The Conspiracy Theory Is True: Agents Infiltrate Websites Intending To "Manipulate, Deceive, And Destroy Reputations"

Tyler Durden's picture

In the annals of internet conspiracy theories, none is more pervasive than the one speculating paid government plants infiltrate websites, social network sites, and comment sections with an intent to sow discord, troll, and generally manipulate, deceive and destroy reputations. Guess what: it was all true.

And this time we have a pretty slideshow of formerly confidential data prepared by the UK NSA equivalent, the GCHQ, to confirm it, and Edward Snowden to thank for disclosing it. The messenger in this case is Glenn Greenwald, who has released the data in an article in his new website,, which he summarizes as follows: "by publishing these stories one by one, our NBC reporting highlighted some of the key, discrete revelations: the monitoring of YouTube and Blogger, the targeting of Anonymous with the very same DDoS attacks they accuse “hacktivists” of using, the use of “honey traps” (luring people into compromising situations using sex) and destructive viruses. But, here, I want to focus and elaborate on the overarching point revealed by all of these documents: namely, that these agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the internet itself." Call it Stasi for "Generation Internet."

Greenwald's latest revelation focuses on GCHQ’s previously secret unit, the JTRIG (Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group).

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. To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the 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. Here is one illustrative list of tactics from the latest GCHQ document we’re publishing today:

Other tactics aimed at individuals are listed here, under the revealing title “discredit a target”:

Then there are the tactics used to destroy companies the agency targets:

Critically, the “targets” for this deceit and reputation-destruction extend far beyond the customary roster of normal spycraft: hostile nations and their leaders, military agencies, and intelligence services. In fact, the discussion of many of these techniques occurs in the context of using them in lieu of “traditional law enforcement” against people suspected (but not charged or convicted) of ordinary crimes or, more broadly still, “hacktivism”, meaning those who use online protest activity for political ends.

The title page of one of these documents reflects the agency’s own awareness that it is “pushing the boundaries” by using “cyber offensive” techniques against people who have nothing to do with terrorism or national security threats, and indeed, centrally involves law enforcement agents who investigate ordinary crimes:

Greenwald's punchline is disturbing, and is sure to make paradnoid conspiracy theorists crawl even deeper into their holes for one simple reason: all of their worst fears were true all along.

No matter your views on Anonymous, “hacktivists” or garden-variety criminals, it is not difficult to see how dangerous it is to have secret government agencies being able to target any individuals they want – who have never been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crimes – with these sorts of online, deception-based tactics of reputation destruction and disruption.


The broader point is that, far beyond hacktivists, these surveillance agencies have vested themselves with the power to deliberately ruin people’s reputations and disrupt their online political activity even though they’ve been charged with no crimes, and even though their actions have no conceivable connection to terrorism or even national security threats. As Anonymous expert Gabriella Coleman of McGill University told me, “targeting Anonymous and hacktivists amounts to targeting citizens for expressing their political beliefs, resulting in the stifling of legitimate dissent.” Pointing to this study she published, Professor Coleman vehemently contested the assertion that “there is anything terrorist/violent in their actions.”

At this point Greenwald takes a detour into a well-known topic: Cass Sunstein. Who is Cass Sunstein? Recall: "Obama Picks Cass Sunstein (America’s Goebbels?) To Serve On NSA Oversight Panel."

Government plans to monitor and influence internet communications, and covertly infiltrate online communities in order to sow dissension and disseminate false information, have long been the source of speculation. 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.


Sunstein also proposed sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups” which spread what he views as false and damaging “conspiracy theories” about the government. Ironically, the very same Sunstein was recently named by Obama to serve as a member of the NSA review panel created by the White House, one that – while disputing key NSA claims – proceeded to propose many cosmetic reforms to the agency’s powers (most of which were ignored by the President who appointed them).

But while until now there was speculation that Sunstein's policies had been implemented, there was no proof. That is no longer the case:

... 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. Under the tactics they use, 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. Who would possibly trust a government to exercise these powers at all, let alone do so in secret, with virtually no oversight, and outside of any cognizable legal framework?

