How To Spot An Online Troll [Update]

obvious troll

Recent events have highlighted the unfortunate use of cyber-bullying tactics by some in the Burner world. It seems unnecessary, and counter to the Burning Man Project’s mission to extend the culture from the Burning Man event around the planet. Does Radical Inclusion mean that we must promote and encourage the worst aspects of our society, as well as the good parts? Or does “making the world a better place” require us to strive to be the best versions of ourselves?

It is my hope that by educating people, we can reduce the amount of this negative activity. I believe Burners are better than this, and we expect more from our community’s leaders.

Let’s start with some definitions.

Troll: In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

This sense of the word troll and its associated verb trolling are associated with Internet discourse, but have been used more widely. Media attention in recent years has equated trolling with online harassment. [Source: Wikipedia]

Sockpuppet: an online identity used for purposes of deception. The term, a reference to the manipulation of a simple hand puppet made from a sock, originally referred to a false identity assumed by a member of an Internet community who spoke to, or about, themselves while pretending to be another person. The term now includes other misleading uses of online identities, such as those created to praise, defend or support a person or organization, or to circumvent a suspension or ban from a website. A significant difference between the use of a pseudonym and the creation of a sockpuppet is that the sockpuppet poses as an independent third-party unaffiliated with the puppeteer [Source: Wikipedia]

Cyberstalking: the use of the Internet or other electronic means to stalk or harass an individual, a group, or an organization. It may include false accusations, defamation, slander and libel. It may also include monitoring, identity theft, threats, vandalism, solicitation for sex, or gathering information that may be used to threaten or harass.  [Source: Wikipedia]

Mobbing means bullying of an individual by a group in any context, such as a family, friends, peers, school, workplace, neighborhood, community, or online.

When it occurs as emotional abuse in the workplace, such as “ganging up” by co-workers, subordinates or superiors, to force someone out of the workplace through rumor, innuendo, intimidation, humiliation, discrediting, and isolation, it is also referred to as malicious, nonsexual, nonracial, general harassment. [Source: Wikipedia]

Gang stalking is organized harassment at it’s best. It the targeting of an individual [by a group] for revenge, jealousy, sport, or to keep them quiet, etc. It’s a psychological attack that can completely destroy a persons life, while leaving little or no evidence to incriminate the perpetrators. [Source: Urban Dictionary]

According to a U.S. Department of Justice special report a significant number of people reporting stalking incidents claim that they had been stalked by more than one person, with 18.2% reporting that they were stalked by two people, 13.1% reporting that they had been stalked by three or more [Source: Wikipedia]

Doxing (from dox, abbreviation of documents) is the Internet-based practice of researching and broadcasting personally identifiable information about an individual. The methods employed in pursuit of this information include searching publicly available databases and social media websites (like Facebook), hacking, and social engineering. It is closely related to cyber-vigilantism, hacktivism and cyber-bullying. [Source: Wikipedia]

Doxing is the process of retrieving, hacking and publishing other people’s information such as names, addresses, phone numbers and credit card details. Doxing may be targeted toward a specific person or an organization. There are many reasons for doxing, but one of the most popular is coercion. [Source: Techopedia]

Doxing made the news this week with an online troll publishing the name of a gang rape victim who was the subject of a controversial article in Rolling Stone. There was a good piece on it on NPR a couple of days ago:

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Some have tried to argue that simply publishing the name of someone doesn’t constitute doxing; however, publishing where someone lives and personal photographs definitely counts. There’s a good overview of some of the legal issues here:

Doxing“…can range from revealing the name of a person who uses an alias, but more commonly refers to revealing whatever the person doing it feels will harm, shame, humiliate, endanger, or put the person at some risk.   Doxing is a form of stalking or threatening and is illegal under many different federal and state laws, depending on the exact facts and location…

Think about only using a name, it is probably a violation of law, but maybe not.  However, once you go beyond the name IT IS ALWAYS A VIOLATION OF LAW.

None of the above practices are acceptable in civilized society, or necessary to promote an arts festival or raise funds for a charity.

anger trolllSo why is there so much trolling going on in the Burner world? What compels people to use sockpuppets and doxing to express their viewpoints about Burning Man? Is this really the way the Burning Man Project aims to make the world a better place? Isn’t it sufficient for them to employ a full-time Minister of Propaganda, and a large Communications team trained in the art of “spin”?

Trolling and other forms of cyber-bullying are frequently encountered by advocates of truth in the alternative media. One recent victim was the Bay Area’s Abby Martin, who went from founding citizen journalist group Media Roots and covering the Occupy Oakland protests from the front lines, to hosting her own show Breaking The Set on RT. She says:

it’s not just countries that are responsible for contributing to the growth of toxic online dialog…it’s corporations too…BP used PR firm Ogilvy and Mather to hire online trolls to attack and bully individuals who complained about the company‘s response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. And we’d have to be naive to think that most multinational corporations aren’t copying this exact technique of controlling their online image…that’s just 21st century PR“.

Her brief segment on this topic is well worth a look:

The social engineers who seek to control populations through electronic, rhetorical, and sometimes even chemical means don’t like people who shine the light of truth on shady activities. Since they can’t argue directly against facts and evidence, they resort to character assassination and wordplay to sow confusion and discord.

Researcher Jan Irvin from Gnostic Media has shared a useful guide he’s compiled to help identify when someone in an Internet discussion is not being genuine, and instead is trying to distract readers from a topic they don’t like, or question their credibility. Jan has done a lot of research into the military/intelligence links behind the Psychedelic movement that emerged in the late 1950’s then changed the world forever in the Sixties. As a result, he cops an incredible amount of trolling. He also educates people in the Trivium: Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric.

trivium_front_tile-960x3001

Jan has used his experience to compile a handy guide for all of us in how to spot trolls and other cyber-bullies.


[Update 12/16/14 11:30am This is an update of an earlier draft of this material]

Re-blogged from Gnostic Media

How to Identify and Remove Facebook Trolls, Gang-Stalkers, and Disinfo Agents

By Jan Irvin

Dec. 16, 2014

www.gnosticmedia.com

Have you ever had someone post on a thread you created who is mean to everyone trying to have a conversation – name calling and ridiculing, or just plain lying about the information? Have you ever had someone who contacts everyone on your friends list and tells them lies about you? Have you ever had someone who just about every time you post a new thread they’re the first to reply – posting nonsense, or attacks? Have you ever had someone make repeated comments to a thread while never seeming to stay on topic?

If you can say yes to any of the above questions, you’re likely a victim of paid online cyber-bullying: trolls, gang-stalkers, and counterintelligence agents.

After going through many hundreds of friend requests each month on Facebook I’ve learned to spot many, not all, but many paid cyber-trolls, gang-stalkers, and counterintelligence agents. I’ve decided to share this information the public to help you identify them as well, if you too are experiencing the problem. Even if you aren’t, the tools here will be useful to you and your friends to help identify these potentially unsavory types in the future.

The more Facebook and internet users learn to identify paid trolls, gang-stalkers and counterintelligence agents, the less we all have to deal with them.

By exposing and sharing their methods we make them impotent and ineffectual.

In this day and age of high technology it’s important that we all realize the reality of, and learn to identify, expose, and stop, cyber-bullies, trolls and counterintelligence – for many reasons:

Trolls, cyber-bullies and counterintelligence agents waste billions of your tax dollars to intentionally mislead you on serious public matters.

Trolls, cyber-bullies and counterintelligence agents waste huge amounts of your time in productivity, etc.

