• Revision ID 49837 REVISION
  • 2018-02-16 10:31:20
  • by Peter Bale (talk | contribs)
  • Note: holding for peter
 
   
Title Title
Russia-linked pro-gun bots active in aftermath of Florida shooting HOLD FOR PGB; Increased scrutiny on connections between NRA, Russia and Trump campaign
Summary Summary
Bots flare up and U.S. government reported taking a closer look at ties between the NRA and Putin government  The U.S. government is taking a closer look at ties between the NRA and Putin government
Highlights Highlights
Content Content
  <strong>In recent weeks, possible connections between Russian agents, the <a href="https://home.nra.org/">National Rifle Association</a> (NRA), and the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump has fallen under increasing scrutiny.</strong>
  [contribute-c2a text="Discuss what matters to you" buttons="talk"]
  [contribute-c2a text="You can edit and add more" buttons="edit"]
  For more than a year, stories about a connection between the NRA’s ties to the Putin government have circulated on various websites.
  In March 2017, Ladd Everitt, director of gun-control group <a href="https://www.onepulseforamerica.com/">One Pulse for America</a> and self-described “longtime advocate for gun violence prevention who isn’t scared of the NRA,” posted a story on Medium titled “<a href="https://medium.com/@LaddEveritt/from-russia-with-love-for-the-nra-ffc69088fe41">From Russia With Love for the NRA</a>.” The continually updated timeline lays out a controversial case for “collusion between the Trump campaign/administration and Russia.”
  “The NRA’s relationship with the Putin government is longstanding, dating back to at least 2011,” <a href="https://medium.com/@LaddEveritt/from-russia-with-love-for-the-nra-ffc69088fe41">wrote Everitt</a>. “When Donald Trump announced he was seeking the presidency in 2015, the NRA and Russia once again found their interests aligned.”
  The NRA is among the most powerful special interest lobby groups in the United States. In 2016, it had <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4210859-8-16-2017-AuditFYEnding2016.html">annual expenses of more than $400 million.</a> According to <a href="https://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/clientsum.php?id=d000000082">Open Politics the NRA spent $5,122,000</a> on lobbying efforts last year.
  Beginning in 2018, U.S. Senate leaders and mainstream media seem to have begun giving credence to the possibility of links between Russian-government-backed figures, the NRA, and the Trump campaign.
  In January, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/18/trump-nra-fbi-alexander-torshin-russia-investigation"><em>The Guardian</em></a> and other outlets reported the FBI was “investigating whether a Russian banker [Alexander Torshin] with close ties to Vladimir Putin funnelled money through the National Rifle Association to support Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.”
  Data compiled by the <em><a href="https://www.opensecrets.org/">Open Secrets</a> </em>site of the Center for Responsive Politics investigative non-profit service in Washington suggest the NRA spent almost $55 million on the 2016 election. However, according to a <em><a href="http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article177312006.html">McClatchy</a></em> news report, it was more than $70 million.
  On February 2, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon officially requested information from the NRA and U.S. Treasury Department related to possible Russian contributions to the NRA to support Trump’s campaign (<em><a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/02/wyden-asks-nra-treasury-about-russian-contributions-for-trump-support.html">CNBC</a>)</em>.
  In a letter to the NRA, <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/02/wyden-asks-nra-treasury-about-russian-contributions-for-trump-support.html">Wyden, a Democrat, said</a> he was “specifically troubled by the possibility that Russian-backed shell companies or intermediaries” illegally influenced the U.S. election (CNBC).
  <h2>Russian Twitter-bots active following shooting</h2>
<strong>In the aftermath of the fatal shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the connection between Russia and the pro-gun lobby in the United States has gained renewed focus with those who track Russian attempts to spread chaos on social media detecting a sharp rise in pro-gun messages traceable to Russia.</strong>  In the aftermath of the fatal shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, the connection between Russia and the pro-gun lobby in the United States received heightened interest from communities who track the efforts of hackers.
&nbsp;  
In the hours immediately following the latest school shooting “troll and bot-tracking sites reported an immediate uptick in related tweets from political propaganda bots and Russia-linked Twitter accounts,” according to <em><a href="https://www.wired.com/story/pro-gun-russian-bots-flood-twitter-after-parkland-shooting/">Wired</a></em>.  Misinformation about the shooter, Nikolas Cruz, as well as shooting-related terms, dominated trending hashtags and topics of a site that tracks Twitter activity linked to Russian influence campaigns.  
  In the hours immediately following the shooting “troll and bot-tracking sites reported an immediate uptick in related tweets from political propaganda bots and Russia-linked Twitter accounts,” according to <em><a href="https://www.wired.com/story/pro-gun-russian-bots-flood-twitter-after-parkland-shooting/">Wired</a></em>.
