Author: Peter Offermann, A Canadian in Mexico

January 22nd - 2004

On the surface the internet seems a powerful communications tool useful for the masses to receive information without the filters applied by the authorities to other media sources like TV, Radio, and Newspapers. Why is this freedom on the internet allowed when all other media outlets are being rigidly controlled? The same people (elite) who own the bulk of media outlets also own the infrastructure of the internet and could easily control it’s content, why don’t they?

Are the elite too dumb to see the internet’s potential for countering their objectives?

This is not likely considering their ability to plan and control in other aspects of society.

Our world is controlled by a small group of people (elite) who feel entitled to decide what happens in the world without regard for the desires of the masses. The democratic process that is supposed to allow the participation of the masses in the decision making process has been rendered inoperative through the control of the political process by the elite.

Public Relations (propaganda) is the tool that won the elite their victory over the masses. PR convinced the masses to accept the current situation one step at a time. PR also made the masses more and more ineffective over time.

The term “Public Relations” was coined by Edward L. Bernays (1891-1995) to replace the more sinister sounding “Propaganda”.

Bernays is on the list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.


Born in Vienna in 1891 Bernays was the double nephew of Sigmund Freud. His mother was Freud's sister. His father was Freud's wife's brother. His family background habituated him to the enormous power of ideas, as well as to the privileges and creature comforts of bourgeois existence.

Bernays was also a far-sighted architect of modern propaganda techniques who, dramatically, from the early 192Os onward, helped to consolidate a fateful marriage between theories of mass psychology and schemes of corporate and political persuasion.

During the First World War, Bernays served as a foot soldier for the U.S. Committee on Public Information (CPI) -- the vast American propaganda apparatus that was mobilized, in 1917, to package, advertise and sell the war as one that would "Make the World Safe for Democracy." The CPI would become the mold in which marketing strategies for future wars, on to the present, would be shaped.

In the twenties, Bernays fathered the link between corporate sales campaigns and popular social causes, when while working for the American Tobacco Company he persuaded women's rights marchers in New York City to hold up Lucky Strike cigarettes as symbolic "Torches of Freedom." In October of 1929, Bernays also originated the now familiar "global media event," when he dreamed up "Light's Golden Jubilee" a worldwide celebration commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the electric light bulb, sponsored behind-the-scenes -- by the General Electric Corporation.

While Bernays was, by birth, an Austrian Jew, public relations folklore records that Dr. Joseph Goebbels, the notorious Nazi propaganda minister, looked to Bernays' work, and to his vivid writings, for inspiration.

Bernays influence would continue to hold sway well into the post-World War II era. To put it simply, Edward Bernays' career -- more than that of any other individual -- roughed out what have become the strategies and practices of public relations in the United States.

Public Relations is not the same as Advertising.

Advertising is paid promotion that is clearly understood to be non-partisan.

Public Relations poses as independent newsworthy information.


Bernays defined the profession of "counsel on public relations" as a "practicing social scientist” whose "competence is like that of the industrial engineer, the management engineer, or the investment counselor in their respective fields." To assist clients, PR counselors used "understanding of the behavioral sciences and applying them—sociology, social psychology, anthropology, history, etc." In Propaganda, his most important book, Bernays argued that the scientific manipulation of public opinion was necessary to overcome chaos and conflict in society: "The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society.

Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. ... We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. ... In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons ... who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind."

For Public Relations to be successful it must be perceived as information independent from the originator. This gives it credibility not there if it is perceived as self promotion.

The reason there is so much promotion of the “free press” is because if it was widely known that the “free press” was really advertising the concepts of the elite the masses would be more suspicious of the content. The media does allow some miscellaneous uncontrolled content but only to maintain credibility.

Weapons of Mass Deception

Today Public Relations is the ruling force in TV, Radio, and Newspapers, any content that is impartial is only there for protective cover and is usually harmless. PR has been used ruthlessly in these media to form public opinion to suit the elite’s purposes.

Is the internet any different than these media?

The internet has all the capabilities of the above media plus the added benefit of being much more cost effective and anonymous than any of them.

Do the PR specialists have access to the internet? (select “internet” and click [find])

Do PR specialists act ethically on the internet?


The Fake Persuaders

Corporations are inventing people to rubbish their opponents on the internet

George Monbiot
Tuesday May 14, 2002

Persuasion works best when it's invisible. The most effective marketing worms its way into our consciousness, leaving intact the perception that we have reached our opinions and made our choices independently. As old as humankind itself, over the past few years this approach has been refined, with the help of the internet, into a technique called "viral marketing". Last month, the viruses appear to have murdered their host. One of the world's foremost scientific journals was persuaded to do something it had never done before, and retract a paper it had published.

While, in the past, companies have created fake citizens' groups to campaign in favour of trashing forests or polluting rivers, now they create fake citizens. Messages purporting to come from disinterested punters are planted on listservers at critical moments, disseminating misleading information in the hope of recruiting real people to the cause. Detective work by the campaigner Jonathan Matthews and the freelance journalist Andy Rowell shows how a PR firm contracted to the biotech company Monsanto appears to have played a crucial but invisible role in shaping scientific discourse. Monsanto knows better than any other corporation the costs of visibility. Its clumsy attempts, in 1997, to persuade people that they wanted to eat GM food all but destroyed the market for its crops. Determined never to make that mistake again, it has engaged the services of a firm which knows how to persuade without being seen to persuade. The Bivings Group specialises in internet lobbying.

