My article was used in the “Russian Internet Operation” that also tampered with Yahoo! | FRIDAY DIGITAL

My article was used in the “Russian Internet Operation” that also tampered with Yahoo!

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The reality of Russian media “reporting”. A Report on the Author’s Experience of Reprinting and Using Comments

On January 1, the Mainichi Shimbun published an interesting article titled “Russian government-affiliated media falsifying and reproducing Yahoo!

The fact that Russia is attempting to use the reader comment sections of Western media sites to guide online public opinion was revealed in a report published by the Institute of Crime and Security Studies at Cardiff University in the UK in September 2021, and attracted the attention of intelligence officials.

The “unauthorized use” by Russia was discovered.

In Japan, Professor Hiroshi Heiwa of J. F. Oberlin University reported on the contents of the report at the time. According to the report, comments favorable to Russia were written in the comments section of each media outlet, and the Russian media introduced them to give them credibility and spread them. The center of the operation is the Russian government-affiliated Internet media “Inosumi,” which also uses Japanese media, especially the comments section of the pages where articles from various news organizations are reprinted on Yahoo! News. This is the so-called unauthorized use of Yahoo!

The aforementioned article by the Mainichi Shimbun compares the contents of the original “Japanese comments” and the “Russian translated comments” posted on Inosumi, and gives specific examples of how the comments may have been falsified to suit Russia.

In fact, in September 2021, immediately after the publication of Professor Taira’s report, I also checked to see if my article was being used for such manipulation. As a result, I could not find any clear evidence of manipulation, but I did find a possible case.

What a surprise… my own articles were being “used” as well!

The appropriation of my article was mainly about the story of Japan-Russia diplomacy on the Northern Territories issue (the author has lived in Moscow for two years and has experience in covering Russian political circles on Japan-Russia negotiations).

For example, here is an example of one of the articles.

▽Putin has never said “we will hand over the two islands” – A reading of Putin’s language that is calculated to never give away his words.

This is a poorly written article published on November 21, 2018 in the Japanese news commentary media JBpress, which Inosmi took the liberty of translating and publishing in its entirety two days later.

Article published in “JBpress” on November 21, 2018, which Inosumi took the liberty of translating and publishing as is two days later.

This one does not have a reader comment section in the original article, but it has Russian comments in Inosmi’s reader comment section. Most of them are close to the position of the Russian government, which is negative about the return of the territory. However, it is unclear whether the Russian side’s quackery is included in the post, since many ordinary Russian readers are likely to share the same opinion.

There were also multiple signs that this article was posted on other Russian-language websites and bulletin boards for discussion, but whether or not this was a “manipulation” cannot be confirmed.

On the other hand, there were few translations of the author’s articles on the manipulations of the Russian intelligence services, but they were not entirely absent. One example is the following.

China, Russia and Iran are playing a coordinated game in the information war against the U.S. – The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and they spread criticism of the U.S. to each other on the Internet.

This is another poorly written article that appeared in “JBpress” on June 11, 2020, but Inosmi translated the text and published it five days later.

This is also from “JBpress” on June 11, 2020 -> “Inosmi”

This article criticizes Russia’s subterfuge, and if Russian readers believe it as it is, it will be a negative for the Russian government. However, Russia is clever in this respect. First of all, the article has its own lead sentence, emphasizing that it is a “personal theory” that the author, Buntaro Kuroi, believes in on his own.

I am a Japanese “conspiracy theorist”!

Furthermore, most of the Russian reader comments criticize this article. In other words, my article is cleverly designed to give Russian readers the impression that it was written by a Japanese conspiracy theorist.

In a more recent article, there was also the aforementioned use of the so-called Yahoo!

The real aim of Putin’s Russia is a “peace treaty” through territorial negotiations: “Japan’s strategy to soften up Japan” as revealed by the press conference of the Russian ambassador to Japan.

This is now a broken link to Yahoo! News, but it was originally an article contributed to FRIDAY Digital on March 16, 2021, and was initially reprinted on Yahoo! Inosumi translated and posted it seven days later as a reprint from Yahoo News Japan, as follows

The article was contributed to FRIDAY Digital on March 16, 2021, and was originally reprinted on Yahoo! Inosmi translated and published it seven days later as a reprint from Yahoo News Japan, as follows

Inosmi translated and posted 11 “Japanese reader comments” on this article, which is a small number for a Yahoo! article, so Inosmi probably “screened” them. However, whether or not there is any arbitrary falsification or creation cannot be confirmed at present since the original page has disappeared.

On top of that, when I looked at those comments, surprisingly, not all of them were necessarily favorable to the Russian government.

For example, “Russia has no intention of giving up the islands, so the only thing left to do is to establish some kind of relationship” and “Russia’s aims are clear. For example, “Russia is not going to give up the islands, so we have to build some kind of relationship with them.

