Ok...this may sound like conspiracy shit...but give it a read anyways.
This is a discussion about a particular aspect of psychological warfare and social engineering.
I think we can all agree that some people in religion use it to engineer their societies.
The Nazi's believed whole-heartedly in the idea of propaganda to motivate the masses because it made them stronger, regardless of whether or not that propaganda was the truth or realistic. Mao and Stalin believed the same thing. So this discussion is about the age old tactic of dis-informing the public through the use of hate for others...basically using divide-and-conquer by turning the public inwards against itself, yet not so much that it all collapses.
If you needed to perform psychological warfare, would it be possible with the right resources at hand (media, control of trades and industry [peoples jobs and livelihoods], etc.), to manipulate the public using other people who are easily coerced and manipulated? Think on Salem Witch trials
and their reinforcement of Christian fundamentalism by making people fear openly denying the faith,
thereby lessening dissent against it, making people feel that much more inclined to believe it in the end because "so many people can't possibly be wrong about something so big...". Sometimes, if a propaganda is weak in what looks like strong evidence, brainwashing just needs time to take effect to make up for it's weak position. Time, fear, and low access to necessary info are what lead to Nazi's, the Inquisition, Salem Witch Trials, etc.
Once you find and begin to manipulate someone, and they can be reliably depended on to react
in a way you can predict (yet a way which makes no sense to others), wouldn't it make logical sense to get them to act out in ways that made others willing to attack them? Then, after the fact, if you wanted to repress anyone's urge to look into the matter more deeply, would you try to confuse them? Of course! Onwards to discussion of phase 2!
Would one way to confuse and prevent people from going against you, be to make them feel incompetent...even afraid...to question your judgement? Could you do so by making sure to make a big deal about other people you have manipulated in the media, with details very similar to people you are attacking more covertly, thereby saying a few things, silently/indirectly, to those who might question your actions in either case:
1. "You are outside the loop, and don't have enough information. People are trying to deceive
you...so let me handle this matter. I'll fix this, and make the bad people go away."
2. "You don't know enough about this situation because I MIGHT actively be preventing you from
doing so. It might be UNSAFE for you to get involved by QUESTIONING MY DECISIONS.
Consider your JOB. Consider your FAMILY. Consider your LIFE."
3. "You know I am stronger. I will kill you. If you are...SMART enough...to understand what's going
on, help me, stay out of my way, or die."
Basically, you create an air of superiority. You control everyone's access to info, and whatever media is not fully in your control, you attempt to flood with info which is incorrect to make them
look ineffective at gathering info about the truth, making them feel unsafe to rely on by those who may actually want to question, to fight and resist. You make people worry about their reputations, and create the impression that popular opinion is against resistance, even if it is not. I think it's safe to say there are plenty of North Koreans who hate the dictatorship, but because they don't know who to trust, they pronounce their fervent support of their beloved dictator. This further increases the idea that resistance is futile, and is the reason the maniacs have not been disposed of in a ditch like their numerous victims.
Take Bradley Manning for example. There is a lot of hate for transgender/gay folks in America.
That aside for now, supposedly, he had major issue's with his "superior's", indicating possibly severe mental distress.
They supposedly saw fit to remove the bolt from his weapon because he might be a possible physical threat to himself or others. But then the kicker: the chain of command saw fit to make sure he wouldn't go on a shooting spree...but they left his security clearance in place? Why? If he was possibly mentally unstable, why in the world would you leave him with open access to classified info?
And if he was a possible threat physically and you let him maintain access to classified documents, could you really blame him (after he has suffered severe bullying/harassment), when he leaks classified info, convinced that he is trying to protect us from people who are violating human right's...and possibly protecting us from people who are manipulating us into believing it to be the correct thing to do? Is it possible they intentionally removed his access to a functional weapon, and left his clearance in place, because he had entered a certain predicted phase where he was likely ready to leak classified info? The point of removing his access to a weapon (though...not his access to supposedly equally dangerous information) would be in case he suddenly realized what was happening, snapped, and went on a killing spree in revenge for being used as propaganda.
After he has successfully violated "the honorable law", they would then begin a campaign to scare others into helping prosecute him, or convince them that what happens to Manning...could possibly happen to them. This is aided by Manning's unusual personal life and details. You create the impression that despite your worrying that, "he was mentally unstable, causing you to remove his access to a weapon, you were correct in leaving him on duty...and even in charge of classified documents. It's that little hippy-ass, whiny-faggot's fault he broke the laws. He should have acted like the man God made him to be. Christ, he is not even a real man, the tiny little bitch. Who does he think he is, endangering this country by trying to inform us how our government is operating outside the very laws in place to protect us from Mao/Hitler-type propaganda and rule?"
You could combine this propaganda, both voiced, and silently pushed under the table, with other incidents across the country. You would tie it together with other issues by shifting the news media to focus on that kind of story, or similar stories, to create a link between the two in the mind of the public. It would also be wise of you to directly avoid saying there is a supposed link...no...no...
instead...you could (you SHOULD) let people think they have figured it out for themselves. And when enough people starting saying they KNOW they have figured it out, it won't matter if there are people left who believe otherwise. If the folks who resist the idea say they don't agree, they risk
their reputation. And we all know the majority of people, however "good", will say in the end, "I would like to help....but I can't. I just can't. My job...my Family...my LIFE....I would like to help...but..."....well...we know how that goes.
So...what's your opinion...does our government engage in psychological warfare (especially by attempting to manipulate social outcasts in to committing "violations") meant to dis-inform us "for our own good"? To turn us against one another, for their own gain? Their own pleasure?
Of course, every government uses propaganda. The United States acknowledges that the Voice of America is a form of propaganda, for example. Because of that they prohibit them from targeting the American listening market -- although the material is of course available to Americans. On the other hand, Public Relations activities are all fundamentally propaganda, whether used by public or private organizations.
I tend to doubt that Bradley was set up in any way. The material leaked was too damaging to the American government to have served any purpose of equal importance. Of course they will try to limit the damage and maybe defame his character, hoping to scare others from revealing state secrets.
There is a validity to your concerns. At the same time the US has a history of open discussions which it would be hard to overturn. There have been people in high government positions who used and abused fear and propaganda in the past. Certainly there is now a climate of efforts being made to control society and/or thought in this country. As always, "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty".
How damaging was it really though? I am sure you would agree that some folks in the military follow a doctrine of striking in order to create malice and tempt people into striking back in order to "legitimize"
their initial actions: "Look! Terrorists are planting bombs in the road in Afghanistan! It's not because we dropped bombs on peoples families...it's because they hate freedom and want us all dead!" So would leaking that info overseas really harm their efforts, or bolster them? Also, on the home-front, it wouldn't be all that damaging if you have the ability to make a controlled fall, enough control over public opinion to make a calculated risk. Why take the risk? Because it would help certain unsavory characters further indoctrinate everyone to either support attacking folks who help defend our freedoms, while also convincing others that being a Chelsea Manning is something which will get you hung by everyone they have already managed to brainwash. If you are a maniacal ******, wanna-be dictator (like Romney proved during his time at Bain Capital: "****** the little guy. I'm smarter...where's mine?"), it would be the kind of crazy shit you'd try. It doesn't make sense? Neither does sticking innocent human beings in a gas chamber or a furnace. But it happens anyway's does it not. Yup. Sometimes...humans just do stupid shit because they think they are so damned smart. It doesn't make sense when they do it. But we must remember that just because we understand it doesn't make sense not to do it, means that they also do.