Modern Disinformation Techniques & Mind Viruses

If you’re interested in disinformation in Europe, this interview with is a gem:

Here’s a summary which I obtained by feeding the YouTube transcript into GPT-4o (unfortunately omitting the $1.5B budget Russia has for these things, which adds to much more given lower cost per IQ hour you get there vs US):

Key Points from Interview with Jakub Kalenský on Russian Disinformation

Introduction

  • Jakub Kalenský: Specialist in disinformation, particularly Russian. Worked in the EU, Atlantic Council, now at Hybrid CoE in Helsinki.
  • Background: Former journalist in Czech Republic, with a master’s in Russian and philosophy.

Disinformation Work

  • EU vs Disinfo: Started the project in 2015 to expose Russian disinformation. Initially a small team, heavily relying on external researchers and activists.
  • Collaboration: Worked with Ukrainian organizations like StopFake and individual activists. Ukraine’s frontline experience with Russian disinformation is invaluable.

Russian Disinformation

  • Prevalence: Russia is the leading global actor in disinformation, responsible for 60% of foreign influence efforts globally and 80% in Europe.
  • Effectiveness: Disinformation is hard to measure, but opinion polls show significant belief in Russian narratives, e.g., blaming the West for the Ukraine war.
  • Impact: Disinformation campaigns can lead to real-world violence, like the Pizzagate shooter in the US or a Czech pensioner attempting to derail a train.

Channels and Strategies

  • Variety of Channels: Disinformation spreads through traditional media, social media, and even mailing lists, varying by region.
  • Not Just Social Media: Traditional media and other channels are still significant in spreading Russian narratives.
  • Learning and Adapting: Russia experiments with different messages and strategies, learning what works best.

Countermeasures and Challenges

  • Raising Awareness: Increasing awareness among politicians and the public about the threat of disinformation.
  • Resource Disparity: Russia’s disinformation efforts are significantly better funded than European counter-efforts.
  • Multifaceted Approach: Combating disinformation requires detection, awareness, strengthening information ecosystems, and punitive measures against aggressors.

Positive Trends and Successful Strategies

  • Positive Trends: Growing awareness and more aggressive rhetoric against Kremlin propaganda. However, progress is slow.
  • Successful Countries: Baltic and Nordic countries have fared better due to high media literacy, strong institutions, and cohesive societies.
  • Ukraine’s Approach: Ukraine takes the threat seriously, dedicates substantial resources, and collaborates closely with civil society.

Future Threats

  • Collaboration with Other Countries: Russia collaborates with China, Iran, and North Korea in online operations, posing a growing threat.
  • AI and Disinformation: AI can enhance the scale and linguistic quality of disinformation, requiring counter-efforts to keep pace.

Recommendations for the EU

  1. Recognize the Threat: Treat Russian disinformation as a serious military threat.
  2. Increase Resources: Substantially boost funding and personnel dedicated to counter-disinformation efforts.
  3. Comprehensive Countermeasures: Improve detection and documentation, raise awareness, repair information ecosystem weaknesses, and impose costs on disinformation actors.

On this note, it’s also worth following Eric S. Raymond known for his classic introduction to open source and who successfully beat his cancer. He tweeted this yesterday, elaborating on the evidence that western Marxism and wokeism are actually a product of hostile disinformation:

Devon Eriksen recently pointed out that today’s Marxists are hostile to space flight and off-world colonization. But in Cold War times, Marxists who ran countries were aggressively futuristic about space, treating it as the empire of their dreams.

What caused this turnaround?

To understand this, it’s helpful that to notice that spaceflight is not the only technology about which Marxist attitudes have done a 180. Nuclear power is another. More generally, where Marxists used to be pro-growth and celebrate industrialization and material progress, they’re now loudly for degrowth and renunciation.

But the history of western Marxism is more interesting than that. Western Marxists flipped to strident anti-futurism in the late 1960s and early 1970s while futurist propaganda in the Communist bloc did not end until its post-1989 collapse.

That 20-year-long disjunct was particularly strong about nuclear power, with the Soviets providing ideological support and funding to the foundation of European Green parties and the US’s anti-nuclear-power movement at the same time as they were pouring resources into nuclearizing their own power grid.

And that’s your clue. Domestic Marxism favored making power cheap and abundant, while their Western proxies pushed to keep it expensive and scarce and preached degrowth rather than expansion. Futurism vs. anti-futurism: why?

We don’t need to theorize about this. Yuri Bezmenov, a former gear in the Soviet propaganda machine, told us the answer starting in the early 1980s. Fewer people listened than should have.

Bezmenov explained that unlike Marxism in the Sino-Soviet bloc, Western Marxism was a mind virus, a memetic weapon designed to weaken and degrade its host societies from within, softening them up for totalitarianism and an eventual Soviet takeover. The West was to be denied power, both in a literal and figurative sense.

Ever wonder why today’s Marxists are so quick to make alliances with radical religious Islamists? This shouldn’t happen. According to Marxist theory, Islamism is a regression to an earlier stage of the dialectic than capitalism, and today’s Marxists ought to fear and hate it as a counter-ideology more than capitalism. But they don’t, because to them Islam is a tool to be used for nihilistic ends.

That nihilism is the actual purpose of Western Marxism and all its offshoots, including “woke”. One sign of this is how fervently it embraces the sexual mutilation of children.

The Soviets are gone but their program is still running autonomously in the brains of people who were infected by their Cold-War-era proxies and the successors of those proxies. And that program is nihilism all the way down.

Yuri Bezmenov should have been heeded. There is no simpler theory that fits the observed facts.

5 Likes