Learning to identify trolls, cyber-bullies and counterintelligence agents, and expose them, we lessen their cost and impact on the rest of society.

By exposing trolls, cyber-bullies, and counterintelligence agents, we also expose their misinformation and attempts to mislead us where correct information for proper decision making is of great importance to everyone.

While this article focuses specifically with Facebook, many of the tools provided here will be relevant across the internet: on Youtube, Twitter, internet forums, news feeds, etc. Please share this article with everyone you know so that we may all benefit and prosper by the identification, and especially removal, of these counterintelligence infestations.

At the end of this short article I provide additional study materials on trolls, gang-stalkers, and counterintelligence agents, et al., for your continued study.

Psychology:

The basic psychology of the paid internet troll, gang-stalker and counterintelligence agent is essentially of someone who gets off on kicking over sand castles and trying to destroy what others build. They’re psychopaths and pseudo-psychopaths (-someone under the influence of a psychopath), and, surprisingly, they’re quite often paid for misleading others online.

Most trolls and counterintelligence agents seemingly have no talent or ability of their own, or at least they haven’t fostered any – but lying, cheating, and misleading – and various other forms of sophism. Often because of their lack of talent or ability, as with most socialists, they take jobs with the government. They live off the backs of others who create and do hard work. But their psychopathology leads them to think that they’re doing good by manipulating, rather than uplifting, “the herd,” hence trolls and counterintelligence types are more often than not paid by governments. Some also work for the “private sector”.

Identification:

There are many ways to help you identify trolls and other government employee unsavory types:

1) When you receive a friend request check to see if the person has a history. Did they create the account yesterday, or in 2007? Or someplace in between? You may check this on the right side of their user profile. If their account was created very recently, it’s likely a troll. If it was created this year and also has the below signs, you’re almost assuredly dealing with a paid troll.

Note: Often you may have to first approve the friend request before you may see the details of their account. Afterword, if you identify them as a troll/counterintelligence type, you may immediately “unfriend” them.

2) Do you have any friends that you personally know who also have them as friends? Check the mutual friends on the left.

3) Many trolls and cyber-agents will use loads of those cheesy, thoughtless, cliché images – the ones with all those cheesy New Age, Vegan, environmental (and many other) quotes and all.

4) Most trolls and cyber-agents will NOT have any personal or family photos. If they do have what appear to be family photos, check their upload history (they should not be all in one day, etc) and make sure that they show consistent places, dates, events, people, etc., and that places, dates, events and people match up.

5) On their walls, trolls, gang-stalkers, cyber-counter intelligence agents typically don’t write anything on their posts. They’ll very often post only the above mentioned cheesy images with no words or comments. If they do comment, it’s very brief – only a few words. If you see long, thoughtful, original, well thought out comments, it’s likely not a troll or counterintelligence agent, at least not a low level one anyway.

6) Many trolls and gang-stalkers friend each other and their friends will often have similar type profiles.

7) Sometimes looking for Hermetic, Kabbalistic, Crowleyan, and other forms of occult and Masonic type symbolism helps to spot trolls and counterintelligence agents. This is because “intelligence” is all about the “occult,” so these types often show off their knowledge of the occult like some high school girl seeking provisional self-esteem. Such symbolism is often in the top banner on their wall, or in their avatar.  Sometimes the symbolism may be associated to specific geographical regions and countries. For example: an Israeli counterintelligence agent might use an occulted Star of David.

Troll, gang-stalker, and counterintelligence agent interactive online tactics include:

1) Being the first poster on a new thread, and will typically post up irrelevant information, or snide comments to prevent others from commenting or following the thread.

2) Comments will typically avoid any data or material actually presented – at all costs. Trolls, cyber-bullies, and counterintel agents will nearly never say anything intelligent about the material itself. Like telemarketers, it’s not about original thought, so they stick to a script – what I call “Sticking with Stupid”. Their script says name call, ridicule, lie, etc, but it doesn’t say consider any fact or comment you’ve raised rationally. These types are usually under-educated, often high school drop outs or university students (or at least seem so). Most of them have socialist leanings. But be careful. We’ve seen some who were Harvard educated.

3) Scripted comments will typically attack the presenter with name calling, ridicule, and other fallacious attacks, or just any bit of irrelevant nonsense. Often they seem incapable of even the slightest bit of critical thinking.

Learning and memorizing the trivium method and the logical fallacies is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family. See www.triviumeducation.com.

4) Many will try to befriend you, and then when you present information they’ll try to distort what it actually says, or try to make you feel stupid for thinking it – even if the facts are right in front of you.

5) Gang-stalkers and cyber-bully agents will often harass other members on your friends-list. They may send your friends direct messages, name call at them, talk shit behind your back – such as try to win them over with some made-up lie that they’re spreading about you or your work.

6) Trolls and counterintelligence agents will often try to keep you in the conversation, pretending that they really care. The more posts, the more they get paid.

Be careful also not to confuse a useful/willful idiot with a real troll / counter intel agent. We’ve all been willful idiots at one point or another. A willful idiot, usually within 15 to 20 posts, will often begin to consider your information rationally and will actually study it and comment on it – constructively. Look for cognitive dissonance before giving them the ultimate ban.

7) Counterintelligence agents, trolls, and cyber-bullies, love to hide amongst those who’re misinformed so that they can continue to mislead them – and it gives them a cover – hiding in plain sight. Again, it’s a psychopathology and provisional self-esteem issue, their own and the victim’s, which they love to play on.

What can you do?

1) The first line of defense is checking each friend request over carefully before you add them. If you find too many of the above signs, or sometimes even one of them, it’s likely that the person is a paid troll / gang-stalker / or counterintelligence type.

2) Spread this article! The more who know this information, the less we’ll all have to deal with it.

3) If you’ve mistakenly added someone whom you think is a troll or counter intel / disinfo agent, you may test them. When you bring up information do they avoid the topic? Do they name call or ridicule you or your friends? Do they harass you and other members? Are they always the first to post or comment?

4) Create categories of friends. Name one as trolls / disinfo types and then tag people in that category that you’re unsure of. You can add them to that list as you test them, or just ban them all together.

5) Let others know that you think someone is a troll or counterintelligence agent. But be careful. Sometimes you may just let your other friends know privately to block someone you’ve identified as a troll. But if you post up the troll’s personal information, they can come back at you.

6) Study the trivium method. By learning the trivium method you can learn the tricks that are being used against you and protect you and yours. My website www.triviumeducation.com is dedicated to providing this information for free, but your donations are encouraged!

7) Get informed. Learn as much as you can about the reality of these disinformation types – often paid for by your and other governments.

 


Burners.Me:

Readers should familiarize themselves with common Logical Fallacies. YourLogicalFallacyIs has created this handy infographic, which you can download from their site in poster size.

LogicalFallaciesInfographic_A2

Relativelyinteresting.com have a number of useful explanatory videos.

China employs 500,000 trolls in its “50 Cent Brigade”.

Thanks to Gnostic Media for these links:

The Intelligence playbook for these techniques was exposed by Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald in The Intercept.

As Abby Martin explained above, the COINTELPRO techniques used by government agents to discredit dissidents, are now being used by corporations as “21st Century PR”.

This guide to Gang Stalking can help you identify groups of trolls working together. This is now starting to happen to people off-line as well as on-line.

Internet Trolls Are Narcissists, Psychopaths, and Sadists: Trolls will lie, exaggerate, and offend to get a response. Published on September 18, 2014 by Jennifer Golbeck, Ph.D. in Your Online Secrets:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-online-secrets/201409/internet-trolls-are-narcissists-psychopaths-and-sadists

There is also some useful information in The Gentleman’s Guide To Forum Spies.


