American companies are funding the Kremlin’s info war against us

An employee at Russia Today’s Moscow office. Iliya Pitalev Sputnik

 

Western advertising has been filling the coffers of Russian propaganda outlets, underwriting a racistmisogynistanti-American media that keeps Vladimir Putin in place and actively threatens America’s political system. Writing in The Daily Beast, Mitchell Polman states clearly that “without those ad dollars it would be difficult for Russian media to function.”

Congress recently held social media companies’ feet to the fire for accepting Russian political advertising on their platforms during the 2016 presidential election. Facebook and Twitter have been contrite and promised to work harder to vet future advertising and curb foreign political propaganda aimed at undermining America’s political system.

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Russia Has A “Surprise” Planned For US If It Bans RT, Sputnik Ads

 

A day after certain members of the Senate Intelligence committee expressed their profound disappointment with Facebook, Twitter and Google for appearing to blow off lawmakers’ concerns about a “sophisticated” Russia-backed propaganda campaign purportedly being carried out on their platforms, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova is hitting back, warning that Russia has “a surprise” response planned if US lawmakers overtly ban Russia Today and Sputnik from running advertisements on twitter and other US social media platforms. Continue reading

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

Russian Commentator On U.S. Elections: Clinton Is Better For Russia

Rotislav Ischenko, an analyst for ‘Russia Today’ had an interesting take on the American elections. While the Russian public prefers Trump because he is viewed as an antagonist of the American elite epitomized by Hillary Clinton, Ischenko is rooting for Clinton. Republicans, excluding George W. Bush, generally proved themselves more skillful practitioners of international politics who skillfully manipulated Russia. The Clinton Administration began the American overstretch that committed resources to meaningless and unachievable goals. Therefore those who would prefer a weakened America should hope for a Clinton victory that would translate into America’s continued decline.

A translation of Ischenko’s article appears below:[1]

‘A Democrat Means A Guaranteed And Accelerated Continuation Of The Current Decline Of The American Supremacy’

While Clinton and Trump are fighting in the ring, the public cheers for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Most Russian experts, observers and even ordinary citizens who exhibit as much interest in the American electoral campaign as in the Olympics or the Football World Cup, side with Donald Trump in this race. This comes as no surprise. 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

How Vladimir Putin Weaponized Russia’s Media

After decades of wielding Soviet-style hard power, Moscow is developing a subtler form of influence.

Vladimir Putin is a news junkie.

The Russian president’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, didn’t use that expression when we talked by phone, but that’s what he described to me: a man at the center of an ever-churning machine processing vast amounts of news and data at his command.

“Sometimes we’re wondering what is the limit for a human being for absorbing this huge amount of information,” Peskov told me, “but, well, it’s really a very, very, very heavy job.”

Peskov, speaking fluent English, described the operation. “First of all, the information and press department of the presidential administration prepares digests on print media, on Internet sources, on domestic media—federal and regional. 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.

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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

‘Death of money’: Author Rickards predicts collapse of global monetary system

The collapse of the monetary system awaits the world in the near future, says financial expert James Rickards. Russia and China’s desire to rid the US dollar of its global reserve currency status is an early sign of the “increasingly inevitable” crisis.

“China has three trillion dollars, but they are buying gold as fast as they can. China worries that the US is going to devalue the dollar through inflation so they want to have a hedge if the dollar goes down, so the gold will go up,” Rickards told RT.

As one of the key events in support of his forecast, Rickards points to the words uttered by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 18th International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg that took place earlier this month.

“Putin said he envisions a Eurasian economic zone involving Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Russia. The Russian ruble is nowhere near ready to be a global reserve currency, but it could be a regional reserve currency,” he said, as quoted by ETF Daily News. Continue reading

Kremlin ‘Liquidates’ Its Own State News Agencies

To summarize, what’s transpiring is the changing of agency names whereas the propaganda will stay the same. Same lie or half-truth, different face.

Russia announced today that it will shut down state media outlets RIA Novosti and Voice of Russia and roll them into the new Rossiya Segodnya. Oddly enough, RIA Novosti was the first to report a sad, sad account of its own imminent dissolution. Continue reading

Ukraine Had No Option – Drop EU for Russia or Be Crushed

Collapse of talks a blow to European 
balance of power as Kremlin sanctions 
trump historic trade deal

Twenty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine is slipping back under Kremlin control. Ukraine’s shock decision to opt for Vladimir Putin’s Russia and pull out of EU talks on the eve of an historic deal is a dramatic upset to the European balance of power. It is the first major defeat for the EU in its eastward march since the fall of Communism. While the region’s geopolitics remain fluid, the upset may prove as fateful as the move by the Kossack chief Bohdan Khmelnytsky to turn his back on the West and accept Tsarist suzerainty in the 1640s.

“Ukraine’s government suddenly bowed deeply to the Kremlin. The politics of brutal pressure evidently work,” said Karl Bildt, Sweden’s Foreign Minister. Continue reading

Russia’s ‘aircraft carrier killer’ Varyag and battle cruiser Pyotr Veliky arrive in Mediterranean

From the state-run Russia Today:

The guided missile cruiser Varyag of the Russian Pacific Fleet (RIA Novosti / Vitaliy Ankov)

The flagship of Russia’s Pacific Fleet, Varyag, and the country’s most powerful nuclear-powered battleship, Pyotr Veliky, entered the Mediterranean Sea on Saturday.

Varyag is to assume the command of Russia’s Pacific Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea, replacing missile cruiser Moskva, said Interfax’s military diplomatic source. He added that there are detachments of marine units employed on ships and vessels of the Pacific Fleet, while its air force wing boasts several Ka-27 helicopters that can conduct rescue and anti-piracy operations and kill submarines. Continue reading

Syria: Israeli attack equals declaration of war. Iron Domes at Haifa and Safed

Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said Sunday, May 5, that the strike at Syria overnight represented a “declaration of war” by Israel. Russian and Iranian media earlier predicted full-scale Middle East hostilities involving Israel erupting in the coming hours, in the wake of Israel’s renewed strikes against Iranian missiles bound for Hizballah and other targets around Damascus. Russian sources reported rumors that President Bashar Assad was on the point of declaring war on Israel. Continue reading