Russia ‘weaponizing misinformation’ to ‘disable’ western democracy


Moscow Times

Russia is using cyber-hacks and “weaponizing misinformation” to undermine the West, the U.K. warned today.

“Today we see a country that, in weaponizing misinformation, has created what we might now see as the post-truth age. Part of that is the use of cyber-weaponry to disrupt critical infrastructure and disable democratic machinery,” said defence secretary, Sir Michael Fallon:

Fallon also accused the Russian government of routinely lying. “There is a special Russian word for this. Not maskirovka, the old deception perpetrated by its intelligence agencies, but vranyo, where the listener knows the speaker is lying and the speaker knows the listener knows he is lying but keeps lying anyway.”

The warning came a day after a U.S. Senate subcommittee announced an investigation into Russia’s alleged hacking.

“Our goal is simple — to the fullest extent possible we want to shine a light on Russian activities to undermine democracy,” said Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) — who oversee the Judiciary Committee’s subpanel on crime and terrorism.

In response to Russia’s aggression and subversive activities, Cold War liberalism seems to be making a comeback, analyst Matthew Cooper writes for Newsweek.

But there are big differences between the liberal cold warriors of yesterday – who included union heads like Walter Reuther of the United Auto Workers (right), intellectuals like the historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., theologian Reinhold Niebuhr and diplomat George Kennan.- and the anti-Putin Democrats of today, he adds:

First, the Russian challenge is parochial. Communism was an ideology with appeal from Hanoi to Havana, and Moscow was the patron to self-styled revolutionaries worldwide. Putinism, if there is such a thing, has no international appeal. It is an expression of Russian nationalism, a carte blanche for oligarchs, with a dollop of anti-gay thuggery. It has similarities to nationalist, anti-immigration parties like the United Kingdom Independence Party, or the National Front in France, but it’s nothing like Communism. Putinism isn’t exactly going to spread like those Che Guevara T-shirts.

Second, even the Democrats who are taking a tough line on Putin don’t tend to be more interventionist. They’re not, for example, pushing for a military response to Beijing, which is building artificial islands in the South China Sea and running afoul of Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines and the U.S. On issues like confronting Putin’s ardent backing of Syria, Democrats are divided. Some, like Hillary Clinton, favored a harder line against the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad, while others, like Biden were against backing the insurgents.


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