THE NATIONAL GUARDS

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Subject: the national guards (military consolidating control of info and comm)

Keywords: we don't appreciate how quickly our society is being locked up.





  the U.S. military is the lens focusing the agendas of the corporate states

  of `murka.  the following article is already four and a half YEARS old.

  this piece is staggering in its implications.  the high-tech gulf war show 

  provided us with just a hint of what is coming.  you can be sure the progs

  described below have only become MUCH more endemic, *regardless* of the 

  current "the cold war's over" mantra we are daily being subjected to.  it 

  certainly doesn't help to have a state press obediently parroting the latest 

  official mythologies daily being dished up.  so honestly, what's it going to

  take for people to stand up and put themselves on the line to stop this 

  brand of spreading totalitarian democracy?  their own complete enslavement?  

  by that time it'll be just too damn late.  (and people balk at the idea 

  that Kennedy was killed by a military coup d'etat...)      --ratitor





                     excerpts from "THE NATIONAL GUARDS"

                      (C) 1987 OMNI MAGAZINE, MAY 1987





       These attempts to keep unclassified data out of the hands of

    scientists, researchers, the news media, and the public at large are a

    part of an alarming trend that has seen the military take an ever-

    increasing role in controlling the flow of information and

    communications through American society, a role traditionally -- and

    almost exclusively -- left to civilians. Under the approving gaze of

    the Reagan administration, Department of Defense (DoD) officials have

    quietly implemented a number of policies, decisions, and orders that

    give the military unprecedented control over both the content and

    public use of data and communications. . . .

       Mead Data Central -- which runs some of the nation's largest

    computer databases, such as Lexis and Nexis, and has nearly 200,000

    users -- says it has already been approached by a team of agents from

    the Air Force and officials from the CIA and the FBI who asked for the

    names of subscribers and inquired what Mead officials might do if

    information restrictions were imposed. In response to government

    pressure, Mead Data Central in effect censured itself. It purged all

    unclassified government-supplied technical data from its system and

    completely dropped the National Technical Information System from its

    database rather than risk a confrontation.

       Representative Jack Brooks, a Texas Democrat who chairs the House

    Government Operations Committee, is an outspoken critic of the NSA's

    role in restricting civilian information. He notes that in 1985 the

    NSA -- under the authority granted by NSDD 145 -- investigated a

    computer program that was widely used in both local and federal

    elections in 1984. The computer system was used to count more than one

    third of all votes cast in the United States. While probing the

    system's vulnerability to outside manipulation, the NSA obtained a

    detailed knowledge of that computer program. "In my view," Brooks

    says, "this is an unprecedented and ill-advised expansion of the

    military's influence in our society."





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ORIGIN: ParaNet Information Service BBS

CONTRIBUTED TO PARANET BY: Donald Goldberg

========================================================





                            THE NATIONAL GUARDS

                      (C) 1987 OMNI MAGAZINE, MAY 1987

                 (Reprinted with permission and license to

              ParaNet Information Service and its affiliates.)



                             By Donald Goldberg





       The mountains bend as the fjord and the sea beyond stretch out

    before the viewer's eyes. First over the water, then a sharp left

    turn, then a bank to the right between the peaks, and the secret naval

    base unfolds upon the screen.

       The scene is of a Soviet military installation on the Kola

    Peninsula in the icy Barents Sea, a place usually off-limits to the

    gaze of the Western world. It was captured by a small French satellite

    called SPOT Image, orbiting at an altitude of 517 miles above the

    hidden Russian outpost. On each of several passes -- made over a two-

    week period last fall -- the satellite's high-resolution lens took

    its pictures at a different angle; the images were then blended into a

    three-dimensional, computer-generated video. Buildings, docks,

    vessels, and details of the Arctic landscape are all clearly visible.

       Half a world away and thousands of feet under the sea, sparkling-

    clear images are being made of the ocean floor. Using the latest

    bathymetric technology and state-of-the-art systems known as Seam Beam

    and Hydrochart, researchers are for the first time assembling detailed

    underwater maps of the continental shelves and the depths of the

    world's oceans. These scenes of the sea are as sophisticated as the

    photographs taken from the satellite.

       From the three-dimensional images taken far above the earth to the

    charts of the bottom of the oceans, these photographic systems have

    three things in common: They both rely on the latest technology to

    create accurate pictures never dreamed of even 25 years ago; they are

    being made widely available by commercial, nongovernmental

    enterprises; and the Pentagon is trying desperately to keep them from

    the general public.

