4:06 AM 10/24/2017 – Russia’s Favored Outlet Is an Online News Giant. YouTube Helped. – NYT

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Russia’s Favored Outlet Is an Online News Giant. YouTube Helped.

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As the presidential election heated up in the spring of 2016, RT consistently featured negative stories about Mrs. Clinton, according to United States intelligence officials. That included claims of corruptionat her family foundation and ties to Islamic extremism, frequent coverage of emails stolen by Russian operatives from Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, and accusations that she was in poor physical and mental health.

“More than half of American adults say they watch YouTube, and younger viewers are moving to YouTube at staggering numbers,” said Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia’s exploitation of social media platforms based in the United States. “YouTube is a target-rich environment for any disinformation campaign — Russian or otherwise — that represents a long-term, next-generation challenge.”

Much like the Russian-controlled pages on Facebook, RT’s YouTube videos comply with YouTube’s community guidelines, which cover things like nudity, copyright violations and promoting violence against a group based on race or religion. But not propaganda.

YouTube carries “a wide variety of news channels” that represent “an array of viewpoints across the political spectrum,” said a spokesman for the company, Chris Dale.

RT’s reach on YouTube — 2.2 million subscribers, just slightly behind CNN — stemmed from a long and mutually beneficial relationship between the news channel and the video site, according to current and former RT employees and technology industry analysts.

YouTube had the vast audience and global reach that RT needed as it set out to become a worldwide alternative news source with influence and viewers beyond Russia’s own borders. RT has YouTube channels in a number of foreign languages including Arabic, Spanish, German, French and Chinese.

“RT management did view YouTube as hugely important to spreading content,” said Liz Wahl, a former correspondent in the United States for RT who quit on the air in 2014 over concerns that the network was whitewashing the Russian annexation of Crimea. “Traditional television ratings weren’t important because the aim was to get the messaging out through various digital and social platforms.”

The Russian channel was among the first news organizations to recognize YouTube’s power and developed content intended to perform well on the platform. RT uploads videos frequently, sprinkling in buzzy viral videos of disasters — plane crashestsunamis, a meteor strike — to earn likes and longer watch times, which YouTube’s algorithm rewards with better placement among search results and recommendations.

The viral videos, which were often borrowed from other sources, help to build up RT’s subscribers, and they became part of the Kremlin’s audience for more political content.

“People come for the click-bait material,” said Bret Schafer, an official at the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a bipartisan initiative of the German Marshall Fund, the Washington-based public policy research group. “And they eventually land on videos that the Kremlin wants them to see.”

While much of RT’s traffic stems from nonpolitical videos, the channel’s political and foreign affairs content ranks highly in many YouTube searches. Searches on topics on which the Kremlin is typically eager to promote its point of view — American intervention in Syria, the Ukrainian civil war or the rise of Germany’s far-right AfD party — will often turn up an RT video as one of the top results.

YouTube also provided RT with the kind of perks it reserved for big publishers, including custom backgrounds for its channel in the early days and a “check mark” that designated RT as a verified news source. Until recently, RT was also among a select group of news organizations included in Google’s “preferred” news lineup, granting them access to guaranteed revenue from premium advertisers. Those advertisers, in effect, subsidized Russia’s international propaganda arm.

Google dropped RT from the preferred lineup last month. Andrea Faville, a Google spokeswoman, said the decision was unrelated to the congressional inquiry, and that RT had been dropped as part of a “standard algorithmic update.” But Google also noted that it was not placing any other limits on RT: The channel could still sell regular ads on its videos and the status downgrade only applied in the United States. Google later clarified that RT was downgraded in other markets, but it would not say which ones.

Kirill Karnovich-Valua, RT’s deputy editor in chief, said the organization had not been informed of Google’s decision and it was puzzled about why it was dropped despite being “one of the most watched YouTube channels in the world.”

“This speaks to the unprecedented political pressure increasingly applied to all RT partners and relationships in a concerted effort to push our channel out of the U.S. market entirely, and by any means possible,” Mr. Karnovich-Valua wrote in an email.

Last month, RT said the Justice Department had demanded that a private company affiliated with RT America register as a “foreign agent” — a term that dates back to a law originally enacted in 1938 to deter Nazi propaganda. On Thursday, after the deadline set by American officials had passed, an RT spokeswoman said that the news organization was “doing everything possible for RT to avoid having to register.” Registration could impose voluminous disclosure requirements on RT, a particular burden for a media organization producing frequent content.

Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, responded in more forceful terms: Should the United States impose restrictions on Russian media, Mr. Putin said last week, Russian would act “symmetrically and quite swiftly.”

RT’s use of other technology platforms is also under investigation. Last month, officials at Twitter told a Senate Intelligence Committee that three RT accounts targeting an American audience — with a combined following of roughly six million users — had spent $274,100 to promote tweets in 2016.

