February 25, 2014

How to Screw With People On Line, by The Government.

Here's a diagram, one of several, prepared by the (British) government and divulged to us by Glenn Greenwald, "How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations":



That's not the thing that's supposed to screw with your head. That's them, behind the scenes, secretly formulating a devious plan to screw with your head. Are we supposed to be shocked/intimidated by these plans, or mildly irritated that people who went to grad school have acquired government jobs?



You know what would screw with my head? Sharing the internet with government operatives who are attempting to execute this plan? No: Having to sit through an in-person session where someone was doing a PowerPoint presentation with these diagrams.



Greenwald breathlessly asks: "Who would possibly trust a government to exercise these powers at all, let alone do so in secret, with virtually no oversight, and outside of any cognizable legal framework?" Could he make a diagram of that question? Seriously, what powers? It's the same old power to use language to manipulate our thinking that government has always used.

The defense against this well-known power is good reading skill, critical thinking, more writing and more reading and more debate. Be skeptical. There are mobys and sock puppets on the internet, and some of them are working for a government. Know it. What "oversight" or "cognizable legal framework" could possibly save us? If you don't trust the government, don't trust the government. Don't whine for the government to save you. Save yourself. I'm trying to save us... by laughing at those diagrams. Come on!

69 comments:

Oso Negro said...

Yes, critical thinking skills will save us. But don't you harbor a secret wish to track down one of the persons who made such a Powerpoint and beat them savagely with a stick?

Ann Althouse said...

"But don't you harbor a secret wish to track down one of the persons who made such a Powerpoint and beat them savagely with a stick?"

No. I just want to laugh at them. They're in a room, clustering people around a screen, posing as really explaining things. As long as I'm not trapped in the room with them I'm fine.

Fortunately, I get to choose what I want to read and listen to, and I don't have to put up with anything like that.

MadisonMan said...

On the Gambits for Deception slide: Repetition creates Expectancies

That is so true. Whenever I see Crack's avatar, I know he's going to going on (and on and on) about race.

Total agreement about having to sit through this PowerPoint though. Dear God in Heaven would my eyes be glazing over PDQ.

MadisonMan said...

And look at those words: Agenticity. Patternicity.

Jargon is the 3rd most common gas in the atmosphere, indeed!

The Cracker Emcee said...

"The defense against this well-known power is good reading skill, critical thinking, more writing and more reading and more debate."

Except the vast majority of proles have neither the ability or the inclination to exercise these things.

It's not the government that's frightening, it's the ability of the government to incite the mob.

Drago said...

"The mob IS Rome......"

traditionalguy said...

What that Diagram exposes is the Government's active creation a religious belief system to support the State Church.

The First Amendment is being totally ignored except as a reversed vision to prohibit mention of Christianity in a public place.

Laughing at them is better than crying a warning, I suppose. But when the news room fairness police and the internet hateful speech censors are in place, then the laugh will be on us.

Ann Althouse said...

"Except the vast majority of proles have neither the ability or the inclination to exercise these things."

That's only a basis for despair that we can maintain freedom and democracy. Either we can climb out of that hole, through developing those skills, or we are lost.

raf said...

It always amazes me (but not so intensely, as repetition has modified my expectancy) that the (leftists) who warn of governmental malfeasance seem to think the remedy is bigger, stronger, more pervasive government -- called "oversight."

The Crack Emcee said...

This is so much (white) stupidity:

Has this Greenwald fellow ever heard of "nudging"?

It's not a secret. Everyone's very open about it - or do you think "THINK GREEN" bullshit just popped up out of nowhere?

This is what life's like for me and he thinks I'm not aware I'm being fucked with?

The man's a really lousy reporter if he thinks this is an important story.

I'm almost glad he's not on the civil rights beat,...

rehajm said...

Replace the words with gibberish in this slide deck and it's obvious individuals in the originating organization have way too much time on their hands.

A few words are worth a thousand PowerPoint slides.

PB Reader said...

The article lacks evidence of where this effort was deployed and against whom.

Ann Althouse said...

"Has this Greenwald fellow ever heard of "nudging"?"

Note that his article has a few paragraphs about Cass Sunstein, who has made "nudge" his catchword.

Gahrie said...

That's only a basis for despair that we can maintain freedom and democracy. Either we can climb out of that hole, through developing those skills, or we are lost.

