Friday, April 16, 2010

PSYWAR on the home front

WARNING: PSYWAR may be harmful to your mental and spiritual health.

This is another article in which I take a slight detour from our usual theme of highlighting the hidden agendas of the entertainment industry. LVB has already introduced the topic of psychological warfare, i.e. PSYWAR, in this blog. In this article I will analyze an example of this type of operation as conducted by the US government.

The emblem of the US Army's Psychological Operations Regiment

First let's review. Here is what LVB had to say about PSYWAR in his article titled, "Imma Bee the Future: Psychological Warfare in Mass Media".
What exactly is "Psychological Warfare"?

Psychological Warfare (PSYWAR) is defined by the U.S. Department of Defense as:

"The planned use of propaganda and other psychological actions having the primary purpose of influencing the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior...of groups in such a way as to support the...objectives."

"Various techniques are used, by any set of groups, and aimed to influence a target audience's value systems, belief systems, emotions, motives, reasoning, or behavior."

This is often referred to as "winning hearts and minds", or similarly, "Capture their minds and their hearts and souls will follow."
LVB described in his article how these techniques are used in music videos to subliminally manipulate the viewer.

CIA PSYWAR targets civilians on the "home front" too

Now let's take a look at a specific example of the use of these techniques by the CIA. Wikileaks recently released a document purported to be from the CIA, which discusses ways to increase public support  in France and Germany for the Afghanistan War. It is posted up on Wikileaks in PDF form here: "CIA report into shoring up Afghan war support in Western Europe".

Here is the summary of this document provided by Wikileaks.
This classified CIA analysis from March, outlines possible PR-strategies to shore up public support in Germany and France for a continued war in Afghanistan. After the Dutch government fell on the issue of dutch troops in Afghanistan last month, the CIA became worried that similar events could happen in the countries that post the third and fourth largest troop contingents to the ISAF-mission. The proposed PR strategies focus on pressure points that have been identified within these countries. For France it is the sympathy of the public for Afghan refugees and women. For Germany it is the fear of the consequences of defeat (drugs, more refugees, terrorism) as well as for Germany’s standing in the NATO. The memo is an recipe for the targeted manipulation of public opinion in two NATO ally countries, written by the CIA. It is classified as Confidential / No Foreign Nationals.
What's interesting from the point of view of this blog is the use of "public relations" techniques targeted at civilians to achieve the goals of the military. This is similar to the types of techniques used in some of the music videos that we have analyzed, which are designed to sway public opinion. These techniques are not new. In fact the whole operation could have been designed by the "father of public relations", Edward Bernays.
"The engineering of consent is the very essence of the democratic process, the freedom to persuade and suggest."
– Edward L. Bernays, "The Engineering of Consent", 1947
1) The first step is to conduct a study of the population to be targeted with the goal of finding the reasons that they are opposed to the objectives of the PR campaign - in this case the deployment of French and German troops to Afghanistan.

2) Then the population is broken down into groups that have raised similar objections. The groups may be further broken down along cultural lines.

3) Each group's objections are studied. Strategies are formed for psychologically attacking specific objections within specific groups. Knowledge of the culture is used to determine biases that can be manipulated as part of the plan of attack. Guilt, fear and shame are typical psychological weapons used in these attacks.

4) These various attack strategies are tried out on small groups to test their effectiveness.

5) A report is produced outlining the proposed strategies and the rationale behind them. (This document is an example of such a report.)

6) If the plan is approved, then at this point resources must be identified which can be used to communicate the message to the targeted audiences. These resources could be ads placed in newspapers, magazines, TV or the intenet. Or they could be articles written by sympathetic journalists. Or talk show appearances by politicians and "experts". Or they could consist of statements by public officials.

7) The plan is put into effect. A PR campaign is launched utilizing all means of communications that are available that can reach the targeted audience. Varying degrees of deception are employed depending on the type of operation - white, grey, black.

Notice the similarities between a PR "campaign" and a military "campaign". Groups are "targeted", psychological "weapons" are employed, "strategies" are devised, a plan of "attack" is created, and finally the "campaign' is "launched".

