Monthly Archives: December 2007

Civilian Irregular Counterpropagandists Bust Iranians and Rub Their Noses in it

I love this!  There are a bunch of people doing good things out there.  This also serves as a lesson for good guys.  Be careful what use you make of hotlinked images.

The People’s Cube PWNS Iranian Media

Iranian Press TV Runs Fake Jew Photo

Ridicule: An instrument in the war on terrorism

An honor-shame culture doesn’t deal well with humiliation and total pwnage.  Fanatics hate being laughed at.  The anatomically inadequate hate being reminded of their shortcomings by American porn stars they can’t resist downloading. 

Kamaraden, saLOOT!

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Filed under PSYOP

Facilitating Ideological War

The constant portrayal of government agencies as being more villainous than terrorists only serves to facilitate the ideological war being waged by terrorists. The fact of the matter is the terrorists are heinous villains. There have been few if any protracted media stories criticizing the reality that terrorists want to kill Americans and people like Benazir Bhutto who identify with Western values. A constant stream of stories exposing the senseless and cowardly acts of suicide bombers and terrorists would undermine their ideological war.  — Dennis Lormel, Reflections Concerning National Security, Counterterrorism Blog

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Hurting morale

From Inside the Ring:

Marine Corps Cpl. David Goldich, a University of Virginia graduate who spent two tours of duty in Iraq, says Democratic attacks on the war undermined troop morale.

Cpl. Goldich, who returned from Anbar province in November after about 300 combat patrols, stated in a candid account that negative comments by Democrats had “a dramatic effect on morale, especially on troops who are otherwise indifferent and disdainful of politics in general.”

“I cannot tell you how many times I have overheard Marines and soldiers talking about various inconsiderate comments made from the likes of [Sen.] John Kerry [Massachusetts Democrat], [Rep. John P.] Murtha [Pennsylvania Democrat], [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid [Nevada Democrat], and [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi [California Democrat] about how we cannot win, how we should be brought home, etc.,” he said.

“The Kerry comments really cemented his reputation with the troops and upset people more than anything else. It is unnerving to volunteer for service during wartime hoping to be deployed and having to listen to a politician explain how the troops need to come home, especially when we clearly have not finished what we started.

“There is a widespread perception amongst the Marines I know, even those uninterested in politics, that the Democratic Party does not want us to win in Iraq for whatever reason. This is true even amongst Democrats who still maintain the party viewpoint on almost every other issue but the war. Morale is always a tricky issue to deal with, and it is difficult to tell a Marine to buck up when he sees important people back home undercutting his primary reason for existing at the moment.”

Mr. Kerry came under fire in November 2006 when he joked that soldiers in Iraq were “stuck” there because they did not study hard in school.

Even more undermined than troop morale is troop respect.  Marines come in all political flavors.  Most don’t talk politics at work, but some express themselves at breakfast while Fox News is on in the DFAC.  I overheard some anti-Bush sentiment, especially when 2-136th CAB MNARNG got extended three months, but I don’t recall ever hearing any pro-Pelosi, pro-Reid, pro-Kerry or pro-Democrat remarks.  Disgust at the oxygen thievery and douchebaggery of politicians was mostly expressed either nonverbally or with monosyllabic grunts of profanity.

Maintaining morale, that of the armed forces and that of the citizenry, is a vital function in wartime.  We as a polity seem to have divested our government of any capability to rally our spirits while enhancing the ability of The “Loyal” Opposition to depress the hell out of us.

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Filed under Morale Operations

Better Late Than Never

.gov Marching into Cyberspace not so much like Blucher at Waterloo as Crockett at the Alamo.

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Filed under CND

Somebody Needs to Take Down Wikileaks

And the sources of the leaks need to be broken of their bad habits in a painfully public way pour encourager les autres.   But since I have already seen the document, I may as well share the unclassified portion with you:

(U) Information Operations

(S//REL TO USA, MCFI) This paragraph you will have to find on your own.

(U) Insurgents used IO for both persuasion (e.g., distributing fliers and videos extolling the bravery of suicide bombers) and coercion (e.g., distributing videos of collaborators being beaten or executed).

See (U) Iraq: Employment of Information Technology (IT) by Insurgent Groups and Terrorists for more information on how information technology helps insurgents gain control of the local population.

(S//REL TO USA, AUS, CAN, GBR) This paragraph you will have to find on your own.

(U) Arab satellite news channels were crucial to building political pressure to halt military operations. For example, CPA documented 34 stories on Al Jazeera that misreported or distorted battlefield events between 6 and 13 April. Between 14 and 20 April, Al Jazeera used the “excessive force” theme 11 times and allowed various anti-Coalition factions to claim that U.S. forces were using cluster bombs against urban areas and kidnapping and torturing Iraqi children. Six negative reports by al-Arabiyah focused almost exclusively on the excessive force theme. Overall, the qualitative content of negative reports increasingly was shrill in tone, and both TV stations appeared willing to take even the most baseless claims as fact.

