Helen's breasts, it was always Helen's breasts,
and the wine-cup that they wrought,
called Helen's breast;
-- H.D., Hermetic Definition
Everything had failed against Trump -- ridicule, slander, sex scandal, warnings of imminent fascism, fake polls, rigged elections, protests, RNC defection, the recounts, the pizzagate revelation/distraction, the campaign to flip the Electoral College vote -- and the Establishment and its media mouthpieces determined to double down on their fake news/Russian hacking accusations.
Obama finally endorsed this narrative wholeheartedly, accusing Vladimir Putin himself of overseeing the hacking operation, and retaliating with the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and their families (which Putin brushed aside as "kitchen diplomacy,"vowing to wait for Trump).
But is there any truth to the Russian hacking story? According to U.S. intelligence agencies and the Obama White House, there most certainly is. But according to most Americans (those polled at any rate), and an increasing number of mainstream media outlets, the story is even fishier than "weapons of mass destruction." And, most significantly, WikiLeaks has repeatedly denied that Russia was the source of the hacked emails, although they have consistently protected the anonymity of their sources.
But can WikiLeaks be trusted? Who is Julian Assange? Is he an agent? Russian FSB? Israeli Mossad? American CIA? Previously, I have explored Assange's own family background with a strange Australian cult. I've also also examined two of Assange's early essays on the true objectives of WikiLeaks. The whole point, he explains in these essays, of releasing sensitive and secretive information is not primarily to expose these facts to the public, but to make the System distrust itself.
The System, as Assange identifies it, is a conspiracy of power that operates against the public. But any conspiracy is only successful if it is immune to its own disinformation. If, in response to unpredictable and widespread leaking, the conspirators begin to doubt their own information sources then deep paranoia sets in.
He [Assange] decides, instead, that the most effective way to attack this kind of organization would be to make "leaks" a fundamental part of the conspiracy's information environment. Which is why the point is not that particular leaks are specifically effective. Wikileaks does not leak something like the "Collateral Murder" video as a way of putting an end to that particular military tactic; that would be to target a specific leg of the hydra even as it grows two more. Instead, the idea is that increasing the porousness of the conspiracy's information system will impede its functioning, that the conspiracy will turn against itself in self-defense, clamping down on its own information flows in ways that will then impede its own cognitive function. You destroy the conspiracy, in other words, by making it so paranoid of itself that it can no longer conspire.
Eventually, this leads to the communication equivalent of "credit crunch" -- the conspiracy becomes afraid of dealing with itself. No agent, no information can be trusted. This, therefore, is the surest way of destroying the System, which, to be precise, is international corporate capitalism. Armed revolution, terrorism, infrastructural sabotage is not required; the System will go insane and die of its own paranoia.
Analysts, in discussion of the global economic system, speak of the imminent arrival of "peak debt" -- when the debt in the System saturates to a crisis point where it can no longer be sustained, diverted or ignored. This nearly occurred in 2008, but it was avoided largely because governments absorbed the massive debts of the failed banks. Economists argue that this cannot happen again; the moment of "peak debt"has become inevitable.
Assange, as I understand, is asserting that before "peak debt," which in turn occurs well in advance of "peak oil" or any other peak resources, comes "peak distrust." And unlike peak debt, peak distrust can be invoked and spread by nearly anyone. Any individual, and especially any person with access to the Internet, can do his or her part to muddy the waters of reality, to sever the ties of trust that bind the conspiracy. Certainly WikiLeaks is a genius in this regard.
Assange, unwittingly or not, agent or private citizen, alive or dead, is an arch-revolutionary and master nihilist. His very achievable aim is the utter destruction of the global megamachine.
But he is not alone in this. Edward Snowden's 2013 leaks demonstrated undeniably that governments, and particularly the U.S. NSA, monitor and collect data on every person that uses the Internet. For each person these government agencies have an extensive file with a complete psychological profile, with a complete breakdown of day-to-day habits and locations, with the ability to know what you will do before you know it yourself.
Snowden confirmed what nearly everyone had expected: there is no privacy, everything is watched, everything is known. People continue to use the Internet, of course, but without real trust and only because it is addicting, diverting, and apparently necessary. Snowden showed that all communication is under siege, is a front in a wider battle. Therefore it was no surprise to his enemies that he fled to Russia.
