AERODYNAMIC: How a 1950s CIA Program Can Lead the Way for Anti-Communist Propaganda Today

There’s a very overt battle between the Right and Left in the United States, and information operations — IO, information warfare, inform and influence, strategic messaging, propaganda, whatever you wish to call it — is a staple of the political diatribe.  I recently read about a program run by CIA, code named AERODYNAMIC.  The year was 1949, CIA was just two years old, and they were already planning to liberate Europeans behind the Iron Curtain.  Although what follows occurred shortly after World War II and in the early days of Soviet expansion, this story provides insight and some lessons learned in the fight against communism and cultural Marxism in America today.

AERODYNAMIC was a series of clandestine radio broadcasts targeting the citizens of Soviet-occupied Ukraine during the 1950s.  Using a transmitting station based in Athens, Greece, CIA broadcast anti-communist and pro-nationalist messages — up to twice a day, for fifteen minutes per broadcast — that had three overall objectives: (1) encourage Ukrainian nationalism, (2) strengthen the resistance of Ukrainians against communism, and (3) provide the target population with facts suppressed or distorted by the Soviets.

The mission was fairly straightforward:  “Stimulate and intensify discontent and disaffection to the Soviet regime and provide the target audiences with hope of ultimate liberation… Concurrently the proposed broadcasts will encourage passive resistance… [and urge] organized passive resistance, which can develop into something more active when conditions permit.”  In other words, foster anger and hatred against the Soviet occupation, which would develop passive resistance that could be turned into active resistance if ever appropriate.  (This is not too much unlike the far Left’s plan to resist and depose the current administration.)

What follows is CIA’s strategy for its clandestine broadcasts to fight communism in Ukraine, which began in earnest in 1955.  These five operational objectives would drive CIA’s strategic messages, with the ultimate goal of helping the Ukrainians to liberate themselves.  Here are the five objectives and some commentary:

  1. “Furnish evidence of outside sympathy and understanding for Ukrainian peoples.”  A Ukrainian diaspora existed in the West, partly consisting of those who were able to escape the darkness of the Iron Curtain.  CIA’s objective was to inform Ukrainians still behind the Curtain that they had the support of the West and their Ukrainian brothers in the West; that these two groups sympathized for the plight of Ukraine and would work to liberate them.
  2. “Intensify anti-regime disaffection by encouraging resentment, bitterness, and distrust of the Soviet regime and its personalities.”  Although I can’t be sure, I imagine that CIA’s messages to Ukrainians during this period included jabs at the paradox of communism: how can a system implemented to be fair, be so unfair to both the peasants and the elites?  If communism is fair, why are there wealthy elites in power over peasants who live in abject poverty?  Why has your quality of life plummeted under communism, and why is there no hope of your situation improving?
  3. “Maintain national consciousness among Ukrainians and urge them to maintain pride in the individuality and heritage of their culture.”  By the 1950s, the Soviets had, for already two decades, implemented forced relocation of non-ethnic Russians from areas of Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, and other nations, replacing these ethnic populations with Soviet Russians.  This was the “Russification” of eastern Europe, which stripped these areas of their heritage and cultures and replaced them with Russian culture.  Maintaining Ukrainian heritage and culture was critical to bolstering Ukrainian nationalism, which is why CIA specifically urged Ukrainians to practice and pass on their cultural practices.
  4. “Create dissatisfaction among Ukrainian military personnel within the Soviet armed forces stationed in Ukraine.”  One way to defeat the Soviets in Ukraine was to slow down and break their machine.  If Ukrainian soldiers could be turned against their Soviet commanders, then Ukraine could be liberated much more easily.
  5. “Create and intensify dissatisfaction among Ukrainian civil authorities to the Soviet regime.”  This is the beginning of “fifth column” activities — sometimes referred to as “a state within a state” — which aim to sabotage and foment resistance within the state’s civil authorities.

As you can see, these five operational objectives hold value for both the Left and the Right in today’s cultural war; however, we need to identify these parallels and adopt them for our own uses.  That might be community security or community organizing — both of which are key to winning irregular conflicts — so I encourage you to identify themes that will resonate with your target audience — friends, family, neighbors, co-workers — and ask them questions that are difficult for them to answer, questions that make them think.

For instance, some of the questions these clandestine broadcasts asked Ukrainians included:

  • Why do Ukrainian letters carry Soviet Russian stamps?  Why can’t Ukraine have its own stamps?
  • Why do Ukrainian Orthodox and Catholic priests come under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church?  Why not the Ukrainian Orthodox Church?
  • Why does Soviet Russia continue the Russification of Ukraine?  Why have and why are Ukrainians being displaced from your own allegedly sovereign country?  This is the land of your forefathers, not theirs.
  • Why does the Soviet government promote Russian culture taking over Ukrainian culture?  Why is Russian culture being forced on you?

Ultimately, these broadcasts began to fracture the myth that Ukrainians were safe and a valuable part of the Soviet Union.  It’s clear that the Soviets had other plans, and that Ukrainians and other eastern European peoples were not equals.  Bolstering Ukrainian nationalism was key to saving Ukraine and defeating communism there.

I think we can ask many of the same kinds of questions today.

Why is Western culture being displaced by Third World culture?

Why are America’s demographics now favoring non-Western people?

Did our nation’s Founders create this nation for their descendants or for hordes of foreign, non-European immigrants?

Why is the myth of multiculturalism being forced on Americans at the expense of our own Western culture?

If diversity is so strengthening, why does Hillary Clinton not have a Somali neighbor?

Why does Hillary Clinton live in a very white neighborhood, instead of a very diverse one?  (Chappaqua, NY is 91 percent white, less than one percent black, and just over one percent Hispanic or Latino.)

Why isn’t Chelsea Clinton married to a Pakistani Muslim?

I’m sure you can take it from here…

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Very good information. I enjoyed the podcast. Looking forward to more on the topic.

Unfortunately the CIA propaganda campaign was grounded in a lie. Ukraine was never, at any time, a country; independent, sovereign or otherwise. What Ukraine was was an area, or a region, like in the US we say “The Mid-West.” The “nation” Ukraine simply never existed until 1991.

But you’ve taken a bad example and made a good point from it. I’m waging my own local propaganda campaign along exactly those lines and it is having positive results.

One caveat… once you begin down that course you can never meliorate; the message has to get ever harder, never softer.

S//

“Why isn’t Chelsea Clinton married to a Pakistani Muslim?” LOL – Because Hillary’s married to Huma!

You make some good points, and the local universities would be a good place to put up some flyers asking why BLM and La Raza are acceptable but not a group supporting European-Americans, if LGBT can have a safe space why can’t straights or why Wymen get a space for themselves but no Men’s Clubs.

Anyone willing to chip in on a flight to Evergreen College?

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