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SWJED
01-14-2007, 11:52 AM
3 January post at Kent's Imperative - Magical Realism and Information Operations (http://kentsimperative.blogspot.com/2007/01/magical-realism-and-information.html).


The beliefs, and processes of belief formation, of target audiences in information operations has always been underappreciated by operations planners and intelligence officers alike.

The Economist (http://www.economist.com/world/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8401289) has an excellent piece examining one of the more pervasive beliefs in the Islamic world, and the impact of that belief on the narratives surrounding the Long War.

This is not the first time that elements of the fantastic have been noted in the propaganda of the jihad. In fact, many of the near legendary aspects of the Afghan conflict against the Soviets drew heavily upon this tradition, and was built upon by militant Islamists in other theatres...

Rob Thornton
01-14-2007, 02:48 PM
Wolves can see them" he said. Nothing like having supper with your IA peers and being interrupted by the cell phone that rang every time the car carrying a possessed female relative of a close friend went North and hit another Pesh Check Point (The BN CDR being a Kurd would smooth it out - after all nobody should hold up a car with a driver a passenger and Jinn). It was a very matter of fact conversation. I've seen some strange stuff, so I figured who am I to scoff. Since I didn't, and seemed interested in how it progressed, the BN CDR told me the tale of how the woman became possessed and how she was being driven North to have an exorcism.

We also talked about properties animals represent. I'd describe MAJ Khaled one day as a "bear" of a man. In our culture and many others, the bear image is one of strength, ferocity and other worthy characteristics. In Iraq, the bear is seen as ponderous and clumsy. My mistake was forgiven for what it was, an intended compliment and cultural party foul. The wolf however, is a very respected image here - while we are all well aware of the European interpretations-My what big eyes you have!"

I think this is one of the reasons why anthropology could be so valuable a field here and in other places. Culturally we have a hard time admitting to magical realism - to do so seems to make us less in our own eyes. Maybe that has to do with our Neo-Classical / Empirical roots. A capstone class I took was in the field of the history of ideas. One of the things the professor pointed out was how there was a conversation to be listened to in D.C. by looking at the statues - they convey more then just memoriam. He also discussed architecture - Doric Pillars under Greek porticos representing Federalism. To get to the world of Magical Realism, you have to go South aways (well not really, you could go to the Appalachians, Blue Ridge or Catskills; or the Sea faring folks of New England - not the political types and holidayers - but the ones who work). In our US literature you have folks like Flannery O'Connor and William Faulkner - they certainly incorporated it - but that seems to close to really step outside and see it. I met a guy in Ethiopia (anthropologist type) back in 1987 who said he knew the guy who'd done the whole Serpent and the Rainbow bit - and was unable to come to a good empirical conclusion.

My first real experience with it was reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jorge Luis Borges.

As for how it relates to IO - it worked well for Cortez, but not so good for Montezuma - but he got his revenge.

Marc - you've already thought on this allot - hypothetically, how would one proceed from anthropological line of operation??:D I think there is allot to be gained here, not just from a straight IO, but being able to climb inside your enemy's (and your ally's) head and see it from their point of view is incredibly useful.

slapout9
01-14-2007, 03:04 PM
Rob, if you get a chance watch the Steven Segal movie "Marked For Death".
He has to face a Jamaican gang that is powered by Voodoo! He finds an Anthropologist to learn how to take his power away(mostly symbolic). The movie is the usual cop sakie and kung fuey stuff but it makes some good points. The main bad guy has a twin brother and they often exploit this by appearing to be two places at once. That is why I wanted marct to expand on the concept of the power of symbols and the symbols of power. We need marct to talk more about this.
Rob, your dead own about learning symbols from the enemies point of view if we are ever going to exploit it properly.

Stan
01-14-2007, 04:26 PM
Rob, Dead on the money. Why we constantly bear the ugly American tag. Few of us could care less about what makes the other angry or happy and why we do this and not that. Simple customs and culture. We don't need an anthropologist, but we do need to study a tad more.

In Central Africa, bald-headed people were considered all knowledgeable and known seniors (high ranking) were expected to hold the subordinate's hand while walking. You can imagine what you would look like in front of your peers as you walked up with a Zširian General on you right side holding your hand (and a tight grip at that). Releasing before the senior permited would be taken as an outright insult. The good part is he would never hold your hand again, but the down side would be a total lack of communication and he would remember that even to his grave.

Estonia is a little less extreme, but have a very unique culture. You never shake hands more than once in a single day with the same person, and if he tries, you simply say we have already seen each other today. One never shake hands over a threshold and males rarely shake a female's hand (could piss off her boyfriend or husband). Instead of knocking on wood (which could be considered impolite and even disruptive) you (fake) spit over your left shoulder three times (similar to throwing salt over your left shoulder to warn away your enemy or preclude bad luck).

Ok, forgive the rambling, but you get the general idea. It doesn't take too long to get tuned-in and figure out what folks do and don't. This will pay itself back ten-fold and open doors.

Hell, you can even teach NCOs to do it :eek:
Regards, Stan

marct
01-15-2007, 03:46 PM
Hi Folks,


I think this is one of the reasons why anthropology could be so valuable a field here and in other places. Culturally we have a hard time admitting to magical realism - to do so seems to make us less in our own eyes. Maybe that has to do with our Neo-Classical / Empirical roots.

Marc - you've already thought on this allot - hypothetically, how would one proceed from anthropological line of operation??:D I think there is allot to be gained here, not just from a straight IO, but being able to climb inside your enemy's (and your ally's) head and see it from their point of view is incredibly useful.


Rob, Dead on the money. Why we constantly bear the ugly American tag. Few of us could care less about what makes the other angry or happy and why we do this and not that. Simple customs and culture. We don't need an anthropologist, but we do need to study a tad more.

You know, Rob, in some ways I definately agree with Stan here:eek: - you don't necessarily need an Anthropologist here, but you do need to study a bit more :D .

Okay, translation of that cryptic comment.....

The best way for 99.9% of people is to do exactly what you did, Rob: listen respectfully and ask questions (hey, that's what we do <wry grin>). As long as wyou don't pooh-pooh the custom or idea, no matter how silly it sounds to you, most people will think "hey, he's a good guiy, even if he can't tell a djinn from a shaitan".

As far as "using it", a la Cortez and his crowd, honestly, I wouldn't even try; you're too likely to screw it up and make bad mistakes that will come back to haunt you. Think of it this way; why fight someone on their own ground? If you want to involve magic (or magick) in this war, there are certainly precedents (take a look at Katherine Kurtz's Lammas Night (http://www.amazon.com/Lammas-Night-Katherine-Kurtz/dp/0345295161/sr=1-1/qid=1168874771/ref=sr_1_1/104-1615850-0431158?ie=UTF8&s=books) for one of the best known precedents).

The way to "use" these beliefs is in two ways:

Find the people who already believe and operate within religious systems that use this type of belief. As far as the US forces are concerned, contact the Chaplaincy Office for the names of recognized Wiccan Priests and Priestesses, as well as the contacts for any Asatruar (I think there is an Asatruar crowd on one the the Navy aircraft carriers). For the Wiccans, see if you can find anyone who knows combat magic (it's a limited specialty) - maybe someone affiliated with the Fourth Face of the Goddess (if they are still around), or a solid Alexandro-Gardnerian coven. For the Asatruar folk, see if they will recommend someone who works on the Seitha path.
Use Anthropologists and Western Magicians, preferably the WMT crowd (there's some good ones in Toledo of all places) to work with local practitioners.


Sound nuts <wry grin>? I did tell you guys I did my MA on the institutionalization of modern witchcraft, didn't I?:D. Honestly, Rob, this is an area where you must have someone who believes in some type of the supernatural (according to Western rationalism), or who has a lot of experience in dealing with it.

You are right that this isn't about I/O operations - this is about "reality" as it is perceived. That economist article on Magical Realism was really interesting, and makes a good case in point. The djinn supporting the Northern Commander are still there. More importantly, the memebrs of the Northern Alliance still believe that their allies are Muslim Djinn, and that the Taliban are allied with their opponents (talk about a radically dualist view! Reminds me of the Zurvanite Heresy. Hmmmm, that gives me the germ of an idea...).

Look, one of the reasons why so many people in the Muslim world think that the US and the West are such hopeless naifs is the lack of belief in the spiritual world. "Crusader" is a spiritual, as well as historical, term. There is, however, a precedent inside Islam for non-Muslims to be allied spiritually with Muslims (ask your BTN CDR if he knows any of the tales of Moses and the Green Man [not sure about his Islamic name]). If we can mobilize some of this, it might be useful, although I do have fears about what the Immoral Minority..., sorry, Moral Majority, crowd would think about it.

Marc

Stan
01-15-2007, 04:38 PM
Marc,
I would have to agree with you:confused: . I did my studies on the ground front and center, during social and political upheaval and 3 civil wars (10 years total):eek:

How did I make it out ? Good question and I have an equally good answer: Knowledge of customs and culture, not reading some bible study class Bravo Sierra on pathetic symbols (Africans care about well-being and money, there are no jungle rules).

My neighbors homes flanked my house during the 2nd uprising and when I awoke, only my house was left untouched. Belgian females raped and males shot in the head. Both houses were totaled and the frames destroyed allowing the roof to come down (very typical African).

Only later would I learn that I was an acceptable white man amongst them who learned not only Lingala but culture and custom.

I'll wouldn't trade that day for any anthropology lesson on earth, as I still have the skin on my Alpha !

An education is great, so long as you know how to use it together with your common sense.

Regards, Stan

Stan
01-15-2007, 04:39 PM
Marc, I hope you got something from that translation :D

Rob Thornton
01-15-2007, 04:42 PM
Marc,
Wow. Honestly I'd never thought about it from the perspective of using other theologies or mystical spiritualism - that seems wrong to my western sense of things (I'll have to consider why I feel that way:confused: ). Honestly before last night, I did not know that a djinn was different from a demon or a ghost - one of our Shiite interpreters explained it to me and promised to explain more. I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable trying to use it as an active sort of thing personally (although I'm not above advocating its exploration for possible uses) - for me its more of a passive sort of incorporation into understanding the environment which brings forth both the people I work with and those we work against.
I have not given this enough credit. I need to ask around some. The story of Moses and the Green man may be a good start. Is there any relation to Sir Gawayne and the Green Knight?

regards, Rob

marct
01-15-2007, 05:57 PM
Marc,
Wow. Honestly I'd never thought about it from the perspective of using other theologies or mystical spiritualism - that seems wrong to my western sense of things (I'll have to consider why I feel that way:confused: ). Honestly before last night, I did not know that a djinn was different from a demon or a ghost - one of our Shiite interpreters explained it to me and promised to explain more. I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable trying to use it as an active sort of thing personally (although I'm not above advocating its exploration for possible uses) - for me its more of a passive sort of incorporation into understanding the environment which brings forth both the people I work with and those we work against.

Honestly? Rob, that's the best reaction you could have. As my Craft informants would say, you are "grounded in reality" :D .

BTW, Djinn are very different from demons and ghosts. The Western equivalent of the Djin is the Nephilim or, hmmm, the "blood right" sort of captures it (the children / lineage of Nephilim and Humans). In Celtic terms, the Tuatha de Danaan or half breeds between the children of the stars and humans.

If you aren't into this type of stuff, stay away from it <wry grin>. The absolutely best thing you can do is to learn what other "mortals" learn, i.e. the general Muslim view of it, and not play around with it. There are groups and families in the West who know about this stuff (I've mentioned some earlier), but this isn't something for the psyops or I/O crowd to use - they would totally mess it up.

The real trick in all of this is that mystics of all traditions are actually closer to each other than they are to their co-religionists, as are the magicians in each tradition. A Wiccan combat magic specialist can probably understand AQ's people better than a theologian, and a practitioner of Seitha is more likely to understand your BTN CDR on exorcisms than most priests, or battalion Commanders, would <wry grin>.

Please take my advice on this, and don't try to do it yourself! Ask questions, learn about it, but don't try and use it in any active, I/O way.


I have not given this enough credit. I need to ask around some. The story of Moses and the Green man may be a good start. Is there any relation to Sir Gawayne and the Green Knight?

<wry grin>Hmmm, not really, although there are corrolaries. Most of the versions I have read are sitautions where the Green Man lnows more than Moses and Moses ends up going through all sorts of situations / trials until he finally realizes that the Green Man knows more.

In many Islamic tradiitons, Moses is the archetype for magical knowledge while the Green Man is the archetype for intuitive knowledge (at least that's my understanding of it which could well be wrong). The "formalism" of magic is inherent in Moses and the Jews, cf. comments in the Economist article on the power of Jewish magic (actually, they are the Seals of Soloman). This is contrasted with the "intuitive knowledge" of the Green Man who "knows" (in greek, it's "gnosis") the will of God.

I think that this is an area that is definately worth looking at, but I would urge extreme caution. In many ways, I would love to come over to <Mosul and chat with your BTN CDR <grin>. I suspect that we wopuld understand each other quite well :D .

Marc

marct
01-15-2007, 06:07 PM
Hi Stan,


Marc,
I would have to agree with you:confused: . I did my studies on the ground front and center, during social and political upheaval and 3 civil wars (10 years total):eek:

How did I make it out ? Good question and I have an equally good answer: Knowledge of customs and culture, not reading some bible study class Bravo Sierra on pathetic symbols (Africans care about well-being and money, there are no jungle rules).

LOLOL - if you ever want some good books on symbols, let me know. I do agree with your comment about "bible study class Bravo Sierra on pathetic symbols" - most of the time, they have no freakin' idea what they are talking about.


