Archive for the ‘Kill Switch’ tag
Between 1962 and 1983, the United States Navy, the U.S. Weather Bureau and the National Science Foundation carried out an experimental research program that was yielding some success in moderating hurricanes. Project Stormfury was suspended, however, and eventually terminated for specious reasons. Commenting on an overview of The Stormfury Era by the Hurricane Research Division of the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, Dick Eastman, MS, MA, noted that the privatization of weather-related government agencies was a factor in the termination of this project:
“Project Stormfury was discontinued just as new planes for doing the interventions were made available.
It seems that we had a deliberate effort to stifle success at the very time that the national weather bureau and other weather-related government agencies were being privatized (the National Weather Service, like the Federal Reserve Bank, the Atomic Energy Commission and the National Science Foundation are privately owned and controlled organizations — each operating in their respective fields in totally unregulated and largely unsupervised environments, with the public thinking that each is part of the government…
“Storm Fury demonstrated — regardless of the sophistry — that hurricane winds can be reduced from 130 mph to 75 or 80 mph — a difference that means the a difference of billions in damages and of doubtless many lives.
“But we are not only seeing the deliberate decision to let disaster happen when it could be prevented — we are seeing something much worse — the deliberate use of this technology developed by minds that sought to help mankind as a means of destroying our homes and killing our people for the sake of ’disaster-industry’ profit and ‘national-emergency’ power.”
Gordon J. F. MacDonald (1929-2002) was an associate director of the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at UCLA, a member of President Lyndon Johnson’s Science Advisory Committee and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In his 1968 book, Unless Peace Comes: A Scientific Forecast Of New Weapons, MacDonald wrote a chapter titled “How to Wreck the Environment” (read below) in which he revealed that weather modification was in the experimental stages. MacDonald predicted that it would only be a matter of time before man would be able to manipulate the weather for use as a weapon:
“Among future means of obtaining national objectives by force, one possibility hinges on man’s ability to control and manipulate the environment of his planet. When achieved, this power over his environment will provide man with a new force capable of doing great and indiscriminate damage. Our present primitive understanding of deliberate environmental change makes it difficult to imagine a world in which geophysical warfare is practised. Such a world might be one in which nuclear weapons were effectively banned and the weapons of mass destruction were those of environmental catastrophe. As I will argue, these weapons are peculiarly suited for covert or secret wars…
“As economic competition among many advanced nations heightens, it may be to a country’s advantage to ensure a peaceful natural environment for itself and adisturbed environment for its competitors. Operations producing such conditions might be carried out covertly, since nature’s great irregularity permits storms, ﬂoods, droughts, earthquakes and tidal waves to be viewed as unusual but not unexpected. Such a ‘secret war’ need never be declared or even known by the affected populations. It could go on for years with only the security forces involved being aware of it. The years of drought and storm would be attributed to unkindly nature and only after a nation were thoroughly drained would an armed take-over be attempted.
“In addition to their covert nature, a feature common to several modiﬁcation schemes is their ability to affect the Earth as a whole. The environment knows no political boundaries; it is independent of the institutions based on geography and the effects of modiﬁcation can be projected from any one point to any other on the Earth. Because environmental modiﬁcation may be a dominant feature of future world decades, there is concern that this incipient technology is in total conﬂict with many of the traditional geographical and political units and concepts.
“Political, legal, economic and sociological consequences of deliberate environmental modiﬁcation, even for peaceful purposes, will be of such complexity that perhaps all our present involvements in nuclear affairs will seem simple.”
In his 1970 book, Between Two Ages, former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brezezinski (CFR/TC/B) mentioned “weather control” as a “new weapon” for the U.S. military and a “key element of strategy.”
“Technology will make available, to the leaders of major nations, techniques for conducting secret warfare, of which only a bare minimum of the security forces need be appraised… Techniques of weather modification could be employed to produce prolonged periods of drought or storm.”
