Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Installment 7.4: Pictures of puppies and kittens

“Brigid Barkley in downtown LA interviewing the military commander of the SD-LA forces.”  Brigid said, standing next to Commander Auggie Ybarra.

“My first question to you, sir, is how did you convince the Cali forces to surrender without firing a shot?” Brigid asked.

“We used an old technique called 'The Honey Trap'.” Commander Ybarra responded.

“How does that work?” Brigid asked.

“The forces executing the honey trap create a situation that appears to be almost too good to be true.  It plays to the opposing force's preconceptions and desires.  People find it much easier to believe things they want to be true.”  Ybarra responded.

“Can you share some specifics?” Brigid asked.

“Well, for one thing, the Cali forces wanted to believe that we are a very small minority and that the Cali government was still in full control of the city.  We knew that we did not have much time once the Cali forces increased their speed of advance two days ago.  Basically, we jammed all communication out of the main Cali complex, shut off the power and water and stripped the employees of all of their communication gear as they exited the building.” Ybarra said.

“We told them that their campus was about to become a 'hot' war zone and they would be much safer in their own homes under house arrest.” Ybarra said.

“Then we had a force of electronic warfare specialist continue to update the social media pumped out by those employees to reinforce the image of total normality.” Ybarra said.

“That must have been incredibly manpower intensive.” Brigid observed.

“Not really.  We had our people write some algorithms to mine highly viewed older posts and to recycle them either on the original poster's site or on one of their friend's sites.” Ybarra said.

“Let me paraphrase, you are saying that this is the first time in history that a battle was won by pictures of cute puppies and kittens.” Brigid said.

“It might be more accurate to say that this is the first time in history that a major battle and deaths was avoided due to pictures of cute puppies and kittens.” Ybarra corrected with a sardonic smile.

“Did you have much resistance?” Brigid asked.

“Not really.  We videotaped every interaction to document that the Cali employees had no choice.  Our guards were armed and we made it very clear that we had no inhibitions about using force.  We figured people would resist if they feared they would be held accountable.” Ybarra said.

“Surely some of the employees attempted to warn the Cali forces.” Brigid insisted.

“They did.  We intercepted many of those communications after the fact.  Our response was to bury those communications with an avalanche of very exaggerated communications that discredited the source.” Ybarra said.

“Can you give an example?” Brigid asked.

“A typical communication might report that we had surrounded the campus and had fifty troops at each exit.” Ybarra said.  “We might hijack that communication channel, often an email address, and report that fifty thousand troops were slaughtering college students across the street at USC, or that twenty thousand troops had set fire to all of downtown LA.  Those huge,  verifable exaggerations  discredited those sources.”

“So then what happened?” Brigid asked.

“It appears that the Cali forces had a breakdown in command and communications during their final sprint to their objectives.” Ybarra said.  “Instead of splitting apart and reinforcing multiple, defensible sites they all piled into Cali's main campus in LA...the same one we had cut off the utilities to.  Instead of meeting up with a viable fighting force they found themselves trapped in an indefensible position.  They quickly recognized their situation and surrendered.”

“We heard rumors that the officer who surrendered was the disgraced, former commander of all Cali military forces, DeTroy Washington.  Can you confirm that rumor?” Brigid asked.

“I can neither confirm nor deny that rumor.  I will confirm that the officer who surrendered the forces is an officer in the Cali forces.” Ybarra said.

“Why can't you confirm the rumor?” Brigid persisted.

“After surrendering, the officer asked for asylum.  He or she obviously believes that the Cali government would not look kindly on his surrender...a decision that was the only decision a rational leader could make under the circumstances.” Ybarra said.

“Thank-you for your time.  This has been Brigid Barkley interviewing Commander Auggie Ybarra in News from the Front Line.”

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