Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet The Almighty Buck United States Politics

Russian Troll Factory Paid US Activists To Fund Protests During Election (theguardian.com) 665

bestweasel writes: The Guardian reports on another story about Russian meddling, but interestingly, this one comes from a respected Russian news source, the RBC. From the report: "Russian trolls posing as Americans made payments to genuine activists in the U.S. to help fund protest movements on socially divisive issues. On Tuesday, the newspaper RBC published a major investigation into the work of a so-called Russian 'troll factory' since 2015, including during the period of the U.S. election campaign, disclosures that are likely to put further spotlight on alleged Russian meddling in the election. RBC said it had identified 118 accounts or groups in Facebook, Instagram and Twitter that were linked to the troll factory, all of which had been blocked in August and September this year as part of the U.S. investigation into Russian electoral meddling. Perhaps the most alarming element of the article was the claim that employees of the troll factory had contacted about 100 real U.S.-based activists to help with the organization of protests and events. RBC claimed the activists were contacted by Facebook group administrators hiding their Russian origin and were offered financial help to pay for transport or printing costs. About $80,000 was spent during a two-year period, according to the report."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Russian Troll Factory Paid US Activists To Fund Protests During Election

Comments Filter:
  • That's less than a 30 second TV advertisement for HOURS of news coverage.

    • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @08:43PM (#55387255)
      folks really hate phony protestors. What made all this work so well is that Russia didn't get caught during the election. If they had Hilary would probably be president, especially if we got it as an October surprise instead of Comey reopening the investigation just long enough to help throw the election Trump's way.

      Not that Hilary is a spring chicken herself but it took a fundamental breakdown over just about everything to make a guy who used to be a Simpson's joke our actual president.
      • by Marxist Hacker 42 ( 638312 ) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @08:48PM (#55387291) Homepage Journal

        May I point out that Hillary was also for Black Lives Matter and Blacktivist, the two groups being paid to protest?

        • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @10:18PM (#55387635) Journal

          May I point out that Hillary was also for Black Lives Matter and Blacktivist, the two groups being paid to protest?

          Here's how it works. You pay someone to participate in a protest and then have them do something that's really ugly and angers people.

          For example, one paid Russian protester, a guy named "Jack Posobiec", would go to leftist rallies and hold up "Rape Melania" signs. Now this guy is an alt-right supporter of Trump, but he's not recognizable, so people think, "Man, those leftists are really horrible. Look, there's a "Rape Melania" sign."

          Then, it gets the front-page treatment on Infowars, Breitbart, DailyStormer, and eventually ends up on Fox News. Total outlay for the sign is maybe a buck. Trump gets elected, and get this: "Jack Posobiec" becomes a "journalist" with White House credentials. So, not only does he get a little money on the front-end, but he gets rewarded by Trump on the back-end. Oh, and Posobiec was also one of the leading "Pizzagate" conspiracy theorists, which we now know was also a Russian op.

          Here are the details:

          https://www.washingtonpost.com... [washingtonpost.com]

          https://www.salon.com/2017/08/... [salon.com]

          https://www.deathandtaxesmag.c... [deathandtaxesmag.com]

          • by poity ( 465672 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @10:55PM (#55387763)

            But the article says they were facebook accounts that offered financial help to organize pro-BLM protests.

            • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2017 @12:44AM (#55388039) Journal

              But the article says they were facebook accounts that offered financial help to organize pro-BLM protests.

              And I pointed out that the same techniques were used more widely, as in the case of Jack Posobiec.

              Each one of these disinfo attacks by itself seems small, but you have to remember there were multi-front attacks. I think the full scope of this is going to be a lot more clear when the Special Prosecutor presents his evidence to the grand jury. We shouldn't have to wait long now that Mueller has questioned or subpoenaed White House officials who are only once-removed from the President.

          • Here's how it works. You pay someone to participate in a protest and then have them do something that's really ugly and angers people.

            Same thing happened at Tea Party rallies. Some random guy shows up with a racist sign, news media films him then asks rally organizers why they didn't toss the guy out.

