24 October 2018

Buying a Robot Army: are drones the future of defense?

This essay argues that there is a path to the replacement of armies with a national defense system consisting entirely of automated responses and weapons. Based on the future many national armies already see in unmanned weapons, this culmination of military evolution may be closer than it seems. Should we continue reacting with horror to unmanned weapons? They may be inevitable, and we could hope they will form part of a strong deterrent structure that minimizes violence and helps push us to pacifism.

It is well-known that many countries manufacture and operate unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as weapons,[1] and this is leading to an interest in solutions to guide similar armed drones without the need for remote control by humans. We can see this already in the concept of "drone swarms", groups of semi-autonomous drones that could participate in battles.[2] Weapons equipped with artificial intelligence (AI), are pursued by the US, Russia and China.[3] Russia's military chief Valery Gerasimov considered in 2013 that "a fully robotized unit will be created, capable of independently conducting military operations."[4]Taken together, such news reports suggest the seemingly fictitious pursuit of robot armies by states is real.

Relying mostly on news reports, this essay will consider the merger of two different areas of military technological innovation. The first is the development of reliable unmanned aerial, naval and ground combat units. The second is the more hypothesis-laden topic of military artificial intelligence (AI), which may be applied to coordinate individual combat vehicles and eventually entire units on at least a tactical level. Military experts have not suggested the breakthrough of artificial general intelligence referred to by AI experts[5] is necessary to hit targets or outperform a human tactician, so that concept will be irrelevant here. This essay will be new in its attempt to make possible the concept of a complete national defense system that can consist wholly of automated units, reliant on automated responses and measures, to entirely replace a manned army. In doing so, this essay will address some military and political challenges such a national defense system could face and argue that its creation is achievable.

Before addressing the present direction of the two major areas of innovation concerned, we can consider an example of a similar defensive initiative. Unmanned defenses and automated retaliatory measures are not new ideas, although similar projects have never been seen as desirable. Nuclear weapons in Russia have been considered as possible components of an automated retaliatory system, in response to the close proximity of NATO forces to the Russian capital. In such a system, launches of the opposing (US) side's nuclear missiles would be detected and automatically trigger a retaliatory strike from Russia without requiring any human authorization.[6] If such powerful weaponry can be launched automatically, why not much less drastic military options deployed in a purely defensive manner?

On the less ambitious end of the spectrum, automated defenses including self-aiming stationary defenses like turrets with machine-guns already exist[7] and intelligent mines have already been advanced as ideas.[8] What seem to be persistently absent from this mix are unmanned anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) launchers and other towed or man-portable launchers. Even the most advanced such weapons known to exist only gained "fire-and-forget" technology and still require crews exposed to danger[9] to perform loading and firing. If better types of stationary defenses were to be relied on more heavily in future wars, they could significantly reduce the need to endanger human personnel with the low-value task of guarding a single point and help deter the most common low-tech threats.

Beyond stationary point defense is the adoption of mobile unmanned weapons. Russia,[10] China,[11] the US,[12] the UK[13] and others[14] all fund programs that consider drones as essential players in the future of warfare. Unmanned weapons such as these are best examined when divided into the different domains of ground, naval, aerial, and space combat and will be addressed in that order here. For a state to fully automate its defense, it would need to have capable responses to threats in all military domains.

The biggest current obstacles to unmanned warfare exist on the ground. Hostile personnel, being flexible and fast, can present a never-ending source of confusion and challenges to drone tanks. Such remote-controlled tanks, called unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), have been trialed in combat by the Russian Federation but are hindered by difficulties in signal,[15] cheap and unreliable design features,[16] and optics.[17] One summary of such problems may simply be that engineers have so little historical experience of creating full-scale unmanned vehicles, in contrast with manned vehicles, that almost all the problems are new and the solutions are still decades away.

Plans to overcome signal problems and the threat of jamming by making drone tanks drive autonomously may be complicated by the "cluttered and unpredictable" nature of battlefields.[18] Whatever targeting software is involved also appears to be too simple to deal with the huge array of threats from a speedy and proficient enemy.[19] The answer to such problems seems to lie in machine learning analogous to the same elusive way image recognition bots are developed.[20] For weapons, that would mean testing them repeatedly with the help of massive volumes of recorded data from real and simulated combat situations until results are promising enough for them to learn in real situations.

Done tanks appear to be the most challenging of all types of military robot to develop. Commercial self-driving cars are likely to remain drastically ahead of them for the foreseeable future. Due to their relationship, advances in self-driving car software can be expected to result in successes that filter down into the technologies carried aboard drone tanks.[21] The weapons will become more reliable as this happens. Self-driving car software appears to already be based on the same machine learning mentioned previously,[22] verifying that this is the likely route that will be taken to create smarter autonomous weapons. Machine learning used for image recognition should be just as applicable to all other data, including audio, radar and sonar, that may be recorded and acted upon in a combat situation.

