An interesting and instructive dezinformatsiya (disinformation) attack has apparently taken place.
On the face of it this was directed against Russia, sourced from Ukraine.
A moments reflection, and considering that maskirovka (deception) may also be at play, would suggest this is a third party attack, apparently against the Russia-China relationship apparently sourcing from Ukraine.
This is worth looking at closer as it is quite interesting and instructive.
The Western conspiracy theory world of Prison-Planet / Infowars and even David Icke lit up with news of Chinese troop movements on the 9th September, 2014.
Twelve to Fifteen thousand Chinese troops, complete with artillery and other heavy weapons had apparently been moved towards the Russia-China border. The source for these alleged events was a Russian FSB border service official, who further informed of the movement that he: ‘smelled something bad’ – details that were apparently reported in the Russian media.
Into the mix was added detail about changes to Russia’s nuclear weapons doctrine, news of nuclear weapon drills and pipeline construction. Quite juicy.
The reports which outline this apparent falling out between neighbours and trading partners of the east on the 9th were from the usual suspects in the alternative media world: Infowars, Prison Planet. David Icke himself was tweeting links to yet another blog source of truth across social media.
There was a video produced with a still of some Chinese troops frozen in mid march during a parade and some narration. It should be noted that the diction of that narrator indicates that he is not a native English speaker – Neither is he Ukrainian nor Russian.
The full alternative media reports are from known non-credible sources, the gist of the narrative presented is similar across all three:
There is to be WWIII triggered by a confrontation between Russia and China: This troop movement proves it!
Now, that conclusion is broadly incredible, and at this time incorrect. It is also based on a completely unconfirmed event allegedly having taken place.
The articles are worth looking at.
Each of the articles reference some individually credible detail which is worth looking at if unfamiliar with these recent world events:
- Russia conducting nuclear drills.
- A Russian General has calling for a change to Russia’s nuclear strike doctrine: Pre-emptive strikes specifically against NATO.
NB: China is not a part of NATO.
The way these details are suggested to relate to each other is not correct. They are very separate. It is worth noting that the links are suggested by insinuation rather than reasoned argument.
The source for the unconfirmed FSB quote and troop movement details is a blog article on uainfo.org (detail) The uainfo site is described as a feed consisting of processed Ukrainian and foreign blog posts, including posts to ‘social networks’.
The piece was presented with an undated, and unlocated picture of a Chinese armoured column and text taken from here
The live journal account, v-n-zb, is a paid for account, apparently located ‘Kiev, Ukraine’ with name: ‘A pogovorit?’
The post states that the troop movement happened and FSB commented on the 6th September.
The posting indicates that is was placed on 9th September.
It is worth noting that in the uainfo post the report is stated as being ‘unconfirmed’ and uainfo is not ‘Russian media’ as was stated in the reports on Infowars, Prison-planet and elsewhere.
Some background and information that was not presented:
This was pre-planned and is a joint operation. Large movements of troops are to be expected, however, China may have other reasons for moving a large number of troops to its Eastern provinces as suggested below, if such a movement is confirmed.
Further, as the pipeline development indicates, Russia and China are currently enjoying good relations. Indeed, China appears satisfied with the oil deal it has signed with Russia and Russia is keen to supply China in order to break its dependency on European markets.
The two countries do have some problems along their border:
China has an issue with restive western provinces and Islam – the Uighur’s in particular. China has already deployed deadly force to calm its Uighur population, and even took the extreme step of banning observance of the holy month of Ramadan. The US is also seeking backing for a coalition with China against Islamic State. Islam in the western provinces is a politically sensitive topic in China.
Russia shares the problem with radical Islam, but is also dealing with a restive Siberia which wishes to split from Moscow and independently federalize.
A separate event was later reported on the 11th September.
Putin had ordered his forces in the east to undergo a major combat drill, and was visiting to inspect and test the Moscow TSB troops willingness and ability to work in war: AP, Interfax and Russia’s TVRain (among others).
It is worth noting of course that the original FSB claims / rumours of Chinese Troop movements are not mentioned in anywhere here, or elsewhere for that matter. Being unconfirmed, that is to be expected. However, despite that, some on social media did attempt to form a false link between the two events. eg: this tweet
The disinformation here is interesting, as is the path it apparently took to get into the alternative media ‘mainstream’.
It is not clear what is the precise target: Discrediting Ukraine, targeting of Siberia / China by implication relating to politically sensitive domestic issues, attacking the Russian-Chinese relationship, or just pushing some important actual world news into the alternative mainstream albeit with a somewhat warped interpretation of reality. Many on-line publications claiming to be ‘investment’ related picked the story up, which could suggest that there may have been a part economic motive to pushing this news out.
The original source, the livejournal post, seems to be more directed at Russia and against China. The video seems firmly targeted at China itself.
The intent of this piece is to discredit the reporting in relation to this unconfirmed event, but not the critical processes which could otherwise form the links. The ‘conspiracy sites’ do damage to critical independent analysis when they push discredited or fantastic stories such as this: One effect is to close down critical thought, but more importantly the process of insinuation and misguided reasoning (or absence of reason) distorts the reader’s perception of reality and capability to reason in a way that could cause harm to the reader.
This recent piece in the Atlantic, Russia and the Menace of Unreality, is instructive, and discusses how reality in Russia is being intentionally warped by the State through manipulation of its media channels. The art of spreading disinformation by suggestion and deception is very well practised by Russia.
The case presented here is similar in some respects, and demonstrates how such techniques can be deployed through social media and the other media which comprises the internet.