Forget the Ham Sandwich, Indict Piroshki: To Keep Russiagate Alive, Mueller Indicts 13 'Internet Research Center' Russians

Worse Than a Crime, a Stupidity and Embarassing Joke for the USA

The Russian Analyst remarked in a text to London Paul, that old Cold Warriors like Harry Truman or Richard Nixon would have been embarrassed to present an argument to the world that Americans are so gullible that 13 now indicted Russians, operating on a shoestring budget compared to the billions spent by Americans on federal campaigns, could actually press their fingers on the scale for Donald Trump's historic victory. According to the indictment, the Internet Research Center spent something like $1.25 million per month on Facebook and other web ads in the months leading up to the 2016 election. But the indictment doesn't specify how much of that money actually went toward U.S. ads and how much may have been spent in Russia. This omission is important for reasons outlined by Germany-based blogger b from Moon of Alabama, in his post excerpted below.

Notwithstanding the leaks to The Washington Post from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) affirming that American spooks were closely monitoring the Internet Research Center's denizens' online activities, the Russians working there joked that the FBI might be after them -- not exactly the mindset of professionals trained in code words for espionage. Whatever was happening at the now notorious address of 55 Savushkina Street, if the goal was to impact the 2016 election in favor of Donald Trump as the January 2017 intelligence community assessment seems odd that Facebook is admitting to over half the Internet Research Center-linked ads on their platform having been purchased AFTER the election.

From the text of the 37 page Mueller/Rosenstein indictment of '13 Russians'

From the text of the 37 page Mueller/Rosenstein indictment of '13 Russians'

"V" and CJ are joined by James the Russian Analyst who discusses the fog of psyops surrounding the mainstream media pushing claims that hundreds of Russia's alleged answer to Blackwater 'Wagner' mercenaries were killed or wounded by American air strikes on February 7. In reality while Russia does have a 'foreign legion' called the 'Northern Wind' or 'Vonetorg operators' that serve in place of its regular armed forces in fighting for the Donbass, it is doubtful that any private military company called Wagner actually exists considering Russia's formal ban on mercenaries. Moscow has used 'Northern Wind' volunteers recruited from the ranks of Afghanistan and Chechnya veterans to aid the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics fighting the NATO-backed Ukrainian Army.

Does the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Center, Like Its Putative Sponsor Yevgeny Prigozhin's Alleged Private Military Contractor Firm 'Wagner', Actually Exist?

One of the interesting 'coincidences' about this indictment is that it names Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, aka 'Putin's chef', as the mastermind behind the Internet Research Center, barely a week after scores of Russian private military contractors attached to the Russian  Blackwater 'Wagner' were killed by American artillery and air strikes in Syria. Mr. Prigozhin, a businessman who came to prominence as 'Putin's chef' after serving the Russian President and then French President Jacques Chirac at one of his restaurants, was already under sanctions before the latest Mueller indictment. The American sanctions alleged that 'Wagner' personnel fought, with the full support of the Russian Defense Ministry, against the Ukrainian Army in Donbass. After the air strikes of February 7 in the countryside of Deir Ez Zor, the alleged death toll among Wagner mercenaries has continuously climbed in lurid press accounts, from the five non-servicemen acknowledged dead in the incident by the Russian Foreign Ministry, to the hundreds reported as credibly KIA/WIA'd by Bloomberg and Reuters.

Naturally, when the Russian Analyst saw the wildly inflated numbers as well as the fakes circulating online surrounding what is said to have been the first direct clashes between Russians and Americans since Soviet servicemen were shooting down U.S. aircraft and interrogating (and according to some rumors, repatriating a few to Siberia) captured pilots during the Vietnam War, we dismissed the whole thing as #FakeNews. After viewing a video clip sent to him by London Paul allegedly depicting the gruesome aftermath of the strikes, we believe the actual death toll among Russian citizens may have been in the teens, rather than in the hundreds. Moscow's muted reaction to the incident and Gen. Mattis efforts to downplay it strongly suggest that both sides do not want to see tit for tat escalation with American PMCs known to operate alongside U.S. forces in the Middle East getting bombed by the Russian Air Force in retaliation. However, the Russian Analyst believes that if retaliation against the Americans does come, Moscow will avenge its non-servicemen combatants through operations carried out by Iranian proxies such as Shi'a Iraqi militias or Hezbollah.

