Monthly Archives: April 2007

Blogospheric Resistance — IO In Denied Battle Spaces

To: Cannoneer No. 4

I write this from Iraq, near Baghdad, and as a psyop tactical team leader.
We are forbiden from using psyop on Americans.
We are forbiden from mentioning the enemy by name.
There is no means in the government to counter the propaganda of the mainstream media except sites like Free Republic.
Tactically, our ability to accomplish our mission and goals for the supported command is compromised by political correctness, ignorance and a lumbering process for vetting and approving new psyop products. We do what we can.
There isn’t the will within the government to counter the mainstream media…..they are afraid of them. And those that are afraid are the cowards who fail to confront evil and those who passively support it.

16 posted on 04/22/2007 5:24:13 AM EDT by Radigan

If this ain’t a cry for help, I don’t know what is. Half of our countrymen have been convinced that the war is lost. The kinetic war in Iraq is making progress, but the battle for men’s minds back on the home front is not going well at all. The tools and trained personnel who could mitigate some of the damage unlimited and unopposed enemy psychological operations do to our national will, national unity, and national resolve are against the law. The American domestic target audience is denied battle space for friendly Information Operators.  If they work for the government and are subject to the Smith-Mundt Act.

In COIN: The Gravity Well, the Amazing Grim describes Emergent Communities and show us this graphic:

You will want to read what Grim has to say to make sense of what I’m about to propose, but

I think the military arc of the blogosphere has the potential to become an insurgency, by resisting the enemy propaganda disseminated by our own Main Stream Media and conducting counter propaganda for the domestic target audience. The leaders (yellow) are the bloggers with the largest readership. The TTLB Ecosystem tells us who the leaders are. Some could be IO Warlords, with a readership of contributors (red G’s), commenters (red or blue Auxiliaries), linkers and lurkers (blue or green Sympathizers) with varying degrees of committment and investment in the concept of Distributed IO by PSYOP Auxiliaries and Volunteer Counter Propagandists.

Much of the blogosphere is in revolt against the Main Stream Media. It could be considered an insurgency in opposition to the traditional dead tree info monopoly. And like a real insurgency, it would benefit from the discrete advice and instruction of trained operators.

We need more blue nodes. We need counter propagandists. We need people’s time. We need people’s mental energy and communication skills.

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Distributed IO by PSYOP Auxiliaries and Volunteer Counter Propagandists

I was an auxiliary one cold November night in 1977. My mission was to navigate and ride shotgun in my buddy’s uncle’s dump truck as we drove through the DeSoto National Forest in south Mississippi with 30 G’s (guerrillas) in the back while evading the law enforcement OPFOR (opposing force). This was part of a Special Forces training exercise, similar in many ways to a Robin Sage, but the guys being trained were an Operational Detachment Alpha from 5th SF Group (I may have the Group wrong; it was a long time ago). The Exercise Coordinator had used the DeSoto National Forest for this purpose before, and had already recruited a number of local civilians to participate as auxiliaries, people who assist the guerrillas, sympathizers who don’t pull triggers, but help feed, cloth, move, supply and aid the fighters. Every resistance movement needs auxiliaries. He needed a truck bigger than any of his auxiliaries could get, so he called a buddy of his who happened to be an Assistant Professor of Military Science at the University of Southern Missisippi, who recruited my buddy, who recruited me. We spent the first four hours of our participation in the exercise chatting with the Exercise Coordinator in the darkness of a hayfield in the middle of a pine forest that was the drop zone into which the team would arrive. We were part of the reception committee. I never did see that guy in the daylight, but he made a big impression on an impressionable youth.

For about three years I have been carrying this idea of volunteer civilian infowarriors around in the back of my mind, then they changed INFOWAR to INFORMATION OPERATIONS and I had to educate myself on the component of IO where we were getting creamed by the Bad Guys, Psychological Operations. I wondered why we were doing so poorly, and found out that the Good Guys aren’t allowed to conduct PSYOP that might encourage the domestic target audience to support the war, while the Bad Guys and their auxiliaries in the Main Stream Media have unlimited and unchallenged access to our eyes and ears and hearts and minds. PSYOP scares a lot of people, especially “civil libertarians,” and there are several laws that govern public diplomacy which, because many PSYOP products and their dissemination constitute a form of public diplomacy, also govern military PSYOP. Our military PSYOP people are forbidden by law from producing programs and actions designed to nullify propaganda or mitigate its effects on the American domestic target audience. They pretend that Other Government Agencies counter propaganda outside the AO, knowing full well that strategic counter propaganda is too hot a potato to mess with.

