Corporations are ‘cooperations.’ they represent people cooperating. People can cooperate on anything they want to do. Some people want to take steps to bring the people of the world together. They want to reduce the stresses that lead to war. They want to take steps to ease environmental problems. They want to unify people. People who have common goals can cooperate on anything they want.
Soon after the newly empowered corporations came to exist, people started to use them to help do things to make the world a better place.
If we rate corporations by number of employees, man-hours worked, and international presence, the largest corporation in existence as I write this is not one of the massive destroyers or weapons companies. It is the largest humanitarian organization in the world: The International Red Cross and Geneva Convention.
This organization was formed long before anyone now alive was born. It has the largest lobbying system in the world, with lobbies in 196 nations – meaning all official nations. The Red Cross has 98 million workers, including employees and volunteers, who work either for the international corporation, or for one of 196 separate national corporations, one for each official nation on Earth. It takes full advantage of all of the special privileges granted to corporations in the early 1800s, and could not exist or operate as it does now if the corporate structures that Washington, Jefferson, and Adams, and the other corporate benefactors had not given corporations the rights they gave to them.
The International Red Cross (IRC), in collaboration along with its national ‘chapters,’ has an agenda. It uses all of the tools and powers it has at its disposal to advance this agenda. One of its agendas involves something called the ‘Geneva Convention.’ This document puts limits on the things national armies and governments can do during wartime and requires them to respect certain rights. Of course, governments don’t want limits on their ability to act during war and don’t want outside agencies to have the ability to force them to respect human rights. The IRC has used its massive lobbying administration, the largest on the Earth, together with ‘grassroots’ pressure generated by its lobbies, to get all 196 nations to ratify the first protocol, and is lobbying hard for even more restrictions on acts of war and additional protections for human rights.
The IRC is not unique. There are literally thousands of other corporations that are non-governmental humanitarian organizations (either ‘NGHOs’ or just ‘NGOs’).
These corporations do things that governments claim to do but generally don’t really do; they help people.
The IRC does some wonderful work. It has saved my life and saved the lives of many people I know (this is described below) and brought about real changes in many areas of society.
But it does not do what it was intended to do when it was originally formed.
Its founder, Henri Dunant, had a far wider agenda in mind for the organization he created: he wanted to bring the entire human race together into something that we might call a ‘community of humankind.’ This community would bring together the people of the world and give them a forum, a voice, and real power (due to control over wealth) that was entirely separate from the governments of the world.
He didn’t want to wait for wars to happen and then bury the dead, patch up the survivors, and get care packages to prisoners of war. He wanted to create an organization that the human race could use to transfer power from the nations of the world to the people of the world, thereby reducing and ultimately eliminating the idea of ‘sovereign nations,’ and eliminating the most important structural forces that actually lead to war.
This almost worked. It didn’t quite work, for reasons discussed below, and the changes that Dunant had in mind didn’t become reality. But if we understand what he was trying to do and the specific reasons that it didn’t become reality, we can take advantage of this information to make a second attempt. Sometimes, people fail at the first attempt at something. That doesn’t mean they should just give up and never try again. The world has changed a great deal since Dunant’s attempt. We, the members of the human race and inhabitants of the planet Earth, have incredible new tools that he did not have. If we use these tools, take advantage of the information we have about others who tried to do the same thing (Dunant was trying to do the same basic thing that Alexander the Great was trying to do, just using different tools at a different time) we can put together a package that has a very good chance at succeeding.
Memories of Solferino
In June of 1859, Henri Dunant, a French merchant, was traveling through Italy to meet with Napoleon III, the Emperor of France. Dunant had a mercantile reason for the trip: after France conquered Algeria in 1847, the French government began selling land in Algeria to raise money for wars in other areas. Dunant had purchased some of this land. The Algerian authorities accepted that he owned the land, but they had refused to accept that he owned a critical right that his title granted: the water rights.
Algeria was an occupied territory.
Under accepted rules of warfare, Algerian authorities were required to follow the rules of the occupying nation and give Dunant all of the rights he had purchased. To refuse was an act of defiance against the occupiers and an act of war. The Algerian authorities would not let Dunant have the water rights. After exhausting all administrative avenues, Dunant sued the Algerian officials in French courts. The courts agreed he had the rights, but they didn’t have any authority to enforce the ruling, because Algeria was a foreign country. Only the military could enforce the ruling. Dunant took his case to several military officials, but they didn’t have enough troops to help him. Dunant was told that, if he could get the commander in chief to authorize more troops, he would get his water rights. He would have to convince Napoleon to help him.
Napoleon was not in France at the time. He was leading his military in a war against Austria. The battlefield was northern Italy. Dunant traveled directly to the battlefield. He arrived at the village of Solferino, Italy on June 24, 1859. The armies had just fought a battle there and, when the Austrian army retreated, the French army followed them, leaving the dead and wounded soldiers on both sides, together with a large number of dead and wounded civilians, to rot and bake in the hot summer sun.
