by Dan Cohen, Mint Press News:
Hailed by Congress and the media as defenders of democracy, high-tech Russiagate hustlers Jonathon Morgan and Ryan Fox have been exposed for waging “an elaborate ‘false flag’ operation” to swing the 2017 Alabama senate race.
Grayzone Project — On December 17, two reports detailing ongoing Russian interference operations commissioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee were made public. They generated a week’s worth of headlines and sent members of Congress and cable news pundits into a Cold War frenzy. According to the report, everything from the Green Party’s Jill Stein to Instagram to Pokemon Go to the African American population had been used and confused by the deceptive Facebook pages of a private Russian troll farm called the Internet Research Agency.
Nevermind that 56% of the troll farm’s pages appeared after the election, that 25% of them were seen by no one, or that their miniscule online presence paled in comparison to the millions of dollars spent on social media by the two major presidential campaigns and their supporters to sway voters. This was an act of war that demanded immediate government action.
According to Sen. Mark Warner, the Democratic chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the reports were “a wake up call” and a “bombshell” that was certain to bring “long-overdue guardrails when it comes to social media”. His Republican counterpart on the committee, North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, hailed the research papers as “proof positive that one of the most important things we can do is increase information sharing between the social media companies who can identify disinformation campaigns and the third-party experts who can analyze them.”
Incredible. These bombshell reports demonstrate just how far Russia went to exploit the fault lines of our society and divide Americans, in an attempt to undermine and manipulate our democracy. Here’s what we’ve learned:https://t.co/GTfDX4roLP
— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) 17 December 2018
But the authors of one of the reports soon suffered a major blow to their credibility when it was revealed that they had engaged in what they called a “Russian style” online disinformation operation aimed to swing a hotly contested special senate election. The embarrassing revelation has already resulted in one of the authors having his Facebook page suspended.
The well-funded deception was carried out by New Knowledge, a private cyber intelligence firm founded by two self-styled disinformation experts who are veterans of the Obama administration: Jonathon Morgan and Ryan Fox.
‘It may be designed to manipulate you’
Morgan began his career as a product manager at AOL before founding a series of start ups, some with funding from the United States Agency for International Development and Silicon Valley billionaire Pierre Omidyar’s Omidyar Network. Once a Brookings Institution researcher and special advisor to the Obama White House and State Department, Morgan founded Data for Democracy, a volunteer organization said to use “public data to monitor the election system for signs of fraud.” Morgan also developed technology for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the arm of the Department of Defense created for basic, applied technological research, and futuristic war toys.
Rising through the ranks of the national security apparatus, Morgan ultimately emerged as a go-to source for credulous reporters seeking to blame Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump on Russian disinformation.
In an interview with the local CBS affiliate in Austin, Texas, Morgan told viewers that feelings of discontent were telltale signs that they had been duped by Russian disinformation. “If it makes you feel too angry or really provokes that type of almost tribal response, then it may be designed to manipulate you… People should be concerned about things that encourage them to change their behavior,” he warned.