        • Show me where the source says one word about BLM!
        • by Freischutz ( 4776131 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2017 @03:16AM (#55388393)

          May I point out that Hillary was also for Black Lives Matter and Blacktivist, the two groups being paid to protest?

          ... and everything that the GOP, Trump and Bannon manage to screw up is actually clever sabotage funded by George Soros. Oh, and did you know that Soros is the leader of the Illuminati and a secret worshipper of Satan whose has been working in secret for decades to destroy Christian conservatism in the USA and replace it with Islam?

      • Not that Hilary is a spring chicken herself but it took a fundamental breakdown over just about everything to make a guy who used to be a Simpson's joke our actual president.

        Here's a joke for you:

        Q: How many reasons does Hillary have for not winning the election?

        A: 43 [foxnews.com]

        • Not exactly (Score:5, Informative)

          by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @10:21PM (#55387655)
          Here's the reasons (most to least):

          1. Arrogance. She didn't think she had to campaign in the swing states. She actually believed in that "blue firewall" nonsense.

          2. Trump's billions of dollars in free media coverage. Nobody in the press would denounce him because they were getting too many hits.

          3. Russia. Russia. Russia. (insert Brady Bunch joke here). We had an ex-KGB pro with the full backing of his nation throw his hat in the ring for Trump.

          4. Her health. She really was too old for this shit.

          5. 30 years of bad press. Not just the emails. Everything. The Republicans knew she was going to run for president at some point. They have a multi-billion dollar media machine dedicated to their cause (Fox, Beitbart, all of Koch media, etc, etc). They've been hammering away at her since her husband left office.

          6. TPP. Crap deal for everyone except the ruling class. In an election about jobs that hurt a lot.

          7. Warmongering. In an effort to show everyone that a woman could be "strong" she went around the world pissing off our allies. A lot of folks figured she'd get us in a war. Meanwhile Trump was saying he wouldn't do that. Jokes on them, he's already got us on the brink of two new wars (to add to the 7 we're already fighting, look it up).

          That's about it. Folks mostly agreed with her on everything except the TPP because most Americans are genuinely conservative. e.g. they don't want much change except maybe some more help from the government (for them only of course, not those lazy Blacks^X Welfare slobs). She's a right of center moderate. Exactly what most voters wanted.
          • Re:Not exactly (Score:5, Informative)

            by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @10:36PM (#55387693)

            4. Her health. She really was too old for this shit.

            Seriously? Hillary is 69 and Trump is 71 - and he's pretty out of shape.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Gussington ( 4512999 )

            1. Arrogance. She didn't think she had to campaign in the swing states. She actually believed in that "blue firewall" nonsense.

            This is 99% of it. Not campaigning in swing states is pretty amateur stuff.

            2. Trump's billions of dollars in free media coverage. Nobody in the press would denounce him because they were getting too many hits.

            He got denounced plenty, but the stupid vote doesn't care for such things.

            3. Russia. Russia. Russia. (insert Brady Bunch joke here). We had an ex-KGB pro with the full backing of his nation throw his hat in the ring for Trump.

            This is less a Hillary thing and more a general threat that still isn't getting the coverage it deserves. Russia has been playing this game for decades. I recall a thing I saw years ago how the Soviets were pumping millions into the hippy protests in the 60's in an effort to disrupt and divide. This will continue way past this election unless something is done.

          • 2. Trump's billions of dollars in free media coverage. Nobody in the press would denounce him because they were getting too many hits.

            Which press were you reading?

            The mainstream press portrayed him as some sort of wacky clown, when they weren't portraying him as some kind of sinister mastermind. He was denounced so often that you'd think they would sprain their denouncers.

            Sure, they enjoyed the hits, but the hits were (they thought) for "what crazy evil thing did he do now"?

        • by penandpaper ( 2463226 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @11:58PM (#55387927) Journal

          Hillary was asked if Harvey Weinstein's behavior reminded her of her husband. She said "close but no cigar".

