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Social networks as an innovative mechanism of "soft" impact and management of mass consciousness
Material posted: Publication date: 16-04-2012

In the twenty-first century modern man, along with the existing reality, plunged into a new space, information environment, Western scholars have named "cyberspace". The political activity of social groups is gradually shifting to social networks, interactive multi-user web sites, whose content is filled by the participants. Presenting an automated social environment, networks allow you to talk to a group of users United by common interests.

The launch of the first ever social network was held in 1995 in the citadel of global innovations - United States. The name of the resource led to its popularity - "Classmates" ("Odnoklassniki" - the Russian analogue). The project has been so successful that over the next few years there will be a number of similar services. The beginning of the boom of social networks is officially considered 2003-2004, associated with the creation of "LinkedIn", "MySpace" and "Facebook". For comparison, if LinkedIn was created for the purpose of establishing and maintaining business contacts, owners of "MySpace" and "Facebook" have relied on the satisfaction of human needs for self-expression. After all, in accordance with the pyramid Maslow , that self - expression is the highest human need, even ahead of the recognition and communication. Since this period, social networking has become a sort of Internet refuge where everyone can find technical and social basis for its own virtual "me".

Like any innovation, social networks have positive and negative developments: on the one hand, each user gets the ability to communicate and to share the fruits of actions with multi-million audience of a particular social network; on the other, he finds himself hostage to a fundamentally different form of stereotyping in which the nonconformist and the manifestation of dissent among a single person is amenable to massive influence from the electronic media.

In the coming century "soft power" underpinned by the technological support of America acquires dynamism and mobility: development of mass communications, cutting the once insurmountable distances between the continents, leads to the fact that the organization and conduction of a coup in any country is carried out remotely, by transmission over various networks. The world is connected by Internet, TV, radio and Newspapers, more and more resembles the web of uniting mankind into a single information space, giving any state the status of an observer, is able to restore the status quo only by force. Forming through these channels, the liberal-democratic cultural milieu, the American social networking and media open the way to change undesirable regimes on an unprecedented scale.

In fact, changing not only the technique of a coup, but the model of global management, indirect purchasing, more flexible and coordinated with other members of the international community in nature. The increased role of information in modern life, the flywheel accelerates the historical process, forcing the creation of a global network society, separated from national traditions and cultures; continuous flows of economic, scientific-technical, political and cultural information, growing every year, reduce the duration of the world order. So, for example, the American diplomat Henry Kissinger emphasizes that the political architecture, "evolved from the peace of Westphalia in 1648, lasted a century and a half; the international system created at the Vienna Congress in 1815, lived one hundred years, international order, characteristic of the cold war found its end through four decades"[3, p. 734]. This fact suggests that the American government, unlike, for example, from the British Empire in the nineteenth century, to solve geo-strategic objectives in a shorter period of time, as "components of world order, their interaction with each other, tasks that need to be solved, not changed so fast, were not as deep or global"[3].

Each network user becomes the object of warfare, which, in the opinion of a military expert from the U.S. administration R. Clarke, "of the actions of one nation-state to penetrate computers or networks of another nation state for the purpose of causing harm or destruction"[8, p. 33]. After the official recognition by President Obama "digital infrastructure as a strategic asset of America" (2009) the highest ranks of the Pentagon in the person of Deputy Secretary of defense William Lynn "marked on the doctrinal level, that cyberspace is a new field for military operations, alongside land, sea and air"[16, p. 97-108]. To protect U.S. networks and attack the communications infrastructure to rival the U.S. States in 2010 in the structure of the Ministry of defense created cyber command (USCYBERCOM) at the head of which is General K. Alexander, Director of the national security Agency.

In global terms, we are talking about a new instrument of social engineering, which creates previously unknown models of decision making, changing cognitive (cognitive) basis of modern man. The Internet, being planetary the information superhighway represents not only a channel for Commerce and entertainment: "it has a decisive influence on contemporary conflicts, not only in the field of espionage and military action, but also in determining what information reaches people around the world"[17]. The forefront of this information onslaught - the social network "WikiLeaks", "Facebook" and "Twitter" with the American "soft power", becoming a tool of revolutionary struggle and coups in the USA for the countries.

