Archive for ‘War’

August 17, 2021

Graveyard of Empires

The Great Game

Graveyard of Empires is a sobriquet associated with Afghanistan. It originates from the alleged historical tendency for foreign powers to fail in their invasions of the country. It is unclear who coined the phrase, and its historical accuracy has been disputed.

Several superpowers have attempted to invade Afghanistan without maintaining a stable, permanent rule. Modern examples included the British Empire during the first and Third Anglo-Afghan Wars (1839-1842, 1919), the Soviet Union in the Soviet–Afghan War (1979-1989) and the United States in the War in Afghanistan (2001-2021).

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April 26, 2021

Network Telescope

Honeypot

network telescope (also known as a ‘packet telescope,’ ‘darknet,’ ‘Internet motion sensor,’ or ‘black hole’) is an Internet system that allows one to observe different large-scale events taking place on the Internet. The basic idea is to observe traffic targeting the dark (unused) address-space of the network.

Since all traffic to these addresses is suspicious, one can gain information about possible network attacks (random scanning worms, and DDoS backscatter) as well as other misconfigurations by observing it.

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January 7, 2021

Foundations of Geopolitics

Aleksandr Dugin

‘The Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia’ is a 1997 geopolitical book by Aleksandr Dugin, a Russian political analyst and strategist known for his fascist views. His book has had influence within the Russian military, police, and foreign policy elites and has been used as a textbook in the Academy of the General Staff of the Russian military.

Its publication was well received in Russia. Powerful Russian political figures subsequently took an interest in Dugin, a Russian eurasianist, fascist, and nationalist who has developed a close relationship with Russia’s military academies.

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December 22, 2020

Cozy Bear

Cozy Bear

Cozy Bear, classified by the U.S. as advanced persistent threat APT29, is a Russian hacker group believed to be associated with one or more intelligence agencies of Russia.

In June 2016, Cozy Bear was implicated alongside the hacker group Fancy Bear in the Democratic National Committee cyber attacks. While the two groups were both present in the DNC’s servers at the same time, they appeared to be unaware of the other, each independently stealing the same passwords and otherwise duplicating their efforts. A CrowdStrike forensic team determined that while Cozy Bear had been on the DNC’s network for over a year, Fancy Bear had only been there a few weeks. Cozy Bear’s more sophisticated tradecraft and interest in traditional long-term espionage suggest that the group originates from a separate Russian intelligence agency.

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October 28, 2020

Havana Syndrome

Electromagnetic Personnel Interdiction Control

Havana syndrome is a set of medical signs and symptoms experienced by U.S. and Canadian embassy staff in Cuba. Beginning in August 2017, reports surfaced that American and Canadian diplomatic personnel in Cuba had suffered a variety of health problems, dating back to late 2016.

A 2018 study published in the journal Neural Computation identified pulsed radiofrequency/microwave radiation (RF/MW) exposure via the Frey effect as source of injury, and noted that a microwave attack against the U.S. embassy in Moscow had been documented. Other possible causes for the injuries offered include ultrasound via intermodulation distortion caused by malfunctioning or improperly placed Cuban surveillance equipment, cricket noises, mass psychogenic illness, and exposure to neurotoxic pesticides.

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September 12, 2020

Blowin’ in the Wind

The Gaslight Cafe

Blowin’ in the Wind‘ is a song written by Bob Dylan in 1962 and released as a single and on his album ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’ in 1963. It has been described as a protest song, and poses a series of rhetorical questions about peace, war, and freedom. The refrain ‘The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind’ has been described as ‘impenetrably ambiguous: either the answer is so obvious it is right in your face, or the answer is as intangible as the wind.’

The song was published for the first time in May 1962, in the sixth issue of Broadside, the magazine founded by Pete Seeger and devoted to topical songs. The theme may have been taken from a passage in folk singer Woody Guthrie’s autobiography, ‘Bound for Glory,’ in which Guthrie compared his political sensibility to newspapers blowing in the winds of New York City streets and alleys. Dylan was certainly familiar with Guthrie’s work; his reading of it had been a major turning point in his intellectual and political development.

