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The Astroturfing and Shillery Military-Industrial-Surveilliance Complex

IMAGE: Forbes

Anybody who has ever involved themselves with online research where there is commentary is well aware of shills, trolls and astroturfing. The challenge is that this can and does overwhelm the gems to be found. As a result, it forces one to find sanctuaries of like-minded people in somewhat safe settings, like Winter Watch. Obviously, we don’t permit tactics like gaslighting or the tired old “I know a guy who knows a guy”-type of shillery.

Online astroturfing and shilling can be divided into several categories. Most of it is bot-driven, but there is also low-quality human engagement. On rare occasion, you may encounter a more skilled individual.

But mostly they are bots. For instance, Raw Story reported on a federal contract (PDF) from the 6th Contracting Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base, near Tampa, Florida, that solicited providers of “persona management software.” The persona business shows up frequently in usual-suspect operations. The contract description requires software for 50 users with 10 personas each, for a total of 500.

When you encounter these personas online, they seem zombie like and rather addled. Sometimes when attacked or gaslighted by one, I will check other comments they make on other topics and find it’s a stream of bot consciousness about nothing of substance.

When they engage, it’s usually snarky, low-investment opining with liberal cut-and-paste use of the word “crazy” and the word “conspiracy.” Poor bot-like language syntax and failure to use the plural form of the word “theorist” is another tell.

In the following example, a junior-high educated human would break up the first sentence into three. And how is it that “someone” who can’t grammatically construct a sentence be qualified to opine on my title composition? This type of generic bot-driven commentary combined with down-vote brigades and bans is almost exclusively what Winter Watch is subjected to when sharing articles on Reddit, which is infested with it.


This is why people never will believe conspiracy theorist just look at your title it makes sense to me but to normal people? Can you really blame them for thinking conspiracies are for crazies

clovize —  aka human versus bot

You are gaslighting. So we live in an inverted world, where those who question the QAnon Kool-Aid psyops are the crazies? What’s to say? And how is it that “someone” who runs three sentences together as one and can’t get the plural right on the word “theorist” qualifies as an expert on article title composition?

Reddit’s “Conspiracy” forum (r/conspiracy) was one of the ultimate battleground for this. Astroturfing, trolls and shillery are quite organized. And banning and silencing is also quite organized. The Twitter files are now revealing how this was done. But before being permanently banned, I was the subject of some attention.

More than Merely Dubious: How I Was Permanently Banned at Reddit

One of the tactics of real shills is that they quickly reveal they have no investment in the subject matter. Usually when attacking Winter Watch material, you will discover they didn’t even read the article — and will admit as much, saying “it’s not worth my time.” That’s cut-and-paste banter from the shill/troll handbook.

And they just make shit up as illustrated in this recent exchange in comments on my Winter is Here posts.

El Koraco 

A couple of months ago you were predicting famines for the winter. You are a joke.

Winter Watch 

Make shit up much? Here is the article in question:

Key word famine and it is not mentioned once in the post. Shortage is not famine, look the word up in the dictionary low brow.

In fact time to revisit the post, and here is a key phrase: “The causa proxima will be a winter storm or series of dark clouded storms in December-February that will perfectly correspond to the energy and food shortage. The base loads of gas and electricity will be well exceeded resulting in blackouts in the midst of sub-zero F temperatures.”

As we are barely into December this has manifested itself so far into industry shutdowns and very high costs in essentials like food and energy. No sane observer would argue that shortages aren’t in play. The post was spot on and as more severe winter is just beginning to roll in this is still unfolding. It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.

An article in The Guardian reveals what is likely transpiring:

The British army is creating a special force of Facebook warriors, skilled in psychological operations and use of social media to engage in unconventional warfare in the information age.

The 77th Brigade, to be based in Hermitage, near Newbury, in Berkshire, will be about 1,500-strong and formed of units drawn from across the army.

The brigade will be responsible for what is described as non-lethal warfare. Both the Israeli and US army already engage heavily in psychological operations. Against a background of 24-hour news, smartphones and social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, the force will attempt to control the narrative.

Image result for 77th brigade

Then there’s MADCOM, used by companies, politicians, nations, academics, lobbyist groups and organizations:

Machine-driven communications tools are a reality now and artificial intelligence enabled tools will soon dominate the online information space. This paradigm shift isn’t limited to artificial personal assistants like Siri and recreational chatbots like Xiaoice. It refers to machine-driven communication overwhelming Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Match, Reddit, chat rooms, news site comment sections, and the rest of the social web.