The future of naval drones shows promise, with the adoption of unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs).[23] With the most concerning challenges to armed drones arguably existing in the domain of ground warfare, potential dangers to naval drones are not as significant. Naval armed drones are being trialed in various countries,[24] including a Russian drone torpedo called the Poseidon that acts as an autonomous nuclear-armed, nuclear-powered torpedo[25] and has strengthened Russia's nuclear deterrent.[26]

UUVs may have some of the best prospects as unmanned weapons in actual combat, since a non-operating drone underwater could at least be difficult for an enemy to locate. Such a drone could lose signal and be useless for a time, but not be truly lost or surrendered like its air and land counterparts. It can be hypothesized that an underwater drone could be created with the option to remain inert on the seabed, in order to gain an opportunity to reactivate and attack when the enemy is not ready.

Air-to-ground drone warfare is often thought to be fully developed already, but is totally ineffective in contested airspace.[27] Present technology appears to be inadequate to challenge a human pilot. Air-to-air drone warfare may remain too difficult at present, but development in that direction does seem to be of interest to China.[28] The most common use of lethal drones so far seems to be in ethically questioned assassinations by the US.[29] Because these are aimed at non-state targets, with the expectation that they will be undefended and unaware that they are being targeted, the effectiveness of drones as front-line weapons remains untested by the US. What is clear is that current drones and other unmanned weapons are effective only when acting in uncontested and remote spaces. It can be concluded that current unmanned weapons are very far from being flexible enough to compete with enemy manned weapons or enemy personnel in direct combat. Just as with drone tanks, however, this would be overcome by making the weapons autonomous and capable of learning.

Space warfare can already be considered entirely unmanned, because all space objects with potential military value are unmanned satellites[30] heavily dependent on computers and mission control centers on Earth. The fact the only presence held by states on other planets is robotic, too,[31] warns us that robots will be central to space militarization if and when it speeds up. Creating a "space corps", meaning military combatants stationed in orbit,[32] could prove to be a catastrophic mistake while space flight continues to be such a fragile task. This is because opposing states may instead solely focus on robotic satellites[33] that are much less vulnerable and much more menacing in the vacuum of space than any pressurized vehicle or suit. Small satellites, new missiles,[34] and intentionally placed debris[35] created by a desperate enemy could easily inflict overwhelming losses on a space corps and bring them burning down to Earth. Unmanned craft could also survive longer away from the Earth without resupply. Of all the different areas of warfare today, therefore, space warfare would be the most likely to see effective dominance of unmanned weapons, and that is because personnel would be too hard to sustain there. Space is already favorable to the non-living.

Lack of autonomy in drone weapons is their greatest handicap. They are little more than oversized remote-controlled toys in their present form, not much different than their World War 2 era predecessors, remote-controlled "Goliath" mines.[36] They may be even more vulnerable because signals can be disrupted and jammed[37] and obstacles can block signals,[38] potentially surrendering vehicles and their armaments to the enemy or leaving aerial drones vulnerable to interception by a much cruder enemy aircraft.

We can see the creation of lethal autonomous weapons (LAWs) is being pursued by states despite the push for international prohibitions against them.[39] Engineers are likely to consider autonomy important to overcome aforementioned problems inherent to remote-control by human operators, especially in the case of drone tanks. Given the current situation, military competition between states can reasonably be expected result in significant strides in the development of autonomous drone weapons in coming decades, possibly as commercial self-driving software filters into military software.[40] If Russia's military chief is correct,[41] this will lead to robotic units that can continue to carry out decisive combat actions even when their signal is severed, and perhaps fight to restore their connection with their commanders. These designs could, we can speculate, be able to defend their own technology from capture and even self-destruct when parts of their casing are opened by unauthorized personnel. Whether this is possible or useful will have to be explored by the relevant professionals.

Beyond the future engineering breakthroughs in lethal autonomous weapons, it is predictable that a whole different form of warfare will emerge in the long-term. This form of warfare will be the result of artificial intelligence continuing to be incorporated onboard military drones[42] or in the signals infrastructure used to control them from afar, or both. Although a completely automated army is not a stated goal of any country, evidence of amazing military engineering will make it increasingly plausible to propose much heavier funding for such projects in the future. It may not even emerge as a specifically funded project at all, but a simple reorganization of robotic forces and integration of future weapons and other systems into that national defense system once the machines are reliable.

Whether leadership of tactical-level decisions for drones could be handed over to a form of artificial intelligence like a robot general is a much more difficult topic to address than the drones themselves, so the following is highly speculative. The breakthroughs to artificial general intelligence and "super" AI[43] are almost certainly not necessary, although the state achieving these first may have a big advantage.[44] The success of computers in chess[45] and various games[46] can be viewed as precedent they can already make swifter and superior decisions than a human expert, but we must respect the fact real wars are much more complicated than any game.[47] It is possible some biological elements of creative thought and aggressiveness are required to act decisively in the fog of war and turn the tide of a battle, but it is not clear if these require anything like a human mind. What is clear is that, because war is so complex, it will be hard to maintain the flow of sufficiently detailed data between drones and an artificial general to allow it to make the type of fast or well-informed decision it would make in a game. This brings us back to the issue of maintaining signal. Whereas food and medicine would never be issues, a whole set of new baggage and responsibilities would drive the actions of an army consisting only of robots.

