If one needed proof that Mueller’s investigation was an utter farce, they were in for a treat this morning when the Deputy Attorney General announced the indictment of thirteen “Russian trolls,” for allegedly interfering in the 2016 Presidential election by posting on social media accounts.
Laying Mueller’s disregard of the First Amendment aside, the indictment is blatantly hypocritical in light of active social media intervention by pro-Clinton David Brock and his multi-million dollar efforts to ‘Correct The Record.’
Mueller "troll farm" indictment today
– explicitly states no collusion
– does not mention WikiLeaks
– states trolls intent to support Trump & Sanders, oppose Clinton, Cruz
– states trolls intent on anti-Trump AND pro-Trump rallies post electionhttps://t.co/uMxBAwOeOY
— Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 16, 2018
The indictment alleges that: “Beginning in or around June 2014, the ORGANIZATION obscured its conduct by operating through a number of Russian entities, including Internet Research LLC, MediaSintez LLC, GlavSet LLC, MixInfo LLC, Azimut LLC, and NovInfo LLC.”
The indictment further alleges that: “The ORGANIZATION sought, in part, to conduct what it called information warfare against the United States of America through fictitious U.S. personas on social media platforms and other Internet-based media.”
According to the indictment, the co-conspirators “engaged in operations primarily intended to communicate derogatory information about Hillary Clinton, to denigrate other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump.”
The indictment represents the latest mutation of Russian interference allegations that have dragged on for over a year. As this author previously noted, the definition of Russian interference has shifted from unsubstantiated claims of Russian hacking, to Russian collusion, and finally to Russian social media trolling.
NEW: "Mueller" grand jury indictment for 13 Russian nationals associated with the Internet Research Agency for on-line trolling during the 2016 US election https://t.co/mKoQwOeqfP
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) February 16, 2018
The Washington Post reported in 2015 that David Brock’s Correct The Record would work directly with the Clinton Campaign, “testing the legal limits” of campaign finance in the process. How did Correct The Record skirt campaign finance law? The Washington Post tells us: “by relying on a 2006 Federal Election Commission regulation that declared that content posted online for free, such as blogs, is off-limits from regulation.” And post online, Brock’s PAC did: “disseminating information about Clinton on its Web site and through its Facebook and Twitter accounts, officials said.”
Time reported the opinion of a lawyer at the Campaign Legal Center who characterized Correct The Record as: “creating new ways to undermine campaign regulation.” Meanwhile, The New York Times detailed the “outrage machine” that Brock and fellow Clinton supporter Peter Daou had created:
“Peter Daou sat with his team at a long wooden table last week, pushing the buttons that activate Mrs. Clinton’s outrage machine. Mr. Daou’s operation, called Shareblue, had published the article on Mr. Trump’s comment on its website and created the accompanying hashtag.“They will put that pressure right on the media outlets in a very intense way,” Mr. Daou, the chief executive of Shareblue, said of the Twitter army he had galvanized. “By the thousands.”
Going further, the New York Times details fervently the $2 million budget of Daou’s Shareblue and admits that the intent of the entire operation is interference in the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election in favor of Hillary Clinton: “Beyond creating a boisterous echo chamber, the real metric of success for Shareblue, which Mr. Brock said has a budget of $2 million supplied by his political donors, is getting Mrs. Clinton elected. Mr. Daou’s role is deploying a band of committed, outraged followers to harangue Mrs. Clinton’s opponents.”
The New York Daily News put the matter most bluntly: “Hillary Clinton camp now paying online trolls to attack anyone who disparages her online.” The LA Times described the active election interference: “It is meant to appear to be coming organically from people and their social media networks in a groundswell of activism, when in fact it is highly paid and highly tactical.”
Despite the millions of dollars poured into a pro-Clinton ‘outrage machine’ bent on her support, Clinton inexplicably lost the election to Donald Trump, a fact which still seems not to have sunk in for the former First Lady and Secretary of State.
But why bring up this apparently old news, in the face of Mueller’s latest mockery of the American judicial process and the First Amendment? Because it reveals in the words of the legacy press that by definition Mueller’s circus has zero interest in campaign or election integrity and is solely interested in getting scalps for Clinton and for the unelected powers she represented.
Despite obvious hypocrisy given the actions of Shareblue and David Brock’s Correct The Record, corporate media ignored all double standards and attempted to report on “Russian twitter trolling” with a straight face. Business Insider wrote: “Russian Twitter Trolls Tried To Bury Or Spin Negative Trump News Just Before Election,” as if that wasn’t what Correct The Record spent millions on doing for the benefit of Clinton.
The double standards applied to Clinton for her benefit goes beyond hypocrisy. Many have claimed that constantly metamorphosing allegations of Russian interference represents an insidious effort to silence dissent and anti-establishment political discourse: for example, by turning third-party, anti-establishment or conservative voices into “Russians” by proxy of their opposition to Clinton.
By converting legitimate American free speech into insidious “Russian bots,” a pretext is created to silence dissent across the board. Without the Russian interference circus, the efforts to breach the First Amendment would be overtly authoritarian and would be inexcusable even by the most corrupt establishment media standards.
The results of such a clamp-down on free and effective speech have manifested in censorship crackdowns across large social media platforms including Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook, with Twitter admitting to actively censoring roughly 48% of tweets that included the “#DNCEmails” hashtag. It seems anyone with an opinion the establishment doesn’t like is liable to be memory-holed.
This article was co-authored with Kenneth Whittle