My neighbors homes flanked my house during the 2nd uprising and when I awoke, only my house was left untouched. Belgian females raped and males shot in the head. Both houses were totaled and the frames destroyed allowing the roof to come down (very typical African).

Only later would I learn that I was an acceptable white man amongst them who learned not only Lingala but culture and custom.

I'll wouldn't trade that day for any anthropology lesson on earth, as I still have the skin on my Alpha !

My "academic grandmother", Regna Darnell, once mentioned during an intense discussion of theory at 3am (just before the cheap Hunfgarian red wine ran out) that the true measure of an anthropologist was how they were accepted as a member of he community. Sounds like you got a PhD in a trial by fire <wry grin>.

Classes, lessons, lectures are meanngless for those who won't hear or understand. I've taught Anthro classes where I have despaired of finding anyone in the class who could understand. Conversely, I've met a lot of people who are "naturals" (you and Rob come to mind). All any "class" is good for is giving people an interpretive framework for their own experiences.


An education is great, so long as you know how to use it together with your common sense.

Marc, I hope you got something from that translation :D

LOL. Yup :D . And I do agree with you on the value of an education.

Marc

Rob Thornton
01-15-2007, 06:50 PM
Please take my advice on this, and don't try to do it yourself! Ask questions, learn about it, but don't try and use it in any active, I/O way.

Marc, no worries - I'm not a "Do I cut the blue wire with the red stripe, or red wire with the blue stripe?" kinda guy. When I get done with job this I am gonna do some real reading on it though. I've gotta feeling in my next gig it might be helpful - I'm more interested in the background stuff though that could help me understand its place in the things that make peoples what/who they are. Its hard to explain; its kind of like white noise, but white noise that means something. Ex. knowing that about the BN CDR, and seeing the other IA at the table and my interpreter accept it as if it were as solid as the table we ate off of told me something, but damned if I know what it was (aside from the obvious). The other 2 Americans at the table (a Mormon and a N.Carolinian Methodist) were more or less dismissive. Maybe its because I've been some strange places as odd times, maybe its just disposition.

What bothers me right now is that during our cultural trianing with the countless useless things that were taught, nobody thought to tell us how solid and real things like Djinn are to the people here - its like they ommited it by default (sort of a "I don't beleive in them so how could it possibly be relevant to another culture"). It doesn't matter a stitch if I believe in them or not - but it does matter that they do - and somehow it goes beyond not mocking their culture, it goes to understanding who they are - which allows me to understand why someone might do something, or would never do something. Analysis done on a false or bias set of assumptions is largely useless except perhaps in this case for the persons you are trying to understand.

As I look out into the possible places where a person could wind up these days (not just in terms of where material interests might put a person, but identifying the conditions that might allow for an organization like AQ to exploit and set up shop)- border states along the Caspian, any of the "stans" or continental interiors where clans and tribes are the rule, and the religious practices are combination of major movements that are still grounded in local supersticion and supernatural, I'm feeling more then a little ignorant. This war (GWOT in what ever stage and name it morphs into) has so much to do with people, and people are the sum of their experiences and beliefs (however I think their actions are something to do with the context of their environment)
Regards, Rob

marct
01-15-2007, 07:42 PM
Hi Rob,


Marc, no worries - I'm not a "Do I cut the blue wire with the red stripe, or red wire with the blue stripe?" kinda guy. When I get done with job this I am gonna do some real reading on it though. I've gotta feeling in my next gig it might be helpful - I'm more interested in the background stuff though that could help me understand its place in the things that make peoples what/who they are. Its hard to explain; its kind of like white noise, but white noise that means something. Ex. knowing that about the BN CDR, and seeing the other IA at the table and my interpreter accept it as if it were as solid as the table we ate off of told me something, but damned if I know what it was (aside from the obvious). The other 2 Americans at the table (a Mormon and a N.Carolinian Methodist) were more or less dismissive. Maybe its because I've been some strange places as odd times, maybe its just disposition.

I 'spose it could be either - "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." (Hamlet, Act !, Scene V) Or, as one of my favorite heretoic mystics once noted "those that have eyes, let them see". To disregard the djinn in a Muslim context would be as insane as disregarding the Holy Ghost in a believeing Christian context (well, that's something Anglicans do well <wry grin>).

Sometime, if we ever end up sitting together in a bar, we can trade stories of "strange places" ;) . Personally, I've seen stuff that would freak most people and that is almost impossible to explain in modern English.


What bothers me right now is that during our cultural trianing with the countless useless things that were taught, nobody thought to tell us how solid and real things like Djinn are to the people here - its like they ommited it by default (sort of a "I don't beleive in them so how could it possibly be relevant to another culture"). It doesn't matter a stitch if I believe in them or not - but it does matter that they do - and somehow it goes beyond not mocking their culture, it goes to understanding who they are - which allows me to understand why someone might do something, or would never do something. Analysis done on a false or bias set of assumptions is largely useless except perhaps in this case for the persons you are trying to understand.

True. It's really a simple thing to do during training, but it is left out. I've seen the same show up in Anthro lectures where the lecturer dismisses things like this as superstition. What was Stans' phrase? "Bravo Sierra" (love it, Stan). If you believe that there are non-physocal actors present in the world and have a set of indicators for their actuions, then they are "real" for you.


As I look out into the possible places where a person could wind up these days (not just in terms of where material interests might put a person, but identifying the conditions that might allow for an organization like AQ to exploit and set up shop)- border states along the Caspian, any of the "stans" or continental interiors where clans and tribes are the rule, and the religious practices are combination of major movements that are still grounded in local supersticion and supernatural, I'm feeling more then a little ignorant. This war (GWOT in what ever stage and name it morphs into) has so much to do with people, and people are the sum of their experiences and beliefs (however I think their actions are something to do with the context of their environment)

Well, Rob, much as I would dearly love to see Magi-Colonels, we are unlikely to develope them <wry grin>. You know, this is sytarting to get into the heart of what I was meaning with the idea of symbolic warfare - symbols are "real", be they djinn, angels or demons, to the poeple who believe in them. As such, they are actors on the stage of life who we cannot afford to disregard.

Marc

Stan
01-15-2007, 09:11 PM
Hey marc,
Forgive my NCO humor. I'm not sure where I got most of it from :confused:

I actually appreciate the little education I do have. By no means even close to yours. Armed with a Bachelor's in Applied Science, I made my way to Africa. Logic to this day drives my entire life. Whether in the garage, kitchen or in the field and that at times permits me to be a real Delta Hotel. I even share it with others :D

Unfortunately, I never took any antrho classes. Perhaps they may have assisted me during my tours. Perhaps not. I had some very good Officers and NCOs during my Army life and they taught me to keep my skinny butt down and live another day. Those fine folks are with me today - fond memories, etc.

I tried to find Tom and ended up here, so there you go. I enjoy this forum and the posts that you folks take time to write. Really ;)

In closing, I agree :eek:
Ask and pay attention, you'd be surprised what you end up with. Be it a former NCO or Officer, or an Anthro class.

Regards, Stan

marct
01-15-2007, 09:23 PM
Hey marc,
Forgive my NCO humor. I'm not sure where I got most of it from :confused:

Hey, Stan... Life? That's where my Grandad got his (highly warped!) NCO humour from. :D


I actually appreciate the little education I do have. By no means even close to yours. Armed with a Bachelor's in Applied Science, I made my way to Africa. Logic to this day drives my entire life. Whether in the garage, kitchen or in the field and that at times permits me to be a real Delta Hotel. I even share it with others

LOLOL Well, thank the Gods for small mercies! Witholding it would be a sin!!!!


Unfortunately, I never took any antrho classes. Perhaps they may have assisted me during my tours. Perhaps not. I had some very good Officers and NCOs during my Army life and they taught me to keep my skinny butt down and live another day. Those fine folks are with me today - fond memories, etc.

Don't know if Anthro would have helped or not <shrug>. I learned most of my Anth in bars and in the field, and it sounds like you've done the same. On butt positions, I was always told to keep it down, walk and talk softly, and if someone hits me to deck the SOB :D .


In closing, I agree :eek:
Ask and pay attention, you'd be surprised what you end up with. Be it a former NCO or Officer, or an Anthro class.

Yup. It all seems to go back to Socrates and that (infuriating) "Man who knows!" (If I ever find him, I'm going to tell him to just write a blog like the rest of us!).

Take care,

Marc

Stan
01-15-2007, 09:30 PM
Hey again Marc and Rob,
Perhaps that's where logic leaves the picture (at least mine). Spooks and voodu were ever present in Central Africa, but a little time with Psyops and fine folks like that only drove me away. Imagination had little room when people were shooting M-16A1s at you. Kinda changes everything - as I was one of their instructors. No more magic and definitely no more logic !

I have to get away from the "if you believe" mentality. Way too much time watching reality slap me around.

I would conclude that you take things in and later on the ground you employ what suits you and the current situation best. The rest is not Bravo Sierra, but may not always be significant (right away).

Regards, Stan

Rob Thornton
01-16-2007, 04:10 AM
Stan,
Don't get me wrong, there are definetly some problems where the best answer is found in a belt or a magazine. I asked the kid on the PKC why he put the whole belt of 7.62 x 59 into the Opal, "because, he needed it!" he said. After watching many of these jundi get blown up or assassinated while on leave, he's right - some people need the whole belt. However, I interact with theses guys and others in the environment on some very different levels - while I enjoy listening to an elated Jundi share a moment of triumph in a place where he rarley sees the enemy but often feels the effects of him, the next minute I might be talking to somebody else and have to switch gears entirely. Its a good job, but for me understanding them means understanding why they might do what they do. I enjoy it, it keeps my brain in gear.
I only spent about a year in Africa, and Addis Ababa is a fairly tame place I think by many other standards, at least it was under a communist/totalitaran type - when it got out of hand, Mingistu just killed allot of people and things settled down. I was a helluva lot younger then and only had a few things on the brain. I do remember a couple of crazy things though that really had no explanation once I got out into the countryside with my Italian/Ethiopian girlfriend and her family. However, the vajority I saw the same stuff, a dictator who stole everythng he could get his hands on, and murdered any of his own folks who got in the way. He had some rough friends in the Cubans and N.Koreans who had free reign of the place. I would go to Nairobi on occassion to refamiliarize on the weapons and I remember wlking around and just looking. They had just finished putting up a statue to that country's dictator Arap Moi (sp?). The thing was huge. If I recall it was the base of a large pyramid with a huge hand or arm coming out of it. I asked a friend of mine about it when I got back to Addis, he told me there was more money and resources spent on that statue then in building any "block" in Nairobi.
So I left Africa with two things: an incredible appreciation for the size and scale of Africa and its people; but also with an understanding that its dictators were cruel and petty, and would probably not make much out of the resources they had. That was 88, so its been a little while - and I spent allot more time trying to know the Italian/Ethiopian gal then to get to know about the country (my loss, but at age 21 - well you do what you do). If I get the chance I'll go back though, I asked Tom Odom for some good reads on the rest of it.

Best regards, Rob

Stan
01-16-2007, 09:01 AM
Marc, I needed to borrow some of your text for the subject line. Thanks !


So I left Africa with two things: an incredible appreciation for the size and scale of Africa and its people; but also with an understanding that its dictators were cruel and petty, and would probably not make much out of the resources they had. That was 88, so its been a little while - and I spent allot more time trying to know the Italian/Ethiopian gal then to get to know about the country (my loss, but at age 21 - well you do what you do). If I get the chance I'll go back though, I asked Tom Odom for some good reads on the rest of it.

Rob,
Sounds like you are already fully qualified for another fun spot:eek: You probably won't find any relative "religious belief-driven folks" in Sub-Sahara, but you will definitely come out of it with even greater experiences and hopefully pass these on to our fellow NCOs and Officers who will one day really appreciate it.

Tom is like one-stop shopping for info on Africa. I would however stay away from addressing "perceiving disaster groupies". You'll get more than you bargained for.

Looking back, they were more like draft horses with blinders on in a constant imperceptive state, with their disorderly attention to things and people around them. Not something you should do in the middle of an African civil war and refugee crisis. I enjoyed however having these perceptive folks around in Africa. So many fell victim to African and Africans and that kept me both amused and busy ;)

Regards, Stan

marct
01-16-2007, 01:14 PM
Marc, I needed to borrow some of your text for the subject line. Thanks !

No worries, mate; all posts are under the Creative Commons Copyright :D.


Sounds like you are already fully qualified for another fun spot:eek: You probably won't find any relative "religious belief-driven folks" in Sub-Sahara, but you will definitely come out of it with even greater experiences and hopefully pass these on to our fellow NCOs and Officers who will one day really appreciate it.

From what I have heard, there's still a lot of magic being practiced in a lot of places - often called "witchcraft" and/or sorcery, at least in English. I've also been getting some interesting reports from some of the Churches in Nigeria, and some garbled (a couple of years old now) reports coming out of the Sudan refugee camps.

Rob, you should write a book :).

Marc

Tom Odom
01-16-2007, 02:05 PM
This one involves Stan :eek:

In the pre-Goma phase of our year together, Stan and I did our best to keep our ears to the ground on what was really happening in Kin La Belle as well as watching other issues like illegal airlift headed toward Angola. But in the broadest sense of the word, we did try to look at Zaire comprehensively and without Western blinkers, something that our State and other compatriots never seemed to understand.

One day Stan came in and mentioned that our office local hires had mentioned that a "Mama" had had a vision in which it was revealed that all 100 dollar bills were bad. As a result, the currency exchange Mamas were either not taking $100 notes or were drastically cutting the exchange rate.

