Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University | TACTsymposium

The Information Technology War and Peace Project
@ The Watson Institute for International Studies,
Brown University

Copyright 2002


Jump to [ Terror, Antiterror, Counterterror, 9.11, Background ]

Technologies of Terror

Ground Zero - [ Go to Panel ]

The New Terrorists - Henning Ritter @ F.A.Z.
One of the first results of the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon was U.S. President George W. Bush's agreement with his Russian colleague Vladimir Putin that in Chechnya, Russia has not committed the human rights violations of which the West has been accusing it for years. Suddenly, the American president saw the war in Chechnya the same way the Russian government has seen it all along: a war against terrorism. This new agreement between the United States and Russia was the first major long-term consequence of the terrorist attack. Little more is known today about the ringleaders of the attack than when Bush and Putin came to their understanding.

Wars of Wide-area Networks - Ronald J. Deibert @
Living collectively in the society of the spectacle left little other reference for eyewitnesses than those found in Imax Americanna. Bruce Willis was momentarily conjoined with Bin Laden on google hits, his vacant, troubled gaze and shaved head an odd omission from an otherwise Bruckheimerian day for most of the viewers.

Notes on 11 September 2001 - Paul Chilton @
...those in the "West" have no clear grasp they are confident of. This is dangerous; it is analogous to the incomprehension of the Soviet Union at the end of WWII, but more hazardous. Kennan, the State Department, the national Security Council, Rand Corporation and others gave us the communist threat, containment and deterrence. These concepts cannot now be crudely re-applied mutatis mutandis in the new world situation.

Networks of Terror - John Leonard @ Salon
After a couple of days of doing what they do best, which is grief therapy, the television networks and cable channels reverted to what they do worst, which is to represent the normal respiration of democratic intelligence. Never mind the apocalyptic branding every producer of continuing coverage felt he had to inflict over, under and around the multiple reruns, the endless nightmare feedback loop of jumbo jet, firebomb and towers falling down. Soon enough, "America Under Dastardly Attack" would be succeeded by "The Empire Strikes Back." Nothing less can be expected of a commercial culture with a logo, a patent, a copyright or a trademark on everything from pro athletes and childhood fairy tales to the human genome.

Undressed by Rapiscan Secure 1000 - Jill Rachel Jacobs @ Alternet
The scanning machine that has been under development and consideration since the '90s that could revolutionize airport security is better known as "The Rapiscan Secure 1000," and is currently being tested at Florida's Orlando International Airport. But according to Barry Steinhardt, ACLU associate director, "This body-scan technology is nothing more than an electronic strip search. This technology brings an extraordinary potential for abuse."

Asymmetry Is Not Destiny - Karl Meyer @ World Policy Journal
"Military asymmetry" has become the fashionable cliché among pundits to characterize a
still-unnamed war pitting a high-tech superpower against bearded holy warriors and cavedwelling
terrorists. Examined more closely, however, all other aspects of the conflict-psychological,
cultural, territorial, and economic-are also asymmetrical. Consider for example
what one might call the "psycho-geographical-historical asymmetry" between the United
States and its unexpected new wartime ally, Russia. It is an anomalous coupling, fraught
with difficulties yet alive with promise, including the prospect of working with Moscow to
lessen the oil power of the Persian Gulf sheikdoms.

The Rise of Complex Terrorism - Thomas Homer-Dixon @ Foreign Policy
Modern societies face a cruel paradox: Fast-paced technological and economic innovations may deliver unrivalled prosperity, but they also render rich nations vulnerable to crippling, unanticipated attacks. By relying on intricate networks and concentrating vital assets in small geographic clusters, advanced Western nations only amplify the destructive power of terrorists -- and the psychological and financial damage they can inflict.

Fourth Generation Warfare @ Defense and National Interest
Roughly speaking, "fourth generation warfare" includes all forms of conflict where the other side refuses to stand up and fight fair. What distinguishes 4GW from earlier generations is that typically at least one side is something other than a military force organized and operating under the control of a national government, and one that often transcends national boundaries. The attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center are horrific examples of operations as part of a campaign conducted according to fourth generation principles. They dispelled forever the notion that 4GW is just "terrorism" or something that happens only in poverty-stricken Third World countries. But it is a strange form of warfare, one where, for example, military force plays a much smaller (though still critical) role than in earlier generations, often supporting initiatives that are more political, diplomatic, and economic.

