The Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies exploit social media to keep the endless war on terror alive.
Earlier this month we learned DARPA, the Pentagon’s research lab, has funded an array of social media studies, including analyses on various social and political memes, celebrities and disinformation.
“The project list includes a study of how activists with the Occupy movement used Twitter as well as a range of research on tracking internet memes and some about understanding how influence behavior (liking, following, retweeting) happens on a range of popular social media platforms like Pinterest, Twitter, Kickstarter, Digg and Reddit,” RT reported.
“Shortly before the Facebook controversy erupted, Darpa published a lengthy list of the projects funded under its Social Media in Strategic Communication (SMISC) program, including links to actual papers and abstracts,” write Ben Quinn and James Ball for The Guardian.
ISIS Exploits Social Media
IS, the Islamic State, formerly ISIS, has used social media as an effective propaganda tool.
“The extremist group battling the Iraqi government, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, may practice a seventh-century version of fundamentalist Islam, but it has demonstrated modern sophistication when it comes to using social media, particularly Twitter and other sites like WordPress and Tumblr,” The New York Times reported in June.
The United States is not trying to diminish the social media reach of IS despite the fact this would logically be near the top of its to-do list in combating the rapidly expanding terrorist caliphate.
“U.S. intelligence prefers for these accounts to stay up, rather than come down,” an anonymous employee at a major social media company told Mashable.
“American intelligence officials are monitoring the ISIL accounts, trying to glean information about the deadly group and its strengths, tactics and networks.”
“Social media ‘is one of the many sources’ American analysts monitor when ‘assessing the fluid ISIL situation,’ a U.S. intelligence official told Mashable on condition of anonymity.”
ISIS Brutality: Propaganda Set Piece in Forever War on Terror
However, instead of gleaning questionable intelligence the Pentagon and the CIA are interested in controlling emotions and drumming up consensus for the coming war against the Islamic State.
As the Nick Berg beheading video and other brutal al-Qaeda propaganda videos demonstrated in the past, the value of terrorist social media is in its ability to produce irrational emotions that can then be exploited by the state as it carries out its permanent war agenda. The Islamic State – funded by the Wahhabist Gulf emirates, supported by the CIA, and trained by the U.S. military – specializes in this sort of gruesome material.
“Propaganda is neutrally defined as a systematic form of purposeful persuasion that attempts to influence the emotions, attitudes, opinions, and actions of specified target audiences for ideological, political or commercial purposes through the controlled transmission of one-sided messages (which may or may not be factual) via mass and direct media channels. A propaganda organization employs propagandists who engage in propagandism – the applied creation and distribution of such forms of persuasion,” explains Richard Alan Nelson.
The war on terror, designed to last indefinitely, requires “purposeful persuasion that attempts to influence the emotions.” IS takes the brutal al-Qaeda meme to the next level and pumps up the volume.