Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 22, 2015

So The Spy Services Are The Real Internet Trolls

Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept provides new material from the Snowden stash.

The British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) includes a "Joint Threat Research and Intelligence Group" which "provides most of GCHQ’s cyber effects and online HUMINT capability. It currently lies at the leading edge of cyber influence practice and expertise." In 2011 the JTRIG had 120 people on its staff.

Here are some of its methods, used in support of British policies like for regime change in Syria and Zimbabwe:

All of JTRIG’s operations are conducted using cyber technology. Staff described a range of methods/techniques that have been used to-date for conducting effects operations. These included:
  • Uploading YouTube videos containing “persuasive” communications (to discredit, promote distrust, dissuade, deter, delay or disrupt)
  • Setting up Facebook groups, forums, blogs and Twitter accounts that encourage and monitor discussion on a topic (to discredit, promote distrust, dissuade, deter, delay or disrupt)
  • Establishing online aliases/personalities who support the communications or messages in YouTube videos, Facebook groups, forums, blogs etc
  • Establishing online aliases/personalities who support other aliases
  • Sending spoof e-mails and text messages from a fake person or mimicking a real person (to discredit, promote distrust, dissuade, deceive, deter, delay or disrupt)
  • Providing spoof online resources such as magazines and books that provide inaccurate information (to disrupt, delay, deceive, discredit, promote distrust, dissuade, deter or denigrate/degrade)
  • Providing online access to uncensored material (to disrupt)
  • Sending instant messages to specific individuals giving them instructions for accessing uncensored websites
  • Setting up spoof trade sites (or sellers) that may take a customer’s money and/or send customers degraded or spoof products (to deny, disrupt, degrade/denigrate, delay, deceive, discredit, dissuade or deter)
  • Interrupting (i.e., filtering, deleting, creating or modifying) communications between real customers and traders (to deny, disrupt, delay, deceive, dissuade or deter)
  • Taking over control of online websites (to deny, disrupt, discredit or delay)
  • Denial of telephone and computer service (to deny, delay or disrupt)
  • Hosting targets’ online communications/websites for collecting SIGINT (to disrupt, delay, deter or deny)
  • Contacting host websites asking them to remove material (to deny, disrupt, delay, dissuade or deter)

It is unlikely that the British GHCQ is the only secret service using these tactics. Other government as well as private interests can be assumed to use similar means.

To "deny, disrupt, degrade/denigrate, delay, deceive, discredit, dissuade or deter" is exactly what Internet trolls are doing in the comment sections of blogs and news sites. Usually though on a smaller scale than the GHCQ and alike.  The more these services grow and their methods proliferate the less possible will it become to have reasonable online discussions.

Posted by b on June 22, 2015 at 14:56 UTC | Permalink


Let's just call it what it is. Mind rape.

Posted by: Colinjames | Jun 22 2015 16:08 utc | 1

Fortunately, much of what they do is so ham-fisted and amateurish that only the gullible are gulled (which pretty much explains why ALL of the patsies convicted in ter'rism frame-ups are dimwits or cretins). Those pathetic cut & paste YouTube clips of NATO's "rebels" in Syria, swinging briefly from behind some cover and firing (in a frenzy) at unseen targets or empty streets are beyond ludicrous on many levels. I'm unaware of any school of firearms use and techniques which encourages the firing of a weapon merely because the bearer has plenty of spare ammo.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 22 2015 16:31 utc | 2


The more these services grow and their methods proliferate the less possible will it become to have reasonable online discussions.

Which is the exact purpose of trolling, ever since the internet became an alternate way of communication to gain awareness about issues TPTB/MSM would prefer to bury, hide, distort, confuse, manipulate, lie, detract, deflect, digress, warp or deviate. GCHQ/NSA/Mossad et al have elevated trolling to a professional level, with special budgets and official programs attached to MILINT and foreign offices working 24/7 to advance their plans and take advantage of people's ignorance and naivete about the internet world. It's the hasbara operatives multiplied exponentially to perpetuate ignorance and confusion among the masses.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jun 22 2015 16:58 utc | 3

