There’s so much in life that stresses me out (for an example, I’ve included a snippet from a recent newsletter from The Guardian at the very bottom if you can stomach it). So, I try to focus on much of the good or I’d be paralyzed by the sense of doom and despair.
Want to see some of the good things in my life? How about golden marmalade that I made last weekend?
And what goes well with it? Homemade artisan sourdough bread, of course.
Speaking of sourdough, I love the stuff, but it demands to be fed regularly, and I hate to throw out the discard. Luckily, King Arthur Flour has recipes for using up discards, and one of our favorites is dinner rolls (scroll across to see the photos).
If food is not a good thing, then I don’t know what is.
If you’re wanting to read about something scary instead, scroll down a bit to read below. The rest of you can go have a nice weekend!
Over the course of a number of months, an Israeli man calling himself Jorge boasted in a series of meetings of having meddled in dozens of elections around the world – elections he claimed he was able to sway through sabotage, hacking and disinformation.
“What Jorge and his team did not know,” the Guardian reported in a bombshell investigation published this week, “was that his demonstration was being secretly filmed by undercover reporters.”
The eight-month investigation into “Team Jorge” is part of a project called Disinfo black ops, which was reported by a consortium of journalists from 30 outlets including the Guardian, Le Monde and Haaretz. It is part of a wider investigation into the burgeoning disinformation industry, which has been coordinated by Forbidden Stories, a French non-profit whose mission is to pursue the work of assassinated, threatened or jailed reporters. And it is inspired by the murder of Gauri Lankesh, a 55-year-old journalist who was shot dead in Bangalore in 2017, as she was finishing an article exploring the actors spreading disinformation in India.
Months of digging revealed that Jorge was actually Tal Hanan, a 50-year-old Israeli who has been secretly working around the world for over two decades on behalf of political and corporate clients. He and his team claim they can gather intelligence on rivals and spread disinformation “at scale and at speed” through a sophisticated software called Aims. The software controls tens of thousands of bots with synchronized online accounts that look and act like real humans, and, Hanan claims, uses artificial intelligence to create their posts.
The investigation has found that Team Jorge hacked Telegram and Gmail accounts belonging to associates of a Kenyan presidential candidate. The operatives worked alongside Cambridge Analytica in an attempt to swing a Nigerian presidential election. And they’ll work offline, too – the team even claimed they sent a sex toy to a politician in order to make his wife believe he was having an affair.
Hanan did not respond to detailed requests for comment but told the Guardian: “To be clear, I deny any wrongdoing.”
It’s an investigation that puts faces and names to a shadowy topic – the disinformation industry – that’s typically incredibly challenging to report on. It was fueled by the evidence gathered by three Israel-based reporters who posed as consultants seeking Hanan’s services and brought what they found to the consortium. That includes video from meetings with Hanan, some of which you can view here. (The Guardian was not involved in the filming but we are publishing the material given the public interest in the findings.)
Team Jorge didn’t manage to get their guys elected in Kenya or Nigeria, but the impact of these kinds of campaigns can be even more fundamental, and harder to detect. And it has big implications for democracy.
“There is still a cloud of doubt over the current president,” Stephanie Kirchgaessner, one of the Guardian’s lead reporters on the project, said regarding the Kenya campaign. “It’s not only about winning the election – just creating that doubt is also sort of a win. And we see echoes of that here in the US.”
. . .
WHY ARE SOME PEOPLE SUCH JERKS AND DON’T WANT US TO HAVE GOOD THINGS LIKE DEMOCRACY???