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Exposing Russian Trolling and Information Warfare Tactics

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New Orleans: The “Big Easy’s” Soil is a Rich Environment for Agitation and Exploitation

Article By Eric Tallant

Former Army NCO/Fellow at The Intelligence Community

This propaganda leaflet was found March 13th, 2016, tapped to a pole outside the 19th century Dauphine Lalaurie Mansion. The Lalaurie Mansion is the site of one of America’s most savage abusers of African slaves. The placement of this leaflet was very deliberate. agit

 

New Orleans is a city of “have and have nots”. This makes the lower economic class especially vulnerable to political ideologies that play on said divides to stir up anger, and protest. New Orleans (NOLA) is also witnessing a tech and real estate economic boom that is one of the largest in America.

Unaffordable Housing is Setting  the Table for Subversive Propaganda Campaigns

“The New Orleans metropolitan area is forecast to be the sixth-hottest housing market in the nation in 2016 with higher prices and more sales, following in the footsteps of recently surging cities such as San Diego and Atlanta, according to a report by Realtor.com.

Home sales activity is expected to increase by 10 percent and single-family home prices to rise 6.8 percent in 2016 in the New Orleans-Metairie metropolitan statistical area, according to the report. Following recent trends, growth is expected to be centered largely in the city’s historic and lakefront neighborhoods and in parts of Metairie.

Nationwide, Realtor.com predicts home sales next year will push to the highest levels since 2006.

Many local homebuyers have been feeling the pain of higher prices and a competitive market the past two years. Home prices are up 46 percent in the city since Hurricane Katrina this year. The average house in New Orleans sold for $339,743 or $166 per square foot in the first half of this year — the most recent data available — a 4.6 percent climb.

Realtor.com chief economist Jonathan Smoke said the New Orleans metro market as a whole has lagged behind the hottest markets across the country, in places such as San Francisco and Boston, where price growth has clocked in as high as 20 percent.

“Essentially, New Orleans appears to be ready for its day in the housing recovery,” Smoke said.

The top 10 metro markets for 2016 are experiencing 60 percent more home listing views on Realtor.com compared with the national overall and inventory that moves 16 days faster than the national average, according to the report” (nola.com, 02 DEC 2015). The rising costs of real estate, coupled with new money from tech areas of nation (mostly San Francisco) means that lower income families and workers are being priced out of the housing market. This desire for housing by foreign transplants, coupled with a housing “supply and demand” shortage has left many locals out in the cold. They can no longer afford rents, or basic necessities associated with modern living.

 

Exploiting the Very Real Income and Housing Disparity

There will never be a shortage of those that wish to exploit a tragedy to gain a chance to stir up social unrest. This is particularly apt for a city like New Orleans that has seen such a historical divide in both race and income. The working poor have felt this pinch for centuries. Many young African American has worked, and served in the houses and for the events of the affluent. This fact is written into the fabric of New Orleans’ history, and is present this very day in the faces of second line drummers, line cooks, hotel staff, and street vendors. The horrible events that surrounded Hurricane Katrina gave a national TV viewing audience the horror of such racial and economic division in NOLA.

The real social/racial/economic division in NOLA also creates a situation that is primed for foreign intelligence service influence. This really should come as no surprise as hitman Lee Harvey Oswald cut his teeth peddling Communist literature on Canal Street in The French Quarter before going on to commit one of the most horrible, and memorable, acts in modern American history. NOLA is a port town. Throughout history, Spanish, French, Russian, and British spies have moved through this town, and used it as a base of operations for information warfare. Foreign intelligence has a big footprint in NOLA.

Things in NOLA are troubling than ever. The rising cost of home prices, the forcing out of low income people through natural disaster, “foreign talent and wealth influx”, and timeless divisions give rise to an old specter. The specter of Communism. This specter, in and of itself, is troubling, but add the chance that one of America’s enemies is behind it, and it becomes a matter of National Security.

 

 

 

Jacobin Webzine and Foreign Influence

     Jacobin Magazine is an online Marxist publication created by Bhaskar Sunkara, and it plays to the “petty bourgoise” white, American extreme ideologue. Mr. Sunkara is also a featured guest on RT, formally Russia Today. Mr. Sunkara explained in an interview to RT that his “main area of studies in Russian and Soviet affairs…” The following is direct excerpt from Mr. Sunkara’s publication Jacobian Magazine. It exploits the real income, and socio-economic divisions in modern day NOLA,  “This week marks a decade since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. In those ten years New Orleans has, with unprecedented swiftness, become the most neoliberal city in the United States.

This development is not entirely surprising — one need only look at the harrowing weeks and months after the storm to see that reconstruction would be used to implement a series of revanchist reforms that further deregulated labor, undermined unions,diminished educational and employment opportunities for working-class people, and excised public and affordable housing from the speculative urban landscape.

Members of the redevelopment team hurriedly pitched strategies to “reduce the city’s footprint” through planned shrinkage and more “responsible” zoning practices — strategies that would have virtually erased many of the city’s low-income black neighborhoods.

Long before the floodwaters had receded, any chance of progressive reconstruction — rebuilding as a restorative public works program aimed at meaningful redistribution — was stamped out by policy wonks and TV commentators, liberal city councilmembers, feisty NGOs, speculative real-estate developers, and boutique hotel owners.

At the same time, it would be a mistake to view the crisis — brought on by the state’s gross mismanagement of Hurricane Katrina — as inaugurating something entirely new. Rather, the crisis expanded the ability of city elites to rapidly entrench policies and governance models that had been on the docket for years.

For nearly four decades, New Orleans governing officials have exploited intentional loopholes in federal urban aid policy to reorganize the city around private interests at the expense of public benefit, deploying decentralized forms of urban aid, such asCommunity Development Block Grants, as a mechanism to leverage speculative growth.

Since the 1970s, successive mayors have diverted federal dollars earmarked for low-income neighborhoods to finance hotels, tourism centers, and corporate headquarters, legitimizing their actions as a response to federal retrenchment or as facilitating trickle-down growth.

Investing in the highly uneven tourism sector, city officials and their private sector beneficiaries pushed for containment, and then removal, of the city’s working class from “growth areas.” In response, public housing residents and local activists pushed back with some, albeit limited, success.

But after Hurricane Katrina the privatization push gained momentum. With the opportunity to enact proposals that had circulated since the mid-1980s, the city council voted unanimously to demolish 4,500 units of traditional public housing.

In just over a decade — from 1996 to 2007 — the city managed to close 85% of the city’s public housing, adopting a system of “mixed-income” projects and vouchers instead. While liberals touted it as “deconcentration,” the removal project effectively (and efficiently) displaced low-income residents from areas ripe for profit-making. As a result, 16,000 families remain on the waitlist for subsidized housing.

It was the same story with public education. Within the first few months after the storm, nearly 7,500 predominantly black public school teachers were unilaterally fired, with no process or explanation, the first shot in a relentless battle to dismantle the city’s traditional public schools. In the next few years, education profiteers, led by Teach for America (TFA) and school privatization guru Paul Vallas, turned New Orleans schools into the first all-charter school system in the nation.

Today, 91% of all the city’s schools are charters. Though boosted through a language of choice and effectiveness, the charters provide neither. Public funds pay for a system that lacks oversight, transparency, and funnels millions of dollars to privateers, who pocket salaries upwards of $1 million.

As public resources have been stripped away piece by piece, the rebuilding of a corporate infrastructure has occurred with remarkable speed. Within months of the storm, public monies flowed into downtown revitalization with abandon, like the $471 million in public dollars spent repairing the Superdome.

The storm’s wake cleared the way for developer Sean Cummings’s riverfront redevelopment project, funded through federal block grants to the tune of $30 million. Sold to the public as a project that would benefit everyone, the upscale park, which hugs the Mississippi River from the edge of the tourist-happy French Quarter to the Bywater, happens to run alongside a series of Cummings-owned properties that have appreciated in value due to its presence.

More recently, federal aid dollars have been used to reinvent a neighborhood fish market as a privately managed, upscale food court in the working-class neighborhood of St Roch.

Amid this so-called rebirth of New Orleans, artists and young urban redevelopment professionals have flooded into New Orleans to defend, and partake in, the “city authentic.”

In a place where cultural authenticity has been traded and sold at a premium for nearly a century this phenomenon seems almost natural. Tourism is central to the New Orleans’s economy, and the mythologizing of local culture — of brass bands, gumbo, and Mardi Gras Indians — has long been cultivated for the market by public-private corporations.

In the years after Hurricane Katrina, cultural commodification has been extended to the business of rebuilding and preserving the city’s unique customs. Transplant communities, exemplified most conspicuously by Solange Knowles (Beyoncé’s younger sister), have effectively taken up the mantle of a grassroots cultural reclamation: renovating historic shotguns, opening stores with local wares, and engaging the tradition of second lines for private events.

The appeal of this vibrant rebuilding effort is in its reproduction of a bourgeois bohemian paradise. However, excavated cultural authenticity offers less of an opportunity to rebuild the working class it claims to reflect (that would take jobs, housing, and a commitment to public services), and more a means to commodify culture anew.

Such activities also belie the public-private collusion — incentivized and exclusionary zoning, aid that privileges homeowners over renters, and public funds diverted to speculative projects — that produces the culture that is then articulated as spontaneous and authentic.

In new clothing and with new bedfellows, reconstruction has mobilized community-oriented, artist-centric projects as competitive market assets with blazing new vigor, earning the city a variety of new monikers from Hollywood South to Brooklyn South, which speak to the shifting demographics, swanky restaurants, expanding film industry, and yoga studios that now crowd the city streets.

One of the more noteworthy collaborations is between Cummings and graffiti artist Brandan Odums. Involved with a series of projects, the pair’s most recent proposal is to build a multiuse complex in the Bywater that will house some 220 apartments (some apartments will be classified as affordable housing, enabling eligibility for urban aid dollars), a coffee shop, hip restaurants, and, of course, a studio for Odums.

Partnerships like these wrap for-profit enterprises in notions of collectivity and community artistry, disguising their core aims. For example, the contracts at Cummings’s Rice Mills Lofts stipulate that residents cannot paint over the graffiti that lines the walls of their $2,200 per month two-bedroom apartments. (In comparison, the median gross rent in Orleans parish was $925 in 2013 and $698 a month in the year prior to Katrina.)

Odums’s last set of murals took over a private affordable housing complex scheduled to be demolished and rebuilt as a sports and entertainment bar in the working-class neighborhood of Algiers. While presented as spontaneous grassroots resistance artist, Odums has played the role of authenticating voice for market forces in his partnership with Cummings.

In a neighborhood swiftly being overrun by gentrification, these types of projects maintain the irony of facilitating further displacement of black working-class residents.

Despite its nods to affordable housing, the proposed project would increase rents for residents. In 2000, 38.6% of Bywater residents lived in poverty; by 2010, only 21.3% of residents were under the poverty line.

