The US Coup Was 2016

I am growing very tired of Americans calling violent coups unprecedented in their country.

Hello 1873 and 1874?
Hello 1876?
Hello 1886?
Hello 1889?
Hello 1894?
Hello 1898?
Hello 1919?
Hello 1921?
Hello 1923?
Hello 1933?
Hello 1954?

Ring any bells yet, or is there a feeling of denial?

Many violent coups were perpetrated by white nationalists after civil war who were angry about losing in 1865 and angry that black and brown people gained rights; coups manifested in attacks on anti-racist Americans to prevent them from reaching or holding public office.

The KKK threatened that March 4, 1869 — first day of rule by avowed racist presidential candidate Horatio Seymour — would bring widespread lynchings of white Americans if the losing candidate Seymour wasn’t planted into the White House.

The KKK instead was destroyed by President Grant’s “let us have peace” platform after he won the Presidency in a landslide.

Fast forward a few decades to February 18, 1915 Woodrow Wilson was in the White House and screened the propaganda hate film called “Birth of a Nation” by his friend and former classmate (based on “The Clansman” book), calling its obvious lies “true” and giving it his blessing.

Screen capture from “Birth of a Nation”, which President Wilson used to restart the KKK and incite violence across America

This was a complete reversal from Grant’s “let us have peace” time in office. American cities erupted into fights over bans of a KKK disinformation film. Even if they allowed the spread of disinformation, cities fought over bans meant to prohibit blacks from seeing the film (isolating and enabling white-only audiences to spread disinformation faster).

That is a notable comparison to today by itself, yet even more relevant is a Wilson speech a few months after the film had been running, on July 11, 1915 at the 25th anniversary convention in DC of the Daughters of the American Revolution (“Mothers of Fascism“).

Wilson encapsulated his racist sentiments in a particular motto:

Our whole duty for the present is summed up in the motto ‘America First.’

This was captured by Souza, who wrote a 1916 march to commemorate the speech

Souza’s march “America First” as found in his complete works.

Thus in 1916 Wilson campaigns were branded with “America First” as screenings of “Birth of a Nation” expanded to restart the KKK, blacks were forced out of government and monuments to domestic terrorists were erected around the country kicking off mass murders (“1919 Red Summer“) and coups like the Tulsa 1921 massacre and Rosewood 1923 massacre.

W.E. DuBois at this time, rueful that he had been fooled and helped put a white supremacist in office, described Wilson’s method for transfer of power in America as a return to…

…cruelty, discrimination and wholesale murder.

“America First” entered service as a battle flag of white power groups who believe the enemy of America is any non-white (white power over the nation is diminished — leading to feelings of loss and guilt — by any other race gaining some).

This history of violence, the symbolism and a run of coups in America, should be treated as very important history for every citizen to know.

Perhaps more to the point the “America First” platform has always been a toxic “grievance” signal of white nationalists/isolationists:

It was used by supporters of President Woodrow Wilson during the 1916 election to defend his decision at that time to keep America out of the First World War; by Republican President Warren Harding in the 1920s to reject Wilson’s call for the United States to join the League of Nations; and by the America First Committee in September 1940 opposing President Franklin Roosevelt’s assistance to Britain in the face of Hitler’s aggression. Most recently it was used by presidential candidate and former Nixon aide Pat Buchanan in 1992, opposing George HW Bush’s decision to oust Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, and further calling for a withdrawal of all US troops from Europe.

In 2000 Trump released a statement that he wouldn’t associate with people he considered losers like Pat Buchanan, calling him a Neo-Nazi, while at the same time calling David Duke a Klansman.

…David Duke has decided to join the Reform Party to support the candidacy of Pat Buchanan. So the Reform Party now includes a Klansman, – Mr. Duke, a Neo-Nazi – Mr. Buchanan…

This probably is read most accurately as Trump saying he wouldn’t join with Nazis and KKK when they are going to lose, meaning he would be very glad to join them if guaranteed a win.

Thus in 2016 the Trump family very openly claimed the KKK/Nazi tainted “America First” banner as their platform and their soft/silent coup began.

“I like the expression,” the candidate said. “I’m ‘America First.'”

Source: Me on Twitter in January 2017, providing background to what “America First” always has meant: KKK.

Suddenly, without any real explanation, the banner of losers was being held up by “winners”.

Everyone plainly saw something was unusual in early 2017 and started to debate who supported such an odd transfer of power, who really made it happen.

Unfortunately mainstream commentators never got to the point of asking whether “America First” entering the White House could be a coup, which I called out immediately:

Source: Me on Twitter again warning it was a silent coup when I saw the empty stands and inability of “America First” leadership to gather a crowd in Washington DC. Consider as direct comparison to their success with calls for a violent crowd to arrive on January 6, 2020.

Just to be clear here about my tweet, those “932 national votes” for America First in 1996 went to a candidate named Ralph Forbes who was “former member of the American Nazi Party“.

Forbes was the same man who in the 1988 presidential election had managed the campaign for David Duke (infamous for “Nazification” methods intended to grow KKK membership in America).

Read that closely because “America First” in 1996 ran a self-avowed Nazi as their candidate and had 0% of the vote. Then twenty years later in 2016 they held a parade to empty stands in Washington DC claiming a large support base.

Want to guess why the Trump family regularly waffled when asked to denounce or distance themselves from David Duke? Sadly nobody asked them to denounce or distance themselves from “America First”!

Whereas in 2000 Trump went out of his way to label Duke a loser (as well being as a Klansman), in 2016 he tried to play around like he never heard of the guy (as horribly mis-reported by Politifact, who fell for the ruse).

…Trump dodged multiple questions from Tapper asking if he’d disavow the support of white supremacist and former KKK leader David Duke (he would later blame a “bad earpiece” for his noncommittal answers).

What we’re seeing now is an incompetent violent end of “slow motion, in-plain-sight attempt” at the end of a coup, not the start.

Thus I argue (and have said since that time) that we actually saw a coup in America back in 2016 and these last four years have been little more than an idiotic bumbling attempt by wannabe tinpot dictators to figure out how to close the door on democracy.

The Far Side perhaps a long time ago best illustrated the assault on the capitol:

I’ve been asked to write this into longer form so maybe I will shortly.

Related: If you’re searching for details on prior coups, they are easy to find.

For example, the horrors from a successful 1898 Coup continue to be felt to this day.

