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Active Measures, Disinfo, Propaganda

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http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/national-security/article212299529.html

 

A new Russian influence operation has surfaced that mirrors some of the activity of an internet firm that the FBI says was deeply involved in efforts to sway the 2016 U.S. elections, a cybersecurity firm says.

A website called usareally.com appeared on the internet May 17 and called on Americans to rally in front of the White House June 14 to celebrate President Donald Trump’s birthday, which is also Flag Day.

FireEye, a Milpitas, Calif., cybersecurity company, said Thursday that USA Really is a Russian-operated website that carries content designed to foment racial division, harden feelings over immigration, gun control and police brutality, and undermine social cohesion.

The website’s operators once worked out of the same office building in St. Petersburg, Russia, where the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency had its headquarters, said Lee Foster, manager of information operations analysis for FireEye iSIGHT Intelligence.

“We’re not saying it (USA Really) is the Internet Research Agency but there are a number of indicators that suggest it is,” Foster said.

Russians involved in the website work for the Federal News Agency, which is known by its Russian acronym FAN and closely follows the Kremlin line on international issues. Ownership of the agency is not publicly known.

The new website may be part of a pending broader campaign, Foster said.

“There are a bunch of other domains as well that play on USA Really that we are monitoring that haven’t launched,” he said.

But so far, he said, Russians haven’t been pushing the website and its stories using robotic networks, or botnets, to promote them on social media, and they may be holding back. The House intelligence committee recently released thousands of Facebook posts that they said were Russian creations.

USA Really has created a Facebook page and a Twitter account. On Friday afternoon, after a McClatchy reporter queried Facebook about the USA Really page, the company said it disabled it. The Twitter account remained active, with 385 followers.

“They may also be contemplating what risks are involved if we were able to positively ID Russia trying to influence the 2018 mid-terms. To what extent does that undermine denials about 2016 activity? I’m sure that’s something that’s playing around in their minds as well,” Foster said.

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Russian Facebook posts may have inspired militia in Kansas bombing plot, expert says

June 10, 2018 05:30 AM

 

The three southwest Kansas men recently convicted in a militia plot to bomb Somali immigrants may have been motivated by Russian manipulation of U.S. social media, a terrorism expert says.

Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, said the domestic terrorism attack was being planned at the same time the Russians were conducting a cybercampaign that included posting material on Facebook designed to heighten racial tension in the United States.

And, he said, his center has found that hate crimes spiked after the Russian operatives ramped up the volume of racially charged posts in the months leading up to the 2016 election.

Prosecutors said the bombing attack on a mosque and an apartment complex in Garden City where Somali immigrants lived and worshiped was planned for the day after the election. The plot was thwarted by federal authorities in October 2016.

 

“Here’s a militia group that was active on social media and they were going to do their attack the day after Election Day at a time when the Russians were engaging in a stealth cyberattack on our democracy,” Levin said. “We don’t know for sure if there’s a connection to this effort by Russia, but at the very least, they were adding gasoline on a fire that they knew would take place.

 

http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article212830274.html

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"May have been?" Well? Were they or weren't they? May have been also means may not have been. That doesn't make as good of a headline. 

That's just a step above the Fox News-style headline formed as a question like: "Did Russian Facebook posts inspire militia in Kansas bombing plot?" They want you to think it was but they don't have the evidence. If they did then the headline would read: "Russian Facebook posts inspired militia in Kansas bombing plot." So they pose it as a question and get the rubes to assume they were. 

Of course that's just an example. Fox News would never run that story even with conclusive evidence. 

Maybe one of the reasons hate crimes are apparently on the rise is because we have a national leader who is a racist and preaches hate. 

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I appreciate your skepticism.  Perhaps the fact that Trump and the Russians synchronized or echoed their hate rhetoric together has something to do with it as well.

Edited by Hugo Stiglitz

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Just as Mueller indicated in a court filing days ago, they never stopped:

VVV  And for this lying shithead, his only route for escape is to double down with the same coordinated effort as 2016 in hopes of manipulating the midterms.

 

 

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With U.S. midterm elections approaching, Russian trolls found ways to remain active on TwitterTWTR -2.28% well into 2018, trying to rile up the American electorate with tweets on everything from Roseanne Barr’s firing to Donald Trump Jr. ’s divorce, a Wall Street Journal analysis found.

Newly identified Russian trolls posted politically divisive messages on Twitter as recently as last month, hitting on a wide array of hot-button issues, according to a Journal analysis of recently revealed investigative documents and Twitter data.

The new tranche of about 1,100 account names, released Monday by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, brings the total number of publicly known Russian troll farm-operated accounts to more than 3,800. Last month, the Journal reported that the identities of many of the Russian accounts had not been publicly revealed.

