Tag "Ben Nimmo"

#PutinAtWar: How Sputnik Secures Russia’s Interests

Assessing the propaganda role of the Kremlin’s “news” wire By Ben Nimmo, for DFRLab On February 16, 2018, the U.S.-based company responsible for the Russian government’s “Sputnik” online service in America registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). FARA was created in 1938 to expose Nazi propaganda in the United States. It obliges “every agent of a foreign principal, not otherwise exempt, to register with the Department of Justice” and to label their publications

#PutinAtWar: Far Right Converges on “False Flag” in Syria

By Ben Nimmo, for DFRLab Pro-Kremlin, pro-Assad, and far right online communities align to claim chemical weapons attack was a “false flag” Within hours of the reported gas attack on civilians in the Syrian rebel held area of Douma on April 8, claims began circulating on social media that the attack was a “false flag” staged by the rebels, or perhaps the West. Accusations of such deception regularly follow major

Russian Narratives on NATO’s Deployment

How Russian-language media in Poland and the Baltic States portray NATO’s reinforcements By Ben Nimmo, DFRLab In July 2016, NATO member states decided to enhance the alliance’s presence in Eastern Europe on a rotational basis, with four multinational battalion-size groups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The move was intended to strengthen NATO’s deterrence and defense posture and serve as a reminder that “an attack on one is an attack

Tens of Thousands Evacuated in Ukrainian Arms Depot Explosion

By Ben Nimmo, DFRLab On March 23, 2017 at 2:46am local time, a fire started at an arms depot in Balakliya, a town near Kharkiv and approximately 150 kilometers away from the front line where Ukraine is fighting Russian/separatist forces. Source: Google Earth The arms depot is the largest in the country, according to the BBC. It is just over 2.5km long at its widest, and half that width, covering an

Lisa 2.0: How pro-Kremlin media in Germany have been using a new fake to justify an old one

By Ben Nimmo, DFRLab In early 2016, the subject of Russian disinformation shot up the agenda in Germany with the false story of a 13-year-old girl allegedly abducted and raped by migrants. A year on, the girl at the center of the case is back in the headlines in Germany, and Kremlin media outlets have been using a new round of false reporting to justify the original deception. The new

Portrait of a botnet: Uncovering a network of fake Trump supporters set up to make money from clicks

By Ben Nimmo, AtlanticCouncil’s Digital Forensic Research Lab On February 20, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, died unexpectedly in New York. One minute after the news broke on the website of Kremlin broadcaster RT, and a minute before RT managed to tweet the news, a slew of Twitter accounts posted the newsflash with an identical “breaking news” caption. Most of the accounts had a number of features

Spread it on Reddit: How a fake story about Angela Merkel led to a far-right cluster on Reddit

By Ben Nimmo, DFRLab Germany holds elections in late 2017. Analysts have already reported that Chancellor Angela Merkel is being targeted with fake news and online attacks, espceially from hyperpartisan and conspiracy sites. In this report, the DFRLab tracks one fake story about Merkel posted on Reddit, revealing a cluster of sites supporting populist and far-right politicians in Europe. On December 23, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was given an unexpected

Three thousand fake tanks

How a network of conspiracy sites spread a fake story about US reinforcements in Europe By Ben Nimmo, DFRLab On January 4, a little-known news site based in Donetsk, Ukraine published an article claiming that the United States was sending 3,600 tanks to Europe as part of “the NATO war preparation against Russia”. Like much fake news, this story started with a grain of truth: the US was about to reinforce

Vilify and Amplify: How the Kremlin’s Disinformation Machine is Attacking the MH17 Probe

The Kremlin has turned its disinformation machine on those who are investigating the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine in July of 2014, using state employees, state-run media, and the state-run, though unacknowledged, “troll factory” of fake Internet accounts. The primary goal of the media attacks has been to undermine the credibility of citizen journalist group Bellingcat, an independent researcher into the crash. [Editor’s note: Eliot Higgins, the

How has Russia Weaponized Information?

In CEPA’s latest report, Edward Lucas and Ben Nimmo describe the Kremlin’s ongoing disinformation campaign to subvert both international onlookers and its domestic population. CEPA Infowar Paper No. 1 describes the mechanisms Russia has employed to distort information during the Ukraine crisis, highlighting their sophistication, intensity, and range. Policymakers in the United States and Europe, distracted by issues such as migration, economic upheaval, unrest in the Middle East, and heightened

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