The Art of Provocation

Europe & Eurasia, Podcast, Public Diplomacy

The Art of Provocation

April 21, 2021 | | Europe & Eurasia |

This lecture event is part of the 11th Annual Kościuszko Chair Spring Symposium in honor of Lady Blanka Rosenstiel sponsored by the Kościuszko Chair in Polish Studies and the Center for Intermarium studies.

Lady Blanka Rosenstiel and the American Institute of Polish Culture (AIPC) established the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies at IWP in 2008. The Kościuszko Chair serves as a center for Polish Studies in the broadest sense, including learning, teaching, researching, and writing about Poland's culture, history, heritage, religion, government, economy, and successes in the arts, sciences, and letters, with special emphasis on the achievements of Polish civilization and its relation to other nations, particularly the United States. We remain grateful for Lady Blanka’s leadership in founding this Chair at IWP.

About the lecture:

Revolutionary history abounds with ruse, deception, disinformation, manipulation, diversion, and a variety of devious mechanisms in the struggle by political visionaries, from gnostics to secret societies to anarchists to Marxists and others, to impose their utopian schemas on the unsuspecting. A technique encompassing that genre of mayhem that stands out and has been raised to the level of art is provocation (provokatsiya in the Russian). Provocation was a mainstay of the Tsarist counterintelligence service, the Okhrana, and then perfected up to the strategic level by the Soviet security services from the Cheka, through the KGB, and now to the FSB, SVR, the GRU of the Russian Federation. And, of course, it prospers in other counterintelligence-state cultures as well, such as Islam and China.

Simply put, provocation is a key element of political warfare and is a characteristic of the counterintelligence-state. Provocation connotes operational counterintelligence techniques that create conditions to instigate real or imagined opponents — especially notional ones — into some action that will further the state’s objectives at the expense of the opponent(s). The idea here is to instigate something that otherwise would not occur, control the opponent, and ultimately put him out of action – or, better yet, keep controlling him long-term for some other political or operational purpose. This may be at the tactical level (a double agent operation aimed at discrediting an enemy intelligence service) or at the strategic level (the Trust and WiN operations focused on both domestic enemies and foreign intelligence services simultaneously).

This presentation will focus on foundational examples of provocation up through recent instances where the art of provocation produced grand scale political, military and strategic outcomes beneficial to Marxist movements and regimes, and state-related terrorist structures. It will also briefly examine how the art of provocation has entered into the ethos of western security/intelligence services as well.

About the speaker:

Dr. Jack Dziak is a consultant in the fields of intelligence, counterintelligence, counter-deception, and national security affairs. He has served over five decades as a company president and as a senior intelligence officer and senior executive in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and in the Defense Intelligence Agency, with long experience in counterintelligence, hostile deception, counter deception, strategic intelligence, weapons proliferation intelligence, and intelligence education. He is an Adjunct Professor at the Institute of World Politics, and has taught at the National War College, National Intelligence University, Georgetown University, and The George Washington University; and lectures on intelligence, military affairs, and security issues throughout the US and abroad.