Dear NSA intern reading this post, I don't actually intend to start a coup

Dear @DasBeasto - we'll be the judge of that. - NSA

Consider a country pretty much exactly like modern day America. The government (allegedly?) has their nose in everything that happens online. However, online communication is a great way to get your voice heard and reach millions of people. So going online and recruiting people to participate in your coup, planning and staging, and even initiating the attack would be perfectly facilitated by an online interface...if it weren't for those pesky government snoops that would immediately shut it down and arrest all those involved.

So my questions is what would be the best was to use an online interface to facilitate your coup. Would you use a VPN and only allow access to people you personally screen? Would you hide on a hard to reach page on the deep web like the silk road? How could you make sure your coup is successful without the government interfering?


  • Lets assume 70% of the country agrees with you and wouldn't rat you out/might participate, 30% disagree with your stance and would rat you out to the government if they discover your plans.
  • You need your message to reach many people, your plan isn't something a couple thousand people could carry out.
  • I want to use the term "online" loosely, any other high-tech communications such as RFID's, QR codes, or SMS Texts can be used if it fits better, even if they don't connect to the internet.
  • If you use encryption by some means it is ok if the government find the communication as long as they can't decipher the plans or stop the communication.
  • This has to be technology the average person could figure out/be taught, remember we need many many people to be able to participate.
  • I'm picturing a standard brute force coup, but would be interested in others

The best answer will give a way for this way of communication to spread to as many people as possible as quickly as possible without the government or those who don't agree with your ideals figuring out the plan.

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    $\begingroup$ Not an answer, but, have you seen this Doctor Who episode? On it almost the entire Earth planet raises in a coordinated coup against the government: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_of_the_Time_Lords $\endgroup$
    – Envite
    Nov 8, 2016 at 22:09
  • $\begingroup$ How many people do you need? How long do you need to plan? What level of surveillance does your government do? $\endgroup$
    – PatJ
    Nov 8, 2016 at 22:10
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    $\begingroup$ A coup has a specific meaning, and that is usually a small cable of plotters (generally who have access to the levers of power) like government ministers or military officers. You are speaking of a rebellion or revolution. $\endgroup$
    – Thucydides
    Nov 8, 2016 at 23:20
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    $\begingroup$ @Thucydides ah I was unaware of that implication I only googled the term to make sure it fit as I thought and the first definition "a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government" seemed to fit. I think I posted enough context in the question for people to understand the idea without rewording though. $\endgroup$
    – DasBeasto
    Nov 8, 2016 at 23:36
  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868
    Nov 10, 2016 at 0:22

12 Answers 12


I actually work in Cyber Security, so here's my tips for your uprising and/or cult (hey, I won't judge!). This is incredibly yawn-worthy, but as accurate as possible. You could absolutely go deeper, and more extreme than I'm listing, but this is trying to strike a balance between security and minimizing infrastructure. I'm also assuming that the Internet is available, just being monitored closely.

So What do we do?

So we want to avoid Big Brother digitally. Networked (specifically the Internet) is such the defacto means of digitally communicating with large groups of people, so we'll assume that it's your standard.

You'll have two concerns of communication:

  • Peer-to-peer communication (used to communicate with those already in the know)
  • Broadcast-style communication (used to speak to a wide audience).

The first rule of security is that security is a two-person operation. If either end--the receiver or transmitter--isn't secure, the entirety of the communication isn't secure. Technically the transmission is also a concern, but we can largely ignore that (and hope for the best) if we can ensure that both ends are locked tight.

The second rule of security is that you're never secure. Even if you think you are, you're not. Cyber Security is about three things:

  • Ensuring Confidentiality (Only those who should see it, see it, or should access it, access it)
  • Ensuring Integrity (The information remains unchanged)
  • Ensuring Availability (The information remains accessible)

There is no way known to man to guarantee all three. Anything and everything you're doing is mitigating risk, and that's it. People joke that you can unplug a computer to secure it, but even if you have perfect physical security for the computer, you've just made the computer unavailable, invalidating the last one. What good is a computer that's turned off? Or they joke you can permanently air-gap it. The machine is still at risk to anyone who touches it, and it probably isn't available.

