Did you say Russians, Big Red Car?
Big Red Car here enjoying the memory of Presidents Lincoln and Washington. Ahh, on Earth as it is in Texas.
I have been trying to stay away from the Russian – Trump collusion dialogue for a while, but the huuuuuuuuuge Mueller Russian indictment has me scratching my head.
Let me share a few thoughts with you, may I?
The US and Russia routinely engage in espionage at an insane level of effort and have since before World War II. Barack Obama famously made fun of Mitt Romney during the Presidential debates when Mitt said the Russians were bad hombres, but Mitt was right.
Espionage is the effort to obtain secret information without the permission of its rightful owner. It is one part of the spy game.
Espionage is conducted by spies who are engaged full time in trying to obtain the enemy’s secrets. This is how the Russians “invented” their nuclear weapons, they stole them from the Americans.
The first thing to know is that people who engage in spying break the laws of the target country. So, when evaluating the spy operations, talking about you CIA, you are dealing with people who break laws for a living. Except, they are not supposed to break any US laws.
Spies provide humint (human intelligence). Today there are a lot of different types of intelligence including sigint (signals intelligence.)
The American NSA (National Security Agency) is the premier sigint entity in the world. It can listen in on and break into every form of communication known to man. It can capture and store every written or spoken word since the advent of language and store it all without breaking a sweat.
Spies are not limited to obtaining information. Sometimes, spies are providing information to an enemy with the objective being to misinform, disinform, mislead, or confuse the enemy.
In the vernacular of spies, these individuals — working on misinformation, disinformation, misleading or confusing — may be agents of influence, agents of confusion, and agents provocateur.
In the Russian effort, it is these objectives which were in play. The Russians wanted to influence the American election and to confuse the American electorate.
The Internet and Social Media
The Internet has changed everything. The killer app of the Internet is email. Writing emails can get you into a lot of trouble (talking to you Jon Podesta and Hillary Clinton). Counterfeiting emails can cause a lot of trouble.
The American electorate can be communicated with using the Internet and Social Media. They will be studying the Trump campaign’s use of Twitter for the next century.
The Russians, as all espionage agencies did, recognized the power of the Internet and Social Media to misinform, disinform, mislead, and confuse the American voter (writ larger, the entirety of American society not just voters).
So, let’s stop for a second and ask ourselves a question – given the nature of the Internet and Social Media is there any way the Russians would NOT have been using them to engage in misinformation, disinformation, misleading, or confusion. It’s in their DNA.
OK, so when did this start, Big Red Car?
It started with the advent of the Internet and Social Media. It’s been going on for years.
Though Mueller comes to us with breathless indignation as if he discovered gambling at Rick’s Place in Casablance, there have been a number of articles both in Russia and the US about a Russian troll factory.
What you can see from these articles is that the Internet Research Agency (the Troll Factory) was common knowledge going back as far as 2013. It wasn’t much of a secret at all.
It was well organized, compartmentalized, sought out perfect English speakers, and well funded. Just like the FSB (the new brand for the old KGB, but same bunch).
The Mueller Indictment
The Mueller Indictment is a bit of theatre. It reveals to us something which was known for three years before the election during the Obama administration – the Russians were mucking about with the American voter using the Internet and Social Media. In specific:
1. The Russians adopted false identities and used these false identities to open Social Media accounts at such places like Facebook and Twitter. Wow! Never saw that coming, did you?
2. The Russians used these accounts to stir up trouble (starting years before the election, when it was a high likelihood that Hillary would get the Democrat nomination and Donald J Trump hadn’t even declared his candidacy) by planting false information and inflammatory information.
3. The Russians spent:
a. $1,979 in Wisconsin (all but $54 before the primaries were finished),
b. $1,536 in California where there hasn’t been a chance of a Republican winner in a quarter of a century,
c. $823 in Michigan,
d. $300 in Pennsylvania, and,
e. an indeterminate amount in Florida which may be as much as $5,000.
Read the articles and you will learn they did exactly what any minimally digitally savvy person would suspect they might. They were true agents provocateur.
Facebook reported previously that accounts which it suspects of being fraudulent spent as much as $80,000 on FB ads. They are not perfectly certain.
Yawn. Oh, excuse me, I guess in a Presidential campaign which spent more than $10,000,000,000 on all ads and events with the two direct campaigns spending a total of $2,000,000,000 directly, I fail to see how the Russians could have really hoped to impact the election.
When do the Russians go to trial, Big Red Car?
What the Mueller indictment does not say is that none of these people will ever go to trial. Ever.
Why, Big Red Car?
1. Because they are Russian citizens,
2. Because they live in Russia, and
3. Because Vladimir Putin is not going to agree to their extradition.
Neither the US nor Russia ever extradites spies. We exchange them, but only when we have custody of them. Pointedly, the Mueller team does not have any of these digital Illuminati in custody. Big point.
What Mueller did was to repackage the news from Russia and the Washington Post and craft it into an ineffective, showboat of an indictment by manipulating some “in the dark” Grand Jury as a means of pretending that he had discovered something of value or importance. Unfortunately, the story started three years before the election and the Obama admin knew about it for years. Yawn! Excuse me.
It is total baloney and nobody on the Mueller team expects to ever try this case.
It is a head fake.
So, Big Red Car, why did they do it?