But none of RT’s social media activities or its presence in cable and satellite TV lineups has delivered the impact of its YouTube channel. RT launched its YouTube page in March 2007, roughly four months after Google paid $1.65 billion for the fledgling video site. At the time, YouTube was better known for pirated content and videos of cute animals than news programming, but RT caught on quickly.

The Russian channel recruited talent from within the burgeoning world of YouTube-born media stars, people who had already shown a knack for creating viral or popular video content.

One RT contributor, the British blogger Graham Phillips, built a large following on YouTube with videos from Ukraine’s civil war, many of them critical of Ukraine’s central government. RT often featured Mr. Phillips and at one point employed him as a part-time freelancer before he was arrested and deported by Ukrainian authorities. His personal YouTube channel has earned more than 60 million views.

Another RT contributor, Lori Harfenist, began her career on public-access television in New York City, and eventually moved her self-produced show, “The Resident,” to YouTube. Ms. Harfenist was one of the platform’s first revenue-sharing partners, according to a biography on Ms. Harfenist’s personal website.

Ms. Harfenist was eventually recruited by RT, which began featuring her on segments with titles like “America is a Hypocrite.” During the presidential campaign, RT’s Twitter account promoted a video from her that claimed the existence of an anti-Semitic conspiracy involving Hillary Clinton, Google and the Illuminati. (She later claimed the segment was meant as satire.) Ms. Harfenist did not respond to emails and Facebook messages seeking comment.

Today, RT ranks among the top news channels on YouTube for views, subscribers and “engagement” such as comments or likes. The most-watched clips on RT are not political or anti-establishment videos, they are snackable content. A clip of a homeless man with a gifted voice for radio is the most popular video on RT, viewed 40 million times since it was uploaded six years ago.

Mr. Karnovich-Valua said RT’s primary aim is to provide an alternative point of view on current events so its audience can get a full picture of world events. “Where relevant, RT does present a Russian perspective on current events, but we don’t promote the Russian point of view, we explain it alongside with presenting others,” he said.

Some lawmakers, including Mr. Warner, have called for tighter regulation and disclosure requirements for political advertising on social media platforms. Yet RT’s embrace of YouTube shows how difficult it could be to limit foreign influence.

“It’s not a secret. It’s not rocket science, but they’re just doing it much better,” said Christoph Burseg, who runs VeeScore.com, an analytics and strategic consultancy that tracks YouTube use. “Unless YouTube decides to manually step in, they will continue to be very present. RT isn’t doing anything wrong, they’re just riding the algorithms.”

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Russia’s Favored Outlet Is an Online News Giant. YouTube Helped. – New York Times

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New York Times
Russia’s Favored Outlet Is an Online News Giant. YouTube Helped.
New York Times
SAN FRANCISCO — When the state-backed Russian news channel RT became the first news organization to surpass one billion views on YouTube in 2013, it marked the achievement with a retrospective of its most popular videos and a special guest — one of 

Why Robert Mueller May Be the Last Hope to Link Trumpworld to Russia – Vanity Fair

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Bloomberg
Why Robert Mueller May Be the Last Hope to Link Trumpworld to Russia
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U.S. News & World Report
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Political insider: Donald Trump and several others to be indicted in Trump-Russia probe 

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At this point we all instinctively know that the indictment phase of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Donald Trump’s Russia scandal is not too far off. We have further confirmation of this because Mueller’s team has informed one of the players in the scandal that he’s going to be indicted. At this point the big questions are how those indictments will come down, and who will get hit with them first.

One take on the indictment cycle comes from Jon Cooper, the chairman of the Democratic Coalition. Here’s his take: “My prediction is that Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr, and Donald Trump will ALL be indicted in Mueller’s probe” (link). The first two names on the list don’t come as a shock to anyone. Manafort has been told he’s going to be indicted, and there’s a grand jury out on Flynn. The other three names would send shockwaves, for different reasons.

If Mueller goes so far as to indict Donald Trump’s son and son-in-law, he’ll be cutting straight into the belly of Trump’s presidency. Trump will face a no-win situation either way. If he begins trying to pardon his own family members, his presidency will instantly be finished in political terms – and it’s not even clear that such pardons would stand up in court. If he doesn’t pardon them, he’ll have to sit back as they’re carved up by the legal system, even as the media treats it as the scandal of the century. But that’s nothing compared to the final name on the list: Trump’s own.

It’s never been constitutionally established whether or not a sitting president can be indicted, because it’s never been tried (Richard Nixon was named as an unindicted co-conspirator as he was being shoved out the door). Several legal scholars have argued that Mueller can indict Trump, while some believe that he can try Trump directly in a court of law, rather than having to let Congress handle the indictment. Some of those same scholars believe Trump cannot legally pardon himself.

The post Political insider: Donald Trump and several others to be indicted in Trump-Russia probeappeared first on Palmer Report.

John McCain protects key Trump-Russia witness, after Donald Trump tried to put him in danger 

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Senator John McCain is now making more clear by the day that he plans to use his remaining time in politics to dismantle Donald Trump, piece by corrupt piece. Now that Trump is trying to make an example out of a key Trump-Russia witness by putting him in danger, in an apparent attempt at scaring other witnesses out of testifying, McCain has quickly and successfully back to protect the witness in question.

