Russian Active Measures: Jade Helm 2015 Edition

Of course it was a Russian active measures campaign!

From the Texas Tribune (emphasis mine):

A former director of the CIA and NSA said Wednesday that hysteria in Texas over a 2015 U.S. military training exercise called Jade Helm was fueled by Russians wanting to dominate “the information space,” and that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott‘s decision to send the Texas State Guard to monitor the operation gave them proof of the power of such misinformation campaigns. 

Michael Hayden, speaking on MSNBC’s Morning Joe podcast, chalked up peoples’ fear over Jade Helm 15 to “Russian bots and the American alt-right media [that] convinced many Texans [Jade Helm] was an Obama plan to round up political dissidents.”

Abbott ordered the State Guard to monitor the federal exercise soon after news broke of the operation. Hayden said that move gave Russians the go-ahead to continue — and possibly expand — their efforts to spread fear.

“At that point, I’m figuring the Russians are saying, ‘We can go big time,’” Hayden said of Abbott’s response. “At that point, I think they made the decision, ‘We’re going to play in the electoral process.’” 

Russia is waging war against the US and has been for several years. It is not a conventional war. It does not involve troops – at least not in the US. Rather it is a type of unconventional warfare. It is unconventional not in the classic and doctrinal understanding of unconventional warfare as “operations conducted by, with, and/or through irregular forces in support of a resistance movement, an insurgency, or conventional military operations”. Rather the unconventional warfare that Putin has been engaging in for almost two decades is intended to leverage non-military options across the cyber domain, utilizing broadcast and social media to inflame the grievances and widen the cleavages between targeted demographics to achieve Putin’s strategic objectives. This approach is similar to what the US calls Psychological Operations (PSYOP), which are defined as:

… to induce or reinforce foreign attitudes and behavior favorable to U.S. national objectives. PSYOP are characteristically delivered as information for effect, used during peacetime and conflict, to inform and influence. When properly employed, PSYOP can save lives of friendly and adversary forces by reducing the adversaries’ will to fight. By lowering adversary morale and reducing their efficiency, PSYOP can also discourage aggressive actions and create dissidence and disaffection within their ranks, ultimately inducing surrender. PSYOP provide a commander the means to employ a nonlethal capability across the range of military operations from peace through conflict to war and during post-conflict operations.

It is far past time for American elected and appointed officials to recognize that a new and different type of war is being waged against the US, as well as our allies and partners, and formulate appropriate policies and effective strategies in response. The ongoing failure to do so places us all at risk.

Stay frosty!

Open thread.






90 replies
  1. 1
    Obvious Russian Troll says:

    Fucking figures.

  2. 2
    efgoldman says:

    Abbot and his buddies are so far in the fever swamp. it was certainly credible that he really thought Jade Helm was true.
    No matter how much evidence accumulates, they’ll never believe/admit that they were manipulated.

  3. 3
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Obvious Russian Troll: It’s obvious. If I may use that term in reply to you.

  4. 4
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    It is far past time for American elected and appointed officials to recognize that a new and different type of war is being waged against the US, as well as our allies and partners, and formulate appropriate policies and effective strategies in response. The ongoing failure to do so places us all at risk.

    I agree. In my estimation, the Russians pose an existential threat to the future of human civilization with their meddling. I know I’ve been accused of liberal American exceptionalism in the past, but I think that US and its allies (as in fostering environments where individuals can strive to be the best they can be) have the best potential to create a world where people no longer have to be afraid.

  5. 5
    NotMax says:

    The more outlandish the conspiracy theory, the more willing are the gullible to swallow it whole.

  6. 6
    philpm says:

    Leave it to the dumbest governor in the country to prove that conservatives really are as dumb as the Russians think they are.

  7. 7
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: question: are you a chick or a dude?

  8. 8
    efgoldman says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    question: are you a chick or a dude?

    Yes

  9. 9
    Obvious Russian Troll says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I’m not going to get frosty about that.

  10. 10
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Steve in the ATL:
    Why do you ask?

  11. 11
    SRW1 says:

    That probably was a nice surprise for the Russians. Conduct a simple Dupe the Rubes exercise and find a veritable governor in the bycatch.

  12. 12
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @efgoldman: I’m well aware of your personal confusion on this issue, thanks very much

  13. 13
    Mnemosyne says:

    Since it’s an open thread, our cat Annie has started to forgive me for taking her in for a lion cut five (5) days ago, but I’m still on probation.

