Release of forged documents

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Releasing forged documents is a propaganda technique and is well described by Edward Herman:

Disinformation in the form of forged "captured documents," "intercepted cables," and "confessions" of tortured prisoners are important ingredients of government propaganda. They permit useful propaganda themes to be disseminated in dramatic fashion at government discretion, and they allow press space and air time to be preempted at the expense of news the government finds inconvenient.
If the U.S. government wants to direct attention away from a Nicaraguan election it is striving to discredit, it can claim that MIG aircraft are on their way from Moscow to Managua, threatening U.S. "national security." If it wants to bomb Libya, it can allege that it has "irrefutable" proof in the form of intercepted cables that a bombing of a German discotheque was done under Libyan direction. If it wants to justify attacks on Vietnam or Nicaragua, it finds captured weapons or documents that expose the nefarious plans for "revolutionary terror" by these enemy states."
— Edward Herman, "Disinformation as News Fit to Print: LeMoyne and the Times on the Murder of Herbert Anaya", Covert Action Information Bulletin, No. 31, Winter 1989, pp. 65 – 69.

Cases where forged documents were used for propaganda purposes

  • A number of documents were found purportedly showing that George Galloway, a critic of the war and British MP, had received payments from the Iraqis. Two such document leaks led to libel actions against the Christian Science Monitor (CSM) and The Telegraph. In the CSM case it was possible to demonstrate that the documents were forged because the ink used was different than that used in Iraqi official documents. The libel action brought against the Telegraph didn't deal with the authenticity of the documents, but it dealt with the way they had been abused after their "discovery". The Telegraph lost the libel action.

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