Information warfare is a central field of the so-called modern hybrid war. Currently, states and media outlets around the world simultaneously act in the power struggle, formulating narratives and providing different versions on the most diverse topics. It is in this context that the whole controversial issue of fake news and conspiracy theories arise, seeking to form specific stories for certain facts, always considering the strategic interests behind those who disseminate this information. In the age of the internet, mass media and the information society, building narratives and delivering biased news are important geopolitical weapons.
Currently, we see the clash of narratives that is taking place in the USA, where accusations against Russia of collusion with the Taliban terrorist group arise. Such accusations were made public with the publication of an article by the New York Times, in which it was reported that US intelligence agents (maintaining anonymity) had leaked information about an alleged request by the Russian government for the Taliban to carry out attacks on American soldiers in the Afghanistan in exchange for “rewards”. Even without presenting any evidence of the allegations, the article quickly spread over the internet, being widely disseminated worldwide.
As a result of the publication of the article, many events were triggered. Diplomats from the Russian embassy to the US claim to have received threats because of the published article. On social media, the Embassy demanded a retraction, classifying the New York Times piece as fake news. There was a formal request for American authorities to comment on the case, and then the Pentagon and the White House explicitly stated that American intelligence has no data to support the claims made by the media. Several government officials commented on the case, including defense secretary Mark Esper and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who vehemently denied the New York Times’ baseless allegations.
However, the controversy did not stop there. The newspaper published a new article rebutting criticism and reaffirming its position, accusing the American government of hiding information about the links between Russia and Taliban. Consequently, the tension has worsened even more and the scenario that is currently seen in America is one in which government and media diverge in their narratives about the fact, showing a real instability in the whole of American society. Perhaps, by the way, this is the objective behind all this controversy.
Who is behind the New York Times? Who do these accusations benefit from? And who do they harm? These are the questions that come up with the case. Let’s imagine that such data has actually leaked from the secret service and is “real”: when the American press reveals that it received such data from members of the intelligence service, it is also showing that American intelligence agents leak confidential information from their own country; in other words, it is demoralizing the American intelligence service. The intention cannot be other than to attack the government itself and its entire structure. However, the absence of evidence and denial on the part of the government makes it clear that the supposedly leaked “data” is not real and that it is all a dangerous framework to affect any cooperation between the United States and Russia.
It is true that, despite many impasses, relations between the United States and Russia, under Donald Trump, are reasonably stable – more stable than the American Deep State would like them to be. Damaging these relations, aggravating tensions and turning civil society more and more against Russia is the objective of this network of individuals and organizations that articulate strategies behind government public formalities. And the mainstream mass media seems to be at the service of the Deep State, not the American president.
The threats suffered by Russian diplomats and the lack of confidence in the American government’s security service – a service that, according to the New York Times, leaks confidential information – are the result of this scenario of tensions that tends to favor the Deep State. In this scenario, any radical speech against Russia and any more aggressive foreign policy proposal gains strength in an election year. However, a little more careful analysis is enough to know who really has close relations with terrorists in the Middle East: the United States continues to negotiate with the Taliban for a peace agreement in Afghanistan and there is no pronouncement from the mainstream American media about this.
This is just another case of strategic information manipulation for political and even military purposes. The information war remains active. Around the world, several authors are denouncing the violent protests and the toppling of statues as a hybrid war tactic that is being used by the Deep State against the current American government. Perhaps, this is the next step of this war.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.