The newly identified users posted more than 2.9 million tweets and retweets, bringing the total amount of Russian troll farm content on the platform to more than 8 million tweets and retweets, the Journal’s analysis found.

“By releasing this Twitter data, we hope that researchers will continue their important work exposing any additional Russian operators who used similar tactics and themes,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) said in a statement.

Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Russia interferes in elections and spreads propaganda internationally “to create instability and doubt in governments, because they believe they benefit from the chaos and the loss of confidence in U.S. institutions.” He added: “It is important for social-media companies to publicize this content so the American people know it’s fake. I’d rather the government not take the responsibility to expose this.”

At least 17 of the Twitter accounts revealed by investigators were active this year, the Journal found. Several targeted politically and racially charged issues consistent with the way other trolls also attempted to stoke division inside the U.S.

For instance, KaniJJackson, which featured #Impeach45, #Resist and #GunReformNow in its profile, and had more than 33,000 followers, posted several messages about Roseanne Barr, whose ABC sitcom was canceled last month after the star sent a racist tweet about an aide of former President Barack Obama. “Has Trump congratulated Roseanne on her tweets yet ?,” the account wrote on May 29. Minutes later, it wrote: “I wonder if Trump now plans to nominate Roseanne Barr fo Fed chair.”

The account wokelisa, which had more than 55,000 followers, repeatedly tweeted about the controversy over certain NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. Last September it wrote: “Trying to figure out how #TakeAKnee is un-American but letting people die because of lack of health insurance is patriotic.” That message was retweeted more than 29,000 times. 

Foreign interference on social-media platforms has been a flashpoint since the 2016 election. The Kremlin-aligned internet Research Agency ran a propaganda campaign in an attempt to sow discord in the U.S. before and after election day, prosecutors say. While many of the posts favored Republican candidate Donald J. Trump and targeted his opponent, Hillary Clinton, they covered the political spectrum, and intelligence officials believe the larger goal was to stoke division within the U.S. and weaken the country’s institutions.

People connected to the IRA have previously denied ties to election interference efforts. An entity accused of funding the organization, Concord Management, pleaded not guilty in May. Moscow has denied any government effort to influence the 2016 election.

Twitter and other tech companies, like FacebookInc., and Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube, have said they are cooperating with federal probes and taking steps to combat foreign interference campaigns. 

The efforts are ongoing. Twitter has continued to find and suspend IRA accounts in recent months, including 41 since January, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The platform has now suspended all of the IRA-linked handles that were released this week for violating its rules against spam. It declined to comment on when those accounts were suspended.

“Twitter has long said we would welcome committees releasing the information we have shared with them,” a spokeswoman for Twitter said. The company didn’t release the information earlier, she said, because the tweets were part of an investigation.

The persistence of Russian accounts provides an extreme example of Twitter’s struggle to consistently and accurately police its more than 330 million monthly users. Twitter only discovered many of the IRA accounts on its platform after cross-checking Ira-backed accounts that other platforms, such as Facebook Inc., found on their sites, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Investigators and researchers say it is hard to quantify the scope of Russian influence efforts on Twitter and other platforms. But it affected even Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey, who between late-2016 and mid-2017 shared at least 17 tweets from a Russian troll who went by Crystal1Johnson on Twitter, the Journal’s analysis found.

The tweets from the Russian account that Mr. Dorsey shared touched on topics including Bob Marley’s son converting a prison into a place to grow marijuana and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who first sparked the anthem controversy to make a statement on the treatment of African-Americans in the U.S.

Many of the accounts tweeted tens and even hundreds of thousands of times, the Journal found. CovfefeNationUS, which went by the name Trump Nation, posted more than 166,000 messages and retweets to the platform.

Not all IRA posts mentioned political issues; some included feel-good content and local news articles that academics say were likely an effort to attract followers. 

Dozens of the newly flagged accounts also participated in disinformation efforts detailed in a February Page One article.

The Journal’s analysis stemmed from a review of about 7,000 tweets and retweets by the users controlled by the IRA. Most of the messages reviewed by the Journal aren’t publicly available. Before the accounts’ names were released, Twitter suspended them, effectively wiping most of their messages from the internet.

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Russian trolls posing as an American college student tweeted about divisive social, political and cultural issues using an account that amassed thousands of followers -- and appeared in dozens of news stories published by major media outlets -- as recently as March.

More than 50,000 people followed @wokeluisa, an account that featured a photograph of a young black woman who called herself Luisa Haynes and claimed to be a political science major from New York. Twitter has identified @wokeluisa as the work of the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm and propaganda operation linked to the Kremlin.