And don't forget that US/UK/NATO's Imperial Ambitions are rooted in greed and cowardice. Cowards can never successfully project courage and resolve. Their over-compensation for ingrained cultural short-comings always shows through.
NATO, for example, has yet to appoint a "Leader" whose demeanor doesn't resemble the un-charismatic behaviour of a 6th Form Prefect at a Girl's College.
Watching these sissies strutting around their (private) stage, pretending to be Tough Guys is funnier than Laurel & Hardy + the Three Stooges.
And the sincerity ... Tony Bliar where are you?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 22 2015 17:23 utc | 4

I still think it is possible to have online discussions, I agree with Hoarsewhisperer thinking political types cannot be influenced [to any significant degree] by trolls. The only way they can win is if you forget this golden rule “Never argue with stupid people[Zionist] trolls, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”
― Mark Twain

Posted by: harry law | Jun 22 2015 17:25 utc | 5

Rep. Gohmert: Obama Outed Active Israeli Iranian Spy Mission
Congressman also blasts White House for disclosing possible use of Azerbaijani airspace by Israel in Iran strike.

Posted by: ALAN | Jun 22 2015 17:27 utc | 6

There is definitely an increase in online trolling from Israeli sources as their image continues to tarnish. They have decided that instead of changing their detestable actions, they would instead focus on putting lipstick on the pig by an increase in hasbara. This is based on the amount of trolling on the more pospular sites like Huffpo that are easily recognizable by their content (more ad hominem, less substance).

Also, looking at the timestamps, you can see a greater number of these trolls active during waking hours in Israel, although there are some Israeli trolls residing in the US as well, but their activity has not be as voluminous as the native Israeli ones.

On the flip side, the number of anti-trolls has also increased - far more than the trolls - which is a good sign.

Posted by: Cloak And Dagger | Jun 22 2015 18:42 utc | 7

Trolls are what Huffpo deserves. Not this site, though. ٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶
Remember: vigilance is the price of liberty.

Posted by: Some Guy | Jun 22 2015 18:59 utc | 8

ColinJames @ 11

Let's just call it what it is. Mind rape.


Posted by: MRW | Jun 22 2015 19:13 utc | 9

And as these troll professionals of the state keep growing from an endless army available among the population to choose from, the likes here and at other similar sites will be treated ever more so as pariahs to be condemned, or prosecuted/persecuted.

We exactly see similar thinking recently with the Germans, who are in the process of over that Al Jazeera journalists to Egypt, so to be killed or jailed and/or tortured for exposing heinous crimes of the Egyptian government.

When western evil elites see what their puppet economic 2nd world dictatorships can get away with, they are desperate to be able to do the same to us. They just can't get away with something so bad…yet.

Posted by: tom | Jun 22 2015 20:05 utc | 10

This is a rather quiet nook of internet, not worthy the attention of major troll masters. Russia is accused of deploying various web manipulating techniques, and if their detractors are to be believed, Russians are quite sophisticated. Writing under a fictitious name is a very traditional thing, so probably legit, although computers can replicate fictitious persons quite a bit.

What is more disturbing is a number of outright criminal activities on that list:
Setting up spoof trade sites (or sellers) that may take a customer’s money and/or send customers degraded or spoof products (to deny, disrupt, degrade/denigrate, delay, deceive, discredit, dissuade or deter)
Interrupting (i.e., filtering, deleting, creating or modifying) communications between real customers and traders (to deny, disrupt, delay, deceive, dissuade or deter)
Taking over control of online websites (to deny, disrupt, discredit or delay)
Denial of telephone and computer service (to deny, delay or disrupt)
Hosting targets’ online communications/websites for collecting SIGINT (to disrupt, delay, deter or deny)

For all its worth, trolling make break American law.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 22 2015 20:33 utc | 11

And talking about hasbara, there is a petition requesting a billion dollars for "putting lipstick on the pig" as a poster accurately described it above. No matter how much money zionazis allow for hasbara trolls, a zionazi pig will always be a zionazi pig (my apologies to the animal kingdom for the comparison.)

To PM Netanyahu: We demand that you vastly increase Israel's hasbara budget.

(...)Readers will recall that I have criticized the abysmal performance of Israeli public diplomacy (PD) and its failure to present its case assertively and articulately to the world.

To recap briefly

I likened the effects of this failure to those of the HIV virus that destroys the nation’s immune system, leaving it unable to resist any outside pressures no matter how outlandish or outrageous. Given the gravity of the threat, I prescribed that, as prime minister, my first order of business would be to assign adequate resources to address the dangers precipitated by this failure.

