Weaponized Disinformation: Death by a Thousand Lies

First published September 5, 2016

Art by Rob Goldstein
The fundamental purpose of disinformation, is to undermine the official version of events — even the very idea that there is a true version of events. The Atlantic

From Business Insider

Russian internet trolls, paid by the Kremlin to spread false information on the internet, are behind a number of “highly coordinated (disinformation) campaigns” to deceive the American public.

It’s a brand of information warfare, known as “dezinformatsiya,” that has been used by the Russians since at least the Cold War. The disinformation campaigns are only one “active measure” tool used by Russian intelligence to “sow discord among,” and within, allies perceived hostile to Russia.

“An active measure is a time-honored KGB tactic for waging informational and psychological warfare,” Michael Weiss, a senior editor at The Daily Beast and editor-in-chief of The Interpreter — an online magazine that translates and analyzes political, social, and economic events inside the Russian Federation — wrote on Tuesday.

“It is designed, as retired KGB General Oleg Kalugin once defined it, ‘to drive wedges in the Western community alliances of all sorts, particularly NATO, to sow discord among allies, to weaken the United States in the eyes of the people in Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and thus to prepare ground in case the war really occurs.’ The most common subcategory of active measures is dezinformatsiya, or disinformation: feverish, if believable lies cooked up by Moscow Centre and planted in friendly media outlets to make democratic nations look sinister.”

It is not surprising, then, that the Kremlin would pay internet trolls to pose as Trump supporters and build him up online. In fact, that would be the easy part.

From his interviews with former trolls employed by Russia, Chen gathered that the point of their jobs “was to weave propaganda seamlessly into what appeared to be the nonpolitical musings of an everyday person.”

“Russia’s information war might be thought of as the biggest trolling operation in history,” Chen wrote. “And its target is nothing less than the utility of the Internet as a democratic space.”


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Disinformation: The Spread of False Stories

From the New York Times, August 28, 2016

A Powerful Russian Weapon: The Spread of False Stories

The planting of false stories is nothing new; the Soviet Union devoted considerable resources to that during the ideological battles of the Cold War. Now, though, disinformation is regarded as an important aspect of Russian military doctrine, and it is being directed at political debates in target countries with far greater sophistication and volume than in the past.

The flow of misleading and inaccurate stories is so strong that both NATO and the European Union have established special offices to identify and refute disinformation, particularly claims emanating from Russia.

The Kremlin’s clandestine methods have surfaced in the United States, too, American officials say, identifying Russian intelligence as the likely source of leaked Democratic National Committee emails that embarrassed Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The Kremlin uses both conventional media — Sputnik, a news agency, and RT, a television outlet — and covert channels, as in Sweden, that are almost always untraceable.

Russia exploits both approaches in a comprehensive assault, Wilhelm Unge, a spokesman for the Swedish Security Service, said this year when presenting the agency’s annual report. “We mean everything from internet trolls to propaganda and misinformation spread by media companies like RT and Sputnik,” he said.

The fundamental purpose of dezinformatsiya, or Russian disinformation, experts said, is to undermine the official version of events — even the very idea that there is a true version of events — and foster a kind of policy paralysis.

Disinformation most famously succeeded in early 2014 with the initial obfuscation about deploying Russian forces to seize Crimea. That summer, Russia pumped out a dizzying array of theories about the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine, blaming the C.I.A. and, most outlandishly, Ukrainian fighter pilots who had mistaken the airliner for the Russian presidential aircraft.

Art by Rob Goldstein
Disinformation – Fake Documents Suddenly Appear
Screenshot October 28 MSNBC Headline
October 28, 2016 MSNBC Headline

Continue reading “Disinformation: The Spread of False Stories”

The art of devotion – from China Sojourns Photography

A gorgeous post from Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Reblogged from China Sojourns Photography

Myanmar Devotion-1 Devotion inspires one of the purest sets of emotions, capturing love, loyalty and deep feelings of excitement that I do not think can ever be understood beyond our own personal experiences. In the world around us, so much devotion towards deities, lovers, children and nature, all linked to our desire to better understand.

Myanmar Devotion-2 Devotion in its pure form is absolutely awe inspiring to witness. I may not share or understand the experience of the devotee, but often cannot help but feel some attachment with their act of devotion.

Myanmar Devotion-3 To many, devotion is a scary word.  Devotion requires commitment, and the fear of commitment alone can send people running for the door. Contrarily, the only emotion equal to the feeling of devotion is the feeling of freedom.    Freedom to live, to pursue and to reach the potential hidden within, for this is what life’s about. This is…

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