Note: This post will also cover details about how to design and operate effective disinformation plots.
I could not help myself from grabbing my laptop and furiously punch keys right now (Monday, September 26, 2016). In front of me on the television, we have this Senator Trillanes, in the Senate hearing on the alleged human rights violation complaints against Duterte, rambling about how Matobato should be considered by the plenary as a credible witness. Presenting his prepared presentation where it shows a number of Matobato’s statements supposedly verified and confirmed as truthful based on the physical evidences that he (or his staff) has gathered.
First and foremost, we (I am with some colleagues and professional friends) don’t have anything against Senator Trillanes. We think that this PMAer is a good man, and is maybe doing stuff fueled by his personal advocacy to protect the Filipino society, so he believes he is doing.
However, we cannot ignore the fact that it is VERY FRUSTRATING for us ordinary non-involved – but affected – citizens to see our politicians use their position, authority, and privilege for personal manipulation of the already corrupt government system of the Philippines simply because the involve do not belong to the same political party and does not share the same agenda, beliefs, and aspirations.
Secondly, please note that I, and my colleagues and friends DID NOT vote Duterte during the previous election. I personally voted Madam Santiago back then, and was even hoping that Duterte would not win. Not because I have anything bad against the back-then Mayor of Davao, but rather because I simply wanted the for-me brilliant lady senator to lead the country.
So, this post is in no way should be treated as partisan, leaning towards one side, but should be regarded as purely a public opinion that we, the ordinary citizens of our beloved country, would like to express under our constituted rights and freedom of expression.
Going to the topic: Is Trillanes a disinformer in this scene, or simply is effectively misinformed?
Let us ask the good Senator Trillanes: “Sir, do you know HOW DISINFORMATION really works?”
While closely watching the presentation of the said senator, and focused on listening to what he is saying, I remembered a great novel that I read back in the early 2000 titled SPIKE. It is a story about an ambitious but noble-spirited novice news writer who went through a lot of grim errands to bring out the dark truth against their current government. To cut the story short, what he discovered in the end is the total opposite: THE SHOCKING REALITY OF DISINFORMATION. Worst, a massive disinformation operation involving not ordinary conspirators but big people and influential organizations from absolutely all facets of their own society. From the people from media, business bigwigs, and even some persona inside the very pillars of their Congress and the White House.
Reading this novel showed and taught me a lot about EFFECTIVE DISINFORMATION. How to design it. Mobilize. And sustain, until the ultimate goal has been accomplished. Here are the basics, and I believe you smart people will be able to see the bigger picture on your own:
HOW TO PREPARE A DISINFORMATION AGENT:
Basically, it is all about a delicate manipulation, stretching, and distortion of actual truths and real facts.
- ESTABLISHING GENUINE PROFILE. The initial objective is to establish a truthful foundation for the agent’s background. The agent is supposed to give real facts about himself, facts that actually exist and can be cross-checked, verified, and confirmed. Once that has been effectively done and successfully accepted by the public, the first notion of everyone is that this person is genuine basing on the background investigation.
In Trillanes’ presentation, this part is reflected by Matobato’s records of Job Order, employment, payrolls, ID cards, permits related to possession of arms and munitions, documented cases and events filed, connections (related to employment) to actual people named, and so forth. As mentioned, real and actual facts. So, there should be no surprise that as far as Matobato’s background is concerned, his information about his person is definitely true.
- CITING GENUINE EVENTS. The next step is for the agent, acting as a witness, will divulge small details of actual events. Keeping the reality untouched to maintain credible statements. The objective is to share information about events and incidents that actually happened, whether or not he involves the target person or not in the statements. And since these stated events and incidents, again, actually did happened, then that builds further the appearance of credibility towards the witness.
NOW, number 3 is where and when the real work and design begins. Take note, numbers 1 and 2 above are mere preparation to make the agent appear as a credible witness because everything in his statements under 1 and 2 are real and factual information.
