September 15, 2018

In 2009 the US Navy announced they identified two Russian submarines beyond the US EEZ.

NATO Name: Akula aka Project 971 "Щука-Б"
Unknown photo credit 
The Russian Navy submarine hysteria being propagated from questionable sources and whisper campaigns over social media are out of control. The latest tactic I've noticed isn't a new one, but it's being spun a new way. Here are the original, reputable, reports of the incident from 2009, which is presently being hyped by unknown anonymous actors, clearly in bad faith, as something that's happened in the recent past, and evidence of the resurgent Russian Navy's hostility, or something.
(Apologies to the authors, highlighted bits to draw your eye and make this quicker for everyone, this is not a criticism of the NYT, WaPo, Reuters, or CNSNews):
Russian Subs Patrolling Off East Coast of U.S.
By MARK MAZZETTI and THOM SHANKER (New York Times) 2009-08-04
WASHINGTON — A pair of nuclear-powered Russian attack submarines has been patrolling off the eastern seaboard of the United States in recent days, a rare mission that has raised concerns inside the Pentagon and intelligence agencies about a more assertive stance by the Russian military.
The episode has echoes of the cold war era, when the United States and the Soviet Union regularly parked submarines off each other’s coasts to steal military secrets, track the movements of their underwater fleets — and be poised for war.
But the collapse of the Soviet Union all but eliminated the ability of the Russian Navy to operate far from home ports, making the current submarine patrols thousands of miles from Russia more surprising for military officials and defense policy experts.
“I don’t think they’ve put two first-line nuclear subs off the U.S. coast in about 15 years,” said Norman Polmar, a naval historian and submarine warfare expert.
The submarines are of the Akula class, a counterpart to the Los Angeles class attack subs of the United States Navy, and not one of the larger submarines that can launch intercontinental nuclear missiles.According to Defense Department officials, one of the Russian submarines remained in international waters on Tuesday about 200 miles off the coast of the United States. The location of the second remained unclear. One senior official said the second submarine traveled south in recent days toward Cuba, while another senior official with access to reports on the surveillance mission said it had sailed away in a northerly direction.
The Pentagon and intelligence officials spoke anonymously to describe the effort to track the Russian submarines, which has not been publicly announced.
President Obama spoke by telephone with President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia on Tuesday, but it was not clear whether the subject of the submarines came up, although another source of friction between the two countries did. Mr. Medvedev called Mr. Obama to wish him a happy birthday and the White House said the president used the opportunity to urge Russia to work through diplomatic channels to resolve rising tensions with Georgia.
The submarine patrols come as Moscow tries to shake off the embarrassment of the latest failed test of the Bulava missile, a long-range weapon that was test fired from a submarine in the Arctic on July 15. The failed missile test was the sixth since 2005, and some experts see Russia’s assertiveness elsewhere as a gambit by the military to prove its continued relevance.
I highlighted the important bits; and to paraphrase, there were two Russian submarines, in the Atlantic ocean, outside US territorial waters, and beyond the EEZ, exactly where they wanted them to be.

Another source, the Wall Street Journal:
Russian Subs Seen Off U.S. East Coast
By Peter Spiegel Updated 2009-08-05 11:59 p.m. ET (Wall Street Journal)
WASHINGTON -- Two Russian attack submarines were detected patrolling the waters off the East Coast of the U.S. in recent days, including one that came as close as 200 miles offshore, according to U.S. military officials.
Although Pentagon officials monitoring the subs' movements didn't consider them threatening, one senior military official said the patrols were unusual, given the weakened state of the Russian navy and the failure of Moscow to conduct such missions in years.
"Is it unusual? Yes, but we don't view it as provocative at all," the official said, adding that both subs remained in international waters at all times. The patrols were reported on the Web site of the New York Times.
During the Cold War, subs from both the U.S. and the Soviet Union regularly patrolled the North Atlantic in an elaborate game of naval brinkmanship intended to track rival fleets and position themselves strategically in case of war.
The senior military official said the two Russian vessels were nuclear-powered Akula class submarines, which were used during the Cold War to track North Atlantic Treaty Organization vessels and, in the event of war, attack enemy subs and ships with torpedoes and missiles. Only larger ballistic-missile subs are used for nuclear-weapons launches.
The Times reported that one of the subs had recently made port in Cuba, but the official said the U.S. has no confirmation of that move and that the second sub is believed instead to have remained close to Greenland.
The submarine patrols are the latest series of recent military operations by the Russians -- many of which Moscow dropped in the years following the Cold War -- which analysts believe are an attempt to reassert the stature of its military.
Last year, a Russian long-range strategic bomber buzzed the U.S. aircraft carrier Nimitz and its accompanying flotilla as the Pearl Harbor-based strike group was patrolling the Pacific.
Two years ago, the Royal Air Force scrambled fighters to intercept Russian strategic "Bear" bombers that were flying patrols close to British airspace.

