Reposted from Ray Pensador by Lisa Lockwood
Progressive bloggers, the first thing you have to understand is that you are a target, and not just any target, but one of the principal targets of the corporate state. And the reason for that is because you insist on speaking truth to power, in discovering and exposing wrongdoing and corruption, and in demanding that government institutions serve the public interest instead of the interests of the corporate state.
Being a progressive means that you understand the intricacies of what Chris Hedges calls "Our Sinister Dual State," or what Mike Lofgren calls "The Deep State," in an exclusive essay for Moyers & Company (as diaried by bobswern earlier today).
Getting back to the sinister dual state, as a progressive, you are fully cognizant of this:
We live in what the German political scientist Ernst Fraenkel called “the dual state.” Totalitarian states are always dual states. In the dual state civil liberties are abolished in the name of national security. The political sphere becomes a vacuum “as far as the law is concerned,” Fraenkel wrote. There is no legal check on power. Official bodies operate with impunity outside the law. In the dual state the government can convict citizens on secret evidence in secret courts. It can strip citizens of due process and detain, torture or assassinate them, serving as judge, jury and executioner. It rules according to its own arbitrary whims and prerogatives. The outward forms of democratic participation—voting, competing political parties, judicial oversight and legislation—are hollow, political stagecraft. Fraenkel called those who wield this unchecked power over the citizenry “the prerogative state.”
The masses in a totalitarian structure live in what Fraenkel termed “the normative state.” The normative state, he said, is defenseless against the abuses of the prerogative state. Citizens are subjected to draconian laws and regulations, as well as arbitrary searches and arrests. The police and internal security are omnipotent. The internal workings of power are secret. Free expression and opposition political activity are pushed to the fringes of society or shut down. Those who challenge the abuses of power by the prerogative state, those who, like Snowden, expose the crimes carried out by government, are made into criminals. Totalitarian states always invert the moral order. It is the wicked who rule. It is the just who are damned.
[The emphasis is mine]
Let me focus on that last sentence: "It is the wicked who rule. It is the just who are damned." I argue that the reason we've gotten into a situation where it is the wicked
who rules is because one of the enforcement mechanisms for their rule is an elaborate mass communications system designed to spread lies, false narratives and propaganda.
Therefore, the "Deep State" spends an overwhelming amount of resources specifically earmarked to mute your progressive voice, since exposing State lies and propaganda is one of the principal things you focus on.
How far are these folks willing to go in that effort? Let's revisit a couple of recent revelations.
"According to an embedded MS Word document found in one of the HBGary emails, it involves creating an army of sockpuppets, with sophisticated "persona management" software that allows a small team of only a few people to appear to be many, while keeping the personas from accidentally cross-contaminating each other. Then, to top it off, the team can actually automate some functions so one persona can appear to be an entire Brooks Brothers riot online.
- ''Persona management entails not just the deconfliction of persona artifacts such as names, email addresses, landing pages, and associated content. It also requires providing the human actors technology that takes the decision process out of the loop when using a specific persona. For this purpose we custom developed either virtual machines or thumb drives for each persona. This allowed the human actor to open a virtual machine or thumb drive with an associated persona and have all the appropriate email accounts, associations, web pages, social media accounts, etc. pre-established and configured with visual cues to remind the actor which persona he/she is using so as not to accidentally cross-contaminate personas during use''.
And all of this is for the purposes of infiltration, data mining, and (here's the one that really worries me) ganging up on bloggers, commenters and otherwise "real" people to smear enemies and distort the truth.
-- From leaked HBGary documents by Anonymous in 2011
[The emphasis is mine]
Here's more, from a paper written by Cass R. Sunstein, a Harvard Law School professor who served in the Obama White House and is married to Samantha Power, the ambassador to the United Nations:
He also proposes that the Government make secret payments to so-called “independent” credible voices to bolster the Government’s messaging (on the ground that those who don’t believe government sources will be more inclined to listen to those who appear independent while secretly acting on behalf of the Government). This program would target those advocating false “conspiracy theories,” which they define to mean: “an attempt to explain an event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role.”
"Government agents (and their allies) might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action."
There are many other examples that show the lengths to which the corporate state and their trolls will go to in order to silence your voice. A Stratfor leaked training document
instructs trolls on how to deal with what they call "radicals": "Radicals, who see the system as corrupt and needing transformation, need to be isolated and discredited, using false charges to assassinate their character is a common tactic
." Emphasis added.
There are also recent revelations of Bank of America hiring trolls to monitor activists, and vast corporate spy networks hiring C.I.A., FBI, and other law enforcement agents (both active and retired) to illegally spy on activist groups.
Corporations are increasingly spying on nonprofit groups they view as potential threats with little fear of retribution, according to a new report by a corporate watchdog group.
The large companies employ former Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, FBI, military and police officers to monitor and in some cases infiltrate groups that have been critical of them, according to the report by Essential Information, which was founded by Ralph Nader in the 1980s.