The declining poverty rate does not speak to some miraculous redistribution of wealth to working-class families, but rather to their forced exit amid a corresponding influx of high-income residents. By 2010, nearly 23% of Bywater residents made incomes of $75,000 or more.

This form of speculative development has — alongside the city’s traditional patterns of corporate welfare and publicly subsidized speculation — coincided with a burgeoning new tech industry. In a scenario approaching a Richard Florida midnight fantasy, entrepreneurial activity in New Orleans eight years after Katrina was 53% above the national average — winning them neoliberal accolades like Forbes’s top city for “brainpower” and Inc.’s “Coolest Start-up City in America.”

There are clear lines connecting the Big Easy’s newfound “spirit of entrepreneurialism” to its post-Katrina restructuring, particularly the takeover of the city’s public schools. The US Chamber of Commercehas estimated that nearly half of all startups in New Orleans were founded by former TFA fellows, part of the nearly 30,000 new residents of the city.

College-educated millennials fresh off their two-year tour of what one TFA’er called “an alternative pathway to entrepreneurialism” have opted to stay and remake the city in their own image.

For young professionals entering the workforce amid the worst recession in decades, the city has accommodated entrepreneurialism on the cheap. Recovery policies that privileged middle-class homeowners and businesses over renters and low-income property owners discouraged the return of the city’s working class while simultaneously making housing affordable to well-paid millennials. The city has streamlined business permits, and startup costs remain 30 to 40% cheaper than in New York or San Francisco.

The public is paying a steep price to bolster this new entrepreneurialism. To boost tech investment New Orleans’s city government has formalized its commitment to cluster economies, primarily in tech startups.

Digital media companies can receive tax credits that cover 25% of production costs and up to 35% of payroll expenses. Federal dollars support conferences and hackathons aimed at attracting high-skilled workers, while the Economic Development Administration has poured over $1 million into Idea Village, an incubator for startups.

A sort of second coming of the Sunbelt, these credits coalesce around a broader spectrum of abatements, tax packages, zoning exceptions, and city-sponsored land swaps, all which city officials have extended with alacrity.

Manifested in companies with names like Launch Pad (whose owners provide management for the St Roch market) and Dinner Lab, founded by a TFA alum and launched with labor from Venture for America (a program that mimics not only the name, but also the entrepreneurial-generating model of TFA), backers of these new industries claim that economic recovery is, in fact, highly visible in the Crescent City. (Cummings has also caught the bug, investing in several freshman startups that are housed in his “Entrepreneurs’ Row” loft.)

But whatever the self-important hype about the virtues of the new economy, the combination of startups and (repackaged) real-estate speculation has helped only a few. For most of New Orleans, the construction of a creative economy has been a nightmare.

Such economic development strategies entail devoting public resources to amenities for upper-income enclaves to the detriment of working-class dwellers. For example, while bus service continues to operate at just 35% of the pre-Katrina level, the tourist-and investor-friendly streetcar service has been fully restored, with plans to extend it into gentrifying areas of the Marigny.

These new economies don’t just subsidize highly uneven industries (i.e., hotels, restaurants) and encourage rent hikes. They also rely on an increasingly precarious labor market, and erode support for state-sponsored redistribution and state responsibility to urban equity.

Even companies with a social-entrepreneurial mandate, like Propeller — which incubates startups that claim to address issues of food insecurity and educational equity — operate under a neoliberal framework where inequality is best addressed by the private sector, thus further undermining state-driven solutions.

New Orleans’s new economy, which rests on an unstable model of tourism and contingent professional labor, does not and will not benefit the city’s working class. Like most cities around the country, job insecurity, union busting, and state-orchestrated dismantling of social and public services have become status quo in New Orleans.

Massive and successive layoffs to city employees, many of whom were already at or near the poverty line, have occurred amid the city’s entrepreneurial boom. Nearly 400 state employees found themselves out of work this past year, and dozens of school board employees will receive pink slips by the end of the summer.

Official unemployment rates in New Orleans hover at just over 6.5% — but for black workers that rate is estimated to be much higher. A full 27% of families and 39% of children live below the poverty line, and in 2014, just 4.5% of the city’s workforce was unionized. In numbers that have changed little since the 1970s, the two lowest earning quartiles (40% of the labor force) make just over 7.5% of the city’s total income.

The radical downsizing of public employment and more stable blue-collar jobs in favor of an economy clustered around creative enterprises progressively narrows employment opportunities for working-class residents, who will be forced to rely on service and tourism sector jobs — both known for low wages and just-in-time scheduling practices.

This manifestation of neoliberal expansion also diminishes the political and economic power of working-class residents. Start-up culture condones and encourages the anti-union, non-salaried ideology already prevalent in tourism-driven economic models, exalting job instability and impermanence as the new economic model of growth.

This is the real legacy of post-Katrina reconstruction. As education profiteers, speculative developers, and tech companies continue to gain in both capital and power, their success and maintenance necessitates the subjugation of working-class residents and regressive use of public resources. The creative economy only exacerbates the impact of revanchist policies that undermine social welfare and public employment.

In aiming to finish its nearly half-century-long project of making New Orleans’s workers invisible, the urban elite has reclaimed its place on the crest of the city’s new sinking levees.”

How Tom Brokaw and Italian Journalist, Riccardo Ehrman, Brought Down the Berlin Wall with a Simple Question

 

berlinForeword By Eric Tallant

The following is taken from  the German Embassy to the United States’ website. This story is the amazing story of how a simple question, and a bumbled response can change the course of history. This is also an example of how the media can help drive home an idea that’s time has come. I love this story, and I hope you do too!

 

“Words heard round the world

It was a relatively ordinary press conference on the evening of November 9, 1989, in East Berlin with a number of western journalists, including NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, in attendance.

When Schabowski read off new rules allowing foreign travel without the usual preconditions and with rapid issuing of visas, Italian journalist Riccardo Ehrman asked when these new rules would go into effect. That’s when Schabowski appeared caught off guard and stumbled through his answer: “this is immediately, without delay.”

But his announcement had been premature; GDR officials had wanted to wait until they could be ready for what would surely be a flood of people wanting to travel (or just plain leave East Germany). Nevertheless, Schabowski’s announcement was carried live on East German television and reported almost immediately by Brokaw, Ehrman, and other western journalists there that night. The news traveled around the world, but most importantly it reached East Berliners and East Germans.

Within hours, East German citizens were gathering at border crossings in Berlin and elsewhere, demanding peacefully that guards open the gates and let them through. Eventually the guards did, and after months of regular demonstrations and demands for reforms, East Germans were free to go West and the Berlin Wall simply fell.

“An historic moment tonight as the Berlin Wall can no longer contain the East German people,” Brokaw opened his live news broadcast from West Berlin that night.

Within 10 months,  East Germany would no longer exist and united Germany would raise its flag for the first time on October 3, 1990.

Journalist to party official

As a journalist and communist party member, Schabowski worked first for a workers union newspaper and then for the communist party’s own newspaper, lastly as editor-in-chief. In 1986 he became one of the secretaries of the party’s central committee and a member of the Politbüro, which ran the party day to day. He assumed the position of central committee spokesman only on November 6, 1989. After German unification, Schabowski was one of three Politbüro members who were convicted in 1997 by a Berlin court of murder for their role in the order to shoot issued to East German border guards. He was the only one, however, who acknowledged his responsibility for the deaths of East German citizens who were shot while trying to flee and asked their families for forgiveness. He served one year in jail of a three-year sentence before being pardoned by Berlin’s mayor.”

By Tanya Jones, Senior Editor, German Embassy Washington

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty”Soviet Active Measures Live On”

brother

August 5th, 2016

Brian Whitmore

RFE/RL

http://www.rferl.org/content/the-morning-vertical-august-5-2016/27902014.html

 

ON MY MIND

So-called “active measures” — the use of deception, diversion, and deceit to divide and confuse Western societies — have long been part of the Kremlin’s international playbook.

During the Cold War, for example, the Soviet Union regularly used front groups to stage anti-American demonstrations in Western Europe. Moscow also planted stories suggesting — among other things — that the United States used chemical weapons in the Korean War, that the moon landing was a hoax, that AIDS was an invention of the CIA, that the Jonestown massacre was carried out by U.S. intelligence, and the United States tried to kill Pope John Paul II.

In recent years, Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin has revived and escalated this tactic — and updated it for the digital age. The infamous Lisa case in Germany and the recent hack of the Democratic National Committee’s servers in the United States are the most recent examples.

On this week’s Power Vertical Podcast, which will be online later in the day, we’ll look closely at Russia’s active measures and their effectiveness — or ineffectiveness. Joining me are co-host Mark Galeotti, a senior policy fellow at the Czech Institute of International Relations in Prague and a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, and veteran Kremlin-watcher Donald Jensen, a former U.S. State Department official and currently a fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations in the Nitze School of International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Be sure to tune in.

IN THE NEWS

An international sports court has opened the door to Russian athletes seeking to overcome doping bans at the Rio Olympics by ruling that an International Olympic Committee ban on athletes for past doping offenses is unenforceable.

All 11 Russian boxers who qualified for the Rio Olympics have been given the all clear to compete at the games.

Police in Rio de Janeiro say a Russian diplomat who was the victim of an attempted robbery near the Olympic Park shot the assailant dead, but theRussian Embassy has denied its employees were involved.

Russia’s Interior Ministry is proposing that the newly formed National Guardto help collect debts and seize assets from debtors.

Four men who are said to be members of the Islamic organization Hizb ut-Tahrir have been sentenced to eight years in prison in the Urals city of Chelyabinsk.

A Russian Orthodox parish in Vienna has reportedly sued the makers of Pokemon Go.

LATEST POWER VERTICAL BLOG

In case you missed it, the latest Power Vertical blog post — A Troll With A Cause — looks at the recent uptick in the Kremlin’s “active measures” campaign against the West, and what is driving it.

WHAT I’M READING

Managing the Unmanageable

Political analysts Tatyana Stanovaya has a piece in Slon.ru looking at Vladimir Putin’s difficulties in managing Russia’s ruling elite.

“Putin has managed to build a political regime based on a loyal parliament, parties, and obedient governors. The foundation of the system seems solid and indestructible. But as soon as the question arises of managing and balancing power within the elite, the failures begin,” Stanovaya wrote.

The Security State

In his column for Bloomberg, political commentator Leonid Bershidsky takes a look at Putin’s changing relationship with his inner circle.

“In recent weeks, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is known for his loyalty to longtime associates, has left some of his friends vulnerable to attack. This is a new stage of Putin’s rule: He now can only trust his security apparatus — and not even all of it,” Bershidsky writes.

“Putin has always liked to appoint security professionals to every kind of government job: He trusts people with a background similar to his own. The new crop of appointments, however, is not about his Soviet-era friendships and alliances: It’s strictly about service in a system that perceives itself as a besieged fortress. It’s a security state increasingly run by state security.”

