It’s Happening Here
Nowadays it’s considered common knowledge that countries such as Russia, China, and the United States will use armies of fake accounts to create discord and chaos on social media.
Currently, most people are comfortable using language such as “bots” and “troll farms” to describe how state-sponsored actors will seek to magnify divisions within our communities.
But in the year or so leading into the 2016 election, this was not yet the case, and the suggestion that any such sophistication might exist was received with derision and public humiliation.
It might’ve been a year prior, Portland was going through a community discussion regarding how public educational resources were distributed, with the aspiration that they be distributed equitably.
At the time, I was employed in the information security and fraud detection industry, within research and development (R&D) efforts, and one of my specific areas of expertise relates to the use of fake accounts to pervert the perception of perceived reality in the context of crime and fraud.
But like I said: most people weren’t even aware that stuff happened, so when I suggested that Portland was being targeted by fake accounts to create discord within our communities, I was put on blast, and publicly eviscerated by the worst kind of mob: a progressive one.
Malcolm X said that conservatives are wolves, whereas liberals are foxes, and he credited the conservatives with at least being honest with themselves regarding their distain for poor people of color, whereas frequently, liberals believe that they are allies, even while doing everything they can to make sure they remain just step or two above the poor.
There was a woman who lived two blocks away that had positioned herself prominently within the public debate over public education, and she took to publicly shaming me for suggesting that any such intentional discord might be pursued, publicly naming me a racist.
This played well within the mob, and for a while there we received a lot of harassment, led by people such as the same white woman from down the street whose own children attended a PRIVATE school — not a public one, and who had positioned herself as the champion of civil rights within the context of the public school system, in the most predominantly white large city in the United States.
But I wasn’t wrong. That’s the thing. I was correct.
I DID actually detect the use of fake accounts that had infiltrated the various Facebook groups used at the time for discussion, and they were there for the purposes of creating discord.
Further, I had “liberated” a few of them, dumping their log data to reveal that indeed many of their sessions were coming from outside the United States, many in the eastern European area, NOT from inside the Portland metro area.
And I know how to “liberate” (steal) an account because again: that’s my explicit professional domain, but the mob wasn’t hearing it.
At the time I was precluded from publicly announcing that I was concurrently serving as a subject matter expert to the FBI in their investigation of how state-sponsored actors inclusive to Russia were using fake accounts to create discord online.
Indeed, I wasn’t able to push this particular information into the public domain until my divorce (five years later: in 2020), where I was presented an opportunity to get my soon to be ex-wife to testify under oath that yes, she had actually met the agents that had been interviewing me in their acquisition of information in support of their investigation, which shot a great big hole in her theory that I was simply insane.
And she was pursuing a campaign designed to question my sanity because it was her aspiration to strip the children from my life.
But, again: at the time, this was my job. I was responsible for the detection of various fraud behaviors within a company that was actively monitoring seven billion devices, and about half of them were mobile, and that was my explicit responsibility.
So, yes: the FBI would visit me at work, we would sit in conference rooms, I would draw pictures for them on whiteboards, they would take notes. This happens, but I couldn’t talk about it at the time.
Didn’t matter: the mob had what it wanted: a white person, A MAN, challenging their righteous campaign on behalf of people who are almost entirely precluded from living within their own communities: poor people of color.
And so I was put on blast as the racist.
Also, it became convenient to suggest that I was paranoid, that I was talking craziness, although in fewer than two years it was revealed that indeed: Russia and other countries HAD ACTUALLY used fake accounts and sponsored targeted post to create discord online.
Here’s a really cool thing about the story:
Not a single person has acknowledged their role in participating in a mob designed to destroy my reputation within my own community, when all I did was try and warn them that there was a reason they were arguing so viciously, and with such divisiveness.
And I didn’t even want to be involved in the first place. My now ex-wife asked me to take a look, because of the weirdly divisive chaos.
They didn’t want to hear it. She didn’t want to hear it. They wanted their righteousness, and they absolutely wanted their mob.
This is what trips me out about people, right? At the end of the day many people are not capable of being honest with themselves.
They tell themselves that they are good people, and from time to time they may feel a stab of discomfort when they think about something they might have done in the past, but they cover it up just as quickly as possible, pointing fingers in every way possible to freedom of the responsibility they might have played within the mob.
“Well, Kent was mad, so he was just crazy.”
Counterpoint: maybe I was angry for a reason?
Let’s play make believe. Imagine you could see it happening, and you tried to warn people, and they just weren’t having it. Let’s say they put you on blast, publicly humiliating you. Would that make you angry? What’s the neurotypical response to betrayal? Anyone know?
Anyway, it was years ago, but I learned a lot about people though that experience, sort of in alignment with what I learned about my own family in the context of abuse.
