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As I  wrote yesterday , there is a leaked email that has gotten surprisingly little attention around here. It's the one where Aaron Barr discusses his intention to post at Daily Kos - presumably something negative about Anonymous, the hacking group. But that's not the email I'm talking about here.

As I also mentioned yesterday, in some of the emails, HBGary people are talking about creating "personas", what we would call sockpuppets. This is not new. PR firms have been using fake "people" to promote products and other things for a while now, both online and even in bars and coffee houses.

But for a defense contractor with ties to the federal government, Hunton & Williams, DOD, NSA, and the CIA -  whose enemies are labor unions, progressive organizations,  journalists, and progressive bloggers,  a persona apparently goes far beyond creating a mere sockpuppet.

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.

This is an excerpt from one of the Word Documents, which was sent as an attachment by Aaron Barr, CEO of HBGary's Federal subsidiary, to several of his colleagues to present to clients:

To build this capability we will create a set of personas on twitter,‭ ‬blogs,‭ ‬forums,‭ ‬buzz,‭ ‬and myspace under created names that fit the profile‭ (‬satellitejockey,‭ ‬hack3rman,‭ ‬etc‭)‬.‭  ‬These accounts are maintained and updated automatically through RSS feeds,‭ ‬retweets,‭ ‬and linking together social media commenting between platforms.‭  ‬With a pool of these accounts to choose from,‭ ‬once you have a real name persona you create a Facebook and LinkedIn account using the given name,‭ ‬lock those accounts down and link these accounts to a selected‭ ‬#‭ ‬of previously created social media accounts,‭ ‬automatically pre-aging the real accounts.

Yes!!! That's how democracy and the first amendment are supposed to work.

In another Word document, one of the team spells out how automation can work so one person can be many personas:

Using the assigned social media accounts we can automate the posting of content that is relevant to the persona.  In this case there are specific social media strategy website RSS feeds we can subscribe to and then repost content on twitter with the appropriate hashtags.  In fact using hashtags and gaming some location based check-in services we can make it appear as if a persona was actually at a conference and introduce himself/herself to key individuals as part of the exercise, as one example.  There are a variety of social media tricks we can use to add a level of realness to all fictitious personas

I don't know about you, but this concerns me greatly. It goes far beyond the mere ability for a government stooge, corporation or PR firm to hire people to post on sites like this one. They are talking about creating  the illusion of consensus. And consensus is a powerful persuader. What has more effect, one guy saying BP is not at fault? Or 20 people saying it? For the weak minded, the number can make all the difference.

And another thing, this is just one little company of assholes. I can't believe there aren't others doing this already. From oil companies, political campaigns, PR firms, you name it. Public opinion means big bucks. And let's face it, what these guys are talking about is easy.

Just today I was listening to Stand Up with Pete Dominic on XM's POTUS channel. He was talking about the Wisconsin labor attack and how he had seen a lot of people email and contact the show in support of the Teachers there. Then he added a "but": "I've also seen a lot of anti-labor people on Twitter..."

Really? I thought. How do we know if those are real people? Twitter has to be the easiest thing to fake and to automate with retweets and 180 characrer max sentences. To the extent that the propaganda technique known as "Bandwagon" is an effective form of persuasion, which it definitely is, the ability for a few people to infiltrate a blog or social media site and appear to be many people, all taking one position in a debate, all agreeing, for example, that so and so is not credible, or a crook, is an incredibly powerful weapon.

How many times have you seen a diary get posted that reports some revelatory yet unfavorable tidbit about someone only to see a swarm of commenters arrive who hijack the thread, distract with a bunch of irrelevant nonsense, start throwing unsubstantiated accusations and ad hominem attacks to where before you know it, everyone's pretty much forgotten what the diary said in the first place.

Some times diaries deserve to be swarmed. But what if a diary is swarmed and it's really just one asshole working for a law firm that represents the oil company your diary was attacking?

I don't know about you, but it matters to me what fellow progressives think. I consider all views. And if there appears to be a consensus that some reporter isn't credible, for example, or some candidate for congress in another state can't be trusted, I won't base my entire judgment on it, but it carries some weight.

That's me. I believe there are many people though who will base their judgment on rumors and mob attacks. And for those people, a fake mob can be really effective.

I have no idea what to do about this problem, except just make sure everyone knows its possible, and so watches out for it.


Lastly, some here are falling for the meme that HBGary personel, and especially Aaron Barr himself, are incompetent buffoons. This is a mistake. While Mr Barr may be a fool, he was not the one who fell for a spear fishing attack that allow an, apparently, 16 year old girl to gain access to their servers.

I have rummaged through the leaked email, some of which contain resumes for employees there. These guys are recruiting people with incredibly advanced skills from many different agencies and top universities like MIT.

HBGary and its subsidiary, HBGary Federal, as well as Berinco and Palantir, employed a lot of extremely qualified people with backgrounds in the NSA and ATT and other major organizations/corporations. These guys are pros.

Aaron Barr may be a mockery to Anonymous for running his mouth off. As he should be. But he's not an idiot and he wasn't the one who gave out the company's keys to a 16 yo girl.

I wanted to make this clear because it is in the interests of government and propagandists, and anyone else who wants this story to go away to try and blow all this off as one little company who wrote a proposal no one even read and who isn't even competent enough to protect its own servers so no one should pay any attention at all to what they were up to.

That is the narrative being spun, even here on this site, and it is entirely fictitious.

We are under attack. And the attackers are damn good at what they do. Pretending they're not, or that this isn't happening isn't going to make it better.

I do believe there are limitation to the effectiveness of such an attack on this site and others like it. This isn't twitter, and bullshit only goes so far, no matter how many personas are spreading it.

But everyone needs to be aware that not only are sites like this a target of attack, but that Daily Kos has been mentioned specifically as a target of attack.

Maybe this whole thing will be liberating. Maybe people will develop stronger spines and not be so easily swayed by raving mobs.

UPDATE: From another email, I found a  government solicitation for this "Persona Management Software".

This confirms that in fact, the US Gov. is attempting to use this kind of technology. But it appears from the solicitation it is contracted for use in foreign theaters like Afghanistan and Iraq. I can't imagine why this is posted on an open site. And whenthis was discovered by a couple of HBGary staffers, they weren't too happy about it either:

The first email just had the title, "WTF Dude?"
The response email said, "This is posted on open source.  Are you fucking serious?"

Here's the link to the solicitation at website "". Yes, that name doesn't sound like cronyism at all...


Solicitation Number:
Notice Type:
Sources Sought
Added: Jun 22, 2010 1:42 pm Modified: Jun 22, 2010 2:07 pmTrack Changes
0001- Online Persona Management Service. 50 User Licenses, 10 Personas per user.
Software will allow 10 personas per user, replete with background , history, supporting details, and cyber presences that are technically, culturally and geographacilly consistent. Individual applications will enable an operator to exercise a number of different online persons from the same workstation and without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries. Personas must be able to appear to originate in nearly any part of the world and can interact through conventional online services and social media platforms. The service includes a user friendly application environment to maximize the user's situational awareness by displaying real-time local information.

0002- Secure Virtual Private Network (VPN). 1 each
VPN provides the ability for users to daily and automatically obtain randomly selected
IP addresses through which they can access the internet. The daily rotation of
the user s IP address prevents compromise during observation of likely or
targeted web sites or services, while hiding the existence of the operation. In
addition, may provide traffic mixing, blending the user s traffic with traffic from
multitudes of users from outside the organization. This traffic blending provides
excellent cover and powerful deniability. Anonymizer Enterprise Chameleon or equal

0003- Static IP Address Management. 50 each
Licence protects the identity of government agencies and enterprise
organizations. Enables organizations to manage their persistent online personas
by assigning static IP addresses to each persona. Individuals can perform
static impersonations, which allow them to look like the same person over time.
Also allows organizations that frequent same site/service often to easily switch IP
addresses to look like ordinary users as opposed to one organization. Anonymizer IP Mapper License or equal

0004- Virtual Private Servers, CONUS. 1 each
Provides CONUS or OCONUS points of presence locations that are setup for
each customer based on the geographic area of operations the customer is
operating within and which allow a customer?s online persona(s) to appear to
originate from. Ability to provide virtual private servers that are procured using
commercial hosting centers around the world and which are established
anonymously. Once procured, the geosite is incorporated into the network and
integrated within the customers environment and ready for use by the customer.
Unless specifically designated as shared, locations are dedicated for use by
each customer and never shared among other customers. Anonymizer Annual Dedicated CONUS Light Geosite or equal

0005- Virtual Private Servers, OCONUS. 8 Each
Provides CONUS or OCONUS points of presence locations that are setup for
each customer based on the geographic area of operations the customer is
operating within and which allow a customer?s online persona(s) to appear to
originate from. Ability to provide virtual private servers that are procured using
commercial hosting centers around the world and which are established
anonymously. Once procured, the geosite is incorporated into the network and
integrated within the customers environment and ready for use by the customer.
Unless specifically designated as shared, locations are dedicated for use by
each customer and never shared among other customers. Anonymizer Annual Dedicated OCONUS Light Geosite or equal

0006- Remote Access Secure Virtual Private Network. 1 each
Secure Operating Environment provides a reliable and protected computing
environment from which to stage and conduct operations. Every session uses a
clean Virtual Machine (VM) image. The solution is accessed through sets of
Virtual Private Network (VPN) devices located at each Customer facility. The
fully-managed VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) is an environment that allows
users remote access from their desktop into a VM. Upon session termination,
the VM is deleted and any virus, worm, or malicious software that the user inadvertently downloaded is destroyed. Anonymizer Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Solution or equal.

Contracting Office Address:
2606 Brown Pelican Ave.
MacDill AFB, Florida 33621-5000
United States

Place of Performance:
Performance will be at MacDIll AFB, Kabul, Afghanistan and Baghdad, Iraq.
MacDill AFB , Florida 33679
United States

Originally posted to Happy Rockefeller on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 07:56 PM PST.

Also republished by InfoWar and Anonymous Dkos.

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Comment Preferences

    •  it's true, and I've heard about these techniques.. (130+ / 0-)

      .... in other contexts that I'm not at liberty to discuss.  

      This does not require any super-duper high tech to do.   Mostly all it requires is the effort to do the series of mundane steps that make it work.  Study the HB Gary stuff and you can figure out everything you need to know to do it effectively.

      Bottom line is, if they can do it, we damn well can do it too, and we can use those tactics to promote the progressive agenda.  

      It doesn't have to be "nice."  It just has to be nonviolent and effective.  

      And we don't have to be "heroic."   We just have to be persistent and patient.  

      •  we could (72+ / 0-)

        But better, i think, to address the fact that this is going to increasingly become a common problem, rather than see it as an opportunity. How we deal with, though, is another thing. Perhaps doing away with anonymity, i suppose. Not a perfect solution but i can't think of anything else that's likely to work.

        More importantly, we should all do our best to make this information known to others. The more people online that are aware of this sort of thing, the better.

        •  This has been going on here for a while (138+ / 0-)

          People pretend to be liberal then let something slip...I always confront trolls immediately.  Always.  I noticed it especially during the health care debates.  The same groups of people would swarm in and explain why we really didn't need single payer healthcare, and you could tell it was canned.

          One way to do get a start with this problem is through verifying identities somehow through DK, but staying anonymous while posting.  In other words, a real live person verifies who they are with someone at DK before they are given a membership number.

          Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if DK weren't being data-mined beginning years ago.  People are just too cavalier and naive to think that we aren't seen as a big threat to some big egos.  But DK people like me, and thank God there are a few of us here, remember Richard Nixon and his merry band of sociopaths very, very well.

          •  "then let something slip"? (43+ / 0-)

            oops—i did it again!

            Here's the thing: there's a very diverse membership on this site. Not every opinion, whether about the big things or the little things, is going to be shared. And so arguments take place. Happens all the time. Mostly, that's a Good Thing. Debate is healthy. DKos would be nothing if we were all a bunch of dittoheads.

            Unfortunately—and very often of late—disagreements have quickly become partisan sniping and, worse, with one side accusing the other of being in cahoots with the Bad Guys. While it's important to be aware that they do have their sockpuppets, it's even more important to consider that not every member someone disagrees with is the enemy. To not "always confront trolls immediately", IOW.

            •  and it improves our debating skillz too. (38+ / 0-)

              There's something useful about, e.g. health insurance industry trolls being on here.

              It improves our debating skills.

              Yes, treat every one of those as a golden opportunity to try to get better and better at debating the issues.

              Then when you're dealing with real live Republicans etc., you are well-armed and trained to shoot down every one of their talking points and turn the audience (such as it may be) to our side of the issue.

            •  Credit me with a little discernment please (10+ / 0-)

              I confront them when I can prove it.  Like when they pretend to be a liberal, then show they're not.  But I confront them, and if I'm wrong I apologize.

              There is respect and tolerance, then there is naivete.

              •  How do we know who's a genuine liberal? (7+ / 0-)

                We all hold a variety of viewpoints in our heads at the same time.  What one of us might consider the hallmark of a liberal, another might not.  What some might consider an unacceptable viewpoint, others might not.

                Sticking to the facts and supporting our statements with reputable links is our strongest defense against viral sock puppetry.

                I'm always suspicious of people who express strong opinions and rarely have policy specifics.  And I always call them out and say, "Let's hear about the issues."  Or, "Please link to some supporting evidence."

                Maybe we need a third button:  ignore or irrelevant.

                •  Good question (6+ / 0-)

                  A genuine liberal is tolerant and respects a wide variety of views.  Our own sense of decency and respect for the rights of others can be used against us for just that reason.  We try to forge consensus with people who are actively undermining us, even if they're wrong, because we are fair people who want to hear all sides.  Inevitably, this will provide a platform for views inimical to ours, which we then should challenge on the merits.

                  The people I've called out have insisted they are liberals while fighting established liberal positions using canned language, and their comments showed lack of familiarity with basic liberal ideology.  As I said, I particularly noticed this during the health insurance debates.  As fair as I am, I don't feel any remorse for getting those bastards out of here.

                  I think sticking to policy specifics is an excellent way of separating wheat from chaff.  I guess I should not have used a general term in my first post without explaining that it's not a kneejerk reaction, but I always have a GOOD reason that I put in my post about why I think they're not who they say they are, which they are free to refute.  When I've called someone out and been corrected reasonably, I've apologized.  I realize this virtual medium can sometimes present people as something other than they mean, especially if they are typing in the heat of the moment.

                  But I'm of the school that it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission.  People shouldn't be afraid of putting people on the defensive and making them explain themselves, especially when what they are advocating are against the interests articulated by this community. I also wish liberals would be a little more self-protective.

            •  I know what wiseacre means. (11+ / 0-)

              I've noticed some strange people posting here... maybe just trolls, in most cases.  How often have you gone to a member's page to see if they've written diaries and what the comment history looks like?

              Just recently, I noticed someone posting a series of very bland but friendly sounding comments.  Most expressed no opinion, really--- what I noticed, is that I couldn't tell what the person thought, and then why bother posting at all?  All of a sudden, wham!  A big insult to one of the other participants and an obviously conservative viewpoint.

              Comment history on the above-mentioned person showed almost no recs.  I think we're pretty good at ignoring such people, and if need be, hounding them until they go away.  It would be a lot of work to survive as a phony persona for very long, here at DK.

              Also, I have to admit that I'd look fishy myself, at times, because I don't write diaries and sometimes I'm not very active with the comments.

          •  and have i got newz for you. (66+ / 0-)

            Creating pseudos is almost trivially easy.  Creating a pseudo with zero Google hits on the name and then giving him/her a history is only slightly more difficult.   Creating a pseudo with enough coincidental Google history on the same name, is a little bit more work.  

            Giving them phone numbers is also trivially easy, and I don't just mean disposable cellphones.  I'm a telephone switching systems eng and I've done it a number of times for legitimate purposes.  I'm not going to disclose how it's done or respond to questions about it, so don't bother asking.  

            Voiceprints can be tweaked and twiddled; I invented a method for disguising voices back in 1985 or so.  I'm not going to disclose those details either.  

            Bottom line is, the idea of calling someone up to verify who they are, is N-O-T going to keep this place free of trolls, shills, sock puppets, Republican spies, and so on.  

            The thing that will work is to spread the word about detecting and outing trolls and fighting them and pushing them out of here.  

            This is an evolutionary race, same as the competition for food in wild nature.   The bottom line is we have to evolve faster than the predators and parasites that seek to use us as food.  

            Getting smarter, stronger, faster, and better able to organize and cooperate among ourselves:  those are the strategies that work.  

            •  Need many lines of defense not just one (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              grrr, Dirtandiron

              Paypal uses banks, could we do something similar?

              Could we make it really expensive and cumbersome even though the technology is available?

              Not a geek so pardon my insignificance.

              •  the analogy between PayPal and banks... (41+ / 0-)

                ... is imperfect, and no you're not insignificant, you just have a learning curve to deal with and that's perfectly OK.

                See, the thing is, we need to maximize the efficiency of our efforts.  

                Spending a lot of our time to sleuth out who the trolls and shills are, lets us throw them out of here.  But in the overall scheme of things, that's not particularly efficient.  It's like my science fiction critique of the death penalty: you spend a bunch of legal effort trying to launch a murderous mind into a hereafter from which they will just recycle back to here a little bit later in another form but equally dangerous.  "Like tossing a piece of garbage up in the air: it comes back down and lands in your lap."

                Any troll we toss out of here, can always recycle as a new identity.  

                So I think that tying them up and wasting their time is a much better option.  

                One way that was done in the 1960s, according to the histories I've read, was for organizers of leftist conferences to have sessions with titles such as "street fighting basics" and "how to make bombs" and so on.  This would always draw in the provocateurs.   And it kept the provocateurs out of the rest of the conference so they didn't cause trouble for the organizers.

                We could do something similar: run diaries that were geared to attract trolls & shills, and then tie them up so they couldn't cause trouble elsewhere.  Or bog them down in threads that had the same effect.   Now I don't mean running diaries on street fighting and bomb making, but other things such as "convince me about the personal mandate."  

                Every troll, every shill, that we tie up here, is wasting time they could have spent somewhere else where the audience isn't so smart.  To my mind that is a highly efficient use of resources.  

                •  Excellent- "expensive and cumbersome" (23+ / 0-)

                  waste of their time.  

                  Actually in the 60s the best tactic the feebies had was to have provocateurs pretend to be leftists, start seminars with catchy themes, and draw in all the like-minded liberals so they could be identified and monitored by the government.  Then the provocateurs would do something that embarrassed the group, and every sincere person there would be smeared.

                  It's entirely possible that both sides were doing it to each other, but this is also how naive, well-meaning liberals got on government shit lists.

                  •  hmm, i haven't heard of that one. (24+ / 0-)

                    Nor have I ever heard the word "feebies," but I have heard the word "fuzz" which is kinda' funny, and the word "pigs" which to my mind is definitely not funny and we shouldn't go there.   (GenX here, watched the 60s from the outside at a young age and read some of the history.)

                    I should say right up front that I tend to be sympathetic to LE and I've helped put a few baddies behind bars and collect evidence on more baddies.  So I don't take to demonizing LE, and in fact I can tell you with certainty that a lot of people in the FBI are highly sympathetic to a lot of things we routinely discuss around here, having to do with prosecuting rightie terrorists and financial fraudsters etc.  

                    So one thing we should understand is, we have friends in law enforcement, and they'll gladly pounce on any serious evidence we can bring them, particularly about rightie terrorism.  

                    That of course is part of the bigger strategy:  let's say we're digging for dirt about X, and along the way we come across evidence of a crime Y.   OK, so the intel on X goes forward for publication, and the evidence on Y goes through channels to LE, who can swoop on the baddies.  If you're going to be sweeping up after a national mess of large proportions, you may as well get all the dirt and trash and then recycle each fraction appropriately.  

                    •  G2 (23+ / 0-)

                      If someone asked you really nicely, would you consider doing a diary specifically on "how to ID trolls for dummies"?

                      You'd be doing DK a big service. And I would learn a thing or two, being particularly blind in that aspect.

                      PS. Check your message box.

                      Thanks ;-)

                      [ Anonymous Dkos]~ We're legion (or working on it!)

                      by Lisa Lockwood on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 03:46:44 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  PS or maybe a diary series (7+ / 0-)

                        (or group?).... Nutz and Boltz? lol. please please please?

                        [ Anonymous Dkos]~ We're legion (or working on it!)

                        by Lisa Lockwood on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 04:00:46 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  BTW, for some reason... (10+ / 0-)

                          .... my Recs are failing tonight.  I think DK4 is screwed up again, or it's my browser, or the ability to send Recs depends on swallowing those fucking flash cookies that track and stalk your online activity.  Anyway...

                          •  Don't knock it. That's how Soros sends our checks. (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            terabytes, SeaTurtle, LeftyEngineer

                            If I may be so presumptuous as to join in the chorus suggesting ways for G2geek fill the hours.

                            This could be a continuing feature, much as our antivirus programs update themselves about new threats, Shill-B-Gone might offer fresh news on troll practices and detection.

                            This is stuff we can also carry to other sites we visit, too.

                            It's funny. I'm no uber-geek, and have just given tertiary thought to this stuff, but this diary really lights it up, especially this sub-thread on taking this knowledge active.

                            It might not be hilarious or flashy, but this diary is the kind of thing that makes dKos, for me.

                            I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

                            by labradog on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 04:14:40 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  My rec's are failing too, Geek2 (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            I keep trying to rec your comments.

