Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The threat posed by online Nazis

At any given point in time there are always segments of the population that harbor extremely regressive or destructive thoughts. Extremist groups typically form when sufficient numbers of these people come together and form a loose association. With time the association strengthens and then over the timescale of a few years the group dissipates.

This dissipation is due to a variety of fissiparous tendencies that are typically at play in any social group. Things like ego clashes, unsustainable patterns of funding or group activity. A solid core of ideas (relevant in a certain enduring social or economic context) or a charismatic leader or a steady stream of conflict capital can help keep groups together for periods exceeding the aforementioned natural timescale.

As a historical example, consider the case of Sikh extremist groups in Punjab. This is a heavily studied system both in India and abroad. There were always Sikh extremist groups that held extreme views. However with the appearance of Jarnail Singh Bhindran, these groups coalesced into a loose alliance and eventually threatened public order in Punjab and the integrity of the Union of India. After the Indian Army's Op Bluestar killed J S Bhindran, many believed the worst was over. However the public sympathy, the HR violations during the Army led Op Woodrose and sustained support to the extremists from the Pakistani ISI kept the movement going for ten more years. During the entire period of the "Khalistan Insurgency" - the extremist groups presented numerous fissiparous tendencies. Groups routinely formed, broke up, changed loyalties, ratted each other out and even fought and killed each other. However the central dynamic of the insurgency proved to be an alignment of these groups that endured far longer than anyone would have anticipated from historical data. In most Indian literature on this movement, this endurance is attributed to a particular cell of the ISI playing a major role in structuring funding and armament supply channels to these groups. In non-Indian literature this endurance is attributed to the ground swell public anger caused by HR violations by Indian security forces. I feel both factors were at play.

Fast forward to today and in the age of the internet, there are numerous opportunities for disparate extremist groups to engage in communications and common agenda building. The stable of hyper-empowered individuals and influencers is quite large (as one can easily draw on a globalized base) and there is an immense opportunity to use AIs to fluff up the support base of the movement. Given the way online advertising works, it is very easy to raise money for sustained online operations. We find (analogously to the GoI of the 1980s) that groups are interacting in ways that cannot really be controlled or precisely anticipated.

So it is no surprise that we find Nazi groups abundant on the internet. As I had indicated earlier Nazis are an extremely dangerous entity - capable of masking their genocidal agendas in a variety of wrappers. Once they get someone to participate in their agenda, they own that person - even if the person themselves doesn't want to be owned. Dissociating oneself from the Nazi agenda can be extremely difficult. Just ask the Germans how hard that can be.

In the US today we are seeing disparate groups, anti-govt militias, Sov-Cits, "White Nationalists", Oath Keepers, 3 Percenters, toxic Christian groups, Men-who-hate-Women etc... all gathering under the umbrella of the Alt-Right. We are also able to discern a significant participation and engagement in these groups by RIS fronts (though most of this seems to be B Team/GRU led - if there is a A Team/Xdir involvement it is not obvious at this time). There is also support from GOP and Trump organization types both of which appear convinced that this coalition of groups is somehow key to their personal political survival. (Again parallels to the Punjab situation abound!).

While it is important to remember that there are differences between the various groups in the coalition, it is IMHO equally important to focus on the one thing that brings them together - contact over the internet. Without this contact - which permits sharing of schedules, money and agendas (threads that bind) - there would be far less unity in this group. Cutting this form of contact down is impossible - you can shut down websites or twitter accounts but as IS demonstrates each day - there will always be ways to dodge any barriers you put down.

It should be relatively easy to track the schedule alignments by simply following the public calls for rallies and the responses from various group members.

It is much more difficult to find shared sources of funding, as most of these will have layers of security built into it. If the channels lead back to RIS, then one will not find them without serious effort.

It is moderately difficult to identify the threads that bind. As far as one can see based on random sampling there are four strands that bind these groups quite strongly

1) shared anti-Muslim sentiments
2) shared anti-Media sentiments
3) shared views on Immigration
4) somewhat shared anti-Jewish sentiments (toxic Christianity)

It would be nice to see some statistical evaluations of these "ties that bind" to see a rank ordering in terms of strength and to determine who exactly controls the definition of these agendas. Usually an agenda is shared, but whoever speaks first is the leader. If one finds that Nazis are defining the agenda, then their influence will be far more pervasive that even I can imagine right now. There are a number of subject matter experts who have strong views on where exactly the balance of power between these groups lies. I respect their scholarship but the opinions of a few PhDs will not convince anyone especially when there is significant political pressure to reject those opinions. Only rigorous data based analysis will sway minds.