Given that the political system of each state is based on a certain sume of ideology, the publication of compromising materials on the influential participants of this system, undermines their already ephemeral legitimacy. Occurs, in the language of neomarxist A. Gramsci, "molecular aggression in the cultural core" of the regime, breaking all semblance of national consent.

The power of network resources supported by their alliances with the major media of Europe and America, replicates anti-government materials. For example, the international network project WikiLeaks (from the English. wiki and leak - "leakage"), the purpose of which is "untracked publication and analysis of documents that became available due to information leakage", is an influential New York Times, owned by Arthur Sulzberger Jr. , a member of the Council on foreign relations.

The project also studied and another member of the CFR, journalist David Sanger. Here's how it characterizes the position of the American economist and geopolitician F. Engdahl: "J. Assange (founder of net - F. G.) argues that he didn't have time to browse so many pages, so he gave them to trusted editors of respectable media, so they have already decided what should be published. Very "opposition". The New York Times has even appointed one of his senior staff D. Sanger to control the issue of materials "Wikileaks". Sanger is not an outsider of the establishment. He sits as a member of the elite Council on foreign relations and a member of the Strategic group of the aspen Institute along with Condoleezza rice, former defense Minister William Perry, former CIA head George. By Deutch, former Deputy Secretary and now world Bank head Robert Zoellick"[9]. The presence of these surnames and their indirect link with project j. Assange skepticism about his opposition and intransigence of the U.S. ruling circles, as it is presented by the world media. In this connection, it is also indicative of the statement of Assange, in which meetings of the Bilderberg club are called "ordinary meetings"[9].

On a reasonable assessment F. Andgas, a series of domestic political scandals in the US caused by the publications on the website "Wikileaks", was used by the Obama administration to reinforce the powers of the President over world wide web. With this end in 2009, Senator Jay Rockefeller introduced the cybersecurity bill (S. 773), which gave the President the right to disconnect private sector computers from the Internet in the event of a "declared emergency situation caused by cybersecurity threats emanating from non-governmental computer networks"[9]. Information pressure on the Congress, organized with the help of Wikileaks, forced parliamentarians to adopt a law on 24 March 2010

With regard to foreign policy, information operations, social network, synchronize massive anti-government demonstrations based on the principles of nonviolent resistance. Let us consider this phenomenon in detail.

1. Non-violent resistance and social networks

Modern theory and practice of nonviolence can be found in the writings of Harvard Professor Gene sharp. Becoming, according to most experts, the "Clausewitz of nonviolence", he, unlike M. Gandhi and M. Luther king, suggests people to use his methods without making nonviolence a way of life, as it "has nothing to do with religion, morality and social justice"[15]. The difference is that his predecessors saw in nonviolent resistance "program change relationships, ending in peaceful transfer of power"[1, p. 559], and Sharpe - methods of seizing power.

The interest of the U.S. military and politicians to his investigation originates with the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, Since the 1970s, the White house, who sought to block the military capacity of the Kremlin, begins the development of methods of non-violent resistance. In 1983, on the initiative of J. Sharpe, in Boston an international center for research on nonviolent resistance - Institute albert Einstein first to apply the practices during the removal of Soviet influence in Central and Eastern Europe . Putting into practice the concept of "new world order" proposed by President Bush senior (1989-1993), strategic non-violent action (strategic nonviolent action) has found its application in the most important, from the point of view of the geopolitics of Washington, regions of the world: Eastern Europe, middle East, Asia Pacific, Africa and Latin America.

In subsequent years, the advantages of this action was successfully used by the Clinton administration for regime change in Serbia in 2000 ("bulldozer revolution"). With the arrival of the same in January 2001, the neo-cons in the White house, non-violent resistance put forward in the vanguard of foreign policy struggle. For example, this technique made it possible to change the power in Georgia ("rose revolution" 2003), Ukraine (orange revolution 2004), Lebanon ("cedar revolution" of 2005 that led to the withdrawal of Syrian troops from the country) and in Kyrgyzstan in 2005 (the"Tulip revolution", repeated in 2010 to offset Bakiev).