                            Some of them have been quite profound.

                            United we stand - Divided we are all truly screwed. Keep them blaming one another - they'll never notice what's really going on.

                            by Cassandra77 on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 05:57:01 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  interesting; methinks we found a bug. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            There's a bug report thingie in the upper right corner of the main page, so I guess we should both go click it and report this.  

                            Any time there's a cutover to a new system, there are bound to be little things that have to get tweaked or fixed after it's done.  No doubt the tech crew have a list, so let's add this item to it and it'll get fixed in due course.  

                      •  which message box? (13+ / 0-)

                        You mean my public email address, g2g-public01?  

                        Were you the person who wrote to me tonight, and if so, can you post here the time(s) at which you sent email(s)?  I got email from someone(s) tonight, but for various reasons I'm not sure it was from you.  

                        Re. how to ID trolls:  Look for users who support the oligarchy's agenda, and/or who tie you up, waste your time, digress topics or diaries, spew emotional viruses, and so on.

                        It's never possible to say with certainty, that someone is truly a troll or shill, vs. being merely an idiot or asshole, unless you catch them admitting it here or elsewhere, directly or indirectly.

                        Therefore what's highly useful is to call out the tactic and ask the person a pointed question.  For example:

                        "What you posted is just what would be expected from a Republican spy.  Are you a Republican spy, or did you just get infected with one of their memes?"

                        This will have the effect of bringing attention to them and, if they're truly a spy, scaring them off to some degree (or making them do a little dance to deny it); or if they're merely an idiot, getting them to shape up a bit (or making them do a little dance of one kind or another).  

                        After a while you get an instinct for this kind of thing.

                        One of the most useful exercises anyone can do is to become more lucid about the use of emotions in communication.  Humans make most of their choices and decisions based on emotions, and for most humans most of the time, their emotional states are wholly implicit and not subject to examination.  Thus if you get aware of how emotions are conveyed with language, you can spot the destructive emotional memes and squish them.  

                        For example when someone says something like "It's no use, there's nothing we can do," rub their nose in it bigtime and call others' attention to it, along the lines of "Yeah you're right, we should just get all depressed and defeatist, and stay home on election day or better yet commit suicide.  Do you favor overdoses of pills or jumping off high places?"

                        Or you can just say "STOP THAT.  You're spreading destructive emotional viruses that way.  Do you blow your nose on your hands when you have a cold?"


                        •  Your criteria for ID'ing trolls (6+ / 0-)

                          looks like it would run afoul of site rules most of the time, given the presence of the OFA ops and associated 'strong' supporters of Obama. Who descend en masse into any diary not all sweetness and light on admin policies/governing ability, and do all the things you've listed here.

                          I can't imagine that a well-tooled black op aimed at disrupting and/or destroying Obama or the Democratic Party would take the tac of praise for all things Obama. He looks strong to win in '12 because the 'Pugs simply have no one to field who can beat him. But as T•H•E executive under whose purview ops like this are created and launched, the operatives would also have to know that continuity requires him to stay in office - thus insulting and driving away anyone to the left of Tricky Dick would not serve their purposes.

                          Ops like what you describe are a dime a dozen on the 'toobs these days. Everyone from Monsanto, the nuclear lobby, the health insurers, etc., etc. (as well as political factions and all the way down to CIA and a dozen other three-letter spook tanks) has pseudo-spam operations going these days.

                          •  Everyone except the progressive left. (9+ / 0-)

                            And we're being beaten every time because we refuse to get our hands dirty.   Poo on that.

                            As for a dime a dozen, no, that stuff tends to be very expensive to pull off, and if anything, we're more cost-effective than the Republicans in all things, gray ops included.  (Aside from which, their side goes for black ops like tampering with voting machines.  Very bad, very illegal, should have been prosecuted, the evidence was readily available.)  

                            I'm not talking about opposing Obama.  First of all, he's going to be the candidate.  Second of all, undermining him only hands voters to the Republicans.  Third, I really do believe that he can be persuaded to stop trying to make peace with poisonous snakes and rabid skunks:  what it takes is consistent persistent email to the White House in large amounts, and people showing up at his public events with signs urging him, in nice language, to take a progressive stand on economic issues.

                            The best we can do is give Obama another term, and keep the pressure on for him to do the right thing.  That may sound terribly naive coming from someone who just advocated going all CIA on the Republicans, but none the less.  

                            Let's be very clear about this: what we need are creative operations directed against Republicans and their corporate backers.  Not against Democrats, with the exception of truly egregious defectors like Stupak (anti-abortion extremist), but only if we can beat them in the primary and then win in the general.  And while I wouldn't do some of the things Anonymous did (but I'd do other things they did, like protesting Scientology while wearing a goofy mask:-), I'm glad they're willing to do the bee swarm thing and I hope they get even more politically engaged.  

                          •  I don't see that we're (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            James Kresnik

                            "getting beat" at all. In fact, I see that we're doing remarkably well, all things considered. Of course Obama will get the second term. That was decided quite awhile ago.

                            I can see that you're eager to get your hands dirty, but you've been suggesting such endeavors for a long time here, and apparently getting nowhere. Heck, I was lurking back when you were all about setting up a covert unit to spy on possible Islamic terrorists at far flung sites, to 'help' our NS apparatus by turning in our suspicions to the FBI. How'd that work out for you?

                          •  We've had 35 yrs of "getting beat" (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            G2geek, BYw

                            About time we wise up - If a technique this devious is being used to destroy us,  we need to learn very quickly how to counteract it.

                            United we stand - Divided we are all truly screwed. Keep them blaming one another - they'll never notice what's really going on.

                            by Cassandra77 on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 06:09:48 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Exactly right. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Cassandra77, certainot

                            We need to be able to spot illegal and unethical goings-on and expose them, and provide research & analysis to people on our side who can mobilize to counteract them.  

                            We need to tie up the righties and Republicans with a bombardment of time-wasters that will bog them down so they can't make quite as much trouble.  

                            We need to do stuff that's just a little naughty that will catch our opponents off guard and force them to respond.  

                            There's a long list beyond those points, but the bottom line is, if we're not willing to defend ourselves and then go on the attack, we will get defeated time and time again.

                            With the climate crisis brewing, and denialists still blocking effective action, the stakes could not be higher.  With religious extremism seething, and dominionists still winning the culture wars on many fronts, the stakes could not be higher.  With the economy still in the ditch, and fraudsters still looting it without even slowing down, while the middle class becomes an endangered species, the stakes could not be higher.  We're at a turning point in history in so many ways that we cannot continue to operate as if things are the same as they were in some earlier decade.

                            To quote a guy named Mario Savio, from the Free Speech Movement (before my time but nonetheless),  If not us, who?  If not now, when?

                          •  We've had 35 yrs of "getting beat" (0+ / 0-)

                            About time we wise up - If a technique this devious is being used to destroy us,  we need to learn very quickly how to counteract it.

                            United we stand - Divided we are all truly screwed. Keep them blaming one another - they'll never notice what's really going on.

                            by Cassandra77 on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 06:12:27 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  yes, and yes, and it did. (0+ / 0-)

                            Yes, we've been making progress on certain fronts.  The biggest ones to my mind are a) government by smart grownups for a change, b) Obama's funding the hiring of 10,000 new math & science teachers last year, and c) DADT repeal, which leads directly to marriage equality just as the black vets of WW2 led directly to Civil Rights.  

                            But on the economic front, we are being royally screwed, and Obama has been trying to make peace with diagnosable sociopaths whose only goal is to take, take, take, and take.  That hasn't worked, period.  He needs to get tough on this front.  Really and truly tough, starting with DOJ prosecutions of the worst of the worst financial fraudsters and economy-wreckers.  And he needs to use the bully pulpit to make clear that the center of gravity of these United States is not on Wall Street but truly on Main Street, on the farms, and in the factories, and in the union halls, and in the small shops and new startups that keep our economy vibrant.  

                            As for my previous engagements, they worked out well.  We weren't going after Islamic terrs, my crew (which was part of a bigger thing) was going after domestic right-winger extremists, and we scored a few decent successes.  But the nature of the biz is that one doesn't go talking about the details.  Most of the iceberg is below the surface of the water.  

                            That's morphed into this: from a part-time volunteer effort to the need for a full-time paid effort with people fully engaged.  Going after rightie terrorists is one part of it.  But another part of it needs to be focused on things that were "too partisan" for the previous incarnation, such as getting the dirt on various baddies who appear to be immune (so far) to justice or even public attention, and such as assisting various goodguys & goodgals in various ways.  

                            I'm not even the principle organizer of this thing, I'm just a 1/N part of it, though I've been rash enough to stick my neck out by way of seeking support for it.  Meanwhile we see what happened to Congress in 2008, and 2012 is just around the corner.  

                          •  oh, one more thing: about outing trolls. (8+ / 0-)

                            There are ways to defeat them without having to "out them" or break site rules.

                            Most important: learn to think clearly about emotions and to recognize emotional viruses and fight them effectively.  

                            Thus when someone says "oh, what's the use?, nothing changes anyway," the comeback is something along the lines of "Oh I'm so depressed I should just stay home on election day and get it over with!  Hey, where's my rifle, I want to shoot myself in the other foot too!"  Call out the emotional viruses.  And in cases where liberals & progressives are spouting those things, calling 'em out will make people more aware so they don't do it next time.  

                            No breaking of site rules needed for that.

                            Really, don't underestimate us:-)

                          •  Oh, I've become (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            G2geek, buddabelly, Dirtandiron

                            fairly adept at recognizing and dealing with obvious 'bots. I've been 'toob fluent for a couple of decades, 'bots have been around longer than me. It's not difficult to call out and slay (metaphorically) even a group of 'em if you can zero in on the primary puppeteer. Without breaking any rules.

                            That's certainly fair game, just takes some experience and maturity. But organizing a mirror operation is ethically questionable and I don't think this is the place for it. I suspect Kos and MB would agree.

                          •  OK, here are some examples: (13+ / 0-)

                            This is the kind of stuff I have in mind in terms of naughty street tactics and political theatre:


                            Show up at anti marriage equality rallies and similar events with signs saying "It all started with inter-racial marriage!" and "Overturn Loving v. VA!" etc.


                            Show up at Glenn Beck rallies handing out Moonie and Scientology literature picked up from those organizations (who are happy to give it out by the boxfull), thereby spreading contagious feelings of vague creepiness that will be associated with Beck.  


                            Here's one to do in a place where there's a controversy going on about a natural gas company using fracking to get the gas (and poison the water table):

                            Get 5 - 10 gallons of water from places that have been fracked & the water is questionable.   Get an equivalent amount of water from a clean local well.  

                            Set up a table.

                            Offer people water in paper cups.

                            Fracked water is free as long as they're willing to sign a "hold harmless" disclaimer that should be written by a lawyer and include disclosures of the health consequences found in areas that were fracked.

                            Clean water from a local well is 10-cents a cup.  All money to be donated to a) defraying the cost of the lawyer letter and then b) the candidate of your choosing.  

                            See what happens.

                            If the people who drink the fracked water come down with any acute symptoms (diarrhea is always good), that'll get them out of their denial right quick.  

                            Invite the media.  


                            Leave cryptic messages on mid-level Republican operatives' voicemail boxes that make it appear they are secretly in cahoots with the Democrats.  They will probably ask their superiors about those messages, only to become instant suspects as Democratic spies.  Much hilarity will follow.  


                            Create an "Iraq deck of cards" with the pictures of high-ranking banksters on them, in handcuffs and in the back of police cars and in prison cells.   Do not use imagery that may even remotely suggest violence.  The game here is to circulate the meme that these people are enemies of America but that they should be dealt with by the legal system.


                            Read up on the history of the Yippies.  Plenty of ideas there, but mostly, a certain way of thinking about things: make it theatrical, make it funny, and it'll become a viral meme.


                            Here's one that involves Terribly Bad Taste (TBT) and a little bit of Trespassing.  Track Goldman execs when they go to expensive places for lunch.  Be sure to dress like you belong.  Wait until they are in the middle of their meal.  Walk right up to them and tell them they're treasonous wretches who are destroying America, and you hope their meal gives them diarrhea so fast they can't get back to their office fast enough.  Then exit quickly.  No actual harm done.  Just words.  


                            What to do at rightie events such as anti-gay confs and other places where the sexually puritanical and intolerant types go:   Give a Flying Fuck.


                            Send three people to the event, who will mix with the crowd and appear perfectly ordinary.  In the morning one of them unleashes a Flying Fuck.  During lunch another does likewise.  Now you have these people all primed to freak out any time they hear that sound: the high-pitched whine of an RC helicopter.  OK.

                            Now in the afternoon have someone play a recording of that sound from their laptop or any other convenient but inconspicuous audio device.  Watch the instant allergic reaction develop as everyone goes looking for another one in the air!

                            The point of this juvenile foolishness is to waste their time, cause distractions, clutter up their headspace, and generally make their event bog down and become highly inefficient at accomplishing whatever it set out to do.


                            When the Religious Right wigs out about some toy or another, stoke their paranoia with public postings about the toy.  "The pink Ouija board started spelling out L-E-S-B...."  Eeek!  "I bought my son the dump truck but it came with a toy construction worker who looked GAY!  EEeek!"


                            Go to Religious Right events and recruit for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.  Watch the pandemonium ensue.   Even better if you dress like Druids and carry out incantations and suchlike.  Religious righties take that stuff literally, as if God is about to start hurling lightning.  


                            Call up the organizers of whatever rightie event and let them know that "there are some people coming from Albuquerque (or wherever) who are secret Democrats and will be trying to do some kind of political theatre antics to embarrass you!  It starts out with sneezing.  Beware of anyone sneezing!"  Someone will inevitably sneeze and the naturally-occurring Monty Python skit will begin.  


                            Look up The Yes Men.  It's all about The Yes Men.  They are the true masters of public gray ops.  Study them and learn from them.  

                          •  Ha! Well, street theatre (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            G2geek, Dirtandiron

                            does happen to be a specialty around here, but to say more than that would be to nick the fun.

                            That's not 'toob-botting, though.

                          •  no, no toob-botting. (6+ / 0-)

                            First of all, we will not use bots on dKos, or sock-puppets, or anything like that.  That would be shitting in our own nest, even if it's really Markos' nest, it's all of our nest, so no shit.

                            Second, it's in everyone's interest to know that we're a reliable source of information to progressives.  Therefore no curve balls or other shenanigans around here.  No misinformation spread to progressives.  No involuntary recruitment of progressives into the theatre.  When we come out with information of whatever kind, for example an analysis of some leaked docs, or of some event that occurred, it will be honest, truthful, and clear, no exceptions.  If there's something we can't discuss further we'll say so, and we'll ask y'all to trust us on that (whether you do is up to you, but we will work to earn that trust).  

                            This is really easy to understand from the perspective of team sports:  cooperate with your own team, compete against the opposing team.  You'd never do something that would cause a disadvantage to one of your own team-mates even if it made you look good individually.  And you never give points away to the opposing team: instead you play as hard and as tough on them as the rules allow.  

                          •  Awesomeness (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            I love serving them heaping plates of their own shit!


                            It's time for the pitchforks and torches! Guillotines are way too complicated.

                            by No one gets out alive on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 11:45:38 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  H&W Is Suing Yes Men (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            terabytes, BYw, Dirtandiron

                            On behalf of the US Chamberpot of Commerce for their highly successful spoofpwning of them about a year ago.

                            (Hunton & Williams - the "law"firm acting as ramrod for counter-democracy cattle-drives of BOA and the Chamberpot.)


                            Once you are ordained into the Corporate Caliphate, it's a small world after all.

                            If health care is not basic necessity, try living without it.

                            by Into The Woods on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 12:53:12 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  as i said, there's no need to do any more... (4+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            terabytes, BYw, Dirtandiron, Joieau

                            ... than call out the emotional viruses for what they are.  

                            Particularly effective when someone is trying to spread a Yawn or a Why Bother or a We Can't Win.  

                            If you don't want to mention "Republican trolls," don't!  The effectiveness of this tactic is simply in making people wake up about the emotionalisms they're getting clobbered with.  Sheesh.  

                          •  unfortunately some of my best friends (0+ / 0-)

                            who i know are not even on the internet have that they're all the same attitude.

                            they may not be trolls but your responses are appropriate IMO. i usually end up yelling at them about right wing talk radio spreading that meme.

                            thanks for the input on this subject

                            Progressives will lose all major messaging battles until they picket the limbaugh/hannity megastations and boycott those stations' local sponsors.

                            by certainot on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 06:57:43 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  G2geek. Not your private email, (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          I meant your message box here on dk.
                          Up at the top of this or any other page whey you are logged, the orange bar text says "Daily Kos"  then G2geek then to the right of your name it says (3 messages) or however many you have. Click the (3 messages) and it'll take you to your own dkos message center.
                          Click on the subject of each message you find there to read the contents.

                          geek, huh? lol.... sorry, couldn't resist ;-P

                          And no, I didn't send anything to your public email addy.

                          [ Anonymous Dkos]~ We're legion (or working on it!)

                          by Lisa Lockwood on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 11:13:10 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Always be alert to patterns (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          joanneleon, wiseacre, geomoo

                          There has been a wave, recently, of users who repeatedly misquote diarists and other users (sometimes subtly), so that they can use that as a basis to discredit the other party. The technique is particularly effective when employed by pairs or groups of users working together, tossing accusations back and forth, recommending each other's misquotes and HRing those who try to intervene.

                          Also, look for pairs of commenters casually making startling 'confessions' such as drug use or a professed interest in hacking websites.  This is an old technique for drawing confessions out of others.  Those who employ it are probably not here to casually share progressive ideas.

                    •  Friends in law enforcement? (4+ / 0-)

                      And you stand COINTELPRO ops on their head and blame it on the left?
                      Look buddy, I done prison time off provocateurs. Tried to steer the naiive away from the streetfighters and got put out of the way for it. G2geek looks like a mole to me.
                      Meme that up your hard drive.

                    •  This is all well and good, but we should not lose (14+ / 0-)

                      sight of the fact that there ARE provocateurs, and many more of them than in the 1960's (which I lived through). One thing I learned back then is that by sticking to nonviolence, knowing what I stand for and talking about THAT, I could outlive them.

                      Despite the memo's direction to be patient, spoilers can seldom really be patient. They have to show results to corporate masters or political masters; both of whom are pretty impatient because of who they are.

                      Our best defense is really not to have a defense, but to go about our business and to discredit their arguments. As we do that, they will expose themselves by making the same stupid arguments, attempting to foment violence, etc.

                      Mounting an active defense didn't work in the 1960's, btw; ususally you ended up with a police imposed riot, where the authorities had the upper hand.

                      Nonviolence and dedication are why the sixties succeeded, despite all the smearing, lies and spying.

                      •  Totally agree. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        It's better to stick with passive measures like boycotts, general strikes, divestment or active actions that are fundamentally non-violent in nature.

                        Unless you're directly benefiting from the fleecing somehow, all your blind investment in establishment politics has bought you, is a dog-and-pony show.

                        by James Kresnik on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 03:54:57 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  Left wing of the FBI? (5+ / 0-)

                      The liberal wing of law enforcement? And G2 is a supersleuth who puts the bad guys behind bars. While eating bandwidth, typing 150wpm and composing enormous quantities of comment.
                      Have I ever told you that I'm with MI5 and I drive a DB4?
                      Problem at kos is reading comprehension.

                    •  I find your comment ambiguous (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      kurt, terabytes, James Kresnik

                      Is it possible you haven't heard of COINTELPRO? FBI - feebie - term in use for at least 30 years.

                      While I too support law enforcement, I support LAW above them and above all.  Far too many in LE think there is a "higher law" or principle that justifies them supporting the law by breaking it.  Lest you think I am being hypercritical, this was a Watergate finding from Congress.

                      There is supposed to be probable cause for suspicion before people are investigated, and people are supposed to be able to speak their minds (1st Amendment) and meet peacefully with those of like mind (1st Amendment) and the government has no business insinuating itself into any of that without probable cause.

                      I won't say the liberal left has never in its life provided cause, but many so-called leftist crimes or conspiracies of the 1960s and 1970s were due entirely to agent provocateur activities. And I can't really think of any conversely that were due to liberal agent provocateurs. Of course, the media tended to do what they do now, and go with the official story.  This is how liberals have been kept in check for so long.

                      Although I too admire those who put their lives on the line to keep us safe, I cannot forget how often LE has injected itself into politics and thought control, which, if they actually honored the oaths they took to uphold and defend the CONSTITUTION and LAWS of the United States, they would rather resign than participate in, with assisting in the abrogating of constitutional rights of citizens.  That is a civil rights violation and since most FBI people are lawyers or legally trained, they have no excuse for not knowing this.

                      Evidence of criminal activity should always be reported to proper authorities, whether from the right or from the left, even if you doubt from long experience that LE will do anything about it unless it serves some hidden agenda.

                      This is not my beautiful Constitutional republic, and it truly saddens me to the core, because if our government did what it was supposed to do and obeyed its own laws, then we really would be the shining city on the hill.

                  •  Like distracting Beetlejuice with a cat house (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    in the movie... give them a distraction or two or three... keep em tied up and busy spinning wheels.... might dilute any impact... but the twitter thing is very easy to flood with BS... and at least make it seem there is a large contrary number of people with Tea party notions... hard to distract enough of that kind of twittering sock puppet efforts...

