Memo reveals pressure on UK climate finance pledge

Scientific News BBC - Wed, 07/05/2023 - 06:11
The government says it remains committed to spending £11.6bn of its overseas aid budget on climate.
Categories: World News

Climate change: World's hottest day since records began

Scientific News BBC - Tue, 07/04/2023 - 21:28
Monday 3 July was the warmest day yet recorded with temperatures averaging over 17C for the first time.
Categories: World News

Family to tell first penicillin patient's story at conference

Health News BBC - Mon, 07/03/2023 - 13:06
PC Albert Alexander received the newly-discovered antibiotic after being injured in 1941.
Categories: World News

Testing begins in Orkney for breast cancer gene variant

Health News BBC - Mon, 07/03/2023 - 08:22
Islanders on Westray were told of a genetic variant linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
Categories: World News

Hottest June kills UK fish and threatens insects

Scientific News BBC - Mon, 07/03/2023 - 05:01
The Met Office will confirm on Monday if the record-breaking temperatures are linked to climate change.
Categories: World News

NHS whistleblowers need more protection, expert warns

Health News BBC - Mon, 07/03/2023 - 04:45
NHS whistleblowers are being victimised, risking another big hospital scandal, an expert tells the BBC.
Categories: World News

Shipping faces showdown over greenhouse gases

Scientific News BBC - Mon, 07/03/2023 - 03:20
Global maritime industry faces a major decision on curbing carbon as pressure grows for a net-zero target.
Categories: World News

NHS England chief Amanda Pritchard says strike disruption will get worse

Health News BBC - Sun, 07/02/2023 - 16:47
Amanda Pritchard told the BBC that July's strikes could be the worst yet for patients.
Categories: World News

NHS England head urges football clubs to consider gambling ad impact

Health News BBC - Sun, 07/02/2023 - 15:59
Clubs should think carefully before accepting sponsorship from gambling firms, says NHS England head.
Categories: World News

'Patients paying the price' for strikes - NHS chief executive

Health News BBC - Sun, 07/02/2023 - 13:01
Amanda Pritchard says patients are facing disruption for "both sides" failing to find agreement in a dispute over pay in the health service.
Categories: World News

Cancer: Mum writes book to help child cope with her diagnosis

Health News BBC - Sun, 07/02/2023 - 09:15
When Hollie was diagnosed with the big C, she feared her bond with Sydney would be lost forever.
Categories: World News

Mystery sea urchin deaths threaten Red Sea coral reefs

Scientific News BBC - Sun, 07/02/2023 - 02:09
Sea algae could take over coral reefs after an unknown disease decimated sea urchin populations.
Categories: World News

Stalin Saved Crimean Tatars: StopFakeNews with Marko Suprun (No. 286) - Mon, 06/01/2020 - 09:10

Fake: Survey shows Ukrainians liked living in the USSR. Crimean Tatars owe Stalin. Ukraine may lose several more regions.

Сообщение Stalin Saved Crimean Tatars: StopFakeNews with Marko Suprun (No. 286) появились сначала на StopFake.

Categories: World News

Infodemic in Italy: A Parliamentary intelligence committee lays bare Russian and Chinese interference - Fri, 05/29/2020 - 17:58
By Julia Casado from Pixabay

By Francesco Bechis, for CEPA

It’s official: China and Russia used the covid-19 pandemic to propagate and spread disinformation in Italy, exploiting the emergency for their own interests, according to Copasir, the Parliamentary committee overseeing the intelligence services. The bipartisan report, authored by Enrico Borghi of the Democratic Party (Pd), draws on classified material provided by Italian government agencies. 

In the past three months, Russia and China have transformed Italy into a decisive battleground for Europe’s geopolitical hegemony. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping sent tons of aid and dozens of doctors to Italy, together with a massive and unprecedented propaganda campaign, both on official and party channels and on social media. The result: democracy has gone out of fashion. A recent opinion poll shows 73% of Italians believe that liberal democracies failed the covid-19 test. 