Access Denied

Euromaidan Press has a piece on how pro-Moscow separatists areattempting to influence media coverage in the Donbas conflict.

“An e-mail dump of a ‘DNR Ministry of Information employee reveals how the self-proclaimed Russian-backed statelet in eastern Ukraine denied accreditation to disloyal journalists and influenced materials of loyal ones,” Euromaidan Press writes.

Life During Wartime

Photojournalist Nigina Beroyeva went to the separatist-controlled areas in Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast and produced a lengthy piece on the life of ordinary residents for Meduza.

Disinformation, Then and Now

The Sydney Morning Herald has an analysis arguing that Russia is much better at fighting the information war than the Soviet Union was.

The Strongman Club

In a column for Project Syndicate, Nina Khruscheva looks at the similar tactics used, and dangers faced, by Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The Wash Cycle In Moldova

Forbes has an extensive report on “how Russia turned Moldova into a hotbed of money laundering.”

A Bit of Self-Promotion

I will be appearing on this week’s edition of Hromadske Radio’s Ukraine Calling podcast, joining host Marta Dyczok and Kyiv Mohyla University professor Oleksiy Haran to discuss the conflict in the Donbas. It will be online later today. Just follow this link.

And In The Odd News Department…

Police in a Moscow suburb arrested a woman for using a public toilet for too long.

My Obsessive, Paranoid Russian Propagandist/Stalker

By Eric Tallant

Former Army NCO/Fellow at The Intelligence Community

Oh, this guy doesn’t stop. He’s obsessive. I actually feel really sorry for Jessikka Aro. Really, really sorry. A friend of mine in Eastern Europe forwarded me a copy of this guy’s blog. My Euro friend wanted to point out that the pro-Russian, neo-Nazi website, MV Lehti, has been blocked in Finland. Juha, the Finnish, Russian propagandist was lamenting this blockage, as he’s a contributor to MV Lehti. After translating his article into English, and having a good chuckle, I found he’s authomvred another article about my friend Joel, Ms. Aro, others I know, and myself.

He’s so wrong, and so obsessive.

Here’s the translation:

Can you find Finland JTRIG technology dirty tricks?
Freedom-called discussion forums [1] outlined the 7th November 2014, the “dirty tricks” false victim found a blog post as a means of (fake victim blog posts). At that time, the author appears as a victim, whose reputation as hostile parties want to destroy.

The author has come across over there would be “a victim of blogs”, whose aim is to discredit those cases certain public bodies. However, it is manipulated and significantly counterfeit reports that fully comply with recommendations JTRIG Handbook, which Snowden has leaked to the public.

The author asks the audience aware of these methods and Snowden revelation, how GCHQ and the NSA using the internet to “manipulate, deceive and discredit the reputation”.

JTRIG seeks to penetrate the networks of internet discussion and to destroy the reputations of people out there – even as anger as a group, as a terrorist group and as a threat to national security measures.

JTRIG forward two tactics: (1) to spread all kinds of false material on the internet, in order to destroy the target person or group reputation; (2) The use of social sciences and other technologies to manipulate online discussion and activism as it deemed necessary to produce results.

“False flag operations” means that the material is sent to the Internet and erroneously linking it to the other party’s name.

“Face the victim blog posts” is the presence of the victim, whose reputation would be strongly desired to destroy. This evil messages supposedly sent the bodies to be stamped.

“Negative information” posts can engage in a variety of forums.

Freedom-called discussion forum aptly points out that for many years people have assumed the NSA and GCHQ’s engaged just plain “signal intelligence”, decoding the signals, but an anti offensive aspects. Snowden material is repeatedly revealed that mandate organizations have long been one of the basic attacks and questionable tactics, destroying the property of people’s lives.

Greenwald asked, finding fault with Snowden in connection with disclosure of the material, that are these real forces, which we have relied on state authorities, under the supervision of the way, how they use the power of right.

Mike Masnick published techdirt site 02.25.2014 [2] at the time of the new Snowden Doc -paljastuksesta: “New Snowden Doc Reveals How GCHQ / NSA Use The Internet To ‘Manipulate, deceive And Destroy Reputations”. A few weeks earlier, Glenn Greenwald had revealed the details of GCHQ presentation on how the monitoring authorities are even “dirty tricks” as a group (dirty tricks), which are known as JTRIG – The Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group. The Intercept revealed the entire presentation JTRIG’s activities.

Mike Masnick resembles the Hoover era, when the FBI infiltrated and tried to defy the anti-war groups.

Techdirt-site public to select application that “it is a sad state of affairs when we have a government who turned against us to protect us …”

JTRIG-toimintaohjeesen belonged “to stop business or ruin your business relationship” (stop deals / ruin business relationships “. This is so that the customer companies and interest groups to influence the company.

The revealed JTRIG Manual guided to a variety of dirty tricks carried out by the agents.
the unveiling of a large article by Glenn Greenwald 02/25/2014 Intercept page [3] deals with how to cover the agents infiltrate the internet to destroy a reputation. Precisely Greenwald worked with NBC News, publishing a series of articles on “the dirty trick tactics”, which JTRIG-secret unit used.

Greenwald presents pursued by the authorities YouTube and Blogger Tracking, DDoS attacks, which they then blame the hackers made by, ‘honey traps’ use (attracting ihmisä dangerous sex to situations), and destroying the target sites with viruses. Greenwald discusses Intercept-article, in particular in the desecration of one uses the technology used by government agencies against also those who do not have anything to do with the threats of terrorism or national security.
These are the information that is influencing (Influence) operations.

The Board of Directors cover the following agents and impact on internet communications and secretly penetrate the network entities in order to sow discord and spread false information.

Harvard Law professor Cass Sunstein, of course, a close Obama adviser and former director of the White House Office of Information, wrote in 2008 a proposal according to which the US government would employ agents to mask the group and infiltrate the online-enabled Web sites as well as groups and other activist groups. Sunstein proposed to cover the agents acting in chat rooms, social networks, the Internet and also in real groups. In 2014, Barack Obama appointed this Susteinin NSA as a member of the evaluation team, which was to propose a cosmetic reforms mandate of the Agency.

Greenwald writes that GCHQ these papers are the first evidence of how the major Western governments are using controversial techniques to spread-deception on the internet, and to harm the reputation of the target groups.

using tactics the state deliberately spreading lies on the Internet of anyone target person, including the use of “false flag operation”, such as GCHW itself calls, e-mails, as well as the reputation of polluting the homes and lovers.

Online Covert Action under the auspices of asakirjan called a variety of ways to engage in “Influence and information operations” (the impact of information and operations) as well as “to harass and carried out computer cyber attacks”, so that a human could be manipulated.

the documents obtained [4] the understanding of the theories of how people interact with each other, especially on the internet, and thus documents yitetään to find ways to influence the results and the “game” on the Internet.
Pierluigi Paganini, Pääinformaatioturvallisuusviranomainen Bit41d together, ENISA European Information Agency member, discussed the Snowden revealed 16/07/2014 essay, “GCHQ JTRIG Tools and Techniques for Propaganda and Internet Deception” [9] In the past, he dealt with DoS attacks. [10].

Paganini handles, how it Kingdom GCHQ, the intelligence unit JTRIG had designed a collection of applications, Joa used to manipulate and control of the Internet fraud, even to change the poll-results on the Internet. The unit received a counterfeit tools to spread information, to artificially increase the number of visitors to certain sites, as well as efforts to censor the video content labeled extremist movement.

Paganini recalls that revealed GCHQ document “JTRIG Tools and Techniques” is top secret, but it was found that many parts of it are “fully operational, tested and reliable,” although edellen part, the tools were “under development”. [9]

Paganini makes an interesting observation that leaked secret document was July 2012, when it was accessed almost 20 000 times a better understanding of the scope of peiteagenteille. [9]
JTRIG tools and techniques driven by the struggle in such a way that the person is identified by means of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. When the needs of the person’s physiological safety and livelihoods threatened is set, this property has a person does not devote the fight for the ideological efforts of the self-fulfilling higher. Picture of the published top-secret training materials.

“The myth builders” and “valhemarttyyrit” are per se well-known phenomenon of all time. These are known activities of the authorities and the criminal world [5], as well as church policy [6]. As a result, JTRIG methods should not be considered as a new and unique phenomenon in power and propaganda.

Rigorous arguments have even shown, the remote early Christians were also invented stories about the time the spirit of martyrdom needs. Candida Moss presented in his book “The Myth of Persecution”, the martyrs of the time is far fiction of how the three leaks Romans would not persecute Christians. The stories are pious excesses; highly stylized re-writing of how the Jewish, Greek and Roman tradition, described the noble death, and even outright forgeries, which are designed to displace the heretics, and to inspire the faithful to fund churches. [7]

Traditional stories of persecution still taught in schools as sacred, preferred sermons and church leaders in speeches, both in politics and in the media. Numerous speeches including tableaux, how Christians have been and are persecuted in the future. [7]

In addition to the needs of the ideological deception also has borderline personality disorders [8] found in the descriptions of anger rages on, with a certain type of personality to form a huge amount of lies and build nothing short stories theater about how he could claim to be a victim. He has become a “shit magnet”, defender of the victim of the eternal truth and the weak. [8]

In many cases, it is apparent overlap between rajatilapersoonanan and narcissist, but there are also differences: borderline codependent person is a narcissist but is only dependent. Limit State A person clinging desperately to one only, but destroys the narcissistic romantic relationships. Limit State A person is more susceptible to depression and guilt clinical periods, unstable and hostile and impulsive. [8]

The narcissist is more attractive, but also ruthless and feel less guilty. However, the State Border People are less sociopaths to narcissists. Limit State A person suffering from a lack of self-esteem. Projective identification, he tries to provoide others huoiot angry, but this does not satisfy the emotional needs of the borderline person then either. He may ask for “respect me” pretending as fake feelings were real. [8]

Borderline and narcissistic person are over-represented in complaints by. Borderline persons can be found in plenty of drug and alcohol users who actually mistakenly self-Medicating any other problems, such as bipolar disorder. [8]

The narcissist is exaggerated continuous attention to the need, the need for persuasion and praise. He has a belief in their own specificity and uniqueness, fantasies of success and power, for what they take advantage of other personal gain. He has a sense of entitlement and expectation of special treatment. [8]

Is it different in Finland?

Finland is Snowden trollitekniikkojen unveiling ignored in mainstream media discussions. Yet there is no thankless assess to what extent it would be possible to identify from Finland similar techniques.

The question may need to add it, that several dozen Finnish officers have, however, been outside the Finnish borders of the US information warfare training.

Jessika Aron cooperation parties include at least the information war in Finland defended his doctoral thesis Sarah Jantunen and the scandal known as a writer Sofi Oksanen, both closely linked explicitly to defend the American information warfare objectives, as well as Torsti Sirén, whose reputation is not very clean in respect of information warfare. Thus, the domestic personal relations with neighboring network is committed to the American way of exception for military construction and delivery of a report about the war.

