Skepticism > Political Skeptic > Media-Military-Industrial Complex > Propaganda
|News||Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few||Recommended Links||Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism||Media as a weapon of mass deception||US and British media are servants of security apparatus|
|Edward Licas as agent provocateur||Hypocrisy of British elite||MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage||Pussy Riot Provocation and Deranged Pussy Worship Syndrome||Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers||Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17?|
|Lewis Powell Memo||Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite||The Iron Law of Oligarchy||Two Party System as Polyarchy||American Exceptionalism||Anatol Leiven on American Messianism|
|The importance of controlling the narrative||Patterns of Propaganda||The Real War on Reality||Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair||Co-opting of the Human Rights to embarrass governments who oppose neoliberalism||Manipulation of the term "freedom of press"|
|Diplomacy by deception||Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources||Color revolutions||Media-Military-Industrial Complex||Manufactured consent||What's the Matter with Kansas|
|Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism||Neo-fascism||Nation under attack meme||Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law||Bullshit as MSM communication method||Big Uncle is Watching You|
|Ukraine: From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss||MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage||Pussy Riot Provocation and "Deranged Pussy Worship Syndrome"||Russian Ukrainian Gas wars||Nineteen Eighty-Four||British hypocrisy|
|Groupthink||Soft propaganda||Fighting Russophobia||Propaganda Quotes||Humor||Etc|
|Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England,
nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country
who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it
is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice
or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All
you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of
patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
Hermann Goering, President of the Reichstag, Nazi Party, and Luftwaffe Commander in Chief
@RIP, lapdogs are dismissed even by the asses they kissed, while history remembers watchdogs for the asses they kicked.
When Gerald Celente branded the American media “presstitutes,” he got it right. The US print and TV media (and NPR) whore for Washington and the corporations. Reporting the real news is their last concern. The presstitutes are a Ministry of Propaganda and Coverup. This is true of the entire Western media, a collection of bought-and-paid-for whores.
A lot of our problems come from the unwillingness of honest people to call out the liars, cranks, wh*res and hacks.
Facts are irrelevant for the Western media when it comes to Russia or any other country the West deems an enemy. Western media is propaganda, there is no negative career consequences for Western journos that get their facts wrong regarding Russia, as Peter Lavelle always says.
Warren, December 13, 2014 at 1:06 pm
As far as foreign events coverage in Guardian is concerned, only the readers are publishing the news and provide attempts to analyze them. If you want to know what is going on in that region, read the comments. Guardian comment,
"It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue, and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice.
Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character."
Joseph Heller, Catch 22
Like most Western MSM under neoliberalism Guardian became a part of Media-Military-Industrial Complex. So it no longer provides news coverage. It is brainwashing readers with pretty sophisticated propaganda. Which is written, by purpose, not to inform but to to confuse its readers, crammed with fictitious events and withholding relevant evidence. In other words it became much like German newspaper Bild or one of Rupert Murdoch rags. Like all of them it is a weapon of the "information war". This change did not remain unnoticed by pro-Russian observers (the most objective opinion about people or newspapers can be given about people or newspapers we do not like ;-):
And there’s no time like the present. It was nice of Al Gore to invent the Internet, because it offers unparalleled comedic opportunities to recapture moments in time when puffed-up and self-important toads made confident predictions which later made them look like the arrogant blowhards they are. And if you write “I am an arrogant blowhard” on your résumé, you will have just doubled your chances of being hired as whatever they are calling a journalist these days, at The Guardian.
Exemplary of The Guardian‘s forecasting where Russia is concerned – and The Guardian never met a Russian it didn’t hate, unless they were an oligarch expat, a political dissident or a member of Pussy Riot – is this gem by The Guardian‘s “Economics Editor”, Larry Elliott; “Russia Has Just Lost the Economic War With the West”.
The coverage of some articles about foreign event in Guardian, provided below is my attempt to prove thesis that "reading comments is much more informative than reading MSM articles". I also provide selected skeptical comments that trash mainstream opinion and which very well illustrate my thesis about the value of such a discussion. Often it does not make sense to read article at all (especially if it belong to the pen of well known prostitutes like Shawn Walter and Co). But let's say 10% of Guardian comments are usually of pretty high quality and well worth efforts of filtering the junk. They are so superior to the comment that can be found in comment sections in NYT and WashPost that it looks like the USA did a wrong move liberating itself from the crown ;-) At least some percentage of comment are critical toward the official story. Of cause the comment section of Guardian is polluted by neocon-bots which we, taking into account the personality to Hillary Clinton, will call Natobots instead of more common Langleybots, as in my opinion neocons are now concentrated in State Department and CIA represents "cooler heads" of the US establishment, so Langleybots nickname sounds to me somewhat unfair. In any case the key tendency of such bots is to speak on one side -- neocon side in case of Natobots. Opponents who are traditionally called Putinbots in comparison sound more reasonable (with some exceptions; also note that the most favorite tactic of Natobots is to call anybody who disagree with them "Putinbots" as in "the pot is calling the kettle black" ;-) and on average have other interests other then to blackmail the USA 24 by 7. In any case personality of Hillary Clinton is perfect depiction of bots that we can found in Guardian discussion and I will use this term regarding the commenters listed in the section below.
Bots usually "learn nothing" and repeat the same propaganda stamps again and again. This compete disregard toward the facts is a litmus test whether given comment can be classified as bot or not. Actually guardian foreign correspondents can be considered to be just another type of bots: they lack one basic professional skill: ability to check the facts. Or perhaps deliberate lack of attention to detail that allow to ignore unpleasant facts, particularly when they contradict Foreign Office/State Department talking points. Here is one telling comment from ( Ukraine: draft dodgers face jail as Kiev struggles to find new fighters, The Guardian, Feb 10, 2015):
SallyWa -> VladimirM 10 Feb 2015 18:16
They key thing in all of this is to stop being naive. Learn it, remember it.
Our media will only care for the "right" journalists and will throw campaigns only for them and there will be rallies only over the death of "right" people, while we won't pay attention to thousands of deaths of the "wrong" people.
And another from comments to We should beware Russia’s links with Europe’s right by Luke Harding(Guardian, Dec 08, 2014):
spiceof 8 Dec 2014 15:59
How would the author categorize those who currently rule most Western nations?
Moderates, liberals? Ha!
They are in fact a new breed, a new establishment drawn from all sources, a motley group of career politicians, propagandists and journalists with no ideology and no clear goals except that of personal advancement. They are the conformists enforcers of Corporate and Financial will, they are intolerant and censorious, their livelihood is dependent on trumpeting the official narrative and they are an absolute menace to democracy and freedom.
And we are supposed to be worrying about Putin, an outsider, when those who run the show inside are a bunch of egotistic fools leading us to serfdom?
The common (albeit naive) question about guardian coverage of foreign events is: Do Guardian journalists deliberately make stuff up, or they are just incredibly ignorant? The answer is neither -- they are just stooges of Foreign Office and by extension State Department and work by talking points provided to them much like universally despised PR officers, such as Psaki (see Bullshit as MSM communication method ).
Dishonest reporting is a norm. Exceptions do happen, but they are very rare. In a sense Guardian journalists has no dignity at all. As Emmanuel Kant observed: By a lie, a man... annihilates his dignity as a man. Here is one telling comment from discussion of The Guardian view on Ukraine’s elections: farewell to the old politics (Oct 27, 2014):
I am dismayed at the Guardian's inability to respect its readers. This editorial reminds me of Reader's Digest in the 50s: puerile, cartoon-like, and servile to brutes.
I can only hope you really believe this nonsense; otherwise you are monsters.
It sad to see how Guardian injects into its coverage outright lies dictated from above (aka "talking points"), propagate and amplify it for a week ( or several weeks ) and then the topic goes completely off the coverage. Instantly and irrevocable forgotten. Slandered object tries to clear his name, but this, naturally, does not work, as negative publicity remains attached. As in the saying: "This guest attended my birthday and silver spoon had been stolen. True, the spoon later was found, but the negative feelings remained".
As far as foreign events coverage in Guardian is concerned, only the readers are publishing the news and provide attempts to analyze them. If you want to know what is going on in that region, read the comments.
|As far as foreign events coverage in Guardian is concerned, only the readers are publishing the news and provide attempts to analyze them. If you want to know what is going on in that region, read the comments.|
The key component of Guardian reports of the particular high importance foreign event is not to inform the readers, but the attempt to control the narrative in such a way that only carefully selected facts are emphasized and everything else is iether discredited or ignored, creating an artificial reality around the event. This is a real war on reality that they are waging day by day, in best traditions of British empire.
As soon as "big lie" is off coverage, the subsequent developments are no longer interesting for the most people. That means we are witnessing a new phenomenon in the world of MSM. The truth is not needed at all. It lie that the media needs. A decade ago such situation was impossible to imagine. But now you don't even need half-truths, plausible source links like in good old times. No proof is needed at all. Just way "Russia sent troops to Ukraine" like Shaun Walker or "Russia hit the Boeing with BUK rocket". And that's it. In a weeks (or several weeks in case of Boeing) just drop the topic and you are still fine. Principles are well known since the WWI (Falsehood in War-Time):
1. We do not want war.
2. The opposite party alone is guilty of war.
3. The enemy is the face of the devil.
4. We defend a noble cause, not our own interest.
5. The enemy systematically commits cruelties; our mishaps are involuntary.
6. The enemy uses forbidden weapons.
7. We suffer small losses, those of the enemy are enormous.
8. Artists and intellectuals back our cause.
9. Our cause is sacred. "The ages-old 'God bless America' is playing once more."
10. All who doubt our propaganda, are traitors.
Such a blatant, "black" disinformation succeeds because powerful interest groups across the political spectrum find that it serves their agenda. And it is their interests that the captive media propagates it for the sake of "national interest". No dirty propaganda trick known to mankind remains unused. When the government’s story cannot stand the light cast by the facts and independent experts, then the government’s false story must be protected by diluting down the truth with "emotional" noise and lies.
Foucault's pregnant observation that history is always a history of the present takes on a greater significance, especially in light of the fact that historical memory is not simply being rewritten but is disappearing. (1) Once an emancipatory pedagogical and political project predicated on the right to study, and engage the past critically, history has receded into a depoliticizing culture of consumerism, a wholesale attack on science, the glorification of military ideals, an embrace of the punishing state, and a nostalgic invocation of the greatest generation. Inscribed in insipid patriotic platitudes and decontextualized isolated facts, history under the reign of neoliberalism has been either cleansed of its most critical impulses and dangerous memories, or it has been reduced to a contrived narrative that sustains the fictions and ideologies of the rich and powerful. History has not only become a site of collective amnesia but has also been appropriated so as to transform "the past into a container full of colorful or colorless, appetizing or insipid bits, all floating with the same specific gravity." (2)
...the emergence of a disimagination machine that wages an assault on historical memory, civic literacy and civic agency. The disimagination machine threatens democratic public life by devaluing social agency, historical memory and critical consciousness, and in doing so it creates the conditions for people to be ethically compromised and politically infantilized.
