The short definition of Psychological Operations, popularly known as PSYOP, is the weaponization of information for effect. The effect being to influence the targeted population, whether a group, an organization, a society, an element within a society, or a government, to either undertake an action or to prevent an action from being taken. Black PSYOP refers to the attempts to launder the influence operation through a legitimate third party that is not connected to those conducting the influence operation. Former FBI Special Agent and Counterintelligence Officer Asha Rangappa provided an excellent run down with one of the classic historical examples in a tweet thread on Tuesday.
It’s called legitimizing propaganda. You place the information you want people to believe in what appears to be an independent source unconnected to you. Then you can cite it as further “evidence” of your own claims, making them appear more credible. 1/
— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) October 23, 2019
Yesterday, Julian Sanchez’s tweeted an analysis of the leaks indicating that the DOJ (read AG Barr) had opened a criminal investigation into how the counterintelligence investigation into the President’s campaigns contacts and connections with both formal and informal Russian state actors, as well as Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was started and undertaken. I think his assessment is plausible. You can find that thread here:
On a second read, this absolutely reeks of a strategic leak. Two sources say Durham’s review has spawned a criminal inquiry, but not when it happened or what the crime is. That’s awfully suggestive. https://t.co/ljN2DVXo8n
— Julian Sanchez (@normative) October 25, 2019
With one exception. Specifically that Sanchez doesn’t tie what he’s describing in to the larger influence operation. That larger operation, which is a domestically focused Black PSYOP, has three lines of effort, each with multiple parts, and they all are now interconnected.
1) The Ukrainian deliverable.
A) The real deliverable wasn’t manufactured dirt on the Bidens. Rather, it was getting Zelensky to go on CNN to announce the opening of an investigation into the Bidens, because CNN is a mainstream news outlet and is in opposition to the President in its reporting. As soon as that happened, the President’s team would have campaign ads running 24/7 with this. They’d be pushing the reporters they often use, or who are primed for this type of cheap high like Ken Vogel, at mainstream outlets to get all over Zelensky’s announcement, thereby further laundering it and disseminating it through mainstream and legitimate outlets.
B) The fallback, when Zelensky wouldn’t play ball, was to have Hannity interview Shokin – the disgraced, corrupt prosecutor who was forced out under pressure from the US, EU, the IMF, and others. From the reporting over the past two or three days, Parnas and Fruman and Giuliani were all going to Vienna to arrange for this to happen the next night, which would be the night after Parnas and Fruman were arrested. It was also the night after Barr both returned to the US from his “fact finding trip”, met with the SDNY, and then had dinner with Rupert Murdoch.
C) The Romania and China gambits are also fallbacks. The President’s senior advisor for trade issues, Peter Navarro refused to answer CNN’s Jim Sciutto’s questions yesterday about whether the PRC had been told that in order to get a trade deal they had to manufacture dirt on Hunter Biden. I think it is reasonable to conclude that his refusal to answer should be taken as a yes. NBC/MSNBC had new reporting on Hunter Biden and Romania earlier this evening.
D) Barr’s criminal investigation is another fallback here. In this case it turns the DOJ into the propaganda laundry.
2) The Firtash initiative. Firtash wants off house arrest in Vienna and out from under the extradition order to send him to the US to face the Federal crimes he’s been indicted for. The reason Firtash wants this done is because he’s Putin’s man in Ukraine’s natural gas industry. If Firtash can get back to Kyiv he can then once again try to take over Ukraine’s natural gas sector, suck it dry of profits, and fuck up its operations, which will force the Ukrainians to buy natural gas from Russia while removing Ukrainian natural gas as an alternative to Russian natural gas for the rest of the EU market. This all benefits Putin, who is Firtash’s krysha (roof/ceiling) in the Russian mob. Just as he is for every other one of these oligarchs aligned with him.
A) Firtash’s efforts weren’t going very far, so he fired his US attorneys and hired Toensing and DiGenova. They then hired Parnas to do their translation work despite it being reported that Firtash and most of his staff speaking fluent and/or functional English.
B) Firtash was laundering manufactured dirt and conspiracy theories about the Bidens, about the Democrats working with Ukraine to steal the 2016 election, etc through Parnas and Fruman and Toensing and DiGenova to Giuliani. Giuliana who was being paid/worked for Parnas, but also somehow also Parnas’s boss.
C) Toensing and DiGenova are also working for free to assist Giuliani with manufacturing dirt on the Bidens.
3) The lift Russian sanctions initiative. Here’s where it all ties together, by laundering these conspiracy theories, especially that the Democrats and the Ukrainians, in conjunction with DNI, CIA, FBI, NSA, and DOJ, conspired to steal the 2016 election by running a false flag (maskirovka) operation to make it look like Russia was actually conspiring with Trump, his campaign, Republicans, and major conservative movement organizations to steal the 2016 election, it provides a fig leaf for Trump to order the lifting of US sanctions against Russia that went on after the seizure of Crimea and the invasion of Donbass and were expanded as a result of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
A) Manafort, through his attorney, was feeding Giuliani this conspiracy theory from jail and then prison.
B) This provides cover to pardon Manafort and Flynn and several others.
C) It was reported today that DiGenova and Toensing are the attorneys representing the conspiracist masquerading as an investigative journalist John Solomon who was (finally) just fired from The Hill. And here is where #3 wraps back into #1. Solomon was laundering all of these conspiracy theories, from Uranium 1 to the Democrats conspired with the Ukrainians, the DNI, the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, and the DOJ to frame the Russians for trying to steal the 2016 election in order to steal the 2016 election for the Democrats to the Biden bullshit.
A couple of final points. Both Giuliani and Toensing and DiGenova are now claiming that Parnas, Fruman, and now, I suppose, Solomon cannot be deposed, questioned, etc by investigators since they were either working for Giuliani and/or Toensing and DiGenova or are represented by them and therefore everything they know is either attorney-client privilege or attorney work product. So you can’t ask Giuliani about what Toensing or DiGenova are doing. Or what Parnas or Fruman are doing. You can’t ask Toensing and DiGenova about what Giuliani, Parnas, and/or Fruman are doing. You can’t ask Parnas and Fruman what Giuliani or Toensing or DiGenova are doing. You can’t ask Toensing and DiGenova what Solomon is doing. You can’t ask Soloman what DiGenova and Toensing are doing. You can’t ask Firtash what Giuliani, Toensing, DiGenova, and/or Parnas and Fruman are doing. You can’t ask Giuliani, Toensing, DiGenova, and/or Firtash is doing. And because Giuliani claims all of this is on behalf of his client, the President, you also can’t, because of executive privilege, ask Giuliani, Parnas and Fruman who are working for him and who he is working for, and/or Toensing and DiGenova who are assisting him pro bono and employing Parnas anything because they are all covered from having to divulge anything or answering any questions under executive privilege.
If this sounds familiar, it is similar to how Roy Cohn handled his legal representation of the organized crime families he represented in New York. They’d hold all their business/decision making meetings in his dining room with him present or with him on the phone in case of an emergency, so it was all covered under attorney-client privilege. Nobody, from any angle of inquiry, can say nothing about nothing and no one because everything is privileged.
Finally, I guarantee that there is an equivalent of the Black PSYOP delineated in #1 queued up for Warren, Sanders, Harris, and Buttigieg as the front runners. And if a new front runner emerges from the primary field, one will be cooked up for them too.