Steven Bannon Goes To Jail On Monday

As Steve Bannon prepares for prison, a look at how he and Guo Wengui orchestrated a massive influence operation

The Architects of Influence

Barring an 11th-hour appeal by House Speaker Mike Johnson, Steve Bannon will start a four-month prison sentence next Monday. Bannon will be incarcerated in a Federal penitentiary in Connecticut for contempt of Congress due to his failure to comply with a congressional subpoena to appear before the Jan 6 committee and surrender relevant communication records.

While Bannon initially claimed his refusal to comply was a matter of principle, a deeper examination of the evidence suggests a more sinister motive: concealing his role in the January 6 insurrection, particularly his collaboration with Guo Wengui, who some sources allege is a Chinese spy. Bannon was reportedly on Guo’s payroll, earning $1 million annually.

After serving as Donald Trump's senior White House strategist, Bannon, and Guo established a complex influence machine that promoted Chinese propaganda and influenced official US policy. This network, which outwardly presented as opposition to the Communist Party of China, was instead waging a covert war against the Democratic Party of America by manipulating public opinion and disseminating misinformation to the public and the highest levels of the GOP and the Trump administration.

How did they do it? Keep reading.

Bannon’s million dollar a year contract with Guo Wengui

The Three-Tiered Echo Chamber 

At the core of the Bannon-Guo operation was a sophisticated three-tiered echo chamber designed to launder Chinese propaganda, amplify it into the MAGA eco-system, and eventually solidify it into White House policy.

The first level involved social media manipulation. Guo and Bannon created a network of "ant farms," consisting of paid operatives responsible for disseminating targeted or broad messages on social media and in the real world. These farms received daily instructions, giving Bannon and Guo nuanced control over a variety of narratives simultaneously.

The second level entailed paying off several key advisors to Donald Trump, including Rudy Giuliani, Michael Flynn, and Peter Navarro. These advisors received undisclosed funds from Guo's "Federal State of China" organization, which he and Bannon created. This gave both men unprecedented access to shape White House policies.

The third level focused on media amplification. The operation controlled its media outlets, including G-Media and Bannon's War Room, which comprised podcasts and YouTube channels. This was the final layer of the echo chamber shifting narrow messaging to mass media and thus creating a closed loop of reinforcing propaganda.

This echo chamber structure allowed talking points from Beijing or Bannon's brain to move with alarming speed and efficiency from social media to public opinion and official policy.


This episode originally aired on October 26, 2022.

Real-World Consequences and America's Vulnerability

The consequences of their influence operation were far-reaching, likely cost lives during the pandemic, and threatened a presidential election and the US Constitution. Despite no scientific evidence, the network was instrumental in promoting hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 cure. This dangerous narrative originated in Guo's G media outlets, was disseminated by his "ant farms", pushed by compromised White House advisors, and eventually touted by President Trump himself.

Steve Bannon was one of the key originators of Donald Trump’s Jan 6 insurrection.

As the January 6th Insurrection approached, Guo's network actively promoted the "Stop the Steal" rally and subsequent attack on the Capitol. They provided livestreams of the events and quickly spread conspiracy theories deflecting blame for the violence.

Steve Bannon continues to spread false claims about Joe Biden's mental acuity and makes alarming statements about imprisoning Rachel Maddow and others who reported on the Trump-Russia connection. While Bannon doesn't specify names, I can't help but wonder if I'm included, as I was the first to report on Russia's support for Trump's 2016 campaign.

China Influence

Steve Bannon’s murky non-profit Citizen’s of the American Republic set up with Cleta Mitchell, paid $1.4 Million to cover Guo’s private jet costs.

We exclusively reported on Bannon's $1 million-a-year contract with Guo, and his non-profit with Cleta Mitchell, which paid for using Guo's private jet to attend conferences. The non-profit's only product is a movie about Trump and Xi Jinping.

Given his claimed loss of Chinese assets, the source of Guo's wealth remains unclear. His extensive U.S. investments and political donations raise concerns about potential foreign funding of domestic political activities. Some of Guo and Bannon's funds were siphoned out of a charity they set up to "Build the Wall," which is why Guo has been indicted for fraud. Bannon is an unindicted co-conspirator.

The Guo-Bannon operation represents an evolution in modern espionage, combining traditional methods with large-scale social media manipulation. Protecting U.S. democracy will require stronger safeguards, empowered watchdogs, and a criminal statute outlawing soft foreign-funded espionage operations, handing authorities the tools to shut them down. Understanding these sophisticated influence operations is crucial for defending the integrity of American democracy.

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