Trolls created the account in March 2017, and racked up an impressive number of followers in just one year. The account, which has been suspended, remained active until at least three months ago, a cache of tweets viewed by CNN shows.

Journalists helped propel the account's remarkable growth, which continued even after Twitter and Facebook vowed to crack down on troll accounts. CNN found more than two dozen instances in which tweets from @wokeluisa appeared in news stories published by the BBCUSA TodayTimeWiredHuffPoBET, and others.

The subjects ranged from innocuous musings about the Super Bowl halftime show to comments about the #MeToo movement, NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, and criticism of President Donald Trump. For example, one tweet in February read, "In case you missed: Hillary Clinton is the rightfully elected President of the United States. Period." Many of the account's tweets were retweeted thousands of times.

Twitter has given congressional investigators the names of some 4,000 accounts it has linked to the Internet Research Agency. Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released the names of 1,000 accounts on Tuesday, having already made public the details of the other 3,000 accounts.

The problem of foreign trolls posing as Americans to foment discord has received increasing scrutiny since last fall, when the extent of the disinformation operation came to light.

An ongoing investigation into Russian election meddling led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller led to the indictment in February of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities accused of conspiracy to defraud the United States. 

Twitter and Facebook have launched aggressive efforts ahead of the midterm elections to eliminate trolls and avoid a repeat of 2016, when millions of Americans saw social media posts on those platforms and others created by Russians. Yet bogus accounts continue to litter social media and spread disinformation.

The metaphor that constantly comes up is whack-a-mole," says Kris Shaffer, a senior research analyst at New Knowledge, a firm that tracks the spread of disinformation online.

Although social media platforms have made it harder for trolls to run riot online, Shaffer said that state actors and the organizations behind them often find ways around new deterrents --- a point Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made when he testified before Congress in April.

Twitter embeds

Journalists amplified the trolls' message by embedding tweets from @wokeluisa in their stories. Social media posts serve as a modern-day vox populi, and news outlets often include them to create a richer, more interactive experience.

Yet many publishers do not attempt to verify the authenticity of an account before embedding a tweet or post. In many cases, including that of @wokeluisa, publishers may not see any need to do so because the posts are lighthearted, even humorous. But featuring such tweets and posts increases the credibility and reach of those accounts.

This helped the Russian trolls, because many of the accounts they created in the run-up to the 2016 US presidential election featured a mix of innocuous and politically charged material. They appeared to use inoffensive, often humorous comments to tap into the virality of trending hashtags and memes, helping build an audience later exposed to divisive political comment.

CNN does not appear to have embedded any tweets from @wokeluisa, but it has fallen for other Russian troll accounts. In August 2016, CNN embedded a tweet from "Jenna Abrams," an account that Twitter later said had been run by the Internet Research Agency. 

Continuing to divide

In an effort to further polarize America ahead of the election, the Internet Research Agency created accounts offering commentary on every side of the biggest social and cultural issues of the day. Some voiced anti-Muslim sentiment, for example, while others spoke out against racism and bigotry.

The trolls appear to continue playing both sides. Trolls presented Luisa Haynes as an anti-Trump black activist in support of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. In March, the account tweeted, "Just a reminder: Colin Kaepernick still doesn't have a job, because in this country fighting for justice will make you unemployable."

Another account released by House Democrats this week, which Twitter confirmed was controlled by the Internet Research Agency, took the opposite view of the issue.

"Barbara Tracy," which tweeted under the handle @BarbaraForTrump and featured a photo of a woman wearing a red "Make America Great Again" hat, regularly praised the president and appeared to celebrate the fact no players had knelt during the National Anthem at the Super Bowl.

Both @wokeluisa and @BarbaraForTrump appeared to use photographs of real women. CNN could not identify them, and Twitter declined to say whether it had identified the women or told them their photos had been used in a campaign by Russian trolls. 

After House Democrats released the names of the accounts, Twitter vowed to continue its search for Russian trolls and promised "to be transparent with our users, Congress and the general public about our efforts to fight malicious automation, abuse, and disinformation," but would not provide further details.

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 Molly McKew ranks #10 on a shitty Buzzfeed/RT list of Russia’s top ten enemies. 

John McCain is #1

NATO is #2

Edited by Hugo Stiglitz
More accuracy

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57 minutes ago, Hugo Stiglitz said:

FTR: Molly McKew ranks #10 on Russia’s top ten enemies list.

John McCain is #1

NATO is #2

LOL Morgan Freeman of Shawshank Redemption fame is #6 on that list. Meathead from Archie Bunker is on the list too and he is ranked higher than McKew.