The biggest engineering problem, even in the exceedingly hypothetical idea of a fully automated military, may not be the creation of competent artificial generals to manage artificial armies but the already discussed problem of maintaining communication in a chaotic environment. It makes sense that such a problem would only be further compounded if a remotely-based artificial intelligence was giving instructions to robotic units and waiting for their feedback. The data being transmitted to and from the units would be immense. Time delays would exist. However, it is possible that the challenges would then be overcome simply by building ever more specialized and larger drones. Antenna-carrying models could be assigned to carry signals over buildings and other troublesome objects and overpower jamming attempts. These hypothetical vehicles may need to be very large, costly, and high-powered to provide maximum coverage. They would become high-value targets that require significant protection from other drones. Other types of supporting drone could be created specifically to attack sources of interference detected by them. Some drones could be adapted to act as commanders by interpreting many signals from lower-ranking drones and issuing orders back to them.

What is not speculation is the way funding and policy preferences of governments are going to be the deciding factors in whether defense becomes more automated, and to what degree. Current military robots and drones can be accurately described as being of limited variety and low cost,[48] indicating governments fund them grudgingly and wait for results before deciding what to do next. The production of war machines capable of acting autonomously and being led by other machines will likely depend on the creation of many more ambitious variants of military drone, with ever increasing size and cost. Whether this is purely science fiction talk or the next big revolution in warfare will depend on the choices of political leaders in the country prepared to take that leap.

The crossover from human warriors and their horses to machines as the main agents of warfare has been in the works for hundreds of years already, but may be close to its ultimate conclusion. It can be argued that drone armies and AI will eventually overtake humans in their ability to win wars. The end result, although still remote, may be that humans become obsolete in all domains of war. Over sufficient generations, it can be hoped that this reduces the militaristic upbringing and values of much of the population and reduces warlike sentiments and policies. Whether that is a helpful prediction has not yet been discussed in any literature so far and is worth further inquiry.

