Small group communications w/o Internet

Sometimes it amazes me what has already been done by creative people. One of the “new” (old) issues is private communications in a small group; made a bit more urgent by the newfound tendency of governments to shut off the internet when they don’t like what a group of citizens is doing. Yes, in concept no different from any Petty Tyrant breaking printing presses and arresting folks for making speeches from soapboxes when they don’t like what is being said.

Yet still a tiny bit chilling…

In an earlier posting I’d speculated on some ways to reestablish some internet connectivity (even if very limited). Ways that folks could create an ersatz network as / if the need arose.

https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/02/03/ersatz-internet/

The basic idea being to create a local wireless “LAN” and let folks share over it, while finding some way to add an improvised (even if slow) connection out to the ‘real’ internet. That way folks could do some sharing locally, and limited flow in / out from the rest of the world depending on the kind of internet link that could be provided. (Telephone / modem, packet radio, even wi-fi over a border…)

Well, while looking up a different thing for a Raspberry Pi project (what WiFi dongle would work best and how to set it up) I stumbled on a rather creative solution for “private sharing” of files and communications in a local small group specifically disconnected from the internet. This looks at the problem from the other side…

Given that Big Brother is watching now, and will be watching even more in the future; and given that much of what folks want to do is “share” something specifically without snoops, one easy way to do that is to remove the internet connection. Yes, as it is WiFi based, you still have the risk of a local ‘cracker’ trying to break into your box, or a government satellite picking up the traffic – but it eliminates all those Chinese Hackers and Russian Spys and 1001 other systems crackers from hanging on your every bit and byte. Add some encryption and even the sniffing satellites don’t get much…

So you would need an access point ( WiFi router) and a DHCP server (preferably using a non-routing block of numbers) and some kind of file sharing software… Having one of these (perhaps even with a bulletin board system on it) at, say, a Street Rally, when The Authority decides it wants to crush communications, would enable folks to swap from phone calls and email to file swaps. And potentially even things like email, just from an anonymous server… It would take some time to build one, but it can be done.

Well, kids will be kids… and it looks like some kids already figure this out.

That name is a bit “cute” for my tastes, “PirateBox”, intended to remind of Pirate Bay (a movie / record / whatever piracy site / service) and reflect the old Pirate Radio Station ambiance. OK, but for a random group of folks at a political rally suddenly in the dark, a name more like “Open Communications Services” would be more likely to be used by newbies. (I’d even go so far as to suggest a dedicated build specifically tuned to suggest security and secrecy in communications and with a welcoming ambiance, instead of the skull and cross bones motif… but perhaps that’s only needed for the “over 30” group ;-)

At any rate, they built one of these already. In fact, many of them. One even runs on a Raspberry Pi board (so you could prebuild it on a chip (SD card) and have it ‘ready to go’ but unused until needed, leaving the RPi doing other things until that day…

I’ve not looked over the feature set, and before I’d trust one for anything terribly sensitive / risky, I’d want to know more about the creators, and I’d want to go through the system image that is provided to assure it wasn’t loaded with security “issues”; but it’s still an intersting thing to look at, and maybe even build / test.

Here’s the site that talks about it:

http://daviddarts.com/piratebox/

Some excerpts:

PirateBox

PirateBox is a self-contained mobile communication and file sharing device. Simply turn it on to transform any space into a free and open communications and file sharing network.

Share (and chat!) Freely Inspired by pirate radio and the free culture movements, PirateBox utilizes Free, Libre and Open Source software (FLOSS) to create mobile wireless communications and file sharing networks where users can anonymously chat and share images, video, audio, documents, and other digital content.

Private and Secure PirateBox is designed to be private and secure. No logins are required and no user data is logged. Users remain completely anonymous – the system is purposely not connected to the Internet in order to subvert tracking and preserve user privacy.

Easy to Use Using the PirateBox is easy. Simply turn it on and transform any space into a free communication and file sharing network. Users within range of the device can join the PirateBox open wireless network from any wifi-enabled device and begin chatting and sharing files immediately. See the short video demonstration below for more details.

DIY PirateBox was created by David Darts and is registered under the GNU GPLv3. This license grants the right to freely copy, distribute, and transform creative works according to the principles of copyleft.

That last line is important since that means you can see the source code and assure it is clean and secure.

The link has the referenced video along with many photos, including lunch pails with an antenna on the side and even a skateboard with one of the units taped to the underside.

IMHO, it’s a darned good idea for any sort of folks who think they might want to continue communicating in a 200 m or so radius area either during natural disasters or when The Authorities have decided to kill communications. I can see two immediate enhancements, as well. 1) Named Accounts. In addition to the anon style accounts for “randoms”, having some named accounts for family and friends would let you know it was your spouse sending you that text message… 2) A locked down secured variation. Yes, much / most of the time you would want ‘free and open’ communications. Sometimes, though, you would want absolute privacy and without even the risk of a ‘random’ on the box looking around. So only those in your party, with their SSH keys, get in and ‘share’. (The RPi makes this especially easy to do simply by swapping SD cards to swap personalities.)

There is mention made of self forming webs in one of the pages. That’s a more complicated extension. To make it such that the devices discover each other, and ‘link hands’ so to speak. So if there were enough of them, the whole area becomes one large web of communications. (The problem there is with the lack of ID. If 2000 folks are all “anon”, how do you find your spouse?) But with ‘not too much work’, that can be fixed too (or may already have been fixed by someone…) So, take a blog where folks can post with any name not already taken. Pretty quickly folks could paste up messages saying “John Q. Public looking for Jane, need lunch in 10 minutes.”

http://daviddarts.com/

PirateBox DIY

PirateBox can be configured to run on many devices, including wireless routers, single-board computers, laptops, and mobile phones. Key hardware platforms include the TP-Link MR3020 and the Raspberry Pi both of which start at US$35.