To this end I stipulated that up to $1 billion should be allotted for the war on the PD front, and demonstrated that this sum was eminently within Israel’s ability to raise, comprising less than 0.5 percent of GDP and under 1 percent of the state budget(...)

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jun 22 2015 20:59 utc | 12


Let's just call it mind cud-chewing.

Passivated Kuhe, 3rd person transitive, content in their objectivity and intellectual superiority, calming chewing fresh cash and farting their filth in poop piles along with all the others, while in the far distance the bleets and shrieks of the slaughterhouse grow ever nearer.

¿What wars have bloggers ended and their war criminals hung?
¿What bankster's depredations have been reigned in and repaid?
¿What holocaust replaced with a garden of eden and of plenty?


Ground control to Major Tom...

Posted by: Chipnik | Jun 22 2015 21:00 utc | 13

US to EU; Sanctions are for suckers. t’s a rich irony – in fact a richness worth about $7.4 billion, and counting. In the same week that European Union envoys voted to extend trade sanctions on Russia, news emerges from the Paris Air Show that American aviation giant, Boeing, is moving ahead to sell a fleet of its 747 cargo planes – to Russia.
That deal – reportedly worth about $7.4 billion – will see Boeing supply Russian transport firm Volga-Dnepr with 20 long-haul aircraft. That inventory is in addition to the fleet of 14 Boeing 747s that the Russian company has already purchased, according to media reports.

Posted by: harry law | Jun 22 2015 21:17 utc | 14

To "deny, disrupt, degrade/denigrate, delay, deceive, discredit, dissuade or deter" communications on the internet is the cyber equivalent of the US/UK's 'real world' policy of death, devastation and destruction in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen and 'austerity' at home in the US/UK/EU.

The 5-eyes and their European vassals, under control of the 5-eyed 5th column comprising the government of the EU, are the largest single source of negativity on earth.

And their fantastically expensive pursuit of all these openly negative outcomes has come at the cost of actually addressing any of our world's myriad real problems. Grillions in defense of the perceived interests of the 1%, not a cent for the interests of the planet and humanity.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 22 2015 22:23 utc | 15

Wow! It's as if no one ever heard of psyops before, not to mention Cointelpro. The only new wrinkle, though certainly worth noting, is that computers are now targeted. But seriously, who really believed the imperialists would *not* be doing shit like this?

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 22 2015 22:44 utc | 16

Debian Bug report logs

Google was downloading audio listeners onto computers without consent, say Chromium users - "We don’t know and can’t know what this black box does. But we see reports that the microphone has been activated, and that Chromium considers audio capture permitted"


Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 22 2015 22:54 utc | 17


Apologies ... that list of countries dead or dying, devastated, and destroyed at the hands of the 5-eyes and friends must include - first and foremost - Palestine ... Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 22 2015 23:04 utc | 18

go online to a site...moon or those links listed on this site

type in "kill all arabs in east jerusalem"

monitor your facebook page

try it....i did and within 1 hour someone tried to hack into my facebook page from....saudi arabia

got a message from facebook admin

notice how little anti arab posts there are on most sites....plenty anti american,british,israeli etc etc

spies don,t advertise

b b b b........berocca

Posted by: mcohen | Jun 23 2015 3:50 utc | 19

@18 Hey guys, we found one of the trolls. He was so lazy he didnt even bother capitalizing any of his words. Must not get paid enough.

Posted by: Massinissa | Jun 23 2015 4:33 utc | 20

Possibly relevant to b's current topic is the comments sections at Russia Today. Those comments have always looked to me as a real snake pit. There has always been some very ugly antisemitic comments there. I noticed in the last week that their stories on crime in America have been deluged with some of the worst white racist- antiblack comments. I kept wondering -- why would stories in the Russian press attract such virulent anti (American) black comments? It seems the most likely reason is that some outside agency is trying to discredit RT by showing only American racist read it.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jun 23 2015 5:50 utc | 21


To be fair, a lot of real American nutjobs do frequent the RT comment section, since in the good old USA, RT is treated as an "alternative" news source akin to Alex Jones' "Prison Planet". And there is still a ton of ugly, virulent racism in the comments section of the New York Times, WaPo, Fox News (especially)... they just seem to have bigger vocabularies.

Posted by: Almand | Jun 23 2015 6:04 utc | 22

@ ToivoS | 20

It seems the most likely reason is that some outside agency is trying to discredit RT by showing only American racist read it.

