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Stoking Islamophobia and secession in Texas -- from an office in Russia

http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/05/politics/heart-of-texas-russia-event/index.html

On May 21 2016, a handful of people turned out to protest the opening of a library at an Islamic Center in Houston, Texas. Two held up a banner proclaiming #WhiteLivesMatter. A counter-protest began across the street; video shows a noisy but non-violent confrontation.

The rally -- called "Stop Islamization of Texas" -- was called and promoted by a Facebook page called Heart of Texas, which had wrongly alleged that the Islamic library had received public funding. But the Heart of Texas page listed no contacts in the Lone Star state. In fact, it was operated by a "Troll Factory" called the Internet Research Agency thousands of miles away in St Petersburg Russia, CNN has learned.

One of the people who attended the rally later complained: "Heart of Texas promoted this event but we didn't see ONE of them."

The Houston rally sheds light on an effort originating in Russia to sow discord in the U.S. through social media; in this case it had real impact on the ground.

Not only were police on the scene, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Texas, Mustafaa Carroll, told CNN that his organization had contacted the FBI about comments posted on the Heart of Texas page before the protest. One of them read: "Need to blow this place up. We don't need this shit in Texas."

The protest was also discussed by Houston City Council three days after it took place.

Generating anti-Muslim sentiment in the US was one of the goals of the Russian campaign. CNN reported Tuesday that some ads bought on Facebook were aimed at reaching voters who might be susceptible to anti-Muslim messages, even suggesting that Muslims were a threat to the American way of life.
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A source familiar with the matter tells CNN that Heart of Texas was among the 470 accounts and pages that Facebook turned over to Congress, following its investigation into ads generated by the Internet Research Agency. Neither the Facebook page nor a companion Twitter account @ItsTimeToSecede is still accessible. The link between Heart of Texas and the Russian campaign was previously reported by Business Insider.

A screenshot of the Event Page for "Stop Islamization of Texas," which was created by the Russian-linked group Heart of Texas.

@ItsTimeToSecede appears to have begun life in November 2015. The last time another user tagged the account was on August 29th of this year, about the same time the Facebook page was suspended. Twitter would not comment on why @ItsTimeToSecede had been taken down.

The Heart of Texas Facebook page had some 249,000 likes shortly before it was suspended. Its posts, some of which have been retrieved by CNN, included diatribes against refugees, conspiracy theories about the death of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia and Islamophobic sentiment. One post called for 'No More Mosques in America.'

Another complained: "Since when has this country turned into a liberal cesspool full of all sorts of ethnic and sexual minorities?"

Some of the posts first appeared in an article published last month by journalist Casey Michel, who tracks secessionist movements.

On October 26, 2016, Heart of Texas raised the issue of voter fraud, warning: "There are many grounds for believing the Liberals are going to usurp power in the White House and push into it Hillary Clinton at any cost."

Voter fraud was a topic of discussion at that time, in part because Donald Trump had raised it on the campaign trail.
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The Heart of Texas Facebook page is full of stilted, ungrammatical English. One post declared: "All those in favor of gun control rise your hand." Another: "Texas Police Is the Best," and another, "The Election is RIGGED, the US are BROKEN."

Above all, Heart of Texas hammered one theme last year: secession from the United States. It called for rallies across Texas on November 5th -- three days before the Presidential election - in support of secession. It's unclear how many people answered the call. CNN was unable to find any evidence of rallies in Dallas or Fort Worth; local reports from Lubbock at the time said a planned rally had not taken place.

It's not just Heart of Texas that embraced secession. The potential secession of Texas and other states has also been a popular subject for RT America, the Russian state-funded television network that's widely available in the US. It featured several long segments about the subject last year. A 6-minute story in June 2016 has received 250,000 views on YouTube.

RT America also interviewed Daniel Miller, the president of an actual secessionist group, the Texas Nationalist Movement, in November 2016. The group campaigns for Texas' secession.

