July 21, 2010

MISO: Making Intelligence Sound Obscure

The military has rebranded "PSYOP," shorthand for "Psychological Operations," to MISO: "Military Information Support and/to Operations." Wired Magazine has more on the name change.

"top secret" America, 18 out of 45 government agencies, and 37 corporations engage in psychological operations.

What are psychological operations? Here is a short summary from the Doctrine for Joint Psychological Operations that was published on September 5th, 2003:
"Psychological operations (PSYOP) are planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals. PSYOP are a vital part of the broad range of US diplomatic, informational, military, and economic activities. PSYOP characteristically are delivered as information for effect, used during peacetime and conflict, to inform and influence. When properly employed, PSYOP can save lives of friendly and/or adversary forces by reducing adversaries' will to fight. By lowering adversary morale and reducing their efficiency, PSYOP can also discourage aggressive actions and create dissidence and disaffection within their ranks, ultimately inducing surrender."
In the information battlefield that defines modern warfare, the soldiers of propaganda are instructed by the government to weaken enemy morale, and stop him from resisting the military's domination. These soldiers view themselves as "weapons of mass persuasion," armed with "the truth," and the holy book of military doctrine. They see their work as noble, and life-saving. One soldier said that by performing these psychological operations during the first Gulf War, the military "saved tens of thousands of lives." While that may be true, it doesn't make their work noble, but effective. They persuade fighters of whatever nation that the military invades to crumble, and surrender. If Nazi propagandists had reached the hearts and minds of the American soldiers, and persuaded them to hand over their weapons, we all would be speaking German now. That is the power of psychological warfare.

Loud speakers and pamphlets win wars, conventional weapons don't. By appealing to a man's intellect, and reasoning, you have a better chance of convincing him to do what you want than by shooting at him from a distance, or dropping bombs on his house from the air. But, some men are resistant against psychological messages, and they maintain their fighting spirits despite the onslaught of information corruption.

Excerpt from the article, "Persian Gulf War 10 years later: Winning the war by convincing the enemy to go home":

By the time the U.S. and its allies took control of Kuwait, there were only about 85,000 troops remaining to fight - instead of the 400,000 Saddam had sent to control his captured nation. What happened to the rest? Some had been captured, some had been killed, but most of them had just gone home.

"We were the only battalion geared to do POW psychological warfare," Jim Noll said in a recent interview. Noll was the lieutenant colonel in charge of the 13th Psyops Battalion when it was called to active duty in December of 1990.

"By the end of the war, seven out of 10 Iraqi soldiers had deserted. In some units only 10 percent might have been left in the forward positions. In some cases, there were not enough Iraqi soldiers left to drive their vehicles."
Propaganda warfare is a genius military idea, and innovations in the psychological warfare industry are essential to keep the fraudulent and criminal war on terrorism going. As of now, the credibility of the United States's objectives in the Middle East is suspect not just in the Islamic world, but on the American continent as well. Many forecasters are predicting civil unrest in America, and a possible armed revolution. It is obvious that Americans are becoming the targets of psychological operations techniques that were used and perfected in Iraq.

Understanding psychological warfare is critical to restoring a citizen-controlled, and lawful government in the United States. One of the key issues that must be understood by the public is the difference between "white PSYOPS" and "black PSYOPS." Lieutenant-Colonel Steven Collins, the chief of PSYOPS in the Operations Division at Supreme Headquarters Allied Power Europe in Mons, Belgium, explained the difference in his 2003 article, "Mind games":
"The PSYOPS tactics described to date are all examples of so-called "White PSYOPS", which openly and accurately declares who is sponsoring the product. During the Iraqi conflict, so-called "Black PSYOPS" -- PSYOPS that purportedly is produced by one source, but is actually created by someone else -- was also deployed. The US Central Intelligence Agency reportedly set up Black PSYOPS stations as early as February 2003. One such station, Radio Tikrit, tried to build up its credibility by claiming to be managed by loyal Iraqis in the Tikrit area and by maintaining an editorial line slavishly supportive of Saddam Hussein. Within a few weeks, however, the tone changed and the station became increasingly critical of Saddam. The hope of Black PSYOPS is that the target audience does not see through the ruse and believes the information is coming from the wrongly attributed source, which it sees as more credible. The risk, of course, is that if the ruse is discovered, the trustworthiness of the entire PSYOPS effort, both White and Black, is damaged."
It is hard to separate the line between legitimate and illegitimate uses of psychological operations in the war on terror, where the battlefield is not some outpost in the jungle, or an isolated population, but global society itself. Lt. Col Collins says that there is no linkage between PSYOPS used in military battlefields, and public propaganda that is aimed towards the home population, but it's hard to believe him because the American people's support for the wars in the Middle East is of fundamental importance. Collins:
"Of greater concern is that the press and the public have caught on to this word game, expressing concern about how the use of the term INFO OPS seems to be a deliberate attempt to allow PSYOPS to be used by politicians in order to manipulate domestic audiences to support weak, unpopular policies. This may be a case of military terminology being too clever by half. Critically, there is no connection between PSYOPS and public information activities aimed at global public opinion and home audiences, which seek to provide an accurate and thruthful account of events. Recent activities in Iraq have shown that the public will accept PSYOPS activities being called PSYOPS, as long as it is directed, as intended, towards audiences in combat zones or in those countries affected by crisis-management operations."
The infiltration of psychological soldiers into America's biggest news stations was uncovered by the New York Times' David Barstow in his his article, "Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon's Hidden Hand." An excerpt:
"The strategic target remains our population," General Conway said. "We can lose people day in and day out, but they're never going to beat our military. What they can and will do if they can is strip away our support. And you guys can help us not let that happen."

