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Offline Matthew

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How Trolls control an Internet Forum
« on: September 07, 2019, 06:12:51 PM »
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  • The document claims to reveal the techniques — dirty tricks, really — that are practiced by trolls, saboteurs, provocateurs, disinformants, spies and other government operatives, as well as their fellow  practitioners of the dark arts.

    One thing is certain: we’ve all experienced the frustration of dealing with this phenomenon. We just don’t always recognize it for what it is.

    Without even knowing it, you may have witnessed these techniques in action. Perhaps in a political forum that feels somehow manipulated to suppress certain facts and points of view. Or in the deceptive comments that often follow a controversial article. Or in the disruptive behavior at a town hall meeting that seems oddly choreographed. Or at a meeting of activists where the “wrong” people seem to be taking over.

    Like toxic mushrooms, the words and actions of these operatives can look harmless. That is why they can so easily poison the well of information.

    You may be tempted to write off trolls as harmless nuts, but that may not be the case at all. We know from experience that some of the less harmful techniques described here are a cousin of a PR tactic called “astroturfing,” a tried and true method of some of the most powerful corporations and private interests in America. It is a classic control technique, wielded by those on top to prevent “inconvenient” facts from reaching the public, and to neutralize any action the public may want to take should they learn of these facts.

    You are most likely to see these techniques at work where discussion centers on such high-stakes issues as political assassinations, the destruction of land and lives by oil companies and other corporations, the man-made causes of climate change, and so on.

    Before we get to the tricks themselves, we should take a quick look at their origins.


    Treachery is as old as mankind, but let’s start with the late J. Edgar Hoover, the old trickster behind the FBI’s Counterintelligence Program, also known as COINTELPRO.

    According to, Cointelpro was designed to “increase factionalism, cause disruption and win defections” inside the Communist Party U.S.A…. disruption of the Socialist Workers Party (1961), the Ku Klux Klan (1964), Black nationalist groups such as the Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam (1967), and the entire New Left, including community and religious groups (1968).”

    The US Senate’s so-called Church Committee (chaired by Sen. Frank Church of Idaho), which investigated Cointelpro, reported, “Bureau witnesses admit that many of the targets were nonviolent and most had no connections with a foreign power.” Such targets included nonviolent citizens against the war in Vietnam, the nonviolent Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and prominent civil rights workers.

    The FBI claims Cointelpro operations ended in 1971.

    Did they? The Internet did not exist during the period the FBI admits Cointelpro was active, but the author labels the methods described below as “Cointelpro Techniques.”  Wherever they came from, they are still clearly in use. (As many of our readers probably know, other alphabet agencies use these techniques, and have greatly expanded upon them.)

    Part 1 is about methods for taking control of a news group. These instructions were presumably written by a Cointelpro operative to be used by other operatives — and not the general public, so they are not always clear. We have therefore rewritten some of these passages, and we offer explanations parenthetically when we think they are needed. Wherever possible, we try to preserve the style of the original document.

    If you have a better explanation for any of the actions described below, or if you want to add your own observations to this ongoing collection, please let us know. We would love to hear from you.

    The bottom line: Our purpose here is to inform you about some of the “dirty tricks” that may be shaping and distorting what you read online. Far from endorsing these attempts to hijack free and open discourse, we believe that exposing them can help blunt their power to confuse and control. Forewarned is forearmed.

    Note to readers: The following is the text found on the Internet, as discussed above. The source and background are unknown.
    Cointelpro Techniques for Control of an Internet Forum
    There are several techniques for the control and manipulation of an internet forum. Most involve dilution and misdirection. We will go over each technique and demonstrate that even a minimal number of operatives can eventually gain control of an “uncontrolled forum.”

    “Forum Sliding”
    If a very sensitive posting of a critical nature has been posted on a forum, it can be quickly removed from public view by “forum sliding.” This maneuver brings unrelated postings to the top of the forum, and the critical posting “slides” down the front page — out of public view. [Ed.: By“sensitive posting of a critical nature”, the author refers to comments that include facts that interfere with the false narrative being promoted.]

    In this technique a number of harmless posts are quietly pre-positioned on the forum and allowed to “age.” This is done in anticipation of troublesome postings. Each of these misdirectional forum postings can then be called upon to trigger a “forum slide.”

    Several fake accounts should be ready when called upon. To trigger a “forum slide” and “flush” the critical post out of public view, it is simply a matter of logging into each account, both real and fake, and then ”replying” to pre-positioned postings with a simple one- or two-line comment.