The words plant themselves in our common vocabulary and grow there quietly till no one realizes what they actually mean, nor how they change minds and actions by making some thoughts more thinkable and others less.
Such a word is “values.” Cultural conservatives defend “traditional values” and “family values,” thinking they are speaking the language of the past, but in that word “values” lies a revolution in our understanding of goodness, for our ancestors would not have spoken of values but of virtues. The word “values,” the historian Gertrude Himmelfarb noted, includes
the assumptions that all moral ideas are subjective and relative, that they are mere customs and conventions, that they have a purely instrumental, utilitarian purpose, and that they are peculiar to specific individuals and societies. . . . One cannot say of virtues, as one can of values, that anyone’s virtues are as good as anyone else’s, or that everyone has a right to his own virtues.
A world concerned with values is a very different world from one concerned with virtues. It will be, at the least, a less virtuous world because it will think far less about virtue.
C. S. Lewis saw a similar effect in the change from “ruler” to “leader” as the popular name for those in authority or power. We ask of rulers “justice, incorruption, diligence, perhaps clemency,” but of leaders “dash, initiative, and (I suppose) what people call ‘magnetism’ or ‘personality’.” We see this today in the change in the common vocabulary from “piety,” which requires submission to God, to “spirituality,” which does not, and from “a book” that has a meaning, to “a text” in which the reader may find almost anything he wants, and from “conversion,” which assumes the truth is known, to “conversation,” which assumes that it is yet to be found.
In 1946, George Orwell* wrote that the language of politics "is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."
Political language, he said, was expressed in vague or meaningless words because it was intended to hide the truth rather than express it. Welcome to doublespeak: language that pretends to communicate by hiding its intentions behind euphemisms and convoluted phrases. Doublespeak makes the bad seem good and the negative appear positive and limits and corrupts thought**.
Today it has infiltrated many areas of our lives: politics, business, advertising, and especially the military.
- Armies don’t kill; they pacify, neutralise, disable, deactivate or eliminate assets.
- Body bags (containing the remains of dead US soldiers) are now called transfer tubes.
- Innocent civilians killed in conflict are collateral damage. A bomb is a vertically deployed anti-personnel device and laying down a carpet (Fr. poser une moquette) is a both an activity done by a carpet layer and a euphemism for carpet bombing or saturation bombing. It’s also known as target servicing, which sounds like a business activity you would read about on this website. However, it is best known by its B grade bombastic blockbuster title, shock and awe (soon-to-be starring Tom Cruise).
- Torture, according to the former US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, is the excesses of human nature that humanity suffers. Mr Rumsfeld admitted he may have inadvertently disclosed incorrect information, but he didn’t lie.
- Constructive destruction is also known as regime change which is also known as an unprovoked military attack.
- Intelligence is spying and pre-hostility is the time before the war, sometimes called peacetime. In 1971 the Pentagon asked for funding for an enhanced radiation device, a term used to disguise its real meaning: a neutron bomb.
- Ethnic cleansing is a cleaner term than genocide.
- Was it the coalition of the willing or the coalition of coerced?
... ... ...
*George Orwell’s book Nineteen Eighty-Four, published in 1949, introduced the term doublethink and newspeak: War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength, which later evolved into doublespeak.
**William Lutz’s book, Doublespeak, published in 1990 examines the manipulation of language. You can read an extract here
Western media in general and Guardian presstitutes in particular knew all facts about this situation all along. They chose to ignore facts and chose instead to spread pure propaganda because poking Russia is profitable and well rewarded business. That's all about money. You know with the Olympics and all, it helped to stir up a contra-Russian narrative.
In other words, coverage of Ukrainian events vividly shows how Guardian presstitutes twist the facts. And warn us that we will all have to live with the consequences of this constant "war-style" propaganda and brainwashing.
It also says a lot about Western powers. Tell me who your allied are and I will tell you who you is. The USA and other EU countries are now allied extreme nationalists, Nazis-like hooligans, oligarchs, Islamic radicals (Al Qaeda was originally created as a Western ally) . Such a behaviour is much more telling than all the pretty speeches. Watch what they do, not what they say....
It's embarrassing to see news sources whom are supposed to present truth and analysis descending
into exactly the same propaganda style coverage that was typical for Bolsheviks. Their attempt to frame
Neo-Nazi's as peaceful demonstrators tells volumes. You simply couldn't make it up.
This is what this page is essentially about. the value of those comments. I put some effort selecting those with skeptical view of establishment politics. Not everybody agreed with me:
Good ol' Guardian - a predictable diatribe of anti-Putin , Russophobic rubbish from your 'new best friends', the wonderful electorate across the water who gave the world the Iraq War, Afganistan and a sh*t-storm of murder and mayhem in Libya.
Despite your much-advertised 'confrontation' with British intelligence over the Snowden hard drives (an episode not quite as clear-cut as you pretend), your coverage of Russia and Putin has degenerated from discredited (in the era of your 'Russia expert' Luke Harding, who doesn't even speak the language) - to pretty much allowing an uncritiqued stream of US State Dept propaganda to flow through your once-esteemed organ.
Your Cif threads on anything to do with foreign policy are swamped with the sort of 'posters' who frankly are best described as rent-a-mob; I don't really have to be paranoid (like many other posters, many who just don't bother anymore) to suspect that a large number of them on threads like this are actually paid by Cheltenham or Langley. Your newspaper has actually published documents from the Snowden haul setting out the scale and intrusive nature of intelligence activity within our domestic media and citizens' forums.
I can't be arsed to keep posting and find that any time I suggest we're being led by the nose in the UK into some state of war, merely to benefit the US security state and its stakeholders in the armament companies , that my post is removed - whilst the replies from various posters all (strangely) shouting rubbish from the same soapbox are left in the thread.
Surely the sort of tactic we'd expect from a censored press?
Still, keep up the good work - I'm not that bothered - like many people who used to regard themselves as Guardian readers, I now get my real news from truly independent sources - quite a few of them featuring writers who used to contribute to the Guardian before it became the 'liberal' face of the corporate empire.
However much rubbish is spewed out here or on Twitter doesn't really affect how people will feel if they're suddenly pushed into war - and only the sort of delusional neo-cons in the States (hi! y'all!) would actually believe that such a conflict is either winnable, or will not spread into the US itself.
As I pointed out in the first of my removed posts, the US's policy of destabilisation of foreign Governments to increase its sphere of influence helped replace a fragile democracy in pre-WWII Japan with a military dictatorship.
The ensuing conflict across China and the Far East resulted in the slaughter of millions and the only use so far of atomic weapons, which I and many other regard as a supreme war crime.
I can only imagine that the Guardian is happy being a cheerleader for a similar conflict across Europe?
In Internet slang troll is a provocateur who intentionally sows discord in Internet forums trying to excite emotions and twisting facts with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response. Often in order to block discussion of relevant facts about the event and replace it with emotional spam.
This role is completely opposite to reporting. It is a role of paid propagandist. That's what Guardian reporters actually are. Finian Cunningham goes further that that is suggests that Entire Western Media is a Troll Army :
The frantic spell of Western media behaviour could be a case-study in how it is centrally manipulated with a political agenda and thought-control. Editors at major Western media corporations are evidently following a political line cast by Washington and its European allies.
By Finian Cunningham
April 20, 2015 "ICH" - "Sputnik" - The multi-billion-dollar Western news media networks are replete with an unquestioning, unwavering anti-Russian agenda. This agenda is recklessly inflaming international tensions to the point of inciting further conflict and even an all-out global war.
The roll of dishonour includes "stellar" corporate names, from CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, Financial Times, Guardian, France 24, Deutsche Welle, and many more. It is a veritable troll army marching in lockstep with their governments' agenda of disinformation.
In unison, they are functioning as a global ministry of propaganda.
Reputable Russian news media have not indulged in the unquestioning Western narrative asserting that Russian aggression is the cause of the entire Ukrainian conflict. In other words, the Russian news industry is providing proper journalistic services.
Russian media do not talk blindly about Russia's "annexation of Crimea". Russian media have refused to toe the Western media line that, against voluminous evidence, denies the Neo-Nazi character of the Western-backed Kiev regime. Therefore, the Western reasoning goes, the Russian media are a Kremlin propaganda tool and Moscow has despatched a "Troll Army" to disseminate disinformation. How richly ironic is that?
Typically, Western claims of "Kremlin propaganda" are just more assertion layered upon assertion, unsupported by any evidence. The "evidence" is simply that the Russian media do not peddle the mainstream Western viewpoint. So with totalitarian-like mentality, the Western conclusion is that Russian media "must be" propagandist.A US Congressional hearing last week tendentiously described how Russia is "weaponising information" and declared that Russia is "winning the information war". No evidence is presented, just more provocative assertions piled up on more provocative assertions.
Paradoxically, the charge of propaganda and media trolls is actually substantiated if applied to the gamut of Western corporate news media.
We are not talking about clandestine media impostors, bloggers and cyber-trolls on the payroll of the CIA or MI6 who infest the media. We are referring to the entire professional media industry — a multi-billion-dollar global industry.
... ... ...
Western politicians may fret about the Western public being invaded by an alleged Russian troll army and Kremlin propaganda. When the reality is that the Western public is already under oppressive occupation of a troll army — otherwise known as Western corporate "news media".
|A term coined by Gerald Celente and often used by independent journalists and writers in the alternative media in reference to journalists and talking heads in the mainstream media who give biased and predetermined views in favor of the government and corporations, thus neglecting their fundamental duty of reporting news impartially. It is a portmanteau of press and prostitute.|
Terminology to describing this complex phenomena is not yet well established. While presstitute is probably the most common term, I would like to mention another similar term is kreaklies: neoliberal fifth column typically members of "intelligencia" which repeats and promote State Department talking points. Another related term is compradors but this is applicable only to those kreaklies, who reside in countries marked for regime change.
For dirty task of brainwashing public and changing public opinion in favor of some disastrous action like a war, captive foreign correspondents (aka presstitutes) can be very handy (Britain’s security services and journalists the secret story) and serve as an extension of Foreign Office propagating official talking point from some expensive hotel:
British Journalism Review Vol. 11, No. 2, 2000
British journalists – and British journals – are being manipulated by the secret intelligence agencies, and I think we ought to try and put a stop to it.
The manipulation takes three forms.
- The first is the attempt to recruit journalists to spy on other people, or for spies to go themselves under journalistic “cover”. This occurs today and it has gone on for years. It is dangerous, not only for the journalist concerned, but for other journalists who get tarred with the espionage brush. Farzad Bazoft was a colleague of mine on the London Observer when he was executed by Saddam Hussein for espionage. It did not, in a sense, matter whether he was really a spy or not. Either way, he ended up dead.