National security strategists in the Govt of India in the early 80s failed to grasp that merely focusing on the microscopic fissiparous tendencies of the Khalistani movements would not protect India from a deadly convergence of these agendas. An entirely separate set of tools were needed to cope with the factors that brought these groups together. And a completely separate set of tools was needed to stop infiltration of these groups into the law enforcement community.

The first set of tools yielded moderate success in about 5 years after the onset of the insurgency. The Government of India was able to dominate the situation at great cost but what little success was achieved owed a great deal to the work of people like Dir (R&AW) A K Verma who eventually brought Gen. Hamid Gul and the ISI to the negotiating table.

The second set of tools were only able to achieve desired results after about 10 years. Even at this time - a low level but detectable presence of Khalistani groups remains (so nothing has been completely eradicated). Most of this portion of the story was driven by aggressive police officers like DGP K P S Gill.

The timescale for the resolution of the conflict was set by how long it took for Govt. of India to recognize the problem at hand and apply the right tools.

It's complicated. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Modern Nazism: Online Success - Meatspace Fail?

I was reading Rachel Ghansah's article on Dylann Roof and I noticed she had asserted a similarity between the IS "lone wolves" and Dylann Roof. This is something I have long held to be true.

Her writing is incredibly clear and it brought to mind several observations I had made on the issue of "Modern Nazism".  I want to be clear about this - by Nazism - I do not mean only the variety which we are traditionally used to, i.e. the whole Hitler/Swastikas etc... kind but a much wider group of self-destructive ideas that all converge on mass murder of perceived adversaries. Modern Nazism uses a much larger variety of wrappers to disguise it's mass murdering core. As with Hitler's Nazism - this wrapper serves to beguile and eventually indenture its adherents into permanent service of a mass murdering agenda.

The Nazism we all know is merely a variant of a pattern where one group of people decides they are superior to everyone else and must put everyone they don't like to death in order to secure their own "survival".  Perhaps one can think of it a kind of shared form of homicidal narcissistic personality disorder, where an entire group of people decide to focus on only what is best for themselves regardless of the cost to others. It is obviously extremely destructive. Once you have served its agenda even once it holds the power of a pervasive blackmail over you - you serve its goals purely out of fear of being exposed. This is the mire that most 1930s Germans found themselves in. Its existence in any form is extraordinarily dangerous.

After the end of World War II, most people in the world felt relieved. They told themselves that Nazism had been vanquished and there was no way it could rise again from the ashes of a fallen Germany. This is completely untrue. Nazism is a form of social dysfunction where mass murdering criminals seize control of state resources and use them to commit genocide. That evil will rise again and again. And each time it will have to be fought and defeated if humanity is to survive.

In the days before the internet, Nazi ideas existed in various fragments of the population. These fragments lived in geographic isolation and barring a major system wide economic coupling event, the Nazi ideas died localized to the small disparate groups they were born in.

With the proliferation of the communications - the phone networks, the internet and the mobile phone, trafficking in Nazi ideas has become much easier. This has created a rebirth of these ideas on the internet. And since everything is recorded and transmitted much more easily than before - one finds Nazism spreading rapidly across the internet. The speed of propagation of these ideas is quite stunning. Most of us watching the spread are alarmed by it. The ideas are spreading across national boundaries and in each country they are picking up a local wrapper that makes the core a potent threat to each delicate local equilibrium in these disconnected physical spaces. The sense of alarm is - in part - what drove responses to the Charlottesville Nazi Rally.

While JJMcNab one of the foremost authorities on far right extremism has cautioned against lumping people with the Nazis, I think it is fair to say that Nazi ideals appear to have a centripetal quality to them and that they are capable of providing an almost invisible web that ties hitherto disparate things together.

One of the main concerns that has cropped up after Charlottesville is that we saw online Nazi groups collect in one physical space IRL and present as a single coherent force that openly espoused Nazi symbols and chants. This was a remarkable change in the pattern of behavior because prior to this they had only been able to mount a presence in "meatspace" under a non-Nazi banner or as crypto Nazis in small numbers at much larger groups like Donald Trump's campaign rallies. The appearance of a large conglomerate of Nazis bearing arms in a public space in the real world is a sign that a kind of criticality has been reached.

