Edits to the Wikipedia profiles of Alex Jones and Abby Martin which malign the two alternative media personalities as Kremlin propagandists are linked to an IP address associated with the House of Representatives, prompting suggestions that the U.S. government is involved in an online smear campaign.
Yesterday evening 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.”
A simple trace on the IP address that posted the entry reveals that the computer involved “is registered to Information Systems, U.S. House of Representatives.”
A separate edit describes RT host Abby Martin as a “Russian propagandist,” despite the fact that Martin made headlines back in March for publicly criticizing Russia’s involvement in Crimea on her own show. The IP address leads back to the same computer.
Although the Alex Jones entry remained pending, the entry describing Abby Martin as a “Russian propagandist” was posted live to Wikipedia before being amended a minute later.
A Wiki News article notes that IP addresses linked to Capitol Hill have been “vandalizing” Wikipedia since 2006 and that, “Members of Congress or their staff were vandalizing Wikipedia by removing critical information in various articles, or adding false or offensive information. These edits were and continue to be done using computers owned or operated by the United States government.”
It’s possible that the IP address is being spoofed to make it look like the edits are being made from someone on Capitol Hill when in fact they’re not, although the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Wiki News seem convinced that the edits are indeed being made from government-owned computers.
The notion of governments and large institutions gaming websites in order to spread disinformation is a firmly established practice.
Newly released files obtained from whistleblower Edward Snowden confirm that the British government engages in “fake victim blog posts,” online “false flag operations,” as well as using tools that can sway online polls and manipulate public sentiment on the Internet.
According to journalist Glenn Greenwald, the objective of the program is to, “inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets.”
Last month it emerged that the U.S. federal government was collaborating with Wikipedia editors to ‘improve’ Wikipedia entries related to government information.