COINTELPRO Techniques for Dilution, Misdirection and Control of an Internet Forum

George Washington's picture

We have repeatedly addressed the topic of disruption of logical debate on the Internet.

An anonymous writer posted an important new report on disruption at Pastebin.  It is in the style of a leaked law enforcement memo, although we cannot vouch for its authenticity as a document produced by a whistleblower.  However, we have seen these techniques repeatedly used to disrupt Internet debate, and so - even if only copying the style of a real memo - it contains valuable information which all web user should know.

COINTELPRO Techniques for dilution, misdirection and control of a internet forum.

There are several techniques for the control and manipulation of a internet forum no matter what, or who is on it. We will go over each technique and demonstrate that only a minimal number of operatives can be used to eventually and effectively gain a control of a 'uncontrolled forum.'

Technique #1 - 'FORUM SLIDING'

If a very sensitive posting of a critical nature has been posted on a forum - it can be quickly removed from public view by 'forum sliding.' In this technique a number of unrelated posts are quietly prepositioned on the forum and allowed to 'age.' Each of these misdirectional forum postings can then be called upon at will to trigger a 'forum slide.' The second requirement is that several fake accounts exist, which can be called upon, to ensure that this technique is not exposed to the public. To trigger a 'forum slide' and 'flush' the critical post out of public view it is simply a matter of logging into each account both real and fake and then 'replying' to prepositined postings with a simple 1 or 2 line comment. This brings the unrelated postings to the top of the forum list, and the critical posting 'slides' down the front page, and quickly out of public view. Although it is difficult or impossible to censor the posting it is now lost in a sea of unrelated and unuseful postings. By this means it becomes effective to keep the readers of the forum reading unrelated and non-issue items.


A second highly effective technique (which you can see in operation all the time at is 'consensus cracking.' To develop a consensus crack, the following technique is used. Under the guise of a fake account a posting is made which looks legitimate and is towards the truth is made - but the critical point is that it has a VERY WEAK PREMISE without substantive proof to back the posting. Once this is done then under alternative fake accounts a very strong position in your favour is slowly introduced over the life of the posting. It is IMPERATIVE that both sides are initially presented, so the uninformed reader cannot determine which side is the truth. As postings and replies are made the stronger 'evidence' or disinformation in your favour is slowly 'seeded in.' Thus the uninformed reader will most like develop the same position as you, and if their position is against you their opposition to your posting will be most likely dropped. However in some cases where the forum members are highly educated and can counter your disinformation with real facts and linked postings, you can then 'abort' the consensus cracking by initiating a 'forum slide.'

Technique #3 - 'TOPIC DILUTION'

Topic dilution is not only effective in forum sliding it is also very useful in keeping the forum readers on unrelated and non-productive issues. This is a critical and useful technique to cause a 'RESOURCE BURN.' By implementing continual and non-related postings that distract and disrupt (trolling ) the forum readers they are more effectively stopped from anything of any real productivity. If the intensity of gradual dilution is intense enough, the readers will effectively stop researching and simply slip into a 'gossip mode.' In this state they can be more easily misdirected away from facts towards uninformed conjecture and opinion. The less informed they are the more effective and easy it becomes to control the entire group in the direction that you would desire the group to go in. It must be stressed that a proper assessment of the psychological capabilities and levels of education is first determined of the group to determine at what level to 'drive in the wedge.' By being too far off topic too quickly it may trigger censorship by a forum moderator.


Information collection is also a very effective method to determine the psychological level of the forum members, and to gather intelligence that can be used against them. In this technique in a light and positive environment a 'show you mine so me yours' posting is initiated. From the number of replies and the answers that are provided much statistical information can be gathered. An example is to post your 'favourite weapon' and then encourage other members of the forum to showcase what they have. In this matter it can be determined by reverse proration what percentage of the forum community owns a firearm, and or a illegal weapon. This same method can be used by posing as one of the form members and posting your favourite 'technique of operation.' From the replies various methods that the group utilizes can be studied and effective methods developed to stop them from their activities.