Certainly it isn't available for communicating under Big Brother's nose.

The third rule of security is that security should be layered and there is, and never will be, one golden solution to security.

Let's Get Down To the Brass Tacks

Okay, so there are a number of steps you can take. Again, you can go farther than this (there's hundreds upon hundreds of page books on security just for introductory certifications), but we're going to hit some key highlights and points of interest. I'm breaking it down into A) Security Boxes, B) The User, and C) Communication

Securing Boxes

First of all, we'll need to secure the machines that the person uses to access the Internet.

  • Secure Operating System: We want an operating system that offers security at rest (encryption when turned off) and security at runtime. Open Source software (where the source code is published for anyone to see) typically is the most secure since it's had the most people possible examining it for holes, and third parties can independently examine it. Let's go with BlackArch as a base. Packages (bits of software) will have to be installed to make it user friendly for the masses, so somebody leading this uprising (or their tech guy) will need to examine each patch to ensure that they're secure.
  • Encrypt All Drives: Encrypt. Everything. If any computer is powered off, or drive unplugged from a computer it should be encrypted. It should be noted that encryption only slows a sufficiently skilled, funded, and motivated attacker down, and does not stop them. It's know that the government had issues cracking the iOS encryption, but eventually (through a third party) they got through.
  • Use a Secure Browser: Tor is the classic example. Your traffic is routed through random nodes to help hide it, and Tor comes with some other tools to help you hide. This too is not perfect.
  • Never Download and Install Software: Any software you install on a machine, including browser plugins, are potential security exploits waiting to happen, or worse, were produced by Big Brother. You only use open source software, only use software carefully approved by your tech group, and avoid downloading software (even if approved) as much as possible to avoid spoofing.
  • Always Verify Software With A Hash: This is a process of running the bits of software through some math and producing a number, the hash. Change even a single bit in a piece of software and the number (the hash) changes dramatically. It's a fantastic way to verify nobody's messing with the software you install.

The User
The biggest (bar no second) weakness in security is, sadly, the user. Users do stupid stuff. This is not hating on anyone, this is just a reality those in Cyber Security face. Your organization will need to address this (good luck!).

  • All Users Use Unique Passwords: Passwords should never, ever be intentionally shared or duplicated. Ever.
  • Use Smart Passwords: You can look for yourself at the type of passwords people use. You can also look for yourself at how complex passwords make passwords more secure. (NOTE: DO NOT ENTER YOUR REAL PASSWORD IN THERE TO TEST IT.)
  • Your Passwords Are Only Secure As Access To Them Are: Currently we can't read minds. That technology doesn't exist. Anything written down can easily be acquired. No passwords on post-it notes.
  • Your Users Should Be Educated On Your Procedures: In the modern world, one of the best ways to compromise a user, compromise a system, compromise a network, etc, is through phishing. This is trying to trick a user into giving up access or giving up their password. A phone call claiming to be the help desk, an email that says "click here to reset your password," a supposed other rebel asking for just a bit of quick access to your box... Your users need to know that they have to be draconian and have to be educated enough to know your procedures so they'll know if something is going outside your procedures. They can't be duped by a phone call if they know (and accept) that no phone calls will ask for their password.
  • Your Users Should Be Educated On Security: Quite simply, the users will use security tools more effectively.
  • Need To Know, Need To Access: Users should only know what they need to know, only have access to what they need to access. When your users mess up (and you will have many, many mess ups with 70% of the population needing to be in on the loop), you minimize how compromised your systems and information are.


  • Always Use HTTPS For Communication: Other protocols can advertise your location. Limit yourself to only handpicked, trusted certification. These certifications should be authorized by your leadership. We don't want the government spoofing certificates to lead you to an incorrect site.
  • Connect Without Pattern: Aim to connect at different spots, randomly. Don't connect for long periods. Take advantage of public WiFi spots.
  • Connect Anonymously: Use proxies, and host some servers (distributively, don't put all of your eggs in one basket) overseas. This will slow connections, but will disguise who the Internet requests are coming from. This is not perfect and can be gotten around.
  • Transfer Information Discretely: There's a few ways of doing this, but the classic example is steganography. Basically you take a known file (say a song or picture) and alter it slightly. In the case of a picture you're altering the pixels' colors just slightly so it still appears like a normal picture. However once downloaded and compared to the original, you can find the hidden message. This can all be 100% automated, but it's still a challenge to secretly distribute the original image. This method would be useful to broadcasting communication, as it can be publicly hosted on a website without suspicion.

