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GCHQ, JTRIG, Five Eyes and COVIDcrisis PsyWar
How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations
UK Government Communications Headquarters, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. Built 2002. Quote from the GCHQ website: “Employing over 6,000 people from a range of diverse backgrounds, we strive to keep Britain safe and secure by working with our partners in the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and MI5. Our headquarters is based in Cheltenham, with regional hubs in Scarborough, Bude, Harrogate and Manchester”.
This substack article includes extensive references to 2014 Investigative reporting by Glen Greenwald (based on the Snowden disclosures) which were published in the “Intercept” prior to his departure from that organization, as well as information compiled by the WikiSpooks wiki (WikiSpooks, an encyclopedia of deep politics).
In May 2021, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that GCHQ’s methods for bulk interception of online communications violated the right to privacy and its regime for collection of data was unlawful.
For further information, please see the GCHQ power point slide deck titled “ The Art of Deception: Training for a New Generation of Online Covert Operations” posted by the Intercept on Feb. 24 2014.
HACKING ONLINE POLLS AND OTHER WAYS BRITISH SPIES SEEK TO CONTROL THE INTERNET (Glen Greenwald, July 14 2014)
The secretive British spy agency GCHQ has developed covert tools to seed the internet with false information, including the ability to manipulate the results of online polls, artificially inflate pageview counts on web sites, “amplif[y]” sanctioned messages on YouTube, and censor video content judged to be “extremist.” The capabilities, detailed in documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, even include an old standby for pre-adolescent prank callers everywhere: A way to connect two unsuspecting phone users together in a call.
The tools were created by GCHQ’s Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), and constitute some of the most startling methods of propaganda and internet deception contained within the Snowden archive. Previously disclosed documents have detailed JTRIG’s use of “fake victim blog posts,” “false flag operations,” “honey traps” and psychological manipulation to target online activists, monitor visitors to WikiLeaks, and spy on YouTube and Facebook users.
Britain's GCHQ to wage cyber war on anti-vaccine propaganda: The Times
NOVEMBER 8, 2020. By Reuters Staff
(Reuters) - Britain’s GCHQ has begun an offensive cyber-operation to tackle anti-vaccine propaganda being spread online by hostile states, The Times reported.
This latest move by GCHQ, which gathers communications from around the world to identify and disrupt threats to Britain, is an attempt to counter disinformation activities linked to Russia, the report said.
The British government considers tackling false information about immunization as a high priority as the prospect of a reliable vaccine against the coronavirus draws closer, the Times said.
A vaccine is seen as the world’s best bet for beating the COVID-19 pandemic that has led to more than 1.2 million deaths, roiled economies and disrupted billions of lives.
GCHQ is Britain’s main eavesdropping agency and has a close relationship with the U.S. National Security Agency, as well as the eavesdropping agencies of Australia, Canada and New Zealand in an intelligence alliance known as the “Five Eyes”.
“GCHQ has been told to take out antivaxers online and on social media,” the Times said, citing a source.
The report said the focus of the operation is taking down hostile state-linked content and disrupting the communications of the cyberactors responsible.
"GCHQ’s 360 degree full spectrum bulk collection data system was constructed in brazen and arrogant defiance of Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights. Britain’s parliament never debated or approved this massive construction programme as it would for any national infrastructure project. Every phone call, no matter the device is recorded, every image, website visited, personal details such as medical and financial records, contacts, everything private to you is no longer private."
Britannia Titanic – “UK Surveillance State More Suited to Dictatorship Than a Democracy” Graham Vanbergen, Global Research, April 27, 2017 (no longer available on web, link to the WayBack Machine)
What is JTRIG?
The Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG) is a subgroup of GCHQ. Citing documents released though the Snowden affair, Glenn Greenwald termed the group "extremist", he cited documents showing their planning of deceitful strategies to "discredit a target".
“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; and
(2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable.”
Glenn Greenwald (24 February 2014)
In 2014, the Guardian reported that documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden about project Optic Nerve showed that GCHQ recorded millions of images from Yahoo webchats. To avoid overloading their computers while recording streams of so many users simultaneously, they recorded one image every five minutes from the users' feeds.