Reuters had the story too:
Russian general shrugs off U.S. submarine worries
Dmitry Solovyov - 2009-08-05 8:05 AM
MOSCOW (Reuters) - A senior Russian general on Wednesday shrugged off Washington’s concern about Cold War-style patrols of Russian nuclear submarines off the U.S. coast, saying it was business as usual for Moscow to keep its navy in shape.
“I don’t know if it’s news to anyone,” Anatoly Nogovitsyn, Russia’s deputy chief of general staff, told a news conference. “The navy should not stay idle at its moorings.”
He was commenting on a report in the New York Times on Tuesday which said two nuclear-powered Russian attack submarines had been patrolling off the Eastern seaboard of the United States in a mission that was rare for post-Cold War times.
The newspaper said the submarines had not taken any provocative action beyond their presence outside U.S. territorial waters, but Pentagon officials voiced wariness over Russia’s motivation for ordering such an unusual mission.
Nogovitsyn said: “As for their statements, we can also talk about them (U.S. submarines), where they occur from time to time.
“So this (Russian patrols) is a normal process, and those making such statements understand this pretty well.”

Russia, keen to play a more assertive role on the world stage, relies heavily on its still formidable nuclear triad of land-based missiles, nuclear submarines and strategic bombers.
In 2007 it resumed Cold War-style flights of nuclear-capable bombers across the Atlantic.
“This is our right — we felt bored making circles along our internal routes,” Nogovitsyn, a military pilot, said of the decision to resume flights of strategic bombers along NATO borders.
“And you remember how much clamor this caused at the time — just because we started going out on combat patrols,” he said. “But I must tell you that the battle potential of our strategic aviation has only seriously risen since then.”
Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Patrick Graham

CNSNews managed to compile the most complete picture, because their article was three days after the story broke, but I think it still provides a very good view, from the time.
U.S. Unconcerned About Russian Subs off East Coast; Moscow Says Patrol Is Routine
By Patrick Goodenough | August 6, 2009 | 5:03 AM EDT
( – The Russian and United States militaries both played down the significance of two Russian attack submarines patrolling in international waters off the East Coast of the U.S., although the Pentagon confirmed Wednesday that it had been years since Russian subs had extended their reach into the region.

“It is the first time … in roughly a decade that we’ve seen this kind of behavior,” Defense Department Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters.

The New York Times reported that a pair of nuclear-powered submarines – an Akula-class attack boat and a newer Akula-II variant – had been patrolling off the eastern seaboard in recent days.

Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command said in a statement the submarines were being monitored during transit.

Morrell made it clear the Defense Department was not worried by the incident.

“While it is interesting and noteworthy that they are in this part of the world, it doesn’t pose any threat and it doesn’t cause any concern. So we watch it, we’re mindful of it, but it doesn’t necessitate anything more than that.”

Morrell said as long as the Russian vessels remained in international waters and behaved in a responsible way, they were free to do so.

“Have we had our submarines, our ships off the Russian coast from time to time? Sure. We operate in international waters freely, and they are entitled to do so as well.”

U.S. territorial waters extend 12 nautical miles from the shore.

Morrell noted President Obama’s desire to “re-set” relations with Moscow and his comments stressing that the days of Cold War rivalry were past. The U.S. military did not “automatically see threatening motives” in the Russian action, the spokesman added.

In Moscow, the RIA Novosti news agency quoted an unnamed “high-ranking Russian Navy source” as disputing the notion that the presence of the subs so far from home was particularly unusual.

“Even during the fleet’s most difficult times in the mid-1990s, Russian submarines put to sea on active alert for patrols,” the official said. “This practice continues to this day.”

