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Conspiracy theory Russian-Venezuelan hackers: the enemy simulacrum
Material posted: Publication date: 05-12-2017
Unit of the European Union, analysing Russian propaganda, have not found a single case of interference in Catalan a subject, contrary to the assertions by the government and close to it the media.

the key to the success of any conspiracy theory is the presence in it of elements of reality. She rested on the sturdy legs, pulling them between his web of intrigue to explain the inexplicable and concealing uncomfortable truths. No matter what at first something may seem impossible: if the building gives easy answers and points to someone to blame for all the problems, the goal is achieved. Spain is currently present in the most direct manner at birth one of these romantic and paranoid theories: the army of Russian hackers, with the Venezuelan branch, supported by Vladimir Putin, is struggling to achieve the independence of Catalonia.

What is its strategy to carry out this evil plan? "To disseminate false news to the detriment of Spain and to promote them online," explained last Tuesday, Mariano Rajoy, confirming that, despite the lack of any convincing evidence of this theory, the government considers the external threat is real. "A significant number of attacks occurred from the Russian territory, but we don't know whether they were implemented by the Russian authorities. Some of them later repeated since the territory of Venezuela," — said in Brussels the Minister Maria Dolores de Cospedal (María Dolores de Cospedal) against a new enemy — an invisible, but apparently persistent in his attacks on Spanish democracy.

Although it sounds like a mockery-not mockery. The seed of a theory about the Russian hackers had been planted by the Spanish newspaper El País, shortly before the Catalan referendum, and now he diligently cultivate all the media close to the ruling party. The reason for the Prime Minister has added fuel to the fire of this suspenseful script, became a direct question on radio Cope (followed by several absurd conversation with the host, Carlos Herrera (Carlos Herrera), in which bots confused with hackers, as discussed below). The latest news in this theory — joining the Venezuelan front to the case of Putin and his followers, as well as the statement of the European Union's determination to deal with the problem. Neither one nor the other has no one, even the most insignificant evidence other than random coincidences.

Too good to be true

The theory about the plot of the Russian-Venezuelan hackers are aiming very high. It has a dark character who wants to wreak havoc in the West, and after Brexia he set himself the goal is nothing less than to destroy Spain. This role is not suitable, Nicolas Maduro (Nicolás Maduro), already a classic external enemy of the Spanish democracy in 1978. But obviously, his power so far does not apply. No, this fight Spain beats face-to-face with Vladimir Putin, who launched a secret network of experts-computer scientists.

Problem to invoke the responsibility of the character of this scale in the Spanish policies is that its impact on the geopolitical issues are not so unnatural as the influence of Maduro on the processes in Spain. Russian propaganda and the official media of the Kremlin really bother US and the EU, which has established even a special unit to track "the duck" and "fakes", perhaps disseminated by the Russians about the EU. This Operational working group for strategic communications at European external action service (European External Action Service East Stratcom Task Force), the task of which is to analyze each of these interventions and to refute them.

So, of the 110 "fakes" identified by the group over the last month, how many are relevant to Catalonia? No. And 1368 for last year? Zero. Ukraine, Syria, EU, Poland and the United States are the target for messages that are skilled by the European Commission as "misinformation" that the report, published on its website:

A single case. However, the theory hackers separatists might become even more vulnerable. Ignore the Russian media of what is happening in Catalonia? No, not doing it the rest of the international press. And what is their position? "Pujdeme fled to Brussels as a typical European politician: weak, slippery, cowardly, avoids responsibility, short-sighted," said Dmitry Kiselev, the presenter of news programmes on the state channel "Russia 1", the second in terms of coverage of the country.

