19 December 2007

Santa's gassing up his sleigh

Christmas is almost here. Don't forget to check out the great wearable and display art at WesternStatesCreations.com. Find that perfect gift for the one on your list who has everything.
A sweetheart? Try jewelry by Chris Maqueirs.
A proffesional? See the stunning photography of Kris Montierth, Rani Hixon or Michael Peterson for the office.
The exquisite paintings and drawings of Nick Gustafson, Josie Dee or Frederick de Terazzas. will deck out any home .
Newlyweds? Look at "The Circle" and "You Are" by Rick Peterson.

So what's up with this election campaign? On the liberal side we've got a woman, a black and a spoiled rich kid. In the other corner there's a Morman, a minister and an adulterer. This is the most screwed up bunch of candidates I can remember, and when I was born, Harry S. Truman was president. I'm sure there's a conspiracy in there somewhere. Any thoughts; send me an email and I'll research it.

I'm taking a break from 'ritin 'n searchin' to entertain friends and family, but look for a new posting right after New Years. Is the FBI conspiring to do away with the constitution? You be the judge.
"Till 2008; have a very merry Christmas and a great new year.

25 November 2007


No study or discussion of codes and cryptography would be complete without an in-depth look at the major contributions made by the Navajo tribe to the fighting during world war 2, as well as the sacrifices made by these brave soldiers and their families.
To this day native Americans, especially the Navajo, are treated like second-class citizens throughout society. For decades, they were stripped of their culture, their language and their identity. They were locked away on reservations, forbidden to speak their language. Their children were forced to attend boarding schools where they were beaten and ridiculed if caught speaking their native
tongue. They were made to wear school uniforms, instead of their traditional clothing. They were taught that they were savages, and that the only way they could become "civilized" was to forget all things Navajo, and embrace the so-called American way of life and the English language.

Yet, when the US was in trouble in the war with Japan, the Navajos couldn't wait to join the marines, and offer their very special language as an unbreakable code; the very same language that the (our) government had tried so hard to eradicate.

In the march towards Iwo Jima, and ultimately the bombing campaign for Japan, virtually all of the American codes had been broken by the Japanese cryptography department. Without secure communications, US forces stood almost no chance of defeating the enemy. A search was on for a secure, accurate and quick method of relaying messages on the battle front.

During WW1, other native American languages had been used as codes, and with some success. These other languages had, however been learned by foreign students from Germany, Japan and other countries. No one, however, that hadn't been raised in the Navajo tongue could speak it with any efficiency. Phillip Johnston,(1) who had been raised on the Navajo reservation by his missionary parents, spoke the language. What's more, he knew that probably no one outside of the United States could understand it. When Phillip got word of the communication dilemma facing the armed forces, he recalled hearing of the WW1 codes, and spoke with communications officers at the San Diego Marine base, suggesting using Navajo for a completely secure code.

Although not immediately convinced, the military agreed to view a demonstration from the Navajos to see if it was feasible. In 1942, a pilot unit of 29 young Navajos started the Navajo code talkers.

There were quite a few obstacles. The Navajo language had no words for bomb, or submarine, or dive bomber. Code words were designated for over 400 specific military terms.(2) These all had to be committed to memory. There also had to be a way to spell out words for which no code word had been assigned. And they had to avoid the enemy of all encryption; repetition. These young warriors, used to overcoming many difficult obstacles and, most importantly, to memorizing lenghty stories verbatim (Navajo has no written language) made quick work of devising a code that would work in the heat of battle, and ensure that the vital messages were only understood by their intended recipients.

These soldiers and the code that they developed saved many lives, and hundreds of battles large and small were won due in no small part to the deep patriotism and bravery of the Navajo people, and their willingness to serve the country that, quite frankly, treated them like garbage.(3) Not until over 50 years after the war, and after many of these young men had died, were their contributions recognized by the military. They still have no VA services available close to home. They have struggled with payment, health care, housing and many other things the rest of the country takes for granted.

I, for one, salute them. For your commitment and bravery, and from the bottom of my heart; THANK YOU!

(1) For a short, but thorough history of the Navajo language code, get the booklet "PHILLIP JOHNSTON and the NAVAJO CODE TALKERS" by Syble Lagerquist

(2) A good representation of the code, as well as another view of it's history and development can be found in Simon Singh's "The Code Book"

(3) For a wonderful visual introduction of the code talkers, as well as the chance to see some of the men involved and actually hear the code being spoken, PBS.org has the video "TRUE WHISPERS" available. The cost is about $30.00. I highly recommend this video to any student of the history of military codes, or of Native American culture.