A former top Russian Navy officer told Interfax that the presence of submarines from both countries near each other’s waters was routine.

“U.S. submarines nearly enter our territorial waters near the Kola Peninsula [near Murmansk in Russia’s far north-west] when they receive such a task, and we always detect this,” said Admiral Igor Kasatonov, former first deputy commander of the Navy.

A senior military official told a news conference that the submarine patrol was “normal” part of training to improve crews’ skills.
“Our navy should not be idling its time away, and it is not only about fighting piracy or other international campaigns,” said Gen. Anatoly Nagovitsyn, deputy chief of the General Staff.

“Two Russian Nuclear Submarines Make USA Shake With Fear,” ran the headline on, a tabloid-style news Web site run by former employees of the newspaper that was the Communist Party mouthpiece during the Soviet era.


The Akula II class submarine, called Shchuka-B (Shchuka means Pike) by the Russians, is designed to deploy both torpedoes and nuclear-capable cruise missiles. Only three or four are believed to have been built.

After a period of decline following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the country’s military has become active in recent years, a development driven by former president – now prime minister – Vladimir Putin in a bid to reassert Russia’s global influence amid tensions with the West over NATO expansion and missile defense.

In 2007, Putin announced the resumption of Cold War-style long-range flights of strategic bombers that had been halted in the early 1990s.

Last year, two Tupolev Tu-95 bombers buzzed the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Pacific Ocean on two occasions, and in September, two Tu-160s landed in Venezuela for military drills.

The Russian Navy has also begun extending its reach and late last year deployed warships to the Western Hemisphere for the first time since the Cold War ended. A taskforce led by a nuclear-powered missile cruiser visited Venezuela for joint exercises and one of the vessels traversed the Panama Canal.

Morrell acknowledged that the past year or two had seen “a greater projection of not just Russian naval power but air power …  clearly there is an effort on their part to project force around the world, or at least to take excursions around the world.”

Tug visit link?

The New York Times report cited a U.S. official saying that one of the submarines was believed to have sailed south towards Cuba.

A little-noticed RIA Novosti report said a salvage tug from Russia’s Northern Fleet, the Altay, would visit Havana this week, in only the second visit by a Russian Navy ship since the end of the Cold War. (Last December’s mission to Venezuela included a Havana port call.)

The visit by the Altay, described by Russian weapons researchers as 4,000-ton, 300 foot long vessel with more than 70 crew, may be linked to the submarine journey –a precautionary measure in case problems arise.

Since the Russian Navy began extending its international presence further from home ports, salvage tugs have routinely accompanied its ships.

A task force sent to the coast of Somalia in late June for an anti-piracy mission included a tug, as did a destroyer-led Northern Fleet group which visited Syria last January.

The flotilla that sailed to Venezuela and Cuba late last year was also accompanied by a tug – and the State Department suggested derisively that its presence suggested there were concerns about ships breaking down: “It was very interesting that they found some ships that could actually make it that far down to Venezuela,” remarked spokesman Sean McCormack at the time.

The Russian Navy has struggled to jettison a reputation for badly-maintained, poorly-equipped ships.

Last November, a deadly accident occurred onboard an Akula II submarine undergoing sea trials in the Sea of Japan ahead of commissioning. Twenty people, sailors and civilian technicians, died after inhaling poisonous gas when the on-board fire suppression system of the Nerpa was activated. The vessel, which was built to be leased to the Indian Navy, sustained no structural damage, and began new trials late last month.

The Nerpa accident was the latest in a series that have dogged the Russian Navy over the past decade.

Nine crewmen perished when a decommissioned nuclear submarine sank in 2003 in the Barents Sea, and in 2006 two crew members aboard an attack submarine anchored in the same area died in a fire.

In the worst accident, an explosion sank the nuclear submarine Kursk in the Barents Sea in 2000, with all 118 sailors lost. The Altay, the tug reportedly visiting Cuba this week, was involved in the operation to salvage the Kursk.

