DD blog needs your help. I’m not too proud to beg.
The economic crash of 2008 has been as hard here as everywhere else.
Since stepping into cyberspace in the early Nineties everything written has been provided largely pro bono. And this is the first fundraiser of any kind that I’ve held.
Originally, I went under the rubric of the old electronic Crypt Newsletter, an e-zine devoted to hacker culture, specifically that centered on the worldwide network of young computer virus-writers.
For years, well before the web was what it is today, Crypt Newsletter was hosted on a server administered by the Dept. of Critical Criminology studies at Northern Illinois University. Here it is in the Wayback machine, the last update spanning content from 1996-2004.
Much of the work published through it was aimed at increasing public understanding of issues in cybersecurity and the hype-laden subjects of cyberterrorism and cyberwar. That continues to this day.
In 1994 some of the earliest published content was used in The Virus Creation Labs, a book on the old computer virus underground published by American Eagle. Interesting side fact: While the book is now technically out of print, the publisher decamped to Central America before 2000, convinced the country would overturn or that hyperinflation would come about as the result of the Millennium Bug.
By 2004 I had moved to a slightly different place at GlobalSecurity.Org, still doing pro bono public research on various security topics.
This work moved into the domain of poison recipes, specifically those for ricin and alleged home-made chemical and biological weapons, which had originated in the American survivalist extremist fringe during the Eighties. By the Nineties these tracts had been migrated to the Internet and simultaneously translated into Arabic.
As a result, almost purely by serendipity, I was consulted by the defense for the now famous London ricin trial. That work, which was the first of its kind in this country, is archived here at GlobalSecurity.
In terms of practical things, this was one of the first places you could see at least one of the claims made by the US government, delivered by Colin Powell in his address to the UN Security Council, on reasons for war in Iraq, shot to pieces.
The London ricin ring as a link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda had been part of Powell’s presentation and the material published at Globalsecurity destroyed it.
At the time, the US news media largely ignored this but the work could not be erased. History had its way. (Examples of the news on the ricin trial in the US news media are here, at the Washington Post; and from Newsweek.)
Around 2006, the public work was formally moved to Dick Destiny blog.
Material published through here pushed back against mainstream and government claims that al Qaeda had capability in biological chemical weapons and that documents found on the Internet conferred equal capabilities to any jihadis interested in them.
While unpublicized that effort has been a success.
With the help of others the official public position was modified. One example was the grudging concession in the 2008 report from the US Commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism: “We accept the validity of intelligence estimates about the current rudimentary nature of terrorist capabilities in the area of biological weapons … ” (Page 39.) Those intelligence estimates were not furnished by the US government’s analytical apparatus. They came from the work of outsiders, from here and analysis provided by colleagues.
Other proof is the anecdotal evidence that mainstream news is no longer littered with scare pieces insisting that al Qaeda men in some broken down hideout can make WMDs because of global access to terror capabilities granted by the Internet. Still, occasionally I have to issue burn notices on retired CIA men who resist getting the message. One example of such, from last year, is here.
Not bad for a blog.
Since then regular readers know I’ve kept up the fight while expanding into system domestic problems of economy and inequality which threaten the nation’s security in ways foreign threats during the war on terror never could.
This short history touches upon why the work has mattered. And so I ask for your help in keeping it moving forward and vital. Please help spread the word.
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