Course webpage is here: http://peterasaro.org/courses/2018War.html
Course blog is here: http://digitalwar2018.wordpress.com/
This course focuses on exploring how digital technologies and media are transforming warfare, international conflicts, and popular uprisings and their suppression. We will explore how these technologies are changing the nature of warfare, and the rhetoric that is used to justify the development and use of these new technologies and strategies. The course critically examines the claims that technologies can produce increasingly risk-free, or even bloodless, wars, and considers how the risks of engaging in armed conflict are being redistributed. It also examines how new forms of digital and social media are being enlisted in the service of international conflicts. Topics discussed include the military's use of video games for recruitment and training; the role of digital media in war journalism, state propaganda and information warfare, and hackivist sites such as Wikileaks; the use of social media in both organizing and suppressing popular uprisings such as the Arab Spring; mass surveillance in the name of state security; developments in cyberwarfare; and the increasing use of military robotics, including armed Predator and Reaper drones, as well as the development of fully autonomous weapons.
You are expected to have thoroughly and thoughtfully read the assigned texts, viewed the assigned videos, and to have prepared yourself to contribute meaningfully to the class discussions. For some people, that preparation requires taking copious notes on the assigned readings; for others, it entails supplementing the assigned readings with explanatory texts found in survey textbooks or in online sources; and for others still, it involves reading the texts, ruminating on them afterwards, then discussing those readings with classmates before the class meeting. Whatever method best suits you, I hope you will arrive at class with copies of the assigned reading, ready and willing to make yourself a valued contributor to the discussion, and eager to share your own relevant media experiences and interests. Your participation will be evaluated in terms of both quantity and quality.
As this is a seminar, regular attendance is essential. You will be permitted two excused absences (you must notify me of your inability to attend before class, via email). Any subsequent absences and any un-excused absences will adversely affect your grade.
You will be required to make
weekly blog entries commenting on the readings for the week. You will be required to create an account on WordPress (if you
do not already have one), and send me an email with your LoginID and the EMAIL
ADDRESS used to create the account,so that you can
be added as an author for the collective course blog. Everyone will be posting
to a common blog page, and this will be readable by your classmates. When
writing and making comments, you are expected to treat other students with the
same respect and courtesy as you should in the classroom.
Discussion questions will be posted each week to help stimulate the writing process. You are also expected to read the posts of your classmates, and encouraged to comment on other people's posts each week. Posts will not be graded (they will receive 2, 1 or 0 points based on timely completion), but the TA and I will read them and occasionally comment on them. There will be 10 posts through the semester, thus 20 points, constituting 20% of your grade.
Comments are strongly encouraged, and you can receive up to 10 points (extra credit) for each substantial comment (paragraph or longer) that you make on someone else's post.
Blog posts will be due before the start of each class. They are time stamped when you post them, and late posts will only receive half credit (1 point). Discussion questions for the next week will be posted shortly after each class.
Research Project Idea Due: October 2
Length: 300-500 words (approx. 1 page)
Research Project Full Proposal Due:
Length: 500-2000 words (approx. 1-4 pages)
Final Project Presentations:
December 4 & 11
Oral Presentation, 10 minutes (Powerpoint Optional)
Final Project Due: December 18
Length (media project description): 500-3000 words (approx. 1-10 pages) + Media Project
Length (research paper option): 3000-5000 words (approx. 10-18 pages)
There will be no final exam. Instead, a final research project will be required. There are 2 options: Research Paper Option, and Media Project Option.
Final Project will be due one week after the last day of class. If that deadline will not work for you, you need to make other arrangements one week in advance, at the latest. We will set aside time in the last day(s) of class for presentations of final projects. These will not be graded but will offer an opportunity for feedback before submitting your final project.
Project topics can address any aspect of the topics and materials discussed in class. Projects should include materials beyond what is directly covered in class, as appropriate for your topic. In other words, they should require research. The blog will provide many ideas for projects, as will class discussion. You will be asked to submit a short description of your Project Idea early in the semester, and will receive feedback on it.
Later in the semester you will have to write a more formal Proposal for your project, based on feedback and further research. Project proposals should state the research question, problem, or phenomenon that will be the focus of your research. It should also state your thesis or position on the issue, as well as outline the argument you will use to support your position. This applies to both papers and media projects. You should also indicate the sources and materials you will consult and utilize in making your argument and producing your final project. For the Media Project Option, you should state as clearly as possible what you intend to deliver for the final draft (i.e., video length, style, format, content; website; set of infographics, etc.).
Final Project Presentations will occur on the last days of class. These should be short 5-10 minutes summary of your research paper or project, allowing 5-10 minutes for discussion. Group projects can be presented collectively.
