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Trump/Russia: Maybe not vote theft, but definitely character theft.



How could Hillary Clinton have left office on a service and accomplishment high, the most trusted and respected politician in America, voted each year America’s most admired woman, and by the time she announced her candidacy for President she was the most mistrusted politician in America?


How does the person who holds the Gallop Poll record for the number of times someone has ranked as the “most admired person in the world” (21), retire from their job in 2013 and write a bestselling book, give several 6 figure paid speeches while continuing in 2013, 2014 and 2015 to be voted most admired, but by 2015 this same person ranks number 1 in the amount of negative social media messages directed at them. In 2016 it gets even worse with people demanding that the person is “locked up” in jail with the key thrown away. From 2013-2016 this person did nothing else besides write a book and give paid speeches. Did this make the person a victimizer with bad character who needed to be “locked up”, or is this person a victim of slander, lies and outright character theft?



YouGov

This person is no victimizer, she’s the victim of a malicious campaign of character theft and her name is Hillary Clinton. Ever since 2016 when I first saw people at a Donald Trump for President rally shouting “lock her up”, I have wondered when and how that sentiment developed in the minds of people. Last week I finally got the answer.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russians and three companies that acted as a sophisticated network designed to subvert the 2016 election and to support the Trump campaign. It stretched from an office in St. Petersburg, Russia, into the social feeds of Americans and ultimately reached the streets of election battleground states. The Russians stole the identities of American citizens, posed as political activists and used the flashpoints of immigration, religion, and race to manipulate the minds of American voters.



Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced 13 indictments against Russians for election interference. (CNN)

The largest company indicted, the Internet Research Agency (IRA), was based in St. Petersburg, Russia, and was funded by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a wealthy St. Petersburg businessman with ties to the Russian government and its President Vladimir Putin. Formed in 2014 the IRA employed as many as 80 people focused on the sole project of disrupting and influencing U.S. elections, according to the indictment. By September 2016, the company had a monthly budget of more than $1.25 million and was organized into multiple departments, including graphics, search engine optimization, information technology, and finance.


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It’s important to note here that in 2014 there was only one person that everyone in America and across the globe knew would be running for President in 2016, and it was not Donald Trump. The near 100% certain candidate was Hillary Clinton and Russian President Vladimir Putin knew that better than most Americans. This presented Putin with the perfect kill two birds with one stone opportunity in 2014. Wreak havoc on the country he considered enemy number 1, and take revenge on one of the people he felt was a domestic political threat and blamed for Russia’s loss of foreign political power.



Russian propaganda during the 2016 campaign from a Twitter account that has since been suspended.

Yevgenia Albats, a prize-winning editor-in-chief of the last independent Russian political weekly, The New Times, cites 3 key reasons for Putin’s revenge against Clinton and his desire to discredit the U.S. ballot:

  1. Putin believed the United States was behind the so-called color revolutions in several ex-Soviet republics in the 1990s, while Bill Clinton was president.

  2. He held then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton personally responsible for massive protests in Russia in 2011 and 2012 against unfair elections.

  3. He believed the United States organized a popular uprising in Kiev in 2014 that led to the ouster of a Putin-backed Ukrainian president.


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Two of the defendants traveled to the U.S. in June 2014 to gather intelligence on social media sites and identify targets for their operations, the indictment alleges. Following the trip, the group collected further intelligence by contacting U.S. political and social media activists while posing as U.S. citizens. They were guided by one contact to target “purple states like Colorado, Virginia, and Florida,” According to one internal communication described in the indictment, the specialists were instructed to use any opportunity to criticize Hillary. And according to one internal review cited in the indictment, a specialist was criticized for having a low number of social media posts criticizing Clinton. The person was told, “it is imperative to intensify criticizing Hillary Clinton” in future posts.

Starting in 2014 Russians spent thousands of dollars each month to purchase targeted advertisements on social media sites to lie and slander Clinton. As time progressed towards the primaries their strategies evolved. For instance, after Bernie Sanders entered the Democratic primary race, the Russians continued their negative ad campaigns against Clinton but started positive ad campaigns for Sanders. After Trump entered the Republican primary race, the Russians ran negative ad campaigns against Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who challenged Trump for the nomination.



The Huffington Post

By late 2015 when it became clear that Trump was the likely Republican nominee, Putin had a 4th and greater incentive reason for interfering with the outcome of the 2016 election:

  1. Putin believed that a future President Trump would lift the crippling economic sanctions imposed on Russia after their military invasion in Ukraine, Putin knew a future President Clinton would never lift the sanctions until Russia complied with international law.

