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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
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Blocked on Twitter by that rat bastard fuck @ggreenwald

Journal Archives

EU Leaders to Fight Russian Media's 'Disinformation' on Ukraine

European leaders will ask their foreign policy chief next week to draw up a plan to counter Russian "disinformation campaigns" over the conflict in Ukraine, draft conclusions of an EU summit showed.

EU leaders, meeting on March 19-20, will give the High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini three months — until their next summit in June — to work out how to support media freedom and European values in Russia.

"The European Council stresses the need to challenge Russia's ongoing disinformation campaigns and invites the High Representative...to prepare by the June European Council an action plan on strategic communication in support of media freedom and EU values," the draft said.

Russian government-funded TV stations, like RT, broadcasting in English, Spanish, Arabic, German and French have been steadily expanding their operations. Many Western broadcasters cut back their Russian-language services after the Cold War.


There are chinks in Russia’s armour

Last week, Russia’s opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was killed near the Kremlin. Independent commentators, politicians and the thousands who took to the streets of Moscow and other Russian cities in protest on Sunday hold no illusions as to the motive behind his shooting. Grigory Yavlinsky, the leader of the Yabloko party and a veteran of the pro-democracy movement, said: “The political responsibility for the murder lies with the regime and personally with President Putin — all those who started and waged the war along with the hate propaganda.” The columnist and radio host Yulia Latynina said: “We have entered a new era — the era of physical annihilation of political opponents of the regime.”

Yes, this murder is an important demarcation in the degradation of politics of Russia, which are linked organically to Russia’s foreign policy. Two trends are particularly alarming, especially bearing in mind that Russia remains a nuclear superpower:

First, aggressive anti-democracy and anti-Western propaganda is being elevated to the level of a state ideology guiding domestic and foreign policy. It is not only the regime but also all kinds of supporting political forces and even militias that are inspired to act in accordance with this creed. It is within the realm of possibility that a zealot pulled the trigger of the weapon aimed at Nemtsov.

Second, reliance on violence has an unambiguous tendency to become more brutal and unrestrained over time. The annexation of Crimea was praised in Russian propaganda for being carried out almost bloodlessly. But the mass destruction and death that accompany advances by pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine are cheered on practically in real time on state TV.

— Andrei Kozyrev was foreign minister of the Russian Federation from 1990 to 1996.


Russia is hacking your social media news feed

Now that most of our information — and the information news organizations use as raw material — is delivered by technology platforms such as social networks, what we know about the world is potentially hackable.

Propagandists must no longer convince professional news organizations to spread their stories; they just embed them into social media news feeds. Employees of the Russian propaganda machine, in particular, seem to be focused on finding ways to game the modern news delivery system. And though their techniques aren't perfect, they're making progress.

In a recent post on Medium.com, John Borthwick and Gilad Lotan of Betaworks, the New York City-based venture capital firm, detailed two cases in which hackers, apparently originating from Russia, attempted to mess with the news flow in the West. One of the two operations succeeded; the other failed.

The first case can be called up with a Google search of the terms "ISIS France support." That will yield, near the top of the results, stories from Newsweek and Vox.com describing a poll carried out for the Russian state-owned network, Russia Today. According to the survey, 16 percent of French citizens, and 27 percent of those ages 18-24, have a positive opinion of Islamic State. This, of course, is utter nonsense: the 27 percent number, for example, is based on a sample of only 105 young French people. Yet reporters from Vox and Newsweek saw the numbers in a tweet and wrote pieces citing the poll, not realizing it was bunk.


Sadly, the emoprog dudebros will ignore this story as usual...Maybe I should put "NSA" in the thread title just bait some of them in...

Concerns over Ukraine in Estonia’s Russian speaking community

Since the events in Ukraine, the Estonian government has pushed for an increased NATO presence in the north east of the country.

This small Baltic republic is nervous. Politicians and citizens are starting to ask some uncomfortable questions: will the Kremlin try to destabilize Estonia too? And will the country’s large Russian minority remain loyal to Estonia?

Those questions are particularly pertinent in Narva, a city just over the border from Russia.

The Estonian armed forces are made up not just of Estonians but also ethnic Russians, some of whom speak mainly Russian.


Stop The Presses: Moscow Cracks Down On Journalists In Annexed Crimea

KYIV -- One year after Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, the pro-Russian de facto authorities continue to crack down on independent journalists there.

This week, agents of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) in the Crimean capital of Simferopol raided the homes of two reporters from the Center for Investigative Reporting, an independent journalism group that was forced to relocate to Kyiv after Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014.

