Earlier today on his radio show, Glenn Beck warned his audience that the ‘trolls’ we encounter on the internet may be more than someone just getting their kicks out of trying to upset others. He told his audience that these ‘trolls’ may in fact be government operatives with a more nefarious goal in mind.
“We have used the IRS. We have used [government] agencies to come down on people and destroy them. But we would never infiltrate [the Internet]?” Beck explained. “We’d never do that. We’d never pose [as commenters] or leak lies about people, and push it out into the system…”
He talked about a new report from Glenn Greenwald that claims to have information that British operatives are trying to use the same type of tactics to control discourse and sway opinion on certain matters by using deception and destroying reputations. Greenwald claims to have recovered a document from the British Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group called “The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations.”
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“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,” Greenwald writes, “and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable,” the document said.
It described some of some of the ways of accomplishing this as “[writing] a blog purporting to be one of their victims,”or to “email/text their colleagues, neighbors, friends.”Some of them even went as far as to suggest “[posting] negative information on appropriate forums” and “[stopping] deals/ruin business relationships.”
According to Beck some of these things have personally happened to him. He doesn’t claim for certain it’s the government, but with both governments sharing intelligence and tactics he said it wouldn’t surprise him.
“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,” Beck read from the article.
He went on to warn people to not believe everything they see and hear in the comments sections on web pages. He said that while most conservatives would never imagine using such “psychological games” on others, “they certainly are.”
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