Research Paper Option
This will take the form of a 3000-5000 word (Times New Roman, 12pt font, double spaced) term paper. You should draw upon sources from the course readings as well as beyond the course readings. You should cite your sources properly.
Media Project Option
Media Projects can take the form of film and video pieces, audio documentaries, websites, interactive media, performance pieces, infographics, a social media campaign strategy, or other ideas. In addition to the actual media product, you will need to submit your Idea, Proposal, and a Final short written piece explaining your project, its motivations, methods and what you did to realize it.
Those pursuing the Media Project Option have the further option of participating in a group research project. For the students pursuing this option, the process will be much the same, with the Idea being an individual statement of what you plan to contribute to the group project, and the Proposal and Final projects being collective efforts to realize the research project. In addition, each person choosing this option must submit a 1-page self-assessment of their participation in the group, due at the same time as the Final project.
Group Project Option, the topic will be to develop social media strategy and/or
media content for the International Committee for Robot Arms Control (www.icrac.net). As a co-founder of this
organization, I will provide guidance to the group. However, it is largely up
to the group to conceive and develop the project. The actual project could
range from a high-level media strategy, to infographics and clickable content,
to a social media campaign, to an audio/video or digital media project, or any
combination of these or other ideas.
Past group projects included a performance piece (with live drone and event poster), a short documentary film, and website: www.dronemediaproject.com.
Papers and written ideas and proposals should be submitted to me in electronic form by email (Word Perfect, MS Word, PDF, HTML and plain TXT are all fine). All assignments are due at 6pm at the start of class on the day they are due. Late final papers will not be accepted, as I must turn in grades shortly thereafter.
In addition to the extra points available for commenting on blog posts, there will be several events during the semester which will allow you to get extra credit points, or make-up for missed (excused) classes.
All readings will be available electronically, via the web, in PDF, MS Word, HTML, or similar format. You are welcome and encouraged to buy any of the books used.
How to create a WordPress Account, and make a Blog Entry
Watch: "Secrets of Silicon Valley: The Persuasion Machine" BBC, 59 min., 2017. (Access via your New School email/GDrive account only). If you have trouble viewing the .mkv file, try VLC Player.
Ronald C. Arkin (2007) "Governing Lethal Behavior: Embedding Ethics in a Hybrid Deliberative/Reactive Robot Architecture, Part I. Motivation & Philosophy," Georgia Tech Technical Report GIT-GVU-07-11, pp.1-8.
Robert Sparrow (2007) "Killer Robots," Journal of Applied Philosophy, 24 (1), pp. 62-77.
Armin Krishnan,"Dangerous Futures and Arms Control," in Killer Robots: Legality and Ethicality of Autonomous Weapons, London: Ashgate, 2009, pp. 145-167.
Human Rights Watch (2012) "Losing Humanity: The Case Against Killer Robots," HRW Report, November 19, 2012.
HRW Press release with Video.
Charlie Carpenter (2014) "The Skynet Factor: Four Myths About Science Fiction and the Killer Robot Debate," Washington Post, September 3, 2014.
U.S. Department of Defense, "Directive on Autonomy in Weapons Systems," NUMBER 3000.09, November 21, 2012 (Updated May 8, 2017).
Christof Heyns, "Lethal Autonomous Robots: Report of the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions," United Nations Human Rights Council, A/HRC/23/47, April 9, 2013.
Kenneth Anderson and Mathew Waxman, "Law and Ethics for Autonomous Weapons Systems: Why a Ban Won't work and How the Laws of War Can," Hoover Insitute Policy Paper, April 9, 2013, pp. 1-32.
Michael N. Schmitt, and Jeffrey S. Thurnher, "'Out of the Loop': Autonomous Weapon Systems and the Law of Armed Conflict," February 5, 2013, Harvard National Security Journal. 231 (2013), pp. .
Peter Asaro. "On Banning Autonomous Lethal Systems: Human Rights, Automation and the Dehumanizing of Lethal Decision-making," Special Issue on New Technologies and Warfare, International Review of the Red Cross, 94 (886), Summer 2012, pp. 687-709.
Roff, Heather M., and Richard Moyes (2016) “Meaningful Human Control, Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Weapons.” Briefing paper prepared for the Informal Meeting of Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems, UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, April 2016.
Peter Asaro (2016). “Jus nascendi, Robotic Weapons and the Martens Clause,” in Ryan Calo, Michael Froomkin and Ian Kerr (eds.) Robot Law, Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 367–386.
Watch: Future of Life Institute (2017) Slaughterbots , Video, 8 min.
