Skip to main content

Senate report on Russian interference was written by disinformation warriors behind Alabama ‘false flag operation’

On December 17, two reports detailing ongoing Russian interference operations commissioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee were made public. They generated a week’s worth of headlines and sent members of Congress and cable news pundits into a Cold War frenzy. According to the report, everything from the Green Party’s Jill Stein to Instagram to Pokemon Go to the African American population had been used and confused by the deceptive Facebook pages of a private Russian troll farm called the Internet Research Agency.

Nevermind that 56% of the troll farm’s pages appeared after the election, that 25% of them were seen by no one, or that their miniscule online presence paled in comparison to the millions of dollars spent on social media by the two major presidential campaigns and their supporters to sway voters. This was an act of war that demanded immediate government action.

According to Sen. Mark Warner, the Democratic chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the reports were “a wake up call” and a “bombshell” that was certain to bring “long-overdue guardrails when it comes to social media”. His Republican counterpart on the committee, North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, hailed the research papers as “proof positive that one of the most important things we can do is increase information sharing between the social media companies who can identify disinformation campaigns and the third-party experts who can analyze them.

But the authors of one of the reports soon suffered a major blow to their credibility when it was revealed that they had engaged in what they called a “Russian style” online disinformation operation aimed to swing a hotly contested special senate election. The embarrassing revelation has already resulted in one of the authors having his Facebook page suspended.

The well-funded deception was carried out by New Knowledge, a private cyber intelligence firm founded by two self-styled disinformation experts who are veterans of the Obama administration: Jonathon Morgan and Ryan Fox.

[...]

According to an internal New Knowledge report first seen by the New York Times, the firm carried out a multi-faceted influence operation designed to undermine a 2017 bid by right-wing Republican former state supreme court judge Roy Moore for an open Alabama senate seat. By its own admission, New Knowledge’s campaign capitalized on the sexual assault allegations against Moore to “enrage and energize Democrats” and “depress turnout” among Republicans.

To accomplish this, the New Knowledge team created a Facebook page aimed at appealing to conservative Alabamians by encouraging them to endorse an obscure patio supply salesman-turned-write-in candidate named Mac Watson. They hoped the subterfuge would peel votes away from Moore. It was precisely the kind of tactic that New Knowledge claims Russian troll farms carry out to sow divisions among the American electorate.

Morgan told the New York Times the effort stopped there. But the New Knowledge report says the Facebook page “boosted” Watson’s campaign and even arranged interviews for him with The Montgomery Advertiser and the Washington Post. At the same time, Watson’s Twitter following mysteriously jumped from 100 to about 10,000.

Of the dozens of conservative Alabamian Facebook pages the Watson campaign messaged, the New Knowledge-run page was the only one that responded to it. “You are in a particularly interesting position and from what we have read of your politics, we would be inclined to endorse you”, they wrote. New Knowledge then “asked Mr. Watson whether he trusted anyone to set up a super PAC that could receive funding and offered advice on how to sharpen his appeal to disenchanted Republican voters.

While Watson communicated with the deceptive Facebook page, the New Knowledge operators never revealed their identity, and the page disappeared the day after the vote. “It was weird,” Watson commented to the New York Times. “The whole thing was weird.

New Knowledge then sought to manufacture a link between Roy Moore’s campaign and the Kremlin by claiming thousands of his Twitter followers were Russian bots. Mainstream media outlets credulously ran with the narrative, insinuating that the Christian theocrat Moore was secretly backed by Russia.

[...]

As the Russian bot narrative peaked, Moore blamed the Jones campaign for manufacturing the scare. “It’s not surprising that they’d choose the favorite topic of MSNBC and the Fake News outlets — the Russia conspiracy. Democrats can’t win this election on the issues and their desperation is on full display.

Moore’s opponent, Jones, said he had no knowledge of the operation.

Moore was roundly mocked in liberal circles as a conspiratorial crank, but New Knowledge’s internal report contained a stunning admission: “We orchestrated an elaborate ‘false flag’ operation that planted the idea that the Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet,” its authors revealed.

Full report:


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

It has started: Spain decides permanent UBI for its citizens

globinfo freexchange
Spain appears to be the first country that will implement a permanent form of Universal Basic Income for its citizens. As the Independentreported: [emphasis added]
Spain’s cabinet has approved the creation of a national minimum income, according to a government spokesperson.

Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias told a news conference on Friday the creation of a minimum income worth €462 (£416.92) a month will target some 850,000 households or 2.5 million people.