Harry Bentham

Exclusively for The clubof.info Blog

[1] Dillow, C., "All of These Countries Now Have Armed Drones", http://fortune.com/2016/02/12/these-countries-have-armed-drones/, Fortune, 12 February 2016, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[2] Lendon, B., "U.S. Navy could 'swarm' foes with robot boats", https://edition.cnn.com/2014/10/06/tech/innovation/navy-swarm-boats/index.html, CNN, 13 October 2014, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[3] O'Connor, T., "Russia's Military Challenges U.S. and China By Building a Missile That Makes Its Own Decisions", https://www.newsweek.com/russia-military-challenge-us-china-missile-own-decisions-639926, Newsweek, 20 July 2017, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[4] LaPointe, C., and Levin, P. L., "Automated War", https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2016-09-05/automated-war, Foreign Affairs, 5 September 2016, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[5] Dickson, B., "What is Narrow, General and Super Artificial Intelligence", https://bdtechtalks.com/2017/05/12/what-is-narrow-general-and-super-artificial-intelligence/, TechTalks, 12 May 2017, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[6] Bender, J., "Russia May Still Have An Automated Nuclear Launch System Aimed Across The Northern Hemisphere", https://www.businessinsider.com/russias-dead-hand-system-may-still-be-active-2014-9?IR=T, Business Insider, 4 September 2014, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[7] Parkin, S. "Killer robots: The soldiers that never sleep", http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150715-killer-robots-the-soldiers-that-never-sleep, BBC, 16 July 2015, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[8] Bergstein, B., "'Smart' land mines, with remote control", http://www.nbcnews.com/id/4664710/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/smart-land-mines-remote-control/, NBC News, 4 April 2004, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[9] "Antitank guided missile", https://www.britannica.com/technology/antitank-guided-missile, Britannica.com, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[10] Majumdar, D. ,"Russia Is Developing a Mysterious Unmanned Strike Aircraft", https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/russia-developing-mysterious-unmanned-strike-aircraft-23941, The National Interest, 4 January 2018, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[11] Huang, K. "The drones that have become part of China’s military strategy", https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2161354/drones-have-become-part-chinas-military-strategy, South China Morning Post, 26 August 2018, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[12] "Predator C Avenger Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)", https://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/predator-c-avenger-unmanned-aircraft-system-uas/, Airforce Technology
[13] "Taranis", https://www.baesystems.com/en/product/taranis, BAE Systems, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[14] Dillow, C., "All of These Countries Now Have Armed Drones", http://fortune.com/2016/02/12/these-countries-have-armed-drones/, Fortune, 12 February 2016, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[15] Mizokami, K., "Russia’s Tank Drone Performed Poorly in Syria", https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a21602657/russias-tank-drone-performed-poorly-in-syria/, Popular Mechanics, 18 June 2018, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[16] "Russian Uran-9 unmanned combat vehicle tested in Syria", https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MiiUOjmqLo, Binkov's Battlegrounds, YouTube, 20 July 2018, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[17] "Combat tests in Syria brought to light deficiencies of Russian unmanned mini-tank", https://defence-blog.com/army/combat-tests-syria-brought-light-deficiencies-russian-unmanned-mini-tank.html, Defence Blog, 18 June 2018, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[18] "Unmanned Ground Vehicle Technology Issues", Autonomous Vehicles in Support of Naval Operations, The National Academies Press, 2005, pp. 148-153
[19] "Russian Uran-9 unmanned combat vehicle tested in Syria", https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MiiUOjmqLo, Binkov's Battlegrounds, YouTube, 20 July 2018, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[20] "What is the Working of Image Recognition and How it is Used?", https://www.marutitech.com/working-image-recognition/, Maruti Techlabs, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[21] Wall, R. "Armies Race to Deploy Drone, Self-Driving Tech on the Battlefield", https://www.wsj.com/articles/armies-race-to-deploy-drone-self-driving-tech-on-the-battlefield-1509274803, WSJ, 29 October 2017, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[22] "What is the Working of Image Recognition and How it is Used?", https://www.marutitech.com/working-image-recognition/, Maruti Techlabs, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[23] Rees, M., "General Dynamics Demonstrates Naval Unmanned Systems C3 Capabilities", https://www.unmannedsystemstechnology.com/2018/09/general-dynamics-demonstrates-naval-unmanned-systems-c3-capabilities/, Unmanned Systems Technology, 11 September 2018, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[24] "Unmanned Warrior", https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/unmannedwarrior, Royal Navy Website, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[25] "Russia Begins Sea Trials of Nuclear-Capable ‘Poseidon’ Underwater Drone", https://thediplomat.com/2018/07/russia-begins-sea-trials-of-nuclear-capable-poseidon-underwater-prone/, The Diplomat, 21 July 2018, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[26] "Russia’s new weapons, nuclear parity and arms race: What’s going on?", https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4LejOtYiyw, RT, YouTube, 26 March 2018, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[27] "NATO report highlights drone limitations in 'contested environments'", http://www.natowatch.org/newsbriefs/2014/nato-report-highlights-drone-limitations-contested-environments, NATO Watch, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[28] Axe, D., "Dark Sword: China's Mysterious (and 'Robotic') Stealth Fighter Has Arrived", The National Interest, https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/dark-sword-chinas-mysterious-robotic-stealth-fighter-has-26175, 8 June 2018, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[29] Masters, J. "Targeted Killings", https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/targeted-killings, Council on Foreign Relations, 23 May 2013, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[30] Adams, D., "Weaponized Satellites and the Cold War in Space", https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/weaponized-satellites-and-the-cold-war-in-space/, Digital Trends, 1 May 2018, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[31] Mindell, D. A., "Robotic exploration of Mars is equivalent to human presence on Mars.", http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2015/10/robotic_exploration_of_mars_is_equivalent_to_human_presence_on_mars.html, Slate, 23 October 2015, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[32] Gould, J., "US Space Corps could launch in 3 years, key lawmaker says", https://www.defensenews.com/space/2018/02/28/2021-a-space-odyssey-space-corps-could-launch-in-three-to-five-years-key-lawmaker-says/, Defense News, 28 February 2018, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[33] Gertz, B., "China’s Space Weapons Threaten US Satellites", https://freebeacon.com/national-security/chinas-space-weapons-threaten-us-satellites/, Washington Free Beacon, 26 February 2015, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[34] Erwin, S., "U.S. intelligence: Russia and China will have ‘operational’ anti-satellite weapons in a few years", https://spacenews.com/u-s-intelligence-russia-and-china-will-have-operational-anti-satellite-weapons-in-a-few-years/, SpaceNews.com, 14 February 2018, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[35] Stenger, R., "Scientist: Space weapons pose debris threat", https://web.archive.org/web/20120930100948/http://articles.cnn.com/2002-05-03/tech/orbit.debris_1_low-earth-orbits-space-junk-international-space-station?_s=PM:TECH, CNN, 3 May 2002, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[36] "Back to the Drawing Board – The Goliath Tracked Mine", https://www.military-history.org/articles/back-to-the-drawing-board.htm, Military History Monthly, 12 July 2012, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[37] Kube, C., "Russia has figured out how to jam U.S. drones in Syria, officials say", https://www.nbcnews.com/news/military/russia-has-figured-out-how-jam-u-s-drones-syria-n863931, NBC News, 10 April 2018, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[38] Mizokami, K., "Russia’s Tank Drone Performed Poorly in Syria", https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a21602657/russias-tank-drone-performed-poorly-in-syria/, Popular Mechanics, 18 June 2018, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[39] " Pathways to Banning Fully Autonomous Weapons", https://www.un.org/disarmament/update/pathways-to-banning-fully-autonomous-weapons/, UNODA Website, 23 October 2017, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[40] "Russian Uran-9 unmanned combat vehicle tested in Syria", https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MiiUOjmqLo, Binkov's Battlegrounds, YouTube, 20 July 2018, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[41] LaPointe, C., and Levin, P. L., "Automated War", https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2016-09-05/automated-war, Foreign Affairs, 5 September 2016, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[42] Lee, P., "Drones will soon decide who to kill", http://theconversation.com/drones-will-soon-decide-who-to-kill-94548, The Conversation, 11 April 2018, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[43] Dickson, B., "What is Narrow, General and Super Artificial Intelligence", https://bdtechtalks.com/2017/05/12/what-is-narrow-general-and-super-artificial-intelligence/, TechTalks, 12 May 2017, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[44] Allen, G. C., "Putin and Musk are right: Whoever masters AI will run the world", https://edition.cnn.com/2017/09/05/opinions/russia-weaponize-ai-opinion-allen/index.html, CNN, 5 September 2017, Retrieved 5 October 2018
[45] Gibbs, S. "AlphaZero AI beats champion chess program after teaching itself in four hours", https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/dec/07/alphazero-google-deepmind-ai-beats-champion-program-teaching-itself-to-play-four-hours, The Guardian, 7 December 2017, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[46] McConnell, M., "The AIs Are Winning: 5 Times When Computers Beat Humans", https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/ais-winning-5-times-computers-beat-humans/, MUO, 10 May 2016, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[47] "What Computer Games Get "Wrong" about War", https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peNU5EffPYU, Military History Visualized, YouTube, 22 November 2016, Retrieved 3 October 2018
[48] Mclean, W., "Drones are cheap, soldiers are not: a cost-benefit analysis of war", https://theconversation.com/drones-are-cheap-soldiers-are-not-a-cost-benefit-analysis-of-war-27924, The Conversation, 26 June 2014, Retrieved 3 October 2018
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6 June 2018

