War is Peace

Much of the Defense Science Board Task Force's report makes for boring reading, focusing on bureaucratic issues and abstract theory far removed from the dynamic context of real life. But another recent report on information warfare in Somalia provides a glimpse at where the task force's recommendations may be leading us.

"Information Warfare in Multilateral Peace Operations: A Case Study of Somalia" was prepared by Rick Brennan and R. Evan Ellis for the Secretary of Defense in 1996. The report was created under the auspices of -- guess who! -- defense and intelligence-entwined Scientific Applications International Corporation. Remember that Duane Andrews, SAIC vice president for corporate development, was the chairman of the Defense Science Board Task Force that created the "Information Warfare-Defense" report discussed earlier.

The 1993 "peacekeeping" occupation of Somalia was a bloody nose for the interventionist policies of the United States and the United Nations. Four U.S. petroleum monopolies -- Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips -- had signed deals with Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre before he was overthrown. These agreements, according to a Los Angeles Times report, gave these oil giants access to two thirds of Somalia's unexploited, oil-rich territory. Conoco allowed its corporate compound to be used as the de facto American embassy preceding the landing of U.S. military forces.

Keep that in mind as we take a look at information warfare in Somalia.

Brennan and Ellis determined that "because of the nature of the peace operation environment, 'legitimacy' should be viewed as the center of gravity for U.S. and coalition forces operating in theater. Once legitimacy has been lost, the operation will collapse either because of the loss of indigenous support, coalition and international support, and/or the domestic support necessary to sustain the mission."

In other words, the sight of the headless corpse of an Army Ranger being dragged through the dusty streets of Mogadishu like some ghastly rag doll did not advance the cause of global corporatism one bit. Brennan and Ellis contend that Somali militia leader General Mohamed Farah Aidid "staged" various confrontations with U.N. forces in order to use media footage of Mogadishu's corpse-littered streets as a form of information warfare, because these images undermined the operation's "legitimacy" in the eyes of the public.

This assertion is, in itself, suspect. One of these "staged" attacks was actually precipitated not by Aidid, but by United Nations provocation. On June 5, 1993, U.N. forces seized (or, to quote Brennan and Ellis, "inspected") Radio Mogadishu, an organ of the Somali free press. In a live broadcast that evening, General Aidid urged his supporters "to be calm about this situation" and advised them "not to shoot anybody unless you are attacked." Somali militia members, possibly acting without orders from their clan commanders, later carried out a series of ambushes that left dozens of soldiers dead.

Brennan and Ellis claim Aidid used intelligence culled from U.N. support personnel to stage this entire incident. In their analysis, Radio Mogadishu not a legitimate organ of the free press. It was an information warfare asset of forces opposed to the UNOSOM II operation. It was not providing an alternative viewpoint to UNOSOM propaganda; it was attempting to "undermine the legitimacy" of the operation. Several Radio Mogadishu broadcasts just before the June 5 clash openly thanked the United Nations and various relief agencies for providing humanitarian assistance. No doubt Brennan and Ellis would consider these broadcasts part of Aidid's elaborate plot to embarrass the United Nations in front of CNN's cameras. Indeed, their report constructs a theory behind the Radio Mogadishu incident which is far more bizarre than anything you'll read on alt.conspiracy.

To solve the "problem" of "maintaining legitimacy," Brennan and Ellis propose an information warfare policy "divided into the functional areas of perception management, information degradation or denial, and information exploitation. Perception management, in the context of a multilateral peace operation, seeks to manage the flow of information in order to gain and maintain legitimacy."

In other words, disseminate information that makes the operation look good, and suppress information that makes the operation look bad. From that perspective, individuals and groups who are opposed to the "peacekeeping" operation do not represent an opposing viewpoint, but an infowar adversary to be neutralized.

For example, the report states, "Multinational forces are strategically and operationally vulnerable to information war, especially in the area of perception management. Statements, information releases, and staged events for the press by leaders of parties that may be opposed to portions of the peace process may have both strategic and operational military implications."

Got a problem with your homeland being overrun by foreign military forces? Shut the hell up, it's for your own good. Resistance is futile.

