Thanks to Mark Atwood for doing this once again. We’re not lawyers, this is not legal advice. Be careful out there.
Feel free to print out, share, and repost. This work is licensed under the CC-BY-4.0. I am not a lawyer. This document is not legal advice. If you are ticketed, cited, or arrested, consult with your attorney.
How to deal with cops at Burning Man (2018 update)
by Mark Atwood
* Do not consent to a search.
Never consent to a search. Say the phrase “I do not consent to a search.”
The cops are trained to make you flustered and to “take command” of the situation. Or they can be “polite”: “Mind if we take a look around?” Yes, you mind. “I do not consent to a search.”
Even if you have nothing for them to find, always say “I do not consent to a search.”
Never consent to a search of your body, of your clothing, of your possessions, of your car, of your truck, of your trailer, of your RV, of your tent, or of your camp. Never consent to the search of anyone else’s property.
They can ask the other people in your group or in your car, not just the driver or leader. “Mind if we take a look?” You should all sing the same song: “I do not consent to a search.”
Even if they threaten you with arrest or if threaten to bring a sniffing dog, continue to say “I do not consent to a search”. Even while they are searching you or your stuff, continue to say it. “I do not consent to a search”.
They may search you anyway. Once they start, they will trash all your stuff and dump it out on the playa. Do not give them consent once they start. They will not be more gentle with your stuff if you give them consent.
* Being Questioned.
Cops can ask you questions.
They may say things like “We’re just talking”, or “What do you think of …?”, or “Can you help us out?”
You do not have to answer their questions, and you probably shouldn’t.
They can ask you where your camp is, and who you are camping with. You don’t have to tell them, and you probably shouldn’t.
* Recreational drugs.
Never answer any questions about recreational drugs.
Remember, you never take drugs, you never carry drugs, you never supply drugs, you have no idea where to get drugs, you do not want any drugs, and you do not know anyone who does.
That includes cannabis in any form, in any amount. Cannabis is still not legal on BLM land, even for medical use. Having a medical card from any state is not a defense. The Nevada personal use possession law is not a defense.
If you have a legal prescription to a Schedule II drug such as Adderall, Ritalin, OxyContin, or Methadone, keep your pills in their correct prescription bottle and locked somewhere safe. If you need to carry any such prescription drugs with you, ask your pharmacist for a small bottle to keep just one day’s supply in, and keep that in your pocket. You can be charged if you cannot prove you have a legal prescription.
If the cops ask you details about your prescription, you do not have to answer them, and you probably shouldn’t. The only things they are lawfully allowed to ask will be printed on the prescription bottle.
* Do not lead them to your camp.
They may try to make you lead them to your camp.
They can be very commanding and matter of fact about it. They may say “We are going to your camp.” They will make it sound as if you have no choice. You do have a choice, and you are going to chose to not to lead them to your camp. Never lead them to your camp.
If they really really insist on you leading them somewhere, then lead them to a Black Rock Ranger outpost.
* Keep your tent closed.
Always keep your tent zipped closed when you are not in it. If possible, use opaque screens or sheets to block transparent window screens, so there is no line of sight into your tent. Reflective panels and reflective cloth are also good for keeping the heat of the sun out of your tent.
You may want to use a luggage lock to lock the zipper of your tent when you are not in it. If your tent is zipped shut, they are supposed to need a warrant to open it, or they are supposed to need your consent. They probably won’t have a warrant, and you are not going to give them your consent, remember? “I do not consent to a search.” They may search your tent anyway. Do not give them consent once they start. Once they start, they will probably trash your stuff, no matter what you say.
* Your name and your ID.
If they ever stop you, you do have to tell them your correct “wallet name” as it is printed on your official ID. Tell them your name as it is printed on your official ID, driver’s license, or passport. You do not have to voluntarily show them your ID if they ask to see it. You especially do not have to go to your camp to get your ID for them.
If you are a not a US citizen and are visiting on a visa waiver program, you do not have to carry your passport with you. If you are a resident alien on a visa (e.g. you have a “green card”), you do have to carry your green card with you. Sorry about that.
* Being Detained, or “Am I free to go?”.
The magic phrase is: “Am I free to go?”
Keep saying it. As soon as they say “yes”, walk away immediately and without another word. Do not run, walk.
