A bombshell New York Times report reveals the Russian troll operation on social media platforms was far more extensive than first understood. One major aspect of a report prepared for the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee finds Russia “extensively” and “specifically” targeted Black Americans.
Russia’s Internet Research Agency (I.R.A.), owned by a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, used not only Facebook and Twitter, but also YouTube, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine, Google+, and especially Instagram.
“The Russian influence campaign on social media in the 2016 election made an extraordinary effort to target African-Americans, used an array of tactics to try to suppress turnout among Democratic voters and unleashed a blizzard of posts on Instagram that rivaled or exceeded its Facebook operations, according to a report produced for the Senate Intelligence Committee,” the Times reports.
Two reports have been prepared for the Senate Intelligence Committee.
One of the reports, by a company called New Knowledge, reveals the “most prolific I.R.A. efforts on Facebook and Instagram specifically targeted black American communities and appear to have been focused on developing black audiences and recruiting black Americans as assets.”
In that same report, “researchers discovered many examples of the Russian operators building an audience with one theme and then shifting to another, often more provocative, set of messages. For instance, an Instagram account called @army_of_jesus_ first posted in January 2015 images from The Muppet Show, then shifted to The Simpsons and by early 2016 became Jesus-focused. Multiple memes associated Jesus with Mr. Trump’s campaign and Satan with Mrs. Clinton’s.”
Russian trolls worked both to support Donald Trump and to attack Hillary Clinton.
“While the right-wing pages promoted Mr. Trump’s candidacy, the left-wing pages scorned Mrs. Clinton while promoting Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate,” the Times states. “The voter suppression effort was focused particularly on Sanders supporters and African-Americans, urging them to shun Mrs. Clinton in the general election and either vote for Ms. Stein or stay home.”
Whether such efforts had a significant effect is difficult to judge. Black voter turnout declined in 2016 for the first time in 20 years in a presidential election, but it is impossible to determine whether that was the result of the Russian campaign.
The paper describes it as “the Russian effort to sway American opinion and divide the country, which the authors said continues to this day.”
Read the entire Times report here.
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Expert: New Intel Report Reveals ‘Evidence of Cooperation’ Between Russia and Trump Campaign
Max Boot, a Russian-American author and historian and a fellow on the Council on Foreign Relations, says the U.S. Intel Community’s just-released report on Russia’s attack on the 2020 presidential election is “evidence of cooperation” – at least – between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
The report details that Russian President Vladimir Putin once again interfered in the election, again to help President Donald Trump, and to hurt now-President Joe Biden.
“I would say this is certainly evidence,” Boot says, “it may be evidence of collusion, but it’s definitely evidence of cooperation and congruence between the Russians and the Trump campaign.”
Boot praised the Biden administration for authorizing the release of the report, which he says Americans would not have seen under the Trump administration, while singling out Acting Trump DNI and DNI Rick Grinnell and John Ratcliffe, who “consistently tried to minimize and downplay Russian election interference.”
Importantly, Boot notes the report shows “just how closely the Russian messaging during the election echoed the messaging of the Trump campaign of Fox News and this kind of whole right wing media industrial complex.”
“It’s fascinating to see the extent to which the Russians were pushing the same messages about alleged Biden corruption, about his supposedly corrupt son, about you can’t trust mail-in ballots, that the Democratic Party is trying to interfere with the election. These were the things that Trump was saying, but these were also the things that the Russians were saying, and in fact, the report highlights the close ties between Russian agents of influence like Andrii Derkach from Ukraine. Ukraine and Rudy Giuliani the president’s lawyer, Konstantin Kilimnik is another one, who is a former business partner of Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, so these ties are a copious and disturbing and to use a word we haven’t heard in a few years, I would say this is certainly evidence. If not, it may be evidence of collusion, but it’s definitely evidence of cooperation and and congruence between the Russians and the Trump campaign.”
New evidence of collusion–or at least cooperation and congruity of aims–between the Trump campaign and Russia. My take on the new intelligence report. Talking with @BrookeBaldwin. pic.twitter.com/zvD6OIOawU
— Max Boot (@MaxBoot) March 16, 2021
Capitol Police Knew About the Possibility of Pro-Trump Extremist Violence but Ignored FBI, NYPD Warnings: NBC News
The Capitol Police were warned that something big was coming for the Jan. 6 event for President Donald Trump, but they ignored those warnings, NBC News explained.
The report explained that the FBI and NYPD were hearing about threats ahead of Trump’s “stop the steal” rally ahead of the Electoral College count. “The FBI even visited more than a dozen extremists already under investigation to urge them not to travel to Washington,” senior law enforcement officials said.
Newsweek reported last week that officials from the FBI, the Secret Service, Homeland Security, the District of Columbia government, the Pentagon, the National Guard, and the Joint Task Force–National Capital Region all knew what was coming from the Trump supporters. Somehow, however, the Capitol Police missed the memo.
“Social media is just part of a full intelligence picture, and while there was First Amendment-protected activity on social media to include some people making threats, to this point, investigators have not found that there was an organized plot to access the Capitol,” a senior FBI official told NBC News.
Members of the Capitol Police were filmed opening gates so Trump insurrectionists could enter the Capitol and some were even filmed taking selfies with some of the rioters. Evidence is growing that shows the plots and plans of many extremists were broadcast online, begging the question: why weren’t the FBI and Department of Homeland Security prepared for the riot. In the case of the FBI, officers reached out to the Capitol Police offering assistance during the riot but were rebuffed.
The Capitol Police Chief has submitted his resignation.
“The failure of the Capitol Police to anticipate, prevent and respond to the violence is baffling and appalling,” wrote Georgetown Professor Rosa Brooks on Friday. “But in many ways, it’s a direct consequence of the way the police agency that protects the legislative branch is organized, with far too little accountability or diversity, jumbled oversight, and too many opportunities for politics to creep into its mission.”
There is no oversight for the Capitol Police except for Congress, which explains why the policing evolves to reflect the desires of elected members. Give the Capitol is a federal institution, the best course of action would probably be to put the Capitol Police under the oversight of the Secret Service or FBI.
Capitol Police Member Caught on Camera Taking Selfies With Trump’s Insurrectionists
President Donald Trump’s supporters seized the U.S. Capitol, stealing shields and batons and began breaking the windows and began shooting into the House chamber while scared U.S. Representatives and Senators hid under their chairs, some with gas masks on.
Meanwhile, at least one Capitol Police officer was taking selfies with those breaking into the building.
The man was wearing a hat and mask, but his green vest clearly said “Police,” and on his sleeve, he had the insignia of the Capitol Police.
The moment was captured while someone was live-streaming the attack on the U.S. Capitol from Trump’s rioters.
The DC National Guard was only deployed after being authorized by Trump, but previous requests were said to have been denied, so Virginia and Maryland sent some of their troops to aid the U.S. Capitol while it was under attack.
You can see the shocking video below:
Cops are taking selfies with the terrorists. pic.twitter.com/EjkQ83h1p2
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 6, 2021
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