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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Anusocracy's picture

The human brain interprets reality the way it wants to - it is often prone to illusion.

Ranger4564's picture

Most people interpret reality the way they have been taught to. Very few actually interpret reality the way they want to. And much fewer still come close to true reality, if indeed such a thing can exist, given our understanding of physics at this time. It's too easy to call it illusion, people just really need to be more suspect of their own beliefs / opinions, and truly consider information from many opposing views, to see if they've been duped. I'd say we've been deceived. At such deep fundamental levels, we're not able to grasp at any reality. So many of us flounder in old traps.

GoldenTool's picture

Hitting em out of the park.


"lex parsimoniae"

GoldenTool's picture

Hitting em out of the park.


"lex parsimoniae"

GoldenTool's picture

Hitting em out of the park.


"lex parsimoniae"

GoldenTool's picture

Interesting triple haven't had that happen before.

Savyindallas's picture

Not sure about the moon landing. The conspiracy theory may be BS  -I don't know. haven't studied it that closely. Not sure about global warming and climate change - I think they are BS, but I don't know. I'm no expert. Not sure about chemtrails. I think they are real, but I don't know. What I see in the skies of dallas - very often -bothers me. I don't see how they can be "contrails".

I am quite certain that kennedy was not killed by a lone assasin  -Lee harvey oswald. I am pretty sure Sirhan Sirhan was a patsy who did not kill RFK-at least not alone. I am pretty sure that MLK was not killed by the lone assasin james earl ray.

I am almost certain the "Holocaust" is about 80-90% fabricated and that there were no gas chambers that systematically killed 6 millions jews. that's what real evidence (and lack of credible evidence) tells me. 

I am 99% certain that 9/11 was an inside job and we we have been fooled in the biggest con of the century ( likeley along with the Holocaust" myth/exaggeration.)

I will not agree to "work together" with people like you who are apparently trying to control and misdirect the masses from the truth. If 911 was an inside job, and the Holocaust is the "Holohoax" then we live in an Orwellian world of thought control where it is obvious that the media, educational instiutions, Wall Street and our Government are all controlled and manipulated by an evil and powerful group of elites who are playing us like the sheeple we are   -for their own evil, selfish purposes.    

Flakmeister's picture

Let me set you straight:

We landed on the moon, we can point a laser at a reflector we placed on. It allows us to meausure the distance to moon to extraordinary precision...

Global warming, hence climate change is real....

Contrails are harmless.....

JFK, RFK and MLK were all done in by lone gunmen....

The Holocaust was very real (don't believe Francis Sawyer or David Irving)....

9/11 was primarily incompetance and indifference exploited ruthlessly for benefit, WTC 7 is a different story...


TBT or not TBT's picture

There is no such thing as climate change. Ask all the frozen solid woolly mammoths their opinions.

GetZeeGold's picture




There is no such thing as climate change.


It's NOT settled.....not by a long shot.


Sorry.....secret agent man Flak.

Johnny Cocknballs's picture

well you're right about the moon, and deliberately wrong about 9/11. Global warming, regardless of causes, isn't "real".  JFK certainly involved more than one weapon from more than one direction and you have to be a liar or incredibly obtuse to think otherwise at this point. The Nazi Holocaust of Jews was greatly overstated for political gains. [recall that the Auschwitz figures were adjusted down by some millions and that the Nuremburg kangaroo court blamed Germany for what we now know the {mostly Jewish} Bolshevik NKVD did to Polish officers in the Katyn Forest.

dunno about contrails - they certainly can exist harmless and by  a simple process, but youer suggesting they are {all} harmless makes me want to look into the matter.

Also, organized Jewry/Zionists were essential to getting the United States into the First World War - in exchange for a homeland for the Jews in a land already occupied by 800,000-1,000,000 Arabs.  We just arent supposed to talk about it.

I know you feel like a champion of morality, smiting the evil thoughtless racists of the world.  But you're dishonest, brainwashed, and unwilling to consider evidence that you nevertheless dismiss.


You either want to ascertain what is/was true, or you don't.  Some of the people you attack do not, but a lot do.

