showing how, not to be undone by the police, Marx, like Steinbeck's one-legged whore, exposes his plight, and finds numerous well-wishers who re-install him at his cherished tasks of uncovering the catastrophic roots of mankind and propagating a reconstructed history, utilizing the skills attested to by the Soviet and Swiss governments, although the Author offers him a seductive plan for Computer Virus Plagues.
THE TIME has come to hear the True Confessions of Christoph Marx. We might prepare for it with a Maxim, #24 as it happens: "One's undoing defaults from whatever one is doing."
The cause of anything is a manifold of prior events. When anything bad happens, people select the antecedents that please them to explain the evil. Nothing happens except out of somewhere, and the somewhere provides enough detail (perforce) for even the most stupid of people, who comes equipped with a bag of stereotypes and prejudices, to explain the happening, unsurprised after the initial surprise.
So ramified is blaming, that anyone suffering any kind of misfortune will have some personal fault proposed to him as its source. There is no appeasing the fault-finder; no matter how accidental or attributable to others an unwanted event, its victim can be accounted responsible. A person's arrest is a hunting license authorizing the Blame Society to go to work.
To avoid default, Marx would have declared promptly upon arrest, "My name is Marx, Christoph. My fault is that from evil intent I spied for the Soviet Union. Agreed. Punishment, please."
Instead, by defaulting, he engendered an infinity of explanations. It is like explaining a license number. If you refuse to be satisfied with some such conventional statement as that you possess #377-587-09 because you paid for it, you begin an infinite process of exploration of the tiny probability that you emerged with this number, including such facts as that your grandfather was kicked out of his home town and immigrated to America (the average American is third generation in all or part).
So:::: If Chris Marx had not:
been so crazy about computers (misused computers), [Nota Bene: the aforesaid infinity is "doubled" as a negative anti-infinity from contradictory assertions], made his wife unhappy (been unhappy in his marriage), been too ambitious for his children (neglected his family), been spoiled (neglected) as a child, been raised by nurses (run wild), gone to school abroad (had had more education), read too much (read too little real science), been too interested in machines (gotten involved in political affairs), had strange ideas (known so much), believed (disbelieved) in the stars, had bad associations (disliked his associates), worked along unprofitable lines (sold his soul for money), started up PAF (which one, the academic or the commercial PAF? either one), tried to prove the experts wrong (been a snobbish expert), taken the wrong turn (1...nth turns), followed such a crazy diet (had so little interest in things like food and drink), pursued women (had spent more time with his women friends), been so unassuming (cleverly made himself attractive), kept to himself too much (always been running around with Russians), worked too hard (disliked honest work), been ungrateful to the blessings of home and country (a typically indifferent Swiss), believed in nothing (been subverted by communist ideas), always needed money for something (always managed to find money for his crazy philosophical pastimes, God knows where), been travelling constantly (had taken a holiday now and then like normal people), failed to pay his bills promptly (failed to collect what was owed him), had had more respect for the police (given too much credit for intelligence to the police), failed to shine his shoes regularly (been so ordinary in appearance), carried a shopping bag (used things for what they weren't made for), turned up at strange meetings devoted to strange cults (been disdainful of the perfectly decent organizations that let him belong), been named Christoph Marx (disgraced the upstanding names his parents had blessed him with), etc., etc... ad infinitum, ad nauseam, he would not have been arrested and "Nothing would have happened!" ("Wär' nix passiert!")
Hardly had Marx been jugged when he was asked for a full explanation of a number of suspicious entries in his appointment book (the one I mentioned earlier). He dutifully commented and at the end summarized his view, the date being 5 April 1987:
With my 70 to 80 hour work-week without vacation and with occasional business trips, I've not spent over 2% of my time in the activities mentioned above over the two-year period. The information I received I considered important to my work. The opinions I expressed may have brought home to the Russians some unpleasant truths. The financing I could manage with it furthered the goals of PAF. What I offered them in return was in my opinion realistically equal to zero.
The large amount of money comes out of the deliveries of expensive goods, which were not submitted to customs export limitations. Besides, the margins were so narrow that one cannot even talk about making a profit once the costs were paid. The whole business can be contained in one file folder, and corresponds actually to a nearly negligible portion of my activities.
I have never hidden anything or thought I had anything to hide. I've never taken any measures of protection or thought that I had to protect myself from someone. When my work and efforts were endangered because the client did not want to pay any more, I said "Schluss." (Finished.)
But nothing I've written here or testified to earlier has ever been involved in secrets other than my own business secrets. "Systematically", I 've only followed objectives of PAF. I have never organized an information service, not to mention working for a "forbidden" one, and never ever worked to "the damage of Switzerland," or of Swiss citizens. Nor have I ever acted in a way to damage other countries, foreign institutions, or people, supposing that this were to fall under the meaning of Articles 272ff of the StGB (the Swiss penal code).
I am asking once more for the immediate ending of my detention inquiry following the handing over of the material that has been asked of me, which can be easily removed from my computers. I also have urgent need of time to bring order to my financial affairs which are in a mess."
There were no results for another month. Then, on May 13, Chris Marx was released upon signing the following statement:
1. I have been informed that I have not been in contact with Soviet commercial officials but with agents of the KGB. 2. I have been informed that my relations with these people involved a conspiratorial attitude on my part because of the unusual manner in which we got together, as do secret services, that is. According to point #1 I must also grant that my Soviet partners have behaved in a way that demonstrates "evil intentions" on their side. I understand that therefore I had to be subject to the same suspicions as they, but I've never thought twice about my behavior and certainly had no evil intentions. But I have had to admit that I handled with excessive insouciance, considering as "Boy Scout tricks", the first meeting with Leonidov and the attempt of Potiondy to provide me with a radio. 3. I have been instructed that even the procuring of information that is publicly accessible is a forbidden information-activity; but I must clearly stress that I have only communicated information that I have bought and learned for my own business and for my very own needs and projects and which are still today my property of which I can freely dispose and which belong to my consulting sources. I have asked for sums which were rather in the frame of a cost-plus basis and consulting expenses which I calculated from my general business expenses. But I admit that occasionally and as a favor I have collected some small amount of information which I did not need for myself, amounting to "the four annual reports", several extracts of catalogues of public libraries and from public data banks, and prospectuses from fairs and conventions that I attended. But I always said that such information could be obtained without my help and how it could be procured. 4. I have been reproached for delivering sales such as the USD-1 and the video equipment in such an unusual manner, in parking lots and buildings, as was Leonidov's practice: I grant my excessive insouciance in these regards, despite the fact that all the prior deliveries (tape recorders and video equipment for surveillance in two separate deliveries) were handed over in my own shop. And also that the second part of the delivery of the USD-1 material occurred quite normally, to Zabalonev (the Soviet offices). 5. I have been reproached for having made declarations concerning my EDP for my business material very reluctantly, and in another way I have been reproached on grounds that these business materials were "found" in the course of a house-search: but I should like to stress that I am making all of these declarations openly and freely, and that I have submitted my material just as freely, and with all the necessary advice on bringing them onto the screen of the computer. 6. I also grant that I had welcomed the supposed interests of the (Soviet) commercial delegation because I hoped a) that I could by means of it extend significantly my own work, and on top of that, be able to sell it, and 2) that I could represent the ideological and social interests of PAF.
