back to article Germany warns Moscow will splash cash on pre-election propaganda and misinformation spree

Germany's intelligence agency has accused Russia of hacking its politicians and election systems under the guise of online activism. Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) chief Hans-Georg Maassen says Russia is intending to “weaken or destabilise the Federal Republic of Germany”. Germany's national …

  1. GrumpyKiwi

    They're under our beds!

    Reds! REDS! There's goddamn REDS everywhere. Under our beds, in the walls, on the train, orbiting overhead, putting fluoride into our drinking water and sapping our manly manliness.

    Oh wait, it's not the 1950's.

    But apparently the populace of Germany is so stupid that one fake story on Facebook about Merkel sacrificing children to Islamic Satan will be enough to drive them all to vote for Hitler's reanimated corpse (driven by Russian Zombieski Technology and powered by Putinonium).

    1. redpawn

      Re: They're under our beds!

      Not one story Grumpy. They are far more sophisticated than that. Any email which makes the target politician look bad will be spread around on the real news services via activist sites such as Wikileaks. Even you probably have sent or received emails which would if published out of context make you unelectable.

      When one party gets a pass and the other gets their personal information leaked and published, it influences and election. It is not fool proof, but there are enough people like you GrumpyKiwi to tilt an election. The fake news stories will only add to the problems faced by the target politicians.

      1. GrumpyKiwi

        Re: They're under our beds!

        Pretty much every email I have sent would make me unelectable. On the other hand, nor have I ever in public proposed starting WW3 to stroke my own ego.

        As for "people like me" which is a lovely stereotype BTW, I don't vote at all. It only encourages the bastards.

        1. Primus Secundus Tertius

          Re: They're under our beds!

          @Grumpy / 2

          Pretty much everything political that I put in comments here makes me unelectable. My record is 42 downvotes, beating even the occasion I criticised Saint Snowden. I am gateful to the 4 who supported me against the 42.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They're under our beds!

        "When one party gets a pass and the other gets their personal information leaked and published, it influences and election."

        redpawn, you ever stop to think why that is? Could it be that Democrats were just a whole lot dirtier this time? And besides, Trump got creamed again and again by nearly every news source out there. Heck, they showed him talking about grabbing pussy! And yet, somehow he was (as you say) 'given a pass.' Funny thing tho, it was the American voters giving him the pass and retching at the prospect of Ma Clinton getting into the driver's seat.

        Besides, would you prefer Hillary's cheating to defeat Bernie not have been revealed? That she 'get a pass' on that? Do you condone a powerful politician secretly using the party apparatus to crush a legitimate challenge from below like she clearly did? Hmmm?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Democrats were a whole lot dirtier this time"

          I don't buy it. I think the kind of shenanigans the DNC was pulling to push her to the nomination and dump Bernie happen often. And I think the republicans do it too. Heck, there was a movement to try to deny Trump the nomination that was out in the open...who knows what sort of emails were passed around the RNC? The main reason that effort failed IMHO is that the republican establishment finds Ted Cruz at least as distasteful as Trump if not worse, and there was no one else who could conceivably win the nomination by the time they started fretting over it.

          As for her corruption I've got three words for you: Bush Iran Contra. Whole lot dirtier than the email thing and killed more US servicemen than Bengazi. Politics is a dirty business, but the public mostly doesn't want to see the sausage being made - they only tolerate it when it is the other guy's sausage getting exposed.

          Sure, Russia tried to tilt the playing field a bit in favor of Trump because they felt they could get what they want from him more than easily than from Clinton. But in 2020 it could be China favoring the democrat nominee, so this type of interference in the US election process (or Germany's or any country's) should be opposed by both sides and not ignored because it worked in your favor this time around.

          And yes, I'm aware of the irony given how much the US has meddled in other country's political process (something both parties are equally guilty of) Hopefully more Snowden style leaks will come and expose that sort of dirty business as it happens and make it harder for us to get away with.

          1. 9Rune5

            Re: "Democrats were a whole lot dirtier this time"

            But Hillary was not running against Bush this time around, now was she?

            No, she faced somebody with a reasonably clean slate. Then somebody tried to muddy the waters by accusing the donald of being a sexist pig, an accusation that would land half of congress in trouble, not to mention Hillary's own hubby. “Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”.

            At least her campaign team realized that her bid for the white house would require lots and lots of money. But in my book that is hardly a big plus.

          2. veti Silver badge

            Re: "Democrats were a whole lot dirtier this time"

            The tragedy of this last election was that the RNC had a plan to stop the real dangerous candidate - Ted Cruz. They had a whole campaign of ads against him, they had journalists briefed, audiences primed, a large troop of great and good ready to cast subtle aspersions on his competence, character and sanity. It was a good plan, and it worked a treat.

            They didn't think they needed one to stop Trump.

            And why should they? After all, surely the religious right couldn't support him, and anyone who calls themself a "conservative" certainly couldn't. Heck, the man has never even pretended to be anything but a lecherous, corrupt, vacuous, ignorant spendthrift. So he'd be bound to lose the race, right? Worst case, they'd lose the presidency - and they could certainly live with that, so long as they get to keep Congress.

            Unfortunately, they underestimated just how mindlessly partisan the base is.

            1. Naselus

              Re: "Democrats were a whole lot dirtier this time"

              "Unfortunately, they underestimated just how mindlessly partisan the base is."

