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16 October 2009

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Cato the Censor

Good gravy, this is just a blog. I'm amazed that anyone would go to such elaborate lengths just to undermine one person's forum to express his personal opinions. Do these guys think they're soldiers fighting some kind of war (the keyboard commando kind)? I suppose the answer is yes. Anyone who could provide any insight into this sort of mindset would be very helpful.

J

Clifford,

The Israeli hasbra types don't know how to let the barn door hit them in their rump roasts. The Israeli government is a scab on the Mideast's backsides that keeps erupting with puss and infection (i.e. their Operation Cast Lead murder of Gaza children, massacres at Shabra & Shatila, Palestinan prisoner organs theft/trafficking, drug running, money laundering, etc.), and their hasbra types wonder why more Americans are becoming 'uninspired' by their hasbra dribble with more poor little Israel sob stories. Go figure.

Now the hasbra types are trying to suck U.S. into another Israeli war, this time with Iran who is no threat to our U.S.. It's time the Israeli hasbra propagandist[s] took a running leap at a rolling doughnut. I'm tired of their dribble, and particularly incensed with their callous disregard toward the deaths of Americans that are used as the cannon fodder for their 'state security'.

Arghhh......

psc

Tony Rice? The only Tony Rice I am aware of was the great Notre Dame option Quarterback who led the Fighting Irish to the National Championship in 1986.

And now I am going to spread some (hopeful) disinformattion. Notre Dame will beat Southern Cal this weekend for the first time in 7 years. Go Irish, Beat Trojans!

The beaver

J

I believe that it is known more appropriately as Hasbara. There are quite a few articles on them on the web since Bibi came into power and they have managed to get quite a few followers in the US who will volunteer their time on some very popular blogs. As for those whose grammar or punctuations or vocabulary "laissent à désirer" they are "refusenicks" or refugees from former Soviet satellite countries or puppet controlled ones who live in Europe and are "hired guns" in critical times when there are uprisings or attacks and they will "rebutt" as the discussions intensify and they make mistakes because HQ is not fast enough to respond with "prepared propaganda" for the questions being submitted. So it is the Propaganda 2.0 era these days.

R Whitman

This "Troll" behavior can, at times, be quite entertaining. How about keeping it but labeling it "Caution-Troll Information".

confusedponderer

On another forum, dedicated to computer games, there was a guy who made his third or so post on ... why nobody on said computer gaming site bothered posting about ACORN's fall? Yes, indeed, why!? Not only did liberal media not cover it, but the gamers neglected it, too! His other posts were on health care.

Hailing from New England, he introduced himself as 'centrist or right leaning in many things' - as if anyone cared - until he then voiced concerns that Obama's health care reform would destroy the private insurers, and that the cost in the health care are due to regulation.

Now why does a so far unknown centrist from New England preaches in his spare time health care to people he hasn't ever got in touch with before? My guess: Because he googled health care and found some of the lively discussions on the thread and decided to harp in.

I could never substantiate that, but after he got called out, he posted two more times and then disappeared.

What I want to say is that not only government and para-government groups do it. Lobbyists do it, too. It has become part of the PR curriculum and the new breed of propagandists do it by the book.

Kieran

Doesn't surprise me at all. Coherent thought about these issues being as rare as it is, this blog is a real threat. I hope you appreciate the inadvertent compliment they are paying you, Colonel.

Clifford Kiracofe

Several items I found between classes today relating to IO:

Congressional Testimony from RAND on Internet-terrorism:
http://www.rand.org/pubs/testimonies/2006/RAND_CT262-1.pdf

An Israeli perspective:
http://www.au.af.mil/info-ops/iosphere/
08special/iosphere_special08_ben-ari.pdf

A wiki entry on public diplomacy/Israel -- hasbara:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_diplomacy_(Israel)

A recent Australian analysis per Southeast Asia:
http://www.aspi.org.au/publications/
publication_details.aspx?ContentID=202&pubtype=10

Lots going on in cyberspace in the IO world.


cb

"Good gravy, this is just a blog. I'm amazed that anyone would go to such elaborate lengths just to undermine one person's forum to express his personal opinions."

Don't know if they're still doing it, but for a while (starting in 2005), CENTCOM had a team of soldiers whose job was to read blogs and post comments. Here's a link to a story about that team:

http://www.sptimes.com/2007/02/12/Tampabay/Blogs_are_CentCom_s_n.shtml

(They focused on critical blog posts about the war in Iraq and His Holiness Donald the Rumsfeld, and posted the "real facts" in response.)

So, yeah: governments are very interested in what people post on blogs.

