The Internet is The Enemy

Our defence institutions need a certain amount of healthy paranoia. They have to imagine all the terrible things which might conceivably be done to us, and have plans in place to counter them. But the Pentagon goes too far when it says the Internet is an enemy. Fundamental rights are put at risk.

At, Brent Jessop says the Pentagon’s Information Operations Roadmap bluntly states that the Internet, with its potential for free speech, is in direct opposition to their goals. The Pentagon reckons the Internet needs to be dealt with as if it were an enemy “weapons system”.

The Information Operations Roadmap says:

We Must Fight the Net. DoD [Department of Defense] is building an information-centric force. Networks are increasingly the operational center of gravity, and the Department must be prepared to “fight the net.”…

DoD’s “Defense in Depth” strategy should operate on the premise that the Department will “fight the net” as it would a weapons system.

The Information Operations Roadmap has a similar theme to the now infamous document Rebuilding America’s Defences [PDF file] from the rather scary Project for a New American Century (PNAC).

PNAC was founded in 1997 with many members that later became the nucleus of the George W Bush administration. The list includes: Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, I Lewis Libby, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz among many other powerful but less well-know names. Their stated purpose was to use a hugely expanded US military to project “American global leadership.”

Rebuilding America’s Defences says:

It is now commonly understood that information and other new technologies… are creating a dynamic that may threaten America’s ability to exercise its dominant military power…

Control of space and cyberspace. Much as control of the high seas — and the protection of international commerce — defined global powers in the past, so will control of the new “international commons” be a key to world power in the future. An America incapable of protecting its interests or that of its allies in space or the “infosphere” will find it difficult to exert global political leadership…

Although it may take several decades for the process of transformation to unfold, in time, the art of warfare on air, land, and sea will be vastly different than it is today, and “combat” likely will take place in new dimensions: in space, “cyber-space,” and perhaps the world of microbes.

The Pentagon doesn’t think the Internet is all bad. As Jessop points out:

After all, it was the Department of Defense through DARPA that gave us the internet in the first place. The internet is useful not only as a business tool but also is excellent for monitoring and tracking users, acclimatizing people to a virtual world, and developing detailed psychological profiles of every user, among many other Pentagon positives. But, one problem with the current internet is the potential for the dissemination of ideas and information not consistent with US government themes and messages, commonly known as free speech. Naturally, since the plan was to completely dominate the “infosphere,” the internet would have to be adjusted or replaced with an upgraded and even more Pentagon friendly successor.

With some more healthy paranoia, Paul Joseph Watson writes at

The development of “Internet 2” is also designed to create an online caste system whereby the old Internet hubs would be allowed to break down and die, forcing people to use the new taxable, censored and regulated world wide web. If you’re struggling to comprehend exactly what the Internet will look like in five years unless we resist this, just look at China and their latest efforts to completely eliminate dissent and anonymity on the web.

This process of turning the Internet into an enemy is scary.

“The Internet” is very easily conflated with “the people on the Internet” and “the information on the Internet”, just as “the war against terrorists” becomes “the war on terror”. Once the entire Internet and the people who use it are declared “the enemy”, then all sorts of intrusive and secret measures are justified.

This Thinking Must Stop At Once.

Hat-tip to Bernard Robertson-Dunn.