DEFENCE STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS ISSN: 2500-9486 DOI: 10.30966/2018.RIGA.6
1 ISSN 2500-9478 DOI 10.30966/2018.RIGA.6 Defence Strategic Communications Editor-in-Chief Dr. Neville Bolt Managing Editor Linda Curika Editor Anna Reynolds Editorial Board Professor Nancy Snow Professor Nicholas OShaughnessy Professor Mervyn Frost Dr. Agu Uudelepp Dr. Nerijus Maliukevicius Thomas Elkjer Nissen, MA Matt Armstrong, MA Defence Strategic Communications is an international peer-reviewed journal. The journal is a project of the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence (NATO StratCom COE). It is produced for scholars, policy makers, and practitioners around the world. All rights reserved by the NATO StratCom COE. The journal and articles may not be copied, reproduced, distributed or publicly displayed without reference to the NATO StratCom COE. The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of NATO StratCom COE. NATO StratCom COE does not take responsibility for the views of authors expressed in their articles. NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence Riga, Kalnciema iela 11b, Latvia LV1048 www.stratcomcoe.org Ph.: 0037167335463 email@example.com
2 ISSN 2500-9478 DOI 10.30966/2018.RIGA.6 Defence Strategic Communications
3 FOREWORD Over the last three years this journal has sought to deepen the foundations undertaken this task by encouraging a debate between not only scholars but policy makers, practitioners, and writers of military doctrine. And into this community we have welcomed the contributions of journalists schooled in the at least, under the nomenclature of Strategic Communications. Often that very label is misleading and we are tempted to interpret the themes and ideas to which it attaches in a way that barely scratches the surface of history. Forgetting that societies have for thousands of years engaged in communicating politically, we often neglect the point that persuasion and coercion, and the continual calibration between the two, sit at the heart of humanitys exercise of power. Communications origins have been myopically accredited to business affairs or geopolitics over the last two decades. NATO traces its public use of the term to the Bucharest Summit a decade ago in April 2008. But the story doesnt start there. Nor indeed does it end there. NATO considers public diplomacy, public affairs, military public affairs, information operations, and psychological operations all to sit within the co-ordinated remit of its Strategic Communications. Some of
4 apply within their national security cultures. Despite NATOs investment in research, doctrine, and terminology, when trying to separate out these sometimes troublesome concepts, a host of others by real people in the world of political communications are absent from this list. How should political marketing, advertising, corporate branding, nation branding, public relations, and most uncomfortably, propaganda be understood in the same roll call? Strategic Communications entails the long-term shaping and shifting of based on values and interests, that encompass everything an actor does to achieve objectives in a contested environment. This speaks more to process. To apply that to intention and attainment in the world of politics, it addresses the projection of foreign and security policies aimed at changing the attitudes and behaviour of targeted audiences to achieve strategic effects, using words, images, actions and non-actions in the national interest or the interest of a political community. Strategic Communications recognises that time is both its friend and its enemy. By contrast, crisis communications, and the more malleable short-term crises in politics and set-backs at the corporate or personal image level. Strategic Communications is usually directed at foreign governments and their populations. But when digital information technologies perpetually breach sovereign borders and what was in the analogue era a national broadcast conceive of it as some kind of hermetically sealed message projection directed at foreign states. Feedback and blowback operate in split-second dynamic loops. What makes Strategic Communications strategic is a recognition that one having set out from a less than ideal starting place while moving towards an unstable end-point. By the same token, it has largely freed itself from the classical limits. Namely, that its aims and activities must be associated with the pursuit or cessation of war, understood as kinetic engagement. Nevertheless, as much as a number of military-minded scholars might favour one interpretation yet other politically-centred thinkers decline these constraints, there is often consensus
5 or otherwise. Not so far, then, from the linear maxim of communications that held sway some 70 years ago: namely, Harold Lasswells who says what in which channel to whom with what effect. a holistic undertaking. When formulated by states we talk of cross-government or whole of government approaches, of fusion, and of different ways of treating information in the states armoury. DIME Diplomatic, Information, Military, Economics, with its distinct preserves, is challenged increasingly in the instantaneous and digitally-connected 21 st century, so that Information becomes subsumed into those other three pillars of state engagement, DME. Nevertheless, historians may argue it was ever thus. For thousands of years, states or administrative elites seeking to control populations and challenge foreign elites for resources and control of territory, have always mobilised the full array of assets at their disposal. the Amarna Letters was unearthed at the ancient site of a pharaonic palace in Egypt. What this correspondence with Egypt revealed was an early record of a system of international relations (nearly 3,500 years ago) between great powers, independent powers, and vassal states where its leaders called themselves Great King while conducting diplomacy, strategic affairs, marriage, and trade as part of a brotherhood. This system of palaces built nearly 3,000 years ago in Assyrian Mesopotamia bear witness of science, medicine, literature, magic, and statecraft. A blend of coercion and elites and terrify populations in places like Nimrud, Nineveh, and Babylon.
6 They serve also to remind us of more recent messaging campaigns into those Operations Task Force (IOTF) of the US, ISIS/Daesh, and Iran spring to mind. conveniently bundled up and labelled as ethics only to be shelved for a later conversation. At a time when there is a growing demand among younger generations in Western societies to engage with values, so little effort is made to refresh those ethical codes that should govern our political behaviour. Strategic Communications is shot through with tensions. But it is nothing if not an of a set of actions. Understandable when human beings set out to persuade or coerce others into embracing what the sudden recipient of attention had previously not considered or even resisted doing, then the dichotomy between truth and lies is never far from the surface. These shades of grey hanker after a black and white morality, a simplicity to take us beyond digestible notions of power soft, hard, smart, and of force hard power has always been a home for both threat or punishment (implicit or explicit use of military violence). Use of persuasion and attraction soft and sharp have always played host to cooperation and on occasions withdrawal of that friendliness (economics and trade), often to devastating effect. Do we ever think: who gets to call themselves Strategic Communicators? Put that states do. Then we elide uncritically to insurgent movements, political parties, and further down the scale to individuals. Where should we draw the line and why? If Strategic Communicators are not to slip into being simply political communicators and even further individual communicators, they must retain relationship to it. Countries usually position their policies in the national interest, demarcating their own sovereignty. Does that invite insurgent movements who use both persuasion and coercion to join the Strategic Communicators destruction, fostering emergent institutions and statist ambitions. By contrast, al-Qaeda has never sought the trappings of sovereign statehood. Are they not Strategic Communicators? Many almost household names in different ways they wanted to be recognised as states-in-waiting.
7 A priority for an academic journal such as Defence Strategic Communications is to of who can count themselves legitimately as Strategic Communicators goes beyond a state on state, state on sub-state, or state on trans-state challenge. We should go discovering in these turbulent political times that illiberal democratic governments are challenging the freedoms that populations are keen to ascribe to democracy. Russia, with its cloak of electoral democracy, does not recognise the term Strategic Communications. But they know what we mean: for them the projection of foreign and security policy obviates the need for neologisms. China, meanwhile, to speak the language of diplomacy. Wherein lies the problem in our own tradition because we do baulk at the P word, burdened by the legacy of two World Wars (perhaps even the obfuscation of truth-telling over Vietnam, Afghanistan, and on all sides of ideological divides. To the average woman and man on the street in the West, however, propaganda simply means to tell lies for political gain. And Strategic Communicators dont do that, do they? According to certain academics, that popular understanding is to completely misunderstand propaganda. An uphill battle of persuasion it may seem, but typology everything we communicate is propaganda: propaganda is everything. For fellow academic Philip Taylor, propaganda can only succeed when it incorporates elements of something the population chooses to recognise as a truth. As he puts it, myth needs to be rooted in some reality if propaganda is to succeed. Similarly, the scholar Nicholas OShaughnessy describes it as a willing co-production between government and people that is best framed in an all-consuming mindset. Each of these conclusions explores a different ethical dilemma and complicates any discussion of persuasion and coercion, otherwise known as Strategic Communications. ideology of liberal democracy. By visiting different parts of the world with their divergent problem sets, we gain insights into how alternative perspectives can th issue of Defence Strategic Communications we welcome contributions from different regions and continents.
8 We also look back in time in search of a genealogy that will help us shine a light on the path into the future. If Strategic Communications is to grow as an academic studies to the 16th century European Counter-Reformation. Italian scholar, Filippo Tansini is searching for the origins of early modern practice of Strategic Communications in 16th and 17th century Venetian opera and theatrical performance. Against the backdrop of the wars between elite operatic performance on a spectacular scale, staged works for fee-paying audiences by commercial impresarios, and more impromptu news dissemination through itinerant street actors. Tansini draws interesting comparisons with changes unfolding in todays media landscape. of Mexicos Zapatista insurgency into a broader understanding of how insurgent movements merge popular grievance into local storytelling. There is more than a hint of magical realism that emerges from the jungle to infuse accounts of how indigenous people of southern Mexico have been wronged continually by the central state. What makes this so fascinating is the realisation that Zapatista of the internet to mobilise support globally. Karen Allen, a celebrated BBC journalist, travels to Kenya to investigate how that countrys elites resisted the International Criminal Court (ICC) and demands for security sector reform following violence meted out by its forces after the neighbouring Somalias al-Shabaab both provided and reinforced a discourse behind which the Kenyan government could hide its strategies of opposition. Both employ balancing strategies, he argues, rooting his discussion in balancing theory while attempting to extend the bounds of Strategic Communications theory. He concludes that Russia uses hard balancing via information campaigns in order to undermine American regional hegemony, and China soft balancing through information campaigns that promote its own resource security while presenting itself as a credible force in Great Power politics.
9 Russia reappears in two further articles. The researchers John Gallacher and Marc Heerdink analyse cyber-enabled information operations on Twitter and Reddit emanating from Russias Internet Research Agency (IRA). Much has been said about the effects of their destabilising disinformation campaigns via social media. But little evidence has been found to measure change in attitudes or behaviour in their supposedly vulnerable target populations. The researchers employ causal analysis modelling to address this gap in current scholarship and to suggest how countermeasures might be shaped by governments. Two other online activities of the IRA. Following up on a dataset made available by Twitter This journal has established its own space encouraging the review essay as a lively and provocative literary form. During a visit to the Tate Britain gallery in of war photographer Don McCullin, a man who has born witness to more Middle East and goes on to explore what Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) policy has achieved. It prompts him to issue a challenge that investing in onthe-ground resilience measures has a better chance of achieving positive change than well-intentioned messages launched into the ether. turbulent and disturbing relationship between information, social media, and truth telling. Truth decay amid digital explosion leads him to a deep concern for Strategic Communications in this age of Information and Disinformation. He concludes soberly: National security now seems more vulnerable than it ever perspective to that security has never seemed more occluded. Meanwhile communications practitioners Tara Flores and Philip Hall consider technological developments on the African continent. They attempt to bring a more measured understanding of Chinas investment into mobile technologies From the closed platform of WeChat, an embedded mobile app for Chinas a one-stop shop for all lifes needs
10 for state surveillance and data harvesting, they turn their focus abroad to how Chinese technology outstrips American competitors in Africas dynamic In these pages our contributors set out to invest greater intellectual insight into where it comes from a path we have already begun to tread in recent issues with notable success. Dr Neville Bolt, Editor-in-Chief Spring 2019
11 How the global war on terror killed the prospect of justice for Kenyan victims of violence Karen Allen..................................................................................................................11 Analysing Strategic Communications through early modern theatre Filippo Tansini.............................................................................................................49 Strategic Communications as a tool for great power politics in Venezuela Raphael Camargo Lima..............................................................................................87 The beginning of warfare on the internet: Zapatista Strategic Communications Tssio Franchi, Leonardo Perin Vichi....................................................................121 Measuring the effect of Russian Internet Research Agency information operations in online conversations John D. Gallacher, Marc W. Heerdink....................................................................153 Reverse engineering Russian Internet Research Agency tactics through network analysis Charles Kriel, Alexa Pavliuc....................................................................................199 CONTENTS
12 From swords to ploughshares: time for a CVE step-change? Paul Bell......................................................................................................................229 M.R. Dahlan...............................................................................................................245 Tomorrows internetthe jello is on the wall Tara Flores, Philip Hall............................................................................................259
13 HOW THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR KILLED THE PROSPECT OF JUSTICE FOR KENYAN VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE Karen Allen Abstract This article assesses the dynamics of resistance and cooperation by Kenyan elites to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the ongoing pressure for reform to Kenyas security services, which were heavily implicated by a commission of inquiry into the post-election violence (PEV) of 2007/08. 1 This article highlights adopted from the outset. However, this article suggests that over time the utility of doing so became apparent. Moreover, the response of Kenyas leaders to events at the ICC and Kenyas resistance to security sector reform are worthy of close scrutiny. They highlight what appears to be an international realignment of Commission of Inquiry into Post Election Violence (CIPEV), Final Report, 16
14 Keywords International Criminal Court, strategic communications, Kenya, global war on terror, GWOT, al-Shabaab About the Author Karen Allen has been a correspondent with the BBC for more than 25 years, London. *** Introduction 2015 that they were terminating the case against Kenyas serving President Uhuru Kenyatta, 2 3 for their alleged roles in the 2007/08 post-election violence (PEV), 4 of a court heavily reliant on state co-operation to function. It also threw into sharp relief the constraints of indicting a man who would become the sitting Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, lamented that the people of Kenya had been publicly lambasted the Kenyan government for their failure to fully cooperate. 5 Despite this statement, there has been a noticeable absence of any long-term consequences for Kenyas powerful political class. international terrorism protected it from sanction. There is no attempt to assign ICC-01/09-02/11 Kenyatta, 13 March 2015. 3 n.d. ]. 4 The CIPEV disputed elections. 5 Charges against Mr. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta International Criminal Court, 5 December 2014.
15 political capital at a critical time. Does International Relations Theory Provide an Explanation? framed through pragmatism rather than through the paradigm of legalism. 6 Legalism is founded on the normative belief that the principle of holding alleged criminals to account is entrenched in states with shared liberal values. In contrast, pragmatism or prudentialism 7 conceives that support for international tribunals is inconsistent, and is based on balancing politics, pragmatism, and normative beliefs. states such as Kenya respond to power and power vested in institutions, such as the UN and ICC, 8 as Kenya publicly resist ICC investigations, whilst at the same time remaining 9 Compliance and resistance are power. 10 11 This idea rests on the assertion that successful human rights prosecutions shape the direction of future politics by entrenching the norm of individual criminal accountability. 12 Yet emerging scholarship, 13 mechanisms for their own domestic agendas, thereby limiting any deterrent or the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals (Princeton University Press, 2000). 7 Zachary D. Kaufman, United States Law and Policy on Transitional Justice: Principles, Politics and Pragmatics University Press, 2012), p. 5-. International Affairs Journal of Eastern African Studies . The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World Politics Company, 2011). 12 Ibid., p. 5. Hijacked Justice: Dealing with the Past in the Balkans (Cornell University Press, 2016).
16 how domestic policy factors help to shape policies of resistance. 14 whether it acted as a re-enforcement mechanism for domestic strategies of opposition. international media platform during the time of the PEV, and the years following the ICC case. It is built on primary and secondary sources, to establish the the United Nations as the full range of processes and mechanisms, associated with a societys attempt to come to terms with a legacy of large-scale abuses. Primary sources, including court documents, speeches, and UN and government papers, were used as evidence of Kenyas conduct throughout the ICC process, and of the shifting responses of the international community. These sources also provide evidence of the ongoing security relationship between Kenya, out the debates over established theoretical paradigms relating to transitional analyses to establish a descriptive narrative of events as they happened. Elite services and members of civil society, were conducted to substantiate the which often occurred behind closed doors. Elite interviews were also conducted requests were also submitted but responses were limited and vague. It is also However, for the purpose of this paper they are referred to generically as Post-Election Violence in Kenya African Affairs Their Enemies, International Journal of Transitional Justice Democracy in Kenya Journal of Eastern African Studies Electing the Journal of Eastern African Studies European External Action: The making of EU Diplomacy in Kenya Kenya and the ICC
17 Kenyas Experience of Terrorism were played out on a world stage. 15 /11, underscoring Kenyas status as both a victim of terrorism regionally and on a prominent international hotel in Nairobi, 16 which had some features of the 17 By the late 1990s Kenyas role as an anchor state was cemented by virtue of its geopolitical position, its 18 neighbour was widely characterised as a lawless society where crime and radical 19 20 threat. 21 22 Kenyas involvement as a regional Operation Linda Nchi (Protect the Nation). 23 Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) were 15 The siege resulted in 67 deaths. 16 Washington Post, 2019. 17 Charles Hornsby, Kenya: A History Since Independence (I.B Tauris, 2013), p. 89. 18 The National Security Strategy of the United States 2002 engagement. to Counterterrorism, African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies 20 Mary Harper, Getting Somalia Wrong?: Faith War and Hope in a Shattered State, 21 Mary Kaldor, New and Old Wars: Organised Violence in a Global Era, 23 Colonel Pius T. Migue et al., Operation Linda Nchi: Kenyas Military Experience in Somalia (Kenya Literature Bureau, 2016).
18 contributed to growing concern about terrorism in the region. 24 of its geography, ethnic composition, political stability, unstable neighbours, 25 The KDF has received players to boost its capacity to respond to this threat. 26 withstanding international and domestic pressure to address challenges at home. 27 28 The operation came to an 29 30 31 Kenya itself began a more concerted counter terrorism strategy. 32 24 (2011). 25 anti-terrorism law enforcement support annually. Lauren Ploch Blanchard Kenya, In Focus Congressional Dire Consequences p. 46. 29 Aronson, p. 28. 30 Ibid., p. 24 32 Aronson, Reluc , International Studies Perspectives Vol. 9, Issue 3
19 is essential in sustaining the war against terrorism, 33 as part of a wider strategy and Kenyan forces. 34 35 At the same time, Kenya faced legal challenges and demands for greater government accountability, when in 2010 ICC indictments were issued against There is a wealth of literature on the tension between democracy and security. primacy during the ICC cases and the years that followed. impunity by baiting the Kenyan leadership for their rampant corruption and collective targeting of the entire Muslim community in Kenya. 36 37 38 The UK has focused its efforts on police training, especially counter terrorism police training with funding of around .6 million. 39 impunity directed in particular at the Kenyan police open up questions as to how committed Kenyan state actors are to improving security and professionalising the Kenyan police and intelligence services. 40 33 Mogire and Ade, 2011 quoted by Aronson, p. 28. 34 National Security Strategy of the United States 2002 p. 17. 35 Aronson, and After 9/1 African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies 36 Murithi Mutiga, Daily Nation 5 Northeastern Kenya , 19 July 2016. Deaths From Police Bullets 2017 29 March 2018.
20 Kenya and the ICC Although Kenya has a long history of violence associated with elections, 41 the use of systematic violence reached its pinnacle following disputed elections in late 42 a domestic solution. The Commission of Inquiry into Post-election Violence (CIPEV) recommended a special tribunal with an international component to seriousness of the information received with a view to proceeding with an investigation and prosecuting such suspected persons. 43 44 was handed to the ICC Chief Prosecutor 45 In March 2010 the Chief prosecutor opened his investigation using his proprio motu powers. 46 Then, in 2012, charges of crimes later reduced to four. 47 Following this unprecedented use of prosecutorial powers, 48 the ICC case against the Kenyan leadership began to collapse steadily. By December 2014, the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC dropped charges against President Uhuru Kenyatta. 49 In April 2016 the court subsequently terminated the case against 50 who, at the time of the 2007/08 violence, had been Kenyattas arch rival. However, with the threat of ICC indictments hanging over 41 CIPEV Report, p. 26. 42 ICC-01/09-01/11-373, 4 February 2012; International Criminal 43 CIPEV Report, p. 473. 44 Elisabeth Lindenmayer and Josie Lianna Kaye, A Choice for Peace? The Story of Forty-one Days of Mediation in Kenya 45 Mueller, Kenya and the ICC p. 30. 46 proprio motu trans. on his own initiative. 49 01/09-02/11, 13 March 2015. 50 International
21 2013 Presidential elections. 51 The dynamics of the courts relationship with Kenyas ruling establishment troubling incidence of witness interference and intolerable political meddling 52 Those authorities have faced limited sanctions as a result of this documented non-cooperation. 53 bay. 54 55 Critics also blame the failure on reliability of evidence on which it intended to rely at trial. 56 57 tension between politics and the law. 51 , BBC News Online 27 November 2012; Also Han 52 53 The ICC issued arrest warrants in 2013 and 2015 against three Kenyans accused of witness tampering. The cases are on-going. Dire Consequences p. 53. 55 David Bosco, Rough Justice: The International Criminal Court in a World of Power Politics 2014). , Al Jazeera 7 December 2014. 57 Kenya Today 23
22 concerns in the region. 58 The African Union, acting on behalf of Kenya, lobbied 59 It argued that the presence of the President and Vice President in Kenya was vital to national security because an escalation of 60 Kenyas Ambassador to the UN argued for a deferral to prevent an aggravation of the situation and to provide time...to consider how best to respond to the threat to international peace and 61 It may not have been a deliberate allies of the strategic importance Kenya played in security matters. 62 a clear sense of relief that this inconvenient diplomatic and legal hurdle had terrorism and promoting bilateral trade. 63 and its aftermath (particularly pressure to address police impunity) is hard to Kenyan victims of PEV was unintended, it suggests that neorealism, and with its belief in the primacy of security, appears to have won the day. 64 Explaining the Dynamics between Kenya and the West A number of theories of international relations may assist us in understanding (i) the strategies of opposition by the Kenyan government to the ICC, as well relationship. ber 2013. 59 Article 16 provides for deferral of an investigation or prosecution for up to 12 months; Interview with a 60 62 This is discussed in more detail at the end of this article. ing election in 2013 it was only a matter of time before the ICC cases went away. 64 For an in-depth discussion on realism and international tribunals, see Kaufman, United States Law and Policy on Transitional Justice:.
23 Pragmatism Versus Legalism tension between legalism, a normative belief by liberal states that moral conduct is to be a matter of rule following and moral relationships, and pragmatism, which considers the consequences of imposing a set of rules and is less rigid in its application. 65 International tribunals are conceived as part of a growing universality of norms. 66 Indeed, when in March 2010 Luis Morenohe maintained in an interview for this article that his decision was driven by rigid legalist principles rather than political beliefs 67 His actions were 68 Furthermore, proponents of legalism consider it a static principle that cannot 69 70 If we accept Basss assertion that the war crimes policy of liberal states is a push 71 stand in direct competition with international policy priorities such as security or trade. Therefore, the tension between legalism and pragmatism is essentially one between the law and politics. 72 As the Kenyan ICC cases got underway, two of indicting individuals who would become the head and future deputy head of state, and the growing international concern about the security situation in 73 Legalism: Law, Morals and Political Trials 66 Ibid.; Norms that relate to individual criminal responsibility. Justice I nternational Security Annual Review of Political Science Vol. 7 p. 347. 70 Ibid., p. 353. 71 Bass, Stay the Hand, p. 8. war in international relations is the analogue of the state in domestic politics in Man the State and War: A Theoret ical Analysis (Columbia University Press, 1959/2001), p. 96. ter referred to as MMB.
24 against people who are still in government ...was out of the space contemplated highly political environment. 74 This apparent shift away from principled legalism wasnt a plot from day one to undermine the court with a number of narratives, the UK 75 76 drumbeat drowned out other noises is beyond the scope of this paper, and, despite freedom of information requests, much of the documentation from this elites to account through the ICC. 77 offered his endorsement of the court in 2010 when the ICC cases were opened, declaring that Kenya was on a path towards an era of accountability and equal opportunity. 78 However, by late 2013 the international messaging appeared to practice, the public messaging was at the very least, confusing. Furthermore, despite President Kenyatta still being indicted on charges of crimes against consistent with the policy of maintaining only essential contact. 79 However, activists described it as a betrayal because it diluted the international narrative that alleged atrocity perpetrators should be held to account. 80 74 Elite Interview MMB (April 2018). 75 This included access to Kenya-based training facilities for British troops, which MMB felt may have been overstated by the British Ministry of Defence. 76 Elite Interview MMB (April 2018). 77 Notwithstanding criticism of the ICCs own administrative shortcomings. 78 the 2013 polls, that actions have consequences. 80 Kenyas Uhuru Kenyatta to meet UKs David Cameron, BBC News
25 Further security concerns added momentum to the pragmatic agenda. Four 81 the ongoing cases at the ICC were compromising Kenyas security and asserted ICC. 82 Despite Rutos public efforts to undermine the court, the UK remained silent. Moreover, its military assistance to Kenya was increased. 83 At the same time growing concerns about witness intimidation and bribery were being raised in court by lawyers, civil society, and the press. 84 Yet these serious allegations against Kenyas elite and security services were being met with apparently little diplomatic consequence. 85 commentary on whether the compromises made at that time destroyed the ICC. to bring the cases to court at all. 86 further documentation would provide an opportunity for further scrutiny of the The Justice Cascade delivered any lasting legacy for Kenya. 87 The theory, developed by Kathryn human rights violations. 88 81 Daniel Howden, The Guardian 04 82 Kenya Today 23 Daily Nation 4 March 2018. 85 In contrast with the UKs imposition of visa bans on Kenyan nationals as part of targeted sanctions, e.g. in of corruption allegations. Has Kenya Destroyed the ICC? Foreign Policy 15 July 2014. The Justice Cascade, p. 257. The Justice Cascade, p. 5.
26 89 normative process of observing trials. 90 However, critics believe certain political conditions are a prerequisite for legal precedents to have force in shaping future independent and fair by the public for such norms to be diffused. 91 the ICC was portrayed by its opponents as a political court representing white behavioural change is highly nuanced. Soft Balancing balance of power politics, in particular, soft balancing. 92 The prominent realist 93 This may include asserting their independence internationally at the UN whilst remaining allies with hegemons. 94 This two level game 95 96 Kenyas strong institutions...honest police forces that can protect the peoples interests instead of their own. 97 Kenyas governing elite responded to this public dressing 98 means for political and economic ends, 99 yet in spite of this public denunciation The Justice Cascade p. 258 support or undermine the courts. , p. 1110. Taming American Power Foreign Affairs , p. 1113. 95 Ibid., p. 256. 96 attention The Economist, 25 July 2015. 97 30 June 2013 98 Lynch, Electing the Alliance of the Accused , p. 106. 99 Ibid.
27 has remained strong. 100 Furthermore, China, now Africas largest trading partner, 101 is asserting itself beyond the economic sphere by increasing its military presence in the Horn of Africa. 102 out of its allies internal affairs. 103 political dynamics in Kenya. Has it helped to entrench elites who have created it has achieved all these to varying degrees at different points in time. 104 105 They, requests for information, yet as time passed, evidence suggests that it used court international players at a critical time. 106 Initially, Kenya was a public supporter of the ICC when in 1999 it signed the Rome 107 Kenya did not challenge the legitimacy of the ICC until the court was turned against its own narratives to the court increased and it was seen as a threat to Kenyan sovereignty. 101 Chris Alden, China in Africa the relationship matures Strategic Analysis 701 102 , Reuters 1 August 2017. Taming American Power Hijacked Justice p. 6. 105 Ibid., p. 167. March 2005
28 ICCs founding statute and also a vocal critic of the court. appeared to co-operate with the courts timelines; they also sought to retain 108 They further appeared to indulge in public displays of co-operation such as consenting to proceedings that the court be televised. Yet gradually, Kenyas de facto noncooperation with the ICC was captured in the ICC court papers. 109 It amounted to a carefully crafted defence strategy. 110 This included Kenyan elites mobilising international organisations against the ICC, introducing legal challenges to delay human rights organisations. 111 They further used technical amendments to impede access to statements of witnesses who had recanted their testimony out of fear. 112 almost certainly helped shape the political landscape in Kenya, in a way that 113 Furthermore, 114 through its selectivity and targeting of potential indictees. 115 In turn, this selectivity helped nurture a potent counter-narrative which Ruto and Kenyatta used as a broader defence strategy. The pair were rivals during the 2007 presidential campaign and represented 108 The African Union would later pass a resolution for collective withdrawal from the ICC. African Union , BBC News 1 February 2017. 109 dure and Evidence 110 Mueller, Kenya and the ICC p. 26. 111 The prosecution alleges that 16 witnesses stopped cooperating or refused to testify. Also the defence team Recent International Criminal Court 27 January 2016. standing Rule 68 Controversy through 15 Dates , International Federation for Human Rights, 12 February 2016. sen, Transitional Justice in Kenya-An Assessment of the Accountability Process in Light of Domestic Politics 114 Ibid. er in the 2007 elections.
29 two main sides of the violent clashes during the PEV. The ICC case appeared to have provided a catalyst for forging a political alliance between the two men and their respective ethnic communities to secure electoral victory in 2013. 116 The purpose of this political coupling was more than simply securing electoral its power once they won the election. 117 tools of state to frustrate the court process and threaten witnesses. 118 This deal enabled them to craft an anti-ICC narrative across a broad alliance of Kenyas 42 ethnic groups and to neutralise the opposition, which they portrayed as allies 119 marriage enabled the allies to portray the ICC as having chosen sides, denting its legitimacy and portraying it as an institution which casts itself as the 120 data two years after the PEV, indicated that 68% of Kenyans supported the ICC in its early stages. 121 The possibility of an alternative, in the form of a special tribunal in Kenya as recommended in the CIPEV report, 122 continued to be an important line of argument deployed by ICC critics as a tool to mobilise opposition to the court. This continued even as the ICC pre-trial hearings got underway. In reality, an alternative court never materialised, but that didnt halt the anti-ICC narrative. 123 Kenyas allies on the continent maintained the ICC was being used as a neo-colonial weapon to punish Africa as a whole, despite many African cases having been self-referrals. 124 This line of argument regarding 116 Ruto and Kenyatta, announced in December 2012 they would stand together in the 2013 election. Hansen coalition was formed. Hansen, Transitional Justice, p. 20. 117 Mueller, Kenya and the ICC p. 29. 118 i, International Criminal Kenyatta How Cambridge Analytica Poisoned Kenyan Democracy Washington Post 20 March 2018. 120 Adam Branch, ICC and Human Rights Enforcement in Displacing Human Rights: War and Intervention in Northern Uganda Most Kenyans want violent suspects tried by ICC Reuters 20 July 2009. 122 CIPEV Report, p. 429. Electing the Alliance of the Accused p. 30, for a detailed description of the stalling in the African Court of Justice (EACJ). Caution and Confrontation in the International Criminal Courts Pursuit of Accountability , Human Rights Quarterly are self-referrals.
30 selectivity and alleged anti-African bias almost certainly provided a catalyst for 125 is evidence that international voices of criticism over Kenyas conduct grew 126 It begs the question why werent internal and 127 Those public about who was most culpable for the PEV, made it hard to address a single audience. Human rights activists on the ground described a polarised survivors...and it served the government to perpetuate this myth. 128 against members of Kenyas elite did provide a legacy helping to drive forward institutional change. 129 Kenyas new Constitution was an important development insofar as it established in law international human rights norms 130 have happened anyway? It is impossible to say. However this entrenchment of democratic values has been tempered by a failure to address historically rooted impunity in Kenya, which has a history of using political violence as a means of control. 131 125 For a good overview see Tim Murithi, Court 126 Elite Interview MMB (April 2018). Dire Consequences ent non-cooperation. 128 Ibid. 130 Constitution of Kenya, 2010 131 Bachmann, European External Action
31 past acts of violence remain in positions of power and have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. 132 Is Terrorism the Trump Card? was weaponised to oppose the ICC or simply became one of many issues that 133 Did this deepening security relationship render the presence of ICC indictments an inconvenience 134 to international diplomats because it was terrorism? 135 capital from this domestically and regionally, but failing to materially alter the 136 terrorist threat in Kenya and the wider region and the unfolding diplomatic, 137 law enforcement support annually, the largest such allocation to any sub138 It continues, Funding to the KDF particularly for counterterrorism-related training and equipment, has increased more than 2016. 139 pre-trial chamber but whose case was later dropped. At the time of writing he was the second-longest serving member of the Kenyan parliament. (April 2018). 135 Ibid. the court. (May 2018). 137 Lauren Ploch Blanchard, 2018. 139 Ibid.