So, to sum up these remarkably unconfessional documents, Marx has stated that if what he provided to the Russians was defined as economic espionage, then he did it, without such motive however. He also allowed that he had gone along with some cute behavior such as spies affect. It would not have been the kookiest behavior that one would expect of the Russki or even an ordinary client in the computer business. Where were the dolls that should have been couched in Marx's humble abode, as gifts from the Soviet people?
"In a kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king." Since spies deal with secrets, authorities on the Secret are rare. Yet, if this is so, how come there are so many books on religion when the nature of God is the most tightly held secret of all? And dozens on the secret rites of Freemasonry? Is it because the secrets of Secrecy, if exposed, are banal, even dull? Compared with the secrets of a single family, they can be yawning ho-hum. But hope springs eternal.. So I continue.
I am an expert partly because of some training in psychiatry. Knowing of my interest in the psychopathology of politics (a large part of the field, alas!), a French film director, Claude Vajda, showed me his little-known film on "The Sick Men Who Lead Us." He used the medium well to detect and expose signs of illness and deterioration in such powerful figures as Hitler, Stalin, Anthony Eden, Pompidou, and J.F.Kennedy, and speculated that sickness affected many decisions of state.
The movie focussed almost entirely upon physical illnesses and their mental consequences, with little about mental illness in itself. I could have supplied many additional instances of both, going back to Moses, and Beyond.
Even while Christoph Marx was being followed around, and while my own words were being registered, I was thinking of other matters, such as the Chernobyl nuclear furnace meltdown, but then when he told me that I had been bugged, I pondered that fact and whether legal redress was possible.
No, I concluded, I cannot sue the police in Switzerland for invasion of my privacy, but I may bring a case before the Hague Tribunal, for it seems to be against International Law to bug the citizen of another country in a country other than one's own.
Maybe the French and German governments would join my legal brief with pro bono briefs of their own: after all, the Swiss could not plant explosives or dope in a car that I was driving over the borders without liability: then what is so harmless and playful about learning my most secret thoughts? (Apropos, Selena got a phone call from a Swiss-American named Sid Kartz soon after she decided to sell her house, and when he discussed the sale of the house with her he knew such facts as that she had recently been to San Francisco, which fact had come out only in her interrogation by the Police on the heels of Christoph's arrest!
His subsequent behavior -- his deal skimmed a little and fell through -- makes her feel that he is either a crony of the cops or a C.I.A. liaison, which gives me to think that he may also have been the informant of Roger, who phoned Veronica to warn her about Christoph's arrest.
But, now, if I could get a hearing for this case, we could all get hearings on the Chernobyl disaster. The way would be open for Sweden, Germany, Italy, France and Greece (where I sat gulping down becquerel with my new retsina and honey all the while unknowing), et al., to sue the USSR for damages.
If you think that this is impossible, bad, infeasible, or plain crazy lawyering, let me tell you: A Greek lawyer friend of mine, Mike Margaritis, has been trying to sue the USA in the World Court for releasing AIDS into the world as a form of genocide. That U.S. agents are abroad spreading the virus! Now he is really sick! I hope that nobody imagines that I put him up to it. I'd shoot him friendlily, but, as I told you, someone stole my pocket Beretta twenty years ago in Lisbon.
Meanwhile in the USA, there were other crazies at work. Controversy was erupting over the expressed intention of President Reagan and Attorney General Meese (this guy himself being a bizarre case of arrogant nefarious sociopathy) to put about 200,000 federal workers connected with "Defense" in one way or another through lie-detector tests regularly and blood-tests to detect drug usage.
These are not the people who make the large decisions of state; they are merely the legions of securely paid functionaries whose private lives are being continuously eroded by the regulations of the military-bureaucratic state, salient traits of which the USA shares with its arch-opponent the USSR.
William Casey, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, took lie detector tests every month "to set an example," and joshed his colleagues in high office who doubted the validity or utility of the practice. It developed that he was meanwhile lying to them and to the Congress on important issues; he had not nor would not be tested on these, since, for one thing, one would not know what matters to ask about. Furthermore, he knew how to beat the tests.
Casey was gravely ill with cancer while in office and while the public furor over the Irangate scam was rising in intensity. He became more and more irritable and discoordinated physically, until one day he collapsed. An examination then revealed a brain tumor advanced beyond any therapy but radical surgery, which failed to save him and he died.
Our constitutions, governments, courts and police are obviously incapable of watching out for political pathology where it is most dangerous, on the highest reaches of Der Staat. But these same institutions can do a pretty good job of regimenting and destroying the ordinary citizenry, particularly when commanded by pathological superiors.
In fact, if you want to know why I quit the field of academic political science, I will tell you, and it was not because I was swept off my tenured chair. The field is practical in a useless sort of way. It wastes too much time on legal trivia and mechanical procedures and special heart-rending media cases of welfare and abuses of rights (like the Marx case, for instance), and exceedingly fine methods of coping with intrinsically meaningless or else insignificant data.
It dares not deal continuously and systematically with, nor proposes well-considered policies in regard to, the most severe problems of the politics of the world: military- bureaucratic-transnational corporate domination; mentally sick leaders; the craziness of the ordinary citizenry when it is flattered and harkened to excessively; the population explosion; the conscienceless chauvinism of all governments with one or two exceptions.
My old pal Lasswell once delivered a speech proposing to examine the heads of candidates for public office, but didn't say how to lasso the people and tie them down beforehand; it was good for a laugh, though. (Incidentally -- time for a plug -- he alone of the intellectual bossdom Harolded the future importance of my quantavolution studies.)
The discipline is corrupted, too, because of its fascination with such grand fools as Reagan and De Gaulle, whom it cannot treat as such but pretends that they must be men of high morals, intellectual genius and mental competence, and the same with a host of fools of lesser rank.
And I found it abominable after a while to take seriously as the principal subjects of study their beliefs, their language, their syntax, their evaluations, their applications of reality. The field is defined by its mediocre and ineffectual and irrelevant subjects of study. It's as if you were to let bird-brains define the field of ornithology for you. The field of economics has the same problem, but with an additional set of idiots, business leaders.
As I type these lines, the newspaper Le Monde is carrying a survey of the alumni of the top universities of politics, economics, engineering and business in France, and the most striking and disheartening conclusion is the unblemished uniformity of vulgar brilliance extruding from these superior machines, all possessed of the ambition of careers in corporations and state offices until they will end up with freedom to be "their own man," each with his own yacht, country club membership, second residence, and mistress.