       In 1985 the Navy classified the underwater charts, making them

    available only to approved researchers whose needs are evaluated on a

    case-by-case basis. Under a 1984 law the military has been given a say

    in what cameras can be licensed to be used on American satellites; and

    officials have already announced they plan to limit the quality and

    resolution of photos made available. The National Security Agency

    (NSA) -- the secret arm of the Pentagon in charge of gathering

    electronic intelligence as well as protecting sensitive U.S.

    communications -- has defeated a move to keep it away from civilian

    and commercial computers and databases.

       That attitude has outraged those concerned with the military's

    increasing efforts to keep information not only from the public but

    from industry experts, scientists, and even other government officials

    as well. "That's like classifying a road map for fear of invasion,"

    says Paul Wolff, assistant administrator for the National Oceanic and

    Atmospheric Administration, of the attempted restrictions.

       These attempts to keep unclassified data out of the hands of

    scientists, researchers, the news media, and the public at large are a

    part of an alarming trend that has seen the military take an ever-

    increasing role in controlling the flow of information and

    communications through American society, a role traditionally -- and

    almost exclusively -- left to civilians. Under the approving gaze of

    the Reagan administration, Department of Defense (DoD) officials have

    quietly implemented a number of policies, decisions, and orders that

    give the military unprecedented control over both the content and

    public use of data and communications. For example:





          * The Pentagon has created a new category of

            "sensitive" but unclassified information that allows

            it to keep from public access huge quantities of data

            that were once widely accessible.



          * Defense Department officials have attempted to

            rewrite key laws that spell out when the president can

            and cannot appropriate private communications

            facilities.



          * The Pentagon has installed a system that enables it

            to seize control of the nation's entire communications

            network -- the phone system, data transmissions, and

            satellite transmissions of all kinds -- in the event

            of what it deems a "national emergency." As yet there

            is no single, universally agreed-upon definition of

            what constitutes such a state. Usually such an

            emergency is restricted to times of natural disaster,

            war, or when national security is specifically

            threatened. Now the military has attempted to redefine

            emergency.



       The point man in the Pentagon's onslaught on communications is

    Assistant Defense Secretary Donald C. Latham, a former NSA deputy

    chief. Latham now heads up an interagency committee in charge of

    writing and implementing many of the policies that have put the

    military in charge of the flow of civilian information and

    communication. He is also the architect of National Security Decision

    Directive 145 (NSDD 145), signed by Defense Secretary Caspar

    Weinberger in 1984, which sets out the national policy on

    telecommunications and computer-systems security.

       First NSDD 145 set up a steering group of top-level administration

    officials. Their job is to recommend ways to protect information that

    is unclassified but has been designated sensitive.  Such information

    is held not only by government agencies but by private companies as

    well. And last October the steering group issued a memorandum that

    defined sensitive information and gave federal agencies broad new

    powers to keep it from the public.

       According to Latham, this new category includes such data as all

    medical records on government databases -- from the files of the

    National Cancer Institute to information on every veteran who has ever

    applied for medical aid from the Veterans Administration -- and all

    the information on corporate and personal taxpayers in the Internal

    Revenue Service's computers. Even agricultural statistics, he argues,

    can be used by a foreign power against the United States.

       In his oversize yet Spartan Pentagon office, Latham cuts anything

    but an intimidating figure. Articulate and friendly, he could pass for

    a network anchorman or a television game show host. When asked how the

    government's new definition of sensitive information will be used, he

    defends the necessity for it and tries to put to rest concerns about a

    new restrictiveness.

       "The debate that somehow the DoD and NSA are going to monitor or

    get into private databases isn't the case at all," Latham insists.

    "The definition is just a guideline, just an advisory. It does not

    give the DoD the right to go into private records."

       Yet the Defense Department invoked the NSDD 145 guidelines when it

    told the information industry it intends to restrict the sale of data

    that are now unclassified and publicly available from privately owned

    computer systems. The excuse if offered was that these data often

    include technical information that might be valuable to a foreign

    adversary like the Soviet Union.

       Mead Data Central -- which runs some of the nation's largest

    computer databases, such as Lexis and Nexis, and has nearly 200,000

    users -- says it has already been approached by a team of agents from

    the Air Force and officials from the CIA and the FBI who asked for the

    names of subscribers and inquired what Mead officials might do if

    information restrictions were imposed. In response to government

    pressure, Mead Data Central in effect censured itself. It purged all

    unclassified government-supplied technical data from its system and

    completely dropped the National Technical Information System from its

    database rather than risk a confrontation.

