Sunday, October 21, 2012
  Sleeping through cyberwar

Lately I've been listening at bedtime to episodes of 'Behind the Headlines' from the late '40s. This was a series of thoughtful essays by César Saerchinger, who had been a foreign correspondent and author. Like most intellectuals of that time, he was obsessed with the need for nuclear disarmament. This intellectual impulse later served to motivate the Soviet penetration and destruction of America, but nevertheless it was a rational conclusion before Moscow grabbed it.



Rough transcript of Saerchinger, April 1947:
We are today the most powerful nation. ... All but the Soviet satellites look to us in a world where security is still a dream. ... Within 10 years the Russians might be in possession of an atomic bomb or something equally terrible. After that the Russians will be on an equal footing with us. In the meantime the issue is lack of trust. They don't entirely trust us and we don't trust them. ... But no single factor has poisoned the atmosphere more than our monopoly of the atomic bom, the fact that we have actually demonstrated its monstrous destructive power, that we are continuing to stockpile more bombs while the whole world has agreed that the bomb must be outlawed if civilization is to survive.

The abortive attempts at disarmament in the 20s and 30s were followed by an armament race, followed by a devastating war. There is one crucial difference between the current race and the previous one. In the previous race, the industrially stronger powers won out in the long run. But in a nuclear war there will be no long run.
Note the dire comparison between previous and current weapons, motivating urgent disarmament of America so Russia can have all the power.

= = = = =

Now we have another transition of weapons, marked this week by Panetta:
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta issued what he said is a “clarion call” Thursday for Americans to wake up to the growing threat posed by cyber war.

“The whole point of this is that we simply don’t just sit back and wait for a goddamn crisis to happen,” Panetta told Time. “In this country we tend to do that, and that’s a concern.”

Panetta came to the nation’s financial hub – New York City – to issue his battle cry. The city is the brightest bulls-eye on the American target for foes wishing to cripple the U.S. economy with computerized “worms” and “malware” that can infect computer networks via the Internet or insider sabotage.

“It is the kind of capability that can basically take down a power grid, take down a water system, take down a transportation system, take down a financial system,” he told Time editors. “We are now in a world in which countries are developing the capability to engage in the kind of attacks that can virtually paralyze a country.”

“Everybody knows what their iPhone can do, everybody knows what their computer can do, but I think there are too few people out there who understand the potential for the kind of attack that could cripple this country,” Panetta said. “The American people just have to be made aware of that.”
I appreciate Panetta's straight talk. No bureaucratic buzzwords, no shit about 'exceptionalism'. But he's manipulating the same old trick about a new and unfamiliar threat.

This new threat is simply nonsense.

There is no way the average citizen can be safe from an atomic bomb, but it's GODDAMN EASY to be safe from a cyberthreat. All you have to do is DECENTRALIZE. Keep all web-connected stuff totally separate from important stuff like factories and utilities. Important stuff was already running perfectly well before the web came along. Important stuff was already thoroughly automated and computerized before the web came along. There is simply NO REASON to tie these things to the web by cable or radio.

So we have to ask why Panetta is pushing this threat as dire and apocalyptic when it's NOT. Easy answer. He doesn't WANT us to decentralize. As a good bureaucrat, his sole purpose in life is to maximize the power and budget of his agency. When nuclear war fades from the scene, the Pentagon's genuine need for central power also fades.

Not only fades but fails. Remember what DIDN'T happen on 9/11. All of our centralized defense and intelligence apparatus (NORAD, NSA, SAC, CIA) completely failed to anticipate those 19 Saudi boys, and completely failed to respond. The only response came from brave men on one of the airliners.

Decentralized war requires decentralized defense. In the cyber realm, decentralized defense WORKS EVERY TIME IT'S USED. The only problem is that industries and governments are TOO FUCKING STUPID TO USE IT. They value the need for centralized command, the need to make factories respond every millisecond to the corporation's electronically-traded share value. Corporate leaders are Chinese agents. They consciously and intentionally move production to China, with the primary purpose of smashing the American economy and the secondary purpose of installing Chinese spyware in everything we use. Traitors.

Now Panetta is trying to centralize the defense against cyberthreats. He wants the Pentagon to be in charge of all cyberwar actions. We know where that will lead. It will lead to a new NORAD, and the new NORAD will fail just like the old one. Individual cyberdefense will end up being prohibited or intentionally diluted to serve our Wall Street and Chinese masters.

WATCH OUT!
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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