Social networks seen as a dead end for dissidents in new L'Ordre article (@LOrdreNet)

There was a time when the internet was an experiment in anarchy, but it is increasingly becoming an experiment in "stateness", meaning police-order. 

Read the full article at Dissident Voice:

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18 April 2018

'Digital frontier is hierarchical', content creators don't have the power - @bkampmark

Social networks and websites built upon user-generated content are becoming increasingly hostile to users, as governments and indeed website owners take greater and greater interest in what is appropriate content.

The trend is particularly visible on the Google-owned video-hosting website YouTube, where political dissidents, gurus and amateur journalists have seen their content demonetized. Content creators subjected to this can no longer make money from advertisements with their videos.

Channels like Representative Press and even some of the very earliest and most successful YouTube channels like The Amazing Atheist have complained of demonetization. The former moved some content to BitChute as one possible alternative to the video-hosting giant.

Demonetization drew great attention among many in the aftermath of the shooting at the YouTube headquarters by Nasim Najafi Aghdam on April 3, 2018. Nasim had been one of the users affected by YouTube demonetization, claiming it was because the company showed preferential treatment for big business rather than individuals and activists, whom it has turned against.

Reacting to the shooting in an article for Countercurrents, RMIT University lecturer Dr Binoy Kampmark warned "the digital frontier, far from flat in its egalitarian access, is vertical, hierarchical in its hold.  Power only devolved to the mass community of users in an artificial sense, giving that charming impression that the plebs controlled the production and creation of content."

Similarly, in Twitter's "purge", users have complained of sudden and unexpected requests for account verification or simply having their entire profile deleted from the site without warning or provocation. Some of the users had spent years building their following. According to those complaining, they were targeted for their conservative views. But the fact the company is allowed to target anyone so arbitrarily is bad news for people on either side of the political spectrum.

The trend being observed suggests that the future of many social networks is bleak for political dissidents of all camps. The paranoid US government and its close partnership with Google play a key role in making that outcome certain. After going after Facebook, Twitter and Google in Senate hearings for not actively combating alleged Russian influence on the US 2016 election, US lawmakers can be expected to pressure social networks in a desire to punish people who don't agree with them, e.g. who don't hate Russia enough or just aren't very loyal to the US regime. Targets for sanctions could be picked without regard for their political camp or geographic location, only for their disloyalty to America.

Although US lawmakers may ultimately shelter themselves from dissident voices by bullying social networks to sanction content, such an approach turns a blind eye to the way social networks rely on their uninhibited international scope and freedom of speech to maintain their appeal to creators.
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15 April 2018

Hard line needed on fake "celeb left": @kevindooleyirl since 2016

Strong rejection of establishment figures, academics and journalists professing to be the political "left" is required if leftist opposition to the state's imperialist propaganda is to be consistent, a blogger has argued since 2016.

It may be that Kevin Dooley's views deserved more attention when his blog began in 2016, and should be brought to readers now more than ever in the wake of a recent renewed stampede of lies and military aggression by Western countries against a Middle Eastern state - this time Syria.

Worse than the missiles launched by the aggressors on Syria, the toxic warheads of lies and dubious emotional propaganda have rained on the populations of Great Britain and the United States in particular as they did in the Iraq War in 2003. Like deadly toxins, such lies by our regimes can have severe repercussions and ultimately lead to deaths on the streets of the US and UK, as terror attacks have shown us.