…summer of 1865, just after the Civil War, Union commanders in the battered port city of Wilmington, N.C., appointed a former Confederate general as police chief and former Confederate soldiers as policemen. The all-white force immediately set upon newly freed Black people. Men, women and children were beaten, clubbed and whipped indiscriminately… One of the most terrifying examples erupted more than a century ago, when white supremacist soldiers and police helped hunt down and kill at least 60 Black men in Wilmington in 1898.

For another example, Hawaii in 1893 (as I’ve written about here before) had a coup on behalf American sugar barons; violence was used to force a black woman out of power.

Queen Liliuokalani was of the belief that the then president of the U.S. would reinstate her as queen, however, President Grover Cleveland deceived her by promising her a reinstatement after she granted amnesty to all those who had been involved in the coup.

Republican former President George W. Bush even said “This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic—not our democratic republic”.

Yet those “banana republics” got their name as a direct result of American foreign policy on regime change! His comment sounds like “this is what we do to others, not ourselves” given the sad fact it’s why Americans love eating their banana splits.

The “delicious banana split” of America. Tastes like political oppression.

Even Bush should remember 1954 shootings or the 1978 shootings, both very recent and sad chapters in violent opposition to American transfer of power. I guess I should ask how many people today remember “the people’s mayor” Moscone?

And for those saying 2016 or 2020 wasn’t related to a coup, and offering us some very misguided analysis (e.g. Defense One has an awful hot take that they see no signs the military was involved, despite obvious and overwhelming evidence), I offer you this humorous example of what that “no true Scotsman” logical fallacy sounds like to me:


Update January 12: Now This has posted a video collection with some of the many violent incitement statements by Trump directly calling for harm to Americans.

CSIS Brief similarly reported in 2020: “Based on a CSIS data set of terrorist incidents, the most significant threat likely comes from white supremacists… right-wing attackers were most likely to cause more deaths in a given year.”

Source: CSIS 2020 Brief

The Significance of Q in Communications

A very long time ago I was in Chicago meeting with the man who wrote the security system for IBM’s AS400. I asked him “but why a Q” as we discussed the QSECOFR user account (Q Security Officer) used to manage the system.

He said it was a rare letter, denoting something special, and I had no reason to doubt him. This man claimed to have created the system for IBM and chose a Q for the simple reasons he said.

It’s true Q is rare. There’s only one Q tile in Scrabble and it has 10 points assigned (highest possible).

And it’s true such a letter would seem unique and distinctive and therefore sensible for special system communications.

Then many years later I was sitting on a train as the whistle blew several times when a pattern suddenly sounded familiar…

Two longs, a short and a long: – – . – (LLsL)

In international Morse code that signal pattern is the letter… wait for it… Q.

I did some searching and sure enough Union Pacific guideline (PDF) says Q is designated as crossing warning:

5.8.2 [7] Sound: – – o – Indication: When approaching public crossings at grade, with engine in front, sound signal…. Prolong or repeat signal until the engine completely occupies the crossing(s)…

Prolonging the signal until the engine is in the crossing probably explains why a letter would be preferred that ends in long instead of a short. Engineers can just hold the signal open until they’re well positioned.

However, I needed more. So from there I poked around the history of Q-codes in Morse, a list of special communications started around 1909 to facilitate transmissions.

Here’s part of a table of 1912 in a UK government handbook of wireless showing some of the basics (initially just 12 Q codes):

Source: Handbook for wireless telegraph operators working installations licensed by His Majesty’s Postmaster-General : revised in accordance with the Radiotelegraph Convention of London, 1912.

These days on video calls we say “your mute button is on” and “you’re breaking up” but a few decades ago radio operators could use codes like QLF (Q Left Foot) to indicate “try sending with your LEFT foot” and QNB (Q Number Buttons) for “How many buttons does your radio have?”

Amusing of course, yet still no deeper meaning for Q. It did little more than backup the story that IBM had used Q to emphasize uniqueness in system communications.

A book from 1952 called Thudbury however, gave this funny explanation:

I’ve heard that signal started on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy line that everybody calls the ‘Q’ and just spread…

A similar sounding story from geography is found in a history of Britain’s Q fleet (“naval vessels that officially didn’t exist; the mystery ships of World War One”) designed to deceive, trap, and destroy German U-boats:

While in the dockyards, the mystery ships were known under various names, from decoy ships, which gave the game away somewhat, to “Q-ships”, or “S.S. (name)” ships. The “S.S.” in this case stood for “Special Service (Vessel)”. The “Q”, it’s suggested, was because they were operating from Queenstown, now Cobh, in Ireland.

Neither Queenstown for ships nor Quincy for trains are very convincing origin stories. A more likely possibility to me is that use of a Q flag on ships (yellow jack, Quebec) is an old signal meaning “I am ready for boarding” in harbor (a formal request for “free pratique“).

…ships signal either “My vessel is ‘healthy’ and I request free pratique” with a single Q (Quebec) flag or “I require health clearance” with the double signal QQ (Quebec Quebec). Either is correct for a vessel yet to be cleared for pratique (pratique is permission to do business at a port, granted to a ship that has met quarantine or other health regulations). The Q (Quebec) flag is square in shape and pure yellow. Continuing to fly either of these signals indicates a vessel is yet to receive clearance (and is thus effectively in quarantine).

Thus a Q ship in 1914 also could have been a play on words; an invitation to the enemy to come closer and be ambushed.

Further to this point Q also may stand for Quartermaster, the person on ancient ships designated to lead a boarding party to another ship across the aft (quarter deck).

It’s an interesting point to consider how Q for ships meant ready for boarding by local authorities (“effectively in quarantine”) when entering a harbor, yet Q for trains was taken to be the opposite and a warning for everyone to move away from them. Or are those two the same thing?

Some theories on the Internet include bits of Q stands for the Queen Victoria in England and royalty on ships or trains would use a Q to indicate their right of way.

According to W. M. Acworth in The Railways of England, whenever the Queen travelled by train, special precautions were taken. All work along the line was stopped, the points were locked, trains going in the opposite direction were halted and level crossings were closed and guarded.

Here’s another version in video format:

Back in the time when the queen traveled by ship in England, ships with the queen on board would do this sequence on the horn to announce to other ships in the harbour to get out of the way. When the queen switched to railways, the same signal followed and the Engineer
would do the sequence coming into a station to allow some space for Her Majesty.

The problem I have with these royal takes is nothing yet seems to actually support such use for the letter Q (why not use K for King?). And that is not to mention ships and trains seem to have landed on opposite ends with their uses for Q.

