Friday, 23 August 2019

Boris Bot Army ON THE MARCH

We hear that social media will become ever more influential in disseminating opinion, in getting political propaganda out there. We know something of the machinations of players like Cambridge Analytica. And we know that there has been a campaign on behalf of alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson to harvest voter data under the guise of an opinion survey. So the obvious corollary should surprise no-one.
A complete Muppet. And Elmo from Sesame Street

It seems that whenever Bozo The Clown Tweets, rather a lot of fellow Tweeters decide to Like and Retweet whatever The Great Leader is telling the world, which sounds innocuous enough until the status of many of those fellow Tweeters is considered. Rather a lot of them have few followers; indeed, many have no followers at all. Some have Tweeted very rarely since their accounts were created, if at all. But they like to Like Bozo.
Some appear to be based in Russia, some in China, some in the Middle East. They have one characteristic in common: when Bozo Tweets, they become momentarily active. This boosts the Twitter metrics for Bozo’s Tweets, but more importantly, it helps to increase the signal strength of the Bozo broadcast. So how many of these Bots are out there?
This is a small selection of the bots discovered so far

Labour activist Chris Furlong has discovered hundreds of these accounts, as he told recently: “The latest [Boris Johnson] tweet got thousands of retweets & likes within an hour. However, when you check the accounts retweeting/liking it, many have no or very few followers, never tweeted themselves, brand new accounts. Who is paying for the many thousands in The Boris Bot Army?” Who indeed? And there is more.
Some accounts are new: “This account is Meankitty70. It has no profile. It has tweeted/retweeted 485 times in its 6 days. They are mainly Donald Trump tweets or his supporters. It also likes [Boris Johnson] tweets”. Some are not: “This is the aptly named account Gary Dicker. It hasn't tweeted itself for well over two years. In total it has tweeted nine times, asking people to download a bear? It has also liked 6 of [Boris Johnson] tweets in the last month”. The latter account is over four and a half years old.
Here’s an even older account: “This account is called Bill. It was opened in 2013 and has never actually tweeted anything in all that time. It has actually given six replies to other people's tweets in six years, all in Arabic. Bill also likes [Boris Johnson] tweets”. Or one older than that: “This account is John Craig. It has managed two retweets in seven years. It has also managed to like seven [Boris Johnson] tweets in four days”.
And it’s not just Bozo The Clown who is being boosted: “March of The Boris Bots? Not just [Boris Johnson] in the Tory Party who suddenly gets a huge spike in their likes/retweets by thousands of new & no profile Twitter accounts. It's across the Tory Party. Sometimes on the same day from one post to the next. So who is paying for them?
Who indeed? And the age of some accounts suggests not that they have been created to order, more that they have been hired. There is not a snowball in hell’s chance that the numbers involved are being directly controlled. So someone, somewhere, is paying for their services. As a result, the Boris Bot Army is now on the march.

There is a General Election coming. And the Tories want to win it. By whatever means.
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Tommy Robinson And A Bent Copper

Former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Robert Mark memorably said that “a good Police force is one that catches more crooks than it employs”. His crusade, during a career that spanned 40 years, was to root out Police corruption; hundreds of officers were dismissed or forced to resign on his watch. But the corruption has never gone away.
That sad fact was demonstrated by the Daniel Morgan murder and the decades of obstruction his relatives faced in finding out what really happened. It was reinforced by discoveries in the wake of Operation Motorman, where Steve Whittamore had contacts able to extract confidential information from the Police National Computer.

So it should surprise no-one to see it claimed that Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, had at least one corrupt Police officer who was willing to supply address details of Lennon’s targets - in return for an appropriate cash payment. After all, if real journalists could do this - and they did - then pretend ones could do it too.

Lennon’s pretence of merely “doing journalism” is what led him and his sidekicks to my front door in April 2017; from there the questions were obvious. How had Lennon got my address, and why did he insist not only on calling me “Paul”, but claiming - wrongly - that I was using a false name? We may be closer to finding the answers.

