US Navy SEAL’s Audacious Plan for Defeating North Korea

A former US Navy Seal has come up with a potential strategy to take down North Korea from the inside without putting a single American boot on the ground. How? Cell phones.

Jocko Willink, a former Navy Seal turned author, motivational speaker, and podcast host recently answered how he would solve the North Korean threat. His answer is as unconventional as you would expect from an unconventional warfighter.

Image result for jocko willink

When asked what he would do to solve the North Korean threat, he offered an elegant solution.

“Drop 25 million iPhones on them and put satellites over them with free wifi.”

So why is this worth our consideration?

North Korea’s current state is one where the majority of the people are kept ignorant of the outside world through a strict police state’s control of all news media. Just as terrible, they are kept blind to the violations to their own rights that occur daily.

Yun Sun, a Stimson Center expert on North Korea argues that the plan might work:

“Kim Jong Un understands that as soon as society is open and North Korean people realize what they’re missing, Kim’s regime is unsustainable, and it’s going to be overthrown.”

Consider the effects of nearly every person in North Korea getting a smartphone capable of not only learning of the outside world, but also to share what is going on in the deeply opaque dictatorship.

Pros:

It doesn’t surprise me that a special forces guy would make the argument for insurgency. Much of the role for Special Forces is to be trainers, equippers, and coordinators of local forces. The hardest part of this is coordination for actions, intelligence sharing, and finding out who would be willing to fight in adequate number. By handing out phones that can be watched by our CIA, the activity of the would be insurgents can be tracked and prodded along to connecting with others. Every person who uses the banned devices would automatically be considered a potential agent. Whoever controls the system can hand pick people to introduced to one another, connecting potential rebel military units and commanders with civilians to aid them via a means that they would never survive in the current atmosphere of extreme paranoia and brutal rule.

Apps can also make it possible for information to be requested and captured, automatically sent to intelligence agencies for analysis. Effectively, the hardest nation on the globe to penetrate would suddenly be inundated with hundreds of thousands of spies reporting back anything they think might be damaging to the despotic regime.

Additionally, in the event of an invasion, there would already be cooperative leaders in place to take over. One of the key failures of the War in Iraq was that the leader which the American forces wanted to prop up was unreliable and was too deeply disconnected with the Iraqi people after a long period of exile. If the potential leader of a coup were a local member of a nationwide fifth column, that would provide legitimacy so that the nation’s human assets fall quickly into place, preventing a breakdown into chaos.

As for costs, let’s just play the game of saying everyone got a iPhone X and its $1000 pricetag. That’s $25B plus another $500 M for a satellite, plus let’s add another billion to create the headquarters and operations staff to run it, as well as assume another billion to create all the background applications for the people to use. They are going to have to find a way into the country, so whatever, let’s just throw a billion there, as well. Those are broadly conservative estimates already, but let’s round it to $30 B. For a point of reference, the Iraq War cost the United States some $1.7 trillion, and the last Korean War came out to $341 billion in today’s dollars. That said, paying a tenth of that to completely disrupt the Korean state, a much, much deadlier entity today than it has ever been in such a way that puts few American lives at risk sounds like a good investment in a conflict the world knows is coming eventually.

Cons:

Even if this is considered non-violent, North Korea will view this as an act of war. They may even retaliate far, far too quickly for any networks to form, forcing the United States to intervene anyway in what may be a reaction to North Korean strikes against South Korea and allies around the region. This is not to mention the very slim possibility of an attempted attack on US soil.

How China will respond is also crucial. They’ve made statements before that if North Korea attacks the United States, such as in Guam, the Chinese will not prevent US retaliation, however, if the US strikes first, China gave vague warnings that they would prevent a US takeover of the peninsula. This being an obvious attempt at destabilizing the country by the United States, I have to assume China wouldn’t take it too well.

Beyond that, many North Koreans are going to die. The North Korean military has over 1 million soldiers. You don’t keep that many men in a country with only 25 million people if you aren’t planning to use them to subdue the population. The military is the crucial cog of the Kim regime’s ability to keep their population under control, even amid the nation’s horrific human rights record. They haven’t been sitting around waiting for fifty years, feeding all those soldiers, for the next war with America. Sure they say they do, but the military of North Korea is a force of subjugation. That said, when a major coup is orchestrated by the Americans, the North Koreans will come down on their people in any attempt to smash the insurgency before it can begin. Rife with paranoia and a justice system willing to shoot first and ask questions later for traitors, even among the General officers, many people are going to die for even being suspected of involvement in the plan.