Speaking of Queens and right of way, the Q was repurposed recently allegedly by someone with a signals or intelligence background who called themselves “Q Clearance Patriot” in reference to DOE’s Q level of access authorization

The DOE classifications for access come from the end of WWII when a newly created Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was faced with qualifying lots of civilian workers. A book called Advanced Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Operations explains:

Source: Advanced Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Operations, by Robert J Girod, p 23

This is not to be confused with the Army Special Forces Q Course (SFQC) for qualification.

And it now amounts to be a symbol of fascism extensively used by right-wing groups to signal intentions to replace democratic norms of law and order with “permanent improvisation“.

Although maybe one could argue the banner of “Quod Semper Quod Ubique Quod Ab Omnibus” (That will always be taken everywhere by all) is like saying the KKK carried a QQQ message.

A mounted Klansmen in Tennessee holding a flag with the Latin motto ‘Quod Semper Quod Ubique Quod Ab Omnibus’

And maybe that banner today would translate more roughly into the QAnon slogan of “Where we go one we go all”.

The typical KKK “QQQ” patch still sold online

Speaking of Q banners and patches, below you can see an infamous image posted by the White House on their Twitter account showing Florida law enforcement and US Vice President are all smiles around a very prominent red “Q” patch being worn:

Source: White House, as archived by https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pence_posing_with_QAnon_police_crop.jpg and reported by https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2018/12/01/pence-shares-picture-him-meeting-swat-officer-wearing-qanon-conspiracy-patch/

What does he mean by wearing that particular Q?

QAnon’s conspiracy theory is a rebranded version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion… The world has seen QAnon before. It was called Nazism. In QAnon, Nazism wants a comeback.

That man in the image I suppose to be a physical manifestation of someone who wanted to elevate to QSECOFR by applying a fascist Q symbol to himself yet instead “he ‘discredited the agency, the country and himself’” and lost his system privileges.


Update January 11:

I’ve been asked several questions privately about this so I’ll post answers here publicly in case others have the same interest.

1) What about the Q hypothesis of Christianity?

I don’t know but that’s a very interesting twist based on an English Bishop (Herbert Marsh). Q Anon then could be a pun by Christian Party (Nazi) adherents to myths rather than just something to do with alleged authorization in US government. Even if Matthew and Luke were independent yet used a common document, the Q hypothesis is indeed about a secret source for faith.

2) How hard is it to find Q Clearance Patriot?

This begs the question of whether such a person exists, or is an intentional fabrication and myth (see answer above) managed by several people and their associates. It also begs whether the right people are motivated to find any person(s). It’s not that hard to find a person when they make mistakes, and everyone makes mistakes, so the right people just have to be watching to capture and respond to the error.

SolarWinds Breach is the Rule, Not an Exception

A new article about the philosopher Wittgenstein’s passion for reading crime stories has an important insight into both the man and his methods, very applicable to recent breach news:

That a crime has been committed, [The Maltese Falcon author] Hammett knew, does not necessarily mean that a plan has been carried out. Plotting and scheming are things people usually do in response to a crime, not in preparation for one. And since most crimes are not clean in the first place, their solutions probably aren’t either. To search for logic in a murder case is to expect to find what was likely never there.

In other words, as the article continues to describe the genius of Wittgenstein, someone seeing pieces of an attack can lead to an urge to paint a picture that may not even exist.

The philosopher achieves clarity, Wittgenstein [in his later writings] believed, by discarding generalizations and focusing instead on concrete circumstances. […] Just because you have pieces does not mean you have a puzzle. It is enough to describe accurately. Attempting to explain only compounds the confusion.

I have to set aside some of the article (ironically) because it seems to draw conclusions askew from the facts and fails to describe accurately.

For example it brings an overly Western perspective that ignores insights and great similarity between Wittgenstein and Islamic and Jewish philosophers, such as this phrase:

His claim was not that these things don’t exist but merely that words can’t touch them.

The claim by Wittgenstein could have been to inspire beauty through attempts to approach what he saw as impossibly hard to achieve.

To come up short in achieving a connection with God, that is to say, does not mean someone “can’t touch” God unless they become stuck in a binary mode where lack of perfection is failure instead of a proof there is need to try for perfection.

I suspect someone more familiar with Talmudic thinking (Judah versus Joseph) would not have described Wittgenstein as saying “words can’t touch them” in such a cold manner emphasizing only failure.

Indeed, three out of four of his grandparents were Jewish, which would have made things far more difficult for him had his family not claimed to be Catholic and paid large ransoms to the Nazis.

Anyway, I bring these words to light here because it offers a very different approach from what I’m seeing in the news. I mean people like Clarke and other “hawks” seem to suggest the SolarWinds breach is a case of war, when that is not at all what the puzzle pieces of this crime thriller suggest.

As former Bush Administration official Theresa Payton told Fox News, “This vulnerability allowed these nefarious cyber operatives to actually create what we refer to in the industry as ‘God access’ or a ‘God door,’ giving them basically any rights to do anything they want to in stealth mode.”

Ok, ok, stop just a minute. Who says God access or God door? Wat.

We all say got root. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, says “got God” with the intention of talking about privileged system access.

The closest thing has to be a Microsoft control panel shortcut {ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C} that users called God mode, even though it is just a stupid desktop link to the settings a user already is authorized to use.

That’s like saying God mode in your car is when you check the oil using a dipstick.

God doesn’t have an account on systems, and there’s no God mode, since even if you believed in God he wouldn’t need these things. Duh.

What is wrong with Bush Administration people being so nutty that they bring some random God complex into even a computer security topic instead of talking about root and admin or… QSECOFR?

Anyway, back to Clarke doing his usual hawkish Clarke thing:

“This is not just about an espionage attack,” said Richard Clarke. “This is about something called preparation of the battlefield, where they’re now able, in a time of crisis, to eat the software in thousands of U.S. companies.” More than 20 years ago, Clarke was the nation’s first cyber czar, working initially in the Clinton White House and then under George W. Bush. “Sunday Morning” senior correspondent Ted Koppel asked Clarke, “When you hear people talk about this as being purely an intelligence operation, you accept that?” “No, I don’t,” he replied.

Eat the software. Ok since right-wing libertarian venture capitalists infamously said they predict software would be eating the world… does this mean the Russians eating the software would be eating the world?

