As the empire starts to crumble, and the talking heads in the MSM dwindle in influence, replaced by the likes of Alex Jones and Infowars, desperation methods are being rolled out to try and sabotage alternative and social networking media.
It will not work.
The problem they have is one of reputation, and six degrees of separation.
Because everyone is connected to everyone else by only six steps, it is now impossible to inject a lie into the hive mind of The Mass and have that lie survive scrutiny.
We have spoken about The Mass before on BLOGDIAL; it is the accurate prediction of the Twitter mediated hive mind that is impervious to the State and its lies.
Even if this vile attack on the truth through manipulation and lies was successful in any way, countermeasures can be built in software that would completely eradicate the influence of these glove puppet agents provocateurs.
Using the model of the PGP web of trust and the fact of six degrees of separation, it is possible to build a self organising, self healing global network of trusted introducers who can re-tweet only what is known to have not come from a glove puppet.
These trusted introducers and their messages would carry more weight than any glove puppet, and in fact, Twitter almost does this spontaneously through its simple method of people following each other and getting to know the sort of tweets that come out of the people they follow.
Anyone who uses these social networking tools understands that un-following is instant, adaptive network healing; if someone you follow says something that is a lie you either refute them by replying in public or un-following them and never again re tweeting their messages.
These simple actions are like the behaviour of antibodies fighting off infection, in this case, the infection of lies told by lying glove puppets.
These military people simply do not understand the world the are now living in. They cannot use their ridiculous twentieth century PSYOP strategies by ‘upgrading‘ them and superimposing them on Twitter; it simply will not transpose to these media.
What they must now realise is that lying as a strategy is finished. This would be the breakthrough that would put them on a strong footing for total domination of the social networking space. Sadly (or happily) they simply have not got a clue, nor the ethical foundation to make the correct strategic decision.
Lets do this!
The US military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social media sites by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda.
They will fail.
A Californian corporation has been awarded a contract with United States Central Command (Centcom), which oversees US armed operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, to develop what is described as an “online persona management service” that will allow one US serviceman or woman to control up to 10 separate identities based all over the world.
Wait a minute, is it the US Military, or is it some snake-oil salesman in California who made a successful pitch?
The project has been likened by web experts to China’s attempts to control and restrict free speech on the internet.
This is utter nonsense, Grauniad style. Censorship has nothing to do with organised glove puppetry; everyone can continue saying whatever it is they like, unimpeded. Can these morons even define the words they are using? Shocking stupidity, and par for the course at the Grauniad!
Critics are likely to complain that it will allow the US military to create a false consensus in online conversations, crowd out unwelcome opinions and smother commentaries or reports that do not correspond with its own objectives.
Critics are nothing more than cry babies whining instead of writing software. As I say above, a web of trust can be built either spontaneously or with software designed to tamp down glove puppetry and MILCOMTROLLS. You can always spot trolls very easily, especially when they use templates or multiple identities to spam comments. The Telegraph comments sections are full of garbage; all you have to do to tune it out however, is to set Disqus to ‘best rated’.
The single act of people rating comments up (and not down, there is no downvote button) crowd-sources the bullshit out of sight. If an organised team of MILCOMTROLLS tries to hijack the comments, it is always the case that the best refuting comment outshines the glove puppetry, and the takeover backfires completely.
The people who put this contract out to tender have absolutely no idea how any of this works, and it is going to backfire on them spectacularly. Just ask Johan Hari about how Google can expose misdeeds in English. Any MILCOMTROLLS that try and poison threads or spin the hash tags will be spotted, outed and crowded out, reinforcing the exact opposite messages that they are trying to push.
The discovery that the US military is developing false online personalities – known to users of social media as “sock puppets” – could also encourage other governments, private companies and non-government organisations to do the same.
So what? Its just like other governments wanting nuclear weapons because the USA has them, or countries like India wanting ID Cards because most European countries have them.
The Centcom contract stipulates that each fake online persona must have a convincing background, history and supporting details, and that up to 50 US-based controllers should be able to operate false identities from their workstations “without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries”.
