Home > Critical State, Epistemology, Intelligence, Psychology > Wikileaks and the War for your Mind

Wikileaks and the War for your Mind

By Joe Quinn

Wikileaks and the War for your Mind

In November 2008, current advisor to President Obama, Zbigniew Brzezinski, described to a group of British political and corporate elite two very basic transforming developments that he believes are occurring on the world scene:

“The first change concerns the surfacing of global issues pertaining to human well being as critical international issues such as climate, environment, starvation, health and social inequality. The second change concerns a global political awakening.”

Brezezinski described this second change as “a truly transformative event on the global scene”. He said that: “for the first time in all of human history, almost all of mankind is politically awake, activated, politically conscious and interactive. There are only a few pockets of humanity here or there in the remotest corners of the world which are not politically alert and interacted with the political turmoil and stirrings and aspirations around the world. And all of that is creating a world wide surge for the worldwide surge for personal dignity and cultural respect in a diversified world.”

To an audience in the US he described the global ‘terror threat’ in this way:

“I’m deeply troubled that a very vague emotionally stated semi-theologically defined diagnosis of the central global menace is obscuring our national ability to comprehend the historically unprecedented challenge which is being posed in our time”

The historically unprecedented challenge is:

“A massive global political awakening and this is obstructing our ability to deal effectively with the global political turmoil that this awakening is generating.”

Brzezinski went on to describe another new reality that global powers such as the US must face: “”while the lethality of [our] power is greater than ever, [our] capacity to impose control over the politically awakened masses of the world is at an historical low”. He further noted that:

“In earlier times, it was easier to control a million people than physically to kill a million people. Today it is infinitely easier to kill a million people than to control a million people.”

Brzezinski is no political light-weight. He has been on the Washington scene for 40 years and served as Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser not to mention his long-term membership of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Bilderberg group. As such, his opinions hold significant weight, not so much as an indicator of how things are on our planet, but rather how the US government and the global corporate elites would like things to be. It is clear from Brzezinski’s comments therefore that a potential global political awakening is of great concern to the elite of this world and it would be naive of us to think that they are not taking steps to confront this ‘unprecedented challenge’.

Historically, governments have relied on control of information to control the people. In the last 100 years, that control has been effected largely by control of the media. From government officials as ‘experts’ on the evening news or columnists in newspapers to media representatives ’embedded’ with troops overseas at war, it was a relatively easy task for the government to present a very one-sided picture of world events. With the dawn of the internet age however, and particularly in the first ten years of the 21st century, came the ability for the ordinary person to provide news and analysis to a wide audience and effectively challenge the monopoly of the mainstream media and government control of information.

With the launch of the illegal invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003, the need for the US government to control information reached new heights. In response to the threat posed by a virtual army of amateur journalist bloggers and web-site owners, the US government has not been idle.

In 2006 a US military document obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gave a fascinating insight into the US government’s plans for ‘information operations’. Written in 2003, the document, entitled ‘Information Operations Roadmap‘, describes the new methods that were being used to fight what the White House understood as an electronic information war. Signed by then Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld, the ‘roadmap’ called for military and government public affairs officers to brief journalists and admitted that information put out as part of the US military’s psychological operations would be directed also at the computer and television screens of ordinary Americans and, as a result, English-speaking people the world over.

Psyops messages will often be replayed by the news media for much larger audiences, including the American public,” the document reads. The term “fight the net” appears several times in the document and makes clear that the US government views the internet, and the information available thereon, as an enemy.

In a 2007 book entitled Information Strategy and Warfare: A Guide to Theory and Practice, Professor of Defense Analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, John Arquilla, and Douglas A. Borer, Associate Professor in the Department of Defense Analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, assert that US government information strategists could “consider clandestinely recruiting or hiring prominent bloggers or other person of prominence […] to pass the US message. Sometimes specific numbers can be effective; hiring a block of bloggers to verbally attack a specific person or promote a specific message, for example, may be worth considering. An alternative strategy is to ‘make’ a blog or blogger […] if a [covert] military blog offers valuable information that is not available from other sources it could rise in ranking fairly rapidly.”

