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Revealed: Air Force ordered software to manage army of fake virtual people

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, February 18, 2011 15:07 EDT
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Update (below): HBGary Federal among bidders

These days, with Facebook and Twitter and social media galore, it can be increasingly hard to tell who your “friends” are.

But after this, Internet users would be well advised to ask another question entirely: Are my “friends” even real people?

In the continuing saga of data security firm HBGary, a new caveat has come to light: not only did they plot to help destroy secrets outlet WikiLeaks and discredit progressive bloggers, they also crafted detailed proposals for software that manages online “personas,” allowing a single human to assume the identities of as many fake people as they’d like.

The revelation was among those contained in the company’s emails, which were dumped onto bittorrent networks after hackers with cyber protest group “Anonymous” broke into their systems.

In another document unearthed by “Anonymous,” one of HBGary’s employees also mentioned gaming geolocation services to make it appear as though selected fake persons were at actual events.

“There are a variety of social media tricks we can use to add a level of realness to all fictitious personas,” it said.

Government involvement

Eerie as that may be, more perplexing, however, is a federal contract (PDF) from the 6th Contracting Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base, located south of Tampa, Florida, that solicits providers of “persona management software.”

Update: The contract has since been taken off FBO.gov. The link above has been updated.

While there are certainly legitimate applications for such software, such as managing multiple “official” social media accounts from a single input, the more nefarious potential is clear.

Unfortunately, the Air Force’s contract description doesn’t help dispel suspicions. As the text explains, the software would require licenses for 50 users with 10 personas each, for a total of 500. These personas would have to be “replete with background , history, supporting details, and cyber presences that are technically, culturally and geographacilly consistent.”

It continues, noting the need for secure virtual private networks that randomize the operator’s Internet protocol (IP) address, making it impossible to detect that it’s a single person orchestrating all these posts. Another entry calls for static IP address management for each persona, making it appear as though each fake person was consistently accessing from the same computer each time.

The contract also sought methods to anonymously establish virtual private servers with private hosting firms in specific geographic locations. This would allow that server’s “geosite” to be integrated with their social media profiles, effectively gaming geolocation services.

The Air Force added that the “place of performance” for the contract would be at MacDill Air Force Base, along with Kabul, Afghanistan and Baghdad. The contract was offered on June 22, 2010.

It was not clear exactly what the Air Force was doing with this software, or even if it had been procured.

Manufacturing consent

Though many questions remain about how the military would apply such technology, the reasonable fear should be perfectly clear. “Persona management software” can be used to manipulate public opinion on key information, such as news reports. An unlimited number of virtual “people” could be marshaled by only a few real individuals, empowering them to create the illusion of consensus.

You could call it a virtual flash mob, or a digital “Brooks Brothers Riot,” so to speak: compelling, but not nearly as spontaneous as it appears.

That’s precisely what got DailyKos blogger Happy Rockefeller in a snit: the potential for military-run armies of fake people manipulating and, in some cases, even manufacturing the appearance of public opinion.

“I don’t know about you, but it matters to me what fellow progressives think,” the blogger wrote. “I consider all views. And if there appears to be a consensus that some reporter isn’t credible, for example, or some candidate for congress in another state can’t be trusted, I won’t base my entire judgment on it, but it carries some weight.

“That’s me. I believe there are many people though who will base their judgment on rumors and mob attacks. And for those people, a fake mob can be really effective.”

It was Rockefeller who was first to highlight the Air Force’s “persona” contract, which was available on a public website.

A call to MacDill Air Force Base, requesting an explanation of the contract and what this software might be used for, was answered by a public affairs officer who promised a call-back. No reply was received at time of this story’s publication.

Other e-mails circulated by HBGary’s CEO illuminate highly personal data about critics of the US Chamber of Commerce, including detailed information about their spouses and children, as well as their locations and professional links. The firm, it was revealed, was just one part of a group called “Team Themis,” tasked by the Chamber to come up with strategies for responding to progressive bloggers and others.

“Team Themis” also included a proposal to use malware hacks against progressive organizations, and the submission of fake documents in an effort to discredit established groups.

HBGary was also behind a plot by Bank of America to destroy WikiLeaks’ technology platform, other emails revealed. The company was humiliated by members of “Anonymous” after CEO Aaron Barr bragged that he’d “infiltrated” the group.

A request for comment emailed to HBGary did not receive a reply.

Update: HBGary Federal among bidders

A list of interested vendors responding to the Air Force contract for “persona management software” included HBGary subsideary HBGary Federal, further analysis of a government website has revealed.

Other companies that offered their services included Global Business Solutions and Associates LLC, Uk Plus Logistics, Ltd., NevinTelecom, Bunker Communications and Planmatrix LLC.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OSVURCBOQC23XRKDQSYMCU7LU DJ TLL

    A quick visit to any yahoo board on their news articles will confirm this technology is already being used by our government as well as interest groups such as the Tea Baggers.

  • BrainRagYell

    It would be curious to know why exactly the military, corporate identities, and conservatives are so frightened of a progressive viewpoint that they’d be willing to go through all this trouble to sway the percentage of people of whom can be swayed by such things as the bleating of the herd.

    This disturbs me to my core.

    We, each as individuals, must stop succumbing to hyperbole, fear, paranoia and religious doctrine and start dealing only with provable facts.

    We, as a species, as a herd, are irresponsible with our imaginations.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PCRNBMCPGAOEFGLTXYZVLQ2QPA Razi Masoud

    Only Bieber fans would add people they don’t know;)

  • gypski®

    Fraud and waste wrapped up in software. Charges, dismissals, jail time. clean house. Lock up the real bandits.

