Wednesday, December 5

Moon of Alabama versus Information Warfare

The 'anonymous' German author of a nonprofit website Moon of Alabama who goes by the name of Bernhard or simply "b" is working in a critically important niche, which is deconstructing information warfare operations and publishing analyses at no charge to the general public.    

He is not an investigative reporter and to my knowledge does not conduct original research, at least not for publication on MoA. He analyzes information from open sources; i.e., sources that are publicly available.

To my recollection he doesn't apply the term "information war" to information operations he studies, generally characterizing them as fake news, smear campaign, etc. when he writes about them. But an increasing number of information campaigns that Bernhard studies is not simple disinformation or even propaganda; it's a type of warfare.

A recent example is his British Government Runs Secret Anti-Russian Smear Campaigns. As you will see if you read through the post, this is not just about Russia and the British government. This is warfare; this is what it looks like in an era when it's gotten very hard for governments to gin up rationales for an armed invasion of a country.

The rise of internet social media with global reach has made it possible to weaponize information to the extent that it can and has done as much damage as kinetic warfare operations. The Syrian War, which Syria's President Bashar al Assad has  described as the first war fought on the internet, is a prime example. 

This kind of warfare, which is distinct from cyberwar, is almost always launched and coordinated by a government(s). It is so very dangerous in this highly globalized era of communications that must be stopped. Yet stopping it is next to impossible until the public learns to recognize the patterns of information warfare. Here is where I think Bernhard's work is an invaluable public service. 

And yet this man has to routinely interrupt his work to ask his readers for donations so he can cover his basic living expenses. The situation is unacceptable but that's the way things are for him. 

My big concern is that financial pressures could eventually  mean a loss of independence for him. Without naming names, I've seen it happen. They always assure the analyst, 'You just keep writing about what you want to write about.' But Rumpelstiltskin always shows up, and 'policy institute' isn't asking the analyst simply to guess its real name.      

So once again I am asking Pundita readers to donate to Bernhard's Moon of Alabama. There are a number of ways this can be done but I think the simplest, for readers who use Paypal, is to make a donation in euros via a credit or debit card. Here is the link to the Paypal page for donating to MoA

You can write Bernhard at the email address shown on his website's "about" page (which I think needs updating in light of his evolving focus on information operations) if you'd like suggestions for other way to donate.

But please donate by any which way, and the ideal would be a monthly 'subscription' that could be as small the cost of a couple lattes at Starbucks.    

Thank you very much.




Virgo said...

Thanks, Pundita, for urging donations to b. at Moon of Alabama. It would be tragic if his site were to disappear.

Pundita said...

Yes, it would be a tragedy.