What is perhaps most disturbing is the level of detail these modern day Stasi agents engage in, paradoxically proposing social subversion without realizing they themselves would be susceptible to just that. And all it would take is one whistleblower with a conscience:

Under the title “Online Covert Action”, the document details a variety of means to engage in “influence and info ops” as well as “disruption and computer net attack”, while dissecting how human being can be manipulated using “leaders”, “trust, “obedience” and “compliance”:

The documents lay out theories of how humans interact with one another, particularly online, and then attempt to identify ways to influence the outcomes – or “game” it:

Greenwald's conclusion is spot on:

These agencies’ refusal to “comment on intelligence matters” – meaning: talk at all about anything and everything they do – is precisely why whistleblowing is so urgent, the journalism that supports it so clearly in the public interest, and the increasingly unhinged attacks by these agencies so easy to understand. 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.


Whatever else is true, no government should be able to engage in these tactics: what justification is there for having government agencies target people – who have been charged with no crime – for reputation-destruction, infiltrate online political communities, and develop techniques for manipulating online discourse? But to allow those actions with no public knowledge or accountability is particularly unjustifiable.

So the next time you run into someone in a chat room or a message board who sounds just a little too much like a paid government subversive... it may not be just the paranoia speaking. For the full details "why not", read the formerly confidential slideshow below.

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johnQpublic's picture



jailed for doing just that

never steal from a thief


GetZeeGold's picture




Madoff goes to jail.....and Corzine roams free.


This is class warfare!!!


Free Madoff.....he promises to bundle next time.

SDShack's picture

It's the sociopath way. They always eventually over reach, becasue, it's in their DNA to over reach. They can never end, because there is no end to their appetite. Their system always works, until it doesn't. It's why they destroy so much and so many, and why the world is so fucked up.

U4 eee aaa's picture

All those dead bankers piling up tells me they do steal from each other. I agree that it is in their DNA and once there are only dragons left on the land, they eat each other

Random's picture

"But what happens when they've stolen everything there is to steal fre' oom the proles and have to start stealing from each other?  - Will there be 'only one or is there 'honor among thieves' where they've already agreed to how the loot is split?

Would be fun to see the final infighting among the 0.01% but I don't see it happening."


This is the crux of the matter and it baffles many. Imho the "masters" aim is to waste everyone's time chasing random shit. The answer is not in this world and their plan is to prevent man from going where he should go. When thinking in materialistic terms this all charade makes no sense. But if you think that this control thing does not have an economic reason behind it (as the ultimate aim) but a spiritual one, everything makes sense. Just think about it, they (insert your favorite name/faction/designation) already have all the money/assets/etc and they have it for at LEAST 2500 years. You might say that they are afraid of losing control...well, when you have it for 2500+ years already you have to be very dumb to lose it now.

Raging Debate's picture

Cynical Skeptic - As I said, the infighting IS already happening. Why would you feel wasting valuable time to "watch it happen" be OK at any level? There proper ways to win a war of ideas that provide win-win for all. They just take longer than brute force which at it's conclusion wastes even m
MORE time

kchrisc's picture

They are running things "right," if one considers their theft and impoverishment of the masses their goals"

Now that they have succeeded, they have to protect their necks, literally, hence the spying, murder, etc.


"See 'ya on the battlefield, as I'm no getting on any train."

Kobe Beef's picture

Amen. This will only end in death.

OldPhart's picture

I've told this story before.

Telling it again, because I've personally have known that I've been actively monitored.

My son has been in Afghanistan for over eleven years.  He's a DOD contractor who does 'communications'.  He's been sent on special forces missions and has been blown up three times.  We just accept that we don't really know what he does.  But I've personally witnessed him calling Petraus a fucking cocksucker on his cell phone when he called.  He has been offered positions in the Bush and Obama White House but has turned them down because of his mouth.  (He's no dummy.)

Here's the story.

Around 2005 he was still enamored with being part of the 'mission' and going out with SF as a mission specialist. From what I gather, he was to test field communications using some sort of McGyvered shit with cell phones, computers and satellites.

I got a call from him on the phone asking if I was at my computer.  I said I was.  He said hold on a bit and hung up.  MS-Chat opened up and there he was chatting with me.  He told me a little about what he was doing and that whatever it was had been successful.  So now he had downtime to bullshit with me (which I thought was great!)