       Representative Jack Brooks, a Texas Democrat who chairs the House

    Government Operations Committee, is an outspoken critic of the NSA's

    role in restricting civilian information. He notes that in 1985 the

    NSA -- under the authority granted by NSDD 145 -- investigated a

    computer program that was widely used in both local and federal

    elections in 1984. The computer system was used to count more than one

    third of all votes cast in the United States. While probing the

    system's vulnerability to outside manipulation, the NSA obtained a

    detailed knowledge of that computer program. "In my view," Brooks

    says, "this is an unprecedented and ill-advised expansion of the

    military's influence in our society."

       There are other NSA critics. "The computer systems used by counties

    to collect and process votes have nothing to do with national

    security, and I'm really concerned about the NSA's involvement," says

    Democratic congressman Dan Glickman of Kansas, chairman of the House

    science and technology subcommittee concerned with computer security.

       Also, under NSDD 145 the Pentagon has issued an order, virtually

    unknown to all but a few industry executives, that affects commercial

    communications satellites. The policy was made official by Defense

    Secretary Weinberger in June of 1985 and requires that all commercial

    satellite operators that carry such unclassified government data

    traffic as routine Pentagon supply information and payroll data (and

    that compete for lucrative government contracts) install costly

    protective systems on all satellites launched after 1990. The policy

    does not directly affect the data over satellite channels, but it does

    make the NSA privy to vital information about the essential signals

    needed to operate a satellite. With this information it could take

    control of any satellite it chooses.

       Latham insists this, too, is a voluntary policy and that only

    companies that wish to install protection will have their systems

    evaluated by the NSA. He also says industry officials are wholly

    behind the move, and argues that the protective systems are necessary.

    With just a few thousand dollars' worth of equipment, a disgruntled

    employee could interfere with a satellite's control signals and

    disable or even wipe out a hundred-million-dollar satellite carrying

    government information.

       At best, his comments are misleading. First, the policy is not

    voluntary. The NSA can cut off lucrative government contracts to

    companies that do not comply with the plan. The Pentagon alone spent

    more than a billion dollars leasing commercial satellite channels last

    year; that's a powerful incentive for business to cooperate.

       Second, the industry's support is anything but total.  According to

    the minutes of one closed-door meeting between NSA officials -- along

    with representatives of other federal agencies -- and executives from

    AT&T, Comsat, GTE Sprint, and MCI, the executives neither supported

    the move nor believed it was necessary. The NSA defended the policy by

    arguing that a satellite could be held for ransom if the command and

    control links weren't protected. But experts at the meeting were

    skeptical.

       "Why is the threat limited to accessing the satellite rather than

    destroying it with lasers or high-powered signals?" one industry

    executive wanted to know.

       Most of the officials present objected to the high cost of

    protecting the satellites. According to a 1983 study made at the

    request of the Pentagon, the protection demanded by the NSA could add

    as much as $3 million to the price of a satellite and $1 million more

    to annual operating costs. Costs like these, they argue, could cripple

    a company competing against less expensive communications networks.

       Americans get much of their information through forms of electronic

    communications, from the telephone, television and radio, and

    information printed in many newspapers. Banks send important financial

    data, businesses their spreadsheets, and stockbrokers their investment

    portfolios, all over the same channels, from satellite signals to

    computer hookups carried on long distance telephone lines. To make

    sure that the federal government helped to promote and protect the

    efficient use of this advancing technology, Congress passed the

    massive Communications Act of of 1934. It outlined the role and laws

    of the communications structure in the United States.

       The powers of the president are set out in Section 606 of that law;

    basically it states that he has the authority to take control of any

    communications facilities that he believes "essential to the national

    defense." In the language of the trade this is known as a 606

    emergency.

       There have been a number of attempts in recent years by Defense

    Department officials to redefine what qualifies as a 606 emergency and

    make it easier for the military to take over national communications.

       In 1981 the Senate considered amendments to the 1934 act that would

    allow the president, on Defense Department recommendation, to require

    any communications company to provide services, facilities, or

    equipment "to promote the national defense and security or the

    emergency preparedness of the nation," even in peacetime and without a

    declared state of emergency. The general language had been drafted by

    Defense Department officials. (The bill failed to pass the House for

    unrelated reasons.)

       "I think it is quite clear that they have snuck in there some

    powers that are dangerous for us as a company and for the public at

    large," said MCI vice president Kenneth Cox before the Senate vote.

       Since President Reagan took office, the Pentagon has stepped up its

    efforts to rewrite the definition of national emergency and give the

    military expanded powers in the United States. "The declaration of

    'emergency' has always been vague," says one former administration

    official who left the government in 1982 after ten years in top policy

    posts. "Different presidents have invoked it differently. This

    administration would declare a convenient 'emergency.'" In other

    words, what is a nuisance to one administration might qualify as a

    burgeoning crisis to another. For example, the Reagan administration

    might decide that a series of protests on or near military bases

    constituted a national emergency.

