The controversial Cass Sunstein of the Obama administration is back in the news again. But this time, a citizen journalist brought his controversial words to the forefront.
A while back, he wrote a piece explaining how “conspiracy theorists” are dangerous and called for the government to infiltrate these “extremist” groups. Sunstein advocated infiltrating these groups with government agents through chat rooms, social media sites and/or even real-space events. Basically, Sunstein wanted these persons, who would be working for the government, to represents independent persons or groups, while spreading propaganda. He even goes as far as to say that conspiracy theorists should be taxed.
In Sunstein’s piece he calls for the government to “cognitively infiltrate” activist organizations. This is just a fancy word for propaganda. In a report by the Congressional Research Service propaganda is defined as,
“[…] information which originates from the government but is unattributed and made to appear as though it came from a third party.”
A piece by Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com lays out the gist of these implications here.
When confronted by citizen journalist Luke Rudkowski of WeAreChange.com during a Q&A session, Sunstein seemed to have amnesia. Rudkowski asked Sunstein if he was serious about these claims and why he wanted to go through with them. Sunstein pleaded ignorant, gave the typical politician-esque response, chuckled and said that he may or may not agree with some of the things he’s written, but he’s not really sure. He also said, “I don’t remember the article very well” and “I hope I didn’t say either of those things.”
What?! English fool, do you speak it?
If you’re as confused as I am, then that’s exactly what Sunstein and the Obama administration want. Why couldn’t Sunstein have just said he didn’t write these words or just admit that he did and have an intellectual conversation? Instead he stuttered, laughed nervously and acted as though he didn’t remember writing “those” words.
The exchange is still very odd in my view.
These ideas by Sunstein are serious and the implications are real. Cass Sunstein is an important member of the Obama administration and may one day become a Supreme Court justice. By waging a war on conspiracy theorists he is essentially gutting the First Amendment. This would lead to an out of control government (and I’ll refrain from using the overused “f” word that ends in “ism”) and the erosion of our freedoms.
As the information wars continue, the best thing one can do is to get involved in one’s community, ask questions of so-called leaders, educate friends and family and become a citizen journalist. This is something that we all can do and it would make the founders of this country proud.