Moon of Alabama — Feb 17, 2018
Yesterday the Justice Department indicted the Russian Internet Research Agency on some dubious legal grounds. It covers thirteen Russian people and three Russian legal entities. The main count of the indictment is an alleged “Conspiracy to Defraud the United States”.
The published indictment gives support to our long held belief that there was no “Russian influence” campaign during the U.S. election. What is described and denounced as such was instead a commercial marketing scheme which ran click-bait websites to generate advertisement revenue and created online crowds around virtual persona to promote whatever its commercial customers wanted to promote.
The indictment is fodder for the public to prove that the Mueller investigation is “doing something”. It is full of unproven assertions and assumptions. It is a sham in that none of the Russian persons or companies indicted will ever come in front of a U.S. court. That is bad because the indictment is built on the theory of a new crime which, unless a court throws it out, can be used to incriminate other people in other cases and might even apply to this blog. The later part of this post will refer to that.
In the early 1990s, some dude in St. Petersburg made a good business selling hot dogs. He then opened a colorful restaurant. He invited local celebrities and politicians to gain notoriety while serving cheap food for too high prices. It was a good business. A few years later he moved to Moscow and gained contracts to cater to schools and to the military. The food he served was still substandard.
But catering bad food as school lunches gave him, by chance, the idea for a new business: