Who Did The Russians Target? You, Colorado

AP via FOX 31 reports the local angle in today’s big story as the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections continues–within today’s indictment of numerous Russian nationals and three organizations for fraud and identity theft in connection with ad buys and other actions to influence the 2016 elections, an indicator of what places and voters would be most valuable for targeting with disinformation.

Purple states. Like Colorado.

Russian operatives were told by an unnamed person in the U.S. they should focus their activities in Colorado and other purple states in a plot to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, prosecutors said Friday.

Thirteen Russians and three Russian entities were charged Friday with an elaborate plot to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, federal prosecutors announced Friday.

The indictment , brought by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller, alleges that Russians used bogus social media postings and advertisements fraudulently purchased in the name of Americans to sway political opinion during the race between Republican Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent.

The charges are the most direct allegation to date of illegal Russian meddling in the election.

Here’s the indictment in its entirety. We don’t yet know how the information that led to the indictment was obtained, and there are no specific incidents cited–only that Russian operatives traveled to Colorado, were recommended by at least one “grassroots activist” in Texas to focus on “purple states” including Colorado, and that afterwards the Russians themselves used the same language to describe the operational phase of their mission:

We expect there will be many more details uncovered in the coming weeks, and it needs to happen. It’s only a matter of time before specific aliases and front groups are revealed that local political observers will recognize from the 2016 election. We don’t want to leap into speculation, but from the right-wing trolls besieging the Colorado politics hashtags on Twitter to innumerable cases of fake news planted on Facebook and sudden rushes of like-minded comments to news stories, there is a huge body of content to sift through for evidence of “active measures” from what are now known persons and entities.

Even though purple Colorado did not vote to elect Donald Trump, we most definitely need to know how hard the Russians tried to flip our state. And when we find that out, we’d bet real money that there will be some extremely embarrassed Colorado Republicans. We will know who among them was duped into spreading disinformation from a foreign intelligence effort to disrupt an American election.

And though maybe not criminal, that will be a harsh indictment indeed.

37 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    Could it be that Moderatus is really a Russian bot?

    • Mike W. says:

      Do we have any record of his lifeless basement-dweller statements prior to 2014?

      • RepealAndReplace says:

        The basemenr is apparently in St. Petersburg. And I'm not talking about the one in Florida.

        • Conserv. Head Banger says:

          Recent story in The Week magazine, reported from the Netherlands…. Dutch intelligence hacked into Russian hacking outfit Cozy Bear back in mid-2014. They watched in real time as Cozy Bear hacked into the State Department, Congress, and the DNC. They located Cozy Bear's office building in Moscow; hacked into the security camera; and observed multiple visits to Cozy Bear by known Russian FSB operatives. They passed on all info to US intelligence. 

    • ParkHill says:

      Nah, He's too stupid. I think he's a Republican bot.

      Note that a number of fake news items and polemical memes were pushed hard by the Russians, including both Black Lives Matters and Blue Lives Matters. Also, Jill Stein & Bernie Sanders. The whole point is to sew (or sow) discord and fear…

      Donald Trump on the other hand, is clearly coordinating with the Russian strategy. He is not stupid like Moddy. Well, he is ignorant and evil, but he’s not stupid.

      Have you ever been in a hard-sell condo pitch? It is a brain-washing technique to keep up the noise and distractions. Trump’s primary target is member of the legislature as much as it is the US people.

      • mamajama55 says:

        Examples? Or more blather perpetuating the Dem divide? As a Sanders supporter, I was pretty careful to pass on only factual critiques of HRC. I reported a couple of rather nasty porno anti-HRC posts to Facebook.

        And are you seriously claiming that Black Lives Matter is infiltrated by Russians?

        • ParkHill says:

          No, The Bernie and Jill campaigns already existed (and I was a Bernie supporter).

          The point is that the Russian strategy was (and Trumps strategy is!) to exacerbate the differences and divisions already existing in the American population. In that respect, they were equal-opportunity trolls, trying to cut down Hillary Clinton and promote Donald Trump. To that end they used both fake news and real news, in coordination with existing Republican Party propaganda operations, like Fox News.

          WRT Black Lives Matters, there was an effort to push or retweet the most radical voices. Same thing with Blue Lives Matters, I would never accuse Voyager of being a Russian Troll, but I'll be he has read and perhaps been taken in by lots of retweets of fake news about Blue Lives Matters.

          It is the same story as the FBI in the 1960s anti war protests. The infiltrator (if you wish), was not necessarily leading the protest on the Campus Quad, but there was always that one guy in the back saying "Protest doesn't work; what we really need to do is burn down the Student Union". The goal is to discredit and delegitimize the anti war movement. And it worked! The half of the US populace that wasn't against the Vietnam war, aged into the Tea Party voters.

          • Voyageur says:

            Hey, you try making it on Social Security and a Denver Post pension.  Those rubles help out a lot!

            And the free vodka is great.

          • RepealAndReplace says:

            The Bernie campaign was already in existence and he was a serious and legitimate candidate.

            Jill Stein was what another famous Russian leader would have labeled a "useful idiot."

          • mamajama55 says:

            Interesting. I agree that this is still happening today – many of the infiltrators in the anti-fascist movement seem to be provocateurs.

            These people do tend to be the most militant, and to thrive by shaming other activists into being more violent and taking more risks . That tactic works better with men than women, and with naive young people than with older, seasoned activists.

