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posted by janrinok on Sunday March 08 2015, @12:41AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the "those-were-the-days-my-friend" dept.

Ingrid Burrington writes in The Atlantic about a little-remembered incident that occurred in 1992 when activists Keith Kjoller and Peter Lumsdaine snuck into a Rockwell International facility in Seal Beach, California and in what they called an "act of conscience" used wood-splitting axes to break into two clean rooms containing nine satellites being built for the US government. Lumsdaine took his axe to one of the satellites, hitting it over 60 times. The Brigade's target was the Navigation Satellite Timing And Ranging (NAVSTAR) Program and the Global Positioning System (GPS). Both men belonged to the Lockheed Action Collective, a protest group that staged demonstrations and blockaded the entrance at the Lockheed Missiles & Space Co. test base in Santa Cruz in 1990. They said they intentionally took axes to the $50-million Navstar Global Position System satellite to bring the public's attention to what they termed the government's attempt to control the world through modern technology. "I had to slow the deployment of this system (which) makes conventional warfare much more lethal and nuclear war winnable in the eyes of some," an emotional Kjoller told the judge before receiving an 18-month sentence. "It's something that I couldn't let go by. I tried to do what was right rather than what was convenient."

Burrington recently contacted Lumsdaine to learn more about the Brigade and Lumsdaine expresses no regrets for his actions. Even if the technology has more and more civilian uses, Lumsdaine says, GPS remains “military in its origins, military in its goals, military in its development and [is still] controlled by the military.” Today, Lumsdaine views the thread connecting GPS and drones as part of a longer-term movement by military powers toward automated systems and compared today’s conditions to the opening sequence of Terminator 2, where Sarah Connor laments that the survivors of Skynet’s nuclear apocalypse “lived only to face a new nightmare: the war against the machines.” "I think in a general way people need to look for those psychological, spiritual, cultural, logistical, technological weak points and leverage points and push hard there," says Lumsdaine. "It is so easy for all of us as human beings to take a deep breath and step aside and not face how very serious the situation is, because it's very unpleasant to look at the effort and potential consequences of challenging the powers that be. But the only thing higher than the cost of resistance is the cost of not resisting."

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  • (Score: 4, Funny) by Jeremiah Cornelius on Sunday March 08 2015, @12:50AM

    by Jeremiah Cornelius (2785) on Sunday March 08 2015, @12:50AM (#154289) Journal

    The time draws near that we all will be sorry, not having counted ourselves in their number.

    --
    You're betting on the pantomime horse...
  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08 2015, @03:15AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08 2015, @03:15AM (#154321)

    Are they activists or hacktivists?

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08 2015, @03:17AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08 2015, @03:17AM (#154322)

    boy, those were the good ole days. now, he'd probably get 18 years - which would make his actions seem pretty stupid considering that he in no way whatsoever prevented or postponed the creation of GPS.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08 2015, @03:51AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08 2015, @03:51AM (#154332)

      > would make his actions seem pretty stupid considering that he in no way whatsoever prevented or postponed the creation of GPS.

      Just because he failed doesn't mean he shouldn't have tried.

      The guy's basically been proven right. GPS-enabled drone attacks are like crack for the US DoD. First they got rid of the draft so the average american no longer has to worry about the personal consequences of militarism. Now with drones actual soldiers aren't put in harm's way either, which means zero pushback from the mothers of soldiers. [wikipedia.org] We are the point where we've got this really great hammer so every problem looks like a nail.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08 2015, @04:51AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08 2015, @04:51AM (#154344)

        The guy's basically been proven right. GPS-enabled drone attacks are like crack for the US DoD.

        You make it sound like GPS-enabled munitions are some sort of uncontrolled, compulsive addiction. They're not. This is what GPS was actually designed for.

        First they got rid of the draft so the average american no longer has to worry about the personal consequences of militarism.

        Wrong. There are still personal consequences for militarism. Those consequences now just take a different form. Travelled to a foreign country lately? Any of those countries "Islamic"?

        Now with drones actual soldiers aren't put in harm's way either, which means zero pushback from the mothers of soldiers.

        You say this like it's a bad thing. What's your point? What was that famous quote attributed to Patton(?): "The objective in war is not to die for your country but to make the other son of a bitch die for his country."

        We are the point where we've got this really great hammer so every problem looks like a nail.

