I’m so excited for this evolution, partnering with HOPE not hate to build on my work from last year and bring you more of the analysis, research, and links you crave.
What’s changed? As you can see we have some spiffy new branding. We’ve also merged the Ctrl Alt Right Delete Facebook page with HOPE not hate’s American page. Otherwise things will still function more or less the same. New editions will still go out every Sunday night at 6 PM EST. You’ll still hear from me every week but we’ll also include more content from HOPE not hate’s research team and down the line more commissioned pieces.
Questions or comments? You can still hit me up by replying to this email.
We’ve got loads of good stuff this week — starting with our first ever breaking news story. Let’s do this! – Melissa
Huge Bitcoin windfalls for the Alt-Right
Nazi trolls, alt-right vloggers and other extremists activists have pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars in Bitcoin profits in recent months, a HOPE not hate investigation has found.
Far-right actors, in particular the tech-savvy alt-right, have long been interested in cryptocurrencies. For the most part, their attraction to this technology stems from a desire to avoid the attention of law enforcement.
However, our research has revealed that with the huge growth in the price of Bitcoin in 2017, a number of leading far- and alt-right activists hit the jackpot — some even raked in more than a million dollars.
Guide to this week’s right-wing conspiracies
by Melissa Ryan
As news about the Mueller investigation has reached a fever pitch (potential cooperation! Trump meeting with Mueller! etc.), the Frog Squad are doing everything they can to create a duelling news cycle. Even if you don’t spend a lot of time monitoring them in their safe spaces, you’ve probably seen their handiwork on social media and cable news. Below is a quick and dirty field guide to help you make sense of it.
I wrote about this last week but here’s a refresher: Rep. Devin Nunes, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee who was forced to recuse himself from the committee’s own Russia probe, wrote a four-page classified memo which alleges that “the Mueller investigation into Trump’s 2016 campaign was based entirely on the controversial Steele dossier, a largely unconfirmed opposition research document asserting corrupt collusion between Trump and Russia.” Ever since news of the memo’s existence broke the Frog Squad, led by Sean Hannity, and buoyed by Russian trolls have been obsessively calling for its release. They’ve been joined in this by a handful of Republican electeds which is hilarious when you consider that the Trump Administration or the Republican House Intelligence Committee (which, again, Nunes chairs!) could declassify at any time. It’s a 100% manufactured controversy that for some reason has received a ridiculous amount of media coverage.
My personal favorite conspiracy, Secret Society, alleges that there is a literal secret society inside the FBI working to destroy the Trump Administration. The comes from Reps Trey Gowdy and John Ratcliffe who in an appearance on Fox News claimed that FBI lawyer Lisa Page texted FBI agent “Perhaps this is the first meeting of the secret society.” Senator Ron Johnson piled on claiming to have an informant at the FBI aware of this supposed Secret Society’s meetings (a claim he later walked back and then would super walk back!). ABC News got ahold of the text, which is obviously meant as a joke, but that hasn’t stopped the Frogs from going all in, aided by hundreds of newly created Twitter accounts. President Trump, who never met a conspiracy theory he didn’t like, also weighed in on the missing texts but as of yet we don’t know where he stands on the Secret Society’s existence.
We’ve now reached the deep cut of right-wing conspiracies. This one hasn’t been covered on Fox news as of yet doesn’t have any GOP member of Congress touting it, but it’s been a constant topic of discussion in #MAGAland for over a month now. I haven’t written about it because it just seems too insane but it also isn’t going away anytime soon so here we are. Will Sommer, author of Right Richter, who has covered #TheStorm AKA #Qanon extensively, describes #The Storm as “based on a series of cryptic clues posted on the pro-Trump sections of the 4Chan and 8Chan forums by to an unidentified user styling himself as “Q Anonymous” — a reference to a top-level “Q” security clearance. Q’s fans are convinced that Q is a member of the Trump administration or intelligence community dropping good news about what’s really going on to Trump supporters. And they’ve dubbed the whole theory “The Storm” or “Calm Before the Storm,” a reference to that time Trump cryptically referenced “the storm.”” New York Magazine also covered #TheStorm saying “Like Pizzagate, the Storm conspiracy features secret cabals, a child sex-trafficking ring led (in part) by the satanic Democratic Party, and of course, countless logical leaps and paranoid assumptions that fail to hold up under the slightest fact-based scrutiny.” Mercifully #TheStorm hasn’t broken through beyond the Frog faithful. Yet.
The Shorenstein Center at Harvard and New America released Digital Deceit: The Technologies Behind Precision Propaganda on the Internet this week.The report “analyzes the technologies of digital advertising and marketing in order to deepen our understanding of precision propaganda.” including behavioral data tracking,online ad buying, search engine optimization (SEO), social media management services (SMMS), and artificial intelligence in marketing.
Politico has released an interactive report The 270 people connected to the Russia probes, a super handy resource when you’re trying to keep your Papadopoulos’ and your Veselnitskaya’s straight. Bill Moyers has a continually updated interactive Russia investigation timeline that pairs nicely with the Politico piece.
Digital Forensics Lab published Russia’s Full Spectrum Propaganda, “a case study in how Russia’s propaganda machine works.”
The Alt-Right doesn’t care about the Constitution (Washington Monthly)
Right-Wing Email Scammers Want You to Invest in Cryptocurrencies (The Daily Beast)
HOPE not hate’s Kickstarter is in the home stretch. They have just three days left to get fully funded to produce a documentary version of their landmark report: A Year Undercover inside the Alt-Right. Longtime readers know how obsessed I am with the report. I share HOPE not hate’s desire to make this film available to as many people as possible. I’m proud to support this project and I hope you will as well. You can back the film on Kickstarter here.
That’s a wrap on this week. Thanks for joining us.