How are you doing guys? I'm sure some of you are quite busy ramping up the massive propaganda to sell the illegal war of aggression against Syria, but I'll ask you to take a little break from that task, for which I'm sure you're getting well-paid, and read this letter I'm addressing to you, which is meant to appeal to your humanity, decency, respect for the rule of law and the Constitution, and yes, to your patriotism.
Believe me, I get it. I know a little something-something about the responsibilities you guys have for national security. I served in the military, had security clearance at one point, and I've also worked in environments dealing with meta-data, and things like that.
I'm fully aware that the world can be a very dangerous place when it comes to protecting the interests and security of our country; there is no doubt that there are some really bad actors out there, very nasty characters capable of doing unspeakable things. I'm not naive.
Because of that I recognize that at certain levels, government sometimes needs to act in secret, and that they may even do some very nasty things to enemies, spies, militant groups, etc. Obviously, it's not an optimal situation for a democracy, but it may nevertheless be necessary to protect the "homeland," our people, and our interests around the world. In other words, I'm not a let's-sit-together-and-sing-kumbaya idealist. I'd like to think I'm a little more nuanced about this important issue of national security.
What I'm writing to you about is not about any of that. It's not about any type of failure to understand the grave dangers and challenges we face as a super-power.
The reason I'm writing to you is to present an argument about the possibility that the actions you're taking as a cog-in-the-national-security-wheel may not necessarily match your understanding of it. And the reason I say that is because I'm writing to you assuming that you're a good guy; that in your mind what you're doing is something important, patriotic, and something that provides you with a good income. There is nothing wrong with any of that.
Let me start the discussion with this quote, from an NBC News article titled "Snowden impersonated NSA officials, sources say":
Edward Snowden accessed some secret national security documents by assuming the electronic identities of top NSA officials, said intelligence sources.This is very important because it goes to the root of what I'm going to talk to you about... They want you to be just smart enough to do your thing, but not brilliant enough to understand the full ramifications of what you're doing.
“Every day, they are learning how brilliant [Snowden] was,” said a former U.S. official with knowledge of the case. “This is why you don’t hire brilliant people for jobs like this. You hire smart people. Brilliant people get you in trouble.”
I know this doesn't apply to paid hacks since they're already predisposed to grab the money and do as they're told, but for government-type analysts and security personnel, I know a little bit about the type of seminars and training you may being exposed to. A lot of it is designed by ex-FBI agents, certain academics, and national security personnel.
Many times it includes PowerPoint presentations... There is a heavy focus on the psychology of would-be perpetrators, people or groups who may pose a danger.
But here's how they get you (if you happen not to be too brilliant): When they start analyzing threats, cognitively, they start with the most serious threats; I mean, I'm talking about the terrorist that would detonate a suit-case weapon of mass destruction in the middle of downtown. Hello! Did that get your attention as you sit there in the conference room attentive to the PowerPoint presentation? Yes it did... Now you're fully attentive about how serious the danger is.
But here's the thing, once your survival, patriotic, and all-around good American instincts are fully engaged, "they" slip into the presentation/training other potential threats to national security, to peace and order, including "radical" groups which could eventually become organized (and influential) enough to represent a threat to national security. It's kind of a cognitive manipulation trick. And that's why they don't want you to be too bright to understand the full implications...
Let me explain... Depending on your age and level of education, you may or may not be too familiar with the history of atrocious abuses our government has perpetrated against peaceful activists throughout our entire history. Here are a couple of examples:
Rosenfeld's book, Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals and Reagan's Rise to Power, is now out in paperback. It details how the FBI employed fake reporters to plant ideas and shape public opinion about the student movement; how they planted stories with real reporters; and how they even managed — with the help of then-Gov. Ronald Reagan — to get the UC Berkeley's President Clark Kerr fired.Here's another one even more relevant:
To research the book, Rosenfeld pored over 300,000 pages of records obtained over 30 years from five lengthy Freedom of Information Act lawsuits against the FBI.
The records "show that during the Cold War, the FBI sought to change the course of history by secretly interceding in events, by manipulating public opinion and taking sides in partisan politics," Rosenfeld says.
COINTELPRO (an acronym for COunter INTELligence PROgram) was a series of covert, and at times illegal, projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) aimed at surveying, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting domestic political organizations.If this getting a little long and you're itching to get back to trolling at Huffington Post or The New York Times comments' boards, or collecting data for the total-information-awareness surveillance police state, hang in there... I'll get to my point and then you can get back to work.
