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Tue Dec 11, 2018, 10:43 AM

Agents of Doubt: How a powerful Russian propaganda machine chips away at Western notions of truth

Source: Washington Post

Agents of Doubt

How a powerful Russian propaganda machine chips away at Western notions of truth

By Joby Warrick and Anton Troianovski Dec. 10, 2018

The initial plan was a Cold War classic — brutal yet simple. Two Russian agents would slip onto the property of a turncoat spy in Britain and daub his front door with a rare military-grade poison designed to produce an agonizing and untraceable death.

But when the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal was botched, the mission quickly shifted. Within hours, according to British and U.S. officials who closely followed the events, a very different kind of intelligence operation was underway, this one involving scores of operatives and accomplices and a scheme straight out of the Kremlin’s 21st-century communications playbook — the construction of an elaborate fog machine to make the initial crime disappear.

Dozens of false narratives and conspiracy theories began popping up almost immediately, the first of 46 bogus story lines put out by Russian-controlled media and Twitter accounts and even by senior Russian officials, according to a tabulation by The Washington Post — all of them sowing doubt about Russia’s involvement in the March 4 assassination attempt. Ranging from the plausible to the fantastical, the stories blamed a toxic spill, Ukrainian activists, the CIA, British Prime Minister Theresa May and even Skripal himself.

The brazenness of the attempt to kill a Russian defector turned British citizen at his home in southwest England outraged Western governments and led to the expulsion of some 150 Russian diplomats by more than two dozen countries, including the United States. Yet, more than eight months later, analysts see a potential for greater harm in the kind of heavily coordinated propaganda barrage Russia launched after the assassination attempt failed.

Intelligence agencies have tracked at least a half-dozen such distortion campaigns since 2014, each aimed, officials say, at undermining Western and international investigative bodies and making it harder for ordinary citizens to separate fact from falsehood. They say such disinformation operations are now an integral part of Russia’s arsenal — both foreign policy tool and asymmetrical weapon, one that Western institutions and technology companies are struggling to counter.

-snip-

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/world/national-security/russian-propaganda-skripal-salisbury/

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Reply Agents of Doubt: How a powerful Russian propaganda machine chips away at Western notions of truth (Original post)
Eugene Dec 2018 OP
mr_lebowski Dec 2018 #1
sandensea Dec 2018 #2
jberryhill Dec 2018 #3

Response to Eugene (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2018, 11:05 AM

1. Important Story which should be spread far and wide (nt)

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Response to Eugene (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2018, 11:07 AM

2. Although to be fair, GOP spinmeisters have been doing the same and more for over 30 years

You see it in right-wing politics in other countries as well - and to great effect sometimes.

Well, until their own bad policy comes crashing down on them anyway.

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Response to sandensea (Reply #2)

Tue Dec 11, 2018, 11:19 AM

3. That and the production of fanciful CT's

 

...which likewise undermine trust in democratic institutions.

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