So what to do? At last year’s Milblog Conference Public Affairs took a lot of heat for failure to conduct counter propaganda, but counter propaganda has never been PA’s mission, and they are under the same restraints as PSYOP. These legal restraints are not going to be repealed in time to win the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If the enemy propaganda

which caused partial regime change in America last November,
which persuades the majority of Americans that it is not treason for the third in line of Presidential succession to travel to enemy countries and negotiate with their dictators,
which prevents mobs of peasants with pitchforks and torches from gathering to burn down the Senate Majority Leader’s castle,

is not going to be nullified or mitigated by military PSYOP or OGA, then we can either remove all sharp objects from our pockets, place our heads between our legs, and kiss our asses goodbye

OR

WE can do it.

Who is “we,” Kemosabe?

If you are still reading this and you’re not a troll and you haven’t accepted defeat, you can be one of the “we.”

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Happy Blogoversary, Baby

And Happy Easter everybody.

I started this blog 365 days ago to keep from going crazy while recuperating from an illness and trying to line up another gig. I got another gig and have had a helluva time trying to provide content that would attract readers while doing my day job and trying to blog from MWR Internet cafes in Anbar province. If it weren’t for the efforts of the lovely and talented Cannonette, this blog would have gone Tango Uniform last August. Thank you, baby. And thanks to the 9,841 visitors who have stopped by so far. Many is the time I have almost pulled the plug on this blog, but each time a commenter makes me think better of giving up.

I thought then that there was a role for concerned citizens to play in Information Operations and domestic counter propaganda.

Governments jealously guard their prerogatives as the only legitimate purveyors of deadly force, and strive mightily to absorb armed citizens, militias, and any other groups that threaten their monopoly. Government has no such monopoly on information. Anybody with a computer can enter the fray.

. . . the solution to our information war and public diplomacy problems lie outside of government. We have seen how effective the liberal dominated news and entertainment media in the US is at disseminating its message globally. There is no way that a government agency operating within the political, bureaucratic and financial limitations inherent in any gov’t program can successfully compete against private media.

PSYOPS are being run on the American domestic target audience. Hostile media are IO operators for the enemy. DoD IO and PAO are not allowed to target domestic audiences. So who does domestic counter-PSYOPS?

One of the unacknowledged powers of the blogosphere is [to] organize people around threads — or memes if you will — and that sometimes results in further action.

The blogosphere is a virtual battlespace for the will of the American people. Pro-military bloggers could be organized to function as auxiliaries, legally permitted to target domestic audiences in ways prohibited to active duty bloggers.

Many people are coming to the realization that our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen can’t win this war without help. Technology and imagination allows people who can’t pass a PT test to contribute to the war effort. Blogging is one way to participate. Enemy psychological operations are sapping the will of the American people to stay the course. An Army of bloggers, can do something about that.

Counter propaganda is a legitimate task for Psychological Operations, unfortunately strategic counter-propaganda to mitigate the effects of the enemy’s propaganda on the American domestic target audience is beyond the capabilities of regular US Government military or intelligence psychological operators, because they are prohibited by law from targeting the domestic audience. We are the only country in the world that has voluntarily hamstrung itself in that way. We are losing the infowar to Lawfare. Our PSYOPS people are afraid to conduct robust counter propaganda because it would it would get back to the domestic audience in the States and offend the usual suspects. The Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 never envisioned the internet, but the partial regime change in America has given us a majority party that WANTS our operator’s hands tied.

Some people might think changing the law to enable our operators to fight back would solve that problem, but the political facts on the ground are that the current majority party in Congress is never going to repeal Smith-Mundt. But only government operators are subject to Smith-Mundt. Civilian irregular volunteers can do counter propaganda for the domestic target audience.

Either we grab our ankles and just take the steady stream of unchallenged enemy propaganda, or We The People exercise our rights under the First Amendment to refute it, condition our fellow citizens to resist it, minimize its effects and mitigate the damage it does to our morale and will.

What the regulars are not allowed to do must be accomplished by irregulars.

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