- The second form of manipulation that worries me is when intelligence officers are allowed to pose as journalists in order to write tendentious articles under false names. Evidence of this only rarely comes to light, but two examples have surfaced recently – mainly because of the whistleblowing activities of a couple of renegade officers – David Shayler from MI5 and Richard Tomlinson from MI6.
- The third sort of manipulation is the most insidious – when intelligence agency propaganda stories are planted on willing journalists, who disguise their origin from their readers. There is – or has been until recently – a very active programme by the secret agencies to colour what appears in the British press, called, if publications by various defectors can be believed, “I/Ops”. That is an abbreviation for Information Operations, and I am – unusually – in a position to provide some information about it.
Philosopher Leo Strauss, the icon of US neocons strongly believed in the concept of Noble lie the essence of which is that “perpetual deception of the citizens by those in power is critical because they need to be led, and they need strong rulers to tell them what’s good for them.”
In old days at least it was clear that information published by any newspaper can't be one hundred percent false. Now there is no such assurance. Money, lies and manipulation become a global weapon of mass destruction of this civilization.
It will destroy America, and Russia. No one will believe anyone. Yes, this is the situation we are already leaving in.
What Guardian became is far beyond the reach of embarrassment and is now in dangerous territory. It really engages in war propaganda during peace time. As the various examples below will show, common tactics by Guardian includes:
It was bad enough when the Guardian's reporting was merely biased. Only rarely editors allow journalists to provided some relevant facts. Only comment section can be used to find out what really happened. And articles about foreign events that do not have a comment section to compare coverage with opinion of the readers are mostly worthless.
All-in-all this once a nominally left of centre liberal publication became firmly embedded part of the neocon part of the USA State Department, and, as such, in truly Orwellian style propagates "artificial reality" of this new "Ministry of Truth". Doing the same trick that the USSR propaganda did with its citizens. So in way we can say that the USSR won the cold war -- it completely poisoned MSM with "Politburo"-style approach to facts. It was bad enough for the Guardian to give space to disinformation by USAID funded "activists" and "experts" as if it is news. But now they can publish whatever this wish (or more correctly what their neocon handlers wish) without any editorial scrutiny.
Their role is not to be adversarial. Their role is to be loyal spokesmen for the government. No attempts to exercise oversight over the government activities is visible. The only difference between guardian and yellow press now is that it allow (although heavily moderated) "comment is free" section. That's all that left of free press. Actually in foreign events coverage it became completely like press officer for the government instead of adversarial role the press is entitled to:
Their job is no longer to inform readers, but support "talking points", the artificial reality agreed upon by higher ups. So support them they need constantly lie in order manipulate the facts according to the instructions of the government. That means that for many important events they need to hide real facts in the smoke of disinformation ( Propaganda Shouldn’t Pay Standpoint):
Let me explain how they are the nearest thing to prostitutes you can find in public life. You might say that biased reporters look more like sex workers, as they try to satisfy their readers' every whim. But there is a small difference. The biased journalist occasionally tells the truth. He might produce propaganda, but his bias or that of his editor will cause him to investigate stories conventional wisdom does not notice. Right-wing journalists uncover truths about corruption in the European Union. Left-wing journalists discover truths about the crimes of Nato armies. They look at scandals others ignore precisely because they do not think like level-headed and respectable members of the mainstream.
Press officers have no concern with truth. It is not that all of them lie — although many do — rather that truth and falsity are irrelevant to their work. Their sole concern is to defend their employers' interests. That they can manipulate on behalf of central government, local authority and other public bodies is an under-acknowledged scandal. The party in power that wishes to stop public scrutiny, or the NHS trust whose executives wish to maintain their positions, use taxpayer funds to advance their personal or political interests. If anyone else did the same, we would call them thieves.
It makes no difference who is in office. Conservatives complained about the spin and manipulation of New Labour but they are no different now. Indeed they are playing tricks those of us who lived through the Blair years haven't seen before.
They withhold information from journalists in the hope of killing a story. If reporters publish nevertheless — as they should — the government tells their editors and anyone else who will listen that they are shoddy hacks who failed to put the other side of the story. An alternative tactic is for press officers to phone up at night, just after an article has appeared online, and try to bamboozle late-duty editors into making changes. I have had the Crown Prosecution Service and the BBC try to pull that one on me. That neither institution is in the political thick of it only goes to show that every dandruff-ridden PR in every backwater office now thinks he is Alastair Campbell.
... ... ...
Once you could have said that my comparison between press officers and prostitutes was unfair — to prostitutes. Poverty and drug addiction drives women on to the street. Press officers are not heroin addicts or the victims of child abuse. Nor do the equivalent of sex traffickers kidnap media studies graduates and force them to work in "comms". PRs do not do what they do because a cruel world has left them with no alternative to selling their souls, but because they want to.
Foreign events coverage can no longer be called journalism. It is a show of media psychopaths, who serve the power that be. Of course most o them act on the orders of their handlers. In no way the elites are going to allow public opinion to be shaped by agents outside of their control. Also journalists themselves are closely connected with the elite and tend to reflect the opinions and prejudices even without strict command-and-control mode of operation. And IMHO an interesting feature about the US and GB elite is the Russophobia by-and-large replaced anti-Semitism of XIX century mint.
|Foreign events coverage can no longer be called journalism. It is a show of media psychopaths, who serve power that be.|
This page started with just Pussi Riot provocation, but later was extended to cover a couple of other themes. Among themes on which classic Guardian style of disinformation can be studied:
One can learn a lot from watching the permanent show of employed by media outlets psychopaths which called British foreign correspondents. With psychopaths defined as people without conscience.
Looks like Russia coverage was assigned to particular bad actors even among foreign correspondents. Here is relevant quote from The Kremlin Stooge ( October 6, 2012 )
Paradoxically, I’m always glad when Miriam Elder puts out another piece for Global Post or The Guardian; it’s a bittersweet kind of thing, because on the one hand, it’s always such a venomous, catty piece of trash. But on the other, it offers me such enjoyable opportunities to contrast her breathless confidences and giggly rubbish with the real world.
The Guardian, as many know already, is turning into something beyond embarrassment in journalistic circles. It apparently doesn’t bother to research anything, and also employs serial paint-chip-eater and plagiarist Luke Harding, as if one gluebagging Russophobe were not enough. It obviously is in business solely to sell newspapers, and if it has to turn into something like a comic book for adults in order to achieve that goal, so be it, by God. Suffice it to say that just when you think the profession of journalism cannot get any more maudlin, dozy, lazy or mendacious, the Brits will surprise you. And The Guardian is the kind of paper Brits like to pretend is printed somewhere else. Like Burundi, or Côte d’Ivoire.
Ms. Elder is always at her lyrical best when her subject is Vladimir Putin; a shiver of loathing seems to ripple through her whenever she sees his picture or hears his name, and she is compelled by inner demons to write something spiteful. Consider, for example, this past Thursday’s piece announcing Mr. Putin’s upcoming birthday, this weekend. Entitled, “Lavish Celebrations Planned for Vladimir Putin’s 60th Birthday” (thanks to Jon Hellevig for the link), it promises binge-shopping-expensive events that are apparently being extorted from a country that doesn’t really care much for him, but is too weak from his endless crackdowns to protest beyond a quavering exhalation as it gives up its last ruble for the Great Dictator’s Neroesque bacchanalia.
In the like of Guardian Moscow correspondents Shawn Walker is not the worst. They use to have Luke Harding there. But Shawn proved to be a pretty capable student and soon might give a run to Luke Harding for the money (whoever pays for his services. And it might be not only Guardian).
Typical methods used by Shawn Walker include combination of black propaganda (outright lies) and soft propaganda (selective presentation of facts, omitting important details, etc). See for example articles of Shaun Walker below.
I will present just one example. shelling of residential areas and cultural (churches, museums), municipal buildings (hospitals, kindergartens, schools, bakeries, electrical stations, etc) industrial objects (factories, sometimes chemical factories which represent danger for the population) is presented as if it is impossible to determine who exactly shelled the area, despite the fact that in most cases it is well known and it is Ukrainian army, not rebels. In few cases elaborate dance around the facts is performed. For example:
Grads, used by both sides in the east, are notoriously imprecise and have been responsible for many civilian casualties.
Ukraine has denied ever using them on civilian areas, though a Human Rights Watch investigation suggested this was not true.
Sometimes he use more subtle propaganda approaches which one commenter called "plague on both houses" :
NottaBot, 05 September 2014 7:28pmFrom the article:
"there was scepticism over whether the more radical elements on either side would obey the ceasefire"
Walker then directly quotes the leader of the "far-right" Azov battalion making comments that support his statement about "radical elements on either side" possibly not obeying the ceasefire. Given this direct quote, skepticism regarding the intentions of the "far-right" Azov battalion is certainly justified. But where is the complementary quote from the insurgents saying something similar? On what does Walker base this "plague on both houses" statement?
In short Shaun Walker actually behaves and writes not so much as a Guardian foreign correspondent, but more like a press secretary of NATO alliance on field mission to Ukraine. So when you cannot deny the obvious, you move on to minimizing it, admitting "problems", but saying that for example nationalistic Baltic states which are discriminating Russian minorities for 325 years are "working them through". What is really bad that he acts as apologist of neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine, for which Guardian commenters took him to task several times:
Ishowerdaily, 06 September 2014 6:44pm"Fighters from the Azov battalion, the volunteer grouping with far-right leanings that has done much of the fighting around Mariupol, sat on a restaurant terrace eating pizzas; families strolled in the sunshine, wedding parties breezed through central streets beeping horns."edwardrice -> Ishowerdaily , 06 September 2014 7:06pm
Well doesn't that sounds idyllic, just like the scene in Cabaret where the handsome boy sings Tomorrow Belongs To me.Bloody he'll, you're rightIshowerdaily -> edwardrice, 06 September 2014 7:18pm
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LNMVMNmrqJEI always thought I understood what 'The banality of evil' meant, I never believed I would see it in action on this mass scale.edwardrice -> Ishowerdaily , 06 September 2014 8:12pm
Utterly fucking depressing.Utterly fucking depressing.Ishowerdaily -> edwardrice , 07 September 2014 6:40amAnd now I wake up to find the self same pizza eating ubermensch are the sole source of information in a story that attempts to bring down the ceasefire.
Depressing and unbelievable.
While Guardian is a really odious example, such behaviour of typical for all Western MSM and can be observed in other countries including Germany. Actually German MSM are further to the right then even Guardian. Here is one telling comment about him:
Black Cat, 05 September 2014 2:47pmNo responsible reporting should make claims of "apparent" Russian troops on the ground when, after over two months of such assertions there is still no credible evidence to back them up. It's such biased reporting, such bellicose and empty accusing that betrays the western agenda. And it's this agenda that most threatens the success of this latest ceasefire.Jeremn -> Black Cat , 05 September 2014 3:53pm
Let's not forget Poroshenko tore up the last deal, leaky as it was on both sides, due to pressure from his own hardliners and the neocons in Washington who are paying for this junket.The neocons might be paying, but they are getting their money back. A must read on how the IMF is bringing poverty to Ukrainians so that banks and off-shore financiers can stay afloat.
