espionage

Reddit Censors Big Story About Government Manipulation and Disruption of the Internet (WashingtonBlog)

Reddit Moderators Go to Extreme Lengths to Censor the Most Important Story of the Year

The moderators at the giant r/news reddit (with over 2 million subscribed readers) repeatedly killed the Greenwald/Snowden story on government manipulation and disruption of the Internet … widely acknowledged to be one of the most important stories ever leaked by Snowden.

There was a time when this would have sounded like a conspiracy theory. Now based on the recent Snowden/Greenwald revelation we know, at the very least, these tactics are on the table.

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Exclusive: Inside the Army Spy Ring & Attempted Entrapment of Peace Activists, Iraq Vets, Anarchists (Democracy Now)

Exclusive: Inside the Army Spy Ring & Attempted Entrapment of Peace Activists, Iraq Vets, Anarchists

The man everyone knew as “John Jacob” was in fact John Towery, a member of the Force Protection Service at Fort Lewis. He also spied on the Industrial Workers of the World and Iraq Veterans Against the War. A newly made public email written by Towery reveals the Army informant was building a multi-agency spying apparatus. The email was sent from Towery using his military account to the FBI, as well as the police departments in Los Angeles, Portland, Eugene, Everett and Spokane. He wrote, “I thought it would be a good idea to develop a leftist/anarchist mini-group for intel sharing and distro.” Meanwhile, evidence has also emerged that the Army informant attempted to entrap at least one peace activist, Glenn Crespo, by attempting to persuade him to purchase guns and learn to shoot. We speak to Crespo and his attorney Larry Hildes, who represents all the activists in the case.

New Snowden/Greenwald Revelation: GCHQ Caught With False Flag, Honey-Trap & Defamation Plans

Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept has released the latest Edward Snowden leak: a Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) slide show, from the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), titled The Art Of Deception: Training for A New Generation of Online Covert Operations. This information demonstrates how GCHQ has gone beyond spying and beyond focusing on threats to national security. Terrorism is no longer the focus. Instead, GCHQ has adopted tactics designed entrap, defame and derail. From Greenwald, How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations:

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.

GCHQ Disruption Operational Playbook

Slide 47 from the leak. This is not threat-finding. It is an attack plan. According to Greenwald:

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.

GCHQ Discredit A Target

GCHQ Discredit A Company

Any shred of optimism regarding the NSA, GCHQ and the “Five Eyes” has gone out the window. The mission has little to do with terrorism and security. They are openly discussing attacking individuals and engaging in corporate espionage. You are not going to stop the next Bin Laden by changing his FaceBook photo or sending mean text messages to his friends. These are tactics specifically used to harm individuals who do not align themselves with government interests.

GCHQ Exploiting Fracture Points

The leaks illustrate psychological techniques to infiltrate and disrupt groups, disseminate false information, ruin reputations, and misdirect the flow of information on the Internet. We’re not talking al-Qaeda and child pornography on the Darknet. We’re not talking about people who have been charged with any crime. And certainly not about a military target in a war zone. This is about stifling the average man and woman.

But 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?

Imagine if it were you: an animal rights activist, an anarchist, environmentalist, Second Amendment activist, a member of a militia or an “extreme” religious group, an Orthodox Jew or a Southern Baptist, a homosexual, a tax protester, or a member of an unpopular political party. You become the target. And you find people are spreading lies about you on the Internet, harassing your family, sabotaging your business relationships and attempting to entrap you. All the tactics revealed in these leaks.

And then you find it that it was not just people — it was your own government. You were being attacked by the government you pay for with your taxes. They are spreading false information and attempting to disrupt your work. And you have never committed a crime. In fact, you have never even been charged with a crime. The entire campaign against you is extra-judicial. You have been deemed a domestic enemy of the state.

And you have no recourse, because the government has decided you are the enemy. You cannot fight it in a court, report it to an authority with oversight, open a lawsuit or even confirm for certain that you are a target.

Žižek & Zupančič

Slavoj Žižek: what is an authentic political event?

Jacques Lacan proposed as the axiom of the ethics of psychoanalysis: “Do not compromise your desire.” Is this axiom also not an accurate designation of the whistleblowers’ acts? In spite of all the risks their activity involves, they are not ready to compromise on it – on what? This brings us to the notion of event: Assange and his collaborators enacted a true and authentic political event – this is what one can easily understand the violent reaction of the authorities. Assange and colleagues are often accused of being traitors, but they are something much worse (in the eyes of the authorities) – to quote Alenka Zupančič:

Even if Snowden were to sell his informations discreetly to another intelligence service, this act would still count as part of the ‘patriotic games’, and if needed he would have been liquidated as a ‘traitor’. However, in Snowden’s case, we are dealing with something entirely different. We are dealing with a gesture which questions the very logic, the very status quo, which for quite some time serves as the only foundation of all ‘Western’ (non)politics. With a gesture which as it were risks everything, with no consideration of profit and without its own stakes: it takes the risk because it is based on the conclusion that what is going on is simply wrong. Snowden didn’t propose any alternative. Snowden, or, rather, the logic of his gesture, like, say, before him, the gesture of Bradley Manning – is the alternative.