A series of documents obtained by a London-based investigative center reveals Russians who were allegedly tied to the meddling of the 2016 presidential election had developed plans by as late as 2018 — well after previous Russian interference efforts had come to light — to foster a Pan-African state in America.
The findings, which were reported by NBC News May 20, were secured by the Dossier Center, an organization supported by Russian opposition figure Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The communications, deemed “Development Strategy of a Pan-African State on U.S. Territory,” appear to have been verified by forensic analysis from the Dossier Center.
Described by NBC News as a way to “further exacerbate racial discord in the future” proposals from the documents suggest recruiting Black Americans and flying them to camps in Africa “for combat prep and training in sabotage.” Then, the recruits would be sent back to U.S. soil to “foment violence,” as NBC described, it and launch a pan-African state in the South. The state would be established in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
The docs also posed the notion of tapping poor, formerly incarcerated Black Americans “who have experience in organized crime groups” along with people belonging to “radical black movements for participation in civil disobedience actions.”
The objective of the plot was to “destabilize the internal situation in the U.S.” as one document noted President Donald Trump “deepened conflicts in American society.” It also hinted that if the ploy was successful its effect would “undermine the country’s territorial integrity and military and economic potential.”
Details on the supposed plan were scant but there is no sign that it was ever set into motion.
The news emerged as American intelligence agencies have cautioned about likely renewed Russian meddling efforts in the upcoming in the 2020 presidential race.
The new docs were also apparently shared with Dzheykhun “Jay” Aslanov, who works at Russia’s Internet Research Agency, and Mikhail Potepkin, a Russian businessman. Both linked to”Putin’s chef” Yevgeny Prigozhin, a catering magnate with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, they were charged in February 2018 by special counsel Robert Mueller, who was looking into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Released in April, the Mueller report showed how Russians employed by associates of Prigozhin purposely fanned the flames of racial tensions by “spreading false and incendiary stories” to Black Americans on social media, according to NBC News. One goal was to decrease the turnout of Black voters in the 2016 presidential election.
Additionally, there is a map outlining states proposed as the Pan-African state as well as Texas. Those states were highlighted in the docs that included information about Black population size and followers of social media page and newsletters established by Russian trolls at the IRA to “spread race-baiting rhetoric,” NBC News stated. Those messages were later pulled by social media sites.
Plus, there are portions of the files that discuss how to increase Russia’s influence in Africa as well as a list of propaganda moves to “stir up negative opinions about Europe and the U.S.” among Africans, NBC reported.
Speaking on the impact the effort of igniting racial tensions can have in spreading misinformation, Florida Democratic Rep. Val Demings, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, said the following.:
“Russia understands how critical the African American vote is to determining the outcome of elections. And because we have not effectively dealt with racism as a country ourselves, I believe we’ve made ourselves vulnerable to foreign powers like Russia to continue to try to undermine.”