The Gentleman’s Guide To Forum Spies

re-blogged from Pastebin:

1. COINTELPRO Techniques for dilution, misdirection and control of a internet forum
2. Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation
3. Eight Traits of the Disinformationalist
4. How to Spot a Spy (Cointelpro Agent)
5. Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression
______________________________________________________________________________________
COINTELPRO Techniques for dilution, misdirection and control of a internet forum..

There are several techniques for the control and manipulation of a internet forum no matter what, or who is on it. We will go over each technique and demonstrate that only a minimal number of operatives can be used to eventually and effectively gain a control of a ‘uncontrolled forum.’

Technique #1 – ‘FORUM SLIDING’

If a very sensitive posting of a critical nature has been posted on a forum – it can be quickly removed from public view by ‘forum sliding.’ In this technique a number of unrelated posts are quietly prepositioned on the forum and allowed to ‘age.’ Each of these misdirectional forum postings can then be called upon at will to trigger a ‘forum slide.’ The second requirement is that several fake accounts exist, which can be called upon, to ensure that this technique is not exposed to the public. To trigger a ‘forum slide’ and ‘flush’ the critical post out of public view it is simply a matter of logging into each account both real and fake and then ‘replying’ to prepositined postings with a simple 1 or 2 line comment. This brings the unrelated postings to the top of the forum list, and the critical posting ‘slides’ down the front page, and quickly out of public view. Although it is difficult or impossible to censor the posting it is now lost in a sea of unrelated and unuseful postings. By this means it becomes effective to keep the readers of the forum reading unrelated and non-issue items.

Technique #2 – ‘CONSENSUS CRACKING’

A second highly effective technique (which you can see in operation all the time at www.abovetopsecret.com) is ‘consensus cracking.’ To develop a consensus crack, the following technique is used. Under the guise of a fake account a posting which looks legitimate and is towards the truth is made – but the critical point is that it has a VERY WEAK PREMISE without substantive proof to back the posting. Once this is done then under alternative fake accounts a very strong position in your favour is slowly introduced over the life of the posting. It is IMPERATIVE that both sides are initially presented, so the uninformed reader cannot determine which side is the truth. As postings and replies are made the stronger ‘evidence’ or disinformation in your favour is slowly ‘seeded in.’ Thus the uninformed reader will most like develop the same position as you, and if their position is against you their opposition to your posting will be most likely dropped. However in some cases where the forum members are highly educated and can counter your disinformation with real facts and linked postings, you can then ‘abort’ the consensus cracking by initiating a ‘forum slide.’

Technique #3 – ‘TOPIC DILUTION’

Topic dilution is not only effective in forum sliding it is also very useful in keeping the forum readers on unrelated and non-productive issues. This is a critical and useful technique to cause a ‘RESOURCE BURN.’ By implementing continual and non-related postings that distract and disrupt (trolling ) the forum readers they are more effectively stopped from anything of any real productivity. If the intensity of gradual dilution is intense enough, the readers will effectively stop researching and simply slip into a ‘gossip mode.’ In this state they can be more easily misdirected away from facts towards uninformed conjecture and opinion. The less informed they are the more effective and easy it becomes to control the entire group in the direction that you would desire the group to go in. It must be stressed that a proper assessment of the psychological capabilities and levels of education is first determined of the group to determine at what level to ‘drive in the wedge.’ By being too far off topic too quickly it may trigger censorship by a forum moderator.

Technique #4 – ‘INFORMATION COLLECTION’

Information collection is also a very effective method to determine the psychological level of the forum members, and to gather intelligence that can be used against them. In this technique in a light and positive environment a ‘show you mine so me yours’ posting is initiated. From the number of replies and the answers that are provided much statistical information can be gathered. An example is to post your ‘favourite weapon’ and then encourage other members of the forum to showcase what they have. In this matter it can be determined by reverse proration what percentage of the forum community owns a firearm, and or a illegal weapon. This same method can be used by posing as one of the form members and posting your favourite ‘technique of operation.’ From the replies various methods that the group utilizes can be studied and effective methods developed to stop them from their activities.

Technique #5 – ‘ANGER TROLLING’

Statistically, there is always a percentage of the forum posters who are more inclined to violence. In order to determine who these individuals are, it is a requirement to present a image to the forum to deliberately incite a strong psychological reaction. From this the most violent in the group can be effectively singled out for reverse IP location and possibly local enforcement tracking. To accomplish this only requires posting a link to a video depicting a local police officer massively abusing his power against a very innocent individual. Statistically of the million or so police officers in America there is always one or two being caught abusing there powers and the taping of the activity can be then used for intelligence gathering purposes – without the requirement to ‘stage’ a fake abuse video. This method is extremely effective, and the more so the more abusive the video can be made to look. Sometimes it is useful to ‘lead’ the forum by replying to your own posting with your own statement of violent intent, and that you ‘do not care what the authorities think!!’ inflammation. By doing this and showing no fear it may be more effective in getting the more silent and self-disciplined violent intent members of the forum to slip and post their real intentions. This can be used later in a court of law during prosecution.

Technique #6 – ‘GAINING FULL CONTROL’

It is important to also be harvesting and continually maneuvering for a forum moderator position. Once this position is obtained, the forum can then be effectively and quietly controlled by deleting unfavourable postings – and one can eventually steer the forum into complete failure and lack of interest by the general public. This is the ‘ultimate victory’ as the forum is no longer participated with by the general public and no longer useful in maintaining their freedoms. Depending on the level of control you can obtain, you can deliberately steer a forum into defeat by censoring postings, deleting memberships, flooding, and or accidentally taking the forum offline. By this method the forum can be quickly killed. However it is not always in the interest to kill a forum as it can be converted into a ‘honey pot’ gathering center to collect and misdirect newcomers and from this point be completely used for your control for your agenda purposes.

CONCLUSION

Remember these techniques are only effective if the forum participants DO NOT KNOW ABOUT THEM. Once they are aware of these techniques the operation can completely fail, and the forum can become uncontrolled. At this point other avenues must be considered such as initiating a false legal precidence to simply have the forum shut down and taken offline. This is not desirable as it then leaves the enforcement agencies unable to track the percentage of those in the population who always resist attempts for control against them. Many other techniques can be utilized and developed by the individual and as you develop further techniques of infiltration and control it is imperative to share then with HQ.
______________________________________________________________________________________

Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation

Note: The first rule and last five (or six, depending on situation) rules are generally not directly within the ability of the traditional disinfo artist to apply. These rules are generally used more directly by those at the leadership, key players, or planning level of the criminal conspiracy or conspiracy to cover up.

1. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Regardless of what you know, don’t discuss it — especially if you are a public figure, news anchor, etc. If it’s not reported, it didn’t happen, and you never have to deal with the issues.

2. Become incredulous and indignant. Avoid discussing key issues and instead focus on side issues which can be used show the topic as being critical of some otherwise sacrosanct group or theme. This is also known as the ‘How dare you!’ gambit.

3. Create rumor mongers. Avoid discussing issues by describing all charges, regardless of venue or evidence, as mere rumors and wild accusations. Other derogatory terms mutually exclusive of truth may work as well. This method which works especially well with a silent press, because the only way the public can learn of the facts are through such ‘arguable rumors’. If you can associate the material with the Internet, use this fact to certify it a ‘wild rumor’ from a ‘bunch of kids on the Internet’ which can have no basis in fact.

