HUBBARD COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE
Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead, Sussex
PR Series 7
About the most involved employment of PR is its covert use in destroying the repute of individuals and groups.
More correctly this is technically called BLACK PROPAGANDA.
Basically it is an intelligence technique.
It can be a serious error to cross intelligence and PR.
These are two different fields. They have two distinctly different technologies.
A PR man must also know something of intelligence technology. Otherwise one day he will be left gaping.
Intelligence is intelligence. PR is PR.
When you gather information by intelligence procedures and at once employ it for PR, the result is likely to be poor.
It is not that it isn’t done. It’s that it isn’t very effective. Also it is an act of desperation.
PR IS OVERT.
INTELLIGENCE IS COVERT.
PR is at its best when it begins and ends overtly.
Intelligence is best when it begins and ends covertly.
PR with an open demand by known authors, a demonstration, a conference is normal PR.
Intelligence trembles on the edge of PR when filched data explodes a storm in the public. It recoils when the authors are then known.
Black propaganda is, in its technical accuracy, a covert operation where unknown authors publicly effect a derogatory reaction and then remain unknown.
The effect of black propaganda is largely wiped out by “Oh, it was the Germans who set them up.”
So PR enters intelligence in this way: One finds who set up the black propaganda and explodes that into public view.
This use of PR is almost that of an auditor to the group. One is disclosing hidden sources of aberration.
To use intelligence to find where they hid the body and then flip over into wide publicity is not very powerful in actual practice. There better be a body there and one better tell the police not the public.
If there are no effective police, then one has the problem of police action. Exploding it to the public ideally is an effort to make the public a vigilante committee. Modern publics seldom rise this high. Educated publics seldom explode to the explosion.
A PR man who thinks of taking Blitz & Company’s crimes to the public is really just dreaming hopefully—without foundation. It may or may not hurt Blitz. It might recoil. The ability of the public to stand around and look stupidly at a dripping-handed murderer without doing a thing about it is a symptom of our civilization. They ought to act. They don’t. You can form an opinion amongst them but governing bodies won’t consult it.
Exposure is not an effective road to action. It can be to opinion. It is slow.
Then what is effective?
By definition intelligence is covert. Undercover. If it is kept so all the way it is effective.
When intelligence surfaces it becomes very ineffective.
Threat and mystery are a lot of the power of intelligence. Publicity blows it.
Take the Red Orchestra, World War II, Stalingrad Campaign. In Berlin, Schultz-Boysen and other highly placed Russian agents got the whole German plan of the battle that was to be Stalingrad. Brilliant and covert intelligence. They passed it to the Russians. Brilliant and covert comm. The boss at Center in Moscow put the ring’s names and addresses in a code radio message. The Germans of course broke the code. The Germans rounded them up and messily executed them on meat hooks. The Germans had no other battle plans but contemplated not attacking Stalingrad that way. This put the whole coup at risk. Then the Germans did use the plans the Russians knew and that was the beginning of the end of WW II.
So TWO exposures threatened the success of this intelligence coup. One was the stupid radio message. The other was the realization the Russians had the battle plans.
Exposure is the basic threat of intelligence.
PR is the willful broadcast of information.
The two don’t mix well.
Possibly used since the morning pale of history, black propaganda was developed by the British and German services in World War I into a fine art.
The word “propaganda” means putting out slanted information to populations.
One propagandizes the enemy population or one’s own or neutrals.
In popular interpretation it is a parade of lies or half-truths or exaggerations.
PR and advertising technology and mass news media are employed as well as word of mouth and posters.
The trouble with it is that it can often be disproven, discrediting the utterers of it.
It may serve the moment but after a war it leaves a very bad taste.
If one is engaging on a campaign of this nature, its success depends on sticking to the truth and being able to document it.
The entire black propaganda campaign conducted for twenty-one years against Scientology began to fold up in its sixteenth year because never at any time did its instigators (a) have any factual adverse data or (b) tell the truth.
The Scientology movement continued if only by heroic means and much sacrifice.
But at last nobody of any note believed the propaganda.
The attackers pulled in on themselves a counterattack based on penetrating, horrible, documented truth.
It required intelligence-like tactics to discover who it was exactly.
The “dead agent caper” was used to disprove the lies. This consisted of counterdocumenting any area where the lies were circulated. The lie “they were ____” is countered by a document showing “they were not.” This causes the source of the lie and any other statements from that source to be discarded.
