A viral video of protesters burning Bibles in Portland may have been amplified as part of Russia’s disinformation campaign.
In the video, a couple of protesters seem to throw a Bible into the fire. Although other protesters in the region did not appear to have responded to the event, the video, recorded and shared by Russia Today’s Ruptly video site, has become a media sensation. Right-wing and politicians as proof that the protesters were atheists. .
The video was pushed by Ruptly for several nights and became the top story on the Russian government news site Russia Today.
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Although it is true that a pair of protesters burned at least one Bible, the story has been misinterpreted in describing a scene where a large group of protesters burned a pile of Bibles.
Twitter user Ian Michael Cheong ̵1; Malaysian but self-identified as a right-wing US political expert – retweeted the video with the caption “Leftist activists bring a stack of Bibles to burn in court. federal judgment in Portland. ”
The video did not show the location of the fire, no more than two protesters, did not show the bible stack and did not show the political ideology of those who burned the bible.
Protesters near the fire reacted only when the American flag was thrown on the fire, then cheered.
According to local reports about the protest, another group of protesters tried to put out the fire, but the scene was not included in the Ruptly video and was not mentioned in the Russia Today story.
Mr. Cheong regularly shares videos of the protests in Portland and is not complicit in any targeted production or dissemination of the video other than re-posting.
“I certainly have no intention of talking about just one story,” said Mr. Cheong. The New York Times.
Cheong’s tweet was reposted by Republican lawmakers like Sen. Ted Cruz, who said “They are like this”, depicting all the protesters in a broad brush.
The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr, also retweeted the video.
“Now we’re going to burn books. I’m pretty sure ANTIFA doesn’t really represent what they say. Maybe just dismiss their objection. [sic] name and it’s perfect, “he wrote
There is no evidence that the Bible-burning protesters had any connection to Antifa or shared any of the political ideologies associated with the anti-fascist movements.
The New York Times reports that US intelligence officials have informed lawmakers of both secret and public Russian misinformation tactics, now believed to focus on the use of English news sites or the United States to bring stories to right-wing and left-wing news consumers capable of manipulating divisions and anger.
Long before George Floyd’s protests broke out, US intelligence officials clearly warned lawmakers that Russia might try to induce racial divisions in the country in order to provoke chaos before the war. US election 2020.
It is important to note that anonymous US intelligence officials – often used as their source The New York Times and other national media – also seen as sources of misinformation that helped sell the War of Iraq to the American public.
Officials say the Ruptly video represents Russia’s latest strategy to stir up dissent among the American public.
Unlike 2016, in which Russian intelligence allegedly used Twitter bots and fake social media accounts to come up with conspiracy theories and misinformation, intelligence officials declared strategy. The nation’s new way is to take single events, mostly like the Portland Bible fire and exaggerate their significance. .
From there, the stories were pushed to left-wing and right-wing news sites – some of which routinely sell conspiracy theories – to be amplified and used as a flare for daily political divisions. America is growing.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, said: “Russian intelligence has become more sophisticated and has more resources to use disinformation online.”
His statement was based on a State Department report examining Russian misinformation campaigns against the United States.
“The methods used in 2016 were almost primitive and strange,” he said.
Websites such as Inforos, which US intelligence officials claim to be run by Russian military intelligence, maintain conspiracy theories and misinformation about coronavirus as well as stories aimed at undermining trust. US to NATO.
Other websites, like InfoBrics, have direct ties with the KGB GRU successor intelligence agency. The website helped spread the story that former President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, was behind the downing of a Malaysian Airlines flight over Ukraine. Investigators later learned that the Russian missile was what destroyed the plane.