4. Use a straw man. Find or create a seeming element of your opponent’s argument which you can easily knock down to make yourself look good and the opponent to look bad. Either make up an issue you may safely imply exists based on your interpretation of the opponent/opponent arguments/situation, or select the weakest aspect of the weakest charges. Amplify their significance and destroy them in a way which appears to debunk all the charges, real and fabricated alike, while actually avoiding discussion of the real issues.

5. Sidetrack opponents with name calling and ridicule. This is also known as the primary ‘attack the messenger’ ploy, though other methods qualify as variants of that approach. Associate opponents with unpopular titles such as ‘kooks’, ‘mentally ill’, ‘right-wing’, ‘liberal’, ‘left-wing’, ‘terrorists’, ‘conspiracy buffs’, ‘radicals’, ‘militia’, ‘racists’, ‘religious fanatics’, ‘sexual deviates’, and so forth. This makes others shrink from support out of fear of gaining the same label, and you avoid dealing with issues.

6. Hit and Run. In any public forum, make a brief attack of your opponent or the opponent position and then scamper off before an answer can be fielded, or simply ignore any answer. This works extremely well in Internet and letters-to-the-editor environments where a steady stream of new identities can be called upon without having to explain criticism, reasoning — simply make an accusation or other attack, never discussing issues, and never answering any subsequent response, for that would dignify the opponent’s viewpoint.

7. Question motives. Twist or amplify any fact which could be taken to imply that the opponent operates out of a hidden personal agenda or other bias. This avoids discussing issues and forces the accuser on the defensive.

8. Invoke authority. Claim for yourself or associate yourself with authority and present your argument with enough ‘jargon’ and ‘minutia’ to illustrate you are ‘one who knows’, and simply say it isn’t so without discussing issues or demonstrating concretely why or citing sources.

9. Play Dumb. No matter what evidence or logical argument is offered, avoid discussing issues except with denials they have any credibility, make any sense, provide any proof, contain or make a point, have logic, or support a conclusion. Mix well for maximum effect.

10. Associate opponent charges with old news. A derivative of the straw man — usually, in any large-scale matter of high visibility, someone will make charges early on which can be or were already easily dealt with – a kind of investment for the future should the matter not be so easily contained.) Where it can be foreseen, have your own side raise a straw man issue and have it dealt with early on as part of the initial contingency plans. Subsequent charges, regardless of validity or new ground uncovered, can usually then be associated with the original charge and dismissed as simply being a rehash without need to address current issues — so much the better where the opponent is or was involved with the original source.

11. Establish and rely upon fall-back positions. Using a minor matter or element of the facts, take the ‘high road’ and ‘confess’ with candor that some innocent mistake, in hindsight, was made — but that opponents have seized on the opportunity to blow it all out of proportion and imply greater criminalities which, ‘just isn’t so.’ Others can reinforce this on your behalf, later, and even publicly ‘call for an end to the nonsense’ because you have already ‘done the right thing.’ Done properly, this can garner sympathy and respect for ‘coming clean’ and ‘owning up’ to your mistakes without addressing more serious issues.

12. Enigmas have no solution. Drawing upon the overall umbrella of events surrounding the crime and the multitude of players and events, paint the entire affair as too complex to solve. This causes those otherwise following the matter to begin to lose interest more quickly without having to address the actual issues.

13. Alice in Wonderland Logic. Avoid discussion of the issues by reasoning backwards or with an apparent deductive logic which forbears any actual material fact.

14. Demand complete solutions. Avoid the issues by requiring opponents to solve the crime at hand completely, a ploy which works best with issues qualifying for rule 10.

15. Fit the facts to alternate conclusions. This requires creative thinking unless the crime was planned with contingency conclusions in place.

16. Vanish evidence and witnesses. If it does not exist, it is not fact, and you won’t have to address the issue.

17. Change the subject. Usually in connection with one of the other ploys listed here, find a way to side-track the discussion with abrasive or controversial comments in hopes of turning attention to a new, more manageable topic. This works especially well with companions who can ‘argue’ with you over the new topic and polarize the discussion arena in order to avoid discussing more key issues.

18. Emotionalize, Antagonize, and Goad Opponents. If you can’t do anything else, chide and taunt your opponents and draw them into emotional responses which will tend to make them look foolish and overly motivated, and generally render their material somewhat less coherent. Not only will you avoid discussing the issues in the first instance, but even if their emotional response addresses the issue, you can further avoid the issues by then focusing on how ‘sensitive they are to criticism.’

19. Ignore proof presented, demand impossible proofs. This is perhaps a variant of the ‘play dumb’ rule. Regardless of what material may be presented by an opponent in public forums, claim the material irrelevant and demand proof that is impossible for the opponent to come by (it may exist, but not be at his disposal, or it may be something which is known to be safely destroyed or withheld, such as a murder weapon.) In order to completely avoid discussing issues, it may be required that you to categorically deny and be critical of media or books as valid sources, deny that witnesses are acceptable, or even deny that statements made by government or other authorities have any meaning or relevance.

20. False evidence. Whenever possible, introduce new facts or clues designed and manufactured to conflict with opponent presentations — as useful tools to neutralize sensitive issues or impede resolution. This works best when the crime was designed with contingencies for the purpose, and the facts cannot be easily separated from the fabrications.

21. Call a Grand Jury, Special Prosecutor, or other empowered investigative body. Subvert the (process) to your benefit and effectively neutralize all sensitive issues without open discussion. Once convened, the evidence and testimony are required to be secret when properly handled. For instance, if you own the prosecuting attorney, it can insure a Grand Jury hears no useful evidence and that the evidence is sealed and unavailable to subsequent investigators. Once a favorable verdict is achieved, the matter can be considered officially closed. Usually, this technique is applied to find the guilty innocent, but it can also be used to obtain charges when seeking to frame a victim.

22. Manufacture a new truth. Create your own expert(s), group(s), author(s), leader(s) or influence existing ones willing to forge new ground via scientific, investigative, or social research or testimony which concludes favorably. In this way, if you must actually address issues, you can do so authoritatively.

23. Create bigger distractions. If the above does not seem to be working to distract from sensitive issues, or to prevent unwanted media coverage of unstoppable events such as trials, create bigger news stories (or treat them as such) to distract the multitudes.

24. Silence critics. If the above methods do not prevail, consider removing opponents from circulation by some definitive solution so that the need to address issues is removed entirely. This can be by their death, arrest and detention, blackmail or destruction of their character by release of blackmail information, or merely by destroying them financially, emotionally, or severely damaging their health.

25. Vanish. If you are a key holder of secrets or otherwise overly illuminated and you think the heat is getting too hot, to avoid the issues, vacate the kitchen.
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Eight Traits of the Disinformationalist

1) Avoidance. They never actually discuss issues head-on or provide constructive input, generally avoiding citation of references or credentials. Rather, they merely imply this, that, and the other. Virtually everything about their presentation implies their authority and expert knowledge in the matter without any further justification for credibility.

2) Selectivity. They tend to pick and choose opponents carefully, either applying the hit-and-run approach against mere commentators supportive of opponents, or focusing heavier attacks on key opponents who are known to directly address issues. Should a commentator become argumentative with any success, the focus will shift to include the commentator as well.

3) Coincidental. They tend to surface suddenly and somewhat coincidentally with a new controversial topic with no clear prior record of participation in general discussions in the particular public arena involved. They likewise tend to vanish once the topic is no longer of general concern. They were likely directed or elected to be there for a reason, and vanish with the reason.

