Russian Active Measures Continue

What are “Russian Active Measures”? The most succinct definition I’ve found comes from this article from Business Insider:

“Active measures are asymmetric political actions meant to influence an adversary — the art of having your enemy think what you want him to think.

Active Measures include propaganda, media manipulation, disinformation, deception, use of forgery, funding of extremist and opposition groups, spreading conspiracy theories and rumor, cyber-attacks, espionage and even assassination.”

According to this article and other research this isn’t anything new. It’s been going on for decades because Russia sees political warfare as important as military warfare. To use such measures to undermine a nation’s government, sew distrust among the populace only aids the Kremlin by weakening any actions from foreign powers like those in Europe and the United States and permitting Russians to have greater influence in their mission to get what they want.

It is agreed by our intelligent services along with those of our allies that Russia was very much involved in active measures, especially on social media during the 2016 campaign. Malcom Nance has a great book about it. It is also true that it continues and as the Mueller Investigation continues, we are seeing, and we can expect more Russian style disinformation to make its way on social media like Facebook and Twitter to anger, confuse, frustrate the general population in an attempt to get public opinion running against Mueller and our own intelligence services and law enforcement who are about to bring their findings to Court and Congress. It is interesting to note that the only two politicians in the world who affirmatively say there was no Russian Interference in our election in 2016 are Donald J. Trump and Vladimir Putin. Although Republicans in Congress have been less than cooperative in the investigation and prosecution of the Russian interference, they all agree that it happened. They just want those who discovered it prosecuted instead like Christopher Steele.

Both the House and Senate passed new sanctions against Russia for their interference, Trump signed it but won’t act upon it as required by law. The office in the State Department that would establish and execute the new sanctions was shut down by Rex Tillerson. It would appear to the casual observer that Trump and his team are aiding and abetting Russian Active Measures against the United States.

So what are we to do with a Republican Congress that won’t exercise its Constitutional mandate to hold the executive branch in check? Well in addition to contacting your representatives and senators demanding they make America First and hold Russia and her accomplices to account, we must stop helping Russia spread the disinformation.

Yes, we are the ones helping them. How you ask? Simple, by engaging with Pro Trump trolls on Twitter and Facebook. The Russian bots and trolls are easy to spot. Usually they have some common avatar or no avatar at all, very generic bio or none at all, few follows despite accounts that were created years ago, on Twitter they have timelines that are almost exclusively @mentions to others insulting them and usually all in caps, and of course, links to far-fetched stories backing a narrative to their liking but lacking anything in reality. When you engage these people you spread their disinformation on your established timeline and to your followers. You give the disinformation a legitimate timeline to infect and confuse others. You give credibility where none is merited.

Now although we like to think all of these accounts are paid trolls or bots some are legitimate Trump supporters. However they are gullible to believe the disinformation created by Russian Intel and pose as much of a danger of Russian Active Measures as any paid troll or bot. They may have thousands of follows, but they’re still agents of Russian disinformation and engaging them only spreads the disinformation.

If you want to use your social media account to get America “woke” about Trump and the GOP then do so with links to established and credible news agencies, considered & accurate commentary and of course good humor to keep things lively. However, despite the temptation to “show off” trolls and win a battle of wits, ignore them. For one thing, you can’t beat a troll, bot or ideologue on social media. If you engage them, they won’t concede you anything and will claim victory just by you responding, especially if you respond in kind. On twitter I always advise people to ignore, mute or block then move on. You’ll find these folks will not bother you on your timeline if you don’t engage them at all. They will find someone they can have a conversation with instead and in doing so, spread their disinformation. That is why all of us must get everyone on the same page to thwart Russian Active Measures on Twitter and Facebook, everyone must ignore them and move on.