Activist’s Primer on Counter-Intelligence

SLIDE 1: JTRIG – “EFFECTS: Definition]
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The slide you are viewing came from documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. On February 24, 2014, investigative reporter Glenn Greenwald wrote an article published via the new First Look Media outlet section called The Intercept. The article was entitled “How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations.” Note that NBC also published a series of related articles, one of which was entitled, “Snowden Docs: British Spies Used Sex and ‘Dirty Tricks’.”

The slides come from the British government’s covert apparatus GCHQ and its section called JTRIG. It focuses on means and methods, the science, of influencing opinion online and converting that into affecting the real world. They pool various sciences and fields of study: psychology, sociology, religion, politics, etc. in a concerted effort to shape the world into whatever it is that those who approve and fund these kinds of operations want it to be. While publicly any advocates of these kinds of operations would point to Al Qaeda and host countries, for example, as the primary target of these operations, Greenwald notes the following:

No matter your views on Anonymous, “hacktivists” or garden-variety criminals, it is not difficult to see how dangerous it is to have secret government agencies being able to target any individuals they want – who have never been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crimes – with these sorts of online, deception-based tactics of reputation destruction and disruption. There is a strong argument to make, as Jay Leiderman demonstrated in the Guardian in the context of the Paypal 14 hacktivist persecution, that the “denial of service” tactics used by hacktivists result in (at most) trivial damage (far less than the cyber-warfare tactics favored by the US and UK) and are far more akin to the type of political protest protected by the First Amendment.

The broader point is that, far beyond hacktivists, these surveillance agencies have vested themselves with the power to deliberately ruin people’s reputations and disrupt their online political activity even though they’ve been charged with no crimes, and even though their actions have no conceivable connection to terrorism or even national security threats. As Anonymous expert Gabriella Coleman of McGill University told me, “targeting Anonymous and hacktivists amounts to targeting citizens for expressing their political beliefs, resulting in the stifling of legitimate dissent.” Pointing to this study she published, Professor Coleman vehemently contested the assertion that “there is anything terrorist/violent in their actions.”

Government plans to monitor and influence internet communications, and covertly infiltrate online communities in order to sow dissension and disseminate false information, have long been the source of speculation. Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, a close Obama adviser and the White House’s former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, wrote a controversial paper in 2008 proposing that the US government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites, as well as other activist groups.

Sunstein also proposed sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups” which spread what he views as false and damaging “conspiracy theories” about the government. Ironically, the very same Sunstein was recently named by Obama to serve as a member of the NSA review panel created by the White House, one that – while disputing key NSA claims – proceeded to propose many cosmetic reforms to the agency’s powers (most of which were ignored by the President who appointed them).

But these GCHQ documents are the first to prove that a major western government is using some of the most controversial techniques to disseminate deception online and harm the reputations of targets. Under the tactics they use, the state is deliberately spreading lies on the internet about whichever individuals it targets, including the use of what GCHQ itself calls “false flag operations” and emails to people’s families and friends. Who would possibly trust a government to exercise these powers at all, let alone do so in secret, with virtually no oversight, and outside of any cognizable legal framework?

Before going further, I want to point out what this presentation, “The Activist’s Primer on Counter-Intelligence,” is not. It is not a tutorial on how to protect your personal electronic data from the NSA, FBI, Homeland Security, police, and fusion centers. Further, it is not designed to help you interact with police. There are many avenues available for attempting to do the former via various hacker groups and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. As I understand it, the latter is a topic often covered before protests and that there is specific training available from time to time by various groups.

Additionally, this is not about being able to spot FBI informants, though from the title one might think so. Rather, this is about a newer, even more insidious tactic of destroying groups from within in large part by attacking its members. This does not require hidden informants inside an organization: it is part psychology and part dirty tricks, many of which will escape easy explanation. We can be our own worst enemy. The revolution will eat itself, it’s been said. In order to be effective, we must be able to juggle all of these skill sets and this includes not only leadership but every member.

In case you think this that the UK intelligence efforts against activism is something new, allow me to step back in time in order to help explain how it is we came to this.

