A Year Ago: Russia’s Info-War in Ukraine Was a Blueprint for #Pizzagate
In that light, we can look at the information war, carried out through the social media channels that we all thought were our friends, as a dress reheasal for the takeover of the U.S. government by Putin and the Kremlin.
Kind of like how the Spanish Civil War served as a dress rehearsal for World War II. The use of Stuka dive-bombers, coordinated with large tank concentration to break up resistance, and then choke the roads with refugees … all would play out a few years later in the Blitzkreig that toppled France.
Look at Pizzagate then, through fresh eyes. It’s the “Guernica” of the modern war against intelligence, reason, democracy, by the Russians.
The question is how does this sort of mentality—tantamount at times to a mass psychosis—take hold? And this is where Judah’s achievement is so clear to see. He understands that timeless elements of conflict (death, blood, hate) have fused with something greater to produce, in Ukraine, perhaps the first example of a truly “21st century war.”
As with all conflicts, the Ukraine crisis could not exist without the ‘weaponizing’ of history: That is to say, the ability of each respective side to mobilize its people through getting them to believe “horrendously garbled versions” of it.
What gave these narratives real traction, however, was their promulgation online. Armies of (often paid) users took to Twitter and Facebook to justify every Russian action and—equally if not more importantly—to create confusion and sow doubt: anything to prevent the spread of facts.
Milos Vasic, the great Serbian journalist, used to explain it like this: if the entire mainstream U.S. media were taken over by the Ku Klux Klan, it would not take long before Americans too would be crazed. People had TV sets for heads, he said. Almost a quarter of a century later, the Internet and every other means of modern communication not only have not made things better but rather, have made them worse. Now there are even more ways to spread poison, lies and conspiracy theories.
If nothing else, the Ukraine crisis has taught us that on social media, reality itself is merely one more narrative waiting to be trolled.
The Russians are winning. To listen to the reports coming out of Moscow these days, where jubilant Russians hail Putin as the “President of both Russia AND America” … they may have already won.