In short, of the $3.2 billion disbursed to the Ukrainian treasury by the IMF at the start of May, $3.1 billion had disappeared offshore by the middle of August.
I think it is called looting? I hope the Donbass will be spared it, this time.
And another (there are many more in the selected comments below):
Moscow Exile says: , August 31, 2014 at 4:23 amOh they’re merrily cutting and snipping away at Grauniad comments now.
One commenter has not long ago posted, beginning with a quote from Walker’s latest article:
“2 May Clashes in Odessa between pro-Russia and pro-Ukraine groups leave 42 people dead, most of them pro-Russia activists burned to death when the trade union building where they had barricaded themselves caught fire. Russia describes the deaths as a massacre.”
Even after all of the video footage and camera shots showing the deliberate murder of over 40 civilians,including a pregnant woman,the Guardian still peddles the nonsense that the building just caught fire. Shame on you, Shaun Walker.
The Russian troops captured in Ukraine have been released and sent back to Russia, do try and keep up for crying out loud.
You still have not explained how you saw Russian tanks cross the border, despite being 34 kilometres from that border with the aid convoy, have you Walker? Nor have you adequately explained how the OSCE monitors on the exact, border crossing you cited did not see your convoy of Russian tanks. Any chance of an explanation?
As for this article, your desperation is clearly manifest. Satellites can read a car number plate, yet you cannot show one clear satellite image of your imaginary Russian soldiers, or Russian tanks. You could not even take a photograph of a Russian tank battalion you allege drove right past you. Truly pathetic journalism from you, yet again.
Yes I know, breaching community guidelines, this post will self destruct in 5 seconds.
Walker used to work for the Moscow Times.
Later he became the object of jokes
grandchester, 31 August 2014 10:46amyeah I noticed the absence of reporting on the demonstration at NewportShaneo -> grandchester, -> 31 August 2014 10:58am
Maybe the Guardian should send Shaun Walker ?Nah. Shaun would just claim that Russian soldiers had infiltrated the protests and forget to take photos to prove it.
Although lately there were at least a single attempt to provide an objective coverage:
Paul, September 10, 2014 at 4:57 pmBetter late than never, I suppose, Shaun: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/10/azov-far-right-fighters-ukraine-neo-nazismarknesop, September 10, 2014 at 5:29 pmShaun Walker – birthdate, September 9th, 2014. You would have to have been born yesterday to swallow that Wolfsangel sign being the letters for “National Idea” superimposed one upon the other thing. Is Ukraine now adopting English as its official language? Because the letter for a capital “N” in Ukrainian is “H”, the same as Russian. They must have laughed their Nazi asses off when they read that foolishness in the article, fell about Nazi Camp and howled, “He bought it!!! The calf-faced Mama’s boy actually bought it!!!”
I hope they don’t think everyone in the west is as stupid as Shaun Walker is. Or maybe Shaun Walker made it up, as a cover for their obvious fascist fascinations. In either event, he’s stupid.
Yes, in the past there was Moscow correspondent form Guardian - Luke Harding who became king of Russophobia for British press. It is difficult to exceed the level of Russophobia he demonstrated, despite many powerful contenders.
But he overstepped his boundaries making a clown out of himself, and now is mostly ignored (although recently he was dusted off and couple of times allowed to publish his opuses, see below). Here is one telling comment about his "writings":
Hanwell123, 19 September 2014 5:33pm
You immediately wonder how true this is. Lots of references to "hints" and "suggestions" - then you see who wrote it, an MOD man!
This is a pretty evil game when not only quote is taken out of context, but translation of the quote distorts meaning of that it was said. but it is widely used by Western MSM and we should be aware about it. So the first question when you see some outrageous quote should be: Is the translation correct?
The other common trick is to take out everything that contradict talking points that particular presstitute is using, even if it completely distort the meaning.
This is a part of the art of "selective amplification" which was polished by most MSMs. And Guardian is not exception.
Here are some examples
<-- to be written -->
|Andy Borowitz for a Friday laugh:|
Bot or not but some commenters has no natural limit on the amount of post they add to the particular discussion. Sometimes looking in set of comments generated by a particular member of Guardian community one can realize that he deal with an extremely prolific commenter that can generate several dozens posts per discussion or more. Sometimes spamming with his comments the whole discussion. It's definitely not enough for him to state his point of view and voice one or two objections. Such commenting incontinence is very disruptive in Web forums. More often then not such "super activity" is limited to one or several topics.
Analyzing the comment section of Guardian lead to several additional interesting observations. We will limit yourself to discussion about Ukraine because for this topic the polarization in most clearly visible. The existence of commenters who are focused on single topic, who are extremely active and deliberately polluting the comment stream by trying to support view of particular interested party is most clearly seen. Some probably are acting for enumeration. Here is one strong opinion about such behaviour from a Guardian commenter
Glamorpig -> blarneybanana , 14 Sep 2015 23:06
2. Peta's trolls are gonna be looking for work; that's a set of CVs I wouldn't mind reading!
I expect nothing more than a new set of userids as the astroturfers get paid to post the next round of talking points.
Shills are scum, be careful never to think of them as real humans. Their task is to pollute the discourse of real people and the interrupt the conversations of the "enemies" of their paymasters. They are beneath contempt.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
First of all let's state that in an epic struggle of two types of bots on guardian discussion, neoliberal "bots" dominate guardian discussion. Most commenters are calling them Langleybots some call them Natobots which are more correct term also used in Guardian discussions (The Guardian):
Chillskier -> psygone 10 Sep 2015 14:05
Says malfunctioning natobot,
The Sunny majority you are talking about is called al-Qaida according to your own operating manual
I still think that the role of State Department in modern time (especially since Madeleine Albright ) is greater and it essentially took over some functions previously reserved for CIA, Statedepbots would be better but it is longer and as such less attractive.
BTW in Russian blogosphere they are called "propa-condoms" and "daughters of the officer". The last nickname comes from a funny fact that one such bot pretended to be a daughter of a Sebastopol naval officer and provided in his posts the fake view "from the ground" about Crimea events, while IP from which comments were posted was in somewhere in the USA.
We can define bot as a commenter who:
Some of those bots are probably actual Russophobes who operate on the based of enthusiasm (13 Feb 2015) , but hired guns are more probably on Natobots side as this is a much richer side ;-) and also due to importance of maintaining smokescreen over events which turned bad for Washington and its allies. So this is a well financed attempt to strengthen the defensive position on Ukrainian crisis and concerted efforts to improve propaganda are taken by Washington including money infusions.
In Ukraine-related discussion there is also the second camp of Russophile commenter, who also do not have post outside a single topic. We will call them Putinbots.
There are some additional tell tale signs of a lot pointed by elias_, premalink:
elias_, 2h agoSpaceguy1 One, 2h ago
Having perused messages on this topic and others it is pretty easy to figure out who are the paid posters. There are pro-West and pro-Russia paid posters and they have 2 tell tale signs:
1. extreme statements (rabidly anti-Russia or anti-West) with nothing to back it up
2. frequent postings over a very long time; I mean come on, nobody would spend so long posting on here unless they were paid;-)
I am just scrolling through this thread and the others related to Ukraine/Russia and there's approximately 70% comments coming from the same Kiev/CIA bots; alpamysh, hastan, psygone and sasha19. They spent in average 12 hours on each article. They are not interested in other topics on the Guardian only on Ukraine/Russia related articles. When the comments reach high numbers due to their relentless contribution then they start to blame Russians and FSB for commenting on these threads too much. Always the same pattern.
I don't mind genuine contributors who express their opinion regardless of what side of the fence they sit on. You can recognize the genuine Putin/Russia critiques because their posts make sense and are not filled with hate. But trolling the site 24/7 with anti-Russian hate propaganda and lies from the same accounts is a completely different matter.
Arthur_Pendragon -> Spaceguy1 One
Very good account and evidence of the pro-western paid trolls on here. It makes one wonder how much the posters you refer to receive for their disinformation.
I am not surprised. Nothing about Putin may surprise me. Russian people are surprising - they still support Putin in his destructive offensive. I am sure, Russians will believe Nemtsov committed suicide, if TV says so.
Manolo Torres -> Yuri Postrigan
And you joined today to write that?
While "Putinbot" camp displays similar characteristics, it looks like most of them are regular Russophiles (which are no so uncommon among Western public). the defining feature of bots -- rigid, unchangeable worldview is less common to them.
Low activity on other topics still is a clue as well as unshakable belief that everything Russia is doing is good and it does not have the same brutal imperialistic tendencies as Washington, DC despite also being a neoliberal country. In Guardian the threshold for being classified as Putinbot is very high as the site/paper is slanted to Washington Obcom talking points and any reasonable people would try to restore the balance.
Some of nicknames used by bots are really short-lived and discarded after serving particular purpose:
Also in Guardian discussion Putinbots are mercilessly suppressed by moderators so we probably do not see them much at all. While Natobots and their volunteer supporters with rigidly fixed worldview (propagandist army) enjoy almost complete "freedom of speech" .
I also more sensitive to their presence as I consider Washington behaviour in Ukrainian conflict more nefarious and much more dangerous then Russian behaviour, although there are no saints in this conflicts.
Bots have unshakable set of beliefs that they propagate in each and every discussion from month to month with no changes, no signs of shifting position under the weight of arguments. Their reply to other commenters does not usually take into account previous context of discussion and just designed to make the same point again and again. Some of them are extremely prolific and have several thousand messages under the belt. But along with paid staff which can more properly called plants, there are also numerous "ideologically charged" commenters that come close, while probably not being paid for service. So here we use the term "bot" as more generic term encompassing both types of propagandists operating in comment section of Guardian. It actually does not matter much whether they represent what we can call "volunteer bots" or volunteer propagandist army or paid bots or "special operations".
Please note that propagandists does not have any respect for truth or desire to get to it. And foreign Ministry spokesman belongs to this category with Jen Psaki in this sense as a model of such behaviour on one side, and Dmitry Peskov of the other.
The key observation here is that Guardian moderators clearly and heavily favor Natobots, which reflect the current status of Guardian which in case Ukrainian crisis served as Washington policy mouthpiece. That makes Natobots task easier and bots themselves more audacious as they do not afraid of being banned for their comments.
The second observation is strong psychological projection tendency. Natobots project all the dirty kitchen of tricks they used on PutinBots (the term that actually serves for them as a substitution of good old term "commie").