Russia and China played on the same field, but with different strategies. Russia took the leading role, the report says. The Kremlin was already entrenched in Italy’s politics and media. The crisis made its interference stronger and more effective. The report highlights the role of the Sputnik agency in disseminating questionable content and gives a silver medal for the state-run broadcaster RT. The committee describes how both outlets amplified news from Russian sources relating to Italy, with the goal of increasing confusion and panic, amplifying “public order problems in supermarkets” and also with references to migration. As the report explains, Russian disinformation campaigns “focus mainly on conspiracy theories to exploit the virus for their own purposes.” The goal, says the committee’s chairman, Raffaele Volpi of the Northern League, was “to create distrust in Western governments, in their health systems and in the scientific sector.”

The authorities in Beijing have taken a different approach. In official media and on social networks they praised the Chinese government’s response to the covid-19 crisis. They also praised the love of Italians for the Chinese Communist Party. Even at the cost of making everything up. Exemplary in this regard, the report says, was the promotion of the manipulated “Thanks, China!” video on Twitter by the foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunying.

In both cases the goal is to show that authoritarian regimes beat the virus and democracies do not. Borghi notes that experience in South Korea and Germany demonstrates that democracies organize themselves better, “because they guarantee better health results and less decreases in freedoms.” 

By Francesco Bechis, for CEPA

Francesco Bechis is a journalist at Formiche.

Common Crisis is a CEPA analytical series on the implications of COVID-19 for the transatlantic relationship. All opinions are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the position or views of the institutions they represent or the Center for European Policy Analysis. 

Сообщение Infodemic in Italy: A Parliamentary intelligence committee lays bare Russian and Chinese interference появились сначала на StopFake.

Categories: World News

MIGs in Libya, contradicting Moscow’s denials - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 20:34
LIBYA — A picture released by the U.S. AFRICOM, the US Africa Command responsible for military relations with nations and regional organisations in Africa, on May 26, 2020 reportedly shows a Russian Mig-29 Fulcrum jet flying over Libya

By Polygraph

Andrey Krasov
deputy chair of the Russian State Duma’s Defense Committee

“[This is] yet another American scary tale. This is fake and disinformation in the spirit of previous American administrations.” (Responding to U.S. military reports that Russia deployed fighter jets to Libya.)
Source:, May 26, 2020

On May 26, the U.S. Army Africa Command (AFRICOM) said Russia had sent military aircraft to Libya to aid its state-sponsored private military contractors working on behalf of the Libyan National Army (LNA), which is fighting against the United Nations-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).

“The Russian fighter aircraft arrived in Libya from an airbase in Russia after transiting Syria where it is assessed they were repainted to camouflage their Russian origin,” the U.S. statement said.

AFRICOM did not specify what kind of aircraft were sent or how many, but the U.S. provided images showing various Russian fighter and attack jets in the air and parked at Libya’s al-Jufrah airfield.

On May 27, however, the Pentagon subsequently claimed that Russia had sent about 14 military planes to Libya.

NEWS: Russia deploys military fighter aircraft to Libya
"For too long, Russia has denied the full extent of its involvement in the ongoing Libyan conflict. Well, there is no denying it now." – Gen. Townsend

— US AFRICOM (@USAfricaCommand) May 26, 2020

Russia denied the reports, with several top lawmakers issuing strong statements, while neither the Kremlin nor the defense ministry responded by the time of this reporting.

“[This is] yet another American scary tale. This is fake and disinformation in the spirit of previous American administrations,” said Andrey Krasov, deputy chair of Russian Duma Defense Committee.

The claim is false.

Reports about Russia air assets going to Libya appeared a week before the AFRICOM’s statement. On May 21, Fathi Bashagha, the GNA’s security chief in Tripoli, told Bloomberg News that “at least six MiG 29s and two Sukhoi 24s had flown into the east from the Russian-controlled Hmeimim Air Base in Syria, escorted by two Su-35 Russian air force jets.”