You clearly do not.  Some of your claims and rejoinders are absurd.



Flakmeister's picture

Are you saying the Holocaust never happened? It certainly appears that way...

Wen_Dat's picture

either 6 million (holocaust)  or less (denier) 


Is this your stance?


Edit: It certainly appears that way...

Flakmeister's picture

Well, if you use discredited analysis to downplay the magnitude, it does sort of smack of denialism, n'est ce que pas?

But why ask me, ask David Irving, he learned the hard way...

Blood Spattered Banner's picture

The fact you just lumped together all of those theories shows me you don't know what the fuck you are talking about.

What a waste of keystrokes...

robertocarlos's picture

They use winning a gold medal at the olympics for social control. Right now most of Canada is worshipping anything to do with ice.

OldPhart's picture

Good points, but you're going to lose to the ADD majority that uses the internet for information.

Johnny Cocknballs's picture
The role of the Israeli Deep State in the Sept. 11th terror attacks, which have laid the foundation for the 21st century on the biggest lie in human history, is surrounded by a taboo even within the so-called 9/11 Truth Movement. Most activists groups remain focused on the slogan “9/11 was an Inside Job”, and keep their eyes “wide shut” on the evidence incriminating the secret services of the Jewish State.


as for WWII - if the original story about the # killed at Ausch. was changed by millions, if the narrative of the Katyn Forest massacre was false, a deliberate lie by the Soviets and promulgated by the American press, and blamed on the Germans, at the Nuremburg show trials, even though the Germans had invited in the press and Red Cross to examine the mass graves in an area of Poland they had only recently taken from the {mostly Jewish} Bolshevik Army....

And no - revisionism isn't "denial" - it's challenging past narratives with new, or neglected, but reliable evidence. Those who use bad evidence are not revisionists, they're dissemblers. Global warming certainly is not "proven" in the sense you mean it...there is a scientific consensus, and it may not be wise to ignore it given the potential downside, but it is simply absurd to claim that the matter is settled.

Why would you spend so much time criticizing those who have doubts about official narratives.  Indeed, it is your lack of doubt which is the primary problem when faced with a coercive, manipulative government and out of control, murderous deep state.


dryam's picture

Fonestar and MillionDollarBonus come to mind.

Theta_Burn's picture

As does that jagoff rick santelli...

Theta_Burn's picture

Dig back more than 2 yrs on old Dick, who he works/worked for

Who he blames/blamed for the subprime crisis

How he developed his ranting Santelli hr hit pc....on the exchange floor

But your right, ZH has portrayed ole Rick Champion of common sence these last couple yrs

nmewn's picture

Santelli is a frequent commenter is he? ;-)

Theta_Burn's picture

With the amount of threads he gets? o.O

flash338's picture

MillionDollarBonus sure...   But do you really think a disinformation agent would pimp bitcoin??

flash338's picture

MillionDollarBonus sure...   But do you really think a disinformation agent would pimp bitcoin??

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

I don't think so with MDB. He is was too obvious on his pro everything statist postings ( yes I click on the link and read them sometimes) and it is satire. He is probably laughing his ass off when people take him seriously. He is way to obvious to be trolling. No one, not even Paul krugman himself, talks like that.

BLOTTO's picture

(Dis-info) Agents and the like, are fuckin traitors to the good people of the world...plain and simple.

They are the bottom feeding, scum sucking rats, that for a low wage - sell out good people who are just trying to make sense of this life and help others out which could even be their (agents) own family?!?!

Ranger4564's picture

I completely agree. Takes some serious loss of respect for humanity to become a mole.

Dr. Engali's picture

I was always a little suspicious about Kito.

fonzannoon's picture

yeah you suspiciously ate his sandwich.

Tim_'s picture

Kito confessed to being a jew.

Tim_'s picture

kito's comment

"Well Francis I'm Jewish and I support Ron Paul's foreign I guess Francis THERE IS A DIFFERENCE....."

fonzannoon's picture

what is your point? Other than to note that Kito said he is Jewish and supported Ron Paul's foreign policy? The same Kito that is the first one to say that Francis Sawyer should be allowed to say whatever he wants on here?

