Mind Control & Psychological Warfare
Influencing the Opinions, Emotions, Attitudes, and Behavior of Hostile Foreign Groups

"[US Army] Introduction to Psychological Warfare - GF33-27 (1955)"

Mind Control and Psychological Warfare
Influencing the Opinions, Emotions, Attitudes, and Behavior of Hostile Foreign Groups

"You may not be interested in psychological warfare, but psychologic warfare's interested in you."
—Xu Hezhen, a major general in the Chinese Army

Realist military strategists and foreign policy analysts are bracing for major Chinese onslaughts by way of psychological warfare.

According to U.S. military analysts, attacking the enemy’s mind is among the chief strategies China will use in order to catch its adversaries off-guard.

Psychological warfare would disarm an enemy in a way even nuclear weapons cannot, and so many say the U.S. must prepare for psychological warfare on an unprecedented level.

Psychological warfare (PSYWAR), or the basic aspects of modern psychological operations (PSYOP), have been known by many other names or terms, including Psy Ops, Political Warfare, “Hearts and Minds,” and Propaganda.

Various techniques are used, by any set of groups, and aimed to influence a target audience's value systems, belief systems, emotions, motives, reasoning, or behavior.

It is used to induce confessions or reinforce attitudes and behaviors favorable to the originator's objectives, and are sometimes combined with black operations or false flag tactics.

Target audiences can be governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.

The U.S. Department of Defense defines psychological warfare as: "The planned use of propaganda and other psychological actions having the primary purpose of influencing the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of hostile foreign groups in such a way as to support the achievement of national objectives."

During World War II the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff defined psychological warfare more broadly stating "Psychological warfare employs any weapon to influence the mind of the enemy. The weapons are psychological only in the effect they produce and not because of the weapons themselves."

Although not always accredited as the first practitioner of psychological warfare, Alexander the Great undoubtedly showed himself to be effective in swaying the mindsets of the populaces that were conquered in his campaigns.

To keep the new Macedonian state and assortment of powerful Greek tribes from revolting against their leader, Alexander the Great left some of his men behind in each city to introduce Greek culture, control it, oppress dissident views, and interbreed. Alexander paid his soldiers to marry non-Greek women. He wanted to assimilate people of all nations.

Genghis Khan, leader of the Mongols in the 13th century AD, united his people to eventually create the largest contiguous empire in human history. Defeating the will of the enemy was the top priority.

Before attacking a settlement, the Mongol generals demanded submission to the Khan, and threatened the initial villages with complete destruction if they refused to surrender.

After winning the battle, the Mongol generals fulfilled their threats and massacred the survivors. Examples include the destruction of the nations of Kiev and Khwarizm.

Consequently, tales of the encroaching horde spread to the next villages and created an aura of insecurity that undermined the possibility of future resistance. Subsequent nations were much more likely to surrender to the Mongols without fighting.

Often this, as much as the Mongols' tactical prowess, secured quick Mongol victories. Genghis Khan also employed tactics that made his numbers seem greater than they actually were. During night operations he ordered each soldier to light three torches at dusk to give the illusion of an overwhelming army and deceive and intimidate enemy scouts.

He also sometimes had objects tied to the tails of his horses, so that riding on open and dry fields raised a cloud of dust that gave the enemy the impression of great numbers. His soldiers used arrows specially notched to whistle as they flew through the air, creating a terrifying noise. The Mongols also employed other gruesome terror tactics to weaken the will to resist.

Panorama - Scientology and Me
Scientology and Mind Control - Psychological Warfare

John Sweeney investigates the Church of Scientology, endorsed by some major Hollywood celebrities, but which continues to face the criticism that it is less of a religion and more of a cult.

Some former members claim the Church uses a mind control technique to put opponents at a psychological disadvantage. During the course of his investigation, Sweeney is shouted at, spied on, visited in his hotel at midnight and chased around the streets of LA by strangers in hire cars.

One infamous incident occurred during Tamerlane's Indian campaign. Tamerlane, an heir to the Mongol martial tradition, built a pyramid of 90,000 human heads in front of the walls of Delhi, to convince them to surrender.

Other tactics included firing severed human heads from catapults into enemy lines and over city walls to frighten enemy soldiers and citizens and spread diseases in the close confines of a besieged city.

The results were thus not only psychological since in 1347, the Mongols under Janibeg catapulted corpses infected with plague into the trading city of Kaffa in Crimea. The dismayed Genoese traders withdrew, bringing the plague back with them to Italy and beginning the European phase of the Black Death.

Vlad Tepes physically and psychologically tortured his enemies. His most well-known psychological tactic was an incident involving impalement (earning him the title "Vlad the Impaler"), where he had the bodies of thousands of Ottoman soldiers suspended in the air, impaled through the heart or rectum with sharpened stakes.

Soon after the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, the Nationalist General Queipó del Llano started broadcasting transmissions to be heard by Republican zone listeners. He described in detail the horrors listeners would suffer if they resisted Nationalist troops. The fear he spread inflicted severe damage to Republican morale, until his transmissions were shut down by Serrano Súñer.

Psychological Warfare

One of the first leaders to inexorably gain fanatical support through the use of microphone technology was Nazi Germany's Adolf Hitler.

By first creating a speaking environment, designed by Joseph Goebbels, he was able to exaggerate his presence to make him seem almost messianic. Hitler also coupled this with the resonating projections of his orations for effect.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made similar use of radio for propaganda against the Nazis. During World War II, psychological warfare was used by the military.

The invasion of Normandy was considered successful in part because of the displayed fusion of psychological warfare and military deception.

As an example, before D-Day, Operation Quicksilver, one element of operation Fortitude, which itself was part of a larger deception strategy (Operation Bodyguard), created a fictional "First United States Army Group" (FUSAG) commanded by General George Patton that supposedly would invade France at the Pas-de-Calais. American troops used false signals, decoy installations and phony equipment to deceive German observation aircraft and radio interception operators.

When the actual invasion began, the success of Fortitude was that it misled the German High Command into believing the landings were a diversion and of keeping reserves away from the beaches.

Erwin Rommel was the primary target of the psychological aspects of this operation. Convinced that Patton would lead the invasion, Rommel was caught off-guard and unable to react strongly to the Normandy invasion, as Patton's illusory FUSAG had not "yet" landed. Confidence in his own intelligence and judgement rendered the German response to the beachhead ineffectual.