...And there we go. Follow these tips and you too could mitigate risk!

...Not very sexy, is it?

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    $\begingroup$ Your link for stenography is broken. Do you mind if I hijack it with an edit? I've got something funny in mind, but I kinda have to break the link further to do it. $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Nov 9, 2016 at 0:04
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    $\begingroup$ You don't look paranoid enough. What good a secure OS is for, if your processor is compromised (think Intel Management Engine), or a compiler is quined (see ece.cmu.edu/~ganger/712.fall02/papers/p761-thompson.pdf ). $\endgroup$
    – user58697
    Nov 9, 2016 at 2:33
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    $\begingroup$ I work in Information Security as well and this posting is interesting, but completely misses the main threat. The security of the devices is almost an afterthought in the question asked. Infiltration and subversion is the primary threat, not IT security. $\endgroup$
    – Tom
    Nov 9, 2016 at 14:01
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    $\begingroup$ 70% of the world will never adhere to everything you've said, so basically its impossible. $\endgroup$
    – James
    Nov 9, 2016 at 16:41
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    $\begingroup$ @tuskiomi I'm at 1,300 words already. I cut out several bullet points and a couple of sections to avoid it being monstrous. I had a section talking about the different types of two-factor authentication, even, but... it didn't make the cut! Forgive me. $\endgroup$
    – Ranger
    Nov 10, 2016 at 15:55

I disagree with the premise. I mean, if 70% of the people agrees with you, create a political party. Look at the approval rating of the current two candidates and compare it to your 70%...

Now, let's assume you no longer can form a political party or somewhat it feels like a lot of work to do. Well... just join a few friends, go to a very crowded place, take out some signs and begin a protest. With support levels of 70% we are not talking about a coup, not even about a revolution, it would just be a takeover.

Typically, coups are planned by a small cadre of very influential people (military, bussiness, even the judiciary...) and so they need to remain secret to act together. Revolutions (those that succeed) rely more in popular support, but still only a minority of the people is active and so need preparation (in secret) to succeed. The 70% makes your proposal neither of those.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ A campaign is pretty expensive. $\endgroup$
    – Tim
    Nov 9, 2016 at 0:58
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    $\begingroup$ @Tim A campaign to convince people is pretty expensive, you need to repeat your message constantly. If the people are already convinced, you only need to inform them that you are running on that idea, which is significantly cheaper. And of course, if 70% of the people approves, crowfunding is an option. $\endgroup$
    – SJuan76
    Nov 9, 2016 at 3:09
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    $\begingroup$ Creating a political party could be difficult in a first past the post election system like the US. Chances are, people will not vote third-party because they don't expect a new party to have a chance and they don't want to lose their vote. Better to hijack an existing party. $\endgroup$ Nov 9, 2016 at 5:57
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    $\begingroup$ @Sumyrda If 70% support you, you are not third party, but first party. $\endgroup$ Nov 9, 2016 at 9:06
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    $\begingroup$ The Electoral College was formed for the specific purpose of preventing "democracy"; the United States is a Constitutional Republic. Majority voting is for the House, so Congressmen can react to the short term will of the public. The Senate was appointed by State legislatures as the conception of the Untied States was States were sovereign nations which agreed to share resources for common problems like defense. The Electoral College was to prevent small States from being overwhelmed by large States, to provide a balance of interests. The system worked just the way it was designed. $\endgroup$
    – Thucydides
    Nov 10, 2016 at 4:46

A coup has a very specific meaning, which is a small cabal of plotters who generally have access to the levers of power (Government ministers,, army officers etc.) overthrow the existing government and install themselves. The role of the people, if any, is to acquiesce to the change in government without too much of a fuss. The replacement of the Egyptian "Muslim Brotherhood" led government by the Army in the very recent past is an example of a modern coup.

What you are asking for specifically is a rebellion or a revolution (which are similar and related, but not the same).

