The Two-FacedBook by William Bowles

Don't Spy On Us Snow Footprints

Image by Joe Brusky via Flickr

by William Bowles
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Investigating Imperialism
London, England
January 7, 2018

At the end of the 1970s, when I first started using and investigating digital media, it quickly became apparent to me, that what became the World Wide Web, was very much a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it afforded independent journalists and investigators, a vehicle for reaching a public outside the control of corporate/state media and whose only parallel lay back in the 17th century, with the invention of the printing press and moveable type, broadsheets and later the so-called Penny Dreadfuls. Sold on street corners and in coffee houses, and produced in literally hundreds of small printing shops, they challenged the status quo in ways previously impossible. Often banned and their writers/publishers thrown in jail under the then new sedition laws, they heralded the arrival of modern capitalism.

Continue reading

Military Space Planes – First-Strike Systems by Bruce Gagnon + X-37B: Secret plane launched

by Bruce Gagnon
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Organizing Notes
April 23, 2010

The new military space plane, called the X-37B, was launched yesterday from Cape Canaveral strapped to an Atlas V rocket. The X-37 will spend up to 270 days in space before landing at Vandenberg AFB in California. The space plane will mostly fly on “autopilot” since there is no human inside the craft.

Meanwhile yesterday at Vandenberg AFB, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) also test launched another space plane – the Hypersonic Technology Vehicle, known as the Falcon.

Continue reading

Big Brother FBI: Data-Mining Programs Resurrect “Total Information Awareness” by Tom Burghardt

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
www.globalresearch.ca, October 8, 2009
Antifascist Calling– 2009-10-04

Like a vampire rising from it’s grave each night to feed on the privacy rights of Americans, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is moving forward with programs that drain the life blood from our constitutional liberties.

From the wholesale use of informants and provocateurs to stifle political dissent, to Wi-Fi hacking and viral computer spyware to follow our every move, the FBI has turned massive data-mining of personal information into a growth industry. In the process they are building the surveillance state long been dreamed of by American securocrats.

Continue reading

Cyber Warfare: Building Attack Tools for Mass Destruction by Tom Burghardt

Bookmark and Share

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, May 27, 2009
Antifascist Calling…

A quintessential hallmark of an authoritarian regime, particularly one that operates within highly-militarized, though nominally democratic states such as ours, is the maintenance of a system of internal control; a seamless panopticon where dissent is equated with criminality and the rule of law derided as a luxury ill-afforded “during a time of war.”

In this context, the deployment of new offensive technologies which can wreck havoc on human populations deemed expendable by the state, are always couched in a defensive rhetoric by militarist aggressors and their apologists.

While the al-Qaeda brand may no longer elicit a compelling response in terms of mobilizing the population for new imperial adventures, novel threats–and panics–are required to marshal public support for the upward transfer of wealth into the corporate trough. Today, “cyber terror” functions as the “new Osama.”

Continue reading

Darpa Wants to See Inside Your House

By Noah Shachtman
Wired.com
lOctober 22, 2008

The Pentagon wants to be able to peer inside your apartment building — picking out where all the major rooms, stairways, and dens of evil-doers are.

The U.S. military is getting better and better at spotting its enemies, when they’re roaming around the streets. But once those foes duck into houses, they become a whole lot harder to spot. That’s why Darpa, the Defense Department’s way-out research arm, is looking to develop a suite of tools for “external sensing deep inside buildings.” The ultimate goal of this Harnessing Infrastructure for Building Reconnaissance (HIBR) project: “reverse the adversaries’ advantage of urban familiarity and sanctuary and provide U.S. Forces with complete above- and below-ground awareness.”

[…]

via Darpa Wants to See Inside Your House | Danger Room from Wired.com

h/t: CLG

see

Big Brother: Radio frequency (RF) “Geolocation” of “Opponents” of the New World Order

Domestic Spying

DARPA

Big Brother: Radio frequency (RF) “Geolocation” of “Opponents” of the New World Order

Dandelion Salad

excerpt on current

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, October 20, 2008
Antifascist Calling…

‘Tying the room together’: DARPA’s Project Gandalf

In the 1998 Coen brothers cult film The Big Lebowski, southern California slacker Jeffrey Lebowski aka “The Dude,” bemoans the desecration of his living room rug by criminals out to collect a debt in a hilariously absurd case of mistaken identity. After the thugs urinate on his prized possession, The Dude is crestfallen because that rug “really tied the room together.”

Fast forward to 2008, only there’s no mistaking either the identities or what’s being “tied together” here. DARPA’s Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO) is seeking solicitations for “Project Gandalf,” according to an October 7 “Industry Day” announcement on the Federal Business Opportunities website.

In a bid to “tie the room together,” DARPA is developing a demonstration project that will provide “counterterrorist” special operators and spies, aka state terrorists, with

solutions to … radio frequency (RF) geolocation and emitter identification using specific emitter identification (SEI) for specific signals of interest. The ultimate goal of the Gandalf program is to enable a set of handheld devices to be utilized to perform RF geolocation and SEI on RF signals of interest to the Gandalf program. The specific goals and performance objectives associated with RF geolocation and SEI for the Gandalf system are classified. (“Gandalf Program, DARPA Industry Day Announcement,” Federal Business Opportunities, October 7, 2008)

That’s right, a hand-held cell phone tracking device that will enable security operatives to locate and take out opponents of the capitalist “new order” in global South or “hardened” heimat cities.

Sounds like a seamless way to “tie together” information culled by NSA trolls or the Justice Department’s Terrorist Identity Datamart Environment (TIDE), the “master list” from which all other federal agencies derive their own dubious watch lists.

The Gandalf Program is classified Secret/NOFORN, meaning only American firms whose personnel hold coveted U.S. Department of Defense “secret clearances or higher” need apply. The October 28, 2008 Industry Day will be held at the Rosslyn, Virginia headquarters of the Scitor Corporation. An appropriate venue if ever there were one.

Deriving its name from a Latin word meaning “to seek to know,” Scitor’s website has little in the way of useful information for the researcher, aside that is, from the usual banalities about “excellence” and “solving customer needs.”

However, a profile on Yahoo! Finance reveals that Scitor “hopes to aid you in your search for technological knowledge and harmony.” (!) There we also learn that the firm “offers a wide range of professional and technological services, including consulting work, risk management, software development and systems engineering.” Unsurprisingly, “Scitor works primarily for U.S. government agencies, including the Department of Defense.”

Founded in 1979, the company was acquired in 2007 by the private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners LLP. With $421.9 million in revenue in 2007, the company employs some 1,100 people with top secret and above security clearances. Their main competitors according to Yahoo’s profile are Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Services, Northrop Grumman Information Technology and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).But as investigative journalist Tim Shorrock revealed in his essential book Spies For Hire,

…Scitor, a CIA and defense contractor company…has become a $300 million company without creating a single ripple in the media. “It’s the biggest company you never heard of,” said a former NSA officer who knows the company well.

Scitor is a technology company that does extensive work for the U.S. Air Force in aerospace communications and satellite support services. The privately held company is also an important contractor for the CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology… Within that directorate, two sources said, it is used primarily by the Office of Technical Services, the secretive unit that develops the gadgets, weapons and disguises used by spies. …

A Scitor contract with the General Services Administration posted on the GSA’s Web site lists the CIA among the company’s clients. It states that Scitor helps government agencies manage “major acquisitions and cradle-to-grave programs that are vital to national defense.” Those agencies include the National Reconnaissance Office, the National Security Agency, the NGA [National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency], the CIA and the Pentagon. (Tim Shorrock, Spies For Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008, pp. 141, 142)

Clearly, DARPA’s cell phone tracking proposal falls well within the parameters of Scitor’s spooky brief.

While the “specific goals and performance objectives associated with RF geolocation and SEI for the Gandalf system are classified,” it doesn’t take a rocket scientist–or securocrat–to realize there’s real money to be made here.

