As KGB propagandist Yuri Bezmenov warned in 1985, “Exposure to true information does not matter any more.” #CrowdStrike #Ukraine

Until he defected to Canada in the 1970’s, Yuri Bezmenov was a press officer for the Russian “news” agency RIA Novosti, running foreign propaganda campaigns on behalf of the KGB. Once free of the Soviet Union, Bezmenov made it his life’s work to inform those in non-Soviet bloc countries about the methods employed by the KGB to gradually subvert the democratic political systems of their adversaries. It’s not all spycraft, the former propagandist warned. An overwhelming majority of the KGB’s work, according to Bezmenov, is in the area of psychological warfare.

“The main emphasis of the KGB is not in the area of intelligence at all,” Bezmenov said during an interview in 1985. “Only about 15% of time, money, and manpower is spent on espionage and such. The other 85% is a slow process which we call either ideological subversion or active measures… or psychological warfare.”

Here’s an excerpt from that 1985 exchange, which, if you’re anything like me, you’ll find incredibly prophetic, given what we’re living through today.

The entire transcript of this discussion is available online, but here’s the part I found the most interesting.

The goal of these active measures campaigns, Bezmenov says, “is to change the perception of reality of every American to such an extent that, despite the abundance of information, no one is able to come to sensible conclusions in the interests of defending themselves, their families, their community, and their country.”

Bezmenov goes on to say, “(E)xposure to true information does not matter any more. A person who is demoralized is unable to assess true information. The facts tell nothing to him. Even if I shower him with information, with authentic proof, with documents, with pictures. Even if I take him, by force, to the Soviet Union and show him (a) concentration camp, he will refuse to believe it until he is going to receive a kick in his fat bottom. When the military boot crashes his, then he will understand. But not before that. That is the tragedy of this situation of demoralization.”

The times are clearly different, and these campaigns on the part of the Russians are no longer ideologically driven, but the methods, as we can see playing out right now, are very much the same. They are still attempting to subvert our democratic institutions by chipping away at the idea of objective truth. And the “useful idiots,” that Bezmenov talks about – the ones who would help the Soviets spread their disinformation across America, aiding in the process of demoralization – are still very much alive.

Oh, and here’s something to think about in the context of what Bezmenov says above. It’s a quote from a 36-year-old nurse by the name of Nicole Morrison in Wisconsin, who was recently interviewed about the impeachment of Donald Trump.

“There’s so much information that sometimes it’s hard to decide which is the truth and which is just rumors,” she said. “So I just don’t pay attention to it.”

This, my friends, is exactly the objective… to sow enough doubt that no one knows what to believe.

One last thing. I know we’ve already discussed it at length, but it’s worth noting yet again that the very Republicans who were defending Donald Trump’s suggestion that the Ukrainians may have interfered in the 2016 election, and not the Russians, had recently received a briefing from intelligence officials, who made it very clear to them that the CrowdStrike theory being pushed by Trump is in fact a Russian-backed disinformation campaign. And yet they went ahead with it anyway… Useful idiots, indeed.

update: OK, because I can’t stop. Here’s another example of said useful idiocy in service of the Russians. [I should add that I use the term “useful idiot” loosely here. Senator Kennedy may play up the southern drawl, but he’s Oxford educated. He knows what’s going on, and he’s made a choice to participate in this propaganda campaign, fully aware of what it means, and what’s at stake. He’s no idiot.]

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50 Comments

  1. Frosted Flakes
    Posted December 1, 2019 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Columbo was a good tv show.

  2. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted December 1, 2019 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    NYT carried Ukraine helping Clinton so it’s a Russian propaganda conspiracy rag, right?

  3. Anonymous
    Posted December 1, 2019 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    I’ll try to make this easy for you. Donald Trump during the campaign indicated that Ukraine should go back to Russia. Some Ukrainians, as you might imagine, didn’t like this, and they spoke out, as did other world leaders. They did not, however, interfere in our election.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted December 1, 2019 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Chuck Todd to Senator Kennedy: “You realize that the only other person selling this argument outside of the US is Vladimir Putin … You have done exactly what the Russian operating is trying to get American politicians to do. And are you at all concerned that you have been duped?”

  5. Jean Henry
    Posted December 1, 2019 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    This should be widely shared.

  6. Jean Henry
    Posted December 1, 2019 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Good Seth Abramson analysis of Kenedy’s rhetorical game of shells re Ukraine in above clip. Reminds me of FF but with out the hissyfits:
    https://twitter.com/SethAbramson/status/1201259494459822082?s=20

  7. Jean Henry
    Posted December 1, 2019 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    The Abramson analysis is actually a good primer on the press’s obligation to understand the multiple misinformation campaigns and conspiracy theories even though they are bullshit. They must be able to counter the misinformation with adequate understanding. hey need to be reliable resources for information that is NOT even more confusing.

