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[Article] A continuous campaign of foreign influence in the EU.

Rufus Shinra

Well-known member
Looks like some billionaires are deliberately sowing up chaos in the EU. Article translated from its original publication in French here: https://www.lemonde.fr/pixels/article/2019/03/07/des-milliardaires-americains-financent-discretement-des-campagnes-de-desinformation-en-europe_5432486_4408996.html

States aren't the only ones carrying out misinformation operations. For several years, a small group of American billionaires, who finance in their country the right wing of the Republican Party, has also supported campaigns to disseminate false information in several countries of the European Union.

Unlike agents of the Internet Research Agency - the Russian organization of online propaganda - these businessmen do not have many teams, or armies of false accounts on Twitter or Facebook. But their money allows them to finance small groups of activists and specialized political communication companies, whose action is then multiplied online by the purchase of ads on social networks to spread their message.

At the heart of the scheme is Robert Mercer, the co-CEO of the powerful Renaissance Technologies investment fund, and his daughter Rebekah, who funded the launch of Breitbart News, the conspiracy site spearheading the "alt-right" and Donald Trump's campaign. Steve Bannon, the former advisor to the president, was the editor. "It was the Mercers who laid the groundwork for the Trump revolution," Bannon said in an interview in the Washington Post in 2018[1]. If you look at who the political donors of the last four years are, they have had the greatest impact. "

Videos of "yellow vests"

But Mercer's generosity does not stop at the borders of the United States. They also fund the Gatestone Institute [2], a neoconservative think tank focused on Europe, which publishes articles in many languages, including French [3]. But also the Canadian media The Rebel, which is very interested in the news of the Old Continent. In 2017, one of his employees, Jack Posobiec, had largely contributed to the broadcast of "MacronLeaks", these emails stolen from several members of Emmanuel Macron's campaign team published online two days before second round of the French presidential election [4]. Mr. Posobiec was one of the first to mention the publication of the documents, and allowed their very rapid diffusion in the spheres of the American right.

Read on the subject: "MacronLeaks", offshore account: the shadow of American neo-Nazis

The long tail of Rebel Media Group, the publisher of The Rebel, spans several countries. In France, the site recently sent its London correspondent, Jack Buckby, and one of his collaborators, Martina Markota, to film sensational videos of the "yellow vests" protests [5]. Martina Markota, who is American-Croatian, is also leading other projects in Europe for Rebel Media, such as those videos about "cultural resistance" [6] in Poland or about "media lies about patriotic Croatia" [7].

The editorial line of the site and its various subsidiaries is close to the Breitbart News' one: its articles denounce a mix immigration, Islamism, the US, Canadian, European left... The site depicts a Europe on the verge of collapse , especially because of immigration, and campaigned for Brexit.

Asked by Le Monde, Ezra Levant, the founder of Rebel Media, did not answer our questions. In an email, he said, "Le Monde, which is doing an article on foreign interference, is like Harvey Weinstein leading a sexual harassment investigation." He also asked if he should transmit his answers "to your agent at the Russian embassy" - reference to a supposed instrumentalisation of Le Monde by the KGB during the Cold War.

"Hate and misinformation"

Rebel Media benefits from another significant financial support. Billionaire Robert Shillman, who made a fortune in machine tools with his company Cognex, helped pay the salaries of journalists on the site. Mr. Shillman finances a large number of anti-Islamic projects, including the Horowitz Center, described by the anti-hate organization SPLA [8] as the source of "a network of projects that give the anti-Muslim voices and the most radical ideologies a platform" to spread hatred and misinformation ".

If the detailed investment of Mr. Shillman in Rebel Media is not known, on the other hand, it is public that the billionaire has funded the salaries of several "Shillman Fellows" [9], who work or have worked for Rebel Media. Through his various foundations and fellowship assignments, Shillman has funded several far-right groups and activists in Europe. In the Netherlands, he is an important supporter of far-right leader Geert Wilders, who has been receiving support for many years through the Horowitz Foundation. The American far-right, which admires Mr. Wilders and sees the Netherlands as a privileged field of struggle, finances various channels of political propaganda.

