Guest Post: Low-Tech Solutions To High-Tech Tyranny
Submitted by Brandon Smith from Alt-Market
Low-Tech Solutions To High-Tech Tyranny
Disclaimer: The following is a series of fictional accounts of theoretical situations. However, the information contained within was taken from established scientific journals on covered technology and military studies of real life combat scenarios. Alt-Market does not condone the use of any of the tactics described within for “illegal” purposes. Obviously, the totalitarian subject matter portrayed here is “pure fantasy”, and would never be encountered in the U.S. where politicians and corporate bankers are forthright, honest, and honorable, wishing only the sweetest sugar coated chili-dog best for all of mankind…
Imagine, if you will, a fantastic near future in which the United States is facing an unmitigated economic implosion. Not just a mere market crash, or a stint of high unemployment, but a full spectrum collapse driven by unsustainable debt spending and hyperinflationary printing. The American people witness multiple credit downgrades of U.S. Treasury mechanisms, the dollar loses its reserve status, devaluation of the currency runs rampant, and the prices of commodities and imported goods immediately skyrocket.
In the background of this disaster, a group of financial elite with dreams of a new centralized economic and political system use the chaos to encourage a removal of long held civil liberties; displacing Constitutional protections they deem “outdated” and no longer “practical” in the midst of our modern day troubles. This group then institutes draconian policies through the executive orders of a puppet president, including indefinite detention, assassination, and even martial law against citizens. For now, let’s just refer to them as “The Swedes”….
The Swedes have an extraordinary array of technological tools at their disposal. The kind of equipment dictators like Stalin and Hitler would have killed for…literally. This technology is so pervasive and so unprecedented in the history of tyrannical governments that average people shiver at the very thought of resistance. The Swedes seem to be invincible.
Some Americans think about escaping to a foreign country before the zealots totally dominate, but ultimately, running is meaningless. The Swedes want a global control grid, not just an American one. Eventually, the expatriates will have to face the music as well.
Others believe that they can take their families and hide alone in far off mountains to wait out the storm, but they do not consider what will happen to their country and its principles while they curl up in a ball and pray that the catastrophe does not touch them. They forget that survival is hollow if one finds himself and his culture enslaved in the meantime.
And yet others, those who are aware of the consequences of unchecked oligarchy, decide to build communities of liberty minded individuals in preparation for the dangers ahead. They seek local and national solutions, social and political. However, always in the backs of their minds sits the understanding that these situations rarely if ever solve themselves, and rarely if ever end peacefully. Despots only respect one thing - Power. Those who refuse to fight back are, in their eyes, nothing but an easy meal, like a wounded animal in a forest of wolves. This third group of awake Americans comes to realize that one day the Swedes will move with severe aggression, and will have to be physically stopped. But how...?
With modern computer driven weaponry at their fingertips, any resistance appears futile. Some Americans, though, do their homework, and discover that most successful revolutions against better equipped opponents utilize low tech methods in highly intelligent ways. They study the inherent weaknesses of the enemy weapons platforms using readily available online manuals and scientific journals. They realize that these pieces of equipment costing millions of dollars each can be defeated using methods that cost little more than pocket change. A war of economic attrition ensues, whereby the Swedes find themselves completely dependent on systems that cannot be maintained without substantial financial sacrifice. With each new piece of hardware, comes an even more frustrating strategy of defiance. Here are just a few examples…
CCTV Surveillance Grid
Sam is a Liberty Movement sympathizer caught in the city during the establishment of a high-tech surveillance grid in his hometown. The dastardly Swedes relish the idea of being able to keep tabs on every person everywhere. They even establish a database in the heart of Colorado which collates information in real time, allowing them to build and organize files on millions of citizens. The success of this grid depends greatly on the capacity of their CCTV cameras placed in an ever expanding spider’s web across heavily populated regions. The cameras use biometric data collected and stored by airport body scanners which the “extremists” often refer to as “naked body scanners”. The data allows computers to quickly match specific body signs to identity.
The Swedes told the public that their data would not be saved for future reference, but of course, this was later found to be a lie. It did not take long before the scanners were moved from the airports, to train stations, to bus stations, to federal buildings, to street corners for random shakedowns. Sam knows that if his file is pulled up by one of the cameras, he is in serious trouble, and so makes plans to escape the city limits. With curfews being set earlier and earlier in the evening, he decides to make his move before it is too late.