As a result of the Mama report, we called the Econ officer in and relayed what we had heard. He was a good guy, an academic who had come into the foreign service late in life and he strugggled to understand the Zairian "economy" as he kept looking it as an actual economy based on currency and standard Western models. To his credit, he was the ONLY State officer who actually bothered to come in and visit us. We always had to go find the others and most did not bother to listen. The one who did ended up in Rwanda with me and did a great job.

But back to the story, we explained the Mama vision tale and our Econ officer was sceptical to say the least. But he did start looking at. To make a long story shorter, ultimately State inspectors found that local employees in the Embassy financial office were washing counterfeit bills, produced locally, probably with the assistance of Lebanese connections. As I recall, State inspectors found more than $100K of the Embassy cash reserves had been switched.

All of this was uncovered because Stan listened to our local hires and we passed on a tip about a "Mama had a vision."

Best

Tom

slapout9
01-16-2007, 02:59 PM
Almost all types of serial criminals will believe they are directed by some type of higher power and of it can only be understood by them. The movie "Red Dragon" has a lot of fact in it. Point being if somebody believes in something and it causes them to "act" out that delusion it is very real and very dangerous. The crime of Stalking in particular is often completely based upon delusional or magic beliefs. In my own case the guy used to go to the graveyard where my wife's mother was buried and talk to her for advice, he also left small stuffed animals on the headstone, why he did this we will never know but he did it. Believe it or not this is not that unusual in stalking type cases.

marct
01-16-2007, 03:04 PM
Hi Slapout,


Almost all types of serial criminals will believe they are directed by some type of higher power and of it can only be understood by them. The movie "Red Dragon" has a lot of fact in it. Point being if somebody believes in something and it causes them to "act" out that delusion it is very real and very dangerous. The crime of Stalking in particular is often completely based upon delusional or magic beliefs. In my own case the guy used to go to the graveyard where my wife's mother was buried and talk to her for advice, he also left small stuffed animals on the headstone, why he did this we will never know but he did it. Believe it or not this is not that unusual in stalking type cases.

That's a weird one:confused: A sacrifice? Company? Offering? It's always easier to understnd these actions when they are part of a system <sigh>.

Marc

Steve Blair
01-16-2007, 03:14 PM
Sometimes they are part of their own system. The trick is cracking their system.:confused:

slapout9
01-16-2007, 03:16 PM
marct, I don't know but as you say it would be easier to understand as a system, but that is part of the problem with these guys they act alone, but are good at recruiting Innocent people to help them without there knowledge. But the process or method of operation is actually called "telling a story" they make up whole scenarios in there head and they just keep adding to it, they often write them down or document them in some way until they reach the breaking point. Another thing is there are a lot of similarities between stalkers and suicide bombers especially the rituals they go through before they commit the attack, often spending the night in the graveyard before the attack.

Stan
01-16-2007, 03:25 PM
Tom, Marc, Rob and Slapout, Greetings !
First and foremost, Tom, I didn't believe the Mama so much as I hated the fact she shafted me on the exchange rate :D Afterall, she was living in front of the embassy and why should I walk another hundred yards for a better rate :confused: Secondly, why did you send the same post three times ?

Slapout, God I have no idea where to start :( I may indeed take an Anthro class at this rate. All the real criminals in Estonia (former Russian and Estonian kingpins) during 95 and 96 also held religious sessions (we normally call it extortion) with large amounts of TNT and ammonium nitrate with tiny detonators :eek: They had no stuffed animals, but they also lacked sufficient knowledge with blast effect and often used too much - hence the religious experience. I have some friends in the Estonian Central Criminal Police that would love to make your acquaintance.

Marc, are there any stuffed animals in that symbols book you offered to send me ? I'm no longer sure I want to read that book !

Rob, we have gone decidedly off track and I hope some of this was a least helpful.

Regards, Stan

Rob Thornton
01-16-2007, 03:28 PM
Following up on the interpreter who told me he was going to explain more about Djinn - his brother was telling me about his experiences while we were visiting one of the big US FOBs. Another of our interpreters was also with us who is Yizidi. I had thought Djinn was pretty much an Islamic belief, but it our Yizidi interpreter told me they are real as well. We went through several stories of houses occupied by good and bad Djinn, and of honking the horn on certain roads so that they could avoid running over a Djinn. We've got a pretty diverse team of soldiers and they were not sure what to make of all this - they'd just kind of assumed besides the obvious Muslim, ethnic and cultural differences they's seen it all - that the teams's interpreters were telling them they absolutely believed in the supernatural was kind of a shocker for them.

I related the story of the urban legend email that went around about the former soldier in the comparative religion class where the professor defies God to strike him down - the former soldier gets up and breaks the professor's nose and says "God told me to break your nose"! He said he'd strike you down next time though. The Holy Spirit comparrison only worked on the Assemblies of God guy - all the rest had no real comparrison.

Marc, I'm still tracking down someone who can tell me about the story of the Green man and Moses.

Regards, Rob

Stan
01-16-2007, 03:39 PM
Rob, In Zšire if you were to hit and kill a local with your vehicle (without any doubt no fault of your own), the embassy's instructions were straight forward, get out of there or be pummelled to death by chance spectators who also believed they would be responsible for retribution.

Regards, Stan

Rob Thornton
01-16-2007, 03:43 PM
Stan,
I have no problem with going off track - SWC helps me think through other problems I encounter here - sometimes its direct, sometimes its just by asking questions or making observations and seeing where it takes me. I have to be semi -serious enough of the rest of the time, so I try not to be serious at all when I don't have to. I've always thought its not really serious unless somebody is shooting at you - even then I've found the opportunity to smile at some of the crazy stuff I've seen (it helps when the other guy is a really bad shot).
I like the banter back and forth. I like that most everybody in SWC has nothing to prove and is willing to share for sharing's sake. I enjoy the jest and I enjoy learning. There are few places where you can make an observation or comment and see it take off in a direction that while different from where you thought it would go, still provides you useful insights and analysis.
The only thing we could do better is figure out how to do it with free beer:D

Regards all, Rob

Rob Thornton
01-16-2007, 03:51 PM
Stan,
I remember in Addis a lady appeared to have flung herself infront of our Suburban - our driver (a guy from Asmarra we called Pop Smurf for looking after a buch of young Marines) -banked to the left a little I heard a THUMP and I thought for sure we'd run over a crazy woman - when I looked back there were people gathered around her, pointing and laughing as I we crested the hill she got up - she'd faked the whole thing. Damndest thing I'd thought. Later on I'd see allot of other wild stuff.

slapout9
01-16-2007, 04:04 PM
Stan, where in the hell is Estonia.........North Alabama some where?

Crime and War are more related than may first appear, there are common threads through every post here if you view it through the framework of Motive,Methods and Opportunity.

Small stuffed animals are often used to conceal things in the crime world and COIN environments to I would think, examples: drugs,bombs, listening devices and other bad stuff. Ask your friends at central Estonia police they probably have a lot of stories to tell. If they ever come to Alabama tell them to give me call. Do they speak southern?

marct
01-16-2007, 04:58 PM
Hi Folks,


marct, I don't know but as you say it would be easier to understand as a system, but that is part of the problem with these guys they act alone, but are good at recruiting Innocent people to help them without there knowledge. But the process or method of operation is actually called "telling a story" they make up whole scenarios in there head and they just keep adding to it, they often write them down or document them in some way until they reach the breaking point.

Yeah. We have them in religion, too - we call them "cults" :D. Actually, the story telling aspect is really the key to the entire thing. Stories follow patterns and those patterns seem to be fairly "universal", at least in some ways. It's also the reason why I was suggesting that if Rob wanted to use the djinn et al., he should get some practicing magicians who also happen to be in the US forces - they know the general patterns of the stories.


Another thing is there are a lot of similarities between stalkers and suicide bombers especially the rituals they go through before they commit the attack, often spending the night in the graveyard before the attack.

Hmm, I didn't know that - interesting! Some of the suicide bomber ritual aspects struck me as being similar to the concept of jurimentado (I'm not sure about the spelling). It's Turkish, I believe, and basically means a man who has decided that he is already dead, wraps himself in scarlet clothes with tight bindings, and then goes berserk in a killing rage at a particular target. Hmmm, now that I think about it, it probably is close also to the Norse berserkers ("baer - sarker" - bear skin, becoming a bear).


Tom, Marc, Rob and Slapout, Greetings !

Slapout, God I have no idea where to start :( I may indeed take an Anthro class at this rate. All the real criminals in Estonia (former Russian and Estonian kingpins) during 95 and 96 also held religious sessions (we normally call it extortion) with large amounts of TNT and ammonium nitrate with tiny detonators :eek:

That's what my friends in the Craft community call the "material component" of a spell. I once asked about fireball spells and, with all seriousness, my informant gave me the secret word of power ----- RPG. :D.


Marc, are there any stuffed animals in that symbols book you offered to send me ? I'm no longer sure I want to read that book !

LOLOL. Damn, that would be a best seller! "The Magical LIfe of Teddy B"!


Following up on the interpreter who told me he was going to explain more about Djinn - his brother was telling me about his experiences while we were visiting one of the big US FOBs. Another of our interpreters was also with us who is Yizidi. I had thought Djinn was pretty much an Islamic belief, but it our Yizidi interpreter told me they are real as well. We went through several stories of houses occupied by good and bad Djinn, and of honking the horn on certain roads so that they could avoid running over a Djinn. We've got a pretty diverse team of soldiers and they were not sure what to make of all this - they'd just kind of assumed besides the obvious Muslim, ethnic and cultural differences they's seen it all - that the teams's interpreters were telling them they absolutely believed in the supernatural was kind of a shocker for them.

<grin>I remember hearing about a couple of cops in Toronto visiting the Occult Shop there (run by a friend of mine). The were carrying a stuiffed doll with them in a box. Aftre one of them took it out of the box, my friend commanded him to go wash his hands with industrial grade cleaner. His partmner asked why, and she said - "Well, that's a death doll". The cop got a look on his face like "get seriously, lady!". She smiled and said, "they cover them with a contact poison, so if the curse doesn't kill the victim, the poison will."

Outside of fun, spooky stories, I think the work "supernatural" is the key, here. Every since the Enlightenment, we, in the West, have tended to class all sorts of experiences (and explanations) as "supenatural". I think it comes from Descartes' little sop to the Church in his man the machine model. Anyway, "supernatural" in most of our societies tends to be viewed as "not natural" meaning it doesn;t follow "natural laws". Many other cultures believe that many of the phenomena we call supernatural does follow natural laws (magic, prayer, honking a horn...).

This is where things get fun for symbolic anthropologists like me. This is what we are looking both for and at in a lot of our fieldwork; the rituals, the systems, the stories and, most importantly, what they say about the culture's perceptions of reality and what technologies they have developed. I spent a couple of weeks, about 10 years ago, looking at "heat control" technologies - fire walking, playing with burning coals, rolling in the fire, being doused in cold water at sub-zero temperatures, etc. Quite neat stuff on the whole and, what they all appear to be doing, is using symbol systems to internally activate pre-existing capacities of the human mind and body (like a plecebo, but replicable).


I related the story of the urban legend email that went around about the former soldier in the comparative religion class where the professor defies God to strike him down - the former soldier gets up and breaks the professor's nose and says "God told me to break your nose"! He said he'd strike you down next time though. The Holy Spirit comparrison only worked on the Assemblies of God guy - all the rest had no real comparrison.

Okay, that's weird! I would have expected more comprehension from them.


Marc, I'm still tracking down someone who can tell me about the story of the Green man and Moses.

I'll see if I can find the reference for it with some more details.

Tom Odom
01-16-2007, 05:29 PM
Secondly, why did you send the same post three times ?

So it would sink in?

Because I am old and I twitched?

As a test to see if you would correct me?

Tom

Stan
01-16-2007, 05:29 PM
Folks !
First off, Slapout, Estonia is one of three Baltic States (former Russian property, et al). Situated 55 miles south of Helsinki, Finland and less than 200 miles west of the Motherland. Or is that the Fatherland ?

For 700 years a small German trading town and transition point for cargo, people, whatever. Too good for the Russians to pass up on their way through and decided to stay. In 92 the Estonians broke free and claimed once again (22 times since the 11th century) independence.

Marc,
This is not good, we spent all of last evening convincing Rob there are no ghosts and now explosive use has become the material component of a spell ?????


Stan,
I remember in Addis a lady appeared to have flung herself infront of our Suburban

That's ala Zširois in a nutshell until your timing with age gets a tad off and the Suburban takes the lead. I too often wondered on my way back from the airport was my snow-white blazer easier to spot with CD plates and why did that guy throw himself into the road. I missed him and many more. :(

Marc will no doubt find some spooky Bravo Sierra herein, so I guess I'll log in again and see what's cooking with this thread.:)

Regards, Stan

Stan
01-16-2007, 05:35 PM
Carl is quite a guy. We wrote over thw weekend and I info'd you.
What normally takes 10 years, if at all, for a State puke to learn (with intense training), Carl did it in two.

Great reading. Still trying to reply to the thread, but Marc keeps putting ghosts in and I almost convinced Rob there are no ghosts under his bed :confused:

Regards Pal, Stan

Tom Odom
01-16-2007, 05:38 PM
First off, Slapout, Estonia is one of three Baltic States (former Russian property, et al). Situated 55 miles south of Helsinki, Finland and less than 200 miles west of the Motherland. Or is that the Fatherland ?

Also to be remembered is that the Soviets took Estonia and Latvia as part of the land grab under Stalin's surprise treaty with the Germans, which allowed them to carve up Poland. Said treaty and occupation was negated--temporarily--by the Nazis invasion of the USSR after they decided to not invade the UK.

