02.19.10

Cult of EMP Crazy: On Radio

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Extremism at 12:44 pm by George Smith

The CEO of one company that sells electromagnetic pulse doom protection, Emprimus, goes on Michael Savage to tell listeners EMP bombs and ray guns are everywhere. You only have to listen to the first minute or so to get the gist.

And everything you need to know about Michael Savage is here and here.

The link here takes you to YouTube (embedding disabled) for a Coast to Coast interview with William Forschten.

Coast to Coast is the most famous, perhaps only radio station to corner the market in the US on the great conspiracy to hide the truth about “UFOs, strange occurrences, life after death and other unexplained phenomena.”

After 90 percent of the electronics are knocked out in the US, what about the 2 million people in (or around) prisons, Forstchen asks.

It’s something few have considered. Especially if the attack comes during winter.

“In the end, advocates for EMP preparation could end up being their own worst enemy,” Sharon Weinberger, writing for Foreign Policy this week, so wisely said.


Many just can’t come to grips with the actual ‘cult-like’ behavior of various parts of the Cult of EMP Crazy.

Like Foreign Policy magazine.

To point it out is just … too … well, disrespectful by dint of being true.

Others are not always so inhibited.

“At least one speaker [at the 2009 EMP conference] acknowledged that people who are passionate about the EMP issue are sometimes viewed as being a little off-kilter, but he said the good turnout at the conference shows that they are not alone,” one local newspaper commented.

Originally noted here.

Another culty element of the GOP Electromagnetic Pulse Crazy — uh — cult, is the involvement of the Christian far right, those who believe in and welcome the end of all things for us while they go to heaven.

And some electromagnetic pulse doom-related video from them is here.

02.18.10

Clouseau On the NYT Cyberdesk

Posted in Cyberterrorism at 8:45 pm by George Smith

Dreyfus: Give me ten men like Clouseau and I could destroy the world.

John Markoff reports from the New York Times:

“[A] leading professor in Jiaotong’s School of Information Security Engineering said in a telephone interview: “I’m not surprised. Actually students hacking into foreign Web sites is quite normal.” The professor, who teaches Web security, asked not to be named for fear of reprisal.

“I believe there’s two kinds of situations,” the professor continued. “One is it’s a completely individual act of wrongdoing, done by one or two geek students in the school who are just keen on experimenting with their hacking skills learned from the school, since the sources in the school and network are so limited. Or it could be that one of the university’s I.P. addresses was hijacked by others, which frequently happens.”

At Lanxiang Vocational, officials said they had not heard about any possible link to the school and declined to say if a Ukrainian professor taught computer science there.

A man named Mr. Shao, who said he was dean of the computer science department at Lanxiang but refused to give his first name … acknowledged that every year four or five students from his computer science department were recruited into the military.

Remarkable!

With the Times and the NSA on the trail, the Chinese are for it now. It’ll be a slam dunk. And everyone knows American students in computer science classes don’t hack computers in foreign countries or ever sign up for the military after high school or college. It’s common knowledge.

Clouseau: This is a very serious matter and everyone in this reuoom is under the suspicions.

The real Inspector Clouseau.


Pot – Kettle – Black … Oops!

These “zombie” computers are often grouped into “botnets,” or armies of infected computers that can be used to send spam e-mail or attack Web sites, according to McAfee, a Silicon Valley security firm. The company, which said it collects information about Internet-based threats that target more than 100 million computers in 120 countries, said that in the last three months of 2009, about 1,095,000 computers in China and 1,057,000 in the United States were infected.

Those numbers are in addition to 10 million or so previously infected computers in each country, McAfee said.

Excerpted from the WaPo.

Cult of EMP Crazy: FP comes last with the least

Posted in Crazy Weapons at 3:54 pm by George Smith

The hack script:

It’s a scene fit for a Hollywood movie: A terrorist group launches a nuclear weapon from a ship off the coast of the United States. But instead of directly hitting a city or military installation, it detonates miles above the ground, seemingly causing no damage. Almost instantaneously, the lights darken over a large portion of the United States, cars stop in the middle of the road, and computers go dead. Panic ensues and the nation is soon economically and militarily crippled, sent back to the pre-modern era.

