Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 26, 2017

The "Russian Influence" Story Falls Apart - A New Fairy Tale Is Needed

The Obama White House and some Democratic officials pressed Facebook to find evidence for alleged "Russian interference" in the U.S. election. When Facebook found none, the pressure increased. Facebook went back, again found nothing and political pressure increase further. Congress threatened to investigate. Senator Warner flew to California and demanded the "right" results. Eventually Facebook gave in:

By early August, Facebook had identified more than 3,000 ads addressing social and political issues that ran in the United States between 2015 and 2017 and that appear to have come from accounts associated with the Internet Research Agency.

All hailed Facebook - finally there was something they could build their anti-Russian campaign on.

It is of course idiotic to believe that 3,000 ads for which some $100,000 was spent over two years would somehow effect a U.S. election. In a U.S. presidential election more than $2 billion is spend on advertising. Facebook's ad revenue per year is some $27 billion.

Moreover - as it now turns out these 3,000 advertisements which "appeared" to be "associated" with something "Russian" were not anti-Clinton or pro-Trump but were a mix of pro- and contra ads on various social issues:

The batch of more than 3,000 Russian-bought ads that Facebook is preparing to turn over to Congress shows a deep understanding of social divides in American society, with some ads promoting African American rights groups, including Black Lives Matter, and others suggesting that these same groups pose a rising political threat, say people familiar with the covert influence campaign.

The Russian campaign — taking advantage of Facebook’s ability to send contrary messages to different groups of users based on their political and demographic characteristics — also sought to sow discord among religious groups. Other ads highlighted support for Democrat Hillary Clinton among Muslim women.

(Note again - there is no evidence that any of the ads were "Russian bought" or part of a "Russian campaign". Those are mere assertions by the Washington Post authors.)

As we now learn that these ads were not, as earlier assumed, pro-Trump and anti-Clinton, the narrative has to change. Earlier it was claimed that the alleged Russian aim was to get Trump elected. That no longer holds:

“Their aim was to sow chaos,” said Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “In many ­cases, it was more about voter suppression rather than increasing turnout.”

How pro- and anti-Black Lives Matter ads might have suppressed voter turnout will stay Senator Warner's secret.

Instead of "Russia helped Trump" we now get an even more implausible "Russia wanted to sow discord" narrative. As if Donald Trump's campaign style had not been enough to cause controversies.

The Washington Post has been the major outlet to push the "Russian influence" baloney. It has long left all journalistic standards behind. Today it goes even further. An editorial now claims that Russia interfered in the German elections by pushing the right-wing AfD vote through last minute tweets from some Twitter bots:

The party was buoyed by social-media campaigns of the kind Russia has used elsewhere — faceless bots that multiply messages over and over. Once again, the Kremlin’s quest to disrupt democracy, divide the West and erode the rules-based liberal international order may have found a toehold.

No evidence is presented that any online activity "buoyed" the AfD. No evidence is presented that anything Russian was involved. Here is the sole point the editorial builds on:

In the final hours of the campaign, online supporters of the AfD began warning their base of possible election fraud, and the online alarms were “driven by anonymous troll accounts and boosted by a Russian-language botnet,” according to the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab.

The Atlantic Council is financed by foreign (Middle East) interest, NATO and the oil- and weapon industry. It has been a major driver of the anti-Russian new Cold War narrative. Its "Digital Forensic Research Lab" indeed claims to have found a few Twitter accounts which have their names written in Cyrillic(!) letters. Only Russian influence accounts would ever do that! It even found one tweet warning about election fraud that was retweeted 500(!) times. That MUST have helped the AfD to receive more than 12% of the 47 million cast votes in Germany - (not!). 

Election fraud in the German pen and paper balloting is nearly impossible. No one will take vague claims thereof as serious. It is simply not an issue in Germany and any such claim would not effect the vote. German officials have found no sign of "Russian" election hacking or of voting fraud.

