Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hacking Online Polls and Other Ways British Spies Seek to Control theInternet - An American Perspective on The Intercept Article

How should political activists respond to the Internet spying, information distortion, psychological and political manipulation at the hands of intelligence services? In my estimation we should keep our focus and not get side tracked. To activists safeguarding our civil liberties:  "Thank you for all your hard work! We are grateful." As for the rest of us, we need to keep our eyes on our goals and press on. We are people with talents, heart and knowledge. We can make a difference.

The article by Glenn Greenwald published 14 July 2014 in The Intercept under the title "Hacking Online Polls and Other Ways British Spies Seek to Control the Internet" although disturbing to the general public appears to be intelligence agency tradecraft updated for the Internet. The first time I heard of it was during the Bosnian War in the early 1990's. I read some magazine articles about the war and some of the clandestine activity involved. Bosnian Serbs were trying to influence public opinion in the U.S. by posing as young Americans posting to bulletin boards. That was a false flag (Bosnian Serbs posing as American young people) political manipulation. I don't think it bought them much. One magazine article said our intelligence services were impressed and talking about it.

Now our intelligence services and the British have modernized even more. I am pretty sure other countries both large and small are also up to date on their Internet skullduggery. Basically the intelligence services go where the people are so that they may monitor and influence political trends. They have always been there.

Spies have traditionally played a "dirty tricks" game and we all hear about it periodically when someone breaks the silence to let everyone know. In the past in the United States, it was mostly the CIA recieving the bad publicity. Now it is NSA and we are hearing about British Intelligence, as well.

Activists today are concerned that they may become targets of spying. Many of my friends got their FBI file from the 1960s using the Freedom of Information Act. About 15 years ago I had mine thumped down on my desk by a determined and irate investigator. The FBI letter head was at the top and beneath it sat a page of discussion about me and my activities of over 40 years ago.

They didn't like me because I made speeches. I was a passionate and charismatic kid quite capable of bringing folks to their feet. They labeled me a revolutionary. My membership in SDS likely got me labeled a terrorist. Although they know about the membership, I didn't see any report, so I am just making an informed speculation.  We use to crack jokes about the snooping: "now the FBI knows where to order out for the best pizza in town." It didn't deter anyone from movement activity, back then. It shouldn't now. I am still here, even though they don't like me.

We shouldn't scare ourselves half to death wondering what kind of wild and sophisticated intelligence operation could be run against us. We are not helpless victims. Believe it or not we are at the top of the food chain. To understand this, one must understand power.  There are two types of power: one of influence and one of command and control. Power through influence, although effective, is not as powerful as command and control.  We have the power to hire and fire those who make the laws of this land through our vote at all levels of government. That is more power than any CEO has over their own operation. One of the reasons petition signing has been so effective it is a gauge of how voters feel about an issue. IMHO if we keep good track of voting records and where they stand on key issues and who the people are they appoint we can make informed decisions on who to keep in government. I am sure by looking at voting patterns we can identify those who are hopelessly corporate and back opposing candidates including those running in the primaries.  If we keep this up, corporate influence will weaken as candidates cease to feel they can ignore the public's wishes.  Those are my thoughts. Have a good day.