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin conspired to target Bill Browder, a British citizen who testified before Congress that Donald Trump Jr. and the Russian government were colluding during the election. Putin put out an international arrest warrant which falsely accused Browder of a murder which Putin’s own people had committed. Trump then immediately revoked Browder’s visa, blocking Browder from boarding a flight to the United States. This left Browder in limbo, and potentially vulnerable to Putin’s tendency to murder his political adversaries.

Bill Browder went public with the scandal yesterday when he tweeted about it. That led John McCain to pair up with Democratic Senator Ben Cardin today to release a joint statement demanding that Department of Homeland Security immediately work to fix Browder’s visa (link). The statement also spelled out that Browder clearly did not commit the murder in question, and that Putin’s own people were responsible for it instead. Now that a bipartisan Senate effort is playing out in public to expose Trump’s Browder scandal, making it impossible for Trump to keep this under the radar. Sure enough, three hours after the statement was released, DHS reversed itself and allowed Browder into the country.

This comes just days after John McCain and Ben Cardin also paired up to expose Donald Trump’s refusal to implement the Russian sanctions that were included in a bill he signed this summer. Somewhere in between, Cardin also made an effort to get Ivanka Trump’s security clearance revoked. As we pointed out at the time, it appears McCain’s fingerprints are on that move as well

The post John McCain protects key Trump-Russia witness, after Donald Trump tried to put him in danger appeared first on Palmer Report.

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CBSNewsOnline’s YouTube Videos: “Star Trek: Discovery” makeup artists on recreating Klingons 

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From: CBSNewsOnline
Duration: 08:22

Makeup experts Glenn Hetrick and Neville Page used inspiration from previous “Star Trek” series to create the new characters in “Star Trek: Discovery.” The two join CBSN to discuss the process and show off a Klingon helmet.

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Elton John – I Am Your Robot (1982) With Lyrics!

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Sites and Blogs Review: 1:07 PM 10/17/2017 – Как работает “американский отдел” троллей из Ольгино. Главное из расследований РБК и “Дождя” 

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1. Podcasts in Russian from mikenova (7 sites): ХРОНИКА ДНЯ – Настоящее Время: Как работает “американский отдел” троллей из Ольгино. Главное из расследований РБК и “Дождя”

Как российские “тролли” пытались влиять на американскую политику

 ХРОНИКА ДНЯ – Настоящее Время

1. Podcasts in Russian from mikenova (7 sites)

 Sites and Blogs Review

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Sites and Blogs Review: 9:39 AM 10/17/2017 – Selected Posts: Active and purposeful manipulation of voters’ psychology

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6:45 AM 10/17/2017 Selected Posts Tue, 17 Oct 2017 12:51:28 +0200 6:45 AM 10/17/2017 Selected Posts 6:17 AM 10/17/2017 Active and purposeful manipulation of voters psychology and mindsets online Active and purposeful manipulation of voters psychology and mindsets online There is more ominous and the potentially more dangerous aspect and possibility in these types of … Continue reading “9:39 AM 10/17/2017 – Selected Posts: Active and purposeful manipulation of voters’ psychology”

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Sites and Blogs Review: 2:16 PM 10/17/2017 – ALL POSTS ON G+ 

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: Russian troll factory paid US activists to help fund protests during election The Guardian

Russian troll factory paid US activists to help fund protests during election The Guardian

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: FBI Director Christopher Wray Defends FISA Section 702

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: Data Firm Says Secret Sauce Aided Trump; Many Scoff

Data Firm Says Secret Sauce Aided Trump; Many Scoff

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 11:30 AM 10/17/2017 FBI uncovered Russian bribery plot

11:30 AM 10/17/2017 FBI uncovered Russian bribery plot

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: Feeds | News, Reviews, Analysis, Opinions 11:26 AM 10/17/2017 nonprofit accuses former FBI agent of…

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 10:22 AM 10/17/2017 Russia News and News In Russian

10:22 AM 10/17/2017 Russia News and News In Russian

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 9:39 AM 10/17/2017 Selected Posts: Active and purposeful manipulation of voters psychology

9:39 AM 10/17/2017 Selected Posts: Active and purposeful manipulation of voters psychology

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: Facebook looking to hire employees with US national security clearance

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Sites and Blogs Review: 7:28 AM 10/21/2017 – Company behind anti-Trump intel dossier asks court to block Congress from reviewing records 

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Trump on Being Interviewed by Mueller on Russia: Nobodys Asked
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Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks Review: House panel plans to release Russian ads that ran on Facebook, committee leaders say – CNBC

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CNBC
House panel plans to release Russian ads that ran on Facebook, committee leaders say
CNBC
The House Intelligence Committee will release Russia-linked Facebook ads run on its platform during the 2016 election, according to NBC News. Facebook has already released roughly 3,000ads linked to Russian operatives to congressional investigators.
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Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks Review: Donald Trump attacks Hillary Clinton and ‘fake news’ amid probe into Russian-bought Facebook ads – The Independent