It seems quite urgent that we hold anyone to account who acts as the apologist of American international terror and thuggery, no matter how enlightened they seem.

Dooley's analysis from 2016 seems to resemble comparable denunciations by so-called "conspiracy theorists" (particularly those who question the US regime's narrative of 9/11) that reject many leftist writers as "gatekeepers". Noam Chomsky's name surfaces in both types of analyses.

Dooley lists the following untrustworthy elements as part of the establishment "Celebrity Left" loyal to the Washington regime, although many others clearly exist:

Tim Wise
Noam Chomsky
Terrell J. Starr
Hussam Ayloush
Jeremy Scahill
Keith Olbermann
Jon Schwartz
Naomi Klein
Glenn Greenwald
Sam Kriss
David Simon
Max Blumenthal
Ben Norton
Rania Khalek

A common sign of such figures is their defense of the regime war criminal Hillary Clinton. Several such figures have changed their views on US military adventures throughout the world, fearing they would be discredited otherwise. But they, as state apologists, are no doubt ready to offer their support to the US regime again in other theaters of its falsely "humanitarian" aggression.

Fake publications that can be considered agents of the imperialist regime are The Intercept and Jacobin. It is notable that The Intercept is syndicated through US military propaganda newsletters, indicating business dealings with the aggressor's military.

Website: https://kevindooleyirl.wordpress.com/

Follow Kevin Dooley on Twitter at @kevindooleyirl
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22 March 2018

Will the mainstream media be deleted on Twitter tomorrow?

After March 23, Twitter could go through a kind of update to detect and suspend users with bot-like behavior. The move is designed to counter "Russian bots".

The problem is, many non-Russian users and even newspapers sharing news about the evils of Russian bots behave like Russian bots and will also get deleted if any serious action comes out of this.

They are guilty of the same behavior they accuse Russian botnets of, and new algorithms won't be able to tell the difference between them and the Russians.

If your app or service includes features which allow users to perform simultaneous actions across multiple accounts, you should make changes to bring it into compliance with this policy by March 23, 2018. Failure to comply with these rules could result in enforcement action, up to and including the suspension of associated applications and accounts. 
 Automation and the use of multiple accounts

See below examples of suspicious Twitter bot accounts sharing a BBC article about Russian bots. Their behavior makes them Russian bots, according to the article they are spamming, where it is written that "Networks of bots can be identified if multiple profiles tweet the same content almost simultaneously".

Automated content shared by anti-Russia campaign accounts and media is often about Russian bots and how to spot them, but is being shared using automation tools and fake identities. Accounts campaigning against Russian bots have therefore been behaving exactly like the alleged Russian bots by sharing the same content repeatedly, over and over, through multiple fake handles on Twitter. In fact, bots and "duplicative or substantially similar content" seem to be a favorite tactic of all political campaign groups and media organizations.

Twitter algorithms may hunt and delete the mainstream media for spam as well as Russian media

Twitter handles too much information to check if every bot account is Russian before deleting it. Twitter engineers will write algorithms to delete suspicious accounts automatically. Many of the deleted accounts may belong to the mainstream media.

Syndication by mainstream newspapers and television violates Twitter rules

Syndication is the widespread online business practice of pushing the same content through as many as hundreds of additional local publications, and is also common of television stations. It is a common practice of the mainstream media, and results in duplicated content across social media. A clear violation of the new rules at Twitter.

While Russian publications like RT and Sputnik do share very similar content, and both they and Iran's Press TV often agree, they are only copying the behavior of Western propaganda organizations. Organizations like the BBC and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp are much worse in that they repeat the same articles verbatim across a huge empire of publications and share exactly the same videos across their accounts (they all tend to have associated Twitter accounts). This is especially true when an article relates to local events and gets reprinted across a spectrum of local and national publications. The use of bots is also obvious through a brief look at the wave of sharing that always occurs without fail by numerous accounts when these publications post anything.

If algorithms are to be used to hunt this media practice down and ban accounts, many mainstream newspapers in the US and Britain will witness their Twitter accounts being suspended or suddenly deleted as possible Russian bots.

The price of hypocrisy and censorship

Twitter resents the political pressure put on it by the US and UK to thwart foreign media. It seems to be gearing up for indiscriminate censorship that will hit both sides by targeting all "suspicious" behavior, i.e. all attempts by campaigners and publications to punch above their real weight using social media.

The campaign against Russian bots is the result of pressure by myopic, frustrated journalists who don’t understand that their own media are engaged in the same behavior as the Russian media and will also be banned. It is reminiscent of how AlterNet suffered losses in revenue after Google took steps against the "fake news" AlterNet itself was calling for action against. AlterNet had called for action against fake news without realizing its own alternate views would be detected as fake news.
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20 March 2018

UK assassins gassed themselves accidentally in Salisbury (analysis)

The bizarre "chemical attack" in Salisbury, England, blamed on Russia by the UK, seems like a chapter intended for Syria rather than Britain. Because it is.