                    Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

                    by IreGyre on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 03:40:13 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Good idea. But I also think (5+ / 0-)

                  that discipline on our part is imperative.

                  the bottom line is we need to be focused.

                  we need to say to ourselves collectively "Hey, we have work to do." We seriously should not be spending time arguing with some idiot on the internet. We ought to be DOING things that matter, like organizing in our local communities, planning how we're going to carry out what we're going to do politically etc. We need to decrease our "love of debate" and our "need to show them they're wrong". who cares? not one minute of it will matter. not one minute of it will get more and better democrats elected. not one minute of that is time well spent if we want to create a progressive movement.

                  We must get and stay focused. This IS a "war" of sorts.

                  Remember the legacy of the civil rights movement. Marches where provocateurs stood along the sidelines spouting words and phrases they HOPED would enrage even just one person enough to cause a breakdown. But the people ignored them and marched on. They "kept their eyes on the prize" and stayed focused. They had a goal and they didn't waste their time and energy arguing with people who only wanted to sabotage the movement and worse, create cause violence and discord.

                  We MUST do the same.

                  IGNORE THEM. Theirs are the tactics of a losing team in its final throes. Its devious and desperate but WE are the ones who can determine its success or failure. US not them.

                  Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I will tell you what you believe. h/t MeteorBlades

                  by mdmslle on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 04:42:50 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  In Egypt (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  kurt, Dave the Rave, Dirtandiron

                  the demonstration organizers apparently gave out false locations to draw the plainclothes and provocateur types.

                  I think such feints will only work until they're discovered, which would be rather quickly.

            •  Identity Hardening is the only solution. (12+ / 0-)

              I have built IT systems for nearly every major bank, and over 50 systems for the Big Three credit card companies.

              You have a very simple question:

              Do you want Security?  Or do you want Privacy?

              Unfortunately, any aspect of privacy is a form of anonymous space.   You can not secure that.   You can "trust" that it is not being misused, but you can not verify that unless the person using it is attached to a hardened identity.

              Once you harden an identity in physical space to a digital presence you have a securable decision.

              If you want to get rid of all SockPuppets, you need to have everyone on a site use their real name.

              We are entering the post privacy age, and in another three of four turns of Moore's Law and the computers in banking will no longer work with you if you are not a hardenned identity.    

              DKos 5.0 will likely have he same feature sets.   You can keep your screen names.   They will become a form of jewelry, meant to set off the real person.  

              •  Future of the Web? (0+ / 0-)

                I think at some point we will need to have at least a portion of the internet set aside for the use of identies that are certified to actually reperesent a single realworld individual. I picture a future where the real business of the virtual world is conducted  using your own personal issued at birth governement id.  In my ideal world, there is also a way to participate in the on-line world with an anonymous id or fake persona that is used when people prefer to not be known,  however everyone will be able to tell that it is not an official id and make thier own decisions how credibile that Persona is.

              •  But a team with a high enough security clearance (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kurt, James Kresnik, BYw

                … would have sufficient authorization to be able to create multiple fake "hardened" identities, so in effect you're back where you started.

                So far I don't see how you can ever ensure you have the same ability to verify as the powerful government or corporate institutions arrayed against you.

                The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

                by lotlizard on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 01:20:32 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  No. Not possible. (0+ / 0-)

                  I don't want to dive too deeply into Bayesian Logics, but you can either rest assured that you are wrong.   Or, if you think past that you should be very scared that you are wrong.

                  The Post Privacy Age is going to demand some very different modes of social behavoir.

                  Humans are being forced toward the blunt factuality of computers.   We don't have choice.   And with that change we will see the death of the subtle, of nuance and grace.

                  •  It's not about whether I'm wrong, but whether (0+ / 0-)

                    … someone here will actually offer an explanation instead of mere assertions.

                    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

                    by lotlizard on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 11:46:23 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Palintir, DecisionQ, IBM's Watson (0+ / 0-)

                      You can also do some basic homework on how these three systems work.

                      They are only three of the numerous fast moving efforts underway to use machine learning to create mathematical stabilities of what is "true" vs. "untrue".

                      You can not fool the systems, you can (slightly) rig the results with inputs on a synthetic profile, but it always shows up.  

                      The huge Medicaid Scam bust that just led to the 111 arrests used the Palintir system.   Even though the scammers had been building those false records and profiles for many many years...they were still synthetics.

            •  Fake personas on Mybo... (12+ / 0-)

              During the 2008 election battle, I remember a number of trolls (real people) developing a tyoe of fake persona "friends" list that made them appear as trustworthy. The new members had few friends and none and they usually had to wait to build a list of friends before becoming influencial. The way I figured out was first from the photos of the friends. They were all attractive young females in revealing outfits. And when I check on the freinds home pages, I realized none of these "friends" posted a comment. Then the light bulb went on and I figured out these were nonexistent members.  We were on it afterwards.

              I am not surprised about this attempt to create fake personas by these assholes. They would use (I assume) psychologist experts who are specialists on what is called "personality development" studying how people's personalities are developed.

              We have work to do and - especially after my experience dealing with the trolls online since the 2008 election battle- I believe we need to develop serious tools for detection.

              One of the reasons?

              Wait these fake personas are developed into "citizens" who can vote...

              "Corruptio Optima Pessimi" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

              by zenox on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 05:26:45 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Is it possible (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              ~to have an easily-accessed (& alphabetical) page of people who are suspected and reported as possible corporate trolls, and then those who want to can, if they are among the suspected, got tosaid page, and the page would have a set of guidelines to get themselves off said list? (Or at least, to prove that they are not bots?) In other words, The guidelines would simply be a set of ways of proving that they are people and not machines.

              The problem is that we have intelligent moderates on our pages who have some liberal leanings but not others; what we are searching for is a system of accountability that can be cross-checked, so that we can still have and be an access for differing opinions.

              I'm not that computer-savvy -- does the above sound ridiculously naive?

              "Guns don't kill people. People in states without gun-purchase background checks & waiting periods kill people." --John Fugelsang

              by Artryst on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 05:57:12 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  i'm mostly clueless and have to (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dave the Rave

              count on the folks who can identify and resolve such situations. i'm the type who needs red ink in the water to know who and when someone is pissing in my pool...

            •  public data is public data.... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              carolita, James Kresnik, BYw
              Giving them phone numbers is also trivially easy, and I don't just mean disposable cellphones.

              $2 a month via the right provider on the internet will buy you a phone number in any area code/zip code you choose, and it can be forwarded to any number you wish, also with the capability of recording the conversations from the fake number.  Its done all the time in advertising for lead generation and tracking.

              Public data posted out here is going to be reviewed and analyzed by everybody.

              Getting smarter, stronger, faster, and better able to organize and cooperate among ourselves:  those are the strategies that work.

              This is absolutely correct.  

          •  We are on someone's list. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            How could we not be knowing what we know not only about how our government operates but also about how private industry operates? I don't want to sound paranoid here, but I have always been careful with my language: I would never say "We need a revolution!" To do so would put my name near the top of the "black" list. We should all just recognize the truth: we are the enemy of the state and of the corporations because we do not buy into their bullshit. We know it and they know it.

            •  That is how they stifle dissent (0+ / 0-)

              Just always be very clear that it is not your intention in any way to advocate anything illegal.  Corporatist tactics that aren't illegal are worth investigating, at least, to see if they can be used effectively to neutralize them.

              Nixon's Enemies List was a badge of honor.  It means you are doing something to uphold our nation's values as articulated by our Founders, and not just sitting there and taking it.


          •  toe the line or GTFO? (0+ / 0-)

            I like it!

        •  no, not by doing away with anonymity. (47+ / 0-)

          That will not solve the problem of carefully-crafted pseudos.  

          What it will do is chase away:

          = Anyone who could be fired by their employer for hanging out with "leftists."

          = Anyone who works for the US Gov (aside from elected officials who are here to stay in touch with their constituencies), including a bunch of friendly progressives in the USGS, EPA, NASA, FBI, military, intel agencies (yes, progressives in intel), and a few other agencies that don't come quickly to mind.

          = Public school teachers and other public employees.

          = Members of unions in highly-contested workplaces.

          = Union organizers who try to organize hostile workplaces.

          = People who are gay but have to stay in the closet for their own safety against violent attacks, because they live and work in places that are infested with violent homophobes.

          = Atheists who are under similar circumstances as gay folks in hostile geographic areas.  

          = Anyone who is seriously concerned about their civil liberties including their privacy rights, and has taken steps to protect their legal identity.  

          So the idea of making us all post under our legal names is Epic Fail, and it will also make this place utterly ineffective at organizing and fighting if we ever have another Bush regime or worse.  Mark my words.  

        •  how to deal with it is get to the streets again (0+ / 0-)

          that's how.

          that will expose what has real consensus and what doesn't. 4 million"people" that are actually 10 is not 1 million people with 2 million feet

          that's the bottom line right there.

          We need to be gearing up for REAL activism. We can use Egypt as a model.

          Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I will tell you what you believe. h/t MeteorBlades

          by mdmslle on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 04:33:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Are you nuts? (0+ / 0-)

          Sorry, but enhancing Big Brother's power is not going to help:

          Perhaps doing away with anonymity

          Don't you realize that part of HB Gary's plan was to "out" people and go after their jobs, bank accounts, neighbors, family, etc.

      •  Sheesh. (10+ / 0-)

        I'd prefer we not be cynical and that we figure out ways to expose bogus sock puppets and not become them.

        •  it's not cynical. (5+ / 0-)

          The willingness to do gray ops is not cynicism, it's pragmatism in the face of an overt class war.

          Those of us who are involved in the gray ops scene are ferocious idealists or we would not bother.  

          •  Not being cynical is how they've kept us down (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Forward is D not R

            I've been through this already and I am sick of it.  Kick them to the curb.

          •  This is the sort of stuff I like at the movies (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kaliope, Joieau

            But I don't want to engage in it, or have anything to do with people who engage in it.

            "YES WE CAN!." Barack Obama Update: Well, apparently we can't.

            by Time Waits for no Woman on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 11:40:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Happy has two great posts further down (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              G2geek, Lisa Lockwood, bee tzu, mdmslle

              I wish this were the movies, too.

              Look at the government bid out for sock puppets, and then look at her explanation about bandwagons.  I just don't think "rise above it is an effective response", however laudable.

            •  Be my guest. (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wiseacre, Lisa Lockwood, DvCM, mdmslle

              Go ahead, ignore everything I say since I'm a self-identified advocate of gray ops.  But you have no idea how many other people you're going to have to put on your ignore list, and that number is large.  

              Some of them are probably people you know and respect, without knowing they're in the gray ops club.  Sooner or later you're going to have your very own Teh Gay Experience when one of them comes out of the closet to you, and your carefully-maintained disdain toward "that sort of thing" comes crashing down.  

              We'll be waiting:-)

              •  Please tell us more about "gray ops" (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                G2geek, KenBee

                Have to admit, haven't heard that term before, but I suspect we'll be hearing a lot more about it.

                Here's your chance to frame the concept before someone in the corporate media proclaims that "the Left" is carrying out psychological warfare, and that progressive blogs are nothing but dangerous battlegrounds of warring sockpuppets.

                Might also want to explain what you view is an appropriate code of ethics for those who engage in this on our behalf.

                •  gray ops are a form of nonviolent and... (10+ / 0-)

                  ... usually lawful direct action, typically focused on information and its uses, carried out covertly or nearly so, to achieve political, economic, and/or social goals.  

                  By "nonviolent" is meant: there is no physical harm or threat thereof to humans or other animals, and no destruction of property.  

                  By "usually lawful" is meant:  lawful with occasional minor exceptions of the type traditionally associated with nonviolent protest, such as brief trespassing or picketing, whether conducted in person or via communications media.  Other minor infractions such as littering and parking violations may qualify.  

                  By "covert" is meant: all or a substantial portion of a given action is conducted in a manner that is not public, by individuals who remain unknown to the public.  Often where information is concerned, it will be produced for specific clients rather than for publication to the general public.  

                  Thus we establish the distinction between gray ops and black ops: the former operate within the boundaries described above, the latter overstep those boundaries by the use of violence or the commission of criminal acts.  

                  The types of actions that qualify as gray ops, as distinct from more conventional forms of activism, include but are not limited to the following:

                  Collection, analysis, and selective or general publication of information, using techniques that range from those associated with conventional journalistic activity to those associated with intelligence activity.   (And remember, we said "lawful," so illegal wiretaps and suchlike are not included.)

                  Providing evidence of criminal activity to law enforcement agencies of relevant jurisdiction, and (including evidence of civilly tortuous activity) to attorneys representing allied individuals and organizations.

                  Providing information to elected or appointed public officials, and to organizations working in the public interest.

                  Providing information to organizations and persons engaged in various conventional and unconventional forms of media, protest, and nonviolent direct action.  

                  Providing consultative and technical services to any of the above constituencies, for example in fields ranging from the subject matter of the information itself, to communications and information security, to custom technical design and implementation.  

                  Strategic and tactical placement of "memes:" information that is presented in a manner intended to become "catchy" and "contagious."  This is roughly analogous to "viral marketing."

                  Other strategic and tactical uses of information to achieve stated goals.  


                  I could go on in more detail if anyone's sufficiently interested, though I have more work to do tonight and this subject might best be picked up tomorrow.  

                  •  G2Geek I think you ought to consider (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    eru, readerwriter

                    a group. although i can understand if you dont.

                    There needs to be some serious discussion about this stuff. I believe that mostly we'll see this come to fruition in 2012.

                    In 2008 be had dumbass right wingers etching backwards Bs on their faces attempting to discredit the left.  

                    This time, it wont be so willy nilly.

                    This time it will be someone with a "history" of leftist politics and working for the administration or something.  This is very very serious. No less so, IMO, than the very sorts of things we see happen in repressive regimes like China everyday.

                    What do you think about bringing in certain world organizations and documenting this stuff. It will become an election issue. They are warming up with this stuff now.

                    Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I will tell you what you believe. h/t MeteorBlades

                    by mdmslle on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 04:52:43 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Dan Rather discrediting style ops? (3+ / 0-)

                      He may have been the test case.

                      No home. No job. No peace. No rest.

                      by A Runner on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 06:01:09 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Dan Rather was more than a test case. (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        eru, lotlizard, A Runner

                        He was a target, that whole thing was a set-up, and it succeeded because we did not see it coming and did not react quickly enough.  Oh, and some folks who called it out at the time were told they were CTers and all paranoid.  

                        Now that the HBGary stuff is on the table, the conspiracy isn't a theory, it's spelled out in the email, and the paranoia was right on target.  

                        FYI, personally I would not do one of those types of operations against Republican targets, because it's fundamentally dishonest.  There are too many juicy ways to hoist them on their own petards.   They supply the petards, we only need to supply the labor for hoisting:-)

                        Oh by the way, did you know that the etymology of "petard" comes from words for "fart"...?

                        "The word petard comes from the Middle French peter, to break wind, from pet expulsion of intestinal gas, from Latin peditum, from neuter of peditus, past participle of pedere, to break wind..."

                        Hmm, maybe we should say, "they supply their own baked beans, we supply the dance steps that'll ensure they make a noisy performance"...?

                      •  Actually A Runner (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        A Runner

                        I'm wondering if the swift boating of John Kerry was a test case?

                        How many people were discredited during the build-up for the Iraq War?


                        "A liberal is a man or a woman or a child who looks forward to a better day, a more tranquil night, and a bright, infinite future." ~Leonard Bernstein

                        by lyvwyr101 on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 10:31:07 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  a few things... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      First of all I'd be reccing comments around here like crazy but it would appear that depends on one of the rogue cookies I've deleted, so, sorry for the lack of recs.

                      Second, there's already a group.  We need funding.  $500k per year for ten years would be a good start, and it's a shoestring budget for this kind of thing.  Anyone up for fund raising?  

                      Third, yes we could do COINTEL: counterintelligence in the form of exposing dirty tricks used by Republicans.  

                      I don't think Obama would stoop to dirty tricks, and in any case I still believe that with a big enough deluge of email, he can be persuaded to do the right thing in areas where he hasn't so far (e.g. trying to make peace with poisonous snakes and rabid skunks in Congress and business).  

                      World organizations:  that's interesting; what do you have in mind?  

                  •  If you (and a cohort) (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    are doing the sockpuppet thing to do grand battle with the corporate/spook sockpuppets, this site will have to be renamed Sockpuppet Heaven and real people will simply go elsewhere. Because no one here can be presumed 'real'.

                    I want no part of it. It's not hard to recognize sockpuppets after an encounter or two or three. And some are glaringly obvious right out of the gate. I'd rather real people here learn to detect them and then work to get rid of them, instead of becoming them.

                    •  no, we are not doing sockpuppets. (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Unduna, MRA NY

                      At least not here.  That's a violation of site rules and this is a community we value and we've been in for years.  

                      However I would gladly launch armies of sockpuppets into rightie space.  They're nonviolent and they're not illegal, so if they tie up the righties, wonderful.  Tie them up, waste their time, keep them busy so they can't go out and make real trouble such as registering Republican voters.    

                      See also my other posts: I agree that the best defense against sockpuppets and shills is to learn to recognize them and then call them out.  There is not a good tech fix for catching them and chasing them away.  The best solution is an educated community that knows what to look for and how to deal with it.

                      In any case, sockpuppets are not as big a deal here because we'all progressives tend to think for ourselves rather than playing Follow The Leader.  Where sockpuppets are a real problem is on sites with a more average distribution of readers, who can more readily be swayed.  

                      But in the end, sockpuppets are a small distraction compared to some of the dirty tricks the Rs like to use that need to be exposed.  There are bigger battles that need to be fought.  

      •  with technology, the only real "secret" (4+ / 0-)

        is usually that it can be done.

        Peak Oil is NOW! Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

        by alizard on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 10:13:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  No, the answer isn't more anti-democracy.... (30+ / 0-)

        ...the answer is better technology. Anonymous and members of the Open Source movement should develop technology to identify, track and ultimately reveal the power behind sock-puppet farms.

        This space had been for rent. But it's now the subject of an illegal foreclosure.

        by xynz on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 10:32:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  excellent. (15+ / 0-)


          Develop the tools to track down the fools.  

          And then upon finding out that someone is definitively a sock puppet, out them by posting all the details except the names.

          And then ban them from here.

          Or better yet, play them.  Figure out how to tie them up in such a manner that they can't cause any real damage.  Make them waste their employers' money and time, the more the better.  

          •  Probably an idea that doesn't fit in, from a tech (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            leveymg, G2geek, mdmslle

            ignoramus like me...   Isn't there software that can run in the background to identify speech/word & phrase patterns that originate with a specific individual?

            Could not a single author-sock puppet, even though hiding behind all these different personae, be spotted?

            "Evil is a lack of empathy, a total incapacity to feel with their fellow man." - Capt. Gilbert,Psychiatrist, at the end of Nuremberg trials.

            by 417els on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 12:24:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes there is, and it's classified as hell. But... (9+ / 0-)

              The software & techniques I'm aware of are definitely not available to the general public, at least in the form in which I'm aware of them.   Now I'm going to cozy up right close to the line of what I can and can't say without getting whacked:  

              Using those tools, you can track someone across the internet worldwide, based on linguistic characteristics that are almost absurdly simple (I know what they are and can't tell), and text samples that are approximately equivalent to tweets in length (I know the specific length and can't tell).   Anonymizers do not help, TOR does not help, multiple fake identities do not help:  as long as it's you who wrote something, the smart vacuum cleaner can prove that it's you who wrote it.  

              That's all I'm going to say about what it is and how it works.

              But that being said, it would be possible to build a generic tool that encompassed the characteristics of the tool I just described, and enabled the user to adjust the values of the relevant variables until they fine-tuned it to where it could catch baddies.  That could be used to identify sock puppets here on dKos.  

              Now if someone wants to convince Markos or someone else in charge, that doing that is a worthwhile exercise, then I'll sign an NDA with them and provide just enough additional information to enable designing the tool, without saying enough to get myself in trouble.  

              •  For example (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                G2geek, mdmslle

                GIMP is the rough equivalent of Photoshop. Blender is the rough equivalent of a hi end 3d graphic rendering animator.


                it would be possible to build a generic tool that encompassed the characteristics of the tool I just described,

                GIMP and Blender are open source approximations of other well known tools. Seems to me what you're describing is fairly common SOP.

                FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                by Roger Fox on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 02:44:59 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  it's all about a way of thinking. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Roger Fox, rja, readerwriter

                  Intellectual property is an oxymoron.

                  The intellect is not property.

                  An embodiment of a way of thinking may be owned, but a way of thinking, in and of itself, cannot be.

                  There is no such thing as a "smart license."  

                  Mathematical truths are natural truths, and algorithms are facts of nature.  

                  Open source is the discovery of fire for toolmakers in this new world of ours.  

                  So with all that in mind, there are plenty of tools to be developed, that will make certain tasks much simpler, and will tend to run up large bills for telephone and broadband services.

                  The lever, the wheel, and the inclined plane
                  multiply muscles, by using your brain!

                •  Wikipedia article on "Stylometry" references (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  grrr, SSMir

                  two free-ware programs (Signature and JGAAP) which may go a long way towards this project.
                  (I have zero expertise in this area and make this comment only as an interest in Marlowe and Shakespeare made me aware of the term "stylometry".)

              •  your crypticism is amusing. (0+ / 0-)

                which is not to say unwarranted.

                if it's as simple as you say, we don't need your advice -- i'm sure i can figure it out, as could any of the many thousands of people with my particular training. run some hidden markov models on the text, or some comparable sort of ML technique, and voila, You've Been Categorized.