All of it will be dominated by machines talking. This machine communication will be nearly indistinguishable from human communication. The machines will be trying to persuade, sell, deceive, intimidate, manipulate, and cajole you into whatever response they’re programmed to elicit. They will be unbelievably effective.

Then we learned that millions more in taxpayer dollars have been spent on DARPA psyop projects. This one utilizes celebrities for propaganda purpose.

The activities of users of Twitter and other social media services were recorded and analysed as part of a major project funded by the US military, in a program that covers ground similar to Facebook’s controversial experiment into how to control emotions by manipulating news feeds.

Research funded directly or indirectly by the US Department of Defense’s military research department, known as Darpa, has involved users of some of the internet’s largest destinations, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Kickstarter, for studies of social connections and how messages spread.

While some elements of the multi-million dollar project might raise a wry smile – research has included analysis of the tweets of celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, in an attempt to understand influence on Twitter – others have resulted in the buildup of massive datasets of tweets and additional types social media posts.

NodeXL – Twitter DARPA network graph. SOURCE: Marc Smith/Flickr

This has gotten so pervasive and is such big business in the military-industrial-surveillance state that the City of Boston police department blew $1.4 million on it.

Several civil rights groups and advocacy organizations are asking Boston officials to cease plans to spend $1.4 million on software that will allow police to monitor people’s social media activity.

The Times of Israel reports that Israel spends considerable resources building online armies of “activists” (aka shills). Also, see “Foreign Intel Agents Launch New Covert Propaganda War Against Americans on US Soil.”

The plan aims to harness 550 bilingual students drawn from the student pool at the country’s seven universities, who will target their efforts abroad.

The Obama administration selected the infamous Cass Sunstein for its NSA panel. Sunstein proposed “government agents” or “their allies” — whatever the later means (Zionist contractors?) — to infiltrate conspiracy theorist groups.

The Obama administration is reportedly proposing Cass Sunstein as a member of a panel to review the surveillance practices of the National Security Agency (NSA), among other former White House and intelligence staffers. Sunstein was the head of the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs until last year, when he returned to teaching at Harvard Law School.

As one of our intrepid commenters pointed out yesterday, while at Harvard in 2008, Sunstein co-authored a working paper that suggests government agents or their allies “cognitively infiltrate” conspiracy theorist groups by joining “chat rooms, online social networks or even real-space groups” and influencing the conversation.

Sunstein’s paper defined a conspiracy theory as “an effort to explain some event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role.”

Then were learn about the Israeli fake persona PSY Group:

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team has asked about flows of money into the Cyprus bank account of a company that specialized in social-media manipulation and whose founder reportedly met with Donald Trump Jr. in August 2016, according to a person familiar with the investigation.
The inquiry is drawing attention to PSY Group, an Israeli firm that pitched its services to super-PACs and other entities during the 2016 election. Those services included infiltrating target audiences with elaborately crafted social-media personas and spreading misleading information through websites meant to mimic news portals, according to interviews and PSY Group documents seen by Bloomberg News.
Image result for psy group
Glenn Greenwald reported on the notorious GCHQ:

What appears to be an internal Wiki page detailing the cyber-weaponry used by the British spy agency GCHQ was published today by Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept. The page, taken from the documents obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, lists dozens of tools used by GCHQ to target individuals and their computing devices, spread disinformation posing as others, and “shape” opinion and information available online.

The page had been maintained by GCHQ’s Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG) Covert Internet Technical Development team, but it fell out of use by the time Snowden copied it. Greenwald and NBC previously reported on JTRIG’s “dirty tricks” tactics for psychological operations and information warfare, and the new documents provide a hint at how those tactics were executed. GCHQ’s capabilities included tools for manipulating social media, spoofing communications from individuals and groups, and warping the perception of content online through manipulation of polls and web pages’ traffic and search rankings.

Freemason Spies Lodge, Pedophilia and the Case Of Keith Harding

Dozens of other examples are listed here.


37 Comments on The Astroturfing and Shillery Military-Industrial-Surveilliance Complex

  1. Haven’t you linked to it before a bunch of times in comments for black listed videos from youtube? It was about the only place you could go to to view country-banned videos.

  2. Said it before, and I will say it again…the world wide web is an electronic ghetto and a very dangerous one at that. There are a few bright street lamps (like WW and Lew Rockewell — for me that is) that one can hang out under, but the rest is pure Thunderdome.

