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One report is by a company called “New Knowledge”, and the other is by Oxford University and Graphika. Oxford University has been criticised for taking £75m (75 million British pounds, i.e. $95 million) from Len Blavatnik, to set up the Blavatnik School of Government. This was one of the largest amounts of money donated in Oxford’s 900 years of existence. It used to be that people were supposed to be dead before things are named for them – gone are those days, it seems.

Did the US taxpayer pay for the Oxford University research? Did the US Senate appoint them or did they volunteer? With all of the universities in the United States, the US Senate chose to work with, and perhaps pay, a foreign institution which has a school of government endowed by a Trump linked Russian oligarch who is believed close to Russian President Putin, and, for lagniappe (that little something extra), to longtime Trump friend and Israeli PM Netanyahu.

Blavatnik apparently objects to the term oligarch, but it is doubtful that he would prefer the more appropriate traditional American term of Robber Baron: Russian Robber Baron Blavatnik.

Len Blavatnik, owner of Access Industries and born in the Soviet Union, appears to tie many of the Republican Senate-Trump-Russia threads together. He reportedly has US citizenship now. Blavatnik’s Access Industries has given millions to right wing PACs, including over $1.5 million to the (Republican) Senate Leadership Fund, at least a million to South Carolina Senator Graham’s presidential campaign, and a million to Trump’s inaugural committee. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/ Inaugural Committee Donations: http://docquery.fec.gov/pdf/286/201704180300150286/201704180300150286.pdf
Access Industries recently bought Calpine along with Trump donor and fund-raiser, nuclear waste king, Doug Kimmelman’s Energy Capital Partners (Energy Solutions), and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Kimmelman is a Goldman Sachs “alumnus”. https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/916457/000091645717000107/exhibit991-8182017.htm
Blavatnik is linked to Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner through Chabad. Trump’s father was linked to Chabad through Bunny Lindenbaum. Netanyahu is an old friend of Donald Trump and even Trump’s father, as well as a friend of the Kushners. Haaretz reported that Blavatnik is a Netanyahu friend.
See more here: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2018/06/04/epa-superfund-task-force-chiefs-trump-russia-republican-leadership-connection-blavatnik-owns-large-ownership-stake-in-lyondellbasell-where-steven-cook-worked/

Here’s what the Guardian says about him: “Blavatnik, a UK and US citizen, was knighted for his philanthropy this year. His links to Vladimir Putin’s Russia and controversy in his business background mean criticism has often followed his donations….https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/sep/03/len-blavatnik-oligarch-controversy-philanthropy-resignation-oxford-professor This is a conservative (as in cautious) article as it was apparently put through the wringer by Blavatnik’s lawyer. For instance, the Guardian was made to apologize for calling Blavatnik a Putin pal in an earlier version. Blavatnik lawyers argue that he’s not an oligarch. The Guardian disagrees: “Further, Sir Leonard Blavatnik’s lawyers have informed the Guardian that the term “oligarch” in his view does not apply to him. The Guardian editor-in-chief disagrees.” See: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/sep/03/len-blavatnik-oligarch-controversy-philanthropy-resignation-oxford-professor. For the following article, as well, Blavatnik’s lawyers contacted the Guardian:
“Oxford University criticised for accepting oligarch’s £75m donation
Institution should ‘stop selling its reputation to Putin’s associates’ and rethink cash from Len Blavatnik, critics sayhttps://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/nov/03/oxford-university-accused-over-oligarch-len-blavatnik-75m-donation

According to the US Senate Intel Chairs:
New Reports Shed Light on Internet Research Agency’s Social Media Tactics
Press Contact: 
Caitlin Carroll (Burr) (202) 228-1616
Rachel Cohen (Warner) (202) 228-6884

Monday, December 17, 2018

New Reports Shed Light on Internet Research Agency’s Social Media Tactics
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, third-party experts released two independent analyses of social media tactics used by Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA) in their attempts to influence U.S. political discourse. The reports are the first comprehensive analyses of their kind conducted by entities other than social media companies themselves, and are based in part on data provided by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI).

The reports, titled “The Tactics and Tropes of the Internet Research Agency” and “The IRA and Political Polarization in the United States, 2015-2017,” were authored by New Knowledge, and University of Oxford and Graphika, respectively. 

Statement from Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC):
“Increasingly, we’ve seen how social media platforms intended to foster open dialogues can be used by hostile foreign actors seeking to manipulate and subvert public opinion. This newly released data demonstrates how aggressively Russia sought to divide Americans by race, religion and ideology, and how the IRA actively worked to erode trust in our democratic institutions. Most troublingly, it shows that these activities have not stopped. As we work to address these threats, these reports are proof positive that one of the most important things we can do is increase information sharing between the social media companies who can identify disinformation campaigns and the third-party experts who can analyze them.”

Statement from Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA):
“These reports demonstrate the extent to which the Russians exploited the fault lines of our society to divide Americans in an attempt to undermine and manipulate our democracy. These attacks against our country were much more comprehensive, calculating and widespread than previously revealed. This should stand as a wake up call to us all that none of us are immune from this threat, and it is time to get serious in addressing this challenge.  That is going to require some much-needed and long-overdue guardrails when it comes to social media.  I hope these reports will spur legislative action in the Congress and provide additional clarity to the American public about Russia’s assault on our democracy.”

Background:
The third-party reports released today are based in part on data provided by the Committee under its Technical Advisory Group, whose members serve to provide substantive technical and expert advice on topics of importance to ongoing Committee activity and oversight. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions presented within are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Senate Intelligence Committee or its Membership.

Separate from the Technical Advisory Group, the Committee is conducting an ongoing investigation into the extent of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections. As part of its investigation, the Committee has held several open hearings on the use of social media by foreign influence campaigns, including recent hearings with third-party experts in August 2018 and social media company officials in September 2018. The Committee will release its own report on social media with its findings as an installment of its investigation.

To read New Knowledge’s report, “The Tactics and Tropes of the Internet Research Agency,” click here. https://www.newknowledge.com/disinforeport
To read University of Oxford and Graphika’s report, “The IRA and Political Polarization in the United States, 2015-2017
,” go to original Senate link where there is a link:
### https://www.intelligence.senate.gov/press/new-reports-shed-light-internet-research-agency’s-social-media-tactics