If they write you a ticket, you must take it. Put it in your pocket, and then you say “Am I free to go?”
If they ever say you are not free to go, you say “Am I being arrested?”. If they say “no you are not being arrested”, you say again “Am I free to go?”. Keep it up as many times as necessary. Yes, it will sound like a stupid kid game, like “stop copying me”, but the game is very real with very real stakes, and this is their game to win, and yours to lose.
* Being Arrested.
If they ever say anything like “you are under arrest”, or ever do anything to make you think you are being arrested, such as them restraining you in any way, you must immediately say the following magic phrase (memorize it!): “I do not consent to any search. I hereby invoke my right to remain silent. I want to speak to my attorney.” And then you SHUT THE FUCK UP.
Do not say anything at all about your arrest until you are talking in private with your attorney. Not with those cops, not with any other cops, not with any onlookers, not with anyone else who was arrested, not with anyone who is being held with you. Not with your campmates, or with your friends, or even with your family. Even your spouse. Assume all police cars, transport vans, and cells are bugged. Assume the cops will lie about what you say to them. Assume everyone you meet while you are being held will testify against you and that will lie about what you say to them. Your best defense will be being able to say you never said anything to anyone. You invoked your right to remain silent. Use it.
The camps with open bars that are giving away booze may ask to see your ID to verify you are older than 21. You don’t have to show it to them, but they don’t have to give you free booze either.
The state liquor cops will be there trying to sting your camp. If you are giving away booze, even if it’s only beer or wine, and the person you are about to give it to looks like they could possibly be under 21, you should verify their age by checking their ID.
Even if your camp is not running a public bar, random people will walk into your camp and ask for booze. You will almost certainly have an under-21 plainclothes liquor cop walk into your camp at least once during the week, to try to sting you.
An alcohol service bust is an expensive way to ruin your burn for your entire camp.
* Who Watches the Watchmen?
While the cops are dealing with you, you need to be memorizing the color and design of their uniforms and memorizing their name tags. They are supposed to be wearing visible name tags while in uniform. Yeah, right.
As soon as you get away from the cops, promptly go to Center Camp or to a Black Rock Ranger outpost to fill out a Law Enforcement Feedback Form and immediately turn it in.
If you personally with your own eyes see the cops detaining anyone, arresting anyone, or searching anyone or anything, do the same thing: memorize what you can and then fill out and turn in a Law Enforcement Feedback Form as soon as you can.
Each morning, all the feedback forms are read out loud in a meeting with the with the police leadership and the event leadership.
If the cops dump your stuff from your car, trailer, tent, or pockets out onto the playa ground, make sure you describe that in the feedback form. The Bureau of Land Management leadership have opinions about the cops trashing the playa.
* Your camera.
When you see the cops, you may choose to use your camera to record them. The Judiciary at all levels has clearly stated that everyone, including you, has the right to record the police. Cops hate it, but too bad.
If a cop tell you to turn off your camera, keep recording. If they threaten to arrest you for recording, keep recording.
They cannot lawfully order you to stop recording. They cannot lawfully order you or anyone else to delete photos or video. They cannot lawfully delete any photos or video themselves. If they do, they themselves are knowingly breaking the law and that will be very useful in court.
If you ever see a cop order anyone to stop recording or to delete anything, make sure that goes on the Law Enforcement Feedback Form.
While you are recording them, never get in their way, and stay back at least 35 feet / 10 meters.
* “Undercover” cops.
The cops claim there are very few “undercover” cops at the event. This is a very carefully nuanced untruth.
There are cops at the event who are not “undercover” but instead are “plain clothes”. This means that instead of wearing uniforms or visible badges they are dressed up to look like burners.
They do not have to tell you they are cops when you ask them. You will not be able to “sense” that they are cops. Some of them have been doing this every year for more years than you have come to the event yourself.
People have been busted by a cop who was wearing only sparkles and a miniskirt. Cops have been seen standing nearly naked on top of speakers next to mainstages, pointing out the use of cannibus to uniformed cops circling the dance floor.
If someone you do not know asks for drugs or offers to trade you anything for drugs, they are a cop. If you met them this year at this Burn, you do not know them. If someone sits down on a couch next to you, or in an art car next to you, and gets around to asking about drugs, they are a cop.
