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Bryan MacDonald

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The Atlantic Council: Experts on the Front Line of Disinformation

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NATO's academic wing has been warning about disinformation for years. And it's no wonder when its staff and contributors are so well-versed in the practice themselves.

The Atlantic Council is an organization dedicated to discussion between people who hate Russia and folk who really, really hate Russia. Thus, amid the current hysteria, it’s Christmas every day for its assorted staff and “fellows” or, to use a more accurate term, ‘lobbyists.’

For the uninitiated, it’s difficult to explain what exactly the Atlantic Council does. Essentially, the club exists to influence the information space to justify NATO’s continued existence. It does that by either employing Russia’s opponents directly or offering retainers to journalists and media analysts who can be relied upon to push the outfit’s anti-Russian stance. Which, of course, is its lifeblood.

While the Atlantic Council is set-up to promote antagonism toward Russia, it also needs it. Because if Russia combusted tomorrow, everyone on the payroll would be out of a job. So, it’s like the famous U2 song “I can’t live, with or without you.” But unlike the protagonist of that ditty, these guys don’t give themselves away. Instead, this NATO adjunct is lavishly funded, by a roll call of famous entities.
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‘Prague Calling, Prague Calling’ - The Alternative Reality of RFE/RL

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“Germany calling, Germany calling, Germany calling.” During the Second World War, those words meant only one thing - that William Joyce was on the radio and spewing his unique brand of anti-British bile.

Known as “Lord Haw Haw,” the American-born Joyce tried to convince the British public, in a sneering and sarcastic tone, that resistance to the Nazi military machine was futile and defeat was inevitable. From Berlin, he blasted out crude agitprop about the weakness of Britain, and its leaders, and the superiority of the German system.

Nowadays, a few hundred kilometers down the road in Prague, there’s an heir to “Lord Haw Haw’s” crown of thorns. The dubious honor belongs to Brian Whitmore of the American state-broadcaster RFE/RL, who sits in front of a wall mounted image of Moscow’s Kremlin, five days a week, and tells the world how awful the country is. The video blog, known as the “Daily Vertical” is such a laugh that I’ve been keeping an occasional eye on it since its host became embroiled in a public spat with the noted journalist Ben Aris.
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A Russian Buildup in Syria? The Propaganda Machine Strikes Again

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Somebody wants the Saudis and their Arab neighbors to believe that Russia is intensifying its presence in Syria. That possibly explains a hysterical propaganda overload this weekend.
 
They seek them here, they seek them there. According to certain elements of the US media, Russian soldiers are everywhere. At this stage, the moon is probably the only place you are safe. Then again, maybe they are readying copy which 'proves' that the Russians are hiding on the dark side. Or perhaps even they believe that such an accusation would be a bridge too far.

Russian military personnel have always been in Syria. Moscow has a base there. Furthermore, Vladimir Putin has hardly hidden the fact that his government has fulfilled defense contracts with Damascus. That would require trainers on the ground.

So why did Russia’s involvement in Syria suddenly become such massive news? Is it because relations between the Kremlin and Saudi Arabia are rapidly improving? Or maybe it's down to Washington's fears that Moscow may decide to take out ISIS, unilaterally, or with European approval, freezing America out?
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Fragile Fact-Checking: How The Media Fell in And Out of Love With The Sikorski ‘Revelations’

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What’s worse than a junior neocon? A junior neocon trying to make a name for himself. Ben Judah’s meteoric rise, aided by his staunch anti-Russian credentials in a climate of fear, has imploded as quickly as it began.


As I learnt the hard way, when you are a young man in a hurry it’s easy to trip up. The first few times you’ll, probably, be forgiven but once it becomes a trend, even the most ardent supporters will abandon you. The fewer redeeming features you possess, the faster it’ll happen. When it has the potential to create an international diplomatic crisis, I can only assume it’s fatal to that once promising career.

On Sunday, the niche US journal Politico published a piece which, briefly, rocked the Russia-related media world. In a rambling, rabble-rousing diatribe by Ben Judah came a, seemingly amazing, scoop - Vladimir Putin had allegedly proposed, in a 2008 Moscow meeting, that Russia and Poland divide Ukraine between them. The source for this, supposed, latter-day Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was given as ex-Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski. Carl Bildt was also included — but the less said about him the better — in a veritable neocon tea party. After reading about the ostensible carve-up, I was wondering what century I was in.


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