Russia-Gate Spreads To Europe

Authored by Robert Parry via,

Ever since the U.S. government dangled $160 million last December to combat Russian propaganda and disinformation, obscure academics and eager think tanks have been lining up for a shot at the loot, an unseemly rush to profit that is spreading the Russia-gate hysteria beyond the United States to Europe...

British Prime Minister Theresa May

Now, it seems that every development, which is unwelcomed by the Establishment – from Brexit to the Catalonia independence referendum – gets blamed on Russia! Russia! Russia!

The methodology of these “studies” is to find some Twitter accounts or Facebook pages somehow “linked” to Russia (although it’s never exactly clear how that is determined) and complain about the “Russian-linked” comments on political developments in the West. The assumption is that the gullible people of the United States, United Kingdom and Catalonia were either waiting for some secret Kremlin guidance to decide how to vote or were easily duped.

Oddly, however, most of this alleged “interference” seems to have come after the event in question. For instance, more than half (56 percent) of the famous $100,000 in Facebook ads in 2015-2017 supposedly to help elect Donald Trump came after last year’s U.S. election (and the total sum compares to Facebook’s annual revenue of $27 billion).

Similarly, a new British study at the University of Edinburgh blaming the Brexit vote on Russia discovered that more than 70 percent of the Brexit-related tweets from allegedly Russian-linked sites came after the referendum on whether the U.K. should leave the European Union. But, hey, don’t let facts and logic get in the way of a useful narrative to suggest that anyone who voted for Trump or favored Brexit or wants independence for Catalonia is Moscow’s “useful idiot”!

This week, British Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russia of seeking to “undermine free societies” and to “sow discord in the West.”

What About Israel?

Yet, another core problem with these “studies” is that they don’t come with any “controls,” i.e., what is used in science to test a hypothesis against some base line to determine if you are finding something unusual or just some normal occurrence.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on March 3, 2015, in opposition to President Barack Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran. (Screen shot from CNN broadcast)

In this case, for instance, it would be useful to find some other country that, like Russia, has a significant number of English speakers but where English is not the native language – and that has a significant interest in foreign affairs – and then see whether people from that country weigh in on social media with their opinions and perspectives about political events in the U.S., U.K., etc.

Perhaps, the U.S. government could devote some of that $160 million to, say, a study of the Twitter/Facebook behavior of Israelis and whether they jump in on U.S./U.K. controversies that might directly or indirectly affect Israel. We could see how many Twitter/Facebook accounts are “linked” to Israel; we could study whether any Israeli “trolls” harass journalists and news sites that oppose neoconservative policies and politicians in the West; we could check on whether Israel does anything to undermine candidates who are viewed as hostile to Israeli interests; if so, we could calculate how much money these “Israeli-linked” activists and bloggers invest in Facebook ads; and we could track any Twitter bots that might be reinforcing the Israeli-favored message.

No Chance

If we had this Israeli baseline, then perhaps we could judge how unusual it is for Russians to voice their opinions about controversies in the West. It’s true that Israel is a much smaller country with 8.5 million people compared to Russia’s 144 million, but you could adjust for those per capita numbers — and even if you didn’t, it wouldn’t be surprising to find that Israel’s interference in U.S. policymaking still exceeds Russian influence.

Russian President Vladimir Putin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on May 10, 2015, at the Kremlin. (Photo from Russian government)

It’s also true that Israeli leaders have often advocated policies that have proved disastrous for the United States, such as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s encouragement of  the Iraq War, which Russia opposed. Indeed, although Russia is now regularly called an American enemy, it’s hard to think of any policy that President Vladimir Putin has pushed on the U.S. that is even a fraction as harmful to U.S. interests as the Iraq War has been.

And, while we’re at it, maybe we could have an accounting of how much “U.S.-linked” entities have spent to influence politics and policies in Russia, Ukraine, Syria and other international hot spots.

But, of course, neither of those things will happen. If you even tried to gauge the role of “Israeli-linked” operations in influencing Western decision-making, you’d be accused of anti-Semitism. And if that didn’t stop you, there would be furious editorials in The New York Times, The Washington Post and the rest of the U.S. mainstream media denouncing you as a “conspiracy theorist.” Who could possibly think that Israel would do anything underhanded to shape Western attitudes?

And, if you sought the comparative figures for the West interfering in the affairs of other nations, you’d be faulted for engaging in “false moral equivalence.” After all, whatever the U.S. government and its allies do is good for the world; whereas Russia is the fount of evil.

So, let’s just get back to developing those algorithms to sniff out, isolate and eradicate “Russian propaganda” or other deviant points of view, all the better to make sure that Americans, Britons and Catalonians vote the right way.


wildbad God Emperor Sun, 11/19/2017 - 05:26 Permalink

I would guesss that the bell is now tolling loudly for Theresa May.

She is done as a politician and if the Brexit waffling were not enough, this puts her solidly in the camp of the Globalist Cabal.

There are so few politician who are offered a peek behind the curtain who do NOT accept their coins in exchange for supernational alleigiance.

Nigel Farage is one of them, Ron Paul was one of them.

We need trials and executions for treasonous behaviour. Such laws were fashioned in times where these backroomers were well known and intrigues and secret societies were openly discussed and legislated against.

We have been dumbed down to such a degree that these appear as fantasy fairy tales but to anyone who is awake the true motives are seen through and the dots connected.

I am hopeful that the shenanigans of all of these globalists will be forced on an ignorant public to such a degree that they will rise in truly righteous anger and resist these psychopaths in every way possible.

Vote them out, shout them out, film them out, truth them out.

