Monday, January 12, 2004

Targeting Dissent - The Military Information Complex?
The evidence is that targeting of independent media and critics of the US is widening. The Pentagon is reportedly coordinating an "information operations road map", drafted by the Information Operations Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. According to Captain Gerald Mauer, the road map notes that information operations would be directed against an "adversary".

But when the paper got to the office of the undersecretary of defence for policy, it was changed to say that information operations would attempt to "disrupt, corrupt or usurp" adversarial decision-making. "In other words," notes retired US army colonel Sam Gardiner, "we will even go after friends if they are against what we are doing or want to do."

Hmmm. A military policy against "adversarial decision making". Does this mean not only against our enemies, friends and allies, but also against ourselves, against fellow Americans with a differing and/or opposing position?

We need to assure that no military information operations are being conducted against American citizens exercising their freedom of speech and thought, unless actively engaged in the violent overthrow of American society. If we allow a threshold where dissent may be interpreted as itself threatening the security and strategy of America, we open a Pandora's Box we don't want to open, and that will vary from interpreter to interpreter regarding what is considered dangerous or harmful speech and opinion. This is so compellingly not reflective of our tradition of liberty and freedom of speech, that it should be immediately addressed and dismissed, in public.

Further, we should examine the ban on propaganda against American people, and assure that it is being followed and, if not, strengthened so that it will be or criminal violators will see lengthy prison time. It should also be extended to allow for no exceptions, assuring that military information operations are not deployed against the American people, and even more egregiously using (our) American media outlets.

Last, this points out why we need, as added insurance, to assure diversity of media ownership and production in order to secure liberty and freedom and guard against malfeasance (whether "well-intentioned" or not). This obviously would begin with dismantling Big Media, and also in encouraging or subsidizing an expansion of available news service options as well, since so many rely on AP and Reuters exclusively (when not just reporting on government press releases).

In short, we must protect and expand the freedom of information here in America, and in the process realize the benefits and security of greater political and economic participation, not to mention greater efficiency of free markets (free markets work, crony markets don't), that the mechanisms of full transparency and accountability provide.

For the security and blessings of liberty, we must accept nothing less.