[SLIDE 2: MLK & FBI]
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On October 14, 1964, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence. What many people still do not know today, is that the government, through the Federal Bureau of Investigation, attempted to drive King to suicide prior to the acceptance day. Though it is often spun as the excesses of a paranoid anti-Communist director, the only things that really appear to have changed today is the methods, improved public relations, and the fact that people whose names many of us do not know are likewise targeted in a similar way to King. There is a large machine designed largely for this purpose that hides behind national security and preposterous television shows depicting the intelligence community as the friend to Joe Citizen. The truth is in fact the exact opposite, and the intelligence community seeks only to aid large special business interests in their endeavors, apparently under the illusion that trickle-down economics works. Additionally, as we know from the reporting of jailed investigative reporter Barrett Brown, thanks to the hactivism of imprisoned Anonymous member Jeremy Hammond, there is a sizable private sector dedicated to so-called national security. These private corporations, many listed in the 2010 expose by the Washington Post known as “Top Secret America,” have strong ties to not only the intelligence community and the US government as a whole, but to Wall Street and Washington law firms with clients like the US Chamber of Commerce, DOW Chemical, and others.

Now, you might be thinking that you, as an individual, are too small, that there are too many of you for you to be singled out, that there is safety in numbers.

Yes and no to that last part. In order to continue your work you will need the support and strength that your fellow activists can provide you. But in today’s world, there is no such thing as being too small, escaping notice. We have the mass proliferation of surveillance cameras, the relative reduction in price of cameras and recording equipment, the ability to obtain and retain private information electronically, and other pieces of the surveillance state. The science is moving towards being able to affect massive numbers of people at once, to–rather cleverly–perform moves in a massive covert operations “game” that affect people as individuals and as groups.

Some of these more exotic means and methods approach, perhaps surpass, believability. Indeed, that is in part a portion of their “charm,” as these public and private spooks view it. Harassment, the crazier sounding and more difficult to explain, makes for part of the process: ruining reputations and discrediting individuals and movements. The phenomenon is known in psychology circles as the “Martha Mitchell effect.” Martha Mitchell was the wife of a prominent Nixon administration official. She learned that there was a cover-up and sought to expose it. When word of this made its way into the White House, they essentially kidnapped her and placed her under psychiatric care. Eventually, of course, the truth came out, but the damage was, for a time, done.

The heart of this method is its message: if you don’t agree with what power and its pundits say, you are insane. This practice of course extends back to all kinds of totalitarian regimes. The Soviet Union was known to place people who disagreed with the government or Stalinism in psychiatric hospitals. Like the failed trickle-down economic theory, if you disagree with the United States government today, you are branded a criminal, a terrorist, or mentally disturbed. We seem to be intent upon creating a dystopic society that runs on lies that only benefit a few, enslave–or worse–the many.

Speaking of Edward Snowden, another NSA whistleblower Russell Tice, who attempted to expose NSA wrongdoing, likewise found himself forced to face psychological testing after blowing the whistle. Additionally, there is a Congressional Medal of Honor winner, Dakota Meyer, who exposed that large British-owned, partially Texas-based defense contractor BAE Systems sought to sell better equipment to US on- and off-again enemy Pakistani military. The response was swift and decisive. The circumstances under which Meyer saved several lives in Afghanistan came under question and he was labeled a mentally disturbed alcoholic by the Pentagon itself. I include this to note that the rhetoric surrounding “Support Our Troops” is actually more like “Support Your Military Industrial Complex.” This is another prime example of the Big Lie used to manipulate American thought.

But back to how this affects you as an activist. In MLK’s case, they used a weakness, his affairs, to try to drive him to ruin. In order to achieve this, they recorded and edited for maximum effect, telephone calls and private conversations with his paramours.

They sought a weak point, found it, broke the law in order to obtain the “evidence,” and attempted to use it to maximum effect.

But they failed. Why?

Because King had a following, a support structure, that protected him despite his personal weaknesses. Rather than become overly divided, the group held together.

[SLIDE 3: “Identifying and Exploiting fracture points”]

wpid-800px-Deception_p48.png

A great deal of what I’m going to recommend at the end of this presentation is going to seem or be perhaps common sense, obvious. Some of what I am going to say is not.

As you can see, the Brits are concerned with performing exactly the same kinds of covert ops that the FBI did under COINTELPRO. Pitting group against group, fracturing groups by pitting individuals against individuals, is the goal. They are, as noted previously, keenly aware that the targets of these operations include people attempting to exercise their civil liberties legally. In smearing whole groups, as Hoover did by deciding that King must be a Communist because he held a belief system different from Hoover’s, and that there is some legal exception for holding Communist beliefs in the first place, they get around any debate, many defenders that protest and activist groups would otherwise have in Congress. Indeed, I have seen evidence on a personal level that indicates that some Members of Congress are also targets of these covert operations. These people are no respecters of law and many clearly hold dangerously radical beliefs.