This event changed Dunant’s perspective and his mission in life.
He felt he had to do something about the horrible consequences of war and decided to create an organization to do something about it. Here are some excerpts from Dunant’s book about the experience:
Dunant’s description of the horrors of the battlefield and the heroic efforts the volunteers around him mounted to try to ease the pain of the wounded goes on for many pages.
Then he gets to his point:
He talks about his idea, the idea of forming an organization that would eventually become the largest corporation the world had ever seen, with offices in every nation of the world and more employees than most nations have people:
The International Red Cross and Geneva Convention
Dunant had lived in Geneva, Switzerland earlier in his life and knew people there. He decided to promote his idea in Geneva. There, he met a wealthy businessman and philanthropist named Gustave Moynier. Moynier was interested in the project and they decided to join forces to try to make the ‘society’ that Dunant advocated a reality.
Moynier had a team of attorneys on retainer. They needed a ‘vessel’ to hold this new ‘society’ they were creating, and the lawyers created a corporation that was eventually named ‘The International Red Cross and Geneva Convention.’
They incorporated this organization in 1863.
It was one of the ‘privileged’ corporations, existing under the new rules that Washington, Jefferson, and Adams had created in the Western Hemisphere, which had quickly spread to the Eastern Hemisphere. This means it had no termination date on its charter and was designed to last for as long as the founders wanted it to last (which was forever). Over the years, the Geneva office has formed corporations in 185 nations of the world and is now a collection of 186 corporations, one in each of the 185 nations of the world and the holding company that owns the 185 national companies and is headquartered in Geneva. The company’s website says it has about 98 million employees, many of whom work for the company as volunteers. For references, this is far more than any army in the world has, far more than any national government in the world has, and far more than any private for-profit company in the world has working for them. Based on its public figures, the Red Cross is the largest organization of any kind on the planet Earth.
What is its mission?
This is from the corporation’s website:
A large percentage of the world’s ‘privileged’ corporations have lobbying arms designed to manipulate legislation to their benefit. The Red Cross is no exception. It wants certain things and actively lobbies for its policies. One of Dunant and Moynier’s first projects was the creation of a global treaty designed to limit the damage and destruction of war, called the Geneva Convention. The treaty required the signing governments to conform to certain standards and not do certain things that nations typically did during times of war, like use chemical and biological weapons, torture prisoners, bomb civilian hospitals (which could treat soldiers if they existed), and hold prisoners without notifying their families that they were in captivity.
Many military planners did not want to sign this treaty, because it would limit their ability to conduct war. Dunant and Moynier’s corporation created lobbying organizations to try to get governments to agree to these terms. In many cases, even with lobbyists working full time, governments would not agree to the terms. Dunant and Moynier’s corporation then brought in media experts to persuade the people of each nation to put additional pressure on their government, to get them to sign the treaty. The lobbying efforts have been very successful and, to date, the Geneva Convention has been accepted by 196 of the world’s nations (all of them).
Are Corporations Evil?
The Red Cross is a corporation.
I have had personal experiences with the Red Cross. This organization has saved my life, saved lives of my loved ones, and helped people I care about on many occasions. I want to give a few examples:
I was born with hemolytic disease of the newborn, a disease that requires a complete blood transfusion within hours of birth or the baby will die. Thanks to the Red Cross, the blood was available, and I survived. I would not have lived 24 hours without the Red Cross.
In 1983 I was in Tucson when hurricane Octave dropped six feet of water, destroying every bridge in town, washing out many of the roads, and cutting the utilities for, in many cases, weeks. I was driving when the road in front of me disappeared in a rush of water. I was stuck in an unfamiliar place, with no way to get anywhere.
But I saw the white tent with the Red Cross on it.
They had blankets, cots, fresh water to drink, meals to eat, and doctors to help the wounded.
In its paper ‘The Tucson Flood of 1983,’ the Natural Research Council and the Committee on Natural Disasters points out that neither the federal government, the state government, the county government, nor the city government had prepared for the flood. There were no contingency plans in place and the governments didn’t play any significant role in the relief effort. They didn’t even activate the emergency broadcast system to notify the people that the disaster was coming or tell them what to do after it came, which was why many people, like me, had been trapped by the rushing waters.
The governments had no idea what to do. We have seen, throughout this book, that governments have other priorities. It is not their job to worry about disasters (that is what the Red Cross is for!).
