The Cold War Daily

Notes on the new great power struggle.

Russia election hacking and Russian influence stories by Chris Zappone


The only surprise for me is why the US media didn’t cover it more closely. But I have some good ideas about why they didn’t.

May 3, 2016
Blog: Donald Trump as a Manchurian Candidate (…sort of) for Russia

June 15, 2016
Fairfax: Donald Trump-Vladimir Putin: Russia’s information war meets the US election

June 22, 2016
Blog: Russia’s US election hacking / information war campaign

June 24, 2016
Fairfax: DNCHack: Did Kim Dotcom warn the world about the Democratic Party hacking?

July 26, 2016
Fairfax: DNC leak: Russia better at information war now than during Cold War

July 24, 2016
Blog: The first US election fought in cyberspace

August 1, 2016
Blog: DNCLeaks justified because, well, I can’t vote in US: Julian Assange

August 9, 2016 (Republished October 13, 2016)
Fairfax: Donald Trump campaign’s ‘firehose of falsehoods’ has parallels with Russian propaganda

August 11, 2016
Fairfax: DNCLeak: Five times WikiLeaks and Russia have crossed paths

August 14, 2016
Blog: For Russia’s social media propaganda, change is everything

August 19. 2016
Fairfax: Shadow Brokers NSA leak: this too could be a form of Russian propaganda, says expert

August 25, 2016
Blog: Information war and propaganda: a brute force attack on reality

September 7, 2016
Blog: Russian influence and Shadow Brokers’ message ‘to elites’

September 9, 2016
Fairfax: Who controls our news? Welcome to the era of Russian and Chinese information war

September 14, 2016
Fairfax: WikiLeaks drops latest Guccifer 2.0 data on Hillary Clinton, DNC, Democrats

September 16, 2016
Blog: Isn’t Russia’s meddling in the US election a ‘Cyber Pearl Harbor’?

October 14, 2016
Fairfax: If Donald Trump scares you, you should fight for facts everywhere

October 14, 2016
Blog: DNCHack is the ‘most significant’ of any cyber attack ever seen: Thomas Rid

October 19, 2016
Fairfax: Twitter bots: Donald Trump ‘has rabies’ – and it’s something we should all care about

October 26, 2016
Fairfax: SurkovLeaks: Is Vladimir Putin aide’s email hack payback for DNCLeak-Clinton exposure?

November 25, 2016
Fairfax: Why was I blocked by WikiLeaks on Twitter?

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PewDiePie’s fall a win for alt-right?

After YouTube sensation Felix Kjellberg got dumped by both YouTube and Disney for making what appeared to be anti-Semitic* skits online, the Daily Stormer site has stepped into the fray to win new fans to its racist ideology.

Says a person knowledgeable in the meme subculture on February 15:

“It’s unknown how many new people will end up in the alt-right as a result of this, but this is undoubtedly going to result in many more people being exposed to their rhetoric and politics.

stormer“The alt-right figureheads want numbers.

“Unknown what getting Pewdiepie’s followers will do other than result in numerous additional online communities joining in their rhetoric.”

Daily Stormer’s website has featured PewDiePie, the web name for Felix Kjellberg, in its title banner since January 23, around the time he produced some Nazi and anti-Semitic themed videos.

Now the Daily Stormer stands to benefit.

At one point the site was offline, possibly as some of PewDiePie’s millions of followers looked for a new home.

PewDiePie’s travails with corporations and Daily Stormer’s apparent embrace of his fans is significant because it echoes GamerGate, a seminal online culture war that helped polarize social attitudes of message board users in the years before the 2016 election.

GamerGate helped set the stage for the rise of the alt-right, which was instrumental in “memeing” Trump into the White House.

Before being dumped by YouTube, PewDiePie had more than 53 million subscribers.

Time will tell if this event sees the ranks of the alt-right and Trump’s online supporters grow. Many of the people on these boards don’t take politics particularly seriously, even as the weight of the interactions online helps influence discussions on other media.

One telling sign will be how many can be wooed into political views that support anti-globalism (read pro-Moscowism), which to date is where a lot of alt-right politics tend to lead.

*Anti-semitism. I make no claim as to how anti-Semitic that gags were. At least one Jewish web user appeared much more offended at the hard line adopted by corporations and the media than the content of the joke. But clearly, joking about killing Jews is no joke. So I’ll leave it at that.

Said a knowledgeable source: “It’s always uncertain how online subcultural interactions translate to offline action.”

What we do know is that this event could have implications for politics online.

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Russo-Islamic pact: Russia’s long game with Donald Trump

This Bloomberg article on occultist ideologist Alexander Dugin is the first place I’ve seen mention of a “Russo-Islamic” pact. It seems an important concept, especially in a time when Donald Trump appears bent on increasing tensions with the broader Islamic world.

What is notable at this point, of course, is the language Trump is using in public, compared to the language the Russians are using.


If Trump is going hard on Islam, why is Putin – his security partner – going easy?

After attacking Obama for not uttering the magic words, “radical Islamic terrorism”, Trump and his surrogates are using the term, equating Muslims with terrorism and taking actions that can be seen as discriminatory toward people from Muslim countries.

Islamic State partisans have already lauded the US travel ban from Muslim nations as a “blessed ban.”

One US expert said: “This was a win for jihadists and other anti-US forces.”

Russia, meanwhile, is pursuing something called a “Russo-Islamic” pact. Already Russia is a strategic ally of Iran. Russia is the patron of Syria’s government. Russia has deepened ties with Turkey over the past year.

If Russia can present itself as less of threat to the Muslim world, while the US is seen as more fundamentally hostile – Moscow can reap dividends for years. This is so much more effective than waging kinetic wars.

Strikingly, Vladimir Putin is careful with his language about Islam, so as not to incite Muslims. Putin calls Islamic State, the “so-called Islamic State” and he calls terrorism relating to the Muslim world, “international terrorism.” He is in photo ops with Muslim leaders.

While one country seeks to dial down tension with leaders and publics in the Muslim world (even as it commits acts of unspeakable brutality in Syria), Trump raises the American profile and encourages thinking that only drives a wedge between Muslims everywhere and the US.

And note, after September 11th, the US is a country that has had a comparatively small amount of radicalised violence related to Islam because many American Muslims felt close to America.

Now, Russia promotes “traditionalist” arguments for solidarity with the Muslim world, which is really just a 21st Century equivalent to the way the Soviet Union could get inside the decolonization movements of the Third World, to tilt them against Western power.

When people talk about the recklessness and danger of Trump, this would strike me as the main game.

This is the blind alley Trump, under the influence of Putin, is taking the US down.

And it’s beginning now.

Watch this space.

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