The Russia watchTrump on 2016: “Other” countries, not Russia, may have meddled; Russia manipulated GMO debate; toxic tales, and more

Published 8 March 2018

· Trump splits from the intelligence community: “Other countries and other individuals” may have meddled in the 2016 election

· Michael McCaul and Mark Meadows: Resist Russian manipulation and stay united

· Russia’s propaganda war: Here’s how the West can fight disinformation from Moscow

· How Russia tried to turn America against GMOs and agricultural biotechnology and sow ideological discord

· U.S., Baltic states discuss Russian “threat” to European security

· The leaked NSA spy tool that hacked the world

· Report: Mueller has evidence Seychelles meeting was to set up Russian back-channel

· U.K. vows to respond if Russian ex-spy’s suspected poisoning linked to Moscow

· Toxic tales: A review of political poisonings

· Information warfare: Fake news is old news

Trump splits from the intelligence community: “Other countries and other individuals” may have meddled in the 2016 election (Thomas Sheth, Business Insider)
In another public departure from the US intelligence community’s assessment, President Donald Trump said Tuesday that “other countries and other individuals” may have interfered in the 2016 US election. “The Russians had no impact on our vote,” Trump said during a press conference. “Certainly there was meddling. Probably there was meddling from other countries and other individuals.”

Michael McCaul and Mark Meadows: Resist Russian manipulation and stay united (Reps. Michael McCaul and Mark Meadows, Washington Examiner)
During the decadeslong Cold War, the Soviet Union spread false information throughout the U.S. to deceive the public about our government. This deceiving tactic was known as “dezinformatsiya.” Almost 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and many attempts by the U.S. to become international partners with Russia, Moscow is once again embracing its role as an American adversary. Through the exploitation of social media, the Russian government is recycling yesterday’s tactics with today’s technology. Its goal is to sow discord within our country and undermine trust in our public institutions. By pursuing a strategy of chaos, they are attempting to create division among our people and allies.

Russia’s propaganda war: Here’s how the West can fight disinformation from Moscow(Christina Maza, Newsweek)
Western countries need to go beyond simply acknowledging that Russian propaganda is a problem and begin countering disinformation campaigns, according to a new report released Wednesday by the Washington-based think tank the Atlantic Council.

How Russia tried to turn America against GMOs and agricultural biotechnology and sow ideological discord (Andrew Porterfield, Genetic Literacy Project)
How serious was secret Russian interventionism when it comes to creating public discord over US farming and agricultural trade policy? We may never know for sure, but a stream of recent revelations provide some context as to how Russia is trying to benefit from its recent rejection of Western biotechnology and embrace of organic farming.

U.S., Baltic states discuss Russian “threat” to European security (RFE/RL)
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has discussed ways to counter the Russian “threat” with his counterparts from the Baltic states, the State Department says. The United States and three NATO allies — Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – “agreed to deepen their cooperation to combat Russia’s disinformation efforts and malicious cyberactivity,” a statement said on March 6.

The leaked NSA spy tool that hacked the world (Lily Hay Newman, Wired)
An elite Russian hacking team, a historic ransomware attack, an espionage group in the Middle East, and countless small time cryptojackers all have one thing in common. Though their methods and objectives vary, they all lean on leaked NSA hacking tool EternalBlue to infiltrate target computers and spread malware across networks.

Report: Mueller has evidence Seychelles meeting was to set up Russian back-channel (Sari Horwitz and Devlin Barrett, Washington Post)
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has gathered evidence that a secret meeting in Seychelles just before the inauguration of Donald Trump was an effort to establish a back channel between the incoming administration and the Kremlin — apparently contradicting statements made to lawmakers by one of its participants, according to people familiar with the matter.

U.K. vows to respond if Russian ex-spy’s suspected poisoning linked to Moscow (Wiktor Szary and Jason Douglas, Wall Street Journal)
U.K. counterterrorism police aiding probe into sudden strickening of man and his daughter at mall

Toxic tales: A review of political poisonings (Daily Star)
Since ancient times, poisoning has been a favored method of bumping off political adversaries, with historians still debating if Cleopatra, Napoleon and Alexander the Great were assassinated this way.

Information warfare: Fake news is old news (Strategy Page)
Since late 2016 there have been frequent accusations of Russia interfering in American elections. This was accomplished by using government directed messages to be posted, on a massive scale, in social media and other online sites. One aspect of this that didn’t attract much media attention was that this technique, and its use by foreign governments in the United States, was nothing new. This sort of thing has been widely used on the Internet for over a decade and for generations before that there was “astroturfing” (creating fake “grass roots” support with a variety pre-Internet techniques) and more lavishly funded Soviet efforts called dezinformatsiya (disinformation) operations.