  The<i> </i>report stated misinformation about the shooter, Nikolas Cruz, as well as shooting-related terms, dominated trending hashtags and topics of a site that tracks Twitter activity linked to Russian influence campaigns.
According to <a href="https://www.wired.com/story/pro-gun-russian-bots-flood-twitter-after-parkland-shooting/"><em>Wired</em></a>, the top link shared by Russia-linked accounts following the shooting was a 2014 article that criticized a statistic cited by pro-gun control group <a href="https://everytown.org/">Everytown for Gun Safety:</a> “Twitter accounts tracked by the group have used the old link to try to debunk today’s stats about the frequency of school shootings.”  According to <a href="https://www.wired.com/story/pro-gun-russian-bots-flood-twitter-after-parkland-shooting/"><em>Wired</em></a>, the top link shared by Russia-linked accounts following the shooting was a 2014 article that criticized a statistic cited by pro-gun control group <a href="https://everytown.org/">Everytown for Gun Safety</a>. “Twitter accounts tracked by the group have used the old link to try to debunk today’s stats about the frequency of school shootings.”
It turns out, however, that a statistic from the anti-gun group calling the tragedy the 18th school shooting in the United States so far in 2018, a number widely repeated in reporting of the Florida shooting, may have been misleading. It turns out, however, that a statistic from the anti-gun group calling the tragedy the 18th school shooting in the United States so far in 2018, a number widely repeated in reporting of the Florida shooting, may have been misleading.
"It is a horrifying statistic. And it is wrong," reported the <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/no-there-havent-been-18-school-shooting-in-2018-that-number-is-flat-wrong/2018/02/15/65b6cf72-1264-11e8-8ea1-c1d91fcec3fe_story.html?utm_term=.bff65651d6c6"><em>Washington Post</em></a>, explaining that the definition of "school shooting" used by the group was broad enough to include the suicide of a man who had been parked outside a vacant school that had been closed for seven months. "It is a horrifying statistic. And it is wrong," reported the <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/no-there-havent-been-18-school-shooting-in-2018-that-number-is-flat-wrong/2018/02/15/65b6cf72-1264-11e8-8ea1-c1d91fcec3fe_story.html?utm_term=.bff65651d6c6"><em>Washington Post</em></a>, explaining that the definition of "school shooting" used by the group was broad enough to include the suicide of a man who had been parked outside a vacant school that had been closed for seven months.
The activity of "Twitter bots" in the wake of the Florida shooting comes against a backdrop of separate U.S. government inquiries into possible connections between Russian agents, the <a href="https://home.nra.org/">National Rifle Association</a> (NRA), and the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump. In January, <a href="http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/article195231139.html"><i>McClatchy newspapers </i></a> reported the FBI was investigating whether a Russian banker called Alexander Torshin with close ties to Vladimir Putin may have funneled money through the National Rifle Association to support Trump’s presidential campaign.  
Data compiled by the <em><a href="https://www.opensecrets.org/">Open Secrets</a> </em>site of the Center for Responsive Politics investigative nonprofit service in Washington suggest the NRA spent almost $55 million on the 2016 election. However, according to a <em><a href="http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article177312006.html">McClatchy</a></em> news report, it was more than $70 million. Those hoping the latest mass shooting might bring clarity to what Florida Governor Rick Scott pledged to be a <a href="https://www.flgov.com/2018/02/15/gov-scott-we-must-have-a-real-conversation-about-keeping-students-safe/">"real conversation"</a> about gun control may remain disappointed. The complicated issue of gun violence and gun legislation in the United States appears more tangled than ever.
On February 2, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon officially requested information from the NRA and U.S. Treasury Department related to possible Russian contributions to the NRA to support Trump’s campaign (<em><a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/02/wyden-asks-nra-treasury-about-russian-contributions-for-trump-support.html">CNBC</a>)</em>. In a letter to the NRA, <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/02/wyden-asks-nra-treasury-about-russian-contributions-for-trump-support.html">Wyden, a Democrat, said</a> he was “specifically troubled by the possibility that Russian-backed shell companies or intermediaries” illegally influenced the U.S. election (CNBC).  
  [contribute-c2a text="You can edit and add more" buttons="edit"]
  [contribute-c2a text="Discuss what matters to you" buttons="talk"]
Categories Categories
United States Current Affairs, Politics, Russia, Technology, United States, United States
Article type Article type
emerging emerging
Tags Tags
  gun control, National Rifle Association
Author byline Author byline
No No
Has hero Has hero
Yes Yes
Hero Alignment Hero Alignment
full full
Hero Image URL Hero Image URL
None None
Featured Image URL Featured Image URL
Sources Sources

Subscribe to our newsletter

Be the first to collaborate on our developing articles

WikiTribune Open menu Close Search Like Back Next Open menu Close menu Play video RSS Feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Follow us on Instagram Follow us on Youtube Connect with us on Linkedin Connect with us on Discord Email us