Editorial: Cyberwarfare & North Korea & Targeted Assassination

17 Dec

A computer attack against Sony Pictures is in the news. Hackers believed to be working for North Korea infiltrated Sony’s computer systems, downloading private information and then seeking to overwrite and destroy the company’s data.

The hacker’s are now posting this private data online to injure Sony and its employees.

This is in retaliation for Sony’s releasing of a film The Interview. It’s a comedy about a fake plot to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. I agree it’s classless to make a comedy about killing a real person. But Kim Jong Un deserves no sympathy. He’s a brutal dictator who lives large while his people die in abject poverty. He’s accused of crimes against humanity, including the castration of dwarfs.

According to the FBI, 90% of American companies wouldn’t have been able to defend themselves against the attack against Sony.

This attack represents cyberterrorism. Because it likely originates with a state actor, it’s a cyber-warfare attack. The goal wasn’t to steal data just for financial gain. The goal was to wipe out a company’s use of its own data in an attempt to injure and destroy the company.

If 90% of American companies are susceptible to this kind of attack, it shows how vulnerable the American economy is to cyber-financial terrorism. What would happen to the US economy if 90% of American companies suddenly lost most of their computer data and their computer systems were trashed? It’s difficult to believe the economy wouldn’t plunge into a deep recession.

Prepper Lesson: Keep offline backups of your important information! A hard drive not connected to the Internet can’t be easily destroyed by a hacker who seeks to erase it. For personal use, a removable USB drive is just the ticket.

North Korea is a significant threat to world peace. It’s an unstable country led by habitual delusional megalomaniacs. Kim Jong Un’s father once claimed every golf shot he made was a hole in one! The rest of the world must constantly bail North Korea out to keep the country from massive starvation. North Korea regularly threatens South Korea in what amounts to little more than international extortion.

By 2016, it’s estimated North Korea will have 20 nuclear bombs.

This begs the question: Is it time to attack North Korea and disarm them? What happens if a leader like Kim Jong Un gets cancer and has nothing else to lose? What actions would someone like that take if they had significant nuclear capability and a general maliciousness toward the world? Should we allow such a country to build 20, 40 or more nuclear warheads before realizing the time for action was years ago?

I support peace, love, and goodwill to all men and women. I also support targeted assassination. There are slimeballs in this world who intentionally cause needless suffering and pain to innocent people. Is it really morally wrong to take these people out?

Adolf Hitler is the classic example. How much suffering could have been prevented if he had been assassinated?

Under the Clinton administration, America fired a few rockets at a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. The stated goal was to destroy the training camp. The goal was really to kill Osama Bin Laden. Why not send in a special hit force? One sniper with a 7mm rifle could do the same job and probably have done it better. An ambush at a road with a couple of M-60s could have taken Bin Laden out at the time. The missiles missed.

I was told Bill Clinton didn’t want to violate international laws against assassination. I respect Bill Clinton for this. Most American Presidents don’t feel they need to respect international law. In principle, Clinton wanted to do the right thing as he saw it. That’s a credit to him. But had Bin Laden been killed back then wouldn’t that make the world a better place today?

I have no sympathy for brutal dictators who violate the rights of others or terrorists who seek to kill innocent people. When the brutality of such people has been established and it’s clear they’ll continue in their sociopathic ways, targeted assassination is often the best way of dealing with them when they appear beyond the reach of legitimate law. One malicious person shouldn’t be allowed to inflict massive human suffering with no consequences. That’s more morally wrong than assassination.

I suspect the real reason international law doesn’t recognize the above truth is that the law is designed to protect the rich and powerful elite. It doesn’t really seek to protect the legitimate rights of ordinary people suffering under brutal dictators. It’s a sad fact but those who fully control “their own” countries get away with murder. Mass murder. But targeting these leaders individually is labeled a crime. They don’t even like people to joke about it.
***
Sony hired a cyber forensics firm to investigate the attack. Cyber forensics is one of those cool sounding futuristic careers that actually sucks.