The FSB Exposed CIA Shaltay Boltai (Russian Humpty Dumpty) Connection

The question of how a businessman who got his post-Soviet start running hot dog stands in St. Petersburg became the alleged Erik Prince of Russia is beyond the scope of this article. But the prominence of Prigozhin's name in both the 'Wagner' and Internet Research Center stories, suggests a well crafted, low down dirty psyop to 'link' Russian mercenaries and Internet trolls in the minds of reporters, if not the broad public. A psyop run out of the same Anglo-American CIA/MI6 spinoff shop and farmed out to the Ukrainians the fake BUK videos and photos planted online to pin the false flag MH17 shoot down on Moscow and its Donbass proxies rather than Kiev (a more recent spin off project involved the Security Service of Ukraine's 'discovering' Paul Manafort's handwritten notes that had been stashed in a safe owned by a Yanukovych crony, concerning corrupt Ukrainian transactions shortly after he became Donald Trump's campaign manager).

According to The Saker's editor 'Scott', neither the Internet Research Center subject to the most recent Mueller indictments nor 'Wagner' actually exist, at least not as information and physical warfare tentacles of the Russian state. Instead, according to 'Scott', the Internet Research Center was an elaborate hoax from the start, created by FSB employees later arrested and charged with treason for serving the CIA, in cooperation with NGOs funded by 'the usual suspects' -- former imprisoned oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky and George Soros:

The best way to get information is to make it up.

Everything what we know now about the so-called “Kremlin trolls from the Internet Research Agency paid by Putin’s favorite chef,” came from one source, a group of CIA spies that used the mascot of Shaltay-Boltay, or Humpty-Dumpty, for their collective online persona.

They were arrested in November 2016 and revealed as the FSB and former FSB officers. One of them even managed a security department for the Kaspersky Lab. They all were people highly skilled and educated in manipulating and creating large online databases, in any online research imagined, and the knowledge of hacking and altering databases, including those that were run by the Russian government. They weren’t poor people. They weren’t there for the money. They were ideologically driven. Their hatred towards Russia and its people was the motive for their actions.

At some point,, an online Russophobic publication, suggested that “Shaltai-Boltai was just a distraction meant to confuse everybody.” They themselves were more concise by stating that they were working to change the reality.

Russian authorities, the courts, and the lawyers, refused to call these men hackers. There was a reason for this. They weren’t so much hackers in a classic sense, as in when someone gains access to real information and copies it. This group wasn’t necessarily hacking existing information, but planting information. They were creating files about fake nonexistent companies and employees, files with blurry fake paystubs, memos, emails, phone messages and so on. The fakes looked convincing, but they still were forgeries that could be easy disproved for someone who had access to the real information.

That’s when the hacking took place, when the FSB agents went into government databases and created records of people and companies that didn’t exist.

I think that part of the reasons why some of them got the mild sentences of three years in general security prison, and some were left free, wasn’t just the fact that they agreed to collaborate with the Russian government, but also the fact that they didn’t actually steal information from government officials like Medvedev and his press secretary, Nataliya Timakova, or the owner of the largest in Europe catering business, Evgeny Prigozhin. They made information up and claimed that it was real.

These guys gave a bad name to all hackers, whistleblowers, leakers and spies. Now, journalists presented with some “hacked” and leaked secrets has to think it over, less they end up with an egg on their face like journos from the Fontanka, Vedomosti and Novaya Gazeta in case of the “Kremlin’s trolls.”

If we accept that the Shaltay-Boltay group was working to create and distribute documents they forged, claiming that those files were “hacked,” we would also understand a mysterious statement made by them to BuzzFeed.

“In email correspondence with BuzzFeed, a representative of the group claimed they were “not hackers in the classical sense.”

“We are trying to change reality. Reality has indeed begun to change as a result of the appearance of our information in public,” wrote the representative, whose email account is named Shaltai Boltai, which is the Russian for tragic nursery rhyme hero Humpty Dumpty.”