    On the bright side, the meme for the day of all the dual citizens now in the Biden administration gives me hope that Senator Charles “Chuck” Schumer will not put forth some of the more draconian legislation that he proposed, against expats, during Barry’s administration.

    Would it be nice if our government was run by United States citizens with a singular alliance? Yes.

    Is it the case?

    Is there anything I can do about it?
    Yes, I can simply accept that I am powerless to change the situation (not like I have any power to fire them) and look at the bright side.

    Oh yeah, and Trump pardoned Lil Wayne (getting a lot of press) and well as Jared’s daddy (not getting so much press). Seems with Lil Wayne, Jared and Ivanka convinced him to do it so that they would be welcomed back to the “hood” anytime and get their “street cred” back.

    Lovin’ this country more and more each day! Have a good Thursday everyone.

    • Trump also pardoned an accomplice of Jonathan Pollard at the request of Netanyahu. I thought Trump and Netanyahu were no longer best buddies after Netanyahu threw Trump under the bus before the media anointed Biden.

      Israel was also moved from the domain of US European Command to Southern Command. I assume this is related to the recent normalization of relations between Israel and several Arab nations that will constitute a new “Coalition of the Willing” against Iran.

      I was expecting Biden to try to get Iran to agree to additional restrictions as a precondition for US re-entry into the JCPOA which Iran would reject and thus be considered guilty of developing nuclear weapons and dealt with by our freedom fighters. Now I wonder if Biden will just go in straight out of the gate.

      • Yeah, Trump pardoned a whole lot of Israelis or folks (Americans) connected to Israel, while Biden gave out jobs to many of their friends. It is all uni-party stuff in the end, and I am sure Trump will be on great terms with Bibi in no time flat.

        On your other point, I also recalled this:

        Personally, I do not have a clue who Biden’s puppet masters will go after first or next. My guess is that it will be quite for a little while / a period of time (a lull if you will), and then everything will become much clearer.

        • In the middle east, I expect a ramp up of US efforts in Syria to get Assad out or at least neutralize the Iranian proxy forces there which could cause trouble if Iran is attacked. I thought that an alternative supply of oil would be secured to compensate for potential closure of the Persian Gulf and loss of Gulf oil fields, pipelines etc. My guess for this would have been Venezuela. We might just try to buy them off rather than a coup attempt.

          Only then would I expect a move on Iran. But parts of the JCPOA expire in a few years and the readiness of the US military is in steady decline. So Bibi might be getting antsy.

          • s16,

            You have some really sound analysis here, and I do not doubt that you will in fact be right. My focus at this time is toward the commodity markets and the tariffs, so I must admit to not being very clear on many of the other military and political aspects of what the new administration might try to achieve.

            Now here is a question for you (and any of our other friends who wish to join us):

            Do you think that China is “in bed” with Israel regarding the One Belt Initiative? Are they partners?

            I heard something about this idea, but did not get into researching it; however, the prospect is curious to me.

            Many thanks.


            • I don’t know for sure that they are in bed with OBI but I am sure that they are considering what advantages it would offer them when they have used up the United States.

              I would not be surprised if Israel and China cooperated on nuclear weapons research in the 1960s before either had developed a bomb. France had stopped nuclear cooperation with Israel and it would seem logical that Israel would try to find another partner.

              • All good points.

                To my knowledge, the Israelis purchased the entire South African program after a test on an island off there coast proved a success. If I recall my details correctly, this would have been in 1973 or 1974; however, I do not think these two nations were partners per se, but rather just a seller and a buyer.

                China’s connection to Israel may be worth all of us looking into at some point in the future. They seem like such odd “bed fellows” and yet I would not be surprised if we actually found something interesting out.


  3. Okay this next one if for everybody; however I concede that it may be slightly more directed to Mr. Winter and NZBG. As follows:

    Has any one else noticed that in the majority of the nations once denoted as the “BRICs” by Goldman and Sachs (in the year 1990), there are (currently) some really mucho macho male leaders?

    Brazil – President Bolsonaro: “We Have to Stop Being a Country of F-gs” (when discussing COVID)

    Russia – President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (a shirtless, horseback riding, Judo black belt of note)

    India – yeah, just ignore this one; their idea of mucho macho is very unique; also, many of their men were fighting COVID by having groups baths in poop (I am not even kidding about this one)

    China – General Secretary Xi Jinping (I dare anyone to call this man “Winnie the Pooh” and then survive his “death touch” or laser eyes = )

    Now what type of guys have we elected for President in the last 4 guys (keeping 4 and 4):

    1. A really, really, really old man that remembers when a Hershey bar was a nickel, yet never seems to recall where he is standing at any given moment

    2. An orange potato

    3. A guy who swishes when he walks, and was happy for a “hard foul” when playing one-on-one


    4. A former cheerleader who nearly cut off his toes (not kidding on this one either), with his own chain saw, when attempting to remove a stump in TX

    People this is becoming really embarrassing.