As a short antipropaganda analysis unit of the European Union, the Russian media changed the view on the Catalan issue and now openly criticizing the leaders of independentistas, which at first praised. And it's much less relevant to Catalonia than it might seem. "Instead of drawing Parallels between the separatist-minded regions of Ukraine and Catalonia — the global target to justify the annexation of Crimea, they began to point out the difference between them, when the crisis in Spain escalated," explain the experts of the European Union. Russian media, who compared Carles Pokdemon with the leaders of Donbass (Ukrainian region, fighting against the Central government and unofficially supported by Russian troops), now compare it with the Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, the "little Pusdienam" which "may also leave."

It turns out that the EU was going to put an end to the problem that does not exist even according to its own specialized unit? Of course not. Because of the need to demonstrate the intended scope of the Spanish government, El País and close to the popular party, the media reported that the case is already under consideration in Brussels and that above it are already working. The first is true: the Minister of foreign Affairs Dastis Alfonso (Alfonso Dastis) put the question to the European Council meeting this week. Second — no: Dastis could not get from their colleagues is no concrete support, moreover, the High representative of the European Union foreign policy, Federica Mogherini, declined to comment on the expected Russian intervention in Catalonia, limiting the reminder that at one time asked to increase funding for Operational groups.

In search of a fake: money violence?

Neither politicians nor experts of the EU do not see the results of activities of Russian hackers that threaten the integrity of Spain with the invaluable support of Venezuelans. Where are all these "fakes"? They spread? To learn it is impossible. Neither El País nor the rest of the media trumpeting about the Russian conspiracy do not offer any links to this information. We don't know whether it is published in Russian, and therefore meant for internal use and not Lee, might have no effect either in Spain or in the EU; or in Spanish with the aim to influence Spanish public opinion; or, in English, to gain the support of the international press, which is so passionately dream of the separatists.

There is something that neither the government nor the media infected "conspiranoia", not directly say, but that's in the air thanks to the comments of Dastana. In a number of interviews to foreign journalists by the head of the Spanish diplomacy — the first Minister, has already received two comments from the Congress has tried to sow the seed of doubt regarding the violence shown by the police on the voting day in Catalonia: "Many frames fabricated" — he repeated several times. This is the only example that the government (again, after El País) pointed to the facts that said "fake" in the Catalan process.

© RIA Novosti, Javier Luengo
The situation at the Parliament of Catalonia in Barcelona

It should be noted that, as is the case when there are terrorist attacks and natural disasters, during the referendum of October 1, networks were filled with images of what supposedly occurred in real time. Some users posted photos were really old, but a huge number of other pictures and videos — no. And the media, which has taken the whole campaign to deny that that day against the citizens of Catalonia was used to violence, denied the facts that really took place, giving false explanations of what happened actually.

Items reality: what we know

What are the two basic pillars of the theory of the Russian-Venezuelan conspiracy? The fake news. Yes, of course, "duck" and "fakes" are a threat to the work of the media because of the ease with which any user can falsify the header or to give the reality of what was not posting this in the press. Any phenomenon is documented in real time, and its influence can be felt in manyh events of such magnitude as, for example, the American elections...

The first studies of how Donald trump used the threads of a fake (and exploited them) for their own benefit has seen the light. Although now in Congress are two of the Commission for the investigation of tycoon relations with Russia, the results of academic research point to the more earthy nature of the phenomenon: this is an internal group in the United States — from new far-right (alt-right) to the citizens are skeptical about the system for a variety of reasons, most of them racist, or anti-globalization, antimultiplicative or antifeminists — used a kind of guerrilla war in favor of trump, but mainly against Hillary Clinton (Hillary Clinton).

Another pillar of the theory is Julian Assange (Julian Assange), the founder of Wikileaks that of the activist, advocating for transparency turned into a Russian agent, once supported the right to own the decision of Catalonia. Its role in the dissemination of information, close supporters of independence and high activity in social networks represent the main "symptom" of the existence theory, according to Yolanda Quintana (Quintana Yolanda), expert on the impact of the Internet on media and activism.

