Cyber Attack Brings Issue Into Focus

When it is within one’s power to re-consider the situation in which he or she may find themselves, maybe it is possible to re-focus their outlook on whatever life has thrown at them. Recently, while in the Middle East and the Mediterranean part of this world a seemingly innocuous even provided the opportunity to take such a moment and re-focus. The eastern religions might say that it is karma, good or bad, that has come back around to the individual. There was a cyber-attack on the area where I spent some of my time while there and without thinking much about its impact, most went on about their day unaffected. When that attack or some related event took out sensitive material that was important to me, then the event took on a new meaning. Before it was just an event within the world sphere; it did not effect me, so I had little reason to notice it. That is the way it is for most folks, I assume. when an event does not directly impact us, we travel on, oblivious, often, to the plight of others. It is true if we took on every world problem, there would be no time left for life but just as God allows us to recognize certain things of beauty in this world; He also draws our attention to those concerns that He desires us to have a part in its solution. That does not equal, however, that if we have had our head buried in the sand and therefore took notice of anything, then that God has excused us from the duty we have to Him to impact His issues as He directs us.

Jerusalem blooming
Desert Blooming

 

Notice that I did not use the words fix, solve, or correct. That is not our task. When God assigns us a task to complete, most of the time it is for us to impact the issue, direct it to solution, drive it to completion or send it toward destruction. The final disposition is for God alone to decide. So, as we have the opportunity to see the desert flowers that somehow find their way into our consciousness; allow it to re-awaken in you a focus on what God has given for you to do.

An American’s Response to His Government

 

“God forbid that we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion.” – Thomas Jefferson[i] 

To what was Thomas Jefferson referring? A dozen years following the Declaration of Independence, a dispute exacerbated by poor economic conditions led some folks, particularly of Massachusetts, to rebel. The outbreak of violence, known as Shay’s Rebellion, stirred leaders to call a convention to establish a Constitution rather than the Articles of Confederation and to promote inter-state trade. The rebellion was quickly quelled and only a few lives were lost; eventually President Washington pardoned those convicted of treason citing that it was ignorance not malevolence that encouraged them to action.

Image

Still, one wonders how a man like Jefferson who sought always after a peaceful life surrounded by nature and his love of architecture could promote rebellion within the U.S.

Thomas Jefferson feared the lethargy of the people over a rebellion conspired by discontent. He believed that usually the discontent will be from the ignorance of some, they being misinformed of the propriety of certain government actions. He writes:

“The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.”[ii]

Lethargy of the citizenry should be feared more than insurrection. How lethargic is the population of the U.S. in 2013? (Notice, I did not ask if they are lethargic.) In today’s modern world, men often believe themselves well informed if only they drink of the pablum of mainstream media. It is possible however, with some effort to be accurately informed on the issues of state. If they are well-informed and thereby discontented, assured of the legitimacy under the Constitution of their stand; would Jefferson still be inclined to give them a free pass for rebellion? I believe he would based on his own writings wherein he has questions himself on the legitimacy of the actions of some and even questions concerning the Constitution. (Contrary to popular understanding, Jefferson was not involved in the writing of the Constitution directly though his thoughts on limited federal government and power in the hands of the people is certainly part and parcel of the document.) His strongest argument in support of revolution, however, is not a desire for anarchy but his fear of the lethargy of the people. That would be America’s death sentence.

Jefferson is often quoted from this same letter about the tree of liberty and it needing to be refreshed from time to time by the blood of patriots and tyrants. A realist, Jefferson saw that revolt was more critical than peace if that peace is promoted by the people’s lethargy. He reasoned that if an uprising of the people cost a few lives then a few in consideration of the greater citizenry was not critical. Few quote the next sentence from the ‘tree of liberty’ portion of the letter. Please, allow me:

“It is its natural manure.” [iii]

CYBER WAR: Forward to the Past

Dr. R.L. Riggs, Director           Security Consulting Investigations, LLC  

22 February 2013

 