10 November 2007

And a reader writes:

AMEN to all of it brother! Minimum wage should go back down to 5.50 or less. It irritates me that people complain about it. If you don't like it, do something about it! Get a better job, study to better yourself, not force the government to pay you more because you don't have ambition.

05 November 2007


I've been asked a few times to explain my political and personal beliefs (I believe the exact words were along the lines of "What kind of nut case ARE you?). For my readers who want to know, here's my personal statement.
I'm a died-in-the-wool hillbilly. I have lived most of my life in the mountains. Flapjacks for breakfast, trout for lunch and venison for supper sound like a balanced diet to me.
My ideal life is cutting wood, hunting for food and living in a log cabin; the last house on a long dirt road.
I'm an NRA member, own 5 guns, 16 hunting knives and a crossbow. I'm a fervent defender of the constitution. I think the second amendment is there in case the police/military/congress/courts forget about the rest of them.
I hunt, fish, eat lots of red meat, and believe that God put animals on earth to feed and serve mankind.
I'm a conservative Christian; albeit a little back sliding. I keep a Bible by my easy chair and another by my bed. I believe that the Bible is the complete word of God, and the only one.
I'm anti abortion, anti cloning and anti embryonic stem cell research.
I'm a passionate Republican! I voted for Reagan and The Bushes twice; each. I believe Clinton should have been impeached for lying.
I don't believe in term limits. There is a mandatory term limit imposed by God; everyone dies eventually! If people like a politician, they should be able to keep him or her in office as long as possible. If you don't like them, don't vote for them.
I believe eminent domain is a license to steal.
I believe that the CIA should be listening to every call that goes in or out of the United States, but don't believe that anyone has the right to listen to domestic calls or read domestic mail; e or otherwise.
I don't believe in welfare unless some one absolutely can't (not won't) work. Then the public should support them with dignity, and not make them feel like beggars. Unless they're an illegal alien. Then they should be deported. The drunks and junkies can support themselves or starve.
I think the minimum wage should be $5.50. Everywhere.
I think the labor unions have destroyed the ability of the US to effectively compete in the world market.
I believe that English is our national language. If you want to live here, learn it.
That's what I believe. Agree? Disagree? Think I should be elected to office? Locked up in a padded cell? Let me know.

25 October 2007


What's that they say? Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that someone isn't out to get you! How about: No one ever got shot or busted for being too paranoid! With all that's going on in the world nowadays, you don't to need to be an alien abductee to understand that your world might not be as private as you would like.
Whether it's a trade secret that you're trying to protect, or you're just foolin' around on the wife/husband, you can't be too careful. So you've got your papers cross-cut shredded, your office has 3 surveillance cameras, all your emails are encrypted, and your documents are on an encrypted, phantom drive on a remote off-shore server.
What about your phone calls? Any one from the business rivals(1) to the feds(2 )to your boyfriends wife(3) can be listening in on your calls. Don't you think it's about time to protect your spoken words, too?
It used to be that encrypting phone calls was the territory of governments. The equipment was expensive, and the resulting calls were scratchy and broken. Those days are gone. For anywhere from $1600 to possibly under $100(4) you can get a phone scrambler that will guarantee your privacy. Of course, you will need at least two of them; one for each end of the conversation
The new scramblers on the market can be left on all the time, as they recognize a
compatible unit on the other end and automatically encrypt calls. If the receiving end has no scrambler, the call goes through normally.
If you
're electronically inclined and adventurous, you can even try building your own device(5). No guarantees on how, how well or even if this one works.
I have no econ
omic interest in any of the companies whose links I have provided. I do have an interest in preserving our(my) absolute right to talk to anyone I choose and say anything I want without someone else listening in for whatever nefarious reason they may may have in their warped little brains.
Stay safe. Stay private.
(1) http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/1989_cr/s890418-bug.htm , http://www.tscmvideo.com/synopsis-tscm-video.html
(2) http://www.privacy.org/pi/issues/tapping/ , http://www.alternet.org/rights/32218/
(3) http://www.divorcesource.com/research/edj/cases/wiretapping.shtml
(4) http://news.zdnet.co.uk/security/0,1000000189,2081513,00.htm , http://cellular.co.za/accessories/encryption/cryptophone_gsm_phone_encryption.htm , http://www.spyworld.com/Scramblers_Encryptions.htm , http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/gadgets/the-secure-phone-miser-telephone-conversation-encryption-device-175953.php
(5) http://www.schneier.com/essay-099.html

