The Resistance Information Warfare Handbook, Part IV
In Alabama in the winter of 2017, America was exposed to a concerted effort by Russian IO assets to exert and exploit reflexive control over American politics, right before the eyes of the entire world. In this section, I’m going to shift into the first-person, in order to try to convey a sense of how similar encounters might go for other Americans in the resistance.
A Case Study In Information War Countermeasures Strategy : The Alabama Senate Special Election of 2017
I started out in my approach to Alabama as an app entrepreneur. I run a startup company called Dialectica, with a mission of providing tools to improve American civic discourse. Until Trump became president, I was focused on evidence technologies for academic debate.
I approached Alabama as a testing grounds for a fake-news fighting app with some basic assumptions:
· The office of the Presidency was compromised. Ongoing Russian information operations were taking place aimed at disrupting and degrading the American political process, and America was in significant ongoing danger from the effects of this in a way that our decision-makers were clearly unprepared to appreciate.
· The best path of resistance to disinformation propagated by two different national governments was to build a community. The mission of that community should be to counteract the divisive effect of disinformation and fake news, based on experience developing apps for the academic debate community, as well as reading RAND Corp.’s Russian disinformation study, as well as studying Danish responses to Russian disinformation and accounts of Denmark’s military response using cognitive resilience training.
I knew from previous experience with debate applications that neither interface nor capability, no matter how revolutionary and high-utility and unique, by themselves were sufficient to develop acceptance and use of an app. I hypothesized that content was the critical factor — specifically, purposeful content which people would want to “self-integrate” or add to their self-presentation on social media. Once people ran out of the preset content we put there for them, I thought, their interest would disappear.
In the summer of 2017 I began looking for focuses of fake news to test countermeasures against. Based on 2016 trash news and disinformation concentrations by state, Howard, Kollanyi et al. identifies six states with the highest levels of Russian IO: Alabama, West Virginia, Montana, South Dakota, Arizona, Kentucky.
Looking at the history of racist, inappropriate and generally stupid statements and impressionist poetry around the Senate Special Election candidacy of Roy Moore I decided to focus my personal and professional networking, research and meme-crafting efforts on Alabama.
In order to understand whether it would be possible to gain traction for an app focused on spreading memes that would counteract fake news narratives, I developed a new version of our debate evidence organizer focused solely on posting to one form of social media; because the application programming interface (API) is harder to develop for, I chose Facebook. I developed contacts in the Democratic party in Alabama, as well as in the Republican party, presenting myself as a political app developer with a meme-posting app. I developed more connections with activist groups and self-identified resistance groups at an increasing pace as Alabama’s special election date approached.
Strategically, my initial doctrinal approach was to approach the Roy Moore candidacy as an insurgency. From the military human-terrain perspective, Alabama bears structural resemblances to Afghanistan: evangelical Republicans are the Taliban, regional churches are the tribes, and the scandal-plagued state governorship is the ineffective central government.
Alabama is a fundamentally different world than statistically median America; it has one of the worst poverty rates out of any region in the developed world. A good indicator of how a society is doing is its infant mortality rate (IMR). Societies with strong social support networks that provide good support to mothers have lower IMR than societies without; the fact that those social support networks are functioning signals that a society is functioning and capable of allocating resources to the highest priorities of its citizens. In terms of IMR, Alabama does shockingly, even scandalously badly. Black babies in Alabama have an infant mortality rate three times that of white babies in Alabama and roughly equivalent to the infant mortality rate for Syria during its civil war; Alabama is overall #4 in the country for infant mortality, 3rd for preterm birth rate, 10th for teen birth rate, and 3rd for low birthweight. It is significantly more dangerous to have a child in Alabama than it is in California or for that matter anywhere else in the country, especially if you’re black.