CIA says "shame on you"

Looking at the CIA report we can see these techniques in action. In the following excerpt, I have capitalized some of the key words: "guilt", "indignation". You can see how these emotions are intentionally used as weapons in this psychological war.
Conversely, messaging that dramatizes the potential adverse consequences of an ISAF defeat for Afghan civilians could leverage French (and other European) GUILT for abandoning them. The prospect of the Taliban rolling back hard-won progress on girls’ education could provoke French INDIGNATION, become a rallying point for France’s largely secular public, and give voters a reason to support a good and necessary cause despite casualties.
You can also see how this passage highlights the issue of "girls' education", which must have been identified in their studies as a key issue of interest for this target audience.

In the following excerpt we see the use of specific fears of Germans targeted by this campaign, such as increased drugs and refugees flowing in as a result of a NATO pullout from Afghanistan. And notice that the PR campaign intends to "dramatize" these issues in order to increase the targeting effectiveness of these emotionally charged issues. The victims are not targeted through the rational parts of the brain, instead they are targeted at a lower subliminal level. A level at which the intended victim is essentially defenseless against this attack.
Messages that DRAMATIZE THE CONSEQUENCES of a NATO defeat for specific German interests could counter the widely held perception that Afghanistan is not Germany’s problem. For example, messages that illustrate how a defeat in Afghanistan could heighten Germany’s exposure to terrorism, OPIUM, and refugees might help to make the war more salient to skeptics.
And in this final excerpt, we see the use of the powerful technique of "association". This is another way to target the subliminal parts of the brain. Associating a good thing with a bad thing causes the bad thing seems less bad. In this case President Obama's positive appeal is used to give an aura of goodness to the Afghanistan War. Notice that it is the image (the symbol) of Obama that is being utilized here to sway public opinion more so than the actual person. This is sometimes referred to as "Brand Obama"in an obvious reference to the world of marketing and advertising.
The same poll also found that, when respondents were reminded that PRESIDENT OBAMA himself had asked for increased deployments to Afghanistan, their support for granting this request increased dramatically, from 4 to 15 percent among French respondents and from 7 to 13 percent among Germans. The total percentages may be small but they suggest significant sensitivity to DISAPPOINTING a president seen as broadly in sync with European concerns.
This excerpt suggests using "shame" to target the victim as indicated by the word "disappointing". If you disappoint your parents, then you feel the powerful negative emotion of shame. In this case a respected authority figure (Obama) substitutes for the parent. Notice also the use of studies to test the suitability of these tactics, and how the results are broken down by target groups.

We won't get fooled again

We have seen the use of three powerful negative emotions: guilt, fear and shame. We have seen the use of the technique of "association". We have seen how populations are broken down into groups and specific plans of attacks are used against different targeted groups. It would be hard for the CIA to deny that what we have here is a plan for a PSYWAR operation.

What the document leaves out is the important question of how this plan would actually be implemented.  Certainly it can be expected that public officials would do their part. But for this PSYWAR operation to be truly effective, it would require cooperation from major news outlets. At the very least there would need to be certain agents or operatives strategically placed in news organizations to deliver this message to the unsuspecting public. Hmmm.

But you know, they'll have a much harder time fooling us if we become aware of their tricks. Here's former President George W. Bush suffering a "freudian slip" with regards to how they try to fool us. But don't be fooled into thinking that the Obama administration is any different when it comes to employing these dirty tricks. If we are going to win this war, we are going to have to learn how to defend ourselves against these subliminal attacks. The simplest way is to become consciously aware of these techniques, which will allow you to at least diminish the effectiveness of their psychological weapons.


  1. Hey baba,

    I’m starting to think that Obama IS the “Manchurian Candidate” and doesn’t even know it (just as depicted in the movie). Below is an article insert from This particular article implicates his being a CIA agent.

    = = =
    “The CIA is not an intelligence-gathering agency. The Truman Administration authorized “psychological warfare” by the newly established National Security Council in NSC 4-A of December 1947 which allowed covert operations during peacetime. This document made the CIA Director responsible for psychological warfare and placed it under the exclusive direction of the Executive Branch. The CIA has unvouchered funds which allow the agency to operate without exposure or Congressional oversight.

