landing craft of US Navy Amphibious Construction Battalion One storms
towards the shores of Bhopal.Net
BATTLE HONOURS of the US Navy's crack Amphibious Construction Battalion
One (PHIBCB1) include Korea, Vietnam and Kuwait. "We still
like to maintain that 'Fightin' Seabee' image," says its Operations
Officer, Lt. Cmdr. George Suther USN. PHIBCB1 was the first Seabee
unit ashore in Vietnam, seeing action at Chu Lai, Da Nang, Hue,
and Cua Viet. In August 1990, during the build-up to Operation Desert
Shield, the Battalion -- following a gung-ho John Wayne tradition
that dates from its early days hacking airstrips out of jungle --
was the first Naval Construction Force unit into Saudi Arabia.
The Battalion operates on a 48 hour ready-for-aggro-anywhere-anytime
standby. It was catapulted back to the Persian Gulf in August 1994
"due to the threat of resurgence of Iraqi aggression"
and stayed two months. Clearly this was not long enough to frazzle
Saddam's nerves because in August 1995, once again "due to
the threat of resurgence of Iraqi aggression" it was back in
the Gulf where this time it remained more than a year.
In August 2002, the Seabees made landfall on Bhopal.Net.
But what on earth were they doing here?
"We provide a service and that service is to and for the Marines,"
explains Lt. Cmdr. Suther. "We are the second unit to hit the
beach, right after the Marine Expeditionary Unit."
Right. So we checked our website statistics and, sure enough, there
they were -- the US Marines. They'd already landed. And not just
the Marines, but the US Army Corps of Engineers, Wright Patterson
Air Force Base, Yokota Air Base, Forts Rucker and Hood, the US Army
Research Laboratory, the US Naval Research Laboratory, the Naval
Surface Warfare Center, the National Imaging and Mapping Center,
the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, SBCCOM, even the US Coastguard.
It would be gratifying to think that all these warfighters (as they
now seem to be called) have a lively interest in the campaign for
justice of the gas-survivors of Bhopal, but this seems just a tad
unlikely. Try as we may we cannot imagine the boys of III Corps
parading round Fort Hood presenting brooms chanting "Jhadoo
Maro Dow Ko" (if this baffles you, scroll down for our previous
story). For one thing they're too busy. Arent they supposed
to be concentrating on Mr Hussein and his merry band of pranksters?
So why are they here? It can't be, can it, that they think we pose
a threat to US national security? Even if we wished to ward off
this combined invasion by the air, land and sea forces of the worlds
most powerful nation, the only weapons we could muster are an old,
leaky fountain-pen and an over-worked teapot.
But we don't wish to repel them. We would like to invite them all
for chai and samosas. Then we could politely ask them
if there is something they would like to discuss.
TWO - "AMERICA'S HAMMER" AND A TOP SECRET INTERNET GATEWAY
AUGUST 2002 Bhopal.Net had more than 100 visits from
US military domains. Nearly three a day. The strong interest continued
through September, with 188 visits. What did these guests want?
What were they looking for?
the usual porn stuff
IN A STORY ABOUT BHOPAL.NET published on 30
September 2002, Bhopal's leading English language newspaper,
the Central Chronicle, speculated about what drew
the US armed forces to the website. Why the strong military
interest, the paper asked. "They are not just wasting
their time on the Bhopal site. After all it is not the usual
praise. Our site is much used by Bhopal survivors and our
friends in the world's media - last month the BBC referred
more users than anyone bar Google. On the distaff side,
we are well aware of Dow Chemical/Union Carbide's interest
in Bhopal.Net. In August Dow Chemical - even
without its proxies - was by far the site's biggest user.
Dow users examined every page on the site an average of
three times and downloaded 65 megabytes of information and
tribe's last public appearance in 1947. Photo John C Chapman
eaters and dead hummingbirds
HAVE COME TO EXPECT the visits of Dow and its fellow travellers
- firms like Genencor which dabbles in what it is pleased
to call "Directed Evolution" - it develops gene-based
products for the industrial chemical monde, and has joined
forces with Dow to create a Silicon Biotechnology.
(Dow it seems learns nothing. It has already had its fingers
badly burned by Dow-Corning's silicon breast implant disaster.)
there are the gawping onlookers. Companies like Houston-based
multinational oil giant Anadarko Petroleum, which proudly
claims to take its name from "nadarko" - a centuries-old
American Indian word signifying "those who ate the honey
of the bumble-bee."
