Connect with us

Latest

Video

News

BREAKING: Fake news CNN discovers Russian video game “Hilltendo” tricked 60 million Americans to vote Trump (Video)

CNN finally caught Russians swaying millions of US voters with this 3-level game.

Alex Christoforou

Published

on

2,253 Views

CNN has blown the Trump-Russia 2016 election collusion doors wide open with undeniable proof of how the Russians convinced over 60 million Americans to vote Trump in 2016.

Aside from using 13 Russian bots on twitter working convince Americans to vote Trump, CNN is now reporting that the Kremlin also engineered a “Crooked” Hillary video game (“not playable on smartphones”) which had the awesome power to magically change voters’ minds during the 2016 US presidential campaign.

RT reports on the effects the game called “Hilltendo” had on the unsuspecting American voting public…

CNN’s crackerjack reporters have discovered that Russians created an anti-Hillary Clinton video game called “Hilltendo” and then tried to make it go viral in the weeks before the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Fake news CNN reports

On the surface, it looks like a silly, Flash-based game of the sort that populated the internet for years. Yet Hilltendo appears to be more sophisticated than that. In fact, it may indicate an intent to zero in on the people who played the game, track their behavior on social media, and hit them later with micro-targeted advertisements, according to several website programmers and cybersecurity experts who viewed the code at CNN’s request.

The evidence is embedded in the website’s code, internet records, the methodical campaign to make Hilltendo gain popularity online, and a Russian software developer’s ties to the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency.

Jonathon Morgan, whose company New Knowledge tracks the spread of misinformation online, said the game is an example of how sophisticated and expansive Russian propaganda is and why it’s difficult for any one social media platform to solve the problem.

The game consisted of three levels, starting with this one: “Help Hillary delete as many classified emails as possible before she is caught.” Players controlled a Hillary Clinton character who sits on a missile and eliminates emails, all while avoiding FBI agents.

The next level asked: “How much money can Hillary get from the Arab states?” At the top of the screen, nations’ flags drop money. At the bottom, the Clinton character holds a basket to collect the cash as it falls.

The final level challenged users to “Help Hillary throw the Constitution as far as possible,” and it included caricatures of then-President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton.

The game’s website had Facebook and Google tracking software embedded on it. This software would have made it possible for the game’s creators to identify people who played the game and later target them with advertising elsewhere on the Web, including on Facebook, potentially to direct them to disinformation campaigns.

Hilltendo would have been a relatively simple game to build, said Brian Moore, a New York-based developer who built the viral anti-Republican video game “GOP Arcade.”

“You could get this out in as quickly as 12 hours. It’s a very simple game. They could have found a template to build the game on. The animations are pretty stock. It’s not anything too insane,” he told CNN. “The art is the hardest part. It’s pretty polished.”

How did fake news CNN connect the dots from the video game to Russia…

Hilltendo.com, like any website, is kept online by a computer network with an Internet Protocol address. Many websites can be randomly grouped together on the same IP address — 17 different websites that have nothing to do with anti-American Russian activity once had the IP address eventually used by Hilltendo.

But records examined by cybersecurity expert Paul Vixie and CNN appear to show that, beginning in May 2016, the hosting company dedicated this IP address to a single client. From that point on, the only new websites assigned to that address were Hilltendo.com, PlayWithHillary.com, and BlackFist.pro. BlackFist.pro has previously been shown to have been run by the Internet Research Agency, the Kremlin-linked corporation indicted by U.S. Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller last month.

There are further signs of the websites’ connections to each other and to Russians.

PlayWithHillary.com and Hilltendo.com were registered on the same day: September 9, 2016. Anonymized records of internet traffic obtained by CNN show that both websites were first connected to just hours apart, possibly by the administrator of the sites testing them. Those records were collected by Vixie, one of the world’s top experts on Domain Name Server records, the system that serves as the internet’s phone book.