- INTRODUCTION OF DISTORTED TRUTH. This is the very delicate part because it is going to be USING THE TRUTH but inserting fabricated lies. The move is for the agent to cite actual events THEN WILL INVOLVE the target. Take note that even these are half-truth and half-lies, since the investigation is about getting the statement of the supposed witness, what’s important is that the target has been mentioned and involved, and will be part of the next proceeding.
In Trillanes’ presentation, a number of actual events may be noted as examples. One is about the abduction and murder of certain people, like of that person mentioned as identified terrorist and husband of Matobato’s cousin. Of the ladies including a lady barangay captain. Another is the alleged abduction and torture of his person by the policemen supposedly his accomplice in the DDS. The alleged love triangle related killing. The report about a piece of land used as dumping site for their salvaged victims. And so forth. Again, THIS ARE ACTUAL EVENTS PUBLICLY KNOWN. BUT THE DISINFORMATION IS THAT THE TARGET IS NOW BEING MENTIONED AS ALLEGEDLY DIRECTLY INVOLVED. A CONCOCTION OF HALF-TRUTHS AND HALF-LIES THAT WILL NEVER BE VERIFIED SINCE THE TARGET WILL OF COURSE DENY THE ALLEGATIONS. BUT THEN AGAIN, THE SOLE PURPOSE OF THE DESIGN IS TO MENTION THE TARGET BEING INVOLVED.
Maybe it is a lot clearer if we cite other examples on how this part works. At this very moment a number of killings are being reported by GMA7. One report is about a grenade blast incident in Culiat, Quezon City. Another report is about a blindfolded and with arms taped man shot multiple times to death in the open by two unidentified riding in tandems caught (for me, appearing to be intentional) by the street’s CCTV camera also in QC. One more is about the discovery of suspected victims of summary execution in Pasay. What if these incidents will be investigated, a witness appeared, background checked and assumed credible, THEN POINTS TO TRILLANES AS THE MASTERMIND OF ALL THREE? DEFINITELY TRILLANES WILL DENY THE ALLEGATIONS, BUT THEN AGAIN THE PURPOSE OF DISINFORMATION IS TO FALSELY INVOLVE THE TARGET IN THE ACTUAL EVENTS.
- Finally, FABRICATION OF ABSOLUTE LIES. For the forth step of the design, after establishing a truthful background, citing actual events, and successfully introducing half-truths or distorted information, and the agent is by now made an impression of being possibly credible, the last move is to confidently throw in complete false allegations. The agent and the operators behind the scene care less where this will lead but the important thing to them is that the target IS NOW INVOLVE AND IN TROUBLE.
THESE FOUR STEPS once done successfully, will work on its own in the succeeding investigations. Fueled by both fair and of biased media reporting, violent public reaction and opinion, and with further manipulation of the designers of the disinformation.
These four steps for designing and executing disinformation is so effective that it even happens within the not-so secured powerful nations. So how much more in the Philippines with an overly corrupted government and social system. One of the questions left now is that, are we going to be easily deceived by the deception? If the designers and operators are experts in this business, we could. But so far, I don’t think this people shown in the television are nowhere near being specialists because they are doing this badly. The agent is breaking apart with his own words, and the supporters are so obvious in their supporting. Bad performance. However, it seems like as bad as they are performing, the public is so dumb that we all just simply follow the tide and believe everything we see and hear per se.
The final question: Senator Trillanes, are you truly for the people and is being manipulated by the deception? OR are you for THEM and is part of the deception? If you are part of this, we suggest do a better performance next time in defending Matobato, while also in pursuit of stopping the administration’s aggressive campaign against drug syndicates and operations, criminality, and the ever frustrating corruption in the government by politicians like you. And to bringing down the current President that will EVENTUALLY PUT SOMEONE ELSE IN MALACAÑAN WHO IS MORE FAVORABLE FOR YOUR OWN AGENDAS, AND FOR OTHERS LIKE YOU.