According to the GNA, six MiG 29s and two Sukhoi 24s have been flown into eastern Libya from the Russian-controlled Hmeimim Air Base in Syria, escorted by two SU-35 Russian Airforce jets. If true this would represent a deeper – and very serious – internationalising of the war.

— Airwars (@airwars) May 21, 2020

Some analysts questioned Bashagha’s claim.

Commenting on the reported deployment of Russian military aircraft to Libya in his blog, The Aviationist, Rome-based freelance journalist David Cenciotti wrote that he was “not sure this actually happened, at least not the way it has been reported.”

However, in an update to his May 21 blog entry, Cenciotti reported that a satellite image showing one MiG-29 being towed at Al Jufra Air Base had confirmed the presence of at least one such Russian fighter jet in Libya. On May 26, The Aviationist discussed the impact of this development on the power balance in Libya.

On May 21, another confirmation came from Jeffrey Bardin, a U.S. Air Force veteran and a cyber intelligence analyst, who posted on LinkedIn a satellite image of the al-Jawfah airbase, showing “the presence of a MiG-29 fighter and a number of other fighters.”

The Drive, a website that covers military affairs and cars, reported on May 2126 and 27 the presence of multiple Russian fighter jets on the airbase in the LNA-controlled territory. The site said the jets “were indeed at Russia’s air base in western Syria just days before the MiG-29 was spotted in Libya.”, a U.K.-based military aviation watchdog, has been monitoring this situation since May 20, Chris Woods, the website’s director, told

“It’s reasonable to conclude that fighter aircraft have recently been supplied to the LNA by Russia,” Woods said. “What remains unclear is whether those aircraft will be flown by mercenaries or by pilots with the Russian air force.”

On May 26, the LNA’s Army Twitter account also retweeted the AFRICOM’s report about the deployment of the Russian aircraft, without denying it.

#Turkey’s involvement by sending terrorists to #Libya must and well force us and the countries that truly fight terror to react between the silence of the international community as we see with clear evidence of #ISIS and #AlQeada fighting for the expired #GNA

— M.LNA (@LNA2019M) May 26, 2020

According to the Russian state-owned news agency Sputnik, an LNA representative speaking on Al Arabiya TV called AFRICOM’s statements about the arrival of Russian military aircraft in Libya “strange.” However, there was no indication the LNA representative denied it had happened.

The United Nations imposed Arms embargo on Libya in 2011.

The civil war in Libya is becoming “increasingly internationalized,”’s Chris Woods said. On one side, Turkey is providing military support to the Tripoli-based GNA; on the other, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia are backing the LNA forces lead by Khalifa Haftar.

Russia has denied involvement in Libya, but a recently leaked U.N. report said Moscow has deployed about 1,200 mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner Group to strengthen Haftar’s forces.

Activists in Bani Walid town release photos of what they say a group of Wagner mercenaries driving in the town after fleeing the battlefield in south #Tripoli

— The Libya Observer (@Lyobserver) May 23, 2020

Central Asian sources report that Wagner has been actively recruiting mercenaries in war-impoverished Syria “using the same tactics as ISIS” – promising big rewards but instead using the new recruits as cannon fodder.

Libya has been in turmoil for the last nine years. The UN estimates that hundreds of civilians have been killed and thousands injured, while millions have reportedly been forcibly displaced and are in dire need of humanitarian aid.

By Polygraph

Сообщение MIGs in Libya, contradicting Moscow’s denials появились сначала на StopFake.

Categories: World News

Russian news site distorts U.S. coronavirus poll - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 20:21
Fingertip-sized patches with dissolvable microscopic needles, a potential COVID-19 vaccine, are seen at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

By Polygraph

News Front
a pro-Kremlin news site

“Every fourth American is against taking anti-COVID-19 vaccine.”
Source: News Front, May 21, 2020

On May 21, the pro-Kremlin news site News Front covered a survey commissioned by Reuters.

The News Front story, published in Russian, was headlined “Every fourth American is against taking anti-COVID-19 vaccine.”

The headline is false.