A rebellion occurs when a group, such as an oppressed minority or other grouping with a grievance, feels they have exhausted peaceful means to change their situation and have no other alternative but to throw off the oppressive government by force. The American Civil War can be viewed through this lens; the Southern States were steadily losing economic and political influence to the industrial Northern States, and were no longer able to accept restrictions on the issue of Slavery in particular (this came to a head when deciding if new territories admitted to the Union were going to be "slave" or "free"). While slavery was a hot button issue, the Southern States were also becoming less relevant in other political and economic areas, and resented their diminishing status. Rebelling against the Union was considered their "out".

A Revolution, on the other hand, is generally triggered and carried out by the Middle Class when they feel their property and political and economic rights are under threat by the aristocracy (or ruling party) or by the poor. They fight to keep what is theirs, and to reorder the political structures so their property and position is no longer under threat. The French and American revolutions are examples of this kind (see The Coming of the French Revolution for a detailed study).

WRT the internet and electronic communications in general, a true coup has a high chance of success since the ministers or officers can access secure systems, in addition to meeting face to face. Most secure systems are "air gapped" and have no connection to the outside world (which is why the Clinton email server is such a security breach, all those classified emails had to have been downloaded from secure servers first and then physically transferred to the unsecured server), so monitoring the Internet will not reveal anything. Now security service es should also be monitoring the internal traffic as well, but here the ministers or military personnel can always include their own security services, and use them to block, misdirect or obscure what they are doing from a rival service like the police or NSA.

Rebellions and revolutions have been conducted over the internet (the Iranian Green Revolution and the Arab Spring are recent examples), but this is fraught with difficulties. The security services can and do read internet traffic, and can usually crack improvised codes. The Egyptian Police in particular used FaceBook "spoofing" to lure protesters into areas where the police were waiting to arrest them. In the case of the Arab Spring, the long term resentments and frustrations simply provided fuel that did not need the internet to get people going, and the police and security services were eventually outnumbered and overwhelmed.

The fate of the 2009 Green revolution demonstrates that the Internet is not a substitute for traditional tools. Lacking outside support or even a safe and secure area to rest, train and equip themselves, the Green Revolution fizzled out under the relentless hounding of the Iranian security services. As an aside, you may remember or look up video taken during the uprising; many of the signs were in English as an appeal to the US and the West to provide moral or physical support to the revolutionaries, but President Obama chose to ignore and turn his back on them, guaranteeing their eventual failure.

Another example of how to raise a rebellion or revolution even under the occupation of a much more militarily strong power is to look at the actions of the First Intifada, as outlined in the book "The Sling and the Stone". This 4GW action used paper communications like handbills and word of mouth to spread information and instructions, and chose to forbid armed resistance to the Israeli army rather than fighting with guns and rockets to attack them through PSYOPS and the international press. Since the IDF chose not to physically occupy the West Bank (military actions were more similar to a series of raids, and the force to space ratio made full time occupation impossible anyway), there was a "secure" area to operate out of, and of course the Arab Gulf States provided money and other help as well, so they had all the classic tools needed for a successful rebellion.

  • $\begingroup$ Typo: I assume you meant 'cabal of plotters'. $\endgroup$ Nov 10, 2016 at 14:07
  • $\begingroup$ I hate autocorrect..... $\endgroup$
    – Thucydides
    Nov 10, 2016 at 18:53

Don't plot, don't coordinate, start a movement.

One solution is hypotheticals. Have people post plans in a general or hypothetical way to mass consumption sites, this gives a possible legal out. (more on that after my short prison stay) You can spread plans and variations on plans so even though they are reading right along with your people there is some chance of success.

Another is do something normalish. At my high school the admins banned green shirts, the gang didn't care they switched to bandanas, then socks, then belts. The hall monitor had no time to hassle people doing slightly naughty stuff behind the gym because they had to bother with silly stuff in classrooms.

Choose your level of involvement. If the cops are chasing some one with a gun, they probably won't bother with you spraypainting. Hardcores might get dead, but moderates get bolder.

These plans should be simple to implement, not dependent on a lot of coordination or require too much set up. Consider dressing up like a clown and doing something silly. This show support for your cause. Yay us. Nobody gets charged with anything. Now what if some of you go a little farther, and a little farther, and a little farther. Probably ends with blood in the streets, but that's kinda what you are asking for.

Also science. Everyone should learn basic chemistry and physics. "Give a man some bleach and he'll clean a house, teach a man to make bleach and he'll burn it down"

geohashing is a method of creating difficult to predict locations, if you modify it to have a time and be less vulnerable to manipulation by the powers that be it could offer a way to arrange mass meetings without giving opposition time to prepare.


Lets assume 70% of the country agrees with you and wouldn't rat you out/might participate, 30% disagree with your stance and would rat you out to the government if they discover your plans.

This raises three questions in my opinion.

1) When is the next election ? If the next election is coming soon, you can make an electoral coup and win the elections with a clean sweep.

2) Are 70% of the government employees agreeing with you ? If they do, you will have a number of moles inside the government which would help you greatly. If you have a mole inside, it sounds reasonable to coordinate through an unmonitored website and an unmonitored radio channel.

3) Are 70% of the military agreeing with you ? If they do, the government has technically no way of enforcing its authority in an open conflict, thus there would be no need to actually hide from the government.

If none of these questions lead to resolution, my best call would be hire extremely large groups of hackers to get the government's systems down for a while, and coordinate through something as simple as Facebook. Word-of-mouth will spread within minutes, and with the government's technical network down, their response would be too slow to prepare an serious answer. The government and people who disagree with you will learn about the coup, but will not be able to mount an actual retaliation.


70% support and a country like America?

"On January 20 at the swearing in we will retake our nation. March on Washington unarmed, our sheer numbers will prevent us from being stopped."

Get the word out enough. Remember, even in China the government had a hard time finding troops willing to take up arms against their own population.

With 70% support the police and military will not be able to stop sheer numbers--an awful lot of their members will be on your side.

  • $\begingroup$ On one hand, this makes sense. On the other hand, there is a marked difference between "support" and "engagement". If only 0.001% of those 70% are willing to get out of the house and march, you may have issues mobilizing. Witness the failed "Green Revolution" in Iran. $\endgroup$
    – user4239
    Nov 10, 2016 at 13:33
  • $\begingroup$ If your troops are sufficiently trained in fearing for their lives they can open preemptive fire just fine. $\endgroup$ Nov 10, 2016 at 14:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Daerdemandt Note the bit about unarmed. Make it clear that you will harm nobody other than in self defense. You're simply there to remove the evildoers from the places of power. I think you would end up with one of the nearly bloodless revolutions you see when something finally causes the people to take action against an incredibly unpopular leader. With a free internet that would be an awful lot easier than it was in eastern Europe. $\endgroup$ Nov 11, 2016 at 12:18
  • $\begingroup$ If you have a superpower to make hostile troops trust you then that's fine. If you don't have that, making sure these troops don't fear you despite all their training will be nigh impossible. Angry mob does not really imply 'we mean no harm' either. $\endgroup$ Nov 11, 2016 at 13:18
  • $\begingroup$ The problem with deposing a leader by mob is... it starts a precedent for it. Look at Thailand. $\endgroup$ Nov 13, 2016 at 6:26

Given that the question states the country is "like America" I'm assuming that freedom of speech is a thing.

Thus regardless of how many people support you, the best way to 'stage a coup' isnt to hide at all. Get as much attention as possible. Delegitimize any sources of actual fact-sourced information and spread massive campaigns of disinformation through social networks and any other sources that you can convince people to trust instead.

The government response doesnt matter because anything they do/say just legitimizes you in the eyes of anyone you've been able to prime with your misinformation.

Then win an election.

You dont need 70%, or 50%, or even a plurality. You just need a few simple lies that are attractive and easy to understand and enough people to get them viral.


The thing about high security is that it's suspicious. Fully encrypted drives, secure networking and clandestine communication might keep your data safe, but it's going to pull up a massive red flag for any intelligence agency once the participation reaches critical size.