(U) During the first week of April, insurgents invited a reporter from Al Jazeera, Ahmed Mansour, and his film crew into Fallujah where they filmed scenes of dead babies from the hospital, presumably killed by Coalition air strikes. Comparisons were made to the Palestinian Intifada. Children were shown bespattered with blood; mothers were shown screaming and mourning day after day. Follow this link to see an example of the emotional images highlighted by Al Jazeera.

(U) The absence of Western media in Fallujah allowed the insurgents greater control of information coming out of Fallujah. Because Western reporters were at risk of capture and beheading, they stayed out and were forced to pool video shot by Arab cameramen and played on Al Jazeera. This led to further reinforcement of anti-Coalition propaganda. For example, false allegations of up to 600 dead and 1000 wounded civilians could not be countered by Western reporters because they did not have access to the battlefield.

(U) Western reporters were also not embedded in Marine units fighting in Fallujah. In the absence of countervailing visual evidence presented by military authorities, Al Jazeera shaped the world’s understanding of Fallujah.

(U) Conclusions

(U) The relative failure of the first Battle of Fallujah compared to the more successful second Battle of Fallujah (November 2004) offers useful political-military lessons for how to defeat asymmetric adversaries in complex environments.

• (U) The enemy will seek to utilize the human, informational, and physical complexity of urban areas to avoid direct military confrontation and exploit American political and informational vulnerabilities.

• (U) Shaping operations that clear civilians from the battlefield offers many positive second-order effects. In Fallujah in April 2004, I MEF only had a few days to shape the environment before engaging in decisive combat operations. The remaining noncombatants provided cover for insurgents, restrained CJTF-7’s employment of combat power, and provided emotional fodder for Arab media to exploit.

• (U) Information operations are increasingly important in a 21st Century world where cable television runs 24 hours a day and the Internet offers propaganda opportunities for insurgent and terrorist groups.

• (U) The media presence on the battlefield was controlled by the enemy; consequently, they shaped much of the information the world viewed during the fight. In VIGILANT RESOLVE there were few reporters embedded in Marine infantry units; in Operation AL FAJR there were 91 embeds representing 60 media outlets. False allegations of noncombatant casualties were made by Arab media in both campaigns, but in the second case embedded Western reporters offered a rebuttal.

• (U) The Iraqi government was nascent and weak and they offered no political cover for U.S. commanders to finish the operation in a reasonable time period. Without domestic Iraqi political support, offensive operations were halted after 5 days of combat. This stands in stark contrast to the second battle for Fallujah where the Iraqi Interim Government under Prime Minister Ayad Alawi ordered the Marines in and supported them through several weeks of combat.

• (U) Insurgents sometimes get lucky. The Abu Ghurayb scandal and the Shia uprising further enflamed a politically precarious situation and could not have happened at a worse time for Coalition forces.

(U) In summary, several factors explain the difference in outcomes between Fallujah I and II. Longer shaping operations to evacuate civilians, control of the informational realm, more aggressive COIN operations in surrounding towns to protect Coalition MSRs, solid political backing from a more stable Iraqi government, and larger forces that contained a greater percentage of mechanized units to speed up the campaign all contributed to the relative success of Fallujah II (November 2004) versus the failure of Fallujah I.

Am I doing wrong in calling attention to Wikileaks? Possibly. Conceivably this post will bring them a lot of traffic and put a lot of unauthorized eyes on the leaked material. The counterpropagandist always runs the risk of calling attention to the propaganda. Thus the popularity of silence. Silence is the bureaucratic default position. In this case I judge the risk of aiding and abetting their agenda to be worth siccing the Civilian Irregular Computer Network Attack Force on them.

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Filed under G-2

The Terrorists’ Tet

 COL Bay doesn’t want you to fall for it again.  You fell for it hook, line and sinker last time, unless you weren’t around back then or were too young to pay attention, in which case your parents and grandparents did, with few exceptions.

Sometime within the next six months or so, al Qaeda or Saddamist terrorists will attempt a Tet offensive.. . . At the operational level, the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) suffered a terrible defeat. As NVA regiments emerged from jungle-covered enclaves and massed for attack, they exposed themselves to the firepower of U.S. aircraft and artillery. The NVA units temporarily seized many cities at the cost of extremely heavy casualties. However, Tet achieved the grand political ends North Vietnam sought. Tet was a strategic psychological attack launched in a presidential election year during a primary season featuring media-savvy “peace” candidates. “Peace” in this context must be italicized with determined irony; in the historical lens it requires an insistent blindness steeled by Stalinist mendacity to confuse the results of U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam (e.g., Cambodia’s genocide) with any honest interpretation of peace. Their “ultimate Iraqi Tet” would feature simultaneous terror strikes in every major Iraqi city. These simultaneous strikes would inflict hideous civilian casualties with the goal of discrediting Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s and General David Petraeus’ assessments that Iraqi internal security has improved. The terrorists would reduce Iraqi government buildings to rubble. Striking the Green Zone would be the media coup de grace, intentionally echoing North Vietnam’s assault on the U.S. embassy in Saigon. Al Qaeda terrorists would also attack Shia shrines. Kidnapping or assassinating of senior Iraqi leaders would be another objective.