National Defence University also theses, which to some extent sivuutaan subject matter, in particular the identification of online social networks targeted persons and finding weaknesses have been made. To some extent, on the subject of experience may have been, even before Snowden revelation jacket.

What kind of a person and who could take trollihenkilöksi, which tells uhrikertomuksiaan hostile attacks of wills, which is enough to power relations and narcissistic nature?
Figure taken from the MV Magazine screenshot, which is based on a paper presented Aron expressed in the phrase.

During the year 2016 has become public Jessika Aron close links Martens Centre (Willfried Marten Center), where he spoke to the panel in Brussels, the NATO summit preparatory turvallisuskonferenssissa Globsec, both NATO and the Warsaw huippukouksen expert conference. These relationships have come to the attention of the general public, mainly thanks to the MV magazine.

MV magazine brought against the legal process for the shadowy and powerful is hardly a requirement separate from this entity. Finnish media have been told that the police demands the immediate suspension of the distribution of MV-magazine, the procedure requires a secret and direct without Ilja Janitskin should not even heard in the matter, as well as concealment of a possible future trial. Suspension of the distribution is required, without any evidence of guilt and judgment, therefore, as if Finland were not respected syyttömyysolettamusta in which a man is guilty only after a final judgment. Such a procedure is known more politicians project and to the law enforcement activities as part of oikeusprosesessia. Jessika Arolla this project a key role in the secret light of the desired documents, which the MV-Journal has published in spite of everything.

In addition Jessika Aron has revealed close cooperation between the United States of America for example. the so-called. with specialized Influence-operations Joel Harding, who is also strongly indicated to attack the MV magazine received.
Screenshot of Joel Harding’s Facebook page.

Joel Harding, not only promises that Jessika Aro would fit inside the US special forces pyhyyksiin “good person”, but rather a comment on Linkedin discussion reveals near real-time exchange of experiences.
Joel Harding, and another well-known CIA agent, there is discussion Jessika Aron trollitoiminnasta.

Harding industry have been part of just the tasks that are JTRIG material presents.
Figure Joel Harding, an American Influence officer.

Jessika Aron drug judgment of long-term intravenous amphetamine user may raise more questions, even if the allegedly Aron drug use is already a decade. Aro will not only have used, but he also gave a seriously ill lady of the drug. Ilta Sanomat 31.5.2016 Aron says, basing drug judgment of the New York Times report, which deals with the matter extensively.

Aro is very much willing to fade the drugs problem in the discussion as inappropriate, defamatory private information. However, the use of substances not falling is a serious personality traces, and the use of substances in itself expresses the personality of something. Would it be pronounced fiksautuminen victim reports trollimetsästyksessä also those of personal historical reasons stemming from?

Eric Tallant an article published LinkedIn website, he, together with Joel Harding presents Jessika Aron story, but also reveals a large number of yhdysvaltailaisia with the theme working “officers”.
Celebrities by Jessika Aron serious Orchestrating about a violent drug-related background has given rise to a discussion on the extent to which he would be just the person what the most appropriate and most useful “narcissistic-rajatilahäiriömäisesti” to describe himself as a victim of hostile forces, the report Aro has exclusively told a couple of years. Who could it be better than the one to take their share of the victim reports the story of the theater as their own?

JTRIG-task model would affect realized almost in its entirety in Finland, where one might expect more of the media in one way or another editor of the American war of information and guidance available and at least some of the same vasemmistopolitiikon sent by the host. Such an overview of the situation arises in which these are a set of power been publicly and non-publicly causing damage to the MV-magazine activity relationships and customer relationships, as well as to defend the heroic Jessika Aron research.

the suitability of JTRIG-task described above, seriously interferes with that in the conspiracy believing is usually not considered desirable, and Finland has emphasized time and again the world’s freest and least corrupt media and political activity studies. Finland live in the world of honest journalists and politicians.

Jessika Aro been told by doing investigative journalism in St. Petersburg trollitehtaasta and its impact in Finland, but so far he has not released in that case, any documents or research. This seem odd, as the only content has been his own life.

Magazine articles have not been studies, but mainly in opinion articles. The material has been minimized.

Aron story theater analysis and reflections are completely ignoring the action, which JTRIG technology is used to produce just among those whose working Jessika Aro is elsewhere in close interaction.

Instead, even more have been repeated outpourings Aron victimization, pahatahtoiset what people have done against him, “the Kremlin’s control”. Could it be really true that the Kremlin and in the worst case, Putin himself gives the order to tease trolleille Jessika Aroa and may thus Russia’s reputation publicly profaned, when Aro publish those revile real or imaginary stories in the media and at conferences?

This is more difficult to build a mandate from the Kremlin’s hand Jessika Aron recounted violations more by the fact that his story theater opposition has labored to explain the Russian-led government information warfare as a function of the Arolla is just the usual news value and entertainment value of the point of view of Russian interests. His weight, its story theater increases when the estimated US interests in shaping the perceptions and opinions of Finns.

It is not at all controversial, that Jessika Aro has attracted criticism. His action does not seem plausible for many Finns believes that, the criticisms have been able to be häijyäkin. At the same time Aro has garnered sympathy and awards uhrikertomustensa help, become downright addicted you create from that portrayed in the battle, and repeating the story.

in accordance with the JTRIG techniques can not be excluded, but should be up mainly according to the instruction manual that Aro could have received unfair staged attacks or threats against the “own to” false flag operations’ even if Aro does not actually know the purpose of these senders pollute “the Kremlin trolleja” Jessika Aron victim reports.

Summary and reflections

First of all, Jessika Aron person would be such a victim reports a producer of the most useful frame of reference in secret by Snowden revealed the beginning of 2014.
Jessika Aron gestures, language was suspicious TV1 interview 28/01/2015, when he closed his eyes tightly closed, when said telling the truth. This would give the reference that Aron action would still be paid more than genuine, natural, or the result of his character traits specialties.
Secondly, whether it would be Arolla any contact with the surface over there against the persons who have dedicated themselves to questionable Influence technologies? What is not in this context can not ignore the sight of that Aron nearest international links to the 2016 conferences and supporters, incl. Joel Harding, are the very people who are more than anyone else at the heart of JTRIG technologies.

And it is in those contexts Jessika Aro has talked about the fact that he has had to Trolls attacked.

Third, the purpose of JTRIG technologies is to support the government and to strip the power of the governments of quarters threatening environment, for example, ultimately pouring legally websites. MV-launched the magazine against abnormal operation, in which the legal treatment was wanted to keep up a secret, can link with well-JTRIG functions.

Information Environmental Management is JTRIG-Agenda aims punches counterparty vihasivustoksi against which democracy must be defended and closed firmly that kind of activity. Uhrikertomuksilla is true, of course, such a struggle: monopolisoimisessa power and knowledge vaihtoehtoismediaa and social media by damaging.

References
[1] ‘Dirty tricks’ fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual Whose reputation they want to destroy) 11/07/2014
http://freedomfchs.lefora.com/topic/19401030/dirty-tricks-fake-victim-blog-posts-pretending-victim

[2] New Snowden Doc Reveals How GCHQ / NSA Use The Internet To ‘Manipulate, deceive And Destroy Reputations “25/02/2014 https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140224/17054826340/new-snowden-doc-reveals-how-gchqnsa-use-internet-to-manipulate-deceive-destroy-reputations.shtml

[3] Glenn Greenwald. How Covert Agents Infiltrate The Internet to Manipulate, deceive, and destroy Repuations. The Intercept. 02/25/2014. https://theintercept.com/2014/02/24/jtrig-manipulation/

[4] Intercept documents https://theintercept.com/document/2014/02/24/art-deception-training-new-generation-online-covert-operations/

[5] The paranoid right’s fake martyr: How ‘another cop executed in Illinois’ fed Their dangerous myth-making machine. Paula Young Lee, 11/06/2015. http://www.salon.com/2015/11/06/the_paranoid_rights_fake_martyr_how_another_cop_executed_in_illinois_fed_their_dangerous_myth_making_machine/

[6] John Fox, 1776. The Book of Martyrs: Containing an Account of the sufferings and Death of the Protestants in the reign of Queen Mary the First. https://books.google.fi/books?id=wSFhAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA319&lpg=PA319&dq=fake+martyrs&source=bl&ots=hFmHeAtzao&sig=rWdiKHHo3z7n9eNDdw8w9QZMhpo&hl=fi&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi_sOj0sYbOAhVDiiwKHbNsDiU4ChDoAQgqMAU#v=onepage&q=fake%20martyrs&f=false

[7] Rod Dreher, 02.18.2013. Were The Real Martyrs? The American Conservative. http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/were-the-martyrs-real/

[8] Borderline Personality Disorder: Heroic Martyr or Emotional Vampire? 30/11/2013. http://m.dailykos.com/story/2013/11/29/1251025/-Borderline-Personality-Disorder-Heroic-Martyr-or-Emotional-Vampire

[9] Pierluigi Paganini 07.16.2014. GCHQ JTRIG Tools and Techniques for Propaganda and Internet Deception. Humanity. http://hplusmagazine.com/2014/07/16/gchq-jtrig-tools-and-techniques-for-propaganda-and-internet-deception/

[10] Pierluigi Paganini, 02.06.2014. GCHQ ran Dos attack is chatrooms used by Anonymous and LulzSec http://securityaffairs.co/wordpress/21952/intelligence/gchq-dos-anonymous-lulzsec.html
The picture shows the wedding party signed in the summer of 2014 in Moscow

Home News EuroMaidan (2013-2014) Politics Human Rights International Relations Ukrainians Worldwide Mass Blocking of the Ukrainian Users Twitter Accounts start Russian Operation “Brotherly Peoples”

By

http://world.maidan.org.ua/2016/mass-blocking-twitter-operation-brotherly-peoples

brother

 

Since December 29th, an organized campaign has been aimed at Ukrainian Twitter users, hitting them with a wave of bans and suspensions. Its targets are accounts that actively oppose the Russian regime and its aggression. Many of these accounts have thousands of followers. By now, more than 30 prominent accounts (some with hundreds of thousands of readers) have been blocked.

Twitter has recently updated its Rules in response to intense pressure from several governments. (For example, Germany has criticized Twitter for inaction on hate speech in the aftermath of mass influx of North African and Middle Eastern refugees.) The updated rules, which further restrict inflammatory images and calls for violence directed at members of particular ethnic or religious groups, are being applied retroactively to tweets that predate the changes, in some cases by as much as a year ago. In doing so, Twitter has gone against a fundamental legal principle, accepted by most of the civilized world and enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the American Constitution, and elsewhere – that ex post facto punishment is unjust.

 

All this users (without 2: @xyevii_kharkov and @spina_putina) were blocked for last 2 weeks. It is not a full list.