The International Red Cross has teams of analysts who watch the weather all over the world looking for events like this. Their teams identify the potential for disaster and notify governments to prepare. However, the governments don’t always heed these warnings. (Just as they did in other famous cases, like hurricane Katrina, the government ignored the warnings about the Tucson Flood; for political reasons, they often refuse to cooperate with the Red Cross, leaving their people without assistance of any kind.) The people of the Red Cross have dealt with all kinds of disasters; they have teams of dedicated experts in place who make plans and get ready to deal with problems, wherever in the world they happen. Their response teams were already in Tucson setting up relief facilities before the local government even realized a disaster was coming.
In 1996, my aunt was driving in Mexico late at night. She was going 70 miles per hour and fell asleep at the wheel. Her car ran into the median and rolled several times. The top half of the car was torn completely off, and the accident tore off half of her skull, exposing her brain, and breaking both of her arms and one of her legs.
Who helps people like this?
If you travel in Mexico, you will see volunteers collecting coins at all of the speed bumps built to slow down traffic before pedestrian crossings (called ‘topes’). The money collected, together with additional contributions from the international community, goes to buy ambulances and build networks of clinics. After my aunt crashed, people saw the wreck and notified the Red Cross. The nearest clinic sent out an ambulance, which brought her to a place where she could be treated. The volunteers at the clinic stabilized her and called me; I came down from Tucson to get her to a hospital.
She never got a bill.
They didn’t ask if she had the ability to pay.
Eventually she recovered fully from her injuries.
Without the Red Cross, what would have happened?
Perhaps passersby would have wanted to help, but what could they do?
Maybe they would have been able to get her to one of the peasant shacks along the side of the road where she may have had a little contaminated water to drink while she died, but not much else.
I had relatives whose homes were destroyed by hurricane Katrina. They told me that they were impressed by the government response: it put up big tents with red crosses on them, gave them clothing, water, food, and a place to stay.
I didn’t have the heart to tell them that the government wasn’t involved in this: a corporation did it all.
This corporation had nothing to do with the government of any nation on Earth. It was not created by any government, it was not run by any government, it was not funded by any government, and it was not under the control of any government. In fact, the government of her nation (and state, and county, and city) had initially refused to cooperate with the corporation for political reasons. (Government officials generally don’t like outsiders come in to provide aid to their people when this will make the governments look foolish when people can have an efficient service providing network in place to replace them.) In fact, they actively worked to prevent the people affected by the disaster from getting the care and assistance they needed.
You can go through disaster after disaster.
In prisoner of war camps, the Red Cross sends packages to the prisoners, it helps prisoners get letters to their loved ones, and it provides medical care which is often the only care the prisoners are likely to get. Although Earnest Hemmingway likes to portray himself as a freedom fighter who volunteered to fight the fascists in World War One, the truth is that he volunteered for the Red Cross and was not a fighter at all. He was an ambulance driver, one of many unpaid people who picked up wounded from the battlefield, provided emergency treatment to stabilize them, and brought them to Red Cross hospitals (again, not run by any government) for the only care they would receive. When nuclear power plants melt down and governments work to prevent the public from panicking (which would happen if they had correct information), the Red Cross sends people with potassium iodide tablets (the best prevention for cancer for those exposed to large doses of radiation). It educates people of the dangers, at least to the extent they are allowed to do so by the governments of the nations where the meltdowns occurred.
It is simply not true that governments are the only tools that humans can use to deal with global problems. History tells us that it is not true. In fact, history tells us that the new ‘privileged corporations’ are far more effective at helping the members of the human race meet common needs than global governments.
What Might Have Happened?
The central book of this series, Preventing Extinction, explains the way the mechanical structures of human societies function. It shows that, if we understand these structures, we can use tools that are already at our disposal in many cases to manipulate these structures to alter the nature of our societies. The Red Cross shows us that it is possible to use the tools called ‘corporations’ (particularly the ‘privileged corporations’ that came to exist after the United States of America was formed) to carry out global change.
In fact, the Red Cross was initially formed to do exactly what I will propose: create a forum for the human race which could be used to bring all members of our race together in a common structure that operated independently of the governments and nations of the world. If not for some personality conflicts, the Red Cross would have done far, far more than it has done to date.
The Red Cross was formed as a collaborative effort between two men, Henri Dunant and Gustave Moynier.
The two men had entirely different visions and entirely different ideas about what the organization should be designed to do:
Dunant wanted to create a comprehensive organization that would do much more than patch up people and provide relief after disasters. He wanted to create an organization that would empower the people of the world. They would be able to use the corporation as a tool to allow them to work together, outside of the auspices of their governments, and then eventually use its lobbying power to make the governments of the world conform to standards that the human race (working through the corporation) had created.
Moynier had a different goal.
Moynier was a deeply religious man who believed that God had created the world as it was.
