Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

New UK Export: Police State Tools

How BAE sold cyber-surveillance tools to Arab states - BBC News (20 June 2017). Video Source: BBC via Youtube.

NSA in a box: on 20 June 2017, BBC reported that a UK firm, BAE systems, exported nation-wide surveillance and decryption tools to Arab states, notably the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and Morocco. The BBC reporter found that this exported technology will potentially be used against the UK. Takeaway quote: "You'd be able to intercept any Internet traffic. If you wanted to do a whole country - go ahead!"

Image Source: BAE Systems.

The 52nd International Paris Air Show is on now from 19 to 25 June 2017, with reps talking about everything from commercial jets to quantum entanglement. The aerospace industry increasingly considers military applications in space. Jane's reported that BAE is there, seeking to expand its custom for fighter jets in Belgium and Finland. Despite political tensions between Trump's America and a liberal Europe, on 18 June 2017 Defense News stated that US military industry reps were sanguine: it's "full speed ahead" between Europe and the USA when it comes to aerospace and arms deals. While the event is on, you can watch a livestream from the Paris Air Show here.

Le Bourget roundup Day 1 (20 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

BAE Systems' Platforms & Services: Our history, our mission, our vision for tomorrow (1 December 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

BAE in Czechia / Czech Republic army training exercises: CV90 is ready for IDET, Brno, Czech Republic, 31 May-2 June (24 May 2017) Video Source: Youtube.

BAE has offices worldwide and employs 30,000 people. It was founded in a 1999 merger of British Aerospace and Marconi Electronic Systems. You can see those origins in a dual specialties focus on conventional and aerospace weapons and Internet-based (in)security and electronic warfare. And if the two intersect in military or civilian worlds - as in non-linear crystal technologieselectromagnetic spectrum dominance, commercial transit, tax and healthcare fraud prevention, foreign tax account monitoring of individuals and corporationscustomer information capture, and the future of government IT - even better. Partners include DARPA and Microsoft. Check out BAE's products list here.

Conceptually and philosophically speaking, one of BAE's most interesting products is the Army Cyber suite, because it mirrors the problem of our times. Army Cyber translates the messy physical realm of human activity, with all its chaos, predictability and unpredictability, into a technologically rationalized analytical and predictive guidance system. The application here is militaristic, with real soldiers acting, but the virtual system can guide them to operate inside Army Directive Program Frameworks.

Now, if a program can implicitly systematize the activities of soldiers, who is to say that this same capability cannot be subliminally applied to citizens through handheld civilian technology? If that sounds paranoid, what else can you expect if an intelligence agency is supplying Internet access and programs to domestic populations, with tools developed by the army or army contractors like this one? BAE's Army Cyber's program success list:
  • "Four years in operation in one of the most complex federal environments"
  • "Identified hundreds of 'persons of interests'"
  • "Enterprise audit capability collected more than 10 million records of user audit data from shared sensitive platforms with zero downtime"
  • "Best Practices from across Intelligence Community and DNI standards ICS500-27 and ICS700-2"
Distinctions blur between real and virtual, military and civilian, security and authoritarianism. Notice the undertow in the real-virtual interfacial system: there are 'best practices standards,' 'program frameworks,' and similar boundaried expectations of behaviour, which by definition virtually create limited permissible arenas of real world action. Applied in non-military contexts, these spheres could easily be negatively legalized, politicized or criminalized. From the Army Cyber Offensive Cyber Capabilities Highlights:
"Decide, Detect, Deliver, and Assess (D3A) decision pattern is the leading approach to offensive cyberspace operations. We build CyberML executable system of systems models that abstract complex cyberspace constraints, technologies, or actions and then apply machine-based reasoning to augment human decisions and provide real-time response."
Three hundred years ago, wars were fought by professional soldiers, draftees and mercenaries, but non-combatants did not fight; they were only devastated if they were directly in the way of an advancing, hungry army. One of the shocking innovations of the 20th century was the mass targeting of civilian populations as a war tactic (as in: the Holocaust, Dresden, or the Japanese nuclear bombings). Another shift was the use of military actions in civilian circumstances; irregular paramilitary personnel disappeared into civilian populations, or civilian populations were targeted in acts of micro-war (as in: guerrilla warfare, hijackings, hostage-takings, 9/11, terrorism). It took high technology to render the overlap nearly complete, such that military mentalities and methods blend with non-military life.

The Theatre of War and the Theatre of Peace are now almost indistinguishable from one another. Our governments could pretend they are at peace, while they wage war on us. And we would never know it. Citizens can have a mental disconnect between what they want to see politically and what is really happening. If they have an outdated understanding of government integrity, patriotism and technological capabilities, they can believe themselves to be at peace while they are being undermined and attacked by their own government.

I am not saying BAE is doing this. I am saying they are part of a trend. The potential is there in the current environment. An inflated military-industrial complex, aimed at enemies outside, can find enemies inside too, sometimes justifiably, sometimes not. The crossover into the civilian and domestic sphere may not even be security-related. It can simply arise because something has been developed that has commercial profitability or governmental applications. For civilians, the mental disconnect comes from the fact that technological development is outpacing our cognitive ability to appreciate its implications.

BAE's US office, based in Arlington, Virginia, has quite an active Twitter feed. In a recent fireside chat, the Senior VP of Communications in the US office, Kristie Cunningham, described the company's efforts to help American military veterans; the company also supports stories by military children.

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