Politics Pentagon claims 2,000% increase in Russian trolls after Syria strikes. What does that mean?
Direct clash between US, Russia in Syria unlikely: analysts
With Donald Trump weighing strikes on Syria but Moscow warning of "grave repercussions" to any military action, an escalation seems increasingly likely even as analysts play down a direct clash between Russia and the US. Washington has promised a "forceful" response to an alleged chemical weapons attack on Saturday that killed at least 40 people in Douma, the last rebel outpost in the Syrian capital. But the Syrian regime and its backers in Moscow have denied a chemical attack took place, with Russian officials insisting the claims are a pretext to justify further intervention by the West.
SAN FRANCISCO — The Pentagon claimed a 2,000% increase in Russian troll activity on social media following theFriday night.
Spokeswoman Dana White said in Saturday's Pentagon briefing that the activity escalated during the 24 hours following the strike. "The Russian disinformation campaign has already begun," White said.
Airlines warned about 'possible' military action against Syria
A European air traffic control agency alerted airlines Tuesday to monitor the situation in the eastern Mediterranean amid possible military action by Western countries against the Syrian government in the next 72 hours. Eurocontrol, a key pan-European international aviation organization, said airlines should be prepared for any possible disruption of radio navigation equipment in the event of possible air strikes against Syria, Reuters reported.
White did not detail how the Defense Department calculated that figure, but said the Pentagon would supply "the facts, moving forward."
Questions about the alleged 2,000% increase and how it was measured swirled on social media. The Pentagon did not respond to a request for comment Sunday.
U.S. forces launched targeted missile strikes Friday at military outposts in Syria where the government was believed to have stored chemical weapons that killed dozens of civilians last weekend. Syria has denied the use of chemical weapons on its people.
Laura Rosenberger, director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy and a senior fellow at The German Marshall Fund of the United States, says her organization's Hamilton 68 dashboard has tracked "a concerted campaign to present alternative narratives to sow doubt about the evidence that Assad was responsible for the chemical attack."
What we know about the Syria strikes
The US, UK and France coordinated to launch strikes against targets within Syria in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack. This is what we know so far.
"It is good that the Pentagon is tracking this and raising awareness about it, a key step in raising our defenses," she said in an email. "But it remains unclear what the U.S. is doing to combat Russia’s disinformation efforts, which continue unabated in am effort to shape American's (and European's) debates on a wide range of issues."
A Russian troll army deployed by the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency has been accused of hijacking social media conversations to sow political division on social media, particularly during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The Pentagon has identified such efforts as a modern form of state-sponsored warfare. Last year, a Defense Intelligence report on Russian military capabilities included a section on the "weaponization" of information.
"Americans need to understand that the wars of the future will look more like this: Russia is investing significant resources to create propaganda and disinformation," Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., said in a statement Saturday. "The fog of war will not be limited to our situation rooms and battlefields. Our enemies will work to create confusion and distrust among Americans here at home."
How are the latest Syria airstrikes different from last year's?
The White House and Pentagon are insisting the airstrikes the U.S. carried out with its allies overnight differ from the strikes the U.S. conducted last April, after a different chemical weapons attack attributed to Syrian President Bashar Al Assad's regime."Mission Accomplished!" President Trump tweeted Saturday morning, after what he declared as a "perfectly executed strike.
Seven of top 10 URLs being shared by accounts tracked by Hamilton 68 were toeing the Kremlin line on Syria strikes as of Saturday morning, according to Rosenberger. As of Sunday morning, Russian-linked accounts were pushing a mix of "disinformation narratives" about the chemical attack and the poisoning of a Russian former spy in England, she said. The common link: sowing doubt about the conclusions reached by Washington and its allies about responsibility for these attacks.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Saturday's press briefing would combat false information coming from Russia, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.
"We can all see that a Russia disinformation campaign is in full force this morning," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said at a U.N. Security Council meeting Saturday. "But Russia’s desperate attempts at deflection cannot change the facts."
Mattis disputes report he wanted Congress to approve Syria strike .
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday pushed back against a report saying he had unsuccessfully urged President Donald Trump to seek congressional approval ahead of last week's air strikes in Syria.Citing anonymous military and administration officials, the New York Times said Mattis had recommended Trump get a green light from lawmakers before launching Friday's cruise missile barrage against three targets the Pentagon said were tied to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons program.
Pentagon claims 2,000% increase in Russian trolls after S yria strikes What does that mean
Pentagon claims 2000% increase in Russian trolls after S.yria strikes. What does that mean. SAN FRANCISCO — The Pentagon claimed a 2000% increase in Russian troll activity on social media...