I don't think that top 10 list is a serious list.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, F250 said:

LOL Morgan Freeman of Shawshank Redemption fame is #6 on that list. Meathead from Archie Bunker is on the list too and he is ranked higher than McKew.

I don't think that top 10 list is a serious list.

 

 

It’s a media character assassination hit list for their trolls. And they went after all of them.

Do you not know why Morgan Freeman and Rob Reiner are on the list?

Edited by Hugo Stiglitz

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18 minutes ago, Hugo Stiglitz said:

It’s a media character assassination hit list for their trolls. And they went after all of them.

Do you not know why Morgan Freeman and Rob Reiner are on the list?

I understand it but you do realize claiming them to be Russia's top 10 enemies is the kind of hyperbole that causes people to be dismissive of any claims you make.

It was a top 10 Russiaphobe list written by RT and it read like a Buzzfeed article. Buzzfeed made the list by the way. In other words, it's not really a list of Russia's top 10 enemies.

 

 

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Okay, it wasn’t Putin’s real assassination list.

point made.

Thank you for holding me to a higher standard.

Edited by Hugo Stiglitz

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5 minutes ago, Thermos H. Christ said:

It's about to get soooooo much wooooorse

 

 

I've heard there are fake celebrity deepfake porn videos. I've also heard the Taylor Swift stuff is fairly realistic.

 

 

 

 

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39 minutes ago, F250 said:

I've heard there are fake celebrity deepfake porn videos. I've also heard the Taylor Swift stuff is fairly realistic.

 

 

 

 

There was a thread about it on Shaggy. They were all very realistic.

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Good thumbnail analysis of the history of Russian active measures from a friend of mine, a Rice grad who now lives in Amsterdam. (And is related to a famous Wehrmacht tank commander, but don't hold that against him. His relative was dealt with lightly at Nuremburg.) 

 

Throughout the 20th century, the USSR that had emerged from the 1917-1921 Russian Civil War continually repaid the western powers, especially the US, for intervening on behalf of the Tsar. Up to the 1960s, Moscow extended support to civil rights activists who despaired of finding allies in either of the major parties. Likewise to peace groups who wanted to end the insanity of a nuclear arms race. In neither case, however, did that support amount to anything before those taps dried up in 1989..

Putin's insight was to realize his predecessors had backed the wrong horse by supporting our progressives, when it cpuld have gotten a lot more mileage by backing what used to be our lunatic fringe—neo-Nazis, conspiracy mongers, gun nuts, secessionist no-hopers and trolls—cynics all. The US author Richard Condon had the same insight 50 years earlier and used that as a premise for The Manchurian Candidate.

20th century progressives didn't benefit from Soviet support; during Cold War One it invited undeserved charges of anti-Americanism. 21st century trolls, who actively undermine Enlightenment values, don't mind Russian support—if they acknowledge it at all—as long as it benefits them.

Putin's politics are the politics of despair and cynicism. Russia has at least its share of stalwart, brilliant, kind, honest people, but Putin sees scheming boyars and beaten peasants, and doesn't want anything better for Russia. There's nothing in Russians that makes them immune to the Enlightenment, but Putin doesn't see them as fertile ground for it. He'd rather keep them paranoid and priest-ridden, and enlists Godly, nationalistic trolls to tear down any other country that has made or is making the slow, painful climb from where Putin's Russia is now.

Trolls are not new; they have always been with us. Dante, in his Inferno, would have split them between the 8th pocket (evil counsel) and the 9th (schismatics). Consign modern trolls likewise to the pit. If they don't take Putin's orders, they certainly partake of his cynicism. If you value life and hope, don't give into them. Pile tbem with a stick occasionally, but don't let them keep you from your work and especially your play.

Also, VOTE.

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Lesson 1: Learn from Others. France had an advantage in that it was targeted after cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns were launched in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. All these precedents raised government and public awareness, but the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign was a game-changer. Prior to the U.S. election, awareness of Russian disinformation and malign influence was mostly limited to the Baltic and Central European states. Since then, large Western European states have learned that they too are vulnerable to disinformation. Paris benefited from the errors made by the United States: an overconfidence that disinformation campaigns would not work in the United States; reluctance to address the hacking of the Democratic National Committee; and a very delayed and muted response by the government.

Lesson 2: Use Trusted and Independent Administrative Actors. The Obama administration did not intervene in the U.S. electoral process even when the process was under siege because it did not wish to give the impression of advantaging the Democratic candidate. However, the French precedent shows that a state can intervene and take measures effectively provided that these measures are carried out by administrative, independent, and nonpolitical authorities. In France, these authorities provided technical and politically neutral expertise to ensure the integrity of the electoral process from start to finish. Two bodies played a particularly crucial role in France: the National Commission for the Control of the Electoral Campaign for the Presidential Election (CNCCEP), a special body set up in the months preceding every French presidential election to serve as a campaign watchdog; and the National Cybersecurity Agency (ANSSI), whose mission is to ensure the integrity of electoral results and to maintain public confidence in the electoral process.