    Although it is difficult or impossible to censor the unwanted posting, it is now lost in a sea of unrelated and useless postings. This effectively focuses the attention of forum readers on non-issue items.

    Inoculating the Public Against the Truth

    A second highly effective technique is what we call “consensus cracking.”

    Here’s how we develop a consensus crack: Under the guise of a fake account, a posting is made which looks legitimate — but the critical point is that it has very weak back-up. [Ed.: We assume this counterfeit posting contains some of the same points being made by those attempting to reveal the truth, but in a weaker form. Think of it as an “inoculation.” ]

    Once this is done, then, under alternative fake accounts, a very strong position in your favor [Ed.:“your” meaning the disinformant’s favor] is slowly introduced over the life of the posting.

    It is imperative that both sides are initially presented, so that uninformed readers cannot determine which side is the truth — but assume they have seen all the relevant facts on both sides of the issue.

    As postings and replies are made, the stronger “evidence” or disinformation in your favor is slowly “seeded in.”

    Thus, uninformed readers will most likely accept the disinformation. But even if they don’t, they will probably drop their opposition to your posting.

    However in some cases where the forum members are highly educated and can counter your disinformation with real facts and linked postings, you can then “abort” the consensus cracking by initiating a “forum slide.”

    Turning a News Group into a Gossip Corner

    Topic dilution is not only effective in forum sliding it is also very useful in keeping the forum readers on unrelated and non-productive issues. This is a critical and useful technique to cause a “resource burn.”

    By implementing continuous irrelevant postings that distract and disrupt the forum readers, they are effectively prevented from being productive. If the intensity of gradual dilution is great enough, the readers will stop researching and simply slip into a “gossip mode.”

    In this state, they can be more easily misdirected away from facts. The less informed they are, the easier it is to control the entire group in the direction you desire.

    It must be stressed that a proper assessment of the psychological characteristics and levels of education of the group are first determined. You don’t want to “drive in the wedge” too soon. By being too far off topic too quickly it may trigger censorship by a forum moderator.

    Collecting Information on Forum Members

    This is about determining the psychological level of the forum members, and to gather intelligence that can be used against them. In this technique, a light and positive environment is created, leading to “I’ll show you mine, you show me yours” postings. From the number of replies and the answers that are provided, much information can be gathered.

    For example, posing as one of the forum members, post your “favorite weapon” and then encourage others to showcase theirs. It can then be determined what percentage of the forum community owns a firearm, and/or illegal weapon.

    Or, post your favorite “technique of operation.” From the replies, methods used by the group can be studied, and effective methods developed to stop them from their activities.

    Identifying Violent Forum Members

    Statistically, there is always a percentage of forum posters who are inclined to violence. In order to determine who these individuals are, you present an image that will incite a strong psychological reaction.

    For example, post a link to a video depicting a local police officer grossly abusing his power against a very innocent individual. Statistically, of the million or so police officers in America there is always one or two being caught abusing their powers, and the taping of the activity can be then used for intelligence gathering purposes — without having to stage a fake abuse video. [Ed.: Interesting choices of word in this paragraph. “One or two” being caught?  We know these instructions were written before so many instances of abuse were recorded. Maybe the emphasis was on “being caught.”]

    This method is extremely effective, and more so if the police officer can be made to look even more abusive, by the way the video is introduced, and by selective editing.

    Sometimes it is useful to “lead” the forum by replying to your own posting with your own statement of violent intent — that you “do not care what the authorities think!”

    Showing no fear may get those forum members who are more silent and self-disciplined to slip — and post their real intentions. From this, the most violent in the group can be effectively singled out for reverse IP location and possibly local law enforcement tracking. And his or her posting can be used later in a court of law during prosecution.

    Gaining Full Control

    It is important to continuously maneuver for a forum moderator position. Once this position is obtained, the forum can then be effectively and quietly controlled by deleting unfavorable postings — and one can eventually steer the forum into complete failure and lack of interest by the general public.This is the “ultimate victory.”

    Depending on the level of control you obtain, you can deliberately steer a forum into defeat by

    censoring postings, deleting memberships, flooding, or “accidentally” taking the forum offline. By this method the forum can be killed.

    However it is not always in the interest to kill a forum as it can be converted into a “honey pot” gathering center to collect and misdirect newcomers and, from this point, be completely used for your control for your agenda purposes.


