Why Facebook Surrendered Into Russia’s Bear PawsSaturday, 10 March 2018
Censorship: A component of the Kremlin’s hybrid war against liberty and democracy around the world and at home.
From Texas to the Balkans, Zuckerberg rakes in millions based on the same principle – WITHOUT ANY SCRUPLES. And raking in millions, Zuckerberg causes billions in harm on the USA and the EU.
attorney, member of the Atlantic Council of Bulgaria
My Facebook profile was blocked. Again. For 30 days.
As a member of the Atlantic Council of Bulgaria I feel obligated to not only declare this fact but also to analyze it and made the logical conclusions of it.
Last time my profile was blocked, it was for sharing an article by the German government-owned news agency Deutsche Welle (DW), describing Russia’s fraudulent activity in signing a contract with the German corporation Siemens. The scandal started when Siemens’ CEO publicly refused to attend the meeting planned with Putin based on the fact that Russia, in violation of the contract, supplied turbines for production of electricity to the occupied Crimea. In this way, the Kremlin placed the German corporation under the EU and the USA sanctions against certain Russian persons and entities, introduced in response to Russia’s occupation of Ukrainian territories.
This time, however, the reason for blocking my profile is unknown. Neither did I get any notice from Facebook why this was done.
I need to also note that multiple times this last year blocks were placed on the profiles of a number of social and political figures from democratic and Euro-Atlantic circles who often publish information with inconvenient facts concerning Bulgarian government policies as well as schemes for robbing Bulgaria by the Russian energy vampire. Multiple times blocks were put on the profiles of public figures like Theodor Mihaylov, Father Raphael, attorney Hadjigenov, Prof. Minekov, Tatyana Christie, Todor Tzvetanov, of Georgi Vasilev Georgiev, chairman of the civil association Boetz, as well as the members of the Atlantic Council of Bulgaria Dimitrin Vichev, Theodor Spasov, Korneliy Savov, Asen Genov, Manol Glishev, and myself. A block was placed on the Facebook account of the well-known and loved by his students history professor Emil Djassim. Blocks were placed on the profiles of many other people connected to the only political structure in Bulgaria, independent of the Kremlin, “Da, Bulgaria.” Recently the profile of Iliyan Vasilev, a former ambassador of Bulgaria to Russia, was also blocked. Blocked were also the profiles of hundreds of other FB users who simply share these views and political ideas.
What is the common denominator between all these people? They are all popular figures who are opposed to the Russian mafia and its Bulgarian serfs.
The mechanism for reporting and blocking profiles is unclear to most users. It is a virtual machine which responds to reporting by a certain number of reporting, i.e. certain number of organized persons.
Apparently, the Bulgarian mafia (the behind-the-scenes accord of political parties, business circles, and government institutions), controlled by the Kremlin, has at its disposal groups of trolls who report – in an organized manner and by instructions – the profiles of those inconvenient to the Kremlin and its policies.
At the same time, the Bulgarian Facebook has abundant paid advertising and posts of former agents of the Communist secret police – The Committee for State Security, the Kremlin’s loyal servant for decades.
Bulgaria is brutally dependent on Russian energy supplies. Even worse: our nation is deliberately placed in this dependency, without any alternatives, by its consecutive governments. That has been going on for decades. It is not a secret that all political parties represented in the Parliament are directly controlled by the Kremlin and are created by agents of the Kremlin.
Bulgaria pays the highest price for Russian natural gas in Europe (30 to 40% more expensive than, for example, Germany or Turkey).
The excise duty on fuel in Bulgaria is deliberately kept at the lowest possible level so that the monopolist – the Russian company Lukoil – is able to sell at the highest possible mark-up. In this way, billions of leva that should have been collected by the treasury, are left with the monopolist and its dependent cronies. Lukoil controls 100% of the import of raw petrol and 100% of the production of fuels. And it has not paid even a cent in corporate tax for the last 10 years, while its declared revenues are over 60 billion leva (over $37 billion).
Between the two corporations – Gazprom and Lukoil – the Bulgarian state forfeits about 4 billion leva from the exorbitant mark-up, all of which is left to these two monopolists!
Under the threat of sanctions from the European Commission, Gazprom officials proposed to start talks for a new agreement at lower prices. But the government of Bulgaria ignored the proposal, saving Gazprom from the impending billions of dollars in fines, and billions of dollars in forfeited profit from the lower prices. Meanwhile thousands of ordinary people in Bulgaria are in fear of the possibility of losing their homes due to the exorbitantly high central heating bills, accumulated over the years. Exorbitantly high because of the exorbitantly high price of the Russian natural gas.
Imagine what can be done with an additional $4 billion leva in the government treasure every year!
