Part one; overview, big picture: https://wildhorseeducation.org/2017/09/16/the-wild-in-wild-horses-the-land-they-stand-on-timeline-public-land-seizure-movement/
Part two; some of the “wild horse” set up: https://wildhorseeducation.org/2017/09/17/the-wild-in-wild-horses-the-land-they-stand-on-public-land-seizure-movement-segment-two/
Part three; a barometer tool for you: https://wildhorseeducation.org/2017/09/17/the-wild-in-wild-horses-the-land-they-stand-on-public-land-seizure-movement-segment-three/
Section four (this piece) is the new frontier, the internet
Tentative publish order.
Section five will cover the “Data shell game and how it compares to BLM PR machines… in the new frontier.” Reality vs… are you off your meds?
Section six will cover the gymnastics used to hide the truth.
This is part four in an essay that, at this time may become five segments or twenty, depending on the time that can be spent on this keyboard. Over the course of the last decade we have published literally hundreds of articles on this subject. Nothing in these articles presents something we have not put in written word, or discussed with one journalist or another, for the last ten years.
We publish these lengthy articles and are likely to receive email, “just put it in a meme.” “Where’s the petition to sign?” “Dumb down, you write too many words.”
Over the years we have become increasingly concerned and penned multiple articles about an American public looking for “click bait,” not news. We have done many articles warning about “signing a petition.” We have used an example where two petitions were presented claiming “save the wild horse,” on two opposing sides of fertility control. When the petitions were presented, the vast majority of the signatures on both petitions were identical. Not only did that negate the issue in discussion in each petition, it negated credibility of advocacy on the issue.
The advent of social media brought a fast tool to get information out quick. An emergency alert, like fire or hurricane, could update the public instantly. Links to in depth articles could reach millions of people that could click a link and read. Libraries you could not physically get to could be visited with the click of a button.
In 2009, as the latest round of the push to take over public land went into gear, profiling of the internet was becoming a science.
Brain mapping is used to diagnose and treat disease, but it is also used to determine response to stimulus and how to control it. “Behavioral therapy” is the term used to treat a patient. “Torture techniques” are the flip side of “human behavioral modification.” “Work smarter, not harder” is the kind of statement you hear in one of the offshoots of these techniques that make those “attend and get your gold star” meetings many businesses use to mold a workplace environment. These techniques are used in advertising, public relations firms and political campaigns.
The psychology of the internet is a new field that even has coined a new term, “Cyberpsychology.” Life behind an avatar creates a sense of unreality that can influence reality. “Trolls” are a term most people know when talking about the internet. But dismissing trolls as “all nuts” is dangerous. The “nut,” the “hate chat,” the private message from someone you barely know to inflame something you posted publicly and “click bait” itself, has power. That power has been harnessed, just like if you are looking for a new muffler all of a sudden every ad on your social media feed is filled with car parts… you’ve been profiled.
This is not something that should create paranoia. But the impression many have that the internet is somehow isolated to their screen, need to begin to comprehend every time you log on, you leave your home. Every click, every search, every conversation is as real as walking down the street and going into a coffee shop or a grocery store. It is also an error to believe that because you delete something, it no longer exists. A “delete” simply puts the item in a trash bag, the trash bag still exists. A “private message” is the same as walking from the main street into a restaurant and then into a bathroom; it exists is traceable space. Simply be as accountable to your actions on the internet as you would be standing face-to-face with someone. Nervous about using a credit card online? Use your cell phone and call it in. Paranoia is not the word, accountability is.
“Hate” has been harnessed in the same way that beverage companies have tracked successful advertising on the internet. This tool began to send it’s tentacles out in 2012. In 2015 we saw the tool solidify. By 2016 the “hate groups” began to rise so dramatically that by 2017 mainstream news outlets are writing about them. In some states these groups are condensing, one group now umbrellas another, less groups more members. In some states the actual number of groups is exploding.