Paris benefited from the errors made by the United States.

Lesson 3: Raise Awareness. ANSSI and CNCCEP frequently alerted the media, political parties, and the public to the risk of cyberattacks and disinformation during the presidential campaign. ANSSI was particularly proactive, offering to meet with and educate all campaign staffs at very early stages of the election. In October 2016, ANSSI organized an open workshop on cybersecurity. All but one party participated (Marine Le Pen’s Front National party rejected the offer). During the campaign, in early February 2017, ANSSI paid a visit to the Macron campaign headquarters to warn them about a potential attack. They were told that they were being watched, there was a risk of being hacked, and to be particularly careful using the Telegram app, which is Russian designed.3 After this briefing, the Macron team switched from Telegram to WhatsApp, an end-to-end encrypted service owned by Facebook.4

Lesson 4: Show Resolve and Determination. From the start of the presidential campaign, the French government signaled—both publicly and through confidential diplomatic channels—its determination to prevent, detect, and, if necessary, respond to foreign interference. In an important speech on cyber defense in December 2016, the minister of defense announced the creation of a cyber command composed of 2,600 “cyber fighters.” A few weeks later, the minister publicly remarked that “by targeting the electoral process of a country, one undermines its democratic foundations, its sovereignty” and that “France reserves the right to retaliate by any means it deems appropriate . . . through our cyber arsenal but also by conventional armed means.”5 One month later, when Macron’s political movement En Marche!announced that it was the target of an orchestrated attack, the minister of foreign affairs told the French Parliament that “France will not tolerate any interference in its electoral process, no more from Russia than from any other state”.6 A similar message was conveyed privately by the minister to his Russian counterpart and by President Hollande to President Putin.

Lesson 5: Take (Technical) Precautions. ANSSI heightened security at every step of the electoral process in order to ensure the integrity of the vote. The head of ANSSI stated before Parliament that he was “personally” opposed to voting machines and electronic voting.7 Despite the unpopularity of the measure, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs followed his recommendation and, by March 2017, the government announced the end of electronic voting for citizens abroad because of the high risk of cyberattacks.

Lesson 6: Put Pressure on Digital Platforms. Ten days before the vote, Facebook announced that it “[had taken] action against over 30,000 fake accounts” in France. It was later revealed that the actual number of suspended French Facebook accounts was actually 70,000.8 Facebook had never taken such a drastic measure before but it responded to growing pressure by both states and the public to take decisive steps as digital platforms are the principal medium for the spread of disinformation.

 

 

 

Lesson 7: Transparency and Timeliness Are Essential: Make All Hacking Attempts Public. Throughout the campaign, the En Marche! team communicated openly and extensively about its susceptibility to hacking and, soon after, about the hacking itself. They made public all hacking attempts against them, which generated awareness among the population and the authorities. When the Macron Leaks occurred, the En Marche! campaign reacted in a matter of hours. At 11:56 pm on Friday, May 5, only hours after the documents were released online and 4 minutes before the electoral silence—the French legally mandated period of 48 hours of reflection prior to an election where the media and campaigns are silent—went into effect, the Macron campaign issued a press release stating that “The movement has been the victim of a massive and coordinated hacking operation.”9

Lesson 8: Beat Hackers at Their Own Game. The Macron Leaks were a combination of real emails and forgeries. But many of fake emails were so obviously fake—for example, the e-mails confessed to detailed accounts of untoward sexual practices or buying cocaine—that they actually helped the Macron team. Real emails in the hacked cache that could have damaged the Macron campaign, such as one that argued that “it is necessary that we lay off as many employees as we can after May 5,”10 could not immediately be assumed authentic, so the controversy did not take root. In a risky move, the campaign staff went a step further. Knowing that they would be hacked, the campaign forged emails and fake documents themselves to confuse the hackers with irrelevant and even deliberately ludicrous information. By placing false flags, the campaign wished to inundate, confuse, and impede the work of the hackers with false information and slow them down. The campaign’s strategy of “counter-retaliation for phishing attempts”11 is known as cyber or digital blurring. It worked by turning the burden-of-proof tables on the hackers. The Macron campaign staff did not have to explain potentially compromising information contained in the Macron Leaks; rather, the hackers had to justify why they stole and leaked information that seemed, at best, useless and, at worst, false or misleading. The whole thing made the population doubt the authenticity of any of the leaked material.

