Special Counsel Robert Mueller announced Friday indictments against Russians, but a quick cursory search shows those crimes were outlined several years ago. However, it looks like this announcement may not be everything that it claims after some very interesting reports from Buzzfeed as well as The Atlantic surfaced.
Mueller indicted 13 Russian operatives and three Russian entities for using social media to sow discord in the 2016 presidential election.
The problem with his indictment is that liberal news organizations like The Atlantic and BuzzFeed published very similar reports on the Russian efforts several years ago.
Mueller’s indictment charged 13 Russians for using a company based in St. Petersburg called the Internet Research Agency. The indictment says they organized and launched rallies that were both for and against Trump after he won the presidential election.
“Defendants and their co-conspirators used false US personas to organize and coordinate other false US personas to organize and coordinate US political rallies protesting the results of the 2016 presidential election,” said special counsel spokesman Peter Carr, summarizing the indictment.
In 2014, BuzzFeed published a report detailing how the troll group identified in Mueller’s indictment had made their goals and activities well-known to the public.
Max Seddon’s article details how they carried out their scheme:
“The documents show instructions provided to the commenters that detail the workload expected of them. On an average working day, the Russians are to post on news articles 50 times. Each blogger is to maintain six Facebook accounts publishing at least three posts a day and discussing the news in groups at least twice a day.”
“By the end of the first month, they are expected to have won 500 subscribers and get at least five posts on each item a day. On Twitter, the bloggers are expected to manage 10 accounts with up to 2,000 followers and tweet 50 times a day.”
The Atlantic published a similar report in 2013 detailing how the Russians were carrying out a social media scheme to create discord among Americans over political issues.
“The effect created by such Internet trolls is not very big, but they manage to make certain forums meaningless because people stop commenting on the articles when these trolls sit there and constantly create an aggressive, hostile atmosphere toward those whom they don’t like.”
“These include commentary systems on the web sites of every major media outlet in the city that the trolls began to occupy a long time ago and react to certain news with torrents of mud and abuse.”
Are we really to believe the FBI and other government agencies were unaware of these Russian efforts since 2013?
More importantly, Mueller’s indictment is disturbingly similar to the BuzzFeed and Atlantic reports. The indictment said Russian trolls created fake accounts using another individual’s persona and worked to play both sides of a political issue to create chaos.
The grand jury indictment revealed the Russian group even organized two rallies in New York City on Nov. 12, 2016. One rally was to support Trump, and the other rally was to oppose Trump.
One of the rallies was called held on Nov. 12 was called, “Trump is NOT my President.” The indictment concretely states the Russian operatives were focused on sowing discord in America, not promoting Trump over Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
It is also likely Mueller’s indictment closely resembles the two news media reports so he could save face on the phony Russia collusion investigation.
After nearly a year of investigating and no evidence of collusion or wrongdoing from Trump, the Mueller investigation is grasping for anything at this point to keep the witch hunt going as long as possible.