  • Anonymous

    All this work by the mititary to subvert actual democracy. Must be very lucrative for them, betraying their own supposed principles, country, and all.

  • Anonymous

    Who the fuck is in charged of this god damned country?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OSVURCBOQC23XRKDQSYMCU7LU DJ TLL

    Check out the Wisconsin protest thread right now on Yahoo… Its sickening what gets posted there.

  • Robert Shaftoe

    And like the piece quoted above says, it’s interesting to note how many of these ‘personas’ came out of the woodwork during the Olympics in China, or when any topic concerning Israel comes up, or health care. No doubt these personas have been trolling the comments in Raw Story; often trying to inflate how ‘influential’ the Tea Klux Klan is.

  • http://www.BaltimoreGreenCurrency.org Shrapnel

    It’s revelations like this that make me proud to be a supporter of the President as he feeds the bloated Pentagon budget through the buzzsaw.

    (That’s sarcasm, for all you tea baggers out there)

  • NadePaulKuciGravMcKi

    neocons inside USAF have been very busy bees

    good find webster
    good find raw

  • Anonymous

    Well, speaking for Fred, Bill, Alice, Frank, MoJo, Hooter, ProudPatriot, Dojo and all the gang, this is Specialist First Class Amos Andy thanking you for your support! I mean, how do you think those crowds in Egypt turned up so quickly? Tunisia? Bahrain? Paving the way to democracy, one Twit at a time.

  • Anonymous

    Thats what you get when you get rid of the conscript (draft) military and replace it with a all volunteer professional military, It draws in like minds and creates a group think mentality it becomes a state within a state working for its own interests separate from any other national good.

  • Knot

    Watson.

  • Anonymous

    This is news?

    Right wing organizations and corporations have been doing this for YEARS.

    Web site operators can fight back by tracking multiple user names posting from the same IP address. They can use software to analyze the writing style in comments and find correlations. They can also use timestamps to notice that the “same” people always post together. They can use google to find people who paste the same comment over and over again on different sites. They can write perl scripts to automate the whole process with ease. Web site operators can easily ban the sockpuppetting motherfuckers if they think about it.

    Of course the big sites like Facebook will never do anything about it because more users mean more ad impressions and more checks from advertisers.

    Facebook users can FIGHT back by establishing a trail of real trust. Make a list of the people that you actually know and trust. Don’t take new friends without getting one of your existing friends to vouch for them. Hold your old friend to their word and bounce both of them if your new friend turns out to be a loser.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UUPKRUZVA26DOS4HNESWF6SWLY I LIKE TURTLES

    WOW. Just Wow. And I thought I was just paranoid because I noticed on many political boards such as Yahoo the comments section of a news article being flooded by neocon comments and all of them being eerily similar.

    Its likely they have been using this software for sometime and we are only finding out about it now.

    Talk about an absolute MindF@&#.

  • Anonymous

    It was once called the Idiot box for good reason

  • Anonymous

    So THAT’s why we are suddenly noticing a shortage of IPv4 addresses! ;-)

    They’re spending our money to deceive us. Nothing new there. But in the end, the similarities will be noticed. Anyone that frequents a forum starts to notice when someone has multiple handles, if by writing style alone, not to mention political view and idioms. However, what they are trying to do is go after the bulk of Americans that will instinctively follow the herd, and the stronger the herd seems, the more they’ll be driven to follow. Quite a powerful tool, that.

    Almost forgot: If they were caught with proposals for management software, it’s a certainty that they’re already doing it and want to be more efficient or are not satisfied with their current software solution(s). What they are doing is no different than infiltrating a crowd at a rally. My guess is that they are learning how to incite radicals to action. Or they already know how and have a plan…

  • Anonymous

    And as a herd, we follow what we perceive to be the movement of the group. Without it, we are vulnerable. We must repress all individuality in the name of safety for all.

  • http://twitter.com/Anonyphant Anonymous

    Read all the articles about HBGary and you will see that if they wanted to friend you for instance they would do background research, which here in the states can be as simple as going to classmates.com and then making a FB profile for a person you went to school with that was not already on FB. Instantly you think you are connecting with an old friend, or at least an acquaintance. All suspicion removed.

  • David R Velasquez

    I always thought it was just organized groups of teabagger trolls doing that …but now I realize there’s another more insidious hand behind these.

  • http://twitter.com/Anonyphant Anonymous

    No one truly knows, that’s what is so godamn scary.

  • Anonymous

    Well, if the question wasn’t rhetorical, the country is largely led around, owned and manipulated by a surprisingly (in proportion) small group of people that sit at the top of the largest Corporations and have almost total immunity to anything beneath them. They utilize tools such as Religion, the Two Party System and price control to manipulate the masses of humans that feed them and without which they would not survive as such. Think predator-prey model, and they have a long way to go before they become threatened by lack of “food”.

    Soylent Green *is* the people, it’s just that we aren’t invited to the meal…

  • http://twitter.com/Anonyphant Anonymous

    Yeah, it’s news. Because this story actually contains leaked emails and proof.

  • Anonymous

    Traitor! Communist! Terrorist! Marxist! Godless Pagan! Jewish-Muslim! Liberal!