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August 2, 2020

Dead Birds

Dani

Dead Birds is a 1963 American documentary film by American anthropologist Robert Gardner (1925-2014) about the ritual warfare cycle of the Dugum Dani tribe in New Guinea. The film presents footage of battles between the Willihiman-Wallalua clan and the Wittaia clan with scenes of the funeral of a small boy killed by a raiding party, the women’s work that goes on while battles continue, and the wait for enemy to appear.

The film’s theme is the encounter that all people must have with death, as told in a Dugum Dani myth of the origins of death that bookends the film. The film uses a nonlinear narrative structure of parallel or braided narrative that traces three individuals through a season of three deaths and one near-death as relayed by an expository voiceover that describes scenes and the thoughts of the film’s protagonists.

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July 20, 2020

Low-background Steel

Background radiation

Low-background steel is any steel produced prior to the detonation of the first nuclear bombs in the 1940s and 1950s. With the Trinity test and the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, and then subsequent nuclear weapons testing during the early years of the Cold War, background radiation levels increased across the world.

Modern steel is contaminated with radionuclides because its production uses atmospheric air. Low-background steel is so-called because it does not suffer from such nuclear contamination. This steel is used in devices that require the highest sensitivity for detecting radionuclides. The primary source of low-background steel is sunken ships that were constructed before the Trinity test, most famously the scuttled German World War I warships in Scapa Flow.

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June 25, 2020

Boogaloo Bois

2020 boogaloo killings

The boogaloo movement, adherents to which are often referred to as ‘boogaloo boys’ or ‘boogaloo bois,’ is a loosely organized American far-right extremist movement. Participants generally identify as a libertarian citizen-militia and say they are preparing for, or seek to incite, the ‘boogaloo,’ a second American Civil War that will overthrow the United States government.

While use of the term has been found on the fringe imageboard website 4chan since 2012, it did not come to widespread attention until late 2019. Adherents use the term (including variations, so as to avoid social media crackdowns) to refer to violent uprisings against the federal government or left-wing political opponents, often anticipated to follow government confiscation of firearms.

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June 8, 2020

Dead Drop

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

dead drop or ‘dead letter box’ is a method of espionage tradecraft used to pass items or information between two individuals (e.g., a case officer and an agent, or two agents) using a secret location. By avoiding direct meetings, they could maintain operational security. The method stands in contrast to the ‘live drop,’ so-called because two persons meet to exchange items or information.

Spies (covert intelligence agents) and their handlers have been known to perform dead drops using various techniques to hide items (such as money, secrets or instructions), and to signal that the drop has been made. Although the signal and location by necessity must be agreed upon in advance, the signal may or may not be located close to the dead drop itself. The operatives may not necessarily know one another or ever meet.

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May 17, 2020

Boardwalk

Steel Pier

boardwalk is an elevated footpath, walkway, or causeway built with wooden planks that enables pedestrians to cross wet, fragile, or marshy land. They are also in effect a low type of bridge. Such timber trackways have existed since at least Neolithic times (12,000 years ago).

An early example is the ‘Sweet Track’ that Neolithic people built in the Somerset levels, England, around 6,000 years ago. This track consisted mainly of planks of oak laid end-to-end, supported by crossed pegs of ash, oak, and lime, driven into the underlying peat (partially decayed vegetation).

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February 18, 2020

Whistleblower

Pentagon Papers

whistleblower is a person who exposes secretive information or activity that is deemed illegal, unethical, or not correct within a private or public organization such as a violation of a law, company regulation, or threat to public interest/national security, as well as fraud, and corruption.

U.S. civic activist Ralph Nader is said to have coined the phrase, but he in fact put a positive spin on the term in the early 1970s to avoid the negative connotations found in other words such as ‘informer’ and ‘snitch.’ However, the origins of the word date back to the 19th century. The word is linked to the use of a whistle to alert the public or a crowd about a bad situation, such as the commission of a crime or the breaking of rules during a game.

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