Author: Justin King

Tradecraft: The Book Cipher & Other Old School Techniques

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More than 48 hours ago, a message was posted in an article on The Fifth Column. Readers were asked to break the cryptogram. At the time of writing, the message remains unreadable. At least one person with training from the NSA and three hackers associated with the Anonymous collective have made the attempt. It doesn’t use advanced cryptography or anything like that. It didn’t even require a computer. It was made using a multi-layer cipher. The key component of the cipher is a modified book cipher, sometimes called a Beale code.

In this installment of Tradecraft, we will be discussing how to manufacture your own cipher systems. Multiple ciphers will be discussed, and they can be combined to create your own system. You are only limited by your imagination. Some may be asking what about the NSA supercomputers? Can’t they crack it? Maybe. Later this week, a new message will be rendered and we will encourage our readers to tweet it directly to the NSA in the hopes of getting a response.

The Snowden Cipher: Can You Break It?

#PardonSnowden

Your privacy and way of life is in jeopardy. Snowden risked his life, freedom, and reputation to warn you. He deserves a pardon. He displayed himself a true patriot.

In 2002, I developed a multi-step cipher. Over the years, it has been used to transmit information in the United States and in foreign countries. It has securely transmitted information across international borders and out of prisons. Maybe half a dozen people know the steps necessary to render the message below in plain text. #PardonSnowden

Hot for Teacher: What you really need to know about #TeacherBae and Atlanta’s schools

Ms. Brown

Georgia’s schools are a disaster. 127 of them could be taken over by a new initiative from the governor’s office for “chronically failing.” In Atlanta, more than a quarter of students didn’t graduate last year, and that’s the best graduation rate on record. In 2014, 4 out of 10 didn’t graduate. Instead of focusing on that, Atlanta Public Schools are concerned with an educator who is apparently too pretty to teach.

Patrice Brown was recently named “Educator of the Month”. She’s a graduate of Alabama State University. She teaches 4th graders in Atlanta. Now, she’s being reprimanded by the district after her fashion choices went viral under the hashtag #teacherbae. Some of the clothing she’s seen sporting at school is tight fitting, but she’s a curvy woman.

Death of beautiful teenage Kurdish fighter sparks multiple debates

Image Source: Kurdishstruggle, Flickr, Creative Commons

Viyan Antar, 19, was killed fighting Islamic State forces in Northern Syria last month. Undoubtedly, Viyan, like many Kurdish fighters, was gorgeous. Western media outlets sought to capitalize on the death of the “Kurdish Angelina Jolie”. Her photo was plastered all over the media. Her death was used to further the march for war in Syria. Had this been a US soldier, the incident would have been forgotten before her body was cold. In this case, the media’s treatment of the young Kurdish fighter unleashed a firestorm of criticism and sparked multiple debates.

The first and most obvious is the sexualization of a fighter who gave her life fighting in support of a philosophy that seeks to end the sexualization of women. In something glossed over in the rush to create propaganda, the media failed to mention that Viyan was fighting with the YPG, a Kurdish group dedicated to a certain set of ideas. One of the major beliefs is that people are judged by their service to cause of liberation, not their appearance. Casting Viyan as the teenage beauty queen martyred on the alter of fighting the Islamic State betrayed everything she actually fought and died for. It was a travesty of journalism.

How to rescue yourself from a natural or man-made disaster

The Fifth

Preparing for a natural or man-made disaster is crucial. It must be done before the disaster strikes. Whether it’s a fire out West, a flood in Louisiana, a blizzard in the Northeast, a riot in Baltimore, a pollution-related disaster, or an all out civil war, you can prepare and you can survive. It’s up to you though. Every major incident in the last few years has demonstrated clearly that the government will not come to your assistance quickly, if at all.

Preparing to rescue yourself isn’t difficult, it isn’t expensive, and it isn’t time consuming. You don’t have to have to become a survivalist to survive. You just have to plan.

Understanding the difference: Terrorism, Insurrection, and Guerrilla Warfare

US Army

Image Source: U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jason T. Bailey

Due to the continued plunge into “The War on Terror” and the different conflicts the West has started, become involved with, or prolonged; a series of terms have lost their meaning. The meanings are important. It is fundamentally impossible to understand the nature of many of today’s conflicts because the terms defining them are muddled and lead people to believe a cookie cutter response is appropriate.

The response that may destroy an organization engaging in guerrilla warfare will strengthen a terrorist group. In some cases a certain response can turn a guerrilla group into a terrorist group. The tactics used to disrupt a terrorist group will typically have little or no impact on a mature guerrilla group. Understanding the definitions of political violence are essential to understanding a world steeped in it.

Cycle of Insurgency: How the US military is expected to put down an insurrection

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One of the overriding questions when discussing an insurgency within the United States has always been the debate over how the military would respond. Those who hope for the military to break ranks and join the resistance will be disappointed. Those who would believe the military will employ surgical strikes to remove dissidents through technology will be surprised. The American people don’t have to guess how the US military would respond any longer. Two respected academics chose to war game a scenario using the United States Operating Concept (2010) as a guide.

The first thing to understand about an insurrection is that it isn’t terrorism. The terms are often used interchangeably by the media, but there is a significant difference.

Cycle of Insurgency: Would US soldiers open fire on citizens?

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In light of the recent unrest across the country, the debate over police militarization has reached an all time high, but the discussion brings the reader face to face with another and more frightening question: would US troops really open fire on the public?

The best place to begin a prediction of the future is in the past. Historical examples are often discounted for various reasons. A mention of Nazi Germany is immediately discounted because “those people were just evil.” Situations in Eastern Europe are discounted because of the communist or totalitarian regimes that existed there in the past. Bringing up the times militaries in the Far East, Africa, or Latin America opened fire on their citizens triggers the unconscious racist part of some brains that says “well those countries aren’t white.” Instances from US history are dismissed because they were “isolated incidents” or the patriotism gene kicks in and somehow “the citizens deserved it.”

