The War for Information

“A lie told often enough becomes the truth” – Vladimir Lenin

Can you remember a time when you weren’t being told that your nation wasn’t living under some type of imminent threat and that we had to marshal our resources and make certain that we were facing this critical issue?

I remember my father (who had survived many years in Nazi labor camps) telling me that sooner or later, even in the US, they will tell you that they must take your liberties in order to protect you. It seems to me that I cannot recall a time when we were not facing one peril or another.

As a child, I remember lacing my fingers and placing my hands over my head in the ritual preparation we had as early as first grade that was supposed to protect us in case of a nuclear attack. And as I grew, learning of the Red Menace we had to face in Vietnam was the justification I heard for seeing the older boys in my neighborhood go off to the military, with occasional stories of the ones that didn’t come back and even stranger stories of the ones that did.

And then, the Soviet empire fell. And I thought, perhaps we can see a new day when the airwaves are not filled with fearful warnings that had us all reacting in lock step.

But AIDS suddenly lifted a terrible dragon-like head on the horizon. We were doomed to a disease that was spreading so rapidly, why, half the planet would soon be infected and hundreds of millions would be dying in the streets if we don’t do something!

Then came global warming. A terrible nemesis because we created it ourselves, Oh evil mankind! We must react now! Marshall all of our attention and reduce our carbon footprint before it is too late.

And this was followed by September 11th and the shouts of weapons of mass destruction held by new evil triumvirates that had to be put down like a rabid dogs.

So after 5 years of Iraqi occupation, I am wondering what is next.

The Department of Homeland Security recently conducted an online exercise dubbed Cyber-Storm II.

Now, I don’t doubt that cyber wars will be waged in some future and it would be irresponsible not to prepare for it. But what worries me is the press attention it got. It seems as if the media is, once again, being coached about what the next up and coming peril will be.

Questions from the media (a Homeland Security briefing on Cyber Storm II) already show that they are bought into the notion of cyber war:

  • Who’s in charge period, for responding to an attack?
  • In Congressional testimony you’ve talked about threats from nation-states like China and also organized crime, terrorism, I guess, freelancers, so to speak. Can you be a little bit more specific, of all those or name one I didn’t mention, what is the scariest threat that is growing and what types of threats, can you tell me?
  • Secretary, could you tell us if since you are exercising the draft provisions to the National Response Framework during Cyber Storm II, is there going to be a separate evaluation of those recommendations?
  • What have you learned is the greatest vulnerability aside from information sharing, and how has that changed?

My point here is not to question whether or not there will be online conflict. Given the speed at which things evolve online, I am surprised we have not heard more about it. I am just concerned that the media is being primed and educated to be able to write about another threat to our peaceful way of life.

Which may mean that we are headed into some other type of fiasco. And another time when we are going to give up our freedoms in the name of security.

Oh well, maybe it means we won’t be invading Iran too soon.


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One Response to “The War for Information”

  1. dougwead Says:

    You know, I am a conservative but it drives me up the wall to hear people in this administration promoting the eavesdropping of American citizens and the ridiculous argument being made that if you have nothing to hide why should you care? The point is that once the goverment focuses on someone and once they think a person is guilty and once they invest in pursuing that person, it is hard to back down. This is not only true in government it is true in medicine or any other discipline. Once a doctor jumps to a diagnosis everything he or she sees and hears confirms it.

    Cardinal Richeleu once said, “Give me four lines written by any man and I can have him tried as a criminal.” It is easy to prosecute someone. And if you are listening into telephone conversations and you imagine you are hearing something or you misunderstand something the target is dead meat.

    Remember when Michael Reagan got into the mess with the Secret Service? They were assigned to protect him buy when he returned an item for refund they mistook it for shoplifting and the rumors spread. No one confronted Michael and gave him a chance to explain, it finally reached the president. When the truth finally came out and Michael asked, “Dad why did you believe them and not me?” The president replied, “Son, they saved my life.”

    So there you go. If the president’s son cannot escape such misunderstandings why do you think that the government will understand you and your conversations.

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