Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein, Obama’s appointee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, outlined a plan for the government to infiltrate conspiracy groups in order to undermine them via postings on chat rooms and social networks, as well as real meetings, according to a recently uncovered article Sunstein wrote for the Journal of Political Philosophy.
As we have often warned, chat rooms, social networks and particularly article comment sections are routinely “gamed” by trolls, many of whom pose as numerous different people in order to create a fake consensus, who attempt to debunk whatever information is being discussed, no matter how credible and well documented. We have seen this on our own websites for years and although some of those individuals were acting of their own accord, a significant number appeared to be working in shifts, routinely posting the same talking points over and over again.
It is a firmly established fact that the military-industrial complex which also owns the corporate media networks in the United States has numerous programs aimed at infiltrating prominent Internet sites and spreading propaganda to counter the truth about the misdeeds of the government and the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2006 CENTCOM, the United States Central Command, announced that a team of employees would be hired to engage “bloggers who are posting inaccurate or untrue information, as well as bloggers who are posting incomplete information,” about the so-called war on terror.
In May 2008, it was revealed that the Pentagon was expanding “Information Operations” on the Internet by setting up fake foreign news websites, designed to look like independent media sources but in reality carrying direct military propaganda.
Countries like Israel have also admitted to creating an army of online trolls whose job it is to infiltrate anti-war websites and act as apologists for the Zionist state’s war crimes.
In January last year, the US Air Force announced a “counter-blog” response plan aimed at fielding and reacting to material from bloggers who have “negative opinions about the US government and the Air Force.”
The plan, created by the public affairs arm of the Air Force, includes a detailed twelve-point “counter blogging” flow-chart that dictates how officers should tackle what are described as “trolls,” “ragers,” and “misguided” online writers.
New revelations highlight the fact that the Obama administration is deliberately targeting “conspiracy groups” as part of a Cointelpro style effort to silence what have become the government’s most vociferous and influential critics.
In a 2008 article published in the Journal of Political Philosophy, Obama information czar Cass Sunstein outlined a plan for the government to stealthily infiltrate groups that pose alternative theories on historical events via “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine” those groups.
The aim of the program would be to “(break) up the hard core of extremists who supply conspiracy theories,” wrote Sunstein, with particular reference to 9/11 truth organizations.
Sunstein pointed out that simply having people in government refute conspiracy theories wouldn’t work because they are inherently untrustworthy, making it necessary to “Enlist nongovernmental officials in the effort to rebut the theories. It might ensure that credible independent experts offer the rebuttal, rather than government officials themselves. There is a tradeoff between credibility and control, however. The price of credibility is that government cannot be seen to control the independent experts,” he wrote.
“Put into English, what Sunstein is proposing is government infiltration of groups opposing prevailing policy,” writes Marc Estrin.
“It’s easy to destroy groups with “cognitive diversity.” You just take up meeting time with arguments to the point where people don’t come back. You make protest signs which alienate 90% of colleagues. You demand revolutionary violence from pacifist groups.”
This is what Sunstein is advocating when he writes of the need to infiltrate conspiracy groups and sow seeds of distrust amongst members in order to stifle the number of new recruits. This is classic “provocateur” style infiltration that came to the fore during the Cointelpro years, an FBI program from 1956-1971 that was focused around disrupting, marginalizing and neutralizing political dissidents.
“Sunstein argued that “government might undertake (legal) tactics for breaking up the tight cognitive clusters of extremist theories.” He suggested that “government agents (and their allies) might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action,” reports Raw Story.
Sunstein has also called for making websites liable for comments posted in response to articles. His book, On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done, was criticized by some as “a blueprint for online censorship.”
The Infowars office has been visited on numerous occasions by the FBI as a result of people posting violent comments in response to articles. Since the government now employs people to post such comments in an attempt to undermine conspiracy websites, if a law were passed making websites accountable, Sunstein’s program would allow the government to obliterate such sites from the web merely by having their own hired goons post threats against public figures.
The fact that the government is being forced to hire armies of trolls in an effort to silence the truth shows how worried they are about the effect we are having in waking up millions of people to their tyranny.