Trying my best to avoid the Russian honeypot

A few days ago, in a post about Tulsi Gabbard, I made a simple statement of fact. I said that RT, the “news” network that had amplified Gabbard’s comments about the Democratic primary being “rigged”, was a “Russian propaganda channel”. [For what it’s worth, the respected Columbia Journalism Review refers to RT as the “Kremlin’s propaganda outlet,” so this is hardly a controversial take.] Well, I got an interesting email just now. It seems as though RT is interested in me. There was no talk of money, or anything like that, but apparently they like my work, and want to put me on the air this Friday during a live broadcast.

Generally speaking, I’m not what you’d call a paranoid man, and I realize that it could just be that an RT producer really thinks I have something to say about “corporate water extraction and the threat is poses to communities and the environment” (which is what they claim they want me to talk about), as it’s a subject I’ve written about in the past. I can’t help but wonder, however, if this might be part of a bigger pre-2020 move on their part to build alliances with swing state bloggers, in hopes of either silencing them on certain issues, or maybe even getting them to change their public stance on a candidate. Again, I don’t necessarily think that’s what’s happening here. With that said, though, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if the Russians used RT not just to spread Kremlin propaganda, but also as a mechanism though with bring citizen journalists into the fold.

Here’s the letter. [I’m curious which other Michigan bloggers received it, and how they’ll respond.]

Dear Mr. Maynard,

I am contacting you from a national TV news program called “The Big Picture” broadcast on the network, RT America and seen across the U.S.

We would like to invite you on our news program this Friday, October 25th, at 1:30 PM EST for a brief 5-6 minute interview on the topic of corporate water extraction and the threat is poses to communities and the environment.

We can include any talking points you wish to prioritize.

The only logistical requirement is that you are able to go to the studio we book for you closest to your location. You would need to arrive at the studio by 1-1:15 PM EST as it is a live broadcast.

This is a good opportunity to bring attention to the challenges around the destructive practices of water extraction as well as the important work being done by activists like you.

As we are on deadline, the sooner you can confirm your availability, the better.

We are grateful for your time and insights and look forward to your participation!

Thank you for your consideration!

Again, there was no promise of payment. There was no photo attached of a young woman like Maria Butina, who claimed to have developed feelings for me through my blog. There’s no reason at all to think that I’m being lured into any kind of honeypot. With that said, though, it’s worth considering the fact that, if someone wanted to influence the 2020 election, it wouldn’t cost very much at all to reach out to all the bloggers in, let’s say, three swings states, who have 1,000 or more readers a day, and extend an offer to put them on screen. Even if you just got a few people to engage in a conversation, it could pay dividends down the road. It may not swing an election, but, in a race that could come down to a few hundred votes in one state, it could be worth the time and effort to cultivate someone who, with the right motivation, might either come out in favor of a particular third-party candidate, or announce to the world the he or she is “just so damned disgusted by politics” that they’re staying home.

Just to be clear, I don’t think that I’m any kind of online “influencer”, and I seriously doubt that anyone would target me for such an operation. This letter, however, got me thinking about what a foreign intelligence service could do if they were intent on shifting the grassroots conversations in a few pivotal precincts.

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58 Comments

  1. dogmatic dolt
    Posted October 23, 2019 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Aloha, You already believe the Russians caused the last election problems. Be pure and loyal to HRC. Don’t have anything to do with the Russian influence peddlers. Hold out for an invite from a true blue American Patriot broadcaster.

    but I am just a puttin puppet so what to do ????

  2. dogmatic dolt
    Posted October 23, 2019 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Aloha, you are my host here and the last thing I would ever want to do is implie an insult. But in general I would say,
    If you have truth to speak, you never turn down a podium to speak that truth.

    It is of course up to you. Do you have a truth you want to share? Do you have a political agenda you want to advance?

    Morality gets in the way of almost all decision making.

  3. Jean Henry
    Posted October 23, 2019 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    DD is juts sad that he uses an alias and so can not be contacted by his friend Putin to talk on Russian Times Network about the evils of US capitalism and his unwavering crush on the peace warrior Tulsi.

