I've been an info-warrior long enough that rattling me is pretty tough to do but yesterday, I freaked out. That's not totally unprecedented. It generally happens when I figure out how something could be done programmatically. For example, on 9-11 when two airplanes allegedly flew into the World Trade Center towers. I say allegedly because I don't believe that two airplanes did fly into the WTC towers. I don't dispute that we watched it on TV. I think we watched a Hollywood version of two airplanes flying into the towers with the video being fed into the Emergency Broadcast stream - shared among all the networks. The cover story for the demolition of the two white elephant towers was prepared in advance necessitated by the loss of a court case to legally demolish the buildings. But that's neither here nor there. What happened yesterday was that I figured out a way to automate revolution and as I'm giving it more thought now, a way to destroy a business - manipulate the stock, whatever you want to do.
What happened was that over the weekend, I was looking through the videos on C-Span and BookTV to see if there was anything interesting to watch. I found a presentation on a new book by Jeremy Scahill titled, Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield. I watched it because that's what I write about - War in the Context of Everything Else (as Thomas P.M. Barnett called it). Scahill didn't have much that was new to say but as I was listening, I was also thinking about Obama. It has been in my mind that Obama may have worked for USAID because it seems that USAID are the people who are tasked with the mission of building out the global telecommunications grid in all the primitive and dangerous places. The other day when Obama was talking about his new management agenda, he was very comfortable with the issues of technology, projects and people which indicates to me that he has more than just casual knowledge of the industry. Add to that, his choice of Steve VanRoekel as Chief Information Officer and Todd Park as Chief Technology Officer. (Side Note for the hardcore: Global Crossing was in Los Angeles).
Jeremy Scahill is a really good investigative journalist which is why I was so annoyed with him. He was answering the Who, What, Where and When but completely ignored the Why. It was the Why that I was interested in hearing because I'm sure the killing fields in the Middle East are directly related to the global telecommunications grid and the global systems that go with it. The other day when I was listening to Stuart Bowen, the SIGAR for Iraq talking about his audit for reconstruction, I believe he said the U.S. spent something like $46 billion in Iraq building an enterprise zone (I call them Trojan Triangles). Anyway, I started to write a commentary about my thinking on these subjects. I basically had just started it and it would have taken me a few more days to finish it. Yesterday after I fired up my machine and was checking my email, I read the one that rocked me. It wasn't the content that disturbed me. It was the subjects.
A report by Jeremy Scahill in The Nation revealed that the largest mercenary army in the world, Blackwater (later called Xe Services and more recently "Academi") clandestine intelligence services was sold to the multinational Monsanto. Blackwater was renamed in 2009 after becoming famous in the world with numerous reports of abuses in Iraq, including massacres of civilians. It remains the largest private contractor of the U.S. Department of State "security services," that practices state terrorism by giving the government the opportunity to deny it.
The video I watched on C-Span was originally broadcast in May. It was old by internet standards and the article above is old for the same reason. There is nothing in current news to trigger any interest in either Scahill or Blackwater but there is a continuous campaign against Monsanto.
The question was, why did my friend send me this article? Was it a coincidence that Scahill and Blackwater were referenced in an article that she read that corresponded to what could have been perceived as an interest on my part because I watched the video presentation by Scahill? Not very likely. So here is where I drop into Systems Analyst mode. This is a logic problem: How could it happen? Here is one explanation. I don't know if it is the explanation, but it is an explanation that has far reaching consequences if I'm even close (which I think I am).
Assume for a moment that there is a profile (data repository) on each one of us. In that profile, they keep a list of websites we frequent and a list of keywords that indicate subject matter that interests us and they have a list of the people we communicate with. If such a profile were built for me, since I watched the Scahill video and because in the past, I was very interested in Scahill's articles on Blackwater, both "Scahill" and "Blackwater" would be keywords in my profile. Any half way competent programmer building a system like this would keep a date last referenced for any keyword.
My friend is a doctor and she is interested in Monsanto. "Monsanto" would be a keyword in her profile.
There are bot systems that just send out articles. They start out as real people but then they wean themselves out of real conversation and just simply send out articles. If you respond to one, you get a response back but I suspect they are really just boiler room operations. Since it is highly unlikely that anybody would do this without a purpose, assume that they have a repository of articles and/or websites that have information that would be considered propaganda that meets the objective - whatever the objective of the people paying for all of it.
What you could do with a system like this is to take the current keyword that a person generates (Scahill in my case) and you could match that with a keyword in an email partner list - (Monsanto in my friend's case), you could search your article repository (propaganda database) and your bot system could send out the propaganda article that both parties should find interesting. Think of it as kind of a propaganda injection system. In most case - like 99.9% of the time, neither the sender nor the receiver would be aware of the third party injection.
Using a system like this, you could radicalize just about anybody using subject matter that interests them, drawing them in and then activating them - especially the young people. That's what freaked me out. With my research, I unintentionally contribute content to the radicalizers. More important than that though, I thought about the redesign of the education system and how they want to make all education online. With the sophisticated capabilities that the internet provides, online education is akin to throwing the children to the wolves. The potential for permanent, irreparable damage to children far outweighs any savings that might be achieved by getting rid of classroom teachers.
So that's why I freaked out yesterday and wanted nothing more to do with the Internet and research. But, I'm between a rock and a hard place. My problem is that because I understand this stuff, I'm pretty much obligated to continue it. The only other alternative I can think of is to see a psychiatrist to see if there is a cure for this outsized sense of responsibility I feel to find a solution to problems that are beyond my control. Prozac anyone?
July 17, 2013