        Finally, you may have a salient point! I suggest you develop your analysis further along this line.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by wantkitteh on Sunday March 08 2015, @01:52PM

          by wantkitteh (3362) on Sunday March 08 2015, @01:52PM (#154437) Homepage Journal

          You make it sound like GPS-enabled munitions are some sort of uncontrolled, compulsive addiction. They're not.

          I would argue they are. Given the ways drones are currently deployed and used, they are a Commander-in-Chief's wet dream due to the lack of domestic political fallout.

          Given the current deployments in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia are "covert" (like there's anything covert about Hellfire missiles raining down from planes) there are no boots on the ground in those theatres. That means no going to Congress/Senate/whoever to get the bill authorised, the CIA's practically unlimited black budget swallows it all up nice and quietly. That means no US military casualties for the TV to show academy graduation photos of, no friendly fire incidents for high-ranking officers to read prepared statements about at live press conferences.

          That means all targets can be prosecuted, no matter how poorly indentified [rt.com] that target is or how many civilian deaths [pitchinteractive.com] will be caused. When the rules of who you can launch an airstrike on are slow loose, is it any wonder that the frequency of drone strikes has vastly increased since mid-2008? The technology itself isn't the addictive part - it's the way you can use them that's got the CIA completely hooked.

        • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Sunday March 08 2015, @03:36PM

          by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 08 2015, @03:36PM (#154468) Journal

          You say this like it's a bad thing. What's your point? What was that famous quote attributed to Patton(?): "The objective in war is not to die for your country but to make the other son of a bitch die for his country."

          His point was that every problem looks like a nail. It shouldn't be too hard to understand that if there are no personal consequences for random war, random war is MORE likely, and random war being more likely is terrible. With the draft, evil murderous politicians will be looked at carefully because they will kill not just foreigners, but local kids too. Without a draft, that level of consideration goes down. And when the only risk your soldiers take is CTS from all the mouse clicking or a bad back after years of ass sitting, that evil politician will be barely scrutinized.

          So yes, if a country wants to go to war, it needs to put some blood on the line. Otherwise, it's just a pansy-assed whimp. Kind of like the USA.

      • (Score: 3, Disagree) by Hartree on Sunday March 08 2015, @04:51AM

        by Hartree (195) on Sunday March 08 2015, @04:51AM (#154345)

        The civilian applications of sat-nav even then vastly outweighed the number of military users. And even if he had slowed down the US GPS, the Russian GLONASS was already around as well.

        Of course, he could have just found a way to destroy all the food production because the DOD is heavily dependent on food. Seems a bit like the Judean People's Front Suicide Squad.

      • (Score: 2) by Anal Pumpernickel on Sunday March 08 2015, @05:00AM

        by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Sunday March 08 2015, @05:00AM (#154348)

        First they got rid of the draft so the average american no longer has to worry about the personal consequences of militarism.

        Not infringing upon people's fundamental liberties is not a bad thing; it's a good thing. The government simply should not have the power to call for drafts to begin with, as government thugs forcing people to serve in the military is not something any truly free country would do. The importance of protecting people's fundamental liberties far outweighs the importance of teaching people the personal consequences of militarism by drafting people. I only wish we passed a constitutional amendment to completely forbid the government from creating drafts at all, as it's still technically possible for them to do so.

        • (Score: 1, Disagree) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08 2015, @07:13AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08 2015, @07:13AM (#154374)

          > Not infringing upon people's fundamental liberties is not a bad thing;

          What makes the right not to be physically drafted more important than right not to be drafted via taxation?

          > The government simply should not have the power to call for drafts to begin with, as government thugs forcing people
          > to serve in the military is not something any truly free country would do

          Of the people, by the people, for the people. The ironic thing about your attitude is that it enables those "government thugs" by letting them separate the consequences from their actions. The more government is abstracted out from the daily lives of regular people, the less accountable it will be to regular people.

          • (Score: 2) by Anal Pumpernickel on Sunday March 08 2015, @10:28PM

            by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Sunday March 08 2015, @10:28PM (#154648)

            What makes the right not to be physically drafted more important than right not to be drafted via taxation?

            The severity is far different, but yes, I would say being forced to pay for unjust wars is a bad thing. Do you seriously not see *any* difference between a voluntary army and government thugs drafting people into fighting in wars?

            Of the people, by the people, for the people.