                To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                by UntimelyRippd on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 04:56:05 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  I'm writing to markos (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Perry the Imp

                as I said in an earlier comment, this is not so much about eliminating trolls on Dkos or whatever.

                this technology will be used to create identities that come 2012 will act out in some way that will demonize the left in some very serious way and jeopardize everything including he elections.

                these people are desperate. Obama is doing well in polls. they have no real contenders. they are in a panic and they are becoming desperate.

                the BS with the ACORN thing and the Planned Parenthood thing are just play acting. This will get very real in two years.  They will create horrible situations and track them back to "leftists" online - people with LONG histories on comments and views that we, here, won't find trollish.  In the same way they tried to deconstruct the political views of the Giffords shooter, they will do the same with whomever carries out whatever "thing" they orchestrate.  

                This is serious and software needs to be developed to handle it because unless the "actor" carries out some act that will involve the FBI or CIA or ATF or some other federal authorities who DO have access to the classified version of this stuff, we're looking at being blamed when some "traceable person or group" beats to near death a "group of GOP supporters" and leaves them in an open field to die.

                Just sayin.

                Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I will tell you what you believe. h/t MeteorBlades

                by mdmslle on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 05:02:23 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  I'd back you on that one (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Heart of the Rockies

                but having no pull with markos, i'd suggest talking to MB.

                [ Anonymous Dkos]~ We're legion (or working on it!)

                by Lisa Lockwood on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 05:29:18 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Text analysis (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                has been used in critical reading of literature for some time and also to authenticate authorship.

              •  Not Sure I Buy All of It (0+ / 0-)

                It is very simple to search the internet quickly for matching words because that is how all of the Search Engines work.  However, following someone by the text they use. Not buying it, although I feel certain someone is selling it for large amounts of money. It may be able to narrow the search for someone who is not attempting to obscure who they are by the way they use language, but beyond that? As somebody who has a degree in Linguistics and been paid to Ghostwrite by imitating somebody else's style, I find it difficult to imagine how anything truely reliable could be built. But I have a darn good idea how to put together a sales presentation to convince somebody  who doesn't understand the subject that it is possible.

              •  Then couldn't a countermeasure tool (0+ / 0-)

                be devised? I.e. use such a tool as described to find your own semantic patterns, then jiggle them until it no longer recognizes you.

                Or, for that matter, even tools to help spoof somebody else's pattern?

                I want the Republican Party to become so small that I can drown it in a bathtub.

                by CA TreeHugger on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 04:55:27 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  why wouldn't you post their names? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            it's not as if they aren't actively trying to harm us -- we don't owe them any particular consideration.

            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

            by UntimelyRippd on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 04:49:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Hear, hear nt (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          xynz, G2geek
      •  Only problem: they have the profit (3+ / 0-)

        motive on their side.

        There are very rich people (Koch Brothers, etc) who will sink money into PAYING people to shill for them because they think they will make money from it in the long run.

        Who on the left is going to put the money to coordinate a strategy and hire people in this way?

        If we still had powerful labor unions, they would have had the incentive to do this -  but now? I don't know.

        •  We have more than enough if the people.... (4+ / 0-)

          ... on the left who have $$ would be willing to fund it.

          We can run a first-class spook tank for about $500k per year, which is a friggin' shoe-string budget.  

          We have advantages the right does not: we're frugal as hell, we're willing to do the job for working class salary, we're smarter than they are, and the truth is on our side.  

          So here's how $500k works out:  100 progressive professionals each putting $5k / year into it.  

          Tell me we don't have 100 progressive lawyers, doctors, software engineers, etc., in the US who earn enough to each spare $5k a year.  Or find me a thousand of them who are each willing to spare $500 per year.  

          We can do this if we want to.  

          And anyone who wants to sign up as a fund-raiser is welcome to get in touch with me at my public email address, which is  g2g-public01 (at) att (period) net.  

          •  I'm frustrated. (6+ / 0-)

            I don't have money, I'm nobody, have no special skills, but want to help deal with this problem.

            I'm not hearing anything that tells me I can help with anything.  Yet, I know I represent at least a willing batallion.

            Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth - Abraham Lincoln

            by Gustogirl on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 12:52:07 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  then support this with your comments.... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Odysseus, blue armadillo

              .... as you're doing right now.

              We have people with skills coming out their ears.  What we need are the resources to put them to work on this fulltime.  

              If you want to fund-raise, get in touch with progressives you know who might have the $$, and send them our way.  Right now that's the most important task.  

              If we had the resources, we would free up people who are working more than full time to keep themselves fed, to spend fulltime dismantling and unhorsing the extreme right and the oligarchy, using all the methods in the intel toolkit.  

      •  If "we" do it, casts the legitimacy of progressive (7+ / 0-)

        voices on the web into doubt, as well.

        Rather than joining the BoA and CoC in these social media dirty-tricks, I'd rather see us put our efforts into identifying the companies, their clients, key personnel -- and most particularly their techniques -- and outing them.   That is exactly what Anonymous has done so effectively in this case.

        Most importantly, we need to hang together and support Wikileaks and Anonymous through these battles.

        The sock puppets (er, "personas") can't survive in the sunlight.

      •  Me and my 29 sockpuppets agree (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ScienceMom, kurt, MKinTN, mofembot, HiKa

        I just wish the socks liked me enough to rec my every comment :(

        Zombie Reagan gives the most peachy speeches.

        by The Dead Man on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 03:49:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  ? Why would "we" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        want to do that?

      •  Yep. This has been going on since the internet (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        James Kresnik

        went public; what's new is the automation, but even that's a fairly straightforward bit of software.

        Fight fire with fire, I say; and like G2geek says, just be nonviolent but passionate, persistent and patient.

      •  Virtually everything human-designed (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Marie, lotlizard, James Kresnik

        has a detectable pattern as well. Study the design and you can find the pattern. That's not to say it's "easy" to do, but it can be done.

        We could develop tracking programs to identify this type of activity. I have suspected some less coordinated version of this has already been going on at Daily Kos for many years.

        Pionta Guinness, le do thoil!

        by surfbird007 on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 07:47:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Word has been out for awhile about this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        About young guys being paid as trolls to hijack threads and contaminate discussions on-line.

        Greg Sargent seems to have more than his share of these, and this site often has comment threads hijacked and taken over by irrelevancies, causing I'm sure more people than me to just quit and go to another item.  

        More than ever, don't feed the trolls and irrelevancers.

        The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

        by Mimikatz on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 09:01:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It is So Easy to Do But has its Limits (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe, kurt

        Many of us on line have multiple personas already. The real me only exists in a Twitter account that I rarely use because it has my real name. I only use one id per site, but I have a different id for each of the social networks I am active on that are related to my hobbies, politics, and profession. I am very careful not to cross-contaminate them, not because I'm trying to fool anyone, but simply because I don't want an entire portrait of who I am associated with my real name available on line.  What this email outlines is simply a method to organize and faciliatate the use of multiple personalities. The actual way each fake personality is created can be done by anyone who cares to do so.

        Now it is one thing for an individual to maintain a handful of online identies - but how many can one actually maintain? In order to seem real, each identity has to have its own individually written content associated with the id whether they be Tweets, posts on board, or blog entires. It takes a lot of time to create all of that content, which means that even one person working full time can only manage a couple of active ids. If an army of ids are all using the same or nearly the same content, it won't take long to figure out the ids don't represent real individuals. It sound scary or awsome (depending on your viewpoint) on paper, by in reality it doesn't allow one person to create an army of persona,  it just makes it cheaper to create each fake personas by providing a methology to facilitate the management of ids. So intead of paying 100 people to create a 100  personas, you can pay 100 people to create 400 personas.

        I would also like to add that I am not convinced that this being done on a large scale. It is one thing to get all of your employees to go spam a thread on Yahoo and quite another to hire full time employees to engage in activies that maybe legal fraud depending on what those fake personas do on line. It would be quite difficult ot find people who are smart enough to do the job, unethical enough to be willing to do it, but ethicial enough to not blackmail their employerer one day with the knowledge of what they have been doing for them. Even attempting to hire people for the job is very risky because anybody you discuss this with may go to the press with the information, making it pretty impossible to hire people on a large scale for this type of thing.

      •  Better to develop countermeasures. (0+ / 0-)

        Unless you're directly benefiting from the fleecing somehow, all your blind investment in establishment politics has bought you, is a dog-and-pony show.

        by James Kresnik on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 03:31:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Independent Minded (0+ / 0-)

        Truth is people are becoming more independent minded and marketing resistant. The collapse of mass media versus the internet in forming public consciousness is largely driven by the fact that people for the last thirty years had the same socially orientated opinions they were simply denied public expression.
        Those email detail conspiracy to disrupt social networks, conspiracy to conduct psychological terrorism and, conspiracy to fraudulently misrepresent themselves. Quite simply they have conspired to break many laws and every effort should be made to prosecute them for those crimes.
        Those bad laws that right hoped to use to silence protest can effectively be used to beat the right wing attack machine to death and every effort should be made to do so.

      •  I hope so (0+ / 0-)

        but i doubt anyone will do it.  Who would?  MoveOn?  The unions?  

        Again, I doubt it.

        Youth lives by personality, age lives by calculation. -- Aristotle

        by not2plato on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 12:55:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Happy Rockefeller, are you ...? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, alizard, subtropolis, Temmoku

      The widow of the late Nelson Rockefeller, former governor of New York and Vice President under Gerald Ford?  I thought I recognized the name.  Here's a biography:

      Or is it a pseudonym?  (The actress known as Jane Seymour chose that name because it's a little familiar -- the original Jane Seymour was the third wife of Henry VIII, who isn't that well remembered because she died a natural death, with her head attached to her body.)  But if you aren't the Happy Rockefeller who's also Mrs. Nelson Rockefeller, you might want to make that clear in your biography blurb.  I didn't find an entry in the biography section though with my confusion on DK4, I certainly could have missed it.

      We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

      by david78209 on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 09:25:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm so glad to see that... (7+ / 0-)

      ... I'm not the only one who realizes these people are NOT a bunch of amateurs:

      Oh, you can bet... (17+ / 0-)

      Recommended by:gmb, defluxion10, socks, willibro, frandor55, Lisa Lockwood, buckstop, KenBee, blueoasis, Timothy J, CroneWit, elwior, Lujane, Troubadour, JesseCW, lexalou, No one gets out alive

      ... that the people involved with this "company" are anything but "new" or "smalltime".

      "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." -- Noam Chomsky

      by ratmach on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 04:33:52 PM CST

      "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." -- Noam Chomsky

      by ratmach on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 10:12:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ScienceMom, Lisa Lockwood, elwior

      Excellent, excellent diary.  I'm glad to hear that you're not buying into the ruse that a short-term instance of incompetence is a reason to write-off the whole group or operation.  

      These guys are hardcore, smart, and ruthless.  

    •  Here's how you fix this (0+ / 0-)'s the same method used years ago on Usenet.  Build a kill file that gets rid of the posts by users you specify.  If there is no one to read their garbage, they aren't of any use.

      Extensions via Firefox already exist to do this on a site like Salon.  We need some for the other Progressive sites like DU and here.  I quit visiting HP once they sold out to AOL, but they could probably use one too.

      Once they get blocked enough, and others realize who the trolls are (due to lack of response) the problem takes care of itself.

    •  Truly excellent work, Happy Rockefeller. (0+ / 0-)

      Sincere thanks for the analysis and focus.

    •  HOLY SHIT! (0+ / 0-)

      If one of us is denied civil rights, all of us are denied civil rights.

      by SeaTurtle on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 08:04:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This story reinforces the importance of Real Life, (0+ / 0-)

      face-to-face community.  In DK4 context at least (probably can't be helped for Twitter), people knowing who other people are in real life can better counter a fake persona with, "Does anyone here KNOW this person?"  Even email/message contact as enabled by groups can help sort out participants from fakes.

    •  Yeah (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ScienceMom, JesseCW

      We had our moment over DU.

    •  Politico boards (7+ / 0-)

      are an example of this type of scamming.
      It is one disgusting place.

      Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. Voltaire

      by barnowl on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 08:40:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  no, it's not disgusting: it's an ecosystem. (13+ / 0-)

        Saying it's disgusting doesn't help at understanding what it is and how it happens.  

        We need to study it in detail and learn how to outfox it.  That requires clear-minded objectivity when we run across examples.

      •  Politico itself is a shady operation (37+ / 0-)

        And I don't just mean for it bullshit reporting.

        A while back I had stumbled on to a story about Riggs Bank. THis was a bankk that was founded in the early 1800s and had been busted laundering Saudi money and all kinds of other CIA type shenanegans.  Citing Wikipedia , "a Wall Street Journal article reported December 31, 2004, that Riggs had extensive ties to the CIA, including that several bank officials held security clearances. "

        So I'm researching Riggs Bank because it was a kind of repeat of the BCCI bank that the intelligence community used to handle all their illegal cash flows.

        Finally, I decided to focus my attention to the individuals behind Riggs Bank. Turned out, when Riggs was prosecuted for various crimes in 2004, notably for transferring money to a Saudi who was related to the Sept 11 attacks and other transgressions, its CEO and partial owner was one  Joe L Albritton .

        Hmmm. I've heard that name before. Oh yeah, the Joe Albritton that owns  Albritton Communications  which owns, that's right,  Politico .

        Follow the links. They're fun and raise a lot of fun questions like:

        Why does a CIA asset/operative bank owner that barely escaped criminal prosecution only because Bush's Attorney General was as corrupt as Al Capone own not just a major political "news" outlet but also a chain of TV stations blanketing propaganda across the country?

        Here's just the tip of the iceberg that Albritton and son were up to at Riggs bank as compiled by someone at Wikipedia

        Saudi money transfers

        In the mid-1970s members of the Saudi royal family set up covert accounts at the Riggs Bank in Washington amounting to tens of millions of dollars; this money was used by the so-called "Safari Club" to run intelligence operations at a time when American intelligence was paralyzed by investigations in the aftermath of Watergate.[3]

        A Saudi named Omar al-Bayoumi housed and opened bank accounts for two of the 9/11 hijackers. About two weeks after the assistance began, al-Bayoumi's wife began receiving monthly payments totaling tens of thousands of dollars from Princess Haifa bint Faisal, the wife of Saudi ambassador and Bush family confidant, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, through a Riggs bank account. [2] (Jonathan Bush, uncle of President George W. Bush, was an executive at Riggs Bank during this period.)

        Upon discovery of these transactions, the FBI began investigating the bank for possible money-laundering and terrorist financing. Although the FBI and later the 9/11 Commission ultimately stated that the money was not intentionally being routed to fund terrorists, investigators were surprised to see how lax the safeguards at Riggs Bank were. Several Saudi accounts were discovered to have financial improprieties, including a lack of required background checks and a consistent failure to alert regulators to large transactions, in violation of federal banking laws.

        Many of these transactions involved Prince Bandar personally, often transferring over $1 million at a time. According to British investigations on the Al Yamamah deal, reported by The Guardian, Bandar would have received over $ 1.5 billion in bribery from BAE Systems, laundered through the Riggs Bank.

        Pinochet's frozen funds
        Further information: Augusto Pinochet's arrest and trial

        Augusto Pinochet, the former dictator of Chile, has been widely accused since 1973 of corruption, illegal arms sales, and torture. In 1994, Riggs officials invited Pinochet to open an account at Riggs Bank. Pinochet was arrested in 1998 in Britain for possible extradition to Spain, and his accounts were ordered frozen by court orders. A recent U.S. Senate report has revealed that Riggs executives helped Pinochet disguise millions of dollars. By using shell companies and hiding accounts from federal regulators, Riggs illegally allowed Pinochet to retain access to much of his fortune.[4]

        The Senate report also indicated that regulators were negligent in holding the bank accountable. Although Pinochet's accounts at Riggs had been reported in U.S. and British newspapers, and although these accounts were largely unreported to regulators, those same regulators never made a serious effort to investigate. The bank examiner from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency tasked with investigating Riggs in 2002, R. Ashley Lee, was later given an executive position at Riggs. In 2004, Lee was placed on paid leave by the bank pending a Justice Department investigation on whether he violated government ethics rules.[5]

        The disclosure of the Riggs accounts reignited the case against General Pinochet, and a ruling that he was not mentally competent to stand trial was overturned when it was proven that the general himself had orchestrated some of the huge transactions. In 2004, he was ordered to stand trial for crimes against humanity, and additional claims of mental and physical incompetence have been overruled. Pinochet died however in December 2006 before being judged. However, in September 2007, Pinochet's widow and five children were indicted by a Chilean court on charges including embezzlement.[6]

        Equatorial Guinean funds

        In July 2004, the US Senate published an investigation into Riggs Bank, into which most of Equatorial Guinea's oil revenues were paid until recently. This showed that accounts based at the embassy to the United States of Equatorial Guinea were allowed to make large withdrawals without properly notifying federal authorities. At least $35 million were siphoned off by long-time dictator of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, his family and senior officials of his regime. His son was reported to have bought, in November 2006, a $ 35 million house in Malibu, California.

        Simon Kareri, the Riggs employee in charge of the Equatorial Guinea and other accounts, stands accused of money-laundering in separate charges. As the account manager, it is alleged that he established a fake holding company in his wife's name, and diverted funds into this account.

        In the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing in July, 2004, Kareri, under advisement from legal counsel, refused to answer any questions of the panel by invoking his 5th Amendment Rights.

        In that hearing, the President of Riggs Bank was asked why the bank would willingly enter into a business arrangement with the dictator of Equatorial Guinea, a man who willingly exercises his hold over his people with demonstrations of murder and torture on state-run television. In a copy of correspondence to President Mbasogo, the letter, "thanked the president for his establishment of several bank accounts, and encouraged a working relationship to help establish and secure the stable reign of his country..."

    •  it's true, and it's real. (21+ / 0-)

      And dKos has been hit with shit like this in the past.  If you know what to look for you can spot it.  

      Read the HBGary material in detail and all will become clear.  You don't need to be a computer genius to figure it out: it's all about certain ways of thinking "out of the box", that anyone can learn.

    •  Saw it some in 2008 (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eru, elwior, LincolnDuncan, pensivelady

      during the primaries.

    •  I've taken for granted (8+ / 0-)

      that any dialogue on a major site (and some not so major) about a topic that might cost some corporation money is going to be influenced by "50-centers"...

      If you were the CEO at a major corporation and you found out your in-house or outsourced PR was not trying to influence social media, wouldn't you be firing people or terminating contracts immediately?

      Peak Oil is NOW! Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

      by alizard on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 10:23:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  we've caught more than a few, over the years (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ivorybill, elwior, James Kresnik

      although they were all analog versions, manned by real operatives/staffers.

  •  T&R'd. Sorry I missed yesterdays. Good stuff (15+ / 0-)

    and something we have to keep in mind. sigh.

    "I have ferrets with fins" - African Cichlids. And (3 - nope....) 2 pooties too! Ren (crossed the Rainbow Bridge 10/19/10), Stimpy (16 yrs) and Rocky (4 yrs)

    by mrsgoo on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 08:08:23 PM PST

  •  The raving mob thing I've gotten over, (20+ / 0-)

    but the uncertainity of who is and who isn't kind of sucks, big time.   The internet is so convenient for that, so it completely makes sense for things to evolve this way.   Humans will always push the limits for an advantage.    

    S.A.W. 2011 STOP ALL WARS "The Global War on Terror is a fabrication to justify imperialism."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 08:11:16 PM PST

  •  This already happened on Kos... (35+ / 0-)

    around the time of the Olympics in China.  Any time a diary with something about Tibet or the Dalai Lama went up, the Chinese secret police sock puppets came in like some kind of red blogger rash to chastize anyone who dared criticize China as racist thugs.

    The Olympics were over...and they simply disappeared.

    •  That was an obvious example. (16+ / 0-)

      It's the day to day, in-country operations that concern me.

      I am very far from being anything like a techno geek, but the fact that there are organized squads roaming these halls seems pretty frackin obvious to me.

      What's equally obvious to me is that these players are both well-integrated, effective and no where near being busted or even recognized.

      "In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder, a secret order." Carl Jung

      by Unduna on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 08:59:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It wasn't so obvious when it happened... (6+ / 0-)

        it was an interesting sociological experiment, because the Chinese agent sock-puppet patrols were pretty good at herding the crowd.

        A lot of people were jumping on the "it's racist to criticize China and it's beautiful culture" bandwagon.

        I don't know if it takes a gang of computerized goons and trolls to turn a place sour on anyone in particular here.  There's a streak of cynicism in America a mile wide and 200 years long that kinda makes such devious and diabolical subterfuge rather unnecessary

        •  Now that you mention it (11+ / 0-)

          I've seen something similar here when people criticize outsourcing, offshoring and sending US jobs overseas.  A few commenters usually jump in to accuse critics of being prejudiced against Indians, even when the discussion doesn't mention a specific country.

          •  If they make us all paranoid... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jackspace, RantNRaven, James Kresnik

            they've probably succeeded beyond their expectations.

            I wonder if GeOrge was a real troll or a robot troll?

            •  Paranoid or reality-based? (4+ / 0-)

              Is it paranoid to think you're vulnerable to attack, when there is a government contractor memo targeting you, and a government bid out soliciting contractors to be sock puppets (see above)?