If you met these two girls a few days ago looking at art out in deep playa, and they are really cute, and they went out dancing with you last night, and they just suggested that if you can supply some “favors”, you all can “party together” in your tent, they are cops. No, really, yes, she and her girlfriend both are cops, and her coworkers are eagerly standing by to ruin your whole year.
* What if I need “Police Services”?
What if you are lost? Or a camp mate is lost? Or your child is lost? Or you have found a lost child? Or you have found someone who is injured or who is unable to take care of themselves? What if you are assaulted? What if something has been stolen? What if someone is hurt? What if you find someone who is dangerously out of sorts? What if you just can’t even?
Go to a BLACK ROCK RANGER or to an ESD VOLUNTEER. The Rangers or ESD will help deal with the situation. If the cops are actually needed, the Rangers or ESD can summon the cops and can deal with the cops. If the cops are not needed, then the Rangers or ESD can summon the right help for you.
Know what the Black Rock Ranger uniform is, and how it’s different from the cop uniforms. Rangers wear khaki shirts and khaki hats with the Burning Man logo on their hats, and on their chests, and on their backs, and on their vehicles. ESD have yellow shirts that say “Emergency Services” on them.
Black Rock Rangers are not cops. They really are there to help you, no kidding.
Note: All images used in this article are copyright-free
5 Tips For Surviving Your First Burning Man Experience
Your first Burning Man should be a liberating experience. And by “liberating” I suppose it should be as far away from the outer world as it can safely be. There should be no Facebook feeds, retweets and all that meaningless stuff.
People claim that the Burning Man that is well prepared for is a spiritual experience like no other. That’s no mystery, I guess. Leaving your annoying nine-to-five job to interact with random people, far away from civilization, sometimes doing drugs you’ve never heard of can easily be one of the most thrilling experiences you’ve engaged in so far. Speaking of drugs…
1. Make Sure You Get Tickets Early
Ever hear the saying “The early bird gets the worm”? Well, the early bird gets to go to Burning Man as well!
Before we even get to the tips for when you arrive at the event, let’s first cover the fact that you should get tickets early. This is not something you’ll want to wait last minute for.
The festival is famous for the community. You’ll definitely encounter the most bizarre people that have lots amazing stories and experiences to share, and it would be a shame not to get out in the world and sink in the energy surrounding you.
Leave your camera, don’t worry about your friends’ gastronomic preferences in your social media feed, and forget about your outfit. Nobody cares, neither should you. As an EDM fan, you might imagine that a festival is a place you easily get the vibe.
3. Self-reliance is crucial
Moreover, you could even say that self-reliance is in the spirit of the event. You must be ready for nearly everything that could go wrong and the more precaution you apply to your preparations, the smoother the experience.
You’ll need a huge amount of things starting with a flashlight and a pack of zip lockers to lip balm and a bicycle. There are so many things you’ll need, you’re guaranteed to forget something.
As mentioned above, leave your designer clothes at home and only bring clothing that is useful, warm (it can get chilly at night), and durable. You’re going to be exposed to numerous hours of sun, sand, and wind, which will be very demanding of your body and your clothing. Bear in mind that you’ll probably eat quite an amount of sand in the process, so why not bring a mask that you can wear when the wind is strong.
You see, people who haven’t taken proper care of their provisions have a special name they’re called on the Playa – Sparkling Ponies. You don’t want to be one.
4. Bring gifts
The sky’s the limit, but why not grab some practical things in a light excess? If you still have some spare space in your car, don’t hesitate to grab some snacks, water bottles, and other things that people around you could find useful. However, do not misunderstand the essential idea around gifts. You shouldn’t rely on people swapping their resources on yours because they’ve probably messed up and forgot to bring a bunch of important stuff, just like you did.
Gifts are about offering and not about trading, so don’t be offended if you give someone your grandfather’s watch and all you get is a free hug. Do not forget about the emotional and spiritual imperative of the event.
This is your first Burning Man experience. It’s one of a kind, and none will be same. You’re stoked and you’re freaking out. Regardless of that, you need to sleep. This may sound like a bizarre thing to say, yet there are so many amazing things happening on the Playa every single hour, that you’ll probably feel like a fool if you missed any of those. But this is another thing you’ll have to let go of.
