on the Internet
[I posted this to alt.mindcontrol in early December, 1997. The group had been
flooded with posts for sex-related web sites, and included graphic jpeg images.
While this post is mostly about Usenet news groups, much of it applies to email
and web sites too. The term
is, in many respects, just a new word for what used to be called propaganda.]
The recent porn posts in
alt.mindcontrol fit in as one of a variety of techniques for disrupting
news groups. If you read about the basic cointelpro techniques, most such
disruptions are variations on those themes. They are also deniable, and this
uncertainty is cultivated and prized by harassers because it can lead to
(justified) paranoia and false accusations that discredit the victim.
Distraction with irrelevant posts.
What better example than the recent porn posts? Discussion is lost in the
noise. (In this case, the posts may make the group "appealing" to a new
audience, so a small silver lining is that new people can be informed about
Distraction by voluminous postings with no
by blowhards and empty name-callers.
(Can be hard to distinguish from genuine blowhards.) People who wallow in
the mud do not need to outdebate you; they only need to drag you down there
with them. Kill files can help if your newsreader has them.
- Planting of provocateurs (and sleeper agents,
etc.). These people will vary from the posters who suddenly show up
one day under an alias attacking regular posters, to people who seem like
regular posters themselves. They may work in teams, supporting each other
and giving the illusion of popular support on the net. (Remember, net IDs
are basically free, and one person can have many.) As cointelpro showed,
there is little that is more poisonous to an organization than to have it
tear itself apart from the inside with accusations of moles. (The CIA knows
all about this from its own mole hunts.) Moles love to accuse others of
being moles; then again, there are real moles. You have to judge for
yourself who to listen to or what to believe.
- Spoofing. Forgeries and modified content.
Does not need to be global over the whole
for example just your local news server can be modified. If they control
your regular communication line like your phone line there is no end to the
illusions that can be created. There is a danger that some forms of spoofing
will be detected, though, and it is harder to do, so I think these
techniques are used less widely than the others.
posts. Posts disappear
or only propagate in a limited region. This has deniability as just network
problems, since sometimes there really are network problems. One technique
is to secretly "localize" posts that are not approved by some censor or
gatekeeper. Most people will not notice if their post only appears on their
local news server, and will assume it has propagated worldwide. They will
just think no one has replied (though spoof replies can be posted locally,
too). I check to see that my posts show up at DejaNews. Hardly foolproof,
but at least then I know people can read them there (at least until more
sophisticated spoofing is available, perhaps tailored to domain names or
posts. By controlling
when posts show up, the flow of the debate can be controlled. A heads-up
warning can be given to the plants on the group to counter arguments ahead
of time. They can also make the same arguments or statements themselves
ahead of time to build their own "credibility" or to steal thunder.
Controlling search engines.
If no one can find it, it is not there. I do not have any evidence that this
has happened. The real danger is the possibility of "voluntary"
self-censorship like we have seen, for example, in the newspapers with
regard to radiation experiments.
pathways. An important
aspect of psychological
is to have a feedback path to the victim. (This is like a control signal in
dynamical systems theory.) The feedback path may be used covertly to
manipulate the victim, the victim may become aware of it on his or her own,
or the victim may be purposely made aware of it.
Harassers often want victims
think their harassers have control over them. To know they are being
watched. This can help induce psychological trauma and regression in the
victim. [According to the
interrogation manual, "All coercive techniques are designed to induce
regression."] A feedback path can alert the victim that he is being
manipulated. This can be done by telephones ringing or fax machines. It can
be done with sophisticated mind control methods. It could even be done in
newspapers if some person or agency knew the newspapers the victim reads and
could influence their content (e.g. the final cointelpro link below).
is a fairly new medium that fits this bill perfectly if the subject reads
newsgroups. In a simple example, you cancel a person's post and then post
your own article hinting that you have done it. (Incidentally, psychological
torturers can pretend to have caused anything they are aware of having
happened.) The person gets angry, but they may not be sure, and if they
accuse the tormentor they are ridiculed. (Always try to goad the victims
into doing things in public that will discredit them.)
When the hardware is expanded to
include home surveillance and mind control techniques, the effects can be
Can anyone truly doubt that these
techniques have been extensively studied and documented by our government? The
stonewall of denial fights for every inch of ground, no matter how trivial.
People will still deny obvious, documented (cointelpro) things like this to
delay having to deny the next step of the chain ("Yes, maybe they studied it but
they would never test it on Americans [they did], and they surely are not still
doing it today [they are].")
Secret agencies are still arms of the
and at the last site, especially
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