noun əb-ˈvər-zhən, -shən
Definition of SUBVERSION
2 obsolete : a cause of overthrow or destruction
— sub·ver·sion·ary adjective
— sub·ver·sive adjective or noun
— sub·ver·sive·ly adverb
— sub·ver·sive·ness noun
Yuriy Bezmenov was a KGB public relations officer stationed in India, leading the Soviet "Research and Counter-Propaganda Group" at the embassy in New Delhi in 1970 when he apparently decided he had had enough.
“In February 1970, Bezmenov clothed himself in hippie attire, replete with a beard and wig, and joined a tour group; by this means, he escaped to Athens, Greece. After contacting the American embassy and undergoing extensive interviews with United States intelligence, Bezmenov was granted asylum in Canada.”
A few years ago I stumbled across an interesting presentation from this ex-spook Russian defector, as well as an interview on the same topics with G. Edward Griffin.
I would highly encourage everyone to watch the entirety of each video, but for those wanting to get the gist without spending 2+ hours, below are shortened excerpts from each:
Some others have written on this very topic:
“The main principle of ideological subversion is TURNING A STRONGER FORCE AGAINST ITSELF. Just like in the Japanese martial arts: you do not stop the blow of a heavier more powerful enemy with an equally forceful blow. You may simply hurt your hand. Instead you catch the striking fist with your hand and PULL the enemy in the direction of his blow until he crashes into a wall or any other heavy object in his way.”
The author makes an interesting case that the vast majority of Soviet intelligence effort went toward the ‘Active Measures’ that the state security had implemented to slowly, over decades, socially engineer and manipulate its Western adversaries to becoming ‘ripe for revolution’. The process is nicely outlined in both his talks above, and illustrated in the booklet.
There is a possibility that Mr. Bezmenov himself was a representative of the very efforts he is describing, planted in the West to try to confuse the imperialist enemy and plant seeds of doubt and division. His defection tale might have been a cover story to lend credibility, and to assist his infiltration. But the simpler explanation that he was a thinking man who did not want to participate further in these processes rings truer to me. Regardless, the process he described in the mid 1980’s is one that seems to have come rather close to its fruition. Whether this truly was in part due to the influence of outside factors (ie. Soviet central intelligence and its successor organizations), or whether it seemed to their advantage to claim it was so makes little difference in terms of the difficult-to-dispute outcome.
As the author himself states, these are the basic building blocks of defeating one’s enemy, and have been around for thousands of years:
“500 years before Christ, the Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu formulated the principle of subversion this way:
1. Cover with ridicule all of the valid traditions in your opponent's country.
2. Implicate their leaders in criminal affairs and turn them over to the scorn of their populace at the right time;
3. Disrupt the work of their government by every means;
4. Do not shun the aid of the lowest and most despicable individuals of your enemy's country.
5. Spread disunity and dispute among the citizens.
6. Turn the young against the old.
7. Be generous with promises and rewards to collaborators and accomplices."
What’s more, these are by no means the exclusive tools of oppressive, closed societies – they are standard tools of warcraft, which in turn is an extension/part of statecraft. If you look through the steps described, they are not all that dissimilar from the happenings along Northern Africa (Libya, Syria, Egypt, Tunesia), the Middle East (Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran 1953-1979 as well as 1979 itself, then more recently), Pakistan, Georgia, Chechnya, Ukraine (2004 AND 2014), restive Chinese provinces and likely a dozen more locales around the world. I wonder about Kashmir and Sri Lanka, Nigeria and a whole host of central African states.
Whether one calls it Communist subversionary tactics, or the ('spontaneous') rise of Wahabbism and militant Islam, radicalization in partly/wholly Muslim regions, 'democratic opposition' to a totalitarian regime, champions of ethnic autonomy or the rise of ultranationalist factions, the objective is the same -- to change societal attitudes and foment/artificially create revolutions through which the instigating/funding party can gain control.
The less successful recent instances of regime change can either be chalked up to insufficient preparation (not long enough a period of demoralization), or that the aim WAS extended periods of chaos, or that the instigating party was simply incompetent. Remember:
"One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes a revolution in order to establish a dictatorship." -- George Orwell
While there was not really that much indication that Bezmenov’s warnings were taken systemically seriously by the US establishment (perhaps infiltration was already too deep?), it certainly seems like the template he described was ever more aggressively adopted by planners in the State Dept. and the various alphabet soup agencies. Eastern counterintelligence agencies and police forces certainly assumed this to be the case, always on the lookout for subversives spreading counterrevolutionary ideas, impure thoughts and decadent customs in the 'morally pure' Soviet republics and satellite vassal states. Whether true or not, they operated under the assumption that the West was engaging in exactly the same kind of cultural infiltration. Suspected subversives were almost without exception convicted, sentenced to lengthy prison terms or visits to scenic archipelagos near the Arctic. Or were simply never heard from again.