"General, I just made that point on the air," an analyst replied.

"Let's work it together, guys," General Conway urged.

The Generals' Revolt

The full dimensions of this mutual embrace were perhaps never clearer than in April 2006, after several of Mr. Rumsfeld's former generals -- none of them network military analysts -- went public with devastating critiques of his wartime performance. Some called for his resignation.

On Friday, April 14, with what came to be called the "Generals' Revolt" dominating headlines, Mr. Rumsfeld instructed aides to summon military analysts to a meeting with him early the next week, records show. When an aide urged a short delay to "give our big guys on the West Coast a little more time to buy a ticket and get here," Mr. Rumsfeld's office insisted that "the boss" wanted the meeting fast "for impact on the current story."

That same day, Pentagon officials helped two Fox analysts, General McInerney and General Vallely, write an opinion article for The Wall Street Journal defending Mr. Rumsfeld.

"Starting to write it now," General Vallely wrote to the Pentagon that afternoon. "Any input for the article," he added a little later, "will be much appreciated." Mr. Rumsfeld's office quickly forwarded talking points and statistics to rebut the notion of a spreading revolt.

"Vallely is going to use the numbers," a Pentagon official reported that afternoon.

The standard secrecy notwithstanding, plans for this session leaked, producing a front-page story in The Times that Sunday. In damage-control mode, Pentagon officials scrambled to present the meeting as routine and directed that communications with analysts be kept "very formal," records show. "This is very, very sensitive now," a Pentagon official warned subordinates.

On Tuesday, April 18, some 17 analysts assembled at the Pentagon with Mr. Rumsfeld and General Pace, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

A transcript of that session, never before disclosed, shows a shared determination to marginalize war critics and revive public support for the war.

"I'm an old intel guy," said one analyst. (The transcript omits speakers' names.) "And I can sum all of this up, unfortunately, with one word. That is Psyops. Now most people may hear that and they think, "Oh my God, they're trying to brainwash.' "

"What are you, some kind of a nut?" Mr. Rumsfeld cut in, drawing laughter. "You don't believe in the Constitution?"

There was little discussion about the actual criticism pouring forth from Mr. Rumsfeld's former generals. Analysts argued that opposition to the war was rooted in perceptions fed by the news media, not reality. The administration's overall war strategy, they counseled, was "brilliant" and "very successful."

The CIA, and the pentagon has long been interested in utilizing the mass media to promote official U.S. government policy. Former CIA director William Colby said; "The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media." Former President Harry Truman wrote the following in a Washington Post op-ed one month after the assassination of John F. Kennedy: "For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the government.... I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations."

In March 2000, Counterpunch published an article called, "CNN and Psyops," in which they cited the reporting of Dutch journalist, Abe de Vries, who had written about Army psyops working in CNN, contributing to news stories, and shaping content. Here is an excerpt:
"Here at CounterPunch we agree with Abe de Vries, who told me he'd originally come upon the story through an article in the French newsletter, Intelligence On-line, February 17, which described a military symposium in Arlington, Virginia, held at the beginning of February of this year, discussing use of the press in military operations. Colonel Christopher St John, commander of the US Army's 4th Psyops Group, was quoted by Intelligence On-Line's correspondent, present at the symposium, as having, in the correspondent's words, "called for greater cooperation between the armed forces and media giants. He pointed out that some army PSYOPS personnel had worked for CNN for several weeks and helped in the production of some news stories for the network."

So, however insignificant Eason Jordan and other executives at CNN may now describe the Army psyops tours at CNN as having been, the commanding officer of the Psy-ops group thought them as sufficient significance to mention at a high level Pentagon seminar about propaganda and psychological warfare. It could be that CNN was the target of a psyops penetration and is still too naïve to figure out what was going on.

It's hard not to laugh when CNN execs like Eason Jordan start spouting high-toned stuff about CNN's principles of objectivity and refusal to spout government or Pentagon propaganda. The relationship is most vividly summed up by the fact that Christiane Amanpour, CNN's leading foreign correspondent, and a woman whose reports about the fate of Kosovan refugees did much to fan public appetite for NATO's war, is literally and figuratively in bed with spokesman for the US State Department, and a leading propagandist for NATO during that war, her husband James Rubin.If CNN truly wanted to maintain the appearance of objectivity, it would have taken Amanpour off the story. Amanpour, by the way, is still a passionate advocate for NATO's crusade, most recently on the Charlie Rose show."

Greater understanding of the entire field of government/military PSYOPS, as well as the ownership of the media by the CIA is required. I haven't tried to reach any substantial conclusions in this post, but merely to shed light on some of the information that already exists. The fact that propaganda warfare has been waged on the American people by the national security state in order to influence, and shape public perceptions about unlawful government polices, so as to further secure their support, is one of the greatest scandals of our age. Any future reform of the American political system must include the full disclosure of PSYOPS programs in the US mass media.

"Truth is the best PSYOP" - Colonel Fred Walker, USSOCOM