New Snowden leaks show how spy agencies disrupts, discredits dissent and sets up false flag operations.
In a new leaked document, journalist Glenn Greenwald exposes how the UK's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) uses questionable tactics to infiltrate, disrupt and discredit voices the government doesn't agree with.
The document, entitled "The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations," reveals shady practices like using "honey traps" that may start as Internet dating, but the PowerPoint also points to in-person meetings to discredit the subject.
Other findings include "false flag" operations (undertaking malicious actions and making it look like the work of a group they wish to discredit), the application of social sciences like sociology and psychology to disrupt and steer online activist discussions, lure targets into compromising sexual situations, deploy malicious software and virus and post lies about targets in order to discredit them.
According to NBC News, the British government, when asked about the document, would not confirm or deny the report: "All of GCHQ's work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework," said the statement, "which ensure[s] that our activities are authorized, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the Secretary of State, the Interception and Intelligence Services Commissioners and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee. All of our operational processes rigorously support this position."
Greenwald points out in an article on The Intercept that targets of these aggressive actions did not have to be charged with — or convicted of — a crime.
One of those groups targeted by these tactics were members of Anonymous, the internet hacktivist collective.
As Anonymous expert Gabriella Coleman of McGill University told Greenwald, "targeting Anonymous and hacktivists amounts to targeting citizens for expressing their political beliefs, resulting in the stifling of legitimate dissent."
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