OpenWrt
PirateBox will potentially run on most OpenWrt compatible routers with USB storage. Check out this tutorial and be sure to visit the forum for support and more info.

OpenWrt with Mesh
Thanks to lead PirateBox developer Matthias Strubel PirateBox can now be configured to create wireless mesh networks using Alexandre Dulaunoy’s Forban. This feature is still in testing – for more info, check out this forum post.

So those distributed mesh self organizing bits are being worked on…

The “how to” do it on a Raspberry Pi mostly has a download of a prebuilt image. I’d want to know what was in it before using it for anything where badges and guns were involved (or checking accounts and money…)

http://piratebox.aod-rpg.de/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=raspberry

Custom Image

Support-Thread for Image-Issues: http://forum.daviddarts.com/read.php?2,6298

Download this imagefile: 2013-02-06-wheezy-raspbian-PBx06E.zip (MD5SUM f39d934a2cfb1883e8661a3e06d97649)
Install Raspberry as normal: http://elinux.org/RPi_Easy_SD_Card_Setup (But use the image above instead)
Boot as normal with a Monitor, Keyboard & connected LAN (DHCP with Internet access) :!:
Do the following steps in Raspi-Config
Enable SSH Server via raspberry-config
change Password
Expand FS
Finish & reboot now

After this you have can enable it with

# sudo /etc/init.d/piratebox start

And if PirateBox should start via startup, run the following line

# sudo update-rc.d piratebox defaults

Yet they also have a “manual” path, where you install the source code, so you can see what’s in it. Nice.

The original page has much nicer formatting, this is just to give a quick flavor:

Manual install

The following steps describes the procedure, if you want to store your files on the SD-Card. Additional steps are required, if you want you uploaded data on a USB drive.

Download: Raspbian “wheezy” http://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads
Install Raspberry as normal: http://elinux.org/RPi_Easy_SD_Card_Setup
Boot as normal with a Monitor, Keyboard & connected LAN (DHCP with Internet access) :!:
Do the following steps in Raspi-Config
Enable SSH Server via raspberry-config
change Password
Expand FS
Finish & reboot now
Wait until reboot is finished- needs a while because the OS is resizing the filesystem during this reboot
Install needed packages and prepare some stuff:

# sudo apt-get update
# sudo apt-get -y install lighttpd
# sudo /etc/init.d/lighttpd stop
# sudo update-rc.d lighttpd remove
# sudo apt-get -y install dnsmasq
# sudo /etc/init.d/dnsmasq stop
# sudo update-rc.d dnsmasq remove
# sudo apt-get -y install hostapd
# sudo /etc/init.d/hostapd stop
# sudo update-rc.d hostapd remove
# sudo apt-get -y install iw
# sudo rm /bin/sh
# sudo ln /bin/bash /bin/sh
# sudo chmod a+rw /bin/sh

Edit network config file /etc/network/interfaces

auto lo

iface lo inet loopback
iface eth0 inet dhcp

iface wlan0 inet manual
### disalbed for PirateBox
#allow-hotplug wlan0
#wpa-roam /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf
#iface default inet dhcp

Fetch and copy over PirateBox Source

# wget http://downloads.piratebox.de/piratebox-ws_current.tar.gz
# tar xzf piratebox-ws_current.tar.gz
# cd piratebox
# sudo mkdir -p /opt
# sudo cp -rv piratebox /opt
# cd /opt/piratebox
# sudo sed ‘s:DROOPY_USE_USER=”no”:DROOPY_USE_USER=”yes”:’ -i /opt/piratebox/conf/piratebox.conf
# sudo ln -s /opt/piratebox/init.d/piratebox /etc/init.d/piratebox
# sudo update-rc.d piratebox defaults
# sudo /etc/init.d/piratebox start

:!: After this, the PirateBox should be run on default-startup. PirateBox works only on Wifi-Access with redirect. Network on Ethernet-Port is a normal “dhcp-client”, so no interference with your home network :!:

End Notes

So with that, I’ve got “Yet Another Project” on my endless list of projects ;-) Download the source code, look it over, build one of these, see what features look good, etc. etc.

If it does at all what it claims, it would be well worth it to have one in the Aw Shit Kit. So anyone in the area at least could connect, share, and communicate. Even if it’s just a bulletin board system and some file sharing, that’s a major feature if you have a crowd that’s been cut off from the general internet connectivity. When the ‘mesh’ is done and working, adding a “packet radio node’ would let the whole mesh get out to the internet (even if very slowly) via Ham Packet Radio (potentially to places hundreds or thousands of miles away). Similarly, one person in an apartment that was joined to the mesh, and with a modem / dial up hard line could make a call to an ISP out of country and ‘connect’. (It would likely need some kind of limiter on what was sent, so ‘text only’ or ’email with small attachments’ only, not video and 4 GB attachments… )

That it can be built for on the order of $60 is all that much the better. ($35 Rpi, $5 SD card, $10 for WiFi dongle, $10 for battery and power cable).

Though I’d really be much more inclined to have it present a picture of a “fluffy bunny” and be named something like:
“Warm pleasant open and accepting file sharing and chat room for guests”…
;-)

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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43 Responses to Small group communications w/o Internet

  1. adolfogiurfa says:

    Bad kids, being always silly, ignore the ingenuity of good and intelligent kids to just ignore them; in the long run bad kids, consumed by envy and jealousy destroy one another….we just watch them. Wait at your front door and you´ll see the corpse of your enemy passing by… Confucius.