The senselessness of it all is apparent if on a fine winter day you visit La Rochelle, Cannes, Saint Tropez, Cassis, and you name it, any port, and view there, neatly docked by the hundreds and thousands, the expensive boats whose owners jam the roads to reach and board on a few days of the year. For the rest of the year presumably they supply their owners with silent income, viz., "Did you know that Jean-Gerard has a lovely little yacht?".
Those whose pathologies render them unable to cease in their pursuit of power are most likely to succeed, while the others, only apparently more "normal," lead the Establishment. I mention these matters, because, now that we are coming near to the end of our story, I would not want to leave you with the impression that Chris Marx is nuttier than the rulers of our countries, the leaders of our establishments, or, yes, the police.
Christoph Marx, like many another person who has been subjected to hardship, emerged in fine fettle and with excellent morale. Thanks to their uncertainty and the restraints imposed upon them, the Swiss police could not engage in the practices that about one hundred countries in the world, according to my rough count, found congenial, that is, the thorough breaking of the spirits of prisoners by beatings, tortures, kidnappings and threats to family members, brainwashing.
His friends were not of much help -- still, maybe the queries raised on his message receiver were: "Chris, this is Rudolf, I called, call me back, where is this that you promised, where is that...??" .."Christoph, this is Henry, I am calling about this, and that, why haven't you called back?" Hjalmar did not rest until he located him and wrote to him while he was in prison.
A dozen or so calls like this make the buggers realize that some kind of a circle of acquaintances is waiting out there for a reply and are going to ask here and there where is Marx and why is he not responding. So they can only bury the man for a limited amount of time, or so one may think. I am not so sure. The tactic works on occasion, as when employed by members of Amnesty International writing to political prisoners, their families, and their governments, wherever they are held in the world.
Better Switzerland than Lebanon, say. The Muslim factions there are deadly to their prisoners. While Casey wheeled and dealed and the Swiss police badgered Marx, first one then another American was snatched in Beirut.
One was the local C.I.A. Chief William Buckley, grabbed in 1984, tortured to confess whatever he knew, and dead of the effects a year later.
The U.S. Government was last heard of trying to buy back his confession (with deadly weapons, of course). Why? To figure out what personnel had to be moved around and what procedures had to be changed.
Little is learned through such experiences. I hear over my radio (a harmless, non-transmitting, non-codable and not for secrets SONY) that Colonel William Higgins has been seized shortly after arriving in Beirut, and is presumably reciting a brain-case full of National Security Secrets, for he was close to the heart of U.S. top secrets relating to the Middle East.
Sure enough, a week later, he is on video, asking for concessions for his captors and blaming President Reagan for "crimes against the oppressed people in the Region."
When asked about the matter, the President said, "Someone would have a hard time getting secrets that would harm this country from a person of this kind."
That's beautiful! The guy is obviously singing, and the Prexy is claiming that he hadn't learned any worthwhile songs.
Or was Reagan saying that his spirit could not be broken. One never knows quite what he is trying to get across. As my Mom used to say, "You can never tell about people."
Nor will an analogy with the Soviets (until Gorbachev?), with the Argentine junta, the Franco Spaniards, the Salazar Portuguese, the South Africans, the Vietnamese, and so on, apply here: Switzerland is not any of these. Otherwise it would not be a country full of spies.
In all of these countries the relatives and friends are much more agitated than those of Marx. They try every imaginable means of relieving the plight of the prisoner. Not so with regard to Marx. Now what is the moral?
Is it some absurdity? Such as that, in a country where your family and friends love you and will do anything for you, they will be able to do least and you will be lucky to get out with your skin and half a mind?
Is it that, in a country where your friends and family hardly give a damn, you will be needled and argued with and lectured and fed and housed comfortably, and then released, thinner and wiser, and not much the worse for wear?
No, this does not make the difference, but represents only a queer perspective coming from the news media. The difference is a republican constitution, democracy, government by the people for the people and of the people (in whatever order you please), a constitutional whatever, a separation of powers, a government by consent of the government, a government of voters, a government where the electorate can speak, a government with opposition parties, a country which is afflicted with all kinds of pressure groups, a nation with freedom of the press, rule by public opinion, respect for the bill of rights, constitutional guarantees, freedom of opportunity, the voice of the people, vox populi, senatus populusque romani, sweet land of liberty, liberté, égalité, fraternité, the right to petition and to freely assemble (or to assemble freely, depending upon whether you want to split an infinitive and you have that right also in this country for it is a democracy).
So Christoph is back among the living, thanks to Swiss democracy that has learned since the Oath of Rütli of 1291 (or did it begin five thousand years ago with the lake dwellers in their stilted houses?) to use the gods for purposes of good as well as evil governance, saying,
Hey, you up there, you are quite right! We are naughty. You will do your best to damn us. That's your business, to be gods, to offer us the trap of Venus, two-faced, indulgent and penitential. We understand, you are carrying your bag. But we are carrying our bag, and we have taken thousands of years to carry it this distance, for it is heavy, though small, no more than a few cubic centimeters of brain-weight, yet heavy, still we can carry it now.
That is, the Swiss have gone at least one long mile toward freedom from the primeval gods.
Or, were they on these occasions merely reinventing their declarations of independence that they had repeatedly tried to live with and just as often had failed because of their damnable schizoid natures that they had possessed since the beginning of time (their time)? That is, is all progress an illusion, or merely tentative?
This introduction of limits to the Divine Succession of Venus is useful -- that is, we need to be reminded of the several basic rights under the Swiss Constitution, the International Charter of Human Rights, the United States and other constitutional statements of rights (for comparative purposes), the UN charter, and all those wonderful persecuted philosophers out of history, and countless thousands of unsung heroes of history.
They are background to what is more appropriately encouraging, actions in the immediate case. There springs up from the Swiss Earth a welcoming committee -- of a peculiar kind, to be sure, but none the less genuine. And in keeping with the Swiss character.
Meekly one Christoph Marx steps forth, thin, fit, spirited, mild of manner as ever, soft of voice, laughs slightly when the word "authorities" is spoken, ready to repeat what he has been saying, 95% of it, before. And there is a Swiss world ready to receive him: no parades, no loud cheering, no mob gatherings at which he declaims and the numerous parties of Switzerland in the Opposition exclaim and visiting Party members from East and West Europe come to denounce.
Nothing. He is given useful employment. A most valuable ingredient of caring. "Dear Alex," he writes:
Since the summer holidays (he hasn't even changed his expression for what must have been the most wrenching period of his life) I have already given two EDP (Electronic Data Processing) courses for word processing in the Paracelsus Institut,... I am continuing these courses during the winter, and there is a good chance I can organize a special week's course on the Reconstruction (Here is he, back at the old banana stand!) in October 1988, preceded, I hope, by a course on it during the summer semester. If I'm successful, I have it in mind to ask you taking part in the program to the extent of perhaps at least half a day, if it can be done in French (please see below, my letter to Hjalmar).