Natobots also typically call other commenters "Putinbots" when that have their arguments irreparably refuted or "facts" disclosed as blatant lies. This is classic case of projection or in a more colloquial language "pot calling kettle black". That's actually pretty reliable heuristic for their detection (looking at list of their messages usually is also enough). Here is one telling comment:
Bosula -> Fencewalker , 27 Feb 2015 21:39
How am I an obvious Putinbot because I'm critical of neo cons and journalists who trot out one article after another on the same themes? Follow what this smiley faced right winger writes and you'll see.
These journalists should be criticised and that is the purpose of free speech and posting on this site.
Just because you disagree with my posts doesn't make me a Putin bot.
My family connections are with Ukraine - not Russia.
Ciarán Here 9 Mar 2015 14:38
Boris Nemtsov ALLY and the guardian make fine cocktail Islamist speculation over murder ‘useful for Kremlin’ ....but not useful for the USA UK EU....
Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against unpleasant impulses by denying their existence in themselves
Ciarán Here -> tjmars 9 Mar 2015 14:34
Yes you spotted it, it is called pointing the finger away from oneself - look over there! No not there in Detroit or Greece for example but there in Russia we need to demonize a enemy to distract the plebs from our mistreatment of them...and to justify our wars against those who simply say no and that we are a sovereign state not a vassal of your greed ...
aucontraire2 -> MasonInNY 9 Mar 2015 14:19
You are not naive if you are from NY. You know that the Putin saga is all a made up story to hide the failures of the west on the international scene.
The US is a failed leader now because it has failed the world in not providing justice to Palestinians. The world needs a moral leader. Obviously the Chinese aren't interested at becoming the world's moral leader, Russia can't become a moral leader for obvious reasons, Canada was on its way to take the leadership, but the US republicans saw to it by forcing a nutcase called Harper who hides in a closet at the first sound of firecrackers.
tjmars 9 Mar 2015 14:18
The Guardian Trusts's new way of keeping privileged access to governmental news is to promote propaganda pieces for the government. The Guardian had to do a 180 after Snowden, so we'll forever more get the likes of subjective opinions of young idealists from a Russian political party that couldn't afford a security detail for its leader.
I guess with the ceasefire in Ukraine and the arrests of two conspirators so far from Chechnya, they are running out of angles to spread the BS around with.
How about switching over to the not-so breaking news that globalization is devastating currencies and economies, politics and human rights and resources and environmernts; the monetising and marketing on everything worldwide.
Why report on the failure of politics and economics in one lousy country, when there's a "failure du jour" everyday caused by globalization.
Why not cover the wars resulting from it on a daily rotation?
Who could have predicted that World War 3 would be a protracted economic war that would plunge the world into a neo-Dark Age for hundreds of years?
The real wars are now suicides where people, who can't stand the stifling boredom of repititous consumer product variations, sign up to commit suicide en mass in a foreign country. That, adversely, is video gaming creating its own reality...
Here is another Putinbots vs Langleybots discussion ;-)
ID5252799, 2015-03-09 22:23:08nickpossum ID5252799 , 9 Mar 2015 22:23
It must be hard being a Putinbot. You spend months and months claiming Russia didn't set foot in Crimea, that it was all decided by free referendum, and then Putin comes out and makes you look like a chump.
No doubt he'll do the same with Eastern Ukraine at some point. Better moderate the B/s bots!If you are a professional liar like them, lying is not difficult, mate.
irishmand ID5252799 , 4h ago
It must be hard being a Putinbot.
No, it is not difficult at all. It is like being a Langleybot, but more interesting.
irishmand nickpossum , 4h ago
If you are a professional liar like them, lying is not difficult, mate.
It is easy to bark from Australia living on the edge of Earth and having no idea what is going on. That is for sure.
There is a category of longtime bots (commenters, super focused on single topic, possibly commenting for enumeration with several dozens of post for a single discussion) with niks that exists for more then a year.
Names of some "super-active" commenters such as psygone (Member since 15 May 2008), alphmysh and others are well known to readers of Ukrainian-related discussions.
Tikibarwarrior -> psygone, 27 Feb 2015 17:50
Psygone, why should you care if they break ties, you've campaigned against Russia at the Guardian for the entire past year?
Popinjay70 -> Havingalavrov 22 May 2015 15:31
Who are you working for?
Activity of a single not/troll can reach 100 messages a day per one discussion (one article). Here is one week stats for alphamysh (May 25- May 31, 2015):
Date. Frq 25 62 27 15 28 50 29 74 30 1 31 78
Actually posts of alphamysh and psygone can be studied as a classic case of one-sided "fact-resistant" approach to the events (aka propaganda) in Guardian forums. Posts which demonstrate unshakably rigid views typical for double high authoritarians. They also tend to project all the Western crimes against Russia (for example the economic rape of Russia in 1991-1998, which can be considered as a special operation run by agencies against a Russian state) as problems of Russia itself:
irishmand -> psygone 10 Mar 2015 11:12
After the collapse of communism, where was Russia's attempt to truly diversify its economy away from the power oligarchs, commodities and oil/gas?
After the collapse of communism the oligarchs like Khodorkovsky were too busy helping US/EU corporations to plunder Russia. It was the moment Russians lost their trust in US/EU democracy.
Stillgrizzly -> psygone 6 Oct 2015 13:16
Yay, Psygones here as well, take that you pootybots!
And similar reprimand for alphamysh
Socraticus -> alpamysh 31 May 2015 10:12
Lesson 1 - everyone on this site is a guest, you included
Lesson 2 - the majority of posters herein are actually westerners, not 'Russian trolls'
Lesson 3 - all politicians lie to advance their own social/economic/political agendas
Lesson 4 - all MSM distort/suppress the truth to support governmental narratives
Lesson 5 - many of us westerners actually bother to investigate the true facts
Lesson 6 - if a leader's being demonized its because they won't capitulate to the US
Lesson 7 - every illicit invasion is preceded by demonization of a leader/country
Lesson 8 - your constant anti-Russia/Putin comments mark you as a shill/troll
Lesson 9 - you can educate yourself or remain blind to facts - your choice
Lesson 10 - you will learn the consequences of your choices
I now can recognize probably a dozen of such commenters, although this is based on my experience with Ukraine-related Guardian forums and of cause this is not a scientifically created sample. But it can probably serve as a starting point for more in depth research on the topic, with such parameters as daily activity, change of position in time (I think it does not happens with those ;-), vocabulary used, etc.
the most visible "regulars" are probably
JoseArmando0 -> jezzam 11 Mar 2015 01:17
Jezzam what a stupid comment are you another fool to believe you can survive a nuclear war? You would be wiped out as well
Sorry4Soul 3 Sep 2015 12:34
Universal truth : Whenever a Russia related article is published with open comment section one can find at least one response by jezzam for each post.
Kudos for your efforts. ;)
oleteo -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 11:11
You'd do a favor to all by stopping feeding us with your uneatable Ukrainian narrative. No way to make a fool from yourself more than to claim the evidence on YouTube and moreover to have no access to it in Russia by your words.Is the evidence from the internet valid in any country? Try to refrain yourself from presenting such evidences anywhere, there are no fools.
Chillskier -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 10:32
Only spotless mind, not contaminated by intelligence, would believe that real FSB officer will be talking to the press about ongoing FSB operation and not drinking polonium tea afterwards.
Alex Hughes -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 06:39
Paid troll. You could have been more subtle.
Tomov Tito -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 04:29
I couldn't help but laugh loudly when reading your comment. Thank you!
runner911 -> truk10 3 Sep 2015 03:37
Where's Jezzam ?
Has he gone off duty ?
T hose guys are real hardcore. They never change their views one bit, despite considerable evidence the contradict their statements. They often site completly false (and several times revealed as false) evidence as proof. In other words they are 100% propagandists. Paid or not is another question. All of them still deny the USA involvement in events in Ukraine that led to coup d'état of February 22 (BTW recently it became known that Nuland threatened Yanukovich with confiscation of his foreign assets, if he had allowed police to disperse demonstrators; that explains criminal passivity of Yanukovich and his government during the events, despite direct attacks on police).
Those guys are real hardcore. They never change their views one bit, despite considerable evidence the contradict their statements.
S ome active commenters do not suit our definition of bot, because they post meaningful comments of other topics too:
But this is a weak criteria and probably should be overwritten, if particular commenter posts more then a two dozen comments a day for a single discussion.
An interesting nuance is that most of them are pretty new members of Guardian community: just four of those niks are more then two years old. All of them are extremely prolific posters who usually are making multiple comments in each and every discussion. Sometime more then 50 for a single discussion. Such behaviour looks like full time job or may be they are already retired and can do whatever they want in their spare time, although for retired person typing of such amount of text for several hours non-stop is atypical and unhealthy activity.
Sometime they act in packs assaulting particular commenter (started by jezzam, with hatstan and senya on supporting roles in the example below):
seniorina, 46m ago
The predictable blame game has begun. It is of course a tragedy that Boris Nemtsov was assasinated, but it will serve no just purpose or hopes of peace if his death is used to further the aims of those who want to precipitate regime change in Moscow.
Given that the majority of the population support Putin and his policies, surely it is entirely conceivable that there are radicals who would want to silence any opposition that threatens the staus quo. I can also not dismiss the reports that suggest that Mr Nemtsov had been made a sacrificial victim to show the state in a bad light - there is mass hysteria in the West to "prove" that Russia is guilty.
jezzam seniorina, 41m ago
It seems that the Kremlin have fixed their story. This is like MH17 - the other side did it to discredit Russia - presumably dark hints of CIA involvement will soon emerge. Pathetic.
HollyOldDog jezzam, 37m ago
Yes, you are.
hatstan -> seniorina, 35m ago
Given that the majority of the population support Putin and his policies
Well yes, because if you voice any notable opposition to his polices you get shot.
FrancesSmith -> jezzam, 15m ago
but the west didn't help itself over MH17 did it. I only heard and read the news in the uk but the media reporting jumped to conclusions very very fast, and put a lot of effort into blaming putin.
so its no surprise that there is a very fast reaction in the other direction.
both sides need to back off a bit, and stop taking extreme positions.
senya -> FrancesSmith 5m agoWell, let's not forget that Russia's Life News was the first TV channel in the world to report on it, very very fast, within minutes in fact they reported that the rebels had "downed" a Ukrainian AN26 - at the same time and the same place as MH17 came down - with local footage of smoke rising from the MH17 wreck. Also Strelkov reported it on his Facebook page with the addenda "We warned you not to fly in our skies"
but the media reporting jumped to conclusions very very fast
The cast of this "long-time" bots theater is slowly changing with time, but by definition such niks need to exist for more then a year (let's say from February, 2014, when many of such niks were created).
Like an y "real" bot (and that's the key definition of bot vs forum commenter) the point of view expressed in bots comments is cast in stone and does not change with time. Their view exist as dogma which can't be influenced by any facts on the ground. In some comments they show signs of being "real people", but that's pretty rate event and the mask usually comes instantly on.
