Argument against DSI: agent provocateurs and false flags

To some who prejudicially believe that all militant activists are living in a Romanticist fantasyland beyond rational criticism, it will be a surprise that I welcome counterarguments to the claim that nonviolent sabotage of Big Tech is a realistic and morally justifiable tactic. I welcome criticism not only because I view science as the best way to satisfy Mercurial and sometimes Faustian curiosity (God saved Faust in the end) but also because I’ve seen the last 30 years how both militant activists and Western militaries have failed because of unrealistic assumptions. Emotionally I’m a Romanticist, always rooted in the ethics of Christianity/Kant, but no dreamer likes to see his or her dream go down the drain when naive expectations are crushed by reality. There is reason to be skeptical of Big Science, but even we political Romanticists need to respect basic scientific standards, as described by Sokal and Taleb, if wanting to have any chance of realizing our dreams.

One of the best arguments against the project of drone-surveillance.info (DSI) is that high-functioning psychopathic CEOs in the global corporate elite, and especially in the arms industry, will have no qualms about using agent provocateurs and false flag operations to discredit a nonviolent sabotage campaign against Big Tech.

The good news is that the DSI project doesn’t rely on popular support. The reasons for this are explained here. But it cannot be denied that recruitment of new militant activists will be more difficult if or when corporate media deliberately tries to create the impression that DSI is linked to failed sabotage operations that have caused physical harm to human beings.

Private intelligence agencies (PIAs) use undercover operators to infiltrate militant movements. After seeing what CIA and other units have done in Guantanamo and black sites around the world, going all the way back to MK-ULTRA and the Tuskegee Study, one has to take it for granted that the Machiavellians of Big Tech will try to use agent provocateurs and false flag operations if they see an opportunity to get away with it.

I’m not writing about false flags to give real militant activists a way to blame the enemy if a genuine sabotage operation has accidentally led to casualties. The point is that uncertainty about who is responsible for an accident or scandalous operation will in itself be demoralizing if you are a real militant activist. That’s why I explicitly state that nobody should get involved in nonviolent sabotage operations if they don’t know what they are doing, i.e. don’t have foreseen negative side effects. You got to respect Murphy’s law.

A false flag operation is risky, so high-functioning psychopathic CEOs will only allow it if no other alternatives are available. But real militant activists should be mentally prepared for it, because it’s demoralizing if seeing in the news that a sabotage operation has “accidentally” led to civilian deaths.

Machiavellian tricks and traps

Here’s how an undercover agent may start a false flag or entrapment operation: after being inside a militant subculture for a couple of years, he might find a naive and gullible newbie in the resistance movement who wants to prove to others that he is a brave and heroic militant activist. The UC agent tells the rookie that he knows about this unguarded fiber-optic cable that the newbie should cut. The naive fool plans the operation very carefully, and everything is done according to the book, but he trusted the UC agent, so he didn’t double-check which safety-critical services were dependent on that specific cable, so when he cuts it the computers in a hospital stop working, perhaps only briefly, but it will be enough for corporate media to discredit militant anti-surveillance activists.

Here’s another scenario where an UC agent provokes or entraps a not-so-bright militant activist: a slightly unstable young rebel with a criminal background joins a hardcore militia. There he meets an impressive veteran looking like a retired SF soldier, but without knowing that he’s an UC agent, so when the latter gives him a pamphlet containing articles from the DSI website he takes it home and reads it. During the next weeks and months the UC agent inspires him to plan a terrorist operation against Big Tech. A day before the attack he gets arrested, the police finds the DSI pamphlet, and the headlines of corporate media is predictable: “Terrorist caught after being inspired by DSI”.

By presenting the above scenarios I hope that PIAs and corporate media will realize that provocations, entrapments and false flag operations may not have a significant negative impact on DSI. Because we have already taken such Machiavellian tactics into account and told real activists:

1) if you are so incompetent that you accidentally caused physical harm to a human being during a nonviolent sabotage operation, then don’t blame DSI, because we explicitly warned you of the risks and clearly said that no unskilled or reckless person should become a militant activist.