Let your body rest a reasonable amount of time. You’re permanently exposed to sun, wind, sand, loud music, random people, alcohol, and crazy experiences. Let your brain rest. This is not a marathon you need to win, this is supposed to be an inspiring and spiritual experience. Remember?
Some people simply sleep throughout daylight and rave all night, which isn’t necessarily the best pattern to experience what the Burning Man has got to offer.
As an EDM fan, it is crucial that you perceive the Burning Man as a concept in its entirety. You could say that the festival isn’t about electronic music or karaoke but still many people go just because they have the best karaoke machines from the Music Critic’s guide to karaoke machines, as much as it is about the counterculture and its fringes. Well, you may claim that, given its background.
In the mid-nineties, Burning Man featured the Techno scene that was continuously emerging from the ghetto as its central musical figure. Nowadays, Techno is still in the underground of contemporary culture, yet, you can easily spot artists like Calvin Harris and others in the festival’s line-ups.
Is Calvin Harris about counterculture? I can hardly imagine. So what you need to know is the following – the festival does not focus on music as much as it focuses on the spiritual experience. Depending on your musical preferences, you may or may not want to choose other places to visit.
In my humble perspective, as a very opinionated appreciator of underground electronic music, there is nothing that mainstream artists like the above-mentioned can bring to my table, in terms of spirituality. But it’s your call to be made, so choose wisely before you decide to visit the Playa, expecting it would even remotely resemble a club in Ibiza.
Adrian Stefirta is an EDM producer & writer for MIDI Lifestyle. He’s also an aficionado of Techno and a resident at Waxtefacts Records.
Elyse Romano at D’Marge has published some tips on what to expect at Black Rock City. This could be some useful background information for Virgins. Here are some highlights:
For years you’ve heard tales of a wild utopian wonderland in the Nevada desert. For one week, the blank canvas of that barren wasteland turns into something magical.
You’ve envisioned a world of hot hippie women searching for their spirit animals, of chemically-enhanced sex fests, of all-night raves and socially-acceptable nudity. You’re ready to take that dusty plunge and rage until you can’t even remember what planet you’re on.
Slow down, tiger. I’m not saying Burning Man isn’t those things, but I am saying it isn’tonly those things. I’m also saying that the back of every Burning Man ticket warns that you might die at the event, so maybe you want to show up with your shit together. One of the Burner mottos is “Keep Burning Man potentially fatal” for a reason.
So how do you drop into one of the least hospitiable places on Earth and have the most wild, weird and wonderful week of your life? Allow me to be your tour guide…
The Burning Man Living Quarters
Expecting cabins? Prepare to be deeply disappointed (and relentlessly mocked). This is roughing it in the most Bear Grylls sense. You have three best bets: a tent, an RV or a yurt. The tent is classic, but make sure it’s tough enough to withstand a windstorm and know it will be hotter than the inside of a mouth by 9am. Sleeping in is not an option…
The Naked Truth
When it comes to Burning Man style, pretty much anything goes. The more outrageous the better, but skip feathers, sequins and anything else that’s likely to detach and cause litter in the desert. Those things are strictly forbidden.
Have a tutu on hand for Tutu Tuesday – the playa collectively celebrates (yes, even the men) and it’ll let you skip the line for free pancakes at the Pancake Playhouse camp. On the practical side, goggles and face protection (think masks and bandanas) are a must for dust-storms, have warm things on hand for the cool evenings, and don’t forget your sunglasses.
Make sure footwear is comfortable. The event spans many miles and you’ll do a lot of walking. Plenty of Burners ditch the shoes entirely, but take care of your toes because the alkali dust can cause playa foot. And yes, if you’re feeling extra free-spirited, you can leave the clothes in your camp and go totally nude.
Burners are some of the nicest, nakedest people you’ll ever meet, unless you’re shirt cocking – wearing nothing but a shirt with your pants canon out. In that case, we will silently (or loudly) judge you…
It’s time to talk about the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. It’s all out there for you to enjoy (not as much the rock ‘n’ roll – Burners tend to prefer electronic music), but it has to be done responsibly.
Dying to dance? There’s a party to be found 24/7. Dying for a drink? You’re constantly surrounded by bars serving free booze. Dying to get down with the cutie you just met? There are camps designed solely to facilitate such salacious shenanigans.