This from Sharon Weinberger at Foreign Policy here on electromagnetic pulse doom in “The Boogeyman Bomb.”

As a lede, really third rate.

Let’s take the DD wayback machine through 2009 to find out how other reporters have used the same type of structure.

“It sounded like the story of a blockbuster Hollywood movie or the topic of a History Channel disaster documentary … ‘The bad actors who want to attempt this are out there,’ said Dr. Fritz Ermarth, former chairman of the National Intelligence Council. ‘There is very little evidence they are losing interest (in an EMP attack).’ “ — Niagara Gazette, Tonowanda News, Sept. 10

“It sounds like something straight out of a movie — a science fiction movie, really. A terrorist attack on the U.S. involving a nuclear bomb detonated in the sky above us with the resulting electromagnetic pulse (EMP) shutting down all electronic devices.” — Niagara Gazette, Sept. 9

“It sounds like a science-fiction disaster: A nuclear weapon is detonated miles above the Earth’s atmosphere and knocks out power from New York City to Chicago for weeks, maybe months. Experts and lawmakers are increasingly warning that terrorists or enemy states could wage that exact type of attack, idling electricity grids and disrupting everything from communications networks to military defenses.” — USA Today, Sept. 16

How novel. Get the idea?

From a review of The Day the Earth Stood Still:

This film should get an award for the most lazily incorporated product placement, ever. For some reason, whenever a computer needed to be used to explain things to people, they used one of Microsoft’s Surface machines. Surface is a pretty cool idea – it’s a tabletop computer on which one can combine interactions of the computer and physical objects resting on the screen – but why include it in a movie that ends with a massive electromagnetic pulse that disables every bit of technology on Earth, presumably including the Surface computer?

From start to finish, “The Day the Earth Stood Still” is easily one of the worst movies of 2008.

So you’ve already guessed we’re giving this FP article a — bad review.

It repeats everything you’ve already read if you’ve been a follower of Armchair Generalist or this blog over the past couple years.

Only since it’s Foreign Policy, an, upright and so reasonable publication for genteel sisses, you don’t get all the good stuff like the association with GOP right wing cranks including birthers and Values Voters, the Bomb Iran lobby and the numerous videos and movie short made to push the religion on the subject.

Without including these ingredients, the cake is not fully baked. Without the full panoply of wild animals, the zoo is only for enjoyment by children.

“But unlike some of the other national security threats on the horizon, the ‘e-bomb’ has emerged as a partisan issue, with a core group of conservative supporters,” writes Weinberger, understating things just a smidge.

“In the end, advocates for EMP preparation could end up being their own worst enemy,” she adds. “The unlikely scenarios they peddle lend themselves to caricature. And though there are certainly some intellectual heavyweights among those who have warned about the effects of EMP — like Johnny Foster, the former head of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory — critics have derided EMP defense supporters for relying on the likes of science fiction writer William R. Forstchen to help bolster their case.”

Ya think?

Anyway, we can’t make them caricatures when they are already such.

Weinberger wrote a book called Imaginary Weapons a few years ago. I liked it.


Cult of EMP Crazy from the archives.

Falling Down

Posted in Stumble and Fail at 2:10 pm by George Smith


Best movie ever, today.

Bill Foster: I helped build missiles. I helped protect this country. You should be rewarded for that. But instead they give it to the plastic surgeons, you know they lied to me.

Sergeant Prendergast: Is that what this is about? Is that why my chicken dinner is drying out in the oven? You’re mad because they lied to you? Listen, pal, they lie to everyone. They lie to the fish. But that doesn’t give you any special right to do what you did today.

Falling Down quotes.

Joe Stack: Instead I got busy working 100-hour workweeks. Then came the L.A. depression of the early 1990s. Our leaders decided that they didn’t need the all of those extra Air Force bases they had in Southern California, so they were closed; just like that. The result was economic devastation in the region that rivaled the widely publicized Texas S&L fiasco. However, because the government caused it, no one gave a shit about all of the young families who lost their homes or street after street of boarded up houses abandoned to the wealthy loan companies who received government funds to “shore up” their windfall. Again, I lost my retirement.