Not surprisingly the Estonians and Latvians contributed at least a division's worth of volunteers to the Waffen SS. Of course the Sovs reoccupied the country as they drove westward into Germany.

All of this explains why the Estonians love Russians so much.

Best

Tom

marct
01-16-2007, 05:46 PM
Hi Stan,


This is not good, we spent all of last evening convincing Rob there are no ghosts and now explosive use has become the material component of a spell ?????

<quoth he with a straight face>Of Course!!!!!!!

<chuckle>After all, think about all of the "spell work" DOW goes through to produce them.


That's ala Zširois in a nutshell until your timing with age gets a tad off and the Suburban takes the lead. I too often wondered on my way back from the airport was my snow-white blazer easier to spot with CD plates and why did that guy throw himself into the road. I missed him and many more. :(

Marc will no doubt find some spooky Bravo Sierra herein, so I guess I'll log in again and see what's cooking with this thread.:)

Hmmm, let's see if I can get my Spidey-senses tingling..... Nope, have to BS it :D.

Folks, this is actually one of the things that I find hardest to teach when I am talking about it in classes. I've spent slightly over 20 years working to get a simple model of it, and I still don't have a good one (maybe I should go back to model planes...). I've found that I can do a condensed version in about 10 hours or so to first year students, but that only scratches the surface. If anyone there is into theory, the problem is in phenomenological topology, and I'm still trying to work out the trasforms on that <wry grin>. I think what is truly frustrating is I can tell people "what" to do or look for, but I can't seem to tell them "why" <sigh>. Maybe Stan has the better solution :D.

Marc

marct
01-16-2007, 05:48 PM
Great reading. Still trying to reply to the thread, but Marc keeps putting ghosts in and I almost convinced Rob there are no ghosts under his bed :confused:

Nah, not his bed! They're all "in the machine!!!!!" :D

Marc

ps. If you want to see some neat stuff, you should get out into the back woods villages while you are in Estonia. I had a friend from here who told me some really interesting stories <evil grin>

slapout9
01-16-2007, 05:50 PM
Well Stan, I think it safe to say Estonia is out of my jurisdiction. You or Tom said there is another country over there named Latvia??? Stan be careful I don't know who these people are but Bubba says something is wrong with folks that live in Latvia. It's a good bet there are ghosts in Latvia, probably a lot of other stuff to. Stan like your bike. marct, you brought up some good points I will talk about later. I have to go to a meeting now. Later guys.

Stan
01-16-2007, 06:17 PM
Marc, I do have a better solution, but nowadays you would be placed into a mental institution for doing so. In 74 our Nike Hurcules electronics instructor was so fed up that he wire our metal top desks to a very large and fully charged capacitor. You rarely went to disneyland, went to sleep or for that matter saw ghosts under Rob's bed :eek:

Honestly, I had to pay for my follow-on education and took it seriously. I have no clue what young folks today consider significant. Even here, it's hard to find someone that can even write using a pencil and pad. The internet managed to teach these folks how to type, and spell checkers preclude the need for an expensive dictionary.

Slapout,
Latvia and Lithuania are indeed part of the three Baltics. That's were it begins and ends. All three have very unique customs and languages. Latvia and Lithuania have fewer problems with Russians than that of Estonia. But Estonia's economy and crime problems are far fewer and the US agencies were so confident, they let George come here in November.

I have no idea if there are vampires in Latvia, but the women like in Estonia are dead knockouts. We use 9.5 as the benchmark and that includes ladies over 40.

Regards, Stan

Stan
01-16-2007, 06:27 PM
Slapout, thanks !
She's a 1990 FXR Superglide with a net worth of 37K. Only the frame is original. The engine is a highly modified 116cid with 168 rear wheel hp and a very expensive 6-speed transmission. My best AHDRA time in Street Pro is 10.22000 at a little over 130 mph 400 yards later. Bungee jumping from a perfectly good bridge - you must be kidding. We say...No straps, no chains, no harnesses, just balls !

Ride Safe Race Fast !
Regards, Stan

Rob Thornton
01-16-2007, 06:29 PM
Nope I just checked- only duffle bags, hand grenades and dust bunnies. :rolleyes: I thought Marc had said Djinn weren't ghosts:confused:

marct
01-16-2007, 06:45 PM
Marc, I do have a better solution, but nowadays you would be placed into a mental institution for doing so. In 74 our Nike Hurcules electronics instructor was so fed up that he wire our metal top desks to a very large and fully charged capacitor. You rarely went to disneyland, went to sleep or for that matter saw ghosts under Rob's bed :eek:

Love it! Actually, I've been lucky in the past few years - most of my Intro students could at least read (some could even write:eek: ), and all of my 3rd year theory students have been great.


Honestly, I had to pay for my follow-on education and took it seriously. I have no clue what young folks today consider significant. Even here, it's hard to find someone that can even write using a pencil and pad. The internet managed to teach these folks how to type, and spell checkers preclude the need for an expensive dictionary.

<wry grin>About 15 years ago, I was looking around to find a class in remedial penmanship since I couldn't read my own handwriting :o . What did I find? 20 classes in calligraphy, but nothing in basic penmanship. Discouraging!

On spell checkers, I would agree, but a number of my students don't know how to change the dictionary! Honestly, I've been thinking about making the Oxford English Dictionary, 1918 edition, the sole textbook in my classes for a while now.


I have no idea if there are vampires in Latvia, but the women like in Estonia are dead knockouts. We use 9.5 as the benchmark and that includes ladies over 40.

I think most of the vampires decided to head to New York in the '30's:D . Definately agree with you on the ladies, however!!!

Marc

marct
01-16-2007, 06:48 PM
Nope I just checked- only duffle bags, hand grenades and dust bunnies. :rolleyes: I thought Marc had said Djinn weren't ghosts:confused:

Technically, nope, they aren't. If you want Western equivalents, the closest are the Sidhe and the BanSidhe from Celtic mythography - definately NOT a crowd you want to get mized up with (although, the parties can be pretty good if you don't mind being really late in getting home!:D ).

BTW, I've heard you can tell if there are ghosts in your grenades by looking to see if there are two red eyes staring out at you:D .

Marc

Rob Thornton
01-16-2007, 07:28 PM
I believe I'm going to call it a day. Between arguing with the higher HQs for the obvious and deciding the DIV MiTT is so divorced fro reality they are on a different planet, I've pegged my fun meter for the day. What I could really use is a logistcs Djinn that could get me about 20 new HMMWVs for the IA. These boys are really taking the fight to the enemy, so much so that the AIF is expending significant resources against them. The trucks hold up pretty good, but the CL IX flow is sad. Well tomorrow is a new day.
Regards, Rob

marct
01-16-2007, 07:48 PM
I believe I'm going to call it a day. Between arguing with the higher HQs for the obvious and deciding the DIV MiTT is so divorced fro reality they are on a different planet, I've pegged my fun meter for the day. What I could really use is a logistcs Djinn that could get me about 20 new HMMWVs for the IA. These boys are really taking the fight to the enemy, so much so that the AIF is expending significant resources against them. The trucks hold up pretty good, but the CL IX flow is sad. Well tomorrow is a new day.
Regards, Rob

Have a good one, Rob. Personally, I'd go for an electronics djinn - they seem to love that stuff. Set it to infiltrate the AIF commo network and feed them bad co-ords.:D Hmmm, maybe a Ban Sidhe.... <lololol>

Marc

Stan
01-16-2007, 09:32 PM
Marc,
Are these the very same in Rob's grenades with red eyes under his bed ?
I would rather have ghosts :rolleyes:

My final comment, if these jinnis are ever to inhabit the DRC, they will all get robbed by former Zšrois :D

Have a pleasant evening !

Regards, Stan

wondertk
01-16-2007, 10:18 PM
You all are bringing back fond memories of my life in Egypt as a study abroad student. The radical telesheikhs on Egyptian tv were fond of the term "viper." My dorm roomates and I used to have parties in the afternoon in which we would wager on which metaphor would be dominant today, and to whom or what would the metaphor be applied. In light of this thread, I wish I had taken notes...

Magical realism and Islamists/Jihadists? You bet. All these adherents to the "pure Islam" have to do is emulate Mohamed, a religious prophet who was aided in his disinformation campaign by an angel. Islam was founded on a magical realist precept of shrewd exploitation of metaphor and superstition and probably psychopathy.

Another good contemporary example of this would be Castroist Cuba's allowing Santeria co-religionist to operate freely in the country. Santeria exists there as a curious syncretic merger with revolutionary practices and Party tropes. You really can get a good dose of this during the Cuban Carnival month, which is not in February like most island carnival seasons, but rather it's in July and August, flanked by revolutionary symbolic dates, July 26 and Fidel's Brithday.

And of course, magical realist Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Fidel are good friends.

The Cubans have a penchant for inviting Muslim leaders from other non-aligned states to vists during Carnival, too. Surprise surprise.

Also, one more note about this: Bassam Tibi devotes some discussion in his book "The Challenge of Fundamentalism: Political Islam and the New World Disorder" to the symbolic nature of Islamist discourse. Tibi is always on my recommended reading list. He's a Syrian Muslim who practices in Germany.

marct
01-16-2007, 10:29 PM
Hi Terri!

Glad to see you made it on :D. You know more about the Islamist ideology than I do... so, tell me, how do djinn fit into the MB/AQ crowd? I was suggesting earlier in the thread that we get a couple of good combat magician (Alexandro-Gardnerian preferably) and so Seitha practitioners to do some "work". Any ideas?

Marc

slapout9
01-17-2007, 03:29 AM
One of the things about discussions and how they drift off course, but often lead to something interesting or useful. Stalkers often have charismatic personalities and can exert incredible influence over people almost like a hypnotic trance.
This got me to thinking about one of the absolute masters and that was Jim Jones and his ability to convince 908 people to commit mass suicide by drinking poisoned Kool Aid down in Guyana. I think this is what the expression "drinking the Kool Aid" actually means but perhaps people don't realize it. In the late 70's or 80's when this happened it was considered impossible, but it happened.
Think of all the Guerrilla leaders or terrorists leaders like UBL that have the same type of charisma and his ability to influence people. They have that Jinn like quality that can make them very formidable Psy-Op enemies. In contrast if we could come up with a Lawrence of Arabia type we could wheel and deal. So where is the Jinn of Lawrence?? Rob,Stan,Marct need to find him we need him. Might be over there Latville hanging around.

jcustis
01-17-2007, 03:45 AM
I saw a history or discovery channel show on the Jim Jones stuff last night. I can very vaguely remember it when I was a kid. Scared the bejezzus out of me. Jungles, spooky voodoo, cultism. I can remember seeing it on the news and eventually the 60 minutes expose. I have no idea if my parents knew I was watching it, but it was spooky.

This djinn stuff speaks to an interesting conversation I had with one of my former platoon commanders during OIF 2.0. We had since moved on to other billets, but he was outside the wire almost every day. Because he knew Arabic and was a Middle Eastern studies major, he had a fresh perspective on what was going on.

When discussions turned to Zarqawi, he told me that a lot of Iraqis he'd met during ops didn't believe there was a Zarqawi. It seems that early on many had equated him with an Islamic version of the boogeyman. The notion of Zarqawi was quickly used to scare the heck out of Iraqi kids and keep them in line. If they didn't, Zarqawi would "get them" in the middle of the night. The point to this rambling is that maybe we don't need a djinn, but the counter-djinn, like an Aladdin...

marct
01-17-2007, 04:49 AM
One of the things about discussions and how they drift off course, but often lead to something interesting or useful....
This got me to thinking about one of the absolute masters and that was Jim Jones and his ability to convince 908 people to commit mass suicide by drinking poisoned Kool Aid down in Guyana. I think this is what the expression "drinking the Kool Aid" actually means but perhaps people don't realize it. In the late 70's or 80's when this happened it was considered impossible, but it happened.

I remember that <wry grin>. Everyone thought Jim Jones was "impossible", but I kept remembering a conversation I had had years before in the mid-60's with a guy who had heard Hitler speak in person. He told me that even though he was Jewish (and spent most of the war in Dachau), Hitler still impressed him with his charisma. He said it was like being the victim of a snake watching, hypnotized.


Think of all the Guerrilla leaders or terrorists leaders like UBL that have the same type of charisma and his ability to influence people. They have that Jinn like quality that can make them very formidable Psy-Op enemies. In contrast if we could come up with a Lawrence of Arabia type we could wheel and deal. So where is the Jinn of Lawrence?? Rob,Stan,Marct need to find him we need him. Might be over there Latville hanging around.

Well, I'm convinced that Stan is the anti-UBL dhinn :D - it'sthe bike, mon!


I saw a history or discovery channel show on the Jim Jones stuff last night. I can very vaguely remember it when I was a kid. Scared the bejezzus out of me. Jungles, spooky voodoo, cultism. I can remember seeing it on the news and eventually the 60 minutes expose. I have no idea if my parents knew I was watching it, but it was spooky.

Yeah, it can definately have hat effect.


This djinn stuff speaks to an interesting conversation I had with one of my former platoon commanders during OIF 2.0. We had since moved on to other billets, but he was outside the wire almost every day. Because he knew Arabic and was a Middle Eastern studies major, he had a fresh perspective on what was going on.

When discussions turned to Zarqawi, he told me that a lot of Iraqis he'd met during ops didn't believe there was a Zarqawi. It seems that early on many had equated him with an Islamic version of the boogeyman. The notion of Zarqawi was quickly used to scare the heck out of Iraqi kids and keep them in line. If they didn't, Zarqawi would "get them" in the middle of the night. The point to this rambling is that maybe we don't need a djinn, but the counter-djinn, like an Aladdin...