Also in 1970, the U.S. Weather Bureau was renamed the National Weather Service and the privatization of the weather-related government agencies began, a process that was expedited under President Bill Clinton.
“In accordance with the Administration’s FY 1996 Proposed Budget and the Administration’s Reinventing Government initiatives issued in early 1995, the National Weather Service (NWS) initiated a transition program to transfer NWS Agricultural Weather Services and non-federal non-wildfire weather support to private meteorological firms willing to assume these responsibilities…
“The transition of agricultural weather services to the private sector is dynamic. Both the NWS and the private meteorological sector will need to continue to work together to provide maximum service to the nation’s growers. Privatization efforts are not new to the NWS. Over the years, the NWS has transferred services such as direct commercial radio and television broadcasts, newspaper weather page preparation, and weather by phone successfully to the private sector.” (National Weather Service)
In 1977, the Geneva Convention proposed an international treaty prohibiting the military or other hostile use of environmental modification techniques. The Convention opened for signature on May 18, 1977 in Geneva and the treaty was enforced on October 5, 1978. Eighty-seven (87) nations signed this treaty:
CONVENTION ON THE PROHIBITION OF MILITARY OR ANY OTHER HOSTILE USE
OF ENVIRONMENTAL MODIFICATION TECHNIQUES
Signed in Geneva May 18, 1977
Entered into force October 5, 1978
Ratification by U.S. President December 13, 1979
U.S. ratification deposited at New York January 17, 1980
The States Parties to this Convention,
Guided by the interest of consolidating peace, and wishing to contribute to the cause of halting the arms race, and of bringing about general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control, and of saving mankind from the danger of using new means of warfare,
Determined to continue negotiations with a view to achieving effective progress towards further measures in the field of disarmament,
Recognizing that scientific and technical advances may open new possibilities with respect to modification of the environment,
Recalling the Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment adopted at Stockholm on 16 June 1972,
Realizing that the use of environmental modification techniques for peaceful purposes could improve the interrelationship of man and nature and contribute to the preservation and improvement of the environment for the benefit of present and future generations,
Recognizing, however, that military or any other hostile use of such techniques could have effects extremely harmful to human welfare,
Desiring to prohibit effectively military or any other hostile use of environmental modification techniques in order to eliminate the dangers to mankind from such use, and affirming their willingness to work towards the achievement of this objective,
Desiring also to contribute to the strengthening of trust among nations and to the further improvement of the international situation in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,
Have agreed as follows:
Article I1. Each State Party to this Convention undertakes not to engage in military or any other hostile use of environmental modification techniques having widespread, long-lasting or severe effects as the means of destruction, damage or injury to any other State Party.
2. Each State Party to this Convention undertakes not to assist, encourage or induce any State, group of States or international organization to engage in activities contrary to the provisions of paragraph 1 of this article. (continued)
In 1996, the U.S. Air Force published a research paper produced in the Department of Defense titled, “Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025.” Disregarding the Geneva Convention Treaty on Weather Modification, the stated purpose of the paper was “to outline a strategy for the use of a future weather-modification system to achieve military objectives…”
“2025 is a study designed to comply with a directive from the chief of staff of the Air Force to examine the concepts, capabilities, and technologies the United States will require to remain the dominant air and space force in the future. Presented on 17 June 1996, this report was produced in the Department of Defense school environment of academic freedom and in the interest of advancing concepts related to national defense. The views expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Air Force, Department of Defense, or the United States government…
“In 2025, US aerospace forces can ‘own the weather’ by capitalizing on emerging technologies and focusing development of those technologies to war-fighting applications. Such a capability offers the war fighter tools to shape the battlespace in ways never before possible. It provides opportunities to impact operations across the full spectrum of conflict and is pertinent to all possible futures. The purpose of this paper is to outline a strategy for the use of a future weather-modification system to achieve military objectives rather than to provide a detailed technical road map.
