SouthFront has repeatedly been accused of being pro-Russian propaganda, anti-Erdogan propaganda, pro-Trump propaganda, anti-Russian propaganda, pro-Iranian propaganda, pro-Assad propaganda, anti-Assad propaganda and so on. The allegations have been made by various different media outlets, think tanks and media activists.
However, the most widespread narrative is that SouthFront is part of some sophisticated Kremlin propaganda campaign or is even run by the Russian Defense Ministry. Such allegations have been spread by large pro-NATO organizations such as the Atlantic Council, or by representatives of the US Department of State or the US Department of Defense.
Now, it even looks as if both the House and Senate intelligence committees are investigating SouthFront’s interference in the US presidential election.
SouthFront supposes that it should be seen as an honor that elites of the often touted “most free” nation in the world have so highly evaluated the joint efforts of numerous experts and volunteers involved in the project.
An Oxford University study found on October 9th that SouthFront targets “US military personnel and veterans with conspiracy theories, misinformation, and other forms of junk news about military affairs and national security issues.”
In June 2017, Politico Magazine already pushed a very similar idea arguing that SouthFront is one of the projects shaking the very pillars of American society, foremost among which was the military.
Let’s look at what The Hill writes about the new “revelations” on the issue (source):
Russia targeted U.S. military personnel and veterans in a cyber campaign last spring by spreading messages on social media networks that promoted Kremlin propaganda as well as conspiracy theories, according to a new study.
The Oxford University study found that three websites with Kremlin ties — Veteranstoday.com, Veteransnewsnow.com and Southfront.org — engaged in “significant and persistent interactions” with the U.S. military community, McClatchy highlighted Monday.
“We’ve found an entire ecosystem of junk news about national security issues that is deliberately crafted for U.S. veterans and active military personnel,” professor Philip Howard, who led the research in the study, told the newswire.
“It’s a complex blend of content with a Russian view of the world — wild rumors and conspiracies.”
Despite their attempts to gain influence through social media platforms last June, the study found that they did not make “very deep” inroads with the group on Twitter. The sites, however, did have more success with Twitter than Facebook.
Mike Carpenter, a former senior Pentagon official, told McClatchy that the three websites all “appear to be Russian fronts, given the high degree of Russian content.”
Veterans Today, for example, reportedly mixed stories that included advice for veterans on how to find jobs with headlines like “Ukraine’s Ku Klux Klan — NATO’s New Ally.”
Veterans Today began publishing content that came from a news outlet that had ties to the Russian Academy of Sciences, which is chartered by the Russian government, according to the report.
The other two websites, which similarly had Moscow ties, also published Russian propaganda.
News from the study’s findings comes after Facebook revealed last week that Moscow purchased online ads that specifically targeted presidential swing states such as Michigan and Wisconsin as well as specific demographic groups in an attempt to influence the presidential election.
Both the House and Senate intelligence committees are investigating the extent and the success in which Russia disseminated false news or further fanned inflammatory reports.
McClatchy website’s publication went further and claimed that SouthFront is part of “a Kremlin cyber-campaign aimed at undermining Americans’ trust in democracy during last year’s U.S. elections and helping Donald Trump win the presidency.”
One of the most interesting facts is surely that SouthFront has achieved all this groundbreaking influence on US foreign and domestic policies with a monthly budget of about 5,000 USD. It’s hard to imagine what could be done were the project to collect 6,000 USD or even more.
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