32 codename Operation Linda Nchi 140 The invasion (it is two years later. 141 Based on available evidence, it seems highly plausible that the primacy given to the terrorism narrative (even if presumed rather than overt) appears to have provided a re-enforcement mechanism to Kenyas domestic strategies of opposition to the ICC and subsequent calls for security sector Kenyatta represented a threat to security. It further argued that indicting such 142 143 The response from the UK was reportedly unequivocal. Despite attempts by into supporting Article 16, 144 which included the circulation of fabricated letters 145 the UK position remained a threshold requirement for Article 16. 146 Operation Linda Nchi an Endless Circle of Death, Mail and Guardian 7 November 2014 142 Draft resolution on a deferral of the ICC proceedings against President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, UN
33 urgent discussions about the need to respect the ICC on the one hand and at the highest level of British government, 147 adding that although the presence of the ICC cases gave acuteness to the trade-offs, nevertheless support for the 148 Notwithstanding the UK insisting it was being consistent in its support for the the ICC and its interventions in general. It further emphasised the point that 149 150 who argue that the pressures. 151 Established civil society voices in Kenya argue the security allies. 152 Kenyas apparent appropriation of the security narrative in the light of securitisation of the Kenyan state in the aftermath of the ICC cases, further deepening concerns about impunity. 153 The Kenyan government as the main 154 suggest the bigger threat to security 155 Furthermore, the state security machines collective punishment of the of the ICC. (April 2018). Reluctant Partners p. 255. 151 Ibid. 153 The National Security Strategy of the United States 2002 build up the law enforcement and intelligence infrastructure to deny havens for terrorists, p. 10. 155 Bachmann, European External Action p. 134.
34 Muslim community following terrorist incidents, may be fuelling insecurity. 156 country and the broader region. 157 persists whether such emboldening would have occurred in the absence of the prosecution, was clear in its assessment that the police bore the heaviest burden of the deaths following the PEV. 158 That report concluded the need for reform was urgent. 159 That members of Kenyas elite were able to help derail the very constitutes an important victory from which Kenyan elites continue to draw historically deep-rooted, 160 the increased threat of global terrorism has elevated the central position of traditional state security institution as part of security governance. 161 Furthermore, in positioning itself as the legitimate securitisation actor, the Kenyan government has advanced policies that surely raise questions about its democratic credentials. 162 These include the proposed closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in the face of widespread international criticism 163 164 158 Ibid. Dire Consequences p. 46. 160 Bachmann, European External Action p. 139. 161 Ibid. the polices failure to implement court decisions releasing detainees (May 2018). Aronson, p. 29.
35 165 Yet that same state 166 Furthermore, a report in 2017 from the International Centre on Transitional 167 found a seeming inability to vet human rights allegations. 168 It concluded that there is now a sense that the police are insulated from accountability demands for which the vetting process was supposed to achieve. the right to detain suspects and restrict media reporting of security issues, human rights issues. 169 Yet the legislation had the consequence of demonising opposition voices and entrenching powerful elites by providing cover for the in its early stages, the Kenyan government de-registered more than 500 nonYet it was widely seen as a move to silence dissent. 170 This neutralised the ability not be minimised, critics question whether Kenyan elites have overstated the situation and suggest that a greater threat is in fact the absence of meaningful security sector reform in Kenya. 171 Corruption and impunity alone cannot 172 173 argues they provide an enabling environment and increase 174 Kenya as the target 165 For an in depth investigation of security narratives in Kenya see N. A. A. Voppen, Masters thesis, Utrecht University (2017), p. 18. , 18 August 2014; Indepen Deaths From Police Bullets 2017 29 March 2018. 167 Police reform was a requirement stipulated in the CIPEV Report, p. 470. , 21 November 2017, p. 2. 169 ala Abdelgadir, Kenyas Troubling New Anti-terrorism Legislation Rights , 13 December 2014. 170 BBC News 16 Dec 2014. Death and Disappearances . Counter-Terrorism in Kenya Journal of Contemporary African Studies Carnegie Endowment for Interna tional Peace 174 Ibid., p. 23.
36 175 But at times it has continued to do so in a manner that violates international obligations with apparently little consequence. 176 Conclusion were advocated by civil society after the halting of the cases. 177 These strategies surely be an oversight. by the court have not had the same strategic importance (with the possible 178 the UKs concern that isolating Kenya would increase the threat of mass African withdrawal from the ICC, would appear to have contributed to pragmatism prevailing. It suggests a constant recalibration of interests over time, among both Kenyan elites and international parties. 179 The absence of consequences for Kenyas limited rhetorical co-operation at the ICC, would seem to suggest an ongoing 175 Constitution of Kenya, 2010 177 CIPEV Report, p. 470.
37 reticence by the international community to publicly condemn impunity. 180 From the British standpoint the absence of consequences may be driven by a reluctance to out of fear of further damaging the strategic relationship. Kenya still hasnt forgiven 181 accountable resulted in the norm of individual criminal responsibility being was interviewed for this article, 182 of the ICC cases. For her and other ICC witnesses, 183 compensation is now the 184 However in other settings it is worth noting that there have been recent successes in war crimes prosecutions in regional and national courts in Africa, such as in Chad where the former leader Hissne Habr was convicted of war crimes and 185 This suggests the appetite for for the future. 186 The long-term consequences of failing to address domestic impunity, and fears of Afghanistan is a case in point and parallels can be made with Kenya. 187 to their concerns about impunity. 188 180 Increasingly, criticism has been channelled through multinational organisations such as the EU. For a broad discussion on this issue see Bachmann, European External Action. 182 Elite interview PEV victim Ms P (June 2018) 183 Victims response to the Prosecutions notice of withdrawal of the charges against Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta 184 Ibid. The Trial of Hissne Habr: How the People of Chad Brought a Tyrant to Justice African Arguments, 2 May 2017. 187 Chayes, Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security referencing the abusive behaviour of the Afghan government discusses the notion of corruption as a critical threat to the stability and security of the realm. 188 Botha, Radicalisation in Kenya.
38 of preserving global security. 189 mechanisms, should proponents of international tribunals be more conscious the apparent threats to national security....the more deeply entrenched the rules 190 deployed and continue to deploy. Pre-empting such strategies and assessing the 191 *** Bibliography Books, monographs and reports Alston, Philip, Report of the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions A/HRC/14/24/Add.6, 28 May 2010. Bachmann, Veit, European External Action: The making of EU Diplomacy in Kenya Bosco, David, Rough Justice: The International Criminal Court in a World of Power Politics the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals (Princeton University Press, 2000). Branch, Adam, Displacing Human Rights: War and Intervention in Northern Uganda 190 Emilie M. Hafner-Burton, Perspectives on Politics
39 Rights Pressure (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007). Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security Norton and Company, 2015). Constitution of Kenya, 2010. Harper, Mary, Getting Somalia Wrong?: Faith War and Hope in a Shattered State, The Trial of Hissne Habr: How the People of Chad Brought a Tyrant to Justice Hornsby, Charles, Kenya: A History Since Independence (I.B Tauris, 2013). Recent International Criminal Court Developments on 27 January 2016. operations in Nairobi and Northeastern Kenya , 19 July 2016. Kaldor, Mary, New and Old Wars: Organised Violence in a Global Era, University Press, 2012). Kaufman, Zachary D., United States Law and Policy on Transitional Justice: Principles, Politics and Pragmatics The Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation (KNDR) Monitoring Report Ending Wars and Building Lindenmayer, Elisabeth and Josie Lianna Kaye, A Choice for Peace? The Story of Forty-one Days of Mediation in Kenya August 2009). Operation Linda Nchi: Kenyas Military Experience in Somalia (Kenya Literature Bureau, 2016). Complementarity in the Line of Fire: The Catalysing Effect of the International Criminal Court in Uganda and Sudan (Cambridge university Press, 2013).
40 Transitional Justice in Balance: Comparing Witness Interference in Cases Before the International Criminal Court November 2016. Ploch Blanchard, Lauren, July 2011, Updated 29 August 2018. Introduction to the International Criminal Court 2 nd ed. All the Missing Souls (Princeton University Press, 2013). Legalism: Law, Morals and Political Trials Harvard University Press, 1964). Rawlence, Ben, Black and White Kenyas Criminal Racket in Somalia (Journalists for Justice, 2015). National Security Strategy of the United States of America September 2002 All the Missing Souls: A Personal History of the War Crimes Tribunals (Princeton University Press, 2012). The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World Politics Hijacked Justice: Dealing with the Past in the Balkans (Cornell University Press, 2016). Country Reports on Terrorism 2016 (July 2017). Voppen, N. A. A., Masters thesis, Utrecht University (2017). Man the State and War: A Theoretical Analysis (Columbia University Press, 1959/2001).
41 Commission of Inquiry into Post Election Violence Academic papers and news cuttings Alden, Chris, China in Africa the relationship matures Strategic Analysis Vol. African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies ______, Counterterrorism Assistance Before and After 9/1 African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies Ambitions International Crisis Group 15 April 2015. African Affairs Dire Consequences of Empty Journal of Eastern African Studies Campbell, John, Kenyas Troubling anti-terrorism Legislation Council on Foreign Relations, 31 December 2014. Corruption the Unrecognised Threat to International Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 6 June 2014. Election New York Times , Al Jazeera 7 December 2014. Hafner-Burton, Emilie M. and Kiyoteru Tsutsui, Human Rights in a American Journal of Sociology
42 Hafner-Burton, Emilie M., Perspectives on Politics Transitional Justice in Kenya-An Assessment of the International Journal of Transitional Justice African Arguments, 2 May 2017. Interference Helped to Produce Militant Islamism Hoffman, Paul, Human Rights and Terrorism Human Rights Quarterly Vol. 26, Howden, Daniel, The Guardian Interference Undermined Trial 5 April 2016. , 18 August 2014. Recent International Criminal Court Developments on 27 January 2016. Can the International Criminal Court Deter Atrocity? SSRN 21 January 2015. Retreat? Journal of Contemporary African Studies Tragedy
43 Kissinger, Henry, The Pitfalls of Universal Jurisdiction Foreign Affairs Vol. 80, America International Journal of Transitional Justice Jubilee Alliance in Kenyas Rift Valley Journal of Eastern African Studies McAuliffe, Padraig, the Justice Cascade, International Journal of Law in Context 106. MacDonald, Anna, In the Interests of Justice? The International Criminal Northern Uganda Journal of Eastern African Studies 628. Madowo, Larry, How Cambridge Analytica Poisoned Kenyan Democracy Washington Post 20 March 2018. Third World Quarterly Daily Nation 4 March 2018. Counter-Terrorism in Kenya Journal of Contemporary African Studies the Election and the Law Journal of Eastern African Studies Vol. 8, Issue 1 Murithi, Tim, Criminal Court International Journal of Transitional Justice
44 Mutiga, Murithi, Daily Nation in Kenya , 21 November 2017. Journal of Contemporary African Studies Rights Violations of a Prior Regime Yale Law Journal Vol. 100, Issue 8 Caution and Confrontation in the International Criminal , Human Rights Quarterly Studies The African Justice Cascade and the Malobo Protocol International Journal of Transitional Justice International Security International Journal of Transitional Justice Vol. 9, Issue 3 (2015). , BBC News 1 February 2017. Reuters, 1 August 2017. Dates , International Federation for Human Rights, 12 February 2016. BBC News, 16 Dec 2014.
45 Kenyas Uhuru Kenyatta to meet UKs David Cameron, BBC News 6 May 2013. April 2016. , Most Kenyans want violent suspects tried by ICC Reuters 20 July 2009. has not paid continent enough attention The Economist, 25 July 2015. President Kenyatta Kenya Today , BBC News Online 27 November 2012. Tumo, Rodgers, Kenya Vilmer, Jean Baptiste Jeangne, The African Union and the International International Affairs Vol. 92, Issue 6 Annual Review of Political Science Vol. 7 Mail and Guardian 7 November 2014. Taming American Power Foreign Affairs Democracy in Kenya, International Studies Perspectives 254. International Affairs
46 The American Journal of International Law Journal of Eastern African Studies Vol. 172. Has Kenya Destroyed the ICC? Foreign Policy 15 July 2014. Marine Corp Forces Africa 9 December 2015. International criminal court and un security council documents March 2010, ICC Prosecutor opens proprio motu investigation into alleged 9 July 2009, Post-Election Violence in Kenya Criminal Court Press Release. 29 January 2012, Muigai Kenyatta 4 February 2012, International Criminal Court Application for a Ruling on the Legality of the Arrest of i, International Criminal Court Case ICC-01/09-105 2109-2012. 8 April 2013, Cooperation with the International Criminal Court, or, in the alternative, Rules of Procedure and Evidence 01/09-01/11-670 09-04-2013, p. 7.
47 Kenyan Cases 15 November 2013, Kenyan Leaders Trial 2014 Transcript of the Case of the Prosecutor v. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta 5 June 2014, n.d. ], ICC-01/09-01/11. 9 December 2014, Victims response to the Prosecutions notice of withdrawal of the charges against Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta International Criminal Court 5 December 2014, Muigai Kenyatta 13 March 2015, 15 November 2015, Draft resolution on a deferral of the ICC proceedings against President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, 5 April 2016, ICC-01/09-01/11.
48 Websites, blogs and speeches TheElephant.info (Kenya-based Blog). Abdelgadir, Kenyas Troubling New Anti-terrorism Legislation 31 December 2014. The cember 2010. 29 June 2013. 30 June 2013. electioneering 20 May 2016. Elite interviews (May 2018) (MK).
51 ANALYSING STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS THROUGH EARLY MODERN THEATRE Dr Filippo Tansini Abstract Keywords strategic communications, social representations, early modern theatre, propaganda, propagation, diffusion, historical studies About the Author: Filippo Tansini,
52 Performance Practices and Strategic Communications 1 2 3 4 ancien rgime 5 La invencon de las noticias: las relaciones de sucesos entre la literatura y la informacon (siglos XVIXVIII) 2 The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry Into a Category of Bourgeois Society The International Encyclopedia of Political Communication Beyond the Public Sphere: Opinions, Publics, Spaces in Early Modern Europe Publishing Drama in Early Modern Europe The Authors Hand and the Printers Mind: Transformations of the Written Word in Early Modern Europe The Order of Books: Readers, Authors, and Libraries in Europe Between the Fourteenth and Eighteenth Centuries Early Modern Diplomacy, Theatre and Soft Power: The Making of Peace Social Representations,
53 Social Representations and Strategic Communications theory of social representation states that a anchoring Health and Illness: A Social Psychological Analysis European Journal of Social Psychology Health and Illness, Lespace therapeutique. Cadres et contextes The Psychology of the Social Le rappresentazioni sociali
54 Anchoring refers to the 11 Reasons to (strategically) communicate social representations 12 13 14 15 Social Representations: Explorations in Social Psychology Europa Triumphans: Court and Civic Festivals in Early Modern Europe The Cam bridge History of Seventeenth-Century Music Diogenes Annals of the International Communication Association Social Representations: Explorations in Social Psychology Social Representations
55 reductio ad unum Communicative dynamics and the audience propaganda, propagation, diffusion propaganda Psychoanalysis: Its Image and Its Public Ibid Culture and Psychology Ibid
Propagation 21 22 Ibid 21 Ibid., Psychoanalysis
diffusion 23 24 Diffusion propaganda propagation 25 Strategic communications: hybrid since the sixteenth century 23 Ibid., 24 Ibid., 25 Ibid., Nascita della tragedia di poesia nei paesi europei , La nascita del teatro moderno in Italia tra XV e XVI secolo
Performance Culture Between the 16 Th and 17 Th Centuries Teatro del Principe entrepreneurial theatre Commedia dellArte saltimbanchi Teatro del Quattrocento: le corti padane Rabelais and His World The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays Teatro del Rinascimento: Roma 1450 Teatro e spettacolo nel Seicento
Three types of theatre, three audiences, and three dynamics of social representation Theatre of the Prince cultural life of his state encompassing everything from the microcosm of the Teatro Le nozze degli dei: saggio sul grande spettacolo italiano nel Seicento Teatro del Cinquecento Festivals and Ceremonies: A Bibliography of Works Relating to Court, Civic, and Religious Festivals in Europe 1500 Court Festivals of the European Renaissance: Art, Politics, and Performance Figure 1. Engraving of a set designed for The Golden Age (Piacenza, Bazachi, 1690), an opera commissioned by the Dukes of Farnese for the marriage between Odoardo Farnese and
31 to the organisation of 32 33 instrumentum regni Theatre of the Prince is propaganda Dal Cortegiano allUomo di mondo: storia di un libro e di un modello sociale Perspective as Symbolic Form, Patronage in the Renaissance Teatro e spettacolo nel Rinascimento Figure 2. Engraving for The Adoration of the Magi by Alessandro Adimari (Flor ence, Papini, 1642). Raccolta Drammatica, Braidense National Library, Milan
Entrepreneurial theatre impresario or entrepreneurial 34 35 Entrepreneurial theatre propagation captures Teatro. Opera in Seventeenth-Century Venice the Creation of a Genre
Commedia dellArte or gathering precious information Un teatro delle idee, Figure 3. A mountbank at a fair selling turbans captured at Buda in September 1686 by Bolognese engraver Giuseppe Maria Mitelli. The cartouche above reads: Who wants the turban to dress up? The sign on the left reads: The charlatan came from Buda conquered on September 2, 1686, referring to the war between the Hapsburg and the Ottoman Empire. British Museum
Theatre of the Prince or Theatre of Propaganda par excellence Attori mercanti corsari: la Commedia dellArte in Europa tra Cinque e Seicento La Commedia dellArte attrici e attori italiani in Europa, XVIXVIII secolo Figure 4. Entry of the prince of Tuscany as Hercules, in front of him a large procession of horsemen and foot soldiers, processing around the large statue of Atlas in center, the Duomo and the Pitti Palace to left in the background, spectators surrounding from all sides, from Il mondo festeggiante by Stefano della Bella, Florence, 1661. Metropolitan Museum of Art Digital Collection
propaganda an impressive stage programme 41 naumachia ancien regime 42 The Last of the Medici Europa triumphans Theatre Festivals of the Medici, 1539 to 1637 Il teatro e la citta saggi sulla scena italiana Propaganda: The Formation of Mens Attitudes Annali DellIstituto Storico Italo-Germanico in Trento / Italienisch-Deutsches Historisches Institut Trento Studi Veneziani, Sixteenth Century Journal,
43 The Naumachiae of Pisa and Florence: two uses of propaganda 44 45 California Italian Studies The Medici Wedding of 1589: Florentine Festival as Theatrum Mundi Descrizzione de la felicissima entrata del Sereniss. Don Ferdinando de Medici Cardinale, Gran Duca di Toscana nella citt di Pisa Ibid.
sbarra or tournament Propaganda, Waterborne Pageants and Festivities in the Renaissance,
Battaglie navali Figure 5. The courtyard of Palazzo Pitti prepared for the sbarra as portrayed by Orazio Scarabelli in The Naumachia of Palazzo Pitti by Bernardo Buontalenti. Engraving, 1589. Metropolitan Museum of Art Digital Collection
51 Ibid. Battaglie navali, Figure 6. The courtyard of Palazzo Pitti prepared for the naumachia. Scarabelli, 1589. Metropolitan Museum of Art Digital Collection
52 53 54 52 Ibid., Psychoanalysis, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II. 1,
Entrepreneurial Theatre: The Propagation of Ideas 55 di Venezia Figure 7. A typical tragic scene engraved by Jacques Callot from Il Solimano by Prospero Bonarelli (Rome, Francesco Corbelletti, 1632). OPAL Turin University Library, Turin
Opera in war Early Music History Ibid Figure 8. A triumphant chariot in Roman setting inspired by those used in public tourna ments and for theatrical performances from Sigismondo Primo al diadema, drama for music, Venezia, Nicolini, 1696. Raccolta Drammatica, Braidense National Library, Milan
Il Tolomeo 60 Forward! Fly to the Adriatic Sea to favour a positive outcome of the war; and upon your arrival the hideous moon will have to cry its bad fortune in an eclipse of blood. Venice, towards the Aegean Sea, towards Asia and Crete. Opera Ibid. Il Tolomeo drama de glAcademici Imperturbabili. Rappresentato nel theatro di S. Apollinare di Venezia, lanno 1658. Consacrato allillustriss.mo ... sign. Vettore Pesaro Ibid.,
Figure 9. Title page of Il Tolomeo, Dramma de glAcademici Imperturbabili. Rappresentato nel Theatro di S. Apollinare di Venezia, lanno 1658 [Ptolemy. Drama by the Imperturbable Academics. Presented in the theatre of S. Apollinare di Venezia, in the year 1658]. Raccolta Drammatica, Braidense National Library, Milan Figure 10. P. 18 from Il Tolomeo. Raccolta Drammatica, Braidense National Library, Milan
Propagating shared ideas propagation Opera Ibid.
Street Performers And Information Professionals Figure 11. A street vendor offering prints for sale of the Turkish defeats, to the horror of two passers-by who have had enough of news by Mitelli. The cartouche above reads: Those who wish can buy here the latest news on the war. They are cheap, just two bolognini. The exhausted passers-by reply: I do not want to hear any more news, no! no! no! and Weve had enough, go away! British Museum
Italian wars by word of mouth Beyond the Public Sphere. El vulgo zanza: spazi, pubblici, voci a Venezia durante le guerre dItalia Storica The Politics of Information in Early Modern Europe News Networks in Early Modern Europe , The Sixteenth Century Journal Renaissance Studies,
compositions, a collective consciousness of current events Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, Narrating War: Early Modern and Contemporary Perspectives Ibid. Ibid.
the anonymous text Rotta facta per li signori francexi contra li ispani Ibid. Figure 12. Page from Rotta facta per li signori francexi contra li ispani, Ferrara, 1512 [Defeat of the Spaniards by the French lords]. Sforciato alquanto dal mio gran volere / disposi tutto de donar principio / non gi per che ne prendiati piacere / ma per che habiati di tal cosa in dicio [I was forced against my will / and then I prepare to start / not to have fun with my stories / but to make sure you can know how things went]. British Library Collection
Diffusion: spreading information and opinion-making Figure 13. Dedicated to war enthusiasts by Mitelli. The cartouche reads: Men avidly follow the
diffusion Conclusion Theatrum Mundi, Theatrum Naturae, Theatrum Europeum, Theatrum Belli, Theatrum Fori in Narrating War: Early Modern and Contemporary Perspectives, El vulgo zanza Anatomie secentesche, El vulgo zanza Philosophers on Shakespeare Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels,
Diffusion ex novo, century Europe in ruins Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels
Bibliography The Last of the Medici California Italian Studies Teatro e spettacolo nel Rinascimento The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays Rabelais and His World Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels, Early Music History 4 The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II. Vol. 1, Teatro e spettacolo nel Seicento News networks in early modern Europe Descrizzione de la felicissima entrata del Sereniss. Don Ferdinando de Medici Cardinale, Gran Duca di Toscana nella citt di Pisa The Order of Books: Readers, Authors, and Libraries in Europe Between the Fourteenth and Eighteenth Centuries Publishing Drama in Early Modern Europe ______ The Authors Hand and the Printers Mind: Transformations of the Written Word in Early Modern Europe
La invencon de las noticias: las relaciones de sucesos entre la literatura y la informacon (siglos XVIXVIII) Nascita della tragedia di poesia nei paesi europei , ______ Teatro del Cinquecento Teatro del Rinascimento: Roma 1450 The Politics of Information in Early Modern Europe Propaganda: The Formation of Mens Attitudes Attori mercanti corsari: la Commedia dellArte in Europa tra Cinque e Seicento ______, La Commedia dellArte attrici e attori italiani in Europa, XVIXVIII secolo Glete, Jan Europe The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society Il Tolomeo drama de glAcademici Imperturbabili. Rappresentato nel theatro di S. Apollinare di Venezia, lanno 1658. Consacrato allillustriss.mo sign. Vettore Pesaro Minerva al tavolino, lettere diverse di proposta e riposta a varij Lespace therapeutique. Cadres et contextes
Philosophers on Shakespeare Patronage in the Renaissance Culture and Psychology ______, Diogenes Le nozze degli dei: saggio sul grande spettacolo italiano nel Seicento Narrating war: early modern and contemporary perspectives Health and Illness. A Social Psychological Analysis ______, Annals of the International Communication Association The Psychology of the Social ______, Le rappresentazioni sociali ______, Psychoanalysis: Its Image and its Public ______, ______, Social Representations: Explorations in Social Psychology Social Representations, Europa Triumphans: Court and Civic Festivals in Early Modern Europe Court Festivals of the European Renaissance: Art, Politics and Performance
Waterborne Pageants and Festivities in the Renaissance, Theatre Festivals of the Medici, 1539 to 1637 Dal Cortegiano allUomo di mondo: storia di un libro e di un modello sociale Perspective as Symbolic Form, La nascita del teatro moderno in Italia tra XV e XVI secolo Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, Anatomie secentesche, ______, Un teatro delle idee, Early Modern Diplomacy, Theatre and Soft Power: The Making of Peace Opera in Seventeenth-Century Venice: The Creation of a Genre The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Music Annali DellIstituto Storico Italo-Germanico in Trento / Italienisch-Deutsches Historisches Institut Trento ______, in Narrating War: Early Modern and Contemporary Perspectives, ______, Beyond the Public Sphere: Opinions, Publics, Spaces in Early Modern Europe El vulgo zanza: spazi, pubblici, voci a
Venezia durante le guerre dItalia Storica The Sixteenth Century Journal ______, Renaissance Studies, The Medici Wedding of 1589: Florentine Festival as Theatrum Mundi The International Encyclopedia of Political Communication , Sixteenth Century Journal, Studi Veneziani, Teatro del Quattrocento: le corti padane Festivals and Ceremonies: A Bibliography of Works Relating to Court, Civic, and Religious Festivals in Europe 1500 1800 Il teatro e la citt: saggi sulla scena italiana
89 STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS AS A TOOL FOR GREAT POWER POLITICS IN VENEZUELA Raphael Camargo Lima Abstract Since the Cold War, Latin America has escaped any confrontation between the great powers. However, in the last decade, this scenario appears to have changed because of the increased presence of extra-regional actors. Recent developments actors in Venezuelas domestic dispute, using it as a platform for their global interests. The current crisis involves not only the power resources of traditional international competitiondiplomatic, economic, and militarybut also new means in the informational and cyber environment. This paper analyses the balancing strategies of China and Russia in Latin America and the role of their strategic communications. It argues that China and Russia employed two divergent balancing strategies to counter US regional hegemony in the Americas, and that each state projected strategic communications particular to each type of balancing. Consequently, China employs communications to ensure resources credible and responsible non-Western great power. Russia, meanwhile, employs information campaigns as part of hybrid warfare to promote hard balancing, to pressure United States hegemony in the Americas, and to reduce NATOs
90 Keywords Latin America, Venezuela, China, Russia, US, great powers, balancing, strategic communications About the Author Raphael Camargo Lima Research (Ipea) in Brazil and holds an MSc in International Relations at the Graduate Program San Tiago Dantas (Unesp, Unicamp and PUC-SP). His research focuses on Latin American security and defence issues, regional governance, defence reform and military change. *** Introduction 1 In recent years, there has been much debate around the growing competition between the great powers. Analysts tell us that we are entering an uncertain period when competition could surpass cooperation as the main trait of global governance. 2 For many, geopolitics has returned to centre stage in international politics 3 at a moment when the great powers are employing not only the power resources of traditional international competitiondiplomatic, economic, and militarybut also new means in the information and cyber environments. Traditional and social media have become the new battleground for old disputes among the great powers, rendering strategic communications 4 and cyberspace 5 central to current balancing strategies. Until now, few studies have connected great power politics, balancing strategies and information activities. This article seeks to address this gap in the literature. Confrontations over the distribution of power now affect regions that have not been subject to such disputes since the Cold War. This is the case in Latin America, and Venezuela in particular, which has been experiencing an internal contributions and suggestions. 2 2018). 3 Walter Russell Mead, The Return of Geopolitics, Foreign Affairs 17 April 2014. 4 I understand the concept of strategic communications as a tool of grand strategy. Thus, it has a strong cor policies aimed at changing attitudes and behaviour of targeted audiences, using words, images and actions and non-actions in the national interest of a political community. Neville Bolt, Foreword, Defence Strategic Communi cations 5 According to Nye, cyberspace is a unique hybrid space of both physical and virtual properties. Joseph S. Nye Jr, Cyber Power (Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, May 2010), 3.
91 struggle for power. Over the past decade, China and Russia have been increasing activity in the region and strengthening ties with Venezuela. This has led to gridlock with the US as the domestic crisis in Venezuela deepened. Since early 2015, the government of Nicolas Maduro has been expanding its hold on political power in the country, bypassing the legislative branch. The lack of opposition in the 2018 elections also raised doubts about their legality. It resulted in an internal struggle for power, with the leader of the National Assembly declaring himself interim president in early 2019. The US and several other Western countries claimed the elections were illegal and recognised the Assemblys president as the legal chief of state. China and Russia, however, increased their support for Maduro. The political divide has galvanised these three great powers to court public opinion both locally and globally through social media, public diplomacy, This article will provide a structured and focused comparison 6 of the balancing strategies and strategic communications China and Russia employ in their relations with Venezuela. 7 My primary hypothesis is that each country has its own strategy to check the power of the US in Latin America, which is also offensive realism balance of power theory and strategic communications to test my hypothesis. I analyse the grand strategies of Russia and China and their bilateral relations with Venezuela considering diplomatic, economic, military, and informational means, 8 and highlight their strategic communications efforts. 9 framework, presenting the concepts of balance of power, balancing strategies, and alliance formation, and how these relate to strategic communications. In the second section, I present the developments of Venezuelas Chavist regime and its relationship with the US. In the third and fourth sections, I discuss the grand strategies of China and Russia and how these lead to different balancing 6 According to George and Bennett, the method is structured in that the researcher writes general questions dardize data collection. It is focused in that it deals only with certain aspects of the historical cases examined. Alexander L. George et al., Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences (MIT Press, 2005). 7 They are, in this context, theory-guided case studies, which aim to explain and/or interpret a single historical episode rather than generalize beyond the data, although results may raise important theoretical questions. Jack S. Levy, , 8 I have employed documental analysismainly national security policies and defence strategies and have anal ysed diplomatic, economic, and military data. 9 In the realm of strategic communications, I have analysed diplomatic and military statements, interviews, and actions regarding media related to Venezuela.
92 strategies in Venezuela. I conclude by comparing the behaviour of the two countries and the role strategic communications plays in their relations with Venezuela, and by discussing some political and theoretical implications. Great powers, balance of power, and balancing strategies: strategic communications as a grand strategy resource Balance of power is one of the oldest and most important concepts in international relations literature, also one of the most ambiguous and intractable. 10 Balance of power equilibrium among key states 11 with outcomes at the global (systemic) and regional (subsystemic) levels. Structural realists argue that the distribution of power in an anarchic international system creates pressures in world politics, 12 where states can only achieve security by maximising their own power and preventing other states from realising regional or global hegemony. To do this, states employ the foreign policy strategy of balancing focusing on their own military build-up or on forming coalitions. Both liberals and realists have criticised this perspective 13 for its excessive emphasis on military aspects and for overlooking other manifestations of power. 14 Some authors have, therefore, advocated the need to rethink balance of power theory to consider alternative means of power and introduce a gradated after the Cold War. In 1985, Stephen Walt argued that states do not seek balance against power but rather against the most threatening power, as determined by aggregate power, proximity, offensive capability, and offensive intentions. 15 He saw threat level as one of the main drivers for alliance formation in international politics. In 2004, Randall Schweller focused on the problem of why some states do not engage in balancing strategies when faced with rising aggressors. He introduced the concepts of overbalancing, appropriate balancing, under10 Jack S. Levy, What Do Great Powers Balance against and When?, in 21st Century (Stanford University Press, 2004), p. 29. vance, in (Stanford University Press, 2004), p. 3. 12 Daniel H. Nexon, The Balance of Power in the Balance 13 15 Stephen M. Walt, Alliance Formation and the Balance of World Power, International Security
93 decisions to balance or not to balance. 16 Despite the merits of these propositions, T. V. Pauls typology has been chosen for this study because it provides a more nuanced view of balancing strategies and alliance formation 17 (1) hard balancing referring to intense interstate rivalry that represents a moment when states build formal alliances or modernise their military capabilities to deal with peer competitors; (2) soft balancing describing a limited military build-up, ad hoc security cooperation exercises, and resistance in international institutions; 18 and (3) asymmetric balancing relating to efforts to contain indirect threats from subnational actors, such as terrorist groups or guerrillas. 19 Balancing strategies might include an individual change of position or the formation of coalitions or alliancesformal (or informal) commitments for security cooperation between two or more states, intended to augment each 20 These relationships are motivated by balancing efforts to enhance security, albeit may be made more effective by intervening factors such as foreign (economic and military) aid and indirect manipulations by external powers (also known as penetration). 21 Balancing strategies can also vary in their geographical reach, being either onshore or offshore Offshore balancing is used by geographically distant states to affect balance support) or direct means (military intervention). 22 because it is harder to project power overseas and to build expeditionary forces due to the primacy of land power and the stopping power of water. 23 of Underbalancing, International Security 17 18 For other perspectives that relate soft balancing strategies to unipolar systems, see Robert A. Pape, Soft Balancing against the United States, International Security a Unipolar World, 19 I will focus mainly on hard and soft balancing strategies because my case study does not hold traits of asymmetric balancing. Venezuela does have groups, such as the and the Colectivos (Chavist state-supported paramilitary), that could become an important part of future asymmetric balancing strategies for Russia and China if a transition occurs in terms unfavourable to the current Venezuelan government. 20 Walt, Alliances in a Unipolar World, p. 86. 22 The Washington Quarterly The Case for Offshore Balancing Foreign Affairs 13 June 2016; Hal Brands, Fools Rush Out? The Flawed Logic of Offshore Balancing, The Washington Quarterly 23 John J. Mearsheimer, (W. W. Norton & Company, 2003).
