Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.
The tag 'dark money' is associated with 2 posts.

FTR #1039 Miscellaneous Articles and Updates

In FTR #718, we warned [back in 2010] that Facebook was not the cuddly little entity it was perceived to be but a potential engine of fascism enabling. Momentum for the remarkably timed immigrant caravan that became a focal point for Trump/GOP/Fox News propaganda during the recently-concluded midterm elections was generated by a fake Facebook account, which mimicked a Honduran politician/human rights activist, Bartolo Fuentes. Significant aspects of the event:

1.–” . . . . Facebook has admitted the account was an imposter account impersonating a prominent Honduran politician. But it is refusing to release information about the account, who may have set it up or what country it originated from. . . .”
2.–” . . . . In response to a query from BuzzFeed News, a Facebook spokesperson said the phony account ‘was removed for violating [the company’s] misrepresentation policy,’ but declined to share any further information, such as what country it originated from, what email address was used to open it, or any other details that might reveal who was behind it. Facebook added that, barring a subpoena or request from law enforcement, it does not share such information out of respect for the privacy of its users. Fuentes said he believes it’s important to find out who was behind the rogue account — but hasn’t gotten any answers from Facebook. ‘Who knows how many messages could have been sent and who received them?’ . . . .”
3.–” . . . . Fuentes has been unable to get any information from Facebook about the account, but one small detail stood out. Whoever created it listed the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa as Fuentes’s hometown, rather than the San Pedro Sula suburb of El Progreso. That might seem like a minor error, but it’s the sort of mistake a foreigner — not a Honduran — would make about the well-known former lawmaker, whose left-wing party stands in opposition to the current president’s administration. . . . ”
4.–” . . . . It operated entirely in Spanish and precisely targeted influencers within the migrant rights community. And rather than criticize or undermine the caravan — as other online campaigns would later attempt to do — it was used to legitimize the event, making a loosely structured grassroots event appear to be a well-organized effort by an established migrant group with a proven track record of successfully bringing Central American people to the US border. . . .”
5.–” . . . . before the account got started not many people seemed to be joining. Only after the account kicked into gear did enthusiasm and participation spike. The account also claimed falsely that the caravan was being led by a migrant rights organization called Pueblo Sin Fronteras. Later, once the caravan swelled to a massive scale, the Pueblo Sin Fronteras did get involved, though in a support rather than leadership role. . . .”
6.–” . . . . It appears that this account helped the caravan gain key momentum to the point where its size became a self-fulfilling prophecy, spurring even more to join and groups which hadn’t been supportive to get involved. . . .”
7.–” . . . . It’s hard to believe one Facebook account could play that decisive a role. But the account seems to have been sophisticated. And it is equally difficult to believe that a sophisticator operator or organization would have gone to such trouble and limited their efforts to a single imposter account. . . .”

Christopher Wylie–the former head of research at Cambridge Analytica who became one of the key insider whistle-blowers about how Cambridge Analytica operated and the extent of Facebook’s knowledge about it–gave an interview last month to Campaign Magazine. (We dealt with Cambridge Analytica in FTR #’s 946, 1021.)

Wylie recounts how, as director of research at Cambridge Analytica, his original role was to determine how the company could use the information warfare techniques used by SCL Group – Cambridge Analytica’s parent company and a defense contractor providing psy op services for the British military. Wylie’s job was to adapt the psychological warfare strategies that SCL had been using on the battlefield to the online space. As Wylie put it:

“ . . . . When you are working in information operations projects, where your target is a combatant, the autonomy or agency of your targets is not your primary consideration. It is fair game to deny and manipulate information, coerce and exploit any mental vulnerabilities a person has, and to bring out the very worst characteristics in that person because they are an enemy…But if you port that over to a democratic system, if you run campaigns designed to undermine people’s ability to make free choices and to understand what is real and not real, you are undermining democracy and treating voters in the same way as you are treating terrorists. . . . .”

Wylie also draws parallels between the psychological operations used on democratic audiences and the battlefield techniques used to be build an insurgency. It starts with targeting people more prone to having erratic traits, paranoia or conspiratorial thinking, and get them to “like” a group on social media. The information you’re feeding this target audience may or may not be real. The important thing is that it’s content that they already agree with so that “it feels good to see that information.” Keep in mind that one of the goals of the ‘psychographic profiling’ that Cambridge Analytica was to identify traits like neuroticism.

