ATS News 10 - Obama Administration Staffer Wants To Stop Conspiracy Theorists!

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posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 07:17 AM
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Originally posted by TrueBrit
...these government fools, that merely throwing out BS to confuse the membership of this merry site..


Maybe i missed something, but it seems to me some of you actually believe the government has been or is trying to confuse the people of ats, actually employing people to create disinformation through this website, to what ever end or means that may be.

HUH?

Can anyone say, arrogance or ego-trip, what an amazing exaggerated sense of importance. The government doesn't give a toss about conspiracy websites, why would they? What kind of threat or significance does ats or any other conspiracy website have to the government? Just ludicrous


[edit on 22-1-2010 by andre18]




posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 08:13 AM
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Originally posted by andre18
Can anyone say, arrogance or ego-trip, what an amazing exaggerated sense of importance. The government doesn't give a toss about conspiracy websites, why would they?


I suggest browsing some of the threads on this site and others regarding the Tibet crackdown in China. Look how many Chinese posters, some of them admitting to being Chinese (who don't have access to these sites unless it's given to them), and others painfully and obviously pretending to be average Americans, Europeans, etc. flooded those threads with propaganda bashing the Dahli Lama in support of the PRC. Look up 'internet brigades'. What makes you think the U.S. government doesn't employ some of the same tactics? It's not just about this site, which i must point out is important enough for YOU to post on, it's about controlling the flow of information covertly (sometimes not so covertly).



posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 08:31 AM
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Originally posted by andre18
The government doesn't give a toss about conspiracy websites, why would they?

Did you read any of the linked PDF from Cass Sunstein?

He is a constitutional law professor who advocates government intervention in online conspiracy venues -- chat, blogs, boards -- for the purpose of disrupting and confusing the flow of conversation. And now, this person has been appointed by the President to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and has been singled out as the President's top choice for the Supreme Court.

His views on infiltration of conspiracy groups are his most-broadly discussed and controversial. You don't think this development signifies some level of interest?



posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 08:59 AM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
He is a constitutional law professor


Maybe I'm being dense, but could you explain the importance and relevance of this? Being an expert on constitutional law would seem to me to discourage unconstitutional behavior. I must be missing something, but you have referred to this several times and I'm not getting the relevance. Thanks.



posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 09:10 AM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
Being an expert on constitutional law would seem to me to discourage unconstitutional behavior.

I agree. Which is why his opinions on government policy as it relates to critical theories is rather alarming.

The irony of a constitutional law expert (and Supreme Court hopeful) advocating government-sponsored intervention in the free flow of free speech (including strategies of planting false information through paid covert contractors) is astounding.

It's one thing for agents or officials of intelligence agencies to advocate such actions, which is something we "conspiracy theorists" have been speculating for a long time.

But the audacity of someone with these published opinions to be a Presidential appointee is breathtaking.



posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 09:25 AM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


Just out of curiosity, would you guys be able to tell if someone is infiltrating your boards? Is it possible to bring them to light without violating some rule or something?



posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 09:47 AM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
The irony of a constitutional law expert (and Supreme Court hopeful) advocating government-sponsored intervention in the free flow of free speech (including strategies of planting false information through paid covert contractors) is astounding.


I'm not aware of his advocation of planting false information. That would definitely be a problem. I haven't read the PDF. I can't figure out how to download it.

Edit: I'm getting it now. Pop-up issue.


Also adding some important info from the PDF.



Of course some conspiracy theories, under our definition, have turned out to be true. The Watergate hotel room used by Democratic National Committee was, in fact, bugged by Republican officials, operating at the behest of the White House. In the 1950s, the Central Intelligence Agency did, in fact, administer '___' and related drugs under Project MKULTRA, in an effort to investigate the possibility of “mind control.” Operation Northwoods, a rumored plan by the Department of Defense to simulate acts of terrorism and to blame them on Cuba, really was proposed by high-level officials (though the plan never went into effect).13 In 1947, space aliens did, in fact, land in Roswell, New Mexico, and the government covered it all up. (Well, maybe not.) Our focus throughout is on false conspiracy theories, not true ones. Our ultimate goal is to explore how public officials might undermine such theories, and as a general rule, true accounts should not
be undermined.


I'm sure there are a lot of statements in this paper that aren't being taken into account. I haven't yet found where they advocate planting false information, but I will continue to look.


[edit on 22-1-2010 by Benevolent Heretic]



posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 10:11 AM
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Originally posted by 27jd
What makes you think the U.S. government doesn't employ some of the same tactics?


