26 February 2009

Maddie: Satellites and Espionage

by Paulo Sargento*

Duarte Levy has published an article in ‘24Horas’ newspaper, on Monday the 23rd of February 2009, that many unsuspecting readers might think was a Carnival joke. But anyone who knows journalist Duarte Levy knows that, both in the ‘blogshpere’ and in the more traditional press, he is not a man to hide behind masks. Actually, that’s the very reason why, showing his face throughout the high quality investigation that he carries out, he has experienced a few misfortunes, just like Paulo Reis, Gonçalo Amaral, Hernâni Carvalho and others who, if it wasn’t for the excessive amount of events, on the same “targets”, and within particular time circumstances, one might state that these gentlemen share the common fact that… “they’re very unlucky”. Within less than 2 years, these men have experienced more flat tires, car hits, unjustified detentions, persecutions, computer hackings, cowardly dog assassinations, phone threats, computer viruses, anonymous letters, forbidden document translations, thefts, robberies, meetings with mediums and threats to their physical integrity, than they had suffered in their entire lives. Their ages lie between 40 and 50. But it took only 21 months for the number of “unpleasant” events to reach, for some of them, and within this time frame, occurrence rates that are 50 times higher than the probability that they occur with to any common citizen within an average 80 year life span. Amazing, isn’t it? And everything in silence and without (apparent) connections.

Well. Let’s return to Duarte Levy’s article and explore a bit of the subject that he treated notably.

I retained two central aspects: that the satellites were turned towards Morocco and the existence of “spies”.

Why did I retain the reply that the journalist was offered: “The satellites were all turned towards Morocco”?

Because this is a Mitchell Style reply. If we take a closer look at some of the questions and answers that appear, from a certain time onwards, in the Maddie case, we are faced with notable structural similarities, under the linguistic point of view (both in syntactical and in pragmatic terms). But, even more! While looking barbarously stupid, those questions or answers are absolutely contusing! Always! What do I mean? That they are obvious lies! Nobody believes that all British satellites (because they certainly don’t own just one, and as a matter of fact, the number of objects that circle the earth is becoming worrying, namely since recently two satellites collided) were turned towards Morocco. Why? Because apart from the technical problems that would arise, there would have to be at least ONE acceptable justification for such an event. A State secret? This is where I state that the replies are contusing, despite barbarously stupid and appearing to treat us all as clowns (I beg the clowns, the real ones, whom I much admire, to forgive me).

How does one refute a State secret? Motives to point towards Morocco? Yes, of course! But they are top secret! And it had to happen in the 3rd of May 2007, of all days! What special event took place in Morocco at that point in time, for all of the satellites to be oriented into that location? As far as we know: NOTHING. NOTHING. But being a State Secret, the stupidity acquires contusion.

This type reply is typical, just like the justification for G. McCann’s visit and so many others.

Allow me to say this: there probably is nothing that could be more irritating than to be forced to accept the contusion of stupidity!

But, there was a mention of spies?

Apart from the simple technique of anonymity that is permitted by the ‘blogshpere’ but which an attentive analysis of the timings and the “grammatical styles” unveils, we have a far more powerful trap: a new form of counter-information – the “Streisand effect”.

The so-called “Streisand effect” has often surfaced on the internet. In Portugal, we have a more parsimonious popular expression: “a cat hiding with its tail sticking out”.

So, what’s this so-called “Streisand effect”? This is a supposed effect that is produced when there is an attempt to censor something on the internet. In a simplified manner, given the structure, the number of people and the means that are available on the internet, if I want to prevent certain news from coming out, or if I try to censor it, the effect of said censorship is the exact opposite of what was intended, because it tends to replicate in every possible and imaginary manner, like some sort of cybernetic self-regulation.

But is it just us who know this? No! The “Streisand effect” is Poison and Antidote, an old espionage recipe. Do you know why? Imagine that I try to censor a piece of news in order to render another one innocuous? Imagine that after one undesirable piece of news is at risk of spreading, I place two or three other placebo pieces of news (but booby-trapped as pseudo-censors)? Is this possible?

Can you imagine how often this has happened in the Maddie Case? Numberless times, and almost always under the shape of CONTUSION THAT SMOTHERS STUPIDITY!

See you around!


source: Câmara de Comuns blog, 25.02.2009


* Forensic psychologist, university professor, author and blogger



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From Wikipedia: The term Streisand effect originally referred to a 2003 incident in which Barbra Streisand sued photographer Kenneth Adelman and Pictopia.com for US$50 million in an attempt to have the aerial photo of her house removed from the publicly available collection of 12,000 California coastline photographs, citing privacy concerns. Adelman stated that he was photographing beachfront property to document coastal erosion as part of the California Coastal Records Project. As a result of the case the picture became popular on the internet, with over 420,000 people visiting the site over the next month.

1 comment:

  1. "CONTUSION THAT SMOTHERS STUPIDITY!"

    Here in the UK we have a technical term for this kind of behaviour, we call it taking the piss.

    ReplyDelete