What the Washington Post editors and the Atlantic Council have missed in their search for undue election influence in the German  election is the large support of a islamophobic U.S. megadonor for the rightwing Germany AfD party:

[O]ne of the major publishers of online content friendly to the far-right [German] party is an American website financed in large part and lead by Jewish philanthropist Nina Rosenwald.

Rosenwald’s site, the Gatestone Institute, publishes a steady flow of inflammatory content about the German election, focused on stoking fears about immigrants and Muslims.

The fake news stories by the Zionist agitators were translated into German and disseminated to support the AfD.

Allegations of "Russian influence" in U.S., French and German elections is made up from hot air. No evidence is or ever was presented to support these claims. Massive election interference by other foreign interests, like large Saudi donations to the Clinton Foundation, or Zionist Jewish financier support for extremist positions in Germany and France is ignored.

The story about "Russian influence" was made up by the Democrats to explain Clinton's loss of the election and to avoid looking at her personal responsibility for it. It also helps to push the new cold war narrative and to sell weapons. As no evidence was ever found to support the "Russian influence" campaign, Facebook and others come under pressure to deliver the "evidence" the U.S. intelligence services could not produce.  The now resulting story of "sowing chaos" is something out of la-la-land.

If there is something to learn from this sad story it is this: The lack of objectivity and journalistic integrity is a greater threat to western democracy than any "Russian influence" could ever be.

Posted by b on September 26, 2017 at 17:50 UTC | Permalink

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from The Daily Beast:

Exclusive: Russians Impersonated Real American Muslims to Stir Chaos on Facebook and Instagram
Kremlin trolls stole the identity of an authentic U.S. Muslim organization—first to smear John McCain and Hillary Clinton, then to sing her praises.
Ben Collins, Kevin Poulsen, Spencer Ackerman
The Facebook group United Muslims of America was neither united, Muslim, nor American.
Instead, sources familiar with the group tell The Daily Beast, it was an imposter account on the world’s largest social network that’s been traced back to the Russian government. . . here

other scribblings from Ben Collins--
>Zuckerberg Ignored Russian Threat Before Attack on America
>Facebook has an ugly history of making Kremlin-friendly moves.
>Facebook: We Won’t Reveal If Russia Targeted You
>Facebook refused to commit to releasing the Kremlin-backed propaganda it uncovered. Users may never know if they were targeted during the election—or are still being targeted now.
>Russia’s Facebook Fake News Could Have Reached 70M Americans
>Exclusive: Russians Pushed Trump Rallies in 17 U.S. Cities
‘Being Patriotic,’ a Facebook group uncovered by The Daily Beast, is the first evidence of suspected Russian provocateurs explicitly mobilizing Trump supporters in real life.
>Felix Sater didn’t just try to broker a relationship between the Kremlin and Trump Tower. He also owned an online archipelago that lashed out a man at who tried to take them on. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 28 2017 3:04 utc | 101

Posted by: mauisurfer | Sep 27, 2017 8:35:59 PM | 93
Stephen F Cohen says:
(from behind the paywall at the nation)

Do Liberal Democrats Want War With Russia?
By Stephen F. Cohen



Many thanks for the article and your comments, mauisurfer @93.

Posted by: spudski | Sep 27, 2017 9:02:12 PM | 96

Those comments are not from mauisurfer, but are part of the article.

See the link;

It starts with:

Nation Contributing Editor Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor continue their weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War.

It ends with:

In short, Cohen thinks, liberal Democrats are betraying their own best traditions. Privately, some justify their new illiberalism by insisting it is necessary for the “Resistance” against Trump, that Trump is the greater evil. But history has long shown that such ends-justify-means reasoning does not end well for liberals—or anyone else.

And, of course, liberal Democrats were once in the forefront of politics to avoid nuclear war with Russia. No longer.

Posted by: From The Hague | Sep 28 2017 8:32 utc | 102

Add another State to the list:

Secretary of State, California:Information Provided by DHS Regarding Russian Scanning was Incorrect

The Press Release:
SoS Link

SACRAMENTO – California Secretary of State Alex Padilla issued the following statement.