  4. dogmatic dolt
    Posted October 23, 2019 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    aloha JH, you see right through me

  5. iRobert
    Posted October 23, 2019 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Ask them if your Dreamland puppet can be on their show. Better yet, ask them if you can appear on their show in your Halloween costume…Putin with a little Trump puppet.

    And for the record, it’s obvious they are doing what you suspect. I also expect it to work with the majority of jackass bloggers.

  6. iRobert
    Posted October 23, 2019 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    Can I ask you do me a favor, Mark? Could you mention to them that you know a guy they’re going to want to “turn” but they’re going to need to use one of their hottest agents.

    I’m lonely, Mark. Please! I’m lonely!

  7. dogmatic dolt
    Posted October 23, 2019 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Aloha, as you all know, I am very slow (but what can you expect from the dead). Anyway, went and looked at the RT America “Big Picture” web page. Hosted by that notorious anti-American Tom Hartman. He has done shows like, ” How Americans were blocked from Voting” and “Naked Sex while sky diving”.

    I see the dilemma you are in. It could be the Russian version of a Springer show.

  8. dogmatic dolt
    Posted October 23, 2019 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Aloha, wrong again. that notorious anti-american Tom Hartman was replaced by the equally american hater Holland Cooke.

  9. iRobert
    Posted October 23, 2019 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Don’t be surprised if you do get approached by a Butina. If you don’t go for it…oh um…I mean WHEN you don’t go for it, they may try a gay approach next.

  10. iRobert
    Posted October 23, 2019 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    You should send Dogmatic Dolt in your place. He’s shameless.

  11. Jean Henry
    Posted October 23, 2019 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Many here in the midwest call an outhouse a ‘honey pot.’

  12. dogmatic dolt
    Posted October 23, 2019 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Aloha, I had an uncle twice removed who was a honey dipper.

  13. Sad
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    Electablog is definitely a tool of RT.

    Everything on there is divisive and inflammatory.

    Do it. It’s your patriotic duty. Go off script once you’re on air. Fight the power!

  14. John Brown
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    I think the only rational response is “FUCK OFF RUSKIES”! Don’t be a fool and fall for flattery.

    And now that I know for a fact they are reading this blog let me just address pooty directly;

    Dude-ski, you are really fucking short. I mean like 5’4″ short? Do you think thats at the root of your silly overcompensation? Anyways FUCK OFF RUSKIES! We still owe you a serious payback for your goddamn Zebra Mussels you dumped on us and ole Ronny Rayguns didn’t do shit about…

  15. iRobert
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Make a counter offer demanding you be given a weekly ballshaving gameshow.

  16. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    What about Joe Ro J Bro?

    Going back to the conversation we were having a few days ago—He had Renee Diresta of New Knowledge on his podcast and had Tulsi on soon after.

    Hearing multiple points of view creates some extremely awkward situations and that is a good thing. Watch 44:00-46:00.

    Watch Joe’s reaction when Tulsi just stared a few facts in a very classy way. I am not saying Joe is a bad person. I like him. I suspect New Knowledge targeted him because he actually sort of passive guy when it comes to digging up uncomfortable truth but Joe’s open mindedness can and does serve an important purpose. It created this 2 minutes which was interesting if you understand the backstory.

    The Diresta interview is interesting too but for entirely different reasons.

    Did you get a chance to read those articles on New Knowledge I offered in the other thread? Maybe you don’t read articles offered by Putin Puppets like me?

    44:00-46:00:

  17. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    https://youtu.be/kR8UcnwLH24

  18. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Should probably listen from 46:00-46:30 too.

  19. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    43:00- 44:00 is interesting if you realize Jonathan Morgan, head of New Knowledge, was removed from Facebook for what he did in Alabama.

    Tulsi is criticized for going on Tucker. Where is she supposed to go? Joe Rogan is well meaning but she is an entire different league…Yet she goes on Joe Rogan.

