Russian Propaganda, Thief Shouting Thief?

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Hersubeno Arief
Senior journalist, media and political consultant

IO – It only took a lapse of one day: the hot potato that President Jokowi had raised about Russian Propaganda and foreign consultants turned to attack him. This issue, if not quickly and appropriately handled by Jokowi’s team, can destroy the great narrative they are trying to build, as well as dismantle their strategy.

When meeting with a number of supporters in Solo on Sunday (3/2) Jokowi express an allegation of Prabowo-Sandi using a foreign consultant. They implemented the “Russian Propaganda” strategy.

“As I said, Russian propaganda theory is like that. Spout as many lies as possible, blow as many hoaxes as possible so that people become hesitant. Indeed, the theory is like that, “Jokowi said.

Jokowi mentioned Prabowo-Sandi using a foreign consultant. “Who’s the foreign stooge? Do not let us be treated continuously by lies. Our people are smart, whether in the city or in the village, “he added.

Jokowi also made this accusation when he visited the Jawa Pos Daily office in Surabaya the day before.

No need to wait too long, the Russian Embassy in Jakarta reacted immediately. “This term is not based on reality at all,” said the Russian Embassy statement to Indonesia through their official Twitter account on Monday (4/2).

The Russian Embassy explained that the term now used “by certain political forces in Indonesia” was engineered by the United States during the general election in 2016.

Although not mentioning anyone’s name, the Embassy’s denial was clearly directed at Jokowi. Packaged in fine language, diplomatic language must be understood as a very strong reaction. Allegations made by the president could endanger diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Realizing this, Jokowi then explained that the term “Russian Propaganda” was obtained from an article in the journal of RAND Corporation. The global study institute based in Santa Monica, California, in one of its journals, published an article “The Russian” Firehose of Falsehood “Propaganda Model Why It Works and Options to Counter It.” The reference is pretty cool too.

Along with Jokowi’s accusations, Jokowi’s buzzers posted and explained what Firehose of Falsehood (FoF) was. They explain this fairly heavy term in an easy-to-understand graphic. They say FoF can divide the nation.

The issue of racism, religion, ultra nationalism continues to be exhaled and burned. In the end, Indonesia can be divided like Iraq and Syria. A discourse that is equally scary.

Looking at Jokowi’s statement and massive campaign in social media, this accusation seems to be a planned campaign. The Presidential Candidate number is actually carrying out name-calling propaganda. A propaganda strategy gives a bad name. The aim is for the public to reject whatever was conveyed by Prabowo-Sandi, without first checking the facts.

In Javanese, the approaching vocabulary is suloyo waton. As you like. The important thing is different. If we need to fight, we will fight.

The spokespersons and officials of political parties supporting the number 01 candidate have always labeled the hoaxes for the candidate number 01. PSI, for example, once gave a “Lie Award” to Prabowo-Sandi.

Former Coordinating Minister for Economy Rizal Ramli has already pointed out this operation. According to him, the candidate number 01 has a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in four stages:

First, the main capital is insistent. Even though it does not have and is not supported by data, it must remain insistent. Whatever the risk.

Second, the necessity of data query, and facts in the field, must be requested from those who do not support Jokowi

Third, if answered by given data and facts could harm Jokowi, then the data must be called a hoax. Not to say anything about the data and facts in the field, except to quickly say HOAX

Fourth, if the insistent is not enough, field and data request is also not enough. After that, saying HOAX is also not enough, then the next step is to report it to the police.

Jokowi’s allegations about Russian Propaganda seemed to be intended to give the ultimate punch. Unfortunately, the Russian vocabulary becomes very sensitive when delivered by a candidate who is also the incumbent president.

Among the supporters of Prabowo-Sandi, Jokowi’s accusation was instead responded jokingly. Dahnil Anhar Simanjuntak as the spokesman said they used the strategy of Bojong Koneng (an area in West Java), not Russia. In Social Media, the words of Russian Propaganda were also reduced to being Raisa’s Propaganda. The last name refers to a popular female singer who has so many fans in Jakarta.

Foreign Stooge Allegation
The counterattack against Jokowi did not stop at the question of Russian Propaganda. BPN spokesman Andre Rosiade demanded that Jokowi’s explanation really be that he was using a foreign consultant.

Andre underlies the request for clarification because of the info that Jokowi once used the services of top US political consultant Stanley Greenberg. In the web www.Political-Strategist.com Jokowi’s name is included in the list of Greenberg clients from various parts of the world.

Jokowi’s name is also listed on the Wikipedia website as Greenberg’s client. Interestingly in the data about Greenberg on the Wikipedia page, Jokowi’s name has now gone. Jokowi’s name is listed since Jan. 17, 2017. However, starting November 24, 2018, Jokowi’s name dissapeared.

When traced, the digital footprint that changes data on a Wiki is an anonymous user. The user’s location is listed at 6 ° 10’27.8 ″ S 106 ° 49’45.8 E E, or is located in the office around Monas. So you can be sure that change is someone who is in Jakarta. They don’t want Jokowi’s name there. It is not clear why Jokowi’s name must be “eliminated.” The use of foreign consultants is actually normal. It should not be hidden if there is nothing. It also does not have to be linked to the label of a foreign stooge.

The issue of Jokowi using Greenberg’s services has actually been blowing for a long time. In the 2014 presidential election the @Triomacan account that was known to be managed by Raden Nuh had mentioned it.

@Triomacan said that Greenberg was brought by a conglomerate, James Riady. Greenberg is known as the Democratic Party’s top consultant. Some of the presidents from Democrats like Clinton and Obama are the clients he helped to succeed.

With Clinton, Greenberg was referred to as “Arkansas Connection” referring to the Clinton city. The Riady family has been known to be very close to Clinton since he became attorney general and then governor of the state of Arkansas. There is no official rebuttal, both from Jokowi and James Riady. Only a rebuttal from Prodjo, Jokowi’s supporters, emerged.

Now, as Jokowi’s accusation that Prabowo-Sandi is using a foreign consultant and Russian propaganda, a request for clarification from BPN member Andre Rosiade emerged. Is it true that in fact Jokowi is using a foreign consultant?

Jokowi is obliged to do reverse proof. If Jokowi cannot prove otherwise, it is difficult to avoid accusations that Jokowi applied the name-calling strategy, “A thief shouts ‘thief!!’”