Re: virus: Theorem of Memetic Information Warfare & Conflicts

Sodom (
Mon, 07 Jun 1999 11:48:26 -0400

This is interesting, but seems to be much more of a political opinion/world impression than an Information Warfare Theorem.

Putrefied Cow wrote:

> Now, until the Internet-era Governments have been acting more or
> less like Cave-men. The biggest brute who can bash your brain rules
> the land, and there's nothing the weaker can do about it.

This is a rule of life, from hermit crabs to countries. Don't expect it to change

> I prognose that this is about to change because of the power of the
> Internet and the media. Governments won't be able to control the
> contents of the media as well, and this will higlight the importance
> of information warfare.
> Uncivilized behaviour is less tolerated, e.g. Yugoslavia.
> NATO has butalized and devastated the country with bombing,
> but has had to justify it's actions. e.g. We're beating them
> because they beat those weaker guys.
> The change is that governments can no-longer as openly conduct
> brutalities because if they do, they get perceived as such, and
> suffer consequences.
> If the weaker partners realize that as long as the citizens in the
> country behaving like a cave-man PERCEIVE their government acting
> like one, the actions won't be approved of. Milosevic has controlled
> citizens and their perceptions very well in this regard, and has
> support of his citizens.

You live under the assumption that people now are more than cavemen. Aside from the tools we make, we are cavemen, living in caves of our own design. Do you believe that "civilized" means not aggressive? There are not many non violent countries in this world, and fewer non violent people. It is easy to sit and hope for a just world when you are comfortable, sitting at your computer desk, oloking out the window at the pretty clouds and say "why cant we all just get along". It's not human nature,and certainly has never been a model for governments.

> E.g. Marketing/PR/Information warfare among the citizens of the
> nations in conflict is about to become very important, if not the
> ultimate weapon in future conflicts.
> If you want the US to stop shitting on Iraq or Yugoslavia, it's
> not the International community that needs convincing, but the US
> public that needs to perceive the brutality and unjustness of their
> government's actions.

As someone who pays very close attention to global happenings, I dont see any brutality or unjustness in these actions. I would say to call them brutal and unjust means only a lack of historical understanding and the current situation.

Please explain how the attacks against Iraq and Yugoslavia are brutal or unjust.

> E.g. Publish the pictures and stories of the brutalized people,
> and show them to the aggressors and their families. Make sure the
> consequences of their actions stare them in their faces.

You mean like mass graves? Chemical burns from chemical warfare? Famine from governments withholding food from their own people? Systematic and government sponsored torture, rape and murder of unarmed civilians? If those things bother you, why do you support their use?

> - Is it OK that the US poisoned areas in Vietnam with plant poisons
> and thus caused birth defects and land poisoning that will have
> effects on the people of that area for several thousands of years?

Areas? how big of areas? How many people? Exactly where? Was it during war? Was the impact of the poisoning understood at the time? Are the people responsible available for prosecution now?

> - Is it OK that the US has poisoned the soil of Iraq, possibly for 4.5
> Billion years, or at the least several hundred thousand years until
> the Depleted Uranium is removed from the eco-system? 1.5 million
> people dead because of the embargo, of which 750 000 are children?

Once again, how much soil, how much land? Where does the number 750,000 children come from and how are we responsible? Are you suggesting that Iraq is becoming uninhabitable? Or are there just a few miles that are now a danger? I see nothing wrong with how we have dealt with Iraq and are dealing with them. The embargo did not kill these people - I'll bet Saddam and his friends eat like kings, have a dozen palaces, sport cars - you name it. The embargo hurts the people because Saddam chooses it to - not because of the embargo itself.

> - Is it OK that this has now happened in the Yugoslavia as well?

Not only is it ok, it is great. The air war is going to do exactly what it was intended to do - in the time frame it was intended to do it. You are thinking in terms of bullies and victims. Would you make the same argument for criminals and police? That is effectivly what you are doing - stating that police are brutalizing poor little criminal bullies. You are laboring under the false impression that the people are a whole and the governemtents are these evil selfish entities when in reality the governments are the people and the people in Yugoslavia are, by supporting their government, the same as Milosivic. If there was ever a just war in the last 40 years, this is it.

> The justification for this kind of madness is more and more needed,
> as people perceive the effects that this kind of environmental
> atrocities have on this planet for thousands of years to come, and
> because of the internet governments can no-longer conceal these kinds
> of consequences of their deeds.

I suppose that is why there is more support for than against the actions we have taken in Iraq and Yugoslavia in the US. As far as I can tell, we have yet to commit an atrocity in Yugoslavia or Iraq (Vietnam is an unpleasant exception)

> This will lead to governments of the world to more and more to
> try and conceal their actions, and to publicly and openly shape
> the perceptions of their own citizens to better fit their needs.

I think this is the opposite of what will happen. Countries open to the web will not be able to conceal what they could before. In the old days, all they had to do was stop a reporter or two. Now they have to stop everyone with a camera and computer - a much more daunting task. Perhaps it is just that we underestimate the older secrets, that are easier to keep and easier for us to ignore.

> Enemy nations on the other hand, will need to spy on the other
> nations to detect these atrocities and use the information with
> the propaganda machine. E.g. Welcome the echelon systems.
> Clearly, US citizens do not mind causing economic turmoil abroad,
> as long as they benefit in the form of economic espionage. And so
> will every other nation approve of this kind of spying. EU, Russia,
> China, etc need only enforce their actions to correspond to the US
> level of spying in absolutely everything. All information received
> from a country can be used to serve a purpose.
> And every time you get information to black-paint your opponent
> countries and their actions in the eyes of their citizens, you
> do it with information warfare i.e. PR, preferably in their country.
> E.g. Get their citizens to WANT their government to do what YOU want
> with advertising/PR/information warfare.
> The US has used this method to get EU decision makers to adopt the
> ENFOPOL system to be used by US spies by making it sound as if it was
> only meant for preventing terrorism and pedophiles - groups which are
> perceived and disapproved of by everyone. E.g. They used the ultimate
> justification: No-one would dare oppose the costly suggestion, lest he
> be labeled a terrorist & pedophiliac himself. After all, why would
> anyone oppose such a plan, unless he was involved in something
> suspicious. Superbly done work by the US PR people i.e. information
> terrorists i.e. marketing people, etc.
> The Era of Memetic Information Warfare is here.
> Finding out the source / financer of the reports/memes is going to be
> ever more important.

You are very right that governements and people use information as a weapon - but this is not new, nor is it changing. Speed is nice, but not underestimating the power of UTism (Us vs Them) is risky. The citizens in Yugoslavia could see and read on the net what their governement and armies were doing. They did not rise against the government, they did not do a thing but watch. They still did not believe and cling dogmatically to the position that NATO is the one killing that ethnic Albanians and that their government is filled with peaceful, kind and loving people. This was an obvios falsehood, yet the informed citizens choose to believe otherwise.

Information flow will have an effect, but I dont think it will change minds - only experience will do that.

Bill Roh