FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Information Wars

Late last year, I called the first shots in Cyber World War One. I got the timing completely wrong. In fact, I was off by about 27 years.

The real first shot in that war — heard ’round the world and widely lauded, but its implications not really understood — was fired in 1984 by Stewart Brand: “Information wants to be free.”

Developments since then bring to mind the words of another great orator, words which I shall now hijack and mangle for my own purposes: Information cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. It will become all one thing or all the other.

The war for humanity’s future is primarily a war for control of the use and exchange of information.

Its three major fronts, in no particular order: The status of “intellectual property,” freedom to communicate, and transparency, or lack thereof, of institutions of governance.

Its combatants: On one side the state and its hangers-on. On the other side, the rest of us.

This war has actually raged for centuries, sometimes “hot” and sometimes “cold.”

Its “hottest” manifestations have been the totalitarian states characterized by opacity of governance, ruthless suppression of unauthorized communication, and tight control of literature, entertainment and technology. The Soviet Union, Baathist Iraq and the Kim dynasty’s North Korea are prime examples.

On the “cold” side we find the non-totalitarian, but increasingly authoritarian, Westphalian nation-states in which governance has crept rather than sprinted toward opacity, in which communications were left relatively free so long as they represented no substantial threat to the state’s monopoly on force, and in which control of literature, entertainment and technology were a matter of slow jockeying for position by corporate behemoths with the capital to engage in expensive production.

So why has the war recently gone “hot” in the “free world?” One word: Technology.

The personal computer drastically decreased the costs associated with producing and manipulating information.

The Internet drastically decreased the costs of communicating and disseminating that information.

The combination of those two things is even now bringing forth a renaissance in manufacturing machinery and method which promises to drastically reduce the costs of producing and distributing physical goods.

Our side — humanity’s side — went from throwing rocks to developing not just the longbow, but the machine gun and the suitcase nuke in a mere 30 years or so.

The other side has noticed, and they’re putting everything into an all-out offensive to crush freedom with finality while they still believe they can.

The “intellectual property” industries are working overtime to quarantine as much information as possible behind monopoly patent and copyright paywalls, while chivvying their toadies in the halls of state to reinforce those walls, string barbed wire atop them, and put machine gun towers on the corners.

Even absent the whisperings of the RIAA, MPAA and other “intellectual property” lobbies, politicians fully realize the mortal danger the Internet represents to their continued rule, and are moving with what passes for alacrity in a dinosaur-type institution to counter it.

Absent a super-weapon like Joe Lieberman’s proposed “kill switch,” they’ve so far contented themselves with seizing domain names on “intellectual property” grounds, arresting hackers who expose government’s inner workings, and attempting to co-opt cyberspace into their “national security” theatrics. But doubt this not: We’ll be seeing the equivalent of Hitler’s V2 rocket or Oppenheimer’s “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” just as soon as they can be developed and deployed.

Yes, it really is a war. If you don’t believe me, ask the US Department of Defense about its “comprehensive cybersecurity strategy.” Or Julian Assange, still under house arrest after months of fighting trumped-up charges filed specifically to keep Wikileaks from continuing to expose things your governments don’t want you to know. Or the alleged members of Anonymous abducted around the world for landing blows on the anti-humanity establishment.

Why do we fight? Because war for control of information is war for control of your mind — war to fully and finally enslave, or free, the human race. It’s the state or us, people. The stakes are too high NOT to fight. And it’s time to decide which side you’re on.

Thomas L. Knapp is Senior News Analyst at the Center for a Stateless Society.

More articles by:

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

June 19, 2018
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
We Can Thank Top Union Officials for Trump
Lawrence Davidson
The Republican Party Falls Apart, the Democrats Get Stuck
Sheldon Richman
Trump, North Korea, and Iran
Richard Rothstein
Trump the (Shakespearean) Fool: a New Look at the Dynamics of Trumpism
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Protect Immigrant Rights; End the Crises That Drive Migration
Gary Leupp
Norway: Just Withdraw From NATO
Kristine Mattis
Nerd Culture, Adultolescence, and the Abdication of Social Priorities
Mike Garrity
The Forest Service Should Not be Above the Law
Colin Todhunter
Pro-GMO Activism And Smears Masquerade As Journalism: From Seralini To Jairam Ramesh, Aruna Rodrigues Puts The Record Straight
Doug Rawlings
Does the Burns/Novick Vietnam Documentary Deserve an Emmy?
Kenneth Surin
2018 Electioneering in Appalachian Virginia
Nino Pagliccia
Chrystia Freeland Fails to See the Emerging Multipolar World
John Forte
Stuart Hall and Us
June 18, 2018
Paul Street
Denuclearize the United States? An Unthinkable Thought
John Pilger
Bring Julian Assange Home
Conn Hallinan
The Spanish Labyrinth
Patrick Cockburn
Attacking Hodeidah is a Deliberate Act of Cruelty by the Trump Administration
Gary Leupp
Trump Gives Bibi Whatever He Wants
Thomas Knapp
Child Abductions: A Conversation It’s Hard to Believe We’re Even Having
Robert Fisk
I Spoke to Palestinians Who Still Hold the Keys to Homes They Fled Decades Ago – Many are Still Determined to Return
Steve Early
Requiem for a Steelworker: Mon Valley Memories of Oil Can Eddie
Jim Scheff
Protect Our National Forests From an Increase in Logging
Adam Parsons
Reclaiming the UN’s Radical Vision of Global Economic Justice
Dean Baker
Manufacturing Production Falls in May and No One Notices
Laura Flanders
Bottom-Up Wins in Virginia’s Primaries
Binoy Kampmark
The Anguish for Lost Buildings: Embers and Death at the Victoria Park Hotel
Weekend Edition
June 15, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Dan Kovalik
The US & Nicaragua: a Case Study in Historical Amnesia & Blindness
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Yellow Journalism and the New Cold War
Charles Pierson
The Day the US Became an Empire
Jonathan Cook
How the Corporate Media Enslave Us to a World of Illusions
Ajamu Baraka
North Korea Issue is Not De-nuclearization But De-Colonization
Andrew Levine
Midterms Coming: Antinomy Ahead
Louisa Willcox
New Information on 2017 Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Deaths Should Nix Trophy Hunting in Core Habitat
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Singapore Fling
Ron Jacobs
What’s So Bad About Peace, Man?
Robert Hunziker
State of the Climate – It’s Alarming!
L. Michael Hager
Acts and Omissions: The NYT’s Flawed Coverage of the Gaza Protest
Dave Lindorff
However Tenuous and Whatever His Motives, Trump’s Summit Agreement with Kim is Praiseworthy
Robert Fantina
Palestine, the United Nations and the Right of Return
Brian Cloughley
Sabre-Rattling With Russia
Chris Wright
To Be or Not to Be? That’s the Question
David Rosen
Why Do Establishment Feminists Hate Sex Workers?
Victor Grossman
A Key Congress in Leipzig
John Eskow
“It’s All Kinderspiel!” Trump, MSNBC, and the 24/7 Horseshit Roundelay
Paul Buhle
The Russians are Coming!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail