How China wins the South China Sea war without firing a shot

China is engaged in a broad-ranging information warfare campaign as part of a covert effort to take control of the South China Sea — in the words of ancient strategist Sun Tzu, without firing a shot.

The Chinese cyber attacks have been carried out extensively on regional states along with political influence operations designed to falsely convince the international community that the waters of the sea are and have been China’s sovereign maritime territory.

James Clapper, the US director of national intelligence, told a Senate hearing last week that aggressive Chinese cyber attacks were continuing. ”China continues to succeed in conducting cyber espionage against the US government, our allies, and US companies,” he said. Continue reading

How Russian propaganda works in the West

Until recently, the phenomenon of Russian government propaganda was only interesting to a small group of Russia experts, news junkies and counter-propaganda fundraisers. It was mainly seen as a tool for keeping Russians supportive of Vladimir Putin. No longer. Thanks to post-U.S. election blame games, and the upcoming election season in Europe, how the Russian state pushes its messages to Western audiences is a hot political topic. It’s also woefully misunderstood.

As the Russian journalist Alexey Kovalev, who started his own project to debunk Russian government propaganda, puts it: “The fight against fake news has itself turned into fake news. It’s a kind of meta-propaganda.” Continue reading

Think That News Story Online Is a Hoax? It May Be Written By Russian Propagandists

Did you ever hear the one about the Colombian Chemicals factory in Centerville, Ala., blown up by ISIS terrorists on Sept. 11? Possibly not–because it did not happen.

The Colombian Chemicals fake is an example of the Russian government’s determination to get into the heads of Americans through the deployment of an army of hundreds so-called “trolls,” who prowl the Internet to spread disinformation and attack those who are deemed enemies of the Kremlin. Creating the hoax involved setting up fake Twitter accounts, commentary in Arabic claiming ISIS involvement, and fake Louisiana TV images on YouTube. For a few moments it had local people severely rattled. Continue reading

Russia’s “Weaponization” of Information

Testimony Presented to the House Foreign Affairs Committee

April 15, 2015

Helle C. Dale

My name is Helle Dale. I am Senior Fellow for Public Diplomacy in the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express in this testimony are my own, and should not be construed as representing any official position of The Heritage Foundation.

Audiences within reach of Russia’s growing media empire are increasingly subjected to manipulation and rampant anti-Americanism.[1] This trend has intensified since the Russian annexation of Crimea and its invasion of Eastern Ukraine in 2014. Through its global network, Russia Today (RT), the Kremlin broadcasts globally in five major languages, including on cable TV stations in the United States. Free Western media has no comparable presence in Russia.

Russian propaganda is corrosive to the image of the United States and to our values. Or as Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Victoria Nuland described it before this committee on March 4, “the Kremlin’s pervasive propaganda campaign, where is truth is no obstacle.” And Russian propaganda is being spread aggressively around the world as we have not seen it since Soviet days. This is not just in Central Asia, and Eastern and Central Europe, but even here in the West. The daily content and commentary from RT and others is often polished and slickly produced. And it’s not like old-fashioned propaganda, aimed solely at making Putin and Russia look good. It’s a new kind of propaganda, aimed at sowing doubt about anything having to do with the U.S. and the West, and in a number of countries, unsophisticated audiences are eating it up.

Continue reading

Russia outguns US in information war

Not only is the U.S. outgunned in the information war, it has allowed propaganda news outlets such as state-run (KGB) Russia Today to broadcast within the gates and manipulate the minds of American citizens for years already.

The Soviet propaganda factory Russia Today has gotten so bad that even one of the news anchors quit live in TV because she was sick of the lies she had to push forward on the Evil Empire’s behalf:

 

 

The West does not have one message and it’s up against a co-ordinated information war, academic says.

Washington: The troubled US agency responsible for delivering news around the world is being outgunned in Eastern Europe by Russian outlets unrestrained by notions of fact-based journalism.

The unequal competition raises fears among US officials that Moscow is winning the information war about events in Ukraine, even as the Russian economy staggers under economic sanctions imposed after the takeover of Crimea.

“Russia has engaged in a rather remarkable period of the most overt and extensive propaganda exercise that I’ve seen since the very height of the Cold War,” US Secretary of State John Kerry told a Senate subcommittee in late February. It’s “spending hugely on this vast propaganda machine”, he told another panel the same day, and it’s succeeding “because there’s nothing countering it”. Continue reading

Disarming the U.S. on the “Information Battlefield”

Paul Goble, a specialist on international broadcasting and the propaganda war being waged over Ukraine, writes that “…as effective as [Vladimir] Putin’s disinformation campaign has been inside Russia, it has been even more successful beyond that country’s borders.” One problem, he says, is that the Western media treat Putin’s lies as just another point of view.

Another problem is that the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the federal agency that oversees all U.S. civilian international media, seems to be completely clueless as to how to win the information war and make sure truth triumphs over lies.

Concerning the role played by the Western media, Goble contends that “…many Western outlets report what Moscow ‘says,’ while describing any Ukrainian government statement as ‘claims.’ Invariably, doing so is called objectivity but in fact it is anything but. Instead, it gives an opening to governments like Putin’s, which are prepared to lie and to spread their lies widely, confident that what they say, however untrue or outrageous, will be reported.”

This is one reason why the idea that Ukraine shot down the Malaysian plane, thinking it was Putin’s jet, has gotten so much attention in the West. It gets picked up as just another point of view, even though it is a blatant lie and was designed as such. Russia has a propaganda channel, Russia Today (RT), which broadcasts this disinformation inside the U.S. on a regular basis.

Showing his own receptivity to Russian propaganda, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul went on a new conservative news channel, Newsmax TV, to suggest that the government of Ukraine had shot the plane down. The former Republican congressman has been a regular guest on RT, and has wandered far from the days when he claimed to be an anti-communist.

Goble says many in the West fall victim to Moscow’s lies, “either out of a confusion between balance and objectivity, a conviction that all governments lie and that no one should be surprised, or a commitment to maintaining good relations with the Russian government no matter what it does.” It is not clear what motivates Ron Paul, but his acceptance of the Kremlin point of view makes a mockery out of his proclaimed devotion to liberty around the world. Continue reading

Report: Israel made sure no Russians in Latkia – then attacked

Lebanese station says Israel attacked stockpile of Russian Yakhont missiles only after ensuring no Russian experts were on-site. Another report: Senior rebel commander passed on information regarding missile stockpile to US

Even after US sources affirmed that Israel was the one behind the bombing of the Yakhont missile stockpile in Latkia, Syria, the whole story behind the attack on the anti-ship cruise missiles remains murky. Continue reading