News Front downplayed findings showing support for a coronavirus vaccine in the survey, which polled 4,428 U.S. adults between May 13 and May 19.

The News Front story equated lack of interest in a vaccine with opposition. “While pharmaceutical corporations are involved in a race for the development of a vaccine against the coronavirus, it has transpired that the fourth of Americans are not interested in it,” it stated.

In fact, that characterization muddies the results as reported by Reuters, which said that 14% of those surveyed “said they were not at all interested in taking a vaccine, and 10% said they were not very interested. Another 11% were unsure.”

Being uninterested or uncertain does not necessarily indicate resistance. The survey showed majority support for a coronavirus vaccine and strong support for vaccinations that have worked against other diseases.

AstraZeneca is awaiting early stage clinical results of its potential COVID-19 vaccine being developed with Oxford University. Having received over $1 billion from the U.S., the British drugmaker said it can deliver a billion doses if tests are successful

— Reuters (@Reuters) May 21, 2020

Not quite two-thirds of the respondents in the Reuters poll said they were “very” or “somewhat” interested in a coronavirus vaccine, while 84% said they believe in the safety of vaccines for diseases like the measles, both for adults and children.

Furthermore, 29% of those who indicated they were “not very” interested in taking a coronavirus vaccine said that would change if the vaccine was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

One expert told Reuters the number of respondents who said they were “very” or “somewhat” interested in a coronavirus vaccine was lower than he expected.

“I would have expected somewhere around 75 percent,” William Schaffner, an infectious disease and vaccine expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, told the news agency.

However, Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told Reuters that a combination of widespread disinformation about vaccines and mixed signals from authorities were the reason for the lower-than-expected interest in a coronavirus vaccine.

“It’s not surprising a significant percentage of Americans are not going to take the vaccine because of the terrible messaging we’ve had, the absence of a communication plan around the vaccine and this very aggressive anti-vaccine movement,” said Hotez, who is working on a vaccine.

Michael Chertoff, who is helping advise DC's @MayorBowser reopening efforts, says schools should not reopen for in-person learning until a #COVID vaccine.

How would that work? WATCH →

— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) May 24, 2020

The News Front article also mistakenly reported that at least 70% of Americans would need to be vaccinated to resist the virus and prevent its spread.

In fact, according to Reuters, experts estimate that 70% of Americans “would need to be immune through a vaccine or prior infection” to achieve what is known as “herd immunity,” where a population is resistant to the virus.

News Front is a pro-Kremlin outlet with a record of publishing conspiratorial stories, including other fake news about the coronavirus. The EU-funded fact-checking site EUvsDisInfo has debunked stories by NewsFront claiming traditional medicine can cure COVID-19 and that the coronavirus vaccine is aimed at controlling world population.

By Polygraph

Сообщение Russian news site distorts U.S. coronavirus poll появились сначала на StopFake.

Categories: World News

Back to basics: Ukraine, revisionism, and Russophobia - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 20:04

By EU vs Disinfo

As the world cautiously begins to adjust to the new realities of post-quarantine life, the pro-Kremlin media is adjusting as well – and returning to familiar territory.

That’s not to say that we’ve seen the last of coronavirus-related disinformation – far from it. COVID-19 will continue to affect life around the world for the foreseeable future, with a potential second wave anticipated in the coming months. Scientists are still racing to find a viable cure. In this context, don’t expect to see mis- or disinformation about the coronavirus disappear – it will simply fade into the background and become yet another persistent bug in our information landscape, like climate change denialism and anti-migrant fearmongering. If past is any indication, the pro-Kremlin media will continue opportunistically exploiting conspiracy theories and other disinformation narratives around COVID-19, undermining the EUattacking the US or “Western elites”, or fomenting public fear and distrust. Other disinformation cases this week foreshadow which narratives are likely to endure in the months ahead: namely George Soros and Bill Gates anti-vax conspiracy theories, claims that non-capitalist countries are better able to handle crises, and nonsensical obfuscation like that “Western elites” or a global “Deep State” are behind the pandemic, or that COVID-19 is a US bioweapon. Attacking Western media that report critically on the Kremlin’s handling of the pandemic is also a tactic that will likely persist.