Clearly Trump himself has enabled the online Nazis. He seems convinced that a political engagement with them is key to his survival. The jury is out on that part. However we do know that online Nazi presence has increased as the Trump Campaign has amplified their access to large bandwidth communication and outreach mechanisms. With each re-tweet Trump has pushed forth the Nazi agenda (while IMHO setting himself up to fail). Today Nazis like Chris Cantwell are able to openly state that they do not find Trump compliant enough to their agenda. They can openly say Trump is just a pawn in their overall strategy. It is unclear how long Trump will survive - others like him haven't survived long after the Nazis decide to put them in their cross hairs. And yes Nazis everywhere and in every age are extremely violent and unafraid to strike at heads of state or their family members.

Putin and the RIS seem to be stuck in a counter-productive relationship with these groups as well. I am somehow reminded of the disastrous Molotov-Ribbentrop pact or of the CIA's ill-conceived dalliance with violent Jihadis in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Putin may have his reasons, but the RIS really should know better.

The Boston rally demonstrates that for now - counter-protests vastly outnumber the Nazis. This puts online Nazism into the "meatspace fail" category. It will not remain there for long unless something is done to secure vital national security organisms from infiltration.

The proposed measures cannot proceed locally, it is best if a global collaboration is created to stop the tide of Nazi ideas. Only if the law enforcement agencies of the world work together can this menace be contained and kept locked into an online box*.

* bear in mind locking it into an online box will not stop Dylann Roof, or Rizwan Farooq/Tashfeen Malik types. Low level incidents will sadly continue as long as an online presence for Nazi ideas isn't completely stamped out.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

"Total Moral Collapse"

I think Paul Staniland has hit it on the head  - after Trump's last press conference the US has suffered a "Total Moral Collapse" of its federal government.

This is a serious problem as it has strong implications for law and order. In the vacuum created by this moral collapse, criminal organizations will move resolutely to undermine law and order.

As many of you are aware, whatever law and order means (how ever twisted that may be), it is held in place by the police departments of the land. A little known fact about police departments is that each houses a slush fund. In the US this fund is filled using the "Civil Forfeiture" process. By way of this process police departments across the US seize illegal property or just property from people who are too weak to push back against it with expensive lawyers. These funds have a purpose, they keep the departments functional. Given how varied police funding is in different parts of the US, the civil forfeiture amounts vary. Other slush funds are also around, mostly in the form of money/assets that is "borrowed" from special operations.

One of the most interesting documentaries to emerge out the Cville incidents was the work of Elle Reeve. In the documentary at the 9 min mark, a 3%er (or Oathkeeper) can be seen on the phone with some police official. The 3% er threatens to send "200 men with guns" to do something unless the Police official complies with his demands.  This gave me a very Punjab 1980s vibe.

Armed men talking down to police officers is something I first saw in Punjab in the 1980s. After that point was crossed, the Police began bribing the extremists not to be hit. The slush funds built carefully over decades in the local PDs were quickly drained down as the Khalistani extremists (now chock full of random criminal elements) began to demand a higher baksheesh not to kill cops.

I feel we are in a similar place in the US. A number of police forces are infiltrated by Nazi sympathizers. It is difficult to gauge the extent of infiltration but risks of this kind of thing multiply in mofussil areas where police forces are small and there just aren't enough resources to do anything at all. It is in such areas that the Nazis with their heavy weapons can overwhelm local policing resources and compromise the slush funds.

Once those slush funds are under the control, they will try to establish a mafiosi system which pays them instead of the local PD. In this way the Nazis will supplant the local government.

Readers should recall that the Nazis were able to carry out the bulk of the holocaust in a very short time because they quickly reorganized local police units and reserve units to perform the actual task of genocide. These units had already been infiltrated by genocidal persons like Christian Wirth and so they were able to adjust to the needs of the task of mass murder.

I think we should recognize that to Donald Trump's failed political platform the Nazis were nothing more than AstroTurf. The only interest Donald had in them was a political fodder for his divisive political campaign that appealed to the racial fragility of old white boomers. I guess in that sense the old white boomer is not that different from the old Hindu boomer in India. Both share a sense of cultural displacement and a racially driven sense of fragility.

