UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


FSB - Active Measures - aktivniye meropriyatiya

Experts told the Senate Intelligence Committee on 30 March 2017 that Russia pulled off an unprecedented and wildly successful campaign to influence America's political conversation during the election campaign. "Russia hopes to win the second Cold War through the force of politics, as opposed to the politics of force," said cybersecurity expert Clinton Watts of the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Watts detailed Russia's use of cyberattacks and an elaborate disinformation campaign to confuse US voters and pit Americans against each other.

GEN (Ret) Keith B. Alexander [former Director, National Security Agency] testified that "Back in the Cold War era, if the Soviet Union sought to manipulate information flow, it would have to do so principally throughits own propaganda outlets or through active measures that would generate specific news: planting of leaflets, inciting of violence, creation of other false materials and narratives. But thenews itself was hard to manipulate because it would have required actual control of the organs of media, which took long-term efforts to penetrate. Today, however, because the clear majority ofthe information on social media sites is uncurated and there is a rapid proliferation of information sources and as other sites that can reinforce information, there is an increasinglikelihood that the information available to average consumers may be inaccurate (whether intentionally or otherwise) and may be more easily manipulable than in prior eras. It is likewise easier to generate “buzz” and “hype” about particular events or storylines (again, whether accurate or inaccurate) because of the speed at which news is conveyed amongst the population."

As ODNI made clear in 2008, the “foreignintelligence services…track[ed the] election cycle like no other” and “targeted thecampaigns…[m]et with campaign contacts and staff[,] [u]sed human source networks for policyinsights, [e]xploited technology to get otherwise sensitive data, [and] [e]ngaged in perceptionmanagement to influence policy.” [ODNI, Unlocking the Secrets: How to Use the Intelligence Community (Dec. 10, 2008), ] Indeed, Russia use of kompromat (compromisinginformation), maskirovka (military deception), and proxy assets to disseminate propaganda (bothofficial and unofficial) is likewise not new. By 2008, possibly even earlier, according to John Schindler, a National Security expert formerly at the NSA, Russia had placed moles in the highest levels of US counter-intelligence. Schindler is a security expert and former National Security Agency analyst and counterintelligence officer. A specialist in espionage and terrorism, he’s also been a Navy officer and a War College professor. He’s published four books.

Schindler wrote in 2016 that "It’s not exactly a secret that NSA has one or more Russian moles in its ranks—not counting Snowden. Now the mainstream media has taken notice and we have the “another Snowden” meme upon us. James Bamford, who’s written a lot about NSA over the decades, has taken up this meme.... by penetrating NSA you get access not just to that agency’s signals intelligence, the richest espionage source on earth, you can also crack into the top secret communications of the United States and its closest allies.... Snowden acted as cover for Moscow’s real star. A patsy, he was never the actual Russian mole inside NSA. That person or persons is still out there... "

The well-informed author of patribotics at wordpress wrote in January 2017 "... it is my surmise that some of the Russian moles inside US counter-intelligence work within the FBI’s criminal division, and particularly, within the New York field office.... [Russian intelligence] .. contacted your moles inside the NYPD/ FBI NY and told them to “suddenly find” emails that, the expectation was, could not possibly be combed through in time before the election....

"... they illegally spoke to any friendly press and the Trump campaign about putative ongoing criminal investigations into the Clinton Foundation and the matter of her email server. They told Fox News’s Brett Baier that Hillary Clinton “Would soon be indicted” and this was reported on TV, and then retracted after the damage was done. They told your agents of influence, Rudy Giuliani and X Kallstrom, that ‘a group of active FBI agents’ had demanded Comey release his letter. Both of them stated as much, Mr. Giuliani specifying ‘active’ FBI agents.... to make absolutely certain that “Trump-Russia” was suppressed and Clinton was defeated.... although Comey is a natural Republican he appeared to have played it straight. In the summer he cleared Clinton of a criminal standard of negligence. In the fall, he had been sandbagged by Russian moles inside the FBI Field Office in New York.