Nadarkos are a vanished Oklahoma tribe, their honey long since
stolen out of their mouths, but their suffering is conveniently
forgotten and their name now lends dignity to the grubby business
of oil-hustling. (Anadarko is implicated in clear-cutting
of primary rainforest in Guatemala's critically sensitive
and supposedly inviolate Laguna del Tigre Park reserve.)
will cover these and other corporate honey-eaters in another
article on non-military users of our website.
know all you need to know...
OUR 100 MILITARY VISITORS in August, no less than forty-two came
via nipr.mil, a mysterious US military domain that has begun
cropping up with increasing frequency in website logs around the
Roque, the owner of blackant.net
was bemused to find nipr.mil users searching his site for
things as disparate as "wireless hack" and "growing
avocado trees", so
he emailed the NIPR.MIL system administrator and asked:
as to what some domains in the nipr.mil range are, namely
> which i see hit my website with greater frequency.
came the terse reply "You know all you need to know".
as Francisco suspected, is not a single domain a but a hush-hush
web proxy that acts as a gateway for hundreds of U.S. military domains
in order to hide their identities. It was established by the Defense
Information Systems Agency (DISA) in response to a memorandum (CM-5
1099, INFOCOM) issued in March 1999 by the Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, calling for "actions to be taken to increase
the readiness posture for Information Warfare." "Uncontrolled
Internet connections," the document says, "pose a significant
and unacceptable threat to all Department of Defense information
systems and operations."
beware "America's Hammer" ... not
WE HAD SEVERAL VISITS from the info-warriors of III Corps, Fort
Hood, a force describing itself as "Americas Hammer"
and adding the boast: "Dominating the information sphere".
domination is apparently to be accomplished via a System Administrator
Security Course whose recommended reading includes such works as
Hacking Exposed, Windows 2000, (2nd and 3rd editions Sept
and Oct 2001 respectively) and Windows NT Security Handbook
(McGraw Hill, the 1996 edition)
hope they are not relying on these tomes, all of which were published
too early to catch major security flaws in Windows 2000 and NT -
for example a buffer overrun in the phone book of the Remote Access
Service - that could allow a remote attacker to gain full control
over the machine via the internet or cause it to fail. This glaring
hole was belatedly recognised by Microsoft only in June
of this year. Nor will Microsoft's patches protect against the W32/BugBear-mm
virus, first discovered just thirteen days ago, which can disarm
firewalls and anti-virus systems, allow hackers in to take control
and steal passwords and information. In fact...
Hood has already been humiliated by hackers once this year.
(Story on right). The Army's red-faced Director of
Information Assurance, Colonel Thaddeus Dmuchowski explained
to amazed reporters that it had happened because "Everything
it is. We are willing to bet that most US military computers
are not yet protected against Bugbear.
you are a III Corps, nipr.mil, other US military network admin
(or are called Thaddeus Dmuchowski) and this is news to you,
go to http://www.fsecure.com/bugbear
NOW and don't say Bhopal.Net didn't never do nuffink
Bugbear worm is real, but the generals frequently have fits
of hysteria over fantasies. The spring 1998 issue of the US
Army War College's academic journal, Parameters, contained
the following po-faced warning from Lieutenant Colonel Timothy
L. Thomas, an analyst at the Foreign Military Studies Office
at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: ". . . one computer virus
capable of affecting a person's psyche is Russian Virus 666.
It manifests itself in every 25th frame of a visual display,
where it produces a combination of colors that allegedly put
computer users into a trance. The subconscious perception
of the new pattern eventually results in arrhythmia of the
heart." (Quoted in Crypt Newsletter)
HOOD HOODWINKED BY HACKERS
invade military PCs with ease" wrote
the Washington Post on 16 August. "One
computer at Fort Hood in Texas held a copy of an air
support squadron's "smart book" that details radio
encryption techniques, the use of laser targeting systems
and other field procedures. Another maintained hundreds of
personnel records containing Social Security numbers, security
clearance levels and credit card numbers... A NASA computer
contained vendor records, including company bank account and
financial routing numbers. Available on other machines across
the country were e-mail messages, confidential disciplinary
letters and, in one case, a memo naming couriers to carry
secret documents and their destinations...the computers were
linked to networks at Fort Hood."
Eric Adam, server administrator during the Embedded Warfighter
Exercise (part of III Corps Battle Command Training
Program) said "It gets very intense when you have to
make sure the network is secure from outside attacks . . .
