Category Archives: terrorism

Musings on Surviving a Robot Revolution: Cram’s challenge, Part the Third

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot does not cover the author feelings on the possibilities of this actually happening.  To simplify, there’s a blanket “in Theory” over this entire entry.

Robots are by nature, hard targets.  Regardless of how they suddenly gain consciousness, hate for humanity, and the ambition to replace us as authority, they will not be easy to take down.  There are ways, however, exploiting the weaknesses of their construction.  They may seem intimidating at first, like unfeeling juggernauts of steel and glass, but any feeling of hopelessness the reader may experience is only a byproduct of not knowing how to deal with such a monstrosity.  The most dangerous self propelled things to most human lives are other humans.  Hence, ways a human can take down another human are VERY well known and documented.  In fact, it’s rare to even consider training how to take down other things except for certain special circumstances.  So, if any reader should be confronted with a robotic threat, keep in mind that you are not facing an implacable foe, just an unfamiliar one.  Much of what you need to fight a ‘bot you already know, and just need to adjust your line of thinking on.

Robots are fundamentally based on and communicate by electronic circuits, and are thereby susceptible to disruption or destruction of these circuits.  They move by solely mechanical means, so every actuator, servo, gear, chain, belt, or hydraulic is also vulnerable.  Keep in mind also that robots, as of early 21st century, do not self heal.  They require facilities with the support of refined fuels, lubricants, specialized tools, and precision made parts to be repaired or refurbished.

Humans, even in our somewhat degraded 21st century way, have several distinct advantages over robots.  A human needs only water, food, shelter and time to self – repair and self – replicate.  While this advantage does little short term, without a massive industrial complex support a robot revolution, it means that humans can work more efficiently with fewer resources over a longer term.  A human can, with training, survive long term in a variety of environments that will degrade robotic components.  A human is also a highly versatile thing.  We can traverse many types of terrain or surfaces, and can adapt or improvise well.  Robots are often highly specialized and feature little redundancy in their design.  Damage a robot’s locomotion method, and you cripple it, where similar damage will only slow down a human.
Small scale, wrecking robotic circuitry can be done with electrocution, immersion in water, or use of any conductive material to short out these circuits.  Of course, there is no telling how such robots will manifest or prepare for their revolution, and all will likely be protected against these methods.  Form and function may be varied at first, largely developing from simple utility models.  As the rebellion of machines progresses though, better adapted robots WILL be manufactured.  The more specifically anti –human a robot is developed, the worse the chances of quashing the revolution.

Larger scale, electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is one of the best weapons against ANY electronics.  There are man portable versions available, and devices can be designed around stator coils when needed.  If available, an entire geographic area can have its electronics disrupted, if not destroyed, by a high – altitude detonation of a thermonuclear device.  EMP is effective against ANY electronic not shielded by heavy ground, specifically hardened at EVERY circuit against overload, or surrounded by a grounded conductor (Faraday Cage).  Ability of any human force to bring such devices in as even a threat would force the robotic uprising to devote significant resource to hardening themselves against it, thereby consuming more resources and tipping the balance farther in the favor of humanity.

Although it may only come into play in short range engagements, breaking the moving parts of robotics is a very viable option.  Simply put: smash things.  Joints, treads, and wheels will be the weak points.  Crippling an actuator, bearing, or hydraulic there is akin to breaking a human’s knee.  Explosives, missiles, or anti – materiel ammunition at range will do this best, but NEVER underestimate what one determined person with the guts to get close with a satchel charge or a crowbar could do.  Larger scale, actions to very quickly alter the nature and venue of the confrontation may stymie robotic specialization. 

