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Author: Raine    Date: 07/05/2017 13:12:57

Today the Guardian published what at first looks like just another run of the mill Russia planted fake news story. It wasn't.
(...) John Mattes, who was helping run the outline campaign for the Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders from San Diego, said it really took off in March 2016.

“In a 30-day period, dozens of full-blown sites appeared overnight, running full level productions posts. It screamed out to me that something strange was going on,” Mattes said. Much of the material was untraceable, but he tracked 40% of the new postings back to eastern Europe.

Four of the Facebook members posting virulent and false stories about Clinton (suggesting, for example, that she had profited personally by arming Islamic State extremists) had the same name, Oliver Mitov. They all had a very small number of Facebook friends, including one which all four had in common. When Mattes tried to friend them and contact them there was no reply.

Many websites producing anti-Clinton fake news were based in Albania and Macedonia. A pro-Sanders Facebook page with nearly 90,000 followers was run by an Albanian IT expert who, when interviewed by the Huffington Post, appeared to speak very little English, although his page consistently published polished English prose.

“What I found was that 95% of them has gone dark,” he said. “So my question is: what are they hiding and why did they run as soon as the investigation began?”

Mattes believes that the aim of the campaign was to damage Clinton, who Vladimir Putin saw as his arch foe, and then, after the primaries were over, to minimise the number of Sanders voters who switched their support to Clinton in the face-off against Trump.

He was particularly struck by a report on 10 August that formed part of the dossier on the Russian interference campaign compiled by the former British intelligence officer, Christopher Steele, which quoted an unnamed Trump associate discussing a Russian-driven campaign to alienate Sanders supporters from Clinton.

“He was writing in real time about things I was seeing happening in August, but I couldn’t articulate until September,” he said. Because the Sanders online campaign was so open, democratic and relatively unregulated, Mattes says he now realises: “We basically set ourselves up to be victims of an international cyberwarfare campaign. We were pawns in this but very effective pawns.”
There is more at the link, and I know I quoted a lot but this part is important to me. Many Sanders supporters were played -- and played badly by Russian disinformation campaigns.

Why does this bother me so much? The Russians told us themselves they were doing this back last October. (Some language not safe for work)

Samantha Bee showed us first hand about what they were doing.

She's a comedian, but this is not funny.

I follow a man named John Schindler on twitter and today he posted this article to my attention. While I am not a fan of John McCain , in this instance he is correct, this is a dangerous game the Russians are playing.
It appears the plot might even have involved trying to blame the United States for the violence. An Orlando company was contacted about providing security services in the Montenegrin capital during the election. One can only speculate that American security personnel on the ground during a coup would have made excellent patsies for stories on Sputnik and Russia Today.

Fortunately, the plan never got off the ground. Several days before Election Day, one of the plotters got cold feet and informed the Montenegrin authorities. Arrests were made, and the plot was disrupted. In the aftermath, the Russian GRU agents tried to hire an assassin to kill Montenegro’s prime minister, but to no avail. The agents eventually made their way back to Moscow.

This heinous plot should be a warning to every American that we cannot treat Russia’s interference in our 2016 election as an isolated incident. We have to stop looking at this through the warped lens of politics and see this attack on our democracy for what it is: just one phase of Putin’s long-term campaign to weaken the United States, to destabilize Europe, to break the NATO alliance, to undermine confidence in Western values, and to erode any and all resistance to his dangerous view of the world.

It won’t be long before Putin takes interest in another American election. The victim may be a Republican. It may be a Democrat. To Putin, it won’t matter as long as he achieves his dark and divisive goals.

It's not a conspiracy, it's real.

Air Force One will be leaving for Europe this morning, so let's buckle up!




19 comments (Latest Comment: 07/05/2017 19:16:33 by Mondobubba)
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