Miller told CNN that his group had been contacted on two occasions by an individual claiming to be with Heart of Texas. In October last year, Miller said, his group received a request on its Facebook page that read: "I'm volunteering for the Heart of Texas community and we're trying to organize a statewide #Texit rally before the election begins."

Miller said the Texas Nationalist Movement had turned down an invitation to take part in the rallies. He would not disclose the identity of the individual that had contacted the organization, in keeping with the group's policy on confidentiality, he told CNN.
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So in case you haven't been paying attention, this fits into Russia's much broader tactic of using anti muslim/refugee rhetoric to increase their power and influence abroad. They often push separatist movements in order to break up the power of the EU and NATO. They are subverting the democratic process by aiding their agents in foreign democracies in campaigns and helping them get elected with propaganda tactics. It looks like they're even extending to pushing separatist movements within the US for various states. Russia is basically at war with the entire world. It's pretty interesting to watch.
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>>185066
this would effectively make Muslim's Putin's "Jews". The difference being that when Hitler and others blamed the Jews the absurdity of the claims against them were apparent and eventually rallied causes against the anti semites. In this scenario the misinformation is also combined with real and misperceived conflict between Islam and the world when it really is Russia and the world. Real conflicts (Real radical terrorism based on extreme idealogy) + generated conflict (Through destabilization, economic manipulation, etc.) + simulated conflict (through cyber warfare etc.) has all been necessary to keep the illusion going longer. Or maybe I'm just high...
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>>185068
You're a fucking idiot that much is sure. You're calling a guy who spent the last three years defending a Muslim government, in a muslim country, an islamaphobe.
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>>185068
No, that's pretty much the size of it.
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>>185086
Russia makes friends with the Muslims to advance their influence in the Middle East. At the same time they bombard the west with anti-muslim/refugee propaganda and use it to set up separatist/nationalist movements which are under their control within those countries. If these parties gain power they will separate parts of the EU, like you saw in Great Britain with Nigel Farage's Brexit campaign which employed the same sort of Russian propaganda aided tactics that Donald Trump's campaign used. They both used the same AI social media messaging platform from Cambridge Analytica/SCL group that uses psychological profiles of people that are built from internet monitoring to target propaganda where it will be the most effective.

To think that the Russians have any strong ideology is a mistake. They are not ideologues, they are opportunists, they are schemers and tricksters who will leverage whatever they can to advance their own interests.
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im confused about this "troll factory" thing
how the fuck do they make money?
crowd source?
govt funding?
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>>185093
The second one
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>>185063
It's funny there's a "you"ll never guess who was on Hillary's hit list" at the top of this page. Like she's even relevant anymore, thanks Russia. How're those sanctions?
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>>185097
Republicans. They'll let go of their second Amendment rights when it's pried from their cold, dead hands.

But the first Amendment freedom of religion? Apparently that only counts if you're Christian. And white.
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>>185093
Government pays them and instructs and helps them.
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>>185178
texans are the dumbest niggers
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>>185097
>>185148
>muh russia

Does Russia or Trump keep you snowflakes up more at night?
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Russia has always been fascinating. I love Putin. What a character!

That the United States and Russia are not friends and working together to take over the world is just ludicrous. Just imagine what we could do together!
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>>185217
>>185277
another 0.000053BTC has been deposited into your account Nikolayev
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>>185197
t. A cocksucking Commiefornian shitheel
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>>185217
I sleep well thanks.

#bbbbbbbbbbbrrrrrrrrrtttttttttt
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Followup to this story, apparently it is still happening:

https://www.rawstory.com/2017/10/russia-pushes-texas-secession-and-white-power-rallies-on-social-media-and-its-still-happening

Russia-backed Facebook group that promoted a “fascist and proud” anti-Islam rally in Texas is now promoting secession on another social media platform.

The May 2016 protest drew nearly 100 demonstrators to a Houston mosque, where armed white supremacists shouted “white power” as they waved Confederate flags, reported Think Progress.