              Paranoid is when there's no evidence, and no reasons.  Reality is seeing evidence, believing people who present lucid information, and understanding political history.

              Our unwillingness to get down into it and fight back has never worked in the past.  The only way to deal with bullies is to face them down.  They won't go away if you ignore them - they are counting on us to not respond, because they know that negative publicity works, however much we may wish it didn't, and if we don't respond then we've done their jobs for them.  

          •  Could be originating with US corps. who don't (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            James Kresnik

            want to have to rein back on their cheap overseas labor, too.

            "Evil is a lack of empathy, a total incapacity to feel with their fellow man." - Capt. Gilbert,Psychiatrist, at the end of Nuremberg trials.

            by 417els on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 01:35:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Name names (4+ / 0-)

            See, this is the sort of comment that makes me want to doubt this whole thing.  I have BEEN one of those people complaining about racism against Indian people disguised with a thin veneer of legitimate outrage against outsourcing.  (Been a while, but I've done it.)  I have Indian relatives; you might say I'm a bit sensitive on the subject.  Does that make me a shill?

            I've also defended the mandate, and that much more recently.  Does that make me a shill?

            I've never been accused of being a shill, but I have seen people so accused in pie fights who are only saying the same things that I am.  Where's the difference?  How can you or anyone really tell who are the propagandists and who are the honest debaters?  What's any specific accusation based on?  At the very least -- and I address this primarily to G2Geek and anyone else who is convinced this sort of thing is rampant -- please name names and incidents so the rest of us can judge the quality of YOUR judgment.  This cloak-and-dagger "we know it's going on and we know who these people are, but we're not going to tell the rest of you plebes" business is beyond annoying.  It makes me want to just shut down and not engage with the subject at all, and that is worse than useless.  I'm not stupid.  I know it goes on.  But the way it's dealt with is pissing me off.

      •  one place to find sock puppets.... (16+ / 0-)

        .... is in any diary having to do with health insurance.  There the insurance company shills will come out in force, usually shilling for the personal mandate and being silent about the public option, and making all kinds of BS about supporting Obama along the way (or conversely, slogging on Obama but saying "this is the best we can hope for").

        •  Oh yeah (7+ / 0-)

          I've been on the receiving end of that.   Rather odd to get jumped on by posters you've never heard of who act as though they know you very well.   Creepy, very stalker-like.

        •  another is urging investigations to (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jackspace, eru, lotlizard, elwior, MRA NY

          establish evidence for prosecuting members of the last administration for various crimes, many including committing a variety of war crimes .
          Or prosecuting anything done by the group last holding power in the Wall Street House.

          without the ants the rainforest dies

          by aliasalias on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 11:06:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Ha, yeah, Health Insurance is a big (0+ / 0-)


          As I said in another post - I sometimes post on the craigslist politics board for the hell of there is one guy who is an infamous health insurance industry shill - who spent 2007 bashing Obama, but when Obama suddenly decided to table the Public Option he was all: "Well I for one trust President Obama"....

        •  I've always said (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Question Authority

          that we're getting exactly what I expected from Obama. I've never seen him a the liberal many others did. I also supported health care reform. Considering the amount of money Pharma and the insurance industry is paying our congress members I was more surprised by the fact that we go anything and was grateful for that.

          So, no. That wasn't really a "tell" for everyone who knew we were getting the same ol' same ol' when Obama was elected-- but we knew it was the best we could hope for considering the money that's spent to keep our government in line.

          I actually agreed with you up to a point, but this crossed a line. And before you accuse me of shilling right now you should probably have evidence on hand.

          The real money is spent on those who's voices are loud, respected and have the ability to divide us. Random trolls can't do that. If you think all you have to worry about are people who are commenting then you need to widen your net. Look up. Who's got the mic and who really stands to make money from that garbage? Who can convince an army of progressives to organize against various no-name bloggers because those bloggers spoke out against them?

          This is exactly the kind of stuff our opposition wants. They want us unorganized and suspicious of anyone that doesn't share our opinions on every single issue. They're certainly doing an excellent job of it.

          My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

          by gratis4 on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 06:19:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  This is the more common problem. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Many people are convinced that only corporate shills could hold views opposite theirs.

          I guarantee you, maybe 5% of people accused of being sock puppets actually are sock puppets.

        •  Maybe I am mistaken (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Unduna, James Kresnik

          but I could swear I saw this behavior in Monsanto releated diaries and a bunch on the oil spill diaries.

          Do Corporate sock puppets come with little cotton 401Ks?

          "If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."- J. Danforth Quayle

          by Sychotic1 on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 12:39:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Maybe, maybe not... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I don't recall if I participated in those threads, but I have criticized "progressives" for racist stances towards China.

      Just sayin...

      "This will hasten the fading of the case from the political radar screen." - Wikileaks Cable 05Rome1593

      by Anak on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 09:07:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The difference is.. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RantNRaven, phrogge prince, roadbear

        you're still here and they're not.  

        •  You remember all their handles? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          subtropolis, Larsstephens, MGross

          And I was indeed accused of being a sockpuppet once concerning China, though not about the Olympics. So, I'd say be careful.

          "This will hasten the fading of the case from the political radar screen." - Wikileaks Cable 05Rome1593

          by Anak on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 09:14:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It wouldn't be that hard to investigate (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            since everything is available here in archive.

            Not that I'm going to sit down and do that.  

            That said, I don't need to do a thorough analysis of what took place prior to the Olympics here to know that Chinese agents were involved.

            We're talking about a nation that pays thousands of pretty girls to walk shoulder to shoulder to replace every single divet in their most prestigious golf courses after every day's play.

            I'm sure they have more than enough people to sit around telling Americans they're racist for speaking out against their policy toward Tibet.

            •  Or maybe they are Asian-Americans (8+ / 0-)

              fighting against racist views of an Asian country?

              I know...Asian-Americans don't exist here on DKos. It's all whites and blacks and blacks and whites over and over and over again. But still, maybe that's what happened?

              "This will hasten the fading of the case from the political radar screen." - Wikileaks Cable 05Rome1593

              by Anak on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 09:22:53 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm sure there were some of those too... (4+ / 0-)

                that's what made them so effective.

                I'm quite sure you're not a sock puppet of the Chinese Communist Party.  

                But, I'm kinda wondering why you think it's "racist" to criticize the Chinese regime's brutality towards Tibet.  Aren't the people of Tibet "Asians" too?

                •  See where this leads to? (5+ / 0-)

                  Gee, maybe you are a sock puppet too?

                  Of course, since I'm defending a minority position here, it is way too  easy for the majority to gang up on me and make everyone else believe I'm the one who is the sock puppet.

                  You don't think there's a problem in that?

                  "This will hasten the fading of the case from the political radar screen." - Wikileaks Cable 05Rome1593

                  by Anak on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 09:34:16 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Probably.. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    but you're a real person.  If your opinion was generated in a 1000 different ways by a 1000 different fake people, that wouldn't be the same thing.

                    •  Sure (0+ / 0-)

                      But how that would actually look remains to be seen. I mean, I have suspected "paid posters" when discussing a totally unrelated topic. But that seemed like old-school sock puppets, not computer generated posters.

                      So, yeah, I understand the danger, just not sure if we've seen it yet.

                      "This will hasten the fading of the case from the political radar screen." - Wikileaks Cable 05Rome1593

                      by Anak on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 10:07:07 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Nice dodge (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Odysseus, HiKa, MRA NY

                    Care to answer the question?

                    But, I'm kinda wondering why you think it's "racist" to criticize the Chinese regime's brutality towards Tibet.  Aren't the people of Tibet "Asians" too?

                    Everything you know is wrong. Firesign Theatre -5.13/-3.38

                    by Grannus on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 01:23:59 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I never brought up that topic (0+ / 0-)

                      here, so I'm not going to answer it.

                      So there.


                      "This will hasten the fading of the case from the political radar screen." - Wikileaks Cable 05Rome1593

                      by Anak on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 09:06:35 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Fair enough (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        David Kroning II

                        It does make you look like you have an agenda though.

                        Everything you know is wrong. Firesign Theatre -5.13/-3.38

                        by Grannus on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 01:18:44 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Agenda? (0+ / 0-)

                          Again. Not everyone who defends China is a sock puppet. That's all I was saying. David understood that as did everyone else last night.

                          Why you and very slow reader UntimelyRipped can't understand it, I dunno...

                          "This will hasten the fading of the case from the political radar screen." - Wikileaks Cable 05Rome1593

                          by Anak on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 09:40:43 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

                            Not everyone who defends China is a sockpuppet.  Perception is king though.  When you refuse to answer a simple question like that, however, the readers, slow or otherwise, are left with a question about the refusal.  It paints a picture of someone who has talking points that they stick to, and reinforces a perception that may or may not be true.

                            Everything you know is wrong. Firesign Theatre -5.13/-3.38

                            by Grannus on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 05:21:39 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Give me a break (0+ / 0-)

                            The PRC has nothing on the US in terms of invading and otherwise meddling in other countries. Remember Vietnam? Death squads in Guatemala? The Contras? Pinoche assassinated in Chile? Grenada? The bombing of Libya? The first Iraq War? The Second Iraq War? Afganistan? Gitmo?

                            And you are telling me that we gotta come down on the Chinese when they finally get the Olympics? Lol. Like you've been getting all over the US the many times we've hosted the Olympics?

                            Disgusting. Racist. Crap.

                            "This will hasten the fading of the case from the political radar screen." - Wikileaks Cable 05Rome1593

                            by Anak on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 10:41:34 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You have no idea (0+ / 0-)
                            Like you've been getting all over the US the many times we've hosted the Olympics?
                            what I have and haven't been doing, or what I support or don't support.  Your attack is weak sauce at best.

                            Personally I don't give a shit what China does or doesn't do.  Your moving from dodge and misdirect to attack tells me that something hit home.  You really should ask for direction before trying to wing it on your own.  Not everyone is a naive teabagger.

                            I see no reason to continue further.  

                            Everything you know is wrong. Firesign Theatre -5.13/-3.38

                            by Grannus on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 02:23:53 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Finally a bit of intelligence, pendejo. (0+ / 0-)

                            Take care.

                            "This will hasten the fading of the case from the political radar screen." - Wikileaks Cable 05Rome1593

                            by Anak on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 09:56:53 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You too (0+ / 0-)

                            und fick dich.

                            Everything you know is wrong. Firesign Theatre -5.13/-3.38

                            by Grannus on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:11:23 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Na, so was! (0+ / 0-)

                            Es ist Deine eigene Schuld. Warum mischt Du Dich ein, wo Du Dich nicht hineinmischen sollst, Kleiner?

                            "This will hasten the fading of the case from the political radar screen." - Wikileaks Cable 05Rome1593

                            by Anak on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 10:36:48 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  If you insist on insulting me (0+ / 0-)

                            do it in a language you understand.  The word you were looking for is Kinder, not Kleiner.

                            Everything you know is wrong. Firesign Theatre -5.13/-3.38

                            by Grannus on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 01:44:14 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Huh? Dude... (0+ / 0-)

                            Kind = child
                            Kinder = children

                            So, no, I wouldn't call a single individual "Kinder."

                            "Kleiner," btw, means "little one / little boy / little man."

                            Why don't you go shoot some guns or something instead of wasting my time with your Schwachsinn?

                            "This will hasten the fading of the case from the political radar screen." - Wikileaks Cable 05Rome1593

                            by Anak on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 09:33:10 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You can't seem to end a comment (0+ / 0-)

                            without an insult.

                            BTW, I only have one gun, and my wife loves it when I shoot it, so I'll go do that and you can report to your station chief.

                            You can have the last insult.

                            Everything you know is wrong. Firesign Theatre -5.13/-3.38

                            by Grannus on Wed Feb 23, 2011 at 04:46:16 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  PS (0+ / 0-)

                            That is not what kleiner means.  Four years of language instruction and three years living in Germany back me up.  Babblefish is not your friend.

                            Everything you know is wrong. Firesign Theatre -5.13/-3.38

                            by Grannus on Wed Feb 23, 2011 at 04:49:12 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yeah...this coming from someone (0+ / 0-)

                            who says "Kinder" was the correct word... You are too funny. And you rely on Bablefish?! Lol...

                            Whatever. Go on blissfully thinking you know something about German. Ist mir Scheiß egal...


                            "This will hasten the fading of the case from the political radar screen." - Wikileaks Cable 05Rome1593

                            by Anak on Wed Feb 23, 2011 at 10:17:05 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  German thing (0+ / 0-)

                            Ok, I'll refrain from insults this time, even though I think you are the one who started it all. Just wanted to clear something up with German in order to help you out.

                            Dude, in German, you can turn any adjective into a noun easily. Just like in English. In English, adjectives like "small," "red," "almighty," "beloved" can be made to denote a noun that represents the quality of the adjective in this way : "the small one," "the red one," "the almighty one," "the beloved one." Same as in German, except that you don't need the "one". This famous Heine poem serves as an example:

                            Ich liebe sie nicht mehr, ich liebe alleine
                            Die Kleine, die Feine, de Reine, die Eine

                            Note how those words (klein, fein, etc) are all capitalized, i.e. they are nouns here, not adjectives. And, as you know, nouns formed from adjectives refering to persons don't need an article in front of them. You say, after all, "Hans ist Deutscher" or "Heike ist Deutsche."

                            Thus, if you want to address someome as "almighty one" or "beloved one," you would say "Allmächtiger" or "Geliebter." Surely you've seen those forms before. Well, it's the same with the word "klein."

                            Here is a soldier's poem I just happened to come across exhibiting this. Note how the adjectives "allmächtig" and "allgütig" are turned into nouns:

                            Hör uns, Allmächtiger!
                            Hör uns, Allgütiger!
                            Himmlischer Führer der Schlachten!
                            Vater, Dich preisen wir!
                            Vater, wir danken Dir
                            daß wir zur Freiheit erwachten.    



                            "This will hasten the fading of the case from the political radar screen." - Wikileaks Cable 05Rome1593

                            by Anak on Wed Feb 23, 2011 at 11:44:44 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  And you can do this with any adjective, btw: (0+ / 0-)
                            Hör uns Kleiner, Großer, Roter, Dummer, Dreieckiger, Ausgezeichneter, Funkelnagelneuer...

                            That's just how German works.

                            "This will hasten the fading of the case from the political radar screen." - Wikileaks Cable 05Rome1593

                            by Anak on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 12:24:25 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  The only thing that has been led to (3+ / 0-)

                    is your preposterous threadjacking to remount your apparent defense of odious policies, from the non-starter argument that to criticize chinese government policies is to be racist.

                    At this point, it hardly matters whether you're a sock puppet or for real -- your point of view is ridiculous and demeans and debases the debate.

                    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                    by UntimelyRippd on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 05:21:47 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Lol... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      I was replying to the notion that "only sock puppets would defend China". If that's thread-jacking, blame David Kroning, the person who started this sub-thread, not me.

                      "This will hasten the fading of the case from the political radar screen." - Wikileaks Cable 05Rome1593

                      by Anak on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 09:11:05 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  um. (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        James Kresnik, David Kroning II

                        why did you choose to enquote that statement, since it appears nowhere in Kroning's comment -- and indeed, nothing like it appears in Kroning's original comment or his response.

                        in fact, in response to Kroning's flatout statement that he does not think you're a sock puppet, and that therefore he wonders what your motivations are, you come back with, "See where this leads to? etc. etc. blather blather whine whinge whimper."

                        ya know what? china's government is horrible. even worse than the american government, and that's saying something. hell, i'll forego "even", and run with "much, much". people around here don't criticize the government of china because it's full of chinese people, they criticize it because it sucks. either deal with that reality, or deal with your paranoia about being called a sock puppet, because you are defending the indefensible, and using an absurd argument to do so.

                        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                        by UntimelyRippd on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 10:49:06 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Read the entire sub-thread slowly. (0+ / 0-)

                          I mean, s l o w l y.


                          "This will hasten the fading of the case from the political radar screen." - Wikileaks Cable 05Rome1593

                          by Anak on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 11:07:04 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I have read the entire subthread. (0+ / 0-)

                            Here's what I discovered: You're a fool.

                            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                            by UntimelyRippd on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 03:21:45 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  mirror you look (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            "Don't fall or we both go." Derek Hersey 1957-1993

                            by ban nock on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 08:49:44 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Nietzsche once talked about (0+ / 0-)

                            tempos in reading and tempos in writing.

                            It is hard to be understood, especially when one thinks and lives gangasrotagati amongst men who think and live differently--namely, kurmagati, or at best "the way frogs walk," mandukagati -- Beyond Good and Evil 27

                            My original post here made a jump from what David wrote. Everyone else seemed to understand that jump. Except slow ones like you.

                            "This will hasten the fading of the case from the political radar screen." - Wikileaks Cable 05Rome1593

                            by Anak on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 10:03:44 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I understood your jump perfectly well. (0+ / 0-)

                            It was rhetorically inept, intellectually disingenuous, generally self-indulgent, and entirely beside the point.

                            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                            by UntimelyRippd on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 05:10:12 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You vehemently protested: (0+ / 0-)
                            why did you choose to enquote that statement, since it appears nowhere in Kroning's comment -- and indeed, nothing like it appears in Kroning's original comment or his response.

                            So, no, you didn't understand the jump I had made, since you were desperatly looking for what I "quoted" in Kroning's original. But, of course, it wasn't there in the original, since I had jumped. Isn't that what got you all upset in the first place?

                            But good luck in the future, mandukagati...

                            "This will hasten the fading of the case from the political radar screen." - Wikileaks Cable 05Rome1593

                            by Anak on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 10:56:59 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  oh, blow me. (0+ / 0-)

                            your "jump" was a complete rhetorical fail, a weird hodgepodge of strawmannery, trollery, and trumped-up pseudo-PC self-righteousness. what a maroon.

                            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                            by UntimelyRippd on Tue Feb 22, 2011 at 08:45:30 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yeah... (0+ / 0-)

                            that's why YOU were the only one who didn't get it, lol.

                            "This will hasten the fading of the case from the political radar screen." - Wikileaks Cable 05Rome1593

                            by Anak on Wed Feb 23, 2011 at 10:18:49 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  keep patting yourself on the back. (0+ / 0-)

                            it's a signal characteristic of trolls -- one of the advantages of having simianesque arms.

                            you didn't "make a jump" -- whatever you think you mean by that. you (sort of) changed the subject, while referring back to the previous subject as if someone had said something they hadn't, in a failed effort at a segue. in any rhetoric class, you would have lost at least a full letter grade for such utter ineptitude. the only thing i'm confused about is why you're proud of it.

                            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                            by UntimelyRippd on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 11:28:16 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Dude, I am not a troll (0+ / 0-)

                            I am a sock puppet paid for by Chairman Mao. You guessed it earlier.  And if you check out other threads I've written on, you will see that I am a sock puppet for Che Guevara as well. I'm what he called "el hombre del futuro."

                            But keep chugging along slowly, compadre!

                            "This will hasten the fading of the case from the political radar screen." - Wikileaks Cable 05Rome1593

                            by Anak on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 11:52:22 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  actually, nobody guessed that. (0+ / 0-)

                            not Mr. Kroning, and certainly not I.

                            but don't let reality get in the way of your delusional self-delight.

                            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                            by UntimelyRippd on Fri Feb 25, 2011 at 07:52:00 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

        •  reputation economies (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          alizard, buddabelly, James Kresnik, Anak

          the longer and more of a known quantity one is, the less likely that one is a plant or bot. i was somewhere between anak and majority opinion on that, as i recall.

      •  as did I, specifically: (10+ / 0-)

        that the Olympics was a moment of national pride for the Chinese people, and we should be willing to set aside politics just long enough to give them that much.

        By now, China has become the equal of Europe in wind energy, is building 30 nuclear reactors and an entire city dedicated to solar R&D & manufacturing, and 3,000 miles of highspeed rail per year.  Leaving us in the dust as far as concrete steps for the climate crisis are concerned.  

        So the whole story w/r/t China is highly complex, and deserves a lot more thought.  

    •  or maybe the China diaries disappeared (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You may be on to something here but your logic isn't quite up to snuff. Perhaps you noticed a lot of comments defending China simply because there happened to be a lot of comments vilifying China.

  •  Who has not been here? (17+ / 0-)

    Interesting, eh?
    Perhaps the algorithm doesn't work any longer here...

    I have known that shit has been going on, totally naive to think it hasn't been...

    It's a bit scary to have it actually confirmed.

    I actually think that Greg Hoglund's work that we found out about - that rootkit - is the big story.

    But you're right, this one does hit close to home and should concern all of us.


    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 08:24:45 PM PST

  •  That little company (10+ / 0-)

    might lack the capability but from what I've read, if an idea can be conceived, someone can write the software. And there are agencies and corporations that would pay handsomely for this gem.

    Combine this tech with data-mining and you can rule the internet. Discredit your foes with leaks, while obscuring your trail?! That's hard combination to beat.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 08:38:05 PM PST

  •  Let me make something perfectly clear: (5+ / 0-)

    If I hijack a threat it is not because I'm in the pocket of some industry or a slimy black-hat federal contractor.

    I'm hijacking it because it is either a P.O.S. (and we do get those around here) or because I have it in for the diarist.  (Haven't done THAT for a very long time.)

    Once in a while I go off into la-la land, and it might look like a hijacking.

    What I'm trying to say is: I am NOT a sockpuppet.

    (But if I made one, it would probably be called "Vogon Poetry" or "Aaron Barr") and I'd use an anonymizer so that my IP address would be different.

