The Shaping of Things to Come

 “There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.” I believe that these assertions still make sense and do still apply to the exploration of reality through art. So as a writer I stand by them but as a citizen I cannot. As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?

– Harold Pinter, from Nobel Speech, December 7, 2005

About a week ago, Glenn Greenwald published a piece on his new Substack platform, “Journalists Start Demanding Substack Censor its Writers: to Bar Critiques of Journalists.” He’s upset that privileged, corporate-protected MSM journalists are calling for moderators to be installed on Substack to censor freelance journalists who criticize the work of MSM shills. Greenwald has been the leading critic of MSM news reporting for years, often noting their prostitution and stenography in support of the ever-tightening noose around our democracy — seemingly needing just a horse-haunch slap to end it all.

The MSM call to ‘censorship’ appears to be part of an effort to control the rules of online readerly engagement in social media platforms — especially Facebook and Twitter, the Big Mouths of the Net — currently underway, but which stretches back to the clarion call moment years ago when a list of “fake news” sites (alternative journalism)  was pushed by WaPo (Bezos, CIA), with sites whose writers often vociferously criticized mainstream coverage events.  The list went over the line, including trenchant publications like Black Agenda Report, Truthdig, and Counterpunch.  There appears to be a “move” on the way we should scouting out for.

Still, I was mildly struck by the irony of Greenwald rightly savaging the MSM attacks on Substack, given the commentariat on his site that will come at you like white sheet blood cells if you even question his information or its intentions.  I mean, they swarm you and beat you down and down, man. So, yeah, irony. But as is almost always the case with the guy, he knows what he’s talking about, and he is consistently and welcomely, adversarial.

Well, now that his marriage to the eBay (you know, Amazon’s main competitor) magnate Pierre Omidyar is over, and we don’t know the details of the settlement, and Greenwald left The Intercept criticizing its turn toward mainstream rules for publication (Greenwald believes Intercept censored his piece about Bidens last October, and was so offended that he quit and moved to Substack), that it seems just a matter of time before he is himself targeted an swarmed and discredited.  It’s how they do it. With luck, his maleficent moral antibodies will protect him. We need him around for the Biden debacle to come.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking for a spell now about swarming.  There’s some crazy shit along those lines going on out there (in here).  The first time I was ever exposed to the concept of swarming was when I was spending too much time on 9/11 “conspiracy” sites, wondering with them how three towers could come down in near free-fall time on the same day, including WTC-7, which hadn’t been hit by a plane.  I’m over it now, pretty much, and the only thing I can really remember now is WTC-7 was the smoking gun and Rudy Giuliani yelled, “Pull it,” which is roughly what he was about to say to Tatar in the bedroom of that new Borat movie.  But Rudy was permanently freefallen without his little blue pills. So, he spent a while looking for his keys — down there, where most people never lose them.

I dunno.  But, I came across a site, at that time, called The Hidden Evil. It scared the bejeezus out of me — a kind of reverse exorcism, where the Priest pukes at you. I miss Jesus. And the Golden Rule.  I scrolled down the table of contents, merrily taking note of some entries, like Smear Campaign, Framings, Surveillance, etc., but my eyes stopped almost against my will, like a Ouija board pointer, at the entry Blocking, Swarming & Space Invasion. The Blocking begins, “In parking lots, on foot, on the road, in stores & restaurants.” Didn’t get past that. Haven’t gone out much since. TMI, you know? The Space Invasion had to do aliens inside you, nes c’est pa?

But the swarming held resonance. I’d seen it before — ants, and in the schoolyard, bullies and their actalikes and wannabee hangerson chasing down a terrified well-fed kid for his Twinkies. And I had a flashback of that time I was in for observation and got swarmed, which provided me with a unique interpretation of the Dylan lyric “the time the doorknob broke”  and made me angry at his attitude. Ouch.

Time wounds all heels and eventually I got over the trauma of The Hidden Evil.  But, then back in March 2012 I was terrified again by swarming.  Swarming like nothing I’d ever heard of before. US filmmaker Jason Russell released a Kony 2012, a pseudodocumentary, on YouTube (you know, Google) that almost at the speed of light supposedly went viral to the tune of 83 million viewers, most of them outraged children from America. Some irony here: Kony, head of the Army of God that had terrorized Uganda for years, had as his biggest single sin his recruitment of an army of child soldiers. Most of the 83 million virus followers were children themselves — and they were being recruited to “go after” Kony, like a little force of cyber soldiers, by a Baptist organization. Two Armies of God.

So they went after him in Uganda, eventually shaking Congress down to chilblains until they finally passed legislation that allowed American boots to drop on Ugandan soil. Problem is, Kony hadn’t been seen in Uganda for two years at the time of the campaign. Oh well, not long after those boots hit ground, the Kony hunt was off. Nobody cared again. And no American children can be found who recall chasing their Uganda Piggy down. Millions of dollars were collected by the Invisible Children campaign, and, amazingly, their campaign continues, and they continue to collect donations online, with the help of USAID (CIA soft), despite his total disappearance and the recent “reports” that he has died of Covid-19.

