On Wednesday, September 6th, Reuters bannered “Facebook says likely Russian-based operation funded U.S. ads with political message”, and reported:
Facebook Inc said on Wednesday it had found that an operation likely based in Russia spent $100,000 on thousands of U.S. ads promoting divisive social and political messages in a two-year-period through May.
Facebook, the dominant social media network, said 3,000 ads and 470 “inauthentic” accounts and pages spread polarizing views on topics including immigration, race and gay rights. …
Facebook briefed members of both the Senate and House of Representatives intelligence committees on Wednesday about the suspected Russia advertising, according to a congressional source familiar with the matter. Both committees are conducting probes into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, including potential collusion between the campaign of President Donald Trump and Moscow.
Facebook also gave its findings to Robert Mueller, the special counsel in charge of investigating alleged Russian interference in last year’s presidential election, a source familiar with the matter said. The company produced copies of advertisements as well as data about the buyers, the source said.
Mueller’s office declined to comment.
Facebook said it found no link between the Russian-purchased advertising and any specific presidential campaign. The ads were mostly national in their focus and did not appear to reflect targeting of political swing-states, the company said.
Even if no laws were violated, Facebook said the 470 accounts and pages associated with the ads ran afoul of the social network’s requirements for authenticity and have since been suspended. …
Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called the Facebook report “deeply disturbing and yet fully consistent with the unclassified assessment of the intelligence community.” …
Facebook’s disclosure may be the first time a private entity has pointed to receiving Russian money related to U.S. elections, said Brendan Fischer, a program director at the Campaign Legal Center, a Washington nonprofit that advocates for more transparency.
These ads were alleged (and Facebook refuses to provide documentation of them) to have consisted of ‘3,000 ads and 470 “inauthentic” accounts and pages’ that were ‘likely based in Russia’, and which were allegedly issued ‘in a two-year period through May’. Three thousand online ads over a two-year period would probably fail to sway an election in any town, much less in an entire nation — anywhere (especially since Facebook grossly overstates its effectiveness). This entire alleged program had cost ‘$100,000’ out of Facebook’s reported $66 billion in total revenue during 2016, and that’s the same ratio as one dollar out of $66,000,000 dollars; so, one might wonder: “What votes, and where, were even possibly decided, by such a tiny alleged advertising campaign, on just this single advertising-medium (Facebook)? Was that an alleged advertising-campaign which is even worthy of making national (and international) ‘news’?” (Furthermore, that $66 billion was being spent only in 2016, and therefore was spent during one year, but the alleged $100,000 was being spent during a two-year period; so, the ratio here is even tinier than one dollar out of 66 billion.)
But, that’s not the only reason to question the massive attention this matter has been receiving in the U.S. Congress and in the Western press.
Should any of these entirely unsubstantiated allegations even be published, at all; or, perhaps, are they instead more like the unsubstantiated allegations that the U.S. Government and the Western press spread against Iraq and used in 2003, as the ‘justification’ for invading it (destroying it) — i.e., are they actually nothing more than propaganda for war?
And, since these alleged 3,000 ads were allegedly “promoting divisive social and political messages,” were all (or even just some) of these ads promoting any particular political candidates? Or, perhaps, not? The reports don’t even provide examples of the types of ‘political messages’ here, other than ‘divisive’ (and, perhaps that term would more accurately have been “controversial,” or maybe even “constructive” — without typical examples, no one can reasonably say).
And, if this “operation likely based in Russia” existed at all, then was it being done by private persons in Russia who weren’t, in any way, being directed by the Russian Government — or was the alleged operation instead directed by the Russian Government, such as the U.S. Congress and the Western press are strongly implying.
Moreover, there is a broader context to this, than merely the invasion of Iraq. Ever since the U.S. coup in February 2014 overthrew the democratically elected President of Ukraine and thus caused two regions of Ukraine (Crimea and Donbass, both of which had voted more than 75% for him) to break away from Ukraine, and Obama then slapped sanctions against Russia for supporting the two breakaway regions on its doorstep, the U.S. Congress and the U.S. (and allied foreign) ‘news’media have been trying to build up a case to overthrow Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, if not to force him to war with NATO.
This Ukrainian coup started being planned inside Obama’s U.S. State Department, and with the heavy top-level involvement of Google Inc., in 2011, during U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s time heading the Department. The decline in approval of Russia by Americans, as measured by Gallup, started becoming clear in February 2013, when the 50% favorable and 44% unfavorable rating of Russia the prior February (2012), reversed into 50% unfavorable and 44% favorable (2013). Then, the unfavorable rating soared: to 60% in February 2014 (versus 34% favorable), 70% unfavorable (and 24% favorable) in February 2015, and then stable thereafter, till at least February 2017. During this period — basically the second Presidential term of Obama — some of the ‘news’ stories against Russia were justifiable on the basis of the facts (especially the performance-drug doping of Russia’s Olympic athletes), but most (and especially regarding both Ukraine and Syria) were more like the opposite of the truth than the truth. As a consequence, most Americans are so misinformed, by now, so that only few are aware that even Western polling shows that if given a free and fair opportunity to choose their national leader today, Russians would overwhelmingly choose Putin, Assad would win strongly in Syria, and Yanukovych would win strongly if all of the Ukrainians in 2013 were to vote in an election between him and (America’s regime) Poroshenko (whose votes even outside of the two breakaway regions might still be fewer than Yanukovych’s). Furthermore, in the American ‘democracy’, the public’s approval of almost all elected national officials — President, and Congress — is below their disapproval-numbers, and, so, there’s only a choice here between uglies (except in a few states such as Vermont, where the public’s approval of the state’s congressional delegation is very high).