War or Networks - [ Go to Panel ]

Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy
John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt
The information revolution is altering the nature of conflict across the spectrum. We call attention to two developments in particular. First, this revolution is favoring and strengthening network forms of organization, often giving them an advantage over hierarchical forms.

The Selling of 9-11 - Chris Fitzpatrick @ PopMatters
HBO, Showtime, and FX have all announced plans to produce TV movies about the events, but on March 10th, CBS took the lead with a commercial-free special, 9/11. An important documentary to some and exploitative reality programming to others, the nearly uninterrupted two-hour broadcast of footage shot inside the World Trade Center provided an insider's view of the results of the terrorist attacks. Gaining an estimated third of the American viewing population, 9/11 was profitable, but at the expense of many of the victims' families who felt the timing was inappropriate. Although they publicly voiced their concern, it did not change the network's decision to air the program.

Is Cyber Terror Next? - Dorothy E. Denning @ SSRC
Shortly after the September 11 terrorist attack against the United States, hackers took to the Internet to voice their rage. A group called the Dispatchers announced they would destroy Web servers and Internet access in Afghanistan and target nations that support terrorists.

When Journalists Report for Duty - Norman Solomon @ ZMag
Much of the initial news coverage was poignant, grief-stricken and utterly appropriate. But many news analysts and pundits lost no time conveying -- sometimes with great enthusiasm -- their eagerness to see the United States use its military might in anger. Such impulses are extremely dangerous. For instance, night after night on cable television, Bill O'Reilly has been banging his loud drum for indiscriminate reprisals. Unless the Taliban quickly handed over Osama bin Laden, he proclaimed on Fox News Channel, "the U.S. should bomb the Afghan infrastructure to rubble -- the airport, the power plants, their water facilities and the roads." And what about the civilian population of Afghanistan? "We should not target civilians," O'Reilly said, "but if they don't rise up against this criminal government, they starve, period." For good measure, O'Reilly urged that the U.S. extensively bomb Iraq and Libya.

A Brookings / Harvard Forum: The Role of the Press in the Anti-Terrorism Campaign
The Brookings Institution has launched a weekly discussion series on news media issues growing out of the current anti-terrorism campaign. Stephen Hess of Brookings and Marvin Kalb of Harvard University's Shorenstein Center have designed the series to create a low-key environment in which journalists and government officials can meet to discuss government/press problems and conflicting interests. The series will also be a forum to consider other media matters that relate to the current crisis, such as the use of new media technology and the economics of providing adequate war coverage. Transcripts of prior forums.

Media Critics See Web Role Emerge - Jordan Raphael @ USC Annenberg OJR
Despite initial technological snags and industry-wide cutbacks, online news sites have contributed substantially to the coverage of last Tuesday's terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, according to media critics and online journalism experts surveyed by OJR.

"Lost in the rhetorical fog of war" - Robert Fisk @ The Independent
A few months ago, my old friend Tom Friedman set off for the small Gulf emirate of Qatar, from where, in one of his messianic columns for The New York Times, he informed us that the tiny state's Al-Jazeera satellite channel was a welcome sign that democracy might be coming to the Middle East. Al-Jazeera had been upsetting some of the local Arab dictators - President Mubarak of Egypt for one - and Tom thought this a good idea. So do I. But hold everything. The story is being rewritten. Last week, US Secretary of State Colin Powell rapped the Emir of Qatar over the knuckles because - so he claimed - Al-Jazeera was "inciting anti-Americanism''. Needless to say, this tomfoolery by Colin Powell has not been given much coverage in the Western media, who know that they do not have a single correspondent in the Taliban area of Afghanistan. Al-Jazeera does.