  2. P.G.Sharrow says:

    My family members and I communicate through ICQ/Trillion. Kind of like using this comment line, but it is always on and near instantaneous. In the “Good Old Days” (pre WWW) we used a BBS on the Telco so Modern Internet eye candy is not needed.
    I have been discussing this with my grand son. RF Broad Band for IO should be the end game for close connectivity. For very low power a single conductor will suffice. Massive computing power can make this work. Long distance is another problem. pg

  3. adolfogiurfa says:

    There are two more options: either Telepathy or the traditional system of Gossip.. :-)

  4. adolfogiurfa says:

    Seriously, we are waiting for the “Musings from the Chiefio” Freedom Multi-platform Ghost version, that when it is accessed from unwanted sources it transmutes into a deadly virus.

  5. BobN says:

    Most interesting! I live in a long valley with a bunch of neighbors. We have always talked about an emergency system to pass the word from end to end quickly. This could be just what we are looking for, if we can make the distances work. May have to go with bigger antenna etc.
    This is real food for thought, thanks.

  6. crosspatch says:

    Back in the day (late 1990’s) we had here in the Silicon Valley area a network of UUCP email relays. Today you would use something like Exim or Postfix with a UUCP connector. Think if it like “pop3” for an entire domain, not just a user’s email. The way it worked is that some local companies and individuals would agree to gateway email to/from the Internet for people who had their own domains which were at that time subdomains of sbay.org (sbay = “South Bay” which is another name for the silicon valley area of the SF Bay area). So we each had a site name, imagine your site would be “potato” (just making this up out of thin air). Your users would be user@potato.sbay.org. We then had a series of UUCP “neighbors”. Mail would be routed according to an internal uucp map published every month and we would run “pathalias” and it would tell our mail programs where the “next hop” was for our email. “The Tech” in San Jose got their email that way for years as they were part of that network. Point was, as long as only one person in the network had internet access, we all had internet access for email. We didn’t need any internet access to send email between sites in the network, we just needed dialtone. When I sent mail, UUCP would fire up, dial up the next hop for that destination, establish a connection,send the mail, and hang up. No internet required. Looks like they have now evolved into a wireless network in the area:

    http://www.sbay.org/

    http://www.postfix.org/UUCP_README.html

  7. Steve C says:

    … ‘text only’ or ‘email with small attachments’ only, not video and 4 GB attachments… Ah, happy memories. And the machines started up in a few seconds. And …

    BobN – Probably the cheapest big antenna is the “Cantenna”, which can be researched from the name and works. It’s practically free if you like stuff that comes in the right size can … Happy experimenting!

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    @Steve C & Crosspatch:

    I was involved with bringing up the first internet / email connection for Apple. Got approval for a 9600 baud leased line down the street to Olivetti. That was the first time we moved off of dial up for email. We were still using UUCP to move email around campus as late as the early ’90s.

    It’s still built in to linux, BTW. So all those laptops with a built in modem, in an emergency, and with some config work, just need dialtone… Can also work over radio. On my “I wonder…” list is checking out if anyone has packet radio working on CB Radio bands ;-)

    In reality, you can BUY radios dedicated for that purpose on approved VHF bands… Some that have miles of range. We set up microwave “site to site” from one Apple building to another about 10 miles away. Had to bounce off our tallest building to do it though ;-)

    Now I’d likely try the “Cantenna” first. Just get a dongle with an external antenna, some coax wit the right ends, and put the antenna in a can. Some folks in the Santa Cruz hills got their internet that way about 1997? since their telco was being a pill. Friends “down slope” about 2 miles agreed to share and …. 2 cans and done.

    @BobN:

    Look into the “cantenna” and then it’s just a matter of “repeaters” at whatever distance works and then “routers” for the folks near it. Could be a fun project for the ‘teens’ to work on…

    @Adolfo:

    Never was much interested in the malicious aspects. More likely to just quarantine them into a sandbox full of what looks interesting but is really garbage and just run them around wasting their time…

    But generally, yes, this is a way to “gossip” over your electronic gadgets from 100 yards away and find out “who is where” to meet for more traditional gossip… ;-)

    @P.G.:

    icq/trillian eh? So multiplatform chat?

    Were you are, in a valley, you could set up one of these and have a private local communications pod. Set it on the roof you will likely cover the whole farm and then some. Getting long distance takes more power in the transmitters / receivers or lower frequencies (lower bandwidth…)

    I’ll likely make one of these in a few months (after other things are working). Then look at ways to make it more convenient and add on an “improvised relay” layer. Where you can route things over telephone or maybe even fence wire ;-)

  9. Paul Hanlon says:

    There was a link to something very similar on the RasPi site being used to help festival-goers stay connected and informed.

    There is another tech called ZigBee, which is basically an internet protocol for RF on the 2.4GHz band. The range of these modules is typically 40-100m, but you can get some that will communicate over 26miles (they say). The modules form an ad hoc self-healing network (i.e. if one node goes done communication is re-routed) with AES encryption and error checking. There’s a whole slew of devices and appliances that can connect together for home automation and building control with something like a Raspberry Pi acting as controller.

    The only limitation, as I see it is that it uses the RS-232 protocol, so you’re limited to 115,200 bps, so you won’t be sharing videos with people, but for basic text communication, it’s an alternative.

  10. adolfogiurfa says:

    Good “brain storming”….we are very close to find “The Idea”. Occam´s rule?