Whiteness — and thus, anti-blackness — and religion are the keystones to understanding Alabama. In ethnic and religious terms, Alabama is 69.30% white, 86% Christian (compared to 70.6% for all of America), and 77% of Alabamians say religion is “very important” in their lives (compared to 53% for all of America). The most salient level of organization for the white evangelicals in Alabama who comprise the core of its voting population is not the county, nor the state per se; it is the local church. The mixture of politics and evangelical religion combined with rurality produces a unique form of regional chieftain culture centering around pastors and other religious leaders. Polling locations are often in the same churches in Alabama where parishioners are subjected to radicalizing political/religious messaging encouraging them to vote pro-life, because in the midst of its horrifying infant mortality statistics, Alabama is overwhelmingly pro-life, and willing to vote on it. This is why white evangelical communities voted for Moore at significantly higher rates than black evangelicals, assisted by Moore campaign messaging smearing Moore’s opponent, Doug Jones, as an abortion-rights radical.
In terms of national political trends Alabama has been a deeply red state for generations. A “big-tent” Democrat party at the start of the 20th century, since 1987 it has become increasingly Republican by dint of a unique “party flip” event in which its Democrat power structure declared themselves Republicans, in the process electing a governor so notably stupid that he was nicknamed “The Accidental Governor”, H. Guy Hunt. By 1992, the Republican nature of the South was well-enough established that the New York Times called it “a stranglehold”. The most salient features of Alabama politics are not the appellations of “Republican” or “Democrat”, but instead religion, economic interests and deeply rooted anti-black racism.
The Moore that we know as a Republican with a religious fundraising machine emerges from this era. Moore started the 1980s discredited, with ethics complaints emerging from an unsuccessful run for a judgeship. Yet by 1992, Moore was appointed to a circuit judgeship by H. Guy Hunt, the Accidental Governor— ironically, the same judgeship he’d already lost an election for — and well on the way to developing his style of religious exploitation that led to this dismissal in 2003 over the Ten Commandments monument controversy.
The application of the Southern Strategy in Alabama interposes between these two states of Roy Moore. Moore inhabits a historical nexus between white supremacy, Russian influence and Republican dirty tricks, tying together Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Lee Atwater and Jeff Sessions — a set of players and themes that strongly resemble both the Reagan era in the South, and the Trump administration, bringing to bear decades of experience in exploiting racial tension for political gain. Moore, in the midst of this, is in a situation akin to Mullah Omar relative to the Alabama GOP’s Taliban — a religious leader atop an oligarchy, benefited by a family brand based on a patriarch as an institution. Moore’s innovation in right-wing political manipulation is blatant manipulation of people’s religious hopes for political change, as a mask for essentially white supremacist money laundering.
The primary vehicle for essentially money laundering which Roy Moore appears to make use of is the Foundation for Moral Law (FML). Both Roy Moore and his wife Kayla’s finances are heavily intermingled with FML, and their children and campaign staff work there; it is effectively their non-profit. Yet of November 2017, despite having been around for over a decade, FML had an incredibly basic website at morallaw.org using a stock Wordpress theme that it would take an average person about $30, 20 clicks and 20 minutes to set up. Unusually for a non-profit, FML did not bother selling merchandise or having a contribution page, yet it paid Roy and Kayla Moore over a million dollars between 2005 and 2013.
The Foundation for Moral Law’s ostensible purpose is to pursue conservative religious litigation; it sues, files amicus briefs and issues public statements in support of lawsuits that are essentially troll moves designed to provoke moderate and progressive outrage. FML filed suit against Colonel Kristin Goodwin appointment as commandant of cadets of the U.S. Air Force Academy because Goodwin is a married lesbian, filed an amicus brief opposing bathroom accommodations for transgender people, and, ironically (considering its avowed mission is “religious freedom”) made statements in support of Trump’s Muslim immigration ban.
The Foundation for Moral Law also operates as a capital distribution point for white supremacists and white nationalists in an unusually blatant manner — Roy Moore, for instance, took (and did not return) donations from overt neo-Nazis. Multiple FML events hosted speakers from League of the South, an overtly white supremacist organization that hires white terrorists, advocates for violent protests to reset the narrative towards allowing white racism, gloats about how white nationalism has a champion in the White House, and posts conspiracy videos about the summer 2017 Charlottesville protests. League of the South paid Moore’s campaign $250,000 through Michael Peroutka, an outwardly disavowed League of the South member and overtly white supremacist neo-confederate. Moore’s campaign, especially immediately prior to the revealing of his child molestation allegations, was a virtual who’s who of fringe hard-right evangelical conservatives, even including Phil Robertson, the “Duck Commander” who became Moore’s family friend and staunch supporter.