Because they follow discussion about the a single topic (are several closely related topics) with amazing accuracy and consistency such bots are very useful as pointer to articles and discussions in Guardian about particular topic (Ukraine in case that we are discussing) as they participate in each one ;-). I, for example, for a long time rely on them for finding articles, instead of using Guardian navigation (which is notoriously bad before and became unusable after recent "face lift").
Several such bots acting in unison can damage or completely spoil the quality of a Guardian discussion. See for example activity of Havingalavrov from 9 Mar 2015 16:53 to 9 Mar 2015 22:59, RedTelecaster from 9 Mar 2015 13:26 to 9 Mar 2015 18:24
Noirette | Jun 23, 2015 3:51:43 PM | 38
- Inconsistency. This may seem counter-intuitive, but they argue in the here-and-now, against some other, usually only one, fact(s) / opinion / general trend from the past half hour. In this way they sometimes contradict themselves or mix things up, or use arguments that couldn’t co-exist.
- Impersonality. One more, counter-intuitive (specially as a common tactic is ad hominems, insults, etc. to disrupt no matter what.) They are not involved in the discussion and probably doing something else at the same time. This also means they don’t answer questions (or only rarely), don’t quote sources (much), never agree with any another poster, and never raise issues or ask genuine questions. (Any questions usually contain a pre-supposition, such as ‘did the captain beat his wife today?’)
- Persistence. An ordinary person appalled and frightened by crazed conspiracy theorists tends to check out quickly.
- Ad hominems bis. Brow-beating, authority card (sometimes some fake expertise is pulled in, like being a pilot, worked in finance), because there is nothing other left to do…
- Posting during the same time each day, posting a similar amount of posts / words. Acceptable sentence structure and OK spelling with a flat, pedestrian, vocabulary. It is paid work, after all, quite similar to ‘customer service for the complaints’…(and note the cuteness of all words beginning with D…lame…)
- Being male and aged around 20+ - 36, maybe 40, that is presenting a persona in that age range. Men are still much more respected than women on the intertubes, and afaik women are asked to adopt a male persona and be ‘aggressive’ (Paul pilot, not Paula florist..)
I don’t think all this is too effective, except in the sense of polarisation, getting ppl to hysterically takes sides, create divisions, and so on. As a propaganda tool it is pretty much a failure. The pay is low (no nos. does anyone know?)… For now there is no Union of ‘trolls’, as they are supposed to act sub rosa.
:) They should get together (from all sides) and set up a troll Union as ‘propaganda agents’ and apply for membership in the ITUC!
Here is one apt characterization of psygone that fit this profile:
Talgen -> psygone , 25 Nov 2015 19:18
He already has. That's why he can't do anything about it besides rattling a few missiles, sanction a couple of industries and whine about being "stabbed in the back.....sniff" .
I must admit, I admire you, its quite hard to be consistently wrong on every issue over the past few years but your dedicated and keep forging forward..
- You said Putin would be removed from office by men in white coats.
- You said Putin would be vanished.
- You said the Russian ruble and economy is finished, meanwhile both are rising.
- You said Russia is boxed in without allies, yet the US admitted they need Russia's help in Syria.
- You said the russians were lying and the jet was hit inside turkey, which proved to be a lie. And all of these are just off the top of my head..
Please note that in its current semi-anonymous form of Guardian (and most other newspapers) forums, a single person can post under multiple niks and pretend to be from the place quite different from actual. Most of them can be detected by the fact that they produce "ad hominems" attacks on a regular basis:
The internet really needs some kind of a real ID system where your comments are tied to a single identity. I am perfectly happy to admit that I am a disgusting American, but there seem to be a lot of Russians that are ashamed of their actual identities because they keep on claiming to be from somewhere else.
alpamysh -> Micklemoose
Would YOU be proud to defend Putin?
Same applies here...
BunglyPete -> Micklemoose
I'd love to see an analysis including IP information.
I notice that about 1/3 of posts just accuse people of being Russian. Another 1/3 agree with the article. The last third disagree with the article and are denounced as putinbits by the other 2/3.
I'd love to see the actual split.
Also I'd love it they would verify I'm on a Virgin IP in Newcastle and people would stop calling me a Russian
Bombing the comment thread with junk (for example 59 posts mentioned below from sasha19) are generally sign of a paid commenter.
Kasparov has spoken out against Putin today and stated that Putin is anything but a democratic leader. Putin has spent three years gathering all the power into his hand. Will repression end? No. The thousands of brave men and women in Moscow today should make him think about how he is seen by his own people. The placards stating "I am not afraid" stunned me the most
Rialbynot -> sasha19
sasha19 -> Rialbynot
This makes 59.
Rialbynot -> sasha19
Plus 41 under your other moniker = 100
Viewing Guardian reader forums I do not see the signs of organized army of pro-Putin trolls, if we try to use criteria established above. I see mostly highly intelligent discussion from a pro-Russian point of view by commenters who are also active in forums on other topics. Desperate attempts to denigrate the value of arguments of those people by claiming that such posts belong to a PutinBot is actually a warning sign you we deal with a Natobot ;-).
My general impression is that people whom opponents call Putinbots have a better grasp of facts on the ground and often closer to reality then Natobots. that's why they often have upper hand in polemics with Natobots, not because Putin regime somehow created super powerful propaganda machine. That's domain of Western intelligence agencies ;-). And paradoxically despite all efforts of moderators they manage to have their viewpoint heard, if a reader diligently read all the comments. That's why Western government are so conserved with the "success of Russian propaganda." Often it is simply a success of truthful coverage of facts over lies and distortions.
Another fundamental reason is that Western propagandists (here we are talking about Guardian presstitutes) typically slip beyond the reach of embarrassment in their coverage of foreign event. Especially in countries which oppose unilateral neoliberal diktat (aka neocolonialism) coming from Washington, DC.
And I am not alone. Similar views were expressed by marknesop in his April 11, 2015 post the Fable of Putin’s Troll Army:
I was thinking, a few days ago, that I might do a post on the bellyaching and caterwauling from the Russophobes about Moscow’s supposed army of “paid trolls”, who are reimbursed by the Russian government for clogging western comment threads with fallacious arguments and childish insults which detract from – or derail entirely – thoughtful and informative commentary, often ridiculing the post itself into the bargain. As I made my daily round of certain publications, including Russia Insider, I saw that I had been trumped in that intention by the inimitable Patrick Armstrong with “The West Throws a Temper Tantrum“. There is no besting Patrick, with his enviable background in Russian affairs, his diplomatic experience and his pungent vocabulary – and even if there were, he references a story by Mark Ames of The eXile fame, who has traced the provenance of the “Russian Trolls” theme and found it to be a recurring wet dream of the Russophobes as far back as 2013.
The Incredible Human Smarm Generator, Max Seddon, England’s answer to beefcake magazines (I’m assuming here that he is from England because such an insufferable twit really could not have come from anywhere else, but please correct me if I am wrong and I will have the guilty location pulled down and sown with salt and dragon’s teeth) did it back in 2014, basing his breathless report on “Plans attached to emails leaked by a mysterious Russian hacker collective”, although the location is the same one as that described in more recent scoops – the Internet Research Center on 55 Savushkina St., St Petersburg. According to Ames’ story, Seddon’s source and the furthest back we can easily trace the story is – surprise – Novaya Gazeta, The Little Newspaper That Could; employer of the martyred Anna Politkovskaya, circulation about 184,000 copies (many, like The Moscow Times, giveaways in hotels and train stations). Partly owned by Russian oligarch and former KGB agent Alexander Lebedev and former jilted President Mikhail Gorbachev, Novaya Gazeta now distinguishes itself by publishing the hoarse grunting and screaming of Yulia Latynina, who wrote that poor people should not be allowed to vote because they are hungry and will vote for any prospective leader who promises them food, and who caught on before anyone else that the Chel’yabinsk meteorite was a secret government missile test that got away from them. She retracted that story shortly after it was released, but was unrepentant – she was wrong this time, but make no mistake, that did not mean the Kremlin was not up to devilish experiments. Oh, all right; one more. She announced in 2012 that Putin would use distractions in the Middle East to “stage his long-awaited attack on Georgia”. There were clear signs of the contingency planning for this, she confided, in another advertisement for the wisdom of wearing a helmet when playing contact sports.
Anyway, now that I have hopefully established for you the provenance – to say nothing of the credibility – of the source of this latest nutty obsession, we don’t want to make this about the source. The droll droolery of this unbridled foolishness has been exposed, and done to death.
And yet. I decided to go ahead with it, because there is an entire fundamental in this story that I did not see covered to my satisfaction.
Neoconservative warhag Annie Applebaum was quite wound up with outrage over the Russian troll issue last winter, penning a crie-de-coeur to a democracy in its death throes because of fake, bought-and-paid-for comments on Internet forums. The very bedrock of democracy is cracking, she tells us, because
“…[o]nce upon a time, it seemed as if the Internet would be a place of civilized and open debate; now, unedited forums often deteriorate to insult exchanges. Like it or not, this matters: Multiple experiments have shown that perceptions of an article, its writer or its subject can be profoundly shaped by anonymous online commentary, especially if it is harsh. One group of researchers found that rude comments “not only polarized readers, but they often changed a participant’s interpretation of the news story itself.” A digital analyst at Atlantic Media also discovered that people who read negative comments were more likely to judge that an article was of low quality and, regardless of the content, to doubt the truth of what it stated. “
Oddly enough, she did not speculate on what lying does to the credibility of a story, despite her track record as the kind of from-the-hip liar who lies just to keep in practice even when the truth would serve just as well. Astoundingly, in the very same post, she cites Michael Weiss and Peter Pomerantsev – of the partisan hack journal Interpreter Mag – as competent authorities to “distinguish truth from state-sponsored fiction”.
But never mind that for now. Our old friend Catherine Fitzpatrick – also of Interpreter Mag – comments in a story for The Atlantic, by Daisy Sindelar;
“ …trolls inhibit informed debate by using crude dialogue to change “the climate of discussion.”
If you show up at The Washington Post or New Republic sites, where there’s an article that’s critical of Russia, and you see that there are 200 comments that sound like they were written by 12-year-olds, then you just don’t bother to comment,”
However, that emphasizes a point that everyone seems to be missing: comments which are supportive of Russia’s view, but are crudely formatted or in which the commenter appears to struggle with English, especially if they are angry or insulting – are almost never deleted in moderated forums.
In fact, such forums appear to deliberately leave them, as punching bags for enthusiastic and righteous rebuttals as well as examples of what unlettered savages and dropout dolts “Kremlin supporters” are, in much the same way a lioness will hamstring a gazelle and leave it for her cubs, so they will learn to kill.
Also, such comments rarely inspire the accusation that the commenter is a paid troll – who would pay anyone for such an inept performance?
..."comments which are supportive of Russia’s view, but are crudely formatted or in which the commenter appears to struggle with English, especially if they are angry or insulting – are almost never deleted in moderated forums. In fact, such forums appear to deliberately leave them, as punching bags for enthusiastic and righteous rebuttals as well as examples of what unlettered savages and dropout dolts “Kremlin supporters” are, in much the same way a lioness will hamstring a gazelle and leave it for her cubs, so they will learn to kill.
