The Current Situation
A wave of popular unrest grips the Middle East and is sweeping outward. Many of us used to our own peculiar brand and style of governments and laws
feel it’s about time. That in essence it all makes sense.
People don’t want to live in these systems any more, they are waking up to the reality of them, or so the conventional and politically correct
But why now, what is the straw that keeps breaking the proverbial Camel’s back again and again?
Regime Change and Nation Building are words we have become accustomed to here in the West as constructs in the War on Terror.
Yet many of these regimes have not changed in thirty to forty years, Egypt had Mubarak for nearly 30 years, Libya has had Kaddafi even longer, the
Assad family has ruled Syria even longer and the Kim family just as long in North Korea.
It would seem to me that the people who live in these places are well used to living under these leaders and systems based on how long they have,
lifetimes and generations in some cases.
While many skeptics here on ATS will tell you the Internet and what’s discussed on it plays little to no role in what will or could happen in the
larger world, I am going to dedicate this thread for laying out a case that this is not true.
"World War III will be a guerilla information war, with no division
between military and civilian participation."
- Marshall McLuhan -
Let us start with Marshall McLuhan a Canadian Communications expert and philosopher who advised everyone from the President of the United States to
the Vatican on communication protocols and techniques.
Marshall would be 100 years old if he were still alive today, and what makes the above quotation both powerful and poignant is the fact that he both
made it and passed away before the advent of the Internet.
McLuhan foresaw what he described as a “Global Village” coming about as the world’s communications evolved putting everyone in touch with
everyone else, and a final World War as the people themselves for the first time could communicate directly with one another.
He envisioned a guerilla information war, where average people like me and you would share what we know, think and feel about not just how we perceive
the world, but how ideally we would like the world to be.
People would begin talking about and trying to expose corruption in government and in the corporate body, courts and law enforcement, religion and the
systems that bind us into shared societies, what works, what doesn’t work, what makes us frustrated and unhappy, what gives us hope and does not.
Yet presumably the entrenched governments and corporations and religions that comprise the Status Quo would be every bit as vocal or more vocal in
trying to maintain it and control the transformations brought about in society from unfettered communication between the far flung and distant masses.
While skeptics will disagree I contend that this guerilla information war has been going on for a few years now, of what has been its opening rounds,
I believe though this war is now heating up big time and is getting hotter every day.
Let me continue on though with a few more rudiments and basics before I delve deeper into this.
Communication is the Key to Relationships
Unless your 12 with a wart on your nose and a face full of pimples you are no stranger to relationships by now.
Whether they be with lovers, or spouses or significant others, employers or family members communication is key to avoiding misunderstandings,
misconceptions, assumptions and other things that lead people to the wrong perceptions and the wrong ideas about the health or quality of your
We have all probably been there, afraid to ask a lover we suspect of cheating the truth, a boss we suspect doesn’t like us why, a family member or
friend who gives us the cold shoulder, often because we know we might not like the answer.
Yet often we find out when we do ask those all important questions and open up an honest discourse that is the hallmark of productive communication we
had it all wrong or it wasn’t as bad as we thought it was.
Until recently we have had to take our Governments and Medias and Religions word on what those who lived elsewhere, and worshipped and prayed
differently were all about.
The Governments and Religions and Medias have all pretty much said the same thing over the ages, these other people have it all wrong, they lie, and
they don’t like you, we don’t lie, we tell you the truth.
In that way we have clung to our systems, bolstered our egos, learned to see the world through those carefully constructed prisms supplied for us and
the other peoples of the world too.
All that has changed with the Internet and as more and more of us communicate with the average ordinary Joe or Jane in the UK, Russia, Japan, Saudi
Arabia, Iran, Australia and Argentina we are often finding out that they are pretty much just like us, bound into the same kind of often corrupt and
dishonest systems and often share our own hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow.
But is that Jane or Joe really in Saudi Arabia or Syria or Argentina, or are they sitting some where else entirely different, and their name is not
Jane or Joe either?
Anonymity and Accountability
Those of us who have taken a crack at online dating and or internet discussions have learned very often that people will often use the anonymity of
the Internet and lack of Accountability to lie, seek attention, and often reinvent themselves to be someone that they aren’t.
The woman you thought was 30 and 110 pounds you finally meet is 50 and 250, the man you thought looked just like Tom Cruise, looks quite a bit
different with his coke bottle glasses, and is 5 feet 2 inches and not 6 feet two inches.
Later we find out he didn’t actually climb Mt. Everest, fight in 3 wars, and works for NASA as claimed, but lives at home with his elderly Mom and
Dad and is chronically unemployed.
For the most part we laugh it off, chalk it up to experience and become a little wiser the next time around, a bit more cautious, and try to not be so
susceptible to things we desperately want to hear.
Yet how many of us forget those lessons when the person on the other end of our blinking monitors is telling us precisely what we want to hear?
Information is Power
If we knew the truth, we probably wouldn’t get all dressed up and drive 20 miles in the pouring rain to meet that person for the first time, but
because we don’t we often do.
