Another report from the front lines of this surrealist battlescape
By Robert Malone, MD, MS
Hiëronymus Bosch: Table of the Seven Deadly Sins
Table of the Seven Deadly Sins, oil on poplar panel by Hiëronymus Bosch, 1505–10; in the Prado Museum, Madrid.
So now, as the COVID crisis winds down and the propaganda/fifth generation warfare continues to ramp up, we are starting to see additional battle strategies emerge. One new strategy that seems to be cropping up is the circulation of fake documents and videos. These come in many versions, and as usual are designed to exploit human behavioral and psychological weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Having successfully cultivated a political/public space environment in which rampant lying has been normalized, and the logical consequences of widespread skepticism and mistrust have therefore also become the norm, the chaos and propaganda agents have intentionally compromised public discourse with a form of highly infectious mind-virus which is rapidly propagated on both social and corporate media.
Example of a fake tweet. The fact that it is fake has not stopped others from recirculating it and attacking me over it without any attempt being made to verify.
People with time on their hands and no clear mission or purpose seem to just love to gossip. The more salacious, the better. It is often observed that a good joke must be based in reality. A good gossip topic is the opposite – it contradicts reality. The most potent and viral gossip story lines are the ones that seem at odds with the public persona which is being projected by someone. They imply, often indirectly and fraudulently, that a person or organization is not sincere or otherwise acting in ways that are at odds with their mission or public persona. For example, spreading unfounded rumors that a non-profit founded to protect children, staffed with prominent physicians is actually associated with a pedophile ring, now THAT will get reposted and retweeted, and will generate a lot of views and clicks.
In my experience (having been subjected to intensive disinformation, propaganda, and censorship campaigns over the last two years), there seem to be three general categories of chaos agents that interact in the public square (usually under protection of Section 230 of Title 47 of the US Federal Communications Decency Act of 1996) to actively deploy these sorts of propaganda and disruption methods. One category consists of paid shills, haters and trolls who serve a third party agenda. Often these parties serve a governmental actor (typically as “subcontractors”), but also may serve a surreptitious corporate or other non-state financial interest (ergo Pharma or others). These may include hired-gun “journalists” that are being paid for “advocacy journalism” attack articles.
Then there are the lone wolves (“trolls”), who sometimes swarm or form loose, transient on-line packs or flashmobs, and typically take a perverse pleasure in causing pain and suffering to others. This has developed into a subculture that celebrates spreading hate and causing psychologic pain. There is a fundamental darkness in these sorts of activities, which are typically grounded in a variety of personality disorders and dysfunctional/maladaptive behaviors. Examples of such disorders of thought include sociopathy/psychopathy, narcissism, free-floating aggression, anger, and self-loathing. These “lone wolves” often have some unresolved/unresolvable conflict/insecurity or cognitive dissonance in their own lives, which they seek to resolve by scapegoating, projection, or just plain bullying. Many of these seem to have a need for interpersonal conflict-based engagement in their lives. Often, these tend to be more transient hate mongers, and if you can stand to ignore them they eventually go away or find another target that will fulfill their need for engagement and conflict. However, their energy and hate are often exploited by the first category of paid propagandists of by those in the third category.
The third and most insidious category of social and corporate media propagandists who actively deploy and exploit hate and fear are those who have found a way to monetize their activities. This has long been a favorite strategy of corporate media. “If it bleeds it leads”. I have previously written about the FearPorn business model, which is a chronic staple of CNN broadcasting.
See the following essays for examples:
Even more corrosive and pervasive are the many small podcasters and substack authors who strive to spread sensational gossip and to generate anger and outrage. This is absolutely a business model, and many of these parties occasionally slip the veil of pretense and acknowledge the fact by bragging about how many followers, comments, or “likes” they are getting using these methods. In some cases, these small but very loud (on social media) actors pick up sponsors who have an agenda which is aligned with these smaller and less cohesively organized chaos agents. The shouting voices of these small actors can then be coordinated and amplified by selective sponsorship, and by use of the usual bot and troll strategies in which an astroturf movement is generated by deploying groups of agents which amplify the desired false narrative.