…Nothing changes unless there is a body count (unless it is in the interest of the wealthy sows at the government trough). In a government full of hypocrites from top to bottom, life is as cheap as their lies and their self-serving laws.

I know I’m hardly the first one to decide I have had all I can stand.

Joe Stack quotes.

Somehow, though, after all the rant and effort, they never get after the rich guys in the golf carts at the country club. Just ruining the lives and/or families of the shift office workers or janitorial staff in the same boat.

Lived in Pennsy and SoCal the same time as DD.

Enormous CyberAttack Takes Ten Minutes to Undo Here

Posted in Cyberterrorism at 9:19 am by George Smith

From December on DD ‘old’ blog:

[I] removed a copy of one of the Zeus/Zbot pieces of malware after it floated through my anti-virus software on Saturday. This took about ten minutes, not only to squash but also to upload to the vendor so that it might be detected at some point in the future. Yesterday, the software was finally updated to flag my test files.

The purpose of Zeus/Zbot is fundamentally the same as what was alleged to have happened to State Dept. computers. It steals banking credentials, credit cards, logons and installs hooks which allow the attacker to manipulate the infected PC remotely.

A rather homespun, if somewhat patience-trying, description of what Zbot can and has done is here on YouTube.

Typically, though, big or splashy news of government intrusions — the best scare stories — are now furnished almost entirely by vendors because vendors control the business of computer security in the US government.

Zeus’s gig, part of it — anyway — was pulling the fake anti-virus thing on users, telling the infected they had to sign up their credit to remove viruses they didn’t have, except for the ransomware itself.

Today from the Wall Street Journal via Yahoo:

Starting in late 2008, hackers operating a command center in Germany got into corporate networks by enticing employees to click on contaminated Web sites, email attachments or ads purporting to clean up viruses, NetWitness found.

In more than 100 cases, the hackers gained access to corporate servers that store large quantities of business data, such as company files, databases and email.

They also broke into computers at 10 U.S. government agencies.

By definition, government agencies are broken into every day. And all business computers always store large amounts of business data.

In any case, Zeus attacks were not extraordinary frontpage news when DD reported it matter of factly. Or when others noted the same in various videos posted to YouTube.

Today they’re news because NetWitness made a report out of them and handed it over to the press.

Way down in the articles on the worldwide Zeus cyber-catastrophe one spies Amit Yoran’s name.

“These large-scale compromises of enterprise networks have reached epidemic levels,” says Yoran, chief executive officer of Virginia-based NetWitness, to the UPI.

Amit used to be the US government’s cyberczar. For a mercilessly brief period during the Bush administration.

In a website post from that time:

While some children have role models like John Wayne or Babe Ruth, [Amit Yoran’s] most envied role model was Alex P. Keaton, the character Michael J. Fox played on the NBC TV sitcom Family Ties. People who know him say he used to wear vests and even ties to school when he was growing up – and he did not attend a private school where uniforms were required. No, this was just the way Amit used to like to dress, even amidst a mix other kids wearing everything from Metallica shirts to the latest Benetton fashions. And he would – like the Keaton character on the show – frequently gush about, “What a stud,” Ronald Reagan or Oliver North were.

But Yoran quit his job as cyberczar. The US government was perhaps not the best place for him to release reports on the threat and menace of global cyberattacks.

“Cyber 9-11 has happened over the last 10 years, but it’s happened slowly so we don’t see it,” Yoran said at some cybersecurity conference after departing.

Scoffers are naive, it was said in the same article.

Our advance into the bright and safe future of proper cybersecurity has always been slowed down by the Fussell-noted American tendency to deliver everything coated in a crust of exaggeration and hype. Rather than opening the way for a new and proper regime of cybersecurity, it has bred just enough resistance — the adoption of the derogatory slang term, fud, as one example — to get in the way of taking enormous cyberthreat stories as seriously as their creators feel they should be taken.

In the book BAD: Or, the Dumbing of America, the author described this general practice systemically, well before it got carried over into things that didn’t exist yet, like corporate computer security business.

