Yesterday, we learned some of what Mr. Mueller has been up to (during the 60-day, pre-election QUIET PERIOD JAMES COMEY!) because the Justice Dept. charged Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, who is a St. Petersburg, Russia-based accountant, with conspiracy to defraud the United States.
“Elena Khusyaynova of St. Petersburg was accused of working as the accountant for a Russian social media propaganda and “information warfare” operation, run by an oligarch close to Vladimir Putin. (Since she lives in Russia, she will likely never face this charge in a US court.)”
And you thought accountants are boring? The Gods of Enron smirk at this Russian amature. But I digress.
The indictments claim that at least since at least 2015, Khusyaynova’s troll farm —which includes the notorious Internet Research Agency—created thousands of fake social media accounts focused on “causing divisions on hot-button social issues like immigration and gun control.”
Anyway, Khusyaynova is also charged with taking part in a scheme to spend more than $10M Ameros (what’s that in Russian Ameros?) on targeted social media ads and web pages intended “to sow division and discord in the US political system.”
Axios morning email thingie has an interesting sidebar approach to the story, focusing on FAKE NEWS!!1!:
“Detecting what’s fake in images and video is only getting harder. Misinformation is part of an online economy that weaponizes social media to profit from our clicks and attention.”
Fowler includes an online test from software maker Autodesk, “Fake or Foto”:
“We often see images that are of such good quality we don’t consider whether the picture is reality or if it was computer generated. Take our Fake or Foto challenge and see if you can tell the difference between our real photos and those which are computer generated.”
For each of nine images, you’re asked “CG” or “Photo?”
Fowler got 22% right. I got 33% the first time and 44% the second time.
So what can we discern from these new charges, you ask?
The Russians did Comrade Trump a solid in the 2016 Goat Rodeo, and they are trying to do it again in the 2018 Pie Fight.