And he sends me his course proposals and announcements as if he were a young professor at Vassar College hoping to achieve an appointment at Yale.
His first course is "Catastrophe Science" and in it he proposes to teach about the disasters that have overcome nature and civilizations in ancient times. The second course is called "What is driving the world toward suicide?" I have commented sufficiently on his views on these subjects to give you a "C" grade in both courses without further ado.
The readings are interesting, I must say, for they include not only my own books but those of other friends on the reconstruction of natural and human history: Velikovsky, von Brentano, Marx himself, and a young German physicist from Berlin, Glas. So he is off to a good start with lectures on his favorite topics.
That is not all. He informs me that he is definitely keeping PAF (The Academic Freedom Forum) alive and is not accepting von Brentano's invitation to step down until cleared from the Society for the Reconstruction of Natural and Human History (GRMNG). And to show his vigor in this area, he circulates once more a list of the books and periodicals in the field of Quantavolution that makes him, by default in part to be sure, the biggest publisher of such works on the European continent (The American counterparts being the Corliss Sourcebook Project in Maryland, Kronos Magazine in Pennsylvania, and Metron Publications in Princeton, with the British carrying on with the Society for Interdisciplinary Studies and a couple of new groups.)
He divides his scorn between the Federal police and the Germans of the Reconstruction Society. Drs. Hjalmar von Brentano and Stefan Willig have announced on February 2 a meeting to be held in Munich on 17 March at 1700 hours. They provide an elaborate agenda.
However, then they argue that the Society is a failure. They say that it has garnered too few members (actually over fifty, not bad for a special group, and its treasury holds about $1000, -- any surplus is a positive sign). They assert that the Society has not been able to originate enough activities. They also cite internal quarrels that use up energies unnecessarily. These are common problems, I must say.
Still, von Brentano was probably correct in his estimate, even two years earlier, that the costs of the conflicts engendered by a formal society outweighed its benefits. The proposal to dissolve was repeatedly offered and voted down. But here was a personal threat to one and all.
They now determine to dissolve the Society. The true reason for so drastic an action is that Marx remains a member. They feel that the Society will be forever tainted. Marx tells me this. He laughs. I tell him that it is true. He stops laughing.
Then, I add, so what? The Richelieu corollary. If they shut down, it will be only on their say-so that the action was intended as a blow against Soviet espionage. Clever counter-espionage agents will see in the action a typical Red trick; its usefulness gone (see its confessed record of non-activity), they shut it down; but soon enough they will be doing business at another stand.
The February 2, 1988 GRMNG Bulletin of the Gesellschaft für die Rekonstruktion der Menschheits- und Naturgeschichte ends with a surprising directive to its members: that they ignore absolutely the call for the meeting, and do not attend! The two-thirds of membership quorum will never arrive for the funeral ceremony. Instead the members are asked to await another call for a special meeting.
What is going on? Simple, as only the most convoluted affairs and the most maddening legalisms are. The Law provides for various membership quorums, percentages, members present, members paid up-to-date, members on the lists but absent, special votes for regular meetings, special meetings, dissolution, resolutions, absolutions, non-solutions, solutions, dissolutions, revolutions, quantavolutions... In other words, the purgationists, following the rites of the State and the Law and the Authorities and anticipating the Expected Responses of the Secret Polices, have educed this labyrinthine mode of purging Marx. By committing mass suicide! Shades of the Reverend Jones and the Guyana Cult of God! Look, fellows, the Germans are guilty, but not this guilty!
Imagine, if you can, a call to a meeting of your association with an elaborate program, accompanied on the same sheet of paper by a request that you not come to the meeting and that another rump meeting is intended in the future to break it all up!
"Es handelt sich um eine rein fiktive Versammlung! Kommen Sie bite nicht am 17.3." (Please do not come to the fictional meeting of March 17.)
No fair court would allow it!
I confess to be the type of person who believes that membership in associations can be used as a weapon, but not like this! I want all professional and scientific associations in the world to bar from membership any person who is associated in any way with the armament and military industries of the world, including all government personnel who are involved in armaments. (Sorry, dear buddies of mine, it's a matter of principle. But we'll all be soon together again in the never, never land.) Isn't this a ghastly way for an old soldier, an Officer and Gentleman, a Holder of Top Secrets, to end up?
We go back now to the first return of Marx.
The time is March 12, nearing the Spring equinox, and almost a year from his arrest. The place is Saint-Martian, France, right here, and there drive up, in a small Ford, Marx, a beauteous Zurichean named Ruth, and her son.
We eat and drink, and dispose ourselves for discussion. I ask myself, will he tell me truthfully everything that I do not know already, or is he to be not only his usual dissimulating character but also the kind of amiable communist professional that I have known in years past? That is, will he trifle with the truth, perjure himself, stretch the truth, exaggerate, invent, lie in his teeth, just lie straightaway and totally, make up, falsify, distort, dissemble, garble facts, tamper with the truth, simulate, disguise, feign, sham, prevaricate, beat about the bush, pretend, equivocate, fake, forge, fabricate, rig up, trump up, concoct, fantasize, deceive, mislead distort, cover up, and lead me up the garden path?
Or some or all of these? You recall what I told you in the last chapter! I am now fully armored with mistrust.
Not at all! Or is my armor leaking like a sieve? What did my Mother tell me when I was a little boy and she came home with a package and I said, "What's in the bag, Ma?"
"Ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies."
Marx tells the story just as I have reconstructed it in all that I have told you before now. He lends a little force here, a stress there, now a new fact, then a small negation. Hardly worth the recounting.
I do ask questions, very many, viz.:
Q. What was the most important and damaging thing that you gave to the Russians?
A. It wasn't damaging. It was Collective Amnesia, compulsive repetition.
Q. Come on! A one-way deal?
A. It's true!
Q. What did the Russians think they were getting?
A. I have no idea!
Q. How did you make money on them? Did you overcharge for things?
A. No, I charged them normal market prices.
Q. Did you have any trouble in collecting? How did they pay you? A. In cash.
A. I don't know. The Police asked that too.
Q. They didn't want a record maybe? Still..
A. The Russians have funny ways. Maybe they are afraid of banks, they lost a lot of money in their Swiss bank, you know, 600 million Swiss francs!......
Q. How many times did you meet with Leonidov?
A. About ten times.
Q. Is there anything that you were glad not to have to tell the Police?
Q. Do you regret that you got into the business at all?
A. No. I found my experience valuable. It made a clean-cut break in my life. My divorce came through three days before my arrest, my business was wiped out and off my back...
Marx finds the actions of the German Members "Incredible!"
They are completely out of their minds, and it's all because of this espionage business, though they don't even say so. Hjalmar told me that the members don't want to belong to an organization that is Russian. Isn't it a crazy thing?
Hjalmar prides himself on careful phraseology. His version would read, "...Hjalmar told me that the members feel uncomfortable to belong to an organization our secret service associates with the KGB..."
