By James Corbett
October 8, 2022
If you’re a good, credulous consumer of the lamestream media, you likely take it as a given that Russian hackers present the greatest danger to the human species in the history of our planet.
Or is that Chinese hackers? Or maybe North Koreans? Meh, whatever. Details, shmetails!
The point is that the threat posed by these shadowy cyber warriors (whoever they may be) is so great that no amount of foaming-at-the-mouth, hyperbolic, end-of-days catastrophism from the TV talking heads and Twittering blue checkmarks and think tanking deep staters is too much.
Yes, the Chinese are infiltrating our corporations’ computer systems in order to steal all of our industrial secrets! How else could you possibly explain the fact that the fearsome Chinese military boasts so much refurbished American technology?
In fact, as we dutiful devotees of the digital doyens know all too well by now, it’s even worse than that. These cretinous computer criminals are no longer content merely to hack into our computer mainframes and exfiltrate our precious data. No, in this age of information warfare, the wicked warriors of the world wide web are now engaged in psychological operations against us, actively spreading mis-, dis- and mal-information in order to warp our innocent minds with facts that are uncomfortable to the establishment elitists.
So, in the midst of all of this hysterical hyperventilation over the hordes of cyber warriors attacking us from every direction, you think it would be kind of a big deal if a venerable journalistic institution like, oh, say, The Washington “Democracy Dies in Darkness™” Post came out with a story blithely admitting that the largest army of internet psyops soldiers in the world is in fact being fielded by the US, wouldn’t you? Surely it would be worthy of more than a passing mention in the back of the newspaper if social media companies were deleting the US military’s fake bot army and the Pentagon were running a fake “investigation” into the matter to cover their posterior, wouldn’t it?
Well, guess what? That’s exactly what is now being admitted, and you likely didn’t hear anything about it, did you?
Let’s correct that.
Whether you are a consumer of mainstream or alternative media, you will have heard by now all about the great danger of our age: online misinformation. After all, we’ve just lived through three years of establishment hysteria over the fact that average Joes and Janes (and even Jameses!) have dared to use the internet to spread the truth about the scamdemic.
Even before this latest round of “COVID misinformation” delirium, we’d been hearing for years that democracy itself was under attack by shadowy Russian cybersleuths posting hundreds of dollars’ worth of Facebook Jesus memes. (“Won’t someone think of the (s)elections!”)
Attentive viewers of the MSM will have noticed little cracks in the facade of this particular propaganda narrative, however.
There’s the Scary Poppins scandal, for instance, where the Biden administration attempted to appoint well-known disinformation spreader and censorship proponentNina Janckewicz as head of their bone-chillingly named “Disinformation Governance Board.”
Or there’s the seemingly endless parade of establishment propagandists, disinformation spreaders and outright liars who are using their political capital to push for increasingly draconian censorship laws in a brazen bid to silence those who would point out their mendacities.
Indeed, by this point it’s almost impossible for any objective observer to deny that the entire establishment freak-out over “online misinformation” is:
- a projection by those self-same establishment figures, who are guilty of spreading such misinformation themselves; and
- a convenient excuse for censoring their critics.
But, lest any fence-straddling normie should still be in doubt about where the realmisinformation threat is coming from, that doubt has been erased by the latest scandal to break through the information blockade set up by the MSM gatekeepers.
Although you might have missed it if you blinked while scrolling through your news feed last week, the very same mockingbird repeaters who have just spent the past decade ginning up a neo-McCarthyist New Red Scare over ChiCom/Best Korea/Russkie hackers have just admitted that the biggest purveyor of online mal-, mis- and dis-information is . . .
. . . (are you ready for this?) . . .
. . . the US government!
Surprised? I didn’t think so.
Specifically, a new report from our friends over at WaPo reveals that the Pentagon “has ordered a sweeping audit of how it conducts clandestine information warfare after major social media companies identified and took offline fake accounts suspected of being run by the U.S. military in violation of the platforms’ rules.”
The report is a whitewash, of course. It points to a Graphika/Stanford report released this past August, which, in a refreshing change of pace, took the type of scatter plot nonsense that is used to connect sites like The Corbett Report to “extremist” outlets and to foreign influence operations and instead used that methodology to expose a group of suspiciously pro-Western social media accounts.
The Graphika/Stanford researchers uncovered “an interconnected web of accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and five other social media platforms that used deceptive tactics to promote pro-Western narratives in the Middle East and Central Asia.” These accounts appeared to be engaged in “a series of covert campaigns over a period of almost five years rather than one homogeneous operation.” Although some of these operations were linked to a US Special Operations Command online propaganda program called the “Trans Regional Web Initiative” that was briefly reported on a decade ago, the other accounts were engaged in “a series of covert campaigns of unclear origin.”
The latest WaPo report informs us that “the White House and some federal agencies” have “expressed mounting concerns over the Defense Department’s attempted manipulation of audiences overseas” and are investigating the matter. While the original Graphika/Stanford report did not directly accuse the US military of controlling or deploying the network of “pro-Western” social media accounts, the WaPo‘s anonymous sources say that “US Central Command is among those whose activities are facing scrutiny.”
Reading between the lines, it isn’t difficult to understand why The Bezos Post is “reporting” on this story: outside researchers uncovered a US government-run online misinformation network, the Pentagon is running a phony baloney “investigation” so that they can inevitably conclude that they did nothing wrong, and the public is left with the impression that this “scandal” was all about a perfectly legal (if morally questionable) “overseas” propaganda campaign.
If we take it as face value, the report will have many shrugging their shoulders and moving on to the next story. So what if the US government created a few fake social media accounts to—as WaPo asserts—”counter disinformation spread by China suggesting the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 was created at a U.S. Army lab in Fort Detrick” and “amplify truthful information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the virus’s origination in China”? What’s the big deal?