In some cases, these agents work at bot farms, but typically use of bot farms is a strategy/tactic employed by larger state, non-state/NGO, and corporate fifth gen warfare campaigns. In the case of the coordinated smaller players, most of these are typically decentralized networks of individuals who have been recruited over time – perhaps for some other cause- and are connected to a central communication point (typically via e-mail list) and can be provided a (false) narrative and directed towards an on-line target (typically by exploiting paranoia, fear, hate and outrage). In other cases, a modest investment in free burner phones distributed through a network of contacts (family, friends, trusted associates) can yield what appears (to outside observers) to be a decentralized spontaneous response. This is a favorite astroturf strategy to “make something (or someone) go viral”.
“Astroturfing: Astroturfing is the practice of masking the sponsors of a message or organization to make it appear as though it originates from and is supported by grassroots participants. It is a practice intended to give the statements or organizations credibility by withholding information about the source’s financial connection.” -Wiki
Here is how that general ecosystem works:
The internet and social media are non-scalable systems. What I mean by that is that by far the vast majority of internet or social media nodes have relatively few connections. In the case of social media, connection nodes consist of “followers” and “followed”. These node connections define the cloud of first and second degree interrelatedness associated with a primary node (a person, user, account etc.), and therefore define the ability of the primary node to influence others. Low node connectivity = low influence. The vast majority of internet sites and social media nodes are low complexity/connectivity and therefore of low influence.
As the complexity of the web of node connections increases for any one node, then the probability of that node continuing to develop additional connections increases. This is how “followers” and influence develop, and this cycle is typically non-linear (unless constrained or “throttled” via shadowbanning etc.). In other words, connectivity gives rise to ever greater connectivity. As a consequence, if one assesses the interconnectedness of internet and social media “platform” nodes, there is a vast plain (valley of death) of low complexity nodes interrupted by “spikes” or mountains of highly connected nodes which typically become more connected over time. These are examples of non-scalable systems. Connectedness is an unpredictable, emergent and typically exponential phenomena of these types of networked systems.
Because of these “non-linear” decentralized structural characteristics of the internet, the interconnectedness and functionality of the web could be almost completely destroyed by eliminating less than 10% of existing nodes- the highly interconnected ones. Likewise, the webs of communication and impact on society at large associated with highly connected social media nodes can be destroyed by targeting those nodes and the individuals or organizations associated with them. Of course, this is most readily accomplished by directly eliminating the node.
Eliminating a node is most easily achieved by blocking a static IP address or a particular URL for example (in the case of the internet), or “banning/deplatforming” an individual account (or the person responsible for the “account”. These are basically methods for killing or surgically terminating a source of disagreeable content as well as the entire network of interconnected individuals (or idea space) who share a particular node (and belief system) as a common junction. These methods are readily available to governments, very large corporations and NGO, and to the organizations which either control the internet (ICANN, for example) or control the major social media sites.
Major social media sites are themselves examples of the emergent non-scalability properties of the internet. You can think of this as akin to the observation that “success breeds success”. If you seek to influence the general public information and idea square, to impact in some way on current knowledge and thought, you will tend to seek out the major social media platforms for your interactions. As a consequence, social media platform innovators have great difficulty in establishing themselves, unless there is some characteristic of the larger platforms which make them distasteful to a critical mass of individuals. Audience, influencers and authors migrate to the most successful platforms.
Frankly, I am amazed at how successful the Substack business model is, given these forces, but this success illustrates two general truths. First, Substack took off in large part as a consequence of the rampant censorship occurring on virtually all other social media platforms. In a way it redeploys an older internet business model – direct email distribution. However, to build a Substack audience, your either need an extraordinary event (in my case, simultaneous deplatforming by Twitter and Linked In, coupled with Joe Rogan # 1757), or you need some other way to reach an audience – typically by leveraging a social media following (which is really what largely happened with me – my followers went looking after I was deplatformed).
The problem is that if your business model (or fifth gen media warfare objective) is based on internet traffic (clicks, likes, views, or paid subscriptions), then you face a challenge. You cannot escape the low node connectivity problem, the valley of death, unless you can find someway to attract attention to your node. This is sort of like the problem of how to reach and sustain the critical velocity required to escape the pull of gravity if you wish to reach space. How can you distinguish your “node” from the vast terrain of other low-connectivity nodes that inhabit this valley of death? How can you reach the threshold of critical connectivity which then will enable you to benefit from the non-scalable nature of these systems?
