Veritas News Service
Psychological Operations With Technology
Controlling information and persuading public opinion through technology is the newest battle frontier fought on in the minds of the American public. Information in this scenario is one of the main weapons controlled and used by the opponents (propagandized news in general, stacked or misleading statistics, information sensory overload of false or misleading information). This in turn then is manipulated and used by all groups for psychological operations to produce indoctrinating television programming and general unverifiable disinformation disseminated to the public. This general disinformation can include but is definitely not limited to false or inaccurate newspaper articles and publications, false information intentionally distributed and circulated over the Internet, and misleading radio programming. This report will outline some forms of technology like the television and computer. Both are used to produce psychological manipulations in America to direct and persuade public opinion through the use, abuse, and control of information and technology.
There is a big problem in America today. Apathy and amnesia are wide spread in our society. If people want to find the true source of the problem, you need to do what many others and I have done: take an honest look in the mirror and admit to yourself that you have been blissfully ignorant and a major part of the ever-growing problem. After admitting to yourself that you have been misled, take steps to make an honest effort to help not only yourself but also this nation and its true protectors, who truly are some of the last lines of defense between American freedom and a tyrannical despotic government.
With the general lack of accurate and unbiased information being circulated by most Americans, there is a great deal of evidence that PSYOP* manipulations today are more powerful and numerous than ever. As defined by the Naval War College and Joint Publication 3-53, “PSYOP” are operations planned to convey selected information and indicators to foreign (domestic) audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign (domestic) governments, organizations, groups, and individuals. The purpose of PSYOP is to induce or reinforce foreign (domestic) attitudes and behavior favorable to the originator’s objective (6). On a daily basis the average American is constantly subjected to a plethora of propaganda and misinformation through several outlets. One may ask how is it possible to invade the mental space of an individual with information overload? "We don’t work with the kind of instantaneous speed of Ted Turner’s network," Evans admitted. “But the center is capable of producing daily radio and television broadcasts anywhere in the world,” he noted. “Unlike CNN,” Evans explained, “the center doesn’t broadcast worldwide 24 hours a day (11)." In this National Defense Magazine article PSYOPS units are encouraged to modernize their equipment to become more efficient and effective. We can clearly see that our government has the ability to successfully deploy and utilize PSYOP units to help change the target populations’ minds and hearts towards foreign invasion, war, disarmament, abortion, murder and violence in general. A calculated desensitization process has been arranged working to emotionally numb people to violence, sex, and murder. Emotional manipulation and trauma are both tools used to condition people to act in a particular way towards certain topics, events or even words. Highly publicized traumatic events (i.e. 911, numerous mass school shootings, suicide of important individuals) all focus and feed the nation a continuous and constant stream of depressing, sad, tragic and emotionally charged viewer programming used to desensitize. The constant steam of violence and suffering perpetuates the sad and helpless feelings circulating in the minds of its viewers.
I believe that this ramped-up abuse of information and authoritative power is so prevalent and powerful today due to the large number of televisions owned in America and the availability of cheap computers, electronic devices, and inexpensive access to the Internet. Now it is substantially easier to reach people with a message because they are constantly plugged into the technology feed. A reeducation of sorts, a line that is subliminally brainwashing people, affecting their views, emotional states, physical and mental health, manipulating and deceiving people into supporting ideals and agendas that are not their own, and do not have their best interests at heart.
Early Computer Use and Abuse for Social Engineering
I began the research for this article by looking for technology in the early development of computers that could be used for manipulation. I found almost all of the earliest computers had been utilized by innovators of the time like George B. Danzting (3), used for algorithms, mathematical calculations and scientific research. Other researchers like John Bardeen and Walter Brattain paved the road for modern electronics by engineering more efficient computer circuits and microprocessors that over time become the computer we know today (5). These computers, unlike today, weren’t used for the manipulation of people directly. The available computers of the time where used to manipulate economic situations, which in turn manipulated the American people. Referencing a side note from the Harvard economist Wassily Leontief on the Input Output Economic theory illustrates a specific need for an improved computer system (1). Using even those primitive systems, Leontief’s Input Output theory, combined with faster computer technology, has been implemented to control the economic choices Americans make and the goods produced, bought and sold; in other words, social engineering. The major industrial capitalists learned of Leontief’s economic model and funneled money into the research (2). This is important because they have the financial capability to be able to manipulate economies. The average American has never read this book and can’t concentrate long enough to understand how the information has and is currently guiding their daily life. It is interesting to note this information because whether or not you are aware of it or not, it is clear to see these exact principles affecting your life on a daily basis and you may not even have the slightest idea of it.