But the reality of Nazism is that it is not anyone's AstroTurf. It is a persistent and unrepentant evil - a most horrific form of criminality that soon overwhelms those who seek to ride it into political power. Once this criminal beast is off the ground and running - there is often no way to stop it without killing a staggeringly large number of people.

By refusing to recognize these facts and pandering to some twisted sense of ego - Trump has failed to provide the critical leadership needed at this time. With him acting like this the USG will not be able to bring federal resources to bear on the Nazi problem and the cancer will metastasize. It will most likely consume the police forces - that most vital organ of our civil society.

I can't say I am surprised - Trump is not known for his ability to lead  - only for his ability to beguile.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Nazi astroturfing operation has failed.

The whole point behind Bannon and Co orchestrating the Nazi march in UVA was to create an illusion of massive public support for Trump. This became necessary as pressure on Trump grew from the Trump-Russia investigation and from his abysmal failure to keep nuclear escalation risks contained v/s North Korea. The Korean crisis with its direct implications for Bank of Japan - one of the biggest CBs investing in the US economy was really bad, we were seeing massive negative trends in the KOSPI and DJIA.

Faced with flagging poll numbers and a stock market that seemed to be sensitive to the details of the handling of the DPRK crisis, Trump had to launch some kind of micro-Reichstag fire that would make him seem indispensable. Otherwise the blame for this would fall directly on him.

The way it should have played out was that the Trump inspired Nazi march would invite a massive Antifa counter-protest. And the clashes between the groups would escalate to the point where the police would seem justified in using excessive force to go after the Antifa.

Things fell apart almost at the get go. The Antifa - Nazi clashes did not create quite the ruckus Bannon and Co wanted.

The Antifa for their part took a more muted approach focusing on aggressive internet exposure of Nazis rather than physical confrontation with armed Nazis.

In order to increase the tempo of the operation, the Nazis began attacking police for not being harsh enough with the Antifa.

This made it more difficult for the Police to justify attacks on the Antifa.

When the pressure built up inside the Nazi groups, they responded the only way they know - by murdering people. A Nazi drove his car into the counter-protesters and killed an unarmed woman. The Police are now trying their best to treat this like a innocent accident, when photo evidence from the scene of the crime is directly pointing towards premeditation.

The Nazis know they can't deflect from the murder charge so they have taken to vilifying the late Heather Heyer. The Stormer has come out with an article saying that she was was a "Childless, Fat, 32 Year Old Slut".

It is interesting to note that the Daily Stormer has dropped its "Blue Lives Matter" chant and suggested that the police officers who died in the VSP Helo crash on the same weekend deserved to die. This draws a visible line between the Nazis and the pro-police crowd. It also sets the stage for effectively labeling Police as "Race Traitors".

The Nazis are very keen to lay blame for this mess on the Police or someone else.

With the greater portion of the non-MSM coverage pointing towards RW aggression as the main driver, even parts of the GOP have escalated their war on the Nazis inside the WH.

The result of this utter fiasco is an major widening in the fissure inside the Trump Admin. The Ivanka/Jared/Bibi faction has broken ranks with the Oval Office and they are openly taking up a stance that defies the Nazis. This makes sense as their personal brand afford association with something so toxic.

The Bannon guys are digging their heels in. Their main argument (as espoused so eloquently by David Duke) is that "We did this for Trump". David Duke went so far as to say that Donald Trump should remember that "White People brought him into the WH". This IMHO is a very telling statement, it is at once a declaration of support for Donald Trump but also a subtle reminder to him that Duke and his Nazi kinsmen know where the bodies are buried.

The result of the Bannon willingness to dig his claws into Donald Trumps posterior is that Donald Trump cannot say a single word against him and with each passing day becomes ominously close to becoming described as a genocidal Nazi himself.

This massive fissure is cascading rapidly another CEO has left the WH businesses advisory council. Trump has criticized the CEO for leaving (and now its up to 4 CEOs out of the group) but it is another nail in the coffin of this administration.

Today - with attention turned away from the DPRK nuclear flashpoint - we are seeing stability return to the KOSPI and the DJIA. However if the impression that Donald Trump is some kind of closet genocidal freakshow gains too much ground both DJIA and KOSPI will resume falling again.