    Remember: these techniques are only effective if the forum participants do not know about them

    Once they are aware of these techniques the operation can completely fail, and the forum can become uncontrolled. At this point other avenues must be considered such as initiating a false legal precedence to simply have the forum shut down and taken offline.

    This is not desirable as it then leaves the enforcement agencies unable to track the percentage of those in the population who always resist attempts for control against them.

    Many other techniques can be utilized and developed by the individual and as you develop further techniques of infiltration and control it is imperative to share them with HQ.

    Avoid, Avoid, Avoid
    Avoid discussing issues head-on. Rather, get your point across by implying it. Avoid the subject of proof or references documenting your own position.

    Deny, Deny, Deny
    No matter what evidence is offered, deny it has any relevance, credibility, proof, or logic. No matter what expert is named, deny his or her authority. Deny that statements made by government or other authorities have any meaning or relevance. Deny that witnesses are reliable. Cite studies on eyewitness credibility.

    Present False Evidence
    Whenever possible, manufacture new “facts” to conflict with opponent presentations.

    Invoke Authority
    Associate yourself with authority, but avoid specifically discussing your credentials, while implying your authority and expertise. Present your argument with “jargon” and “minutiae” to illustrate you are “one who knows.” Then simply dismiss your opponent’s comments without demonstrating concretely why or citing sources.

    Quote Anti-Conspiracy Experts
    Depending on the situation, you may find it useful to point out that people have a psychological need to believe in conspiracy. A number of people — psychiatrists, psychologists, sociologists, political scientists, and journalists — have written books and articles on this theme. And some even have shown that humans are hard-wired to find connections between events that do not exist. You should familiarize yourself with this literature, and have a ready arsenal of quotes to post.

    Fit Facts to Suit Alternate Conclusions
    Think like the attorney who manages to make someone else look guilty of the crime his client is charged with — using the same evidence.

    Label it a “Wild Rumor”
    Avoid discussing issues by describing all charges, regardless of evidence, as mere rumors and wild accusations. If you can associate the material with the Internet, use this fact to certify it a ”wild rumor.”

    Change the Subject
    Find a way to sidetrack the discussion with abrasive or controversial comments in hopes of turning attention to a new, more manageable topic. This works especially well with companions who can “argue” with you over the new topic, and polarize the discussion arena in order to avoid discussing more key issues.

    Demand Impossible Proof
    No matter what evidence is presented, raise the bar. Demand the kind of proof that is impossible for the opponent to come by.

    Demand Complete Solutions
    Avoid issues by requiring opponents to solve every detail of the issue.

    Label it “An Enigma with No Solution”
    Drawing upon the overall umbrella of events surrounding the crime and the multitude of players and events, paint the entire affair as too complex to solve. This causes people to lose interest.

    Grasp at Straw Men
    Select the weakest aspect of the weakest charges. Amplify their significance and destroy them in a way that appears to debunk all the charges, while actually avoiding discussion of the real issues.

    Become Indignant
    Focus on side issues which can be used to suggest your opponent is critical of some sacrosanct group or theme. This is also known as the “How dare you!” gambit. For example, if your opponent criticizes the Israeli government, call him or her an “antisemite.”

    Hit and Run
    Briefly attack your opponent — then scamper off before an answer can be fielded, or simply ignore any answer. This works extremely well in Internet and letters-to-the-editor environments where a steady stream of new identities can be called upon to make new accusations — and never answer any subsequent response.

    Goad Opponents
    Taunt your opponents. Draw them into emotional responses. Make them lose their cool and become less coherent. Then focus on how “sensitive they are to criticism.”

    Question Motives
    Twist or amplify any fact which could be used to imply your opponent operates out of a hidden agenda or bias. This avoids discussing issues and forces the accuser on the defensive.

    Shoot the Messenger
    Label your opponents “kooks,” “right-wing,” “liberal,” “left-wing,” “terrorists,” “conspiracy buffs,” “radicals,” “militias,” “racists,” “religious fanatics,” “sexual deviants,” and so forth. This makes others shrink from supporting you out of fear of gaining the same label.

    Play the Victim
    Select a minor error of your own that was among many, larger problems pointed out by your opponent. Then take the “high road and “confess” your “honest mistake, discovered in hindsight.” Blame it on bad sources. Then accuse your opponent of blowing it all out of proportion and implying worse things which “just aren’t so.” Later, others can reinforce this on your behalf, and “call for an end to the nonsense.” You have already “done the right thing.” This can garner respect, even sympathy, for “’owning up” to your mistake. And in the meantime, all of your opponent’s proof of the more serious issues will be discarded. People will be tired of the subject and will want to move on.

