"We, the people, are not stupid."
The Palace has been releasing information matrices that fall short of the gold standard of true intelligence activity, and it’s hurting their credibility.
The first iteration of the matrix, published by The Manila Times, implicated lawyers and journalists critical of the President and his administration.
The publication of this matrix led to the resignation of Manila Times managing editor Felipe Salvosa II, who said on social media, “A diagram is by no means an evidence of ‘destabilization’ or an ‘ouster plot,’” and questioned the source
The second matrix, which the Palace says aims to discredit the administration, includes politicians and celebrities, among them news personality Gretchen Ho and Olympian weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz.
Many members of the public and the opposition laughed at the matrices, which seem to be the work of grade schoolers, as Aquino presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.
Communist leader Jose Maria Sison said the diagrams were “not even worth a scrap of toilet paper.”
Duterte spokesman Salvador Panelo, who presented both matrices to the public and media, first said the information came from the President, next he said he didn’t know.
Which brings us to the question—how much actual genuine intelligence work went into the making of the matrices? Even Lacierda’s social media post about senatorial candidate Gary Alejano was included in one of the matrices, and it didn’t make sense because everything else there was either an organization or a person.
The Duterte administration enjoys P2.5 billion in intel funds. Where is the money going? Because it certainly isn’t funding quality intelligence info. If there were an actual ouster plot, and if real intelligence work had been conducted, the output would be greater and more significant than a list of disgruntled citizens and activists and a few stray personalities puzzled about their inclusion.
\A genuine intelligence report would be much more detailed and precise. For example, if it were about an ouster plan, it would include the principal instigators of the plot; their strategies to bring about the ouster, such as physical, psychological, and other forms of conflict or warfare; the strength of support; weapons and other hardware or equipment complement; dates of planned attacks or concerted actions; and the like.
I’m not even basing this on an official checklist, just on sound common sense. What kind of ouster are we even talking about? Is it physical, where the target is to be bodily ejected from the Palace, as was done with the dictator Marcos? Or is it an ouster through elections, which is a legitimate act? Ouster through public opinion? Ouster through impeachment or other legal means? The matrices answer none of these questions because they are illogical and the products of incompetent minds that can’t even imitate a genuine intel report, as a cursory internet search shows.
I typed ‘What is the output of intelligence agencies’ into a search engine and the second article that popped up was a post at the Federation of American Scientists website (fas.org) titled “Intelligence Collection Activities and Disciplines.”
The article briefly defines ‘intelligence’, explains the intelligence cycle, and enumerates the intelligence collection disciplines. What it describes as intelligence work is above and beyond the primitive matrices we are told are evidence of an ouster or propaganda plot.
The matrices the Palace are touting are not intelligence according to standard, and are definitely not worth P2.5 billion. To put it another way, they look like the product of a storming session, without the brain.
Of the second matrix, Panelo said its objective is to “to discredit this administration for the purpose of the election,” and that there is a “deliberate conspiracy” to do so, participated in by “the Liberal Party, the yellows, Magdalos, and media outfits as well as organizations indicated in the matrix.”
Is he conflating legitimate dissent and freedom of expression with conspiracy? Panelo says not: “It can never be a crackdown. This government cannot crack down on those who are practicing the freedom of expression.”
But it seems he is discrediting the opposition’s criticism of the administration by claiming that they are conspirators—which he also denied.
It might seem confusing but it is not. The matrices do not make logical sense as conspiracy or plot. What they show at the most are lists of people who do not agree with the way the President and his administration govern.
What galls me most about the matrices is that we, the public, are expected to swallow these allegations hook, line, and sinker just because they said so.
We, the people, are not stupid.
We, the people, reject lies, innuendoes, and unsubstantiated accusations.
We, the people, demand truth and transparency and the highest standard of governance.
Brains are in short supply this season, lol. /FB and Twitter: @DrJennyO