April 18, 2019
In the 15th Century, the term "intelligence" began to be used in reference to secret knowledge from spies. The processes of collection, interpretation and implementation of military and political knowledge has grown in scope, throughout human history, but many of the principles have been the same for thousands of years.
While many people often think of "spies" as James Bond like figures, the truth is usually a lot more boring and slow. The most prolific spies, in this day and age, are millions of computer scripts working in the background to serve up the most important information to their masters. While military and political bodies engage in this behavior on a technologically advanced scale, the truth is that anyone can tap into this infrastructure to perform their own "intelligence" activities to stay informed, make money, keep secrets, uncover secrets, etc.
In ancient history, leaders even considered "spiritual intelligence" from oracles, astrology and prophecy to be legitimate. It is curious to note the symbols from these groups still persist in the intelligence community, today. After a failure of this type of intelligence, the Romans admit, "trust in the gods, but verify."
Good intelligence is a force multiplier and it is important to know the history to better understand how and why. The history of intelligence starts with battlefield intelligence through the use of scouts; where men were sent out ahead of the bulk of their forces to uncover useful information about enemy troop locations, numbers and supporting logistics. Think of "scouting" as primitive "spying."
"The Bible" and "The Art of War" both discuss the use of spies. In Chapter 13 of the Art of War even discusses using double agents, doomed spies and other variations of spy craft. I feel this is important to point out because the news, today, is not willing to report on spying in such a way that treats these concepts as common place. Double agents have been commonplace for thousands of years. Doomed spies have been commonplace for thousands of years.
For thousands of years, while mankind's intelligence infrastructure has grown, so has their innovation regarding spies' ability to improve their subterfuge. From dead drops, to modified limited hang outs, to bad jacketing operations; there is a lot that the average person knows from movies and TV shows, but a lot that most people aren't looking for, even though it is happening right in front of their faces.
Wikispooks has some interesting ones, as well:
An extension of the ideas behind scouting was the first signals intelligence, where several torches, next to each other, could be used to communicate information across long distances. Prior using signal torches in a variety of combinations, flags, pigeons, or a series of fast runners and horses were the fastest way to communicate. Another primitive signalling technology was "heliographic" in that a shield or a mirror could be used to reflect the sun at allies.
I recommend "Early History of Data Networks"
4 minutes into "Visual Telegraphs" can give you an idea of how a series of torches can be used to communicate a great deal of information.
Compartmentalization is a primary consideration in all intelligence operations. There is no reason to have the group collecting the raw data interact with the group analyzing the data or either of those groups to act upon the data. It is wise to even isolate groups within these groups so that no one party has the full picture. The secret of Greek Repeating Fire was kept this way and lost this way towards the end of the Byzantine Empire. Each group made a component like "lamp oil" not having any idea that they were making one of the five necessary pieces to Greek Fire that would be mixed and heated on the ship to use against enemies.
Rome was forced to adapt their spy networks after the invasion of Hannibal, where large covert groups were funneling information over long distances to the politicians within Rome. The major failure of this was the fact that the politicians were so easily manipulated. Caesar began using ciphers that gave him a great advantage in counterintelligence, the type of which would have prevented Hannibal's success and others who would operate like him.
Between cyphers and compartmentalization, it became impossible to use torture to get the truth from captives; they simply didn't know. For this reason, it also is also a tactical advantage to target your own intelligence network with a constant stream of disinformation. Given that 75% of Rome's emperors were assassinated, the question one should ask is, "Was Rome's intelligence apparatus successful? Or not?"
Intelligence failures are usually the only real opportunity to study what goes on in secret. The frumentarii being infiltrated by the Christians they originally set out to vanquish is an interesting example; which turned to hunting the heretics within a single generation. The False Dmitry presented by the Jesuits, as they played kingmaker, was exposed. But these failures are never publicized as failures. Caesar was not the first to package defeats as victories.