And what weirds me out about those on the left is that they really do believe they are righteous, they tell themselves and one another every day that the conservatives are the big idiots, kind of how Christians believe they are the forever good guys.
And look, the conservatives have almost entirely cornered the market of morons. There are no shortage of idiots who legitimately believe that Donald Trump is a genius. Astounding, because that guy is a top shelf buffoon at best.
But what both so-called sides share in common is how they sit comfortably at the intersection of ignorance and arrogance, which might be: hubris.
And so you get people on the left to vote for “their guy,“ even though they know that they are going to get betrayed by the precise same institution that helped Donald Trump become successful in his endeavors without any negative consequences.
They are frequently ignorant about a particular situation, but they refuse to acknowledge that they could possibly know less than someone else, and so they arrogantly dismiss anything that comes their way …. unless it is endorsed by higher authority.
Like the media, I suppose. Bizarre.
So it’s sort of like tumbleweeds I guess, they tumble along the tapestry of our shared experience, bumping almost by accident, challenging them so they might periodically except that, no. Maybe they didn’t already know everything in the universe, and maybe they might have been wrong from time to time.
Weird shit. I could see it and nobody was listening. It was frustrating.
But that was years ago, right? Things move on, and today I’m in a completely different place, and pretty happy with my life and my newfound friends.
For me, I got kicked down the stairwell, locked out of my finances and my home, blacklisted from my industry, one that I had worked very hard to secure, and after months of failed interviews for jobs that I should’ve secured without much effort, the ONLY job that came together was one suggested to me by a homeless person wrapped in a sleeping bag suggesting that I contact a Canadian philosopher.
Because that’s normal.
That same “Canadian philosopher” put me in touch with a woman who has been revealed in the New York Times and Wikileaks as being an asset of the intelligence community, and days later I was on a plane to Amsterdam, sitting next to a woman from the state department.
And even THAT story is dismissed as fantasy, although if people wanted to they could actually search the Internet and confirm that yes, within months of my public humiliation I was indeed working for a company in Amsterdam, whose CEO was indeed named in the New York Times and WikiLeaks as an asset of the intelligence community.
They could ask themselves: how did this come to be?
How did Kent transition so quickly from public humiliation to working for a spy, in a company based in Europe?
People don’t want to hear this. Consider the implications. That’s too close to home for most people, so they recoil into denial.
It’s outside the realm of their experience, they hold their hands to their heads and say no no no no no no no, Kent is crazy. He’s crazy. This is crazy.
Because denial is JUST that powerful.
What if I was correct? What would that say about our families, our communities, our government?
We believe that only evil countries like Russia would completely hijack a person’s life, and only in places like Eastern Europe will families and communities recoil from the opportunity to protect their own. “Orcs” we call them.
Brothers and sisters, I’m here to tell you that many of you are likely exactly the same.
With very few exceptions, most of you would turn on your own to protect yourself, turn a blind eye to injustice just to make sure that you’re able to save your own skin.
“I don’t want to be on a list.”
That’s really what fascinates me about the holocaust story: in America every kid fantasizes about how they would confront great injustice against the Nazis, without recognizing that as adults they actually become that same precise thing, within a country that went out of his way to hand-pick the best Nazis for inclusion within its own institution.
And, yes this is true.
The United States picked up about 1,600 Nazis, the Soviet Union handpicked about 2,200 Nazis for themselves, and pretty much every other country got to pick a sample of Nazis for their own governments.
Which is trippy if you consider our conflict in Ukraine, because while most people like to tell themselves that the end the Nazis killed all of the Jews in concentration camps, the more uncomfortable truth is that many Jews were murdered by their own neighbors, their possessions looted while the Nazis looked on, in places like: Ukraine.
Makes me wonder, right?
The progressives and those on the left tell themselves that it would be the conservatives that would be first to single out one of their own for sacrifice as long as they could save their own skin, but that’s not been my experience.
It’s the people with the pink hats and the BLM signs. The pretty ones. They are most complaint, and from a place of great righteousness.
I think Malcolm X was onto something: foxes and wolves, but at least the wolves are honest with themselves.
As Malcolm X said: the foxes present a pretty smile, and people run into their jaws, realizing too late that they’ve been betrayed.
It’s my hope that my periodic dispatches serve as an opportunity for people to break the consensus trance that keeps them bound to the mob, but history suggests otherwise: only a few do, and I appreciate them more than you’d know until you’ve experienced what I have.
And it’s my wish that you do not, and I have no idea how to wake people up.
So I just wait, and continue doing my thing, allowing me to hide in plain sight because I’ve learned that the institution refuses to platform a story nobody wants to hear.