There is a vast total-information-awareness surveillance network made up of global corporations and subservient (captured) governments engaging in the systematic infiltration and suppression of social justice activist groups. Their main method of control is the implementation of divide-and-conquer strategies. When it comes to activists, their approach is to apply these strategies to what they have defined as four distinct groups: Radicals, who see the system as corrupt are marginalized and discredited with character assassination techniques. Realists, who can be convinced that real change is not possible. Idealists, who can be convinced (through propaganda) that they have the facts wrong. And Opportunists, who are in it for themselves and therefore can be easily co-opted.
Photo: Occupy Wall Street Facebook page
These suppression strategies, revealed on Stratfor documents from the WikiLeaks “Global Intelligence Files" ("as a result of Jeremy Hammond’s December 2011 hack"), were reported in a MintPress News article written by Steve Horn: "How To Win The Media War Against Grassroots Activists: Stratfor’s Strategies"
This image is a screenshot from a leaked Stratfor PowerPoint presentation about how to apply the divide-and-conquer strategy against environmental activists focused on the "Oil Sands Market."When one takes the time to dig into many of the leaked documents as well as additional material becoming available as the result of Freedom of Information Act requests, one can't help but to marvel at the level of depravity exhibited by these global corporate spy networks in their single-minded quest for profit and power.
And that is why the non-hierarchical organizational approach the Occupy Wall Street movement embraced from the beginning was the right one all along. As the movement reemerges with more strength and power than ever this year, the non-hierarchical leadership approach will be its biggest strength.
What I've been able to glean from examining multiple leaked and FOIA documents is that these corporate spy networks are obsessed with compiling very detailed dossiers of activists they've identified as leaders so they can then be categorized and profiled so the appropriate manipulation technique can be applied.
As many Occupy Wall Street activists know, the spying and infiltration the movement has been subjected to is very systematic and strategic, as reported by The Progressive in an article titled "Spying on Occupy Activists." Here are some highlights from a report title "Dissent or Terror" (PDF) reviewed:
OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS, the Department of Homeland Security and local law enforcement officers have engaged in widespread domestic spying on Occupy Wall Street activists, among others, on the shaky premise that these activists pose a terrorist threat. Often, Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies have coordinated with the private sector, working on behalf of, or in cooperation with, Wall Street firms and other companies the protesters have criticized.The emphasis is mine
- SNIP -
The anti-terrorist apparatus that the U.S. government established after 9/11 has now been turned against law-abiding citizens exercising their First Amendment rights. This apparatus consists not only of advanced surveillance technologies but also of “fusion centers” in state after state that coordinate the efforts of law enforcement up and down the line and collaborate with leading members of the private sector. Often, the work they do in the name of national security advances the interests of some of the largest corporations in America rather than focusing on protecting the United States from actual threats or attacks, such as the one at the Boston Marathon on April 15.
How well-integrated is this coordination?
There are two primary domestic public-private intelligence sharing partnerships at work at the federal level: Infragard and the Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC).And then, of course, there are the more nefarious and illegal spying and infiltration of social justice activist groups by shadowy corporate spy networks, according a recently published report:
Infragard is a public-private intelligence sharing partnership managed by the FBI Cyber Division Public/Private Alliance Unit (PPAU). As described by the FBI, Infragard is an "association of businesses, academic institutions, state and local law enforcement agencies and other participants dedicated to sharing information and intelligence to prevent hostile acts against the United States." There are 86 Infragard chapters nationwide. These Infragard chapters serve as representatives of private sector "stakeholders" in the many of the nation's fusion centers.