The Gatestone Institute, for example, which financed the production of videos [10] in the country by Rebel Media, including Gangster Islam, a small anti-immigrant film of journalist Timon Dias, a paid "fellow" of the institute. Mr. Dias has since launched a project of English-speaking news site "trendy" and very right, The Old Continent [11], and works in parallel for Geenstijl ("no style", in Dutch), a blog "politically incorrect" regularly accused of sexism and racism.

But the role of Rebel Media and its generous donors is even more surprising in the English-speaking countries of Europe. At the end of 2018, The Times revealed [12] that four British far-right activists had received a scholarship funded by Robert Shillman [13], and had been employed by Rebel Media with funding from the American billionaire. This small group was led by Tommy Robinson, founder of the extreme right wing English Defense League and close to the UKIP party and his former boss Nigel Farage.

Anti-Abortion Advertising

The group wrote articles and videos anti-immigration and pro-Brexit. The project ended in May 2018, when Mr. Robinson was arrested and sentenced to 13 months in prison for provocative and Islamophobic reporting.

After his arrest, Tommy Robinson was the subject of articles defending himself in all the media funded by Robert Shillman; the Middle East Forum think tank, one of the largest contributors to the ultra-conservative American billionaires Charles and David Koch, has funded its legal costs, as it did in 2009 for Geert Wilders.

On February 26, Facebook announced that it had removed Mr. Robinson's accounts on Facebook and Instagram [14] because of "repeated violations of our policies, the publication of dehumanizing content and calls for violence against Muslims". The measure is exceptional for a known political figure; his Facebook account had more than one million subscribers; he only keeps his YouTube channel.

Another Facebook account was briefly inaccessible this February 26, managed by a man who often appeared in the videos of Mr. Robinson and was part of the small group funded by Mr. Shillman: Caolan Robertson. The former employee of Rebel Media, who has since slammed the door into blame by accusing his ex-employer of financial malfeasance, is a young activist of the "alt-right", customary flash shoots online. In April 2018, as Ireland prepares to vote for the referendum on the right to abortion, its silhouette appears suddenly in the Facebook threads of thousands of Internet users. In an advertising video, we see the young man questioning women who demonstrate in favor of the right to abortion; the assembly is designed to make them look ridiculous.

In a few weeks, the video has been seen more than a million times - in a country of 4 million people [15]. Who financed this advertisement? Mr. Robertson claimed that she was paid by "a US company". A few weeks before the vote, faced with the outcry aroused in Ireland by the many campaigns funded by foreign groups including US, Facebook had announced block all "foreign advertising" and promised to publish data related to these advertisements. Almost a year later, the data is still being compiled, explains Facebook to the World, but should be posted "in the coming weeks". The video where Caolan Robertston appears is still online.
[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/gdpr-consent/?destination=/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/01/05/rebekah-mercer-the-billionaire-backer-of-bannon-and-trump-chooses-sides/?&utm_term=.afa24ff908e2
[2] http://www.islamophobiareframed.com/robert-mercers-financing-islamophobia/
[3] https://fr.gatestoneinstitute.org/
[4] https://www.lemonde.fr/pixels/article/2017/05/11/qu-y-a-t-il-dans-les-macronleaks_5126397_4408996.html
[5] https://www.therebel.media/france-food-price-hike-macron-police-violence-gilet-jaunes
[6] https://www.youtube.com/ watch?time_continue=1&v=ZeQ5h9tu6TY
[7] https://www.youtube.com/ watch?time_continue=3&v=2gmIH7N0MvY
[8] https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/david-horowitz
[9] https://news.vice.com/en_ca/article/wjz73q/inside-rebel-medias-big-money-anti-islam-crusade
[10] https://www.therebel.media/gangster_islam_special_report_on_phenomenon_in_europe
[11] https://theoldcontinent.eu/category/eu/
[12] https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/tommy-robinson-winds-up-the-bigots-and-the-cash-floods-in-6kffsh8rk
[13] https://uk.therebel.media/tommy_robinson
[14] https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2019/02/removing-tommy-robinson/

Yeah, now it makes a lot more sense while the crazy conservatives are terrified that Macron wants to shut down political cyberoffensives coming from outside the EU.
 