As regards blogs or web sites that speak too much truth to the people, the strategy outlined involves: “hacking the site and subtly changing the messages and data – merely a few words or phrases – may be sufficient to being destroying the bloggers credibility with the audience. […] There may also be times when it is necessary to pass false or erroneous information through the media. […] In these cases, extra care must be taken to ensure plausible deniability and nonattribution and to employ a well thought out deception operation that minimizes the risk of exposure.”

The Israeli government too has recruited an ‘army of bloggers’ to combat anti-Zionist web sites according to an article in the Israeli Haaretz newspaper in January 2009.

Recent polls suggest that the US and Israeli government’s fears in this regard are well-founded. A 2008 Pew Research Center poll for example found that 40% of people in the USA get most of their news about national and international issues from the internet, compared to 35% who say they use newspapers. While 70% of all respondents said they used television as their main source of news, almost 60% of people under 30 years old reported using the internet rather than television as a main source of national and international news.

So the question is, if the US and Israeli governments view the internet as the ‘fifth battlefield’ (behind, land sea, air and space), to what lengths are they likely to go to win the ‘war’? More to the point, does winning this ‘war’ ultimately involve shutting down internet freedom of speech and all dissent against the government?

Today it is public knowledge that, in the lead-up to the Iraq invasion, the mainstream media acted as a mouth-piece for government in unquestioningly spreading the lies and propaganda of the Bush administration and the Washington Israeli lobby far and wide. The effect was to generate public support for what were clearly imperial wars of conquest. Independent news sources sprang up in response to this utter failure on the part of the mainstream media corporations to fulfill their supposed role of holding government officials to account.

Confronting government lies with truth then has been the means through which truth-tellers on blogs and web sites the world over have gained public attention and respect. It would make sense therefore that, to effectively counter or neutralize this ‘threat’, the US and Israeli governments would have to come up with something rather special as a replacement. They would have to produce a convincing facsimile that appeared to be a genuine ‘whistle-blower’ operation capable of re-directing public attention away from the independent media and monopolizing the market for truth in an age of deception. At the same time however, any such operation would have to remain under the control of the same governments. Subtle deception with “plausible deniability and nonattribution” would be the name of the game.

Enter Wikileaks

Wikileaks is officially an international non-profit organisation that publishes submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news sources and news leaks. Its first document was published in December 2006. The site claims to have been “founded by Chinese dissidents, journalists, mathematicians and start-up company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa”. WikiLeaks started out with the aim of “exposing oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.” Interestingly, these are very same areas that are primary geo-strategic and political interest to the US and Israeli governments.

Julian Assange is generally described as the director of Wikileaks. In September 2010 Herbert Snorrason, a 25-year-old political activist in Iceland, questioned Mr. Assange’s judgment over a number of issues in an online exchange in 2010. In response, Assange told him: “I am the heart and soul of this organization, its founder, philosopher, spokesperson, original coder, organizer, financier, and all the rest. I don’t like your tone, if it continues, you’re out. If you have a problem with me, you can f**king quit.” In a July 2010 interview with Belfast Telegraph reporter Matthew Bell, Assange had this to say about “conspiracy theories”

“Any time people with power plan in secret, they are conducting a conspiracy. So there are conspiracies everywhere. There are also crazed conspiracy theories. It’s important not to confuse these two. Generally, when there’s enough facts about a conspiracy we simply call this news. I’m constantly annoyed that people are distracted by false conspiracies such as 9/11, when all around we provide evidence of real conspiracies, for war or mass financial fraud.”

Assange appears to be unaware of the fact that the US wars crimes that he is allegedly so eager to expose were only possible because of the 9/11 attacks and that the official US government story about how the attacks occurred is so full of contradictions and omissions that it is safe to conclude that it is a complete fabrication.

As of June 2009, the Wikileaks site had over 1,200 registered volunteers and listed an advisory board comprising Assange and eight other people. One such board member, Tashi Namgyal Khamsitsang, said that while he received an e-mail from WikiLeaks, he had never agreed to be an adviser. Phillip Adams, another putative board member, said he’d never met Assange or been asked for any advice and suggested that the board was just “window dressing”.