We've seen this effect time and time again over the course of history. This was the sort of thing I was talking about when I said that people play out stories with recognizable plots (or something like that). Both Claude Levi-Strauss (no relation to the Jeans family) and Carl Jung looked at this. I think Levi-Strauss got the structural aspects right (see his Structural Study of Myth) while Jung got the rest of it right.

If you want a counter-djinn, try The Phantom from the 30's-50's. Ideally, a counter-djinn would operate outside of any constituted force and would use assasination combined with psyops - e.g. track down an AIQ cell leader, kill him and display the body in a public place with a listing of his crimes - think Batman after he went psycho. This would fit the mythic patterns. If you really want to freak the Iranian agents and the AQ crowd, have him use the name "Zurvan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zurvanism)".

Marc

Rob Thornton
01-17-2007, 05:47 AM
Terri, Glad you signed up, you'll find this is a pretty good bunch, and your contributions and wit will be much appreciated. One of the things we've had to work through with our majority Kurdish battalion is that some are Yezidi (http://altreligion.about.com/library/faqs/bl_yezidism.htm), which seperates them some from the Sunni Kurds. Not much mention was made of the Yezidi's before we came over, or how it might lead to friction within an organization. As you can see in th elink there are some major points that differ with Islam. In one of the books on Mosul I read since I've been here it talked about mass conversions (the violent kinds) when the caliphates came in.

Well, looks like it will be a busy day today - I'll sign back on later tonight.
Regards, Rob

Stan
01-17-2007, 12:55 PM
Hey Folks !

Slapout, I checked, he's not in Latvia !


We've seen this effect time and time again over the course of history. This was the sort of thing I was talking about when I said that people play out stories with recognizable plots (or something like that). Both Claude Levi-Strauss (no relation to the Jeans family) and Carl Jung looked at this. I think Levi-Strauss got the structural aspects right (see his Structural Study of Myth) while Jung got the rest of it right.

Marc,
You're not going tell me we went from Djinns and ghosts to Myers-Briggs Type Indicators, and psychological type framework, are you ? This would be the same Carl Jung, or another Carl from your "Craft Section" ?

Regards, Stan

goesh
01-17-2007, 01:48 PM
The UCMJ prohibits doing anything to the dead, so any 'believers' on our side better stick to high tech and real-time digital magic. Bill Donovan and that old time crowd could have better exploited the potential use of ju-jus and skin changers than we of today can due to the political oversight that guides and directs any engagements we enter into. Guzman from the Shining Path was pretty much considered a Shaman by the locals and we know Noreiga from Panama was heavily into Santeria/Lukumi. 2cd hand reports suggest Che adapted Bolivian ritual magic to wow peasants from time to time and Bustos, one of his henchman, is reported to have been heavily into Santeria. The Jinn are not readily exploitable in the Islamic theatre of operations IMHO because Mohammed didn't employ/exploit them and Islam pretty much tells its followers to ignore the Jinn.

Tom Odom
01-17-2007, 01:56 PM
This got me to thinking about one of the absolute masters and that was Jim Jones and his ability to convince 908 people to commit mass suicide by drinking poisoned Kool Aid down in Guyana. I think this is what the expression "drinking the Kool Aid" actually means but perhaps people don't realize it. In the late 70's or 80's when this happened it was considered impossible, but it happened.

Slap,

This went down in 1978. I was in the 82d at the time and 1st COSCOM sent a unit down to help recover the bodies.

Things like this are why I caution folks about looking at events in Africa or elsewhere as "out of world" impossible in the "sophisticated West."

Look at Pat Robertson, the 700 Club, and Operation Blessing's gold and diamond smuggling in Zaire or other groups...

best

Tom

marct
01-17-2007, 02:35 PM
Hi Stan,


Marc,
You're not going tell me we went from Djinns and ghosts to Myers-Briggs Type Indicators, and psychological type framework, are you ? This would be the same Carl Jung, or another Carl from your "Craft Section" ?

The MBTI is really a highly watered down version of Jung's work. I was thinking more of his work in Aion and Vol 9,i of the Collected works on Archetypes. MBTI done well has about a 70% predictive value but, as with all typologies, it is hopelessly outclassed by the more complete (and complex!) dynamic system models.

There has been some specialized, and pretty complex, work done on the relationship between archetypes and neurological structures in the brain - e.g. Charles Laughlin's Biogenetic Structuralism (http://www.biogeneticstructuralism.com/), Michael Persinger's God Helmet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_helmet), and some of Susan Blackmore (http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk/)'s work. Blackmore, along with some of the more conventional symbolic anthropologists, has tended to concentrate on the "programming elements" (i.e. symbols), which Lauglin and Persinger have gone more heavily into the neurology. My own stuff, mainly unpublished, tends to straddle the two although I also put more emphasis on the programming elements.

Probably the easiest way to think about this is that we all have similar "hardware" (actually, it's semi-mutable wetware, but that's another story :)), but our programming languages differ. Oh, yeah, one other form of Western djinn that got co-opted about 1600 years ago are what the Greeks called "daemons". In the programmin language metaphor, you could think of them as self-propagating computer programs, some of which are really quite complex and powerful.

Marc

marct
01-17-2007, 02:42 PM
Hi Goesh,


The UCMJ prohibits doing anything to the dead, so any 'believers' on our side better stick to high tech and real-time digital magic.

Yupper. Then again, any type of operation like that would be totally outside of the rules of war anyway. If it was done, it would have to be so black an op that it would never appear.


Bill Donovan and that old time crowd could have better exploited the potential use of ju-jus and skin changers than we of today can due to the political oversight that guides and directs any engagements we enter into.

Donnovan also had the advantage of working with Gregory Bateson, who was probably one of the best people to ever come out of academic Anthropology.


Guzman from the Shining Path was pretty much considered a Shaman by the locals and we know Noreiga from Panama was heavily into Santeria/Lukumi. 2cd hand reports suggest Che adapted Bolivian ritual magic to wow peasants from time to time and Bustos, one of his henchman, is reported to have been heavily into Santeria. The Jinn are not readily exploitable in the Islamic theatre of operations IMHO because Mohammed didn't employ/exploit them and Islam pretty much tells its followers to ignore the Jinn.

The profet may not have exploited them, as you put it, but Soloman did. Anyway, it's not so much a case of Islam "ignoring" the djinn, as it is of their existing as "people" who may or may not be Muslims and who are going to take a part in the human world anyway. For a number of Muslims, the djinn are already in this conflict (e.g. for the Northern Alliance).

Marc

Stan
01-17-2007, 06:00 PM
Hey goesh !


The UCMJ prohibits doing anything to the dead, so any 'believers' on our side better stick to high tech and real-time digital magic.

I won't for a minute think that one of ours would perform voodu on a corps, but stranger things have happened that will indeed open your eyes. My tours in Korea, somewhere in South American (no tail numbers, no flight plans kinda traveling), and later Sub-Sahara not only opened my eyes, but at times forced me to close them. The dreams will still get you later, no matter how many times you try and close your eyes.

Marc,
Strangely enough, while in Korea and taking night courses in Personnel management (read Pysops 101, first chapter) the instructor insisted we read and retain to memory Gregory Bateson's Steps to an Ecology of Mind (1972).
I would later here about Bateson while undergoing DIA mandatory MBTI evaluations. Wow this Sierra really works :eek:

Regards, Stan

marct
01-17-2007, 06:07 PM
Marc,
Strangely enough, while in Korea and taking night courses in Personnel management (read Pysops 101, first chapter) the instructor insisted we read and retain to memory Gregory Bateson's Steps to an Ecology of Mind (1972).
I would later here about Bateson while undergoing DIA mandatory MBTI evaluations. Wow this Sierra really works :eek:

Hey Stan,

Cool! I'm glad they remembered Bateson. If you've read Steps to an Ecology of Mind, you might also want to look at A Sacred Unity and Angel's Fear - they are the completions of his work in a lot of ways. I wish he was still alive <wry grin>.

Marc

goesh
01-17-2007, 07:05 PM
- are hard to come by these days and I use the term rogue because the current tone and tenure of Academia is decidedly ant-military, anti-Bush and at best, overtly hostile to the GWOT. I've come across some conservative Blogs by Academics who do so anonymously for fear of scorn and even retribution by colleagues. I did follow one professional Anthro blog for a while and the topic of Anthropology per se assisting the American Administration in its foreign policy was brought up and the vitriol expressed was harsh to say the least. On-the-side, hefty consult fees are another matter though.....

Exploitation of the spiritual is a hard sell at best and the Military is not known for fast adaptation - recall the hoopla over SF troops in Afghanistan being told to shave the beards off and get back in uniform. Nope, I don't look for any Shamans sporting fetishes and ju-jus to be leading any patrols to psych out the indigs any time soon nor to be on any operational/policy planning teams either. It's odd if you think about it, not wanting to exploit spirituality when there are tactical advantages to it.

goesh
01-17-2007, 07:15 PM
Not that I am trying to upset any Chaplains or people of faith or anything like that, but I don't see how our lethal enemies can have any fear of our God that is bloody and nailed to a cross with thorns driven into his head. This may be somehow connected to our inability to exploit spirituality.

marct
01-17-2007, 07:17 PM
- are hard to come by these days and I use the term rogue because the current tone and tenure of Academia is decidedly ant-military, anti-Bush and at best, overtly hostile to the GWOT. I've come across some conservative Blogs by Academics who do so anonymously for fear of scorn and even retribution by colleagues. I did follow one professional Anthro blog for a while and the topic of Anthropology per se assisting the American Administration in its foreign policy was brought up and the vitriol expressed was harsh to say the least. On-the-side, hefty consult fees are another matter though.....

Take a look at my article in the latest (Vol 7 (http://smallwarsjournal.com/documents/swjvol7-interim.pdf)) of SWJ - believe me, as an Anthropologist, I definately agree with you on the anti-military sentiment!


Exploitation of the spiritual is a hard sell at best and the Military is not known for fast adaptation - recall the hoopla over SF troops in Afghanistan being told to shave the beards off and get back in uniform. Nope, I don't look for any Shamans sporting fetishes and ju-jus to be leading any patrols to psych out the indigs any time soon nor to be on any operational/policy planning teams either. It's odd if you think about it, not wanting to exploit spirituality when there are tactical advantages to it.

Honestly, I wouldn't call it "exploitation of the spiritual" at all :cool: . I would call it "using all of our allies", and if the djinn want to ally against AQ...

Marc

marct
01-17-2007, 07:25 PM
Hi Goesh,


Not that I am trying to upset any Chaplains or people of faith or anything like that, but I don't see how our lethal enemies can have any fear of our God that is bloody and nailed to a cross with thorns driven into his head. This may be somehow connected to our inability to exploit spirituality.

Well, I'm not exactly sure what you mean by that, but I certainly wasn't advocating a Crusade in the Bernard of Clairveux sense. What I was suggesting was that, since the Muslim world seems to be split over the issue and there are already supernatural elements in play, that we look at using those elements.

On the issue of that particular deity's ability to generate fear, I would have to point out that the Templars did a pretty good job, as did the Spanish orders.

Marc

Stan
01-17-2007, 07:38 PM
Marc,
At the sake of sounding stupid (granted, it's been 26 years since I read that book, but some of his terms are just plain old strange).

The "double Blind" is a tad easy, but Jung and later Bateson (or do I have that backwards) used "Creatura and Pleroma". Yes, I get the bit about living and non-living (you still push the ghost thing two days later herein :rolleyes: )

But Pleroma was no djinn or ghost, rather an eternal and/or divine principle (I attended a Catholic school for 8 years - go figure !)

Yep, I know this is all Greek (actually it is), and the Roman Catholics don't do Djinn, but they do at times do ghosts :D

Hey goesh !


Exploitation of the spiritual is a hard sell at best and the Military is not known for fast adaptation - recall the hoopla over SF troops in Afghanistan being told to shave the beards off and get back in uniform

Dead on the money, the real Army is not ready. I am however happy to say that in Sub-Sahara DIA gave us room so long as our reporting justified such actions and didn't get us killed accomplishing said. That doesn't mean we did spooky stuff, but we went far beyond what most were willing to do, and at times at great personal risk. Then, almost all the other Americans there were Clintons and WE were "necessary-but-never-trusted evil as well as the only team that wondered into the real world (outside of the embassy walls).
Simply put, our results supported our less-than-conventional means and we were later recognized for doing it. Our successors would have some big shoes to fill.

Regards, Stan

marct
01-17-2007, 08:06 PM
Hi Stan,


At the sake of sounding stupid (granted, it's been 26 years since I read that book, but some of his terms are just plain old strange).

The "double Blind" is a tad easy, but Jung and later Bateson (or do I have that backwards) used "Creatura and Pleroma". Yes, I get the bit about living and non-living (you still push the ghost thing two days later herein :rolleyes: )

But Pleroma was no djinn or ghost, rather an eternal and/or divine principle (I attended a Catholic school for 8 years - go figure !)

Yep, I know this is all Greek (actually it is), and the Roman Catholics don't do Djinn, but they do at times do ghosts :D

Hehehe. Technically, "pleroma" is the Greek for "afterbirth". In theological / philosophical terms, it's used to refer to the "real", phenomenal world as opposed to the "perfect" world of Platonic ideals (Plato... what a twit!). Anyway, Bateson grabbed on to the terms, as did Jung, and used them partly, I suspect, to confuse people :D.

Well, the RCs are pretty good (if you get a priest who can .... hmm, better not say that). I think that the Ortodox are probably better in this area - less of a tradition of bureacratic control.