Bad Ukraine

But this week pro-Kremlin disinformation also returned to one of its favourite punching bags: Ukraine. Besides regurgitating old tropes – like that Euromaidan was an “ultranationalist pro-Western coup”, that Crimea was not annexed, and that the EU is exploiting Ukraine – pro-Kremlin outlets also got newly creative in their attacks against the country that is still facing conflict six years after the illegal annexation of Crimea. Latching on to an OSCE report from May 9th that recorded the injury of four children in eastern Ukraine – but didn’t ascribe responsibility to any party – the pro-Kremlin media took attribution into its own hands and accused the Ukrainian army of deliberately firing at children. Ukrainian soldiers were also baselessly accused of raping an American photojournalist in Donbas. Other cases sought to undermine the credibility of the Ukrainian government and President Zelenskyy, suggesting that Ukraine is planning to attack Donbas and sabotage peace talks, that hunger riots are breaking out in the country, and that migrant workers are being driven to Donbas in order to get them back to Europe. And a recurring narrative remains that Ukraine is a puppet of the US, which is trying to gain control of Crimea and control political appointments in Ukraine. The CIA is in on it too, of course: ordering Zelenskyy to extend sanctions and even block access to Russian social networks (in fact, this decision was made by Ukraine’s National Security Council, for pretty understandable reasons).

The Kremlin’s Victory Day Angst

With May 9th being Victory Day – one of Russia’s most prized national holidays, marking the surrender of Nazi Germany and Soviet takeover of Berlin – the attacks on Ukraine and other “Russophobic” countries were seamlessly blended with another pro-Kremlin disinformation specialty: historical revisionism. Ukraine was accused of suppressing Victory Day celebrations in a “Russophobic” attack on historical memory, national “devaluation”, and disrespect of veterans. Poland and the Baltics were charged with seeking to minimise the USSR’s victory over Nazism (as was the Western media writ large). Meanwhile, the Belarusian opposition allegedly tried to disrupt the Victory Day parade with funding from the US State Department. On the topic of World War II, pro-Kremlin outlets are stubbornly sticking to the classic deflection tactic of disinformation: “accuse others of what they accuse you”. And so it turns out that the West is supposedly guilty of historical revisionism and abdication of truth by drawing attention to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. That Pact, in case anyone needs reminding, divided Europe into Nazi and Soviet spheres of influences and paved the way for five decades of communist totalitarian rule throughout eastern Europe. If only the Kremlin could acknowledge – even once! – the untold pain and suffering wrought by that disastrous pact and its secret protocols. Unfortunately, history has taught us not to hold our breath.

By EU vs Disinfo

Сообщение Back to basics: Ukraine, revisionism, and Russophobia появились сначала на StopFake.

Categories: World News

Kremlin Watch Briefing: EU should launch a team to investigate Chinese disinformation - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 19:25
NEW REPORT Russian battles over historical narratives: the case of Prague’s Konev statue

The recent escalation in relations between the Czech Republic and Russia, relating to the removal of a Marshal Konev statue, is just another case of Russia waging a “battle” with a post-Communist country over historical narratives. The Kremlin has, for a long time, sought to (re)interpret 20th-century history, in particular WWII. 

The removal of a Bronze Soldier monument in Tallinn (in 2007) is often seen as the first of the clashes regarding historical narratives. Since then, these disputes have intensified and become more frequent. Furthermore, Russia has used more sophisticated and aggressive methods “to promote” its own historical narratives. 

Below, we not only provide some basic facts and a timeline documenting the recent escalation of the conflict around the removal of the Marshal Konev statue, but also an overview of similar historical disputes between Russian and other post-Communist countries. We conclude with a set of recommendations that the Czech authorities should undertake. These recommendations are rather universal and, as such, could be applied by any other state that finds itself in a situation similar to that of the Czech Republic.


