Member of parliamentary foreign relations committee
Russian and American intelligence services once vied with each other to hone the techniques of psychological operations, better known as psyops.
Psyops entail the gradual wearing down of the enemy through constant intimidation and playing on their fears and insecurities, thereby sapping the will to fight back. Rumour, fake news and disturbing images do the job efficiently.
Today, electronic warfare precludes the conventional battlefield. Instead, the campaign is waged in cyberspace, and the foe is unseen, immaterial.
In a single day, we receive thousands of rumours from unknown sources. Videos and photos are fabricated and even old videos are re-tweeted.
Our enemies enlist the help of traitors and the ignorant on the home front, taking advantage of the lack of awareness of the majority.
Many are unaware of the fact that their actions could damage the country politically and economically.
It takes only a single rumour to sow chaos and confusion, and doubt the credibility of state institutions and security agencies, thereby spreading terror and distracting public attention from more important issues.
Rumour can distort public opinion on important issues, rulings and decisions affecting national security. Consequently legislation could be rushed through or decisions might be reversed. None of this works in the interest of the public. Rather, it whittles down our civil rights and ultimately the impartiality of the judiciary is brought into question, thus driving a wedge between the public and the state.
This process is akin to falsification of the media, flooding the airwaves with information that is neither useful, serves no one’s interest, or is totally unnecessary.
Falsification makes the public feel helpless in the face of the mountains of information, which, contrary to most assumptions, limit reasoning and distracting attention from the original issue.
We need to be more fully aware. Legislation does not solve the problem.
It is widely believed that new types of criminal activity can be prevented by law.
But, some crimes and new phenomena could be curbed by clear thinking and awareness of the real issue. In the meantime, social media have brought people closer together, which lead increased criminal activity, especially latter-day psyops that aim to poison the mind.