First of all, freedom and democracy are not cognates or synonyms. Personally I think we can preserve our freedom, but only if we become less democratic, not more. We need to move back to more of a republic. One of the reasons for returning to republican (as opposed to Republican) ideas and procedures is that it is much more effective at reducing the impact of low information voters.

rhhardin said...

Power point slides were found to be the perfect medium for completely made-up gibberish computer-generated managementspeak.

Indistinguishable from the real thing.

rhhardin said...

The hazard is somebody appearing to post from your account, and as Instapundit points out occasionally, planting evidence with malware.

If they can read your files, they can write them.

The Cracker Emcee said...


" PB Reader said...
The article lacks evidence of where this effort was deployed and against whom."

PB is a covert government agitpropist charged with discrediting this effort to discredit the government. Plus he's a golfer.

I love this shit!

Shanna said...

On slide 2 they list Magic as one of the things. What is that about?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

So Glenn Greenwald puts a bunch of information on the internet ( about how putting false information onto the internet can be used to sway public opinion ) in order to sway public opinion.

But of course, Glenn Greenwald would never do anything dishonest on the internet. Rick Ellensburg could not be reached for comment

madAsHell said...

This is what life's like for me and he thinks I'm not aware I'm being fucked with?

oh....I see I'm not alone. Although, you really should clean up that mullet haircut.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Dear God, that is such a pile of stupid. The PowerPoint, I mean, not the OP.

Seriously, what powers? It's the same old power to use language to manipulate our thinking that government has always used.

Government, and everyone else who has ever tried to persuade anyone of anything. Yeesh.

The Crack Emcee said...

Shanna said...
On slide 2 they list Magic as one of the things. What is that about?


NewAge. Delusion. Fairy dust.

The Drill SGT said...

Psychological Operations (Psyops) has long been the staple of counter-insurgency operations.

e.g. winning hearts and minds

Those psyops operations attempt both to increase the alignment of the recipients minds toward the government's goals and to create dissidence between the recipient and the goals of enemy operations such as AQ.

In other words, words as weapons. Intrinsically the weapons are not evil, they can be good for US interests when used against AQ or bad for US interests when used against US Citizens in the US.

The grey areas emerge when the context is to prevent US persons from exercising their 1st amend right to speech and communication with entities that the Government thinks are our enemies (AQ sure, Tea Party? )

chuck said...

You left out smaller government from the list of solutions.

Trashhauler said...

The good news is that such PowerPoint presentations have absolutely no chance of actually being implemented. Within minutes of being presented, each bullet and action is being questioned. Then, even if someone in a position to make a decision actually buys into the inoperable scheme, it gets broken down into pieces to be tasked out to separate offices. These offices then assign their part of it to whoever isn't busy, or whoever thought it was cool, or whoever is the boss' pet, with little thought to expertise. Finally, all the individuals from different offices meet many times before deciding it is all unworkable and must be downsized - all the while giving unfailingly optimistic reports up the chain. In the end, the lack of progress becomes evident even to the people who authorized it and the whole thing gets shunted aside for the next grand scheme.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

The Crack Emcee said...
I'm almost glad he's not on the civil rights beat,...

Greenwald certainly thinks he's on the civil rights beat now.

SGT Ted said...

Has this Greenwald fellow ever heard of "nudging"?

It's not a secret. Everyone's very open about it - or do you think "THINK GREEN" bullshit just popped up out of nowhere?



You are correct about the "nudging". It is merely the usual social pressure of the dominate culture to coerce behavior conformity.

Human nature in action is all this is, which really highlights why GOVERNMENT needs restraints. Government becomes the tool of whatever group is looking to enforce their desired conformity using social coercion, as well as the force of law, if they can get away with it.

Old wine, new bottles, New boss, same as the Old boss, etc. rinse, repeat.

gadfly said...

I as checking StatCounter last night to see who was visiting my blog and I found this strange entry (actually twice) at this post from Blue Coat Systems with a cryptic note included in the html: "Notify Coach."

When I clicked on the link I reached a message that this particular address was not an internet link and what I see is all I will see.

So I went looking for Blue Coat Systems on the internet and found this link at CNet. Scary stuff.

SGT Ted said...

It is also about manufacturing consent and astro-turfing.

You saw a shining example of this in action with the OWS protests.

A concerted, deliberate effort by a group of leftist political operatives, the National media and Democrat Party politicians to fabricate a "spontaneous protest of the People" against rich people and corporations in order to justify a "solution" of yet more Big Government thievery.

It was the usual ACORN-AFL/CIO-SEIU funded astro-turfed fakery.

