Howdy folks, are you ready to have another round of tinfoil hat time? I thought you would, let's have some fun and begin, shall we?
We in the west are commending ourselves over the glorious creation of Social Networks where humans can now make connections and build friendships with others on the other side of the planet with the ease of click on a friend, follow or add to circles button.
On Saturday December 18th 2010 a desperate 26 year old Tunisian street vendor lit himself alight in protest to a never ending harassment and confiscation of his produce. Thus began the Tunisian revolution which quickly spread across the Middle East as the "Arab Spring"
Western media portrayed it as a triumph of technology, more specifically, social media...declaring that is was the likes of Facebook and Twitter which allowed the oppressed citizenry of the middle east to feely communicate and organize. Even as we speak, we are watching the vile truth of what the Bashar al-Assad regime is, pouring out of Syria like the blood of those who have fallen victim to his security forces.
The thing is though, that not all participants in these "social" hot zones of protest are simple activists; as most of us are well aware, or at least, should be well aware of, you can never be sure who that person on a social network is who've just made a connection with.
The interwebs are crawling with not just those who wish to aid revolutionary struggle, but also those who wish to expand or destroy those struggles. It is impossible to not assume that there are now, as we speak, agents from various governments scouring the internet looking for targets, either to arrest or to incite into action.
As we all know, the first Gulf War ended with Saddam Hussein still alive and American troops based in Saudi Arabia. Now, the government's stance has always been that they were respecting the wishes of their Arab allies and left Saddam alone so as to insure that the population in the Gulf region wouldn't turn against the western allies. In my personal opinion, Saddam was the excuse they needed to keep boots on the ground as they eyeballed the true target: Iran.
After 911 America and her allies soon found themselves in Afghanistan, which, at the time, made perfect sense since that's where the media told us Al Qaeda leaders had found refuge under the protection of the Taliban regime.
Soon thereafter, the U.S. also finds itself in Iraq. We know of the blatant lies the Bush administration used to make the invasion of Iraq more palatable to the world; false stories of Niger passing yellow cake uranium to Iraq and WMD's soon resulted in hundreds of thousands dead. Don't forget about the weaponized military grade Anthrax in the mail...government or domestic terrorism? I'll leave that up to you.
But why? What was the purpose of invading Iraq if that nation didn't participate in 911 nor posed any military threat at the time? The simplest and easiest answer is oil, but it is far more nefarious than that. In my own opinion, and I stress this, this was a premeditated plan hatched from an understanding of geo politics and world economics by certain elements within the political structure of the U.S. and others long before the invasion, perhaps even as far back as the first Gulf War.
We often get lost in conjecture with regards to the invasion of Iraq. Some say that it was an opportunity taken after the horrific events of 911 and others, that 911 was instigated in order to begin the process of reorganization in the middle east according to the economic needs of powerful nations. That is neither here nor there, the reality is that the U.S. did invade Iraq. This war quickly became a quagmire, we soon saw radical Islamic militants taking terrorist actions to bog down U.S. forces in Iraq. It is undeniable that these terrorist operations were meant to drive the U.S. out, but what if there was more to it? We've all heard the rumors that Iranian intelligence is involved, so perhaps what we've seen in Iraq was a desperate offensive to insure that the final step in U.S. military and intelligence strategic planning was never realized; a two pronged offensive on Iran.
Yes, I truly believe those were ultimately the military intentions after the two invasions, forces were to invade from Afghanistan in the East and other groups were to attack from Iraq in the West. This is opinion of course, all I have is the obvious; desperate accusations from the previous administration just prior to the end of the Bush White House and the constant talk in the middle east concerning the fundamentalist nation, especially those voices of alarm coming from Saudi Arabia.
It also gives support to the notion that Iran has developed a nuclear arms program. This is very likely true. But, with the fall of Libya, the pressure put on Syria by the west, and most recently, by the Arab League, it is obvious there is definitely a plan for a restructuring of the middle east. And this arms program could either be an attempt to stave off the inevitable by Iran or be used as a tool for the destruction of Israel as others would contend. Either way, there are rumblings about Iran once again.
If you read papers, watch various media outlets, there are four common threads which bind all the information flowing out of the west: Fragile Economy, Middle East Revolution, Syria/Iranian rogue state status and the opportunities to be found in Emerging Markets. Everything else is noise....the noise of a Cyber War in which the world is embroiled in.
Billions of dollars await the powerhouse economies in and around the Caspian sea, billions of dollars await under the soil of the middle east, new overland trade routes along the ancient silk road are being developed as we speak even though they may not be able to pass through regions of conflict. That alone says infrastructure in places like Azerbaijan are being prepped for a purpose.
All that wealth is sitting there to be had if the west and local Middle East governments can "rid" themselves of those who don't act in the interests of the west and her trading partners. Also, keep in mind, important economies and trading partners such as China and India desperately need access to these resources.
