46/ (For those who don't know, QAnon's core theory is that there's a secret cross-party, cross-branch conspiracy within the government to "nab" Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders as being part of a devil-worshipping cult of cannibalistic pedophiles. No, I'm *not kidding*.)
47/ This is where the word "foreign" comes in. As anyone who reads this feed knows, there are different paths to acting as an "agent" for another party under the law, and different ways that we use the word "agent" *outside* the law. They all apply in the "Uncle Blazer" instance.
48/ In the legal sense, an "agent" is someone who has been explicitly "tasked" by a "principal" to either (a) act across a "general" scope of activities (making them a "general agent"), or (b) in a narrow and "special" range of authorized actions (making them a "special agent").
49/ Example: the fringe of the #Resistance (largely defunct now) in 2017 said that Trump was a special agent of Putin—i.e., Putin had explicitly and directly tasked him with achieving certain outcomes. (In 2020, the "Uncle Blazer" entity claims I've also been so tasked by Putin.)
50/ By comparison, when we use "agent" in a non-legal sense out in the regular world—though, confusingly, there's also some overlap here with how it's used in a counterintelligence sense—we include the possibility of someone being an "unwitting" agent of another person or entity.
51/ How does one become an "unwitting" agent of another person or entity, including a "foreign" person or entity? Well, you may have come under the influence of—or been compromised by leverage or promises from—such a person or entity to act unknowingly toward certain outcomes.
52/ In other words, you may know and have spoken to the person who is (in a de facto sense) your principal, but you haven't been tasked with an illicit final outcome—rather, you've been "led down the primose path" to "voluntarily" do things that will lead to a certain result.
53/ Obviously, an unwitting agent can eventually become a witting agent—indeed, the degree of influence, leverage, compromise, and/or affinity can soon become so great that the de facto principal explicitly requests or demands that a more "witting" agent relationship be created.
54/ We must also—with someone like Donald Trump—explore a middle ground between "witting" and "unwitting": though almost certainly not someone who was ever formally, explicitly and directly recruited by the Kremlin to act as a Kremlin agent, Trump knows his actions benefit Putin.
55/ In other words, Trump hasn't "accidentally"—without realizing or appreciating the consequences of his actions—spent four years (arguably seven, since 2013) publicly speaking and acting in a way that redounds to Russia's benefit. But he's not a special agent, legally speaking.
56/ The "Uncle Blazer" entity—whether its owner(s) are foreign or domestic, whether it's part of a Prince scheme or not, whether it's an alt-right troll or not, even if it's one embittered leftist out to destroy the Trump critics s/he feels betrayed by—is aiding foreign purposes.
57/ No one on political Twitter doesn't know the top anti-Trump podcasts. No one on political Twitter doesn't know Trump's top critics. No one who reads political nonfiction doesn't know the NYT bestselling Trump-book authors. The "Uncle Blazer" entity is targeting all of these.
58/ Worse still, this entity has—if it's the same entity—exhibited the potential, in the past, to accrue 100,000+ followers. It has already accrued 20,000+ followers in 4 weeks—less than 100 days before an election. And that makes its disinformation scheme incredibly dangerous.
59/ I'm fighting back here because I've always fought back against trolls and disinformation, though—candidly—it can be scary to do, and you lose followers, and folks see you as "off-topic" when frankly denying the power of trolls, foreign and otherwise, cost America big in 2016.
60/ Whoever's behind it, there's a scheme to systemically discredit Trump critics through an anonymous network of disinformation feeds that will *never* identify themselves, *never* stop blocking dissenters, *never* stop stalking their prey, and *never* stop spreading false info.
61/ I don't care what the hit to me from posting a thread like this is. Writing the Proof series, and running this feed, hasn't been a happy experience from the get-go. I do it because Trump is a danger to the country I love, and I took an oath to uphold the Constitution in 2001.
62/ Adam Schiff said on MSNBC last night that Russia is engaged in active measures online to disrupt the election by sowing division and confusion in American discourse. A preelection disinformation campaign attacking Trump critics and spreading lies about "Vol. 5" does the same.
63/ @BlazerLegacy is *dangerous*. Accusing key Trump critics—and authors—of being under FBI surveillance and facing imminent arrest is dangerous. (For reasons you can imagine that I don't need to delve into.) Telling people there's a deep-state anti-Trump conspiracy is dangerous.