In 2009 J. Sharpe (along with J. McCain and Bush. Soros) was accused Iranian leaders of involvement in a coup attempt. Moreover, the resentment of Tehran was supported by the emergence (before the unrest) online famous benefits of Professor sharp's "From dictatorship to democracy" in Farsi translation[12]. Two years later, the Obama administration, unencumbered by involved simultaneously in two military campaigns, have relied on indirect involvement in regime change in Tunisia (January 2011) and Egypt (February 2011) . Nonviolent resistance also covers Algeria (2010-2011), Yemen (2011), Syria, Bahrain, Jordan and Libya. To a lesser extent, the protest potential was evident in Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Iraq, Oman, Kuwait, Mauritania, Sudan, Somalia, Western Sahara and Djibouti. This wide list of the countries brings the long-awaited task of the United States: to rebuild the greater middle East in their own way, providing a Pro-American elites is a new legitimacy necessary in the context of a weakening global position of the dollar.

In theory, each operation, regardless of the country and situational characteristics, is studied in several stages: 1. assessment and analysis; 2. strategy development; 3. the capacity building; 4. fighting; 5.the end of conflict. Analyse the opportunities and resources of a country, the power of the regime and a potential third forces that could be involved or involved in the conflict. USA build their strategy on the principles of military planning, choosing concept best achieve their goals in the conflict. How and when to fight, how to achieve maximum efficiency in achieving its objectives. It is a kind of plan of distribution, adaptation and application of available funds [20].

Planners expect answers to the following questions: What are the main obstacles for non-violent action? What factors will contribute to the achievement of victory? What are the main power draws the current regime? What weakness he has? How vulnerable are its sources of strength? What are the forces on the side of the revolution? What are its weaknesses and how to get rid of them? What is the status of the parties, not directly involved in the conflict who is assisting or can provide it as the regime and the revolutionaries, and in what ways [20]?

The main effort of the strategy aimed at blocking such parties political power as its credibility (the confidence of the people is that power is legitimate and their moral duty to obey it); human resources - the number and value of individuals and groups, who provide guidance, collaborate or provide assistance to his government; the skills and knowledge needed by the regime to perform specific actions; intangible factors psychological and ideological stereotypes that make the population loyal; material resources - the degree of control or access to government property, natural and financial resources, the economic system, as well as to means of communication and transportation; sanctions - necessary for the existence of the regime and its policy of punishment, threatening, or applied against the disobedient, or refusing to cooperate[19].

To translate theory into practice in 1973, J. Sharpe wrote a book titled "198 methods of nonviolent action", which encompasses the whole range of protests and strikes, ranging from a boycott of the elections and to refuse to pay taxes or a General strike. Their relevance can be explained by two postulates: 1. the power of the state is based on the cooperation of the people and his obedience; 2. if people stop interacting with the regime, the latter loses its cornerstones[23]. That is, power is a kind of psychological phenomenon, the authority which determines the degree of order; an illusion, imposed on society by various dogmas, including those of a religious nature. This implies a key law: the government capable as long as there remains a belief in its superiority.
Along with the indicated factors, the success of a nonviolent struggle depends largely on cultural communication of war aims to a psychological suppression of the enemy. Collectively, its management involves the following procedure:

    1. created opposition, to the accompaniment of the American media and NGOs, began the permanent information impact on the population of the country to undermine the existing regime;
    2. the decisive phase of the operation often occur early in the election cycle when the political system is in a vulnerable position (presidential or parliamentary elections); the entire mechanism is actuated after the announcement of the election results, which, as a rule, do not respond to the queries of the opposition leader;
    3. the crowd (on average from 50 to 100 thousand people), known in Western media as the "people" took to the streets and begin a termless rally, demanding the resignation of "the usurper"; the organized masses will block the main transport and communication arteries; the main condition - not to engage in armed struggle with the police, as violent conflict (in which the advantage for the ruling regime) can lead to a violent suppression of the uprising, gradually paralyzed the entire city, suspending the supply of fuel, and food crisis is brewing.
    4. the U.S. administration (through the state Department and other agencies) announces a deliberate falsification of the elections, supported the "fighters for democracy" and called on the President to resign.
    5. Anglo-American TV channels, news agencies, Internet resources, radio and Newspapers continue pressure on the government, which, in most cases, decided to resign, and Parliament, in turn, fixes the date of the election, or limited to the recount;
    6. America announces "victory of democracy" and provides information support to the new regime, turning its own "soft power" in the source of its legitimacy.


