Gray Lady: Russia Hates Pussy, Hats

It’s likely been a while since you’ve thought about 2017’s “Women’s March” which bequeathed to posterity the “pussy hat”, or its prominent organizer Linda Sarsour (who wears a hijab–ironically a sort of anti pussy hat, representing sex roles and modesty in absolute opposition to feminism as expressed by the pussy hat; but who’s paying attention, now or then?).

The New York Times is revisiting this fresh and relevant history, and bemoaning the loss of Sarsour’s leadership, with the help of some Russiagate veterans:

Linda Sarsour awoke Jan. 23, 2017, logged onto the internet and felt sick.

The weekend before, she had stood in Washington at the head of the Women’s March, a mobilization against President Donald Trump that surpassed all expectations. Crowds had begun forming before dawn, and by the time she climbed up onto the stage, they extended farther than the eye could see.

More than 4 million people around the United States had taken part, experts later estimated, placing it among the largest single-day protests in the nation’s history.

But then something shifted, seemingly overnight. What she saw on Twitter that Monday was a torrent of focused grievance that targeted her. In 15 years as an activist, largely advocating for the rights of Muslims, she had faced pushback, but this was of a different magnitude.

That morning, there were things going on that Sarsour could not imagine.

More than 4,000 miles away, organizations linked to the Russian government had assigned teams to the Women’s March. At desks in bland offices in St. Petersburg, copywriters were testing out social media messages critical of the Women’s March movement, adopting the personas of fictional Americans.

Russian trolls, having just elected Donald Trump, went right to work grabbing pussies.

One message performed better with audiences than any other.

It singled out an element of the Women’s March that might, at first, have seemed like a detail: Among its four co-chairs was Sarsour, a Palestinian American activist whose hijab marked her as an observant Muslim.

Over the 18 months that followed, Russia’s troll factories and its military intelligence service put a sustained effort into discrediting the movement by circulating damning, often fabricated narratives around Sarsour.

Apparently some of the “damning narratives” about Sarsour are true.  Thank you, New York Times.

One hundred and fifty-two different Russian accounts produced material about her. Public archives of Twitter accounts known to be Russian contain 2,642 tweets about Sarsour, many of which found large audiences, according to an analysis by Advance Democracy Inc., a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts public-interest research and investigations.

This website says 867 million tweets are sent a day.  I don’t know how many tweets were sent on the subject of the March.  As it’s likely in the millions, the Russian trolls must have been as hard to find as Waldo in all those pink hats.

Many people know the story about how the Women’s March movement fractured, leaving lasting scars on the American left.

A fragile coalition to begin with, it headed into crisis over its co-chairs’ association with Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader, who is widely condemned for his antisemitic statements. When this surfaced, progressive groups distanced themselves from Sarsour and her fellow march co-chairs, Carmen Perez, Tamika Mallory and Bob Bland.  But there is also a story that has not been told, one that only emerged years later in academic research, of how Russia inserted itself into this moment.

We’ll see below just how “academic” this research is.

What effect these intrusions had on American democracy is a question that will be with us for years. Already, social media was amplifying Americans’ political impulses, leaving behind a trail of damaged communities. Already, trust in institutions was declining, and rage was flaring up in public life. These things would have been true without Russian interference.  But to trace the Russian intrusions over the months that followed that first Women’s March is to witness a persistent effort to make all of them worse.

So, it’s kind of like watching the Brandon Administration operate, only its effects are meaningless.

In early 2017, the trolling operation was in its imperial phase, swelling with confidence.

Accounts at the Internet Research Agency, an organization based in St. Petersburg and controlled by an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, had boasted of propelling Trump to victory. That year, the group’s budget nearly doubled, according to internal communications made public by American prosecutors.

Under these auspicious conditions, their goals shifted from electoral politics to something more general — the goal of deepening rifts in American society, said Alex Iftimie, a former federal prosecutor who worked on a 2018 case against an administrator at Project Lakhta, which oversaw the Internet Research Agency and other Russian trolling operations.

Artyom Baranov, who worked at one of Project Lakhta’s affiliates from 2018 to 2020, concluded that his co-workers were, for the most part, people who needed the money.

The job was not to put forward arguments but to prompt a visceral, emotional reaction, ideally one of “indignation,” said Baranov, a psychoanalyst by training, who was assigned to write posts on Russian politics. “The task is to make a kind of explosion, to cause controversy,” he said.