  20. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Somebody might want to do a story on CORPORATE water extraction. The interesting thing might be that all those other news sources don’t. I think Mark should check it out and report on his findings. I also think Mark should consider whether or not he has already been honey potted a long time ago.

  21. John Brown
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    The obvious answer is she should go to RT and be honest that she’s a stooge of the russo-christo-fascist traitors attacking America.

  22. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Interesting.

  23. Iron Horse
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    RT is the worst. But they are really good at courting American leftists to align with Russian disinformation activities. Like really, really good at it.

    If asked, I wouldn’t do it.

  24. John Brown
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    She can also come clean about how her failure to call out ruskie bot support violates the spirit of her Constitutional oath and FEC rules. And she can tell those incel bastards to stop masturbating to her online fighting videos. But she won’t cause she’s over.

  25. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    J Bro, I wonder if Hillary’s accusations were based on the article I shared? What are you basing your information on?

    Can you or Jean give me the link to the form which compiles stats on incel opinions on Tulsi workout videos and Trump’s interactions with astronauts?

  26. Jean Henry
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    FF– More homework?
    No. Do your own research. Prove me wrong.

    You are the most white straight conservative dude of all white straight conservative dudes.An archetype. I really hope no one works for you.

  27. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    J Bro knows that Tulsi violates FEC rules? That is an interesting claim. Wow. You are about to break open a news story J Bro!

    Now is the time to invite Mrs Brown onto the website so she can witness the good work you are doing here in real time.

    Ok. Explain to us how Tulsi violated FEC rules! Do it now! This is going to make Mrs Brown so hot for you, Bro!

  28. Nathan
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Go on there and only talk about the Monkey Power Trio.

  29. John Brown
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Fashy flakes, leave Mrs B outta this. I don’t make cracks about you and your Priest’s sex life. I could, but I won’t…..

    Stop doing RT and pootys work by distracting from agent orange’s treason and your complicity as a bootlicker.

  30. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    J Bro, You don’t think Mrs Brown should see the good work you are doing here? Why not?

  31. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    I don’t even want to prove you wrong though Jean. If I was forced to guess my guess would be you are right about their opinions on Trump and the astronauts. I am interested in the incel community in general. You and J Bro seem to know what the individuals in that community are thinking about on specific issues and you seem to have insight into what those individuals are doing in private (masturbation practices) . And neither of you guys seem like the kind of people that would just make stuff up all day, everyday. So I am inquiring about the data you guys are analyzing.

  32. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    My inquiry is just part of a normal continuation of the standard back and forth:

    J Bro makes “interesting” statements. I ask J Bro to reconcile his statements with a specific set of facts. Then J Bro pretends like I did not offer facts and instead calls me a “fascist”. It is a very enlightening pattern of back and forth. You really need to put yourself into the process to see how useful it is.

  33. Kim
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Look out, Mark. Maria Butina is being released from prison!

    BREAKING: Maria Butina, a Russian spy who pleaded guilty last December to conspiring with a senior Russian official to access the @NRA and other groups from 2015 until she was arrested last July, is being sent back to Russia.

    https://nypost.com/2019/10/24/russian-agent-maria-butina-to-be-released-from-prison-sent-back-to-moscow/

  34. Jean Henry
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    FF- I provided links. They have a wikipedia page. You clearly aren’t interested enough to look them up yourself. And I explained why I don’t need to look them up to encounter them. I and people like me are their target.

    Here’s a primer: https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/2019/4/16/18287446/incel-definition-reddit

    But this business of pretending you have not been provided sources when you have is really getting old. Do you tell yourself they don’t exist and then not google them and then come here and ask for verification to make it seem like we make things up. Honestly, there was a terrorist attack or two by self-declared incels. They are on the SPLC list of fringe extremist groups. Why are you acting like we fucking made them up?

    You are just like Bob with his Bernie Bros don’t exist because I haven’t met one BS.

    What good would INCELS do any political cause?

    PS everyone masturbates. Duh.

