Hellman walked out of the conference room boiling with irritation. Another wasted day! That incompetent, bumbling idiot from Interpol had completely derailed the work by insisting on a review of the procedures and then got himself sidetracked into questions of oversight management. Since he arrived the committee had been practically deadlocked instead of doing something about the nanotech threat.
Not that it had worked that well before, Hellman reminded himself. Right from the start there had been problems - the unexpected leaks to the media (who the hell had done that? He had still not figured that one out), a petty quarrel between some members, industry lobbyists interfering, and finally the promotion of Simone to the board of Interpol, leaving him with her zero-brained successor. He had even heard rumors in the corridors that nanotech no longer was in (despite all the official pressure from above), and that it had even become a stain on the CV. Not very good for motivation.
It was almost like some invisible force was successfully fighting their work, stalling it and making their decisions ever more irrelevant and obsolete, discrediting attempts to regulate it. Fortunately he wasn't paranoid and didn't believe it for a moment.
Paz a los Hombres, Guerra a las Instituciones
Spanish anarchist slogan
The Concordat itself has no goal other than furthering the aims of its member organizations, but they generally point in the same direction: the freedom to create a future. The FOG is the uniting enemy, the largest threat to this goal. However, different parts of the Concordat have different views of how to deal with the situation.
The main difference is between the "Atlanteans" and the "Freewares". The freewares (named after the free software idea) think that it is very important to spread the new technologies to as many people as possible; this will both help defeat the FOG (by making their power monopoly untenable) and make the world better. The Atlanteans do not see any point in releasing new and dangerous technology for free to the people - the FOG and the way of thinking it represents must be defeated first, only then will people be responsible enough to handle the new technologies; otherwise they will just use them to create something far worse than the FOG.
Overall, the Brinists, Cryptoanarchists, Gene Hackers, NetNation and some Extropians are on the freeware side and try to spread liberating technology to everyone, while other Extropians, Interfacers and many Transhumanists are Atlanteans. The lines aren't clear-cut; many Gene Hackers realize that certain technologies are best kept away from children, and even the most rabid Atlanteans realize the usefulness of spreading strong crypto to people. Much debate rages on what technologies should be promoted, but in the end it is each group who decides what to do.
Another major issue is what methods are allowable. Obviously FOG laws are irrelevant, but ethics is constantly debated on SubNet. Is it OK to steal information from corporations to further the InfoWar, like the Knights of the Double Helix does? Is the piracy of Kommando Ragnar D.Skjöld acceptable? What about genetically modified animals?
The standards are fairly broad, but in general people tend to discourage breaking the ninth point: don't hurt individual people who aren't directly involved in the InfoWar. As for organizations there is more leeway, although attacking or exploiting "neutral" groups is frowned on. The consensus is that dirty tricks are allowed, but you are responsible for keeping the consequences positive.
Most of the struggle against the FOG is surprisingly quiet and discreet; much of it is actually quite legal. The InfoWar is about the minds and world-view of people, not about overt violence.
ListenMuch of the Concordat is involved in researching technology which is then developed and spread through entirely legitimate corporations and organizations. This provides a cover, cash and spreads subversive technologies into society. While illegal or highly discouraged research goes on underground, the results can then be refined under the guise of corporate R&D, and then marketed and sold - knowledge laundering. This also competes with other corporations, forcing them to research to stay ahead. At the same time it is risky and hard work: the FOG and the large corporations are in power and will do everything to keep it that way.
To the results
Of a tremendous dream
Combined with deep emotions
Let the dream come true
DJ Bobo, Technology
An audit can sometimes turn up useful things other than numbers.Another important activity is tripping up FOG and other opposing groups. Concordat members do their best to find out what they are up to, and then try to sabotage their plans. This can be done in a lot of ways, and different Concordat groups have different styles and areas of interest. Some keep an eye for proposed laws and decisions, and try to derail some of them by spreading the information to the right lobbying groups, organizing negative media coverage, finding juicy complications that will confuse the issue and slow the decision process, or develop ways of exploiting them. Others try to disrupt work in general, both by various kinds of sabotage (ranging from creating bureaucratic messes to physical sabotage) and by intrigue (it is not that hard to incite internecine fighting among the departments or lobbying groups). Some take great delight in digging up all the dirt they can find about the FOG and releasing it to the media. For example, NMS International (and especially their Brussels cell) loves to reveal secret directives and especially secret laws to the public, exposing FOG and making its work harder.