In reply to by God Emperor

BennyBoy nachochan Sun, 11/19/2017 - 06:50 Permalink

 I'm an obscure academic and I propose using extreme propaganda and disinformation to counter russia's propaganda and disinformation.1. Have the MSM stream baseless accusations all day and night.2. Have the MSM create Fake News article daily.3. Have the CIA carry out lots of false flag attacks.Its a fool proof recipe.Where can I get my slice of the $160 million?

In reply to by nachochan

Endgame Napoleon jeff montanye Sun, 11/19/2017 - 08:32 Permalink

Beyond soldiers killed during the Russian expansionism of the Cold War, which was fought in other countries like Vietnam, they haven’t, certainly not more than other countries that globalists let off the hook despite a ton of brutality.

I do not agree that Israel is spared from disparagement. Just like in this article, people heap critiques on them, but in most respects, they have been a good ally of the US and the only hardcore democracy in the ME.

But the article writer makes a good point that the Russia-Russia-Russia hype is just a reflexive chant, an orange alert for a country that is not even committing terrorist acts against the US and even tried to warn the US about the Boston Marathon bombers. Even during the Cuban Missile Crisis, people always say the world was spared nuclear war because ”Kruschev blinked.”

There is corruption in all countries, especially in the era of the globalist cheap labor / natural resources chase, but on the issue of comparative violence, it is not rational to say that Russia has been more of a threat than many countries routinely courted by Dems.

Even if the [leaders] of the Russian people had shown maximum aggression, justifying complete disengagement, the neoliberal globalists defend the right of every group in the world, no matter how corrupt or murderous their leadership, not just to speak but as places to ship our jobs.

They only exclude the Russians, a group that arguably has done some good things, like say helping the Allies defeat fascism in WWII at the expense of a massive loss of men.

It is unfair and hypocritical to say you believe in global dialog and then exclude one group so that you can use it as boogey man to explain an election loss that occurred due to other, mostly domestic, economic issues and due to gaping shortcomings in one of the both of the parties, actually.

Besides, the internet is not a vessel of nationalism.

In the West, it is designed to be an open communication device, not a manipulation tool for dictators, elected politicians or any one set of influencers. If people start censoring the political speech on the internet, selectively, it will magnify the ability of groups with nefarious political agendas to dominate the dialog. They will think up cunning, indirect ways to use government-led censorship to silence their political opponents.

After censoring political speech by people in [some] foreign countries, the next thing government will do is criminalize reading posts from people in other countries, deeming it as propaganda, on the assumption that people in supposedly free countries are children who cannot distinguish a raw attempt to manipulate.

In reply to by jeff montanye

MarsInScorpio Endgame Napoleon Sun, 11/19/2017 - 11:27 Permalink

Endgame:I want to congratulate you on an excellent post. It is well-thought-out, coherent, factually based, without hysteria, lacking any hate-speech, and what we used to see years ago on ZH.Unfortunately, your composition is a vanishing breed on ZH. Thoughtful people worth reading - on any side of an issue - have been greatly replaced by anti-Jew slime-balls, the Lunatic Leftists, and mentally dysfunctional ragers. Oh yeah, and let's not forget the "work at home" spammers, and those promoting their malware-infested sites with click bait.Thanks for bring up the standards!!

In reply to by Endgame Napoleon

BennyBoy ParticularlySt… Sun, 11/19/2017 - 06:44 Permalink

 ZH is all about ads and your dumass seeing them.Clickbait articles and paid articles that are nothing but ads for the dumass that writes them and the fools that pay to subscribe their newsletter.And you dumasses dont even use ad blockers so you are the ZH product.You dont even demand for a cut of the money ZH makes off your dumadseeingass.

In reply to by ParticularlySt…

DaBard51 Sat, 11/18/2017 - 22:43 Permalink

So, I go to a bar and order a Black Russian...Complicit, does it make me?  Hmmmm....   When nine hundred years old you become, look this good you will not.

TeraByte DaBard51 Sun, 11/19/2017 - 22:43 Permalink

A complicit is nothing because there is something far more sinister: I was on holidays in German Mosel in August and found myself accommodated on a bed and breakfast vineyard property alone among five RUSSIANS. We had mutual BBQ feasts, excursions, heaps of wine and good food and many discussions of world politics. Now my deeply troubled conscience keeps haunting me afterwards with a question, have I become Russian spy or/ and Putin´s agent, because I enjoyed their company. They migrated to Germany after the Soviet´s collapse, but my conscience claims they must cleverly masked fifth column sleepers.

In reply to by DaBard51

new game HRClinton Sun, 11/19/2017 - 07:42 Permalink

banksters need an enemy. russia, terrorism. hey, they even create enemies or terror. funding or financing both sides with influence from ill gotten money. oh, don't they create this money(debt) out of thin air?think about that for a while. pretty fuked up...and they are the ruling swampy elites.trump is a usefull idiot for these swamp elites.and they will kill if need, in the end, it is the violence 'implied' that keeps this never ending state of conflicts going.until the money, power and influence is addressed, nothing changes.all i can give trump credit for, is the front and center expossure of all of this.he has even brought out a few from behind the curtain.we all know wtf is going on, but to actually get the majority of controlled, usefull idiots doing something other than voting is the real challenge for change.and, unfortunatly, i don't see that happening.  

In reply to by HRClinton

A. Boaty Citizen G Sun, 11/19/2017 - 08:04 Permalink

Russia erased my hard drive and scrambled all my backups. Russia used subspace field harmonics to scratch all my vinyl records.

Russia gave my ex-girlfriend my new phone number. Putin poured vodka in my fish tank. Watching RT made me fall in love with a penguin. Now I have nightmares about circus midgets.

Russian agents move my car randomly around parking lots. Putin kicked my dog. A Russian left a nasty message on my boss’ voice mail in my voice! Watching RT gave me Dutch Elm disease…

In reply to by Citizen G