The Russia Hoax Was Aided by NGOs Peddling Junk Science
Some of the most vicious anti-Trump voices have come from US government-funded Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), affiliated with the State Department, Big Tech, and Soros afiliates. Many of these NGOs have existed since the Cold War, with a mandate to promote freedom and democracy abroad. They are forbidden to operate in the US, especially in partisan fashion.
Apparently, they have disregarded that mandate and have instead positioned themselves as pillars or guardians of the “global civil society.” They found a reliable ally in State Secretary Hillary Clinton. They have been interfering in US political campaigns and elections since at least 2016, frequently in coordination with their UN/EU counterparts.
One such NGO is the National Democratic Institute, headed by Madeleine Albright. It receives federal funding, which it mixes with money and influence from the Open Society Foundation (George Soros), UN agencies, the European Commission, multiple foreign governments, Amazon, Google and others.
The day after the 2016 elections, NDI published a piece called: The distributed denial of democracy. Its author expressed dismay at Trump’s victory and blamed it on Russia, bots, Russian troll farms (IRA – the Internet Research Agency), and social media misinformation, all mixed together.
Social media and the Internet have had a drastic effect on the surprise results of yesterday’s election in the United States, driving the spread of information—and misinformation … Through “troll farms” of professional online provocateurs, automated bots pumping out thousands of comments, or a “Web Brigade” of crowdsourced online abuse, authoritarian regimes are engaged in a long-term and well-resourced program of undermining the democratic rights … Russia that is the most noted offender.
The fact that the IRA, or Saint Petersburg troll factory, took both commercial and political orders, had been widely known. However, there was nothing linking it to US elections, much less to supporting Trump. Conversely, the mainstream media had previously proudly promoted “social justice” bots, designed to bait conservatives, but was quick to condemn the suspected use of bots in the opposite direction.
Oxford Internet Institute
The Oxford Internet Institute (OII) was created in 2001 to study “the social science of the Internet.” By 2015, it had become an internet-focused junk science / idea laundering mill, giving leftist agendas the veneer of academic respectability. It was funded by the UK Remain establishment, the European Commission, leftist foundations, UNESCO, and Big Tech. Oxford Internet Institute churns out “research” used by Big Tech to reject actual scientific evidence and even to suppress information regarding the significant health harm that Big Tech services are inflicting on adolescents. This is not a small matter. Suicide rates among girls in the US have almost tripled between 2007 and 2017 and there is strong evidence linking the use of social media and smartphones to this devastating rise. OII is suppressing this vital issue.
In January 2016, OII launched the Computational Propaganda project. Its initial website was www.politicalbots.org, later changed to comprop.oii.ox.ac.uk. OII ComProp was initially funded by the European Commission and the Ford Foundation. In September–November 2016, OII ComProp produced a series of “data memos,” purporting to show that pro-Trump Twitter bots were 4-5 times more active than pro-Hillary bots, and were “strategically” used.
All this was junk science. OII ComProp used a selection criterion that classified prolific politically active Twitter users as bots. Even Twitter rejected ComProp’s claims. Later, the “researchers” suggested without any evidence that “pro-Trump bots” shared misinformation and that one of the alleged pro-Trump botnets was in Russia. But the MSM seized on this junk science to cast doubt on the 2016 election results. It then further embellished the claims by linking them to the allegations of Russian hacking and leaking of DNC documents.
This snowball effect turned the little bit of junk science from OII ComProp into another component of the alleged Russian election interference, adding to the coordinated allegations from the DNC, CrowdStrike, and Steele dossier. Around December 9, 2016, CIA chief John Brennan used this narrative to persuade President Obama to launch the post-election “investigation” against Trump, and its parts were found in the so-called Intelligence Community Assessment, unveiled on January 6, 2017, in what seems to be a last-ditch effort to prevent the Trump inauguration.
Following OII ComProp, other shady outfits sprang to life, claiming to monitor or to study “Russian activity” on social media. Some examples are the New Knowledge and Hamilton 68. This industry also ran a false flag operation that incorrectly linked the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama’s special election to Russia. Social media companies joined these efforts later and muzzled conservative voices as “fake news” and “Russian trolls.” OII ComProp and New Knowledge also made prominent appearances before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, peddling their junk science as expert evidence.
The internet and social media platforms have been political battlefields for years, in many countries. Foreign interference over the internet contributed to the rise of a defeatist sentiment in the war on terror, the Democratic party shift to the left, and Obama’s electoral victories. It is time to look at the benefits from foreign interference on social media, solicited and received by the Democrats.
Leo Goldstein has background in computer software / tech industry. His current research focuses on the consumer facing Big Tech, including anti-social media