As far back as World War I, British propaganda already showed the world its might and effectiveness at a time of a political and military conflict. Since then, little has changed when it comes to the use of propaganda against enemies, but still, Washington and London have been perfecting this war tool as well as means of disseminating it.
The technological revolution in recent decades yielded quite an effective way of disseminating propaganda, such as the Internet and online social networks. Incidentally, the ability to control internet traffic and such networks as Twitter and Facebook has not only enabled the United States to effectively use these tools to wage propaganda and information wars during global conflicts, but to also suppress alternative news sources that publish objective information about the USA and appropriate criticism of its actions. In recent times, these restrictive measures, labelled as the ‘fight against Russian and Chinese propaganda machines’, that block articles critical of United States’ and Britain’s actions, published by alternative media outlets, have been actively used by Washington to wage its information war. Information from these alternative news sources has been blocked from the Google search engine, and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter (the New Eastern Outlook was among media outlets labelled as alternative on orders from Washington).
Many articles and research papers have already been written on the role of messengers and social networks, as used by the West, in organizing ‘color revolutions’ in Ukraine and a number of other CIS countries, the Arab Spring in North Africa and other similar ‘special’ operations to take over government structures. A key condition for a successful dissemination of disruptive content is sufficient penetration of the country’s market by a specific messenger (and internet providers, in general), in addition to lack of oversight over the entire social network and messenger segment in the nation.
Under the guise of a concrete pressing issue (a factual problem, often a social one, concerning violations of rights of certain individuals or segments of a community), chosen by Western propaganda masters waging the information war, a targeted message containing half-truths is sent via messengers with the expectation that it will cause a strong reaction from individuals, which can then be transformed into mass demonstrations and “social unrest” (as is the case, for example, in Hong Kong on orders from Western elites). The key when disseminating such information is speed. Within a short period of time, all kinds of details and witness testimonies are added to a piece of fake news, which is spread by the willing propaganda machine and non-profit organizations to a multi-million person audience.
Nowadays, millions of dollars are allocated from national budgets for such purposes by Washington and London. For example, during the financial year (that will end on 1 October), the White House set aside $661 million to finance the US Agency for Global Media (USAGM, formerly the Broadcasting Board of Governors, BBG), which engages in anti-Russian propaganda activities. And for the next financial year, $680.4 million has already been allocated. Modernization of the USAGM continues with the aim of improving its ability to use digital media outlets and television, for instance, a 24-hour digital channel called Current Time in the Russian language has been created. Capabilities of US allies are also being actively taken advantage of in order to establish a ‘broad front’ on which to wage the information warfare on, and thereby spread propagandist messages about dangers posed by Russia at times, or China, Iran and other opponents of Washington at other times to the public.
Washington allocates substantial resources, necessary for such work, to support and directly finance certain media outlets, and even television and radio networks, within Russia itself. This is also evidenced in a report, issued by the US Department of State, on an inspection of the BBG in 2013, which was temporarily declassified some time ago. And in the budget request for 2017 presented by the BBG, page 34 shows funds spent on ‘providing alternatives to counter Russian pressure’ and even specific Russian media outlets such as ‘RBC, Echo Moskvy, and Dozhd’.
While accusing Russia, China and other countries (who pursue their own policies independent of those of the United States) of spreading propaganda, the US Department of State deems one of its key priorities to be the battle against state media outlets of Russia, Iran and China. In fact, Heather Nauert, the Acting Under Secretary of State, made an official statement to this effect in March 2018.
According to alternative US media outlets, Washington has engaged the US Department of Homeland Security and numerous media outlets in systematic information warfare against Russia and its demonization by the spread of false information (including news about Russia’s interference in elections), with all of these organizations receiving funds on a regular basis from the US budget.
In fact, website The Unz Review has openly stated “…. the United States no longer has a media. It has a propaganda ministry for the military/security complex, the neoconservatives, and the Israel Lobby.”
American economist, and political and economic observer Paul Craig Roberts has highlighted that by waging an information war, all the false accusations spread during the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations resulted in military attacks against these unfairly demonized ‘culprits’. Hence, today, Russia, China and Iran have every right to ask the following question: “Will an attack follow the current propaganda campaigns against these nations and their demonization?”. Still, according to Paul Craig Roberts, it is irresponsible and imprudent to endlessly provoke nuclear powers such as Russia and China.
So will Washington, which has been waging propaganda wars (i.e. engaging in McCarthyism), heed this warning?
Vladimir Platov, an expert on the Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.