Watch: Daniel Suarez (2013) The Kill Decision Shouldn't Belong to a Robot, TED Talks, 14 min.
Watch: Noel Sharkey (2013) Toy Soldiers to Killer Robots, TEDxSheffield 2013, 18 min.
Watch: J.J. Palomo (2013) Keloid Trailer, 3 min.
Naureen Shah, et al. (2012) "The Civilian Impact of Drones: Unexamined Costs, Unanswered Questions," September, 2012.
Grégoire Chamayou (2011) "The Manhunt Doctrine," Radical Philosophy, Volume 169, Sep/Oct 2011.
Jenna Jordan, (2009) "When Heads Roll: Assessing the Effectiveness of Leadership Decapitation," Security Studies, 18, pp. 719-755.
Philip Alston (2011) "The CIA and Targeted Killings Beyond Borders,". New York University Public Law and Legal Theory Working Papers. Paper 303.
Mark Isikoff, "Justice Department memo reveals legal case for drone strikes on Americans," NBC News, February 4, 2013. Also: Full Memo
James Cavallaro, Sarah Knuckey, et al. (2012) "Living Under Drones: Death, Injury and Trauma to Civilians from US Drone Practices in Pakistan," September 2012.
Wajahat Ali, "Drone victim: U.S. strikes boost al-Qaida recruitment," Salon, May 2, 2013.
Watch: Frontline (2011) Kill/Capture, PBS, 60 min.
Explore: LivingUnderDrones.org website
Explore: Bureau of Investigative Journalism "Covert Drone War" website
Explore: Pitch Interactive Visualization of BIJ Drone Strike Data
"The Killer Robot Debate," Global Defence Technology, Issue 31, September 2013.
Reaching Critical Will, "Fully Autonomous Weapons Fact Sheet," 2013.
Patrick Lin, Keith Abney, and George Bekey (2008) "Autonomous Military Robotics: Risk, Ethics, and Design," Office of Naval Research Report, December, 2008, pp. 1-112.
Noel Sharkey, "Grounds for Discrimination: Autonomous Robot Weapons," RUSI Defence Systems, 11 (2), 2008, pp. 86-89.
Ciar Byrne, (2003) "War reporting 'changed forever' says BBC," The Gaurdian, March 31, 2003
Donald Matheson and Stuart Allan (2009) Digital War Reporting, Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.
Micah Lee (2014) "Ed Snowden taught me to smuggle secrets past incredible danger, now I teach you," The Intercept, October 28, 2014.
Allison Shelley (2014) "The dangerous world of freelance journalism," Los Angeles Times, September 6, 2014.
U.S. Filmmaker Repeatedly Detained at Border, Salon, 2012.
Jim Boumelha (2010) "US must deliver justice on friendly fire," The Gaurdian, April 10, 2010.
"The Iraq War: The Heaviest Death Toll for the Media since World War II, March 2003 – August 2010," Reporters Without Borders, September 7, 2010.
"Journalist deaths spike in 2012 due to Syria, Somalia," Committee to Protect Journalists, December 18, 2012.
Frank Smyth (2013) "Iraq war and news media: A look inside the death toll," Committee to Protect Journalists, March 18, 2013.
Morgan Weiland, "Protecting Journalism in the Digital Era," Stanford Lawyer, Nov. 8, 2013.
Seymour Hersh (2004) "Torture at Abu Ghraib," The New Yorker, May 10, 2004.
Gary Younge and Julian Borger (2004) "CBS Delayed Report on Iraqi Prison Abuse After Military Cheif's Plea," The Guardian, May 4, 2004.
Watch: Excerpt on U.S. Strike on Al Jazeera Office, Control Room, 2004. IMBD
Watch: "Israel: Unlawful Attacks on Palestinian Media," Human Rights Watch, 2012.
Explore: Witness.org website
Watch: Errol Morris (2008) Standard Operating Procedure, Sony Classics,116 min.
Watch: John Pilger (2010) The War You Don't See, BBC, 120 min., YouTube link
Huw Lemmey (2012) "Devastation in Meatspace," The New Inquiry, November 28, 2012.
Chaim Levinson (2013) "To tweet or not to tweet? The IDF answers the question," Haaretz, Sep. 16, 2013.
Rebeccas L. Stein (2014) "How Israel militarized social media," Mondoweiss, July 24, 2014.
Max Schindler (2014) "In social media battle, IDF uploads while Hamas accounts are deleted," Christian Science Monitor, July 17, 2014.
Faisal Irshaid (2014) "How ISIS is spreading its message online," BBC News, June 19, 2014.
Patrick Kingsley (2014) "Who is behind ISIS's terrifying online propaganda operation?" The Guardian, June 23, 2014.
