Saturday, May 20, 2006

Information War: The Hidden Leader of Virtual War

Al-Qaida's media strategy continues to gain in sophistication. Videos and DVDs, often portraying mujahideen attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan or beheadings of "apostates", have become common currency in the souks of the Middle East. A more recent phenomenon has been the emergence of 150 FM radio stations in the Afghan-Pakistan border areas. A Peshawar source said: "They're spewing out an unalloyed message of hatred and jihad against the west."

But this was only the tip of a wider problem, Peter Rodman, a US assistant secretary of defence, told Congress this month. Pentagon teams were monitoring more than 5,000 internet sites around the world that were being used to create propaganda speeches, graphics, posters, training manuals, slides, blogs, and web-casts, he said.

Al-Qaida, its affiliates and supporters were also targeting specific countries, much as western marketing organisations might do, Pentagon officials said. This included translating internet products into Russian and Turkish. The state department said that the internet now topped its list of "terrorist safe havens" because it "empowered the enemy to produce and sustain its own public media outlets".

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | The hidden leader of a virtual war

And people are worried about "placing" stories in Iraqi newspapers.

ON top of that, our over seas state sponsored magazines stink, we don't spend enough money to broadcast US sponsored television and radio 24 hours a day, we don't do enough period. Why? Because we have a terrible fear of "propaganda" and it is rightly worrisome, in an internet, globalization age that what ever we do in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq or Iran (media wise) it is going to get picked up by our domestic news sources reporting from theater.

And, when it doesn't turn out to be exactly "true" or whatever (it is propaganda aimed at the "other"), then we will get DOD or government "lied" to us.

This is a problem that has to be resolved quickly. You can't resolve global media markets, but you can insist on getting on your side of the story faster and more accurate. You can do it 24/7 if you put enough effort into it (if you understand that "half the battle is in the media"). You can create entire corps of internet nerds, enlisted or volunteer, who will "get the message out".

This is why I am a member of the 101st Keyboardists. Not to fight for this administration or the next be they Republican or Democrat, but to fight this war in the place that I can: the internet.

What are you willing to do?

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