The night vision and thermal vision capabilities on the latest CCTV cameras makes disguise nearly impossible. Makeup and prosthetics help to hide bone structure, and a knee brace helps to change the gait of Sam’s walk, but Sam also knows that the thermal filters on the cameras are actually able to see the heat of blood flow through facial arteries, which act as a face fingerprint. There is no low-tech way to forge this face fingerprint:
So instead, Sam decides to block the camera system’s ability to use thermal vision at all. He does this with a few dollars and a hat, gluing small Infrared LED lightbulbs into the cap along with a tiny battery source. The IR lights drown out the CCTV ability to make any clear distinctions in his face, thus preventing any positive ID. Sam is clever, and plants similar IR devices on other people without their knowledge, diluting the attention of Swedish law enforcement officials who are left wondering if their cameras are malfunctioning or if their city is swarming with “terrorists”:
Angela is a worker in a Swedish detention facility. At first, she believed that all the people quartered in the facility were terrorists who represented a threat to innocent lives. But, over time, she came to realize that the true innocents were being housed in the prison, most of them detained for no more than criticizing Swedish policy or protesting a political injustice. Angela makes plans to steal confidential information on the camp from her boss’ office and hand it over to the resistance. Unfortunately, her boss uses a fingerprint scanner to unlock his door. Luckily, she had done research into fail-test methods for such scanners in scientific and security journals and learned how to make molds using latent fingerprints:
RFID chipping is all the rage with the Swedes, so of course they were more than keen to introduce the intrusive technology to the U.S. once the control grid was established. The tiny inexpensive chips allowed tracking of nearly everything, from retail habits, to civilian movements, to common monetary transactions. Evan, a computer hobbyist and quiet supporter of the Liberty Movement, found that without certain RFID designations, many goods could not be purchased, at least in bulk. Only Swedish officials had the ability to go anywhere and to buy what they needed.
Evan found a solution, not necessarily “low-tech”, but easy enough to make using common materials and a basic knowledge of electronics and programming. His idea? Build an RFID Emulator/Cloner:
The cloner had the ability to read particular RFID chips, even from a distance, and to then copy their unique signal. Evan was able to clone any chip anywhere and then implant the code on an RFID card or any other item containing a chip, making life easier for him, and information easier to get for others.
Evelyn was a political activist and independent journalist before the crash. Her writing had become quite prominent in freedom minded circles, but the dollar had fallen, and with it, the Constitution had been scrapped. Her criticisms of the Swedish controlled government were well known, and she had heard stories of liberty writers “disappearing”. She decided to leave the confines of the city to stay with a friend before the noose was tightened completely.
As she entered her vehicle and made her way outside the city along backroads, away from the highway and possible checkpoints, she noticed that a nondescript car seemed to be shadowing her from a distance. She made a few unplanned turns, and did not see the car again for twenty minutes. Then, it appeared again, at the very edge of her mirror’s field of vision. She realized that she may have a GPS tracking device implanted somewhere in her car, and to find it quickly would be impossible. Thankfully, she had purchased a GPS jamming device months ago, which allowed her to block any GPS transmissions within a small to medium radius. The device was furiously labeled by the FCC as “dangerous” and “illegal to use”, however, they remained very easy to buy until the crash:
Electronic Surveillance In General
Whether it be a CCTV camera, or a body scanner, sometimes the best option is not to evade or disguise, but to pull the plug entirely. At least, that was James’ point of view after the control grid went into overdrive and he couldn’t walk his dog without a blue-shirted Swedish agent fondling him on the sidewalk or forcing him to walk through a body scanner. Finally, he had had enough, and so, decided that if they wanted to track every move of every person, it was going to cost them.
Using commonly available parts, James built a personal EMP device. Its range was dependent on the size of the power supply he tied to it, but when used properly, it would zap anything with a circuit within several feet of him:
The Body Scanners were useless. RFID tags went blank. CCTV cameras shorted. They would eventually be replaced, but the cost would be high, and as long as he didn’t get caught, James could experience, at least for a short time, the America of the past…
Sound Cannon / Silence Gun
Mary had seen her family in poverty, her country in ruins, and her government turn to outright treason. In her mind, the only recourse left was to take to the streets. However, this proved to be almost as useless as participating in the election process. New sound cannon vehicles were deployed in waves along with riot police to quell any and all protests, no matter how peaceful in nature.
Mary learned two things quickly. The first: always bring a gas mask to the party. The second: always think simple when faced with technological tyranny.
The sound cannon blast was terrible, making concentration difficult and causing panic amongst the protestors. Even worse though was the Silence Gun:
Which actually recorded and then projected back a person’s voice only a split second after they began to talk, causing mental confusion and eventually, frustration and silence. The device was popular at political events where activists were likely to interrupt a candidate’s teleprompter speech to expose the public to a few truths. Mary was not a hacker, or a military specialist, or a technician of any kind. So, she wore ear plugs. Problem solved.
