Friday, September 30, 2011

Op Disinformation

Radiohead Edit

Begun by a rumor posted on Gawker at 10:53am, Radiohead, in town for two performances at the Roseland Ballroom, was purported to be playing a free concert at Liberty Square today at 4pmEDT.

This rumor was reposted on the OccupyWallStreet website at 12:13pmEDT. It was picked up and retransmitted by The Gothamist at 12:20pmEDT entitled CONFIRMED: Radiohead Playing Occupy Wall Street TODAY!

Even CNN was sucked in: to play impromptu concert at protest in NYC at 4pm this afternoon [Jeremy Ryan]

The twitter stream was going wild, as you can imagine: every other tweet said they are performing; every between-tweet says they are not; the #occupywallstreet channel was flooded with this since early morning. The trolling was massive today.

The Village voice publishes 'Radiohead not playing" post at 12:30pmEDT.

Gawker publishes retraction (or not?) at 1:18pmEDT.

NME publishes Radiohead denial at 1:50pmEDT

Rolling Stone publishes Radiohead's denial at 2:10pmEDT.

The Rolling Stone article isn't sure if Radiohead was supposed to play and canceled out on management's fear of the crowds getting out of hand or whether this was a repeated rumor. The Gawker retraction is wishy-washy

A tweet at 3:42pmEDT: Officialish RT @radiohead: We wish best of luck to protesters, contrary to earlier rumours, we will not be appearing at #occupywallstreet

Radiohead also posted the same retraction on their Facebook page.

and here's a tweet that runs to my own thinking at 3:46pmEDT:
This was their moment! RT @NYTMetro Now #Radiohead says show "definitely not going to happen," and #OccupyWallStreet put out "false rumor"

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I just watched a massive, ugly and very-well-planned disinfo foray to discredit OccupyWallStreet. This is how a smear campaign is done and is a classic example of disinformation, psyops and information warfare.

Did OccupyWallStreet get hoaxed, buying into a wish-fulfillment? Or did they get played; a deliberate disinformation operation to discredit them and to possibly incite a riot of disappointed fans, flooding into the Square only to see Radiohead?

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Could this have been "push-politics"? Could some at OWS have tried to use social media pressuring to get Radiohead to play, seeing as they were in town, or to draw an inflated crowd? If so, it's not a good technique. I am not sure; from watching and tweeting for the last 14 days, I've gotten a pretty good feel off the organizers and the people running support and logistics at the protests and my feeling is that it was not done deliberately.

But... couldn't someone from OWS have checked with Radiohead's business manager earlier than the breaking music industry stories? Did the rumor race ahead too fast? Where did Gawker's Adrien Chen get his information? Why did OWS publish that rumor at 12:13pmEDT if they had not confirmed anything? That doesn't look particularly good for them.

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Since the Lamestreasm Media has been fairly-successful in keeping OWS out of the mainstream news (until the pepper-spraying video caught everyone's focus), and watching the gleeful trolls mix in other band names (Justin Bieber, Rick Astley, REM, Michael Jackson) to the "playing at 4pm" swirl, my suspicion is that this was a planned invasion of Twitter, which has been the media outlet for OccupyWallStreet since it's beginning, in an operation to sow disruption and suborn the Twitter channel while placing mistrust and resentment onto OccupyWallStreet.

Pay attention to the names being "offered" to play: Rick Astley is famous for generating the rickrolling bait-and-switch spoof; Michael Jackson is of course dead. REM broke up 9 days ago. Justin Bieber is an obvious joke.

Was it just low-grade malice ala a 4chan op, first sowing the seeds and then mocking afterwards? If it is the Chans, I'd expect Anonymous, which has been announcing its solidarity with OccupyWallStreet, to spank some Chan ass... although I did see these RTs:

RT @AnonymousIRC: 3 hours until Radiohead at #OccupyWallstreet. Hurry up, New Yorkers, get down there!

Of course that means nothing, as anyone can title a Twitter account anything. If it's not Anon/Chan, it's a counter-jamming signal from the Troll Party, who have been ramping up a lot in the past 2 days on the Twitter channel.