94 Nature of rivalry Key strategies Hard Balancing Intense, open, often zero sum. Relative gains matter most. Open arms build-up, formal alliances, or both. Soft Balancing Submerged, non-zero-sum. Relative gains of limited concern for now. Limited arms build-up. Informal, tacit, or ad hoc security understandings among affected states, within or outside of international institutions. Preventive strategy. Asymmetric Balancing By state or non-state actors (e.g., terrorists). Rivalry intense, although latter are elusive actors. Non-state actors and their state sponsors pursue asymmetric strategies; state actors follow mixture of traditional and nontraditional strategies to counter threat. This concept of offshore balancing becomes more useful for analysing the presence of extra-regional powers in Latin America when combined with the theory of offensive realism which sheds light on the behaviour of the great powers 24 and their interactions with regional hegemony. The theory states that the great powers have a number of goals related to maintaining their place in an anarchic possible percentage of global wealth, dominating the balance of land power in the region, and achieving nuclear superiority. 25 Once a great power achieves regional hegemony at home it will aim to protect its position and check potential aggressors in other regions, 26 27 sheimer, p. 5; Paul Kennedy, (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2010). 25 Mearsheimer, 26 aggressor in Mearsheimer, 158. check aggressors
95 Balancing and buck-passing are the two main strategies used to achieve this goal. of power, while the second refers to inducing another great power to check an aggressor while remaining on the sidelines. 28 Other strategies include appeasement and bandwagoning or joining forces with a more powerful opponent so to share the spoils together. These strategies call for ceding power to a rival state and thus increase the insecurity of the state that employs them. 29 The theory of offensive realism offers insight for this study because, as John maintain. In the Americas, for instance, the region is subject to conceptual disputes between, on the one hand, the US approach to Latin America as part hand, seeing Latin America as an autonomous area as do other powers such as Brazil, 30 China, and Russia. This conceptual dispute conceals a power struggle within the region that places the offensive realism of geopolitical localisation in the centre of the study of the offshore behaviour of the great powers. Understanding balancing strategies also requires a solid understanding of grand strategy how it can best cause security for itself, 31 in other words how the great powers coordinate their economic, diplomatic, cultural, and military resources to attain political objectives in the international arena, 32 which may mean altering the balance of power at the global or regional levels. Hence, balancing might be a foreign or defence policy strategy, which is part of a larger grand strategy seeking to achieve (hard, soft, or asymmetric) balancing effects. 33 As this more nuanced view of balancing strategies is still a relatively recent addition to balance of power theory more work needs to be done on how non28 Mearsheimer, 29 Ibid., p. 161-63. Pereira Rezende, Revista 31 Barry R. Posen, (Cornell University Press, 2014), 13. 32 fundamental policy. B. H. Liddell Hart, Strategy 33 Mearsheimer and Walt, for instance, propose a US grand strategy based on the logic of offshore balancing foreign policy strategy instead of a liberal hegemony strategy. Mearsheimer and Walt, The Case for Offshore Balancing.
96 traditional aspects such as the cultural, cyber, and information domains relate to balancing strategies and how they affect the balance of power at the global propaganda and persuasion in balances of power, Daniel Nexon has argued that power involves a great deal more than military force, and that sometimes 34 For example, as a result of the rapid evolution of communications, social media, and interconnectedness between countries, the information and cyber domains are now essential to both warfare and grand strategy. The growing concept of hybrid warfare, 35 which refers to the use of both asymmetric and conventional means of warfare 36 (i.e. information operations, 37 reinforces how important these domains are to ensuring political victory without employing military means. Hence, the information environment 38 has become an important new dimension of grand strategy building and balancing strategies. Yet terminology regarding state efforts in the information environment is still being debated. In the late 2000s, Christopher Paul noticed that the terms strategic communications, public diplomacy, and information operations were being used interchangeably. 39 The confusion was further complicated as strategic communications was also used 40 strategic communications must be understood as tool of grand strategies. Authors such as Paul and Farwell, for instance, relate strategic communications to the coordination of symbols, actions, words, and images towards targeted audiences in support of national interests, policies, or 34 Daniel H. Nexon, The Balance of Power in the Balance , 35 Hybrid warfare is a widely contested concept. For instance, Gray understands the concept may lead to confusion about the difference of regular and irregular war. Colin S. Gray, Introduction to Strategic History (Routledge, 2013). 36 Williamson Murray and Peter R. Mansoor, 37 Christopher S. Chivvis, Understanding Russian Defence Strategic Communications 39 Christopher Paul, (ABC-CLIO, 2011), p. 33; C. Paul, Whither Strategic Communication? A Survey of Current Proposals and Recommendations , Occasional (the organizations) mission. Derina Holtzhausen and Ansgar Zerfass, The Routledge Handbook of Strategic Commu nication (Routledge, 2014), p. 4.
97 goals. 41 focus on the ends. A complementary approach focuses on both ends and directed. According to Bolt, strategic communications refers to coordinated efforts for the projection of foreign and security policies aimed at changing attitudes and behaviour of targeted audiences, using words, images and actions and nonactions in the national interest of a political community. 42 This is quite different from public diplomacy or information operations. diplomacy can be understood as a dimension of international relations that goes beyond traditional diplomacy and involves promoting the national interests of a state through such actions as the cultivation of public opinion abroad, dialogue with private companies, and cultural and educational exchanges, although there 41 James P. Farwell, (Georgetown University Press, 2012), Strategic Communication p. 3. 42 Bolt, Foreword. Strategic communication Public diplomacy Information operationsThe thin slice of public diplomacy sharing and engagement that doesnt really contribute to a broader purpose
98 43 The concept is deeply intertwined with 44 Public diplomacy contributes to strategic communications efforts, but also contains a small aspect that does not reinforce a strategic purpose as it might foster understandings and promote engagement with foreign audiences that are not necessarily related to national policy goals, 45 as shown in Figure 1. Information operations mainly refers to military operations, although other governmental agencies use them as well. The term relates to integrating the capabilities of electronic warfare, computer network operations, and psychological operations to achieve political goals against an adversary. 46 Information operations aim to coordinate and integrate information efforts mainly at the level of the defence sector, not the whole government. 47 I use the concepts of grand strategy and balancing strategies and their connection to strategic communications as understood in the theoretical framework of offensive realism to explore the balancing strategies Russia and China have employed in their bilateral relations with Venezuela, and whether strategic communications it may provide some insight into how actions in the information sphere may connect to balancing strategies. I base my argument on the assumption that to better understand nuanced balancing behaviour one must consider not only military, economic, and diplomatic means, but also efforts in the information environment. As Gray puts it, the character of warfare may change, but never its nature. 48 Venezuela: counter-hegemonic foreign policy and the re-emergence of great power politics in Latin America Venezuelas large oil reserves and strategic position have always made it an interesting asset for great powers. The country has so many natural resources 43 Public diplomacywhat it is and is not . [Accessed 3 April 2019]. 44 Nancy Snow, Rethinking Public Diplomacy in (Routledge, 2008), p. (PublicAffairs, 2009). 45 C. Paul, Strategic Communication p. 41. DoD Dictionary for Military and Associated Terms (US Department of Defense, April 2019). 47 Arturo Munoz, (RAND Corporation, 2012), p. 10. Review of International Studies Vol. 25
99 (PDVSA). Yet since the second half of the twentieth century, it has been a close US ally in Latin America, an important oil supplier, and a Venezuela has enjoyed one of the most stable democracies in the region and was a great defender of American liberal values in Latin America from the establishment of the pact in 1958 49 until the early 2000s. The US has foreign policies over time. Thus, foreign powers interests in the country are deeply connected with recent changes in US-Venezuela bilateral relations, which created an opportunity for disrupting the status quo of the balance of power in the Americas. When Hugo Chvez came to power in 1998, bilateral relations with the US became subject to realignment. In the years that followed, Chvez decided to push through constitutional reform, direct nationalist and non-liberal economic policies, and a non-Western approach to participative democracy. 50 However, it was not until 2002, following a coup attempt to oust Chvez and replace him with Pedro Carmona, president of Fedecamaras business federation, that the US and Venezuela began to drift apart. Washingtons recognition of Carmona as returned to power and the Group of Friends of the Organization of the American States (OAS) Secretary General 51 supported negotiations between the opposition and the government, Venezuelas new government increased its anti-American rhetoric, accused the US of interventionism, and appealed to resentment against the US domestically. The US used this rivalry politically to push tougher anti-terrorism, narcotics, and guerrilla policies in Latin American countries in the context of the global war on terror, particularly in Colombia, and to pressure Venezuela for democratic change in its national politics. An important moment for this policy occurred in 2006. The US Secretary of State declared an arms embargo against Venezuela, allegedly for not cooperating fully with anti-terrorism efforts pursuant to Section 49 pact was a series of political and economic pacts among political elites that assured Venezuelan democratisation in 1958 and the maintenance of its democracy in the twentieth century. David J. Myers, The Normalization of Punto Fijo Democracy in The Unraveling of Representative Democracy in Venezuela (Johns Hopkins 50 Carlos A. Romero et al., , 51 Brazil, the US, Chile, Mexico, Spain, and Portugal.
100 Department imposed further sanctions against two Venezuelan nationals for 52 This was when extra-regional powers saw an opportunity to develop closer relations with the country, and the Chavist regime opted to develop an increasingly counter-hegemonic foreign policy. At this moment, Venezuela used the Caribbean and to deepen ties with Cuba in an attempt to create a counterhegemonic regionalism under the Alternativa Bolivariana para las Amricas (ALBA), 53 and provide oil to several countries through soft loans under the agreement. 54 These efforts aimed to gain the support of smaller countries in the region and allies among international organisations, such as 55 Since the early 2010s, political polarisation has risen dramatically in Venezuela. After Chvezs death in 2013 and the rise of Vice-President Nicols Maduro in the following presidential election, the country deteriorated politically and economically. In 2015, Venezuela held legislative elections. The opposition won the majority of seats in the National Assembly and yet the Supreme Obama administration, the US was already changing its position towards the 56 responsible for the erosion of human rights guarantees, the persecution of political opponents, the curtailment of press freedoms, the use of violence and human rights violations and abuses in response to anti-government protests, the arbitrary arrest and detention of anti-government protestors, and corruption. 57 The US, however, did not pressure Venezuela unduly as it was pursuing an agenda with Cuba, a close ally of Venezuela. 52 Clare Ribando Seelke et al., , Congressional Research Service, Updated 21 January 2019, p. 34. Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Venezuela. Nicaragua, Belize, Guiana, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Haiti, and Venezuela. Asa K. Cusack, Venezuela, 55 Javier Corrales, Carlos A. Romero, and Carlos A. Romero, tions after Hugo Chvez in Jorge I. Domnguez and Rafael Fernndez de Castro (eds) 57 Mark P. Sullivan, Congressional Research Service, Updated 8 May 2019.
101 Two years later, in 2017, Maduro called for National Constituent Assembly elections and, as a result, the new pro-government National Assembly declared opposition from power and thus reducing the legitimacy of the Assembly. This movement was consistent with Trumps foreign policy to increase pressure on 58 The US even invoked the Monroe Doctrine and consistently declared that all options are on the table, including military intervention in Venezuela, 59 then gradually imposed a number of economic sanctions against the country. 60 there was no consensus among the great powers as Russia and China rejected the Wests approach to the problem. Latin America also faced political division, since it failed to reach consensus in such regional institutions as the OAS and the Union of South American States (UNASUR). 61 In 2017, twelve countries came together to pressure the Venezuelan regime for a peaceful exit from the crisis through an ad hoc organisation called the Lima Group. 62 These states did not recognise the legitimacy of the Constituent Assembly, condemned human rights violations in Venezuela, offered humanitarian assistance, and supported regime change. 63 The crisis deepened further after the results of the presidential election in late 2018. The opposition boycotted the election and Maduro won amid allegations of fraud and manipulation. In early 2019, the president of the National Assembly, opposition leader Juan Guaid, declared himself the legitimate president while alleging the election had been fraudulent. More than 50 countries recognised Guaid as the legitimate interim president and increased pressure on the 58 National Security Strategy of the United States of America (The White House, December 2017), p. 51. 59 Donald Trump Says Military Option for Venezuelas Nicolas Maduro on the Table , Deutsche Welle, 12 August 2017. 60 Mark Weisbrot and Jeffrey Sachs, , 61 Oliver Stuenkel, How South America Ceded the Field in Venezuela , 31 January 2019. 62 Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Peru; Joint statement on the second meeting of the Lima Group on the situation in VenezuelaNew York, 20 September 2017 . , Al Jazeera 2 Febru ary 2019.
102 Maduro regime. 64 Since then, growing domestic polarisation, a refugee crisis, a deteriorating economy, the regional political divide, and great power gridlock China-Venezuela relations and strategic communications: traits of a soft balancing strategy Offensive realism theory suggests that a rising power will aim towards regional hegemony and eventually try to check potential threatening great powers through balancing strategies. If this formulation is correct, Chinas grand strategy would competitors, and then aim to check the US and other great powers offshore. This is consistent with Chinas grand strategy shift in the 1990s. Since then, the country has tried to promote the image of itself as a rising power with benign intentions while creating mechanisms to assure its regional hegemony through new institutions, partnerships, and support for its energy policy. During this period, China promoted a strategic partnership policy, engaging with its neighbours and with states in other regions to develop a new cooperative, regional multilateralism through organisations such as the Association of (SCO). 65 As the country expanded economically so did its grand strategy. From 66 As a result, Chinese grand strategy has been focusing its efforts on building a multi-polar world in which China holds a special place. Part of this agenda entails creating host country and Chinese entrepreneurs. Such countries become trade partners, providing resources for Chinas development strategy, mainly by securing 64 Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, the Bahamas, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Georgia, Germany, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Montenegro, Morocco, the Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. 65 According to Zhongping and Jing, China has a loose policy of strategic partnerships. It did emerge as an im 66 Feng Zhang, (Stanford Univer sity Press, 2015), p. 185.
103 Chinese access to natural and energy assets, thus reinforcing its position as a rising global power. Chinas grand strategy is not openly aggressive towards the US, although it still adopts balancing strategies adapted to different regions. Globally, it has adopted a soft balancing strategy based on an interest to reform current international organisations and to build a parallel world order that boosts Chinas strategic autonomy, reducing its dependency on Western-led institutions. 67 Among BRICS 68 New Development Bank (NDB), and the BRICS Contingency Reserve Agreement (CRA); in security, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the and in infrastructure, the One Road, One Belt (OBOR) initiative, the Nicaragua Canal, and the Trans-Amazonian Railway. 69 balancing strategy have gradually appeared, such as Chinese military build-up and concerns over US hegemonism, power politics and neo-interventionism. 70 The US pivot to Asia, Japans new openness to acquiring military potential, sovereignty disputes with several neighbouring countries in the South China Sea, and the goal hegemony interests. These concerns were expressed in Chinas 2008 Defence White Paper 71 and in its 2015 Military Strategy, 72 becoming more assertive over time. Thus, China is gradually presenting itself as more willing to use military force in support of its national interests abroad, for example, safeguarding the countrys security interests in new domains (including the cyber and informational domains), protecting its interests overseas, and reunifying with Taiwan. 73 communications component. The more global Chinas interests become, the more its communications strategy seems to follow. Since 2012, for example, the country developed political narratives about the Chinese Dream and national rejuvenation, presenting a political myth to both domestic and international 67 Oliver Stuenkel, (Wiley & Sons, 2017), p. 68 An international coalition comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. 69 Stuenkel, 70 China, Chinas Military Strategy 2015 (Chinese Government, 2015), p. 4. 71 China, Chinas National Defense in 2008 (Chinese Government, 2008). 72 China, Chinas Military Strategy 2015, p. 5. 73 Ibid., p. 9.
104 audiences to justify Chinas rise as a prosperous and powerful nation. 74 The myth lays out a multi-layered policy agenda in which strategic communications plays a major role, both domestically and globally. It focuses on multiple objectives, such as (1) raising the per capita income of its citizens, (2) strengthening social welfare to maintain internal stability, (3) projecting culture to promote the countrys values, and (4) improving environmental conditions, all ensuring the continuity of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). 75 However, changing the international communitys perception of China to avoid the formation of balancing coalitions in reaction to its new expansion is at least as important as achieving great power status. hold a special place in this effort as the region is where the US most directly exerts hegemony. Thus, Chinese engagement with these regions aims to ensure access to abundant natural resources and markets, to obtain support for its foreign policy objectives (the one China policy), to reshape the regions perception of Chinese hegemony as benign, and to obtain geopolitical gains in Washingtons traditional 76 In the diplomatic and economic spheres, China has been boosting bilateral relations, creating joint funds with countries, and aiming towards regional institutions where the US is absent. In 2014, it supported a joint forum with the Community of Latin deepen relations with these countries. China has chosen to move away from a traditional hard balancing strategy and adopt a soft strategy. This is consistent with the thesis that Chinas goals are not only economic but also geopolitical. 77 Chinese-Venezuelan bilateral relations are thus part of this soft strategy towards 78 and 2016. 79 Chinese attitudes towards Venezuela evolved from mere diplomatic, economic, International Journal of Strategic Communication 75 Timothy R. Heath, Kristen Gunness, and Cortez A. III Cooper, The PLA and Chinas Rejuvenation , Product Page, 2016. 17 October 2018, p. 4. 78 China, Chinas Policy Paper on Latin America and the Caribbean (Chinese Government, 2008). 79 China, Chinas Policy Paper on Latin America and the Caribbean (Chinese Government, 2016).
105 cultural, and military efforts to clearly separating Chinas position from that of the US. Venezuelan-Chinese relations grew closer as Hugo Chvez rose to power and adopted an increasingly anti-US political discourse after the coup the Chavist regime receives support for its goal of retaining power, and China obtains primary resources, mainly oil, exports products with high added value, and gradually gains geopolitical leverage in an important region. 80 Between 2007 and 2018, Venezuela became Chinas most important partner in Latin America, where it made major diplomatic, economic, and military efforts. On the economic side, China has made several infrastructure investments in Venezuela, especially in oil extraction, automobile manufacturing, and construction. One of the main pillars of this relationship was bank loans. Venezuela was Chinas number one borrower in Latin America, accounting for approximately $67 billion in Chinese lending between 2005 and 2018, far ahead of Brazil, in second place with $27 billion. 81 These loans had no macroeconomic conditions attached and were commodity-guaranteed to collateralise Chinas banking policy; with each new loan, the Venezuelan government increased its oil supply commitments. 82 Although Chinese banks have recently been more cautious towards Venezuela, Beijing still supports the government politically, and continues to renegotiate repayment of its loans over the long term. On the military side, since the US arms embargo in 2006, China has grown to be the second most important arms supplier to Venezuela, increasing both the complexity and the volume of defence material exported. From 1998 to 2018, Venezuela accounted for 88.7% of Chinese arms exports to Latin America; these exports occurred mainly from 2006 to 2016. 83 The two countries strengthened diplomatic ties. Venezuela recognised China as a market economy in 2004 and the countries formed a strategic alliance in 2006, while China considered elevating the country to comprehensive strategic partnership status in 2014. Like other Chinese activities in Latin America, China-Venezuela relations seem to 80 Yanran Xu, Dialogue, February 2019), p. 3. 82 with Chinese Characteristics (Wilson Center. Latin American Program. Kissinger Institute on China and the United States, February 2019), p. 18. 83 Data from SIPRI Arms Transfers Database.
106 than with the rest of the region. China also holds a tacit security understanding with Venezuela supported by a limited arms build-up, substantial foreign (economic and military) aid, and diplomatic support. Although these are the traits of a loose alliance, Chinas strategy is still that of a (soft) offshore balancer because the country does not engage in direct confrontation with the US, but rather aims to affect the Latin American balance of power in a gradual and indirect manner. This is demonstrated by Chinas position as the Venezuelan crisis deepened. Chinas diplomatic manifestations demonstrated that strategic communications followed a soft balancing strategy. Discourses, interviews, and position statements in international organisations all reinforced Chinas indirect goal of presenting itself more as a veto player than as a hard balancer. Indirect foreign aid was a more important strategic activity than direct military involvement or consistent alliance building. Since early 2019, for instance, the Chinese government consistently refused to recognise Juan Guaids claim to the presidency and defended a non-interventionist solution, opposing economic sanctions. According to Beijing, history has taught us that external interference or sanctions, instead of helping solve problems, can only complicate matters. 84 Beijing also spread this message by opposing US-led coalitions in international organisations as expected from a soft balancer. China opposed attempts to pass Security Council resolutions against Venezuela, blocked Juan Guaids nomination to the board of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), 85 and rejected the actions of the Lima Group, which aimed to oust Maduro. The Chinese foreign spokesperson consistently maintained that Venezuelas affairs should be resolved by the Venezuelan people under the framework of its Constitution and laws and through peaceful dialogue and political means. 86 Another example of strategic communications being used as part of a soft balancing strategy was the case of a humanitarian aid delivery supported by the US and the Lima Group in late February 2019. China responded by stating that the US was using the so-called humanitarian aid to serve political ends and stir up instability and even turmoil, 87 and then reduced the pressure on the Maduro regime by offering its own share of humanitarian aid. 88 84 China, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuangs Regular Press Conference on January 29, 2019 . 85 James Politi, , Financial Times, 23 March 2019. 86 China, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunyings Remarks on the Inaugural Conference of the Inter national Contact Group on Venezuela , 8 February 201. 87 China, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kangs Remarks on the Situation in Venezuela , 25 February 2019. 88 CGTN, China Provides 65 Tons of Medical Supplies for Venezuela , 30 March 2019.
107 These examples show that Chinese strategic communications have been consistent with changes in Chinas grand strategy and its balancing strategies in Latin America and Venezuela; strategic communications is not employed aggressively but rather preventively, and as a loose alliance, combined with an understanding regarding mutual security. These positions become even clearer when compared to Russian strategies regarding the same issues. Russia-Venezuela relations and strategic communications: traits of a hard balancing strategy Russian strategic concerns differ substantially from those of China. Since the 89 the colour 90 and expansion eastward, embracing several former Warsaw Pact members 91 (a process widely debated in the scholarly literature). 92 seek regional hegemony in order to then be able to check aggressors in other or appeasement. Since there was no other great power to pass the buck to, and bandwagoning and appeasement are strategies to avoid because they signal subordination, balancing was Russias only option for enhancing its security. Moscow began to move forward with this strategy in the early 2000s, when Vladimir Putin came to power. Like China, Russia adopted a grand strategy to develop a multi-polar world and protect its borders from wars and territorial claims. 93 This process gained momentum following the Russo-Georgian war 89 90 This refers to reform focused on new operational concepts, organisational reforms, and informational capa bilities. Theo Farrell, Terriff Terry, and Osinga Frans, (Stanford University Press, 2010). nia and Croatia (2009), Montenegro (2017). International Security The Washington Quarterly 93 The Russian Federation, Russian National Security Concept (Russia, 2000).
108 in 2008, when the country announced its goals of transforming the Russian Federation into a world power and of active participation in the development of the multipolar model of the international system while achieving strategic deterrence through a range of political, diplomatic, military, economic, and informational measures. 94 In contrast to China, Russia was facing greater security threats and, consequently, reacted in a tougher manner. Russia perceived itself as not fully able to realise process, 95 and feared its borders might be threatened by military aggression. 96 Its main concerns were aggression from a state or group of states (the US and NATO), and from separatist groups (such as the Chechen separatists) or separatists supported by other states. Thus, it was imperative for Russia to maintain strategic parity with NATO and to ensure a credible deterrence capability. To do this, it invested in transforming its armed forces into high mobility, high speed units with precision-guided munitions, and adopted tactics eliminating them. 97 These processes are synonymous with traditional military build-up and characteristic of hard balancing strategies in a dispute over regional hegemony integrated into the kind of balancing strategy the Kremlin chose to employ. Russias, more aggressive, military posture has also resulted in more offensive strategic communicationsweaponising the information sphere for military intent and opposing narratives from the West. Although information and psychological operations had been central to Soviet geopolitical thinking, 98 their role diminished in the 1990s, only to be reintroduced into military schools, warfare techniques, and Russias grand strategy under Putins administrations. 94 The Russian Federation, Russias National Security Strategy to 2020 (The Russian Federation, 19 May 2009), Sections 21, 24, and 26. tary Doctrine (2010, 2014), Foreign Policy Concepts (2013, 2016), Information Security Doctrine (2000, 2016). The Journal of Slavic in 98 Jolanta Darczewska, T Studiw Wschodnich im. Marka Karpia, 2014).
109 This was done to balance a new generation of Western military concepts, 99 and to counter what Russia perceived as the spread of disinformation surrounding its foreign and domestic policies. 100 From 2008, after information operations and strategic communications failed to create favourable conditions for its military operations, Russia changed the way in which it operated in the information sphere. The outcome of the Russo-Georgian war triggered military reforms that introduced an asymmetric 101 what Western analysts called hybrid warfare. 102 In other words, the current Russian hard balancing strategy towards NATO combines both military and non-military approaches, such as the use of informational and cyber measures, to achieve its political goals. This revised approach was put into practice during Russias annexation of Crimea in 2014 and was central to Russias ensuing grand strategy documents. In its 2015 National Security Strategy, the Kremlin declared the need for a hard balancing strategy by arguing that the role of force as a factor in international relations is not declining 103 and restated the need to develop new forms of Alongside military might, other important factors allowing including economic, legal, technological and IT capabilities. Using these capabilities to pursue geopolitical interests is detrimental to international issues by peaceful means on the basis of the norms of international law. 104 99 According to Darczewska, Russia taught the subject special propaganda in the Military Institute for Foreign Languages from 1942 to 1990 when it was removed from the curriculum. In the early 2000s, the country reintro duced it after the reorganisation of the institute. Jolanta Darczewska, The Crimean Operation, a Case Study 100 The Russian Federation, Information Security Doctrine of the Russian Federation, 9 September 2000. 101 From the Russian perspective, an asymmetric approach employs interrelated political, military, military-tech nical, diplomatic, economic, informational, and other measures to achieve strategic deterrence and avoid military 102 Sushentsov criticises the Western focus on Crimea on the combination of non-military methods in achieving Strategy towards Modern Security Threats, p. 124. 103 The Russian Federation, Russian National Security Strategy, 31 December 2015. 104 The Russian Federation, Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation, 5 December 2016.
110 In other words, a more aggressive use of the informational sphere accompanied the construction of a hard balancing strategy from a Russia increasingly prone to respond decisively to security threats. As it adopted this more substantially hard balancing foreign policy strategy territories offshore. Disrupting the balance of power in countries where the US and NATO hold interests was a means of diverting Western efforts and of adopted a more assertive relationship with countries that could help advance America, especially with those states that had anti-US foreign policies. 105 Russian engagement in Latin America was not as deep as that of the Chinese, and was Nicaragua; (2) states that did not play a major role in the Soviet era but were anti-US foreign policy discourse and aim to soft-balance the US presence in their region); (3) countries neither opposed to the US nor allied with Russia but of great commercial interest, such as Brazil and Mexico. 106 Venezuela, with its anti-American foreign policy discourse, was of special interest as a potential centre for Russias balancing strategy in Latin America, where the US enjoys regional hegemony. Applying pressure there could lead to onwards by tightening its relations with Venezuela. When the US imposed an arms embargo on Caracas forcing it to acquire elsewhere spare parts for its F-16 Over time, it exported a variety of military equipment to Venezuela, including aircraft. 107 imports accounted for 76.5% of all Russian arms exports to Latin America; Carnegie Dreams of the Past, 2015, p. 10. 107 SIPRI Arms Transfer Database.
111 an impressive number compared to the second and third largest arms importers in the region, Peru and Mexico, with 8.1% and 4.1%, respectively. 108 Venezuela has also demonstrated its willingness to support Russias grand strategy of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2008 and the annexation of Crimea in 2014, defending Russias position against the Western powers. Venezuela also allowed Russian military naval and aerial manoeuvres in its territory on several occasions, a tactic Russia has used to pressure the US and divert attention during times of with Georgia, Russia sent warships and two strategic bombers (aircraft capable of transporting nuclear devices) to Venezuelan territory as part of its military exercises. 109 Latin American country (followed by Cuba and Nicaragua) to receive a Russian 110 In 2009, Russia was the only extra-regional country to participate in the annual meeting of Chvezs regional project, ALBA, seeking support for independence in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. In 2014, following the Crimean war, Russia sent bombers for a second time, and then a third time in late 2018 when the US imposed sanctions on Venezuela again. 111 In March 2019, following increasing international pressure on the Maduro regime, Russia sent a military cargo plane and a smaller jet to Venezuela carrying military specialists who, according to the Kremlin, were linked to the discussion of cooperation in the military-technical sphere. 112 The country thus has been using its military assets to demonstrate support to Venezuela. These events show that Russia has successfully adopted a strategy of offshore balancing in Latin America, using the traditional hard balancing strategy. Although Russia and Venezuela have not made a formal alliance, offensive realism and alliance theory suggest they have formed a de facto alliance. Their mutual interest in balancing US power in the Americas to gain security and the case of Russia, to mobilise military assets to communicate support. Other 108 Ibid. 109 Mark Tran and agencies, Russia Sends Warplanes on Venezuela Training Mission The Guardian 10 Septem ber 2008. 110 BBC News, Russian Navy Sails to Venezuela , 22 September 2008. 111 BBC News, Spat over Russian Bombers in Venezuela , 11 December 2018, Latin America & Caribbean. 112 Tom Balmforth and Maxim Rodionov, Russia Says It Sent Specialists to Venezuela, Rebuffs Trump , Reuters 28 March 2019.
