Information operations · Propaganda

A Bad Journalist Targets Me

George Eliason

A bad journalist named George Eliason wrote a hit-piece article about me. “Can the Ukrainian Government Target American Journalists in America?”

In the words of Elvis: “Thank you, thankyouverymuch.” I always thought my recognition would come in the form of an RPG crashing through my front window. Instead, a pro-Russian non-apologist wrote a banal article about me which failed on so many levels. I hesitated to respond, but I was convinced otherwise.

Please, before you read any further, I urge you to re-read the title carefully, then read the article.

George self-published versions of the article at a total of four different places. The links are at the end of this blog. I honestly can say he’s gunning for me. Okay, cowboy, you have a little bit of my interest, which should be enough for you to hang yourself.

The comments to the article at are actually fairly supportive. Obviously written by friends and like-minded people. After reading their comments, I concluded they did not read the entire article, did not click on the links, and entirely avoided thinking while reading.

A cursory reading of the article finds a sincere lack of citations where needed, large leaps in logic and multiple outright falsifications.  There is no linkage between the title and the article itself. George has a tendency to link quotes of mine completely out of context, forming blatantly false statements.  I know he is trying to stab me in the back, but even a cursory reading and checking of the facts will show he is merely a bad, bad, bad journalist. Oh, did I mention he’s a bad journalist?

I learned of the article from Newsle, a news aggregator which provides me news I don’t find elsewhere. Kudos, Newsle! OpEdNews is not a mainstream news site, neither is the author. I just discovered another Russian rag, reprinted the… ‘article’ and now, two others (links at the end).  I’d better publish this blog before he gets it into the Weekly Reader for elementary school students!

When I read “Meet Joel Harding – Ukraine’s King Troll”, I thought “thank you”.  I try to help Ukraine as much as I can, unpaid, of course.  But being labeled that I am a King Troll really means I am making a positive contribution in the struggle to overcome Russia’s paid trolls.  ‘Thank you very much”. Quite a few of my professional friends and colleagues have written me notes of congratulations in response to this article!  Yes, George, I know you meant it as an insult. Fail.

None of this was bothersome, but the first indication of objectionable bias by the author was contained in the following sentence: “When you look at the beginning of the NSA’s intrusive policies you find Joel Harding.” Obviously George believes I write NSA policies (which is incorrect and an absurd assumption on his part), but the bias occurs when he uses the word “intrusive”.  Invasive means someone goes into a normally restricted area on the internet but intrusive means you stay and have a long-term presence. I’ve never been a big fan of intrusive, except for an in-line presence, but obviously the author has no idea what that means – he didn’t even bother to ask. He shall forever remain uninformed. He didn’t even bother to properly research Operation Eligible Receiver, what it was for, how it was done and the ultimate outcome. Now, anybody but the author may ask me and I’ll tell you everything I can. Be assured, however, George never tried to contact me for any information whatsoever. He is, don’t forget, a very bad journalist!

The TechRepublic’s quote about me skipped a number of years. I did not work for SAIC until years after I retired from the Army.  If only he had taken the time to verify his sources. Poor George!

It is interesting that George says I used freeware to discover details about people during Operation Eligible Receiver. I was concerned with something completely different in that exercise.  Yet again, anyone calling themselves a journalist might have verified one or two facts along the way. Of course, calling George a journalist is a stretch.

Here is where the truth in the article starts to wane:

Joel Harding has quite a different opinion in 2014 after taking control of Information Operations (IO) in Ukraine.

Me?  I never said I was in charge of anything but my keyboard. Certainly no program in Ukraine.  Again, any reporter worth his or her salt would have tried to verify. George did not.

On February 28 th 2014 he was announced director of the NSE Strategy Center . Harding reached out immediately to the IO community to see what information anyone had on current Russian cyberspace operations . On March 1 st 2014 Harding announced cyber options for Ukraine.

