There’s one sentence in the new Glenn Greenwald revelation for NBC News that renders everything that follows mostly irrelevant. It’s the lede. And not even the entire lede — just the first part of it.
British spies have developed “dirty tricks” for use against nations, hackers, terror groups, suspected criminals and arms dealers…
The only sane reaction to this news should be, “Great!” We don’t really need to know anything else. But that didn’t stop Greenwald and NBC News from spilling the beans on operations that target such poor helpless victims as malicious hackers, the Taliban, Iran and, yes, terrorists dealing in loose nukes.
Based on NSA documents stolen by Edward Snowden, Greenwald reports on yet another array of methods used by the British signals intelligence agency, the GCHQ, and its Joint Threat Research and Intelligence Group (JTRIG). The article describes the operations like so:
According to the documents, which come from presentations prepped in 2010 and 2012 for NSA cyber spy conferences, the agency’s goal was to “destroy, deny, degrade [and] disrupt” enemies by “discrediting” them, planting misinformation and shutting down their communications.
Methods include using “honey traps” — the online and in-person sexual seduction of targets (“the documents do not give a specific example of when the British government might have employed a honey trap”) — as well as fake blog posts and DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks. One document refers to bombarding targets with fake texts and faxes as being “very annoying.” Indeed. JTRIG can also infect a target’s computer with a virus called “AMBASSADOR’S RECEPTION.”
The article claims that JTRIG also uses “false flag” operations.
JTRIG also uses “false flag” operations, in which British agents carry out online actions that are designed to look like they were performed by one of Britain’s adversaries.
The article uses quotes around “false flag” to make it appear as if the reporters are quoting the NSA PowerPoint documents, but upon examining the documents the phrase “false flag” doesn’t appear anywhere in either of the files. As we’re all aware, false flags in today’s context carry a very specific meaning, usually marketed by conspiracy theorists in order to explain gun massacres or terrorist attacks — a government physically attacking its own people in order to deceive or distract. Clearly the article’s use of false flag to describe “online actions” against adversaries seems like a bit of hyperbole to say the least. “Astroturfing” might be a more appropriate term, but, then again, it doesn’t stir the appropriate degree of outrage among the conspiracy-minded.
Regardless, what we’re looking at here is another leak from Greenwald & Company that tips off some of our most dangerous enemies including and especially the looming threat of nuclear proliferation and loose nukes. These leaks have been published yet again under the banner of the public interest, but it’s difficult to see any public interest in an operation expressly aimed at those who even the article admits are our “enemies.”