"Many different types of nonprofits have been targeted with espionage, including environmental, anti-war, public interest, consumer, food safety, pesticide reform, nursing-home reform, gun control, social justice, animal rights and arms control groups," the report said.
[The emphasis is mine]
There are many other reports, but I'll stop with these hoping to illustrate the type of vast resources the corporate state spends in targeting you (progressive social justice activists and bloggers).
Now, let me get to my main point: Progressive bloggers (and social justice activists in general) need to understand that they are engaged in a propaganda war, and that the corporate state resources assigned to that war are very vast indeed. In furtherance of that war, the power elite has developed the most advanced and sophisticated mass control psychological tools the world has ever seen, and they are applying those tools as weapons against the people, on a 24/7 basis.
Therefore, I argue that progressives need to steel themselves (psychologically) to fully engage in that war, with counter-propaganda (i.e., a planned, strategic, tactical, and systematic approach to countering the corporate state lies).
Understanding this is very important because there is a marked difference between the mindset of engaging in debate with a good-faith opponent on the one hand, and engaging in a counter-propaganda campaign in a systematic and disciplined manner, on the other. The two approaches are totally different.
Always remember this: The corporate state trolls' main objective is truth suppression (because they don't want the population at large to become aware of the "Deep State"), and disruption, in order to prevent people from engaging in the type intellectual pursuit needed to connect the dots that lead to the "discovery of the 'dual state.'"
And so their job it is much more simpler than yours. All they have to do is to systematically and methodically engage in disruption tactics, some of which are the use of ad-hominems and logical fallacies.
In a blog setting it is extremely easy for bad-faith actors to do their thing because many of the commenters have no idea that the online space has been cognitively infiltrated. And so the good-faith commenter argues from what he or she believe to be logical and reasonable stands (even if sometimes they can be wrong), while the cognitive infiltrator is just systematically and methodically pushing buttons (as it were) meant to make people angry (thus distracting from careful examination of the issues). Or they introduce carefully-drafted talking points (which many times come straight out of corporate/political PR outfits).
In this scenario, what often ends up happening is that in the face of logical intransigence from bad-faith commenters, "innocent" debaters many times are driven to anger, lose their temper, and a pie fight ensues... And there is nothing these impostors love more than virulent pie fights, especially around certain topics which take direct aim at the establishment.
Here's the first thing progressive bloggers should understand when it comes to pie fights: The troll wants to bring you down to the (rhetorical) gutter; if he insults you, he wants you to reply in kind, to get into an angry volly of back-and-forth insults. Once you engage at that level, you already lost.
You have to operate from a different framework altogether. For example, when my assigned trolls insult me (usually alluding to mental deficiencies, paranoia, CT, or a number of other colorful insults), I recognize what they are doing as (potentially) a disruption (or thread-hijack) tactic; the pushing emotional buttons tactics by engaging in highly personal insults.
At that point I either decide not to engage, or reply from a higher plane (not getting into the gutter with the troll).
And here's the thing... I'm not saying that every time someone is curt, or offensive, or disingenuous (by employing logical fallacies), it means that they are paid gov't/corporate/political trolls. Some people just don't have the skills to engage in intelligent debate. What I'm saying is that the treasonous hacks (paid trolls) always use disruptive tactics, sometimes with subtly, or sometimes brashly.
From the research I'm conducting for a book I'm writing, here's what I've been able to determine so far (pending more corroboration and research):
There are tens of thousands of paid trolls who have cognitively infiltrated mass communication media around the country (and that includes blogs). Many of them are professionally-trained disinformation (propaganda) artists, and they use very advanced psychological techniques against their targets.
In every setting, it only takes very few disinfo pros to disrupt discussions. What I mean by that is that disinfo pros can easily manipulate low-information (or highly impressionable) participants into engaging in disruption tactics (without them knowing they are being used).
Bottom line? It all comes down to the old adage: Don't feed the trolls. But most importantly, if one decides to engage with a (suspected) troll, never ever, ever, get in the gutter with them (and engage in vulgar name-calling and back-and-forth insults). That is precisely what they want you to do.
But even most importantly, once you fully understand the dynamics of how gov't/corporate/political hacks trolls operate, you'll be able to avoid their (emotional/psychological) traps which means you can keep focusing on unearthing and exposing the true nature of the system to as many people as possible, which a the end of the day, is one of the most fundamental and important functions of an activist: "Doing Democracy: The MAP Model for Organizing Social Movements" by Bill Moyer
The strategy of social movements, therefore, is to alert, educate, and win over an ever increasing majority of the public. First the public needs to be convinced that a critical social problem exists. Then it must be convinced that policies need to be changed. And then a majority of people must be mobilized into a force that eventually brings about an acceptable solution.
[The emphasis is mine]
Again, speaking truth to power in times like this is always very challenging, but that's the nature of the Progressive Activist
"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
- (often attributed to) George Orwell