" ... a corrupt FBI NY Field Office guards the interest of Russian mobsters, allows them to launder their money through Trump’s “failing” casinos and building projects, makes sure that Trump being paid double for a Florida house doesn’t get investigated, allows paedophile Jeffrey Epstein to keep a mansion in New York City, ensures that Trump’s criminal taxes don’t get investigated, and sits hard enough on the NYPD that Trump can commit crime after crime in plain sight, socializing with the FBI’s most wanted mobsters, and never get charged with a damn thing. It ensures that Manafort and Stone can live in Trump tower, that Cohen’s trips on Russian-Registered private jets get washed.... "

The outgoing President of Bulgaria, Rosen Plevneliev, said in January 2017 that Russia was trying to destabilize Europe through the Balkans. According to Plevneliev, the Kremlin used various tools to undermine the EU's unity, including "propaganda" and "financing of ultra-left and ultra-right forces that are hostile to European integration." Officials in Poland and the Czech Republic expressed a similar point of view, saying that Moscow intended to destabilize Europe by triggering a refugee crisis.

In December 2016, reports emerged that the German government feared the potential influence of Russia on the 2017 parliamentary elections after the US Central Intelligence Agency accused Moscow of being behind cyberattacks against the Democratic National Committee (DNC) computer systems in an attempt to influence the November US presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.

German intelligence, in a January 2017 report prepared jointly by the Federal Intelligence Service and the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, accused Russia of systematically undermining relations between Europe and the US. BND and German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution came to the conclusion that Russia's influence in the EU could have been observed for years. In particular, Moscow tried to sharpen social conflicts, especially those existing in the West.

Americans have always been vulnerable to recruitment and targeting. During the “Golden Age” of Soviet espionage in America in the 1930s and 1940s, for example, many spies committed treason for ideological reasons, seeing the USSR as a true worker’s paradise and communism as the wave of the future.

Many of those Americans whose guilt was hotly debated were, in fact, guilty and the evidence so compelling that only the most obtuse or ideologically biased could continue to question the allegations. The USSR did indeed enlist Alger Hiss, the Rosenbergs, Harry Dexter White, Harry Gold, and many others to spy on the United States. The Communist Party USA, in spite of leader Gus Hall’s repeated denials, did receive funds directly from the Soviet Union.

Alina Polyakova, et al, writing for the Atlantic Council, November 2016, noted: "... some European politicians, experts, and civic groups have expressed support for — or sympathy with — the Kremlin’s actions.  These allies represent a diverse network of political influence reaching deep into Europe’s core.... The Kremlin uses these Trojan horses to destabilize European politics so efficiently, that even Russia’s limited might could become a decisive factor in matters of European and international security. ... Moscow views the West’s virtues—pluralism and openness—as vulnerabilities to be exploited. Its tactics are asymmetrical, subversive, and not easily confronted.... "

"Under President Vladimir Putin, the Russian government has reinvigorated its efforts to influence European politics and policy. The Kremlin’s strategy of influence includes a broad array of tools: disinformation campaigns, the export of corruption and kleptocratic networks, economic pressures in the energy sector, and the cultivation of a network of political allies in European democracies. The ultimate aim of this strategy is to sow discord among European Union (EU) member states, destabilize European polities, and undermine Western liberal values—democracy, freedom of expression, and transparency — which the regime interprets as a threat to its own grasp on power.

"Since Putin’s return to power in 2012, the Kremlin has accelerated its efforts to resurrect the arsenal of “active measures” — tools of political warfare once used by the Soviet Union that aimed to influence world events through the manipulation of media, society, and politics."

The German non-fiction author Boris Reitschuster's new book "Putin's Hidden War: How Moscow is destabilizing the West," released in April 2016 claims that there is a kind of martial arts-trained secret "army" controlled by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Germany. " According to estimates made by intelligence services, there are 250 to 300 men involved. These units develop out of martial arts schools where "Systema" - a combat sport that is linked to the Russian special unit Spetsnaz - is taught.... several people have actually been recruited. They are sent to Moscow under the pretense of advanced training. That is where they are instructed in the Spetsnaz method for Russian special forces. They are taught hand-to-hand combat, how to use explosives and firearms, and how to carry out acts of sabotage. Then they return to Germany and wait for orders from Moscow. ... Most of them are German, or they have dual citizenship: German and Russian. Most of them speak Russian. Around four million people from the former Soviet Union live in Germany.... I realized that this is nothing new; the same was done in the GDR era. It is not Putin's brainchild; it is a continuation of KGB methods."