I was announced as the Director of the NSE Information Strategy Center, part of the National Security Enterprise. This was a planned graduate school for which the funding never appeared.  On my blog, however, I continued to reach out to find more information about Russian cyberspace operations.  This so-called “cyber options for Ukraine”, if you click on the link, describes a conventional Russian invasion of Ukraine and has nothing to do with cyber. If the author had even bothered to click the link, he might have discovered this.  Again, if the author had bothered to verify any of the information, he might have discovered he hadn’t read the information and hadn’t verified any information… always the sign of a bad journalist.

Now, in the ‘article’, George begins to show his Russian propaganda roots. He begins to fabricate information in a section called Pravy Sektor.

In early March 2014 US President Barrack Obama issued an executive order stating anyone challenging the legitimacy of the new Ukrainian government was subject to US sanctions including US citizens.

No such statement was ever made and no executive order made gave even the slightest hint of this. But, once again, the author did not verify his sources and has now taken to fabrications.  George is, of course, referring to Executive Order 13660, signed on 6 March 2014.  This is who is affected:

Section 1. (a) All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person (including any foreign branch) of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in: any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State:

(i) to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have engaged in, directly or indirectly, any of the following:

(A) actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine;

(B) actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine; or

(C) misappropriation of state assets of Ukraine or of an economically significant entity in Ukraine;

(ii) to have asserted governmental authority over any part or region of Ukraine without the authorization of the Government of Ukraine;

(iii) to be a leader of an entity that has, or whose members have, engaged in any activity described in subsection (a)(i) or (a)(ii) of this section or of an entity whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order;

Plainly this does not target US citizens unless they meet the above specifications.  I wonder wheer he got his information?  Obviously he did not verify.

Later, the author’s roots begin to show, quite plainly.  He uses the word “junta”.  Technically, at this point in time in the ‘article’, the elections in Ukraine had not been held, so the word was technically correct. But by continuing to use that word, he portrays himself as a Russian dolt.

The author later reveals what I wrote in my blog, that’s editor and I have exchanged notes, and the newspaper later dropped their paywall on certain articles.  I begged to find a way to get someone to pay for it. I even offered to help find him sponsors. So when the dropped their firewall on some articles, George credited me.  “Why thank you very much” for not verifying that information.

On February 23rd I tweeted about the creation of an  Did George even bother to read my blog?  All my blogs are tweeted, it says so on the sidebar.  Again, George did not bother to verify the information. If he had, he might have made that connection.

On page 4 the author, and I cringe to use that word, uses a number which could only come out of the same place into which you insert a suppository… 40,000! Supposedly, that is the number of trolls that work for me.  Pshaw!

He is referring to, of course, the number of people who signed up at, Ukraine’s online Army. I am not in charge of anything at Of course, repeat after me, George did not bother to verify that information.

George does poor editing, however, when he links a biographical sentence about me with a blog piece: The Security Service of Ukraine reached an agreement with Google Inc. to jointly fight with the Russian secret services, who are constantly spreading propaganda network in the Kremlin and sow panic among the population.  He linked that to a biographical sentence, implying I claim that as an accomplishment. Of course, if George had bothered to verify…

Again, next is yet another example of poor editing.  Commas mean things but without them, this paragraph makes no sense.

If you like Mairead Maguire are employing Russian active measures according to Harding’s definition, you are the Russian secret services he is talking about. She doesn’t write about Ukraine. You are the people to be isolated from society, “suspicious”, that must be neutralized. You are the journalists, activists, or people who read alternative news that must be put on lists with the CIA, FBI, INTERPOL, intel, and counter intel.

George, what does this have to do with the article?  Your editor failed, you fail as a writer, your Russian propaganda fails.

In some of the paragraphs towards the end of the article, George obviously got tired.  There was no lead-in, no segue, no continuity, it all appears disjointed and… challenged. It is total blather.

In the last paragraph George asks me “will it be assassination or character assassination?” Neither, George.  I need not do a thing to you for your career as a wanna-be journalist to go down the tubes. As a journalist you fail.

If you want to read the article, here are the links. By the way, I wrote  about the author previously.  Obviously he took great umbrage to the words I wrote about him, the pro-Russian non-apologist author that he is.

  5. Update: This article is a repeat of #2.  I’m beginning to see a link between pro-Russian proxy sites, aren’t you?

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