As in war: The EU’s disinformation campaign (“EUvsDisinfo”)

By Wolfgang Effenberger.

When the great slaughter began in 1914, the resistance of the citizens against the war had to be broken and an identification with the war objectives had to be created: defense against a dangerous enemy, the barbarians. This aroused fears. 1914 marked the birth of state-organized fear propaganda, which in parts turned into atrocity propaganda. At that time, British and US-Americans were in charge. Even today, Anglo-Saxon research is still leading this field and has replaced the original concept of propaganda with marketing, promotion, public relations, publicity, etc. Nevertheless, it remains advertising and, in the political sense, opinion making. And this includes not only the actual propaganda, but above all the defamation of critical attempts to enlighten and factual reports as opposing propaganda.

The English philosopher John Stuart Mill already in the middle of the 19th century referred to changed relations between the masses and the government. Critical publicists were targeted accordingly – see Karl Marx and Heinrich Heine. Today the “dangerous” people no longer talk through the newspaper, their forum includes the social networks and alternative media. In order to effectively combat the “disinformation” spread there, the EU has installed the “The Strategic Communications 2: Task Forces and Information Analysis” of the “European External Action Service” (EEAS). Its aim is to counteract and combat disinformation – especially “propaganda” from Russia and China – through exposure. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the EEAS has been working closely with the “European Commission”, the EU Member States and also with international partners (G7, NATO and non-state actors). Findings are shared with the EU institutions and EU Member States in real time, including through the “Rapid Alert System for Disinformation”. These services are  funded with millions of euros of tax money.

The most recent negative campaign against China began in mid-March 2020, when it became clear that Germany would be hit even worse than China by the Covid-19 pandemic. Experts immediately began to point out that China could possibly emerge stronger from the corona crisis because of the foreseeable economic collapse in the West. Soon Western leading media and some politicians began to portray China as the alleged “cause of the crisis”, pointing out that the Covid-19 pandemic had its origin “in Wuhan”. This prompted Jim O’Neill, chairman of the renowned London think-tank “Chatham House”, to remind the audience that in 2008, when the global financial crisis became rampant, hardly anyone blamed the US alone, although the crisis clearly had its origins there and caused severe damage to many countries worldwide. O’Neill accuses those who are now blaming China for the pandemic of “double standards”.

An idealistic vision! During the war even ceasefires were arranged to recover the wounded, while here the war between the systems continues despite the worldwide Corona attack. One of the main guns serves the specially created EU unit (” East StratCom Task Force”) with the website “EUvsDisinfo” (“EU against disinformation”). Attempts by “Chinese sources” to defend themselves against the accusations and to refer to China’s help and cooperation are

slandered there as “disinformation”. “Interesting attributions can also be found with regard to EU sanctions against Syria. According to this, anyone who claims that the sanctions “paralyse the country’s health system” and that this has a negative effect on the fight against the pandemic” is also guilty of “disinformation”.

Anyone who thinks that the citizens of Western democracies are immune from propaganda and disinformation thanks to so-called freedom of the press has not yet understood that influence is only exerted there in a more refined and subtle way than in dictatorships.

Sources:

  1. https://euvsdisinfo.eu/eeas-special-report-update-2-22-april/
  2. https://www.chathamhouse.org/expert/comment/blaming-china-dangerous-distraction#
  3. https://www.german-foreign-policy.com/news/detail/8257/
  4. https://euvsdisinfo.eu
  5. https://www.german-foreign-policy.com/news/detail/8257/
  6. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015000379902&view=1up&seq=1

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