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[flagged] The Redacted Mueller Report (github.com)
36 points by boshomi 33 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 23 comments

There was some prior discussion here https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19691512 (2 days ago, 149 comments)

I find it very worrisome that it got flagged. There's lots of interesting things to discuss about the report because it hits many topics we often discuss on HN. Including security of elections, digital influence, wikileaks, role of the internet and social media in society. How to keep fake news at a limit. These are all topics we discuss regularly. I really don't understand why it's flagged. It isn't even some shitty blog with opinions, it's literally a link to the actual report...

I guess there's a general policy to avoid politics on this site though sometimes it seems interesting to get an HN take.

"Off-Topic: Most stories about politics..."

This is not politics. It is an example of text analyzing using R programming language and ghostscript (pdftools). ;-)

Would it be ok with you if we replaced the text source with something more palatable?

If that is true then I must say I have never noticed it before. A big portion of all posts on /best are about politics, governance, reforms, EU copyright laws, GDPR, some lawsuit in Austria about social media, outcries to regulate Facebook. HN is a place with _a lot_ of political discussion.

I think it's way better to discuss why you think it's controversial instead of flagging an interesting topic to discuss. So that's why Im sad to see such an active thread get flagged.

And it got flagged. Classic

I think it got flagged mostly because it's also part of the news cycle, which I personally don't think I necessarily a bad thing.

If it is posted again when the hype cycle has moved to, say, another shocking tweet by POTUS, it might fare better. Or at least I hope it will.

I started reading it when it 4 hours after it came out. I'm only ~40 pages in but here's my view of things so far.

1. The report doesn't release any new bombshells. But that doesn't really make Trump look good because there's a lot of existing controversies.

2. Anyone who uses the word collusion from now on obviously didn't make it to page 2. Collusion is not a defined legal term. Muller specifically states this and further states that he looked very specifically for evidence that members of the Trump campaign coordinated knowingly with representative's of Russia. Merely being aware of Russia's efforts and making decisions based on awareness of Russia was not a crime per se. The key word to look for to identify people who actually read the thing is "coordination".

3. Some Trump campaign officials did give material support to IRA efforts such as giving them campaign signs and materials. However there is no evidence that any US person knew they were interacting with a foreign agent. The IRA posed as US citizens and used stolen identities.

4. The IRA had a shockingly wide reach. 126 million people viewed their content. The IRA is estimated to have spent 100k USD boosting their posts on social media. Basically Facebook the product works as intended. Yes Russia used it and yes it was illegal. But the real frightening thing here is the extent to which social media gives the illusion of being an open forum of opinions when the reality is that the thoughts and views the public gets to see (and adopt for themselves) are completely sold to the highest bidder. Social media as news is a societal mistake and Russia exploiting this problem doesn't mean Russia made this problem.

5. Intelligence services can amplify convenient political movements but cannot make them out of thin air. This is true of the CIA when people blame them for their countries problems and it is true of the GRU as well. Russia's influence campaign consisted of organizing rallies and buying political ads. These things are only crimes because they were done by a foreign intelligence service.

6. Russia also tried to amplify Bernie Sander's campaign. It is unclear if Trump/Sanders have some policy / ideology that was amenable to Russian interests or if Russia was simply amplifying whichever candidate it thought would be generally bad for America.

7. Manafort was pushing for Trump to offer/recognize a peace proposal between Russia/Ukraine in the event that he wins. In Manaforts own words this peace proposal was a back door for Russia to control East Ukraine. If Manafort isn't a Russian asset serving Russian geopolitical interests then I don't know what is.

8. The GRU paid for servers in Arizona as a launch point for their hacks on the DNC/DCCC. Russia obfuscated their ownership by paying with bitcoins that they obtained by mining. This sort of money laundering is par for course for an intelligence agency (see also: CIA and Iran-Contra). The investigative method is redacted but I strongly suspect blockchain analysis.

9. The US knows a fair amount about Russian hacking tools and agents and likely has a sophisticated counter-measure operation. Most of the redacted stuff had to do with known persons or assets. I expect a raid at some point in the future.

10. The obstruction part is in volume II. I'm not there yet but I've heard some spoilers. Apparently this part is more damning.

11. The pundits had something to say about the report way too fast to have possibly read it. I happened to be visiting a nursing home that day and as you might imagine, Fox news is quite popular with the older demographic. One of the usual blowhards was loudly informing me what Democrats think of the report (allegedly mad because it exhonerate's Trump). Just on the timing alone it should have been clear that this guy didn't read it yet, Democrat's hadn't read it yet, Democrat's didn't have an opinion yet, and this pundit couldn't have possibly interviewed any Democrat's to figure out what they think of it yet. Still here he was and the viewers were nodding along in agreement and remarking how on point this guy was. Clearly certain news sources had their story written long before the report even came out. It still gives me whiplash that Trumpians can bash the media in one breath and then go on to consume obvious fictitious reporting in the next. We live in a world where it shouldn't be possible to lie like this because the report is there for anyone to see it. Instead people are willfully ignorant and tune into whichever summary fits their priors. Chomsky missed the 6th filter: the viewers themselves.

