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Monday, March 21, 2011

Sock Puppet Theatre

The guardian.co.uk is reporting that the US military has contracted a Californian corporation to create software which would allow military personnel to create and maintain multiple online persona, up to 10 identities each, based all over the globe. In other words a single person would maintain, monitor, and distribute comments to and from 10 online personalities, sock puppets, in order to spread propaganda misinformation.

Centcom spokesman Commander Bill Speaks said: "The technology supports classified blogging activities on foreign-language websites to enable Centcom to counter violent extremist and enemy propaganda outside the US." Claiming that none of the interventions would be conducted in English as it would be unlawful to "address US audiences" in such fashion. Interventions would be conducted in Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and Pashto.

While it is very noble of them to strike English from their vocabulary, if you've followed any of the coverage coming out of the recent unrest abroad, you'll have undoubtedly noted that many if not all of the media outlets are heavily relying on Twitter and Facebook accounts of the situations on the ground to report the "news". What's to say that the news being reported to us is not coming from Centcom?

Interesting, scary, and not surprising all at the same time.  

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