Either way, the information war is definitely on at OccupyWallStreet. Did anyone believe the opposition would not fight back?

More disinfo: Note: the #OccupyWallStreet Journal is NOT a Yes Men project at all, though we do love it. @BoingBoing [who published this "information"]

UPDATE: 10.01.11:
Village Voice produces spoofed email re:Radiohead & OccupyWallStreet
So there you have it. Or do you? Media warfare is like that.

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No starfucking; steady as she goes

my own tweet: DON'T BE STARFUCKERS. You're being played; Op Disinformation is in progress. VERIFY SOURCES.

I've watched the gushiness with which protesters greeted each Lamestream Media pickup of the story after holding off/blacking out for over 9 days. I've tried to get the idea across in numerous tweets that the Lamestream Media is not a prize or a score; it is the worst enemy of the New Media [Twitter, You Tube, blogs, alternative press] and people should quit courting it like lovestruck cows; they've already been shown that it's a Trojan horse. It makes you vulnerable to the same kind of thing that happened today.

Likewise, this infatuation with being "media stars" works to the detriment of the press which has been there all along; the independent and participatory media that have underpinned all of this. It opens them with promises of cookies and pie and makes them vulnerable to standard media disinfo ops. I will continue my preference for listing independent media links above Lamestream Media links for this and other reasons. Please support and cherish your independent media system!

DON'T SUCK UP TO THE LAMESTREAM MEDIA! The protesters have been great so far; peaceful, showing restraint. But the Lamestream Media will want action, and they aren't above creating it to feed their voracious maw. Be aware, be careful; verify your sources. Assume you are now under media/disinformation attack.

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March to 1 Police Plaza 09.30.2011

True to their promises, a huge swatch of TWU [Transportation Workers Union] appearing en masse today at Liberty Square in a show of support for the OccupyWallStreet protest.

Watching the live video from NY's Fox 5 shows the police being very circumspect, keeping distance from protesters and allowing them to walk on sidewalks... which is a result of the Bologna pepper-spray video going viral, forcing a hard look at police tactics at the protest.

Someone got smart and had the Grannys Peace Brigade march in front
[bottom right panel]

Maybe the presence of the TWU Union is keeping the cops' dicks in their pants, or perhaps it's because most of the NYPD Blues don't subscribe to the same predilection for violence that the White-Shirts (Lieutenant-or-above) appear to have, judging from all of the police brutality videos posted on You Tube.

There have been unconfirmed reports [more rumors] that many police were calling in "The Blue Flu" in internal rifts over the conduct of many White-Shirts at the protest, including Anthony Bologna's "loose cannon" approach. No one knows if it's true, but most people on the scene and from observing the videos agree that, for the most part, the Blues have been firm but polite, engaging the protesters in amiable dialogue and doing very little of the violence seen unless under orders from a White-Shirt. Even the protesters claim that often.

So, a bit more disinformation being sown, this against the police, in order to incite violence and hatred. Not all cops are bad cops. Don't fall for these tricks. Use your own eyes, ears, mind. Many of those cops are also "the 99%".

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I won't support anyone's call to violence

Watching live stream now at 7:00pmEDT, some woman with a group with "Cop Watch" is going on and on about 'police brutality' and 'police murder." I find this aggressive and provocative; I also see it as a hijacking of energy and focus. Sorry lady, but you look to me like a gasoline-thrower. I saw your kind explode the crowd at the Democratic National Convention in LA - the little black-masked anarchy boys who push their own agenda and discredit and disrupt public protests.

I don't appreciate anyone who urges or stirs emotions towards violence. They do not speak for me. I hope they don't speak for most of the protesters at OccupyWallStreet.

Better now, 2nd speaker a preacher, appealing to the police "in the First Amendment", talking about his nice cop neighbor, etc. and inviting the police to also be part of the 99%.; to be inclusive instead of exclusive. This is wisdom, and also appeals to the crowds' memory; people have been speaking up for most of the police throughout the protest.

