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Soviet and Russian Active Measures

April 20, 2014

I just finished reading an absolutely wonderful book by KGB Major General Oleg Kalugin, “My 32 Years In Intelligence.”  Excellent.  If you get the chance, read it.  I’ve been reading nonstop for two days and couldn’t put it down.  It took me two days because I kept looking up terms, just to make sure I understood what was being said, where a building was located, how this technique works, how that process flows, and so on.  I’m now much more familiar with Moscow and St. Petersburg/Leningrad.  I’m more familiar with Yuri Andropov than I possibly expected.  And I got some keen insight into how Soviet Active Measures work.  Therefore I have a fairly good idea how current Russian Active Measures work.

I am trying to schedule an interview with General Kalugin, a very good friend of mine is a good friend of his.  I’m working my way through the Spy Museum.  Yeah, I know, that’s old-fashioned, waiting for an introduction and it’s not my normal bulldog action.   Don’t worry, I have a Plan B and C already.

The purpose of the interview is to find out more about Soviet and Russian Active Measures.  I read the book, initially, thinking, “I wonder what General Kalugin has to say about Active Measures?”  Quite a bit, it turns out.  I found at least six different references to Active Measure campaigns that the KGB carried out.  The index does not list them all, so you will have to read the book to find out where they are really located.  Also, the index sent to a page with no reference to Active Measures.  It’s a great read, fun, endearing and very personal.

I started casually cruising through various websites to find out how much more information is available on Active Measures, and I am pleased to say, quite a bit.

Don’t worry, there is quite a bit of Russian active measures and current propaganda I plan to write about.  Sloviansk comes to mind, immediately.  Whoever posted the article at ITAR-TASS about the roadblock deserves a good old-fashioned blanket party from the editors.  I’m going to write that up this evening, hopefully.  

Oh, by the way, if you didn’t see the NATO Fact Sheet about Ukraine, it’s genius.  I chatted with the co-author the other day and gave him big compliments.    Of course, RT responded (idiots).  Hey, you people at RT, it’s called journalism school.  I know you’re too busy inventing stuff but please, at least get a few facts straight?

The bottom line at the end of this short blog.  I am doing a fairly deep dive into Soviet and, therefore, Russian Active Measures.

Here is a quick outline I’ve thrown together.

  • Disinformation
  • Propaganda
  • Slogans
    • Conciliatory
    • Alarmist
    • Derogatory
  • Agents
  • Establishment and support of
    • International front organizations (e.g. the World Peace Council)
    • Foreign communist, socialist and opposition parties
    • Wars of national liberation in the Third World
  • Underground, revolutionary, insurgencycriminal, and terrorist groups
  • Possible Sources for more primary information
    • KGB Maj Gen Oleg Kalugin
    • Anatoliy Golitsyn

Towards a Cyber Leader Course Modeled on Army Ranger School

April 18, 2014

By Gregory Conti, Michael Weigand, Ed Skoudis, David Raymond, Thomas Cook, and Todd Arnold

Since 1950, the U.S. Army Ranger School has garnered a well-earned reputation as one of the most demanding military schools in the world.  Graduates have served with distinction in special operations units including the Ranger Regiment and Special Operations Command as well as line units throughout the Army.  With the emergence of cyberspace as an operational domain and the critical shortage of technically and operationally competent cyber[i] leaders, the time has come to create a U.S. Army Cyber Leader Course of equal intensity, reputation, and similar duration,[ii] but focused on cyber operations (see Figure 1). This article presents a model for the creation of such a school, one that goes far beyond just a tough classroom experience by using tactical close-access missions as a core component.  What we propose is unique, demanding, immersive, and fills a necessary gap in Army cyber leader development.  This article is a condensed form of a more detailed analysis and description of the proposed Army Cyber Leader Course.[iii]

Figure 1:  Cyber Tab.  A Cyber Leader Course of similar duration and intensity to Ranger School, but tailored to cyber operations would help fill the critical shortage of technically and operationally competent cyber leaders.

We intend for this new Cyber Leader Course to be quickly recognized as the cyber operator’s equivalent of Ranger School, much like the Sapper program has become the Engineer branch’s ‘Ranger School.’  There is much to learn from Ranger School and other elite training programs that can inform a Cyber Leader Course.  We face a critical shortage of qualified cyber leaders at all ranks and a demanding and rigorous Cyber Leader Course would develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of technically and operationally competent cyber leaders.  A cadre of highly qualified cyber leaders is critical to the professionalization of the cyber career field, but the Army currently lacks a method for developing these leaders.  While we propose the creation of an Army Cyber Leader Course, due to the inherently Joint nature of cyber operations, creation of a Joint, instead of Army-specific, school may be a logical follow-on.

Continued at

When U.S. Soft Power Becomes Propaganda – US News

April 18, 2014

Government backed cultural programs often come across as just propaganda.
Not the best approach to soft power
By Michael Shank April 14, 2014 One comment SHARE

The United States Department of Defense used it recently in Yemen and Pakistan. The U.S. State Department is using it right now in Afghanistan and Nigeria. The U.S. Agency for International Development used it in the last elections in Kenya. It’s been used in every American war zone over the last decade and it’s becoming an increasingly relied upon tool in U.S. foreign policy.

