The text of the indictment of the SVR 13.

Black vulture

Looks to me like a very professional operation  I look forward to more indictments. Let's see them!  pl

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170 Responses to The text of the indictment of the SVR 13.

  1. SmoothieX12 says:

    Looks to me like a very professional operation
    Here, I have to politely disagree. This is what makes me say this, and I quote from Indictment:
    b. to knowingly execute and attempt to execute a scheme and artifice to defraud a federally insured financial institution, and to obtain monies, funds, credits, assets, securities and other property from said financial institution by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, all in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1344.
    Reads to me as a simple financial fraud. Moreover, where is the collusion? The group, obviously, in accordance to documents, came into existence in 2013-14–Donald Trump wasn’t in the plans then, to put it mildly. While fraudulent activities are a good enough reason to indict someone, the rest–playing with fake social media accounts and “rallies” reads exactly as a weak attempt to deliver at least something. The e-mail with “FBI got us” altogether is a good indication that it wasn’t THAT professional. So, those people could be (and there is a good chance that they are) a nasty bunch but this indictment says nothing about Trump and his collusion with Russia. What one may expect now, however, is Russians pulling out a huge history of US very real meddling in Russian elections since 1996, when even Time Magazine was forced to admit that Yeltsin’s second term was basically paid for by the US. I expect a lot of noise on this Mueller’s “work”, but it merely adds to a very real hysterical justified and not anti-Russia stance. This is at least first impression I got.

  2. JamesT says:

    There are a lot of countries that can start issuing indictments against Americans that have “interfered” in their elections, it seems to me.

  3. J says:

    This whole thing has been a waste of manpower, time and taxpayer money.
    Our citizenry could care less, they understand we the U.S. meddle in other nations affairs, it is understood that they will try and meddle in ours.
    Our fellow citizens are more concerned about the delapadated bridge they have to cross everyday going to and from work, the unnecessary increasing food prices, up and down gas prices. The unaccounted $26 Trillion in DoD and HUD. Unnecessary and wasteful legislation like the newest boondoggle called the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2018 that Congress is wasting time and money on.
    To most Americans Mueller needs to quit wasting their time and taxpayer money.
    It’s real day to day life issues that matter to them, they see Mueller needs to get a real job or retire.

  4. Walrus says:

    Seems to me that we hacked “The Internet Research Agency”. Did it do any more than we try to do to other peoples elections?
    …As for TTG and PT, seems like you are both right.

  5. Y2000, Trump runs as a presidential candidate for the Reform Party. Gets 15,000 votes in California’s primary.
    March 2011, Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll has Trump leading all presidential contenders, even Mitt Romney.
    Now that is an amazing step-up in recognition.
    April 2011, More research polls show Trump as the top Republican presidential candidate, Trump turns birther and dumps on President Obama.
    2012, Trump endorses Mitt Romney.
    So, there are plenty of indicators that Trump would be inclined to run for President.
    Check the Russian connections here as if you were a Russian operative.
    The basics are already in place, and, for the Russians, ensuring Hawk Hillary lost to “businessman” Trump is a no-brainer.
    The commercial Russians would be desperate to prevent US-Russian war in Syria a’la Hillary Clinton, as their investments and basic fortunes would be placed at risk.
    Judging from some of the comments the level of partisanship here inside SST is basically the same as outside.

  6. Jonathan House, MD says:

    It is hardly a surprise that nobody drowns in the first drop of rain. Perhaps it won’t rain. Perhaps there will be a storm.
    Patience is said to be a virtue.

  7. turcopolier says:

    jonathan house
    There is not evidence as yet of Trump’s conspiracy with the Russian government but you have reached certitude. My SWAG is that Trump is vulnerable to charges of screwing bimbos and on various business related criminal activities but not more. pl

  8. turcopolier says:

    We would not have had the balls to run an operation at this level of “adventurism.” pl

  9. Jonathan House, MD says:


  10. SmoothieX12 says:

    There are a lot of countries that can start issuing indictments against Americans that have “interfered” in their elections, it seems to me.
    Very true and where it will lead–I don’t even want to contemplate. But while I was driving home from work I desperately tried to recall when any serious intelligence asset in the history of spying addressed the other in open with “OK, Gestapo got me”, or sent a telegram to Lubyanka “OK, I got busted by FBI”, nor do I expect CIA assets in Russia, the moment FSB gets to them, start sending e-mails to Langley with “Dudes, got to run, FSB is on my tail”. Not only it goes against anything real professionals do, but even real military guards rank and file, guarding weapons and ammo depots have parole and response which are secret “words” known only to them–all that is required by basic field manuals. Now, I am pretty sure that real serious SVR assets have a well trained and worked out open communications protocols which include secret ciphered words and phrases for a number of urgent contingencies. Even boy-scouts do that. I am sure that real SVR officer or agent would write, in case of being under FBI surveillance and feeling a heat something like that: “Got a serious caries problem in my low far left mole. Hurts like hell, need to make a dentist appointment”, or “Have issues with bowel movement, need to take stool softener.” And who in our time doesn’t need a stool softener, right? So, yes, there are huge questions about this Mueller’s “work”, for me at least, and I do not deny the possibility, albeit asses the probability as very low, that Russia could have been involved in some form into “influencing” something, but this is not it. Money laundering? Yes, that is more like it but then serious SVR assets on assignment to subvert US democracy are not engaged into questionable financial activities.

  11. doug says:

    I agree. It’s exactly what Mueller was hired to do. Of course the MSM is making hay out of it but there is nothing really new nor indication that there was any collusion or quid pro quo. Just a standard info op which, frankly, doesn’t surprise me in the least.
    I doubt the Russians expected Trump to win. If he had a big lead they might well have supported Hillary. Seems their goal was more to incite than push a candidate but it would make sense, if the goal is to incite, to push the candidacy of the one behind in the polls and Trump was behind in most all polls.
    Also, in terms of influence, their effort was pretty small. Lots of homegrown people and billions of dollars were pushing Hillary. Much more than Trump. Of course it’s perfectly legal for Americans to do it.

  12. Wow, the indictment states that by Sept. 2016 the budget for this Russian operation was $1.25 million per MONTH.

  13. turcopolier says:

    Lee A Arnold
    Chicken feed for this kind of effort. pl

  14. Outrage Beyond says:

    I am no legal expert, but that indictment appeared to be one big nothingburger.
    1. A total budget of around $1 million? That’s supposed to swing the election?
    2. A bunch of minor social media activity?
    3. A few fake rallies. Did anyone even show up? It’s not clear from the indictment if the rallies took place; certainly, no attendance figures are given.
    4. No claims are made about actual votes being hacked.
    5. Of course, the Russians won’t extradite any of these characters.
    The whole thing seems to be more about some hackers trying to make some profit off the election, most likely by driving pageviews or clicks, rather than any influence campaign.
    The Israeli effort to influence US politics, were it ever described fully, would even more make this look even more inconsequential.

  15. turcopolier says:

    Outrage Beyond
    The major action in the putative conspiracy in the IC leadership and the DoJ/FBI has yet to be declared by Mueller. pl

  16. turcopolier says:

    I confess to being a crude old soldier. pl

  17. turcopolier says:

    We have been naughty as well? So what? I never said the SVR or Putin’s oligarch pal’s op were involved in Trump’s other liabilities. should we purge Trump for screwing whores? Not unless you are the reincarnation of Cotton Mather. pl

  18. GeneO says:

    JamesT- “There are a lot of countries that can start issuing indictments against Americans that have “interfered” in their elections…”
    I agree.
    But it seems to me that you are implying that because of our own “interference” we should lay back and enjoy the reaming instead of crying rape.

  19. turcopolier says:

    Call it what you like but you should abandon the sanctimonious bullshit. We should get out there and do it to them better than they did us. pl

  20. Kooshy says:

    IMO , as of today the CWII is officially announced (warned) to American people. From this point on, all Americans are warned if knowingly or unknowingly they are involved with whom or what is considered a foreign disinformation operation may be subject to prosecution for un-American acts.
    The good point is, that we now completely in economic and political war/ opposition with Russia, so let’s hope god help us all, not to get in to a intercontinental thermo hot war.

  21. pj says:

    I found the indictment disturbingly thin on scale or significance. A budget of 1.25 million is cited for Project Lakhta, but that project had domestic efforts in Russia, as well as in many other countries besides the USA. How much was on the USA? Unclear. It cites social media monthly ad buys in the thousands of dollars. In lawyer speak, that means it’s not in the tens or thousand of dollars, but somewhere between 1 and 9 thousand. Not much! Nevertheless that level of ad buy fits with what Facebook reported – that there was a total of about $100,000 of ad buys from Russia. But Facebook also stated that a little more than half of that was spent after the election, and the remainder was split between battleground and non-battleground states. The indictment also cites the promotion of many campaign rallies, but never states how many actually happened, or what was the size of the ones that did happen. Or, what was the significance? It appears that a grand jury can not only indict a ham sandwich, but also a piroshki.

  22. SmoothieX12 says:

    My SWAG is that Trump is vulnerable to charges of screwing bimbos
    But what a way to go:)) Just joking, I am happily married for 35 years almost.

  23. Cold War Zoomie says:

    Foreign spies in our country funded by foreign power with the sole purpose of influencing our election is not a “nothingburger.”

  24. SmoothieX12 says:

    I don’t argue with that, my specific point is that Muller’s indictment seems to have very little to do with SVR and more with PR and ideology. Spy business is a dirty one on all sides and it is what it is.

  25. Yeah, Right says:

    Looking at that indictment I would think that Mueller’s biggest nightmare is if all 13 of those indicted turn up at a US airport with their arms outstretched and saying “OK, arrest me, I look forward to my day in court”.
    To argue – as Mueller argues – that “impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the government through fraud and deceit for the purpose of interfering with the U.S. political and electoral processes” is to “defraud the United States” seems to me to be a very hard sell to a jury.
    “fraud and deceit” for the purposes of scamming money from Uncle Sam’s coffers would strike me as being something you could argue: “the accused claimed $xxxxmillion of *your* money, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, money that they weren’t entitled to claim”.
    But “fraud and deceit for the purpose of interfering with the U.S. political and electoral processes” is, well, a nothing.
    It would be like Mueller making it a crime for one politician to lie about another politician, or for any TV talking-head to make scurrilous accusations about a candidate.
    Put a dollar-value on it, sure, then “fraud” becomes something you can send someone to the slammer for. But that’s not the case here, is it?
    Or am I missing something?

  26. J says:

    So who/whom in the upcoming Russian elections should we interfere (oh my bad the political correct term – back), Putin or his opponent? What kind of an I/O and which screw-up agency should we use for the operation, the fumbling CIA or the inept fall over their own shoe-laces State Department? The reason I say such is that the CIA screwed the pooch in Syria, and the State Department screwed the other pooch in the Ukraine and installed Nazis, Hitler type Nazis no less.
    Funny thing is, in our Presidential elections, I could not do a Putin write-in (I really asked the question), the election board (with a dumbfounded look on their faces) wouldn’t let me.

  27. Clueless Joe says:

    Is anyone doubting that the US are spending right now more money than that in trying to influence the current Russian presidential election?
    I sincerely hope this is just an elaborate scheme and that this part merely lays down the groundwork to mass-indictment of the Israel-First crowd, 1 or 2 years from now.