We were the target of one early “experiment” (attempt at disruption) with a website titled “Destroy HSUS and LL.” The website raised money and claimed to send someone (who showed up) posting intention to hurt (kill) a volunteer, later claiming (to federal law enforcement) it was “just a joke.” Later that year Protect the Harvest was formed with a mainline declared enemy of HSUS, (you can read more in Christopher Ketcham’s “All the Pretty Horses Must Die”). JJ McNab, Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, tracks domestic threats and terrorism.
As early as 2007 the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) warned of security issues, including manipulation of the public. They recognized that the speed at which the internet was growing created two problems; a lack of regulations that moved at the same pace and an inability of the public to adapt psychologically to the new terrain at the speed it was evolving.
For three years Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) has been trying to get a formal hearing in the House Natural Resources Committee (HNRC) on how these intimidation tactics (including the internet) are used to influence public lands management. In addition to threatening the safety of federal workers, it is a safety risk to the public. Incredibly he has been unable to get a full hearing to the floor, the majority chair, McClintok (R-CA), will not approve a full hearing for the record. (To see the informal hearing and read a synopsis relevant to wild horses go HERE).
If you walked onto a used car lot to buy a new car would you be on guard? Think of each chat, each site, as a vehicle. Simply use the same discretion. Some sales pitches to sell you that lemon are over the top, some subtle, but the vehicle is the same under the hood. It might be one that leaves you in a really bad spot you never intended to get stuck in.
In 2014 we saw the rise of the Grass March; a part of the anti federal regulation movement. Cowboys on horseback chanting “disband the BLM” actually began to draw some people from the wild horse advocate community. Keeping their actual petition offline anyone angry with the way our public land was managed became easy fodder. Keeping one item focal, the removal of an employee they felt was a symbol of government overreach, was a public relations tactic. The true petition included “resumption of horse slaughter and mustanging, the removal of the raven off the migratory bird treaty, remove sage grouse from consideration for protection.” The employee they wanted removed? Had the audacity to close a grazing allotment during drought. (READ more HERE)
Why is it so easy to hide motive and intention? Because people fail to look at details. It is much easier to ride an “entertainment wave” that might make you feel good, active, or just to vent your anger at your boss…. without actually facing the issue you are angry with. Instead unrest gets harnessed.
Should you feel concerned about issues? Absolutely. “If you advocated for a sick child would you scream at the doctor that the disease did not exist? No. You would learn everything you could about the disease and the treatment options and then do your best to engage the system armed with as much knowledge as you could absorb.”
We sat at the center of that storm. For the second year in a row we were involved with the BLM state office to create a fertility control/data collection program to satisfy all parameters outlined by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Remember please that since 1980 the NAS essentially outlines the identical needs they reiterated in 2013. Years of litigation had brought us to that table that was beginning to receive mandates from DC to do exactly what we had been proposing, create a frame of truth. (We had active litigation that asserted the exact same allegations confirmed by the NAS in 2013. That conversation gave us some very solid ground for discussion.)
That solid ground was now threatened, literally and figuratively. We did our best to educate the public to the truth of the agenda of the Grass March. It was relatively easy to demonstrate as many involved in the Grass March had been openly “pro mustanging” or had openly sent horses to slaughter. Most had attended the “Summit of the Horse,” proslaughter events at one time or another. (Remember the 1971 Act to protect wild horses and burros is on the resentment list, read part one)
In 2015 we faced the blowback. We were the target of the same agenda. Online we were attacked in an immense storm that came from multiple directions. The death threats came back. We saw individuals involved in the 2012 “Destroy HSUS and LL” now representing extremists in advocacy and moving that agenda forward with the same “hate tactics” that worked in 2012. The opposition used those same tactics. We actually became the preferred target. Everything you read about in those articles that have “concern for federal employees,” we faced. We even had a volunteers license plate posted online in a thread filled with threats.