Former Royal Navy officer Lew Page who unearthed the project for the U.K. online tech publication The Register, reports that “Project Gandalf” will supplement work “already done by surveillance aircrafts and/or drones.” The “new wrinkle” according to Page, “is being able to do it using handheld devices” at close quarters. Page writes,

So it would appear that a group of undercover operatives or special-forces troops dispersed near a target (perhaps a specific cell or satellite phone) might carry portable gadgets, presumably networked. The netted devices would be able to pick out the phone, radio or whatever they were after and track it. …

As far as the technology goes, the idea sounds feasible. Commercial pico/microcell gear, for instance–with all the capabilities needed to ID and locate cell phones–is already easily down to briefcase size. Satellite phones would be harder, of course. (Lew Page, “DARPA to Begin Mysterious ‘Project Gandalf’,” The Register, October 8, 2008)

As I wrote in “Niche Telecom Providers Assisting NSA Spy Operations,” enterprising capitalist grifters in the telecom industry are already “providing security agencies with real-time cell phone tracking capabilities.” What makes this research so insidious are the workarounds supplied–at a premium price–by under-the-radar companies to NSA or the U.K.’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) not covered by any law.

Project Gandalf clearly travels along the same repressive continuum but with a twist. If the program pans out it will give security agents an “up close and personal” capacity, let’s just call it for the sake of argument, that real-world intel touch required to disrupt meetings or smash an organizing drive even as they’re taking place. Now that’s real progress!

Industry Day Goals at the upcoming October 28 meet and greet are threefold:

1) to familiarize participants with DARPA’s interest in RF geolocation and SEI technologies, 2) to identify potential offerors and promote understanding of the BAA proposal requirements, and 3) to promote discussion of synergistic capabilities among potential program participants. Information on the Gandalf solicitation will be available at: http://www.darpa.mil/ipto/solicit/solicit_open.asp following the publication of the BAA in FedBizOpps. Following the Industry Day, the web site will contain the unclassified Gandalf Frequently Asked Questions, unclassified presentations from the Industry Day, and information on how to obtain the classified briefings and Q&A.

As the European watchdog group Quintessenz has revealed, digital and telephonic privacy invasions represent a fundamental assault on “freedom of information, the right to personal privacy and data integrity, the right to communicate freely.”

With information on Thales “Autonomous facility for IP Monitoring,” aka IP Tr@pper, the Siemens Intelligence Platform, Force10 Networks “10 Gigabit Packet Filtering” presentation to the NSA “for high speed government surveillance,” to the Verint (formerly Comverse Infosys) “STAR-GATE interception system,” the Quintessenz project “ties the room together” on state and corporate assaults on our fundamental right to free speech and privacy.As Antifascist Calling has previously reported (see: “America’s Cyborg Warriors,” July 23, 2008) such “technophilic” moves arise during a period when “restless natives”–on the contested, resource rich terrain of the global South and increasingly, within the Western “homeland” itself–are challenging the economic, political and social hegemony of “actually existing capitalism.” As Durham University geographer Stephen Graham wrote,

Here, attention should fall in particular on the ways in which biopolitical stipulations of the worth–or lack of worth–of human subjects are, quite literally, cast into the software code that operates increasingly automated and multi-scale surveillance, targeting and killing systems. Thus, the new technoscience of the urbanized RMA [Revolution in Military Affairs] concentrates on distinguishing ‘normal’ urban space-times and ecologies in the global north, so that the apparatus of an increasingly militarized police state can be used to discipline those deemed ‘abnormal’. (Stephen Graham, “Surveillance, urbanization, and the ‘Revolution in Military Affairs’,” in D. Lyon, Theorizing Surveillance, Uffculme, Devon: Willan Publishing, 2006, p. 264)

And as we have seen in recent surveillance scandals in the U.S. and elsewhere, those deemed “abnormal” include: union organizers, antiwar activists, socialist parties, antiglobalization campaigners, environmentalists, animal rights activists, civil liberties and human rights organizations, the list goes on and on. Indeed, from the point of view of state security agencies and their outsourced corporate partners, potentially “abnormal” or at least politically “suspect” individuals encompass the vast majority of citizens.

Finally, as the West’s “terrorism industry” continues to grow at a rate directly proportional to capitalism’s economic decline, we can expect that enterprising corporate grifters will flood DARPA with proposals to make “Project Gandalf” a reality.
© Copyright Tom Burghardt, Antifascist Calling…, 2008

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10623

see

Multibillion “Homeland Security” Market: Telecoms Assist in NSA Spy Operations

America’s Cyborg Warriors by Tom Burghardt

Domestic Spying

DARPA

Big Brother – 1984

Burghardt-Tom

Google’s A.I. quest to become God-On-Earth by Ignorance Is Bliss

(Lots of pictures and links on his blog post)

Ignorance Isn’t Bliss

By Ignorance Isn’t Bliss
Featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Oct 12, 2008
Ignorance Is Futile

The vision of Google’s future, according to Google co-founder, Sergey Brin, is “it would be like the mind of God”. And it’s a future that they’re working feverishly to make a reality today.

While that quote was in reference to “the ultimate search engine”, this analysis is going to make it more than clear that he was in fact referring to Google in particular. In doing so, we’ll see numerous other quotes demonstrating their intentions, what they mean by “all of the worlds information”, how they’re on precisely the right path to achieve their goal with the U.S. military in this vast project that is set to change humanity forever.

“AI” is actually too “narrow” of a term for a cognitive system, but a “broad” cognitive system would contain many narrow AI parts. To even contemplate the notion of cognitive “Artificial General Intelligence” one must first embrace emergence. Emergence is the key to all complex systems that could be considered in attempting to create a model for an AGI system. Google’s methodology in their quest is to exploit and harness the powers of emergence, while adding ‘parts’ that perform cognitive tasks in their own right. The idea is to push the term superorganism to the fullest potential. The insights are the ant colony, and the beehive. The models are the Internet, and the human brain. The entire premise of emergence is ‘the sum is greater than its parts’.

[…]

via *EXCLUSIVE: Google’s A.I. quest to become God-On-Earth. « Ignorance Is Futile!

Electronic binoculars from Northrop Grumman team to detect threats through brain activity

Dandelion Salad

Military & Aerospace Electronics
23 Aug. 2008

LINTHICUM, Md., 23 Aug. 2008. Everyone who has ever watched the Star Wars films from George Lucas has probably at one moment wished they had Jedi abilities such as mind control or what Lucas called Jedi reflexes – knowing something will happen a second before it does.

A team led by Northrop Grumman’s Electronic Systems Sector is looking to bring a similar threat detection capability to warfighters as part of an advanced research contract to develop a panoramic day/night optical system that will utilize human brain activity to detect, analyze, and alert foot-soldiers to possible threats.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), in Arlington, Va., awarded the contract, which is for the first phase of the Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System program, or CT2WS.

DARPA officials say the CT2WS will function as an intelligent neuro-optical system, using the stimuli sensed by brain activity to detect targets at long-range over a wide field of view.

[…]

Electronic binoculars from Northrop Grumman team to detect threats through brain activity – Military & Aerospace Electronics.

h/t: CLG

Neuroscience, National Security & the “War on Terror” by Tom Burghardt

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, July 29, 2008
Antifascist Calling…

Operating with little ethical oversight, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been tapping cutting-edge advances in neuroscience, computers and robotics in a quest to build the “perfect warfighter.”

Continue reading

America’s Cyborg Warriors by Tom Burghardt

Dandelion Salad

Global Research, July 23, 2008
Antifascist Calling…

As the costs of imperialist war skyrocket, securocrats find themselves under the gun so to speak, of corporate and Pentagon masters demanding “results.”

No matter that the solutions sought are for “smart” weapons–particularly those that “think”–systems they believe capable of dominating global south and “homeland” cities. This quest for technological mastery has been dubbed by Pentagon theorists as “network-centric warfare” (Rumsfeld’s “Revolution in Military Affairs” [RMA]) a “transformational” process that turn cities, any city, into a limitless “battlespace.”