              Honestly, I'm pretty sure Trump had a plan to stop Trump, and the base managed to overcome it.

    2. Captain DaFt

      Re: They're under our beds!

      Well, what'd you expect to happen?

      The OMG! TERRORISM! spiel has about run its course, since it's been so heavily over played, NK is a joke to everyone but its own citizens, and China's a valued trading partner.

      So it's time to fall back on the good old OMG! COMMIES! RUSSIA! until a new boogeyman comes along.

      1. redpawn

        Re: They're under our beds!

        Seems you like the results of the US election and don't mind if Germany goes the same way.

        1. GrumpyKiwi

          Re: They're under our beds!

          I regard it as a 50.0000025% win overall. Trump at least didn't propose shooting down Russian aircraft over Syria to create "no fly zones". No WW3 is a win for me and pretty much the rest of humanity. Your standards on the other hand may vary and regard nuclear war as better than having a sexist in the White House.

          Beyond that and as far as Germany is concerned I think that anyone else, left, right or centre could do a better job than Merkel. But I don't get all sanctimonious about it.

          1. redpawn

            Re: They're under our beds!


            Did you even look up who got the higher percentage of the vote? If you did, you would know it wasn't Trump by well over two million votes.

            1. GrumpyKiwi

              Re: They're under our beds!

              Yes I did. I saw that the highest percentage was "none of the above" with 100 million voters not bothering. Now I feel in the majority. None of which matters in reference to my 50.000025% comment above which was a reference to humanity winning by not having a warmonger start WW3.

              However if you'd prefer to look at it in terms of votes cast, then it was "Not Clinton, no way, no how" with Trump, Johnson, Stein and Evans together easily outnumbering those voting for Clinton.

              1. redpawn

                Re: They're under our beds!

                Just sophistry. Good day!

              2. Dr Scrum Master

                Re: They're under our beds!

                I saw that the highest percentage was "none of the above" with 100 million voters not bothering.

                Excuse me, but not voting most certainly does not count as "none of the above". Not voting counts as "any of the above".

                At least with actual paper ballot papers one has the chance of spoiling one's vote, the numbers of which are also recorded - another thing that electronic (or even manual) voting machines prevent... or were those "hanging chads" craftily spoilt ballots?

                1. Lusty

                  Re: They're under our beds!

                  "Excuse me, but not voting most certainly does not count as "none of the above". Not voting counts as "any of the above"."

                  That may be the case. We therefore need a "not these people" box which triggers a re-election with all different candidates. It's the only way to genuinely fix the democratic system as far as I can see. It would be expensive on the first go as the nation would need to reject wave after wave of career politician and rich nut jobs but eventually honest people would get the idea that they could make a difference...

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: They're under our beds!

                    A logical idea, Lusty, but of course they've got that covered. The person wasn't far wrong who pointed out that if voting made any real difference, it would be illegal. If a new set of candidates were required, the established parties could easily find them. There are armies of hack politicians just waiting to be put in harness.

                    What always amazes me about these discussions is how so many Americans - and British people too, apparently - seem to believe that there is any significant difference between the established parties. So they waste all their time and energy arguing about whether "Hillary" is worse than "Trump", and whether Obamacare is worse than the previous system... instead of standing back a little and allowing themselves to notice that the entire political setup is carefully designed to prevent voters from having any impact whatsoever (other than cosmetic). That's why David Cameron is so utterly disgraced - he found a way of letting the British people exert some influence on their fate, by holding the Brexit referendum. He thought it was safe enough, the proles would never be able to escape their brainwashing - but they did.

                    Haven't you seen the classic study by Gilens & Page of Princeton that conclusively proves the USA is an oligarchy, not a democracy? Or Gilens' book "Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America"?

                    It's about 40 years since Gore Vidal summed up the American political system. "There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party… and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt – until recently… and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties".

                    Incidentally, what brilliant portraits of Trump ("a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism") and Hillary and her friends ("cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt – until recently… and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand").

                    As Gilens and Page have proved - and everyone who knew anything about American politics has understood for centuries - there is no important difference between the parties, and Presidents, when elected, mostly do what they are told. (Exceptions like John Kennedy get eliminated).

                  2. John H Woods Silver badge

                    Re: They're under our beds!

                    " We therefore need a "not these people" box which triggers a re-election with all different candidates" --- Lusty

                    Agreed --- and compulsory voting. In fact the boxes should have rankings, and the no-vote boxes should have the following flavours:

                    a) I don't care

                    b) I care but don't feel I have enough information to make a choice

                    c) I have enough information but do not want to vote for any of these people

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: They're under our beds!

                      I'd rather see a ballot with major policy issues separated out. National Economy, Global Economy, Environmental, Education, etc...

                      Randomize the order, so it isn't one party as the first choice.

                      Remove the "party" vote from the presidential portion, only to apply to other positions.

                      Sum up the total votes for each policy and apply that to the applicable candidate.

                      Leaders should be chosen, not by who they are, but what they will do. (or.. at least.. what they say they'll do...)

              3. HausWolf

                Re: They're under our beds!

                That's funny, because as horrendous as Hillary was it seems as if there was a no trump, no way , no how, vote greater than your no Clinton vote.