I’ve heard Russians are starving, but this sounds ridiculous.

Preparation for the battlefield is an interesting twist of language, as that’s surveillance by another name, but the whole eating software concept doesn’t fit a battle narrative.

Clarke then pulls out an old American scare tactic as he clarifies further.

Clarke said, “What has occurred is, again, preparation of the battlefield. There’s not been a lot of damage because of SolarWinds. Maybe some information was stolen, but nothing has been damaged yet.” “Yet!” said Koppel. “But if I didn’t misunderstand what you said before, the Russians are really no more than a few keystrokes away from implementing exactly that kind of damage on, as you put it, thousands of American firms.” “That’s right. And we do not have plans or capability today to quickly come back after that kind of devastating attack,” Clarke said.

A “few keystrokes” takes us all the way back to the “whistle tone” phreaker hysteria of the 414s from the 1980s… as gleefully retold by Kevin Mitnick in his interview with the Russian state propaganda rag.

The government obviously labeled me with these terms, like “terrorist”, and they locked me up in solitary confinement because they said I could whistle into a telephone and launch nuclear weapons. Basically, I became the example, and they created this myth of Kevin Mitnick to scare the public. But if the truth be known, I was fascinated with technology and telephone systems, and I became a hacker more for the exploration, for the seduction of adventure and pursuit of knowledge. I was able to compromise a lot of stuff, like, for example, most of the telephone companies in the U.S. and stuff like that, but it wasn’t to do damage or to sell to a foreign power or anything like that; it was more for my intellectual curiosity – and I ended up getting in a lot of trouble for it, I ended up getting sent to prison for 5 years. Four of those years were without trial.

Four years in jail without trial is the scary part of that story and probably why the Russians like spreading it around so much.

Now in direct comparison, think about Clarke being a self-proclaimed proponent of poisoning upstream American technology in the supply-chain because Russia was stealing. He kinds of tells it like “serves those evil Russians right” that a gas pipeline exploded the in 1980s.

Just to be clear here, I’m not saying that was an actual cause-effect. In fact there has been much disputed about the facts.

What I’m saying is that I stepped into an elevator with Clarke once and asked him to explain the ethical differences between the Trans-Siberian pipeline explosion in June, 1982 and the San Bernadino explosion in 2010 (not the 1989 one, of course).

Seriously, it was me and him riding down four floors and that was the first thing I blurted out…

Clarke was visibly angry and dismissed my question quickly by assuring me he knows very well how the US absolutely was behind the Russian pipeline blowing up, duh.

His logic to me appears blinded from over-emphasis on trying to build a picture he wants us to see rather than looking at the actual pieces of puzzle in our hands (and may in fact never achieve that picture he wants).

He jumps right towards painting the worst risks of gaining high-level authorization, the kind of slippery leap which has some pretty big negative precedents in national security games domestically and internationally.

If someone has achieved root access, he suggests to us, then direct preparation for war is happening if not becoming an act itself. That’s wrong on the face of it, right?

Clarke pushes a war alarm repeatedly like he’s auditioning for a remake of Dr. Strangelove.

This whole thing is counter-factual when you apply even a simple case of a house and door with a key. Someone has infiltrated the lock factory, such that they can produce a key and walk through your home without you knowing. Nothing is damaged, nothing is destroyed.

Interesting history tangent here: A mole in the CIA was suspected when a lock in a Russian apartment door was turned and the owner had to break into his own place…

As soon as Gordievsky landed in Moscow, he picked up signs that he had gambled wrong. On the front door of his apartment, someone had locked a third lock he never used because he had lost the key; he had to break in. Clearly the KGB had searched his flat.

Did the intruders put a secret door in, or a hidden way to bypass your locks, so they could come back later and burn your place down, or prevent you from getting in (e.g. ransomware)?

Was the act of entering and achieving high authorization the same as one of war?

Reminder: “slippery slope” is a logical fallacy. Please don’t start arguments by saying there’s a slippery slope as it’s self-invalidating. I hate seeing that. People seem to think it makes their argument better, like starting with “here’s a straw man I built and now am going to burn.” Just stop that.

I don’t think anyone can, or has, proven yet such regularly invasive acts of surveillance rise above espionage into far worse things, given all that has been said so far about the SolarWinds Breach details.

At best they’re saying the places entered are untrustworthy and must be rebuilt, something less like Stuxnet (which did actual damage), and more like… well more like every day business continuity planning.

To put it another way, the capability to rebuild the environment is desperately needed right now to restore trust, and the US government was supposedly ensuring that everyone is doing disaster recovery planning.

The environment is untrusted mainly because it isn’t being rebuilt fast or often enough.

It would be like describing Pearl Harbor as a disaster because it was a fly-over event in preparation of bombing, instead describing the actual bombing. Pearl Harbor was the day of dropping bombs and shooting that crossed the line, right?

To be historically accurate (as I’ve blogged about here before), Pearl Harbor’s incoming attack planes were detected by the latest technology but nobody talking about Pearl Harbor is really talking about that part much.

At best people call all the ignored radar signals and missed footsteps very unfortunate, not unexpected.

And so here comes the real issue as documented already by many other security experts: the US is using surveillance and espionage all the time including (sometimes necessarily) privilege escalation and root-level authority in order to protect itself (not necessarily preparing the battlefield for attack).

Both of the above references are well-reasoned analysis worth reading.

Saying SolarWinds is breached also begs the uncomfortable question of whether the US already had secret access into SolarWinds (let alone all the other American “monitoring” and database companies) or will now use the same access for its own purposes.

More broadly, cleaning upstream vulnerabilities from dependencies and getting service and support doors (some call them back doors) out of products is a long-time herculean task in security for American technology, which may be impeded by American surveillance efforts, and not some sudden exceptional state we stumbled upon.

It is the stuff of repeated internal warnings, like Facebook being a disaster in 2014 and then hiring someone manifestly unqualified who then caused even greater harms to the world and got rich doing it.

Nothing here is really surprising except how little emphasis has been on tearing things down (Facebook really should no longer be allowed to do business and their disgraced ex-CSO should be in jail). Focus needs to shift to building better than such existing Fawlty Towers.

Like the industrialization dangers we look back on with horror today, SolarWinds being a danger is the norm for a lot of American tech that jumps into shortcuts and margin boosters in a cut-throat race driven by mathematicians counting beans more than philosophers explaining why they just don’t add up.

