Pentagon: “The Russian disinformation campaign has already begun. There has been a 2,000 percent increase in Russian trolls in the last 24 hours.” pic.twitter.com/xVkJzAHOqs
— NBC News (@NBCNews) April 14, 2018
After the United States, France and the United Kingdom launched a legally suspect attack on Syria Friday night, the Trump administration began to complain about the Russian social media response.
In an official announcement from the Pentagon on Saturday, spokesperson Dana White said [emphasis added]:
As Secretary Mattis said last night, the Russian disinformation campaign has already begun. There has been a 2,000 percent increase in Russian trolls in the last 24 hours. Therefore, we will keep you all abreast of the facts moving forward.
Mattis previously said, “Based on recent experience, we fully expect a significant disinformation campaign over the coming days by those who have aligned themselves with the Assad regime,” using an incorrect political science term to refer to the government headed by Bashar al-Assad.
(The regime in Syria is accurately described as a semi-command economy operating under the auspices of the Ba’ath Party. The authoritarian nature of the Ba’ath regime is not in dispute and the Assad family wields inordinate influence on the Syrian Ba’ath Party and its’ policies–but references to the “Assad regime” blur and confuse those important distinctions.)
Mattis also noted that White’s comments would be made “in an effort to maintain transparency and accuracy,” regarding the NATO-sanctioned onslaught of 105 missiles and bombs allegedly used against Syrian military targets late Friday night.
White continued, making at least two distinct references to international law in order to justify the Trump administration’s attack. She said, the U.S “cannot allow such grievous violations of international law.” White later added, “We will not stand by passively while Assad, backed by Russia and Iran, ignores international law.”
During a Security Council debate at the United Nations, Bolivian ambassador Sacha Llorenty noted, “They think that they’re exceptional. They think that they’re indispensable. And hence, they think that they are above the law, above international law….you can’t combat the alleged violation of international law by violating international law.”
[image via screengrab/CBC News]