          I'll let myself out now.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by superwiz ( 655733 )
        But Russians spent more on Clintons (both Bill and Hillary) than that. In fact, RF paid out 500k to Bill Clinton for just 1 speech. Hundreds of millions of dollars were donated to Clinton foundation by state-actor donors. 85% of that money was spent on Clinton family expenses rather than on charity. How is this someone not getting caught? There was nothing to catch. Clintons were openly bribed by foreign powers. Why would Russians spend millions on Clintons in the open only to go and then spend a few
        • That's because you (and the general public) doesn't seem to grok the Russian's actual goals here. It wasn't to get Trump elected specifically. The real goal is the destabilization of Western democracies. Not just the USA, but France, the UK, and other NATO powers. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Russia is involved in the recent Catalina independence push too. They are involved with the pushes for both California and Texas to succeed. We are in a "virtual war" being waged on Facebook, talk radio, Fox news,
          • That's because you (and the general public) doesn't seem to grok the Russian's actual goals here.

            Really? So was this not a problem before the election? The full damage that the Clintons had done to the US interests was known. Why did the fact that it was Russians who participated in buying of Clintons only become a story after Clinton lost the election? I don't know how you come to the conclusion that only one side is aware of something. Both D's and R's are claiming Russian interference in the elections. Neither side is offering anything sinister which occurred in secret (buying ads and paying s

            • "So was this not a problem before the election?" I never said it wasn't. In fact, it most likely was! However, this phenomenon has only really surfaced recently. I don't know how you come to the conclusion that only one side is aware of something. The side I'm talking about isn't either the R's or D's. I'm saying the Russians are the only "side" that groks the fact that this is a multi-country, long-term campaign. Neither side is offering anything sinister which occurred in secret (buying ads and paying s
              • The issue of non-assimilation has nothing to do with this issue, nice try at straw man.

                It's not a straw man. The muslim minorities which refuse to allow assimilation are the main reason for destabilization of Western European societies. Trying to blame any of it on Russia is just a misdirection.

    • Some of them *did* learn. Ever heard of President Trump?

    • Russiagate is becoming ever more desperate and obvious. The previous Russiagate lie had a slightly higher figure spent on Facebook ($100k) and even that amount is laughable; the corporate parties spend orders of magnitude more on media buys to get the public's attention and steer American voters toward voting for their electors. $80k spent doesn't deserve anything but a laugh at someone's attempt to excuse Hillary Clinton from her horrible politics, twice-demonstrated incompetence at heading a political cam

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      What should politicians learn? That they should lie more in order to reel in the idiots?

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      That is what you get with first past the post. They just provided the last drop to overflow the bucket.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    These are the 2 big stories regarding Russia today, and explains a lot of what went down, and the concentrated effort (and we do know it was a Clinton campaign effort thanks to wikileaks) to link Trump to Russia during the campaign in order to take the heat off herself.

    http://thehill.com/policy/nati... [thehill.com]

    http://www.newsweek.com/james-... [newsweek.com]

    It's Comey and the Obama DOJ that needs to be investigated for obstruction of justice.

  • It is absurd that RBC, which is now run by Putin loyalist and tabloid owner Grigory Berezkin, is being described as "a respected Russian news source". RBC USED to be a respected news source, until early 2016 when their reporting on government corruption got their leadership forcibly ousted and replaced with people that would play nice with the administration. There's probably some true information mixed into this story along with the falsehoods because that's how Russian intelligence generally operates, but
  • by Gussington ( 4512999 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @09:35PM (#55387469)
    Ask yourself, is what I'm hearing designed to unite or divide? You then have your answer to who the real enemy is.
  • I've always wondered what the point of protests are. Unless something dramatic happens (e.g., someone getting killed), no one remembers the protest a week later. Its as if it never happened. If the point of protests is to get people on their side, that often backfires. Where I live there were a lot of protests after Trump was elected. They would block roads and highways at rush hour which made everyone's commutes longer. That didn't exactly engender sympathy towards their cause. If that point is to get the

    • The Russians were funding the protests. It all makes sense now.

      I don't think people have quite realized the impact this new revelation has.

      True or false, big [effect] or little, this revelation will taint all future protests.

      The protests have just lost a fuckton of credibility, because now this will be raised as the reason people are protesting.