Dying for something more dubiously legal? It’s out there too, but remember that, as much as it seems like an autonomous entity, Burning Man is still governed by state and federal laws. Undercover cops are out there and they’re ready to seriously eff-up your day.
What it all comes down to is this: have fun, challenge your boundaries, but don’t be a dick about it. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything, and you don’t want your poor decisions to land you in the hospital or a Nevada jail cell.
It seems to get harder every year for Burners to get tickets, so I thought I’d share some of my ideas. These aren’t official, so don’t blame me if you try everything and still don’t get tickets. If it works though, by all means you can send me a cheers!
This year tickets are selling for more than they ever have, and faster than they ever have. We have every reason to think that will continue, making this the biggest Burning Man in history. It jumped the shark, and now it is ready for the big leagues of mainstream success.
Too Many Names On The Guest List
From BMOrg’s point of view, last week’s Directed Group Sale went smoothly. 20,000 invitation-only tickets sold out in less than an hour (according to Megan Miller) and 45 minutes (according to Burners). There were the regular problems of people not having profiles or Ticketfly accounts, and credit cards being declined by their bank’s fraud protection. You’d think, after almost 30 years, banks would know what Burning Man is.
This year, though, a new problem cropped up. People thought getting a code meant they had a ticket set aside for them, and were devastated when the codes didn’t work.
1400 selected groups were given codes to purchase a certain number of tickets. However, some camps report that only 50-60% of their people could actually get the tickets. One camp reported that 25% of the invites did not work – and all the people who couldn’t get the codes to work were outside the US. Was this because Ticketfly can’t process a non-US credit card address?
Burning Man’s response? “We always said it was first-come, first-serve”.
What does that mean? There seem to be only a small range of possibilities:
1. Burning Man sent out more invitations than there were tickets, the way airlines overbook flights.
2. BMOrg sent out 20,000 codes, but each could purchase more than 1 ticket (up until 20,000 were sold)
3. Camps sent out more codes to their campers, than Burning Man actually allocated to them
4. People used”Burner hacks” to buy more tickets with the codes than they were supposed to. For example, 2 people on 2 different computers and credit cards using the same code at the same time. Did the software anticipate such scenarios and block them, or let them through?
Probably, some combination of all of the above happened.
Burning Man does not publish statistics on invitations. There are always more invitations issued than there are tickets available, for a couple reasons. First, they want to help as many camps and projects as possible to get tickets for their core essential team members (as it is, they can’t help everyone). And second, not every camp or project uses every single invitation slot or has every participant purchase the maximum number of tickets.
Whatever the reason for it happening, there is no doubt that many people in camps who got sent codes, thought they would have more than 45 minutes to go to the web site and use them. Last year it took an entire day to sell 15,000.
Burning Man’s ticket page says:
The invitation-only, first-come, first-served Directed Group Sale starts at 12pm (noon) PST, Wednesday, February 4, 2015.
To most people, if you received an invite to an invitation-only sale, you’d think that would mean you could get tickets. Alas, no – you have to get in quick.
Most Burners who logged in within the first 20 minutes seem to have got tickets. The general wait seemed to be around 6-8 minutes, some reported up to 20 minutes of waiting, some only a few. The countdown clock seems relatively meaningless compared to the time it takes to get into the system.
Coming soon: Tickets for Any Burner
Next up there are 40,000 tickets left to sell in the Individual Sale next Wednesday, February 18th at noon PST.
Last year tickets in the individual sale sold out in about 40 minutes (officially) and about 25 minutes (according to some Burners). You need to get there very close to 12 to get in the queue, everybody who did in the first 7 minutes last year seems like they got tickets.
Whether you like it or not, Burning Man tickets are a great financial deal for those with no interest in even going to Burning Man. Tickets are $1122 each on Stubhub and Vehicle Passes are $190. For an investment of less than $850, you get yourself a highly liquid asset that can be rapidly transformed into $2500 – and may appreciate further from there. Hedge funds should start collaterizing this shit.
Demand conditions have never been so favorable for the vendors – which means harder for Burners.
How can you maximize your chances to get tickets?