4) Teamwork. They tend to operate in self-congratulatory and complementary packs or teams. Of course, this can happen naturally in any public forum, but there will likely be an ongoing pattern of frequent exchanges of this sort where professionals are involved. Sometimes one of the players will infiltrate the opponent camp to become a source for straw man or other tactics designed to dilute opponent presentation strength.

5) Anti-conspiratorial. They almost always have disdain for ‘conspiracy theorists’ and, usually, for those who in any way believe JFK was not killed by LHO. Ask yourself why, if they hold such disdain for conspiracy theorists, do they focus on defending a single topic discussed in a NG focusing on conspiracies? One might think they would either be trying to make fools of everyone on every topic, or simply ignore the group they hold in such disdain.Or, one might more rightly conclude they have an ulterior motive for their actions in going out of their way to focus as they do.

6) Artificial Emotions. An odd kind of ‘artificial’ emotionalism and an unusually thick skin — an ability to persevere and persist even in the face of overwhelming criticism and unacceptance. This likely stems from intelligence community training that, no matter how condemning the evidence, deny everything, and never become emotionally involved or reactive. The net result for a disinfo artist is that emotions can seem artificial.

Most people, if responding in anger, for instance, will express their animosity throughout their rebuttal. But disinfo types usually have trouble maintaining the ‘image’ and are hot and cold with respect to pretended emotions and their usually more calm or unemotional communications style. It’s just a job, and they often seem unable to ‘act their role in character’ as well in a communications medium as they might be able in a real face-to-face conversation/confrontation. You might have outright rage and indignation one moment, ho-hum the next, and more anger later — an emotional yo-yo.

With respect to being thick-skinned, no amount of criticism will deter them from doing their job, and they will generally continue their old disinfo patterns without any adjustments to criticisms of how obvious it is that they play that game — where a more rational individual who truly cares what others think might seek to improve their communications style, substance, and so forth, or simply give up.

7) Inconsistent. There is also a tendency to make mistakes which betray their true self/motives. This may stem from not really knowing their topic, or it may be somewhat ‘freudian’, so to speak, in that perhaps they really root for the side of truth deep within.

I have noted that often, they will simply cite contradictory information which neutralizes itself and the author. For instance, one such player claimed to be a Navy pilot, but blamed his poor communicating skills (spelling, grammar, incoherent style) on having only a grade-school education. I’m not aware of too many Navy pilots who don’t have a college degree. Another claimed no knowledge of a particular topic/situation but later claimed first-hand knowledge of it.

8) Time Constant. Recently discovered, with respect to News Groups, is the response time factor. There are three ways this can be seen to work, especially when the government or other empowered player is involved in a cover up operation:

a) ANY NG posting by a targeted proponent for truth can result in an IMMEDIATE response. The government and other empowered players can afford to pay people to sit there and watch for an opportunity to do some damage. SINCE DISINFO IN A NG ONLY WORKS IF THE READER SEES IT – FAST RESPONSE IS CALLED FOR, or the visitor may be swayed towards truth.

b) When dealing in more direct ways with a disinformationalist, such as email, DELAY IS CALLED FOR – there will usually be a minimum of a 48-72 hour delay. This allows a sit-down team discussion on response strategy for best effect, and even enough time to ‘get permission’ or instruction from a formal chain of command.

c) In the NG example 1) above, it will often ALSO be seen that bigger guns are drawn and fired after the same 48-72 hours delay – the team approach in play. This is especially true when the targeted truth seeker or their comments are considered more important with respect to potential to reveal truth. Thus, a serious truth sayer will be attacked twice for the same sin.

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How to Spot a Spy (Cointelpro Agent)

One way to neutralize a potential activist is to get them to be in a group that does all the wrong things. Why?

1) The message doesn’t get out.
2) A lot of time is wasted
3) The activist is frustrated and discouraged
4) Nothing good is accomplished.

FBI and Police Informers and Infiltrators will infest any group and they have phoney activist organizations established.

Their purpose is to prevent any real movement for justice or eco-peace from developing in this country.

Agents come in small, medium or large. They can be of any ethnic background. They can be male or female.

The actual size of the group or movement being infiltrated is irrelevant. It is the potential the movement has for becoming large which brings on the spies and saboteurs.

This booklet lists tactics agents use to slow things down, foul things up, destroy the movement and keep tabs on activists.

It is the agent’s job to keep the activist from quitting such a group, thus keeping him/her under control.

In some situations, to get control, the agent will tell the activist:

“You’re dividing the movement.”

[Here, I have added the psychological reasons as to WHY this maneuver works to control people]

This invites guilty feelings. Many people can be controlled by guilt. The agents begin relationships with activists behind a well-developed mask of “dedication to the cause.” Because of their often declared dedication, (and actions designed to prove this), when they criticize the activist, he or she – being truly dedicated to the movement – becomes convinced that somehow, any issues are THEIR fault. This is because a truly dedicated person tends to believe that everyone has a conscience and that nobody would dissimulate and lie like that “on purpose.” It’s amazing how far agents can go in manipulating an activist because the activist will constantly make excuses for the agent who regularly declares their dedication to the cause. Even if they do, occasionally, suspect the agent, they will pull the wool over their own eyes by rationalizing: “they did that unconsciously… they didn’t really mean it… I can help them by being forgiving and accepting ” and so on and so forth.

The agent will tell the activist:

“You’re a leader!”

This is designed to enhance the activist’s self-esteem. His or her narcissistic admiration of his/her own activist/altruistic intentions increase as he or she identifies with and consciously admires the altruistic declarations of the agent which are deliberately set up to mirror those of the activist.

This is “malignant pseudoidentification.” It is the process by which the agent consciously imitates or simulates a certain behavior to foster the activist’s identification with him/her, thus increasing the activist’s vulnerability to exploitation. The agent will simulate the more subtle self-concepts of the activist.

Activists and those who have altruistic self-concepts are most vulnerable to malignant pseudoidentification especially during work with the agent when the interaction includes matter relating to their competency, autonomy, or knowledge.

The goal of the agent is to increase the activist’s general empathy for the agent through pseudo-identification with the activist’s self-concepts.

The most common example of this is the agent who will compliment the activist for his competency or knowledge or value to the movement. On a more subtle level, the agent will simulate affects and mannerisms of the activist which promotes identification via mirroring and feelings of “twinship”. It is not unheard of for activists, enamored by the perceived helpfulness and competence of a good agent, to find themselves considering ethical violations and perhaps, even illegal behavior, in the service of their agent/handler.

The activist’s “felt quality of perfection” [self-concept] is enhanced, and a strong empathic bond is developed with the agent through his/her imitation and simulation of the victim’s own narcissistic investments. [self-concepts] That is, if the activist knows, deep inside, their own dedication to the cause, they will project that onto the agent who is “mirroring” them.

The activist will be deluded into thinking that the agent shares this feeling of identification and bonding. In an activist/social movement setting, the adversarial roles that activists naturally play vis a vis the establishment/government, fosters ongoing processes of intrapsychic splitting so that “twinship alliances” between activist and agent may render whole sectors or reality testing unavailable to the activist. They literally “lose touch with reality.”

Activists who deny their own narcissistic investments [do not have a good idea of their own self-concepts and that they ARE concepts] and consciously perceive themselves (accurately, as it were) to be “helpers” endowed with a special amount of altruism are exceedingly vulnerable to the affective (emotional) simulation of the accomplished agent.