In an overall sense, this is a public relations war, an information war. The multiple problems facing the activist and protestor include not only how they conduct themselves, but how the media portrays the conduct. Additional information coming from the Snowden revelations include conducting psychological operations on reporters. It is also known, as first reported in Rolling Stone, that the US Army conducted PSYOPS on US Senators.

As I said, this a large machine. We, as activists, are outnumbered, outspent, and in many ways, outmaneuvered. But *** there is hope. There is always hope. *** I have three basic messages today and one of them is that. One downside of having a machine so large is it is nearly impossible to hide. *** Exposing its mere existence *** is one key to altering public opinion.

In November of 2013, I attended the sentencing hearing of Jeremy Hammond in New York City. Later that day, I had a chance to speak with the a representative of the NYC chapter of the ABC. I briefly explained my prior non-experience with anarchy: seeing windows getting broken on mainstream news. That was pretty much all I had learned up to that point. I had no idea of the roots of Anarchism, that it was essentially about the self-determination of communities. I hope you can forgive me on that decades-long bout of non-curiosity.

But the point is that there is a huge difference between how Joe Public views anarchists as opposed to how anarchists view themselves. This is no accident. Our mainstream media, like our Military- and National Security-Industrial Complexes, are designed to protect and further the goals of these systems, really one large system, predicated on lies that they have agreed upon. While many media figures truly probably don’t know that this is what they are doing–that is they actually believe the bullcrap they shovel daily–there are clearly those who know that they are deceiving the public and why.

Witness the jury selection for Occupy activist Cecily McMillan. The Guardian reported on April 10, 2014 that many people being selected were prejudiced against Occupy. The fact that McMillan states she was defending herself against having been groped by a police officer was not able to overcome the public relations put forth by the mainstream media against Occupy in general to get these people to state that they could look at the case objectively. This is no accident either, and though ignorance plays a large role, it is a concentrated effort to provide that ignorance that underlies it. This machine knows what it is doing, is conscious of it. That it may not at times know why it does what it does, it knows what it does and how it seeks to carry it out. It’s the rest of us who are often unaware of the ‘how’ because of the veil of secrecy hiding it and the propaganda that seeks to cover up the greed elements by cloaking them in patriotism.

There are some movements to counter this, though they are too few. Former CIA and NSA chief and neocon Michael Hayden has been called out as a liar by Senators Feinstein and Wyden. In fact, it may have been some of his lies that lead to the creation of the still-secret CIA torture and rendition report. Hayden, for example, spread fear of the Chinese government in order to influence telecom contracts related to a company with which he has ties. This is a clear example of the “Deep State” at work and reveals its true goals: manipulation through deceit for the profit of the few at the expense of the many. Whether you are talking about bailouts, GMO food labeling and associated destruction of farmers and related workers, perpetual war, the private prison industrial complex, there is no shortage of individuals willing to boldface lie in public in order to further the profits of these companies at the expense of the American tax payer. The tax payer is a potential ally. Though more facts may not always sway them, recognizing the inherent corruption of opponents to change may. We don’t like phonies, it’s human nature. Showing the self-proclaimed protectors of freedom as the true opponents of it that they are, is key to undermining the Deep State.

It is my opinion, without doing this, there can be no permanent solutions, no truly fundamental alteration in the way the government and private industry conduct their business. Many in both worlds would love to be doing things differently, but they can’t due to pressures from this system. Exposing this system for what it is: an oppressive, unfair, underhanded, criminal enterprise, is one step towards a human renaissance. Without it, the Deep State stands guard over a new ‘dark ages’ that surpasses the old one not in just control of information, but in the dispensing of disinformation. In order to achieve those goals, the Deep State targets us all in both the virtual online world and the “real” one. Insofar as a world in which covert ops, deception, and lie after lie from on high can be considered real.

What is the primary threat today to the “Deep State?” That’s a term coined by a former Congressional Staffer named Michael Lofgren. It’s in part the Internet. This is why there is such a focus via various legislation and trade deals to be able to police it. They fear the power that the Internet places in the hands of individuals and groups. In short, they fear you: each and every one of you. You are, each of you, a mini-MLK in their eyes.

My *** second point *** today is to *** believe *** that. Things have changed. They no longer simply seek out the leadership for targeting, though that still happens as well. They want to disrupt, degrade, and deny and they are not foolish enough to think that simply going after the “big dogs” will ensure that. They learned from the King story: undermine a leader’s support system and this time she won’t be able to survive the controversy.

