The NSA’s Secret Information War Against Alternative Media.
(MP) Documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden reveal how the NSA conducts information war against the alternative media.
We have all run into them. All over the Internet, there are horrible trolls that seem to delight in making life miserable for other people. But the worst trolls of all are the government trolls. And thanks to Edward Snowden, we now have some startling new evidence of what really goes on behind the scenes.
According to newly revealed documents, British spy agency GCHQ is manipulating online discussions, infiltrating the computers of specific targets, purposely destroying reputations, altering the results of online polls, and using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for propaganda and espionage purposes. If people don’t start getting outraged about this now, the governments of the western world are going to see it as a green light to do even more. Eventually, it might get so bad that we won’t be able to trust much of anything that we see on the Internet.
If we are going to have a free and open society, then we simply cannot have the governments of the western world running around systematically manipulating the Internet for their own purposes.
Just recently, the U.S. was caught manipulating discourse on Reddit and editing Wikipedia.
Some of the most interesting capabilities of the tools on the list include the ability to seed the web with false information — such as tweaking the results of online polls — inflating pageview counts, censoring video content deemed “extremist” and the use of psychological manipulation on targets — something similar to a research project conducted with Facebook’s approval, which resulted in heavy criticism and outrage levied at the social media site.
Working in tandem with GCHQ – the British Government Control Headquarters – the NSA is engaged in a full court press against news and information outlets beyond the fortress walls of the Mockingbird media.
According to Glenn Greenwald the NSA and GCHQ disrupt media and engage in dirty tricks against enemies in a number of ways, including:
• “Change outcome of online polls” (UNDERPASS)
• “Mass delivery of email messaging to support an Information Operations campaign” (BADGER) and “mass delivery of SMS messages to support an Information Operations campaign” (WARPARTH)
• “Disruption of video-based websites hosting extremist content through concerted target discovery and content removal.” (SILVERLORD)
• “Active skype capability. Provision of real time call records (SkypeOut and SkypetoSkype) and bidirectional instant messaging. Also contact lists.” (MINIATURE HERO)
• “Find private photographs of targets on Facebook” (SPRING BISHOP)
• “A tool that will permanently disable a target’s account on their computer” (ANGRY PIRATE)
• “Ability to artificially increase traffic to a website” (GATEWAY) and “ability to inflate page views on websites” (SLIPSTREAM)
• “Amplification of a given message, normally video, on popular multimedia websites (Youtube)” (GESTATOR)
• “Targeted Denial Of Service against Web Servers” (PREDATORS FACE) and “Distributed denial of service using P2P. Built by ICTR, deployed by JTRIG” (ROLLING THUNDER)
• “A suite of tools for monitoring target use of the UK auction site eBay (www.ebay.co.uk)” (ELATE)
• “Ability to spoof any email address and send email under that identity” (CHANGELING)
• “For connecting two target phone together in a call” (IMPERIAL BARGE)
In February Greenwald reported that GCHQ had used its Joint Research Intelligence Group to infiltrate targeted groups online and destroy the reputations of people the government considers a threat.
This is done by inserting “all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets” and exploiting “social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable.”
It is now obvious the establishment is pulling out all the stops in an effort to discredit and destroy any political opposition.
The latest NSA revelations demonstrate the government did not end COINTELPRO as it claimed in the 1970s and has instead created a form of highly sophisticated technological warfare to attack its political enemies.
The Joint Research Intelligence Group’s goals are identical to those of its predecessor – to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize the activities” of all viable opponents.
The list, dated from 2012, says that most of the tools are “fully operational, tested and reliable,” and adds: “Don’t treat this like a catalogue. If you don’t see it here, it doesn’t mean we can’t build it.”
Reporter & former state dept. official calls on internet companies to censor speech of people he doesn’t like:
Ronan Farrow, the well-known MSNBC reporter who is also an attorney and former State Department official (and, at times, a subject of much parental speculation), apparently has come out in favor of blatant censorship. Following in the dangerous footsteps of Joe Lieberman, Farrow is apparently angry that internet companies like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter aren’t taking down accounts that he believes are used by terrorists.
The Sunni Islamic State insurgents, now locked in a deadly struggle with Iraq’s Shiite majority, excel online. They command a plethora of official and unofficial channels on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. “And kill them wherever you find them,” commands one recent propaganda reel of firefights and bound hostages, contorting a passage from the Koran. “Take up arms, take up arms, O soldiers of the Islamic State.
And fight, fight!” adds another, featuring a sermon from the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The material is often slickly produced, like “The Clanging of Swords IV,” a glossy, feature-length film replete with slow-motion action scenes.
Much of it is available in English, directly targeting the recruits with Western passports that have become one of the organization’s more dangerous assets. And almost all of it appeals to the young: Photoshops of Islamic State fighters and their grizzly massacres with video game-savvy captions like, “This is our Call of Duty.”
But officials at social media companies are leery of adjudicating what should be taken down and what should be left alone. “One person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter,” one senior executive tells me on condition of anonymity. Making that call is “not something we’d want to do.”
Of course, what Farrow ignores is that it’s not at all difficult to find Americans using social media for similar calls to action. For example, how about a Fox News contributor announcing “Muslims are evil. Let’s kill them all.” Or a Breitbart News contributor calling for people to “start slaughtering Muslims in the streets, all of them.”
The point is that idiots will make stupid incendiary statements on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube all the time — and most people look at them and realize that they’re ignorant crazy people talking. No one is actually incentivized to run out and actually follow those arguments. Yet Farrow seems to think that the people who follow those other groups on social media immediately accept what is said and follow through?
Just because people are saying stupid stuff on social media, doesn’t mean internet companies should step in and decide what is and what is not appropriate. Where do you draw the line?