In the worst case scenario, this may trigger the North Koreans to fully commit to war as a show of force to its people. Estimates hold that artillery could see over a million citizens of Seoul killed in the first hour alone and a full scale ground war would visit devastation unheard of in the 21st century.

Conclusion:

Whatever the case, this would bring about the war we’ve all been fearing for fifty years. What form that war could take is anyone’s guess. While brilliant, I have doubts that there would be enough time for the phone bomb to build the kinds of networks necessary for an insurgency to grow out of the ground, making way for a US led invasion. It would need to something coordinated to happen along with such an invasion for it to have any potency. What the world would like after that, heaven only knows.

Thank you for reading. For more, follow The War Elephant on Facebook and Subscribing. If you would like to help me make more content like this learn how by visiting my Patreon Page.

Advertisements

Uncertain Future – Part VII – State Sponsored Cracking

Now that we have thoroughly made it clear that there is no place left safe on the internet for the common individual, or even major corporations and government organizations, what about the governments themselves? What role do they play in this story.

To begin with, let’s talk about Hacking Team. Hacking Team is a company out of Milan that deals in “offensive intrusion and surveillance” capabilities. This includes the ability to monitor communications of internet users, decipher encrypted files and emails, record Skype and VoIP phone calls, as well as remotely activate microphones and cameras on the devices they target. Their primary clients include governments and major corporations, including a few governments with shady human rights records. Basically, they are the most terrifying conspiracy theories on the internet come to life.

Hacking Team are leaders in the growing industry to help governments hack in ways that make the rest of this article look like child’s play. The Hacking Team gives its clients, through use of their Da Vinci and Galileo platforms the ability to do everything from keystroke logging, GPS tracking on cell phones, and extracting wifi passwords, among many other capabilities. [31] Perhaps most interesting is their ability to steal data on local accounts, contacts and transaction histories by decrypting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency wallet files. [32]The tools they use, or rather sell, have been used by governments to… well… you’ve seen the movies. Before you start getting up in arms, you might want to check their previous clients, regimes such as Sudan, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia, and have been accused of being used against activists and protesters in Morocco, Syria, the United Arab Emirates. [33]They even basically serve as the intelligence agency of the Uganda. Some of those relationships landed them in hot water with the UN. To make matters even more frightening, the Italian company maintains two satellite offices within the United States, one in Annapolis and another in Washington DC. That shouldn’t lead people think this relationship buys the US anything though, since Hacking Team is suspected of selling tools to clients in Turkey who used it on a woman in the US [34]and is now suspected of selling their technology to Syria, as well.

What’s put Hacking Team in the news now? Perhaps unsurprisingly at this point, they too were also hacked in 2015. At some point their network was breached and published online – over 400 gigabytes of data. Like I said before, no one is safe.

Hacking Team’s fate, while ironic, only served to open the eyes of millions to existence of real companies whose only profession is equipping governments with the tools to break down any wall, crack any password, end any online uprising, and own our digital lives. For an example, let’s start with something small, like a foreign government hacking into a major American company to determine what media Americans and the rest of the world were allowed to see.

You know, I’ve always wondered if any of the “A movie they don’t want you to see,” advertisements were ever real. Turns out, there was one that absolutely was. In late 2014, Sony pictures planned to release a movie about a talk show host invited to North Korea. Oh, and he tries to assassinate the dictator. It was an okay movie, but honestly, not something you would watch twice on purpose. Where things went terribly, horribly wrong was when Sony pictures suddenly pulled the movie. In the weeks leading up to the release, the North Korean government expressed their “disapproval” of the film. With its ending scene depicting the violent death of their glorious leader, the North Koreans demanded the movie never show… or else. Whatever, we’re Americans, or sort of. Sony Pictures was in America at least. What are they really going to do, bomb us?

No, they didn’t bomb anyone. Instead, what they did was hack Sony Pictures. In that breach, they stole data that included personal information about Sony Pictures employees and their families, e-mails between employees, information about executive salaries at the company, copies of then-unreleased Sony films, and other information. They threatened to release the information, which any of it could have been deadly to the company, from its employee’s information to scripts of movies that haven’t been made. What happened next?