Night Vision / Thermal Imaging / Predator Drone
A considerable threat to those who decided to fight back against the Swedes was the widespread usage of night vision and thermal imagers by troops sent to hunt down and capture dissenters (the Swedes called them “enemy combatants). The use of FLIR cameras on aircraft and the feared predator drones were especially terrifying to those who knew very little about how such technology actually functions.
David, an insurgent against Swede governance, was tired of hearing about how the Predator Drones would be the doom of all who defied the establishment. He felt that this outlandish perception came more from the fact that the drones had no human passenger, and so, no potential casualty risk. The concept of facing down a machine that feels no combat apprehension is certainly disturbing, but not insurmountable. At bottom, what the enemy cannot see, the enemy cannot kill. And so, instead of trying in vain to fight the drones and their thermal / night vision on the terms of the oppressive military presence, he decided to make their vision advantage irrelevant by studying IR evasion used in sniper training.
Regular night vision relies, in most cases, on the use of an IR light which bounces off targets within the field of view. This is often referred to as “Active IR”. Thermal Vision reads existing IR at a different wavelength, usually in heat producing or high IR producing bodies, called “Passive IR”.
For evading Active IR night vision, David found that regular camouflaging methods along with smoke worked well. For defeating night vision altogether, he found that bright IR flashlights and floodlights, and even regular bright lights like camera flashes, shined directly at the target wearer of the night vision device, would be blinded for a short period of time, leaving room for escape.
Thermal vision evasion was more difficult. David and his team first studied the IR Emissivity Tables of common everyday materials:
All objects above the temperature of absolute zero release a certain level of electromagnetic radiation, which thermal imagers pick up and translate into a visual picture. Hiding one’s heat signature is difficult, but not impossible. The key, as David learned through military sniper training manuals and combat analysis, was to match his IR signature with that of his surrounding as much as possible.
He fashioned a hooded cloak using a material that would block much of his initial warmth, then lined the inside of it with emergency space blanket material, which reflects back around 90% body heat. The cloak design worked well because he could easily take down the hood and unwrap himself when not in immediate danger, allowing the material to cool as he walked.
Then David attached local vegetation to the material to help match its IR Emissivity to the surrounding foliage. This combination reduced his thermal signature drastically. Overhead drones could not identify him clearly as a human, if they were able to see him at all. Ground forces were a greater threat, but the element of surprise was still possible for the insurgents with cloaks.
In combat, the tandem dangers of drones overhead and ground forces in pursuit with thermal vision made life difficult. David carefully studied field guides to Predator Drone strengths and weaknesses:
David and his team then utilized a special strategy under these extreme circumstances called “False IR Signature”.
Operating in bad weather gave the freedom fighters an instant advantage. Heavy rain washed away thermal footprints and obscured body heat. Thick cloud cover made image integrity poor. Contrary to popular belief, the drones had many downfalls, and their eyes were limited in numerous ways.
When in the middle of combat, where drone surveillance was most dangerous to low-tech resistance, multiple fake IR signatures were created using whatever was available. David used a combination of IR Chemlights and hot burning road flares thrown all over the field to misdirect drone cameras. With IR hotspots everywhere, the thermal cameras had no idea where to focus, let alone which targets were real, and which were fake. IR strobe light flares flashed intermittently causing even more confusion, and masked to some extent muzzle flash from firearms.
Larger objects could also be faked using pieces of metal heated with fire, or even heated metallic balloons arranged in a sizable pattern to mimic a hot running car or tank. Drones would zero in on false targets and unleash missiles, only to waste the expensive ordinance on party favors and scrap. Through David’s knowledge and efforts, the game had become more level.
Technology Or Force Of Will?
Technological weaponry and surveillance should never be underestimated. Today’s advancements are terrifying, devastating, and were designed after decades of trial and error in peripheral wars and burgeoning dictatorships around the world. A technology cannot be defeated by someone who does not respect its capability. That said, in the end, wars are not won with fancy gadgets alone. All conflicts are decided by a primary driver; force of will.
Who has the strength of spirit to endure the longest? Who has the intelligence to outwit the technology? Who knows exactly what they are fighting for and why? These questions decide victory, not unmanned aircraft and computers.
In the introduction, I joke a little about the state of our Republic, but sadly, the fictional accounts above represent realities that Americans today must consider as practical and possible in the near future. “The Swedes” are not illusion, but a parable of the kind of totalitarianism that arises in the midst of any culture dominated by elitism and collectivism. Whether you believe this is realistic or not in our nation today I suppose is dependent on your level of awareness surrounding current events. My goal in covering the information above is not to convince you one way or the other of the dangers ahead. The point is to redistribute the knowledge so that one day, in the event that the stories portrayed turn out to be more true than you realize, you may have the ability to do something about those troubled times as an effective champion, rather than a helpless victim…
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