    Dirtiest Trick of All, So Far
    There is yet another tactic that seems to be in widespread use in forums on the JFK assassination, and it is the ultimate con: Disinformants earn trust by establishing themselves as conspiracy theorists. They often “prove” it by recycling, then repackaging, the stolen work of others. (Since the information is already out there in the ether, they are not really damaging the cover-up.) Or they may present a new theory,one that sounds good but is actually nonsense.

    Once established, they abuse this undeserved trust in many ways, including the following: (a) they discredit the work of real researchers, mostly on their say so, rather than providing proof; (b) they attack the reliability of critical eye-witnesses; and (c) they support key points of the official narrative — points not related to their “own” work. For example, while presenting a theory on JFK’s head wound, they may parenthetically slip in support for the single bullet theory, an issue that does not involve the head.

    Many of these people are depressingly mediocre in intellect, and are not very good at what they do in any arena. Their dirty work in the JFK arena is also not very good, and frequently arouses suspicion in other researchers, and even in members of the general public. Often, they contrast themselves with those who openly defend the official story, using the tactics described above. They say, “I’m not a spook. That’s a spook!” And they fiercely support each other, using their large numbers to gang up on their accusers, trying to intimidate them, or to just exhaust them with endless confrontation. In the forums they control, they will have the last word. Fortunately, those who have the last word do not necessarily inspire the last thought.

    The FBI establishes phony activist organizations, then penetrates them with its own agents, police informants and infiltrators. Their purpose is to prevent any real movement for justice or ecopeace from developing.

    The way to neutralize potential activists is to get them into a group that does all the wrong things. This way, a lot of time is wasted, the activists become frustrated and discouraged, they accomplish nothing and, most important — their message doesn’t get out.

    Legitimate activists do not subject people to hours of persuasive dialog. Their actions, beliefs, and goals speak for themselves. Groups that do recruit are missionaries, the military — and fake political parties or movements set up by agents.

    Agents come in small, medium or large. They can be of any ethnic background. They can be male or female.

    The actual size of the group or movement being infiltrated is irrelevant. It is the potential that the movement has for becoming large which brings on the spies and saboteurs.

    Good agents will want to meet as often as possible. They will talk a lot and say little. One can expect an onslaught of long, unresolved discussions. It is the agent’s job to keep activists from quitting such a group, thus keeping them under control.

    This report lists some of the tactics agents use to slow things down, foul things up, destroy the movement — and keep tabs on activists. If you are an activist, always assume that you are under surveillance.

    This report in no way covers all the ways agents use to sabotage the lives of sincere and dedicated activists.

    Gaining Trust
    Agents begin relationships behind a well developed mask of “dedication to the cause.” They often declare this dedication, and engage in actions designed to prove it — or appear to prove it.

    It’s amazing how far agents can go in manipulating an activist. As long as the agents regularly declare their dedication to the cause, activists will constantly make excuses for anything they do that may seem counterproductive, or even suspicious. And if they do occasionally suspect the agent, they will pull the wool over their own eyes by rationalizing: “They sincerely thought it would help to do that… I’m just slow to understand why that would be a good idea… there’s an innocent explanation for that…  I’m just being paranoid.”

    Control by Flattery
    A favorite ploy of the agent is to privately tell an activist, “You’re a natural leader.” No matter how meek, the person will believe it. The fact is, the movement doesn’t need leaders, it needs movers.

    Control By Guilt
    In those situations where an activist doesn’t want to go along with a course of action being promoted by the agent, the agent will tell the activist: ”You’re dividing the movement.”

    This invites guilty feelings. Those who are truly dedicated are easy to convince that, somehow, any problems are their fault. This is because many dedicated people are naive, and tend to believe that everyone has a conscience and that nobody would dissimulate and lie “on purpose.”  So, they tell themselves  “He [or she, the agent] must be right… I really am dividing the movement… I’d better go along.”

    Control By “Malignant Pseudo-Identification”
    This technique is designed to enhance and exploit the activist’s self-esteem. Their narcissistic admiration of their own altruistic intentions increases as they identify with apparently similar intentions of the agent — which are deliberately set up to mirror those of the activist. This is known as “malignant pseudo-identification.”

