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Thread: We live in an era of implausible deniability and ambiguous warfare

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Mar 2006

    Default We live in an era of implausible deniability and ambiguous warfare

    International Affairs is the Chatham House journal and they have made available for free this article 'Grey is the new black: covert action and implausible deniability' by Professor Richard Aldrich and Dr Rory Cormac, both British academic intelligence historians.

    On a very quick read the focus is Anglo-American, although the USSR / Russia gets a mention and I have not looked at the ninety-six references.

    If anyone is in Oxford on May 14th Dr Cormac is speaking at a public event (PM for details).

    The Abstract, from where the title comes says:
    For hundreds of years, states have sought to intervene in the affairs of others in a surreptitious manner. Since the professionalization of intelligence services in the aftermath of the Second World War, this behaviour has become known as covert action, which—for generations of scholars—has been defined as plausibly deniable intervention in the affairs of others; the sponsor's hand is neither apparent nor acknowledged. We challenge this orthodoxy. By turning the spotlight away from covert action and onto plausible deniability itself, we argue that even in its supposed heyday, the concept was deeply problematic. Changes in technology and the media, combined with the rise of special forces and private military companies, give it even less credibility today. We live in an era of implausible deniability and ambiguous warfare. Paradoxically, this does not spell the end of covert action. Instead, leaders are embracing implausible deniability and the ambiguity it creates. We advance a new conception of covert action, historically grounded but fit for the twenty-first century: unacknowledged interference in the affairs of others.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-04-2018 at 05:18 PM.

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