Forward Observer: The Coming Cyber 9/11

Yesterday, Glenn Gerstell, the general counsel of the National Security Agency, published an opinion piece in The New York Times – I Work for the NSA. We Cannot Afford to Lose the Digital Revolution. The subtitle was Technology is about to upend our entire national security infrastructure. Today, Sam Culper, intelligence analyst at Forward Observer, has a short video out about the piece and its contents titled The Coming Cyber 9/11. In this video Sam Culper discusses the warnings and what could become a cyber 9/11.

Among other things, Sam Culper summarizes Gerstell’s warnings:

  • The government will be ineffective at handling all of the technological threats as opponents are becoming more and more “peer” rather than “near peer” adversaries..
  • Systems disruption could, and likely will, occur at any time.
  • Big tech companies will become more powerful than actual governments.
  • The effects of rapid technological development could upend governments and societies.

Related:

Al-Qaeda Chief Issues 9/11 Video Urging New Attacks on US, Europe, Russia, and Israel

Breaking Defense: US Loses Badly in Wargames with Russia/China

In the article US ‘Gets Its Ass Handed To It’ In Wargames: Here’s A $24 Billion Fix, Breaking Defense reports that the US’s advanced military technology have some major Achilles’ heels which Russia and China have, intelligently, designed their military responses to take advantage. Many people in the US wrongly assume that American military technology is so far advanced that there is no comparison with Russian and Chinese forces. Unfortunately, that view overlooks the fact that smart opponents will devise tactics and techniques which target the weaknesses of an opponent. The US is extremely good at projecting offensive power, but after decades at the forefront of military technology the US has lost sight of the importance of defending anything from strikes. It’s like America has spent twenty years perfecting the jab and right cross, but is incapable of dodging or blocking a punch. In effect, Russia and China do not need to have more advanced weapons than the US (though they may have an advantage in missile technology) because the US cannot protect their weapons from being destroyed before they can be used.

The US keeps losing, hard, in simulated wars with Russia and China. Bases burn. Warships sink…

“In our games, when we fight Russia and China,” RAND analyst David Ochmanek said this afternoon, “blue gets its ass handed to it.” In other words, in RAND’s wargames, which are often sponsored by the Pentagon, the US forces — colored blue on wargame maps — suffer heavy losses in one scenario after another and still can’t stop Russia or China — red — from achieving their objectives, like overrunning US allies.

No, it’s not a Red Dawn nightmare scenario where the Commies conquer Colorado. But losing the Baltics or Taiwan would shatter American alliances, shock the global economy, and topple the world order the US has led since World War II…

F-35 stealth fighters are hard to kill in flight, but lined up on the runway, they’re easy targets.

big airbases on land and big aircraft carriers on the water turn out to be big targets for long-range precision-guided missiles. Once an American monopoly, such smart weapons are now a rapidly growing part of Russian and Chinese arsenals — as are the long-range sensors, communications networks, and command systems required to aim them.

So, as potential adversaries improve their technology, “things that rely on sophisticated base infrastructure like runways and fuel tanks are going to have a hard time,” Ochmanek said. “Things that sail on the surface of the sea are going to have a hard time.”

…Worst of all, Work and Ochmanek said, the US doesn’t just take body blows, it takes a hard hit to the head as well. Its communications satellites, wireless networks, and other command-and-control systems suffer such heavy hacking and jamming that they are, in Ochmanek’s words, “suppressed, if not shattered…”

Click here to read the entire article at BreakingDefense.com.

Technology and Avoiding Censorship

The world of news reporting has been metamorphosing since the Internet became easily available. Print journalism is dying. The newspaper and magazine news sources that have survived have moved onto the internet to some extent, though they may still have a print presence. But the Internet is a funny place, and it, and dwindling financials, have changed those venerable news dinosaurs. Making profits became dependent upon Internet advertising which was measured by ad views or ad clicks. It became more important to these institutions to have stories that received more views rather than stories of deep substance, not that the two are mutually exclusive. Inevitably, the businesses started catering to specific audiences or demographics, posting stories and headlines that would invite those users to click into the article to view the ads. Once proud institutions like the New York Times have become more of a television sitcom, where the stories are played to a captive audience with implied “applause” and “laughter” cue cards. CNN is more like People magazine than a news network.

Speaking of television, much the same has happened to news sources there. As viewers switched from advertising-supported television channels (or paid cable channels) to watching shows and reading news on the Internet, the financial support of the captive television audience dwindled. As that revenue dwindled, television companies had less money with which to subsidize their news. When once news was a point of pride of the stations that they gladly subsidized, the broadcasters now had to compete for advertising revenue for their news shows. These causes likewise led to a similar chasing after of sensational headlines as was occurring in the Internet space.

In short, the mainstream media news sources have turned into a wasteland as far as actual news goes. Instead they relay stories that will play well with their respective cash-cow herds. Or they run stories that are profitable for them to air, either because they are paid to do so or to ingratiate themselves with government agencies or corporations in order to have access or the personal prestige of being seen with later (for those persons high up enough in the pseudo-news organization). It is well documented, for instance, that the CIA has for decades worked with news organizations of all kinds in order to either relay or suppress the stories or propaganda that they want to shape public opinion. This is no less true for many large corporations and political parties who actively work with these organizations for their own propagandistic ends.

It should be no surprise to anyone, then, that people have turned to alternative news sources. This is a great danger to the power of all those organizations currently involved in mainstream news organizations – i.e. government agencies, political parties, corporations, foreign entities, etc. Controlling the media is a way to control the people. People cannot get angry over something that they never hear about, or better yet, they can’t believe anything that the media is portraying as laughable. Because people are, indeed, looking for real news, these interests are doing their best to prevent alternative news sources or at least people’s access to these sources.

In the past several months, we’ve seen many alternative news voices as well as individual users banned from various Internet social media platforms which they used to communicate with the people who followed them – a process called de-platforming. Because these social media platforms are owned by private corporations there is no first amendment violation, even when some of the corporations are counseled by advisory entities with close government ties. Little justification is given for these deplatformings other than vague mumblings from the corporations about hate speech, extremism, insults, Russian spies, and so forth. The corporations are under no obligation, currently, to provide any truth. They say something the content creator did violated their terms of use and that is the end.  So far these deplatforming actions have been overwhelming against conservative voices, though not entirely so.

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