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    -Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 08:43:36 PM PST

  •  So anybody who has an account at Dailykos (0+ / 0-)

    must register an associated SSN for each sock puppet?

    I don't dislike all conservatives... mainly just the ones that vote Republican.

    by OHdog on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 08:50:10 PM PST

  •  your tax dollars at work (17+ / 0-)

    busy little termites gnawing away at the studding of democracy.

    Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues. The Gita 3.21

    by rasbobbo on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 08:56:43 PM PST

    •  Yeah, I'm working on the government angle. (18+ / 0-)

      HB Gary Federal was, after all, HB Gary's attempt to focus a division of their company on federal contracts.

      Which raises some real interesting question about why the United States government, and specifically the Executive branch, would require or solicit the technology to create personas to infiltrate social media sites and communities.

      Obviously, the State Dept/CIA would want this for foreign interventions and/or data mining nat. security threats.

      But I see no valid reason for the govt to be infiltrating labor or progressive groups. And, unless I missed it, I haven't seen a direct link tying the govt to a need or request to infiltrate domestic groups.

      But, all these companies, HBG, Palantir, and Berinco are revolving door companies where the line between govt and private is undetectable.

      •  4th amendment only applies to searches & seizures (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        James Kresnik, aigeanta

        not playing patty cake.

        Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues. The Gita 3.21

        by rasbobbo on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 09:45:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What HBGary is doing is using its U.S. govt.... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eru, bushondrugs, Larsstephens

        ...contract knowledge to screw progressive groups. That's bad enough. There's no evidence that the government encouraged them to do that, although the government is, in my mind completely legitimately, concerned about Wikileaks.

        Wikileaks should not in any way be conflated with progressive union or political action groups, in that Wikileaks depends for its existence on people breaking the law and spilling classified information in a way that most people on this very site condemned when the leakers were Scooter Libby, Rove and assorted thugs surrounding them.

        •  Disagree with the equivalency here. (5+ / 0-)

          There is a difference between the kinds of embarrassing revelations conveyed via wikileaks — "forced transparency," if you will — and the treasonous outing of a CIA operative.

          Pretty much everything I've seen so far from wikileaks has put the spotlight on activities that We the People need to know about. Perhaps there will be other info that may cross the line, but so far, wikileaks has been serving the general interest well.

      •  How is this not a first amendment problem? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eru, James Kresnik, bushondrugs

        Isn't the government obstructing free speech with this little scenario? Their intent is obstruction and disruption, of law-abiding people who haven't done anything wrong. Just because they contract it out doesn't let them off the hook.

        Maybe we need a civil rights consult and some forensic computer people to start looking for evidence.  Some of the other sock puppets could also have been government funded somehow.  If there's any government tie in whatsoever, then that's a problem.  For them.

      •  Have you not noticed the attacks... (9+ / 0-)

        ... on liberals on this site? The more Obama moves to the right, the more some of us critcize him, and the more WE get slammed... and by extension liberalism ("far left" is how we're usually described) gets slammed. If we can be made into the bad guys, how much easier for the push to the right to continue. And much of this (not just on this site) has to do with making sure big business (incl. MSM) and the military keeps on keepin' on.

        There are some people here who are genuinely centrist/conservatives, and have been for a long time. And there are some people here who are so invested in Obama succeeding that they've (IMO) lost their political bearings. But there's also an awful of of seemingly unexplainable support for Obama's policies, no matter how right-leaning some of those policies, even as many of those supporters constantly claim to be "progressives".

        OK, end of my slightly CT rant. But it was just my attempt to answer your question...

        But I see no valid reason for the govt to be infiltrating labor or progressive groups.

        "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." -- Noam Chomsky

        by ratmach on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 10:39:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I wouldn't be surprised if Big-Business DNC types (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ScienceMom, James Kresnik, ratmach

          hadn't done this type of thing, too, not just wingers.  Terrible to admit that.  Especially remembering the money I'd given the DNC prior to 2000.  


          I have had people tell me to my face they are liberal while supporting the most regressive, unconstitutional Bush policies imaginable.  I kept thinking Jeez I'd hate to see you turn conservative.

      •  a very good question (3+ / 0-)

        Perhaps Cass Sunstein, Obama's head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs can explain this to us.   Though IIRC, DOD has been looking at this, too.

        Peak Oil is NOW! Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

        by alizard on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 10:47:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Excellent comment. nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rasbobbo, roadbear

      The truth is we are tortured by the truth.

      by walkshills on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 09:31:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  you mean dKos might be infested (21+ / 0-)

    with groups of pro-corporate boot-lickers going around crapping on the left?  oh me oh my what would that be like?

  •  In honour of this diary, I invite everyone (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave the Rave, aigeanta, blunami

    to view my profile.

    'If you want to be a hero, well just follow me.' - J. Lennon

    by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 09:14:52 PM PST

  •  I am not a techie (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yuriwho, trueblueliberal, geez53

    but can this be countered by site monitors looking for common threads of origin between different identities?

    I would think that if software exists to create differing sock puppets, it should be possible to deconstruct same. Or is this hopelessly naive?

  •  time to change over to (1+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:
    James Kresnik

    Linux or cloud computing OS's

    win is so compromised

    attached is my coded file for production of a nuclear weapon from the boot partition of any HDD

    the encryption is the standard ultra liberal domestic threat team code from 1999

    you know the one i'm talkin about

    attachment follows:


    "Nearly everything you do is of no importance, but it is important that you do it" Mohandas Gandhi

    by CMikkelson on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 09:25:10 PM PST

  •  Social media is ripe for abuse (11+ / 0-)

    and one of the reasons that I do not have a FB page or a twitter account. I just don't trust it.

    Your online presence is a precarious thing. Heck you might even get Sherroded for something you never said.

    It's mob rule on the internet these days and every corporation I know of is trying to tap into social media to increase sales.

    Scary stuff when 99% of the public is unaware of this.

  •  They Were Damned Good At It 40 Yrs Ago (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, James Kresnik

    Which is why we're going to be integrating so many of the good ideas of their party in our policies these next 2 years.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 09:27:43 PM PST

    •  Nixon and his thugs (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wiseacre, bee tzu

      planted agents provacateurs and informers throughout the land.  Many were comically obvious, but some were not...

      Nixon hatched the national security state.  What a fine, big vulture it's grown into.

      Whom do you blame more? The rattlesnake, or the bipartisan guy who put it in your sleeping bag?

      by chuckvw on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 11:22:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nixon did not invent agent (4+ / 0-)


        In fact, some of those agent provocateurs must have felt mightily aggrieved that their job title was so obviously "French".

        •  The visceral antipathy toward the French (4+ / 0-)

          really didn't arise until they suggested that our invasion of Iraq was based on false intelligence and outright, knowing lies.  (Daddy don't cotton much to people messing with his wars...)

          Of course, the hatred only grew when they turned out to be right.

          Whom do you blame more? The rattlesnake, or the bipartisan guy who put it in your sleeping bag?

          by chuckvw on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 12:00:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  But he was the first president to really treat us (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        his own citizens, as the enemy that had to be penetrated and controlled, by whatever means necessary, including informers and provocateurs and surveillance.  He really did create our national security state.  He even seriously considered bombing his own Republican convention in 1972 so that they could blame the left for the violence.

        •  No (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          He was the first President to get caught. Big difference there. But his was not the first administration to do it. I can look through just 20th Century history to see evidence of that-- during the Civil Rights Movement, McCarthy's hunt of for Communists, WWII, union busting in Appalachia and the Suffrage movement, just to name a few.

          Nixon just got his hand caught in the cookie jar.

          My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

          by gratis4 on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 06:35:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Which presidents organized (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wiseacre, James Kresnik

            those activities, made them executive policy, explicitly ran them out of the White House, and created a powerful, unaccountable security establishment, the ominous, stenchy shadow of which still hovers over us?  That's what we're talking about here.

            John Adams and Woodrow Wilson, perhaps, but they were pikers compared to Nixon, and their oppressive policies did not survive them.  (The Federalist Party choked and died on the Alien and Sedition Acts...)

            By the way, I never said that Nixon invented agents provacateurs, only that he employed them!

            Whom do you blame more? The rattlesnake, or the bipartisan guy who put it in your sleeping bag?

            by chuckvw on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 12:11:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  We dont know do we? (0+ / 0-)

              Because they never got caught, there were just rumors and innuendos. That's my point. Who's going to blow the whistle on them? Especially when those that tried were considered conspiracy theorists or crazy?

              And I may have erroneously replied to you (coming back here via my "Comments" page), because I was replying to an assertion that Nixon started all of this nonsense.  I can't tell right now because I'm just glancing through everything before I get back to my life.

              My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

              by gratis4 on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 05:04:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  It's interesting to see what factors cause (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eru, nickrud, MGross

    people to suspect that a given poster might be fake in some way. I guess some anonymous people engender more trust than others.

  •  yo people, rec up this diary! (7+ / 0-)

    This needs to be on the rec list for a day or two: this pertains to defending ourselves against a coordinated infestation of shills and sock-puppets.

  •  So... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Is this snark?

    I can't even tell. Which is why I like it.

    "Preventive war is a crime not easily committed by a country that retains any traces of democracy." -George Orwell

    by Zackpunk on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 09:33:36 PM PST

  •  I'm actually more inclined to see some of this (9+ / 0-)

    become seeds of doubt planted in more volatile, online communities that they wish to target.

    Sowing suspicion on a grand scale can allow fewer infiltrators to be effective in terms of disruptive activities due to increased wariness we'd have of the majority of peers (who are NOT infiltrators, of course), which further allows them to concentrate on building a few key, trusted relationships with specific groups or sub-communities.

    This essentially means that we should live carefully and develop basic processes + methods for enabling trusted relationships at the site to occur, while developing "recommended" site guidelines for dealing with contra-situations and opinions from users which fall below the HR radar.  It's easy to ignore opinions about science or reported fact that start and end with something one cannot hope to prove, that is.

    Grand speculation that falls into flamebait territory should perhaps be relegated to meta- or hypothesis-tagged diaries, as a consideration.  Make this a common aspect of our posting culture here and it might catch on.

    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

    by wader on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 09:38:51 PM PST

    •  All we need are seeds and fertilizer (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jackspace, chuckvw, wader, KenBee

      and a copy of tricky dick's dirty tricks book for helpful hints - wouldn't that be poetic justice

      the left never fought back against those people, they just caved when the DNC went corporate.  Then Republicans ruled for 30 years.  I would think we would have learned a lesson, but I'm not counting on it.

  •  Another Question (14+ / 0-)

    that should concern us, if HB Gray is this sophisticated are we absolutely sure that electronic voting booths, with no paper trail, have not been tampered with. From Dictatorship to Democracy, Guide to Non Violent Protests. Because your sig should include a link that will get it banned in China.

    by sdelear on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 09:52:43 PM PST

  •  Not surprised if they hack elections too n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming, jackspace, wiseacre
  •  I've seen swarm type posts, esp on Politico (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Voodoo, jackspace, RageKage

    ... and it all makes sense now. The right has been using the HBGary techniques for quite some time, methinks.

  •  This really does concern me. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, jackspace, ScienceMom, wiseacre

    I don't think I would mind so much if everyone knew about it, but it seems to me that the vast majority of people who make judgements & decisions based on this sort of data are really naive about what is going on and don't realize how easily it can be manipulated.  Thanks for bringing it up.  I'm sure it was a lot of work to study all those emails.

  •  About six months or a year ago (18+ / 0-)

    Actually I don't remember how long ago it was, I'm just guessing...

    If you're a reader of jotter's diaries you might remember when there was a spike in new user registrations for a day or a week.  All of the usernames registered were clearly generated.  They were formatted something like:

    alpha alpha alpha numeric numeric alpha alpha

    Everyone knew something was up and that it was probably someone registrering a bunch of names for future use.

    I don't know if those were wiped or what.

    One other thing -- if there are a bunch of fake personas posting here, one way to pick them out might be to look at their ratings history if you suspect they are fakes.  While firms like HBGary might be able to automate some things, and one person might be able to manage a whole bunch of personas, would they take the time to rec comments?  This is just speculation, but I'm guessing that fake personas might not have much of a ratings history (rating others' comments) or might have none.

    They'd probably be better at Twitter (easiest of all the social media to game, IMHO,) Facebook, comment sections of newspaper articles, simpler blogs.  It wouldn't be that easy to game this web site, or at least it would take a bigger investment of time to appear to be a real person.

    Recommended by:
    jackspace, wiseacre, MRA NY

    Please check out the resumes for people hired by HBGary who are:

    ....extremely qualified people with backgrounds in the NSA and ATT and other major organizations/corporations. These guys are pros.

    You may find it useful to identify them and then confirm that they are engaged in the anti-democratic and unAmerican activities that have been described.

    This space had been for rent. But it's now the subject of an illegal foreclosure.

    by xynz on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 10:29:50 PM PST

  •  I just assume you're all... (8+ / 0-)

    ...either figments of my imagination or computer generated people.

    I don't care if someone is real or fake, personally, I evaluate the argument.

    if it's a sound argument it doesn't matter who says it.  And if it is unsound, it equally doesn't matter.

    Let there be balance in all things.

    by DawnG on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 10:32:37 PM PST

    •  It's the numbers (15+ / 0-)

      I have always taken the same position exactly. But this is different. The illusion that not only does one person hold a particular position, but 20 do? That creates a whole new element.

      Having the capacity for one or two people to almost simultaneously blog or comment as 20 people creates a propaganda effect known as bandwagon. As it's explained here:


      Bandwagon is one of the most common techniques in both wartime and peacetime and plays an important part in modern advertising. Bandwagon is also one of the seven main propaganda techniques identified by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis in 1938. Bandwagon is an appeal to the subject to follow the crowd, to join in because others are doing so as well. Bandwagon propaganda is, essentially, trying to convince the subject that one side is the winning side, because more people have joined it. The subject is meant to believe that since so many people have joined, that victory is inevitable and defeat impossible. Since the average person always wants to be on the winning side, he or she is compelled to join in. However, in modern propaganda, bandwagon has taken a new twist. The subject is to be convinced by the propaganda that since everyone else is doing it, they will be left out if they do not. This is, effectively, the opposite of the other type of bandwagon, but usually provokes the same results. Subjects of bandwagon are compelled to join in because everyone else is doing so as well. When confronted with bandwagon propaganda, we should weigh the pros and cons of joining in independently from the amount of people who have already joined, and, as with most types of propaganda, we should seek more information.

      I shouldnt need to say that this is an extremely effective form of persuasion, especially in an online community.

      In some of the proposals, HB Gary et al. discuss creating "deep personas", developed over a fairly long period of time, who have established trust or a following.

      Then, at just the right moment, the deep persona can be activated to take a bold stand on a critical issue. To the extent that one or more deep personas carry significant weight, they can all be activated at once creating a hive or cluser of followers who will adopt and defend that position.

      This could be extremely powerful at all kind of inter-community shenanigans. Imagine the effect it may have had if nyceve and slinkerwink suddenly came out against health care reform (I only use this example because it's so impossible it's funny) But what if? It would at the very least demoralize some people, and at the very worst, could be a powerful endorsement for leaving the corrupt, health insurance company scam system we have intact.

      That's a silly example but you get my point.

      A far more common effect would just be creating a herd mentality with a comment swarm. If one or two people thinks that Obama is doing the right thing by allowing BP to dump Corexit into the Gulf, then they have little effect. But when a hundred people think this, it carries weight. It makes many people reconsider their dislike of the policy. "Yeah, maybe he is doing the right thing.

      In short, then I have to crash, there is power in numbers. And the software these assholes are developing allows them to effectively grow their numbers exponentially.

      •  But, in the end, so what? (3+ / 0-)

        Do we really think that the daily teeth-gnashing in blog comments sections has an influence on policy?

        "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

        by Geekesque on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 05:48:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Taken on an individual basis, no. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          James Kresnik

          But, if enough people are gently herded into the notion that say, singer payer isn't realistic, it could have an impact on how many people donate to groups fighting for such a thing. How many LTE's argue in favor of singer payer. How many calls our reps in DC receive arguing in favor of singer payer. That can have an impact, yes?

          "Such is the irresistible nature of truth that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing." - Thomas Paine

          by blueoregon on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 12:38:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  People thought single payer (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            wasn't realistic because it wasn't realistic.  An actual government takeover of the entire health insurance sector was not going to happen.  

            "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

            by Geekesque on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 07:51:06 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Then why are you here? Vanity? (0+ / 0-)

          If it didn't work then our opponents probably wouldn't waste much time and money creating an equivalent. There is good reason to believe that aggressive blogging and online organizing worked as well for the Tea Party and their backers just as it did for the Obama campaign.  We can bicker over the exact level of effective or the role of online blogging, but there is enough evidence to suggest.

          Unless you're directly benefiting from the fleecing somehow, all your blind investment in establishment politics has bought you, is a dog-and-pony show.

          by James Kresnik on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 05:35:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  We should not labor (0+ / 0-)

            under the illusion that bickering in blog comments sections drives policy.

            It only encourages the wasting of more time.

            Blog commenting is something of a bad habit or vice, personally speaking.

            "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

            by Geekesque on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 07:52:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  I would suggest (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ScienceMom, James Kresnik

        that it is more difficult to sway opinions and 'control' people who, for lack of a better description, are cats highly resistant to herding. For instance, I am not a consumer. So no matter what ads appear on any page of any website, I can easily ignore. I sometimes go looking for products for research, but that's me looking for them.

        I haven't seen any actual changes of mind about any issue or policy caused by a swarm of trolls, despite the fact that troll swarms are common here. Real progressives and most Dems are highly resistant to that sort of thing by nature.

  •  Need some codebreakers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If posts and tweets are being generated automagically then there should be patterns that can be discerned in order to assign a likdlihood that the content was coming from the same tool.  You'd need some of those MIT people on your side to write the detection software, but it should be possible.  

    Twitter would remain the king of crap, though, since its small message limit leaves less room for variation, meaning more messages would, just by random chance, appear similar to the auto-generated ones. Once the corporate stooges add some randomization they'd be impossible to find on Twitter.

    But randomization on "regular language" sites means less comprehensible messages and would be harder to automate.

    Fuck I hate Twitter with a passion. And now even more.

  •  Craigslist has a politics forum I've posted (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TaraIst, eru, ivorybill, KenBee

    on over the years (world politics forum for anyone interested)  because it has a fair amount of progressives as well as right-wingers, and I like the interface.

    It doesn't take long to figure out that most of the right-wing posters there are paid operatives of some sort - with many of the supposedly different identities clearly being the same person (or many people posting the same talking points under the same 'handle' - same difference really).

    It's kind of a fascinating place to see right-wing strategies at play - many of them seemingly counter-intuitive - but they must be effective or else these people would not be there posting such nonsense day and night (and the worst right-wing trolls kind of take the place over in late-late-late night).

    I don't know how much I'd worry about these kinds of people infiltrating Kos - they are usually pretty apparent.

    One meme I might have read here in the past which I think MAY have been a planted story was that rumor about George W. Bush buying a huge compound in...what was it, Uruguay?

  •  We have to assume these things are in place (7+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poe, alizard, eru, lotlizard, bee tzu, jarbyus, oldhippie

    but must not allow it to control how we act, or to divert us into dealing with it, because it is bound to be nebulous.  Stay serious and forthright, and remember that the most important readers are the ones not posting.  That's who you're trying to convince of your ideas and agenda.

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." ~Frederick Douglass

    by ActivistGuy on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 11:42:23 PM PST

  •  Some ideas to counter this (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, vinylgirl, eru, wiseacre, lotlizard

    These are just some ideas that come to mind at the moment:

    Develop webs of trust. Get familiar with GPG.

    Devise something akin to what we call 'Mojo' which comes with higher privs.  For instance, if you have been seen in meat space as a living/breathing singular entity, you don't even have to say your real legal name, we know we have met . . . Happy Rockefeller for example at a Meet-Up or at Netroots.

    Maybe it's time people clean-out their Facebook friends and double-check they actually know people they 'friend'.

    Become wise in the ways of how these f***ers operate and how to counter them.  Remember, you're still a free citizen in a supposedly free society, the worst thing you can do is internalize their projection of criminality.

    Learn to communicate off the grid.  There's still power in sending FAXes, posting fliers, creating street art, street theater.

    HAM RADIO OPERATORS! Come to the LEFT side of the DIAL join our new group: Amateur Radio at Daily Kos

    by jackspace on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 12:47:36 AM PST

  •  They're Heeeeeeeere (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lotlizard, Pete Rock, zenox
    How many times have you seen a diary get posted that reports some revelatory yet unfavorable tidbit about someone only to see a swarm of commenters arrive who hijack the thread, distract with a bunch of irrelevant nonsense, start throwing unsubstantiated accusations and ad hominem attacks to where before you know it, everyone's pretty much forgotten what the diary said in the first place.

    "Those old Wall Street boys are putting up an awful fight to keep the government from putting a cop on their corner." - Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 01:12:03 AM PST

    •  Because this kind of behavior is simply (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      unprecedented on the Internet.

      "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

      by Geekesque on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 05:47:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Some people never spent much time in fandom, eh? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I think right-wing (and left-wing, for that matter, sometimes) ideology often works on a fandom sort of level.  People staying up all night spamming discussion boards with right-wing BS needing to be paid?  Not in my experience, if the endless exhausting arguments over such trivialities as whether or not Hermione belongs with Harry or with Ron (and the like) are any indication.