    Though she may also have been hiding out because we had an unexpected chilly/rainy snap and she was COLD. 🙀

  14. 14
    Corner Stone says:

    @Obvious Russian Troll: How about pious?

  15. 15
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷:

    I know I’ve been accused of liberal American exceptionalism in the past,

    No, no, you haven’t.

  16. 16
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: it was the subject of debate earlier. There were differing opinions, but no one could really explain his or her reasons for thinking one way or the other.

  17. 17
    efgoldman says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    I’m well aware of your personal confusion on this issue

    I’m not confused. You asked the question

  18. 18
    Corner Stone says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Dood.

  19. 19
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Was there a consensus?

  20. 20
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Corner Stone: good idea—let’s do this family feud style!

    Survey says…

  21. 21
    Corner Stone says:

    @philpm: Abbott is a completely self-serving IGMFY asshole, but is he the dumbest GOV in the US?

  22. 22
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    Well, by one person who hardly ever comments here I was. Viva something.

  23. 23
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷:

    that US and its allies (as in fostering environments where individuals can strive to be the best they can be) have the best potential to create a world where people no longer have to be afraid.

    Unfortunately we do a far better job about talking about or national values and ideals than we do living up to them. Either domestically or internationally.

  24. 24
  25. 25
    LongHairedWeirdo says:

    Technically, the Russians just joined the war on the US that the GOP started – without the GOP craziness, the disinformation campaign would have flopped. I mean, come on – what kind of damn fool would think that Obama was running a military operation to round up dissidents? Well, any of the GOP-rubes, and probably some of the GOP-cons. (That’s “cons” as in “con artists” – there hasn’t been anything “conservative” about the GOP in a long time).

  26. 26
    Corner Stone says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷:

    I know I’ve been accused of liberal American exceptionalism in the past

    I am completely baffled right now.

  27. 27
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Corner Stone: he’s a lot smarter than his predecessor, but that doesn’t answer the question. Who’s governor of South Carolina or Mississippi or Arkansas these days? Oh, or Kansas?!

  28. 28
    Corner Stone says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Who’s governor of South Carolina or Mississippi or Arkansas these days? Oh, or Kansas?!

    Isn’t it Jesus?

  29. 29
    efgoldman says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Who’s governor of South Carolina or Mississippi or Arkansas these days? Oh, or Kansas?!

    Look at their electorates. What else would you expect?

  30. 30
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Corner Stone: right, like those states would ever elect a Jew!

  31. 31
    philpm says:

    @Corner Stone: I really think he is. Others may be more corrupt or self-serving, but I honestly can’t think of another one that approaches that Louie Gohmert/Steve King level of whackadoo dumbassedness.

  32. 32
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @efgoldman: i would expect a racist moron. But the question is who is the biggest moron.

  33. 33
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Steve in the ATL:
    Well, I’ve mentioned my sex here before, I think. I’m male. What thread was it?

  34. 34
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: wasn’t in a thread. Was in a meet up. thanks for clarifying!

  35. 35
    Corner Stone says:

    Man, I wish I could mention my sex here.

  36. 36
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Isn’t the guy who took over in SC from Haley a piece of work?

  37. 37
    Platonailedit says:

    Stupid gets manipulated easily.

  38. 38
    efgoldman says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    who is the biggest moron.

    So very hard to quantify. Snotty Walker threw away hundreds (and possibly more) of jobs because they were going to make trains. Kris Krispie turned down billions of federal $$ to (eventually) ease the NYC commute. Yet neither is as big a moron as the Southern Gentlemen.

  39. 39
    danielx says:

    One would think that with today’s modern medical miracles, they could come up with something tasting slightly less disgusting for colonoscopy prep. Such is unfortunately not the case.

    Yuck.

  40. 40
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Steve in the ATL:
    Sorry if my consensus question came off weird. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anyone thinking I was anything other than male. Out of curiosity what did you think I was?

  41. 41
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Did Shaq give birth on the pregame show?

  42. 42
    efgoldman says:

    @danielx:

    they could come up with something tasting slightly less disgusting for colonoscopy prep

    Last time I dissolved it in Coke or 7-Up zero (no sugar)

  43. 43
    eclare says:

    @Steve in the ATL: How about Missouri?

