The Internet Research Agency: clickbait farm or KGB plot?
By Justin Raimondo
The indictment handed down by Robert Mueller against 13 Russians connected to the Internet Research Agency, a Russian-owned- and- operated clickbait farm, is the capstone of my case that we have indeed entered Bizarro World, an alternate universe where up is down, black is white and truth is a ridiculous falsehood.
Yes, I said clickbait farm – because that’s precisely what the Internet Research Agency (IRA) is: founded by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a former Russian chef who wanted to figure out a new way to make money, the IRA, as pointed out here, is a money-making operation. Mueller seems to acknowledge this when, in his laughable “indictment,” we read this:
“Defendants and their co-conspirators also used the accounts to receive money from real U.S. persons in exchange for posting promotions and advertisements on the ORGANIZATION-controlled social media pages. Defendants and their coconspirators typically charged certain US merchants and US social media sites between 25 and 50 US dollars per post for promotional content on their popular false US persona accounts, including Being Patriotic, Defend the 2nd, and Blacktivist.”
What kind of a propaganda/spy operation charges its coconspirators a fee?
The total Russian/IRA buy was $100,000, including $300 in Pennsylvania, $832 in Michigan, and $1979 in Wisconsin (mostly before the primary). Most of the “Russian” ads ran after the election, and they didn’t support any candidates: instead, they focused on “hot button” issues – precisely the sort of thing intended to attract visits and make money for the creators via ads.
This business model has been widely utilized by enterprising Macedonian teenagers and others out to make a quick buck, and it works quite effectively if you know what you’re doing. The IRA, like other clickbait operations, isn’t really about politics, although it deals with political subjects: it’s about making money for it owners. Period. As the Moon of Alabama blogger points out:
“There were, according to the indictment, eighty people working on the “translator project”. These controlled “hundreds” of sock-puppets online accounts each with a distinct “political” personality. Each of these sock-puppets had a large number of followers – in total several hundred-thousands. Now let’s assume that one to five promotional posts can be sold per day on each of the sock-puppets content stream. The scheme generates several thousand dollars per day ($25 per promo, hundreds of sock-puppets, 1-5 promos per day per sock-puppet). The costs for this were limited to the wages of up to eighty persons in Moscow, many of them temps, of which the highest paid received some $1,000 per month.”
All in all, a fairly profitable business – not a state-run “disinformation” project, but rather good old free enterprise.
Yes, I know that some of the IRA’s employees traveled to America for a week or two to do “research.” But what, exactly, does this mean? Does anybody have a record of where they stayed, or whom they associated with? There’s nothing about that in the indictment. In short, they could have come to America for the same reasons tens of thousands do every day of the week: to enjoy themselves as tourists. After all, what could they possibly learn in a week-long stay that could … sway a presidential election? I mean, what are we talking about here?
The weird-stupid aura hanging over this whole affair was underscored when CNN actually knocked on the door of some woman whom they accused of running a “Russian-sponsored” pro-Trump rally in Florida: the woman laughed in the “reporter’s” face and said she’d never spoken to a single Russian in her entire life. So how many Trump supporters will be visited not just by CNN but by the FBI in order to intimidate them in a similar manner?
What I want to know is this: what in the name of all that’s holy does Robert Mueller think he’s doing? Is he just plain ignorant of the internet and how it works – or is he mocking us? His “indictment” is nothing but a joke. And as for the hysterics proclaiming it shows that the Russians have launched the equivalent of the attack on Pearl Harbor – these people need to be heavily sedated. Three-thousand people died at Pearl Harbor: how many were killed by Prigozhin’s clickbait farm?
My recent cancer diagnosis has really focused my attention on an issue I had hardly considered before: spending time refuting nonsense is essentially a waste of my time. And at this point, it’s the kind of luxury I can no longer afford. If these are truly my last days on earth, I’d rather be writing about something substantial, and meaningful, thank you very much.
So I’ll just end with this: anyone who says they believe the Mueller narrative outlined in his laughable indictment is either clueless or is a cynic who will say anything. The “charges” detailed in this “indictment” – “Conspiracy to Defraud the United States” – are precisely what the authors of this disgraceful document are guilty of themselves.
Russia-gate is a hoax – I’ve told my readers that from the very beginning. This “indictment” underscores the extent of the hoax – and the contempt that the government officials and their journalist collaborators who thought this would bring down a President have for the American people. They expect us to swallow this fraud whole. Well, guess what – it’s not happening, folks. A child could see through this nonsense.
It’s high time to shut this fraud on the country down, and return Mueller to private life (where he can contemplate how badly he messed up not only this but also the anthrax investigation).