Was Snowden, then, just another tool of Russian disruption/deception? Can the revealed truth of power be synonymous with fake news? And is the Russian government really in the business of fake news or is this claim, made by a U.S. intelligence establishment definitively caught spying on its entire population, also quite unreal.
The claims of Russian fake news were at first made by Ukrainian opponents to Russia in 2014. This source, itself having U.S. intelligence ties, argued that the Russians were guilty of all manner of fabrications concerning recent Ukrainian-Russian relations: the liberation/annexation of the Crimea, the downing of Flight MH17, etc. Throughout the Cold War, the U.S., the U.S.S.R., Communist China, and intelligence agencies across the world, were involved in a multi-pronged propaganda war for decades. In this sense, then, the present situation is not very new.
Cold war propaganda, however, can be crucially distinguished from the disinfo wars of today. The former was largely involved in the promotion of certain truth claims (from the Pentagon, from the Kremlin) and the active discrediting of counter-truth claims. This obviously still occurs, but the fairly new element is the total abandonment of all pretenses, on any side, of possessing anything even close to the truth.
In the words Putin speaking of U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry: "...he is lying and he knows that he is lying," also implying that Kerry knows that Russia knows that he is lying. There is no desire to even appear truthful. Each government realizes that a big percent of its population will not believe their statements -- and perhaps eventually nobody will -- but these spurious distractions take up sufficient media cycles to occupy our attention and debate before they can generate the next round of spurious distractions.
And as the general public becomes increasingly desensitized to absolute bullshit, each new lie needs to become more scandalous, more salacious, more likely to provoke the breakdown of the entire social order. In Russia, at least, this has become explicit and highly theorized. In fact, it has become an avant-garde art.
Putin's ex-Deputy Prime Minister and adviser, Vladislav Surkov, very openly uses the the forms and methods of the avant-garde to destroy any possibility of accurate representation. Like coloured oil paints in an abstract expressionist splatter-work, truth is deliberately mixed and contrasted with untruth to the point where both are indistinguishable. British documentary filmmaker, Adam Curtis, had this to say about Surkov:
His aim is to undermine peoples' perceptions of the world, so they never know what is really happening.
Surkov turned Russian politics into a bewildering, constantly changing piece of theater. He sponsored all kinds of groups, from neo-Nazi skinheads to liberal human rights groups. He even backed parties that were opposed to President Putin.
But the key thing was, that Surkov then let it be known that this was what he was doing, which meant that no one was sure what was real or fake. As one journalist put it: "It is a strategy of power that keeps any opposition constantly confused."
This is certainly fake news in its most perfected form. And whatever U.S. dissenters and doubters say, it is definitely Russian. And Surkov is fully aware of the official U.S. condemnation of his methods but, knowing the full extent of its hypocrisy, does not give a shit. In response to reporters in 2014 about being forbidden to enter the U.S., Surkov said he was honoured and furthermore:
The only things that interest me in the U.S. are Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg, and Jackson Pollock. I don't need a visa to access their work. I lose nothing.
All of these American cultural products, being pure information, are now omnipresent, infinitely dispersed. The U.S.A. that Surkov loves has no more necessary link with the actual American homeland than Dostoyevsky and Tarkovsky have with Mother Russia. Here he is signalling that his real battle is also with non-localized and ethereal powers and principalities, not with a chunk of real estate branded as the U.S.A. And his choice of U.S. artist-heroes is also very instructive.
Tupac is the focus of a very widespread set of conspiracy theories that deny either the official fable of his death or his death itself; a conspiracy theory that even Obama referred to in an attempted slight of Trump.
Jackson-Pollock is an abstract expressionist, a movement that completely annihilated the idea that art needed to represent anything beyond itself, was also posthumously accused as being, unwittingly or not, covertly funded by the CIA in order to somehow subvert and undermine Soviet Realism.
And Allen Ginsberg, most well known of the Beat poets and with a similar effect on poetry as Jackson-Pollock had on painting, also plays a central role in recent revisionist theories that the entire nineteen-sixties counterculture was nothing but an elaborate extension of the CIA's MKUltra program.
Surkov's statement is clearly designed and intended to provoke and there can be little doubt that these three figures were highlighted by the master obfuscator and strategist because all three are artists who blurred the bounds of perception and challenged the necessity of representation, as well as themselves being major figures in culturally distorting conspiracy theories. These theories themselves were quite possibly promoted by Surkov and his respective international counterparts of post-pomo propagandists.