As the price of technology drops and more individuals own or have access to a computer, the amount of outside influences, control, opinions, and information will continue growing until the history books show no mention of freedom, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or the great opportunity squandered by the American people. This technology evolved over time from primarily a tool for information collection and analysis to a gateway to reach millions of people. “In modern times the vast development in information science, psychology, the science of broadcasting, and other sciences, and in particular the emergence of new high technologies such as satellite communications, electronic computers, networking technology, and multimedia technology, provide a firm theoretical foundation and modern tools for psychological warfare” (4). PSYOP methods of manipulations used in warfare in other countries at times are different. Despite geological differences many of the same tactics are used to control. These tactics are busy at work on the American public, affecting you right now even as you read these words. People have been duped into thinking that they are not capable of defending or even helping themselves. Over-entitlement, arrogance and ignorance perforate in the mind of the people, in a perpetual daze not able to clearly see through the fog. I fear that this mass of unthinking sheep may wish to not be disturbed from their perpetual sleep because confronting the truth and ultimately accepting any kind of responsibility for their action would be greater than accepting the burden already placed on them in their current state of mental enslavement. The technology for mass persuasion is not only already in existence, it has been gradually perfected beyond science fiction. Just from the information available to the public though Freedom of Information Act requests, we know the power of these technologies to be extremely subversive and efficient.
“There are several ways PSYOPS* go about getting the message to their intended audience: information leaflet drops, audio messages and face-to-face communications are all used in an attempt to save as many lives as possible in the event of war” (7). “In addition to setting up their own radio transmitters, the Coalition attempted electronically to jam Iraqi radio stations in order to gain a monopoly in the information available to Iraqi people though this medium” (10). Taking the traditional methods of PSYOPS like leaflet dropping, continual loudspeaker propaganda, monopolization of information, and face-to-face transactions, it is possible to simulate all of these methods over the Internet and media outlets.
The leaflet-dropping technique is then transformed into messages sent over blogs, chat rooms, forums, emails, websites and countless other interactions over the Internet. Forum and online group infiltration today by information provocateurs to control, disperse, and misdirect is nothing new or uncommon. “Chat Rooms and Messaging. Internet chat rooms may also have potential PSYOP uses in that “guided discussions” could perhaps be used to influence how citizens think about certain topics. China has begun to set up monitored chat rooms so its citizens can discuss a wide range of matters” (8). Leaflet dropping could also be transformed to mass emailing. “Email is probably the predominant means of communication for Internet consumers and could also be an excellent medium for PSYOP. It would be rather easy to find a large number of email addresses for users in a country and then begin to send them email” (8). The loudspeaker method of conveying information is transformed into the unsubstantiated ravings of talk show hosts, podcasts makers, and the indoctrinating music being produced, circulated and forwarded presently. Some of this information is disseminated through Internet radio stations and Internet TV stations. “One MIT database records more than 9,000 radio stations transmitting through the Internet. Any of these stations can be heard anywhere in the world by anyone who has a cheap PC and an Internet connection.” (8)
To put the level of PSYOP manipulation presently being seen into focus, “Manipulating enemy perceptions, spreading confusion or disaffection by covertly altering official announcements or news broadcasts, or confusing or frightening leaders by spoofing intelligence or other government communications in principle would not violate the laws of war”(7). Do any of these techniques sound familiar? There is a common theme that continually resurfaces when researching these topics. “However, manipulating an adversary nation to the extent that its citizens or leaders become unhinged from reality, or using propaganda, video morphing, or deceptive broadcast to the extent that they spur unrestrained civil war or genocide may also be illegal under international law” (6). If you exclude the last portion about spurring civil war and genocide, do the other tactics also seem familiar? I feel like there is evidence to support some of this. We have already seen how propaganda is used and is spread, but what about video morphing or deceptive broadcasting? “In a direct reference to U.S. technology, the authors note that Livermore Laboratories has developed a method of projecting holographic images high into the cloud. The projections produce a type of illusory psychological warfare by portraying Islamic Martyrs who appear to speak to soldiers from the clouds” (4). These tactics have also been used in other conflicts. “The Digital Media Group created a hologram of the late music artist Tupac Shakur and had it perform at a music festival” (13). We need to be wary of these tactics because this technology has been perfected and is very powerful.
