“Super Weapons” for whom?

While most countries are busy developing advanced weapons technologies and even more advanced technologies to counter the advanced super weapons that their rivals or foes are developing, billions of dollars are being spent for non-productive and highly destructive objectives. Do citizens of these countries want all these weapons? Weapons which will obliterate citizens of other countries… who are ordinary people just like themselves. I don’t think any sane human would want this. A vast majority of people want to live peacefully without fear of wars and attacks.

While many governments justify their massive spending on development of lethal WMDs as necessary to ensure that other countries do not dare to attack, the fact is that it is just show of power gone out of hand. Where in the past number of horses, spears and size of the army mattered, today mass destructive capabilities of the highly advanced and lethal warheads counts. So not only do the governments produce weapons whose single blow is enough to annihilate an entire nation and leave the attacked piece of land unusable for decades, these governments want to mass produce such weapons and stockpile them in such huge numbers that if ever used would annihilate the entire planet including themselves and their people.

Lets talk about people. Do people want wars? Do we want to kill our neighbors because we do not completely agree with their beliefs and ideas? Do we want to kill innocent children because their faith is different? Most of us will (I hope I am correct) answer the above questions with a quick and loud “NO!”. People don’t force their countries in to wars and conflicts, politicians and ruling elites do for their own vested interests. In the modern world, wars are never over religion. A garb of false beliefs, twisted ideologies, corrupted faith and “fanaticised” religion is used by a few to incite hate in their people towards others. Without such horrid excuses and lies no sane nation would ever go to war with another nation. Till a decade ago, most governments used to  create mass hysteria at a national level through false propaganda by using state controlled media sources. People would believe what they saw and heard on these biased media channels and react accordingly. Convincing people to support wars and hate their “enemies” was easy as there was only one sided view to see and hear. History is packed with wars, war crime stories and crimes against humanity based on propaganda and false / selective information distribution and on purpose concealment of facts.

In the last ten years or so a lot has changed in information sharing and distribution technologies. Most of the credit goes to the advancement in web based technologies which allow people from all over the world to communicate and verify facts. Live images, sounds and videos from across the world from multiple sources make distortion of facts virtually impossible. If this was not enough, advancement in mobile phone technologies with highly developed embedded peripherals like cameras and video recorders and their ability to instantly post / share content over the web has dramatically improved information sharing on a global scale and at an extremely rapid pace. In fact information wars have already begun. Today such wars are not only taking place between rival governments but more so between “world journalists” / free bloggers without borders and governments with hidden and secret agendas.

Such web based journalists try to make public, information that the governments might be trying to hide from the people. These journalists take advantage of publicly available and accessible technologies to reach out to masses. They disclose secret government objectives and motives, internal correspondence between decision makers which has (can have) an impact on common people and their lives. They bring to public attention war crimes and atrocities against mankind, theft of national resources, expose lies told by the national leaders to drag their nations in to wars and invasions, they make tax payers aware how and where their tax money is being used, how many murders you and I have unknowingly funded and sponsored.

Governments around the world  are realising the intensity and impact of such people based reporting and information sharing. Many governments are coming up with laws to restrict such reporting technologies and also the people who are using these technologies to reach out to the world with truth. Freedom of speech and freedom of information has become a selective process. Not only countries like China and Iran try to block “all” information from coming in and going out of their countries but even Western countries and USA (the so called guardians of democracy and biggest supporters of “freedom of speech and information”) are heavily investing in technologies to monitor internet users in their countries. In the last few years several disturbing scandals related to war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan have surfaced on the web. These have opened eyes of the public both at home and world over. True motives of imperialist nations like USA have been exposed and challenged. Julian Assange and many other people have shaken and badly damaged the foundations of many personalities and governments around the world.

Militant and extremist outfits are not staying behind in information warfare either. Tech savvy members of banned outfits use internet for multiple purposes. From the very basic things like sending out threats and warnings to their enemies, to recruiting new members, spreading their message and ideology through highly emotional, organized and dramatized multimedia content and of course countering information propaganda by others. Today such militant organizations have complete dedicated wings handling information wars, monitoring propaganda and creating content using state of the art technologies. They even have deals with major news channels to air their content after receiving it through “unknown” and “secret” means.

Coming back to lethal WMDs, do we need them today to topple rival governments? Taking example of the recent Arab Spring, it was 75% media / information war and 25% physical (on ground) war. The whole world saw how it all started, how it developed in to a full fledged revolt, how Western countries intervened, provided selective support and how events in these countries continue to unfold.

We might say that the world saw everything and the world talked about it as they saw the events unfold but how much difference did it make in actual shaping of events… for one all those who were present and involved in the revolution (including outside players) instantly became answerable to the world. They knew all they actions were being watched by millions of people all over the world including their own people back home. Dictators were forced to step down amid public pressure from around the world. A dictator got killed in front of the whole world while trying to flee the angry mob.

Questions are being raised on issues which few years back were well hidden from the public. Based on the new disclosure of information, a global ideology is starting to evolve. People are learning about each other and a new level of tolerance will gradually evolve. Nations will demand their governments to form more humane policies, many governments will have to pull out of territories they had unjustly invaded, people will know where and how their taxed money is being spent and a new more connected global society will emerge. But before we will see all these positive developments, we will have to resist and endure challenges that will be forced upon us by entities which think otherwise. Governments will come up with laws and technologies to implement those laws to restrict free flow of information across the world. Free internet might not remain so free. But maybe we have been lucky and the apposing forces have been a bit too late to stop this super wave of global electronic communication culture. A world without borders may not become a reality in the near future but a borderless cyber-world has already become a reality. By mistake or by intent people of the world have been given this massive force to change the old world order where need for lethal WMDs will be no more and culture of global collaboration and trust will start to evolve. A world where nations will be represented by the real people instead of few ruling elites with their own interests and ideologies. Maybe this is the start of a new phase in human civilization that will actually make us humans.

By Faraz J Karamat

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