Synthesis: Ground Zero, the Internet, and Networked Society
Michel Bauwens @
Before the day ended a slew of special resources had been set up by all kinds of individuals, organisations, press outfits and even corporations, in order to distribute news, but also to organise solidarity, and to grieve or commune together. There is no doubt that it successfully performed its role as a technology for social communication. Note in particular the presence of specialised weblogs as well as the discussion forums which sprang up in many places. And it was a definite success as a fundraising tool as well (Online Donations Set Records), though marred by some profiteering sites.

Now Rolling... - Bernie Heidkamp @ PopPolitics
On another level, one yet unexplored, it is an admission that our images of Manhattan and Washington are almost completely mediated through a series of popular cultural representations, especially for people who do not live in or have not visited those cities. Those representations -- particularly those involving terrorist threats and attacks -- have simultaneously prepared us for this type of tragedy and distanced us from feeling and understanding its impact.

PR for War - Norman Solomon @ ZMag
The Rendon Group, a public relations firm, has landed a $397,000 contract. Their job? To make sure that the Pentagon's actions in Afghanistan are viewed positively by the general public.

Anti-Terror Mantra Used To Justify Abuses - Associated Press
World leaders are being given more latitude to silence dissenters and justify human rights abuses in the name of assisting the U.S. campaign against terrorism, a rights group said yesterday. Russia, Uzbekistan and Egypt were singled out as chief offenders by Human Rights Watch in its annual report, which covers 66 countries.

Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting
An American national media watch group that keeps track of and reports on media bias and inaccuracy. An excellent site that has published a number of articles on the lack of dissent in the media since Sept. 11.

Jump to [ Terror, Antiterror, Counterterror, 9.11, Background ] Top


Technologies of Antiterror

Technological Revolution - [ Go to Panel ]

Cyberwar is Coming! - John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt
The information revolution and related organizational innovations are altering the nature of conflict and the kinds of military structures, doctrines, and strategies that will be needed. This study introduces two concepts for thinking about these issues: "cyberwar" and "netwar." Industrialization led to attritional warfare by massive armies (e.g., World War I). Mechanization led to maneuver predominated by tanks (e.g., World War II). The information revolution implies the rise of cyberwar, in which neither mass nor mobility will decide outcomes; instead, the side that knows more, that can disperse the fog of war yet enshroud an adversary in it, will enjoy decisive advantages.

The Anxieties of Biopolitics - Eugene Thacker @
If, for a moment, we take the two waves of terrorist "attacks" which have been launched within the U.S. -- the events of September 11th, and the Anthrax-tainted letters sent through the mail -- we are presented with a troubling juxtaposition. As we know, the first wave of attacks (what CNN called "turning airplanes into missiles") resulted in a large-scale tragedy that encompassed thousands of human lives, as well as New York's urban infrastructure, the airline industry, and the nation's economy. The second wave of "bioterrorism" includes, most prominently, a letter sent to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle in Washington D.C., and was found to contain a highly concentrated, pure, and possibly engineered strain of Anthrax (Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge described it as "made to be more easily absorbed," while not ruling out the possibility that it was genetically-modified).

Astrocop - Bruce Sterling @ Wired
Get ready for the new frontier of missile defense, where peacekeeping space lasers battle a storm of rogue nukes...

War Games @
It's the Big Daddy of combat simulation: the Army's Simulation, Training and Instrumentation Command, known as STRICOM. Video game developers might spend millions of dollars on a single title, but the STRICOM budget is a whopping $1 billion a year. Those dollars buy a system that army commanders say is the best possible preparation they can give their troops before deploying them to a dangerous battlefield situation. STRICOM's simulators are designed to immerse soldiers in the sights, sounds, and even smells of real combat. They can be used to train a wide variety of soldiers — infantry, tank units, helicopter and jet pilots — for any situation and any theater, including the rugged terrain of Afghanistan.

Peer-to-Peer Terrorism - James Grimmelmann @ Salon
Bad news from the Napster wars: the harder you fight against decentralized networks, the more enemies you create...

