Tetsuo Arima Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, Waseda University
Tetsuo Arima writes: In Washington D.C., the capital of the United States, there is an attraction called the “Duck Tour.” It takes tourists on an amphibious vehicle to tourist spots on both sides of the Potomac River. As the vehicle nears the State Department building, the tour guide gives tourists a quiz. “Over there is the Voice of America, a network which broadcasts around the world. What is the only country that is not covered by this network?” When I participated in this tour, I was the first to raise my hand and answer, “America.” The tour guide made a sour face.
The U.S. government does not engage in propaganda toward Americans. Since the people choose representatives to form a government by democratic elections, the government should not lead its people to make wrong decisions by spreading propaganda. This is a basic principle of democracy. Countries such as China and North Korea, which do not practice democracy, control their populations with propaganda.
However, the U.S., which is a democracy, does engage in propaganda toward other countries. Even its allies are no exception. America, with huge “soft” power, has great influence on other countries, mainly through movies, TV programs, music and fashion, and also utilizes propaganda to the maximum extent. The tour guide must have been displeased because he realized I knew that.
Propaganda in the Information Age
We live in a highly digitized world today. The amount of information is growing exponentially, and many people believe unconditionally that more information is better. This is true if such information is true, unbiased and helps its recipients make sound judgments. But as the amount of information grows, so does the amount that is biased and false. In particular, in the borderless world of the Internet, if one continues to pursue related information, one can easily stray into propaganda sites established by various countries without knowing it.
Readers believe that such information is interesting and useful, but its creators take the trouble to translate and present it in an effort to plant certain ideas and images in the reader’s mind. They expend great time and money to do so. Even smallish businesses spend huge amounts of money on public relations and commercials, so it is natural that major countries bring together elite propagandists, organize powerful state agencies, and give them enormous budgets in order to spread propaganda.
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) September 29, 2016
VOA, mentioned above, is one of those propaganda agencies. In fact, it is modeled after the British Broadcasting Corporation. The BBC has a strong image as a reputable public broadcaster, but it is also known to spread propaganda, especially during wartime. Nonetheless, it did not spread rumors, praise its country unreservedly, or slander enemy countries, unlike state-owned media in non-democratic countries. The BBC reported news strictly based on facts, but achieved enormous impact by broadcasting only the facts that were convenient to its country and inconvenient to hostile ones.
Responsibility of the mass media
In China, a non-democratic country which controls its people with propaganda, news presented by China Central Television (CCTV), a broadcaster run by the Communist Party, should be regarded as propaganda whether it targets domestic or foreign audiences. Of course CCTV also uses language which makes its content really sound like propaganda. The problem in Japan is that the mass media frequently repeat such propaganda as part of their news. Read the rest of this entry »
[PHOTOS] The Last Days of East Germany: 40 Fascinating Photographs That Capture Everyday Life in Berlin in the late 1980sPosted: September 10, 2016
From vintage everyday: Between 1961 and 1989, the Berlin Wall divided East and West Germany and prevented the mass defection that took place after World War II. It also acted as a symbolic partition between democracy and Communism during the Cold War period. The wall was erected in the middle of the night, but it was torn down just as quickly 28 years later, leading to Germany’s reunification.
In January 1988, Erich Honecker paid a state visit to France. By all indications, the long stretch of international isolation appeared to have been successfully overcome. The GDR finally seemed to be taking its long-sought place among the international community of nations. In the minds of the GDR’s old-guard communists, the long-awaited international political recognition was seen as a favorable omen that seemed to coincide symbolically with the fortieth anniversary of the East German state.
56 Journalists Killed in Russia/Motive Confirmed
Akhmednabi Akhmednabiyev, Novoye Delo
July 9, 2013, in Semender, Russia
Mikhail Beketov, Khimkinskaya Pravda
April 8, 2013, in Khimki, Russia
Kazbek Gekkiyev, VGTRK
December 5, 2012, in Nalchik, Russia
Gadzhimurad Kamalov, Chernovik
December 15, 2011, in Makhachkala, Russia
Abdulmalik Akhmedilov, Hakikat and Sogratl
August 11, 2009, in Makhachkala , Russia
Natalya Estemirova, Novaya Gazeta, Kavkazsky Uzel
July 15, 2009, in between Grozny and Gazi-Yurt , Russia
Anastasiya Baburova, Novaya Gazeta
January 19, 2009, in Moscow , Russia
Telman (Abdulla) Alishayev, TV-Chirkei
September 2, 2008, in Makhachkala, Russia
Magomed Yevloyev, Ingushetiya
August 31, 2008, in Nazran, Russia
Ivan Safronov, Kommersant
March 2, 2007, in Moscow, Russia
Maksim Maksimov, Gorod
November 30, 2006, in St. Petersburg, Russia
Anna Politkovskaya, Novaya Gazeta
October 7, 2006, in Moscow, Russia
Vagif Kochetkov, Trud and Tulsky Molodoi Kommunar
January 8, 2006, in Tula, Russia
Magomedzagid Varisov, Novoye Delo
June 28, 2005, in Makhachkala, Russia
Pavel Makeev, Puls
May 21, 2005, in Azov, Russia
Paul Klebnikov, Forbes Russia
July 9, 2004, in Moscow, Russia
Adlan Khasanov, Reuters
May 9, 2004, in Grozny, Russia
Aleksei Sidorov, Tolyatinskoye Obozreniye
October 9, 2003, in Togliatti, Russia
Yuri Shchekochikhin, Novaya Gazeta
July 3, 2003, in Moscow, Russia
Roddy Scott, Frontline
September 26, 2002, in Galashki Region, Ingushetia, Russia
Valery Ivanov, Tolyatinskoye Obozreniye
April 29, 2002, in Togliatti, Russia
Natalya Skryl, Nashe Vremya
March 9, 2002, in Rostov-on-Don, Russia
Eduard Markevich, Novy Reft
September 18, 2001, in Reftinsky, Sverdlovsk Region, Russia
Igor Domnikov, Novaya Gazeta
July 16, 2000, in Moscow, Russia
Aleksandr Yefremov, Nashe Vremya
May 12, 2000, in Chechnya, Russia
Vladimir Yatsina, ITAR-TASS
February 20, 2000, in Chechnya, Russia
Shamil Gigayev, Nokh Cho TV
October 29, 1999, in Shaami Yurt, Russia
Ramzan Mezhidov, TV Tsentr
October 29, 1999, in Shaami Yurt, Russia
Supian Ependiyev, Groznensky Rabochy
October 27, 1999, in Grozny, Russia
Anatoly Levin-Utkin, Yurichichesky Peterburg Segodnya
August 24, 1998, in St. Petersburg, Russia
Larisa Yudina, Sovietskaya Kalmykia Segodnya
June 8, 1998, in Elista, Russia
Ramzan Khadzhiev, Russian Public TV (ORT)
August 11, 1996, in Grozny, Russia
Viktor Mikhailov, Zabaikalsky Rabochy
May 12, 1996, in Chita, Russia
Nina Yefimova, Vozrozhdeniye
May 9, 1996, in Grozny, Russia
Nadezhda Chaikova, Obshchaya Gazeta
March 30, 1996, in Gehki, Russia
Viktor Pimenov, Vaynakh Television
March 11, 1996, in Grozny, Russia
Felix Solovyov, freelance
February 26, 1996, in Moscow, Russia
Vadim Alferyev, Segodnyashnyaya Gazeta
December 27, 1995, in Krasnoyarsk, Russia
Shamkhan Kagirov, Rossiskaya Gazeta and Vozrozheniye
December 13, 1995, in near Grozny, Russia
Natalya Alyakina, Focus and RUFA
June 17, 1995, in Budyonnovsk, Russia
Farkhad Kerimov, Associated Press TV
May 29, 1995, in Chechnya, Russia
Vladislav Listyev, Russian Public Television (OTR)
March 1, 1995, in Moscow, Russia
Viatcheslav Rudnev, Freelancer
February 17, 1995, in Kaluga, Russia
Jochen Piest, Stern
January, 10, 1995, in Chervlyonna, Russia
Vladimir Zhitarenko, Krasnaya Zvezda
January 1, 1995, in Grozny, Russia
Cynthia Elbaum, Freelancer
December 22, 1994, in Grozny, Russia
Dmitry Kholodov, Mosckovski Komsomolets
October 17, 1994, in Moscow, Russia
Yuri Soltis, Interfax
June 12, 1994, in Moscow, Russia
Aleksandr Smirnov, Molodyozhny Kuryer
October 4, 1993, in Moscow, Russia
Aleksandr Sidelnikov, Lennauchfilm Studio
October 4, 1993, in Moscow, Russia
Sergei Krasilnikov, Ostankino Television Company
October 3, 1993, in Moscow, Russia
Yvan Scopan, TF-1 Television Company
October 3, 1993, in Moscow, Russia
Vladimir Drobyshev, Nature and Man
October 3, 1993, in Moscow, Russia
Igor Belozyorov, Ostankino State Broadcasting Company
October 3, 1993, in Moscow, Russia
Rory Peck, ARD Television Company
October 3, 1993, in Moscow, Russia
Dmitry Krikoryants, Expresskhronika
April 14, 1993, in Grozny, Russia Read the rest of this entry »
American officials say Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks probably have no direct ties to Russian intelligence services. But the agendas of WikiLeaks and the Kremlin have often dovetailed.