DSAC is a public-private intelligence sharing partnership between the FBI, U.S. DHS I&A and several of the nation's leading corporate/financial interests. Some of these corporate/financial interests comprise the DSAC Leadership Board. The DSAC Leadership Board consists of 29 corporations and banks, including several entities that have been the subject of OWS protests/criticism. Corporate/financial interests active in the DSAC Leadership Board include: Bank of America, MasterCard, Citigroup, American Express, Barclays, RBS Citizens, 3M, Archer Daniels Midland, ConocoPhillips, Time Warner and Wal-Mart. Along with DSAC chairmen from the FBI and U.S. DHS I&A, DSAC is co-chaired by a representative of these private sector interests-- currently Grant Ashley, vice president of global security for pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co.
[The emphasis is mine]
One of the troubling aspects of recent corporate espionage against nonprofits is the use of current and former police, current government contractors, and former CIA, NSA, FBI, Secret Service and other law enforcement officers.Another example of widespread corporate spying on activists are new revelations about how Bank of America uses social media "trolling" spy teams, as reported by PopularResistance.org: "Leaked Email Exposes Bank Of America's Social Media Spies"
Even active-duty CIA operatives are allowed to sell their expertise to the highest bidder, "a policy that gives financial firms and hedge funds access to the nation's top-level intelligence talent," writes Eamon Javers. Little is known about the CIA's moonlighting policy, or which corporations have hired current CIA operatives...
Hiring former intelligence, military and law enforcement officials has its advantages. First, these officials may be able to use their status as a shield. For example, current law enforcement officials may be disinclined to investigate or prosecute former intelligence or law enforcement agents. They may be more likely to get a "pass" because of their government services. In effect, corporations are hiring "pass" and sometimes using it to conduct unethical or even illegal intelligence gathering against nonprofits.
[The emphasis is mine]
Published by Washington state activist Andrew Hendricks, the email, dated September 23, 2013, details a conversation between Bank of American’s Global Corporate Security Vice President Kim Triplett-Kolerich, the Washington State Patrol (WSP) and one redacted recipient.How personal can these proto-fascist actions by the government/corporate spy networks be? Let's examine two examples of people targeted with character assassination and disinformation campaigns...
Discussing the then upcoming Anonymous “Million Mask March” at the state’s capitol, Kolerich, who previously spent over 25 years in the Washington State Patrol, details the bank’s superior ability to track political groups.
“If you find any intel on Anarchists or Occupy Protesters please let me know – I will most likely find it first as Social Media trolling is not what the WSP does best,” Kolerich says. “Bank of America has a team of 20 people and that’s all they do all day and then pass it to us around the country!!”
Whether Kolerich is referring to a specific Washington state based team or the total number of paid “trolls” is unclear, though the possibility of multiple nationwide teams seems much more likely.
Below is a screenshot of a leaked PowerPoint presentation by Palanir Technologies, HBGary Federal, and Berico Technologies on "The WikiLeaks Threat." Notice how eerie it is to see this type of dossier on their target, Julian Assange. Also, keep in mind that these corporate spy organizations seem to be fully integrated with government agencies...
We live in the world that your propaganda made, but when you think you are strong, you are weak. Your lies tell us the truth we will use against you. Your secrecy shows us where we will strike. Your weapons reveal your fear for all to see. From Cairo to Quito a new order is forming. The power of people armed with the truth.
-- Julian Assange / Calle 13 multi-viral
Now, from the same leaked PowerPoint presentation, let's get a glimpse at how they planned to neutralize journalist Glenn Greenwald:
When one begins to understand the depth and breadth of this total-information-awareness surveillance on activist networks, and how it is being used to illegally build detailed dossiers, the dangers not only to targeted activists, but to freedom and democracy become painfully apparent. What are some of the dangers? Here's one from a FOIA request by The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund:
An identified [DELETED] as of October planned to engage in sniper attacks against protestors in Houston, Texas if deemed necessary. An identified [DELETED] had received intelligence that indicated the protesters in New York and Seattle planned similar protests in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. [DELETED] planned to gather intelligence against the leaders of the protest groups and obtain photographs , then formulate a plan to kill the leadership via suppressed sniper rifles.