I waited a half hour for your reply so I could eat you alive Tim. Smart move getting back under that rock. 


HyBrasilian's picture

Sometimes you wanna go ~ where everybody knows your na-a-ame :-)



One thing that francis_sawyer [ALWAYS] did was to provoke you into thought... All he ever did was to present [in a very methodical way, as if he were presenting a case in a courtroom] facts, links, timelines, historical reportages, & as the case may be 'misreportages'...

I believe the reason he 'annoyed' many 'current' posters [on ZH], was because he eventually made you paint yourself into a corner of your own doing... He often used your own words against you...

francis_sawyer posted on MANY different things... At least half of his posts were 'jokes' & 'one liners' [strictly for laughs]... That's NOT a unique thing here on ZH [as this place is, for the REALLY TUNED IN], is COMEDY CENTRAL [which is an analogy that francis_sawyer often used]... He <3'ed 'LongSoupLine' and used to egg him on all the time... He used to try and find many DIFFERENT ways to tear into MillionDollarBonus [even though we all knew that MDB was a ruse]...

Besides the jokes, f_s regularly posted on things like home gardening, 'off grid' living, football handicapping, & other things... He used to praise hedgeless_horseman all the time & ask him questions... By the way ~ I wonder what happened to h_h?...

f_s used to REGULARLY invite people to do a 'lookup' on his posts [which is something that can EASILY be accomplished by anyone with an account]... He did it [KNOWING] that if you REALLY bothered to read the body of comments thru & thru, that although he was asking tough questions, he was NOT bigoted... Alas ~ the TRUTH is too much to bear for many people with pre-concieved notions, or worse... AN AGENDA...

Sadly ~ there is no way to verify this anymore because ZH has erased all of the comments that f_s ever made... So now ~ all that's left are people like Flakmeister & VD who never fail to hone in like a laser & portray f_s as a villian [though the green & red arrows prove that MOST people around here, including yourself, are capable of reading between the lines]...

francis_sawyer was doing fine until VD showed up on the scene... Strangely ~ VD showed up just about the time that the 'new policy' came into effect [around May 2013]... VD, now, regularly brags about having being responsible for 'deading' f_s... [as evidenced by this very thread ~ where VD breathlessly jumped in & got pole position]... VD is smart though ~ In this case, he managed to, somehow, toss in Cass Sunstein with f_s [which is kind of like posting that you hate both Obama & Ron Paul] ~ lol


Anyway ~ ZH folks... That's what you're left with... VD, a self proclaimed addiction sufferer [where the withdrawl effects are adderall psychosis], who jumps threads in a concerted effort to be the FIRST IN LINE to remind everybody who the 'BAD GUY' is...

"Adderall is no joke! Messed me up v badly..."


If this comment gets deleted, you'll KNOW the truth...

GetZeeGold's picture



Kito confessed to being a jew.


My drivers license lists me as a what does that make me?


What the hell does the word Caucasian even mean anyway?


I always have trouble keeping the tribes of Judah and Zebulon apart. They look so's hard to tell.


Flakmeister's picture

Oh lookie, a Francis wannabe....


fuu's picture

He was also into some good music, which used to be a thing around here. Long gone are the nights of sitting in IRC listening to Marla spin tunes and participating in the real conversations that took place. 


Oh well, all bubbles burst in the end.

macbone's picture

LOLOL... Yea "Hy"... It sure is a shame that FS is never around anymore... If only to defend his sullied name... God bless.... I'll say hello to your good friend kito for you.... lol, too much

weburke's picture

you can have sympathy for the jews, as they are not in charge of themselves, and they are going to get a messiah that they really wont like. 

Johnny Cocknballs's picture


Jesus its not a crime.  Kito is predictably unwilling to be honest about Israel or disproportionate Jewish power, but in his shoes neither would I.  Seems like a pretty good guy - able to maintain a sense of humor even when dealing wiith aggressive, and unequivocally racist, trolls.


noless's picture

They haven't met you in real life yet? I mean really, it's the only logical step after they fail at controlling the message online..