The source for the Independent’s story is an organization with the lofty title of Alliance for Securing Democracy, a subsidiary of the German Marshall Fund, which is part of the post-WW2 think tank archipelago. Like most non-profits, its primary mission is to burn through its endowment. The ASD assists the German Marshall Fund in this task by providing the Hamilton 68 Dashboard so terrified Jews can monitor Cossack presence on Twitter. This crack team identifies “three types of accounts promoting Russian influence online:
- Attributed accounts that clearly state they are pro-Russian or affiliated with the Russian government.
- Accounts (including both bots and humans) that are run by troll factories in Russia and elsewhere.
- Accounts run by people around the world who amplify pro-Russian themes either knowingly or unknowingly, after being influenced by the efforts described above.”
Naturally I was interested to see if @Anti_Gnostic or anybody else I know is a Russian influence-promoter, only to learn that Hamilton 68’s methodology is far too sophisticated to account for such trivial detail.
Q. Why don’t you name these accounts? Can you tell me if a specific account is a Russian bot?
By analyzing large groups of accounts, we can track the activity and focus of the network using accounts from each category. Our analytical methods allow us to determine when groups of accounts are acting in a synchronized manner, but they do not always allow us to definitively separate the sources of influence (knowing instigators of and participants in Russian influence campaigns) and unknowing participants (people who participate without realizing they are being manipulated). We prefer to focus on the behavior of the overall network rather than get dragged into hundreds of individual debates over which troll fits which role.
I mean really, you can’t expect us to get dragged into hundreds of individual debates over which troll fits which role!
This hogwash is apparently good enough for Chris Riotta, reporting for The Independent.
A network of Russian-linked Twitter accounts have been disseminating divisive content about Mollie Tibbetts’ death in an apparent attempt to divert attention from explosive news surrounding Donald Trump and his former associates.
Almost immediately after a guilty verdict was announced in the trial of Paul Manafort, the president’s former campaign chairman convicted on eight counts of bank and tax fraud charges, there was a flurry of activity among hundreds of pro-Kremlin Twitter accounts believed to be controlled by Russian government influence operations. Those accounts began posting thousands of tweets about Ms Tibbetts, the 20-year-old University of Iowa student who had been missing for nearly five weeks.
Police had a major break in her case on Tuesday when surveillance footage led them to Cristhian Bahena Rivera, a 24-year-old suspect who brought authorities to a cornfield where they located a body believed to be Ms Tibbetts.
The discovery also coincided with groundbreaking news about Michael Cohen, the president’s former personal lawyer and “fixer” who plead guilty on Tuesday to eight counts of fraud and campaign finance violations.
As news networks scrambled to report all three major developments — two of which arrived within the same hour — the Russian accounts were pushing out stories focusing on Ms Tibbetts’ alleged murderer, according to an analysis conducted by the Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD) and reviewed by The Independent.
And that, readers, is how the Tsar’s operatives bedazzled and bedeviled all the hopeless American rubes with news of a 20-year old girl’s murder by obsolete farm equipment!
How does this get by anybody with an ounce of critical thinking? The entire article is speculative and self-referential. The subject itself is oddly jumbled news-about-news: the real news is that the public is not as concerned about the news that the news media is concerned about! It’s like the article and its extruded, gossipy tone was written by some frivolous homosexual acting out his fabulous news career or something.
And are the folks at Hamiltronic 68 really stalwart Cold Warriors manning the ramparts against the bolsheviks, or are they embittered partisans who thought they’d be safely tenured in one of the D.C. bureaucracy’s numerous fake jobs as part of the Hillary administration?
In case you missed it, that’s the Director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy.
By the way, in a previous post about the think tank archipelago, I mentioned that a lot of the bitterness over Trump was probably motivated by people whose old brand of feckless ideological ranting no longer has any financial traction in the new reality-based politics. (In case you were wondering, campaign consulting is a sleazy business). This came up recently in the outrage! over Trump revoking the security clearance of ex-CIA Director and active partisan in the 2016 Presidential election John Brennan. I mentioned at the time that this was all about peddling influence and asymmetric information. Of course, these clearances really are parlayed into millions of dollars by ex-government officials.
So I’m right. Again.
The orbiters in media, bureaucracy and think tanks arrayed against Trump are liars and propagandists. They are manufacturing fake news and fake outrage in a venal, partisan attempt to drive Trump out of office.