Russian Active Measures and September 11 2001: Nostradamus-Themed Disinformation?

Here is the first paper I published in a peer-reviewed publication on the subject of Russian cyber warfare and active measures on September 11, 2001. The focus was on the linkage between the strange search engine results which saw Nostradamus become the top gaining search of all of 2001, and stemming from a series of online hoaxes. At this point, I have generally improved all aspects of this argument, although I have no concerns about the continued correctness of content in this article. My agreement with the publisher allows me to post it on my personal blog or website.

Abstract:

The early English-language promoters of Nostradamus (Orson Welles and Erika Cheetham) had strong Leftist-Marxist connections including ties to the Cambridge 5 spy ring. Nostradamus was the top search anomaly of Sept 11, 2001. Interest was driven by a surge in emails and text messages via the internet. This behavior is discussed in relation to known cyber threats from 2001. Similar spikes in Nostradamus searches (Google Trends) emanated from Poland (April 2010), Ukraine (March 2014), and in Hungary (August 2015). Nostradamus mirrors proven Russian disinformation operations, such as those that today implicate 9/11 as being an “inside job” by the US government, or that the CIA killed JFK, or that the CIA engineered the AIDS virus. Noting Nostradamus’ use by both the Allies and the Axis powers as a psychological warfare tool in World War 2, the case is made that it was the Russians carrying out an “information attack” on 9/11 that is consistent with Russian cyber warfare and active measures strategy; and that they may have used similar techniques elsewhere since 2001.

IJCWT 7(1) article

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