Tapping Submarine Cables
In 2014, revelations from Edward Snowden revealed how GCHQ acquired taps on internet lines. Whenever GCHQ wanted to tap a new fiber optic cable, they called engineers from BT (codename:REMEDY) to plan where to physically connect to the taps to the cable, and agree how much BT should be paid. GCHQ has Internet data feeds from "more than 18 submarine cables coming into different parts of Britain either direct to GCHQ in Cheltenham or to its remote processing station at Bude in Cornwall".
GCHQ routinely shares information with other signatories of the UKUSA agreement, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and USA (The Five Eyes Alliance). This agreement assists all member countries in circumventing laws about spying on their own citizens.
The following table provides an overview of the government agencies involved and their respective responsibilities within the "Five Eyes" community.
Lobster Magazine, Issue #66
War to "Take Out" Vaccine skeptics
In November 2020, GCHQ was ordered "to wage cyber war on anti-vaccine propaganda" (information a priori defined as false) and to "to take out antivaxers online and on social media". The the focus of the high priority covert operation is taking down hostile "state-linked" content and disrupting the communications of the cyberactors responsible.
“My view is that Philip Cross probably is a real person, but that he fronts for a group acting under his name. It is undeniably true, in fact the government has boasted, that both the MOD and GCHQ have “cyber-war” ops aiming to defend the “official narrative" against alternative news media, and that is precisely the purpose of the “Philip Cross” operation on Wikipedia. The extreme regularity of output argues against “Philip Cross” being either a one man or volunteer operation. I do not rule out however the possibility he genuinely is just a single extremely obsessed Right Wing fanatic.”
"Philip Cross" is the name of a Wikipedia editor registered in 2004 and active since 2005, and Wikipedia username that has been used every day for several years, sparking the suggestion that he may be a pseudonym (sock puppet) for use by multiple paid editors. Possibly "the most visible and notorious Wikipedia editor", Cross' edits attracted controversy in May 2018. Philip Cross focuses on particular prominent pages, and has made the majority of the edits to the Wikipedia page on Media Lens, made around 1700 edits to the page of George Galloway, and a total of over 186,000 edits as of February 2021.
“Philip Cross” has been one of the principal Wikipedia editors who have worked diligently to distort my Wikipedia page, as elegantly documented by the Canadian comedienne “Whats Her Face”.
On 30 October 2022, the account was suspended for "disruptive editing by repeatedly trying to game or push the limits of TBANs"
HOW COVERT AGENTS INFILTRATE THE INTERNET TO MANIPULATE, DECEIVE, AND DESTROY REPUTATIONS. Glen Greenwald, February 24 2014
One of the many pressing stories that remains to be told from the Snowden archive is how western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction. It’s time to tell a chunk of that story, complete with the relevant documents.
Over the last several weeks, I worked with NBC News to publish a series of articles about “dirty trick” tactics used by GCHQ’s previously secret unit, JTRIG (Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group). These were based on four classified GCHQ documents presented to the NSA and the other three partners in the English-speaking “Five Eyes” alliance. Today, we at the Intercept are publishing another new JTRIG document, in full, entitled “The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations.”
By publishing these stories one by one, our NBC reporting highlighted some of the key, discrete revelations: the monitoring of YouTube and Blogger, the targeting of Anonymous with the very same DDoS attacks they accuse “hacktivists” of using, the use of “honey traps” (luring people into compromising situations using sex) and destructive viruses. But, here, I want to focus and elaborate on the overarching point revealed by all of these documents: namely, that these agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the internet itself.
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; 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.
The “tools” have been assigned boastful code names. They include invasive methods for online surveillance, as well as some of the very techniques that the U.S. and U.K. have harshly prosecuted young online activists for employing, including “distributed denial of service” attacks and “call bombing.” But they also describe previously unknown tactics for manipulating and distorting online political discourse and disseminating state propaganda, as well as the apparent ability to actively monitor Skype users in real-time—raising further questions about the extent of Microsoft’s cooperation with spy agencies or potential vulnerabilities in its Skype’s encryption. Here’s a list of how JTRIG describes its capabilities:
• “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)
While some of the tactics are described as “in development,” JTRIG touts “most” of them as “fully operational, tested and reliable.” It adds: “We only advertise tools here that are either ready to fire or very close to being ready.”
And JTRIG urges its GCHQ colleagues to think big when it comes to internet deception: “Don’t treat this like a catalogue. If you don’t see it here, it doesn’t mean we can’t build it.”