  28. Dr.puck says:

    Do you have any credible data to back up your claims about the American peoples’ priorities?

  29. catherine says:

    I am sorry but I find most of this (except the criminal acts of identity theft and etc.) to be ridiculous.
    So this Russian group ‘influenced’ the election with thousands of comments, net ads and activism?….As if there weren’t a hundred thousand real Americans on the net doing the exact same thing…but we are expected to believe it was the Russians that had all the influence and cost Hillary the election?
    I have yet to see and don’t think we are going to see any direct tie to Trump or Putin, although the usual pundits are claiming that Putin is involved because Yevgeniy Prigozhin who financed the net effort is Putin’s chef. if he is Putin’s personal chef…which he isn’t, he caters some dinners and owns a restaurant that Putin has taken foreign dignitaries.
    Anyway this sort of thing pales in comparison to our own ‘interference’ in other countries leadership like the US CIA instigated overthrow of Iran in 1953 among one.
    Maybe our would be masters of the universe will learn that in todays cyber world anyone can play regime games.

  30. Kooshy says:

    Apparently similar thing just happened in Iran, a dude, a college professor acting as an environmentalist, for protecting rear Asian Chitas in Iranian deserts, was cut transmitting videos ( and soul and plant samples) of remote cameras he had installed near Iranian missile sites, apparently with a good cover to monitor (flying)Chitas. They say, he’s been watched for a few years. While in jail and under interrogation, he went to restroom and found dead.

  31. scott s. says:

    doug —
    Actually it’s not perfectly legal for Americans to do it (dollars pushing Hillary). I myself have been cited by our state’s Campaign Spending Commission for making an excess contribution to an organization which the CSC deemed to be a political activity subject to contribution limits. FEC has plenty of its own regulations for federal elections.

  32. catherine says:

    ”The Israeli effort to influence US politics, were it ever described fully, would even more make this look even more inconsequential.”
    LOL…exactly! If Russia wanted to control US policy they should just buy themselves some US politicians like the Israeli Fifth Column does.

  33. GeneO says:

    PL – ” We should get out there and do it to them better than they did us.”
    Absolutely! No way we should take it without giving out a payback. Hit them where it hurts I say. I don’t consider that being sanctimonious.

  34. Bobo says:

    Today’s indictments seem that a faction of the Russian IO has been corralled but this Cyber effort is only part of a much larger effort that still needs to be revealed by Muller in fulfilling his duties. I find the below link instructive to Russian intent and capabilities. Whether our capabilities are superior or not I do not know but do hope we have our act together.
    The question arises to what was our NSA doing when a foreign entity was sending data through public links into this country using domestic infrastructure to disseminate garbage throughout our numerous social media.

  35. Fred says:

    How about Harambe and Pepe? The 4chan/8chaners ran a bunch of memes in the election cycle and drove plenty of media coverage. Yesterday a 4channer trolled the MSM to make them connect the arrested high school shooter as a “white supremacist”. I don’t see anything in this indictment indicating the Russians were doing their IO ops there.

  36. Anna says:

    Freedom of speech?

  37. Anna says:

    Why don’t you make some intelligent comparisons between “our” meddling and “their” meddling?
    Here is a story of the “most blatant coup d’etat” run by the State Dept. and the CIA; the former is represented by Nuland-Kagan and the latter is represented by Brennan:
    Do you see differences in documentation? The hard facts about Maidan Revolution of Indecency on one hand (the coup included a removal of a legally elected president) and the fuzzy pronouncements by Mueller and by unreliable Brennan. Do you want to indict trolls? What about BBC, WaPo, and a swarm of other controlled media organizations that work as channels for “deciders” i.e. oligarchs, Wall Street, and weapon producers? Yellow cake in Iraq, anybody?
    Instead of cleaning the Augeas’ stables of the DOJ, the FBI, and the CIA – and thus strengthening the national security for real — the bureaucrats are up to catching some probable trolls. The obvious solution, from the bureaucrats’ perspective, would be to shut up the social media and to establish a Thought Department. I guess, this site would not survive such appraoch.
    The important Q remains: Who have initiated the meddling of the US security apparatus into electoral politics?

  38. Bill Herschel says:

    Well, I can imagine reasons why he would want to screw bimbos and steal from suckers, but why on earth would Russians work to get him elected? The three most important things in crime are motive, motive, and motive.
    It may, or it may not, be true that the Russians “own” Trump (Moscow hotels and prostitutes), but does it really make a difference?
    What we do know now is that they tried to put their thumb on the scale in the election. And we know for whom the thumb was put. Interesting. One wonders if they have rued the day. if Trump was the only Republican candidate who could beat Clinton and the Russians knew that, it becomes much, much more interesting.
    And it is entertaining to see Conservatives slathering the pig with lipstick.

  39. paul says:

    so they found a “social media engineering company” and are going to indict it’s staff and funding sources, thats great. seems to have nothing at all to do with trump unless someone somewhere is going to show trump paid for this effort,
    i hate trump, but the bandwagon to impeach him for anything that they can make stick is probably one of the most dangerous impulsis in our country today, id say every president since Clinton(and not for the blowjob) deserved impeachment more than trump
    would be a nice precedent if it were applied to some other countries that routinely exert significant control on our elections but want all americans to believe its entirely grass roots.

  40. Fred says:

    Who were the dear heroines of Puszy Riot supporting when the democrats trolled them about various US college campuses a few years back? Maybe we can give them another gig and hire Victoria Nuland to hand out cookies during the show?

  41. Green Zone Café says:

    I still think Mueller will drop enough “facts” to force Trump out. “Facts” here as a legal term-of-art, as provable allegations (if the jury believed them), not necessarily hard objective facts. A possible example: “Carter Page stated that Donald Trump, Jr. had told him he contacted Wikileaks to time the release of emails which he stated had been hacked by Russians”
    Trump will go, because The Powers That Be are be sick of the drama, and because Pence is a tolerable alternative until 2021. The most likely vehicle from what’s been revealed so far is arm-twisting through Don, Jr., an array of promised testimony by Page, Flynn, Manafort, Papadapoulos against Trump or his children.

  42. Tel says:

    From the Indictment:

    “U.S. law bans foreign nationals from making certain expenditures or financial disbursements for the purpose of influencing federal elections. U.S. law also bars agents of any foreign entity from engaging in political activities within the United States without first registering with the Attorney General.”

    That’s a very questionable assertion. It would be illegal for foreign entities to donate DIRECTLY to Trump’s campaign (although since the Obama campaign back in 2008 was able to get a large number of donations under the $200 threshold there were rumors going around that some of these might be foreign, but very difficult to get any evidence).
    However, any foreign citizen operating under the fairly broad umbrella of the US Constitution would automatically be protected by 1st Amendment rights, and as we found in the Citizen’s United decision, the US Constitution is still superior to legislated election funding law and both individuals and groups are entitled to express their opinion on Hillary Clinton, regardless of how negative said opinion might be.
    Any foreign citizen operating completely outside the US Constitution would not be obliged to obey US law in any case. The USA can make laws regarding which donations political parties are allowed to accept, but they cannot make laws about what some random Russian can post on a blog somewhere.

  43. robt willmann says:

    Here is the indictment in the pdf computer format of the 13 defendants as Russian actors as posted on the Department of Justice website–

  44. doug says:

    There are a lot of regulations sure, but you can say anything you want on a web site or twitter account. First amendment has a broad reach and there is nothing illegal about all the nonsense distributed on them. Us Americans have a long, rich tradition of doing so on whatever media has been available to us for a few hundred years. Lots of people on the left pull their hair out over Drudge et all. Just as many sites polarized the other way. Antifa has a big following in certain areas.
    I do think the First Amendment is going to be severely tested because of the new tech. Its insulating people into silos where they think their particular point of view has special merit and others are the enemy. Interesting times.

  45. JPB says:

    Anna –
    IMHO Nuland is a dirtbag. And the same for anyone else that aids and abets neo-Nazis whether in the Ukraine, or Western Europe, or America.
    But give me a break about what you call “a legally elected president”. Yanukovych was an outright gangster.

  46. Peter AU says:

    From the indictment…
    “For example, on or about May 29, 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators, through an ORGANIZATION-controlled social media account, arranged for a real U.S. person to stand in front of the White House in the District of Columbia under false pretenses to hold a sign that read “Happy 55th Birthday Dear Boss.” Defendants and their co-conspirators informed the real U.S. person that the sign was for someone who “is a leader here and our boss … our funder.” PRIGOZHIN’s Russian passport identifies his date of birth as June 1, 1961.”
    OOOHHH, that is nasty. So what else these naughty Russians been up to? What is the names of the blogs ect they have been using to take the sweet innocent US cherry?
    With the above as the only example…? Jeez.

  47. Peter AU says:

    Perhaps the Russians are that incompetent that they get people protesting/cheering their birthday, when it is not even their birthday, but amongst the people born 29th may is JFK.

  48. Peter AU says:

    Looked at a lot of roos through a Carl Zeiss scope, but now I get to watch genuine kangaroo courts. Nothing better than a good show trial before the hanging.

  49. J says:

    It’s call ‘ignore it and life goes on.’
    Data? Most could care less about ‘data’, they care about the day to day life issues, it’s the screwed up D.C. politicians and the media clowns who go ape and gaga about ‘data’.
    The American populace aka Mom and Pop America care about their babies who are teething, they care and worry about having enough groceries in their pantry to feed their loved ones, they care about being able to care for their elderly parents and grand parents, and not let the screwed-up D.C. politicians steal anymore from their Social Security funds to funnel to their Mercenary buddies who give them a fin under the table (politically correct term Private Military Contractors).
    That’s the ‘data’, the REAL data they worry about it.
    You want figures? Try burying a son or daughter because of an unnecessary war (Iraq and Afghanistan, and now Syria for starters) that screwed up D.C. politicians and their Vampire Private Military Contractor buddies come up with.
    Go out into the street late at night and see how many American homeless are sleeping under newspapers, or in makeshift cardboard huts, or go to your local Hospital’s Emergency rooms and see young mothers with their crying sick babies because they can’t afford the exorbitant health insurance fees, or go to your local homeless shelter, or local soup kitchen. That is the REAL data, staring one right in their face.
    Mom and Pop America are being bled dry by corrupt politicians, and stupid dog and pony shows like Mueller’s waste of space Russia-gate investigations (it really should be called Intel-gate as it’s about screwed up Intel and Law Enforcement Agencies). [Brennan, Clapper, and the corrupt FBI bunch belong in Gitmo prison lock-ups for all the unnecessary deaths they have caused and all the taxpayer money they have wasted and squandered.]
    Day to day life issues are the American peoples’ priorities.
    What’s your priority?

  50. J says:

    Heavy sigh, Fred I think it’s time you and I went out and had a beer (several kegs worth) with our portable chairs in hand, and sat down and watched the continuation of the parade of clowns.
    LOL, isn’t life grand?

  51. Peter AU says:

    “God help America. We’ve lost our damn minds.” you can extend that to canada as well..
    Extend that to Australia too. We now have Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr. appointed as Trump’s ambassador to oz, to take us to war with China.