The Bulgarian-speaking Facebook is filled with paid ads of former agents of the Communist Committee for State Security, loyal servants of the Kremlin. Such pro-Russian trolls visit my profile every day, and they influence tens of thousands of FB users with their pro-Russian, anti-American, anti-NATO, and anti-European propaganda.
My question is: What is the impact of all this on the stability of the Alliance, of the EU, on the interests of Bulgaria, the USA, and of our other allies?
What is the impact of all of this given that since Bulgaria became a member of NATO, its government has not bought a single new tank or jet fighter, but we are spending tens of millions of dollars for useless repairs of the obsolete Russian MIGs, which are the easiest target for any modern jet fighter or SAM; while our Defense Minister is striving to give hundreds of millions more to the Russian MIG corporation?
I need to also note the fact that over 4 billion leva were siphoned and given to cronies from the Corporate Commercial Bank (CCB), a KGB creature since the time of the Communist dictator Todor Zhivkov, when Bulgaria as a nation was captive in the USSR’s bear paws. All these businesses and political structures created and controlled by the Kremlin.
Well, 4 billion leva are sufficient to buy two F-35 flight squadron wings and Bulgaria would have had the most up-to-date combat-ready air force in Europe!
All of Bulgaria’s government enterprises kept their accounts in that bank and the money was used to finance Russian efforts to buy out even more assets, retail chains, TV channels and other media in Bulgaria.
More than 30% of the Bulgarian economy is already in the hands of the Russian imperialism and at least as much in the hands of their cronies and oligarchs from the former Communist nomenklatura and the Committee for State Security, through more than 5,000 off-shore companies. In addition, in the Commercial Register of Bulgaria one can find more than 100,000 entities registered by Russian citizens. The dependency on Russia of the government and of the Parliament is extraordinarily high. Of 17 billion euros in EU grants, 12 billion have been allocated to persons and entities connected to the Kremlin and its oligarchy.
When Bulgarian media report on international news, they don’t refer to the original sources but to the Russian government’s agency TASS. This absurd situation indicates the full dependency of the vast majority of the media in Bulgaria on their Russian masters. Naturally, all information is supplied reflected through the prism of Russian interests, and these media, including the BTA (the official government information agency) do not shy from quoting TASS, even when it is about NATO military exercises (instead of getting the information straight from the NATO Press Office).
But let’s return to Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg. What Zuckerberg makes is money. Lots of money. He obviously doesn’t care where the money comes from. And in a country like Bulgaria, the money comes from the mafia and its serfs. For this reason the Bulgarian Facebook is abundantly full with paid pro-Russian, anti-European, anti-NATO, and anti-American propaganda. Including paid groups maintained by paid Russian trolls. There are dozens of such groups and they have tens of thousands of members. The whole Bulgarian Facebook is influenced with paid ads. This is done by former agents of the Communist Committee for State Security and trolls, all on Russian payroll, paid for by the billions stolen from Bulgaria and from the EU grants through criminal schemes.
In this respect I will request from the members of the Atlantic Council of Bulgaria to prepare an open list of these persons (trolls) as well as the groups created by them; mainly those agents of the Kremlin who daily appear on our personal walls with the so-called “sponsored posts.” We will present that list to the institutions that may have concerns.
Without exceptions, all TV networks are under the control of the political mafia connected to the Kremlin, and the journalists who won’t submit, are fired. The distribution network for newspapers is also under the control of a person connected to the Kremlin, and having his share in the billions siphoned through the Corporate Commercial Bank. The few independent newspapers can’t afford to write against the interests of Lukoil and Gazprom, because if they do, their newspapers won’t be delivered to their readers and they will go bankrupt within days. At the same time, the Kremlin’s mafia maintains dozens of information websites full of fake news against NATO, the EU, the USA, and full of praise for the “Upper Volta with missiles,” called Russia, and of the emperor in the Kremlin. After I checked some of the domains, I found out that some of these websites are registered to Russian companies, but are run by organized crime groups in Bulgaria.
One paid ad that reaches tens of thousands of users costs 400 leva. Can you figure how such fake journalists find thousands of leva per month to creep uninvited into our profiles?
This is the money that Zuckerberg rakes in. In this case, to serve the Russian hybrid war and the mafia which sponsors Facebook. Here we are talking about tens and perhaps even hundreds of thousands of leva every month.
For money, Zuckerberg is obviously ready to do anything.
To make money in China, he made himself do jogging in Beijing to show that there is no air pollution in China. He even took a photo of himself with the Chinese Prime minister’s book. In the same way, he takes money from any African or Arab dictator who pays, through his hired trolls, for popularity, for blocking inconvenient profiles, for propaganda.
In this way, for relatively small amounts of money, Facebook and Zuckerberg incur serious political and economic harm on the USA themselves, on the business of other American companies and on the interests of America in general.
Alas, freedom of speech guarantees such actions, but in this case the issue is censorship, and that’s against those inconvenient to the people who pay.