  35. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    I know Incels exist and my guess is you are probably/ maybe more or less right when you said “the incels” have a specific opinion about the Trump/ female astronaut interaction. What part of me saying I am not trying to prove you wrong about the incels do you not understand? You are not making the fact that incels exist up obviously. I do find it humorous that you are extremely liberal about declaring what a particular group thinks about a specific subject. “”The incels “ all like it when Trump flips off lady astronauts””. I find it funny because of the subject but also because the kernel of truth it represents a pattern of thinking you habitually engage in. Others do too. It’s why I love you, J Bro, and Lynne so much. You exemplify thought processes which need to be put on display and stomped out. It is important. It is sometimes humorous too.

  36. iRobert
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to hear about some of Jean’s interactions with incels. How do they introduce themselves?

  37. Posted October 24, 2019 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    If the Russians try to honeypot Mark, I imagine it playing out something like this:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YNkQVoE1rC8

  38. iRobert
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    It’s like my grandpa used to always say…

    Incels belong in cells.

  39. charlie romeo
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    https://www.mlive.com/news/2019/09/how-does-nestle-get-michigan-water-for-practically-nothing.html

  40. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    So none of the Hillary apologists here want to incorporate the questions around “New Knowledge” with their strong judgments against Tulsi?

  41. Jean Henry
    Posted October 25, 2019 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    “How do they introduce themselves?”
    –by calling me a bitch usually and then ranting on about feminazi’s etc.

    It’s really not very hard to tell. Sometimes they identify themselves as Incel in their profiles. Misogyny and desperation are always a good look when trolling for women.

    I winder if Iron Horse has anything to say about Russia’s economic development inroads into Africa. Putin recently held a multi-state conference about how Russia can invest in Africa a la China.I’m serious as to how this is being received.

  42. Jean Henry
    Posted October 25, 2019 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    curious* not serious– but that too. gah.

  43. Jean Henry
    Posted October 25, 2019 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    FF we already talked about New Knowledge in this forum extensively. I think it’s best to hold Tulsi accountable to her own statements v her religious beliefs, don’t you?

    It concerns me that she denies many of the core beliefs of the religion while still relying on its leader as her (and her husband’s) private spiritual guide.

    If you have a belief system, you should be able to state its tenants confidently in public and subject them to scrutiny and criticism with confidence and faith. Tulsi’s failure to do that concerns me, but less so than her fundamental incompetence.

  44. Jean Henry
    Posted October 25, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Tenets*

  45. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 25, 2019 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Jesus Jean! New Knowledge is not Tulsi’s religion but it might be yours.

  46. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 25, 2019 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    One more time for Jean. I offered this to J Bro for an intro. Listen to: 43:00-46:30.

    https://youtu.be/kR8UcnwLH24
    ………………………………………………………
    Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 23, 2019 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/russia-s-propaganda-machine-discovers-2020-democratic-candidate-tulsi-gabbard-n964261

    Key excerpt:
    Experts who track inauthentic social media accounts, however, have already found some extolling Gabbard’s positions since she declared.
    Within a few days of Gabbard announcing her presidential bid, DisInfo 2018, part of the cybersecurity firm New Knowledge, found that three of the top 15 URLs shared by the 800 social media accounts affiliated with known and suspected Russian propaganda operations directed at U.S. citizens were about Gabbard.
    Analysts at New Knowledge, the company the Senate Intelligence Committee used to track Russian activities in the 2016 election, told NBC News they’ve spotted “chatter” related to Gabbard in anonymous online message boards, including those known for fomenting right-wing troll campaigns. The chatter discussed Gabbard’s usefulness.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/19/us/alabama-senate-roy-jones-russia.html

    Key excerpt:
    One participant in the Alabama project, Jonathon Morgan, is the chief executive of New Knowledge, a small cyber security firm that wrote a scathing account of Russia’s social media operations in the 2016 election that was released this week by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
    An internal report on the Alabama effort, obtained by The New York Times, says explicitly that it “experimented with many of the tactics now understood to have influenced the 2016 elections.”
    The project’s operators created a Facebook page on which they posed as conservative Alabamians, using it to try to divide Republicans and even to endorse a write-in candidate to draw votes from Mr. Moore. It involved a scheme to link the Moore campaign to thousands of Russian accounts that suddenly began following the Republican candidate on Twitter, a development that drew national media attention.
    “We orchestrated an elaborate ‘false flag’ operation that planted the idea that the Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet,” the report says.