[The emphasis is mine]
The first thing I'd like to do as I conclude this open letter to the Occupy Movement is to congratulate every single person who consider themselves part of it. Contrary to the false narrative the corporate state has been trying to propagate so desperately, the Occupy Movement was enormously effective and successful if one takes into consideration the massive amount of resources the corporate state invested in suppressing it.
In my heart of hearts I truly believe that what the movement did in 2011 is going to be considered a "dress rehearsal" by future historians. I believe that the Movement, which by the way has never been idled, is about to have a big resurgence (and there are growing signs of this all over the country) not only in the U.S., but internationally, since what we are facing is an international Neo-liberal proto-fascist regime.
And that is the reason there is a growing protest movement around the world. Here are some findings from a new report by Initiative for Policy Dialogue and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung New York on world protests from 2006 to 2013:
This is my appeal to all people of good-will who consider themselves part of the Occupy Wall Street Movement: Let's honor the sacrifices of political prisoners like Chelsea Manning, and Jeremy Hammond, and of activists like Julian Assange, and Edward Snowden; and let's honor the memory of Aaron Schwartz. Let's do that by all of us stepping up to the plate and fully engage in the struggle for social justice, in the struggle against the increasingly fascistic and oppressive corporate state.
- Failure of Political Representation and Political Systems: 376 protests on lack of real democracy; corporate influence, deregulation and privatization; corruption; failure to receive justice from the legal system; transparency and accountability; surveillance of citizens; and anti-war/military industrial complex.
- We are in the midst of a major global upheaval comparable to 1848, 1917 or 1968.
- The most sobering finding: the overwhelming demand is not for economic justice per se, but for “real democracy” which would allow national governments to address core economic issues.
There has never been a better time in history than today, when we face an Orwellian total information awareness surveillance corporate state, to apply the practices and concepts associated with non-hierarchical social justice movements.
The situation does not lend itself for the Movement to rely (only) on top-down leadership, on hierarchical organizations (which have all been targeted for manipulation and co-option), on charismatic individuals.
Yes, just like during any other time in history when tyranny and injustice engulfs societies, there will be those who will step forward to challenge the system, unafraid, and many of them will sacrifice their own security and freedom. But they need reinforcement; they need all of us to stand with them as this struggle moves to the next stage.
Some may ask, "What can we do?" "What does it mean to stand together in unity and solidarity?" Well, of course, ultimately we are going to have to answer those questions together, but in the meantime, here are some suggestions...
First, what is the role of a social justice movement? I think the book Doing Democracy: The MAP Model for Organizing Social Movements by Bill Moyer provides a pretty good answer:
Social movements involve a long-term struggle between the movement and the powerholders for the hearts, minds, and support of the majority of the population. Before social movements begin, most people are either unaware that a problem exists or don't believe that they can do anything about it. They believe the powerholder's societal myths and support the high-sounding official policies and practices, all of which seem to be consistent with the culture's deeply held held values and beliefs...Here's what I've determined from the research I'm doing about the machinations of the corporate state and its vast cognitive infiltration spy network: What they fear the most is a well-organized and sustained movement capable of acting in concert nationwide, under a common understanding of the true nature of the system.
The strategy of social movements, therefore, is to alert, educate, and win over an ever increasing majority of the public. First the public needs to be convinced that a critical social problem exists. Then it must be convinced that policies need to be changed. And then a majority of people must be mobilized into a force that eventually brings about an acceptable solution.
[The emphasis is mine]
That is why they spend such an extraordinary amount of effort in dissembling reality, on propaganda, on cognitive infiltration tactics, on co-option tactics, on divide and conquer strategies.