Indeed, current U.S. Army doctrine for fighting in urban environments define the problem as central to U.S. “national security,”

As urbanization has changed the demographic landscape, potential enemies recognize the inherent danger and complexity of this environment to the attacker, and may view it as their best chance to negate the technological and firepower advantages of modernized opponents. Given the global population trends and the likely strategies and tactics of future threats, Army forces will likely conduct operations in, around, and over urban areas–not as a matter of fate, but as a deliberate choice linked to national security objectives and strategy, and at a time, place, and method of the commander’s choosing. (Urban Operations, Field Manual No. 3-06, Headquarters, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C., October 26, 2006) [emphasis added]

Key to RMA is the belief that contemporary military operations aim for defined effects and that it is now possible for U.S. forces to defeat adversaries through a combination of surveillance technologies, devastating firepower and the suppression and degradation of communications networks. Durham University geographer Stephen Graham has deemed such notional irrationality by U.S. war planners “technophilia.” Graham avers:

[S]uch technophiliac discourses depicting an RMA ushering new relatively reduced-risk, ‘clean’ and painless strategy of US military dominance assumed that the vast networks of sensors and weapons that needed to be integrated and connected to project US power would work uninterruptedly. Global scales of flow and connection have thus dominated RMA discourses; technological mastery, omnipotent surveillance, real-time ‘situational awareness’, and speed-of-light digital interactions, have been widely portrayed as processes which, intrinsically, would usher in US military ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’, on a planetary scale, irrespective of the geographical terrain that was to be dominated. (“From Space to Street Corners: Global South Cities and US Military Technophilia,” Unpublished paper, 2007)

Bloodied by “facts on the ground” in Iraq and Afghanistan however, and despite imperialism’s much-vaunted technological superiority, America’s techno-warriors continue searching for “Holy Grail” solutions to the political quandary they have confronted since the Vietnam war: how to achieve “victory” in environments that have proven themselves deadly quagmires, humiliating object lessons never learned by the world’s sole “hyperpower”?

In a world of supercomputers, complex algorithms and emerging nanotechnologies, the Pentagon’s research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is the “tip of the spear” that our capitalist masters are banking on to “win” the “war on terror.” And in this world, surveillance is the gateway and ubiquitous key to controlling the counterinsurgency “battlespace.”

Portrayed in media accounts as a “gee-whiz” agency of nerds and quirky misfits, DARPA researchers were instrumental in designing–or appropriating for military use–the surveillance technologies deployed by the National Security Agency (NSA) under president Bush’s so-called “Terrorist Surveillance Program.”

As Tim Shorrock points out in his essential book, Spies For Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing, DARPA “money…funded some of the NSA’s first data mining programs.” Indeed, Shorrock reported recently in Salon that the NSA’s surveillance program is directly tied into state “Continuity of Government” planning including use of the Main Core database,

According to several former U.S. government officials with extensive knowledge of intelligence operations, Main Core in its current incarnation apparently contains a vast amount of personal data on Americans, including NSA intercepts of bank and credit card transactions and the results of surveillance efforts by the FBI, the CIA and other agencies. One former intelligence official described Main Core as “an emergency internal security database system” designed for use by the military in the event of a national catastrophe, a suspension of the Constitution or the imposition of martial law. Its name, he says, is derived from the fact that it contains “copies of the ‘main core’ or essence of each item of intelligence information on Americans produced by the FBI and the other agencies of the U.S. intelligence community.” (“Exposing Bush’s historic abuse of power,” Salon, July 23, 2008)

The secretive nature of the program is so highly sensitive, Shorrock reports, that when a former senior Justice Department official mentioned Main Core to an intelligence analyst stationed inside the White House after the 9/11 attacks “he turned white as a sheet.” One can only wonder what role DARPA and their “outsourced” corporate partners played in updating Main Core or programs similar to it.

Like The Minority Report, Only ScarierUnfortunately, we don’t have to look very far to discover traces of these all-encompassing surveillance projects.
One example was  a 2003 DARPA program called “Combat Zones That See” (CTS). The plan was to install thousands of digital CCTV networks across occupied cities in the belief that once the system was deployed they would provide “warfighters” with “motion-pattern analysis across whole city scales.” CTS would create a nexus for mass tracking of individual cars and people through algorithms linked to the numeric recognition of license plate numbers and scanned-in human profiles.The program was denounced by privacy and civil liberties advocates’ for its potential use as a mass surveillance system that could just as easily be deployed on the streets of American cities. In theory CTS, or a similar program could be further “enhanced” by Scaleable Network Social Analysis (SSNA), originally designed for DARPA’s infamous Information Awareness Office run by convicted Iran-Contra felon John Poindexter.

SSNA’s aim is “to model networks of connections like social interactions, financial transactions, telephone calls, and organizational memberships,” according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s 2003 analysis. Once license plate numbers are “mined” from raw CCTV footage, investigators could: a) identify a car’s owner; b) examine her/his web-surfing habits; c) scan e-mail accounts for traces of “inflammatory rhetoric;” d) monitor recent purchases for “suspicious” items.

After the program was uncovered, all traces of CTS have since disappeared from DARPA’s website. However, the program has been farmed-out across the agency. I will explore some of the “innovative” solutions that DARPA securocrats are investigating to “improve” imperialist “warfighting” capabilities, particularly those falling under the purview of Military Operations on Urban Terrain. As should become clear, all of the applications described below are “dual-use,” that is, they are readily adaptable for “counterterrorist” purposes here at home.

Lifting the “Fog of War”The Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO) describes its “mission” as one that “will lift the fog of war,” in order to “understand the world. From sensing to cognition, we bring the future of computing to the warfighter.”

IPTO is divided into six “thrust areas:” Cognitive Systems, Command & Control, High Productivity Computing, Language Processing, Sensors & Processing, Emerging Technologies. Each “thrust area” is further subdivided into a score of projects, the majority of which are concerned with developing technologies to “control the battlespace” of occupied cities.

The Cognitive Systems office is currently working on a project called Learning Applied to Ground Robots (LAGR), a system “to develop a new generation of learned perception and control algorithms for autonomous ground vehicles, and to integrate these learned algorithms with a highly capable robotic ground vehicle.” In other words, ground-based “killer robots” that can act on their own volition and “take out” insurgents independent of any human control. Early, human-controlled versions of these systems have been deployed in Iraq. Corporate and university grifters Applied Systems Intelligence, BAE Systems, Carnegie Mellon University, Florida A&M University, General Dynamics, and SRI International among others are jointly working on the project in alliance with DARPA and the Army Research Laboratory’s Robotics Collaborative Technology Alliance.

The Command & Control brief is described as “the exercise of authority and direction by a properly designated commander over assigned and attached forces in the accomplishment of a mission. Without question the missions faced by our warfighters today (such as counterinsurgency) and the operational environments (such as cities) are more complex and dangerous than ever before.” To achieve “situational dominance,” the following projects are in the works:

Deep Green, an “innovative approach to using simulation to support ongoing military operations while they are being conducted.” According to Wired defense analyst Noah Shachtman, software suites designed include “Blitzkrieg” which will model “battlespace” alternatives and “Crystal Ball,” a program that “will take information coming into a headquarters to figure out which scenarios are most likely to happen, and which plans are likely to work best.” As if to drive home the importance of Deep Green to Darpacrats, major corporate grifter Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) was awarded a $42 million contract in June for work on the project, according to Washington Technology.

Heterogeneous Airborne Reconnaissance Team (HART) (formerly known as “HURT”–the acronym says it all!) is described by DARPA thusly: “The complexity of counter-insurgency operations especially in the urban combat environment demands multiple sensing modes for agility and for persistent, ubiquitous coverage. The HART system implements collaborative control of reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition (RSTA) assets, so that the information can be made available to warfighters at every echelon.” According to its website, major capitalist grifter Northrop Grumman is designing a suite of tools to be used with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) capable of operating below 100 feet.

The Persistent Operational Surface Surveillance and Engagement (POSSE), program “is building a real-time, all-source exploitation system to provide Indications and Warnings of insurgent activity derived from airborne and ground-based sensors. Envisioning a day when our sensors can be integrated into a cohesive ‘ISR Force’, it’s building an integrated suite of signal processing, pattern analysis, and collection management software that will increase reliability, reduce manpower, and speed up responses.” According to the Defense Update website, SAIC “was awarded” a $32 million contract to work on the project for the U.S. Air Force.

The Sensors & Processing “thrust area” of IPTO states that since “U.S. forces and sensors” are “networked across” services and domains, new means are required to “manage” these increasingly complex systems. Since “future battlefields will continue to be populated with targets that use mobility and concealment as key survival tactics, and high-value targets will range from quiet submarines, to mobile missile/artillery, to specific individual insurgents,” therefore, “sensor processing, sensor fusing and information management” will provide the “warfighter” with the ability for “pervasive and persistent surveillance of the battlespace and detection, identification, tracking, engagement and battle damage assessment for high-value targets in all weather conditions and in all possible combat environments.”

One program, UrbanScape claims it will “provide the warfighters patrolling an urban environment with an up-to-date, high resolution model of the urban terrain that can be viewed, manipulated and analyzed. The overall objective of the program is to make the foreign city as ‘familiar as the soldier’s backyard’.” Or perhaps, provide the “warfighter” with a “high resolution model” of his own backyard! The project is a “collaborative venture” of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Kentucky, one of whose researchers now sits on the board of SET Corporation’s Management “team.” Small world (of leveraging DARPA “expertise” into big bucks!)