Here we have an undated version of the same story, planted at "Alternet". Alternet positions itself as a alternative news site, where you get the *real* news.
Russian subs near US coast pose no threat: Pentagon
(no date, no author)
Russian submarines patrolling off the US east coast are not cause for concern and pose no threat to the United States, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.
 "A Russian Akula class nuclear submarine. Russian submarines patrolling off the US east coast are not cause for concern and pose no threat to the United States, the Pentagon said on Wednesday."
"So long as they are operating in international waters -- as, frankly, we do around the world -- and are behaving in a responsible way, they are certainly free to do so and it doesn't cause any alarm within this building," press secretary Geoff Morrell said at a Pentagon news conference.
US Northern Command issued a brief statement earlier that it was monitoring the submarines, which Morrell said were several hundred miles (kilometers) off the eastern coastline.
Morrell said he was unsure if Moscow gave Washington advance notice but the US military "had the means to derive where they were going."
Morrell played down the episode, saying: "While it is interesting and noteworthy that they are in this part of the world, it doesn't pose any threat and it doesn't cause any concern."
He acknowledged that US submarines have operated off the Russian coast "from time to time" as well, in international waters.
The New York Times first reported the presence of two Russian nuclear-powered, Akula class submarines off the American coast, the first such move in years that carried echoes of Cold War tensions.
The speedy Akula vessels, which can carry cruise missiles, are attack submarines used for spying, guarding warships and tracking nuclear bombers.
Russia neither confirmed or denied that its submarines were patrolling near US territory, but suggested there was undue "hysteria" in this case.
"Activities of Russian submarines in the world's oceans outside their own waters do not violate international maritime law and are within normal practice," a military-diplomatic source told ITAR-TASS news agency.
Russia regularly makes its position on international issues known through unnamed sources quoted by state media, and the country's three main news agencies ran nearly identical reactions to the report, quoting a military-diplomatic source.
"The Russian navy systematically pinpoints the location of NATO submarines, including US Navy submarines, in direct proximity to the territorial waters of the Russian Federation," Interfax news agency quoted the source as saying.
"This however has never been a reason to make a lot of noise in the press," the source said, adding: "Consequently, any hysteria in such a case is inappropriate."
During the Cold war, Moscow and Washington routinely sent submarines near each country's coastline to gather intelligence and track fleet movements.
The patrols near the US Atlantic coastline follow Moscow's symbolic shows of force in the past year, with Russian warships carrying out exercises with Venezuela and Russian bombers buzzing a US aircraft carrier in the Pacific.
President Barack Obama has sought to defuse tensions with Moscow over US plans for a missile defense system in Central Europe.
I ran into the above article being quoted by anonymous unidentified individuals on Twitter who were using it as "PROOF" that there were Russian submarines spotted very recently in American waters; recent, as in yesterday, last week, or last month - it was always in the immanent past, and the article, being undated, allowed that misinformation to trundle on.  Were these people misinformed and continuing to pass on their misinformation? Were these malicious state sponsored actors trying to push disinformation? I have no idea, but it did come up several times, and nobody ever referenced the original 2009 articles - it was always a sketchy source, portrayed as recent.

Let me introduce you to disinformation-central; a web site named "Ask Deb", which portrays itself as a helpful how-to site, where you can get a recipe for a bundt cake, or commentary on claims of Russian submarines off the East Coast - you know, the usual.

