Information operations

Beware Russian Disinformation

I was stunned to read a blog stating that YuliaTymoshenko had quit the race for the President of Ukraine.  I was mystified, therefore,

Yulia Tymoshenko

when a fairly notable news site also picked up the story.

Those stories were published only two days after the Guardian re-emphasized Tymoshenko’s resolve to run for President of Ukraine.

Then it hit me.  Russia’s disinformation machine is on overdrive.  24/7/365, anything to deter a democratic election, anything to cast doubt on a free and objective electoral process in the Ukraine, anything to promote a reason for Russian troops to ‘be invited’ to invade Ukraine.

In the United States, we are mostly insulated from news stories from outside the US.  Except for the Malaysian Airline 370 ongoing mystery and ongoing search.  For the most part Putin barely registers on our ‘give a crap’ meter and Ukraine is some beautiful country beside the Black Sea which used to have this paradise called Crimea.  I’ll give you odds that 95% of Americans couldn’t even locate the Black Sea on a map.  98% might even be closer to the truth.

So why should most Americans give a crap about Russian disinformation, misinformation and lies?

The typical American response would be along the lines:  because we’re the good guys.  *cough*  Oh, yes, most boys in the US watch Superman, who represents “Goodness, Justice and the American Way”.

As a part of the bigger picture, the American way is based on “the truth”.  We absolutely expect our news stories to be truthful.  “Fair and Objective” is probably a better description, but if something is bad, we expect to hear ‘it’s bad’.

So when Russia Today (RT), ITAR-TASS, Voice of Russia and Ria Novosti all publish the exact opposite from what we read on the Washington Post, New York Times, BBC, VOA and other Western news sources, Westerners get confused.  How could the stories be so diametrically opposed?   Information Warfare, plain and simple.  A story line was created which roughly parallels the truth and Russian “news” sources must align with the official plot.

I owe you, dear reader, a synopsis of yesterday’s Ria Novosti Press Conference held jointly between the National Press Club and their Moscow studio.  One phrase.  One phrase helped me understand the huge disparity between Western Truth and Russian Truth.  Thank you, Ria Novosti.  Stay tuned.