“Last Friday, my office was notified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that Russian cyber actors 'scanned' California’s Internet-facing systems in 2016, including Secretary of State websites. Following our request for further information, it became clear that DHS’ conclusions were wrong.”

“DHS confirmed that Russian scanning activity had actually occurred on the California Department of Technology statewide network, not any Secretary of State website. Based on this additional information, California voters can further rest assured that the California Secretary of State elections infrastructure and websites were not hacked or breached by Russian cyber actors.”

“Our notification from DHS last Friday was not only a year late, it also turned out to be bad information. To make matters worse, the Associated Press similarly reported that DHS has reversed itself and 'now says Russia didn’t target Wisconsin’s voter registration system,' which is contrary to previous briefings.”

“The work of our intelligence agencies is critical in defending against cyber threats. I remain committed to a partnership with DHS and other intelligence agencies, however, elections officials and the American public expect and deserve timely and accurate information.”

So let me guess, how many lame media will print this or the AP newswire?

Posted by: likklemore | Sep 28 2017 13:19 utc | 103


Was just about to post, isnt it amazing? Every friggin day the evil russian conspiracies get demolished as pure lies and desinformation.
Yeah and of course you wont see this in the news, just in the evil alt. media.

Is ANYHTING real about what we hear about Russians?

Posted by: Anon | Sep 28 2017 13:48 utc | 104

@ 103

"Russian scanning?" -- down the slippery slope
hackers --> hackers potentially connected to Russia --> Russian hackers

from Independent:

Last week, it was reported that DHS had contacted elections officials in 21 states to warn of hackers, potentially connected to Russia, targeting state elections systems ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The announcement augmented concerns about the integrity of American elections, already in the spotlight as Congress probes a wide-ranging Russian disruption effort.
But California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said on Wednesday that DHS was “wrong” to conclude hackers scanned the elections monitor’s networks, saying the probe targeted a different state agency.
“California voters can further rest assured that the California Secretary of State elections infrastructure and websites were not hacked or breached by Russian cyber actors”, Mr Padilla said in a statement. “Our notification from DHS last Friday was not only a year late, it also turned out to be bad information”. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 28 2017 14:10 utc | 105

@ Anon 104

Sadly unless an asteroid hits in the vicinity of the district of criminals, the "Russians did it" (including Hurricanes, Harvey, Irma, Jose, Lee and Maria) will continue to end times. Look over there, a squirrel just climbed the tree.

Posted by: likklemore | Sep 28 2017 14:15 utc | 107

Please excuse me -- this is a work in progress
>down the slippery slope
unverified scanners-->hackers-->hackers potentially connected to Russia-->Russian hackers
(corrections/additions invited)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 28 2017 14:22 utc | 108

Blaming the Russkies for hacking, infiltrations, ads, other obscure ‘forces’, for the Trump electoral choice (he is a uniquely totally predictably USA phenomenon …) is of course a pile of hogwash, utter garbage.

What the USA does not seem to grasp is that such ridiculous scare and ‘pretend’ analysis and the frantic attempts to shore it up (Facebook in this ex, the 17 agencies report, etc. etc.) weaken the US image minute by minute.

If Russia can spend 100K, one-half rotten-peanut and a bit of shell, or not even that, on ads to inflect the US elections - which it didn’t — and actually succeed!, the US must be alarmingy vulnerable to even, for ex., Mongolia or Moldavia (just sticking to Ms) who could do that as well!

Now, it is possible to argue that such BS is uniquely directed to the sheepish 6-pack-poor-minority-loosers-electorate-not great economic actors- who need to FEEL FEAR (apologies for caps) and all the ‘savvy’ understand and disregard. As manipulation of the citizen voters that won’t work, they are smarter.

(see above denials from facebook)

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 28 2017 16:10 utc | 109

Thanks - I assumed a firewalled article was being shared and, by the format, that the comments were not part of the article.

Posted by: spudski | Sep 28 2017 16:11 utc | 110

Don Bacon 109

Rain cause flooding of basements > R(ain) as in Russia > In Russia Ivan is a common name > Putin know one Ivan > Putin is behind the rain.