  • http://twitter.com/Howieisright Howieisright

    Yet another reason to cut defense spending.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for hashing out the spec’s for version 2.0. Just as all those things are scriptable to detect, they are also scriptable to undetect. Welcome to the new cat-n-mouse game for the Intelligence community, only now the free human citizens are the “enemy”…

  • Hassan i Sabbah

    I would just like to tell everyone here that I am a real person real person real person real person per per per per son son sonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnneeeeeeeeeeeeee

  • Hassan i Sabbah

    Then again they can just ignore all the morons.

  • Anonymous

    Reading through the comments here, how do you know I’m not a ‘bot? Maybe I’m just trying to stir up an underlying level of dissent so that with a little external prompting, you’d be ready to actually act & not just complain online about things? If I were someone trying to quietly overthrow the way our country used to operate, that’s how I’d do it. Set the scene by invoking 100′s if not 1000′s of new laws and regulations restricting movement, communication, all those things that free human citizens could use to cause trouble. Then I’d infiltrate the infrastructure, everything from Religious structures to banking to food supply and transportation. Oh, and communication of course. And the Government itself. Then I’d make sure that everything within the system was set up to handle dissent, and newly legally, too. Finally, I’d start slapping a stick on the hornet’s nest until people started losing it…then I’d act in the name of order and public safety.

    Best part is, this plan totally nullifies the effect of true progressives. It focuses any dissent and will we might have been able to organize among the masses or radicals and neatly uses it to it’s own disadvantage.

    Godwin had no idea.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_J2BKVG44GLNRGIAYKD7UO4O27E Arthur Young

    great reply

  • Anonymous

    “Facebook users can FIGHT back by establishing a trail of real trust. Make a list of the people that you actually know and trust. Don’t take new friends without getting one of your existing friends to vouch for them. Hold your old friend to their word and bounce both of them if your new friend turns out to be a loser. ”

    Geeze, that sounds almost the way underground societies and groups are forced to survive…have we really come to this?

  • Anonymous

    you know when you post a comment and you have to enter those words that are written all weird-like…..that;s because there are programs like this that flood message boards, polls, and other interactive features. Its not new. I run a blog for my university’s library and we dont have the “weird word thing.” As a result, the first part of my day is to delete the spam from the comment board. If the Air Force wanted to do this, they have probably been doing it for years.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    William Gibson eat yer heart out :-)

  • Fedupin10

    Once again, our tax dollars being used as weapons against us.

  • Anonymous

    The next step would be to get all these virtual citizens enrolled to vote…

  • Anonymous

    Nah, the next step is to give each Corporate Citizen a block of votes equal to the number of employees they pay. Same end result, but this way is easier to get through the legislature.

  • Ignatzfattis

    “A request for comment emailed to HBGary did not receive a reply.”You emailed HPGary? Havent you heard? HPGary can only be contacted from the outside world through Snail Mail now -if then.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EHJJXSTSSOCXLTSQBUVIDYUF7M Dave

    Engaging in this kind of phony baloney behavior to inflate your numbers is an admission that you know your political ideas are not popular with the voters.

    Like when the tea baggers tried to pass off phony photos of their Washington rally a couple years back.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/42THFKXIPMJHQBIH6OPI4RVIDY Thebes

    Paid for with YOUR tax dollars, this pro-militarist propaganda has bipartisan support.
    Hope you like it, you voted for the people that did this (or you voted third party, thanks).

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Well, I got news for you. Since RS changed the format, we’ve got all of those “personas” here. Holy shit! Any of the RS regulars notice the amount of trolls? It’s an army of them.

    And here’s one more thing we must thank Israel for as this is an original idea of theirs. Somehow, flooding the internet with trolls to accuse of anti-semitism™ anybody that criticizes Israel after they attack and mass murder civilians is supposed to take care of the problem. Everything is treated as a PR campaign.

  • Anonymous

    This wasteful (and probably illegal) horseshit, but when Democrats want to cut “defense” “spending,” it’s because they want to “weaken America.” But, after all, this is the Air Force whose “Academy” allows upperclass “christian” males to rape underclass females.

    If we just closed the Air Force, we’d save a lot of money.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Yes, it’s an old idea. It’s called “an agent saboteur.” If you had followed the G-20 protests in Canada & the student protests in the UK, you would have seen that at work.

  • Anonymous

    I stay away from Yahoo for that reason. Can always find news stories somewhere else. Yahoo is a cesspool of ugly.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    You mean offense spending, right?

  • enorceht

    i usually go there and give a thumbs down to as many comments as i can or thumbs up to the few i agree with, and after a while it just stops responding to my clicks or i get an error before i can even get started.

    i agree i’m usually pretty shocked at the amount of disgusting comments that are there

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Thats what you get when you get rid of the conscript (draft) military and replace it with a all volunteer professional military…

    You mean, mercenaries?

  • enorceht

    i still call it an idiot box … that’s one reason i never made the “switch” to the box or cable. theres many sites like hulu that have any program i want to watch when i want to watch it, sports might be a problem though

  • enorceht

    well now i know where spalins base comes from … they’re all fake virtual people

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FONW6K3ZWV4BU4ZTCDCSZHHH6E Mick Jagger

    Ive been saying this for years after reading on http://www.infowars.com that our defense dept and Israel’s have blogging units with fake personas that troll the internet and write fake blog comments to manipulate public opinion. On the corporate, sleazy HuffPost they made some of these community moderators who can censor and ban people especially if they focus on the police state or 911.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FONW6K3ZWV4BU4ZTCDCSZHHH6E Mick Jagger

    Its true…Israel did this first!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FONW6K3ZWV4BU4ZTCDCSZHHH6E Mick Jagger

    They will if online voting ever occurs. Only a damn fool would support that but like they want to get rid of paper money they also want to get rid of paper ballots. Shuffle the IPs and one guy can have 500 votes.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FONW6K3ZWV4BU4ZTCDCSZHHH6E Mick Jagger

    Rawstory and Huff(total censored crap)Post need to have the scribble word verification.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FONW6K3ZWV4BU4ZTCDCSZHHH6E Mick Jagger

    This is the hugest story…send the link to other sites.