Julian Assange was in classic didactic form, holding forth on the topic that consumes him — the perfidy of big government and especially of the United States.
Mr. Assange, the editor of WikiLeaks, rose to global fame in 2010 for releasing huge caches of highly classified American government communications that exposed the underbelly of its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and its sometimes cynical diplomatic maneuvering around the world. But in a televised interview last September, it was clear that he still had plenty to say about “The World According to US Empire,” the subtitle of his latest book, “The WikiLeaks Files.”
From the cramped confines of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he was granted asylum four years ago amid a legal imbroglio, Mr. Assange proffered a vision of America as superbully: a nation that has achieved imperial power by proclaiming allegiance to principles of human rights while deploying its military-intelligence apparatus in “pincer” formation to “push” countries into doing its bidding, and punishing people like him who dare to speak the truth.
Notably absent from Mr. Assange’s analysis, however, was criticism of another world power, Russia, or its president, Vladimir V. Putin, who has hardly lived up to WikiLeaks’ ideal of transparency. Mr. Putin’s government has cracked down hard on dissent — spying on, jailing, and, critics charge, sometimes assassinating opponents while consolidating control over the news media and internet. If Mr. Assange appreciated the irony of the moment — denouncing censorship in an interview on Russia Today, the Kremlin-controlled English-language propaganda channel — it was not readily apparent.
Now, Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks are back in the spotlight, roiling the geopolitical landscape with new disclosures and a promise of more to come.
In July, the organization released nearly 20,000 Democratic National Committee emails suggesting that the party had conspired with Hillary Clinton’s campaign to undermine her primary opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders. Mr. Assange — who has been openly critical of Mrs. Clinton — has promised further disclosures that could upend her campaign against the Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump. Separately, WikiLeaks announced that it would soon release some of the crown jewels of American intelligence: a “pristine” set of cyberspying codes.
United States officials say they believe with a high degree of confidence that the Democratic Party material was hacked by the Russian government, and suspect that the codes may have been stolen by the Russians as well. That raises a question: Has WikiLeaks become a laundering machine for compromising material gathered by Russian spies? And more broadly, what precisely is the relationship between Mr. Assange and Mr. Putin’s Kremlin?
Those questions are made all the more pointed by Russia’s prominent place in the American presidential election campaign. Mr. Putin, who clashed repeatedly with Mrs. Clinton when she was secretary of state, has publicly praised Mr. Trump, who has returned the compliment, calling for closer ties to Russia and speaking favorably of Mr. Putin’s annexation of Crimea. Read the rest of this entry »
Vladimir Putin Honors Critical Russian Journalist’s Birthday with a Celebratory Gunshot Wound to Journalists’s HeadPosted: August 29, 2016
Alexander Shchetinin found dead with a gun near his body after friends tried to visit him at home.
The body of Alexander Shchetinin, founder the Novy Region (New Region) press agency, was found at his flat after friends tried to visit him on his birthday.
A police spokesperson said Kiev forces were alerted of Ms Shchetinin’s death at around midnight on Saturday. He is believed to have died a few hours earlier, between 8 and 9.30pm.
Officials have speculated that his death was caused by suicide, after a gun was found near his body along with spent cartridges, and the door to his apartment was said to be locked. Read the rest of this entry »
Using both conventional media and covert channels, the Kremlin relies on disinformation to create doubt, fear and discord in Europe and the United States.
