October 4, 2017 12:08 am -

CNN claims the news as an exclusive:

A number of Russian-linked Facebook ads specifically targeted Michigan and Wisconsin, two states crucial to Donald Trump’s victory last November, according to four sources with direct knowledge of the situation.

Some of the Russian ads appeared highly sophisticated in their targeting of key demographic groups in areas of the states that turned out to be pivotal, two of the sources said. The ads employed a series of divisive messages aimed at breaking through the clutter of campaign ads online, including promoting anti-Muslim messages, sources said.

It has been unclear until now exactly which regions of the country were targeted by the ads. And while one source said that a large number of ads appeared in areas of the country that were not heavily contested in the elections, some clearly were geared at swaying public opinion in the most heavily contested battlegrounds.

One person with direct knowledge of the matter said that some of the ads were aimed at reaching voters who may be susceptible to anti-Muslim messages, even suggesting that Muslims were a threat to the American way of life. Such messaging could presumably appeal to voters attracted to Trump’s hard-line stance against immigration and calls to ban Muslims from entering the United States.

[Rep. Adam] Schiff said that the committee was planning to investigate ads that suggested Muslims supported Clinton, and how those were geared to people who had been searching online for the Muslim Brotherhood and other items to suggest they were critical of Islam.

The ads were part of roughly 3,000 that Facebook turned over to congressional investigators this week as part of the multiple Capitol Hill inquiries into Russia meddling in the 2016 elections.

Go read it all.

Of course, if you had been following at least one “controversial” blogger, you would have known this back on April 1:

Alfa Bank is a front for Russian intelligence. Along with Dimitry Firtash, a Russian agent of influence, it owns Cambridge Analytica, the data targeting company used by Trump’s campaign. It also owns SCL, the propaganda company responsible for what has been termed “fake news” but was actually real propaganda co-ordinated by Russian intelligence.

Cambridge Analytica and SCL use Facebook data they had no right to acquire, illegally stolen by a Russian spy working at Cambridge, to build an unbeatable target database of propaganda.

In the closing days of the election, the Russian state hacked into the voter rolls of the United States. Russian intelligence did this in order that they could provide this information to Alfa Bank in order to use Cambridge Analytica’s targeting, and SCL’s propaganda, in order precisely to target voters and tip them to Trump.

Vladimir Putin got his candidate in the Oval Office because he knows that social media companies put greed above integrity.

And in case you missed this in yesterday’s WaPo:

The Post reports that “Russian Facebook ads showed a black woman firing a rifle, amid efforts to stoke racial strife.” It’s yet more proof that the Russian government was all over the 2016 presidential election, like so many Agent Smiths on Neo, except the American electorate wasn’t as nimble as Neo. But the story demonstrates what Evan McMullin told me a year ago during an interview for my podcast “Cape Up.”

McMullin is the former covert CIA operative who ran a third-party candidacy against both now-President Trump and Democratic Party challenger Hillary Clinton. McMullin didn’t like either of them, but he was especially unsparing in his critique of Trump. In answer to a question about the foreign-policy challenges involving Russia, including its incessant hacking of U.S. government entities, McMullin zeroed in on the tactics of Vladimir Putin.

EM: Putin and his government are clearly attacking our democracy. And they’re attacking our democracy in the same way that they’ve attacked the democracies in Europe. How did they do that? They, first, foment divisions. Often along racial and ethnic lines within a country. Then they promote and even fund and promote with rhetoric and with propaganda the campaigns of people who capitalize, politicians who then capitalize on those divisions and that hatred and that nationalism that inward facing ideology. And…we’re seeing that in Donald Trump. That’s exactly what Putin has done in other countries in Europe and that’s what he’s doing though Trump in America.
JC: So, just by what you just said there, Trump is either a witting or unwitting agent of Vladimir Putin?
EM: Oh there’s no question. There’s absolutely no question.

What McMullin described was chilling when he said it in September 2016, and it is even more chilling given what The Post is reporting now.

If you are not livid, you are not paying attention.

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.