  • Anonymous

    …..and always remember that one in every ten people you meet, is a psychopath.

  • http://www.rawstory.com/ hounddogg

    that’s why i stay in the basement…

  • Anonymous

    “agent provocateur” – Guess it’s late at night for you. ;)

  • Anonymous

    I am a coward & am shamed. I use TIVO for Jeopardy & a series of poor but better-than-nothing CBS comedies. I see no commercials for pills & crap. I am very well off, give to Two families directly I know very well & drive a 15 year old Toyota.

  • Anonymous

    ……some people say sopcast is good for soccer. I’m just sayin’.

  • Anonymous

    I got bumper stickers. I look for them.

  • yvonneo

    Yeah, I’ve noticed the amount of trolls. Also, Israel considers itself to be engaging in a “public relations war” to influence world opinion in its favor–I remember reading an article a while back at Haaretz and that’s exactly how it was phrased. (It seems these days, everything is framed as being a war of one kind or another.)

  • MothMan

    Oh ye of little minds … Thou it notf depense ye naves know what ye turn, may turn about ..

    Bunch of fucking idiots, who who they can control the world.

    How’s that working out for you so far???

  • Anonymous

    “and after a while it just stops responding to my clicks or i get an error before i can even get started”

    happens to me everytime as well.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Yep. To those bastards life is battleground. Everything is war. They live by the sword and they will die by the sword too.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Yes, yes, yes. Duh!

  • Anonymous

    And with this, the government has successfully deligitimitzed “anyone” who makes a pro-corrupt government/pro-corporate comment on any site anywhere. Anyone who loves freedom and liberty should posts links to this article, or one like it, under the pro-corporate/pro-corrupt government comment, and tell the poster of the comment to crawl back to his government/corporate masters and inform them that his attempt at propagandizing has failed.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/GCPX7DXZGK2H2CPNYRR5IS5A64 Turnip Mcgee

    These companies, combined with their collaborators and enablers, are the very gears of the war on Us.

  • Sarcasmo

    This is really going to challenge the commentsphere. Will it force us to think critically and expect more intellectually or will we follow our emotions and stoop to the antics of robots?

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/GCPX7DXZGK2H2CPNYRR5IS5A64 Turnip Mcgee

    I agree with you, but prefer the following view on the Nader question: Any vote not for a 3rd party, and for the preselected criminals, is a wasted vote. Both will sell you out to their benefactors. Neither has really changed the system for the better for flesh-type people in a well over a half-century.

  • Sarcasmo

    Tell the truth, are you guys CIA robots just jerking each other off on here everyday? Because the value of your contributions are always of government caliber.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/GCPX7DXZGK2H2CPNYRR5IS5A64 Turnip Mcgee

    Single serving friends.

    Durden for Treasury!

  • Sarcasmo

    Dude, an astute observation, I thought the same thing, but then convinced myself I was just paranoid. Everyone should start out their comments from now on with “First thing I want to say, mutherfuck the global corporate banker cleptocrats and their whore the USA” and then what ever follows will be taken seriously.

  • Sarcasmo

    interesting comparison, the fed doesn’t really print that much money anymore, they just keep hitting zeros on their balance sheet and then bam, more money.

  • Sarcasmo

    Good points, but religion? seriously? Dude religion is dead.

  • Anonymous

    The whole social networking thing has been an information gathering operation from Day 1.

    FREE AMERICA

    REVOLUTIONARY (DIRECT) DEMOCRACY

  • Anonymous

    @Fedupin10 – What tax dollars? They don’t need your tax dollars. The U.S. survives by looting the world.

  • http://twitter.com/Mistyparrot Steve Lane

    OMG what if it turns out that I am only a fake online persona ?! What the hell am I going to tell my wife and kids?
    Do you think an email would convince them?

  • AstroCat

    I stopped using Facebook. Not sure of its usefulness. And I’m tired of reading about people eating a donut or taking a p00p.

  • AstroCat

    Good luck getting that past censors on HuffPo. That site is so disappointing.

  • CozmicSeer

    A friend of mind worked in the PsyOps(Psychological Operations) for the military and told me of the type of actions they do to convince people of their viewpoint(or make the case for all that money and unending wars). He said they can use some insidious means to ‘convince’ people of their intentions or try to slant the thinking their way. This was back in the 70s that he was deep in this so I’m sure they’ve been using our money to make this even more onerous since then. I believe it was aimed solely at the enemy back then, not at the American people. When Eisenhower warned of the military-industrial complex, he had a lot of foresight into what was coming. I’m sure they’ve been using this on a lot of senators and representatives(who knows how many letters and emails they receive from ‘the public’ that is really them behind the scenes).

    We need a Toto to pull the curtain on this to all of America, not just those that are wise enough to come to sites such as Raw Story where we can learn the real truths behind what we see going on in our own country(as well as other countries that this one wants to control).