       Should the Pentagon ever be given the green light, its base for

    taking over the nation's communications system would be a nondescript

    yellow brick building within the maze of high rises, government

    buildings, and apartment complexes that make up the Washington suburb

    of Arlington, Virginia. Headquartered in a dusty and aging structure

    surrounded by a barbed-wire fence is an obscure branch of the military

    known as the Defense Communications Agency (DCA). It does not have the

    spit and polish of the National Security Agency or the dozens of other

    government facilities that make up the nation's capital. But its lack

    of shine belies its critical mission: to make sure all of America's

    far-flung military units can communicate with one another. It is in

    certain ways the nerve center of our nation's defense system.

       On the second floor of the DCA's four-story headquarters is a new

    addition called the National Coordinating Center (NCC).  Operated by

    the Pentagon, it is virtually unknown outside of a handful of industry

    and government officials. The NCC is staffed around the clock by

    representatives of a dozen of the nation's largest commercial

    communications companies -- the so-called "common carriers" --

    including AT&T, MCI, GTE, Comsat, and ITT.  Also on hand are officials

    from the State Department, the CIA, the Federal Aviation

    Administration, and a number of other federal agencies. During a 606

    emergency the Pentagon can order the companies that make up the

    National Coordinating Center to turn over their satellite, fiberoptic,

    and land-line facilities to the government.

       On a long corridor in the front of the building is a series of

    offices, each outfitted with a private phone, a telex machine, and a

    combination safe. It's known as "logo row" because each office is

    occupied by an employee from one of the companies that staff the NCC

    and because their corporate logos hand on the wall outside. Each

    employee is on permanent standby, ready to activate his company's

    system should the Pentagon require it.

       The National Coordinating Center's mission is as grand as its title

    is obscure: to make available to the Defense Department all the

    facilities of the civilian communications network in this country --

    the phone lines, the long-distance satellite hookups, the data

    transmission lines -- in times of national emergency. If war breaks

    out and communications to a key military base are cut, the Pentagon

    wants to make sure that an alternate link can be set up as fast as

    possible. Company employees assigned to the center are on call 24

    hours a day; they wear beepers outside the office, and when on

    vacation they must be replaced by qualified colleagues.

       The center formally opened on New Year's Day, 1984, the same day Ma

    Bell's monopoly over the telephone network of the entire United States

    was finally broken. The timing was no coincidence.  Pentagon officials

    had argued for years along with AT&T against the divestiture of Ma

    Bell, on grounds of national security.  Defense Secretary Weinberger

    personally urged the attorney general to block the lawsuit that

    resulted in the breakup, as had his predecessor, Harold Brown. The

    reason was that rather than construct its own communications network,

    the Pentagon had come to rely extensively on the phone company. After

    the breakup the dependence continued. The Pentagon still used

    commercial companies to carry more than 90 percent of its

    communications within the continental United States.

       The 1984 divestiture put an end to AT&T's monopoly over the

    nation's telephone service and increased the Pentagon's obsession with

    having its own nerve center. Now the brass had to contend with several

    competing companies to acquire phone lines, and communications was

    more than a matter of running a line from one telephone to another.

    Satellites, microwave towers, fiberoptics, and other technological

    breakthroughs never dreamed of by Alexander Graham Bell were in

    extensive use, and not just for phone conversations. Digital data

    streams for computers flowed on the same networks.

       These facts were not lost on the Defense Department or the White

    House. According to documents obtained by "Omni," beginning on December

    14, 1982, a number of secret meetings were held between high-level

    administration officials and executives of the commercial

    communications companies whose employees would later staff the

    National Coordinating Center. The meetings, which continued over the

    next three years, were held at the White House, the State Department,

    the Strategic Air Command (SAC) headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base

    in Nebraska, and at the North American Aerospace Defense Command

    (NORAD) in Colorado Springs.

       The industry officials attending constituted the National Security

    Telecommunications Advisory Committee -- called NSTAC (pronounced N-

    stack) -- set up by President Reagan to address those same problems

    that worried the Pentagon. It was at these secret meetings, according

    to the minutes, that the idea of a communications watch center for

    national emergencies -- the NCC -- was born. Along with it came a

    whole set of plans that would allow the military to take over

    commercial communications "assets" -- everything from ground stations

    and satellite dishes to fiberoptic cables -- across the country.

       At a 1983 Federal Communications Commission meeting, a ranking

    Defense Department official offered the following explanation for the

    founding of the National Coordinating Center:  "We are looking at

    trying to make communications endurable for a protracted conflict."

