Analysis of the News: “French lieutenant colonel: Moscow has a weapon that will turn off all phones and internet in the world!”

March 2024.

As part of the program Regional Initiative for combating disinformation “Western Balkans Combatting disinformation Center: Exposing malicious influences through fact-checking and Analytical Journalism“, we present you a new analysis of fake news and disinformation narratives.

French lieutenant colonel: Moscow has a weapon that will turn off all phones and internet in the world

https://webtribune.rs/francuski-potpukovnik-moskva-ima-oruzje-koje-ce-iskljuciti-sve-telefone-i-internet-u-svetu/#

A retired Air Force lieutenant colonel from France has made a bold claim about a new Russian weapon that has the power to shut down the internet worldwide. The pro-Russian portal Webtribune transmits the entire text of Lt. Col. Jacques Guillemain, who is also a columnist for the French portal Riposte Laique.

In his text, he says that the Russians are twenty years ahead of the West in the high-tech arms race. He supports his statement with events from the past, i.e. the space arms race during the Cold War and the launch of the first artificial satellite into space by the Soviet Union, where, of course, he does not mention the successes of the United States of America, such as the famous Apollo 11 mission (the first man landing on the moon) or the modern achievements. If we take into account that the president of Russia himself based his recent interview on historical lessons and not on objective reasons, we cannot expect anything different from pro-Russian columnists.

Jacques states in his column that “House Intelligence Committee has reported a serious threat to the national security of the United States” and that this threat is actually a Russian “weapon, known as a nuclear electromagnetic pulse, capable of generating a pulse of electromagnetic energy capable of disabling satellites in orbit “. Even if it is true that Russia possesses such a weapon, the electromagnetic pulse is not selective, and Russia would not only be able to target the USA. Still, the use of these weapon would also hit its satellites as well as the satellite network of Russia’s close allies, such as China. The countries in the global south would also suffer damage. Given that the French columnist states in the text that Russia is “the leader of the global south”, such a move would hardly bring long-term benefits to Russia.

The text states that “the Pentagon hawks are reaping what they have sown” because they should have made peace with Russia after the Cold War and not expanded NATO to the East and worked to dismember Russia. In this case, one does not exclude the other since no agreement prohibits the expansion of the NATO, and the West has for a long time, until the invasion of Crimea in 2014, made serious efforts to economically and politically bring Russia closer to the West – as evidenced by numerous joint projects and economic investments. In the text, the French lieutenant colonel tries to give Russia legitimacy for using such weapon, but there is no legal basis. In fact, Russia would violate the “1967 Outer Space Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space,” according to officials from the Biden administration.

Jacques Guillemain further states that the US was preparing a war in Ukraine to dismember Russia and be free to plunder its wealth. It is not clear what evidence this statement is based on, especially since it is now known to the whole world that the war in Ukraine started with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. If anyone had the goal of dismembering a country, it was certainly the Russian Federation, not the United States of America.

The following text lists various disinformation narratives that clearly illustrate the goals of Russian propaganda. Reading the last part of this text is like reading daily headlines in pro-Russian portals, which say EU sanctions ruined Europe, not Russia; that Russia emerges victorious from the war; that the Russian economy has never been better; that the Ukrainian counter-offensive ended in a massacre worthy of the First World War…

Apart from sensationalism and no evidence to support these claims, the columnist calls all people who think Putin will lose idiots. In addition, he says that these are the “dismal results of this current war that is sucking the blood of the Ukrainian people solely for the sake of American interests.” The dismal results of this war are rather pro-Russian media that shape reality with inaccurate and unreliable information, just like this text by a retired French lieutenant colonel.

Author: Nataša Stanojević