Editor’s Note: This first appeared in The Havok Journal on June 3, 2020. However, the topic discussed remains just as relevant today.
“From the window of the State Department in Washington you can see carnage unfolding between police officers and protesters who have something to say about surviving in squares, however, international hypocrisy is still very much a thing. I wonder whether he [Pompeo] will tell his guests about the U.S. achievements in the sphere of human rights protection?” Zakharova asked. – Russian News Agency
“In recent days, American people poured into streets to protest against the death of George Floyd – a black man who was unarmed and was killed by the U.S. police putting pressure on his throat until he choked. Despite the cruel murder of another black man & days of brutal suppression of protests in the U.S., Western governments keep silent, & forget their Human Rights fever, the Iranian Foreign Ministry wrote on its Twitter account. Imagine their reaction if it was in a non-Western country. (No, this is not “whataboutism”, but just a mere fact-recounting), the ministry added. U.S. police have reportedly attacked journalists 100+ times. The U.S. regime attempts to intimidate & silence reporters who cover #GeorgeFloydProtests. Iranian Foreign Ministry
‘Hidden in a bunker, U.S. president wants media away while he tries to ‘dominate’ the protesters. But make no mistake: World is watching’, Iranian Foreign Ministry reiterated.” – Islamic Republic News Agency
As I read over several headlines, the narrative is almost the same in the US. Police Brutality, Protesters, and Rioters are taking up the headlines. I seldomly hear or read about a growing issue. Cyberwarfare. Misinformation. Divisiveness caused by Russia, China, Iran, and other regimes. I provided two excerpts from a Russian New Agency and an Iranian News Agency. I am going to touch on the social media aspect of this.
The U.S. has been long locked in a cyber warfare fight for a number of years. One that isn’t letting up anytime soon.
“Russia is doing right now what Russia always does,” said Bret Schafer, a media and digital disinformation fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States’ Alliance for Securing Democracy, a think tank in Washington. “But it’s the first time we’ve seen China fully engaged in a narrative battle that doesn’t directly affect Chinese interests.”
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Sunday that state authorities were hit with a cyber-attack as law enforcement prepared to diffuse protests in Minneapolis and St. Paul, the epicenter of the unrest. “Before our operation kicked off last night, a very sophisticated denial of service attack on all computers was executed,” Walz said. “That’s not somebody sitting in their basement. That’s pretty sophisticated.”
“Black Lives Matter and their human rights should be guaranteed”- via Twitter from China’s Foreign Minister. Meanwhile, China is one of the worst in regard to the human rights of minorities. For example, their Muslim population is placed into detention camps. It is estimated approximately 2 million Muslims detained without trial in China. This is all part of the regime’s propaganda machine.
In a study conducted by the RAND corporation stated, Russia has spent 1.1 billion dollars on its propaganda machine in 2014. In 2015, it focused more on foreign-focused media. Russia divides the foreign focused media into four categories. They are political, financial, social, and conspiracy.
- Political: According to the study, political content aims “to tarnish democratic leaders or undermine institutions” through “allegations of voter fraud, election rigging, and political corruption.”
- Financial: The Kremlin’s financial messages erode “citizen and investor confidence in foreign markets,” positing “the failure of capitalist economies” by “[s]toking fears over the national debt, attacking institutions such as the Federal Reserve,”
- Social: Russia targets social tensions by emphasizing and leveraging “police brutality, racial tensions, protests, anti-government standoffs, and alleged government misconduct” in order to “undermine the fabric of society.”
- Conspiracy: Conspiracy theories stoke fears of “global calamity while questioning the expertise of anyone who might calm those fears,” such as by promoting fears of the U.S. government instituting martial law or nuclear war between Russia and the United States.
The common theme here, to undermine the United States of America.
Take a look at what is happening around us with the death of George Floyd. Yes, it was tragic and uncalled for and the investigation is moving quickly. I have seen, all over social media, pictures of bricks in pallets in major cities across the United States. The claim, to be used by protestors against police. According to NBC, a video of police in Boston unloading bricks from a vehicle has been viewed millions of times. The person who first posted it has since taken it down, saying she can’t be sure whether it does indeed show officers leaving the bricks at a protest site as she first suggested. That hasn’t stopped others from repeating the claim. NBC News has now verified the footage shows the police unloading the bricks at the police station.
In the Now, which is run by RT, the Russian-owned state television, reaches out to millennials by publishing videos that are critical to the US. They often play on tensions in the U.S. If you go on their Facebook page right now. You can see what they are posting.
I provided merely a small glimpse of these regimes and their stranglehold on the U.S. using social media. This is not about George Floyd. George Floyd protestors are peaceful, they are talking to government officials. What we are seeing, is a faction or factions of groups that are undermining the security of the U.S. They are trying to drive fear down the population’s throats.
So when consuming news, ask yourself if you are sure you know what you’re reading to be true? Could it be another Russian, Iranian or Chinese bot that is stroking the fire? These are issues that are not being talked about by main-stream media. If it is talked about, it is drowned out by the noise.
(Helmus, Todd C., Elizabeth Bodine-Baron, Andrew Radin, Madeline Magnuson, Joshua Mendelsohn, William Marcellino, Andriy Bega, and Zev Winkelman, Russian Social Media Influence: Understanding Russian Propaganda in Eastern Europe, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, RR-2237-OSD, 2018. As of June 02, 2020: https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR2237.html)
Ayman is an Army Veteran who was deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005 and became a police officer in 2007 after 8 years of military service. He has worked in the patrol division, in a plainclothes anti-crime unit, as a Metro-SWAT operator, and as a detective in a major crimes unit, as a narcotics task force detective with the DEA, and as an operator with the DEA Special Response Team (SRT). He also helped organize SRT operations in Southern New England.
As an assistant team leader, he assisted and coordinated the planning of operations as well as conducted various aspects of training. He has investigated high-level drug traffickers, gang members, and conducted numerous operations. He is currently the Officer in Charge of the Problem-Oriented Policing Unit. Ayman is a law enforcement firearms instructor, a less-than-lethal weapons instructor, a certified use of force instructor at his police department Ayman’s hands-on experience with law enforcement operations at many different levels coupled with his compassion to save lives has brought him to coordinate “Project Sapient.”
This initiative is a joint effort comprised of law enforcement professionals of all levels combined with the Special Forces philosophy of winning hearts and minds. Ayman has found that to reach more officers and departments, it is important to share his experience with media outlets that reach law enforcement.
He regularly contributes to The Havok Journal, writing articles that provide insight into current law enforcement trends and methodologies to help officers become better equipped to handle an ever-changing work environment.
Project Sapient is currently a Podcast. Ayman’s vision of Project Sapient is to eventually train other law enforcement officers and civilians alike in stress inoculation. Something that is sorely needed in the Law Enforcement profession. In his writing, Ayman draws from his hands-on experience as both a law enforcement professional and his military service.
For years, Ayman has seen the trend in lack of training policing. Whether it’s budget cuts, political enemies, or ineffective policy, Ayman has made it his mission to bring innovation, unconventional policing methods, and to have those tough conversations and instruction to assist law enforcement to better relate with and advise communities.
He sees firsthand the need for better training and tools for law enforcement to serve their communities most effectively. A better-trained officer is what policing a free society requires.