Marc

Stan
01-17-2007, 08:52 PM
Marc,
That's even stranger. Estonians have little use for religion, but in the event they have some belief, it would be Orthodox. Darn Russians :eek:

The only time an Estonian attends church is to bid farewell to the old year. They don't often do Happy New Year, rather Happy end of the old year. That and the church can't officially perform a marriage, only the Estonian version of the Justice of the Peace can.

What if I were to now to ask them about Djinn ? Wooo Neli !

My 41 year-old girl friend (a tad beyond the Estonian benchmark :) ) is perplexed by things like MBTI and Psychology. She's a true introvert with such daily statements "If he'd just shut up, I'd be able to think about what he said; Why do we have to decide right now; I can' t give you a good answer unless I have some time to reflect on it!"

But dear, the building is burning down, would be my logical answer :cool:

It would appear we have gone way off the IO scenario and of course magic. Nevertheless, I've enjoyed it :)

Regards, Stan

marct
01-17-2007, 09:17 PM
Marc,
That's even stranger. Estonians have little use for religion, but in the event they have some belief, it would be Orthodox. Darn Russians :eek:

The only time an Estonian attends church is to bid farewell to the old year. They don't often do Happy New Year, rather Happy end of the old year. That and the church can't officially perform a marriage, only the Estonian version of the Justice of the Peace can.

What if I were to now to ask them about Djinn ? Wooo Neli !

Well, I ran into an Estonian folklorist about 10 years ago (about an 8.5 on the scale, but she was in her 50's :D). She mentioned to me that Estonia never really got around to converting to Christianity in the first place, outside of the easily accessed areas. If you copnverted "djinn" to "earth spirits", at least in the outback, I doubt you'd have problems (okay, he slver and onsidion knives *might* be a problem).


QUOTE: Stan Reber: My 41 year-old girl friend (a tad beyond the Estonian benchmark) is perplexed by things like MBTI and Psychology. She's a true introvert with such daily statements "If he'd just shut up, I'd be able to think about what he said; Why do we have to decide right now; I can' t give you a good answer unless I have some time to reflect on it!"

But dear, the building is burning down, would be my logical answer

INTJ - definately - I recognize it <evil grin>. "So, why are you worried anout a little fire? Just walk through it!" <lolol>.


It would appear we have gone way off the IO scenario and of course magic. Nevertheless, I've enjoyed it :)

Strangely, we actually haven't, although we have gone away from operation potentials / specifics.


"For behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment; in the twinkling of an eye"

As an Anthropologists, especially a symbolic Anthropologists working in the esoteric field of "ooky-spookyness" (:D), I have to opearate as if all of this is real. Given that operational assimptuin, we end up with all sorts of interesting opportunities and, vide Goesh, limitations. As I mentioned in muy post to him, I'm not calling for a Crusade, but I think it would be a darned good idea to get people who know what they are doing involved in this aspect; especially since they are alreday available in the US forces.

Marc

Stan
01-17-2007, 09:53 PM
That would be a good guess, but she won't take the test :confused:


Well, I ran into an Estonian folklorist about 10 years ago (about an 8.5 on the scale, but she was in her 50's ).

Yes, Folklore they have, but it depends on the age of the individual you are addressing. Under say the age of 30, they would laugh at you for even suggesting such a thing. Even then, mostly tales and sayings. I had to study this during my language training in Virginia.

There is one thing that comes to mind that ended up reality. Folklore had it that when enemies overpowered the Estonians in the 11th century, those gravely apposed would retreat to the forest and wait for a patriotic front and then join forces defeating their enemy. These so-called forest brothers are now what we call the "Kaitseliit" or in US terms, National Guardsmen. They created battle lines that the Russians didn't think existed. Now flanked and out gunned, the Russians retreated. The Estonian soldiers would return to camp and explain what had taken place and the commander would wonder if he should pass on such nonsense. He didn't but he would later form his own unit, then and even now know as the Kuperjonov Single Infantry Batallion.

In closing, sorry but no Djinns nor ghosts :mad:
Have a good evening, I'm outta here !
Regards, Stan

jcustis
01-17-2007, 10:16 PM
I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable trying to use it as an active sort of thing personally (although I'm not above advocating its exploration for possible uses) - for me its more of a passive sort of incorporation into understanding the environment which brings forth both the people I work with and those we work against.

I think marct is dead on in his advisory against looking to employ it. That was what screwed up the IO/PSYOP product I mentioned earlier. the Arabic text of "we can see you and find you" (paraphrase) was laid over a watermark of a pair of dark (almost hooded) eyes, and that cast an omniprescent tint on things that made the average Iraqi get spooked/confused over out intentions.

slapout9
01-18-2007, 01:15 AM
Slap,

This went down in 1978. I was in the 82d at the time and 1st COSCOM sent a unit down to help recover the bodies.

Things like this are why I caution folks about looking at events in Africa or elsewhere as "out of world" impossible in the "sophisticated West."

Look at Pat Robertson, the 700 Club, and Operation Blessing's gold and diamond smuggling in Zaire or other groups...

best

Tom

Hi guys, busy day at work so I am just catching up on this thread. Tom, you may remember if this was ever proved or not, but wasn't Jones maintaining large deposits in a Soviet bank at their Embassy? I have always thought that religion is one the easiest ways to raise a guerrilla force. Look at Jones they would do anything he said, they were already living in the jungle in what was similar to army compound. One more step with arms from Russia, a little training and oops there goes another country and the US is standing around trying to figure out what happened. I agree completely about Pat Robertson, his Operation Blessing has been involved in several enterprises of a dubious nature.


Stan, the women may be nice where you are, but 9.5 sure isn't much of a selection:) Bubba wants to know if they have all their teeth? Later guys I am beat.

Rob Thornton
01-18-2007, 06:00 AM
The thread has taken some interesting turns, but it all seems related - since you had to start from the original place to get there anyway.

Stan considered the bit about thought processes, then Marc brought up the bit about almost every culture having a recent past (a generation that is still alive) that grew up with some incarnation of the fantastic. Stan then pointed out that anyone below the age of 30 would just shrug it off as being unrealisitc.

Slapout had pointed out the links with the criminally insane, and various folks had mentioned charismatic leaders who for one reason or another had used "magic" like associations to influence populations and groups to accomplish things in their name.

From the reverse angle, who are the groups at risk (I think describing their characeristics) that the enemy might be targeting as part of their own PsyOps? I think this is important because while we bring (and try to impose to some degree) our sense of order through science and technology we are competing with not only ignorance and fear (fear of lots of things), but in some cases practices that have lasted centuries because they either work or give the appearance of working.

I've known some interesting folks that were going to these places to help do other things, but their "competition" was usually from within the group, now we may be talking about competition from outside the group - ex. a group gets targeted by an AQ like group because its conditions fit what they are looking for.

It would not have to be an Islamic terror group. I suspect we will come up against various incarnations of AQ like groups (modeled like) over time. As resources become scarce, and the profit margin for getting to and extracting those resources fall in the black, remote places with groups that had been alienated will become more important. Are those the same groups where the 30 something crowd my still be influenced by "magical realism" or by people using PsyOps to play to / against those beliefs? The enemy has a good targeting process, they have a pretty good understanding of our strengths and weaknesses and the perceptions of the rest of the world regarding us. They work their own IO and PsyOps pretty well. Groups like Hezbullah have a pretty good CA program as well.

The folks I've asked about Djinn here - they are between the ages of 20-40. They are a sampling of the beliefs here - Shiite, Sunni & Yezidi. They are not ignorant in the sense of being cut off - indeed they have better sattelite reception then I do (all we get is AFN with its great commercials), although I do sit with the interpreters sometimes and watch T.V. with them. You could say they are ingorant in that until recently (since 2003) they did not have such access - however I'd argue that U.S. T.V is somewhat narrow as well since they will run the same stories because they are competing for very similiar audiences - we see what they thnk we want to see in order to sell air time.

I think its important to understand these belief systems. It has allot to do with avoiding misunderstandings that lead to bad assumptions and bad decisions.

Also - look at the geography this thread has covered! The discussion has taken us just about all over. I have not heard anybody bring up the Japanese group that tried to gas the subway, and what about all the US (North American) groups? We've got our share of cults, etc. and they are also vulnerable and a reasonable source of manpower, some with good connections.
Regards, Rob

120mm
01-18-2007, 08:05 AM
Hmmmm. Speaking of magical thinking. How can academics dismiss war and war-making as a significant factor in human interaction and still proport to be truth-seekers?

But they demonify it, and drive it from public view, as if that would make it cease to exist.

Stan
01-18-2007, 08:55 AM
Greetings Folks !
Slapout, Perhaps Bubba misinterpreted the 9.5 benchmark:rolleyes: . What I meant to say, is we begin at or use the benchmark as a base standard. 9.5's almost always have all their teeth :D In conclusion, we in Estonia use 15.0 as the highest or most prominent position of skirt-watching standards. This is a science and taken very seriously, and lastly by no means magic :D


From the reverse angle, who are the groups at risk (I think describing their characeristics) that the enemy might be targeting as part of their own PsyOps? I think this is important because while we bring (and try to impose to some degree) our sense of order through science and technology we are competing with not only ignorance and fear (fear of lots of things), but in some cases practices that have lasted centuries because they either work or give the appearance of working.

Rob,
You managed to intuitively apprehend the inner nature of this !
Thanks for A Great Recap !

Regards, Stan

marct
01-18-2007, 03:12 PM
Hi Rob,

Great summation!


From the reverse angle, who are the groups at risk (I think describing their characeristics) that the enemy might be targeting as part of their own PsyOps? I think this is important because while we bring (and try to impose to some degree) our sense of order through science and technology we are competing with not only ignorance and fear (fear of lots of things), but in some cases practices that have lasted centuries because they either work or give the appearance of working.

There is a general personality type called the "seeker" that was identified in the 1970's. Usually fairly well off, middle class kids who felt that they had no real sense of identity or meaning in their life. These were the main population root of the new religious movements of the 60's, 70's and 80's. I am about 90% certain that this is the main target group in materially affluent areas, outside of the standard "disenfranchised" crowd.


Also - look at the geography this thread has covered! The discussion has taken us just about all over. I have not heard anybody bring up the Japanese group that tried to gas the subway, and what about all the US (North American) groups? We've got our share of cults, etc. and they are also vulnerable and a reasonable source of manpower, some with good connections.

Definately, especially in North America and Europe. You may want to look at a book by Faydra Shapiro called Building Jewish Roots (http://www.amazon.com/Building-Jewish-Roots-Israel-Experience/dp/0773530657) for a model of how these kids can be recruited and chanelized. If I remember correctly, Faydra was looking at some of the more extreme Jewish "revivalist" groups in the late 1980's as an undergrad.

Marc

marct
01-18-2007, 03:20 PM
Hi 120mm,


Hmmmm. Speaking of magical thinking. How can academics dismiss war and war-making as a significant factor in human interaction and still proport to be truth-seekers?

But they demonify it, and drive it from public view, as if that would make it cease to exist.

I'll be glad to give you my personal answer to that over beers some time <wry grin>. In general, I think it has to do with a fear of chaos and an increasing retreat from the "real" world. Also, I should note, that academia has a longish history of getting shafted and manipulated by politicians and some of the intel agencies - David Price has some good research on this.

One final thing to remember about academics: the modern Academy derives from the medieval church, and there has always been a sense of "sacrality" or "set apartness" that is endemic to it. In the late 1960's and early 1970's, the academy, at least in the social sciences, developed its own brand of "Liberation Theology", basically secular Marxism that had been watered down. This strand, when combined with how you actually get post-graduate degrees and academic positions, has led to an entrenching of that secular theology in many departments. And, as with the medieval RC church, the academic hierarchy and bureaucracy are very leary of the Military Orders.

Marc

wondertk
01-30-2007, 07:44 PM
Let's not forget about "legal anthropology" in contending our enemies. Islam does not consist of just one or two holy books such as the Koran and Hadith. It consists of thousands of books and multiple interpretations of Islamic over time and space--very similar to rabbinical law, in that respect. Therefore, I suspect that competing sects in Iraq will have different intepretations of oral and written contracts and other types of agreements, depending on their version of Islamic law. In fact, puritanical Shias will have different interpretations of legal language than their non-puritanical brethren. In turn, one must be very careful in negotiating truces or other types of agreements among community groups.

marct
01-30-2007, 07:49 PM
Good points, Terri. Unfortunately, what I have read of "legal Anthropology" doesn't really inspire me with great hope :wry:. It may be better to get a bunch of old style Rabbis and Biblical Scholars (Comp Rel type) together for that aspect of it.

Marc

wondertk
01-30-2007, 08:53 PM
Marc,

You are right about legal anthropology. But I think your concerns about legal anthropology may apply to all fields of study in anthropology in that there is a pervasive animus toward helping out government and military. You could argue thereunto that anthropology has a stake in disinformation and deception. There are few anthropologists I would trust.

Bringing in Islamic legal scholars is a good idea, except that trustworthy ones are scarce and expensive.

I think that you should form a special academic advisory consulting firm/think-tank for the armed services rooted in your views about anthropologythe conduct, and prosecution of small wars. :)

I first started considering the legal anthropology of Islamists when I began studying the case of confessed terrorist conspirator Sami Al-Arian in Tampa. Part of his alleged front enterprise activity involved partnering a think-tank he had founded with USF. This was a legal partnership agreement. Prior to it, key people at USF had been given documents with some rather strange cultural data/language in it about the funding source, another think-tank, of the partnership with USF.

The language clearly shows how puritanical and monolithically doctrinal the views of Sami and his think-tank were. He and his other associates in the think-tank should have been probed further about their views and expectations, but evidently were not.