They might. But lol that would obviously be for a more important reason such as terrorism or something that is in the best interests of the government, then snooping around ats for any members who would be doing what? whistle blowing? LOL. They are not going to go on ats and spreading propaganda about aliens or 9.11 or any other issue concerning ats members because

1, ) no issues on a conspiracy website is important or relevant enough to be taken seriously by the government - by the very fact that it's are conspiracies. 2) There are enough people on ats that create such bloody confusing threads that don't have anything to do with the reality at all, that you don't need the government to cause disinformation, as ats members do it themselves.



posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 10:12 AM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 


Here are some points that support -- through various methods of double-speak
-- using false information or deceptive tactics:


Page 14:
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.

Page 15:
Second, we suggest a distinctive tactic for breaking up the hard core of extremists who supply conspiracy theories: cognitive infiltration of extremist groups, whereby government agents or their allies (acting either virtually or in real space, and either openly or anonymously) will undermine the crippled epistemology of those who subscribe to such theories. They do so by planting doubts about the theories and stylized facts that circulate within such groups, thereby introducing beneficial cognitive diversity.

Page 22:
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.



posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 10:17 AM
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Originally posted by andre18
no issues on a conspiracy website is important or relevant enough to be taken seriously by the government

Not so fast there.


This thread specifically: FBI Fears Chinese Hackers Have Back Door Into US Government & Military, prompted a press release and response from the FBI.

I'd say that qualifies as being "taken seriously."



posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 10:31 AM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
Did you read any of the linked PDF from Cass Sunstein?

He is a constitutional law professor who advocates government intervention in online conspiracy venues -- chat, blogs, boards -- for the purpose of disrupting and confusing the flow of conversation.


I don't wan't to come off too arrogant, but did it ever occur to you that maybe the "intervention in online conspiracy venues" may have to do with intervening in terrorists that use blogs, chat rooms and boards? And that general conspiracy websites would only be searched as to cause disinfo to suspected groups that may be plotting on those sites.

Governments don't care what new thread subject you might be thinking up to post on ats, thy don't care about 2012, or Zionists or Masons it's not relevant to the real world. Please understand that.


And now, this person has been appointed by the President to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and has been singled out as the President's top choice for the Supreme Court.


I would expect so.


You don't think this development signifies some level of interest?


NO.

[edit on 22-1-2010 by andre18]



posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 10:48 AM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord

This thread specifically: FBI Fears Chinese Hackers Have Back Door Into US Government & Military, prompted a press release and response from the FBI.

I'd say that qualifies as being "taken seriously."


Look i read those 2 links again and again and i don't see the relevance. What has that have to do with the government spreading disinfo on conspiracy sites?
Maybe i missed something, though i'm sure yet too.



posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 11:19 AM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
Here are some points that support -- through various methods of double-speak
-- using false information or deceptive tactics:


Page 14: engage in counterspeech,


Counterspeech? I'm engaging in counterspeech with you right now. So are you. What I'm saying runs counter to what you're saying.





Page 15:
They do so by planting doubts about the theories and stylized facts that circulate within such groups, thereby introducing beneficial cognitive diversity.


Read that more carefully. the "stylized facts" are being attributed to the conspiracy theorists, not the government agents. He's not suggesting the government use "stylized facts", he's suggesting they cast doubt on the theories and the so-called "facts" that support them.

As far as "cognitive diversity", do you not support people thinking and reasoning? I want all the "cognitive diversity" you've got! Bring it on! Please. The more thinking and reasoning, the more likely I am to arrive at the truth.



Page 22:


In another variant, government officials would participate anonymously or even with false identities.


So, they would lie about their identities... I don't see Sunstien advocating this, he's exploring possibilities. Still, how many people have lied about their identities on the Internet? If this is the worst of Sunstein's crimes, we're in really good shape!

After reading this paper, I have to say that it’s VERY interesting and well-done. I would advise all conspiracy theorists and skeptics alike to read it. It’s really exceptional, IMO and is a good introduction to the study of how conspiracy theorists think and how their theories spread.

It’s also clear to me that Sunstein is NOT talking about planting false information, but cognitive infiltration. In other words, to infiltrate false conspiracy theories with facts… Is that bad? I don’t think so. I mean, if they HAVE the information to debunk a theory, as long as it’s TRUE, I want to hear it! Because I’m more attached to knowing the truth than I am to believing a conspiracy theory of my choice.

I can see how this could be a threat to the existence of ATS, because many of the members are willing and even eager to believe and discuss every wild theory that comes along, but in my mind, the truth is more important. And I don't care how many government agents would infiltrate here, it's not going to have an effect for some of the very reasons Sunstein discusses in the paper.

Sunstein speaks in very general terms and of course, I don’t think that everything he says applies to all conspiracy theories, but thinking about the conspiracy theory of Obama’s birthplace while reading this paper, it was very clear how such a story could grow, even though it has no roots and nothing to feed it.