. . . the terrorists will attempt a series of terror spectaculars, and kill several hundred civilians in the process, because — in the quadrennial turmoil of an American presidential contest — sensational carnage that even momentarily seeds the perception of defeat is their only chance of victory.

I remember the last Tet.  Yeah, I know, I’m a geezer.  But this time I won’t be a helpless 6th-Grader.  This time I’m empowered.  This time I and my pards have the power to inoculate or to immunize individuals in advance of any propaganda blitz by any of the organized persuaders who seek to gain by carrying the terrorist’s water.

Conditioning. Conditioning is a nonspecific means of eliminating potential vulnerabilities in the domestic audience before they can be exploited. This technique is preemptive in nature. Conditioning is very similar to a preventative action measure.  This technique does not specifically address potential themes that the opponent may use in a propaganda program against the force, but seeks to remove or reduce potential vulnerabilities before they can be exploited.

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Filed under Morale Operations, Old Media, PSYOP

Concerned Netizens for Internal Defense and Development

You’ve heard of the Concerned Local Citizens of Iraq.  Most of you have heard of Foreign Internal Defense.  Some of you have heard of Internal Defense and Development. 

Are there analogous equivalents to these meat space terms in cyber space?

Let’s say for the sake of argument that you are a Concerned Netizen of America,  concerned about military affairs, national security, terrorism and subversion, looking for a way to contribute something useful to the war effort from home on the internet while  keeping your day job, going shopping at the mall, and paying taxes. 

What could you be doing? 

Why is the Government not bombarding you with ideas they would like to see you doing? 

There are a number of things you could be doing.  Milblogs recommend projects and charities and groups needing contributions every day.  You are free to help all, some or none of them, as you wish.  Nobody is really pushing any of them outside the blogosphere.  Occasionally talk radio pushes one or another.  Rarely do you see a TV news segment about one of them.  It is pretty much up to you what you do, and how much of it.  The maternalistic Government doesn’t tell you to buy war bonds and eat your soup anymore.  Nowadays you have to be hungry enough to seek out a restaurant and peruse the menu.  Our wars are fought by an all volunteer force, and our warfighters are loved, supported and appreciated by volunteer citizens

The Government can’t decide what they would like you to do, besides keep paying your taxes.  Significant factions within the Government would prefer to see you out marching in the streets with protest signs.  These factions couldn’t prevent America from going to war, but they can and do prevent America from applying the full spectrum of Diplomatic, Information, Military and Economic power against the “enemy”, whoever the enemy is.  They also veto any effective use by the Goverment of the proven methods of mass communications to bolster the morale of the civilian population and maintain support for the war effort. 

So if you want to do more than is being asked of you by your Government, you’re going to have to mobilize yourself.  If we were foreigners, our Regulars have doctrine to help us with this:

Mobilization provides organized manpower and materiel resources and includes all activities to motivate and organize popular support of the government. This support is essential for a successful Internal Defense And Development program. If successful, mobilization maximizes manpower and other resources available to the government while it minimizes those available to the Internal Defense Threat. It is important to realize, however, that this effect may not be directly proportional. Organized crime, a sectarian insurgency and others may continue to maintain viability even as their base of support erodes. This effect can be magnified by those Internal Defense Threats receiving aid from a third party. This effect is further magnified when third party support is effectively immune to interdiction at its source. Mobilization seeks to—

Strengthen existing government, economic, military and social institutions in procedures and capabilites

 Legitimize and if necessary reform those institutions.

 Develop new institutions to respond to demands.

 Enlist and enfranchise all members of society to contribute in some way.

 Permanently discredit and vilify Internal Defense Threats.

 Continuously assess and adjust programs and emphasis as necessary.

 

 Inculcate the sense of permanency of change.

 If necessary, create a national vision towards achieving greater goals.

 

 

 

 

Watch Psychological Operations in Support of Internal Defense and Development Assistance Programs, Part I and Part II

Initial analysis indicates that the target audiences can be broken down into three basic groups: the Subversives, the Government Supporters, and then the big group in the middle, the Uncommitted Civilians.

America is now Hostland.  We are the HCN’s.  And there are no big long-noses jumping into our AO to advise us, train us, equip us or do a damn thing for us.

It falls to us.   And we don’t have a helluva lot of time left.

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Filed under PSYOP Auxiliaries