                As for your none of the above, US voter participation has not been high for decades. While one can argue it is because of the candidates running, it is probably because of apathy in general.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: They're under our beds!

              Er, have you ever read about the US Constitution? The one that says it's the Electoral College, not the raw majority of popular votes, that decides?

              If British elections were decided by raw majorities, UKIP would have about one-third of the MPs in the House of Commons.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: They're under our beds!

                "If British elections were decided by raw majorities, UKIP would have about one-third of the MPs in the House of Commons."

                That would not be the case even if we had PR (UKIP got 12.6% of the vote).

                I don't think there's any sane way of cutting the cake that gives UKIP a "raw majority".

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: They're under our beds!

            "No WW3 is a win for me and pretty much the rest of humanity".

            It's an uphill battle, isn't it GrumpyKiwi? At least four readers of The Reg think that "no WW3" isn't a win for us and the rest of humanity.

          3. Tom Paine

            Re: They're under our beds!

            If you think Trump is less likely to involve the US (and possibly the rest of the world) in a big horrible war, I've a great bridge for sale here. One previous owner, retired lady vicar, only 7000 miles on the cllock. Oh, a couple of scratches yes, they'll buff right out, and -- ah, this model is famous for having paint colours on different panels that don't quite match, and sills with a little kink in them.

            1. fajensen
              Thumb Up

              Re: They're under our beds!

              If you think Trump is less likely to involve the US (and possibly the rest of the world) in a big horrible war,

              Based on Hillarys well-documented track record of war-mongering and unfailing Inverse Midas Touch while a-mongering (even email blows up right in her face) I didn't think any reasonable person could actually think otherwise. But, there you are selling a bridge.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: They're under our beds!

          "Seems you like the results of the US election and don't mind if Germany goes the same way."

          Why yes, yes I do like the results, and if Germany wants to throw off their current far-left quasi-dictator, more power to them. Why, you got a problem because of who won? Or is that just my sophistry talking...?

          1. Hans 1

            Re: They're under our beds!

            >far-left quasi-dictator

            Merkel, far left ? What are you smoking, Big John ? She is Christian Democrat, read it up on wikipedia.

            As for "quasi-dictator", The Federal Republic of Germany is a very democratic regime, much more so than the US or the UK ... again, what are you smoking ?

            Then again, if you are USian and think Hilary is far left, I somewhat understand (you're brain-washed), however, Merkel is more of a republican, even pushing for Christian bullshit ... for us Brits, more of a conservative with pro-Christian BS bolted-on.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: They're under our beds!

              "She is Christian Democrat, read it up on wikipedia".

              Yeah, sure, like May and Cameron are conservatives and Blair is Labour. And Hillary Clinton is a democrat. If you believe any of those statements I have a bridge to sell you.

              "The map is not the territory, the word is not the thing it describes". - Alfred Korzybski

            2. Anonymous Blowhard

              Re: They're under our beds!

              "for us Brits, more of a conservative with pro-Christian BS bolted-on"

              TM doesn't need to bolt on Christian BS, she has it built-in...

            3. Naselus

              Re: They're under our beds!

              "Merkel, far left ? What are you smoking, Big John ?"

              Bear in mind that Big John's main problem with Mussolini was that he was too much of a pinko hippie.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: They're under our beds!

                "Merkel, far left ? What are you smoking, Big John ?"

                I understand that Merkel has enabled or condoned more than a million Muslims moving into Germany (a Christian nation) in just the last year, and with no plans to slow it down any time soon. Try telling me that's a right-wing idea.

                1. fajensen

                  Re: They're under our beds!

                  Try telling me that's a right-wing idea.

                  There is more than one right-wing. Crushing wages and working conditions all the way to 3'rd world conditions by mass immigration "Because Markets" is a right wing idea, from the kind of right-wing good-thinking that comes from appointment-only think-tanks and exclusive elite schools.

                  The other right-wing, those who does not think this is a good idea, are the right-wingers from the factory floors and bier-stuben on the receiving end of this grand plan.

                  It's a class thing more than a "left-right" thing; those affected protests against mass immigration, those who benefits support it by all means. The left-right thing is spun to make it appear like there are really different opposing political views, apart from the real issue with "us below" and "them on top". So far it has worked, but, not for so much longer I suspect.

          2. Arctic fox

            Re: "their current far-left quasi-dictator"

            Just how right-wing are you Big John if you regard Merkel in such terms? You regard Attilla and Ghengis as your homebois perhaps?

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: They're under our beds!

          What way is that? Away from the probability of thermonuclear war?

          It's not terribly difficult to understand. If there is a thermonuclear war, probably every human being will die - sooner or later - accompanied by most of the other species we have grown to know and love. The cockroaches or ants or whatever may thank us for stepping aside after they evolve intelligence, but that isn't important right now.

          The one almost certain way of bringing about a thermonuclear war is for one nation that has a huge thermonuclear arsenal to insist on provoking another such nation until war breaks out - as, if you study history, you will see that wars do almost spontaneously. Just raise the political and military temperature high enough - or turn up the voltage if you prefer - and soon enough - oooh look, a great big fat spark. Right into that tank of petrol! Who knew.

          American politicians, and some Europeans who ought to know better, like to say that Russia is "an existential threat". Leaving aside the ghastly abuse of the word "existential", which has a perfectly good meaning in philosophy and should be left there, the reason why Russia is "an existential threat" is that (obviously) it can destroy us all if it chooses. Just as we can destroy it if we choose. (Well, not "we", of course, but the US government).