A Muslim to non-Muslim agreement is quite different in Islamic law than it is in Western law. When you sign a contract with puritanical Muslims, you must be careful because you might be signing a contract with Muslims who believe that a pact with non-Muslims renders non-Muslims subservient to the tenets of Islamic law.

marct
01-30-2007, 09:42 PM
Hi Terri,


You are right about legal anthropology. But I think your concerns about legal anthropology may apply to all fields of study in anthropology in that there is a pervasive animus toward helping out government and military. You could argue thereunto that anthropology has a stake in disinformation and deception. There are few anthropologists I would trust.

Now you know I could never use that argument :D.


I think that you should form a special academic advisory consulting firm/think-tank for the armed services rooted in your views about anthropologythe conduct, and prosecution of small wars. :)

When I started my consulting company six years ago, I had been toying with getting into the "designer cult" business - seemed like a growth industry :cool:. Maybe I should go for that most modern of policy cults - the think tank ;).


A Muslim to non-Muslim agreement is quite different in Islamic law than it is in Western law. When you sign a contract with puritanical Muslims, you must be careful because you might be signing a contract with Muslims who believe that a pact with non-Muslims renders non-Muslims subservient to the tenets of Islamic law.

A good point, and all the more reason why we should have a number of Muslim legal scholars involved in this entire campaign. Honestly, I'm surprised that USF agreed to that type of "obscurity" in their funding.

Marc

Bill Meara
01-31-2007, 07:01 AM
Interesting thread. I was reminded of an incident with the Contras in Central America. A fairly senior USG officer had flown in to harangue them about something. A big meeting was arranged. After the visitor finished haranguing, the top commander said he wanted to discuss a "special problem." He told the Washingtonian that the Sandinistas were training witches and that these women were infiltrating Contra units and putting curses on key commanders. The curses caused small animals to grow in their stomachs. "Julio, go get that thing that came out of the stomach of Wilfredo..." The gringo from Washington thought they were kidding, and he was laughing like a fool. I realized they were serious, and was trying to get him to stop laughing.

The commanders were Central American country folk, and those people have a lot of these kinds of beliefs. Before anyone gets too scornful and superior, it might be a good idea to consider how some of the rituals in OUR religions might appear to outsiders. Incense and holy water come to mind.

For more of this kind of stuff see http://www.contracross.com

marct
01-31-2007, 02:47 PM
Hi Bill,


Interesting thread. I was reminded of an incident with the Contras in Central America. A fairly senior USG officer had flown in to harangue them about something. A big meeting was arranged. After the visitor finished haranguing, the top commander said he wanted to discuss a "special problem." He told the Washingtonian that the Sandinistas were training witches and that these women were infiltrating Contra units and putting curses on key commanders. The curses caused small animals to grow in their stomachs. "Julio, go get that thing that came out of the stomach of Wilfredo..." The gringo from Washington thought they were kidding, and he was laughing like a fool. I realized they were serious, and was trying to get him to stop laughing.

There are too many incidents of this sort that have happened; it's one of the reasons I was advocating recruiting practitioners of magic who are already in the US forces to deal with situations like this. That particular incident sounds like a fairly standard witchcraft type accusation. Jeane Favret-Saada's Deadly Words: Witchcraft in the Bocage (http://www.amazon.com/Deadly-Words-Witchcraft-Bocage-Msh/dp/0521297877/sr=1-2/qid=1170254168/ref=sr_1_2/104-0046598-2588730?ie=UTF8&s=books)deals with the dynamics of it quite well, as does E.E. Evans-Pritchard's Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande (http://www.amazon.com/Witchcraft-Oracles-Magic-among-Azande/dp/0198740298/sr=1-1/qid=1170254363/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/104-0046598-2588730?ie=UTF8&s=books).

What is truly bothersome, is that every time a "Westerner" laughs at something like this, it insults the people who brought it to their attention. What a great way to win friends and influence people:rolleyes:.


The commanders were Central American country folk, and those people have a lot of these kinds of beliefs. Before anyone gets too scornful and superior, it might be a good idea to consider how some of the rituals in OUR religions might appear to outsiders. Incense and holy water come to mind.

Too true, Bill. Or how about some of "our" beliefs that we don't consider religious but that others do? Say, equality of individuals, or that strange supernatural being called "the Law" - clearly a supernatural being!!!

Marc

Tom Odom
01-31-2007, 03:10 PM
One belief that continually pops up in central Africa is invulnerability through ritualistic initiation. The first time I ran into this was in looking at the 1964 Congo Crisis and the Simba Rebellion. The Simbas believed that their witch doctors could make them invulnerable to bullets, a belief encouraged by the Congolese army's penchant for shooting in the air and discouraged by Western military advisors and mercenaries penchant for hitting their targets. The West's use of contract anti-Castro Cuban aircrew in T6s, T28s, and A26s against the Simbas also did much to disabuse the Simbas (at least those who survived the initial pass) of this notion bullets could not hurt them.

It resurfaced in the post-Rwandan genocide war in central Africa. I have read accounts of the same thinking with the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda and some suggestions the same thing happened in southern Sudan.

Tom

marct
01-31-2007, 03:22 PM
It also showed up in the Plains with the Ghost Dance and, in a much more modern context, with the Matamoros massacre (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolfo_Constanzo).

Ritually, it's a pretty simple thing to achieve, since it really only involves enough manipulation so that the person going through the ritual ends up with heightened adrenal activity (anywhere from 50 - 200%), and a symbolic disjuncture between a particular fear response and a stimulus. A non-kinetic version can be seen in fire-walking.

Marc

marct
01-31-2007, 03:41 PM
See also the new Austin Bay article on RCP.


The Battle of Najaf, 2007
By Austin Bay

Iraq's Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is a most remarkable man.

Consider these attributes: a Muslim theologian who promotes democracy, an Iraqi Shia leader who supports national reconciliation, an international Shia luminary who believes Sunnis and Shias and Christians -- and human beings in general -- have reasons to cooperate and accommodate. In a just world, he would win a Nobel Peace Prize.

British Maj. Gen. Andrew Graham said of Sistani in 2004: "The pro-democracy moderate Muslim cleric doesn't have to be found. That's Sistani. Fortunately, he is the most influential religious leader in Iraq."

Sistani's influence extends beyond Iraq, into Shia communities throughout the world, including Iran and Lebanon.

However, these inspiring attributes are the very reason the so-called "Soldiers of Heaven" militia targeted Grand Ayatollah Sistani for either kidnapping or assassination this past weekend.

More... (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/01/the_battle_of_najaf_2007.html)

Bill Meara
01-31-2007, 07:01 PM
One belief that continually pops up in central Africa is invulnerability through ritualistic initiation. The first time I ran into this was in looking at the 1964 Congo Crisis and the Simba Rebellion. The Simbas believed that their witch doctors could make them invulnerable to bullets, a belief encouraged by the Congolese army's penchant for shooting in the air and discouraged by Western military advisors and mercenaries penchant for hitting their targets. The West's use of contract anti-Castro Cuban aircrew in T6s, T28s, and A26s against the Simbas also did much to disabuse the Simbas (at least those who survived the initial pass) of this notion bullets could not hurt them.

It resurfaced in the post-Rwandan genocide war in central Africa. I have read accounts of the same thinking with the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda and some suggestions the same thing happened in southern Sudan.

Tom

O Club, Ft. Bragg, 1984, SF Course. Classmate from Africa is with us. Conversation turns to news reports of Africans putting charms on their M-16 muzzles, and beliveing that they will be protected from incoming rounds. All the Americans chuckle. The African classmate says, "Its true." We're stunned. "You mean its true that they believe this, right." Pause. "No, I mean it is true."
http://www.contracross.com

goesh
02-07-2007, 03:28 PM
We are but one small step from wearing tailsmans, feathers and paint ourselves. What comes to mind is the ritual Fred Cox, a Minn. Vikings kicker had. He had to sit in the exact same spot every game and kept a pair of sneakers by the end of the bench where he sat and kept a Snickers bar in the right shoe and would take one bite and one bite only after each kick he made. It gave him the edge he needed. He was college educated and making more money than most of us and he was held in high esteem by his teammates, fans and home town. One man's ju-ju is another's lucky rabbit's foot and by the way, there was Ghost Dancing at Wounded Knee II in 1973 and a Ghost Shirt was worn during the fire fight at the Jumping Bull compound in which 2 US Marshals went down. When I integrated into a bush village in Gambia, W. Africa during my Peace Corps stint, I was housed at a compound owned by one of the head men. He had fine orange tree and the fruit was coming ripe and he had ju-jus on the tree and nobody would touch the fruit. I remember going up to that tree to get an orange to eat and a couple of guys became quite alarmed and warned me to step back or bad things would happen. I was wearing my ju-ju that I got in the Senegal bush before moving into Gambia so I did a little ritual with tobacco smoke and some rocks with my ju-ju placed in circle of rocks, blew some smoke on the tree, grabbed an orage and ate it. Within 2 days time, all the oranges were gone from the tree and I only ate 2 of them. There are alot of funny things in the world we don't understand and can't appreciate and exploit. I highly recommend ju-jus to Spec. Ops forces. I don't care how advanced and civilized we purport to be, you can take the ju-ju off the man but you can never take the ju-ju out of the man.

Stan
02-07-2007, 03:43 PM
Hey Bill,


O Club, Ft. Bragg, 1984, SF Course. Classmate from Africa is with us. Conversation turns to news reports of Africans putting charms on their M-16 muzzles, and beliveing that they will be protected from incoming rounds. All the Americans chuckle. The African classmate says, "Its true." We're stunned. "You mean its true that they believe this, right." Pause. "No, I mean it is true."

The Zširians in the northern regions also did similar things with their M3 greaseguns. But now that I think about it, most of the weapons fired were somewhat vertical and our MTT members would find suitable shelter under garages while the test of gravity took place :eek: .

wondertk
02-07-2007, 04:39 PM
The excerpts below come from an interview with Carl G. Jung, "Diagnosing the Dictators." They may offer us a typological context to frame this discussion.

"There are two types of strong men in primitive society. One was the chief who was physically powerful, stronger than all his competitors, and the other was the medicine man who was not strong himself but was strong by reason of the power which the people projected into him. Thus we had the emperor and the head of the religious community. The emperer was the chief, physically strong through his possession of soldiers; the seer was the medicine man, possessing little or no physical power but an actual power sometimes surpassing that of the emperer, because the people agreed he possessed the magic--that is, supernatural ability. He could, for example, assist or obstruct the way to a happy life after death, put a ban upon an individual, a community or a whole nation, and by excommunications cause people great discomfort or pain."

Interestingly, Jung goes on to compare the Hitler/Medicine Man mystique to, of all people, Muhammad, Islam's final prophet, a political, spiritual and military leader. While reading that passage for the first time, I couldn't help but think of charismatic radical imams like Moqtada Al-Sadr, Osama Bin Laden, Sheikh Abdel Rahman, Sami Al-Arian, who seek first and formost to control the meaning of the religion by attacking the legitimacy of Muslim leaders and liberal clerics and also by shunning dissent within their local congregations and communities.

What, therefore, shall be our magical realist plan for psy-ops and other countermeasures to depower the mystique of a "medicine man" like Moqtada al-Sadr while empowering his adversaries?

RTK
02-07-2007, 05:06 PM
We are but one small step from wearing tailsmans, feathers and paint ourselves. What comes to mind is the ritual Fred Cox, a Minn. Vikings kicker had. He had to sit in the exact same spot every game and kept a pair of sneakers by the end of the bench where he sat and kept a Snickers bar in the right shoe and would take one bite and one bite only after each kick he made. It gave him the edge he needed. He was college educated and making more money than most of us and he was held in high esteem by his teammates, fans and home town. One man's ju-ju is another's lucky rabbit's foot and by the way, there was Ghost Dancing at Wounded Knee II in 1973 and a Ghost Shirt was worn during the fire fight at the Jumping Bull compound in which 2 US Marshals went down. When I integrated into a bush village in Gambia, W. Africa during my Peace Corps stint, I was housed at a compound owned by one of the head men. He had fine orange tree and the fruit was coming ripe and he had ju-jus on the tree and nobody would touch the fruit. I remember going up to that tree to get an orange to eat and a couple of guys became quite alarmed and warned me to step back or bad things would happen. I was wearing my ju-ju that I got in the Senegal bush before moving into Gambia so I did a little ritual with tobacco smoke and some rocks with my ju-ju placed in circle of rocks, blew some smoke on the tree, grabbed an orage and ate it. Within 2 days time, all the oranges were gone from the tree and I only ate 2 of them. There are alot of funny things in the world we don't understand and can't appreciate and exploit. I highly recommend ju-jus to Spec. Ops forces. I don't care how advanced and civilized we purport to be, you can take the ju-ju off the man but you can never take the ju-ju out of the man.

I won't go on patrol without a rosary in one pocket and my St. Michael medal on my dogtags. Superstition, no matter how odd it seems, works until proven otherwise.

marct
02-07-2007, 05:25 PM
What, therefore, shall be our magical realist plan for psy-ops and other countermeasures to depower the mystique of a "medicine man" like Moqtada al-Sadr while empowering his adversaries?

Like to ask the simple questions, Terri? Well, I've got two answers to that. First, organize the United States Magi Corps (USMC, kinda catchy ring to it, don't you think?). Best to make it under the Marines, both because they seem to be more flexible and because their acronym would then be USMC2. :D

The second answer is a more serious one but, actually, runs along the same lines. I think that there should be a seminar / workshop / think tank group that is put together to look at this seriously. I'd certainly want to be part of it, especially given my academic background :cool:.