That real trouble and damage was caused Scientology is not to be discounted. The brilliance of the defense was fantastic. The depth and inroads the propagandists reached was alarming. BUT THEY DIDN’T MAKE IT.
Some black propaganda campaigns have won in other areas, not Scientology.
The British got the US into World War I with black propaganda, despite a president elected on a peace platform.
Many individuals have been destroyed by black propaganda. Wilhelm Reich was by the lies and violence of the FDA.
So black propaganda is not a certain-result technology. It is costly. It makes fantastic trouble.
Essentially it is NOT a PR campaign. It is a cross between PR and intelligence.
The technique is:
A hidden source injects lies and derogatory data into public view.
Since it is a hidden source, it requires an intelligence approach to successfully end it.
In the meanwhile the “dead agent caper” is the best tool to counter it.
Legal action can restrain such a campaign but is chancy unless one knows the source or at least has counterdocuments. It is risky solely because “law” is unpredictable. However legal action has a definite role in restraining, not in ending, such a campaign.
A good policy when faced with a black propaganda campaign is to defend as best you can (dead agent and legal restraints) while you find out (intelligence) WHO is doing it. Then, confrontation can occur. Finding and suing false whos can make things much more involved.
Black propaganda countercampaigns are inevitable. One engages upon them whether he would or no. These are engaged on while one narrows down the area to an exact WHO. For instance, one knows the Whatsits are attacking one. Thus he can counterattack the Whatsits. But what are the Whatsits exactly? and to whom are they connected? and exactly WHO, an individual always, is keeping it going? These last three have to be answered eventually. And that requires an intelligence-type search.
So there is where intelligence and PR cross.
When PR goes into black propaganda (hidden source using lies and defamation to destroy) it has crossed intelligence with publicity. They don’t mix well.
The action is risky to engage upon as it may run into an ex-intelligence officer or trained intelligence personnel. It may also run into a dead agent caper or legal restraint.
Anyone engaging in black propaganda is either using a wrong way to right a wrong or confessing he can’t make it in open competition.
Outright protest PR based on facts is a legitimate method of attempting to right wrongs.
It has to be kept overt. It has to be true.
Protest PR can include demonstrations, hard news stories and any PR mechanism.
Minorities have learned that only protest PR can get attention from politicians or lofty institutions or negligent or arrogant bosses.
Where protest PR is felt to be a necessity, neglect has already occurred on the issues.
The riots of Panama some years ago were very violent, verging on open war. This followed the negligence of the US in negotiating new treaties, a matter arranged for long ago and arrogantly skipped for several years by the US.
The slaves were freed in 1864 but were either misused or neglected for the next century and finally became a key racial problem full of demonstrations and riots and social unrest. Imperfect redress of wrongs following these then continued the riots. This is probably the biggest PR mess of the last century and a half, wobbling this way and that. It is still in the stage of protest PR, possibly because it went so very, very long unhandled.
The only real recourse these people had was protest PR. Recently, black congressmen were refused audience by the president and had to stage a demonstration before it was granted. But protest PR did obtain an audience.
The silliest idea of modern times is conscription. Draftee soldiers might possibly be excused as a levée en masse but not as the habit of government in peace and war just to overcome their lack of ability to make the country worth fighting for and the armed services a stable, attractive career. This is all the more foolish since hardly anyone in history ever had any trouble recruiting an army that could pay for one. Even Gibbon remarks on it as an amazingly easy thing to do in any civilization. And that is true today.
So conscription is continued. Facing every young man with an arbitrary military future was a bad thing. Napoleon invented it and he lost.
Protest PR was the answer used to contest it. Met by force and violence, it has not halted.
Somebody will have to give the country a nobler cause more decently prosecuted, will have to better the services and conditions and will have to admit men without demanding their right names or perfect physique and make them immune to recall for civil offenses. Probably that army would fight well. Conscript services are too expensive, too inefficient and too ready to revolt for any sane government to use them. But here this unhandled wrong has to resort to protest PR.
So protest PR has its place. It is a fine art. It is the subject of fantastic skill and tech.
It is not good. But it does work and it is used as a last resort when normal hearings and good sense fail.
When money and force lead and opinion leaders are unheeded, when special privilege enters management or government, protest PR, the strike, the demonstration, is the tool employed.
If that doesn’t work, or if it is crushed, subversive actions, general intelligence actions, black propaganda and other evils occur.
PR used soon enough can avert much of these consequences.
But there are always two in any fight and the other side may not want to live and so set themselves up.
Intelligent early PR is the best remedy. But it is not always possible.
L. Ron Hubbard