US military exercises in the Southwest, called JadeHelm15, proved fertile ground for all manner of anti-government conspiracy theories to grow. They also provided the Kremlin & Co. the opportunity to intervene with the intent to make an already tense situation worse. Wherever Americans are found in opposition to each other, you will likely find the Kremlin's trolls on the fringes, stoking the fire. This is one brief tale of an abortive attempt by Kremlin-linked elements to do just that: intervene, take advantage, use our own domestic issues against us.
@JadeHelm15Intel is the account in question. It appeared in April and managed to insinuate itself in social networks of Americans concerned with JadeHelm15.
We noticed almost immediately that @JadeHelm15Intel owed almost all of their 20,000+ followers to Twitter botnets previously seen operating in support of Kremlin information operations.
On or about April 24, the project seems to have been abandoned. Why they did so is a matter of speculation - perhaps they discovered that 20,000 make-believe followers are no guarantee that your project will get traction.
Not being at liberty to discuss how we already knew about the botnets, we decided to examine the account for indications it was something more/other than it purported to be - indicators that we *could* talk about. To do so, we decided to do a comparative analysis of the @JadeHelm15Intel followers vs. those of @intelwire, a genuine open source intelligence Twitter account. The results follow, and speak for themselves.
8.9% of Americans do not speak Russian.
64% of the accounts are 'eggs'. That's not normal.
95% of the accounts have fewer than 50 followers.
22% of the accounts are ronery. If you are very quiet you can hear their teardrops as they hit the marble floor tiles...
53% of the accounts tweeted something in the last 24 hours, because bots don't sleep.
And 14.4% of the accounts say nothing at all.
Our expectation is that the boys in St. Petersburg will try and reprogram their bots to beat a profile that is based on what we posted here, without considering that we have left out key elements of The Profile. So good luck with that.
© 2015 Andrew Aaron Weisburd