STOCKHOLM — NATO, officials in Stockholm suddenly encountered an unsettling problem: a flood of distorted and outright false information on social media, confusing public perceptions of the issue.With a vigorous national debate underway on whether Sweden should enter a military partnership with
“People were not used to it, and they got scared, asking what can be believed, what should be believed?”
— Marinette Nyh Radebo, Mr. Hultqvist’s spokeswoman
The claims were alarming: If Sweden, a non-NATO member, signed the deal, the alliance would stockpile secret nuclear weapons on Swedish soil; NATO could attack Russia from Sweden without government approval; NATO soldiers, immune from prosecution, could rape Swedish women without fear of criminal charges.
“Moscow views world affairs as a system of special operations, and very sincerely believes that it itself is an object of Western special operations. I am sure that there are a lot of centers, some linked to the state, that are involved in inventing these kinds of fake stories.”
— Gleb Pavlovsky, helped establish the Kremlin’s information machine before 2008.
They were all false, but the disinformation had begun spilling into the traditional news media, and as the defense minister, Peter Hultqvist, traveled the country to promote the pact in speeches and town hall meetings, he was repeatedly grilled about the bogus 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.”
“People were not used to it, and they got scared, asking what can be believed, what should be believed?” said Marinette Nyh Radebo, Mr. Hultqvist’s spokeswoman.
As often happens in such cases, Swedish officials were never able to pin down the source of the false reports. But they, numerous analysts and experts in American and European intelligence point to Russia as the prime suspect, noting that preventing NATO expansion is a centerpiece of the foreign policy of President Vladimir V. Putin, who invaded Georgia in 2008 largely to forestall that possibility.
In Crimea, eastern Ukraine and now Syria, Mr. Putin has flaunted a modernized and more muscular military. But he lacks the economic strength and overall might to openly confront NATO, the European Union or the United States. Instead, he has invested heavily in a program of “weaponized” information, using a variety of means to sow doubt and division. The goal is to weaken cohesion among member states, stir discord in their domestic politics and blunt opposition to Russia. Read the rest of this entry »
Western intelligence bosses recently have become open about stating what they’ve known for years, that Snowden is a Kremlin pawn designed to inflict pain on Russia’s adversaries in the SpyWar.
John R. Schindler writes: The National Security Agency can’t catch a break. Over three years ago, Edward Snowden, an IT contractor for the agency, defected to Moscow with more than a million classified documents. Since then, Snowden’s vast trove has been used to embarrass NSA about the extent of its global espionage reach.
“Significant questions loom over this new scandal. In the first place, what really is The Shadow Brokers? They appear to be a transparent front for Russian intelligence. Indeed, they’re not really hiding that fact, given the broken English they used in their online auction notice asking for bitcoin in exchange for NSA information.”
I’ve been warning from Day One that the Snowden Operation was a Russian propaganda ploy aimed at inflicting pain on NSA, America’s most important spy agency, and its global alliance of espionage partnerships that’s been the backbone of the powerful Western intelligence system since it helped defeat the Nazis and Japan in World War II.
“From his Russian exile, even Snowden admitted on Twitter that this was pretty obviously a Kremlin spy game.”
Western intelligence bosses recently have become open about stating what they’ve known for years, that Snowden is a Kremlin pawn designed to inflict pain on Russia’s adversaries in the SpyWar. There’s no doubt that’s the case, especially since the Kremlin now has admitted that Snowden is their agent.
For more than three years NSA has been subjected to an unprecedented stream of leaks about myriad Top Secret intelligence programs. Although Snowden claimed his motivation was to protect the civil liberties of fellow Americans by exposing secrets, it’s impossible to miss that well over 95 percent of the programs he’s compromised are purely involved with foreign intelligence. The impact of all this on agency morale has been devastating and NSA is in a state of crisis thanks to Snowden.
This week things took a marked turn for the worse, however, with the exposure of highly sensitive NSA hacking tools on the Internet by a murky group calling itself “The Shadow Brokers” which announced it planned to sell programs purloined from the agency. Like clockwork, NSA’s public website crashed and stayed down for almost a full day. Although there’s no indication this was linked to The Shadow Brokers, the optics for NSA were terrible.