They couldn't pull it off: The in-fighting and naked greed of the protest organizers destroyed the operation within a couple of weeks, because of alternate media exposure of just how skanky and awful those protestors were.

Seeing Red said...

The writers guild met to discuss how to incorporate Obamacare in out TV shows.

The FCC wants to "study" how newscasts choose their stories.

Dear Leader won't have it any other way.

So keep laughing, Professor.

Don't expect me to be empathetic, tho.

Sigivald said...

Yeah, if they could only weaponize* this level of fuzzy abstraction and worthless waste of time via PowerPoint, they'd have a great tool in the War on Terror, I guess.

Normally I'm willing to defend high-level analytic thinking and organizing as potentially useful, but this ... this is just masturbation, it looks like.

(* cf. the Laundry Files, with a literally weaponized PowerPoint stack leading to interdimensional demonic possession.)

Sigivald said...

Shanna said: On slide 2 they list Magic as one of the things. What is that about?

Notice it's under "Anthropology".

It'd be referring to the common conscious-or-unconscious belief in magical action nearly universal to mankind.

Not an assertion that "magic" exists in any real sense.

SOJO said...

Hah.

Yes, that was my first thought, too - bullet points and a ppt presentation, what misery - and what an EASY and likely overpaid job.

But that's just because I'm old and cynical. A PPT presentation doesn't *always* render completely useless anything it promotes, though in this case it'd be nice if it did.

You've still got a bunch of sweaty kidlets (okay, young adults) under gov orders to influence benign conversation, and that's wrong.

Big Mike said...

I'm trying to save us... by laughing at those diagrams.

If one works for the government, one is pretty much forced to endure PowerPoint presentations, many of which are even worse that these charts. I know; I've sat through some of them. Richard Feynman noted the problem in his second autobiography What Do You Care What Other People Think?

Be skeptical. There are mobys and sock puppets on the internet, and some of them are working for a government.

Apparently we should add Crack to list of government employees.

The defense against this well-known power is good reading skill, critical thinking, more writing and more reading and more debate.

Now all you have to do is inculcate these skills into low information voters!

Shouting Thomas said...

I've thought for a long time that garage was a plant from some agency.

Crack too. I'd put it at 50/50 that Crack is a white guy with a graduate degree running a con to measure the response.

Being a snitch and provocateur has always been the second job of the black race man.

rhhardin said...

Beat words into ploughshares.

rhhardin said...

The pen is mightier than the word.

eric said...

The incompetence of the government is what saves us.

The Crack Emcee said...

Shouting Thomas,

Crack is a white guy,...a snitch and provocateur has always been the second job of the black race man.

Hilarious. But, if you ever pick up Donnell Alexander's "Ghetto Celebrity", you'll also find these words:

"Coming from where I did, my life felt so outrageously contraband that I couldn't believe I was getting away with it. So all of my confidants had to be narcs. Except the Crack Emcee. I couldn't see how even the CIA was advanced enough to hide someone like him among their minions,…"

You're a pathetic example of a man, ST,...

David-2 said...

It's good to know that having "Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations" is simpler than ObamaCare.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The incompetence of the government is what saves us.

Maybe these intentionally bad PowerPoints were intentionally leaked in order to lull you into a false sense of security. Maybe the government really is competent, and ObamaCare is a carefully designed disinformation campaign.

rhhardin said...

The word of Damocles hangs above us.

David said...

We simply need the government to regulate and oversee the government more effectively. Then it will be highly trustworthy.

It just takes a little effort. After all, in the past, governments have been the centerpiece of peace, security and well being for the individual.

This is why our academic elites, steeped in history, philosophy and knowledge of human nature and culture, are powerful supporters of increased government power.

That and the fact that the government provides their livelihood for the most part.

David said...

I have always refused to use Powerpoint.

To communicate and persuade, you have to talk to people.

Powerpoint is not talking to people.

Shouting Thomas said...

I'm pathetic, Crack!

I played with two bands over the weekend, and had two recording sessions, at which I actually made money.

I'll be playing with yet another band tonight. Just rehearsal. But, we have paying gigs.

Meanwhile, you'll be doing the Ghetto Celebrity bit here until midnight, maybe after.

I've got something to do. People with nothing to do but to do the bullshit race man thing probably shouldn't be talking about pathetic.

Now, while you continue bullshitting, I've got to rehearse. People with no life... for instance, you... might want to study people with a life. You might learn something.

garage mahal said...

