Lies of Omission: A Participant’s View

You may or may not know about the documentary film Lies of Omission, being made by a few prominent folks in the freedom movement.  If you’re a loyal reader of WRSA (and you damn well should be), then you’ve heard about the project, which brings together a number of names that should be recognizable to you in an effort to reach millennials about this concept we refer to as liberty.

I’m writing this because I see a lot of misconceptions, a lot of questions like “What good will it do?” and other such fatalistic things. You see, the movement does a few things very well — and almost none of them are things we should be doing at all.  People in the movement crap all over any idea, they run their mouths about people who are doing something.  They don’t have anything better to offer, of course, they just want to tell you how stupid your idea is. (And we wonder why we’re losing…but I digress.)

I spent the weekend with the people making this film, because they were gracious enough to ask me to participate.  The idea of being interviewed by anyone is not something I relish; as many learn the hard way, interviews generally take one of two paths: total demonization, or mind-numbing boredom.

This was neither of those.

First of all, this wasn’t a friendly softball game.  Although I did my best to finagle a peek at the questions beforehand, I was rebuffed every time. No one interviewed for the film was given the questions until the second they had to answer them on camera. There was no faking it, no planning answers, nothing — and the questions were not always easy, either.

What made it different was that I knew why they were making it. I’d had the opportunity to hear the extended version of the events leading up to the idea, and it was plain that the people involved were invested. This wasn’t some hobbyist project. It was something meant to bridge the generational gap. Like it or not, a lot of us are old enough to have grown or nearly grown children.  Many of the people who were around when we started are gone now. Someday — sooner than later for many of us — we’ll be gone too.

What are we leaving behind?  A pile of oversized gear, tricked-out ARs, and a whole lot of memes.

There’s a scene in the movie Serenity, in which the beloved Firefly crew comes to a planet where everyone is dead but there is no trauma, the civilization is obliterated but there was no war.  A creepy holographic message explains what happened there.

On some level, Lies of Omission is that message; the past reaching out to the present and future.  We can’t stop what’s coming, not really.  But as Mike Vanderboegh told me once, “The possibility of failure isn’t a reason to go home. It’s a reason to fight harder.”  I have no illusions about coming out of it on the other side myself, but I have hope that my son can…or maybe his children can.

It’s one thing to answer questions about what I believe, about the freedom that I am so willing to give of my time and effort for, and know that the answers will be given to some abstract group of ‘millennials,’ who I’ve never met.  It’s completely another to sit across from one of those very people, and have to look them in the eye when I answer, knowing that they deserve something better than standard flag-waving rah-rah.  It’s far more real, to see this member of our future, to hear these questions being asked, and know that in this moment, I have an opportunity to do something that matters.

I ask you in all seriousness: What could possibly be more important than passing all of this to the next generation? In fact, I posit that all of your Facebook groups, all of your stuff, doesn’t mean crap when compared to the value in training the young to value freedom and stand up for it.  Because let’s be realistic.  Your tactical god-like genius, as beyond amazing as it is, isn’t going to be around forever.

I could write another five years on this site, putting up how-to articles that people don’t read or are too lazy to put into practice, or trying to force people to care about technical or intelligence aspects they’re not interested in because it’s not sexy stuff that lets them say “over and out” on the radio or wear cool patches and give themselves ranks.  You could spend another couple years and a few thousand bucks collecting classes like scouts collect badges.  Hitting up all the big name instructors, going down the list like little achievements to be used as bona fides later. Oh, yeah, I took that class. Of course…I also have THIS class, and THAT class….

I daresay that all of that time would never amount to the very real, very worth it moment of sitting across from someone under 30, who would give freedom a chance if you could only sell it to them in a way they understand.

Many would argue that millennials want us dead, or that they are no more interested in dialogue than they are taking responsibility for themselves, and to some extent that’s true. There are those who want us dead, sure.  There are many millennials who seek to silence us, and that’s on a slow day. But there are plenty more who already know something is wrong but are still searching to find what that is. They already know the government is lying. They already know that they got sold a bill of goods about all kinds of things. They already see the Vault 7 disclosures and everything else.  We could be reaching them, if we weren’t so busy commenting on how stupid everyone’s ideas are.

Here’s the truth, like it or not. Millennials aren’t all morons, they aren’t all rabid socialists, and they are often searching for truth, even if they don’t know it. One thing we’ve always been really bad about is reaching the young. We don’t want them, don’t think we need them, don’t bother with them. And that’s why we’re here, with an entire generation of people who grew up in a surveillance state and don’t know anything else. Because while we were ignoring them, the other side was courting them, grooming them, indoctrinating them.  They are this way, in part, because we didn’t do our job.

That generational gap is why this film needs to be made.  And sitting in that chair this weekend, across from a millennial with big, expressive eyes who asked me what about my country was worth saving, I saw a chance to reach them.

