Disinformation
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Episode 140
Featuring Thomas Rid
Demetri Kofinas speaks with Thomas Rid, a renowned expert on technology and national security about the history of disinformation & political warfare and how such active measures are being weaponized against us.

In Episode 140 of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Thomas Rid, Professor of Strategic Studies at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies about active measures, the history of disinformation, and political warfare.

We live in the age of organized deception. Spy agencies pour vast resources into hacking, leaking, and forging data, often with the goal of weakening the very foundation of liberal democracy: trust in facts. As a renowned expert on technology and national security, Thomas Rid was one of the first to sound the alarm. More than four months before the 2016 election, he warned that Russian military intelligence was “carefully planning and timing a high-stakes political campaign" to disrupt the democratic process. But as crafty as such so-called active measures have become, they are not new.   

The story of modern disinformation begins with the post-Russian Revolution clash between communism and capitalism, which would come to define the Cold War. In this conversation about active measures, Rid reveals startling intelligence and security secrets from materials written in more than ten languages across several nations, and from interviews with current and former operatives. He exposes the disturbing yet colorful history of professional, organized lying, tracks the rise of leaking, and shows how spies began to exploit emerging internet culture many years before WikiLeaks. Finally, he sheds new light on the 2016 election, especially the role of the infamous “troll farm” in St. Petersburg as well as a much more harmful attack that unfolded in the shadows.  

During a period of heightened emotions, extreme politics, and dangerous precedents, this conversation will help listeners to understand how we got here and what we can do in order to make it safely through the other side.

You can access the episode overtime, as well as the transcript and rundown to this week’s episode through the Hidden Forces Patreon Page. All subscribers gain access to our overtime feed, which can be easily added to your favorite podcast application.

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Subscribe & Support the Podcast at http://patreon.com/hiddenforces

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Episode Recorded on 05/25/2020

Thomas Rid is Professor of Strategic Studies at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. Rid’s latest book, Active Measures, a startling history of disinformation, was published in late April 2020 with Farrar, Straus and Giroux (also in Russian, Japanese, Polish). His most recent book, Rise of the Machines (2016), tells the sweeping story of how cybernetics, a late-1940s theory of machines, came to incite anarchy and war (also in Chinese, Russian, German, Japanese, Turkish). His 2015 article “Attributing Cyber Attacks” was designed to explain, guide, and improve the identification of network breaches (Journal of Strategic Studies 2015). In 2013 he published the widely-read book Cyber War Will Not Take Place. Rid’s Ph.D. thesis, “War and Media Operations: The US Military and the Press from Vietnam to Iraq,” was the first academic analysis of the role of embedded media in the 2003 Iraq War, providing a concise history of US military public affairs management since Vietnam. Rid testified on information security in front of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence as well as in the German Bundestag and the UK Parliament. From 2011 to 2016, Rid was a professor in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London. Between 2003 and 2010, he worked at major think tanks in Berlin, Paris, Jerusalem, and Washington, DC. Rid holds a PhD from Humboldt University in Berlin.

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Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.

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Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

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