      For all future protests.

      And some previous protestors will come to examine their beliefs, saying "did I really believe that, or was I egged on"?

      Future protests will be painted "fruit of the poison tree" with this new revelation.

      • Not only protests. Now when I read something in a forum that is divisive I think, "Russian Troll Farm for sure". How would anyone prove that they really aren't working for a Russian Troll Farm?

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      People remember the anti-Trump protests just after he was elected. Along with the lies about the size of his inauguration crowd, they became iconic and the hallmarks of his election victory. They really were exceptional - there is always some dissent when new presidents come in, but the shear scale of those protests and the fact that they dwarfed the inauguration itself will always be remembered.

      As for the point, it's not just to change people's minds. It's to demonstrate that the other narrative, in that c

  • This is nothing new. Russia has had a habit of starting politically-motivated dissent and riots in other countries since the 1920s. They're not interested in who wins. They just want to cause chaos and to control whoever is left standing.

    • Russia has had a habit o

      Wow, another slashdot "Russia expert" whose basis of expertise is based only on very basic stereotypes and memes?. Why don't you learn something before posting this drivel on a public forum?

      For one, there was no such county in the 1920s, and in fact until 1991. There was USSR.

      They're not interested in who wins. They just want to cause chaos and to control whoever is left standing.

      Second, USSR sponsored specifically communist and socialist dissent in many countries specifically for t

  • Get in line (Score:3, Funny)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @09:57PM (#55387553) Journal

    What, they outbid Israel?

  • Curiously... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @10:37PM (#55387699) Journal

    ...none of them had an agenda to support Trump.

    One might almost believe that narrative was...fake news?

    The Guardian article mentions that basically their efforts were to show division, not particularly meddle in the election. Their funding supported mainly Texas independence (ludicrous), gun rights, and racial issues, particularly black lives matter protests. This is pretty much what Russian Intel has done for years; the history of kgb funding for anti American, labor, and leftist movements in Europe and the USA has been well documented historically.

    The notion that they put $80k into this just suggests how little they expected of it.

    • Amusingly, they probably appreciate Ms Clinton's campaign giving theirs far greater reach and staying power in the media dialogue. Ha ha...irony.

    • I had thought that $80k was fairly minor, too. But for small operations it makes an op possible. Still, I'm thinking this is the tip of the iceberg.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It was all in support of Trump. Trump stood on a platform of blame (the political elite, immigrants, the Chinese etc.) and was supported by the growing alt-right movement. Creating dissent helped Trump, because his campaign was built on those feelings.

  • Key things to note in the headline:

    **Russian** Troll Factory Paid US Activists To Fund Protests During Election (***theguardian.com***) ----

    That's all you need to know.
    Before you say it, I'm not right wing, I'm not even American.

    The slant from theguardian and several others media outlets has gone full tilt left, not just slightly left, which for the most part I agree with but just left to the point of ridiculousness.

    I love how one of the arguments of the election was "hacking! the Russians hacked, the whole

  • Even if anyone buys the premise that Russia was funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars to support Trump (in secret) after spending millions of dollars to support Clintons (in the open), so what? Clinton is a known criminal. Why would we care if its Russia helping us to expose a criminal instead of (for example) France? If the FBI and the DOJ were so corrupt that they would not charge a candidate of the same party as the sitting president, shouldn't we be thankful if some foreign power were to reveal
  • by PortHaven ( 242123 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2017 @12:20PM (#55390971) Homepage

    The 0.002% of lobbyists.

    Okay, so $80,000 versus $3.15 billion dollars in lobbying money. Oh, that is just the official amount expended lobbying Congress. We're not even addressing the billions expended lobbying the American public on a multitude of issues.

    Contemplate that...

    Oh, and $80,000 expended on divisive issues. Is it possible that maybe Russians who do business in the U.S. have feelings on issues? Maybe a Russian is pro-2nd Amendment. Who knows.

    But this is such a miniscule drop in the bucket it is laughable.

The best way to avoid responsibility is to say, "I've got responsibilities."

Working...