The Russians have been tearing a huge hole in America’s democracy, but the Alt-right did the same thing. The white supremacists were every bit as effective as the Russians with devastating results.
Roger Stone is a shady person who talks to Donald Trump in the wee hours of the night and slips in and out of Wikileaks’ Julian Assange’s digs at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He has been investigated for coordinating the Democratic National Committee (DNC) email hacks with the Russian hacker, Guccifer 2.0. This hacker is a Russian FSB (formerly KGB) agent.
Stone was banned from Twitter for violating its policy on “hate speech and terroristic threats,” according to Medium. Much like Trump, Stone have his own cult following. Over the past two years, he and Michael Cernovich and Jack Posobiec have purportedly coordinated to become a disinformation machine.
The trio of men decided to take down then-Senator Al Franken (D-MN) by amplifying the story about Leeann Tweeden’s alleged sexual harassment. She posted her story on Twitter. Plenty of people on the USO trip should have noticed the photo and alleged kissing incident. No one went on record.
That could have been the end of it, if Stone’s merry men had not put their muscle under it. InfoWars and Breitbart News picked it up less than an hour after she posted it on Twitter. The InfoWars article’s author, Paul Joseph Watson, had 756,000 followers. They lit a fire under the story.
Breitbart News beat InfoWars. It had the article up within 20 minutes. Bots began amplifying the story at 7:41 AM.
How did Roger Stone and company get things moving so quickly? According to Medium, it was easy. They “predicted it.”
Russian hackers and bots do not seem to reach the consciousness of most Americans. Possibly, that is due to the invisibility of the acts. Had the Russians bombed the Twin Towers in New York instead of bombing the country’s 2016 election, citizens would have been outraged and hung together.
Bots have been around for several years. They were originally created to build engagement on advertisements. That way advertisers could be more visible. They were designed to hype an ad that was otherwise doing poorly. Then, they were weaponized.
Twitter was flooded with the Al Franken photo and links to so-called news by 8 AM.
Former FBI member of the Joint Terrorism Taskforce Committee (JTTC) and Russian expert, Clint Watts, began tracking the Russian Twitter influence operations in August 2017. He tracked 600 of the millions of established Russian bots on Twitter as a representative sample.
Watts’ Alliance for Securing Democracy project had fully demonstrated his sample concluded the was indeed an Russian Intelligence Operation on Twitter (RIOT) by November 17th.
The Alliance for Securing Democracy is a bipartisan trans-Atlantic initiative to:
‘Develop comprehensive strategies to defend against, deter, and raise the costs on Russian and other state actors’ efforts to undermine democracy and democratic institutions. The Alliance will work to publicly document and expose Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s ongoing efforts to subvert democracy in the United States and Europe.’
A number of women came forward to defend Franken, but they were met by virtual silence.
Featured Image via Getty Images/Joe Raedle.