Posts Tagged ‘Pentagon’

Personal Examples of Stimulator Mode

March 20, 2019

This is the fourth post in the series of posts based on a book by Stephen Kosslyn and G. Wayne Miller titled “Top Brain, Bottom Brain.” The subtitle is “Harnessing the Power of the Four Cognitive Modes.” During the Vietnam War Abbie Hoffman was the Cofounder of the Youth International Party (Yippies). Hoffman organized marches, sit-ins, and demonstrations and by October 1967 was deeply involved in planning two days of actions at the Lincoln Memorial and outside the Pentagon. Preparations included obtaining a permit, which set a limit of 32 hours for the demonstrations. By the time that deadline arrived, organizers had achieved their primary objective, national coverage of their cause. Many began to leave, but Hoffman and others stayed on into a second morning—and were arrested. The authors note that this was pointless as the protest had already succeeded, and counterproductive for Hoffman, whose time would have been better spent planning the next action, not trying to free himself from the criminal justice system. The authors write, “With his long and intensive involvement in protests, Hoffman had repeatedly experienced the potential consequences—but he behaved like someone who did not engage in bottom-brain thinking as deeply as he should have.”

In 1968 Hoffman played a major role in planning demonstrations using his top brain. In the weeks leading up to the Democratic national convention Hoffman oversaw production of tens of thousands of leaflets, posters, and buttons urging antiwar protestors to join him in Chicago for the convention. He helped coordinate news coverage. He reached out to speakers and musicians and he presided over weekly meetings.

His work paid off: Thousands were on hand that August 28, when the Democrats nominated Hubert Humphrey as their presidential candidate. With the world’s journalists present, Hoffman had his biggest platform yet and a chance to make a powerful statement. But he did not think of the consequences for writing the F-word in lipstick on his forehead when he dressed that morning. But the consequence was one that many would predict. Police arrested him for thirteen hours. Hoffman missed the demonstration that would become one of the iconic protests of the 1960s, and he stood trial as one of the Chicago Seven, which was a long court ordeal that effectively removed him from the leadership of the movement.

When he emerged from hiding as a fugitive he wrote, “It’s mind boggling, but being a fugitive I’ve seen the way normal people live and it’s made me realize just how wrong I was in the past. I’ve grown up too. You know how it is when you’re young and not in control. I’d like to go back to school and learn how to be a credit to the community…Age takes its toll but it teaches wisdom.” The authors conclude, “In his later years, Hoffman showed signs of having developed the ability to think in Perceiver Mode at least some of the time.”

The authors write, “What better contemporary example could we use to illustrate the characteristics of operating in the Stimulator mode than Sarah Palin, onetime vice presidential candidate, former governor of Alaska, and continuing presence in American culture?” Palin moves through life, formulating and carrying out plans. But it appears that, like Hoffman, she often does not adequately register the consequences and adjust her plans accordingly. As a vice-presidential candidate she presented a folksy, budget-cutting fiscal conservative and demanded instant attention. Voters who were wary of politicians who waste taxpayer dollars applauded this governor who had pared Alaskan state construction spending, sold the the gubernatorial debt, and refused to be reimbursed for her hotel stays.

However during the campaign, she and her family accepted $150,00 worth of designer outfits and accessories from Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bloomingdale’s. She indulged in an expensive makeup consultation—a spending spree that stood in stark contrast to her image as a Kmart-shopping mom.

In March 2010 she posted on her Facebook page pictures of gun crosshairs that “targeted” Democratic members of Congress for defeat. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was one on whom she had place gun crosshairs. On 8 January Rep. Giffords was tragically shot and seriously injured. She is still recovering from her injuries. Palin is one of the favorite targets for the satire of the Capitol Steps.

If you have not tested yourself to see if you are classified in the Stimulator Mode, go to the the first post in this series “Top Brain, Bottom Brain.”

THE PERFECT WEAPON

July 15, 2018

The title of this post is identical to the title of a book by David E. Sanger. The subtitle is “War, Sabotage, & Fear in the Cyber Age.” The following is from the Preface:

“Cyberweapons are so cheap to develop and so easy to hide that they have proven irresistible. And American officials are discovering that in a world in which almost everything is connected—phones, cars, electrical grids, and satellites—everything can be disrupted, if not destroyed. For seventy years, the thinking inside the Pentagon was that only nations with nuclear weapons could threaten America’s existence. Now that assumptions is in doubt.

In almost every classified Pentagon scenario for how a future confrontation with Russia and China, even Iran and North Korea, might play out, the adversary’s first strike against the United States would include a cyber barrage aimed at civilians. It would fry power grids, stop trains, silence cell phones, and overwhelm the Internet. In the worst case scenarios, food and water would begin to run out; hospitals would turn people away. Separated from their electronics, and thus their connections, Americans would panic, or turn against one another.