"The dynamics here are the same as in the tactics of cyber warfare. Was carried out attacks on institutions that could have the purpose of stealing information for strategic "plum", and Assange stepped up its presence completely unambiguous way," — said Quintana, author of the book "cyber war: what you don't know about new threats and wars that are already underway in the network" (Catarata).

Although Assange explained that he defends the Catalan independence movement, because it became a victim "of such attacks", and that Wikileaks ("electronic and physical spying, censorship, corrupt courts, arrests, extradition, imprisonment, exile, financial blockade "fake" and propaganda, pressure from the allies), Yolanda Quintana, "that's not the reason for his activity increased so obvious that he even entered into a confrontation with characters like writer Arturo Perez-Reverte (Arturo Pérez-Reverte)". And, if you dig, then again, nothing: "it is Possible that all this is happening really... but maybe not. It is ridiculous to try to prove it now, the proof will appear after some months, or even years," she said.

© RIA Novosti Maxim Blinov

Journalist, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (Australia) speaks on video at the third session, "the End of monopoly: a century of public information"
In any case, the real impact of Assange on Spanish public opinion is doubtful. The researcher admits this, stating that, "if it is proved that before the us operation to intervention" its goal is to "increase the chaos and polarization and not to provide ideological support for some kind of movement." "There are models, symptoms... But no strong arguments, which now could hold this theory," — said Quintana, who is also the official representative of the Platform of freedom of information. Meanwhile, she says, the Spanish counter-propaganda began to act, and her campaign is "very real". "Last Friday began the operation," she says, concluding: "we need to warn the citizens that there are no innocents, that all spit venom".

There is not enough evidence that Assange, the author of some of the largest in the history of the revelations cooperates with Putin. Russian-Venezuelan theorists associate his attacks against the US (which forced him to take refuge indefinitely in the Embassy of Ecuador in London, where he is already five and a half years) because he supports Russia.

Also indicate the relationship with Edward Snowden (Edward Snowden), the largest-ever whistleblower, who fled to Russia. The American arrived at the airport of Moscow in 2013 from Hong Kong (where he would be extradited to the US and tried for treason) with the assistance of Assange, who persuaded the Consul of Ecuador to give Snowden an Express visa, so that he could leave the former British colony. It is noteworthy that even Snowden did not use Wikileaks to publish documents about the mass surveillance of U.S. citizens and political leaders around the world, and directly contacted journalists Glenn Greenwald (Glenn Greenwald) and Laura Poitras (Laura Poitras). The fact that it is in Russia, he eventually was granted political asylum also no more than a coincidence: the entire world community, including Spain, dismissed his petition in fear of the wrath of the United States. After spending a few months in the international zone of the Moscow airport, Snowden has accepted an offer of asylum from Putin.

Herrera confused

The last argument is the placement of fake accounts that disseminate information to the detriment of Spain. The government headed by Rajoy, Cospedal and Castism says that 55% of them are Russian and at least 30% of the Venezuelan. And if Savitskiy democracy have not yet noticed the treatment to the gold mine, then it is known that a huge number of companies that sell bots and fake accounts are valid on the territory of Russia. The cheapest, which only increase the number of subscribers, interacting with other users, cost three rubles per thousand pieces. Able to perform multiple functions, such as, for example, share content, expensive. In any case, it's just simple computer programs that execute the orders (and which itself the people's party used to increase its influence in networks).

These bots have nothing to hackers conspiring to support independence. The main difference is that the first program that is a binary sequence, and the second people, although should have listened to the arguments of the government on this subject, as he this item is not very clear. The use of both terms at the same time led to the fact that the leading radio station Cope entangled in theory, which its media defends, during an interview with Mariano Rajoy on Tuesday. Herrera reached before that said the opposite things (the campaign against Spain is "robots" and that its protagonists are "a group of Russian citizens"), forcing Rajoy to correct its absurdities. It was obvious that one of them didn't know what he's talking about, and the second is just explained.



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