The Disinformation Age

President Trump, Russia, and a Whiff of the FSB

April 30, 2018


In his 2013 book Disinformation, former chief of Romanian intelligence General Ion Mihai Pacepa describes tactics utilized by the KGB and its predecessors over the decades. He defines “disinformation” not as synonymous with “misinformation,” but rather as a secret intelligence tool, where false information is leaked to non-governmental sources (media) in order to give the false story credibility.
 
The General, who defected to the US in 1978, describes the use of a “kernel of truth” to allow a KGB lie to take root. For example, during the KGB-sponsored “peace” (anti-nuclear) movement in Europe and the US, the “kernel of truth” was the potential catastrophe which would result from a nuclear war. This possibility formed the basis of supposed American tendencies toward aggression and added to the need to destroy our defensive nuclear arsenal.
 
Thanks to the KGB campaign of disinformation, to this day many people believe the CIA was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
 
The story that will not die – the false story of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in order to help get Donald Trump elected – smells like a KGB-type endeavor. Now re-christened the FSB, the KGB profits from US dysfunction, no matter its form.
 
In the case of the JFK assassination, the KGB invented stories and reasons why the CIA would kill an American president. In the early 1960s, critical thinking was in large enough supply that a plausible explanation was required in order for the KGB version to persuade Americans. In 2018, with a dearth of people willing to think critically and consider facts, accusations alone suffice.
 
The 1964 “The-CIA-Did-It” disinformation campaign revolved around the possibility that JFK wanted to get our military out of Vietnam, but the “military-industrial complex” could not bear the thought of life without war. The “kernel of truth” came from an excerpt from a Kennedy speech and the existence of a Pentagon plan regarding pulling out of Vietnam.
 
Of course, at this moment, the Pentagon has plans to nuke China, invade North Korea, invade Iran, and spend money wisely when purchasing weapons systems. This does not mean any of the above will happen – or that the CIA killed President Kennedy.
 
Never mind that Kennedy is the president who escalated our Vietnam involvement, including by consenting to the assassination of South Vietnamese leader Ngo Dinh Diem in November of 1963.
 
Within three weeks of Kennedy’s assassination, a communist agent published an article in Europe, explaining to readers why Americans were responsible for Kennedy’s murder. Multiple books were published by communist agents that pinned the blame on the CIA. Days before the Warren Commission released its report, a book written by a communist agent appeared in publication declaring CIA guilt. The KGB was the source for such articles and books. Yes, the KGB was the original accuser of the CIA. Why? Because they needed the truth to be deflected away from the Russian agent who pulled the trigger.
 
Today we hear discussion of the “Steele Dossier,” which has been thoroughly discredited, yet it is THE document which launched this contemporary nonsense. Propagated by the Hillary Clinton campaign and Barack Obama administration, the Trump-Russian collusion is what millions of people remain convinced swung the election.
 
The FSB did not need to give a reason why Russia would prefer a President Trump over a President Clinton. Now that the supposed conspirators have succeeded in electing Donald Trump, no explanation has been given for Trump administration actions against Russian interests, including in Syria – actions which have angered Vladimir Putin and his government.
 
The KGB is alive and well; they simply changed names, just as they have done in the past. Their goal is to interfere, to create turmoil, to erode the foundations of their enemies. Unlike during large portions of the Cold War, now the KGB/FSB has major media outlets to do their bidding, depending on who such circumstances benefit. Some American news outlets operate more as “Pravda West” than journalistic news agencies in search of accurate reporting that would reveal threats from our enemies.
 
Tyrants neither respect nor fear weakness – ask the Brits during the tenure of Neville Chamberlain about that. Tyrants understand strength, but for a nation to remain strong, it must not fall into disarray. This obvious point is also obvious to the KGB, hence the constant attacks by way of disinformation. Whether it is protecting Russian energy interests by spreading lies about fracking (Russian efforts in this area have been proven) or sowing the seeds of distrust toward our government, American dysfunction is a valued Russian goal.
 
President Trump has exuded and exercised strength internationally; bad actors on the international stage need America to project weakness in order for them to prosper. Former FSB Director Putin, whose history includes dealing in disinformation, understands how to poison a free nation’s public opinion. The unsubstantiated, politically driven, likely Russian-originated hit job of a so-called “dossier” has all the earmarks of a KGB/FSB disinformation campaign. There is a kernel of truth: people in both the Clinton and Trump campaigns spoke to Russian officials at some point during the campaign. From there, the compliant media, unconcerned with the truth, swallowed the bait – hook, line, and sinker.
 
It would not be the first time – nor will it be the last – that the American media falls for KGB disinformation. Even when Russian involvement is not present, the American media has learned to implement the Russian model of disruption by way of grasping a “kernel of truth” and adding their own “facts.” Many news outlets are indeed “Pravda West.” It does not take a former Romanian intelligence chief to recognize the propaganda of the supposed Trump/Russia collusion.

Copyright ©2018

Brian W. Peterson has been a columnist for a mid-size California newspaper, is a veteran of political campaigns, and was a member of the publicly elected Republican Central Committee of Los Angeles County. His psychological thriller Dead Dreams and sci-fi adventure Children of the Sun are currently available through Amazon.com. You can follow Brian on Twitter @cybrpete.