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Recently in this space, I addressed the incongruities of those on the political left expending vast amounts of time and energy attempting to discredit those on the right whom they maintain are conspiracy theorists, fear-mongers, or straight-up mental defectives. To this end, I highlighted some of the nefarious activities against which my colleagues and I warned and how these notions were ridiculed, only to be confirmed via impeccable sources later on.
Among the more outlandish and absurd postulations I made involved those whom I lovingly call the “White House Basement Bloggers.” My contention: The Obama administration has in its employ cadres of operatives dedicated to Internet activities aimed at everyday American Internet users, as well as those conservative blogs or websites that are more vulnerable than larger, well-funded entities. The anecdotal as well as technical evidence of this has been overwhelming, yet, inasmuch as this administration admits to nothing – even when evidence is overwhelming – nothing definitive had been proved.
Until now …
Once again, my outlandish and absurd postulation has been unequivocally proved. The abysmal Healthcare.gov website rollout (which was abysmal by design) notwithstanding, we’re aware that this administration is the most tech-savvy we’ve had to date.
This week, award-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald released the first in a series of news articles confirming that Western governments (including the United States, of course) are “attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the Internet itself.”
Now, given evidence provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden and the revelation of the National Security Agency’s domestic spying program (the existence of which the administration laughably still denies), this will probably not come as a surprise. What may come as a surprise are the methods by which this is being accomplished.
According to Greenwald, the U.S. and other nations are employing such tactics as:
- “the use of ‘honey traps’ (luring people into compromising situations using sex),
- “destructive [computer] viruses,
- “the use of social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate ‘desirable outcomes,’
- “‘false flag operations’ (posting material to the Internet and falsely attributing it to someone else),
- “fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy),
- “injecting ‘all sorts of false material onto the Internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets,’ and
- “posting ‘negative information’ on various forums.”
As Greenwald points out, the targets for all of this are people who have not been suspected of, tried for, or convicted of any crimes whatsoever.
It is worth noting that in 2008, Cass Sunstein, an Obama adviser and the White House’s former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (as well as a dedicated Marxist and truly evil individual), wrote a paper proposing that the U.S. government engage teams of covert agents and independent, ideologically kindred surrogates to employ precisely the aforementioned methods to achieve their objectives.
Last June, The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf reported that the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand were participating in an electronic eavesdropping cooperative called the “Five Eyes Alliance.” In Britain, this is accomplished via the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British intelligence agency which serves the function of our NSA. We also know that big Internet companies have been secretly sharing data with the Obama administration – which the latter repaid by spying on some of them.
Although the British GCHQ and other European intelligence bodies figured prominently in Greenwald’s article, remember that despite the displeasure of certain foreign governments with the Obama administration having spied on their high officials, this “Five Eyes Alliance” is a cooperative effort of inordinately comprehensive information-gathering. While the Obama administration may be using the data collected for more egregious activities than its partner nations, the fact is that the practice is invasion of privacy on a massive and global scale.
As cited by Greenwald, these governments are using many of the same techniques they accuse so-called “subversive” domestic elements of using. In the case of the U.S. government’s foray into Internet counterintelligence, the “footprint” is as interesting as the “smoking gun”: The Obama administration is employing 1960s-era CoInTel-Pro (counterintelligence programs) methods that were executed with equal relish by the FBI and groups like the Weather Underground in the 1960s and 1970s. In fact, many of the methods listed above were pioneered by Obama’s old-school communist mentors and predecessors.
The new twist is the technology, but when Obama has advisers like Cass Sunstein and long-time associates like former Weatherman Bill Ayers counseling him on these very issues – well, a criminal prosecutor would probably be using terms like “slam-dunk” right about now.
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