Mustapha Ajbaili (2014) "How ISIS conquered social media," Al Arabiya News, Tuesday, 24 June 2014.
David Carr (2014) "With Videos of Killings, ISIS Sends Medieval Message by Modern Method," New York Times, September 7, 2014.
Jay Caspian Kang (2014) "ISIS's Call of Duty," The New Yorker, September 18, 2014.
Glenn Greenwald (2014) "Americans now Fear ISIS sleeper cells are living in the US, Overwhelmingly Support Military Action," The Intercept, September 8, 2014.
Watch: Frontline (2014) The Rise of ISIS, October, 28, 2014, 53 min.
Watch: Viceland (2016) Cyber War Episode 5, Syria's Cyber Battlefields, 23 min.
Israeli Defense Forces_Spokesperson's_Unit
U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Media Activity
Wikipedia entry on DoD Defense Media Activity
Fred Kaplan, Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War, Chapters 1-10, pp. 1-190, Simon & Schuster, 2016.
Joel Brenner (2011) "The Calm Before the Storm: Cyberwar is already happening -- and it's about to get much, much worse. A veteran intelligence official explains how America can prepare itself," Foreign Policy, September 6, 2011.
David Post, "NATO and an "e-SOS" for cyberattacks," The Washington Post, September 2, 2014.
Brian Fung, "How to talk about blowing things up in cyberspace, according to the military," The Washington Post, July 23, 2014.
Ellen Nakashima, "Chinese hackers who breached Google gained access to sensitive data, U.S. officials say," The Washington Post, May 20, 2013.
Adrian Chen, The Agency, New York Times Magazine, June 2, 2015.
Peter Elkind, "Inside the Hack of the Century: Part 1, 2 and 3," Fortune, June 25, 2015
Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchieri, FBI Says a Mysterious Hacking Group Has Had Access to US Govt Files for Years, Motherboard, April 4, 2016
Matthew M. Aid, Inside the NSA’s Ultra-Secret China Hacking Group, Foreign Policy, June 10, 2013
Eric Lipton, David E. Sanger, and Scott Shane, "The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S.," The New York Times, December 13, 2016.
APT28: A Window into Russia's Cyber Espionage Operations?, FireEye
Nicole Perlroth and Scott Shane, "How Israel Caught Russian Hackers Scouring the World for U.S. Secrets," The New York Times, October 10, 2017.
David E. Sanger, David D. Kirkpatrick, and Nicole Perlroth, "The World Once Laughed at North Korean Cyberpower. No More." The New York Times, October 15, 2017.
Joe Uchill, "New Bill Would Allow Hacking Victims to 'Hack Back'," The Hill, October 13, 2017.
Watch: Nova (2015) Cyberwar Threat, PBS, 54 min.
Watch: Cyber War, Season 1, Epsiode 8, "America's Elite Hacking Force", Viceland, 23min.
Watch: Fault Lines (2010) Cyberwar, Al Jazeera English, 24 min.
Watch: Frontline (2003) Cyberwar, PBS, 53 min.
Wkipedia, "Operation Aurora"
United States Strategic Command, Cyber Warfare Lexicon: A Language to Support the Development, Testing, Planning, and Employmnet of Cyber Weapons and Other Modern Warfare Capabilities, January 5, 2009.
Tallinn Manual for Cyberwarfare
Tallinn Manual 2.0
Wikipedia, "Tallinn Manual"
Wikipedia, "U.S. Cyber Command"
United States Army Field Manual on Electronic Warfare (2012)
United States Department of Defense, "Cyber Strategy"
Herbert Lin, and Jaclyn Kerr, "On Cyber-Enabled Information/Influence Warfare and Manipulation," Oxford Handbook of Cybersecurity, 2018.
Alice Marwick, and Rebecca Lewis, "Media Manipulaiton and Disinformation Onine," Data & Society, 2017.
Alice Marwick, and Rebecca Lewis, "Media Manipulaiton and Disinformation Onine: Case Studies," Data & Society, 2017.
John Brockmiller, "PSYWAR in Intelligence Operations," CIA Report (SECRET), Declassified September 18, 1995.
Peter Pomerantsev, "Brave New War," The Atlantic, December 29, 2015.
Peter Pomerantsev, "Russia and the Menace of Unreality: How Vladimir Putin is revolutionizing information warfare," The Atlantic, September 9, 2014.
Jill Dougherty, "How the Media Became One of Putin’s Most Powerful Weapons," The Atlantic, April 21, 2015.
Peter Pomerantsev, "Inside the Kremlin's Hall of Mirrors," The Guardian, 9 April 2015.