  44. 44
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    I see Shaq doing commercials for General Insurance these days. It’s his prerogative, but I think he’s too eager to do cheesy product endorsements.

  45. 45
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: I thought female, but I’ve no idea why. I must have missed threads where you discussed your penis. Maybe it was the rose emoji?

  46. 46
    eclare says:

    @Platonailedit: And you can’t fix stupid

  47. 47
    efgoldman says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷:

    I think he’s too eager to do cheesy product endorsements.

    It’s none of your business. Don’t buy the product.

  48. 48
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @eclare: certainly a contender!

  49. 49
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Corner Stone: stupid restraining order!

  50. 50
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @efgoldman:
    It’s just my opinion. I think his bad acting has a lot to do with it.

  51. 51
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: That doesn’t tell me if he was giving birth during the pregame show.

  52. 52
    philpm says:

    @Steve in the ATL: I live in MO, and Greitens seems to be fairly intelligent, but is corrupt as hell and has zero sense in how to cover his tracks. Mostly, he’s really power hungry, but managed to piss off his own party enough that he has no power base.

  53. 53
    Mnemosyne says:

    @danielx:

    When I had mine, raven advised me to mix it and then stick it in the freezer for an hour or so to get really cold. The medication prevented it from freezing solid and the cold deadened the taste, or at least my taste buds.

    I also made sure I had my Kindle or iPad nearby because it was boring. Really boring.

  54. 54
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    It was probably some lame, awkward skit they were doing

  55. 55
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    The answer is right in the first reply on Twitter: pap smear.

    Sheesh.

  56. 56
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @philpm: You ever notice that the only SEALs you ever hear from are all shitbirds and they’re all extremely conservative and involved in Republican politics?

  57. 57
    Mnemosyne says:

    @efgoldman:

    You are extra grumpy today. Do you need to talk about it? 🤔

  58. 58
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: I was getting a second opinion. Anderson says this is an appropriate approach when one has medical questions.

  59. 59
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @philpm: that makes sense

    @Adam L Silverman: ayup

  60. 60
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    must have missed threads where you discussed your penis.

    LAWL! You made my night dude

    Maybe it was the rose emoji?

    Aren’t you a union negotiator (or a lawyer that works with unions)? For shame that you don’t know the traditional symbol of social democracy.

  61. 61
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Zinke was so bad he was denied an O6/captain level command and basically run out of that community.

  62. 62
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    Could someone get my comment out of moderation?

    ETA: Thanks!

  63. 63
    Obvious Russian Troll says:

    @Corner Stone: I’m a pious motherfucker. You got a problem with that?

    @danielx: No advice, but my sympathy. I can only say that the prep was far worse than the actual colonoscopy.

  64. 64
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    Years of severe chafing coming from not wearing underwear takes its toll.

    ;)

  65. 65
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Steve in the ATL: With the exception of this wonderful lady!

  66. 66
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: I represent management, not unions! But I do support labor rights, and think that a lot more industries and jobs should be unionized. And not just for my own job security..,,

  67. 67
    lumpkin says:

    Russia tested US critical thinking skills. At least half of Texas failed, leading them to correctly assess that prolly somewhere near half of the entire country would fail. How did we end up with so many ignorant gullible rubes here? We must have the largest collection of dipshits on the planet.

  68. 68
    Corner Stone says:

    @Obvious Russian Troll:

    @Corner Stone: I’m a pious motherfucker. You got a problem with that?

    I never have a problem with the humble servants of the Lord.

  69. 69
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax: Oy vey.

  70. 70
    danielx says:

    @efgoldman:
    @Mnemosyne:

    Now I hear bout these tips! But yeah, boring…fortunately I hit the library in preparation. I’ve done this before.

  71. 71
    Amir Khalid says:

    I had thought the kerfuffle over Jade Helm was genuine original Made in The USA nuttiness. I am disappointed that the Texan RWNJ lacks the creativity to invent his own nuttiness, and must have it spoonfed to him by Russian propagandists.

  72. 72
    Corner Stone says:

    @Steve in the ATL: If he was female he would be commenting under the nym Mandalay.