Reasons to thank your local criminal

thank1

What causes societal change? Crime. From acts of civil disobedience to organized criminal endeavors; it’s somebody willing to stand up and claim a dormant or unasserted right that forces government’s to change. Contrary to the founding documents of this country, rights are not “self-evident”. If they were, “we the people” would have meant more than “we the people who are white” when the words were first penned. Rights are claimed, asserted, and sometimes taken by force.

The “law and order” crowd is squirming at the concept. Luckily, the members of that crowd are typically ardent defenders of the Second Amendment. That right wasn’t always there. Reaching back through history, tyrants of all sorts disarmed their populations. That right was claimed through the blood of criminals. Of course, today we call them “patriots” but that was a different year. They were criminals and traitors, nothing more. They only became heroes once they succeeded in claiming their rights.

If you want to fix the US, there can be no end to the call for police reform

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If you have a concern about any form over government overreach, the movement for police accountability is your fight. Even if you’ve never had a run in with law enforcement, it’s your fight. If you are concerned about the government removing your right to homeschool your children, it’s your fight. If you’re worried about forced vaccinations, it’s your fight. If you’re fighting for an end to prohibition, it’s your fight. If you want to keep your firearms, it’s your fight. If you want to aid the homeless or alleviate poverty, it’s your fight. If you want to stand against imminent domain, it’s your fight. It doesn’t matter what form of government overreach you want to end, it’s your fight.

It may seem difficult to connect some of these to the movement for police reform. All of these, indeed every single government regulation is enforced by the barrel of a gun. No matter how trivial the law, an infraction places you at the wrong of end of a cop’s gun. Even the act of feeding the homeless can in some areas put you seconds from death. When the police arrive and the person feeding the homeless resists having his rights violated, he will be shot. If he simply moves to quickly to pack up his kitchen utensils and the officer fears for his life because of the fork or knife, he will be shot.

Cops claim 28 infants admitted to being gang members

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An internal audit of California’s gang database revealed some startling trends. Infants are joining gangs at an alarming rate. According to the database CalGang, California has no less than 42 infants enlisted in dangerous criminal gangs. 28 of them apparently admitted their gang membership to officers. This would be funny, if it wasn’t exactly what the database showed.

Officers in California marked infants as gang members and lied about how the information was obtained. This database is widely used by officers in California and being marked as a gang member would make life especially dangerous for the child during any police interaction.

Cycle of Insurgency: What does Milwaukee mean?

Molotov

Image Source: joy garnett, Flickr, Creative Commons

An allegedly armed suspect was shot and killed after reportedly fleeing from officers. Riots break out. For those who have been following this series of articles, this should come as no surprise. It appears as though the response from citizens has died out, but the importance of this event cannot be understated. Had other cities joined in the rioting, this could have been the incident that sent the US into the final stage of the cycle of insurgency, which is widespread and open insurrection.

For those just joining this series of articles, a brief recap is in order. The series began in the immediate aftermath of the Ferguson riots. It outlined cycle of insurgency and explained how insurgencies form, mature, and erupt. The series provided milestone events, which would need to occur prior to open rebellion taking hold. They have all occurred. The cycle of insurgency is a historic pattern that has repeated itself throughout history and will continue to do so. The stages are:

Has there ever really been a nonviolent revolution?

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In countries all over the world different organizations are attempting to stage internal revolutions without the use of violence. History is full of examples of successful revolutions that employed violence in their strategy, but has there ever been a truly successful revolution that didn’t employ violence?

Most attempted revolutions target the national government of a country. The power of a government rests solely in one thing: its monopoly on violence. While governments may also maintain a monopoly on other facets of society such as banking or even the national means of production, these additional monopolies are maintained through the use of violence. All governments achieve all domestic agendas through the use of violence against their own citizens.

Even in the land of the free, people are deterred from jaywalking by the barrel of a gun. If a citizen jaywalks, they are issued a ticket, if the ticket is not paid, a warrant is issued for their arrest, if the citizen does not turn themselves in, the police are dispatched, if the citizen does not comply with police orders, violence is initiated by law enforcement. Every domino that falls in any chain of interaction with a government regulatory body brings the citizen one step closer to violence being used against them.

How to improve your Facebook newsfeed immediately

Facebook Logo.

Image Source: Bhupinder Nayyar

It’s hard to find pages that consistently bring a fresh viewpoint. You know you can’t trust the corporate owned media. You know you’re missing important stories and angles on those stories. What’s the easiest way to improve the quality of your newsfeed?

We’ve created a list of some of the most refreshing Facebook pages out there. While some of these pages are owned or operated by The Fifth Column, most are completely independent. Some of these pages are operated by friendly outlets. Some of the pages are our direct competitors. Some follow a different ethos. Others are completely oppositional. Appearing on the list isn’t an endorsement, it’s simply pointing out a source of information you may have missed. What mattered when looking for pages to add to this list was unique views, fresh content, and independence.

Cycle of Insurgency: President Obama setting stage for more officers to be gunned down

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In a move symptomatic of the current debacle, the White House is considering lifting the ban on transferring weapons of war to police departments nationwide. After Ferguson, the administration banned the transfers. Now it’s rethinking the move.

Political posturing is behind the announcement and decision. One of the major reasons officers are being gunned down in the streets like never before is because of the “warrior cop” mentality departments across the country have adopted. They are given the tools of war from the Department of Defense, but do not have the training to use them. So, concussion grenades maim children, rifles are used to shoot unarmed people, and MRAPs are used to violate the Constitutionally-protected right to peaceably assemble.