    It is the process by which the agent consciously imitates or simulates a certain behavior to foster the activist’s identification with him/her, thus increasing the activist’s vulnerability to manipulation.

    On a more subtle level, the agent will simulate the style, mannerisms, and outer manifestations of the activist’s philosophy. For example, wearing their hair long, or dressing like a “hippie.”

    This promotes identification via mirroring and feelings of “twinship.”

    Activists are most vulnerable to malignant pseudo-identification while working with the agent, when matters relating to their competency, autonomy, or knowledge are tested. The agent will compliment the activist for all of these qualities, and praise their value to the movement. This in turn will increase the activist’s general empathy for the agent. And they will project their own dedication to the movement onto the agent who is “mirroring” them.

    Activists who deny their own narcissistic investments are exceedingly vulnerable to the affective (emotional) simulation of the accomplished agent.

    Empathy is fostered in the activist through the expression of quite visible affects. [Ed.: Not to be confused with effects.] The presentation of tearfulness, sadness, longing, fear, remorse, and guilt, may induce in the helper-oriented activist a strong sense of compassion, while unconsciously enhancing the activist’s narcissistic investment in self as the embodiment of goodness.

    It is not unheard of for activists — enamored by the perceived helpfulness and competence of a good agent — to find themselves considering ethical violations and perhaps, even illegal behavior, in the service of their agent/handler.

    The agent’s expression of such simulated manifestations of emotion may be quite compelling to the observer and difficult to distinguish from deep emotion.

    But this lack of sincerity is usually unmasked when the agent notices the activist is not responding as predicted, and reacts inappropriately. This can happen when activists have analyzed their own narcissistic roots and are aware of their own potential for being “emotionally hooked.” They remain cool and unaffected by such emotional outpourings by the agent.

    As a result of this unaffected, cool attitude, the agent will compensate much too quickly, leaving the activist with the impression that “the play has ended, the curtain has fallen,” and the imposture, for the moment, has finished.

    The agent will then move quickly to the next victim.

    Switching Tactics
    Some agents take on a pushy, arrogant, or intimidating manner. They will disrupt the agenda; sidetrack the discussion; interrupt repeatedly; make unfounded accusations, calling someone a racist, for example. This tactic is used to discredit a person in the eyes of all other group members.

    Activities of the Saboteur
    1.  Writes encyclopedic flyers (in the present day, websites)

    2.  Prints flyers in English only.

    3.  Has demonstrations in places where no one cares.

    4.  Solicits funding from rich people instead of grass roots support

    5.  Displays poorly-worded, confusing banners

    6.  Compromises the goal.

    7.  Encourages endless discussions to waste everyone’s time. May accompany the discussions with drinking, pot smoking or other amusements to slow down the activist’s work.

    8.  Tries to persuade disaffected or minimally committed fellow activists to turn against the movement — and give false testimony against their compatriots.

    9.  Plants illegal substances on the activist and sets up an arrest.

    10.  Plants false information and sets up “exposure.”

    11.  Sends incriminating letters [emails] in the name of the activist.

    Activities of the Provocateur
    1.  Establishes “leaders” to set them up for a fall.

    2.  Suggests doing foolish, illegal things to get the group in trouble.

    3.  Encourages militancy.

    4.  Encourages taunting of the authorities.

    5.  Tries to get activists to compromise their values.

    6.  Attempts to instigate violence.

    7.  Attempts to provoke revolt among people who are ill-prepared to deal with the reaction of the authorities to such violence.

    Activities of the Informant
    1.  Gets everyone to sign up, sign in, sign all kinds of things.

    2.  Asks a lot of questions about a member’s personal, scholastic, and professional life.

    3.  Is always on the lookout for leverage for purposes of blackmail later.

    4.  Tries to determine what events the activist is planning to attend.

    5.  Attempts to make activists defend themselves in order to identify their beliefs, goals, and level of commitment.

    COINTELPRO is still in operation today under a different code name. It is no longer placed on paper where it can be discovered through the Freedom of Information Act.