More recently, and growing in potential terror, we’ve learned from Cambridge Analytica, a political data mining company which illegally “scraped” the profiles of millions of Facebook users to game their data to manipulate changes in voting in the 2016 presidential election. In “The Rise of the Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine,” a Medium article about the social implications of technology, by Berit Anderson and Brett Horvath, they describe how that data was used:

By leveraging automated emotional manipulation alongside swarms of bots, Facebook dark posts, A/B testing, and fake news networks, a company called Cambridge Analytica has activated an invisible machine that preys on the personalities of individual voters to create large shifts in public opinion.

Swarms. There’s that word again. Are you thinking locusts, too?  This “automated emotional manipulation” was further terrifyingly detailed in the recent Netflix film, The Social Dilemma. Who needs swarms of Russians?

Then more recently still.  As Jeremy Corbyn was getting his hat handed to him in the 2019 election that may have ruined the Labour party in Britain, swarming came to the fore. Jeremy and his Corbynistas (similarly to the Sandernistas) were nailed, time and time again swarms of media who despise his “antiquated” Socialist policies; and though Cambridge Analytica (CA)has admitted to being deeply involved in the Brexit vote, it’s unclear to what degree they tried to manipulate people about Corbyn. In any case, the Press swarmed Corbyn and accompanying one piece included a frightening graphic of dots representing Corbyn’s social connections. Check it out below:

In the above graphic, all of Corbyn’s “connections” are purportedly shown. Zoom in to see how comprehensive it is, remembering that behind the dots you see are other connections. You can get this kind of data image from many database graphic analyzing tools. But most likely you’d hire a company like CA or, in America, like Recorded Future. What’s accidently scary about such graphs is that they show YOU in a potential swarm against another, attack streams, and the target a 3D theatre — but also, gulp, what you’d be up against if you were the target of a swarm. One panics: I remember a childhood stupidity where I meanly put my shoe over a yellow jacket hole in the ground, when it suddenly occurred to me I’d have to get off the hole — and when I did: ZOWIE. Ouch!

More recently still, I did a review of The Dissident, the 2020 documentary that provides an insider’s look at the targeting and death of Jamal Khoshoggi. The review is titled “MBS: Lord of the Flies,” because, according to director Brian Fogle, that is what MBS sets up — a dark room full of dishdashed men spend all their hours attacking a target online, unleashing insults and promising death. Khashoggi, who had crossed the line from being a columnist at WaPo, to a dissident (illegal in the Kingdom, according to Saudi sources in the film), was targeted by these so-called Flies, who swarmed him before he was “taken” at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul. Check it out.

The Internet means information, and the need for its control. It used to be an excellent place to track down alternate versions of MSM-published news, including primary documentation that would allow the educated reader to make up his or her own mind about events. But there are too sites out there that cater to “conspiracy theory” minds, the Establishment thing goes, and not long after 9/11 the Pentagon saw the next pearlharbor event coming from Internet activity, and so quietly reported that the Net had been declared a battlefield — and the military controls a battlefield. So, it;s come full circle alright. The Pentagon invented the modern Internet and its widely used TCP/IP protocols; essentially they’ve re-poed the their Net.

By making everybody on the panet (eventually) dependent on accessing the Internet for maintaining services, online voting (increasing numbers of States are going this route), and identity algorithms through social media — including, of course, all our connections to others. What a marvelous centralized way to control future dissidents.  Threaten to take you, but also everybody you know — maybe send a snap shot graphic like Corbyn’s (above) of all your connections. What an excellent way to control dissidents!

So this all brings us back to Greenwald and the importance of his observations about the MSM and their ramped up attempts to tamp down the online opposition to their dominant messaging. Paper news is passé. The NYT, WaPO, WSJ and Guardian, losing ad revenue by the barrows each year, are now competing for money online and need to knock out the competition to their messaging, including, as Greenwald is pointing out, trying to get other journalists who criticize their work censored and, essentially, shut down.

I am reminded again of the Harold Pinter Nobel speech above, and its emphasis on American empire and the means and methods it will employ to succeed at any cost. I keep in mind: “As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?” As a reader of news, always keep your scepticism until information can be genuinely corroborated — an MSM hidden agenda is just another form of fake news.  But the other thing Pinter was marvelous at, with all that dark humor, is that we need to be careful when they come for us.  In the scene below from The Birthday Party, Stan, a kind of dissident, is about to be taken away from his home by English mafia figures who want to “adjust” him, a euphemistic way of saying they are going to take birthday boy away to blow out his fucking candles. Darkness does not like light, It swallows it whole, like a black hole. Be careful out there. If you hear monotone voices behind you, run.

Each year we are getting closer and closer to the final lockdown of our lives by electronic means. It has never been more critical to fight back, take precautions, and look for an alternative means of communicating with each other. Swarming is the future, subtle shaping of our behavior from online on the ground. There are currently plans to re-do the Internet, so that commercial interests can be ixnayed and privacy returned.  More on that in a later piece.

Right now, anyone wanna go for shawarma?

John Kendall Hawkins is an American ex-pat freelancer based in Australia.  He is a former reporter for The New Bedford Standard-Times.