To slow the flow of confidential data, Sony is launching it’s own denial of service attacks against servers hosting its pilfered information. I’ve read an editorial that takes exception to this: What right does a private company have to launch its own cyber attacks which could injure other innocent people? Do we want private companies to have their own cyber armies?

There is a broader theme: Given the best defense is a good offense, why not hack into malicious hacker’s systems to know what they’re up to? When done by individuals or private companies, this is called digital vigilantism.

Alas, doing this puts you in the cross hairs of the law:

“Breaking into somebody’s computer, even if it belongs to a hacker in Russia who just hacked you, is illegal. It’s the same as if you broke into a robber’s house to take back your stolen jewels.” (1)

The mind-boggling moral, ethical, and legal question: If your computer is stolen, do you have the right to hack into it? Here’s a hacker who did just that.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4oB28ksiIo

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Editorial On New Protests & Police Use of Choke Holds

8 Dec

In my last editorial I said I’m not a fan of protestors supporting Mike Brown. The fact is this: Brown was charging a police officer and was shot because of it. He was a tall dude and was shot in the top of the head. If he had been standing peacefully with his hands up, the officer would have had to climb a tree to shoot him like that. The facts all support the officer.

A new wave of protests erupted because of another incident where an officer applied a choke hold to a citizen, killing him. This incident was recorded on video. More police officers today in the US are being equipped with body cameras to document encounters. If you’re in a city, many events are captured by security cameras or by people with cell phones. This is a positive thing because it helps people see what really happened.

In cases where racism or abuse of power exists, I fully agree an officer should be dismissed from his job. If a crime has been committed, the officer should be prosecuted. When there is a question of appropriateness, I give the benefit of doubt to the officer. It’s a difficult job.

In the case of the choke, my opinion is the officer didn’t follow acceptable procedure. The guy was standing there and the officer jumped up and applied a chokehold. There were several other officers present. They should have been able to restrain this guy without using a chokehold. Grab his arm first and see what happens if he resists arrest. The officers should have been able to take him to the ground and handcuff him without using a choke hold.

This guy wasn’t a large muscular guy just an overweight guy. There’s a big difference. Anyone who exercises can spot the difference.

The use of choke holds as police techniques is a bad idea. Massad Ayoob in his book The Truth About Self Protection writes

“In 1976, I became the first in the police sector to speak out against the chokeout in the pages of the police professional journal Sentinel. I had studied the technique and discussed it with numerous physicians, all of whom pointed out potentially lethal problems.” (page 267).

The many risks of using choke holds is well known from decades ago.

The rise of the UFC and MMA has brought a little known technique called the rear strangulation choke or the rear naked choke to public awareness. I learned this technique when just a child. It was pretty rare. People who studied Gracie Jiu Jitsu or Judo knew it. It appeared from time to time on the TV.

A famous Minnesota wrestler in the 1970s was known for his use of the “sleeper” hold. No comment about wrestling being real or fake. It appeared in a few movies and TV shows from time to time in the 70s. I remember James Gardner applying it to a mobster in the TV series The Rockford Files.

The technique was taught in hand-to-hand combat and appears in Army training manuals from the 1950s. There are two versions of this choke. One known as a blood choke which is designed to reduce blood flow to the brain. The other version is a direct attack on the windpipe. Each has advantages and disadvantages as a combat technique. In the 70s, few people knew this technique.

Too many guys today want to be “tough guys.” They think it’s cool to “choke out” somebody. I was in a Wal-Mart and saw a child no taller than two feet running around and pretending to apply a rear choke hold to his little sister. The kid wasn’t a student of judo. He was mimicking what he saw on TV.

Even legendary martial artist Chuck Norris got into the act with the popularity of MMA. In an episode of Walker Texas Ranger, he applied a rear choke to a huge guy, who promptly went to sleep. Norris looked so awkward I felt sorry for him. The two foot kid had a smoother technique!

If you want to be a macho stud and practice BJJ choke techniques, the police force isn’t the place for it.

***
Bonus Editorial. What crime was this guy committing? He was selling cigarettes on a street corner. Not drugs. Smokes. It’s a crime for individuals to sell cigarettes in New York and many other states. The states want the sales tax revenue from the sales. Smokers are a small group and are easily taxed. They don’t have the political clout to defend themselves from excessive taxation. Politicians can raise taxes on them at will.