“A high-risk, high-reward endeavor, weather-modification offers a dilemma not unlike the splitting of the atom. While some segments of society will always be reluctant to examine controversial issues such as weather-modification, the tremendous military capabilities that could result from this field are ignored at our own peril. From enhancing friendly operations or disrupting those of the enemy via small-scale tailoring of natural weather patterns to complete dominance of global communications and counterspace control, weather-modification offers the war fighter a wide-range of possible options to defeat or coerce an adversary…”
Another piece of evidence to support the existence of the these weapon systems.
PC Magazine‘s Dan Costa warned Friday that the United States must learn from Egypt’s “state-sponsored denial of service attack” on its citizens. “The surprising thing isn’t that a corrupt, authoritarian regime would launch this kind of state-sponsored denial off service attack on its own citizens. Nor that it is willing to jeopardize its economy by cutting its businesses off from world markets.
The legislation was first introduced last summer by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), and the former has promised to bring it to the floor again in 2011. It isn’t called anything as obvious as the Internet Kill Switch, of course. It is called the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act. Who could be against that? Anyone who’s watching the news on TV today, that’s who.
The proposal calls for the Department of Homeland Security to establish and maintain a list of systems or assets that constitute critical cyber-infrastructure. The President would be able to be able to control those systems. He or she would have ability to turn them off. The kicker: none of this would be subject to judicial review. This is just a proposal, mind you, but it certainly warrants concern. Particularly given the heavy-handed example being provided by Egypt.
The bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Joe Liebermann, I-Conn., previously sailed through the Homeland Security Committee just before the 111th Congress ended, and will have to be reconsidered in the new 112th Congress.
Intended to protect the country against significant cyber threats, Sen. Collins says the bill would provide a mechanism for the government to work with the private sector in the event of a true cyber emergency.
It would give our nation the best tools available to swiftly respond to a significant threat, she added.
An aide to the Homeland Security committee described the bill as one that does not mandate the shuttering of the entire internet. Instead, it would authorize the president to demand turning off access to so-called “critical infrastructure” where necessary.
An example, the aide said, would require infrastructure connected to “the system that controls the floodgates to the Hoover dam” to cut its connection to the net if the government detected an imminent cyber attack.
What’s unclear, however, is how the government would have any idea when a cyber attack was imminent or why the operator wouldn’t shutter itself if it detected a looming attack.
About two dozen groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Library Association, Electronic Frontier Foundation and Center for Democracy & Technology, were skeptical enough to file an open letter opposing the idea. They are concerned that the measure, if it became law, might be used to censor the internet.
“It is imperative that cyber-security legislation not erode our rights,” (.pdf) the groups wrote last year to Congress.
On Friday, executives with London-based Vodofone came under scrutiny after admitting they had complied with the Egyptian government’s request to shut down internet and mobile phone access in Egypt. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Vodofone Group CEO Vittorio Cola expressed concern with the state-ordered blackout, but the company determined that the request was legitimate under Egyptian law, and therefore complied with the request.
In addition, Al Jazeera reported that protesters on Friday destroyed Vodafone stores in Cairo, among other locations tied to the ruling regime.
In the meantime, Costa insists that such a kill switch initiative could be devastating for the United States — not just because of the real impact on individual liberties, but also because of widespread economic ramifications:
The U.S. telecommunication industry is much more complex and far more decentralized [than Egypt's]. To do something similar in the U.S. would require a lot more than four phone calls. There are simply too many connections inside the nation already for them to be silenced. Also, since our economy is more dependent on the Internet obstructing the free flow of information would be disastrous. Still, the push for a U.S. Internet Kill Switch is here, but no one understands the consequences.
The fact is, no one in the U.S. should ever have the right or the ability to take the Internet offline. As an editor of a purely online publication (we made the switch from print a few years ago), it’s very clear to me that freedom of the press relies more than ever on the Internet. No one in the U.S.—or anywhere—should have the right to shut it down.
Full article here: