America's war on the web
While the US remains committed to hunting down al-Qaeda operatives, it is now taking the battle to new fronts. Deep within the Pentagon, technologies are being deployed to wage the war on terror on the internet, in newspapers and even through mobile phones. Investigations editor Neil Mackay reports
IMAGINE a world where wars are fought over the internet; where TV broadcasts and newspaper reports are designed by the military to confuse the population; and where a foreign armed power can shut down your computer, phone, radio or TV at will.
Yeah. Imagine that.
In 2006, we are just about to enter such a world. This is the age of information warfare, and details of how this new military doctrine will affect everyone on the planet are contained in a report, entitled The Information Operations Roadmap, commissioned and approved by US secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld and seen by the Sunday Herald.
The Pentagon has already signed off $383 million to force through the document's recommendations by 2009. Military and intelligence sources in the US talk of "a revolution in the concept of warfare". The report orders three new developments in America's approach to warfare:
- Firstly, the Pentagon says it will wage war against the internet in order to dominate the realm of communications, prevent digital attacks on the US and its allies, and to have the upper hand when launching cyber-attacks against enemies.
- Secondly, psychological military operations, known as psyops, will be at the heart of future military action. Psyops involve using any media - from newspapers, books and posters to the internet, music, Blackberrys and personal digital assistants (PDAs) - to put out black propaganda to assist government and military strategy. Psyops involve the dissemination of lies and fake stories and releasing information to wrong-foot the enemy.
- Thirdly, the US wants to take control of the Earth's electromagnetic spectrum, allowing US war planners to dominate mobile phones, PDAs, the web, radio, TV and other forms of modern communication. That could see entire countries denied access to telecommunications at the flick of a switch by America.
This revolution in information warfare is merely an extension of the politics of the "neoconservative" Bush White House. Even before getting into power, key players in Team Bush were planning total military and political domination of the globe. In September 2000, the now notorious document Rebuilding America's Defences - written by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a think-tank staffed by some of the Bush presidency's leading lights - said that America needed a "blueprint for maintaining US global pre-eminence, precluding the rise of a great power-rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests".
The PNAC was founded by Dick Cheney, the vice-president; Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary; Bush's younger brother, Jeb; Paul Wolfowitz, once Rumsfeld's deputy and now head of the World Bank; and Lewis Libby, Cheney's former chief of staff, now indicted for perjury in America.
Rebuilding America's Defences also spoke of taking control of the internet. A heavily censored version of the document was released under Freedom of Information legislation to the National Security Archive at George Washington University in the US.
The report admits the US is vulnerable to electronic warfare. "Networks are growing faster than we can defend them," the report notes. "The sophistication and capability of ... nation states to degrade system and network operations are rapidly increasing."
The report says the US military's first priority is that the "department [of defence] must be prepared to `fight the net'". The internet is seen in much the same way as an enemy state by the Pentagon because of the way it can be used to propagandise, organise and mount electronic attacks on crucial US targets. Under the heading "offensive cyber operations", two pages outlining possible operations are blacked out.
Next, the Pentagon focuses on electronic warfare, saying it must be elevated to the heart of US military war planning. It will "provide maximum control of the electromagnetic spectrum, denying, degrading, disrupting or destroying the full spectrum of communications equipment ... it is increasingly important that our forces dominate the electromagnetic spectrum with attack capabilities". Put simply, this means US forces having the power to knock out any or all forms of telecommunications on the planet.
After electronic warfare, the US war planners turn their attention to psychological operations: "Military forces must be better prepared to use psyops in support of military operations." The State Department, which carries out US diplomatic functions, is known to be worried that the rise of such operations could undermine American diplomacy if uncovered by foreign states. Other examples of information war listed in the report include the creation of "Truth Squads" to provide public information when negative publicity, such as the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, hits US operations, and the establishment of "Humanitarian Road Shows", which will talk up American support for democracy and freedom.
The Pentagon also wants to target a "broader set of select foreign media and audiences", with $161m set aside to help place pro-US articles in overseas media.
02 April 2006
I mean, talk about "a pre-9/11 mindset," this thinking is sooooooo September 2000, which is when it was written.
Note to would-be info-warriors: This isn't new. This is what brought us here. It didn't work on me, and it didn't work on most of the world. It only worked on a fraction of the American people and the rest were intimidated into silence.