Any attempt to change the fundamental realities of this society would go against the wishes of the Creator of existence and were therefore morally wrong. Our job is to accept the basics of reality and do our best to do good, in spite of the horrible forces that surround us. Moynier thought it was wrong to try to change the way the world worked and would not allow Dunant to put his policies into effect. The best we could do, Moynier thought, was to accept the reality of war, wait for wars to go through an area, and try to build up some karmic credit by burying the dead and providing aid to the mutilated.
Dunant fought with Moynier over the goals of the International Red Cross for the next 15 years.
Dunant was the president of the company; Moynier was the chairman of the board.
Dunant made his proposals but the board of directors, under Moynier’s control, rejected them.
The tensions increased over the years. By the mid 1860s, the two men were no longer talking to each other. Finally, Dunant decided to take the case to court: it was his idea and his company. He had a vision for it and Moynier was getting in the way. The courts would force Moynier to either accept Dunant’s ideas, or remove him from the company.
But Moynier did not give in easily. He fought back. An old saying among attorneys goes: ‘Court is a place where attorneys fight over which of their clients has the most money.’ The two men both neglected their personal affairs to come up with money to pay their lawyers.
In 1868, Dunant ran out of money. He had lost his home, his businesses, and everything he owned. His financial backers decided he was a lost cause and stopped sending him money. Finally, in July of that year, Dunant had to file for protection under the bankruptcy laws. He was dead broke.
Moynier took advantage of this. He called a special meeting of the board of directors. He told the directors that Dunant was incompetent: he couldn’t even manage his personal finances. How could they trust him to manage the huge company that the Red Cross had become? For the good of the company, Dunant had to go. The board listened and fired Dunant. He was broke and unemployed. He had not changed his life goal; he just lost the ability to work for it. People who had ideas for new humanitarian organizations came to him, and he supplied some of the intellectual muscle behind several important organizations that exist in the world today, but because of his reputation, he could only work behind the scenes.
The Wikipedia post for Dunant describes his life after being fired from the Red Cross in this way:
In 1901, a newspaper reporter met Dunant, who was then living in a lower class rooming house in Heiden. The reporter wrote a story on Dunant which came to the notice of the newly formed Nobel Prize committee. Alfred Nobel’s will had indicated that am special prize, called the Peace Prize, should go to a person who had best enhanced the ‘brotherhood of people,’ and done something notable to create world peace. No one had done more to this end than Dunant.
His effort hadn’t worked, but he had tried and done everything he could to make it work.
Wikipedia says of his death:
We might speculate how the world would have looked today if certain things had happened a tiny bit differently in history.
For example, what if Alexander the Great had survived his assassination attempt?
What if he had had time to live a normal lifespan, and had had time to finish putting his intellect-based society into place?
People today would look back at the period when people formed ‘nations’ (the period from 4000 BC to the time Alexander’s society was completed) as a primitive time, when the people who ran human societies had no idea what they were doing. Perhaps, if Alexander had lived long enough to complete his work, people today (having eliminated the idea of nations and the problems accepting this idea creates) might think of our race as more evolved than the human race was when it accepted the idea of ‘sovereign nations’ and other primitive beliefs, superstitions, and illogical principles.
We might also speculate about what the world would look like if Moynier had been willing to listen to Dunant’s ideas. What if Moynier’s parents had not raised him to believe that an invisible superbeing in the sky created everything? What if he and Dunant had worked together instead of fighting each other for the first 15 years the Red Cross existed?
Perhaps nothing would have come of it and the world would be no different than it is. Perhaps the idea would have been seen as being too far out and been rejected anyway.
But perhaps we would have a 160-year head start on forming an organization that works to bring the entire human race together. Perhaps there would already be a forum the entire human race could use to meet their common needs that is not related in any way to the idea of ‘nations.’
Perhaps, rather than using their lobbying power to get governments to sign accords promising not to use chemical weapons in war, they would have agreed to terms that would eliminate borders entirely and eventually eliminate the idea of sovereignty entirely.
Throughout this book, I have tried to show that the societies that dominated the world for the long history of the human race were built mostly on beliefs and unprovable opinions. Certain people stood apart from the believers and had their own visions. Socrates tried to educate people that it is not immoral or heretical to use logic and reason on society, and accept that societies built on the idea of nations (which he called Πολιτεία) could not meet the needs of the human race. He failed to create a general awareness of this truth. In fact, his ideas angered people so much they had Socrates put to death.
But the fact that Socrates failed doesn’t mean that the entire rest of the human race should give up on this mission.
It doesn’t mean any attempt to educate the people must fail.
Many activities in human history that eventually succeeded failed with early attempts. We can keep trying. If people continue to try, we have a chance at succeeding. The only way to make sure we fail is to decide we are doomed before we begin and refuse to try.
Dunant had a vision. He really did do wonderful things; he probably did more to prevent or mitigate human hardship than any human being ever had done in history.
He considered himself a failure, however.
He had failed at what he was really trying to do.