Microsoft’s founder famously said he didn’t want security because it didn’t make him money and admitted in 2001 he ignored years of prior warnings (getting towards the true foundation of the SolarWinds breach, Microsoft’s anti-government big margin low quality pedigree).

“In the pre-2001 days [when disasters were constant, yet not named things like CodeRed], Gates was the biggest reason why Microsoft was having so many security problems,” said John Pescatore an analyst at Gartner Inc…”I think they expected an overnight shift in terms of perception [when they suddenly confessed to decades of intentional harms]. It didn’t happen,” [Forrester analyst] Kark said. “It’s been more than six years, and it’s only now that we are starting to see Microsoft being recognized as a company that values and understands and is responding to security issues.”

The Grover Shoe Factory disaster is a great comparable study in how badly America managed safety in its manufacturing processes for industrialization, and what really changed afterwards.

Hint: it was not only the ability to more quickly transition off faulty technology, found during required quality audits, it also was partly the ability to remove, restore or build new a bigger factory after any disaster predicted or experienced.

Back to Clarke, he also says something about the past worth holding onto: a Bush administration in 2002 blocked efforts to fix infrastructure because it was opposed to big government and fundamentally removed trust in government.

“The kind of things that we need to do now, we could have done 20 years ago. Twenty years ago, however, there wasn’t a real understanding in the Congress or in the White House. There wasn’t a willingness to spend the kind of resources. People were worried about privacy concerns and ‘Big Brother’ controls. They didn’t trust the government to defend them against this sort of thing.”

It resonates with what I remember at the time, when I was doing assessments of woefully insecure American infrastructure (across many US states thousands of power company routers on the Internet using telnet and clear-text scripts). Raising security issues to government level in the late 1990s was met with “let the big banks figure it out, they run the power companies and understand business risk best”.

So this really seems like a great time to remember how the Bush administration absolutely was willing to spend huge resources for big government to start war with Iraq on false pretenses. They pushed hard for that picture, against the fact that puzzle pieces didn’t fit together.

Yet also they ran with the narrative that resources shouldn’t be spent to improve infrastructure/resilience because that would be big government. Instead let the “market” prove it can’t self-regulate, over and over and over again.

American tech is like a never-ending crime thriller, so the really insightful question — in terms of Wittgenstein’s brilliance — becomes whether as investigators we are choosing to be a lofty British Sherlock laying out masterful plans or the more tangible American hard-boiled detective who sticks to the facts.

Deepfakes are Literally Security Theater

Source: Mashable “The bizarre world of Queen Elizabeth impersonators… LONDON — It’s tough making a living as a Queen Elizabeth impersonator. Not only do you have to master the dress, the wave and the pursed lips, but you also get thrown into endless ridiculous scenarios.”

Have you been to a theater lately? Probably not because of the pandemic, but if you remember when we all used to go (including movie theaters, of course) we would watch performance art and… like it (assuming it was well done and believable, of course).

However, I sure see a lot of people getting very upset about something they call Deepfakes.

Source: The Sun, which you definitely should trust.

Why is there such a disconnect between all the people paying money and spending time to be entertained by the performing arts (the act of information deception) and the people decrying our future will be ruined by Deepfakes (the act of information deception)?

I call this the chasm of information security, which I’ve been sounding the alarm on here and in my presentations around the world since at least 2012. It is the foundation of my new book, which I started writing at that time and has expanded greatly from just a warning call to tangible solutions.

We are long past the time when security professionals should have been talking about the dangers and controls of integrity risks. It is evidence of failure that people can both be entertained by information deception without any worry on one hand and on the other hand decry it as a dangerous future if we allow it to continue.

Is the court jester the end of the kingdom? Obviously not. Is the satirist or political comedian the end of the future? Obviously not.

When an actor changes their voice is it more or less concerning than when they change their appearance to look like the person they are attempting to represent accurately?

Watching a Deepfake for me is like going to the theater or watching a movie and I fear it very little, perhaps because I study intensely all the ways we can protect ourselves against willful harm.

Integrity is a problem, a HUGE problem. Yet let me ask instead why are people so worried that performance art, let alone all art, is being artistic?

A headline like this one is not concerning for me any more than usual:

A college kid’s fake, AI-generated blog fooled tens of thousands. This is how he made it.

“It was super easy actually,” he says, “which was the scary part.”

Yes, a college kid’s fake blog is called Wikipedia. Lots of people with free time on their hands generate fake content there and fool millions. This should not surprise anyone. Using technology to generate the content makes it faster and easier, sure, but it’s not far from the original problem.

The bigger problem is that people don’t often enough describe GPT-3 as a fire-spewing dumpster fire that was created without any sense of fire suppression. It’s a disaster.

Philosophers know this. They write academic papers about the kind of obvious classes of vulnerabilities that engineers should have been modeling from day one if not earlier. Here’s a good example of the kind of thing every security team needs to stick in their quiver:

Source: “Recommender systems and their ethical challenges”, Silvia Milano, Mariarosaria Taddeo & Luciano Floridi. AI and Society (4):957-967 (2020)

When I was in Japan trying to solve for information system risks I couldn’t raise insider attacks using the old and usual talking points because everyone there told me dryly that no such thing existed.

Their culture was explained to me as deeply ingrained trust and honor systems such that they confidently believed they could detect any deviations (and hard to argue given how they marched into the room and sat by rank and respect from middle to end of the table, only spoke when allowed).

So instead I watched a history documentary about how Osaka castles had been destroyed by invaders and the next meeting I brought up the dangers of fakes and imposters, deceptive identities inside their organization.

This hit a big nerve.

Suddenly everyone was waving money at me saying take it and help them protect against such imminent dangers. Why was a deep fake so motivating?

It is a massive failing of the security industry how people worry about data integrity and feel afraid like they have no tangible answers, yet they surround themselves with art all day every day and “like” it.

We may in fact have the answers to this failing, and right in front of us.

Again, that’s the chasm of information security today. I hope to explain in great detail what needs to be done about this fear of theater, in my upcoming book.

Kahneman Himself Clarifies Thinking Systems 1 and 2

Sometimes I am asked to review or explain a framework of thinking systems in terms of a very popular book by Nobel laureate and father of behavioral economics, Daniel Kahneman.

…human reason left to its own devices is apt to engage in a number of fallacies and systematic errors, so if we want to make better decisions in our personal lives and as a society, we ought to be aware of these biases and seek workarounds.

