DailySA: Left-wing groups & tech oligarchs funding China info ops – Forward Observer

DailySA: Left-wing groups & tech oligarchs funding China info ops

Good morning. Here’s your Daily Situational Awareness for Wednesday, 19 January 2022. You can receive this daily briefing by signing up at https://forwardobserver.com/daily-sa

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TODAY’S BRIEFING:

  • Left-wing groups & tech oligarchs funding China info ops
  • CISA urges immediate cyber defense, updates
  • Extremists target faith-based groups
  • Poland on alert for cyber attack
  • Hazards Warning

UPGRADE TO EARLY WARNING AND GET THESE BRIEFINGS:

  • Russia-NATO SITREP: RUSSIAN UNITS ARRIVE IN BELARUS, WASHINGTON LOSING CONTROL
  • Indo-Pacific SITREP: CHINA BUILDS BRIDGE TO INDIA; INDIA JUMPS INTO PACIFIC FIGHT
  • LIC Summary/ INTSUM

SITUATIONAL AWARENESS

LEFT-WING GROUPS TIED TO TECH OLIGARCHS FUNDING CHINA INFO OPS: A network of left-wing U.S. charities and non-profits are funding information operations aimed at refuting China’s human rights violations against Uyghur and Turkic minorities. According to a report from New Lines magazine, the groups, like Code Pink and The People’s Support Foundation (PSF), have recently funneled over $65 million through various non-profits that have downplayed or denied documented human rights violations committed by Beijing. The PSF is a registered 501(c)(3) that collects tax-free donations and invests heavily in corporate stocks and securities using its revenue to disburse grants to other China-friendly organizations. In 2020 and 2021, Code Pink initiated campaigns such as one titled “China Is Not Our Enemy” in which the organization advocated for the U.S. to adopt conciliatory policies toward China. Both Code Pink and the PSF were co-founded by Jodie Evans, spouse of tech mogul Neville Roy Singham. (Analyst Comment: This is another example of China using western “fellow travelers” to conduct information operations against its adversaries. Through these organizations, China uses a “hidden hand” to propagandize its target audiences in the west and influence and direct western nation’s foreign policies vis-a-vis China. – M.M.)

CISA URGES IMMEDIATE PROTECTION MEASURES: The Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has released an urgent notice to organizations to implement immediate cybersecurity measures to protect against potential threats. This message comes in response to the recent cyberattacks against the Ukrainian government. Vulnerabilities exploited used previously identified weaknesses in systems, and patches for these systems are available. (AC: CISA’s warning aligns with similar warnings put out by the FBI and NSA. The recently identified vulnerability, log4j, was used to exploit Ukrainian government systems. Currently, the federal government does not have the ability or legal authority to protect all the critical infrastructure in the nation against these vulnerabilities. In the short-term, warning notices and recommended security measures are the best options prior to a cyberattack. – D.F.)

EXTREMISTS TARGET FAITH-BASED GROUPS: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) are warning that faith-based communities are likely to continue to be targets of violence in the future. This warning comes after the hostage standoff in Texas. Officials highlight the domestic polarization and increase in online traffic of extremism threats. DHS and FBI are recommending security posture evaluations for mass gathering events and houses of worship in the near term. (AC: DHS officials claim they are tracking foreign influence actors on social media that are promoting violence. Similar predictions were made by DHS and the FBI leading up the anniversary of January 6th; however, no major disruptions were noted. – D.F.)

POLAND ON ALERT FOR CYBER ATTACK: Poland’s government issued warnings about renewed Russian cyberattacks to citizens, government agencies, and businesses. The warning is in effect through the weekend and comes on the heels of last week’s widespread attack against Ukraine. Polish cyber units will increase monitoring for a “possible security breach of electronic communications.” NATO considers cyber attacks an act of war, potentially invoking Article 5 in response. (AC: Widespread cyber disruptions are likely to precede military action in Ukraine or Poland. While data and communication systems could recover, the disruption would significantly degrade response and coordination efforts as conventional military units advance. A cyber attack against Poland could draw the U.S. into conflict with Russia quickly. – D.M.)

HAZARDS/WX

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