Topics of the Week

The EU should launch a specialized task force to investigate and counter Chinese disinformation.

Developments in U.S.-Russia nuclear relations: The uncertain future of START.

Kremlin’s Current Narrative: The Kremlin rejects latest indications of Moscow’s military support to Haftar’s Libyan National Army.

Good Old Soviet Joke

Vladimir Putin issued a plan for the new economy. The goal? Make people rich and happy. List of people attached.

Policy & Research News Experts call for a European task force to counter Chinese disinfo

The Chinese use of disinformation to advance its foreign policy goals and influence the West had clearly been highlighted during the pandemic crises, as the EEAS and DHS concluded, and needs to be countered by immediate and firm response, Jakub Janda and Nathalie Vogel (European Values Center for Security Policy), write.

Chinese State propaganda displayed its disinformation tools to influence foreign audiences perception of the pandemic, in order to belittle its magnitude and to deny Chinese responsibilities, following a disinfo playbook that looks akin to the Russian one. Chinese pressures weren’t limited to the info-war operations but included other offensive measures to exert pressure, as already briefed here.

Relations between the EU and China will be the core of the upcoming geostrategic agenda, and given the already clear asymmetric offensive, China is adopting to weaken Europe, that includes a massive use of disinformation, a special task force, analogous to the EEAS East Stratcom Task Force set following Russia invasion of Ukraine, to counter Chinese disinformation is needed, experts say. “The EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, should launch this EEAS task force immediately”, Kalensky (Atlantic Council DFRlab) suggests. It should consist of at least 15 specialists on Chinese disinformation, and be producing weekly analysis to monitor Chinese disinfo to raise awareness among the public, and inform decision-makers. 

China borrows Kremlin playbook, advancing high-stakes novel offensive

Amidst pandemic, Russia and China boosted their asymmetric offensive towards the West, in a coordinated effort that now sees the Chinese, after borrowing the traditional Kremlin playbook, pushing it with a renewed, independent proactiveness. The alarm is launched by a Brookings Institution’s analysis, whose findings are largely shared in the experts’ community.

The Chinese Communist Party long-term goals to weaken the Transatlantic ties were so far exerted through economic pressure and strategically motivated investments abroad, in addition to an info-war far less noted than the traditionally threatening Russian one. The pandemic created a tactical coincidence of interest in the domain of info-war between Russia and China, but Beijing is now abandoning its low profile and starting to advance its goals autonomously.

Among the reasons behind this changed Chinese posture is the apparent impunity of malicious actors in using disinformation to manipulate the public, and the incentive provided by the gain of the desired goal in doing so – as occurred in the purported watering down of the EEAS report on COVID disinfo, following Chinese pressure, the Brookings analysis stresses.

This novel Chinese stance requires an urgent and tailored response, experts say, suggesting the establishment of an ad hoc task force.

US Developments Developments in U.S.-Russia nuclear relations

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) is the only remaining arms treaty between Russia and the United States. According to an article in Defense News It expires on February 5 if it is not renewed by the United States, just over two weeks after America’s next president will be inaugurated. Although Russia has offered to extend the agreement, Trump is holding out because he believes that China should have to join the treaty as well. While Russia appears to agree that a deal including China is necessary, this will obviously be a complicated task, given both the tight time-table and pandemic chaos. In addition, China seems unwilling to even consider an agreement.

If the deal were to end, it would be much more difficult for the U.S. to monitor Russia’s nuclear activities. However, Trump does not seem very concerned with this. When announcing that he would not be renewing the Open Skies Treaty, which allows the U.S. and Russia to conduct overhead surveillance, he cited numerous violations of the treaty by the Kremlin. President Trump may feel the same way about START as well. To make matters more complicated, Trump has suggested that the United States may begin nuclear testing again. The U.S. has not conducted a nuclear test since 1992. The testing would be in response to alleged small-scale nuclear testing by both Moscow and Beijing, however, there is no publicly available evidence of this. The coming months will be very important in determining the next 5 years of nuclear cooperation between the United States and Russia.