“Thus, this … is about the publicity enterprise propelling modern life, which seems to make it clear that few today are able independently to estimate the value of anything without prompting from self-interested sources,” the author wrote.

“This means nothing will thrive unless inflated by hyperbole and gilded with a fine coat of fraud. If in some ways the subject suggests the tragic — all those well-meaning people swindled by their own credulity — looked at another way the topic proposes all the pleasures of farce … [projecting] anew and continuously the classic comic motif, the manipulation of fools by knaves.”

And so the newsmedia becomes an instrument of it.

Since the US government practices the same thing in some area, every single day, one wonders why Yoran left its employ in the first place.

The answer may have been that it just didn’t pay enough and the skids, while well-greased, were just not quite as greasy as thought appropriate by the cyberczar of computer securing.

“The [tens of thousands of] computers were infected with spyware called ZeuS, which is available free on the Internet in its basic form,” reported the Wall Street Journal.

“Evidence suggests an Eastern European criminal group is behind the operation, likely using some computers in China because it’s easier to operate there without being caught, said NetWitness’s Mr. Yoran.

“There are some electronic fingerprints suggesting the same group was behind a recent effort to dupe government officials and others into downloading spyware via emails purporting to be from the National Security Agency and the U.S. military, NetWitness’s Mr. Yoran said.”


And here is another dose of predicted catastrophe courtesy of Mike McConnell, one of the Cult of Cyberwar’s best and most famous salesmen.

Related: Cybersecurity Schwick

Cult of Cyberattack from the archives.

02.17.10

Today’s Security Dog & Pony Show

Posted in War On Terror at 9:16 am by George Smith

The current United States can be defined as an immense accumulation of not terribly acute or attentive people obliged to operate a uniquely complex technology, which all else being equal, always wins. No wonder error and embarrassment lurk everywhere … Every employee a machine’s toad. — Paul Fussell, BAD, 1991

Today’s lead story on American airline security innovation was made for Paul Fussell. In 1991, he could not have forseen the War on Terror. But he could easily have predicted the many reactions to it in US life.

For one, the making of air travel more and more odious for the sake of an increased appearance of security.

“To the list of instructions you hear at airport checkpoints, add this: ‘Put your palms forward, please,'” reports CNN here.

“The Transportation Security Administration soon will begin randomly swabbing passengers’ hands at checkpoints and airport gates to test them for traces of explosives.”

“The point is to make sure that the air environment is a safe environment,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said to CNN. “We know that al Qaeda … terrorists continue to think of aviation as a way to attack the United States. One way we keep it safe is by new technology [and] random use of different types of technology.”

Then CNN (and one imagines every other news agency) trots out ‘security experts’ to get their opinion.

Keep in mind, readers, that in the US it takes only a quick Google or shake of the digital Rolodex to find an expert who will tell you anything and everything are good ideas.

“Security experts consulted by CNN said swabbing hands is a good move … ” added CNN.

Privacy experts, of course, want to ensure TSA workers will not discriminate when swabbing. The testing must be truly random and senseless.

In the US, this means a ridiculous application.

Invariably — babies, quadriplegics, your grandmother, teenage girls, people in wheelchairs or with walkers or handcuffed to security men, the Chinese ping pong team — all will be tested.

You can furnish some other examples, DD is sure.

“The TSA has more than 7,000 explosive trace detection (ETD) machines and has purchased 400 additional units with $16 million in federal stimulus money,” reported CNN.

In 1991 for BAD, Fussell explained the US had become defined by realizing that stupidity is a national characteristic. As a result, everything henceforth and to this day must be delivered in either a thin skin of fraud or some other made-up bit of rubbish fashioned to make people think a thing is great.

In this manner, readers are delivered the implied idea that the stimulus money has been doing good in the making of going to the airport even more unpleasant.

“It’s a ‘very good idea,’ said [some] security expert [named] Tony Fainberg,” to CNN.

In early January I wrote about the underpants bomber, who has brought this on, at The Register.

Thus:

[The] dilemma is clear.