That's why they are so concerned about strategic protests... They are concerned about people showing up to protest their business headquarters, their business meetings; they are concerned about well-organized protests at the public square. Once you read page after page of leaks documents, you begin to understand that their main objective is to do whatever it takes to avoid this:
The strategy of social movements, therefore, is to alert, educate, and win over an ever increasing majority of the public. First the public needs to be convinced that a critical social problem exists. Then it must be convinced that policies need to be changed. And then a majority of people must be mobilized into a force that eventually brings about an acceptable solution.So we know what they don't want us to do! Therefore, we know what we must do! First, let's encourage insiders (inside the proto-fascist) corporate state to continue providing us with more information about how it operates so we can understand the methods of manipulation and control. Let's continue our involvement in local causes, of course, but also, let's form people-to-people coalitions capable of organizing direct action on an ongoing basis (sustained).
[The emphasis is mine]
A great source of information about non-violent direct action is in the work of Gene Sharp. Here's a biographical article about him published by The New York Times in 2011: "Shy U.S. Intellectual Created Playbook Used in a Revolution"
Few Americans have heard of Mr. Sharp. But for decades, his practical writings on nonviolent revolution — most notably “From Dictatorship to Democracy,” a 93-page guide to toppling autocrats, available for download in 24 languages — have inspired dissidents around the world, including in Burma, Bosnia, Estonia and Zimbabwe, and now Tunisia and Egypt.I encourage people to do their own research in order to become thoroughly familiarized with the machinations of the proto-fascist surveillance state, and then share their findings/knowledge with others... We need to engage in the battle for the hearts and minds of the public, and that means that we need to fully understand how corporate state propaganda works.
When the nonpartisan International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, which trains democracy activists, slipped into Cairo several years ago to conduct a workshop, among the papers it distributed was Mr. Sharp’s “198 Methods of Nonviolent Action,” a list of tactics that range from hunger strikes to “protest disrobing” to “disclosing identities of secret agents.”
Finally, I offer this tactic as a thought experiment which will hopefully prompt people to develop ideas of their own...
100 WEEK PLAN
Let's pick a date to start... Let's say, Monday, January 27th, 2014. We're going to employ a very simple tactic every week, for the next 100 weeks (or until the corporate state is defeated).
Targets: Media Headquarters nationwide; TBTF Banks' HQ's in major cities; Strategic locations (and events) targeting politicians.
With the use of social media we can share information about the locations we'll be targeting. Then individual activists can show up on their own with printed protest signs... As the protests take place, people would post pictures on twitter and encourage others to stop by. All this can happen organically, without anybody directing it; a true non-hierarchical-type tactic.
Doing something like this would accomplish many goals. First, it would serve as a psy-ops tactic against the intended targets. Second the signs (and possibly flyers) would serve to communicate with the public at large, and eventually recruit more people to join the movement. Third, it will eventually start to engender a feeling of unity and solidarity, and that will build confidence, and that will attract more people...
But the key to success, in my opinion, is that it needs to be strategic, organized (even if non-hierarchical) and sustained (100 weeks?).
So here's what I'm going to do, personally... I'm going to print a sign like the one below and then I will reach out to Occupy Oakland and Occupy San Francisco folks and see if we can get a group to show up at the Financial District in San Francisco on Monday, January 27th, starting at 10:00 A.M.
Other targeted entities could be media headquarters or politicians...
There are already organizations doing similar things, but remember, the key is to be consistent and to engage in these tactics on a sustained basis, week after week after week, for the foreseeable future.
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Sockpuppets & Trolls Watch: Their aim is to disrupt, to annoy, to introduce "noise" in order to prevent meaningful discussions of issues. Their tactics include casting aspersions (attack on the reputation or integrity), and ad hominems, where instead of addressing issues, they attack the character of people. They also engage in mockery, and logical fallacies. A good source of information about the tactics used by sockpuppets, trolls and hacks is "The 15 Rules of Web Disruption." Once you familiarize yourself with those tactics, it is pretty easy to spot the potential troll. Once spotted, the best thing is to ignore them. [Image credit: Jacob Bøtter from Copenhagen, Denmark]