John Hinderaker reported 27 January 2015 that "... the California-based Sea Change Foundation, one of the principal sources of money for American environmental groups. In 2010 and 2011, Sea Change gave the Sierra Club $15 million, the Natural Resources Defense Council $13.5 million, and the League of Conservation Voters $18.1 million.... Beyond Simons, Sea Change has only one source of funds: Klein Ltd."

The Environmental Policy Alliance [ a front group operated by the PR firm Berman & Co. ] reported "There have been significant questions about whether foreign interests — particularly Russian — are funding attacks on U.S. natural gas because it would hurt the Kremlin. Here we have a major foreign funder of the U.S. environmental movement tied through its Bermuda office to Russian money laundering and the Russian government. ... Klein Ltd. Klein Ltd., a corporation that “only exists on paper” and is based out of a Bermuda law firm called Wakefield Quin, gave $23 million dollars to environmental bundler Sea Change Foundation from 2010 to 2011... "

Lachlan Markay reported January 27, 2015 that "A shadowy Bermudan company that has funneled tens of millions of dollars to anti-fracking environmentalist groups in the United States is run by executives with deep ties to Russian oil interests and offshore money laundering schemes involving members of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.... One of those executives, Nicholas Hoskins, is a director at ... a company called Klein Ltd. No one knows where that firm’s money comes from. Its only publicly documented activities have been transfers of $23 million to U.S. environmentalist groups that push policies that would hamstring surging American oil and gas production, which has hurt Russia’s energy-reliant economy."

Following the astonishing victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential election, the EU leadership faced yet another shock after pro-European candidates lost presidential elections in Bulgaria and Moldova, ceding power to pro-Russian opponents. The results of Moldovan and Bulgarian presidential elections have come as yet another unpleasant surprise for the EU leadership: two pro-Russian candidates have won their respective country's presidency. "It is a step in the right direction," Russian parliamentarian Franz Klintsevich told Sputnik. "I have come to a conclusion that Russia's consistent, competent and honest position on the world arena, its aspiration not to seek dominance but to try to solve… the world's problem of international terrorism transparently, honestly and effectively [have played a substantial role in the elections' outcome]," Klintsevich emphasized. According to Klintsevich, the elections in the US, Moldova and Bulgaria have demonstrated that the nations are longing for peace. In this context their interests coincide with those of Russia, which is promoting peace.

Former CIA Director Michael J. Morell wrote August 5, 2016 of Donald Trump: "In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.... President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was a career intelligence officer, trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them. That is exactly what he did early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump’s vulnerabilities by complimenting him. He responded just as Mr. Putin had calculated."

Many right-wing European political parties are anything but shy when it comes to showing their pro-Russian sentiments. Millions of euros have also been deposited by Russian banks in the pocket of France's Front National. France's right-wing populist party, the Front National (FN), denied claims in a media report which stated that they wanted to borrow 40 million euros ($50 million) from a Russian bank. "This is fictitious, it's crazy," said party leader Marine Le Pen. "We have applied for nine million euros, and we got nine million euros." For a long time now, the Front National has been accused of receiving Russian financial support. The head of the bank is also close confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin. With regards to political party funding in France, the National Front is in trouble, as they have allegedly received no loans from French banks. So the support from Russia has come in handy.

In EU parliament, it's not only Le Pen and members of the National Front who have advocated Putin. Leader of the British right-wing UK Independence Party, Nigel Farage, and MPs of the "Alternative for Germany" party have also made Russia-friendly comments. Although pro-Russian voices were previously heard more often amongst the EU parliament's left-wing parties, a study by Hungarian policy research institute Political Capital showed that 15 of the parliament's 24 right-wing populist parties were "open" to Russia.

Andrew Foxall, writing for The Henry Jackson Society, noted in October 2016 that "Over the past five years, there has been a marked tendency for European populists, from both the left and the right of the political spectrum, to establish connections with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Those on the right have done so because Putin is seen as standing up to the European Union and/or defending “traditional values” from the corrupting influence of liberalism. Those on the left have done so in part because their admiration for Russia survived the end of the Cold War and in part out of ideological folly: they see anybody who opposes Western imperialism as a strategic bedfellow.