American coronavirus aid reaches Russia

This week, the first load of American COVID-19 aid arrived in Russia. This delivery included 50 of 200 promised ventilators along with other medical supplies. Both Russian and American diplomats are touting the joint aid as an example of U.S-Russia cooperation, with the Russian Foreign Ministry declaring the aid as a “sincere humanitarian gesture.” Russia is in particularly desperate need of ventilators after having to recall a very common model due to safety concerns. However, the politicization of the aid continues. The Kremlin recently claimed that its Direct Investment Fund covered the costs of equipment sent to the U.S. in April, while the United States claims it was forced to foot the bill. Additionally, while the Russian government banned the operation of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on Russian soil in 2012, it was happy to accept USAID medial equipment as “a return act of good will.”

Kremlin’s Current Narrative The Kremlin rejects latest indications of Moscow’s military support to Haftar

On May 21, at least eight Soviet-era warplanes reportedly flew from the Russian-controlled Hmeimim Air Base in Syria into the territory under the control of General Khalifa Haftar in eastern Libya. If confirmed, it would signal the Kremlin’s readiness to step up its military support for Gen Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), in what risks to escalate into a full-scale proxy war on Libya’s battleground. Earlier this month, Reuters read a UN report revealing the presence in Libya of some 1,200 private military contractors from the Russian paramilitary organisation known as Wagner Group.

The Wagner Group is seen as close to Vladimir Putin and the organisation has been tied to Yevgeny Prigozhin, the notorious financier behind the Saint Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency – more commonly known under the infamous name of “Troll Factory”. Prigozhin was reported to finance the Wagner Group’s current operations in both Syria and Africa.

The Russian government has consistently denied providing military support to Gen Haftar, with the Kremlin’s outlets obviously aligning with this claim. On RIA, the report exposing the presence of Wagner Group mercenaries is dismissed as full of “mistakes and deliberate falsifications … unverified or clearly fabricated data aimed at discrediting Russia”. Similarly, according to RT, the warplanes were delivered to Gen Haftar through unspecified “foreign support”. Nowhere on the various outlets is the Kremlin explicitly linked to the LNA, and Russia is never named among the governments that support Haftar’s offensive. From this perspective, the Kremlin is portrayed exclusively as a constructive force committed to a peaceful settlement of the war in Libya.

Meanwhile, Haftar is often described as a benevolent man capable of “noble gesture[s]”. In the propaganda movie titled “Shugalei”, released in April and available on RT’s Youtube channel, Haftar is portrayed as a patriotic and sensible general who holds off from forcing his way into Tripoli because he fears for the citizen’s safety.

Kremlin Watch Reading Suggestion Deception, Disinformation, and Strategic Communications: How One Interagency Group Made a Major Difference

By Fletcher Schoen and Christopher J. Lamb

This study published by the Institute for National Strategic Studies examines the success of the Active Measures Working Group, a part-time U.S. Government interagency committee established in the 1980s to counter Soviet disinformation. Even though interagency committees are commonly criticized as ineffective, the Active Measures Working Group became the U.S. Government’s body of expertise on disinformation and was highly regarded in both Congress and the executive branch. It succeeded in exposing Soviet covert operations and raising the political cost of future operations by shedding light on the prevalence of disinformation globally.

The group successfully moved the majority of the U.S. national security bureaucracy towards seeing Soviet disinformation as deleterious to U.S. interests. The reports produced by the group and their impact far exceeded the costs of manning the group, and the group’s activities drove the Soviet cost of producing disinformation up to an unsustainable level. Such an effective working group cannot be easily replicated for several reasons, and the current national security system is not conducive to small interagency group success. The study highlights how the Active Measures Working Group was an exceptional case, not the rule. Effective strategic communications, deep and diverse expertise from multiple organizations and exceptional personnel with a high level of cohesion and trust all contributed to the group’s success.