          It seems to me that even an addled four-year-old could deduce from those simple facts one glaringly obvious idea.


          It's not rocket science, folks - but if we go on poking the Russians, one day we will see rocket science in action. Coming towards us at 12,000 mph and carrying bloody great hydrogen bombs.

          You wouldn't like it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They're under our beds!

      I wish I could give an extra upvote for "Putinomium". An excellent coinage!

    4. Tom Paine

      Re: They're under our beds!

      If you were the Russian intel community, wouldn't you factor into your calculations the likely reaction of the left to accusations of Russian interference -- (1) "this is just a red scare", and (2) "but the CIA have interfered with lots of other countries elections, so it's fair enough"?

      Clue: yes, yes you would.

      Here are some interesting docs for readers interested in background rather than knee-jerk "of course I know what's going on, unlike everyone else in the world" reactions. This is very interesting and useful stuff from a very reliable source, whatever you think of the Trump / Russia / hacks stories.

      The Grugq on "Security, Cyber and Elections";

      Part 1:

      Part 2:

      Part 3:

      And: "Why Is Everybody Being So Red-Baity And McCarthyite And Mean To Poor Innocent Russia? A Wonksplainer":


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They're under our beds!

        Here are some interesting docs for readers interested in background

        Heh - "The Wonkette" is very, very, screechy and loud, lots of emotion and name calling, very little reflection and information.

        The grugq "forgets" to mention the key security advice relevant for the Clinton campaigns failure: "Don't leave all of your dirt archived on servers accessible from the Internet and by countless minions, just ask your old friend Jeffrey Epstein about the value of proper physical archives".

        In fact, If you are a "person of interest" don't keep data around that you don't want your mum, wife, kids, girlfriend, boss to see.

  2. Dr.Flay

    Missinformation of missinformation

    Released hacked data is blamed on "State actors" because it is not offered for sale.

    It suits the Governments to put hackers into 2 brackets, either Criminals or State actors.

    This leaves out the majority of hackers that simply hack for fun and knowledge.

    If Russia were truly so well equipped and constantly hacking, why are they so low in the hacking list ?

    Surely they can do better than that ?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      What ?

      Are you trying to inject some actual, verifiable DATA into our comfortable preconceived notions ? And that in a pre-election period no less ?

      This is the Internet ! We don't need your stinkiiiin data, we KNOW what want to know !

      (if your sarcasm meter isn't broken here, you need a new one)

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: Missinformation of missinformation

      Well, in the first place, consider how those statistics were gathered. These were "attacks that were blocked by the Sucuri firewall". In other words, they were the most basic script-kiddie attacks, including nothing with a sophistication level exceeding the capacity of a 12-year-old.

      In the second place, consider the publisher. They're in the business of selling firewalls for Windows boxen whose most valuable asset is a Mastercard number. They're not in the business of providing high-end security for targets of serious state or political hackers, they're simply not interested in that market.

      So this survey is simply irrelevant. It's like saying "this guy can't be a murderer, he always returns his library books on time!"

    3. Naselus

      Re: Missinformation of missinformation

      "Released hacked data is blamed on "State actors" because it is not offered for sale."

      Sorry to burst your bubble, but the released hacked data was blamed on 'State actors' because it used methods that are known to be characteristic of two known state-backed Russian hacking outfits.

      Forensic computing turns out to be more complicated that frantically googling 'are my stolen docs for sale anywhere plz?'.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Missinformation of missinformation

      It's a bit worse than that. The bulk of news outlets cannot package the "story" in the light of what is REALLY going on; the USA has been a plutocracy for many decades. The notion that we are a "two party system" is a gross oversimplified exaggeration. The bulk of the leaders in both parties are the same thing; rich people and their corporations all pissing out money to obfuscate the reality of the plutocracy in favor of something the morons en-mass can get their tiny heads around. i.e. mean old spendy libs, against successful (and therefore much "smarter") anti-science conservatives.

      These are the same assholes who take bribes, er lobbying gifts from the giant for-profit health care giants to keep the Affordable Health Care Act down. And down and down they went. The watered down version did make it to the light of day, but only after surviving close to 60 attacks from the entrenched assholes who could not accept any ideas from a black man. THAT is the reality. And the democrats and the republicans continue to waste time and money just getting that plumb government gig that does not pay much directly. It pays off in every other way. And THAT is the problem; we don't have a government for the people, by the people, we have a government that is bribery first, pocket lining second, and somewhere down in 12th or 18th place is the will of the people. But then, the stupid people elect the bigger crook.

      Is Hillary corrupt? You bet! And I still voted for her! Why? Because; 1) ALL politicians are crooks! Every. Single. One. And 2) She was an option that would lead to the destruction of the remainder of the republican party, and later on the people can break down the democratic party and rid ourselves of the "Citizens" United shithole, where corporations are somehow equal to citizens, but just to get more money into their party. AKA The Plutocracy. And WHAT a party! So, don't mind me while I rip off Red States. It's part of the plan, apparently. This is the new post-truth society, and I can plan that game too. Reset your router, early and often.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Missinformation of missinformation

        Everything Hillary does will backfire. Thanks to Hillary, the Republicans are replenished, Trump will be president and the Democrats will use all of the ressources of the state they still have access to, to run internecine wars and "regime change" operations against Trump.

