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"During the World War, the German General Staff even had a Bureau known as the "Disinformation Service ." Here experts worked out seemingly plausible secret military plans and orders, which were then "planted" as authentic documents in the enemy's hands . Sometimes even war prisoners would be found in possession of secret plans so cleverly concocted by the Bureau of Disinformation as to convince the captors that they were inside plans." --In Stalin's Secret Service (1939), page 234

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Disinformation is false information spread deliberately to deceive. The English word disinformation is a translation of the Russian dezinformatsiya, derived from the title of a KGB black propaganda department.

Russian use began with a "special disinformation office" in 1923. Disinformation was defined in Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1952) as "false information with the intention to deceive public opinion". Operation INFEKTION was a Soviet disinformation campaign to influence opinion that the U.S. invented AIDS. The U.S. did not actively counter disinformation until 1980, when a fake document reported that the U.S. supported apartheid.

The word disinformation did not appear in English dictionaries until the late-1980s. English use increased in 1986, after revelations that the Reagan Administration engaged in disinformation against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. By 1990 it was pervasive in U.S. politics; and by 2001 referred generally to lying and propaganda.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Disinformation" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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