2. Social networks as a motor of the Arab spring

Political processes in North Africa and the middle East, launched in late 2010, demonstrated the importance of American social networks on the synchronization of mass protests that removed the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt. Striking effect of these Internet resources, destabilizing the entire Arab-Muslim world, is caused by the number of active users: Facebook as of July 2011 brought together about 750 million people, and the audience of Twitter over the same period increased to 200 million. However, it is important to consider that "they do not provoke a revolution, but are tools that allow revolutionary groups to lower the costs of participation, organization, recruitment and training". However, "like any tool, social media have inherent strengths and weaknesses, and the effectiveness depends on how effectively leaders use them and whether they are available for people who know how to use them"[2, c. 65].

Social networks has become, in fact, news agencies were able to disseminate information worldwide in a matter of seconds, thereby accelerating the course of the operation. This does not mean that television and radio are becoming less popular: there is a kind of symbiosis with the major television giants such networks as "Wikileaks", "Facebook", "Twitter", "YouTube" (YouTube) that, ultimately, enhances the effect of information operations, bringing to the streets hundreds of thousands of demonstrators. An example of such interaction is the activity of the international television "al Jazeera" hosting video on your own portal in "YouTube". This practice is also observed among Russian broadcasting organizations.

The revolution in Tunisia organised through the world wide web is the result of long preparatory work of the Center for applied nonviolent action and strategies, Canvas (the CANVAS - the Center for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies). Founded in 2003 in Belgrade on the basis of "Repulse" (the NGO that organized the revolution in 2000 in Serbia, in 2003 in Georgia and 2004 in Ukraine, etc.). Canvas, at the head of S. Popovich, puts into practice the best practices of the Institute of albert Einstein. Members also participate in seminars financed by the OSCE and the UN. Cooperating with the American "freedom house" (which, in turn, supports the Republican national endowment for democracy) [18], "Canvas" prepared by 2011, leaders from more than 50 countries, including Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Lebanon, Egypt, Iran, Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and North Korea.

During the training, the centre came mainly from the fact that broad access to transnational information provided by peoples largely via the Internet, it excludes the national government from the process of public opinion formation. It is noteworthy that Tunisia that triggered the revolutionary wave, then the spillover to Egypt, and in 1991 he became the first Arab and African country connected to the network. Despite follow-up of the country's leadership for control of the world wide web, the number of its users is among Tunisians (as of 2005), in comparison with Egypt (6.8 per cent), amounted to 9.5%. The level of development of mobile telephony, Tunisia took the second place (56,3%) in the Muslim world, second only to Turkey from 59.6%[5].

Given these data, the credible position of the American edition "Business insider", noting that it is the publication on the website "Wikileaks" compromising materials affecting the family of Tunisian President Ben Ali Z., (allegations of corruption and unnecessary extravagance) was the "trigger" of popular discontent, which allowed to take to the streets hundreds of thousands of people who are anxious about rising food prices and inclusive unemployment [24]. Mass hysteria was also reinforced by the self-immolation (perfect ordinary Tunisian, January 4, 2011), which was included in the revolutionary process even loyal to the government of the population.