By all appearances the deck was heavily stacked against the Democrats in Alabama. Even after the Washington Post story documenting sexual misconduct allegations against Moore, including child molestation in 1979, Moore still stood a significant chance of winning, simply because Alabama did not elect pro-choice Democrats. The Secretary of State even did an “election security” class in Russia, leading to the deployment of new and innovative ways of suppressing the vote in Alabama like DMV closures and ID requirements. The most likely scenario that everyone saw playing out was a suppressed African-American vote, strong conservative and evangelical turnout whipped up by fake news and a resounding Roy Moore win based on a staunchly hard-right, white, evangelical religious base.
This was my situation, in terms of working assumptions, research basis and strategic planning, going into November and working on fake news around the Alabama Senate Special Election. I expected that Doug Jones would lose, that there would be an avalanche of fake news around it, and that were I to be engaged in any serious manner by any malicious entities seeking to publicly engage and “fight” progressive or liberal entities, I would be able to simply stop participating and “walk away”.
Given a strong religio-political machine and the low odds of winning prior to November 11th, I focused on building an in-region community of “fixers”, local Alabamians capable of advising on messaging strategy and providing personal and professional connections to content production and distribution. I recruited graphic designers, artists, lawyers, journalists and researchers for a content research, generation and distribution cell. Given the pervasive “Democrat machine is out to get us” narrative I saw being deployed in in-region trash news and disinformation, I decided that a maximally deniable, quiet approach was the best. On a whim, I named it “The Resistance Ladies Social Club”. My plan was to implement a series of strategic social media “interventions” using what I termed “tactical”, or weaponized, memes based on factual information; a kind of antidote for fake news.
What happened next surprised everyone in America. Beginning in November, a sequence of events took place that resulted in what is arguably the resistance’s largest and most improbable political victory.
Roy Moore’s campaign had already become well-established nationally as somewhat of a laughingstock. I noticed what I thought was an embarrassing error or blackmail attempt resulted in a fleet of Twitter bots tweeting an invoice for their own services to Rich Hobson, the Moore campaign manager and president of the Foundation for Moral Law.
It turned out later that this was a false flag operation by New Knowledge, a self-purported “anti-disinformation” contractor, with no apparent sense of irony or self-awareness, spreading disinformation.
On November 3rd, my contact in Alabama informed me that a major bombshell was going to drop.
On November 9th, the Washington Post story making the initial allegations against Roy Moore was published. The race in Alabama was winnable, and the game was now afoot.
A firestorm of defensive information warfare activity by Republicans and Russians followed the Washington Post story. As of November 12th, Hamilton68, the Russian information operations asset tracker established by Clinton Watts, showed extraordinary levels of activity surrounding Alabama specific hashtags on Twitter:
A summary of weekly activity from Hamilton68 shows the kind of volume of fake news and commitment to spreading it that we were observing:
“Between November 11 and November 17, we examined 55 articles that were among the top URLs shared by Kremlin-oriented accounts on Twitter. Over 40% of the URLs focused on sexual misconduct allegations; of those URLs, 42% attacked accused Democrats (or those connected to liberal causes), 4% promoted a narrative of a Saudi-linked pedophile ring, and 54% defended Roy Moore. Among pro-Moore articles, close to 70% attacked the credibility of the accuser(s), 38% attacked the media in general or the Washington Post in particular, and one story attacked Lindsey Graham for not defending Moore. Geopolitical articles were divided roughly equally between pro-Kremlin viewpoints on Syria (5% of examined URLs), anti-Saudi Arabia narratives (5%), and a focus on issues within the EU (7%). URLs focused on Europe promoted one of two themes: migrant criminality or divisions among EU member states.” (Hamilton 68, accessed November 17, 2017)
I observed bot activity on the comments section of virtually every regional news outlet for Alabama defending Roy Moore and increasing the comments and reactions score for stories defending Roy Moore. Finding examples of information warfare operators and bots was literally as simple as Facebook searching “Roy Moore” and “al.com” together. Meanwhile, the Alabama area began sprouting rumors and questionable witnesses coming forward to cast doubt on the allegations against Moore and point to a financial motive behind coming forward, using shill accounts — in one case, even brazenly impersonating a Navy SEAL. Meanwhile, Leigh Corfman’s workplace and recent photo were immediately exposed by Jack Posobiec, a thoroughly discredited fake-news entrepreneur and Breitbart journalist linked with the Pizzagate scandal, who incited his followers to physically confront her. On the day the accusations broke, a bearded man resembling Martin Wishnatsky, Roy Moore’s “Jew Lawyer” triggered the recording on the front door of Leigh Corfman’s lawyer’s office.