Human error being always guaranteed, on both sides, no amount of technology – whole body scanners, electric noses, bomb-sniffing machines and expanded computerized watch lists (particularly in the hands of the US, where laymen have been conditioned to view them as magic wands) – can wholly stop men with improvised chemistry experiments in their private places. Yet no public official, under risk of being fired, can speak of this obvious thing.

In fact, one might theorize there’s a practical limit achieved in which the complexity inherent in the accumulation of security systems and data and the limiting human capital required to operate and sift it erases any theoretical benefits and gains beyond a certain point. And that’s a place on the graph we are already past.

The complete article is here.

02.16.10

Looters Rule

Posted in Predator State at 1:45 pm by George Smith

There are no more vilified figures in the US than Wall Street bankers and health insurers.

For being the objects of unrestricted hate, there’s no topping them.

Nevertheless, some try. Here’s Fox Business News, portrayed everywhere this morning, castigating a Wellpoint/Anthem insurance p.r. man not for gouging and looting customers — but for gouging and looting them at just the wrong time, giving the Obama administration ammunition to push again on healthcare reform.

An article and video of it are here.

DD is a resident of California with Anthem coverage.

Here’s how Anthem works. It takes premiums and never pays out.

The deductibles and co-pays are so high one learns to never go into the doctor’s office for illness or health problems that don’t immediately threaten to put you in the emergency room.

I learned this the hard way years ago.

Growth on your nose that might be cancerous?

Forget it. Pay for removal and biopsy yourself.

Painful skin condition? Pay for the drugs to control it with own coin. Or endure it even though the cure is a matter-of-fact one.

I’m certain it’s that way for thousands who now constantly must wonder why they have health insurance at all.

In any case, these are wonderful Sheriff of Nottingham-like quotes:

“Even a spokesman for Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) was compelled to feign concern …”


Fox Business News: But [Mr. Wellpoint/Anthem man] this is like Jaws 2, just when you thought it was safe to get out of the healthcare debate, you brought everybody back into it. […] Didn’t someone though, wasn’t there a committee that said listen, let’s take Wall Street’s lead, do the minimum we can, wait for this to blow over and maybe a year from now try to hike rates?

DD is going to leave it to the President and Democratic Party to turn this into a disaster as only they can.

In a month or two we’ll see that government initiatives to make robbing customers blind are horrendous things, fought tooth and nail by many of those being robbed blind.

And that’s the way we like it!

That Sure Was a Long Time Ago

Posted in Rock 'n' Roll, Sludge in the Seventies at 12:03 pm by George Smith

From the magic of Google Books: SPIN magazine, the June 1987 issue.

“Given half a chance, Dick and the Kings might indeed have a rendezvous with destiny,” it read.

Umm, no.

Also reviewed on the page — Gut Bank — a Jersey band I once saw open for the Died Pretty at CBGB’s.

The Mighty Omega to Bumwine’s Alpha

Posted in Phlogiston at 9:11 am by George Smith

I could not resist this delightful story, spied today at the Register, on Sink the Bismarck!, the world’s mightiest beer.

Reports the Reg:

A Scottish brewer appears to have torpedoed a German rival’s claim to the world’s strongest beer, by bottling a “quadruple IPA” weighing in at a liver-bashing 41 per cent ABV.

Just weeks after German outfit Schorschbrau floated its 40 per cent Schorschbock, Aberdeenshire hop-botherer BrewDog has counterattacked with the provocatively-named Sink The Bismarck

“[At] £40 for a 330ml bottle, we doubt anyone will be quaffing a Sink the Bismarck! like Saturday night fighting lager,” adds the Register, somewhat drily.

That’s about $62.70.

Coincidentally, Pasadena has two upscale stores known for sale of pricey and super-pricey UK ales: Whole Foods on the east side and Bristol Farms in south Pas.

Although Sink the Bismarck! is only sold on-line, DD is sure there are probably a number of people in the mansion districts who’d buy it, if only for the conspicuous consumption display value.

Buckfast Tonic Wine remains seemingly unthreatened as the hooligan solvent of choice in Scotland.

