An Examination of the “Experts” Cited in the WaPo “Russian Operatives Used Facebook Ads” Propaganda

by Scott Creighton

One way you can tell an article like this is propaganda is to look at who they cite as their sources and closely examine what they say.

Take for instance Clinton Watts. He is prominently featured in this article as an “expert” associated with the Russian investigation. Watts is currently a fellow with the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) and a former FBI agent. FPRI is a think-tank founded by an investment banker designed to push an aggressive foreign policy agenda which serves our “national interests”. Now funded by the MIC (Boeing) a few people associated with this group are Henry Kissinger, Robert Zoellick, and Dov S. Zakheim

Wattshas not seen the Facebook ads promised to Congress, but he and his team saw similar tactics playing out on Twitter and other platforms during the campaign.

Watts said such efforts were most likely to have been effective in mid-Western swing states such as Wisconsin and Michigan, where Democratic primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders had beaten Clinton. Watts said the disinformation pushed by the Russians includes messages designed to reinforce the idea that Sanders had been mistreated by the Democratic Party and that his supporters shouldn’t bother to vote during the general election in November.” Washington Post

How does Watts, who admits he never saw the Facebook ads in question, determine they specifically focused on Sanders voters being cheated in the primary by the Clinton team and the DNC? How would he know that unless he reviewed them himself? He couldn’t. But what he could know is the fact that once Sanders voters saw large numbers of them being kicked off voter rolls in various states by the thousands, they started sharing that information in real time and that trending truth became extremely detrimental to Hillary’s chances. So… the Russians did it. And Facebook must act to ensure such sharing of real information isn’t allowed again in the future, which is a large part of what this whole Russian Facebook Ads thing is all about.

And how do I know that’s the real purpose behind this Washington Post effort? Because the Washington Post and former president Barack Obama tell us so:

Former president Barack Obama reportedly pulled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg aside and made an appeal to take the threat of fake news and political disinformation seriously, reports The Washington Post. According to the paper, Obama warned that unless Facebook and the government did more to address the threat, it would only get worse in the next presidential race.” The Verge

The message conveyed by the former president seems to have been unless Facebook teams up with the establishment Business Party of America and shuts down users sharing “fake news”, the “threat” of citizens sharing the truth with each other is going to be present in the next election and it’s going to have even more of an effect on their plans. Of course, Obama reportedly told him this while the 2016 election was taking place so obviously he was more worried about the Clinton coronation that he was 2020.

Clinton Watts has a long history of trying to frame Russia for “hacking” our election in 2016. It has been his primary focus since the middle of the general elections. He has testified to congress and written baseless papers about it. He also spent a lot of time pumping up the “ISIS” crisis mythology with an eye toward regime change in Syria.

So Clinton Watts is not what I would call a disaffected neutral observer to this discussion and when you couple that with the conclusions he drew WITHOUT SEEING the evidence, his contribution to this article is clearly less than credible.

Another source cited in the Washington Post article is Michael McFaul.

Is it a goal of the Kremlin to encourage discord in American society? The answer to that is yes,” said former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. “More generally, Putin has an idea that our society is imperfect, that our democracy is not better than his, so to see us in conflict on big social issues is in the Kremlin’s interests.” Washington Post

McFaul was appointed by Obama to be his ambassador to Russia in Dec. of 2011. He had worked in Russia before, back when the IMF’s puppet Boris Yeltsin had been installed. McFaul was known as a regime change specialist, having described himself as such once in an interview:

In an interview to a news portal, McFaul described himself as “specialist on democracy, anti-dictator movements, revolutions“.[8]

In 2005 he wrote a paper on the long history of the United States interfering in Russian/Soviet Union politics which he concluded with the following remarks:

Does this assessment suggest that it was wrong for U.S. foreign policy officials to try to influence the course of change inside the Soviet Union and Russia in both the political and economic spheres? No.  Although one must recognize the limits to America’s capacity to influence internal developments in a place like Russia, it is still in the American national interest to try to push Russia’s revolution in a pro-democratic, pro-market, and pro-Western direction

The United States was right to try to assist domestic transformation in Russia, but U.S. officials should have done more, promised less…” Michael McFaul, 2005

As you can see, McFaul was simply accusing Russia of doing what we have been doing to their country for decades. Something he thinks is right and proper for us to do since HE apparently thinks our “pro-market” system is better than theirs (and since HE knows there is gold in them there hills to be mined by our “national interests”)

And when I say he accused Russia of doing what HE did, I mean it. The first thing he did when he took office in Moscow was try to foment a color revolution by meeting with opposition leaders in the country.

On January 17, 2012, soon after McFaul was appointed the new United States Ambassador to Russia and arrived in Moscow to assume his post, a number of organizers and prominent participants of the 2011 Russian protests, as well as some prominent figures of the Russian opposition parties, visited the Embassy of the United States in Moscow. On the entrance to the embassy, they were encountered by TV journalists who asked them why they were visiting the new Ambassador.[15]

What you have to understand is… McFaul had already been Obama’s Russian policy architect for a year as the staged Russian “protests” took place during the summer and fall of 2011. He was the guy running the program from over here and when it started petering out, Obama and Clinton were brazen enough to name him their ambassador to Russia so he could head over there and try again.