        I think this HBGary sort of stuff is going to be rather different. For one thing, paid subversives are probably less likely to want to work overtime.

  •  Seize the initiative (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Voodoo, Dave the Rave

    There's nothing, and I mean NOTHING that would keep this same sort of thing from being used against the likes of FOX and conservative web sites.  In fact, it would be even more effective.

    There's nothing, and I mean NOTHING, showing that this sort of thing is already underway.

    The Right might think this will not have blow-back, but when has something like this NOT had blow-back?

    Mainly, we can't allow ourselves to get pinned-down by this sort of thing.  These 'force multipliers' will find their way to everyone who wants it.  

    I've long suspected State players were involved and no doubt corporate interests have been doing this stuff all along.  If this part of the story gets legs with the mainstream it could really go a long way towards pushing them further into cover, making it more difficult for their command and control.

    Next we'll find spam is often sent by these front companies to implant their wares on your machine to control it or watch what you do on it.  :)

    HAM RADIO OPERATORS! Come to the LEFT side of the DIAL join our new group: Amateur Radio at Daily Kos

    by jackspace on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 01:52:17 AM PST

  •  Pft. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave the Rave, James Kresnik

    satellitejockey,‭ ‬hack3rman? Really? Wow. I mean ... are they even trying? Seriously?

    It's ... hilarious. These people don't know who they are up against.

    Sure, their little campaign might have an effect, but do they really think they can stop people like Anonymous?

    Man, they just don't get it. Anonymous may be full of psychos, but these people are brilliant pyschos.

    These HBwhatever people are no better than the clueless business owners paying kids in the 90's $100,000 for a webpage that took them 10 minutes. Technology security? Maybe circa 1988.

    Oh wait, using Facebook and Twitter? Congratulations. You're using a medium my mother and John McCain have both mastered. Technological wizards that they are.

    A bunch of uncreative, out-of-touch suits can never dream of having the cunning and intellect of your classic Anonymous member.

    And by intellect I don't mean book knowledge. Anyone can obtain that with effort.

    I'm talking about just being nerd-smart.

    So they can be all sore about how some Anonymous member hacked all their emails and crap, remote desktopping in and maybe posting a picture of her favorite bishie giving the finger as a wallpaper on their computer before loggin' out.

    Set up whatever defenses they want.

    Their over-trained yuppie counter-hackers are just going to get steamrolled by self-taught 4channers that are, at the same time, posting Final Fantasy hentai.

    I may not always agree with Anonymous, but I can understand them. And I'd never cross blades with them.

    I'd almost rather deal with Etna.  And she throws me around, dood!

    Still, this saga is quite interesting to watch. I'm sure I won't be the only one waiting to see what happens next in this unexpected series of events.

    Prediction: Further humiliation of a guy in a suit with a bad haircut and a douchey smirk.

    I'll start cooking up the popcorn.

  •  Yes this is a big deal (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Voodoo, semiot, Prinny Squad

    In the Mid-East, the people are rising up against their governments due mainly to the wealth gap. The wealth gap is larger in the US than it is in Egypt. Why are we not protesting in the streets? IMHO it is in no small part due to FOX"News" propagating the corporate opinion on the common folk.

    The way the common folk in the Mid-East was able to get around the government propaganda was through social networks and the internet.

    If the corporate overseers can short circuit our social networks, our common folk will be screwed.

    If programming can create this monster, programming can undo it. I hope we can undo it.

    "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."- Arthur Carlson

    by bobinson on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 02:15:06 AM PST

  •  The understandable term is Spam-bot (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    semiot, eru, Geekesque, gratis4, T100R, Joieau

    Which has been heavily used by spammers since email became ubiquitous. It's a very simple marketing tool. It's not much more sophisticated the the junk mailers who send slightly different junk mail in different colored envelopes and use a selection of random fonts and juggle the words and return addresses a bit.

    HBGary has achieved their objective. This very diary tells them that their fake threat has cause someone at DKos to be afraid of them.

    Case closed as far as they're concerned. Fear-mongering successful.

    Honestly, from this security expert, there's nothing to fear. No such activities have been attempted nor would this be effective. The few sock puppet robots that get past Meteor Blades are quickly discovered and blocked. Thiis fake user spam technique has been happening since email became widely used. It is blatently obvious and easy to block. It also does no damage whatsoever.

    It might be a little annoying to the security admins, but they have the skills to deal with these amateurs.

    "All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats" - Groucho Marx

    by GrumpyOldGeek on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 02:50:43 AM PST

    •  agree with this part (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbird, eru, Geekesque
      HBGary has achieved their objective. This very diary tells them that their fake threat has cause someone at DKos to be afraid of them.

      Case closed as far as they're concerned. Fear-mongering successful.

      The spam and sockpuppetry is a problem and not trivial imo...but I hope you're right.

      "Responsible people leave neither loaded guns nor paranoid, eliminationist ideologies laying around for the mentally ill to play with".....Driftglass

      by KenBee on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 03:44:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  So MB is our own James Jesus Angleton? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Hope not. That  dude was one sick MF.

      Courage is contagious. - Daniel Ellsberg

      by semiot on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 05:41:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HBGary has achieved their objective. This very diary tells them that their fake threat has cause someone at DKos to be afraid of them.


      My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

      by gratis4 on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 06:51:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is chilling, but, they got the idea from us (0+ / 0-)


    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 03:42:07 AM PST

  •  if you would like (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to see the pure contempt that these corporatists have for citizen americans...that means you

    take a look at the attached file

    and don't be afraid when some spook comes along and say's the file is a virus...that's a lie that spooks use to scare off people from seeing what they don't want you to see

    I open and looked at this file dozens of times on my rig
    there is no virus

    the file is a pdf presentation that Palantir Technologies, HBGary Federal, and Barico Technologies made to BoA and AmChamofCommerce who sucked it up like honey

    The level of contempt for american citizens is jaw dropping

    I can now say that without a doubt my level of hatred for these corporatist pigs matches their level of contempt for me

     Corporatist conceit and vanity supreme

    how about you?

    have a look:

    "Nearly everything you do is of no importance, but it is important that you do it" Mohandas Gandhi

    by CMikkelson on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 04:10:59 AM PST

  •  Price to Government (0+ / 0-)

    Software of this sort is generally priced at the highest number they can get for any client.  I believe that GSA or at least DoD should check the pricing that HB Gary is offering them and compare that with other uses.  If HB Gary is offering their software to the general public, their also could be a security concern that false messages could infiltrate the McDill system.  Even worse, if these systems are also forward deployed, what security can be offered that those system will not be attacked.

    The delays these actions could cause might cause HB Gary to consider where they will sell their software.  Perhaps DKOS could get a price quote to promote membership.

  •  Very important Diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MRA NY

    I'd Rec it if I could figure out how. And also if my work computer allowed me to read anything on this site but the FP.

    Sorry, venting.

    The implication of this as I see it is immense and potentially poisonous to Democracy.

  •  This certanly explains all the troll ratings (0+ / 0-)

    I have ever received in my entire life at Daily Kos!

    "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by bobdevo on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 05:05:25 AM PST

  •  Disturbing report, the corporatists.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Forward is D not R

    ...have no souls, and seek to corrupt everything they touch.  

    As a low tech person, and until or unless the admins here and at other liberal/ progressive sites find ways to deal with the onslaught of covert trolls, I guess I'll have to view all UID's above a certain # with extreme caution and suspicion...

  •  We need to find out a way to stop this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and force the congress to come up with strict laws against it. Besides, such deceit is not a good idea to use on foreign nations like Iraq, etc. Wy? The potential for harm is greater than the expected benefit (to manipulate them) because:

    It will take only a step or two to sophisticate the technique behind these fake persona trolls to turn them into an army of full blown "us citizens" who can vote during the elections, here at home and everywhere else in the world. What does this mean?

    It means a fake persona "we the people" software.

    "Corruptio Optima Pessimi" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

    by zenox on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 05:35:23 AM PST

  •  This could be good news. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ScienceMom, foufou

    Perhaps an unintended consequence of projects like this is that people will finally stop believing shit just because they see it on the internet.  

  •  If people here can't tell the difference (7+ / 0-)

    between real human beings and a talking points-spitting spambot, they have only themselves to blame.  

    Also, people should really avoid the temptation to take this and extrapolate to a conclusion that the people on the other side of the purist whiner/sellout Obamabot divide are corporate bots here to derail the conversation.

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 05:45:56 AM PST

    •  You're right on both counts (6+ / 0-)

      Personally I'm happy with anything that creates a presumption that content-free pro forma postings, anywhere and anytime, are worthless.  Frankly it doesn't matter if they come from a concerted campaign or one vacuous individual.  If there's no actual merit to it, ignore it.

      And we're already seeing annoying suggestions that the corporate spam initiative should push us towards heightened vigilance of the Orwellian sort.  No thanks!

      Todo tiempo pasado fue mejor. I don't believe that, but I hear this sig is permanent.

      by Rich in PA on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 06:13:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I (0+ / 0-)

      didn't understand that it was automated content.

      Just automated posting.

      Am I wrong?

    •  I agree Geek (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But as you ask folks avoid that temptation, I am sure we will see it over and over.

      oh well.

    •  Already happened (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Spit, Geekesque, foufou
      Also, people should really avoid the temptation to take this and extrapolate to a conclusion that the people on the other side of the purist whiner/sellout Obamabot divide are corporate bots here to derail the conversation.

      In this very thread.

      My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

      by gratis4 on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 07:05:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yep (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Geekesque, foufou

      I always think of it like this:

      if it isn't obvious whether it's an opinionated post or part of some subversive plot, then... who cares which it is?

      There's a post. It says stuff. Which may or may not be valid or based in truth, and which is open to arguments from all over the place.

      That's true whether it's some kind of bot, or whether it's a longtime user.

      Trolls are trolls because they behave like trolls. If they aren't behaving like trolls, then who the fuck cares, and how would one decide one way or the other? If they are trolls, they will eventually behave that way.

      IMO, trying to suss out the infiltrators would do more harm than they cause. Because it's absolutely bound to start to involve some kind of you-don't-agree-with-me-therefore-you're-a-bot thing. Suspicion all around, easy dismissal of whatever.

      And that's IMO how they win, frankly.

  •  I reduced my commenting and pretty well stopped (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Voodoo, eru

    writing diaries about a year ago - during the election. Looking back, aware of Citizens United, I now believe a lot of the swarming and general nastiness was bought and paid for.

    I can't provide a solution, but this could destroy the value of DKos. Now that the HBGary cat is out of the bag - let's all be more alert.

    And support each other - often the nasty is aimed at fairly innocuous stuff. Find things you agree with and express your agreement. Somehow I think just plain old being nice is the one thing these "personas" are not doing. A lot of people do express support - we should focus on that and stonewall the nasty.

    Don't feed the trolls. Diaries and comments that are tendentious or anti-progressive should be allowed to disappear into the ether with no impact.

    the future begins

    by zozie on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 06:22:43 AM PST

  •  fine! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ScienceMom, Eric Nelson

    After all these years of being ignored by the DailyKos community, I find out now that you're all a bunch of robots.

    This has been a great week.

  •  Not surprised (0+ / 0-)

    You know some of us would make the tiniest suggestion around that we were troll infected and that the way the culture was turning you couldn't tell anymore and we were shouted down.  Oh no it could never happen.  I'd say simple things like, what do you think happend to the McCain points people.  There was a diary a while back about a lady on a ski trip who had a conversation with one of the persona dudes.

    I've always gone by the simple maxim one knows a tree by its fruit.  

    Every moment in life contains an off ramp. Never be afraid to use it.

    by Adept2u on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 06:31:58 AM PST

  •  Put down the taco (7+ / 0-)

    I late to this thread, but has anyone posted this bit yet?

    From  Raw Story

    Barr: [I want to] check a persons friends list against the people that have liked or joined a particular group.

    Coder: No it won’t. It will tell you how mindless their friends are at clicking stupid shit that comes up on a friends page. especially when they first join facebook.

    Barr: What? Yes it will. I am running throug analysis on the anonymous group right now and it definately would.

    Coder: You keep assuming you’re right, and basing that assumption off of guilt by association.

    Barr: Noooo….its about probabilty based on frequency…c’mon ur way smarter at math than me.

    Coder: Right, which is why i know your numbers are too small to draw the conclusion but you don’t want to accept it. Your probability based on frequency right now is a gut feeling. Gut feelings are usually wrong.

    Barr: [redacted]

    Coder: [some information redacted] Yeah, your gut feelings are awesome! Plus, scientifically proven that gut feelings are wrong by real scientist types.

    Barr: [some information redacted] On the gut feeling thing…dude I don’t just go by gut feeling…I spend hours doing analysis and come to conclusions that I know can be automated…so put the taco down and get to work!

    Coder: I’m not doubting that you’re doing analysis. I’m doubting that statistically that analysis has any mathematical weight to back it. I put it at less than .1% chance that it’s right. You’re still working off of the idea that the data is accurate. mmmm…..taco!

    It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America. - Molly Ivins

    by se portland on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 06:34:05 AM PST

  •  Great Diary... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    semiot, ScienceMom

    ...but I fear witch-hunts ahead as imaginary corporate trolls are unmasked and burned...

    "The language of the conqueror in the mouth of the conquered, is ever the speech of a slave." Tacitus

    by letsgetreal on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 06:37:16 AM PST

  •  Paranoia Will Destroy Ya (6+ / 0-)

    The fact of the matter is that anonymity for commenters means you have no idea who anyone is, unless they decide to reveal something of themselves.  They are wise not to do so, since the free-for-all of the Internet means any nutcase can abuse you (from the safety of their own anonymity), get your real work or home address and publish it, hack your accounts, etc.  Anonymity on the Internet is not a feature of cowardice or fear to express - it is a sad reality of the need for self-protection.

    That said, even though we all have to operate in this environment some rules of the road are a good idea.  Everyone has their own.  

    For my part, I assume people are sincere in what they post, unless it becomes clear they are not.  That is to say, I don't immediately start calling someone a "sock puppet" or intimate they are part of some conspiracy.  

    Obviously this is a judgement call.  But I find it works well, since you are able to argue the substance as opposed to getting into personal attacks.  A lot of potentially interesting discussion on blog sites gets de-railed from the get-go when someone immediately paints the unpopular viewpoint as a "plant" or "troll."

    Politically, of course, there is also astro-turfing.  But I think neither right nor left have a corner on that market.  It is a standard tactic of any movement to want to make its numbers appear larger, its cohesion stronger.  People constantly post on DKOS using the plural or "Royal We" as if they are part of a massive consensus, while persons whose viewpoints they disagree are painted as outliers or lone idiots.  Go back and re-read many front page diaries and you will see what I mean - LOL.

    Bottom line - you can choose to spin your wheels endlessly on conspiracy theories.  Or you can engage on substance and let the marketplace of ideas work itself out.  As imperfect as it is, this is the world we must adapt to.

    "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

    by FDRDemocrat on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 06:43:08 AM PST

  •  Kos now has common cause with Erickson (0+ / 0-)

    Everyone who runs a site, whether left or right, wants to protect their site from these techniques.

    If you want to think of these fake persona as virii, then anti-virus software would sell.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 06:43:20 AM PST

  •  You're partly right... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    m16eib, blueness, basmati, oldhippie

    ...about Aaron Barr. He is however an idiot. The attack had multiple components, and it didn't get serious until he started bragging about his skills and power, and most critically, threatening Anonymous, who, like most people, he grossly underestimated. They are not all kids, or amateurs. Quite the contrary. People think it's kids, because those are the ones who get caught. The ones who do not get caught are the skilled and most useful, ones. Anyone can join Anonymous; there is no age or skill test.

    The most rookie move a white hat/black hat person could make is to brag about what you're done. Like many government contractors in the security space, perception is a big part of it and HBGary is far more fluff that substance and I think his bragging in the IRC channels was a part of his sales misguided and amateurish process. At the end of the day, they were out classed, outgunned, and outplayed. To pin it on one act is not accurate.

    The role of the social engineering was only one facet of the attack and it came at the END of the overall attack. Anonymous had ALREADY breached the CMS system, Greg Hoglund's email, and other things. They used his legitimate email and posed as him  to get her to give him the SSH login details.

    Aaron Barr and Ted Vera both had crappy passwords. Pathetic, they're no better than that that "LifeLock" guy. All show, no go. Failed to follow even 101 basic stuff.

    To your original point though, I fully agree with you about the content of the emails. I question how serious the program is, but if it did get some wings and funding, it would be bad. It's digital equivalent of a psyops campaign against the American people.

  •  I remember reading here or at TPM about (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CJB, eru, lotlizard, Question Authority

    a prominent rw'er who talked openly regarding artificially influencing public opinion. Compared to the HackedBadlyGary story, the rw'ers comments seem innocous, but distrubing none the less.

    He started with two simple, easy to execute actions. This person said he begins his day, and encouraged all like-minded individuals to do the same, by visiting where he posted negative comments on films with left of center perspectives, as well as posting highly favorable ratings for ultra-conservative films.

    Next, this guy visited Amazon where he uprated far right books and downrated left leaning books/authors.

    This isnt sophisticated subtrafuge. Its intended effect, and fairly effective in my mind, is to persuade an unaware consumer to have second thoughts about buying that book critical of, say, gwb, or to decide against seeing a film with a decidedly left leaning perspective.

    Admit it. You have considered buying a book. The reviews of that book have effected your decision.

    No home. No job. No peace. No rest.

    by A Runner on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 06:54:50 AM PST

  •  I am not in the least bit shocked. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In Canada there was a huge backlash by the people when they found out government employees were being sent out to spread government propaganda on the internet. They tried to call it a policy of "setting the record straight", or something like that? BS.

    Does anyone, even for a second, think our government would not do the same?

    Heck? The US government probably paid for the development of these techniques and the software needed to accomplish it in the first place.

    ePluribus Media
    Collaboration is contagious!

    by m16eib on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 07:01:41 AM PST

  •  You're partly right... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CJB, sphealey, Catte Nappe, cumulo

    ...about Aaron Barr. He is however an idiot. The attack had multiple components, and it didn't get serious until he started bragging about his skills and power, and most critically, threatening Anonymous, who, like most people, he grossly underestimated. They are not all kids, or amateurs. Quite the contrary. People think it's kids, because those are the ones who get caught. The ones who do not get caught are the skilled and most useful, ones. Anyone can join Anonymous; there is no age or skill test.

    The most rookie move a white hat/black hat person could make is to brag about what you're done. Like many government contractors in the security space, perception is a big part of it and HBGary is far more fluff that substance and I think his bragging in the IRC channels was a part of his sales misguided and amateurish process. At the end of the day, they were out classed, outgunned, and outplayed. To pin it on one act is not accurate.

    The role of the social engineering was only one facet of the attack and it came at the END of the overall attack. Anonymous had ALREADY breached the CMS system, Greg Hoglund's email, and other things. They used his legitimate email and posed as him  to get her to give him the SSH login details.

    Aaron Barr and Ted Vera both had crappy passwords. Pathetic, they're no better than that that "LifeLock" guy. All show, no go. Failed to follow even 101 basic stuff.

    To your original point though, I fully agree with you about the content of the emails. I question how serious the program is, but if it did get some wings and funding, it would be bad. It's digital equivalent of a psyops campaign against the American people.

  •  Foreign theaters like Iraq and Afghanistan??? (0+ / 0-)

    Give me a break.  As if the people of Afghanistan and Iraq give a shit what people are posting on Twitter and MySpace.  That is self-evidently bogus.  Either that proposal is shot in the dark for funding or it's for actual intended use is for influencing domestic opinion.

    We meant to do better, but it came out as always. -- Viktor Chernomyrdin

    by pontechango on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 07:18:58 AM PST

  •  I'd like to go on record (12+ / 0-)

    as saying that I am in no way a fake persona created for marketing or propaganda purposes. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to pop open a sweet, delicious can of Pepsi and send myself to an alternate dimension of taste and enjoyment.

    Pepsi: Taste the one that's forever young!

    The artist formerly known as Big Tex

    by Maikeru Ronin on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 07:32:46 AM PST

  • (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I wonder if this sockpuppet assault explains the stats I see on  Discarding the '100%' rankings, which I'm guessing are based on very few votes, the top two senators, the senators who most agree with the preferences of hundreds of thousands of participants, are

    Jim DeMint
    James Inhofe

    If those are the favorites of people who are taking the time and effort to look at actual votes, then we're even more screwed than I thought.

    I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

    by tle on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 07:33:10 AM PST

  •  Why it won't work (0+ / 0-)

    Technologically, you could probably come up with a viable scheme to run a lot of public sockpuppets on various online social meda and use it to dispense propaganda.

    The problem is deciding on the content of the propaganda.  So 2,000 corporate sockpuppets sign on to Dailykos.  What are they going to post?  This stuff is being written by large corporations, so everything has to go through 10 channels of approval and will look like something written by a corporate PR flack or worse.  And if those sockpuppets are automated, they can be targeted like any other kind of content-driven attack.

    •  Not necessarily (0+ / 0-)
      This stuff is being written by large corporations, so everything has to go through 10 channels of approval and will look like something written by a corporate PR flack or worse

      All the theoretical sock-puppet persona's need is some general talking points. I.e. "mission is to discredit unions...refer to "fact" that unions are no longer effective, that while they had merit in their time the concept is outdated, that too many union leaders are fat cats in their own right just sucking up member dues, etc"

      Then turn the personas loose to read and comment in their own "voice". Throw in some "signature" mannerisms - using too many caps, or having a standard "sign off" phrase, or always spelling a particular word wrong - things that can build up credibility that "oh, we know barbiedawl - she posts regularly, she always.....