We turn next to DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office (STO). STO’s “mission” is “to focus on technologies that have a global or theater-wide impact and that involve multiple Services.” Among the more than five dozen projects in the works we find the following:

Integrated Sensor Is Structure (ISIS), whose goal is to develop and deploy a “stratospheric airship based autonomous unmanned sensor with years of persistence in surveillance and tracking of air and ground targets.” Essentially a large blimp that can hover at some 70,000 feet for years over a “target” city, ISIS engineers are currently developing ultra-lightweight antennas for the system. According to Defense Industry Daily, major corporate defense grifters who have received tens of millions of dollars in funding for ISIS include Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman.

VisiBuilding will address “a pressing need in urban warfare: seeing inside buildings.” This Orwellian project proposes to 1) determine building layouts; 2) find anomalous quantities of materials and 3) locate people within the building. VisiBuilding “will develop knowledge-deriving architectures for sensing people and objects in buildings” in order to “find which buildings should be searched, through detailed assessment of targeted structures for building layouts and behavioral analysis, live updates of building occupancy to support building raids, and finally post-mission analysis to find hidden objects or people.”

A perfect tool for “snatch squad” specialists deployed to “render” suspect “targets” during counterinsurgency or police operations! According to Washington Technology, SAIC pulled down a $5.2 million contract for initial work on the project.
ConclusionAs can be seen in the brief survey above, DARPA projects seek to enhance U.S. capabilities for dominating “target” cities. But let’s not kid ourselves, cities are viewed by corporate grifters who reap the rewards in “outsourced” multibillion dollar contracts and the securocrats who deploy these systems, as no more than killing fields and occupation zones. What does this say about a predatory system that regard human beings as so much expendable waste to be targeted, tracked and when expedient, killed by machines controlled by other human beings thousands of miles away?America’s techno-warriors and their corporatist masters most certainly plan to field such systems in the “homeland” itself. Viewed as exemplary means to control “restless natives” in the imperialist metropolis, surveillance technologies replete with biometric “smart cards,” highly politicized terrorist “watch lists,” sensor and tracking equipment are the “speartip” of a technical-scientific counterrevolution, neoliberal globalization’s “dark side.”

Deployed in U.S. and European cities along with the other accoutrements of an emerging police state–data mining, internet and cell phone surveillance–in the final analysis, these systems represent not the strength, but rather the precarious nature of capitalism’s entire geopolitical project. However, that doesn’t make them any less deadly–or dangerous–to a functioning democracy.

© Copyright Tom Burghardt, Antifascist Calling…, 2008

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9659

see

Air Force Cyber Command: Building the Infrastructure for High-Tech War Crimes

Attention Geeks & Hackers: Uncle Sam’s Cyber Force Wants You!

Homeland Security’s Space-Based Spiesby Tom Burghardt

Air Force Aims for ‘Full Control’ of ‘Any and All’ Computers

Simulating Urban Warfare by Tom Burghardt

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, July 17, 2008
Antifascist Calling…

In Planet of Slums, socialist historian Mike Davis mapped the brutal urban realities shared by more than one billion of the earth’s inhabitants, unmoored by neoliberal globalization from the “formal” world economy. From Baghdad to Karachi and from Lagos to Los Angeles and beyond, as ever-broader segments of the world’s population are transformed into “a surplus humanity,” the master class presents “no scenario” for ameliorating the immiseration it has itself designed through the “normal” functioning of a grotesque system of exploitation and injustice.

The vast expansion of planetary slum zones amid sumptuary wealth and dystopian high-rise palaces of glass and steel patrolled 24/7 by armed sentries, are future portents of a regime where the savage inequalities of the “free market” go hand in hand with the terminal vacuousness of the “Real Housewives of Orange County.” As economist Michel Chossudovsky points out, the current economic crisis gripping late capitalism is hardly an accident of history:

…downsizing, corporate restructuring and relocation of production to cheap labor havens in the Third World have been conducive to increased levels of unemployment and significantly lower earnings to urban workers and farmers. This new international economic order feeds on human poverty and cheap labor: high levels of national unemployment in both developed and developing countries have contributed to depressing real wages. Unemployment has been internationalized, with capital migrating from one country to another in a perpetual search for cheaper supplies of labor. (The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order, 2nd edition, Shanty Bay, ON: Global Outlook, 2003, p. 6)

Under existent conditions, a racist discourse of “feral cities” haunts the imagination of military theoreticians. Considered a “breeding ground” of subversion by ruling class economists, politicians and sociologists, the urban battles of the future are being “wargamed” today.

Military Operations on Urban Terrain and Other Horrors of a Horrible System

Pentagon strategists refer to their doctrine of urban warfighting as Military Operations on Urban Terrain (MOUT). But urban warfare pose multiple risks and challenges for military planners; not least of which are recognizing “targets” across a complex environment of multistory apartment blocks, small- and large scale industrial infrastructure, power grids, political and cultural centers, sports complexes, houses of worship and transportation hubs.

Fraught with problems not readily amenable to technological “fixes,” Durham University geographer Stephen Graham cites one military theorist’s view of the conundrums faced by 21st century “warfighters”,

“Urban operations represent a black hole in the current Revolution in Military Affairs pantheon of technological advantage […]. The technologies traditionally ascribed to the current Revolution in Military Affairs phenomenon will have negligible impact on Military Operations in Urban Terrain.” (cited in Stephen Graham, “From Space to Street Corners: Global South Cities and U.S. Military Technophilia,” Unpublished paper, 2007)

Indeed, there is a powerful imperative driving military strategists and their political masters: the stark recognition that capital’s economic/political project for domination is an acute failure, one which is creating conditions for chronic “low-intensity warfare” campaigns in cities against a panoply of “insurgent forces.”

In Venezuela for example, autonomous groups such as the 23 de Enero People’s Army, the “Tupamaros,” La Piedrita, Militia Zero, the Zapatista Collective or the Revolutionary Movement of Bolivarian Defense, neighborhood organizations of battle-hardened veterans who have at best, a strained relationship with Hugo Chávez’s Bolivarian government, will form the backbone of armed resistance to any outside intervention or internal counterrevolution by Venezuela’s CIA-NED-financed elite “opposition.” As George Ciccariello-Maher describes:

It was in [the] context of repression that the Venezuelan popular militia movement was born. Neither entirely clandestine nor fully open, small groups began to spring up to defend local barrios from both the state and the burgeoning parallel violence of narcotrafficking. Small groups, masked and armed, began to make semi-public appearances, giving an ultimatum to local drug dealers: either you stop selling drugs or you’ll be killed. The police, too, found themselves all the more frequently victims of armed ambushes and shootouts with masked militias. In order to explain this phenomenon, the police, government officials, and even more appreciative local residents adopted a single moniker, derived from the Uruguayan urban guerrilla struggle: in mythical fashion, these militias were deemed “Tupamaros.” (George Ciccariello-Maher, “Embedded with the the ‘Tupamaros’,” MR Zine, 23 April 2008)

Masters and mistresses of American barrios and “ghettoes,” Brazilian favelas and South Asian chawls where even police fear to tread, rapid urbanization has radically undermined the high-tech advantages built-up by the U.S. since the dawn of the Cold War, thwarting American fantasies of “dominating the battlespace” through “network-centric warfare” (NCW).

According to NCW theory, an alleged “information advantage” is leveraged into a competitive warfighting upper hand through “robust networking” of well-informed, though geographically dispersed forces. But as the U.S. military discovered in Iraq, the high-tech systems built at a cost of tens of billions of dollars were brought to ground by disposable cell phones, garage door openers, twenty year old ordnance and the will to resist. Multiply radical neighborhood militias such as the “Tupamaros” on a planetary scale and it becomes abundantly clear that imperialism has its work cut out for it!

The political realities of urban combat inhibit the tactical requirements necessary to “secure” an urban “battlespace.” Short of obliterating a city as the United States did during its series of destructive campaigns in Fallujah in 2003-2004, military options are fairly limited. Resorting to overwhelming force in the absence of broad political support in the area is hardly the way to win “hearts and minds,” as the Pentagon discovered much to its horror in Vietnam during the 1968 Tet Offensive, when the U.S. simultaneously achieved a fleeting tactical victory and a devastating strategic defeat.