Argue against that colossal evidence and you are a Russian "troll" "psyop" "agent"!

Posted by: Anon | Sep 28 2017 17:41 utc | 111

Months ago, when that infamous "intelligence community" report was released alleging Russian assistance of Trump specifically, I believe it was called the "25 page report", most of that report was dedicated to an annex of RT that has been written prior to the campaign. It complained about RT reporting on environmental crimes and social injustice in America, as well as war crimes being committed by the US abroad. I figure this shift towards BLM, for example, being the result of Russian astroturfing (and consequently, validating implicitly center-right assertions that tre true cause of division in America is not racism but people protesting it) has been coming for a while. I mean, if you believe the CIA, every American left-wing movement in the 20th century was a Soviet idea.

Posted by: Tay | Sep 28 2017 18:10 utc | 112

Tay, the CIA was a bunch of elitist wannabees trying to keep up with CCCP. Harvard sucks as a spy factory.

Posted by: Stumpy | Sep 28 2017 19:47 utc | 113


In the latest twist of the #Russiagate hoax, Facebook and the Deep State have discovered that Russia has been pushing Muslim propaganda into social media by acting as fake Muslims and fake Americans: "The Kremlin created an inauthentic Facebook group called United Muslims of America, which was used to reach American Muslims and their allies."

According to the Daily Beast, the content was created by a Russian Troll Factory, maybe even Putin himself: "The Russian government promoted memes, including some that asserted Hillary Clinton confessed the U.S. "created, funded and armed" al Qaeda and the Islamic State, called Sen. John McCain the true founder of ISIS, and claimed that Osama bin Laden was a "CIA agent,"

The reason the Deep State knows the account is controlled by Russia is that no Muslim or no American could be against US aggression or support Assad or Gaddafi. Right?

"Exclusive: Russians Impersonated Real American Muslims to Stir Chaos on Facebook and Instagram"

I INVESTIGATED. The group or person behind the pro-Muslim memes had accounts on Instagam, Twitter, and Facebook. All three accounts have now been suspended, evidently because they were "Russian disinformation."

The main account seems to be the Instagram account named "UNITED MUSLIMS OF AMERICA (@muslim_voice)". All memes have a square form factor used on Instagram. The account had 2,725 posts and 69.8k followers, 6,158.

The Twitter account is called @MUSLIMS_IN_USA. From a cached page I learn the following:
Muslim Americans
Bio: Official Twitter account for the online magazine "United Muslims of America," a page to unite all Muslim people living in the USA.
Location: United States
Tweets: 789
Followers: 2,7K
Following: 2,1K
Account created: 13-01-2016
ID: 4795201707

The Facebook account was named "United Muslims of America". One video from August 2016 on "What Halal food means" had 3 million views. The Facebook account shares a profile picture with the Twitter account.

I have fond no evidence or indication that the people behind the accounts and the content were anything other than Muslims and Americans.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Sep 28 2017 21:29 utc | 114

financial matters 19
Sadly, the MSM networks you mentioned have made themselves irrelevant by the very content you mentioned. Hopefully more people will reject them and at some point reject our two corrupt political parties as well.

Posted by: Curtis | Sep 28 2017 23:25 utc | 115

The Senate has approved Jon Huntsman, former Republican presidential candidate, as ambassador to Russia. Huntsman passed the acid test: Huntsman said during his confirmation hearing that there was "no question" that the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 election. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 29 2017 2:37 utc | 116

"The story about "Russian influence" was made up by the Democrats to explain Clinton's loss of the election and to avoid looking at her personal responsibility for it."

It wasn't so much her "personal responsibility" as it was her personification of the--reviled--System.

Trump is president and a white supremacist, but he's not president because he's a white supremacist. He's president because of a crisis of legitimacy for the entire System (personified in Hillary)--and he knows it and is running scared from it.

“In fact, Ekins found only four issues that clearly distinguish Trump voters from non-Trump voters: an intense dislike of Clinton,..”