05 October 2007


Much of the world wide news media, and many people in the US government (most of them Democrats) would like you to believe that there never were any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; that the military has never found any and that Saddam Hussein did, in fact comply with the U. N, destroy all of his biological and chemical weapons, and abandon his nuclear arms ambitions.
Is that true? Has the Iraq war been a complete blunder? Was the entire justification for the Iraq invasion a mistake, or possibly even a complete fabrication?
If this is true, either the governments of about 30 countries are totally incompetent and complete morons (always a possibility), or Tony Blair, Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, Jacques Chirac, Hu Jintao and George W. Bush, along with the governing, military and intelligence agencies of all the other U.N. security council members (1) conspired to decieve the entire world population.
If it is not true, and there in fact were (or are), WMDs in Iraq, why would so many of our congress men and women, presidential candidates and journalists want us to believe otherwise?
The truth is, since 2003, coalition forces have recovered over 500 munitions that contain mustard gas and sarin nerve agent. According to a recently unclassified document, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions still exist, . (2,3,4) Both sarin and mustard gas are classified as weapons of mass destruction according to the United Nations resolution 687. (5,6)
These are not the only WMDs recovered. The whole world new that, prior to the US invasion, Saddam Hussein had WMDs. He purchased them. He produced them. He used them; against his own people. If he had so many, where did they go? Could they have simply disappeared?
The most likely possibility is that they were hidden; either inside of Iraq, or in other countries after the UN inspectors were thrown out of the country (7), in an effort to thwart the world community from locating and destroying them (8, 9,10).
Iraq is a huge country, and less than 20% has been thoroughly searched. In 2003, Coalition forces found fighter jets under the desert sand(11,12,13). More sarin, mustard and even nuclear devices could very easily be hidden all over the country. We know that at least five secret storage bunkers around Baghdad, Basra and Tikrit held chemical weapons(14). If we are unable to locate these and other WMD caches due to the constraints of the war or (God forbid) a complete pull-out of American forces, Al Queda and other fanatics could very well get their hands on them. Should that happen, 9/11 just might look like a church social.
So why would anyone in the government and media deny these facts, lie to the public about the WMDs and play down or cover up these discoveries? What diabolical agenda do the candidates, pundits and others hell-bent on convincing the public of their lies have that they are willing to expose the whole world to these terrors? Isn't this eerily similar to the Holocaust denial?
I don't have the answers. Just the questions. What do you think?
1) United Nations Security Council resolutions 660, 661, 678, 686, 687, 688, 707, 715, 986, and 1284
2) http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewNation.asp?Page=/Nation/archive/200606/NAT20060621e.html
3) http://www.carnegieendowment.org/publications/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1435
4) http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,200499,00.html
5) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarin
6) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mustard_gas
7) http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1123
8) http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2006/2/18/233023.shtml
9) http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/11738
10) http://www.melaniephillips.com/diary/?p=55
11) http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1022824/posts
12) http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/f/foxbat.htm
14) http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/03/31/1080544556813.html?from=storyrhs

24 September 2007


There are a lot of people afraid of the widespread use of cryptography.
Why? What are their concerns? What is the logic of their arguments behind attempting to restrict, or outright ban the use of cryptography?
The primary reason that is given time and time again is that, with the use of strong cryptography, law enforcement will lose the edge of wire taps, using information found on computers and gaining information about crimes from emails in their efforts to prevent and prosecute crimes.
These are legitimate concerns. They sound like compelling arguments. They sound logical. They only fall completely apart when looked at from the reality of two points.
First, all these points assume that the United States is the only, or at least the best place to acquire cryptography. If that were true, then we could curtail the use by terrorists and criminals of crypto simply by outlawing it, and enforcing those laws.
Oh sure; a few bad guys would find a way to get a hold of it, but for the most part, national and local law enforcement agencies would have their investigations and prosecutions unhindered by the inability to collect or use information because it was hidden behind unbreakable cryptography.
The problem is that really good cryptography is available worldwide. Since the Americans are not the only ones that want it, they're not the only ones creating it. Even if were completely illegal inside the US, it is still readily available all over the rest of the world.
Which brings us to the second reason the anti-crypto laws make absolutely no sense. I have yet to hear of a law that Al Queida, or the drug cartels or child pornographers gave a damn about. The same thinking is trying to take all guns away from Americans. Machine guns have been illegal for decades, yet they are still the weapon of choice for dope dealers and terrorists.
All these laws do is disarm law abiding citizens, and make them easier targets for the criminals. Then, in an effort to protect themselves from the REAL criminals, the average citizen has to BECOME a criminal, and go get a gun, and/or cryptography.
Without strong crypto, identity theft will become even more rampant. Fraud and other information crimes will flourish because people can't protect their information from the real criminals. So they download some from Germany or France or Brazil, and become themselves a criminal just for having it.
That is my opinion. What are your thoughts?