On the other hand, however, there were comments such as, “Japan should change its approach. Russia only wants economic aid from Japan.” “If joint economic activities are conducted that increase the value of the Northern Territories, Russia will definitely not return the islands. Therefore, we should make it clear that Japan is not interested in the South Kuril Islands (*Northern Territories is written in parentheses, while the plain text says South Kuril)” “Negotiating with Russia is just a waste of time. Some called for a change in Japan’s attitude, saying, “We cannot conclude a peace agreement with a country that easily breaks agreements.

Another said, “Russia broke the neutrality treaty, occupied Japanese territory, sent Japanese to Siberia, and caused many deaths. How can we reconcile with the aggressor?” “All economic cooperation and humanitarian aid should be terminated. We should warn them that we will respond with missiles if they violate our airspace,” and “We must economically exhaust Russia and bring about a second Russian revolution.

(* These are all excerpts.) Looking at this alone, it is difficult to speculate whether or not Inosmi’s side was involved in the falsification of Yahoo! However, in response to these comments, the Russian comments on the Inosmi article were mostly justifying the Russian government and criticizing the Japanese side for insisting on the return of the islands.

If Russian readers, who have a strong sense of nationalism, were to read this article, they would probably feel that there are many Japanese who view Russia as an enemy and that they should not show a soft face.

In addition, in response to this article, some quoted articles can be found on Russian sites. For example, REGNUM news agency reported on March 23, 2021, that the article was from Yahoo News Japan, a leading media outlet in Japan, and said, “The The non-existent Kuril issue should be ended completely.

On the same day, the website ” Ytro news ” also quoted this article, saying, ” Threatening with missiles~ Tokyo to take tough action against Russia on Kuril Islands (*) demands that Tokyo (meaning the Japanese government) take tough action against Russia regarding the Kuril Islands. Japanese reader comments on the original article include “Trade with Russia has no meaning.” “We will not negotiate with looters. Cutting off diplomatic relations is a matter of course.” ” We should warn them that we will respond to airspace violations and other incidents with missiles.” emphasizes that “there are people who insist that Russia be threatened with missiles” .

This site, which is clearly a source of Russian propaganda information, fits the pattern of manipulation in which Inosmi selectively translates and publishes comments from Yahoo! reprints of Japanese web news, and other sites quote them to spread specific impressions.

From Ytro news, a Russian website

Ego-searching in Russian

Lastly, I noticed a page on a slightly problematic site when I ego-searched in Russian, so I’ll introduce it here. It’s the Russian Wikipedia entry on the Levchenko case.

Levchenko was a spy of the Soviet Union’s intelligence agency, the KGB, who was active in Japan in the 1970s. In 1979, he defected to the United States, where he exposed secret information about Japanese collaborators, causing a huge uproar. The author, who also covers the history of espionage cases, has indeed written many investigative articles on the case. However, I am of a different generation and, of course, had nothing to do with the incident itself.

However, the author’s name appears on the list of 11 “some agents and unconscious collaborators” in the same section. Among the other ten, there are five people who were actually exposed by Levchenko, and one big businessman who is rumored to be a KGB agent but for whom the author (Kuroi) judges that there is no definitive proof. None of the other four is considered to be a KGB agent.

For example, Yohei Sasagawa, chairman of the Nippon Foundation, and the late Hideo Kodama, a major right-winger. Incidentally, Kodama’s description is written in Japanese pronunciation as “kuromaku, yakuza. The description of Kodama, by the way, is written in Japanese pronunciation as “kuromaku, yakuza.” It seems that the description, including the author’s name, was inaccurately written in the English Wikipedia, , and then reprinted with a ridiculous misunderstanding. (*In the section on Levchenko in the English Wikipedia, the author mistakenly states that he is a “friend” of the person who was in charge of the operation against Japan in the former Soviet Union).

) Although Wikipedia is a mixed bag, if a Russian searches my name on the Internet, he will find that I am the “Japanese agent who was exposed by Levchenko. Please give me a break.

Russian version of Wikipedia, “Levchenko case

The author’s name (in Russian) is at the bottom of the page…

Buntaro Kuroi: Born in 1963. He is a military journalist who has worked as an editor of a weekly magazine, special correspondent for a military magazine, and editor-in-chief of intelligence and information warfare (intelligence) magazine. Specializes in diplomacy and security, international conflicts, and information warfare. He has published numerous investigative reports on intelligence operations by Russia. He has also published a number of investigative reports on intelligence operations by Russia during the Gorbachev – Yeltsin regime. Gorbachev – Yeltsin regime. He lived in Moscow for two years during the Gorbachev – Yeltsin regime. He covered the collapse of the Soviet Union. He was in Moscow for two years during the Gorbachev – Yeltsin regime and covered the collapse of the Soviet Union. He interviewed Ivan Kowalenko, former Deputy Director of the International Department of the Communist Party, who was in charge of the former Soviet Union’s operations against Japan. He has covered the inner workings of the Japan-Russia negotiations from the Russian side, and has since continued to research and analyze the Northern Territories issue.

  • Reporting and writing by Fumitaro Kuroi

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