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The Independent
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FBI News Review: Andrew McCabe – Google News: Media quiet on Russia colluding with American officials – Jackson Clarion Ledger

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Jackson Clarion Ledger
Media quiet on Russia colluding with American officials
Jackson Clarion Ledger
Interestingly, Department of Justice investigation of these shenanigans was supervised by U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein who now serves as President Trump’s deputy attorney general, and then-Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe who is now deputy FBI …
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Turning Tables in Magnitsky Case, Russia Accuses a Nemesis of Murder

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The theory was first floated in a documentary broadcast on Russian state television last year, but widely brushed off as crude propaganda. It seemed aimed, as with many Russian disinformation campaigns, at muddying the waters around the issue without necessarily claiming to be credible.

It seems the prosecutors have been assembling the case since last year, but their activities came to light just this month when a lawyer representing Mr. Magnitsky’s family gained access to the court docket containing the information presented as evidence by the prosecutors.

“This is going on because my role in their troubles just seems to be escalating,” Mr. Browder said in a telephone interview, alluding to the sanctions. A Russian court has already convicted Mr. Browder in absentia of fraud in a case he called retaliation for his lobbying against the government of President Vladimir V. Putin.

“Basically, I’m their worst nightmare,” Mr. Browder said. “And their previous attempts to rein me in and get me back to Russia haven’t worked. It went from tax evasion, to more tax evasion, to fraud and libel, and now it is working its way up to murder.”

The case gained new prominence this summer after it emerged that a lawyer supporting the Russian government’s position had met during last year’s presidential election with the senior leadership of the Trump campaign, including the chairman, Paul J. Manafort, and Mr. Trump’s son and son-in-law.

The new accusation is made all the more sinister for its absurd and at times cartoonish details.

Prosecutors contend that Mr. Browder had colluded with an agent of Britain’s foreign intelligence agency, MI6, “to cause the death of S. L. Magnitsky,” by persuading Russian prison doctors to withhold care.

The motive, according to what prosecutors said were intelligence intercepts, was to start a scandal, or “a significant news trigger to discredit the Russian Federation in the eyes of the international community.”

While they were about it, the prosecutors used the so-called intercepts, written in grammatically flawed English, to wrap into the plot two other Kremlin nemeses — Grigory A. Yavlinsky and Aleksei A. Navalny, prominent Russian opposition politicians. The supposed scheme was called Operation Quake.

The prosecutors say that Mr. Browder was assigned the code name Agent Solomon by Western intelligence, while Mr. Navalny was called Agent Freedom.

Referring to Agent Solomon, one filing recounts how he “was offered by proxies in the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service to arrange the termination of any medical services for Magnitsky.”

The measure that Mr. Browder campaigned for in the United States passed in 2012 as the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law and Accountability Act. It denied visas and blocked access to the American financial system for Russians deemed to have committed human rights abuses and avoided punishment at home, including those involved in the Magnitsky tax fraud case.

Mr. Putin, perceiving an intrusion into his country’s affairs, campaigned hard against the measure. When it passed, he retaliated by ending American adoptions of Russian children. The law became a prototype for the blacklisting of prominent Russians later applied in new sanctions laws during the Ukraine crisis.

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Russia investigations – Google Search

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Dramatic Sentencing Hearing Expected in Bergdahl Case
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Bowe Bergdahl deal compromised US national security and President Obama should be held accountable – Fox News

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Bowe Bergdahl deal compromised US national security and President Obama should be held accountable
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russian facebook ads – Google Search

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russian facebook ads – Google Search

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Donald Trump attacks Hillary Clinton and ‘fake news’ amid probe into Russian-bought Facebook ads – The Independent

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The Independent
Donald Trump attacks Hillary Clinton and ‘fake news’ amid probe into Russian-bought Facebook ads
The Independent
Donald Trump has gone on yet another Twitter tirade, this time attacking Hillary Clinton andFacebook after claims Russian-bought Facebook adverts were used to support his presidential campaign. Downplaying the significance of the ads, which many …
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Trump says Russian-bought Facebook ads were ‘tiny’ compared … – Washington Post

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russian facebook ads – Google Search

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Story image for russian facebook ads from Recode

How to quit Facebook (if the time suck, Russian ads or political noise …

Recode21 hours ago
Maybe you’re unnerved by all the Russia stuff. I was an avid Facebook user for more than a decade. But due to a combination of the reasons …
Story image for russian facebook ads from Chicago Tribune

Trump says Russian-bought Facebook ads were ‘tiny’ compared …

Chicago TribuneOct 21, 2017
President Donald Trump on Saturday downplayed the significance of Russian-bought Facebook ads, which leading lawmakers investigating …
Story image for russian facebook ads from The Independent

