Business Insider – A Russia-linked Facebook group asked a Texas secessionist movement if it would participate in a series of anti-immigrant, anti-Hillary Clinton rallies it was planning to hold across the state last November, the group’s president told Business Insider on Thursday.
“When they decided to start doing all these ‘Texit’ rallies, they reached out and wanted us to participate,” said Daniel Miller, the president of the Texas Nationalist Movement. “And we said ‘thanks, but no thanks.'”
The Facebook group, called Heart of Texas, had over 225,000 followers as of last summer. It was shut down last week as part of Facebook’s takedown of accounts and pages “affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russia,” a Facebook spokesman told Business Insider on Wednesday.
Russia has a long history of working to cultivate Western separatist groups. The group Yes California, for instance, set up a makeshift embassy in Moscow in December in partnership with far-right Russian nationalists who enjoy Kremlin support while promoting secessionist movements in Europe and the United States.
But the revelation that the Texas Nationalist Movement — which says its mission is to “secure and protect the political, cultural, and economic independence of the nation of Texas” — was contacted to participate in widespread protests by a page Facebook believes to be linked to Russia marks a significant escalation in the Russians’ efforts to influence the United States’ political climate….