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Psychological Warfare

December 20, 2011 Comments off

brain-altering drugs and digital “indoctrination” – “…Speaking of long-term impacts on the brain, we’re also heading toward a world where humans are directly linked with computers that profoundly influence their perceptions and ideas. Despite many potential benefits, there is danger here as well. Rather than simply augmenting our memories by providing neutral information, the brain-computer connection may lead people into separate realities based on their assumptions and politics. Brain-altering drugs and digital “indoctrination” – a potent combination. Together, they pose a potential threat not only to the stability of many individuals but of society itself. Seduced by the promise that our brains can be managed and enhanced without serious side-effects, we may be creating a future where psychological dysfunction becomes a post-modern plague and powerful forces use cyberspace to reshape “reality” in their private interest. Do prescription drugs create new mental problems? And if so, how could it be happening? For Whitaker the answer lies in the effects of drugs on neurotransmitters, a process he calls negative feedback. When a drug blocks neurotransmitters or increases the level of serotonin, for instance, neurons initially attempt to counteract the effects. When the drug is used over a long period, however, it can produce “substantial and long-lasting alterations in neural function,” says Steven Hyman, former director of the National Institutes of Mental Health. The brain begins to function differently. Its ability to compensate starts to fail and side effects created by the drug emerge. What comes next? More drugs and, along with them, new side effects, an evolving chemical mixture often accompanied by a revised diagnosis. According to Marcia Angell, former editor of “The New England Journal of Medicine”, it can go this way: use of an antidepressant leads to mania, which leads to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, which leads to the prescription of mood stabilizers. Through such a process people can end up taking several drugs daily for many years…” (Mind Games: Cyberspace and Psychiatric Drugs)

mixture of ideology, propaganda, and half-truths – “…If terrorism is a form of psychological warfare, we should be focusing as much if not more on countering the propaganda as we focus on preventing and controlling terrorist violence. Ultimately, the fight against terrorism can only be won if we manage to prevent young people from joining such organizations, if we manage to induce members of terrorist groups to leave their organizations and if we can make it clear to their leaders that their strategy is not leading to the intended results. Terrorists and their sympathizers issue communiqués and copious writings to explain and “justify” their deeds and win new adherents. This mixture of ideology, propaganda, and half-truths goes all too often unanswered and is dismissed out of hand. That is a mistake. We should consider countering every terrorist propaganda statement with wellargued counter-statements, directed not necessarily at the terrorists themselves but at their constituency and, above all, at those who are vulnerable to the terrorist temptation. The language of hate and violence needs to be answered by the language of reason and humanity—and deeds that match our words…” (Terrorism as Psychological Warfare)

to get the youth to become addicts – “…The primary goal of drug trafficking in the Soviet Union at the start was not money. Nor is it such today. Money is only a beneficial side effect to the goal of undermining the financial strength of capitalist countries. The real primary goal was, through drug trafficking, to undermine the moral, mental, and physical gifts of our youth, which would under mine our military strength within a few years (drugs impair the cardiovascular system) and, as our youth mature in the future, the strength of our future leaders is also weakened through corruption and their inability to think well. Because these drugs were mainly tools of sabotage operations, drug trafficking was run out of the GRU. In contrast, the organized crime was directed at the power elite, to corrupt them and open doors for direct policy influence, and espionage at the highest level. Because the dominant role here was political, the organized crime element was run by the KGB. Terrorism had two different goals, one was to destabilize countries and make them vulnerable to insurrections and take-overs, and the other was to help isolate the United States from the rest of the world. Because of its nature, it, too, was run by the GRU. While these all began as independent covert operations, by the mid-1960s their boundaries were getting fuzzy because each would benefit from some contributions of the others. Additionally, there were some capabilities that were shared among all of the three because they were critical to each one, for example, the movement of monies, that is, money laundering and associated financial support. Also as pointed out by Kitman, we need to consider the large range of drugs and their different effects, and, hence, their very different usages. For example against the youth, which is indicated above in the targeting of the youth, are the so-called recreational drugs. These were drugs for the masses, mainly the youth. And, the main idea was to get the youth to become addicts and drug users before the age of 25, which was when the youth were most vulnerable. The second largest category of use is specific mind-altering drugs whose object is not a trip that puts people into la-la land, but drugs that are used, mostly, on individuals who are the target of special psychological operations designed to change the target’s way of thinking or acting to the Soviet benefit. There are many different types, as Kitman explains. Only a few such drugs were developed to extract information or “truth.” The largest range of drugs are for very different usages, such as to cause the targeted individual to become very paranoid, aggressive, frightened, unable to make decisions, sleep inducing, chaos or “craziness” inducing, hate inducing drugs, and some that just made people happy and accepting or able to support different policies and people. These were used on leaders and individuals of power and influence in a very different fashion – that is, the target has no idea he or she have been given a special drug covertly. There is also a third very different category which is for military use, drugs for use against group targets, up to battalion-sized targets, drugs for use against commanders or control centers, and drugs that affect the mind in such a way that facilitates recruiting individual officers and turning them into unwitting Soviet agents…” (Symposium: Sex, Drugs and Psychological Warfare)

planned use of propaganda and other psychological actions – “…A favorite COINTELPRO tactic uncovered by Senate investigators was to advertise a non-existent political event, or to misinform people of the time and place of an actual one. They reported a variety of disruptive FBI “dirty tricks” designed to cast blame on the organizers of movement events. In one “disinformation” case, the [FBI’s] Chicago Field Office duplicated blank forms prepared by the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (“NMC”) soliciting housing for demonstrators at the Democratic National Convention. Chicago filled out 217 of these forms with fictitious names and addresses and sent them to the NMC, which provided them to demonstrators who made “long and useless journeys to locate these addresses.” The NMC then decided to discard all replies received on the housing forms rather than have out-of-town demonstrators try to locate nonexistent addresses. (The same program was carried out when the Washington Mobilization Committee distributed housing forms for demonstrators coming to Washington for the 1969 Presidential inaugural ceremonies.) In another case, during the demonstrations accompanying inauguration ceremonies, the Washington Field Office discovered that NMC marshals were using walkie-talkies to coordinate their movements and activities. WFO used the same citizen band to supply the marshals with misinformation and, pretending to be an NMC unit, countermanded NMC orders. In a third case, a [Bureau] midwest field office disrupted arrangements for state university students to attend the 1969 inaugural demonstrations by making a series of anonymous telephone calls to the transportation company. The calls were designed to confuse both the transportation company and the SDS leaders as to the cost of transportation and the time and place for leaving and returning. This office also placed confusing leaflets around the campus to show different times and places for demonstration-planning meetings, as well as conflicting times and dates for traveling to Washington…” (US Domestic Covert Operations: Psychological Warfare)

Psychological warfare (PSYWAR), or the basic aspects of modern psychological operations (PSYOP), have been known by many other names or terms, including Psy Ops, Political Warfare, “Hearts and Minds,” and Propaganda.[1] 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. It is used to induce confessions or reinforce attitudes and behaviors favorable to the originator’s objectives, and are sometimes combined with black operations or false flag tactics. Target audiences can be governments, organizations, groups, and individuals. The U.S. Department of Defense defines psychological warfare as: “The planned use of propaganda and other psychological actions having the primary purpose of influencing the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of hostile foreign groups in such a way as to support the achievement of national objectives.” During World War II the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff defined psychological warfare more broadly stating “Psychological warfare employs any weapon to influence the mind of the enemy. The weapons are psychological only in the effect they produce and not because of the weapons themselves.” (Wikepedia)

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