        Blessed with the Luck of the Hillary, we will get to see Trump riding on top of a tank shelling Congress (or maybe the CIA headquarters), like Yeltsin did in Russia.

        Imagine that hair contrasted against camou, now, that would be something.

  3. Dr Scrum Master


    Politicians from country A talk and act against country B.

    Government of country B then acts against politicians of country A.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: BAU

      So, USA, UK, Eu (inclusive of Germany) splashed cash and "(mis)informed the population" for 20 years. Russia finally does in return and they all start screaming murder.

      The closest analogy is a group of playground bullies abusing a kid smaller then them and then running to the principal crying after the kid blows a gasket and gives each of them a black eye.

      I do not have any sympathy for them in this case I am afraid. If you support regime change operations (either yours or by your closest allies) you should not complain if somebody regime changes you back.

      1. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: BAU

        We had a lecture at work from an expert in Russia week before last. He says that Russia has always been doing this.

        Apparently they see it as their duty to present a Eurasian view to counteract the North European view.

        Much like the US and UK feel obliged to interfere in the middle east elections, where there are any.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: BAU

          Fair enough, provided you acknowledge that the "Eurasian view" is just as legitimate as the "Atlanticist" view. (Actually, I think it has more to recommend it, because the Russians and Chinese adviocate a world order where all nations get influence and respect, whereas the Atlanticist view accepts the universal rule of Washington).

          1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

            Re: BAU

            In reality, the Eurasian view is

            'Do whatever Moscow and/or Bejing say'.

            Look at Tibet since the Chinese annexed it.

            Look at Georgia. The Russians took a good part of the country

            Look at Ukraine. Putin wanted the Crimea for its Naval base so he stirred up the locals and walked in pretending to be protecting the minority.

            Just like the USA in many respects.

      2. Rich 11

        Re: BAU

        you should not complain if somebody regime changes you back.

        But complaining about it is part of the game. It'll make a handful of your own citizens give a little more thought to what they read online, for a while anyway.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: BAU

        'So, USA, UK, Eu (inclusive of Germany) splashed cash and "(mis)informed the population" for 20 years'.

        So, USA, UK... Germany splashed cash and "(mis)informed the population" for 200 years.

        FTFY. With a few necessary changes, such as substituting "Prussia" for "Germany". Britain and the USA, as well as France and many other powers have been paying heavily for systematic propaganda for centuries. The word "propaganda" itself, of course, was first used in that sense by the Roman Catholic Church.

      4. veti Silver badge

        Re: BAU


        Let's assume for the sake of argument, it's true. We do it to them. That doesn't mean we should just shrug and accept them doing it back to us.

        Yes, it's true. The West has, wisely or otherwise, tried to support regime change in places like Libya, Syria, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Russia. Does that mean it's OK for them to do it back? I'm not talking about "fair" or "right", just "should we make no attempt to resist?"

        Hint: all those regimes resisted, they resisted like buggery, often with extreme violence, and many of them survived largely because they were more willing to murder their own people than we were.

        No, it's not okay. Merkel et al may have "interfered" in Russian politics, but that doesn't mean the Russians should be given free rein to interfere in European politics. That's like being at war and saying "well, we bombed them, it's only fair they should have their turn at bombing us" - it's just not something a sane person would think.

  4. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Surely it's Facebook that destablises elections. They publish the fake news without checking the source.

    On the other hand, people who use social media for anything other than sharing funny cat videoes are the kind of people politicians love - sheeple. It just nowadays is a question of who is the shepard.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Anyone who thinks that "Facebook destabilises elections" needs to have their head checked.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Possibly. There are a lot of people are destabilised enough to use Facebook in the first place.

        I didn't downvote BTW.

    2. Michael Habel

      I couldn't agree more... But, the problem is if it weren't for Facebook (Such as it is...), then we'd be even more in the dark than we already are. It's sure as Hell never gonna be published in any of our State run Propaganda News outfits.. al-la the BBC, but with Commercials!

      Makes ya wonder why we too have to pony up for a TV Licence over here.

  5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    And we are off to an early start!

    The establishment is really unhappy about the possibility of getting it up the arse via protest votes, aren't they? CIA is just now trying to rumorize the US presidential election. Didn't obtain the right candidate, apparently. Imagine that, people should have voted for the standard corruptoblishment lift lady, goddammit. Not that there are much signs that Mister T will be enormously better.

    Economic Refugees, War Refugess, all sleeping on your front porch, the Turkey clusterfuck, Lybia, the Ukraine scam, the Syria debacle, the Brexit two-finger salute, "Russia is coming! Russia is coming!!!" every single fuckling day, a danger of getting NATO defunded a bit, the EURO bubble about the burst like a pus monster, the economy still in the dumps in spite of Keynesianism, OH MY!

    Populist parties against the clowns in charge making headway, OH WHY!

    "Fake News" my arse. The MSM are good in that!!

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: And we are off to an early start!

      While all of what you are saying is true, there is also the fact that Russia has started retaliating after being on the receiving end of the regime change operation game for 20 years. Up till recently they have passively defended against it - changed their laws and regulations, tax code, visa regime, etc.

      For the last 3 years or so they have started regime change operations in return and they are doing it significantly better than the West too.

