So, the election-meddling Putin-Nazi disinformationists are at it again! Oh yes, while Americans have been distracted by Russiagate, Obstructiongate, Redactiongate, or whatever it’s being called at this point, here in Europe, we are purportedly being bombarded with Russian “disinformation” aimed at fomenting confusion and chaos in advance of the upcoming EU elections, which are due to take place in less than two weeks.
The New York Times reports that an entire “constellation” of social media accounts “linked to Russia and far-right groups” is disseminating extremist “disinformation,” “encouraging discord,” and “amplifying distrust in the centrist parties that have governed for decades.” These accounts share some of the same “digital fingerprints,” and are engaging in “tactics” similar to the “tactics used in previous Russian attacks,” notably the Kremlin’s notorious mass-brainwashing of millions of defenseless African Americans with those deceptive anti-masturbation memes during the 2016 elections.
Now, this is not just a bunch of nonsense dressed up with authoritative-sounding lingo. No, The Times spoke to “analysts” and “advocacy groups,” which informed them that certain websites in Italy “share the same signatures” as certain other websites sharing certain “pro-Kremlin views.” Moreover, two “political groups” in Germany used the same Internet service providers as those “Russian hackers” who attacked our democracy by stealing those Democratic Party emails that transformed Americans overnight into a nation of Trump-loving white supremacists!
That hasn’t happened here in Europe yet, but I’m not sure how much longer we can hold out against this relentless onslaught. According to an “analysis” concocted by some cloud-based cybersecurity firm and authoritatively cited by Politico, at this point, “more than half of Europeans might have seen some form of disinformation” spread by “Russians” on social media. They might have been exposed to “extremist views” and “amplified content” possibly produced by the far-right Alternative for Germany party, and even (God help them!) supporters of Brexit.
SafeGuard Cyber (the cybersecurity firm in question, which offers “digital risk protection and empowers businesses to embrace new technologies,” or whatever mumbo jumbo it says on their website) identified, and is now presumably surveilling on a more or less around the clock basis, “a vast network of automated social media accounts allegedly controlled by Russian actors” which is spreading this “amplified extremist content.”
Although Politico “was unable to independently verify” whether the social media accounts the SafeGuard Cyber analysis “identified” (and used to generate a meaningless graph) were in any way actually linked to Russia, and although SafeGuard Cyber would not provide Politico with a list of the users it assured Politico were “linked to Russia,” SafeGuard Cyber’s CTO informed Politico that his team of experts had used “more than 50 identifiers,” among them, the location from which the messages were sent and “activity linked to Russian interests,” to identify these “Russian actors” who are exposing innocent Europeans and expatriate Americans like myself to Lord knows what kind of jargon-laden, dangerously amplified, extremist content in order to disinform and confuse us.
And it’s not just the upcoming EU elections that the Putin-Nazi disinformationists are targeting. An outfit called Global Security Review, which “publishes objective, solutions-oriented insight into geopolitical issues” which can be authoritatively referenced by the corporate media to lend whatever story they are pushing an air of credibility, warn that Russia is conducting a campaign to “overwhelm democracies” with disinformation! According to the experts at GSR, Putin-Nazi disinformationists working for Russia Today and Sputnik brainwashed the citizens of Catalonia into voting for their independence from Spain with a network of bots (or “zombie accounts”). In France, they brainwashed the Gilets Jaunes protesters into attacking the windows of upscale stores and setting fire to luxury vehicles by “magnifying the brutality of the French police,” who have been doing their utmost to show restraint as they shoot people’s eyes out with rubber bullets and indiscriminately tear-gas the hell out of everyone.
And then there’s the evil Russian spywhale, which the disinformationists want us to believe is just a harmless “therapy Beluga” for kids, but which has clearly been strapped with some sort of monstrous, mind-controlling apparatus that enables the Kremlin to remotely implant a host of dangerous “populist” ideas in the brains of defenseless Norwegian fishermen, weaponizing them into a horde of neo-Odinist Viking berserkers who will scream down out of Scandinavia and storm the EU Parliament in Brussels smelling of akvavit and fermented shark.
These Putin-Nazi disinformationists are not to be confused with the corporate media, or other sources of real information, like SafeGuard Cyber, Global Security Review, Bellingcat, Integrity Initiative, The Atlantic Council, E.U. East StratCom Task Force, Foreign Policy Research Institute, and countless other companies, foundations, think tanks, and intelligence agency fronts. These are legitimate information providers, who would never try to disinform the public to serve any sort of corporatist agenda, or to generate any kind of mass hysteria over “terrorists,” “Russians,” “fascists,” or “populists.”
OK, granted, these sources are not perfect, but it’s not like they intentionally lied about those non-existent WMDs in Iraq, or those babies that weren’t yanked out of their incubators, or those nerve gas canisters that Assad didn’t drop, or when Russia didn’t hack the Vermont power grid, or attack us with crickets, or hack into CSPAN, or “collude” with Trump via a secret server, or when Manafort didn’t meet with Assange, or when Corbyn didn’t lay a wreath for terrorists, and all the other things that didn’t happen … no, they just got their stories “wrong,” over and over, and over again.
Plus, what motive would they possibly have, these enormous corporate media conglomerates, and the transnational corporations that own them, and these intelligence agencies, and their fronts and cutouts, and corporate lobbyists and PR firms, and councils, and think tanks, and research institutes, to disinform the Western masses, or to manufacture an official narrative that allows them to systematically stigmatize, marginalize, criminalize, deplatform, demonetize, and otherwise eliminate any type of speech they deem to be “Russian disinformation,” or “extremist content,” or a “conspiracy theory,” or simply too “dangerous,” “divisive,” or “confusing” to circulate among the general public?
No … see? That makes no sense. That’s just an example of the type of fascist disinformation these Putin-Nazi disinformationists are trying to spread to confuse us to the point where we can’t even concentrate long enough to think anymore, or parse the meaningless jargon-laden nonsense they’re trying to deceive us with, and just devolve into these Pavlovian imbeciles conditioned to respond to specific trigger words, like “extremist,” “terrorist,” “fascist,” “populist,” “anti-Semitic,” “Russians,” “hackers,” and whatever other emotional stimuli we are being trained to instantly recognize and robotically react to like circus animals.
Or … I don’t know, maybe it isn’t. I’m not even sure what I’m trying to say. Probably they’ve already got to me. I’d better get back down into my anti-disinformation bunker, pull up The Guardian, or The Washington Post, or Der Spiegel on my child-proof computer, and immerse myself in some objective journalism, before the Putin-Nazi spywhale makes its way up the Landwehrkanal, takes control of what’s left of my mind, and forces me into going out and trying to vote for Hitler or something.
I recommend you do the same, and I’ll see you when this nightmare over.
C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and political satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23, is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant Paperbacks. He can be reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org.