Bazzfeed also said back in 2014, that “The leak from the Internet Research Agency is the first time specific comments under news articles can be directly traced to a Russian campaign.”

Now, this is a very important grave mark.

Just think about this working scheme: Shaltay-Boltay with a group of anti-government “activists” created the “Internet Research Agency,” they and some “activists” created 470 FaceBook accounts used to post comments that looked unmistakably “trollish.”

After that other, CIA affiliated entities, like the entire Western Media, claimed the “Russian interference in the US election.” Finally, the ODNI published a report lacking any evidence in it.

While we cannot independently confirm Scott's entire thesis outlined in the 2017 post linked above, we do note Anonymous International 'hackers' published emails, publicized at Sholtai Boltai's social media accounts, sent from then Russia Insider publisher Charles Bausman, an American expat living in Moscow at the time, to representatives of businessman and Russian Orthodox Christian TV channel Tsargrad patron Konstantin Malofeyev. The Russian Analyst recalls that the NATO G-NGO Atlantic Council funded propagandists of Bellingcat (better known on Twitter by the derogatory hashtag #Bellingcrap) promoted the Shaltay Boltay emails dump after Russia Insider's traffic exploded in 2014-15. At that time, Bellingcat editor Aric Toler downplayed the strong possibility that the emails 'hacked' by anti-Kremlin Russian activists actually came from the 5Eyes NSA/GCHQ (Scott believes it was CIA), and that Shaltay Boltay were simply Anglo-American deep state 'Russian' sock puppets:

Two senior FSB officers and a high-level manager of Russia’s leading cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab are facing official charges of treason in the interests of the US, a lawyer representing one of the defendants has confirmed to Interfax.

Ruslan Stoyanov, head of Kaspersky Lab’s computer incidents investigations unit, Sergey Mikhailov, a senior Russian FSB officer, and his deputy Dmitry Dokuchayev are accused of “treason in favor of the US,” lawyer Ivan Pavlov said on Wednesday, as cited by Interfax. Pavlov chose not to disclose which of the defendants he represents, adding, however, that his client denies all charges.

The charges against the defendants do not imply they were cooperating with the CIA, Pavlov added. “There is no mention of the CIA at all. [The entity] in question is the US, not the CIA,” he stressed, according to TASS.

The lawyer maintained the court files included no mention of Vladimir Anikeev, an alleged leader of ‘Shaltai Boltai’, a hacking group that previously leaked emails from top Russian officials, including Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

The hacking group’s name was in the news earlier in January, when Russian media reports linked Mikhailov and Dokuchayev to ‘Shaltai Boltai’. In an unsourced article last Wednesday, Rosbalt newspaper claimed Mikhailov’s unit was ordered in 2016 to work with the group.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told RIA Novosti on Wednesday the treason charges do not relate to the US suspicions of Russia being behind the alleged cyberattacks on the 2016 presidential elections. He added that President Vladimir Putin is receiving regular updates on the current investigation.

The FSB's late 2016 arrests of multiple activists from the group who turned out to be employees of Kaspersky Lab, one of Russia's most recognized corporate brands that has since been accused of back-dooring U.S. and other Western government systems for Russian intelligence, connects certain dots. It suggests even if the Russian state has chosen not to fully substantiate in public, a strong likelihood that at least some 'Russian hacking' activities linked to the Kremlin could be false flag operations, employing Russian VPNs and IP addresses to leave false traces. Considering that Wikileaks has exposed via its Vault 7 dumps that Langley has hacking tools from 'the wild' of the dark web associated with Russian hackers it can use to create false attribution, any actual evidence cyber security firms like Crowdstrike finally cough up related to the Democratic National Committee 'hack' of 2016 must be viewed in this light.