Surkov resigned as Deputy Prime Minister in 2013 (although remaining as a personal adviser to Putin), yet he paved the way for things and persons far stranger. In August 2016, articles began to surface in the Western media of a Russian "scientific" report whose subject was a new technology designed to cause substantial alterations in mass consciousness. The purported author of the report, the mysterious academic AE Vaino, happens to share the name of Anton Vaino, Putin's chief of staff, and the general conclusion is that these two men are the same person.
Vaino's machine, therefore, is called the nooscope. This is a pretty blatant allusion to Teilhard de Chardin's concept of a noosphere of human consciousness networked by mass media which surrounds the Earth like a new atmosphere. The nooscope, very simply put, analyzes and manipulates the noosphere.
The nooscope is a device that consists of a network of spatial scanners [utilizing "smartdust"] meant for the receipt and record of changes in the biosphere and human activity with the help of transactions — 'film shots' of events — images of space-time-life intersections...The nooscope is the first device of its kind that allows for the study of humanity's collective mind.
What is not at all clear, though, is how this "machine" would function, if it's at a practical or theoretical stage of development, or even if it exists beyond a kind of avant-garde practical joke. Russian official sources dismiss it as being Western propaganda. Is this an outright lie, or is this a bluff to make people think it really does exist, or is this a statement of fact? Each one of these three possibilities leads to bizarre and unsettling conclusions.
Is the entire Russian "fake news" campaign, starting in earnest with Surkov and taken to a new level with Vaino, which includes the propagation of extreme and outlandish conspiracy theories, just one facet of the nooscope? Or is this suggestion of a technology so ridiculously powerful as the nooscope, just another extreme and outlandish conspiracy disseminated by Western intelligence agencies?
Or, even more alarming and extending these conclusions logically, is it not likely that the U.S. and other advanced governments have their own equivalents to the nooscope which are also, at this very moment, generating and channeling the ebbs and flows of human consciousness? Mightn't the U.S. surveillance state, exposed by Snowden and others, be one large component of a Western nooscope?
And indeed there is evidence of this. Opponents of the Clinton campaign accused it of using a sort of "weaponized AI" against its rival. In addition, the controversial President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, made a weird statement that the voice of God told him to stop cursing during a flight from Japan. This was later blamed on the "weaponized AI" which aimed, evidently, to drive Duterte mad. This form of the "weaponized AI" appears to have, exactly like the nooscope, the function of disrupting and directing consciousness.
Are these reports also fake news? Or, in other words, are these claims of one consciousness-altering weaponized artificial intelligence really just generated by another consciousness-altering weaponized artificial intelligence?
Or are all of these reports , on every side, simply bullshit and no such technology exists? Is it one big bluff -- like HAL's bluff to Frank Poole that HAL was (falsely) about to beat him at chess? Are vastly inferior artificial intelligence units simply lying to us (and perhaps their designers and administrators) about their supposed omniscience?
Or, given that there must now be multiple high-spec AIs in operation from a number of different and rival governments and other institutions, might it not be likely that they are in constant interference with one another -- like vacuum bots running on different algorithms on the same piece of carpet -- to the point where prediction of their combined interaction and emergent effects is utterly impossible?
Such a complex ecology does exist in the world of high finance where, in 2008, the synergistic and clashing effects of different debt-based derivatives very nearly brought down the entire global financial house of cards.
In like manner, there may in fact exist multiple internationally operating artificial intelligence systems covertly influencing and directing the fluid movement of the consciousness of entire cultures and subcultures. And this ecology -- a whole landscape of psyops and clashing disinformation -- interacts in a pattern which is entirely unpredictable.
Nobody, even the high-level crafters of disinformation campaigns, would have any idea if they are not actually the unwitting tool of a rival AI. And there would be no way of knowing if any AI is or is not completely autonomous, possessing its own will and its own secret objectives quite outside of the original intention of its human designers and "masters." Like HAL, these AIs could already be quite insane, or just they might not exist at all. They might, at this point, be only fictitious projections of all-too-human megasystems of propaganda and disinformation.
And yet wouldn't megasystems of this scale be virtually indistinguishable from technologies like the nooscope anyway? How would anyone know any differently? What sentience, what objective will, would collective entities of this sort possess? What changes in human consciousness would they be trying to attain? What bullshit would they be spreading? What Object would they be furthering?