For the first few years, Wikileaks was a relatively unknown to the general public. It wasn’t until March 2010 when the organisation acquired and released a video from a 2007 incident in which Iraqi civilians and journalists were killed by US forces that Wikileaks’ true rise to global fame began. In July of the same year, WikiLeaks began what has turned out to be a sort of ‘strip tease’ for the politically awakened when it released the ‘Afghan War Diary’, a compilation of 92,201 records of individual events or intelligence reports from US troops and agents in Afghanistan. In October 2010, the group released a package of almost 400,000 US military field reports from the US invasion of Iraq called the ‘Iraq War Logs’. In November 2010, WikiLeaks began releasing U.S. State department diplomatic cables.

Beginning with the Afghan War Diary, Wikileaks teamed up, bizarrely, with three mainstream media ‘partners’ – the UK Guardian, Germany’s Der Spiegel, France’s Le Monde and The New York Times – ostensibly to facilitate the organisation and dissemination of the documents. Few Wikileaks enthusiasts seem to have considered the problems with the very idea of such a partnership. It was, after all, the mainstream media who were largely responsible for selling the lies that led to the illegal Iraq and Afghan invasions and the massive suffering and deaths that have resulted. The New York Times for example on September 8, 2002, led with a front-page story by Judith Miller and Michael Gordon, which falsely claimed that Saddam Hussein was seeking to buy aluminum tubes as part of its ‘worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb.’ As contributing editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, Michael Massing later wrote, “In the following months, the tubes would become a key prop in the administration’s case for war, and the Times played a critical part in legitimizing it”. Despite this, Assange himself stated that he chose the NY Times because it is “one of the best newspapers in the world for investigative research“. How could Assange and Wikileaks possibly expect that ‘secret documents’ exposing US government war crimes would be delivered uncensored to the public by media corporations with such a track record?

Indeed, the first raft of documents concerning the US presence in Afghanistan were transformed into headlines that did more to support the US government’s position on the Afghan conflict than to expose any grand lies. Via Wikileaks mainstream media ‘partners’, the public was regaled with stories of Iran’s ties to al-Qaeda, Iran’s development of suicide bombs in Iraq, Pakistan’s aid to the Taliban, Iran’s growing nuclear threat etc. Subsequent document releases have followed suit with the most recent ‘Cablegate’ documents supposedly revealing that several Middle Eastern governments secretly wanted the US and Israel to ‘deal with’ Iran. There were, of course, a few crumbs thrown to the anti-war community in the form of rather benign ‘leaks’ about US spying at the U.N. and already publicly known details of the US military killing civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan and condoning torture, but overall there was little in the documents to cause more than temporary embarrassment to big government and much to support their war-mongering policies.

But perhaps the most worrying result of the Wikileaks documents release is the reaction of US and other government officials in calling for changes to laws designed to protect freedom of speech. For example US Senator Mitch McConnell called Wikileaks founder Julian Assange a “high-tech terrorist” on NBC’s Meet the Press and said, “if it’s found that Assange hasn’t violated the law, then the law should be changed.” On December 3rd 2010, Sens. John Ensign, Joe Lieberman and Scott Brown introduced the Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination Act (SHIELD) which would give the government the flexibility to pursue Assange for allegedly outing confidential U.S. informants. Brown said the law would prevent anyone from compromising national security in a similar manner. While Wikileaks supporters have denounced such moves and claim them as evidence that Wikileaks constitutes a real threat to government secrecy and lies, given that the Wikileaks documents themselves have so far proven ineffective in reigning in government corruption, it is difficult to see the entire Wikileaks fiasco as anything other than a cunning set-up.

Israeli Fingerprints

Further suspicion has been cast on the integrity of the Wikileaks operation due to the fact that, despite the large number and the wide array of political and military subjects that the documents detail, not one of them portray either the Israeli government or military in a negative light. Indeed, only a handful of documents make reference to the Israeli government in any way. Given the well-known close relationship between the US and Israeli governments and the close involvement of the Israelis in Middle Eastern affairs in general, this fact is rather astonishing and has given rise to further suspicions about the source and integrity of Wikileaks as an organisation.