"When Russia seized Crimea in March 2014 ... Vladimir Putin’s behaviour broke what had seemed to be a very solid taboo.... Russia’s President found a ready-made supply of defenders, or at the very least apologists. They include those on the left who can be relied upon to stand up for the West’s enemies whoever and wherever they may be, and those on the right who see Moscow as a defender of conservative values. Many on the left and right have not been bribed, blackmailed or otherwise cajoled, but instead have taken the positions they have because of misguided ideology.

"... the Kremlin now embraces a fluid approach to ideology. This allows it to embrace activists, groups and movements who, on the face of it, have contrasting and competing aims – from the far-left, through antiglobalists, and greens, to conservatives, nationalists, and the far-right, and everything in between – but who collectively exacerbate divides and dissention in the West and, unwittingly or otherwise, create an echo chamber of Kremlin support."

Russian cyber-propaganda played a key role in favouring the pro-Kremlin 5-Star Movement during the December 2016 constitutional referendum in Italy, which resulted in the resignation of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, according to investigative reports. The 5-Star Movement has built a sprawling network of fake news sites spreading pro-Russian conspiracy theories and attacks on politicians such as Renzi,

The Kremlin denied on 14 February 2017 that it was behind media and internet attacks on the campaign of French presidential frontrunner Emmanuel Macron though his camp renewed the charges against Russian media and a hackers' group operating in Ukraine. Moscow looked favorably on the policies of far-right leader Marine Le Pen and center-right candidate Francois Fillon - both election rivals of Macron - and both had been "mysteriously spared" from Russian media criticism. Macron's strong pro-Europe stance was not to Russia's liking.

The issue of US diplomats and journalists being harassed by Russian and Soviet intelligence agencies dates back decades, though with varying degrees of seriousness. US officials have reported minor, if unnerving, incidents involving residences in Moscow and elsewhere being broken into and household items moved around, a gas stove left on, or a cigarette left burning. A 2013 report by the State Department's Inspector General said "employees face intensified pressure by the Russian security services at a level not seen since the days of the Cold War." Water faucets had been discovered mysteriously left running in apartments in the past. And on at least two occasions over the years, US officials have said diplomats have found human excrement on the floor of apartments. American diplomats were pulled over by Moscow traffic police dozens of times in early 2016, which is unusual in a city where diplomats are usually afforded leeway for minor traffic violations.

In June 2016, an accredited US diplomat was tackled outside the US Embassy in Moscow. Moscow claimed the American was a CIA officer working under diplomatic cover, a common technique used by many countries, including both Russia and the United States. In the aftermath, Moscow and Washington each kicked out two of the other side's accredited diplomats in tit-for-tat expulsions that were reminiscent of the Cold War.

Mike Eckel, writing for RFE/RL on 03 October 2016, reported that two US officials traveling with diplomatic passports were drugged while attending a conference in Russia, and one of them was hospitalized, in what officials have concluded was part of a wider, escalating pattern of harassment of US diplomats by Russia. The incident at a hotel bar during a UN anti-corruption conference in St. Petersburg in November 2015 caused concern in the US State Department, which quietly protested to Moscow. The drugged diplomats were part of a delegation of Americans attending the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, held on November 2-6 in St. Petersburg. It was the first official conference in Russia that US government representatives were allowed to travel to since the United States, the European Union, and their allies imposed sanctions on Russia for its annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

One of the Americans was incapacitated and brought to a Western medical clinic in St. Petersburg for treatment, and to have blood and tissue samples taken in order to determine precisely what caused the sudden illness. However, while the person was at the clinic, the electricity suddenly went out and the staff was unable to obtain the necessary tissue samples. The response given by Russian officials to the investigators looking into the drugging was: Without more evidence, there's nothing more we can do.

WikiLeak founder Julian Assange's internet access was cut 17 October 2016 by an unidentified state actor. Few other details were immediately available. Julian had been hiding in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for more than four years after skipping bail to avoid being extradited on sex crimes charges. The confinement hadn't prevented himg from working and WikiLeaks continued to deliver scoops, including revelations intended to damage Hillary Clinton's campaign.

