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NYT Uncovers Sinister Breakthrough Kremlin Strategy to Undermine U.S. Democracy: a Website!
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From the New York Times:

Is a New Russian Meddling Tactic Hiding in Plain Sight?

By Kevin Roose
Sept. 25, 2018

To an untrained eye, USAReally might look like any other fledgling news organization vying for attention in a crowded media landscape. Its website publishes a steady stream of stories on hot-button political issues like race, immigration and income inequality. It has reader polls, a video section and a daily podcast.

But this is no ordinary media start-up. USAReally is based in Moscow and has received funding from the Federal News Agency, a Russian media conglomerate with ties to the Internet Research Agency, the “troll farm” whose employees were indicted by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, for interfering in the 2016 presidential election.

Caught flat-footed by the influence campaigns of 2016, intelligence agencies and tech companies in the United States have spent months looking for hidden Russian footprints ahead of the midterm elections.

USAReally’s website, which began publishing in May, does not advertise its Russian roots. But in many ways, it is operating in plain sight.

Its founder, Alexander Malkevich, is a Russian journalist with little previous experience in American media. Its domain was registered through a Russian company, and its formation was announced in a news release on the Federal News Agency’s website. The project, originally known as “USAReally, Wake Up Americans,” was intended to promote “information and problems that are hushed up by major American publications controlled by the political elite of the United States,” according to the release.

Today, USAReally’s website depicts the United States as a democracy in decline, riddled with crime and divided by partisan rancor.

Many of the site’s stories are similar to the divisive content that Russian trolls circulated on social media in 2016, down to their conspiratorial tone and telltale grammatical errors. (“Rabid Squirrels Is Terrorizing Florida,” read one headline.)

Some of its articles appear to have been lifted word for word from legitimate American news websites.

The amateurish appearance of USAReally has led some critics to assume that it is either a bizarre vanity project or a decoy meant to attract attention away from more covert Russian campaigns happening elsewhere. But some cybersecurity experts believe the website may be a part of a retooled Russian propaganda operation that is experimenting with new tactics ahead of November’s midterm elections, and testing the boundaries of what American social media companies will allow.

“It’s a very overt operation,” said Lee Foster, an intelligence analysis manager with the cybersecurity firm FireEye. “Perhaps it’s an attempt to move this type of activity more into the mainstream, to try to legitimize it as a media entity so that it’s tougher to take action against it.”

If only I’d ever thought of this breakthrough idea: starting a website! I’d rule the world …

[If you see disinformation before the midterms, we want to hear from you. Here is how to submit a tip.]

Clearly, Americans need a Wall, a giant, impenetrable digital Wall to protect our democracy from foreign meddling through Rabid Squirrels content.

Why are the Russians so evil that they can’t fight fair? When Washington wants to meddle in a foreign country, we just bomb them into submission like any decent hyperpower would.

But the Kremlin uses articles.

Online articles.

 
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  1. Hockamaw says:

    Today, USAReally’s website depicts the United States as a democracy in decline, riddled with crime and divided by partisan rancor.

    Those bastards are undermining our democracy by telling the truth about our democracy!!

    • LOL: Mr. Rational
  2. Daniel H says:

    >>Today, USAReally’s website depicts the United States as a democracy in decline, riddled with crime and divided by partisan rancor.

    Well, this is the truth.

    • Agree: Mr. Rational
  3. Lot says:

    Russia’s creating thousands of unique facebook ads, then only putting $50 or $150 each to run them, shows it was an information gathering campaign to see what works and what doesn’t for a possible large operation later.

    USA Really looks like one of dozens scraper news sites that mass plagerize articles from legit sites, often using software to randomly replace words with synonyms to make detection difficult. Google results annoyingly got flooded with these sites a few years ago, but is now able to exclude them from results.

    We should be able to block activity like this, but no reason to get pissy about it. We do the same thing to Russia, but worse.

  4. J.Ross says: • Website

    Western intelligence scum make your software slow and unsafe so they can ignore the Constitution and keep tabs on your every move. They lie to you to justify unwinnable, region-destabilizing wars. They their spy skills to intimidate Harvey Weinstein’s victims.
    Moscovites want to protect you from squirrel and, I can only assume, moose.