  73. 73
    dimmsdale says:

    I could maybe use some context here, from Adam or ?? — I was in a discussion recently with an ex-special forces guy (don’t remember which branch) and a former CIA agent; the Special Ops guy said he was much more concerned about North Korea than about what he dismissively called a ‘pee tape’; the ex-CIA guy said basically that anyone who thinks the US hasn’t been engaged in the same kinds of cyber-psyops in other countries is just ridiculously naïve. The discussion made me reconsider some of my assumptions about whether the US really IS ‘the good guys’, or rather is just another bunch of thugs engaged in the same sorts of covert psyops in other countries that the Russians are. (I don’t have a definitive conclusion to that, since I honestly don’t have information on that that doesn’t come out of spy novels or ‘Homeland’ or my 50’s orientation of ‘commies=bad, US=good’.)

  74. 74
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Corner Stone:
    Can you explain the joke?

  75. 75
    philpm says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Yup, I have noticed that as well.

  76. 76
  77. 77
    danielx says:

    @dimmsdale:

    We – the US – have fooled around with lots of other countries elections or their results. Chile in 1973, Iran in 1953 (remember that nice secular Mr. Mossadegh?), Guatemala in1953, Italian politics and elections since the end of ww2….those are more or less public knowledge. Whenever and wherever it suited and we could get away with it, more or less.

    I detest interference in US elections of any sort by anybody, but there is a certain amount or irony present.

  78. 78
    philpm says:

    @lumpkin: Even worse, they managed to sucker in basically every RWNJ in the country on that one. I’m thankful I hadn’t gotten near FB at that time. I probably would have alienated several friends and family members on that one.

  79. 79
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Corner Stone:
    Ok, explain what you meant.

  80. 80
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @danielx:
    Like you suggest, you can be against the US’ electoral interference in other nations in the past and still be against what Russia is doing. No irony there at all

  81. 81
    philpm says:

    @Amir Khalid: Since it happened during the Presidency of the black guy, discernment was not a quality in high supply or demand when it came to facts amongst such people during that period.

  82. 82
    Wag says:

    @danielx: On the plus side, if someone accuses you of being full of shit in the morning, you can hold your head up high and proudly say “Nope, not today!”. 😉

  83. 83
    Mnemosyne says:

    @danielx:

    In the words of your mother, just because your brother did something doesn’t mean that you get to do it, too. Saying that the US genocide of the Native Americans was worse than South African apartheid doesn’t mean that Americans should not have been allowed to oppose apartheid since we did much worse.

  84. 84
    KithKanan says:

    @danielx: I don’t hate the Russians for trying nearly so much as the Americans who help them succeed or just look the other way because they think it suits their own purposes.

  85. 85
    Chet Murthy says:

    @lumpkin:

    We must have the largest collection of dipshits on the planet.

    Ehh, prolly not. For instance, India’s population is 1.3B people. And I’ll bet they have exactly as many rubes per capita as we do — after all, they have their own version of fundamentalism and all that. Someone once said we live in a Red State World: every country has their equivalent of redneck cracker fundamentalist assholes.

  86. 86
    Chet Murthy says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: @dimmsdale: Mr Piranha, I agree that we’ve got a deplorable record — both overseas and in our own country. But guess what? It’s -our- country, and -we- are the ones who decide how to fix it. Not some fuckin’ jumped-up Russian Thief-for-Life masquerading as KGB masquerading as a politician. This is our country, and if we think we’ve done wrong, WE should decide how to fix it.

    Where I was raised (as it turns out, in Texas), that’s called Patriotism.

  87. 87
    hervevillechaizelounge says:

    @LongHairedWeirdo:

    I’ve always wondered about synergy of right-wing disinformation; do you think RWNJ media run survey panels for their disinformation?

    Like how do they know Uncle Cletus will be willing to believe X? Is it just assumed cracker nation will believe anything which makes them feel victimized and/or has the potential to hurt brown folk and China people?

    I suppose at this point they just ask Vlad which propaganda works best:(

  88. 88
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    I had thought the kerfuffle over Jade Helm was genuine original Made in The USA nuttiness.

    It’s entirely too easy to spin up conspiracy theories that go viral within US right wing communications networks. And successful ones live for decades, at least. (i.e. don’t do it unless absolutely necessary.)

  89. 89
    Bill Arnold says:

    @hervevillechaizelounge:

    Like how do they know Uncle Cletus will be willing to believe X?

    A/B testing (plus categorization using personal information and anything else available). I assume; don’t wade in those swamps ATM.

  90. 90
    MomSense says:

    Hayden is the guest on the relaunched Intelligence Matters podcast if anyone is interested.

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