The events unfolded rapidly: organizing anti-government propaganda and revolutionary action coordinating through popular among Arab youth network "Facebook" and "Twitter", the opposition seized the main communication artery of the state. Food deficit is rising, undermining the resources and the will of the government, which inevitably affected the army refused to crush the rebellion by force. Speeches of officials of the European Union and the United States only accelerated the fall of the regime, convincing protesters in the need for perpetual disobedience to authorities that ultimately forced the President Z. Ben Ali to flee the country on 14 January 2011

The Tunisian scenario instilled confidence in regional opposition movement, allowing Egyptian activist Rashid V. state: "the Events in Tunisia set in motion Egypt, which, in turn, would reinforce similar processes throughout the region"[13]. The first reaction was not long in coming: on January 22, begin demonstrations in Yemen demanding the resignation of President A. A. Saleh, who ruled the country from 1978 with the lowest index of human development in the Arab world - more than half of Yemenis live on $ 2 a day. in a day or less, and one third of the population suffers from chronic hunger - the government of Yemen with each passing day of protest was losing public support [10]. In the end, after numerous armed clashes of the government forces and the protesters, June 3, President Ali Abdullah Saleh, after being wounded, after the bombing of his residence, left the country. The changes affected even friendly to the Americans Jordan, where inflation and unemployment intensified under the government of S. al-Rifai, who forced king Abdullah II to form a new Cabinet and promised social and economic transformation.

The next arena of social networks has become Egypt. Expansion of contacts "Canvas" with the Egyptian opposition had a series of strikes in 2008 in protest against rising food prices and low wages (dispersed by the police). From this period the Association well-versed in information technology of the Egyptians, who called themselves the "6 April Movement" (in solidarity with members of government suppressed the strike of weavers in the town of mahalla on 6 April 2008), creates a Facebook group for carrying out non-violent actions across the country. Typing is to first 70 thousand supporters, they decided to build on the success of the network shares, sending to Belgrade in training their activists. So, one of the first trained M. Adel, enrolled in 2009, one-week course on non-violent strategies: emphasis on methods of transformation of virtual propaganda in street protests.

Soon, the knowledge obtained was used by the Egyptian movement for change - "Kifaya" (in translation from Arab. "Kifaya" - "enough" "enough"). Established in July 2004 by the analogue of Otpor (including the same logo - "fist"), the organization draws strength from ideological protest to the Egyptian youth, which originate from the second intifada (popular uprising) in Palestine in October 2000, Gaining popularity, it entered into an Alliance with the United national front for change (October 2005). The influence of "Kipaji" and its cooperation with the "Muslim brotherhood" grew in the country and abroad steadily, although the latter, for fear of reprisals from the authorities, did not take a direct part in the uprising. The Islamists chose to act in cyber space, laying out for that on their website the manual J. Sharp's "From dictatorship to democracy"[21].

According to experts at the Carnegie endowment, "Kifaya" is the first political force in Egypt, who managed to extract the maximum benefit from social networks and digital technology as the primary means of communication and mobilization of protests. Being "independent" political Tribunal, the blogosphere not only generates the required contextual environment, but collects information about attitudes in society that allows them to build an appropriate tone of anti-government propaganda. The emergence of political blogs in Egypt is associated primarily with its operations. Bloggers, posting in the network audiovisual files and photographs of anti-government character, have become major promoters of the revolutionary ideas. Also actively used e-mail, text messaging, online ads and official website of the movement[22]. Ultimately, the indefinite protest, fueled by their actions, has led to the fact that the power residing in indecision from a massive informational impact, failed to engage the army to suppress protest, capitalyou 11 February 2011 (eighteen days).

A few days later, on February 15, after the proclamation 213 intellectuals with the requirements of the departure from power of Muammar Gaddafi supported foreign opposition groups , the unrest began in the most financially secure country in North Africa - Libya. However, non-violent resistance was soon suppressed by the government (in anticipation of such a scenario, J. Sharpe calls in their work to observe strict discipline and not to succumb to provocations of the security services and the police). The unarmed crowd with nonviolence, was helpless before the army, navazova the enemy battle on the field, which she has the superiority.

Similar actions were taken by the leadership of the PRC in June 1989, on the area of Tananmen, where the status quo was restored only thanks to the supporters of the lines of force, declared a state of emergency [4, p. 50]. The only difference is that then America was limited to a show of indignation, and now respected Henry Kissinger has said that if Gaddafi remains in power, the influence of the stars and stripes in the Muslim world will be questioned [14]. Based on UN security Council resolution 1973 of 17 March 2011 created by the Washington coalition began a humanitarian intervention, which, despite the overwhelming participation of England and France, is the next American test. Moreover, even after the occupation by the allies of Tripoli in late August, and recognition of the transitional Libyan government, the threat of large-scale civil war between tribal groups, formerly suppressed by Gaddafi's efforts, is growing rapidly.

