The Russian Intelligence Community in the Current time of Trouble.

9 July 2020

Woodrow Wilson Institute

Between an assassination in Germany, allegations of bounties in Afghanistan, and a continuing campaign of espionage both cyber and human abroad, Russia’s spooks continue to be busy. Has coronavirus affected them? And what are the prospects for future activity, including meddling in US politics?

Jeff Stein is rebooting his well-known and professionally respected SpyTalk column.

I got to know Jeff Stein several years ago and was immediately impressed by his skills as an investigative journalist and subject matter expert in intelligence and national security.  

As my defence page has an increasing readership I’m writing with the good news that Jeff Stein is rebooting his legendary SpyTalk column in September as a newsletter on the Substack platform. You may remember Jeff, who I’ve worked with in the past, as the Spytalk columnist for years at Newsweek, and before that, at The Washington Post and before that Congressional Quarterly (where he was also the founding editor of the influential CQ/Homeland Security).  Although Jeff is widely known for his many scoops and steady stream of much-needed corrective context on breaking national security stories this time around he’s added to his team such veteran journalists as Elaine Shannon, TIME magazine’s “queen of drugs and thugs,” and Peter Eisner, a prolific investigative author and former deputy foreign editor at The Post.  And more.

I hope you’ll follow Jeff and his professional team at https://spytalk.substack.com/about  and sign up.

High quality reporting which Jeff is renowned for costs money, so I also hope you’ll be an early paying customer. (It’s really cheap, only $9.95 a month.) But you can also sample the wares for free for a while, beginning in mid-September.

Weaponized Information: Disinformation and Narrative Warfare

Dr Ajit Mann and Mr Paul Cobaugh explain Narrative Warfare and discuss some of the security issues associated with this often misunderstood form of warfare.

Modern Day Minutemen and Women: or how to save the 2020 election Kindle Edition

Another informative publication the contents of which are important anytime but especially now! By Paul Cobaugh

In the wake of foreign interference in the 2016 election, America’s 2020 election is still under assault by foreign enemies. This book, a first of its kind walks readers through Russian Narrative Warfare, why it worked and why we must mobilize true patriots in order to protect our birthright of free and fair 2020 elections. Influence operations are one of the single most effective weapons against the US and one in which we are grossly unprepared.

Russian and Soviet Information Operations against the west

KGB Defector Yuri Bezmenov reveals Russian Subversion Tactics – Full Interview (2016)

 

KGB Spies Who Invented Fake News | NYT Opinion

 

How Disinformation Is Taking Over the World | NYT Opinion

Although this video concentrates on the USA narrative warfare continues to be misunderstood by many western nations including the UK along with its power as a socio-political and economic weapon which also supports kinetic warfare.

Why the U.S. Is Vulnerable to an Iranian Cyberattack | WSJ

February 2020

U.S. tensions with Iran have escalated after the assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and experts are worried about retaliatory cyberattacks. Cybersecurity expert John Hultquist and WSJ’s Dustin Volz discuss what new tactics hackers have at their disposal and whether the U.S. is prepared to defend itself. Photo illustration: Alexandra Cardinale.

Narrative Warfare (MA Global Security)

More on the MA in global security: https://spgs.asu.edu/global-security-ma

Ajit Maan, a new professor of practice in the School of Politics and Global Studies and an affiliated faculty member with the Center on Future of War, was in Tempe this July to film a lecture for her first semester teaching online at Arizona State University. Maan is an internationally-recognized security and defense analysist and narrative strategist. In 1999, she published her breakthrough theory of Internarrative Identity. Then in 2014 Maan published, Counter-Terrorism: Narrative Strategies, which focuses on deconstructing dominant and coercive narratives and demonstrates how certain narrative structures lend themselves to manipulation and how the weaknesses of those structures can be exploited. Most recently, in 2017, she coined the term “Narrative Warfare” to refine what has been referred to as information wars and psychological warfare

The Coronavirus Disinformation System: Useful links

Russian pro-Kremlin media have mounted a “significant disinformation campaign” to aggravate the coronavirus pandemic crisis in western countries by destroying confidence in the emergency response, according to an internal EU report. 

The effort aims to stoke “confusion, panic and fear” and stop people obtaining good information about the contagion, as part of a broader strategy to “subvert European societies from within”, the European diplomatic service analysis says… Read more

https://www.ft.com/content/d65736da-684e-11ea-800d-da70cff6e4d3

EEAS SPECIAL REPORT: Disinformation on the CORONAVIRUS – Sort Assessment of the information environment

The Coronavirus Disinformation System: How It Works

Fighting disinformation fighting facts from fiction

https://ec.europa.eu/info/live-work-travel-eu/health/coronavirus-response/fighting-disinformation_en

Stemming the Tide of Global Disinformation

Council on Foreign Relations

Panellists discuss the extent of disinformation, its impact on democracy, and what can be done to prevent, mitigate, and stop its spread.

Although the panellists discuss threats against American democracy it is important to stress all democratic nations continue to be bombarded with disinformation from state and non-state players and disinformation is a serious global issue.

Speakers

Paul M. Barrett

Deputy Director, Center for Business and Human Rights, NYU Stern School of Business; Adjunct Professor of Law, NYU School of Law

Amanda Bennett

Director, Voice of America

Richard Stengel

Former Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Author, Information Wars: How We Lost the Global Battle Against Disinformation, and What We Can Do About It.

Presider

Nicholas Thompson, Editor in Chief, Wired Magazine

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) promotes itself as:  “an independent, nonpartisan membership organisation, think tank, and publisher.”