Lesson 9: Strike Back on Social Media. The forceful presence of the Macron campaign staff on social media enabled them to respond quickly to the spread of disinformation. They tried to respond to as many posts or comments as possible that mentioned the “Macron Leaks,” so as not allow trolls to have the last word.

Lesson 10: Use Humor When Possible: Readership Improves. In certain instances, the Macron campaign’s injection of humor and irony into their responses increased the visibility and popularity of those responses across different platforms with undertones of mocking the amateurish attempts to influence the election.

Lesson 11: Law Enforcement Must Engage Immediately. Within a few hours of the initial email release, the public prosecutor’s office in Paris opened an investigation, which was entrusted to the Information Technology Fraud Investigation Brigade of the Paris Police.

Lesson 12: Undermine Propaganda Outlets. On April 27, RT and Sputnik were denied accreditation by the Macron team to cover the remainder (until May 7) of its campaign. The reason cited was their “systematic desire to issue fake news and false information” as well as their “spreading [of] lies methodically and systematically.”12 Even after the election, both outlets have been occasionally banned from the Élysée’s Presidential Palace and Foreign Ministry press conferences.

This has been a controversial decision that fueled the Kremlin’s narrative that France is doing exactly what it criticizes Russia for doing, allowing Russian President Putin an opportunity to lecture France on freedom of the press. However, the decision to ban RT and Sputnik from covering certain events was justified on the basis that these are propaganda entities and not media outlets as President Macron publicly stated following his meeting with Putin at Versailles only weeks after his election. This is also the position the European Parliament adopted as early as November 2016.13 Moreover, attendance at these press conferences is by invitation only so there is no requirement that all outlets participate and RT and Sputnik are still permitted to operate in France.

Lesson 13: Trivialize the Leaked Content. The En Marche! press release said that the leaked documents “reveal the normal operation of a presidential campaign.” Nothing illegal, let alone interesting, was found among the documents. Fortunately for the Macron campaign (which was not necessarily true with U.S. election disclosures), the fact that nothing compromising was found in the emails improved Macron’s positive image as an authentic and “clean” candidate, compared to earlier scandals involving another presidential candidate.

There was a disinformation campaign, data hacking, and large-scale leaking but there was no whitewashing or mainstreaming. The sequence was disrupted.

Lesson 14: Compartmentalize. There was nothing scandalous in the leaked emails because Macron’s campaign staff was aware from the beginning that it was likely to be vulnerable to hacking. Understanding that everything staff wrote could one day be hacked and leaked, the Macron campaign developed “three levels of communication: the trivial and logistical by email, the confidential on the [encrypted] apps, and the sensitive, only face-to-face.”14

Lesson 15: Impress Upon the Media the Liabilities of Irresponsible Behavior. The night of the release of the emails, Macron’s team referred the case to the CNCCEP, which issued a press release the following day, asking “the media not to report on the content of this data, especially on their websites, reminding the media that the dissemination of false information is a breach of law, above all criminal law.” The majority of traditional media sources complied, and some even drew their readers’ attention to the timing of the leaks, asking them to exercise caution before responding to what might be a disinformation and destabilization operation directed against the French democratic process.

Conclusion

Using the 2016 U.S. presidential election as “a reference case,” Finnish researcher Mika Aaltola has identified five stages of election meddling: “(1) using disinformation to amplify suspicions and divisions; (2) stealing sensitive and leakable data; (3) leaking the stolen data via supposed ‘hacktivists;’ (4) whitewashing the leaked data through the professional media; and (5) secret colluding [between a candidate and a foreign state] in order to synchronize election efforts.”15 According to this scale, the Macron Leaks reached stage three: there was a disinformation campaign, data hacking, and large-scale leaking but there was no whitewashing or mainstreaming. The sequence was disrupted between stages three and four. What was successfully prevented was “information laundering,” the process by which the initial traces of foreign disruption are “washed” from the information, stories, and narrative.16 This was prevented due to the aforementioned countermeasures and the resilience of the French media environment.

 

Conclusion

Using the 2016 U.S. presidential election as “a reference case,” Finnish researcher Mika Aaltola has identified five stages of election meddling: “(1) using disinformation to amplify suspicions and divisions; (2) stealing sensitive and leakable data; (3) leaking the stolen data via supposed ‘hacktivists;’ (4) whitewashing the leaked data through the professional media; and (5) secret colluding [between a candidate and a foreign state] in order to synchronize election efforts.”15 According to this scale, the Macron Leaks reached stage three: there was a disinformation campaign, data hacking, and large-scale leaking but there was no whitewashing or mainstreaming. The sequence was disrupted between stages three and four. What was successfully prevented was “information laundering,” the process by which the initial traces of foreign disruption are “washed” from the information, stories, and narrative.16 This was prevented due to the aforementioned countermeasures and the resilience of the French media environment.

