Lately, if you listen to mainstream media news, pundits and Democrats, we all are seeing Russia from our browser window… here a Russian bot, there a Russian bot. All roads lead to the Kremlin in this new Dem Red Scare environment.
JK posted a comment the other day, mentioning two links, one to a 2016 article at The Root , about Hillary Clinton’s use of the superpredator term as being racist, the other, a February 13, 2019 article, BLACK CRITICS OF KAMALA HARRIS AND CORY BOOKER PUSH BACK AGAINST CLAIMS THAT THEY’RE RUSSIAN “BOTS”, at The Intercept, which deals with the hashtag, #ADOS (American Descendants of Slaves) falling under a cloud of suspicion as being a Russian bot operation. This recent article also alleges that the 2016 attacks against Hillary/superpredator issue were also a foreign bot generated operation. A CNN commentator made the charge:
“Angela Rye, a CNN political commentator and board member of the Congressional Black Caucus PAC, has said she believes that some ADOS arguments are not organic, but were “paid for by Russia.” She added that she’s “not saying everyone who uses the hashtag is a Russian bot,” but she does believe “it originated from Russian bots.” Rye went on to argue that the same is true of critiques relating to “some of the stuff around the crime bill” circa 2016 — presumably referring to critics of Hillary Clinton who questioned her support of the bill now widely understood to have caused overwhelming harm to black Americans.”
Rye is a lawyer and Seattle native, liberal activist, not an intelligence analyst.
The actual creator of the #ADOS hashtag, Antonio Moore, takes issue with the Russian bot allegation:
“THE CREATORS OF the hashtag — Antonio Moore, an attorney in California, and Yvette Carnell, a political commentator — are neither Russian nor bots and are demanding an apology.
Carnell told The Intercept that she thinks calling out ADOS is an effort to delegitimize the grassroots movement they’ve worked to cultivate and to “undermine a real debate that we have about Kamala Harris within the black community.” For years, Moore and Carnell have been doing regular YouTube and radio shows together where they discuss issues like reparations and the racial wealth divide under the lens of “native descendants of American slaves.””
Alleging “Russian influence operations” has become part of the Left’s SPIN messaging now, so I expect a lot more of this and also more of the corrupt Dem false flag operation, like the one they pulled in 2017 during the Moore campaign … fielding fake Russian bots. In this corrupt political media environment, it’s impossible to know which are real Russian bots and which might be fake Russian bots, or even some other hostile country’s bots (there’s a subject for another blog post – foreign threats besides only Russia). Russia isn’t the only foreign country waging online influence operations in American media, but it’s the only one the Dems and mainstream media want to talk about.
You don’t have to look far to find Dems and Leftists seeing Russian collusion and influence operations everywhere in American political SPIN messaging activities these days. The political pressure on social media giants to be more aggressive at dealing with Russian influence operations ramped up and just today CNN reported:
“Three online video channels designed to appeal to millennials have collected tens of millions of views on Facebook since September. But the pages pushing the videos do not disclose that they are backed by the Russian government.The pages are run by Maffick Media, a company whose majority stakeholder is Ruptly, a subsidiary of RT, which is funded by the Russian government. Although Maffick Media has hired contractors and freelancers in Los Angeles in recent months, the company is not registered in the US, it is registered in Germany.Facebook suspended the pages on Friday, saying it would reach out to the people running them to ask that they disclose where the pages are run from and their affiliation with their parent company in order to get back on the platform.The move was an unusual one for Facebook. The company does not require users to provide information about parent companies, but it is rolling out ways to try to increase transparency about who runs popular Facebook pages, and it has been taking aggressive steps to tackle covert government-backed information operations on its service. In 2016, a Kremlin-linked troll group ran a network of pages designed to look like they were operated by real American activists.”
“A federal indictment against 13 Russian nationals made public on Friday provides new insight into how the Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin-linked Russian troll group, set up a vast network of fake American activist groups and used the stolen identities of real Americans in an attempt to wreak havoc on the U.S. political system.According to the indictment, the group, which is based in St. Petersburg, Russia, began monitoring the social media pages of real American activist organizations in 2014, before setting up fake pages and personas that became, the indictment says, “leaders of public opinion.”