Emerson T. Brooking, and P. W. Singer, War Goes Viral: How Social Media is being Weaponized Across the World, The Atlantic, October, 2016.
Kurt Eichenwald, "Dear Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, I Am Not Sidney Blumenthal," Newsweek, October 10, 2016.
Bill Gertz, iWar: War and Peace in the Information Age, Threshold Editions 2017.
Samatha Power, "Why Foriegn Propaganda is More Dangerous Now," New York Times, September 19, 2017.
Niraj Chokshi, "How to FIght 'Fake News' (Warning: It Isn't Easy)", New York Times, September 18, 2017.
Nina Jankowicz, "The Only Way to Defend Against Russia's Information War," New York Times, September 25, 2017.
Daisuke Wakabayashi, and Nicolas Confessore, "Russia's Favored Outlet is an Online News Giant. YouTube Helped." The New York Times, October 23, 2017.
Jim Rutenberg, "RT, Sputnick and Russia's New Theory of War," New York Times Magazine, September 13, 2017.
Glenn J. Voelz, "The Rise of iWar: Identity, Information and The Individualization of Modern Warfare, Strategic Studies Instititue, October2015.
Watch: "Peter Pomerantsev: The Mechanics of Russia's Information War," YouTube, September 1, 2016, 10 minutes.
Watch: "Peter Pomerantsev: From Information to Disinformation Age - Russia and the Future of Propaganda Wars," YouTube, February 16, 2016, 72 minutes.
Christopher Paul, "Assessing and Evaluating Department of Defense Efforts to Inform, Influence, and Persuade: Worked Example," RAND Report, 2017
Watch: Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras Interview
with Edward Snowden Part
I, 12 min., The Guardian, July 9, 2013, and Part
II, 7 min., The Guardian, July 8, 2013
Watch: Laura Poitras, "Citizen Four," 2014, 114 minutes.
Brett Max Kaufman, "A Guide to What We Now Know About the NSA's Dragnet Searches of Your Communications," ACLU Blog, August 9, 2013.
Peter Maass, "How Laura Poitras Helped Snowden Spill His Secrets," New York Times, August 13, 2013.
Peter Masss, "Q & A: Edward Snowden Talks to Peter Maass," New York Times, August 13, 2013.
Rachel Nolan, "Behind the Cover Story: Peter Maass on How He Got the Very Secret Laura Poitras to Open Up," New York Times, August 19, 2013.
Glenn Greenwald, "'Ongoing NSA Work," The Guardian, August 27, 2013.
Barton Gellman, "NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds," Washington Post, August 15, 2013.
Barton Gellman, "First direct evidence of illegal surveillance found by the FISA court," Washingtron Post, August 15, 2013.
Shane Harris, "The Cowboy of the NSA," Foreign Policy, September 9, 2013.
Watch:Laura Poitras, "The Program," 8 min., New York Times Op-Doc, August 22, 2013.
Watch:Glenn Greenwald & Amy Goodman, "Greenwald: Snowden "Doing Very Well" in Russia After Sparking "Extraordinary Debate" on NSA, Spying," 29 min., Democracy Now!, August 5, 2013.
Watch: Frontline, "The United States of Secrets", May 2014.
Watch:Laura Poitras, "Citizenfour," 114 min., 2014.
Wikipedia, "Edward Snowden"
Wikipedia, "National Security Agency"
Wikipedia, "PRISM (surveillance program)"
Wikipedia, "FISA Court"
James Bamford, "The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)," Wired, March 15, 2012.
Required:Google's Project Maven
David Golumbia, "Please Consider Supporting Our Legal Challenge to Cambridge Analytica's Role in the Trump Election," Uncomputing.org, October 16, 2017.
David Carroll, "Take Back our Voter Data," CrowdJustice.com
Bellingcat.com, The Home of Online Investigations.
Aric Toler, "Advanced Guide on Verifying Video Content," Bellingcat, June 30, 2017.
Aric Toler, "Florida Trump Flash Mobs Organized by the Russian "Troll Factory," Bellingcat, September 20, 2017.
Ava Kofman, "Taser Wants to Start Building an Army of Smartphone Informants," The Intercept, September 21, 2017.
Watch: Frontline (2011) Revolution in Cairo, PBS, 60 min.
Philip N. Howard (2011) "Digital media and the Arab spring," Reuters, February 16, 2011.
Philip N. Howard (2010) "#IranElection: Inside the cyberwar for Iran's future." Miller-McCune Magazine. January-February 2010. pp. 28-33.
Jennifer Preston and Brian Stelter (2011) "Cellphones Become the World's Eyes and Ears on Protests," New York Times, February 18, 2011.