    “If you read this feed, you know what Kennedy’s doing here.

    There are *four* Kremlin-born conspiracy theories involving Ukraine: CROWDSTRIKE, BURISMA, BLACK LEDGER, UKRAINE-CHALUPA-DNC.

    Dr. Hill/
    @chucktodd
    are discussing CROWDSTRIKE; Kennedy is referring to the last of the four.

    @SenJohnKennedy: “No, just read the articles.”

    1/ Until
    @chucktodd
    and others in media get down *cold* all four Kremlin-bred conspiracy theories—including what false/misleading evidence and/or testimony they rely upon—Kennedy will keep going on TV to be met only with shock rather than an *absolute demolition of his argument*.
    2/ I’m serious here—this is the most significant political story of this generation, and half the story is the fraudulent defense that half the nation’s political class will mount to try to end the biggest scandal in US history. If you’re on TV, you must know that defense *cold*.
    3/ I’m very familiar with the false, fradulent, or misleading material/testimonial evidence connected to all four of these Kremlin-bred conspiracy theories, and Kennedy is lying *even* about what false, fraudulent, or misleading material/testimonial evidence support the theories.
    4/ I’m *glad* that Sen. Kennedy is saying which articles he’s been reading; now journalists need to read those articles themselves so they can *contest* these risibly false Kremlin-and-GOP talking points rather than merely act (rather emptily) scandalized whenever they hear them.

  8. Meta
    Posted December 1, 2019 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Newsweek: “FORMER GOP CONGRESSMAN TELLS MSNBC REPUBLICANS ARE ‘BEING USED BY RUSSIA'”

    ormer GOP lawmaker David Jolly charged that Republicans in Congress today are essentially “being used by Russia” because they don’t want to acknowledge the truth.

    “It’s dangerous, it’s gravely dangerous,” Jolly told host Ali Velshi Monday night during MSNBC’s The Last Word. Jolly served as the representative for Florida’s 13th congressional district from 2014 to 2017.

    “Through their own ignorance, negligence or maleficence, they are being used by Russia,” Jolly said. “Republican senators and Republican members of Congress tonight are being used by Russia because they are unwilling to look at the truth.”

    Read more:
    https://www.newsweek.com/former-gop-congressman-says-republicans-being-used-russia-1474125

  9. dogmatic dolt
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 4:15 am | Permalink

    Aloha, Putin has turned Marcon.
    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/russia-is-no-longer-our-enemy-macron-tells-nato-before-summit-9680wk9bw?fbclid=IwAR1Uhq1q_ZH-Atl4mIK9dmXqyApNxd3Yg0IzAQSlmdsEvS-iX871ZroxV7Q

  10. John Brown
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Agent Orange is a traitor in the Ruskie cyber war on the USA and should be executed. He should be strung up and displayed to remind his traitorous voters and potential imitators what awaits them if they persist toward fascism.

    Oh, and I hope everyone had a pleasant thanksgiving…

  11. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    The hateful and powerless John Brown

  12. Sad
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    He remembers what they did to Mussolini.

  13. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Too bad the true fascists are the CIA and their propaganda pushing slaves.

  14. Jean Henry
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Doesn’t sound like the IG report will fulfill all HW and EOS’ hopes and dreams. Bummer for them. Totally predictable, but man they put a lot of weight on that investigation. I’m sure they will be on to the next revelation od Trump’s aggressive deep state swamp cleaning soon. Putin loves them.

    “She is also about to be back in the news cycle in a big way. On Dec. 9, the Justice Department inspector general report into Trump’s charges that the FBI spied on his 2016 campaign will come out. Leaked press accounts indicate the report will exonerate Page of the allegation that she acted unprofessionally or showed bias against Trump.

    How does it feel after all this time to finally have the IG apparently affirm what she’s been saying all along? She said she wouldn’t discuss the findings until they were officially public, but she did note: “While it would be nice to have the IG confirm publicly that my personal opinions had absolutely no bearing on the course of the Russia investigations, I don’t kid myself that the fact will matter very much for a lot of people. The president has a very loud megaphone.”

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/lisa-page-speaks-theres-no-fathomable-way-i-have-committed-any-crime-at-all

  15. Jean Henry
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    The Clinesmith altering of the FISA request is all Horowitz turned up. A few process errors. That’s it. No deep state rotorooter-ing will occur. No mass arrests. No undercover FBI investigation of the Trump candidacy at all. Nothing. Burger.