Through taxation, the government artificially drives up the cost of cigarettes by a massive amount, creating an incentive for people to purchase them on the black market. Not paying the hefty cigarette tax is criminalized. This says a lot about how a government really feels towards its citizens.

Another Editorial About This:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7jtXXf4tMM

Editorial: The Ferguson Situation

2 Dec

At my age, I should know not to get upset at stupidity. It’s everywhere. I can’t figure out why so many people take to the streets supporting a criminal who obviously physically attacked a police officer.

I’ve read blogs say the shot guy was “only a kid” and “only a baby.” A baby!? This teenager was bigger than most men. He wasn’t innocent. He robbed a store and threatened violence against the owner. He physically attacked a police officer.

Why didn’t the officer just let him go? This is a question I’ve heard. It’s because it’s the police officer’s job to apprehend criminals. Once Brown assaulted the officer, it was the officer’s duty to arrest him. This “baby” had attacked two people that day. What if he assaulted a third person and killed him? Should cops just let all criminals go? Let them attack more people and commit more crimes?

Some protesters were criminals and troublemakers looking for a chance to steal some TVs and burn down some buildings. People in that group I don’t care about. But most protesters were basically good people who felt some great social injustice had been done. It’s this second group of people who annoy me. Don’t the facts of the situation matter?

Brown did not have his hands “up” as was falsely claimed. There is nothing in the information we know to indicate the officer was a racist or abused his authority.

It’s jaw dropping to realize this: Preppers reading this blog aren’t in danger of Brown, other criminals, or violent protestors. Most preppers own guns and shoot very well. Many have been trained in the use of lethal force. Some are experienced in deploying lethal force and have combat experience. The best preppers can hit a quarter at 100 yards with a rifle or draw and shoot an attacker dead at will with their pistol carried daily.

If the officer had let Brown go, Brown would be a threat to exactly the people protesting. They would have been the targets of his future assaults and robberies. Lacking impulse control, it’s likely he’d have been a rapist and engaged in other criminal behavior. He was a kid who took what he wanted and didn’t think the rules applied to him.

The police can’t let violent criminals flee. It only takes a small number of active criminals to bring tremendous pain and suffering to a community. If a town of 1,000 people has 999 honest and good people who are liberal pacifists, it only takes one unchecked sociopathic criminal to wreck havoc. If he robs one person a day, in the course of a year, a third of the population has been robbed. Assaults, rapes, and other crimes by this one degenerate make the community look like a Hell hole.

Societies answer is to employ police officers to enforce minimum standards of social conduct. Assault and rape somebody, go to jail. Officers are employed to protect and defend those who can’t protect themselves.

What is the result of the situation in Ferguson? The officer has been forced to retire. If he remains on the police force, he’d be a target of those who want to harm him. His career has been destroyed because he did what he was trained to do. And what he did was protect many of the people who protested his actions.

I can’t help but think of the story Atlas Shrugged. What if all those in law enforcement and the military just stepped down? Let the criminals run wild. Protect your families and each other. Let the rest of the population fend for themselves. How soon do you think it would take before these citizen protesters would be begging for the return of those who enforce the law?

It’s a sad commentary on society. If I had a son or daughter choosing a career, I’d discourage them from entering the police or military. It’s not worth sacrificing yourself for a society that doesn’t care.

***

Wondering if the NSA has installed spyware on your computer? Free software finds it.

This 77 year old lady is awesome. She can do one-handed pushups:

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/21190/20141129/superwoman-this-77-year-old-granny-can-do-one-handed-push-ups-and-deadlift-215-pounds.htm

What To Remember In A Survival Situation: Lesson From Ferguson Protestors & Car Conflict In Mlps.