    • As the voting franchise was expanded and voting made easier and more convenient, the quality of the candidates took a nose dive. And, yes I know other factors are involved. Whatever you think of Kennedy or Nixon or even the mainstream media, watching the 1960 presidential debates would make you realize how far we’ve fallen.

  4. We were ahead of the curve again:

    Some of us here at WW were saying that the nation is headed toward the Hunger Games, and now GP uses a similar idea to describe yesterday’s event. Funny.

    Also had to add that I enjoyed how many of the women and Micheal (Barry’s words, not mine) were dressed as monochromatic fruit (scroll down the link and you will see the photo).

  5. Disqus is full of these bots. Their interface seems more automation friendly than wordpress. My time at Mises I dealt with a lot of these. Any time an article even remotely mentioned global warming in passing, a specific named bot would show up and cut paste walls of text. If the “why” question of global warming or climate change came up against this bot they would run out of answers and just start spamming its walls of text. It seems it only had boiler plate arguments for or against and couldn’t answer anything above it. I traced it back to other websites and found the same named bot with a slightly altered avatar but same name cutting/pasting there too. I confronted them about it and the person behind it realized they were caught. I grabbed a screen shot of all the duplicates and started replying to the original bot wherever it went to expose it. I was shortly banned from the places I did that except Mises.

    • Did you handle IT for Just wondering.

      If so,I might add that it is a very nice website…good layout and easy to navigate.


        • Cool!

          Once and only once in my entire life have I tried to add a Disqus comment. In fact I was so mad that I vented to JWR here how they banned my comment and so I proceeded to delete my account.

          Breitbart did a thing on Fauci. I tried to add a comment to challenge Fauci’s lack of interest in closing BSL-4 and BSL-3 facilities until the nonsense on Conjob-19 could be fully explored. I also thought that we do not need BSL-4 facilities at all and they could remain closed, or I challenged Fauci to suggest a global security protocol (as there are for BSL-1, BSL-2 and BSL-3 facilities, yet in the most dangerous laboratories in the world, there is not unified security protocol).

          Also, I stated that the UN Security Council should now take up the topic on inspections (away from WHO) and force a permanent member vote, which should result in a 4-1 vote that China needs to open up the state run lab at Wuhan and the privately owned lab run by WuXi AppTec. Disqus banned me immediately.

          Thankfully, JWR who knew more about that lame a-s company than I did, told me not to fume and that there was no way they would ever touch what I had written with a 10′ pole since they keep the “status quo” moving along. He was a good friend and I did feel a bit better about the whole process.

          No I am a little ticked that they banned you on Mises. Do you want me to reach out to Lew Rockwell? If you want me to, I shall do it. Please let me know.


          • Disqus is dogshit. I received a formal banning from it years ago… along with two separate Twitter accounts.

            Sticks and stones eh?

            • I am with you on that thought.

              My issue is that Mises has the right (as a private business) to ban TT for any reason they wish; however, you cannot turn around and say to me you are all for “FREE SPEECH”. If Mises farms out their comments section, fine, but they should have quality control and a tech monitoring what the subcontractor is doing.

              Since I doubt TT was anything different then he is here (smart, friendly, well researched), I highly doubt he did anything wrong or was mean / nasty over there.

              Lew Rockwell started Mises and is still connected to it. I support Lew Rockwell’s personal site (which has no comments section) with my wallet. Mr. Winter has been encouraging us all to vote with our wallets, which I have agreed with all my life.

              If TT wants me to reach out to Mr. Rockwell and ask him to get someone at Mises to review Disqus and reinstate him, I will do it. If I get a “no or no response”, then my wallet cuts off life support to and I am down to only reading one website with any sort of consistency (which will be WW).

      • I used to be a devout libertarian but the data is in on the open borders and free trade experiments and it ain’t pretty. I still like many of their other ideas and many of them would work in a smaller, more homogeneous country.

        Walter Block always dismissed trade deficits with the observation that “You run a trade deficit with your supermarket.” While technically true, if I didn’t run a trade surplus with my employer, I couldn’t sustain that trade deficit with the supermarket for very long.