Assuming that you can't just win a Democratic election as many are suggesting (assumption: The Government and ruling body is corrupt and would rig the election), and that you have something approaching Free Speech, then there's a novel approach you could try, and hide in plain sight:

  1. Announce the release of a new online game, where America/Your Country is in a state of political flux, and unrest is growing. Choose your side in the most realistic MMORPG ever!
  2. Make it as realistic as you can. It's a game, right? You're not doing anything illegal, it's all hypothetical.
  3. You now have a dual-use recruitment/scenario platform, where you can test your scenarios to death and identify the people more likely to be sympathetic to your cause - the more realistic you make something, the more likely people are to reflect their real opinions in their in-game choices.
  4. Due to "Popular Demand", release a private version of the software, where people can play their own privately networked versions. Now there are hundreds of different versions of this game all over the internet, hiding your "Real" version among the masses of fake ones.

What you do from there is up to you, really. You've got a public recruitment platform for testing out new ideas, and a private platform for your scheming. If anyone busts you for anything, you can claim research and development of new scenarios for the game, and that none of it was ever going to be implemented in reality.

  • $\begingroup$ That's going to be infiltrated on a release day though. Or maybe even before that. $\endgroup$ Nov 10, 2016 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Daerdemandt, Infiltrated what? The whole point is that the game itself involves plotting against the fictional government, which is identical to the current government. The actual plotting won't take place until long after the game is mature enough to mask reality from fiction. $\endgroup$ Nov 10, 2016 at 14:37
  • $\begingroup$ Infiltrated any community that is expected to do something. You don't know which plotters are sincere and which are moles. Considering ever-dwindling line between sting ops and facilitating a crime, you should expect operatives to be elbow-deep in your plots, supplying you with indispensible info and actual stuff (like guns and whatnot), rigging your plots to target their enemies instead of yours or destining them to fail. $\endgroup$ Nov 10, 2016 at 15:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Daerdemandt, not really understanding why this applies specifically to this scenario and not to any others. Surely this is going to be an issue for any online community? $\endgroup$ Nov 10, 2016 at 16:45
  • $\begingroup$ Well yes, to the extent members of that online community are expected to cause trouble. Not limited to online communities either, online just makes pretending cheaper. You raise a good point of shipping plausible deniability by default. However, some governments are eager to ban discussions of manufacturing and distributing imaginary drugs as a knee-jerk response. "Realistic revolution MMO simulator" is a tad too suspicious to just let it slide. $\endgroup$ Nov 10, 2016 at 17:12

I think Orson Scott Card was onto something when he showed how to do it. With his idea, you wouldn't even need to start with 70% support. If you did, it would make it go that much faster.

In theory, it would be simple enough to create ONE new political party and then use that party to take over. However, in practice, as others have pointed out, it's difficult to take one new party to the top and beat out the others which are already established.

In Card's classic book Ender's Game, while Ender is out in space, training in battle and commander school, his siblings are busy taking over the Earth (this is plausible when you remember that they are just below Ender as the second and third smartest people on Earth). I am describing here the method they used.

You go online and create an established presence by posing as two political and philosophical thinkers with opposing points of view. This is the important bit and the real genius behind the idea.

The first step is to join online communities and begin publishing essays and works of great political influence and philosophy, getting your opposing viewpoints out there bit by bit. It's just about making the fake personalities seem real and publishing paper after paper as these fake personas, to establish your viewpoints in the public sphere of thought.

The second step is to build up a large group of followers for each viewpoint. Once this happens, you can work to build up your political clout within those groups, and eventually to begin expanding them. Because there are two opposing parties, they can be used against each other to work their way into common thought.

It's like a game of tug of war. You aren't trying to pull with more strength than your opponent, because that's an obvious attack and everyone else will be against you. For an established opponent, you will never win by strength. Pull harder and the opponent will likewise devote more resources to resisting you. Instead, create your own separate game of tug of war to buck the system by going back and forth. You are getting people to move over to your game of tug of war. They think they are on one side of an argument but in reality, they are all under your influence because you created both sides of the argument. So essentially you get 100% support, without anyone but you knowing about it.

Once this is established and the two opposing viewpoints wield considerable power and influence, use both together to topple the existing system. Doing this with two opposing viewpoints rather than a single party is the equivalent of cutting down a tree using a back-and-forth double saw rather than just an axe. The former is obviously going to be easier.