There are people that make a LOT of money from their internet sites, podcasts, substack essays, and youtube videos, but they all had to solve this problem. In some cases, and Joe Rogan appears to be one example, this can require years and years of sustained effort to build an internet following. However, in almost every other case, these success stories involve capitalizing on some event which drove viewers to their node, and then conversion of that traffic into “followers” and some sort of revenue stream. Advertisers are one common source of revenue, merchandise (T-shirts, caps, coffee cups) is another, and third party sponsors are another. But first the node must reach that critical mass of connectivity, the escape velocity required to overcome gravity. That is the art and science of monetizing the internet and social media – and any media, for that matter. Building connections.
Just like any small business, one way to grow an audience is to provide value. In this model, followers and subscribers are treated like valued customers. Like any small business (or consulting practice), this strategy requires hard daily work. Creating original content that people wish to read (or watch), day after day after day, is hard work- take my word for it; Jill and I live it. Like any small business, vacations and time off are a luxury that comes at a high price of lost revenue, followers/subscribers, and customer satisfaction. And just like any other small business, the author/artist/videographer/influencer confronts a competitive landscape, including competitors that will employ a wide range of aggressive strategies- including attempts to undermine or delegitimize others perceived as competition. And then there are the ancient and ever present seven deadly sins- envy, gluttony, greed or avarice, lust, pride, sloth and wrath. Haters will hate. Humans will always remain human.
One strategy for escaping the valley of death involves stoking rage, feeding conspiratorial tendencies and the very human desire to gossip. People seem to have a need to be stimulated by increasingly outrageous claims, regardless of whether they are based on verifiable reality or just reflect conspiratorial imaginings and fabricated associations which do not hold up to even casual scrutiny. Unfortunately, Section 230 has created an environment in which these more aggressive and dysfunctional strategies can flourish. This 60 Minutes segment titled “What is Section 230 and why do people want it repealed?” provides a simple illustration of how this works, and the psychological toll on others typically associated with those who traffic in deception and hate. Speaking from personal experience, it is absolutely no fun being targeted in this way.
The problem is that there is very little that can be done about this type of behavior. It is fundamentally evil and incredibly destructive, to reputation and to good mental health. I have picked up a number of what are essentially internet (and in some cases physical) stalkers that employ this method on a daily basis. In the case of the subject of that 60 minutes video, this has been going on for over two years now. Like with many other things, my primary defense mechanism has been to intellectualize the experience. This essay reflects that defense mechanism bias, which is considered relatively adaptive but also neurotic. More mature and adaptive defense mechanisms include humor, sublimation, suppression, altruism, and anticipation, all of which I also strive to deploy in response to the psychological stress which these types of public attacks provoke – but after all, I am another imperfect human, just like you are.
In the social media ecosystem, and also in the case of biased “advocacy journalism”-based corporate media, options to respond to these forms of slander and defamation , to “clear your name” are very limited, particularly if you have a substantial social presence (ergo, have become one of those more interconnected nodes). The very action of responding to defamatory attacks will draw more attention to the attack and the attacker, which will then fuel clicks, follows, likes, and revenue for the attacker. A no-win situation, where one is constantly juggling the problem of how much reputational damage is being done by the attacker, and the constant clamor to “just debate him/her, answer the questions!” etc. In the end, if the attacker is causing substantial reputational damage, civil courts are the last resort.
One version of this is the podcaster or author who makes outrageous defamatory statements, and then demands that you come on their podcast to answer the allegations. Why would anyone of sound mind want to go into the intimate and exposed environment of a 1:1 podcast with someone who is slandering and defaming you? A podcast is an amazingly intimate interpersonal transaction, which is recorded and/or streamed to all the world. If you walk away, that is readily seen as an admission of lack of integrity or guilt. If you are honest about something that can be misconstrued, it will be weaponized against you. You are locked into a 1:1 discussion with another party (which you typically just met), and they can say or ask anything – and it is all on the record. Many will require pre-negotiated rules of engagement – forbidden topics or questions, a practice which I avoid. Your partner in this transaction may decide at some future date to misconstrue something that you said and weaponize it for fame, attention (and clicks)- and I have picked up someone who is currently doing this by loudly claiming that I have censored him. With no actual evidence. Frankly, I have been burned enough times that I approach every podcast with a bit of resentment and loathing these days. Why should I repeatedly tear open the psychological veil which we all show to the world on a daily basis? Because hostile hating inquiring minds want to know?
