Mirage Men Revealed by Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden?


[disinfo ed.’s note: This post is by Mark Pilkington, who wrote the book on which the film Mirage Men is based, streaming NOW at Yekra]

A Powerpoint presentation made available on journalist Glenn Greenwald’s web site, Firstlook.org, may just have revealed the Mirage Men – or at least one branch of their operations.

The presentation is called The Art of Deception, Training for a New Generation of Online Covert Operations and was given by GCHQ’s Human Science Operation Cell (HSOC), linked to the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), whose existence was uncovered by Greenwald via the documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

[Initially I won’t reproduce any of the presentation itself, but you can see the whole thing here]

While the textual content of the presentation is not online, we can infer from the slides that the powerpoint outlines applied techniques for deploying psychology, deception, illusion, dissimulation, magic, religion and belief in their intelligence and counter-intelligence operations. These are the tools of the trade for the Mirage Men.

And, sure enough, scroll down to pages 35 to 37  in Strand 2: Influence and Information Operations and you will find three slides of UFO photographs…

If you’ve made it to this blog in the first place, then you don’t need me to explain why this is interesting.

While we don’t want to fall into the trap of confirmation bias that they refer to in slide 11, it is tempting to read the images as demonstrating that GCHQ consider the UFO subject, its attendant beliefs, and the vocal  community surrounding it, to be a useful field of operations for their activities.

The slides of UFOs and classic flying saucers might illustrate the ways that people have a tendency to see what they want to see, or want to believe in, and the ways in which their perceptions can be managed with just a few contextual nudges.

Slide 24 ‘Gambits of Deception’ lays out the building blocks of a classic Mirage Men-style deception operation, whereby all the elements of attention, perception, content, affect and behaviour modification can be shaped and steered. These are the magician’s secret weapons; as the card reads, in order to obtain their desired outcome the successful illusionist will need to “control attention / mask & mimic / exploit prior beliefs / create cognitive stress (and then) channel behaviour”.

randmagic1One of the many fascinating things about this document is how little has changed since 1950, when RAND published their own paper on the subject – Exploitation of Superstitions for Purposes of Psychological Warfare‘ [which I have written about hereand discuss in my own presentation, The Abuses of Enchantment.]

RAND’s paper discusses a similar modus operandi  for the ‘strategic influence and disruption’ of targets, and also references the work of wartime magician Neville Maskelyn, and CIA illusionist John Mulholland. One key difference is that while the GCHQ document appears to be making explicit reference to the UFO subject,  the RAND paper, prepared for the US Air Force, conspicuously avoids the subject.

Amongst many other things, this presentation – concerned as it is with exploiting online communities with specific sets of beliefs –  might have direct implications relating to the SERPO ”extraterrestrial exchange” documents that were circulated in 2005 and, indeed, for almost any other online dissemination point for UFO information (except this one of course).

Expect more on this fascinating new development over the coming weeks, but for now we can say with confidence that while their tools and their language may have changed over the past 60 years, the methods of the Mirage Men remain the same. And they are still out there.

10 Comments on "Mirage Men Revealed by Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden?"

  1. BuzzCoastin | Mar 27, 2014 at 12:57 pm |

    the tools of the trade for the Mirage Men
    have been widely used for millenniums
    so successfully
    that their techniques were almost imperceptible
    but starting in the 60z
    info about disinfo became widely available
    only a small percentage of the population discovered this
    and they are mainly the people who use it
    the rest are watching tv, following pop kulture &
    generally so enured to the exploit of their consciousness
    they have no idea it’s happening

    • Exactly.
      My current struggle is maintianing my equanimity and good humor in the face of this madness. I tend to get really pissed off when faced with this shit. Especially when I see otherwise intelligent people buying into the bullshit propaganda. My “liberal” Obama apologists friends, I find especially difficult to deal with.
      Everyday, in every way . . .

      • Craig Bickford | Mar 27, 2014 at 3:41 pm |

        What’s really funny is how many of these types of operations are running in public, lots of them are mentioned or showcased right on this web site every week. Of course no one who posts that kind of thing will own up to it. You guys are right, this occulting of reality has been going on a while.

      • BuzzCoastin | Mar 27, 2014 at 5:45 pm |

        I have stopped closely following media noise
        (my only new news comes disinfo, hacker news & background noise)
        and have quit trying to inform people of their peril
        (except for snide remarks here & I’m not really tryin)

        I have instead
        focused on learning some skills
        that connects me with nature
        and helps secure my food suply
        while minimizing personal interactions
        and limiting that to like minded people that I like

        Candide by Voltaire
        offers a humorous take on the present situation
        which is the old situation dressed new
        and offers a suggestion for solution:
        “let us cultivate our garden”

        • Yeah, I tuned out most media noise years ago.
          I also keep social interactions limited to a small group of people I like.

          • BuzzCoastin | Mar 27, 2014 at 10:54 pm |

            if the people you like
            are especially difficult to deal with
            then maybe it’s time to jnlike them

          • I do not deal with them that much. I find that despite our differences in outlook, they are still good people.
            Have recently been on a “find the others” mission. This has worked out pretty well so far.

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