  11. BobN says:

    How hard would it be to build an Application that opened a text window. You typed the name of who its to and a short message. You hit send and it enters an internet address for the name given, the address table previously built. The application would send the message direct. Would a packet get blocked coming through the local exchange or would it just get passed. It seems like a small packet messaging could be made to work direct, just off an application. Maybe the OS won’t let you control the interface stack. I’m guessing it would take a separate Ethernet driver, but that sure would be attractive – Install and send.

  12. George B says:

    Yes, UUCP is going to move files only. The idea to my mind would be to provide an emergency way to communicate by email during some sort of disaster. You could relay email hop by hop until you finally got somewhere with Internet access. In the bay area, maybe someone in Palo Alto could dial someone in San Jose who can reach Milpitas who can reach someone in Pleasanton who can dial Livermore who can reach someone in Stockton who has Internet.

  13. R. de Haan says:

    Of course you can also get an Airport Express for € 79 or first series Airport Extreme Gigabyte on offer to have a really fast network: https://www.apple.com/uk/airportexpress/

  14. jim2 says:

    Hey Chief, check out this search engine.

    http://www.shodanhq.com/help/tour

  15. jim2 says:

    You probably already know this one, but just in case ..,
    http://linuxgizmos.com/

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    @R. de Haan:

    May a million dark nets bloom… While I’m likely to contribute to some of them ( I like that meshnet…) I think it is also valuable to have plenty of diversity. Any “mole” can only get inside one at a time… so the more the merrier…

    Look at what happened with the Liberator “Print a gun” plans. The government ordered a ‘take down’ of the published plans, inside hours it was the number one magnet tracker or Pirate Bay (and that isn’t even a dark net…) So I snagged a copy just as a “protest vote” and can present it back to the internet any time I wish. (It is stuck way, along with the torrent magnet link) on a tiny crap of media in a dark corner…) They have yet to figure out that ONE exposure to the interenet is an infinite history of existence, and most especially if you say “take it down”.

    Creedy: “Why won’t you die?”
    V: “Beneath this mask, there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask, there is an idea, Mr Creedy. And ideas are bulletproof.”

    Yeah, Apple makes things similar… the problem, though, is that EVERY major maker will be approached by “governentS” and “requested” to put in “acess and tracking features”. Or have a little “review” of their operations and managment… Look how everyone has rolled over to the Chinese and given the Intellectual Property outright…. So you need to “roll your own” to know it doesn’t have too many bits of buggery in it… But yeah, for “casual” use, the commercial stuff is OK too.

    @Jim2:

    Oh Gawd… they are making a web site out of known vulnerabilites and with I.D.s? I think I need to step up the pace…

    Yes, Linux Gizmos is fun… I need to visit it more often ;-)

    Using the RPi happened just because it hit the “what the hell” price point. Now that It’s working, I’ll likely buy one of the higher end machines “soon” (i.e. a year or two ;-)

    The RPi is working “well enough”, but not using the graphics processor means that IceWeasel is sometimes pausing at 100% CPU use. Livable, but not “seamless”. A dual core or faster chipset would be nice, or just having the GPU used. (Or make the browser software less piggy….)

    At any rate, “livable” is “good enough” for now….

  17. E.M.Smith says:

    @BobN:

    An interesting idea. Put a short text message in an internet packet, attach IP and port number (so it goes to the right ‘service’ on the other end) and send. You would need an application to construck the packet and send it, but it ought to work. (a ‘verify reception’ would be nice…) and I’d likely add an encryption step…

    @George B:

    That’s the way all email moved “in the old days” of about 1980 ;-) It still works. As long as there is phone service and geeks with modems, “the mail must go through!” ;-) (I mannaged such operations for years…)

    @Paul Hanlon:

    Nice links… Now if only I had a few extra hours in every day…

    ONE of the interesting things being done is to make small (football sized) robots that “swarm”. They make a self healing mess network between each other and pass messages. As more devices become “intelligent” there will be ever more opportunities to do that. Eventually folks
    will be able to “tunnel” email through the “mesh” of intelligent cars on the roads…

    Autonomy, it’s a beautiful thing ;-)

    Autonomy in a self organizing system is liberty; an idea that is bulletproof, for people or computers…

  18. R. de Haan says:

    E.M.Smith says:
    11 May 2013 at 7:00 pm
    @R. de Haan:

    May a million dark nets bloom… While I’m likely to contribute to some of them ( I like that meshnet…) I think it is also valuable to have plenty of diversity. Any “mole” can only get inside one at a time… so the more the merrier…

    Look at what happened with the Liberator “Print a gun” plans. The government ordered a ‘take down’ of the published plans, inside hours it was the number one magnet tracker or Pirate Bay (and that isn’t even a dark net…) So I snagged a copy just as a “protest vote” and can present it back to the internet any time I wish. (It is stuck way, along with the torrent magnet link) on a tiny crap of media in a dark corner…) They have yet to figure out that ONE exposure to the interenet is an infinite history of existence, and most especially if you say “take it down”.

    Encrypt the sucker and distribute the download link.
    Not that I was impressed by the print gun, I think they can do much better. But the fact that Government has too much power and no restraints using it…….
    The world has changed after 9/11 and the fact they named the new tower the “One World Trade Center” tells me their ludicrous agenda is right on track.
    Communication is of the essence. Only “we” the people can change the direction they’re taking us.