For the Pentagon, it’s part of psychological operations, or “psy-ops,” but for the State Department and USAID it’s part of their “information operations,” all of which is intended to influence local populations. This is not some sinister National Security Agency operation or anything as surreptitious as what the Joint Special Operations Command might cook up. This has everything to do with what Washingtonians and others have termed “ soft power” and the role culture and arts play in winning the hearts and minds.

For many governments – America’s included – these “softer” strategies (in contrast to the “hard power” of military maneuvers, sanctions, etc.) are being employed with good intention perhaps, but insufficient preparation, partnership or planning in a way that is strategic, sustainable and constructive.

via When U.S. Soft Power Becomes Propaganda – US News.


The U.S. Is Losing to Russia in the Information War Over Ukraine | New Republic

April 18, 2014


Russia’s isolation grows by the hour. Last month, 100 nations endorsed a U.N. resolution to condemn the annexation of Crimea. Earlier this month, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe deprived Russia of its voting rights in the body. One of the most reposted, regrettably racist, Russian-language tweets in April marvels that even Nigeria’s U.N. representative is now lecturing the Kremlin about the ills of “nineteenth-century-style spheres of influence.”

If you think any of this fazes most Russians, you are wrong.

President Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings are at a five-year-high, Moscow’s land grab in Crimea enjoys wide support, and most Russians (63 percent, in fact) are confident in the state-run media’s objectivity. Economists are fond of pointing to the massive losses Russia absorbs on the Moscow stock exchange every time the Kremlin provokes new trouble in Ukraine. Just on Monday, the MICEX dropped 2.5 percent, erasing billions of dollars in market capitalization. So far, by and large, ordinary Russians do not care. Not while there’s a war on, it seems.

via The U.S. Is Losing to Russia in the Information War Over Ukraine | New Republic.


Best of Putin Puns

April 17, 2014
tags: ,

Best of Putin puns. has a daily feature called Playback, where they compile the previous night’s best videos.  This one was especially pertinent, funny too!

I just wanted to share…   enjoy!

Russia, “You Can’t Handle The Truth!”

April 17, 2014

NATO released a fact sheet entitled “Russia’s accusations – setting the record straight.”

In the face sheet, NATO rebuts the arguments Russian paid commenters, Russian politicians and Russian propagandists have been repeating since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis. These points are covered:

  • NATO – Russia relations
  • NATO’s continuation and enlargement
  • Russian claims that NATO promised not to enlarge
  • Russian claims that NATO has ignored its concerns over missile defence
  • Russian criticism of the legitimacy of NATO military actions – Libya
  • Russia criticism of the legitimacy of NATO military actions – Kosovo
  • Russian claims that the Ukrainian authorities are illegitimate
  • Russian claims that the so-called referendum in Crimea was legal
  • Russian claims that the annexation of Crimea was justified by the opinion of the International Court of Justice on the independence of Kosovo

I urge you, gentle reader, to read the paper in its entirety.  If I were Russia and my lies were exposed like this, I would be angry and lash out.  Oh wait, that is what Russia did.

RT, the official propaganda arm of the Russian government, started out the ‘article’ “NATO attacks Russia with propaganda factsheet – Foreign Ministry” with this statement.

By trying to make Russia the culprit in the current Ukrainian crisis…

Trying to make Russia the culprint?  No, Russia, you are the culprit.  You admitted Russian soldiers were at play in Crimea, not an anonymous Self Defense Force.  You admitted to instigating actions to foment riot and calls for a referendum.  You, Russia, are the culprit.

Now Russian paid provocateurs are active in East Ukraine and Russia still denies this simple fact.  Ukraine holds at least 12 provocateurs prisoner, including weapons and explosives.

Putin also said that he “hopes” he won’t have to send troops into east Ukraine, but has reserved the right to use force if he sees fit.

Mr. Putin, you seem to be repeating your lies so often that you believe them, these are your contrived facts.  You can’t handle the truth.

Novorossiya = New Russia

April 17, 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin.  Vlad, baby.

For the Western readers among us, Novorossiya or “New Russia” does not indicate what it literally means, a new Russia.  Novorossiya indicates the land that Russia’s Catherine the Great conquered through as a result of the Russo-Turkish wars.  This is exactly the area that President Putin is attempting to conquer right now.

In modern terms it encompasses Donetsk OblastLuhansk OblastDnipropetrovsk OblastZaporizhia OblastMykolaiv OblastKherson OblastOdessa Oblast and Crimea in UkraineKrasnodar KraiStavropol KraiRostov Oblast, and theRepublic of Adygea in Russia.


Ambassador David J. Smith, in a talk this past week at the Potomac Institute, showed a map of the oil lines transiting Ukraine. Better said, these oil lines transit Novorossiya.  According to the Ambassador, Russia must ensure that oil flows through these oil lines, it is vital to their economy.  Anything less and Russia literally depends on the good will of another nation to keep Russia’s economy healthy.

Russia’s economy is not healthy.  In a recent report, the IMF downgraded Russia’s economic forecast from an expected 1.9% growth to 1.3%.  This is not healthy and Russia knows it.  Surely Putin is thinking long-term economic growth that is not dependent on others.

This is most likely a major factor in Putin’s drive to regain Novorossiya.

The accompanying information war is mostly targeting a domestic audience in Russia, intended to bolster support for these land grabs in Ukraine.   Using Soviet symbology is increasing nationalistic fever.  It seems the comfort of Soviet oppression appeals to Russian people.

I’ve suffered the loss of various Russian friends through this information war.  Support for President Putin is at an all time high and “American lies” are not being tolerated.



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