Sony pulled the film.

Not long after, popular demand, and there was a lot of us who now demanded to see this movie, made it available for streaming. Eventually, we were all able to get our fill of the death of the most infamous man alive, but it cost us. The Guardian called the event a massive defeat on American soil and the message was received, international government sponsored hackers can scare Americans into doing whatever they want.

It pissed us off as it introduced a new word into our collective lexicon: Cyberwarfare.

Citizens of the Free World – In the Name of Freedom, Demand to See “The Interview”!

In a rare moment for me, I am getting into the entertainment industry. That’s because Seth Rogen and James Franco have created an unprecedented international incident by making a movie about killing the dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong-un.

I personally was looking forward to it, but it seems that is going to be much harder to do now. That is because of a string of events that began with what I imagine to be a very plump crew-cut dictator throwing the mother of all tantrums, and I now can’t see my movie.

Why this is important: The movie centers on the exploits of Rogen, who plays a journalist and his celebrity friend (Franko) being invited in a rare opportunity to North Korea. This mirrors some actual events such as the much publicized visits to the RPK by basketball superstar Dennis Rodman beginning in early 2013. Where it differs, is that this time, the hapless duo are tasked by the CIA to kill Mr. Jong-un.

Well that sounds hilarious, but what happened next wasn’t. Apparently, Sony Pictures was hacked by what now appears to be a group backed by the North Koreans (which reads more clearly as “Just Plain The North Koreans”.) These hackers have been rumored to have leaked the scripts to several movies yet to be released such as the new James Bond film, among others. That was kind of a dick move, but then they went so far as to threaten terrorist actions against Sony Pictures and various movie theaters if they went ahead with filming.

Well now that’s just rude. Actually, it is an international crime, but we’re splitting hairs. What we have is a direct threat by foreign agents to cause “terrorism”, which we can only assume means intentional acts intended to cause grievous harm to Americans and American property if demands are not met. This act has caused Sony Pictures to cancel their premiere of “The Interview” and Carmike Theaters, a company with over 200 theaters in the United States, has opted not to showcase the movie at all.

For that reason, more so than just threats, grievous harm has already been made against Americans. American companies now are being terrorized into capitulating to the whims of some impossibly immature, maniacal dictator. Forget for a moment that actual American lives were threatened and focus on the concrete damage that has been done. The North Koreans, (you’ll note I’m intentionally no longer still pretending it was some random hacker group who just so happens to absolutely adore Kim Jong-un) deliberately stole industry sensitive information that cost one American company, Sony Pictures, headquartered in California, perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars. It destroyed the premiere of one Hollywood picture and devalued many others. Thousands of people connected to the films industry are going to suffer because of this. If I haven’t been clear, this was a deliberate act of economic warfare, terrorism rather, from one sovereign nation to the United States.

And now those who regularly follow me see why I am interested. This attack demonstrates particular failures in the United States national defense strategy that must be addressed. The attack demonstrates the power that nationally backed hacking programs have to disrupt and damage American and allied country’s economic spheres. Showcasing the vulnerabilities of individual companies and individuals, the North Korean attack on Sony Pictures clearly demonstrates the ineffectiveness of the United States government’s response to attacks on its economic sector. Obviously, it is providing an inefficient level of defense for companies housed in the United States, because, as it seems, threats like the attack on Sony Pictures aren’t actually considered a threat to national security.

In case you think I going overboard, this isn’t even the first time Americans have been targeted like this, either. It has long been known that the Chinese have used commercial intelligence and espionage to silently break into the networks of American companies, steal their patented trade secrets and deliver them to Chinese owned corporations. Other nations even have entire departments and special third party agencies (like the one in question) dedicated to the endeavor of cyber-espionage and signal based attacks. Have you ever heard of Syrian Electronic Army? They are a group who does nothing but commit acts of cyber terrorism and espionage in the name of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Iran and the United States, among others have even been trading blows in a cyber pseudo-war for years. Lest we not forget my favorite subject, the group known throughout the world as ISIS. Their exploitation of social media has been used to target American Veterans and active service members at their homes, encouraging Islamic radicals to target them and their families.