Empathy is fostered in the activist through the expression of quite visible affects. The presentation of tearfulness, sadness, longing, fear, remorse, and guilt, may induce in the helper-oriented activist a strong sense of compassion, while unconsciously enhancing the activist’s narcissistic investment in self as the embodiment of goodness.

The agent’s expresssion of such simulated affects may be quite compelling to the observer and difficult to distinguish from deep emotion.

It can usually be identified by two events, however:

First, the activist who has analyzed his/her own narcissistic roots and is aware of his/her own potential for being “emotionally hooked,” will be able to remain cool and unaffected by such emotional outpourings by the agent.

As a result of this unaffected, cool, attitude, the Second event will occur: The agent will recompensate much too quickly following such an affective expression leaving the activist with the impression that “the play has ended, the curtain has fallen,” and the imposture, for the moment, has finished. The agent will then move quickly to another activist/victim.

The fact is, the movement doesn’t need leaders, it needs MOVERS. “Follow the leader” is a waste of time.

A good agent will want to meet as often as possible. He or she will talk a lot and say little. One can expect an onslaught of long, unresolved discussions.

Some agents take on a pushy, arrogant, or defensive manner:

1) To disrupt the agenda
2) To side-track the discussion
3) To interrupt repeatedly
4) To feign ignorance
5) To make an unfounded accusation against a person.

Calling someone a racist, for example. This tactic is used to discredit a person in the eyes of all other group members.

Saboteurs

Some saboteurs pretend to be activists. She or he will ….

1) Write encyclopedic flyers (in the present day, websites)
2) Print flyers in English only.
3) Have demonstrations in places where no one cares.
4) Solicit funding from rich people instead of grass roots support
5) Display banners with too many words that are confusing.
6) Confuse issues.
7) Make the wrong demands.
Cool Compromise the goal.
9) Have endless discussions that waste everyone’s time. The agent may accompany the endless discussions with drinking, pot smoking or other amusement to slow down the activist’s work.

Provocateurs

1) Want to establish “leaders” to set them up for a fall in order to stop the movement.
2) Suggest doing foolish, illegal things to get the activists in trouble.
3) Encourage militancy.
4) Want to taunt the authorities.
5) Attempt to make the activist compromise their values.
6) Attempt to instigate violence. Activisim ought to always be non-violent.
7) Attempt to provoke revolt among people who are ill-prepared to deal with the reaction of the authorities to such violence.

Informants

1) Want everyone to sign up and sign in and sign everything.
2) Ask a lot of questions (gathering data).
3) Want to know what events the activist is planning to attend.
4) Attempt to make the activist defend him or herself to identify his or her beliefs, goals, and level of committment.

Recruiting

Legitimate activists do not subject people to hours of persuasive dialog. Their actions, beliefs, and goals speak for themselves.

Groups that DO recruit are missionaries, military, and fake political parties or movements set up by agents.

Surveillance

ALWAYS assume that you are under surveillance.

At this point, if you are NOT under surveillance, you are not a very good activist!

Scare Tactics

They use them.

Such tactics include slander, defamation, threats, getting close to disaffected or minimally committed fellow activists to persuade them (via psychological tactics described above) to turn against the movement and give false testimony against their former compatriots. They will plant illegal substances on the activist and set up an arrest; they will plant false information and set up “exposure,” they will send incriminating letters [emails] in the name of the activist; and more; they will do whatever society will allow.

This booklet in no way covers all the ways agents use to sabotage the lives of sincere an dedicated activists.

If an agent is “exposed,” he or she will be transferred or replaced.

COINTELPRO is still in operation today under a different code name. It is no longer placed on paper where it can be discovered through the freedom of information act.

The FBI counterintelligence program’s stated purpose: To expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, and otherwise neutralize individuals who the FBI categorize as opposed to the National Interests. “National Security” means the FBI’s security from the people ever finding out the vicious things it does in violation of people’s civil liberties.

______________________________________________________________________________________

Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression

Strong, credible allegations of high-level criminal activity can bring down a government. When the government lacks an effective, fact-based defense, other techniques must be employed. The success of these techniques depends heavily upon a cooperative, compliant press and a mere token opposition party.

1. Dummy up. If it’s not reported, if it’s not news, it didn’t happen.

2. Wax indignant. This is also known as the “How dare you?” gambit.

3. Characterize the charges as “rumors” or, better yet, “wild rumors.” If, in spite of the news blackout, the public is still able to learn about the suspicious facts, it can only be through “rumors.” (If they tend to believe the “rumors” it must be because they are simply “paranoid” or “hysterical.”)

4. Knock down straw men. Deal only with the weakest aspects of the weakest charges. Even better, create your own straw men. Make up wild rumors (or plant false stories) and give them lead play when you appear to debunk all the charges, real and fanciful alike.

5. Call the skeptics names like “conspiracy theorist,” “nutcase,” “ranter,” “kook,” “crackpot,” and, of course, “rumor monger.” Be sure, too, to use heavily loaded verbs and adjectives when characterizing their charges and defending the “more reasonable” government and its defenders. You must then carefully avoid fair and open debate with any of the people you have thus maligned. For insurance, set up your own “skeptics” to shoot down.

6. Impugn motives. Attempt to marginalize the critics by suggesting strongly that they are not really interested in the truth but are simply pursuing a partisan political agenda or are out to make money (compared to over-compensated adherents to the government line who, presumably, are not).

7. Invoke authority. Here the controlled press and the sham opposition can be very useful.

8. Dismiss the charges as “old news.”

9. Come half-clean. This is also known as “confession and avoidance” or “taking the limited hangout route.” This way, you create the impression of candor and honesty while you admit only to relatively harmless, less-than-criminal “mistakes.” This stratagem often requires the embrace of a fall-back position quite different from the one originally taken. With effective damage control, the fall-back position need only be peddled by stooge skeptics to carefully limited markets.

10. Characterize the crimes as impossibly complex and the truth as ultimately unknowable.

11. Reason backward, using the deductive method with a vengeance. With thoroughly rigorous deduction, troublesome evidence is irrelevant. E.g. We have a completely free press. If evidence exists that the Vince Foster “suicide” note was forged, they would have reported it. They haven’t reported it so there is no such evidence. Another variation on this theme involves the likelihood of a conspiracy leaker and a press who would report the leak.

12. Require the skeptics to solve the crime completely. E.g. If Foster was murdered, who did it and why?

13. Change the subject. This technique includes creating and/or publicizing distractions.

14. Lightly report incriminating facts, and then make nothing of them. This is sometimes referred to as “bump and run” reporting.

15. Baldly and brazenly lie. A favorite way of doing this is to attribute the “facts” furnished the public to a plausible-sounding, but anonymous, source.

16. Expanding further on numbers 4 and 5, have your own stooges “expose” scandals and champion popular causes. Their job is to pre-empt real opponents and to play 99-yard football. A variation is to pay rich people for the job who will pretend to spend their own money.

17. Flood the Internet with agents. This is the answer to the question, “What could possibly motivate a person to spend hour upon hour on Internet news groups defending the government and/or the press and harassing genuine critics?” Don t the authorities have defenders enough in all the newspapers, magazines, radio, and television? One would think refusing to print critical letters and screening out serious callers or dumping them from radio talk shows would be control enough, but, obviously, it is not.