At present, through the initiative of Andrii Olefirov, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Finland, a campaign of response is underway, using the hashtags #SaveUkrTwi #SaveUATwi #JeSuisUkrTwi.

 

A similar, though less intense campaign has targeted Facebook as well, affecting, among others, “Maidan Monitoring Information Center”. Nataliia Zubar’s Facebook profile has been suspended for a week, also for a post written long ago.

But this massive purge of Ukrainian accounts in Twitter and elsewhere is only the TOP of the iceberg that is the Russian spec-op we may call “Operation Brotherly Peoples”.

Recall that in November of last year the rhetoric of the Kremlin changed suddenly and drastically. Once more “brotherly peoples” and “Russo-Ukrainian friendship” became the dominant slogans. Beginning in the fall, certain Ukrainian journalists (Andrii Kulykov, Nastia Stanko, and many others), began hinting to their audiences at the option of “understanding and forgiving” the pro-Russian separatists and terrorists back into the Ukraininan society, explaining away separatism as a mere error of judgment rather than a viewpoint that is fundamentally unacceptable both politically and legally.

These journalists were joined by a group of Ukrainian media platforms, all of which owe their existence primarily to grants from Western governments and NGOs: Hromadske, Hromadske Radio, Ukrainska Pravda, Radio Svoboda (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty), and Voice of America. These were followed by many other, lesser media organizations, as well as a number of freelance journalists and social activists. (Coincidentally, many of the same persons and organizations tend to act as a broken telephone for western criticisms of the Ukrainian government, which occasionally had to subsequently be officially denied by the US Embassy in Ukraine and the representatives of the EU.)

Recall, moreover, that these members of the Ukrainian media were joined by many of those Russian citizens, who had emigrated to Ukraine and have already begun instructing Ukrainians in the proper ways to reform their government, respect for their Russian-speaking countrymen, and rebuild Ukraine’s damaged ties with Russia.

Operation Brotherly Peoples, so far, is one of the final, desperate attempts by the Russian rulers to save themselves and their country from further collapse. The state of the Russian economy is terrible. Low and continually falling price of oil is making it impossible to fund basic social services. Local governments, have been abandoned and left to fend for themselves. Burning through its reserve funds during the course of 2016 in order to stave off the inevitable collapse of the ruble, could leave Russia bankrupt by the end of this year. The Putin regime, therefore, has less than a year to save itself.

The Operation itself would take six to nine months, depending on degree of success of its several constituent stages. It has been deliberately put in action before the Christmas and New Year holidays in order to coincide with reduced activity of social networks so as to make it less noticeable and more efficient. It can be broken into the following five major stages. Stage One (information cleanup) involves:

  • botnets and their coordinators, who send Twitter automated mass complaints against Ukrainian users (bot accounts typically have random names and handles, and incomplete profiles);
  • a segment of Twitter management, who are aware of the situation but have received substantial rewards from Russia for ignoring it; major grant-dependent Ukrainian media services (Hromadske, Hromadske Radio, Ukrainska Pravda, Radio Svoboda (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty), other grant-dependent media/journalists/activists, the Ukrainian Voice of America (led by Myroslava Gongadze, who has been known to “like” posts of pro-Russian separatists and terrorists), and so on – all of them conspicuously turning a blind eye to internet attacks against Ukrainians;

 

Myroslava Gonganze retweeted account of pro-Russian separatists and terrorists, in which Putin  named as a School Chairman, Hollande  as a father, Merkel as a mother and Poroshenko as a son being scolded as a poor student for his low grades.

  • some individual Ukrainian users, including those who are actual Russian agents or bots, as well as those who become involved in order to settle personal scores (these tend to show support for the Right Sector and other nationalists, call for military assault on the Donbass, and place blame for all the problems under the sun at Obama, Poroshenko and pro-government Ukrainians);
  • Russian “refugees” in Ukraine, who have been embedded to help identify the dangerous shapers of public opinion.

Both the dismissive coverage of the story by Hromadske, as well as the silence of Ukrainska Pravda and Radio Svoboda (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty), suggest their approval of the situation and constitute at least passive collaboration with its perpetrators. This may have to do with high prevalence on their staff of Russian expats, latent separatists and far leftists (the latter, incidentally, are particularly susceptible to all calls for reconciliation and fraternization). They are complemented by large numbers of ordinary empty-headed “useful idiots”. It often seems like the staff of these media consists exclusively of the above… Note that these media services react instantly to any bit of news that allows for criticism of the Ukrainian government, but in this case it took them all day (at best!) to react after the attacks had gone public. And even then, the position expressed by these publications amounts to placing the blame on Twitter’s new rules and, indeed, on the victims themselves, instead of placing it on the perpetrator. (Sure! The victims are blameworthy for breaking rules with tweets posted prior to the rules’ enactment! Nothing wrong with such reasoning at all!)

The mechanism of the Twitter attacks can apparently be reduced to scanning posts of the targeted users for certain code words (e.g., “death to Russia”, “burn”, “smoke”, “kill”), after which the bontets automatically file mass complaints with Twitter. Since these bot nets can consist of hundreds of thousands of accounts, their complaints lead to suspension of targeted accounts, with their subsequent ban or restoration at the discretion of Twitter’s moderators. The number of those who have been at least temporarily suspended in this way is currently on track to reach 100 (if it hasn’t surpassed this number already).

It is worth noting that Russian-language accounts are blocked more frequently, since the xenophobic supporters of the Kremlin generally lack sufficient knowledge of Ukrainian even to understand what is being discussed. Not even Google Translate can help them there. The linguistic barrier has turned out to be a decent defence against the Russian coordinators of attacks, though it does not fully guarantee safety from being blocked by it.

The goal of the first stage of Operation Brotherly Peoples, then, is to purge from the information field those Ukrainian patriots who apply fact-checking and critical thinking to the content of the Ukrainian mass media, and who try to convey their conclusion to those spreading and affected by panic on Facebook and Twitter.

Unless appropriate steps are taken to respond to the attacks, they are likely to succeed in isolating and silencing discussion of critical evaluation of the above-mentioned Ukrainian mass media. The silencing of these voices, as well as the redaction of what they have already said is the practical consequence of the operation’s goal: to damage the respectability and reduce the influence of the most prominent pro-Ukrainian commentators of the affected social networks. This, first step of the operation is to conclude in about a month from now.

Stage Two (reconciliation, “fraternization”, “understanding and reconciliation”) is to last from the end of January through March. Its purpose is to pound into the heads of Ukrainians the idea that the terrorists operating in and out of the occupied “Novorossia” are really brothers to them, and that the former are to blame for all the woes of the latter. This coincides with the latest stated intentions of the Russian puppets concerning the timeframe for holding “elections”. During the same period we can also expect various “fraternal” actions to occur throughout the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, along the ATO frontline in particular. Such “fraternization” is likely to be forced onto the civilians under the occupation. Certain Ukrainian journalists and Russian “emigres” (hand-picked by the FSB and acting with its approval) can be expected to take part in such “reconciliation” initiatives.

Russia is likely to remain able to perform several such local actions simultaneously – at least until April. After that, Russia’s deteriorating economy, combined with the increasing pressure from our Western allies, is likely to close the window of opportunity.

Stage Three (“Down with the Government!”) is to last from April to May, reaching crescendo during the May holidays (Russian Victory Day in particular). We are going to witness sudden and drastic changes of emphasis (analogous to Russian media’s reorientation from Ukraine onto Syria), along with the standard slogans of “treason everywhere!”, “we’ve been sold out!”, “it’s all the government’s fault!”, “nothing’s changed!”, “down with the government!”… Under such slogans various organizations will spring into organized action (including the Right Sector, which is at present largely managed by the “refugee” Artem Skoropadsky). We can expect attempts to provoke serious civil unrest, along with complete elimination from the public sphere of all the voices critical of the dominant viewpoint promoted by the operation.

Stage Four is further agitation, with the goal of transforming unrest into a revolutionary situation. Assuming success of Stage Three, as well as commitment of significant financial resources, the gamble would be worthwhile.

The final Stage (planned roughly for the end of September or the beginning of October) is Maidan 3.0, which would be a “regime change” at the hands of putatively Ukrainian groups, which in reality are mere fronts for the FSB. The government is handed over to the Party of Regions fugitives, who are currently hiding in Russia. After that Russia would demand – successfully – that sanctions against it be revoked. This would save Putin’s regime and the Russian state, notwithstanding heavy losses and great difficulties that would still need to be overcome.

Can such an Operation succeed? It cannot. But the effectiveness of its preliminary stages is alarming and the idea of reconciliation is indeed being heavily promoted. Since time is running out for them, Russia and its agents are resorting to increasingly direct acts in order to destabilize the situation in Ukraine. Such is the sabotage of a vulnerable Carpathian section of Ukraine’s network of natural gas pipelines, as well as the hacker attack on the Ukrainian energy grid. We can add simultaneous efforts to provoke inter-ethnic conflict in the areas adjacent to the occupied Crimea (in the first place, directed at the Crimean Tatars and the Meskhetian Turks, who actively participated in the blockade of Crimea). The city and region of Odessa (its southern parts in particular) are once again major targets of such rabble-rousing.

Rather than surrender, Russia is persistently trying to destabilize Ukraine by all means still available to the Kremlin. An operation such as the one I’ve described is too unrealistic to succeed. However, in order to prevent the damage it would do by succeeding even in a part, we ought to do all we can to stop it from silencing the pro-Ukrainian voices on Twitter and to compel Twitter to restore those who have already been banned or suspended. We should also make sure that nothing like it is allowed to happen on Facebook and elsewhere.

 

Serhii Petrov, Maidan Monitoring Information Center, analyst

A Brief Analytical Assessment on Iraq’s WMDs and pre-OIF Intelligence

By Eric Tallant

Former US Army NCO, Contributing Fellow at The Intelligence Community

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has recently declassified its “Weapons of Mass Destruction” report issued prior to the decision to invade Iraq in 2003. This document is publicly accessible on the CIA’s .gov website. Among the key points in this report are the mention that although coalition forces had destroyed most of Iraq’s long range chemical and biological missile delivery systems, the Iraqi military was actively engaged towards developing a new stock of these systems and agents to deliver a chemical/biological strike (cia.gov, 2015). The CIA’s report was delivered to the Directorate of National Intelligence, whom in turn presented it to the President of the United States and Congress. It is fair to say the CIA’s intelligence report was one of the key pieces to presenting the case for military intervention in Iraq. Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, had and used chemical weapons prior to 1991’s Operation Desert Storm. After Operation Desert Storm, Iraq agreed to reduce, and eliminate their chemical weapons, and other WMDs. Throughout this report, evidence is presented that Iraq still had the means, desire, and capabilities of producing weapons of mass destruction in spite of United Nations sanctions and inspections.