The Nazi astroturfing operation has failed miserably. It has created more problems for Trump than he could have imagined. He was barely able to keep above the water - this shit has straight up pushed him under. He can't blame this on anyone else - he is the boss - and this is on him.

The Nazis for their part are out of control. We can anticipate an upswing in attacks on minorities and police. This situation is very similar to the Punjab in 1983 after Op Bluestar. One should expect defections in the police and armed forces as closet Nazis break out.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Estimates DPRK CEP and OAR for HS platform

Yesterday KCNA helpfully released this item about a DPRK strategic forces general explaining exactly how long a flight of 4 HS would take to reach Guam and that they would fall 30-40 km from Guam shores.

A lot of people like Ankit Panda are saying this is an effective NOTAM as DPRK does not issue NOTAMs for its ballistic missile tests. Ankit may be correct about that but I feel like they are more/less signalling to us what they see as the accuracy of their missiles. This part of any nation's decision making is very obvious to infer once you have CEP and OAR numbers.

Based on this DPRK General's statement I can peg the 2DRMS (98% hit probability) at ~ 10km. Which puts the CEP (assuming the DPRK guys aren't being weird about statistics) at ~ 4km at a range of 3000 km.

Also noting that they choose to fly 4 HS on this mission, I am guessing that they think they will lose half to enemy action and half to platform failure. As there is no target to hit here - this appears to be a demonstration only flight - I am guessing there will be no warhead on these.

I feel this puts the DPRK perceived OAR at something like 25% for the HS platform.

The CEP numbers are reminiscent of the estimates for HS/Rodong platforms but slightly better.

I haven't had time to do detailed calculations, but maybe that is not necessary as the DPRK guys are reporting the same CEP as an HS-9 platform at 3x the range. That suggests they are doing a better job of it than they were on the older HS platforms. Absent major improvements in manufacturing, tolerances and quality control, I can think of only a few ways to achieve this.

I suspect they are using a radio signal to shut off the stage 1 engine at the right altitude and I suspect that they may be hacking a GPS or navigation signal to correct their trajectory. (This is where the discussion on grid fins is making the rounds).

I really wish the people at ACW would get in a room and beat their heads together on what they think the guidance system for the HS ICBMs is. They have eyes on this for a very long time, also I am skeptical that anyone has been able to recover the guidance compartment from the recent HS tests in SoJ. It is unlikely those would have survived impact or that it would be possible to find where they fell on the ocean floor without putting in some serious effort. I don't think one is going to get to see the guidance systems, at best one might get a few helpful hints from the Libyran HS variants that were donated after the Gaddafi regime fell. I think the ACW guys guesswork on the choice of guidance systems is the best we can do as OSINT goes.

I feel that that if the DPRK guys are themselves convinced that their CEP is poor and OAR is low (like the Guam KCNA press release suggests), then they will have no choice but to pursue a high yield staged physics package.

So far I do not believe they have demonstrated anything beyond boosting. From single point measurement of the Mb values at Pungyi-Ri I think until we see a M6.3 quake at that location and an attendant Neutrino detection events, I am not comfortable saying that DPRK has the capability to achieve staged nuclear reactions.

This I feel really acts a major driver in DPRK nuclear testing.

In the past I have stated that a "Shipping Container" or "Bullock Cart" nuke (as they call it in India and Pakistan) is not a reliable means of delivery. I stand by that, but as a holy-fuck-I-am-desperate-for-any-deterrence-at-all idea - it is sadly viable.

I feel Trump has pushed the US into a commitment trap. If Trump does not deliver a military action, he will lose face and while that might be a reasonable thing for others, it is not something he can expect to survive politically.  The US for its part will suffer even more if Trump does not action on his talk of a decapitating strike. The US will lose credibility regionally, and given how weak its position in the Korean peninsula is - the US cannot afford a major credibility loss.

We are on the path of no return.

A lot of what happens next will be determined by whether DPRK can demonstrate a staged burn capability. If Trump inspired B1-B patrols do not deter DPRK from testing - then it may make sense for South Korea to change sides and sue for peace independently of the US. 

ps - Also apologies to people who were waiting for the Bridges of Xizang County post. I am still working on correctly identifying the 11 key bridges across the Tsang Po.