Thirty years ago, in March, President Ronald Reagan approached the American public and the Congress of the United States and gave them the hard facts about the future. In fact, he was very clear how important he felt the cause, or as he defined it, the duty is, that he was bringing before the American people. He said that it was “the most basic duty that any President and any people share – the duty to protect and strengthen the peace.” Either the United States prepares for a war from outer space or enters the 21st century with the awareness that their failure to prepare could bring annihilation.   President Reagan said that his plan would provide “new hope for our children in the 21st century” and now we stand in need of that hope. The political opponents mocked his ‘Chicken Little’ approach to his Star Wars Defense Initiative. America’s enemies, particularly Russia and China supported the President’s detractors hoping to forestall America enhancing its satellite defense systems. President Reagan saw only too clearly the threat of nuclear attacks from the upper atmosphere. He did not have the context to see, however, the role that electronics and computerization would have in this century both for good and evil. And so went the years, the changing of the guard, new presidents with new initiatives, new challenges to take up the attention of the American people and Congress. Then came the 21st century, right on schedule and America was embroiled in a war of more basic weaponry; until China unveiled their forty year quest for weapons aimed for the stars.

America and the world have flown into the cyber future at nano-speed to where almost every part of our culture is somehow inter-connected with those streams of 1’s and 0’s. Your car’s ignition will not turn over without the electronic signal from its computer chip. The traffic lights at the corner cannot function nor can water get to your home. Your furnace won’t light and your appliances will grind to a halt. For those who are dependent on medical equipment which in turn is dependent on electronics, you will need help; but, don’t try to use your cellphone to call for help… the cellphone signal won’t get through and even if it did, the ambulance drivers won’t be able to start their trucks. Prevention and deterrence are too late then.

President Reagan understood deterrence. He said, Deterrence means simply this: Making sure any adversary who thinks about attacking the United States or our allies or our vital interests concludes that the risks to him outweigh any potential gains. Once he understands that, he won’t attack. We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression.” That is the whole premise behind the much mis-quoted Admiral Yamamoto warning of a ‘rifle behind every blade of grass.’

Cyber-war involves electronic attacks that need not come from a satellite. The international electronic infrastructure of the internet itself is a pathway for attack. Just this week a report by Mandiant, a major cyber-warfare defense entity clearly showed evidence of China’s involvement in the thousands of hacking attempts against the U.S. corporate structures. The connection in China went directly to a specialized unit of the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) known as APT1 (Advanced Persistent Threat) a subdivision of the PLA’s 61398 unit located just outside of Shanghai.

In an almost laughable response to the allegations that his country is behind the cyber-warfare, China’s Defense Ministry told reporters of AFP (Agence France-Presse) this week that “… there was no internationally agreed definition of hacking.”[i] An AFP photographer was detained by Chinese authorities shortly thereafter when found taking photographs of the non-descript warehouse near Gaoqiao, a suburb in the north of Shanghai. The security breaches themselves are an immediate threat that must be dealt with at all possible speed. The possibility that China could use its technology for a laser attack against our power grid is even more disconcerting.

The Defense Science Board released this statement regarding Directed Energy and Electric Weapons Systems (DEEWS) almost six years ago:  

As far back as 1964, Dr. Qian Xuesen issued to China his 640 Directivve with the blessing of Chairman Mao Zedong. Among other things, the 640 Directive called for the development of a laser capable of shooting a missile out of its trajectory. The Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics (SIOM) was created. In 1970, the Anhui Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics (AIOFM) came into being alongside the already functioning SIOM. Thousands of persons have been working on the systems for decades. In 2006, “China reportedly fired a ground-based high-power laser at and blinded U.S. surveillance satellites in orbit over China.”[ii] Sean O’Conner, an internationally known analyst and author of the IMINT and Analysis blog has identified “the potential sliding hangar locations of space-oriented Free Electron Lasers at the AIOFM center in Hefei, the Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics (CAEP) center in Mianyang, and the laser Anti-Satellite (ASAT) site in Xinjiang province.”[iii]

As of now, we know of three lasers: the banned blinding ZM87, the JD3 (which serves as a ‘range-finder and self-defense device’ and can be mounted on battle tanks) and the laser that blinded the U.S. satellite in 2006. Work continues, according to sources across China, on the newest and best models. Bryan McGrath of the Information Dissemination Net is concerned that the U.S. determination to get the laser weapons into the hands of the ‘warriors’ who find much more intriguing ways to utilize such weapons will not match that of the Chinese. You may want to find that old hand crank ice cream maker your grandfather used on hot summer days. It could be your only cooling thought when the winds of war blow across the barren wasteland after a DEEWS attack. President Reagan said in his ‘Star Wars Speech’ in March of 1983, We start by considering what must be done to maintain peace and review all the possible threats against our security. Then a strategy for strengthening peace and defending against those threats must be agreed upon. And finally our defense establishment must be evaluated to see what is necessary to protect against any or all of the potential threats.” Let’s pray that someone will explain that to President Obama and Chuck Hagel.