  19. R. de Haan says:

    P.s. I read up to some bad events from the past like the Ukraine famine, read genocide of 1932-33. All it took was some ruthless aparatchiks, a few ruthless trigger happy soldiers and the telegraph for communication to trigger one of the most mortal famines in history.
    http://www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/genocide/stalin.htm
    The latest massacre of our times was even more low tech. All it took was a radio station and a bunch of machete’s to chop up hundreds of thousands of people in a blink of an eye. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rwandan_Genocide

    We (hope) we think we’re too sophisticated for such primitive types of genocide and have the illusion we can still influence the way we’re going. The reality is that no high tech, clever gadgets or networks are going to help us when we’ve arrived at the sliding slope. Today at german television (WDR) I watched a documentary about a german couple who went to Barcelona 10 years ago to work in a hospital. The brother of the wife made the documentary which took them to the streets of the city center during a big protest against the banks. Suddenly the peaceful protest turned into a riot with people from the crowd throwing stones and smashing windows. Later a group of police in civilian clothes was filmed and I recognized several of them as the stone throwers/window smashers. So the establishment provoked the riots. There are not many things people can really do but show up in really huge numbers and make civil arrests of the provocateurs, film them and put them on the web. Living on the land with your vegetable garden, your gun and your dog is a loosing strategy as well. You provoke only by your presence. So we better hurry making some structured opposition now we still can. Time is not on our side.

  20. Gail Combs says:

    I read up to some bad events from the past like the Ukraine famine, read genocide of 1932-33. All it took was some ruthless aparatchiks, a few ruthless trigger happy soldiers and the telegraph for communication to trigger one of the most mortal famines in history….
    The worst part about that is AMERICAN and BRITISH Journalists were busy aiding and abetting Stalin by deny the genocide was happening!

    …In Canada, a person who aids or abets in the commission of a crime is treated the same as a principal offender under the criminal law….

    Those Journalists should have been strung up along with those who actually committed the genocide.

    The denigration of Gareth Jones by Walter Duranty in The New York Times, Friday March 31st 1933.
    RUSSIANS HUNGRY, BUT NOT STARVING
    Deaths From Diseases Due to Malnutrition High, Yet the Soviet is Entrenched
    LARGER CITIES HAVE FOOD
    Ukraine, North Caucasus and Lower Volga Regions Suffer From Shortages.
    KREMLIN’S ‘DOOM’ DENIED
    Russian and Foreign Observers In Country See No Ground for Predications of Disaster

    By WALTER DURANTY
    Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES

    MOSCOW, March 30—In the middle of the diplomatic duel between Great Britain and the Soviet Union over the accused British engineers there appears from a British source a big scare story in the American press about famine in the Soviet Union, with “thousands already dead and millions menaced by death and starvation.”

    Its author is Gareth Jones, who is a former secretary to David Lloyd George and who recently spent three weeks in the Soviet Union and reached the conclusion that the country was “on the verge of a terrific smash,” as he told the writer….

    But to return to Mr. Jones. He told me there was virtually no bread in the villages he had visited and that the adults were haggard, guant and discouraged….

    Since I talked to Mr. Jones I have made exhaustive inquiries about this alleged famine situation. I have inquired in Soviet commissariats and in foreign embassies with their network of consuls, and I have tabulated information from Britons working as specialists and from my personal connections, Russian and foreign.
    Disease Mortality Is High

    All of this seems to me to be more trustworthy information than I could get by a brief trip through any one area. The Soviet Union is too big to permit a hasty study, and it is the foreign correspondent’s job to present a whole picture, not a part of it. And here are the facts:

    There is a serious shortage food shortage throughout the country, with occasional cases of well-managed State or collective farms. The big cities and the army are adequately supplied with food. There is no actual starvation or deaths from starvation, but there is widespread mortality from diseases due to malnutrition.

    In short, conditions are definitely bad in certain sections- the Ukraine, North Caucasus and Lower Volga. The rest of the country is on short rations but nothing worse. These conditions are bad, but there is no famine. ….
    http://www.garethjones.org/soviet_articles/russians_hungry_not_starving.htm

    To add insult to injury Walter Duranty won the 1932 Pulitzer Prize for his articles about the Soviet Union.

    1932 Pulitzer Prize Awarded to Walter Duranty

    Duranty, one of the most famous correspondents of his day, won the prize for 13 articles written in 1931 analyzing the Soviet Union under Stalin…..

    …Some of Duranty’s editors criticized his reporting as tendentious, but The Times kept him as a correspondent until 1941. Since the 1980’s, the paper has been publicly acknowledging his failures. Ukrainian-American and other organizations have repeatedly called on the Pulitzer Prize Board to cancel Duranty’s prize and The Times to return it, mainly on the ground of his later failure to report the famine.

    The Pulitzer board has twice declined to withdraw the award, most recently in November 2003, finding “no clear and convincing evidence of deliberate deception” in the 1931 reporting that won the prize…
    http://www.nytco.com/company/awards/statement.html

    …t is only in recent years, since the collapse of the Soviet Union that people in the West have become aware of this concealed and forgotten act of genocide….

    The famine also exposed the worst and the best in British journalism.

    The worst, typified by some of the left leaning journalists who visited and reported on the Soviet Union in glowing terms, feted and well looked after by the Soviet authorities they saw no famine.

    In fact suggestions there might be a famine on any thing like the scale suggested was immediately put down and rubbished as anti soviet or right wing propaganda…..

    British and indeed international investigative journalism failed spectacularly. On the other side, the best of British journalism was exemplified by journalists such as Malcolm Muggeridge and in particular the Western Mail journalist, Gareth Jones.

    ….Gareth made his first visit to Hughesovka (Donetsk) where he saw the first signs of famine. In 1933 he visited Soviet Ukraine again and defied a ban on travelling to visit the famine affected regions.

    During his March 1933 “off limits” walking tour of Ukraine he witnessed the famine first hand and reported: “I walked alone through villages and twelve collective farms. Everywhere was the cry: ‘There is no bread, we are dying’….

