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Chris Sampson @TAPSTRIMEDIA
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The indictment against 13 Russians names the Internet Research Agency with aka MEDIASINTEZ/GLAVSET/MIXINFO/AZIMUT/NOVINFO, Concord Management and Consulting/Concord Catering/Yevgeniy Prigozhin (aka Putin's chef)/Mikhail Bystrov/Mikhail Burchik/Aleksandra Krylova (continued)
Anna Bogacheva, Sergey Polozov, Maria Bovda, Robert Bovda, Dzheykhun Aslanov (aka Jayhoon Aslanov), Vadim Podkopaev, Gleb Vasilchenko, Irina Kaverzina, Vladimir Venkov are the defendents. (continued)
The indictment charges that the IRA "engaged in operations to interfere with elections and political process" and US law bars agents of foreign entity engaging in political activities within the United States without first registering with the AG. (continued)
The defendants are charged with "interference operations targeting the United States" starting in 2014 to present. The defendants interfered with the U.S. political and electoral processes including the presidential election of 2016 (continued)
According to the indictment, the IRA were funded by Yevgeniy Prigozhin (aka Putin's chef) through his companies, Concord Management and Consulting and Concord Catering to pay the defendants for operation (continued)
Defendants created false U.S. personas, operated social media pages and groups designed to attract U.S. audiences along divisive U.S. political and social issues. Defendants used "stolen identities of real U.S. persons" (continued)
Some of the defendants traveled to the US "under false pretenses for the purpose of collecting intelligence", "used computer infrastructure, based partly in the" US "to hide the Russian origin of their activities" to avoid detection by U.S. regulators and law enforcement. (cont)
defendants used "derogatory information" to support Donald Trump and "disparaging Hillary Clinton", this included 'various expenditures to carry out those activities including buying political advertisements in the names of U.S. persons and entities (continued)
Defendants staged political rallies in the US, posing as US grassroots entities and US persons, solicited and paid US persons to promote Trump and disparage Clinton. Some defendants posed as US persons to communicate with unwitting individuals in the Trump Campaign (continued)
Defendants "conspired to obstruct lawful functions" of the US govt "through fraud and deceit" inc "making expenditures in connection with 2016 US presidential election without proper regulatory disclosure", failing to register as foreign agents (continued)
Additionally, the IRA sought to disguise its organization through various LLC registrations, MediaSintez, GlavSet, MixInfo, Azimut, and NovInfo. It was operated out of 55 Savushkina, St Petersburg, Russia. (continued)
the IRA employed hundreds of individuals for online ops, to create fictitious personas and manage technical and admin support. It had graphics dept, data analysis dept, SEO dept, info tech department, and finance dept. (continued)
the indictment alleges the IRA sought to conduct "information warfare against the United States of America" using fictitious personas on social media platforms and other internet-based media (continued)
The op was focused to use YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as the "translator project", to "spread distrust towards candidates and the political system in general" (continued)
The IRA was funded under CONCORD, is primary source. CONCORD has "various Russian government contracts". CONCORD controlled funding, personnel and activities under the name "Project Lakhta", Project Lakhta had "multiple components" for domestic and foreign ops (continued)
The indictment details ops structure:
Yevgeniy Progozhin (owner of Concord)
Mikhail Bystrov (general director)
Mikhail Burchik (executive director)
Aleksandra Krylova (director)
Sergey Polozov (IT manager)
Anna Bogacheva (translator project data)
(continued)
Maria Bovda (head translator project)
Robert Bovda (deputy head translator project)
Dzheykhun Aslanov (head of translator project) and ran financial cutout Azimut to move $ from Concord to IRA
Vadim Podkopaev (translator project analyst)
Gleb Vasilchenko (social media)
(cont)
Vasilchenko-responsible for posting, monitoring, updating social media content-head of two subgroups focused on 2016 presidential elections.