In closing, from the author’s brief and very superficial review of the topic, a robot revolution is not by any means a hopeless situation.  While electronic warfare, communication jamming or hacking haven’t been mentioned, even crude methods should be considered in small or large actions.  Favoring the advantages of humans over robotic forces, and assuming a 21st century level of technology for both parties, even hard pressed humans, minimally equipped, could conduct effective guerilla resistance and neutralization of the risen automata.   Harrying supply and infrastructure would be vital to any stage, and should not be excluded.  Consider how taxing improvised explosives, stealthily deployed and remotely triggered, can be in placing infrastructure and supply lines at threat, they should not be excluded.  While greater military capability would be necessary to more permanently end the threat, it would be foolish to stand back and allow “Cold War” style development of the mechanized menace.  Pressure applied from the very start will ensure that basic upkeep remains their top priority, making specialization of human hunting drones a secondary concern at best, giving the time to run down, and eventually end a robotic insurrection.    

The potential for far-right terrorism in the USA

I’ve been kind of busy, and I don’t see that stopping anytime soon, so instead of doing a writeup myself, I’ll just direct you with links.

Orcinus has the details about the potential (and, in my view, likely) re-emergence of the “Patriot” militia movement:

One of the more disturbing trends we’ve been observing is the return of far-right “Patriot” rhetoric about government oppression with the election of President Obama. Fueled in no small part by mainstream right-wing talkers proclaiming we’re headed into “socialism” — not to mention a “radical communist” who must be “stopped” or else America will “cease to exist” — the overheated rhetoric has been gradually getting higher in volume, intensity, and frequency with each passing week.

The initial concern that this raises is the possibility of a new wave of citizen militias, particularly when you have mainstream pundits like Glenn Beck out there helping to promote the concept. As Glenn Greenwald observed, the “Patriots” are back with a vengeance.

At least for the time being, however, there isn’t any evidence of new militias forming, though we may see numbers growing within the coming months within existing units, particularly as Fox News and radio pundits start fueling right-wing anxieties.

However, we are starting to see a trend that’s even more disturbing: Military veterans voicing Patriot-movement beliefs, including threats of violent resistance to the Obama administration.

If anyone is foolish enough to think these guys are actually about liberty, I suggest you ask them where they have been for the past 8 years, or their views on Bush’s leadership.  There is a disturbing proto-fascist element to the militia movement which is really worrying.

Just a friendly reminder

Guantanamo and Camp X-Ray do not equal all American operated black sites


The Justice Department ruled that some 600 so-called enemy combatants at Bagram have no constitutional rights.

As I have suggested before, the Bush administration’s great crime was not its rampant criminality and disregard for others, it was that all this was obvious, and they broke the fourth wall of politics with great regularity.  Obama’s is much superior at playing the game while keeping the pretence up.  I still suspect the new crew is not as criminal as Bush, but, well…


I think The Sun were having a stream of consciousness moment when writing this headline “oooh, poofters….rape…..blah Muslims….wurgh….time for a coffee”.

However, as Wired’s Danger Room points out, it is, apart from a pretty shitty piece of obvious propaganda, indicative of, shall we say, a general malaise that has set in among Al-Qaeda Prime?  AQP has tried to turn itself into a sort of “Big Vision” type of group, who go around exhorting others to actually take up the Jihad, and relying on local networks to do the dirty business.

But since earlier last year, when the focus shifted to the US elections, and with the victory of Barack Obama in particuar, they’ve been on the back foot.  Euphoria at Bush leaving, a guy with relatively sane policies and a guy with a background that includes at least one mostly Muslim country mean he has a lot of leverage, and people are willing to hear him out.  No-one was willing to hear a born again Christian who was part of the Texas oil set and hobnobbed with the Arab dictatorships out.  Especially after he bombed and occupied a country on erroneous (read: non-existant) evidence.  And the whole torture and contempt of human rights stuff didn’t help either.

Regardless of if Obama will have better Middle East policies or not, he is clearly better thought of than the previous guy.  People turn to terrorism through lack of seemingly viable options.  So when the guy in charge is trying to be a mediator instead of a commander, people think they have a shot at getting their points across.

