This is a revision of “Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation” by H. Michael Sweeney.
I have edited it, and tried to make it as concise and relevant as possible for the people who may find it helpful in Iran or on twitter.
1. OMG HOW DARE YOU!!! Avoid discussing key issues. Focus on side issues which can be used show the topic as being critical or offensive to some other group or theme.
2. PICS OR IT DIDNT HAPPEN: Describe all charges, regardless of evidence, as unverified rumors and wild accusations. This works especially well with a silent media, because the only way the people can learn of the facts are through these ‘arguable rumors’.
3. EXPLOIT THE WEAKEST LINK: Find or create an element of your opponent which you can easily knock down to make yourself look good. Either make up an issue you may safely imply exists based on your interpretation, or select the weakest aspect of their weakest statements. Amplify their significance in a way which appears to debunk all the charges, real and fabricated alike, while actually avoiding discussion of the real issues.
4. RETARDS, AGENTS AND TROLLS: Associate opponents with unpopular titles such as ‘kooks’, ‘right-wing’, ‘liberal’, ‘left-wing’, ‘terrorists’, ‘conspiracy buffs’, ‘radicals’, ‘militia’, ‘racists’, ‘religious fanatics’, ‘sexual deviates’, and so forth. Others will shrink from support out of fear of gaining the same label, and you avoid dealing with issues.
5. DONT RESPOND: Make a brief attack of the opponent position and move on. This works extremely well on the internet, where a steady stream of new identities can be easily created. Simply make an accusation or other attack, never discussing issues- and never answering any subsequent response… that would dignify the opponent’s viewpoint.
6. HIDDEN AGENDAS: Twist or amplify any fact which could be taken to imply that the opponent has a hidden personal agenda or other bias. This avoids discussing issues by forcing the accuser to defend themselves.
7. RESPECT MY AUTHORITAH: Build your character as an authority on the topic so you can present your argument with enough ‘jargon’ and ‘minutia’ to illustrate you are ‘one who knows’ … Nothing easier than just saying it isn’t so when you don’t have to discuss issues or cite sources.
8. PLAY DUMB: No matter what evidence or logical argument is offered, avoid discussing issues. Only repeat things that do not contain or make any real point, and that do not support a conclusion. Mix well for maximum effect.
9. BEEN THERE. DONE THAT: In any large scale, high visibility operation, there may be early attacks on you which were already easily dealt with. Where it can be foreseen, have your own side raise these issues first and have it dealt with as part of the initial contingency plans. Future situations, regardless of validity or new information, may easily be associated with them and dismissed as simply being a rehash – even better if the opponent is or was involved with the original source.
10. OMG I SAID I WAS SORRY: Using a minor element of the facts, take the ‘high road’ and ‘confess’ with candor that some innocent mistake, in hindsight, was made. Accuse your opponents of blowing it all out of proportion. Others will reinforce this on your behalf, later, and even publicly ‘call for an end to the nonsense’ because you have already ‘done the right thing and apologized.’ Done properly, this will attract sympathy and respect for ‘coming clean’ and ‘owning up’ to your mistakes. The rest of the issue will somehow disappear.
11. WTF? Avoid discussion of the issues by reasoning backwards, or with an apparent deductive logic without regard to actual material fact or physics.
12. CHANGE THE SUBJECT: Side-track the discussion with controversial comments in hopes of turning attention to a new, more manageable topic. This works especially well with companions who can ‘argue’ with you about the new topic and polarize the discussion arena in order to avoid discussing more important issues.
13. YO MOMMA’S SO FAT: If you can’t do anything else, taunt your opponents and try to draw them into emotional responses. This will tend to make them look foolish and overly motivated, and usually renders their material somewhat less coherent. You can further avoid the issues by then focusing on how ‘sensitive they are to criticism.’
14. LOOK WHAT I JUST FOUND: If possible, introduce new facts or clues designed to conflict with the opposition’s presentations. These can be useful tools to neutralize sensitive issues or impede resolution.
15. MANUFACTURE THE TRUTH: Create your own experts, groups, authors, and leaders- or influence existing ones willing to forge new ground via scientific, investigative, or social research or testimony which will conclude in your favor. In this way, if you must actually address issues, you can do so with authority.