Weaponized Disinformation: Death by a Thousand Lies

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.”

New York Times Magazine

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10 thoughts on “Weaponized Disinformation: Death by a Thousand Lies

  1. Dear Rob,

    I find that I do have to double check facts. I spend a lot of time on research and you would think that journalists would do like wise but they don’t.

    Remember the Michael Brown case? The press bought the story from the police that witnesses were saying that Michael Brown’s hands were way up in the air and this has been shown to be a lie.

    The truth is that there was only one witness who said this. I reviewed thousands of pages of data. All the credible witnesses said his arms were raised just slightly.

    The police said there were no bullets in his back area. The press bought this line also and after the fact, news reporters do not like to admit to being wrong on a major news event. There was a bullet entry wound in the back of his arm area.

    Then the DOJ report echoed a lot of misinformation. I wanted to scream, Why can’t you just do your dxxxx job?

    This is how it goes, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The press has a role to play in the job of preserving self-government. If we can’t trust our press to report facts and to hold our representatives accountable we can make wise decisions. The fact is that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are not equally corrupt. It may be possible that Hillary Clinton’s ‘corruption’ is that she’s a woman. *I find it disturbing that the American people don’t see that Hillary Clinton is being fag bashed by the right wing press for being a woman. Either that or they don’t care.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Misogyny is a pervasive part of this culture. HRC is a victim of this. She has been accused of being dishonest starting well over 25 years ago and this has been accepted by the media to where it is now so ingrained in many people’s minds. I remember a William Safire going on what amounts to tirades against her. Then there were the Clinton Chronicles, videos disseminated to millions of folks by the former Jerry Falwell who accused her of murder , dishonesty, etc.

        I have been arguing:

        Yes, she does act in a way that is politically advantageous. Guess what? She is a politician. Yes, she did defend her cheating husband. Here she just joined the rest of the real world where too many women have found themselves in this difficult position..

        Picture yourself having every move scrutinized, at a level that borders on stalking while having numerous investigations v you conducted by your enemies (the opposing party). Few could survive this intact.(I couldn’t.)

        I also recall that when she ran for a second term as a US Senator, she was voted back in by a wide majority of voters. When she left her post as Secretary of State she had a 69% approval rating.

        After a significant period of time when HRC was serving as the U.S. NY Senator, the conservative reporter, Mark Halperin has told the story of how he was looking for any negative feedback by her fellow republican senators but all he was able to uncover were positive comments regarding her performance.

        In short, I admire her toughness. Gronda

        Like

  2. Reblogged this on saywhatumean2say and commented:

    Rob,

    How do I know you haven’t posted an article, that in itself is not disinformation but as written from the US point of view. How do I know you are not a Troll by accident? I mean this type of propaganda has always existed; the goals are just different depending on the circumstances.

    I am re-blogging this post because I find the content and the article thought provoking and so, I already “found” this article in the New York Magazine for 6/7/2015. That isn’t the date of the article but it is close and maybe the one you referenced was the on-line version.

    I believe this to be an authentic article and also found the author contributes to the New Yorker Magazine too but after your last post and now this one; I’m getting paranoid.

    Before we fly off “half cocked” we should consider the source. Since this came from you and your site, I perfectly sure I could re-blog with confidence but your article made me think and now, if not opinion and stated as such or not personal poetry, prose, or just plain comedic content. I’m checking the source.

    Thank you for posting two fascinating articles.
    ~~dru~~

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That thought occurred to me as well…what I find troubling is that our press is so out of control that we don’t know what to believe which is dangerous to self government. the whole point of weaponized disinformation is to create uncertainty and suspicion. So whatever the source,something is wrong with a political system in which the people cannot trust their news sources to give them facts. I do my best to verify sources and link to them. But your point is valid.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I thought about your comment all day. I didn’t feel I gave an adequate reply. Then I stepped into a corner store and CNN was on. The topic: Hillary Clinton’s email. The three times I’ve entered that store over the past five days CNN was on and the topic was either Hillary’s email
      or someone casting aspersions on her health. I realized that the issue is not so much the source of the disinformation. What matters is our ‘news’ is mostly disinformation served up by a press corp that no longer reports facts. In fact, what our press calls news is often a
      blatant lie. Subverting the the truth to poison a political debate is an aggressive act of psychological war called Weaponized Disinformation. The source may not be Russian. But regardless of the source the result is the same: A News Media that lies subverts the rule of law
      and is a direct threat to our democracy.

      Liked by 1 person

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