Weekly monitor of pro-Kremlin disinformation effort in Europe. We follow best European analysts, best counter-measures and trends.
The Atlantic Council published our new commentary on How to Putin-Proof Your Elections. We argue that the civil society is crucial for the protection of democratic electoral process and the governments which understand that are the most successful ones in that area.
The article is following up on one of the papers we recently published during the STRATCOM SUMMIT. It identifies 35 ways governments can mitigate hostile foreign interference.
Weekly Update on the Kremlin Disinformation Efforts
Vodafone joins the flow
The trend of refusing to advertise on websites with disinformative content is not an entirely new phenomenon. It has been supported for example by a very successful Slovak group Konspiratori.sk for quite some time. A few days back, Vodafone joined the group of corporations which decided that its advertisements are not going to appear on outlets with the predominant purpose to disseminate hate speech or fake news.
The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the Countering Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia Act of 2017, which aims at enhancing cybersecurity and democracy-building. The bill is now awaiting the approval of the Congress. Meanwhile, the pressure for new sanctions against Russia is rising.
Secret documents originating from the Macedonian counter-intelligence agency leaked by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project to the Guardian suggest that Russian agents were trying to provoke discord in Macedonia for several years, in order to stop the country from joining NATO.
Kremlin Watch Reading Suggestion
Meeting the Russian Hybrid Challenge
A Comprehensive Strategic Framework;
by Franklin D. Kramer & Lauren M. Speranza, published by the Atlantic Council
Read the full study here.
Russia’s hybrid challenges continue to threaten security across the Euro-Atlantic community, which is why there is such a need for a comprehensive coordinated strategy that will engage both the nations of NATO and the EU, as well as the institutions themselves. Four key categories of hybrid threats can be laid out together with corresponding recommendations; the categories are: low-level use of force, cyberattacks, economic and political coercion and subversion, and information warfare. There are many actions which should be undertaken regarding this issue:
As for the low-level use of force (which is a concern particularly of the eastern nations of the EU and NATO) allies and member states should work towards, for example, enhanced intelligence capabilities through the creation of an “Eastern Hub”. Regarding cyber-attacks, the states should both establish their own cyber defence structures and coordinate their efforts internationally. Responses to economic and political coercion can be, for instance, establishing greater transparency on Russian actions, limiting Russian political activities and financial investment, and increasing emphasis on reducing key dependencies. In response to Russia’s information warfare, the transatlantic community should develop a comprehensive response to election interference, discredit the sources of Russian disinformation, and cooperate with the private sector.
Moreover, a fully effective response would benefit from the establishment of a new transatlantic entity that would coordinate the efforts of NATO, the EU, and individual nations, as well as private sector – a “Euro-Atlantic Coordinating Council”. More details about the recommendations outlined here are to be found in the paper.
Euroatlantic experts on disinformation warfare
Ben Nimmo analyses how botnets operate on Twitter, demonstrating their behaviour on many real life cases. In his article for the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, he states that “despite all Twitter’s attempts to weed out botnets, it is still relatively easy to create a network thousands strong.”
Vladimir Frolov dedicates an article in The Moscow Times to the alleged Russian meddling into the presidential elections in the US and argues that there is a strong possibility that the speculations about the meddling are only going to result in disruption and distraction in US politics, while supporting Vladimir Putin’s re-election campaign next year.
Czech Disinformation Corner
Trump is back after the Paris agreement withdrawal
Even though it had seemed that Czech disinformation outlets have already lost their faith in Donald Trump, describing him mainly is a puppet of American neocons over the past few weeks, his recent decision to withdraw from the Paris climate deal has met with great approval. The outlets managed to misrepresent the deal to a large extent – according to Aeronet, the deal has nothing to do with climate and its purpose is to destroy the USA; Protiproud even made an NWO conspiracy out of it.
False flag in London
With a new terrorist attack, we also have new false flag accusations. According to Aeronet, the attack on London bridge was staged by the government in order to strip people of their liberties. How was it done? London policemen changed their clothes and posed as both victims and attackers. The police also helped CNN to stage an anti-jihad protest and the Czech public broadcaster participated in it as well.
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