    • Agree: Autochthon
    • Replies: @ziel
  5. Dtbb says:

    Nothing like free advertising.

    • Replies: @Digital Samizdat
  6. J.Ross says: • Website

    OT Image url deliberately interrupted because there is offensive language (recall that 4chan has its own vocabulary and certain familiar words mean different things there) but this is purportedy what happened to Avenatti.

    http://i.4cdn.org/pol/

    1537911953532.png
    Summary: on a disposable, incompletely registered phone, a female person was compelled to call Avenatti and claim to have been a victim of gang rape by Judge and Kavanaugh and their friends while a student at Holton in the relevant time frame. Avenatti buys it right away.
    On another, similarly cloaked device de le hackeur Russe, this information is “corroborated” by a “classmate” (the boyfriend of the female person). Avenatti is ecstatic and is talking about money. He’s calling them back on the only phone lines he knows for them, he’s talking about setting up big mainstream media interviews. It’s not enough money? Avenatti is happy to offer much more.
    With CNN on another line waiting to be hooked up, they break and toss their disposable phones.
    Shortly after this Avenatti closed his twitter.
    Reminder that after the election, someone got in a plane and flew to another continent offering a large cash payment for a claim about a sordid Trump secret; this also turned out to not be true.

  7. Doesn’t say much about the effect the many Unzies who appear on RT are having.

    At this rate the Russians are going to be spending a lot of money to wind up with a modern version of: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_Who_Was_Thursday

  8. But this is no ordinary media start-up. USAReally is based in Moscow…

    And this differs from al-Jazeera and BBC America in that…

    • Agree: Mr. Rational
    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
  9. JimB says:

    Well, ahem, if you give it the iSteve test for obscurity, USAReally passes with flying colors. Which is to say, it probably reaches only a niche audience, not a general one.

    Cut and paste a significant chunk of text out of a section containing original content.
    Do a plagiarism check with a standard checker like Grammarly or Citation Machine.
    The verdict: “100% original content.”

    So hey kids, if you want to save youself the stress of an all-nighter writing a PolySci paper, plagiarize Steve Sailer. The teacher will never know. ;)

    • LOL: Mr. Rational
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  10. a retooled Russian propaganda operation that is experimenting with new tactics ahead of November’s midterm elections

    Aha! Only those completely ignorant of the US Constitution would use the word “midterm” for an election in an even-numbered year! That proves beyond any doubt that the NY Times is a foreign plant.

  11. hhsiii says:

    We do the same thing. Isn’t David Remnick, for example, a former spy? Most US businessmen, diplos, journos in Russia? Formally, or willing to help? A lot of this may be payback for meddling in Ukraine.

  12. @JimB

    Somebody sent me a link once to a term paper website that offered to sell me one of my articles for $69.99.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  13. JimB says:

    And now you know why!

  14. Ron Unz says:

    Well, I still spend an hour or two every morning carefully reading the NYT, just as I have for almost forty years…

    But over the last few years especially, I’ve started wondering why I still bother…

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    , @Anon
  15. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Steve Sailer

    There is a massive amount that we tolerate or under-police, notably cheating help (how the hell is that okay?!), but when a Russian draws a picture of a cat we’re supposed to be ready to put on a uniform.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  16. @Reg Cæsar

    Exactly. And NYT owner Carlos Slim Helú is from which country?

    • Replies: @snorlax
    , @F0337
  17. trelane says:

    These Russian attacks on the US democratic process are not only disturbing they’re plainly disrespectful to AIPAC, the ADL, Haim Saban, Goldman Sachs, Hillel and the hudreds of other organizations and thousands of billionaires that pay good money to buy-off our politicians and fund our political parties. Shame on the Russians.

    • LOL: Digital Samizdat
  18. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:

    What’s funny is that people are very mad at Russia for doing the exact same thing that both Israel and Mexico have been doing for far longer and to a far greater extent, but with somewhat better grammar.

    • Replies: @istevefan
  19. Caught flat-footed by the influence campaigns of 2016, intelligence agencies …

    Haha haaa! When have the American intelligence agencies NOT been caught flat-footed. Anyone remember the fall of the USSR, etc, etc.? I just figured they hired the guys with flat feet that were turned away from the Army. The US Army is now OK with your being transgendered, 40 lb. overweight, a 103 lb girl, or a Moslem nut-case, but they still have a real problem with flat feet. Those special shoes … someone think of the poor taxpayers!