This is unfeasible, and if it is feasible, the web of trust can isolate and expunge these glove puppets. Also, consider that when individuals write blog comments or send tweets, they think about what they are writing, instead of working from a script. The only way this MILCOMTROLL plan could possibly work is if they hired individuals to write from the MILCOM point of view, genuinely on a case by case basis, with the target articles distributed to them for attack.
You cannot create a fool proof system where one person can control ten identities and not be crowded out or discovered. Because each of these identities, credible or not, will all be propagating the same point of view, this fact alone would be enough to characterise, isolate, and quarantine them.
Centcom spokesman Commander Bill Speaks said: “The technology supports classified blogging activities on foreign-language websites to enable Centcom to counter violent extremist and enemy propaganda outside the US.”
Ron Paul 2021!
He said none of the interventions would be in English, as it would be unlawful to “address US audiences” with such technology, and any English-language use of social media by Centcom was always clearly attributed. The languages in which the interventions are conducted include Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and Pashto.
Its unlawful to glove puppet in English for American audiences, but its A-OK to ASSASSINATE Americans.
You cant make this stuff up.
Centcom said it was not targeting any US-based web sites, in English or any other language, and specifically said it was not targeting Facebook or Twitter.
Lies lies and more lies.
Once developed, the software could allow US service personnel, working around the clock in one location, to respond to emerging online conversations with any number of co-ordinated messages, blogposts, chatroom posts and other interventions. Details of the contract suggest this location would be MacDill air force base near Tampa, Florida, home of US Special Operations Command.
Once again, coordinated messages will be identified and neutralised. Think about this as a possible way of destroying the effectiveness of this dastardly plan.
Akismet is a distributed tool for eliminating spam. It is 99.99% effective. A system like that could be used to completely eliminate the occurrence of glove puppets and mass up/downvoters.
Since these people will be working in a coordinated way, their acts will be synchronised. It will be possible to identify them as a group and then systematically exclude them from showing up in comments or as up-votes. Digg has some experience in this, where massive groups of paid Diggers were organised to push stories onto the front page. Since these people all work together, it only takes a few instances of them working to simultaneously to generate a unique fingerprint of their behaviour, which can then be tested against when future MILCOMTROLL style attacks are initiated.
Of course, all this happens silently in the software, so like SEOs trying to game Google, they will meet with a very serious problem the instant they roll this programme out. Anyone working with Gmail knows that it is spam free. This proves that distributed, collaborative filtering and secret sauce software can work to keep out the bad guys.
Centcom’s contract requires for each controller the provision of one “virtual private server” located in the United States and others appearing to be outside the US to give the impression the fake personas are real people located in different parts of the world.
These people are not going to be posting in English. This is a big hurdle for the glove puppets who are going to be operating their MILCOMTROLL identities. Online credibility is not just a matter of getting an accurate word for word translation of an idea; there are cultural references, nuances and cues that the American military are notoriously and hopelessly bad at. Can you imagine some shorn headed operative in jungle camo, sitting in an air conditioned room in Tampa Florida, trying to pass herself off as a muslim man in Riyadh? Or ten different people in Riyadh?!
The whole idea is simply ridiculous, and in fact the targets of this rubbish will not need any special software to detect these MILCOMTROLLS, they will give themselves away when they post during prayers or some other stupid (and fatal) basic cultural error.
It also calls for “traffic mixing”, blending the persona controllers’ internet usage with the usage of people outside Centcom in a manner that must offer “excellent cover and powerful deniability”.
This is snake oil straight from the brochure. NO $ALE!
The multiple persona contract is thought to have been awarded as part of a programme called Operation Earnest Voice (OEV), which was first developed in Iraq as a psychological warfare weapon against the online presence of al-Qaida supporters and others ranged against coalition forces.