Polls which had hitherto shown decisive Moore victory showed Jones pulling nearly even. A nationwide network of Democratic operatives and activists who had hitherto written off Alabama began to take notice; African-American turnout efforts, fighting against an immense system of outright voter suppression, which would turn out to be instrumental to the election found new energy.
Moore began complaining about the suspiciousness of the timing of the allegations at the same time that Alabama GOP figures began closing ranks around him, casting doubt on the allegations as partisan-motivated fake news. Efforts to minimize the impact of the allegations began, with significant effect; a December 3rd poll, a month after the allegations surfaced, showed that 71% of Republicans in-state still believed Roy Moore.
In the days immediately prior to the Washington Post story, Steve Bannon was in Japan, along with a Vanity Fair reporter who documents Bannon’s movements immediately upon receiving the news of the Washington Post story. Roy Moore’s denial on Hannity has been badly received and unconvincing, and Bannon’s response was to “double down” on Moore as a candidate. Bannon dispatched two Breitbart reporters to Alabama on November 12th: Aaron Klein, the Breitbart Jerusalem bureau chief, and Matt Boyle, the lead editor for Breitbart’s “Big Government” section. Despite being officially tasked to the Alabama story, in Klein’s case a week before the story broke in The Washington Post, both published relatively few stories about the matter until mid-November; Boyle published no stories between 11/12 and 11/21, and Klein went six days, from 11/3 to 11/9, without publishing any stories before shifting to Alabama coverage.
On November 13th, my contacts in Alabama brought me two recordings: one was a man attempting to break into the law offices of Eddie Sexton, the lawyer for Leigh Corfman, a Roy Moore accuser — and, now, I came to believe, victim — in the original Washington Post story. The second was a 14-minute recording of a phone call between Gary Lantrip and Eddie Sexton discussing a bribe.
An episode of panicky research and networking ensued. I reached out immediately to anyone I knew in media, government, law and intelligence, with a simple request: Help, I have no idea what the hell is going on.
I spent the entire week of November 12th essentially on the phone, briefing people on what I had and what I thought it meant and theorizing about what was going on. I spent virtually the entirety of the next week repeatedly listening to the recordings, transcribing them, producing video, and researching.
I started an unflinching and thorough-going assessment of primary intelligence sources I had available — the recordings, photographs of text message conversations and the people that brought it to me. Together with the people I trusted, an intensive research process began, starting with “red-teaming” the most obvious theories we had. Was it possible this was not a bribe? Could it have been a James O’Keefe-style “video sting”? Could Sexton have been mistaken on any of his identifications? Could we place any of the key actors — Boyle, Klein, Bannon, Moore and Paul — anywhere that would shoot down this event, or any other theory? Did our primary sources have any reason to lie to us or bring us a spurious event? Was there any possible way whatsoever that we were unwittingly playing along with Russian information operations? Everything we got back confirmed that what I was dealing with was quite real. It was a feeling that one of our Alabama contacts described as “stumbling onto the plans for making a nuclear bomb”.
