Tuesday, September 12, 2017

"R" Is For Russian. "R" is for Republican

Important reporting from Reuters shows a strategy of coverup by the Republicans

According to the latest reporting by Reuters, Devin Nunes (the recused chair of the House Intel Committee) is still very unrecusedly busy trying to derail any and all investigations into the ways Russia hacked our election. His approach is very Republican: if he can make sure Americans don’t learn about what happened that will mean nothing happened. Nunes’ strategy is to project blame onto officials in the Obama administration who correctly and in line with standing protocols and procedures, asked a special panel for the names of the Americans who were discovered talking with Russian agents during the campaign. They sought to know because it was their job to protect American democracy and they followed the rules in doing so.

Nunes’ theory is simple and simpleminded: Until it becomes known that Americans were colluding with a foreign enemy Nunes believes he can insist no Americans were colluding. Until the colluding Americans are known by name, Nunes can say they don’t exist and the conversations never took place. And how dare these professionals in the Obama administration seek to learn who those people were! In Nunes’ mind it isn’t criminal to collude with a foreign enemy, but it is criminal to investigate that collusion.

The Republican idea is that wrongdoing isn’t the problem, Americans knowing about the wrongdoing is the problem.

What we don’t know can’t hurt them.

Republicans look back at all previous Republican White House scandals in a different way than most of us do: the faked criteria for the Iraq War; the outing of CIA agent because her husband disclosed the truth; Iran Contra, where the Reagan White House illegally traded weapons with Islamic terrorists to arm our own terrorists in Central America; all the way back to Watergate. They all have one main idea: keeping Americans in the dark.

They see Watergate not as a broad criminal conspiracy and a stain on American democracy; Republicans see Watergate as a failed coverup. If it had been properly covered up there would have been no problem. Undiscovered crimes are not crimes just as covering up industrial causes of climate change means that those causes do not exist. Serious problems are not serious or even problems as long as Americans do not know about them. This is called whitewashing. This is coverup pure and simple.

On the day after 9/11 we need to understand that America is again under attack. Not by terrorists in airliners but by Russians and their American proxies trying to destroy our democracy.

Politico describes what's known as the Gerasimov Doctrine, the Russian attack plan which put Trump into the White House.

"In 2013 General Valery Gerasimov—Russia’s chief of the General Staff, comparable to the U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff… took tactics developed by the Soviets, blended them with strategic military thinking about total war, and laid out a new theory of modern warfare—one that looks more like hacking an enemy’s society than attacking it head-on. He wrote: “The very ‘rules of war’ have changed. The role of nonmilitary means of achieving political and strategic goals has grown, and, in many cases, they have exceeded the power of force of weapons in their effectiveness. … All this is supplemented by military means of a concealed character.””

The Daily Beast explains how Trump's and Russia' Facebook strategy had such a powerful cascading effect on the election.

"On Wednesday, Facebook’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, revealed that Russia had “likely” used 470 fake accounts to buy about $100,000 worth of advertising promoting “divisive social and political messages” to Americans. It was Facebook’s first public acknowledgment of the role it unwittingly played in the Kremlin’s “active measures” campaign. Stamos’ statement was also conspicuous by what it omitted: Facebook has refused to release the ads. More significant, it hasn’t said what kind of reach Russia attained with its ad buy.
"There may be a reason for that. On the surface, $100,000 is small change in contemporary national politics, and 3,000 ads sounds like a drop in the pond when Facebook boasts 2 billion monthly users. But it turns out $100,000 on Facebook can go a surprisingly long way, if it’s used right. On average, Facebook ads run about $6 for 1,000 impressions. By that number, the Kremlin’s $100,000 buy would get its ads seen nearly 17 million times.

"But that average hides a lot of complexity, and the actual rate can range from $1 to $100 for 1,000 impressions on an ad with pinpoint targeting. Virality matters, too. Ads that get more shares, likes, and comments are far cheaper than boring ads that nobody likes, and ads that send users to Facebook posts instead of third-party websites enjoy an additional price break. Finally, there are network effects, which can vastly multiply the number of users who see a promoted Facebook post."

What makes this especially interesting is the striking similarity between Russia’s strategy of relying on Facebook and Trump’s own strategy. Trump’s campaign used ONLY ads on Facebook. Russia and Trump shared that strategic focus.

The question now is: Were Russia’s Facebook attacks guided by Trump’s own intel. Or were they both directed by intel and analysis from another player in the Trump fold? (Was it, perhaps Cambridge Analytica?)

Further analysis from Medium on how the Facebook strategy weaponized social media for the Russians and the Republicans

"There may be some fake news on Facebook, but the power of the Facebook advertising platform to influence voters is very real. This is the story of how the Trump campaign used data to target African Americans and young women with $150 million dollars of Facebook and Instagram advertisements in the final weeks of the election, quietly launching the most successful digital voter suppression operation in American history.

"Throughout the campaign, President-Elect Donald J. Trump shrewdly invested in Facebook advertisements to reach his supporters and raise campaign donations. Facing a short-fall of momentum and voter support in the polls, the Trump campaign deployed its custom database, named Project Alamo, containing detailed identity profiles on 220 million people in America.

“With Project Alamo as ammunition, the Trump digital operations team covertly executed a massive digital last-stand strategy using targeted Facebook ads to ‘discourage’ Hillary Clinton supporters from voting. The Trump campaign poured money and resources into political advertisements on Facebook, Instagram, the Facebook Audience Network, and Facebook data-broker partners."

More analysis from WIRED. Both of these articles came right on the heels of the election when it became clear how the gambit had succeeded but details remained unclear or were undisclosed because they were part of ongoing intelligence investigations.

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Blogger JustAGuy said...

I encourage readers to also look into:

Putin’s adviser Vladislav Surkov "Nonlinear warfare" - A new system of political control.


The Atlantic on Surkov


9:24 AM  
Blogger JustAGuy said...

I encourage readers to also look into:

Putin’s adviser Vladislav Surkov "Nonlinear warfare" - A new system of political control.


The Atlantic on Surkov


9:25 AM  
Blogger pasquino said...

Excellent. Thanks.

9:29 AM  

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