1. Create your Burner profile beforehand.
2. Create a Ticketfly account beforehand.
3. Register for the individual sale – opens this Wednesday, Feb 11 at noon. Registration is open for several days, so (theoretically) it doesn’t matter whether you are there right on the dot of 12:00:01.
4. On Feb 18th, the day the sale begins, log in as soon as possible after noon. Getting there before 12:00:00 to be in the queue early didn’t seem to help last year.
5. Instead of going through the web site, if you were emailed a link, click the link in the email, a few seconds after it turns noon.
6. If the link does not work, or the site crashes, don’t be disheartened. Keep trying. Even if it says “no” or “sold out”, try again a few minutes later.
7. Reboot your computer shortly before noon, and don’t have a whole bunch of other browser windows open – this may help avoid technical issues.
8. You could try using a few different browsers, if you have any technical issues. Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer – all seem to work fine.
9. Have the right debit or credit card. They accept only VISA and Mastercard, not Amex. They don’t accept PayPal or Bitcoin.
10. Make sure there is enough money in your account, or credit left on your card.
11. Notify your bank in advance of the transaction, in case it triggers a fraud warning (some Burners have reported this problem).
12. Use a US credit card if you have the luxury of choosing. Some Burners reported problems in earlier sales for overseas buyers
13. Don’t listen to Burners giving you advice on the ticketing system based on their past experiences. Ticketing changed last year to Ticketfly, so the current system is still new. What worked in the past, may have little bearing on your chances to get tickets today.
14. When asked how many times you’ve been to Burning Man, say “0”. Statistically, Virgins are the largest group who get tickets – for the last 3 years, somehow there have consistently been 40% Virgins. Whether this is a pure fluke (3 times in a row and always about the same ratio), or whether the system has been designed that way, the fact is the people who say they have been to Burning Man 0 times are in the group that gets the most tickets every year. Chance favors the Virgin, in this “random” distribution.
Having not only participated in Burning Man for a few years now, but having had the great fortune of going to hundreds and hundreds of concerts, festivals, and events, I can say that for the most part it will always get more and more difficult every year. If the band keeps turning out solid albums, the fanbase continues to grow, then it occasionally explodes with a big hit or two, and it goes from never having trouble getting tickets, to shows selling out, to shows selling out really quickly, then the band needs to start working out pre-sales to ensure that fans have a shot because tickets sell out in hours (or minutes, or seconds). In this case, Burning Man is the band. They’ve been turning out solid albums every year for decades, the fanbase is huge and loyal (there may be a track or two you don’t like, but dammit it’s still a great album ), and tickets keep getting harder and harder to come by. Even when it’s a band or performer who takes steps to keep the scalpers at bay, you’ve got to be on the ball.
Sure, the ticket team will continue to work on their end to try and improve upon the experience and the ticket-buying process (as they have since Burning Man started selling tickets), but they can’t make scarcity go away. As long as demand continues to outstrip supply, it’s going to be important to stay on top of the posted information and dates and act quickly when those magic tickets go on sale.
The reality is that (in approximate numbers) 12,500 people will click in the first three seconds ( 12:00:03 – locking up all 25,000 tickets) and it’ll take 45 minutes for the computer system to process all the orders while we sit desperately waiting to get in to buy a ticket. About 12:45:01, all the whining and butthurt will start. People will complain that their Am Ex card wouldn’t work ( even though the directions said so), and they’ll blame Larry, or the fucked up system, or they’ll complain the don’t get paid till Friday ( even though they had a year to get their finances in order.). Probably by 1:30:00, the slacker hippies will start asking for free tickets ( because they’re awesome in the universe) since they can’t afford one or be prepared on time. By 2:00, folks will be pleading and begging for a ticket for their Virgin friend ( with a fucked up life) who’s so needs to go home, but doesn’t know it. By 12:00:01, the Scalpers (who don’t exist) will be posting tickets on Stub Hub and Ebay ( but they got their tickets in the Secret VIP sale by paying extra donation money to BMP.
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]
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 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]
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.
So 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”?
“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.
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]
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.
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”.
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.
Readers should familiarize themselves with common Logical Fallacies. YourLogicalFallacyIs has created this handy infographic, which you can download from their site in poster size.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ALWAYS assume that you are under surveillance.
At this point, if you are NOT under surveillance, you are not a very good activist!
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.
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.
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.