      It is a case of chickens coming home to roost and having diarrhea. We should have thought it more than 5 minutes forward when allowing and enforcing the right of self-determination to Bosniaks, Croats, Slovenians and Kosovans while specifically denying it to anyone who speaks Russian. We should have thought it through while financing directly or via our best beloved Saudi friends "freedom fighters" which take maternity wards and theaters as hostages and massacre primary schools. We should have thought it through...

      Probably a bit too late now.

    2. fajensen

      Re: And we are off to an early start!

      ... still in the dumps in spite of Keynesianism, OH MY!

      Good Rant, but, Nit to Pick: "They" never tried Keynesianism, The strategy of giving banks more money than God to inflate flaccid asset valuations does not crate Demand. Keynsianism would create demand via wage inflation and public spending.

      What we actually have is Ordoliberlism, a very German thing: We have all politics and other fuctions of society being subsumed by "Markets" like in plain Neoliberalism, but, in Ordoliberalism those markets must also be rigged to provide "socially acceptable outcomes" -> making failed banksters more money than God and letting Wolkswagen off Diesel-gate. That kind of "acceptable".

      It is thus no great wonder that the EU and democracy itself is failing to deliver agreeable outcomes for the majority. Now with the EU visibly falling apart, finally the clowns in charge realise that they cannot blame the EU for their own failures any longer, so, "Russian Spies Everywhere" comes out of the recycling bin.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And we are off to an early start!

        "The strategy of giving banks more money than God to inflate flaccid asset valuations does not crate Demand. Keynsianism would create demand via wage inflation and public spending".

        A reasonable point of view, but actually that strategy has very little in common with John Maynard Keynes. One of the cleverest and hardest-working economists of the 20th century - and actually one of the very few economists to talk sense at all - he doesn't deserve to have his name appropriated as a term of abuse. Although he's in good company, along with conservatives, liberals, socialists, democrats, republicans, and many other schools of thought whose names have been stolen and are now flung around heedlessly by people who didn't stay in school long enough to understand what they mean.

        If you look up what he actually said, you will find that Keynes proposed deficit spending by governments in times of recession, to boost demand and thus kick-start the economy. The money to do this was to be saved in times of surplus - essentially nothing more complicated than the Biblical story of Joseph, Pharaoh and the seven lean years. Governments and their "experts", of course, distorted this common sense advice to mean deficit spending all the time, even in times of surplus - a policy Keynes would have been the first to condemn as crazy.

        1. Arctic fox
          Thumb Up

          @Archtech ".....that strategy has very little in common with John Maynard Keynes."

          Indeed. It is refreshing to see somebody post something about Maynard Keynes that shows they actually know what they are talking about. A very informative and concise summary of what he was in fact recommending. See icon.

        2. veti Silver badge

          Re: And we are off to an early start!

          The trouble with Keynes was that, smart guy though he was - he didn't take politics into account. Politics is what makes it impracticable to run up the government finances during a boom.

          I still remember the jeers in the House of Commons when Nigel Lawson announced that part of the government surplus would be used to pay down the government's debt. I find it the supreme irony that the only government in recent times to attempt to adhere to true Keynesianism - was Thatcher's.

    3. Michael Habel

      Re: And we are off to an early start!

      The MSM are good in that!!

      So good in fact that a certain c**t actually beloved her own Bullsh*t, and lol, and behold... Had her sorry arse handed to her :)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The real problem is education, if you educate a population with television to blindly follow then don't get upset when they don't follow what you want them to.

    Russia will play on immigration with the German election while the politicians will claim there is no problems and nothing to see. I'm not saying there are problems (I honestly don't know) but you can't take in a million people without there being some change to peoples daily lives.

    1. fajensen
      Big Brother

      As I see it, it is more like they invested all this agit-prop training in television and mass media but they forgot about maintenance: The generations who watched television and believed in mass media is now dead or retired, the new internet generation is at least 25% of "I believe what I wanna believe". To move those people you have to engage almost 1:1 which breaks "their" centralised top-down model for social control entirely.

      Coasting on the spoils of the old model, Unions and established political parties have for decades scaled down on 1:1 engagement and focused on hardening "the core" instead for more "efficient & stable" - or sale-able, one might add - decision making.

      The new parties, "Brexit", Trump, Le Pen, Wilders are big on 1:1 engagement, that's why they can win.

      Emerging, small groups like Nazis and Jihaddis can work with this new demographics, it won't scale, but it doesn't need to. Events are decided on the margins these days. Very unstable.

  7. 9Rune5


    I'm a foreigner so I had to look up the word in the dictionary. Yet, I am none the wiser. hints that the "mis-" prefix signifies "wrong", but if somebody is quoting your own e-mails then the source of that "wrong information" is yourself. So stop sending wrong information by e-mail and you are golden.

    Oh, and by "propaganda" I guess the reporter is hinting at the massive amount of half-truths surrounding the campaign in Syria where the Obama-administration supported terrorists (oh, excuse me, the technical term is "moderate terrorists" I guess) in their bid to topple the secular government of that country.

    The real problem here is that both parties presented a very limited pool of candidates. Religious or war-mongering nut jobs the lot of them, often based on the "age before talent" principle. You know you are in trouble when both candidates end up bragging about their last health check-up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "misinformation"

      Nowadays a distinction is often made between "misinformation" - accidental errors - and "disinformation" - deliberate deception. "Disinformation", as you might expect from its ugly sound, has a military origin.