The government would pay the monthly stipend and top up existing revenue for people earning less so that they receive at least that minimum amount every month, he said.

The minimum income would increase with the number of family members, up to a maximum of €1,015 (£916.30) each month. The programme would cost the government about €3 billion a year.

Mr Iglesias said: “Today is a historic day for our democracy. Today this government is showing that its political choice is social justice and that it takes the…

Τίποτα δεν σταματάει το νεοφιλελεύθερο "οδοστρωτήρα" τους ...

globinfo freexchange
Αφού τελείωσαν τα χειροκροτήματα για τους γιατρούς του Εθνικού Συστήματος Υγείας, ο Μητσοτάκης επέστρεψε στην "κανονικότητα" της αποστολής του, που, με λίγα λόγια, είναι η ιδιωτικοποίηση και το ξεπούλημα των πάντων. Έτσι, μετά το διάλειμμα λόγω πανδημίας, φανέρωσε και πάλι το πόσο αδημονεί να οδηγήσει το Εθνικό Σύστημα Υγείας στο δρόμο της ιδιωτικοποίησης.
Όπως αναφέρει το tvxs.gr:
                         Δεν πρόλαβαν να περάσουν λίγες μέρες από την άρση του Lockdown και την απομάκρυνση, σε πρώτη φάση, του σοβαρού υγειονομικού κινδύνου της πανδημίας, και ο Κυριάκος Μητσοτάκης επανέφερε τα σχέδια για ιδιωτικοποίηση του ΕΣΥ, εγκαταλείποντας τα «χειροκροτήματα» και τις αναφορές στους «ήρωες» υγειονομικούς και στη σημασία του δημόσιου συστήματος υγείας. Παρά το «σκληρό μάθημα» που έδωσε η πανδημία στους νεοφιλεύθερους λάτρεις της «αγοράς», φαίνεται πως η κυβέρνηση δεν εγκατέλειψε ποτέ τους αρχικούς σχεδιασμούς της, παρά τον τρόπο που το δημόσιο σύστημα υγεία…

New court files expose Sheldon Adelson’s security team in US spy operation against Julian Assange

An exclusive investigation by The Grayzone reveals new details on the critical role Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands played in an apparent CIA spying operation targeting Julian Assange, and exposes the Sands security staff who helped coordinate the malicious campaign.
by Max Blumenthal
I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole.

–Mike Pompeo, College Station, TX, April 15, 2019
Part 2 - Pompeo outlines the attack on Assange
Pompeo’s first public speech as CIA Director, hosted at the Washington DC-based Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank on April 13, 2017, was one of the most paranoid and resentful addresses ever delivered by an agency chief.
The former Republican congressman from Kansas opened his speech with an extended tirade against the “Philip Agees in the world,” referring to the CIA whistleblower who handed over thousands of classified documents to leftist publishers that revealed shocking details of illegal US regime change and assassination …

The neoliberal machine mocks Millennials and Gen Xers through a documentary about Bernie's awful mistreatment by the corporate media!

globinfo freexchange
Now that the "Bernie Sanders" threat for the establishment has been neutralized (for a second time), the neoliberal machine is free to pretend that it cares about the truth.
Kyle Kulinski speaks about a new documentary by VICE about the media bias against Bernie Sanders. Although the doc trailer is pretty impressive, Kulinski starts with a pretty remarkable argument he saw on Twitter:
                         Credit to VICE. Thank you for this documentary. Curious how it released after Bernie dropped out. 

Kulinski finds that the mainstream media still have enough power to neutralize an undesirable candidate, as they did with Bernie, despite the fact that most of the people don't trust them. He also explains the demographics of this year's race for the leadership of the Democratic party.

As he supports, Millennials and Gen Xers overwhelmingly supported Bernie Sanders against the Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation (in which Bernie actually be…

Δεν τους βγαίνει με τίποτα η "στρατηγική ήττα" ...