 

     SADDAM HUSSEIN EMPLOYS CHEMICAL WEAPONS ON IRAQI KURDS

In 1980, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein locked Iraq into a nine year war with Iran (history.com, nd). During this war, dubbed the Iraq-Iran War, Hussein deployed chemical weapons against Iranian forces (bbc.com, nd). In 1983 Iraq used mustard gas against Iranian forces, and in 1985 Hussein deployed Tabun, a deadly nerve agent at waves of hostile troops (bbc.com, nd).  Before the end of the Iran-Iraq War, Hussein used chemical weapons against the people of his own country. During what is titled the Anfal offensive, Saddam Hussein employed chemical weapons against scores of Kurds in Northern Iraq (hrw.org, 1993). In a 1993 Human Rights Watch report on the Anfal offensive, the use of chemical weapons on Iraqi Kurds was labelled a genocide (hrw.org, 1993).

 

ABSENCE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS USAGE BY IRAQ DURING OPERATION DESERT STORM

  A CIA Intelligence Update released in April, 2002 takes an absolute position that Saddam Hussein’s forces did not employ chemical weapons against coalition forces during Desert Storm (cia.gov, 2007).  The fact that chemical or biological agents were not used during the coalition offensive may be due to the fact that a great deal of known weapons storage facilities were bombed by coalition forces (cia.gov, 2007). Fears that Hussein’s military would use WMDs on coalition forces were driven by their prior deployment on Iraqi Kurds. Then U.S. President George H.W. Bush also advised coalition forces that Iraq possessed, and would use, chemical weapons if the opportunity arose (cia.gov, 2007).

 

UN  SECURITY  COUNCIL  RESOLUTION  687,  IRAQ  AND  KUWAIT

“Passed on April 3, 1991 after the Gulf War, this resolution required Iraq to destroy its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and to refrain from developing others, and called for war reparations to Kuwait.” (cfr.org, nd). This document laid out the process in which Iraq would divest from its WMD program. A few of the actions Iraq agreed to take were to comply with Geneva Convention rules banning chemical and biological weapons from being used in war (un.org, 1991). Other steps to be taken by Iraq under UN Resolution 687 were the removal and destruction of all chemical and biological weapons agents, and the limiting of missile delivery systems to propulsion distances of a 150 kilometers (un.org, 1991). UN Resolution 687 also forbade Iraq from obtaining, or developing nuclear weapons (un.org, 1991). Another very important note from Resolution 687 was that Iraq will not be allowed to support terrorism. Iraq agreed to these terms, and was subjected to economic sanctions until they were found in compliance with the terms of the UN Resolution (cia.gov, 2007).

 

IRAQ’S WMD CAPABILITIES AND COMPLIANCE WITH UNSCR687 1991-96

According to the CIA’s 2004 General Report on Iraq’s WMD capabilities, Iraq was at a point of severe setback both economically and militarily in the five year period after signing UNSCR687 (cia.gov, 2007). Intelligence collected about Iraq’s internal political, and military officials shows that individuals had little intention on destroying their chemical weapons infrastructure (cia.gov, 2007). Instead, actions and strategic planning to hide this infrastructure were implemented by Saddam Hussein’s son-in-law, Husayn Kamil (cia.gov, 2007). As part of the UN agreement, Hussein and Iraq were forbidden to import items that would bolster Iraq’s aggressive military posture (Loyola.edu, nd). Throughout the early nineties, Hussein gave the appearance that his nation and regime where in compliance with UNSCR687. However, this appeared to be a façade. This period gave Hussein enough time to hide his existing WMD infrastructure from inspectors and satellite imagery (Loyola.edu, nd).

Saddam Hussein came to power in Iraq through a coup, and used violent force to remain in power. Him and his regime valued WMDs as both a strategic and tactical weapon to both protect their power and bolster their image of force in the region. After seeing how effective WMDs had been during the Iran-Iraq War, and how they could be used to quell large scale resistance domestically (Anfal Offensive), there is little evidence that Hussein had any true intentions of surrendering Iraq’s means to obtain, or produce chemical and biological weapons. During the period of 1991-1996, Hussein seemed more interested in projecting superficial compliance with UNSCR687 so that sanctions against his country would be lifted (Loyola.edu, nd). However, evidence presented in a Uppsala University Security and Peace document in 2004 suggests that until 1996, Iraq had complied with UN sanctions, and had destroyed a majority of their WMD capabilities (Wallsteen, Erikson, Staibano, 2005).

Hussein and Iraq appeared to overtly change their course on WMD attainment and production after Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright had these words to say about Iraq at a 1997 UN meeting, “We do not agree with the nations who argue that if Iraq complies with its obligations concerning weapons of mass destruction, sanctions should be lifted. Our view, which is unshakable, is that Iraq must prove its peaceful intentions. It can only do that by complying with all of the Security Council resolutions to which it is subjected. Is it possible to conceive of such a government under Saddam Hussein? When I was a professor, I taught that you have to consider all possibilities. As Secretary of State, I have to deal in the realm of reality and probability. And the evidence is overwhelming that Saddam Hussein’s intentions will never be peaceful.” (Wallsteen, Erikson, Staibano, 2005).

Secretary Albright’s statement to the UN, however true, or not true it may have been, may have given Hussein and regime the “out” they were looking for to develop WMDs. If Hussein believed that United States would be very hard pressed to believe he intended to absolutely abolish current and future WMD programs then he may have seen himself as painted into a corner. His existential survival would now depend largely on illegal activities, black market trade, and the development of offensive weapons. The inference made by Secretary Albright about Iraq under Hussein is that the only way to move forward would be with the removal of Saddam Hussein and his regime.

                  PERIOD OF RENEWED WMD PRODUCTION IN IRAQ 1997-2003

 

     In 1997, traces of the nerve agent VX were discovered on warheads by UN inspectors (cia.gov, 2007). This finding, along with an uptick in Iraq’s domestic chemical production seemed to display Hussein’s intentions to fully renew WMD productions (cia.gov, 2007). The disclosure of these facts led to a break between Iraq and United Nations Security Council. It is after this break in cooperation between the UN and Hussein’s regime that Iraq began making chemical weapons manufacturing purchases (cia.gov, 2007).

The CIA’s 2004 Intelligence Update on Iraq’s WMDs lists that in 1990’s Iraq was “…successful in procuring, constructing, and commissioning a complete state-of-the-art chemical facility for ammonium perchlorate through the Indian company NEC. Ammonium perchlorate is a key chemical for missile propellants.” (cia.gov, 2007). Other disclosures made about Iraq’s renewed chemical and biological weapons programs in the CIA’s 2004 Intelligence Update on Iraq’s WMDs include renewed production of dual usage chemicals (cia.gov, 2007). Dual usage chemicals serve in the manufacturing of commercially used chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and weapons of mass destruction. Although the production of dual usage chemicals is not an indictment of Iraq’s renewed WMD program, it is cause for alarm considering the other evidence.

It was also during the period of 1997-2003 that Iraq Survey Group (ISG) inspectors met with resistance and perceived efforts to cover up chemical manufacturing by Iraqi officials and scientists (cia.gov, 2007). This cover up included document destruction, intimidation, and stalling tactics (cia.gov, 2007). ISG inspectors were often led around by the nose by Iraqi officials, and were led to believe that Iraq’s government was deliberately making inspections difficult on inspectors. Despite the circumstantial evidence presented above, Western media outlets largely published articles that the ISG never discovered evidence of Iraq’s renewal of WMD projects, or the presence of existing WMDs in Iraq upon inspection.

 

THE ISG IS ONLY ONE TOOL INVESTIGATING IRAQ’S RENEWED WMD PROGRAM

Investigations made by the ISG are only one side of the effort to detect if Iraq had renewed its WMD program. Western intelligence agencies also played a direct role in gathering intelligence and evidence on Iraq’s post-Gulf War WMD program. Aerial surveillance obtained by the CIA, and published in their pre-OIF report to the DNI show chlorine and phenol manufacturing plants located outside Fallujah that were used to cover up the manufacturing of chemical weapons agents (cia.gov, 2015). The CIA’s report also makes claims that Hussein’s government failed to release documents about Iraq’s development of nuclear weapons (cia.gov, 2015). Of other concerns noted in the CIA’s report was the discovery of a plant in Fallujah that was manufacturing castor oil (cia.gov, 2015). Iraqi officials said that the castor oil manufactured there was to be used in brake fluid (cia.gov, 2015). However, this claim was never verified by UN inspectors (cia.gov, 2015). Yet other evidence collected by UN inspectors and intelligence agencies is that the Iraqi government was very interested in renewing their biological weapons (BW) program. This evidence was discovered by UN inspectors via an Iraqi scientists and government documents stating a desire to renew BW capabilities (cia.gov, 2015).

                      CONCLUSION: A LOST OF FAITH WITH HUSSEIN’S IRAQ

     President George W. Bush and his cabinet had a total lack of faith in Saddam Hussein to de-arm, and stay that way. It is true that post-Gulf War evidence that supports the theory that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs is largely circumstantial. However, the evidence that his regime was on the road towards rearming themselves with chemical, biological, and even nuclear weapons was there before the 2003 invasion. Pundits in multiple media outlets wanted to spread the notion that the United States wrongfully led a coalition into Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein. However, to view the invasion into Iraq critically, it is important to see the chain of circumstantial evidence. Iraq had and had used WMDs prior to 1991. Iraqi officials had made efforts to either frustrate or block ISG and UN inspectors from gathering all the needed information on Iraq’s WMD programs. Iraq defied UN sanctions and purchased dual usage equipment. Evidence of Iraq’s rebuilding of WMD infrastructure was captured by the CIA.

Transparency was not given by Hussein’s regime to UN inspectors or the ISG. Instead, evidence shows that Hussein wanted covertly renew these programs. Western governments had lost faith with the notion that Iraq would comply about half way through the period between the Gulf War and OIF. To answer the question “Did Iraq possess WMDs prior to the 2003 invasion?” No. Was Iraq on the path towards renewing these programs and even expanding on them in the field of nuclear weapons? Yes.