112 factors indicating an alliance are also present. For instance, thanks to Russias investments in the oil sector, Venezuela has received military and economic aid. For years, the commercial losses Russian oil and gas companies suffered outweighed their gains. In the early 2010s, Luckoil and Gazprom expressed their desire to leave Venezuela. Nevertheless, the Russian government chose to reinforce its economic commitment to the country and to concentrate efforts on the 50% state-owned oil company, Rosneft which invested a net of 17 billion US$ in Venezuela from 2006 to 2018. 113 Thus, in addition to providing arms in support of the informal alliance, Russia has also been using its state-owned oil companies to provide direct economic aid to the Venezuelan government, reinforcing its offshore balancing strategy through this extra-regional outpost. Russian mobilisation of military assets to alleviate US pressure on Venezuela important evidence of a hard-balancing position. Other evidence of an alliance, indicating more aggressive behaviour, is penetration indirect manipulation of a states political system, 114 this intervenient factor can reinforce the effectiveness of alliances in various ways, such as lobbying and foreign propaganda. If the hypothesis that strategic communications is a resource for a Russian hard balancing strategy in Venezuela stands correct, then Russia should also be engaging in more aggressive informational actions there, The expansion of the Moscow-based and government-supported media company RT (formerly Russia Today ) on YouTube is striking evidence of Russias penetration into Venezuela. RT news channel and seven other channels targeting different audiences with different content RT America RT UK RT France , RT Deutsch RT Chinese and RT Arabic A recent study has concluded that RT mixes professional journalism with support for Russias interests while disseminating negative coverage of the West, undermining and portraying as hypocritical the Union, are built upon. 115 RT s Spanish channel, intended for a Latin American audience, has one of the fastest growing subscriber bases (from approximately 113 Vladimir Rouvinski, , 25 January 2019. 114 Walt, Alliance Formation and the Balance of World Power, p. 30. Russian Analytical Digest
113 348,000 in 2015 to 2.3 million in 2019). 116 Both Venezuela and Russia have been using the digital space to advance their cooperation agendas. In early 2015, the Venezuelan state-owned media company TeleSUR joined RT in a joint venture to present international news about Russia and Venezuela. 117 Similarly, Russias penetration into Venezuela can also be seen in the fact that relations between the two countries are widely present in the political system, and media coverage of this relationship has grown over time. For example, Russias Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been increasingly mentioning Venezuela in statements and interviews. The Ministry website registered 58 mentions from 2009 to 2018 compared with only 10 from 2000 to 2008. 118 On the diplomatic side, the hard balancing strategy and the alliance with Venezuela affected Russias positions on the issue, and Russian use of strategic communications to reinforce them. Russia has consistently positioned itself against military intervention, and against the positions of the US and the Lima president, Russia has accused the US of clearly trying to apply a tried and tested regime change scenario in Venezuela and has rejected foreign interference there. 119 This echoes the position adopted after the US, Brazil, and the Lima Group attempted to provide humanitarian aid. At the time, Brazil and the US delivered an aid truck convoy to the Brazilian border and faced a blockade by Maduros security forces; only some of the foreign aid made it through to Venezuelan territory. 120 Responding to these movements, Russias Ministry of and US sanctions. In early 2019, a Russian spokesperson compared the efforts to the American delivery of arms to the Contras disguised as aid in Nicaragua in 1986. 121 Russia then responded by sending its own humanitarian aid to Venezuela in late March 2019, 122 along with military experts. 123 These efforts aimed to December 2015. The 2019 issue is based on a visit to the channel on 7 April 2019. 117 Russia Today RT and Venezuela TeleSUR Journalists Unite to Provide Fresh Perspective on News , RT International, 30 March 2015. 118 In 2019, the website already registered 11 mentions to Venezuela Russian Federation. 119 The Russian Federation, Foreign Ministry Statement on the Developments in Venezuela , 4 April 2019. 120 Nicholas Casey, Albinson Linares, and Anatoly Kurmanaev, Some Aid From Brazil Pierces Venezuelas New York Times 23 February 2019. 121 The Russian Federation, Statement by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova , 18 February 2019. 122 The Moscow Times, Venezuela Accepts Shipment of Russian Humanitarian AidReports , Times 20 February 2019. 123 The Russian Federation, Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova Regarding US Policy towards Venezuela , 30 March 2019.
114 show up the contradictions of Washingtons position, at the same time, provide ambiguous signs of Moscows military willingness to support the Venezuelan regime, ensuring that Russia remains a key actor in Venezuela in the future. Considering this evidence, one can argue that Russian strategic communications follow their balancing strategies as they reinforce the formation of an informal alliance, indicating hard balancing behaviour. Over the years, Russia emerged as an offshore balancer in Venezuela aiming to disrupt the balance of power in the Americas, to re-emerge as a great power, and to counter NATO efforts on its borders. Thus, Venezuela became an important new ally in achieving this end and evolved to become Russias main outpost in Latin America. As Russian grand strategy resources grew to include informational capabilities in a more aggressive manner, so did its alliance with Venezuela. As a result, strategic and its offshore balancing strategy in Latin America. Conclusion Great power politics is on the rise and gridlock in the Venezuelan crisis is a symptom of this new moment in international politics. In the current state of the world order, national power and grand strategy resources are based not only on traditional economic, military, and diplomatic dimensions, but include cyber and informational capabilities as primary resources. This article set out to analyse what kind of balancing strategies China and Russia have been employing in their bilateral relations with Venezuela, and how strategic communications and the information sphere speak to their strategies. I have observed how these two countries employ different offshore balancing strategies towards the US, albeit with a similar goal of changing the balance of power in the Americas. For China, bilateral relations with Venezuela are part of a soft balancing strategy that aims to check the US in the Americas and support Chinas rise. China pursues soft, not hard balancing, because it aims to affect the balance of power in a gradual and indirect manner. Although the country has become more assertive in its positions since early 2019, it appears intent on communicating to the global community an image of a responsible and credible emerging great power, while rejecting external intervention. There is more of an informal and tacit security understanding with the Chavist regime, intended to advance Chinese balancing goals in Latin America, than an alliance. Strategic communications presents itself as an effort to shift Latin American and international public
115 opinion towards Chinas view, and simultaneously to counter the US position in the region. It forms, nonetheless, part of a larger toolkit for grand strategies, along with economic, military, and diplomatic relations. Russia has also employed an offshore balancing strategy with the US in the Americas. The country has deliberately used its national resources to provide economic aid and military support, and to penetrate the Venezuelan regime, not to mention offering ambiguous signs about its willingness to use its military capabilities to maintain its position and support an ally against the US, while also allies positions in its immediate neighbourhood, and to maintain geopolitical space for its growing stature through strategic communications that embrace ambiguous military signals, diplomatic messages, and social media efforts to change the narrative about its actions. Russias relationship with TeleSUR and the YouTube channel are but a few examples of its engagement in the region. Overall, strategic communications is a key element in todays Russian toolkit in support of its grand strategic goals. implication. First, it contributes to the understanding of the actors interests in the Venezuelan crisis and shows that, even in the long term, states will have to deal with the opposing interests of China and Russia as offshore balancers with risks of miscalculation in the great power game. Second, it illustrates how even a region that is not traditionally involved in great power politics can be used as leverage for great power interests in the current context of rising competition. Finally, it has theoretical implications regarding how strategic communications might provide important insights to balancing strategies. According to this study, hard balancing strategies may result in a more aggressive effort, such as information campaigns and hybrid warfare, whereas soft balancing results in a more cautious communication position, trying to change narratives and perceptions. These conceptual relationships might prove fruitful for future research.
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123 THE BEGINNING OF WARFARE ON THE INTERNET: ZAPATISTA STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS Tssio Franchi Leonardo Perin Vichi Abstract This article discusses the development of the strategic communications of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, the EZLN, between 1994 and 1996. During this period, the Zapatista movement transformed from a group focused on armed struggle into a social movement. The EZLN used rhetorical and communications strategies, not only to construct group identity but as a way to pressure the Mexican government into guaranteeing their rights as strategies employed by the groups main leader, Subcomandante Marcos, and on the Zapatistas narratives and the structure of the communications they disseminated to their worldwide network of committees connected through the internet. Keywords strategic communications, speech and power, Zapatistas, EZLN, guerilla About the Authors Dr Tssio Franchi is a Lecturer at the Brazilian Army Command and Staff College (ECEME). He holds a PhD in Sustainable Development, University of Braslia (UnB), and is the coordinator of the Frontier Borders and Emerging Threats Project.
124 Dr Leonardo Perin Vichi is an Associate Researcher at the Naval War School (EGN) with a PhD in Social History from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)/Freie Universitt Berlin (FUB). He is the Coordinator of the line of defense in the Nucleus of Strategic Studies in Defense and Security of the Department of Physics of the Federal University of So Carlos (UFSCar). *** Introduction Gabriel Garca Mrquez : Do you still have time to read in the middle of all this mess? Subcomandante Marcos : Yes, because if not...what would we do? In the armies that came before us, soldiers took the time to clean their weapons and rally themselves. In this case, our weapons are our words, so we have to depend on our arsenal all the time. 1 The Zapatista Army of National LiberationEZLNis a guerrilla group with indigenous roots. It emerged on 1 January 1994 in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. Its primary aim was the preservation of land rights, constituted under Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution of 1910. Hence, it did not seek the overthrow of the government, nor even to change the political regime, a common ambition among Latin American revolutionary movements. Five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, in 1994, the members of the newly formed Zapatista Army of National Liberation came together to stage an armed insurrection against the Mexican state. This action had a great impact on national and international public opinion. However, early on in its operations the EZLN shifted from the classic strategy of revolutionary focus ( foco ) by means of guerrilla warfare, popularised by Che Guevara, to one based on communication, using the internet as a vehicle for disseminating their demands. In doing so they were hugely successful in reaching beyond the geographical limits of the Lacandon Jungle in Chiapas, where they were based, by networking their ideas across the internet. 1 Excerpt from Gabriel Garca Mrquez interviews Subcomandante Marcos , The Nation, 2 July 2001. Gabriel Garca Mrquez: Todava, en medio de todos esos rollos, tiene tiempo para leer? Subcomandante Marcos: S porque si no qu hacemos? En los ejrcitos de antes, el militar aprovechaba el tiempo para limpiar su arma y rehacerse de parque. En este caso, como nuestras armas son las palabras, tenemos que estar pendientes de nuestro arsenal a cada momento.
125 This article analyses EZLN documents and communications, and the groups early years. When the novelist Jorge Castaeda wrote La Utopia desarmada: Intrigas, dilemas y promesas de la izquierda en Amrica Latina 2 using the same title as for his article of 23 April 1993 in the newspaper El Pas 3 he did not suspect that he would soon see an armed rebellion waged by the EZLN in his own country. Nor that the Zapatista movement would prove wrong his prediction that post-Cold War leftist politics would no longer engage in armed combat. In the preface to the Brazilian edition, he would contradict himself, stating that he had been misunderstood at the time, that he had not denied the possibility of new armed operational and active in the media. 4 Whether the EZLN was a revolutionary or reformist movement, its success was largely due not to armed struggle but to its strategic communications. 5 While its military power was inferior to that of the Mexican Federal Army, its early use of the internet in creating a communications network won a key advantage in an The architecture of EZLN strategic communications would be based on a system EZLNs Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee. Historically, some ethnic Maya (Tzeltales, Tzotziles, Tojolabales, Choles) joined together to form the biggest group in Zapatista movement. 6 Other small ethnic groups were also represented in their ranks. Solano described the Lacandona Jungle as a complex ethnic space, with many different languages and native identities. 7 The second level was composed of numerous civil, local, regional, and international committees, 2 In English the article was titled Utopia Unarmed: The Latin American Left After the Cold War. In the Brazilian Portuguese edition it was Utopia Unarmed: Intrigues, Dilemmas, and Promises of the Left in Latin-America. 3 Jorge Casta eda, La utopia desarmada, El Pa s, 23 April 1993. 4 Alberto Njar, EZLN y Marcos: cul es el principal aporte del zapatismo a Mxico a 25 aos de su levan tamiento armado? , [EZLN and Marcos: What have the Zapatistas contributed to Mexico 25 years after the uprising?], BBC News Mundo 1 January 2019. Mxico. [Accessed 14 April 2019]. 5 Manuel Castells, The Information Age: Economy, Society, and Culture. The Rise of the Network Society (Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), Vol I, p. 82. 6 Neil Harvey, La Rebelin de Chiapas: La lucha por la tierra y la democracia [The Chiapas Rebellion: The struggle for land and democracy] (Mxico: Ediciones Era, 1998). 7 Xochitl Leyva Solano, Lacandonia Babilonia in Xochitl Leyva Solano and Gabriel Ascencio Franco, Lacandona gua [Lacandona on the Edge of the Water]. ( Mxico: Fondo de Cultura Econmica, 1996), p. 95.
126 providing a concentrated communications channel for easy dissemination of texts produced by the Zapatistas. 8 This information infrastructure was generated by multiple communications networks of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. It represents not only the transformation of the LatinAmerican Left, departing from armed revolution to seek reform through dialogue, but also characterises the creation of communicative spaces directed 9 The EZLN was established on 1 January 1994. In a quick operation that began at dawn, the EZLN occupied the cabeceras municipales [municipal seats] of Altamiro, Chamula, Chanal, Larrainzar, La Liberdade, Las Margaridas, Ocosingo, Palenque, and Simojovel of Allende, as well as the former capital of Chiapas State, San Cristbal de Las Casas. The Zapatistas seized a radio station from which they transmitted their demands and the reasons for the armed uprising. The First Declaration of the Lacand n Jungle [ I Declarao da Selva Lacandona ] 10 and The Mexican Alarm [ O Despertador Mexicano ], 11 rapidly circulated in the press along with several photos of armed indigenous people walking the streets of the occupied areas. Before the end of the week, pictures appeared in some of Mexicos leading journals showing encounters between the EZLN and the Mexican Federal Armyand summary executions. 12 The rebel army that had been in gestation for more than ten years in the interior of the Lacand n Jungle had come into being. One characteristic of the EZLN was the ethnic appeal that permeated its rhetoric. Although the movement had tried over years to build a more pluralist and open discourse to win support from other sectors of Mexican society, its words and actions demanded legal rights for indigenous communities. The texts of the San Andrs Accords [ Los Acuerdos de San Andrs ] 13 addressing indigenous law and 8 Tssio Franchi, O Movimento Zapatista e a Constituio de Redes Intelectuais ao seu redor [The Zapatista Movement and the Construction of the Intellectual Networks Around It], Revista UNIVERSUM 285. 9 Alister Miskimmon, Ben OLoughlin, and Laura Roselle, Strategic narratives: communication power and the new world order (New York and London: Routledge, 2013), p. 209. 10 Comit Clandestino Revolucionrio Indgena del EZLN, (CCRI-CG del EZLN) I Declarao da Selva Lacandona [First Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle] 1 January 1994, EZLN, Documentos y Comunicados (Mxico: Ediciones Era, 2000) Vol. I. p. 33; Subcomandante Marcos, I Declarao da Selva Lacandona, 1 January 1994, Documentos y Comunicados Vol. I. 11 Idem, O Despertador Mexicano [The Mexican Alarm], 1 December 1993, p. 36. 12 Sublevacin in Chiapas [Rebellion in Chiapas], La Jornada (Mexico City), 2 January 1994. For bombing in the south of San Cristbal: an investigation will be conducted to ascertain whether 5 rebels were executed; the guilty will be punished. In: Sublevacin in Chiapas, La Jornada (Mexico City), 5 January 1994 in Pedro Henrique Ortiz Falco. Z@patismo on-line (So Paulo: PROLAN-USP, 1997), 2 Vols., p. 574. 13 Acuerdos de San Andrs [San Andrs Accords] in Jos Ramn Cosso Daz et al., Derechos y cultura indgena [Indigenous rights and culture] (Mxico: Miguel Angelo Parra, 1998). p. 294.
127 culture sought to change the relationship between the Mexican nation state and indigenous communities, 14 and to protect the latter from the globalisation process. This characteristic of celebrating indigenous culture and ethnicity, while asserting the fundamental difference between indigenous societies and modern society, positions the EZLN in a group of movements that resist neoliberal reforms in of any separatist or revolutionary project. 15 The Zapatistas say: We do not want to separate ourselves from the Mexican nation, we want to be part of it, we want 16 Miskimmon et al argue that relations between actors do not occur in a vacuum but in spaces of encounter. 17 The San Andrs Accords, based on acceptance communications strategies and indirectly generated a further form of inclusion for their communities and soldiers (most of whom were indigenous). In the early 1990s, the internet was not widely used to communicate across social groups. By adopting communications through worldwide computer networks, the Zapatistas acquired communicative autonomy and a way to present the immediacy of the plight of impoverished and uneducated Indians in the remote south of Mexico in social spheres hitherto inaccessible to them, namely, the Mexican intellectual and academic communities, and the political elites. the countrys foreign relations, while at the same time preventing the use of large-scale repression by the Mexican government. 18 In their communication on 6 January 1994 the EZLN accused the Mexican Army of repression. Mexican the EZLN. From that moment, the Zapatistas began reporting the growing 19 14 Note the tension: Context of the new relationship talks about the need for a State policy that must be developed by the Federal Government in the framework of State reform, and the need for society to be involved in the desire to banish the discriminatory mentality that is maintained towards the natives. Coss o Daz et al., Derechos y cultura indgena p. 51. 15 By revolutionary we mean a movement that seeks radical change in the institutions of power in the country. As the Zapatistas claim they do not intend to change the Mexican political regime, we understand them not to be revolutionaries in the strict sense of the term. See Saint-Pierre on revolutionary war as only that phase in which the historical process seems to engage all its forces looking for an institutional rupture. Hctor Luis Saint-Pierre, A poltica armada fundamento da guerra revolucionria (So Paulo: Editora UNESP, 2000), p. 33. 16 Massimo di Felice and Cristbal Mu oz (org.) A Revoluo Invencvel [The Invincible Revolution] (So Paulo: Boitempo, 1998), p. 21. 17 Miskimmon et. al, Strategic narratives, p. 209. 18 Castells, The Information Age, Vol. II, p. 84. 19 CCRI-CG del EZLN, Alto al Fuego [Stop the Fire], 23 February 1994, Documentos y Comunicados Vol. I, p. 81.
128 This article analyses the architecture of the discursive strategies of the Zapatistas. It examines how they created, implemented, and disseminated their strategic communications to advance their struggle to gain social and economic equality by his nom de guerre Subcomandante Marcos. Marcos was a major component of the EZLNs propaganda machine and was responsible for many of the groups communiqus, 20 writes Blake Burgess. We also interrogate the Zapatistas use of the internet as part of their communications infrastructure and their media ecology, which otherwise relied on local, less international means of communication. The potential of strategic change in strategic affairs: [There is now a] vast increase in the number and type of potential ways of using cyberspace to mobilise contention globally for less densely networked age. 21 We highlight here one of the most relevant aspects in the contest for power in cyberspace, namely the narrative element of communications strategy, or the effort to describe values rooted not in actual information but in symbolic representations. Thus, they make history and create a story. The enduring existence of the EZLN may be explained by its continuous modifying and rewriting of EZLN materials. This strategy is apparent in how Subcomandante Marcos responded in an interview to the writer Gabriel Garca Marquez: Whats in play here is what Subcomandante Marcos is, and not what he was. 22 Limits, concepts, and methods of information means that power will be widely distributed, and informal 20 Blake Burgess, People of the Sun: The EZLN in an Age of Mass Media , The Forum: Journal of History Vol. 8, Issue 1 (2016): 7, p. 9. 21 David Betz, Cyberpower in Strategic Affairs: Neither Unthinkable nor Blessed Journal of Strategic Studies Vol. 22 Gabriel Garca Mrquez interviews Subcomandante Marcos .
129 networks will weaken the monopoly of traditional bureaucracy. 23 It is precisely the egalitarian distribution of power among EZLN committees that we believe enabled the dissemination of information aimed at gaining international support for the Zapatista cause. The process of revolutionary transformation from armed combat to the use of discourse and dialogue as weapons was consolidated through the construction of a networked societyan extensive community connected by the need to communicate and to build on the content of that communication. We conclude that what characterizes the current technological revolution is not the centrality of knowledge and information, 24 rather, it is the diffusion of information that neutralises the asymmetries of network of organisations. 25 the attitudes and opinions of target audiences seeking to shape their behaviours in order to introduce interests or policies or to achieve objectives. 26 For this study we systematically analysed some 400 documents relating to the Zapatista movement. Of these, 361 were letters and statements from the EZLN; seven were joint statements of the EZLN and the Mexican federal government; and six were unilateral proposals of the federal government or its organs and political parties. Not all are quoted in full; we have extracted only relevant and recurring passages to identify them. 27 The time frame for the study begins on 1 January 1994 with the emergence of the EZLN, and ends on 24 January 1997, a few months after the Zapatistas September 1996. The discourse of the Zapatista movement plays a fundamental role. EZLN thus replacing kinetic weapons, and transforming the groups discourse into its main instrument of the struggle. This feature makes the EZLN unique compared to other guerrilla movements, all of which rely or have relied on violence. 23 Joseph Nye, O Futuro do Poder [The Future of Power] (So Paulo: Benvir, 2011) p. 155. 24 Castells, The Information Age, Vol. I, p. 31. 25 Nye, O Futuro do Poder p. 152. 26 James Farwell, Persuasion and Power : The Art of Strategic Communication (Washington: Georgetown Universi ty Press, 2012), p. xix. 27 This study did not seek to correlate the impact of daily internet use by the Zapatistas with the actions of the Mexican Army. We do not include Mexican army reports to check direct responses to each EZLN communica tion, nor daily changes in tactical planning of armed forces.
130 We do not argue that other guerrilla movements do not use communiqus and declarations to express their demands, only that this is not their primary means of action. The Zapatistas changed the game, also for groups that continue to use violence, as Burgess points out: The ELZNs use of eloquent rhetoric and the Web provides a useful tool for other revolutionary groups. 28 We emphasise that the use of media in war is not a new strategy for governments or revolutionary movements. The EZLNs innovation was to make the internet their theatre of operations, the arena where they fought, won audiences, and connected with supporters. With this choice, they avoided conventional media vehicles and escaped government censorship. Internet use was effectively the heart of the Zapatista movement. Zapatista reports gained prominence almost immediately because of widespread media coverage. Numerous periodicals reproduced the reports in full, 29 bearing the agonies and hopes of the indigenous people of Chiapas to their readers. Widespread media coverage garnered popular support for the Zapatistas from both ordinary people and intellectuals around the world. 30 This support exerted pressure on the Mexican federal government; after the March of the Hundred Thousand in the Z calo of Mexico City, 31 it called off its military offensive and started a process of dialogue with the rebels. Once talks were established, the Zapatistas found institutional channels open and their words reinvigorated. According to Subcomandante Marcos, the use of discourse had not been considered the Zapatistas primary operating concept prior to 1 January 1994: We have moved very quickly to a phase for which we were not prepared: dialogue. We were prepared for a long process of war of attrition, of military clashes, of political disputes over villages, of ideological struggle 32 28 Burgess, People of the Sun , p. 8. 29 PROCESO: semanario de informacin y anlisis. [PROCESS: Information and Analysis Weekly], Mxico, Special Edition, 1 January 1999; PROCESO: semanario de informacin y anlisis [Graphic Memory: The Indigenous March], Mxico, Special Edition, 8 April 2001; Manuel Vzquez Montlban, Na clareira da revoluo [In the Glade of Revolution], Folha de S. Paulo 4 September 1999; Pedro Ortiz (inter 30 Prominent personalities who have written or demonstrated support for the Zapatista cause include: Jos Sara mago, Manuel Vzquez Montalbn, Oscar Oliva, Joo Cabral de Melo Neto, Antonio Garca de Len, Ariovaldo Umbelino de Oliveira, Adolfo Gilly, Eduardo Galeano, Luis Hernndez Navarro, Marco Antonio Bernal, Frei Betto, Carlos Montemayor, Carlos Monsivis, among others. 31 The March of the Hundred Thousand took place on 12 January 1994 in the Zocalo in Mexico City, and 32 C. De Lela and A. M. Escurra (comps), Chiapas : entre la tormenta y la profeca [Chiapas: Between Torture and Prophecy] (Buenos Aires: Lugar, 1994), p. 162.
131 Cyber-militancy or internet warfare? Guerra de Internet? [Internet warfare?]. Pablo Espinosa, a columnist for the Mexican newspaper La Jornada began his article with this question on 10 August 1995. 33 War on the internet began with EZLN sympathisers and people searching for information about the movement. Later the Zapatistas used the internet as a means to obtain external support for the region where they were surrounded by the military, and also to publish communications and alerts networked infrastructure available only to the few. Initially created for NGOs in Chiapas, this network became known as La Neta. According to Maria Elena Martinez-Torres, former delegate of La Neta the network was a communications channel, created to facilitate NGO communication with the capital and to spread the vision of the minorities they represented. 34 In the early days of the rebellion, La Neta was the main Zapatista vehicle for communication and access point to what would become its new theatre of operations: cyberspace. As Manuel Castells explains, the Zapatistas internet use can be divided into two moments. First, in 1990, when La Neta was supported by the Catholic Church and used as an alternative network for NGOs. Second, from 1994, with Ford Foundation funding, La Neta was supported on a private Internet provider. 35 Henceforth, there were no longer constraints on the proliferation of the Zapatistas words. EZLN use of La Neta and the internet became a cyberwar conducted against the Mexican government. Cyberspace was used to pursue their political aims, and virtual campaigns (internet warfare) subverted military campaigns on the as Information Warfare, consistent with its modus operandi when transmitting strategic information. Thus, it initiated a new information warfare with more 33 La Jornada 10 August 1995 in Pedro Henrique Falco Oritz, Z@ patismo on-line (So Paulo: PROLAN-USP, 1997), 2 vols., p. 585. 34 Maria Eleno Martinez-Torres, Civil Society, the Internet, and the Zapatistas, Peace Review Vol. 13, Issue 3 (2001): 347, p. 351. 35 Castells, The Information Age Vol I, p. 84.
132 effective outcomes than EZLN might otherwise have achieved through armed combat. 36 strategic communications was essential. 37 We will later demonstrate that cyberspace became the primary theatre of operations, targeting both society and the Mexican government. The goal directed at Mexican society was to recruit supporters and create a militancy to pressure the Mexican Government. The goal aimed at the government was to exert their claims and establish limits to the Mexican Armys actions. Their weapons were their words, documents, and reports, used strategically to gain discussed by Burgess: reports to mainstream news articles is disseminated across the Internet has allowed for a more informed and capable audience in assessing the situation in Chiapas. 38 March 1994 by Justin Paulson. Recently graduated in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania, Paulson explained why he created it: little material, why not share with the world all that, even if little, communicated and everything related to the EZLN. That was at the end of March and beginning of April 1994. 39 and years. The Zapatistas, and especially their sympathisers, soon began to use the internet strategically, reporting allegations of abuse by government troops or major landholders, organising meetings, public mobilisations, and discussion groups by e-mail, 40 and disseminating documents, letters, and reports produced 36 David Ronfeldt, John Arquilla, Graham E. Fuller, and Melissa Fuller, The Zapatista Social Netwar in Mexico (RAND Corporation, 1998). p. 55 37 John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, The Advent of Netwar (revisited) in Networks and Netwars: The future of terror, crime, and militancy (RAND Corporation 2001): 1, p. 17. 38 Burgess, People of the Sun , p. 8. 39 Paulson as quoted in Espinosa, Mi pgina en Web in Ortiz, Z@patismo on-line p. 585. 40 In Brazil, one of these lists is organised by the Zapatista Avante CommitteeCAZ
133 by the movement. This intense use of the internet was a coincidence that gradually became a necessity and increased when the EZLN replaced its strategy of armed struggle with dialogue. By drawing the struggle into the theoretical as equals, contrary to what had taken place in the real world where the Federal Army was disproportionately stronger and better armed. Hctor Saint Pierre pointed out that: At the tactical level, the use of symbols is incorporated to scale application of the Internet communication system as a way of contrasting the effect of the completely adverse force relationship. 41 The use of the internet was crucial for the Zapatistas to reach a wide audience. This can be seen in the number of internet-support committees and online sites created by those keen to support the EZLN cause. Table I shows some of these committees and sites. Country Committees Name Brazil Avante Zapatista Committee Brazil EZLN Archive Spain Aragon Zapatista Spain Ellokal Spain Madrids Solidarity Platform with Chiapas USA Accin Zapatistas France Collectif Ya Basta! Italy Comitato Chiapas Torino Mexico FZLN Mexico Enlace Civil Switzerland Direkte Solidaritt mit Chiapas Table 1 Zapatista committees that use the internet to disseminate materials linked to EZLN through web pages or groups of emails. 42 41 Saint-Pierre, A poltica armada, p. 208. 42 Franchi, O Movimento Zapatista .
134 The Zapatistas created a network of information pages and support committees via the internet where they contacted people and non-governmental organisations around the world. These contacts produced e-mails and letters addressed to the Mexican government asking them to respond to EZLN demands or cease military offensives (see February 1995 attack). For Saint-Pierre, the Zapatistas The Zapatistas were able to set up an international communication network by internet that made the difference in the war. The military use of these elements of action by a guerrilla group seems to indicate that we are faced with another type of war, this waras Yvon Le Bot saidafter the fall of the Berlin Wall, where symbols matter more than weapons, communications matter more than the correlation of forces. 43 guerrilla force to use the internet in a systematic way to publicise its written materials and to create space for debates in which the movement itself was the central theme. The widespread use of a worldwide computer network to link the Zapatista movement to Mexican and international 44 The webpage was linked to the entity called Enlace Civil or Civil Liaison, and was intended to be a bridge between indigenous communities and civil society. 45 It has been replaced by the webpage Enlace Zapatista , where all the groups announcements can be found up to the present. The webpage Zapatista National Liberation Front was active in publishing denunciations of activities that occurred in Chiapas and articles on various topics affecting indigenous communities, but has now been replaced by Zeztainternacional , which continues to circulate a variety of information to the communities. The diversity of internet pages linked to the cause bears witness to the enduring support for the movement. 43 Saint-Pierre, A poltica Armada, p. 211. 44 http://www.ezln.org Here we found communiqus issued by the movement since 1994; some translated from Spanish to English, Portuguese, Italian, French, and German. The virtual memory of the entire movement is collected in the webpage http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx 45 Here we read: Enlace Civil A. C arose from a request from a group of indigenous communities from the Altos, Selva and North regions of the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas. The objective of ENLACE CI VIL is to serve as a bridge between the indigenous communities of Chiapas and national and international civil society in a common project to improve the living conditions of the indigenous peoples. www.enlacecivil.org.mx [Accessed 7 December 2003].
135 Constructing power through discourse depends on a communications strategy. Here, discursive strategies are adjusted to different individuals and groups, both foreign and local. As Neville Bolt states: power is constructed around the opposition between the local and the global, and is centred on networks, no longer on individual units of organisation. 46 Forms of discourse Zapatista discourse is diverse in form. We sort it into six categories below. or expressing demands, while other letters and reports are permeated with imaginary characters: the little indigenous girl Tonita, Don Durito de Lacandona the talking beetle, the Zapatista children, guerrilla companions, and Viejo Antonio [Old Antonio]. We cannot ascertain whether or not these characters are based on real individuals. Although certain short communications had only an informative function, Subcomandante Marcos occasionally used post-scripts to insert a comment or story that would make a text more attractive. 47 Informational or Coordination Reports These are reports of an informative character about an event or organisation, or provide practical information such as how to get a press badge or why a newspaper failed to receive a copy of the latest EZLN communiqu; in short, practical considerations aimed at resolving or reporting an immediate problem. Denunciation Reports These denounce the actions of the Federal Army or White Guards during periods of peace. 48 Their purpose is to draw public attention to military manoeuvres Zapatistas have intelligence on their activities (air patrols, trains crossing territory, and detachments camped in the jungle). These communiqus sometimes have 46 Neville Bolt, Unsettling Networks The RUSI Journal Vol. 154, Issue 5 (11 January 2010): 34, p. 35. 47 An analytical investigation classifying and differentiating between various forms of writing found in letters, communiqus, and other Zapatista documents would be a valuable contribution to thematic studies of the sort personages who link the images constructed around the movement and associate it with a historical past would be of interest to researchers trained in the social sciences, most of whom might hesitate to engage in such work themselves. 48 commonly known as Guardias Blancas paramilitary groups, death squads, among others. Alejandro Buenrostro y Arellano and Ariovaldo Umbelino de Oliveira, Chiapas: construindo a esperana [Chiapas: Building Hope] (So Paulo: Paz e Terra, 2002), p. 319.
136 a political stamp: they report on the government militarising the region during periods of peace talks where such actions have been prohibited by agreement. Claim Reports These are usually the longest form of communication, with demands accompanied by explanations. They include not only demands directly related to social issues but seek minimal conditions for dialogue or a return to it, as in the period following the February 1995 betrayal, when the government suspended form of proposals presented to the negotiations. Witness the First Declaration of the Lacandn Jungle: To the People of Mexico: We, the men and women, full and free, are conscious that the war that we have declared is our last resort, but also a just one. The dictators have pursued an undeclared genocidal war against our people for many years. Therefore, we ask for your participation, your decision to support this plan that struggles for work, land, housing, food, health care, education, independence, freedom, democracy, justice, and peace. We of our people have been met by forming a government of our country that is free and democratic. 49 Over time, the demand for work, land, housing, food, health care, education, some documents adopting the expression: Democracy! Freedom! Justice! 50 of the State of Chiapas, citing the infant mortality rate, malnutrition, and basic sanitation rates in contrast to the production of oil, electricity, and grain. Letters However, they are made public to all and published in the press. The letters do not conform to a set pattern but deal with a variety of subjects. When Mexicos 49 Subcomandante Marcos, I Declarao da Selva Lacandona, 1 January 1994, Documentos y Comunicados Vol. I. 50 Idem, Segunda Declaracin de La Realidad [Second Declaration of Reality], 3 August 1996, Documentos y Comunicados Vol. III.
