There appears to be nearly exact parallels to the current Fake News and Information Wars with something written by me which applied to the 1980s and in the 1990s portions were presented to the Israelis.
It was a thesis called, Total Communications Warfare (TCW), sometimes referred to as Prime Time Warfare.
TCW was designed to be a tactic or plan to compete with the news media, rigorously enforce accuracy, plus reduce the illegal flow of leaks in government, corporate and organizations without using violence. In order to produce this effect TCW essentially used the strategy; fight fire with fire.
In approximately 1996, a personal friend and sometimes business venture partner, Lou Lenart, read a section of the thesis I had created. For years TCW had basically lay dormant for what it was intended and I later published parts as fiction in a spy book.
However, Lou was very impressed with TCW. Lou, being an ex-United States Marine Corps fighter pilot, the first combat flight leader of the Israeli Air Force, the one who led the successful air raid against the Egyptian Army preparing to attack Tel Aviv in 1948, and a well-known committed Zionist, Lou wanted to know more. So, I let him read a good portion of TCW.
The TCW blueprint used research, information compiling and private, personal data collecting whether substantiated or not, modern gadgets and ‘news tactics’ against the media, assorted targets and illegal leakers. One of the key factors being total and relentless saturation; flood the news with information so the public would sooner or later reject all news. The other key; it doesn’t matter if the info is verified, as long as it is sensational and keeps the public fully occupied and eventually no one would believe anything. Sex could be the subject of choice as it is quick and straightforward to accuse, and hard and tedious to disprove. Distinctly, past sexual accusations since a great deal entails what he said, she said, circumstance interpretations, human-relation signals, etc and most essential, political agendas.
What TCW additionally did though was to combine, centralize and coordinate everything into one tactical communications weapon. Including a combative news operations facility with personnel, designed to go head to head against any news or combined news organizations, staffed with professional, fulltime Public Relations (PR) spokespersons and specialized debaters, supported by permanent computer analysts and researchers in constant, live contact via earpieces. All which are coordinated by a floor director and a back stage director, some in stealth, and some as a visible team, for the exclusive function to resolutely and ferociously assault any and all leaks, negative information or news threats in real time, on live TV, and in news briefings. It additionally had building plans for rooms designed to intimidate and control, such as lighting, smells, heights, sizes, levels, colors, temperature, and much, much more.
Segueing back to Lou, he immediately saw the PR application (as that is what TCW was designed for) and how it could potentially, massively, assist in turning Israel’s 1990s pathetic public image into something respectable and maybe downright feared. He knew that Israel needed a dynamic revolution or reinvention of their worldwide PR approach and thought parts of TCW could be constructive.
Then, Lou asked if I’d be willing to share parts of TCW with Israeli PR, government and military officials. I said yes.
So Lou, who had the ability and influence to directly call and talk to any person in Israeli government and military, made instantaneous arrangements for me, a somewhat newbie to Israel, and a Gentile, to present TCW to the Israelis.
The first meeting (if the offices kept their records all my meetings and names are verifiable) was in Jerusalem at the office of a military spokesman. Lou accompanied me and I brought along a variety of appropriate TCW applications. We met with an official and I spoke from my prepared spiel, using documents and illustrations.
Nonetheless, after about five to 10 minutes of presentation the official began talking about technical issues of media rather than public relation composition topics.
Lou and I looked at each other as we could see and feel the official was not interested in the presentation. We left shortly after and once outside the building Lou was livid in anger, saying things I will not repeat.
Then Lou explained how on more than one occasion, he tried to get the entire Israel governmental establishment to adopt modern PR behavior and tactics. Including, providing a solid offer of a several million dollar fund from US and outside donors to exclusively assist Israel in the PR battle. But, it was ignored much to the frustration of Lou and prominent donors.
As a result, Lou said that many of the individuals who were part of the PR donor project were insulted, including him. He complained that some leading members of the Israeli government, unfortunately, did not comprehend or simply did not want to accept the absolute power of perception and PR. And in addition, that the collective, worldwide Arab PR ‘machine’ was, for lack of a better description, annihilating Israel in the press and media war, which in turn was winning over international hearts and minds against Israel.
Lou was so angry that he wanted to end the attempt to present TCW that day. Yet, after a while Lou asked if I’d be willing to try again, this time without him. I agreed.
The second meeting Lou set up was also in Jerusalem at a recognized institute with a senior individual.
I took less information for this meeting, expecting it to be similar to the prior one based on Lou’s added, elaborated experiences with trying to change the current, stagnate Israeli PR mind set. Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised by the reception.
The individual at the institute listened carefully and was visibly impressed with my material, concept and organization of TCW. He studied the information meticulously and asked related questions. It was very noticeable that this person was an intellect and a visionary. Despite that he viewed only about five percent of TCW data, nor did he see ‘instructions’ which were fundamental to achieve successful results, he still straight away saw the need and usefulness for a TCW-type enhancement to Israeli PR.
Regardless he had prior been a spokesman for the opposition party; he put aside politics for the sake of Israel and made an appointment for me to talk to someone in the current Prime Minister’s (PM) Office.
I was ecstatic; left a few, limited TCW bullet points and illustrations with the institute representative, and couldn’t wait to tell Lou about the new successes.
