Why Does Humanity Still Tolerate the Tragedy of Wars in the 21st Century? 

Since the end of the Second World War (1939-1945), there have been many civil wars and several important regional military conflicts between two or more countries, but none has evolved into a general world war involving all the most heavily armed countries. The most serious regional wars were the Korean War (1950-1953), the Vietnam War (1955-1975), the Iraq War (2003-2011), the Syria War (2011- ), and the Ukraine War (2022- ).

Indeed, with no sign yet of peace in Ukraine, nine years after the overthrow of the elected Ukrainian government, in February 2014, and nearly one year after the Russian military invasion, last February 24—and with a real danger that such a prolonged proxy conflict between great powers could escalate into a nuclear world war—it may be appropriate to search for reasons why, in this 21st Century, the world is still threatened with murderous and destructive wars.

There are basic tendencies in human nature, structural institutional failures and geopolitical factors for why this is the case.

Let us identify the most important causes, which can explain why wars of aggression and proxy wars are still taking place today.

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How E-girl influencers are trying to get Gen Z into the military

“I’m not the American dream, I’m more like the American nightmare,” beams the influencer known as Haylujan in a video to her 363k TikTok followers. With full-face E-girl make-up, drawn-on freckles and a rosy nose, the 20-year-old is the face of an unsettling new breed of E-girl garnering millions of views online. She posts thirst traps inside choppers and pouty selfies with assault rifles, with hashtags like #pewpew and #militarycurves. She shares cutesy unboxing compilations and make-up tutorials, Get Ready With Me videos and lip syncs. She jokes about war bunkers and plays with remote control tanks, which she overlays with sparkly filters and heart emojis.

Known in esoteric meme circles as the psy-op girl, Haylujan, also known simply as Lujan, is a self-described “psychological operations specialist” for the US Army, whose online presence has led to countless memes speculating that she is a post-ironic psy-op meant to recruit people into the US army. Lujan, who’s actually employed by the US army psy-ops division, posts countless TikToks and memes that play into this (her official website is called sikeops). “My own taxes used to psy-op me,” says one commenter. “Definitely a fed (I’m signing up for the army now)” writes another.

But Haylujan isn’t the only E-girl using Sanrio sex appeal to lure the internet’s SIMPs into the armed forces. There’s Bailey Crespo and Kayla Salinas, not to mention countless #miltok gunfluencers cropping up online. While she didn’t document her military career, influencer Bella Porch also served in the US Navy for four years before going viral on TikTok in 2020, and is arguably the blueprint for this kind of kawaii commodified fetishism in the military. An adjacent figure, Natalia Fadeev, also known as Gun Waifu, is an Israeli influencer and IDF soldier who uses waifu aesthetics and catgirl cosplay to pedal pro-Israel propaganda to her 756k followers. She poses to camera, ahegao-style, with freshly manicured nails wrapped neatly around a glock, the uWu-ification of military functioning as a cutesy distraction from the shadowy colonial context: “when they try and destroy your nation,” she writes in one caption.

We’ve entered an era of military-funded E-girl warfare. In what would’ve felt unimaginable only a few years back, influencers are the hottest new weapon in the government’s arsenal. Here, cosplay commandos post nationalist thirst traps to mobilise the SIMPs, attracting the sort of impressionable reply guys and 4chan lostbois who message “OMG DM me🔥” on every post. Sanitising the harsh realities of US imperialism with cute E-girl-isms, it promotes the sort of hypersexualised militarism that reframes violence as something cute, goofy and unthreatening – a subversion of the beefy special forces stereotype in the mainstream. Arguably far more unsettling than any 20th-century CIA covert ops, there’s no hush-hush to this operation. Rather it hides in plain sight, capitalising on online irony to lull you into a false sense of security with #relatable content and the sort of tapped-in memery that can only come from years of being terminally online (she’s just like me, fr).