Hey you Russian bastards, demagogy and gaslighting are provinces of our domestic elites, who only have our interests at heart!

If the problem is opinion being manipulated by dishonest operators it’s worth asking: how, in the language of the Times, “organic” is this news story?

The paper here looks like it’s acting as a passive conduit for Advance Democracy, an outfit wiki-ed up after Trump’s election to amplify and fabricate controversies around Trump, using Silicon Valley money.  Chuck Ross of the Daily Caller in 2019:

A Silicon Valley charity gave $500,000 to a nonprofit group founded by a former Senate staffer who is working with Fusion GPS and Trump dossier author Christopher Steele.

The Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF), which has received significant funding from tech industry billionaires, gave the donation in 2018 to Advance Democracy Inc., a Virginia-based 501(c)(3) group, according to a database the recipient group runs.

A Daily Caller News Foundation investigation found that Advance Democracy shares the same address as The Democracy Integrity Project (TDIP), another nonprofit group started by a former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer for California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Daniel Jones.

Mystery surrounds both of Jones’s operations. The identities of both groups’ donors have largely been kept secret, as Jones has avoided revealing his backers…

Jones created TDIP on Jan. 31, 2017, according to registration records filed in Washington, D.C. Through that group, Jones partnered with Fusion GPS and Steele to continue a private investigation into President Donald Trump and Russia. One goal of the organization, Jones told the FBI, was to provide information to the media, lawmakers and the FBI.

The aforementioned, massive Silicon Valley Community Fund has been described as a “black hole” with little transparency but unique tax sheltering benefits for donors.

SVCF has drawn criticism in recent years as a “Black Hole” for charitable donations because IRS rules and SVCF practice have allowed money to be held in DAF accounts for years with no required minimum payouts to charitable organizations (as are required of private foundations).  This allows donors to receive large tax breaks immediately, before the donations benefit charitable causes.

From an Atlantic article bemoaning the Silicon Valley Community Fund’s neglect of the Silicon Valley community:

And wealthy residents of Silicon Valley are donating large sums to such funds. Last year, the Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund received $114 million from Jan Koum, the co-founder of WhatsApp, and $526 million from Laurene Powell Jobs, the founder of Emerson Collective, according to Bloomberg, which obtained two pages of IRS information that the agency mistakenly posted online. (Emerson Collective owns a majority stake of The Atlantic.) “Donor-advised funds have been growing at double-digit rates from year to year,” Ray Madoff, a professor at Boston College Law School and a critic of donor-advised funds, told me. “Ask any nonprofit what their growth looks like—it’s nothing like that.”

I know nothing of the nonprofit grift, but the SVCF’s opaque “donor-advised” model looks like a good way for Silicon Valley to fund its various “causes” free of public scrutiny or legal limitations.

The amount of money going from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to the nine-county Bay Area actually dropped in 2017 by 46 percent, even as the amount of money under management grew by 64 percent, to $13.5 billion. Local nonprofits called the foundation the “Death Star” and the “Black Hole” because it was so hard to get money out of it, Al Cantor, a nonprofit consultant, told me. “They got so drunk on the idea of growth that they lost track of anything smacking of mission,” he said.

Maybe.  Maybe they have a very clear sense of mission–they just don’t want us to have a very clear sense of it.

2 thoughts on “Gray Lady: Russia Hates Pussy, Hats

  1. Thanks. Very good research. Billions of dollars go into NGOs which push for globo-homo. And they’re very open about it. I get a newsletter from https://www.philanthropy.com. Just in your face.

    And they’re really a kind of shadow government.

    Funding.

    Sacred victims.

    Media brainwashing.

    Regime change achieved after driving out elected Ukraine president in final violent action.

    Specifics:

    ‘Here’s ProPublica’s characterization: “The National Endowment for Democracy was established by Congress, in effect, to take over the CIA’s covert propaganda efforts. But, unlike the CIA, the NED promotes U.S. policy and interests openly.” The NED’s co-founder, Allen Weinstein, admitted as much. “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA,” he said in an interview with the Washington Post entitled, “Innocence Abroad: The New World of Spyless Coups.” ‘

    ‘The archived page shows that from 2014 to the present, the NED has granted $22,394,281 through 334 awards to Ukraine. However, since the change, the NED only allows users to search back to 2017.’

    Now it’s done to Americans. The bullshit is unreal.

    Liked by 1 person

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