2 Dec

When the Ferguson Grand Jury decision was announced, people who disagreed with the situation “protested.” A few broke the laws. As a crowd gathered and choked off a street intersection in Minneapolis, a car’s driver approached the crowd. The crowd didn’t make way for the driver, but surrounded the car and began beating on it. The driver, supposedly fearing for his well being, hit the gas and drove through the crowd. The horrible incident was captured on video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pn79ClrnY_0

In some survival situations you have no time to think. You must respond instinctively or as you’ve been trained. In most survival situations this isn’t true. You have time to think about your options. Most people don’t think. Stress puts people on auto-pilot.

If you take away only one piece of advice from my book or this blog, it should be this: In a stressful survival situation take a deep breath and calmly consider your options. Look around. If lost in the woods, sit down. Assess your situation. Then make a plan of action and act on it.

An important part of situational awareness is to realize your situation is getting worse. You must develop the judgment to see you’re in a survival situation! The sooner you can come to grips with the situation, the more and better options you’ll have to deal with it.

Looking at the video, we see cars taking evasive action to avoid the crowd. The traffic laws are ignored by protestors and drivers alike. Good people live their lives following the rules. But when push comes to shove and your life is at risk, the only law that ultimately matters is the law of survival. You must recognize when the laws have broken down or no longer apply.

Every year campers and hunters get lost in the woods. Many get frostbite and suffer hypothermia. Some lose fingers and toes before they’re rescued. “Too bad you didn’t have matches to start a fire.” “Oh, I had matches.” “Why didn’t you start a fire?”

The two answers: 1) “I forgot about my matches.” 2) “I knew I had matches but I knew this part of the park was a no-fire zone.”

Stress prevented the first group from assessing their situation. They overlooked important resources. A desire to follow the rules and a failure to accept they were in a dire survival situation kept the second group from taking an appropriate action. They didn’t come to terms with the reality that a line had been crossed and the usual rules no longer applied.

Look at the video. As the car approached the crowded intersection and stopped a distance from it, it should have been clear this wasn’t an ordinary day-to-day crossing at an intersection. Something was different. The crowd was growing and swelling out onto the street.

The driver moved forward. According to witnesses, he was honking. This was a fateful error. The driver may have believed the crowd would make way for the car. He mistakenly thought this was just another day. The driver failed to fully appreciate his situation was deteriorating.

If the driver had taken a moment to take a deep breath and look around, he would have seen he could back his car up and evacuated the situation. In our daily lives, we don’t drive up to an intersection and then decide to back away. You’d get a traffic ticket if you regularly drove like this! You don’t regularly turn around and go the wrong way on a road. You need to be able to think outside the traffic lanes in a survival situation. You need to develop the judgment to know you’re in a survival situation.

Reports claim the guy was blasting his horn as he moved toward the crowd. If this is true, this was an aggressive act and he’s partly to blame for the situation. Had he read the situation correctly and had good sense, he would have backed up.

Prepper Lesson: Look at your options. Realize when you’re in a potential life or death situation. Don’t make your situation worse by making horrible decisions.

***
In the video, Props to the guy at the passenger side of the car who tried to keep morons from pounding on the car. If morons hadn’t been hitting the car, the driver wouldn’t have panicked and felt the need to flee. For the lady hit, this is sad. When you’re in a crowd, your safety depends on the actions of others.

***
Wouldn’t you know, I sold my last autoloading rifle right before the riots. For personal defense in SHTF, I’m down to shotguns and 30-30s and my handguns. I’ve written about the 30-30 on other blog posts. It’s not the ideal defensive rifle but it’s better than nothing!

Here are some other posts about lever action carbines for survival:

http://www.luckygunner.com/lounge/lever-action-rifles-for-self-defense/

http://www.prep-blog.com/2014/07/10/lever-action-rifles-for-hunting-and-survival/

***
Residents Anxiously Await Grand Jury: State of Emergency – Ferguson, Missouri (Old News)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nb54yxdWfEY
Gun sales skyrocketed. Quote of the day (11:16): “If somebody break a window, are they going to get shot?” Ah, that would be a YES. I half expected the follow up question: “What about raping and pillaging? Are we safe on those?” A man has got to know his limitations.

Do you keep a list of your stored supplies?

I don’t keep a list of tools and supplies, although I should. If SHTF, can I barter off my 20 rolls of teflon tape?

