Information Warfare: Rumors as a Lethal Weapon

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May 21, 2006: Planting rumors is an ancient political, and military, tactic. We may be seeing a dangerous use of this playing out right now in Bolivia. There, rumors are being circulated, and even cited in the press, that Bolivia will break relations with the U.S. when the present American ambassador steps down later this year. While no reliable diplomatic analysts believe this is going to occur, the rumors are of interest because they may be reflective of the shaky nature of president Evo Morales' political underpinnings. It's believed that the rumors have been started by some of the more vehemently anti-American people among his followers (compared to whom Morales himself might be considered a red-stater), attempting to influence policy by making very extreme claims that may stimulate ultra-nationalist support for their more extreme positions. Some of the extremists among Morales key supporters would like to start a war with the United States, which they consider as something of a "Great Satan." They've probably been just watching CNN too often, but playing these rumor games can often blow up in your face and get a lot of people killed.

 


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