These PSYOP techniques used by the United States Military forces are easily implemented with ease when the infrastructure for technology is present including but not limited to America. “This becomes a crucial point since today’s public diplomacy messages are increasingly delivered to both domestic and foreign audiences by the same media
(CNN, the World Wide Web, and international wire services) and can be accessed on the Internet from anywhere, which in turn have a significant impact on PSYOP forces’ dissemination means.”(6) After the media coverage is controlled, it is easy to start defeating the enemy’s mind. With the instantaneous access of the Internet there has been a shift in mindset of most Americans. People rely on information passed along on the Internet that they can’t or won’t prove wrong or substantiate. They absorb the information and without critically thinking about it pass it along to friends and family, propagating the misinformation affecting morale and public attitudes. “The best strategy is to attack the enemy’s mind, leaving him unable to plan. Strategy can create psychological misperceptions that will cause one side to remain unprepared. The prepared side can then win without fighting. Nonmilitary intimidation methods establish a psychological intimidation mechanism that will have strategic maneuvering as its core, and organize and apply all kinds of psychological intimidation factors, thus developing the greatest psychological intimidation effect. Intimidation must be established on the foundation of power; without power, intimidation is only a scarecrow” (4). The information covered in the above pages is only one very small aspect of the whole picture of manipulation. The above-covered topics deal with information on how to relay or distribute information using technology like computers. The following paragraphs will cover how the same technology is used to track the things you do in your daily life.
*PSYOP- Psychological Operations
*PSYOPS- Psychological Operations Specialist
1. Leontief, Leontief. The Structure of the American Economy, 1919-1939: An Empirical Application of Equilibrium Analysis. (finish needed)
2. “Economist Leontief to Get $240,000 Research Grant.” The Harvard Crimson. (1956): Web February 6, 13. From http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1956/2/18/economist-leontief-to-get-240000-researc
3. Cottle, R. George B. Dantzing (1914-2005)- American Mathematical Society (2007): From the web February 6, 13. From http://www.ams.org/notices/200703/fea-cottle.pdf
4. Thomas, Timothy L. “New Developments in Chinese Strategic Psychological Warfare.” April 2003. Retrieved February 6, 13.
5. W. H. Brattain http://www2.el.vgtu.lt/skaidres/Devices/Transistors/Transistors%201.pdf
6. Lungu, Angela Maria. War.com: The Internet and Psychological Operations, Naval War College February 5, 2001. Retrieved February 6, 2012
7. McClanahan, Jack, R. America’s Information War on Terrorism: Winning Hearts and Minds in the Muslim World. USAWC Strategic Research Project. March 27, 2002. Retrieved on February 6, 13
8. “Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Strategic Communication.” September 2004. Defense Science Board. Retrieved February 6, 13
9. Boyer, Jacob. PSYOPS solders aim to win hearts, and minds. The information Warfare Site. February 3, 2003. Retrieved on February 6, 13, from http://www.iwar.org.uk/index.htm
10. Collins, Steven. Assesses the Coalition’s perception-management operations before, during and after Operation Iraqi Freedom and their implications for NATO. The Information Warfare Site 2003. Retrieved on February 6, 13 from http://www.iwar.org.uk/index.htm
11. Kennedy, Harold. Psyops Units Encouraged to Modernize Their Equipment. National Defense Magazine. February 2000. Retrieved on February 6, 13, from http://www.iwar.org.uk/index.htm
12. The Gentleman’s Guide to Forum Spies. PASTEBIN. July 12, 2012. Retrieved on February 6, 13. From http://pastebin.com/irj4Fyd5
13. Tupac hologram from YouTube from February 6, 13. From http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGbrFmPBV0Y