The Reg includes a wonderful pic of an old Spitfire ale advertising campaign. I had to borrow it.

If memory serves, DD has seen Spitfire, and even bought it once or twice, in Pasadena.

The Germans would seem to have little retaliatory recourse in the naming wars.

Graf Spee?

Nope, beaten off the River Plate by inferiors.

Gunther Prien, the U-boat commander who sneaked into Scapa Flow and torpedoed Royal Oak?

Nope, too obscure.

They could steal Hood, with the tagline — “Almost everyone goes down in one bottle.”

But that would be just mean.

02.15.10

The Future That’s Been Coming for 15 Years — But Never Quite Arriving

Posted in Crazy Weapons at 2:47 pm by George Smith

Aviation Week and David Fulghum have been pushing electromagnetic pulse bombs or EMP rays for … it seems like always.

As long as DD has been on-line and paying attention, EMP bombs and rays have been the transformative miracle weapon that’s always coming but never quite arriving. And that seems to have been since at least the early Nineties.

Today, Aviation Week writes:

Electronic and computer attack—the futuristic segment of the Pentagon’s arsenal—will benefit from the proposed 2011 military spending plan, but identifying all the key pieces is difficult without close scrutiny.

Electronic attack (EA) includes invading networks and releasing beams of energy against improvised explosive devices (IEDs). These blasts of energy are sometimes generated by U.S. Navy EA-6B Prowlers and Air Force EC-130 Compass Call aircraft to prematurely detonate or disable bombs. In addition, an EA-6B Prowler—and its EA-18G Growler successor— can drop a “cone of ­silence” on emitters within a given tactical area to prevent enemy communications.

“Other weapons — including a new line of bombs being developed at the Eglin AFB Armaments Center — will generate an electromagnetic pulse that damages electronics,” it says.

As it has at least once a year for the last fifteen or so.

Now the magical electromagnetic pulse ray, or pulse bomb, will be used to miraculously solve the problem of improvised roadside munitions and mines.

So that’s why the Marines are using all those big mine-clearing tanks in the Afghanistan push! Because all the electromagnetic pulse bombs and rays still aren’t quite here yet. Just wait. We’ll show them with American technical no how know-how. Rays and cones of silence! They’ll just give right up at the power and supremacy!

From a 2009 post right here:

[Obsession, delusion and military applications welfare projects] die hard and a recent article from the journal IEEE Spectrum is a showcase for scientists trying to keep their electromagnetic pulse bomb projects alive for the Dept. of Defense.

A week or two ago DD revisited the phenomenon of US electromagnetic pulse crazies in two posts. The second of the two — here — dealt with the social crowd plagued with an Ahab-like obsession for deployable electromagnetic pulse bombs (not dependent on a multi-megaton fusion blast) and hand-held ray guns.

They regularly pop up in news announcing fantastic weapons are about to arrive, or have arrived and been secretly used, or are about to be tested. This has been a regular occurrence, if not obvious to everyone, since around 1994 when the EMP lobby boffins began giving it
the hard sell.

Readers will note the top listing from the Google link is a reprint of a cover story published in Popular Mechanics in 2001, an article predicting electromagnetic pulse bombs were about to show, possibly capable of throwing civilization back hundreds of years. If they found their way into terrorist hands. One also notes the piece is accompanied with a harsh critique from various punters.

“Electromagnetic pulse weapons capable of frying the electronics in civil airliners can be built using information and components available on the net, warn counterterrorism analysts,” read a very recent piece of EMP crazy emission at the New Scientist a couple weeks ago.

“Kabammy! A huge electronic wave comes along and sends out a few thousand volts! [Like] like man-made lightning bolts!” read a couple newspaper articles just before the second war with Iraq.

In every such article, a blizzard of jargon and promises.

“Hey wz up listen im just 12 but im realy interested in tech stuff and science so im a nerd,” writes one commenter from that original post on DD blog. “im not too smat just about enough to understand most of this. what i want to ask u is can you help me make a mini empg because i realy want to try one out. im just realy curious on the matter. so yeah thats it. oh yeah can you also send me some more info on the matter.”

Done.

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