So, as you read any such discussions, particularly so in Internet news groups (NG), decide for yourself when a rational argument is being applied and when disinformation, psyops (psychological warfare operations) or trickery is the tool. Accuse those guilty of the later freely. They (both those deliberately seeking to lead you astray, and those who are simply foolish or misguided thinkers) generally run for cover when thus illuminated, or — put in other terms, they put up or shut up (a perfectly acceptable outcome either way, since truth is the goal.) Here are the twenty-five methods and seven traits, some of which don’t apply directly to NG application. Each contains a simple example in the form of actual (some paraphrased for simplicity) from NG comments on commonly known historical events, and a proper response. Accusations should not be overused — reserve for repeat offenders and those who use multiple tactics. Responses should avoid falling into emotional traps or informational sidetracks, unless it is feared that some observers will be easily dissuaded by the trickery. Consider quoting the complete rule rather than simply citing it, as others will not have reference. Offer to provide a complete copy of the rule set upon request (see permissions statement at end):
Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation ~
Note: The first rule and last five (or six, depending on situation) rules are generally not directly within the ability of the traditional disinfo artist to apply. These rules are generally used more directly by those at the leadership, key players, or planning level of the criminal conspiracy or conspiracy to cover up.
(1) Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil ~ Regardless of what you know, don’t discuss it — especially if you are a public figure, news anchor, etc. If it’s not reported, it didn’t happen, and you never have to deal with the issues.
Example: Media was present in the courtroom (Hunt vs. Liberty Lobby) when CIA agent Marita Lorenz ‘confession’ testimony regarding CIA direct participation in the planning and assassination of John Kennedy was revealed. All media reported was that E. Howard Hunt lost his libel case against Liberty Lobby (Liberty Lobby’s newspaper, The Spotlight, had reported Hunt was in Dallas that day and were sued for the story). See Mark Lane’s remarkable book, Plausible Denial, for the full confessional transcript.
Proper response: There is no possible response unless you are aware of the material and can make it public yourself.. In any such attempt, be certain to target any known silent party as likely complicit in a cover up. In this case, it would be the entire Time-Warner Media Group, among others. This author is relatively certain that reporters were hand-picked to cover this case from among those having intelligence community ties.
(2) Become Incredulous and Indignant ~ Avoid discussing key issues and instead focus on side issues which can be used show the topic as being critical of some otherwise sacrosanct group or theme. This is also known as the ‘How dare you!’ gambit.
Example: ‘How dare you suggest that the Branch Davidians were murdered! the FBI and BATF are made up of America’s finest and best trained law enforcement, operate under the strictest of legal requirements, and are under the finest leadership the President could want to appoint.’
Proper response: You are avoiding the Waco issue with disinformation tactics. Your high opinion of FBI is not founded in fact. All you need do is examine Ruby Ridge and any number of other examples, and you will see a pattern of abuse of power that demands attention to charges against FBI/BATF at Waco. Why do you refuse to address the issues with disinformation tactics (rule 2 – become incredulous and indignant)?
(3) Create Rumor Mongers ~ Avoid discussing issues by describing all charges, regardless of venue or evidence, as mere rumors and wild accusations. Other derogatory terms mutually exclusive of truth may work as well. This method which works especially well with a silent press, because the only way the public can learn of the facts are through such ‘arguable rumors’. If you can associate the material with the Internet, use this fact to certify it a ‘wild rumor’ from a ‘bunch of kids on the Internet’ which can have no basis in fact.
‘You can’t prove his material was legitimately from French Intelligence. Pierre Salinger had a chance to show his ‘proof’ that flight 800 was brought down by friendly fire, and he didn’t. All he really had was the same old baseless rumor that’s been floating around the Internet for months.’
Proper response: You are avoiding the issue with disinformation tactics. The Internet charge reported widely is based on a single FBI interview statement to media and a similar statement by a Congressman, neither of which had actually seen Pierre’s document. As the FBI is being accused in participating in a cover up of this matter and Pierre claims his material is not Internet sourced, it is natural that FBI would have reason to paint his material in a negative light. For you to assume the FBI to have no bias in the face of Salinger’s credentials and unchanged stance suggests you are biased. At the best you can say the matter is in question. Further, to imply that material found on Internet is worthless is not founded. At best you may say it must be considered carefully before accepting it, which will require addressing the actual issues. Why do you refuse to address these issues with disinformation tactics (rule 3 – create rumor mongers)?
(4) Use a Straw Man ~ Find or create a seeming element of your opponent’s argument which you can easily knock down to make yourself look good and the opponent to look bad. Either make up an issue you may safely imply exists based on your interpretation of the opponent/opponent arguments/situation, or select the weakest aspect of the weakest charges. Amplify their significance and destroy them in a way which appears to debunk all the charges, real and fabricated alike, while actually avoiding discussion of the real issues.
Example: When trying to defeat reports by the Times of London that spy-sat images reveal an object racing towards and striking flight 800, a straw man is used. The disinformationalist, later identified as having worked for Naval Intelligence, simply stated: ‘If these images exist, the public has not seen them. Why? They don’t exist, and never did. You have no evidence and thus, your entire case falls flat.’
Proper response: ‘You are avoiding the issue with disinformation tactics. You imply deceit and deliberately establish an impossible and unwarranted test. It is perfectly natural that the public has not seen them, nor will they for some considerable time, if ever. To produce them would violate national security with respect to intelligence gathering capabilities and limitations, and you should know this. Why do you refuse to address the issues with such disinformation tactics (rule 4 – use a straw man)?’
(5) Sidetrack Opponents with Name-Calling and Ridicule ~ This is also known as the primary ‘attack the messenger’ ploy, though other methods qualify as variants of that approach. Associate opponents with unpopular titles such as ‘kooks’, ‘right-wing’, ‘liberal’, ‘left-wing’, ‘terrorists’, ‘conspiracy buffs’, ‘radicals’, ‘militia’, ‘racists’, ‘religious fanatics’, ‘sexual deviates’, and so forth. This makes others shrink from support out of fear of gaining the same label, and you avoid dealing with issues.
Example: ‘You believe what you read in the Spotlight? The Publisher, Willis DeCarto, is a well-known right-wing racist. I guess we know your politics — does your Bible have a swastika on it? That certainly explains why you support this wild-eyed, right-wing conspiracy theory.’
Proper response: ‘You are avoiding the issue with disinformation tactics. Your imply guilt by association and attack truth on the basis of the messenger. The Spotlight is well known Populist media source responsible for releasing facts and stories well before mainstream media will discuss the issues through their veil of silence. Willis DeCarto has successfully handled lawsuits regarding slanderous statements such as yours. Your undemonstrated charges against the messenger have nothing to do with the facts or the issues, and fly in the face of reason. Why do you refuse to address the issues by use of such disinformation tactics (rule 5 – sidetrack opponents with name calling and ridicule)?’