  52. LondonBob says:

    The timeline fits with when the overthrow of the government in the Ukraine began and it would presumably be a response to that. Fits with my impression the Russian security state was asleep at the wheel, more interested in their various money making schemes. As for the effort itself, it doesn’t seem as if it is much above a money making scam that sought to drive traffic to sites with plenty of ads, this is Mueller so a I am not sure if this is not actually the case here. When it comes to information war the Russians aren’t at the same level of a number of state, and nonstate, actors. Why bother to sow chaos in the US, people like the media and Soros do that already. So much for the Russian ‘threat’.
    I don’t share your optimism on Mueller, it is obvious his investigation is petering out, and it has been rightly undermined, but it’s purpose remains the same. If we ever get to see the other texts I am sure they will prove Mueller was the insurance policy. Still they bankrupted and forced Flynn to plead guilty for nothing, although it looks like the new judge is looking again at that now, so they set out with obstruction and impeachment as their goal, even if they fail in that.

  53. Bill H says:

    We have been naughty as well? As turcopolier said, So what?
    One of my big peeves of the Omababots was the defense they offered whenever he was accused of something bad. “Well, George Bush did it too.” As if George Bush, who they thought was evil incarnate, doing it made it okay for Obama to do it. Some defense. He was evil only in the same way that George Bush was.
    It’s okay for Russia to mess with us because you think we did it to them first. No wait, we didn’t do it to them, we did it to somebody else, so it’s okay for them to do it to us.
    Is it even possible to have a logical political discussion in this country? Probably not.

  54. Peter AU says:

    The indictment is somewhat vague. Did the placard waver do the deed on PRIGOZHIN’s Russian passport birthday of June 1, or was he/she a US patriot waving the placard on the anniversary of JFK’s birth, 29 May?

  55. Louis Joseph says:

    @JPB, it’s not only Anna’s point of view: “According to an OSCE report the elections are in line with European standards and were “much more democratic than in many other former Soviet countries.”

  56. “ensuring Hawk Hillary lost to “businessman” Trump is a no-brainer.”
    Except nothing the Russians did – or could do – would accomplish that (short of assassinating Hillary.)
    The basic problem with the entire scenario – the Russians knew nothing would work, so it’s insane to think they’d try.
    The big problem with all this “Russian conspiracy” talk is that, for example, even if you prove Russia hacked the DNC, there is still ZERO evidence that Wikileaks got the emails from them (aside from Guccifer 2.0 – which is a joke in itself).
    Everything else in Russiagate follows the same pattern: someone claims someone did something, but then is utterly incapable of 1) following it up with any real evidence either that anyone was involved with or acting on orders from the Russian government at any level, and 2) showing any actual RESULTS in terms of the outcome of the election to justify all this “massive Russian meddling.”
    ALL of the alleged “evidence” reduces to 1) Russia had the “desire” in the OPINION of certain people with agendas, 2) Russia had the capability in the OPINION of certain people with agendas, and “trust us” on the previous two points.
    It’s absurd on the face of it.

  57. I should also remind everyone again as I noted in the last two threads that the so-called “Internet Research Agency” was a bunch of anti-Russian Russians recruited by the CIA to do this trolling and some of them in turn were arrested and tried as CIA spies by Russia.
    Once again, this indictment is a ridiculous joke and sign of the utter desperation of Mueller and his failed “investigation”/witch hunt.
    It is in no sense any sign of any Russian influence operation. It is a sign of a very extensive CIA disinformation campaign.

  58. Alexander Mercouris analyses the indictments:
    Mueller indicts some Russians; clears Trump campaign of collusion (detailed analysis of latest indictment)
    He makes the same arguments others have made here – that $1.2 million is a joke amount.
    The third thing to say about the indictment – and a point which has been almost universally overlooked in all the feverish commentary about it – is that it makes no claim that the Russian government was in any way involved in any of the activities of the persons indicted.
    Nowhere in the indictment is the Russian government or any official of the Russian government or any agency of the Russian government mentioned at all. Nor at any point in the indictment is it suggested that any of the persons indicted were employed by the Russian government or were acting under its instructions or on its behalf.
    End Quote
    Given that we know these people were working for a private individual and that they were basically anti-Russian Russians, and that some of them were arrested as CIA spies, clearly there is zero evidence of any of this pointing to the Russian government in any way.
    As Mercouris notes:
    Prigozhin has in fact long been identified in Russia as the owner of the notorious Internet Research Agency, LLC, the supposed Russian “troll farm” operating out of a nondescript building in St. Petersburg (shown in caption photograph).
    It has moreover often been suggested in Russia that Internet Research Agency, LLC, is Prigozhin’s own personal project.
    Certainly no public information linking the Internet Research Agency, LLC, to the Russian government or to any Russian state institution has ever come to light.
    End Quote
    He also notes that Rosenstein’s press conference pretty much clears Trump and his associates of having anything whatever to do with this. He suggests that the intent of this indictment is to give Mueller a reason to keep his job under “FBIgate.”

  59. aleksandar says:

    ” After presidential election p23 ”
    1 – So at the same time this ” ORGANIZATION ” has created rallies FOR and AGAINST DJT ?
    2 – Does anybody in the IC actually think that such an amateurish work has been done by SVR operatives ?
    3 – Did that they has changed the result of 2016 election ?
    This indictment lead nowhere, just a way to keep Mueller’s investigation alive.

  60. Harry says:

    Surely the Ukrainian operation was a US success?
    Bad news for the Ukrainian people in my humble opinion but still, it increases US influence in the region.

  61. Harry says:

    I actually read the indictment – and many thanks to our host for posting it. So the Russian state spent (in the style of Austin Powers with pinkie finger in mouth) 1 MILLION DOLLARS on its effort to spread confusion in America (ok 1.25mn but its not as funny).
    Well thats what i call value for money! I mean how much confusion and disunity could you ask for? Still a crime i guess, but not amusing that Robbie Mook managed to spend 1bn dollars to far less effect.
    I hope Sanders hires the Russians for his 2020 campaign and not Mr. Mook.
    Thank heavens Putin didnt double the budget. Imagine what might have happened. By now Tyler would be voting Sanders.
    I also liked the serious expertise the Russians are alleged to have displayed. Following their secret (and illegal) intelligence gathering trip to America, the operatives concentrated their resources on the “purple states”, due to intelligence they picked up in the field.
    Whoever wrote the indictment must moonlighting at the Onion or Daily Mash.

  62. Peter AU says:

    “Looks to me like a very professional operation I look forward to more indictments.”
    Some time after “Let’s see them! pl” registered in my homebrew addled cpu.
    A protester holding a placard on the anniversary of JFK’s birth date as evidence of Russian collusion..? Jeez

  63. LondonBob says:

    Of course Russia has no extradition treaty with the US so Mueller will never have to prove anything. I suppose it does attempt to justify extending his probe to midterms.
    So a summary would be the “conspiracy” started in 2014, and cost a whopping $1.2 MILLION, which includes salaries, tech support, and bonuses. The indictment includes info that the Russians ran ads supporting Black Lies Matter, Muslims, Jill Stein, Ted Cruz, Rubio, and Trump. They also organized rallies in support of, and in opposition to Trump and Hillary Clinton. They continued their activities up into 2017, still organizing pro-Clinton and pro-Trump rallies. At one point, the indictment says that the Russians ran an ad that reached 59,000 people, which is laughable, people with a camera in their kitchen get more views than that. Essentially, after about 1.5 years of investigating “Russian collusion” this is all they’ve come up with

  64. per says:

    (Is this what Russian meddling has come down to? The Russians were supposed to have hacked the DNC servers and given the information to Wikileaks – and now this? The mountain gave birth to a mouse.)
    My take: After the orange revolution in 2004, the Russians got interested in “political technology”. For example, the youth group Nashi was set up as an anti-Maidan flash mob. Russian interest in political technology was further strengthened by the serious regime-change operation that the US conducted before and during the Russian presidential elections in 2012. So the Russians have been experimenting with “political technology”. This group, the Internet Research Agency, may be part of this activity. It may be funded by self-styled patriotic anti-Soros oligarchs, with or without a nod from the Kremlin/intelligence services.
    There was never a Russian effort to sway the US elections. First, the size of the operation makes this impossible. More importantly, it goes against the grand strategy of Russian foreign policy: the promotion of the view that states are sovereign and equal irrespective of political regime, and that regime-change policies are against international law. Furthermore, the risk-reward calculus from serious meddling in US elections are unfavourable.
    At the same time, Russia has to stay knowledgeable in the field of political technology. So it is conceivable that official Russia gave a nod to these activities, considered to be within traditional bounds of great-power shenanigans.

  65. Harry says:

    “Defendants and their co-conspirators typically charged certain U.S. merchants and U.S. social media sites between 25 and 50 U.S. dollars per post for promotional content on their popular false U.S. persona accounts, including Being Patriotic, Defend the 2nd, and Blacktivist. All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349.”
    Did the Russians make money from this effort?

  66. bks says:

    Excellent summary of the legal implications at National Security focused Lawfare:

  67. $1.25 million a month for inventing social media propaganda is a lot of dough. They were also making ad buys, and hiring unwitting stooges, so maybe that ate up the money fast. Maybe they were putting caviar on the delivery pizzas?

  68. Anna says:

    Of course Yanykovitch was a gangster elected a president of Ukraine according to a law.
    And Clinton is…? And Blair is….? And Hollande is…? And Sarkozy is…? And the Saudis are…?

  69. Anna says:

    Mueller looks like a human-size puppet and an unhappy one.
    By criminalizing trolling, the US security apparatus creates a precedent for criminalizing the multitude of NGOs and other foot soldiers of the “Foundation for Defense of Democracies” (the Lobby’ arm), Radio Free Europe, Voice of America and such. Seems that the security apparatus activists have given up on the “democracy promoters” abroad and are trying to focus on puppeteering (gas-lighting) the US citizenry to available extend. (By the way, after the criminalization of BDS, the next step – promotion of thought police – comes naturally). The opportunists occupying the high-level positions in the (supposedly) national security apparatus have become mainly the defenders of their cushions, by any means.
    “As law professor Michael Glennon has pointed out in his book “National Security and Double Government,” the result is a federal government in which the military, the CIA, and the NSA are in charge. They are the ones actually calling the shots. But they permit the other three branches to maintain the façade that they are in charge, including periodically going along with decisions in the other three branches to keep Americans thinking that everything is the same as it always has been.
    Consider the Pentagon’s and the CIA’s torture center, prison, and kangaroo tribunal system at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. … That model, as we now know, entailed kidnappings, bounties, torture, indefinite detention, no criminal defense attorneys, denial of speedy trial, kangaroo military tribunals, use of hearsay evidence, use of evidence acquired through torture, denial of due process of law, and other violations of long-established criminal-justice procedures that stretch back to Magna Carta in 1215.”

  70. Adrestia says:

    39. To hide their Russian identities and ORGANIZATION affiliation, Defendants and their coconspirators-particularly POLOZOV and the ORGANIZATION’s IT department-purchased space on computer servers located inside the United States in order to set up virtual private networks (“VPNs”). Defendants and their co-conspirators connected from Russia to the U.S.—based infrastructure by way of these VPNs and conducted activity inside the United States—including accessing online social media accounts, opening new accounts, and communicating with real U.S. persons—while masking the Russian origin and control of the activity.