It is still theoretically possible that the three websites are unconnected to each other. But Vixie noted that this would be an astounding coincidence: Two different people registering similar domain names on the same day with the same web hosting provider, and assigned the same IP address.

“I don’t see that happening,” he said.

And there’s one more clue on top of that. The identity of the person who registered Hilltendo.com is kept hidden by a corporate proxy — a common tactic used by everyday people seeking privacy online. But the registration information for PlayWithHillary.com is public. It lists someone named Aleksandr Skripnikov in St. Petersburg, Russia, where the Internet Research Agency is based.

CNN also documented how mentions of “Hilltendo” made their way across the internet.

The game does not appear to have been shared widely on Twitter. Only two dozen or so links to the game were still live on Wednesday. One person who did share the game on Twitter, however, appears to be a Russian software developer living in St. Petersburg with two ties to the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency.

The Twitter user @MetalRex101, who self-identified as Ilya Ibragimov, created an account there the month Hilltendo went live. When CNN viewed the account last year, it included only two tweets — both linking to Hilltendo, both sent just days after the game was released. The @MetalRex101 account has since been suspended. Twitter would not say why it was taken down, but it has purged thousands of Russian accounts tied to U.S. election meddling.

Ibragimov uses the “MetalRex101” identity on various online services, and he lists his job history on the Russian social media platform VKontakte. In 2016, according to his VKontakte profile, Ibragimov worked at Glavset — a company based in the building where the Internet Research Agency operated: 55 Savushkina Street in St. Petersburg.

In 2014, Ibragimov’s VKontakte profile says, he worked at another St. Petersburg firm, Morkov. Morkov is run by Sergey Polozov, according to Polozov’s own VKontakte account and Russian company records. Polozov was one of the 13 Russian nationals named in Mueller’s indictment of the Internet Research Agency last month.

According to the indictment, Polozov worked for the Internet Research Agency from 2014 to 2016, serving as the manager of its IT department. Part of his role, the indictment claims, was to procure U.S. servers and other computer infrastructure in an attempt to mask the agency’s Russian origins.

CNN has reached out to Polozov and Ibragimov for comment.

Efforts to promote the game appear to have been focused primarily on the online image sharing website Imgur. It is the 14th most popular website in the United States, according to the online audience tracker Alexa — ahead of sites like Pinterest, CNN, and The New York Times.

In September 2016, just days after the Hilltendo.com website was registered, two Imgur accounts, both only weeks old, posted lists of video games to “kill your time.” Both of the posts went viral on the platform and were viewed more than 700,000 times; one even made it to Imgur’s coveted front page.

The pair’s posts have since been removed by the company. But back in September 2016, they were highlighted by Imgur staff in a weekly blog post about the top performing posts on the platform.

CNN reviewed these accounts last fall. Both had telltale signs of sham marketing campaigns.

Months after these posts were made, CNN spoke to several Imgur users who were bothered by them. Daniel Lupton, an actuary in Minnesota, said that when he first saw them he thought, “This doesn’t make sense. It feels all fake. It feels manufactured.”

In a statement to CNN, Imgur said: “We have been actively investigating how our platform may have been used by foreign actors. We plan to proactively share what we have learned with authorities and investigators.” The company said it has not been contacted by Mueller’s team or congressional investigators.

A link to the game was also posted to Voat, a platform that markets itself as an alternative to Reddit. There, the game was posted by user “Peter_Hurst.” Hurst posted to Voat almost 200 times in the two months between July and September 2016.

Dozens of Hurst’s posts linked to articles on DoNotShoot.us and BlackMattersUS.com, two websites CNN confirmed were part of a Russia’s effort to interfere in American politics. The account is still on the platform but has not posted since 2016.

On Reddit, a “Peter_Hurst” account also regularly posted links to Internet Research Agency websites, CNN found.

Reddit said the Peter_Hurst account was suspended in 2016 for spam, but did not provide any further details.