He exclaims, "I won't allow this sort of thing!" And, sure enough. Who do you think shows up at the appointed hour of the appointed day for the meeting in Germany at Willig's house? The meeting that Members were told not to attend? Right the first time! Christoph Marx.
He rings the bell. No reply. Again and again. No response. He prepares and conducts a meeting by himself, writes up the minutes, and departs, all in the foyer. He sends the minutes to the members.
Willig is dismayed, and writes an extensive account in reply, claiming that he was there and did not hear the bell, saying that another member was with him, and then discoursing upon a broad set of topics.
Did Marx ring the bell? If he had done so, he would perhaps have found two opponents present, and would have been voted down 2 to 1 in a meeting that his presence would have legalized.
It would be a long time before the GRMNG could be dissolved, I felt sure.
Germans, I exaggerated, are so organizable that they find it most difficult to dis-organize themselves, even if that is what they most want. I imagined many tortuous discussions going on among the leaders concerning how they can most efficiently, legally, disband their little group.
But no. I was wrong. I had omitted "Teutonic Will-power" from my calculus. Unanimously, GRMNG voted its own dissolution! Marx had to quit his tactics. Von Brentano tells me, "The members managed the very un-german step to transform themselves into a loose affiliation with each former member provided with a full list of addresses. This was also sent to Marx. He is invited to submit papers to the Bulletin which is kept alive and may easily organize meetings for the others to join."
Meanwhile, just as exquisitely tortuous a route, but to the opposite end, is being taken in England, where the same-sized aggregate of the same ilk of Cosmic Heretics are trying hopelessly to Organize themselves. So I hear from their former President Brian Moore, who is exhausted after a decade of leadership, catch-as-catch-can, culminating in the editorial petrification of his protégé, Peter James, and writes me just when, as it happens, news from the Germans are reaching me.
In England, there are now three and perhaps soon there will be four fragments of what was upon its founding a decade ago a compact British Society for Interdisciplinary Studies. This still exists, but so, too, do the Institute of Interdisciplinary Sciences and the Group for Studies in Ancient Chronology, and the several groups have been playing musical chairs at a dizzying cacophonic prestissimo.
I blush to recount what all of these old friends and associates say about one another and to one another. And I shall be embarrassed to recount how their tunes will have changed in the years to come.
Here is one cherishable item: I have just received from two of the groups identical sets of papers, composed and published separately, beautifully done, important documents moving toward the elimination of the absurd period of five hundred years of "Dark Ages" that scholars stuck some time ago into ancient history and have not been able to let go of. Both groups impoverished themselves for this duplicate performance.
But meanwhile, the English have been irritatingly and irritably constipated at excreting this particular load and also a pile of other excellent material that has backed up in them. Months stretch into years.
Americans being composed about one-fourth of British descendants and one-fourth of Teutons, we are, of course, quite able to organize and de-organize ourselves as the situation demands.
Now, if you believe this, you will believe anything! And your gullibility may be the fault of the other half of the population, that accomplishes many things by mirrors.
Seriously, I would recommend to the Germans that they send something like this to the Swiss authorities, with copies to their own favorite secret services:
My Dear Herr Prosecutor:
We the undersigned, formerly associated in various ways with Herr Christoph Marx of Basle, lately released from your custody, wish to inform you that we do not countenance any of his activities in relation to the Soviet Union and fully support you in your investigations of our co-founder, former acquaintance, and former colleague, and, if your investigations bear fruit, also in any trial that will result, and, if the trial results in his condemnation, also in any just punishment rendered him for espionage.
Signed: Wolfgang Hertzler, and 32 others
Chris, sitting now in my study, speaks to me exactly as he had in his letter, of his welcome back to the larger prison of society, of the old ladies who were thrilled by his experience, the customers who stopped calling because they simply figured that he had closed up, the burgers of Basle who could not care less what the Feds from Bern had been up to (reminding me of the moonshine confederationists of the South Carolina mountains -- but this in the most advanced of societies!), the educators who thought that a person of such apparent expert distinction should be put to work up-grading education in the computer age, and the University of Basel people who lent him some modicum of ideological support such as is taken for granted in the United States whenever a person has his rights entangled with the police power.
Larger ambitions drive him, as he had already described to me in a letter:
Quite important is our "Informatik" group's decision to go into telecommunication (already I have announced the first course for spring), and its recommendation to provide me with the job of being responsible for this whole area. It will provide me with everything I need to really get our database projects going. My endeavor is to prepare for an "open" Tele-University, with its Tele-Library in the form of full-text databases, as what you might call a Learner Based Knowledge Delivery System... Today, interactive TV conferencing (which mainly means training) by satellite is well established with the large corporations, all the equipment is available, and it is becoming cheaper by the month. Do you have comments and suggestions?
This is my reply:
Yes. All that you say is true. I have just proposed to McGraw Hill seven on-line systems including the Continuous Encyclopedia of Quantavolution. (And one on Crime and Famous Criminals, if you will pardon the phrase.) I do not know whether they will come up with the needed capital to collect and put on-line the materials and supply my collaborators with standardized computer facilities. You will have the same problems.
But, who knows, with your coming out of this smelling like a rose to many people, you may even get a subvention from the cantonal or federal educational systems. I wish I could say the same thing for my American foundations.
So Marx is on his way, and that is not all. He continues his broadcasts to friend and foe alike. Here he lectures a friend on a clutch of etyms, much in the manner of James Joyce. (Incidentally, apropos how far Ulysses will take a person, see my Disastrous Love Affair of Moon and Mars, which picks up Odysseus and flings him into outer space.)
Present "established" etymology, very much because it is "one of the oldest-established branches of linguistic science" (Lowery), must be watched with the same distrust we apply to other actualistically based theories (such as `Sothic dating' or the constructs of history). In fact, `scientific etymology' has so far digressed from real life (and that's where things happen and count) that it cannot tell us why `twilight of the gods' addresses (sounds like) `toilet of the guts'; why the etym `c(h)ryst' as in `crystal'and `christ'is used in terms such as `cristae' (=lip (or `wing'(!)) of the vulva), or `crissum' (=part between anus and vagina) and that therefore `crystal gazing' or the `blood of Christ' gain immensely in fascination, unveiling their true (sex) appeal;...
I say (opposed to Velikovsky and others) that memory of the catastrophes is not passed from one generation to the next as an inherited impression in the individual's brain; but that memory has been processed (so to say) into our languages from which it is read out again by the individual brain in patterns of instructions or knowledge on different levels, un- or consciously.
Ast(e)r is the leading etym, this etym will at once affect a branch in the 'listener's' (for a reader also `listens' to the words) memory organization to where such terms as Astronomy are stored, all in the final analysis linked to Astarte, the Venus deity, and her aspects.
