtube-able.

While looking into the combined technological capabilities of a handful of companies that have donated software, equipment or (allegedly) man-hours to various law enforcement agencies against occupation locations in LA and Oakland, Chicago, and New York, a disturbing trend of hand-me-down military surveillance equipment has become painfully obvious. The technologies of three of these companies, specifically, Cognitech, Inc., Akela, Inc, and Vislink, Inc. share a basic technological principle in that, for the most part, all of their surveillance products accomplish similar goals: Seeing through walls, literally, and reconstructing physical structures in simulated 3D visual representation. From a tactical standpoint, these products allow for the necessary planning and implementation of operational procedures that guarantee mission success and limit or prevent collateral damage entirely. From an intelligence perspective: Prior knowledge of number of combatants, estimated size, armament, behavior, and “excitability of demonstrative physical movement” is invaluable in logistical application.

Microwave imaging technology is the basis for these technologies, and is the shared component of most of these systems (integrated 3D reconstruction models). Much like the way TSA scanners and mammogram technologies work, the microwave projection creates a field of “noise” into a given area, and the scatterback voids created by physical objects within that area allow exact size and shape models to be recreated visually. In layman’s terms: High quality, high powered systems are able to discern that a combatant is wearing a robe, holding a rifle, and standing next to a laptop with a pistol on a desk.

This kind of technology is designed, inherently, to save the lives of soldiers on the front line, fighting for whatever cause their home nation deems worthy. This technology is regularly applied against combatants in the Iraqi and Afghan/Pakistan fields of battle, with Special Operators conducting operations globally, with international investigative organizations, and recently, the police departments of more than a small handful of cities in the continental United States. (No, I didn’t check receipts. This is supposition, although absolutely unarguable. Idk, call it circumstantial.)

Now, to inject the folly of man, the proverbial “other side of the coin.” Remember the hospitals that caught falling bombs in ALL of the last three major wars (both Iraq conflicts and the current Afghan war)? Only one of them, the 1990 Desert Shield/Storm action, had the excuse of not having this technology widely available. Remember the children in the house with militants that they “couldn’t have known about”? Bad news, from an outside perspective and a moral standpoint: Knowing how this technology works, and that it is, undeniably, employed in both handheld and aerial models in both current conflicts, knowing how intricate a view these systems provide, we can KNOW that collateral damage is complicity to cold blooded murder.

There are variations of this technology that can be built on low scale, low end devices at home, literally, that are available on youtube. The models designed for short penetration, such as body scanners, mammograms, and LDGPR (low depth ground penetrating radar) function on the same principle, each differing (mostly) by power output and transmission. We discussed a large scale model at home, but due to proximity to several military installations and research facilities, coupled with a cursory once over of FCC compliance regulations, chose to digress.

I’m not familiar with where to go to check just how many of these devices are widely employed, nor do I have the capability to know which devices are deployed in which theaters, but the knowledge of existence, technology, and application of design against the civilian population by police is, for lack of a better term, constitutionally obscene. When taken into consideration with the widespread use of facial recognition software at most of the occupations, and the constant data sharing between law enforcement agencies, at some point, one has to wonder if the same “powers that be” that choose to send Hellfire missiles into homes with children are gathering this list of faces and names and… well, making a list.

Microwave imaging technology companies and product application links:

Eureka Aerospace Products and Projects:

http://eurekaaerospace.com/content/impulse-synthetic-aperture-radar-through-wall-and-underground-imaging

US open call for techs, products, to achieve goal of see-thru-wall imaging/mapping

http://www.dodsbir.net/sitis/archives_display_topic.asp?Bookmark=32232

Under-Explored Threats to Privacy:
See-Through-Wall Technologies and Electro-
Magnetic Radiations – Independent research article by Vanmala Hiranandani

http://www.surveillance-and-society.org/ojs/index.php/journal/article/viewFile/threats/threats


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.