DoD Trolling Blogosphere

Further evidence has emerged revealing how the Pentagon is in the business of responding to blog posts critical of the U.S. government. Pictured below is an Air Force flowchart used for “counter-blogging” purposes.

flowchart
Air Force flowchart used for “counter-blogging” purposes. Click image to see a larger version.

“In a twelve-point plan, put together by the emerging technology division of the Air Force’s public affairs arm, airmen are given guidance on how to handle ‘trolls,’ ‘ragers’ — and even well-informed online writers, too. It’s all part of an Air Force push to ‘counter the people out there in the blogosphere who have negative opinions about the U.S. government and the Air Force,’ Captain David Faggard says,” Shachtman writes.

In the case of the Infowars and Prison Planet websites, Centcom operatives do not respond to trolls and ragers. In fact, many of them seem to be the most vociferous trolls and ragers.

On October 16, 2006, Raw Story reported that the United States Central Command sent an email to bloggers on the subject of the GWOT, or so-called “global war on terror,” as part of the Pentagon’s “engagement operations.”

“Now [online readers] have the opportunity to read positive stories. At least the public can go there and see the whole story,” said Maj. Richard J. McNorton. “The public wants to hear these good stories.”

In fact, the public gets these ostensibly “good stories” via the corporate media that acts as a propaganda conduit for the government and the Pentagon.

“I’ve always thought that a military-like process would be a good bridge to connect the services with the blogosphere. There’s a field manual for everything in the military, so this flow-chart presents online communications in a DoD [Department of Defense] friendly format,” former military spokesman Steven Field told Wired.

Mr. Field’s assertion is seriously at odds with Pentagon policy, however. A 2003 Pentagon document entitled the Information Operation Roadmap, released to the public after a FOIA request by the National Security Archive at George Washington University in 2006, characterizes the internet as if it were an enemy “weapons system.”

“We Must Fight the Net. DoD [Department of Defense] is building an information-centric force,” the document states. “Networks are increasingly the operational center of gravity, and the Department must be prepared to ‘fight the net’… DoD’s ‘Defense in Depth’ strategy should operate on the premise that the Department will ‘fight the net’ as it would a weapons system.”

Unleashing trolls and ragers who consider blogs and websites opposed to the government as an enemy “weapons system” is only part of the overall plan to conquer and dominate the internet.

“Part of the Information Operation Roadmap’s plans for the internet are to ‘ensure the graceful degradation of the network rather than its collapse.’ (pg 45) This is presented in “defensive” terms, but presumably, it is as exclusively defensive as the Department of Defense,” notes Brent Jessop for Global Research.

As far as the Pentagon is concerned the internet is not all bad, after all, it was the Department of Defense through DARPA that gave us the internet in the first place. The internet is useful not only as a business tool but also is excellent for monitoring and tracking users, acclimatizing people to a virtual world, and developing detailed psychological profiles of every user, among many other Pentagon positives. But, one problem with the current internet is the potential for the dissemination of ideas and information not consistent with US government themes and messages, commonly known as free speech. Naturally, since the plan was to completely dominate the “infosphere,” the internet would have to be adjusted or replaced with an upgraded and even more Pentagon friendly successor.

A renowned Russian author, Dmitry Glukhovsky, told Russia Today the internet may very well be in decline. “Glukhovsky predicted that the network would become clogged with traffic and may grind to a halt in the near future,” writes Steve Watson. “We have previously warned that the rumors of the internet’s decline have been much exaggerated and used as a pretext for calls to designate of a new form of the internet known as Internet 2.”

Of course, Internet 2 would be greatly regulated and only “appropriate content” would be accepted by an FCC or government bureau. Everything else would be relegated to the “slow lane” internet, the junkyard as it were.

In tandem with broad data retention legislation currently being introduced worldwide, such “clean slate” projects may represent a considerable threat to the freedom of the internet as we know it. EU directives and US proposals for data retention may mean that any normal website or blog would have to fall into line with such new rules and suddenly total web regulation would become a reality.

This “clean slate” and “appropriate content” agenda dovetails with the objectives of the Pentagon as it “fights the net” and strives to disseminate “good stories,” that is to say counter the research of “well-informed online writers” with pro-government propaganda.

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