Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Bomb and The Bug

Let's say for a second the false flag theory of 9/11 is true. I'm not going to discuss this in the article (or bother debating it in the comments, if anyone's so inclined), as there are much better places for that.

It would imply the reason there's been no terrorist attack on American soil in the past six years is nothing to do with better security and everything to do with the fact that the government sees no need for another. The anger/fear reaction elicited by 9/11 were sufficient to get the war they wanted, and if we're lucky they're happy with that.

If their ambitions go deeper, though....

9/11 worked once. There's no reason another, similar attack couldn't work just as well. Just knocking down a building with a plane or a bomb wouldn't be sufficient, though; there are security measures already in place against that (so maniacally and rigidly focused on preventing that kind of attack, so useless for preventing any other.) And besides, now that the war's going it'll probably keep going forever, or at least as long as it keep paying for itself (see this post by John Robb at Global Guerrillas, Unleashing the Dogs of War.)

Maybe the ultimate plan is to complete the short-circuiting of democracy in America. Of course, for that you'd need something much scarier than a plane flying into a building. If you want to get something like, say, nation-wide martial law you'd need a really serious emergency or a really massive shock. I see two ways to go about this: either a Bomb or a Bug. Lets take a closer look at these two scenarios.

1. The Bomb, or "Shit, what happened to Springfield?"

If Americans woke up one day to hear that a city had been nuked out of existence, that tens of thousands of people were dead, with hundreds of thousands more on the way due to the radiation, their first reaction would be that someone, somewhere would pay.

There's an easy way, I think, to tell if the nuke is planted by the government or by al Qaeda. If the latter, they'll pick a target like LA or New York, one that'll maximize the economic damage, and kill the largest number of people. If the former, a smaller city will be picked, one that the US will be able to live without, wounded and angry. Let's call the city Springfield, an everytown that can be plucked out of existence without the economy noticing.

Where did the nuke come from? Oh, that's simple enough. Iran, Pakistan, the Soviet Union. If it's one of the first two there will be nuclear retaliation, and everything east of Iraq and west of India will be radioactive waste. If the latter - a plausible source for the device, as their poor security and corrupt officialdom of the 90s (not that they're so much better now) means that any number of their nukes might have leaked out onto the market - then while terrorists will be blamed for detonating it their countries might possibly escape total culpability in the eyes of the American people, and thus be spared a nuclear revenge that would be history's greatest genocide.

They would not, however, be spared bloodshed. The conventional war would most likely escalate greatly (aided by a large expansion in the robotics industry), with the aim not so much of conquering the Middle East, but of militarizing US society as thoroughly as possible. A militarized society, after all - especially one still in shock - is more accepting of public regimentation, and of the steady erosion and eventually total loss of their freedom.

2. The Bug

The outbreak hits a major city somewhere, and is suppressed with only a few thousand people dying (conversely, it wipes out a Springfield). Almost as soon as it hits the entire city is put under quarantine: anyone not involved in medical or security services is advised to remain at home, until further notice. Quickly suppressed outbreaks occur in a few other cities, claiming several hundred more lives, and other outbreaks occur in a few other countries around the world (likely claiming many more.)

The Quarantine would have to last for a few weeks to be effective, and in that time martial law could be slipped into place. All manner of restrictions on travel could be justified afterwards, in order to prevent any further outbreaks from taking place.

I could see the Quarantine become something very extreme. Restrictions on travel could mean that most office jobs converted to telecommuting, just to avoid the hassle of checkpoints. The fear of getting sick would motivate people to spend a lot of time at home, and the technology industry would be thrilled to play the enabler. In the long run, people could buy robots so they didn't actually have to leave their houses to perform errands.

There's a great advantage to that kind of situation for a tyranny. If you always know where everyone is, it's much easier to keep very close track of what they're doing. They could have all the free speech they wanted and it wouldn't mean a damn, for they'd all be under voluntary house arrest.

Which method is used is largely irrelevant. Both could be accomplished with relatively small teams; both would make fear pervasive to a degree we can't imagine today; both would thus, in short order, lead to autocracy of one kind or another. The forms need not be changed. There would still be a President, a Congress, Supreme Courts and a Constitution that they all pretended to love while ignoring utterly. But their grip on power would be absolute, insulated utterly from the will of the people they purport to serve and in fact rule with an iron fist.

Another thing they have in common is the Springfield factor. A real attack, either nuclear or biological, would claim not tens but hundreds of thousands of lives. It would target a large, dense city, and the economic damage would bring America to it's knees, wiping it out as a dominant world power. I'm betting that any cabal that merely wants to solidify their power over America also wants to preserve America's power as much as possible, and will thus avoid anything that causes real structural harm.

But hey, I could be wrong about that, in which case we're really in shit.

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