2012-03-18 The word as virus: Myth-making in the syndication age

My general theory since 1971 has been that the Word is literally a virus, and that it has not been recognized as such because it has achieved a state of relatively stable symbiosis with its human host ... the Word clearly bears the single identifying feature of virus: it is an organism with no internal function other than to replicate itself.
- William Seward Burroughs, The Adding Machine

Anyone who has ever played the child's game of "Telephone" -- also called "Chinese Whispers" -- knows how readily the "grapevine" breeds distortion, as mistakes and deliberate misstatements can take on lives of their own. Often the mainstream news media acts as an adult version of this exercise in group error. In the system of mass news dissemination via major syndication agencies like Reuters and the Associated Press (AP), inaccuracies eventually become accepted "fact," and mistake morphs into meme and myth. A sole news service like AP is like "Telephone" on steroids, as it can easily distribute a single falsehood to more than 15,000 subscribers who then accept it as fact. Herein danger lies; for, in these days of trial by media, one person's fate and freedom may depend on a question as to which myth has more traction.

2012-02-27 WL press release: The Global Intelligence Files [UPDATE 2]

On the 27th of February 2012, Wikileaks released the following statement:

"LONDON—Today, Monday 27 February, WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files – more than five million emails from the Texas-headquartered "global intelligence" company Stratfor. The emails date from between July 2004 and late December 2011. They reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal’s Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defense Intelligence Agency. The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods, for example:

"[Y]ou have to take control of him. Control means financial, sexual or psychological control... This is intended to start our conversation on your next phase" – CEO George Friedman to Stratfor analyst Reva Bhalla on 6 December 2011, on how to exploit an Israeli intelligence informant providing information on the medical condition of the President of Venezuala, Hugo Chavez.

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