Caroline Orr Profile picture
#Feminist. Behavioral Scientist. Peripatetic. Reporter @NatObserver focusing on disinformation & the rise of hate. Also find me @ArcDigi & @BylineTimes.
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6 Aug
A few things about the private equity firm Blackstone:

-In April, they acquired HealthEdge software company
-CEO Stephen Schwarzman is a top Trump ally & donor
-In 2011, Schwarzman joined the International Advisory Board of the Russian Direct Investment Fund
-They want your DNA
A few more things about Blackstone:

-Since 2013, they’ve loaned $400+ million to companies owned by Jared Kushner’s family
-In 2017, Saudi Arabia invested $20 billion in Blackstone shortly after Jared Kushner personally negotiated a $110-billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia
Also: In separate cases in 2018 and 2019, Motel 6 — which is owned by Blackstone — agreed to settle for nearly $20 million for giving guest lists to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) without a warrant.

Surely they’ll protect your genetic data, though... 🙃
Read 6 tweets
30 Jul
Belarus just arrested “dozens” of Russian mercenaries from the notorious private military company Wagner Group for reportedly plotting “acts of terrorism” to destabilize the upcoming election.

Police believe up to 200 mercenaries are still in Belarus.
theguardian.com/world/2020/jul…
Ukraine's law enforcement authorities say they’ll consider issuing a possible extradition of the Russian mercenaries detained in Belarus, citing their earlier involvement in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
google.com/amp/s/mobile.r…
Wagner Group is run by Putin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin, who bankrolled the Internet Research Agency (Russia’s “troll factory”).

Wagner Group has fought alongside Erik Prince’s mercenaries, & Prince has offered to provide them with lethal military services.
Read 8 tweets
29 Jul
Just a heads-up: The “demon sperm” doctor being promoted by Breitbart & Trumpworld is likely going to be used as a ploy to suggest that leftists are racist for attacking a Black doctor. That’s classic Breitbart style.

You can already see the narrative taking shape...
Whenever Breitbart is involved in anything, the first thing you should do is identify the cultural/ideological flashpoints, and then assume that Breitbart is going to weaponize them in an effort to make the left look hypocritical and to cause infighting within movements like BLM.
Breitbart has done the same thing with #MeToo/#BelieveWomen, feminism, anti-Semitism, immigration, climate change, & more. It’s what they do. And given their ties to Steve Bannon & the Mercers, I wouldn’t rule out the involvement of other bad actors (think Cambridge Analytica).
Read 11 tweets
29 Jul
Dr. Charles Lieber — now-ex Chair of Harvard’s Chemistry Dept — was just charged w/ tax crimes for failing to report income from Wuhan University.

Lieber has received $15 million in US govt funding since 2008, while also secretly working as a “strategic scientist” at Wuhan Univ.
When Lieber was initially arrested & indicted, he was taken into custody along with two Chinese nationals.

One was charged w/ smuggling stolen biological specimens out of the US & into China. The other had intel on US military research on their device.
Lieber became a “Strategic Scientist” at Wuhan Univ. of Technology in 2011. He also participated in China’s Thousand Talents Plan, which seeks to lure foreign experts to bring their knowledge & experience to China — & also rewards individuals for stealing proprietary information.
Read 6 tweets
29 Jul
This quote from the brilliant @jbordeaux is worth reflecting on right now:

“...Indeed, given how survivor bias distorts our understanding of our past and narrows our imagining of our future, we may well be on a path to breakdown, and not recognize it.”
arcdigital.media/is-america-suf…
On survivor bias:

“...we proceed as if nothing we can do — no irresponsible policy choices, no deliberate rejection of facts in our political discourse, no unnecessarily zero-sum competitions between Teams Red and Blue — can bring us down. This is hubris. This is survivor bias.”
I’ve read & re-read these two paragraphs more than any others in recent history. For good reason.

(This was written more than 3 years ago, btw.)
Read 3 tweets
28 Jul
On the topic of infiltration... remember how Russia infiltrated activist groups including BLM and even organized on-the-ground events and promoted protests in multiple US states? Now is probably a good time to keep that in mind.
Also, the secessionist movements are making noise again. Those, too, were heavily promoted by Russia. (The leader of ‘Yes California Independence Campaign’ — a major Calexit movement — was found to be living in Russia). So that’s also something to keep an eye on.
The takeaway here is that the reality of the situation is complicated, and may involve multiple groups of bad actors, foreign & domestic, posing as both left-wing & right-wing protesters. We need to be prepared for this or we’ll fall prey to it just like we did before.
Read 3 tweets
27 Jul
Has anyone been able to confirm @wsls‘s reporting? Per this report, Richmond law enforcement (RPD) attributed Sunday’s “riots” to white supremacists posing as BLM.