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These Doctors Pushed Masking, Covid Lockdowns on Twitter. Turns Out, They Don’t Exist

Last month, Dr. Robert Honeyman lost their sister to Covid. They wrote about it on Twitter and received dozens of condolences, over 4,000 retweets and 43,000 likes.

Exactly one month later, on Dec. 12, Honeyman wrote that another tragedy had befallen their family.

“Sad to announce that my husband has entered a coma after being in hospital with Covid. The doctor is unsure if he will come out,” they tweeted. “This year has been the toughest of my life losing my sister to this virus. This is the first time in my life I don’t see light at the end of the tunnel.”

Again, the condolences and well-wishes rolled in. But there was a problem: Honeyman wasn’t real. 

The transgender “Doctor of Sociology and Feminist studies” with a “keen interest in poetry” who used they/them pronouns was, in fact, a stock photo described on DepositPhotos, a royalty-free image site, as “Smiling happy, handsome latino man outside—headshot portrait.”

Their supposedly comatose husband, Dr. Patrick C. Honeyman, was also fake. His Twitter photo had been stolen from an insurance professional in Wayne, Indiana.

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The Flat Earth Psyops

Never in my wildest dreams before joining the Freedom Movement, did I think I would be debating with people who sincerely believe the Earth is a motionless flat disc, floating in space. Discussing this topic is uncomfortable for many people in the movement, and understandably, they distance themselves from it, claiming it does not matter if the Earth is round or flat.

Yet, we call ourselves truthers. The truth about 9/11 is very important to our community; the truth about the pandemic, the PCR test, and the mRNA injections are also critically important. Should we waste time fighting over issues that only divide us?

Yet, the fervent and repeated promotion of the Flat Earth theory is a constant on social media, especially on Facebook. The Flat Earth followers are aggressive and generally derogatory towards the “globies” — who in their view are brainwashed by NASA and the media. The secondary conspiracy theory, (and let’s call a spade a spade, it is a conspiracy theory), that NASA faked the Apollo missions, is always part of the Flat Earth theory. In fact, the two theories can be said to be one.

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‘Mind Dominance’: The CCP’s Disinformation War on US Social Media

Clusters of new social media profiles emerge and interact with long-dormant accounts, seemingly exchanging viewpoints from across the American political spectrum.

Some sport American flags for profile pictures; others have images of beautiful women. Almost all are anonymous, though some impersonate real people.

In tweets and posts and messages they spread their views. Some stridently defend a woman’s right to have an abortion, others the right to life. Some defend the second amendment, others vehemently champion Black Lives Matter. Some claim that the United States is descending into a leftist tyranny. Still more say it’s headed toward fascism.

Above all, they post memes disparaging the United States’ political parties and governmental institutions. Here one finds a meme of President Joe Biden with a caption excoriating the Build Back Better slogan. Here one finds a meme of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) insinuating that the lawmaker has financial ties with Putin’s Russia.

It would be easy to conclude that these clusters of accounts are a perfect representation of the political polarization that has seized the United States in recent years. But it would be wrong.

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Fighting The “Psyopcracy”

Cathy Vogan, the executive producer of Consortium News‘ webcast CN Live!, recently coined a new term to describe rule by psyops, or psychological operations: psyopcracy.   According to Wikipedia:

“Psychological operations (PSYOP) are operations to convey selected information and indicators to audiences to influence their emotions, motives, and objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.

The purpose of United States psychological operations is to induce or reinforce behavior perceived to be favorable to U.S. objectives.”

William Casey, C.I.A. director under Ronald Reagan, said: “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

Thus the American people are continuously subject to a number of psychological operations otherwise known as “the news.”

U.S. intelligence officials feed journalists disinformation to create a false narrative that is intended to mislead the public and cover-up what is actually taking place. The constant reinforcement of these lies becomes entrenched in the public mind and after time comes to be accepted as unquestionable truth.

