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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Foreign Interference 2020

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Russian involvement in the 2016 campaign  The update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.  Russia is makingsimilar effort this year.

Julian E. Barnes at NYT:
Russia is using a range of techniques to denigrate Joseph R. Biden Jr., American intelligence officials said Friday in their first public assessment that Moscow continues to try to interfere in the 2020 campaign to help President Trump.
At the same time, the officials said China preferred that Mr. Trump be defeated in November and was weighing whether to take more aggressive action in the election.
But officials briefed on the intelligence said that Russia was the far graver, and more immediate, threat. While China seeks to gain influence in American politics, its leaders have not yet decided to wade directly into the presidential contest, however much they may dislike Mr. Trump, the officials said.
The assessment, included in a statement released by William R. Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, suggested the intelligence community was treading carefully, reflecting the political heat generated by previous findings.



Julian E. Barnes at NYT:
Russia continues to use a network of proxy websites to spread pro-Kremlin disinformation and propaganda in the United States and other parts of the West, according to a State Department report released on Wednesday.
The report is one of the most detailed explanations yet from the Trump administration on how Russia disseminates disinformation, but it largely avoids discussing how Moscow is trying to influence the current campaign. Even as Democrats on Capitol Hill have urged the American government to declassify more information on Russia’s efforts to interfere with the election, President Trump has repeatedly told officials such disclosures are unwelcome.
Most of the report focuses on an ecosystem of websites, many of them fringe or conspiracy minded, that Russia has used or directed to spread propaganda on a variety of topics. Those include an online journal called the Strategic Culture Foundation and other sites, like the Canada-based Global Research. The document builds on information disclosed last week by American officials about Russian intelligence’s control of various propaganda sites.
 Isaac Stanley-Becker at WP:
David Adrian posted passionately about American politics, sharing adulatory memes on Facebook about President Trump and recirculating material from his reelection campaign.
...
Facebook on Thursday said Adrian’s accounts were part of a coordinated network of accounts and pages originating in Romania and posing as conservative Americans supportive of the U.S. president’s reelection. In addition to African American support for Trump, the material focused on members of the president’s inner circle, conservative media and Christianity. It also invoked themes associated with the QAnon conspiracy theory, whose adherents believe Trump is battling a cabal of deep-state saboteurs who worship Satan and traffic children for sex.

Facebook, Twitter penalize Trump for posts containing coronavirus misinformation

...
The motive of those behind the deceptive material could not be determined, said Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of security policy. It was not clear whether the intent was genuinely to promote Trump, he said, or whether there were financial incentives.

The disclosure came three months before the November election and amid heightened concern about efforts to manipulate public opinion and discredit the vote. Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, last month cited intelligence briefings in warning about Russian and Chinese efforts to sow doubt about the American electoral system. Facebook, which regularly reports actions against foreign and domestic influence campaigns using its platform, last fall identified a network of Russian-backed accounts praising Trump and attacking Biden.
Facebook release here

Betsy Woodruff Swan at Politico:
Twitter will start labeling the accounts of media outlets affiliated with the governments of countries on the U.N. Security Council, it announced Thursday.
The new labels won’t apply to all media outlets that receive government funding — only “outlets where the state exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressures, and/or control over production and distribution,” according to Twitter’s blog post announcing the change.

The labels will go on the accounts for China Daily, Russia Today, Sputnik and other media outlets, a Twitter spokesperson said. But not Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, two media outlets funded by the U.S. government, or NPR and the BBC. The blog post described NPR and the BBC as “state-financed media organizations with editorial independence.”