The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Trump, Russia And An Election (Smelling the Smoke)


“This may be one of the most highly impactful information operations in the history of intelligence,” said one former U.S. intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
On March 20th, McClatchy published a piece about the FBI Investigation into the 2016 Trump Campaign.  Apparently, one aspect of the deep investigation (which has been active since July of 2016) via potential involvement in 'fake or damaging news' stories from the Kremlin and Putin's cyber war divisions.

I recall an amazing scenario from the for Clinton/Trump Debate in July of 2016. Democrat Party candidate Hillary Clinton chose a moment in the debate to interject a tidbit of information of which I had heard only fleeting whispers previously. Within weeks of the General Election, NPR published a the transcript for the July debate. The piece includes Clinton's debate insertion. It should be noted the insertion went unheard and filed into some File 13  to re-surface only after the electoral victory through today.


Fact Check And Full Transcript Of The Final 2016 Presidential Debate

PolitiFact lists several instances in which Trump has talked about having some sort of contact with Putin.

He said nice things about me. If we got along well that would be good. If Russia and the United States got along well and went after ISIS, that would be good. He has no respect for her. He has no respect for our president. And I'll tell you what, we’re in very serious trouble. Because we have a country with tremendous numbers of nuclear warheads, eighteen hundred by the way where they expanded and we didn't. Eighteen hundred nuclear warheads and she is playing chicken.
The New START limits the U.S. and Russia to 1,500 deployed strategic nuclear weapons on the nations’ land- and sea-based missiles and aboard its bombers. The treaty did not cover smaller tactical weapons, however.
Look, Putin, from everything I see has no respect for this person.


Well, that’s because he'd rather have a puppet as president than the United States and it's pretty clear.


No puppet. You’re the puppet.


It's pretty clear that you won't admit the Russians have engaged in cyber attacks against the United States of America, that you encouraged espionage against our people, that you are willing to spout the Putin line, sign up for his wish list, breakup NATO, do whatever he wants to do and that you continue to get help from him because he has a very clear favorite in this race. So, I think that this is such an unprecedented situation. We have never had a foreign government trying to interfere in our election. We have seventeen intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyber attacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin and they are designed to influence our election. I find that deeply disturbing and I think it --

That said, Trump certainly didn't respond in any effort to refute the assertion, and US media was busy chasing ratings which would have been far less available to any network which chose to follow real journalism via dispatching an investigatory team to root-out Clinton's words. The words went unnoticed, unanswered and unheeded by the public. Alas, we now find the FBI has been investigating the apparent Russian cyber warfare since before Clinton stated those words. Yet, there is more.

According to McClatchy World Bureau, the FBI as part of the Trump/Putin investigation is also investigating potential conservative website Russian cyber operative use of "bots" to feed Pro-trump and Anti-Clinton information to the American public. 

Operatives for Russia appear to have strategically timed the computer commands, known as “bots,” to blitz social media with links to the pro-Trump stories at times when the billionaire businessman was on the defensive in his race against Democrat Hillary Clinton, these sources said. 
The bots’ end products were largely millions of Twitter and Facebook posts carrying links to stories on conservative internet sites such as Breitbart News and InfoWars, as well as on the Kremlin-backed RT News and Sputnik News, the sources said. Some of the stories were false or mixed fact and fiction, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the bot attacks are part of an FBI-led investigation into a multifaceted Russian operation to influence last year’s elections.
Read more (about 'bots' which may have influenced your vote)

Read more here:
Imagine your vote being influenced by Putin's operatives and right-wing nutjobs like Alex Jones? (Right Wing Watch). Imagine your choice foe president of the United States having appeared on this nutjob's internet show.

Alex Jones Infowars

As the McClatchy story unfolded , it seems FBI Counter Intel is investigating the following information entities (among others): Breitbart, InfoWars and Russia Today (Kremlin TV).

You and I should wonder if Fox News is embedded in that investigation bundle.

Actually, the beneficial utility of "bots' by the Russians and Rightwing nutjobs like Alex Jones shouldn't surprise anyone. The Columbia Journalism Review recently published a study which delineates the effectiveness of media in feeding rightwing propaganda and mind-altering misinformation (AKA Fake news). Speaking of fake news, before you view what follows consider what publication did Trump's Steve Bannon leave to join trump on the campaign trail. Hint: It should be obvious via the large red circle in the image. 

Read a couple of excerpt and strongly consider visiting the site.
..... more disconcerting explanation: Our own study of over 1.25 million stories published online between April 1, 2015 and Election Day shows that a right-wing media network anchored around Breitbart developed as a distinct and insulated media system, using social media as a backbone to transmit a hyper-partisan perspective to the world. This pro-Trump media sphere appears to have not only successfully set the agenda for the conservative media sphere, but also strongly influenced the broader media agenda, in particular coverage of Hillary Clinton.
We began to study this ecosystem by looking at the landscape of what sites people share. If a person shares a link from Breitbart, is he or she more likely also to share a link from Fox News or from The New York Times? We analyzed hyperlinking patterns, social media sharing patterns on Facebook and Twitter, and topic and language patterns in the content of the 1.25 million stories, published by 25,000 sources over the course of the election, using Media Cloud, an open-source platform for studying media ecosystems developed by Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society and MIT’s Center for Civic Media. 
When we map media sources this way, we see that Breitbart became the center of a distinct right-wing media ecosystem, surrounded by Fox News, the Daily Caller, the Gateway Pundit, the Washington Examiner, Infowars, Conservative Treehouse, and Truthfeed.
Fig. 1: Media sources shared on Twitter during the election (nodes sized in proportion to Twitter shares).
Fig. 2: Media sources shared on Twitter during the election (nodes sized in proportion to Facebook shares).
The most frequently shared media sources for Twitter users that retweeted either Trump or Clinton.
The most frequently shared media sources for Twitter users that retweeted either Trump or Clinton.

The sad reality!

We really must ask for a bit more of your time. If you have come this far, we recommend you spend a few minutes with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow's "A" Block segment of tonight. 

Did you fall for the bot action? Are you a Bernie supporter who followed the Russians into the abyss of a Trump in the White House. Did you abstain from voting because you followed the Russian cyber warfare and right wing media into a state of withholding your vote et al?

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