A few days after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, The Washington Post received a sensational leak from an unknown source: a letter from the US Information Agency to a Republican senator, advising him to exaggerate the number of casualties from the explosion at the nuclear plant in Ukraine. The Information Agency had been established by Eisenhower to influence public opinion abroad. The senator, David Durenberger, was chairman of the select committee on intelligence. The leaked letter proved that the US was attempting, in the words of its author, to “make the Chernobyl disaster into an effective propaganda campaign” by falsely asserting the accident had already claimed up to 3,000 victims. It was a shocking attempt to embarrass the Soviet Union, mislead the public and make political mileage out of terrible human tragedy. Except the letter was a KGB forgery. This was a calculated attempt by Moscow to plant fake news and make western anxiety over the nuclear disaster appear artificially inflated as part of a cynical Cold War ploy on the part of America. “Service A” of the KGB, the Soviet intelligence unit specialising in the deception technique known as desinformatsiya (disinformation), had obtained the letterhead of the USIA and then written a fake text underneath with a bogus signature. The Post spotted the ruse and killed the story before it could run.
Times 15th June 2019 read more »
The world owes him an eternal debt, but for Chernobyl hero Alexei Ananenko, it was just part of the job. Engineer Alexei was one of three men who volunteered to wade through radioactive water to prevent a second cataclysmic explosion at the stricken nuclear reactor. They were dubbed “suicide divers” over the perilous mission. Decked from head to toe in protective clothing, they descended into the bowels of Reactor 4 on a doomsday mission as the world held its breath. Their heroism gripped viewers of Sky Atlantic drama Chernobyl. But with great understatement, 60-year-old Alexei insisted last night: “It’s nothing to brag about. Why should I feel a hero? “I was on duty and it was my job. I was trained in what to do.”
Mirror 15th June 2019 read more »