11.1 In the coming days, Trump tweets and other right wing media are going to convince 40% of the country that the report says whatever they want it to say. Yesterdays NY Post headline read "No Collusion, No Obstruction." A ton of people are going to read the headline and not any further. This is our post-truth reality and I hate it.

"It is unclear if Trump/Sanders have some policy / ideology that was amenable to Russian interests or if Russia was simply amplifying whichever candidate it thought would be generally bad for America."

There is I think some evidence from past activity in eg Ukraine that Russian propaganda often takes all sides and infects them with distortions, contradictions and general confusion such that anyone trying to work out what might actually be happening in reality, can't.

> [Harm to Ongoing Matter] [Harm to Ongoing Matter] [Harm to Ongoing Matter] IRA employees also traveled to the United States on intelligence-gathering missions. In June 2014, four IRA employees applied to the U.S. Department of State to enter the United States, while lying about the purpose of their trip and claiming to be four friends who had met at a party 38 Ultimately, two IRA employees -- Anna Bogacheva and Aleksandra Krylova-received visas and entered the United States on June 4, 2014.

> Footnote: 40. [Harm to Ongoing Matter] [Harm to Ongoing Matter] 2. U.S. Operations Through IRA-Controlled Social Media Accounts Dozens of IRA employees were responsible for operating accounts and personas on different U.S. social media platforms. The IRA referred to employees assigned to operate the social media accounts as "specialists.942 Starting as early as 2014, the IRA's U.S. operations included social media specialists focusing on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.43 The IRA later added specialists who operated on Tumblr and Instagram accounts.44 Initially, the IRA created social media accounts that pretended to be the personal accounts of U.S. persons. By early 2015, the IRA began to create larger social media groups or public social media pages that claimed (falsely) to be affiliated with U.S. political and grassroots organizations. In certain cases, the IRA created accounts that mimicked real U.S. organizations.

> For example, one IRA-controlled Twitter account, @TEN_GOP, purported to be connected to the Tennessee Republican Party.46 More commonly, the IRA created accounts in the names of fictitious U.S. organizations and grassroots groups and used these accounts to pose as anti-immigration groups, Tea Party activists, Black Lives Matter protestors, and other U.S. social and political activists.

We live in a wild time. Russia literally sent agents here and registers countless social media accounts for the specific purpose of destabilizing our country, stoking violence and aggression, and enabling people here to circumvent the rule of law and effectively stage a coup that destroys our functioning democracy.

> enabling people here to circumvent the rule of law and effectively stage a coup that destroys our functioning democracy.

You mean like the US has done on a regular basis in the past five decades? I'm not in favor of what Russia is doing. I am surprised it has taken this long for it to happen to the US considering its own terrible and decades long record on illegal interference with functioning democracies, when it suits its own goals.

I am not surprised that people think this is new. Open source Intel, counterintel, and subversion SOP is to use media to find the pulse as well as set the tone of a society. The idea that evil Russians despoiled a pristine US media environment is laughable. The only reason this is a big deal at all is that the status quo kingmakers got pwnd in 2016 by internet trolls. They can't handle the fact that memes and propaganda destroyed their billion dollar consent manufactory so easily, so it obviously has to be "hackers" and the death of democracy ala cold war hegemonic struggle.

I have yet to have it coherently and completely explained to me how the Russians "hacked" the election. Everything I've read is long on exclamation and short on facts. Is running disingenuous ads and starting Facebook groups really hacking?

Who Rules the World by Noam Chomsky was an interesting read on this matter [1].

I happened to read it during the 2016 election cycle. When all this Russia junk started up, I had a hard time feeling too worked up about it. Someone else doing exactly what we have always done and continue to do. Shocking.

[1] https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28514478-who-rules-the-w...

Am I the only one who spent much longer than I probably should have shocked that the Irish Republican Army was still a major player and trying to figure out why they would spy on America?

The exact thing happened to me yesterday and I was like damn, that's surprising how did they—ooooohhhhhhhh.

The Internet Research Agency has been openly attacking us for years.

I was shocked. I haven’t heard ANYONE say a word about the IRA.

You might find Bezmenov interesting:


(for his talks on the KGB's objective of destabilizing western nations, available on youtube)

I see no reason to believe this behavior is new. The Soviet Union funded radical groups for decades. I bet they never stopped.

Everything Russia has done that you claim is a coup destroying our functioning democracy, both US political parties have done ten times stronger. They not only use social media to stoke violence and circumvent the law, they use the mainstream media as well as every level of government.

We've known how nefarious the political parties are since Watergate, and there have been countless examples of them using the same tools (Brooks Brothers Riot is a good example.) A Russian hand in the game isn't new nor is it that big of a deal.

Can you explain how free speech has destroyed our functioning democracy? Or at least explain how we live in a less Democratic society now, than just a few years ago.

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