Technique #5 - 'ANGER TROLLING'

Statistically, there is always a percentage of the forum posters who are more inclined to violence. In order to determine who these individuals are, it is a requirement to present a image to the forum to deliberately incite a strong psychological reaction. From this the most violent in the group can be effectively singled out for reverse IP location and possibly local enforcement tracking. To accomplish this only requires posting a link to a video depicting a local police officer massively abusing his power against a very innocent individual. Statistically of the million or so police officers in America there is always one or two being caught abusing there powers and the taping of the activity can be then used for intelligence gathering purposes - without the requirement to 'stage' a fake abuse video. This method is extremely effective, and the more so the more abusive the video can be made to look. Sometimes it is useful to 'lead' the forum by replying to your own posting with your own statement of violent intent, and that you 'do not care what the authorities think!!' inflammation. By doing this and showing no fear it may be more effective in getting the more silent and self-disciplined violent intent members of the forum to slip and post their real intentions. This can be used later in a court of law during prosecution.


It is important to also be harvesting and continually maneuvering for a forum moderator position. Once this position is obtained, the forum can then be effectively and quietly controlled by deleting unfavourable postings - and one can eventually steer the forum into complete failure and lack of interest by the general public. This is the 'ultimate victory' as the forum is no longer participated with by the general public and no longer useful in maintaining their freedoms. Depending on the level of control you can obtain, you can deliberately steer a forum into defeat by censoring postings, deleting memberships, flooding, and or accidentally taking the forum offline. By this method the forum can be quickly killed. However it is not always in the interest to kill a forum as it can be converted into a 'honey pot' gathering center to collect and misdirect newcomers and from this point be completely used for your control for your agenda purposes.


Remember these techniques are only effective if the forum participants DO NOT KNOW ABOUT THEM. Once they are aware of these techniques the operation can completely fail, and the forum can become uncontrolled. At this point other avenues must be considered such as initiating a false legal precidence to simply have the forum shut down and taken offline. This is not desirable as it then leaves the enforcement agencies unable to track the percentage of those in the population who always resist attempts for control against them. Many other techniques can be utilized and developed by the individual and as you develop further techniques of infiltration and control it is imperative to share then with HQ.

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XenOrbitalEnginE's picture

Well, I am VERY ANGRY about this post, and I do not care who knows it!


I used to be young and responsible, and would TROLL mercilessly.  However, I would do this instinctually, not with this sort of dull minded weasels recipie book.  And what is COW-INTEL-PROD?!  I don't think I read that right, this Widows 8 Slate computer has all the fonts too small to read and no way to MAKE IT BIGGER!


Hey, did you hear that one of the many many buildings in New York City has a loose crane fastened to it?  Wow that might cost somebody a lot of money.  Anyway, there are more buildings and many large cities just like that all around the world!


booboo's picture

What was the topic again?

Lmo Mutton's picture

Nothing to see here.  Move along.  Move along.

W10321303's picture

Total DEBT cancellation is the only way to undermine the Crypto-Facist EMPIRE!

"It is always about the money, mon ami"   Poirot

Heyoka Bianco's picture

"very useful in keeping the forum readers on unrelated and non-productive issues."

Please to be pointing out how any comment on the internet, especially anonymous ones, can ever be considered "productive". This is all farts in the giant Jacuzzi of opinions that already drowning us.

Does anybody really need such a list. It's an established fact that Americans are easily distracted. Just pick an emotional subject from recent headlines and post some where unrelated. If you can get a plug for some bullshit website selling cheap knockoffs or dates with millionaires, that's like the nuclear option.

See, just pissing in the wind. It can be entertaining though.

andyupnorth's picture

Romney is the most experienced candidate to lead the country.

andyupnorth's picture

Obama fights for the people.

andyupnorth's picture

You're both idiots.  Ron Paul 2012!

andyupnorth's picture

At this time, the score is +0,-2 against Romney, and +0,-5 against Obama.  So I'm guessing that there are 3 paid Obama shills who only voted down Obama and not Romney.

Ron Paul currently has +8,-0, which I believe is from genuine opinion, perhaps mostly international.

My 2 cents.