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Declaration of the Occupation of New York City
from the New York General Assembly

Know Your Rights in demonstrating - NY Civil Liberties Union

People are using Vibe app to communicate anonymously
and avoid police eavesdropping
[NY Daily News]

Excellent mapping of the 'Twitter censorship' question [Alexander Higgins]

Occupy America - Cumulative List of Worldwide “Occupy” Events

Huge Crowd at Occupy Wall Street as unions join protest

#occupywallstreet – A Manifesto for Change

Locked-out Sotheby's union art handlers disrupt auction in support of OWS
You know why I had to include this one

Please dress the part if you want help from regular people
An appeal to OWS to help their message get across, interesting comment thread

Anthony Bologna: National Disgrace
There goes Tony Bologna's Navy application

Cops filming protesters [photo]
You think they respect the crowd's privacy rights? No. You think they will whine about the You Tube videos of open police brutality violating their privacy rights? I do.

NY Mayor Bloomberg claims bankers struggling to make ends meet
Awww da poor bankwers are swilling Cook's champagne because they can't afford Pernod-Ricard Perrier-Jouet anymore!!! A tiny tear trickles down my cheek... or not.

AFL-CIO's Trumka Hails "Occupy Wall Street,"
as Key Unions Begin to Endorse Protests
[The Nation]

'OccupyWallStreet Journal' surpasses Kickstarter Goal [Village Voice]

Wall Street Protests: Which Side Are You On? [Huffington Post]

Wall Street now home to protest campground [Reuters]
Well, well; Reuters waddles in 14 days after the protest began.


I'm leaving out the troll tweets this time; they only troll and no use giving them attention, except to say this is the heaviest trolling I have seen on #occupywallstreet since the protest started. If you really want to know what they are, just page back one post; they don't really change much.

[EDIT: ok, wait, just had to include tonight's classic example of troll gambit]

TROLL: 9-11 conspiracy theorists, pot smokers, anti- Zionists and anti-sematics. These are the ppl of #OccupyWallStreet don't support them.

MS: @TROLL you are hilarious. Really. +1 troll #occupywallstreet

TROLL: @misosusanowa glad you think racism is so funny. I don't. Sick of seeing anti Jewish signs and posts around #OccupyWallStreet. Sue me.

MS: LULZ Classic troll; you're immortalized [link to here]

Ok, back to the best tweets o' the day:

Best sign at right now at the #OccupyWallStreet march: "A Radiohead rumor was the tipping point in Cairo too."'s the howl of the siren...flashing lights blinding sight...saxophone singing from a balcony above...protests

Today, the richest 400 American families own more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans.

Dude has a donut on a fishing pole so so good

impressed with #OccupyWallStreet protests, when they come to london i'll be there. if gov't wont hold financial sector to account, we will!!

You can carry an Assault Rifle to a Tea Party but you can't carry a Sign to #OccupyWallStreet

+1 RT @nyclu The NYCLU is sending a team of 'legal observers' to #occupywallstreet today @ 6pm until 10 pm & again tomorrow @ the same times

Crime doesn't spray... but I do! - Tony Baloney

Police have riot geer on @ #occupywallstreet. Wierd the kids are completely non violent. ... Nyc blue relax!

Do not fear what will happen if you go to #occupywallstreet ~ fear what will happen if you don't.

In just 6 months, Wall St.-related interests spent about $237m lobbying the federal government.

this isnt about being democrats, republicans or teaparty members.

..keep up the fight. as a small business owner...I'm also a supporter of this.

This is a true grass-roots movement. Not secretly funded by billionaires #Kochbrothers #teaparty.

Finally figured out why vampire motif is so popular these days, they are allegory for #banksters

@GeraldoRivera: "#occupywallstreet is Reverse #TeaParty"-Ploy to Divide & Conquer. #TP & #Occupy both REJECT merger of statism & corporatism

A bunch of Marketeers have invaded the channel today, spamming cutsey "teaser" links with the #occupywallstreet tag that lead to stores and get-rich-quick bullshit. More disinformation/signal jamming:

Excellent Fashion Advice For The #OccupyWallStreet Participants [link]
music so excellent i just bothered to download it [link]
I can't believe I saw this at #occupywallstreet! [link]

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Art is my weapon

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