A number of press outlets have reported recently that the Pentagon is working with a private contractor to monitor the internet searches of Department of Defense personnel. Certain searches are apparently now considered signs of domestic violent extremism. Surprisingly – even seemingly innocuous searches such as “the truth about black lives matter” can now be considered indicators of white supremacism and result in your designation as a threat to the republic.
All this is true. It is a matter of record. The Pentagon is employing this private contractor to monitor “extremism” in its ranks. It is also, as usual, not the “half of it.” The private company in question is called Moonshot. It is run by a lady named Vidhya Ramalingam, and she and her company don’t just monitor what you do online. They control what you see and what you are told.
What is Moonshot?
Several years ago, Moonshot in cooperation with Jigsaw, developed something called the Redirect Method. Jigsaw was created by and is controlled by Google. It was originally known as Google Ideas, but its name was changed in an attempt to shake the effect of bad press concerning the company’s focus on censorship and the manipulation of search results. The Guardian referred to Jigsaw as Google’s “intelligence agency.”
Essentially, Redirect works as follows. Based on its algorithms and what it is told to look for it detects and intercepts online searches. Then, instead of directing you to the information that matches your query, it sends you somewhere else. It shows you what Moonshot, Jigsaw, and Google want you to see. In some cases, this is pre-existing content that the people in charge have selected. In other cases, it shows you content that was deliberately and specifically created just for this purpose to push a particular narrative.
This is not conjecture. The people behind this effort are quite upfront about their intentions and the purpose of this manipulation of internet searches.
“Targeting content potential extremists search for — rather than focusing, for example, on what they post to social media — can directly address their harmful online behavior and desires. By providing them with credible sources, we hope to decrease the impact of extremist content and increase the spread of the truth, such as, there is no one “European” identity that is under threat. In this way, we speak directly to those who may be at risk of radicalization, and we incentivize re-thinking those ideologies with accurate information.”Vidhya Ramalingam
It is critical to note, of course, that it is Moonshot and Jigsaw, aka Google, that decides what is “credible” and “accurate.”
When Moonshot first began it had a focus on Islamic extremism – ISIS and its supporters. That focus has long since shifted. It is now laser-focused on the MAGA movement – on those who oppose this current regime. It aims to identify them, prevent them from accessing information they want, and then feed them alternative narratives. The express objective, indeed, the whole purpose, is to change what these people think, what they believe, and how they act.
“We started to see this worrying blending and metastasization of all these different ideologies in the U.S. — far-right groups blending and reaching across the aisle to work with anti-vax movements…. when we see these actors just grasping to turn fear and anxiety in society into an opportunity for them to grow.”Vidhya Ramalingam
In discussing Moonshot and its hunt for “extremists” on CNBC Ramalingam stated her belief that white supremacists were a rising threat and linked them directly to President Trump. She described the rise of extremist groups centered on Trump as “unprecedented” and stressed the urgent need to counter this development. Ramalingam praised the tech companies for their actions in censoring people and removing content but then also made clear this did not go far enough.
For Ramalingam, it is not sufficient to silence someone. That leaves the individual in place and their attitudes unchanged. The internet provides an opportunity to go much further than that. It provides the thought police with the capability and the opportunity to shape people’s thoughts.
“The tech companies have an obligation to use their great privilege . . . of being a conduit of information, to get information and helpful resources to people that might be trapped in violent movements.”Vidhya Ramalingam
Again, it is Ramalingam and her comrades who decide what is “information” and what is “helpful.”
As an example of how all this works, one Moonshot effort targeted individuals who had been identified as QAnon supporters. Moonshot then barraged them with messages such as “Are you feeling angry? Learn how to escape the anger and move forward,” all packaged in the form of ads. Clicking on the ads then took users to something called r/Qult Headquarters a site populated by messages from individuals claiming to be former QAnon adherents and urging people not to believe QAnon posts.
Frighteningly, the Redirect Method does not represent an end state of any kind. It has been in use for a number of years, and all sorts of follow-on programs and technologies are already being developed and fielded. They all have, however, the same goal, to ensure that you “conform.”
The essence of the principle of free speech is, of course, non-conformity. The Founders envisioned and took great pains to protect a vigorous – even bruising – debate on the issues. They knew that only in this way could we avoid groupthink and, ultimately, tyranny. They had confidence that the American people had the innate wisdom and common sense to find the truth and choose the right path ahead.
What Ramalingam, Moonshot, and Google envision is something completely different, something that ultimately means the death of free speech and the birth of totalitarianism in America. In Ramalingam’s future what can be said, what can be seen, what can even be mentioned will all be determined by some all-powerful cabal formed by big government and big tech.
Any effort to deviate from the prescribed “norms” will brand you as an “extremist” and a threat to the established order. You will be silenced. You will be manipulated. Presumably, at some point, if none of that works you will simply be deprived of your freedom entirely.
This is the terrifying reality of where we stand in this nation. These actions are not being debated or considered. They are already being taken. This is already happening.
And right in the middle of it is Vidhya Ramalingam, the lady who decides what you get to see online.