Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Disinfo Portal or How the Atlantic Council is Helping Lead the War for Your Mind

In the recent past, I've posted articles on the Atlantic Council that you can find here and here.  This self-proclaimed non-partisan group was recently hired by Facebook to ensure that there is not a repetition of the United States 2016 presidential election which saw the Deep State's candidate of choice lose to America's populist movement.  Let's open with a brief backgrounder on the Atlantic Council for those of you who are unaware of the organization and who have not read my previous postings on the subject.

The Atlantic Council was formed in 1961 by former American Secretaries of State Dean Acheson and Christian Herter along with a group of so-called "distinguished Americans".  The Council claims the following:

"The Atlantic Council promotes constructive leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the Atlantic Community's (i.e. NATO) central role in meeting global challenges. The Council provides an essential forum for navigating the dramatic economic and political changes defining the twenty-first century by informing and galvanizing its uniquely influential network of global leaders. Through the papers we write, the ideas we generate, and the communities we build, the Council shapes policy choices and strategies to create a more secure and prosperous world."

When the Atlantic Council mentions "global leaders", it's pretty obvious that they are trying to influence policies at the highest level and it is becoming increasingly clear that their message to world leaders is strongly anti-Russian.  Here is a quote from the group's 2018 Annual Report:

"Though the notion of a US-Russian or US-Chinese war in any conventional sense remains unlikely, it is no longer unthinkable….Rapid shifts in the military-technological environment have increased the possibility for non-kinetic conflict and eroded the strategic stability that had been achieved between Moscow and Washington during the Cold War. Some would say that Russian intervention in Western elections already marks a new, insidious form of warfare.

We may all find ourselves nostalgic for the good old days of mutually assured destruction."

Here is one way that the group is attempting to manipulate the narrative by reaching out to decision makers in Washington, Europe and NATO through its Transatlantic Security Initiative:

"In a pivotal year for the new US administration, the Transatlantic Security Initiative played a significant role in shaping the renewed debate on US policy toward Europe and NATO. Amid growing questions surrounding US commitment to European security, the Initiative provided actionable policy recommendations for a range of officials in the US Department of Defense, US Congress, Allied capitals, and NATO Headquarters in Brussels. Some of the Initiative’s most impactful work focused on NATO in the maritime domain and countering Russian hybrid threats across the transatlantic community— two areas likely to be high on the agenda for the upcoming 2018 NATO Summit in Brussels."

Let's close this section with a screen capture of the Atlantic Council's donor base:

You will note that there are many high profile American companies including the U.S. military-industrial complex, U.S. government groups and groups representing foreign governments among the group's donors including the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and Turkey.

Let's take a closer look at one of the Atlantic Group's means of combating Russia.  The group has made recent moves into the realm of disinformation (particularly Russian-source) through its Digital Forensic Research Lab (@DFRLab) as shown here:

Note that the cover page for this section of the group's Annual Report has a photograph of Moscow's Red Square, subtly placing the blame for what the group terms as disinformation.  

Here's a quote on the "Russian disinformation" issue in both the 2016 American election, the French and German elections well as the situation in Ukraine from the Annual Report:

"@DFRLab also cemented the #ElectionWatch series which covers disinformation and interference attempts in prominent global elections by tracking and investigating prominent narratives for signs of manipulation. On the eve of the French election, @DFRLab
traced the origin of an online campaign spreading leaked Macron campaign emails (#MacronLeaks) back to an alt-right figure in the United States triggering a shift in the public narrative of the event. The team again achieved success in September, debunking fake images and claims around the German elections.

The lab’s monitoring of the conflict in Ukraine continues to be one of its most consistent and sought-after reporting streams. #MinskMonitor covered the continuing conflict in eastern Ukraine with an emphasis on countering Russian disinformation. The series uses research methods such as geolocation, arms identification, and verification with a focus on violations to the Minsk agreements and the pervasive Russian disinformation in the area. It aims to provide a thoroughly sourced and unbiased perspective of the conflict by utilizing information provided by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) and closely tracking Ukrainian, Russian, and “separatist” sources."

Now, let's look at the Atlantic Council's latest foray into the anti-Russia world.  Here is the announcement:

Disinfo Portal is "working together to secure the future" and is:

"...a one-stop interactive online portal and guide to the Kremlin’s information war. The portal aggregates open source research and journalism from the United States and Europe and presents it in a user-friendly way, with timely multimedia content produced by the Atlantic Council and its partners explaining Russia’s ongoing influence operations. The portal further complements and coordinates existing counter-disinformation efforts across the transatlantic community, offering a database of country-specific researchers and organizations who are willing to answer media inquiries and questions from government officials and other experts on disinformation threats posed by state and non-state actors."

When you click on the link to Disinfo Portal, this is what you find:

Let's look at two of the items currently residing on the Disinfo Portal website.  In one of the articles listed as "Everyone Against Russia: Conspiracy Theories on the Rise In Russian Media" you will find that a new study shows that references in the Russian media to a select group of popular conspiracy theories are six to nine times more frequent than they were in 2011 which "experts" attribute to politically motivated disinformation.  These conspiracy theories include the factors listed on this screen capture:

Other conspiracy theories now popular in Russia's media include :

1.) The U.S. moon landing was a hoax.

2.) Vaccinations are dangerous.

3.) Genetically modified foods are dangerous.

Seems like I've seen some of these stories elsewhere....oh, that's right, the American media!  Apparently we have company; the United States is not the only nation facing a "fake news" crisis.

Not only does the Atlantic Council produce newsy items on its Disinfo Portal, it produces videos like this one:

Apparently, the spectacularly unsuccessful U.S.-led "regime changes" in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya and the ongoing attempts to achieve regime change in Syria are considered different than the voter approved Russian annexation of Crimea.

Here is another video from the Disinfo Portal explaining to us why we are so vulnerable to disinformation and how there is growing distrust in our institutions:

I would add that one of the groups that should be distrusted is the group behind the Disinfo Portal.

The Atlantic Council's partners in Disinfo Portal include:

Experts helping us to discern the truth come from several nations including these experts from the United States:


I believe that's enough for this posting.  As you can see, it's comforting to know that a highly influential think-tank like the Atlantic Council is helping the ignorant and sweaty masses to discern between the truth and Russian propaganda.  It is also reassuring to observe that propaganda is a one-way street, sourced in Russia and disseminated to the United States and that nothing that would be deemed even remotely like propaganda is disseminated by the United States back to Russia.  We can all sleep more easily tonight knowing that we are safe and that our minds are not being impacted by any sort of nefarious government interventions.

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