Twitter Files #15 on Election Influencer – Hamilton 68

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Matt Taibbi summarized Twitter Files #15, which focused on one of the very dishonest sites that impacted the election, Hamilton 68. Hamilton 68, a Russian bot tracker was a 100% hoax.

A LITTLE BACKGROUND

Hamilton 68 is funded by Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD). Members include John Podesta, Michael Cherthoff, and Michael McFaul. They call themselves nonpartisan, but they are wholly corrupt.

They smeared every right-wing person they could find as a Putin puppet and outlets are now excusing them as dupes of the Russia scam. They weren’t dupes. They’re a progressive censorship outfit funded by the U.S. government, numerous European governments, and the European Union, to the tune of millions of dollars.

They didn’t fall for the Russian bot lies, as Daily Caller writes. They are the originators of the lies.

Matt Taibbi notes via Racket:

Hamilton 68 was and is a computerized “dashboard” designed to be used by reporters and academics to measure “Russian disinformation”. It was the brainchild of former FBI agent (and current MSNBC “disinformation expert”) Clint Watts, and backed by the German Marshall Fund and the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a bipartisan think-tank. The latter’s advisory panel includes former acting CIA chief Michael Morell, former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, former Hillary for America chair John Podesta, and onetime Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol. –Racket

THE THREAD

Hamilton 68, a digital “dashboard” that claimed to track Russian influence, was the source of hundreds if not thousands of mainstream print and TV news stories in the Trump years.

The site Hamilton 68 picked out right-leaning sites and accused them of being Russian. “Virtually any conclusion drawn from it will take conversations in conservative circles on Twitter and accuse them of being Russian.”

The “dashboard” was headed by former FBI counterintelligence official (and current MSNBC contributor) Clint Watts, and funded by a neoliberal think tank, the Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD).

The ASD advisory council includes neoconservative writer Bill Kristol, former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, ex-Hillary for America chief John Podesta, and former heads or deputy heads of the CIA, NSA, and the Department of Homeland Security.

News outlets for years cited Watts and Hamilton 68 when claiming Russian bots were “amplifying” an endless parade of social media causes – against strikes in Syria, in support of Fox host Laura Ingraham, the campaigns of both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

Hamilton 68 was the source for stories claiming Russian bots pushed terms like “deep state” or hashtags like #FireMcMaster, #SchumerShutdown, #WalkAway, #ReleaseTheMemo, #AlabamaSenateRace, and #ParklandShooting, among many others.

The secret ingredient to Hamilton 68’s analytical method? A list: “Our analysis has linked 600 Twitter accounts to Russian influence activities online,” was how the site put it at launch.

Hamilton 68 never released the list, claiming “the Russians will simply shut [the accounts] down.” All those reporters and TV personalities making claims about “Russian bots” never really knew what they were describing.

Twitter executives were in a unique position to recreate Hamilton’s list, reverse-engineering it from the site’s requests for Twitter data.

Concerned about the deluge of Hamilton-based news stories, they did so – and what they found shocked them.

They called it “bizarre and arbitrary.”

“These accounts,” they concluded, “are neither strongly Russian nor strongly bots.” “No evidence to support the statement that the dashboard is a finger on the pulse of Russian information ops.” “Hardly illuminating a massive influence operation.”

Yoel Roth wrote most of the memos.

In layman’s terms, the Hamilton 68 barely had any Russians. In fact, apart from a few RT accounts, it’s mostly full of ordinary Americans, Canadians, and British.

It was a scam. Instead of tracking how “Russia” influenced American attitudes, Hamilton 68 simply collected a handful of mostly real, mostly American accounts, and described their organic conversations as Russian scheming.

Twitter immediately recognized these Hamilton-driven news stories posed a major ethical problem, potentially implicating them. “Real people need to know they’ve been unilaterally labeled Russian stooges without evidence or recourse,” Roth wrote.

Yoel Roth wanted a confrontation. “My recommendation at this stage is an ultimatum: you release the list or we do,” he wrote. However, there were internal concerns about taking on the politically connected Alliance for Securing Democracy.

“We have to be careful in how much we push back on ASD publicly,” said future White House and NSC spokesperson Emily Horne.

“I also have been very frustrated in not calling out Hamilton 68 more publicly, but understand we have to play a longer game here,” wrote Carlos Monje, the future senior advisor to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

So the “legitimate people,” as one Twitter exec called them, never found out they’d been used as fodder for mountains of news stories about “Russian influence.” Because the #TwitterFiles contain the list, they’ve begun finding out.

