Monday, January 30, 2006

Pentagon preparing to fight the ‘net

Recently, there has been a fair amount of media coverage about the US propaganda campaign in Iraq that had the Pentagon planting news stories in Iraqi newspapers under the guise of independent reporters.

The s**t really started to hit the fan with the publication of a recently declassified Pentagon document called “Information Operations Roadmap” wherein the Pentagon admitted that

information intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy and PSYOP, increasingly is consumed by our domestic audience and vice-versa
The document was approved by Donald Rumsfeld in October 2003 and the National Security Archive at George Washington University obtained a copy of it via the Freedom of Information Act. The “roadmap” addresses the military framework for information operations (ie: propaganda) and electronic warfare. Although much of the attention in the media has been focused on the propaganda portion of the document, the electronic warfare section is equally interesting (despite huge portions of the document being blacked out before it was released).

Under the category of electronic warfare, it appears that the internet is considered to be a battleground and the military is looking to design “attack” weapons against it. The following excerpts (complete with blackouts) are from the “Information Operations Roadmap”. (in the excerpts, DoD refers to Department of Defence, and EW refers to electronic warfare)

We Must Fight the Net. DoD is building an information-centric force. Networks are increasingly the operational center of gravity, and the Department must be prepared to “fight the net”.
We Must Improve Network and Electro-Magnetic Attack Capability. To prevail in an information-centric fight, it is increasingly important that our forces dominate the electromagnetic spectrum with attack capabilities.
A robust offensive suite of capabilities to include full-range electronic and computer network attack, with increased reliability through improved command and control, assurance testing and refined tactics and procedures.
Provide a future EW capability sufficient to provide maximum control of the entire electromagnetic spectrum, denying, degrading, disrupting, or destroying the full spectrum of globally emerging communication systems, sensors, and weapons systems dependant on the electromagnetic spectrum.
Read that last section again. The US military wants maximum control of virtually every communications system you can think of – telephones, radars, the internet – in the entire world. You name it, they want to be able to control it.

Now go back to the second section – “important that our forces dominate the electromagnetic spectrum with attack capabilities”. The purpose of controlling every communications system in the world is to be able to destroy it.

Consider the potential ramifications for bloggers, a group of people notorious for their reluctance to bow to authority and their willingness to thumb their noses at the government, the media, their own mothers, etc. If you knew that your blog could suddenly disappear into the great black void, you’d start being damn careful of what you say and about whom. As time progresses and blogs increase in both number and quality, bloggers are starting to influence public perceptions. A prime target if I ever saw one.

One single country, both willing and able, to impose their form of censorship on the entire world. It boggles the mind.

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