But returning to the specific aspect of social engineering, does anyone here remember this young lady:
Snowden, will you marry me?!
10:36 AM - 3 Jul 2013
She was arrested in the US in 2010, and accused of being an unregistered agent of a foreign government. After brief court proceedings, she was sanctioned along with several colleagues. In lieu of punishment, she was sent back to Russia in exchange for American agents captured there. That spies are caught is not really the interesting part. It’s the aftermath – she was instantly granted the status of ‘minor/novelty celebrity of the year’. (Playboy 'article', Maxim Russia 'feature') She received top state honors from the Kremlin upon her return home (widely reported in Western media).
“She may have done unremarkable work back in the U.S. as a spy for Russia, but the woman the Russian media calls Agent 90-60-90 (for her measurements, in centimeters) is, somehow, everywhere. It’s been a little over a year since her return, a year of centerfolds, talk shows, and political rallies. The media, largely controlled by the authorities, still reports each of her many moves. Clearly the Kremlin has found her a useful hero.” -- Bloomberg Businessweek
She is apparently running her own fashion line as of this year, much like many other celebutantes of her time:
“She is one of the most famous spies of post-Soviet Russia, but now Anna Chapman has a new career – as a clothes designer. Her range of dresses and handbags, under a label that will bear her name, was launched at a fashion show in Turkey earlier this month and will soon go on sale in Russia.” – The Guardian
Mind you, this is a known Russian agent, being celebrated and feted for being so, around the Western world. Being presented as a role-model/sexual icon. And this is normal, completely unremarkable to the vast majority of people – if they know about it at all. Kinda makes you wonder about the OTHER manufactured celebrity personalities gracing the front pages of tabloids and men’s magazine covers…
Perhaps all of this is a red herring, it does not mean that there really was/is substantial Russian intelligence activity within the US, as the prosecutor implied at the time:
“Assistant US Attorney Michael Farbiarz said the arrests were "the tip of the iceberg" of the workings of Russia's SVR.” -- BBC
BTW, loose ends were tied off, as the officer who exposed Anna was sentenced to 25 years for treason in Russia, and the US 'Justice' establishment backpedaled earlier statements on the 'depth of infiltration' and the significance of the work Anna and her group carried out in the US.
But just for the sake of argument, let’s assume for the moment that she is, in fact, just a single example of MANY such agents/cells/networks. Where does the endgame lie?
Anna Chapman (and the surrounding affair) is just one representative and blatant example, I am sure you can think of more. On the topic of ‘useful idiots’ employed and/or exploited by larger forces, take a moment to consider the cases of Manning, Assange and Snowden as well. This is NOT to challenge the importance or even (necessarily) the veracity of the work they have done, or their intentions/integrity, or the factual content of their revelations. But shucks, wasn’t it just expeditious for any parties who might have had an interest in discrediting the West, who might want to plant seeds of rebellion against governments?
That this in turn engenders even MORE egregious retaliatory behavior, further trampling of rights and international aggression (overt or covert) by said Western governments is all for the good, too. Whether or not they instigated it, there HAD to have been moments of laughter-filled toasts..
Our original protagonist Bezmenov made no bones about his claim: the aim of Soviet (and presumably later Russian) foreign intelligence efforts was to infiltrate, influence and control the thought-leaders, the policy-makers, the intellectuals, the educators, the communicators of target enemy societies. The community organizers, the movie producers, the film/TV stars, the political party operators, the prominent college professors. Not necessarily to apply direct influence to US and Western tactical policies, or to steal military/industrial/commercial secrets (though of course those are all nice bonuses) – but to gradually, and over a long period of time wear away at the fabric of these societies by degrading and corrupting values, morals, social cohesion. Reshape education to change the world-view and value set of entire generations of Western kids.
Did they really make such great inroads on this policy (if it truly was implemented)? Or did the ‘decadent West’ inflict this upon itself through the profit-oriented models of culture, education, childrearing? Was the removal of personal responsibility and community engagement (to be replaced by the ever-present hand of the nanny state) truly the result of foreign meddling, or merely the outcome of the ‘natural’ progression all central states seeking more and more power and centralization?
The fact that these processes, its participants, and its intended outcome were described in such detail decades ago would suggest the former, or at least the influence thereof. Are the ‘owners’ of Western societies oblivious to these factors? Are they actively helping/abetting them in the perception that it helps THEM increase/consolidate their power? Do they imagine that THEY (and not these alleged Communist forces) would gain the upper hand (and establish total authoritarian control) in the societal breakdown and upheaval that will eventually ensue? Do they imagine that the resulting learned helplessness and degraded capacity for independence, self-sustenance and critical thought makes for better serfs? Or is it all really being orchestrated by the same select group of über-elites in control of BOTH/ALL sides of the global power struggle?
