There can be little doubt that big-tech global domination, taken shape over the past 250 years, is due in large part to the propaganda that supports it, that integrates humanity into a universal collective that captures, controls, and manipulates the material world, its manifold resources and natural processes, in ways that profit people in power. As the fervent pursuit of monetary profit drives us more and more toward technological developments, it also blesses us with the innovations we seek as well as new awareness of more efficient paths to take in increasing technological innovation. The upshot is increased future profits. This permanent feedback loop of conceptualization-production-profit-innovation, however, has a hardly noticed weakness imperceptible, it seems, to those fully invested mentally and monetarily in the system that has developed the world to its present late stage.
Our natural search, as humans, for the best tools to extend our physical limitations, and for technologies to extend our limited knowledge for applied purposes, has been corrupted and undermined. The ideology enjoins people possessed of irrational desires for profit and power to manifest in all walks of life the dictates of technocratic feudalism. The global dominance of big-tech can be understood as a kind of “demonic destructive suction tube”, as Martin Luther King observed, syphoning off the natural world, the material resources, the time, energy, bodies, and intellect of men deceived to embrace and take part in the construction of their own prisons — mental and physical. When the appearance of profit is perceived to be lurking in some new technological possibility, the suction tube moves into place to vacuum up another soul. At the center of this big-tech universe is the black hole of central banking currency untethered to any intrinsically valuable commodity.
We enter the world naked and hungry only to face a vast and relentless propaganda system that draws us into the pervasive myth that all high pursuits in life turn on the acquisition of this greatest of frauds. Money, in late stage capitalism, is the preeminent technology that now threatens to morph into a new and more efficient form of its present guise (fiat currency). The material medium of currency, used for millennia, owned and reproduced nowadays by the global system of central banking, will soon mutate into a new technology — coinage in digital bits and bytes. If technology is supposed to bridge gaps in knowledge of how to apply our purposes, money will become the key technology that (un)locks all gates to freedom and wealth.
This article traces the history of major technological developments as they are framed by the leading mythmakers in the mainstream media tasked to manage public perception and prop up this vast system of deception. Our goal is to give an overview of technology as the claimed saviour of humanity and offer critical analysis of the propaganda that seeks to integrate humankind into this global project of everlasting technological development. We see technocratic tyranny as a state of existence maintained by the captains of “Big Digital” — as Michael Rectenwald observes,
“the mega-data services, media, cable, and internet services, social media platforms, Artificial Intelligence (AI) agents, apps, and the developing … monopolies … [that] will either … be incorporated by the state, or become elements of a new corporate state power.”
We divide the article into eight sections, using Covid-19 propaganda as an illustrative example. The first addresses the modern history of propaganda as an organised system of mass persuasion informed by theories in psychoanalysis and how this system has since been used by power centers to sell wars, policies, and products. The deployment of the Covid-19 crisis has served as the means by which to manufacture consent to a new social, economic, political and religious order, known variously as the Great Reset, Fourth Industrial Revolution (or New World Order). The second addresses how governments and agencies collaborate with big tech firms to create and manage public perception through media. The third looks at how audience emotions are manipulated in manufacturing compliance with questionable state policies and plans. The fourth addresses how big tech propaganda enables huge unelected global bureaucracies, funded largely by transnational corporate tech giants, to undermine national sovereignty and the will of the people.
The fifth discusses interconnections and overlapping interests across governments, intelligence agencies, and big tech contractors developing the long-planned technological architectures of a new bio-secure digital economy: the most sophisticated gate-keeping operation since monarchs ruled. The sixth discusses weapons development and its connection to big tech medicine. The seventh reflects on past propaganda campaigns launched by PR firms, which served to identify a common enemy, whip up outrage and hysteria and how, nowadays, the same sorts of operations are at work normalising the collapse of societies and the capture of public institutions. The final section discusses patterns of planned mass deception and social control, past and present, through psychological and technological programs and what these official programs portend for the future.
1. What Has Big Tech Propaganda Sold Us So Far?
It is useful to turn our attention, first, to the past century when propaganda techniques were informed by research in psychoanalysis and, subsequently, codified and applied in a global industry known today as Public Relations (public affairs, strategic communications, etc). In his seminal work, Propaganda (1928), Edward Bernays points out that “the steam engine, the multiple press, and the public school — that trio of the industrial revolution — have taken power away from kings and given it to the people. The people have actually gained power which the king lost. For economic power tends to draw after it political power; and the history of the industrial revolution shows how that power passed from the king and the aristocracy to the bourgeoisie. Universal suffrage and universal schooling reinforced this tendency, and at last even the bourgeoisie stood in fear of the common people. For the mass promised to become king”.
What the aristocracy lost, however, for a brief period of time over the past 250 years it has since regained in the guise of global power, consolidated in the hands of transnational corporate “Giants” as Peter Phillips describes in his book. Allied with governments, the Giants of this present age work to undermine democratic electoral processes, and to mystify policies and elite power relations that dispossess the masses of their ability to reproduce their lives. As members of mass culture, we are presented with a thick veil of public relations messaging manufactured for public schools and media consumption, to numb minds and efface the reasoning processes of consumers, directing their attention away from issues of vital public import. The technologies of mass communication both reveal and conceal — exposing citizens to necessary illusions meant to manufacture consent to the system of dispossession and concealing from public view the empirical world.