General Valery Gerasimov, an armor officer who after combat in the Second Chechen War, served as the commander of the Leningrad and then Moscow military districts. Writing in 2013 Gerasimov pointed to the “blurring [of] the lines between the state of war and the state of peace” and—after noting the Arab Awakening—observed that “a perfectly thriving state can, in a matter of months and even days, be transformed into an arena of fierce armed conflict…and sink into a web of chaos.” Gerasimov continued, “The role of nonmilitary means of achieving political and strategic goals has grown,” and the trend now was “the broad use of political, economic, informational humanitarian, and other nonmilitary measures—applied in coordination with the protest potential of the population.” He said seeing large clashes of men and metal as a “thing” of the past.” He called for “long distance, contactless actions against the enemy” and included in his arsenal “informational actions, devices, and means.” He concluded, “The information space opens wide asymmetrical possibilities for reducing the fighting potential of the enemy,” and so new “models of operations and military conduct” were needed.

Putin appointed Gerasimov chief of the general staff in late 2012. Fifteen months later there was evidence of his doctrine in action with the Russian annexation of Crimea and occupation of parts of the Donbas in eastern Ukraine. It should be clear from General Gerasimov and Putin appointing him as chief of the general staff, that the nature of warfare has radically

changed. This needs to be kept in mind when there is talk of modernizing our strategic nuclear weapons. Mutual Assured Destruction, with the appropriate acronym MAD, was never a viable means of traditional warfare. It was and still is a viable means of psychological warfare, but it needs to remain at the psychological level.

Returning to the preface, “After a decade of hearings in Congress, there is still little agreement on whether and when cyberstrikes constitute an act of war, an act of terrorism, mere espionage, or cyber-enabled vandalism.” Here HM recommends adopting Gerasimov and Putin’s new definition of warfare.

Returning to the preface, “But figuring out a proportionate yet effective response has now stymied three American presidents. The problem is made harder by the fact that America’s offensive cyber prowess has so outpaced our defense that officials hesitate to strike back.”

James A. Clapper, a former director of national intelligence said that was our problem with the Russians. There were plenty of ideas about how to get back at Putin: unplug Russia from the world’s financial system; reveal Putin’s links to the oligarchs; make some of his own money—and there was plenty hidden around the world—disappear. The question Clapper was asking was, “What happens next (after a cyber attack)? And the United States can’t figure out how to counter Russian attacks without incurring a great risk of escalation.

Sanger writes, “As of this writing, in early 2018, the best estimates suggest there have been upward of two hundred known state-on-state cyber atacks—a figure that describes only those made public.”

This is the first of many posts on this book.

A 9/11 Message

September 10, 2013

 

For most people, 9/11 started a war on terrorism. This is unfortunate as terrorism is a tactic for conducting war, not an enemy to be attacked. In my view, the message of 9/11 is that in this age of technology we are all vulnerable to any wacko group or individual. Even a single individual could assemble a dirty bomb, perhaps even a primitive nuclear device.

 

Let’s review what happened on 9/11. Four planes were hijacked. Two of them brought down the twin towers in New York, and one struck the Pentagon in Arlington, VA. The fourth plane did not reach its intended target, because by that time passengers revolted because they knew if they did not try, their fate was certain death. Actually, from this point forward, it was highly unlikely that a hijacking would be successful, even if one were attempted. Nevertheless a fortune is being spent on airport security when there are many, many points of vulnerability remaining. To name just two, our ports and our malls.

 

After the “shoe bomber” Richard Reid failed to blow up a commercial airline in flight, all airline passengers departing an airport in the United States were made to walk through security checks in socks or bare feet while our shoes were scanned for bombs. After British police foiled a plot to detonate liquid explosives on board airlines in 2006, passengers at UK airport were not allowed to take liquids on board. When a passenger tried to set off plastic explosives sewn to his underwear, the US government announced plans to spend about$1 billion on full-body scanners and other security technology such as bomb detectors. The security expert Bruce Schneier has dubbed many of these measures “security theater” on the grounds that they serve merely to create the impression that the authorities are doing something, but do nothing to reduce the actual risk of terrorist attack. Instead, it was intelligence tip-offs, not airport checkpoints, that have foiled the vast majority of attempted attacks. We really cannot know of all of the intelligence tip-offs that have precluded these tragedies as acknowledging them risks compromising ways and means that might preclude future tip-offs.

 

I would argue that the real war on wackos began on April 19, 1995, when Timothy McVeigh detonated a bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. This also calls attentions that our enemies are not necessarily foreign. There are the recent bombings that took place at the Boston, Marathon. Although the perpetrators were radical Islamists, no evidence has been linked to foreigners supporting them. If you are skeptical that there are not abundant wackos within the United States that are potential sources of danger go to http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/hate-map

 

The recent disclosure by the macro leaker Snowden, and he is most definitely a leaker and not a whistle blower, have called into question U.S. Policy on what is called domestic spying. My concern is not that there is too much, but rather that there is too little of this so-called domestic spying. My concern is based on the abundant supply of domestic wackos.

 

I definitely think that the protection of civil rights and personal privacy is important. But I think that the laws should be on how this information is used, not collected. If the information is used to embarrass someone, or is used in any unauthorized manner with the exception of planning or executing criminal or terrorist acts, severe penalties should be enforced. Otherwise the law protects criminals and terrorists. Under current laws, criminals and terrorists can be set free on the basis of legal technicalities. I can also envision a so-called terrorist attack being executed while the permission to conduct surveillance was under review. I am concerned about my personal security, but my primary concerns are with criminal hackers and businesses, not the government. At some point, one needs to have faith in one’s government. It is not difficult to find countries whose written laws and policies are not followed. Laws can be set up and not followed by an unethical government.

© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.