His failure is just the failure of one person. There are 7.5 billion people alive as I write this. It is not wrong for us to try again. Perhaps the conditions have changed to the point where the roadblock that stood in Dunant’s way some 160 years ago have been whittled down and can now be overcome. Perhaps there is one or more of these 7.5 billion who is even more intelligent than Dunant, or has more skills, talents, or other resources.
Perhaps it may be you.
How can you say for sure it is not you, unless you try?
The Internet, Part One
In recent years, new tools have provided new hope to the people of the planet Earth. We now have new tools that allow us to work together as never before, and make our world better through the interactions of people all over the world, with no special rights or privileges granted to people just because they were born in one particular ‘country’ or have the backing and support of a particular government. One of the most powerful of these tools is the internet.
The internet is an incredibly powerful tool that the people of the planet can use to help us work together to create a better world, but it most definitely was not created for that purpose. In fact, it was created for the opposite purpose: Like a great many technological innovations, it was originally built for war. The specific demands placed on its creators were such that this tool of war would not be able to work if it didn’t provide the incredible capabilities that it has that can help the people of the world. If we want to understand the power of this tool, we really need to understand why, when, and how it was created; we need a kind of historical framework to understand why the people who run our current societies were forced to create a system that would allow the people to displace this power structure, if the people didn’t like it, and replace it with one that met the needs of the entire human race, not just the needs of the small percentage of the people who were born in the right ‘country,’ or with rich parents, or in other privileged situations.
Governments must respond to military necessity. Sometimes, military necessity forces them to do things that they otherwise would not do. We have seen this before in history: when people discovered how to make steel, militaries had to have it. It takes a lot of people working together in one spot to make steel. It takes a city.
The people in the city must have the freedoms necessary to engage in the business enterprises needed to cut down forests (to get wood for charcoal, needed to smelt steel), mine iron, and build refineries, foundries, and weapons factories. They would have to be given freedom to learn the necessary skills. In order to make sure they remained ahead of enemies, they must have the ability to get information about other areas, making it necessary to have school systems and research facilities. The people who made the steel would have to make enough income to support themselves and raise families; some of them would have leisure and use this leisure to analyze the way the world worked.
Some of them may decide they didn’t like the feudal system or even the general organization of society. They may decide they want to organize themselves in a different way and change the existing order. It is dangerous for the warlord/kings to allow cities to exist.
But they had no choice.
After several thousand years, with no significant military advances, the warlord/kings had gained control of their realms. In Europe, they had created a theocracy, with no books allowed, no education allowed, no activities or organizations that might potentially threaten the existing order allowed.
Then came gunpowder.
The church-run governments clearly didn’t want to allow people to have educations. (If they did, they would have allowed education before military necessity forced them to do this.) They didn’t want to allow literacy, books, open discourse of ideas, or free enterprise. But they had no choice. They had to react to military necessity.
In very recent history, a new military necessity has forced governments to grant people more freedom to information than ever before. It has forced governments to allow true ‘freedom of speech,’ in that governments can no longer effectively prevent information from getting to the people. It has forced governments to allow open communication between people all over the world, allowing people to see that all people everywhere are basically the same. Being born on the wrong side of an imaginary line does not make people different.
Ironically, this new tool, the internet, was originally created by military organizations; its initial purpose was to allow them to fight prolonged nuclear wars. It was created to allow mass murder and destruction on a scale that people who lived only a century ago would not even have been able to imagine was possible. But, again, once the tool exists, it doesn’t have to be used only for its intended use. We, the members of the human race and inhabitants of the planet Earth, can take advantage of this tool and use it for any purpose we want.
This book is about the way the structures of the societies we were born into came to exist. We can’t really understand all of these structures without understanding how and why the internet came to exist, and the incredible hope this tool should bring to anyone who cares about the human condition.
The History of the Internet
On February 11, 1939, the German periodical Die Naturwissenschaften published a one-page article that changed the world in many very significant ways. The article was called ‘Disintegration of Uranium by Neutrons: a New Type of Nuclear Reaction’ by the Austrian physicist Lise Meitner and her nephew, Otto Frish. The article suggested, for the first time, that atomic nuclei may be split releasing fabulous amounts of energy.
Here is the relevant text of the article:
Meitner was saying it would be possible to cause the nuclei of atoms to split. If this happened, energy would be released. She gave information needed to calculate the amount of energy that would be released. It was immense. Far beyond any energy release of an ordinary chemical reaction.
Albert Einstein had recently moved to the United States. At the time, the United States didn’t have any significant expertise in the kind of physics that Meitner understood, and Einstein appears to be one of the few (the only one, as far as I could see) who realized how important this discovery was. In August of 1939, Einstein wrote a letter to Franklin Roosevelt, the President of the United States. He warned that the United States would have to start learning about physics, and fast. Here is the relevant information from his letter:
In the course of the last four months it has been made probable that it may become possible to set up a nuclear chain reaction in a large mass of uranium, by which vast amounts of power and large quantities of new radium-like elements would be generated. Now it appears almost certain that this could be achieved in the immediate future.