    There are better ways to hide and obfuscate your tracks. This is very superficial. Either they are not as smart as they think or it was done on purpose to create a (paper)trail that can be followed.
    It says nothing on who hired them? The same applies to the Dutch hack of Cozy Bear.
    Just because it was done from Russia doesn’t mean that it was Russia. If I would try to implicate the Russians in offensive cyber-operations (now punishable by nuke) as a non-Russian actor I would do something like this. Hire some smart – but not too smart – commercial companies and give them some broad guidelines. Everybody loves to play the spy game.
    However when they indeed have been able to influence the elections with their puny budget, I would hire them immediately. Much cheaper and effective than normal marketing/propaganda.

  71. Anna says:

    The security apparatus is in a Trump-taming mode. Most likely, the Powers That Be would love to hush the scandal a little bit.

  72. Anna says:

    And there was also Bush the lesser…

  73. Daily Beast article eight days ago is worth reading. They predicted a federal wire fraud charge in any social media operation, as in yesterday’s indictment (although yesterday didn’t involve the Trump campaign). In same article, their outline of a possible conspiracy charge against Trump on the hacked DNC emails, if he learned of it (even 1. after the fact, and 2. no matter who hacked them) is logical:

  74. Fred says:

    What we see in the indictment is that nobody is charged with spending money to influence the campaign. My interpretation is that this is the borg’s take that the 1st Amendment doesn’t apply to foreign nationals. For example,
    ” Defendants and their co-conspirators began to track and study groups on U.S. social media sites dedicated to U.S. politics and social issues. In order to gauge the performance of various groups on social media sites, the ORGANIZATION 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.”
    I wonder who else does these nefarious things – track and study groups on US social media sites dedicated to US politics. Besides every university on the planet and most of the media outlets too. Perhaps we can ask a FBI director if his wife did this type of thing at Fusion GPS? But that would be ok, she was a US person. Not informing the FBI what she was doing might need to be investigated though. I wonder if Mueller will need another few months to figure that out?
    “Defendants and their co-conspirators also traveled, and attempted to travel, to the United States under false pretenses…”
    When the former Presidents of Mexico come to the US to give speeches in Cities with large immigrant populations do they intend only to talk about economics or are they actually trying to influence voting in elections?
    What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If foreign nationals don’t have constitutional protection of the 1st amendment they better stfu and oh, that legal right to representation doesn’t apply to non-citizens like the DACA dreamers. Perhaps the legal wizards assembled in the swamp might re-consider.
    “Defendants and their co-conspirators also used, possessed and transferred, without lawful authority, the social security numbers and dates of birth of real US persons without those persons knowledge or consent…”
    Sounds exactly like what is being done by a whole lot of illegals – the same ones being defended by the left.

  75. semiconscious says:

    ‘The whole thing seems to be more about some hackers trying to make some profit off the election, most likely by driving pageviews or clicks, rather than any influence campaign…’
    tada! we have a winner!…
    & everyone involved in this, knows this. including the msm, who simply refuse to mention it. this’s all it’s ever been, & it’s still being done. it’s a basic element of the internet, at this point…

  76. turcopolier says:

    Peter AU
    Perhaps you should look at the totality of the operation rather than seeking some stupid thing with which to task me. pl

  77. pl,
    “Perhaps you should look at the totality of the operation rather than seeking some stupid thing with which to task me.”
    What was that about?

  78. turcopolier says:

    I mis-addressed my comment. It was meant for Peter AU who implied that because some wag sent a man with a placard to stand outside the WH on JFK’s birthday that indicated that Project Lakhta was not a serious matter. Sorry. pl

  79. Eric Newhill says:

    So much talk and speculation. Let’s see the actual content of the diabolical Russian internet postings. That would help people make up their minds about the seriousness of this matter and whether or not they were influenced.
    Maybe someone will see one of the clever posts and say, “Holly crap! I thought that was real news. When I read that, it was the information that made me decide to vote for Trump”.
    Then again, maybe not. At least we could assess impact.
    Is the content available anywhere? If not, why not? I haven’t been able to locate it so far.

  80. iowa steve says:

    Prior to seeking the indictments, Mueller was aware of course that none of the allegations would ever see the light of day in a courtroom as the individuals will never be tried. One can argue that the indictments just form the basis for conspiracy charges against US citizens over whom the court will be able to obtain jurisdiction. In my opinion however I see no reason why any supposed conspirators would not have been named and charged in those indictments.
    One can also hypothesize that the indictments are being used to pressure supposed conspirators to cooperate. But I would also think that the same pressure could have been applied in meetings with defense counsel by alluding to the evidence.
    There was no need to indict in my opinion other than to establish a narrative for the press.

  81. J says:

    The Ukrainian operation was and still is a dud, all it is doing is waking up the former Eastern Europa to how lost-with-out-a-clue D.C. foreign policy really is. The Eastern Europeans still feel the pain of World War II and the Nazis who brutalized them. Yes after World War II the Soviet machine, better yet the Stalin machine ran roughshod over Eastern Europe. When the Soviet Union finally collapsed because of their excesses (and crafted banking pressures by the House of Rothschild banking infrastructures), the Eastern Europeans were hoping for a ray of sun and a breath of fresh air. They saw the U.S. as the shiny castle on the mountain, the bright shiny hope. In rolls Soros and his colored revolution working in cahoots with the simmering seething Nazis who have been planning for years to rise the Nazi Swastika once again. The Stephen Bandera Nazis of the Ukraine were emboldened and started persecuting the Russian enclaves in the artificially constructed nation called the Ukraine. So what do persecuted people do when they are being persecuted, they cry for help, and Moscow heard that cry, and thus annexation of the historically Russian Crimea took place.
    Moscow (better yet, the clear eyed Влади́мир Влади́мирович Пу́тин) learned well from the bumbled State Department screw-up called the failed Georgian Міхеіл Саакашвілі sock-puppet in Georgia that State installed, who was later thrown out by his fellow Georgians because they saw Міхеіл for the screw-up he really was.
    What we see is the artifically constructed Ukraine returning to its historical roots basically. The Russian Crimea for the Russians, and the rest of it for the haggling Europas and those Europas who have historically had spats with the Russian bear.
    IMO Trump needs to shut down those U.S. military lily pads that have been constructed in the artificial Ukraine. They by their close proximity to the Russian border is only exacerbating and bring us closer to WWIII. This is what the Stephan Bandera Nazis and other European Nazis have been wanting all these years, WWIII.
    So keeping all this in mind, do you really think that the U.S. has increased its influence, and D.C.’s Ukrainian operation a success?
    It’s a success if you want WWIII, exchange of Tactical Nuclear weapons.

  82. PaulR says:

    Try these: Tweets from ‘ten sample influential Russian trolls.’ As you can see, deadly stuff.

  83. J says:

    Also, FYI, Анато́лий Алекса́ндрович Собча́к was the mentor and confidant of Влади́мир Влади́мирович Пу́тин. The late Собча́к was the first democratically elected mayor of St. Petersburg, and co-authored the Russian Federation Constitution. It was/is Собча́к mentoring that helped shape Пу́тин into the clear-eyed Russian nationalist that he is.
    Why you see the Russian economy rebounding has a lot to do with Пу́тин kicking out the U.K. based House of Rothschild vampires. If our U.S. would do the same, we would start to see our U.S. economy rebounding even more than it is.

  84. Anna says:

    Then you should love “Putin killed Litvinenko”, “Putin killed Nemtsov”, “Putin shot MN-17” et cet. No hard evidence required. Just name recognition. Is not it beautiful that agent Steele was deeply involved in Litvinenko case as well? How about Nemtsov dying with a backdrop of the Kremlin walls. So convenient. At the time of his untimely death in a company of a very young “model” he had 1% rating in Russia, was widely despised by Russians (not because he was Jewish) — but cherished by western “promoters of democracy.”

  85. Anna says:

    “Bad news for the Ukrainian people…”
    Not for Ukrainian people only. Russians have been on alert expecting American military “meddling” any time (Russians have much more vivid memories about the WWII than Americans at large; Russia had been invaded for years and her losses — both civilian and military — were enormous). The Eastern Europeans are not happy with Ukrainian migrants. Israel is not happy that Ukraine has become the most anti-semitic country in Europe thanks to the proliferation of neo-Nazism after Nuland-Kagan revolution in Kiev. Yet somehow, the Ukrainian people elected the first Jewish prime minister of Ukraine.

  86. confusedponderer says:

    Surely the Ukrainian operation was a US success?
    And what an amazing success … how was that again? Iirc ‘neoconette’ Nuland, the fair lady that wanted to f*** the EU (and likely Russia too), proudly said the US spent 5 billion on Ukraine (that’d be $ 1167,10 pro citizen) and named Poroshenko as the US preference. And oddly, that guy later became Ukraine’s president and the country fell into civil war.
    And that was Russia’s fault? Because they didn’t bend over and said “thank you”?
    IMO the numbers Nuland spoke of are well beyond ‘collusion’ but about ‘regime change’ in order to ‘change’ or ‘shape’ a foreign political system.
    I’d say it was rather happy and thoughtless playing with fire in a fuel storage facility. What a surprise it must have been to learn that fuel burns.
    In comparison to the stunt played on Ukraine, and in light of the intensity of ‘investment’ made there and the mayhem it has caused, Russiagate – i.e. Russia … no: Putin, or maybe just some Russians, spending a couple thousand dollars on ads in the US and do some hacking here and there is nothing but a joke.
    To ‘play a Ukraine’ on the US, Russia would have had to spend … what … at $ 1167,10 per citizen … what … $ 376.687.772.486,30? That’d be 376 billion?
    Alas, Russia didn’t spend that, just something below $ 10.000. And that’s it? Good grief. Either there is nothing or the Russians are just extremely effective and cunning.

  87. bluetonga says:

    Well if anything, let’s give it to them : they can really make the best out of very frugal means. With a mere 21 Mn $ and a 13 member team, they successfully rigg a national election, defeat a largely predicted winner enjoying a 90% plus support from the MSN, wreak havoc in the domestic politics of the only superpower standing.
    Compare that to the 5 billions dollars confessed by V. Nuland in order to advance US interests in Ukraine – that is, ultimately achieve regime change with the ensuing rather disappointing results, and one can only express some respect for the mastery displayed by the Russians.
    Now given all the fuss raised for a year or so on the topic of Russian interference, the high stakes on the domestic scene regarding the credibility of each political side, if not the institutions themselves (congress, FBI, CIA, all of them), the partisan involvment of the media, would’nt have it been odd for Mueller to eventually show up with empty hands?
    So my guess is that he finally enearthed a string of petty but conveniently Russian “criminals”, engaged in some fishy business, trolling around, organizing protests, discussing issues and taking sides on FB, and so on. As noted elsewhere, no clear implication of Russian authorities though, and of course, no hint of any collusion between Trump and the Kremlin. A saving face exit, with some prospect for a prolonged mandate devoted at bush beating, but not too hard. And another bone thrown to the MSN to chew on, bark and yap about for the coming next weeks and months.
    If anything, the whole stunt will have been quite successful at diverting attention from another topic of potential interest : the hopes and expectations of the American voters who operated their own unexpected regime change 15 months ago when they put in the White House their own candidate and not the one previously chosen for them. And this is in my opinion the real issue behind the show. Using foreign countries as theatrical accessories for masking domestic woes won’t do in the distance. Unless, God forbid, clueless fools finally opt for open war out of desperation.

  88. JPB says:

    Anna –
    You may be right about the gangsterism of Clinton, Blair, Hollande, Sarkozy, and the Saudis. But Yanukovych spent several years in jail back in the late 60s for assault and robbery.