About a month before the beginning of the nonviolent struggle that started in February 2011, Facebook has a new group "the Syrian revolution 2011" (scored at first more than 15 thousand supporters) calling the President of Syria B. al - Assad to resign. By 15 March 2011 protests cover Damascus and Daraa (Sunni South-West of the country, hostile to the alawites ). Further they affect Latakia, Aleppo and the suburbs of the Syrian capital, after numerous scattering power of government stocks led to casualties. In the end, it is the principle force involved the Syrian authorities, saves them from falling. Considering these events in the dynamics, the American intelligence Agency "Stratfor" (Stratfor), explains the strategic advantages Syrian leadership has four factors: 1. all political power in the country concentrated in the hands of a clan Asadov; 2. the alawites, from which is formed the Syrian elite, demonstrate the unity; 3. they control military intelligence; 4. the Baath party holds a monopoly on power[7].

Meanwhile, Washington, forcing the events, keeps up the pressure on Damascus, imposing international sanctions (one of 198 methods of nonviolent action) against members of the security services and relatives of the President. Frozen trade relations between the two countries. The UN Council on human rights also has not stood aside, adopting resolution condemning the use of force against demonstrators. Head of policy planning at the state Department Dzh. Sullivan went even further, threatening that if the President of Syria will not renounce violence, it will also be included in the list of persons subject to sanctions[11]. In turn, the European Union, after consultation with its 27 members, confidently followed the example of a powerful ally.

Information pressure on the Syrian leadership is growing constantly. Under the influence of the tense situation in the region, the State Department increasingly criticized and the political situation in Iran, accusing the ruling circles of the country in an attempt to "derail the Arab spring" in neighboring countries. Clinton hoped that "Iran has created a situation in which ordinary people can influence the development of events", calling on the opposition to seek international support, as was the case in Libya. For the first time since 1980 (the date of the severance of diplomatic relations with Iran), the US administration relies on full use of the world wide web to broadcast "soft power" among young Iranians, with plans to launch by the end of 2011 "virtual Embassy" informing about visas and student exchange programs [6].

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3. Kissinger H. Diplomacy / TRANS. angl. M.: Ladomir, 1997.
4. Pocheptsov G. Civil Sambo: how to resist the "color" revolutions. M. 2005.
5. The development of ICT in Tunisia
6. H. Clinton: Iran's leaders are fighting for power
7. Bhalla R. Making Sense of the Syrian Crisis
8. R. Clarke, R. Knake, Cyber War. The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It. N. Y.: HarperCollins, 2010.
9. F. Engdahl, Wikileaks: a Big Dangerous US Government Con Job.
10. Finn T. Yemenis Take to the Streets Calling for President Saleh to Step Down
11. Gollust D. US Imposes New Sanctions Against Syria Over Crackdown
12. Jacobs S. Gene Sharp, The 83 Year Old Who Toppled Egypt
13.. Kirkpatrick D., Sanger D. A Tunisian-Egyptian Link That Shook Arab History
14. Kissinger: U.S. Will Appear Weak if Gadhafi Remains
15. Larmer V. Machiavelli of Nonviolence
16. Lynn W. Defending a New Domain: The Pentagons Cyberstrategy. Foreign Affairs, Sept/Oct. 2010.
17. Markoff J. Cyberwar. With New Software, Iranians And Others Outwit Net Censors / The New York Times.
18. T. Rosenberg, Revolution U,0.
19. Sharp G. From Dictatorship to Democracy
20. Sharp G. There Are Realistic Alternatives
21. Stolberg S. Shy U.S. Intellectual Created Playbook Used in a Revolution
22. The Egyptian Movement for Change (Kifaya)
23. True M. Gene Sharp: Scholar of Strategic Nonviolence
24. White G. This Is The Wikileaks That Sparked The Tunisian Crisis

Author: G. Y. Filimonov, S. A. Tsaturyan

Tags: Russia , USA , security , China

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