First, some explanation is needed of what’s been compromised. The crown jewel here is a 300-megabyte file containing “exploits”—that is, specialized sophisticated cyber tools designed to burrow through firewalls to steal data. What The Shadow Brokers has, which it claims it stole from an alleged NSA front organization termed the Equation Group, appears to be legitimate.
Here we are, three years after Snowden, dealing with the consequences of allowing Russian moles to run amok inside NSA.
These exploits—or at least some of them—appear to come from NSA’s elite office of Tailored Access Operations, which is the agency’s hacking group. Arguably the world’s most proficient cyber-warriors, the shadowy TAO excels at gaining access to the computer systems of foreign adversaries. TAO veterans have confirmed that, from what they’ve seen of what The Shadow Brokers has revealed, they’re bona fide NSA exploits.
This represents a security disaster for an agency that really didn’t need another one. How this happened, given the enormous security that’s placed on all NSA Top Secret computer systems, raises troubling questions about what’s going on, since the agency instituted much more strenuous online security after Snowden’s defection, which revealed how slipshod NSA counterintelligence really was.
However, significant questions loom over this new scandal. In the first place, what really is The Shadow Brokers? They appear to be a transparent front for Russian intelligence. Indeed, they’re not really hiding that fact, given the broken English they used in their online auction notice asking for bitcoin in exchange for NSA information. From his Russian exile, even Snowden admitted on Twitter that this was pretty obviously a Kremlin spy game.
Pro-Russian sources have pointed to the Equation Group as an NSA front for more than a year. In early 2015, Kaspersky Labs, one of the world’s leading cybersecurity firms, announced the discovery of the Equation Group and fingers were quickly pointed at NSA as being the culprit behind those hackers. It should be noted that Kaspersky Labs has a very cozy relationship with the Kremlin and is viewed by most espionage experts in the West as an extended arm of Russian intelligence. The firm’s founder, Eugene Kaspersky, was trained in codes and ciphers by the KGB in the waning days of the Soviet Union, even meeting his first wife at a KGB resort. Read the rest of this entry »
Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of sending saboteurs across the border into Crimea to provoke the Russians, which a Ukrainian official called “ridiculous.” Charles Krauthammer agrees, and believes Putin is ready to take advantage of U.S. and European weakness.
Charles Krauthammer discusses Donald Trump’s call for Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s missing emails, and how the Clinton campaign’s response belies a total contradiction.
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.
Natasha Bertrand reports: Russia’s troll factories were, at one point, likely being paid by the Kremlin to spread pro-Trump propaganda on social media.
That is what freelance journalist Adrian Chen, now a staff writer at The New Yorker, discovered as he was researching Russia’s “army of well-paid trolls” for an explosive New York Times Magazine exposé published in June 2015.
“The DNC hack and dump is what cyberwar looks like.”
“A very interesting thing happened,” Chen told Longform‘s Max Linsky in a podcast in December.
“I created this list of Russian trolls when I was researching. And I check on it once in a while, still. And a lot of them have turned into conservative accounts, like fake conservatives. I don’t know what’s going on, but they’re all tweeting about Donald Trump and stuff,” he said.
Linsky then asked Chen who he thought “was paying for that.”
“I don’t know,” Chen replied. “I feel like it’s some kind of really opaque strategy of electing Donald Trump to undermine the US or something. Like false-flag kind of thing. You know, that’s how I started thinking about all this stuff after being in Russia.”
In his research from St. Petersburg, Chen discovered that Russian internet trolls — paid by the Kremlin to spread false information on the internet — have been behind a number of “highly coordinated campaigns” to deceive the American public.
“I created this list of Russian trolls when I was researching. And I check on it once in a while, still. And a lot of them have turned into conservative accounts, like fake conservatives. I don’t know what’s going on, but they’re all tweeting about Donald Trump and stuff.”
— Adrian Chen
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.
He continued (emphasis added):
“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. Read the rest of this entry »
The new release includes 29 voice messages pulled from the emails of high-ranking DNC officials, totaling 14 minutes.
One file (#16014) involves a Clinton supporter calling to demand that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders be prevented from winning the primary.
The emails released over the weekend showed that officials within the ostensibly neutral organization had a clear bias toward former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.