As a result of its policy, Facebook is a servant to the mafia in places like Bulgaria.
To hit closer to home for the Western readers, one of the most brutal examples that demonstrate how Facebook helps Russia’s hybrid war, happened last year in Houston TX. This also harms millions of taxpayers in the USA and Europe.
In 2017, a Facebook group was created under the name “The Heart of Texas,” with false profiles and 250,000 likes. Later, an investigation discovered that the profiles are registered in Saint Petersburg in Russia, from an IP-address of Putin’s hybrid war troll factory. The same profiles have also created the FB group “United Muslims of America” with 320,000 likes.
On May 21, the false profiles in “The Heart of Texas” issued a call for a protest before the Islamic Center “Da’Wa” in Houston, based on the fake news that an Islamic library is being opened financed with government money. At the same time, a call for a counter-protest was issued by the group “United Muslims of America,” created by the same IP-address in Saint Petersburg.
Those who responded to the first call were ultra-right fascizoid morons, as well as some decent people rightfully alarmed by the news. Those who responded to the second call were naive and well-meaning Texans, as well as a few local Muslims
The confusion before the building was significant, and the state wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars to prevent clashes, and dozens of police officers were diverted from their work to escort the protests created by the false groups.
And the Russian trolls were capable of achieving all this by just paying Zuckerberg $200 for a paid ad. Not to mention the social and cultural consequences, the hatred and the division planted in the society, and the time wasted by thousands of people.
Consequently, both groups were closed by Facebook’s admins, but . . . a day after the fair.
During the US presidential election a Senate commission discovered that Zuckerberg (Facebook) received large sums from Russian trolls. Just through the creation of fake profiles and paid fake news for limited periods.
Imagine what the impact is, how many fake profiles and groups were created, how much fake news, hatred and division were sown, if for only $200 Russian trolls were capable of bringing hundreds of people to downtown Houston and of creating tensions?
That’s the way they work in every European country.
Not to mention that entire new political structures and parties were created and are working under direct instructions from the Kremlin (like the DPS, Ataka, and the VMRO in Bulgaria).
In reality, by making his millions of dollars, Zuckerberg causes harm in the billions to the US and the EU.
The problem is that Facebook started enforcing censorship, and the freedom of speech is suspended through the ability to block the profiles of those public figures who are inconvenient to the mafia.
This is a brutal violation of human rights, of the freedom of speech and the right to information, by the company Facebook and its owner Zuckerberg. A brutal violation which earns Zuckerberg millions of dollars.
So don’t be surprised if personal data of millions of Facebook users are leaked to a company registered to a person born in the USSR. Whether there was also leakage of data to the Russian intelligence services, I will leave the law-enforcement agencies of the EU and the US to decide.
It is time for the US Congress and the European legislators to take emergency measures not only to protect the freedom of speech and the right to information, but also to expand and update the criminal punishments against persons who deliberately sow lies and hatred, advocate violence, and spread ultra-left, ultra-right, and Islamist ideologies.
Suffice to mention the political instability and uncertainty in Bulgaria, the media and legislative climate, to a significant extent due to Facebook trolls, and the fact that in the last several years, no serious investor has invested in Bulgaria.
Not to mention the political and social microclimate against American companies, against USA, NATO, and EU policies, a social climate Russian trolls create in certain countries using Facebook.
It is time for our Western allies to take more serious and deeper look at the heavy dependence of Eastern Europe on the Kremlin.
As long as the “Upper Volta with Missiles” rakes in hundreds of billions of dollars a year from its European energy market, this will continue. Hundreds of billions which it uses for sable-rattling, building armies, paying to thousands of trolls, and buying media and most of the political establishment.
For many years I have insisted that the only solution in this respect is a total, complete, and unconditional refusal by the EU of Russian energy supplies and their quick replacement with alternatives. The people of the EU also need to understand this, because it is their checkbooks that supply the billions of dollars feeding this scheme. Their checkbooks also supply the billions that maintain the Russian security services, as well as the politicians. Including those politicians who serve Russia.
In reality, by paying with their money for Russian gas and oil, they feed the Kremlin’s hybrid war and pay thousands of trolls in Facebook and in all the Internet for parasitic websites and hybrid media. Their money is what creates and finances whole political structures in the EU which are pushing the Union towards its dissolution, fuels calls for leaving NATO, instigate and create social and political tensions. Tensions, for which the taxpayers pay themselves.
It is time for the specialized government institutions and structures to be created which will be responsible for enforcing the policies of peace and security and for controlling social media groups, so that pre-emptive action can be taken, instead of reacting after the fact.
Because the direct and indirect damages are valued in billions of dollars.
Billions which the taxpayers pay for, while Zuckerberg takes money from the Russian bear.