 


Burners.Me:

I hope readers have found this information interesting and useful. Understanding these techniques makes it easier to spot the trolls who are doing it for kicks, as well as the slicker corporate-backed disinformation.

authenticity simon mainwaring barbara

Bleed Pretty For Me: Al Ridenour and the Art of Bleeding

by Whatsblem the Pro

Al Ridenour resting comfortably -- Photo: Art of Bleeding

Al Ridenour resting comfortably — Photo: Art of Bleeding

As our regular readers will recall, Whatsblem the Pro attended the shenanigans at the Castro Theater in San Francisco, where Chicken John Rinaldi’s Institute of Possibility staged an unauthorized guerrilla book signing to celebrate the release of TALES OF THE SAN FRANCISCO CACOPHONY SOCIETY.

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THE ART OF BLEEDING is Al Ridenour’s brainchild, a dark and surreal parody of elementary school health and safety assemblies. The troupe’s videos and live shows blend a profound sense of innocence with a grimy, paranoiac’s awareness of the Great Darkness of existence, drizzle it with burlesque, and wrap it all up in pubescent body shame and the aesthetics of a medical appliance fetishist. Featuring characters like Abram the Safety Ape, RT the Robot Teacher, a bevy of tantalizing nurses who will apparently do ANYTHING for art’s sake, and sometimes Kim Fowley, the Art of Bleeding puts on jaw-droppingly original shows that often test one’s fortitude even as they entertain and enlighten.

Ridenour is notorious as an old-school member and sometimes leader of the Cacophony Society who, for a time, successfully transplanted the beating heart of that august body into the shambling corpse we call Los Angeles. I had the pleasure of speaking with him backstage at the Castro Theater on May 31st, 2013.

WHATSBLEM THE PRO: Who are you people, what the hell do you think you’re doing, and for God’s sake, why?

AL RIDENOUR: After the LA Cacophony Society burned down in the early 2000s, there were a number of us wandering in a daze, picking at scabs, squinting at reflective surfaces, or straining to make out messages broadcast from our dental fillings. There was much confusion. The desires were still there; we merely lost the structure for effectively processing said impulses. One of the few Cacophony events that survived outside that old, ambitious regimen of two to five monthly events, regular newsletters, planning meetings, and all that, was the Museum of Mental Decay. This was our semi-beloved/feared version of a Halloween haunted house, or as we liked to call it, “a walking tour of a diseased soul.” It was a grotesque living tableau ranging from derelicts gathered around a dumpster trying to sell passersby buckets full of human hair, a Catholic abortion clinic, a clown version of Abu Ghraib, and the like. In particular this was an event that showcased LA Cacophony’s love of horrifying theatrical spectacle. Some serious stagecraft and marvelous performances actually went into this event, and I mention it here because I feel like Cacophony’s vitality in LA was largely due to the city being a magnet for people with creative aspirations. Once those dreams were crushed by the film industry or associated fields of commercialized ‘creativity,’ Cacophony offered an outlet both for their creativity and their newfound misanthropy. Most of the members of the Art of Bleeding were involved with the Cacophony Society, and the Art of Bleeding is sort of a year-round Halloween show, with theatrical manner of presentation and preoccupation with grisly medical scenarios or repellent psychological realities.

It started with an ambulance -- Photo: AoB

It started with an ambulance — Photo: AoB

The exact form that the Art of Bleeding took was largely dictated by my hunt for a truck. In searching the Recycler for used trucks, I stumbled upon an ambulance, and pretty soon my more utilitarian notions of having a pickup that could transport lumber and thrift store furniture began to drift toward art cars. The ambulance I found seemed particularly suited for an interesting interior display with all those compartments that seemed perfect for miniature dioramas. I began imagining a sort of mobile “museum.” By the time I was recording audio tracks for the individual dioramas and designing a costume look for the museum guide, I realized my ambitions were spilling beyond anything that could be contained inside the vehicle. It just grew and grew in fitful bloody spurts, and once my wife gave me a gorilla suit as a birthday present, the idea of a gorilla as a sort of educational kiddy show host for a kid’s show dealing in distasteful subjects just captivated me.

WHATSBLEM THE PRO: When you strip away all the trappings of elementary school health and safety assemblies, what are the real lessons that Art of Bleeding might impart to us?

AL RIDENOUR: Actually, if I would ascribe any seriously satiric intent to the whole mess, the target would in fact, have to do with education. Nothing to do with safety, really, but with socialization, and the notion of inculcating values and such. Even before this thing had taken a solid or at least semi-solid gelatinous current form, I spent quite a while agonizing over the name. There is a subtle (and admittedly failed) joke there, in that bleeding – being a completely autonomous bodily function – can hardly be an art. There is no artifice, craft, or purpose involved when you cut your arm and it begins spurting. So there was a joke there about the absurdity of imposing or pretending there is purpose and intent where there really is none. That’s all very abstract, but if I think back to when I was a kid in school, there are particular experiences that might make it more tangible.

I grew up in the 1970s, when our culture at large was coming to terms with issues of cultural pluralism and philosophical relativism. Maybe our educators were particularly awkward at this cultural stage in conveying these ideas, but I remember sitting in classes where the topic might be “values clarification.” Though it was presented in gentlest and utterly pedantic manner, this relativism was really the sort of gentle grade-school trickle-down version of the screaming meaningless void that existential philosophers had confronted decades before. How could a teacher, an authority figure positioned by centuries of tradition in a classroom, an educational system, and a nested series of sociological and culture structures presume to tell me that my ethical choices are as utterly subjective as my choice of a favorite color? If we are all just merely choosing arbitrary colors, why are we not just having art time instead of sociology? Why can’t we just be painting with our favorite colors? Or why can’t we just paint the room in the teacher’s blood?

So much more than just T&A -- PHOTO: AoB

So much more than just T&A — PHOTO: AoB

To me the dishonest and oxymoronic “everyone is special” philosophy behind a show like Sesame Street is much more sinisterly insidious than anything produced in the 1950s. There is such a profound laziness in that sort of thought, and it’s particularly well exemplified by the daffy mix-and-match laziness of New Age thought. So, the Art of Bleeding is probably more of a parody of that than anything else. The principle of “True Safety Consciousness” at the core of the Art of Bleeding mindfuck is not about a cautious distinction between ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe,’ but more of a New Age epiphany and experience of the boundlessness of The One.

Anyway, It’s not apparent to everyone, at first, but there was a taste of it in the show at the Castro with the robot’s psychobabble about the disfigured Dr. Sunshine representing the female counterpart to the robot’s masculine presence as part of “psychic unity.” There’s always that sort of nonsense in our shows, and of course there’s generally a 1970s feel to the old educational films I tend to remix for the shows. So, the idea of overlaying an ineffable experience with bunch of pedantic, faux-philosophical chatter is, in that way, like presenting the raw experience of bleeding as an artistic and thoughtful craft.

But that’s all a bit heavy, so I added the nurse T&A. That’s what most people remember anyway.

For those who like their satire more old-fashioned, I’ve also gone after more antiquated value systems with stuff like my coloring book, Crayons for Jesus, and countless churchy Cacophony events associated with my nom de guerre, “Reverend Al.”

WHATSBLEM THE PRO: You’re already in Los Angeles. Why don’t you have a show on Adult Swim or something? Is Hollywood too stupid and slow to pay heed to the Art of Bleeding, or is the Art of Bleeding too canny and agile to be co-opted and cheapened by the meddling ministrations of entertainment industry fools? What does the future hold for the Art of Bleeding?