The point here is that there is a major threat to American interests. Individual lives as well as the economic security and strategic corporate advantages of thousands of companies, the very lifeblood of United States national security itself, have been compromised. I am not someone who agrees with others that Sony failed by giving into the terrorists. If people were somehow attacked at a theater, it would be those executives blamed for the deaths, along with the North Koreans. Furthermore, a company, any company, like Sony Pictures have absolutely no defense against the ongoing threat of future revenge attacks like this, leaking all of their sensitive trade information, the secrets like unreleased scripts they need to keep their company going for years to come, given the enemy they are defending themselves is North Korea.

Do I honestly think that the RPK is going to bomb some movie theater because of a stupid movie, possibly starting a war that they will definitely lose? No, I don’t, but I do think that Sony Pictures Entertainment faces an existential threat by way of North Korea. Are we supposed to blame Sony Pictures because they can’t defend against a whole country? Switching gears, imagine if Providence Health and Services, a major healthcare company with hundreds of hospitals under its umbrella, were to face a similar cyber attack. Tens of thousands of people could have their sensitive health data, valuable information in itself, made public. Are we really going to blame Providence when the perpetrator of the attack was Iran? If all the lights went off in Santa Maria (just outside Vandenberg Air Force Base) is the city of just over one-hundred thousand people at fault, when the attack originated from inside Russia? No. How could every single company, agency, state, city, and individual in the United States be expected to protect itself, and by extension be responsible for the combined security of everyone else in the United States, against entire nations set to steal their valuable information, damage their property, or worse, end their lives?

What we need, in the lowly opinion of this former United States Marine Corps tactical data and networking communication specialist, is a deeper look into our signal defense architecture. More projects and agencies which specialize in SIGDEF need to be given priority in the coming years. Far more if even movie companies are more afraid of a dictator 5,600 miles away than they were of our own President. Frankly, the future of warfare is going to look very similar to events like the attack on Sony Pictures. Weak points in very large systems are going to be exploited with the few things that they are vulnerable to. Each time they are, the gears of industry are grind down just a little bit slower.

In the case of Sony Pictures, this attack was a direct hit on two fronts. The first is money. By threatening the movie maker, they lost the company millions, perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars. More so, many millions, perhaps billions more may have been lost now that valuable scripts have been made public. I don’t fault Sony Pictures though, for making the decision to pull the premiere. They showed their values there. They believed the threat of terrorism on American movie goers was true and for that reason, they chose not to risk lives of people at the cost of many millions of dollars. That decision, from my point of view, is admirable and the commitment to protecting innocent people over making money, should be recognized and commended. Perhaps they did it just because so many of the movie theaters decided to pull the movie too. I can’t honestly say for sure. All I know, is that I don’t blame them for the decision they finally were forced to make.

As for Americans though, I’d like for us to make it clear that we don’t give credence or credibility to the tyrannical tirades of any post-pubescent dictator. This isn’t something we need to call in the military, or spin up the missile batteries, though we have been at peace now for about two weeks, so it’s about that time again. All kidding aside, letting North Korea know simply how impotent we view them militarily by not putting our own troops in the front is the way to go. I mean honestly, what is the NPK going to do? Start a war over a friggin movie? Do you really think China would back you after bombing an American movie theater over something this petty? This whole scenario doesn’t even make sense. If they were though, I’m reminded of the line from 300 delivered ever so eloquently by  Gerald Butler:

No, the right move for Americans right now isn’t to force our military to take action. It isn’t to scold Hollywood either, for doing what they thought was the right thing to do to keep people safe.

For Americans, and the rest of the free world for that matter, the right thing to do is to march up to the box office and demand to see something that some North Korean dicktator threatened you not to see. We need to stand up in the roar of many voices and let it be known that we the people, will not capitulate, cower, or suffer the whims of tyrannical brats. We the people won’t be pressured, bullied, threatened, or crossed. We’re Americans dammit and we don’t get told what to do. We are Leviathan.

Thank you Sony Pictures for your concern, but I for one, am willing to risk the potential attack on US soil and would like to see your movie, if for nothing else than to give a big and hearty American one fingered salute to our friends over in Pyongyang.

(That’s not the salute I’m talking about, BTW.)


Thanks for reading!

Everything I write is completely independent research supported by fan and follower assistance. If you enjoyed this post and would like to see more like it, please follow Jon’s Deep Thoughts. Please also show your support by visiting my fan donation page here: Support Jon Davis creating Short Stories and Essays in Military, Science Fiction and Life. Once again, thanks for reading and supporting independent writers.