Kylia Quilor

Hopeless Romantic and Nerd
Author
Please do. The last thing Robert Mercer and co need is any more validation outside the US.

Also, if the EU can find excuses to arrest these assholes, please take them. French Prisons are exactly what the Mercers in particular deserve.
 

Rufus Shinra

Well-known member
Please do. The last thing Robert Mercer and co need is any more validation outside the US.

Also, if the EU can find excuses to arrest these assholes, please take them. French Prisons are exactly what the Mercers in particular deserve.
There's nothing worth arresting there, but what might be done would be to suppress all revenue for these websites, that kind of thing.
 

Kylia Quilor

Hopeless Romantic and Nerd
Author
There's nothing worth arresting there, but what might be done would be to suppress all revenue for these websites, that kind of thing.
I know there's nothing arrest worthy there in the article. I just want Robert Mercer arrested for something. Guy like that has to be guilty of something.
 

50 Icy Spear Mends Space

Well-known member
Temp Banned
You mean...exactly what your so loved GOP did with the Clintons? Several times?

Edit: correct, thank you @Kylia Quilor.
?
??
???
I am not really sure why holding people accountable for the lies they knowingly spread is a bad thing but I am sure you'll explain it to me in ways better than "muh freedom oaf speech".
To someone on the street: What's the difference between false information, and suppressed information?
 

Arcanist

Incognito
To someone on the street: What's the difference between false information, and suppressed information?
False equivalence and non-sequituur. I am talking about holding people accountable for knowingly spreading lies. Lies who are known to be lies after review of the facts like the Pizza Child-Prostitution Ring thing.

Edit: And it is really not helped by your own education system that really does nothing to prepare the average american to handle informations with critical thinking.

The Fucking Young Earth Theory is still taught in School as a legitimate theory despite the many evidences that it is utter bullshit. What the fuck.
 
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50 Icy Spear Mends Space

Well-known member
Temp Banned
False equivalence. I am talking about holding people accountable for knowingly spreading lies. Lies who are known to be lies after review of the facts like the Pizza Child-Prostitution Ring thing.
You mean the conspiracy theory with little pull on the mainstream? What do you want done about it?

Also, why couldn't you use an example like all of the debunked claims that have been spread during the Mueller probe? Or the Covington Catholic thing?
 

Arcanist

Incognito
You mean the conspiracy theory with little pull on the mainstream? What do you want done about it?
So let's ignore the fact that one dude acted upon those false informations and almost killed people playing vigilante.

Is it so hard to accept that words have power and that there should be consequences for the reactions said words end up provoking? If I go on the street, start clamoring for the death of all jews because this or that and someone taken by my words acts upon it and ends up murdering dozen of them, should I not be held responsible for spurring this wo/man on?

Yes, I sure as fuck should be held responsible.
 

50 Icy Spear Mends Space

Well-known member
Temp Banned
So let's ignore the fact that one dude acted upon those false informations and almost killed people playing vigilante.

Is it so hard to accept that words have power and that there should be consequences for the reactions said words end up provoking? If I go on the street, start clamoring for the death of all jews because this or that and someone taken by my words acts upon it and ends up murdering dozen of them, should I not be held responsible for spurring this wo/man on?

Yes, I sure as fuck should be held responsible.
Was he told to go and play vigilante, or did he make that decision on his own? What about the guy that did kill 5 cops over false reportings about alelgedly unlawful shootings? The left wing media would be shutdown before the right, if any fair application of said laws were to occur.
 

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