    The FBI counterintelligence program’s stated purpose: To expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, and otherwise neutralize individuals who the FBI categorizes as opposed to the National Interests. “National Security” means the FBI’s security from the people ever finding out the vicious things it does in violation of people’s civil liberties.
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    Offline Mark 79

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    Re: How Trolls control an Internet Forum
    « Reply #1 on: September 07, 2019, 06:25:18 PM »
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  • In a similar vein…

    The 25 Rules of Disinformation
     Vigilant Citizen
    May 24, 2011

    From Twenty-Five Ways To Suppress Truth: The Rules of Disinformation (Includes The 8 Traits of A Disinformationalist) by H. Michael Sweeney. These 25 rules are everywhere in media, from political debates, to television shows, to comments on a blog.
    1. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Regardless of what you know, don’t discuss it — especially if you are a public figure, news anchor, etc. If it’s not reported, it didn’t happen, and you never have to deal with the issues.
    2. Become incredulous and indignant. Avoid discussing key issues and instead focus on side issues which can be used show the topic as being critical of some otherwise sacrosanct group or theme. This is also known as the “How dare you!” gambit.
    3. Create rumor mongers. Avoid discussing issues by describing all charges, regardless of venue or evidence, as mere rumors and wild accusations. Other derogatory terms mutually exclusive of truth may work as well. This method works especially well with a silent press, because the only way the public can learn of the facts are through such “arguable rumors”. If you can associate the material with the Internet, use this fact to certify it a “wild rumor” which can have no basis in fact.
    4. Use a straw man. Find or create a seeming element of your opponent’s argument which you can easily knock down to make yourself look good and the opponent to look bad. Either make up an issue you may safely imply exists based on your interpretation of the opponent/opponent arguments/situation, or select the weakest aspect of the weakest charges. Amplify their significance and destroy them in a way which appears to debunk all the charges, real and fabricated alike, while actually avoiding discussion of the real issues.

