What is a troll?
According to old Scandinavian folklore, a troll is a nasty-spirited being that doesn’t like humans and lives in a cave. And likely has a taste for human flesh.
And the act of “trolling” is a technique used to trick fish into thinking a lure is food — so that they bite into the barbed hook.
Curiously enough, if you combine those two definitions together, you have a close representation of our modern-day troll. Which, according to Wikipedia is defined as…
“…a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.“
We bring up the troll for a reason.
We’ve been digging in the archives of Wikileaks lately, and something interesting came up…
In early 2014, with information leaked to him by Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald wrote a series of articles about “dirty trick” tactics used by the JTRIG (Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group) — an arm of Britain’s intelligence community.
It was revealed that four classified documents were passed from the JTRIG to the NSA and the rest of the “Five Eyes” army.
These documents not only shed light on how closely the major intelligence agencies are working together to spy on citizens… uh… everywhere…
It also revealed the intelligence community’s intent to manipulate and control online discussions and discourse.
And, of course, flood the interwebs with multinational state-sanctioned propaganda.
“One of the many pressing stories that remains to be told from the Snowden archive,” journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote last year, “is how western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction.”
One leaked presentation titled, “The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations,” showed clear intent to, says Greenwald, “control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse.”
Two of the self-identified purposes in the presentation are:
ONE: “to inject all sorts of false material onto the Internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets…”
TWO: “to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse…”
Here are some of the actual slides from this secret presentation…
Of course, for some, this comes as no surprise…
“Government plans to monitor and influence internet communications,” says The Intercept, “and covertly infiltrate online communities in order to sow dissension and disseminate false information, have long been the source of speculation.
“Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, a close Obama adviser and the White House’s former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, wrote a controversial paper in 2008 proposing that the US government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites, as well as other activist groups.”
Some might see this as a “sign of the end times.”
We’re not nearly as dramatic. Following up on our last discussion on Friday, we’d say this is yet another futile last gasp of power-seeking. The whole thing reeks of desperation.
If they are seriously resorting to flooding Youtube, blogs, and social media sites with trashy comments, it’s safe to say they’re running out of ideas.
And this desperation, it seems, isn’t limited to the modern-day monolithic government…
Recently, there has been mass speculation about corporations doing the same thing — namely, Monsanto.
You’ve probably seen the headlines floating around about Monsanto’s team of trolls. Given the Great Revolving Door inside its HQ, we wouldn’t be surprised if Monsanto had a whole floor of dorks writing nasty comments on organic food blogs.
But, to be sure, this discussion about Monsanto’s “Internet army” is speculative. And, frankly, it’s a distraction.
Because while much of the alt-media is focused on a few pimply teenagers writing in ALL CAPS on natural news websites, Monsanto is about to check-mate the entire non-GMO movement.
Putting the potential for Internet trolls aside, let’s dig out the core of this issue…
Our real problem with the crony-collective called Monsanto is simple: They are wielding their influence in government to skew information, withhold studies, and write laws that affect our health, on our unwitting behalf.
Monsanto is far too “backdoor” about its dealings with government officials — and about the safety of its products.
The company, for example, is not required by the government to release the FDA-approved studies that prove its products are safe. And we’re talking about studies that were conducted by Monsanto, without third party oversight.
But here’s the thing…
Little of what Monsanto does at this point matters. They are like tumor-laden salmon trying to swim upstream.
Despite Monsanto’s best efforts to plug bad press about GMOs, organic, says Mr. Market, is “hot.”
“Organic is much more mainstream now. More people are seeking it out,” Andrew Dunham, a farmer in Washington state told USA Today. “Demand [for organic] just keeps going up and up and up.”
Starting at $12 billion in the year 2000, organic food sales in the U.S. are now set to clock in $54.9 billion this year. And are projected to reach $61.1 billion by 2017…
Source: Seeking Alpha
Of course, according to Monsanto it’s time to bring out the big dogs. Which is why it recently turned to Congress for help.
The company’s new goal, in light of this scary trend, is to get Congress to ban organic food companies from stating that their food is non-GMO.
Think it can’t happen?
They did this in the ‘90s with rBGH — making it illegal for dairy farms to label their products rBGH-free. After suffering from backlash, the fine folks at the US Food and Drug Administration were gracious enough to compromise.
They now allow dairy companies to state there is “no significant difference” between rBGH-free and rBGH-filled products, if they have the rBGH-free label.
(And who says chivalry is dead?)
Legal expert Neil Hamilton called this ruling a “slippery slope.” And, he says, it could lead to more restrictions on food labels.
“Would they,” he asked back in 2008, “require labels on organic food to say there is no significant difference between organic and something else?”
And the answer, seven years later, is yes. Yes they would. And, unfortunately, Congress seems more than willing to help.
(And the beat goes on…)
Laissez Faire’s Director, Doug Hill, makes an appearance today to fill us in on the latest…
And show you what you can do today to help us fight back.
When Parasites Unite, it Gets Pretty Gross
Straight from the desk of Laissez Faire Director, Doug Hill
You aren’t going to believe this: Congress is considering a bill that will make it illegal for you to know if the food you buy contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
I’m not kidding. You won’t be allowed to know what you’re eating… by LAW!
The bill has already passed in the House and will soon be up for vote in the Senate. If we don’t do something soon… it will be too late.
If you’ve read anything about GMOs or Monsanto’s host-parasite relationship with the FDA, you know this is not a good development.
Today, we’re going to do something about it.
Sure, we’ve written about ways to steer clear of the worst offending foods.
And we’ve shown you ways to ensure the foods you do buy were not created by some chemist in a lab coat. But more needs to be done.
We want to stop this bill before it becomes law.
HR 1599 would allow for food companies to describe products that contain GMO ingredients as “natural.”
Clearly, this is a bad idea. You deserve the right to know if your food is genetically modified. Heck, food companies have to label the amount of trans fat in a can of soup.
GMOs, though? If this law passes, you won’t even know they’re in there.
As a general rule, Laissez Faire doesn’t get political. But this is ridiculous. I want you to help stop HR 1599 by filling out this petition.
Here’s why. Monsanto spends millions of dollars a year lobbying Congress to buy votes. Your name on this petition is the only other currency politicians will notice.
Click this link and sign our petition to stop HR 1599. (That will take you less time than it took you to read this sentence.) Then share the link with anyone you know who is aware of the dangers of GMOs and what Congress is trying to pull over on you.
We’re shooting for 50,000 signatures by Sept. 7. That week is when we expect the Senate to vote on HR 1599. Please click here to let the Senate know you disapprove of HR 1599.
[Chris’ note: Sign it, and share it with friends and family members.]
Managing editor, Laissez Faire Today
P.S. Have something to say? Say it! Chris@lfb.org.