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Disinformation is the deliberate dissemination of false information. It may include the distribution of forged documents, manuscripts, and photographs, or propagation of malicious rumours and fabricated intelligence. In the context of espionage or military intelligence, it is the spreading of deliberately false information to mislead an enemy as to one's position or course of action. It also includes the distortion of true information in such a way as to render it useless.
Disinformation techniques may also be found in commerce and government, used by one group to try to undermine the position of a competitor. It in fact is the act of deception and blatant false statements to convince someone of an untruth
Disinformation differs from propaganda in that its true source is concealed, and it usually involves some clandestine action. Unlike propaganda and Big Lie techniques designed to engage emotional support, disinformation is designed to manipulate the audience at the rational level by either discrediting conflicting information or supporting false conclusions.
Another technique of concealing facts, or censorship is also used if the group can affect such control. When channels of information cannot be completely closed, they can be rendered useless by filling them with disinformation, effectively lowering their signal-to-noise ratio.
The Cold War made disinformation a recognized military and political tactic, though disinformation is generally more subtle and designed to remain unnoticed by the target audience.
Disinformation should not be confused with misinformation, which is not deliberate; i.e., the person or news source forwarding the information doesn't know it's not true and/or actually believes it; thus, disinformation can be relayed as misinformation if the one relaying the message is not aware that the originator of the message deliberately manufactured false information and offered it up for distribution. Whether the target of such an attack is to mislead the end user of the information or if the disinformation is meant to destroy the credibility of those gullible enough to relay it (usually news agencies) and not really caring what damage it does to the ultimate recipient must be judged on a per case basis.
Examples of disinformation[edit | edit source]
The classic example of disinformation was during the Second World War, leading up to the D-Day landings, when British intelligence convinced the German Armed Forces that a much larger invasion force was about to cross the English Channel from Kent, England. In reality, the Normandy landings were the main attempt at establishing a beachhead, made easier by the German Command's reluctance to commit its armies.
In 1986, national security adviser John Poindexter wrote for President Reagan a "disinformation program" aimed at destabilizing Libya's Col. Muammar Qaddafi by false reports in the foreign press about an impending conflict between the two countries. But the false information reached an American newspaper, The Wall Street Journal - a phenomenon known in the trade as "blowback." 
Many 9/11 researchers (notably Mark Robinowitz) have accused some other popular 9/11 conspiracy sites of fostering conspiracy theories as disinformation meant to discredit and distract the 9/11 Truth Movement .
References[edit | edit source]
See also[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
- Crash Course in KGB/SVR/FSB Disinformation and Active Measures - by The Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies, USA
- Identifying Misinformation - by US State Department
- Disinformation - from Encyclopedia of Intelligence
- Disinformation - a learning resource from the British Library including an interactive movie and activities
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