The Pentagon is investigating the alleged use of “psyops,” or psychological operations, on United States Congressmen while they were visiting Afghanistan. Psychological operations are methods of psychological manipulation, usually used against enemies, including propaganda and misinformation. These techniques were allegedly used to persuade members of Congress in order to get more military funding.
Rolling Stone says military official ordered psyops on Americans
A scathing article in a recent issue of Rolling Stone says members of the military were ordered to use “psyops,” or psychological operations, techniques to persuade members of Congress visiting military outposts in Afghanistan to give the military more funding and additional personnel, according to MSNBC. Lieutenant General William Caldwell is accused of ordering a psyops team to study Congressmen visiting in 2009 and inform him of how they could be persuaded to deliver more funding and more troops for U.S. military operations there. The head of the psyops unit, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Holmes, refused the order and was reprimanded for it.
Petraeus launches investigation
General David Petraeus, commander of Afghan operations, has launched an investigation into the allegations. Lt. Gen. Caldwell “categorically denies” the accustaions, according to the Washington Post. The use of “psyops” or propaganda of any sort on United States citizens is illegal, and Intelligence Operations personnel are well aware of that. The Congressmen allegedly ordered to be targeted for study and manipulation included Senators John McCain, Jack Reed, Joe Lieberman, Carl Levin and Al Franken. Representative Steve Israel, a member of the Armed Forces Committee, and Admiral Mike Mullen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were also possible targets.
Same reporter profiled General McChrystal
The Rolling Stone article was written by Michael Hastings, who writes that Lt. Col. Holmes said his job was to “get the enemy to behave the way we want,” and Holmes said “when you ask me to use these skills on senators and congressmen you are crossing a line.” He added that people in the Information Operations field knows from day one that propaganda and psychological manipulation are to be used only on the enemy. Hastings also wrote the article on General Stanley McChrystal that led to McChrystal resigning from the Army last year.