Though we now have, for the UK at least, an extensive view of what is going on behind the scenes on the Internet, I want to assure you that there is a just as large, if not larger, effort in the real world. That, is, these four D’s:

[SLIDE 1 again]

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…are being used in meatspace, not just cyberspace. There are many examples of disruption, degradation, and denial in the real world. Two primary examples are Aaron Swartz and David ‘Debt’ Graeber. Aaron, as I’m sure many of you know, was driven to apparent suicide. Where I may disagree with many is that it was quite possibly not an unintentional outcome. There is no law where covert ops are concerned, and the American media and by extension the public are enamored of them, believe that Jack Bauer is out there protecting them from the “bad guys.” In reality, Bauer protects the bad guys because that’s the side on which his bread is buttered. Aaron was, I believe, driven to it intentionally in order to avoid lawsuits and extended media coverage that would or could lead to changes in the CFAA and related legislation and attention on some of the treasure trove of information that he unearthed as well as the gatekeepers who inhibit the American public from seeing it. This is not to point the finger at the contractor responsible directly, but rather the machine that prefers an ignorant public.

Similarly, David Graeber lost his home. While the details seem as though it was simply a stroke of bad luck, I can assure you that if the Deep State was not involved, it is not only the kind of thing that it would do, but one that it is capable of doing tracelessly. The ability to manipulate and control people is what I’m really talking about. There are several ways this can be done, but for now let it suffice that it can be done. This is the third message today: *** believe it. *** What seemed like science fiction a few years ago is surfacing as science fact. Psychology, neuroscience, and plain ol’ stage magician trickery are heavily studied by the intelligence community and they have a huge institutional knowledge base about what works in what situations. It has become a science and an art form: they not only have manuals on how to ruin people but enough examples to add some personal touches that make it not quite the same enough for most people to see the “fingerprint” on the operation.

When I was living in Minneapolis for a time, I met a man who used to work for NSA contractor Technodyne. At some point, he noticed some billing irregularities and took it to the partners. Did not blow the whistle outside the company, but rather took it to ownership. Soon, he lost everything: his job, his wife, his home, his reputation. This not only illustrates how sensitive the private intelligence community can be to potential criticism, but just how lawless it operates. After losing everything, Mark turned to whistleblowing. He had investigators looking into it and a pending article on the case to be published by the Washington Post. The article was cancelled briefly before it was to go to print and the investigators, all of them, wound up suddenly retiring or otherwise leaving their positions.

This sounds like an unbelievable nightmare. But it is true. It was not an accident, not mere chance that this all happened. It was the intentional effort of shadowy individuals who specialize in destroying whistleblowers, witnesses, journalists, politicians, activists and hactivists, protestors, and other individuals and groups designated a threat to corrupt power. In Mark’s case, we may think that there were payoffs, threats, etc. And there may have been. But there are more subtle methods and means available today. This is the danger in pointing out what happened: assume it was done the old way, “mafia-style,” and then be proven wrong. That hurts reputations, and yet at the same time the difficulty in remaining silent in the face of harassment and ruination is intolerable. We must speak out about it.

I had a very similar experience to Mark’s that included a great deal more harassment than I mentioned in Mark’s story. Sometimes, indeed, it is the fact that there was so much of it that made it so unbelievable. The advantage of my experience is that I can pass some of that experience to you in the hopes that you will be better prepared to deal with it.

Speaking of unbelievable, this is in many ways the kind of thing that is difficult to discuss. Some of the methods are so foreign to our thinking, or are so closely associated with delusional paranoid mental illness, that we fear even bringing them up. I think this is a mistake. In part, this is because silence allows it to continue. And it can be very, very effective at the same time. This is a deadly combination to movements that do not have access to the body of knowledge available to the public and private intelligence apparatuses. Without doing something to even the playing field, such movements are, in my opinion, doomed.

Barrett Brown, in a blog post entitled “Not All Propaganda is Equal,” quoted Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer as saying:

Well, I think the public is naive to the actual level of technology that’s available and what’s being done.

This is the quagmire that people like Mark and myself found ourselves in. There is a normal, human tendency to disbelieve things that we ourselves have never experienced. Coupled with the “Martha Mitchell effect,” sometimes coming from our own as a natural tendency to want to believe in our own world view and to be resistant to accepting that maybe that world view is incomplete, we ridicule new ideas. In this case, I can tell you that I am a true believer. Some of the things I have experienced I do not have a good, solid explanation for. However, I have found enough evidence of similar ploys, tricks, technology having been employed in the past, that I am confident that the unexplained has a rational explanation.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you’ve been on the phone to your mother this morning. You’ve been discussing how to prune rose bushes. As the day progresses, you find yourself confronted with people bringing up rose bushes. You may even witness a truck with rose bushes hanging out the back. Under normal circumstances, most of us would chalk this up to coincidence and forget about it. Indeed, that is not a particularly bad strategy. However, combined with other means and methods, this suddenly becomes a big deal.