Donald Trump attacks Hillary Clinton and ‘fake news’ amid probe …

The IndependentOct 21, 2017
… Clinton and ‘fake news’ amid probe into Russian-bought Facebook ads … and Facebook after claims Russian-bought Facebook adverts were …
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10:31 AM 10/23/2017 – FBI News Review: Did Russia’s Facebook Ads Actually Swing the Election? FBI should not have an http://fbinewsreview.org/2017/10/23/1031-am-10232017-fbi-news-review/ … 

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10:31 AM 10/23/2017 – FBI News Review: Did Russia’s Facebook Ads Actually Swing the Election? FBI should not have an http://fbinewsreview.org/2017/10/23/1031-am-10232017-fbi-news-review/ …

Campaigning in the Age of Facebook

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The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

Signed in as mikenova

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FBI News ReviewFBI News Review:The World News and Times – Information Management… 

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FBI News Review

FBI News Review:
The World News and Times – Information Management Service: Current World News | Reviews of media reports | Selected reading lists | Video and Audio News | News Topics RSS Feeds | News, Reviews, Analysis, Opinions

8:55 AM 10/23/2017 – TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION: Bipartisan politics stands in the way of an effective…

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8:55 AM 10/23/2017 – TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION: Bipartisan politics stands in the way of an effective investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election
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8:24 AM 10/23/2017 – Christopher Wray: New FBI Director Touts Importance of Partnerships With Local …

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8:24 AM 10/23/2017 – Christopher Wray: New FBI Director Touts Importance of Partnerships With Local Police

8:43 AM 10/23/2017 – Hopes Dim for Congressional Russia Inquiries as Parties Clash – NYT | The Early…

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8:43 AM 10/23/2017 – Hopes Dim for Congressional Russia Inquiries as Parties Clash – NYT | The Early Edition: October 23, 2017

8:12 AM 10/23/2017 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks: FBI, Did Russias Facebook Ads Actually Swing the …

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8:12 AM 10/23/2017 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks: FBI, Did Russias Facebook Ads Actually Swing the Election?

The Showboats – By Michael Novakhov

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The Showboats – By Michael Novakhov

The Showboats – By Michael Novakhov

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The Showboats – By Michael Novakhov

FBI, Did Russia’s Facebook Ads Actually Swing the Election? FBI should not have any problems answering this question trumpinvestigations.org/blog/2017/10/2… 

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FBI, Did Russia’s Facebook Ads Actually Swing the Election? FBI should not have any problems answering this question trumpinvestigations.org/blog/2017/10/2…


Posted by  mikenov on Monday, October 23rd, 2017 2:10pm
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Did Russian Facebook Ads Actually Swing the Election? – Google Search

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Did Russian Facebook Ads Actually Swing the Election? – Google Search

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Story image for Did Russian Facebook Ads Actually Swing the Election? from Townhall

President Trump is Correct About ‘Tiny Amount’ of Money Spent on …

Townhall17 hours ago
… worth of Facebook ads used by Russia to try and swing the election … claimed that the mainstream America media actually helped Trump.
Story image for Did Russian Facebook Ads Actually Swing the Election? from The Guardian

Tech giants face Congress as showdown over Russia election …

The GuardianOct 22, 2017
Tech giants face Congress as showdown over Russia election meddling looms … bought by fake American accounts and focused on swing states. … “Keep hearing about “tiny” amount of money spent on Facebook ads … dollars more on Presidential Election than I did,” the president wrote in another tweet.
Story image for Did Russian Facebook Ads Actually Swing the Election? from Fortune

Russia-Linked Facebook Ads Reportedly Aimed for Swing States

FortuneOct 4, 2017
Russia-Linked Facebook Ads Reportedly Aimed for Swing States … U.S. election was specifically targeting swing states, according to a new report. … Facebook ads thought to emanate from Russia didnot target swing states.
Story image for Did Russian Facebook Ads Actually Swing the Election? from Los Angeles Times

Despite backlash over political adsFacebook’s role in elections will …

Los Angeles TimesOct 19, 2017
Political ads on Facebook have fueled controversy. They spread Russian propaganda and reportedly helped the Trump team suppress black support for Hillary … political action committee in targeting swing voters with scaremongering anti-refugee ads. … Facebook did not reply to requests for comment.
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Did Russia’s Facebook Ads Actually Swing the Election? – Google Search

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Did Russia’s Facebook Ads Actually Swing the Election? – Google Search

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Did Russia’s Facebook Ads Actually Swing the Election?

New York MagazineOct 20, 2017
With pressure on Facebook mounting in anticipation of general counsel Colin Stretch’s testimony in front of the House and Senate Intelligence …
Facebook Won’t Be Sent To The Gulag Over Russian Ads
In-DepthFast CompanyOct 21, 2017

The Early Edition: October 23, 2017 

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Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.

SYRIA

The defeat of Islamic State fighters in their de facto capital of Raqqa was a “critical breakthrough” in the worldwide campaign to defeat the militants and their “wicked ideology,” President Trump said Saturday, adding that the U.S. efforts would start to enter a new phase entailing support for “local security forces,” and measures to “de-escalate violence across Syria, and advance the conditions for lasting peace.” Reutersreports.  