64/ Telling tens of thousands of people that Congress is about to "nab" Trump pre-election—in contradiction of all major-media reporting on the work/operation of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence—is dangerous, as it could deflate Biden voters right before the election.
65/ And as there is little evidence that Twitter will act to suspend or ban accounts that falsely accuse American citizens working outside government of being under FBI surveillance and subject to immediate arrest, all that can be done is to call these accounts out in this way.
CONCLUSION1/ A Shutterstock image of a Russian troll is all we'll ever have of those seeking to disrupt the 2020 election via disinformation. They're faceless, anonymous feeds—and rings of accounts—offering "stock" #Resistance narratives that could be run by anyone from anywhere.
CONCLUSION2/ My biography is as public as a biography can be. I've laid bare everything I've ever done. I've had trolls comb through my old cases, harass my employer, try (very badly) to figure out what metamodernism is, and in every instance... they discovered how boring I am.
CONCLUSION3/ To spice up their trolling, they made up false claims. I even had a lawyer—a lawyer!—claim I'd never worked a felony case. (I've worked hundreds, including homicides.) I had people I've never met claiming to know me. Upshot: it's gotten very, *very* strange at times.
CONCLUSION4/ But now—*now*, 13 weeks before an election, as I'm about to publish the most damning book on Trump published this year—I and other Trump critics (including MSNBC analysts and other NYT bestselling authors) are facing a coordinated disinformation attack that is scary.
CONCLUSION5/ I won't be intimidated. I won't be silent. I'm exactly who I say and have proudly laid bare for 5 years now my entire life. I stand by all I've written and will write. And if Twitter won't stop libel involving the FBI and imminent arrests, I'll use my voice to do it.
BIOGRAPHY/ In case you missed it—the thread ended up winding more than expected—my biography is below. I'm sorry that disinformation agents who can't argue with my work or the work of other Trump critics are coming after us through disinformation, instead. http://www.sethabramson.net/bio
SCREENSHOTS/ Here are some of the dozens of false attacks on NYT bestselling author, MSNBC analyst, and superlative Trump critic Sarah Kendzior by the "Uncle Blazer" entity ("zap!" signifies that the entity is blocking a commenter on its feed):
SCREENSHOTS2/ The "Uncle Blazer" entity is oddly obsessed with my forthcoming book Proof of Corruption. Here are a few of the entity's dozens of tweets about me being a disinformation agent and working for Putin:
SCREENSHOTS3/ More in a similar vein, this time featuring references to the FBI as well (this is just a selection, there are dozens and dozens of such tweets on the feed of the "Uncle Blazer" entity):
PS/ Years from now, many whose lives were normal and boring pre-Trump—including me—will emerge to write books, columns, and posts about how strange their lives got as soon as they became public Trump critics. My point: it's not the people—it Trump's milieu, seizing on the people.
PS2/ I think it all looks quite odd from the outside looking in. But I know enough Trump critics in real life—normal folks, like me, who didn't think this would be their life from 2016 to 2020—to know that Trumpworld consumes normalcy not just among its adherents but its critics.
UPDATE/ A SparkToro analysis of the "Uncle Blazer" entity reveals it accrued 22,694 followers in its first 4 weeks—while following *no one*. Per SparkToro, there are some "follower" red flags. For instance, 90% of followers have "URL issues"—no URL or a non-resolving profile URL.
UPDATE2/ To put this in perspective, the "Uncle Blazer" entity's follower-accrual pace in its *first 4 weeks*—while following *no one*—would see it accruing an astounding *350,000 followers per year* while following 0.
That's how successful this disinformation scheme aims to be.
That's how successful this disinformation scheme aims to be.
UPDATE3/ Keep in mind follower accrual is slowest when a feed first appears—as the "Uncle Blazer" entity did 4 weeks ago. So if you've had a Twitter account for (say) 6 years, the "Uncle Blazer" entity would—at its *initial* accrual rate—accrue 2.1 million followers in that time.
UPDATE4/ Per a SparkToro analysis, nearly 40% of a random sample of 2,000 "Uncle Blazer"-entity followers had "spam-correlated keywords" in their profiles. And *66%* of the followers of this disinformation entity exhibited—per SparkToro—"a suspiciously small number of followers."
UPDATE5/ Most astounding is how hermetically sealed the "Uncle Blazer"-entity discourse community is: according to a SparkToro analysis of 2,000 random followers of this entity, *96%* of "followers" were listed "on an unusually small number of lists" run by normal Twitter users.