            Governments should not be able to violate people's fundamental liberties, popular support or not. If the people don't care about the nation enough to join the war, and it should fall, so be it.

            The ironic thing about your attitude is that it enables those "government thugs" by letting them separate the consequences from their actions.

            No, it doesn't. The only thing that does that is unwillingness to stand up against them, and *that* is a personal choice. You can't blame that on not having a draft. And even if you could, the ends wouldn't justify the means.

            The more government is abstracted out from the daily lives of regular people, the less accountable it will be to regular people.

            Then "regular people" need to stop being apathetic and get involved with their governments. You are suggesting we violate people's fundamental liberties so that people will apparently be more willing to take action against the government. It's like suggesting that we violate people's fundamental liberties so that we can protect people from the 'terrists' who want to violate our liberties; it's cowardly and meaningless. I think our fundamental liberties should be protected from the government at all costs, so your solution is disgusting and unacceptable to me.

            Your ends don't justify the means, regardless of whether or not your 'solution' would work.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08 2015, @11:30PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08 2015, @11:30PM (#154671)

              Your argument is naively circular.

              You want to just declare that the people stop being apathetic but designing a system of government that encourages people to do just that is unacceptable.

              All government does is "violate people's fundamental liberties." The difference between good government and bad government is how much and under what circumstances. Your fundamentalism blinds you to the way the world actually works.

              • (Score: 2) by Anal Pumpernickel on Monday March 09 2015, @01:08AM

                by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Monday March 09 2015, @01:08AM (#154703)

                Your argument is naively circular.

                No, it isn't. You just lack understanding of basic logic.

                You want to just declare that the people stop being apathetic but designing a system of government that encourages people to do just that is unacceptable.

                I want to encourage people to stop being apathetic through means other than violating their fundamental liberties and giving government powers it shouldn't have. That is not circular, and you are illogical for suggesting that it is.

                But let's assume there is no other way. Let's say if we don't draft people, they'll be apathetic, and you'll wind up with more unjust wars (despite us drafting people before and it not making much of a measurable difference). I still would oppose the draft, since it violates people's fundamental liberties in utterly unacceptable wars. Freedom is more important to me than safety from initiating unjust wars. I am not willing to let governments have such draconian powers.

                All government does is "violate people's fundamental liberties."

                Agreed. And I seek to stop that. You clearly do not know what I mean by "fundamental liberties." I want a government that actually respects the fourth amendment, for instance. You probably think that by "fundamental liberties" I mean no government at all, but I do not consider every action you can possibly take to be a fundamental liberty, so that's a silly misunderstanding of my position.

                The difference between good government and bad government is how much and under what circumstances.

                And to you, the government apparently should have the power to enslave people. I would say that's almost unlimited government. I wonder if you even have a problem with the TSA, mass surveillance, making drugs illegal, DUI checkpoints, or any number of the things the government is doing now that violate our fundamental liberties (and most also violate the constitution).

                Your fundamentalism blinds you to the way the world actually works.

                Your profound ignorance blinds you from understanding my arguments.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 09 2015, @02:28PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 09 2015, @02:28PM (#154882)

                  Dude, I can see the spittle spraying from your lips.

      • (Score: 2) by JNCF on Sunday March 08 2015, @11:37PM

        by JNCF (4317) on Sunday March 08 2015, @11:37PM (#154674) Journal

        Just because he failed doesn't mean he shouldn't have tried.

        The guy's basically been proven right.

        Have you ever read Industrial Society and Its Future, better known as The Unabomber Manifesto? [washingtonpost.com]

        Theodore Kaczynski had declared a personal war against technology. His rather lengthy manifesto explores a number of routes that technology could take, most of them rather bleak from the perspective of a proletariat. One of those scenarios is a war with the machines.

        An obvious difference between the Lockheed Action Collective and the Freedom Club (Kacynski's nom de guerre - he was pretending to be part of a larger group) is that the former attacked non-sentient property, whereas the latter sent bombs to unsuspecting people who were somehow involved in the advancement of technology (sometimes barely).

        Do you view this distinction as important? Kaczynski was trying to prevent a holocaust (a number of potential holocausts, really). If we're interested in preventing aggregate suffering a few lives in the present is surely outweighed by the coming mechanical holocaust (assuming there will actually be one). As Sarah Connor put it, "you're already dead, Silberman; everybody dies. You know I believe it so don't fuck with me!"