An article on its website, entitled Viral Marketing: How to Infect the World, warns that "there are some campaigns where it would be undesirable or even disastrous to let the audience know that your organisation is directly involved... it simply is not an intelligent PR move. In cases such as this, it is important to first 'listen' to what is being said online... Once you are plugged into this world, it is possible to make postings to these outlets that present your position as an uninvolved third party... Perhaps the greatest advantage of viral marketing is that your message is placed into a context where it is more likely to be considered seriously." A senior executive from Monsanto is quoted on the Bivings site thanking the PR firm for its "outstanding work".

On November 29 last year, two researchers at the University of California, Berkeley published a paper in Nature magazine, which claimed that native maize in Mexico had been contaminated, across vast distances, by GM pollen. The paper was a disaster for the biotech companies seeking to persuade Mexico, Brazil and the European Union to lift their embargos on GM crops. Even before publication, the researchers knew their work was hazardous. One of them, Ignacio Chapela, was approached by the director of a Mexican corporation, who first offered him a glittering research post if he withheld his paper, then told him that he knew where to find his children. In the US, Chapela's opponents have chosen a different form of assassination.

On the day the paper was published, messages started to appear on a biotechnology listserver used by more than 3,000 scientists, called AgBioWorld. The first came from a correspondent named "Mary Murphy". Chapela is on the board of directors of the Pesticide Action Network, and therefore, she claimed, "not exactly what you'd call an unbiased writer". Her posting was followed by a message from an "Andura Smetacek", claiming, falsely, that Chapela's paper had not been peer-reviewed, that he was "first and foremost an activist" and that the research had been published in collusion with environmentalists. The next day, another email from "Smetacek" asked "how much money does Chapela take in speaking fees, travel reimbursements and other donations... for his help in misleading fear-based marketing campaigns?"

The messages from Murphy and Smetacek stimulated hundreds of others, some of which repeated or embellished the accusations they had made. Senior biotechnologists called for Chapela to be sacked from Berkeley. AgBioWorld launched a petition pointing to the paper's "fundamental flaws". There do appear to be methodological problems with the research Chapela and his colleague David Quist had published, but this is hardly unprecedented in a scientific journal. All science is, and should be, subject to challenge and disproof. But in this case the pressure on Nature was so severe that its editor did something unparalleled in its 133-year history: last month he published, alongside two papers challenging Quist and Chapela's, a retraction in which he wrote that their research should never have been published.

So the campaign against the researchers was extraordinarily successful; but who precisely started it? Who are "Mary Murphy" and "Andura Smetacek"? Both claim to be ordinary citizens, without any corporate links. The Bivings Group says it has "no knowledge of them". "Mary Murphy" uses a hotmail account for posting messages to AgBioWorld. But a message satirising the opponents of biotech, sent by "Mary Murphy" from the same hotmail account to another server two years ago, contains the identification is the property of Bivings Woodell, which is part of the Bivings Group.

When I wrote to her to ask whether she was employed by Bivings and whether Mary Murphy was her real name, she replied that she had "no ties to industry". But she refused to answer my questions on the grounds that "I can see by your articles that you made your mind up long ago about biotech". The interesting thing about this response is that my message to her did not mention biotechnology. I told her only that I was researching an article about internet lobbying.

Smetacek has, on different occasions, given her address as "London" and "New York". But the electoral rolls, telephone directories and credit card records in both London and the entire US reveal no "Andura Smetacek". Her name appears only on AgBioWorld and a few other listservers, on which she has posted scores of messages falsely accusing groups such as Greenpeace of terrorism. My letters to her have elicited no response. But a clue to her possible identity is suggested by her constant promotion of "the Centre For Food and Agricultural Research". The centre appears not to exist, except as a website, which repeatedly accuses greens of plotting violence. is registered to someone called Manuel Theodorov. Manuel Theodorov is the "director of associations" at Bivings Woodell.

Even the website on which the campaign against the paper in Nature was launched has attracted suspicion. Its moderator, the biotech enthusiast Professor CS Prakash, claims to have no connection to the Bivings Group. But when Jonathan Matthews was searching the site's archives he received the following error message: "can't connect to MySQL server on". is the main server of the Bivings Group.

"Sometimes," Bivings boasts, "we win awards. Sometimes only the client knows the precise role we played." Sometimes, in other words, real people have no idea that they are being managed by fake ones.

Why is the Internet not controlled by the authorities?

Because the internet is a much more effective propaganda tool if the users believe it’s content is of their own creation rather than Public Relations created by the elite. If there are no laws regarding truth or ethics then the elite have free reign to do whatever they desire. As shown in other media and systems such as voting, vast numbers don’t guarantee impartiality or freedom. Those that control the medium control the content. A voice of danger to the elite on the internet can be shut out by a number of well established PR techniques. The average user of the internet is only a target for the elite’s PR and no real threat to them.

I believe there are genuine alternative information portals on the internet but even they inadvertently forward the aims of the elite. Much of PR involves very obscure psychological techniques beyond the scope of this discussion. I will briefly outline one. The intent of much of the elite’s PR is to keep the masses ineffective through inaction. Introducing confusion is a good way to accomplish this. A logical device called a “double bind” is the perfect tool for this.


The theory of schizophrenia presented here is based on communications analysis, and specifically on the Theory of Logical Types. From this theory and from observations of schizophrenic patients is derived a description, and the necessary conditions for, a situation called the 'double bind' - a situation in which no matter what a person does, he 'can't win'. It is hypothesized that a person caught in the double bind may develop schizophrenic symptoms.

The lengthy article quoted in the above paragraph is worth reading to help understand the manipulation that is happening on a massive scale in all media.

Another reason the internet is not regulated is that if people thought the elite controlled the internet they would be more careful about what they say online. As it is it’s a perfect place to identify potential protesters. Looking at the Elite’s track record of respecting the laws regarding privacy elsewhere are you comfortable they are respecting your privacy online?