Yet, with the carnage witnessed by military intervention, I am sure that all powers involved have come to realize their greatest asset in waging war with those they want out is not from carpet bombing nations into submission or terrorist strikes, but destroying them from within, either from disseminating information which will move the populace into action or by strategic cyber strikes. In the west, social networks with their vast databases, are probably one of the greatest advantages western governments have. But, they are also an advantage to others with a separate agenda.
If you don't think we're in the midst of an all out cyber war, take into consideration that there have already been many salvos in cyber warfare already, one of the most well documented was launched over a year ago; the Stuxnet worm which was discovered in 2010 was designed specifically to target Siemens Industrial software, more specifically SCADA systems (supervisory control and data acquisition) running on Windows operating systems. Though hackers have gone after these type of systems before, what made this different was that it contained malware which spied on and destabilized those systems as well as to include a programmable logic controller rootkit. A programmable logic controller is used for automation of an electromechanical process and a rootkit is a program which has super user/privileged access to an operating system/computer. So that tells us that there was a program within this worm which had the highest level rights to control machinery....a worm which could cause physical damage, not just harvesting and/or destruction of data. It is hypothesized that this worm targeted Iranian nuclear facilities, especially the uranium enrichment facility in Natanz, and that the complexity of the code could only have been developed by a nation state. It is said that the worm did accomplish its job by causing a major breakdown in systems and physical equipment at that plant.
Another worm, named Duqu, was discovered on September 1st of this year. According to experts, it is almost identical to Stuxnet , yet with an entirely different purpose. It was designed, much like Stuxnet, to attack Windows using what's called a zero-day vulnerability in Microsoft Word, or a vulnerability in software which is unknown to the developers of the program. Wow, using open source software and Unix style operating systems might afford you a bit of protection from the looks of it...
Though the popular uprisings in the middle east were probably domestically created in the beginning and not instigated by a government (you can never be too sure), we just might be now witnessing a response by those most threatened in the information which is fed to those with sympathies for our own popular uprisings. So, rather than an attack on power grids and other important strategic infrastructure, which would be a blatant act of war that would most likely illicit a direct military response, are we seeing a test on mass social engineering?
One thing I have noticed is the increase of people on the social machines who are obviously driving an agenda, they're not some average individual who is motivated by empathy for the Occupy Movement or the election of a Presidential Candidate but rather are disseminators of information with a clear agenda. Wait, how can you tell? There are all sorts of benign organizations that do this? Because these social media accounts represent themselves as average Joe Shmoes and not organisations; also, there is no "chit chat" which is human nature. It's behavior more like that of internet marketing pure and simple. On any given social network you will have people with their own unique characters, and between posts of "down with the man" there are all sorts of indications that these folks are simply passionate for a particular cause, you'll get "Eating Spinach now, yuk!" or "My dog just took a shit on my mother-in-law's new sofa! Fuck yeah \m/" or something even halfway intelligent which still shows a personality. On the other hand what I've seen is "bot" like behavior, similar to spammers, but instead of giving you a link to a site which will hit your computer with a Trojan, it's a link to YouTube or a news article from questionable sources. Paranoia? Sure maybe, but how many videos have you seen lately with English, French, German speakers from news channels which are based in non-democratic nations? I'd wager you've seen and shared/retweeted a few without even knowing it.
We see a markedly increased rate of posts of Videos and articles from sources such as Press TV and RT. I have seen many of these videos and some of them are seemingly spot on in their criticisms of the U.S. and European Union governments. But, I also understand who runs these media outlets; in the case of Press TV it is the Iranian government, in the case of RT, it's RIA Novosti which is a Russian state owned news agency....and neither of these channels are ever going to criticize their own domestic governments. So you see folks, even though the news anchor and those they interview speak our languages flawlessly, they too are mere puppets in the war of information. Just as FOX, MSNBC and CNN are lackeys for their parent company's own political and financial interests.
Just as we report information about corrupt and evil governments, so do they in return.
So, in closing, as we see this world change for better or worse, under the banner of the righteous cause of finding a representative democracy free from the shackles of corporate involvement and tyrannical leaders, we, the people of this world, are but the foot soldiers in a World War which governments and businesses are fighting by proxy. A war born out of a dire socio economic situation...sounds like the 30's a bit doesn't it when you have people who were once middle class squatting in empty buildings in Spain, Americans protesting Banks, and Arabs rising up against vile rulers?
Be aware of the sources of your information, decipher that information using the mindset of those feeding it to you, view several sources, compare those messages and within it you will find a kernel of truth which must be valued and shared. Whether it is the BBC, CNN, Inforwars, Al Jazeera, FOX or RT realize the information they are giving to you may not be at all motivated for the sake of having a free press, but for selfish reasons of government propaganda and/or financial gain. In the west we hear talk of our economies moving away from a manufacturing based economy to that of an "information" based economy. What does that tell you? That information is more valuable than gold and oil combined and that there is a very real possibility that the time of the internet becoming the primary weapon of choice in fighting a global conflict has arrived.
As the great American broadcast journalist Edward R Murrow used to say to Londoners when signing off from his radio broadcast during the Blitz, "Good night, and good luck".