It seems that Caolan Robertson, one of those sidekicks who rocked up that April night, and who is now out of favour with both Rebel Media - under whose auspices Lennon targeted me - and Lennon himself, has decided to come clean and tell all to Byline Times. The first instalment of his confession was published yesterday.
Who's on the end of the line?

Under the headline “Tommy Robinson and the Boys in Blue”, Peter Jukes and Hardeep Matharu tell that some Police officers voiced open support for Lennon, with Robertson “claiming that police officers went beyond personal opinions to actively supporting Robinson’s campaigns by providing confidential details of his targets”.

Then comes Lennon’s visit to my house. “Beyond the intimidatory visit, one mystery has always remained about this episode. Throughout, Robinson refers to Fenton as ‘Paul’. Fenton told Byline Times that, since childhood, he has always been known by his second name - Timothy. Paul - his first given name - is not on any public database, but remains on his medical records”. Only my NHS record shows Paul as the name I use.

This is not by design: unless someone who does not use their first given name tells the NHS and has their records amended, it is assumed the first given name is the one used. So the question of Lennon finding my address is not merely one of searching for it - it is the source of the information he received. And it has to have come from the NHS.

Jukes and Matharu go on to say “On two occasions, Robertson and another witness claim that they heard Robinson claim he had a police contact who procured confidential information on potential targets who he would pay in cash in an envelope - between £250 and £500 for each address”. Also, they have been told that “[Lennon’s Police] contact could obtain ‘medical records’”. That’s most interesting.

Police corruption, like Stephen Lennon, remains a problem. I’ll just leave that one there.
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Hope Abandons Reality

As the date pencilled in for the UK to leave the EU draws ever nearer, minds are becoming focused on the prospects for deals - and, indeed, no deal. The result of that focus, though, is proving highly variable, especially when it comes to factual accuracy. Indeed, for those hacks working in the service of the more desperate right-leaning titles, facts are proving to be the first casualty of their own particular information war.
Christopher Hope ...

So it has been at the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph, where chief political correspondent Christopher “No” Hope has decided that what happened yesterday in Paris, where alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson met with Président Emmanuel Macron at the Elysée Palace, did not really happen. This has allowed him to declare victory for Bozo The Clown in the retelling.
... and the fruits of his dishonesty

As with Bozo’s meeting with Angela Merkel the previous day, full advantage was taken of the language difference, and that most Telegraph readers believe that speaking languages other than English means speaking English very loudly, and very slowly. So it was that Hope told his followers “Brexit latest news: Major boost for Boris Johnson as Emmanuel Macron says Withdrawal Agreement can be amended”.
There was only one problem with that claim: Macron had not said what Hope claimed. As Georgina Wright of the Institute for Government summed up, “My take on Macron: - Repeats EU stance: open to further talks but UK must put fwd workable alternatives that solve border & protect SM - Says time is short: cautions that WA is unlikely to fundamentally change - Reminds that EU Commission who negotiates, not EU leaders”.
She then added “In other words, nothing new”. So there should have been no surprise at the blowback. “Why are you reporting the opposite of what was said? I listened to the whole press conference and Macron said nothing of the sort … Macron said nothing of the sort. He said the WA has been agreed by the 27 and will not be reopened. Go get your ears syringed and then listen again” being typical. And there was more.
Macron said no such thing … He said nothing remotely like this … That's simply untrue … No he didn’t, liar … In your dreams … President Macron said NOTHING of the sort. You and the torygraph should be ashamed of peddling lies”. But there it is in the Tel this morning, demonstrating how far the former paper of record has fallen.
Johnson demands fresh border plan … PM orders ministers to turbocharge search for new Irish solution as Macron says Withdrawal Agreement can be amended”. Tell the readers the truth? Ah, but that’s so last Century.
This wilful detachment from reality prompted Rob Hutton to devise a new way through the Brexit minefield: “One possible Brexit solution is for the Telegraph just to announce the backstop has been removed, and everybody else to agree to stay quiet”.