Etyms are beloved by clever spies, and if Peter Wright, our oft-cited M15 officer, were called in on the case, he would suspect Marx immediately. For he gave over much energy and won a certain undercover fame (whatever that oxymoron means) for working on cryptonyms. The Soviets used a cryptonym system, called Venona and other names, which was partially broken: 1% of 200,000 messages in all were broken into by American, British and Australian decoders. This was enough to set off a wave of counter-espionage sentiment amounting to dyspionage in Joe McCarthy's years, for it revealed a large activity, many spies, many moles, many cruel immediate post-war measures taken by the Soviet government.
The cryptonym of J.B.S. Haldane was discovered, for example, to have been used when this eminent evolutionist and biologist was working at a submarine research station on deep-diving. (On cues from Harlow Shapley, Haldane took off after Velikovsky like a hound to a fox; extreme leftists were curiously inflamed by the cometary Venus theory - see my book on The Velikovsky Affair.) So both Soviet and Western spies, if they were well-"indoctrinated," i.e. were thoroughly instructed, could have known that communists and leftists were almost unanimously anti-Velikovsky and Dr.V. himself was staunchly anti-communist. Reds could have then hoped to find a C.I.A. code in his Venusian etyms.
After hearing Marx on etyms, even the multilingual Swiss authorities would no doubt find more sinister motives for his going to London and for attending conferences such as that of the Geological Society of London, but to me the reason was plain: the meeting of February 25-6, 1987 was given over to new theories of catastrophism.
Having dutifully attended, Marx prepares a letter of reproach to the experts addressing the group: Hallam, Halstead, Charig, and Boylan, who while dedicating their papers to the history of catastrophism and to a negative critique of the recent theories managed to not mention Velikovsky, Claude Schaeffer, and Alfred de Grazia, whose collected production in the field is many times more extensive than theirs.
The written comments of participants were specifically invited for publication in the Journal of the Society, along with the responses of the persons who had given papers. Marx's letter was not mentioned nor were the persons addressed by him encouraged to reply.
There is a complete blackout of all studies and theory coming from a considerable group of scholars. Their work is being slipped surreptitiously and piecemeal into the corpus of science, with a most narrow construction, devoid of all of the humanities and social science aspects and of much of the geological and astrophysical theory and evidence. Fact beyond cavil in quantavolution, many other fields too suffer from such pressures and censorship from their tribes; a round hundred of cases is detailed in an Australian anthology by Brian Martin and others.
In all of his work, I beg to stress, Marx has been persistent, often unclear, but never impolite. His ideas have proven nevertheless offensive to a number of academicians. I would not be surprised if one or more of his opponents in Switzerland had testified against him on some vague rounds of trickiness, unreliability and other qualities commonly associated with spies.
As a matter of fact, nobody could appear or be less foxy-seeming than a number of the most important spy personages of the age -- Burgess, Hiss, Pontecorvo, the Rosenbergs, Fuchs, Philby, etc. -- all of these implicated in crimes considered, at least then, more serious than those in which Marx was alleged to have involved himself. (Kim Philby, by the way, turns out not to have been involved in the so-called Red Cell of Cambridge University in the 1930's and there was no such cell, this idea of a ring or cell being a favorite of spy-chasers, as we have seen in the Marx case. The other star spies of the press, such as Anthony Blunt and Guy Burgess were likewise separately recruited. Philby was our finest example of the Venus Spy-Trap, all ways, for he was commiesextivated by beauteous Litzi Kholman while visiting Vienna long ago.)
Switzerland, and for that matter any other country, is not so rich in intellectual, moral, and scientific (especially scientific) gadflies that it can unleash its police to chase them about and slap them down. I think, whatever additional elements must be let to enter our consideration, that Marx is a useful citizen, performing these types of work just described that few others have the knowledge and will to take upon themselves.
Further it would appear that if he keeps up this dizzy pace he would have very little time for criminal activity, if indeed he ever did have time for it. He is not a political type; he is not dangerous in this conventional sense of espionage and politics. The kind of danger he presents is quite beyond the understanding of the police anywhere in the world -- except that they have a generic fear and distrust of anyone purporting to make his way in the world by thinking.
The great danger comes from persons like myself who am urging Marx to express his talents on cunning new projects, such as the injection of computer viruses into weapons systems. What?... Yes.
It is well-known now that computers coordinate, target and fire the more deadly of weapons. I have mentioned before that the Soviet computers of American origin (and perhaps others of Japanese manufacture) are suspected of being bugged in some, if not all instances, with programs instructing them to balk, delete, or self-destruct upon receiving the order to fire off harmful objects of a certain class. It may be suspected that the Soviets have obtained access to some American computers so that these have accepted similar programs.
An example approaching this has just been published, certainly without intending to give away the potential we speak of. A Dutchman, Eddy Haak, has just been arrested. "He has, say the police, been taped to describe shipping ten computers out of the USA this year and 100 over the past decade. He specialized in complex routing of his purchases into the Redlands. The U.S. Customs Service got into the business and with Eddy, their buddy, shipped a $50,000 computer to Bulgaria.. which we had altered lightly so as to render it useless... But to them the computer looked fine and gave them confidence that we could deliver."
One reason for the insane over-production of nuclear warheads is the fear that a large number may not fire, for various reasons, including that just stated. Recall that fifty nukes are more than enough to decommission a super-power and make its response with a similar volley useless except as revenge.
What might be otherwise welcome, that is, the programmed failure of nuclear and large conventional fusillades, cannot keep up with their numbers, that range well into the thousands now. Does, then, the possibility of a Computer Plague Plan and Plot offer more secure ingress to the full batteries of weapons systems? Can so deadly a Computer Virus be concocted that counter-measures will become practically impossible, whether because of the expense or because of lack of technical feasibility?
Unlike the single computer Fire-Stop program, the Computer Fail-Fire Virus is programmed to breed, to move naturally or by programmed means into other computers. The possibilities exist.
A thirty-word message was programmed by the staff of the computer hobby magazine MacMag, and I print its contents here because significantly it deals with world peace:
Richard Brandow, publisher of MacMag magazine, and its entire staff would like to take this opportunity to convey their universal message of peace to all Macintosh (computer) users around the world.
The program was fixed to read a Macintosh internal clock and print a message on Macintosh screens on the anniversary date, March 2, 1988, of Macintosh II, and then to destroy itself. The rogue program infected several hundred thousand Macintosh computers around the world in a few days. Since it was self-deleting after the March 2 date, the effect was limited, but a number of operating systems and memories and works in progress were reported to have suffered damage.
And nota bene: good guys can get in trouble, too!
With indefinite time to infect and no order to self- destruct, a Computer Virus can spread with the greatest speed and scope. The Virus can be despatched into a network system by modem over a telephone and spread into the operating systems of the networks and into computers of all types used by customers of the networks and from them to other computers with which they may be in contact, say in a company system with hundreds of computers. The dangers in airport control towers, railroad traffic guidance, naval fleet navigation and firing systems, tank fleets, diplomatic communication systems, computerized telephone networks, and the like are so great as to be presently unimaginable, like nuclear war itself.