So we're chatting back and forth, and he made some comment about the fuckin' afghanis and how they were slipping out with the weapons and training we'd given them and joining the Taliban.  Usually after shooting, or knifing, american troops.

[Please bear in mind, this is 2005...I didn't 'wake up' until 2008.  So we both are still full of piss and vinegar about 9/11 and shit...]

I write:  "We should drop a nuke every ten miles starting in Syria and march them east to the Russian border."

Another chat window pops up from 'NSAGUY'.  The little fucker starts scolding me that I shouldn't write such things on open netweorks that anyone can read.

Told him to go fuck himself.  I'm in America and I can write any damned thing I please and any damned time I want.

No response, and I've never head anything else from NSAGuy.

But my son reminds me, everytime he comes home, that 'I'm a problem to his extremely high security clearance'.

phaedrus1952's picture

Which is why, OldPhart, Pat Tillman was assassinated.  His communications displayed an increasing awareness and disillusionment with the whole Afgan operation.

One thing that I still do not 'get' is how our military - particularly the officers - can acquiesce to all this.  Doesn't the blatant slaughter of two dozen SEALS prompt any outrage, any public response whatsoever?

Johnny Cocknballs's picture

Doesn't the blatant slaughter of two dozen SEALS prompt any outrage, any public response whatsoever?

The public who believe the 9/11 official conspiracy theory, or believes Obama's story about the killing and disposal of the world's number one source of counter-terror intel?

You would wonder if it would prompt outrage amongst the SEALs or other SF themselves.

Apparently not, but who knows. 

No one wants to be the first guy over the wall.

Retreat then into fantasy... imagine writing a novel in which a rogue SEAL or Green Beret unit abducts Dick Cheney and Larry Silverstein to get them to discuss 9/11...  what would they say, and would it change anything if their 'confessions' went out over the internets?


I honestly, assuming, in this fictional world, it was an inside/Israeli false flag and Cheney was lead on the US side, and Silverstein intimately aware of the insurance and doc destruction angle...  and they give up details, far too detailed to be mere duress confessions....   I think we are so far gone, so brainwashed, dumbed down and lazy, a non-critical mass minority would be irate, but the news media would bury it after a few days, and life would go on for the most part unchanged...



Kobe Beef's picture

It's far past time for our warriors to begin the fight for us. Local Ex-ops, train some cells and let's get going.

putaipan's picture

oh man, i can't tell you how many times i've fantasized producing that kind of 'torture porn' ... fairly easy to produce in high quality format- all it would take is a dingy room and two good actors. mmm...waterboarding dick cheney 'till the truth starts spilling out. think of the sequels- bush sr! bill c.! blankenfien! diamond!

kchrisc's picture

All governments are nothing more than a criminal syndicate of people. Therefore assume all communications from them to be lies, bullshit and false until PROVEN otherwise.

Following that argument, 9/11 was a murderous conspiracy UNTIL someone proves it wasn't, and no one has.


Sidenote: I wonder when Bush Jr. figured out how he was played? Not that he cared or anything.

Drifter's picture

"One thing that I still do not 'get' is how our military - particularly the officers - can acquiesce to all this."

More evidence indicating military is compromised and won't stand up for Americans if the time comes.

Something about getting a govt paycheck.  Seems to destroy any sense of constitution/rights/liberty/freedom, making them totally loyal to the govt.

How many refused to go to Iraq, Afghanistan, Lybia? 

Answer: None.  Everyone drank the "fighting for freedom" or "just following orders" koolaid.

90% of Americans would do the same thing.  Give 'em a govt job and they go totally loyal to the govt. 

Maybe 95%.   Maybe 99%.

How many "oathkeepers" violate the constitution every day so they can keep their govt job? 

Answer:   All of them.   Every single one.

America is a nation of sell-outs.  Why it's not worth saving. 

acetinker's picture

That's so fkn sad. Then again, it was foretold ya' know-


For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

-Matthew 10:35

The.Harmless.Who's picture



The Zionists (and Talmudic cults that preceeded them), as well as their groupies have up to no good for many many many years, decades, and centuries even. 