In a post on the platform on Monday, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said that the company is investigating the spread of Russian propaganda on its platform and is cooperating with congressional investigators.

In a statement, U.S. Senator Mark Warner, the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, said that he would encourage Reddit and other sites “to take a much closer look at how their platforms and services could be used to manipulate their users’ trust and attention.”

Hilltendo does not appear to have achieved virality on Facebook or Twitter, perhaps in part because it was not playable on smartphones. It was only available on desktop and laptop computers.

The game is no longer online, but numbers previously displayed on the site claimed the game was played almost 19,000 times.

In the process of investigating the game’s origins, CNN downloaded the Hilltendo video game’s computer code. We reviewed every line of code and received help from Amanda Rousseau, senior malware researcher at the cybersecurity company Endgame. Buried within the thousands of lines of code were mentions of “kek kek,” online slang predominantly used by alt-right trolls to represent laughter.

You can’t make this stuff up!

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of

Latest

Russia calls on US to put a leash on Petro Poroshenko

The West’s pass for Mr. Poroshenko may blow up in NATO’s and the US’s face if the Ukrainian President tries to start a war with Russia.

Seraphim Hanisch

Published

on

Russia called on Washington not to ignore the Poroshenko directives creating an active military buildup along the Ukrainian-Donbass frontier, this buildup consisting of Ukrainian forces and right-wing ultranationalists, lest it “trigger the implementation of a bloody scenario”, according to a Dec 11 report from TASS.

The [Russian] Embassy [to the US] urges the US State Department to recognize the presence of US instructors in the zone of combat actions, who are involved in a command and staff and field training of Ukraine’s assault airborne brigades. “We expect that the US will bring to reason its proteges. Their aggressive plans are not only doomed to failure but also run counter to the statements of the administration on its commitment to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine by political and diplomatic means,” the statement said.

This warning came after Eduard Basurin, the deputy defense minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic noted that the Ukrainian army was massing troops and materiel for a possible large-scale offensive at the Mariupol section of the contact line in Donbass. According to Basurin, this action is expected to take place on 14 December. TASS offered more details:

According to the DPR’s reconnaissance data, Ukrainian troops plan to seize the DPR’s Novoazovsky and Temanovsky districts and take control over the border section with Russia. The main attack force of over 12,000 servicemen has been deployed along the contact line near the settlements of Novotroitskoye, Shirokino, and Rovnopol. Moreover, more than 50 tanks, 40 multiple missile launcher systems, 180 artillery systems and mortars have been reportedly pulled to the area, Basurin added. Besides, 12 BM-30 Smerch heavy multiple rocket launchers have been sent near Volodarsky.

The DPR has warned about possible provocations plotted by Ukrainian troops several times. Thus, in early December, the DPR’s defense ministry cited reconnaissance data indicating that the Ukrainian military was planning to stage an offensive and deliver an airstrike. At a Contact Group meeting on December 5, DPR’s Foreign Minister Natalia Nikonorova raised the issue of Kiev’s possible use of chemical weapons in the conflict area.

This is a continuation of the reported buildup The Duran reported in this article linked here, and it is a continuation of the full-scale drama that started with the Kerch Strait incident, which itself appears to have been staged by Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko. Following that incident, the president was able to get about half of Ukraine placed under a 30-day period of martial law, citing “imminent Russian aggression.”

President Poroshenko is arguably a dangerous man. He appears to be desperate to maintain a hold on power, though his approval numbers and support is abysmally low in Ukraine. While he presents himself as a hero, agitating for armed conflict with Russia and simultaneously interfering in the affairs of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church, he is actually one of the most dangerous leaders the world has to contend with, precisely because he is unfit to lead.

Such men and women are dangerous because their desperation makes them short-sighted, only concerned about their power and standing.

An irony about this matter is that President Poroshenko appears to be exactly what the EuroMaidan was “supposed” to free Ukraine of; that is, a stooge puppet leader that marches to orders from a foreign power and does nothing for the improvement of the nation and its citizens.