    5. Sidetrack opponents with name calling and ridicule. This is also known as the primary attack the messenger ploy, though other methods qualify as variants of that approach. Associate opponents with unpopular titles such as “kooks”, “right-wing”, “liberal”, “left-wing”, “terrorists”, “conspiracy buffs”, “radicals”, “militia”, “racists”, “religious fanatics”, “sexual deviates”, and so forth. This makes others shrink from support out of fear of gaining the same label, and you avoid dealing with issues.
    6. Hit and Run. In any public forum, make a brief attack of your opponent or the opponent position and then scamper off before an answer can be fielded, or simply ignore any answer. This works extremely well in Internet and letters-to-the-editor environments where a steady stream of new identities can be called upon without having to explain criticism reasoning — simply make an accusation or other attack, never discussing issues, and never answering any subsequent response, for that would dignify the opponent’s viewpoint.
    7. Question motives. Twist or amplify any fact which could so taken to imply that the opponent operates out of a hidden personal agenda or other bias. This avoids discussing issues and forces the accuser on the defensive.
    8. Invoke authority. Claim for yourself or associate yourself with authority and present your argument with enough “jargon” and “minutiae” to illustrate you are “one who knows”, and simply say it isn’t so without discussing issues or demonstrating concretely why or citing sources.
    9. Play Dumb. No matter what evidence or logical argument is offered, avoid discussing issues with denial they have any credibility, make any sense, provide any proof, contain or make a point, have logic, or support a conclusion. Mix well for maximum effect.
    10. Associate opponent charges with old news. A derivative of the straw man usually, in any large-scale matter of high visibility, someone will make charges early on which can be or were already easily dealt with. Where it can be foreseen, have your own side raise a straw man issue and have it dealt with early on as part of the initial contingency plans. Subsequent charges, regardless of validity or new ground uncovered, can usually them be associated with the original charge and dismissed as simply being a rehash without need to address current issues — so much the better where the opponent is or was involved with the original source.
    11. Establish and rely upon fall-back positions. Using a minor matter or element of the facts, take the “high road” and “confess” with candor that some innocent mistake, in hindsight, was made — but that opponents have seized on the opportunity to blow it all out of proportion and imply greater criminalities which, “just isn’t so.” Others can reinforce this on your behalf, later. Done properly, this can garner sympathy and respect for “coming clean” and “owning up” to your mistakes without addressing more serious issues.
    12. Enigmas have no solution. Drawing upon the overall umbrella of events surrounding the crime and the multitude of players and events, paint the entire affair as too complex to solve. This causes those otherwise following the matter to begin to loose interest more quickly without having to address the actual issues.
    13. Alice in Wonderland Logic. Avoid discussion of the issues by reasoning backwards with an apparent deductive logic in a way that forbears any actual material fact.
    14. Demand complete solutions. Avoid the issues by requiring opponents to solve the crime at hand completely, a ploy which works best for items qualifying for rule 10.
    15. Fit the facts to alternate conclusions. This requires creative thinking unless the crime was planned with contingency conclusions in place.
    16. Vanishing evidence and witnesses. If it does not exist, it is not fact, and you won’t have to address the issue.
    17. Change the subject. Usually in connection with one of the other ploys listed here, find a way to side-track the discussion with abrasive or controversial comments in hopes of turning attention to a new, more manageable topic. This works especially well with companions who can “argue” with you over the new topic and polarize the discussion arena in order to avoid discussing more key issues.
    18. Emotionalize, Antagonize, and Goad Opponents. If you can’t do anything else, chide and taunt your opponents and draw them into emotional responses which will tend to make them look foolish and overly motivated, and generally render their material somewhat less coherent. Not only will you avoid discussing the issues in the first instance, but even if their emotional response addresses the issue, you can further avoid the issues by then focusing on how “sensitive they are to criticism”.
    19. Ignore proof presented, demand impossible proofs. This is perhaps a variant of the “play dumb” rule. Regardless of what material may be presented by an opponent in public forums, claim the material irrelevant and demand proof that is impossible for the opponent to come by (it may exist, but not be at his disposal, or it may be something which is known to be safely destroyed or withheld, such as a murder weapon). In order to completely avoid discussing issues may require you to categorically deny and be critical of media or books as valid sources, deny that witnesses are acceptable, or even deny that statements made by government or other authorities have any meaning or relevance.
    20. False evidence. Whenever possible, introduce new facts or clues designed and manufactured to conflict with opponent presentations as useful tools to neutralize sensitive issues or impede resolution. This works best when the crime was designed with contingencies for the purpose, and the facts cannot be easily separated from the fabrications.
    21. Call a Grand Jury, Special Prosecutor, or other empowered investigative body. Subvert the (process) to your benefit and effectively neutralize all sensitive issues without open discussion. Once convened, the evidence and testimony are required to be secret when properly handled. For instance, if you own the prosecuting attorney, it can insure a Grand Jury hears no useful evidence and that the evidence is sealed an unavailable to subsequent investigators. Once a favorable verdict (usually, this technique is applied to find the guilty innocent, but it can also be used to obtain charges when seeking to frame a victim) is achieved, the matter can be considered officially closed.
    22. Manufacture a new truth. Create your own expert(s), group(s), author(s), leader(s) or influence existing ones willing to forge new ground via scientific, investigative, or social research or testimony which concludes favorably. In this way, if you must actually address issues, you can do so authoritatively.
    23. Create bigger distractions. If the above does not seem to be working to distract from sensitive issues, or to prevent unwanted media coverage of unstoppable events such as trials, create bigger news stories (or treat them as such) to distract the multitudes.
    24. Silence critics. If the above methods do not prevail, consider removing opponents from circulation by some definitive solution so that the need to address issues is removed entirely. This can be by their death, arrest and detention, blackmail or destruction of their character by release of blackmail information, or merely by proper intimidation with blackmail or other threats.
    25. Vanish. If you are a key holder of secrets or otherwise overly illuminated and you think the heat is getting too hot, to avoid the issues, vacate the kitchen.

    Offline Mark 79

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    Re: How Trolls control an Internet Forum
    « Reply #2 on: September 07, 2019, 06:42:35 PM »
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  • Serving as a reminder to save important pages as webarchives, another worthy article, an article on cognitive infiltration, is disappeared, even from :*/

    These excerpts are the best I can find so far:


