You've probably run into them before -- those seemingly random antagonizers who always end up diverting the conversation in an online chat room or article comment section away from the issue at hand, and towards a much different agenda. Hot-button issues like illegal immigration, the two-party political system, the "war on terror" and even alternative medicine are among the most common targets of such attackers, known as internet "trolls" or "shills," who in many cases are nothing more than paid lackeys hired by the federal government and other international organizations to sway and ultimately control public opinion.
Several years ago, Canada's CTV News aired a short segment about how its own government had been exposed for hiring secret agents to monitor social media and track online conversations, as well as the activities of certain dissenting individuals. This report, which in obvious whitewashing language referred to such activities as the government simply "weighing in and correcting" allegedly false information posted online, basically admitted that the Canadian government had assumed the role of secret online police. At the time, this was a great unknown to the general Canadian public.
Of course, the same type of online patrolling by the government is also happening in the U.S., particularly from the CIA and its infamous In-Q-Tel program. At a 2012 summit, former CIA director David Petraeus essentially admitted that the CIA has a covert online presence that it uses not only for data mining purposes but also to infiltrate online conversations for the purpose of protecting "national security" interests. Such interests, it turns out, include disrupting conversations that discuss topics like 9/11 truth, for instance, or U.S. involvement in giving weapons to Syrian rebels.
According to Occupy Corporatism, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), which was recently exposed by American hero and whistleblower Edward Snowden for its illegal surveillance programs, has devised a training program that literally scouts out hackers from American colleges and universities and recruits them to work for the government. Among the many duties sought from those enrolled in the National Centers of Academic Excellence in the Cyber Operations Program are "collection, exploitation, and response" activities to take place in the online environment.
"These 'cyber operators' are trained to become an elite team of 'computer geniuses' that are experts in computer hacking, digital communications, cyber intelligence -- for the purpose of spying on Americans, as well as conducting interactive digital psy-ops with users of the internet," explains Occupy Corporatism about the program.
Alleged former 'shill' admits that trolling operations are real
Then there is the occasional confession by a former employee of the government who fesses up about what is really taking place in secret behind the scenes. A recent public posting on a "conspiracy theory" forum -- conspiracy websites are typically the most heavily targeted by government officials -- admits that individuals are constantly being recruited and hired by shadowy groups and government-affiliated agencies to manipulate online discussions.
"Shills exist," writes this anonymous ex-shill following a lengthy explanation of how he was hand-selected to pose as a normal commenter and basically lie on forums and in comment sections. "They are real. They walk among you ... You should be aware of this," he adds.
It should be noted that the alternative news website where this confession was recently re-posted was asked by the conspiracy website where it was originally posted to take it down, claiming that it is "libelous and utterly false," even though it does not name any specific names or identify who is behind these and other shill operations. When asked for an explanation, the conspiracy website in question simply stopped responding.