Under these conditions, I am not at all cheerful about the partnership that I am proposing to Marx. He might wander off the track, on to some untested unagreed-upon scheme of his own. What is involved is this:
A computer program is to be written instructing all military weapons systems computers and those computers with which they communicate (such as those of the Kremlin and the White House) to Delete vital Memory and Operating instructions, and to Ignore all Commands in the Chain of Firing. Actually these would be three separate and independently operating viruses. The total program might not require more than a hundred bits (signs), about as many as in the term "Fail-Fire-Virus," and a microsecond to transmit.
Every computer in the military system is theoretically open to every other computer (a veritable chain of command). A virus can enter at any one of hundreds of thousands of points.
The transmission time for the Plague to reach its utmost limits, that is, all operating systems in all computers, would be brief. It could affect hundreds in a few minutes, thousands in a day, tens of thousands over a week-end, and the total system shortly thereafter. As with biological epidemics, the mathematics of diffusion are exponential, logarithmic.
The stage of my thought at present is to delineate the program (actually two programs: Soviet and American) and the mode of transmission first. We can call the one to be used by the Soviet Union on the American computers the "Beluga Flu," and the one to be used by the Americans on the Soviet systems can be called the "Yankee Grippe" (La Grippe Americaine).
We might at first try writing a Fail-Fire-Viral Program for all explosive command computers, conventional missile artillery as well as nuclear bombs. This effort would be more ambitious, but it would prevent the generals from defaulting from nukes to cannon when the first misfire.
Unlike biological viruses, the Computer Virus can be transformed with ease. I should say "with greater ease," for my young friend, Dr. Kumud Shah, has shown in her study of a Bombay Hospital that anti-biotics are negatived very quickly, even in the single medical patient, by mutant strains, to which other anti-biotics must be applied, only to be negatived themselves in a while.
Programs can be altered or totally rewritten by hand, or by computer according to pre-set rules, or by artificial intelligence.
The Yankee Grippe, for instance, could have a primary three forms, and then be rewritten into a hundred different forms by rule; then, in the final analysis, a program can be written to tell a computer how to dissemble and write an original format, one format after another if necessary, all intended to have the same destructive effects on the receiving systems, and how to try them out until one particular program catches hold. In an effort to break through, to execute the mission, the new programs can be initiated, written and tested several times a second, the speed at which an early Gatling Gun fired.
In the last analysis and in all cases, the command to fire must be given just as it has always been given: "Ready! Aim! Fire!"
This is the decision -- to fire -- and hence Maxim #25: "All Decisions are Fundamentally Alike."
Every armed missile's computer master must give this command only once and otherwise must be able to distinguish phoney and testing commands. But the virus needs to work only once.
What I am saying, too, is that there is no way of getting a computer to discharge itself of all of its viruses, once infected. It resembles the human body, that retains its bacterial and viral foes forever when recovered from them or vaccinated by them against themselves.
No matter how the decision process is rigged it has to go through all phases of the decision and end with a really real fire order. This could be the Venus Spy-Trap of the missile age.
After what I have already advanced in this story, there should remain little doubt in your mind about the unreliability of the mass of people when it comes to handling secrets. There are bound to be actual spies among them; more usefully, there are likely to be two or three potentially or actually disloyal, disgruntled, diabolic, ideologically disenchanted, peacenik, greenish, indignant, frightened, rational, far-seeing, world-loyal, martyrian characters in every hundred persons who have access to one or more computers that can communicate the Yankee Grippe or the Beluga Flu.
What more does one need? If we are assuming just a hundred thousand computers for estimating purposes, we are talking about several thousand high risk characters, who have already been screened, rescreened, given lie detector tests, and interviewed periodically by psychiatrists in the service of the military, and designated as the most loyal of the loyal citizenry.
I would not dare to suggest any virus programming, for it must occur to various Kalotic Computer Intruders in various countries -- Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Mexico, Japan, Italy, Holland, Israel, Sweden, and of course, Switzerland -- that spreading The Yankee Grippe and The Beluga Flu would certainly be considered as sabotage, if not treason and espionage (for lack of a specified sponsor and beneficiary) and, if caught, you would not get out of jail for years. That is a high price for one person to pay for trying to save the world. So I do not recommend it.
It can be well imagined that once thousands of persons get to working on the problem simultaneously, in their spare time, or on company time, the governments will become confused and torn apart in trying to suppress and censor the work.
The Financial Times of London's Software Markets magazine claims that the hardware of computers is receding in importance relative to the software; the great competition now is in programming. The largest Soviet, American, Japanese and world talents generally are going into software composition. The military of several nations will shortly put their best available brains to work on Computer Virus Warfare, seeking to write annihilating programs and to devise techniques for disseminating them among their opponents' computer systems.
A smidgin of suspicion that a virus has entered the system -- and there will be all kinds of expert nuts claiming to have done so before long -- nut? nut? who knows? -- will cost hundreds of millions of dollars of counter-espionage and alternative measures. If things get bad enough with our computers, we'll have to wheel into action the old French 75's from the county courthouse lawns around America.
Worse is to come! Once more I revert to artificial intelligence and so-called expert systems, about which, you may recall, I expressed a basic scepticism. What I say now is more limited than the human intelligence at work, but is nonetheless stunning to contemplate: We can write programs that teach a computer how to prepare by itself programs to derange its counterparts and to detect the conditions for activating its career as an author of such programs.
The newly written programs are screening-proof and have to be caught in the last stages of firing, but, note well, in any countdown lasting more than a few seconds before firing, the computer with the Beluga Flu or Yankee Grippe has enough time to compose and execute several original programs, and possibly actuate one. Meanwhile, the check list of possible remedies whenever a firing process is interrupted includes many steps to be performed automatically and mechanically before the firing command can be resumed, if at all.
The greatest defense against the Virus, mock tests that are not intended to finally fire but to expose the Virus, will not guarantee that the Sick Computer is incapable of perceiving the final elements of the true firing conditions and of composing and executing its countervention.
Even if I decline to go ahead with this project on such spurious grounds as advanced age, and Marx, too, disclaims it, I think that it may be helpful to publish it in skeletal form. It may be taken as a threat to the governments involved in high-technology weapons systems. So be it.
It may suggest certain glamorous avenues of achievement still open to young people who otherwise will believe that every worthwhile invention has already been achieved.
It will warn of a lifetime in the shadow of secret service surveillance.
As of now, I regret to announce, Christoph Marx has not yet come aboard.
What do you think?
It won't work.
Are you sure?
They are too well guarded. You can't get into the systems.
I see. As impregnable as the Maginot Line... Too bad.
It's lucky, I suppose, that only a person such as I, so deficient in computer savvy as to resent the illiteracy of MS-DOS, could believe that the military computer systems could suffer a collapse from the plague. "Relax, boys and girls of the 3-P's. Your kids, too, will have a good chance to acquire Chernobyl Goiters."