I suppose this comes up most when I describe the same things in many of my presentations, such as my last one given at RSAC:

RSAC SF 2020 Presentation on AI

My point usually has been that veterinarian science used this duality in thinking to solve Rinderpest (as I wrote here in 2010, a year before Kahneman’s very famous best-selling book was published).

And my point in describing the dual-system that solved Rinderpest, for such a huge accomplishment as ending a disease, has been that our security community maybe could do similar things to solve for integrity attacks on information systems. You say we have a problem with disinformation campaigns and I’ll say I have a possible solution!

Kahneman himself just gave a brief three minute presentation the other day in an “AI Debate”. He quickly starts off by admitting

…they’re not my idea but I wrote a book to describe them.

He then goes on to say his understanding of system one is that “things happen to you, you don’t do them”, calling them automatic and parallelized, whereas system two is “something you do” and serialized… all of which seems very consistent with my slides.

Again for clarity:
System 1) things that happen to you
System 2) things that you do

This is not only consistent with what I studied before his book was published, the split is of course NOT my idea either, as I’ve always said.

I have been writing a book to describe them, but it has been for the purposes of improving safety in engineering practices.

What is most interesting in his presentation is while he tells us that system one is “our world” it’s probably more accurate to say (by his own admission) that in system one we are seeing shadows on Plato’s cave wall, not the strings we pull.

The Death of Double-Agent George Blake

Few remember how America’s 31 May 1951 OPERATION STRANGLE in the Korean War…

…dropped 600K tons of bombs on DPRK and 2 million civilians perished. It had reverse effect of expected and cauterized resistance.

However, one person who definitely remembered was double-agent for the Soviet Union George Blake, one of the most well-known yet least connected stories to such “cauterized resistance”.

Blake emphasized to the press…

…that he decided to switch sides after seeing civilians massacred by the “American military machine.” “I realized back then that such conflicts are deadly dangerous for the entire humankind and made the most important decision in my life – to cooperate with Soviet intelligence voluntarily and for free to help protect peace in the world”.

Here’s another version of events:

…despatched to Seoul in 1950, to set up an anti-Soviet operation on Moscow’s eastern flank…the North Koreans invaded the South and Blake, like many other western diplomats, was interned – and during his three-year period of captivity he changed sides. George Blake was no “Manchurian Candidate”, tortured and brainwashed into working for the communists while a prisoner of war. it was, he insisted, the spectacle of a helpless civilian population being attacked by mighty US bombers that had changed his world-view: “It made me feel ashamed of belonging to these overpowering, technically superior countries fighting against what seemed to me quite defenceless people.” He quietly informed his KGB captors that he was ready to work for them. In 1953, Blake and his fellow detainees were at last released and he returned to London as an SIS hero.

This UK “hero” was then caught spying for the Soviets (due to a Polish intelligence officer).

The suspected spy was unmasked by a tip from a defecting Polish intelligence officer who told the CIA that two Soviet agents were operating in Britain, one at a royal navy research centre, the other in SIS. They were codenamed Lambda-1 and Lambda-2. Quickly, Lambda-1 was identified as Harry Houghton, but it was months before Blake, then on temporary assignment in Lebanon to learn Arabic, became the prime suspect for Lambda-2.

He confessed and pleaded guilty, was sentenced to a long jail term but soon escaped (with the help of Irish inmates perhaps enamored with Soviet life) from “maximum security” to the open arms of Russia where he continued to intentionally put hundreds of people in harms way.

Dozens are alleged to have been executed in Russia from his actions, and he denied responsibility for their lives while simultaneously taking credit and awards.

He has just died aged 98, feted by Russia.

Goebbels Never Said THAT!

Did you know Nazi minister of propaganda Goebbels, one of Hitlers closest men, said “The truth will always win”?

There’s been a problem on the Internet for a long time, as we all know, that data integrity gets ignored by security professionals. Cliff “Cuckoo Egg” Stoll in 1995 infamously warned us about this in “Why the Web Won’t Be Nirvana“, which everyone has basically ignored.

Sure people work on availability (howabout them nines!) and of course after 2003 the boom of documented huge privacy breaches have been lighting up news headlines and even board-level radar screens.

But — and it’s a very BIG but — integrity largely has been ignored.

People now repeatedly and freely post quotes and attributions that simply were never said, or fake pictures that were never taken (as I made light of several times here).

Yet show me a security team prepared and ready to do a correction on data and deal with sources disputing veracity. It was some kind of major problem to get Facebook to post warnings and moderate speech after how many years of obvious safety harms including atrocity crimes?

So what did Goebbels really say?

This is a natural environment for the historian. Which source to trust, what really happened and was said? That’s the heart of the mission for any historian.

Now bring the typical security professional into such a fray and it’s like having a deer in headlights.

I’ve given talks about this disconnect in our industry for decades now. In several cases I’ve made light of how easy it is for security professionals to use low integrity themselves while talking about the importance of privacy.

The over-specialization in security actually has led to an even greater problem (e.g. integrity flaw risk increases dramatically as transparency decreases) few are willing to talk about either.

If you hear a CISO press 100% into encryption and not at all into issues of keeping data safe behind a lock and key, where they throw away the key, hold up one minute and think about what you’re doing.

Anyway, one good example is how Goebbels somehow has been attributed with saying “Truth is the enemy of the state” when in fact he said the opposite. No, seriously, Goebbels was a huge proponent of telling the truth.

Robert Khoury’s 1982 “The Sociology of the Offbeat” had a good way of describing it on page 337:

Goebbels’ moral position in the diary was straightforward: he told the truth, his enemies told lies. Actually the question for him was one of expediency and not morality. Truth, he thought, should be used as frequently as possible; otherwise the enemy or the facts themselves might expose falsehood, and the credibility of his own output would suffer. Germans, he also stated, had grown more sophisticated since 1914: they could “read between the lines” and hence could not be easily deceived.

Thus we can easily see Goebbels’ actual words in 1941 were that truth wins and the use of lies — such as what he observed the Allies to use — are stupid and will lose:

The astonishing thing is that Mr. Churchill, a genuine John Bull, holds to his lies, and in fact repeats them until he himself believes them.

Compare the truth of what Goebbels said to the German Propaganda Archive list of false Nazi Quotations, where the most popular forgery of all time is this one:

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.

Goebbels never said THAT.

What Goebbels believed in, just to be clear, is “the ultimate victory of the truth” as documented by German professor of history Peter Longerich in his 2014 biography.