  89. Vic says:

    For months I’ve been screaming “where’s the beef”? Here it is at long last! At long last detailed evidence. I’m not impressed.
    It turns out to look just like an American Information Operation. As with those I saw the US Army execute, I’m not impressed. We never were able to justify the money spent on these boondoggles. Measures of effectiveness always focused on process, not results (which we were unable to detect).
    Maybe I was (am) old fashion. I never thought “influencing” the enemy was what the Army was about. I thought resources were better spent killing the enemy. I just as soon let the State Department (or CIA) perform the mission of “influencing” someone. Looks like the Russians followed in our foot steps throwing lots good money away.
    It will be interesting to see if there is any real legal action is taken as the result of this indictment or if it was just a symbolic gesture. As for any future Russian interference in our elections, I’m not worried, it will be as lame as the last one. We have thousands of spin misters, pundits, political consultants, PACs, advocacy groups, media firms, and lobbyists. They dwarf anything the Russians can do. It is like a Russian Mom and Pop operation up against Walmart and Amazon.

  90. Kooshy says:

    If non of the 13 accused Russians don’t show up for hearing in the court, which if they are smart, and out back in a third independent country will not show up. Then by default US wins the case of Russian interference in US elections. Just like various kangaroo court cases US has setup and brought up against alleged Iranian terrorism like the recent 9/11 families case winning a 2 billion court award against Iran. On Iran’s point of view on this kind of court hearings, Iran will not dignify an unreasonable kangaroo judicial system which is setup in a way that either if you show up or not you are the loser.

  91. Fred says:

    Wrong. The Russian State didn’t spend a dime. Maybe you should re-read the indictment. INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY LLC is indicted, not the Russian Federation. Nice try though. You’re not a “foreign person” trying to sow disruption about the US electoral process now are you? Best be careful as Mueller might take notice. He might have a tough time serving a warrant in Istanbul though; if that’s really where you are located.

  92. turcopolier says:

    IMO it is possible that this operation was run by Putin’s caterer friend as a private enterprise with Putin’s tacit agreement. pl

  93. BillWade says:

    John Oliver has a funny accent, probably a fairly large budget and not only has a social media presence but a platform no less. If we don’t indict let’s at least slap some serious sanctions on him.

  94. Harry says:

    I take your point entirely sir, but i cant help but think Nuland Kagan and her friends think anytime you successfully poke the Bear in the eye its a good thing.
    I suggest if you randomly poll State Department senior officials, most would put the “Orange revolution” in the win column.

  95. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Mueller could not, under US statutes, indict a foreign sovereign – except Iran.

  96. Barbara Ann says:

    Mueller’s brief was “to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election” – my emphasis.
    Even Lawfare (@bks linked article in post #69) is helpful in saying

    So while the indictment doesn’t specifically allege a connection between the Internet Research Agency and the Russian government..

    So if this is the “SVR 13” we’ll have to wait for any evidence of such to be presented in a future indictment. Unless Kremlin backing can be proven, Mueller must conclude that his investigation has not found what it was looking for.
    Rosenstein being at pains to stress no wrongdoing by any US citizen is interesting. It may well be this indictment is to put pressure on any US ‘colluders’ to cooperate – or see their names in a future indictment. Or the nothingness so far could just be followed by more of the same. Only time will tell – unless Trump feels he can shut it down now.

  97. Harry says:

    Ha! Lol. Very good sir.
    I am foreign and i admit to taking delight in the “chaos”. I am howver impressed with the American people. Most in Western Europe would have voted the way they were told.

  98. Babak Makkinejad says:

    US legalitically escalated against Iran, against the advise of many, to humiliate that forein soverign. In practice, outside of the pittance that US lawyers are trying to shake out of Iran, it has meant that any settlement between US and Iran is a legal impossibility in the United States. May be next century we might see some movement.

  99. J says:

    Oh one other thing Harry that I forgot to mention, the Russian population CAN survive a nuclear exchange, Пу́тин and his buddies in the дума and Russian Military have made sure of it.
    Neither the Europeans nor our U.S. can survive a nuclear exchange, because of the corrupt politicians on both side of the pond who control the levers of power have been more intent on skimming off the public good, than investing in disaster preparedness infrastructures like what was at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, while the pictures of World War were still fresh in the public minds.

  100. J says:

    It’s the upper echelon State Deparment officials that are the problem, most of them have tunnel vision and can’t see the forest for the trees because they are too busy brown nosing each other, the CIA, and the White House.

  101. Kooshy says:

    Yes, you are right but unless one of two things happens. One If Iran submits and succumbs to US over her sovereignty and independence, two if there is real grass root uprising against the “Real foreign interference” in US politics and elections, which IMO can be very boldly and starving due to the money Borg can spend.

  102. Anna says:

    Here we are, as if coordinated with Mueller’s indictments of 13 trolls:
    “…billionaire hedge funder (and supporter of far-left causes from Eastern Europe to the US) George Soros is calling for supranational governments to intervene and regulate Facebook, Google and other large social media websites…. Soros is claiming the reach of social media firms made them a “public menace” while arguing they had led people to vote against globalist causes… Soros – who recently became the subject of an “anti-Soros” bill in his native Hungary that seeks to limit the activities of groups that for which he’s provided funding – accusations about manipulation are blatantly hypocritical, as anybody familiar with his 30-year campaign to push open borders, multiculturalism and a generally globalist tenor of government would know.”

  103. Tidewater says:

    Thank you for that. That is very well said. I agree with you, for what it’s worth.
    I am beginning to intuit that there is something strange and unusual in constantly seeing Mueller’s countenance in the MSM. He is taking far too long to get his business done. And his business is frivolous. I see him as being harmful to the national interest. We do not seem to be able to move on from the election. He seems to be a roadblock preventing the country from returning to some sort of normality, post Clintons. When I see his face pop up again and again, and with the promise that this is going to go on for a long time, I sense some kind of threat coming from something deep and dark within the American state. I think of George Orwell. Mueller is starting to look like Orwell’s Big Brother. The medium is the message, as McLuhan said. I find Mueller to be mysterious, menacing, and destabilizing. He and his Face need to be gone.

  104. aleksandar says:

    Sorry Sir but do you really think that Putin is such a fool ?
    About The KREMLIN Trolls

  105. Donald says:

    Harry— I loved your jokes about Sanders hiring Putin over Mook, and how, with a mere 2 million or so, Putin could have had Tyler voting for Sanders.
    Because so far at least that is what this amounts to. I am on the left, a Sanders supporter and I despise Trump, but to my mind most liberals have gone nuts. As others have said, the real crimes here are fraud and deserve prosecution, but treating this as a major national security threat seems bonkers. If the Russians could hack the voting machines, that would be a threat, but the cure for that would be what the nakedcapitalism bloggers advocate— paper ballots counted by hand in public. We should be doing that anyway.
    As for lies and propaganda, it is part of democracy when we are talking about humans and not angels. What the Russians did was a drop in the bucket compared to what both parties do to the other and amongst themselves during primaries. But Democrats need a comforting story to explain how they lost to the candidate they hoped would win the Republican nomination. It was a massive humiliation. Heck, I hoped he would win the nomination for the same reason other Democrats did. I supported Clinton as the lesser evil compared to any Republican, but I was sure Trump would be the weakest candidate and believed the pollsters who said he would lose.
    The DNC emails are another story, if the Russians did that. But that had impact because it revealed the truth about DNC collusion with Clinton.

  106. turcopolier says:

    What about this operation was “foolish?” pl

  107. Les says:

    Their mistake was not setting up US subsidiaries which would then be exempt under the Citizens United decision. The only other way to get around the law is get dual US citizenship per George Soros.

  108. Imagine says:

    In 2007 Trump was paid $1M to give the headliner speech at a The Learning Annex training convention in Los Angeles. It was standing-room-only at the Convention Center, and the promoter made back all his money plus profit on the event. Trump already well had presidential-level recognition by at least that time.

  109. doug says:

    Keep in mind that Wittes, of that well known lawfare blog, is a close friend of Comey. In fact the guy that Comey gave his notes of meetings with DJT to for forwarding to the press.
    If you want to look further, check out Wittes’ article just before the election where he expanded on what was to be done in the unlikely event DJT won. And he noted he was already on contact with Tribe and others to take it to the courts. Lawfare indeed!
    What I find disingenuous in the article is that the influence by this group of Russians was a critical factor in the election results.

  110. turcopolier says:

    When did you first become aware of your abilities as a mind reader? The $1 million was not motive enough? And beside that he could get some strange, new acquaintance out there in LaLa Land. pl

  111. Imagine says:

    Re: Criminalizing BDS: US successfully puts pressure on U.N. to disappear report of apartheid:
    Freedom of speech/press is being quietly strangled.

  112. Fred says:

    That’s certainly something Mueller needs to clarify or this will hang around for years to come.

  113. Fred says:

    I distinctly remember a staffer for John Dingell being outraged when I pointed out that Obama and the democrats failed to defend the Republic when this first came out before the election. Got “de-friended” by a bunch of folks over that observation. They’re still touchy about it too

  114. Imagine says:

    “Trump already well had presidential-level recognition by at least that time” amongst the populace. He was already well recognized nationwide.
    thus there was no large surge in recognition by 2011.
    apologies for the ambiguity.

  115. Mark Logan says:

    I don’t see what is odd or improper with the DNC colluding with their own candidate.
    On topic, I would say Mueller’s thoughts now seem clearer, “unwitting”. He doesn’t think it likely, or at least provable, the Trump’s wittingly colluded with the Russians. The Trump’s string of petty lies about communications with Russia are thereby simply stupid petty lies. Yet those lies probably provided much of the probably cause in this. Much ado about nothing…unless Mueller ran into a “blue dress” in the course of his investigations.
    It’s plausible some of the Trump’s business dealings with Russians weren’t entirely kosher, he has always been a man with questionable ethics. We must wait and see. Until Mueller announces the conclusion of his investigation the US public, I fear, is going to be informed of little else.

  116. And it is equally possible – and IMNHO far more likely – that the operation was run by these clowns without Putin or anyone else in the Russian government ever being aware of it until some of them got arrested as CIA spies…
    As I’ve said, I don’t believe Putin is this stupid and certainly wouldn’t want the blowback.

  117. Eric Newhill,
    Reference your comment at #82, “So much talk and speculation. Let’s see the actual content of the diabolical Russian internet postings.”
    It was kind of a fluke, but I found a page that is collecting just that. A lot of the accounts have been exposed as Russian in origin a while ago like the TEN_GOP account, much like the IRA and much of the activities cited in the indictment. Little in the indictment surprised me, except for the physical travel to the US by some of the indicted. That was ballsy and something I would have pushed to be part of if I was in Russian Intelligence.
    I only see 49 or so accounts on this page. I can’t remember how many Facebook and Twitter estimated were created. The content covers the political gamut which is in line with the objective of exacerbating the discord that already existed in this country. I remember seeing some of it even though I’m not a Facebook watcher.

  118. NBC Publishes 200,000 Tweets Tied To Russian Trolls
    Someone in the comments notes that “For comparison, there were 3.5 Million Tweets generated in a couple hours during the 2012 VP debate between Biden and Ryan, a debate that didn’t mean squat.”
    The link includes download links so you can personally investigate all of the tweets, you know, if you don’t have a life…

  119. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Likewise for Golda – US, Shamoun the Persian, Moshe Arnes (corporal in US Army), Abba Eban – UK, Moshe Katsav & Shaoul Mofaz – both Iranians, and many more. Yet 25% of Sabra live abroad.

