By Jon Rappoport
Potemkin Village: “a pretentiously showy or imposing façade intended to mask or divert attention from an embarrassing or shabby fact or condition. Origin of Potemkin village…after Prince Potëmkin, who allegedly had villages of cardboard constructed for [Russian Empress] Catherine II’s visit to the Ukraine and the Crimea in 1787.” (Dictionary.com)
A decade ago, I began making notes for a novel. Its focus was the CIA—but a greatly expanded version of the Agency.
One of my central characters was Arthyr Meriden, former Agency director. I started writing quotes penned by Meriden during his long career.
Here I present a few of those quotes.
Whether the reader regards them as pure speculative fiction or metaphors describing actual manipulations of reality—they open the door to a wider and deeper understanding of how reality is shaped. The question is: how far does that shaping/control extend?
Is it only political, or is it also in some sense metaphysical? Multi-dimensional?
“Suppose one side sets up a truly massive amount of false information, to let it be stolen or intercepted? I’m talking about whole slices of reality. We can literally builds worlds of data to be carried off in the middle of the night by our enemy. We can make these assemblies of information so huge that few people would doubt their veracity. Suppose both sides are doing this? Creating and stealing. Sooner or later, we might think we’re working with the truth. And the labyrinth would be complete.” (Arthyr Meriden)
“Look at the intelligence business. You have two basic things. A process of discovery, and the thing you want to discover. Simple. You aim in a certain direction, and you apply all your skills. But suppose what you’re seeking turns out to be an artifact? Wouldn’t that be useful for your enemy? Suppose he could construct a whole world of false information. Information that interlocks and connects internally. And suppose, unknown to you, that is the target you’re seeking.” (Arthyr Meriden)
“Both sides have built Potemkin Villages of information. And as both sides penetrate each other’s Village, they obtain feedback, and they use that feedback to mount still other operations, and so on and so forth. What’s the result? Towering misinformation. I would even call it an unintended art form. Potemkin Villages of feeling, of false certainty. Something from nothing. Two sides changing the experience of each other, at a deep core. It would give birth to a composite, hybrid world that wasn’t there before. A world composed of layer upon layer of intelligence operations that never had a basis in fact. Executed by both sides. Think of it this way. Two people sit in a room and have a conversation about their lives. Both people are inventing lives they never had. Everything is improvised. Everything is false. But the conversation goes on, and out of it comes shared experience. Does it really matter that they’re lying?” (Arthyr Meriden)
“Once upon a time in the West, the Roman Church held sway. Then there was breakaway Protestantism. They were both arguing about Potemkin Villages of doctrine. But there you just had two basic sides. The level of information, like water in a river, was rather low. But by now, with all the succeeding breakaway religions, the water is spilling over the banks. It’s a boiling flood. You go back to the source and you find an artifact. It was all built up from nothing, really.” (Arthyr Meriden)
“I could give you some important names. Each one of these names has been a target of a deep investigation, inside our agency, spanning years. I originally made up those names. They don’t exist. They’ve been entered into the equation without anyone noticing. The world has folded itself around them. If they were removed, various pieces of the world would go with them.” (Arthyr Meriden)
“You can’t know the feeling of creating a labyrinth unless you do it yourself. I did. Thereby, I gave people something to do, something they jumped into with an intensity they’d never known before. What is a life without searching, without complexity, without that fire? I would say history itself is a Potemkin creation.” (Arthyr Meriden)