Friday, May 01, 2015

Astro-Turfing a Revolt

The Russians are good at propaganda. Baltimore's riots will be part of that information warfare.

Perhaps this is a real event where a Russian RT reporter had her purse stolen by Baltimore rioters.

But perhaps not. Forgive me for being suspicious, but the gleeful youths look like they are having fun and were perhaps asked by the reporter to play to the camera. It's RT, after all.

No doubt, just as the Russians astro-turf a rebellion in Donbas (and Crimea before that) they'll make this part of the Baltimore Uprising narrative to show that we have no business complaining about their conquests rescues of the downtrodden.

Perhaps Lavrov will even offer to negotiate a peace deal with the Maryland separatists!

But I'm a suspicious sort when it comes to the Russians. Tell me I'm wrong about them.

UPDATE: You don't say?

Bad actors and so-called "hacktivists" descended on Baltimore — electronically, at least — this past week, flooding social media with automated accounts and inauthentic images, said James C. Foster, CEO of the social media risk management firm. Law enforcement and cybersecurity experts said such barrages increasingly target areas of unrest around the world, spurring violence and challenging efforts to contain it. ...

What they found was that much of the activity was coming from well outside of Baltimore, in some cases from Russia, China, India and the Middle East.

Not that this means Russia is behind this. I'm sure the vast majority is from Americans who want to virtually riot and enjoy the mayhem from afar. Our lovely communists want to wade in themselves, but plenty of sympathizers don't have that kind of ambition (or time, I suppose).

But it does show at least that the opportunity is there for outside actors to stir up violence in a target nation without needing to send in agents who can be caught and arrested (and questioned). One day the Russian contingent might be significant.

Tip to Instapundit.