Dan M

I knew a guy in Iraq who'd been a Republican party pollster in the States. Ended up working for the Lincoln Group propaganda operation there. When he can home he founded a website called "the truth about iraq" (link is to a weird iraq wiki that is largely dead now). It was filled in 2005-2006ish with lies, misinformation, etc... about how swell everything was there. I never knew who paid for it. But isn't US govt money spent to run information operations against our own citizen's illegal? Apparently, no one cares.

greg0

Some provocative comments further a discussion but they also can steer the conversation. Most of the comments are always read with a grain of salt. The educational aspects of this blog outweigh the dumber comments. (And I don't have time for every blog)
Total control of mainstream media is not enough for the rich and powerful? Sounds like some expensive propaganda operations...

zanzibar

Clifford

Your note is so insightful. I did not realize how "sophisticated" folks get just to influence a bunch of people trying to discuss and understand issues.

I can't imagine the level of sophistication with which governments and "moneyed interests" attempt to influence public opinion.

This post by Yves Smith on "MSM reporting as propaganda" is very timely.

euclidcreek

There is reason to believe all media in the U.S. is monitored and archived, both by US government agencies and entities gathering information for foreign governments.

Nightsticker

Colonel Lang,

I am embarrassed to reveal my ignorance but could someone give a brief explanation of what this thread is about. What was done? Who did it? Information Operations against SST?

Nightsticker
USMC 1965-1972
FBI 1972-1996

Medicine Man

My honest first impression when reading a blog post like this one is "my lord, that sounds so paranoid." It would be very easy to dismiss this kind of missive as the over-wrought ramblings of self involved people seeing foreign operative bogeymen behind every bush etc.

That said, I don't regard Pat Lang to be a practitioner of nose-honking slapstick. I also recall he has a military background that involves some familiarity with intelligence operations. This notion that Clifford airs, while seeming outlandish to me, is not inherently unlikely or even implausible.

If there is truth to this, what do you think the level of penetration is and what types of sites do you think are targeted? Is there any way to distinguish professional provocateurs from the many people out there with personal/political axes to grind?

Patrick Lang

all

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasbara

See also the comment in this threas concerning similar actions by USCENTCOM. pl

The beaver

Colonel

Interesting one by the military:
http://cryptome.org/covert-blogs.zip

Although a blog-based operations unit could be based either domestically or in theater, the best option is to forward deploy it as a cell, just as we deploy our PSYOP analysts and production and dissemination capabilities.

So what we could consider as a "PITA troll" could be someone with a mission :(

Clifford Kiracofe

Medicine Man,

Well...you might consider:

"Israel’s foreign ministry is reported to be establishing a special undercover team of paid workers whose job it will be to surf the internet 24 hours a day spreading positive news about Israel.

Internet-savvy Israeli youngsters, mainly recent graduates and demobilised soldiers with language skills, are being recruited to pose as ordinary surfers while they provide the government’s line on the Middle East conflict.

“To all intents and purposes the internet is a theatre in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we must be active in that theatre, otherwise we will lose,” said Ilan Shturman, who is responsible for the project.

The existence of an “internet warfare team” came to light when it was included in this year’s foreign ministry budget. About $150,000 has been set aside for the first stage of development, with increased funding expected next year.

The team will fall under the authority of a large department already dealing with what Israelis term “hasbara”, officially translated as “public explanation” but more usually meaning propaganda. That includes not only government public relations work but more secretive dealings the ministry has with a battery of private organisations and initiatives that promote Israel’s image in print, on TV and online.

In an interview this month with the Calcalist, an Israeli business newspaper, Mr Shturman, the deputy director of the ministry’s hasbara department, admitted his team would be working undercover.

“Our people will not say: ‘Hello, I am from the hasbara department of the Israeli foreign ministry and I want to tell you the following.’ Nor will they necessarily identify themselves as Israelis,” he said. “They will speak as net-surfers and as citizens, and will write responses that will look personal but will be based on a prepared list of messages that the foreign ministry developed.”
http://www.counterpunch.org/cook07212009.html

And so on...

The beaver

@ Medicine Man

Like "Anonymous" mentioned, "Megaphone" is a media monitoring software and this is how it is done:

http://giyus.org/

Mind you there are a lot of software out there that can "monitor" the keywords, threads or headlines about Israel zipping across the Internet. So once a good alert from a target site pop up, the good soldier gets into action spewing what his masters or leaders want him to say.
Here is another method as pointed out by Tony Karon:
http://tonykaron.com/2009/01/05/oren-historian-armed/

Charles I

I'm a nobody.

My crummy letter to the the ed of the Toronto Star Re Israel in Gaza provoked a personal response, a sneering missive directed to my home, from the President of Canadian Jurists for World Jewry. I hadn't written a word about World Jewry of course, but about Israeli arms and bloody Gazan rubble, the never-ending bullshit spoken without rebuttal.

Sent the prat a 40 pager one night while I was hypomanic.