Edited by Hugo Stiglitz

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1 hour ago, Hugo Stiglitz said:

Trumper Candice Owens is on MSNBC talking about “walk away” right now.

She is such an obvious Russian bot. Have you listened to her backstory?

 

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A mystery client has been paying bloggers in India and Indonesia to write articles distancing President Donald Trump from the legal travails of a mob-linked former business associate.

Spokespeople for online reputation management companies in the two countries confirmed that they had been paid to write articles attempting to whitewash Trump’s ties to Felix Sater, a Russian-born businessman who, with former Russian trade minister Tevfik Arif, collaborated with the Trump Organization on numerous real estate deals from New York to the former Soviet Union.

The campaign appears designed to influence Google search results pertaining to Trump’s relationship with Sater, Arif, and the Bayrock Group, a New York real estate firm that collaborated with Trump on a series of real estate deals, and recruited Russian investors for potential Trump deals in Moscow.

 

read more here:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/inside-the-online-campaign-to-whitewash-donald-trumps-russian-business-ties

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On 7/5/2018 at 4:14 PM, Hugo Stiglitz said:

A mystery client has been paying bloggers in India and Indonesia to write articles distancing President Donald Trump from the legal travails of a mob-linked former business associate.

Spokespeople for online reputation management companies in the two countries confirmed that they had been paid to write articles attempting to whitewash Trump’s ties to Felix Sater, a Russian-born businessman who, with former Russian trade minister Tevfik Arif, collaborated with the Trump Organization on numerous real estate deals from New York to the former Soviet Union.

The campaign appears designed to influence Google search results pertaining to Trump’s relationship with Sater, Arif, and the Bayrock Group, a New York real estate firm that collaborated with Trump on a series of real estate deals, and recruited Russian investors for potential Trump deals in Moscow.

 

read more here:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/inside-the-online-campaign-to-whitewash-donald-trumps-russian-business-ties

Isn't the consensus that Mueller already has what he needs from Sater?  Is this just to stop people from googling it or what?

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How Russian active measures in the form of troll farms, bots, etc. use any and every social/political/humanitarian event to turn a populace against itself to enhance and insulate control:

 

Dha2IKiV4AAIj26.jpg

 

Edited by triplehorn

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A new report says Twitter is stepping up its fight against disinformation on its platform at a rate that could put user growth at risk. In May and June, the company suspended more than 70 million fake and suspicious accounts, The Washington Post reports.

Twitter has reportedly doubled its rate of suspending fake accounts since October, when the company revealed how Russia used the platform to influence users during the 2016 presidential election. The Post cites an anonymous source that says the effort could reduce the number of monthly users for the company's second quarter.

However, Del Harvey, Twitter's VP for Trust and Safety, said the crackdown has not had "a ton of impact" on the number of the site's active users. Last month, Twitter said it had identified "more than 9.9 million potentially spammy or automated accounts per week."

"One of the biggest shifts is in how we think about balancing free expression versus the potential for free expression to chill someone else's speech," Harvey told the Post. "Free expression doesn't really mean much if people don't feel safe."

A Twitter spokesperson pointed to its first quarter shareholder letter that acknowledged ways its "ongoing information quality efforts" could negatively impact the number of monthly active users on the site. 

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/twitter-suspending-fake-accounts-rate-could-risk-user-growth-report-2018-07-06/

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5 hours ago, Biff Tannen said:

Isn't the consensus that Mueller already has what he needs from Sater?  Is this just to stop people from googling it or what?

Trumpkins believe Trump walks on water, so it’s not about them or keeping them from googling it.

I’d bet it’s a lot more than Sater and the stuff in the article, but if it’s just that, it’s probably to protect the online reputation of that real estate group (or people associated with it) going forward.  They could be trying to distance themselves from Trump.

If it was political, maybe the people behind it know something serious is coming down the pipeline in regards to Sater and/or those investments in Russia, and it’s probably aimed at 2018 and 2020, specifically moderates/fence-sitters.

Edited by atomheartbevo

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Alla mattina appena alzata
o bella ciao bella ciao bella ciao, ciao, ciao
alla mattina appena alzata
in risaia mi tocca andar

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1 hour ago, HuskyJack said:

No shit?  We also bomb other countries, so when we get bombed we should just be like it’s cool no big deal.

Sweet Kremlin talking point though.

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4 hours ago, HuskyJack said:

It's not a game.  The goals of this kind of attack are no different than bloody war and can and do represent an existential threat to systems of government.