Ridiculous. There were no al-Qaida in Iraq before the Americans got there. This is pure and utter bullshit, and those with memories longer than goldfish know this. The war of blowing people to bits, and pictures of it, are worth many thousands of MILCOMTROLLS. You cannot win hearts and minds with a gun, or a drone. Period. This is a waste of time and a waste of money, and I strongly suspect that anyone who has been on a tour in Iraq will confirm this. The military are giving more money to Ron Paul; more than all the other candidates combined. This is not an accident; these people know what is really going on, and no amount of snake oil, lies, glove puppets or trolls can stop the truth from coming out.
Since then, OEV is reported to have expanded into a $200m programme and is thought to have been used against jihadists across Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East.
And its not working, on a purely objective PR level, removing all aspects of right or wrong, who started what or anything other than the measure of mindshare. All you have to do is watch the propaganda that these people produce on LiveLeak. No troll, no commenter no one can counter the stark shock value of what these people are disseminating. They are winning the PR war because their PR is quantitatively better. Once again, this has nothing to do with what you personally think about them and their motives, its a pure matter of mathematical fact.
OEV is seen by senior US commanders as a vital counter-terrorism and counter-radicalisation programme. In evidence to the US Senate’s armed services committee last year, General David Petraeus, then commander of Centcom, described the operation as an effort to “counter extremist ideology and propaganda and to ensure that credible voices in the region are heard”. He said the US military’s objective was to be “first with the truth”.
The best counter-terrorism and counter-radicalisation programme would be to elect Ron Paul. It is a scientific fact that all terrorism against the USA would cease thirty days after Ron Paul was elected.
Do you think that that is a big claim to make? Very well, dont believe, me take it from someone, the only person in fact, who has done a 100% accurate study of the true nature of terrorism: Professor Robert Pape, in his lecture “Dying to Win”
In this lecture, he will prove to you with unassailable facts that if Ron Paul wins, terrorism goes away.
This month Petraeus’s successor, General James Mattis, told the same committee that OEV “supports all activities associated with degrading the enemy narrative, including web engagement and web-based product distribution capabilities”.
This is utter nonsense on stilts. The ‘enemies narrative’ as outlined by Dr. Pape is that America is occupying other people’s countries. That is the ONLY narrative, and no amount of glove puppetry can alter this fact. Only a complete removal of American forces from foreign lands can change the narrative and end the nightmare.
Finally, we get to the ‘me too’ part of the article:
It is unclear whether a persona management programme would contravene UK law. Legal experts say it could fall foul of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981, which states that “a person is guilty of forgery if he makes a false instrument, with the intention that he or another shall use it to induce somebody to accept it as genuine, and by reason of so accepting it to do or not to do some act to his own or any other person’s prejudice”. However, this would apply only if a website or social network could be shown to have suffered “prejudice” as a result.
Is an online identity, a nom de plume a ‘false instrument’? Any website that takes comments from anyone using any name has entered into a contract where such an act is acceptable, and so de-facto, the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981 could not apply. The fact is that UK law is not anywhere near being relevant to glove puppetry and where they apply existing law, they nearly always get it horribly wrong, like the recent case of the autistic Troll imprisoned for… trolling.
Trolling is a simple matter of freedom of speech (property rights). The people who own the servers are publishing on their own property. They enter into contracts with people who leave comments. It is as simple as that. There is no space in that contract and interaction for the State to interject itself.
• This article was amended on 18 March 2011 to remove references to Facebook and Twitter, introduced during the editing process, and to add a comment from Centcom, received after publication, that it is not targeting those sites.
This is so full of fail there is fail spilled all over the floor.
The people who are least susceptible to MILCOMTROLL propaganda are the targets of this insane scheme. They are not going to buy any of this, and any attempt to spin the Twittersphere or blogosphere in English, in the USUK, as they are no doubt trying to do right now, is doomed to failure.
The mass rejects their malignant attempts at influence at every step, and as the economy continues to degrade, all calls to ignore the Federal Reserve, wage more wars, re-elect mobsters and murderers is going to ring so hollow that the sounds will resemble the biggest bell ever cast.