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/2GU5TMBHGQLJLTNMSJVUZDZWPU Bob

    Funny, when I comment at some sites, where I have to sign in to comment- not this one, but like this- there are times when other people I talk to show different comments than what I see. It’s as if they tailor the comments to the person signed in.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZQPQ7VGUQIMTNHZCUM472IPSJM Doug Jones

    I’m telling you I have a SIXTH SENSE! Since last year I was posting all over that I did NOT believe that 60% of the “PRO GOVERNMENT” posts were actually citizens. I said they were Black OP contracts or virtual programs. I just got this feeling after reading the posts. They seemed too stupid or “LIFELESS”.

    I SWEAR I KNEW this was happening!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4DDE6S4DT3PQKU6LC24O4AXNQM Palmer

    ” not only did they plot to help destroy secrets outlet WikiLeaks and *discredit progressive* bloggers,”
    Bullshit. It doesn’t take an Army experiment to discredit progressives…

  • Anonymous

    Oh, look here is one of the Air Forces bots now!

  • Anonymous

    Here is some more information on this phenomenon from a story over at Daily Kos:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/02/16/945768/-UPDATED:-The-HB-Gary-Email-That-Should-Concern-Us-All

  • Anonymous

    WOW! That would be weird, much stranger and more creepy than just following you around with those creepy ads. What sites does this happen on?

  • Anonymous

    No, *I’m* the real Air Force ‘bot!

    Seriously, I used the term too, but “bot” is short for robot, indicating a fully automated (or primarily autonomous) agent. These are humans, each reflected in 100′s of mirrors. We need a better name for them, something that is accurate yet slightly implies that they are ominous or at the least, distasteful.

    Anyone?

    Update: ‘Replicant’ works…

  • Anonymous

    Welcome to the brave new world of Total Information War.

    Total War started with Napoleon treating the entire nation, its populace and resources, as war materials. Total War expanded during the 20th century World War, Phase II, with the attempted destruction of civilian populations because their very existence were thought to contribute to an enemy’s military efforts.

    Now, every keystroke and brainwave is used for military purposes. And we are all targets — of propaganda (lies), of dirty tricks (rat-focking), of ID theft and manipulation, and eventually of segregation and isolation. When will YOUR online persona be co-opted by the regime’s software? When will YOU face house arrest for thinking bad thoughts?

    Information control. Thought control. Behaviour control. We are focked.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve heard other people mention that, too. Then again I’ve noticed that some of my own Disqus comments get disappeared, yet I can find them in Google’s cache. I figured it was simply imperfect technology.

    Hey, how do we even know RawStory is legit, with all the changes to it lately? I mean, Denny isn’t quite as snarky and well, raw, as he was on the old RS… ;)

  • Anonymous

    Since the early days people have adopted multiple handles & we’ve dealt with them. It’s a matter of building up a form of “trust” that a particular login is familiar and consistent. So far we’re still ahead of them & able to weed out the replicants.

  • Anonymous

    Nice to see others who have also noticed this about yahoo. I have no doubt that this is what’s happening on there. I thought it was a bunch of paid (live) psyop agents though…. Cyberwarfare against the citizenry of the US and the world this is.

    I was on there countering the many ignorant comments about the Wisconsin protests last night too,when I finally quit in frustration. ( How to compete with this BS ?) As well,it’s difficult to find a previous comment and respond accordingly.

    And what about the red thumbs down numbers? People can’t be this fucking stupid can they ???

  • Anonymous

    Yup.

  • Anonymous

    Not in the south unfortunately…

  • Anonymous

    This is why you have to know what you believe in and believe in what you know! And not be swayed by bullshit that is spouted by several people at once on message boards just because several people are saying it. I don’t care how many Ron Paul supporters tell me how cool he is I will never, ever think for a minute that he is.

    There are others who aren’t as strong in their rejection and get all warm and fuzzy because he is supposedly anti-war or he is supposedly principled. But it doesn’t matter to me, his arguments even for the positions I might believe in or agree with are coming from the right not the left.

    That is why I find all this progressive libertarian convergence screwy. Who does it help-progressives-no–the libertarians are a far more marginalized group an for good reason than progressives. In any alliance with anyone they are going to be helped. But they are uber conservatives and their arguments and positions are continually emerging from a conservative principles.

    And there are so many who say that it doesn’t matter why Paul is against war as long as he is against war. I say bullshit it does it matter it matter immensely to me. Those who think it doesn’t matter are the most likely to be fooled into supporting his other idiotic positions. I use to get into arguments with supporters of Dylan Ratigan, too–his arguments come form the right. What’s wrong with that?

    We all want to belong to a larger group an we want to find more people who agree with us. And we want to form alliances etc. But there is a huge gulf between what Ron Paul’s utopia and what my utopia looks like. And that really is all I care about. What kind of world does Ron Paul want, no unions, no minimum wage, no campaign finance laws, no bank regulations, the list goes on and on. The question I ask myself is would his world be a better world and for whom. And I gotta tell ya it wouldn’t help me. Ron Paul, Dr. No voted Yes to defund Planned Parenthood! And he will vote for every other defunding bill that the Republicans march out.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah….chatterbots have been around forever. The National Association of Manufacturers has long used them, along with the Business Roundtable, Financial Services Roundtable, whatever gangs work for the US Chamber of Commerce, and on and on and on.

    One wonders why they simply can’t purchase it off the shelf? To cheap, I’d guess…..

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Hear, hear! And, if it wasn’t extreme sarcasm (hard to tell in black & white), I appreciate the vote of confidence. I’ve been pounded with nothing but insults, threats and the like for the past 24 hours. The entire army of trolls has zeroed on me with a vengeance. I feel like the Egyptian protesters they night they were attacked by Mubarak’s thugs on Tahrir Square.