“First, they share an intense dislike of Clinton—about 9 in 10 of each group has an unfavorable opinion of her. In fact, animus toward Clinton following the 2016 campaign exceeds animus directed toward Barack Obama after the 2012 campaign within each of the five Trump voting blocs.”

Posted by: Bob Beal | Sep 29 2017 5:53 utc | 117

After Facebook hysteria, Twitter said that there is people in russia spending money ads on twitter. Whcih apparently is dangerous and illegal? Jesus! This new mccarthyism is sick.
But apparently twitter provided no smoking gun for the crazy neocons:

Twitter testimony on ‘Russian meddling’ leaves Democrats ‘deeply disappointed’

Posted by: Anon | Sep 29 2017 11:18 utc | 118

what the fck is wrong with these people?

Senator Claims Russian Trolls Are Influencing Outrage Over NFL Debate

Posted by: Anon | Sep 29 2017 13:00 utc | 119

re: NFL
We can expect more. . .the crazy claims "have legs"
from CNN, July 25, 2016

The suspected Russian [DNC] hack is part of a wave of Russian cyber attacks aimed at political organizations and academic think tanks in Washington, U.S. officials briefed on the investigations say. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 29 2017 13:26 utc | 120

100 years later the Kurds are again genociding neighboring peoples. In 1915 it was the Kurds, acting on behalf of the Dönmeh who committed the majority of the atrocities against the Armenians, and after their ethnic cleansing and genocide, it was the Kurds again who stole vast amounts of Armenian property. 100 years later the exact same thing is happening to the Yezidi and Assyrians, Quelle Surpise.

And once again, they are apparently unwittingly doing it on behalf of Rothchild oil interests. Back then, it was to protect Rothchild's interest in Baku and the Caspian where Armenians were the biggest threat to the cabal. Now it is the Kurdish oil shipped to Rothchild interests in Israel. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Also, the interim between Kurdish committed genocides, declaring the Armenian genocide a genocide has been declared to be tantamount to holocaust denial, by those same eternal "victims".

Posted by: Papa Smurf | Sep 30 2017 10:02 utc | 121

Now CNN is at it:

Exclusive: Fake black activist accounts linked to Russian government

And then The Guardian picked up on it:

Did Russia fake black activism on Facebook to sow division in the US?
But then it turns out nobody is sure it's actually linked to "Moscow".

If the Blacktivist account is linked to Moscow, it will lend further credence to the findings of US intelligence officials that Russia was involved in influencing US politics.

How long before this story will be discredited? How much more of this fake news will be published.

Posted by: Ghostship | Sep 30 2017 13:36 utc | 122

@120. What isn't wrong?

"... more than a quarter of all American children and adolescents alive today suffer from some form of brain injury or illness."

Quoting official CDC figures: "... for the most prevalent of these [illnesses previously listed], making due allowance for the fact that by no means all of the cases are vaccine-related, and the proportion of those that are remains unknown and indeed hotly contested:

Learning and developmental
disabilities: 1 in 6 -- 16.7%
ADD and ADHD: 1 in 10 -- 10.0%
Autism: 1 in 45 -- 2.2%
TOTAL = 28.9%"

Moskowitz, Richard. Vaccines: A Reappraisal (Kindle Locations 1627-1628). Skyhorse Publishing. Kindle Edition. (2017)

Posted by: x | Sep 30 2017 14:24 utc | 123

So Zionist neocon Jews tried to rig the election for Hillary and failed. And now Zionist Jewish-owned media outlets--the NYT and WaPo--are trying to make American citizens believe that the Russians are a threat.

Zionists are the real threat to America. I would say to
American democracy, but that is an illusion.

Posted by: Typingperson | Oct 1 2017 3:37 utc | 124

In light of this Known Russian Threat since 2014, how the hell do you reconcile HP proudly reviewing and sharing source code like this -- last year -- amidst hacking allegations ...

reuters: Special Report: HP Enterprise let Russia scrutinize cyberdefense system used by Pentagon.

Of course, American computer manufacturers -- I think -- had already been exposed to be inserting backdoors and other potential malware into foreign-sale computers products.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Oct 2 2017 20:53 utc | 125

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