  120. Babak Makkinejad says:

    One has to be very very clear as to what “defending” the Republic could mean. A criticism leveled against Zaid ibn Hussein was that he only pursued a military strategy against those who had martyred his father.

  121. Funniest comment I’ve seen so far concerning the announcement of this indictment is from Ben Jacobs of the Guardian:
    “There’s someone sitting on their bed who weighs 400 pounds who is breathing a sigh of relief right now”

  122. confusedponderer says:

    Afterthought to the Ukraine number that Nuland mentioned:
    Assuming that Russia in sum did just spend $ 10.000 on pro-Trump and anti-Clinton ads in the US … in that case Russia would have spent about $ 3,10 for every US citizen.
    It probably would have been more expensive to give everyone in the US a pack of cigarettes or a glass of marmelade or a bottle of ‘Stalin’ red wine (which actually does exist, and it tastes horrible).
    If that’s true and we assume that with their efforts Russia succeeded (a) to help Trump getting elected and (b) to ruin Clinton, then Russia would be about … 376,5 times more efficient than the US. Convincing? Hardly.

  123. “the objective of exacerbating the discord that already existed in this country.”
    And this is even LESS likely to be achievable than “influencing the election.”
    So which is it? “Influencing the election” or “sewing discord”?
    These people can’t even make up their minds what the Russians actually were trying to do.

  124. In response to Lars post 130 since the direct reply button isn’t working for some reason…
    See my posts in the previous two threads on this subject about the “Kremlin trolls” article by Scott Humor over at The Saker Web site.

  125. Eric Newhill says:

    The Russians owe me some money. Apparently I was working for them. Your link shows posts and comments that could have come from me (or maybe someone else we know).
    Looks to me like the Russians were just imitating the thoughts and sentiments of a cohort of Americans. Sometimes they engaged in what I understand is called “shit posting”. We all know that’s not real news. Just red meat and laughs for the base. I don’t see them shaping opinion. Thin gruel. I guess the ROI is still better than an Iraq invasion. Not bad for government work.
    Agree that we should stop foreign governments from asserting influences. Russia included. I’d start with Mexico, though. If I have to be influenced by a foreign govt I prefer Russia over Israel, Mexico or some Muslims.

  126. SRW says:

    It’s “Mueller Time”. Time for me to set back and enjoy one and watch the show.

  127. NancyK says:

    J, health care in our country is only going to get worse under the Trump administration, and the homeless are going to be in more dire straits with the reduction in social services. Mueller and the FBI are not the problem.

  128. Eric Newhill,
    “the Russians were just imitating the thoughts and sentiments of a cohort of Americans”
    That’s the central point of the whole operation. The messages were amplified by many Americans repeating and forwarding those messages and eventually reached well beyond the base. Much of it leaked into the MSM. You and I knew a lot of it was not real news or just carefully skewed news, but a constant flow of those messages does have an effect on many people. I saw what happened to my father-in-law when he went on a steady diet of “Savage Nation.” These messages were created with an in-depth knowledge of the target audience and guided by the IRA’s AI gaming and simulation section. Way back when I wrote my first post on reflexive control and put most of this committee of correspondence into a tizzy, I said this was a most elegant operation. I still believe that.
    Whether this operation energized anybody to vote for Trump or suppressed any Clinton voters to the extent that it affected the vote is immaterial. (The entire advertising industry is built on the premise that these kinds of operations do work.) Some minds may have been changed, but votes were not. The integrity of the election was maintained.
    The FBI has created a task force to address this issue in the future. “The intention, Tricoli [the task force chief] said, is to shine a light on election interference efforts while leaving it up to companies and the public to make their own decisions about what to do with disinformation, fake news or contaminated online content.” I think it’s a good step and very similar to Soviet and Russian effort to protect its people from foreign influence operations. Unfortunately, it’s a necessary step for all societies. Either that or up our education game to produce citizens who can think critically in our new information environment.

  129. blue peacock says:

    Your post #136
    There was a lot of “traffic” on social media and other media channels during the elections. Both narrow-casted and broadcasted.
    Clinton campaign and supportive PACs had well north of billion dollars to spend. Trump campaign and their PACs had hundreds of millions and a dedicated digital media group out of San Antonio put together by Peter Thiel and Kushner. There was a lot of paid media and unpaid media across the board. The MSM was uniformly for Hillary and many of the major media “journalists” also used social media to propagate their messages. It would not be out of realm that there were $2-5 billion of influence operations during the election cycle in aggregate.
    And in this mix there were foreign citizens and very likely governments and foreign-linked organizations (e.g: AIPAC), among them the Russians. I recall many European political leaders coming out strongly for Hillary (e.g: Merkel) and their messages amplified by US media. Everyone was competing to get the already distracted American voter’s attention.
    You say, “The messages were amplified by many Americans repeating and forwarding those messages and eventually reached well beyond the base.”
    Wouldn’t this hold for every other of the parties pushing memes and messages including all foreign based ones? What is so special about the Russians relative to the others? Why this focus on the Russians and not any of the other foreign-linked influence operations? And why is there no relative comparison of the Russian influence operation vs the Clinton campaign, other foreign influence operations and other domestic influence operations?
    At the end of the day the Russians were not the only ones running such influence operations and the Russian trolls indicted by Mueller spent a minuscule fraction compared to even just the Hillary campaign, let alone all the others. And on a relative basis, in aggregate, messaging supportive of Hillary was overwhelmingly greater than those supportive of Trump, yet she lost the election. Are we not under-estimating the capacity of the American voter to discern by selling so hard the narrative of the power of this Russian operation?

  130. Eric Newhill says:

    TTG #136,
    No argument from me. I understand what you’re saying and agree.
    I was serious when I said this kind of thing is a problem. I wasn’t really being snarky when I brought up all the other foreign players engaged in this kind of operation.
    I follow this blog, another one that covers military and political topics and a third one that covers what could be called “paranormal” topics. Other than that, I’m not a big online reader. Facebook, twitter and the MSM, though, I find fascinating. The whole social media thing is about opinion shaping and marketing. I’ve always had an interest in that kind of psychological manipulation and the science behind it; especially as it relates to developments in AI and other technology. My interest is academic (how is our reality shaped? How do we come to “know” what we think we know?) and personal (How is my mind being influenced and how can be do my best to be free from external BS?).
    Anyhow, given the borderless nature of the internet and social media, I don’t see how deliberate and non-deliberate foreign influences can be stopped. Soros pays groups to propagate memes on social media. La Raza does this. AIPAC does it….and on and on…The list is extensive and growing. Some individual in a foreign country puts his unsolicited, honest, heartfelt opinion out there and it gets shared or re-tweeted.
    My main gripe with Mueller’s indictment is that it, itself, is part of a larger Borgist anti-Russian information op as well as part of a larger DNC info op (i.e. Hillary would have won but for the Russians!). I don’t see it as a point scored for the good guys. Rather as just more BS in a world already brimming over with BS. I will only believe it to be anything other when Zionist groups, Hispanic immigration groups, Soros groups, Islamists groups, etc get indicted like the Russians.

  131. Eric Newhill says:

    I think someone else already said it in one of the discussions here, but given the uncontrollable input nature of the social media venues, the real problem should be seen as not that foreigners are using it to influence perception and thought, but that Americans are using such a banal, shallow venue for their news source and opinion forming in the first place.
    I guess if everyone is going to the whore house for their romantic interactions, then it is a good idea to do occasional venereal disease checks on the whores, educate customers on why they should wear condoms and all that, but such measures are missing a larger point.

  132. b says:

    I wonder why no one here pointed out that the whole scheme was a commercial enterprise. Create sock-puppets, let them gain followers, sell advertisement presented to those followers.
    Point 95 of the indictment makes that clear:

    Defendants and their co-conspirators also used the accounts to receive money from real U.S. persons in exchange for posting promotions and advertisements on the ORGANIZATION-controlled social media pages. Defendants and their co-conspirators typically charged certain U.S. merchants and U.S. social media sites between 25 and 50 U.S. dollars per post for promotional content on their popular false U.S. persona accounts, including Being Patriotic, Defend the 2nd, and Blacktivist.

    Like the Macedonian fake-news websites the “Russian trolls” on Facebook did not care who would win the election. They cared to get large crowds of followers to then sell advertisement.
    A normal business in today’s world. The NYT, and Facebook itself, run on the same model.

  133. Donald says:

    Mark, I couldn’t tell if your comment about the DNC colluding with their own candidate was meant as irony or as serious. It sounded serious, as if you thought I was referring to the DNC supporting Clinton against Trump. The DNC leaks were about the primaries. It was improper because the DNC in theory should not have been taking sides in the primaries. If you meant that the Democratic Party is run by a clique that protects its donors and each other, then, yes, that is correct.
    Irony doesn’t work very well on the internet because there is almost nothing too silly for someone to say with perfect sincerity. Unless you know the person very well, it is often impossible to tell whether the person making the silly statement was sincere or joking.

  134. Donald says:

    My comment I just typed seems to have vanished— usually there is an automated statement above or below saying it has to wait for moderation. So apologies if this appears twice. Shorter version
    Mark Logan, I couldn’t tell if your reply to me was serious or ironic because unless you know the poster, it is difficult to tell. But anyway, it was improper for the DNC to try and stack the deck in favor of Clinton during the primaries. If you were being ironic, then I agree. Clinton was the candidate of the Democratic donor machine and the people in the party whose careers are based on keeping it running.

  135. Fred says:

    The FBI is going to expose Russian social media manipulation? That sounds just like the narrative we’ve heard for more than a decade – The Russians are behind it! What other nations did the same thing?

  136. turcopolier says:

    Your apology IS NOT accepted. If you cannot contain yourself and eschew criticising the way I run SST, go away! pl

  137. Babak Makkinejad says:

    In effect, what you are saying, is that Americans are a Nation of Sheep – per the book of the same name – naive and subject to easy manipulation. You might be right, Netanyahu evidently publicly boasted about that. I wonder if this is because Americans are not cynical enough; unlike the French or the Iranians.

  138. b says:

    “The content covers the political gamut which is in line with the objective of exacerbating the discord that already existed in this country. ”
    I find the assumption that anything Russian had such an “objective” laughable.
    The U.S. already has extreme discord on many issues. It is impossible to excerbate anything more than Trump does with one Tweet.
    You are assuming that “Russia” was somehow trying to implement a “strategy of tension” in the U.S.? By posting 0.000003% of the daily Facebook posts?
    That is a joke, right?
    The troll factory was a commercial marketing company that created content and generated views and followers to sell some forms of advertisement.
    All else is just finding someone to blame for Clinton’s loss and for heating up a Cold War 2.0 to sell more weapons.
    Where is the evidence for:
    – Putin-Trump affinity?
    – Russia effecting teh election?
    – Russian collusion with the Trump campaign?
    – Russian influence operations?
    The Mueller indictment presents none.

  139. Fred,
    “The Russians are behind it! What other nations did the same thing?”
    Very good question. I suggest some enterprising researchers investigate this very question just like those enterprising researchers are uncovering all the social media content put out by the IRA masquerading as US citizens. I’d be interested in seeing what’s under the hood of any Israeli or Chinese info ops targeting us. The Israeli pressure is obvious, but exactly how is it organized and directed?

