May 28, 2009

Chump Change - GWOT Strategic PSYOP

For the attention of the microscopically small brethren and sistren of folks interested, yesterday afternoon GAO released a critique of U.S. Public Diplomacy which touched upon the main GWOT Strategic PSYOP (leaving OGA out of it, as it should be).

U.S. Public Diplomacy: Key Issues for Congressional Oversight. GAO-09-679SP, May 27 [43 page pdf]

The national communications strategy identifies the principal mechanism for the coordination of U.S. government strategic communication activities, namely the Policy Coordinating Committee (PCC) on Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication led by State’s Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, but does not address which agencies, departments, and offices will implement the strategy and their roles and responsibilities. The lack of guidance on DOD’s and State’s respective roles and responsibilities is of particular concern. Both departments have made marginalizing extremism—one of the three national communication goals—their top communications priority and are undertaking activities in this area. While State has been formally designated as the lead for all U.S. government strategic communications, DOD has more resources than State to apply to the strategic communications goal of marginalizing extremism. In 2006, DOD established the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Support to Public Diplomacy to support and coordinate public diplomacy efforts, and serve as the lead for developing policy within DOD on countering ideological support for terrorism. DOD officials said this office was disbanded in early 2009 and it is unclear what existing or new mechanisms, if any, will conduct its functions. Further, despite internal planning initiatives that began in 2006, DOD has not defined the roles, responsibilities, and relationships of its internal military capabilities that support strategic communications, such as public affairs, information operations, and defense support for public diplomacy.

May 27, 2009

Yankees vs. Cowboys - Effwit Unperturbed

Two Ex-Timesmen Say They Had a Tip on Watergate First

“The fact that he had seen Gray and he had talked to me after his lunch, that I remembered,” Mr. Phelps said. But he said it was not until Mr. Smith jogged his memory that he recalled what revelations had the young reporter so excited.

In the book, he wrote, “We never developed Gray’s tips into publishable stories. Why we failed is a mystery to me.”

“My memory is fuzzy on the crucial point of what I did with the tape,” he wrote.

An Effwit says , "Probably not Wisner's Mighty Wurlitzer (since they had some interest in bringing out the story), but maybe someone else's handiwork.

Yankees vs. Cowboys stuff? Who knows."

Effwit holds his lotus position through small and great quakes.

Unperturbed be a real Effwit.

May 19, 2009

Tiger Down - Tarry On

The death of Velupillai Prabhakaran, leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), in a fire fight with Sri Lankan forces on Monday probably marks the end of the legend of Tamil Tigers he had scripted and directed. Without a Prabhakaran to lead, motivate and discipline them it might be near impossible to build another Tamil Tiger organization in the near future.

Prabhakaran is a product of the fifties when a whole generation of Tamils in Sri Lanka turned bitter against the government that proclaimed ‘Sinhala only’ was the national language and hurt the pride of the Jaffna Tamil who was the cock of the walk dominating all walks of life. He showed a violent and revengeful methodology for directionless Tamil youth to settle scores with an insensitive Sinhala chauvinist regime that had let loose violence to control Tamil aspirations for equity.

A man of many moods, Prabhakaran was no great orator, an essential skill to be a Tamil politician on both sides of the Palk Strait. In fact, he was a shy man who spoke in a low monotone. But still Prabhakaran had a charisma that enabled him to attract his followers who swore personal loyalty to him. His credibility as a unique leader was carefully built by his daring operations - be it the raid on the Katunayake air base near Colombo in July 1991 or the assassination of President Premadasa of Sri Lanka. His ruthless killings cost him a lot. It turned him paranoid of his own safety. He was shy of publicity and it built an aura of fear around him. On the other hand the mindless killings managed to get the LTTE banned in 33 countries.

The LTTE of Prabhakaran was one among the over 30 Tamil militant organisations that thrived in the aftermath of the infamous Black July pogrom against Tamils in Colombo in 1983. In spite of their lofty Free Eelam rhetoric, many of them degenerated into undisciplined gang of thugs when Sri Lankan government started losing control of Jaffna by 1985-86. It was in this period Prabhakaran set out to make a distinct reputation for the LTTE as a ruthless, disciplined body of Tamil fighters. It was this ironclad discipline that helped him build his insurgent body into one of the most dreaded terrorist force with land, air and sea capability.

