Don’t believe everything that you read/watch/hear…

The BBC reports on a Pentagon document detailing the US military’s approach to ‘information warfare’ (PDF format). A little quote:

From influencing public opinion through new media to designing “computer network attack” weapons, the US military is learning to fight an electronic war.

The declassified document is called “Information Operations Roadmap”. It was obtained by the National Security Archive at George Washington University using the Freedom of Information Act.

Ooof. This is heavy crap indeed, although to be honest no big news to the conspiracy lobby. This ‘Information Operations Roadmap’ details, among other things, how the US military should approach the internet as an essentially hostile system. It also mentions that the outputs of ‘PsyOps’ (the guys who disseminate false information in order to mislead and demoralise the enemy, whoever that might be this week), like false news stories in all media formats (print, audio, video), are getting wider airplay than you might expect:

“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,”

I *knew* there was something sinister about Barney the Dinosaur…seriously though, the BBC fellow does a much better job at journalism than I could, so I’ll quote his outro to the piece in an attempt to encourage you to follow this link and read it thoroughly.

The US military seeks the capability to knock out every telephone, every networked computer, every radar system on the planet.

Are these plans the pipe dreams of self-aggrandising bureaucrats? Or are they real?

The fact that the “Information Operations Roadmap” is approved by the Secretary of Defense suggests that these plans are taken very seriously indeed in the Pentagon.

And that the scale and grandeur of the digital revolution is matched only by the US military’s ambitions for it.


7 thoughts on “Don’t believe everything that you read/watch/hear…”

  1. It’s getting so you can’t come up with a paranoid crackpot idea that they haven’t actually been doing for five years!

    The big problem is, what criteria can you learn to draw the line? Do you have to believe everything is suspect?

    There are a lot of sites about the WTC attacks. They’re entertaining. They’re also in varying degrees plausible. The worrying thing is that the “official” theory is no more or less compelling than that.

  2. Well said. The question becomes; ‘Is there any such thing as objective truth in a mediated world formed by our own perceptions of it?’

    Consensus reality is exactly that; a version of ‘the truth’ that a majority of persons believe in. Which may well be why reality itself appears to be increasingly fractured and schizophrenic. I’ve been a solipsist for years. I sometimes find it astonishing how bizarre my imagination can actually get…

  3. One of the absurd things about so many science fiction readers these days is the LACK OF SCIENCE.

    Can you find a Sci-fi geek that doesn’t like Blade Runner? But if you watch Blade Runner what is one of the first things you see?


    But doesn’t a skyscraper have to support its own weight throughout its entire height? Doesn’t the mean the designers must figure out how much steel to put on every level. If they add more steel because of more levels above then levels below must support the added weight. So the distribution of steel is the major trick of designing skyscrapers. So why don’t we have a table specifying the TONS of STEEL and TONS of CONCRETE on every level of the World Trade Center by now?

    How do SCIENCE fiction fans not notice something like that in SEVEN YEARS? The sci-fi is getting too much like fantasy these days. The brain food has turned to Pablum.

    400,000 ton building in less than 2 hours.


  4. Psikey, some of your comments so far have been interesting and thought provoking, but be warned that if you move further into conspiracy theory I will delete anything you post and, if necessary, ban you by your IP, neither of which I am particularly keen on doing. There are other sites for that sort of discussion, and this isn’t one of them, I’m afraid.

  5. It isn’t a discussion and I didn’t say anything about a conspiracy. YOU DID!

    Doesn’t the blog say “Science fiction, science fact” right at the top?

    If I say almost all computers are von Neumann machines and yet I worked for IBM for four years and never saw or heard the term does that mean I am talking about a conspiracy?

    It is interesting how this has truly become a science fiction society with technology everywhere and people buying stuff they don’t understand because it is SO COOL. But sci-fi suffers from what I call the Star Wars effect. I am still trying to force my way through Alastair Reynold’s REVELATION SPACE and it is just SO BAD. The Artificial Intelligence is just dumb emotional people.

    But message received and understood. Don’t mention physics about things that people have the emotional “conspiracy theory” reaction to.

  6. No worries; I just get twitchy when people start on about the architecture of the WTC. I get enough cranks at some of my other sites that I’ve become fond of the pre-emptive strike…

    But I do find it interesting that you feel story should take a back-seat to the science in sf, which is, for want of a better phrase, a somewhat old-school attitude. Who exemplifies good sf for you?

  7. {{{ you feel story should take a back-seat to the science in sf, }}}

    Is that what I said? Ideally the science/technology is integral to the story. Some so called sci-fi stories are just Westerns where aliens replace the Indians and ray guns the six-shooters. And it is not like I think every author should be striving for some ideal. I am not a writer of fiction so I won’t pretend to know what is going on in author’s heads but I presume they should be writing what they like in relation to their talents. Every reader will have to judge in relation to his/her own tastes.

    Personally I am surprised at how much I like Lois McMaster Bujold. I do suspect that I would not have liked her as much 40 years ago. She isn’t what I regard as a very scientific writer. But her characters are more compelling and interesting than just about anyone else’s I have read. Although I consider Mack Reynolds to be a relatively poor writer with cardboardy characters his stories can be more interesting in relation to the sociological effects of technology the Bujold’s.

    Considering that I started reading sci-fi in 1961 I probably am old school. Arthur C. Clarkes’ A FALL OF MOONDUST probably got me interested in engineering more than any other single book. But not everybody is a gearhead, or wants to be, but I do get annoyed when an author seems to be totally indifferent or even dismissive of the science and is really writing fantasy with science type jargon and claiming it is science fiction.

    But that Star Wars effect I talk about relates to what kids were thinking when they got into it. When I started reading sci-fi I did not know that SF and fantasy were regarded as the same genre. To me they were almost totally different things. I have found a blurb from ’77 TIME magazine where the producers of Star Wars admitted it was not SF, they called it space fantasy. I knew that from just watching it. But how many 10 year old kids knew or cared? So now those 40 somethings regard it as sci-fi today. And will get insulted and defensive if I say it isn’t. LOL

    In video I think Babylon 5 is about the best SF that has been done so far. But there are 2 aspects of Trek that are rather better. There is no Scotty/La Forge character in B5. We are supposed to believe a 5 mile space station with a fusion reactor and lots of ships has no head of engineering. RIGHT! The other thing is that the human culture portrayed in B5 hasn’t changed enough from today, besides having a psi corp. It is not that I think Trek is what society will be or should be like but in 200 years some stuff will have to be A LOT DIFFERENT. But this goes to what the author is trying to accomplish. By not making it different it could help us better understand what is going on now. But that is not what a lot of people use sci-fi for, plenty of people watch it or read it but don’t seem to think about it one bit. It is just entertainment. So we can be messing ourselves up with this technology or totally missing opportunities. These computers could totally change or educational techniques and kids futures. But I would bet most teachers are afraid of trying.

    When was the last time you heard an economist talk about planned obsolescence? That was in sci-fi books back in the 60s. Oops sorry, no conspiracy theories. LOL

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