Kremlin Watch is a strategic program of the European Values Center for Security Policy, which aims to expose and confront instruments of Russian influence and disinformation operations focused against the liberal-democratic system.

Сообщение Kremlin Watch Briefing: EU should launch a team to investigate Chinese disinformation появились сначала на StopFake.

Categories: World News

One threat, one presence: A strategy for NATO’s Eastern flank - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 13:00

By LTG (Ret.) Ben Hodges, Janusz Bugajski, COL (Ret.) Ray Wojcik, Carsten Schmiedl, for CEPA

NATO’s Eastern Flank stretches from the Arctic to the Caucasus and includes the Baltic Sea and Black Sea littorals. It is the longest and perhaps the most vulnerable sector of the Alliance and is exposed daily to military probing, subversion, disinformation, cyberattacks, and overt diplomatic and economic pressure by the Kremlin. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, the Alliance prioritized the Baltic Sea region and deployed “enhanced Forward Presence” (eFP) Battle Groups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland while settling for “tailored Forward Presence” (tFP) in the Black Sea region. This tiered approach to deterrence capabilities created a degree of incoherence along the Eastern Flank, exposing NATO to continued aggressive probing from Russia.

In One Flank, One Threat, One Presence: A Strategy for NATO’s Eastern Flank,”  authors LTG (Ret.) Ben HodgesJanusz BugajskiCOL (Ret.) Ray Wojcik, and Carsten Schmiedl offer substantive, practice recommendations for comprehensive Eastern Flank strategy. In order to curtail Moscow’s revisionist objective to create a neo-imperial sphere of influence, they argue that NATO should remove any asymmetries in its current Eastern Flank posture by enhancing its role in the wider Black Sea region in all domains; strengthening deterrence and defense capabilities in the Baltic Sea region; and adopting a common threat assessment to enable the rapid political and military reactions necessary to deter Moscow’s probing and outright aggression.

By LTG (Ret.) Ben Hodges, Janusz Bugajski, COL (Ret.) Ray Wojcik, Carsten Schmiedl, for CEPA

Сообщение One threat, one presence: A strategy for NATO’s Eastern flank появились сначала на StopFake.

Categories: World News

New study looks at the role of pro-Kremlin bots in spreading disinformation about COVID-19 - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 12:44

By NATO StratCom COE

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New quarterly Robotrolling report has been published, delving into the role of pro-Kremlin bots in spreading disinformation about COVID-19 throughout March. In our analysis, we identify striking differences between how bots engaged with COVID-19 in the Russian- and English-language information spaces.

Bot activity this quarter fixated on the global COVID-19 pandemic, with conversations about the virus captured by our dataset peaking in March. Pro-Kremlin social media accounts amplified a false story, originally shared by a Russian politician, that Poland closed its airspace to Russian planes delivering humanitarian aid to Italy. Though we found that bots commanded the Russian-language conversations about COVID-19, their content was no more viral than examples from recent Robotrolling reports.

Throughout this quarter, we observed a considerable reduction in both the number of unique users and volume of messages. Inauthentic English- and Russian-language activity experienced a similar decline. Since late March, Russian-language activity on Twitter and on VK has been abnormally low.
On VK, the conversation about NATO in the Baltics and Poland is currently being conducted in groups with regional or nationalist profiles. Notably, the large Russian state-run media outlets we frequently observe on the platform have engaged far less with the subject in recent months. Additionally, we observed a halving of posts from bot accounts this quarter.

Robotrolling is a quarterly report by the NATO StratCom COE about automation in social media that has been published since 2017. 

Robotroling 2020/1

Robotrolling 2019/1
Robotrolling 2019/2
Robotrolling 2019/3
Robotrolling 2019/4

Robotrolling 2018/1
Robotrolling 2018/2
Robotrolling 2018/3
Robotrolling 2018/4

Robotrolling 2017/1
Robotrolling 2017/2

By NATO StratCom COE

Сообщение New study looks at the role of pro-Kremlin bots in spreading disinformation about COVID-19 появились сначала на StopFake.

Categories: World News