As a result of recent urban combat debacles, MOUT strategists are building simulated cities in the American outback as a “living laboratory” for protracted combat operations in an urban environment.

Mainly as a consequence of widespread opposition to 1999 “Urban Warrior” exercises when the Marine Corps’ Urban Warfighting Laboratory and U.S. Army Special Forces staged “realistic” war games on the streets of American cities, the Pentagon is creating entire pseudo landscapes and ghostly architectures: the urban space transformed into a militarist simulacrum.

Bryan Finoki, the editor of Subtopia: A Field Guide to Urban Militarism writes:

Somewhere out there in the restricted strata of Defense real estate the Marine Corps is taking over cities in an imaginary Third World that have been grafted and turned into some sort of urban template for a spectacularly unseen militarized stage show. There are multiple MOUT facilities all over the world, but in addition to two that already exist at Twentynine Palms, there is a brand new site cropping up along the fringes that’s being called CAMOUT, or Combined-Arms Military Operations in Urban Terrain. Pronounced “K-MOUT”, it is expected to be the Mecca, so to speak, of the entire MOUT program. (“MOUT Urbanism,” Subtopia, February 23, 2008)

Covering some 280 acres, a half-hour’s drive from the Marine Corps’ Twentynine Palms Air Ground Combat Center the training facility is “roughly the size of downtown San Diego,” journalist Kelly O’Sulllivan writes. CAMOUT “will feature an Olympic-size soccer stadium, a hospital, airport, large marketplace, prison, police compounds, schools, an industrial center, extensive underground tunnel systems and two embassies.”

And at a cost of some $250 million, CAMOUT is slated to be the largest such facility owned by the Defense Department. Orbiting somewhere between war and entertainment, the Pentagon is designing a disquieting netherworld, a series of Potemkin villages whose sole purpose is to perfect its apparatus of death and destruction.

Stephen Graham writes:

The global complex of urban warfare training cities involve a different relationship to political violence to the atom-bombed suburban homes or fire-bombed tenements and rice-paper structures of the 20th century. For here, the simulation is not designed to sustain attempts at outright urban annihilation through total war. Rather, its purpose is to hone skills of occupation, counter-insurgency warfare, and urban remodelling via expeditionary, colonial war. (“Theme Park Archipelago: Simulating War in an Urbanizing World,” Unpublished paper, 2007)

Constructed for the maximum recreation of war’s nightmare and horror, these simulated cities are filled with dazzling special effects courtesy of Hollywood. In addition to “realistic” settings and “culturally accurate” renditions of Middle Eastern architecture, these deranged spaces feature an array of olfactory sensations such as “…dead bodies, burning rubber, diesel fumes.” According to special effects wizard Manuel Chaves who runs the urban warfare site at Fort Wainright, Alaska: “I can do nine different buildings, nine different smells. Generally, if it’s a burning building, we put something really nasty in there like burning bodies.”

A $13 million facility built on a 30 acre site in Fort Knox, Kentucky named Zussman village is able to accommodate “hundreds of role-playing ‘insurgents,’ who dress in keffiyehs and are armed with AK47s and RPGs.” According to Graham, “a ‘Third World’ slum is being constructed near the railroad.”

To emphasize the importance of urban warfare simulation in current military doctrine, in 2006 Congress commissioned the RAND Corporation to produce a report on the efficacy of current training facilities. RAND did, and with a characteristic racist subtext to boot.

RAND researchers evaluated training facilities for their architectural and infrastructural “realism” in mirroring conditions allegedly present in the “megaslums” of the global south. Those with “clutter/debris/filth,” “slums/shanty towns/walled compounds,” “subterranean complexes” and simulated “government, hospital/prison/asylum structures,” scored highest according to Graham.

Adding to the mix, RAND researchers recommended that U.S. military planners consider the possibility of “appropriating” entire “ghost towns” within the continental U.S., in other words, cities that have been deindustrialized and largely abandoned. RAND “specialists” conclude: “the use of abandoned towns has moved beyond the concept phase into what might be considered the early test and development phase.”

Graham reports that attention was focused on the virtually abandoned copper-mining town of Playas, New Mexico. The town has also been used extensively by the Department of Homeland Security for training anti-suicide bomb squads. Apparently, the destruction of U.S. manufacturing, mining and industrial infrastructure under the pressure of neoliberal globalization is viewed as a “plus” in some quarters.

“Over the course of time, towns and cities eventually die,” writes Steve Rowell of the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Culver City, California. “Despite this and despite the receding U.S. economy, the industries of defense and disaster preparedness are flourishing, reversing this trend in some of the most remote areas of the nation. The war on terror is redefining the American pastoral in an unexpected way.” In the case of Playas, its new role is “as a generic American suburb under simulated attack.” And, in future, as a simulated “Arab city” where U.S. “warfighters” come to hone skills for expeditionary war, Graham reports.

Despite adverse publicity generated by “Urban Warrior” exercises, RAND analysts insist they continue. Indeed, such displays of militarist omniscience will be even more necessary in the future because “no purpose-built urban training site and no simulation for many years to come will be able to present the heterogeneity and complexity of a modern megalopolis.”

Am I BLUE?

But wargaming isn’t the only front where simulated urban battles are being fought and refought. Enter the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Under contract to DARPA, capitalist grifter Computer Science Corporation, combined electronic mapping and satellite image technology to create purely electronic representations of cities that are, or may in the future, come under the purview of U.S. military occupation. Scores of cities around the world are being electronically mapped by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) in order to create a “virtualized reality” for U.S. “warfighters.”

Within complex simulation models, the structures of Middle Eastern or indeed, any city, have been classified using “Urban Terrain Zones” based “on international databases of the construction materials and practices used in the different parts of target cities: steel, glass and concrete in city cores, older brick, stone or mud in casbahs,” Graham informs us.

And even larger simulations of global south megacities are providing grist for the murderous mill of U.S. military “gamers” as they imagine full-scale counterinsurgent warfare well into the future. One electronic simulation, “Urban Resolve,” has actually mapped an eight square mile swathe of Jakarta, Indonesia in three dimensions! According to Graham, “this has been done down to the interior of the (1.6 million) buildings, and also involves 109,000 mobile ‘vehicles’ and ‘civilians,’ as well as the subterranean infrastructures.”

Such projects are expanding exponentially. Under the heading, Urban Reasoning and Geospatial Exploitation Technology (URGENT), DARPA’s Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO), is searching for “new technologies” to defeat urban insurgencies. According to IPTO’s “Mission Statement” on the program

The recognition of targets in urban environments poses unique operational challenges for the warfighter. … Today’s urban missions involve analyzing a multitude of urban objects in the area of regard. As military operations in urban regions have grown, the need to identify urban objects has become an important requirement for the military. Understanding the locations, shapes, and classifications of objects is needed for a broad range of pressing urban mission planning analytical queries.

A related program, Building Labels for Urban Environments (BLUE),

seeks innovative approaches that exploits surveillance video data to classify buildings automatically. In addition to visual feature data such as color and line orientation, video captures data concerning motion over time. The latter affords the opportunity for automated recognition of patterns in moving objects in the vicinity of buildings. These motion patterns may be reliable indicators of a building’s function. BLUE technology should be able to learn patterns that distinguish building types and to process video from surveillance video data, such as that collected from high-endurance military UAV platforms, to label buildings correctly.

As we have seen, the U.S. ruling class is intent on deploying its entire high-tech arsenal against the global south and perhaps someday soon, on the streets of American cities. Tied intimately into the defense, computing, entertainment and “homeland security” industries, the Pentagon’s quixotic quest to “dominate the battlespace,” is reflective of the precariousness of the entire U.S. neocolonial project in the post-Cold War world.

Despite its abject failure against urban insurgents in Iraq, the U.S. military’s obsession with building simulation models of urban landscapes and electronic mapping suites of real cities tell us a great deal about the masters’ preoccupation–and fear–with the direction things are heading.

© Copyright Tom Burghardt, Antifascist Calling…, 2008

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9601

“Keeping America Safe”- from the Constitution by Tom Burghardt

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, July 3, 2008
Antifascist Calling…

Total Information Awareness Finds its “Second Life” at IARPA

Like countless resurrections of Freddy Krueger, it appears that John Poindexter’s Total Information Awareness (TIA) program has found a new, more accommodating home for its “mission” of “keeping America safe”–from the Constitution–at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA).