137 Marcos wrote: Mr. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Len: Welcome to the nightmare. In this letter I am addressing your inauguration speech. 51 Reports with Stories Characters created by Subcomandante Marcos appear in various communications, both in documents and long reports. The intention of these stories varies according to the characters involved or the legends they are addressing. There are also combat narratives that tell of guerrilla actions, containing mixed exaltations of confrontation featuring the fear and death of comrades, besides offering many comic stories showing the misadventures and privations of life in the jungle. Some of these tales have since become books, as in the case of A Histria das Cores 52 [The Story of Colours] and A Caverna do Desejo 53 [The Cave of Desire]. them. Don Durito of Lacandona says he is a scholar of neoliberalism and so in communiqus where he meets Marcos, the theme of neoliberalism is addressed. Don Duritos speech adopts a more academic tone and demonstrates the vision that the Zapatistasor Marcoshave of neoliberalism, and how they perceive its impact on their lives. 54 Reports of Zapatista Children Tonita and Heriberto are usually the protagonists of this type of report. They describe the childrens routines and how they behave in different situations. The image of purity and innocence captured in the characters of these children reminds us of the values of innocence, kindness, and joy that Marcos associates in a July 1994 report. Heriberto (3-yearold Tojolabal 55 boy) smiles toothlessly when he consoles his sister Eva (5-year-old Tojolabal girl) who woke up crying 51 Idem, A Ernesto Zedillo, 31 December 1994, Documentos y Comunicados Vol. II, p. 141. 52 Idem, A Histria das Cores [The Story of Colours]. Transl. Marcelo Brando n.p. 2003, compare Veja Magazine (Edio 1810, A 53 Idem, Cmo el Jolmash se entr en la cueva del deseo [How Jolmash Entered the Cave of Desire] 17 March 1995, Documentos y Comunicados, Vol. II., p. 277. This communication was later transformed into a book by Erica Chappuis: The Cave of Desire Illustration by Erica Chappuis. Text by Sub. Marcos. 1999. 54 Subcomandante Marcos, Conversations with Durito: Stories of the Zapatistas and Neoliberalism (Canada: Autonome dia, 2005). 55 Tojolabal is a Mayan language spoken in Chiapas, Mexico by an indigenous group of the same name.
138 because she dreamed that the cat did mau [bad] and not miau [meow]. 56 The main point is to show the brother actively comforting his sister Eva, with care and love while giving her his chocolate. The tale builds the image of a kindly, indigenous child who protects his sister. A few paragraphs later, we read: At the dawn of a year, an army formed by indigenous people that is, for democracy, freedom, and justice in THE MEXICO WE WANT. On a wall of a Chiapanecan city hallthe caciques palaceis painted YA BASTA! [Enough already!] in dull red, from dried blood. The employees will uselessly try to erase it. Just knocking down the wall, the employees keep saying. Someone, anywhere in the country, begins to understand ... THE MEXICO WE WANT. Heriberto wears only a red bandana for clothing. At three years Heriberto falls in the mud, he quickly turns to see if someone is observing him or laughs, if there is nobody in his sight, he gets up again and goes to the stream to bathe; he will tell his mom that when he stumbles, Heriberto reaches for a machete of his size and, wielding it, attacks everything around him. Heriberto cries not because the fall hurts. Because mockery hurts more, thats why Heriberto cries. In THE MEXICO WE WANT, Heriberto will have good shoes for the mud, trousers for scrapes, a shirt so that the hopes that normally nest in the chest do not escape; a red bandana will be only a red bandana, and not a symbol of rebellion. His stomach learn in his thinking. Crying and laughing will be just that, and Heriberto will not have to become an adult anytime soon. 57 In the second paragraph, we learn more about the thinking and personality 56 Subcomandante Marcos, El Mxico que queremos [The Mexico We Want] 17 June 94, Documentos y Comuni cados Vol. I, p. 162. 57 Ibid.
139 of Heriberto, whose characteristics anyone can easily identify with. The last paragraph associates Heribertos desires with the demands of the Zapatista movement in a subliminal message based on a childs need for well-being. Again, the writing deliberately invites people to identify with Heriberto and the Zapatista movement. Different forms of Zapatista discourse may appear merged in the same communiqu, either in the text itself or as a post-script. It important point to highlight is that both statements in which descriptions of writing are, without exception, signed by Subcomandante Marcos. Documents signed by the Comit Clandestino Revolucionrio Indgena Comando Geral 58 (CCRI-CG) and other members of the EZLN do not share this characteristic. A taxonomy of EZLN discourse While acknowledging the six forms of discourse described above, for a useful only informational and coordination reports. Their primary aim is to preserve relations with the press and the public. The Zapatistas were careful with professional communications outlets since they considered them important to their success in disseminating documents across national and international audiences. to communicate the values of indigenous communities and explain the effects of government actions on them, and to connect the EZLN to todays Mayans. A few stories featuring the Viejo Antonio character connect contemporary Zapatistas to those historical Zapatistas who followed Emiliano Zapata in between Subcomandante Marcos and Don Durito de Lacandona, in which the beetle performs a didactic role, explaining how the Zapatistas undermined the globalisation process (and NAFTA agreement) from the perspective of Chiapas. 58 Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee General Command, hereafter referred to as CCRI-CG.
140 Old Antonio took from his backpack a little bag of nylon. Inside there was a very old picture from 1910 of Emiliano Zapata. In his left hand Zapata had his sword raised to his waist. In his right hand he had a pistol, two cartridge belts of bullets crossed his chest, one from left to right, the other from right to left. His feet are positioned as though hes standing still or walking and in his gaze there is something like here I am or there I go. There are two staircases. One comes out of the darkness, and there are dark-skinned Zapatistas as though they were coming out of something. The other staircase is lit but there is no one and one cant see where it goes or where it comes from. I would be lying if I told you that I noticed all those details. It was Old Man Antonio who told me. On the back of the picture, it said: Gral. Emiliano Zapata, Jefe del Ejercito Suriano. Gen. Emiliano Zapata, Commander in Chief of the Southern Army. Le General Emiliano Zapata, Chef de lArm e du Sud. C. 1910. Photo by: Agustin V. Casasola. Old Antonio says to me I have asked a lot of questions of this picture. That is how I came to be here. He coughs and tosses the cigarette butt. He gives me the picture. Here, he says, So that you learn how to ask questions...and to walk. 59 This story portraying a meeting between Subcomandante Marcos and Viejo Antonio is one example. In this particular scene, Viejo Antonio gives Marcos a photo of Emiliano Zapata (representing the connection between todays struggle and that of 1910) and a word of advice (representing knowledge of the indigenous people). It seems a simple literary construction; however, its meaning is more elaborate. By creating a bridge between the current struggle and the Mexican Revolution of 1910, so important to the formation of Mexican national identity, the story tries to create a connection between Marcos and all Mexican citizens who feel they are represented by Emiliano Zapata, a symbol of national heroism. By using the character of an indigenous old man, Old Antonio, to advise the young leader, the story creates a connection between 59 Idem, Carta de Marcos a remitentes que an no obtienen respuesta [Letter from Marcos to Senders Who Still Have No Answer], 13 December 1994, Documentos y Comunicados Vol. II, p. 162.
141 the wisdom of maturity and indigenous ancestry and the new spokesperson, making him a legitimate representative of the movement. 60 David Betz offers some context to discursive strategies evidenced by the power of stories: Clausewitz included passion amongst the famous trinity that he argued constituted war, because he grasped that war requires society to cohere around the project that violence is aimed at achieving. [...] Myth construction is an aspect of power that the West has taught itself to mistrust (because of its experience of wars of mass mobilisation) and, by and large, to abjure, for ill and for good. 61 We could compare this form of discourse to literary devices used by magic realists such as the Colombian novelist Gabriel Garca Mrquez. Or as Claire Yorke states, Empathy in strategic communications is not about better understanding an audience in order to tailor a message more accurately. If used correctly, it should reinforce processes of critical thinking in the initial stages of strategy development. 62 stories into a tool (or weapon) generated empathy and support for the EZLN. The third group includes claim reports, letters addressed to politicians, and denunciation reports. These form the core of Zapatista communications where they reveal their intentions and where negotiations are held. These provide important source materials and allow us to establish changes in Zapatista strategies. In this article, we address those points in greater detail as the primary evidence for our analysis. However, all types of discourse were analysed to build an understanding of their achievements. A recurring feature of the documents produced during the early months of the Zapatista Rebellion was the argument that the EZLN was a military force capable of responding effectively to the Mexican Army, and consequently able 60 John Womack Jr., Zapata e a Revoluc o Mexicana [Zapata and the Mexican Revolution] (Lisboa: Edic es 70, 1980), p. 10. 61 David Betz and Vaughan Phillips, Putting the Strategy Back Into Strategic Communications in Defence Strategic Communications Vol. 3, (Riga: NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, Autumn 2017): 41. p.48 62 Claire Yorke, Defence Strategic Communications (Riga: NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, 2017): 137, p. 152.
142 action was used to intimidate the government, demonstrating a willingness to 63 one of poorly-armed Indians facing a heavily-armed Mexican Federal Army with overwhelming numerical superiority. The Mexican magazine Proceso reported with this, the population foresaw a massacre that had to be avoided. Popular demonstrations calling for the cessation of hostilities occurred in several places Zoclo Square, Mexico City, on 12 January 1994. Any return to hostilities would entail the loss of popular support so important to the government. It is instructive to review some of the documents addressed to the federal government, in which the threat of civil war is made explicit: Advance to the capital of the country, defeating the Mexican federal army, protecting the civilian population in its liberating progress, and allowing liberated peoples to choose, free and democratically, its administrative authorities. JOIN THE INSURGENT FORCES OF THE ZAPATISTA ARMY OF NATIONAL LIBERATION. 64 document of the EZLN. This is an example of a Claim Report and should therefore be interpreted with caution. The threat of a warlike attitude with its strong determination to act can be interpreted as a way of provoking a reaction and drawing national attention to the problem without any real intention of putting words into practice. Consequently, the phrase: Advance to the capital of the country is mere allegory with little real intent. At the time, the EZLN was aware of its limited military capabilities in both human and material resources. On 23 February 1994, the CCRI-CG published a document referring to the in the service of the Zapatista National Liberation Army, must remain in their 63 PROCESO: semanario de informacin y anlisis Mxico, Special Edition, 1 January 1999. 64 The formatting of this paragraph follows the original, centralised and uppercase. CG-CCRI del EZLN, I Declarao da Selva Lacandona, 1 January 1994, Documentos y Comunicados Vol. I, p. 34.
143 or federal army air force. 65 This document suggests the choice of a military option. The Zapatistas were, however, poorly armed compared to the Mexican Federal Army, so could only face them in asymmetrical combat; their advantage Denunciation reports appear in communications dating back to the inception of the movement. An intention to use military force and threats forms part of their statements. In a communiqu dated 6 January 1994, coinciding with a military confrontation, the Zapatistas accused the army of indiscriminate repression and threatened to retaliate: federal army, and presents it in its true essence: indiscriminate repression, the violation of all human rights, and the total lack of ethics and military honour. [...] We have respected the lives of soldiers and police who surrender to our forces; you summarily and those who surrender. If you start attacking our families and do not respect the lives of wounded and prisoners, then we will begin to do the same. 66 On 8 December 1994 at 09:45, the CCRI-CG of the EZLN formally broke 67 and ordered the beginning of a military campaign called Peace with Justice and Dignity to Indigenous Peoples. 68 In subsequent releases, we units are the 75 th Infantry Division, 25 th Infantry Division, 1 st Southeast Army Corps, and 21 st Infantry Division. The existence of several groups subdivided within the overall organisation of the EZLN is feasible. But the existence of several rebel divisions within the Lacandon Jungle force seems less so due to the number of combatants we estimate the Zapatistas had in January 1994, and the number of combatants needed to form a division. In military organisation, a classical division has approximately 25,000 men divided into regiments and companies. If the Zapatistas had three divisions, they would have numbered 65 CCRI-CG del EZLN, Alto al Fuego, 23 February 1994, Documentos y Comunicados Vol. I, p. 81. 66 Subcomandante Marcos, Composicin del EZLN y condiciones para el dilogo [Composition of the EZLN and Conditions for Dialogue], 6 January 1994, Documentos y Comunicados Vol. I, p. 77. 67 See: The Zapatista Army of National Liberation terminates, at this time, its commitment to respect the cease to Cease Fire as Being terminated], 8 December 1994, Documentos y Comunicados Vol. II, p. 169. 68 Ibid.
144 some 75,000 men. A more realistic estimate is three thousand combatants, the approximate number of indigenous people who fought on 1 January 1994. 69 Moreover, the argument of returning to armed struggle that had been losing momentum over the course of 1994, practically disappears from Zapatista discourse after 9 February 1995 when the Mexican Federal Army launched a major military operation against the region under the pretext of arresting Subcomandante Marcos. The offensive failed to achieve its anticipated success, and Marcos evaded the Mexican Army. However, even though the attack failed to neutralise the EZLN, the Zapatistas position changed. They realised that weapons as the main strategy for challenging the government, diminished. A greater appeal to reason emerged, a search for dialogue (they did occasionally express a continuing willingness to die in combat, but for the purpose of becoming martyrs for their cause, not as a way to achieve military and political goals). In a document addressed to Esteban Moctezuma, Secretary of the Mexican Government, Subcomandante Marcos wrote: If everything is a pretext for military action, I regret that Mr. Zedillos regime has decided to stain his hands with indigenous blood, and you are an accomplice to this barbarism. 70 Rather than a declaration of armed resistance, it more poignantly represents a people. A week later, a further Denunciation Report announces: Brothers, the Ernesto Zedillo government is killing us, killing children, beating women and raping them. We ask the Mexican people and the peoples of the world to do something to stop this war. We ask you brothers once again, do not leave us alone. 71 Subsequently, we observe a new tone in Zapatista discourse. No longer is there a strong military ideal behind the words but a plea for the war to be interrupted and for dialogue to return. Communications with a bellicose tone no longer 69 The Zapatistas speak of 5000 natives taking up arms. between 3000 and 5000, Compare: Alejandro Buenrostro, As razes do fenmeno Chiapas [The Roots of the Chiapas Phenomenon], ( So Paulo: Alfarrbio, 2002), p.15 and Emilio Zebada, Breve histria de Chiapas [A Brief History of Chiapas], So Paulo: Alfarrbio, 2002, p.15. 70 Si todo es un pretexto para la accin militar, lamento que el r gimen del seor Zedillo haya dicidido mancharse las manos con sangre indgena, y usted sea cmplice de esta barbarie. Es todo. Subcomandante Marcos, Carta de Marcos a Esteban Moctezu ma[Letter from Marcos to Esteban Moctezuma], 2 February 1995, Documentos y Comunicados Vol III, p. 212. 71 CCRI-CG del EZLN, Denuncia acciones del Ejrcito Federal mexicano y llama a detener la guerra [Denou ncing the Actions of the Mexican Federal Army and Calling to Stop the War], 11 February 1995 Documentos y Comunicados Vol. III, p. 226.
145 appear as before. Increasingly weapons become adornments while words become weapons. Between 1994 and the beginning of 1997 the Zapatistas issued more than 400 media releases. These were in addition to actions by the movements support groups in the form of public demonstrations in the capital and media appearances during the San Andrs dialogue process, mediated by the Catholic Church. In the text of the San Andrs Accords they appeal to the government to: Expand political participation and representation. The State must impose legal and legislative changes that broaden the participation and representation of local and national politics of indigenous peoples, respecting their diverse situations and traditions, and strengthening a new federalism in the Mexican Republic. 72 Zapatista proposals are directed at the pursuit of legal equality and respect for ethnic differences. This direction can also be seen in a statement produced during the negotiations in San Andrs in 1996: Pluralism. The agreement between peoples and cultures that make up Mexican society must be based on respect for their differences, under the assumption of their fundamental equality. [...] The recognition and promotion of the pluricultural nature of the nation means that, in order to strengthen the culture of diversity and tolerance in a framework of national unity, the action of the State and its institutions must be carried out without making distinctions between indigenous and non-indigenous, or before any collective sociocultural option. The development of the nation must be based on plurality, understood as a peaceful, productive, respectful, and equitable coexistence of the diverse. 73 Nevertheless, the Zapatistas failed to secure reforms to Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution, which they had striven for in their written appeals. The search for equal treatment along with recognition of cultural differences was based on the idea of consolidating a new social pact, rooted in diversity and tolerance as fundamental principles for the construction of a more pluralistic Mexican State (evident in the passage above). Criticism is levelled against the 72 Acuerdos de San Andrs in Cosso Daz et al., Derechos y cultura indgena p. 291. 73 Acuerdos de San Andrs in Cosso Daz et al., Derechos y cultura indgena p. 294.
146 Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and its consequences for indigenous communities. Continuing poverty and misery of communities were to underscore differences between the Zapatistas and the Mexican government. Subcomandante Marcos writes: Die as a social group, as a culture and, above all, as a resistance. Then you can be part of modernity, says big capital from the seat of government to the indigenous peasants. These indigenous people irritate the modernising logic of neomercantilism. It irritates. The anachronism of their existence also irritates within a project of globalisation, an economic and political project that suddenly discovers that all the poor people impede it .... 74 Mexicos entry into the FTA was seen as a death sentence. Neoliberal politics became rhetorically associated with Nazism, creating a strong image of genocide. An ethnic extermination is suggested in the following Denunciation report also written by Marcos: Neoliberalism, as a theory of modern chaos, of the destruction of humankind, is the ideological heir of Nazism and the theoretical foundation of wars for ethnic purity and intolerance. [...] Its objective is, as in any war, the destruction of its enemy: physical and moral humanity. 75 By adopting the term Nazism and by associating it with the neoliberal system, they not only connect it indirectly to the Mexican government but classify the militarisation of the State of Chiapas as an ethnic war waged against the indigenous people, who had once again been made victims. The construction of Zapatista discourse is based on maintaining the ethnic factor and the construction of group identity. Zapatistas present themselves as different from other Mexican citizens due to their ethnic-social exclusion that, according to their texts, dates back to the period of the Spanish Conquest. This association paints them as underprivileged compared to other Mexican citizens; hence 74 Subcomandante Marcos, Carta a John Berger [Letter to John Berger],12 May 1995, Documentos y Comunicados Vol. II, p. 355. 75 Idem, Fin de la consulta nacional [End of the national consultation], 29 September 1995, Documentos y Comunicados Vol. II., p. 458.
147 texts, where they demand from the government the recognition that they are descended from populations that inhabited the country at the time of the conquest or colonization. 76 Later they claim that The State must promote juridical and legislative changes that broaden the participation and representation of local and national policies of indigenous peoples. 77 The equality perceived by them takes two forms: sometimes they present themselves as the same as minority groups in order to seek their support; sometimes as equals before the laws of the Mexican State. Here, once again, we see the search for legal rights for indigenous people as the driving force of the EZLN with the same concepts captured in their documents. Discussion We have evaluated the importance of Zapatista discourse, recalling elements present in its formation. We have indicated its diverse make-up and characteristics. We demonstrated how the question of war disappeared as an argument between primary space for disseminating this discourse. We asked: What happened to the rebel army that in 1994 promised Advance towards the capital of the country, overcoming the Mexican federal army? What prompted the armed group founded and rooted in Ernesto Che Guevaras revolutionary foco theory 78 to choose to use communication over confrontation? In short, they were illprepared for this change of strategy, as Subcomandante Marcos suggests: We have gone very quickly to a phase for which we were not prepared: dialogue. We were prepared for a long process of war of attrition, of military clashes, of political dispute over villages, of ideological struggle. 79 strategy to communications strategy. In other words, during this period the group broke from the ideals of armed struggle. Our study notes that using arms as a viable means of realising their claims remained in the Zapatista discourse between 1 January 1994 and 9 February 1995. This, in spite of the movements 76 Los Acuerdos de San Andrs in Cosso Daz et al., Derechos y cultura indgena p. 291. 77 Ibid., p. 292. 78 Yvon LeBot, Subcomandante Marcos, e l sueo zapatista [Subcommander Marcos: Dream of the Zapatistas] (Mxi co: Plaza & Jans., 1997), p. 135. 79 C. De Lelle and A. M. Escurra, (comps). Chiapas: Entre la tormenta y la profeca [Chiapas: Between the storm and the prophecy] (Buenos Aires: Lugar, 1994), p. 162.
148 military inferiority and a civil society calling for peace. However, after the military offensive of February 1995, a sharp change took place within Zapatista discourse and actions. Bellicose argument disappeared from their reports, giving place to constant requests for dialogue. The war came to be portrayed as a form of extermination of innocents or even martyrdom. This change of rhetoric against the EZLN, since constant calls for peace and dialogue would keep the Federal Army from attacking a group that was proposing to negotiate peacefully rather than waging war on peace. Thereby they ensured the continuity of the movement, while national and international pressure on the government brought the direct actions of the Mexican Federal Army to a halt. Using this strategy, the EZLN began to shape its discourses to increase credibility, formerly limited, so that it would no longer be considered a guerrilla group. Instead it would be seen as a social movement with strong international support: 80 The Zapatistas used the Internet and urged media to focus international attention on their grievances, arouse support, and forge solidarity, helping to bring about a settlement. Setting aside violence was important. But by turning to language as a key tool of strategic communication, the Zapatistas rebranded themselves and circumvented the might of the Mexican military with an effective communication campaign. Between 1994 and 1998, they put the Mexican government on the defensive as the country evolved from an authoritarian to a more open system. 81 to use the internet extensively to publicise their claims, seek sympathisers, and pressure the government not only to negotiate but also to disrupt ongoing military campaigns. The use of communications has become the most effective weapon of the EZLN, and the internet has become its space of greatest resonance due to the possibility of reaching other countries and continents by creating and mobilising networks of support. 82 80 Farwell, Persuasion and Power p. 70. 81 Ibid. 82 Franchi, O Movimento Zapatista .
149 The emergence of the Internet in the early 1990s coincided perfectly with the rise of the EZLN. The Zapatistas utilized the stage and their survival was more than likely tied to this ability to communicate with a global audience. 83 This alignment of a popularised internet with the EZLNs internal character and set of well-written communications (to win over important and distinct audiences) are important aspects that may explain the success and longevity of the movement. Conclusion as a space to disseminate critical communications and help an armed movement achieve its political objectives. After February 1995 the virtual guerrilla campaign became the central thrust of the movement. Two points demonstrate the use of communications as a weapon. Direct actions supplemented by the publication of reports against and denunciations of the Mexican Government and Army; and the promotion of cyber-activism through committees spread over several countries, rippling across national and international communities. The information structure used by the Zapatistasnamely radio broadcasts, videos, telecommunications, and especially the internetwas vital to the success of two aspects of the movement: their transformation from a guerrilla group into a national social movement; and their change of strategy from direct military confrontation to narrative construction and communications as the central element with which to confront the Mexican nation state. Finally, to understand how, in that context, a minority indigenous group could reverse its position of kinetic inferiority to become an actor with the power to it is necessary to compare the potential impact of the technological structure available to that group from the 1990s onward, following the creation of La Neta an alternative computer network linking Chiapas to Mexico with the support of NGOs and the Catholic Church. 84 83 Burgess, People of the Sun , p. 7. 84 Castells, The Information Age, Vol. II., p. 83.
150 Three main factors led to the success of the strategic communications employed by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. First, access to a technological structure that provided the space to construct and disseminate their own version of the facts, free of censorship. In La Neta and later on the internet, the EZLN managed to bypass media outlets biased towards the government and access larger national and international audiences. Although the struggle for hearts and minds is nothing new, the effective use of the internet by a non-state actor was new in the 1990s. Second, identifying key actors to act as bridge-builders between the movement and its supporters; in fact, the EZLN had some indigenous leaders and one council (CCRI-EZLN). But Subcomandante Marcos was more than just a solitary leader, more than a spokesman, he was the bridge-builder. Marcos signed the majority of documents at the outset of the struggle. With each threatened attack, he managed to effect strategic retreats while countering the government with communications. 85 His ability to write and disseminate communications to the main theatre of operations. The crucial element in this transformation was the spread on the net targeting Mexicos citizens. The power of the Zapatistas to disseminate their ideas and gain support across social classes came as a surprise to the Mexican Army and to the government, who were inadequately prepared locus for disseminating information and ideals, for creating identity and spreading zapatismo remains on duty and on-line. 85 Ibid.
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155 MEASURING THE EFFECT OF RUSSIAN INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY INFORMATION OPERATIONS IN ONLINE CONVERSATIONS John D. Gallacher and Marc W. Heerdink Abstract The Internet has given new opportunities to those who wish to interfere and disrupt society through the systematic manipulation of social media. One goal of these cyber-enabled information operations is to increase polarisation in Western societies by stoking both sides of controversial debates. Whether these operations are successful remains unclear. This paper describes how novel applications of computational techniques can be used to test the impact of historical activity from the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) on two social media platforms: Twitter and Reddit. We show that activity originating from the Russian IRA had a measurable effect on the subsequent conversations of genuine users. On Twitter, increases in Russian IRA activity predicted subsequent increases in the degree of polarisation of the conversation surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement. On Reddit, comment threads started by Russian IRA accounts contained more toxic language and identitybased attacks. We use causal analysis modelling to further show that Russian IRA activity in existing threads caused measurable changes in the conversational quality of the following 25-100 posts. By developing methods to measure the impact of information operations in online conversations and demonstrating a measurable effect on genuine conversations, our study provides an important step in developing effective countermeasures.
156 Keywords information operations, social media, social psychology, group polarisation, disinformation, strategic communications About the Authors John D. Gallacher is a Cyber Security DPhil student at the University of Oxford working with the department of Experimental Psychology and the Oxford Internet Institute. Dr Marc W. Heerdink is an Assistant Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Amsterdam, where he also obtained his PhD, and a former visiting postdoc at the University of Oxford. *** Introduction The rapid development of the Internet has enabled people everywhere to connect, communicate, and distribute information globally at an unprecedented scale. However, some use this opportunity for connection to divide rather than to bring people together. In recent years, a great deal of attention has been focused on groups that conduct deliberate social media activities to divide and polarise paid advertisements, and automated scripts designed to spread disinformation. 1 These activities are constituents of wider information operations campaigns that seek to gain a competitive international advantage over traditional adversaries. 2 While the approach itself is not newsimilar methods targeting the psychology of civilian populations can be traced back to the Roman, Persian, and Chinese empires 3 these methods have transformed in the digital age and now increasingly rely on social media platforms that provide global reach and can target individuals directly for a fraction of the cost of traditional methods. 4 This phenomenon is characterised by sustained and pervasive efforts 5 which 1 Joshua A. Tucker, Andrew Guess, Pablo Barber, Cristian Vaccari, Alexandra Siegel, Sergey Sanovich, Denis Stukal, and Brendan Nyhan, Social Media, Political Polarization, and Political Disinformation: A Review of the , The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, 2018. 2 Christopher Paul and Miriam Matthews, The Russian Firehose of Falsehood Propaganda Model , 2016 3 Jen Weedon, William Nuland, and Alex Stamos, Information Operations and Facebook Facebook, 2017. 4 Edward Lucas and Peter Pomerantsev, Winning the Information War: Techniques and Counter-Strategies to Russian Propaganda in Central and Eastern Europe , Center for European Policy Analysis & The Legatum Institute, 2016. 5 John D Gallacher and Rolf E Fredheim, Division Abroad, Cohesion at Home: How the Russian Troll Factory Works to Divide Societies Overseas but Spread pro-Regime Messages at Home , in Responding to Cognitive Security Challenges (Riga, Latvia: NATO StratCom CoE, 2019), 60.
157 peak around election cycles, although elections are not the sole focus. This 6 misinformation online as one of the top 10 threats to society. 7 Since this warning, the deliberate spread of misleading information has been linked to political earthquakes such as the 2016 US Election 8 the 2016 UK Brexit referendum 9 and the rise of populist parties across Europe 10 as well as to political violence in Brazil 11 Myanmar 12 and India 13 All these events are connected by one consistent segregation into distinct social groups, separated along racial, economic, political, religious or other lines. 14 Hostile information operations on social media show no evidence of slowing down 15 while social media platforms stand accused of failing to act decisively in combatting this threat 16 Understanding the consequences of these activities is essential to developing effective defences. In-depth knowledge about the consequences of these hostile narratives should inform policy decisions aimed at countering them, yet very little is known about the effect these activities have on the online conversations of genuine citizens, and whether or not they achieve their goals. In this study we developed methods to address this question and to measure conversations, using publicly attributed information operations from the Russian state as a case study. Recently, evidence shows that the Russian government has been engaged in a substantial effort to sway public opinion on a number of 6 Lucas Kello, The Virtual Weapon and International Order (Yale University Press, 2017). 7 Lee Howell et al., Outlook on the Global Agenda 2014 (Geneva: World Econoomic Forum, 2014). 8 Intelligence Community Assesment, Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections , 9 Disinformation and Fake News: Interim Report , UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, 2018. 10 Emilio Ferrara, Disinformation and social bot operations in the run up to the 2017 French presidential election 11 Dan Arnaudo, Computational Propaganda in Brazil: Social Bots during Elections , University of Oxford Computational Propaganda Research Project 8 (2017): 1. 12 Steve Stecklow, Why Facebook Is Losing the War on Hate Speech in Myanmar , Reuters, 15 August 2018. 13 Neeta Rani, Social Media in India: A Human Security Perspective, The Research Journal of Social Sciences 14 Alisdair. Rogers, Noel Castree, and Rob Kitchen, A Dictionary of Human Geography (Oxford University Press, 2013). 15 Kanisk Karan, Donara Barojan, Melissa Hall, and Graham Brookie, ation from Iran , Medium, That Atlantic Councils Digital Foresnsics Research Lab, 31 January 2019. 16 Disinformation and Fake News: Final Report , UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, 2019.
158 key topics, at home and abroad, through a prolonged information campaign. 17 a grass-roots movement, paid advertisements, and automated scripts designed possible audience. 18 These accounts also promoted real-world protests and demonstrations, often encouraging both sides of controversial topics. While the 2016 US presidential election seems to have been one important focus for these activities, the wider intention appears to have been to polarise online conversations and sow social division along social as well as political lines. 19 The relationship between disinformation and polarisation People increasingly use social media as their primary source for news and information, with two-thirds of Americans and half of adults in the developing world getting their news from social media platforms. 20 Ideological alignment 21 group memberships, or because of the content shared by users. For this reason, separation into groups of likeminded people is more likely to occur online than where individuals endorse more extreme ideological positions following a discussion with other in-group members. 22 This increased polarisation may encourage group members to take a more extreme position on certain issues, or may result in an increased dislike of members of other groups without a change in their position on that issue. 23 17 Weedon et al., Information Operations and Facebook ; Intelligence Community Assesment, Assessing Russian Activities . 18 Renee DiResta, Jonathan Albright, and Ben Johnson, The Tactics & Tropes of the Internet Research Agen cy , New Knowledge Disinformation Report Whitepaper, 2018; Philip N Howard, Bharath Ganesh, Dimitra Liotsiu, John Kelly, Camille Franoise The IRA, Social Media and Political Polarization in the United States, 2012-2018 , University of Oxford Computational Research Project, 2018. 19 Sebastian Bay et al., Responding to Cognitive Security Challenges (Riga, Latvia: NATO StratCom CoE, 2019); DiResta et al., Tactics & Tropes . 20 Elisa Shearer and Jeffrey Gottfried, News Use across Social Media Platforms 2017 , Pew Research Center, 17 September 2017; Nic Newman with Richard Fletcher, Antonis Kalogeropoulos, David A. L. Levy and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2017 (Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, 2017). 21 Tom Postmes, Russell Spears, and Martin Lea, Building or Breaching Social Boundries? SIDE Effects of Computer Mediated Communication Deindividuation Effects on Group Polarization in Computer-Mediated Communication: The Role of Group , Journal of Communication Vol. 57, Issue 2 (2007): 385. 22 J. C. Turner, B. Davidson, and M. A. Hogg, Polarized Norms and Social Frames of Reference: A Test of the Self-Categorization Theory of Group Polarization , Basic and Applied Social Psychology 23 Lilliana Mason, I Disrespectfully Agree: The Differential Effects of Partisan Sorting on Social and Issue Polarization , American Journal OfPolitical Science Vol. 59, Issue 1 (2014): 128.