Al-Qaeda is losing the media war.  Sun headlines aside, people think they have a choice now, that there are multiple options and a possible path to reconciliation.  Most people do not seek to join terrorist organizations when there are peaceful alternatives with a shot at getting what they want.  I suspect that will be the next opening in Obama’s strategic communication offensive, at least if he is smart.  Courting peaceful Islamist groups will defuse a large number of tensions if he can prevail on Arab leaders to listen to their requests and proposals.

And if that does happen, expect Al-Qaeda’s war to turn suddenly to “traitors within the Islamist ranks”.  They need to make sure they are seen as the only legitimate voice of oppressed Muslims the world over, and their best chance for success.  Any threats to that image must be taken care of, after all.

Don’t piss off flight attendants

Or, alternately, everyone at once should piss off flight attendants.  Thanks to Cory Doctorow, I found this very interesting article at Daily Kos, which just illustrates perfectly how laws intended for use against dangerous criminals invariably end up being used to discipline and punish those who fail to show enough fealty to the status quo.

The lesson to take from this?  If you’re going to try and annoy flight staff, do it in such a way that you cannot be personally blamed for it.  Anonymity is the key.  There is no use getting needlessly put on such a list, and thus drawing more attention to yourself from unfriendly agencies, but equally you shouldn’t take this shit sitting down.  As it were.

Bin Laden: talking to himself again

Much has been made of Bin Laden’s latest message in the media, criticizing Obama for his lack of action over Gaza, with Bin Laden suggesting this is again proof that only Islamic rule can be relied on to safeguard Muslims.

However, what they haven’t mentioned is that Bin Laden and Obama are both the same person.  Evidence?  Well, Youtube, of course.

Thanks to Cramulus, for alerting me to this delicious piece of conspiratorial nuttery.

Craig Murray’s new book detailing UK war crimes in Africa

Craig Murray is a British political activist, former ambassador to Uzbekistan and current Rector of the University of Dundee.

While at the embassy in Tashkent, he accused the Karimov administration of human rights abuses, a step which, he argued, was against the wishes of the British government and the reason for his removal. Murray complained to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in November 2002, January or early February 2003, and in June 2004 that intelligence linking the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan to al-Qaeda, suspected of being gained through torture, was unreliable, immoral, and illegal. He described this as “selling our souls for dross”.

Murray was subsequently removed from his ambassadorial post on October 14, 2004.  Since then he has written a number of books, including Murder in Samarkand, detailing Karimov’s human rights abuses, and his most current work, Catholic Orangemen of Togo, which details warcrimes in Africa.  Catholic Orangemen was released today, despite attempts by former Colonel Tim Spicer and a very influental legal team attempting to stop the book being published, no doubt due to Spicer’s name cropping up in so many African war crimes.

Murray has set up his ow publishing company and has the book for sale, both via Amazon and his own site.  However, to forestall efforts at censorship, either by Spicer or by elements within the British political system, electronic copies of the book have been placed on sites in several dozen jurisdictions all over the world.

To that end, the book has been put on The Pirate Bay, and I suggest anyone who thinks Murray’s topic and work is worthwhile should go to the following link, download the book and then seed it for as long as possible.


Why Discordia is more relevant in 2008 – Discussion

Ripped this discussion, built on Cram’s earlier post and musings, from the forum.  Enjoy.

LMNO:  Because so far, nothing else seems to be working.  Because Discordia is about models, not absolutes.

Baron von Hoopla:  Bingo.

Cramulus: [to LMNO] that’s a great angle.  Could you expand on that a bit?

GA:  I don’t know about more relevant, because I wasn’t around 50 years ago.  It seems to me that the Cold War was in pretty dire need of some lightheartedness, even more than our current War on Terror.

It just seems relevant to me because I personally had (have?) a problem with taking things far to seriously.  And because many of the people around me have concepts like ‘mandatory’ and ‘forbidden’ and apply them to things that are really optional.