What is the government going to do? They won't be able to predict a coup until it's too late. They will see two new rising political schools of thought, but won't necessarily be aware (especially if care is taken to post each side's viewpoint from different computers, always anonymously) of the single force behind it, or what that force intends to do with the power it is gaining. The gradual game is the way to do it, and this system Card came up with seems plausible enough.

In short, you must build and establish the system of thought before it can be transformed into a system of power. Establishing this system of thought is easier when you artificially create two opposing points of view. Government meddling isn't going to be a huge problem because you don't appear to be a single threat, but rather two separate and opposing movements. You don't try anything threatening until after you obtain the power to take over. This may not be as quick as other solutions, but considering a coup is going to take a while no matter how it's done, I think Card's idea would be an effective one.


This Defcon talk by Chris Rock gives a pretty comprehensive overview:

DEF CON 24 - Chris Rock - How to Overthrow a Government


From the description - note you will be learning "how to architecht a coup" :

Chris will walk you through a cyber regime change from start to finish on a real country and show you how to architect a coup achieving the same result as a traditional mercenary operation without any blood spilt. This will include taking ownership of all facets of government including finance, telecommunications, transportation, commercial companies and critical infrastructure such a power, water and oil. You will learn:

• Traditional military mercenary coup tactics used by the infamous 32 Battalion in Africa, Executive Order and Sandline that can be directly applied to a cyber mercenary regime change.

• How to architect a cyber coup using advisor’s, hackers and the general populace, using misinformation, professional agitators, false information and financing.

• How to gather intelligence to analyze a government’s systemic weaknesses on financial, societal values and political climates that is leader or country specific to structure your attack.

• How to identify and prioritize government resources, infrastructure and commercial companies and how to use these compromised assets to stage the coup.

• Combine physical and digital techniques and have the best of both worlds to own a countries infrastructure.

• Hot to manipulate the media using propaganda targeting journalists flawed multiple "source" rules for a story.

• The Grand finale of a cyber regime change on a real country from beginning to end using the above techniques with operational footage. Come to this talk and find out how you too can be your own dictator, benevolent or merciless that part is up to you.


If you have a safe way of broadcasting your message, just do it sort of V for Vendetta style.

Kickass torrent website was illegally up long enough so I imagine it probably is possible to have a public website run from a foreign country where you can write whatever you want without the big brother taking it down. Once you have such a website, you can post your provoking messages, plans etc to stir the pot and give a platform to people to discuss. You'll need to do the right SEO and advertising etc to make it known out there. It can look reasonably harmless initially.

If 70% of the population agrees then people will start using your platform and eventually everyone would be openly talking about it all. The government can't take your website down and can't arrest its own citizens for online discussions. The whole thing will go on its own without any coordination, secret planning or whatever else, leaders will automatically rise there, you just provide the right provocation at times as needed.

Eventually you can even announce a date for something to happen (V for Vendetta style) and observe how government and people react. People will most likely plan it themselves. Given that 70% of the law enforcement force supports you, you have very good chances of succeeding.

But the challenges are also very real - 1. Keeping the online platform up. 2. Ensuring it reaches out to at least all of the 70%. 3. Having the political acumen to stir the pot effectively and keep fueling it in the right direction.


The bottom line is that despite whether you try to screen members privately or allow them to join publicly, the government will get their spies in your ranks without you knowing.

Whatever technology you can think of should not be trusted in the slightest if it faces the public. TOR has so many vulnerabilities it's not even funny.

The only thing you can do is go under the radar of communications if you want to stay secure. period.

Defense is to slow down and not to solve, so focus on offense. That means manipulation, destruction, assassination, and arming the people. Also, don't expect the government not to be playing the same game already. Your best bet may to be secure a position of high influence and trust, and then to initiate your attack from within where the government was vulnerable to betrayal.

Also consider:

  1. making a presence and movement robust enough so that you don't have to hide by tapping in to the basic nature of people
  2. continuously securing more and more power and 0Day attacks until after a considerable number of years you are confident that you can drop the government in one fell swoop
  3. creating alliances with a large number of other countries for both cyber and military support
  4. avoiding the dangers of confrontation entirely by plotting a "silent coup" over a number of years or decades

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