Irina Kaverzina (translator project) operated multi U.S. personas
Vladimir Venkov (translator project) operated multi U.S personas
(cont)
The intelligence gathering began in 2014 with KRYLOVA and BOGACHEVA planning travel, equip purchases (cameras, SIM cards, drop phones) and 'evacuation scenarios', for defendants who traveled to the US. KRYLOVA/BOGACHEVA/R.BOVDA sought visas. R. Bovda was denied
(continued)
KRYLOVA/BOGACHEVA traveled to US in June 2014 - Nevada, California, N Mexico, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Louisiana, Texas and New York to gather intel. They submitted intel report on trip. POLOZOV traveled US Atlanta in Nov 2014. (continued)
Appearing as US persons, defendants contacted US groups including grassroots groups. Ex: June 2016 contact with Texas org, real US person told RU defendants to focus on "purple states like Colorado, Virginia and Florida". Defendants updated their directives (continued)
Organization "specialists" created socmedia accounts appearing to be U.S. persons. Specialists were divided into day-shift, night-shift, know US holidays to post "appropriate account activity" and told to focus on "political intensity" "radical groups, users dissatisfied" (cont)
Defendants created meta-narratives on immigration, Black Lives Matters, religion, and regional issues. They purchased ads, spending thousands of US $ each month then submitting IRA budget to Concord.
(continued)
Defendants ran "Tennessee GOP" account (@TEN_GOP) that amassed over 100,000 followers on Twitter.
Defendants tracked their socmedia results and the data of the digital useful idiots who passed their info along and submitted metrics reports.
(continued)
Defendants purchased US computer servers to disguise origin of ops and used VPN to conduct ops, inc open accounts, communicate with US persons and purchase services. They controlled hundreds of email accounts from US email providers, to contact US persons inc media (cont)
Defendants stole SS#s and DOB info on real US persons without knowledge or consent, used info for ID to open Paypal accts, make fake drivers licenses, and purchase socmedia ads. (continued)
Defendants discussed efforts to interfere in 2016 election in May 2014. This included attacking Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio while defending Sanders and Trump. Feb 10, 2016, memo: "except Sanders and Trump-We support them" (continued)
Defendants ordered employs to attack Hillary Clinton harder and to use hashtags (#Trump2016, #TrumpTrain, #MAGA, #IWontProtectHillary, #Hillary4Prison) and to operate Twitter account (March for Trump) and FB page "Clinton FRAUDation" and "Trumpsters United"
(continued)
Defendants use false US personas communicated with "unwitting members, volunteers, and supporters of Trump Campaign involved in local community outreach, as well as grassroots groups that supported then-candidate Trump" who then distributed IRA materials
(continued)
Defendants then monitored the echoed materials passed through the Trump camp along with IRA activity.
Defendants activity included discouraging minority voting or voting for 3rd party including @DrJillStein
(continued)
Fake accounts under "Woke Blacks" and "Blacktivists" encouraged voters to not vote or "choose peace and vote for Jill Stein" - "United Muslims of America" called for "boycotting elections today" then promoted voter fraud Democratic Party incl purchasing ads
(continued)
To further promote rallies, defendants contacted admins of other social media groups to advertise the rallies. Rallies included anti-Muslim events, rallies for/against candidates in New York, Florida, Texas, and DC. Defendants offered $ to cover expenses. (continued)
Defendants (bizarre) asked and paid US person to build a cage on flatbed truck and another to dress as Clinton in prison uniform.
(continue)
Defendants deleted, destroyed data including emails, socmedia accts and other evidence. After story became public related to socmedia accts, defendants destroyed evidence, These actions to destroy were noted in memos by KAVERZINA in Sept 13, 2017 (continued)
KAVERZINA-9/13/2017: We had a slight crisis here at work: the FBI busted our activity (not a joke). So, I got preoccupied with covering tracks together with colleagues."-"I created all these pictures and posts and the Americans believed that it was written by their people" (cont)
The indictment details use of fake emails, socmedia accounts to communicate with over 100 US real persons to promote rallies, spread messages and wired $ to pay for ads, rally materials and services. (continued)
Along with list of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, etc, the indictment calls for forfeiture of property belonging to Internet Research Agency (IRA), Dzheykhun Aslanov, Gleb Vasilchenko, Irina Kaverzina, and Vladimir Venkov.
(the end)
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