    What is “Cognitive Infiltration”?
    RationalWiki describes it as:
    “Cognitive infiltration is a term coined by Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule to refer to the use of government and third party “cognitive” provocateurs and front groups to “infiltrate” social networks, other online groups, and “real life” groups built around conspiracy theories.” 
    While the term originated within the context of, “Conspiracy Theories”, the application of these techniques is not limited strictly thereto. Any belief, culture, or ideology, ranging from politics, to religion could essentially be substituted for the term, “Conspiracy Theory”. In short, PSYOPs. Maybe I’ve been quaffing too much Kool-Aide™, but I suspect that the conspiracy angle and terminology was simply a euphemism for making the “medicine” go down a little bit better. Guess I might be in need of some “Cognitive Interdiction” and have my “flawed epistemology” corrected…
    …Lest it be suggested that I am a defender of conspiracy-theorizing, I once stumbled upon a very famous, very persistent, viral conspiracy theory, whereby a project I was involved with was specifically mentioned in said conspiracy theory.
    I’ll leave out the deets, ’cause PERSEC, but suffice to say, when I made an attempt to shed some clarification on the topic, due to significant personal involvement, I myself was accused of being a “Disinformation Agent.” This was NOT a TS/SCI project either, which made the internet memetics even more frustratingly ridiculous…in short, you should deal in Conspiracy Facts in-lieu of Conspiracy “Theory.” Hunches are fine, but that’s all they are.
    The term, CI, was originally coined here: “Conspiracy Theories”
    Some interesting tidbits:
    “What can government do about conspiracy theories? Among the things it can do, what should it do? We can readily imagine a series of possible responses. (1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing. (2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories. (3) Government might itself engage in counterspeech, marshaling arguments to discredit conspiracy theories. (4) Government might formally hire credible private parties to engage in counterspeech. (5) Government might engage in informal communication with such parties, encouraging them to help. Each instrument has a distinctive set of potential effects, or costs and benefits, and each will have a place under imaginable conditions. However, our main policy idea is that government should engage in cognitive infiltration of the groups that produce conspiracy theories, which involves a mix of (3), (4) and (5).”
    “3. Cognitive infiltration Rather than taking the continued existence of the hard core as a constraint, and addressing itself solely to the third-party mass audience, government might undertake (legal) tactics for breaking up the tight cognitive clusters of extremist theories, arguments and rhetoric that are produced by the hard core and reinforce it in turn. One promising tactic is cognitive infiltration of extremist groups. By this we do not mean 1960s-style infiltration with a view to surveillance and collecting information, possibly for use in future prosecutions. Rather, we mean that government efforts might succeed in weakening or even breaking up the ideological and epistemological complexes that constitute these networks and groups.
    How might this tactic work? Recall that extremist networks and groups, including the groups that purvey conspiracy theories, typically suffer from a kind of crippled epistemology. Hearing only conspiratorial accounts of government behavior, their members become ever more prone to believe and generate such accounts. Informational and reputational cascades, group polarization, and selection effects suggest that the generation of ever-more-extreme views within these groups can be dampened or reversed by the introduction of cognitive diversity. We suggest a role for government efforts, and agents, in introducing such diversity. Government agents (and their allies) might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action.
    In one variant, government agents would openly proclaim, or at least make no effort to conceal, their institutional affiliations. A recent newspaper story recounts that Arabic-speaking Muslim officials from the State Department have participated in dialogues at radical Islamist chat rooms and websites in order to ventilate arguments not usually heard among the groups that cluster around those sites, with some success.68 In another variant, government officials would participate anonymously or even with false identities. Each approach has distinct costs and benefits; the second is riskier but potentially brings higher returns. In the former case, where government officials participate openly as such, hard-core members of the relevant networks, communities and conspiracy-minded organizations may entirely discount what the officials say, right from the beginning. The risk with tactics of anonymous participation, conversely, is that if the tactic becomes known, any true member of the relevant groups who raises doubts may be suspected of government connections. Despite these difficulties, the two forms of cognitive infiltration offer different risk-reward mixes and are both potentially useful instruments.
    There is a similar trade off along another dimension: whether the infiltration should occur in the real world, through physical penetration of conspiracist groups by undercover agents, or instead should occur strictly in cyberspace. The latter is safer, but potentially less productive. The former will sometimes be indispensable, where the groups that purvey conspiracy theories (and perhaps themselves formulate conspiracies) formulate their views through real-space informational networks rather than virtual networks. Infiltration of any kind poses well-known risks: perhaps agents will be asked to perform criminal acts to prove their bona fides, or (less plausibly) will themselves become persuaded by the conspiratorial views they are supposed to be undermining; perhaps agents will be unmasked and harmed by the infiltrated group. But the risks are generally greater for real-world infiltration, where the agent is exposed to more serious harms.
    All these risk-reward trade offs deserve careful consideration. Particular tactics may or may not be cost-justified under particular circumstances. Our main suggestion is just that, whatever the tactical details, there would seem to be ample reason for government efforts to introduce some cognitive diversity into the groups that generate conspiracy theories. Social cascades are sometimes quite fragile, precisely because they are based on small slivers of information. Once corrective information is introduced, large numbers of people can be shifted to different views. If government is able to have credibility, or to act through credible agents, it might well be successful in dislodging beliefs that are held only because no one contradicts them. Likewise, polarization tends to decrease when divergent views are voiced within the group.


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