    Gareth Jones was vilified and ostracised for reporting honestly what he saw. He was nevertheless one of the few who stood up and maintained the highest journalistic principles. He was banned by the Soviet authorities from re- entering the Soviet Union. Two years later he was murdered in suspicious circumstances in Manchuria in 1935.
    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/how-stalins-terrible-famine-ukraine-2018132

    Given people like Stephan Lewandowsky and others we do well to remember the complete news blackout of the genocide of 1932-33. “…“During the famine around 20-25% of the population of Soviet Ukraine was exterminated including a third of Ukraine’s children…” It is estimated between 6 and 10 million died.

  21. R. de Haan says:

    Gail Combs says:
    11 May 2013 at 11:59 pm

    “The worst part about that is AMERICAN and BRITISH Journalists were busy aiding and abetting Stalin by deny the genocide was happening!”

    Gail, just think where the concept to turn Russia into a Communist State came from and you have our answer.

  22. R. de Haan says:

    BobN says:
    9 May 2013 at 5:01 pm
    “Most interesting! I live in a long valley with a bunch of neighbors. We have always talked about an emergency system to pass the word from end to end quickly. This could be just what we are looking for, if we can make the distances work. May have to go with bigger antenna etc.
    This is real food for thought, thanks.”

    All the tech to do this is available, most of it off shelf. The way to go is to measure the distances to bridge and list obstacles like buildings and trees. Look for example for WiMax technology: http://www.gtri.gatech.edu/casestudy/high-speed-wireless-internet. If a wireless LAN is possible it could be interesting to share a 2way sat connection for internet access, tv and phone connections or use a single Gigabite fibre glass connection. What would even be better is to connect the entire cluster to a local fibre glass grid. This allows you to install security systems like camera’s allowing one neighbor to check up on the property of the other neighbor when he’s away. Especially if you can do the digging and installation as a collective this is not too expensive. At least it’s the most effective and most reliable solution because glass fibre is in the ground. Who knows you can connect to a backbone and make it run.

  23. Gail Combs says:

    R. de Haan says:
    12 May 2013 at 12:23 am

    ….Gail, just think where the concept to turn Russia into a Communist State came from and you have our answer.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    The bankers funded Lenin and JP Morgan also bought up all the important news papers in the USA in 1917. You also have Pascal Lamy head of the World Trade Organization stating point blank:

    …All had lived through the chaos of the 1930s — when turning inwards led to economic depression, nationalism and war. All, including the defeated powers, agreed that the road to peace lay with building a new international order — and an approach to international relations that questioned the Westphalian, sacrosanct principle of sovereignty….
    http://www.theglobalist.com/storyid.aspx?StoryId=9174

    West European nations create the Council of Europe, the beginnings of the EU in 1949. I think the Soviet Union and The European Union were two different experiments by the ‘Elite’ to see which was the best form of ‘Serfdom” the one the peasants would accept the most readily and the one that kept them productive. The plug was pulled on the Soviet Union when it was decided the EU was the ‘better model’ this would explain the sudden collapse of the Soviet Empire in 1991. Here is another explanation.

    The UK’s (Fabian) policy of killing off the ‘useless eaters’ is finally coming to light.

    Sick children are being placed on a controversial end-of-life “pathway” previously only thought to have been used for elderly and terminally-ill adult patients.

    Top doctor’s chilling claim: The NHS kills off 130,000 elderly patients every year: Professor says doctors use ‘death pathway’ to euthenasia of the elderly. Around 29 per cent of patients that die in hospital are on controversial ‘care pathway’

    Hospitals bribed to put patients on pathway to death: Cash incentive for NHS trusts that meet targets on Liverpool Care Pathway

    Almost half of dying patients placed on the controversial Liverpool Care Pathway are never told that life-saving treatment has been withdrawn, a national audit has found…. around 57,000 patients a year are dying in NHS hospitals without being told that efforts to keep them alive have been stopped.

  24. BobN says:

    @R. de Haan – Thanks for the link, we have been in fact finding mode and the link you gave is great. I have even thought of getting some Quadra Copters and stick an antenna on them and have them programmed to go straight up and hover till a message is sent. More of a fun project than a good system. Something like Fiber or WiMax makes way more sense.

    We put up a tower to get fast Internet in the valley, if the internet goes down we may still be able to tap in for our security loop. Where was our heads, I need to check that out.

  25. E.M.Smith says:

    @R. de Haan:

    Why encrypt it? As it stands, it’s a very large “public statement”.
    http://thepiratebay.sx/torrent/8449468/Liberator_-_First_3D_Printable_Gun

    shows that at present there are 2382 “seeders”. That’s the folks willing to be visible as distributing it on open nets. There are likely at least 4 times that many (as, at any one time, some folks have shut off their laptops or gone to bed shutting the desktop computer off).

