On February 16, 2018 the special counsel indicted a Russian troll farm responsible for utilizing fake social media accounts in efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election. An election that Hillary Clinton is still trying to misplace blame for.
The troll farm was commissioned and controlled by a company out of St Petersburg, Russia with strong ties to the Kremlin named, Internet Research Agency (IRA). Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made the announcement in which he cited the “stated goal” of the Russian troll farm was to spread “distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.” That statement from the Deputy Attorney General was dead-on accurate however, some who lean towards the political left may not agree.
The mantra heard echoing from liberal safe-spaces is that the Russian troll farm’s goal was to help spread distrust against Hillary Clinton and to assist Donald Trump. This is patently false and the operations outlined by the special counsel clearly display a concerted effort to create chaos rather than to help one candidate over another. The mainstream media happily carried the chaos 24-7 as they “unwittingly” assisted in publicizing various protests the IRA coordinated.
The IRA’s goal was to pit Americans against each other through exploiting the deep political divisions between liberals and conservatives. The troll farm’s Facebook memes were rather elementary and seem only to feed one side’s base or the other. None of the memes nor Facebook advertisements could be accredited for getting Americans to critically think about the platforms of either candidate in an effort to sway them from one to the other. This was an effort to get Americans angry at one another, and it succeeded beyond Vladimir Putin’s dreams. The special counsel investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin is the crown jewel of the IRA operation. The special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election is completely warranted however, the collusion aspect is a farce that perpetuates and deepens existing divisions.
The largest divisions that exist between conservatives and liberals is what the Russians aimed to exploit, and they did so on a daily basis. The Russian controlled IRA organized Facebook pages that would promote protests that address some of the most heated social issues within American discourse. The issues the IRA sought to exploit were; police brutality, white supremacists, Anti-Islam, Pro Islam, Religion, LGBT, Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, and Immigration.
Police brutality was by far the most exploited issue more than likely, due to the intense public reactions this sensitive issue attracts. On April 4, 2016, and May 2, 2016 rallies were held in Buffalo, New York to protest the death of India Cummings, an African-American woman who passed away while in police custody. A Facebook account named “Blacktivist” promoted the event as well as supplied petitions and poster content. “Blacktivist” was later identified as an IRA Facebook account.
On April 16, 2016 the “Blacktivist” Facebook page, operated by the IRA, organized and promoted a rally in Baltimore, Maryland to protest the death of Freddie Gray. “Blacktivist” also reached out to local activists in order to build up the event.
April 23, 2016 a very small group of white supremacists held a demonstration dubbed “Rock Stone Mountain” near Stone Mountain, Georgia. The “Blacktivist” Facebook page promoted the event and succeeded in attracting a counter-protest which resulted in violent clashes between the two groups. Though members of the mainstream media were not quick to exploit this story, Russia Today (RT) was. RT blamed anti-racist protesters as the aggressors and promoted videos of clashes in an effort to deepen racial tensions in America.
May 21, 2016 reveals their true intent of sowing chaos after the Russian troll farm promoted dueling rallies on the same issue, Muslim/American relations. The competing rallies were held in Houston, Texas with regard to the opening of the Library of Islamic Knowledge at the Islamic Da’wah Center. A rally named “Stop Islamization of Texas” was organized by a Facebook group called, “Heart of Texas.” An opposing rally, “Save Islamic Knowledge,” was organized for the same place and time by a Facebook group named “United Muslims of America.” Both the “Heart of Texas” Facebook group and the “United Muslims of America” Facebook group were created by Russia’s IRA. Promotions for this event encouraged attendees to bring firearms though, no shots were reportedly fired.
Westboro Baptist Church held an annual protest of Lawrence High School graduation ceremonies in Lawrence, Kansas on May 25, 2016. A page named “LGBT United” organized a counter-protest to confront the Westboro Baptist Church. “LGBT United” was successful in getting some protesters to confront the church however, they failed in luring Lawrence High School students to the confrontation. “LGBT United” was later identified as an account operated by Russia’s IRA.
On June 25, 2016, “LGBT United” organized the candlelight vigil for the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.
On July 10, 2016 a Facebook groups named “Don’t Shoot” and “Don’t Shoot Us” organized a rally to protest the fatal police shooting of Philando Castile. The protest was to be held in front of the St. Paul police headquarters even though Castile was shot by a St. Anthony police officer. The discrepancy acted as an alert to local activists who then urged fellow protesters not to participate. The warning fell on deaf ears as the protest still took place however, the event was eventually turned over to local activists who rejected resources from the two Facebook groups. Both Facebook pages, “Don’t Shoot” and “Don’t Shoot Us” were later identified to be the IRA sponsored accounts. None of the local activists were aware of Russian involvement in these efforts.
A Black Lives Matter rally took place in Dallas on July 10, 2016 which was countered with a “Blue Lives Matter” protest which was organized across the street in an effort to cause chaos. The “Blue Lives Matter” counter-protest was organized by the IRA controlled account, “Heart of Texas.”