The pages were designed to look like they were run by real Americans. They focused on a number of divisive issues in American life, including race relations, religion, immigration, and the 2016 presidential election.On Facebook alone, an estimated 126 million Americans may have been exposed to material the group produced, the social media company told Congress last fall. The indictment provides a fuller picture of how the Internet Research Agency worked. It details a sophisticated operation that allowed the group to achieve such wide reach. The agency had a budget of over $1.25 million by September 2016 — big enough to include money for bonuses.
“To measure the impact of their online social media operations, Defendants and their co-conspirators tracked the performance of content they posted over social media,” it says. “They tracked the size of the online U.S. audiences reached through posts, different types of engagement with the posts … changes in audience size, and other metrics. Defendants and their co-conspirators received and maintained metrics reports on certain group pages and individualized posts.”
The group worked hard to make its work look like it came from real Americans. Apart from the occasional typo — or a phrase that, in hindsight, was clearly written by a non-native English speaker — the group’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Tumblr pages were convincing. They looked like many other politically-themed pages on social media: Designed to take advantage of Americans’ divisions, to get engagement by stoking outrage.”
This CNN Business report chronicles Russians hiring unsuspecting Americans and even one incident of the Russians using a stolen identity, including the social security number, of an American citizen. This report also mentions the alarming 2016 incident where Russian influence operations orchestrated two opposing events, on the same day, at the same location in Houston, to try to incite an actual real world confrontation:
“The Internet Research Agency also worked hard to ensure that its influence would stretch beyond social media and into the physical world, the indictment says. It successfully organized real demonstrations.
In one case, as CNN has previously reported, the troll group organized and promoted two opposing events on the same day at the same location in Houston, Texas.”
Yes, it’s obvious the Russians upped their influence operations in America in recent years, however the mainstream media/Dem/Left new Red Scare SPIN messaging effort serves only their shallow, single focus, partisan political agenda of trying to delegitimize Trump, by any means necessary. The absurdity of their new Red Scare messaging coupled with the destructive calls to censor social media and online speech bode poorly for American free speech rights.
There’s even a “bipartisan”, absurd online McCarthyite listing of alleged Russian bot accounts – Hamilton 68, which is the work of the Alliance for Securing Democracy. Hamilton 68 is rolling out a 2.0 effort soon, geared toward:
“Starting in 2019, we will transition to a new interface that will communicate Kremlin information operations in a manner less vulnerable to misinterpretations, with a particular focus on the outputs of overt, Russian state-sponsored social media accounts and websites – reflecting what we believe is an increased role of such accounts in driving narratives (the list of monitored accounts will be available to the public). The new site will incrementally incorporate new functions and visualizations as they come online; always improving, updating, and adapting to the outputs of Putin’s propagandists operating across the entire mainstream and social media ecosystem.”
What’s the point of publishing lists of suspected Russian bots, thereby letting the Russians know which of their bots, are compromised? Honestly, how many Americans are going to scan lists of alleged Russian bots while using social media? If they do come into contact with a Russian bot, so what. On social media you have complete control on who you choose to communicate with. On Twitter, you can mute or block accounts, that you don’t wish to see. Instead, of all this public fear mongering about Russian influence operations, the real intelligence operators should be quietly upping their game.
In my opinion, instead of media efforts hyping the new Red Scare, the time and effort would be better spent trying to educate Americans about American constitutional principles, good citizenship and treating other Americans with respect.
On Twitter, I’ve been accused several times of being a bot. I have very few followers, dropped a few recently – 52. I could not care less really. Being “popular” has never been a goal of mine, nor has “amplifying” my message to large numbers of people. I hope a few select people might listen to my message. For 20 years, I’ve been trying to expose “SPIN” as a vicious information warfare operation targeting the American people and it’s been run by the Dems/Left colluding with the mainstream media to “amplify” the Dem SPIN messaging and control the “spin cycles”. Controlling the SPIN effectively controls public opinion in America.
