Originally published September 29 2014
Wikipedia used by government to smear and defame alternative media personalities
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) One of the primary reasons why academic institutions prohibit the use of Wikipedia as a legitimate source for research is because the open-ended site is rife with abuse. In fact, governments around the world use it to spread false information and propaganda, as evidenced both by newly leaked documents and by careful examination and documentation by those whose profiles have been tampered with.
Indeed, many whose profiles are being altered are thorns in the sides of those who are in power. Two such people -- radio host Alex Jones and alternative media journalist Abby Martin -- are "media personalities" who are being portrayed as "Kremlin propagandists" by someone linked to an IP address associated with the U.S. House of Representatives, "prompting suggestions that the U.S. government is involved in an online smear campaign," InfoWars is reporting.
Recently, a Wikipedia user "attempted to edit radio host Alex Jones' profile to add the sentence, 'Following his appearances on Russia Today, there were allegations that he was a disinformation agent with ties to the Kremlin," the site reported.
U.S. not the only government involved
A trace of the IP address that posted the entry revealed that the computer involved "is registered to Information Systems, U.S. House of Representatives." Another, separate edit described RT host Martin as a "Russian propagandist," despite the fact that Martin made headlines back in March for criticizing, on air, Russia's involvement in Crimea during her program. The IP address used to make these allegations lead back to the same computer.
InfoWars reported that, though the Jones entry initially remained pending, the entry regarding Martin as a "Russian propagandist" was posted live to Wikipedia before eventually being amended moments later.
The idea that governments seek to manipulate news, spread disinformation and sow discontent among populations is as old as mankind. In the earliest years of our republic, Gen. George Washington operated his own spy and intelligence networks to help the colonial army win victories. According to the CIA's website:
George Washington was a skilled military intelligence manager. He recruited and debriefed Tory and Patriot sources, developed espionage networks, interrogated prisoners and travelers, cleverly used deception and propaganda, and practiced sound tradecraft. He recognized the need for multiple sources so reports could be crosschecked, and so the compromise of one asset would not cut off intelligence from an important area.
Throughout history, governments have also used technology to spread propaganda; in the 18th and 19th centuries, it was by word of mouth and the printing press, while in the 20th and 21st centuries, agents provocateur use the Internet and, in particular, social media sites.
Manipulation, slander, denial of service
Newly released files obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden have outted the British government for engaging in "fake victim blog posts," online "false flag operations" and other practices using a package of software tools and other technology, all with the goal of manipulating public opinion. Chat room posts, altering online polls and changing news feeds are all part of the suite of software technology, as noted by journalist Glenn Greenwald:
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.
Greenwald said Britain's spy agency, GCHQ, was in charge of the UK-based deception operation; the GCHQ is akin to America's NSA. Also part of the overall effort are the other three members of the "Five Eyes" alliance: Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Some of the tactics are technology-oriented, while others are age-old. They include "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," Greenwald reported.
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