The Miracle of Birth -- PHOTO: AoB

The Miracle of Birth — PHOTO: AoB

AL RIDENOUR: I have not pursued that, namely because I am very bad at marketing. I would so much rather be making the shows than shopping them around. I’d even rather be making shows than presenting them, and for that reason there are even a few Art of Bleeding shows that have only been presented one or two times. But I’ve always been a fan of what’s presented on Adult Swim, and in particular, I’m a huge admirer of Tim and Eric. They also presented a brief run of a British show called Look Around You, which was much less franticly amusing than Tim and Eric, but brilliant, and eerily close in subject matter to what we do, i.e., a direct parody of educational films of the 1970s and early ‘80s. While we’re at it, a tip of the hat to Wonder Showzen, a PBS kid’s show parody that went to vicious extremes in its satire. Both Wonder Showzen and Look Around You I only discovered once I was well underway with the Art of Bleeding.

Lately, I’ve been moving the Art of Bleeding more toward video production than live shows, not that I ever want to give up the live shows, but it’s so nice to shoot video with the ability to get things exactly the way you want them. I worked ten years in computer animation, and have found myself finally able to go back and enjoy this kind of work again, now that I’m not getting paid. I guess I’ve just never associated making money with doing what you love. That may be a problem too.

WHATSBLEM THE PRO: How did you first get involved with Cacophony? What are your fondest memories of participating in the Society and other, similar groups? What does Cacophony mean to you?

Abram: Safety Ape -- PHOTO: AoB

Abram: Safety Ape — PHOTO: AoB

AL RIDENOUR: It’s nice to say that it began with a prank. . . on me. It’s not entirely true, but true enough in a pretty, poetic way. Basically, the Cacophony Society has always been pretty wily in defining itself. It’s kind of an absurd concept to begin with – an insider’s club for self-identified outsiders – and then there’s that paradoxical slogan, “you may already be a member.” So, I suppose I was a member all my life, but became more aware of it back in 1990 when I began seeing these flyers around town announcing that the Cacophony Society “is everywhere.” They’d been distributed by the always enigmatic M2 (one of his more permanent Cacophony aliases, though to the Burners, he would be better known as Danger Ranger). M2 was down from SF working temporarily on some consulting job (for the LA Department of Transportation or something like that) and was eager to sow the seeds of Cacophony down here after having made a “Zone Trip” or two down here with his Society comrades. A “Zone Trip” was what they called Cacophony outings up there when they involved some sort of geographic travel, as with the infamous Zone Trip #4 to the Black Rock Desert. There will always be some confusion with Hakim Bey’s concept of the Temporary Autonomous Zone because both notions arose at about the same time and both involve experience of a highly subjective alternate reality, or one of one’s own choosing.

In any case, M2’s flyers announced some semi-fictitious events, which I never attended, and I suppose it’s this sort of shifting sand involved in our foundational myth, but I never attended these. Eventually I managed to contact M2 through the post office box listed on the flyer, and we planned our first collaborative event, an infiltration of the UFO Expo West, where we posed as representatives of “the Brotherhood of Magnetic Light.” It was for that event I chose my alias of “Reverend Al,” as it fell to me to preside as spiritual Poobah over a ritual cleansing of the “saucer landing site” advertised in the literature we distributed. M2 attended to constructing the mylar/candles/dry-cleaning bag construction that served as a saucer. I screamed and ranted to confused onlookers about the coming New Age, and vodka and fireworks were involved.

Bubbles La Blanche -- PHOTO: Al Ridenour

Bubbles La Blanche — PHOTO: Al Ridenour

Many of my favorite Cacophony memories are a bit smudgy with booze and smoke and the glare of fireworks. It would be hard to recall as well as pick a favorite, but I do have exceedingly fond memories of a particular moment at a particular event involving the disinterment and planned resurrection of a mummified dead stripper, Bubbles La Blanche, buried in my backyard. The mummy I had so carefully constructed is still proudly displayed in my home, near a prize black velvet painting I discovered on a trip to Ensenada. The painting I had purchased years before the event, and it had always been one of my most cherished oddities as it featured a skull-faced Mona Lisa holding a skeletal fetus. It was not the work of some ironic hipster in LA, but an even more mysterious black velvet surrealist of Ensenada. No one who saw it failed to be impressed. . . but the night we dug up Bubbles La Blanche, the picture got knocked from the wall and the velvet was torn. It was at the end of the evening, and the Cramps were blasting on my stereo, and people dancing on Bubbles’ coffin had knocked the painting from the wall. The coffin had also been damaged, and dragged inside by partygoers not aware of or indifferent to the crickets that I had hidden in the coffin before burying it hours before the party. The crickets were everywhere, the coffin was damaged, and my favorite piece of art torn. But I remember laughing that night, and it still gives me pleasure to see that tear in the velvet. Things break, and it was not only fine, but amusing.

Now Cacophony is eager to preserve what it can of its legacy with the museum show, the documentary, and the new book, and I understand that side of the life cycle too, but it was nice back when we were all wild tadpoles.

WHATSBLEM THE PRO: What did you think of the show at the Castro Theater last weekend?

AL RIDENOUR: It was really a dream show for us. To be surrounded by all that talent, and people I’d admired for years. I was such a huge fan of the Church of the SubGenius and vividly recall shuddering with baffled delight as I flicked the pages of that first book back in 1983. Having our videos on the giant screen was particularly satisfying. But I’m also aware of the friction involved with the authors not being involved. I was housemates with Chicken (John Rinaldi) during his L.A. years when he discovered Cacophony, and from years of experience with him, know that he is perfectly happy to cause friction and make enemies. But he’s also changed a lot too, and probably for the better if you believe in all that good/bad stuff. Other than that, I really don’t want to comment other than to note the obvious and amusing absurdity of an un-author-ized publication party. If only the squabbles themselves were more of an actual prank!

WHATSBLEM THE PRO: Do you have any plans or any desire to bring Art of Bleeding to Burning Man this year?

RT, the Robot Teacher -- PHOTO: AoB

RT, the Robot Teacher — PHOTO: AoB

AL RIDENOUR: I feel that it’s not monumental enough to be noticed. Don’t you have to do a little more to engage folks up there nowadays? Encase an ocean liner in an iceberg and surround it with a steam-powered army of dancing giraffes, stuff like that?

I enjoyed doing the installations we did with Cacophony back in the smaller days but Art of Bleeding is already of a smaller scale than stuff I did back in 1999. But I’m grateful for the vibrant subculture Burning Man has fostered and happy we can reach those people through online videos and the occasional live show.

Particularly as the Art of Bleeding has moved more toward video, and especially as I spend more hours in isolation with complicated post and animation, I do miss interacting with crowds of weirdos, whether Cacophonistas or Burners (if such distinctions must be made).

My latest project, however, is bringing me back to the “festival arts” of celebrations like Burning Man as well as the guerilla street theater of Cacophony. It’s all about Krampus, a series of Krampus-themed events for December 2013 including an art show, shows with themed performances (hopefully including a Krampus Mass in an old church) and also public Krampus Runs. My wife and I had just visited Austria and Germany, in part to attend Krampus runs there, and when I returned, I learned that old Cacophony comrades-at-arms were interested in staging the same for LA, so we’re all working on suits and carving masks these days. I think it’ll be a big thing. Hopefully big enough to at least justify the mess I’ve made of my house with goat hair and bits of horn everywhere.

WHATSBLEM THE PRO: Can hot nurses and other people get involved with the Art of Bleeding?

AL RIDENOUR: Yes, and yes! Info@artofbleeding.com always works. There’s also info@krampuslosangeles.com if you’re more into fur and horns. . . and you can connect with us on Facebook via the Art of Bleeding page, or through the Krampus Los Angeles page.

WHATSBLEM THE PRO: Thanks, Al. Break a leg!