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Caroline O. @RVAwonk
, 13 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
Some notable patterns right now on @SecureDemocracy's Hamilton 68 dashboard, which tracks accounts linked to Russian influence operations.

Syria is still dominating, but the death of pro-Russia separatist leader Alexander Zacharchenko is very quickly taking over the charts. 1/
On the one hand, Zacharchenko is a trending topic overall so at least some of this is an artifact of a larger trend. But worth keeping in mind that much of the content pushed by these accounts is Russian propaganda.

Propaganda doesn't produce itself. 2/
This is just an observation, not a conclusion, but it seems like that was a damn quick turnaround - i.e., within 12-ish hours of news that Zacharchenko was dead, the propaganda lines were not only produced and distributed, but already completely dominating on social media. 3/
Although the pattern is less dominant now, the accounts in this network were also tweeting and/or retweeting Russian (language) much more than usual. Right now, the #1 and #8 trending topics are in Russian; earlier, at least 4-5 were in Russian, which is unusual. 4/
Again, this is an observation not a conclusion, but this seems to suggest that the accounts could be being re-purposed and aimed at a Russian-speaking audience instead of the usual English-speaking audience they aim to reach and influence. 5/

If this is the case (i.e., if the accounts are being harnessed & aimed at a Russian-speaking audience), that would seem to suggest that Russia may be setting the stage to do something (else) in Ukraine. I could be misinterpreting these trends, but that's my initial impression. 6/
As mentioned, Syria remains a dominant topic/hashtag among accounts linked to Russian influence operations, per usual. Of note, the #3 overall & #3 trending URL is a link to a fabricated story about Syrian kids being kidnapped for use in a future false flag chemical attack. 7/
This fits in with the narrative that Russia has been pushing & refining over the past week, which basically involves a mix of conspiracy theories and baseless accusations about a chemical attack in Syria that hasn't happened yet. 8/
Also part of this narrative: Russia's US Embassy posted a bizarre Facebook message from the Russian Defense Ministry accusing the US, UK, & France of "preparing to carry out new strikes against Syria under the pretext of chemical weapons use by Syrian government forces." 9/
Also part of this narrative: A Russian Defense Ministry spox told Russia's TASS news agency that a group allegedly affiliated w/ al-Qaeda (Tahrir al-Sham) had delivered 8 tankers with chlorine to a village near Jisr al-Shughur (in #Idlib) in preparation for a chemical attack. 10/
So basically, Russia claims to know exactly where this chemical attack will take place and what chemical(s) will be used, but they are also simultaneously saying the US/UK/France, an allegedly al-Qaeda-linked group, and opposition groups are all behind the secret plot. 11/
And so now is a good time to remember that the ultimate goal here is not to convince you that any specific claim is true, but to muddy the waters and make you question truth altogether -- or better yet, to make you stop trying to understand ... and to make you stop caring. 12/
After all, if the entire world understood what was happening -- that the Syrian regime, backed by the Russian military, is preparing for a massacre (in an area packed with displaced persons who have nowhere to go) -- we might actually do something. 13/

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