  47. Jean Henry
    Posted October 25, 2019 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Oh right. Sorry. :The Science of Indentity” not “New Knowledge”. They all sound the same to me. I’m not listening to your stuff FF. Never do.

    I know you all want my undivided attention but it’s not on offer.

    Sorry.

  48. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 25, 2019 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Recap: New Knowledge was caught participating in an scam that manufactured bots that appeared to be Russian and attached those fake Russian Bots to a Republican in an Alabama race in the hopes of creating rumors that the Republican was either affiliated with Russians or being boosted with the help of Russians.

    It was a scam perpetrated by New Knowledge onto the Republican candidate.

    New Knowledge is the expert firm which researched Russian bots that supposedly boosted Trump.

    New Knowledge is the expert firm which was the basis for the accusation that Tulsi was being boosted by Russian Bots in the article.

    I am wondering where Hillary is getting her info?

  49. Jean Henry
    Posted October 25, 2019 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    FF– If Tulsi is being misrepresented then she’s doing a really shitty job of defending herself.

  50. Jean Henry
    Posted October 25, 2019 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    FF–Would you vote for Tulsi if she ran as a third party candidate?

  51. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 25, 2019 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Jean never listens to my stuff but pretends FF is not able to bear “subtlety” , “ nuance” and “context”—when she and Lynne fail to offer examples of the supposedly “many sexist things I say”?

    Wow.

    The view from inside the black hole must be totally awesome. How do you find the time to send us so many postcards?

  52. Jean Henry
    Posted October 25, 2019 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    The NBC News article re New Knowledge and Russian bots in Tulsi’s campaign was from February. The Times article was from last December.

    And no one has really been talking about this until lately, when HRC brought it up. Are you trying to tell me that those articles from 10 months ago are why we are talking about this now? And that a Dem operative behaving as political operatives do means that we should dismiss any concern? even though Tulsi is refuses to defend herself with anything other than counter accusations?

    If Russian bots aren’t supporting her campaign, that should be easy enough to show. If they are, that should be easy enough to condemn.

    Responding to an accusation with a counter attack is indication of a weak defense. Ask HW.

  53. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 25, 2019 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Jean’s measure that Tulsi is doing a bad job defending herself is in large part relative to Jean’s ability to remain in perpetual ignorance.

    Black hole.

  54. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 25, 2019 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    It really is lyncher logic Jean. Think about it.

  55. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 25, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    “And no one has really been talking about this until lately, when HRC brought it up.”

    I know you have a privileged point of view from inside the black hole but has it never dawned on you that people talk about different things all the time? And just because Jean has not been attuned to some specific conversation does not mean that conversation did not exist?

  56. Jean Henry
    Posted October 25, 2019 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Things that actually matter: https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/tally-children-split-border-tops-5400-count-66516532

  57. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 25, 2019 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, It does not matter. If accusing and passing judgment on people, while giving special privileges to particular sources of accusations; while simultaneously ignoring other sources of contrary evidence ; was good enough for lynchers then it is good enough for the college educated liberal brainwashed class.

  58. site admin
    Posted November 25, 2019 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Recently posted by Anonymous Two to a different threat.

    Mark, did you hear the GOPer from Texas who spoke to Hill and got her to corroborate that Putin is threatened by the U.S. fracking industry and that he publishes anti-fracking pieces in RT in an effort to get it banned in the US so he doesn’t have to compete with it? The double-edged insinuation was that 1) just because something helps Putin doesn’t mean it’s bad and 2) that environmentalists could (and are, by the fossil fuel industry think tanks) be also fairly accused of being in Putin’s pocket. Thought that was very cynical and a clever way to provide cover for right-wing conspiracy theorists pedaling falsehoods.

    http://markmaynard.com/2019/11/whats-all-this-nonsense-about-crowdstrike/#comment-953980

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