    •  Luntz will help out. nt (0+ / 0-)

      If health care is not basic necessity, try living without it.

      by Into The Woods on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 08:39:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've seen them at Newsvine (0+ / 0-)

    At the DKos, their goal is to derail the conversation. At Newsvine's website they seem to be trying to actually convince some readers with their bogus arguments.

    It's gotten so bad there that I'm starting to document their techniques.  For example, there's

    • Stating a fact as if is relevant.  I.e. "Sarah Palin is not running for President." Yes, well, no one is officially running for President yet.

    •  Hyperbolizing to manufacture outrage . This is more well known and practiced by GOP politicians.

    One thing I've seen in troll profiles is they are typically at least a year old.  Perhaps four comments and zero articles, but they make sure to gestate before putting them into action.  Oh yeah, spelling errors make you appear authentic.

  •  If I were truy an 'operative' (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spit, Time Waits for no Woman

    I'd be try to destroy the cohesiveness of this community, if I were posting here. It's the cohesiveness of this community, the concordance and ability to get people to act in concert that is a key component of this place.

    Yes, we no doubt have paid trolls that come here.

    But frankly, we've got some really intelligent people who can look, evaluate and raise awareness for almost any threat. I've been on the web since it started, 20 years ago, and posted on Usenet: many others have been here as long .. I'd say the most significant fact of your diary is that it's flattering to know that this place is a target.

    Republicans totally abandoned conservatism in the 1980s ..

    by shpilk on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 08:02:43 AM PST

  •  Thanks for this. I can't believe how much (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eru, litoralis

    I've learned from both the diary and comments.

    Tipped, Recced, Following!

    "Don't Bet Against Us" - President Barack Obama

    by MRA NY on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 08:50:03 AM PST

  •  I work in social media and internet marketing (6+ / 0-)

    What the diarist is talking about is social media applications.  There are tons of social media monitoring applications out there.  For example:

    1. Hootdesk, tweetadder, tweetdeck:  They can all help a single person automate your own tweets.  You can schedule them far out and as many as you want.

    2. Radian6, alterian, lithium: they are enterprise wide social media monitoring and interaction software.  These are powerful enough that they can "route" tweets, facebook mentions, other people in the organization to monitoring.  They will scour all over social media to find out what is being said about your products/company, etc...

    While I work in the industry I only focus on companies or non-profits.  I don't do anything in the political space.

  •  With that much firepower directed at Progressives (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ScienceMom, lotlizard

    is it any wonder that we have a tough time making headway in our agenda. With millions of dollars and the backing of people willing to lie, cheat, and steal to get what they want, people like myself don't stand a chance. Hell, a million like me wouldn't. Very depressing and thankfully Anon exposed it, but I believe that for every one that's caugt a thousand aren't.

    "Official DeBagger"

    by draa on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 08:53:35 AM PST

  •  I read a lot of dko commenters (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ScienceMom, eru, South Park Democrat

    say they were tired of the direction the community was going so they'll leave. I said i am staying here, because leaving is what they want us to do. I refuse to let a bunch of kindergartener comments coming from easily recognizable trolls make me leave. There are always certain things in their comments that should alert us that they are trolls and not progressives.

  •  I just assumed variants of this goal (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KnotIookin, lotlizard

    were already in play, and have been for quite a while. Full spectrum dominance, I think they call it.

  •  Please have more faith in the progressive mind... (0+ / 0-)

    I think we can see through this. It's good to know that this is happening so we can ignore it.  It's the centrists you have to worry about!

    "The Republicans wouldn't cave, so I had to." -President Obama, 12/7/2010 Press Conference

    by MarkVA71 on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 09:48:07 AM PST

  •  I/P...a lot of single-issue posters, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    who would seem to be incredibly organized, and swarm this site, or another, when it seemed necessary. Then evaporate. Purely speculation on my part, you don't need to get a rope.

    •  I mentioned it (0+ / 0-)

      in a previous comment-but I'm thinking about the swiftboating of John Kerry and the massive campaign against Valerie Plame and her husband-as well.

      Been going on for quite a while-I'm thinking.

      "A liberal is a man or a woman or a child who looks forward to a better day, a more tranquil night, and a bright, infinite future." ~Leonard Bernstein

      by lyvwyr101 on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 10:55:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wonder if that's what happened to MYDD? (0+ / 0-)

    Fox News is a Religion.

    by Bush Bites on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 10:21:57 AM PST

  •  How to combat this... (0+ / 0-)

    Why not just add some kind of "weighting factor" right next to someone's name, so you can see it right there in the comment, without having to click on their profile. This could be a function of
    - how long they've been subscribed
    - how many comments & diaries they've made
    - how consistently they've made comments and diaries
    - how many recs they've gotten to comments and diaries

    It's easy to make fake accounts, much harder to make fake "good" accounts. I see that's what they're trying to do, but it costs a lot of time and effort to make a fake account that has a high "weighting factor". It's a hard thing to game.

    This way, it'd be pretty easy to discount comments by lowly-weighted posters.

    A lot of other sites have this already. Why not at DK?

    Freedom isn't free: Pay your taxes!

    by walk2live on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 10:31:33 AM PST

  •  I hope you also grabbed a copy of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lotlizard, Betty Pinson

    the interested vendors list.

    I did.

  •  two can play that game you know. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Into The Woods

    New improved bipartisanship! Now comes in a convenient suppository!!! -unbozo

    by Unbozo on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 10:40:46 AM PST

  •  Anonymous posts here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Into The Woods

    That post is from a guy by barrettbrown who is one of the key players involved with the hack.

    If you read the entire IRC chat log with anon and Penny who is part of HBGAry you will learn allot

    •  Barrett Brown *involved* with the hack? (0+ / 0-)

      I don't think so.

      •  Well then why (0+ / 0-)

        Is he the ring leader in the IRC chat logs?

        Did you read the 4 hours wroth?

        •  No I didn't read it all (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I know him more for his writing than his hacking ;)
          It would seem his role is more in line with being a sort of "public affairs" guy for them.

          Barrett Brown, who describes himself as a strategist for Anonymous, said the group targeted the websites of Iran's state news broadcaster and the website of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, among other sites. It is unclear how successful the attacks were, but those two sites weren't accessible late Monday.

          KASTE: Owen says the FBI took his computers, and he assumes it's because he administers online chat rooms where Anonymous members have planned their cyber-attacks. We found Owen through Barrett Brown, a journalist who's deeply involved with Anonymous.

          Mr. BARRETT BROWN (Journalist): I can tell you that I'm not a hacker, and that the people who do certain operations do not go by their own names, and even I myself do not know who they are.

          KASTE: Brown says he's attracted to what he sees as the movement's resistance to oppression. Just in the last week, there have been attacks on government web sites in Italy and Yemen. To Brown, it's like something out of the Civil Rights era.

          The federal grand jury in San Jose, California, will begin reviewing evidence tomorrow that includes computers and mobile phones seized from suspected leaders as prosecutors probe the coordinated so-called denial-of-service attacks in December, according to a federal subpoena and the spokesman, Barrett Brown.

          •  Ok that makes sense (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Catte Nappe, Lisa Lockwood

            He is not one of the hackers, but someone who knows them.

            Because when reading the chat logs, he actually is the one who talked to Penny on the phone and taught her how to use IRC and directed her to the IRC channel where anon was.

            He also later in the chat log gets a phone call from Aaron Barr and relays his phone conversation in the IRC chat.

            In any event he is plugged in, right into the middle of these people, and I find it fascinating that he is able to do this and not have his door knocked on.

            I am very impressed. Maybe some more people here on DKos should watch for his diaries when they hit because he has real sources and knows what is going on.

  •  Watson on Jeopardy (0+ / 0-)

    When I saw how well the IBM computer "Watson" interfaced with the voice communication on Jeorpardy, with speech recognition, data mining, and the ability to act like a real player, I thought to myself that this type of technology could be used to impersonate real people.

    Of course, this operation doesn't require the experts at IBM to accomplish their task, but it does make one wonder how long it will be before the corporations or other groups can complete dominate discussions, as well as recording the information they gather on the discussion board to be able to identify you regardless, of pseudonyms.

    •  Doesn't take anything that sophisticated (0+ / 0-)

      There are any number of chat bots like this one out there, which can fool you for a little bit.  At the moment, there isn't anything which won't be fairly obvious after extended conversation.

      That's why there's a need for "persona management" so that people can set up large numbers of sockpuppets manually.

    •  Watson was not "hearing" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Alex explained in the opening that the questions were fed to Watson electronically, the machine was not doing any voice recognition.  And it was not interacting.  

      It was a remarkable display of technology,  but it did not pass for human.

      Real Patriots serve Jury Duty.

      by David in Burbank on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 12:29:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "HB Gary" search on = no results n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  Not believing they're pros for a second. (0+ / 0-)

    Among other things, their coder apparently balked at so much as adding a HTTP beacon to the open-source LOIC.

    If you look through their emails, there's plenty of talk about doing interesting stuff, and very little actual success of any kind at doing it.

  •  i often think... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Into The Woods

    DK is already swarming with these "personas".

    •  As someone who has regularly (0+ / 0-)

      posted on thew world  politics forum at Craigslist and has come up against some heavy duty shills and trolls, I would say that Kos is relatively troll-free.

      I think these paid operatives are more sent to  sites that are more politically 'neutral' - to be honest I don't really see how much harm they could do on an overwhelmingly leftist site apart from spreading crazy rumors that could get repeated.

  •  they must be doing this already (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bee tzu

    It's been a long time now that a forceful vocal minority has dominated the public conversation.
    And when they start defending themselves, they will certainly say "everyone does it".
    I don't, frankly, see how the society can
    win against this vicious attack on democracy.

  •  Tip of the Ice Berg (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Into The Woods, DBunn, Betty Pinson, zenox

    Widespread use of actors and false personas to attack enemies and critics?  To discredit, distract, deceive and dis inform?  You nailed it Happy! These techniques are well honed and have been used for some time.

    The problem is, the public doesn't believe it when whistle blowers or other targets of these national security companies describe the smear campaigns that are strangling their lives and business opportunities.

    Ever wonder why we don’t hear from bank whistle blowers with all the fraud in the banking and mortgage industries? They are routinely silenced by companies like HBGary.

    See: and

    Many thanks for your excellent expose.  With luck, additional disclosures will expand public knowledge and condemnation of these pernicious, deceitful programs.

  •  Best diary I've read in a while.... (0+ / 0-)

    Hits the nail on the head....

    "And what do the living owe each other, tell me this, if not to hear each other's stories?" -- Thomas Cook

    by 2manychefs on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 12:53:47 PM PST

  •  Great diary, thanks. (0+ / 0-)

    "Such is the irresistible nature of truth that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing." - Thomas Paine

    by blueoregon on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 12:54:19 PM PST

  •  They have been doing this for a while (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DBunn, litoralis, Betty Pinson

    If you parse the major news sites, as well as specialty sites like Scientific American, you can see how well organized the climate change denialists are in using these techniques. Any time a story about rising sea levels, or melting glaciers, or anything else related to global warming is posted, an army of them show up to jump on the first 20 or 30 comment slots, with the intention of panning the article. It's astonishing how quickly they act.

    Have a look at the comments section of  this article and you can clearly see this.

    It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness - Eleanor Roosevelt

    by Fish in Illinois on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 01:08:41 PM PST

  •  Interested Vendors - Persona(non grata) Mgmt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Happy Rockefeller

    The vendors listed on the "Interested Vendors" list for the solicitation for Persona Management Software  from the US Air Force include some interesting names:



    Hello little girl, what's your rush? You're missing all the flowers.

    Others we might want to log for future reference:

    14213 STONE BLUFF LNROSHARON, TX 775833362 USA

    397 Mill Valley DRMTN House, CA 96391 US

    Uk Plus Logistics Services Ltd
    International Market, International Building 3rd floor Kabul AfghanistanKabul, 1 w13 AF

    2525 E PARIS ST SE STE 100GRAND RAPIDS, MI 495466191 USA

    If health care is not basic necessity, try living without it.

    by Into The Woods on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 01:20:00 PM PST

  •  Original Listing of Govt Solicitation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Happy Rockefeller

    This was the original title of the solicitation:  

    Freedom of Information Act Support
    Solicitation Number: RTB220610
    Agency: Department of the Air Force
    Office: Air Mobility Command
    Location: 6th Contracting Squadron

    Snark or Disinformation.  

    Sometimes it's hard to tell.

    If health care is not basic necessity, try living without it.

    by Into The Woods on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 01:49:57 PM PST

  •  one would think that MIT and GNU would be rather (0+ / 0-)

    pissed . . . unless GNU isn't what it was in the old days.

    Bumper sticker seen on I-95; "Stop Socialism" my response: "Don't like socialism? GET OFF the Interstate highway!"

    by Clytemnestra on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 01:51:46 PM PST

  •  And what happens (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    when people find out that comments on the internet are by fictitious people and it's a lot of bullshit.  The internet or website would loose its following and the website would be injured.  Isn't that grounds for a lawsuit if the offenders could be identified ?

  •  This has been going on for a while (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    On this site.

    No surprise at all.

  •  for some reason (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Into The Woods, Unduna, bushondrugs

    I'm reminded of the 5 layers of checkpoints required to enter the main square in egypt.  Friendly.  But thorough.  The thugs did not get through.

  •  I may be (0+ / 0-)

    A fake persona.  Is there any way I can check?

    DK4 makes me lonely.

    by tarminian on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 08:52:13 PM PST

  •  One question I often ask myself when (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TooFolkGR, foufou

    considering where a poster is coming from.

    Is this person criticizing a Democrat?

    I see a ton of harsh criticism directed at Dems, usually from the same group of folks.

    "Don't fall or we both go." Derek Hersey 1957-1993

    by ban nock on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 08:52:24 PM PST

  •  The one thing I hope does not happen (0+ / 0-)

    out of all this is that the Kos community starts to look askance at any poster who does not agree with them as a possible troll or agent provocateur.

    As I said in another post, I have come up against PLENTY of obvious paid shills and trolls at the Craigslsit world politics forum - which is essentially politically 'neutral' (with craig newark trending a smidge to the left). I saw a lot of shill/trolls when I used to post at Huffingtonpost too.

    I really don't see them as much of a problem here - crazy troll type stuff (that I see in hidden comments) is so quickly pulled it can never get any traction.

    This site is too overwhelmingly leftist for trolls to bother with - and alas leftists are not a big enough percentage of the population for the right to feel THAT threatened by us to the extent that they'd launch a huge troll offensive.

    If the right is going to attack this site, I imagine it would be more to try to hack into the user base or to use what people say to create strategies to counter OUR strategies.

    But a climate AMONGST users of fear and distrust COULD genuinely spread a poison within the users here that could do a LOT more harm than any right-wing sockpuppets.

  •  Considering how money is winning (0+ / 0-)

    and it looks like this will show results, more and more will be spent. Gawd how did they put this site up when moving your curser around takes a week?  

  •  Thank you VERY much (5+ / 0-)

    This supports what I have been saying for weeks, privately to other Kossacks and in comments online.  

    About six to eight weeks ago, I noticed changes in the dialogue in diaries related to Wikileaks and whistleblowing. Soon afterward, I noticed it in diaries (like one of mine) that oppposed industry or government positions on scientific topics. Having spent decades analyzing data for patterns and trends, I was fairly certain that I was seeing a pattern of attacks using sophisticated techniques to disrupt conversations on topics sensitive to government and industry.

    I also noticed, in diaries related to Wikileaks, comments that appeared to be baiting people into revealing sentiments that could expose them to government surveillance or worse.

    Most of those I communicated my concerns to were unconvinced.  Some dismissed the problem as an old one involving mischief-making adolescents.  Others seemed to think I was imagining things.  I hoped that an organized response would materialize, but none ever did.

    •  Not wanting to feed any possibly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      unfounded concerns, but I've been a long time jotter person in the HID's. We know how many new registrants there are. The daily numbers went from 100-200 max to regularly over 300/day.

      Many commented on it. The registrations often followed a formula that included a number in the name.

      Now, that means nothing in and of itself. However, if this happened in my shop, as a former IT exec, my network NOC folks would have put tracers on the sources, looked for commonalities.

      My concern could be over absolutely nothing, but I would certainly like to know. And I certainly do not want to indict new members simply because they're new!

      If you want to see the numbers for yourself, just spot check diaries by "jotter" and read the first line going back a few years. Perhaps a more detached view would resolve any concerns and I can let go of them.

      Did you happen to notice anything about the UID's? Were they higher, lower, all over the map. Any history?

      And, given what the Fed bid was, why don't we seek their services too? Let out a bid? I know we could find a legit group that could seek their services on "our" behalf.

      You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else. -- Sir Winston Churchill

      by bleeding heart on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 08:06:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Stealing dormant UIDs? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ...and link these accounts to a selected  #  of previously created social media accounts,  automatically pre-aging the real accounts

    Perhaps some research is in order to see if old UIDs have been co-opted to create site cred for new users.

  •  And how about Cass Sunstein? (0+ / 0-)

    That guy has advocated using the same tactics, and is part of this Administration.

    Wait till the announcement that we're staying--or escalating--in Afghanistan.  We'll be flooded here.

  •  a useful tool for troll hunting would be anything (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that allowed liberals to know what was happening on talk radio without hurting their ears.

    radio is still the right's most important weapon for major messaging, messaging over, etc.,  and i won't get into that again, but a searchable database of transcripts of the national and biggest local talkers would provide a daily blueprint of what the GOP and think tanks are doing and planning and what the trolls will be paid to piggyback long term and short term.

    they will still use the radio for large scale industry efforts and the language and memes and talking points are always there, often before they make it to the telly or print and internet.

    some issues have been pounded for years and years on radio and keep coming up, such as voter suppression and illegal immigration and spinning election theft and techniques for swiftboating progressives appointees and candidates, (or even dem candidates), that liberals WOULD be more aware of if they weren't so radio ignorant. a lot of that shit is very easy to spot for a long term radio, even sporadic, radio listener.

    giving limbaugh and co first dibs not only ads to their standing as know-it-alls, it is spread to a wide and receptive audience first to the degree that it may (and does) make it into the brains of liberals and progressive who should know better and who may appear temporarily as trolls for repeating the crap they heard over and over at work, etc.

    Progressives will lose all major messaging battles until they picket the limbaugh/hannity megastations and boycott those stations' local sponsors.

    by certainot on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 06:34:15 AM PST

  •  One minor administrative note, that will (0+ / 0-)

    doubtless be lost in the overwhelming number of posts here.  Regarding this:

    Here's the link to the solicitation at website "". Yes, that name doesn't sound like cronyism at all...

     FedBizOps ( is the go-to site for businesses wanting to work with the Federal government.  "FedBizOps" stands for Federal Business Opportunities.  All unclassified contract solicitations must, by law, be posted there.  Whether you're selling furniture, computers, cleaning services, or fighter jets you will find the initial Request for Quote (RFQ) here.

    There is nothing inherently sinister about the site, and there is no cronyism built in.  The only way to win a government contract is by going to FedBizOps first.


    Now - having said that, this is an excellent diary series.  We need to see more of this.

    "Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage." - Confucius

    by IndieGuy on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 08:38:56 AM PST

    •  In my experience... (0+ / 0-)

      ...all contracts that the Federal government is submitting bids for must be placed on there for a certain amount of time so that any outside business can have a sufficient amount of time to bid on a project.  The idea is to allow more companies access to Federal contracts, thereby helping to spread the money around and keep just a couple companies from having all the contracts.  It is to help keep things fair and give a small start-up the same ability to bid for a job that McDonnell Douglass or Boeing is bidding on.

      You're right, fedbizops is not actually anything sinister at all, it's an attempt to open the bidding process up to more businesses.

  •  Why is SOCOM buying these? (0+ / 0-)


    George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

    by nathguy on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 12:15:40 PM PST

  •  Cached at WebCite (0+ / 0-)

    I cached the solicitation in case someone tries to disappear it.

    Please use the URL to access the cached copy .


  •  Patent Application for SockPuppetWare (0+ / 0-)

    This is probably the tool in question.

  •  Excellent Diary (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for including the rfp.  

    Naturally, we think of that as something for the intelligence services to use overseas.  But, that stuff has a way of becoming a part of law enforcement, and of politicized domestic enforcement as well.  Its dangerous, no doubt.  

    But I hope the left will develop something like it and employ it against the right.  I am sure they never will -- just as they will never have the guts to run against the R party for what it is: an assortment of bigots and hate mongers propping up the super rich and destroying the middle class for the sake a few faceless billionaires.  

    You will never hear that from a D candidate.  Nor will the left have the guts to develop a means of actually fighting the right.  Instead, left blogging will go on like the dead tree news industry -- facing its demise as the technology passes it by.

    Youth lives by personality, age lives by calculation. -- Aristotle

    by not2plato on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 12:54:40 PM PST

  •  any clue what software was being discussed here? (0+ / 0-)

    ....was it one of the software tools they list on their site as offerings or services?

    And this does tie into some thinking I've been doing on digital identity and trust systems.... how to trust that "personas" are real, and actual human beings.

  •  FWIW: You got mentioned in (1+ / 0-)
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