|The diseased Florida coast in winter 2015/2016, flooded by pollution triggered by Big Sugar's manipulation of state water infrastructure. Also a metaphor for U.S. politics in 2017.|
Stone’s piece on Breitbart--which was then still being run by Stephen Bannon--contended that “common sense” dictated that “if Russia were doing what Hillary says they were doing they simply would have gone straight to Wikileaks” with the stolen DNC documents. Which, of course, is exactly what “Guccifer 2.0” said was done, a fact Stone neatly avoided.
After posting the Breitbart story to his personal web site, Stone tweeted out a link to his 100,000-plus followers along with the claim that, “Roger Stone shows Russians didn’t hack Hillary.”
Despite Stone’s shoddy reporting and harebrained analysis, his piece was a hit with at least one reader: “Guccifer 2.0.”
In an August 12 tweet, the hackers wrote, “@RogerJStoneJr thanks that u believe in the real #Guccifer2.” This was Russia’s military intelligence agency saluting a Trump associate for his work as a signal booster when it came to the fiction that “Guccifer 2.0” was a Romanian laptop warrior battling the Illuminati. The G.R.U. was likely equally pleased when--the following day--Stone rushed to the defense of his “HERO” when Twitter briefly banned the “@GUCCIFER_2” account.
On August 16, Stone posted a link to a story he authored about how the presidential election could be “rigged against Donald Trump” through the manipulation of electronic voting machines. This piece of fantasy stirred “Guccifer 2.0” to reply directly to Stone’s tweet.
“paying u back,” wrote “Guccifer 2.0.” The hackers then retweeted Stone’s tweet on the “@GUCCIFER_2” Twitter account.
During the course of the presidential campaign, Stone, like Trump, denied that Russian agents were behind the coordinated attacks on the Democratic party and the Clinton campaign. It could have been anyone, they reasoned, from China to a fat guy on a couch.
But following a two-hour briefing on January 6 by the director of national intelligence and the heads of the FBI and CIA, Trump grudgingly conceded Russia was the culprit. “I think it was Russia,” was the best Trump could muster at a January 11 press conference.
Stone also has some Florida business with Big Sugar. How shocking. Since his specialty is right-wing agitation, it is no surprise that Stone shows up as the funding conduit for well-organized protests against Senator Joe Negron's bill to help fix the Everglades and Florida's trashed estuaries through a massive land purchase in Big Sugar territory. Here's what The Smoking Gun says about that:
A proposal to pay $500 million for nearly 50,000 acres of land in the Florida Everglades was backed by environmental activists. But the taxpayer-funded purchase was not supported by the land’s owner, the U.S. Sugar Corporation (which, years earlier, had retained Stone to help kill a one-cent sugar tax earmarked for Everglades restoration).
While the land purchase had the support of actual Floridians, some of the opposition was manufactured by Stone, who stayed in the shadows. Tea Party Miami joined with a new outfit, Florida Citizens Against Waste, to oppose the land deal. The tea party group--which claimed a membership in excess of 26,000--was a shell operation founded by Stone’s longtime executive assistant. Florida Citizens Against Waste was fronted by another Stone crony and launched a web site at stopthelandgrab.org that urged citizens to join a protest outside the South Florida Water Management’s Palm Beach office. Signs would be provided, the group noted, and there would be “Free lunch afterwards.”
The “protesters” that subsequently showed up one Thursday morning were actually 50 members of a Broward County acting group who were paid $75 each (and learned of the gig via a Facebook post). Contacted by a Palm Beach Post reporter, a U.S. Sugar spokesperson said the firm had no involvement with the rally.
[Two months after Stone & Co. staged the Palm Beach protest, Trump announced his presidential campaign in front of a Trump Tower audience that was papered with dozens of extras who were paid $50 to cheer, wear “Make America Great Again!” t-shirts, and hold signs (which were provided).]
The Everglades land purchase was eventually rejected by state Republican leaders. Florida Citizens Against Waste--victorious in its public debut--quickly disappeared, as if there was no further need to ferret out governmental profligacy. As for the group’s web site, it sat dormant for a spell before ultimately redirecting visitors to rogerstone.net, one of Stone’s personal web sites. But in the last month, traffic was rerouted to a new url, floridiansagainstwaste.org. The web site urges the defeat of a new piece of Everglades legislation being pushed by Joe Negron, the moderate Republican who is president of the Florida Senate. Negron’s legislation is opposed by U.S. Sugar.
There's a lot more in The Smoking Gun piece, especially Stone's tradecraft. Read it.