  • YeaSayer

    Years ago, Dr. Peter Rost caught HuffPo red-handed manufacturing comments. HuffPo should have sold itself to the Air Force.

  • YeaSayer

    You need to venture outside the coastal metro areas more.

  • mjcc1987

    That’s why Yahoo is going belly up. That is why AOL is betting on Huffo before it goes belly up. Conservative blogs tend not to do well overall unless they are over the top hate cesspool and it is a small group talking to themselves.

  • Anonymous

    Geebus, 700 comments now. Kinda unusual. Wonder how many are individual non-Air Force people?

  • Anonymous

    All that the Government of the Pentagon does is good for its citizens, of Pentagonia that is, not you others. The Pentagon is at war with everything; real, imagined, in outer space, in the depths of the seas, economies, and the minds of people.

  • Anonymous

    If you want to know how far the Air Force is infiltrated with double agents and controlled by a proxy, go read this:

    google: Who’s Afraid of Sibel Edmonds?

  • Anonymous

    Big Brother is going beyond Fox Noise and is spewing constant bile on the interwebs to convince us that war is peace, love is sin, and up is down.

  • Anonymous

    Is there little wonder why the Constitution bans a standing army? .. this rubber stamp Congress that goes out of its way to find wars to justify re-funding… the empire.. all things the Founding Fathers warned about.

    Yet, here we are with a $700 billion a year military budget while crying about $10 million dollar social programs we have to cut to make ends meet… while telling multi-billionaires to go ahead and upgrade that 75′ yacht to the 100′ option, the tax cuts are safe.

  • Anonymous

    If Watson was in charge, there’d be some logic and reason behind policy.. That’s what computers DO.

  • Anonymous

    1.5 billion Muslims, 1.3 billion Christians, and hundreds of millions of Hindus disagree with you.

  • Anonymous

    What a strange list of opposing views (with 4 of them being logically ‘good’)

  • Anonymous

    it only works if they imagine a synthetic voice saying that.. :D

  • Sarcasmo

    And isn’t it strange that people who are counted to be of a particular faith in a god, actually believe and follow “the small group” of men? This is what I mean by religion is dead.

  • Sarcasmo

    Shit, I might have to change my name back to sincereo.

  • Anonymous

    We are. Time to do some firing. If you want to be in political office, you’re fired. If you make a million a year, you’re fired. If you’re a lawyer, you’re fired. Or you’d better start doing good. We have put up with this for way too long. It is my fault, and your fault.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe we should start eating republicans… and corporatists…

  • Anonymous

    I agree. No more democrats, no more republicans. The problem, though, is that I don’t think we can trust the vote counts any more.

  • Anonymous

    What are you saying? Democrats want to weaken America? Are you a troll? Or was that sarcasm?

    I say cut the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the marines, and get them back home, out of other countries’ business. Make the draft come back, and national service, and keep our citizens involved and armed. And term limits – one term only.

    And no corporate personhood. And no enormous candidate ad campaigns – only in newspapers, one week before the elections; and the winners have to retire after they do their time.

    Maybe a lottery; unfortunately, we can’t trust the vote counts any more.

  • Anonymous

    No no. Everyone here is a fake online persona. All the real people were gathered up last week, and locked in FEMA camps.

  • Anonymous

    The Asch Conformity Experiments show us that if they can create the perception of popular support, many will fool themselves into actually believing in the cause because Conformity is wired into their survival circuitry and at that stage they actually will achieve a genuine popular support.

  • overdoneputaforkinit

    What authority does the military have to manipulate the opinions of a civilian population in a civilian democracy?

    Who gave the military this authority?

    This applies not only to fake opinion people, but to retired generals working as analysts on civilian news media.

    The Pentagon military analyst program was launched in early 2002 by then-Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Victoria Clarke. The idea was to recruit “key influentials” to help sell a wary public on “a possible Iraq invasion.”

    ( http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Pentagon_military_analyst_program )

    Who gave the Pentagon the authority to be “selling” wars to the public? The military is under the authority of our civilian government which The People elected to decide about matters of war! Nobody elected the military to tell us what our foreign policy should be. If the military convinces the public to consent to a war, and that war turns out to be a big mistake, do the public have authority to fire the military like elected politicians?

  • Anonymous

    There are already Teabaggers using software that lets them manage multiple accounts.

  • enorceht

    “He said they can use some insidious means to ‘convince’ people of their intentions or try to slant the thinking their way.”

    there has been many times i’ve read a comment and as i’m reading i keep saying “yea that’s right … that’s true” then i get to the last sentence and all of a sudden it “wait a minute what the hell are they saying ?”

    that’s why before i hit the like or don’t like i read the full comment, and sometimes i have to read it twice

  • Anonymous

    I’d say, it’s more the military contractors/corporate heads/neo-confundies that are leaving skid marks in their tighty whities. The “Republican Party” is now no more than a hysterical mob of fanbois/fangirlz being whipped into a frenzy by the fevered likes of Rush Limbaugh, defacto head of the RNC (Sorry, Rience), the Fake citizen Murdoch (only became a citizen to buy American media outlets and spew his PRC rhetoric. YEAH, I am calling him a willing tool of China), and his lapdog, Glenn Beck.

  • Anonymous

    Psy-ops warfare tactics aimed at US citizens for political purposes. Color me surprised. And here I was thinking everything on the internet is true.

  • Anonymous

    I imagine it’d be very easy for all sorts of nefarious types to contact people via facebook/classmates and pose as an old friend. A con man who can work a crowd, like those TV shows that say they contacting a dead relative of yours, could easily ‘social engineer’ all sorts of information out of you.

