US Intelligence Never Tires, Even on Social Media

Cuba has borne the last brunt of it, but others are sure to follow.

Judging by America’s waning influence on the international stage, it’s safe to say the US State Department has seen brighter days–what was once before the Empire’s main instrument in sowing chaos elsewhere in the aims of maintaining an imperialist presence has now mostly become a mere shell of its old self, ever-hopeless in its constant search of identity. The internet presented itself as a fresh new opportunity for America’s intelligence bodies to make short work of their thorniest propaganda projects—as endeavors of foreign influence and outward expansion still don’t hold unanimous sway over the public—so social media naturally became a battleground for these efforts to be undertaken–however the future may yet spell resounding failure, and it may be due to the very nature of the medium.

As would be reasonable to expect, this analysis is purely speculative–still, there’s plenty to point towards active intent by intelligence bodies within America to steer public discourse in a certain direction while failing miserably to do so in our most-populated digital spaces. The most recent outing of such an effort is what’s happening in Cuba in what looks to be yet another chapter in the country’s long-troubled relationship with America after the former’s national psyche expressed open hostility towards the latter’s unwavering desire to intervene in its affairs at the height of the Cold War–like the post-WWII power struggle, this one has little justification to persist beyond the perpetuity of NatSec hawkishness in America’s foreign policy apparatus, but it somehow has proven itself a resilient presence in the internet age still.

The crux of the issue is the sudden appearance of what plainly look to be bot accounts on Twitter—and one would presume other social media platforms—where it’s any random name followed up by a random string of numbers in an attempt to convince the American public that the Cuban government is facing fierce opposition from its citizens due to struggling economics. Reports coming out of the region do suggest there’s discontent, and Biden’s support for Cubans’ ‘clarion call for freedom’ is a puzzling choice of words considering the circumstances, but what looks to be the upshot of this is exaggerating both the scope of the protests, as well as the government’s response to them to justify yet another imperialist encroachment on Cuba’s own sovereign soil.

What is not immediately obvious in America’s plea for the Cuban government to heed the demands of its citizens is that they’re largely contingent upon the former’s willingness to do away with economic sanctions long crippling the nation’s economic growth that the UN General Assembly has called to end for nearly three decades now. If the US precipitates Cuba’s woes then demanding that they end without pushing around some levers on the American side can only be interpreted as renewed desire for a regime change—not that they haven’t tried in the past—which even more than the weird social media antics of poorly-trained CIA agents only begs the question of what the agency is doing when bystanders seem to be ten steps ahead of them almost all the time.

A crucial point of US intelligence slumps in the internet age is that they’ve failed to commandeer its information channels such that only their narrative appears salient. In the past, that kind of information would’ve been only disseminated through newspapers, broadcast TV and radio, and even during the internet’s earliest days—where social rapport was confined to a few very niche spaces—there wasn’t much competition to be had with the State Department’s official narrative–if they willed their word to be truth, so was it. But on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and other platforms—especially in the context of a generation whose seeds of growth were watered by social media—there’s not the faintest hint of bait taken, considering we’ve all built up the basic techno-literacy necessary to immediately discount the opinions of a freshly-created account with no explicit purpose but to artificially boost the official American narrative on whatever conflict is the State Department’s latest hyperfixation.

This is further aided by the proliferation of political literature outside of mainstream media on the heels of a Trump-dominated four years where politics fully fused with culture, making the discussion of one without the other nigh-on impossible, and pushing those who’d not previously taken interest and would’ve fallen for a counter-intelligence program the tools that they need to better make heads or tails of America’s restless imperialist obsessions. When all of that is taken into account, it’s then no wonder that America—at least on the national stage—has gotten so much worse at selling their campaigns of war, which now mostly tend to be performed by proxy to spite major geopolitical rivals like China and Russia. Until US intelligence agencies can speak the language of the internet, they’re poised to keep taking an L unless they can conceive of a world that no longer perpetually lives in the chaos of erstwhile eras.

In the meantime, it’s every internet person’s solemn duty to try their hardest to never fall for political propaganda, no matter its origin. It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that almost every entity online has its own brand to sell, and it has to indulge its own bit of propaganda to bolster its own profile, but the practice’s political slant especially reeks of cynicism and the—at least in my opinion—false belief that the public is but a cattle to be herded around for selfish gain. I’m not American, so I have no stake in this but to express solidarity with a blockade-worn nation that wishes to still exercise independent control of its own resources and sovereign territory—nonetheless, to see dissent astroturfed on social media by a foreign entity is extremely distressing, and it should not be tolerated no matter how appealing the optics could otherwise be.