It was the usual ACORN-AFL/CIO-SEIU funded astro-turfed fakery.

Minor quibble: ACORN hasn't existed for over three years.

gerry said...

In the end, the lack of progress becomes evident even to the people who authorized it and the whole thing gets shunted aside for the next grand scheme.

Obamacare?

Larry J said...

PB Reader said...
The article lacks evidence of where this effort was deployed and against whom.


Are we to believe that the people working at the NSA are above temptations to use their technology for political purposes like the IRS, EPA, DoJ, etc.? This kind of thing can swing close elections. Preservation and expansion is the primary mission of all bureaucracies (and the NSA is a bureaucracy). I’ve worked on the perimeter of the Intelligence Community for most of my adult life and have no illusion that these are somehow “better” people who’d never abuse their office for political purposes.

SGT Ted said...

Minor quibble: ACORN hasn't existed for over three years.

True, but they've reformed and are doing essentially the same things under different names.

"ACORN Style" is recognizable though.

wildswan said...

So how do you all think about prolifers?

And why so negative?

Just a thought.

gadfly said...

garage mahal said...

Minor quibble: ACORN hasn't existed for over three years.

Judicial Watch has a major quibble::

New and existing ACORN “spin-offs” are alive and well ...

In the words of Bertha Lewis, “these new entities are carrying on ACORN’s work of organizing low- and
moderate-income folks… [We have created] 18 bulletproof community-organizing Frankensteins that they’re going to have a very hard time attacking.”

chickenlittle said...

garage mahal quibbled:

ACORN hasn't existed for over three years.

Why is that G-man? Were they outed? shouted down? I thought you were a big supporter so you should know.

Ann Althouse said...

So… who here is working for the government?

chickenlittle said...

Ann Althouse said...
So… who here is working for the government?

Not I...but don't you?

Bob R said...

The government is clearly being run by the underpants gnomes. Resistance is futile.

madAsHell said...

So… who here is working for the government?
Thankfully, it's a government program. It costs a lot of money, and accomplishes nothing.

garage mahal said...

New and existing ACORN “spin-offs” are alive and well ...

Of course they are. We'll always have an "ACORN-like" entity to keep conservatives up at night.

MadisonMan said...

I work for the govt -- sometimes. My time is split across different projects.

Bob R said...

'"Except the vast majority of proles have neither the ability or the inclination to exercise these things."

That's only a basis for despair that we can maintain freedom and democracy. Either we can climb out of that hole, through developing those skills, or we are lost.'

It's only despair about democracy if we allow government - particularly the most distant (federal) level - to be huge and intrusive. We had a lot of freedom and a democracy at least as effective (and destructive) as today's when we had an illiterate populace, but a tiny government.

I suppose we can let the government be big, intrusive, and coercive if we all stay on our toes and constantly monitor everything, but why. You don't need to constantly exercise critical thinking skills about a government small enough to be drowned in the bathtub. And despite your optimism, critical thinking skill may be no match for a government big enough to use Lake Superior for a foot bath.

Drago said...

garage: "Of course they are."

Yes, of course they are.

And they are still receiving federal funds, even though there is a law against it.

But that's cool, cuz dems.

AReasonableMan said...

The Crack Emcee said...
You're a pathetic example of a man, ST,...


As always, you are too polite.

Trashhauler said...

"So… who here is working for the government?"

I worked for the military, uniformed and civilian, for 44 years, but I retired last year.

Paco Wové said...

"So… who here is working for the government?"

Ha! You'll have to try harder than that to convince me that all these other "commenters" aren't just you and Meade having me on.

'The target looks where you look', remember?

Rich Buck said...

I am an Alpha +

Rich Buck said...

Hello Deltas/Epsilons - Unite with this Minestrone.

Scott said...

Communication doesn't happen spontaneously. It's the result of volitional acts by natural people.

So each of the nodes on the PowerPoint has people associated with them.

Which makes me wonder if Ezra Klein, the ringmaster of JournoList, is or was an operative of a government institution. It's freaking obvious that if Klein didn't exist, some agency would have created him. I wonder if something in the Snowden bolus of purloined intelligence would corroborate this.

Craig said...

Are there black apps you can download from Apple?

jr565 said...

This is like THE playbook for pushing gay marriage and/or nearly anything on the liberal agenda.

Unknown said...

gotta love the GG and Snowden bashing and general dismissive hand waving. Pretty obvious who the object of these slides are. Dirty shallow morons hate being shown for what they are.