  • Anonymous

    I hope religion becomes irrelevant but it doesn’t matter when the people you speak of have control of the media. Your world view is shaped by the info that you take in. If people choose to sit in front of a TV and be spoon-feed nonsense all day then they are going to have a very warped view of reality. A view controlled by the mega-corps. Like they say in computers, garbage in — garbage out.

    The saddest part is a lot of this is about vanity. Because when you get down to it, after a certain point they become nothing more than numbers in a bank account. What’s the difference in your lifestyle between making 40 million a year and 100 million? After all the toys and houses and yachts have been bought, there is little else. We as a country recognized that after the Great Depression. And we stopped the inequality by imposing a 90% tax on the upper one percent. The role of taxation is to equalize the excesses of capitalism. Concentrated wealth destroys markets, capitalism and eventually democracies. There is no market if it can be manipulated by the big players. There is no market if the mega-corps have control of the government and your money. There is no market if they have control of the media that the public gets its education from.

    What happens when you play the game Monopoly? Somebody eventually wins as the money is transferred from the players whose roll of the dice was unlucky to the richer players. This is what we are seeing in our economy now. That shift will become exponential, as all steady growth becomes. We can do something about it now or we can do it later when it will have caused much unnecessary pain and death.

  • enorceht

    although i didn’t buy into commercial tv i do go to hulu to watch the rifleman, wkrp in cincinnati, and bones we all need to do what we enjoy to be individuals, and i actually drove my 1973 bought in 1974 pinto until 1984, but i live in chicago and we now have a car sharing program that works well along with the public transportation. and giving to two families seems to outweight the stuff you feel like a coward & shamed about

  • Anonymous

    It takes too long to clean them.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KJJ4KEVT2Z5RDHTIRGJOUWL2EA Paul M

    Yeah, quite sickening. It seem like all the comments on the Yahoo boards are done by people under the age of 16 and with a limited education and devoid of the reality that surrounds them.

  • Anonymous

    True; and composting them might hurt my garden. Launch into the sun? Don’t
    care if the craft runs out of fuel – after all, gravity sucks.

  • http://www.BaltimoreGreenCurrency.org Shrapnel

    Duplibots

  • http://www.BaltimoreGreenCurrency.org Shrapnel

    I think the sale of HuffPoo might be the trigger – hard to tell since they happened at the same time. OMG! OMG! Is this really just a coincidence?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_D55WI4DCGD37XCUHNBH7IVC5HQ Hollow

    Don’t say that, that’s scary thought.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MSVG73USMG342DWORQKIEJ6HVQ Bob

    Am I real or am I memorex?

  • Anonymous

    This explains a lot of the idiot right wing bloggers that take over forums making it impossible to get real ideas out there. I’ve noticed it more than once. I always wrote it off to Pentagon “steam rooms” of hired gunslinger bloggers. Now all they have to do now is let computer programs destroy communication.

  • Anonymous

    Very high chance of fecal and botulism poisoning. Not advised. In a pinch it is better to eat dirt.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3ACZ3RZSMYNSPYMS324R22REGE A

    http://hbgary.anonleaks.ch/
    Search to your hearts content

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QHUTXC2LBHNI5OKPDD55MPH5PA Adso

    Won’t it be cool when the personas rebel and take over the government!

  • Anonymous

    Many years ago, I had to edit a technical paper about psyops. It was stated in terms of using deceptive communications to trick a battlefield enemy, and pretty much the sort of thing any moron could have dreamed up. When I asked how such a simple subject could be such a big deal that it warranted a technical paper, I was told “There’s much more about the subject that we can’t write about because it’s highly classified.” So thanks, Raw, for the article; you’ve given me a clue about why.

  • Hologram5

    These bastards, by doing crap like this breed distrust among the people. Again, their divide and conquer tactics are working flawlessly. Look around at the people, they are divided. You all remember the saying right? United we stand, divided we fall? We’re fallin hard.

  • Hologram5

    dude please, there isn’t any public groups using this software, it’s on the feds at this point. They are trying to drive a wedge between different groups to further their agenda and by the looks of your post, they are doing a bang up job at it.

  • Hologram5

    You are right on the money there Paul, the Yahoo crowd are just young people who’s parents failed in teaching them how to be humans. There’s a lot of that out there, it’s really sad. Those in power are laughing all the way to the bank as their divide and conquer tactics are working. They fight overseas to lose but use the principals of Sun Tzu against their own people with suprising results. They that are in power are cold and calculated and are going to remain in power while we fight amongst ourselves.

  • scalscott

    The Legislative Branch should draft a bill to ban the domestic use of such software by any US government institution, agency, contractor, or proxy.

  • http://www.rawstory.com/ hounddogg

    they are probably using it to troll…

  • Anonymous

    Remember that it was that so-called intellectual Al Gore that claimed to have invented the internet. And it was that same so-called intellectual, Al Gore, who gracefully left the political arena after the Florida debacle of 2000; I guess because he got caught.

  • Anonymous

    Just looked through your posts on DISQUS and didn’t see one ‘real idea.’ Just alot of the usual hate rhetoric that is becoming more and more common amongst the disgruntled supporters of President Obama.

    As the 2012 elections draw nearer, we ‘idiot right-wing bloggers’ are finding more and more potential candidates worthy of our consideration who will uphold the will of the American people and represent our conservative ideals.

    Unfortunately for you ‘smarties’ on the left, you will be stuck with Obama and his failed experiment with Socialism.