For the umteenth time, hostile foreign influence operations have easy pickings fomenting distrust and divides in America. Along with escalated Russian influence operations in recent years, the Dems/Left ramped up their SPIN info war and Trump broke through the Left’s lock on controlling SPIN messaging in America. In my opinion, while all the hostile foreign influence operations are a serious threat, the much larger threat to America’s political institutions comes from within. We have both political parties and our media totally invested in a very corrupt, divisive scorched earth homegrown SPIN information war, which provides our enemies with non-stop messaging ammunition to foment more anger and division.
Along with being “unpopular”, often I feel like a lone voice in the wilderness warning about our domestic, scorched earth SPIN information war, as the civil carnage and wholesale public corruption leave American culture a virtual wasteland.
The Dems and the media hyping Russian influence operations creates only fear, hysteria and a sense of helplessness among Americans.
Teaching Americans that each and every one of them has the power to defeat Russian influence operations (or anyone else’s influence operations) in their own lives would do more to empower Americans. How about teaching Americans to fearlessly think for themselves? How about teaching them to not let media and political figures scare them?
Online influence operations are ONLY words and videos promoting a message, which every American can CHOOSE not to buy into. Don’t let other people scare you about communicating with people on social media and expressing your opinions online.
3 responses to “Russian bots everywhere…”
Not so long ago somebody I trust pointed to stuff I think bears repeating here – excerpting:
“[W]ith the internet & computer technology, the professionals have many computer programming languages & technology specific terminology, which leaves non-tech people not only clueless, but also defenseless against the tech industry. We are hooked on their products, but we rely completely on them to navigate and understand [and explain] just about everything having to do with computer technology and systems.”
“We are at the mercy of the tech professionals to understand their tech world. The tech experts & the industry as a whole can tell the non-tech public just about anything wrapped up in some computer terms and it’s like Sanskrit, all rather complicated and alien.”
Now where wazzit I read that? Lemme see, I know it was roundabout the twenty-sixth of last month … oh well I’m sure CNN will be picking up on those same points so I’ll just sit around and wait until I can steal their link. Or maybe some narrative architect will make Drudge and I can nick it from there.
At any rate – there’s a guy featuring in an ongoing narrative about which I followed carefully each and every one of the 200+ comments that’ve made it onto the thread – and you know what?
It is not at all infrequent that, when some commentor “goes against the given truth” there follows, a ‘gang-up-refrain’ Obviously you’re a [Russian] bot!
I expect we’re in for a hurricane of this stuff LB.
JK, What I’ve suspected for many years is that America’s media (including the social media venues), our government and especially our intelligence apparatus are deeply penetrated by several hostile foreign information operators… not just the Russians. At this point, so many Americans, especially among the media and “experts”, have no clue what American foundational principles even are, lack even elementary school level understanding of American history and flit from popular “take” to popular “take”, that they can be led to believe just about anything. Right now, blaming “Russian bots” is the “smart take” among the Left… and pretending the only hostile foreign info war threat is the Russians…
I’ve been doing some reading about Chinese intelligence operations – present-the Gertz book, iWar: War and Peace in the Information Age, and even a 1994 book, by Nicholas Eftimiades, that’s been on my kindle a few years. Also that 1994, book, by Mark Riebling, that was updated after 9/11, Wedge: From Pearl Harbor to 9/11 How the Secret War Between the FBI and CIA has Endangered National Security . Also been pulling up articles, looking through a few other books too- looking for some bits and pieces of information. In the Wedge book, well, there are a few paragraphs about what happened to the KGB and many Eastern bloc intel peeps. This Wedge book also explains how American officialdom wanted to pretend we won the Cold War, no more threat, then came the Clinton years and more dismantling of treating Russia as an adversary…
Also thinking back to many of the things I observed on social media and various online news/political sites during 2016 – lot of crazy things happened…. way beyond Russian bot operations.
Another blog post or two brewing.
I also recall reading that excerpt, thinking we read the same article.