  140. Anna says:

    Interesting, how efficiently the “trolling” affair will be used to smother the freedom of speech… Take a look at the Propornot activists: “The purpose of PropOrNot has been to trick people into demanding that freedom of speech be rolled back. This was/is to be done by destroying fact-based media.” The majority of the propornoters are Clinton supporters and committed Russophobes. Looks like another useful arm of the thoroughly politicized security apparatus

  141. Babak,
    Yes, we are becoming a nation of sheep. And modern media has created a fertile breeding ground to increase the flock. We can cut the cable and engage with our neighbors or force ourselves to read content that we don’t agree with to force ourselves to question our beliefs. I find that a useful inoculation.

  142. Donald says:

    Colonel, I wasn’t criticizing you at all. It was some sort of technical glitch and it has happened at other blogs too. I thought my comment simply vanished and I was explaining why I typed it twice in case it reappeared. In fact I was pretty sure it had vanished because with the second comment the usual automated statement about moderation appeared. Then I was surprised to see both comments when I came back. I have had comments vanish at other places, including the NYT, right after I typed them. Not being a computer expert, I have no idea why it happens, but just retype the comment.
    Anyway, you are the boss and can boot me if you choose, but the above explanation is exactly what happened and it was not a criticism of you.

  143. Eric Newhill,
    I’ve found the research of Jonathan Albright to be helpful in trying to understand the use and effect of modern social media. I know I’ve mentioned him before.

  144. Jack says:

    TTG #136

    Whether this operation energized anybody to vote for Trump or suppressed any Clinton voters to the extent that it affected the vote is immaterial. (The entire advertising industry is built on the premise that these kinds of operations do work.) Some minds may have been changed, but votes were not. The integrity of the election was maintained

    Are you asserting that only the Russian trolls know what Madison Ave has known all along and that Hillary’s billion dollar campaign didn’t know any of these well known techniques?
    blue peacock #137

    on a relative basis, in aggregate, messaging supportive of Hillary was overwhelmingly greater than those supportive of Trump, yet she lost the election.

    Spot on. This point is conveniently lost in the narratives pitched by those who paint the Russians as this super-human manipulators. Common sense would lead one to a conclusion that the American voter despite the overwhelming manipulation in favor of Hillary, voted for the candidate opposed by the entire political, media and governmental establishment. Of course it is not fashionable to credit the American voter.
    b #139
    This type of click-bait scam is rampant. And it is not just sock-puppets and trolls. This is the entire business model of Facebook and Google and all those digital media enterprises whose revenue stream is based on pay-per-click. There have been many reports of click farms in India, Vietnam, Philippines and now bots, who click on all these ads to generate revenue for FB and Google. In fact a major CPG firm completely eliminated all social media spend and there was no drop in their sales. The tech companies and the Madison Ave agencies with large digital media practices have convinced advertisers that social media and search are where it’s at, but the experience of many advertisers is that social media spend does not pay.
    IMO, this indictment is just plain silly and is more of a political statement than a breakthrough in the Mueller investigation. All it has done is reinforce the existing narratives. Deputy AG Rosenstein was emphatic that the indictment did not allege the election result was changed and that any American citizen participated. What he left unsaid was that they desperately needed any Russian scalp however ridiculous to justify the continuation of the Mueller special counsel.

  145. Babak Makkinejad says:

    But then the phenomenon is not new – 1961 –

  146. Babak Makkinejad says:
  147. kooshy says:

    Well put, yes IMO as I wrote earlier, US will eventually win a court case against no shows, Russian persons and entities. What else the will go after, and investigate, I don’t know. But wining the current case against Russian meddling will open the gate for congress to legally making and enacting new laws for putting more restriction and control, to access internet and UN- American acting sites, IMO, that is the real danger.
    You may want to watch this clip from a Chicago news anchor calling this American/Iranian fashion designer she is acting Un-American.For not fallowing the official narrative.

  148. VietnamVet says:

    We are bombarded with messaging. Corporations want us to buy their products (with 1% interest or payday loans if you are already deeply in debt). The establishment says everything is wonderful (although income is declining and young adults are forced to live with their families). No one is at war with Islam. It is a time of peace. Casinos, Lotteries and Immigrants proliferate. USA is falling flat on its face in the Korean Winter Olympics and worldwide. Contradictions abound but aren’t mentioned. Hillary Clinton lost the Presidency by 77,744 votes in three Rust Belt States. “Lock Her Up” won the election. Not Russian money making clickbaits.

  149. Mark Logan says:

    Bernie isn’t a member of the Democratic Party. We have come to view party primaries as elections but this is a very recent development. See the nominations of Ike and James Garfield for examples.
    That said while it isn’t fair to run things that way,the history is the DNC deliberately created a system to do so after turning the process over entirely to party polls, which gave them un-electable candidates such as McGovern. They created “super delegates” and a few other procedures and they broke no laws in doing so that I am aware of. I would guess after Trump the Republican Party may consider going back to some of the old ways too.

  150. It’s unknowable. Clinton won the popular vote by 2.7 million — but lost the Electoral College by only around 70,000 votes. Anything is possible. It could have been the Wiener email story in the last week. It could have been the Russian propaganda on Facebook. It could have been anything.
    Commenters who vaunt the wisdom of the U.S. electorate however should reconsider. On the eve of the Iraq War, 72% of Americans were in favor of invading Iraq.

  151. turcopolier says:

    Lee A Arnold
    “Clinton won the popular vote by 2.7 million” That is quite impossible. There is no popular election for president except within the states. pl

  152. turcopolier says:

    Mark Logan
    Yes, I remember when selection of candidates was taken out of the hands of party leaders in order to form a “more perfect union.” A disaster. pl

  153. mikee says:

    TTG: Re: That last paragraph. Don’t you think that’s just a little dangerous? So just who in the hell determines what is or isn’t ‘election interference’? The FBI? I don’t need this agency of the government to tell me what is ‘disinformation, fake news or contaminated online content’. Right or wrong I’ll make that determination myself. The best thing the FBI can do is just STFU. We didn’t jam Radio Moscow’s or Radio Havana’s broadcasts to the United States fifty years ago, as the Soviets and Cubans did to ours. Last I heard, we won the Cold War, (but we blew the detente’, thanks to the Clinton’s)
    So you think it’s a ‘good step’, I don’t agree.

  154. optimax says:

    Last July one of Putin made an offer tp the WH… “Ryabkov handed over a document containing a bold proposal: A sweeping noninterference agreement between Moscow and Washington that would prohibit both governments from meddling in the other’s domestic politics.” Trump said no. A member of the State Department said, in effect, our propaganda is good, to spread democracy, Russia’s is bad, to spread Chaos. The Matrix is a cheap 60s television script and the Amerikanskis fall for it.
    The Borg would rather us gear up for endless and expensive cyber-war than accept an agreement with manufactured enemy. The way I see it “Our chickens have come home to roost”– or roast.

  155. mikee says:

    My last comment was in reply to TTG #136.

  156. Fred says:

    Lee A Arnold,
    How can the Democratic Party membership not understand the importance of winning the Electoral College?

  157. Peter AU says:

    TTG, you will have to up your game a bit to catch the current Russian executive red handed. Take a look at Putin, Lavrov, Shoygu and the others in that circle. Look for something with a bit of style like fancy bears and shadow brokers. Putin is a patriot of Russia and certainly would be remiss/negligent in not defending it.
    What I have noticed here is that those with US military background are not picking Russia’s future military moves in Syria. Syria is now a battle of Russia vs US (as with any war in the era of MAD it is fought through proxies).
    This Maxwell Smart vs KAOS garbage the US is pumping out is just that. Garbage.

  158. LondonBob says:

    Left unsaid is that this exonerates Trump. Rosenstein was quite expicit in this and in downplaying the impact of this agency on the election, from clips I have seen of his press conference. We had Christopher Steele’s chum Luke Harding excitedly hyping this on the BBC, but like almost everything he says it is just hotair.

  159. Peter AU says:

    “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?”
    The Russian executive turning a blind eye to a commercial operation that amplifies the discord in the US is not beyond the realms of possibility.

  160. There are at least 5 U.S. presidential elections when the electoral winner did not win the “nationwide total of individual voters”. Historians of elections usually call this the “popular vote”, to keep it brief.
    * 1824 John Q. Adams (v. Jackson) – decided in House of Representatives under 12th Amendment.
    * 1876 Rutherford B. Hayes (v. Tilden) – disputed College electors in 4 states, settled by the “Compromise of 1877”, troop withdrawal which ended Reconstruction.
    * 1888 Benjamin Harrison (v. Cleveland).
    * 2000 George W. Bush (v. Gore) – Gore won a half-million more popular votes than Bush. Florida in dispute over 537 votes, settled by SCOTUS 5-4 decision.
    * 2016 Donald Trump (v. Clinton). Clinton won 2.87 million more popular votes than Trump. Trump won Electoral College by about 78,000 votes from only 3 counties in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, & Michigan (the most recent analysis).
    Percentage losers – Biggest losers who won the popular vote, as percentage of popular vote:
    1824 Jackson won 10.5% more voters than Adams.
    1876 Tilden won 3% more voters than Hayes.
    2016 Clinton won 2.1% more voters than Trump.
    1888 Cleveland won 0.8% more voters than Harrison.
    2000 Gore won 0.5% more voters than Bush.
    Among the losers, only Tilden won a true majority (defined as over 50%) of the popular vote. The rest won a plurality of the popular (because there were more than 2 candidates in the race).
    1960 Kennedy v. Nixon – popular vote is uncertain.
    Wikipedia does a great job on this, including links to the individual elections with Electoral & popular numbers, and all the politics. If you think 2016 was a big deal, go and follow the links to 1824 or 1876. Those were really a mess.