The IO is multilayered, pervasive, responsive and robust. A Bloody Wurlitzer played by many hands. As a young armchair old-warrior, I once mused of katsa-dom after reading Victor Ostrovsky's By Way of Deception, gotta be thousands and thousands of of that ilk alone.

But I'm Reformed, and haven't been a lawyer for 14 years!

The campaign during the Gaza assault was well resourced, evident everywhere, seamlessly integrated into the Canadian PM's position that it was a "measured response".

I naively tilted at Highlander til a little bird twigged me. The IO op sucks up the attention and resources of people like me - nobodies, who can write the ed with an LLB, that I've learned to better focus.

Clifford, even between class, school is never out with you! Your book is getting really near the top of my pile. Thanks.

Its a privilege Gentlemen, as always. Knowledge is armour.

MRW.

Is ms Mark Stuart or Stewart?

Whoever he is, he replied to my post in the Richard Sale thread in which I mentioned Gore Vidal. Comical as hell. Perfect example of what you're talking about:

Gore Vidal ? I like to read his novel but here is an other American disguised one day in a trench coat and a cigarette dangling from his beak. Bronzed skin, sun glasses, designer clothes and still a cigarette dangling from his mouth, the other!

I love those Americans who enjoy criticizing the US and loooove Europe soooo much, but always come back to die on our shores! Gore Vidal is no exception. He used to spend a lot of time in Europe, France and Italy mainly, giving interviews to whomever wanted to hear how highly Americans themselves thought about their own country. Until his boyfriend died, he sold his italian Villa to move back to LA in 2003!

"He used to spend a lot of time in Europe?" Yeah, he read a lot of Vidal's 'novel' all right.

William R. Cumming

Responding to Dan M. comment. To my knowledge there is no specific statutory restriction on information ops by any civilian agency or DOD or its component or the Armed Forces. This is not to say there are many internal department and agency directives that restrict such ops. There is a single criminal code (Title 18 of USC) statute the specific number of which I forget captioned the "Anti-Lobbying Act" which prohibits any Executive Branch employee in a Department or Independent Agency from lobbying Congress or paying for such lobbying by individuals or groups outside the Executive Branch from directly or indirectly advocating specific programs, functions, or activities. The problem of course is that this is obeyed in the breach because its enforcement like many other things including privacy laws is vest in the Department of Justice which to my knowledge has never prosecuted an Anti-Lobbying statute violation.
AS to blogs and bloggers, when commentators almost never show anything but closed opinions or mindsets despite the information at hand then I usually discount their import. The great thing about SST and the reason some probably worry is that it not only conveys information but also the mature judgements of some of the commentators and certain the poster that reveal the weaknesses of certain policies and positions.

MRW.

Dont forget this tome written by Frank Luntz for The Israel Project this summer. Newsweek inadvertently let it out of the bag, it was supposed to be ultra confidential: "Property of The Israel Project. Not for distribution or publication. 2009.". The Israel Project's 2009 Global Language Dictionary

You can read it on line here: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/8303274/The-Israel-Projects-2009-Global-Language-Dictionary

Here's Newsweek's article about it, naturally wiped from Newsweek's site, but preserved here. It includes a link to the PDF that you can download:
http://australiansforpalestine.com/the-israel-projects-2009-global-language-dictionary

Clifford Kiracofe

Charles I,

Newspapers....well there has been a massive coordinated Israeli operation against the press in Canada and in the US for some time. The target is the press that is not already owned by "pro-Israel" elements such as the late Zionist Izzy Asper up your way. Journalists toe the pro-Israel line or do not have a career in journalism.

One organization, HonestReporting, has been extremely well funded and has sophisticated ops including bombarding newspaper editors with emails when any story or editorial emerges which is not "pro-Israel." Some years back, as I recall, a journalist at the Rocky Mountain News in Colorado was fired by his editor owing to this pressure. I have been in journalism myself as an editor of a small rural newspaper and know something about this.

You will want to examine very carefully the organization called "HonestReporting" at
http://www.honestreporting.com/

You will see a group called "Aish Hah Torah" behind it. Looking further you will note this Israeli-based org's presence in the US mainly New York City and Los Angeles (where they get much Hollywood money support). Do some search on this org. it is a very significant force.

Thanks for purchasing my book, [Dark Crusade(London:IB Tauris, 2009)], I hope you will enjoy the read. I am more free to publish in London than in the US which says something. I am deeply grateful to my UK publisher.

Yes, armor...Ephesians 6: 10-18, is a favorite of mine.

Clifford Kiracofe

"But isn't US govt money spent to run information operations against our own citizen's illegal? Apparently, no one cares."

Dan M,

Good point. Fundamental. I believe back in the Cold War era Congress passed legislation to prevent such ops by USIA etal. Don't know where all this stands today in terms of legislation and federal law. Perhaps an SST reader may know and can help us on this point?


Beaver,

Cool stuff, thanks.

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