In the Information Age, the traditional form of warfare has been endowed with new implications. Anyone who has ever read the Thirty – six Stratagems should know the Counterespionage Trick and the Nothing Yielding Fruit Trick. The use of these two tricks has led to many successful examples of battles in the history of world wars. In the ancient times, in order to effectively use these two tricks large numbers of secret agents had to risk their lives infiltrating into the enemy camps to spread rumors. Today, the Information Age allows much more space for the use of the two tricks in alternative/non-conventional manners. There is no longer any need to use secret agents to personally infiltrate. We only need to use the keyboard, the mouse and the network connection cable so as to make the tricks work. Even when the tricks are seen through by the enemies, the rumors already spread will be very difficult to dispel and the secret agents will not be exposed to the risk of being captured alive.
Some people may disagree on my view of categorizing rumors as warfare, and may feel my view a bit overblown. To further explain my view, le me take the Iraqi war as an example. Soon after the 9 • 11 event took place, theU.S.government became resolute in launching the Iraqi War against Saddam. A media campaign was therefore started before “the (US) troops and horses were sent (toIraq)”. As carefully planned and directed by interested parties (in the US), relevant US newspapers, radio, television, and internet media repeatedly published commentaries surrounding Bush’s theories of “the axis of evil” and “the preemptive strike”, and very soon infiltrated these ideas into the American society successfully. This media campaign also kept demonizing Saddam. Meanwhile, theU.S.media reinforced their efforts to infiltrate into theMiddle East. In April 2002, the American Broadcasting Commission launched the Middle East Broadcasting Network program, aiming “to promote freedom and democracy” in the 25 Arab countries. In August of the same year, the US-funded “Free Television”, a satellite television operated by the exiled Iraqi opposition party members, started operation. When the formal decision was made eventually to launch a war against Iraq, the White House Office of Global Communications (which was responsible for media planning, coordination, and management) immediately, according to the battle plan, formulated the media/propaganda plan, thereby making the overall arrangements for conducting media activities during the period of the Iraqi War. Accordingly to the arrangements, the United States’ highly modernized and air-ground-integrated global news and information dissemination network was quickly put into the full-load and supernormal working order so as to ensure that the whole world was filled with the voice of the United States. Such a strong media offensive turned the public opinion field into a fierce and lumpy “second front” (of the Iraqi War).
Let me take the 2009 Iranian presidential election as a second example. Didn’t we see the shadow of some Western countries behind the riots following the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Even F-L-G followers had claimed that their over-the-wall software played a very important role (in ensuring the success of the (US) communications campaign inIran).
Likewise, recent news articles of the Epoch Times and New Tang Dynasty TV (NTDTV), especially the so-called “broke –the- news” reports, were in fact just rumors. These news articles were intended not only to discredit some individual persons (ie certain leaders of the Chinese government) but also to launch a media/public opinion war against the Chinese government rather than purely expressing approval or disapproval of certain leaders (of the Chinese government).These internet media outlets were “fabricating rumors” rather than “exposing the truth”. They were acting as a F-L-G-hired political thug and their fundamental goal was to subvert the (legitimate) regime of a country.