        • Funny, true and very accurate / astute!

          In my case, I am more of an independent that has some libertarian leanings; so I am with you on this point.

          Certainly, I could not vote for Dr. Jo based on her “proud” support of BLM; however, I did like the nice lady running for Governor on the Libertarian ticket in WV; I am just not a resident there and could do nothing about it.


  6. I deleted Reddit after coming to the embarrassing and inevitable conclusion that I was spending precious time arguing with bots and sockpuppets. Same deal with YouTube, same deal with virtually all of it.

    The scary truth is, people in the real world have the same exact candor as bots now. Purely emotional rhetoric and ad hominems abound.

    Now, granted, I’m guilty of regurgitating some fairly standard conspiracy talking points, but I have gone to great lengths to verify for objective accuracy. The information that can be personally verified by me – myself – with my own senses, or very old printed books. One such book is Thucydides’ “History of the Peloponnesian War.” Personally, I own this version:

    From there you can get into the weeds of:
    Is this a good translation?

    Is the translator honest?

    Is Thucydides a reliable narrator free of political or personal bias that would corrupt an objective account of events?
    Is this actually what happened?

    Did this even happen, or have the past two thousand years been fabricated by Jesuit scholars?

    Perhaps the time is drawing near for the demise of the semblance of any real discourse on the internet. Good questions conceived of from good minds traded for platitudes from sycophants.

    Sic semper automata.

    • Ed,

      Well done and a great link; I actually think I heard a little of that American Vagabond discussion (had it on the background while working on a different project), but then had to run.

      Since they do bring up Oklahoma City, I hope Mr. Winter gives the seven minutes a quick view.

      Thanks for putting it up here.


      P.S. When viewing the video, I began to wonder / think about the shooting of Mr. Duncan Lempf.

      • SC,

        No-knock warrants are handed down just like indictments and they are rarely executed how they are suppose to be. Police almost always kick a door down, yell, “police, police,” fire a flash-bang grenade,…THEN KNOCK!

        Two cases here in Utah; one of Todd Blair in 2010 and the other of Matthew Stewart in 2011 exemplify how dangerous no-knock situations can be. And, of course, the cops are always cleared! Both stories here:

        And then there is the case of the Phonesavanh boy injured by a flash-bang grenade in Georgia in 2014 when SWAT hit the wrong damn house. Here:

        • Thank you Ed. You definitely are expanding my understanding on these warrants and situations. Up until I heard about Mr. Lemp (since he was kind of local), I had never really thought much about “no knock” warrants and their implications.

          I remain appreciative for providing me with additional info.


        • The boy was an infant at the time – blew away much of his face. It wasn’t the wrong house precisely. The target was an occasional visitor – implicated in a single $50 deal that did not take place in the residence – pills not heroin – he was not there at the time of the raid; children’s toys littered the lawn of the very modest home. He was arrested the next day in a parking lot without resistance. End of story; county officials at first offered to meet medical expenses but quickly reversed themselves.

          SWAT guys with too much time on their hands; they must love the overtime operations – raid was, of course, in the early morning hours. Bet some of those guys pull in six figures just in overtime most years.

  7. If you must debate on Facebook, avoid those with the following on their home pages:

    1. American flags, eagles, religious scenes, bible quotes and images of the US military.

    2. Overwhelming numbers of pet photos.

    3. Avant-garde artwork, comic book superhero characters, bands you’ve never heard of.

    4. Numerous fundraisers.

    5. Black Lives Matter, Stand up to anti-semitism.

  8. When I used to bother reading comments on RT and other news sites that still allow comment, I figured the bad English and nonsensical prose was from people whose primary language was not English. Now I see it’s part of the DOD’s “full spectrum dominance” where the battle space is right between my ears. Coupled with remote manipulation of the CNS via electromagnetic pulsing through video monitors based on patents filed by Hendricus G Loos, I’m leaning towards becoming a zealous Luddite. (I don’t think ANYBODY would actually name their kid Hendricus).

  9. “The inquiry is drawing attention to PSY Group, an Israeli firm that pitched its services to super-PACs and other entities during the 2016 election. Those services included infiltrating target audiences with elaborately crafted social-media personas and spreading misleading information through websites meant to mimic news portals, according to interviews and PSY Group documents seen by Bloomberg News.”

    Stew Peters is a good example of this type of “crafted social-media persona.”

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