Recent events clearly show that, owing to efforts of the current US political elite, teachings of Propaganda Minister of Nazi Germany, Doctor Paul Joseph Goebbels, have taken root in the United States and are being actively propagated in various spheres of work and life.
And there are numerous examples of this! The author is referring to the stoking of racial tensions and hatred in the past decades in the United States, and to CIA’s “black sites” all over the world, where, just as in Nazi Germany, detainees were tortured and perhaps continue to be tortured to extract “confessions that authorities wish to hear”. In addition, the United States has been using targeted killings of political opponents as a tool. The widely-publicized assassination of Major General Qasem Soleimani in Iraq is one of the most recent examples. The US could also be on the brink of a revolution, which the current political elites stand to benefit from. After all, protests, possibly orchestrated by intelligence agencies, to show people’s disillusionment with former national heroes are still ongoing and so is the tearing down of historical monuments. Perhaps, the burning of books deemed as subversive is next, just as during a campaign conducted by the German social-democrats in 1933.
Nowadays, USA’s once powerful and sophisticated weapons no longer seem threatening. After all, in all the conflicts that Washington has been involved in, particularly those in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US has repeatedly failed to reach its goals and sustained losses, which include the lives of thousands of American servicemen as well as billions of dollars, and damage to the US image. In this climate, the current US leadership, in a last ditch effort to stay in power, has resorted to Goebbels-style propaganda.
Back in the 1930s, Doctor Goebbels formulated the core principles behind such war-time and political propaganda. The key is to capture the popular imagination, which is the main aim of any disinformation campaign, and to make sure the propaganda is effective by any means necessary. The bigger the lie is, the more believable it is and the faster it spreads.
In order to bring Goebbels’ teachings to life while conducting psychological operations (PSYOP), in June 2010, the US Department of Defense renamed them to Military Information Support Operations (MISO), which the Pentagon and the CIA are actively involved in.
The CIA and various think tanks, possibly infiltrated by intelligence agents, are actively involved in the creation of numerous propaganda campaigns, which social media and easily influenced media outlets then become a part of. And since everyone involved needs to be paid substantial sums of money, more and more funds are being allocated to information warfare with the help of politicians who are lobbied to support such activities.
It has been reported that the US House Armed Services Committee, headed by Chairman Adam Smith, proposed allocating $3.8 billion to fund the European Containment Initiative program aimed at containing Russia in its draft 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA, the name of a US federal law specifying the annual budget and expenditures of the US Department of Defense). And only for 2019-2020 over $12.4 billion had already been allocated for this program.
A layman may wonder what such vast sums of money would be spent on during Washington’s disinformation campaigns.
By whipping up a propaganda frenzy about Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election (which saw Donald Trump elected), an allegation supported by a report documenting the findings and conclusions of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s and his team’s investigation (first initiated by the FBI), Washington is trying to actively accuse other countries of interfering with the US internal affairs. In fact, by conducting its own disinformation campaigns, the United States is interfering with internal affairs of other countries. And there are too many examples of this: in nations of the Middle East, Latin America, the post-Soviet space, and most recently in Russia, during its national referendum on amendments to the Constitution. According to senator on the Federation Council Andrei Klimov, by June 25, twenty videos aimed at discrediting Russia’s leadership were meant to be posted online with the help of the “Net” (“No”) movement, whose propaganda campaigns are purportedly shaped by the US Department of State. It has been reported that on the day voting on the amendments to the constitution began, i.e. June 25, a car with US diplomatic license plates was spotted outside anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny’s headquarters in Kostroma. And the day before the referendum began, the same vehicle had been seen near an office of the Movement for Defense of Voters’ Rights “Golos”.
Recently, the United States actively focused its propaganda efforts targeting Russia on the conflict in Libya. According to several media outlets, including Ukrainian ones, Moscow sent at least 12 combat jets to Libya. However, Russian politicians and news sources have contradicted such reports. Then hundreds of fighters from the Wagner Group (a Russian private military company) were accused of operating in Libya, but Russia has repeatedly denied these allegations as another fake news from Washington. In order to appear more credible, the stories were published by reputable news services, such as Deutsche Welle, a broadcaster that, as of recent, has repeatedly proven to be a propaganda outlet in Moscow’s eyes.
Russia suspects the CIA is behind yet another propaganda operation – The New York Times and other news outlets reported a few days ago that Russia had allegedly offered secret bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill US troops in Afghanistan. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation justly responded to the latest accusations from Washington: “This unsophisticated plant clearly illustrates the low intellectual abilities of the propagandists of American intelligence services that, instead of inventing something more plausible, have to make up this nonsense. Nevertheless, what else could be expected from the intelligence agency that has failed miserably in the 20-year-long war in Afghanistan.”
In their efforts to bring Goebbels’ teachings to life, certain political circles in the United States appear to be filling the media space with misinformation, lies, nonsense and distorted facts, as part of their aggressive propaganda campaigns. Individuals are deliberately overloaded with untrustworthy information, and this could lead to erosion of moral values.
And currently, specialized agencies in the United States are not the only ones engaged in the aforementioned activities. Informational-Psychological Operations Centers (IPSYOP) of Special Operations Command (a branch of the Armed Forces of Ukraine) as well as 103rd CIMIC/PSYOPS Center of the Czech Army are also at the forefront of the disinformation campaigns. The operations of these special forces units are overseen and directed by the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence in Riga; NATO CCD COE (the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence); USSOCOM (US Special Operations Command) and the US Army’s 4th PSYOP Group (formerly the 4th Military Information Support Operations Group). In order to coordinate such activities, special training exercises are conducted on a regular basis. Drills that have taken place in Eastern Europe in the past three years are indicative of the nature of these operations. For instance, some of the largest-scale exercises for the Czech SOF (special operations forces) were reported to have been conducted in 2017: Dark Shadow 2017, Flying Shadow and Repair Exercise Dark Shadow. They involved special forces, INFOOPS and PSYOPS units.
Owing to Washington’s efforts, the number of followers of Goebbels’s teachings is growing. However, it is important to remember what fate Nazi Germany and its ideology faced in the end.
Vladimir Odintsov, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.