Friday, September 30, 2016

Russia's Firehose of Falsehood

Russia muddies the waters by denying the truth and throwing out so many lies that for a sizable chunk of the population enough uncertainty is created to make them unsure of what the truth is. Since the truth is bad for Russia, that suits Putin just fine.

A thorough investigation shows that Russia was involved in the shoot-down in 2014 of a Malaysian plane flying over Russian-held territory in eastern Ukraine:

The [Dutch-led investigation] team found that MH17 was shot down on July 17, 2014, by a Buk surface-to-air missile fired from Russian-backed, separatist-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine. It also says the Buk launcher came from Russia into Ukraine and was sent back to Russia after it shot down MH17.

The Russians deny everything and continue to throw up nonsense to confuse the issue and sow doubt about their guilt:

The Russian military insists that no air defense missile systems have ever been sent from Russia to Ukraine, as the Dutch-led investigation into the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 has stated.

Of course, the Russians are lying, murdering bastards. So there's that.

This is nothing new to those who remember the Soviet Union, of course, but Russia's policy of blatant lying is a problem that we need to confront and refute:

Since its 2008 incursion into Georgia (if not before), there has been a remarkable evolution in Russia's approach to propaganda. The country has effectively employed new dissemination channels and messages in support of its 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula, its ongoing involvement in the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, and its antagonism of NATO allies. The Russian propaganda model is high-volume and multichannel, and it disseminates messages without regard for the truth. It is also rapid, continuous, and repetitive, and it lacks commitment to consistency. Although these techniques would seem to run counter to the received wisdom for successful information campaigns, research in psychology supports many of the most successful aspects of the model. Furthermore, the very factors that make the firehose of falsehood effective also make it difficult to counter. Traditional counterpropaganda approaches will likely be inadequate in this context.

This goes beyond my utter frustration with the Russians for invading Ukraine and then standing there saying, "What? No, no. You are mistaken. We are not invading anyone. Why would you say that? Don't you like us? Are you plotting against us? In fact, you are invading. Why are you invading!?"

Russia's campaign of lying is completely separate from their method of aggression and would be done whether it is subversion, a subliminal invasion via little green men, or massed armor backed by air power.

We need to fight it effectively.

UPDATE: Showing what we are fighting is a good step, which went beyond just telling the locals in Russian Occupied Eastern Ukraine how to deal with the Malaysian aircraft shoot-down:

The emails from Russia were pretty straightforward: The government in Kiev was to be referred to as fascist and compared to puppet dictatorships whenever possible. News reports were to mention as often as possible that the puppet master was the United States. ...

The leaked emails, which were acquired and are being reported on by the German magazine Die Zeit and Germany’s public television broadcaster, ZDF, provide hard evidence of how closely involved Russia is in the separatist movement at the heart of Ukraine’s so-called civil war, which has taken almost 10,000 lives since 2014. That runs counter to the narrative promoted by Russian President Vladmir Putin and other Russian officials.

Let's hope our guys had a hand in exposing this given how much grief Russian hackers have given America.