A cyberLeninist Perspective on
Information War

Riding the crest of the wave of the communications revolution,
we are going to bring information war
(as a battle of ideas, as a struggle for consciousness)
to the masses, as a vehicle for their aspirations

(from The Proletariat Ascendent)

The bourgeoisie defines "information war" as including deliberate sabotage
and attacks on economic and civilian as well as military computer systems.
The bourgeoisie considers the struggle for the consciousness of the masses
to be the "psychological warfare" component of information war.
But by categorizing the struggle of the masses over ideas and ideology
as mere "psychological warfare", the bourgeoisie demonstrates its weakness.

The proletariat defines information war as the struggle for consciousness
in a material world where objective truth has a different character than falsehood,
where exploitation and oppression are different than liberation,
where imperialist war is different than peace and where darkness is different than light.

As the communications revolution unfolds, and grips the imagination of the masses,
they will fight with courage and passion to distinguish truth from lies,
and distinguish ideas which serve their interests from ideas which serve the bourgeoisie.

"Proletarian democracy requires
the determined, aggressive and relentless application
of the tactics of information wants to be free."

(from "On Developing the Tactics of Information War"
by cyberRed [a work in progress])

Note to readers: I plan to have a lot here eventually, but in the meantime here are some links about "information warfare" from both a bourgeois and activist perspective.
Warning: some of these links are to articles that are fairly long.

Netwars and Activist's Power on the Net

Jason Wehling -- March, 1995

Click here.

"In the past few years, the Pentagon and Military Industrial establishment have taken a keen interest in the new information technology and how it affects politics and warfare. They are a bit worried that things like the Internet will change the balance of power."

Netwars Are Effective

"A good example of this powerful tool is the incredible speed and range at which information travels the Internet about events concerning Mexico and the Zapatistas. When Alexander Cockburn wrote an article exposing a Chase Manhattan Bank memo about Chiapas and the Zapatistas in Counterpunch, only a small number of people read it because it is only a newsletter with a limited readership. The memo, written by Riordan Roett, was very important because it argued that "the [Mexican] government will need to eliminate the Zapatistas to demonstrate their effective control of the national territory and of security policy". In other words, if the Mexican government wants investment from Chase, it will have to crush the Zapatistas. This information was relatively ineffective when just confined to print. But when it was uploaded to the Internet (via a large number of List-servers and the USENET), it suddenly reached a very large number of people. These people in turn coordinated a protest against the U.S and Mexican governments and especially Chase Manhattan. Chase was eventually forced to attempt to distance itself from the Roett memo that it commissioned."

Background links on information warfare
(This is good source on the bourgeois view
and links to most of the stuff on this page)

Internet As Political Weapons
An activist perspective

"The following paper reviews the actual and potential impact of the Internet on domestic and foreign politics and international conflict, from the point of view of a U.S. Department of Defense analyst. It is presented here by the Project on Government Secrecy of the Federation of American Scientists."
Strategic Assessment: The Internet

Charles Swett
Assistant for Strategic Assessment
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict
(Policy Planning) The Pentagon 703-693-5208 17 July 1995

Click here

"Current information about conflicts placed on the Internet in real time by on-the-scene observers and alternative news sources will be voraciously devoured by the world audience and will have an immediate and tangible impact on the course of events. Video footage of military operations will be captured by inexpensive, hand-held digital video cameras operated by local individuals, transformed unedited into data files, and then uploaded into the global information flow, reaching millions of people in a matter of minutes. Public opinion and calls for action (or calls to terminate actions) may be formed before national leaders have a chance to develop positions or to react to developments. These factors will greatly add to the burden on military commanders, whose actions will be subjected to an unprecedented degree of scrutiny."

Cyberwar is Coming!

John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt
International Policy Department
RAND 1993

Click here

"Other kinds of netwar may arise between governments and non-state actors. For example, netwar may be ... waged against the policies of specific governments by advocacy groups and movements, involving, for example, environmental, human-rights, or religious issues. The non-state actors may or may not be associated with nations, and in some cases they may be organized into vast transnational networks and coalitions.

Another kind of netwar may occur between rival non-state actors, with governments maneuvering on the sidelines to prevent collateral damage to national interests and perhaps to support one side or another. This is the most speculative kind of netwar, but the elements for it have already appeared, especially among advocacy movements around the world. Some movements are increasingly organizing into cross-border networks and coalitions, identifying more with the development of civil society (even global civil society) than with nation-states, and using advanced information and communications technologies to strengthen their activities. This may well turn out to be the next great frontier for ideological conflict, and netwar may be a prime characteristic."

What is Information Warfare ?

Martin Libicki
National Defense University - August 1995

Chapter 6: Psychological Warfare

"Using direct broadcast satellite (DBS), the leader of one nation does not need permission from overseas counterparts to speak live directly to the people in other nations. This capability is now available to anyone at low cost. The two-satellite 150-channel DBS constellation the Hughes company launched over North America, which began service late in 1994, cost roughly $1 billion, and subsequent versions will probably cost less. A DBS transponder over Asia might be profitably leased for an annual fee of perhaps $2 million (U.S.), well within the range of, say, Kurds, radical Shiites, Sikhs, Burmese mountain tribes, who could then afford to broadcast their messages to an enormous audience twenty-four hours a day."