Suspicions of ties to the Israeli government were partly confirmed when, in December 2010, Julian Assange admitted in an interview with Al-Jazeerah TV that only a meager number of files related to Israel had been published so far because ‘Western’ newspapers that were given exclusive rights to publish the secret documents were reluctant to publish “sensitive information about Israel“. “The Guardian, El-Pais and Le Monde have published only two percent of the files related to Israel due to the sensitive relations between Germany, France and Israel. Even the New York Times could not publish more due to the sensitivities related to the Jewish community in the US,” he added. In the same interview, Assange said: “We were the biggest institution receiving official funding from the US but after we released a video tape about killing people in cold blood in Iraq in 2007, the funding stopped and we had to depend on individuals for finance.” Assange also appears to hold Israeli Prime Minister and accused war criminal, Benjamin Netanyahu, in high regard calling him a “sophisticated politician“. Writing in the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, Aluf Benn wrote, “Thanks to Wikileaks, there is now no fear Washington will exert heavy pressure on Israel to freeze settlement construction or to accelerate negotiations on a withdrawal from the territories.”

What this amounts to is a tacit admission by Assange that the mainstream media had indeed been censoring documents, that Wikileaks was, at least in the beginning, funded by the US government and that the Israeli government has been afforded special treatment by Assange and Wikileaks. This last revelation came hot on the heels of the allegation in November 2010 by a Syrian newspaper reporter that Assange had met with Israeli officials and agreed to not release documents that were critical of Israel. In late December 2010, and apparently in response to the allegations of ties with Israel, Assange claimed that he would “release 3,700 files related to Israel over the next six months, depending on our sources.” Several questions arise as a result of Assange’s remarks: Why wait 6 months? Isn’t Wikileaks fundamentally about speaking truth to power and informing the public of facts that government’s would rather keep secret? Why withhold information about an Israeli government and military that has already been proven guilty of war crimes and opt instead for spreading US and Israeli government lies and disinformation about Iran?

When taken with other aspects of the overall Wikileaks phenomenon, Assange’s comment that the Israel documents would be released “depending on our sources” is highly suggestive of the fact that the Israeli government itself could be the source of these documents. Indeed, when viewed from a broad perspective, the Wikileaks organisation fits the profile of an Israeli operation designed to manipulate both the global public and the US government. After all, Israel excels at manipulating the world’s only super-power and has done so very effectively for many decades via its firmly entrenched US spy network. In truth, the Wikileaks operation affords the Israelis a wonderful new tool with which to subtly pressure and threaten US officials into playing the game the way Israel wants. If Obama comes on a little too strong in his condemnation of Israeli expropriation of Palestinian land, there are undoubtedly as yet unreleased documents that would make US spying at the UN look like a misdemeanor offense. And then of course there is the claim by Assange that he has received documents that relate to that mystery of mysteries: UFOs. If those behind the Wikileaks documents desired to truly throw the cat among the pigeons and radically transform human society and perhaps carry out the greatest deception of all, a ‘smoking gun’ disclosure on the ‘reality’ of extra-terrestrials would be the way to go.

I should make it clear that, when I speak of ‘Israel’, I am not simply referring to the public face of the Israeli government but more specifically to a small group of global ‘financiers’ who have adopted the Israeli national and Jewish religious ideology. To these individuals, both the geographic position of the gerrymandered state of Israel (a wedge and source of division between East and West, old and new), and the religious position of Judaism (a wedge and source of division between Christianity and Islam) is essential to achieving their aims of complete control of the global population.

In summation: based on the available data (past and present) we can reasonably conclude that, through the media hype afforded to the Wikileaks documents and the side show of Assange’s alleged rape charges, a concerted effort is being made to distract public attention from the efforts of genuine anti-war and truth-teller bloggers and web sites to expose the true crimes of the US government and the hidden hand behind global affairs; at the same time, the US government is given an excuse to clamp down on internet freedom of speech and prepare the way for an eventual terminal shut-down of the world wide web.

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