I’ll get back to my post on “Names” shortly, it’s a research effort still in progress at the moment, but I do want to recommend some background reading for those interested and I will do so in a follow on post.
But for those that might have started reading Creating Chaos, I’d like to bring up a point I discuss towards the end of that book – a point which has to do with the personal aspects of “enabling” political warfare. I mention in the book that during the last couple of years of the Obama Administration I began to receive a rapidly growing number of forwarded emails from personal friends…emails that were all pretty obviously well-crafted political messaging in the traditional style of professional disinformation – a little truth, a lot of spin and a great deal of emotional “loading”.
They were all based on purported news stories, which on even basic search and fact checking revealed them for exactly what they were – yet when I took the trouble to write back to my email friends and advise them of that (even providing factual sources) I determined that even when they agreed, they simply did not want to expose themselves by pushing back against their own email sources.
At the time I found it frustrating but assumed that the sources were political and it was ground work for the upcoming presidential elections. It now appears that was quite naïve and chances are I was seeing some of the very first evidence of the political warfare machine that was being cranked up to fragment and create discord within the American public.
The current investigations of Russian political warfare are not going back that far so there likely won’t be any solid documentation – in Creating Chaos I begin my real studies of that interference in 2014. Still, the following article reminded me of both a personal experience and suggests that the effort was underway at least a year earlier.
My experience began with a relative, who knows I write about national security and military operations, advising me of a plot I might have missed. A plot clearly showing the depth of evil within the Obama Administration and its covert efforts to install martial law in the United States to perpetuate itself.
Now I hear some of these things every now and then (my relatives were talking about burying guns so the government would not seize them back during the Eisenhower Administration). But this was pretty ambitious, the word was that Obama had tried to stage an atomic strike as an excuse for imposing military rule over the country – or at least the southern states. Certain high ranking officers had opposed him and they had been fired as a result.
In case you didn’t hear it at the time, check the following link for details:
As ridiculous as it might sound, some real research had gone into the story and there were facts – at least about the dismissal of the officers. Upon investigation it was easy to deconstruct (as the article above does) in a few minutes of research but it did indicate that some effort had gone into the story. And I have to say I’m afraid the facts probably didn’t convince my relative; the key to success in such political warfare is to feed your message to a receptive audience. That makes countering it virtually impossible in most instances. You can’t easily “write over” what someone was receptive to and then actually heard in a purported news story.
In Creating Chaos I discuss how such things work and how 21st Century technology and social networking on the internet has made such long time practices far more dangerous. In doing so I provide a goodly number of examples taken from Facebook, YouTube and anonymous sites such as 4Chan – and its even more unrestrained and sensational spin offs such as 8chan. Even a limited study of online political warfare reveals that vehicles such as Twitter can be exceptionally fertile tools for information warfare in all its most nasty forms.
At this point in time we have moved into a place where the normal constraints of free speech are being tested. There is an old saying out here where I live – “Speak your piece but have a fast horse handy” – but social convention, peer pressure and other tactics don’t work that will with instantaneous (and anonymous) global communications. Sort of like deciding to yell “fire” in a crowded theater – things happen to fast, people get hurt. And of course yelling fire in a crowded theater brings to mind Alex Jones:
We are all going to face the same personal struggles that Facebook and Twitter face in the commercial media space (which is where they are, whether Twitter admits it or not). The question you need to ask about your online and social media communications is whether you are addressing the problem or not. And as we used to say back in the 60’s, “if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem”.