So go ahead and crap on the idea. Discourage people from donating to the project. Run your mouth about it, even while you keep reading the same people who chose to participate.  All you’re doing is proving the point.  If you want to actually make a difference, right this second, put some money down and help these guys do something that will last a lot longer and help a lot more than the next class you’ll take and never use again.

They need $9000 more bucks.

Wikileaks Just Proved Us Right, But What Now?

I’m trying very hard to refrain from screaming, “I told you so!” because quite frankly, being right about this sucks. That being said, I and others who have been warning about the extent of the surveillance state were not only proven right yesterday, but we’re now seeing something almost past what even we envisioned. The ramifications of Vault7 will not be fully understood for some time; for most folks, possibly not ever because they won’t bother to learn them.

The natural reaction from the liberty cause will be, as usual, a variety of the same tired statements.

“It’s doesn’t matter what we do, they see it all anyway.” — While true, this is generally used as a crutch and excuse for not learning anything. What it SHOULD be is an impetus to learn other methods.

“They can COME GET SOME.” — These people are not even worth the time it takes to teach.  Bring me someone who is humble, teachable, and is driven by the right things and I can teach him to do just about anything in this arena.  (Hint: If the mere idea that your stupid mistake could get your contacts arrested or killed does not make you physically ill and willing to learn just about ANYTHING to prevent it from happening, you might not be worth teaching.)

The bottom line is this: you cannot engage in any computer based activities without being seen and identified unless you are using a specific kind of computer, a specific way, in a specific location, for a specific reason. There is no turnkey solution that will allow you to sit in your armchair and tool around on the Internet safely without being followed around, identified, and collected on. There just isn’t, and anyone who says there is, is either wrong or lying to you.

Don’t believe me — read the docs for yourself. Put it all together.  The information has been there for a long time; some of us just bothered to read it sooner.

You can still engage in certain activities online, but there is a very specific process that MUST be followed, and here’s the cold truth:

1. If you make one mistake in that process, you expose your network and activities.

2. If you are tired, cold, wet and hungry, you are more apt to make that fatal mistake.

3. The system is designed to amplify human error. (See where this is going yet?)

4. In short, you are looking at a lose-lose situation. You’re in a funnel designed to make you screw up, that has a contingency plan to catch you on any level. You started using Signal? Great. Too bad your phone is hacked at the hardware level before it even gets to Signal. You used a throwaway email address to send some messages and you did it from two towns away? Awesome. Too bad you drove your own car, in the toll lane, and took your phone.  Oh, you bought a burner phone? Fantastic. Too bad you wore your “KILL ‘EM ALL” shirt while doing it, and immediately activated it when you got back to your car…in the parking lot of the Best Buy where you’re getting your computer “fixed.”

Smart people will be using meatspace, they’ll be learning and applying tradecraft designed for more old school and low- or non-technical applications. They’ll stop needing to expand their contact network. I don’t need to know your group, I just need to know you. I don’t need to even know the person I need a get a message to, I just need to know how to get the message there. Stop thinking you need to know everyone, you don’t need 5000 friends on Facebook and you don’t need to get into every patriot group on social media. Everyone who has direct access to you is a liability to you, on some level. Minimize your liabilities.

Have a serious conversation with yourself about your own weaknesses, and who in your circle is a security risk. Stop letting your feelings and the “brother” this and “sister” that make your decisions for you.  Just because you think someone has your back doesn’t mean they’ll go to prison for you. It doesn’t mean they’ll let their kids go hungry for you.  And if Vault 7 teaches you anything, it should be that the forces aligned against you have no moral limits, no uncrossable lines, no place off limits.  Sit down in a quiet room by yourself and really think through the implications of that fact. Read through Vault 7’s disclosures and understand how far they are going every single day on a mass scale.  Do you really think they will have some moral issue with turning your so-called “brothers” and “sisters” against you? Or vice versa?

Bottom line is this: they’re playing high level chess and taking double/triple turns. Quit running around the board with your checkers, yelling for someone to king you.

How to Run an Anonymous Account on Twitter

The Intercept has a fantastic write-up from front to back on how to create and maintain an anonymous Twitter account.

A lot of folks prefer not to use social media at all, and that’s fine.  For those staying completely under radar (as in, not posting anywhere), that’s no big deal. For those who understand the principles of propaganda and information operations, however, this is excellent information. Run several of them.

Social media like Facebook and Twitter, for agitators and activists, can be one of the more productive battlespaces — not for the standard chest-beating and trash-talking, but for more underhanded tactics of thread takeovers, topic steering, and other fun activities. Learn how to do it right, then go do it. Just make sure you’re covering your rear end.

Hint: The other side has been doing it effectively for decades. Take a page from their playbook. Just because they hate you doesn’t mean they have nothing to teach you.