But RPD Chief Gerald Smith said this afternoon that they’re still investigating & not ready to make attributions.
This is the only news outlet reporting this specific claim. The only supporting evidence they present is “according to law enforcement officials” — but they don’t specify which branch of LE or who made the attribution. Further, the police chief’s own statement doesn’t back it up.
Do I believe that white supremacists would infiltrate BLM to smear the movement and give the Trump admin a reason to crack down on the left? Absolutely. We’ve seen it happen. But did it happen in RVA yesterday? I don’t know, and the evidence isn’t in this article.
Read 9 tweets
22 Jul
Hey so what’s going on with deepfakes these days? DARPA was doing some really interesting research on them last year, but I haven’t heard much about it since then...
Launched in Sept. 2019, the two-year DARPA project — called the Semantic Forensics (SemaFor) program — will “develop & train an algorithm that should ultimately be able to identify 5,000 fake items hidden among 250,000 news articles and 250,000 social media posts.”
Also, DARPA just bought a $1 million AI tool meant to “decode and predict the emotions of allies and enemies,” with the ultimate goal of “advising generals on major military decisions.”
Read 8 tweets
17 Jul
Is this statement referring to that viral video, though?

Because CBP says the agents ID’d themselves and were wearing badges that identified them as CBP (no and no), and there definitely wasn’t a violent mob — just a few bystanders who didn’t even approach the “agents”.
I have no idea why CBP would be patrolling downtown Portland, regardless of when it was. But I’m not convinced they’re referring to that viral video, and the statement is very unclear.
Some context: Here’s CBP in Portland on July 4th, using “non-lethal force” to “protect” a building.
Read 3 tweets
17 Jul
I’m really trying not to be the annoying contrarian that everyone hates, but my questions about the chaos in Portland remain unanswered. For example, if the government kidnapped those people, how did several of them end up back out last night in time to give news interviews?
And when the guys in camo took the bystanders into custody, they didn’t even attempt to pat anyone down. That’s highly unusual. The people who were detained also seemed to know the “officers” were heading for them as soon as they stepped out of the vehicle. How?
Fascism looks like a lot of things. It can often look like cops (marked or not) brutalizing people, but even more often it looks like destroying the truth and replacing it with complete, unquestioned power — creating a new reality based on total domination of the past & present.
Read 6 tweets
16 Jul
This happened: A police major in Russia has “fallen to her death” from a window after testifying against her boss in a criminal extortion case.
themoscowtimes.com/2020/07/16/rus…
Some context on Russian officials, reporters, & whistleblowers falling out of windows...
Read 2 tweets
15 Jul
#BREAKING: There appears to be a major hack underway, targeting numerous prominent accounts and using them to push a crypto scam. Hacked accounts include Bill Gates, Elon Musk, CashApp, Apple, and more.
Accounts belonging to Jeff Bezos, Kanye West, & Uber also appear to be hacked as part of the same crypto scam.
Bloomberg’s account has been hacked, too.
Read 4 tweets
13 Jul
What you’re seeing right now — the attempts to silence and discredit Dr. Fauci — have been in the works for 4+ months. I‘ve watched it unfold every step of the way.
Also, those people who continue to say that Steve Bannon doesn’t have much influence over Trump anymore ... yeah, so maybe look at those statements with a little more scrutiny, because they’re just completely wrong and have been all along.
Read 2 tweets
10 Jul
Just a reminder that issuing a pardon or commuting a sentence in exchange for a witness refusing to testify about your own criminal behavior is in itself an act of obstruction that would need to be investigated by Congress & could lead to new charges (esp. if Trump loses in Nov).
Incidentally, Roger Stone admitted today that he expects a commutation from Trump in exchange for refusing to share incriminating information about Trump. Stone said he could have “turn[ed] on him” at any point, which is interesting because how do you flip on an innocent person?
Flashback to Jan. 2019, when Trump’s own Attorney General, Bill Barr, said during his confirmation hearing that pardoning someone in exchange for their silence “would be a crime.”
Read 4 tweets
30 Jun
NEW: US officials intercepted large financial transfers from a bank account controlled by Russia’s military intel agency to a Taliban-linked account, which is among the evidence that bolstered the conclusion that Russia offered bounties for killing troops.
nytimes.com/2020/06/30/us/…
"... analysts concluded from other intelligence that the transfers were most likely part of a bounty program that [Taliban] detainees described during interrogations. Investigators also identified by name numerous Afghans in a network linked to the suspected Russian operation..."
Holy crap. The Trump administration withheld the evidence about the intercepts from yesterday's congressional briefing on the Russian bounty plot.
Read 3 tweets
29 Jun
I told you they were going to try to make this a story about the “fake news media” and now here we are.
This story has been reported by three separate newspapers, each citing multiple sources. This is not a story about “fake news” — it’s a scandal with massive national security implications, and it’s unspeakably dangerous to pretend it’s not.
As @davidfrum points out, the very basis for the story — multiple sources in the US intelligence community speaking to the press — is a story in itself. Trump is undermining our intelligence agencies and they’re trying to sound the alarm here.
Read 5 tweets
27 Jun
So the video of Florida man screaming b/c he doesn’t want to wear a mask is, indeed, quite something. But having interviewed & observed many medical conspiracy theorists, I can confidently say most aren’t like him, & we shouldn’t use outliers to represent an entire subgroup. 1/
I’m not defending him or his behavior, to be clear. What I’m trying to convey is that most medical conspiracy theorists are quite mundane, even though their behaviors can be very dangerous. It’s easy to paint them with a broad brush, but you’re misleading yourself by doing so. 2/
Some are set in their beliefs and will likely never be persuaded otherwise. However, some are reachable, and some are even persuadable — but the more we mock them and portray them as crazy, the less likely they are to listen or be open to changing their mind. 3/
Read 14 tweets
23 Jun
We all complain about how toxic social media has become, but very few of us actually try to change that culture by changing our own behavior. I’m not just talking about being “civil” — I’m talking about rewarding the discourse we want more of, and not spreading the poison. 1/
What gets rewarded on social media? For the most part: Loud, definitive, overly-simplified statements that leave little room for confusion but also leave little room for nuance. In other words, statements that don’t reflect reality but make us feel better in their certainty. 2/
Social media rewards sloganeering — ie, communicating and trying to persuade people by repeating catchy slogans and buzzwords, rather than taking the time to explain our ideas, having nuanced conversations, and actually trying to understand the world around us. 3/
Read 12 tweets
23 Jun
It’s easier to use this new invention called the World Wide Web.

