In the annals of internet conspiracy theories, none is more pervasive than the one speculating paid government plants infiltrate websites, social network sites, and comment sections with an intent to sow discord, troll, and generally manipulate, deceive and destroy reputations. Guess what: it was all true. And this time we have a pretty slideshow of formerly confidential data prepared by the UK NSA equivalent, the GCHQ, to confirm it, and Edward Snowden to thank for disclosing it. The messenger in this case is Glenn Greenwald, who has released the data in an article in his new website, firstlook.org, which he summarizes as follows: "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 â€œhacktivistsâ€ of using, the use of â€œhoney trapsâ€ (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." Call it Stasi for "Generation Internet." Greenwald's latest revelation focuses on GCHQâ€™s previously secret unit, the JTRIG (Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group). 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: â€œfalse flag operationsâ€ (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 â€œnegative informationâ€ on various forums. Here is one illustrative list of tactics from the latest GCHQ document weâ€™re publishi Slide Show: http://www.scribd.com/doc/209051631/The-Art-of-Deception the tl;dr rest... Spoiler Other tactics aimed at individuals are listed here, under the revealing title â€œdiscredit a targetâ€: Then there are the tactics used to destroy companies the agency targets: Critically, the â€œtargetsâ€ for this deceit and reputation-destruction extend far beyond the customary roster of normal spycraft: hostile nations and their leaders, military agencies, and intelligence services. In fact, the discussion of many of these techniques occurs in the context of using them in lieu of â€œtraditional law enforcementâ€ against people suspected (but not charged or convicted) of ordinary crimes or, more broadly still, â€œhacktivismâ€, meaning those who use online protest activity for political ends. The title page of one of these documents reflects the agencyâ€™s own awareness that it is â€œpushing the boundariesâ€ by using â€œcyber offensiveâ€ techniques against people who have nothing to do with terrorism or national security threats, and indeed, centrally involves law enforcement agents who investigate ordinary crimes: Greenwald's punchline is disturbing, and is sure to make paradnoid conspiracy theorists crawl even deeper into their holes for one simple reason: all of their worst fears were true all along. What is perhaps most disturbing is the level of detail these modern day Stasi agents engage in, paradoxically proposing social subversion without realizing they themselves would be susceptible to just that. And all it would take is one whistleblower with a conscience: Under the title â€œOnline Covert Actionâ€, the document details a variety of means to engage in â€œinfluence and info opsâ€ as well as â€œdisruption and computer net attackâ€, while dissecting how human being can be manipulated using â€œleadersâ€, â€œtrust, â€œobedienceâ€ and â€œcomplianceâ€: The documents lay out theories of how humans interact with one another, particularly online, and then attempt to identify ways to influence the outcomes â€“ or â€œgameâ€ it: Greenwald's conclusion is spot on: So the next time you run into someone in a chat room or a message board who sounds just a little too much like a paid government subversive... it may not be just the paranoia speaking. For the full details "why not", read the formerly confidential slideshow below.