Culture

The Beauty of Disinformation

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INTRODUCTION

“This remarkable book will change the way you look at intelligence, foreign affairs, the press, and much else besides.”

— R. James Woolsey, Chairman, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Former Director of Central Intelligence.

FOREWORD

“Here is a work that many of us have been waiting for, a book that—dare I say—history has been waiting for.” Paul Kengor, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, Grove City College.

Most politicians, people in the academic world, and the media believe that disinformation is an obsolete Cold War phenomenon. As late as 1986, however, the word “disinformation” was not listed among the three hundred thousand entries of Webster’s New World Thesaurus, or even in the twenty-seven volumes of the New Encyclopedia Britannica. It is widely—and erroneously—believed that the word is simply a foreign synonym for misinformation. Even the Microsoft Word 2010 soft­ware used to type the draft of this book underlined the word disinforming and suggested replacing it with misinforming. In reality, disinformation is as different from misinformation as night is from day. Misinformation is an official government tool and recogniz­able as such. Disinformation (i.e., dezinformatsiya) is a secret intelligence tool, intended to bestow a Western, nongovernment cachet on govern­ment lies. Let us assume that the FSB (the new KGB) fabricated some documents supposedly proving that American military forces were under specific orders to target Islamic houses of worship in their bombing raids over Libya in 2011. If a report on those documents were published in an official Russian news outlet, that would be misinformation, and people in the West might rightly take it with a grain of salt and simply shrug it off as routine Moscow propaganda. If, on the other hand, that same material were made public in the Western media and attributed to some Western organization, that would be disinformation, and the story’s credibility would be substantially greater.

In April 2003, the Western media were inundated with hundreds of horror stories about the looting of the National Museum in Baghdad. Televi­sion stations around the world showed the weeping deputy director of the museum blaming the Americans for allowing the destruction of “170,000 items of antiquity dating back thousands of years.” That was a piece of disinformation. Eventually it was reliably reported that museum employees had hidden the supposedly looted treasures in a safe place long before the Iraq War started, and at the end of hostilities they were safe, in American protective custody. Museum officials later listed only twenty-five artifacts as definitely missing. But the damage was done. Countless people around the world still talk about the devastating images of empty display cases repeat­edly shown on their television screens, accompanied by accusations that the Americans had allowed that to happen.

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During the Cold War, more people in the Soviet bloc worked for the disinformation machinery than for the Soviet army and defense industry put together. The bloc’s intelligence community alone had well over one million officers and several million informants around the world. All were involved in deceiving the West—and their own people—or in supporting this effort. To them should be added the vast number of people working for the international disinformation organizations that the KGB secretly created. These organizations were headquartered outside the Soviet Union, pretended to be independent international entities, and published their own newspapers in French or English. Some of those international “Potemkin villages” in which I was personally involved include: the World Peace Council (with branches in 112 countries); the World Federation of Trade Unions (with branches in 90 countries); the Women’s International Democratic Federation (with branches in 129 countries); the International Union of Students (with branches in 152 countries); and the World Fed­eration of Democratic Youth (with branches in 210 countries).

… After the Soviet Union collapsed, most of the international “Potemkin villages” built by the Kremlin survived and continued carrying out the same anti-American messages as during their heyday. The World Peace Council moved from Helsinki to Athens, Greece, but it was still headed by its KGB-selected chairman Romesh Chandra, an Indian communist who in the 1970s required all WPC national branches to initiate demonstrations against the American war in Vietnam. After 1991, when the United States remained the only superpower, Chandra focused his WPC on “waging a struggle against the New World Order.” According to its current charter, the WPC has now “broadened into a worldwide mass movement” whose task is to support “those people and liberation movements” fighting “against imperialism.”13 That “imperialism,” of course, really means the United States.

On December 14, 2002, Chandra convened a meeting of his Soviet-style Executive Committee, which thereupon strongly “condemned the extremely dangerous escalation of US aggressiveness on the global level.” An international appeal in typically execrable Soviet-style language issued by the Soviet-style WPC Secretariat on the same day called upon “the people of the world” to organize “unprecedented mobilizations” against “American imperialism.”

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The World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), the second largest of KGB “Potemkin villages,” also survived the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is still headquartered in Prague, and it still uses anti-American Cold War rhetoric. During its 14th Congress (New Delhi, March 25-28, 2000), for instance, it demanded “the immediate lifting [of the American] economic blockade against Cuba, Iraq, Iran and Libya.”

The Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF) adopted a new charter during the United Nations’ Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 in Beijing, demanding in typical Cold War oratory that “the women of the world” fight “the globalization” of the “so-called ‘market economies,’” which are “a root cause of the increasing feminization of poverty everywhere.”15 On March 8, 2000, the WIDF organized a “World March of Women” in Calcutta to celebrate the Soviet-established International Women’s Day.

The International Union of Students (IUOS), headquartered in Prague, now has 152 national unions of students from 114 countries. It continues to propagate hatred for the United States. An international appeal issued during the 2001 “International Students’ Day” condemned the United States’ “vengeful attacks on Afghanistan that have set back the struggle for stability in the Middle East and served to fuel further racism and intolerance around the world.” While these groups hide their true ties to Moscow, they continually advance ideas and programs that support the Kremlin’s causes. They are perfect outlets for continuing disinformation.

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