When the heads of the different intelligence agencies appeared before the Senate last week, they warned that Russia had not just interfered in the 2016 election, but was ramping up attempts to affect American politics. That became clear on Wednesday.
In the wake of Wednesday’s Parkland, Florida school shooting, which resulted in 17 deaths, troll and bot-tracking sites reported an immediate uptick in related tweets from political propaganda bots and Russia-linked Twitter accounts. Hamilton 68, a website created by Alliance for Securing Democracy, tracks Twitter activity from accounts it has identified as linked to Russian influence campaigns.
What’s the position of the Russian bot army? Solidly pro-NRA and against any regulation of guns. The biggest “fact” being pushed by the Russian bots following the Valentine’s Day shooting is a story about how we’re over-counting school shootings … because the statistics are adding in just plain old murders at schools instead of being limited to instances where the shooter intended to commit mass murder.
Additional stories being pushed by the Russian bot-farms attack the same point that Russia specialized in during 2016: Fear of the other. These stories paint the shooter as a member of some foreign terrorist group and paint him as sympathetic to Muslim extremists.
And there’s another favorite target the Russian bots are attacking.
Meanwhile, some accounts with large bot followings are already spreading misinformation about the shooter's ties to far-left group Antifa, even though the Associated Press reported that he was a member of a local white nationalist group.
Considering the ties between the NRA and Russia, there should be no surprise about which way these bots are steering the news.
Considering the fact that the NRA is essentially a black money operation.
However, the NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections, including $30 million to support Trump – triple what the group devoted to backing Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential race. Most of that was money was spent by an arm of the NRA that is not required to disclose its donors.
And that they are tightly aligned with forces inside Russia that are pushing gun sales in the United States, the NRA and the Russian bots appear to share much more than just a message.
Why is Russia so intent on pushing guns in the US? Not only does it make money for Russian manufacturers, it results in increased violence, more divisive politics, and more dead Americans. They like that.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press article shows the shooter’s true allegiances.
As the criminal case against the suspect took shape, the leader of a white nationalist militia called the Republic of Florida said Cruz was a member of his group and participated in exercises in Tallahassee.