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Alfa Bank “DNS Logs” Hoax: Deconstructing a Six-Year, Ongoing Disinformation Operation
From “anonymous researchers” through Louise Mensch, “Conspirador Norteno,” Breitbart, Donald Trump, Mike Flynn, Bill Barr, John Durham, “Q” and Elon Musk
Real conspiracies are often shielded by fake conspiracies.
In 2016, just before the election, a group of “anonymous researchers” published “evidence” of secret communications between sanctioned Russian AlfaBank, Trump Tower, and Spectrum Health — which is owned by the family of Erik Prince’s sister, Betsy Devos.
It was tasty hopium for the left and supporters of Hillary Clinton. Wouldn’t it be convenient if we could prove what everyone already knew — that Donald Trump was a Russian puppet? Sure sounded good.
The problem was that the “evidence” was falsified and the theory behind it was ridiculous. But it was just credible enough to get a gullible liberal reporter to write about it in Slate.
Six years later, Elon Musk, newly announced GOP cult member, used it to attack Hillary Clinton — two days ago, as of this writing.
How did that happen? It’s a sordid tale but instructive on a number of levels.
This piece is about how one bit of disinformation that was originated by an anonymous group of “researchers” has been cooperatively weaponized by deceptive operatives on both sides of the political divide.
On October 5, 2016, after failing to sell the story to any major publications, an anonymous researcher posted a blog on a random Wordpress site called “Trump’s Russian Bank Account” which was false — starting with the deceptive headline.
As we will see, this is intentionally crafted disinformation designed to divert attention from Trump’s blatantly illegal public conduct to steal the 2016 election and make the left seem crazy for asking questions. The data was immediately called into question.
Despite this, three weeks later, on the Halloween before the 2016 election, this story dropped in Slate. It should never have been written, but the reporter ran with it anyway. This is a classic example of a someone getting snookered by deceptive ops.
The reporter relied on an anonymous group of “researchers” whose spokesperson was a LARP who called themselves “Tea Leaves.” Among the many bizarre choices made by the author of the story, Franklin Foer, the article intentionally used masculine pronouns for Tea Leaves despite the fact it was a woman, named April Lorenzen who was sued by AlfaBank.
This story was amplified by Hillary Clinton on Twitter and received some attention in major news outlets. But this “bombshell” was a dud that was fully eclipsed by Pizzagate, and the other “scandals” being dreamt up by MAGA3X and the GOP about Clinton. This culminated in Mike Flynn paying an ex-FBI agent named Brian McCauley to make up a story that caused James Comey to reopen the email investigation which swung the election to Trump.
Moreover, this gave Trump and his propagandists ammunition to play victim and cry that they were being spied on.
The allegations by these researchers were not credible from a technical standpoint, and the narrative they pushed made no logical sense. Within a few days of the blog post, other researchers started to dissect and discredit both the data itself and the explanation that went along with it.
There is no reason Moscow would need to communicate with Trump this way. And there’s no reason it would use a sanctioned bank to do it. AlfaBank’s explanation for the communications between the servers, to the extent they were real, is that they used a specific type of email server to send out automated promotional mail and that Trump Org was on the email list.
This was true, and the whole thing should have ended there, but Trump and his allies used this misinformation as a scapegoat and didn’t let it go. Trump claimed to be victim of “spying” because the “researchers” used non-public DNS data to make their kooky allegations.
“DNS” is just a bunch of computers that receive a URL like “jimstewartson.substack.com” and give back a number like “18.104.22.168,” called an IP address that tells your browser how to actually find the website.
How did these “researchers” obtain DNS data that’s supposed to be private? Good question. The computers and equipment that take in all these URLs and give back addresses are distributed across the world. So anyone with access to DNS devices can eavesdrop on the requests and get a partial view of internet traffic. It’s the internet equivalent of getting someone’s phone records, it tells you who’s calling who, but not what was said.
The “Resistance” — Mensch and Conspirador
Another key reason this story continued to proliferate was that deceptive accounts in the leftist “Resistance” movement which was infiltrated by chaos operatives, amplified and validated the theory. This centered around one of the most harmful LARPs on Twitter, dangerous right-wing chaos operative Louise Mensch.
Mensch has been running the same play since she met Milo Yiannopolous and Erik Prince six years ago. She is paid to push conspiracy theories that sound good to leftists but are intentional distractions. Mensch announced her intention to push this false narrative in March 2017.
One of the reasons Mensch got attention on Twitter was a bizarre and irresponsible decision by the New York Times to publish her in an op-ed on March 17, 2017.
Assisting Mensch in pushing her propaganda was a Twitter account that was started in July 2016 (the same month the “anonymous researchers” started) but wasn’t terribly active until it suddenly started validating the false AlfaBank story — and Mensch. The account is “Conspirador Norteno” which is a LARP that is there to push false narratives and target people on the left that tell the truth. He backs it up with “technical wizardry” that is actually smoke and mirrors.
This harmful partnership between Mensch and “Conspirador” along with weaponized professional troll “KassandraSeven” continues to this day.
I should note for full disclosure this is the same set of operatives that engineered my own suspension from Twitter. “Conspirador” is actually a Canadian tango musician who works for Bell and has a batphone to Twitter Safety, while “KassandraSeven” is a failed travel blogger named Susan who harasses people on Twitter for a living.
Here’s someone else who was targeted in 2018 using the same deceptive “technical proof” that Conspirador is an expert at manufacturing. “Patribotics” is Louise Mensch’s alt account on Twitter.
This same group attacked DeSantis whistleblower Rebekah Jones and got her inauthentically suspended as well.
Conspirador manufactured a story — with his usual nonsense charts and graphs — that accused Rebekah Jones of buying followers. This was false, but kicked off an operation that KassandraSeven and Twitter cooperated with, that ended up with Jones’s permanent ban.
The Damage Continues with Twitter’s Complicity
It’s remarkable enough that this group of propagandists and social media assassins has been handed the power by Twitter itself to run these operations and hand-pick people for elimination, but the fact that this disinfo is still being used by the right wing right now, six years later, must be exposed, including the people who engineered this hoax. The lack of a coherent explanation allows this to metastasize.
Mike Flynn aka Q is the Beneficiary
Who else has been pushing this propaganda? The very last word that “Q” posted was “Durham” which is John Durham who was tasked by Bill Barr’s DOJ with weaponizing this disinformation against Hillary Clinton.
Of course, Q was just a LARP controlled by theocratic fascist traitor Mike Flynn who is the one who benefits most from the nonsense Durham investigation since it obscures his own treason in cooperating with Putin to try to “take over” America.
We Need Answers
Many, many questions remain.
Was Twitter assassin Conspirador Norteno part of the “anonymous researchers” that manufactured this hoax?
Who pays this guy and why does Twitter Safety use his “services?”
How did chaos operative Louise Mensch learn about the AlfaBank hoax and what prompted her and Conspirador to relentlessly push it through 2017?
Why is Twitter Safety giving control of its platform to deceptive, harmful LARPs who spread propaganda and eliminate people they target?
How did Elon Musk get involved with weaponizing this disinformation?
And, why in the hell is Biden’s DOJ allowing this charade to continue?
More to come. #ArrestMikeFlynn