    2. naive

      Re: "misinformation"

      It seems more likely that the German spokesman meant they do not want potential voters to get in touch with any information but what is fabricated by the liberal and state orchestrated mainstream press.

      So it is logical they have issues with Moscow funding "fake" news on social media.

      The election of Trump showed that US citizens were smart enough not to swallow the dirt liberal mainstream media was feeding them, September 2017 will be the test if Germans can match this.

      And until then, watch RT now and then, to get some information about what is really going on.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "misinformation"

        If you think the bulk of the people voting for Trump as being "smart" you have never been to the South of the USA, naïve. (what an appropriate handle) The dirt-poor sods who got suckered into this "new, truth-telling, conspiracy waving, orange-skinned, white man, with a shemale partner" will still be stupid and poor in four years time. Nothing will have made them millionaires, or smart, or successful in anything but placing blame for their failed lives on "immigrants who came here and did something. Were not sure what, but immigrants are surely bad!" Then they go back to reading fake news on fakebook and fake ideas from their bibles. Neither of those tasks will net them new shiny jobs with better pay and health benefits in the form of expensive insurance plans for less than quality services.

        I shit on those people. No problem telling you this. The new "honesty" in the world makes it possible for me to say anything, and make up anything to be said as a "fact." Stupid people made this possible! Thanks, morons!

        If you think these shitheads are smart, go visit them and have a nice chat! Unless you're; "not from 'round here", or "you ain't white!"

        Good group you got there! Keep to yourselves. The real world is for progress and technology and information making things better, despite naysayers like you and your southern US ilk.

        Oh, and fuck off, turd. HA! I got a billion of 'em!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "misinformation"

          Sharing the AC cover to say 'Amen' on that. Recently working with a colleague who grew up in some godforsaken, god-fearing Deep South backwater, who realised about age 12 that almost her entire family was comprised of a bunch of moronic cretins who couldn't see beyond their own pitiful prejudices. She made her way out of there as soon as she could but returns annually to visit family and remind herself just how unbelievably myopic and incapable her folks are.

          You can find this in most countries somewhere but the Trump vote demonstrating that the US masses are comprised of intelligent people able to tease apart the nuances of media stories to get at the truth in the face of the junk that was trucked out in the election? Nah.

    3. veti Silver badge

      Re: "misinformation"

      Oh, for fuck's sake...

      Please, do us all a favour and go read some of those incriminating Hillary emails we've heard so much about. Not the digests on your news site of choice, go to Wikileaks and read the originals. In full. With context.

      When you send "wrong information", but you put it in a huge quote and prefix it with something like "This is what Mr Journalist is saying:", that's not exactly the same thing as lying.

      The liars would be the ones who take it out of context and pretend that was the burden of the original email.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't wait!

    As a German, I can hardly wait for all the entertaining fake-news the Russkys might come up with.

    Like how Germany is ruled by a bunch of lying, war-mongering, weapon-selling, privacy-invading, drone-murder-enabling, constitution-ignoring, opposition-smearing, us-controlled muppets.

    Oh, wait…

    1. Primus Secundus Tertius

      Re: I can't wait!

      @AC / I can't wait

      I thought that was East Germany, before 1989 (substitute Soviet Union for US).

  9. Old one

    Bigger concern?

    Isn't Germany's need for natural gas a more critical influence on elections? Posturing is one thing and people freezing or factories not being able to produce salable products is just as important.

  10. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    The Bigger APT Picture ...... the Serially Inept and Petrified vs the Virtually Adept and ACTive

    Which Sectors are UKGBNI Special Forces and Secret Intelligence Service Servers Rooting and Routeing Information for?

    A little something to consider, no matter what sector of the planet you inhabit and are subject to dealing with ... or not dealing with as the case may most probably be for so very few are able to generate the energy required to move everything or anything forward in a manner which be perfectly acceptable and truly newsworthy.

    We are not a self-tasking organisation; we obtain intelligence based only on the questions set for us by government. …… Alex Younger, C, MI6 [8th December 2016] .... just a few random words from a veritable gaggle of other words to be found here ..... Read the full text of the speech

    A Great Game Player and Grand Master Puppeteer would more certainly have said …. We are a self-tasking organisation; we provide intelligence based on the answers required for good governance with Absolute Command and Remote Anonymous Control of Live Operational Virtual Environments …. with Advanced IT and Media Hosting the Present and Realities ….. Bigger Surreal Picture Shows.

    Such are surely the fields and eras of expertise in which Secret Intelligence Services are drawn into to either do battle against or engage with their special force sources if they are to retain and maintain any credibility which will allow them to survive and prosper and lead in the future. And that also equates to such Secret Intelligent Services/Anonymous Autonomous State and Non-State Actor Agents leading the future.

    To not be at least equal to such tasking is a Persistent Advanced Cyber Threat which will never fail to take advantage of and exploit every weakness and opportunity.

    Hmmm? Methinks that PACT is a brotherly/sisterly morph of “They represent an existential threat combined with a golden opportunity.” and if terrorising, just a practically realised figment of deluded paranoid imagination. ...... and such requires a secretive executive administration and an assisting media collusion.

