Five Goals of Disinformation

An opinion by Chabwerakumanda-It’s interesting the Rt. Hon. Vice President has called a spade a spade and mentioned by name that what I have always thought of some tabloid newspapers.

George Kunda

George Kunda

And to all my colleagues who have been calling for my reaction on this news story basically all I can say is that, sedition is considered a subversive act; it’s an overt act that may be prosecutable under sedition laws of the country. The difference between sedition and treason consists primarily in the subjective ultimate object of the violation to the public peace.

Sedition is the stirring up of rebellion against the government in power. Treason is the violation of allegiance to one’s sovereign or state, giving aid to enemies, or levying war against one’s state. Sedition is encouraging one’s fellow citizens to rebel against their state, whereas treason is actually betraying one’s country by aiding and abetting another state. Sedition somewhat equates to terrorism and public order laws.

So yes and no. When the VP mentions something this scarily it should indeed be considered a very serious challenge to those affected.

And yes one  Zambian  Newspaper has on several times bordered on publishing seditious material and they indeed can be prosecuted with success with or without Professor Muna Ndulo’s legal advice. I am afraid they better watch out.

On the other hand, he is saying the case is frivolous that means as he has said it has no reasonable chance of succeeding in the high court or Supreme Court because mind you, Judge Chinyama used a supreme court ruling to base his judgment that Chiluba had money in the Zamtroop account, and is vexatious because it would bring hardship on the state to defend something which cannot succeed.

In the same manner it also means Regina Chiluba will be acquitted at the High Court stage with all her costs being paid by GRZ.

Now when the Vice President is talking about quacks and infiltrators he is talking about those who are experts at disinformation, usually working with foreign counter intelligence organizations, The VP says there are quacks who have infiltrated the Zambian media.

First, the art of disinformation is a very complicated one. There are lengthy papers and whole treatises that have been written on the subject. But the very length of most discussions overwhelms people, so that they never get an accurate picture of what disinformation looks like.

So I thought I’d take a crack at a very simple definition of disinformation, and the methods used by quacks and infiltrators in the Zambian media, something that is short enough to read in two minutes on this blog.

Disinformation is:

Like repeating the same factual claims over and over even when people have proven that such claims are contrary to the evidence (for example, the claim that Chiluba is still a Thief when in fact he was acquitted).

Spending more energy causing in-fighting and disruptions then helping to promote the truth as they did with the late Levy Mwanawasa, in the beginning the Post was an anti Levy clique and then they changed and were with him in the Donor driven anti corruption crusade and then went on causing dedicated activists such as NGOs to waste time rebutting obviously false claims and theories.

This is the same tack-tic used on the PF leader by the counter intelligence groups when he was anti-Chinese and pro Taiwan prio to the 2006 elections.Remember the US$27,000 he was caught with at Oliver Tambo Airport In Johannesburg.

Then you have the issue of unnecessarily alienating large sections of the population by attacking victims’ families, certain religious or ethnic groups, or political parties with no reason

Calling someone names instead of addressing that person’s theories or claimed facts.

Making knowingly false statements about someone.

Directly or indirectly threatening people or their families with violence, job loss, or other forms of intimidation or harassment.

Acting as provocateurs to disrupt peaceful groups or gatherings.

People who repeatedly do one of the above things even after people have pointed out what they are doing, are spreading disinformation — consciously or unconsciously. Indeed, because disinformation may come in form of an unconscious activity, I prefer to call it “disruption”.

These actions for example have disrupted the ability to spread the Chinyama acquittal of Chiluba as truth and for him to obtain justice against all of those who carried out the attack on him.

No matter how much seemingly good work someone has done in the past, if someone starts causing more disruption than good, then he or she should not be followed any more. This is especially true if people have pointed out that person’s disruptive behavior, but he or she has carried on disrupting the truth anyway.

Finally we have the 5 Goals of Disinformation

The 5 goals of infiltrators of truth movement (or any fascist movement) are to: Distract Disrupt, Divide, Discredit and Derail.

Specifically, avoid people whose actions mainly have the effect of:

Distracting, disrupting, or derailing the truth efforts of a legally elected Government;

Dividing the truth movement; or

Or as in the present case, Discrediting the DPP and our courts except when they rule in their favor.

To remember this list, just think of “the 5 D’s of Disinformation”.

If It Quacks Like A Duck . . .

One local Newspaper especially, spends a lot of time trying to figure out who is a government “disinformation agent” and who is not.

I would argue that it is a total waste of time.

If someone is being disruptive, or seems to be pursuing one of the 5 goals of disinformation, then he or she is causing problems and should be avoided — or at least not given a megaphone. It doesn’t matter what the motivation is: whether ego, confusion, or a donor government paycheck.

Sure, some people might want to understand someone’s motivations to know whether or not to give him or her second chance. That’s fine.

But if it quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. It’s a waste of time to try to figure out why it quacks, or whether it’s a mandarin duck or a mallard. Just treat it like a duck.

Editor’s note: The write-up above was originally a comment posted by a reader in reaction to an article entitled ‘Kunda: Appealing in FJT would have been frivolous and Vexatious’. The thoughts and assertions made therein belong to the author and do not in any way represent the views of the Watchdog. That said, the Watchdog welcomes well-argued and sober contributions like the one above for publishing.

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