It's a hussle run by an exclusive club, and you're not invited.  


Off with their heads!!!!



TruthInSunshine's picture

Governments, and especially the USSA, have weaponized the internet, fully & completely, and in every way imaginable.

It is now the ultimate propagandist's tool & a statist's wet dream.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


How much does it pay?

Cult_of_Treason, I think this question is for you.

dogbreath's picture

Where is Flakmeister and Fonestar.   This thread adresses them specifically

NemoDeNovo's picture

Are the cavorting with Kito, MDB and RpbotTrader?

nope-1004's picture

Add Max Fischer, satoshi101, and CognacAndMencken to that list of US govvy paid trolls.


NemoDeNovo's picture

Damn you are right how could I forget those, too much liquor I guess.........

john39's picture

For all you know, it's all the same guy. The megaphony type software creates and maintains multiple personalities.

Tim_'s picture

satoshi101 wrote that he used to work for the NSA.

Kobe Beef's picture

MDB is waaaay too talented to be working for the gov.

acetinker's picture

MDB is to ZH as Frank Zappa was to late 20th century pop culture... had to resort to a macabre sort of humor to put his message across.  Shame, that is.

Ignatius's picture

My money's on moneybots and sosoome to name two.

They both spend far too much energy driving home dissembling and irrelevant points  about 9/11.

fonestar's picture

There's shills here alright.  Like Xeno or your kiddie-diddling, trenchcoat wearing bond investor friend.

TruthInSunshine's picture

Whisper rumor that Mt. Gox was bought for pennies on the bitcoin and will be open for business tomorrow as Madoff, Corzine, & Satoshi, PLLC.

GetZeeGold's picture



There's shills here alright.





silvermail's picture


How much does it pay?

Cult_of_Treason, I think this question is for you."

It is very strange that our Cult_of_Treason not present at this discussion! LOL

sunaJ's picture

Being a DARPA project from the beginning, should we expect anything different? 


Anusocracy's picture

This is a logical extension of the school system.

They're not going to let their diligently programmed animals escape their control through the wild wild west that is the internet.

BKbroiler's picture

umm... these charts make no sense.

tmosley's picture

Yeah, they look like a bunch of buzzwords thrown together.  I would imagine that the speaker had a lot more to say than what was on the slides.

Christophe2's picture

A WAY better disclosure on all this came out over a year ago:

=> somehow the cryptome file got corrupted so the juiciest parts are cut off (eg: how to easily recognize the disinformation sellouts that likely exist in your own social/professional circle), so here is an alternate link with the Full Monty:


Snowden is what is called a "limited hangout operation", where some dude(s) will tell you stuff you already knew, stuff which is way better explained elsewhere, and where none of it ultimately appears quite as bad as what is actually going on (ex: imagine someone revealing that Obama beats his dogs, when the real problem is all the people he is having murdered, etc.)

disabledvet's picture

Leaving aside the question of "who put the Director of Porky's" (versions One and Two) "in charge of the Government"? there remains the question of "if this works so good why am i still paying taxes" and "how come the American people don't have all that free shit?"

At a certain level I have to say as a taxpayer i am impressed however.
I mean this is truly "bottom of the barrel diabolic pure phucking evil shit."
I think we should thank Edward Snowden for reminding the world "it really should be terrified" and "that's why i'm in Moscow still and might remain so for a long, long, long, long time."

I don't know why the PTB continue to go after the guy. He's basically just publicized the fact that this thing really is unbeatable. "the ghost in your televsion" with Snowden being the little girl saying "they're here" kinda thing.

ebear's picture

They mostly come out at night.  Mostly.

MarsInScorpio's picture



The French Revolution prototype for eliminating the elite is the only solution that works.


gonetogalt's picture

Right, cue Laws of Physics...

