Anyone who deals with misinformation and conspiracy myths in connection with COVID-19, 5G and climate change will soon notice that this “information” is constantly being recombined, adapted and developed. Professional campaigners recognise patterns that resemble those that arise when they work with text modules in voting and election campaigns that are created in advance as answers to all conceivable arguments and questions. These are then also adapted, developed further and combined as required. Such patterns caught our attention when we looked into the misinformation and conspiracy myths surrounding COVID-19 and 5G in March.
So we looked into the matter and came across a publication by the University of Leeds entitled «Conspiracy Theories as a Russian Public Diplomacy Tool: The Case of Russia Today»
In summary, the article examines the “use of conspiracy theories by the international Russian television channel Russia Today (RT). Starting from Mark Fenster’s definition of conspiracy theory as populist power theory, the article examines the process of how various conspiratorial ideas in RT’s programmes legitimise Russian domestic and foreign policy and thus also delegitimise the policies of the American government. It argues that, in the context of the post-Cold War world, the conspiratorial component of RT’s broadcasts appears and is used as a political tool to address different global audiences with different political views”.
One would not need to be interested in this if Russia were to interfere only in the USA. But whether intentionally or not, these conspiracy myths are spreading in Europe too, because the Internet knows no more boundaries than SARS-CoV-2. Or perhaps this is the intention. The question is whether Russia would benefit from a growing internal division and paralysis of the democracies of the West or whether it would benefit from delays in the urgently needed renewal of our mobile phone infrastructure (5G). The fact that Russia benefits from climate change has already been confirmed by climate science, and is already evident in the increasing freedom from ice in the Arctic polar sea.
This critically reviewed article by Kiril Avramov is therefore also relevant: «By Another Way of Deception: The Use of Conspiracy Theories as a Foreign Policy Tool in the Arsenal of the Hybrid Warfare»
When analysing the use of information as an offensive weapon that helps the current Kremlin’s administration to reach its meta foreign policy goals and overcome its rela- tive international isolation, we should be aware of the varied arsenal of techniques that range from targeted planting of disinformation in foreign media to fostering steady supply of “alternative histories” and outright both ontologically false and ef- fective conspiracy theories in the Russian mainstream media and social networks via its “mighty internet troll army”1 that later are picked up and endlessly duplicated and hybridized across various conventional and non-conventional media outlets through- out Central, Eastern Europe and especially in the “periphery” of the EU. All these methods and instruments bear the hallmark of “weaponization of information, culture and money”2 approach that departs radically from the so-called soft power strategy. It should be noted that this approach and its respective policy tool-kit inherits the best of the Soviet-style “active measures” psy-ops instrumentation, and specifically, the “dezinformatziya” measures that have proven to be so successful during the Cold War era. In this paper I will argue that the intensity 3,4 in the past several years of the dis- tribution of permanent targeted disinformation in the form of conspiracy theories led by diversified sources 5 has increased and represents an important informational as- pect of the hybrid warfare, as an offensive disinformation dissemination strategy for pressuring governments, political decision-makers, civic organizations and even indi- viduals in selected countries at critical junctures that deserve innovative, intensive, collective and coordinated deterrence strategic approach in terms of countering its degrading effects on national security.
Without wanting to launch another conspiracy theory, we believe this needs to be discussed. Because if, for example, resistance to pandemic control, 5G and climate protection is at least influenced by foreign countries, then we have the right to know this and to decide how we as a democratic society deal with it.
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