    With pressure from the Departments of State and Defense, a new NSC directive, NSC 10/2 was issued on June 18, 1948. This new directive stipulated that the CIA could conduct “covert” and “psychological” operations both of which were sponsored by the U.S. Government against foreign states or groups. However, these activities should be “planned and executed in such a way as to provide plausible deniability if revealed. Approved CIA clandestine activities, according to the directive, include “propaganda; economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance movements, guerrillas and refugee liberation groups, and support of indigenous anti-Communist elements in threatened countries of the free world. Such operations should not include armed conflict by recognized military forces, espionage, counter-espionage, and cover and deception for military operations.”
    = = =

    Indicative of PSYWAR being in the works for years! Is it plausible to say that this has been covered up for years and now they are using media outlets to reveal but twist the truth? Even David Rockefeller had this to say:

    "We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time Magazine, and other great publications who directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years but the world is now more sophisticated & prepared to march towards a world government which will never again know war but only peace and prosperity for the whole of authority."

    -- David Rockefeller, CFR/Bilderberg/TC, 5 June 1991.

    Thanks so much for making the ignorant aware!

  2. Lenci - That's great stuff. One of the most disturbing aspects of the CIA is how their funding is not disclosed to Congress. As we see from this leaked document, the CIA appears to be targeting not just the "bad guys" but also the general public in France and Germany. Are they "protecting us" as they claim, or attacking us? Due to the secrecy with which they operate, no one can say for sure. Not to mention that their methods are despicable and in violation of the principles upon which this nation was founded.

    I've been doing some research on the connection between the CIA's MKULTRA program and LSD. I have a hunch that the CIA deliberately pushed LSD on the young people of America and Britain in the early 1960s. At the very least they are responsible for introducing the drug to the wider public. It was through drug studies which they supported that people like Ken Kesey and Timothy Leary were first exposed to these mind altering drugs.

    As for the reasons behind this. I have my suspicions. I'm inclined to believe that there was a perceived threat from the rebellious baby-boomer generation. And by encouraging drug dependency, they were able to disrupt attempts by young people to effectively organize politically and to disrupt the status quo.

    Many frightening details about MKULTRA were revealed in the aftermath of Watergate. But much more information was destroyed in 1973 by CIA director Richard Helms who ordered all documents about this project destroyed.

    The CIA was involved in the Watergate coverup which led Congress to investigate other CIA activities:
    The "Smoking Gun" tape
    "On August 3, 1974, the previously unknown audio tape from June 23, 1972, was released. Recorded only a few days after the break-in, it documented Nixon and Haldeman meeting in the Oval Office and formulating a plan to block investigations by having the CIA falsely claim to the FBI that national security was involved."

  3. Lenci

    Interesting that you should bring up "The Manchurian Candidate"...hold on tight because my next article might knock you right out of your chair. lol

    I don't want to say too much cuz it's a surprise, but let's just say it's an real eye opener. :)

  4. I have something to share that ties in with Psywar.
    check out this article!

    Are Twitter's messages valuable for research?
    Project with Library of Congress designed for future study

  5. Victoria - Yes the CIA is data mining Twitter. And not just Twitter. Also blogs, and other social networks. And they're doing it in real time.

    There are also other huge data mining operations like this one by the FBI.

    Not to be outdone, the NSA is building a mammoth data center in Utah.

  6. @Lenci - Regarding Manchurian Candidates

    I don't know if people got the point of what I was saying about the Bush video, because I wasn't very clear about it. What I'm saying is that these public officials must maintain a sort of dual personality. (Kind of like Miley and Hannah.) Behind closed doors they are plotting how to fool the public. And then when in front of the cameras, they have to pretend that they sincerely believe what they are saying, when in fact they are spewing lies designed to fool the public.

    It's a tough act to keep up. It's kind of like the difference between esoteric and exoteric that Vigilant Citizen talks about. The esoteric truth is for the inner circle only, while the exoteric message is tailored for the external public. You can also think of it in more simple terms as wearing a mask whenever speaking in public before the cameras.

    So what I'm saying is that as Bush tried to talk about "fool me" it created a kind of loop. Like standing in a hall of mirrors. Or recursion if you're familiar with that term. It was so disturbing that his mask fell off momentarily, or you could say that his programming (mind control) failed, or suffered a glitch.