The UK bank servicing RT gave notice that it will close the broadcaster’s accounts, without explanation. The UK government has denied any involvement in the bank's decision. RT’s assets were not frozen and could still be withdrawn from the accounts. The National Westminster Bank has informed RT UK that it will no longer have the broadcaster among its clients. The bank provided no explanation for the decision. “We have recently undertaken a review of your banking arrangements with us and reached the conclusion that we will no longer provide these facilities,” NatWest said in a letter to RT’s London office.

NBC News, citing “anonymous sources,” reported 17 October 2016 that the CIA would deliver ideas to the White House for "a wide-ranging ‘clandestine’ cyber operation designed to harass and ‘embarrass’ the Kremlin leadership... s to send a message to Russia that it has crossed a line.” On 14 October 2016, Vice President Joe Biden met “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd for an interview that raised serious concern in Russia. Todd opened the interview with a loaded question: “Why haven’t we sent a message yet to Putin?” After a moment of deafening silence, the VP responded: “We’re sending a message. We have the capacity to do it and it will be at the time of our choosing, and under the circumstances that will have the greatest impact.” When Todd asked if the public will know a message was sent, Biden replied, “Hope not.”

Mark Galeotti's report entitled Hybrid War or Gibridnaia Voina, argues "The West is at war. It is not a war of the old sort, fought with the thunder of guns, but a new sort, fought with the rustle of money, the shrill mantras of propagandists, and the stealthy whispers of spies. This is often described as 'hybrid war,' a blend of the military and the political, but in fact there are two separate issues, two separate kinds of non-linear war, which have become unhelpfully intertwined. The first is the way-as the Russians have been quick to spot-that modern technologies and modern societies mean that a shooting war will likely be preceded by and maybe even almost, but not quite, replaced by a phase of political destabilization. The second, though, is the political war that Moscow is waging against the West, in the hope not of preparing the ground for an invasion, but rather of dividing, demoralizing and distracting it enough that it cannot resist ... The two overlap heavily, and maybe they could usefully be regarded as the two sides of a wider form of 'non-linear war.' The instruments which make up 'political war' are also crucial to the earlier phases of 'hybrid war.' ... What has emerged, if not wholly new, is certainly a distinctive way of war."

Cambridge Analytica Chief Data Officer Dr Alex Tayler and Managing Director Mark Turnbull told an undercover Channel 4 journalist that the company has been working in Mexico and was now targeting Brazil, among other countries. "If you're collecting data on people and you're profiling them, that gives you more insight that you can use to know how to segment the population, give them messaging about issues they care about, and language and imagery they're likely to engage with," Tayler said. "We use that in America and we use that in Africa, that's what we do as a company. We've done it in Mexico, we've done it in Malaysia, and now we're moving to Brazil… Australia, China."

Brazilian prosecutors on 28 March 2018 opened an investigation into whether the London-based political consultancy acted illegally in Brazil, as controversy over the firm's data harvesting practices spread across the globe. The firm is suspected of having illegally used the data of millions of Brazilians to create psychographic profiles through its partnership with Sao Paulo-based consulting group A Ponte Estratégia Planejamento e Pesquisa LTDA.

The firm sealed a partnership with a phone application named Pig.gi and designed to provide free internet and phone credit in exchange for watching advertisements and reading sponsored stories. "Pig.gi has already been hugely successful in Mexico and Colombia," said CEO Alexander Nix 2017 in a communique, when the app recorded 200,000 users. "We're thrilled to be partnering with the app so that their partners can get the right message to the right people at the right time."

According to a map published on Cambridge's website, the company has also operated in Guyana, Peru and Argentina, although little information is available about the extent of the operations.

Channel 4 confirmed participation in the Kenyan elections of 2013 and 2017, running incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta's campaign through the use of incendiary messages and false news: Cambridge ran "every element of his campaign." He also discloses links to former MI6 agents and Israeli intelligence companies who provide Cambridge Analytica's clients with a report on "all the skeletons" in their opponents' closets.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 24-02-2020 18:28:17 ZULU