Why Are Russian Submarines Patrolling the United States Coast?
Posted on March 16, 2018 by Deb in Bizarre, News 
If reading that headline gave you an 80s flashback, you’re not alone. People are surprised to find out that two Russian attack submarines have been spotted this week within a stone’s throw, submarine-wise, of the United States. (FALSE) The sighting of the two nuclear subs represents the first major sighting of Russian submarines since the days of the Cold War (FALSE)
The Pentagon has confirmed — two Russian attack submarines have been “patrolling the waters” off the East Coast of the United States in the past week (FALSE), including one submarine that came as close as 200 miles offshore. Although Pentagon officials (who have been monitoring the sub’s movements) didn’t consider the sub’s presence as a threat, one senior military official said the patrols were “unusual”. We have to remember that Russia today is not the same as it was twenty or thirty years ago. Their navy is weak, and there haven’t been submarine missions like this in decades.
The Pentagon has determined that the sub’s presence is not “provocative”, and officials were quick to point out that both nuclear subs stayed in “international waters” during the entirety of their partrol.
This story “broke” early this week when the sightings were reported via an online edition of the New York Times. (FALSE)
For those with a short memory, or who were born after the Cold War, these patrols were once quite normal. In fact, during the course of the Cold War, submarines from both the U.S. and the Soviet Union made regular patrols in the North Atlantic. It was a kind of game — an elaborate burlesque show of naval capability in which both sides showed off their skills at tracking and targeting rival positions. The patrols in the North Atlantic were also meant to indicate to the other side that both sides would be ready in case of war.
The same senior military official quoted saying that the patrols are not an act of aggression released the following info on the Russian boats — both vessels are nuclear powered “Akula class” submarines. These are the same subs that were used during the hottest part of the Cold War to track NATO ships. “Akula class” subs would likely have been the first line of a Russian offensive had that war gone fully hot. “Akula class” boats have the ability to attack with both torpedoes and missiles. While we refer to them as “nuclear subs”, don’t be alarmed — this class of sub only relies of nuclear energy for its power. It takes much larger ballistic missile firing submarines to launch nuclear weapons.
There are a few unconfirmed aspects of the New York Times story — for instance, the Times reported that one of the pair of submarines most recent move was to put in port in Cuba. The Pentagon specifically mentioned that there is no confirmation of that fact, and that the US military instead believes that submarine hung back near the coast of Greenland.
So why are the Russians sending out nuclear submarines now? (FALSE) The fact that we’re even asking that question may give us the answer. The Russian navy is the laughingstock of powerful navies — after the Cold War, Russia couldn’t support the kind of military force they’d built up, and many programs were scrapped. The recent showy submarine patrols are just the latest in a series of military operations by the Russians designed to show that they’re not dead in the water. (JFC)
Last year, for instance, a Russian long range strategic bomber came out of nowhere and “buzzed” the U.S. aircraft carrier Nimitz and its escorts while that particular strike group was making a regular patrol of the Pacific Ocean. (FALSE) Two years ago, the British Royal Air Force went so far as to scramble fighters in order to intercept Russian strategic bombers that were flying patrols a bit too close to UK territorial air space.
(TRUE, by accident - it happens yearly) An American naval expert quoted in the New York TImes article said it was “probably 15 years since Russia had put two nuclear subs in such proximity to their former Cold War rivals.” (FALSE)This morning, the Russian military establishment finally responded to the news. (FALSE) An unnamed Russian official says patrols in international waters are “routine”, and that there was no need for “hysteria”. Another senior Russian general has shrugged off Washington’s concerns, according to the New York Times, saying it was “business as usual” for Moscow to keep its navy in shape. The specific quote — “I don’t know if it’s news to anyone,” Anatoly Nogovitsyn, Russia’s deputy chief of general staff, said. “The navy should not stay idle at its moorings.”
In 2007, Russia (which is ready to play a more serious role on the world stage) resumed Cold War era flights of nuclear ready bombers across the Atlantic Ocean. Consider this movement into the ocean part of the plan.(FALSE) Russia relies heavily on its so called “nuclear triad” — land based missiles, nuclear submarines and strategic bombers.
Before anyone panics, remember — the submarines have not taken any “provocative action” besides their mere presence, and that presence is in international waters.

The Tu-95 "buzzing" the Nimitz incident happened n 2007 (here) and frankly I don't think I need to review each point and debunk it; it's clearly ripped off the events of 2009, and frames the events as happening in 2018, claiming it's news, which it isn't. I could not find any valid contact information to get AskDeb to remove this twaddle, but their Twitter account has been permanently suspended, I suspect for pushing disinformation and propaganda.

By stealing whole sections of prior articles, and using a healthy dose of truisms and history to lend them credibility, is a good way to make a plausible article. I believe these are traits of an information operation to gain the reader's trust, and have them blend memories in their head. People may remember something about bombers, Alaska, submarines... this fills in those banks, originally sewn by reputable sources, and now filled with completely made up details that support a false narrative of things that didn't happen at all, or didn't happen as they have been portrayed in the correct time frame.

What can we do to stop this?

We have to all be critical thinkers, and use reputable sources. Despite the occasional hard time I give journalists working for the mainstream media, they are far more accurate at reporting the news than a random site such as "AskDeb". Listen to the mainstream media, even if they have their issues, they are more reputable and more accurate than most of the alternative sources. Really.

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