09 September 2007


A Crypto Contest
Do you enjoy cryptograms? Western States Creations is holding a contest. The current winner gets their name and photo published on the web. A lot of fun for those that enjoy challenging their brains. Nothing to buy. Just some fun.
The winner of the next contest, due to start 9/15/'07, gets a prize worth over $150.00.
Check it out at: http://westernstatescreations.com/cryptochallenge/crypto_contest.html. Be sure to visit the adds and sponsor links, too. Without them, they (WSC) couldn't bring you the contest.
Looking for more crypto games? check out: http://www.darkrockstudios.com/decrypt/public/.
It's plugged as:"The game will teach you to crack real ciphers by hand. Then you will have to follow clues through the virtual internet to find encrypted communications and decipher them as you try to solve a mystery."
It's in beta now, but looks like it could be a blast.
Is Microsoft in bed with the NSA? Read this and decide for yourself.
http://www.hackwatch.com/cryptography.html. Another good article can be found at: http://www.cnn.com/TECH/computing/9909/03/windows.nsa.02/. This is why I advocate Open Source. Personally, I never did trust Mr. Gates. I thought the movie "The Net" was a wake-up call for anyone using encrypted operating systems.
The Chinese Invasion
Pet food. Toothpaste. Toys. Clothes.
We are being overwhelmed by poisons from China. Is it a conspiracy, or just a long series of idiotic mistakes from the well-meaning but misunderstood People's Republic of China? You decide!
After Del Monte, Nestle, Menu, Diamond and a host of other pet food manufactures found a deadly toxin in their products. (get complete list here: http://www.fda.gov//oc//opacom//hottopics//petfood.html) the recall frenzy began.
The poison was in the wheat glutin, which the Chinese government denies ever shipping to us. See: http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/04/05/business/gluten.php
Next came poison toothpaste, Barbie and other toys and even clothes. See: http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=1420022007 and http://www.thestate.com/business/story/168102.ht.
Why would they ship out a few tainted products, which are bound to be discovered and to their own financial detriment? Is it a conspiracy? Let's examine the possibilities.
The Chinese are known for their patience. They have weathered isolation for hundreds of years, and probably feel that they could survive a few more, if necessary.
Right now, the US imports over 70% of our toys from China. If a couple of million get recalled due to lead paint, how many still made it to our children to give them lead poisoning, and the associated behavioral problems, learning disabilities and growth retardation. These problems won't have any real affect on the country as a whole for 20 to 30 years. Then, if enough of our children are "slow", we could have an entire generation that can be led and manipulated by the PRC. The toothpaste, clothes and pet food COULD be tests to determine the most viable method of introducing lead and other mind dumbing chemicals.
Or, it could all be just a big mistake. What's your opinion?

08 September 2007

First thoughts

This is my first attempt at a blog. Let's face it; I'm an old geezer and not too checked out with all this new fangled technology. So why even attempt it?
Two reasons.
First, my son, Michael, and I have started an on-line art dealership called WesternStatesCreations.com, and we needed a method of getting the word out to folks that there is a different way to buy and sell art. A lot of people don't realize that local, not-well-known artisans create beautiful works. What was needed was a place to display and sell them so that folks such as your self could access some great art works without having to travel every back road in the country.
With that in mind, I thought I would use this as a way to bring a little light on to the creations of these artists, of which I am one.
Which brings me to the second reason for this muse. You may have noticed the title of this page: Conspiracies 'n Crypto. I am a poet and writer, and, if you read some of my work on the site like "Standing, After the Fall", you will see that I am rather opinionated.
I do believe that conspiracies exist. As I read yesterday; a conspiracy is, by definition, more than one person. Not necessarily a megacorp or government. Just 2 or more people deciding to do something illegal, immoral or fattening.
I don't wear a tinfoil hat, and I don't believe that aliens had a damn thing to do with JFKs assassination. I don't think the CIA is causing hurricanes to weaken foreign countries.
I do believe that people with power do things to maintain and/or increase that power. I do believe that some of the things they do are not in yours and my best interest and that, as such, those powerful people do their best to hide a lot of things from the rest of us. Those things, folks, are conspiracies.
And the crypto?
We all have a right to privacy. From our neighbors. From criminals. And yes, from our government. I do not believe that any law enforcement agency has the right to read my mail, electronic or otherwise, just in case I might be a criminal. Come up with some evidence first. Then go to a judge and get a warrant.
I hear people say "I don't have anything to hide". Then take down all your curtains and doors. Let EVERYONE see EVERYTHING. You won't do that. You expect; no, demand some privacy.
By the way, if anyone would like to post their public keys here, please feel free. I am not a "Trusted Third Party", and cannot vouch for anyone, but you can get your keys out through this blog (strange word).
So let's hear what you think!