    “The Justice Department’s inspector general found no evidence that the F.B.I. attempted to place undercover agents or informants inside Donald J. Trump’s campaign in 2016 as agents investigated whether his associates conspired with Russia’s election interference operation, people familiar with a draft of the inspector general’s report said.”

    “The F.B.I. gave Mr. Horowitz’s team extraordinary access to its informant database, and his investigators examined other F.B.I. informants with possible ties to the Trump campaign. In each case, they found that the F.B.I. had not deployed those people to gather information on the Trump campaign itself, the people said.”

    ROFL

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/27/us/politics/fbi-trump-campaign-inspector-general.html?smtyp=cur&smid=tw-nytimes

  16. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    How much weight do you think I put on Horowitz? Definitely never intimated I think it will be the be-all end-all. If you think otherwise then as always: quote me with what I actually said. Never said it will come with large numbers of indictments, etc. You fail so bad Jean but you are so dumb you don’t know it.

  17. Memory Hole
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    HW IN 2018: “Horowitz has over FOUR HUNDRED FIFTY employees. Let that sink in. Report on Clinton email investigation to follow FISA memo.”

  18. Memory Hole
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    HW: “The House Intelligence Committee is investigating the FBI. So has IG Horowitz. It’s coming to a head with people already getting fired and demoted. Now congress knows about FISA abuse/illegal spying is coming out and there is nothing they can do to stop it.”

  19. Memory Hole
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    HW: “Horowitz’s investigation is going to be devastating to the collusion investigation. “Bigger than Watergate” is what one congressman said about the four page memo. Sara Carter, who broke the story on FISA abuse a year ago said if the memo is a bullet it is one of ten bullets. I’m buying it. You’re not? You are feigning confidence. Otherwise you would bet me on it.”

  20. Memory Hole
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    HW: “Want to bet against people being charged in association with IG Horowitz’s investigation, which includes the source material for the FISA memo and much more? If you are wrong you have to change your board name to whatever I want for six months. If I am wrong I’ll change mine.”

  21. Memory Hole
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    HW: “The Dems are in disarray. The FISA memo and aaalll the other incriminating documents Horowitz has are going to hit the Party like an atomic bomb. Not just Dems – “Repubs” like McCain will be destroyed too. I’m telling you the old corrupt system will be laid to waste. It’s happening.”

  22. Memory Hole
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    HW: “Inspector General Horowitz obtained 1.2 MILLION documents in the investigation into Obama’s FBI/DOJ and the Clinton campaign. Presumably the four page memo represents only a small part of that information. That’s what I am hearing. It makes me giddy to think of the justice about to come down.”

  23. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    As if someone like Jean should ever be laughing over nothingburgers. She’ll wait and wait and wait for the Mueller report in hope of something glorious to happen but when nothing happens it’s “wull it was inconclusive…” If you were capable of laughing at yourself you might be able to actually laugh some of that horrible ass off.

  24. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    So where do I say thousands will be arrested due to the report? Stick that in your memory hole.

  25. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    I was correct that someone altered the Carter Page FISA which was the backdoor into the Trump campaign which makes it a very big fucking deal. Sara Carter, Jon Solomon, Hannity all the people you ridicule got it right.

    Did you ever make a line of dominos and watch them fall? How many falling dominos does it take to start the process?

  26. Jean Henry
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Memory Hole. I’m glad someone had the time and energy. Its all tilting a windmills anyway. It took listening to Trump invoke her name and then grown orgasmically for Susan Page to speak up about her treatment bu the right. But even she knows it’s not going to change the base one bit. Those of us with any sense of democratic values left however, can see that Trump’s behavior and actions in so many ways push against those core shared democratic values in increasingly dangerous ways.

  27. Jean Henry
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    groan not grown*

  28. Jean Henry
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    HW:um the Mueller report was inconclusive. Bu Mueller’s own account. The Horowitz report will be out soon. I assume it won’t be inconclusive on guilt or innocence since it’s not looking at the President whom the justice department recently found immune to prosecution.

  29. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    The Mueller report wasn’t shit. Fact.

  30. Jean Henry
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    “Definitely never intimated I think it will be the be-all end-all.”

    um yeah you did. you went way beyond intimating it. And memory hole’s quotes show that. You are toast. Go home and lick your wounds and wait to be proven wrong agin when the report is made public.

