By James Sherrod
James can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions or comments.
There were over 7.8 million letters sent to Santa Claus in 2012. They were sent by children and adults throughout the world with lists of gifts they hoped to receive in exchange for being nice, but why send them to the North Pole?
Simply put, because they believed Santa Claus was real. Letters to Santa are harmless enough, but how many thoughts, decisions, and actions are made everyday based on false information? It only takes a short ride on the logic train to understand that our choices are made based on the information we have. If someone were able to control information, they could gain control over decisions.
This concept is not new, in fact, every trip to the grocery store is a battle to discern the truthfulness of all the information you receive. Why do you think the cashier wants you to sign up for a loyalty card? Or give them your phone number? It seems like everywhere you go there is someone asking for personal information. A request most of us routinely answer.
But, the Information War referred to in this article is much more serious than targeted advertising and 50% off
coupons. The War being spoken of here is between Governments and their Citizens, and it threatens the very core of humanity and justice. This war is for control over information and it threatens people’s ability to make informed decisions.
“You have to start with the truth. The truth is the only way that we can get anywhere. Because any decision-making that is based upon lies or ignorance can’t lead to a good conclusion.”
Chief Editor of Wikileaks
The question we all seek to answer about this conflict is…could a Government really control the entire supply of information to a whole nation of its Citizens?
The answer is a resounding yes!
It isn’t like this is a new concept, it has been proven time and again that governments strive to control the information their citizenry receive and we are fooling ourselves to think this is a tool of governments relegated to the past. It is as fully relevant today and will be in the future.
The fundamental point of it all is that when we are referring to manipulating information, it does not matter if the motive of the government is benevolent or sinister. The loss of access to uncensored information is a loss in our ability to make the best choices we can. A tragic example of how serious the control of information can be came when I had the pleasure of meeting a man named Milton Mapou. Milton is one of the last survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor. He recounted for me one of his most disturbing memories from WWII. With tears in his eyes he said, ”When we got to Okinawa the Japanese people were jumping off the cliffs to their death”. He found out later it was because they were told the Americans would rape them and eat their bodies.
“Propaganda works best when those who are being manipulated
are confident they are acting on their own free will.”
Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany 1933-1945
History is full of examples where the control of information led to results that seem so unbelievable we cannot fathom how it happened. In reality the only reason we only view them that way is because we now know the Truth. Ever heard the term Hindsight is 20-20?
Yet here we are again…year 2017.
America, the largest super power in the world, is in full blown crisis. Not because trans gender people don’t have their own bathrooms, or even because Donald Trump is president. The United States of America is in Crisis because of (and I hate to use this term) FAKE NEWS. This term has been thrown around a lot and has basically become click-bait, but it does highlight a very serious situation.
What if all of the news was fake? What if the only information you could access was what your were allowed to access?
Welcome to the Information War.
The Unites States Government is actively working to control the information supply, and We The People are desperately trying to fight them off or at the very least let people know what is happening. In order to explain the situation clearly we can boil down the Government attack into three critical tactics.
- Control of Information and Communication Infrastructure
We now know that the US government is heavily involved in the infrastructure of information
systems. The Government now has the capability to record all communications and are actively
infiltrating the physical hardware.
- Push Narrative and Propaganda
We see Government pushing their narrative everyday in the form of press conferences, official statements, and even tweets. More serious attacks include public school curriculum, which has long been recognized as an area of control over the information being taught to our children, and collaboration between the government and some main stream media outlets.
The government has many legal paths to censor information. In the past the Espionage Act has been used to destroy film and imprison movie directors. They continue to strengthen their legal power today. On Christmas eve 2016 the NDAA act was passed into law. This act establishes an information agency that is designed to determine if information is Pro or Anti American.
“Every Six Hours, the NSA Gathers as Much Data as Is Stored in the Entire Library of Congress”
Fortunately, we were lucky enough to have the forefathers that understood this threat and put in place a way for us to fight back. This is a fundamental principle of the Constitution. The First Amendment is the largest weapon in the Constitution at the disposal of the people. Everything from freedom of the press to separation of church and state is designed to protect the supply of uncensored information.
Inscribed in the Jefferson memorial
“I have sworn upon the alter of God, an eternal hostility towards any for of tyranny over the minds of men. ”
– Thomas Jefferson
Author of the Declaration of Independence
The real questions now is, with knowledge of the Constitutional remedies we have, how do we fight back?
The really good news is fight to regain or informational freedom has already started! We are seeing more and more leaks from within secret portions of our government. Although we must be careful to establish these leaks as credible, they are priceless. We are seeing organizations like The Courage Foundation and the ACLU fighting legal battles to protect individuals being persecuted for spreading information. These organizations are united in purpose regardless of wether they are on the Right or Left. Companies and open source communities are creating encryption software to help protect our communications and crowd funding has provided a method for start ups to secure financial support. These are all great things and should be celebrated!
That being said, the Information War is at a very critical point in one key area. While the Information War has many battlefields, the largest and most important is internet and communication. World wide instant access to information and communication with people from all over the world is invaluable. Recent revelations such as the Snowden Leak and the Wikileaks publication Vault7 have revealed massive attempts by the Government to seize control of the communication and internet infrastructure. Remember those three points above? Well, we can over come propaganda and censorship as long as we have the ability to find the truth. However, if control over the internet and our communication is lost we will have no way to effectively filter Truth from
“When you have strict censorship of the internet, young students cannot receive a full education. Their view of the world is imbalanced. There can be no true discussion of the issues.”
– Ai Weiwei
Chinese Contemporary artist and activist.
If the supply of information is under the control of someone else, our thoughts, decisions, and actions are no longer our own. The internet is the largest supply of information and the largest method for communication in the history of the world. An uncensored and open internet is the single greatest weapon against tyranny we have ever been given. It must be defended.
What is the next step?
In my view we are losing the battle for hardware. We have yet to see significant steps towards individual privacy and security from the providers of the devices and services we use. In fact we have seen the opposite. AT&T, for example, has been revealed to be extremely willing to implement NSA surveillance into their infrastructure. The time has come for industry leaders like Google, Apple, Microsoft, Verizon, Comcast, and Amazon to definitively decide if they will protect the people or serve the Government. Even though change is slow, the tide is changing. Recent statements by Microsoft and Apple seem to suggest hope for positive change. In response to the Wikileaks publication Vault7, Microsoft has called for a Digital Geneva Convention of the world’s security professionals in an effort to strengthen defense of the individual user. In 2016 Apple CEO Tim Cook engaged in a very public battle with the FBI in resistance to providing the FBI with a back door into Apple products. As the individual and corporate mindset of the public changes the value on privacy and security will increase. In time, new leaders with similar values will rise to power. We hope for a day in which our Government values our privacy more than our personal information.
In the mean time keep yourself and your friends informed. Educate yourself about ways to protect your privacy and show others how to protect theirs. We must also provide support for the organizations that are fighting on our behalf. Lastly, this war will have its heroes just like any other war. Individuals who found themselves in a position to do extraordinary acts and did not cower, despite incredible personal cost. We owe these men and women our gratitude and support. One day we may find ourselves in extraordinary circumstances, and the courage of those who went before us will be our strength.
“Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”
President of Freedom of The Press
Source of 2013 NSA leak
We must not take for granted the ability to access free information. Pursuit of Truth through the sharing and discussion of information may be messy, but it is also beautiful. We The People must relentlessly pursue Truth because it is the cornerstone of a Free and peaceful society.