In a statement issued on March 13, the Committee to Protect Journalists, a nongovernmental organization based in New York, described the raids as "repressive actions" and said journalists covering Crimea "have been harassed, attacked, detained, and had their equipment seized" over the last year.

Journalist Natalya Kokorina said the FSB searched the home of her parents, where Kokorina was registered, on March 13. At 8 a.m., Kokorina received a phone call telling her to come to the apartment immediately.


Are Putin's Censors Stricter Than the Soviets?

A bold, 6,500-word opinion piece published this week in the Moscow Times details what it calls a "new censorship" imposed on the Russian news media by President Vladimir Putin and his allies, enforced by political power and Kremlin-friendly commercial interests.

Written by Vasily Gatov, a journalist and media critic, the piece charges the Kremlin with manipulation of the nation's news media that, "like a cancerous tumor ... supplants everything of value or vitality with diseased tissue." The headline is "How the Kremlin and the Media Ended Up in Bed Together." An editors' note at the top says the Russian news media "have turned into creators of the Matrix-like artificial reality."

Without a monolithic Communist Party in control of civic life as in the Soviet Union, Gatov writes, the Putin regime gives out favors in the form of money, property, and jobs. The tools of modern censorship, he says, include tying strings to government media funding, cultivating informants on media staff, and direct Kremlin calls to chief editors.

The piece, striking in its irreverence, is the longest ever published in the Moscow Times, an English-language daily based in the Russian capital. The newspaper, founded in 1992 by Dutch investors, is now owned by a company based in Helsinki that holds 50 publications that reach 12 million people, according to its website. Gatov, 49, is planning a second piece on the topic.


Russian Professor Explains Media Manipulation

Russian state media has been skewered in the West for its often outlandish coverage of events in Ukraine.

The "misinformation, exaggerations, conspiracy theories, overheated rhetoric and occasionally, outright lies," reverberate "hour after hour, day after day, week after week" on Russian TV, according to "The New York Times" on April 15.

But according to a poll, conducted in late March by the state-funded Public Opinion Foundation, some two-thirds of the Russian population trust government-controlled television more than any other medium. A lecture by a history professor, apparently recorded in mid-April, sheds some light on Moscow's media strategy and why it seems to work.

"Television determines the agenda," says Valery Solovei, in his hourlong talk at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). "The methods that I am talking about create a world view, something that's called a 'reality.' A reality is created for us. If we see this reality the way it is brought to us by television, then we act in accordance with this reality."


Russian media learn to love the bomb

Nuclear war is the ultimate, unthinkable catastrophe. But in some sections of the Russian media it is being viewed as a realistic possibility and even something to be embraced.

As the crisis in Ukraine has deepened over recent months and Moscow's relations with the West have become ever more strained, talk of nuclear war has been looming large in the Russian media.

In fact, as liberal journalist Yuriy Saprykin recently noted, it has almost become "commonplace".

Saprykin was struck by how presenters and listeners on independent radio station Ekho Moskvy now speak about nuclear war "more or less in the same way as if they were discussing increases in parking fines".


That can't be right...DUers keep telling me Victoria Nuland and the West are the *real* warmongers

How many Russians are fighting in Ukraine?

Western arguments about how to counter President Vladimir Putin's support for east Ukraine separatists are leading to clashes over the question of how deeply involved Russia's military is in the conflict.

The latest salvo between Nato allies came in a German government briefing to Spiegel magazine that accuses the alliance's supreme commander (American Gen Philip Breedlove) of disseminating "dangerous propaganda" on the extent of Russian military involvement, trying to undermine a diplomatic solution to the war.

The Kremlin has denied its forces are directly involved in combat, but the latest estimate by US Lt Gen Ben Hodges, commander of the US Army in Europe, says 12,000 Russian troops are operating inside the neighbouring country.


Crimea fears amid joy one year after Russia's annexation

As Crimea gears up for celebrations marking its annexation from Ukraine, supporters of the "Russian Spring" on the peninsula strongly outnumber its opponents.

But economic strain caused by Western sanctions, growing pressure on dissent and the departure of skilled professionals suggest not everybody is happy with the past year's events in the peninsula. The UN estimates some 20,000 have chosen to leave.

For many, voting in the disputed secession referendum on 16 March last year was an experience of a lifetime.

A reported 96% of Crimean voters backed joining Russia, although the Russian Human Rights Council put the true figure at far lower than that.

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