Here are a few excerpts that I found particularly relevant:


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.

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.


Realize that Sunstein is talking about rebutting FALSE conspiracy theories with TRUE information… I don’t see a moral or legal problem with this. It seems to me that this paper explores what a government might do to infiltrate conspiracy groups to give them more information. I honestly don’t see the danger.

SO, I await your counterspeech.



posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 11:44 AM
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Heck of a time to relocate to Arizona and, take on the Obama administration eh?

Can ATS survive the Arizona floods and a flood of disinformation agents?



ATS and like minded communities are becoming an enemy of the state... What little truth leaks through must be mitigated and should be made a top priority for our completely corrupt government.

Can you weather the storm?



posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 12:55 PM
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Amazing show
, its great to be part of a community of such seriousness to secret topics.



posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 01:01 PM
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I think this Czar needs to check his facts, in 2008, the US Supreme Court, in the District of Columbia v. Heller, ruled that the 2nd Amendment applied to individuals, regardless of whether or not they were in a militia. This guy is supposed to be a specialist in Constitutional law, yet he was unaware of this landmark case?

What a joke. The inmates are running the asylum. Whatever happens next shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.



posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 02:10 PM
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Putting an end to all conspiracies would be great, but an end to getting to the truth and fighting conspiracies would not be so great.

As for changing the ATS website, I joined a short time ago and just got used to how it is set up. I like it the way it is, but if it can be improved for ease of use, then that's alright.
Most importantly, it should be legible. The charcoal color scheme makes the threads and buttons very easy to read. My eyes don't become strained when I spend long periods reading them, so I hope that doesn't change.

Cass Sunstein needs to go back to law school. I guess "making it up as you go" was the main area of study when he was at Harvard. Couldn't come up with anything better, I guess.



posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 05:32 PM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 


What if, I know I'm saying "what if", BUT...

What if there were a true situation that these fine fellows didn't want the truth about discovered? Do you honestly believe they would leave them alone because they are TRUE?

For the record, there's been dozens of real conspiracies that were discovered and the governments involved have had to publicly apologize for.

I know that's a reach but when I consider the perspective a "Constitutional Law Professor" who has now been appointed to this office by the POTUS, has it leaves little room for doubt that the dirty tricks bag will be opened and used.

It's all about culture to me.

If the culture of a government is to use nefarious, dishonest means (lying about their identity, sneaking in and hoping to sway discussions) to infiltrate groups of dissenting thinkers, be they crazy, full of BS or otherwise, in the hope of stifling their untrue ramblings and rants, then we have a major problem.

If you speak the verifiable truth, speak it with transparency. Honestly admit who you are. If the truth is on your side you will win the minds of the rational and productive. Anyone who would deny the verified truth because of the messenger is not going to get far.

This culture of sneak and trick is the foundation upon which my interests in these topics is built. This appointment seems to bolster that culture and I find it appalling.

Springer...



posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 05:56 PM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
It’s also clear to me that Sunstein is NOT talking about planting false information, but cognitive infiltration. In other words, to infiltrate false conspiracy theories with facts…

That's not really the meaning of that phrase.

"Cognitive" is the adjective of "cognition" which is to understand something. He's advocating an infiltration strategy so as to understand the conspiracy culture in which whatever theory has originated that must be countered.

In the higher-brow legal world, "counterspeech" takes on a slightly different meaning than you might think of the conjunction of those two words. The act of counterspeech (in the mind of legal-minded person) is the act of adding an overwhelming amount of new and/or different ideas to the conversation (which may or may not be true), with the intended goal of ultimately obfuscating the original point. Most times this is a contrary viewpoint to refute a claim, but the legalese junkies see the act of "counterspeech" as having a broader strategic use.

For example... injecting the notion that Obama is a muslim into the broader meme falls squarely and perfectly into the legally-minded person's view of the strategy of "counterspeech" when applied to disrupting conversations about Obama.



That he would advocate paid contractors engaged in countering topics under false pretenses -- as an alternative to making conspiracy theories illegal -- is enough for me to consider him one to watch closely.

[edit on 22-1-2010 by SkepticOverlord]



posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 10:17 PM
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Originally posted by andre18
no issues on a conspiracy website is important or relevant enough to be taken seriously by the government


Obviously the Chinese government didn't feel that way, if for no reason other than their bizarre obsession with their image. They're doing it right now on CNN's website on the story about google, it's funny because they are so obvious.

Anyway, i think our current system of government feels threatened by all the people awakening to the fact the 2 party system is a scam. They like us to get our news and opinions from approved sources.





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