159 social polarisation and are easy to distribute in online environments. Messages containing strong partisan cues that match an individuals beliefs can encourage them to accept and share inaccurate information, 24 while messages that agree with pre-held stereotypes can facilitate an individuals acceptance of inaccurate information about an out-group. 25 Equally, polarised conversations can lead to increased dissemination of disinformation. People are more likely to trust inaccurate information if it elicits anger and aligns with their existing opinions. 26 Content that is highly controversial or elicits greater moral outrage is more likely to be shared by social media users, 27 while erroneous content can be made more sensational than true content and therefore more likely to inspire fear and disgust, which in turn encourages sharing the content faster and farther. 28 Online environments may create echo chambersnetworks of like-minded thinking 29 exacerbating these effects. Disinformation spreads more quickly within these closely connected groups due to a lack of dissenting voices. 30 This may facilitate the creation of a society that is increasingly polarised and misinformed 31 as people are more likely to be affected by inaccurate information if they see it more 32 24 R. Kelly Garrett, Brian E. Weeks, and Rachel L. Neo, Driving a Wedge Between Evidence and Beliefs: How Online Ideological News Exposure Promotes Political Misperceptions , Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication Vol. 21, Issue 5 (2016): 331. 25 James N. Druckman, Erik Peterson, and Rune Slothuus, How Elite Partisan Polarization Affects Public Opinion Formation , American Political Science Review Vol. 107, Issue 01 (2013): 57; R. Kelly Garrett, Shira Dvir Gvirsman. Benjamin K. Johnson, Yariv Tsfati, Rachel Neo, and Aysenur Dal, Implications of Proand Counterattitudinal Information Exposure for Affective Polarization , Human Communication Research Vol. 40, Issue 3 (2014): 309; Brian E. Weeks, Emotions, Partisanship, and Misperceptions: How Anger and Anxiety Moderate the Effect of Partisan Bias on Susceptibility to Political Misinformation , Journal of Communication vol. 65, Issue 4 (2015): 699; Spee Kosloff, Jeff Greenberg, Toni Schmader, Mark Dechesne, and David Weise, Smearing the Opposition: Implicit and Explicit Stigmatization of the 2008 U.S. Presidential Candidates and the Current U.S. President , Journal of Experimental Psychology 26 Weeks, Emotions, Partisanship, and Misperceptions . 27 William J. Brady, Julian A. Wills, John T. Jost, Joshua A. Tucker, and Jay J. Van Bavel, Emotion Shapes the Diffusion of Moralized Content in Social Networks , Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2017): 7313. 28 Soroush Vosoughi, Deb Roy, and Sinan Aral, The Spread of True and False News Online , Science Vol. 359, Issue 6380 (2018): 1146; M. J. Crockett, Moral Outrage in the Digital Age , Nature Human Behaviour Vol. 1 (2017):769. 29 M Conover, J Ratkiewicz, and M Francisco, Political Polarization on Twitter , Proceedings of the Fifth Interna tional AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media Conference Paper (2011): 89; Sarita Yardi and Danah Boyd, Dynamic Debates: An Analysis of Group Polarization over Time on Twitter , Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society 30 Eli Pariser, The Filtter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You (New York: Penguin Press, 2011). 31 Cass R. Sunstein, #Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media (Princeton University Press, 2017). 32 Adam J. Berinsky, Rumors and Health Care Reform: Experiments in Political Misinformation , British Journal of Political Science Vol. 47, Issue 2 (2017): 241; Gordon Pennycook, Tyrone D Cannon, and David G Rand, Prior Exposure Increases Perceived Accuracy of Fake News , Journal of Experimental Psychology (2018): 1865.
160 Recent evidence suggests that echo-chambers may not be forming as often 33 and users are, in fact, exposed to more cross-cutting information online than they would select purely based on choice. 34 Even so, this cross-cutting information may not have a positive effect. Users with more extreme ideological positions are more active on social media 35 and exposure to opposing views online can also increase polarisation by highlighting areas of disagreement. 36 Both situations provide opportunities for those who wish to chambers to spread negative messages about an out-group without opposition, or by engaging with someone while posing as an out-group member in order to antagonise and create a negative impression of the out-group as a whole. The St. Petersburg Troll Farm and Online Polarisation From as early as 2012, information operations conducted over social media have been targeting citizens in the West. 37 These operations originate from the St Petersburg troll farm run by the Russian Internet Research Agency (Russian national, and international issues that affect Russian foreign and domestic policy interests. 38 Online manipulation can take the form of trolling orchestrated from human-controlled accounts or political communications spread by automated accounts (bots). 39 Since 2012, these campaigns have grown steadily in number and scale, 40 and have gained much international attention, particularly surrounding the 2016 US presidential election. 41 33 Pablo Barber, John T. Jost, Johnathan Nagler, Joshua A. Tucker, Richard Bonneau, Tweeting From Left to Right: Is Online Political Communication More than an Echo Chamber? , Psychological Science (2015): 1531; Jonathan Bright, Explaining the Emergence of Echo Chambers on Social Media: The Role of Ideology and Extremism , SSRN Electronic Journal (2016). 34 Etyan Bakshy, Solomon Messing, and Lada A. Adamic, Exposure to Ideologically Diverse News and Opinion on Facebook , Science Vol. 348, Issue 6239 (2015): 1130. 35 Pablo Barber and Gonzalo Rivero, Understanding the Political Representativeness of Twitter Users , Social Science Computer Review Ungar, Beyond Binary Labels: Political Ideology Prediction of Twitter Users , Proceedings Ofthe 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics 2017, 729. 36 Christopher Bail, Lisa Argyle, Taylor Brown, John Bumpus, Haohan Chen, M.B. Hunzaker et al., Exposure to Opposing Views Can Increase Political Polarization: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment on Social Media , Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2018, 1. 37 Howard et al., The IRA, Social Media and Political Polarization . 38 Theodore P. Gerber and Jane Zavisca, Does Russian Propaganda Work? , The Washington Quarterly Vol. 39, Issue 2 (2016): 79; Sergey Sanovich, Computational Propaganda in Russia: The Origins of Digital Misinfor mation , University of Oxford Computational Propaganda Research Project, 2017. 39 Samuel C Woolley and Philip N Howard, Political Communication, Computational Propaganda, and Au tonomous Agents International Journal of Communication 10 (2016): 4882; Rolf Fredheim, Robotrolling 2019, Issue 1 (Riga, Latvia, NATO StratCom COE, 2019); Srijan Kumar, Justin Cheng, Jure Leskovec, V. S. Subrahmanian, An Army of Me: Sockpuppets in Online Discussion Communities , Proceedings of the 26th International Conference on World Wide Web (2017), 857. 40 Howard et al., The IRA, Social Media and Political Polarization ; DiResta et al., Tactics & Tropes . 41 Intelligence Community Assesment, Assessing Russian Activities .
161 Over the course of 2018, large, open-source datasets detailing posts from accounts attributed to the Russian IRA were published, making it possible to conduct a detailed analysis of how Russia ran these information campaigns. 42 The data showed that the campaign was not restricted to the 2016 US election but rather sought to divide online groups along racial, ethnic, social, and political lines, and continued long after the election was decided. 43 Both sides especially conversations surrounding provocative race issues such as the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States. Measuring the effect of these information operations While the intention behind this activity is clear, measuring its impact is complex. Trolls have been shown to manipulate the opinions of users in online forums 44 and to steer conversations on blogging platforms. 45 While at times these accounts have garnered greater popularity than those of organic users, 46 the impact they have on the wider online ecosystem is hard to measure. Some calculations show Twitter, 47 but that this activity did not carry over to other web communities (Reddit, 4Chan). 48 Twitters key role in these campaigns is also illustrated by the fact that in the run-up to the 2016 US Election, more hyperlinks to websites hosting disinformation were shared on Twitter than across the top sixteen mainstream media outlets combined. 49 What is not clear from this evidence however, is what effect the Russian IRA accounts have had on more subtle areas such as promoting ideas in line with Russian interests, engaging other users to sway opinion, and fuelling both sides of controversial online discussions. 42 Darren L Linvill and Patrick L Warren, Troll Factories: The Internet Research Agency and State-Sponsored Agenda Building , ( in press ), 2018; Matthew Hindman and Vlad Barash, Disinformation, Fake News and , 2018. 43 Gallacher and Fredheim, Division Abroad, Cohesion at Home ; Linvill and Warren, Troll Factories . 44 Todor Mihaylov, Georgi Georgiev, and Preslav Nakov, Finding Opinion Manipulation Trolls in News Com munity Forums , Proceedings of the Nineteenth Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning 310. 45 Anton Sobolev, cal Conversations in Russia , ( In Prep ). 46 Howard et al., The IRA, Social Media and Political Polarization . 47 Savvas Zannettou et al., Who Let the Trolls out? Towards Understanding State-Sponsored Trolls , (2019); Savvas Zannettou et al., Characterizing the Use of Images by State-Sponsored Troll Accounts on Twitter , (2019). 48 Savvas Zannettou et al., Disinformation Warfare: Understanding State-Sponsored Trolls on Twitter and Their , (2018). 49 Pablo Barber, Explaining the Spread of Misinformation on Social Media: Evidence from the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election , Comparative Politics Newsletter Vol. 28, Issue 2 (2018): 7.
162 In this paper we use a two-part strategy to measure the effect of information operations on online conversations. In Part 1 we focus on a case study of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement which was targeted by Russian IRA the systematic violence perpetrated against African-Americans, particularly by 50 Opposition movements to BLM (#BlackLivesMatter) have criticised it for failing to appreciate the value of all races (#AllLivesMatter) or of their work (#BlueLivesMatter). 51 These hashtags can shape how information spreading of ideas. 52 Russian IRA accounts imitated authentic users on both sides of this debate to disseminate provocative messages to various target audiences and to foster antagonism between opposing groups. 53 This is likely to have contributed to the polarisation of the #BlackLivesMatter conversation online; Russian IRA accounts were in the top percentile of retweeted accounts in both supporting and opposing sides of the Twitter conversation. 54 We investigated the global effect of the Russian IRA tweets on the entire #BlackLivesMatter conversation by testing whether the daily degree of polarisation of the Twitter conversation correlated positively with earlier Russian IRA activity surrounding the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag. In Part 2 we look at the impact of Russian IRA activity on Reddit using natural language programming, text analysis measures, and causal impact modelling to analyse the effect of >16,000 Reddit posts attributed to the Russian IRA. Following revelations about the scope of Russian IRA manipulation of social media platforms in 2016, Reddit was the only social media company to keep this activity publicly visible on the platform rather than removing it, so it is the only platform where the immediate response to Russian IRA content can be analysed 50 Deen Freelon, Charlton D. McIlwain, and Meredith Clark, Beyond the Hashtags: #Ferguson, #Blacklives , SSRN Electronic Journal (2016). 51 Leo G. Stewart, Ahmer Arif, A. Conrad Nied, Emma S. Spiro, and Kate Starbird, Drawing the Lines of Con tention: Networked Frame Contests within #BlackLivesMatter Discourse , Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Com puter Interaction 52 Leo G. Stewart, Ahmer Arif, and Kate Starbird, Examining Trolls and Polarization with a Retweet Network , Proceedings of WSDM Workshop on Misinformation and Misbehavior Mining on the Web (MIS2) ., 2018; Ryan J. Gallagher et al., Divergent Discourse between Protests and Counter-Protests: #BlackLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter , PLoS ONE 53 Ahmer Arif, Leo G Stewart, and Kate Starbird, Acting the Part: Examining Information Operations within #BlackLivesMatter Discourse , Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction Vol. 2, Issue CSCW, Article 54 Stewart et al., Examining Trolls and Polarization .
163 Russian IRA activity causes a measurable decrease in the quality on discussion threads. In this study we do not make any attributions to which accounts were operated the social media platforms themselves using information that is not available to the public. Methods How does the degree of daily polarisation of the #BlackLivesMatter conversation on Twitter correlate with Russian IRA activity? Data collection and sampling Twitter is a popular social media platform built on a microblogging format. Users can share short messages, or tweets, with their followers who can in turn retweet these messages to their own followers. Tweets can sometimes contain hashtags indicating that it is part of a broader conversation. In late 2018 Twitter averaged 321 million active monthly users. 55 We obtained Twitter data relating to the Black Lives Matter conversation from an archive complied by the digital chronicling organisation Documenting the Now (DocNow). 56 The dataset contains 17,292,130 tweet IDs for tweets collected from the Twitter streaming API for #BLM and #BlackLivesMatter between 29 January 2016 and 18 March 2017. 57 Twitters terms of service do not allow public redistribution of tweets; however, they do allow datasets of tweet IDs to be shared. We then recovered the full tweet from each tweet ID by performing a search through the Twitter search API ( also known as hydration) using DocNows Hydrator software. 58 Only tweets which were still publicly available at the time of the search could be recovered; we could not recover tweets that had been deleted by Twitter or by the users themselves. 55 Statista, Number of monthly active Twitter users worldwide from 1st quarter 2010 to 1st quarter 2019 (in millions) , 2019, accessed February 25, 2019. 56 Documenting the Now 57 Ed Summers, Black Lives Matter Tweets 2016 The Internet Archive 17 October 2017. 58 DocNow Hydrator on GitHub
164 We hydrated the dataset of tweet IDs on 24 November 2018, which led to a collection of 9,531,526 tweets, or 55% of available tweet IDs (45% of the original tweets had been deleted since publication). While our dataset, therefore, does not represent the full conversation, it is the best approximation available given the limits that Twitter places on data sharing. Importantly, this dataset does not contain the tweets from Russian IRA, as this information was removed from the platform at the point of attribution by Twitter, prior to collection. Therefore, from Russian IRA tweets. Data on the activity of known Russian IRA accounts were collected by Linvill and Warren 59 60 This dataset contains 2,973,371 tweets from 2,848 Twitter accounts spanning the period from 2015. Measuring polarisation We measured the degree of daily polarisation on Twitter using a novel technique known as correspondence analysis, implemented in the FactoMineR package for R. 61 Correspondence analysis is a statistical method that makes it possible to map contingency tables to expose underlying relationships between objects in the data. 62 All analyses were performed in R (version 3.4.4, R Core Development Team 2017). For each day of the dataset, we used a retweet matrix as the contingency table to show the relationship between active users within the dataset (rows) and popular tweets (columns) (see Table 1). A retweet matrix is a good starting point for discovering the structure of Twitter conversations as retweets have been shown to closely represent the expression of agreement with a particular message and, under certain conditions, support of the messenger. 63 Given this, we assumed that if a user retweets messages expressing support or opposition for a given 59 Linvill and Warren, Troll Factories . 60 Oliver Roeder, Why Were Sharing 3 Million Russian Troll Tweets , FiveThirtyEight 31 July 2018. 61 Francois Husson et al., Package FactoMineR , CRAN 2018. 62 H. O. Hirschfeld and J. Wishart, A Connection between Correlation and Contingency , Mathematical Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society Vol. 31, Issue 4 (October 1935): 520. 63 Panagiotis Metaxas and Twittertrails Research Team, Retweets Indicate Agreement, Endorsement, Trust: A Meta-Analysis of Published Twitter Research , ArXiv Preprint 2017.
165 Correspondence analysis interprets the retweet matrix across a number of dimensions whereby the largest amount of variability in the data is captured in dimension 1, the next largest amount of variability is captured in dimension 2, the third largest amount of variability is captured in dimension 3. The scores for dimension 1 were used to calculate the position of each tweet on the dimension 1 scale in relation to the other tweets for that day. As explained below, dimension 1 generally distinguishes between tweets that were either for or against the #BlackLivesMatter movement; the greater the score in dimension 1 the stronger the support or criticism. Opposition tweets were often framed as part of a counter-movement, such as #BlueLivesMatter, co-opting BLM-related hashtags (#BlackLivesMater or #BLM) to inject opposing opinions into the conversation. LivesMatter Twitter conversation on 07/07/2016 and the correspondence analysis results placing users on dimensions one and two. Popular Tweets ----> 1 2 3 4 <---Active Users 1 1 2 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 3 3 0 0 1 4 1 2 0 0 5 0 1 0 5 4 2 0 -2 -2 -1 0 1 2 Dim.2 Dim.1 Activity 4 8 12 16 Followers
166 We focused only on the dimension that demonstrated the greatest variance in the daily activity, dimension 1, because it was the most stable across multiple days and was the most reliable indication of the level of support or opposition consistency of this dimension by taking a random sample of 50 days from the dataset and selecting the tweets with the highest and lowest scoring days on dimension 1. We manually coded whether the messages presented in these tweets represented opposing sides. This was the case for 85% of the days. Manual inspection of the remaining 15% of days showed that these tended not to have a polarised debate, and so the dimension was absent rather than missed. To perform a successful a correspondence analysis, the contingency table had to represent a well-connected subgraph of the retweet network to avoid a small subset of users, peripheral to the main conversation, generating large scores on the important dimensions (similar to the k-core within network theory). We number of retweets) and inactive users (who did not retweet many popular tweets). These thresholds depend on daily conversation size and are shown in Table 2. After ranking all popular tweets along dimension 1, we used the results to estimate the dimension 1 score for each user compared to all other users, based on the average of all the tweets they had retweeted. This last step could be analysis. Selecting the correct values for these thresholds is important for achieving stable results. We selected suitable thresholds dynamically for each day according to two rules: (a) thresholds should not produce extreme scores for a subset of users on dimension 1 (|z| > 10), and (b) when applying back to scores from the subgraph to all users, thresholds should allow for >25% of daily users in were applied. This was necessary as for some days certain tweets went viral, changing the relationship between conversation size and the overall activity of the average user. While setting the thresholds appropriately improved results for each given day, taken overall changing these thresholds did not alter results substantially. are distributed, and whether users formed distinct campssomething
167 we would expect if the conversation were polarised. We were able to measure the degree of this polarisation using Hartigans dip test, 64 which measures how bimodal a sample is, with higher scores indicating higher bimodality. We operationalised polarisation as the bimodality of each daily distribution of user scores on dimension 1 (Figure 2). 64 Martin Maechler, Package Diptest , CRAN 5 December 2015. Figure 2(a) and (b) Visualisation of the polarised retweet network and matching bimodal distribu tion for dimension 1 for the #BlackLivesMatter conversation on 07/07/2016 Density User Extremity Position on Dim.1 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0.0 -2 -1 0 1
168 Relation to Russian Troll Farm Activity After measuring the degree of polarisation in the daily conversation from associated with the Russian IRA using (lagged) Pearsons correlations. Russian IRA activity is measured as the number of posts using a BLM-related hashtag from the public dataset released in summer 2018. Russian IRA activity is unlikely to have an immediate effect on the degree of polarisation of the conversation, especially as the direct responses to this activity were unavailable. To measure the correlation between Russian IRA activity and the subsequent level of polarisation in the conversation, taking into account cumulative effects of sustained activity over time and delayed effects in the changing dynamics of the conversation, we compared the cumulative Russian IRA activity for a period of 1 days prior to each focal day in the dataset with the mean degree of polarisation over the subsequent 1 days. To test if the association between Russian IRA activity and subsequent polarisation For each given level of lag in polarisation (1 days) and cumulative period of Russian IRA activity (1 days), we simulated a new dataset where Russian IRA activity for each day was paired with a level of polarisation randomly sampled (with replacement) from our real dataset. We then calculated the correlation repeated for 10,000 iterations. This circumvented the problem of autocorrelation associated with the lagged time-series as the lagged polarisation was calculated distributions of activity and polarisation, we normalised the data using box-cox transformations in the R package MASS. 65 65 G. E. P. Box and D. R. Cox, An Analysis of Transformations , Journal of the Royal Statistical Society (1964): 211; Author Brian et al., Package MASS , CRAN 2018. >200.000 >100.000 >10.000 >5.000 <5000 Re-Tweet threshold 10 6 4 2 1 Active user threshold 5 3 2 1 1 Total conversation size (nb of Tweets) Table 2 Thresholds selected for the number of retweets needed for a tweet to be popular, and the number of these tweets a user needs to interact with to be considered active.
169 We measured effect sizes for each cumulative period and lag period combination calculated as the proportion of simulations where the simulated correlation was higher than the observed correlations. 66 Measuring the direct effect of Russian IRA activity on Reddit conversations What is Reddit? Reddit is a social media platform that focuses on news aggregation and discussion. Content is crowd-sourced, with members submitting text, images, or external hyperlinks, which are then voted up or down by other members. a wide variety of topics. In February 2018, Reddit had 542 million monthly visitors, ranking as the third most-visited website in the US and the sixth mostvisited globally. 67 Data collection and sampling Reddit released the identity of Russian IRA accounts in the summer of 2018. This totalled 16,821 Reddit posts from 944 accounts. 68 We extracted our dataset in November 2018 from a publicly available repository of historical Reddit data on pushshift.io. 69 the entire database. Here we study the period from JanuaryDecember 2016, the period during which the Russian accounts were most active. We selected subreddits on which Russian IRA accounts posted at least 50 submissions during 2016. These span a range of topics, allowing us to explore differential effects in different areas of the social media platform. Previous research 70 has demonstrated that some of these subreddits were used by the Russian accounts for political manipulation, while others were used for more mundane purposes that give a user more credibility in their comments). We selected the followed 66 Anthony J. Bishara and James B. Hittner, Comparison of Pearson, Spearman, Transformation, and Resampling Approaches , Psychological Methods Vol. 17, 67 accessed 25 February 2019. 68 Reddits 2017 Transparency Report and Suspect Account Findings Reddit, accessed 25 February 2019. 69 70 Gallacher and Fredheim, Division Abroad, Cohesion at Home
170 Russian IRA accounts and no comments on the posts and was therefore not included in the analysis. Pushshift collects data at the point that it is posted to Reddit. 71 This means that the dataset is unaffected by subsequent deletion of posts, however it also means that it does not capture edits made to comments after they are posted (a feature available on Reddit but not on Twitter). Text Analysis Measures The impact of Russian IRA activity on the conversational quality on Reddit was operationalised using three text analysis measures, which were applied to each post included in the analysis: Integrative Complexity, Toxicity and Identity Attack. Integrative Complexity (IC) is a social-psychological measure of how much an individual presents the ability to think and reason with input from multiple perspectives. 72 Higher IC is associated with more accurate and balanced perceptions of other people, lower prejudice, the use of more information when making decisions, as well as less extreme views. 73 Lower IC in discussions 74 We used AUTO IC 75 to get IC scores for each Reddit post. The system produces a score from 1 to 7 for each comment, with lower scores representing lower levels of complexity. AUTO IC has been used successfully for the study of online terrorist content, demonstrating the validity of applying the measure to the digital domain. 76 71 Pushshift Reddit. 72 S. Streufert and P. Suedfeld, Conceptual Structure, Information Search, and Information Utilization , Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 73 Allison Smith, Peter Suedfeld, Lucien G. Conway III, and David G. Winter, The Language of Violence: Distinguishing Terrorist from Nonterrorist Groups by Thematic Content Analysis , Vol. 1, Issue 2 (July 2008): 142; Philip E. Tetlock, Randall S. Peterson, and Jane M. Berry, tively Simple and Complex Managers Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 74 Karen Guttieri, Michael D. Wallace, and Peter Suedfeld, The Integrative Complexity of American Decision Makers in The Cuban Missile Crisis , Peter Suedfeld and Susan Bluck, Changes in Integrative Complexity Prior to Surprise Attacks , Resolution 75 Lucien G. Conway III, Kathrene R. Conway, Laura Janelle Gornick, and Shannon C. Houck, Automated In tegrative Complexity , Political Psychology Automated Integrative Complexity : Current Challenges and Future Directions Political Psychology 35, Issue 5 (2014): 603. 76 Shannon C. Houck, Meredith A. Repke, and Lucian G. Conway III, Understanding What Makes Terrorist Journal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism Vol. 12, Issue 2 (2017): 105.
171 We measured the level of Toxicity of each Reddit post with the Google Perspective API. 77 Jigsaw and Counter Abuse Technology teams with the aim of promoting better discussions online. 78 The tool uses machine learning models to score the as being ruder, more disrespectful, or more unreasonable receive a higher Toxicity score. The model gives a Toxicity score for each comment on a scale ranging from 0 to 1. Identity Attack option measures the degree to which a comment demonstrates negative or hateful comments targeting someone because of their identity. Toxicity, the model provides an Identity Attack score for each post on a scale ranging from 0 to 1. Analysis of submissions and comments Russian IRA activity consisted of submissions and comments. A submission is the starting post for a new conversationi.e. threads started by Russian IRA accountswhile a comment is a post made on an existing conversation thread started by a genuine user. We analysed submissions and comments separately. We tested whether threads started by Russian IRA posts differed from those started by genuine users, and if Russian IRA comments injected into an existing thread had an impact on the subsequent conversation. To measure the impact of submissions from Russian IRA accounts, we collected all comments made on threads started by Russian IRA accounts, including the above. In total this included 2,368 submissions and 30,112 comments. To test whether these conversations differed from genuine conversations, we collected a similar number of random control submissions to the same subreddits within the same time frame. As with the Russian IRA submissions, we collected all the responses to this sample of genuine submissions, with a resulting total of 1,872 77 Google Project Jigsaw, Perspective accessed 23 March 2018. 78 Ellery Wulczyn, Nithum Thain, and Lucas Dixon, Ex Machina: Personal Attacks Seen at Scale Proceedings of the 26 th International Conference on World Wide Web 2017, 1391.
