Bhante, if you read the Aaron Mate articles to which I linked, you may come away with a reduced estimate of just how grave and serious these trolling and eyeball-catching Facebook efforts by Russian nationals are. Most of them seem to be commercially motivated - the same reason for most other soft and junk news Facebook accounts. There are hucksters all over the internet, from all countries - Russia included.
The author of the piece is himself a supplier of mindfulness services in the US mindfulness industry, so perhaps his alarmism is motivated by potential worries about the erosion of his brand. The same, of course, might be true of Tricycle itself, whose pages are filled with advertising for many such services and retreats. Given the pervasive anti-Russia hysteria in the US, and the movement toward a new McCarthyist, blacklisting environment, nobody wants to be associated with anything Russian, or linked with Russian “trolls” or “bots” or “assets” or “Putinists” or “Kremlin apologists” or any of the other creatures in the menagerie of nightmare figures in the current US political dreamscape. So, you know, “Buy our real deal, all-American mindfulness, and not that dangerous Russian substitute!”
The Atlantic Council, which Facebook is working with to impose more stringent censorship, is a pro-Nato think tank and lobbying group, with funding from US and other defense contractors, as well as many other interested elites from across the US and broader western foreign policy establishment. These people have a clear economic interest in advancing alarmist views of Russia, without which Nato would lack a clear mission, and a clear sales pitch to keep the tax dollars flowing. After 2016, which saw the Brexit vote, the Sanders candidacy, the Trump election and the rise of Corbyn in short order, the establishment mainstream mobilized to restore their own desired order, through new organizations allegedly committed to the preservation of “democracy”, but which are really geared more toward preserving established plutocratic hierarchies, private interests, and a military imperium.
We saw a similar phenomenon after 9/11, which provided the military-industrial-intelligence complex with the tool it needed to launch the Global War on Terror, which in turn boosted military budgets, led to a state of permanent war and mobilization in the US, killed at least half a million Iraqis in a war sold with deliberate government lies, and increased domestic surveillance.
Unfortunately, the Trump election has produced a similar rightward and reactionary lurch across the US - not just among Republican voters for Trump, but also among older, liberal voters as well, whose terrified fears of Trump’s dangerous populist encroachments on the old norms and verities of their version of middle class common sense, a new political scene that is emotionally and intellectually inexplicable to many liberal voters who were not paying attention, have been easily exploited by the stakeholders in imperial and establishment institutions and orthodoxies. The latter have sold them a fantastic story about a conspiracy so grand, so all-encompassing and so powerful, that it can explain away their unexpected election loss, and also disparage stories about deep and disturbing unsolved problems at home as merely the work of a foreign enemy and its propaganda. They have been assisted in this effort by major media. The New York Times, Washington Post, and the cable news channels have all brought on more right wing and military contributors, and stoked an atmosphere of panic and paranoia. Many US liberals now even oppose the efforts by the President of South Korea to pursue a new era of detente and the first steps toward unification in Korea, efforts very popular among Koreans themselves, because this is a threat to South Korea’s status as a quasi-colonial US military outpost.
Facebook is under a lot of political pressure, since they have been dragged before government panels and their stock price took a hit after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, so they are making an ostentatious show of cooperation with government authorities and gatekeepers. Unfortunately, this will probably turn Facebook into something closer to an arm of the US state - like VOA or the BBC - than to a truly open and global platform for the free sharing of information and and international social and political organizing. Every day now, we hear of more left wing groups, and media organizations who report on dissident views of the US military-industrial-intelligence complex, having their accounts canceled.