The protest wasn’t much different from others that played out across the country during the presidential campaign, aside from its organizers — revealed last month to be a Russian outfit that maintained the “Heart of Texas” page on Facebook.

The social media group encouraged participants to openly carry firearms and invited white supremacists to take part, and one group member urged demonstrators to “blow up” the Islamic Da’wah Center.

The demonstration ended without violence, but it shows how Russian operatives encouraged racist conflict using social media during the heated election campaign between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Those efforts aren’t over, even though Facebook has removed known Russian disinformation accounts.

After the “Heart of Texas” page was revealed as a Russian front and taken down, an Instagram account posting identical material went live on Instagram.

That account disappeared Monday, after Think Progress reported its existence.

The website pulled several screen grabs from the Instagram account “Raised in Texas,” showing it promoted a mix of folksy but apocryphal boasts about Texas culture — and promoting secession from the United States.
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>>186112

Russia appears to be promoting the breakup of the United States by encouraging larger states like Texas and California to secede.

The American leader of one California secession movement has directed his efforts from Russia, where he permanently settled in April.

Russia has also promoted “blacktivist” and anti-immigrant Facebook groups, and helped promote dubious stories on social media using phony or “bot” accounts.
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>>186114
This is the same separatist propaganda they've been spreading all over the world, from Crimea to Catalonia, to Brexit, nowhere is safe from the Russians using racism to break up power structures they oppose.
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>>186116
I don't know about any of that, but if they can get Jefferson to happen I don't give a fuck. Anything is better than being at the mercy of Sacramento and the Bay.
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>>186116
Catalonia has been trying to secede since forever though
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As long as they promote White Supremists who cares what our enemies do to this country?
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>>186146
So have Texas and California. You don't create an independence movement out of thin air, you have to leverage already existing fractures within a society.
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>>186160
Ahhh not really. Catalonia has actually tried to start secession/war.

Texas is a meme, and idk about California ever historically wanting to secede
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>>186173
Texas fought a war for independence once already you know. They were an independent nation when they agreed to join the US.
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>>186175
Doesn't really compare. They've been part of the US for 99.9% of their existence, and are culturally American.

Bottom line is Catalonia is not a Russian conspiracy ya cookie
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>>186187
>Russian media homepages have many stories on Catalonia protests and almost none on anti-Putin protests all across Russia yesterday.
https://twitter.com/Kasparov63/status/917073880123973634
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>>186194
Nah man, you're a conspiracy cookie! Stop believing everything you read on the internet, golly!
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>>185066
How can we be sure this operation was financed by Russia and not the US or China or another nation, financial organization, or political group? If the link does exist (note the article focuses on the ramifications more than the evidence) why are we quick to blame the state of origin? Certain "Russian hackers" in the election were American hackers using Russian proxies. The Soviet Union had a developed PsyOps operation in place before the collapse, those involved are going private. Their loyalties might still lie with the remnants of the old government, but this might be a purely profitable venture.

Most proof is going to be necessary in these types of articles. I'm starting to get tired of the speculative blaming of Russia whenever something goes awry. The constant blaming of Russia seems a more likely PsyOp tactic than anything these articles imply. Call me a shill, but I always question the proposed narrative of published articles.
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>>186381
You wouldn't be asking this if you had been paying even the slightest amount of attention. It's beyond blindingly obvious.
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>>186411
If it's so obvious, point it out.

You conflate the IRA's interest with the Russian government's, stating that "this fits with their use of anti-Islamic propaganda to increase their influence". Can you prove the connections between the company and the Russian government? How does anti-Islamic rhetoric help Russia?

The "article" focuses on what Heart of Texas said and believes, which is supposed to be shocking, rather than providing evidence. Obviously, the article is written to be sensational, I don't trust sources like that. It's almost like it was written to meet a word count, kek.
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>>185298
>another 0.000053BTC has been deposited into your account Nikolayev
In Russia we say "+15". It means that a troll recieves 15 rubbles for a post.




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