‘Conspiracy theory’ is a term that strikes fear and anxiety in the hearts of most every public figure, particularly journalists and academics. Since the 1960s the label has become a disciplinary device that has been overwhelmingly effective in defining certain events as off limits to inquiry or debate. Especially in the United States, raising legitimate questions about dubious official narratives destined to inform public opinion (and thereby public policy) is a major thought crime that must be cauterized from the public psyche at all costs… CIA Document 1035-960 played a definitive role in making the ‘conspiracy theory’ term a weapon to be wielded against almost any individual or group calling the government’s increasingly clandestine programs and activities into question. – From CIA Document 1035-960
We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false. – William Casey, Ronald Reagan’s first CIA Director (from Casey’s first staff meeting, 1981)
It is quite easy for a disinformation agent to spin a rich disinformation tale and then craft several different versions of the tale with new ‘facts’ to support the story in each one. These tales are usually a good mix of verifiable facts and cleverly designed lies, so that people who check the ‘facts’ tend to believe the lies that are mixed in. –– from: http://www.wanttoknow.info/g/disinformation-agents
It wasn’t very many years after the world-wide web became operational that it was contaminated by secret disinformation agencies and also by individuals that were eventually called internet trolls. Trolls (defined below) began interjecting themselves – uninvited and unwanted – into otherwise useful and productive conversations involving web-groups of like-minded individuals.
These trolls, intent on scurrilously confusing various website commenters, seemed to delight in angering up certain online groups. Typically, a lot of time and effort was wasted in such fake arguments before members of the group finally realized that they had been ambushed by a disinformation agent.
Many folks might recall how promising were the prospects for the internet’s new method of communication that was affordable, quick and paperless. Many envisioned an internet that was “without commercial interruptions” and a way to promote healthy interactions between well-meaning people of different races, religions, politics, commitments, lifestyles and cultures.
Progressive-thinking folks without ulterior motives saw the internet as a new way to explore and solve some of the common threats to them or the planet. Peacemakers saw the internet as a tool that could expose the ideological enemies of the exploited 99% and perhaps even unite against the predatory elites in the ruling 1%. Some saw opportunities to expose and then eliminate fascism, racism, militarism, corporatism, bigotry, pollution, over-population and income inequality (and, more recently, global climate change) and to foster understanding and cooperation between various cultures.
Tragically, before you could say “corrupt crony capitalism”, the web was dominated – and then essentially owned – by profiteering corporations that saw world peace and cooperation as a threat to their greedy profiteering goals. (Peace is never as profitable as war or the rumors or war.)
In the viewpoint of amoral corporations, the internet was seen as just another way to market their products to otherwise inaccessible consumers, even if their infernal advertisements were uninvited and unwanted by most internet users (albeit sometimes entertaining) .
But, while Big Business and the investor classes took over the internet, the web also became a recruitment tool for assorted hate groups like white supremacists, religious bigots, racists and neo-fascist talk show hosts who all developed a following and websites that allowed them to spew their hate, bigotry and disinformation much more efficiently.
Why and How Propaganda Works