The ouster of Viktor Yanukovich was seen as the sure ticket to “freedom from Russia” for Ukraine, and it may well have been that Mr. Yanukovich was an incompetent leader. However, his removal resulted in a tryannical regíme coming into power, that resulting in the secession of two Ukrainian regions into independent republics and a third secession of strategically super-important Crimea, who voted in a referendum to rejoin Russia.

While this activity was used by the West to try to bolster its own narrative that Russia remains the evil henchman in Europe, the reality of life in Ukraine doesn’t match this allegation at all. A nation that demonstrates such behavior shows that there are many problems, and the nature of these secessions points at a great deal of fear from Russian-speaking Ukrainian people about the government that is supposed to be their own.

President Poroshenko presents a face to the world that the West is apparently willing to support, but the in-country approval of this man as leader speaks volumes. The West’s blind support of him “against Russia” may be one of the most tragic errors yet in Western foreign policy.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

Second Canadian Citizen Disappears In China

According to the he Globe and Mail, the man was identified as Michael Spavor, a Canadian whose company Peaktu Cultural Exchange brings tourists and hockey players into North Korea.

Published

on

Via Zerohedge…


For a trade war that was supposed to be between the US and China, Canada has found itself increasingly in the middle of the crossfire. And so after the arrest of a former Canadian diplomat in Beijing in retaliation for the detention of the Huawei CFO in Vancouver, Canada said a second person has been questioned by Chinese authorities, further heightening tensions between the two countries.

The second person reached out to the Canadian government after being questioned by Chinese officials, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said, at which point Canada lost contact with him. His whereabouts are currently unknown and Global Affairs Canada said they are in contact with his family.

“We haven’t been able to make contact with him since he let us know about this,” Freeland told reporters Wednesday in Ottawa. “We are working very hard to ascertain his whereabouts and we have also raised this case with Chinese authorities.”

According to the he Globe and Mail, the man was identified as Michael Spavor, a Canadian whose company Peaktu Cultural Exchange brings tourists and hockey players into North Korea. He gained fame for helping arrange a visit to Pyongyang by former NBA player Dennis Rodman, and he met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on that trip, the newspaper reported. Attempts to reach Spavor on his contact number either in China, or North Korean went straight to voicemail.

Spavor’s personal Facebook page contains several images of him with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un including one of him with both Jong-un and former Dennis Rodman at an undisclosed location.

Michael P. Spavor, right, pictured here with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, second from right, and Dennis Rodman.

Another image shows the two sharing a drink on a boat.

The unexplained disappearance takes place after China’s spy agency detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig in Beijing on Monday, who was on leave from the foreign service. The arrest came nine days after Canada arrested Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou at the request of U.S. DOJ. While Canada has asked to see the former envoy after it was informed by fax of his arrest, Canada is unaware of Kovrig current whereabouts or the charges he faces.

“Michael did not engage in illegal activities nor did he do anything that endangered Chinese national security,” Rob Malley, chief executive officer of the ICG, said in a written statement. “He was doing what all Crisis Group analysts do: undertaking objective and impartial research.”

One possibility is that Kovrig may have been caught up in recent rule changes in China that affect non-governmental organizations, according to Bloomberg. The ICG wasn’t authorized to do work in China, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang said during a regular press briefing in Beijing Wednesday.

“We welcome foreign travelers. But if they engage in activities that clearly violate Chinese laws and regulations, then it is totally another story,” he said, adding he had no information on Kovrig specifically.

As Bloomberg further notes, foreign non-governmental organizations are now required to register with the Chinese authorities under a 2017 law that subjects them to stringent reporting requirements. Under the law, organizations without a representative office in China must have a government sponsor and a local cooperative partner before conducting activities. ICG said this is the first time they’ve heard such an accusation from the Chinese authorities in a decade of working with the country. The company closed its Beijing operations in December 2016 because of the new Chinese law, according to a statement. Kovrig was working out of the Hong Kong office.