Also, such comments rarely inspire the accusation that the commenter is a paid troll – who would pay anyone for such an inept performance?"
No, the “paid Putin troll” label is far more commonly awarded to commenters whose native language is English or who are highly competent second-language speakers – and Russians with the language skill of a Leonid Bershidsky or a Vladimir Kara-Murza are rare – and who defend their viewpoint with patient elaboration supported by verifiable references. More often, in moderated forums, such comments (if they contradict the editorial line of the forum) are quickly deleted with a minimum of fuss, before most of the readership can even see them. The Guardian is legendary for deleting anything positive written about Russia in the commentary to its articles, and what remains where it once was is the maddeningly self-righteous message,
“This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our community standards. Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs.”
Allow me to offer an instructive example: through the magic of Disqus, I recovered these comments from the Kyiv Post. Mine was marked as “spam” and deleted. See what you think.
Here’s the original comment, by an academic bright spark who calls himself Mr. RainbowBotox:
“First of all, around 2008, they quietly changed the law allowing them to use nuclear weapons first. Therefore they will be able to use it first. there is also the so-called “strategic use” of these weapons, if things get worse and they decided to drop one on Talin, Estonia, or any other of these countries, there is no way in which the UK, France or the US are going to respond with nuclear weapons, risking the feared wide scale mutual destruction. Therefore it is a real danger that they can actually use them and believe not be at risk of receiving a similar strike.”
Here’s my reply, which stayed up no more than an hour before a moderator removed it as spam.
“Is that so? Actually, no; it’s not. Russia dropped the no-first-use policy in 1993, and there was nothing sneaky about it at all – what’s the sense of changing a policy in private? How does that have any global effect?
Analysts at the time speculated the reasoning behind it was not a Russian eagerness for nuclear war, but a policy change which recognized a new role for the nuclear component – deterrence of limited conventional war. The probable reason for that was the steady erosion of Russia’s conventional forces, and a need to keep NATO off them until they could regroup. Since 2010 Russia has steadily reduced its reliance on the nuclear deterrent and has drawn down the Strategic Rocket Forces significantly, preferring to beef up the seaborne component.
Anybody who seriously thinks they would nuke one of the Baltic states needs a psychiatric examination, or knows nothing of nuclear weapons. They are too close to Russia, and even though the prevailing winds are generally westerly it is not worth the risk. None of the Baltics would be able to stand against a conventional attack at much less risk. But why? Russia is not remotely interested in subjugating the yappy Baltics, despite what Edward Lucas tells you – when was he ever right about anything? Are they rich, or something? Russia spent more preparing for the Olympics than the GDP of the wealthiest of them.”
A little of my reply is opinion, such as where I suggest Russia is not interested in subjugating the Baltics. I don’t see any evidence of it, but the Russian government obviously does not consult me on its plans. But most is factual, and supported by references. Mr. RainbowBotox’s comment was allowed to remain although it contained factual errors and they were pointed out. It’s still there now.
Similar shenanigans go on all the time in The Guardian, and thoughtful comments which appear to be the result of careful research are summarily deleted because they clash with the paper’s editorial stance, and because they show up the original commenter as a fool. Some of these authors are simply filtered out after they have had a couple of comments deleted, so that nothing authored by them will be accepted. Occasionally they inspire grudging admiration for the author’s command of English – several such were directed at our own Moscow Exile, which made me laugh, because he is as English as the crumpet.
This kind of high-handedness, resulting in a complete inability to have one’s opinion heard, are beginning to inspire alternative sites which are not moderated; in The Guardian’s case it is mirrored by the brilliant OffGuardian, and there are many other great ones such as Russia Insider, Danielle Ryan’s Journalitico and Paul Robinson’s Irrusianality. They rarely seem to attract trolls (except for Russia Insider, which does), and on the occasions they show up the comment sections eat them alive.
Just a couple more points before I hand over the floor to you. One, for what it’s worth, the “Kandid Konfession” of alleged Russian blogger and former paid Russian troll Marat Burkhard is alleged by this German site to have been a hoax perpetrated by Jürg Vollmer’s “Troll Factory” in Frankfurt, allegedly the same outfit that perpetrated the “Gay Girl In Damascus” scam. The west was quite angry to discover the supposed 25-year-old lesbian in Syria was actually a 40-year-old straight man in Edinburgh.
Two; the scenario “Burkhard” describes, in which trolls act in teams of three, makes no sense. According to him, one person provides the original comment, the second plays the “villain” and disagrees with him (ostensibly to provide the appearance of balanced opinion), while the third affirms the rightness of the first person’s opinion. He agrees all three sit together, agreeing on who is going to answer who, but then says they do not talk much because everyone is busy.
There’s no need for them to talk at all; allegedly, each operator controls ten Twitter accounts; presumably they each also supplied ten fake email addresses to get the accounts. Why would one operator not fulfill all three roles, playing the parts of initial commenter, villain and collaborator? If it is possible to tell that all three were generated by the same individual, so they must do it in teams of three, why would each need ten Twitter accounts?
Three, the exchange the alleged troll defector describes – initial commenter, villain and collaborator – neatly captures just about every comment-forum disagreement ever written. It is therefore easy to characterize any exchange in which the commenter is hammering the editorial policy of the site as having come from a “professional paid troll”.
We are being set up. While Applebaum plants the suggestion that you should not read comment forums any more because they are dominated by Russian trolls, Fitzpatrick backs her up that you should just read the article and not pay attention to comments. Applebaum chimes in that research has shown that negative comments can affect your opinion of both the article and its author – far better to just read the article and internalize its truths, rather than confuse yourself. Meanwhile comments in which the author struggles with English and is insulting (“Obama is a monkey, Putin good”) are allowed to remain, to serve as an example of how poorly-educated and bigoted Russians are. Anything which argues for fairness and substantiates that Russia is being unfairly criticized, using established and respectable academic or media references, is deleted with some excuse that it is spam, or violates some arbitrary community guidelines.
Once upon a time, not so very long ago, comment forums in English-speaking sources were almost overwhelmingly in support of articles extolling the goodness of westerners and their policy and the evil of the barbarian hordes who dwell between the Baltic and the Sea of Okhotsk. This is so no longer, and articles which try to draw Manichean comparisons have to fly through a cloud of flak. The western ideologues don’t like that. Hence, the cloaking device of “Russian trolls”. Anyone arguing against stereotyping of Russia, its leader and its policies, who substantiates his or her argument with solid reasoning and historical or contemporary fact, must be paid by the Russian government. Paid to lie, of course, which is why they must get rid of your argument before it dawns on readers that it is true.
Unless, of course, you use all the same devices as a troll – an assumed name, profane and opinionated commentary, statements which assume facts not in evidence – but support the western agenda. Then, it’s enough that you say you’re not a troll; you “try not to lie (according to your own beliefs, which you do not challenge with research) and nobody’s paying you”. Then, like “Adolfych” in the Sindelar piece, you can troll to your heart’s content and never get anything more negative than “an opinionated mischief-maker”. You’ll benefit from much the same double standard which calls a Moscow billionaire an “oligarch”, and a Kiev billionaire a “tycoon”.
You always know you’re winning when the other side feels like it has to change the rules.
As George Monbiot noted, the evidence piles up suggesting that online comment threads and forums are being hijacked by people who aren't what they seem (theguardian.com, Feb 23, 2011) . With some amount of money and appropriate software small number of people can create enough fake identities to influence public opinion as expressed in online forums. Both corporations and states abuse Internet with this explicit goal and we need to be aware of this type of behaviour in Guardian forums.
One tactic from the such people (I call it "astroturfing", but in reality this is a classic type of preemption) is to try to post the first 50 messages with the corporate or State Department meme before members of the public get a chance to comment. One possible way to counteract that would be to institute a filtering of post based on "reputation" so that people could ignore the detritus and simply follow the arguments of main participants. Anyone following a thread initially would see only the messages from this preemptive attack and need to dig further is he/she wish to see more or less relevant contributions. Which not all people do: this is the power of such an attack.
Fake participants controlled by few hired guns allow to states and corporations to fake grassroots campaigns -- creating the impression that large numbers of people are demanding or opposing particular policies. This deception is most likely to occur where the interests of companies or governments come into conflict with the interests of the public as for example with the recent events in Ukraine. Corporations are also active players. As George Monbiot noted there's a long history of tobacco companies creating astroturf groups to fight attempts to regulate them.
He also mentioned some whistleblower
After I wrote about online astroturfing in December, I was contacted by a whistleblower. He was part of a commercial team employed to infest internet forums and comment threads on behalf of corporate clients, promoting their causes and arguing with anyone who opposed them.
Like the other members of the team, he posed as a disinterested member of the public. Or, to be more accurate, as a crowd of disinterested members of the public: he used 70 personas, both to avoid detection and to create the impression there was widespread support for his pro-corporate arguments. I'll reveal more about what he told me when I've finished the investigation I'm working on.
It now seems that these operations are more widespread, more sophisticated and more automated than most of us had guessed. Emails obtained by political hackers from a US cyber-security firm called HBGary Federal suggest that a remarkable technological armoury is being deployed to drown out the voices of real people.
As the Daily Kos has reported, the emails show that:
- Companies now use "persona management software", which multiplies the efforts of each astroturfer, creating the impression that there's major support for what a corporation or government is trying to do.
- This software creates all the online furniture a real person would possess: a name, email accounts, web pages and social media. In other words, it automatically generates what look like authentic profiles, making it hard to tell the difference between a virtual robot and a real commentator.
- Fake accounts can be kept updated by automatically reposting or linking to content generated elsewhere, reinforcing the impression that the account holders are real and active.
- Human astroturfers can then be assigned these "pre-aged" accounts to create a back story, suggesting that they've been busy linking and retweeting for months. No one would suspect that they came onto the scene for the first time a moment ago, for the sole purpose of attacking an article on climate science or arguing against new controls on salt in junk food.
- With some clever use of social media, astroturfers can, in the security firm's words, "make it appear as if a persona was actually at a conference and introduce himself/herself to key individuals as part of the exercise … There are a variety of social media tricks we can use to add a level of realness to fictitious personas."
Perhaps the most disturbing revelation is this. The US Air Force has been tendering for companies to supply it with persona management software, which will perform the following tasks:
- Create "10 personas per user, replete with background, history, supporting details, and cyber presences that are technically, culturally and geographically consistent … Personas must be able to appear to originate in nearly any part of the world and can interact through conventional online services and social media platforms."
- Automatically provide its astroturfers with "randomly selected IP addresses through which they can access the internet" (an IP address is the number which identifies someone's computer), and these are to be changed every day, "hiding the existence of the operation". The software should also mix up the astroturfers' web traffic with "traffic from multitudes of users from outside the organisation. This traffic blending provides excellent cover and powerful deniability."