    Then there are the folks like me who have it, and can share it, but are not at present. Then there are the 100,000 ish scale that have it and are not sharing, but could. Then there are the folks sharing by non public means (like CD). Then…

    Frankly, it’s not a very impressive gun. It’s a 380 so barely of any power (though a Silver Tip Hollow Point has the same “one shot stop” statistics as a .45 ACP military ball… ) and it is my “slip in the pocket when something goes ‘bump’ in the night” calibre… and the Liberator looks like it is one shot. (while mine is an 8 shot…)

    Frankly, I can make a more effective gun from some plumbing supplies and a bit of wood… ( The notion that this is ‘special’ and that folks can’t make guns without the ‘printer’ is just soooo broken… I don’t need an $8000 3-d plastic printer to make a gun… ) Heck, using “flammables” or some selected biological toxins I could do way more, and more easily. The actual “gun” isn’t very important or significant, really. It’s a barely functional marginally useful thing. To me, what matters, is the “statement” it makes. “We the people” have the right and the capacity. We are the source of authority for all that the collective government does. If we say “no”, it means no…

    It’s more about making it clear that that is the state of affairs…

    There is an incredible stupidity in the notion that you can prevent folks from know how to make and use weapons. It comes from people who have no real understanding of martial arts, or how weapons-smiths do what they do. One example: In California they made it illegal to possess nunchucks unless enrolled in a martial arts school. Failing to realize that the nunchuck was a “rice flail” and the use of it came about in response to weapons bans… Similarly, the “side handle baton” was a crank from a well handle… ANYTHING can be a weapon in the hands of a warrior. (The CIA trains to use ball point pens as dirks…) The folks on 911 used airplanes as weapons. So can a car, truck, or bus be a weapon. Or a can of drain cleaner or a bottle of bug spray or… Frankly, you can use most any flammable material (including wheat flour…) and air to make a Fuel Air Explosive. I’m not unique in knowing these things. It’s wide spread understanding.

    That sad thing is that TPTB do not embrace the fact that We The People can be trusted. (Indeed, are already de facto trusted and must be trusted… ) and instead have this paranoid delusion that we must be “controlled” instead. Oh Well…

    The internet and new technologies just make it a tiny bit more widespread as to who knows what and who can “do things”… In less than 24 hours I can make a mortar of fairly large size. It’s not hard at all. ( 1600s or so tech, and using metal casting w/ black powder – not a modern mortar) All it takes is access to metals (think copper pipes and tin solder), fire, and the ability to make a sand mold. Most any “art” class at a Junior College or Art School can do it.

    We seem to be dedicated to the stupid-always-fails path of “weapons control” from TPTB despite all that. Oh Well…

    I’ll get to the rest of the comments in a bit. Right now I’m still “recovering” from the “coding frenzy” aspect of doing a lot of systems config work in a small amount of time and staying up late ;-)

  26. J Martin says:

    R de Haan said :- What would even be better is to connect the entire cluster to a local fibre glass grid. This allows you to install security systems like camera’s allowing one neighbor to check up on the property of the other neighbor when he’s away. Especially if you can do the digging and installation as a collective this is not too expensive

    This has been done in at least one UK village area, for broadband at least.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21442348

  27. R. de Haan says:

    BobN says:
    12 May 2013 at 2:46 am
    @R. de Haan – Thanks for the link, we have been in fact finding mode and the link you gave is great. I have even thought of getting some Quadra Copters and stick an antenna on them and have them programmed to go straight up and hover till a message is sent. More of a fun project than a good system. Something like Fiber or WiMax makes way more sense.

    We put up a tower to get fast Internet in the valley, if the internet goes down we may still be able to tap in for our security loop. Where was our heads, I need to check that out.”

    Bob, you’re welcome. Depending on the number of homes to connect (determining the total amount of simultaneous/peak data capacity needed) I would have a serious look at a fibre glass broadband network. If you translate with google, you can have a look at http://www.ibfn.nl This is the website of a Dutch engineering company specialized in fibre networks a.o fibre networks in rural area’s, FttH industrial clusters (FttB) and “Fibre to the Farm” FttF. Translate the website with google translate.
    The also have a software program to quickly calculate the cable lengths of the network, the most economic location of the PoP and the length to the nearest backbone, see: GISS FN at the website. Because the entire concept of introducing fibre glass broadband is “universal” you can ask them any question you have, including a financial plan to toll out such a network.

    How many homes, businesses and public location do you have in your valley?

  28. R. de Haan says:

    J Martin says:
    12 May 2013 at 6:29 am
    R de Haan said :- What would even be better is to connect the entire cluster to a local fibre glass grid. This allows you to install security systems like camera’s allowing one neighbor to check up on the property of the other neighbor when he’s away. Especially if you can do the digging and installation as a collective this is not too expensive

    This has been done in at least one UK village area, for broadband at least.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21442348

    Thanks for the link JMartin. With the copper network coming to the end of it’s life cycle and exponential growth in data capacity (HD, 3D TV broadcasting, IP Cloud Services, HD Backup, picture and video libraries, Cloud based Applications and an ever increasing number of IP based services, from banking to booking and online shopping in combination with a rapid growth of the number of computers, smart phones, pads and other IP connected gadgets per household) we see fibre optic based network initiatives popping up all over the world, even in Africa. The G/bite network, 1 Gb-up, 1 Gb down) is the new home standard already and continue to go up over the next decade. For rural area’s fibre networks will be a matter of community survival and a most potent means to create opposition against Agenda 21 initiatives (rural area depopulation programs moving all those folks into the cities) Most of those projects are based on community initiative.

  29. R. de Haan says:

    Former DDR, 50.000 used as guinea pigs for medical experiments without knowing: http://www.telegraaf.nl/buitenland/21556687/___50.000_waren_proefkonijn_DDR___.html

    Translate link with google translate.

    The reality of the day is the fact that we see experiments involving entire countries. Not only medical experiments but also economic experiments. The only way to arm ourselves against the evils of the system is to get informed and stay well informed: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Thomas_Jefferson

  30. R. de Haan says:

    E.M.Smith says:
    12 May 2013 at 5:11 am
    @R. de Haan:

    Why encrypt it? As it stands, it’s a very large “public statement”.
    http://thepiratebay.sx/torrent/8449468/Liberator_-_First_3D_Printable_Gun

    Because you saw what happened to the first publication. It got pulled without any protest.

