September 14, 2022

When I first wrote about this back in 2016, I was told I was "making excuses" for Hillary Clinton's performance. Apparently not! Via the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — Russia has covertly given at least $300 million to political parties, officials and politicians in more than two dozen countries since 2014, and plans to transfer hundreds of millions more, with the goal of exerting political influence and swaying elections, according to a State Department summary of a recent U.S. intelligence review.

Russia has probably given even more that has gone undetected, the document said.

“The Kremlin and its proxies have transferred these funds in an effort to shape foreign political environments in Moscow’s favor,” the document said. It added, “The United States will use official liaison channels with targeted countries to share still classified information about Russian activities targeting their political environments.”

The State Department document was sent as a cable to American embassies around the world on Monday to summarize talking points for U.S. diplomats in conversations with foreign officials.

Monitoring social media was part of my job during the election, and it got to the point where you could easily spot the Russian trolls. For instance, when they opened Twitter accounts, Twitter would recommend accounts to follow based on location. The trolls would click on them, so even though they claimed to be from Indiana etc., their initial follows were Russian TV shows, soccer, and politicians.

They've gotten more sophisticated since then, but they're still there.

The other part of the problem is that everyone assumes they're too smart to be influenced. They also insist they can spot trolls a mile away. Well, most people can't. Those of us here at C&L have been doing this for a very long time, and even we get fooled occasionally.

Most people also don't understand Russia's policy is to support any possible disruptors -- not just Republicans. That's why they've been actively supporting anti-vaxxers all over the world for at least 15 years.

Remember, almost $300 billion a year is spent in America on advertising. If it didn't influence people, wouldn't they just keep that money?

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