Had the chemical attack not been reported in Salisbury, it would have been reported in Syria a few days later. It may yet happen in Syria too.

Clear signs are being ignored by UK politicians in their patriotic dash to blame the Russian "enemy". The signs show the British government accidentally released the nerve agent in its own territory prematurely, while hoping to commit an atrocity using it in Syria.

Nerve gas was being transported by the UK spies themselves

The nerve agent was being transported by so-called "targeted" UK spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter. The Russian former double agent's daughter Yulia, likely as involved with UK intelligence agencies as her father, seems to have been carrying the nerve agent in her suitcase at the time of the apparent "attack". That much is already confirmed by, basically, all the media.

The nerve agent actually seems to have been destined for Eastern Ghouta, Syria, which would inevitably require spies (or expendable mules) to deliver it in a rather risky operation. We know the UK was trafficking weapons from Salisbury to Eastern Ghouta, Syria, to support Syrian rebels.

"Salisbury, England" inscribed on smuggled weapons in Eastern Ghouta

Recent video footage of captured munitions in Eastern Ghouta shows that some of the munitions' origin was Salisbury, England.* Such a finding offers strong grounds to suspect at least some link between the events in Salisbury and the events in Eastern Ghouta, Syria, where Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is routinely accused of using poison gas by the British and American governments. The British and American governments are in turn accused of staging false flag attacks as they seek excuses to launch airstrikes on Syria, making it likely that this was their plan once again.

There is already a history of bungled attempts to move chemical weapons into Syria and give them to rebels to frame Assad, and this just looks like one more example of it. In 2013, the big year the US first threatened to attack and overthrow Assad for supposedly using chemical weapons, anti-Assad rebels backed by the West were arrested in Turkey with chemical weapons.

There is no motive for Britain or Russia to carry out a military grade nerve gas attack in Salisbury, and Sergei Skripal and his daughter were not important enough to be targeted by either country, but they were expendable enough to be used as mules. The only reason this chemical "attack" would occur is by mistake, as it fits neither country's agenda.

* Porton Down, location of the UK's own chemical weapons labs, is also just a few miles away from the site of this accident

US envoy's speech about Salisbury sounded like redraft of a speech about Ghouta

The current diplomatic crisis, which serves neither Russian nor UK interests, can't have been premeditated by the UK. It does not serve the US and NATO foreign policy aims, which are heavily focused on chemical attacks and escalating violence in Syria rather than in Britain. Nothing demonstrated this clearer than when US diplomat Nikki Haley tried to conflate the events in England with the events in Syria and advocate increased US violence in Syria while talking about Salisbury.

Haley talked about Syria and Assad around ten times in the course of a few minutes in front of the UN Security Council after being asked to talk about Salisbury, as she fumbled papers that apparently focus on Syria.

The plan was for this chemical attack to happen in Syria. The US had its script so well-prepared to talk about it happening in Syria that it didn't even bother to rewrite it much.

It is a distinct possibility that, in their desperation to avoid mockery by Russia for accidentally gassing themselves while trying to frame Assad, the British government suddenly decided to start assailing Russia with allegations, hoping for a spectacle that might hide their incompetence.

Of course, we don't know for certain what happened in Salisbury. Almost no-one you talk to in Britain believes Putin really did a chemical attack in Britain. It is just too ridiculous to believe, so it makes sense to offer a more rational alternative version of events.
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24 February 2018

"#GhoutaGenocide", other #fakenews hashtags being pushed now by #Trump regime

The hashtags "#GhoutaIsBleeding", "#GhoutaGenocide", and other fake news hashtags are being auto-suggested by Twitter. These aim to reinforce the American regime's floundering military invasion of the small Arab country of Syria with propaganda. The clearest goal of such English-language hashtags targeting an Arab country is about making invasion seem justified among Americans, British and other Western consumers.

Background: Due to past experiences, US rulers are afraid their people are weary of the endless war and sanctions that blazed through the Middle East, killing more than a million people over a roughly 20-year period and attracting terrorists to attack Americans. To counter this perception, fake news is created by the US military, seeking domestic support for its massacres and meddling.

The US pretends to condemn atrocities while committing them. In this case, the atrocity in Ghouta consists of Syria's sane, proportionate measures to restore rule of law and neutralise gunmen in Ghouta - the same gunmen who are only present there in a violent bid to seize control of the capital city Damascus.

No ceasefire is desired by the US as its only goal is to change the course of the war, aiming to reverse 7 years of military defeat and disgrace.