I'm not sure you bothered to read the article you linked, but further into it is this:

 

"But in recent decades, both Mr. Hall and Mr. Johnson argued, Russian and American interferences in elections have not been morally equivalent. American interventions have generally been aimed at helping non-authoritarian candidates challenge dictators or otherwise promoting democracy. Russia has more often intervened to disrupt democracy or promote authoritarian rule, they said.

Equating the two, Mr. Hall says, “is like saying cops and bad guys are the same because they both have guns — the motivation matters.”

This broader history of election meddling has largely been missing from the flood of reporting on the Russian intervention and the investigation of whether the Trump campaign was involved. It is a reminder that the Russian campaign in 2016 was fundamentally old-school espionage, even if it exploited new technologies. And it illuminates the larger currents of history that drove American electoral interventions during the Cold War and motivate Russia’s actions today."

 

So comrade HuskyJack, which side of the fight are you on ?  Pro-dictatorial rule or pro-democracy?  Because that is line that is drawn.  It's an evolving weapon being applied in a longstanding fight.

 

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2 hours ago, triplehorn said:

It's not a game.  The goals of this kind of attack are no different than bloody war and can and do represent an existential threat to systems of government.

I'm not sure you bothered to read the article you linked, but further into it is this:

 

"But in recent decades, both Mr. Hall and Mr. Johnson argued, Russian and American interferences in elections have not been morally equivalent. American interventions have generally been aimed at helping non-authoritarian candidates challenge dictators or otherwise promoting democracy. Russia has more often intervened to disrupt democracy or promote authoritarian rule, they said.

Equating the two, Mr. Hall says, “is like saying cops and bad guys are the same because they both have guns — the motivation matters.”

This broader history of election meddling has largely been missing from the flood of reporting on the Russian intervention and the investigation of whether the Trump campaign was involved. It is a reminder that the Russian campaign in 2016 was fundamentally old-school espionage, even if it exploited new technologies. And it illuminates the larger currents of history that drove American electoral interventions during the Cold War and motivate Russia’s actions today."

 

So comrade HuskyJack, which side of the fight are you on ?  Pro-dictatorial rule or pro-democracy?  Because that is line that is drawn.  It's an evolving weapon being applied in a longstanding fight.

 

The problem is the Republican Party in this country currently prefers authoritarianism over democracy. That's why the ruling party in Washington isn't doing all that much to counter meddling in future elections. Russian meddling hasn't hurt them politically. Yet.

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8 minutes ago, David Dennison said:

The problem is the Republican Party in this country currently prefers authoritarianism over democracy. That's why the ruling party in Washington isn't doing all that much to counter meddling in future elections. Russian meddling hasn't hurt them politically. Yet.

Authoritarianism starts to feel ok if it's linked to cash and securing one's political future.   Look at the GOP 4th of July delegation to the Kremlin.  Pre-2017, Sen Hoeven was a Russia/Gazprom hawk.  In 2014 Sen John Thune penned an op-ed about isolating Russia by trading with Europe.  So what changed?  

It sure looks like "unitemized" donations could be the new dark money slush fund.  Check out Bernie Sanders.  Ditto Jill Stein.  "Unitemized" donations are 100-150% greater than "itemized".  And of course Bernie had that $10M single day unitemized gift appear in his coffers in June 2015 after Manafort buddy Tad Devine climbed aboard.  Compare the ratio to Clinton donations in '15-'16.  So many questions.

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Fuck off with your Scott Adams bullshit. Who gives a shit what that douchebag troll has to say? Your teams fascination with F-list celebrities is fucking bizarre. 

#walkaway is an Active Measures campaign and is 100% Astroturf.

 

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In his own words, you know what really grabbed Scott Adams about Trump, what captivated him ?  The ”hypnosis and persuasion methods he employs on you.”

Maybe that’s what master wizard Scott uses to hold his hottie gf half his 60 years age, or something.

now keep an eye on Scott when the spell breaks.

 

Edited by triplehorn

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Scott Adams seems to be another opportunist cashing in on Trumpism and playing to the alt-right media.

Not unlike Diamond and Silk.

He’s just more intellectual about it.

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Russian trolls on Twitter pose as ex-Democrats for #WalkAway movement

https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/russian-trolls-walkaway-movement/

 

"I hated guns and God and most of all - Republicans. I loved Europe and big government programs and Barack Obama. First I #walkedaway from identity politics...Jordan Peterson helped with that. Next I learned to love this amazing country and renewed my faith in God and my Jewish heritage. Dennis Prager helped with that. Next I learned about why free market Capitalism has been the greatest force for good in human history, and why Socialism is wrong not just economically, but also ends in totalitarianism and mass slaughter."

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mpu


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