The big deal, of course, is that this story is a limited hangout and we are only being shown the very tiny tip of an unimaginably large iceberg.
I’m sorry if I’m now breaking this to you, but it’s not only Russia, China, North Korea or whatever bogeymen happens to on the State Department’s hit list this week who employ hackers and digital spies and bot armies and psyops soldiers in their quest to influence online discourse. It’s also the US and Israel and Britain and Canada and every other nation in the world that is engaging in these silicon shenanigans.
This won’t come as a surprise to anyone paying attention, of course. You only need to cast your mind back a few months to that intentionally creepy US Army psyops recruitment ad to get a sense of the scope of American military involvement in the online disinformation space.
More to the point, as I’m sure you’re already aware, the internet was literally created by the US military. Starting out as the ARPANET, the impetus behind the creation of the internet was—as Vint Cerf, now hailed as one of the “fathers of the internet” casually admitted in 2018—”a belief that command and control could make use of computers in order to enable the Defense Department to use its resources better than an opponent.”
And, as researchers like Yasha Levine, author of Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet, have pointed out, the internet was, from its very earliest incarnation, a weapon of surveillance and control to be deployed against anyone the US military deemed to be a counterinsurgency threat.
With that context in mind, it’s easy to see the hundreds of data points connecting US military and intelligence operations and the internet as just pieces of that overall puzzle. Although an exhaustive list of such puzzle pieces would take a dozen articles to properly enumerate, they include:
- The Pentagon’s declared intention to achieve “full spectrum dominance” over all information systems and its subsequent plan to “fight the net” as if it were an “enemy weapons system.”
- The US intelligence agencies’ role in helping to covertly foster Google, Facebook and other mainstays of the modern internet.
- The “Trans Regional Web Initiative” referred to in the Graphika/Stanford report.
- The purchase by US Central Command of “online persona management software” capable of creating fake social media profiles to be used by Pentagon psyops officers in online propaganda campaigns.
- The millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars being pumped by the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies into “combatting” mis- and dis-information, which is in reality a tactic for ensuring that only government-approved propaganda is allowed to spread online.
I could go on and on. But it isn’t just the US that is involved in these types of operations, of course.
It’s Canada, too, where the government is “employing Internet Trolls, Shills & PR Agents to ‘correct misinformation’.”
And it’s Israel, which trains cadres of Zionists to edit Wikipedia and whose infamous “Unit 8200” cyber spies have gone on to found a staggering number of high tech startupsin recent years, ensuring them backdoor access to many of the world’s most sensitive systems (access that they are not afraid to exploit).
And it’s the UK, whose infamous 77th brigade admittedly “edit videos, record podcasts and write viral posts” in their infowar against COVID truthers and other establishment enemies, and whose highly secretive Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group literally created a handbook (entitled “The Art of Deception: Training for a New Generation of Online Covert Operations“) for manipulating public opinion online.
In fact, when you really begin to look into it, every country in the world is engaging in online “perception management” activities or attempting to develop its military capabilities in the “information battlespace,” whether to hack into foreign countries’ corporate mainframes and vital infrastructure or to manipulate public perception via internet propaganda campaigns.
So, you might ask, if everyone is doing it, then why does it matter?
WHY IT MATTERS
The lie that is propounded by the MSM talking heads—the lie that holds that it’s only the Russkie/Chinese/NK bogeymen who are engaged in hacking and online propaganda campaigns—is a particularly insidious one for three reasons.
Firstly, it provides a perfect cover for one of the most important agenda items on the powers-that-shouldn’t-be’s checklist: shutting down the free flow of information on the internet. As viewers of The Media Matrix and students of Mass Media: A History will know, clamping down on the internet in this neo-Gutenberg moment is as important to the oligarchs’ goal of maintaining power as it was for the oligarchs of a previous era to clamp down on the printing press. What is at stake is nothing less than the continued survival of the information oligopoly that is the core of their mechanism of control over society, so it should be no surprise that they would use their enemies’ information operations as an excuse to engage in online censorship.
Secondly, the bogeyman hacker myth allows the establishment mouthpieces in the media to demonize State Department enemies by accurately pointing out these countries’ cyber sleuthing and hacking operations, while simultaneously ignoring the US and its allies’ own such operations and preparing the public for a virtual false flag event that could plausibly be blamed on those enemies and used as an excuse for the passage of the cyber PATRIOT Act.
And thirdly, the bogeyman narrative distracts the public from the most fundamental question: why is every single government in the world so intent on manipulating and deceiving the public with online misinformation campaigns spread via fake social media personas? By their actions, governments and intelligence agencies the world over have revealed that they are truly afraid of the free flow of information online. But why? The underlying truth that is right under our noses is that our perceptions and our actions domatter and do make a difference. This is precisely why governments the world over spend so much time and energy and resources trying to make us believe their propaganda: so that we don’t recognize that the true governing power of society is (and always has been) ours to wield.
And so, after years of Russiagate nonsense—after all the hyperventilating over Facebook Jesus memes swaying the (s)election, after all the chest-thumping nonsense about how Chinese hackers and North Korean keyboard warriors are constantly engaging in offensive cyber operations and THEY NEED TO BE STOPPED AT ALL COSTS—we find that there is some truth to this story after all. There are online warriors out there who are out to hack into systems and to manipulate the public through online influence campaigns. It’s just that the biggest perpetrators of those dirty tricks are the US and its allies.
But don’t expect the Pentagon’s “internal investigation” to conclude as much or for outlets like The Washington Post to report on it.
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James Corbett writes about politics and society from an independent perspective