172 submissions and 22,503 comments. The lower number of genuine submissions is due to the exclusion of some submissions which received no subsequent comments. We then compared the conversation qualities for these two types of threads (those started by Russian IRA posts versus genuine submissions). As each subreddit was likely to include both types of conversation, we compared like-for-like conversations in each subreddit independently. For each comment in a thread we calculated a number of metrics relating to the measures used to determine the quality of the conversation, namely Integrative Complexity, Toxicity and Identity Attack. To measure the impact of Russian IRA comments on existing genuine threads (rather than on new threads), we collected the comments from all threads that received at least one comment from a Russian IRA account. The sample of unmanipulated comment threads above was also used as the control for this sample. This dataset contained 455,300 comments from 826 threads, 1,253 of which came from Russian IRA controlled accounts. For each thread we numbered all comments in chronological order, with the injected Russian IRA post numbered as index position zero, subsequent posts incremented positively 20 comments and to the 100 posts either side of the injected Russian IRA post. For each of these 200 comments we calculated the three text analysis measures and averaged these for each position in the thread across all threads, to show the average trend of the conversations. The data were then analysed using a causal analysis model (see details below) to detect changes in the three metrics after the injection of a Russian IRA comment. The analysis was performed across all subreddits for each metric. To explore whether the effect differed between political and non-political conversations, it was then run separately on political immediate and the overall impact of a content injection by running the analysis Statistical Methods We investigated differences between conversations started by Russian IRA accounts compared to controls by using linear mixed models (LMMs) with the lme4 package. We investigated differences in Integrative Complexity, Toxicity, and Identity Attack between the Russian IRA-started and genuine threads,
173 2 test. The difference between Russian IRA-started and genuine threads was also compared in each of the 11 individual subreddits using Welch two sample t -tests comparing the differences in mean conversation qualities. Toxicity and Identity Attack measures were square-root-transformed to ensure normality. Integrative Complexity could not be normalised, and so a Wilcoxon rank sum test with continuity correction was used. We corrected for multiple comparisons by adjusting the p-values with a Bonferroni-Holm correction. using the CausalImpact() package for R. 79 This package constructs a Bayesian a time-series. In this case the time-series is the conversation quality (taken as the three text analysis measures) as it progresses over time along the thread, and the event is the Russian IRA comment injection at index position zero. This method allowed us to make causal inferences even though performing a randomised experiment was not possible. Through the construction of a time-series model this method predicts a counterfactual of how the response metric would have evolved after the intervention if the intervention had never occurred. 80 This method requires a control time-series of similar data unaffected by the interventionhere we used the unmanipulated threads. By calculating the relationship between the control and response time-series trends on the 100 posts prior to the intervention, the model then predicted the response timeseries over the subsequent 100 posts, had there been no injection of Russian IRA comment. We then calculated the observed pointwise differences between manipulated and predicted threads after the intervention occurred. Summing these pointwise differences over a given time window, the model could provide a measure of the size of this cumulative difference over time, which was tested 79 Kay H Brodersen and Alain Hauser, Package CausalImpact CRAN 2017, 1. 80 Kay H. Brodersen, Fabian Gallusser, Jim Koehler, Nicolas Remy, and Steven L. Scott, Inferring Causal Im pact Using Bayesian Structural Time-Series Models The Annals of Applied Statistics
174 Results Polarisation of Twitter conversations Correlations between Russian IRA activity and subsequent polarisation of the Twitter chance (permutation test, Figure 3b). This effect did not occur immediately following Russian IRA activity, but rather occurred predominantly between 3 and 10 days after time until reaching a peak around 7 days following the activity, and then gradually returned to the initial base level (Figure 3a). The effect started earlier, lasted longer, and was more pronounced when we considered Russian IRA activity over a longer correlation effect sizes). When looking at the longest period of cumulative activity seven daysthis trend appeared to last for almost two weeks from day two until day 14. Importantly, there was no general increasing or decreasing trend over time for either Russian IRA activity or polarisation and so our results were not due to longterm matching trends between the two variables. The distributions of daily Russian IRA activity showed a long right tail (Appendix Figure 1c), suggesting this activity was uncommonly large on certain days. We tested whether these spikes in Russian IRA activity had an especially large effect on subsequent conversation polarisation by taking the top 10 days with the highest degree of polarisation, and testing whether each of these days had 100 tweets) within a period of 10 days. We found that in 80% of these most polarised days, a spike in activity had preceded the polarisation. The highest peaks in Russian IRA activity were fairly evenly distributed throughout the period studied. The mean Russian IRA activity across all days was 27 tweets, but this spiked as high as 592 tweets in a single day and 16 days had over 100 posts. Reddit submissions The conversation quality on threads started by Russian IRA-operated accounts differed substantially from that of genuine conversations, but the direction of these differences varied between subreddits and thus between topics of conversation. Overall, posts on threads started by Russian IRA accounts had higher Toxicity (IRA: 0.48 0.001 vs genuine: 0.47 0.002, n = 56,249, 1 2 =
175 Figure 3(a-c) a) Correlations between the degree of daily polarisation in BLM conversations on Twitter and preceding total Russian IRA Activity over various periods (1 days). window compared to distribution obtained by chance (grey) as calculated with a permutation test. (orange: p< 0.05, blue = c) Normalised distributions of polarisation and activity (see appendix for raw distributions) (a) pval <0.05 FALSE TRUE 1 Day 2 Days 3 Days 4 Days 5 Days 6 Days 7 Days Lag Correlation Correlation (b) 1 Day 2 Days 3 Days 4 Dys 5 Days 6 Days 7 Days Activity Window (c) Frequency Degree of Polarisation (Hartigans Dip Test) Russian IRA Activity (Daily Count)
176 Table 3 Statistical results for the highest correlation in the lagged permutated test across each activity window. For full results see annexe Table 1. Number Days Start Day (Lag) End Day (Lag) Day of Max Correlation Max Correlation p 1 0 NA NA 1 0.011 0.419 2 0 NA NA 1 0.009 0.428 3 0 NA NA 7 0.041 0.217 4 0 NA NA 7 0.078 0.069 5 4 5 8 7 0.107 0.019 6 8 3 10 6 0.136 0.005 7 11 2 11 6 0.156 <0.001 Figure 4(a-c) Differences in mean conversation quality scores for threads started by Russian IRA Reddit accounts compared to genuine comment threads within the same subreddit. Higher values indicate Russian IRA started conversations scored higher on that conversation metric. Subreddit Change in Integrative Complexity Change in Toxicity Change in Identity Attack
177 28.34, p < 0.001) and Identity Attacks (IRA: 0.42 0.001 vs genuine 0.40 0.001, 1 2 = 85.33, p < 0.001) but showed no overall change in Integrative Complexity (IRA: 1.37 0.004 vs genuine 1.36 0.004, 1 2 = 2.39, p = 0.122). Further analyses performed on individual subreddits showed that threads started by higher average Toxicity scores than genuine threads in the same subreddits (Figure 4b, Table 4). Other subreddits showed no differences. We found a similar pattern with regard to levels of Identity Attack. Threads started by Russian accounts within Attack scores than genuine threads in the same subreddits (Figure 4c, Table 4), while average Identity Attack scores than genuine threads. Other subreddits showed no threads started by Russian IRA accounts received comments with lower IC scores Text Analysis Measures Integrative Complexity Toxicity Mean IRA Started Mean Genuine W p d Mean IRA Started Mean Genuine df t p d Subreddits r/racism 1.18.02 1.40.03 132938 < 0.001 0.318 0.55.01 0.52.01 987 -2.09 0.037 0.127 r/The_Donald 1.15.01 1.27.01 1626926 < 0.001 0.149 0.48.01 0.47.01 3646 1.56 0.471 0.051 r/aww 1.09.02 1.11.02 32751 1 0.064 0.36.01 0.38.01 292 -1.11 0.541 0.103 r/worldnews 1.41.03 1.43.02 426810 1 0.024 0.46.01 0.45.01 1023 1.06 0.541 0.033 r/gifs 1.22.01 1.23.01 3296930 1 0.029 0.45.004 0.42.01 4900 -5.22 < 0.001 0.145 r/politics 1.44.01 1.45.01 9524468 1 0.018 0.45.004 0.46.002 4083 2.66 0.06 0.06 r/Bad_Cop_No_ Donut 1.38.01 1.39.01 18150512 1 0.011 0.53.003 0.51.003 11,717 -3.16 0.013 0.058 r/AskReddit 1.34.02 1.26.01 858343 < 0.001 0.149 0.43.01 0.42.01 2413 1.34 0.541 0.054 r/funny 1.29.01 1.16.01 1690132 < 0.001 0.259 0.46.004 0.42.001 2143 4.75 < 0.001 0.164 r/news 1.42.001 1.15.03 1296950 < 0.001 0.406 0.49.002 0.41.02 186 -5.18 < 0.001 0.334 r/PoliticalHumor 1.53.02 1.23.02 664965 < 0.001 0.405 0.44.002 0.41.01 726 4.75 0.136 0.164 T able 4 Statistical results for pared sample t-tests comparing differences in mean conversation quality scores for threads started by Russian IRA Reddit accounts compared to organic comment threads within the same subreddit
178 Identity Attack Mean IRA Started Mean Genuine df t p d Subreddits r/racism 0.61.01 0.56.01 984 -2.92 0.022 0.177 r/The_Donald 0.39.01 0.43.01 3792 5.5 < 0.001 0.178 r/aww 0.29.01 0.30.01 294 -0.92 1 0.085 r/worldnews 0.42.01 0.42.01 991 -0.07 1 0.004 r/gifs 0.36.003 0.31.003 5208 -11.7 < 0.001 0.314 r/politics 0.42.003 0.42.002 3766 0.5 1 0.012 r/Bad_Cop_No_Donut 0.43.003 0.42.003 11,644 -2.35 0.095 0.043 r/AskReddit 0.37.01 0.32.004 2112 -7.31 < 0.001 0.3 r/funny 0.40.004 0.32.004 3155 -14.6 < 0.001 0.429 r/news 0.44.002 0.34.02 185 -4.7 < 0.001 0.314 r/PoliticalHumor 0.39.003 0.40.01 735 -0.6 1 0.031 Results Reddit comments Across all subreddits and comment threads, Russian IRA comments led to a small drop in the Integrative Complexity of the subsequent conversation over a period of 100 comments by a factor of 1% 0.51 (Figure 5a-c). For the period after a Russian IRA comment injection, the average Integrative Complexity was 1.41 0.004. In the absence of any intervention, the causal than the observed value (Bayesian one-sided tail area probability p = 0.035). In other words, on average a Russian comment caused a 0.01 decrease in IC compared to predictions. Additionally, Russian IRA comment injections lead to short term increase in the Integrative Complexity of conversations in non-political subreddits by a factor of 2% 0.77 over the subsequent 25 comments ( p = 0.005). T able 4 Statistical results for pared sample t-tests comparing differences in mean conversation quality scores for threads started by Russian IRA Reddit accounts compared to organic comment threads within the same subreddit (continued)
179 There were no measurable differences in the effect of Russian IRA comment injection on Integrative Complexity in political subreddits when considered in isolation, or in non-political subreddits over longer periods of time (Table 5). injection on the Integrative Complexity of the conversation. Panel (a) the observed trend for average IC over the course of the conversations, along with the counterfactual prediction period after the intervention if it had not occurred. Panel (b) the pointwise difference this counterfactual prediction and the observed data. Panel (c) the cumulative pointwise difference overtime, giving an indication of the overall effect of the intervention on the IC of the conversation. Text Analysis Measures Integrative Complexity Toxicity Identity Attack Time Span (Comments) Mean Observed Mean Predicted P Cumulative Change Mean Observed Mean Predicted P Cumulative Change Mean Observed Mean Predicted P Cumulative Change Subreddits All 100 1.41.004 1.42.006 0.035 -1%.51 0.26.004 0.27.001 0.148 -1%.77 0.20.001 0.20.001 0.064 -1%.51 25 1.41.003 1.42.002 0.152 -1%.77 0.27.0005 0.27.002 0.303 0%.77 0.20.001 0.21.002 0.379 0%.02 Political 100 1.43.006 01.43.01 0.373 0%.77 0.27.0003 0.27.002 0.301 1%.28 0.21.0002 0.21.002 0.085 2%.28 25 1.42.02 1.43.03 0.178 -1.02 0.28.001 0.27.002 0.019 3%.53 0.21.001 0.21.004 0.137 2%.6 NonPolitical 100 1.23.005 1.24.007 0.329 0%.77 0.23.003 0.23.002 0.378 0%.28 0.13.0002 0.13.002 0.482 0%.53 25 1.26.007 1.23.002 0.005 2%.77 0.22.001 0.23.004 0.118 -2%.80 0.14.001 0.13.002 0.001 10%.04 Table 5 Statistical results for causal impact analysis across the three conversation measures; Integrative Complexity, Toxicity and Identity Attack and across two time periods; 100 and 25 comments Mean Integrative Complexity Score original pointwise cumulative
180 Similarly, the impact of the degree of Identity Attacks taking place in conversations after a Russian comment injection also depended on whether the comments occurred in political or non-political subreddits. In non-political subreddits, comment injection was followed by a marked short-term increase in Identity Attacks over the next 25 comments by a factor of 10% 2.04 ( p = 0.001), and this effect subsequently dissipated over time. There was no change in the degree of Identity Attacks following a Russian IRA comment injection in a political subreddit. Russian IRA comment injections also affected the Toxicity of subsequent conversations, but these effects occurred only in political subreddits and for injection on Toxicity if considered over the entire post-intervention period of 100 comments, comment injections did increase Toxicity of the conversation over the next 25 comments by a factor of 3% 1.53 ( p = 0.019), but this effect subsequently disappeared over the following 75 comments (Figure 6). icity, Identity Attack (IA), and Integrative Complexity (IC) of subsequent conversation on Reddit in political and non-political subreddits. cumulative change Thread Index (after comment injection) Text analysis measure: Identity Attacks Other Subreddits Integrative Complexity (Scaled) Identity Attacks Political Subreddits Toxicity Political Subreddits Toxicity Other Subreddits
181 Discussion run by the Russian IRA led to measurable changes in the conversation of genuine users on Twitter and Reddit. Our results show that Russian IRA activity indeed predicted changes in the conversations taking place on both platforms, but the exact effects differed between platforms and the type of manipulation taking place. On Twitter, higher amounts of Russian IRA activity in the Black Lives Matter conversation predicted increases in the subsequent conversational polarisation of genuine Twitter users. This increase in polarisation peaked approximately one week after the injection of Russian IRA content and the association was most pronounced around the periods of highest Russian activity, suggesting that large it gains on the network. 81 On days with higher numbers of tweets from Russian IRA accounts there was a greater likelihood that one of the tweets would go viral and be exposed to a much larger audienceeither by simply manually increasing the number of tweets or by mass (automated) retweeting through the use of connected bot accounts. 82 Earlier research has found that Russian IRA accounts embed themselves into both for and against sides of the Black Lives Matter debate; 83 our results show that this may have contributed to the polarisation of high attrition rate within our Twitter data; 45% of Tweets were deleted before data collection. Deleted tweets are more likely to contain negative sentiment or profanity 84 or to be regretted by their author, 85 and so the exclusion of these tweets likely muted the observed effects of Russian IRA activity on polarisation. On Reddit we found that threads started by Russian IRA accounts were generally more Toxic than conversations started by genuine users whilst also showing more 81 Ee-Peng Lim, Palakorn Achananuparp, and Feida Zhu, On Modeling Virality of Twitter Content ICADL 2011, 212:221. 82 Kumar et al., An Army of Me ; Fredheim, Robotrolling 83 Arif et al ., Acting the Part. 84 Parantapa Bhattacharya and Niloy Ganguly, Characterizing Deleted Tweets and Their Authors Icwsm 2016, 10. 85 Lu Zhou, Wenbo Wang, and Keke Chen, Tweet Properly: Analyzing Deleted Tweets to Understand and Identify Regrettable Ones , Proceedings of the 25 th International Conference on World Wide Web WWW 2016, 603.
182 users (both targets and observers), while conversations with higher Identity Attack scores contained a greater number of hostile comments made against people due 86 Both of these measures indicate that Russian IRA activity was effective in promoting hostile conversations among other users, likely increasing divisions among group lines. The effect of Russian IRA activity on Integrative Complexity was more complicated. While there was no overall difference in the Integrative Complexity of threads started by the Russian IRA compared to genuine threads, there were differential effects of Integrative Complexity depending on the subreddit in which a conversation was started. Conversations started by Russian IRA accounts (less complex conversations with less nuance, demonstrating reasoning from fewer viewpoints) 87 to genuine conversation threads in these subreddits. One interpretation of these results is that they are related to the partisan nature of the political subreddits, which may facilitate a reduction in complexity due to a lack of opposing voices, 88 compared to the general interest subreddits, which may enable greater intergroup discussion because of their non-partisan nature. These and other explanations need direct testing, however, and merit further research. We also found evidence suggesting a causal relationship between Russian IRA activity and conversation quality by studying the impact of comments from Russian IRA accounts injected into existing genuine conversations. Across all subreddits, Russian IRA comment injections led to a decrease in the Integrative Complexity of the conversation over the subsequent 100 comments. Additionally, there was a shorter-lived effect, detectable on the 25 subsequent comments, which led to an increase in Toxicity in political subreddits and an increase in the level of cut than those described above, they similarly demonstrate that any measurable effects of Russian IRA activity are in the direction of undermining conversational conversation. They also suggest that different dynamics unfold in political and 86 Google Project Jigsaw, Perspective ; Wulczyn et al., Ex Machina 87 Streufert and Suedfeld, Conceptual Structure . 88 Sunstein, #Republic ; Pariser, The Filtter Bubble.
183 89 and that distinguishing between these conversational domains remains important in future research. We found that in the absence of manipulation, the control threads within political subreddits had higher Integrative Complexity, Toxicity and Identity Attacks than non-political subreddits, suggesting that political conversations are characterised by both increased engagement and increased hostility. These political domain, 90 but whether these are causes or effects remains to be tested. Comparing the results across platforms, we found that the effects of Russian IRA activity manifested more quickly on Reddit than on Twitter. On average, the effects detected over 25 and 100 Reddit posts following manipulation peaked around 3.5 days and 5 days after submission respectively, while on Twitter the association between Russian IRA activity and polarisation peaked after 7 days. This is likely due to the structural differences between the platforms. On Twitter the impact of content is measured by popularityhow many people react to itand therefore tweets that go viral can have a large effect on the overall conversation. 91 On Reddit a single comment cannot go viral and impact results from the cumulative effect of many posts or of many users upvoting a thread. 92 On Twitter, tweets can take longer to go viral, compared to the direct responses which occur on Reddit threads, that have a shorter-lived visibility. Given these considerations, it would also be interesting to study the consequences of more sustained periods of Russian activity in a single Reddit thread. Our analytical procedure did not allow us to identify these consequences as we could only model a single intervention at a time, but we expect that repeated co-ordinated activity within a single thread would lead to increased cumulative effects. 93 Including this co-ordinated behaviour may mean that the consequences of comments in existing threads more closely resemble the observed differences in total conversations following genuine submissions and Russian IRA submissions. 89 Barber et al., Tweeting From Left to Right ; Kiran Garimella, Gianmarco De Francisci Morales, Aristides Gionis, and Michael Mathioudakis, Political Discourse on Social Media: Echo Chambers, Gatekeepers, and the Price of Bipartisanship International World Wide Web Conference 2 (2018). 90 Barber et al., Tweeting From Left to Right ; Garimella et al., Political Discourse on Social Media . 91 Ee-Peng Lim, Palakorn Achananuparp, and Feida Zhu, On Modeling Virality of Twitter Content ICADL 2011, 212:221. 92 Amir Salihefendic, How Reddit Ranking Algorithms Work Hacking and Gonzo, Medium 8 December 2015. 93 J. M. Berger and Jonathon Morgan, ISIS Supporters on Twitter , The Brookings Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World 5 March 2015; Emilio Ferrara, Manipulation and Abuse on Social Media SIGWEB Newsletter Spring 2015.
184 By increasing the polarisation of conversations on Twitter and undermining the quality of conversations on Reddit, Russian IRA activity is likely to be effective in increasing the distance between social groups, fuelling both ideological and affective polarisation. 94 This in turn provides ideal circumstances for the distribution of disinformation 95 because it increases the acceptance of 96 and facilitates repeated exposure to the same inaccurate information because alternative perspectives are eliminated from discussion by design. 97 Western societies that focus more on internal strife from polarised domestic communities tend to focus less on international issues, illustrating that this activity may be part of a larger geopolitical strategy. 98 In this study we focused on activity originating from publicly attributed Russian IRA accounts and their effect on two key social media platforms. Future research should consider including other platforms, and also other groups engaged in information operations. Russian IRA activity accounts for a fraction of all possible information operations activities worldwide, and many other groups produce similar content for a range of different purposes. This includes pursuing international strategic goals (as demonstrated by Iranian actions), 99 focusing attention on perceived domestic concerns (utilised by far-right groups), 100 and quashing dissent (a tactic favoured by China). 101 Our study only begins to unveil the negative effect of information operations globally. If fuelling arguments on both sides of controversial topics works to increase polarisation in these conversations, then pushing only a single be the goal for a regime that wishes to quash dissent or opposition. For example, evidence of Chinese government involvement in online discussions shows that across ~450 million social media posts per year the strategy is not to engage with controversial topics or with sceptics of government, but rather to change the subject 94 Mason, I Disrespectfully Agree . 95 Garrett et al., Driving a Wedge Between Evidence and Beliefs ; Michela Del Vicario, Sabrina Gaito, Walter Public Discourse and News Consumption on Online Social arXiv.org, February 2017. 96 Raymond S Nickerson, Review of General Psychology 97 Pennycook et al., Prior Exposure Increases ; Berinsky, Rumors and Health Care Reform . 98 P. W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking, Likewar: The Weaponization of Social Media (New York: Houghton Miff lin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2018); James Kirchick, Russias Plot against the West Politico 17 March 2017. 99 Karan et al., #TrollTracker . 100 Nathaniel Gleicher, Removing Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior from the UK and Romania Facebook Newsroom, 7 March 2019. 101 Gary King, Pan Jennifer, and Roberts Margaret E, How the Chinese Government Fabricates Social Media Posts for Strategic Distraction, Not Engaged Argument American Political Science Review Vol. 111, Issue 03 (2017): 484.
185 of conversations with vocal cheerleading for pro-China positions to overwhelm opposition voices. 102 The Kremlin takes a similar approach towards domestic audiences, using troll farms such as the Russian IRA to produce vast quantities of pro-regime messages in Russian for local consumption. 103 actions, there is evidence that online activities can have substantial effects on real world behaviour ranging from exercise and smoking to consumer trends. 104 violence, 105 while other research demonstrates how online aggression towards 106 By demonstrating that information operations promote social polarisation and can have measurable impacts on online conversations more broadly, our study also highlights the risk of potential future vulnerabilities. The ability of hostile actors to create polarising content is increasing at pace, thanks to advances in machine-generated text that closely resembles human speech. 107 If this technology is paired with malicious intent to drive communities apart using social media platforms, then the volume of content may well expand and increase the severity of the challenge to detecting inauthentic content and oppose it. 108 It is therefore essential to design solutions that address and counter the negative effects of hostile information operations. Identifying the impact of information that organised attempts to challenge the veracity of disinformation on Twitter 102 King, Jennifer, and Margaret E. How the Chinese Government Fabricates Social Media Posts for Strategic Distraction, Not Engaged Argument American Political Science Review 2017, 111, 3, 484 103 Gallacher and Fredheim, Division Abroad, Cohesion at Home 104 T im Althoff, Pranav Jindal, and Jure Leskovec, WSDM Proceedings of the Tenth ACM International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining 2017, 537; Jacob B. Depue, Brian G. Southwell, Anne E. Betzner, and Barbara M. Walsh, Encoded Exposure to Tobacco Use in Social Media Predicts Subsequent Smoking Behavior American Journal of Health Promotion How Peer and the United States Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 105 John David Gallacher, Marc W Heerdink, and Miles Hewstone, Online Contact between Opposing Political under review ), 1. 106 Karsten Mller and Carlo Schwarz, Fanning the Flames of Hate: Social Media and Hate Crime SSRN Electronic Journal 7 December 2017. 107 Alec Radford, Jeffrey Wu, Rewon Child, David Luan, Dario Amodei, Ilya Sutskever, Language Models Are Unsupervised Multitask Learners, 2018. 108 Miles Brundage et al., February 2018
186 are generally ineffective, 109 while spontaneous fact-checking on Facebook is rare and generally unsuccessful. 110 Other technical solutions should therefore conversations, 111 or educational methods which may mitigate the effects of disinformation through inoculation of citizens. 112 Structural changes to social media platforms promoting positive exposure to members of opposing groups will also likely reduce and dilute the impact of efforts to divide these same groups through negative content injections. 113 Addressing the challenge of disinformation is so broad that designing effective interventions will require interdisciplinary efforts at multiple levels of analysis. 114 Conclusion Our study reveals that the malicious use of social media by fake accounts can measurably affect the subsequent conversations held by genuine users. Using the activity of the Russian Internet Research Agency on Twitter and Reddit as case studies, we have shown that this effect differed between social media platforms. The effect of Russian activity on Twitter was to increase polarisation after a one-week delay, while there was a more immediate effect on Reddit, immediately altering the quality of subsequent conversations. By developing methods to measure the impact of information operations in online conversations, our study provides an important step in developing effective countermeasures. Acknowledgements This research was supported by grants from EPSRC and the University College Oxford Radcliffe Scholarship. The second authors contribution to this project was partially supported by a grant from the Netherlands Organisation for 109 Jieun Shin, Lian Jian, Kevin Driscoll, and Franois Bar, Political Rumoring on Twitter during the 2012 US Presidential Election: Rumor Diffusion and Correction New Media and Society Drew B. Margolin, Aniko Hannak, and Ingmar Weber, Political Fact-Checking on Twitter: When Do Correc tions Have an Effect? Political Communication Vol. 35, 2 (2018): 196. 110 Adrien Friggeri, Lada A. Adamic, Dean Eckles, and Justin Cheng, Rumor Cascades ICWSM 2014 Interna tional Conference on Weblogs and Social Media 2014, 101. 111 Jordan Wright and Olabode Anise, Dont @ Me : Hunting Twitter Bots at Scale , Black Hat 2018, 1. 112 Jon Roozenbeek and Sander Van Der Linden, The Fake News Game: Actively Inoculating Against the Risk of Misinformation Journal of Risk Research 9877 (2018): 1. 113 Rupert Brown and Miles Hewstone, An Integrative Theory of Intergroup Contact Advances in Experimen tal Social Psychology Vol. 37 (2005): 255; Thomas F Pettigrew and Linda R Tropp, How Does Intergroup Contact Reduce Prejudice? Meta-Analytic Tests of Three Mediators European Journal of Social Psychology Vol. Spain, 2004; USA, 2001 114 David M. J. Lazer, Matthew A. Baum, Yochai Benkler, Adam J. Berinsky, Kelly M. Greenhill, Filippo Menczer et al., The Science of Fake News Science Vol. 359, Issue 6380 (2018): 1094.
187 role in designing or implementing the research, and the authors declare no competing interests. We thank members of the Oxford Centre for the Study of Intergr
188 Table Appendix 1 Statistical results for the lagged permutation test across activity at the p = 0.005 level Lag Period (Days) Correlation p Sum Period (Days) 1 0 0.011 0.419 1 0.005 0.467 2 -0.006 0.548 3 -0.026 0.688 4 -0.048 0.820 5 -0.038 0.768 6 -0.013 0.599 7 -0.014 0.610 8 -0.019 0.648 9 -0.022 0.665 10 -0.025 0.690 11 -0.040 0.784 12 -0.047 0.821 13 -0.049 0.822 14 -0.051 0.832 15 -0.063 0.887 16 -0.065 0.894 17 -0.074 0.920 18 -0.086 0.951 19 -0.088 0.955 20 -0.084 0.945 2 0 0.009 0.428 1 -0.009 0.564 2 -0.029 0.709 3 -0.043 0.788 4 -0.044 0.798 5 -0.010 0.573 6 0.003 0.473 7 0.006 0.451 8 0.002 0.484 9 -0.001 0.514 10 -0.009 0.575 11 -0.022 0.663 12 -0.032 0.728 13 -0.034 0.740 14 -0.045 0.803 15 -0.053 0.841 16 -0.062 0.878 17 -0.081 0.934 18 -0.095 0.962 19 -0.095 0.964 20 -0.101 0.971 3 0 0.007 0.441 1 -0.012 0.594 2 -0.032 0.739 3 -0.031 0.723 4 -0.006 0.544 5 0.020 0.354 6 0.037 0.242 7 0.041 0.217 8 0.039 0.227 9 0.031 0.280 10 0.021 0.348 11 0.006 0.459 12 -0.005 0.541 13 -0.014 0.611 14 -0.025 0.680 15 -0.040 0.772 16 -0.059 0.864 17 -0.082 0.936 18 -0.093 0.960 19 -0.100 0.969 20 -0.103 0.971 Lag Period (Days) Correlation p Sum Period (Days) 4 0 0.011 0.409 1 -0.011 0.581 2 -0.012 0.590 3 0.014 0.394 4 0.033 0.264 5 0.059 0.131 6 0.071 0.087 7 0.077 0.069 8 0.070 0.092 9 0.057 0.141 10 0.047 0.184 11 0.034 0.259 12 0.020 0.345 13 0.010 0.416 14 -0.004 0.527 15 -0.028 0.691 16 -0.049 0.816 17 -0.068 0.893 18 -0.082 0.930 19 -0.085 0.940 20 -0.084 0.940 5 0 0.013 0.405 1 0.009 0.438 2 0.032 0.279 3 0.053 0.156 4 0.073 0.080 5 0.095 0.035 6 0.108 0.020 7 0.108 0.020 8 0.096 0.033 9 0.082 0.058 10 0.073 0.082 11 0.058 0.136 12 0.043 0.209 13 0.031 0.283 14 0.010 0.422 15 -0.015 0.613 16 -0.034 0.741 17 -0.054 0.848 18 -0.065 0.890 19 -0.065 0.894 20 -0.061 0.877 6 0 0.036 0.248 1 0.054 0.151 2 0.071 0.087 3 0.092 0.040 4 0.109 0.018 5 0.131 0.006 6 0.136 0.005 7 0.133 0.006 8 0.120 0.010 9 0.105 0.023 10 0.093 0.037 11 0.077 0.073 12 0.061 0.125 13 0.043 0.208 14 0.020 0.360 15 -0.003 0.534 16 -0.023 0.674 17 -0.041 0.785 18 -0.048 0.823 19 -0.046 0.814 20 -0.047 0.814 Lag Period (Days) Correlation p Sum Period (Days) 7 0 0.081 0.058 1 0.086 0.049 2 0.104 0.023 3 0.121 0.009 4 0.138 0.003 5 0.155 0.001 6 0.156 < 0.001 7 0.150 0.002 8 0.137 0.004 9 0.119 0.012 10 0.106 0.022 11 0.089 0.046 12 0.067 0.101 13 0.047 0.185 14 0.026 0.313 15 0.002 0.489 16 -0.015 0.611 17 -0.029 0.705 18 -0.035 0.734 19 -0.037 0.749 20 -0.036 0.747 Appendix
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199 REVERSE ENGINEERING RUSSIAN INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY TACTICS THROUGH NETWORK ANALYSIS Charles Kriel Alexa Pavliuc Abstract In mid-October of 2018, Twitter released a dataset containing both the contents and information for accounts on their platform related to the Internet Research and Venezuela. This article documents a data analysis of these tweets, and through data visualisation demonstrates a rigorous methodology of practice at work in Russias online interference in foreign democracies, particularly through that many previous visualisations of this data have failed to factor for time, and therefore overemphasise certain trends. Finally, we question whether Twitter released the entire Internet Research Agency dataset, as claimed. Keywords strategic communications, social media, Russian interference, data visualisation, network analysis, Internet Research Agency About the Authors Dr Charles Kriel Gulf, Northern Asia, the Baltics, Balkans, Caucasus and Caribbean.
200 disinformation, and addictive technologies, and to the Trinidad and Tobago Alexa Pavliuc information in provincial elections on YouTube through the employment of *** In mid-October of 2018, Twitter released a dataset containing both the contents and account information of Internet Research Agency-related accounts on their platform, including tweets, images, and account bios. These were accounts that oversight of the platform. Twitter executives committed to provide regular updates and information regarding [their] investigation into foreign interference in political conversations on Twitter. the IRA, originating in Russia, and 770 other accounts, potentially originating in Iran. This included more than 10 million tweets and more than 2 million images, GIFs, 1 2 including the earliest onTwitter activity from accounts connected with these campaigns, dating back to 2009. 3 The IRA tweets spanned both English and Russian. In the press, the Russian troll farm, Internet Research Agency, has become videos can be. 3 Vijaya Gadde and Yoel Roth, Enabling further research of information operations on Twitter Twitter Blog,
201 4 controlled by the IRA. had a strategic goal to sow various expenditures to carry out those activities, including buying Russian association, communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities. The Atlantic New York Times Magazine article, named it the biggest trolling operation in history whose target is nothing less than the What Is the Internet Research Agency? The Atlantic Internet Research Agency Indictment
202 utility of the Internet as a democratic space. 7 More than two years after the American presidential election, and after much political and legal pressure, Twitter released their IRA dataset, as well as simultaneously releasing a dataset from accounts related to Iran but used to as this article will show, covered many topics, encompassing original, copied, and retweeted content. We undertook an analysis of the IRA dataset, with an emphasis on tracing the Twitter activity timelines, in an attempt to demonstrate working methodologies campaigns, and Russias malicious interference in foreign affairs. and Russian-speaking Twitter communities world-wide. This is an attempt to discern the tactics of the agency, establishing that most account operations begin as bot operations, that accounts are often taken over manually once they gain IRAs accounts. We show, using the English-language dataset, that the IRA uses innocuous hashtags to inject themselves into larger Twitter conversations and threads, and that their tactics and methods change over time, often obscuring goals and motivations. language dataset occurred the day after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot 8 Russian dataset is highly organised, with distinct patterns of behaviour across time. 7 Calamur, What Is the Internet Research Agency? The Agency New York Times Magazine 2
203 This pattern of organisation and strategy extends across both the Russianand English-language datasets. Related to this, we demonstrate that analysing Twitter datasets while factoring out time leads to false conclusions, particularly when visualising the data. Often small and very short-lived operations appear disproportionately important when visualised without a time axis. Finally, we ask whether Twitter released the full dataset from the Internet Research Agency, and whether Twitter has also not included all the IRA tweets they are clearly aware of in the IRA dataset released to media organisations, governments, the research community, and the public. Literature review the tweets, with an emphasis on the second wave of accounts, active after shared understanding of the vulnerabilities exploited by various types of online archive apart is Twitters consolidation and release of all accounts the platform Agency and separate Iranian accounts. 9 As we will show, we question whether the dataset is complete. The Oxford Internet Institute has conducted an analysis of global organised interference campaigns. They analyse the new trends of organized media manipulation, and the growing capacities, strategies and resources that support this phenomenon, but do not focus on examining the work of the Internet Research Agency through the lens of the Twitter dataset. 10 Rizoiu, Graham, Zhang, Zhang, Ackland, and Xie completed a network analysis tweets, modelled latent diffusion structures, used partisan hashtag analysis to quantify user political polarisation and engagement, and found that social
204 politically engaged. However, their study limited itself to tweets around the debates. 11 Australia, using the same Twitter dataset. 12 in some states  shared more polarizing political news and information than users in other states. [And] average levels of misinformation were higher in swing states than in uncontested states, even when weighted for the relative size of the user population in each state. However, the study focused on swing state data. 13 14 and organised trolling efforts through an analysis of Russian troll accounts conversations were divided along political lines, and that the examined trolling accounts systematically took advantage of these divisions. However, they limited themselves to a single subject, and reached the conclusion that research can help us better understand how to combat systematic trolling. Methodology visualisations of user-to-user and user-to-hashtag relationships. The original dataset contained 9 million tweets. We made a subset using the three million English-language tweets. 11 For a network analysis of tweets during the presidential debates see Rizoiu, Marian-Andrei, Timothy Graham, arXiv.org 2018. Russian trolls targeted Australian voters on Twitter via #auspol and #MH17 The Conversation 22 August 2018. arXiv.org 2018. 14 Demos 1 November 2018. paper presented at MIS2: Misinformation and Misbehaviour on the Web Workshop 9 February 2018, Los Angeles, CA
is representative of the structure of the others. Networks were colourised by account creation date and were run in two-month intervals showing the evolution and growth of the network over time. Metadata was derived from the tweetand user-data to provide further layers of insight throughout the report. To do this, we used Gephi. An open-source software package for network and graphing analysis, Gephi architecture [to] bring new possibilities to work with complex data sets and produce valuable visual results. We used Gephi to render graphic temporal animations of the Twitter datasets. Our visualisation of the English-language mention network, across time, can be seen here 17 Our visualisation of the hashtag network, across time, can be seen here 18 We pursued a similar methodology in the analysis of the larger, Russian-language dataset, with an emphasis on form, distribution, and methodology, excluding analysis of content, which is an area for future exploration. Our time-based visualisations of the IRA datasets constitute our primary contributions. From these visualisations a number of unique conclusions are drawn when examining the activity of Twitter accounts over time. Networks 2009.
Breaking down and analysing the networks, in the context of the visualisations, English-Language Dataset The Internet Research Agency built and automated bot networks using accounts originally created in 2012 and 2013, but only fully activated sometimes years later. Tweets, retweets and mentions were often run automatically sometimes this automated period, the bots are set to function in a way that will maximise the number of followers. This is often through a process of retweeting popular banal content, or sports, or local news content. Agencys bot networks. Many bots are used for only a brief period of followers. The Internet Research Agency prefers the use of banal, trending hashtags, such as #ifgooglewasagirl, or #myamazonwishlist, to inject themselves into popular conversations. The Internet Research Agency also tested spam bots, using them to Bots created in 2013 were used to polarise conversations. They were Bots created in 2014 were used to retweet often banal, but always trending, hashtags. Weve coloured them blue tweeting more than two months. Weve coloured them green Bots created in 2017 were used only in August of that year. They posted hashtags but did not try to engage with other Twitter users through mentions. Weve coloured them orange The animated centres of both network visualisations look like magnets with two opposing polarities
207 This means that the IRA bots in each section were retweeting different people and using different hashtags Russian-Language Dataset The most tweeted moment in the Russian-language dataset occurred the day after Flight MH17 was shot down. There was an interesting community of bots directing tweets towards a group In January 2019, we manually searched a random subset of users in the sub-network who were targeted by tweets. Each of these accounts has been suspended by Twitter Maps of the User-to-User and User-to-Hashtag Networks The following illustrations can be used as a guide to understanding the animated visualisations linked to here 19 Account Creation Year 2013 2014 2015 2016
208 Timeline of the visualisation The data and visualisations are better understood when broken down across time. In fact, without a time breakdown, the visualisations can be deceptive, August 2014 Accounts created in 2012 and 2013 began retweeting one another in August 2014. They would also occasionally direct tweets at non-Internet Research Agency accounts. This is visible at the bottom left of the video. Most of the content of the attacks on the World Trade Center. It was also the day of the Columbian social media. They were also sent to individuals in the region via text messages. 20 Account Creation Year 2009 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
209 The explosion was purported to have taken place at the facilities of the According to an investigation by NYT Magazine among others, the hoax could of fake accounts  posted hundreds of tweets for hours, targeting a list of 21 It is worth noting that this was not only an early attempt by a state-sponsored Russian actor at shifting the conversation via social media, it also showed signs of faking local media, which became a hallmark of Internet Research Agency activity. 21 Chen, The Agency Account Creation Year 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 August 2014
210 disinformation via Twitter, as the organisation had previously focused elsewhere. 22 things, for instance eight accounts all tweet a random sample of inspirational formation for an English-language audience, executed as a precursor to more complex operations at a later date. IRA users tweet to Richard Rainey, a real person and journalist for a New September 2014 Account Creation Year 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
211 The year begins with a ramping up of activity that would continue through #searchesgoogleisashamedof, #news, #reasonsmymomisbetter, and #sports. Account Creation Year 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 March 2014
212 We also begin to see action amongst inauthentic local news accounts, which became a hallmark tactic of the Internet Research Agency. These local inauthentic We conclude that these non-inclusions could indicate that Twitter has not released the complete data set from Internet Research Agency operatives. This opinion about the English-language dataset is supported by conclusions Noticeable in the centre of these clusters are retweets of several Internet Research Agency accounts by @info24us. This is a news aggregation Twitter page. @info24us joined Twitter in 2014, yet has 1.47M tweetsroughly one and is still active today. Account Creation Year 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 April-May 2015
213 A string of accounts created in 2013 were activated, their purple-coloured tweets bridging two areas of the network. This connection was abruptly cut off by 1 about Christmas. They are mostly retweets containing hashtags and mentions, Account Creation Year 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 November-December 2015
214 trending hashtags. 8 November. We observe a gradual build-up of tweets across the network with a jump up in Octoberbest observed on the animated timeline 23 This increase continues into November and peaks on election day. Internet concentrated in the circled area below. February-September 2016 Account Creation Year 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
2017 Trumps one-year anniversary of being electedand dies late in the month Americans had seen IRA content on social media. A small group of new accounts was deployed between the beginning of June and the end of August, eight of which can be seen below in green. In their short life-span they made considerable noise, but simultaneously gained few followers. In fact, all seven of those seen to the right were never used again. Account Creation Year 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 September-December 2016
Account Creation Year 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2017 Account Creation Year 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 June-September 2015
217 The green user that continued to be used was @gloed_up, a pro is recorded in the little green burst outlined by the triangle in the centre of the network, just beneath the purple area. The two accounts outlined in squares were active only in June and July, retweeting other accounts each and were created on 11, 12, and 13 June. They gained nearly 24 These four accounts They followers each before being shut down by Twitter. These accounts were created Timeline of Russian-language tweets in the IRA dataset The Russian-language data we analysed was created from a randomly selected only abs workout done motivated @_bigdaddybryce @_jorieee @buzzzzzzzzy11 @boomitzash @wizsnazzy @kaileyking2 @ethan_regal.
