Using covert operations to discredit your enemies
Summary: Details emerge suggesting that the career of Strauss-Kahn (head of the IMF, candidate for the Presidency of France) was destroyed by a “honey pot” operation. It’s how conflicts are conducted in our century, as gaining the moral high ground becomes more useful than firepower and attrition.
One objective of modern war – that is, of the past few centuries – is to gain the moral high ground. Owning the moral high ground has provided a crucial advantage in many wars. It weakened the UK’s willingness to fight during the American Revolution, and was a key factor limiting their aid to the Confederacy during the Civil war. It gained America’s support for the Allies in WWI, and destroyed the American people’s support for the Vietnam War.
In our time 4GW has become the primary form of conflict. In conventional wars firepower and attrition shared center stage with the moral highground. Now those play a smaller role, leaving ownership of the moral high ground as the decisive advantage.
Traditional tools to gain moral high ground were diplomacy and information operations (eg, propaganda, selective release of intel — such as the Zimmerman Telegram). Now covert operations have become common – active methods to discredit your opponents. The US, always on the cutting edge of modern warfare, has developed this into a fine art, one especially useful for manipulating the increasingly gullible American people.
- the Julian Assange affair — accused of some vague form of sexual misconduct. The corrupt, incompetent (either or both?) US news media often refer to this incorrectly as “rape”.
- the Iranian attack on the Saudi & Israeli embassies (for details see The Iranian Assassination caper was a complete success!)
It’s a game other groups can play, and not just nation-States. The French are good at it, as seen in the Strauss-Kahn affair — a creative use of a Honey pot (a classic from fact and fiction). One simple op discredited Strauss-Kahn, head of the IMF and leading candidate for the Presidency of France. It appeared implausible from the first news, but recent history shows this to be irrelevant to the success of info ops.
- Short version: “The two hours that sank Strauss-Kahn“, Financial Times, November 2011
- Longer version: “What Really Happened to Strauss-Kahn?“, Edward Jay Epstein, New York Review of Books, 22 December 2011
For more information
About seduction as a tool (eg, honey pots):
- “The History of the Honey Trap“, Phillip Knightley, Foreign Policy, 12 March 2010 — “Five lessons for would-be James Bonds and Bond girls — and the men and women who would resist them.
- “Israeli rabbi: Honey-pot sex is kosher for female Mossad agents“, Haaretz, 5 October 2010 — “Rabbi Ari Schvat’s ruling appeared in a study, ‘Illicit sex for the sake of national security,’ published by the Tzomet Institute, which studies the interface between religion and modernity.”
Posts about the Julian Assange affair:
- Sad news about the CIA, 23 August 2010 – Delusional assumption about America savvy.
- The full story of the rape charges against Julian Assange of Wikileaks, a possible covert op., 27 August 2010
- Update to the Wikeleaks rape story, and why it’s important, 29 August 2010 – If a covert op, it’s working
- New and strange developments in the prosecution of Julian Assange (Wikileaks), 1 September 2010 – New but not more enlightening.
- Endgame for the affair Assange: a big win for the government, 27 September 2010
- The US government successfully smears Wikileaks, while America sleeps, 22 October 2010