In preparation for the PM Office meeting Lou and I met giving me advice on government, culture and protocols but trusted my extensive overseas familiarity, analytic experiences and TCW to do the rest. I prepared comprehensively, took extra material, and drove to Jerusalem to meet with the PM Office representative.
I was received cordially and sat down for the presentation knowing it was important to keep everything to the point. I knew these type of people were busy and their time precious. As I began, he listened politely but it was apparent he had been briefed about the concept. Near to the end of my presentation, he stopped me to comment that TCW or anything associated with it was not the course the government would be interested in.
I was taken back, I knew how hard it was to get a PM Office appointment, I knew this person’s impressive background and that confused me more. Nevertheless, out of respect for him and his position, yet not wishing to waste any of my own time, I thanked him, closed my notebook without sharing any more information, shook his hand and exited. As I left I saw the surprise in his face that I had chosen to leave without further conversation.
Walking out of the building, while collecting my passport at the guard gate, I pondered Lou’s experiences and this was Déjà vu, the same thing happening to me. I called and told Lou of the PM Office meeting response and he was fuming. I won’t repeat what he said then either.
I also called the institute representative, thanked him for his help, and told him what happened. He was clearly disappointed. I think, my opinion, maybe he was frustrated because the government representative didn’t consider even some or part of the TCW tactics that were effective and not ‘offensive’. For example; breaking free from the news media’s self imposed rule and their double standard that government spokespersons can’t use earpieces, be linked with analyst or assistance in real time for accuracy and support, despite that news personal can.
When Lou and I met again, we discussed how to improve the Israeli PR by conventional means but we didn’t accomplish anything in the following months and ceased altogether.
And that ended my so-called Israeli PR campaign career.
Although, TCW was not completely idle. Segments were later read, verbally presented and illustrated to select others in the mid-1990s to 2000s including TV/Film related.
However, in 2000, reports surfaced of a TCW-type attack illegally utilized as blackmail. Nevertheless, the effort was unsuccessful and self-destructive as the ‘perpetrators’ did not have the accurate information of TCW procedure. Blackmail doesn’t work; it gives time to respond and generates sympathy for the victim. Most of TCW is uncomplicated – just release the info in mass to the masses.
Afterward in 2013, there was what appeared to be another attempt to employ TCW this time as a clandestine, large scale exploit. One theory gathered from the few sources available, the reason appeared to be that concerned opposition individuals, organizations and underground support assemblies were angered about the outcome of the 2000 Bush/Gore campaign.
Allegedly, the individuals and/or groups decided to ensure an electoral vote win in place of a popular vote win would never happen again. Thus it started, reportedly back then, sizeable collecting, precision organizing and targeting, gargantuan funding and preparing for the next election in 2004 and beyond.
This info managing maneuver purportedly incorporated voting software development and usage, hacking and massive, centralized dossiers on opposing parties and enemy individuals, organizations, etc, similar to the TCW scenario. This supposedly included pairing with like minded powerful figures, media moguls, networks, social media, computer networking and coalitions.
With that being said; it was also rumored that dossiers were a Standard Operating Procedure of the rival party preceding the Bush/Gore fiasco, but that the information was divided and purportedly kept in different locations to prevent charges of bulk illegal information gathering.
These strategies evidently came to a pinnacle in 2015 and flowed into 2017, with no signs of ending due to the losing party’s theoretical shock and anger of the election outcome, as more methods were employed and countered by both political parties and their factions. This purportedly included the civilian industry, the media, spy agencies, hackers and ruffians which some might call ‘assassins’.
What happen to the thesis Total Communications Warfare?
The complete thesis was in parts. A few sparse copies may still be around in places. Or maybe not. In 2007 the last computer that contained TCW was retired and both the hard drives and computer were physically and thoroughly destroyed. The demolished parts were separately discarded both by time and place. The thesis does not exist in its original state any longer and will never be recovered.
It is also certain TCW was not released in full. Unfortunately though, individuals could have thought up similar strategies completely and independently on their own, or morphed parts of TCW for their particular uses and devices (and apparently did so).
Regrettably, there may be more to come of these tactics as perhaps a nasty, Total Communications Brawl – with no winners. Consequently everyone in essence could be in the news being accused of some offense particularly accusations from people wanting public attention; any attention whether good or bad as long as it thrusts them or their agenda into the news or fame.
Nowadays, do I regret writing TCW?
Too early to say because I’m not positive I’m responsible for the current information wars and fake news inspiration. But if I am, I refer to the many individuals who created something they thought was good, for an explicit objective, a safer option, efficient, with guidelines, and with structure in place to prevent anarchy. Instead, witnessing a TCW-like-framework hijacked to seemingly create intentional volatility.
Therefore, I quote the ‘Creator of the World Wide Web’ Tim Berners-Lee, on how disturbed he is today with what the Internet has become ‘turning into a bit of a monster’.
I’ll close by stating that in the fiction book in which part of the thesis of Total Communications Warfare was written, near the end, the character responsible for TCW attempts to maintain the status quo, and tries to prevent the TCW assault, because he suspects the Communications Warfare consequences (in the wrong hands) are potentially far worse and may eventually and permanently cripple the free press.