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Monday, March 20, 2017

Psy-war

I don't know how your news covered the hearings, but the Fox affiliate here in Bawlmer pretended that the whole thing was a huge nothingburger. They wanted us to think that the hearings completely exonerated Team Trump.

Sorry, Fox. I know what nothingburger tastes like, and it sure doesn't taste anything like what we were served today. Today we learned that the FBI has been investigating the Trump/Russia link since "late July" -- and that ain't nothin'. Josh Marshall adds:
Let's now look at the reference to the investigation starting in "late July." This is highly significant since it appears to have well predated much of the public discussion of the Trump/Russia issue. Indeed, it came only weeks after Comey's extraordinary public statement on the end of the probe of Hillary Clinton's emails.

Back on July 23, I published a lengthy post on Trump and Russia ("Trump & Putin. Yes, It's Really a Thing"), my first on the subject as far as I can remember. No, you can relax. I'm not going to claim my post triggered anything. What I do believe is that there were a series of developments coming together at right around that time which built up to a critical mass of intriguing and suspicious evidence that something was afoot.
(Dare I mention it again? Yes: The election of Trump taught us that this country likes immodesty.)

I wrote about the Trump/Putin connection on June 16, 2016, in a piece that name-checked Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Michael Caputo and Carter Page. I got there more than a month before Josh Marshall did. More than a month before the FBI decided that something weird was going on.

(Yee-OWTCH! Felt a twinge while patting myself on the back just now. An old rotator cuff injury. Never quite healed.)

David Corn says that Devin Nunes "just told me he's never heard of Carter Page or Roger Stone. And he's in charge of the investigation?" Obviously, Nunes should have been reading Cannonfire.

(OW! There it goes again. Time to stop congratulating myself.)

Did we lose a war? Yale professor Timothy Snyder's NY Daily News piece argues that psy-war can be just as powerful and decisive as boom-boom war -- which means that Americans lost a war in 2016 without quite understanding that they were in a fight.
In 2011, a Russian information war manual concluded that operations in what Russians like to call the "psychosphere" were more important than conventional military engagements. The chief of staff of the Russian armed forces concurred in 2013. The basic aim of war, he averred, was to get inside the national mind of the enemy, reconfiguring habits of mind and frames of discourse so that Americans would do what the Russian leadership wanted.
The information manual very well describes the experience of being an American citizen in 2016: "the population doesn't even feel it is being acted upon. So the state doesn't switch on its self-defense mechanisms." Even though many American citizens had a vague sense that something was uncanny about the presidential campaign, and those who read the newspaper knew that Russia was interfering, few realized the scale of the operation or its significance.
Still more important was the unexpected advantage Trump displayed over Hillary Clinton in social media. The Trump staff did not exhibit much technical expertise. And yet, somehow, the generators and distributors of fake news were, as if magically, on his side. The Clinton "ground game" was crushed by the Trump meme game. The bots worked 24/7 for Trump.

We know that hackers tried to steal data about registered voters from more than 20 states, and succeeded in at least four cases. The FBI and CIA issued official reports blaming Russia. Last week, the Justice Department issued indictments for two Russian secret policemen, accused of harvesting data from hundreds of millions of Yahoo accounts. Big political data allows fake news to be targeted to the right demographic, thereby changing political discourse.
During the campaign, I called it a Facebook war. Every time Hillary pulled ahead -- and there were several occasions when her lead seemed insurmountable -- the bots, the trolls, the fake newsers and the social engineers made her numbers evaporate.
In campaigns that received less media attention than they deserved, Russia used the internet to export alternative reality to Estonia, Poland, Ukraine, France and Germany. The 2016 Russian cyberwar against America, like these previous ones, aimed at very real weaknesses — just like a sniper aims for the head or the lungs.
Actually, I think that the Russians got a lot of their  best ideas from us. Y'see, there were similar theorists here in America back in the 1990s, writing for the Army War College. They called it "The Revolution in Military Affairs." It's possible that Team Putin read their work put some of those ideas into practice.

Russiagate and the British connection. The Guardian is running a series which I have not yet read, although it looks very promising. Start here, then go here.
Comments:
Contrary to what Hollywood wants us to believe when or how many times did we ever won over Russia. I count Afghanistan. They wouldn't have attacked us at home( and I consider what happened to us in 2016 an attack) unless they a history of winnings against us. Democrats are cowards. If it was Repblicans war would be going on now
 
@Anonymous: I don't know what kind of BS you were spewing out there...but it stinks.

@Joseph: Yep, you did warn us about this way back in July of 2016, Joseph--plus you gave us the goods on Roger Stone, who up until that time I had never heard of.

Still, it was extremely frustrating to see Trump and company (including the Bernie-Bros and the Stein fans) constantly give Putin and Wikileaks verbal fellatio while the media looked on...and yawned...and went back to whining about Hillary's emails.

Some things sadly have not changed--H.A. Goodman is melting down on Twitter, clinging to the short reeds by claiming that the Trump/Russia connection is a DNC distraction--a "Jedi mind trick" to prevent us from seeing the real truth that we are all ignoring the most important thing ever--Bernie Sanders' revolution!!

Ditto the nonsense from Greenwald and the "Justice Democrats" who are too busy pursuing actual Democrats to primary and insult instead of going after Republicans.

A foreign power helped get a corrupt gang into the highest office in the land, and some people insist on running after the small fry instead of the big fish. Ugh.
 
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