Wylie goes on to describe the next step in this insurgency-building technique: keep building up the interest in the social media group that you’re directing this target audience towards until it hits around 1,000-2,000 people. Then set up a real life event dedicated to the chosen disinformation topic in some local area and try to get as many of your target audience to show up. Even if only 5 percent of them show up, that’s still 50-100 people converging on some local coffee shop or whatever. The people meet each other in real life and start talking about about “all these things that you’ve been seeing online in the depths of your den and getting angry about”. This target audience starts believing that no one else is talking about this stuff because “they don’t want you to know what the truth is”. As Wylie puts it, “What started out as a fantasy online gets ported into the temporal world and becomes real to you because you see all these people around you.”

In FTR #1028, we highlighted the killing of Mollie Tibbetts noting that:

1.–The killing may have been a provocation, directed at focusing the electorate’s ire toward illegal immigrants and away from Donald Trump.
2.–The announcement about the location and arrest of the suspected perpetrator–Christhian Rivera–came on the same day that Michael Cohen copped a plea and Paul Manafort was found guilty. Was Rivera’s arrest timed as a distraction?
3.–There are superficial indications that Christhian Rivera may have been subjected to mind control, a la Sirhan Sirhan.
4.–Rivera worked at a dairy facility controlled by the Lang family, prominent Iowa Republicans.

Now, we learn that Eric Lang, Craig Lang’s brother–is married to Nicole Schlinger, a prominent GOP fundraiser with strong operational and historical links to the Koch brothers’ networks and other GOP post-Citizens United dark money networks.

High-tech may be the future of Trump’s much-ballyhooed wall with Mexico, with a technology dubbed AVATAR seen by some as the future of border security: “A virtual border agent kiosk was developed to interview travelers at airports and border crossings and it can detect deception to flag human security agents. The U.S., Canada and European Union have tested the technology, and one researcher says it has a deception detection success rate of up to 80 percent — better than human agents. The technology relies on sensors and biometrics, and its lie-detection capabilities are based on eye movements or changes in voice, posture and facial gestures. . . .”

Futurist philosopher and author Yuval Noah Harari appears to be a dystopian futurist, envisioning a future where democracy is seen as obsolete and a techno-elite ruling class run companies with the capacity to essentially control the minds of masses. Those masses that will increasingly be seen obsolete and useless. Harari even gave a recent TED Talk called “Why fascism is so tempting — and how your data could power it. So how do Silicon Valley’s CEO view Mr. Harari’s views? They apparently can’t get enough of him:

We conclude with a look at how the SCL/Cambridge Analytica dynamic has manifested in the Russia-gate Psy-Op.

Adding further perspective to the utterly fantastic nature of the Russia-Gate “psy-op” is analysis of a recent New York Times propaganda piece hyping Russia’s manipulation of Facebook to influence the U.S. election. “. . . . The further research into an earlier Consortium News article shows that a relatively paltry 80,000 posts from the private Russian company Internet Research Agency (IRA) were engulfed in literally trillions of posts on Facebook over a two-year period before and after the 2016 vote. [Just HOW a post generated after the election was supposed to influence the election was not explained by The Gray Lady–D.E.]. . . . The newspaper [The New York Times] failed to tell their readers that Facebook account holders in the United States had been “served” 33 trillion Facebook posts during that same period — 413 million times more than the 80,000 posts from the Russian company. . . .”


How the Murder of Mollie Tibbetts Shined a Light On the GOP’s Dark Money Propaganda Machine

What does the murder of Mollie Tibbetts have in common with downfall of America? If you had asked Fox News or President Trump in the days following the revelation that Mollie’s murderer was ‘an illegal’, they would have told you illegal immigration is what the murder and America’s downfall have in common. But as we’re going to see, the real common link between Mollie’s murder and the downfall of America was discovered and the right-wing noise suddenly stopped talking about Mollie’s murder almost entirely. Because that common link turned out to be Nicole Schlinger, an influential GOP fundraiser and an important figure in one of the most important GOP 501(c)(4) (‘social welfar’) political superPACs: American Future Fund (AFF). And as we’re going to see, the story of AFF is the story of how the explosion of dark money in American politics was executed. And as story of how it was primary right-wing mega-donors behind this explosion. It’s a story illustrative of how the kinds of propaganda networks that would exploit the murder of an Iowan college student for political gain operate and the dominance of these networks in American politics, so it really is a story about the downfall of America.