The report on information warfare in Somalia dovetails quite nicely with the Defense Science Board Task Force report, which is probably not a coincidence. See if any of this sounds familiar:

"No one organization in the U.S. government currently has responsibility for the totality of information warfare. Rather, various responsibilities and capabilities are diffused across staff sections, agencies, and departments -- many of which have little opportunity or incentive to share information with each other. The result is an increasingly stovepiped organization that is resistant to coordination and integration. While this type of organizational structure may have been acceptable for information operations in the industrial age, it is a hindrance to the level of integration necessary for effective and efficient use of information warfare in the information age. While fundamental organizational changes may be required in the future, DoD should support the immediate creation of a standing interagency task force with the explicit charter of integrating information warfare into broader political, military, economic/humanitarian policies and strategies."

The report also states, "The international media is the most powerful offensive and defensive information warfare asset available to lesser-developed countries and/or parties to a conflict. Television news networks were a powerful tool for both the United States and the opposition in Somalia -- although it was the opposition that most fully realized and exploited its potential."

Brennan and Ellis also assert that "Public Affairs and PSYOP must be recognized as central components of an information warfare system. In combination with military intelligence, electronic warfare, and other U.S. capabilities, PSYOP and Public Affairs must be coordinated, integrated, de-conflicted and synergized to magnify U.S. Information Warfare capabilities."

Are the implications of all this starting to sink in yet? Welcome to the New World Order, where military analysts view the corporate media as an "information warfare asset" to be exploited and counter-exploited for the purposes of political and military expediency.

The National Security Establishment is not interested in information warfare for defensive purposes only, no matter how the situation is framed. The Defense Science Board Task Force ominously warns of an "electronic Pearl Harbor" if something isn't done right now. In an artful combination of psyops and infowar, the task force uses one of the most emotionally traumatic and vulnerable moments in U.S. history to push its agenda. It's the old "Mr.-President-We-Cannot-Allow-A-Mineshaft-Gap" trick. They feign an exposed flank and produce detailed satellite photos of the sky falling. But the true motivation to develop new warfare technology is always offensive at some level. (Remember the MX missile?)

Brennan and Ellis seem undeterred by the moral dilemmas implicit in their recommendations. In fact, they hardly seem to notice them. Rather, they assert that propaganda and "spin" capabilities are vital aspects of information warfare. Pressing further, the report points out some of the negative ramifications of disseminating propaganda through the American media: "With the increasingly critical posture adopted toward political figures by the media and the American public from the Vietnam/Watergate period through the 1980s, the American people have become conditioned to view any publicly disseminated information as being suspect.

"The U.S. government is thus at an inherent disadvantage in conducting perception management operations because its attempts to disseminate information are regarded skeptically by the American media."

Rah rah rah! Take a Unisom for UNOSOM! Believe what you're told, sheeple, or you'll fuck up everything!

Information technology is a double-edged sword. It is not inherently good or evil. But it is extremely powerful. And powerful forces are seeking to exploit its potential in ways that may prove to be extremely antagonistic to our rights and our well-being as individuals and as a society. The only realistic option available -- besides pulling a Unabomber and heading for a cabin deep in the woods -- is to harness technology's power for mutual education and empowerment. Without an adequate knowledge base, there will be no basis for collective action in response to the coercive tactics of the globalist power elite.

Hey, wait a minute... that sounds kind of like information warfare, doesn't it? Is that what the future holds for all of us? As Marshall McCluhan said, will World War III be a guerrilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation?

Take a step back from the Defense Science Board Task Force report for a second. Is that report, itself, a cruise missile in the opening salvo of a global information war? How about Brennan and Ellis' SAIC report? Was it not one of the tactical pressure points which led Executive Order #13010? And if those reports are, in fact, part of an overall strategy for establishing a dominant position in the global theater of infowar, then is the very article you are reading right now part of an information warfare counteroffensive? Perhaps part of an overall strategy for undermining public support for the U.S. government's exploitation of infowar?

Come a little closer so I can slap you upside the head.

(c) Copyright 1997 ParaScope, Inc.