***
I don’t have a link to the article, but in the fight against Ebola, the key to maximizing survival is full hydration. Drinking 1.3 gallons of water mixed with sugar and salt daily gave patients the best chances of survival. According to reports hydration is just as about as effective as anything they do at a modern hospital.

***
I stumbled on this article about burpees. They’re on the “bad exercise” list because of the flexation of the spine they cause. Good! I’m glad to cross them off my list. The purpose of the original burpee was to train infantry to quickly drop to the ground.
http://blogs.denverpost.com/fitness/2013/12/02/burpees-the-exercise-you-should-never-do-again/13492/

***
Are we getting dumber because of Google?

“Inuit hunters in northern Canada. Older generations could track caribou through the tundra with astonishing precision by noticing subtle changes in winds, snowdrift patterns, stars, and animal behavior. Once younger hunters began using snowmobiles and GPS units, their navigational prowess declined. They began trusting the GPS devices so completely that they ignored blatant dangers, speeding over cliffs or onto thin ice.”

Note to self: Don’t mess with the wives of Russian boxers.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcnVOXZ3Z9E

How To Survive Ebola, Part 4

18 Oct

In other posts we looked at the importance of isolation, PPE, decontamination, ways to minimize exposure to Ebola, anti-virus hygiene, incubation periods and quarantine. All of these are practical ways of fighting Ebola from a prepper’s standpoint.

This post will speculate about what plague will look like in the modern world. What would happen if half of all people didn’t show up for work? How long would a Ebola plague last? How would it likely end?

What would plague look like in the modern world? Nobody knows. We’ve never seen it. We’ve seen limited outbreaks in Africa. We’ve never seen a large scale plague hit America in the modern age. The closest we had is the Spanish Flu in 1918, which ultimately infected one-third of the world’s population and killed more people than WWI.

Experts classify Ebola as a slow spreading virus which baffles me because in parts of Africa the number of confirmed cases is doubling every 20 days. That’s like saying a jackrabbit is slow!

At those rates by the time 1 million people had the disease in America it would only take 160 more days to infect nearly every American. An Ebola plague would happen over 6 months or more. This isn’t something hitting quickly and ending quickly. It could easily last one or two years.

Worst case scenario in America is 150 million dead. That would be a huge hit but civilization would continue. We wouldn’t revert back to pioneer times.

Even with only a few million Americans infected, the blow to the economy would be devastating. Airports would close. Tourism and public entertainment would cease to exist. Shopping centers would be empty if not locked down. People would stay home and not spend money. With people not spending businesses would fail or close their doors. Many workers would be laid off. This would have a negative cascading effect on the economy.

In the Spanish Flu, people were stoic. They went about their work. I don’t know if that would happen today. Without income from employment, many people would run out of money to purchase food. Food would become scarce in supermarkets. Those with money would hoard food and buy up all they could. The distribution chain would be compromised by the lack of workers.

Would people loot? Police forces would have reduced capacity because many police officers would be ill. The military would be deployed to police major cities if looting became a problem. The government would distribute food if the traditional supply chain broke down. Would there be enough? Impossible to predict.

Local and city governments should still have the resources to keep water running. Private wells should be fine. Sewer systems should continue to work. The private companies providing electrical power would be challenged. Power outages could occur and take longer to repair.

Hospitals would be overwhelmed. America is committing $1 billion to fighting Ebola in Africa. If Ebola comes to America in a big way, the government will spend trillions.

A vaccine could be developed ending the plague. The virus could mutate into a less harmful variation. This is common. If a virus is too deadly it kills off its host and dies itself.

The experts believe Ebola is fully containable and these worse case scenarios won’t happen. What we can predict with certainty: There will be other viruses in the future and some could make Ebola look like the common cold. Ebola is a horrible virus which kills 50% of those infected. By virus standards, Ebola is slow spreading and isn’t transmitted through the air. There are more dangerous viruses out there which would be far more difficult to contain. Regardless of how the Ebola story unfolds, preppers should prepare for plagues and future infectious diseases.

Charlie Palmer, author The Prepper Next Door: A Practical Guide For Disaster And Emergency Planning

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