A New Breed of Terrorism - Laura Miller (interview with Michele Zanini) @ Salon
While America reels from the coordinated series of terrorist attacks on Tuesday, many are asking themselves who could commit such acts and why. Salon spoke with Michele Zanini, a graduate fellow at the RAND Corporation and a contributor to the book "Countering the New Terrorism" and the forthcoming "Networks and Netwars," to get some insight on the possible motivations of the still unidentified terrorists.

Everyday Terror - [ Go to Panel ]

All Suicide Bombers Are Not Alike - Joseph Lelyveld @ NYTimes
Wondering in the days after Sept. 11 how self-annihilation had gone from being a tactic for spreading gory mayhem on a local scale to a weapon of mass destruction, I started reading up on kamikazes and the Black Tigers of the Tamil movement in Sri Lanka. It seemed useful to recall that it wasn't only extremist Muslims who blew themselves up to inflict damage on an enemy. But the World Trade Center and Pentagon bombers still seemed to me different from any precursors: in their self-discipline, their ability to coordinate their efforts over long distances and many months, in the cold power they silently lorded over their fellow passengers as they waited to blow them -- and themselves -- to bits. They weren't around to be asked about their apocalyptic vision and motives, but they had plenty of contemporaries.

Bitter Lemons is a website that presents Israeli and Palestinian viewpoints on prominent issues of concern. It focuses on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and peace process, but other, related regional issues are also discussed. It is produced, edited and partially written by Ghassan Khatib, a Palestinian, and Yossi Alpher, an Israeli. Its goal is to contribute to mutual understanding through the open exchange of ideas. It aspires to impact the way Palestinians, Israelis and others worldwide think about regional issues. maintains complete organizational and institutional symmetry between its Palestinian and Israeli components. It draws financial support from the European Union and additional philanthropic sources based outside the region.

A Case Study in Fourth Generation Warfare: A Chronology of The "Al-Aqsa" Intifada Day-by-day coverage since October 13, 2001 of activities on the ground in the Middle East courtesy of EmergencyNet News Service.

What's In A Name?: How to Fight Terrorism - Michael Howard @ Foreign Affairs
When, in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Secretary of State Colin Powell declared that the United States was "at war" with terrorism, he made a very natural but terrible and irrevocable error. Administration leaders have been trying to put it right ever since...

Jerusalem: Middle East Crisis Intensifies; Arab Anger Mounts - Transcript @ CNN
Live on location with Sari Nusseibeh, Christiane Amanpour, Ben Wedeman, and others on April 3, Bethlehem.

Jump to [ Terror, Antiterror, Counterterror, 9.11, Background ] Top


Technologies of Counterterrorism

Infowar, Cyberwar - [ Go to Panel ]

Counter-terrorism, Armed Force and the Laws of War - Adam Roberts @ SSRC
What is the role of the laws of war in the ongoing 'war on terror' proclaimed and initiated by the US following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001? The body of international law applicable in armed conflict does appear to have a bearing on many issues raised in anti-terrorist military operations in Afghanistan as well as elsewhere, including particularly the issues of discrimination in targeting, protection of civilians, and status and treatment of prisoners...

Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Information Warfare (Defense)
The Defense Science Board Task Force on Information Warfare (Defense) was established at the direction of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology. By USD (A&T) Memorandum for the Chairman, Defense Science Board, dated October 4, 1995, the Task Force was directed to "focus on protection of information interests of national importance through the establishment and maintenance of a credible information warfare defensive capability in several areas, including deterrence." Specifically, the Task Force was asked to: (1) Identify the information users of national interest who can be attacked through the shared elements of the national information infrastructure. (2) Determine the scope of national information interests to be defended by information warfare defense and deterrence capabilities. (3) Characterize the procedures, processes, and mechanisms required to defend against various classes of threats to the national information infrastructure and the information users of national interest. (4) Identify the indications and warning, tactical warning, and attack assessment procedures, processes, and mechanisms needed to anticipate, detect, and characterize attacks on the national information infrastructure and/or attacks on the information users of national interest. (5) Identify the reasonable roles of government and the private sector, alone and in concert, in creating, managing, and operating a national information warfare-defense capability. (6) Provide specific guidelines for implementation of the Task Force's recommendations.