This new phenomenon would also lead to the construction of bombs, and it is conceivable that extremely powerful bombs of a new type may thus be constructed. A single bomb of this type, carried by boat and exploded in a port, might very well destroy the whole port together with some of the surrounding territory.
At the time, the United States was still a pretty backward nation scientifically. Although its corporations produced the best conventional weapons in the world, its people were restrained by laws like the Butler Act that prohibited teaching certain aspects of science. As Meitner herself pointed out in her research documents, no United States physicists, other than Einstein, even had the background to understand the concept of ‘’
This changed very rapidly.
The very same day Roosevelt got Einstein’s letter, he formed the S1 Uranium Committee which immediately hired the Hungarian physicists Leo Szilard, Eugene Wigner, and Edward Teller, to begin work on creating a bomb. The committee wanted to recruit Meitner for the project, but she was rejected as a potential pacifist, which made her a security risk. Einstein was also rejected, for the same reason. (In fact, Roosevelt had good cause to reject Einstein, as he almost certainly would have done his best to keep the bomb from existing, see sidebar for more information.)
On July 6, 1945, the scientists had a bomb ready to try; they tested it and it worked as expected.
It took them another month to put together two additional bombs. Exactly a month after the concept had been proven, they used the second bomb to destroy the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing an estimated 166,000 people. Three days later, on August 9, the military used a third bomb to destroy the city of Nagasaki, killing another estimated 90,000 people.
The next day Emperor Hirohito ordered his top military commander to surrender.
The Electromagnetic Pulse
On August 28, 1945, ‘Operation Blacklist’ began: this was the military occupation of Japan.
Under internationally recognized rules and standards of war, anything that had belonged to Japan before now belonged to the United States. The United States government could take whatever it wanted. The United States government took a lot of land from Japan. This included roughly three million square miles (an area slightly smaller than the continental United States) in the Pacific Ocean, which was named ‘United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands,’ and was administered by the United States military. The Trust Territory had about 2,100 islands which were home to roughly 150,000 people. These islands were some of the most remote lands on Earth. The United States government had developed the nuclear bomb very quickly, and without much regard to safety. It had accumulated vast amounts of very dangerous nuclear waste and needed a place to put it. The military decided that one of the islands it had taken from Japan, Elugelab, was the best place to dump it. The island was turned into a nuclear waste disposal site.
In 1952, United States military scientists realized they could build a bomb that was so powerful it would make the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki seem like firecrackers by comparison. The new bomb might potentially destroy a very large part of the planet Earth. To minimize the possibility of destroying anything in the United States, they wanted to test the bomb as far away from the nation as possible. Elugelab was ideal, for the same reason that it was ideal for the disposal of nuclear waste.
The government called the test bomb was ‘Ivy Mike.’ It was the first ‘two stage nuclear device,’ or the first ‘hydrogen’ bomb.
The test took place on November 2, 1952. The scientists had an estimate of the damage the bomb would do. They expected it to produce a very large crater on the Elugelab, and so they set up instruments on the island far away from the test site to measure the destructive power of the bomb. The bomb turned out to be far more powerful than they had anticipated and blew the entire island off the face of the planet (it no longer exists). It also vaporized several ships that were at sea with instruments (and presumably crews) to measure the blast impact. Because the bomb destroyed all of the instruments designed to test its power, the scientists didn’t have any idea how powerful the bomb really was.
They eventually realized that the additional explosive power came from something called an ‘electromagnetic pulse’ or EMP. This pulse altered the nature of matter close to the bomb, causing normally benign elements to take part in the nuclear explosion. Of course, the government immediately started to work to find new military uses for the EMP.
They found that the bomb had done more than vaporize the island. It had ionized nearly a third of the stratosphere of the planet. The charge in the atmosphere had only lasted a brief fraction of a second, but when it reverted to its previous state, it created very large amounts of electricity in any electrical conductor on the third of the Earth underneath the ionized area. The charge created far more electricity in the conductors than they were capable of carrying; most of them melted. Even thousands of miles away, on the island of Hawaii, fuses blew and communication systems (which use fairly thin wires that can’t carry much electricity) were destroyed.
Military planners thought that they might want to create electromagnetic pulses intentionally, to disrupt enemy communications. If they could blow up a bomb in outer space, it wouldn’t do any damage here on Earth but may send an EMP that would wipe out communications on a third of the world.
They didn’t have the technology to send nuclear bombs (or anything else for that matter) into space as of the 1950s, so they couldn’t test this theory until 1962. On July 8, 1962, the United States government sent the largest payload that had been put into space to that date: a nuclear bomb.
