The Thinker: Rich Galen


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How Could They Not Know?

Rich Galen

Monday February 19, 2017

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  • I read the 37-page indictment that was announced by the Department of Justice on Friday. (Full-disclosure: It's double-spaced).

  • It focuses on the activities of an organization called the "Internet Research Agency" which was headquartered in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

  • It is worth reading, if only to send cold club soda through your veins when you think about how good the Russians were at screwing around with our election.

  • The indictment makes the objective of the operation clear:
    "[The Russians] had a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election."

  • Their work is still roiling the U.S. political system so it shows how good they are at continuing to sow distrust in our electoral processes.

  • How did they do it?

  • Specialists created
    "social media accounts that appeared to be operated by U.S. persons. The specialists were divided into day-shift and night-shift hours and instructed to make posts in accordance with the appropriate U.S. time zone."

  • Specialists, according to an intercepted document, were instructed to post content that focused on "politics in the USA" and to "use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump-we support them)."

  • One such account, @TEN_GOP, was designed and utilized to look like it was controlled by the Tennessee Republican Party. According to the indictment
    "over time, the @TEN_GOP account attracted more than 100,000 online followers."


    As of this writing, @RichGalen has 7,170 Twitter followers.


  • The Agency charged with better understanding what lit Americans' passions. The indictment says:
    "In order to gauge the performance of various groups on social media sites, the [Agency] tracked certain metrics like the group's size, the frequency of content placed by the group, and the level of audience engagement with that content, such as the average number of comments or responses to a post."

  • They used "election-related hashtags, including: #Trump2016, #TrumpTrain, #MAGA, #IWontProtectHillary, and #Hillary4Prison."

  • As the Agency began to focus its efforts from generally screwing around with U.S. politics to affecting the Presidential Election they showed organizing skills that would be welcomed by any organization - political or otherwise.

  • From the indictment:
    "They engaged in operations primarily intended to communicate derogatory information about Hillary Clinton, to denigrate other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump."

  • They organized a series of "Florida Goes Trump" rallies in August of 2016 around that important state. From the indictment:
    "Defendants and their co-conspirators also used false U.S. personas to contact multiple grassroots groups supporting then-candidate Trump in an unofficial capacity. Many of these groups agreed to participate in the "Florida Goes Trump" rallies and serve as local coordinators."

  • At one of those rallies,
    "Defendants and their co-conspirators asked one U.S. person to build a cage on a flatbed truck and another U.S. person to wear a costume portraying Clinton in a prison uniform."

  • Does anyone believe that at least one of those "grassroots groups" didn't tell anyone from the Trump campaign in Florida that this was going on?

  • I don't.

  • I guarantee you. Someone called the Florida Trump office. Someone in the Florida Trum office called Trump Tower in New York. Someone in Trump Tower in New York couldn't wait to take credit for the Hillary-in-a-cage coup.

  • Even after the election was over, the Agency kept showing off. According to the indictment on November 12, 2016 - six days after the election - they organized a "Show Your Support for President-Elect Trump" demonstration in New York.

  • Wait. Wait.

  • The very same day, they organized another rally, "Trump is not my President," also in New York.

  • By the time it was completely focused on the 2016 Presidential election, the Internet Research Agency had a monthly budget of about $1.3 million.

  • The scheme began to unravel this past September when one of the conspirators
    "wrote in an email to a family member: 'We had a slight crisis here at work: the FBI busted our activity (not a joke). So, I got preoccupied with covering tracks together with the colleagues.'"

  • He went on to write:
    "I created all these pictures and posts, and the Americans believed that it was written by their people."


  • In July, the Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate - who can't agree on whether to break for lunch - voted by a total of 517-5 to impose new sanctions on the Russians for their actions in Ukraine and Syria.

  • Donald Trump, without fanfare, signed the bill in early August but has, six months later, has ignored it.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the text of the indictment, to the Wikipedia entry for the Internet Research Agency, and to a timeline of that Russian sanction bill.

    The Mullfoto is of a plant you can give you spouse/partner if you want them to move out.

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