Freedom of action decreases with knowledge; the more that you know what is right, the less optionality you have in choosing a path of action. I found myself in a situation where I was being confronted with a set of fairly uncomfortable truths: Roy Moore was actually a child molester, the people around him were probably aware of it, and a massive criminal conspiracy was afoot to cover it over and get a child molester elected.
A Roy Moore victory was an almost unbelievably unethical outcome in these circumstances. As other Americans noted, at stake in Alabama was more than just an off-year special election; what Leigh Corfman did was to make the Alabama election a referendum on just how morally indefensible, how inarguably unethical and manipulative of civic culture and religion the Republicans could be while still expecting to get votes. Leigh Corfman made Alabama into a test of American morality itself.
Up until this point I had tried to preserve the illusion that I was still running a debate company making debate technology that people might find useful in fighting fake news. I had pretty presentations and plans for how fighting fake news might work, but no real sense of how the front-lines operated or what the major parties at play were beyond, at a gross level, the fake news ecosystem and Russia. What I saw, working on the Alabama Special Election, was a massive reality check. This was a shadow war, with people on both sides of the ocean dying, with secrets that people would likely kill to keep that I now had access to, and insidious black operations manipulating Americans into ethically compromising situations — all to help squalid hillbilly petty tyrants like Moore keep their searingly horrible, ancient crimes a secret.
All to help a plainly traitorous, compromised Presidency maintain their devil’s bargain with the Republican Party and to make sure their donors got their tax bill.
Nobody that I was working with — not the progressive venture capitalists whom I was applying to, not the national-level political operators who were guiding my strategy, not the researchers I was asking for help — nobody seemed to understand the reality of this situation. These people were trying to win an election. They didn’t understand that they were losing a war.
Effectively, Breitbart was acting as an amplifier for Russian messaging, as part of a concerted strategy to reduce the faith of Americans in their systems of governance — for Bannon and Paul as part of their “deconstruction of the administrative state”, for the Russians as part of their reflexive-control strategy of disrupting and degrading our political institutions. Russian strategic information war assets were acting to get a child molester elected, and Americans like Matt Boyle and Aaron Klein were consciously helping.
In this context, seeing the commitment of the Russian information warfare infrastructure that I was seeing and the single-mindedness with which it was assisting the Moore side, the only rational conclusion that I could draw was that I had a moral obligation to counter-act it. My focus shifted from studying disinformation and opposing it experimentally to fighting it wholesale with whatever tools were at hand. Given the state of knowledge I had — that we have, as a society — I concluded that it was the only ethical option available at the time, and I believe it remains so.
We group a broad swath of activity under the term “resistance” these days; activism, posting on social media, writing, organizing marches and teaching are all various forms of resistance. Some people come to resistance as a principled decision; others approach it as an elective mission they can take on, or a struggle for justice.
What I experienced that week that brought me to writing this, and working today as a political/cultural countermeasures operator and activist, is that resistance, for some people, is simply self-defense.
Together with the people I could trust, we devised and rejected several plans including a reverse sting operation and another meeting in a recorded location. I corroborated and verified my contacts’ backgrounds and worked with friends to develop a timeline of Bannon, Klein, Boyle, and Roy Moore’s movements immediately before and after the meeting in the recording. On the suggestion of my lead engineer, I called the collection of material relating to the recordings and the crime Project Banjo.
I developed a Project Banjo plan. I would release the recording to a local newspaper, letting them have the “scoop” on the story in order to avoid the anti-media “Washington Post is out to get us” narrative that Roy Moore was using as defense against the allegations; we would coordinate release of the story with a second, national news institution to follow immediately after. Immediately after release, I would follow up with a campaign of distributing informational memes explaining the scandal, along with interview availability notices and press releases to 2nd-tier and regional news sources. I began shopping around the plan to non-profits, major donors and financiers in the progressive political space seeking a sponsor for an entire website to carry information about the recording and its implications on the Alabama race.