The payload was a specially designed EMP bomb called ‘Starfish Prime.’ Starfish Prime had a yield of 1,400,000 tons of TNT (1.4 million tons); it exploded 250 miles over the South Pacific at three seconds after midnight Honolulu time on July 9, 1962. A reporter some 1,400 miles away describes the event:
Although the technical results of the test are still classified, it clearly had an effect on communications.
Three months later, on October 22, 1962 Russian military planners tested their version of the EMP device. This was a test called ‘Test 184;’ it detonated an EMP device with a yield of 300,000 tons of TNT, 200 miles over Kazakhstan.
The Russians allowed some of the results of the test to be published. An article by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (‘Response of Long Lines to Nuclear High-Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility’) describes the result:
The United States government ordered studies on the potential effects of the electromagnetic pulse. A report made to the president of the United States called ‘Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack,’ says this:
The Russian test showed conclusively that any conventional communication system could be totally destroyed with a single bomb of the correct type, exploded in the correct way. Military planners in nuclear states realized that they wouldn’t be able to retaliate against nuclear attacks if this happened.
The problem is that the communication systems as of the 1960s used a single wired connection to send each message. If this single connection is damaged, communication stops. In critical cases, the government had redundant communication systems, with two or sometimes even three backups to get the information through in case the primary line is cut. But an EMP bomb could potentially wipe out all three of these lines at the same time, ending communication entirely. Military planners realized that, if they were to be able to continue to fight a nuclear war after the first bomb goes off, they would need an entirely new type of communication system. This new system would have to work in a way that would allow messages to get through by multiple pathways that go in many different directions and use many different ‘architectures’ or designs. That way, even if a large percentage of the pathways were destroyed, the messages would still get through and the nuclear war could continue.
Within days after the Russian test, the United States government formed the ‘Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’ or ‘DARPA’ to find a new communication system. Researchers there came up with a solution called ‘packet switching.’ This system involves breaking messages down into ‘packets’ of fixed size and sending them to their destination through multiple pathways. If one expected pathway should no longer exist and a packet can’t get where it wants to go that way, the packet remains in the system, going down path after path until it can find a path that gets it to its destination. As long as there are any paths left, all packets will eventually get where they need to go. Once all of the packets have arrived, a computer reassembles the message and it can be read.
Why The Government that Created the Internet Can’t Censor It
A great many scientists came together for the project. One of these scientists, Robert Kahn, realized that the system would only be reliable if it had something he called an ‘open architecture,’ and only if it didn’t have any central control mechanism. Here is the basic idea:
There are two key points:
First the new communication system would not be built by the military itself. The military would set up the initial system and connections but, once they existed, anyone would be able to expand on it. They would do this using any kind of computing network they wanted to build, with no limits to the kinds of connections they made to it. Each connection would be entirely separate. Even if enemies were able to figure out how to destroy one kind of connection, the other connections would work entirely differently and continue to operate. Over the years, many different types of connections have been made to the network, all of which work in different ways .
Second, there would be no global control.
That means once the military created an internet, it wouldn’t be able to control it.
The internet would be like Frankenstein’s monster: once it came to exist, it would be autonomous.
If people used it for things the government didn’t like the government wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.
Of course, governments don’t like to create things that empower the people. But planners at DARPA realized they had no choice. The communication system would only be reliable if it met the standards that Bob Kahn had set. They would not be able to carry on a nuclear war without a communication system and, to be reliable it would have to meet these standards.
The government had no choice.
It had to create this system.
In 1965, DARPA scientists made the first internet connection between two computers, one at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., and the other at the University of California in Berkeley.
The system worked. In 1970, scientists developed a ‘host to host’ protocol that allowed computers to ‘talk to’ each other. This allowed computers to form connections on their own, without the need for human input. Computers could then make and break connections as necessary to get information through, without any need for humans to be involved.
The system would be more secure if it had more connections. The military needed people all over the world to develop connections, so it obviously couldn’t keep the system secret. In 1972, Bob Kahn made the new system public, together with the first application, an email program that would transmit, store, send, and allow replies to messages. He called the system ARPANET (after the acronym for the military organization that developed it). In the 1970s, military contractors were connected to the system and starting in the 1980s, university researchers gained access to it. In 1988 the system was opened to commercialization and non-military corporations began making their own connections.
The system was designed to be impossible to disrupt:
If it were possible to disrupt communications, enemies would figure out how to do this and take advantage of it. If this were possible, the internet wouldn’t be able to do what it was designed to do: allow communication needed to conduct a nuclear war over time. The ‘open architecture’ protected it both from enemies and from the government that created it.
Has it worked?