The document appears in a massive Wikipedia-style archive used by GCHQ to internally discuss its surveillance and online deception activities. The page indicates that it was last modified in July 2012, and had been accessed almost 20,000 times.
GCHQ refused to provide any comment on the record beyond its standard boilerplate, in which it claims that it acts “in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework” and is subject to “rigorous oversight.” But both claims are questionable.
British watchdog Privacy International has filed pending legal action against GCHQ over the agency’s use of malware to spy on internet and mobile phone users. Several GCHQ memos published last fall by The Guardian revealed that the agency was eager to keep its activities secret not to protect national security, but because “our main concern is that references to agency practices (ie, the scale of interception and deletion) could lead to damaging public debate which might lead to legal challenges against the current regime.” And an EU parliamentary inquiry earlier this year concluded that GCHQ activities were likely illegal.
As for oversight, serious questions have been raised about whether top national security officials even know what GCHQ is doing. Chris Huhne, a former cabinet minister and member of the national security council until 2012, insisted that ministers were in “utter ignorance” about even the largest GCHQ spying program, known as Tempora—not to mention “their extraordinary capability to hoover up and store personal emails, voice contact, social networking activity and even internet searches.” In an October Guardian op-ed, Huhne wrote that “when it comes to the secret world of GCHQ and the [NSA], the depth of my ‘privileged information’ has been dwarfed by the information provided by Edward Snowden to The Guardian.”
In related news, note that Henry I. Miller M.D. is now falsely and maliciously linking those (including myself, McCullough and many others) who have discussed the actual data on the lack of efficacy and safety of the COVID genetic vaccines with Russian Disinformation campaigns.
Who is Henry Miller? According to his own bio page, Henry I. Miller, MS, MD, is the Glenn Swogger Distinguished Fellow at the American Council on Science and Health (a corporate front group). His research focuses on public policy toward science, technology, and medicine, encompassing a number of areas, including pharmaceutical development, genetic engineering, models for regulatory reform, precision medicine, and the emergence of new viral diseases. Dr. Miller served for fifteen years at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a number of posts. He was the medical reviewer for the first genetically engineered drugs to be evaluated by the FDA and thus instrumental in the rapid licensing of human insulin and human growth hormone. Thereafter, he was a special assistant to the FDA commissioner and the founding director of the FDA's Office of Biotechnology.
See “Russia's Secret 'War Against the West': Propaganda Targeting Vaccines and Genetically Engineered Crops”
Russia's decades-old propaganda machine is vast and vicious. Its goal is to damage the health and prosperity of the country's adversaries, especially the United States.
by Henry I. Miller
American Council on Science & Health
June 22, 2023
Also see the John Batchelor Show: #Russia: Kremlin trolls attack US vaccines.
This is pure propaganda based on speculation, inference, and unsubstantiated malicious defamation. A classic example of fifth generation warfare, in this case apparently being waged by a pharmaceutical industry surrogate (based on the known financial sponsors of the American Council on Science and Health) against legitimate criticism of their products using the ploy of tying dissenting physicians to a Russian “secret war against the west”. Remind you of what Hillary and her minions tried to do to Trump? Russia has become an all purpose boogieman. Apparently the efforts to link “anti-vaxxer” with “anti-semitism” did not get sufficient traction, so now a new tactic is being deployed.
As I have been reporting and broadcasting again and again, during the COVIDcrisis the leadership of the “Five Eyes” alliance nations have actively conspired to aggressively deploy fifth generation warfare “PsyOps” technologies on their respective civilian/citizen populations. These activities have consistently either skirted legal constraints or flagrantly crossed clearly established legal boundaries including the First Amendment of the United States Bill of Rights. They have done so in significant part via cooperative collusion across national borders. And now emerging evidence indicates that they have done so via “public private partnerships” with the pharmaceutical industry acting via surrogate “astroturf” organizations such as the American Council on Science & Health. If the United States congress continues to defer and dissemble regarding their oversight responsibilities for these activities, there will be no recourse other than lengthy, hazardous and expensive legal actions.
Or the ballot box, if that even remains a legitimate and viable path for citizens to hold the administrative state and its corporate partners (in particular including the censorship-industrial complex) accountable.
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