In George Orwell’s 1948 novel, 1984, the concept of “Big Brother” became the universal slogan for the surveillance state. Orwell used very little actual science fiction technology in his novel. But there was one prominent exception: the telescreen. Every home had a device that sent information (or disinformation) and also spied on the dwellers. This permitted the government, through this network, to not only gather intelligence, but to manipulate and control the people.
Even though it was crude and simple, Orwell’s imagination seems to have truly brought him close to how governments would adapt to communication technology. Exhibit A: the Pentagon and Social Media. Joe Wolverton writes at the New American:
While Cornell University continues denying that it received any money from the Pentagon to pay for its study of emotional manipulation on Facebook, turns out that it is taking Defense Department dollars to conduct similar studies.
According to a story published online by The Atlantic, the Pentagon is paying Cornell researchers to conduct “analysis of social network posts for “sentiment,” i.e. how people are feeling, in the hopes of identifying social “tipping points.”
The list of “tipping points” on the website for the Pentagon’s Minerva Initiative includes “the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the 2011 Russian Duma elections, the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy crisis and the 2013 Gazi park protests in Turkey.”
Why is the military so interested in identifying these tipping points? The Minerva Initiative website offers this explanation:
The Department of Defense is interested in innovative frameworks and new data that may assist policymakers in developing improved methods for anticipating and identifying potential areas of unrest, instability, and conflict. Insights may inform strategic thinking about resource allocation for defense efforts and humanitarian aid as well as insights for national policy and engagement with both state and non-state actors….
For those unfamiliar with the globalist jargon, “non-state actors” are individuals and groups not associated with official governments. In other words: you and I.
Let’s remember that the NSA is under the control of the military and is headed by a high military officer. They spy on the American people just as readily as they spy on Germans or Russians or Brazilian businessmen. So there is absolutely no reason to think that the Pentagon is only going to worry about “non-state actors” overseas in other lands.
In fact, we need to realize that it isn’t “Americans and everyone else,” as far as the Pentagon, the NSA, and others in the Federal Government are concerned. For them, the mindset is that the Federal Government must strategize on how to control and manipulate everyone else, American and non-American alike. Missouri and Texas and Michigan are as much an object for surveillance and control as Mexico and Nigeria.
And when it comes to social media, who is the more likely target—African rebels or Tea Party voters?
It isn’t difficult to see how the Defense Department would be able to target potential rebels for special social media surveillance. How often have you posted anti-administration memes or messages to your various social media accounts? If you have, then you are now a non-state actor that could be identified as a “potential area of unrest, instability, and conflict.”
It seems to me that this emphasizes the importance for conservatives to raise critical thinkers who get much of their information from deeper sources than linkbait on Facebook. If the central governments can do so, they will hijack our thinking. Be wary.