July 16, 2016, the IRA controlled “Blacktivist” website organized a rally in Chicago, Illinois to honor Sandra Bland on the first anniversary of her death. The Organizers handed out petitions which called for a Civilian Accountability Council ordinance.
By August of 2016 just about every mainstream media outlet was predicting a Hillary Clinton blowout coming in November. Some news outlets were estimating Hillary to have over a 90% chance of winning the election. The Russians saw this as a way to further the growing tensions in the United States by targeting the residents of Florida. On August 25, 2016, 17 “Florida Goes Trump” rallies were held all over the state. The rallies were organized by the “Being Patriotic” Facebook page and a “march_for_trump” Twitter account, both of which would later be identified as IRA controlled accounts.
On August 27, 2016 a Facebook group named “SecuredBorders” organized a rally to protest immigration issues before the City Council Chambers in Twin Falls, Idaho. The rally was an absolute failure as almost no respondents participated. The Facebook group named “SecuredBorders” was later identified to have been under the control of the IRA.
On September 20, 2016 a website by the name of “BlackMattersUS.com” recruited activists to participate in numerous rallies in Charlotte, North Carolina to protest the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. “BlackMattersUS” paid for the microphones and speakers that were utilized at these events. It was later identified that “BlackMatersUS” is run by the Russian operated IRA. “BlackMattersUS” is still in operation today and continues to publish propaganda aimed towards African-Americans though, the latest content to have been added was dated September of 2017. It is unclear as to why the “BlackMattersUS” is still in operation after the special counsel indictment was handed down by a Washington D.C. grand jury in February of 2018.
On October 2, 2016, “Miners for Trump” rallies were held in Pennsylvania which were organized by a Facebook page named, “Being Patriotic.” It was later identified that “Being Patriotic” was an account controlled by the IRA.
On October 22, 2016, “BlackMattersUS” recruited more protesters to join a larger rally in protest of the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina. Unwitting local activists were duped into organizing the rally in which they were supplied with a bank card to pay for all expenses. The bank card was owned by the IRA and again, “BlackMattersUS” is operated by the IRA.
On November 5, 2016, the “Heart of Texas” Facebook group organized numerous rallies across Texas named, “Texit.” The rallies focused on the theme that Texas could secede in the event of a Hillary Clinton Presidency. The “Heart of Texas” Facebook group went so far as to contact the Texas Nationalist Movement, an organization that supports secession, but they declined to participate or assist in organizing any of the events. There were small rallies that sprouted up in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Austin. As mentioned above, the “Heart of Texas” Facebook group was operated by the IRA.
On November 12, 2016, the IRA controlled website “BlackMattersUS” organized their largest rally of the entire meddling operation, “Trump is NOT my President.” This was a rally protesting the election of Donald Trump in which protesters marched from Union Square to Trump Tower. Russian controlled “BlackMattersUS” was able to attract between 5,000 – 15,000 attendees as the rally was spread, and promoted across all major news outlets.
As of now the Russian troll farm in St Petersburg, Russia is till operational however, they are now targeting a domestic audience. According to a CBS News interview with Lyudmila Savchuk, an employee of the Russian trolling operation, the trolling operation now targets Russian citizens with anti-American propaganda. They are promoting Cold-War era tensions as relations between the United States and Russia continue to deteriorate. Their new expressed goal, according to Savchuk, is to spread anti-American sentiment throughout the Russian population.
In total, the Trump campaign and the Clinton campaign paid out a combined $81 million to Facebook for their advertisements during the 2016 Presidential Election. The Russian troll farm paid out a total of $46,000 to Facebook which comes to about .5% of what the two candidates spent. To suggest that this would have made an impact on the election would be remiss and extremely naive. None the less, it is still a problem that must be investigated to avoid further interference that could be much more nefarious and far more impactful. Let us not forget, it was Russia that transmitted disinformation about Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton through disgraced MI6 agent, Christopher Steele.
The appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller and the Democratic Party’s mantra of “collusion” has been a feather in the cap of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The operation has succeeded beyond Putin’s wildest dreams in terms of creating further divisions in America, because it has done just that and continues to do so. The mainstream media seems more than happy to carry the Kremlin’s operation further and further, regardless of Mueller’s indictment explicitly stating that “no witting American” was ever involved with the meddling efforts conducted by the Russian controlled troll farm. Last we checked, members of the Trump campaign were still American citizens which means the indictment clears the Trump campaign of any collusion with this Russian trolling operation. The special counsel has also notified the Trump campaign’s legal team that the President is not considered a target in the Russia probe.
The longer the mainstream media continues to build up this conspiracy theory of “collusion,” the deeper the divisions will sink. The only way this country will begin to heal the great divide between liberals and conservatives is when the special counsel has reached a logical conclusion or when Democrats decide to believe what they have already read in the special counsel’s indictment.
The mainstream media has been all-in with regard to Trump/Russia collusion and many anchors certainly believe they have staked their reputation on its very existence. Which is why they refuse to acknowledge the reality of the special counsel’s indictment. It seems the mainstream media is preoccupied with self-preservation and pushing political agendas rather than preserving the country through objective reporting.