- Create "static IP addresses" for each persona, enabling different astroturfers "to look like the same person over time". It should also allow "organisations that frequent same site/service often to easily switch IP addresses to look like ordinary users as opposed to one organisation."
Software like this has the potential to destroy the internet as a forum for constructive debate. It jeopardises the notion of online democracy. Comment threads on issues with major commercial implications are already being wrecked by what look like armies of organised trolls – as you can sometimes see on guardian.co.uk.
The internet is a wonderful gift, but it's also a bonanza for corporate lobbyists, viral marketers and government spin doctors, who can operate in cyberspace without regulation, accountability or fear of detection. So let me repeat the question I've put in previous articles, and which has yet to be satisfactorily answered: what should we do to fight these tactics?
The favorite game played by Guardian Presstitutes as for coverage of Russia, Ukraine and Eastern Europe is demonization of Putin. As Kissinger noted "Putin's demonization not a policy but an alibi for the absence of one".
Vladimir Putin is Guardian presstitutes latest foreign devil. I doubt if many of them would pass a simple test on Russia’s history, especially rape of Russia during Yeltsin regime. But they feel confident to demonize the current head of state, failing to understand that if Putin falls, there is very little change of a typical western comprador to come to power.
It would be actually interesting to force one of Guardian presstitutes to right am essay about say, Mikhail Bakunin, Dora Kaplan, Alexander Herzen, Nicholas I, General Vlasov, Nestor Makhno, Anton Denikin, Vera Figner, Alexander Kerensky, Serge Witte, Baron Wrangel, A.K. Kolchak, Stolypin, Rasputin, or even US General William Graves.
Instead those hired pens write about revival of Russian empire under Putin. But want about a revived economic, military and political cordon sanitaire or encirclement of the Moscow. Meanwhile, the Kiev coup d'état is viewed superficially, without understanding of driving forces and personalities involved. And Russia negative reaction to Junta of Turchinov-Yatsenyuk as an attack on “freedom”, at times evoking an image of the Nazi’s 1938 Anschluss of Austria with regard to Crimea.
Putin is presented is standard hostile light: he worked for the KGB (BTE Bush The Elder ran the CIA, organization that in the past would definitely give a run KGB for the money in documented dirty tricks employed), he does not value "democracy" (with the meaning anything the USA elite wants from Russia; and first of all access of US multinationals to energy resources on their conditions, not Russia's). Nothing person, just business.
In reality Putin is a towing figure in beginning of XX century politics, who stands shoulders above such political pigmies as Barrozo, Tusk, Cameron, or this pugnacious Australia's embarrassment of a Prime Minister Tony Abbott. And I am not taking about their political views here. I am talking on pure qualities of those people as politicians.
His 2007 Munich speech in which he attacked US neoliberal globalism remains one of the most important diplomatic documents in this century. It was the fist open attack of the US neoliberal style globalization (Putin's Prepared Remarks at 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy) and pretension on "global leadership":
This conference's structure allows me to avoid excessive politeness and the need to speak in roundabout, pleasant but empty diplomatic terms. This conference's format will allow me to say what I really think about international security problems. And if my comments seem unduly polemical, pointed or inexact to our colleagues, then I would ask you not to get angry with me. After all, this is only a conference. And I hope that after the first two or three minutes of my speech Mr Teltschik will not turn on the red light over there.
Therefore. It is well known that international security comprises much more than issues relating to military and political stability. It involves the stability of the global economy, overcoming poverty, economic security and developing a dialogue between civilisations.
This universal, indivisible character of security is expressed as the basic principle that "security for one is security for all". As Franklin D. Roosevelt said during the first few days that the Second World War was breaking out: "When peace has been broken anywhere, the peace of all countries everywhere is in danger."
These words remain topical today. Incidentally, the theme of our conference -- global crises, global responsibility -- exemplifies this.
Only two decades ago the world was ideologically and economically divided and it was the huge strategic potential of two superpowers that ensured global security.
This global stand-off pushed the sharpest economic and social problems to the margins of the international community's and the world's agenda. And, just like any war, the Cold War left us with live ammunition, figuratively speaking. I am referring to ideological stereotypes, double standards and other typical aspects of Cold War bloc thinking.
The unipolar world that had been proposed after the Cold War did not take place either.
The history of humanity certainly has gone through unipolar periods and seen aspirations to world supremacy. And what hasn't happened in world history?
However, what is a unipolar world? However one might embellish this term, at the end of the day it refers to one type of situation, namely one centre of authority, one centre of force, one centre of decision-making.
It is world in which there is one master, one sovereign. And at the end of the day this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within.
And this certainly has nothing in common with democracy. Because, as you know, democracy is the power of the majority in light of the interests and opinions of the minority.
Incidentally, Russia - we - are constantly being taught about democracy. But for some reason those who teach us do not want to learn themselves.
I consider that the unipolar model is not only unacceptable but also impossible in today's world. And this is not only because if there was individual leadership in today's - and precisely in today's - world, then the military, political and economic resources would not suffice. What is even more important is that the model itself is flawed because at its basis there is and can be no moral foundations for modern civilisation.
Along with this, what is happening in today's world - and we just started to discuss this - is a tentative to introduce precisely this concept into international affairs, the concept of a unipolar world.
And with which results?
Unilateral and frequently illegitimate actions have not resolved any problems. Moreover, they have caused new human tragedies and created new centres of tension. Judge for yourselves: wars as well as local and regional conflicts have not diminished. Mr Teltschik mentioned this very gently. And no less people perish in these conflicts - even more are dying than before. Significantly more, significantly more!
Today we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force - military force - in international relations, force that is plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts. As a result we do not have sufficient strength to find a comprehensive solution to any one of these conflicts. Finding a political settlement also becomes impossible.
We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law. And independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state's legal system. One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations. Well, who likes this? Who is happy about this?
In international relations we increasingly see the desire to resolve a given question according to so-called issues of political expediency, based on the current political climate.
And of course this is extremely dangerous. It results in the fact that no one feels safe. I want to emphasise this -- no one feels safe! Because no one can feel that international law is like a stone wall that will protect them. Of course such a policy stimulates an arms race.
The force's dominance inevitably encourages a number of countries to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Moreover, significantly new threats - though they were also well-known before - have appeared, and today threats such as terrorism have taken on a global character.
I am convinced that we have reached that decisive moment when we must seriously think about the architecture of global security.
And we must proceed by searching for a reasonable balance between the interests of all participants in the international dialogue. Especially since the international landscape is so varied and changes so quickly - changes in light of the dynamic development in a whole number of countries and regions.
Madam Federal Chancellor already mentioned this. The combined GDP measured in purchasing power parity of countries such as India and China is already greater than that of the United States. And a similar calculation with the GDP of the BRIC countries - Brazil, Russia, India and China - surpasses the cumulative GDP of the EU. And according to experts this gap will only increase in the future.
There is no reason to doubt that the economic potential of the new centres of global economic growth will inevitably be converted into political influence and will strengthen multipolarity.
In connection with this the role of multilateral diplomacy is significantly increasing. The need for principles such as openness, transparency and predictability in politics is uncontested and the use of force should be a really exceptional measure, comparable to using the death penalty in the judicial systems of certain states.
However, today we are witnessing the opposite tendency, namely a situation in which countries that forbid the death penalty even for murderers and other, dangerous criminals are airily participating in military operations that are difficult to consider legitimate. And as a matter of fact, these conflicts are killing people - hundreds and thousands of civilians!
But at the same time the question arises of whether we should be indifferent and aloof to various internal conflicts inside countries, to authoritarian regimes, to tyrants, and to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction? As a matter of fact, this was also at the centre of the question that our dear colleague Mr Lieberman asked the Federal Chancellor. If I correctly understood your question (addressing Mr Lieberman), then of course it is a serious one! Can we be indifferent observers in view of what is happening? I will try to answer your question as well: of course not.
But do we have the means to counter these threats? Certainly we do. It is sufficient to look at recent history. Did not our country have a peaceful transition to democracy? Indeed, we witnessed a peaceful transformation of the Soviet regime - a peaceful transformation! And what a regime! With what a number of weapons, including nuclear weapons! Why should we start bombing and shooting now at every available opportunity? Is it the case when without the threat of mutual destruction we do not have enough political culture, respect for democratic values and for the law?
I am convinced that the only mechanism that can make decisions about using military force as a last resort is the Charter of the United Nations. And in connection with this, either I did not understand what our colleague, the Italian Defence Minister, just said or what he said was inexact. In any case, I understood that the use of force can only be legitimate when the decision is taken by NATO, the EU, or the UN. If he really does think so, then we have different points of view. Or I didn't hear correctly. The use of force can only be considered legitimate if the decision is sanctioned by the UN. And we do not need to substitute NATO or the EU for the UN. When the UN will truly unite the forces of the international community and can really react to events in various countries, when we will leave behind this disdain for international law, then the situation will be able to change. Otherwise the situation will simply result in a dead end, and the number of serious mistakes will be multiplied. Along with this, it is necessary to make sure that international law have a universal character both in the conception and application of its norms.
And one must not forget that democratic political actions necessarily go along with discussion and a laborious decision-making process.
Putin went out of his way to deride Americans pretensions “in their exclusivity and exceptionalism that they can decide the destinies of the world and that only they can ever be right.”
Guardian articles and comment section can be a very useful self-education guide to Patterns of Propaganda. They tightly control the narrative and try to discredit the opponent.
Some examples that you can relate to particular propaganda patterns yourself (see centerline comment)
Micklemoose . 5h agocenterline -> Micklemoose, 5h ago
Note to those defending Putin. It is really unwise to use things that Bush did as justification for things Putin is doing. I highly doubt that Putin likes being compared to the worst US president in a century, and he does have a history of expressing his displeasure in a rather permanent way. Just a friendly warning.centerline, 5h ago
Very few leaders these days compare to Putin. He has 80% support because he looks after Russian interests not US interests.Micklemoose , 5h ago
All hail the great leader!!!!
Disagreeing with an article != pro Putin
another one (alpamysh):
Jeff1000, 5h ago
50,000+ people marched through the streets of London last year demanding an end to austerity. It was relegated to the nether regions of this paper, and was not covered by the BBC at all...despite marching right past Television Centre.
7,000 Russians mourn a fringe political figure in Moscow and we get rolling updates.
JohannEberlin -> Jeff1000
It's the price one pays for not being useful to the Western oligarchs.
alpamysh -> Jeff1000, 5h ago
Uh, what British person was assassinated before the London march?
Here is another one (see definition of Whataboutism)
Children's death in Donbass didn't attract so much attention in the world mass media
alpamysh -> Алексей Рунасов
See also [Dec 21, 2015] Journalists are really mouthpieces for political factions within their own government power structure but the best journalists choose faction that actually embraces reality
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