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Tactic: Hide a forgery

``I think the West should be very careful when receiving documents that are not originals. That is the first suspicious signal,'' says Ladislav Bittman in an interview. He is a specialist who honed his expertise in forgery as deputy chief of the Czechoslovak Disinforma-tion Department before his defection to the West in 1968. The Soviets and Czechs, he says, ``have hundreds of genuine Western documents. Most forgeries today are actually rewritten original American documents. [The forgers take] a document speaking about something totally different, and they use some parts of the document and insert only three or four new paragraphs that are really incriminating.

``It's much easier because the whole format is preserved and looks genuine. The language is very important. American governmental language is very special to bureaucrats.''

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Besides forgeries ``there is a great variety of tactics'' in ``active measures,'' Bittman continues. The Soviet phrase ``active measures'' encompasses the gamut of attempts to influence opinion in foreign countries. It includes both overt and covert propaganda.

``The Soviets have a great advantage over the West (which of course uses the same tactics), a highly centralized system makes it possible to coordinate and orchestrate these measures, to use both the official propaganda channels, agents, organizations; semiofficial channels, agents, organizations; and the secret channels, agents, organizations. In the West the [United States Information Agency], CIA, American press, and hundreds of business organizations involved in international relations,'' all speaking with different voices, make the US much less effective in influencing other countries.