DEATH: Who Chooses When It is All Right to Die?

In a recent article in the The Weekly Standard it was reported that twenty-three percent of Dutch doctors feel they have no obligation to report any time they have completed a euthanasia procedure. That isn’t all, in Flemish, Belgium thirty-two percent of euthanasia procedures take place without the request, consent or even notice to a relative of the person euthanized. If you think that through, once the “patient” is deceased, who is to know if they ever consented to their own death? Who is the wiser?

Oh, but not to worry, that is in the Netherlands and as liberal as they are, there is no real risk of such practices coming here, right? Not exactly. In the states of Washington and Oregon, euthanasia is legal. In fact, not only is it legal, it is easier to complete than it is to witness a Last Will and Testament. According to the The Weekly Standard report, in Seattle Washington, a person cannot be a witness to a will if that person is also a recipient of an endowment from the will, for fear of duress or undue influence. However, according to a Seattle attorney, quoted in the article, an heir can witness a request for euthanasia, can go to the pharmacy to pick up the deadly prescription, and can administer the lethal dose up to a year after the prescription is written to their relative with no other witnesses present, and this heir need not have any medical training whatsoever to administer the lethal ‘medicine’.

Image

Consider for a moment how many due process arguments and hearings must take place before a convicted criminal is executed. “But the protections accorded to those accused of capital crimes- however imperfect – are completely out of reach for a patient that doctors, health care facility, insurer and family have decided would be better off dead.”[i] (emphasis added) And that is in the United States! According to the report, “Oregon and Washington have no meaningful precautions against wrongful euthanasia, no procedures for discipline, or hearings or board of review. Doctors report their own cases and there is no penalty for not doing so.”[ii] (emphasis added)

Returning briefly to the Dutch, Dr. Joris Slaets, a professor of geriatric medicine estimates the patient’s life goals, vitality and life expectancy before he decides whether they are “worthy of further therapy.” He unsuccessfully attempted to dissuade an 80 year old woman from heart surgery, a surgery from which she recovered and is doing well.

The Hippocratic Oath, as translated by Michael North, National Library of Medicine, states “…I will do no harm or injustice to them. I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.”[iii] Not that I hold much concern for an oath made to Apollo and a stack of other Greek gods; but when anyone makes an oath in solemn acceptance of its wording and then so flagrantly disregards it, even one made to ancient gods and goddesses, where is the line that they will not cross?

There is an old joke that goes… ‘Be kind to your children, they are the ones who will chose your nursing home.’ Well, perhaps it is much more of a concern than choosing a nursing home when they are able to decide not where you will live but if you will live. It may be, not even they who decide, since in the Netherlands the doctors can choose what to do with you without even telling your children. Perhaps it is some form of misguided justice… the generation that failed to speak up for the unprotected unborn becomes the first generation to be the unprotected too old to live.


[i] Schulman, Sam “Last Rights” The Weekly Standard” Nov. 12, 2012

[ii] Ibid.

From the farthest field…

RIGGS MINISTRY MINUTE    FROM FORT BENNING GEORGIA

    CENTER FOR MANEUVERABILITY EXCELLENCE

Rev. Ross L. Riggs, D.Min.         www.docriggs.com         19 October 2012

It came as perhaps an epiphany might come. The sun bright, the sky a clear blue and the road dusty; all of these set the stage for what would be a vision as clear as the sky itself. Standing along the dusty road that would lead the distant travelers into their final gathering place, the observers along the road were searching the horizon, straining for that first glimpse of their loved one. The parachutes drifted lazily to earth and then the travelers gathered their baggage, their chute, their gear, and their weapons of war and began that final run in. As they ran, the burdens of their baggage laid upon their shoulders wore them down so their steps could barely clear the gravel in the roadway. They had to make it those last weary steps so they could lay their burdens down. The dust from the roadway swirled up behind them as they ran, but, it was their focus on that final stop and the faces of the observers eager to see the ones for whom they waited, that caught the learner’s attention. The learner saw that it was the desire of the observers for their long-awaited loved ones that seemed to give the tired travelers enough energy and will to cross the last several yards. When the travelers saw their loved ones cheering them on, their steps quickened and became sharper, their gait was steadier and their faces brighter; suddenly the long past run from that remote horizon had faded into a distant memory.