Cathartes Aura's picture

another example of troll-form, the splay-leg taking up of space by replying to your own quick posts down a thread. . .aka marking the territory.

andyupnorth's picture

This was a one-time, on-purpose trolling using Technique #4: Information Collection.  I have polled a few dozen American friends and relatives living from North Carolina to Vermont and they have ALL decided that they will be voting for Romney (some of them still think that Obama is a closet Muslim).  I tried to explain to them that it doesn't matter since both are bought and paid for by the Banking Cartel (and therrefore also the Military Industrial Complex, the drug cartel, the natural resources companies, etc)... but their eyes simply always glaze over as if they were all hypnotized.  :-(

And here on Zerohedge, I expect more knowledgeable people and also some paid trolls.  And still it's in favor of Romney.

The media seems to always try to create a suspensful, uncertain race, but my probing shows that Romney will win.

So Cathartes, what can you conclude from the results above?

tip e. canoe's picture

well played all the way through

Cathartes Aura's picture

I can only give you my opinion, which veers radically from the others here. . .

I agree with you that "it doesn't matter" who gets "voted" for - the elections are handled now, and have been for a while - but certainly it doesn't matter who gets in because the "president" seat is a figurehead role, it has no authority, it does what it's told, and gets paid recognition for this - largely a narcissist's wet dream, which is the only type of person to apply for the job.   IMO.

that ZH began the year with threads obviously in favour of a Conservative Republican painted as "Libertarian" was a massive distraction from the fact that this nationstate is operating under false pretenses, and sadly, this has resulted in "anyone but Obama" which means a Romney vote is all that's tolerable.  it's obvious that once committed to voting something/someone, the mind will continue to rationalise any behaviour within that thinking process.

I don't vote, never have, and I believe people would be better off investigating the whole story of the system in place, rather than playing cheerleader to one of the machine parts. . .

appreciate the interaction.

therearetoomanyidiots's picture

THis is great but Paul is not a valid candidate.   He's not on most of the states' ballots and you can't write people in, they don't count 'em.


I'd like ROn Paul but a vote for him is a vote for Obama.'s picture



I'd like ROn Paul but a vote for him is a vote for Obama.


If I never had any intention of voting for either Romney or Obama but chose to write in Paul how does that increase Obama's vote count? Show the math.

Random_Robert's picture

Agree- writing in RP is a wasted vote (as if a vote counts for anything anyway)


Gary Johnson, bitchez...

Pure Evil's picture

Just write in Satan and get it over with already. Why vote for the lesser of two evils, or even Obama, when you can have Pure Evil running things for you.

Pseudo Anonym's picture

what the hell are you talking about:

Just write in Satan and get it over with already

the hofjuden are already running things for you.  just dont vote; dont bother, the satan's already in peeking out through the central banks

mendolover's picture

Why is the grammar in the first paragraph so crappy?

Gully Foyle's picture

The problem is not only does everyone have an agenda, but anyone could be paid to nudge opinion in any direction.

I see forum disruptions as two groups who have not been given the same game plan.

Like Dylan says " Propaganda all is phony".


Winston Smith 2009's picture

Spelling, too. "abusing there powers"

The first three techniques describe virtually the same thing.  Besides the trolling "technique," everything else simply describes what is commonly known as hijacking a thread.


shovelhead's picture

I only post on ZH because I'm a double, double extra crispy counter intelligence agent.

Sometimes I even fool myself.

Influencing the very important people playing Farmville is my key to taking over and controlling the world.

Suck it up kids...

You're all mine now.

Gully Foyle's picture


I only post here to make it publicly known how much I despise the greedy-tax-avoiding-guns-and-gold-subervisives here.

That I fully believe in "See something ,Say something".

And like any proud American would be willing to inform on anyone for a leg up and possibly some cash.

jughead's picture

I'll give you ten bucks if you lift up a leg and piss all over yourself.

Pure Evil's picture

I'll add in $20, but only if he starts at his head and works his way down.

Gully Foyle's picture


So you are into paying men so you can watch them piss on themselves.

I bet you got a lot of private responses here.

But hey it's a new century and we don't judge perverts the way we used to.

Amagnonx's picture

This is a list of fairly advanced techniques - I have seen a list of the simpler 'deflect' style techniques posted before which was also educational.  Nice post agin George .