If you look on the internet, you will find a great deal of information that proves it has. Various sites have leaked information that is very damaging to the image the United States tries to project. For example, you can watch videos taken from United States helicopter gunships while they were machine-gunning unarmed civilians in the streets (with the pilots protesting the orders and being threatened with court marshals if they violate them). You can see photos and watch videos taken of the United States military massacring children and committing other acts that any sane person would call ‘crimes against humanity,’ also under orders from higher-ups. Recent disclosures on the internet include documents from the United States National Security Agency that tell that the agency is involved in warrantless surveillance (and therefore illegal surveillance) of hundreds of millions of civilians who are not under investigation for any crime. These internet disclosures exposed to the public that the NSA and other United States government organizations have the ability to turn on the microphones and cameras on cell phones, webcams, and laptop computers (even if the devices are turned off) to listen in and watch conversations that people expect to be private. One site the government would very much like to shut down is Wikileaks.com, which makes available copies of hundreds of thousands of confidential government documents. Many of these documents reveal that high government officials have lied and fabricated evidence in order to start otherwise unnecessary wars, and that they frequently violate or ignore formal agreements –both verbal and written promises, and even violate the Constitution that they are supposed to be upholding – to complete clandestine projects (many of which they have denied exist). If the government could take down this information and make it unavailable, it would do so. The fact that it has not taken down this information is evidence that it doesn’t have the ability to do it. It tells us that the web works for what the government is trying to do with it: create an information and communication system that can’t be destroyed by any entity, even itself.
This tells us something very important:
There is one thing that forces governments to implement changes that allow science, open-minded research, and free transfer of ideas: military necessity.
It is hard to find much that is good to say about nuclear weapons and a great many people wish they had never been invented. But nuclear weapons have forced governments to do something that they almost certainly would never have done otherwise: they have forced governments around the world to allow people access to true and correct information about our past, present, and future. People around the world that have access to historical documents are putting them on the web and making them searchable. Anyone with a computer and connection can go through them and sort out realities of history that conflict entirely with the political messages that governments try to pound into children’s minds in history classes. If people can find out the truth about the past, they can put together the truth about the present. They can work out capabilities of the human race by going through past records to see what we have really accomplished in the past.
They can see that we really are capable of more than we have yet achieved.
They can see that there are different roads that head into the future, and we have many choices.
Our ancestors put us on a road. The people who lived on Earth in the past put together ‘modes of existence’ or societies built on the principle that unlimited (sovereign) rights to the world are ownable. They built networks of rules, laws, social conventions, taboos, and indoctrination systems to try to force us onto the same road.
It is not the only road that leads to the future.
This chapter has dealt with two recent historical events. The first is the use of the new privileged corporations as tools to help advance the interests of the human race as a whole. We know that it is possible to use the new type of corporation to do many things that many people tend to believe are impossible. It is possible to use corporate structures to bring the entire human race together for a common project and make governments accept standards that are in the long-term interest of the human race as a whole. This is possible, as we have seen through the work of the IRC, even when these standards are at odds with the selfish interests of individual nations. We know this is possible because it is happening.
The second is the miracle of the internet. We get this miracle from an unlikely and ironic source: nuclear war planners. As you have seen throughout this book, war planning has to take priority over anything else in the societies we were born into. Governments want to control their people, keep them in the dark, and prevent them from learning certain truths and realities. They want people to really believe that others born on the ‘wrong’ side of an imaginary line are horrible, heinous monsters who have no regard for anything that decent people care about, so that the people will support the separation of the world into ‘nations’ and the violent and inhuman conflicts needed to keep these divisions in place. But once EMP bombs were discovered, war planners had no choice but to create such a forum. Nuclear wars could simply not be carried out without an internet that was designed to be impossible to censor. Perhaps the reason this miracle was created is abhorrent, but that doesn’t make it any less of a miracle.
You and I were born into what Chinese philosophers call ‘interesting times.’
There is a lot going on. When we were born, the human race was already firmly set going down a certain road, a road that clearly leads to extinction. The system already had education systems designed to make us believe that this is the only road that goes into the future, and we must follow it just as past generations did. The people who built this system designed it so that the path of least resistance for each of us as individuals is to conform. We are all to play a part in this system and move our race further down this very same road, while training the next generation to do the same.
But the interesting part is that we are in a position to change this. We have the tools. We have intelligence, access to information, and knowledge about the past, present, and possible futures that people have never had in the past. The destiny of the world is not in the hands of past generations, it is in our hands.
Governments are forced to allow people more freedom if it is a military necessity. This chapter explored two such instances which have shaped our ability to use corporations and human cooperation to change the world for the better.
Corporations CAN and currently ARE used for the good of humankind.
The Internet has given the people access to true information beyond what the government and corporate-controlled media provides. This interrupts the brainwashing necessary to fuel the hatred needed to induce a constant state of war.