So once again the Russian tactics evolved while they maintained the original day 1 lie/slander Clinton campaign. Many of the new advertisements the Russians began to purchase were designed specifically to malign Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and uplift Republican nominee Donald Trump.

“Donald wants to defeat terrorism… Hillary wants to sponsor it,” one ad on May 10, 2016, read. “Hillary is a Satan, and her crimes and lies had proved just how evil she is,” was the message of another one on Oct. 19, 2016, just weeks before Election Day. And the indictment alleges the Russian defendants also frequently used election-related hashtags like #TrumpTrain, #MAGA, and #Hillary4Prison. They also organized pro-Trump rallies and anti-Clinton rallies, the indictment alleges. They employed real U.S. persons to perform tasks at these events, such as paying one “to build a cage on a flatbed truck and another U.S. person to wear a costume portraying Clinton in a prison uniform.”


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General Micheal Flynn led “lock her up” chants at Trump campaign rallies. He said only guilty people ask for immunity — yet less than a month after President Trump took office, Flynn had to resign as National Security Advisor for breaking the law. Now he is asking for immunity.

The negative social media and negative ads weren’t limited to Hillary Clinton. The indictment says social media and negative ads were also used to encourage minority groups not to vote or to vote for third parties and alleged Democratic voter fraud.

To pull off all this deceit, the Internet Research Agency kept a list, the indictment says, of the more than 100 real U.S. people it had contacted to help with its recruitment efforts, logging their political views and what they had been asked to do by the Russian operation. They employed monitoring of social media during both day and night shifts so information would be posted across U.S. time zones, according to the indictment. The Russian operatives were also aware of U.S. holidays and made posts germane to those and also employed people who could post on social media about specific policy topics, such as the economy or foreign policy.



One of the fake online political memes produced with a list of fake political organizations attached.

Russians bought political advertisements on social media in the names of U.S. persons and entities, creating hundreds of social media accounts to influence public opinion that was masquerading as legitimate U.S. political groups. The indictment points to one account, Tennessee GOP (@TEN_GOP), which gained over 100,000 followers yet had no affiliation with the actual state political party.



Russian propaganda ranged from fake online political memes to fake political paraphernalia.

They staged many political rallies inside the United States while posing as U.S. grassroots entities and U.S. persons, and without ever revealing their Russian identities while they solicited and compensated real U.S. persons to promote or disparage candidates. In the process, they stole the identities of many people, including compromising their Social Security numbers, birthdays and home addresses.



This message was spread online to millions of Americans by Russian bots.

Hillary Rodham Clinton left office in 2013 as America’s most admired woman with a 66% favorable rating and a 29% unfavorable rating. Knowing herself that she would run for President in 2016, she played it safe and basically did only 3 things from 2013 to 2015. Wrote a bestselling book, gave 6 figure paid speeches and did volunteer work at the family business, a charity by the name of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

Until last Friday I honestly couldn’t figure out how Hillary Clinton left office on a service and accomplishment high, the most trusted and respected politician in America even overcoming the bogus Republican Benghazi scandal myth. She lived a textbook no scandal, no controversial political stances candidate in waiting life for 2 years, still being voted each year America’s most admired woman, and by the time she announced her candidacy for President she was the most mistrusted politician in America. How and what had she done??? The Russians, Vladimir Putin and 2 consecutive years of millions of dollars of negative and false propaganda campaigns is how, all directed against her.


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Unfortunately, like her husband Bill Hillary had a conspiracy against her as well, hers was a vast red Russian one that stole her good character in the minds of the American voter, through deceit making her out to be who they truly are, low life crooked scum who can’t be trusted as far as you can see them! Maybe what Russia has done can’t be considered vote theft, but what they have done and what America allowed Russia to do was definitely character theft, stolen from a public servant who based on years of selfless public service deserved much better!🔷




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(This piece was first published on Isaac Newton Farris Jr.'s blog.)


(Cover: Flickr/Oli Goldsmith - Recursive electoral art loops Hillary Clinton / Donald Trump.)


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Nephew of Martin Luther King Jr, he serves as Senior Fellow at King Center. Growing up in one of the most socially & politically active families has given him a unique perspective on current events.
Atlanta, GA, USA. Website

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