According to McClatchy investigative journalist Warren Strobel,

IARPA … is the U.S. intelligence community’s counterpart to DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which has been in business for more than 35 years and is meant to be a small, flexible R&D agency that funds high-risk, but potentially high-payoff technologies. (“What’s IARPA?”, McClatchy Washington Bureau, June 30, 2008)

Continue reading

Air Force Aims for ‘Full Control’ of ‘Any and All’ Computers

Dandelion Salad

By Noah Shachtman
blog.wired.com
May 13, 2008

The Air Force wants a suite of hacker tools, to give it “access” to — and “full control” of — any kind of computer there is. And once the info warriors are in, the Air Force wants them to keep tabs on their “adversaries’ information infrastructure completely undetected.”

The government is growing increasingly interested in waging war online. The Air Force recently put together a “Cyberspace Command,” with a charter to rule networks the way its fighter jets rule the skies. The Department of Homeland Security, Darpa, and other agencies are teaming up for a five-year, $30 billion “national cybersecurity initiative.” That includes an electronic test range, where federally-funded hackers can test out the latest electronic attacks. “You used to need an army to wage a war,” a recent Air Force commercial notes. “Now, all you need is an Internet connection.”

…continued

h/t: CLG

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Global Gridlock: How the US Military-Industrial Complex Seeks to Contain & Control the Earth & it’s Eco-System

War in Heaven – The Arms Race in Outer Space

The Pentagon’s Electronic Warfare Program: Maximum Control of the Entire Electro-Magnetic Spectrum Part 2 by Brent Jessop

DHS Holds Cyber Storm II Exercise to Further Cyber Security Preparedness & Response Capabilities

Cyber Warfare on the Rise – Don’t rely on the internet (video)

Journalists, bloggers are threats in terror drill (video link)

DARPA

America’s Chemically Modified 21st Century Soldiers

Dandelion Salad

By Clayton Dach
http://www.alternet.org
Adbusters
May 3, 2008

Armed with potent drugs and new technology, a dangerous breed of soldiers are being trained to fight America’s future wars.

Amphetamines and the military first met somewhere in the fog of WWII, when axis and allied forces alike were issued speed tablets to head off fatigue on the battlefield.

More than 60 years later, the U.S. Air Force still doles out dextro-amphetamine to pilots whose duties do not afford them the luxury of sleep.

Through it all, it seems, the human body and its fleshy weaknesses keep getting in the way of warfare. Just as in the health clinics of the nation, the first waypoint in the military effort to redress these foibles is a pharmaceutical one. The catch is, we’re really not that great at it. In the case of speed, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency itself notes a few unwanted snags like addiction, anxiety, aggression, paranoia and hallucinations. For side-effects like insomnia, the Air Force issues “no-go” pills like temazepam alongside its “go” pills. Psychosis, though, is a wee bit trickier.

Far from getting discouraged, the working consensus appears to be that we just haven’t gotten the drugs right yet. In recent years, the U.S., the UK and France — among others — have reportedly been funding investigations into a new line-up of military performance enhancers. The bulk of these drugs are already familiar to us from the lists of substances banned by international sporting bodies, including the stimulant ephedrine, non-stimulant “wakefulness promoting agents” like modafinil (aka Provigil) and erythropoietin, used to improve endurance by boosting the production of red blood cells.

As the chemical interventions grow bolder and more sophisticated, we should not be surprised that some are beginning to cast their eyes beyond droopy eyelids and sore muscles. Chief among the new horizons is the alluring notion of psychological prophylactics: drugs used to pre-empt the often nasty effects of combat stress on soldiers, particularly that perennial veteran’s bugaboo known as post-traumatic stress disorder syndrome. In the U.S., where roughly two-fifths of troops returning from combat deployments are presenting serious mental health problems, PTSD has gone political in form of the Psychological Kevlar Act, which would direct the Secretary of Defense to implement “preventive and early-intervention measures” to protect troops against “stress-related psychopathologies.”

…continued

h/t: Civilly disobedient

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Global Gridlock: How the US Military-Industrial Complex Seeks to Contain & Control the Earth & it’s Eco-System

Dandelion Salad

by Dr. Kingsley Dennis
Global Research, March 31, 2008

Introduction

The Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges once famously wrote of a great Empire that created a map that was so detailed it was as large as the Empire itself. The actual map itself grew and decayed as the Empire itself conquered or lost territory. When the Empire finally crumbled, all that remained was the map. In some sense we can say that it is the map in which we live; we occupy a location within a simulation of reality. Although semanticists say that ‘the map is not the territory’, within this digitised age the territory is increasingly becoming the map and the separation between the physical and the digitised rendition is blurring. In this context, to ‘know the map’ gives priority to intervene upon the physical. In recent years many of us have been scrambling to get ‘on the Net’ and thus be ‘mapped’; within a few years we may find that living ‘off the Net’ will no longer be an option.

It is my argument that the future direction of present technological emergence is one that seeks to go beyond networks; rather it is towards ubiquitous technologies that offer a complete immersive (or rather ‘sub-mersive’) experience of a digitised environment. With networks there is always the possibility of moving into the grey and illusive areas in-between. These are the areas where the networks do not, or cannot, cover; neglected zones of poverty and risk, and insecure zones of warlord regions, and smuggling zones. With immersive technological mapping there may one day be no ‘spaces in-between’; the distinction between ‘in’ and ‘out’ dissolved; boundaries melted away under the digital gaze. In this article I argue that the US military-industrial complex is attempting to gain full dominance over the complete information spectrum, including dominating the electro-magnetic spectrum and the Internet, in order to gain full total coverage for purposes of containment and control.

Moving Towards Full Spectrum Dominance

As is now well-known, in 2002 the US Pentagon’s DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) responded to the alleged lack of intelligence data after the September 11th attacks by establishing the ‘Total Information Awareness’ office, commandeered by John Poindexter1. According to Poindexter’s own words,

“We must be able to detect, classify, identify, and track…This is a high level, visionary, functional view of the world-wide system…The mission here is to take the competing hypotheses from the analytical environment and estimate a range of plausible futures. The objective is to identify common nodes, representing situations that could occur, and to explore the probable impact of various actions or interventions that authorities might make in response to these situations.” (Poindexter, 2002)

The latest program in this surveillance project is the Space Based Infrared System (called SBIRS High) that aims to track all global infra-red signatures as well as, what is termed, ‘counterspace situational awareness’ (Dinerman, 2004). The 80s ‘Star Wars’ missile defence project of Reaganite US security policy has been craftily converted into intercepting today’s ‘enemy’: not necessarily rogue missiles, but information and domestic ‘earth-bound’ security. The US military also has in operation the IKONOS remote sensing satellite, which travels at 17, 000 mph 423 miles into space, circumnavigating the globe every 98 minutes, with a 3-foot resolution capacity. Such satellites belong to the private company Space Imaging Inc, who work for the military due to US law that restricts the US government operating upon their own soil (Brzezinski, 2004). Also, the US military RADARSAT satellite uses radar to see through clouds, smoke and dust. The US National Security Agency (NSA) utilizes top of the range KEYHOLE-11 satellites that have a 10-inch resolution, which means headlines can be read from someone sitting on a bench in Iran, although this resolution remains officially unacknowledged (Brzezinski, 2004).

As an example of more distributed and networked ‘industrial/civil surveillance’, many bridges within North America have acoustic sensors and underwater sonar devices anchored to the base of the bridges to check for the presence of divers, to prevent anyone from placing explosives on the riverbed. These devices are then linked to a central hub for monitoring information feedback. Such post 9-11 fears have led to the setting up of USHomeGuard, a private company established by Jay Walker (founder of Priceline.com), which utilises over a million webcams to watch over 47,000 pieces of critical infrastructure across the US, eg; pipelines, chemical plants, bridges, dams. These webcams are monitored continuously by observers working from home (Brzezinski, 2004). Crandall sees this as a part of the emerging ‘contemporary regime of spectacle…machine-aided process of disciplinary attentiveness, embodied in practice, that is bound up within the demands of a new production and security regime’ (Crandall, 2005). This operational practice, as Crandall sees it, confirms a ‘codification of movement’ and ‘manoeuvres of strategic possibility’, and leading to a ‘resurgence in temporal and locational specificity’ (Crandall, 2005). This is directly related with the US military construction towards an agenda of complete coverage: in their terms, ‘full spectrum dominance’2. In 1997 the Chief of Staff of the US Air Force predicted that within three years ‘we shall be capable of finding, tracking, and targeting virtually in real time any significant element moving on the face of the earth’ (cited in Crandall, 2005).

