Preparing for War

Putin is a Mass Murderer

Vladimir Putin has been preparing for war for a very long time. This website, and every website in the world, is under constant attack. The majority of the attacks appear to be from sources either based in Russia, or from countries closely aligned with Russia.

I don’t want to overstate this. These attacks are not high level, highly technical and concerted attacks. For the most part the attacks are nothing more than a minor annoyance. But hosting a website has given me a specific lens on Russian strategy. I can read in the logs that Russia has been preparing for war for a very long time.

What interest could Russia possibly have in a website with an audience of two? The answer to that question lies in what has happened in every Western democracy in the past decade. Russia has used infected servers to act as “bots” or “mules” to spread misinformation and black propaganda, as well to launch cyber-attacks.

No website is too small, or too inconsequential, to be ignored. Every server hosting content on the web is targeted and targeted repeatedly. The clear objective of Russian intelligence is to disrupt and destroy democracy everywhere, in all of it’s forms.

2 thoughts on “Preparing for War

  1. “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.” -Terry Pratchett

    Psy-ops. Fostering division fosters inaction.

    For the last 7 years or so, I have suspected a Russian hand in destabilizing nations, including ours, by helping to organize the far right to act in ways which distract and diminish western democratic nations.  Chances are it was going on long before the media I follow noticed.

    Creating disinformation that trends on social media is mind bogglingly easy.  Any charismatic figurehead will do as the spark. All the enemy need do is send in the bots to upvote and like any spiteful or distrustful comments that suits their purpose–for the most part they don’t even have to write any propaganda–just “love bomb” that spark of distrust that already exists.

    But if they do want to change the message? Easy again. A well placed comment in the same figurehead’s feed, upvoted again by bots. If your charismatic figurehead is also a narcissist, he’ll be sure to make the idea his own– he may even come to believe it was his own.  Don’t like something moderate that your figurehead says? ignore it (but do NOT downvote it) again your figurehead will make the changes in behaviour for you in short order because he’s not getting the attention he craves when he isn’t on message for you. In the age of information overload, that “unliked” moderate comment will be at the bottom of the stream in less than 24 hours–it won’t be acknowledged…

    The enemy doesn’t even need a crack team of social psychologists– they’re not necessary any more for propaganda.  The technique involved is absolutely basic pairings of  Positive and Negative reinforcement.

    And the algorithms on all of the social media platforms do the work for you! The psychology that sells their platforms, their base code is designed around positive and negative reinforcement patterns!  The algorithms will make it seem as though that far right destabilizing element is larger than it really is (reality is probably in the 2% range that all true anti-social behaviour falls). Soon enough, the right leaning political party begins to believe they need to cater dramatically farther right than ever because it looks like there are a crap ton more of “them” than moderates.  After a while, “Moderately conservative” becomes an oxymoron.

    Here’s the kick in the teeth: if any government uses bots of their own to combat the disproportionate far right voice, they play right into the distrust. Even if they don’t use bots, the enemy need only claim that they do to diminish the voice of the vast majority that see through the insanity and lies.

    The enemy chose the battlefield and set the rules of engagement before anyone was even aware there was a war on. Anyone who’s studied any military history will tell you those are incredibly hard obstacles to overcome.


  2. However, I am encouraged by some things that I am seeing.

    • I’m not sure that the average Russian soldier is as invested in Russian hegemony as Putin is.  What we are seeing in the Ukraine right now is evidence that Russian troops are not willing to suffer casualties to accomplish their objectives.
    • Russian citizens are among the most highly educated, both in the sciences and the arts, of any citizens in the world.  Education inevitably leads to a diminishing of the power of despots.  I don’t think that the average Russian wants a return to Soviet era austerity, which is what will happen if Putin continues on his current path.

    I don’t think the situation is hopeless, and I don’t think global conflagration is inevitable.

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