the major Russian propaganda, hacking, and election interference campaign maligned by sweaty hate potatoes like greenwald, tracey, and taibbi was in fact very real, episode 7,000: https://t.co/kgNxBZy0a5
— Karl Bode (@KarlBode) July 29, 2022
There are others who will have much more useful opinions about all this, but just to make sure the whole mess doesn’t get overlooked in the general news tsunami…
… As alleged in the indictment, from at least December 2014 until March 2022, Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov, a resident of Moscow, together with at least three Russian officials, engaged in a years-long foreign malign influence campaign targeting the United States. Ionov is the founder and president of the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia (AGMR), an organization headquartered in Moscow and funded by the Russian government. Ionov utilized AGMR to carry out Russia’s influence campaign.
“Ionov allegedly orchestrated a brazen influence campaign, turning U.S. political groups and U.S. citizens into instruments of the Russian government,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “The Department of Justice will not allow Russia to unlawfully sow division and spread misinformation inside the United States.”
According to the indictment, Ionov — working under the supervision of the FSB and with the Russian government’s support — recruited political groups within the United States, including U.S. Political Group 1 in Florida, U.S. Political Group 2 in Georgia, and U.S. Political Group 3 in California, and exercised direction or control over them on behalf of the FSB. Specifically, Ionov provided financial support to these groups, directed them to publish pro-Russian propaganda, coordinated and funded direct action by these groups within the United States intended to further Russian interests, and coordinated coverage of this activity in Russian media outlets. Ionov also relayed detailed information about this influence campaign to three FSB officials…
Early in the conspiracy, senior members of U.S. Political Group 1, UIC-1, UIC-2, and UIC-3 exchanged emails about the fact that Ionov was working on behalf of the Russian government. For example, in September 2015, Ionov paid for UIC-1 to attend an AGMR-sponsored “Dialogue of Nations” conference in Moscow. Upon his return to Florida, UIC-1 reported to the leadership of U.S. Political Group 1 that AGMR is “a solid institution of Russian politic,” and that it was “clear” that AGMR was “an instrument of [the] Russian government,” which, UIC-1 wrote, did not “disturb us.” The following week, in an email discussion, U.S. Political Group 1 leaders observed that it was “more than likely” that the Russian government was using AGMR “to utilize forces inside of the U.S. to sew [sic] division inside the United States.”…
Ionov used his control over U.S. Political Group 1 leaders to foster discord within the United States, to spread pro-Russian propaganda under the guise of a domestic political organization, and to interfere in local elections. For example, in January 2016, Ionov guaranteed financing for — and ultimately funded — a four-city protest tour undertaken by U.S. Political Group 1 in support of a “Petition on Crime of Genocide against African People in the United States,” which it had previously submitted to the United Nations at Ionov’s direction. Later, in 2017 and 2019, Ionov monitored and supported the St. Petersburg, Florida, political campaigns of UIC-3 and UIC-4. In 2019, before the primary election, Ionov wrote to a Russian official that he had been “consulting every week” on the campaign. After UIC-4 advanced to the general election, FSB Officer 1 wrote to Ionov that “our election campaign is kind of unique,” and asked, “are we the first in history?” Ionov later sent FSB Officer 1 additional details about the election, referring to UIC-4 as the candidate “whom we supervise.”
According to the indictment, Ionov’s relationship with U.S. Political Group 1 continued until at least March 2022. Specifically, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, U.S. Political Group 1 repeatedly hosted Ionov via video conference to discuss the war, during which Ionov falsely stated that anyone who supported Ukraine also supported Nazism and white supremacy. In a report to the FSB, Ionov explained that he had enlisted U.S. Political Group 1 to support Russia in the “information war unleashed” by the West.
Alongside his malign foreign influence efforts with U.S. Political Group 1, Ionov also exercised direction and control over U.S. Political Group 3, an organization based in California whose primary goal was to promote California’s secession from the United States. In January and February of 2018, Ionov supported U.S. Political Group 3’s efforts — led by the organization’s founder (UIC-6)—to orchestrate a protest demonstration at the California Capitol building in Sacramento. Ionov partially funded the efforts and attempted to direct UIC-6 to physically enter the governor’s office. Later, Ionov sent various media reports covering the demonstration and U.S. Political Group 3’s broader efforts to FSB Officer 1, writing that FSB Officer 1 had asked for “turmoil” and stating, “there you go.”
According to the indictment, Ionov also directed the efforts of U.S. Political Group 2, based in Atlanta. For example, as recently as March 2022, Ionov paid for members of U.S. Political Group 2 — including its founder (UIC-5) — to travel from Atlanta to San Francisco to protest at the headquarters of a social media company that had placed content restrictions on posts supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Ionov sent UIC-5 designs for signs used at the protest and funded cross-country travel for UIC-5 and other members of U.S. Political Group 2. After the protest, Ionov sent UIC-5 a picture of a Russian news website’s social media page, which displayed a Russian-language news story about the protest.
Ionov is charged with conspiring to have U.S. citizens act as illegal agents of the Russian government. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors…
DOJ just indicted Aleksandr Ionov, one of convicted Russian spy Maria Butina's financial backers, for working with domestic political groups/figures to undermine American democracy.https://t.co/Bk7cqOl9pF
— Luke O'Brien (@lukeobrien) July 29, 2022
Maria Butina cameo:
— Aaron Schaffer (@aaronjschaffer) July 29, 2022
— Casey Michel 🇰🇿 (@cjcmichel) July 29, 2022
Not enough of a DOJ whisperer to know what all this signifies, but it seems notable that three different section chiefs agreed to sign the Ionov indictment. https://t.co/dxK9ccNwMm pic.twitter.com/cKnEmpnTUz
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) July 29, 2022
— Aric Toler (@AricToler) July 29, 2022
Groups #1-2 pushed for reparations, #3 for secession for California. Russia funded groups on the left and right both; anything divisive was good. Sometimes they even partnered: Black Hammer's Gazi Kodzo & Proud Boys' Gavin McInnes agree vaccines are bad. (h/t @EvanAxelbank) 6/ pic.twitter.com/bdCWr4vMVr
— capitolhunters (@capitolhunters) July 30, 2022
god, just recalling the endless, smug, dismissive substack missives about how the whole Russian influence operation wasn't real, the DNC hacked itself, or the online propaganda campaign was just some bros pushing shitty memes in broken english
— Karl Bode (@KarlBode) July 29, 2022