Lowdown Dirty Psyops:
Some 'Kremlin Trolls' Are Sitting in Kiev or Tel Aviv

So., if the Internet Research Center doesn't actually exist, or is something very different from what the supposed whistleblowers, many of whom cannot present authenticated documents proving they ever worked there, say it is...what's really been happening at 55 Savushkina Street for several years? The answer, according to disparate sources 'Scott' at Vineyard of the Saker, who exposed at least some Hasbarah trolls gloating about 'Wagner' deaths after slamming President Vladimir Putin for failing to instantly avenge the phantom hundreds of phantom CENTCOM-incinerated mercenaries, is a false attribution operation. That is, in old school WW1-WW2 terms, black propaganda, where Russian speaking Ukrainians and Israelis acting on behalf of CIA and MI6 are creating content to be blamed on Russians. It happened prior and immediately after MH17, when the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) created fake audio from 'separatist leaders' in the Donbass republics from spliced conversations, likely picked up off eastern Ukrainian cell towers with NSA/GCHQ  assistance. 

This psyops game of Western fake news created specifically to demoralize or distract Russian audiences kicked into overdrive since the Maidan 'Revolution of Dignity' in March 2014, when the stunning Russian move to secure Crimea for an independence referendum from Ukraine was swiftly followed by an online hash tagging campaign on Twitter and VKontakte (Russian Facebook partially owned by FB) urging Putin to send the Russian Army into the rest of the country, in order to secure the Russian Spring uprising in Donbass. An uprising that as it turned out, had both its very sincere participants and agent provocateurs (like Col. Igor 'Strelkov' Girkin), possibly working for western intelligence agencies. This is the phenomenon as Alexander Dugin calls it, beyond a pro-British fifth column in Russian government and especially business. Dugin calls it the 'Sixth Column' -- people claiming to be ultra-nationalists attacking Putin from the Right for being weak in the face of Western provocations. The provocations, including the more or less in your face gloating about killing hundreds of Russian contractors with impunity (which Moscow dismisses because the numbers bear little relation with reality) are quite real. The sense of panic that Russia must have to which there can only be military responses, whether to Turkey shooting down a SU24 bomber in November 2015 or to Russian civil airliners frequently and mysteriously plunging to Earth, including the painful loss of the Alexandrov Red Army choir; but attempts to manipulate Russians into the Kremlin abandoning the long game is something else. 

Someone wanted very badly, after installing a rabidly Russophobic regime in Kiev to provoke Russia to invade and occupy its neighbor, in order to create a kind of Slavic Afghanistan for the Russian Bear. Recall that the cries for 'Putin, give the order!' on the RU-net came only months after Moscow had successfully backed off the American deep state from military action against its client Assad government in Damascus. However the Kremlin by and large with the exceptions of a few border artillery duels and battles, chose to hold the line in Donbass using proxies, rather than its own ground troops. Lurid accounts of 'Cargo 200s' (KIAs) arriving in Russia, killed by the thousands by the invincible 'cyborgs' of the Ukrainian Army, could never be confirmed. At most, reporters could only locate a handful of graves, with few relatives willing to talk about the last known whereabouts of their loved one in western Russia close to the border with Ukraine. Subsequent quiet leaks from the Russian Ministry of Defense's insurance agency for total active duty servicemen deaths from 2014-2016 confirmed that at most a few score 'vacationing' Russian soldiers and advisers perished in the Donbass, while the official toll from Syria combat operations since October 2015 is below 50.

Our View:
If the Internet Research Center 'Troll Farm' Exists, It's Basically a Clickbait Operation

The Russian Analyst's view of what really happened in St. Petersburg, besides what 'trolling' was created by those linked to intelligence agencies from abroad in order to bolster the Russiagate myth (such post-hoc 'evidence creation' being entirely consistent with the bulk of the 'Internet Research Center' Facebook ad buys being done AFTER Donald Trump won the 2016 election) is similar to b of MOA. We think if Prigozhin was in fact involved, given his domestic track record of paying Internet trolls to fight allegations he sold contaminated school lunches to Russian public schools, that the 55 Savushkina operation was basically a clickbait scheme. Not unlike that run by kids in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, who realized generating fake news about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton would generate clicks, and that they could pay locals with piss poor English peanuts to produce it and -- profit!

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. While the upfront multiyear investment to create and establish the virtual personas was probably significant, this likely was, over all, a profitable business.

