Official documents declassified by the UK National Archives in early 2020 show that between 1945 and 1977 Her Majesty’s government secretly subsidized the Reuters News Agency and the BBC to disseminate Fake News against the USSR and communist sympathizers.

During the Cold War, the Foreign Office founded the Information Research Department (IRD), an apparatus in charge of identifying and discrediting supporters of the USSR. In particular, it created the Globe News Agency, the Near and Far East News Ltd (NAFEN) based in Istanbul and Delhi, the Star News Agency in Karachi and the Arab News Agency in Cairo and, as of 1956, in Beirut. Many well-known figures actively participated in this disinformation program, including George Orwell, Arthur Koestler, A.J.P. Taylor and Bertrand Russell.

The IRD also swayed British public opinion in favor of the United Kingdom’s accession to the European Economic Community (now European Union), via the European League for Economic Cooperation (ELEC) (British equivalent of the American Committee on United Europe) [1].

The IRD was dissolved in 1977 by Lord David Owen to shut down the propaganda activities aimed against the left wing of the Labor Party.

All these facts and many more have been known for a long time [2], but these documents constitute irrefutable proof. They show that for around thirty years, the MI6 (and its US counterpart, the CIA) have dominated information flows throughout Western and Third World countries, as denounced by Seán MacBride before UNESCO, in 1973 [3].

These documents are linked to the Chilcot Commission revelations on the manipulation of public opinion during the war against Iraq (2003) and to our own revelations on the current device of the Foreign Office: Innovative Communications & Strategies (InCoStrat). Since 2014 to the present, this Istanbul-based agency has fabricated a false narrative regarding the war in Syria, which it managed to impose on the international media as a whole.

  • The Reuters News Agency was taken over by Thomson Financial in 2008. It no longer seems to have ties with the MI6, but indeed with the CIA: it has permanent access to the Pentagon’s command center and can therefore release Fakes News, in real time, as much and as often as necessary.

These facts teach us that it is stupid to think that only authoritarian regimes try to intoxicate their own population. Democracies do it too.

Read related articles by Thierry Meyssan :
- « For London, propaganda is an art », 23 August 2016.
- « The techniques of modern military propaganda », 18 May 2016.
- « Propaganda and Post-Truth », 5 November 2019.

[1] “The European Union’s Secret History”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Voltaire Network, 28 June 2004.

[2] IRD. Origins and Establishment of the Foreign Office Information Research Department, 1946-48, Historians LRD, History Notes #9, August 1995. Britain’s secret propaganda war, Paul Lashmar and James Oliver, Sutton Publishing, 1998.

[3] Seán MacBride (26/01/1904 – 15/01/1988): Rising from a domestic Irish political career, he founded or participated in many multilateral organisations. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1974, the Lenin Peace Prize for 1975–1976 and the UNESCO Silver Medal for Service in 1980.