    The phrase protracted conflict is a military euphemism for nuclear

    war.

       But could the NCC survive even the first volley in such a conflict?

       Not likely. It's located within a mile of the Pentagon, itself an

    obvious early target of a Soviet nuclear barrage (or a conventional

    strike, for that matter). And the Kremlin undoubtedly knows its

    location and importance, and presumably has included it on its

    priority target list. In sum, according to one Pentagon official, "The

    NCC itself is not viewed as a survivable facility."

       Furthermore, the NCC's "Implementation Plan," obtained by "Omni,"

    lists four phases of emergencies and how the center should respond to

    each. The first, Phase 0, is Peacetime, for which there would be

    little to do outside of a handful of routine tasks and exercises.

    Phase 1 is Pre Attack, in which alternate NCC sites are alerted. Phase

    2 is Post Attack, in which other NCC locations are instructed to take

    over the center's functions.  Phase 3 is known as Last Ditch, and in

    this phase whatever facility survives becomes the de facto NCC.

       So far there is no alternate National Coordinating Center to which

    NCC officials could retreat to survive an attack.  According to NCC

    deputy director William Belford, no physical sites have yet been

    chosen for a substitute NCC, and even whether the NCC itself will

    survive a nuclear attack is still under study.

       Of what use is a communications center that is not expected to

    outlast even the first shots of a war and has no backup?

       The answer appears to be that because of the Pentagon's concerns

    about the AT&T divestiture and the disruptive effects it might have on

    national security, the NCC was to serve as the military's peacetime

    communications center.

       The center is a powerful and unprecedented tool to assume control

    over the nation's vast communications and information network. For

    years the Pentagon has been studying how to take over the common

    carriers' facilities. That research was prepared by NSTAC at the DoD's

    request and is contained in a series of internal Pentagon documents

    obtained by "Omni." Collectively this series is known as the Satellite

    Survivability Report. Completed in 1984, it is the only detailed

    analysis to date of the vulnerabilities of the commercial satellite

    network. It was begun as a way of examining how to protect the network

    of communications facilities from attack and how to keep it intact for

    the DoD.

       A major part of the report also contains an analysis of how to make

    commercial satellites "interoperable" with Defense Department systems.

    While the report notes that current technical differences such as

    varying frequencies make it difficult for the Pentagon to use

    commercial satellites, it recommends ways to resolve those problems.

    Much of the report is a veritable blueprint for the government on how

    to take over satellites in orbit above the United States. This

    information, plus NSDD 145's demand that satellite operators tell the

    NSA how their satellites are controlled, guarantees the military ample

    knowledge about operating commercial satellites.

       The Pentagon now has an unprecedented access to the civilian

    communications network: commercial databases, computer networks,

    electronic links, telephone lines. All it needs is the legal authority

    to use them. Then it could totally dominate the flow of all

    information in the United States. As one high-ranking White House

    communications official put it: "Whoever controls communications,

    controls the country." His remark was made after our State Department

    could not communicate directly with our embassy in Manila during the

    anti-Marcos revolution last year.  To get through, the State

    Department had to relay all its messages through the Philippine

    government.

       Government officials have offered all kinds of scenarios to justify

    the National Coordinating Center, the Satellite Survivability Report,

    new domains of authority for the Pentagon and the NSA, and the

    creation of top-level government steering groups to think of even more

    policies for the military. Most can be reduced to the rationale that

    inspired NSDD 145: that our enemies (presumably the Soviets) have to

    be prevented from getting too much information from unclassified

    sources. And the only way to do that is to step in and take control of

    those sources.

       Remarkably, the communications industry as a whole has not been

    concerned about the overall scope of the Pentagon's threat to its

    freedom of operation. Most protests have been to individual government

    actions. For example, a media coalition that includes the Radio-

    Television Society of Newspaper Editors, and the Turner Broadcasting

    System has been lobbying that before the government can restrict the

    use of satellites, it must demonstrate why such restrictions protect

    against a "threat to distinct and compelling national security and

    foreign policy interests." But the whole policy of restrictiveness has

    not been examined. That may change sometime this year, when the Office

    of Technology Assessment issues a report on how the Pentagon's policy

    will affect communications in the United States. In the meantime the

    military keeps trying to encroach on national communications.

       While it may seem unlikely that the Pentagon will ever get total

    control of our information and communications systems, the truth is

    that it can happen all too easily. The official mechanisms are already

    in place; and few barriers remain to guarantee that what we hear, see,

    and read will come to us courtesy of our being members of a free and

    open society and not courtesy of the Pentagon.





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