Now I return home to America. And it happens. On September 20 a computer programmer is given a stiff sentence for having worked off his disgruntlement over his former employer by running his payroll with a virus from afar. Sinister undertone: the computer virus is being taken seriously.
September 26. Time magazine publishes a huge essay: "Invasion of the Data Snatchers." "At last count, more than 25 viral strains had been isolated, and new ones are emerging nearly every week. Some are `benign.' (nothing is benign that makes work for you.) Some are a `nuisance.' `But some seem bent on destroying valuable data.' `Safe computing practices' have become the vogue. Computer security companies work around the clocks. Their effect is uncertain, their measures possibly inadequate.
A virus initiated in a software program sold in a shop of Lahore, Pakistan, descripted or erased data at over 100,000 personal computers in the USA. Many bulletin-board systems have suffered. Time magazine, significantly to me just back from Switzerland, ignores the military side. It wavers between the attitude, "We'll stop it!" and "We can't stop it!"
I did not have long to wait. On Wednesday November 2, 1988 at 2100 hours, the first large virus epidemic struck. Within a day or two, some 6,000 to 50,000 computers are estimated to have been affected by a 47,000 byte program infiltrated through a flaw in a message sending program into a computer where it hid in the memory and there created a program telling its next victim to bring in other programs, and to spread the message. Then it dances in place, taking up more and more memory by repeating itself.
Major networks connecting the great Universities of the nation, the Defense Department and numerous bases, major corporations, and countless minor systems were affected. Everybody thanked their lucky stars that the virus only took up empty memory-space while duplicating itself and slowed down work processes. It did not destroy or mutilate memories.
It is widely reputed to be the work of a "bored" graduate student at Cornell University out of Harvard, predictably son of a distinguished expert on computer security for America's top secret National Security Agency, Robert T. Morris. But, as my One World Government pal, Tom Liggett said in his World Peace News, there are a lot of people around who are bored with the whole world.
The F.B.I. entered the picture. Obviously a federal case, interstate; a Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 might apply. But think of the defense of Mr. Morris: damages, yes, many millions of dollars from a bankrupt graduate student? Crime, what crime, intrusion, trespassing, malicious mischief, whatever? Whatever happens to Mr. Morris is irrelevant to the major point: the Vulnerability of the Computer Society.
Hardly had the New York Times headlined "`Virus' in Military Computers Disrupts Systems Nationwide!" when the Defense Department prompted another headline, "`Virus' Eliminated, Defense Aides Say!" And the subcaption: "Crucial Computer Networks Said to Be Impenetrable." What else could they say. "We believe we have sufficient safeguards" to foil saboteurs of classified data banks, says the Director of the Agency that sponsors ARPANET, the principal affected network. "The network is immune to any further problem," a spokesman says.
But the usual "keep-my-name-secret" experts denied the confident assertions. A former security official, and not this author, says: "I think it's symptomatic of the terrible vulnerability that exists in linked computer systems. It's true that if you have a stand-alone computer that is in a copper-lined room, you can protect it. But if it's linked, you run the risk of penetration."
Who says "link" says "Danger." Or "Hope." It depends upon your point of view, as I've indicated.
Two weeks later, another hacker intruded through a flaw in the system.
Two weeks after that a third intruder invited himself from a network out there somewhere into a "low-level security" system at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, one of the USA's two centers for the design, manufacture and testing of nuclear weapons. Officials appealed publicly for him (or her) to talk reasonably and "tell us what he wants." Hah! It's the same system that was called "safe now" by the Defense Department a month earlier. The intruder wasn't talking.
A wise remark came from John Markoff of the Times earlier on:
The trouble caused by a rogue program in national computer networks last week highlights increasing friction between the eccentric wizards who design and maintain these systems and a society that depends on the machines to run everything from banks to hospitals to military forces.
A caption in Le Monde a short time later declared, "from the bombs to the virus, the arsenal of the pirates becomes more and more ample and sophisticated." The virus that takes effect as soon as it attacks a new organism culminates in the virus that is a "Trojan Horse," which waits for the designated moment to do its job, refusing a fire command or disarming a missile or, worse yet, exploding the family of its host.
We, us little boys that is, used to argue with each other, sitting on the steps of a Chicago house and drinking lemonade, "What happens when an irresistible force meets an unmovable body?"
Something of this ilk is afoot today.
Without mention of the crises of the month before, on December 29, our same John Markoff presents a lengthy article, resplendent with a map, describing the imposing alliance of pressure groups and government agencies who are behind a proposed "data superhighway" that will put "a Supercomputer in Every Pot," as the NYT headline reads. With this, every computer big and small, can "handshake," as slang puts it, every other computer in the country. And afterwards, to paraphrase the old Nazi slogan, "Heute Amerika, Morgen die Ganze Welt!"
We want to eliminate distance as a factor, says Robert Habor, one of its enthusiasts. "We need a project of the scale of a National Highway Project (of the 1950's) for computer information." Get rid of all the bottlenecks to instant communication. The computer-data superhighway "would consist od a high-speed fiber-optic data network joining dozens of supercomputers at national laboratories."
Everything envelops electronics; even "smart skins, which embed sensors and systems in aircraft skin." And the electronics pass through the computer. And the computer can be discombobulated.
Here I give you six programs that constitute a so-called "Balanced technology Initiative," supporting conventional forces. Electronics are crucial to all of them, and electronics means computers, with their susceptibility to interference and virus. Aviation Week & Space Technology Magazine gives us our list of toys:
1 Smart weapons including advanced sensors and seekers, autonomous guidance systems, and autonomous target recognition systems.
2 Reconnaissance, surveillance, targeting and acquisition (RSTA) and battle management command, control and communication systems.
3 Armor/antiarmor programs.
4 High-power microwave research, to understand effects for possible weapons use and to protect U.S. systems.
5 Special technology opportunities, which is a catch-all category including fuel-air-explosives, cruise missiles and other advanced technologies.
6 Command, control, communication and intelligence (C3I).
Thus, as all comes together, all is vulnerable to the Silicon Bullet, the new irresistible force. Not one, several, not several, a number. How many is obviously an improper question. On June 3, 1980, a computer screen rash resulted in a full alert and counterattack readiness against the USSR and a semi-final Threat Assessment Conference before the General Command to Fire is given. Contradictory assessments from other screens elsewhere weighed against the indications. The blips disappeared. The alert was canceled. According to John Hersey, a flawed 46-cent integrated-circuit chip in a communications multiplexer had malfunctioned to almost cause a nuclear war.
Now, every experience of a virus reinforces the possibility of a deadlier virus being interjected into weapons systems, by the principle of the self-fulfilling prophecy. Every would-be wizard of peace or war will want his or her will to win the world or wreck it.
The Maginot Line, yes.