“Were they listening to my phone call?”
“Who are they?”
“What do they want?”

Or, imagine the subject is of an even more private, perhaps even sexual nature or some medical condition that only you and your doctor, so far as you knew before this day, knew about.

There are also methods of affecting judgment and emotional state. This can, from what I can tell, be accomplished by the more obvious method of drugging someone without their knowledge, but also electronically and from a distance. There are a lot of bytes on the Internet dedicated to attempting to answer how this is done. Most of it is probably disinformation. You try to figure it out via Google and you will often find yourself on a website claiming extraterrestrial conspiracy. See again the Martha Mitchell effect. Sometimes there is an effort to actually justify the claims that an individual suffers from delusion: there are methods designed to do that as well and they date back in the US over half a century.

I won’t bother with attempting to precisely nail down how this is done today, what electronic device may be employed, what it looks like, does it operate with microwaves, ultrasound, subliminals…is it Sierra Nevada Corp.’s ‘MEDUSA,’ or what? Rather, I stress to you, and I cannot stress this enough, that it does work, is real, and we need to be aware of it.

But not afraid. That would be another point today. In a similar fashion to being able to face down police at a protest, speak up at a town hall meeting, you have to be brave and not allow fear to rule you despite what seems like an impossibly unbalanced technological advantage of your opponents. It is a big deal, but it is not insurmountable. If it were, I wouldn’t be here. I’d be dead or in prison.

The first steps to being able to overcome external sources attempting to manipulate what you think, what you feel, what you actually do, is to know that these means exist and to accept that they are real. Once you do that, you can begin to monitor your actions in the same way you do when you are provoked by police or counter-protestors. The secrecy, propaganda, and disinformation surrounding these techniques and technology are their best asset. Knowing that they are real, and not getting bogged down in the details, not becoming overly afraid, paranoid, are the keys to defeating them.

Like the dude with the one glove said, “Remember to always think twice.”

I’ll repeat that: it’s not that different from managing behavior when dealing with other situations. Where it differs is that the time and place may not be of your choosing. Pitting you against neighbors, people living above or below you in your apartment building, or friends, families, and fellow activists, is a very, very common tactic. Until we are able to expose that these methods are used on us, we must spend time and energy keeping the peace so as to prevent total personal collapse and, by extension, the reduced effectiveness of our respective organizations.

“As if eating healthy and avoiding getting arrested wasn’t enough, here’s this dude telling me that the spy world is running black bag ops on me, too? At home? At work? Mucking with my personal life?”

You betcha.

The other D I showed in the JTRIG slide was “Deceive.” This can extend in all sorts of directions and likely deserves an entire presentation all its own. Misdirection is the friend of the PSYOP specialist as it is with the stage magician. Getting individuals to focus on non-issues, or issues that are one small part of the larger problem is part of degrading the effectiveness of the movement. They are common, and frequently not easy to spot. However, they typically have a highly emotional aspect to them, so at to attract not only intellectual but affective attention as well. That’s all I care to say about that, apart from that they have also gotten very, very good at painting people who are not informants as informants, and hiding real informants from scrutiny. We only find out decades later who was who, and probably still don’t entirely know, with regards to movements in the 60s and 70s. I have generally found that it is a waste of energy to focus on this, because most of the time, we are our own–apparent!–worst enemy. What may seem like a rift within is actually being carefully orchestrated from without using surveillance and psychology as shown in the slide.

I mentioned early on that some of the recommendations for dealing with this would be common sense. Obviously, none of us as individuals are going to agree on every single issue. Hopefully, most of us don’t expect to; it makes for the death of cooperation to allow personal grudges to fester and eat away at solidarity. In this regard, forgiveness and understanding must happen to preserve the movement. Accepting that today your ideas may not be the focus, but understanding that one day they may be–thing change–will help to overcome that.