    J'accuse. And now you all know how things are done and to be done, if you are to have chance of being responsible for input to output.

    And by all media reports, does it sound like Russia is the goto identity if you want to get things done efficiently virtually and practically anonymously and globally. Bravo, Ivan, that is most impressive.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Bigger APT Picture ...... the Serially Inept and Petrified vs the Virtually Adept and ACTive

      "...we obtain intelligence based only on the questions set for us by government".

      There seems to be a typo.

      "...we deliver 'intelligence' based only on the answers set for us by government".


      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: The Bigger APT Picture ...... with Fixes Guaranteed to Spectacularly Fail

        Even that "fix", Archtech, reveals and does not conceal the fact that SIS leaderships are as putty and puppets in the hands, hearts and minds of their remote virtually anonymous taskmasters.

        Such though is not without opportunities and dark web avenues to explore and exploit ruthlessly, for who wants to played for a fool puppet and manipulated muppet. One imagines rank and file officers would be quite thoroughly pissed off over the situation, given the lowly state of regard and high derision that it would naturally deliver to them and their supporting allies.

        Using an easily enough understood analogy ....... when their programming and projects are so Ford Model T like, purchase an Aston or a Bentley or a Rolls Royce servering replacement. It is that sort of customer vessel which delivers all manner of exotic, erotic and priceless goods which are prime non standard standard ....... unique and exciting, sensuous and inviting. Or are they flat broke and being held to a reverse ransom demand ..... Do as you are told or you get virtually nothing, which is a really stupid game to be playing against systems which hoover up and analyse communications in order to render to clients an overwhelming unfair secret advantage.

  11. Tom Paine

    Demonstrable win for Russia

    You've only got to look at the comments above to see that the general public in the west have completely lost confidence in the organs of their states. They don't trust politicians, governments, civil servants, the IC or the military. Who benefits from that?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Demonstrable win for Russia

      ... the general public in the west have completely lost confidence in the organs of their states ...

      Ugh, and who's fault is that? Are you trying to tell us it was Russians who were relentlessly spying on the activities of the ordinary citizens? Were it Russians who saddled us all for several generations with crippling national debts, so that their "businessmen" chums do not have to face the consequences of their actions? Were it Russians who have been breaking all the promises they were doling out to us at the election times?

      Thought not.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh joy

    I am still trying to decide whether to parse the title of this article as:

    "Germany warns: Moscow will splash cash on pre-election propaganda and misinformation spree"

    or as:

    Germany warns Moscow, will splash cash on pre-election propaganda and misinformation spree

    I guess there is a bit of truth in either version.

  13. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz - english site

  14. Florida1920

    If you can get him to stop Tweeting for a minute

    Donald Trump will turn off the Internet. Problem solved!

  15. Howard Hanek

    Warning: Objects May Appear Closer Than They Are

    Ah, the Nanny state warning everyone about things that THEY fear. I've been experiencing difficulty in interpreting what 'disinformation' and 'fake news' really means, there's been so much of it from everybody.

    Sundials don't lie and the weather forecast often differs from reality. That's about as far as I've gotten.

  16. Mahhn


    "deliberately discredit Democrat presidential contender Hillary Clinton"

    lol, she did that herself, over and over.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Discredit

      In what ways? By being unlikable, or a woman, or a politician? Yeah, so many to choose from for you to place blame. How lovely.

      The mail server was a recommendation from the previous Secretary of State Colin Powell. End of story. The Benghazi fiasco was the republican congress and senate deciding NOT to provide more funding to protect our embassy, so they could line their own pockets more securely. End of story.

      Any of the "facts" you see otherwise are merely clever rehashing of their personal hatred for; 1) the other party, 2) successful women, and any woman outside of their kitchen, 3) redirecting any attention away from their own inadequacies and shortcomings.

      Democrab or Republican't; their both part of the same money-led organization. The United States of Plutocracy.

      Get a fucking clue, DOPE!

  17. Michael Habel


    To finally be rid of that c**t who's running this insane asylum now. AfD in 2017!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      No, man. Just no. Just stop right there. Thank you.

  18. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Hmmm? Whatever next, do you think, whenever to think has one so many strange allies to seed

    It is inevitable that the Bigger APT Picture ...... the Serially Inept and Petrified vs the Virtually Adept and ACTive will lead in a Novel AI Direction with NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive Instruction for Future Sees to be presented as real and true and/or denied and spun as fake news in Mainstreaming Media Productions ......

    If you set up the super surveillance state, hoovering up all the internet traffic of pretty well everybody, that is not just going to affect the ordinary people whom the elite despise. There is also going to be an awful lot of traffic intercepted from sleazy members of the elite connected to even the most senior politicians, revealing all their corruption and idiosyncracies. From people like John Podesta, to take an entirely random example. And once the super surveillance state has intercepted and stored all that highly incriminating material, you never know if some decent human being, some genuine patriot, from within the security services is going to feel compelled to turn whistleblower.

    Than they might turn for help to, to take another entirely random example, Julian Assange. .... former intelligence analyst, British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, and chancellor of the University of Dundee, Craig Murray .....

    The secret of success in the field is not to be a fool tool. And that requires, not least amongst a whole legion of other fundamental things, a continuous contiguous supply of advanced intelligence verging on an immaculate foreknowledge of nearly distant future events.

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