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Jasper Johns, “Flag”, 1954–55 (paint and encaustic over newspaper scraps), source: MOMA

America turned the corner from the normal times, and headed into the war years, at a different point for every American, but always with the same mixture of emotions. We had the same moment, at different times. It was one of those paradoxical moments that are quintessentially American, because that day inaugurated a war to define what our country would be.

It’s possible to make generalizations like this, as to the whole of our country, because ours is a mission-based nation, and a change in the terms of our mission is a moment we all recognize; it is a change…


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Still frame of the interview at WCVB5’s website

On October 7, 2020, Bill Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, gave an interview on WCVB about the status of ongoing efforts to protect our elections.

This is the “quarterback” at the center of ongoing efforts to protect the November 3 2020 election. His status report should be, I think, more news than it is.

Up top, your “buried ledes” here are:

  • There are ongoing hostile influence efforts taking place on campaigns (this is not really news)
  • There are very, very active hostile foreign actors — Russia, China, and Iran, on his account — who are interfering…

What It Means That CyberCom Hacked Russia’s Power Grid

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US Cyber Command offices. (Credit: William Belcher/US Air Force, source: fifthdomain.com)

Here are the basic facts of the matter: Uniformed American soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors, under a unified cyber-combatant command known as US Cyber Command, USCYBERCOM or simply CyberCom, engaged in hostile activities, including the implantation of malware, against military and civilian targets in an adversary country. In so doing, they specifically kept the President “out of the loop” in order to avoid having the program compromised by our own President.

The reporting that establishes this, by New York Times’ David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth, is based on anonymous officials knowledgeable about the program interviewed over the past three…


How viral art works in information war

The nature of the information war game as a guerrilla, when played for keeps as we do today, should first be explained.

We are engaged in applied aesthetics, at the service of political outcomes, during what is effectively an on-going state of national emergency wherein one political party (Republicans) has been thoroughly compromised by not only a foreign adversary state (Russia) but also an unstable, senile incipient fascist (President Trump). A significant aspect of this condition is cultural, a widespread cult-like phenomenon we call “Trumpism”; approximately 2 in 5 voting-age Americans are, today, Trumpists of varying levels of faux-devoutness.

In…


Here’s the URL to report it:

https://www.facebook.com/czarinahjahn.villanueva

Here’s why I think this account is hacked.

This looks like a fairly normal Philippines teenager until about 2012, when they stop posting about video games they play. In 2019, this account starts posting high-volume Trumpist fake news.

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Note seven-year gap in post dates and differing post subject matter.

Look for yourself; this is all the posts from this account that Facebook has: https://www.facebook.com/search/100004264748674/stories-by

I found this account because it posted in the Trump supporter group we took over from a Macedonian spam ring, “The Worker-Owned Trump Train Cooperative 🇺🇸🇺🇸”.


Or, what to do when someone sucker-punches you in a dark and crowded room

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An M42 tank of the 173rd Airborne fires at suspected sniper positions in Phu Tai, Vietnam, in April 1970 (credit: James Speed Hensinger, source: Mashable)

Summary: Resistance information war (IW) defense strategy in year 3 is carried out by activists and journalists, operates in a state of extreme ambiguity with regard to attacker identity, and has systemic difficulty distinguishing ‘red‘ influence efforts from merely ‘blue’ or ‘green’ low-level background noise, necessitating a threat-agnostic defensive stance. The psychology of digital-influence campaigns and Russian hybrid war doctrine suggest that we need to adopt a new paradigm for information war defense focused on strategic stewardship of America’s culture of democratic discourse. Within this view, objective standards for the goodness of IW-game space moves are available. …


Part I of a continuing series analyzing resistance memes

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Source: Maryjane Yummypants (Facebook Page)

We have to earn the right to conduct meaningful aesthetic analysis, such as we need to guide better resistance memework, or to say cool things like “aesthetics of resistance”, or “tactical aesthetics”. Groundwork has to be laid; we have to explain, concretely and in detail, exactly what we mean and what we want people to understand from it.

So let’s get there. Start with who this meme is for and what we use it for.

We need to define two basic questions in purposeful memework for countermeasures designed to improve conversations or offensive meme implantation designed to exploit them: target…


Part II: The view from zero feet

In political operations, large-scale principles tend to be fairly obvious and agreeable to everyone, and, therefore, somewhat trivial.

From the 10,000-foot view, everything seems simple and manageable: the President is bad, the people who support him are bad, people should see that, and democracy should work.

In a reasonably strong democracy with an active media and somewhat-involved citizenry, things should muddle through to a less-dissatisfying solution than the worst case, most of the time.

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From the 10,000-foot view in September 2016, including multiple intelligence assessments describing Russian interference in America’s political process, President Obama was able to confidently state that “things are going to work out.” Two months later, Trump won the Presidency; two years later, Anthony Bourdain, the man he said that to, died. (Source: dailybeast.com)

From the perspective of day-to-day operations trying to influence people, or counteract influence on people; from the perspective of trying to ensure that one Congressional candidate…


Psychological manipulation and political information war

Political disinformation is like a gun in that it’s like a tool, or a weapon. Its basic function is to make people riled up to maybe vote if you shoot them with it. You can’t un-shoot people with it. Targeting, and accuracy, is everything.

Who do you shoot with it?

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A crowd of Trump supporters. (Source: Paste magazine)

For Republicans, especially Republicans looking at 2020, the answer is very, very obvious: you shoot your voting-gun at older, rural, white male voters without college educations who watch Fox News, the core demographic of the Republican Party.

Older voters are significantly more likely to share disinformation, historically more likely to…


How disinformation works and why Jared is lying about it

Jared Kushner claimed on April 23, 2019, that Russian interference in 2016 was “just a few ads”, and that the Mueller probe had had worse consequences for America.

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Jared Kushner, still with a provisional security clearance, posing in Iraq in 2017, shortly before he attempted to sell visas to wealthy Chinese investors to bail out his office building. Neither Kushner, nor his father, nor his grandfather, ever served anything but time in federal prison. (Source: Town & Country Magazine 4/6/17, The New Yorker 8/5/16, Washington Post 5/6/17)

The problem with answering Kushner’s easy minimization of the problem is that disinformation, as such, is like an elephant being described by blind men. It is possible, if not likely (given what we know about the intellectual background of the two men) that neither Kushner nor Brad Parscale themselves have any idea of the psychological reasons why what they are doing works.

Although it has well-elucidated pieces in disparate studies, although we…

Joohn Choe

Information war strategist, activist, startup entrepreneur

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