In addition to the four D’s, or perhaps written between the lines, is a brightly lit, blood-and-gore-covered R. The R stands for Radicalize. I’m sure we are all familiar with how FBI attempts to entrap activists into planning so-called acts of terror. In most cases, FBI provides the impetus, the training, the target list, and even the materials for carrying these out. In a similar notion to how torture and drone strikes ensure unending hatred of the United States, its allies, and interests in the Arab world, this practice ensures that there are trained terrorists in American prisons able to spread the newly, government-funded training, to other prisoners. The Deep State is smart in that it thinks ahead, ensures that it will have government and corporate contracts for decades to come. Again, believe it. While the FBI informants who prep these individuals may only be thinking of their $20,000 to $100,000 bounty for each “terrorist” and the agents running the informant are perhaps only thinking of pleasing their bosses and oversight who is definitely aware of these practices, the Deep State’s brains know what they are doing. Carefully manipulating policy and procedures for its own gain is a chess game to them, perhaps a 3-D chess game, and they play it well. Activists are not the only victims when it comes to covert ops and propaganda.

But let’s focus on other methods of radicalization. By presenting a false image of reality, the Deep State seeks to “box” targets in. Peaceful protest is met with a barrage of media pieces presenting disinformation, or perhaps more commonly, almost no coverage at all, implying that it was not important enough to report on, perhaps beyond the inconvenience it presented to drivers or some other equally pointless news angle.

Then there are the attacks on individuals that don’t seem to have a source, seem to be the Universe conspiring against them, some faceless shadow behind the scenes pulling unseen, unidentifiable strings. The point is to increase frustration levels, decrease patience, cause personal life upheavals that result in an angry, violent response.

I know. This is what they repeatedly have done to me and will likely continue to do for the forseeable future. It’s not a joke, not my imagination.

It happened, is happening. Is it happening to you? I don’t know. I suspect to some it is.

And this harassment, these attacks, are in combination with mood-altering methods and placing ideas in front of you, into your head, that are not your own. They want homegrown terrorism. They want an armed uprising. They want to be able to label groups, individuals, anyone they can, as criminals in order to further their personal and financial gain agendas.

And they have prepared for it. The creation of detention centers for the stated purpose of housing illegals until such time as they can be deported covers for future prisons for US citizens, as stated as being permissible under the various annual military appropriations bills in recent years. This year, 2014, all airports are being prepared to handle drones. When the SECDEF was asked if he could guarantee that they would not be used to kill American citizens, he said that he could make no such affirmation. The path we are treading is a clear one: dissent is being criminalized and is under attack by underhanded means until such time as provoking activists results in legislation outlawing it outright. We have seen this pattern over and over again: illegal programs are approved and occur, they get exposed and rather than being stopped become “legalized.” These same military appropriation bills have also made running PSYOPS on American citizens legal. Rather than making them less legal after being used on US Senators, they have legalized it. Further, there are allowances for moving jurisdiction of homeland terror acts from the Department of Justice to the Department of Defense. People can be, as Gitmo prisoners have often been, held without any legal recourse whatsoever based on the mere suspicion of the military.

How much more damaging then, when there are covert operations being conducted in order to provoke people to violent action? When top Obama administration officials specifically seek to create hostile relations with US citizens as part of a propaganda campaign? We have all, each one of us, had undeclared war declared on us in secret. The perverse belief that anything goes, that the Executive branch is all powerful when at war has been further perverted by the alteration in the definitions of what war, what terrorism, what criminality, what dissent, what rights–what a country and its people—are.

I’m going to end this draft here with the recommendations:

DEFENSES

Believe it – ignoring the truth won’t make it go away

Accept it – first step to dealing with change is internalizing its ramifications

Maintain balance – do not accept their invitation to joining them in violence

Be brave and calm – panic causes mistakes, undermines credibility

Overlook minor differences, look for common ground – fight against opponents’ divide-and-conquer methods

Discuss it openly but carefully – be supportive of others’ personal plights; you don’t know what really caused them

Allow passion to propel but not control you – because it can be “hijacked,” exaggerated to bad ends

Accept imperfection happens, work to fix it later – it won’t ever be perfect but that is not reason for giving up

Always remember that the opposition is morally, ethically, legally inferior – absolutely true, not in the least propaganda on my part. Everything from old-fashioned torture farmed out to foreign intelligence, to human trafficking of children, to assassination can be fairly laid at their doorsteps. Your own imperfections, like those of MLK, may be something to work on for personal development and out of an abundance of care to prevent it being exploited, but you cannot allow it to paralyze you. You are fighting evil of a sort. Don’t become them and don’t allow your pursuit of the Big Evils to trip you up on your own little ones. None of us are perfect. But we deserve better than the Deep State intends for us.

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