OT: New Snowden docs reveal gov’t agents “attempting to manipulate & control online discourse with… deception & reputation-destruction” — “Deliberately spreading lies on internet” — Using “‘false flag operations’ & emails to people’s families, friends” (GRAPHICS)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
By Paul Martin

February 26th, 2014

Glenn Greenwald, Feb 24, 2014 at 6:25p ET: How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations– From the Snowden archive

Western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction
[The ‘Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group’ a previously secret unit of the UK’s ‘Government Communications Headquarters’] document […] entitled “The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations”
Agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the internet itself
Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable
Tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information” on various forums
GCHQ describes the purpose of JTRIG [as] “using online techniques to make something happen in the real or cyber world,” including “information ops (influence or disruption)”
These surveillance agencies have vested themselves with the power to deliberately ruin people’s reputations and disrupt their online political activity
Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, a close Obama adviser and the White House’s former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, wrote a controversial paper in 2008 proposing that the US government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites, as well as other activist groups
These GCHQ documents are the first to prove that a major western government is using some of the most controversial techniques to disseminate deception online and harm the reputations of targets
The state is deliberately spreading lies on the internet about whichever individuals it targets, including the use of what GCHQ itself calls “false flag operations” and emails to people’s families and friends
Claims that government agencies are infiltrating online communities and engaging in “false flag operations” to discredit targets are often dismissed as conspiracy theories, but these documents leave no doubt they are doing precisely that

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