Information is power and the powerful have long learned to withhold it or ration it to suit their needs and ambitions and desire for profit and
The guerilla information wars are in large part about those of us who have some extra knowledge about the world, its governments, systems,
corporations, leaders, politicians, religion sharing that knowledge and secrets.
It’s about sharing the information that those in power don’t want us to know.
Yet because of the anonymity of the Internet can we always be sure who is sharing something we would ideally like to know and hear are telling us the
Misinformation and Disinformation
There are two kinds and often come from two different types of people.
Misinformation usually comes from the well intentioned fool. They think they have it all figured out, there heart is basically in the right place,
they really just want to help and the level and sincerity of their passion is a provocative thing that can be quite compelling. They are vocal,
confident, assured, even in an infectious way and it shows, and if they are saying what we want to hear well, we often desperately would like to
Only problem is that more often than not they don’t have a clue as to what they are talking about. They mean well but if the person giving you
directions to get to point B gave you ones that actually drove you right off a cliff, it doesn’t really matter how well they meant.
Disinformation often comes from someone who is not well intentioned at all. In fact the disinformation agent as they are often called tend to think we
are all a bunch of weak minded and ignorant idiots who can be easily persuaded to adopt false beliefs through giving us false and un-factual
information. They have an agenda, whether it be a government, a political group, a corporate or religious one, often that they derive their living or
Here on a site like Above Top Secret many of us are passionately and even desperately searching for the truth, and we are more in-tune to critically
questioning the person with misinformation or disinformation, yet the Internet Community on whole isn’t always so questioning or critically minded.
Divide and Conquer
Information is so valuable to maintaining the Status Quo that as long as there is conflicting information to argue about amongst the masses and no
real consensus on any issue in question can be reached as a result of it, it provides the vacuum for those maintaining the Status Quo to do just that.
The misinformation poster does their part unwittingly in that process.
The disinformation agent does it wittingly.
The result is as usual no one knows for sure, and because no consensus is reached critical mass doesn’t happen and nothing changes.
The Power of Suggestion and Persuasion (Monkey See- Monkey Do)
What happens though when all of a sudden there is a stunning majority, there is little dissent and what little there is, is overwhelmingly shouted
down? The vast majority of the people communicating right here on the Internet say now, now, we all agree, it’s time for action, and it’s time to
take this specific action?
What if though that vast majority of people demanding action, agitating for it, insisting on it, wasn’t really a vast majority of the people, what
if they weren’t even people who lived there, who weren’t even going to be joining you down in the local town square with the coolers of
refreshments and banners that they told you they would be bringing?
Who are You, Where are You
Many of you know me here through ATS, a couple has even met me, several have talked to me on the phone, and it’s generally accepted I live in Miami,
am male, in my 40’s, born and raised in the USA of White Anglo Saxon Protestant Stock.
Yet my Twitter account is set to Iranian Time after a call was made during the Iranian Election Protests to help the protestors by creating so many
Twitter Accounts the Iranian authorities would have trouble monitoring each and every one.
I am neutral when it comes to the Iran controversies, but it seemed like an easy enough thing to do, to log on to Twitter and change my Time Zone to
maybe give people a little more of an edge. I am not a big fan of any government to be honest, so when it comes to giving the people a little help
when it comes to dealing with government I am generally not opposed to that.
Yet there is one problem, I don’t live in Iran, I am not Iranian, I am not really in contact with anyone who lives in Iran, at least that I know for
sure lives in Iran, because if I am pretending to live in Iran, they sure could be too!
Now I simply changed my time zone, but I could have just as easily pretended to be in Iran, yes I am going to the demonstration, we must all act, and
act now, you should too.
Sounds great almost noble, what isn’t as sure maybe we help in this fashion people find the courage to tear down a imperfect government and ALL
GOVERNMENTS ARE IMPERFECT, but what waits, what truly waits in the wings for them then when they do?
Because I don’t live in Iran and don’t really know what goes on there, and who all would like to be in charge and how they want to be in charge,
well I could be helping them go right from the frying pan and into the fire, in essence be a pawn in some one else’s larger game, where my good
intentions and well wishes hastily and naively arrived at become the worst possible thing I could do.
Do I want to be part of the misinformation or disinformation war?
The Sock Puppet/Internet Persona Phenomenon
Until very recently most of us did not know it existed, even now only a few are aware and taking it seriously.
Recently a U.S. Military Contractor named HB Gary had an email intercepted that has been published on the Internet by concerned citizens of the world.
According to an embedded MS Word document found in one of the HBGary emails, it involves creating an army of sockpuppets, with sophisticated
"persona management" software that allows a small team of only a few people to appear to be many, while keeping the personas from accidentally
cross-contaminating each other. Then, to top it off, the team can actually automate some functions so one persona can appear to be an entire Brooks
Brothers riot online.
This contractor has developed software that can be used through a thumb drive or virtual machine to create an army of manufactured fictitious posters,
to give one computer using them random and multiple IP addresses so that they can game responsible message boards like ATS who limit one account to
each individual based on IP.
The Software is constantly updated with RSS Feeds so the person using it doesn’t even have to think what to post.
