Security agency chief briefs Cabinet on information war

Take note – story published 9 years ago

Certain foreign special services are already interested in Latvia’s local government elections, Constitutional Protection Bureau (SAB) chief Jānis Maizītis told the press following his closed meeting with the Cabinet of Ministers (those ministers with security clearance, anyway) Tuesday.

The meeting was to present the SAB Annual Report for 2014, in which the nation’s top security agency began working in “a new geopolitical situation,” according to Maizītis.

He pointed out that foreign interests were also pursuing hidden forms of influence, such as foreign investments and internal political processes, like local government elections.

Here are the key points taken from the report, which is available in its original Latvian HERE.

Russian influence and propaganda measures

The influence of Russian messaging of its information war comes primarily through the rebroadcasts of one-sided programming from Russian media. Various translations and republications also come into the Latvian media, importing into the national media space doubtful news and values. In the worst case scenario Russia’s twisted, contradictory and misleading disinformation can come into Latvia’s information space as objective news, creating a favorable impression towards Russian power centers of significant processes and actions discussed and modeled in the public sphere.

 Politics and organizations of compatriots

Lack of transparency is often the characterization of the activity and financing of pro-Russian organizations active in Latvia. Political protest actions, various provocative publications and media campaigns are financed from Russian funds, masked under neutral cultural or educational activities. In separate cases the financing is diverted through foreign-based intermediaries, public relations or consulting firms.

Certain favorably disposed persons and organizations are invited in as international experts in the Russian public sphere, to express the view Russia desires about ongoing processes. A significant example is MEP Tatjana Ždanoka’s participation in the March 16, 2014 “referendum” in Crimea in the status of an international observer. Other like-minded activists get involved in discrediting to Latvia at international events, striving to disseminate false and twisted information.

Foreign economic influence and security

Critical risks to the state exist in various economic sectors, where dependence on external economic circumstances, including in Russia, is an issue. Transit, energy, finance, agriculture and individual firms with large market segments in Russia can be subject to various forms of political pressure.

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