by Caitlin Johnstone, Caitlin Johnstone:
Do you lay awake at night terrified that the Russians are able to control your mind with information warfare while the US government’s slavish devotion to democratic values leaves it powerless to stop them? Me neither. But according to The Washington Post, whose sole owner is a CIA contractor and Pentagon board member bent on hijacking the underlying infrastructure of the economy, we should be.
WaPo columnist David Ignatius, who has been one of the more hyperbolic promulgators of western Russia hysteria in written media, has published an article titled “Why America is losing the information war to Russia” about a new book by former State Department undersecretary for public diplomacy Richard Stengel. Stengel and Ignatius engage in a joyful Red Scare frolic with the exuberance of two little boys with a box of spray paints, each trying to one-up the other in hysterical apocalyptic ominousness about the way evil, authoritarian governments like Russia have been able to weaponize information while freedom-loving democracies can only look on in passive despair.
“The cruel paradox of the Internet, once hailed as a liberating force, is that it empowers governments that control information and enfeebles those that let it run free,” warns Ignatius.
“[Authoritarian governments] have gone from fearing the flow of information to exploiting it,” cautions Stengel. “They understand that the same tools that spread democracy can engineer its undoing.”
Unsurprisingly, at no point during this brotherly romp does Ignatius bother to make mention of the fact that Stengel is actually on record saying he supports the use of propaganda and believes the US government should be using it on its own citizens.
“Basically, every country creates their own narrative story and, you know, my old job at the State Department was what people used to joke as the ‘chief propagandist’ job,” Stengel said last year at an event organized by the shockingly ubiquitous narrative management firm Council on Foreign Relations.
“I’m not against propaganda,” Stengel said. “Every country does it, and they have to do it to their own population, and I don’t necessarily think it’s that awful.”
When an audience member objected to what he’d just heard, Stengel curtly dismissed him and ended the talk.
So anyway, that’s what the CIA/Pentagon/plutocracy-tied Washington Post wants you to be sure of: that evil governments are controlling your mind with information warfare, and that the US government is struggling to rescue you from that fate. Lucky for you, this report just so happens to be coming out at the same time as we’re learning that the Pentagon is already currently working on a program to protect you from wrongthink by controlling your access to information.
Congratulations to “online disinformation” alarmists who gave implicit approval to this new Pentagon initiative to “detect malicious intent and prevent viral fake news from polarizing society” https://t.co/LDQcNld55y
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) September 3, 2019
A recent Bloomberg article titled “U.S. Unleashes Military to Fight Fake News, Disinformation” reports that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding a new project called the Semantic Forensics program with which “the military research agency hopes it can spot fake news with malicious intent before going viral.”
“If successful, the system after four years of trials may expand to detect malicious intent and prevent viral fake news from polarizing society,” Bloomberg reports.
DARPA (formerly ARPA) is a top contender among some very stiff competition for the absolute creepiest of all US government agencies. Journalist Yasha Levine has done a lot of work documenting the way the agency has been intimately involved in internet surveillance since before the internet was even really a thing, beginning in the 1960s with its ARPANET program whose technologies went on to form the foundation of the World Wide Web. DARPA is also engaged in such charming activities as exploring ways to knit AI into human neurology, funding programs to control America’s election infrastructure, pouring billions of dollars into the creation of a robot army and constructing robotic insects which can crawl up walls.