The FBI has used covert operations against domestic political groups since its inception; however, covert operations under the official COINTELPRO label took place between 1956 and 1971. COINTELPRO tactics have been alleged to include discrediting targets through psychological warfare; smearing individuals and groups using forged documents and by planting false reports in the media; harassment; wrongful imprisonment; and illegal violence, including assassination. The FBI's stated motivation was "protecting national security, preventing violence, and maintaining the existing social and political order."
Those were a little bit of historical reference. Now let me get to more recent stuff:
There are two primary domestic public-private intelligence sharing partnerships at work at the federal level: Infragard and the Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC).Hopefully you're starting to see the picture. Okay, here's what going on (and this is really not that new). Powerful individuals and corporatist interests have been able to buy off our entire political system through legalized bribery (campaigns contributions, lucrative jobs after leaving office, and shit like that).
Infragard is a public-private intelligence sharing partnership managed by the FBI Cyber Division Public/Private Alliance Unit (PPAU). As described by the FBI, Infragard is an "association of businesses, academic institutions, state and local law enforcement agencies and other participants dedicated to sharing information and intelligence to prevent hostile acts against the United States." There are 86 Infragard chapters nationwide. These Infragard chapters serve as representatives of private sector "stakeholders" in the many of the nation's fusion centers.
DSAC is a public-private intelligence sharing partnership between the FBI, U.S. DHS I&A and several of the nation's leading corporate/financial interests. Some of these corporate/financial interests comprise the DSAC Leadership Board. The DSAC Leadership Board consists of 29 corporations and banks, including several entities that have been the subject of OWS protests/criticism. Corporate/financial interests active in the DSAC Leadership Board include: Bank of America, MasterCard, Citigroup, American Express, Barclays, RBS Citizens, 3M, Archer Daniels Midland, ConocoPhillips, Time Warner and Wal-Mart. Along with DSAC chairmen from the FBI and U.S. DHS I&A, DSAC is co-chaired by a representative of these private sector interests-- currently Grant Ashley, vice president of global security for pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co.
-- The Center for Media and Democracy / "Dissent Or Terror"
This arrangement (between corporatist paymasters and on-the-take corrupt-to-the-core politicians and insiders) makes up what is essentially an Oligarchy, or in our case, a Corporatocracy.
Because their interests are aligned, and because they control the levers of power, they then proceed to systematically subjugate, oppress, and ultimately enslave the population. That means the curtailment of constitutional protections, making it almost impossible to form labor unions, economic exploitation, etc.
As this abuse progresses, the good people of this country takes it, just start working harder (kind of like a hamster on a wheel) to keep up. But there comes a time that the income inequality is so great, the pain the corruption and abuse so intense, and the outright social dysfunction so spread out that some people actually stand up and try to say enough! "I am a man; I am a woman; And I deserve respect; I deserve the opportunity to work and make a decent living and provide for my family; I deserve to live in safe neighborhoods, have access to health care, breath clean air, drink safe water."
And usually those people are sometimes called social justice activists... And what they do is try to educate people about the root causes of the social dysfunction so they can then unite in solidarity against the abuses. For the most part, they are good people; sometimes they can be a little rough-on-the-edges, especially if you compare them with your $3,000-dollar suit wearing bosses, but they're good people.
They don't want to harm anybody; they just want to live in a just society that actually practices what it preaches when it comes to freedom and democracy. That's all.
From its inception, the FBI has operated on the doctrine that the "preliminary stages of organization and preparation" must be frustrated, well before there is any clear and present danger of "revolutionary radicalism."But in your reports, in your PowerPoint presentations, they are made to look as potential dangers, and here's when you come into play:
As more individuals are entrusted with access to and oversight of vast troves of personal data, this information necessarily becomes more vulnerable to misuse, whether by the parties gathering and analyzing it or by foreign governments and private multinational corporations. Because this data literally contains information related to people's entire lives, it is ripe for bullying, blackmail, threats or other improper uses.So in essence, you are being duped, used into being part of an Orwellian repressive and exploitative machinery, and thus representing the very core of being the enemy within.
But this "top secret" information is already being used by our own government for reasons that have little to do with combating threats to national security. Ownership of this information affords the administration unlimited power to suppress dissent, inhibit free speech and intimidate would-be critics into adhering to the status quo.
-- Heidi Boghosian's 'Spying on Democracy'
You've probably seen that quote that goes something like this: "It's easy for a man not to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it."
