Air Force Creates “Counter Blog” Response Plan To Quell Online Dissent
Detailed flow chart orders officers to respond to negative material
Friday, Jan 9th, 2009
The US Air Force has 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.
Wired blog Danger Room summarizes how the chart lays out a range of possible responses to a blog post:
Airmen can offer a “factual and well-cited response [that] is not factually erroneous, a rant or rage, bashing or negative in nature.” They can “let the post stand — no response.” Or they can “fix the facts,” offering up fresh perspective. No matter what, the chart says, airmen should “disclose your Air Force connection,” “respond in a tone that reflects high on the rich heritage of the Air Force,” and “focus on the most-used sites related to the Air Force.”
Another option offered by the chart is to “monitor the site for relevant information and comments” while reporting back to HQ.
Of course, the type of bloggers that Air Force officers will be able to respond to may be limited due to the fact that the Air Force actively blocks access to just about any independent site with the word “blog” in its web address.
No doubt the Web Posting Response Assessment plan is an offshoot of the Air Force’s “national cybersecurity initiative“, an ongoing $11 million project which is also seeking the capability to hack into, fully control and even destroy any form of computer or network in existence.
We have previously reported on similar efforts on behalf of the military and the government to quell online dissent, as well as more broadly control the information available to the American public.
Multiple programs are currently being rolled out by the Pentagon and its offshoot agencies such as DARPA, in a secret war with the internet that has been described as a $30 billion “electronic Manhattan Project“.
Such ongoing efforts to infiltrate the Internet and propagandize for the war on terror are well documented.
CENTCOM has programs underway to infiltrate blogs and message boards to ensure people, “have the opportunity to read positive stories,”presumably about how Iraq is a wonderful liberated democracy and the war on terror really is about protecting Americans from Al-CIAda.
In May 2008, it was revealed that the Pentagon was expanding “Information Operations” on the Internet with purposefully set up foreign news websites, designed to look like independent media sources but in reality carrying direct military propaganda.
More recently the New York Times published an expose on privately hired operatives who have been appearing on all major US news networks promoting the interests and operations of the Pentagon and generating favorable news coverage of the Bush administration while posing as independent military analysts.
This operation was formally announced In 2006 when the Pentagon set up a unit to “better promote its message across 24-hour rolling news outlets, and particularly on the internet”.
Again, the Pentagon said the move would boost its ability to counter “inaccurate” news stories and exploit new media.
The program represents another wing of the Pentagon’s Office of Strategic Influence, publicly announced after 9/11 but simply the latest incarnation of a PR brainwashing scam that spans back decades. The OSI exploited legal loopholes by planting its propaganda in foreign newspapers that would later be picked up by U.S. newswires. In today’s environment even that seems quaint, with the Pentagon openly and proudly shouting from the rooftops that they will knowingly violate the law to indoctrinate the American people.
Perhaps the most alarming case of the military’s information tentacles burrowing their influence deep into media circles in recent years was in February 2000, when another branch of the same Pentagon propaganda bureau, Psychological Operations Command (PSYOPS), had placed their operatives “in the news division at CNN’s Atlanta headquarters as part of an “internship” program starting in the final days of the Kosovo War.”
FAIR speculated that the purpose was twofold, one to directly propagandize the American people via CNN and also potentially to allow the “military to conduct an intelligence-gathering mission against the network itself,” because the “military needed to find ways to “gain control” over commercial news satellites to help bring down an “informational cone of silence” over regions where special operations were taking place.”
With the knowledge that government propagandists were utilizing U.S. news network hubs at CNN to run what was described as a “vast psychological warfare operation of the kind the military conducts to influence a population in enemy territory,” and that this took place almost eight years ago – just imagine how infested today’s networks and newsrooms are with paid agent provocateur propagandists whose sole job specification is to orchestrate methods of mind control over the population of the United States.
In October 2005 Government Accountability Office investigators concluded that the Bush administration’s secret policy to pay off influential journalists to plant fake news and positive spin on Bush’s policies was illegal and that the “administration had disseminated “covert propaganda” in the United States, in violation of a statutory ban.”
A study by media watchdog Center for Media and Democracy revealed that, over a ten month span, 77 television stations from all across the nation aired video news releases without informing their viewers even once that the reports were actually sponsored content.
Some of the fake news segments talked up success in the war in Iraq, or promoted specific companies’ products.
The consequences were not the drafting of new legislation that would clearly outlaw such actions in future, nor any form of criminal proceedings against the protagonists. The upshot of it all was a slap on the wrist for conservative commentator Armstrong Williams and a request that he pay back part of the money that the government had given him – not even all of it.
“Armstrong Williams is going to pay back $34,000 to the government for work he failed to deliver, but who’s going to pay the taxpayers for the rest of the quarter million dollars Williams was paid for his propaganda services to the administration?,” asked Congressman George Miller, as the Justice Department hurried a settlement and swept the whole sordid affair under the rug.
See the Prisonplanet archive on Government Use Of Fake News for more examples of these practices.
These operations equate to a formal declaration of psychological warfare on the American people. The military is engaging in direct propaganda and indoctrination.
Recent history clearly indicates this is just the latest outreach of an insipid brainwashing agenda that is totally unlawful and anathema to the U.S. Constitution.
The White House has made it perfectly clear that it will target American citizens for propagating information harmful to the interests of the U.S. government and classify them as enemy combatants. This is codified in sub-section 27 of section 950v. of the Military Commissions Act of 2006.
Bush’s own strategy document for “winning the war on terror” identifies “conspiracy theorists,” meaning anyone who exposes government corruption and its lies about major domestic and world events, as “terrorists recruiters,” and vows to eliminate their influence in society.
We have even seen the proposal of legislation that would require bloggers to register with and regularly report their activities to Congress or face prison.
The eminently hypocritical tenet of the suggestion that the military and the Air Force need to “Fix the facts”, correct “inaccurate statements” and “set the record straight” is borne out by the fact that they participated in the dissemination of the most lurid and damaging propaganda since Hitler’s final speech – a deliberately fomented lie about weapons of mass destruction that has killed over one million Iraqis and thousands of American soldiers.
It is they who constitute the “ragers” and “trolls” and it is we the alternative media – the fifth estate – that should mobilize in the infowar to counter their spurious deception.