The U.S.-led coalition bombed Raqqa “off the face of the earth” in their fight against the Islamic State militants, spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said yesterday, comparing the scale of the destruction to that of Dresden in 1945 and accusing the West of hurrying to send financial aid to the city to cover up evidence of its crimes. The BBC reports.

The U.S.-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (S.D.F.) seized Syria’s largest oil field from Islamic State militants yesterday, taking al-Omar – a key source of revenue for the terrorist group – in the Deir al-Zour province, where the S.D.F. and the pro-Syrian government forces are both competing to gain as much territory as possible. Benoit Faucon and Raja Abdulrahim report at the Wall Street Journal.

The S.D.F. are expected to step up efforts to drive out the Islamic State militants from their remaining positions in Deir al-Zour following their successful campaign in Raqqa, the spokesperson for the U.S.-led coalition Col. Ryan Dillon said yesterday, adding that the attack on al-Omar was a surprise assault intended to ensure the militants could not sabotage the oil field’s infrastructure. Liz Sly and Zakaria Zakaria report at the Washington Post.

The S.D.F.’s capture of the al-Omar oil field brings them closer to pro-government forces across a front line in Deir al-Zour, increasing the potential for a clash between U.S.-backed forces and the Russia- and Iran-backed Syrian army. Anne Barnard reports at the New York Times.

The Islamic State group’s oil production has been reduced to less than $4m per month from a peak of approximately $50m per month since the U.S.-led coalition began operations against the militants in 2014, according to a statement by the coalition yesterday. The AP reports.

The reconstruction of Syria offers the chance for allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to sign lucrative contracts, particularly Russia and Iran. Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian explains at Foreign Policy.

Iran and its allies have the opportunity to assert control following the defeat of the Islamic State in Raqqa last week and the Trump administration should devise a strategy that ensures the U.S. efforts in Syria are consolidated and not exploited by adversaries.  The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes.

IRAQ

The Iraqi government in Baghdad and the leadership of Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (K.R.G.) have been engaged in a blame game, pointing to each other for firing the first shots last week in the oil-rich Kirkuk province and placing the U.S. in a difficult position between its two allies. David Zucchino explains at the New York Times.

Last month’s Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum has “backfired spectacularly,” exposing divisions in the Kurdish region and prompting a strong response from the Baghdad government. Loveday Morris explains at the Washington Post.

IRAN

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on Iranian-backed militia in Iraq’s Popular Mobilzation Forces to “go home” during a meeting with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Tillerson’s comments provoked an angry reaction from Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Paul Sonne and Margherita Stancati report at the Wall Street Journal.

“No party has the right to interfere in Iraqi matters,” a statement by the Iraqi Prime Minister’s office said today, pushing back at Tillerson’s comments about Iranian-backed militia groups and saying that the “Popular Mobilization are Iraqi Patriots.” Reuters reports.

Tillerson’s meeting with King Salman and Abadi was part of the Trump administration’s efforts to push back against Iranian influence in the region and to encourage greater partnership between Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Matthew Lee reports at the AP.

European firms conduct business with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (I.R.G.C.) “at great risk,” Rex Tillerson warned yesterday, sending a strong signal to European allies and others that the Trump administration seeks to reopen negotiations on the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement to include stricter provisions and that re-imposing sanctions against Iran would be a possibility. Gardiner Harris reports at the New York Times.

The Palestinian militant Hamas group would maintain close ties to Iran, the deputy head of Hamas Saleh Aroruri was quoted as saying yesterday by the semi-official Mehr news agency. Reuters reports.

NORTH KOREA

“I will pursue decisive and strong diplomacy to tackle North Korea’s missile, nuclear and abduction issues,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed today, making the comments after decisively winning re-election yesterday, his victory signaling that Abe would likely continue to work closely with the U.S. and maintain a hard line on Pyongyang. Mari Yamaguchi reports at the AP.

Abe and Trump agreed to work together to raise pressure on North Korea in a phone call, a deputy chief cabinet secretary said today. Reuters reports.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will discuss the North Korea threat with Asian allies during a week-long trip to region starting today. Phil Stewart reports at Reuters.

The State Department should immediately relist North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism and correct historical mistakes by acknowledging that the U.S. cannot continue its dealings with Pyongyang based on flawed assumptions. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) writes at the New York Times.

Former President Jimmy Carter seeks to work with Trump over North Korea, Carter said in an interview with Maureen Dowd at the New York Times, also discussing other issues such as Trump’s policies in the Arab world and Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

AFGHANISTAN

The C.I.A. is set to expand its role in Afghanistan to combat the Taliban, reflecting a more assertive role since the appointment of Director Mike Pompeo, and the efforts will be led by small counterterrorism pursuit teams. Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Eric Schmitt and Adam Goldman report at the New York Times.