Color the enemy unimpressed ....
It didn't work on the terrorists because they don't need FOX News as a security blanket in a world Murka can't handle.
I've been watching you fail in the war of hearts and minds for several years now, and I'm sick of it. Here we are in the fourth year of the Iraq war, and they still don't know how to read their enemy's propaganda. You fucking amateurs, you're getting people killed. Like Bush, people are dying because you suck.
I've been studying polemics and propaganda in religious wars for fifteen years now and let me tell you something: you'd get your ass handed to you by a first-year grad student because (as you've demonstrated) you can't think out of your box. You can't because you won't, and you won't because you see belief as an entitlement. You see beliefs as an entitlement because that's how you've accessorized your socio-economic background.
And you do that because you're a consumer.
Real Americans are consumers
Real Americans have no other culture. I know this because those of us who try to maintain values other than an empty materialism decorated with jingoism and superstition keep being told we aren't really Americans. And Rush Limbaugh wouldn't lie to us, would he?
You are the generation that's going to witness the loss of America's dominance in this field. In fact, you'll get a front-row seat, because you're the ones who're going to personally lose it. Your superiors have sent you to do an impossible job, no planning and no clear objective. Oh, and frankly: you're not good enough.
You're not going to dominate in hardware because you don't make it. You're not going to dominate in software for the same reason. There is no support for this kind of infrastructure in America, which is sad because there are so many kids out there spending hours teaching themselves, but corporate Murka won't employ them. An industry in search of rich human resources is looking elsewhere and America languishes. Of course, you could try outsourcing this stuff to the parts of the world where people are still encouraged to work and learn (rather than consume and whine), but you'll compromise your own security.
Stay in Your Box
Ultimately, Murka's not safe in its solipsistic world. Being ignorant of a threat won't protect you from it.
But Murka's all-important "beliefs" aren't safe outside of that make-believe world. This is how civilizations rot from the inside out, and you're part of it.
You're unequipped to deal with the real world because you're the product of a consumertariat that doesn't want to deal with the real world. Murka can't be bothered to Know Your Enemy 'cause you grew up on a generation of wimpy rightwing propaganda that told you everyone and everything that didn't flatter your little white, male ass was just wrong and hateful. Everything that stood in the way of ripping off America was "communism." If you've come this far in life and were stupid enough to fall for this ignorant shit, you're not in a position to wage an information war on the enemy, BECAUSE YOU'RE A FUCKING CASUALTY IN AN INFORMATION WAR ON AMERICA THAT GOT GOING BEFORE YOU WERE BORN.
You never had to know anything, which explains why you don't.
When Cargo-Cults Attack
Out in the field, you have failed to Know Your Enemy. What passes for American civilization only wants to be humored, flattered, confirmed in its silly little steroidal fantasy of itself until The Sale has been made.
Unfortunately for Murka's Missionaries, the whole democracy thing is kinda out of the bag. Selling hegemony takes tact our "leaders" don't have. That's the problem, you see? You're trying to sell what the world won't buy. Management has ruined the brand. I mean, it would be different if we'd maintained and used alliances rather than Bush wiping his ass on them. Now we've lost that leverage, which means everything must be done by force.
That's why they're pissing away your comrades' lives in the middle of nowhere for nothing, by the way. No leverage. All force. This means you.
The most basic tenet of American strategic thought (and I've forgotten the name of the original military author, but perhaps someone can help me out), is that you attach yourself to as many centers of power as possible while doing the opposite to your enemy. Well, management has done the opposite to America and just thinks that the little people will make up the difference with their blood, their sweat, and their tears. This is what corporate America has brought to our men and women in uniform: the obligation to die to make up for the failure of our leaders.
The info-war is just another fools errand, dumped by the incapable on the unprepared in order to salvage the doomed. The labor is unworthy of our Republic, which means it's beneath the dignity of the citizen soldier.
WASHINGTON -- When a privacy-rights group requested records to show how many times a secretive presidential oversight board had asked the Justice Department to investigate possible violations of intelligence-gathering laws since 2001, the answer that came back last month was as simple as it was startling.
One possible reason: For more than half of President Bush's first term, the Intelligence Oversight Board had no members because Bush did not appoint anyone to it.
I'm sure you're as shocked as I am: not at all.