Whatever the case, it would suggest that the recommended course of action would be to seek communities (or countries) that are more resistant to the increasingly ever-present effects of this subversion. These effects are global and escaping them altogether is increasingly impossible – but the presence of countering values in community at the local/regional level might help. Being more involved in the education of one’s kids (homeschooling, if possible), taking ‘active measures’ of one’s own by supporting church and community organizations might help. But it seems to me that the accumulated critical mass and decades-long headstart of the opposing side makes it a very steep uphill battle.
The other consideration is time. If we take at face value that ‘Eastern’ intelligence has been actively working at this task from the outset (i.e. since WWII), their projection as to how long subversion would take certainly underestimated the time required. Apparently, the desired atomization of society and ‘depraved decadence’ is not in itself enough to achieve the (presumably) desired collapse. Nevertheless, the ongoing economic, monetary and geopolitical pressures in combination with the insidious and omnipresent social disruption together may finally have their effect. When? Sooner than we would like, but longer than one can hold their breath. Or stay solvent. Or, for some, than one can stay alive.
If we choose to assume that the model is (whether real/intentional or not) accurate in describing the progression of societal change, where might we be NOW in the process? Was the subprime collapse and onset of the Great Recession THE Crisis, and BHO the resulting Savior offered to the masses? Or is it merely another stage in the Destabilization process? My bet is on the latter, 2008 was just the dress rehearsal – if for no other reason than that the system is obviously still creaking along.
Does anyone else see any analogies to current/recent events, especially in the boxes pertaining to the last two stages of destabilization?
Incidentally, here is an update on Bezmenov’s former employer (and KGB front company) Novosty Press Agency:
“On 9 December 2013 President of Russia Vladimir Putin signed the liquidation of RIA Novosti and merging it with the international radio service Voice of Russia to create International Information Agency Russia Today. Dmitry Konstantinovich Kiselev, a former anchorman of the Channel One Russia is appointed as the president of the new information agency. It is unclear at the moment whether the new agency will include the TV network Russia Today. According to her interview, the editor-in-chief of the TV network Russia Today, Margarita Simonyan was completely unaware about the reorganization of the information agency and got the information from listening competitor radio station Kommersant-FM.” -- Wiki
According to Russia Today (RT) television network, the identical name is merely a coincidence, and the two organizations will not have anything to do with each other. If anyone is interested, they may also have prime riverside real estate in Brooklyn for sale which features not only spectacular views, but an available opportunity for installing a government-enforced steady toll revenue stream as well…
“The main purpose of the new body will be to “to provide information on Russian state policy and Russian life and society for audiences abroad,” according to a decree On Measures to Raise Efficiency in the Work of State Mass Media Outlets, that Putin signed on Monday. […]
The direct translation of Rossiya Segodnya is Russia Today. However, the newly created agency will not be in any way related to RT television channel, which was known as Russia Today before its rebranding in 2009.” -- RT
On the ‘About us page’ you can find that “RT is an autonomous non-profit organization.” Then if you should wander onto the page about its structure, coverage, offices and resources, you will see why I am a bit skeptical.
It is not a very productive to project boogeymen and world-spanning, mind-controlling conspiracies at every turn. But it behooves informed, free-thinking denizens of the globe to recognize and be able to identify efforts aimed at mis/disinforming and confusing them. As I may have mentioned before, the enemy of your enemy is most often only temporarily your friend. When the path to dominance over Western powers leads through the disintegration of civil society and demoralization of its population, even that does not hold true. Then again, all of this cuts both ways -- when the West is doing the exact same thing to 'THEM', is it any wonder that when recognized, such subversion leads to deep and intractable hatred toward the perpetrating party?
Subversion - it's not just for Stalinist dictatorships anymore.
So the simple conclusions that all this lead to are much the same as before. Critical thinking is required when consuming ANY kind of media, especially MSM. Unless credibly proven to the contrary, assume any and every news source to be propaganda from one (or more) side(s).
And of course, keep stacking. Don’t forget that reliable, credible sources of information are also at the moment undervalued, and becoming increasingly difficult to come by. They should also be stacked, along with a network of trusted associates who can be relied on for news or verification.
Alternative news sites and documentaries recommended by Turdites
Yuriy Bezmenov/Tomas Schuman’s other book (PDF via Google): World Thought Police
Collection of Bezmenov’s works on archive.org
Further reading on Communist disinformation campaigns/strategy