Caroline Orr Bueno, Ph.D Profile picture
Sep 1, 2018 18 tweets 12 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
With all signs indicating that the Assad regime, backed by Russia, is readying an imminent massacre, the ongoing smear campaign against the White Helmets (@SyriaCivilDef) is ramping back up. Network graph below reflects past 24 hours of activity on Twitter. 1/

Network graphs in this tweet & previous one reflect the most active accounts posting about the White Helmets (@SyriaCivilDef) in the past 24 hours. All are circulating the same few narratives accusing the White Helmets of being terrorists, kidnappers, murderers. 2/
As you can see from the last tweet here, accusations like these made by Beeley (who claims to have some pretty detailed knowledge of a chemical attack that hasn't happened yet...) typically evoke rage against the White Helmets ("destroy these animals"). That's not an accident. 3/
Russian/Syrian regime propaganda targets the White Helmets because:
-They want to discredit them so you won't believe their video/photographic evidence documenting Assad's war crimes.
-They want to dehumanize them so you won't care when they become victims of those war crimes. 4/
Here, you can see the Kremlin using its official Twitter accounts to set the narrative, which accuses the White Helmets of:
-Preparing to stage a "false flag" chemical attack
-Kidnapping children
-Being terrorists & working with terrorists

Then, those same narratives (accusing the White Helmets of staging "false flag" chemical attacks, kidnapping children, working w/ terrorists, etc.) are picked up & amplified by Russian propaganda outlets like Sputnik & RT.

Next, the smear campaign against the White Helmets gets disseminated to a wider audience via a combination of paid propagandists, Assad/Putin apologists, useful idiots, Islamophobes, a few randos, & a fair share of automated accounts (bots). 7/
This account (created the week after the April 2017 chemical attack in northern Idlib) exhibits a lot of signs of automation (e.g., rapid, continuous, high volume activity; heavy use of hashtags; etc). It's among the accounts tweeting/RT'ing the most about the White Helmets. 8/
I don't even know what this means, but it filled my Russian propaganda bingo card.

(On a serious note, though, people who believe one conspiracy theory are likely to believe others, so this is sort of like a calling card to pull others in. The content is aimed at Americans). 9/
Those of you who follow me will recognize this guy, who claims to a cardiologist, because I wrote about one of his false accusations against the White Helmets not long ago. There's something especially egregious about (apparent) academics & doctors spreading these toxic lies. 10/
I wrote this piece in late May. It's a pretty deep dive, looking at how one false claim from a supposedly authoritative voice (an MD) is assigned legitimacy, amplified across platforms, & used to bolster an existing narrative -- truth be damned. 11/…
None of this is new. Many of the most active contributors to the smear campaign targeting the White Helmets have been doing it for years. In case there were any questions about the purpose, this 2015 tweet should clear things up.

Yes, she's advocating for them to be killed. 12/
For reference purposes, here's the archived link to the 2015 tweet:

The White Helmets are eyewitnesses to war crimes carried out by the Assad regime (which is backed by Russia). They document the work they do in areas that are essentially unreachable by independent journalists, researchers, etc. -- so the evidence they provide is invaluable. 13/
When Assad has denied using chemical weapons, the White Helmets have provided evidence showing otherwise. When Assad has denied targeting civilian populations by starving entire towns & striking medical facilities, the White Helmets have provided evidence showing otherwise. 14/
And in the process of exposing these war crimes, the White Helmets became targets of those responsible for carrying them out -- the Assad regime & its Russian allies, aided by an expansive & coordinated social media-based disinformation campaign. 15/
An analysis of the disinformation operation targeting the White Helmets on social media found that out of 12,000+ accounts pushing disinformation about the White Helmets, about half of them were linked to other Russian disinformation operations. 16/…
Here's what the Twitter discussion looks like today, based on a word cloud associated w/ the hashtag #WhiteHelmets.

As you can see, the two most dominant themes involve accusing the White Helmets of:
-staging a false flag/chemical attack
-being or working with terrorists


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More from @RVAwonk

Oct 8, 2018
NEW: Rick Gates sought proposals from Psy-Group (the Israeli intel firm from the Aug 2016 Trump Tower meeting w/Don Jr, Erik Prince, etc) to create fake online identities & gather intel as part of a social media manipulation effort to swing voters to Trump
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Now, NYT reports that Rick Gates sought out the proposal to gather intel & create fake online/social media identities.
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And then she became a victim of this practice after being drugged.
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Describing the parties during which girls were targeted for gang rape, Julie Swetnick says she has a "firm recollection of seeing boys lined up outside rooms ... waiting for their 'turn' with a girl inside the room. These boys included Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh."
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Sep 25, 2018
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"There are multiple witnesses that will corroborate these facts and each of them must be called to testify publicly."

Holy. Shit.
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Sep 23, 2018
Kavanaugh is a very hot topic among accounts linked to Russian influence operations.

Last night, an article about Ed Whelan's false claims aimed at "exonerating" Kavanaugh was the #1 URL & top trending URL (9,900% spike in shares) in the network tracked by @SecureDemocracy... 1/
The domain linked to the article about Ed Whelan's false claims was also the #1 domain and top trending domain shared by accounts linked to Russian influence operations last night... 2/

Kavanaugh is currently the #3 topic being discussed by accounts linked to Russian influence operations. And you can see how they're working both sides of the discussion: (#)ConfirmKavanaughNow is a top trending hashtag, while (#)WhyIDidntReport is a top hashtag overall... 3/
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