        Of course, Kaczynski could be wrong. Technology might go in a very different route than he believes it will. Does this matter to you? Does a miscalculation about the future invalidate somebody's actions in the past? If the Lockheed Action Collective hadn't "basically been proven right," would that make their satellite attack retroactively less acceptable to you?

        It's also possible that Kacynski will be fundamentally proven right about the horrors of technology, but that the actions he took to try and prevent those horrors were ridiculous long-shots that inflicted unnecessary harm on other human beings without noticeably denting our march towards machinageddon. Just because he failed, does that mean he shouldn't have tried?

  • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08 2015, @05:00AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08 2015, @05:00AM (#154347)

    you submit interesting stories, but please stop with the identical cross posts with slashdot. it makes both sites less interesting and distinct.

    kthxbye a/c

    • (Score: 0, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08 2015, @07:16AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08 2015, @07:16AM (#154375)

      Most AC posts are pointless drivel. You can improve the quality of AC posts by shutting up.

      If you don't want to see the same stories posted here and at slashdot, don't read slashdot!

      kthxbye a/c

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by lentilla on Sunday March 08 2015, @05:29AM

    by lentilla (1770) on Sunday March 08 2015, @05:29AM (#154357)

    “lived only to face a new nightmare: the war against the machines.”

    It has never been and will never be; a war against machines. The fight will always be against people that have managed to insulate themselves from the rest of humanity.

    This "war" is the military equivalent of being required to call a foreign call centre when you need to air a grievance, only to be told "your call is important to us" and having a lapdog helpfully promise to do everything but actually help you. The battle has always been fighting people with no guts and no authority to stop and think "I'm doing the wrong thing" and turning on their wayward masters.

    We may indeed get to a SkyNet scenario but it's unlikely the machines will be sentient. It is quite likely; on the other hand; that they will be autonomous, but they will be following a set of orders. The scariest part is that these weapons will be deployed by a bureaucracy and that future generations of the same bureaucracy will find it very hard to effect institutional change. Since the weaponry's sole purpose will be to maintain the status quo, any future generations hoping to modify the status quo will need to fight not only the sharp tongues in the board-room but also the weaponised will of long-dead board-members.

    SkyNet's autonomy will simply will protect last-generation's dynasty (and itself) and prevent humanity's current generation making the necessary decisions relevant to their current era. Machines are perfect "soldiers" - they have no conscience, no motivation and are loyal to the "cause" - be it right or terribly, horribly wrong.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08 2015, @09:03AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08 2015, @09:03AM (#154386)

      > We may indeed get to a SkyNet scenario but it's unlikely the machines will be sentient.

      Well, sentience isn't black or white. Dogs are sentient in some aspects. Certainly more so than an ant. Even children go through different levels of sentience as they mature.

      What if sentience is just an emergent characteristic of complexity? Will we ever construct an autonomous system so complex that it achieves a meaningful level of sentience? I bet we do, maybe even by accident. Chances are we'll get to the point where machines are responsible for designing machines, so the decision to make a computer complex enough that it achieves sentience may not even be in the hands of a human when it occurs.

  • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Sunday March 08 2015, @08:18AM

    by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Sunday March 08 2015, @08:18AM (#154384) Homepage Journal

    It is quite clear the US military, Congress, the Commander in Chief &c. regard such automated means of warfare as drone-launched missiles as an advantage because we need not risk the lives nor limbs of our troops when we attack an enemy.

    The problem I've got with that is that if no Americans need perish when we go to war, we will start wars that we otherwise would not have, were our troops to make the ultimate sacrifice.

    As it stands now, compare the number of Iraqis and Afghanis who died to the number of deaths of American troops.

    Lest some Americans think it's a good thing that we could assert our will over everyone else without fear of retribution: the Russians, the North Koreans, the Chinese, the Indians, the Pakistanis and the Israelis all have nuclear weapons. It would not be hard for the Iranians to make them. I strongly suspect that Canada has them, as it is up to its eyeballs in Plutonium due to its use of the Candu heavy-water reactor.

    --
    Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 09 2015, @01:00AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 09 2015, @01:00AM (#154701)

      You'd better pray that's not true. Our neoliberal Conservative government gave our nuclear program to possibly the most corrupt company in Canada.

      Sort of proving the points above. Next up: Evil Canadian mining companies using nukes on third world native protestors.