Meanwhile, realizing that it is increasingly bearing the brunt of China’s retaliatory anger, Trudeau’s government distanced itself from Meng’s case, saying it can’t interfere with the courts, but is closely involved in advocating on Kovrig’s behalf.

So far Canada has declined to speculate on whether there was a connection between the Kovrig and Meng cases, with neither Freeland nor Canadian Trade Minister Jim Carr saying Wednesday that there is any indication the cases are related. Then again, it is rather obvious they are. Indeed, Guy Saint-Jacques, who served as ambassador to China from 2012 to 2016 and worked with Kovrig, says the link is clear. “There’s no coincidence with China.”

“In this case, they couldn’t grab a Canadian diplomat because this would have created a major diplomatic incident,” he said. “Going after him I think was their way to send a message to the Canadian government and to put pressure.”

Even though Meng was granted bail late Tuesday, that did not placate China, whose foreign ministry spokesman said that “The Canadian side should correct its mistakes and release Ms. Meng Wanzhou immediately.”

The tension, according to Bloomberg,  may force Canadian companies to reconsider travel to China, and executives traveling to the Asian country will need to exercise extra caution, said Andy Chan, managing partner at Miller Thomson LLP in Vaughan, Ontario.

“Canadian business needs to look at and balance the reasons for the travel’’ between the business case and the “current political environment,’’ Chan said by email. Chinese officials subject business travelers to extra screening and in some case reject them from entering, he said.

Earlier in the day, SCMP reported that Chinese high-tech researchers were told “not to travel to the US unless it’s essential.”

And so, with Meng unlikely to be released from Canada any time soon, expect even more “Chinese (non) coincidences”, until eventually China does detain someone that the US does care about.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

Multipolar World Order in the Making: Qatar Dumps OPEC

Russia and Qatar’s global strategy also brings together and includes partners like Turkey.

Published

on

Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The decision by Qatar to abandon OPEC threatens to redefine the global energy market, especially in light of Saudi Arabia’s growing difficulties and the growing influence of the Russian Federation in the OPEC+ mechanism.

In a surprising statement, Qatari energy minister Saad al-Kaabi warned OPEC on Monday December 3 that his country had sent all the necessary documentation to start the country’s withdrawal from the oil organization in January 2019. Al-Kaabi stressed that the decision had nothing to do with recent conflicts with Riyadh but was rather a strategic choice by Doha to focus on the production of LNG, which Qatar, together with the Russian Federation, is one of the largest global exporters of. Despite an annual oil extraction rate of only 1.8% of the total of OPEC countries (about 600,000 barrels a day), Qatar is one of the founding members of the organization and has always had a strong political influence on the governance of the organization. In a global context where international relations are entering a multipolar phase, things like cooperation and development become fundamental; so it should not surprise that Doha has decide to abandon OPEC. OPEC is one of the few unipolar organizations that no longer has a meaningful purpose in 2018, given the new realities governing international relations and the importance of the Russian Federation in the oil market.

Besides that, Saudi Arabia requires the organization to maintain a high level of oil production due to pressure coming from Washington to achieve a very low cost per barrel of oil. The US energy strategy targets Iranian and Russian revenue from oil exports, but it also aims to give the US a speedy economic boost. Trump often talks about the price of oil falling as his personal victory. The US imports about 10 million barrels of oil a day, which is why Trump wrongly believes that a decrease in the cost per barrel could favor a boost to the US economy. The economic reality shows a strong correlation between the price of oil and the financial growth of a country, with low prices of crude oil often synonymous of a slowing down in the economy.

It must be remembered that to keep oil prices low, OPEC countries are required to maintain a high rate of production, doubling the damage to themselves. Firstly, they take less income than expected and, secondly, they deplete their oil reserves to favor the strategy imposed by Saudi Arabia on OPEC to please the White House. It is clearly a strategy that for a country like Qatar (and perhaps Venezuela and Iran in the near future) makes little sense, given the diplomatic and commercial rupture with Riyadh stemming from tensions between the Gulf countries.