            You can see a mirror image of  those same divisions within modern law enforcement and the FBI. There are certainly plenty of racists and tea party folks within those organizations – they keep generating the atrocities that keep Black Lives Matter outraged and active.

            Their counterparts are truly dedicated to peace, security, and order, to keeping the public safe. The same FBI that paid provocateurs to infiltrate the original Black Panthers, SDS, and antiwar organizations in the 60s and 70s is now trying to protect the public against Russian operatives targeting democracy.

            In the bizarro world we live in today, it is the true "law and order" people who are keeping the Russian cyberinvasion at bay. Our allies. – even if the ghost of Abbie Hoffman is outraged.

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      Is that a promotion from patsy?

  2. ParkHill says:

    we’d bet real money that there will be some extremely embarrassed Colorado Republicans. We will know who among them was duped into spreading disinformation from a foreign intelligence effort to disrupt an American election.

    Can you be a dupe if you are part of the conspiracy?

    • ParkHill says:

      There is a big difference between a witting dupe and an unwitting dupe. Most dupes aren't actually unwitting; they want to be duped. That is the art of the affinity fraud.

      Likewise most traitors like the Trump campaign team are witting dupes. That is the kind of person targeted for cooptation by spy agencies. 

  3. mamajama55 says:

    Pols. Serious typo problem. Colorado did NOT vote to elect Donald Trump. Hillary +5, I think it was.

    Even though purple Colorado did vote to elect Donald Trump,

  4. Zappatero says:

    Andrew Carnegie was obvious. I called him out loooooooong time ago. 

    CPOLS should extract his posts and put a timeline to them. 

  5. Diogenesdemar says:

    I thought I had heard somewhere that Ronnie and the Raygunettes had won the Cold War?

  6. ParkHill says:

    WOTD from TPM: "High Drama"

    Rod Rosenstein acts like a real Attorney General and provides cover for Mueller's on-going investigation into how the Russians and the Trump campaign coordinated.

    https://youtu.be/fMwk6wE8RbM

  7. Gilpin Guy says:

    Interesting that they are rounding up the foreigners first.  That makes sense if you are a Boa Constrictor and slowly squeezing valuable information out of smaller rats.  Those with less loyalty to the Dear Leader might be more prone to cut a deal that would lay a bigger trap of perjury and self incrimination later on.  Talk about a Friday news dump.

  8. Gilpin Guy says:

    I've been thinking it is so ironic that the Moldy's of the world are thrilled with the 700billion/year for the military but don't want to fund anything to protect our democracy from this new form of attack.  You would think the little bitches would be even more paranoid than normal that their vote wasn't fair.  They keep loudly proclaiming how patriotic they are.

  9. mamajama55 says:

    Morgan Carroll and Colorado Democrats call for Republicans to protect Mueller investigation:

    *Press Release**
    CO Dems Call For Action After DOJ Indictment Shows Russians Targeted Colorado in 2016

    Colorado Democratic Party Chair Morgan Carroll issued the following statement in response to news that Colorado was targeted by Russian operatives in their effort to help put Donald Trump in the White House.

    "This morning, the Department of Justice issued an indictment that shows that Russian nationals traveled to Colorado and targeted Colorado as part of a sophisticated Russian intelligence effort to help put Donald Trump in the White House.

    Furthermore, the Director of National Intelligence said earlier this week that Russia is planning another attack on the United States to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections.

    In light of this indictment from the FBI and this warning by the Director of National Intelligence, Colorado's congressional delegation – especially those who are members of Trump's party – must take immediate action to protect the Mueller investigation from interference by the Trump administration. (my emphasis)

    In addition, leaders in Washington and Colorado must take immediate action to secure the integrity of our voting process from efforts by foreign governments to deny the will of the people.

    Trump has claimed that the Russian attack on our democracy is a 'hoax,' and has taken no action to secure the integrity of the voting process. In fact, he has tried to undermine the investigation at every turn. Unfortunately, Republican politicians have gone along with Trump, putting party over country. They have demonstrated that they are more interested in protecting Trump than protecting our democracy from foreign attacks. The most important thing voters can do is elect Democrats in 2018 who will treat cyber security and attempts to meddle in our elections with the seriousness they deserve."
    ###

    Colorado Democratic Party
    789 Sherman St
    Ste 110Denver, CO 80203

  10. The realist says:

    I am still struck by the lack of analysis (here or anywhere) re: what impact the Putin operations had on races OTHER than the Presidential race. Weren't there some close state legislative races in Colorado in 2016, for example? Is anyone considering they may have been impacted by not only the Russian efforts to sow division but also their pro-Trump/anti-Hillary propaganda? I'd love to see some professional political folks take a stab at this. 

    • It would be hard to quantifu, but sure it's possible. Some Republican House candidates benefited rather directly, it's been found. Many others were probably helped less obviously. And sure, boosting Trumpian turnout and dpressing Democratic Hillary skeptics through the propaganda mill almost certainly helped some Republicans down-ballot too. Might have altered the results of a ballot measure somewhere if we looked closely.

      What matters is, we're in an information war with Russia, and some of us don't hold the horrified view you'd think they should. Kind of like the folks in WWII who thought the nazis and fascists weren't so bad – enough that they provided equipment to those regimes or even plotted a coup on FDR.

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