    I agree with you that “public interest” is prominent but as you already concluded the majority of Americans is too stupid or too dumbed down to act.

    So what are the real options:

    1. escalation of Government taking measures to curb internet freedoms and all the rest of our freedoms.

    2. Get political active and try to achieve a political majority with a brand new party.

    In Europe and the USA this means we need an entire new party as the current establishment of parasites is corrupt to the bone.

    In Europe it is easy for a brand new party to get a majority as most of the countries have a 60%+ majority that wants to leave the EU. All you do is to scoop up their votes.
    The way to do it is to start an Article 50 Party under the name “We Decide”.
    The entire party program fits a beermat and can be concentrated in 4 words: Out of the EU.
    Ask all voters to contribute 10 dollar/pound/euro and the party has sufficient means to win the elections, any elections.

    In the USA it is little bit more difficult but if you replace Article 50 (leaving the EU) with Cleaning up the corrupt establishment of money grabbing parasites for both sides of the isle, Democrat and Republican you have a mighty big chance. Just take Thomas Jefferson material for the party chapter and leave out sensitive issues like religion, birth control, foreign politics and defense that have been the proven growth limits of both the Tea Party and Ron Paul.
    With the One World Trade center almost finished and Bloomberg and Obame meddling with the very basics of our freedoms to the level of health care, climate and Agenda 21 up to the soda’s we choose to drink and the quantity of salt we like to put in our soup, time is running out.

    I suggest party names like”WE DECIDE” or “WE GOVERN OURSELVES” to turn this into a success. The time for chatting at the side line IMO is over. We have to take control over our own destiny.

  31. R. de Haan says:

    P.s the real power to break is not the power of the political establishment but the power of the banks. Jefferson has to say some interesting things about that too and the key would be to end the reign of the FED which is possibe with a political majority. There are many people who have made suggestions for an alternative system. Picking the right concept to replace the current financial system is key but the risk to enter this field is extremely high. In the past any politician/president that mattered, opposing the introduction of the FED or objectives of the FED has been killed.

  32. R. de Haan says:

    Gail Combs says:
    12 May 2013 at 1:40 am
    R. de Haan says:
    12 May 2013 at 12:23 am

    ….Gail, just think where the concept to turn Russia into a Communist State came from and you have our answer.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    The bankers funded Lenin and JP Morgan also bought up all the important news papers in the USA in 1917. You also have Pascal Lamy head of the World Trade Organization stating point blank:”

    Yep, same old club messing up the world then and now.

    But IMO they now have made a big mistake.

    The moment the lyrics of the National Anthem of the USA no longer matches the reality and initiatives are developed to take people’s guns they are playing with fire in their own house.

  33. E.M.Smith says:

    @R. de Haan:

    “Take people’s guns” just means the use of improvised explosives, toxins, trucks, plains, gasoline cocktails, etc. It forces an escalation into more effective weaponry. Like the ban on “Saturday Night Specials” that were largely ineffective .25 ACP or .32 ACP moved the “uninformed” into much more effective .380 and 9mm guns. It increased deaths significantly. (I’ve heard cops make that argument. They were NOT fond of being “face to face and belly to belly” with folks packing 9mm that had prior been .25 ACP ‘belly guns’… They also are not fond of the idea of being hit with an IED… Heck, take two gallon glass jugs of gasoline. Add cloth. Toss one on each side of a cop car…. I’d much rather face a nut job with a .32 ACP shooting at a hard windshield, and most likely not getting through it, than 2 gallons of gasoline… )

    There is a reason we have “terrorists” in the USA doing attacks NOT with guns. Guns are just not all that effective for mayhem and ‘resistance’ use.

    I do wish more of TPTB had a clue about how “clandestine” military operations are done…

  34. Paul Hanlon says:

    Very short video of a chap joining up “plastic” fibre optic cable. It’s actually easier than joining up Ethernet cable (tools are probably a bit more expensive, though), and being plastic a lot more robust than glass.

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  36. R. de Haan says:

    Paul Hanlon says:
    13 May 2013 at 2:01 am
    “Very short video of a chap joining up “plastic” fibre optic cable. It’s actually easier than joining up Ethernet cable (tools are probably a bit more expensive, though), and being plastic a lot more robust than glass.”

    Yes and no. They use the plastic optical fibre for industrial purposes, transport, trains, trucks, aircraft cars, offices and housing, but only at places with a lot of sharp curves and no space but only for short distances to bridge. Glass is superior superior and I mean really superior compared to plastic.

    Here you find the EU project and the partners who developed the stuff.
    http://130.192.85.10:8080/pofplus/documents/public-deliverables/POF-PLUS-Public-Final-Report.pdf

  37. Paul Hanlon says:

    @R. de Haan,

    Thanks for that. 5.3Gigabit/sec but only up to 50metres. Shame. I have a pile of Zigbee stuff on order, so once I get things up and running, I’ll report back on the range, ease of setup etc.

  38. BobN says:

    @R. de Haan, – You asked about our valley. Its about 5-6 miles long and there would be 18 connects. That’s a pretty reasonable size to group and size to get connected. I will do some tests on wireless first and if that doesn’t go will look at fiber. A lot of good options to sort.

  39. R. de Haan says:

    BobN says:
    13 May 2013 at 6:11 pm
    @R. de Haan, – You asked about our valley. Its about 5-6 miles long and there would be 18 connects. That’s a pretty reasonable size to group and size to get connected. I will do some tests on wireless first and if that doesn’t go will look at fiber. A lot of good options to sort.

    Bob, have a look at this offer for two way sat internet broadband: http://www.exede.com/

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