May 15, 2008
Kevin Poulsen, writing for Wired, declares the Pentagon’s DDoS scheme to be “the most lunatic idea to come out of the military since the gay bomb.” DDoS, or distributed denial-of-service, is an attack on a server, flooding it with so many requests it is for all purposes knocked out, unable to respond. Col. Charles W. Williamson, writing for the Armed Forces Journal, thinks this is a peachy keen idea. In an article entitled “Carpet bombing in cyberspace,” Williamson says the Pentagon’s DDoS would allow “a quick response by directly linking our counterattack to the system that detects an incoming attack,” in other words, he assures us, the scheme would be defensive.
Of course, for guys who carpet bomb in cyberspace and in real space, basically unconcerned with “collateral damage,” the idea the Pentagon would only use this weapon on bad guys who attack is ludicrous. It is, more accurately, an offensive weapon, designed to take down or render useless targeted computer networks, presumably in China or Russia or a cave in Afghanistan. No doubt China and Russia have their own counter measures, so “carpet bombing in cyberspace” becomes an academic exercise, a stalemate, an excuse for geeks on the Pentagon payroll to build zombie networks and unleash more botnets on a botnet infested internet.
As we know, however, the Pentagon’s target list is not confined to Russia and China. First and foremost, the Pentagon considers the civilian internet an “enemy weapons system,” as its Information Operations Roadmap makes obvious. “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,'” the document declares. The PNAC neocons are fond of this idea — the idea that the entire internet is an enemy weapons system — and they wrote about it in their documents.
“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,” the PNAC neocons write in their defining document, Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategies, Forces, and Resources For a New Century (2000). The PNAC neocons demand “full-spectrum dominance” of the entire “battlespace,” including the internet.
Again, enemies of the Pentagon, who need to be dominated in full-spectrum fashion, are not necessarily in China or Russia, they are here in the United States, too. In 2005, we learned that the Pentagon was up to its old tricks, snooping and conducting domestic surveillance on peaceful antiwar protests and meetings. The Counterintelligence Field Activity, or CIFA — which receives zero congressional oversight — was established by the Pentagon in 2002 to “effectively and efficiently manage and oversee the Defense Department counterintelligence enterprise.” Counterintelligence does not strictly consist of monitoring enemies, but is also offensive in nature. Back in the day, when the national security state was first implemented, Allen W. Dulles, then CIA boss, declared counterintelligence is not merely defensive, but a “responsive activity” aimed at the “opposition.”
As Daniel Brandt documents, the military teamed up with the CIA, FBI, and local law enforcement in the 1960s and the 1970s not only to monitor the antiwar and so-called “liberation” movements, but actively subvert them. According to Brandt’s research, “the primary target of military intelligence was the nation’s university and college campuses,” where antiwar activity flourished in the late 60s.
Over the intervening decades, none of this has changed, as Col. Williamson admits. “Some people would fear the possibility of botnet attacks on innocent parties,” writes Williamson. “If the botnet is used in a strictly offensive manner, civilian computers may be attacked, but only if the enemy compels us. The U.S. will perform the same target preparation as for traditional targets and respect the law of armed conflict as Defense Department policy requires by analyzing necessity, proportionality and distinction among military, dual-use or civilian targets. But neither the law of armed conflict nor common sense would allow belligerents to hide behind the skirts of its civilians. If the enemy is using civilian computers in his country so as to cause us harm, then we may attack them.”
As should be obvious, the Pentagon considers those of us opposed to “full-spectrum dominance,” for instance invading small nations and killing millions of people, as an enemy hiding “behind the skirts” of civilians and “using civilian computers in his country so as to cause us harm,” that is to say engaging in activism to oppose and attempt to change destructive and murderous policies. In short, Williamson is telling us the Pentagon is unleashing attacks against American citizens and their computer networks and individual machines.
Finally, the military’s desire for botnet antics and DDoS attacks against adversaries may be considered part of an overriding plan to “ensure the graceful degradation of the network rather than its collapse,” thus ushering in Internet 2. Paul Jospeh Watson writes: “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.”
Only a highly controlled and corporatized network, DDoS attacks and offensive botnets will not be necessary because the opposition will be neutralized — in fact opposition will not be allowed to exist at all, same as it does not exist on the corporate and throughly compromised medium we call television.
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