 

 

 

 

References

 

Central Intelligence Agency. Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Program. (2002). Retrieved August 10, 2015, from

https://www.cia.gov/library/reports/general-reports-1/iraq_wmd/Iraq_Oct_2002.pdf

 

United Nations. DEVELOPMENTS IN RELATIONS BETWEEN IRAQ AND THE SPECIAL COMMISSION. (1991). Retrieved August 10, 2015, from http://www.un.org/Depts/unscom/sres98-920.htm

 

Defense Intelligence Agency. Chemical Warfare Program. (2002, October 1). Retrieved August 12, 2015, from http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB80/wmd12.pdf

 

BBC. (Ed.). (n.d.). Chemical Warfare 1983-1988. Retrieved August 10, 2015. From

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/middle_east/02/iraq_events/html/chemical_warfare.stm

 

Introduction : GENOCIDE IN IRAQ: The Anfal Campaign Against the Kurds (Human Rights Watch Report). (1993). Retrieved August 10, 2015, from http://www.hrw.org/reports/1993/iraqanfal/ANFALINT.htm

 

Central Intelligence Agency. Intelligence Update: Chemical Warfare Agent Issues. (2007, May 2). Retrieved August 10, 2015, from https://www.cia.gov/library/reports/general-reports-1/gulfwar/cwagents/index.htm#appendixe1

 

Jeff, R. (2004, February 11). Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 80. Retrieved August 16, 2015, from http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB80/#doc15

 

United Nations Security Council. UN Security Council Meeting on Iraq and Kuwait. (1991). Retrieved August 10, 2015, from http://www.un.org/Depts/unmovic/documents/687.pdf

 

Council on Foreign Relations. UN Security Council Resolution 687, Iraq and Kuwait. (1991, April 3). Retrieved August 12, 2015, from http://www.cfr.org/iraq/un-security-council-resolution-687-iraq-kuwait/p19037

 

Arms Control Today. (n.d.). Retrieved August 16, 2015, from http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2002_10/iraqspecialoct02

 

Central Intelligence Agency. Iraq’s Chemical Warfare Program. (2007, April 23). Retrieved August 11, 2015, from https://www.cia.gov/library/reports/general-reports-1/iraq_wmd_2004/chap5.html

 

Uppsula University. The 2004 Roundtable on UN Sanctions against Iraq: Lessons Learned. (2005). Retrieved August 16, 2015, from http://pcr.uu.se/digitalAssets/173/173819_1iraqreport_050210.pdf

 

History.com. Iran-Iraq War. (n.d.). Retrieved August 16, 2015, from http://www.history.com/topics/iran-iraq-war

 

Dueflers. (2002). Regime Strategic Intent. Retrieved August 16, 2015, from https://www.loyola.edu/departments/academics/political-science/strategic-intelligence/intel/iraq/Duelfer_Iraqs_WMD_KF.pdf

 

The rise of Kremlin-style trolling in Ukraine must end

 

Ukraine’s media community has been left shellshocked after the killing of prominent journalist Pavel Sheremet in a car bomb attack last week.

Although no motive has been confirmed, his friends and colleagues say his death is linked to his reporting, offering further evidence of the increasingly dangerous conditions in which many of the country’s reporters work.

Journalist deaths are rare and extreme events, harassment and intimidation are more common, but a silencing tactic that has quickly gained in popularity is the use of internet trolls.

I’ve experienced this type of abuse first hand. Earlier this month, the online TV company I run found itself the subject of a troll attack.

It started in early July when the press service of Ukraine’s joint staff, the country’s top military coordination body, released a statement on its Facebook page accusing my company, Hromadske, of smuggling a Russian journalist to the frontline in east Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists are battling the national army.

Hromadske is a young TV and multimedia organization created in 2013 as a prototype of a public broadcaster in Ukraine.

Our journalists have frequently travelled to the war zone in the past two years. First, to cover the annexation of Crimea in March 2014, and then to report on the heavy fighting in Donetsk and Luhansk that followed.

All this time Hromadske has been an important source of information about the war. But now the government has accused our journalists of exposing the position of Ukraine’s troops, making them vulnerable to enemy fire.

As soon as the statement on their Facebook page appeared, something strange started to happen. In the first five minutes, the statement was shared more than 360 times. Within an hour, it became the most popular post on the joint staff’s press page. And then, almost all the activity suddenly stopped.

The join staff page was created in July 2014 at the height of the conflict in east Ukraine to inform the public about daily events on the frontline. It is managed by the press service, and a typical post gets just a few dozen likes and shares.

But the post about Hromadske spread like a forest fire. Reposts trashed our journalists, attacking their reputations and slamming their work.

The commenters were particularly critical of a report we had commissioned from Avdiyivka, in the Donetsk region, where heavy artillery is used against Ukraine’s troops almost daily, in violation of the Minsk peace agreements.

Journalist Nastya Stanko was filmed applying a tourniquet to stop a Ukrainian soldier from bleeding to death. Cameraman Kostyantyn Reutskiy carried another soldier to the ambulance. He died minutes later. Both reporters were shaken and shocked when they arrived back home.

A day later, Hromadske’s reporters were accused of exposing the position of the troops. By that time, the report had not even released on Hromadske’s website (and still has not been).

At some point we realised it was an organised attack. A source told us it was the work of three groups of trolls and a bot farm. Though we don’t know who commissioned the attack, we do know that their position was strongly pro-government.

The technical team at the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, an independent investigative journalism NGO, also analysed the unusual traffic and confirmed that click-farming did indeed take place. Deeper analysis is currently under way.

It was a shocking revelation. Has the government unleashed a troll army against independent journalists? Is a country at war with Russia using Kremlin-style tactics of lies and manipulation? But why would they?

One answer is that Hromadske’s journalists see too much. They see trenches that are waist deep, not nearly deep enough to protect the fighters. They see understaffed units, the sloppy work of press officers and attempts to stop journalists from reporting the real problems on the ground.

These stories often contradict the government’s own assessment of the situation and the stories circulated by commercial TV channels.

We spent the whole of last week debunking government lies. But the damage has already been done – our journalists are getting angry phone calls from the troops on the front lines, who accuse them of betrayal and disloyalty and no longer want to help them report.

Hromadske is not the only independent news organisation that has to face trolls and paid-for bloggers. All investigative journalists in Ukraine are currently under attack, and have even agreed to hold a joint brainstorming session about how to resist the abuse and fight the problem in a more systemic way.

But it might be difficult in the country there the word “Porokhobot” has become common. It’s a neologism made up of two parts: bot and Poroshenko, referring to president Petro Poroshenko. This one is going to be hard to fight.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/27/kremlin-style-troll-attacks-are-on-the-rise-in-ukraine-hromadske

Trump, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the 2% Spending Myth

 

By 

Multi-Security Disciplined Management & Program Analyst

Introduction

On March 22, 2016, Reuters reported on comments by Republican Presidential front-runner Donald Trump during an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer a day earlier [1]. In response to Blitzer’s question [2] “Do you think the U.S. needs to rethink [its] involvement in NATO” Trump replied “Yes, because it’s costing too much money… and frankly, they have to put up more money … they need to put something up also … we’re paying disproportionately… it’s too much and frankly, it’s a different world than it was when we originally conceived of the idea and everyone got together.” Later he says “maybe we have to pay a lot less towards NATO itself.

Who Else Has Advocated Against NATO?

I see the argument about the U.S. support for and participation in NATO  crop-up occasionally here on LinkedIn. Often the source is pro-Kremlin Trolls, pursing what Czechoslovakian defector Latislav Bittman identified as the goal of the Soviet Union and to which the the State Security of the USSR, the KGB (Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti) and its Warsaw Pact proxies actively worked towards: “the dissolution of [the NATO alliance]” by creating tension between its members [3] (the 2:00:00 mark in the below documentary though I highlyrecommend the entire video).

Since candidate Trump began his latest Presidential campaign, his supporters have been pushing arguments similar to those of the forefather of the Russian Federation’s current Foreign Intelligence Service, the SVR (Sluzhba vneshney razvedki).

This Anti-NATO Argument Contains Flawed Premises

Having prepared budget requests within the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government prior to the President’s annual budget submission to Capital Hill for Congressional consideration, I can say I have no doubt NATO’s funding is farmore complicated than slanted sound bites. By focusing on what is often described as the “Two Percent Requirement” one can see how disingenuous such irrespective of the rationale behind, or the intentions of the person utilizing them.

NATO funding is divided into two categories; “Direct” and “Indirect” and both are intended to be “contributions to[wards] the costs of running NATO and implementing its policies and activities.” [4]

To take news headlines at face value, NATO member nations must contribute 2% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is chiseled into stone and is ‘the way it’s always been’ since 1949 when the ink was drying on the North Atlantic Treaty. Not really. According to NATO, only as recently as 2006 have “member countries agreed to commit a minimum of two per cent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to spending on defence.” The rationale: that “[the] guideline principally serve[s] as an indicator of a country’s political will to contribute to the Alliance’s common defence efforts’ and that doing so has an effect “on the overall perception of the Alliance’s credibility as a politico-military organisation.”

Further, the Organization states that “[w]ithin the principle of common funding, all 28 members contribute according to an agreed cost-share formula, based on Gross National Income [5], which represents a small percentage of each member’s defence budget. This “common funding arrangement” is used by NATO to finance what it describes as its “principal budgets: the civil budget (NATO HQ running costs), the military budget (costs of the integrated Command Structure) and the NATO Security Investment Programme (military capabilities).”

In June 2015, Defense One and other outlets were reporting that of the 28 nations which comprise NATO, only “five members [the U.S., Greece, Poland, the UK and Estonia] are expected to meet the alliance goal of spending at least 2% of GDP on defense.” [6]

In response to my having posted the Reuters article about Trump’s NATO-spending statements here on LinkedIn, someone asked whether Greece, Poland, and Estonia, for example, can “take the lead in this fight?” Well, let’s compare Hellenic spending to that of the United States. According to the World Bank [7], Greece’s 2014 GDP in U.S. Dollars (USD) was $235.5 Billion whereas the U.S’. GDP was $17.4 Trillion, or 73.8 times larger than that of Greece.

The combined wealth of the non-US Allies, measured in GDP” NATO points out, “exceeds that of the United States. However, non-US Allies together spend less than half of what the United States spends on defence.

Based on the percentage of each country’s “Military Expenditures” [8] there is only 1.2% difference between each circa 1994 according to the World Bank, with the U.S. spending 3.5% to Greece’s 2.3%. “This imbalance” between countries, NATO states “has been a constant, with variations throughout the history of the Alliance and more so since the tragic events of 11 September 2001. Post-9-11 the United States significantly increased its defence spending. The gap between U.S. and Canada-Europe’s combined defence spending “has therefore increased.”

“Today,” according to NATO, “the volume of the US defence expenditure effectively represents 73 per cent of the defence spending of the Alliance as a whole.” However, it points out that “[t]his DOES NOT MEAN (emphasis added) that the United States covers 73 per cent of the costs involved in the operational running [the] organisation, including its headquarters in Brussels and its subordinate military commands”. Further it acknowledges “there is an over-reliance by the Alliance as a whole on the United States for the provision of essential capabilities, including for instance, in regard to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; air-to-air refuelling; ballistic missile defence; and airborne electronic warfare” areas in which the U.S. has significant experience and/or historically excelled. NATO’s ‘budget cost share’ for calendar years 2014 through 2015 [9] showed the U.S. contributed 21.73% of the Organization’s “Civil Budget,” 22.2% for its “Military Budget” and 22.2% for NATO’s Interoperability Standards and Profiles (“NISP”) [10] for a total of 66.13%.

The problem with an arbitrary percentage of GDP spending used to fund NATO whether actually or perceptually is that it doesn’t factor-in real-world economic factors such as: asset prices, buying power, commodity prices, consumer confidence, earnings, exchange rates, interest rates, real wages, political instability, and weather.

Carnegie Europe blogger Claudia Major, in “Time to Scrap NATO’s 2 Percent Pledge?” [11] described the two-percent goal as “snappy and plausible [with] the pleasant taste of solidarity and equity.” However, “the pledge” whereby “allies commit to spend the equivalent of 2 percent of their GDP on defense and 20 percent of that amount on investment” she argues “is utterly useless for solving NATO’s readiness and capability problems.”

In light of 2008’s ‘Great Recession’ and effects still being felt to various degrees in individual member nations, NATO has admitted “[t]he effects of the financial crisis and the declining share of resources devoted to defence in many Allied countries have exacerbated this imbalance and also revealed growing asymmetries in capability among European Allies. France, Germany and the United Kingdom together represent more than 50 per cent of the non-US Allies defence spending, which creates another kind of over-reliance within Europe on a few capable European Allies. Furthermore, their defence spending is under increasing pressure, as is that of the United States, to meet deficit and indebtedness reduction targets. At the Wales Summit in 2014, NATO leaders agreed to reverse the trend of declining defence budgets and decided:

  • Allies currently meeting the two per cent guideline on defence spending will aim to continue to do so;
  • Allies whose current proportion of GDP spent on defence is below this level will halt any decline; aim to increase defence expenditure as GDP grows; and will move toward the two per cent guideline within a decade.”

Yet, to Ms. Major’s point, the Organization has acknowledged “[w]hile the two per cent of GDP guideline alone is no guarantee that money will be spent in the most effective and efficient way to acquire and deploy modern capabilities, it remains, nonetheless, an important indicator of the political resolve of individual Allies to devote to defence a relatively small, but still significant, level of resources at a time of considerable international uncertainty and economic adversity.”

What Does A National Defense Budget Cover?

“National defence budgets” NATO explains, “cover essentially three categories of expenditures: personnel expenses and pensions; research, development and procurement of defence equipment; and, lastly, operations, exercises and maintenance.” It clarifies that while “[b]udget allocation is a national, sovereign decision, … NATO Allies have agreed that at least 20 per cent of defence expenditures should be devoted to major equipment spending, perceived as a crucial indicator for the scale and pace of modernisation.” Nevertheless, it warns:

“The arbitrary correlation between GDP and defense spending sends absurd messages” says Major as “[t]he 2 percent target only cares about input, that is, how much states spend on defense.” Quite simply she says, “[i]t does not care about output, or what countries get for their money, be it tanks or well-trained soldiers. Yet, what counts is what resources NATO ultimately has at its disposal, not how much its member states pour into their defense establishments.”

“In times of defense austerity,” she argues “calling for allies simply to spend more—rather than spend more wisely—means fooling those who spend their money efficiently and rewarding those who waste money without visible results for NATO.” Trump’s argument about decreasing ‘U.S. spending on NATO’ is just as damaging as he clearly fails to recognize that at least 20% of the nation’s defense spending is actually for the “development and procurement of defence equipment” used for the provision of “the common defense” referenced in the preamble of the Constitution. [12]

Further, of the entire $495.9 billion authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015 [13], only 27.2% is spent on troops [14] whereas according to Major, “Athens spends almost 70 percent of its defense budget on personnel.”

NATO, Major argues “should focus on cooperation and efficiency. There are two things that all European allies have in common: poor spending efficiency, and foot-dragging when it comes to cooperation” … “using their dwindling defense money better: by focusing on priority projects, specializing in distinct military tasks, and seeking savings in collaboration.”

Conclusion

Unlike Ms. Major, retired U.S. Navy Admiral and former SACEUR (Supreme Allied Commander Europe), James Stavridis doesn’t offer suggestions for improving spending by NATO member nations rather he has a stark warning for prospective voters [15]:

By aligning himself with Russia, North Korea, and China on the need to get the United States out of the world and our military back to the piers and barracks where he evidently thinks it belongs, Trump would sow the seeds of global instability and cede significant portions of the world to regional domination. Notably, the South China Sea would be highly at risk of Chinese hegemony, and Eastern Europe would be under significant Russian influence. The ripple effects to other parts of the world would follow, and the already unstable Korean Peninsula would take another step toward open war. All of this would undermine the global economy and diminish U.S. power. …

“After the apocalyptic events of World War I in Europe” Admiral Starvidis reminds us, “the United States departed the continent, declined to join the nascent global organizational structure offered by the League of Nations, and essentially withdrew from the world, judging it to be complicated, expensive, and unnecessary to maintain a policy of wider engagement. The result was the rise of fascism in Europe, the violent expansion of Imperial Japan, and World War II.”

So, the next time you hear someone questioning the U.S’. participation in the Organization or lamenting the money spent versus the nation’s Return on Investment, evaluate the logic of their argument and ask yourself just what their motivation might be?

Sources:

[1] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-trump-foreign-idUSKCN0WN1VU

[2] https://youtu.be/5xSN6n0Bm80

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diT9oQjb8Ik

[4] http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_67655.htm

[5] http://www.bea.gov/faq/index.cfm?faq_id=484

[6] http://www.defenseone.com/politics/2015/06/nato-members-defense-spending-two-charts/116008/

[7] http://databank.worldbank.org/data/download/GDP.pdf

[8] http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/MS.MIL.XPND.GD.ZS?order=wbapi_data_value_2014+wbapi_data_value+wbapi_data_value-last&sort=desc

[9] https://web.archive.org/web/20150310031222/http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_67655.htm

[10] https://nhqc3s.hq.nato.int/Apps/Architecture/NISP/volume1/ch02.html

[11] http://carnegieeurope.eu/strategiceurope/?fa=59918

[12] http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html

[13] http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/press-releases/senate-committee-on-armed-services-reach-agreement-with-house-counterparts-regarding-the-national-defense-authorization-act-for-fiscal-year-2015

[14] http://www.businessinsider.com/how-the-us-military-spends-its-billions-2015-8

[15] http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/03/22/the-brussels-bombings-highlight-just-how-wrong-trump-is-about-nato

Russian trolls attack Americans

 

Kseniya Kirillova

2016/07/27

Mass media have often reported on the attack of Russian trolls on Ukrainian and western information resources.  An army of paid bots leaves comments on the sites of the largest European and American online sites, engages in polemics in forums, and also massively penetrate professional networks, such as LinkedIn, that are used by many for the exchange of professional resumes and job vacancies, including some government organizations.

In addition to unloading copious amounts of disinformation, slandering, and insulting opponents, trolls employ a technique well-known to Russian and Ukrainian Internet users.  They succeed in blocking their opponents by lodging a large number of complaints about them.  More often than not, the mechanism for blocking user accounts is automatic and determined by the number of complaints received, and this is a favorite tool of the trolls.  Now, maybe for the first time, such an attack has targeted respected American experts, government employees, and even intelligence service veterans.

This was the case a few days ago when LinkedIn, a site for professionals, banned the accounts of several people who had dared oppose those who posted pro-Putin comments.  Among the “casualties” of this network attack were Army veteran Eric Tallant, retired senior CIA officer Charles Leven, and New York attorney James Berger.  All three were notified that their accounts had been blocked “for repeatedly posting unwanted/inappropriate content, and using the platform to harass other members.

No group owner ever complained to me about too many, unwanted, or inappropriate posts. Harassment, if any, was harassment back to trolls and extremists who were harassing me and others… it could have been an orchestrated attack, including by bots, and I was given no opportunity to respond,”explained Charles Leven in an interview with our site.

I suspect I’ve become the target of a neo-Nazi, pro-Kremlin, former Finnish pastor. He launched an attack using real and fake proxies. Some have ties to the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) as alleged metropolitans.  Funny thing! I never even interacted with the guy. I simply posted a link that briefly mentions him,” Eric Tallant told us.

Warning notices of possible bans were received by other members of the virtual network, for example, U.S. Department of Commerce official Jason C. Groves.

I have never sent spam or unwanted communications to another member. I have commented on threads of trolls. I have never acted dishonestly or posted inaccurate or objectionable content, only the truth which repulses trolls and the occasional swear word… But I swore an oath to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same,’ and I will continue to do so,averred Jason.    

Still another troll victim is French foreign policy expert Giles DeMourot.  One of the most active pro-Russian LinkedIn users, Yana Dianova (Яна Дианова) complained to the LinkedIn management that he (DeMourot) was using a false profile.  After three days, Giles was able to establish his rights to an account and as a precaution sent a copy of his passport to the LinkedIn support staff.  The French expert notes in this connection thatthe company management apparently operates according to a double standard, reacting vigorously  to complaints from Russian trolls without giving them a critical examination, while they treat other members of the network more sternly.

They refused to apologize for having given credence to Ms Dianova’s allegations without any form of verification. Then arose the case of another Russian troll, Fred Eidlin, who was fraudulently using the title of “visiting professor at Karlova University.” I produced an email from the vice-rector whom I had contacted saying he had no right to use this title. LinkedIn is still allowing him to fraudulently use the title!

Ms Dianova continued to defame me and others and I filed a notice of defamatory content and partly won: LinkedIn said they had taken appropriate action. The action taken was, I believe, to ask Ms Dianova to stop defaming me explicitly, i.e. to quote my name. This was observed, though some statements clearly referred to me,” Giles DeMourot informed us.

According to James Berger, any time the discussion turned to Russian policies, particularly, but not exclusively, the illegal Russian occupation of part of Ukraine, he and those who agreed with him were “repeatedly threatened, abused, and subjected to character assassination.”

“More shockingly, during the past week, I and my like-minded colleagues have now had our LinkedIn accounts deleted based solely on having used LinkedIn – as professionals … Meanwhile, countless actual violators of the User Agreement – many of whom we had sought to expose by presenting evidence – remain unquestioned, ignored and even supported. How could this be?” asks the attorney.

James Berger is convinced that such a company policy can be explained only by an apparent bias.

“Still more fascinating is that a number of those convicted of the unpardonable sin of “unprofessionalism” are military veterans and/or current or former public servants who have sworn oaths to uphold the truth and have literally placed their lives on the line to advance that mission. Yet in the sick and upside down world of LinkedIn, allegiance to the bottom line always trumps commitment to sacred ideals,” says the outraged advocate.

The attorney affirms that he will demand an apology from LinkedIn for its biased policy and questions whether Microsoft shareholders are prepared to invest 26 billion dollars in a company which could cost them their reputation.

Unfortunately, we might add that a similar situation exists on Facebook and several other social networks.  American companies have shown themselves unprepared for the information war.  Their systems for handling complaints apparently were not set up to handle the possibility of well-financed and organized attacks. For the time being, the Kremlin’s trolls are swimming in success.

Source: http://euromaidanpress.com/2016/07/27/russian-trolls-attack-americans/Russian_ultras-xlarge_trans++WSm3Hskyb1S8n9mpYgoiG-ueIpga74vnViQuGD_M86o

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