218 The Burst in the Mention Network Right image: October 2014 October 2015 (one year of steady interaction retweeting the of personal content. in this organised sub-network showed that they are also suspended accounts. randomly selected and searched on Twitter by hand, and every single one tested is now a suspended account. For example, a non-IRA user named @ahcdbhrjqfsg who was mentioned in the burst was searched on Twitter. The account was suspended, but searching their paste headlines. This leads us to suspect two things. First, that the suspended The Drinks Business Forum, October 2013.
219 and strategy that the IRA puts into their operations. This screenshot of, presumably, a network of IRA users tweeting to Russian Twitters work on cleaning up IRA bots is far from complete. Active users who well also see in the Russian-language dataset.
220 The Russian-language Mention Network tweets. The black nodes or dots are IRA bots. The red nodes are not IRA bots and are presumably regular Twitter accounts. that accounts Twitter @handle, a line is drawn between the two. The colour of the line connecting the two denotes the bot accounts creation year. We found by bots created in 2013 and 2014. The top left visualises an organised burst of IRA trolls mentioning Twitter users. The right side contains the rest of the interactions between IRA accounts and other accounts. A Closer Look at the Timeline MH17 tweets The governments of Australia and the Netherlands held Russia responsible Missile Brigade Buk, transported from Russia on the day of the crash. Account Creation Year 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
221 to Russia. 27 The incident, and the pro-Russian separatists presumed responsible, were 28 Reports in Russia differed, and as early as August 2014, 80% of 3% blaming pro-Russian separatists. 29 Our analysis and visualisation of Russian-language IRA Twitter data shows that within 48 hours of the attack, Russian-language IRA accounts experienced their highest volume of activity, spiking with hundreds of tweets per hour. This surge of activity continued until 19 July, when it markedly subsided. The Guardian 28 Adam Withnall, for Return of Bodies continuesEuropeWorld The Independent 21 July 2104. [Retrieved 22 July 2014]. The Guardian 30 July 2014. [Retrieved 2 August 2014]
222 Eventually, all Russian-language tweeting from the IRA dataset released by As evidenced earlier, a high level of tactical organisation, planning and coordination between accounts is demonstrated. Patterns and Conclusions The aim of this piece of data analysis and visualisation is to glean a few of the tactics of the Internet Research Agency with regard to interference in foreign affairs and elections, using Twitter as a platform. With the English-language Russian-language dataset, our focus has been on form, format, and distribution, The Internet Research Agency prefers to use trending hashtags like #ifgooglewasagirl, and #myamazonwishlist to get in on conversations. This allows both botand manually-operated accounts to gain followers from a broad spectrum of Twitter users. subsequently abandoned this strategy within four months when these the network tweeted for more than two months. Although they all posted large
223 but did not try to engage with other Twitter users through mentions The centre of both English-language networks resembles a magnet with two opposing forces This means that the Internet Research Agency bots in each section were retweeting different accounts, and using different hashtags unsuccessful accounts The blue trending topic net was non-polarizing, and simply retweeted The purple centre cluster was polarized by the directions of the bursts, and the accounts seldom interact with one other until the There were distinct locations within the visualisations for certain types of tweets, as those accounts tended to form communities around their In both the Russian-language mention and hashtag networks, accounts with more than 1,000 followers tended to target the same users and hashtags users over time The most tweeted moment in the entire Russian-language dataset was There is an interesting community of bots tweeting at a
224 They begin with retweeting the non-IRA accounts, then begin the following twelve months showed a different pattern A random subset of accounts being tweeted at in the subnetwork was manually searched on Twitter in January 2019, and each of these accounts has been suspended by Twitter. highly organised. We observed this when IRA trolls faked the #ColumbianChemicals explosion in English, and when the trolls engaged in organized communication in the subset of Russian-language retweets and original tweets to targeted accounts. language analysisthat Twitter has not yet shut down all IRA accounts Twitter has likely also not included all IRA tweets of which they are aware in the IRA dataset, as some suspect accounts tweeted to by IRA bots are currently suspended by Twitter, but not in the dataset. Flattening gives regions that were active over a short time period the same level of visual importance as regions that were only active for a Viewing region growth over time allows for new patterns to be spotted, and makes it clear that highly-active, short-lived campaigns are typically of a different order of importance than longer-lived campaigns. The dataset provided contained 9 million tweets from just under 4000 suspectedIRA accounts. Based on what we have seen, we must call into question whether
Twitter has successfully shut down all related accounts, and whether they have provided the public with all of the IRA accounts of which they are aware of. We have observed accounts that are currently active on Twitter that are connected to accounts which are currently deleted who were tweeted to by IRA accounts, and whose usernames follow similar patterns to IRA tactics such as names of realisticFirst widely exposed in the West in 2014, 30 the Internet Research Agency has American elections, and affairs of national importance. Although we examine only Twitter here, in nearly every exposure of the IRAs activities the common IRAs work is highly organised, sophisticated, and well-resourced, with as many 31 Whether the agency has been instrumental in swinging elections or shifting public opinion is a subject for further research, but the tactics and strategies of the IRA and other Russian troll farms are without doubt well worth the attention of Western civil society. *** Bibliography Exploring and Manipulating Networks 2009, p. 2. What Is the Internet Research Agency? The Atlantic Chen, Adrian, The Agency New York Times Magazine Disinformation and fake news: Final Report BuzzFeed 2 June 2014. [Retrieved 31
Gadde, Vijaya and Yoel Roth, Enabling further research of information operations on Twitter 2018]. Gagliordi, Natalie, Grandjean, Martin, Visualization Research The Sydney Morning Herald Neudert, arXiv.org 2018. The Computational Internet Research Agency Indictment Chauvet, Elliot Jones, November 2018. The Guardian 30 July 2014. [Retrieved 2 August 2014]. Maynes, Charles, Voice of America Rizoiu, Marian-Andrei, Timothy Graham, Rui Zhang, Yifei Zhang, Robert arXiv.org 2018.
227 Russian trolls targeted Australian voters on Twitter via #auspol and #MH17 The Conversation 22 August 2018. FiveThirtyEight A Comparison of 2000, p. 2. Examining Trolls and paper presented at MIS2: Misinformation and Misbehaviour on the Web Workshop 9 February 2018, Los Angeles, CA Weaver, Matthew, The Guardian Withnall, Adam, World The Independent 21 July 2104. [Retrieved 22 July 2014].
229 FROM SWORDS TO PLOUGHSHARES: TIME FOR A CVE STEP-CHANGE? A Review Essay by Paul Bell Don McCullin photographic retrospective Tate Britain, London 2019 Keywords civil society About the Author Paul Bell commission overseeing the elections which brought Nelson Mandela to power. The views expressed in this article are entirely those of the author and do not purport to represent those of any organisation.
230 The Guardian described him, the man who has seen too much.
231 not the concerns of the receiver, but the fears and imperatives of the sender. horror and carnage for which their governments were responsible in one or other assistance to one or another combatant in some foreign war, or failing to for independence was being crushed, leading to protests and to public opinion
232 media environment that is open and free, can stir public emotions and political of modern communication throws up immense challenges and a concomitant
233 to get at and address the deeper grievances beneath them. But budgets were wa s about winning the argument against
not status quo and its easier to blame terrorism on distorted religious ideas than to some countries so The second factor is that s and struggling to contain the discontent and disaffection it is not the same demographics and behavioural patterns appear e the entrenchment of elites a casual contempt for the
all, and which provide not preoccupations. Instead it stigmatises. It tells its target audiences on the cheap gets cheap results. appearance approaches that appear to challenge it
progress is tentative at best. I ts Times of London reported host government. here resides in both the material impact that programmes can deliver to their
237 and behaviours that are more conducive to sustainable societal and political development. In this sense, aid and development programming is also ing ensuring that difference is communications is an afterthought in these programmes. trauma, so we recognise it in healing. If we compare the sense of engagement and videos on a mobile phone, and behavioural changes conducive to positive social change and transformation ? an
. from here In this narrative. able to absorb adapt to, and overcome challenges and communities, and even individuals, to adapt to social, economic, and political foreign licence to operate is coming away from space it has hitherto occupied, and towards state of mind are while
239 than choose a negative one through frustration and desperation. It would enable them values such as tolerance, openness, and the willingness to negotiate also happen to provide the glue of well regulated, responsive, and functioning programming can support the organisations, it provides a direct and individual good r esilience programme imbues their lives and pursuits with greater purpose, teaches them to adapt to providing an experience that engages its participants, enabling them to improve helping them discover reaches into marginalised communities, that effect is more s impact can be e
programming could aspire to, which suggests that this is where the future of strategic shift using its behaviours 1. areas where levels of radicalisation, recruitment 2. K eep f discernible. 3. B s, engage target audiences through them, them to understand local upstream drivers of recruitment. reate programme spaces in which participants are supported and drawing in other local ncourage participants to build more collaborative K participants to do the same. The aim is to build those and replace these with greater trust. to towards the mutual advantage that is to be discovered
7. U se strategic communications to reach parts of the target the effects being delivered, programme and its effects on individual participants and is possible if we do what we can, where we are, with what we have. it c a me to capture the spirit of the programmes one would want ones participa nts and target It draws together ingredients that are programme a nd regard them as a problem and a determination to use what is to hand those of their communities needs simultaneously, the effect not served ed programming avoids this trap. T their
es and often small should provide a bett should prove a negative. H ow many young people didnt become violent extremists because you opened up an alternative pathway to them? Its a question that will never be demanded. Including hope. Howards End In here strategic communications is at its best when, through depiction of the real of action on the ground
It is available to us across a universe of aid and development, and through doing.
245 ON FINDING THE ETHICAL IN THE AGE OF DIGITAL BATTLE SPACES A Review Essay by M.R. Dahlan Truth Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis in American Public Life Jennifer Kavanagh and Michael D. Rich. RAND Corporation, 2018 Exploding Data: Reclaiming Our Cyber Security in the Digital Age Michael Chertoff. Atlantic Monthly Press, 2018 LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media Keywords Ethics, ethical, positive space, negative space, The Hijaz, digital, social media, digital battle spaces, weaponization data, AI, sharp power, truth, facts, disinformation, fake news, warfare, narrative, discourse, strategic communications, Truth Decay, RAND, Rich Kavanagh, Exploding Data, Chertoff, LikeWar, Singer, information About the Author Prof. Dr. Malik R. Dahlan is Senior Mediation Fellow at the Harvard University Davis Center Negotiation Task Force. He is Professor of International Law and Public Policy at Queen Mary University of London.
246 The familiar distinction between hard and soft power, which seemed a useful way we are in now. The reason is, of course, the comprehensive breakdown of the post-war order and the apparent return to Bismarckian competition between nation states. Future historians looking for the cause of this return to Realism will not be short of suspects, but perhaps in retrospect it was unfortunate that globalisation was carried forward under the banner of neoliberalism, given the Alongside this return to more anarchic relationships among nation states, we also have an increasing breakdown in the economic, cultural, and political order within them. The old alternation between centre left and centre right parties within political systems, bounded and ballasted by mixed economies and relatively generous welfare states, is eroding and European elections are able to produce results that would have been unthinkable a generation ago. That media: the digitisation and socialisation of mass communication has created many competing sources of fact and opinion, with the result that societies are losing their common ground, both in terms of the mutually agreed facts, and in the way those facts can reasonably be interpreted. We are living in a period where technological progress is creating an age of anger. In the words of one recent book that attempted to summarize the zeitgeist, our current era is accept the remedies put forward by populist politicians. 1 So, if the idea of soft power no longer seems to explain how one state affects another using its forces of attraction and engagement, what will replace it? One suggestion is sharp powera term coined in November 2017 by the National Endowment for Democracy and published in an article in Foreign Affairs magazine. Sharp power refers to the ability of state and non-state actors to combine the time-honoured methods of the public relations industry with micro-marketing made possible by data mining techniques, using social media as the individualised delivery platform. The story that tends to be told after the 2016 US elections is of the vulnerability of democratic states to the aggressive and subversive policies employed by authoritarian governments as a projection 1 Pankaj Mishra, Age of Anger: A History of the Present (Macmillan, 2017).
247 of state power. The attraction of sharp power is clear, and the list of states that have been accused of employing it on the global scale includes China and Russia, of course, but there is no shortage of actors in the regional arenas. In the Middle East, for example, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar, and the UAE have all been accused of sharp practices. hallmarks of Islams relationship with the Judeo-Christian West. I recently concluded a study of the relationship, in which one of the most profound conclusions was that particular spacesin this case sacred spaceshave become a source of contention and wilful misinterpretation and are transformed from positive into negative spaces. Historically, Jerusalem, Mecca, and Medina were the home of Godshared sacred spaces where peace was institutionalised. The Hajj pilgrimages were a kind of Islamic internet, where the tide of humanity washing in and out of holy places created a vast market for the exchange and elaboration of ideas. 2 Now we have the neo-medievalists of Daesh and the postmodernists of al-Qaida who, like the Wahhabists before them, are intent on Before the advent of the sharp power narrative, another concept that shed even more light on erosion of the public realm was put forward in a report by the RAND Corporationthe idea of truth decay. This notion is intended to convey the diminishing role of facts and analysis in American public life. The extent to which this decay makes Western liberal democracies vulnerable to being sold a bill of goods has already been apparent in the UKs decision to leave the EU after a campaign that illustrated, to most peoples complete satisfaction, the effectiveness of sharp power and truth decay; we also have the various in this essay, is a work of self-examination intended to set out what a think tank can do to maintain quality research and analysis. I will also consider two other recent books, Exploding Data: Reclaiming Our Cyber Security in the Digital Age written by Michael Chertoff, a former US Secretary of Homeland Security, and LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media written by P.W. Singer and Emerson 2 Malik R. Dahlan, The Hijaz: The First Islamic State (Oxford University Press, 2018).
248 laws and constitutional norms no longer seem to safeguard the validity of political processes such as elections and referendums in the way that they once did. National security now seems more vulnerable than it ever did in the era of mutually assured destruction, and the ethical horizon that lends perspective to that security has never seemed more occluded. Before I begin my commentary on the three books, I would like to note that of the importance of AI and machine learning to the way states can interact with their citizens. However, such books have been reviewed extensively elsewhere and it is somewhat to the side of the questions of security and the strategic communications world. 3 Truth Decay Truth Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis in American Public Life, by Jennifer Kavanagh and Michael D. Rich, is a 300-page RAND Corporation report that alerts us to the way our ability to rely on facts is diminishing as our reliance on that ability is growing. The book refers to this phenomenon as the truth decay paradox. increasing disagreement about facts and their analytical interpretations; a blurring of the line between opinion and fact; an increase in the relative volume lowered trust in formerly respected sources of facts. This theory offers a more sophisticated taxonomy than the fake news narrative. And, as the book notes, many American sectorsmilitary, technology industry, and organised sports, among othersincreasingly rely on facts and data as essential to survival or necessary for success. One point we can surely all still agree on is that it is bad necessary to calculate the consequences of those decisions, whether one is in the army, in business, or voting in an election. It comes as no surprise that political discourse has been hospitable to this multiform blurring of facts. If one is in the persuasion business, success comes to those who deal in partial truths or outright falsehoods that appeal to 3 An example is this recent book by the head of Google China: Kai-Fu Lee, AI Super-Powers: China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order
249 the prejudices and biases of your target audience. The RAND report is truly worrying in that it casts doubt on the availability of an objective discourse, which might serve as a corrective to these half-truths and outright fabrications. In the past a reservoir of commonly accepted facts and well-supported analyses was provided by government, academia, and accredited experts, which meant Now such authorised knowers are increasingly treated with scepticism. These developments drive a wedge between policymakers and the public, as well as between the groups that make up the public. which turn out to be due partly to the fallibility of human information processing and partly to the inability of that processing to cope with the sheer volume of information available to us, much of which is opinion posing as fact. Then there is the inability of cash-strapped schools to arm their pupils with the tools needed for critical thinking and the wider polarisation in politics, society, and the economya staple concern of op-ed pages around the world. It comes as no surprise that cultures subject to this deterioration are more vulnerable to groups that wish to amplify the effects of truth decay drivers for their own political or economic ends. RANDs list of possible bad actors includes foreign states and domestic groups lobbying for particular policies. The most spectacular example, of course, was the controversy over who exactly was Now we have to deal with the possibility that democratic processes can be by dark money. To what extent is all of this new, and to what extent have campaigns of Rich comment that whenever new forms and styles of communication arise, especially when coupled with social, political, and economic unrest, one tends to see a blurring of the distinction between facts and opinions, as well as the increased relative volume of opinion over fact. RAND researchers also found some evidence of declining trust in institutions as sources of factual information in two of these historical periods. That said, the contemporary era stands alone in possessing the full spectrum of causes: the result of the concatenation of new technologies, social media, 24-hour news coverage, and the removal of the possibility of debate and compromise as a result of political polarisation.
250 Kavanagh and Rich maintain that the consequences of truth decay are direct and severe, both to American democracy and to the concept of liberal democracy in and its societal and democratic foundations through the erosion of civil discourse, political paralysis at the federal and state levels, the disengagement of citizens from political and civic life, and uncertainty in the formation and implementation of national policy. An absence of a common store of fact and opinion causes a vicious circle of mistrust among citizens. It can lead them to narrow their sources of information, to cluster with people who agree with them, to avoid meaningful discussions about core issues, and to feel alienated from local and national policy debates. Politics drifts into dysfunction when debate lacks a shared factual basis. In governance, that can lead to delayed decisions, deferred economic investment, and reduced diplomatic credibility. Part of the issue is that liberal democracies rely on systems of checks and balances that are often prone to gridlock if politicians lose interest in cooperating with each other, at least enough to ensure that the system functions. Meaningful and lasting reform is usually the result of some level of bipartisan collaboration between the two major parties. That applies to reforming a major entitlement programme, modernising US military forces, or completing a major trade deal. This is only possible when both parties agree on the facts. When they dont, the result can be policy oscillationa sequence of repeal-and-replace zigzags. As US policy-makers argue over basic facts, legislative processes have become increasingly dysfunctional, and this has prevented decisions on consequential issues such as immigration and health care, leaving millions in limbo. One example of this political dysfunction and stalematethe October 2013 US Federal government shutdownproduced serious consequences for military veterans awaiting medical care and job retraining, limited the creation of privatesector jobs, and undermined action to ensure food and transportation safety. 4 This policy whiplash creates uncertainty about the long-term direction and consistency of American policy and has serious consequences for individuals and corporations. Uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act, for instance, has contributed to rapidly rising insurance premiums. Facts matter. Impacts and Costs of the October 2013 Federal Government Shutdown , 7 November 2013.
251 RANDs researchers reviewed more than 250 articles and books in an attempt to show how sources of fact-based analysis, such as the RAND corporation itself, can make a contribution to the struggle against truth decay. Four streams First, how has truth decay manifested itself in the past, and how was it overcome? Second, what are the vectors that spread truth decay? This line of inquiry includes questions regarding how media content has changed over time, how the speed the education system and curriculums are, how polarisation and political gridlock have (or have not) worsened, whether or not civil discourse and engagement are eroding, and how the level of uncertainty about US policy has changed. Third, we must investigate how information is disseminated, processed, and consumed, as well as the roles played by interested institutions, authorities, and The scale of the challenge is apparent. solutions. Priority areas include educational interventions, improving the information market, developing and rebuilding institutions, bridging social divides, and harnessing new technologies, behavioural economics, psychology, cognitive science, and organizational self-assessment. The scale of the solutions is equally impressive and will require quite an effort from those responsible at a Moving forward, the RAND Corporation itself plans to continue investigating three areas: the changing mix of opinion and objective reporting in journalism, the decline in public trust in major institutions, and initiatives to improve media is, the ability to apply critical thinking to evaluate the reliability of what we are being told or sold. One potential quick win for which there is already a vocal constituency is action to increase transparency in social media. Platforms could provide clarity on where their advertising money comes from. They could open their application programming interfaces and work to identify and monitor the existence of bots on their systems. Kavanagh and Rich also argue that social media users need to
252 be part of the answer. We can implement all the regulations that we want, but if people arent willing to look for facts and take the time to identify what is a fact, then I dont think it makes a difference, the authors note. There has to be an understanding of why facts matterand why its important to be an informed participant in democracyif democracy is what you want. 5 Exploding Data Exploding Data explores the profound changes wrought by the digitisation of more and more elements of modern life. Chertoffs central argument is that current legal and policy notions about privacy, freedom, and security must be reformulated in light of this technological revolution. The book begins with an explanation of how the data revolution that grew out of the internet came to involve much more than just digital infrastructure. The growth of the internet spurred the explosive growth of data storage capacity, and of the computer processing power necessary to understand and make use of this vast store of data. The development of wireless technology radically increased the number of endpoints that could connect to a network, culminating in an a network and supply it with data. An outgrowth of this has been the increasing number of physical control systems that are managed and regulated through internet connections. This inevitably raises the risk of network-based attacks against critical infrastructure such as energy, transportation, and health care. The disruption to the electric grid in Ukraine and the damage done by ransomware are examples used to illustrate these impacts. Among the consequences of this revolution is the need to consider whether rules striking a balance between government surveillance and individual rights need to be recalibrated. Similarly, there is the question of whether the US should follow Europe in conferring on individuals the right to control their Also critical is the need to resolve how national laws interact with a technology in which data is global. The book argues that the ability of adversaries to use data maliciously to conduct 5 Jennifer Kavanagh and Michael D. Rich, Truth Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis in American Public Life (RAND Corporation, 2018) and a short article by Laura Hazard Owen, The era of truth decay: 12 things we still dont know about our weird time , Nieman Lab 26 January 2018.
253 information operations, as Chertoff calls it, and even to carry out cyber-attacks novel policy problems now facing us include exactly what status to accord a cyber-attack carried out by a hostile state: where does such an attack stand as a casus belli for example? Chertoffs view is that NATO should adopt a multilateral approach to setting policy focus. NATO must develop an understanding of the doctrines, tactics, and techniques used by adversaries in their attempts to undermine the Wests social cohesion and the trust citizens of Western countries place in their governing institutions. This includes the realisation that information operations are designed to promote disunity within the Western alliance, to encourage mistrust of government, and to generate confusion that interferes with responding to aggression. Naturally, an open society is at something of a disadvantage when it comes to tackling these threats, since responding with Chinese-style internet censorship would be like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. As discussed in the interplay between the need to defend against malicious propaganda and to uphold the principle of free speech. However, some level of action is certainly It should be permissible to expose and/or block orchestrated campaigns to manipulate search engines through botnets or troll farms. Similarly, media platforms should bar agents who impersonate others or conceal their identities as foreign agents. On the other hand, I think we must resist the temptation to censor content with which we disagree, even if we believe it to be incorrect. To do the latter would run the risk of undermining the free speech which is fundamental to western democracies. 6 LikeWar P.W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking, two national security experts, have titled their analysis in homage to nineteenth-century Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz, author of the ten-volume series On War The aim is to bring 6 From a private interview with Michael Chertoff, author of Exploding Data: Reclaiming Our Cyber Security in the Digital Age (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2018) on 20 October 2018.
254 a similar level of analysis to the new battle space presented by social media. If cyberwar is about hacking networks, LikeWar is about hacking the people who make up the nodes of the networks. This is a space where military units taking smartphones. Singer and Brooking were moved to begin their study after seeing how the Arab Spring revealed the power of social media to drive major political change. In societies where the public realm was almost entirely closed to dissenting opinion, Twitter and Facebook made it possible for democratically minded protesters to share information, to organise protests, and, ultimately, to topple institutionally entrenched dictatorships. This is a Western position that arguably puts too much emphasis on the technology at the expense of social forces. After the democratic gains across the Arab world proved unsustainable, or curdled into violence, another facet of the technology emerged. Within a few years, Daesh was using the internet with great sophistication to mobilise recruits, spread propaganda, and encourage attacks in the US and elsewhere. Then came an actual attack on Western democracy conducted via social media itselfthe spread of Russian disinformation as part of efforts to sway the UK Brexit vote and the 2016 American presidential election. LikeWar argues that in the space of a decade, the internet has been transformed The online world is now just as indispensable to governments, militaries, activists, whether the goal is to win an election or a battle, or just to sell a music album, tank being destroyed or a Nazi-sympathising cartoon frog, the aim is to grab attention. Once that has been done, ideologues are able to make contact with a few dozen sympathisers out of a population of millions and then groom them to attack their fellow citizens. Voices from around the globe can stir the pot of a countrys politics from afar, realising the political objective of a war without arms. LikeWar explains how these scenarios are no longer hypothetical. Each has already happened and will happen many more times in the years to come. The book describes an abrupt and momentous development in war and international politics that has transformed how quickly information spreads,
255 how far it travels, and how easy it is to access. It explains how information has reshaped everything from military operations to the news business to political campaigns. Singer and Brooking suggest that no country has better mastered the possibilities of this new form of warfare than Russia, a state that has become a master of maskirovka Russia has currently taken the lead in weaponising social media, using its online strength to substitute for its relative decline in military power. This is, perhaps, an essential element of its sharp power strategy. But the globe have similar programmes under way, from crackdowns in Turkey to Chinas bold new social credit system that is priming an entire society for digital management of everyones online activity and turning it into a single trustworthiness score. The internet has given governments not just new ways of controlling their own people but also a new kind of global reach through the power of disinformation. politics through social media is not limited to sending targeted messages to people in particular micro-marketing categories. It also aims to jam the entire democratic and distrust, pushing conspiracy theories and lies and supporting the most extreme voices in any debate using its army of trolls and bots. One explanation for the potency of this new battle zone and the way it has been revolutionising warfare is its congruence with newly evolving forms of information capitalism. We are most familiar with this from Facebook, but As Singer and Brooking point out, social media now form a human-made not ethics or veracity but virality. Online battles may be about politics and war, the algorithms of the attention economy, as calibrated by clicks, interactions, engagement, and immersion time. This changes what it takes to win, whether how to make something go viral and you can overwhelm the truth itself. There is also a consensus as to what works in this battle space: Singer and Brooking examined the tactics of a top Daesh recruiter, Taylor Swifts marketing team, Donald Trumps campaign managers, and neo-Nazi trolls, and they found consistent patterns. For all the seeming complexity, there are certain dynamics
256 that govern virality: narrative, emotion, authenticity, community, inundation, and experimentation. Those who prevail are those able to shape the story lines that frame public understanding, provoke the responses that impel people to action, connect with followers at a personal level, build a sense of fellowship, and do it all on a global scale, repeatedly, using individual reaction to each tweet A powerful claim by the authors is that the laws of this new space have been re-set by a small number of people who can instantly shift an information war in one direction or another. LikeWar uses Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey as examples of how concentrated digital power has become. Unfortunately, it seems to be the case that these social media giants have failed to think through the political, legal, and ethical dimensions of the once-positive information space they were might abuse, and good actors misuse, this space. They turn to technology as the and automation. They believe this might solve the crises of the negative space problems of censorship and content moderation. But, as Singer and Brookings It should be added that there is an opportunity cost to this abuse and misuse of social media. The extent to which social media has led to the force-draft enrolment of every digitised individual into a new kind of continuous online battle space means we have lost sight of the possibilities of social media to accomplish positive change. Access to social media can allow people to form new kinds of networks, expose crimes, save lives, and prompt far-reaching reforms. When it is used to foment violence, spread lies, spark wars, and even As with Kavanagh and Richs work, the authors of LikeWar see public policy playing a major role in helping to improve the quality of citizens online environment. Indeed, corporate and state action is essential: there are important things individuals can do, but they wont matter unless actions can be taken by companies and by governments. Digital literacy is one part of the puzzle, as are regulation and the employment of AI to police digital social space. LikeWar is a book about how the internet changed war and politics. It is also a story about how war and politics changed the internet. Because the internet is always evolving, our response must evolve with it. In the words of P.W. Singer:
257 Social media may have started out as a space for fun, but it has also now become a new kind of battlespace. And it is one that has threatened NATO like the alliance has never been before. 7 7 From a private interview with P.W. Singer, co-author of LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media (Houghton
259 TOMORROWS INTERNET THE JELLO IS ON THE WALL A Review Essay by Tara Flores and Philip Hall AI Super-Powers: China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order The Great Firewall of China: How to Build and Control an Alternative Version of the Internet Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics: How the Internet Era is Transforming Politics in Kenya (African Arguments) Keywords Africa, closed networks, data privacy, Splinternet, strategic communications, China, internet regulation, Facebook, Great Firewall About the Authors Tara Flores Philip Hall
In the new century, liberty will spread by cell phone and cable modem. Now theres no question China has been trying to crack down on the Internet. (Chuckles.) Good luck! (Laughter.) Thats sort of like trying to nail jello to the wall. 1 and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather. 2 Over the last 15 years, Facebook and Instagram have helped people connect with friends, communities, and interests in the digital equivalent of a town square. But people increasingly also want to connect privately in the digital equivalent of the living room. 3 The new new media 4 A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace A Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking 4 About Facebook
Information wants to be free-ish 5 6 7 9 Web Foundation, The Guardian, Web Foundation, New York Times
262 as the New York Times The alternative universe Wired CNN Money CNN CNN The Guardian Politico Politico The Guardian BBC TechCrunch Financial Times,
263 The Great Firewall of China, 22 23 24 AI Super-Powers: China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order, New York Times The Great Firewall of China: How to Build and Control an Alternative Version of the Internet The Guardian
264 25 26 The app layer AI Super-Powers: China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order
265 27 As 29 Splinternet The Economist The Financial Times
266 32 33 34 The Financial Times The Atlantic Vox BBC
267 China in Africa: One Belt, One Road, One Internet? 35 36 37 The Diplomat 37 Connected Women. The Mobile Gender Gap Report 2019
39 42 43 44 45 46 CNN Business African Business 43 Le Figaro BBC New York Times
269 47 On the verge Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics, Nanjala Nyabola highlights Reuters Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics: How the Internet Era is Transforming Politics in Kenya (African Arguments),
Rwanda Freedom of the Press 2016 Inyenyeri News Veritas Info The Rwandan Leprophete 49 Tanzania 49 Tanzania: Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations 2018
52 Kenya Uganda 53 Reuters
272 olugambo Looking through the wrong lens 54 55 New York Times 56 57 Wall Street Journal billion. 57
273 59 62 63 Conclusion: the jello is on the wall Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion The Financial Times Financial Times, The Interpreter 63