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Google to introduce behavioral “interventions”

Google has presented its project dubbed “Info Interventions” based on what it says is a behavioral science that, if these “interventions” are used as directed, could “teach” users to the degree they will become resilient to online harms.

Another promise is that by “pre-bunking misinformation” users can be “immunized.”

How is this supposed to work? Google has put up a site that states the goal is to provide accuracy prompts that would refocus users’ attention toward whatever Google decides qualifies as accurate information.

And to reach it, the “hypothesis” currently seems to be that “reminding individuals to think about accuracy when they might be about to engage with false information can boost users’ pre-existing accuracy goals.”

This method of effectively training users to behave in a desired way is unsurprisingly attempting to draw from behavioral science research and Google says it has been validated by digital experiments.

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Twitter Suffers From “Ridiculous” Number Of “Psy Ops”, Elon Musk Says

Twitter owner Elon Musk said Monday that the platform suffers from a “ridiculous” number of professional psychological operations (or, “psy ops”), a concept that typically refers to the dissemination of propaganda or, when used by state actors like the military, psychological warfare tactics meant to manipulate one’s enemies.

“The amount of pro psy ops on Twitter is ridiculous!” Musk wrote in a post on Twitter.

He added jokingly that “at least with new Verified, they will pay $8 for the privilege—haha.”

Musk later qualified his statement, responding to a Twitter user’s comment that the psychological operations are “mid”-level rather than professional. Musk conceded that “it’s mostly basic.”

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Meta Confirms US Military Running Fake Social Media Accounts to Push Propaganda

Facebook’s parent company Meta has acknowledged the discovery of several clusters of fake accounts and pages believed to be linked to individuals “associated with the US military,” according to the company’s latest adversarial threat report published this week.

“Although the people behind this operation attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation found links to individuals associated with the US military,” the company said in a blog post on Tuesday.

The influence campaign was discovered earlier this year and in total Meta removed 39 Facebook and 26 Instagram accounts, as well as 16 pages and two groups, all for violating the company’s policy against “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

The social media giant admitted that the large-scale operation ran beyond those several dozen accounts and across many other internet platforms, including Twitter, YouTube and Telegram – as well as major Russian social networks VKontakte and Odnoklassniki. It seemingly attempted to downplay the discovery by insisting that the “majority of this operation’s posts had little to no engagement from authentic communities” and highlighting similar “deceptive campaigns” by China and Russia.

Meta’s acknowledgement substantiates a bombshell investigation by the Washington Post that revealed the Pentagon was forced to launch a “sweeping audit of how it conducts clandestine information warfare,” after a variety of social media accounts, which its operatives used to target foreign audiences in elaborate psychological warfare efforts, were exposed.

The takedown of the influence network was initially highlighted by researchers at Graphika and the Stanford Internet Observatory, which back in August published a report about online networks allegedly pushing “pro-Western,” anti-Russia and other politicized narratives.

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Do These Documents Prove That Call Of Duty Is A Government PsyOp?

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II has been available for less than three weeks, but it is already making waves. Breaking records, within ten days, the first-person military shooter video game earned more than $1 billion in revenue. Yet it has also been shrouded in controversy, not least because missions include assassinating an Iranian general clearly based on Qassem Soleimani, a statesman and military leader slain by the Trump administration in 2020, and a level where players must shoot “drug traffickers” attempting to cross the U.S./Mexico border.

The Call of Duty franchise is an entertainment juggernaut, having sold close to half a billion games since it was launched in 2003. Its publisher, Activision Blizzard, is a giant in the industry, behind titles games as the Guitar HeroWarcraftStarcraftTony Hawk’s Pro SkaterCrash Bandicoot and Candy Crush Saga series.

Yet a closer inspection of Activision Blizzard’s key staff and their connections to state power, as well as details gleaned from documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that Call of Duty is not a neutral first-person shooter, but a carefully constructed piece of military propaganda, designed to advance the interests of the U.S. national security state.

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