Conclusion: Small Syria has struggled with a campaign of American propaganda and bloodthirsty calls for its invasion and annihilation by the top bullies since 2011. Despite this, the country's military and resistance groups gained the upper hand over the invasion's front groups and have come face to face with the American soldiers illegally invading their territory. Syria has warned the powerful American regime that its invasion will be resisted forcefully, and has survived brutal airstrikes and cruise missile attacks by the Americans as they fail to conquer territory. The desperate renewed fake news offensive and use of hashtags to justify once again the failing 7 year old war against Syria is a symptom of the disgrace and approaching defeat of Trump's clumsy invasion forces.
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16 February 2018

Mont Order Questions and Google Searches Answered by L'Ordre (@LOrdreNet)

14/02/2018, 20:45

The following are emailed questions and Google searches by internet users trying to find out more about the Mont Order group. Now you get the answers from L'Ordre (using the handle @LOrdreNet on Twitter), a close friend of the Mont Order group. The following answers were jotted down here in the United Kingdom on Wednesday evening, aiming to satisfy your curiosity about the Mont Order once and for all.

Google: "mont order"

The Mont Order has a couple of different meanings. The first is the older one, referring to an alleged group from the dawn of time that supposedly knew the future. Conspiracy theorists have posted quite a few bits of sensational information about that group. I don't know anything more about it than they do, but it is interesting. The second meaning of the Mont Order's name is the group I've been active in since a small cooperative publishing effort I tried in 2013. So the digital group is maybe only 5 years old and quite small. It convened for the first time via online video conference in February 2015, that's 3 years ago. Since that time it has expanded quite a lot on social media and has strong relationship to a number of alternate media websites where we hope to influence world opinion. It is done out of hope. I hope we can create effective contributions to the dissident sphere in the US, UK and other Western countries and have a constructive impact on popular opinion, particularly skepticism with regard to the state and its narratives. One of the best descriptions of the Mont Order would be that it is a product and information sharing society. As creators, we share our products. As readers and analysts, we share information.

Google: "mont order society"

Yes, sometimes the Mont Order is referred to as the Mont Order society. Of course, that isn't some kind of longer official name of the group. It is a good description, though. As I said, we are a product and information sharing society. We are like a "society" or "association", but I view it all more as a list of contacts. I hope we can all be closely aligned, but in practice that is not always the case. I do believe that whatever collective sharing of stories does occur through the shared accounts, whether on Twitter or elsewhere, has a definite positive impacts on our collective reach, influence and credibility. Such activity has only grown so far, although I am pessimistic about the long-term prospects of an association being gathered and run on social media. You might say it is the norm now for societies to digitize themselves and become online forums, but I think something more enduring is needed. For the foreseeable future, our "society" will continue to survive by dispersing its influence through several independent media outlets, despite growing pressure on such outlets by hostile governments and corporations seeking dominance in the information space. I hope we and our friends win on this information front, but history often has other plans than what we desire. I am constantly thinking about other fronts that can be used to meet the needs of dissidents but it is far too early to talk about them and no-one else is yet talking about them, either.

Google: "mont order secret society"

Sure, some online work-spaces of the Mont Order are locked down for members only. The group itself is clearly not secret, so the description of "secret society" would seem to be inaccurate, unless there is another group using our name that does not reveal itself.


You can learn all you need to about the Mont Order by using the subscription links available and reading information pages held at the Mont unofficial information site lordre.net and sympathetic websites. Also just search using Google to see if your query has already been answered.

"I subscribe to the Facebook group and read the articles as they are published. Would like to understand more about Mont Order and it's (sic) people"

There is really not much more to show. We do have work-spaces for members only, but you would need to be a member to see them. The subject matter of the Mont Order is obscure for most people. The only significant barrier to learning about us is not knowing we exist in the first place. Once you break that barrier, you can pretty easily find everything you want to find.

"I’m someone whose (sic) very intrigued by your work! And i would like to learn more if you would grant me the opportunity"

To really learn more, the best way would be to just join the Order. A Mont Order online course at openlearning.com even exists for this purpose. Following the whole process would not only allow you to really learn who we are and what we do, but also allow you to influence us and help decide the course of our actions. We are very open to anyone who can demonstrate a keen ability to decipher world events, with particular interest in politics and technology. But to be accepted as a member, you really need to have some product or privilege you want to share with us. That is really what glues the group together. If you have a book or a blog that aligns with ours, that is absolutely what we are looking for.
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7 February 2018

#Book review: The Amant Chronicles (#scifi by @brunnabendmj)

The Amant Chronicles, authored 2017 by M. J. Brunnabend, comprises an enthralling science fiction tale adapted well to the needs of die-hard fans of the genre. The book even stands out as being among the very best independently authored works of its genre.

Among the characters, Amant Ducet is an alien-human hybrid, whose adventure takes place centuries in the future. Human girl Jennifer Winston's abduction creates the background for a story filled with thrills, featuring interstellar intrigue, spies, and conflict. Action and mystery await.

Enchanting romance is also added to this high-velocity space opera story. Strong female characters dominate the plot, and mystery drives readers on desperate to know what happens next.

Independent publisher Maquis Books - now named Harry's Bookshelf - placed The Amant Chronicles on its shelves in January, describing the book as "magic" on 27 January.

Clubof.info's score: ★★★★★★★★☆ 9/10

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High-ranking psychopaths are pushing for a nuclear war with Russia, seemingly intentionally

If the US leaders wanted to wage a thermonuclear war that would destroy America and the world, we would not be here to talk about it. Presid...

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