Sweden and Japan are as far away as China is near

Italian Health Minister Speranza hopes that the sense of responsibility would prevail so to avoid a new quarantine by Andrea Monti – Originally published in Italian by Infosec.News

The Minister’s statement reveals that the government has already decided to enforce a new global lockdown (or that it is every day more likely.)
Putting aside the past political controversies, right now the options are unavoidable: either we enforce self-restraint, or the government will do it on our behalf.
We have already experienced what a quarantine looks like, and we can imagine what might happens when we read news such as that of the assault in Livorno by a Carabinieri patrol carried out not by dangerous criminals, but by citizens out of control. Continue reading “Sweden and Japan are as far away as China is near”

China to vaccine the Army to avoid the Roman Empire’s fate

by Andrea Monti – adjunct professor of law and order at the University of Chieti-Pescara – Originally published in Italian by Formiche.net

A piece of recent news is that China has decided to test Ad5-nCoV, a possible vaccine for the Coronavirus, on its armed forces. According to the British newspaper The Telegraph, the choice would depend on the fact that the military “offers a more compact medical control group than the public”.

Although the use on civilians and not only by Chinese descent could be possible (the experimentation was also authorized in Canada), it is useful to think about the meaning of the choice to develop and test the vaccine in the military. Continue reading “China to vaccine the Army to avoid the Roman Empire’s fate”

COVID-19: from the U.K. another information warfare test drive?

A former head of the British MI6 claims to have seen new evidence about the artificial origin of the Coronavirus and China’s responsibility. However, the truth is not what it seems, or is it?
Andrea Monti – Adjunct Professor of Law and Order and Public Security – University of Chieti-Pescara  – originally published in Italian by Formiche.net

The British newspaper The Telegraph publishes an article in which Sir Richard Dearlove, head of the British Secret Intelligence Service (better known as MI6) from 1999 to 2004 says “he believes the coronavirus pandemic “started as an accident” when the virus escaped from a laboratory in China) and wonders whether, should China admit liability, it would also agree to pay damages.”

Truthfulness or not of the asserted theses, this article deserves to be included in an information warfare manual because it contains all the classic elements of a PsyOps, so subtly employed, as well as capable of producing the desired (dis)informative effect. Continue reading “COVID-19: from the U.K. another information warfare test drive?”

Minnesota’s protests to mark the end of Immuni?

Online contact tracing is changing business: from a means to counter the Coronavirus contagion to a tool of public order. Can we afford it? The analysis of Andrea Monti, Adjunct-Professor in charge of law and order and public safety at the University of Chieti-Pescara
Originally published in Italian by Formiche.net.

A series of tweets from the American network NBC News bounce the news that the authorities in Minnesota plan to use data from Coronavirus contact-tracing software in public order and security operations to contain the antiracist protests broken out over the death of George Floyd caused by a police officer.

This announcement re-ignites the controversy about the risks of abuse by the State, if it is allowed to have at its disposal vast amounts of data of all kinds on citizens and, in Italy, reinforces the position of those who praised the incredible technological complication that “to protect privacy” has delayed and castrated the development of Immuni, the contact tracing software that should warn us if we came into contact with someone who tested positive at Covid-19. Continue reading “Minnesota’s protests to mark the end of Immuni?”

COVID-19: the Western counternarrative against disinformation coming from East

A video published on NATO’s Youtube channel outlines the Alliance’s strategy to counter Russian-Chinese disinformation. But the “fluid truth” of our times does not lend itself to being locked in the cage of ideologyOriginally published in Italian by Formiche.net

by Andrea Monti – Adjunct professor of law and order – University of Chieti-Pescara

The role of the media in the information war that broke out between the US and China and fought on the COVID-19 field is well highlighted by the video published on May 12 on the NATO Youtube channel titled How is NATO responding to disinformation on COVID-19?

In (chrono)logical order, the video establishes the first rule of the Western counter-information strategy: ignore the opponent’s propaganda to avoid “acknowledging” it and amplifying its circulation.

The second is to create a joint information base: with a somewhat naive game of graphic emphasis, the video (minute 0.53) specifies that

Nato regularly shares information and insight with allies and partners

and then adds

and counters false narratives.

The use of logical connective ⋀ instead of building a cause-effect relationship changes the overall meaning of the message: “NATO shares information AND fights false narratives” means something different from “NATO shares information TO fight false narratives”. The difference is subtle but substantial: information sharing is presented as a value in itself and not as a tool for an end (which, in reality, it is).

The third rule is to provide “facts” to journalists. After graphically enunciating this slogan, the video leaves the floor to NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, who states

I believe that the best response to disinformation and propaganda is free and independent press, is the work of journalists. When they ask the difficult questions, then disinformation and propaganda will never succeed.

Having “authoritative” and unquestionable sources at their disposal allows journalists to give consistency to theses that, otherwise, would only be artificial reconstructions of unrelated facts. Self-attribution of the power to affirm “the truth” through the selection of facts to present to the public opinion is the central element of the entire communication strategy: it is the hook on which the whole information chain hangs.

The fourth is the control of the spread of disinformation through “research groups” to measure the impact of disinformation, identify the fake-news spreaders and “vaccinate” the public against the propaganda virus… of the enemy. In other words: the aim is to make sure that people believe the propaganda of the “good guys”, to defuse the deflagrating effects of the enemy one.

In this case, as in that of the press conference of the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, on China’s responsibility in the spread of the Coronavirus and the Chinese response entrusted to a cartoon, we face a skirmish in which both parties use the “Goebbels doctrine” and what I have called “the second law of propaganda”.

The hammering repetition of a narrative to the point of making it perceived as “true”, is flanked by the proliferation of more or less reliable “sources” from which flows a deluge of news. An overabundance of information males a phenomenon difficult to understand and induces the public to an act of faith: I don’t understand, but if “the experts” say so, it must be true.

Media play a crucial role in this game, both in terms of open support to a party and as the victim of a more or less unacknowledged instrumentalisation of their role. “Partisan” articles, therefore, are flanked by “investigations” and “scoops” made possible by “confidential documents” and other information “escaped” by the strict control of the institutional structures. Sometimes it is so, as in the Snowden case, sometimes it is a matter of holes left voluntarily open to let out what is necessary to start an “exclusive” journalistic investigation.

Media strategic role y is clear: lack of evidence is compensated by a counternarrative about the scarce Chinese transparency and media “credibility” amplifies this position, thus making the audience resilient against external threats.

It is apparent, then, that on both sides of the Iron Curtain methods and objectives are the same. Regardless of its calibre, a bullet always does the same job, whether it is fired from the East or from the West.