I have gone through this cycle many times in the past. There was a “freedom tour” organized by an individual during which a “secret” meeting was held in which it was decided that I need to be “taken down”, ostensibly because I was distracting others from the message of another prominent voice. How do I know this? Because one of the meeting participants disclosed this. A series of demonstrable outrageous and defamatory accusations were made and repeated in rallies, and in writing. Eventually, the organizer of this “freedom tour” reached out to me, asking that I just address a list of questions/accusations which had been made. I did so, and to his credit he indicated that I had addressed all to his satisfaction and there were no issues, all was resolved. So what happened then? New false accusations were made, weaponized and circulated by these same people and others. This is an endless cycle. Wash, rinse, repeat. Baseless false accusations made, demands that I address them in writing or on a podcast (“debate” with someone who is spreading lies about you?), haters amplify the false message, and around and around we go. You end up with various version of having to prove that you are not a witch.
So where does this merry-go-round lead to? What is the brass ring to be grabbed? This objective is to delegitimize, divide, conquer, and often to generate controversy, clicks, follows, and revenue. And this is an lazy person’s alternative model for reaching escape velocity, for generating a sufficient number of followers to reach that level where the non-scalability phenomenon kicks in. For when you do not want to put the effort into providing well-constructed content. And meanwhile, in the background, those who seek to destroy legitimate opposition do what they can to “foster” this process.
Fifth generation warfare is a nasty business. There are no rules of engagement. No distinction between civilian and combatant. It is about controlling your mind, the information which you encounter, your beliefs and your emotions. It is enabled in the USA by Section 230 and by the legal precedent of New York Times vs Sullivan. There are sins of information warfare, as with any form of warfare, and they typically boil down to utilitarian logic – the means justify the ends. But they often involve some form of conflict of interest. Striving for money, power, fame.
Just to be clear, my only support for my activities relating to the COVIDcrisis have been some third party private donations who Jill and I have carefully screened for COI, revenue from substack, and revenue from book sales. I do not work for the government or any three letter agency. I do not treat patients. I do not sell vitamins or other products or represent (or receive money) from any who do. I have been painfully complete in disclosing my past and present activities. My total patent revenue from the (long since expired) DNA/RNA vaccine patents was one Susan B Anthony dollar. I have had no role in development of any SARS-CoV-2 genetic vaccine. I played an early consultant/advisory role in the development of a traditional vaccine which employed protein subunits of spike and the nucleocapsid. I have received no compensation from that company (called Reliance, and completely unrelated to the US-based “reliance” company which George Webb likes to constantly badger me about). I received indirect funding from the DTRA “DOMANE” program during 2020-2021, as a subcontractor to Alchem (which is not my company, unlike what George Webb likes to accuse) and as a subcontractor to MIT-Lincoln Lab. I had no role in managing DTRA “DOMANE”, nor in any prioritization of drug therapies for COVID-19. I have never endorsed Remdesivir. Remdesivir was promoted by Anthony Fauci and his organization. I have repeatedly, from early on, supported the use of a variety of repurposed drug agents including Ivermectin, Hydroxychloroquine, Famotidine, Celecoxib and others. I even helped create a special journal volume so that repurposed drug/COVID findings could get published. All of these accusations are false narratives. To those who subscribe to these, I suggest that you ask yourself why all of these false accusations are being made against me by someone who NEVER criticizes the genetic vaccines.
The distribution of defamation and slander as a means to advance information warfare (or “media jihad” against me as one of my accusers has called for) is evil. Most of those of us who are aware (or “awake”) have noticed the pervasive presence of evil over the last three years. Evil exists. And it exploits and feeds, in large part, off of the seven deadly sins: envy, gluttony, greed or avarice, lust, pride, sloth and wrath.
Don’t spread malicious gossip. It is a highly destructive form of mental masturbation. It is destroying our commons, our public square. Don’t be evil. Don’t take my (or any one else’s) word as gospel truth. Do your own diligence, and think for yourself. For heavens’ sake. Or for your children’s sake. Or to protect your own soul from evil.
Visage du Grand Masturbateur (Face of the Great Masturbator)
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The views expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal Florida.