Perhaps a little premature yet it appears that the US military-industrial machine is attempting to enclose the global open system; to transform it and enmesh it within a closed system of total information awareness; to cover, track, and gaze omnisciently over all flows, mobilities, and transactions. It is a move towards a total system, an attempt to gain some degree of mastery over the unpredictability of global flows through the core component of dominating informational flows. As part of this project the US military are currently establishing a linkage of satellites into what has been dubbed the military ‘Internet in the sky’, which will form part of their secure informational network named as the Global Information Grid, or GIG (Weiner, 2004). First conceived in 1998, and now in construction, $200 billion has already been estimated as a cost for both the hardware and software (Weiner, 2004). This war-net, as the military also term it, forms the core of the US military’s move towards appropriating network-centric warfare (Arquilla and Ronfeldt, 2001a; Arquilla and Ronfeldt, 2001b; Dickey, 2004; Weiner, 2004). The chief information officer at the US Defense Department was noted for saying that ‘net-centric principles were becoming “the centre of gravity” for war planners’ (Weiner, 2004). Some of the names of the military contractors involved in this project include Boeing; Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard; IBM; Lockheed Martin; Microsoft; Raytheon; and Sun Microsystems (Weiner, 2004). As part of this complete coverage – or ‘full spectrum dominance’ – the US military hopes to be able to communicate and control an increasing arsenal of unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), integrated into what they are calling the ‘Multimedia Intelligent Network of Unattended Mobile Agents’ (Minuteman). This in turn is part of a larger military project on Intelligent Autonomous Agent Systems (Science-Daily, 2002).

Recently, a document entitled Information Operation Roadmap was declassified by the Pentagon and made public by the National Security Archive on January 26, 2006. According to this document the term ‘information operations’ includes

The integrated employment of the core capabilities of Electronic Warfare, Computer Network Operations, Psychological Operations, Military Deception and Operations Security, in concert with specified supporting and related capabilities, to influence, disrupt, corrupt or usurp adversarial human and automated decisions-making while protecting our own. (DoD, 2003: 22)

The document continues by outlining how the US military needs to secure a future electromagnetic capability ‘sufficient to provide maximum control of the entire electromagnetic spectrum, denying, degrading, disrupting, or destroying the full spectrum of globally emerging communication systems, sensors, and weapons systems dependant on the electromagnetic spectrum’ (DoD, 2003: 61). Clearly, the recommendation here is for developing, and extending, current capabilities in order to have full and complete dominance over all globally emerging telecommunications and their hardware.

This shift in military affairs involves re-strategizing informational systems toward what the military see as a ‘transformational communications architecture’ to ‘help create a nimbler, more lethal military force to which information is as vital as water and ammunition’ (Dickey, 2004). Brig. Gen. Robert Lennox, deputy chief of the Army Space and Missile Defense Command, describes the military vision as ‘one seamless battlefield, which is linked without the bounds of time or space, to knowledge centres, and deployment bases throughout the world’ (Dickey, 2004). Beginning in 2008 the US Navy plans to replace its Ultra High Frequency Follow-On satellite network with a Mobile User Objective System which will provide voice and data communications through wireless hand-held receivers as part of the Global Information Grid (GIG). The ‘Internet in the Sky’ that will form part of the GIG will consist of both AEHF and TSAT satellite programs (Dickey, 2004). Each AEHF satellite has the capacity to serve as many as 4,000 networks and 6,000 users at once; and the proposed TSAT satellites are claimed to be ten times more powerful than the AEHF. These proposals are currently underway as part of the US’s ‘revolution in military affairs’ to develop not only a superior battlefield information network but also to ‘extend the information grid to deploy mobile users around the globe, creating a new capability for combat communications on the move’ (Dickey, 2004). As for the new generation of surveillance satellites launched since 2005, when these systems are fully operational the elite military complex will be able to gain precise information not only upon alleged ‘enemies’ but also upon the movements of almost any individual upon the planet, at almost any time, anywhere. The complexity of security communications and sensitive information is being targeted within military strategy in an effort to enclose all; to survey the full spectrum of an open system in a bid to collect and contain. In short, to transform the unknown into a known closed system: the containment of the complex global system. This also can be seen within the security of complexity, circulation, and contingency.

Dillon considers that this ‘global security problematic’ is concerned with the circulation of everything as in ‘a systemically interdependent world everything is connected or, in principle, is able to be connected, to everything else’ (Dillon, 2005). For Dillon, circulation shifts the new global security problematic ‘from a “geo-strategic” into an “ecological” problem characterised by the escalatory dynamics of complex interdependencies’ (Dillon, 2005). The challenge of global security in this context lies in the contingency between calculability and doubt. Dillon further sees this as being behind the trend in US military affairs towards the complexity sciences: ‘the fascination of military-strategic science in the United States especially with complexity, chaos, nonlinearity and the new science of life introduced by the digital and molecular revolutions has proclaimed as much since the early 1990s’ (Dillon, 2003).

Security and power relations now clearly transcend traditional geo-political boundaries. Security is both socio-technical and biometric, with the security problematic becoming increasingly virtual and codified, ordered with attempted control of disorder (Dillon, 2003). The militarization of complex global open systems has serious implications for issues of civil liberty, and notions of the surveillance state.

Such domains of complex interdependencies are radicalising, in a militaristic sense, information, communication, command, control, and surveillance. The internal/external circulation and flows characteristic of open systems (whether informational or physical) are under interrogation from Western hegemonic, specifically US, military strategies in an attempt to close them down, plug-up the pores of flows and to blanket-coverage all potential contingencies. These are the operations of clandestine strategies that seek to contain the unpredictable and to map all physical-digital movements and traces.

Emerging technologies that ‘locate’ and ‘trace’ present a world where ‘every object and human is tagged with information specifications including history and position – a world of information overlays that is no longer virtual but wedded to objects, places, and positions’ (Crandall, 2005). Such meshing of the physical and the digital through the medium of sentient communicators is what is foreseen here as steering towards a digitally-rendered global system vulnerable to control via a technical-military elite. This scenario is exactly that as envisioned by ex-US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. Brzezinski, in his ‘Between Two Ages : America’s Role in the Technetronic Era’ (1970), put forward the concept of a future ‘technotronic era’ whereby a more controlled society would gradually emerge, dominated by an elite unrestrained by traditional values. Brzezinski wrote that ‘Power will gravitate into the hands of those who control information’ (Brzezinski, 1970: 1), adding that surveillance and data mining will encourage ‘tendencies through the next several decades toward a technocratic era, a dictatorship leaving even less room for political procedures as we know them’ (Brzezinski, 1970: 12). By gaining control over informational technological communications Brzezinski outlined how this could help achieve control and order over the public:

“Unhindered by the restraints of traditional liberal values, this elite would not hesitate to achieve its political ends by the latest modern techniques for influencing public behavior and keeping society under close surveillance and control.” (Brzezinski, 1970: 252)

Also important to consider is that many military technologies become appropriated and absorbed into civil technologies. For example, by 2003 a quarter of all rental vehicles at US agencies used some form of GPS tracking: not only for driver-location but also for the rental agency to know where the car has travelled, and its speed. Also, cars with speakerphones can be enabled from remote devices in order to listen in and eavesdrop on occupants in a car under surveillance, as has been utilized by police forces in the US (Brzezinski, 2004). This type of digitalised surveillance at-a-distance can have serious implications upon increasingly surveyed, tracked, and mapped social practices. It also suggests that technically-based northern ‘societies’ are being manoeuvred towards a surveyed and sensored, or synchronic society

Sensoring the Ecosphere: The Coming of a Synchronic Society?