I used to read ATS quite a lot, until some very professional and prolific agents began to smash that board - I couln't compete with their massive campaign - they obviously had a lot of resources and worked really hard - that board has been fairly well destroyed.  Yeah -  a few of them got to be forum mods which made it a bit of a one sided contest.

seataka's picture

Seataka was banned from ATS for explaining how the trick was done..

JohnFrodo's picture

Anoyomus may be claiming that the tax funded arm of the Military Industrial Complex is Above top secrect, and operatives with a langly address use all of the techniques above on a daily basis.

Vooter's picture

Yawn...just turn the fucking computer off...

kaiserhoff's picture

George Washington reporting on the hidden agenda and methodology of his own blog.  How Orwellian.

New_Meat's picture

I think you give GW too much credit, but:

Here's GW's original playbook.

- Ned

Not that he hasn't gone down other ratholes since.

Diogenes's picture

He forgot the most important one , misdirection. If someone submits on a subject you DO NOT want the people to know about, discuss or research just post a moronic anti Semitic rant. This will immediately direct attention away from the subject, disgust the more intelligent readers and drive them away, and make the whole board look bad.

It's an obvious trick, so obvious you wouldn't think it would work, but I have seen it work on this board over and over again.

Cathartes Aura's picture

works the same with "nigger" comments, or frequent usage of "cunt, pussy" and other sexual derogatives. . . which of course, attract a certain low-brow type of mentality, and the more the merry, when it comes to thread-jacks.'s picture

And don't forget "cock bearer." It doesn't get much more low brow than that.

forexskin's picture

fudge packer? *i can see all the smart ones leaving in droves now*

WTFx10's picture

Only Zionists use anti-semitism as their cure all. Bullshit is their weapon and you seem to love it.

If the intelligent readers are being driven away from the truth then they aren't very intelligent.


therearetoomanyidiots's picture

I blame the Jooze and the Jooze controlled media...

Amagnonx's picture

Yep -its used, its not the winning play it used to be though.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

In this scenario I hoped to be a useful idiot, but I'm afraid I'll never rise above unwitting dupe.

Jim in MN's picture

Everybody Wang Chung Troll tonight: Ai Weiwei interviews a Chinese government goonbot


I think they can be incited very easily. I can control them very easily. Depending on how I want them to be, I use a little bit of thought and that’s enough. It’s very easy. So I think the effect should be quite significant.

Do you think the government has the right to guide public opinion?

Personally, I think absolutely not. But in China, the government absolutely must interfere and guide public opinion. The majority of Chinese netizens are incited too easily, don’t think for themselves and are deceived and incited too easily by false news.

Do you have to believe in the viewpoints you express? Are you concerned about politics and the future?

I don’t have to believe in them. Sometimes you know well that what you say is false or untrue. But you still have to say it, because it’s your job. I’m not too concerned about Chinese politics. There’s nothing to be concerned about in Chinese politics.

malikai's picture

"Personally, I think absolutely not. But in China, the government absolutely must interfere and guide public opinion. The majority of Chinese netizens are incited too easily, don’t think for themselves and are deceived and incited too easily by false news."

Oh, the duality. I wonder if this guy recognizes just how rediculous that statement is.

Urban Redneck's picture

I'm surprised the word "citizenism" didn't show up-

blindman's picture

who owns the world? the water, the air and land.
i recently saw an estimate that claimed there are
450 billion trees on the planet and they have a dollar
value sufficient to finance part of our collective
debts if we just cut them all down, and that is just
trees, we have other things that could be brought
to market to satisfy the debts. i suppose a tree has
a value even if it is not turned into fuel or furniture
but the producer of the program didn't mention it.
Who Owns the World? Noam Chomsky on U.S.-Fueled Dangers, from Climate Change to Nuclear Weapons
george, don't let the heartless bastards get you down.
and they are legion

Nehweh Gahnin's picture

Yeah, well, they took that approach on Easter Island and in Haiti...

kaiserhoff's picture

I own plenty of trees, and hickory makes great firewood, but you have to be willing to get off your lazy ass and work.

NotApplicable's picture

I've got almost 10 acres of oak and hickory. ALL downhill.

Stove is burning as I type. I even cooked dinner on it last night.