Global Threats Matrix News

French Election Hit By Information Warfare

The French Election now seems to look more like Marine Le Pen vs a collapsing French establishment. Already, four established candidates for the presidency — two former presidents and two former prime ministers — have after being hit by Hillary-like scandal backed out or been rejected by the voters.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has just been ordered to stand trial for corruption on charges of illegally financing his failed 2012 re-election campaign.

François Fillon seen recently as the favorite is being accused of taking almost a million euros of taxpayer money, with little evidence they did any work in return, so much so that now two-third of voters want him to drop out.

Emmanuel Macron another favorite is now being forced to deny rumors that he is enjoying an extra-marital gay affair with a high-profile media chief. Mr Macron has particular appeal to young people in France, who are impressed by his modern, anti-establishment image. He is a former tax inspector and Rothschild banker whose business activities saw him become a multi-millionaire.

That leaves the Russian favorite Marine Le Pen whose links to Russia are now under scrutiny by French and American intelligence. France’s Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE) believes that Russia will help Le Pen by way of bots that will flood the internet with millions of positive posts about Le Pen — and by publishing her opponents’ confidential emails.

According to Le Canard Enchaîné, the French investigative and satirical weekly, Mike Turner, a Republican on the House of Representatives’ permanent select committee on intelligence, urged the US director of national intelligence to look into Ms Le Pen’s Russia links.

In an extract of a letter dated November 28 to James Clapper, who heads up 17 American intelligence organizations and agencies, he notes that the Front National “publicly acknowledged that it had received a $9.8 million loan from a Russian bank with links to the Kremlin, allegedly brokered by a sanctioned Russian Duma deputy, according to French press reporting.”

The bank in question was First Czech Russian Bank (FCRB) in Moscow. Mr Turner goes on: “In February 2016, the FN asked Russia for a $30 million load to fund the FN leader Marine Le Pen’s 2017 campaign.

Marine Le Pen is reported to have told RIA Novosti that if she wins the presidential election in France, she will recognize Crimea as part of Russia. Speaking during an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour she cleared her position on the sovereignty of Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea.

“There was a coup d’etat in Ukraine… it’s not just what I think, it’s a reality. There was an agreement between different nations and the next day this agreement was broken and some people took power after the referendum… there was no invasion of Crimea,” she said.

The uncanny resemblance of French Election with the recent US Presidential Election have prompted observers to dub Le Pen as the “Trump of France”. The CIA however sees it as a grand Russian strategy with a long range policy objective intent on increasing its influence in the Eurasian space ultimately causing the rupture of NATO. At the moment though the US and EU are seen clearly at a back foot in this Information War.

Throughout history communication and information have been fundamental sources of power and counter-power, of domination and social change. This is because the fundamental battle being fought in society is the battle over the minds of the people. The way people think determines the fate of norms and values on which societies are constructed, explains Manuel Castells in Communication, Power and Counter-power in the Network Society.

Infrastructure in general refers to a set of interconnected structural elements which provide services and facilities necessary for the development of a society or nation state. National Infrastructure is defined as ‘critical’ when it is believed that, disrupting its function would lead to significant socio-economic crisis with the potential to undermine the stability of a nation and thereby have political, economic and strategic implications. These infrastructure assets may be physical (sites, installations, pieces of equipment) or logical (information networks and systems).

Such an Information Warfare is being waged in India as well as we write. Slowly and steadily entire Indian “critical infrastructures” are being taken over by foreign countries undermining the stability of our nation with disastrous implications, as explained in detail in our exclusive report Digital India in the Age of Information Warfare.

greatgameindia-magazine-oct-dec-2015-issue

Read our exclusive report Digital India in the Age of Information Warfare in the Oct-Dec 2015 issue of GreatGameIndia – India’s only quarterly magazine on Geopolitics and International Affairs.

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