In an exposition of the relationship between power elites and contemporary propaganda, Professor of Political Sociology and the Sociology of Media, Peter Phillips and his colleagues, wrote a chapter in 2017 titled, “Selling Empire, War and Capitalism: Public Relations and Propaganda Firms in Service to the Transnational Capitalist Class”. The authors described a global news production apparatus in which over 80 percent of “news” is fed to “news” organisations by public relations and propaganda (PRP) firms representing corporations, governments, military-intelligence agencies, and a transnational elite “superclass” (a.k.a. Managerial Technocratic Aristocracy). That transnational superclass is comprised of “Davos-attending, private jet-flying, megacorporation-interlocking, policy-building elites of the world — people at the absolute peak of the global power pyramid.” At the apex of the global power pyramid are “organizations like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, the Group of Seven (G7) and the Group of Twenty (G20), World Social Forum, Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg Group, Bank for International Settlements, and other transnational associations.”
The implication, wrote Phillips et al. in 2017 is that, “journalists are taking an increasingly dependent secondary position to PRP firms and government press releases in corporate news media … The world today faces a PRP-military-industrial-media empire so powerful and complex that, in the majority of news venues, basic truths about world events are concealed, skewed, or simply not reported at all.”
A crucial mechanism in the firepower of the military-industrial-media complex is the funneling of information to Western media via just three channels. The organisation Swiss Policy Research notes that, “it is one of the most important aspects of our media system, and yet hardly known to the public: most of the international news coverage in Western media is provided by only three global news agencies based in New York, London and Paris.” They are Reuters, AFP and AP, which together act not merely as gatekeepers but as “propaganda multipliers”. Such is the world today in the grip of powerful forces of corporate consolidation and capture of democratic institutions. “The key role played by these agencies,” the Swiss Policy analysis observed, “means Western media often report on the same topics, even using the same wording”.
As if to demonstrate the awesome might of the global news propaganda machine, in early 2020 global populations went to sleep during one news cycle and awoke the next day as if beamed by Scotty of Star Trek fame into a radically new social and political reality. With headlines blaring news in unison of a mysterious new killer virus on the loose, escaped from the killing fields of Wuhan wet markets, citizens came under fire from an information-blitzkrieg raining down confusion, fear and chaos, packaged up as news. Legacy media and social media platforms joined forces to deploy endless rounds of fragmentary explosive revelations in the form of stories, updates, snippets, numbers, warnings, announcements, analyses and official advice, suffused with vivid images of animals in various stages of unhygienic and inhumane slaughter, personnel in hazmat suits and people dropping dead. These global simulations of mayhem and disorder sent citizens scrambling for the safety of their homes, and the security of answers. Decisive answers. Coherent answers. Any answers. And fast.
It’s a novel deadly coronavirus!
You are unprotected!
Everyone is dangerous!
You are biohazard!
Once the clouds of hysteria and confusion began to settle and the contours of a “New Normal” started taking shape, Big Tech emerged from the plumes of chaos cloaked in a Brave New mantle, having been crowned premier gatekeeper of a Brave New discipline: The Science™. As The Science™ (a.k.a. Anthony Fauci) advanced, with Big Tech patrolling the margins of acceptable opinion, dazed and shell-shocked citizens grappled with the shrapnel of their former knowledge, trying to piece together a reasonable understanding of what had just occurred, as though their survival depended on it, which Google and Facebook told them it did. In the process, they found themselves clinging for dear life to their familiar news and social media feeds, holding onto their preferred outlets ever more tightly, with the frozen embrace of a frightened child.
Where else could they turn for their daily doses of trusted information with which to fight The Virus™, and, therefore, survive? How else were they to navigate the new and confusing micro-biologically dangerous world they suddenly found themselves inhabiting? Who else but Big Tech and Big Media to supply the kaleidoscopic stream of medical advice they craved, to ease the trauma of being stalked everywhere at all times by a mysterious and deadly pathogen, lurking in the very breath and touch of their dearest friend, promising to turn them into a deadly disease vector themselves? And where else but Big Tech and the World Wide Web could any of us go to continue conducting our daily lives? Having been banished from the natural world, the mediated online world was our only resort.
And so, with that, Big Tech deployed a rapidly spinning news cycle to drill its way deep inside the fabric of our lives, to make the narratives integral elements of the public mind and the psyche of every single person. Whereas once technology had been a convenience and an aid (if not at times a distraction), now we could scarcely live without it. A manufactured global health emergency with pseudo-medical martial law enabled Big Tech to construct not merely consent but societal symbiosis — connecting a technological umbilical cord from the social and economic system to humanity and our daily lives. A small step forward for Facebook, Microsoft and Google perhaps, but a giant leap for digital economies and the coming Virtual Age of a new Metaverse.