It stars, it thumbs, it does everything to make an argument seem accepted and popular, it can be used to carry out ad-hominem attacks on posters
In short it can make one person appear to be hundreds and bad ideas seem like good ideas through hundreds, thousands of artificial personas agreeing
with the argument.
I contend it’s the straw that broke the camels back, and it’s being used to ferment these uprisings throughout the Middle East, and is being used
by the Intelligence and Military Communities.
The New Coup
By convincing the average Internet user in targeted countries through these fictitious personas that people actively and overwhelmingly want to go out
and demonstrate, shut down and change governments, oust leaders, and revamp systems, the average person becomes compelled to act too.
They see a mass movement shaping up right before their eyes on the Internet, maybe they hem and haw and decide eventually to venture down to the town
square and see what they can see.
If they get there and see a hundred people who went to, well the next person who ventures down is likely to join in also, and then the next, and then
the next, and pretty soon it’s thousands, and pretty soon the media is there and it’s being broadcast on local TV and Radio.
It must be real!
Like the sociable and communal creatures most human beings are, people want to join in and go with the flow.
What’s the End Result
So far it hasn’t been as wonderful as our own media has always touted, the Egyptians now have a military dictatorship in charge of the country with
vague promises of something better for the future, and people in Bahrain and Libya are dying in military and police crackdowns.
The outcome of something better coming out of these ad hoc hastily organized often leaderless movements is questionable with no one that the people
really wants waiting in the wings to step in, all they are in fact doing is removing who is there, creating a chaos and instability, and a vacuum that
could lead to any number of military dictatorships, new despots, or foreign invasions stepping in.
Let’s be Honest, Lets take a look Iraq
Yesterday the Government we here in the United States helped to install in part through force of arms opened up on demonstrators there. We exported
our brand of democracy and paid a heft price to do so and made the Iraqis pay a heftier price, only for them to find out it’s a corrupt inefficient
system that does not cater to the people.
The American Tax Payer paid Halliburton one million a day to rebuild the Iraqi infrastructure which is crumbling through neglect and war, and instead
spent it on anything but.
Did we help Iraq or make it worse?
More importantly who did we make it better for?
Presumably some oil companies and Halliburton as the Iraqi people are so unhappy with the outcome the very government we installed is now shooting
them dead in the streets for protesting against it.
Good intentions don’t always equal good results.
Why are So Many Questionable Regimes Slowing or Cutting Internet Access
We assume it’s because they don’t want people to talk and coordinate. We all love our Internet and ability to talk freely on it and all worry it
might be taken away from us too. It’s a easy conclusion to reach these governments simply don’t want their citizens talking…but is it possible
they don’t want Foreign Spy Services and Militaries using the HB Gary Software to spread revolt and disinformation through automated software?
Let’s tale a look at some headlines.
Calls on Facebook to oust Syria’s Assad
North Korea threatens military action over South Korea campaign
Cho Mee-young SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea will fire across a land border with South Korea if Seoul continues its anti-North psychological
campaign, the North's official media said on Sunday ahead of a joint military drill between the United States and South Korea. South Korea's military
has been dropping leaflets into North Korea about democracy protests in Egypt as part of a psychological campaign
No Internet no problem, U.S. and Client States will make sure those in your nation know that people are protesting and revolting all over the world.
Can there be any doubt that the U.S. is trying to agitate these protests?
Renesys shows an almost universal blackout on the Internet from Egypt where providers simultaneously went dark, virtually cutting off access for
the Egyptian citizenry to the rest of the world.
Clearly Governments believe the Internet Represents a real danger to them, and clearly our Government will go to any lengths to ferment these
If they would fly an airplane into the sky and violate a sovereign and hostile nation’s airspace like North Korea to drop leaflets, would they
really not sit in air-conditioned comfort in front of a key board to bombard the Internet?
We now know the software exists to do that, we know the U.S. Military has it, do we really want to believe that they are not going to use it, that
they are not going to use it, and as importantly that they aren’t going to use it on us?
On revolution's anniversary, Iran stifles Internet
Governments are Clearly Taking the Internet as Real and Valid Weapon and Threat, Why Aren’t We?
The misinformed skeptic, and those deliberately spreading disinformation tell us differently, the Internet is not relevant in changing the world, war
or anything beyond idle chit chat, dating and swapping recipes.
This is clearly not true, and while we sit in a state of denial over this, the world is being turned upside down.
Demonstrations are starting to spread right here to the United States, battle lines on key issues are starting to be drawn, people here are being
shamed by the courage of people elsewhere, a courage that might have been manipulated and drawn out by foreign forces with very different ideas and
goals than the ones they sold to the people who went out and risked life and limb and sometimes have died to protest in these popular movements that
really are being born on the Internet, promoted on the Internet and coordinated by the Internet.
Yet who is really on the other end of that screen?
People better start thinking about it, because the Guerilla Information War is no longer just an exchange of information, it’s turning into an
exchange of bullets and governments too.
World War III is really upon us, people need to think and think hard.
edit on 27/2/11 by ProtoplasmicTraveler because: (no reason given)