Its similar to posting guards at each gate
or entrance to the network so hackers cant
access classified information."
were shocked and almost scared by how easy it was to get in,"
said Hoodwinker-in-chief Brett O'Keeffe, of computer security
company, ForensicTec."It's like coming across the Pentagon
and seeing a door open with no one guarding it."
company did the hack as a publicity stunt, then presented
its findings to the world as a concerned good citizen. Unfortunately
for them, the Hoods didn't take kindly to being shown up and
America's Hammer came down rather hard on O'Keefe's nuts.
bombs, softball, Fat Man and Osama
TO GEORGE SMITH, the acutely well-informed and wickedly acerbic
editor of Crypt
News, hacking threats to US security are routinely
exaggerated in order to secure ever larger military budgets. Crypt's
current issue instances Bruce Blair, the head of the Center for
Defense Information, "an organization which has demonstrated
no more know-how about the nuts-and-bolts of computer security or
the capability of "cyberterrorists" than an average passerby,
going on in the October 8 edition of the Washington Times
about how hackers may have been capable of issuing launch orders
for a nuclear missile."
complained that on the very same day, President Bush was using cod
science on CNN to stir up fears about Iraq. "...In a
national speech, the President goes on in debating team style about
a 'soft ball-sized' chunk of uranium being all that is needed for
a 'noo-ku-lar' bomb".
did a little quick ferreting and discovered that the softball
factoid dates from 1945. it was part of the information given
out about the Nagasaki bomb "Fat Man", which had
a plutonium core weighing 13.6 lbs, approximately the size
of a softball. At that stage the softball was just an amazing
believe-it-or-not scientific fact but it evolved into believe-it-or-else
paranoia when in testimony given before the Senate Subcommittee
on European Affairs, August 1995. Graham Allison flamboyantly
carry this briefcase with me everywhere... In this briefcase,
I carried today in addition to the pile of papers, first one
softball. It is an American softball. If this softball were
highly-enriched uranium, it would weigh 30 pounds. It fits
my briefcase quite well. Actually, I could carry several softballs
of highly-enriched uranium in my case... If we were talking
about plutonium, enough plutonium to make a bomb, a second
item in this same briefcase is more than enough. This is an
American baseball. There could be several of them that fit
alongside the softball very well."
terrorists who attacked the 110-story World Trade Center in 1993,
or more recently last April, the Federal Office Building in Oklahoma
City killing 162 men, women, and children had used the same minivan
that they drove, but filled it not with chemical based explosives
they used, but rather with a weapon that started with this softball?"
years later in a Harvard discussion paper entitled "Russia's
Domestic Political Future and U.S. National Interests"
Allison pitched the softball directly to Osama.
[Russia's] assembled weapons, there are approximately 70,000
nuclear weapons-equivalents in stockpiles of highly enriched
uranium and plutonium, a softball-sized chunk of which, if it
found its way to Iran or to one of bin Laden's terrorist groups,
would provide the critical ingredient from which a crude nuclear
device could be assembled."
Allison did not bother to tell either the aghast senators,
or his Harvard readers, was that the plutonium would need
to be highly enriched, it would require a beryllium-polonium
initiator and 5,300 lbs of high explosive to crush the core
into a critical mass (the size of a tennis ball). These things
it is doubtful he could have fitted in his briefcase.
briefcase used at Nagasaki
on August 9, 1945 was delivered by B29
is the quality of the US Commander-in-Chief's intelligence.
(no pun intended)
Flats and Dow Chemical, Oak Ridge and Union Carbide
April 1999 the softball reappeared in a
salon.com article entitled "Mushroom
Cloud over Denver", which quoted a 1997 telephone
conversation in which the Department of Energy's Ed McCallum expressed
his fears about lax security at the Rocky Flats, Colorado, nuclear
workers at that plant, and the citizens of Colorado, are at extremely
high risk" said McCallum, from terrorists who could unleash
"a little mushroom-shaped cloud" that would not only kill
Denver's million-plus inhabitants, but would claim tens of millions
of additional lives as its radioactive plume blew across the Midwest
and on to the East Coast. (It
takes only a softball-sized chunk of plutonium to create an explosion
equivalent to three or four Hiroshima blasts.)"
Rocky Flats site (pictured right), an environmental
disaster area dangerously polluted with wastes of plutonium
and other transuranic elements, used to be run by Dow Chemical.
Plutonium processing came to an abrupt halt in 1989 when FBI
agents raided the complex over environmental crimes, including
dumping and storing radioactive waste in ways that allowed
it to seep into drinking water reservoirs.
wholly-owned subsidiary Union Carbide used to manage the Oak
Ridge, Tennessee nuclear weapons facility where, radioactive
substances and other toxic wastes once dumped on the ground
or stored in ponds are now leaching through the soil to the
groundwater, and moving off the reservation.
ironies, in respect of the poisoned aquifers and wells of
Bhopal, hardly need comment.