So kann ein Krieg beginnen
In der Schweiz hat man die jüngste Kosovo-Krise kaum zur Kenntnis genommen. Meine kosovarischen Kollegen (danke, Kiqa) machen mich aber auf einen speziell interessanten Aspekt aufmerksam, den ich hier weitergeben möchte: Social Media sind heute fähig, einen Krieg auszulösen. Zentral gesteuert wird mit Fake-News aufgewiegelt und Panik gestiftet. Wenn der Krieg erst mal angefangen hat, spielt es keine Rolle mehr, dass bekannt wird, das das Ganze inszeniert war. Er kann nicht mehr gestoppt werden.
Unter dem Titel “Die Kosovo-Krise im Visier der russischen Propaganda” hat der über Kabel in ganz Exjugoslawien empfangbare, serbischsprachige News-Kanal N1 die koordinierte Aufwiegelung auf den Social Media dokumentiert. N1 vertieft damit einen Beitrag von Balkan Insight mit dem Titel: “Social Media disinformation spreads panic about Kosovo-Serbia war.”
Ich erlaube mir, das Transkript des Beitrags von N1 in einer Google-Übersetzung zu veröffentlichen:
“Somewhere around half past seven on July 31, when sirens were activated in Kosovska Mitrovica and other places in the north where Serbs live, and then barricades were erected, the information was still fresh and scarce, and militant Russian and pro-Russian Telegram channels actively entered the game, and for hours they are filled with a mixture of information, semi-information and complete disinformation and distortions.
These channels are interconnected, says the researcher of the Belgrade Center for Security Policy (BCBP) Predrag Petrović and says that it is a kind of war incitement.
‘These sources of information have not been verified, but they are all networked and tend to indicate that there is a very large number of different sources of information. Actually, it is about one, and in this way they are trying to show their audience that their numbers are very large,’ Petrović points out.
What did it look like? Whoever did not watch the broadcasts of several television stations from the scene, could have thought that if the war had not started, it would start at any moment.
It generally starts with announcements about the shooting with the remark that it appears to have started. The information that a Serb was injured turns into a wounded Serb.
Some Russian channels report on armed conflicts.
Both pro-Russian and Russian Telegram channels, which otherwise propagate the Russian invasion of Ukraine, announce, both under the phrase ‘our sources’, that the Serbian army is at the administrative crossing in full combat readiness and awaiting orders. Everyone shares at the same time.
Then, in that world, the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, requests the convening of an emergency session of the UN Security Council, an announcement that never receives either a source or confirmation.
It is claimed about a long-term shooting in the town of Banje, and then in Medvedja, which persists despite the fact that local users write that it is peaceful there.
In the south of Mitrovica, the channels continue to write, Albanians gather, some of whom are even armed. All without evidence and confirmation.
Then the information is released that the Serbian Army raised the planes and directed them towards the administrative line.
And that’s not enough – photos of weapons allegedly taken by Serbs from Kosovo are starting to circulate. These are particularly common on militant Russian channels.
The Russian channel “Zlie Orlovi” also claims that Serbian special forces with all tanks are on their way to Jarinja and are gathering in Gazivode.
There is also an announcement that allegedly Aljbin Kurti called the operation “Black Storm”, which is also picked up by some traditional media.
And everything continues until the announcement that the implementation of the decision on registrations and ID cards is postponed for a month.
The consequences of misinformation can be serious:
Although the circulation of misinformation and lies is not uncommon, and comes from various interested parties and with various goals, this type of incitement is not at all naive, especially in a situation of high tension.
‘The consequences of that disinformation can be serious, and they can be short-term that some tension escalates into a serious armed conflict, and ultimately, some medium- and long-term consequences are that they attract a larger audience and influence a wider circle of people in of the future,’ explains Petrović.
The narrative about Kosovo on the brink of war also appeared that evening on popular Russian propaganda YouTube channels, where the West is always to blame for everything. There, the goal of setting up the blockades was also modified – and it was no longer a reaction to the decision on plates and identity cards that the Serbs in Kosovo do not want, as those who set them up say, but it was to stop the movement of the armored vehicles of the Kosovo police – that is, at least they claim in Russia.”