Between the good money they are paying you, and the seemingly straightforward training your are receiving, it all looks perfectly honest to you; you feel you are doing a great job for the nation, to protect us, and thus you are carrying out your duties with pride. You don't see yourself as a bad actor, as some kind of Orwellian Big Brother monster oppressing the people. I know that; you're probably the nicest guy, with a nice family, etc.
But that's exactly why that quote from the aforementioned "former U.S. Official" is so germane to this topic:
“Every day, they are learning how brilliant [Snowden] was,” said a former U.S. official with knowledge of the case. “This is why you don’t hire brilliant people for jobs like this. You hire smart people. Brilliant people get you in trouble.”They don't want you to be "brilliant" because then you may figure out all this shit up, and once you do, if you are a decent person, a just person, a person who values and respects the Constitution of The United States and the rule of law, then you can't continue to be part of what is essentially treason against your own fellow Americans.
At that point, once you figure out the machinations of this increasingly fascistic and oppressive regime, then you have to expose the crimes, you have to blow the whistle and come forward and fulfill your duty to protect and defend the Constitution of The United States.
I encourage you to think about this carefully. Do a little more research about social justice activism, about the progressive movement in the early 1900's and 60's, and the struggle for civil rights.
You will always notice the same patterns... The government/moneyed/corporate establishment trying to brutally repress those movements.
But here's the difference; in spite of all the oppression and brutality heaped upon those brave and selfless social justice activist of yore, they nevertheless were able to help bring about more justice, equality, rights, and that helped in making our society more decent, more livable.
Now because of the total-information-awareness surveillance police state it could literally become impossible for any person or group to get the type of traction they would need to counterbalance the onslaught of the extreme, destructive and rapacious greed of the ruling class.
And that represent one of the greatest clear and present dangers this country has ever faced. If unchecked, if left unchallenged, unmolested, then in short order we will become an actual Fascistic Orwellian Surveillance Police State, and you would have been part of the crime.
And again, I encourage you to think about this things on your own; come to your own conclusions, and do the right thing.
UPDATE 1: THU AUG 29, 2013 AT 4:24 PM PDT - Not that it matters much now, but the original title, "Open Letter to NSA Analysts, Sock-Puppets, Paid Hacks, Provocateurs, and Cognitive Infiltrators" wasn't meant to be published. It is obvious that this is an open letter and not meant for anybody in particular, but after thinking about it I thought I should change it in order to not distract from the discussion... But then I started writing the diary, and when I finished I pressed "Publish" and went to get a glass of water. By the time I got back (a couple of minutes) I noticed I forgot to change the title but the usual swarm had already landed, and I guess it was too late by then. Either way, I changed it within a few minutes after I published. I'm just adding this explanation for what is worth it. I'm not too concerned either way.
UPDATE 2: THU AUG 29, 2013 AT 4:24 PM PDT - I'm very perplexed. Did anybody actually read the diary? It's an open letter to NSA analysts and government/corporate paid "cognitive infiltrators." It doesn't apply to anybody here.
UPDATE 3: THU AUG 29, 2013 AT 5:18 PM PDT - The Character Assassination Method: If you pay attention you will notice that there are a few key individuals repeating one mantra about me: That I'm a crackpot and that I accuse people who disagree with me of paying pay agents of the government. This is pretty easy to discern if you check out my diaries and my comments. You will notice that the same group of people keep landing on my diaries and lobbing the same accusation, "that I call people who disagree with me paid agents." But if you check all my comments you will not see that; yes there are snarky comments here and there, but you will not find that I'm calling anybody a paid agent just for disagreeing with me. Yet these handful of individuals keep repeating that meme over and over, and it somehow gets through to some people. Anybody interested can see for themselves by looking at my comments.
UPDATE 4: THU AUG 29, 2013 AT 6:00 PM PDT - Last update: At the time of this update notice that there are about 290 comments; but one interesting thing is that the great majority of those comments (I venture to say 95 percent) are by a tiny group of 6 to 8 people. If the reader cares to check my last ten diaries or so, you will discern the same pattern. That's it for this round. Thanks everybody for sharing your thoughts!
P.S. I welcome spirited debate about this topic, and I'm especially interested in hearing from people who do not agree with my position. However, I will not engage in discussion with people who write personal insults, or engage in disruptive behavior. I ask other serious people to do the same. To learn more about this subject, please visit the following links: New Community Guidelines / The 15 Rules of Web Disruption / Thirteen Rules for Truth Suppression / Disinformation: How It Works.
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