UKRAINE: We are strong. We are Ukrainians

FRIDAY 1 JULY 2022

UKRAINE UPDATE

Podcast: The Kremlin File with Jessikka Aro, Finnish journalist and author of “Putin’s Trolls.”

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Jessikka Aro started researching Russian trolls as far back as 2014.  She was subsequently trolled, harassed and eventually had to move out of Finland.

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Aro was trying in 2014 to write about the aggressive movements of Russia against Ukraine. 

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She discovered places where trolls were employed to influence public narratives.

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These troll farms were used as information warfare.  They are snipers who go after individual computer users on the behalf of the Kremlin.

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They market ideas to individuals.

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The trolls were already attacking Russians inside Russians.  Every morning they would be given themes and have to write posts about these themes.

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Recruitment ads for the troll factories, were looking for copywriters who knew English.  These people were recruited to write “political news.”

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These trolls were working also in Finland.

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They were attacking Ukraine, sending pictures of dead people and blaming Ukraine.

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They would go after a blogger and start harassing and calling names and molding their messages.

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They monitor what individuals say online and go after them if they don’t like what’s being posted.

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After Aro left Finland lived abroad for two years.  When she published her first investigation of the troll farms, she was targeted, and the police warned her that she might be subjected to violence.  Her colleagues were turned against her.  People were brainwashed into believing that she was a mentally ill threat to Finnish security, or a CIA agent, or working for the British. 

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She ended up being essentially locked in her own home.  She was told by the police to check for objects under her car. 

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These troll farms also worked to get people to hate Ukraine.

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Prigozhin, Russian oligarch, runs the IRA based in St. Petersburg.  He also leads the Wagner Group (add information).

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They are working in Africa and India as well.

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These trolls were active in the international information space.

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They would link to Russian government information and narratives.

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About Ukraine, the narrative was that the government was filled with fascists and war mongers. 

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The trolling was laying the groundwork internationally for the genocide in Ukraine even in 2014.  They were trying to brainwash people that Russians had nothing to do with aggressively intervening in Crimea.

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Russian young men have been weaponized with this information.  They think Ukrainians don’t have human rights.  They have been dehumanized.

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“They have no problem going to Ukraine and raping and killing.”

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This activity started picking up right around the time Yanukovych had to leave.

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They operate around the clock.

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The cites that had been spreading the anti-Ukraine narratives started distributing pro-Trump and anti-Hillary information.  Hillary was a pedophile.

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They are designed to lure different kinds of audiences.

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(Note: Look at those western professionals who were on RT).

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There is still not enough counter activity by Western intelligence services.  This is a form of warfare.

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They unmask people who cooperate with agencies and create conspiracy stories about them.

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In an early case, they targeted veterans. 

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Early on there was a diplomat targeted in mid-2000s.  Lithuanian foreign affairs, worked in.  Russia was using Belarus as a testing ground.  He was followed for helping the Belarus opposition.  They intercepted his phone line.  His phone conversations, edited, were posted publicly. 2013, eight years after initial targeting.  He was in Hungary, helping Russian activists, and his phones were intercepted, and the conversations put on Utube.  He was disgraced and his career destroyed.  Later, they found that it had been a Russian security service operation.

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The operations-built support for far right political groups in Finland.  They put out racist narratives against immigrants and Jewish people.

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They are really good at cultivating their targets for decades.  They are playing long term.  They are cultivating individuals and communities.  They want these communities committing violence and protest.  Then, they blame the Western systems. 

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There are just not enough resources being directed at countering this form of intellectual warfare.

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In the same way the US made public what Russia intended to do right before the invasion of Ukraine, they should have made public what they were doing before the 2016 election, telling people that they were being manipulated by the Russians.

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There are heavily trained officers attacking us 24 hours a day and they are not being countered.

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It’s too scary and people want to protect themselves from the understanding of the importance of these troll farms.  In 2014, there were even governmental officials who would not believe the existence of the troll farms or their importance.  They thought it was conspiracy theory and was too “sci-fi”. 

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Now, the Russians seem to have taken all the masks off. 

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There seems to be no plan to do anything about this still-existing threat.  How do you tell people they are being used as useful idiots to Russian security services. 

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People don’t understand that what is going on in Ukraine is a security threat.  (Hell, they don’t understand that a coup is a threat to security.)

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Russia shifted in 2013 to attack every European election.  Brexit, U.S., French elections.

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The language is the same (rapists, immigrants, shit-hold countries).

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Articles:

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https://www.propublica.org/article/infamous-russian-troll-farm-appears-to-be-source-of-anti-ukraine-propaganda

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https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/01/troll-factory-spreading-russian-pro-war-lies-online-says-uk

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https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-exposes-sick-russian-troll-factory-plaguing-social-media-with-kremlin-propaganda

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https://rollcall.com/2021/03/23/russia-outsources-disinformation-efforts-to-foreign-troll-farms/

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https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/britain-says-russian-troll-factory-is-spreading-disinformation-social-media-2022-04-30/

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https://www.sipa.columbia.edu/news/study-confirms-influence-russian-internet-trolls-2016-election

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https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10771515/Russian-president-set-unleash-troll-farms-fake-news-assault-West.html

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https://www.businessinsider.com/tiktok-facebook-facebook-targeted-by-russian-troll-factories-uk-government-2022-5

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https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2022/05/02/uncovers-Russian-troll-farm/7711651469976/

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https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43093390

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https://www.technologyreview.com/2021/09/16/1035851/facebook-troll-farms-report-us-2020-election/


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