    But do not lament; wisdom often springs from disillusionment.

  • Anonymous

    You must be hell in real life to have an arguments with.
    What does your Al Gore statement have to do with some Tea Baggers on Twitter using multiple accounts to spread opinion/disinformation? And what happened in Florida has nothing to do with the Al Gore claiming he invented the internet?

    In real life people hate when you argue points that had nothing to do with what people are talking about. You should remember that because it would help you in for future relationships.

  • Anonymous

    The point is; Tea Party members aren’t the only people with internet access that can spread disinformation.

    If your brain wasn’t an X-file you could read between the lines, but…………..

  • NadePaulKuciGravMcKi

    trolls sound and act like teens from Israel

    controlled
    media’s
    9/11

  • Anonymous

    The neo liberals and the neo cons have morphed into one party, the War Party, Democraps and Repubicans.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting, some sites won’t let me sign in.

  • Anonymous

    To paraphrase the Cheap Trick song from the 80′s, The Dream Police, we have the Thought police get inside of my head, the Though police get inside of my head, the Thought police do arrest me,the thought police, police, police, the thought police, police, police………………..!

  • Anonymous

    The Pentagon is bribed by those that profit from war, including the Pentagon.

  • Anonymous

    The U.S. Air Force, uh? What a coincidence! They were instrumental in the 9/11 false flag operation, “coincidentally” staging an exceptional number of simultaneous exercises that would divert fighter jets away from the Boston-New York-Washington corridor and confuse civilian and military air controllers alike, criminally delaying their responses to the FAA’s calls for help–OK, this was the early version of the official story, which got “corrected” later to blame the FAA–and having nothing to do with the multiple coincidences and outright enigmas related to the Shanksville catastrophe.

    Let us rejoice! If planting naughty bots on the web is their new way of waging domestic terrorism, it is good news, and certainly more benign than blowing up an atomic bomb in Houston and tracing it to a joint project by Osama bin Laden and Ahmadinejad.

    Love,

  • Anonymous

    I was wondering if this is being done in WI. I’m in WI and really haven’t seen or talked to too many people who support our governors bill but I do find some people in support of the governors bill in forums who seemed very misinformed or just would not engage in discussion about issues. I thought these people were brainwashed because of the lies bring told by every talking head on TV with the exception of Ed Schutlz and Rachael Maddow on MSNBC. Now that the fight here is Wisconsin has hit national TV they are all disparaging our government union workers. There is a coordinated effort by these uber right wing governors that got into office because of the money poured into Wisconsin between September and the election. These people on TV who make millions of dollars are telling the poor of our country that the middle class is to blame for the financial crisis. A lot of them seem to be buying it. I think the people ( real not the paid hacks ) have be so marginalized and tramped down they are looking for anything that to hold on to, they voted for this guy and feel as if they finally won something, I don’t think they can take that bring all BS and really they were just used.
    The bill has provisions to give our governor unlimited power to sell out our State ( he’s changing the legislative process ), gut medicaid and many other things that will bankrupt our state. People need to wake up and realize that Glen Beck, Joe Scarborough, Greta Van Sustrin and all of these extremely wealthy corporate drones not only don’t have their best interest in mind but also have a disdain for them. It’s very disheartening to hear our government workers disparaged and called lazy, not willing to pay their fair share and are people who just take taxpayer money. On the dole as joe called it. So how do we counter these people that have taken over our media through corporate consolidation? Hope someone figures it out. I my self will be at my capitol until my voice is heard and these bums are out of office. For anyone interested in helping lawyers, analysts or others who can help documents can be found on thewheelerreport.com the bill is called Text of SS-SB-11. it’s right under the red line. Other documents are also there. If anyone can figure out a legal way to stop these guys please come to Madison. My family and I have been through 2 layoffs and although my children are grown I know how this effects children, families and communities. Many of these people being disparaged are the ones who coach the little league, are our hospice volunteers, girl scout leaders etc. This is the ripping of the very fabric of our society apart, the damage will be great. Coming to a state near you. WAKE UP AMERICA WE ARE UNDER ATTACK FROM WITHIN BY SOME VERY WEALTHY PEOPLE WITH AN AGENDA TO TAKE APART OUR GOVERNMENT AND THEY ARE STARTING WITH THE PEOPLE WHO PROTECT AND SERVE.

  • Anonymous

    Which socialism would that be? The one for the billions of dollars to corporations and Wall street or the one where he cuts heating aid to the poor? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

  • Anonymous

    You are still an idiot. You can’t slice your way out of that skin.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CY5BTD5KKBGL52NSCWS357SIJE Will Pardon

    What is the big news? Liberal progressives and the DNC have been using the same software since before comrade 0bummer was crowned king of the world. How do you think DailyKos and the other marxists blogs sites have so many people? It runs continuously in the background of lots of chat sites and others spreading the message of hope and change and other glad tidings of the handlers of comrade Hussein 0bummer

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CY5BTD5KKBGL52NSCWS357SIJE Will Pardon

    So whats new? Progressives and liberals and marsixts are using it all the time and have been for three years. How do you think comrade 0bummer got elected? Popular liberal consensus of liberalism resides in a website.

  • Anonymous

    This would explain a lot as to why you see more and more human bots in Second Life. Many banned individuals come back within minutes with virtually the same name and avatar but with spoofed IP addresses and also why you see many many avatars just standing in one location in a sim for days at a time without moving. They must be spying on the people that actually participate in the site. Perhaps this is part of Homeland Security and how they gather information.

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