Source: “Goebbels : a biography” by Peter Longerich, New York: Random House, 2014.

Goebbels said THAT, and good luck getting take downs or corrections filed on all the pages to correct the record. Will the truth really win?

And speaking of Internet activism, guess who has been spreading Goebbels’ saying that truth will always win?

Yup. WikiLeaks has a Nazi propaganda minister reference as their byline. Ok, to be fair, a lot of people say this across the spectrum. Just imagine for a minute that Goebbels’ saying was correctly cited and known.

I mean imagine a future world (it may in fact be coming soon) where security professionals are working on how best to wade into this problem of integrity flaws. Too many have been acting for too long like the risk of Nazis deploying harms is some kind of new thing or outside their expertise or domain…

Hitler was photographed with his Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, and yet someone painstakingly removed the latter from the image.

Did Shannon Alone Invent Our Future?

There’s an important bit of knowledge buried in an interesting new article about the history of modern communication:

A portmanteau of “binary digit,” a bit could be either a 1 or a 0, and Shannon’s paper is the first to use the word (though he said the mathematician John Tukey used it in a memo first).

Shannon clearly is reporting working around others and sharing attribution. However, the author of the article starts it off by rather ironically making a narrative of wide communication about a single person:

Mathematics searches for new theorems to build upon the old. Engineering builds systems to solve human needs. The three disciplines are interdependent but distinct. Very rarely does one individual simultaneously make central contributions to all three — but Claude Shannon was a rare individual. …more than 70 years ago, in a single groundbreaking paper, he laid the foundation for the entire communication infrastructure underlying the modern information age.

It reads to me as though the person trying to get us to celebrate importance of communication links being simplified and standardized (to bridge any and all individuals together) at the same time is trying to create a super-human myth.

Was Shannon rare, or was he just the natural progression in an old and well-known theory that groups achieve more by working together and being humble about the steps made?

Take for example this analysis:

His theorems led to some counterintuitive conclusions. Suppose you are talking in a very noisy place. What’s the best way of making sure your message gets through? Maybe repeating it many times? That’s certainly anyone’s first instinct in a loud restaurant, but it turns out that’s not very efficient. Sure, the more times you repeat yourself, the more reliable the communication is. But you’ve sacrificed speed for reliability. Shannon showed us we can do far better.

Sorry but I don’t know anyone who thinks repeating the same message in a noisy place is the first instinct, nor that it makes communication more reliable. The opposite, in fact, I know people who hate repeating messages and wisely give up quickly after just one or two attempts fail.

What if his conclusions were more reflections of reality? What if his big contribution was to make acceptable/formal the things already known and practiced, yet codifying it in a way most easily digested by the communities he served?

And most importantly, perhaps, what if he thought the lack of fame and outsized reward for his work isn’t such a bad thing at all? As the founder of the Internet precursor ALOHAnet purportedly once said “I was too busy surfing to worry about that stuff”.

Another example is my earlier post on attempts to pin down a single inventor of the Roland-808.

Note how this plays out in a 2013 article about the commonality of humans combining things together, just like Shannon:

Alive and awake to the world, we amass a collection of cross-disciplinary building blocks — knowledge, memories, bits of information, sparks of inspiration, and other existing ideas — that we then combine and recombine, mostly unconsciously, into something “new.” From this vast and cross-disciplinary mental pool of resources beckons the infrastructure of what we call our “own” “original” ideas. The notion, of course, is not new — some of history’s greatest minds across art, science, poetry, and cinema have articulated it, directly or indirectly, in one form or another: Arthur Koestler’s famous theory of “bisociation” explained creativity through the combination of elements that don’t ordinarily belong together; graphic designer Paula Scher likens creativity to a slot machine that aligns the seemingly random jumble of stuff in our heads into a suddenly miraculous combination; T. S. Eliot believed that the poet’s mind incubates fragmentary thoughts into beautiful ideas; the great Stephen Jay Gould maintained that connecting the seemingly unconnected is the secret of genius; Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press embodied this combinatorial creativity; even what we call “intuition” is based on the unconscious application of this very mental faculty.

Of course some cultures still can’t resist trying to focus credit onto one person so that 2013 article also tries to make it seem like Einstein’s version was best:

The concept, in fact, was perhaps best explained by Albert Einstein, who termed it “combinatory play.” (Einstein famously came up with some of his best scientific ideas during his violin breaks.)

To be fair that’s giving credit to Einstein for working so hard at combinatory play that he can explain it well to others.

For a different take on credit and combinatory play as innovation, perhaps take into consideration how an ancient African culture was so successful for hundreds of thousands of years.

When a young man kills much meat, he comes to think of himself as a chief or a big man – and thinks of the rest of us as his servants or inferiors. We can’t accept this … so we always speak of his meat as worthless. This way, we cool his heart and make him gentle.

In other words a young hunter killing big meat would face insults when they presented it to those who would be eating it. Major credit instead went towards the almost random person who delivered the arrow (hunters swap arrows before the hunt), for example.

Leisure and innovation were prized, not infinite aggressive aspiration. Centralized credit was not favored given inter-communication and collaboration.

Some psychologists now call the selfish attributes a function of being disrupted, such that technology may create a domain shift that manifests in “a new selfishness, and ultimately to hierarchical societies, patriarchy and warfare”.

Are Coders Poets?

Everyone at some point reaches the obvious conclusion that putting keyboard to screen (pen to paper, brush to parchment, chisel to wood and marble, etc) is very similar across disciplines.

For example, a fresh long article asks us whether coders are similar to poets:

I considered that, despite their difference in earnings, poets and coders followed similar processes in their work, playing with images and symbols to make something happen.

The problem in this article is that “make something happen” is a false equivalence.

That’s like asking is a graphic designer on contract is making something the same as an unconstrained artist.

Both are making something happen, yet one is tasked with a particular outcome on a particular schedule for someone else and the other can make whatever they like.

Does that difference in inherited versus controlled outcomes matter?

Of course! Who is that “something” for?

Unfortunately it is summarized in this fresh article by a poet using a manner that misrepresents both poets and coders:

Poets aspire to use language to uncover intention and surprise, both secrets and revelation. Code, on the other hand, sticks to the program, arriving at a predicted end no matter what innovations have led there.

Consider that early in one’s learning phase the student sticks to the program… and only later after mastering the predicted end (meeting a teacher’s lesson plan, like hitting a product manager’s backlog target) do both advanced poets and coders use their language to uncover secrets and revelation.