This was the scene played out through the day as the soldiers finished the last of their parachute jumps to earn their ‘Airborne’ wings. They landed strongly and ran into the gathering place with family waiting. As the learner watched, one after another of the soldiers crossed the ‘finish line’ to the cheers of their family and friends. It became clear to the learner that perhaps; just perhaps, this was a picture of what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote that ‘We run this race in front of a great cloud of witnesses.’

Coming in

Americans: a peculiar people

  www.docross.com Dr. Ross L. Riggs The Ministry Minute: When there’s only a minute for ministry.

     And then there were few… yet they still stood strong. The general’s huge army could be seen for miles across the dusty desert. The dust that rose up to meet the nostrils of the hundreds of horses covered the horizon with a thick darkness, foretelling the gloom that was to come. It is not difficult to imagine the few conversations between the men left to guard the small mission outpost. They knew their role was to delay the northward march of Santa Anna’s army in his desire to retrieve, for his country Mexico, land that would become ‘the Lone Star State’. Those who stayed were volunteers. They knew they were certain to die. Their death scene would become a place of honor, a crypt of sorts, a monument to something awe-inspiring. Certainly, to this day, it is a place where visitors are asked to remain respectfully quiet to honor the brave deeds of those whose last breath was the same dust caking the Mexican army horses’ nostrils. If one could ask those men, in those last moments, if they had the chance to decide all over again whether they would agree to stay, there is no doubt that they would. After all, those Americans are a peculiar people.

The air was more turbulent than calm this morning as their flight gained altitude coming up from the tarmac briskly to make room for the next waiting jet filled with commuters ready to begin their day. It was only a handful of time, really, not enough time upon which to decide about a lifetime; but in that handful of minutes, the world changed, each person on that flight was about to share a destiny with the men of that desert mission over a hundred years before. These folks had not volunteered to die heroes’ deaths, to wait out the on-coming attack for hours as the brave men of the Alamo had done. Theirs’ was a destiny thrust upon them; but one from which they did not recoil. Their actions were also needed to hold off an enemy and not allow him a victory strike against their homeland.  When their time came to give everything they had, and to die as one; in a manner no modern day group of civilian patriots had ever done, their response was “Let’s roll.” After all, those Americans are a peculiar people.  

e pluribus omnibus pecularus

In a non-descript auditorium, families gathered in the early morning hours to anxiously await their sons. They had gathered from 39 states and two foreign countries across both the Atlantic and the Pacific to spend a very short 36 hours with their sons. There was no fancy celebration, no glory-filled pomp; just young men, finishing a phase of their training with a chance for a short break before returning to their task. Every single one of the young men who had spent two and a half months in the grueling Georgia sun and survived sleepless nights in between times of rigorous training were volunteers. Those hundreds of men were joining thousands who before them had crossed these same sandy training fields to prepare to go against ‘all enemies, foreign and domestic’ and every one of these soldiers, a volunteer. After all, those Americans are a peculiar people.

One time, not too long ago, there rose up among the American people, a politician (and they defined ‘politician’ with all the bad taste the culture had come to expect). The people elected this politician as President. He told some who would listen that Americans were not exceptional, not much different, if at all, than those in the rest of the world. He approached the enemies of the American people and sought to be their friends. He traveled to a nation in a faraway land where the dreams of democracy are not respected and people are not treated as they should, and this President got down to his knees and bowed in homage to a king who does not care for the citizens of America. This politician-President found no reason to respect the citizens who sacrifice by becoming soldiers or who place themselves in harm’s way for others in so many ways. His ‘first-lady’ declared that she had not found any reason to be proud of America. Both she and her politician husband refused to neither salute the flag of their country nor appreciate its anthem. Perhaps the people who voted for this politician-President thought he would make a difference, and many say he has, though not in a good way. But, most of America holds out hope and seeks to correct their mistake in a legal and bloodless way through the voting booth. And still, the volunteers step forth, ready to do whatever it takes to protect this land that they find so exceptional. After all, Americans are a peculiar people.