2) we have also clearly said that don’t get involved in nonviolent sabotage of Big Tech if not being willing to continue the fight after false flag operations have occurred.

3) stay away from militant activism if you are not mentally prepared to endure corporate smear campaigns against yourself and other activists.

Do you care about what is written in Pravda? No. The same goes for corporate media, even when a smear is based on facts. For example, if the FBI shows you a video of your militia leader doing something that violates your ideals, don’t focus on the mistakes of the leader but instead keep planning your own independent militant operation, either alone or together with a close friend that you really trust. Don’t waste energy on the internal struggles of a militant group. Focus on the ball, and ignore the disruptions caused by intelligence agencies.

Realism or defeatism?

Winning a battle, or avoiding defeat in an insurgency of attrition, as seen in Iraq for example, is all about who has the will power to never give up. It’s all about staying power. Intelligence agencies want militant activists to become disillusioned, to surrender in hopelessness and defeatism. There can sometimes be a thin line between realism and disillusionment. Some of the articles published here on DSI are reality checks, cold water in the face of militant activists. But getting people down to earth is not the same as subtly encouraging defeatism.

Nevertheless it’s a fact that “keeping it real” will have a sobering effect on everybody in the resistance. The basic rule in such situations: no matter how you feel, keep fighting. Don’t be a slave of your emotions. Keep soldiering on even when it feels hopeless, as long as this feeling isn’t clearly a reflection of truly hopeless facts. One fact, though not hopeless, is the risk of being discredited by agent provocateurs and false flag operations. This risk is an argument against DSI because there is no point supporting nonviolent sabotage in theory if only a few militant anti-surveillance activists in real life are willing to endure the stress and risks of Byzantine 4th- and 5th-generation warfare.

Another slightly related risk that will be demoralizing if you are a responsible and ethically conscious militant activist is the real chance that some deranged individual, such as Anthony Warner, blows up an AT&T regional hub, for example, and then says during interrogation that he was motivated by arguments presented here on DSI. Corporate media will love that. So, if any unstable person is reading this, you hereby know that DSI will never support your unethical militant operations. Do not interpret anything on this website as a hidden sign or “dog whistle” that we support terrorism or other types of reckless activism.

Underestimating the power of an enemy has led militant activists in the past to conduct risky or violent operations that were ineffective or backfired. Let’s be honest and just admit that Romanticists deliberately and consciously decide to be dreamers and that this choice will have a tendency to cause biases and somewhat distort or deny realities. For example, when seeing the alcohol consumption in some high-spirited radical movements it’s nothing objectively wrong with that necessarily, but if you want to engage in militant activism just remember that Churchill didn’t say: I can only promise you blood, sweat and beers.

War is not for amateurs. The generals who planned the Normandy landings, or D-Day, in 1944 could not afford to underestimate the enemy. Militant anti-surveillance activists should not downplay the risks when dealing with opportunistic Machiavellians and idealistic crusaders in Big Tech. They will fight dirty, if no safer alternative is better. Attacking global Big Tech is a bit like a few (good) men in 1941 standing alone on the beach of Dover while dreaming of attacking the Germans in Normandy.

A principle of DSI is that militant activists should have equal or better morality and skills than police officers in Scandinavian countries. Activists must therefore respect 1) the basic criteria of the Just War doctrine, and 2) the judicial rules of necessity and self-defense in the penal codes of states like Norway. This means that one should not plan a militant operation if: lacking tactical skills and it’s clear that the strategic chance of success is small. It requires that one doesn’t deny painful realities, but what is the real chance of success if trying to nonviolently sabotage Big Tech? To answer this question I’ve invited critics who may hopefully prove that the DSI project is wrong. I say “hopefully” because militant activism is not fun or exciting. It’s boring, tedious and dangerous, with a real possibility of getting jailed. Nobody wants that if it can be avoided, if it turns out that it’s unnecessary or unrealistic.

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