A fictional representation of our work was used, just as a fictional representation of the Grass March was presented, to manipulate. We were not extremist activism, we were simply the one on the ground. Yes, we won multiple rulings against inhumane conduct. The law says “humane” seven times. That does not make us extreme animal rights, it makes us frustrated with a lack of enforceable policy being asserted by those tasked with the law itself. We were fighting for First Amendment rights for public and press. We were trying to uphold laws, under the same pressure that was now no longer hidden, but had risen to the surface.
Many advocacy orgs also use the same advertising techniques that are used by beverage companies to compete in the economic market. Failing to recognize the threat to the cause, before seeing an opportunity to hurt a competitor, solidified the tool. The opposition watched it, marked it, used it.
In 2017 we now see the political agenda fully exposed. For wild horses the proposed budget for FY18 had the tax payer footing the bill (millions of dollars) to roundup wild horses and then sell them for as little as $5. each to kill buyers (those that resent federal authority that stopped mustanging, that all met at the “Summit of the Horse”). The initial proposal created a massive cash crop, built on mega subsidizes, in the game of politics.
The new proposal. likely to pass, is that we shoot wild horses to continue a broken federal grazing program. Not one of the massive subsidies to an industry (public land livestock) that operates at a direct (indirect cost is much higher) loss of more than $125 million a year and produces only 3% of beef?
Where does true advocacy fit in the next landscape? That is for you to define, not us.
Thinking out loud, not a crime to do that yet.
The current proposal says “just shoot the wild horses” so we can continue the insanely broken federal grazing program (another mega subsidy with very little benefit to the country).
The Stewart Amendment says “euthanize,” for wild horses that means line them up and shoot them, to save a few million dollars. But what then? Nobody is talking about it.
Most states in the West don’t have a landfill where it would be legal to dump a few thousand wild horses, let alone tens of thousands of them.
Render? Usually rendering comes with a big price tag and what is left, is commercial product for profit… technically forbidden (but we know all about those pesky technicalities not getting in the way).
Incinerate? Another hefty price tag where environmental costs would need to be analyzed, or would they? Private contract?
Do we add it as a roundup component? This would be the most cost effective but the hardest to hide from the public and then what to do with the bodies in each local community? Another private contract?
It seems like what all of this does is set up another row of private contracts. How does this save money?
As wild horse advocates; be careful out there.
Wild Horse Education? What is our place in this new landscape? A landscape contradictory to our purpose. Our work has been about tool building from day one; information, a humane handling policy, an access policy, solid data collection to create defensible management decisions. Often we have felt like we are simply trying to do the job federal employees are actually paid to do, but they are either simply marking time to a pension, inept, part of the corruption or afraid. Becoming a target of the very machine trying to take away federal authority (the thing that keeps those people employed) because of the failures of those on the tax payer dime? While those paid to actually do those jobs recede into the shadows or actually wrap themselves in the protection of those actually after them? These are INSANE times.
The political machine, all sides, will determine the future. Only then can we determine what, and if, there is a tool we can build within it to create a better future for our wild horses and the land they stand on.
“In an interview back in 2009 I told a student film maker that I did not know if what I was documenting would help create lasting change, or simply a chapter in the history of the American West. I did not know if all I was doing was creating a memory, a visual reminder of a new American legacy, the death of our western wild places. I had hoped it was the former, not the later.”
You voice is still needed in a simple action item. Pick up the phone. https://wildhorseeducation.org/2017/09/06/fast-update-the-budget-votes/
Support the efforts of Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ) as they look for answers into corruption in the DOI. Read here and add your name to a support letter and make a call: https://wildhorseeducation.org/2017/09/11/we-can-stop-this/
We will be running a webinar on Sunday, September 24, at 6-7:30 pm pacific time. We have titled the webinar “The land you stand upon.” It will cover the process of law making, law enforcement, centered on how you can interact within the system. We will update you to the current state of the budget bill during the webinar. The discussion will focus on wild horses and public land but the information can be used on any issue that you care about. To cover the costs, based on projection of attendees, any donation over $20. US will receive the invitation email.
Categories: Wild Horse Education