You got it. While this topic is about UK and their spies trying to disrupt, deceive, discredit, etc. etc., but US and Israel are doing it for longer and on much greater scale. They took manipulation of masses to such level (mass and social media, (mis)education, misusing science, etc), that even Goebbels could only have dreamed about it.

Speaking of social media, there were reports in recent years of US having ten of thousands employees focusing exclusively on social media. Each using software which helps to maintain x10 unique poster profiles. I think b' wrote about it as well. Therefore just US has 100.000+ of daily "posters" all around the World, trying to push US agenda. Who knows what is total number of Western propaganda trolls, and I bet the number is ever increasing.

Posted by: Harry | Jun 23 2015 6:16 utc | 23

#18 massinissa

Naw, mcohen is not a troll. He is simply beating a drum to his own tune. Hard to decipher at times but he seems to be trying to come in sync with some of us.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jun 23 2015 6:23 utc | 24

Funny that WayOutWest has been silent on this topic. Maybe he's reporting back to his masters at Langley

Posted by: holdonaminute | Jun 23 2015 7:06 utc | 25

By the time Greenwald releases all the documents, the security organizations/Google/Verizon/etc. will have moved on to new programs and devices. God, I wish Snowden had given the info to Wikileaks or anybody else. The documents belong in the public sphere; we literally paid for them. It was our tax money that paid for the programs and the employees who use them (against us). This shit of releasing one document every 8 or 9 months is bullshit.

Posted by: teri | Jun 23 2015 8:10 utc | 26

the world wide web boasts something like 800 million english speaking users. to get psychoneurotically bent out of shape 'cause you question some anonymous piker's intent seems to me an exercise in futility. if not stupidity. engage or ignore.

i mean, even in an insignificant comment section like this one there's hardly unanimity on who's trolling and who isn't.

the golden premise:

everything online is fake

Posted by: john | Jun 23 2015 8:55 utc | 27

Wonder what it is about degrade and denigrate among the 9 Ds that requires them to be separated w/ a /.
Turns out to be a helpful search-string.

Posted by: Denis | Jun 23 2015 9:09 utc | 28

re 23

Naw, mcohen is not a troll.
Don't agree. He is our (or one of our) local hasbara troll(s). Hasbara trolls do talk about other things than I/P these days, just to give themselves verisimilitude.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 23 2015 10:30 utc | 29


lag said "verisimilitude"

nope wrong on both accounts.

truth is wife said you can choose.... its either the porn or me

not wanting to lose a good thing i said ...ok how about

4 nights a week i/p ........she said ok

it,s been tough man ..hairs been growing back on the palms and all

i do it for the entertainment only....i do not,have not ever and never will.....suffer from delusions of grandeur...monsieur.

Posted by: mcohen | Jun 23 2015 10:59 utc | 30

more from Greenwald- a psychologist on Board at GCHQ to make sure their 'work' is effective.

Surprised not to see mention made here of the new 2,000 strong 'Chindit brigade' tasked with pretty much the same duties

This is surely going to render a lot of the new media ineffective in terms of obtaining fast and accurate information. How the hell are we going to stop these bastards?

Posted by: bassalt | Jun 23 2015 11:21 utc | 31

Like our friendly troll Wayoutwest on this site (and also appearing at The Saker as well)

Posted by: Stefan | Jun 23 2015 14:00 utc | 32

Let us remember that it was Obama staffer and adviser Cass Sunstein (Samantha Power's husband) who advised "cognitive infiltration" of the Internet by the government.

Posted by: lysias | Jun 23 2015 15:03 utc | 33

Putin's programme titled "Reform of the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation" (2000):

The Russia-wide computer program (database) “Mass Media” accumulates all information that deals with the activity of Mass Media. Since all political powers operating in the Russian Federation, in order to influence the electorate in the Center and in the Regions, use electronic and keyboard devices of mass media (for more see below – Mass Media), it has been determined that taking Mass Media under control is strategically important. To take over central and regional Mass Media outlets, it is necessary to accumulate more complete and precise information on them. This information will reveal the “weak spots” of one or another Mass Media outlets, and thus allow it (the Mass Media) to be controlled

This is just an excerpt, much more scary stuff there, and at least decade older than the GCHQ leaks.