“I’m shocked,” says Sonia Monsour, who as a child lived through civil war in Lebanon. “Supposedly in a free world, we are being watched at many levels, by what we say online.”
“I’ve written a book about the U.S. Constitution,” says Chicago-based lawyer Dave Shestokas. “How I made a list like this is incredible to me.”

“When I was growing up, my father told me about the McCarthyite blacklist,” says Oregon native Jacob Levich. “As a child it would never have occurred to me that this would come back, in force and broadly, in a way… designed to undermine rights we hold dear.”

Even Twitter execs were stunned to read who was on the list. Wrote policy chief Nick Pickles about British comic @Holbornlolz: “A wind-up merchant… I follow him and wouldn’t say he’s pro-Russian… I can’t even remember him tweeting about Russia.”

I’m listed as a foreign bot?” said conservative media figure Dennis Michael Lynch. “As a proud taxpaying citizen, charitable family man, and honest son of a U.S. Marine, I deserve better. We all do!”

Consortium editor Joe Lauria too was angered to find he was on the list, which targeted voices across the spectrum: “Organizations like Hamilton 68 are in business to enforce an official narrative, which means excising inconvenient facts, which they call ‘misinformation.’”


Hamilton 68 was used as a source to assert Russian influence in an astonishing array of news stories: support for Brett Kavanaugh or the Devin Nunes memo, the Parkland shooting, manipulation of black voters, “attacks” on the Mueller investigation…

These stories raised fears in the population, and most insidious of all, were used to smear people like Tulsi Gabbard as foreign “assets,” and drum up sympathy for political causes like Joe Biden’s campaign by describing critics as Russian-aligned.

Twitter didn’t have the guts to out Hamilton 68 publicly but did try to speak to reporters off the record. “Reporters are chafing,” said Horne. “It’s like shouting into a void.”
Roth was offended by the idea that tweets on certain themes suggested subversion. “Can we talk about how incredibly condescending…?

If you talk about these themes, you must have been duped by Russian propaganda.”

Again, even Roth, like most Twitter execs an ardent Democratic partisan, saw that the Hamilton scheme would lead people “to assert that any right-leaning content is propagated by Russian bots.”


The mix of digital McCarthyism and fraud did great damage to American politics and culture. News outlets that don’t disavow these stories, or still pay Hamilton vets as analysts, shouldn’t be trusted. Every subscriber to those outlets to write to editors about the issue.

For more from the #TwitterFiles, follow @BariWeiss, @LHFang , @ShellenbergerMD, @TheFP, and others. Twitter had no input into this story. Searches were conducted by a third party, so material may have been left out.

For more on this story, read the detailed new story at http://racket.news

 


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GuvGeek
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GuvGeek
1 year ago

It doesn’t take a lot of research to find out who is behind most of these Gaslighting Sites. In many cases the Name of the Organizations give you a clear Clue. For Hamilton 68 all you have to do is just look at the Advisory Council. (Dah!) Why would anyone with a Brain think that Russia would be supporting the God Fearing, America First Right over the Clearly Communist Democrat Left? The Hamilton 68 site didn’t pass the stink test much less the common sense test.
It’s interesting that they chose the name Hamilton 68 when less that 1% of Americans have read Federalist No. 68. If people read Federalist No. 68 they would understand that whole idea of the Electoral College was to let “men most capable of analyzing the qualities” of the people running for President make the Choice. In other words, they wanted people knowledgeable enough to screen out Grifters like Joe Biden for the Office. The idea of using the Democrat process to Elect someone as powerful as the President is Ludicrous. The Electoral College should not be tied to just the Democrat and Republican Candidate. The Electoral College should be more like the College of Cardinals. That way a President would never have a Political Mandate and would be forced to be middle of the road in order to govern. A President, in peace time, is nothing but a manager. The Democrat process has turned they Presidency into a Monarchy; a Tyrannical Monarchy when a Democrat is in Power.
I grew up during the Cold War. We were taught about about Propaganda and how to spot it. Remember the 1964 Daisy Spot LBJ Election Commercial? You have the vision of a Nuclear Bomb going off scaring Grandmothers to vote Democrat when the the Democrat, LBJ, is escalating the Vietnam War and the older guys who were planning on College are getting Draft notices. That’s Propaganda, blame the other guy for what you’re actually doing. It took 4 more years of War Protest for the Voters to realize that they had been conned by LBJ.

What gets me is that in the age of information, the vast majority of people are easily Gaslighted and conned by FAKE Media and Lying Politicians. Just look at the Election of George Santos. He is clearly a First Class Grifter, but got elected. AOC is no better. There needs to be a Test before you’re allowed to even register to vote. We have a test for a Driver’s License, there needs to be a 1960s type High School Level Civics & American History Exam in English to just register to Vote! We can’t fix Stupid, so we need to screen it out!