Last week’s series of attacks in Afghanistan killed nearly 200 people, prompting questions about security and the ability of President Ashraf Ghani’s administration to prevent the Taliban from carrying out suicide attacks. Antonio Olivo and Sayed Salahuddin report at the Washington Post.

The PHILIPPINES

The fight against Islamic State-linked militants in the southern Philippine city of Marawi has “successfully concluded,” a spokesperson for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said in a statement yesterday, separately the Philippines Defense Secretary added that there were no more militants in the city that was sieged five months ago. Jake Maxwell Watts reports at the Wall Street Journal.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis praised the Philippine army for its victory in Marawi, making the comments to reporters yesterday on the flight for his trip to Southeast Asia. Robert Burns reports at the AP.

TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION

Bipartisan politics stands in the way of an effective investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, the three congressional committees looking at the issue have faced significant obstacles, with Republicans keen for the probes to conclude and Democrats keen to explore further questions. Nicholas Fandos explains at the New York Times.

The Trump campaign’s digital director Brad Parscale is scheduled to appear before the House Intelligence Committee tomorrow, Julie Bykowicz reports at the Wall Street Journal.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FOREIGN POLICY

“We cannot force talks upon people who are not ready to talk,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said yesterday – referring to Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Egypt and Bahrain’s isolation of Qatar on June 5 due to Qatar’s alleged support for terrorism and close ties to Iran – adding that he was not hopeful that Saudi Arabia would engage in dialogue to resolve the Gulf crisis. Al Jazeera reports.

The lack of a strategy for U.S. involvement in Middle East and Africa has caused concern in Congress and about the U.S.’s long-term counterterrorism goals, Rebecca Kheel reports at the Hill.

Diplomats hope that U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley’s visit to Ethiopia today would mark greater engagement with Africa. Michelle Nichols reports at Reuters.

Senators were surprised to learn that the U.S. has 1,000 troops in Niger, prompting questions about Congress’s role and whether it should have a vote on reauthorizing U.S. military involvement around the world as part of the war against terror. Betsy Woodruff explains at The Daily Beast.

The U.S. military has a presence in almost every country in the world and it is time to consider the deployments and whether there is any strategy that underpins this broad reach. The New York Times editorial board writes.

The top two contenders to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are Nikki Haley and C.I.A. Director Mike Pompeo, Haley would likely by a more traditional and hawkish, whereas Pompeo would be more likely to align himself closer to the White House and the president. Josh Rogin provides an analysis at the Washington Post.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

At least 16 Egyptian police officers were killed in an attack by militants on Friday, an initial claim of responsibility by the Islamist Hasm group was discounted by militancy experts and the Islamic State group may have been behind the attack. Declan Walsh and Nour Youssef report at the New York Times.

U.N.-hosted talks on the situation in Libya ended on Saturday with no discernible progress, the second round of talks, which lasted one month, attempted to reconcile the rival Libyan factions. Ulf Lasseing reports at Reuters.

Russian operatives sought access to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and members of her inner circle to gain influence, according to interviews and unsealed F.B.I. records. John Solomon and Alison Spann reveal the Russian campaign at the Hill.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has been pursuing a more aggressive foreign policy but has been facing resistance, particularly from its neighbors. Jane Perlez explains Xi’s approach at the New York Times.

Read on Just Security »

Read the whole story
· · · · · · · ·

Hopes Dim for Congressional Russia Inquiries as Parties Clash

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Nine months into the Trump administration, any notion that Capitol Hill would provide a comprehensive, authoritative and bipartisan accounting of the extraordinary efforts of a hostile power to disrupt American democracy appears to be dwindling.

“Congressional investigations unfortunately are usually overtly political investigations, where it is to one side’s advantage to drag things out,” said Mr. Gowdy, who made his name in Congress as a fearsome investigator of Democrats. He added, “The notion that one side is playing the part of defense attorney and that the other side is just these white hat defenders of the truth is laughable.”

Instead, he said, he is looking to Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, to conduct an apolitical investigation.

None of the challenges have thus far stopped the committees. And given the closed-door nature of their work, prominent new avenues of inquiry could always emerge, such as Russia’s use of social media to sow chaos and discord, capable of influencing the public discourse.

But all three are up against a ticking clock, with Republicans in both chambers eager to wrap up the investigations before too long.

Particularly in the House, partisan fighting is likely to undermine whatever conclusions the committee reaches. One lawmaker said the committee would probably produce two reports. The first, written by Republicans, is expected to forcefully say there is no proof that anyone around Mr. Trump worked with Russia to tip the election. A Democratic report will probably raise unanswered questions and say that the committee was never fully committed to answering them.

The panel has been on rocky ground for months, with much of the controversy surrounding the committee’s chairman, Representative Devin Nunes of California. Mr. Nunes was forced to step asidefrom leading the investigation in April after it was disclosed that he had received classified information from the White House that showed that Mr. Trump and his associates were incidentally swept up in foreign surveillance by American spy agencies.