In contrast, the OPEC+ organization, which also includes other countries like the Russian Federation, Mexico and Kazakhstan, seems to now to determine oil and its cost per barrel. At the moment, OPEC and Russia have agreed to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day, contradicting Trump’s desire for high oil output.

With this last choice Qatar sends a clear signal to the region and to traditional allies, moving to the side of OPEC+ and bringing its interests closer in line with those of the Russian Federation and its all-encompassing oil and gas strategy, two sectors in which Qatar and Russia dominate market share.

In addition, Russia and Qatar’s global strategy also brings together and includes partners like Turkey (a future energy hub connecting east and west as well as north and south) and Venezuela. In this sense, the meeting between Maduro and Erdogan seems to be a prelude to further reorganization of OPEC and its members.

The declining leadership role of Saudi Arabia in the oil and financial market goes hand in hand with the increase of power that countries like Qatar and Russia in the energy sectors are enjoying. The realignment of energy and finance signals the evident decline of the Israel-US-Saudi Arabia partnership. Not a day goes by without corruption scandals in Israel, accusations against the Saudis over Khashoggi or Yemen, and Trump’s unsuccessful strategies in the commercial, financial or energy arenas. The path this doomed

trio is taking will only procure less influence and power, isolating them more and more from their opponents and even historical allies.

Moscow, Beijing and New Delhi, the Eurasian powerhouses, seem to have every intention, as seen at the trilateral summit in Buenos Aires, of developing the ideal multipolar frameworks to avoid continued US dominance of the oil market through shale revenues or submissive allies as Saudi Arabia, even though the latest spike in production is a clear signal from Riyadh to the USA. In this sense, Qatar’s decision to abandon OPEC and start a complex and historical discussion with Moscow on LNG in the format of an enlarged OPEC marks the definitive decline of Saudi Arabia as a global energy power, to be replaced by Moscow and Doha as the main players in the energy market.

Qatar’s decision is, officially speaking, unconnected to the feud triggered by Saudi Arabia against the small emirate. However, it is evident that a host of factors has led to this historic decision. The unsuccessful military campaign in Yemen has weakened Saudi Arabia on all fronts, especially militarily and economically. The self-inflicted fall in the price of oil is rapidly consuming Saudi currency reserves, now at a new low of less than 500 billion dollars. Events related to Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) have de-legitimized the role of Riyadh in the world as a reliable diplomatic interlocutor. The internal and external repression by the Kingdom has provoked NGOs and governments like Canada’s to issue public rebukes that have done little to help MBS’s precarious position.

In Syria, the victory of Damascus and her allies has consolidated the role of Moscow in the region, increased Iranian influence, and brought Turkey and Qatar to the multipolar side, with Tehran and Moscow now the main players in the Middle East. In terms of military dominance, there has been a clear regional shift from Washington to Moscow; and from an energy perspective, Doha and Moscow are turning out to be the winners, with Riyadh once again on the losing side.

As long as the Saudi royal family continues to please Donald Trump, who is prone to catering to Israeli interests in the region, the situation of the Kingdom will only get worse. The latest agreement on oil production between Moscow and Riyad signals that someone in the Saudi royal family has probably figured this out.

Countries like Turkey, India, China, Russia and Iran understand the advantages of belonging to a multipolar world, thereby providing a collective geopolitical ballast that is mutually beneficial. The energy alignment between Qatar and the Russian Federation seems to support this general direction, a sort of G2 of LNG gas that will only strengthen the position of Moscow on the global chessboard, while guaranteeing a formidable military umbrella for Doha in case of a further worsening of relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

JOIN OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Advertisement

Advertisement

Quick Donate

The Duran
EURO
DONATE
Donate a quick 10 spot!
Advertisement
Advertisement

Advertisement

The Duran Newsletter

Trending