Greed captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.Many of the Concordat cells are involved in trade, both with each other and with ordinary people across the world. This way they can gain access to the resources they need, bootstrap their own capabilities and also spread their ideas and values to others. It also provides a practical way to deal with people you do not necessarily agree with - even if you can't stand each other's views, you can always trade.
The Concordat produces a lot of stuff people want - nanofactured objects, drugs, genetically modified organisms, software, hardware, robots, safe economical transactions, not to mention information. Selling this is done through a variety of channels, ranging from mail-order through the net over physical black markets to truly unique channels such as Henri's Ice Cream Truck, a mobile genetics laboratory and fertility clinic camouflaged as an ordinary ice cream truck! Payment is often in other forms than play money (since it can be traced) such as goods or services. In many cases the goal of the trade is not just to profit, but to introduce people to Concordat-style subversive networks and to spread new designs into the mainstream. In fact, the underground trade networks are proliferating faster and faster as people begin to mistrust the FOG and see that the IOUs work. Sooner or later they will become too large to miss, and then the real clash will occur - are they large enough at that point, they might be too hard to deal with; it isn't practically possible to convict a sizeable percentage of the population of tax evasion.
It is hard to smuggle physical goods. Transfer of information through SubNet is fairly secure, but physical transports of something can be very dangerous. Surveillance cameras exist just about everywhere, and in the open spy satellites can see you. Tracking software and correlation finders are quite good at keeping track of people and their connections if the Powers That Be have any reason to look in their direction. This is why the interfacers involved in physical trade often use elaborate schemes to transfer goods using dupes, drop-points and through legit channels. And the Concordat groups often take the extra precaution of hiring two or more interfacers to do parts of the transfer, neither knowing about the other.
Why should I instill enthusiasm? I just teach the curriculum.The Underground Academy is a nexus for the Concordat InfoWar effort.
One area the UA is involved in is free education. One of the best ways of reaching many people is by educating them; that way they can both be given the power to chose for themselves and hear the Concordat's view. Net based education resources is one of the UAs most powerful weapons - well developed collections of essays, tutorials and simulations without the FOG bias. Pupils and students find them when doing net searches, and since most are for free they are an irresistible bait for teachers facing strict budget limitations. Concordat members continuously expand and translate them to make them as accessible as possible (including themselves; the UA is a very useful learning resource for Concordat members too).
Another area where the UA is active is as actual teachers. One of the most successful project is the Spreading School: a teacher, helped with net-based education teaches ten others, training them for free but in exchange for that each of these ten then train ten others. This strategy has been very successful in rural India and some other regions, and the UA is interested in trying out something similar in the first world, spreading essential knowledge.
There has already started a promising chain of mental training centers ("The Mind Shop") that teach some of the TU-developed mental techniques to ordinary people.
Insurrection of thought always precedes insurrection of arms.Many members of the Concordat spend a lot of time and energy to spread the memes of the organization to people, undermining the world-view spread by FOG. This ranges from writing articles and books over debating to media piracy and manipulation. NetNation favors promoting the Concordat through net-based discussions, the Transhumanists try to spread the ideas among intellectuals and Brinists dig up embarrassing information about FOG and produce pro-TU propaganda.
An invaluable part of this effort is the non-Concordat sympathizers. It is not illegal (yet, in some nations) to promote TU ideas. Sympathizer organizations exist quite openly, trying to make people understand the situation and what is needed. They always run into resistance, sometimes quite violent. The Concordat itself keeps a low profile, well aware that these sympathizers are often watched by the FOG and other enemies, making direct help dangerous. Usually different cells have "adopted" a few groups, leaking information or help through untraceable channels to them, letting them know they are not alone in their fight.
A revolution is not a bed of roses ... a revolution is a struggle to the death between the future and the past.Sometimes subtle manipulations are not enough. Occasionally the Concordat has to get its hands dirty when dealing with major threats.
Fidel Castro, speech (1961)
One example was the 2014 coup in Togo, where the coup was influenced by WETF. The Concordat couldn't afford to let WETF get that chance and didn't want to let FOG take over either, so many cells contributed to hiring Ghosts and other agents to deal with the problem. During a few hectic weeks the Ghosts fought the new junta and the Concordat agents orchestrated a revolt. In the end the old government was reinstated, WETF lost their connections, and the Concordat could quietly slip away.
The Concordat isn't particularly violent, but sabotage, theft, information warfare and low-key violence are in its arsenal. Instead of employing many people, the Concordat tactic is to use maximal training and high tech to make quick, stealthy surgical strikes against the enemy. Often attacks are against installations, key people or information; the less that needs to be done, the less the chance of discovery and unwanted side effects.