We had Breitbart with their pants down, and it involved Roy Moore and Rand Paul too. It was a game-changer in terms of the election, and we saw the potential for a nationally visible moment of reckoning; the people of Alabama, we thought, especially given its history since 1987, deserved to know how low their Republicans would go to elect a child molester. Our research went even crazier places; Bert Davi, one of the men mentioned in our recording, was rumored to be a retired DEA agent and CIA operative. Gary Lantrip was a UN Special Representative with family that we suspected to be beauty pageant contestants linked to Donald Trump. Both were involved in a UN project/missionary deal called ProjectOne which looked like either some kind of nutty millenarian international humanitarian aid project, a clumsy front for money laundering, or both.
We had two Breitbart reporters engaged in an act of crime, consorting with spectacularly interesting criminals, involved in an act of thinly veiled physical intimidation.
On November 27th, I received a confidential message from my Alabama contacts: The plan was off, no media release before the election. I fired off a quick series of queries, mainly: why? The response that came back was, this should stay apolitical. It was 15 days to go until the election. On the assumption that Project Banjo was going to be the central thrust of my meme-crafting and informational activism work, I had virtually suspended all of my creative work. I had connections to distribute content, primarily through networks of Resistance activists and fellow entrepreneurs, but comparatively little content to distribute.
I decided to switch to hard “ground game” — a focused, multi-channel information operations countermeasures campaign.
Between November 27th and the Special Election date of December 12th, I spent virtually every single waking hour I had creating memes, movies, social media posts and content. The Resistance Ladies Social Club went from six to 40 members. I found the most trustworthy people in my community, briefed them on Project Banjo and the necessity for social media intervention in the Alabama race, and set them to work as the core of a group distributing memes and content over as many different forms of social media as they had access to.
Based on our research, we chose a focused content strategy: content targeted at moderate to conservative Christian women on social media reachable through their friend’s social media networks. We would encourage rejection of Roy Moore on religious grounds while emphasizing the pointlessness of voting pro-life and contrasting it with Alabama’s scandalously bad IMR.
Our strategy succeeded beyond our wildest expectations. During the 15-day span starting with the notice that we would not have Project Banjo available, we reached nearly a quarter-million unique people on social media, primarily through memes they saw on Facebook. Perhaps equally significantly, Project Banjo’s delayed release — until well after the election — produced a significant effect in terms of turnout through its absence. It is impossible to know for certain, but I believe that if Project Banjo had released before the election, opposition to it and the perception that Roy Moore was under attack would have increased turnout. Although the voters of Alabama deserved to know what was going on, I also believe that opening up the events of Project Banjo to distortion and misusage by Roy Moore and the disinformation assets surrounding the campaign would have resulted in a galvanizing effect that would have increased turnout. Rather than rural, predominantly white northern counties turning out at 60% rates compared to 2014 rates, tamped down to some degree by the anti-disinformation we were spreading, the election would have been turned by those same counties turning out at 80–90% of 2016 rates.
In an election decided by a margin of 20,000 people, I built a community from scratch that affected the outcome using strategic counter-IO memes that reached 250,000+, many of them in Alabama, many of them repeat exposures, and increased their propensity to vote for Jones or decreased their propensity to vote for Moore. Some of the tactics, techniques and procedures that we used to achieve this outcome will be documented in the next section of this guide.
From the experiences of the Alabama special election, I believe a few strategic lessons can be discerned:
Russian disinformation and Republican campaigns will act in concert — massive commitments of the Russian IO infrastructure to support time-sensitive Republican political problems should be expected and planned against. We had the good fortune to observe Roy Moore’s comparatively inept campaign attempt to acquire and deploy IO infrastructure; following repeated “purges” and “ban waves” on Facebook and Twitter as well as continued proliferation of IO on social media, it is a reasonable expectation that November 2018’s bots will be more subtle and more international than previous elections
Combined themes usable for multiple campaigns — Alabama represented a fulcrum point for the application of finite Russian IO assets. By focusing on a single specific term (e.g. #iStandWithHannity) it was possible to provoke a response with potentially national political ramifications — that is, with only one campaign to affect, messaging could be simple. In a situation like November 2018 with multiple races at play, narratives on Russian IO must either become more diverse — a poor choice that dilutes the aggregate impact of “bots” and IO-contractor confederates on social media — or focus on specific themes usable for multiple races.