As “two weeks to flatten the curve” morphed into months and years, Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum, representing the Davos-attending, private jet flying, policy-building elites of the world, followed behind Big Tech like a Herald of old, sounding the arrival of the Great Reset and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Our digital, physical and biological identities would soon merge, he proclaimed, as part of a “better” and more sustainable world. Technology guided by the loving hands of the Big Tech Giants would save us from our pestilence-stricken and wasteful selves, and deliver us from pathogens. Microsoft, Oracle and the Gates Foundation took the opportunity, together with military-intelligence spy tech contractor MITRE, to establish the infrastructure for digital certification and digital identities, while we all became accustomed to scanning ourselves in and out wherever we go, leaving a digital trail behind us, tracked, traced and appended like never before to our phones. Next on the Brave New technological agenda, Schwab informs us, is immersion in a virtual reality that “will contain environments where we will earn money [and] forge relationships … The distinction between being offline and online will become increasingly blurred and harder to identify, and the meaning of reality itself will evolve” .
Global finance is singing from the same hymn sheet and banking on its long-planned digital economy and virtual world, replete with technologically enhanced human beings. In 2021, the Bank of America issued “Moonshot” investment advice, listing 14 profitable “areas of disruption” that promise to deliver a financial boon, including brain-computer interfaces, emotional AI, bionic humans, synthetic biology, and a universe of “virtual worlds that interoperate with each other superseding the internet/physical world.” Bloomberg has written of the Bank of America’s moonshots, “the 14 technologies highlighted for the future currently represent only $330 billion in market size. Combined, they could increase 36% a year to $6.4 trillion by the 2030s. For context, profits from S&P 500 companies have grown 6% a year historically.” The Bank of America’s top three shareholders include BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager. Described as a “secret world power” and “the fourth branch of government”, to the extent that the “boundaries between the state and the financial oligarchy are virtually non-existent,” BlackRock is expected to play a central role in banking and digital/crypto currency aspects of coming digital biometric identities and economies, potentially with financially-enforced social control.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has lodged a patent application, curiously numbered 2020 060606, for technology with which human body and brain activity data can be collected, used to mine and award cryptocurrency, and be transmitted to devices connected to the web, whether smartphones, computers, or screen-less devices on the Internet of Things and the forthcoming Internet of Bodies. Data to be collected and transmitted during the performance of various assigned tasks include body heat, internal imaging, eye movements, blood flow, and electrical brain activity. The sensors with which such internal and external body activity data would be collected, according to the patent application, “include, for example, but are not limited to, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanners or sensors, electroencephalography (EEG) sensors, near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) sensors, heart-rate monitors, thermal sensors, optical sensors, radio frequency (RF) sensors, ultrasonic sensors, cameras, or any other sensor or scanner that can measure or sense body activity or scan the human body. For instance, the fMRI may measure body activity by detecting changes associated with blood flow. The fMRI may use a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the body (e.g. blood flow in the brain to detect areas of activity).” Whether the sensors transmitting these data to external devices and the blockchain would be macro, micro, or nano in scale is left wide open, as is the method of their attachment to and/or implantation in the human-animal-product host.
The implications for real-time mass surveillance, bodily autonomy, and integration with digital identities, digital currencies, and virtual worlds are stark and alarming, particularly given pronouncements made by the Giants of the Fourth Industrial Revolution that our digital, physical, and biological identities will soon merge. Elon Musk at once warns us that the risk of “digital super-intelligence” being weaponised against populations by the powerful is “far more dangerous than nukes.” In the same breath, however, he simultaneously sells the inevitability of surrendering our meaningful participation in society to the superiority of AI, and seeking refuge in a fusion between biological intelligence and digital machine intelligence, or between brain and technology. Much of the glamour appearing in the Big Tech propaganda discourse glosses over and conceals the tensile strength of the digital chains that bind human beings in the metaverse of their own digital caves — a pervasive simulacrum in which inhabitants mistake the mediated hyperreal for the empirical world where Big Tech Giants amass and use the power to judge who can participate in the New World Economy. But how did we get here? Where is the outcry? Whither humanity?
2. Conjuring Illusions with Information: Incantation as News
Big Tech is at the very center of communicating the claimed benefits of tolerating human existence in a global simulacrum. Offering a window onto the tactics by which elites maintain the power structure and its key relationships through deception, and thereby induce populations to comply unwittingly with agendas they would otherwise reject, in 2014 The Intercept published a set of leaked training materials designed for those tasked with deceiving the world. The materials were developed by the UK’s Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG hereafter) — a cyber-operations unit of the UK Signals Intelligence Agency, GCHQ, tasked to target issues of terrorism. Since its publication in 2014 and since the meaning of “terrorism” has recently expanded to include anyone who questions prevailing political wisdom, the JTRIG materials are crucial to understanding how mass manipulation and control are achieved. The training materials were called “The Art of Deception: Training for a New Generation of Covert Operations” and were presented at what NBC News described as NSA cyber-spy conferences in 2010 and 2012.