Jesuit intelligence, known as "The Holy Alliance" had been operating for hundreds of years and well into World War II, where they managed to acquire the plans for the Nazi invasion of Russia. There is no reason to think that they are not in operation, today.
Behind all of these "on the ground" operations, is a great deal of data and communication and the implementation of propaganda goes hand in hand with anything that an operative does on the ground; exaggerating victories, covering for defeats, misdirecting enemies, misdirecting friends who could be spied on by enemies, and none of the compartmentalized groups have to be aware of what the other is doing.
I found the "The Disinformation Ecosystem" (very left leaning) to be of interest, as it highlights exactly how journalists(interpreters) are targeted by the (influencers) authors.
A modern example of disinformation within compartments is the use of MARSOC in taking out Zeta Cartel assets.
While everyone can get on board with taking on the cartels and good soldiers are ready to do their part, the Sinaloa Cartel was benefitting from the Fast and Furious gunwalking scandal. Our Marines were being used to take out Sinaloa competition. In a compartmentalized fashion, the overall picture is missed. In tandem with media spotlights and disinformation, the pattern of CIA dealing in drugs and guns is successfully ignored despite decades of proof.
As early as World War II, intelligence was cooperating with organized crime. Based on historical evidence, this is standard operating procedure.
Recently, the intelligence community was exposed as having compartments operating as out of control political action groups as a result of the FISA abuse. Their methods have become apparent to the average consumer of media despite great efforts to suppress information on the part of "proprietaries" cooperating with these covert groups.
"Under Surveillance" revealed a key piece of information, last year, where overly broad spying caught the WRONG Michael Cohen in Prague. Intelligence failures are the only chance the average person gets to see behind the curtain. In this instance, we see an agency with the capability of warrantlessly tracking cell phones, exposed as having cooperated in an effort to use false information to push a political narrative.
Given the cooperation between the media and the FBI, as well as other agencies and a slew of seemingly private entities, it is clear a covert, compartmentalized methodology is at work; a modern intelligence operation of a vast scale. The vastness and openness in which it works is no longer even covert.
The extent of modern intelligence continues to accelerate.
While the public is repeatedly made aware of a small handful of intelligence bodies, the truth is that hundreds of them exist. From Google to Stratfor to China's MSS to Rosatom, there are trillions of dollars in resources mobilized against invading your privacy and everyone else's for military, political and economical advantage. It is the logical conclusion of thousands of years of human motivation and innovation.
Don't you feel safer, already?
The logical conclusion of the amount of data collection will be complete intelligence on nearly every person in the world. Automated analytical tools will continue to improve, as well. This intelligence is being implemented in a way that is obviously biased towards authoritarianism. Non-sponsored influencers that don't align with a predetermined agenda are "deboosted," "shadow banned", outright banned and media consumers are "hyper targeted" to massage their confirmation bias; where each article is written to cause outrage to one side of the political spectrum and schadenfreude to the other.
The ability to automate intelligence processes additionally allows fewer and fewer people to be involved at the highest levels, where your information is for sale to anyone with the money or political leverage.
Ad agencies are all aligned under a single master, where every ad is correlated to include multiple layers of propaganda.
Emotional triggers are programmed using "basic assumption theory", where people's basic assumptions are targeted to be able to program an emotional reaction in order to control how everyone votes.
While the idea of a large intelligence apparatus used to apply force multipliers to military operations is a good one and very effective; we will never see it's full potential fulfilled until corrupt influences are removed from the equation. As the Romans learned, politicians with the reigns of intelligence are easily influenced and are a national security threat, when manipulated by enemies of its countries citizens.
It is in the interests of national security for the intelligence apparatus to root out and destroy corrupting influences; but that is not what is happening. Instead, we have a veritable web of slime that has exposed itself as it becoming drunken-mad with new, vast powers at their fingertips. The corrupted influences within the US government have turned the intelligence apparatus and the good, hard working people on themselves; when it should be the other way around.