It is difficult to predict the most resonant theme for November 2018 given the pace of current events with Trump as president. However, based on the immigration-focused State of the Union address in February 2018, the Trump administration’s early emphasis on immigration bans as a “shock and awe” move, and continued propagation of fake news narratives around immigrants, I expect that immigration will be a significant theme for fake news distortion and exploitation. This is a theme that Russian IO is expert at amplifying; Russian strategic fake news narratives around Brexit and NATO expansion often focus on local immigrant communities as a source of tension.
Republicans will do anything to win — Outside of a few notable exceptions, Republicans have staked their careers and continued election on Trumpist policies for a variety of reasons: significant portions of their constituencies with hard-right Trumpist tendencies, an erroneously-perceived favorable strategic position, or RICO exposure in the cases of the extremely-compromised Republicans like Rohrabacher and the Republican power structure like Ryan and McConnell; all are persuasive strategic reasons to continue to hew to the Trumpist camp and support the President against impeachment.
Both sides of the Republican civil war between Bannonite “insurgents” and McConnell/Ryan “establishment” have this strategic position in common: they are screwed for life if the President goes down. Much of the disagreement between the two camps is inconsequential for this reason. Effectively, Republicans have two choices: either go down in history as the party of treason (essentially the death of the Republican Party as an effective political force for at least one, perhaps two generations), or rebut, distract away from, or somehow neutralize the Russian collusion narrative.
With their backs to the wall, Republicans will pull out all the stops, and all the parties at play in the Breitbart bribery case are not exceptional of the Republican dirty-tricks playbook; they are typical. Davi and Lantrip, the retired-operator henchmen, as well as, Boyle and Klein, the willing and disposable bagmen for Breitbart, are the tip of a very large iceberg of gray-market deniable political operatives at work for Republicans. Expect more Davi and Lantrip operators pulling dirty tricks in the shadows; expect that the Boyles and the Kleins of the world will commit crimes on a Friday and return to writing articles the next Monday on Breitbart. November 2018 is not just any election for Republicans; it is an existential issue. At stake is the potential long-term downfall of the Republican party.
Political culture is a militarized space opposing citizens against other countries — An entire nation-state is consciously funding a concerted psychological-warfare effort aimed at distorting American political culture, acting to assist the party of its highest-placed compromised agent in history. This is a highly counter-intuitive situation that bears repeating: we must assume that to at least some degree and more likely entirely, the American presidency is compromised.
In this context, we have a single vehicle by which peaceful removal of the threat to the country can be achieved within a reasonable timeframe; and it is not a 3rd party. It is entirely without fault to state that the Democrat party in America is hypocritical, plagued by in-fighting, corrupt in some places, incredibly bad with fundraising and operations money almost all the time (the DNC since 2016 has been bankrupt almost as often as it has been solvent), racist in some places, stupid in some places, and even openly friendly with Russia in rare exceptions (Tulsi Gabbard in Hawaii, for instance).
None of these factors outweigh being the party of treason; none of them outweigh an appreciably higher risk of global thermonuclear war that increases unpredictably by the day. And absolutely none of these outweigh the obligations that we have as citizens, in particular those of us sworn to “defend the laws and constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic”. If doing so means we must ally ourselves with progressives and centrists then that is what we will do, because that is what is required.
The front lines of the war between the Russian effort to degrade and disrupt our political discourse are ideological. As long as a traitor President with support of the Republican party inhabits the White House, the fastest way to peaceful transition of power away from the danger — impeachment — depends upon a black swan political event and an unprecedented form of mass cultural change; it depends, in other words, on a blue wave in the November 2018 midterm elections, and an American culture of cognitive resilience popularly termed “the resistance”.
In the final section, the structure, function and creation of communities of cognitive resilience will be discussed, and practical lessons from managing and creating two communities of cognitive resilience will be shared, along with a plan for creating a scalable private enterprise based on community-formation and maintenance.
Part IV: Alabama — A Case Study In Information Operations And Countermeasures