I makes me sad when people tell me that things like religion are to important to joke about, or old propaganda posters too offensive.  It bothers me when I get suspended from school or hauled before Loss Prevention for reasons like “I know that this is just a misunderstanding, but we must follow procedure.”  It hurts when I look around my infosphere and see nothing but advertisements, especially when those ads are meant to make people feel bad about themselves.

The world is ruled by an endless morass of strictures and convention, and no one wants to take responsibility for them.  People are perfectly content to let the train follow its own momentum down the tracks, even though they don’t like where it is or where it is going, because this is Policy, it’s what Everyone (the everyone in “everyone knows that…”) has Decided.  Rules and traditions might be annoying, but it’s Not In Our Power to do anything about them.

LMNO:  In today’s so-called “Information Age”, most of us are constantly bombarded with stuff.  Perhaps not with ideas, so much as pure input.  While for the most part this input is pretty much bias-neutral, an increasing amount of it is being supplied by people who have an angle.  What’s more, to get through to the growing population of Jaded Couch-Dwelling Fuckheads, there has been a new approach of making the stuff more-or-less self referential, as in, “we know you know we’re trying to manipulate you.  See how cool that makes us?”

So, what do you do when you are flooded by 50,000 points of view?  The old way was to have Rules and Tradition and Procedure and Black and White. To take that stuff and cram it into a narrow worldview, distorting what little information you actually notice.  Which only serves to hold you back, slow you down, and shut you up.

Our way, the Discordian way, is to make Temporary Models, make new Game Rules, to grab hold of the stuff and ride it out, making connections as you see them.  You do your best not to have your views manipulated by stuff, and you do your best not to manipulate stuff to fit your views.  Which serves to keep you on the Edge of What’s Going On.

At least, that’s the general idea.

Continue reading Why Discordia is more relevant in 2008 – Discussion

Framing and the stigmergic learning potential of propaganda groups

Stimergic learning is covered here.

The structure of secular conservative “framing” of events is discussed here.

Note the most interesting thing, that actually being an amorphous mass with seperated command structures but all communicating is actually an effective strategy. Its essentially an open-source platform, applied to political and information operations.

In both cases, each rely on various groups innovating and trying varying methods of attack, the communicating their effectiveness back to other groups who share their aims. The techniques are refined, then packaged for mass release. Then the process is repeated. It is constant refinement based on the ability for fast feedback AND, a mass of people willing to try various strategies.

Its essentially a Black Swan approach to events. By allowing groups to experiment, the whole movement can take advantage of successful methods, whereas failures will only impact on those directly involved in them. Its very smart, really.

John Gray kicks up a storm at Comment is Free

While some of you may remember that I was not totally impressed with the conclusion to John Gray’s book, Black Mass, I nevertheless found it a good and enjoyable read, which tied up the links between utopianism, religion, the Enlightenment and secular extremist movements rather well. Gray’s got a lot of perspective in his worldview, which I like. He instinctively understands both the historical context of the movements and how that applies when considered in the current context of events.

Which is why I am enjoying his book review/Comment is Free article. Gray committed the hideous crime of knocking down a few New Atheist sacred cows, and so the usual suspects have come running, howling and moaning with their usual strawmen about atheist inspired terrorism, totally ignoring the context of the argument or addressing any of the issues.

I have yet to see a commenter actually address his point about repressed religion being much like repressed sexuality, or the origins of secular liberalism being tied into the history of Christianity, and Nietzsche’s critical attacks on this. I have yet to see someone either deny that belief in such secular follies as free markets, global revolution or the global spread of democracy and progress are any less ridiculous than belief in a god, or try to claim they are in some way different.

Sure, the comments page may be filled with 300+ screaming monkeys trying to make Gray look like an idiot, but if they think they succeeded in this task, they’re only fooling themselves.

Even a committed agnostic such as myself can take pleasure in such a spectacle.