Given Christopher Hope’s shameless ability to paint rank dishonesty as premium standard journalism, that might just work. Small mercies, and all that.
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Thursday, 22 August 2019

Boris Invites Leo To Step Outside

While the BBC was misinterpreting what Angela Merkel said in her discussions with our alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, our free and fearless press was joining in the feast of Brexit delusion as a full participant, and no part of it was participating more eagerly than the Murdoch press, showing that those who are foolish enough to believe anything really will believe anything.
Wake up Tom, you've been conned

The pass was sold in no style at all by the Sun’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn, who not only allowed someone in Government to sell him a pup, but went ahead and packaged it up as a story, under the dubious headlineBoris Johnson wants temporary arrangement with Ireland that guarantees no hard border”.
A “temporary arrangement”? Here’s the deal: “The Sun has learned that Mr Johnson is ready to propose a new bilateral deal between London and Dublin to act as a bridge until stand-off border checks - dubbed ‘alternative arrangements’ - are ready … Under the new idea, Ireland would win a special dispensation from Brussels to diverge from EU rules temporarily so it can stay aligned with the UK”. Do go on.
In turn, the London government would agree a common rule book on goods and standards with Dublin while the temporary arrangement lasts … A senior minister told The Sun: ‘The solution is a bilateral agreement to agree a common rule book for Britain and Ireland for as long we need one … Ireland would also keep all the advantages of its single market membership, if the EU is prepared to be flexible’”. That’s it, is it?
It’s total horseshit. Delusion on stilts. “I say, you Irish cheps, just do as we say for a decade or two, will you?” Someone still believes Ireland can be treated like a colony. But Newton Dunn has swallowed it whole, responding to dismissive comments with “Funny that. No10 didn't deny it when I put it to them last night. Plus, the version put to me wouldn't require Ireland to leave the SM (somehow)”. Somehow. Except it would.
The blowback was fierce and instantaneous. “We'll burn down our parliament before we let our government sell us out to the Brits. There is precedent … Ireland is Europe. Europe is Ireland. We are no longer a colony of the British crown. Our interests diverged from those of the mandarins in Westminster many years ago”. Quite.
As to the supposedly senior minister who Newton Dunn cites in his piece, “Any idea why they were willing to see something so dimwitted out in print and attributed to them? Domestic or party consumption? Did they think they were rattling Ireland? Did they not anticipate gales of laughter from Dublin?”. And there was more.
Dead cat scenario. There is a whole pile under the desk of ‘kitten killer’ Cummings … Now next time, do be so gullible, and report these stories with loathing and derision. Like a real journalist would do”. And a Tweeter who shrugged “Whatever sells papers, ey Tom?
As soon as Newton Dunn was fed that line, he should have looked his contact in the eye and told them to Just Fuck Off. And not even paused to say please.

Our media class is now irretrievably detached from reality. I’ll just leave that one there.
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The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of Nazis

He was barred from her country; they were both barred from the UK. But far-right love has won through in the end, and the knot duly tied between Brittany Pettibone and Martin Sellner - in his home country of Austria, which was also the home country of, er, we won’t go there right now, thanks. The wedding reception was apparently wonderful, except there are no photos going the rounds. Some attendees were sensitive about being snapped.
How do we solve a problem like the Nazis?

And despite the area around Vienna, Sellner’s home city, being rather flat and featureless - especially east of the Danube - the happy couple have managed to put out a wedding photo which suggests they are in Sound of Music country. But there will be no guitar singalongs, even if there are plenty of Nazis and their hangers-on.
The happy couple congratulated by Nick Monroe ...

Sadly, Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, and flew out to Vienna to interview Sellner after he was barred from entering the UK, was not there, having been unavoidably detained at one of those hotels Her Majesty runs. But his on-off sidekick Lucy Brown was there. And so was career saddo Nick Monroe.
... and a blissfully happy Lucy Brown