Mr. Nunes handed control to three of the committee’s Republicans, Representatives K. Michael Conaway of Texas, Tom Rooney of Florida and Mr. Gowdy. Mr. Conaway, a well-liked accountant, helped put the investigation back on track and has maintained a productive relationship with Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the panel’s top Democrat.

But Democrats say Mr. Nunes, whose signature is required to issue subpoenas, has continued to meddle around the edges of the investigation, driving Republican inquiries into who financed a dossier of unsubstantiated information on purported links between the Trump campaign and Russia. Mr. Nunes, they say, is also participating in an investigation into the revealing of Trump associates caught up in American surveillance by Obama administration officials.

“Frankly, I have been doing everything I can to try to get us to do a credible investigation and to reach a common conclusion,” Mr. Schiff said. “I view these things as obstacles that are in the way to overcome, and I am doing my best to overcome them almost daily.”

A spokesman for Mr. Nunes did not reply to a request for comment.

Democrats were also incensed by Mr. Gowdy’s remarks to Mr. Kushner in July, which they said were representative of efforts by some Republicans to cut the investigation short. Shortly after the meeting, Mr. Schiff publicly accused Mr. Gowdy of playing defense attorney for the administration.

Republicans have returned the biting words, sharply criticizing Mr. Schiff, whose frequent television appearances irk them. Mr. Rooney used a vulgarity when he called Mr. Schiff’s comments about the Kushner interview nonsense. And Mr. Gowdy said on Friday that he had been compelled to weigh in by the Democrats’ repetitive and meandering questions — and that a transcript would show his own questions to have been appropriately aggressive.

The Republican said it had become clear where the committee was headed.

“Will our private conclusions be the same? Yes,” Mr. Gowdy said. “Will our public pronouncements be the same? No, of course not.”

“This is politics,” he added.

Across Capitol Hill, the tone has been different. The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard M. Burr, Republican of North Carolina, and its top Democrat, Mark Warner of Virginia, have worked to project a collaborative rapport that committee members insist is real.

At a rare news conference this month, the two senators said they had already expended significant resources verifying the conclusions of America’s spy agencies about Russia’s efforts to meddle in the election and were now taking steps to better understand its use of social media campaigns and to investigate the collusion question.

“At the end of the day, what we owe the American people is the truth,” Mr. Warner said in an interview on Thursday. “And if there’s something there, then they should know that. And if there’s not something there, I’ll be the first to acknowledge that.”

But other committee members have sought to contain expectations. At the news conference, Mr. Burr said investigators had “hit a wall” in their work on the dossier, which holds some of the most salacious allegations of collusion, because its author, Christopher Steele, would not meet with the committee. Mr. Burr also said he did not have a mandate to look for criminal activity.

“The special counsel is focused on criminal acts; we’re not focused on criminal acts,” he said. “If we find one, then they’re the first phone call we make.”

Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California and a former chairwoman of the committee, told CBS’s “Face the Nation” this month that Mr. Mueller stood a much better chance of reaching a definitive conclusion about collusion than the committees did.

“There’s no proof yet that it’s happened, and I think that proof will likely come with Mr. Mueller’s investigation,” Ms. Feinstein said. “He’s got the ability to use a grand jury. He’s got the ability to use the power of subpoena without question. And he’s got the ability to do a criminal investigation.”

Both intelligence committees will also face questions about how much of what they find can be declassified and shared with the public. Mr. Burr said on Wednesday that his goal was to have the “meat of our business” done by late spring, in time for state governments to make changes to their voting systems before next year’s midterm elections. He said he would push to declassify the findings as much as possible.

The Judiciary Committee, meanwhile, has struggled to get a fledgling investigation off the ground. Ms. Feinstein, the committee’s top Democrat, and its chairman, Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, agreed this summer to begin investigating a cluster of topics related to the firing of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, including Mr. Comey’s handling of the Clinton email case and the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russia.

Given its jurisdiction over the Justice Department, the panel is the best positioned on Capitol Hill to unravel the Comey saga, including possible obstruction of justice. But after a brief flurry of activity earlier this fall — including a closed-door interview with the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. — investigators reached an impasse in recent weeks, as Democrats and Republicans haggled over the next witnesses to call and documents to request.

Mr. Grassley has spent weeks negotiating with the Justice Department on the committee’s behalf to try to gain access to two key F.B.I. officials who worked closely with Mr. Comey, Carl Ghattas and James Rybicki. Hopes of interviewing Paul J. Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, collapsed over the summer after prosecutors working for Mr. Mueller warned Mr. Manafort that they planned to seek criminal charges against him.

On Wednesday, Mr. Grassley unilaterally sent a flurry of letters requesting interviews with and information from current and former Justice Department officials, as well as Mr. Kushner and others involved in a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Trump campaign officials and a Russian lawyer said to be offering incriminating information about Mrs. Clinton.

Senators said they were still hopeful that the committee would break through the logjam, but a deal had not been reached as of Friday.

“The American people deserve a public investigation,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, noting that the Judiciary Committee could work more publicly than the intelligence panels. “They deserve witnesses who will give an accounting in public under oath.”

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