The U.S. government long ago announced its intention to "fight the net".
As revealed by an official Pentagon report signed by Rumsfeld called "Information Operations Roadmap":
Indeed, the Pentagon publicly announced years ago that it was considering using "black propaganda" - in other words, knowing lies.
The roadmap [contains an] acknowledgement that information put out as part of the military's psychological operations, or Psyops, is finding its way onto the computer and television screens of ordinary Americans.
"Information intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy and Psyops, is increasingly consumed by our domestic audience," it reads.
"Psyops messages will often be replayed by the news media for much larger audiences, including the American public," it goes on.***"Strategy should be based on the premise that the Department [of Defense] will 'fight the net' as it would an enemy weapons system".
CENTCOM announced in 2008 that a team of employees would be "[engaging] bloggers who are posting inaccurate or untrue information, as well as bloggers who are posting incomplete information."
The Air Force is now also engaging bloggers. Indeed, an Air Force spokesman said:
"We obviously have many more concerns regarding cyberspace than a typical Social Media user," Capt. Faggard says. "I am concerned with how insurgents or potential enemies can use Social Media to their advantage. It's our role to provide a clear and accurate, completely truthful and transparent picture for any audience."
In other words, the government is targeting "social media", including popular user-ranked news sites.In addition, when you look at what the Israeli lobby has done with Megaphone software to automatically vote stories questioning Israel down and to send pro-Israel letters to politicians and media (see this, this, this and this), you can start to see how the U.S. military - an even larger and better-funded organization - could substantially influence voting on social news sites with very little effort.
Moreover,the military has outsourced many projects to private contractors. For example, in Iraq, much of the fighting has been outsourced to Blackwater. And governmental intelligence functions have largely been outsourced to private companies.It is therefore not impossible that the government is hiring cheap labor to downvote stories on the social media sites which question the government, and to postpro-government comments.
Finally, under the post-9/11 "homeland security" laws, the government almost certainl routinely demands full access to ISPs and websites. In other words, we've all seen polls at Digg, Reddit, YouTube, and mainstream news sites suddenly disappear entirely if a sufficiently pro-government sentiment was not expressed.Do you doubt that the military and homeland security apparatus would step in to take control of what it considered an "enemy" message? And remember, the government considers any message questioning anything the government does as an enemy message. See this, this, this and this.
"Did We Just Have Our i-911 . . . and is an i-Patriot Act On Its Way?
Former Counter Terrorism Czar Richard Clarke told a leading expert on internet free speech, Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig, that there was going to be an "i-9/11", in other words, an electronic terrorist act, and an "i-Patriot Act" to crack down on freedoms on the Internet under the guise of protecting against such threats:
There’s going to be an i-9/11 event. Which doesn’t necessarily mean an Al Qaeda attack, it means an event where the instability or the insecurity of the internet becomes manifest during a malicious event which then inspires the government into a response. You’ve got to remember that after 9/11 the government drew up the Patriot Act within 20 days and it was passed.
The Patriot Act is huge and I remember someone asking a Justice Department official how did they write such a large statute so quickly, and of course the answer was that it has been sitting in the drawers of the Justice Department for the last 20 years waiting for the event where they would pull it out.
Of course, the Patriot Act is filled with all sorts of insanity about changing the way civil rights are protected, or not protected in this instance. So I was having dinner with Richard Clarke and I asked him if there is an equivalent, is there an i-Patriot Act just sitting waiting for some substantial event as an excuse to radically change the way the internet works. He said “of course there is”.
(4.30 into this video).
We may have just had our i-911.
Specifically, the government is claiming that hackers defaced army and Nato websites, writing things like:
"Stop attacks u israel and usa ! you cursed nations ! one day muslims will clean the world from you ! "This sounds a lot like the notes which were sent with the killer anthrax.
If we did just have our i-911, watch out for military spokesmen, politicians and talking heads pushing for an i-Patriot Act . . . as a way to crush free speech on the web.