The only way to reverse this trend is to implement transparency and the only way to achieve that is to apply persistent and continuous pressure to the powers that be.
The culmination of all of these skills allow the pinnacle of projects for the intelligence community; regime change. The public is occasionally let in on the secret of covert regime changes, like the False Dmitry from "The Holy Alliance," or some of the US covert regime changes around the world.
Most regime change is overt, though, merely with covert underpinnings.
By funneling "intelligence" to increasingly smaller compartments, it becomes possible for the top compartment to control all others. Manipulating votes, then becomes a basic matter of group psychology.
"Systems Psychodynamics" is a group of strategies targeting people's psychology. An ELI5 explanation for a lot of it might be difficult.
In ELI5 terms, maybe it would look like:
"Two children's soccer teams compete. In the weeks before the competition, the coaches each convince that the other team is inhuman, evil, going to steal from them along with every other lie they can think of. When the game finally comes, the kids have more of a fight than a soccer game."
(Now, imagine if you were a peaceful team and only the other team was being manipulated.) Political operatives call this strategy, "othering."
Self fulfilling prophecy is a primary strategy in "Systems Psychodynamics." Where you tell a person something over and over again until they believe it and act on it. People act the way they think they are supposed to act, so working on the basic assumptions of how they are supposed to act can change behavior.
One example is every horror movie where everyone splits up and acts hysterical. Only idiots act this way. Normal people work together in a rational manner.
If you tell a small child they are worthless every single day, they will have low self esteem. If you build them up, instead, every single day, they have better self-esteem and are more likely to succeed.
Faking a consensus through saturation and repetition is also a type of self-fulfilling prophecy. A child sees all the other kids on TV playing with a toy and they want that toy. A child hears everyone at school talking about something they saw on TV and they want to see it, too.
The media machine wants everyone to think they are worthless.
The news, TV shows, movies, video games, etc, are all using social dreaming to bring about a view or reality that is a faked consensus, but since one group can control the narrative on all these platforms, the fake consensus is very easy to create.
Tension centered strategies (creating anxiety/anger/etc) are used to create "organizational paradoxes," which is the "splitting" of groups. These groups are then kept in a "vicious cycle" of arguing and insulting so that no progress can be made without the manipulation of those overseeing the tension.
I think the monkey and the grape experiment shows exactly how easy it is to manipulate people using their sense of injustice as a trigger.
The twenty-two boys in the study were unknown to each other and all from white middle-class backgrounds. They all shared a Protestant, two-parent background. None of the boys knew each other prior to the study. The boys were randomly assigned to one of two groups, although neither was aware of the other's existence. They were then, as individual groups, picked up by bus on successive days in the summer of 1954 and transported to a 200 acre Boy Scouts of America camp in the Robbers Cave State Park in Oklahoma.
At the camp the groups were kept separate from each other and were encouraged to bond as two individual groups through the pursuit of common goals that required co-operative discussion, planning and execution. During this first phase, the groups did not know of the other group's existence. The boys developed an attachment to their groups throughout the first week of the camp, quickly establishing their own cultures and group norms, by doing various activities together like hiking, swimming, etc. The boys chose names for their groups, The Eagles and The Rattlers, and stenciled them onto shirts and flags.
Sherif now arranged the 'competition stage' where friction between the groups was to occur over the next 4-6 days. In this phase it was intended to bring the two groups into competition with each other in conditions that would create frustration between them. A series of competitive activities (e.g. baseball, tug-of-war etc.) were arranged with a trophy being awarded on the basis of accumulated team score. There were also individual prizes for the winning group such as a medal and a multi-bladed pocket knife with no consolation prizes being given to the "losers."
What this study found, though, was that both teams would work together to get food and water, as opposed to the original premise.
Unless someone was there to keep feeding the vicious cycle, people would, eventually, work together. What we learn from this, is that the news is primarily organized around creating tension to perpetuate a vicious cycle.
Thanks for reading.