The development of increasingly sentient ‘smart’ environments will go some way towards creating a more systemic relationship of interconnections and interdependencies between humans, objects/machines, and locality. This possibility has led some commentators to speak of an emerging cybernomadic landscape (Saveri, 2004). Here, the emphasis is on an embedded sensory world that will influence and fundamentally alter social practices. Such a cybernomadic landscape has been defined, in a recent IFTF report, by three primary forces of physical-digital fusion; the augmented self; and digitally catalysed masses (Saveri, 2004: 2). Similarly, De Rosnay sees this future as a form of symbiotic humanity: ‘each person functions as a node in this hypernetwork. Symbiotic humanity is both the totality of the network and one of its elements; it exists through the network and the network exists only through it’ (de Rosnay, 2000: 143). In all cases it involves networking with, utilizing, and interacting with objects, something which futurist and author Bruce Sterling refers to as a ‘synchronic society’:

A synchronic society generates trillions of catalogable, searchable, trackable trajectories…Embedded in a monitored space and time and wrapped in a haze of process, no object stands alone; it is not a static thing, but a shaping-thing. (Sterling, 2005: 50)

And a ‘shaped-thing’ may in the future rely upon more efficient and ubiquitous radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, now often euphemistically termed as arphids. These RFID tags can be networked into a global system of positioning and identification:

Your arphid monitors are hooked into the satellite based Global Positioning System. Then your network becomes a mobile system of interlinked objects that are traceable across the planet’s surface, from outer space, with one-meter accuracy, around the clock, from pole to pole. (Sterling, 2005: 92)

A physical-digital augmented environment interlinked with objects is, as Sterling states, based upon identification. Objects, as well as individuals, need to be identified, both in their object-self identity as well as in their positions. And yet this shift is not limited towards individuals or objects; it also extends into Nature and the ecosystem.

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently announced that it considered today’s computer maps of the Earth to be inaccurate. Investment has been put into producing better computer generated terrain maps of the Earth using both radar and laser scanning (Piquepaille, 2005), with a future view for placing radio-towers on the moon or Mars3. These updated moves towards securing a military full spectrum dominance incorporate the latest known developments in smart sensors whereby complex computerised devices at the miniature, or even nano level, will be able to 24/7 monitor ecological, social, and/or biological environments and people:

These new computers would take the form of networks of sensors with data-processing and transmission facilities built in. Millions or billions of tiny computers — called ‘motes’, ‘nodes’ or ‘pods’ — would be embedded into the fabric of the real world. They would act in concert, sharing the data that each of them gathers so as to process them into meaningful digital representations of the world. Researchers could tap into these ‘sensor webs’ to ask new questions or test hypotheses. Even when the scientists were busy elsewhere, the webs would go on analysing events autonomously, modifying their behaviour to suit their changing experience of the world. (Butler, 2006a)

Such a scenario, if realised, would drastically alter the material and social fabric of the living world.

Deborah Estrin, director of the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing in Los Angeles, California, sees ‘the sensor-web revolution as an important thread in a grander tapestry of global monitoring, which involves billions of dollars being poured into projects to monitor the continents and oceans’ (Butler, 2006a). For example, upcoming projects include:

  • The $200 million EarthScope project from the NSF: 3,000 stations are to be erected that will ‘track faint tremors, measure crustal deformation and make three-dimensional maps of the earth’s interior from crust to core. Some 2,000 more instruments are to be mobile – wireless and sun- or wind-powered – and 400 devices are to move east in a wave from California across the nation over the course of a decade’ (Broad, 2005)
  • The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is to be established at an estimated cost of $500 million. The plan is for a coast-to-coast NEON to ‘involve perhaps 15 circular areas 250 miles in diameter, each including urban, suburban, agricultural, managed and wild lands. Each observatory would have radar for tracking birds and weather as well as many layers of motes and robots and sensors, including some on cranes in forest canopies’ (Broad, 2005)
  • The ‘Interagency Working Group on Earth Observations’, backed by the National Science & Technology Council within the Executive Office of the President, US, has recently published their Strategic Plan for the U.S. Integrated Earth Observation System (IWGEO, 2005). Their vision is to discover, access, collect, manage, archive, process, and model earth geological data in order to better forecast such flows as weather, energy resources, natural resources, pre and post-disasters, as well as a host of other integrated processes. In their words: ‘The Earth is an integrated system. Therefore, all the processes that influence conditions on the Earth are linked and impact one another. A subtle change in one process can produce an important effect in another. A full understanding of these processes and the linkages between them require an integrated approach, including observation systems and their data streams’ (IWGEO, 2005: 47)

The report Strategic Plan for the U.S. Integrated Earth Observation System (IWGEO, 2005) discusses a vast range of geological integrated monitoring systems. However, a caveat here is necessary, for the above projects towards environmental mapping contain shades of a western geographical imagination.

Cartography, as a pioneering navigational science and art, has long been used for validating colonial expansion, Imperial incursions, and for designating western territorial trophies. The geographical imagination is continually formed as residues of knowledge build one upon the other as images become re-appropriated for geo-political agendas. The western global imagination has participated in the de-centring of global geographies in past centuries, and may again be party to later digital formations of knowledge gathering and geo-strategies of dominance and power. As with the Plan for the U.S. Integrated Earth Observation System which aims to monitor, track, catalogue, and forecast global processes and movements, geographical spaces will be subjected to a US-centric digital gaze. Denis Cosgrove views such a gaze as ‘implicitly imperial, encompassing a geometric surface to be explored and mapped, inscribed with content, knowledge and authority’ (2001: 15).

Emerging technologies in information-sensoring indicate an authoritarian, predominantly military, strategy for Earth monitoring. Increasingly, relationships between humans/devices/environments are being merged, or steered, towards a new construction of social life – one that embeds the individual, as a digitally-rendered identity, within a global informational ‘grid-lock’.

If such an irreversible shift is made towards digitally-rendered societies this would arguably ‘lock-in’ a form of monitored control society. With such predictions of an increasingly sensored and enmeshed global system it is difficult to see how living ‘off the Net’ will be a choice in the near future.

Conclusion

As this article has argued there are both overt and covert strategies within the US military-industrial complex towards securing full spectrum dominance over global information flows, which include dominating the electro-magnetic spectrum and the Internet. Increasingly western technological societies are moving towards developing sensored environments whereby information is processed on individuals as well as securing geographical data. This suggests a future whereby in order to move legitimately an individual will be subjected to a complex network of informational tracking and verification. This will undoubtedly see an increased militarisation of the civil sphere. Such a re-configuration of the social, through increased dependency upon physical-digital systems, will inevitably involve various structural relations of power. For example, individuals not deemed ‘worthy’ will be denied the right of movement through digitally-controlled spaces. This is not to imply that all acts of social passage will necessarily be uncomfortably noticed by the general legitimised user. It is likely that in-built strategies of marginalisation will be increasingly ‘normalised’ as part of shifting social practices: a regular state of affairs within a twenty-first century beset by manipulated terror in-securities.

Further, there are indications that these entwined and embedded information flows will seek to incorporate not only the physical and digital, but also the biological. In other words, each unit of information will be sought to be coded and therefore ‘secured’ under a full spectrum dominance agenda. Goonatilake (1999) sees this as moving towards a meta-communications environment that will merge human/genetic, cultural, machine as information codes and which will serve as information carriers:

The future will thus result in intense communications not only between machines and humans, but also with genetic systems so that information in the three realms of genes, culture and machines will result in one interacting whole. The three for all purposes would be interacting as one communicating system. (Goonatilake, 1999: 197)

We may soon be moving towards a momentous shift, perhaps the most important paradigmatic shift our current civilization has ever witnessed: a transformation into a digitally contained and controlled global environment.

This leaves the future vulnerable to extreme possibilities. Already there has been much Internet ‘chatter’ about the potential this offers for ‘exotic’ containment and control practices, including the possibility that a space-based, armed communications network is capable of beaming electromagnetic pulse technology upon virtually any chosen spot on the Earth. The potential here for mass mind control strategies is severely worrying and unnerving.

As we move towards the second decade of the twenty-first century we come increasingly close to a crossroads. One path indicates a move towards a deep and entrenched militarisation of the civil sphere where control and containment are the order of the day; the other path leads towards increased civil participation, engagement, and empowerment. It is perhaps a choice between global emancipation or complete global grid-lock.

Dr. Kingsley Dennis is a Research Associate in the Centre for Mobilities Research (CeMoRe) based at the Sociology Department at Lancaster University, U.K. His research involves examining physical–digital convergences and how these might impact upon social processes. He is concerned with the digital rendition of identity and the implications of surveillance technologies.

Web: http://www.kingsleydennis.com

Blog: http://www.new-mobilities.co.uk

E–mail: Kingsley [at] kingsleydennis [dot] co [dot] uk

References

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Kingsley Dennis, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8499

see

War in Heaven – The Arms Race in Outer Space

The Pentagon’s Electronic Warfare Program: Maximum Control of the Entire Electro-Magnetic Spectrum Part 2 by Brent Jessop

DARPA