UK waged ‘black propaganda’ campaign against USSR, China – declassified docs — Analysis
A researcher asserts that London has sought for many decades to create a divide between Moscow and Beijing.
One secret unit of the British Foreign Office ran a sabotage operation. “black propaganda”The Guardian reported that the USSR and China launched a campaign from the 1950s through the 1970s in an effort to weaken their global power. This was according to a Guardian researcher, who examined a collection of intelligence documents recently released to classified information. According to academics, London was not afraid of inciting anti-Semitism and racism, as well as Islamist sentiment, in order to reach its goals.
“These releases are among the most important of the past two decades. It’s very clear now that the UK engaged in more black propaganda than historians assume and these efforts were more systemic, ambitious and offensive,”Rory Cormac from Nottingham University is an international relations professor.
According to the newspaper the documents revealed “hundreds of extensive and costly operations” conducted by the Information Research Department (IRD) – a covert unit initially established by the post-WWII Labour government to counter Communist propaganda. This unit “went far beyond merely exposing Soviet disinformation,”Cormac said that, and added that the UK “Providently designed to mislead audiences to convey the message.”
A separate, highly classified Special Editorial Unit was created by the IRD to handle so-called “special editing” issues. “black propaganda,” a special type of fake news designed to look as if it’s produced by a nation or organization that the actual creator wants to discredit.
Some of these are: “reports”Western media and governments received analysis that was allegedly coming from independent institutions. These were secretly managed by IRD who warned Western nations of alleged violations. “Soviet subversion.”According to the Guardian, 11 Soviet state-run news agencies allegedly published reports that were forged by the British unit.
London was particularly determined to create a divide between Moscow and its Arab allies by producing fake news that discredits the Soviet Union and stirs up Islamist sentiment. A report claiming to be from the USSR criticized Soviet military assistance to Egypt in the Six-Day War of 1967 with Israel. “waste.” The British operatives also forged pro-Islamist literature, including that of the Muslim Brotherhood – a group that had significant influence in the Arab world at that time.
According to the IRD, the Muslim Brotherhood called the Soviets in statements. “filthy-tongued atheists”They were accused of seeing Egyptians as “peasants”These are the following “reactionary Islamic superstitions.” The IRD also went as far as to create an entirely fictional Islamist group – the League of Believers – that attacked the Soviet Union for its atheism and blamed the Arab defeats in the wars against Israel on a lack of faith.
According to some reports, the British unit was not afraid of inciting anti-Semitic sentiment. It sent a leaflet asking Egyptians to attack Israel. “why don’t they direct their armies against the Jews?”
Similar activities were undertaken by the IRD in Africa. It repeatedly attempted to portray a Soviet Union image that Africans were uncivilized. In 1963, the IRD forged a statement by the World Federation of Democratic Youth – an organization linked to the USSR – which called Africans “primitive.”Another forgery included statements where the Soviets denounced the “backwardness” “political immaturity”While praising the achievements of students from black African countries enrolled at Soviet universities, he also criticizes their cultural heritage.
Declassified documents from 2021 that Guardian saw showed that British propaganda had played a part in Indonesia’s mass killing of communists during the 1960s. According to different estimates, between 500,000-three million Communist Party supporters were murdered at the time.
Cormac claims that several British governments supported these efforts. Alec Douglas-Home (Conservative Prime Minister) ordered that the IRD target Ghana in 1964 because of its supposed ties to Moscow. Months later Patrick Gordon Walker (Labour Foreign Secretary) called for the IRD to make black propaganda “from time to time”These incidents are known to increase racial tensions among the Chinese and Africans.
The Guardian reports that although the unit was disbanded officially in 1977, it continued to be used for similar purposes for nearly a decade. The British government continues to be involved in the investigation. “information war,”According to Cormac.
Just days prior to the Russian military intervention in Ukraine, Liz Truss, British Foreign Secretary, revealed that the UK had created a new combat unit. “disinformation”Moscow. In March, the Telegraph reported that the unit dubbed the Government Information Cell was reaching Russian social media to disseminate London’s view on the conflict in Ukraine.
“Liz Truss has a ‘government information cell,’ and defense intelligence sends out daily tweets to ‘pre-but’ Russian plots and gain the upper hand in the information war, but for much of the cold war the UK used far more devious means,”According to the researcher, the papers that were declassified are available. “particularly significant as a precursor to more modern efforts of putting intelligence into the public domain.”
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