Michael Hastings reports:
The U.S. Army illegally ordered a team of soldiers specializing in “psychological operations” to manipulate visiting American senators into providing more troops and funding for the war, Rolling Stone has learned – and when an officer tried to stop the operation, he was railroaded by military investigators.
The orders came from the command of Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, a three-star general in charge of training Afghan troops – the linchpin of U.S. strategy in the war. Over a four-month period last year, a military cell devoted to what is known as “information operations” at Camp Eggers in Kabul was repeatedly pressured to target visiting senators and other VIPs who met with Caldwell. When the unit resisted the order, arguing that it violated U.S. laws prohibiting the use of propaganda against American citizens, it was subjected to a campaign of retaliation.
“My job in psy-ops is to play with people’s heads, to get the enemy to behave the way we want them to behave,” says Lt. Colonel Michael Holmes, the leader of the IO unit, who received an official reprimand after bucking orders. “I’m prohibited from doing that to our own people. When you ask me to try to use these skills on senators and congressman, you’re crossing a line.”
The list of targeted visitors was long, according to interviews with members of the IO team and internal documents obtained by Rolling Stone. Those singled out in the campaign included senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Jack Reed, Al Franken and Carl Levin; Rep. Steve Israel of the House Appropriations Committee; Adm. Mike Mullen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; the Czech ambassador to Afghanistan; the German interior minister, and a host of influential think-tank analysts.
The incident offers an indication of just how desperate the U.S. command in Afghanistan is to spin American civilian leaders into supporting an increasingly unpopular war. According to the Defense Department’s own definition, psy-ops – the use of propaganda and psychological tactics to influence emotions and behaviors – are supposed to be used exclusively on “hostile foreign groups.” Federal law forbids the military from practicing psy-ops on Americans, and each defense authorization bill comes with a “propaganda rider” that also prohibits such manipulation. “Everyone in the psy-ops, intel, and IO community knows you’re not supposed to target Americans,” says a veteran member of another psy-ops team who has run operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. “It’s what you learn on day one.”
…and the US government want the people to believe that 9/11 was carried out by a bunch of fanatics armed with boxcutters from a cave in Afegahnistan.
Because of that, we have the cattle treatment at airports, illegal searches, wiretapings, terrorism threat colour charts…
and a huge “defense” budget that is crippling its own economy.
Great article by Glenn Greenwald at Salon.com :
“The DOJ’s creeping war on whistleblowers”
With the revelation of this action, causes one to wonder if it’s too late to stop this country from falling off the cliff? Fast forward, will the plutocracy pay for the military to be their policeman? If the budgets suck over 1 – 2 trillion dollars each year, which is on a steady upward curve, at some point, even they won’t be able to control or call the shots. I wonder if the Congress will resist or will they continue to act like the puppy dogs with their collective tails between their legs? What a humiliating situation these members of the American KABUKI theater have become.
I read a story recently concerning the U.S.Military not winning any war since W.W.II. Apparently they don’t know how. The fact that they have been beaten by essentially peasant rag tag partisans, shows how essential it is to stop this drain on the economy. Of course, it takes a backbone of those members in Congress to just say no.
“The U.S. Army illegally ordered a team of soldiers specializing in “psychological operations” to manipulate visiting ‘firemen’ to support the Arm’s request for more troops and funding for the hostilities and occupation of Afghanistan.”
“No can do’!- psy-ops – “to play with people’s heads” or more civilly- the use of propaganda and psychological tactics to influence emotions and behaviors on others – are supposed to be used exclusively on “hostile foreign groups” – by using such on the US visitors would violate U.S. laws prohibiting the use of propaganda against American citizens (especially senators and congressman.)” Huh….?
This must be something unique from the military code of conduct manual. And thanks to Lt. Colonel Michael Holmes for bringing this to light.
Way back in the rather dicey times of Ronald Reagan and his administration; Psy-op experts from the CIA and Army Special Forces played key roles in creating and implementing a special strategy called “Perception Management” — also known as “public diplomacy” — a propaganda strategy for controlling how a target (foreign)population viewed political events;this easily seeped into domestic U.S. politics,as is evident today by its popular use, as a way to manipulate public opinion:
retired military used by the media as consultants/journalists to military policy in the ever present middle eastern hostilities,retired CEO’s cum lobbyists on banking,the plight of economy,ecological issues etc.
And now we know that all this, over so many decades, is prohibited by law!
Well,well….Colonel Holmes must have been aware that the brilliant Wall Street speculator Bernie Madoff was brought down because he cheated those of his own kind – so no way would the Colonel by involved in manipulation and mind games with regard to the all star cast on the roster of targeted politicians that appear in the Rolling Stone article.Smart man!