In this section (a bit long I have to admit) I would like to provide some background context in terms of Motives behind doing the research/posting this blog and the Format I intend to follow/reasoning behind it.
a) As some of you may know I am an IT Professional (software development background to be specific). Though I am no longer active in this area of IT I continue to be fascinated by technology and its evolution, particularly when it comes to applications that solve real life & environmental issues while being more productive/efficient in the process.
b) However with every benefit we reap through technical innovation, there is also the real threat of subversion (hijacking) of this moral purpose of human development towards more sinister criminal uses we all see now in the forms of Identity Theft, Cyber Attacks to Information Warfare. Again this is something quiet interesting to me – but mainly on the side of understanding these methods for the sole purpose of applying defences against them (technical & more conventional ones) in order to reverse this trend.
c) I also happen to be quite passionate about Politics–particularly Foreign Policy & Immigration/Integration Policy. The interest comes in the form of a technical mind-set focused on helping solve real problems effectively/efficiently and NOT to serve political gains or posturing (and the Quid pro quo approach) dominating the political establishment. I am also a proud advocate for Liberal Democracy, Human Rights & International Law having lived a big chunk of my life in a region where dictatorship rule “was” the norm (even in the mind-set/attitude of the ruled) something that merely evolves in shape to reflect changing times. So I profoundly appreciate the values of Democracy & Liberalism in our society and do not take them for granted as many who do not share this kind of experience. So when I see this alarming kickback of these Liberal values to ones of more extremist forms of conservatism/nationalism due to a combination of failed policies/inept politicians compounded with a sophisticated campaign of disinformation propagated in online/traditional media, well I want to stand up and be counted in fighting back this trend.
d) Finally and on a more personal level I have seen Information Warfare up close in my inner circles of family/friends who have been subjected unwittingly to these tactics particularly post the reversal of Arab Spring in some countries. I’ve seen how social media in the region has been dominated by this new phenomenon of Information Warfare having followed links from friends to fake news sites and tracking accounts of sources which in many cases turned out to be anonymous-though now links are more related to Russian promoted news sites including RT. Remember IW is not just about fake news but also real news covered with a biased/deliberate narrative.
The sophisticated nature of this trend in the region led me to believe a while back that reliance on foreign expertise was/is a big part of the picture of the national politics currently in play. Having witnessed this trend and since 2013 I have attempted multiple times to alert the British Government & party leaderships in the UK through direct & indirect messages to be aware of this observation but unfortunately to no avail-not in terms of response nor in terms of action. I guess I am but a small fish living in a confined space in a pond whereas the big fish making the decisions are at sea. So now that the situation is getting out of control in terms of threat level I am merely attempting to drill a tunnel long enough to get to me to the sea so that I can make an impression (or be part of that effort) on the big fish (merely to get some positive action) so then I can return back to my beloved pond.
In terms of format the idea is to follow a set of guidelines
a) Summarize/reword/restructure relevant points from research material without drilling too much in the detail to achieve clarity and make them simple to digest-I will surely do my best in that regard.
b) I will not focus too much on the technology details used in Cyber attacks & Information Warfare but will provide some online content/links that makes it easy to understand these threats from a non-technical standpoint. This allows us NOT to be distracted from the main thrust of arguments/views presented as opposed to symptoms/technicalities involved. Historical facts will also be provided where appropriate to establish context.
c) Where relevant I will add my own personal comments, views and suggestions in another font colour so that you can differentiate between content & pure personal opinion-though the rewording will also give glimpse to how I view these matters as a commentator. I will also include links to research material so that you can download/read yourself and make your own judgement.
d) Due to the amount of content I’ve gone through (and will continue to go through in future as matter of personal interest) I break down the blog into multiple posts to avoid congested content. As a follow up thought I will be sharing 1 single link to this Preface on Social Media rather than to separate individual related posts; this while updating this preface to include links to those related posts t the bottom so you have 1 point of entry into this blog which can be used as the main link if you’re interested in the follow-up posts. The first post will be made on Thursday the 22 of December.
Resources Material Used (will be updated regularly)
- Russia’s ‘New’ Tools for Confronting the West: Continuity and Innovation in Moscow’s Exercise of Power, by Mr Keir Giles, Associate Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House
Links to Related Posts
Finally, finally Merry Christmas to you all.