I still advocate hanging by two's, double ended rope & watch them climb one another...

sunaJ's picture

The US intelligence network spends billions of dollars every year trying to figure out how to control and manipulate people - free from ideas of god or is just science and study of human nature to bring to pass their power-driven and misguided results.  They hate the light, and scurry like little rats when their tactics are unveiled, but don't expect them to let up.  They will continue, and press ever-harder, to protect their voyeuristic nature.  They suffer from paranoia on some level, for what they are afraid of most is not individual Americans having a point of view (rant away, as they will use it against you later!), but in the networking of such individuals.  I have no doubt that such tactics have long been used by g-forces on ZH, but ZH is small potatoes because they are not trying to organize anything.  As soon as ZH readers decide to create a public network, well, then the g-forces will crack their knuckles and get to work...and that would be the telltale sign of their fear.  Suffer in silence, or scream at the top of your lungs of the injustice of this regime, but don't think about uniting with other miserable souls, or you will be neutralized.  This is their tactic, because frankly they have lost any sort of perceived control of what individual people express or think.


To borrow from a post from Fonzanoon a couple hours ago, if you create a public (real-life) network, that is when your profile, which government intelligence has been building on you, will slide into another category of counter-ops.  But it receives this response from statists because it is exactly what threatens them.



cynicalskeptic's picture

What you don't realize is that we ARE sheep - and our leaders have already sold us off as food to our alien overlords.......  Soylent Green doesn't look so bad in comparison.

<sarc> (? - who the hell knows these days, NOTHING is out of the question)

Bananamerican's picture

"As soon as ZH readers decide to create a public network, well, then the g-forces will crack their knuckles and get to work..."
A ZH public that anything like synchronized cat swimming?
When I used to hang out at Daily Kos 7 years ago I noticed LOTS more .gov manip than I notice here because them critters were more "group" oriented to begin with.
The "InFOOs" here usually have armalite icons and talk about "taking people out" they think they're dealing with Stormfront ....probably because of all the Yid bashing

Raging Debate's picture

BananAmerican - Ooo a man with a sharp mind. About ZH building a network (from my experience because I built a successful beta and relaunching soon):

1) Investors won't fund a political network concept. They do fund neutral tools. This makes sense not just because of risk but because it limits the potential market share to a niche segment.

2) I have thought of giving the tech to ZH because the general intent is good but ZH will not kick users that threaten violence. Good laws do exist in any society about doing so. I'made the mistake of giving it to Libertarians first. Well intentioned lot about right and wrong but incorrect tactics if you want the world to keep becoming a better place. Ill give it scienstists at universities on the next go around at college campuses. Ton of unmet demand and neutral setting, based on logical goals, not driven by emotional passions.

3) I do not see simple tools to allow ZH members to communicate outside the forum. This tells me the management team may be purposely limiting the scope of the service. Again, this limits market potential to a niche so if I looked at it through an investment lens (capital always required from somewhere to grow) I wouldn't invest or limit my investment if I did.

The service has real value and if management wants to expand it consider models with broader distribution potential, like Facebook. "Facebook for politics" isnt going to sell for the primary reasons already described.

Spanky's picture



...what they are afraid of most is not individual Americans having a point of view (rant away, as they will use it against you later!), but in the networking of such individuals. -- sunaJ

Well said, accurate too.

Trust is a precious commodity and in short supply.

Ranger4564's picture

It's almost as if you're just making that stuff up, no basis in reality whatsoever. What individual Americans with points of view? Where? Majority of what I hear and read is the same old force fed one end or the other propaganda that has been swallowed, and being regurgitated. Very few have actual individual thoughts. Personal. Developed by their own intellect and insight. It's very important, the distinction between truly individuated and cultivated, as one allows the person to redefine their world view as new information is observed, the other is dumbfounded by new information and must wait for someone to explain what they should say they believe and perceive.

Most people are cultivated personalities. Caricatures. And most have been trained not to do a damn thing, even as the train is barreling towards them. And they're not doing a damn thing.

Which is why we are in the state we're in. Not having done a damn thing. You can cheer and jeer and rah and hurrah, but it's all complete and utter bullshit. It's meaningless self-adulation.

In short, most people actually think and express exactly what TPTB want people to express and think. Nothing truly innovative or progressive, mostly retrenching / retreating / deteriorating / rotting. Stuck in the mud. Pissing at each other about things you're not even sure why you actually hate about the other. Because, you're a fucking vegetable.