globinfo freexchange
Τα πράγματα φαίνεται να εξελίσσονται σχεδόν όπως τα είχαμε προβλέψει.
Όπως είχαμε επισημάνει ήδη από τα μέσα Απριλίου, στο επόμενο διάστημα αναμένεται να δούμε νέες, αλλεπάλληλες "φουσκωμένες" δημοσκοπήσεις από την φιλοκυβερνητική μηχανή προπαγάνδας, ώστε να προετοιμαστεί ψυχολογικά το κοινό για το επικείμενο αποτέλεσμα των εθνικών εκλογών.
Στις δημοσκοπήσεις αυτές θα βλέπουμε ενδεχομένως την ψαλίδα μεταξύ ΝΔ και ΣΥΡΙΖΑ συνεχώς να μεγαλώνει, με μια ταυτόχρονη πτώση του ποσοστού του κόμματος της αξιωματικής αντιπολίτευσης, σε βαθμό που να δικαιολογεί την στρατηγική του ήττα.  
Ωστόσο, το 20,3% του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ, δεν συνιστά στρατηγική ήττα στο βαθμό που επιθυμεί το καθεστώς και η ντόπια ολιγαρχία, εν όψει μάλιστα και απλής αναλογικής. Οπότε θα πρέπει να αναμένουμε στο αμέσως επόμενο διάστημα ένα νέο βομβαρδισμό από δημοσκοπήσεις στις οποίες το ποσοστό του κόμματος της αξιωματικής αντιπολίτευσης θα "ροκανίζεται" σταδιακά, έτσι ώστε να δημιουργηθεί το κ…

Το κίνημα Slow News: η απάντηση στα Fake News?

globinfo freexchange
Στον θαυμαστό καινούργιο κόσμο, ο αβάσταχτος όγκος πληροφοριών που καταναλώνουμε καθημερινά έχει γεννήσει ένα δυστοπικό παράδοξο: την ίδια στιγμή, αμφισβητούμε και πιστεύουμε τα πάντα. Το μυαλό μας έχει βυθιστεί σε μια δίνη από tweets, αναρτήσεις, βίντεο, hoaxes και fake news.
Τα τελευταία χρόνια, σε διάφορα μέρη του πλανήτη, νησίδες αντίστασης έρχονται στην επιφάνεια. Ολιγομελείς ομάδες ανεξάρτητων δημοσιογράφων αγωνίζονται να οικοδομήσουν ένα εναλλακτικό μοντέλο πληροφόρησης, το οποίο βασίζεται σε μια εξαιρετικά απλή αρχή: πρέπει να κόψουμε ταχύτητα. Ένα μαχητικό ντοκιμαντέρ που έχει βαλθεί να αποδείξει ότι η δημοσιογραφία παραμένει ο βασικός πυλώνας της δημοκρατίας.
https://www.filmfestival.gr/el/section-tdf/movie/1047/13001


Το ενδιαφέρον αυτό ντοκιμαντέρ του Alberto Puliafito, ερευνά ένα νέο είδος δημοσιογραφίας που γεννήθηκε από την ανάγκη για δημοσιογραφική αυθεντικότητα μέσα στο σημερινό, χαοτικό μιντιακό τοπίο.
Σε ένα σύστημα που χαρακτηρίζεται από μια αδι…

Chris Hedges interviews Howie Hawkins, Green for President

Howie Hawkins
Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and public intellectual, Chris Hedges, speaks with Howie Hawkins about the political landscape in 2020, "lesser evilism" and more.

How the USA erased the USSR victory over Nazi Germany

Moderate Rebels
The Soviet Union played the leading role in defeating Nazi Germany in World War II, but the US government has tried to erase its unimaginable sacrifice. Historian Peter Kuznick discusses the real history of WWII, and how 80% of Nazis were killed on the Eastern Front with the USSR.

New court files expose Sheldon Adelson’s security team in US spy operation against Julian Assange

An exclusive investigation by The Grayzone reveals new details on the critical role Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands played in an apparent CIA spying operation targeting Julian Assange, and exposes the Sands security staff who helped coordinate the malicious campaign.
by Max Blumenthal
I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole.

–Mike Pompeo, College Station, TX, April 15, 2019
Part 3 - Journey to “the dark side”
On February 26, 2017, Wikileaks announced the forthcoming release of a major tranche of CIA files revealing details of the agency’s hacking and electronic surveillance tools. One such spying application called “Marble” allowed agency spies to implant code that obfuscated their identity on computers they had hacked. Other files contained evidence of programs that allowed hackers to break into encrypted messaging applications like Signal and Telegram, and to turn Samsung smart TVs into listening devices. 
Two days after Wikileaks’ initial announcement, on February …

COVID-19 took Chicago black lives first & exposed structural racism

Democracy Now!
The coronavirus pandemic's disproportionate toll on African Americans through the story of Chicago's first 100 recorded deaths. 
A report by ProPublica found that 70 of the first 100 people to die were African American. Black people account for 30% of Chicago's population and 72% of COVID-19 deaths.
ProPublica reporter Adriana Gallardo, who contributed to the report "COVID-19 Took Black Lives First. It Didn't Have To.", says the story paints a picture of "sophisticated structural racism" in Chicago.