This adherence to a plan is somewhat of a contradiction, I realize, to the famous writings by H.P. Lovecraft and his statement:

Our amateurs write purely for love of their art, without the stultifying influence of commercialism.

Amateurs are not so pure, it can be said, hopefully for obvious reasons. Lovecraft seems to have underestimated modern commercialism. Some may choose to be poets or coders because they see others being successful and seek similar ends, whether it be for social entry, influence, money, etc..

Consider also that inherited systems imply someone can be judged right and wrong, whereas controlled systems can never be wrong. Big differences between people operating in one versus the other, whether coders or poets.

Support for Trump is the KKK’s Lost Cause

The Lost Cause” is the odd phrasing of white nationalists who believe they should still be allowed to continue their mission of slavery and genocide in America, yet don’t want to say so obviously.

The Cult of the Lost Cause had its roots in the Southern search for justification and the need to find a substitute for victory in the Civil War. […] The propaganda the Lost Cause adherents were peddling was not only benign myth, it was a lie that distorted history, sought to rationalize lynching, and created a second class of citizenship for African-Americans.

Losers writing history need a “substitute for victory”.

Hate groups can’t just come out and say they believe in racist violence — without facing massive opposition and ridicule — so instead they fight unfairly by cooking up complex victimization conspiracies painting themselves as victims; they falsely narrate “law and order” claims and give complex plot twists that demand America be run only by “their” man (Trump).

Psychologists suggest not everyone is equal who believes in conspiracies, as some are affected more by closed mindedness than others:

…psychology research has shown greater degrees of certain cognitive quirks among those who believe in conspiracy theories—like need for uniqueness; needs for certainty, closure, and control; and lack of analytical thinking. But the best predictor of conspiracy theory belief may be mistrust, and more specifically, mistrust of authoritative sources of information.

Certainty and control seems like when President Nixon was aiming for when he used phrases “War on Drugs“, “Interstate Highway System” and “Urban Renewal” instead of saying he planned to start an endless race war (which historians since have clearly documented if you follow the links I just provided).

This goes back even earlier in America. When white supremacists in the 1900s sought to murder someone they didn’t say so overtly and instead framed it with possession of an “illegal” substance to cook a “legality” of racism:

The Oregon chapter began when the Klan salesman, Luther Powell, arrived from California looking for new recruits. He sized up the state of affairs in Oregon and decided he would make the lax enforcement of prohibition his first issue. Anti-Catholicism would later prove more productive, but for Powell’s first organizational meeting the prohibition issue was good for 100 new Klansmen, including lots of policemen.

This is the background to those believing a complex series of “unfair” events are “evidence” that a democratic election was won by their unpopular white supremacist leader, despite incontrovertible the proof to the contrary:

…appeal of this conspiracy theory to racists isn’t subtle. It’s a way to deny the legitimacy of Black voters without coming right out and saying it. This isn’t just a conspiracy theory about Trump’s fragile ego. It speaks directly to long-standing right-wing fury at minority voting rights. Historian Jeffrey Herf notes another historical precedent at play, comparing Trump’s conspiracy theory to the ones that rose up in Germany between the first and second world wars…

You might have also noticed that both Woodrow Wilson and Trump ran campaigns of “America First”, which is no coincidence. “The Lost Cause” was a KKK political platform that manifested under “America First” banner of Wilson. Today it represented basically the same platform (remove blacks from government, create a nation ruled by white men only).

Ten U.S. Army bases are still named in honor of Confederate generals. Donald Trump has strenuously resisted any effort to rename these bases, saying that they are “part of a great American heritage.” But what heritage are they commemorating exactly?

Naming these bases was one of the crowning achievements of those who sought to perpetuate the Lost Cause. A revisionist history that gained popularity in the 1890s, the Lost Cause recast the Confederacy’s humiliating defeat in a treasonous war for slavery as the embodiment of the Framers’ true vision for America. Supporters pushed the ideas that the Civil War was not actually about slavery; that Robert E. Lee was a brilliant general, gentleman, and patriot; and that the Ku Klux Klan had rescued the heritage of the old South, what came to be known as “the southern way of life.”

A principal goal of the Lost Cause was to reintegrate Confederate soldiers into the honorable traditions of the very American military they had once fought against. Members of the Lost Cause movement had lobbied to have newly built military bases named after Confederate generals several times without success. But during Woodrow Wilson’s second term as president, they found a more hospitable reception. Thanks to Wilson, the Lost Cause ideology came fully into the mainstream, reaching the apex of its influence as America entered the First World War.

In other words, immediately removing Confederate general names from Army bases would help stop this madness of the white nationalists in America and their Lost Cause revisionism.

Hopefully someone like the American hero Silas Soule would have his name on a base instead, as I find few seem to have heard of him despite his amazing life and service to his country.

At this day and age it should not be hard to argue that slavery and genocide are wrong, yet the Trump family are a symptom of Americans who think of ways to bring them back… (how many Americans have died from COVID19 and was it not an act of genocide?).

Assistant Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases); Associate (Adjunct) Professor of Law, Yale Law School; Co-Director, Global Health Justice Partnership; Co-Director, Collaboration for Research Integrity and Transparency

Those Americans of the Lost Cause ilk who long for a return to their causes of slavery and genocide are now peddling conspiracy theories as their political ticket back to power.

A Frederick Douglas May 30, 1871 speech comes to mind, eloquently destroying the “Lost Cause” as the wrong side, in opposition to the Right Cause.

But we are not here to applaud manly courage, save as it has been displayed in a noble cause. We must never forget that victory to the rebellion meant death to the republic. We must never forget that the loyal soldiers who rest beneath this sod flung themselves between the nation and the nation’s destroyers. If today we have a country not boiling in an agony of blood, like France, if now we have a united country, no longer cursed by the hell-black system of human bondage, if the American name is no longer a by-word and a hissing to a mocking earth, if the star-spangled banner floats only over free American citizens in every quarter of the land, and our country has before it a long and glorious career of justice, liberty, and civilization, we are indebted to the unselfish devotion of the noble army who rest in these honored graves all around us.

And also let’s not forget when the Senate voted unanimously to simply expel its members who joined a pro-slavery rebellion against it.

January 10, 1862, the Senate voted unanimously to expel Missouri’s two senators, Waldo Johnson and Trusten Polk, for “sympathy with and participation in the rebellion against the Government of the United States.”

the poetry of information security