Psychological Operations (PSYOP) or (as it has been known since 2010) Military Information Support Operations (MISO) are CIA operations geared towards conveying selected information and indicators to audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of governments, organizations, groups, and individuals – both inside and outside the United States.
“White propaganda” accurately identifies its source. “Grey propaganda” does not specifically identify its source. Rather than identifying the source, one might see: “It was reported yesterday that …” or “reliable sources report that…”or “eye-witnesses said they saw….” It attempts to appear authoritative and to avoid appearing as partisan propaganda. “Black propaganda” is propaganda information that purposefully misidentifies its source, usually the opponent, who is falsely credited for the information.
In the 1990s, it came to light that soldiers from the 4th Psychological Operations Group had been interning at the American news networks Cable News Network (CNN) and National Public Radio (NPR). The program was an attempt to provide its PSYOP personnel with the expertise developed by the private sector under its “Training with Industry” program. The program caused concern about the influence these soldiers might have on American news and the programs were reported to be “terminated.” But one day before Rolling Stone reported that Lt. Gen. Caldwell commanded the execution of an illegal PSYOP campaign against U.S. senators, Information Week published an article revealing that the military sought a contractor to deploy false identities on social media sites like Facebook to disseminate DoD propaganda to civilians.
Bloomberg’s NYPD got caught working with the Central Intelligence Agency to create a “Demographics Unit” of plainclothes officers that explicitly monitors the city’s 800,000-strong Muslim community by spying on mosques, bookstores, and student organizations. The department has gone so far as to monitor some kids in its own youth soccer league because their team was sponsored by the Arab American Association of New York.
The New York Times reported:
“WASHINGTON — The Central Intelligence Agency has opened an internal inquiry into whether its close cooperation with the New York Police Department in the decade since the Sept. 11 attacks has broken any laws prohibiting the agency from collecting intelligence in the United States. During his first Congressional testimony as the C.I.A. director, David H. Petraeus said Tuesday that the agency’s inspector general had begun to investigate its work with the Police Department ‘to make sure we are doing the right thing.’
Marie E. Harf, a spokeswoman for the agency, said that its cooperation with American police forces in the past decade ‘should not be a surprise to anyone,’ and that its work with the department in New York ‘is exactly what the American people deserve.'”
Later, at the massive protests against the 2004 Republican National Convention (RNC) in New York City, Mayor Bloomberg gave special buttons to nonviolent activists who had proclaimed that they would be peaceful. Bloomberg got political points for being hip and lenient, even as his administration cracked down on dissent during the week of protests. Pacifists got an added perk: anyone wearing the button would be given discounts at dozens of Broadway shows, hotels, museums, and restaurants. As Mayor Bloomberg put it, ‘It’s no fun to protest on an empty stomach.’ Law-abiding protesters were given buttons of the Statue of Liberty holding a sign that reads, “peaceful political activists.”
And the anti-RNC protests in New York were little more than that: fun. A huge amount of energy was expended weeks in advance (by the NYPD) in attempts to alienate and exclude militant activists. Plainclothes officers distributed thousands of leaflets the weekend before the convention making the idiotic claim that anyone advocating confrontational tactics was likely a police agent. That week, the Poor People’s March was repeatedly attacked by police making targeted arrests of activists wearing masks or refusing to be searched. March participants had agreed to be nonviolent; the police were every bit as violent as they chose to be.
Speaking with the Huffington Post, Bloomberg’s former deputy press secretary, Jordan Barowitz, doesn’t rule out the possibility of Bloomberg mounting a presidential campaign in 2016. Considering that Bloomberg falls right in line with the Obama administration on gun bans and that he was caught using taxpayer-funded resources to operate “Mayors Against Illegal Guns,” it’s safe to say that he would no doubt expand training for gun confiscations during martial law or a government-declared emergency.
These domestic tactics are eerily identical to the US military’s tactics two years after invading Iraq. The Pentagon was paying to insert articles in Iraqi newspapers urging unity (against the insurgents) and nonviolence. The articles were written as though the authors were Iraqi in an attempt to rein in the militant resistance and manipulate Iraqis into diplomatic forms of opposition that would be easier to co-opt and control.
In 2009, the Associated Press investigated the DoD’s budgets. Therein $547 million went into public affairs, which reaches American audiences. And about $489 million more goes into Psychological Operations, which targets foreign audiences. But on December 12, 2009, the Pentagon’s inspector general released an audit finding that the public affairs office may have crossed the line into propaganda. The audit found the Department of Defense “may appear to merge inappropriately” its Psychological Operations with operations that try to influence domestic audiences.
“PSYOPS has proven its effectiveness time and time again, both in military campaigns and in nonviolent struggles, as a potent weapon to weaken, divide, neutralize and disintegrate an opponent’s pillars of support. In general, the whole population can become the target for propaganda. To be most effective, however, the target audience should be broken down into segments in order to tailor the message for each group. Experience and research strongly indicates that effective propaganda is that which is tailored to more limited target audiences.
How the message is to be communicated involves the selection of the vehicle to carry it. The vehicle could be a leaflet, a radio broadcast, an email, a movie, a speech, a printed book or article, or signs and posters. Rumors can also be effective transmitters of messages. Not to be overlooked is the use of ‘key communicators’ such as religious leaders, opposition political leaders, teachers, barbers and hairdressers, traditional and spiritual leaders, journalists, union spokesmen, business groups, and others who are respected in their own communities.”
-Robert L. Helvey, 30-year retiree of the Defense Intelligence Agency
In 2012, the United States Army Military Police School’s Civil Disturbance Operations document instructed soldiers to deny access to “armories, arsenals, hardware, and sporting good stores, pawnshops, and gunsmith establishments or other places where weapons or ammunition are stored” during a “civil disturbance.” “To conserve manpower, consideration may be given to evacuating sensitive items, such as weapons from stores and storing them in a central facility,” the document added.
They fear revolution.