Z-anon-sensei Speaks #66
“The art of propaganda, as practiced by modern politicians and governments, derives from the art of advertising.” Bertrand Russell
Just before she left Dingle, Shelaegh received a file on Priest from the Director. She scanned it sitting in her car next to Dingle Bay. He was a nobody, from what she could tell. A poet with a few publications, a part-time teacher at a two-year college in Portland. His social media profile showed a nature lover, hiker, fly fisherman. Some mystical claptrap with horoscopes and stuff mingled in. A Sagittarius. Single. It crossed her mind that he wasn’t bad looking, either, for an older fellow. 52. He seemed so ordinary. Sheleagh was having her doubts about his target value, but that was for the Director to decide. He was paying the bill, after all. She looked out across the bay and watched a dolphin swimming in front of a tour boat. The passengers seemed enthusiastic despite the drizzling rain, cheering every time the poor thing lifted his head out of the water. The dolphin was less so, surfacing near the boat but not leaping out of the water like he usually did. Fungie didn’t seem to be having all that much fun today, as nearly as Shelaegh could see. And she had excellent eyesight. It crossed her mind that it might be more fun to be out on that boat than here in her little car in the rain.
But she had no time to sight-see right now. Duty and all that rot aside, she had a scent in her nose, and a trail to follow. She was closing in on her man, feeling the thrill of the chase. It was time to ride.
Z-anon-sensei says one of the early efforts by NSS and the MO:G to gain full control over public opinion was known as Operation Mockingbird, in which agents of the letter agencies infiltrated, went to work for, and sometimes became members of the board or even CEOs of a number of media companies and organizations, thus establishing influence over the news and entertainment industries. Since the early 60s the NSS has sought to shape the ^mythmemes of the public using the main outlets of the press.
The various organs of NSS held onto those ties to media, news, and Hollywood even after the Church Committee revelations and the restrictions put in place in response to that report. In some cases, they have found, it is simpler just to buy whatever news organ they needed to rein in.
Z-anon-sensei says there is nothing really new, here, except the degree of secrecy and the hypocrisy inherent in manipulating a constitutionally-guaranteed “free press.” After all, even the stelae inscriptions of the Egyptian pharaohs describing their great victories were little but propaganda and lies and fake news, too. And fake news becomes fake history. So it goes.
But the DARPA research effort in the 2010s leading to Operation StoryLine took morale operations to another level, a great leap forward toward unity— the ultimate goal of ^darkpower— by using the latest advances in brain-scanning technology to move influence and opinion-shaping toward actual control of human thought.
The ^StoryLine project moved forward in two phases. The research phase involved a systematic study of neuro-electric and neuro-chemical responses to a wide variety of story types, essentially to map the effects of stories onto the brain itself. From this research came enormous leaps in the design of propaganda and PR materials. The second phase of the process was a reverse of the first. It was an active set of experiments to determine how secondary stimuli could influence receptivity to a certain narrative. The stimuli tested ranged from external additions to the narrative such the subliminal images Blake Steele has become so enamored of, but also including location/atmosphere and other environmental elements (what came to be known more broadly as “set”) all the way up to the manipulation of internal states of being via drugs, hypnosis, and other mood changing methods (also known as “setting”). Was a story more readily believed after smoking marijuana, for example? After sex or contemplating it? Was a certain image more fully absorbed and remembered if its observer was already angry or sad or afraid?
Two methodological directions emerged from this study. One was the development of advanced narrative creation tools, which could design stories that would have more predictable effects on larger numbers of people. “Better living through better propaganda” became an unofficial motto of this section, which consisted mostly of authors and poets who had decided trading government and corporate money for their talent was better than starving for their art. The other main direction of ^StoryLine activity involved designing methods for enhancing and controlling the effect of stories by manipulating elements outside the narrative itself. Tools— you might say “force multipliers” if you entered NSS through military channels— for increasing the effectiveness of propaganda. One example especially valuable for visual narratives was the usefulness of accompanying sound effects that were not consciously audible. ELF tones create a sensation of nervousness, which prepares the subject to accept reassurances and gestures of protection as a form of relief from the unperceived tension build-up. High pitched frequencies, in the dog whistle range, prepare the subject to absorb images and narratives of projected anger and blame.
Tremendous advances have been achieved already in both of these areas of development.
And though these technologically designed and supplemented narratives do not work on everyone, all the time, they do work on many people, much of the time.
Z-anon-sensei says that’s good enough for government work.