Postmoderm Terrorism - Walter Laqueur @ Global Issues
Terrorism has been defined as the substate application of violence or threatened violence intended to sow panic in a society, to weaken or even overthrow the incumbents, and to bring about political change. It shades on occasion into guerrilla warfare (although unlike guerrillas, terrorists are unable or unwilling to take or hold territory) and even a substitute for war between states. In its long history terrorism has appeared in many guises; today society faces not one terrorism but many terrorisms.

The Kosovo War Took Place In Orbital Space
John Armitage (Interview With Paul Virilio) @ CTheory
But what is so astonishing about the war in Kosovo for me is that it was a war that totally bypassed territorial space. It was a war that took place almost entirely in the air. There were hardly any Allied armed personnel on the ground. There was, for example, no real state of siege and practically no blockade. However, may I remind you that France and Germany were opposed to a maritime blockade of the Adriatic Sea without a mandate from the United Nations (UN). So, what we witnessed in Kosovo was an extraordinary war, a war waged solely with bombs from the air. What happened in Kosovo was the exact reversal of what happened in 'Fortress Europe' in 1943-45. Let me explain. Air Marshall 'Bomber' Harris used to say that 'Fortress Europe' was a fortress without a roof, since the Allies had air supremacy. Now, if we look at the Kosovo War, what do we see? We see a fortress without walls — but with a roof! Isn't that disappearance extraordinary?

Armed Conflict in the 21st Century: The Information Revolution and Post-Modern Warfare - Steven Metz @ SSI
Dr. Steven Metz suggests that official thinking within the U.S. military may be too narrow. The information revolution, he contends, will have far-reaching strategic effects. The transformation it brings will not only be technological, but political, social, ethical and strategic as well. As he explores the impact that the information revolution may have on the conduct of armed conflict, Dr. Metz introduces a number of ideas which need further analysis, including the potential for the emergence of nontraditional, networked enemies; multidimensional asymmetry; the privatization of security; and the potential impact of technologies like robotics, nonlethality, and nanotechnogy. He concludes with an asessment of the features likely to characterize successful militaries in the 21st century.

National Security in the Information Age - Matthew G. Devost
An increased reliance on information technology which is highly vulnerable to failure and sabotage has created a new risk to the national security of the United States. These vulnerabilities will be exploited during any conventional military conflicts between nation states, but several political deterrents including economic interdependence and fear of escalation decrease their attraction during peacetime. Despite this, the political and strategic attractions of information warfare make it a likely terrorist weapon.

Technologies of Change - [ Go to Panel ]

U.S. Submits Counter-terrorism Report to UN @ Cryptome
Complying with a UN Security Council anti-terrorism resolution, the United States December 19 submitted a detailed report on its efforts to fight terrorism by cutting off financing to terrorist groups and their activities. The report was mandated by resolution 1373, passed September 28, 2001. It requires nations, among other things, to criminalize terrorist activities, freeze the funds and financial assets of terrorists and their supporters, ban others from making funds available to terrorists, and deny safe haven to terrorists. The resolution set up a committee to monitor implementation. The committee, which has been called the Counter-terrorism Committee, set December 27 as the deadline for states to submit an initial report on what they have done to comply with the resolution.

New York unveils counterterror network - Dibya Sarkar @ FCW
New York state officials unveiled an intelligence network Jan. 29 that eventually will enable local law enforcement agencies statewide to share information electronically in the fight against terrorism. Officials said it is the first of its kind in the nation. The Counter-Terrorism Network (CTN) will be deployed in the state's 16 law enforcement zones in a pilot program. Initially, the system will send out electronic alerts to recipients who will be provided with a stand-alone, flat-screen computer system.

Clinton calls for IT to fight terrorism - Jeanne-Vida Douglas @ ZDNet
Addressing a gathering of over 1800 delegates from over 55 countries at the 2002 World Congress on Information Technology, former U.S. president Bill Clinton called for developed nations to use IT to bridge the digital divide, and use technology to make partners--not terrorists--of developing nations.