Monroe has discovered that Vienna is an excellent city to just chill out and wander around, but hopefully he won’t be on this side of the North Atlantic too long. Meanwhile, the new Mrs Sellner is now an immigrant in a place where they speak foreign. How will she fare if hubby gets his collar felt over his proximity to the Christchurch shooter?
It was telling to see who sent their congratulations, with many of the most unsavoury individuals out there on the far right featuring, not least phoney Imam Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi, who appeared on Zelo Street recently. But he does allow the Sellners to claim that they have at least one Muslim on board, even if it is a fraudulent one.
Who else has congratulated the happy couple? Well, there’s Scott Greer for starters, one of the Daily Caller team. That’s the same Daily Caller that is linked to white supremacists, has indulged in climate change denial, and recently faked a nude photo of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. Greer tells his followers he’s “Just a white guy on Twitter”. Indeed.
Then we arrive at Ian Miles Cheong. He’s a creep. He featured in the GamerGate ruckus. He also features at the Daily Caller. He doesn’t like to be called Alt-Right. He’s featured on the now-defunct Heat Street site run by wacko former Tory MP Louise Mensch. He has opinions, providing you pay him in money to have them.
And bringing up a toxic quartet of well-wishers for the Sellners is David Vance, one of the least savoury citizens of the United Kingdom. Vance runs Alt News Media, and has been a staunch defender of Stephen Lennon. He is also virulently Islamophobic, and happily sprays around terms like “globalist”. So a little deniable anti-Semitism, too.

The new Mrs Sellner has updated her Twitter bio to read “Author. Wife. Catholic”, so we can no doubt expect the appearance of lots of little Nazis in the future. After all, the hordes of Scary Muslims™ have to be prevented from replacing white people somehow, eh?
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BBC Backstop Bum Steer BUSTED

The herd instinct of our free and fearless press is well-known: one paper has a story, and it starts gaining traction, the rest of the pack joins in. What is less common is for the herd instinct to be sparked by one news source whose employees might be expected to give out correct information in the first place. That is where we are this morning, after the BBC mis-translated German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s remarks.
This is what the Beeb’s website told readers yesterday evening: “German Chancellor Angela Merkel has suggested an alternative to the Irish border backstop - a key Brexit sticking point - could be found within 30 days … The PM said he was ‘more than happy’ with that ‘blistering timetable’ … He accepted the ‘onus’ was on the UK, but said he believed there was ‘ample scope’ for a new deal to be reached”.
And so it came to pass that the press pack not only decided that this was the line to take, but they also believed it. Today’s front pages confirmed it, with the i Paper proclaiming “30 days to solve Brexit: Merkel’s offer to Johnson”. The Telegraph goes with “30 days to ditch the backstop”, the Express30 DAYS TO DO A DEAL”, and the Mail pretending it can talk foreign, offering “CAN WE DO IT? JA, WE CAN!” And it wasn’t just the press.
At ITV, political editor Robert Peston joined in the delusion: “Striking that Merkel has pulled rug from under [Philip Hammond], the Gaukeward Squad and much of anti-no-deal posse by saying there is negotiation to be had in next 30 days on how to eliminate backstop. No wonder [Boris Johnson] looks happy”. They all got it wrong.
Angela Merkel didn’t say what the Beeb claimed she said. That got lost in the translation, as David Brown has explained: “What Angela Merkel said... ‘We need a backstop. Maybe we will find a solution in 2 years time, maybe we will find a solution in thirty days time…’ How the BBC reported it... ‘Angela Merkel announced that a solution to the backstop could be found in thirty days…’”. Got it in one. There was no offer.
David Allen Green, who has been keeping a watching eye on the unfolding shambles, observed “After three years, the propensity of London media to fall for the spin of Westminster politicians rather than hearing and reading what EU politicians and bodies actually do say continues to disappoint. Brexit is as much a media and information crisis as a political crisis”. And the BBC is as much a part of that crisis as the press.
And we can see how the failure of the London-centric media to understand what happened yesterday is playing with Brits abroad, thanks to Jon Worth in Berlin: “Mark my words - in 30 days from now: … the Merkel-Johnson press conference will be forgotten … the UK will still have no workable solution to avoid the Backstop If you think I'm wrong, reply to this tweet, and I will dig it out in 30 days to see”. He has made a diary entry for next month.
Our media class is not listening to those outside its hermetically sealed bubble. Alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has just been done up like a kipper by Angela Merkel and, led by the BBC, they’re trumpeting a great victory in the retelling.

The real world may not be to the media class’ liking. But that is no reason not to report on it, and report honestly and accurately. Another less than ideal day for the Beeb.
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