President Obama has decided to send the architect of his so-called Russia reset policy to Moscow as the next United States ambassador there, seeking to further bolster an improved relationship as both countries head into a potentially volatile election season… “Mike, as the guy who really helped the president establish the reset, is the perfect person to go to Moscow to make sure there’s no lapse in momentum in the relationship,” one of the administration officials said…Mr. McFaul’s friendly ties with neoconservatives at times have generated suspicions among his fellow Democrats” New York Times, May 2011

In the end the Russians kicked McFaul out of the country because, as they said, he was serving as a provocateur. So Mike McFaul failed in his efforts to bring about the regime change in Russia that he had claimed to be an expert on since 2005.

Seems pretty obvious to me anything he might say with regard to Russia and his friend Hillary Clinton losing an election might just be tainted with that personal history of failure. But that’s just me. Apparently the Washington Post operates under a different standard than I do.

Others mentioned in the article are:

Somehow or another the writers of this article find themselves asking a Black Lives Matter activist, Malkia Cyril, about Facebook’s new “disclosure” and this is what she said:

“The idea of using Facebook to incite anti-black hatred and anti-Muslim prejudice and fear while provoking extremism is an old tactic. It’s not unique to the United States and it’s a global phenomenon,” said Malkia Cyril, a Black Lives Matter activist in Oakland, California. and the executive director for the Center for Media Justice. Social media companies “have a mandate to standup and take deep responsibility for how their platforms are being abused.” Washington Post

So the Black Lives Matter professional “activist” concludes that Facebook and other social media platforms should censor users when their messages offend the establishment.. but what she failed to mention, and what the Washington Post failed to mention as well, is that Malkia made her career out of doing exactly what the Post claims Russia did (by the way, they offered no evidence to support that claim, just so you know):

As a long-time political activist, Malkia Cyril knows how smartphones helped fuel Black Lives Matter protests with outraged tweets and viral video.” Chicago Tribune

Fact is, Soros-funded regime change destabilization programs run by people like McFaul have been using social media to incite unrest in other countries for years. They teach kids how to do it in universities and “pro-democracy” groups like the National Endowment for Democracy and have been for a very long time.

The last person used in the article (again, the article is devoid of any proof whatsoever and instead relies on the quotes from these “experts” to build the story) is Alex Stamos who is Facebook’s Chief Security Officer. Interesting to note:

“Interesting piece on Re/Code this morning about the “secret meeting” of Valley engineers who fear that Trump is very, very bad for tech… The rules say all attendees are granted anonymity unless willing to be outed, which made Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos’s appearance all the more significant. He declined to comment, but did give Recode permission to print his name…Alex Stamos is someone to whom we should all be paying attention. And in that context the timing of his very public attendance at an anti-Trump meeting looks a lot like a shot across the bows of his own employer.” Pando, 2017

As I have already stated, the Washington Post article is completely devoid of any factual evidence suggesting Russia paid for ads on Facebook during the election of 2016 with the intent of influencing the outcome.

What the writers of this propaganda offered instead was a bevy of comments offered up by Clinton supporters, influence peddlers and Russia/Trump haters that ultimately added up to nothing more than rumor and innuendo.

Of course, propaganda outlets like Morning Joe spent a good amount of time this morning suggesting the article proves Russia interfered in our election and they MUST have gotten some direction from Donald Trump himself since they targeted places like Wisconsin and Michigan… again… no evidence at all to back up ANY of those claims.

All they offer is rhetoric and slander from a slew of unusual suspects with axes to grind and unfinished agendas to rekindle.

So in terms of actual evidence, or something barely passing as such, there is less to this propaganda than there was in the Golden Shower manifesto or the “RT did it” report of Jan 6th 2017.

5 Responses

  1. And let’s not forget Dov Zakheim was the point man for covering up 9/11, if not one of the principle architects of the whole plan. But they have a little problem these days. Back in 2001, social media was just getting off the ground. There was no instant information sharing like there is today. So any big event that needs time to fade into the memory hole is much more difficult to pull off. Thus the move to shut down the spigot for anything that has the slight smell of truth. Only the false narrative will be allowed to be passed back and forth. Facts, common sense, and other troublesome bits of reality will be banned, or heavily tared with the brush stroke of triggering phrases, like FAKE NEWS.

    And can you think of the person, more than anyone, that put that phrase out into the public sphere? Someone who is a huge social media user? Someone who on a daily basis provides ammunition for why we should be controlling the crazy frontier of the cybersphere? Gee is it possible he is part of the game, and not just the innocent victim of poor losers?

  2. What do you see as the way forward, if alternative media is going to be shut down/off, what alternatives are there, or are there none?

  3. I wish people would stop disseminating these wild rumors about Bernie Sanders being shafted by Clinton’s operatives in the DNC. Look, if this were true, the first to talk about it would be Sanders himself. This is not the case. Sanders is at peace and happily ensconced in his third home:
    Who knew toiling in the Congress could be so lucrative? Maybe Maxine Waters also knows.

  4. That’s good work, Scott! I can see another small donation from me starting to gather steam.

  5. Think tanks make up an entire industry based on passing off literature from within an ideological echo chamber, in addition to pitches for vested interests or sponsors, as genuine scholarship or research. The FPRI should be no different.
    Oh, McFaul disguising your imperial arrogance as lofty concern about democracy in Russia.

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