ITAA Offers Government Recommendations on Enhanced Use of IT for Counter-Terrorism - Press Release @ ITAA
The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) released a series of recommendations aimed at helping the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and other government agencies improve the conduct of counter-terrorism operations through the use of integrated information technology. See also: War On Terror Changes Focus For Govt IT Managers - Study

Washington Plans Unprecedented Camera Network - Reuters
Washington police are building what will be the nation's biggest network of surveillance cameras to monitor shopping areas, streets, monuments and other public places in the U.S. capital, a move that worries civil liberties groups, The Wall Street Journal said on Wednesday. The system would eventually include hundreds of cameras, linking existing devices in Metro mass transit stations, public schools and traffic intersections to new digital cameras mounted to watch over neighborhoods and shopping districts, the Journal said. "In the context of Sept. 11, we have no choice but to accept greater use of this technology," Stephen Gaffigan, the head of the police department project, told the Journal.

A Japanese Writer Analyses Terrorists and Their Victims - Howard W. French @ NYtimes
For Haruki Murakami, Japan's most popular living fiction writer, the current struggle against terrorism is no clash of civilizations, much less a crusade. Rather, as the novelist sees it, the war that opposes the United States and its allies against reputed terrorist groups like al Qaeda is a collision between incompatible networks, or what he calls circuits, whose apprehension of reality is every bit as irreconcilable as matter and antimatter. And whose collisions are bound to be just as explosive.

Inviting Future Terrorism - Aaron G. Lehmer @ AlterNet
Since our imposing policies go largely unreported in the corporate-owned U.S. mass media, Americans are developing a false sense of innocence about what their government is doing in their name. In a new book called "9-11," world-renowned political theorist Noam Chomsky notes that the United States is regarded in much of the world as a leading terrorist state due to its killing of several million civilians during the past few decades. In addition to the well-known case of Vietnam, Chomsky also lists Laos, Cambodia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, East Timor, Sudan, Iraq, and Yugoslavia as places where the U.S. government has been implicated. Unfortunately, Chomsky's list is only the tip of the iceberg.

Jump to [ Terror, Antiterror, Counterterror, 9.11, Background ] Top


9.11 Sites

After 9-11 @

The September 11 Web Archive @ Library of Congress, the Internet Archive and

Special Report: Attack on America @ The Guardian

Stories on 9.11 attacks @ CounterPunch

Terrorist Attacks against the U.S. - A Reporter's Resource @ Online Journalism Review

Jump to [ Terror, Antiterror, Counterterror, 9.11, Background ] Top


Background: INFOtech

The Question Concerning Technology - Martin Heidegger
In what follows we shall be questioning concerning technology. Questioning builds a way. We would be advised, therefore, above all to pay heed to the way, and not to fix our attention on isolated sentences and topics. The way is a way of thinking. All ways of thinking, more or less perceptibly, lead through language in a manner that is extraordinary. We shall be questioning concerning technology, and in so doing we should like to prepare a free relationship to it. The relationship will be free if it opens our human existence to the essence of technology. When we can respond to this essence, we shall be able to experience the technological within its own bounds...

Jump to [ Terror, Antiterror, Counterterror, 9.11, Background ] Top


Background: INFOwar

Sun Tzu and the Art of (Cyber) War: Ancient Advice for Developing an Information Security Program - Matthew K. Miller
In The Art of War, Sun Tzu wrote that a country must have sufficient military capability, "Military affairs are a country's vital political concern," and a country must have a comprehensive security strategy, "the lands that are lethal or safe and the ways that cause existence or destruction must never be taken lightly." How appropriate this is for the cyber landscape! Any company doing business on the Internet is concerned with defending it's network and critical assets against unauthorized intrusion or attack. Sun Tzu writes about five key areas that apply to a company developing an information security program: Leadership; Soldiers; Rules; Weapons; and War Plans...

Jump to [ Terror, Antiterror, Counterterror, 9.11, Background ] Top


Home | News | Video | Readings | Participants | Discussion | Schedule | Contact

Terror - Ground Zero | War of Networks
Antiterror - Technological Revolution | Everyday Terror
Counterterror - Infowar, Cyberwar | Technologies of Change