Thursday, June 16, 2011

US Military using 'Internet in a Suitcase' to overthrow dictators

Clever, clever! Seizing the day, a US military project is placing 'Internet in a suitcase' in the hands of civilians living in brutal dictatorships in an attempt to aid them in their protest movements. With a combination of wireless laptops linked to secure cell phones, none of which are hooked to the government's systems, they are placing at the disposal of democracy-minded civilians, a way to communicate with each other that cannot be blocked by the host country. Here's how it works:

Read more details in the NY Times article. The military saw the advantage while in Afghanistan when they noticed that the Taliban would shut down the cell-phone system at night to run their own plans. They started placing cell-phone towers within their own protected bases to ensure that people could communicate.

This is a big step up from Voice of America where, instead of us beaming American propaganda across an Iron Curtain, we are leaking the Internet across these country borders to allow locals see what's happening here. Then they can organize their own protests using the existing social media without interference.

But will we deploy this within the brutal dictatorships that are our ostensible allies: Saudi Arabia and Bahrain?
Doubt it!


  1. Bruce,
    These suitcases are nice. But I don't think we'll have to set them up for Africans to use the internet.
    My sister and brother-in-law just got back from their first year as missionaries in Tanzania. The tribes there live in mud huts, drink out of puddles -- real primative. But they all have cell phones!!! And they know how to switch the chips inside to get the best or cheapest carrier.
    The Egyptian revolution started with a tweet of a protestor pouring gasoline on himself and striking a match.
    The common people of Africa are savvy. They "don't need no stinkin' suitcases".
    The Syrian and Libyan governments are pathetic. They can't understand why their usual partyline dribble on state run TV is ineffective.
    I'm hoping that with the dawn of the wireless internet and cell phones with cameras, the days of Rwanda, Idi Amin, and other examples of horrific genocide before the world is even aware, are gone forever.

  2. Kevin,

    I get that the rural civilians may be tech-savvy, but they still need to use the government controlled airwaves and Internet to get their message out. This invention allows them to circumvent that.