How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations
…I want to focus and elaborate on the overarching point revealed by all of these documents: namely, that these agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the internet itself.
Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable. To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “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), and posting “negative information” on various forums.
GCHQ describes the purpose of JTRIG in starkly clear terms: “using online techniques to make something happen in the real or cyber world,” including “information ops (influence or disruption).”
The Art of Deception: Training for a New Generation of Online Covert Operations
We tell ourselves stories in order to live. The princess is caged in the consulate. The man with the candy will lead the children into the sea. The naked woman on the ledge outside the window on the sixteenth floor is a victim of accidie, or the naked woman is an exhibitionist, and it would be “interesting” to know which. We tell ourselves that it makes some difference whether the naked woman is about to commit a mortal sin or is about to register a political protest or is about to be, the Aristophanic view, snatched back to the human condition by the fireman in priest’s clothing just visible in the window behind her, the one smiling at the telephoto lens. We look for the sermon in the suicide, for the social or moral lesson in the murder of five. We interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices. We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the “ideas” with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience.
(Or at least we do for a while. I am talking here about a time when I began to doubt the premises of all the stories I had ever told myself, a common condition but one I found troubling…
Joan Didion, “The White Album”
Rob Irving, Art and Artifice
The world we experience is not an exact image of objective reality; it is a virtual reality, generated from sensory input filtered through theories, knowledge, emotion and associations and so on. This is not to say that nothing is real, just that we can never experience reality directly. Our natural instinct to make sense of our perceptions – the desire for order – can be so strong that the obvious can be obscured and the mundane made mysterious, magnifying the merest conjecture into astounding fact.
Rick Paulas interviews Spencer McCall “San Francisco’s Baffling Jejune Institute Gets A Documentary”
Did you ever see The NeverEnding Story? What’s cool about that is, the people of Fantasia need a human being to give a new name to the Empress. And the only way they can get someone to come to their world is to create a story that someone can immerse themselves in, they can only come to this world and save it if they believe that the story they’re reading is essential and necessary. The story doesn’t matter. It’s just the tool to get you to come together and open up your eyes. It’s not the Holy Grail; it’s the quest for the Holy Grail. But everything that the Holy Grail would give you, you could gather on the quest. So that was the message. And that’s not necessarily a new message. You know, “it’s the journey not the destination.”
So that’s what’s really cool to me, is that you can believe in something more going on. You can believe in magic and you don’t have to attribute it to a God or whatever…
… or a corporation, or a movie…
… but at the same time, people love to say they’re spiritual but not religious, and this was definitely religious but not spiritual. Because it was all the tradition and story that religions have, but none of the necessity to believe in any of the magic. And I don’t know if that was really Jeff’s idea. His idea was to get people to stop looking at their phones, to explore the world they live in, not be afraid to go down an alley because they think it might be owned by someone. You know, don’t go robbing anybody, but explore it. It’s your city, too. That would be Jeff’s thing.
Mine would be just to question the media you’re presented with. I think a movie has the ability to make you open your eyes and linger and bounce around in your brain for awhile, but don’t take it too seriously. And if you do, be sure you really question it and get the answers. It’s like Jaws. If you’d seen the shark in the beginning, would it be that sharp or spooky of a movie? Probably not. You know at the end they do show the shark. I don’t think I ever showed the shark in this movie. But that’s the idea. Go find the shark yourself. You decide.
The clown’s mysterious appearances in grainy photos, sinister and forlorn, had many of the hallmarks of a Moore creation: absurd, fascinating, troubling and thought provoking.
In fact many internet users had already had the same thought.
“Apparently there had been a certain amount of comment on the internet suggesting probably some connection. No it’s not me.
“I am getting kind of used to this. After having a comic strip I wrote 30 years ago spewing masked anarchists across the global political stage for the past couple of years. Things that I write do have a tendency to spill into reality. Since that was one of the principles behind Jimmy’s End [an episode in The Show] – to blur the boundaries between one and the other – I suppose that getting clowns manifesting in my neighbourhood is only to be expected.
“We had only just done that thing on Kickstarter with His Heavy Heart which starts shooting in a few weeks. I had said it was about Strippers and Clowns. The suggestion is that there is some kind of dream time existing under Northampton and that occasionally things will break through from one realm to the other. It is just a demonstration that Jimmy’s End is a kind of a documentary. It’s reportage. We are not just making this shit up.”
Apparently coincidentally, Alan has found himself close to the heart of the clown story. One of its first eerie appearances was in Alan’s road, standing on a corner in the dark with a light shining from a window above.
Alan’s explanation for this is simple: it’s just a weird road.
more on Northampton Clown here
hat tip to Technoccult here