There was a streak of cruelty in the way he enforced his punishments whether using a burning tyre around the neck of the victim or using his pistol gang. Drug traffickers and prostitutes were mercilessly put to death. He plotted and killed rival Tamil militant group leaders and cadres who wanted the very same Tamil Eelam he dreamed of because he believed only he could get it. So he did not suffer from any qualms in killing those who stood in his way. And his victims included the high and the mighty including Rajiv Gandhi, Amirthalingam, and Premadasa.

Yet this man’s iron discipline gave way when he fell in love with Mathivathani. And he breached his own rule that no cadre of LTTE would be allowed to marry. Such was the power of love. This personality contradiction was there in his attitude to the use of child soldiers. He was extremely kind to children orphaned due to military action. Yet he did not hesitate to use them as deadly suicide bombers in his Black Tiger squads. They became the cutting edge of naval operations. They did not mind either to sacrifice their lives: by 2008, 356 Black Tigers including 147 young women commandos perished in operations to fulfill the wish of the 'thalaivar' (leader).

He loved movies of martial arts - gun slinging Clint Eastwood movies were a favorite. These videos were the bill of fare of entertainment for cadres in training. Perhaps this was due to his great faith in the power of the weapon.

Prabhakaran had limited education. Yet he showed a readiness to absorb the latest in technology to improve operational capability. He was always on the look out for the latest developments in communication and weapon technology, enabling him to build up the LTTE’s capability to design rocket weapons and manufacture most of the munitions required for warfare. The air arm of the LTTE showed the innovative use of light aircraft for bombing. His thirst for shock action was facilitated by technology innovations.

Prabhakaran was first among insurgent leaders in realizing the value of psychological warfare techniques as force multiplier. He quickly adapted the reach of the internet to spread confusion in the enemy ranks. He had a natural sense of military strategy which over the years appeared to grow a rather stodgy.

Prabhakaran glorified death and sacrifice as the essence of life. He was never comfortable with intellectuals or political pundits. He had little time for politicians or politics - believing actions spoke better. His loyalty was to his cause and not his words or promises made to politicians. In fact, that was the biggest weakness in his leadership skill set. He failed to see the political opportunities offered by the peace process 2002 and preferred war. The man who decided the life and death of thousands with a gun in his hand, stuck to what he preached:“Saithu Mudi Alladu Seththu Madi” – do or die. And in the end he appears to have done just that.

All the while many an instigating fundamental tarries on.

May 17, 2009

Jesus Wears MCCUU

Maintaining the coherence and fidelity of the IO matrix can be tricky enough should dissonance emanate from grunts in the fray. When conflicting messages find subsistence in the highest echelons of command then the rallying counter-narratives of foe might be admitted as being reasonably substantive - and all the more pestiferous to quell before such kills.

Some claim the existence of military proselytizers in the field just boils down to a few matrix-muddying rogue Christians. Others, like Jeff Sharlet in his book The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power - and in his more recent cover story in Harper's - claim "it is in the very particulate of the technologically most lethal organization ever created by humankind, which is our US military. It’s everywhere. We’re about two inches away, you know, from a fundamentalist Christian America through our US military."

Now these excerpts from a feature article in the recent issue of GQ Magazine:


On the morning of Thursday, April 10, 2003, Donald Rumsfeld’s Pentagon prepared a top-secret briefing for George W. Bush. This document, known as the Worldwide Intelligence Update, was a daily digest of critical military intelligence so classified that it circulated among only a handful of Pentagon leaders and the president; Rumsfeld himself often delivered it, by hand, to the White House.

The briefing’s cover sheet generally featured triumphant, color images from the previous days’ war efforts: On this particular morning, it showed the statue of Saddam Hussein being pulled down in Firdos Square, a grateful Iraqi child kissing an American soldier, and jubilant crowds thronging the streets of newly liberated Baghdad. And above these images, and just below the headline secretary of defense, was a quote that may have raised some eyebrows. It came from the Bible, from the book of Psalms: “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him…To deliver their soul from death.”

This mixing of Crusades-like messaging with war imagery, which until now has not been revealed, had become routine. On March 31, a U.S. tank roared through the desert beneath a quote from Ephesians: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” On April 7, Saddam Hussein struck a dictatorial pose, under this passage from the First Epistle of Peter: “It is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.”


When colleagues complained to Shaffer that including a religious message with an intelligence briefing seemed inappropriate, Shaffer politely informed them that the practice would continue, because “my seniors”—JCS chairman Richard Myers, Rumsfeld, and the commander in chief himself—appreciated the cover pages.