  161. turcopolier says:

    Lee A Arnold
    I suppose you don’t understand that I was pointing out that the national popular vote has no LEGAL existence and I like it that way. pl

  162. b,
    In response to #146.
    As to TTG’s claim about ‘the objective of exacerbating the discord that already existed in this country.’ I asked him to produce evidence in exchanges on an earlier thread, and got referred to the January 2017 ‘Intelligence Community Assessment.’ LOL!
    On an earlier thread I discussed that document and Brennan. However, it seems appropriate to say something about James Clapper.
    In the session entitled ‘Under Assault’ at the Aspen Security Forum last July, where he and Brennan were questioned by Wolf Blitzer, Clapper had this to say:
    ‘Well, understanding – and I guess I’m old school Cold War warrior and all that so I have all of this truth in advertising, great suspicions about the Russians and what they do. And a lot of this to me had kind of a standard textbook tradecraft long employed by the Russians and or the Soviets and now into the Russians.’
    (See .)
    Actually, it is a rather basic principle in either intelligence analysis or serious journalism – not the kind practised by the likes of Wolf Blitzer – that, even with leaders and governments one may really dislike, the possibility of deception should, in general, be an hypothesis, not a presumption.
    In the nature of things, a pattern of evidence which can be interpreted as indicating that someone is trying to deceive you may be equally compatible with the hypothesis that they are telling the truth.
    What is then necessary is to formulate alternative hypotheses clearly, and look for means of testing them against each other. A reasonably sure route to sooner or later making catastrophic errors is to commit oneself to one interpretation and interpret ambiguous evidence so as to validate it.
    As it happens, in the period between Gorbachev’s initial introduction of ‘glasnost’ and ‘perestroika’ following his coming to power in 1985, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991, it was precisely the kind of ‘great suspicions of the Russians’ to which Clapper refers which shaped most American, and British, intelligence analysis.
    The sheer scale of the errors to which this led is vividly apparent in the ‘Briefing Book’ on ‘The Last Superpower Summits’ published on the ‘National Security Archive’ site in January last year – shortly after the ‘Intelligence Community Assessment.’ This puts together what were at the time confidential papers from both sides.
    (See .)
    One central assumption underlying the so-called ‘new thinking’ was clearly laid out by one of its key architects, Georgy Arbatov, the Director of the Institute of the USA and Canada, in a letter in response to a column by William Safire published in the ‘New York Times’ in December 1987.
    What Arbatov argued was that if Western security élites failed to respond to Gorbachev, they would find themselves losing support – the ‘hardliners’, those who came to be called ‘neoconservatives’, would find the ground cut from under their feet.
    (See .)
    This was the point of the suggestion he frequently made at that time, and reiterated in his response to Safire: that ‘we have a “secret weapon” that will work almost regardless of the American response – we would deprive America of The Enemy.’
    Just as TTG does now, American intelligence analysts interpreted this kind of talk as an attempt at ‘reflexive control’ – the previous month, the then deputy director of the CIA, Robert Gates, had predicted that Soviet reforms were merely a ‘breathing space’ before a resumption of the ‘further increase in Soviet military power and political influence.’
    In fact, what Arbatov said in public corresponded to what he was saying privately to Gorbachev. The latter proceeded to carry out precisely the programme to ‘deprive America of The Enemy’, liquidating the whole security posture inherited from the Stalinist period, and in some ways before.
    A fascinating passage in the ‘Briefing Book’ comes from the closed-door CIA testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on 7 December 1988, when one of the organisation’s top Soviet analysts, Doug MacEachin found himself wrong-footed by Gorbachev’s announcement to the UN of a 500,000 man cut in Soviet forces:
    ‘Now, we spend megadollars studying political instability in various places around the world, but we never really looked at the Soviet Union as a political entity in which there were factors building which could lead to the kind of – at least the initiation of political transformation that we seem to see. It does not exist to my knowledge. Moreover, had it existed inside the government, we never would have been able to publish it anyway, quite frankly. And had we done so, people would have been calling for my head. And I wouldn’t have published it. In all honesty, had we said a week ago that Gorbachev might come to the UN and offer a unilateral cut of 500,000 in the military, we would have been told we were crazy. We had a difficult enough time getting air space for the prospect of some unilateral cuts of 50 to 60,000.’
    So, in essence, serious exploration of alternatives to the deception hypothesis was not possible at the CIA, as it had been reshaped by Casey and Gates.
    As it happens, a great deal of information about these ‘factors’ which could make for a ‘political transformation’ was already available in ‘open source’ material, if one cared to look for it, and some fascinating complexities were to become apparent in the years that followed.
    So, for example, an article in the ‘Journal of Soviet Military Studies’ in 1992 by a ‘Foreign Military Studies Office’ analyst, the then Lieutenant-Colonel Timothy L. Thomas, discussed Arbatov’s highly influential deputy, Andrei Kokoshin. Born in 1945, his original education was ‘STEM’, but in 1972 he gained a doctorate in history at Arbatov’s Institute.
    (See .)
    An interesting feature is that key mentors turn out to have been ‘General Staff’ people. A military analyst at the Institute was Colonel General Nikolai Lomov. Born in 1899, he had ended the Second World War war as Deputy Head of the Operations Directorate of the General Staff.
    The chairman of the Division on Military Aspects of Foreign Policy at the Institute, who was Kokokoshin’s thesis advisor, was then Colonel Valentin Larionov. Born in 1924, he had like Arbatov himself gone to war as a teenager, and seen action at Kursk, Warsaw, Prague and Berlin.
    Later Larionov had compiled and co-authored the classic Soviet statement of the strategy of winning a nuclear war by pre-emption, the original 1962 edition of the study ‘Military Strategy’ published under the name of Marshal Sokolovsky.
    So you would have thought that Arbatov got, as it were, a good Soviet ‘hardline’ education. But you would quite precisely wrong. This was actually the time when Soviet military men in general were realising that the idea of winning a nuclear war was totally empty.
    Moreover, the ‘Twenties, when Lomov himself had been a young man, had been a time of extraordinary free-ranging and fertile intellectual debate about Soviet military strategy. The figure to whom he introduced Kokoshin was Aleksandr Svechin, who had been an implacable opponent of the kind of one-sided emphasis on the ‘Napoleonic’ strand in Clausewitz that came to Soviet strategic thinking, as it had German. Ironically, both Svechin and Tukhachevsky, who had succeeded in marginalising his far more sophisticated reading of the great German thinker, would perish in the purges.
    From mid-1987 on, Kokoshin and Larionov would collaborate on a series of openly published articles, drawing on Svechin, advocating a radical shift to a defensive strategy. Another collaborator of Kokoshin, and enthusiast for Svechin, General Vladimir Lobov, born in 1935, was appointed First Deputy Chief of the General Staff in January 1987, and then Chief of the General Staff after the failed August 1991 coup.
    One can then add into the picture another figure from Arbatov’s Institute, who took his doctorate there in 1974, Vladimir Pechatnov. In 1995, he would publish, in English, a paper entitled ‘The Big Three After World War II: New Documents on Soviet Thinking about Post War Relations with The United States and Great Britain’, discussing policy papers written in 1944-5 by Maisky, Litvinov and Gromyko.’ Among other interesting articles is a 2010 piece entitled ‘The Cold War: A View from Russia.’
    (See ; .)
    If you want a crude summary of the arguments of these, it is that Stalin was actually not looking for a confrontation with the United States at the end of the war, but behaved in a way that was inherently likely to make it inevitable. Furthermore, Pechatnov noticed a crucial point which Western historians of the Cold War frequently miss. The figure generally, if somewhat misleadingly, regarded as the architect of ‘containment’ – George Frost Kennan – actually understood very well that Bolshevism had been, in large measure, a phenomenon of the ‘borderlands.’
    A corollary of this was the realisation that, by attempting to control those ‘borderlands’ which had earlier been parts of the Hapsburg and Ottoman Empires, Stalin had put Russia an essentially unsustainable strategic position. It was trying to control areas which in the long run were likely to be uncontrollable, but retreat was always liable to precipitate a process of destabilisation going right on into the Soviet Union itself: as it did.
    The second part of the argument, however, is likely to reflect what happened after 1991. An important point is that Arbatov’s optimism about the likely implications of liquidating the Stalinist posture was rooted in currents of thinking which had been developing under the surface for a long time.
    In the event, as we now, he was proven quite wrong. Far from having the ground cut from under their feet by Gorbachev’s liquidation of the Stalinist security policy, it became a key part of the basis of the ‘neoconservative’ ascendancy alike in the United States and Britain, and the visceral hostility to Russia is now orders of magnitude greater than it was when Arbatov wrote.
    As is very evident if one reads Putin’s interviews with Oliver Stone, and much else he has said, he himself shared the initial euphoria about the possibilities of relations with the West, but came – as many others did – to the view that they had failed to grasp the extent to which the Cold War was underpinned by agendas which had nothing to do with Communism.
    That however does not mean that he has any desire to repeat Stalin’s mistakes. While he has made it quite clear that he will defend groups in the ‘borderlands’ who have historically looked to Russia, at no point has there been the slightest indication that he intends to go any further. The idea that because Putin is not prepared to see Sevastopol under the control of ‘Banderistas’ he is aching to retake the Baltics is complete BS, and precisely what he does not want is to follow Stalin and involve Russia in military confrontations from which it cannot escape.
    Quite clearly, a highly transparent operation which could even if successful have the most marginal effect on the American Presidential election suits the agendas of those, be they in Russia or the West, who are happy to see a new Cold War. If there is anything more in this than the ‘commercial enterprise’ to which you point, those are the likely suspects.

  163. rkka says:

    Zoomie, Theres a long line of countries that do that, and in the comparative scale of the efforts, the Russians are probably pretty far from the front of that line.

  164. I remember reading that panjandrums of the Democratic Party advised Clinton of her weakness in the rust-belt states. The states’ primary elections had already demonstrated this (in a dozen ways!) in the first half of 2016. So chalk this up to bad campaign leadership?
    In my experience, the youngest voters either Republican or Democratic are ALWAYS surprised to find out about the Electoral College. So chalk that up to bad civics classes?

  165. turcopolier says:

    Lee A Arnold
    Unless I am mistaken “Civics” is a little taught subject. pl

  166. Sid Finster says:

    When Yanukovich was elected in 2012, the OSCE c(aka no friends of Yanukovich or Russia) termed the election “reasonably free and fair.”

  167. doug says:

    David H,
    Excellent. I’m a complete outsider. Except that I despised Communism. Largely because it seemed to suck in idealists disconnected from the reality of what motivates human progress. The road to Hell is paved ….
    As a kid in the early 60’s I used to build crystal radios. Far and away the strongest station was Radio Moscow. Loved to listen to it, especially Posner’s Mailbag. Fun to think about it, who it was directed to, and meant to perhaps motivate. However, My Father had a lot of friends that escaped from E. Europe (Hungary). Some Jews from WWII was well. When I was 12 one of these friends presented me a 22 single shot long rifle, custom made.
    Then, in college in the 60’s I marveled at the seeming influence of Communism. From an early class where, in retrospect, I think the prof. was filtering the new students for possible recruitment? Who knows. But the evening at his home was heavy with discussion of the Three Penny Opera. Turned me off and left me feeling pretty uncomfortable. Maybe I was wrong.
    But I graduated and jumped into the commercial world. It was exhilarating. I learned, contributed, advanced, and eventually wound up starting my own business which I retired from some 25 years later.
    Throughout that time I would tune in to Radio Moscow, Havana, Peking (as it was known then). It was just enormous fun listening to the pitches. And it was when I was listening to Radio Moscow I noted increased, somewhat subtle, digs at their own system. My ears perked up. There was a letter read from some fool in Fla. about how great the Soviet Union was since it had free health care. The response from Posner et al, was sure, health care is free. And you get what you pay for. There were numerous similar things and they became increasingly blatant.
    I recall mentioning this to me father, suggesting that the leadership (elites, if you will) had lost their “religion.” He simply refused to believe it was possible. The Soviet Union, crumbling was not something he could conceive of. It would always be an implacable foe. However, I also recalled reading Moynihan writing circa 1980 that the Soviet Union was “spiraling into the Abyss.” It struck me as odd and unwarranted at the time but I understood not that many years later.

  168. fanto says:

    David Habakkuk at 171
    great educational comment, thank you. One cannot say it any better than that – about the stupid western logic that ´Putin wants Baltic states because he has shown that he wants Sevastopol to remain Russian´. Too much Russian blood was spilled in Sevastopol in the Crimean War in 1854, and in WW2 to hand it over to Banderistas. (and, Sir, since I am here – I would like to very humbly mention that the Svets whom you mentioned multiple times in other thread, is possibly a misspelling of Sevts – which would mean ´cobbler´ if my knowledge of Russian or Ukrainian is correct. Whatever, whether Svets or Sevts, he might have changed the name himself to avoid the association with the ´cobbler´).

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