    Guess I don’t have to worry about that $1000 I was gonna owe you when it all came down. Your instinct not to stand by your assertions and counter with your own bet was a solid one. And revealing. You, HW, are a puffed up bag of hot wind.

  31. Jean Henry
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    12 incidents of abuse of power is in fact shit. Just a tiny bit of evidence of the entire world of shit we now occupy under your fearless leader, the buffoon leader of an unruly band of idiots, Donald J Trump.

  32. Jean Henry
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    I know a lot of Trump supporters and none of them defend him with the vigilance you do. They can acknowledge that he has abused his power. They still like him. But You are uniquely immune to any balance in your perspective. I often wonder if you ever leave your house and go out into the wider world at all. Maybe you actually live in a silo and that explains it.

  33. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Atomic bomb may or may not be over the top. We will see. I never said this is IT though. You have got to be kidding me. Like I said: a series of major hits on deep state players of increasing intensity. Horowitz, Huber, Durham, Barr

  34. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    “12 incidents of abuse of power”

    Nice opinion.

  35. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    If it is true what your leaks say then it is a major victory for me. Why would they have to falsify an official document to get Carter Page if he is in fact a russkie stooge? It backs up exactly what I said years ago.

  36. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Cartoon break

    https://twitter.com/CalebJHull/status/1201585278097510401

  37. Jean Henry
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    No transcript yet but this takes my point re core democratic values back around to the original point of this post. It addresses the crumbling of the public’s faith in Democracy– which is purportedly and evidently Putin’s goal from Russian interference in our political process as a whole

    https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/otm/episodes/purple-episode-4-media-rescue-on-the-media.

  38. Jean Henry
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    HW– everything is a major win for you. Just like the president you have no idea when you are losing.

  39. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Wrong as always, Jean. I don’t know how you do it. This Russia/Putin shit is terrible. Do you think it’s a good strategy to just keep doing what are you doing but harder when you lose every single time? You already failed bigger than anyone could imagine with Pissgate and everything else associated with it. Nothing you have said has turned out right. Now as justice approaches you scoff.

  40. Jean Henry
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    HW–The difference between me and you is that I never assert that I know what the outcome of politics will be. The few times I have done that I can be wrong. What I do no to be true however is that your assertions are reliably counter factual and absurd to the degree that I am happily willing to bet that your prophecies and Q’s will not come to pass. I could be wrong about that… No actually I cannot. Everything else I say is not asserted as anything but my take based on the evidence I see. I’m confident it is not 100% correct because no one ever is– except in their own minds. It’s that pesky ‘logic’ you all keep going on about. It doesn’t;t work in a vacuum.

  41. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    No one can know anything for sure sure until it happens. Some people can be correct in their predictions (observations) and some people like you are always wrong. You said FISA fuckery is a conspiracy theory for example but now you have to admit it is true.

  42. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    “your assertions are reliably counter factual”

    Such as? Use quotes or at least say something accurate for once.

  43. Bob
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    I think Jean and Warlord are probably the same person and get a little spiff for each post. Either that or some low rent, Ypsi version of James Carville and that disgusting wife of his. Either way they should realize that most of us scroll past their endless posts without actually reading them.

  44. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    You aren’t Bob from Virginia are you? You better not be ahahaha! Either way: internet pussy = disqualified from valid posts.

  45. Posted December 2, 2019 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

  46. Jean Henry
    Posted December 2, 2019 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    “most of us scroll past their endless posts without actually reading them.” Bob apparently is psychic and knows other people’s reading habits.

    What makes you think I care if anyone reads my posts or what this who do think of me? My indifference to that should be clear by now.

  47. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted December 3, 2019 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    I think it is hilarious to say “There is no server. It was in a cloud.” How dumb do you think people are? A cloud-based SERVER holds the information.

  48. iRobert
    Posted December 3, 2019 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Though I get where you’re coming from, Bob, I’m pretty sure HW isn’t one of JH’s multiple personalities.

  49. iRobert
    Posted December 3, 2019 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Regarding Mark’s post, I think there is a lot of truth to it. However, it’s clearly the popular culture here in the US that has been transforming the general public into these mindless drones with baseless beliefs and no critical thinking skills. We have all been perpetuating that ever worsening situation with our buying power as consumers.

  50. Oliva
    Posted December 3, 2019 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    This is such a good and important post by Mark. Can it finally be time, as if the country and so much more depend on it, that people here decide to be done with what seems like showing off by putting someone else down, which can get mean, and start being in this together (whether we like it or not)? For humanity, the country, neighbors, the planet. And take all the obvious smarts here and use them for good purposes. Just imagine.

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