  20. @Ron Unz

    I thought that’s part of what you employ Steve Sailer for. Remember, delegate, delegate.

  21. Coemgen says:

    If the “Russians” really wanted to start trouble they’d start asking questions about where all the ARRA money went.

  22. Mr. Anon says:

    Today, USAReally’s website depicts the United States as a democracy in decline, riddled with crime and divided by partisan rancor.

    Turn “crime” into “hate crime”, and is that so different from what CNN or MSNBC offers?

    Fortunately, the United States government does not engage in propaganda.

    https://www.rferl.org/

    https://www.voanews.com/

  23. Anon[643] • Disclaimer says:

    I love the Twitter-ready conspiracy chart showing the connections (“who is believed to control,” etc.) from Putin straight through to Reddit posts.

    USAReally has a full-time staff of 15 in Moscow, according to Mr. Malkevich, and a handful of American writers who contribute to the site. One of those writers, Jeffrey K. Silverman, said in a phone interview that USAReally’s Russian origins weren’t a concern. He had previously written for other pro-Kremlin sites, and when he learned that USAReally was looking for American writers, he volunteered. The site paid him $50 to $100 for each of his articles, he said, and didn’t instruct him to cover particular subjects or parrot a party line.

    “Whenever I write for anything Russian, they don’t censor me,” Mr. Silverman said. “If I write for American publications, I get censored.”

    That’s not a bad rate for this kind of stuff, epecially if they are not requiring all the extra web stuff like sourcing photos, formatting HTML, tagging, searching for similar posts on the site to link to, and social media promotion. Treehugg3r, a Discov3ry Channel property with a similar “citizen writer” model, pays considerably less than minimum wage when you take everything into account.

  24. Anon[643] • Disclaimer says:
    @Ron Unz

    Ron, you should ask the Russian “Federal News Agency” for a donation, maybe just $1,000, so you can get Unz.com classified as a Russian troll site and get this kind of publicity.

  25. inertial says:

    What if Rabid Squirrels is the name of a rock group? Then the sentence is perfectly grammatical. But is it factual? Can a rock group terrorize Florida? Well, it’s Florida, so that’s plausible.

  26. Jake says:

    “Why are the Russians so evil that they can’t fight fair? When Washington wants to meddle in a foreign country, we just bomb them into submission like any decent hyperpower would.

    But the Kremlin uses articles.

    Online articles.”

    Now that’s funny. And funny like that, showing no reverence for America the Just, deserves a trip to the Gulag.

  27. Raises hand. Hey, I see a lot of disinformation, Kevin!

    My fourth- or third-grade teacher told me that, in the Soviet Union, I wouldn’t own any Christmas presents that were given to me. What? At lunch and recess we discussed it: Did we really own our toys? Was my prized Tonka payloader not really mine? Today’s discourse reminds me of those discussions.

    But I lost my fear of the Russkies by learning about them. That doesn’t mean that I don’t recognize our conflicts. But the US left’s hatred of Russians is largely fueled by ignorance. And ignorance is easy. My take today is that most of the Left’s anger at Russia is that Russians don’t hate themselves.

    • Replies: @Rob McX
  28. istevefan says:
    @Anonymous

    What’s funny is that people are very mad at Russia for doing the exact same thing that both Israel and Mexico have been doing for far longer and to a far greater extent, but with somewhat better grammar.

    Russia has nothing on Mexico. Mexico has dumped her surplus population into the USA and has effectively made us part of Latin America. Spanish is now the de facto second language and the gains of 1846 are now in peril. They have dumped enough voters into our nation to seriously effect the outcome our elections.

    The fact the media is making such a huge fuss over comic Russian trolling while ignoring what Mexico has done is disturbing to say the least.

    • Replies: @Anon
  29. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says: • Website
    @istevefan

    Never mind that most of US media are controlled by the 2% whose main allegiance is to Israel and World Jewish Power.

  30. Mr. Anon says:

    A website?! Zounds! Those wily, inscrutable asiatics. What will they think of next?!