First, go to Google dot com. Then, type in “Tucker Carlson” and “Tulsi Gabbard” or “Michael Tracey” or “Glenn Greenwald” or any one of many, many names. Then, click search. Then quietly admit that I was right.
The friendly relationship between Tucker Carlson and self-proclaimed leftists like Tulsi Gabbard has been one of the most dominant themes on his show for the past 3 years.

How do you *not* notice when prominent leftists are regular guests on a white supremacist’s TV show?
Read 2 tweets
22 Jun
NEW: DOJ released the indictment against US Army Private Ethan Melzer, who allegedly tried to facilitate a “mass casualty” attack on his Army unit by sending sensitive info about the unit to members of the occult-based neo-Nazi extremist group O9A (Order of the Nine Angles). 1/
Melzer is charged with conspiring & attempting to murder US nationals, conspiring & attempting to murder military service members, providing & attempting to provide material support to terrorists, & conspiring to murder & maim in a foreign country. The plot was halted in May. 2/
Acting US Attorney Audrey Strauss describes Ethan Melzer as “the enemy within” who was caught plotting a “murderous ambush on his own unit.”

He says Melzer “was motivated by racism and hatred as he attempted to carry out this ultimate act of betrayal.” 3/
Read 6 tweets
18 Jun
Less than 24 hrs after it went up, Trump's campaign has already pulled the anti-antifa Facebook ad with the red triangle.

The ads now feature stop-signs & yield-signs with the same fear-mongering message about "dangerous MOBS of far-left groups" destroying the country.
Mike Pence is also running the same anti-antifa ads. The red triangle ad is no longer active, but the fear-mongering messaging about "radical" leftists is still being used in other ads that are currently active.
The campaign ads on Facebook link to a petition on Trump's "certified website", which calls on people to stand with him "against the Radical MOB, ANTIFA," and to "support his decision to declare them a Terrorist Organization."

(He hasn't declared that, though...)
Read 8 tweets