Four days ago the independent journalist Glenn Greenwald posted an article on his blog, The Intercept, that described in part the tactics that government agencies are using to subvert and discredit websites like this one. Greenwald writes:
“Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG (The Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group) 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.” You can read all of Greenwald’s piece here.
Two days ago on a right of center blog called Personal Liberty Digest (read it here) a staff writer named Sam Rolley responded to Greenwald’s piece by bluntly stating, “…readers no longer have to take the word of ‘paranoid’ bloggers who relate tales of paid government trolls lurking in comment sections and other concentrated top-down efforts to muddy the information provided by alternative media.”
Greenwald’s piece is based on documents stolen by the arguably treasonous whistle blower Edward Snowden.
The Aging Rebel
This page has long been to object of government misinformation and various government dirty tricks. Multiple on the job government policemen have commented on this page over the last five and a half years. Until recently their comments have been easy to spot. However about six months ago a couple of new forms of attack began to appear.
First of all, for the last half year this site has been subject to software attacks. The site was offline through most of September as a result of “software problems” that suddenly appeared. Earlier this week, the email account associated with this site was hacked and numerous correspondents complained of “phishing attacks” originating at the email address [email protected]
In light of the Snowden documents Greenwald released this week, it seems somewhere between plausible and likely that these attacks originated from a federal agency. Commenting on the newly released Snowden documents Rolley writes “…these documents reveal that Western spy agencies with the purported mission of recognizing and preventing terror activity possess the ability and absolute willingness to implement utterly Orwellian controls on free speech. In other words, it takes no stretch of the imagination – even for those who have resisted considering the possibility of malevolent intent on government’s part — to assume that the mission of organizations like the NSA and GCHQ is ultimately more about quelling citizen dissent than stopping citizen bloodshed at the hands of terrorists.”
The second new form of attack that has appeared on this site in the last six months is a proliferation of internet trolls. There are, obviously, a handful of readers who comment here solely to insult and bully other commenters. Anyone who reads this site regularly has noticed this phenomenon. The Aging Rebel is aware of these personal attacks and is taking steps to ban from commenting any commenter who engages in malicious personal attacks in the future.
The effect of these trolls has been to discourage informed readers from commenting here. And some of the trolling has worked. Members of multiple motorcycle clubs have been warned by influential members not to comment here.
Greenwald writes: “Then there is the use of psychology and other social sciences to not only understand, but shape and control, how online activism and discourse unfolds. Today’s newly published document touts the work of GCHQ’s ‘Human Science Operations Cell,’ devoted to ‘online human intelligence’ and ‘strategic influence and disruption.’”
The goal of these troll attacks is to blatantly disrupt and water down public discourse.
That certainly is what has been going on here. Be assured it is about to stop.