CNN, on September 7th, quoted the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner:
“It appeared to me that the very social media sites that we rely on for virtually everything — our Facebooks, Googles and Twitters — it was my belief the Russians were using those sites to intervene in our elections,” Warner said Thursday, speaking at the Intelligence & National Security Summit in Washington. “And the first reaction from Facebook was: ‘Well you’re crazy, there’s nothing going on’ — well, we find yesterday there actually was something going on.”
Also on September 7th, the New York Times headlined “The Fake Americans Russia Created to Influence the Election”, and reported “The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S.” Their report was full of vague allegations, except that it said specifically that an alleged “Melvin Redick of Harrisburg, Pa.” had been on Facebook as early as June 2016, with pro-Russian and Anti-Hillary-Clinton links, but “No Melvin Redick appears in Pennsylvania records, and his photos seem to be borrowed from an unsuspecting Brazilian. … The Redick profile lists Central High School in Philadelphia and Indiana University of Pennsylvania as his alma maters; neither has any record of his attendance. In one of his photos, this purported Pennsylvania lifer is sitting in a restaurant in Brazil — and in another, his daughter’s bedroom appears to have a Brazilian-style electrical outlet. His posts were never personal, just news articles reflecting a pro-Russian worldview.” Not made clear in this article is the question of precisely why the only specific instance that the Times cited here of “Russian meddling” in the U.S. Presidential election, happened to be, apparently, a Brazilian (or was it only someone who had “borrowed from an unsuspecting Brazilian”, and, if so, then who had “borrowed” these things from him — these and other important questions went unanswered in this ‘news’-report, which otherwise blathered with vagueries). Of course, maybe someone in Brazil did hate Clinton enough to pretend to be an American and to promote on Facebook “news articles reflecting a pro-Russian worldview,” but that’s no evidence of “Russian meddling” in anything.
Furthermore, the way that Obama overthrew Yanukovich in Ukraine by means of a coup, was that, starting in 2011, Eric Schmidt of Google and Jared Cohen of Hillary Clinton’s State Department began planning a social-media campaign to stir up and organize racist anti-Russians in Ukraine to be trained militarily in how to perform a coup, and the money then started flowing to enable them to provide the muscle to carry out their plan. These initial training sessions were called “Tech Camps.” All of this was the culminaing part of what had been a $5 billion decades-long U.S. Government plan to take over Ukraine for the U.S. Nothing that the Russian Government is alleged by the U.S. Government to have done to “meddle” in any U.S. election is even nearly as barbaric an intrusion into U.S. elections as what the U.S. Government has been caught red-handed (just keep clinking through to all the source documents and evidence there, to see and hear that evidence) as having done, to end Ukraine’s struggling democracy, force the country’s break-up, and operate an ethnic-cleansing campaign in Ukraine’s former Donbass region, in order to kill the people who had voted for Yanukovych. How much of this has been reported in the American press?
Americans used to trust the U.S. ‘news’-media before America invaded Iraq in 2003 on the basis of lies, and some still do, but there is no more reason to trust them now than there was in 2003.
On September 8th, National Public Radio headlined “Facebook Acknowledges Russian Ads In 2016 Election. Will Investigations Follow?” and reported that, “Common Cause has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, alleging that some of the ads violated federal laws that bar foreign interference in U.S. campaigns. In a second request, for investigations by the Justice Department and special counsel Robert Mueller, Common Cause says the ads ‘pose a direct threat to democracy and national security.’” Of course, NPR, like the rest of America’s ‘news’media, had never reported the U.S. coup in Ukraine, but instead reported only the Obama regime’s propaganda, about the ‘democratic revolution’ that overthrew Yanukovych. In fact, even within just months of Yanukovych’s election in 2010 as Ukraine’s President, NPR was campaigning for him to be overthrown in a ‘democratic revolution’. The CIA-edited Wikipedia also doesn’t report that there was a coup in Ukraine in 2014; instead, they call it the “2014 Ukrainian revolution”. They call this a ‘revolution’, instead of a “coup”.
Might America’s politicians and press be lying so much about international affairs in order to make Americans loathe foreigners (especially the ones that the U.S. aristocracy want to conquer) even more than Americans already — and with good reason — loathe America’s own politicians and press?
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.