Posted by: Arbat | Jun 23 2015 15:16 utc | 34

In the paranoid world of the web it is a badge of honor to claim you are being targeted by the PTB. Sites that don't pose much threat to the status quo feel left out and have to create hidden enemies so anyone who resists the dogma and groupthink must be branded as paid trolls.

I've witnessed a number of apparent operatives exposed on other blogs and they are usually easy to identify but some are clever and they rarely return once they see people are watching and know the difference between disagreement and deception.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jun 23 2015 15:50 utc | 35

Stefan @31: "Like our friendly troll Wayoutwest on this site (and also appearing at The Saker as well)"

'Troll' can mean many things, but I think you're misunderstanding Wayoutwest. Just because he's an ISIS supporter and extremely resistant to basic facts (like this video) about that group, doesn't mean he's a troll. For me, trolling has to be insincere, to fool people and/or piss them off, and I don't get 'insincerity' from Wayout.

Posted by: fairleft | Jun 23 2015 16:14 utc | 36

About Russia-Boeing deal. I think one reason is that Russia cooperated with Ukraine on developing and producing Antonov transport aircraft, and this is sadly gone. Russians cannot make them (for the near future) without Ukrainians and vice versa. One of the numerous dents in Ukrainian economy caused by the "patriotic posture" of the current government, and it is not easy to patch those dents with aid, aid, especially in the form perfected by Western government, is not a good way of creating jobs. So Boeing's gain, Ukrainian loss.

About trolls: troll masters are not exactly fonts of creativity, so their trolls cycle through a small number of arguments and techniques to annoy other users. Above all, they are repetitions, and the classic trademark is pasting of the same text in multiple sites and threads.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 23 2015 16:55 utc | 37

Some signs of the paid troll:

Inconsistency. This may seem counter-intuitive, but they argue in the here-and-now, against some other, usually only one, fact(s) / opinion / general trend from the past half hour. In this way they sometimes contradict themselves or mix things up, or use arguments that couldn’t co-exist.

Impersonality. One more, counter-intuitive (specially as a common tactic is ad hominems, insults, etc. to disrupt no matter what.) They are not involved in the discussion and probably doing something else at the same time. This also means they don’t answer questions (or only rarely), don’t quote sources (much), never agree with any another poster, and never raise issues or ask genuine questions. (Any questions usually contain a pre-supposition, such as ‘did the captain beat his wife today?’)

Persistence. An ordinary person appalled and frightened by crazed conspiracy theorists tends to check out quickly.

Ad hominems bis. Brow-beating, authority card (sometimes some fake expertise is pulled in, like being a pilot, worked in finance), because there is nothing other left to do…

Posting during the same time each day, posting a similar amount of posts / words. Acceptable sentence structure and OK spelling with a flat, pedestrian, vocabulary. It is paid work, after all, quite similar to ‘customer service for the complaints’…(and note the cuteness of all words beginning with D…lame…)

Being male and aged around 20+ - 36, maybe 40, that is presenting a persona in that age range. Men are still much more respected than women on the intertubes, and afaik women are asked to adopt a male persona and be ‘aggressive’ (Paul pilot, not Paula florist..)

I don’t think all this is too effective, except in the sense of polarisation, getting ppl to hysterically takes sides, create divisions, and so on. As a propaganda tool it is pretty much a failure. The pay is low (no nos. does anyone know?)… For now there is no Union of ‘trolls’, as they are supposed to act sub rosa.

:) They should get together (from all sides) and set up a troll Union as ‘propaganda agents’ and apply for membership in the ITUC!

Lugansk has managed to join. fort russ, june 16:

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 23 2015 19:51 utc | 38

How embarrassing. I certainly hope the NSA pays it trolls better than the Russians.

Posted by: Almand | Jun 24 2015 18:50 utc | 39


i checked your link out ...but i spat my biscuit while scrolling down and saw a picture of an arab guy with head gear being encouraged to download the guardian app the red card......must be a ref from quitar

Posted by: mcohen | Jun 24 2015 21:40 utc | 40

@39 Com'on Paravizi, of course they do. They paid Snowden 200k a year to walk off with all of their documents, I'm sure they can find the same for people doing actual "work".

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 24 2015 22:59 utc | 41

WayOutWest isn't a paid troll, he does it for the pure love of seeing a child beheaded.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 24 2015 23:00 utc | 42

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