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December 22, 2016
Document Release Date: 
December 13, 2011
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November 2, 1986
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STET ~ Declassified in Part ~I Tad Sauk Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2011/12/13 :CIA-RDP90-009658000706570002-8 ?t Jai LUJ HIYI~tLCJ 111'ICJ 1 2 November 1986 Government Dece - p , Disinformation, Delusion w~~ox A mericanforeign-policy imbroglios over Libya and Nicaragua are only the most recent examples of how easy it is to u a supposedly well-informed democratic sodety, and how short ie our institutional memory. In this realm, we should distinguish between ouch notions as disinformation and decetption. Disinformation is an acxepted tactic in international politics, intelligence opera- tions and wars of nerves everywhere in the world. The East and the West emend considerable resourcxs spreading disin- formation about an endless variety of topics to affect responsive policy deciaiona and attitudes. The Central Intelligence A~encv and the KGB can pn~aumably claim that the have caused ea to be tope ere ere World throw h ima inative dieinior n arms and more . In the case ya, an eYamp a of not-eo-imaginative disinformation, the Reagan Administration pioua),y denied having undertaken to destabilise the regime of Moammar KadaB last August, although it was painfully dear to friend and fce that the ineptly orcl-estrated scenario, including misinforming the American media, had been set in motion at the highest levels in Washingwn. It is also useful in ova shadowy would of foreign involvement to separate policy deceptfon, visibly carried out by the government, and so-galled covert actions conducted secretly by the same govern- ment, but on a different scale and for other reasons. Covert actbn may lead is time to escalation and become part of a_ broader deception, or it may, from the outset, be part of an enterprise of dtcep- tion. . Thus the CIA began its Laos operations in the 19?Os as covert activities before transforming them into full-fledged "se- cret war." The agency's early clandestine jabs at Cuba led to the Bay of Pigs. Covert operations in the Congo were nearly another CiA war, complete with Cuban pilots from the Bay of Pigs. CIA covert political action helped to quicken the ouster of the leftist regime of Salvador Allende in Chile. The CIA's paramWtary action in Nicaragua smoothed the way for the contras-and whatever may follow them. Deception is fundamentally a national policy of considerable magnitude. Pre- teuta and justifications are a vital part of the scenarios In "A Thousand Days," Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., who served as a praddentW assistant during the Bay of Pigs, recalls that just weeks bdare the ~ attack he was instructed to produce a white paper on Cuba to "help clarify the new political objectives. To make the invasion and its aftermath politically 'acceptable, the white paper .urged Fidel Castro "to sever links" with "internat'ion- al communism," warning that "if this call is unheeded, we are confident that the Cuban people ...will continue to strive ~ for a tree Cuba" In as much as the CIA counted on an anti-Castro uprising to coincide with the invasion, the white paper o[fered the justification far U.S. support, wrongly suggesting that Cubans were ready to do away with thetr revolu- tion. Four years later, President Lyndon B. Johnson dispatched a Marine dividon and an airborne division to the Dominican Republic where a dvu war had erupted between the rightist military establish- ment and the leftist supporters of a democratically elected president who had been thrown out by the army. Johnson In Nicaragua, the Administration stW does not admit that its real objective in a~pporting the contras, the chaotic rebel groups whom the Congress recently awarded 1100 million in irbsh funds. is the overthrow of the 3at~dinieEa regime that is closely allied to Cuba and the Sovkts. The White House continues ~ maintain the fiction that all the United States wants is internal democracy in that Central Amer- ican republic. This is why Eugene Hasen- fus, the disavowed secret warrior whose coraftm supply plane was, downed by a Sandinista missile, pereon'i8es the policy of great deception-sold embarrasa- ~ went-era he stands trial in Managua. O 7bd Sonic is tlu author of a new Mopr+aphy of I~idat Glastrc, "I~Ydsl? a Critical Pertrait; , to be pn6iished t>tita monM by WtWam Morrow. believed that a victory by the "oonatitu- tionalista" would result in a communist takeover and a "new Cuba," but the official justification for landing the tw6 ?U.S. divisions was the need to protect and : evacuate several hundred Americans and other foreigners raiding in the coimtrg (though they were in no danger). U.S:: forces assured the victory of the military . group, but those of ua who wrote newt atones disputing Johnson's version of . history became targets of his formidable In the Vietnam conflict, Johnson auc= seeded in winning congressional and public opinion support for air strikes on North Vietnam and, subsequently, f~ introdudng 500.000 Amerikan troops iA the war. It took years before it became dear that no American destroyer hacj been attacked by the North Vietnamese fA the Tonkin Gulf, and that Johnson's claim to that effect was pure fabrication. Unquestionably, the Reagan Adminili- tration wins new honors for deceptbn iii the service of foreign policy In 1983 public opinion was persuaded that the ill-advised presence of U.S. Marines hi Beirut would guarantee peace in I,ebanoti and nerve our strategic needs; it led to the massive killing of Marines in a vehi= cle-bomb explosion. That acme year the tiny island of Grenada in the eastern Caribbean, then in the throes of a savage conflict between leftist factions, was invaded by U.S. forces. Though the real reason was the Cuban military and politi- caipresence on Grenada, tie of5dal story was the evacuation of several hundred American students at the medical college there. Declassified in Part -Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2011/12/13 :CIA-RDP90-009658000706570002-8