    I think this ties in with the Manchurian Candidate comment that Lenci made. It's not just Obama, but all high level public officials. I think the Office of President is particularly well suited for this because as we all know, the President is little more than a figurehead.

    Obama is certainly the latest incarnation of this, and in many ways the slickest. His slickness lies in being able to convince most people that he is sincere when he is lying. Many people who could easily see through Bush are absolutely mesmerized by Obama.

    I'm not sure if Manchurian Candidate is the right term, because that implies an agent for a foreign power. What we have here is an agent for the powerful Elite. His "programming" allows him to fulfill this role perfectly. It has been noticed however, that he is quite uncomfortable without a teleprompter to tell him what to say.

    But given the right words, he is able to create just the right tone of voice and the facial expression to convey the "meta-communication" that LVB has referred to before. That's his real talent. He is able to communicate subliminally very effectively. It's not the substance of his speech so much as the "delivery".

    And then he has to be able to go behind closed doors and drop that robotic act and receive his next set of instructions. The word "duplicity" comes to mind. Not just because of the meaning of being deceitful but because of the etymology referring to "double". It is like he is a dual personality. He's "the best of both worlds".

  7. @all - Last night as I was half-asleep, I began to associate will.iam with Lenci's comment about Obama. And what I remembered was the "Yes We Can" video that became a viral internet sensation. I figured I was on to something here. This was presented as a sort of spontaneous expression of support by for Obama.

    But since we've been taking a virtual class on PR campaigns here at Public Vigil, I decided to take another look at this video from a PR perspective. This was the singular event that established Brand Obama with the slogans "Yes We Can", "Hope" and "Change".

    A quick look at the Wikipedia entry for the "Yes We Can" video revealed that one of the executive producers was Mike Jurcovak. He heads ups a company called cYclops. Their specialty is innovative internet based PR campaigns for companies trying to reach out to young, hip audiences. And he worked with the Black Eyed Peas before on a super-slick Levi's ad campaign in 2000 called "Lost But Not Lost".

    Jurcovak in other words is the Edward Bernays of the internet. He is the "father of internet based Public Relations". Which means that the "Yes We Can" video was not the spontaneous creation that we were led to believe it was. It was actually part of a very sophisticated PR campaign to promote Brand Obama among young people. Curiously Jurcovak does not mention the "Yes We Can" video in his bio.

    This is worthy of an article of its own, but I wanted to give people a heads up about this as it emerged from my investigations.

    Yes We Can video on DipDive
    Yes We Can - Wikipedia
    Mike Jurcovak on Muckety Map
    Mike Jurcovak's bio on cYclops
    Levi's Internet Film Panders Pants
    Lost Change

    "Yes we can" get fooled again, and again, and again...

  8. Very astute comments, baba. Almost nothing they do is spontaneous, we know that much.

    Not only was Obama using "Yes we can", I seem to recall Hilary saying that a lot, as an apparent
    "me too" reaction to its success; this, too, was most likely scripted.

    And don't forget "Si se pueda" to pander to the Hispanic votes out there. These people are sick and cynical b@stards who will do anything to have the appearance of caring about any of us,
    which actually the furthest thing from the truth.

  9. Not to mention that the McCain/Palin side was obviously designed to fail as the false option (review your PsyWar concepts), resulting in the most blatant Socialist/Marxist regime the United States has ever known.

    This is all certainly very much according to the script of the global powers that be.

  10. LVB - Yes you're right about Hillary. The "change" mantra became so powerful for Obama that Hillary tried to adopt it as well. (I think McCain also tried to pick up on it as well.)

    According to the urban myth, the "yes we can" motto came from "sí se puede". I doubt this is really true. A better translation of this Spanish phrase would be "yes, it can be done" or "yes, it is possible". A direct translation of "yes we can" to Spanish is "sí podemos".

    With regards to McCain/Palin I honestly believe that is was a campaign "designed to fail" just as you say. When I watched McCain in the Presidential Debates he was terrible. Just after the elections he appeared at some sort of celebrity function and he was witty and humorous and charming. So I really believe he "took a fall" as they say in boxing.