Can the Ukrainian government target American journalists in America?

By George Eliason
OpEd News, March 19, 2015

If you are a journalist writing about or a person concerned about issues like Free Speech, read or write in alternative media or news, Occupy movement, Ferguson, Gaza, Ukraine, Russia, police brutality, US interventionism, fair government, homelessness, keeping the government accountable, representative government, government intrusions like the NSA is doing, or you are liberal, progressive, libertarian, conservative, separation of church and state, religion, …

If you have a website, write, read, or like something in social media that strays outside the new lines the war isn’t coming, its now here.

What would we do? Disrupt, deny, degrade, deceive, corrupt, usurp or destroy the information. The information, please don’t forget, is the ultimate objective of cyber. That will directly impact the decision-making process of the adversary’s leader who is the ultimate target.”– Joel Harding on Ukraine’s cyber strategy

Welcome to World of Private Sector IO (Information Operations)

IO or IIO (Inform and Influence Operations) defined by the US Army includes the fields of psychological operations and military deception.

In military IIO operations center on the ability to influence foreign audiences, US and global audiences, and adversely affect enemy decision making through an integrated approach. Even current event news is released in this fashion. Each portal is given messages that follow the same themes because it is an across the board mainstream effort that fills the information space entirely when it is working correctly.

The purpose of ” Inform and Influence Operations” is not to provide a perspective, opinion, or lay out a policy. It is defined as the ability to make audiences “think and act” in a manner favorable to the mission objectives. This is done through applying perception management techniques which target the audiences emotions, motives, and reasoning.

These techniques are not geared for debate. It is to overwhelm and change the target psyche.

Using these techniques information sources can be manipulated and those that write, speak, or think counter to the objective are relegated as propaganda, ill informed, or irrelevant.

Meet Joel Harding-Ukraine’s King Troll

According to his own bio- Joel spent 26 years in the Army; his first nine years were spent as an enlisted soldier, mostly in Special Forces, as a SF qualified communicator and medic, on an A Team. After completing his degree, Joel then received his commission as an Infantry Officer and after four years transitioned to the Military Intelligence Corps. In the mid 1990s Joel was working in the Joint Staff J2 in support of special operations, where he began working in the new field called Information Operations. Eligible Receiver 1997 was his trial by fire, after that he became the Joint Staff J2 liaison for IO to the CIA, DIA, NSA, DISA and other assorted agencies in the Washington DC area, working as the intelligence lead on the Joint Staff IO Response Cell for Solar Sunrise and Moonlight Maze. Joel followed this by a tour at SOCCENT and then INSCOM, working in both IO and intelligence. Joel retired from the Army in 2003, working for various large defense contractors until accepting the position with the Association of Old Crows.

According to TechRepublicThe career of Joel Harding, the director of the group”s(Old Crows) Information Operations Institute, exemplifies the increasing role that computing and the Internet are playing in the military. A 20-year veteran of military intelligence, Mr. Harding shifted in 1996 into one of the earliest commands that studied government-sponsored computer hacker programs. After leaving the military, he took a job as an analyst at SAIC, a large contractor developing computer applications for military and intelligence agencies.

Joel Harding established the Information Operations Institute shortly after joining the Institute at the Association of Old Crows; he then procured the rights to InfowarCon and stood it up in 2009. Joel is an editor of “The IO Journal”, the premier publication in the field of IO. Joel formed an IO advisory committee, consisting of the 20 key leaders from Us and UK corporate, government, military and academia IO. Joel wrote the white paper for IO which was used as background paper for US Office of the Secretary of Defense’s QDR IO subcommittee.

For ten years the Association of Old Crows has been the Electronic Warfare and Information Operations Association, but there has been no concerted effort to rally the IO Community. This has changed, the IO Institute was approved as a Special Interest Group of the AOC in 2008 and we have already become a major player in the IO Community. This is especially important with the recent formation of the US Cyber Command, with the new definition of Information Operations coming out of the Quadrennial Defense Review, with a new perspective of Electronic Warfare and a myriad of other changes. The IO Institute brings you events, most notably InfowarCon. Our flagship publication is the IO Journal, already assigned reading by at least two military IO educational programs. IO classes are integrated with Electronic Warfare classes to educate, satisfy requirements and enable contractors to be more competitive.

When you look at the beginning of the NSA’s intrusive policies you find Joel Harding . Harding helped pioneer the invasive software used by government and business to explore your social networks, influence you, and dig out every personal detail. In Operation Eligible Receiver 1997 he used freeware taken from the internet to invade the DoD computers, utilities, and more. It’s because most of it is based in “freeware” that NSA snooping has a legal basis. If you can get the software for free and use it , why can’t the government use it on you?

Ukraine-Bringing it into Focus

Looking back at Joel Harding in 2012 seems like a different man. This is the same accomplished professional described above before Maidan. Here’s how he describes the Russian, Chinese, and American experience before his involvement in Ukraine.

…These experiences, and the fact that I spent nine years in Special Forces and that kind of thing, caused me to think. Then I began to wonder. How much of what we read and what we see is propaganda? Not foreign propaganda, but domestic? How much of that domestic ‘information’ is propaganda? …We are being smothered in one lie after another. All in the name of politics. It seems to me that these politicians are almost complacent with us behaving like suckling pigs, absolute ignorant morons” Free, unfettered, uncensored information exposes the lies their governments prefer to feed them, allowing their citizens to know and understand the truth. Authoritarians, like dictators, communists, fascists and many sectarian or religious governments, are said to enhance their authority over their citizens with the use of filters.”

So I ask you, do you see more lies and propaganda here than I saw in China or Russia ? I would say it depends on your perspective. I see more lies aimed at us from our own politicians than I have ever seen anyplace else in the world” you tell me. Are Americans more susceptible to propaganda?-Harding

Joel Harding has quite a different opinion in 2014 after taking control of Information Operations (IO) in Ukraine.

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