  31. @J.Ross

    …when a Russian draws a picture of a cat we’re supposed to be ready to put on a uniform.

    The cat is all part of their nefarious plot:

  32. F0337 says:
    @Chrisnonymous

    He’s not the owner, and never was, and you’re an idiot for continuing to repeat this canard. Look up the Sulzberger family some time. You might learn something.

  33. Cortes says:

    Reminds me of the “subtle” reasoning of George Armstrong Custer in the classic scene:

  34. @Dtbb

    About halfway through Steve’s article, the thought crossed my mind that this could be a ‘honey pot’ operation run by the NSA. Why else would the NYT be giving free advertising to a Russian website?

  35. @F0337

    As a matter of fact, Slim owns the largest block of NYT shares, albeit non-voting shares:

    In 2008 Slim took a 6.4% stake valued at $27 million in the troubled New York Times Company, as the global recession and declining advertising revenues took a particularly heavy toll on print-based “old media” companies across the United States. Slim increased his stake to 8% by 2012. Slim’s stake in the Times increased again to 16.8% of the company’s Class A shares on January 20, 2015 when he exercised stock options to purchase 15.9 million shares, making him the largest shareholder in the company.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_Slim#2000s

    So calling him ‘the’ owner would be an overstatement, but it’s hard to imagine him doing this without working out something with the Sulzburgers first.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Trevor H.
  36. @Digital Samizdat

    The Sulzbergers effectively own the New York Times, but Carlos Slim helped them in the financial crisis a decade ago make sure they could hold on. Slim is an extremely intelligent businessman and for a tiny fraction of his net worth, he was able to buy the gratitude of the top of the global media food chain. Here’s a 2009 effusion about Carlos Slim by Arthur Sulzberger Jr.:

    http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1894410_1893837_1894158,00.html

    There’s an alternate reality timeline in which the NYT hates Carlos Slim for impoverishing America’s next door neighbor as much as it hates Putin in this timeline. But that’s definitely not the world we live in, and it only cost Slim about 1% of his net worth, and he even did pretty well off his investment.

    • Replies: @Trevor H.
  37. If the Cossacks hadn’t gone on all those rampages GENERATIONS AGO maybe there wouldn’t be so much hostility to Russia in certain quarters.

  38. Trevor H. says:
    @Digital Samizdat

    Not only were Slim’s shares the wrong class when it came to setting policy, but your history mysteriously ends in 2015, before he sold most of his piddling 17% of “non-voting shares.” Why the disinformation campaign? Cui bono?

    It’s always been the Ochs-Sulzberger family, for well over 100 years now. Who would want to pretend otherwise, and why?

  39. Trevor H. says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Here’s a 2009 effusion about Carlos Slim by Arthur Sulzberger Jr.

    Care to lay odds on just how sincere that gratitude was?

  40. Rob McX says:
    @Kibernetika

    My take today is that most of the Left’s anger at Russia is that Russians don’t hate themselves.

    Exactly.

  41. Thanks to the NYT and the rest of the Lame Stream Media, we now know that a handful of pesky Rooskie trolls, on a shoestring budget, managed to defeat a billion dollar war chest amassed by Hillary. Hundreds of millions of dollars squeezed from the pockets of ordinary working people by labor racketeers augmented that fortune. Ostensibly, millions of voters who don’t know Facebook, Twitter, Buzzfeed et al from a hole in the ground [ie. those over 40!] were somehow persuaded to vote for Trump. Video footage of Hillary collapsing just two months before election day or calling conservatives “deplorable” and “irredeemable” [ie. damned to Hell!] had nothing to do with it. Loony Leftists demanding cross-dressers and those with even more severe mental illnesses be permitted to share public restrooms and showers intended for women’s private use didn’t influence voters, either.

  42. Ostensibly, millions of voters who don’t know Facebook, Twitter, Buzzfeed et al from a hole in the ground [ie. those over 40!] were somehow persuaded to vote for Trump.

    Hey now, I resent resemble that remark! You’re right though, facebook, etc. had nothing to do with my vote for Trump. I got my information DIRECTLY from the Russkies … on the land line … using rotary dialing, cause … you never know.

  43. @F0337

    Do you think Slim owns no share of the NYT, or do you think that his investments and loans have no effect on the company?

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