Again - this had nothing to do with political influence on the election. The sole point of political posts was to create ‘engagement’ and a larger number of followers in each potential social-political segment. People who buy promotional posts want these to be targeted at a specific audience. The Russian company could offer whatever audience was needed. It had sock-puppets with pro-LGBT view and a large following and sock-puppets with anti-LGBT views and a large following. It could provide pro-2nd amendment crowds as well as Jill Stein followers. Each of the sock-puppets had over time generated a group of followers that were like minded. The entity buying the promotion simply had to choose which group it preferred to address.

The panic of the U.S. establishment over the loss of their preferred candidate created an artificial storm over “Russian influence” and assumed “collusion” with the Trump campaign. (Certain Democrats though, like Adam Schiff, profit from creating a new Cold War through their sponsoring armament companies.)

The Mueller investigation found no “collusion” between anything Russia and the Trump campaign. The indictment does not mentions any. The whole “Russian influence” storm is based on a misunderstanding of commercial activities of a Russian marketing company in U.S. social networks.

The Upshot: Globalized Politics Equals Globalist Suppression of Free Speech?

As shockingly anti-climactic as it sounds, the gay superhero Bernie Sanders or Jesus arm wrestling Hillary memes we've been shown as damning proof of Russian dastardly-ness not only did not influence a single above room temperature IQ vote in the U.S., but there's no evidence they were intended to do so. If that were the case, why would the either lazy or incompetent managers at 55 Savushkina have bought the majority of their Facebook ads after the vote? If on the other hand, the primary motive was clicks and commercially taking advantage of the furor among liberals and the legacy media created by Trump's election, then a post-election week ad buy makes perfect sense. If we didn't have Congressmen like Rep. Jerrold Nadler comparing clickbait trolling activities whose reach has been vastly inflated for deep state and partisan political reasons to Pearl Harbor (implying the U.S. response should ultimately be the same as that to Imperial Japan, nuking the Russians) the whole thing would be hilarious. Instead it's grimly hilarious like a classic from the last Cold War, Dr. Strangelove.

'b' concludes his blog post by noting that there is one legal threat to free speech emerging out of the Mueller indictment: the never tested in court theory that any foreign comment or criticism online in support or against an American candidate for office could be construed as in kind foreign contributions to candidates, which are illegal under U.S. law. (Campaign finance laws of course, infamously did not stop numerous Chinese and People's Liberation Army linked businessmen and even a Buddhist temple from funneling cash into the Clinton-Gore reelection campaign of 1996). Naturally, while vengeful Hillbots and Establishmentarians imagine that Mueller's novel legal definition will only be applied to Russians posing as Americans to make political comments on the Internet, it's obvious that a precedent would be set that could be used theoretically to prosecute anti-Trump foreigners in the future:

The Mueller investigation found no “collusion” between anything Russia and the Trump campaign. The indictment does not mentions any. The whole “Russian influence” storm is based on a misunderstanding of commercial activities of a Russian marketing company in U.S. social networks.

There is a danger in this. The indictment sets up a new theory of nefarious foreign influence that could be applied to even this blog. As U.S. lawyer Robert Barns explains:

The only thing frightening about this indictment is the dangerous and dumb precedent it could set: foreign nationals criminally prohibited from public expression in the US during elections unless registered as foreign agents and reporting their expenditures to the FEC.
Mueller’s new crime only requires 3 elements: 1) a foreign national; 2) outspoken on US social media during US election; and 3) failed to register as a foreign agent or failed to report receipts/expenditures of speech activity. Could indict millions under that theory.
The legal theory of the indictment for most of the defendants and most of the charges alleges that the “fraud” was simply not registering as a foreign agent or not reporting expenses to the FEC because they were a foreign national expressing views in a US election.
Author Leonid Bershidsky, who prominently writes for Bloomberg, remarks:

I’m actually surprised I haven’t been indicted. I’m Russian, I was in the U.S. in 2016 and I published columns critical of both Clinton and Trump w/o registering as a foreign agent.
As most of you will know your author writing this is German. I write pseudo-anonymously for a mostly U.S. audience. My postings are political and during the U.S. election campaign expressed an anti-Hillary view. The blog is hosted on U.S, infrastructure paid for by me. I am not registered as Foreign Agent or with the Federal Election Commission.

Under the theory on which the indictment is based I could also be indicted for a similar “Conspiracy to Defraud the United States”.