Marc

Stan
02-07-2007, 05:31 PM
Hi Terri !

We decided, that if we can get Marc to join the Army (that would be the USA), Tom and I would split the first grand.

Now with Carl Jung hanging around yet again, I don't know if we will be so successful.

Did you happen to take the MBTI test ? And the results would be :confused:

Could we get you into say...wait for it....boots :eek:

Regards, Stan

goesh
02-07-2007, 05:39 PM
" What, therefore, shall be our magical realist plan for psy-ops and other countermeasures to depower the mystique of a "medicine man" like Moqtada al-Sadr while empowering his adversaries? " (Wondertk)

Putting the Eye of Horus/Eye of Ra on sadr's men KIA would be a good start but I think ROE prohibits doing anything with bodies other than burying them - other than that and a few other ideas that can't be discussed in this format about all that can be done is wave the Bible and pray for clear shots.....

I forgot to add in my previous post that many traditional Native Americans carried eagle feathers to Nam, feathers that were given in a ceremonial manner. I would bet a crsip $100.00 there are a few eagle feathers in Iraq and Afghanistan too.

marct
02-07-2007, 05:42 PM
Hi Stan,


We decided, that if we can get Marc to join the Army (that would be the USA), Tom and I would split the first grand.

Now with Carl Jung hanging around yet again, I don't know if we will be so successful.

Hey, I always liked Jung! Top notch magician, errr, ummm, "psychologist".


Did you happen to take the MBTI test ? And the results would be :confused:

Could we get you into say...wait for it....boots :eek:

Terri, don't take this too seriously :rolleyes:. I think Stan has a boot fetish...

Honestly, I think we could probably get a really good team together to look at "magical realism" in general and its application to the global counter-insurgency. As long as we can keep Tanya Luhrman out of it, everything would go well....

Marc

wondertk
02-07-2007, 05:48 PM
Don't know about boots on the ground, but I have a pair of pink suede high heels in my closet that could be useful for both psy-ops and non-lethal torture against the most devout among our enemies.

The Magi Corps is intriguing, Marc, but the study group is probably more feasible, and I would be happy to participate.

I know, someone had to bring Jung into this discussion. And it had to be me.

Here's another plan: create a fake insurgent group with its own fake medicine man leader and open up a garbage can into which other insurgents may jump.

That's doable, don't you think?

marct
02-07-2007, 05:48 PM
Hi Goesh,


Putting the Eye of Horus/Eye of Ra on sadr's men KIA would be a good start but I think ROE prohibits doing anything with bodies other than burying them - other than that and a few other ideas that can't be discussed in this format about all that can be done is wave the Bible and pray for clear shots.....

I'd be in favour of the eye of Horus, although the Left Eye would be more appropriate <evil grin>. In some of my darker moments, I keep thinking about Blood Eagles, but that is definitely verbotten! Still and all, there is a certain aesthetic counterpoint to beheadings.... (my mother always accused me of being a blood thirsty barbarian :D).


I forgot to add in my previous post that many traditional Native Americans carried eagle feathers to Nam, feathers that were given in a ceremonial manner. I would bet a crsip $100.00 there are a few eagle feathers in Iraq and Afghanistan too.

I'd be surprised if there weren't!

Marc

Stan
02-07-2007, 05:49 PM
Terri, don't take this too seriously . I think Stan has a boot fetish...

Honestly, I think we could probably get a really good team together to look at "magical realism" in general and its application to the global counter-insurgency. As long as we can keep Tanya Luhrman out of it, everything would go well....


All jokes aside:
There's room for a lot of these folks in a team. I had smaller 2 or 3-man teams, but we seemed to have all the elements in our favor.

I like Goesh's last; both the clear shots and the Native Americans.

wondertk
02-07-2007, 05:59 PM
I will admit to being an ENTJ on the MBTI.

On the Gregoric, I am Abstract-Random.

I am also a Libra with Aquarius rising on the cusp with Pisces. (Not really)

I also have secret fantasies about launching an all-women counter protest group who march down the street of Baghdad in red white and blue bikinis. This would be great psy-ops for disarming those militias.

marct
02-07-2007, 06:02 PM
Don't know about boots on the ground, but I have a pair of pink suede high heels in my closet that could be useful for both psy-ops and non-lethal torture against the most devout among our enemies.

<truly evil grin>Reminds me of that fiction piece you sent me a while back....


The Magi Corps is intriguing, Marc, but the study group is probably more feasible, and I would be happy to participate.

I also doubt that a Magi Corps cold get going. It's too bad, especially given the number of magical practitioners already serving in the US forces (Asatruar, Wiccans, etc.). Besides that, I think we could come up with some really spiffy uniforms :D.

I think the study group / think tank would be the way to go. Any suggestions?


Here's another plan: create a fake insurgent group with its own fake medicine man leader and open up a garbage can into which other insurgents may jump.

That's doable, don't you think?

Yup, but it's also a really dangerous thing to do - black PSYOPs as it were.

Marc

marct
02-07-2007, 06:11 PM
I will admit to being an ENTJ on the MBTI.

Hah! I thought so!


All jokes aside:
There's room for a lot of these folks in a team. I had smaller 2 or 3-man teams, but we seemed to have all the elements in our favor.

I agree, Stan. Again, all jokes aside, I'm going to see if I can et any support for setting up an administrative shell for a think tank in my department (Interdisciplinary Studies). A friend, colleague and sometimes student of mine who has been lurking here for a while (and when are you going to post Greg?), also think that it would be a good idea, so I'll be chatting with him as well.

Marc

wondertk
02-07-2007, 06:22 PM
You need a grant, which means you need to establish a non-profit group, which means you need to appoint a board and create a website.

This also means you need a logo, which shouldn't be too difficult to work out among those involed in this discussion and probably involves eagle feathers, an M-16, and some biblical imagery--maybe something eye-catching from the Book of Revelation.

As for that essay I wrote a while back, I'm still weighing on whether or not to send it here as an attachment. That piece could really come back to haunt me. The Evil Eye beads I bought in Turkey, which I now I have hanging over my office door and around the house and in my car, would not be sufficient for preventing malicious deities and their proxies from harming me.

marct
02-07-2007, 07:05 PM
Hi Terri,


You need a grant, which means you need to establish a non-profit group, which means you need to appoint a board and create a website.

Grants are nice, but non-profit status can be pulled through the university. It means setting up an Organized Research Unit (ORU) which then has the ability to get grants via the university. Boards shouldn't be too much f a problem, and the website is a snap (I do some of that for a living).


This also means you need a logo, which shouldn't be too difficult to work out among those involed in this discussion and probably involves eagle feathers, an M-16, and some biblical imagery--maybe something eye-catching from the Book of Revelation.

Aaargh! I hate Revelation :mad:! Anyway, something from Solomon would make more sense - maybe a nice protection hexagram. Personally, I'll put in a bid for crossed spirit feathers bracketing a pentagram argent, on a shield noir, surmounted by the Left Eye of Horus argent. :D


As for that essay I wrote a while back, I'm still weighing on whether or not to send it here as an attachment. That piece could really come back to haunt me. The Evil Eye beads I bought in Turkey, which I now I have hanging over my office door and around the house and in my car, would not be sufficient for preventing malicious deities and their proxies from harming me.

Oh, I suppose so, but it really is a good piece :D. If your beads don't work, let me know and I'll send you something stronger (it's amazing what we pick up in the field :eek:).

Marc

Stan
02-07-2007, 07:39 PM
Hmmm,
This gets more intriguing with each post :D


I will admit to being an ENTJ on the MBTI. I also have secret fantasies about launching an all-women counter protest group who march down the street of Baghdad in red white and blue bikinis. This would be great psy-ops for disarming those militias.

Sorry Terri, the "boots" issue came up during a soapbox thread. But, I have to admit, the bikini of Baghdad will indeed shake the psyops world. Hell it might even work. You join a distinct group of ENTJs (that would be a compliment).


I agree, Stan. Again, all jokes aside, I'm going to see if I can et any support for setting up an administrative shell for a think tank in my department (Interdisciplinary Studies). A friend, colleague and sometimes student of mine who has been lurking here for a while (and when are you going to post Greg?), also think that it would be a good idea, so I'll be chatting with him as well.

Hello Marc !
You're not talking about stuffed animals again, are you ?
Greg ? He would be ? Is this a mystery :confused:

Regards, Stan

marct
02-07-2007, 08:01 PM
Hi Stan,


You're not talking about stuffed animals again, are you ?
Greg ? He would be ? Is this a mystery :confused:


The stuffed animals have to me to deny any knowledge of their computer activities :cool:.

Greg is an friend and colleague who shares your sense of humour (God help us all!) and who has been lurking on the SWC for a couple of months. He is a also a very promising Anthro student of mine who, with the right coercion, errr "inducements" might actually get into boots (Calm down RTK, he's only 1/2 a frozen Canadian!).

Marc

ps. I'm tempted to try and get him to do his Honours Research paper with you, Stan :eek:

Stan
02-07-2007, 08:18 PM
Marc,
I now somewhat remember :D

Seriously,
I would be more than happy to assist Greg with his studies. I however would wonder what exactly you expect from all this. Anthro with Stan may not produce the required results (he is afterall only half frozen).

Let the games begin !

Stan

marct
02-07-2007, 08:23 PM
Hi Stan,


Seriously,
I would be more than happy to assist Greg with his studies. I however would wonder what exactly you expect from all this. Anthro with Stan may not produce the required results (he is afterall only half frozen).

Let the games begin !

I've emailed him to read this thread <evil grin>. Well, he may only be half frozen, but the other half is from Singapore - he's one of those "Fire and Ice" people :D.

Marc

Stan
02-07-2007, 08:28 PM
Marc,
My mother is from Singapore (and father from Switzerland) !
Cocktails anyone ?

marct
02-08-2007, 04:05 PM
I've mentioned Wiccans in a couple of posts in this thread and today I came across an interesting article.


A Witches' Brew of Religious Discrimination
By Steve Chapman

When he was alive, the U.S. government had no trouble finding a place for Patrick Stewart, never mind his unconventional beliefs. It inducted him into the Army National Guard, issued him dog tags giving his religion as "Wiccan," and deployed him to Afghanistan. He died there in 2005 when Taliban forces shot down his helicopter. It was only later that Uncle Sam had second thoughts.

Sgt. Stewart was buried in a veterans cemetery in Nevada, and his widow asked that his memorial plaque include the encircled five-pointed star of Wicca, a religion based on nature worship. But the Department of Veterans Affairs declined, because that emblem is not among the 38 religious symbols it allows.

Eventually, the state of Nevada stepped in and said it was in charge of the cemetery and would provide the plaque, which was finally dedicated in December. But back in Washington, the VA is still treating fallen Wiccan soldiers as a terrible inconvenience.

More... (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/02/a_witches_brew_of_religious_di.html)

Marc

Stan
02-08-2007, 04:25 PM
Evening Marc !


It doesn't appear his suggestion cost the military any Christian enlistees -- which suggests that soldiers and sailors of many faiths can live, work and fight together despite their religious differences. If Wiccans are good enough to die for their country, they're good enough to be treated with respect afterward.

Hmmm, I have a similar experience from the early 70's :eek:

As a Catholic (when they were doing my dog tags), the drill gave me the strangest look (contemptuous pity) and would do the same for the next 12 weeks.

His pathetic ideological views were placed well ahead of our basic principles and laws of a nation, state, or social group. I had no clue, that being Catholic was so bad.

Regards, Stan

goesh
02-08-2007, 06:46 PM
I've been thinking about Tokyo Rose lately and I'm wondering if our side has an Irene the Infidel who with her sultry voice in perfect Arabic has been taunting and ridiculing Johnny Jihadi and his small penis and impotence and inability to father children and scare the Americans? Tokyo Rose didn't exactly turn the tide in Japan's favor but she was a source of irritation on occasion and did sow a tad bit of doubt at times. I'm thinking that given the rigid paternalism and the way many muslim men put women in a second class citizen status if such propoganda couldn't from time to time cause a knee-jerk reaction amongst certain elements in the jihadist camp(s)? We ought to be able to borrow some female Mossad employee to cut some CDs of this nature and do some broadcasting. Ridicule/scorn can be a powerful influence and I would imagine any number of female Iraqis would find it very humorous as well. On the other hand, given the fact that putting women's panties on a detainee's head almost warrants a firing squad in retribution, I can hear the PC adherants crying already and wringing their hands and threateing class action human rights lawsuits. I'd cover an Abrams with loud speakers on full blast playing such a CD and idle it through sadr city and mosul. If you can't kill them at least you can provoke them.

tequila
02-08-2007, 07:16 PM
I doubt the ones who need to die are that stupid.

Your idea reminded me of this (http://www.bintjbeil.com/articles/en/011001_hedges.html), from a similar scene.


It is still. The camp waits, as if holding its breath. And then, out of the dry furnace air, a disembodied voice crackles over a loudspeaker.

"Come on, dogs," the voice booms in Arabic. "Where are all the dogs of Khan Younis? Come! Come!"

I stand up. I walk outside the hut. The invective continues to spew: "Son of a bitch!" "Son of a whore!" "Your mother's cunt!"

The boys dart in small packs up the sloping dunes to the electric fence that separates the camp from the Jewish settlement. They lob rocks toward two armored jeeps parked on top of the dune and mounted with loudspeakers. Three ambulances line the road below the dunes in anticipation of what is to come.

A percussion grenade explodes. The boys, most no more than ten or eleven years old, scatter, running clumsily across the heavy sand. They descend out of sight behind a sandbank in front of me. There are no sounds of gunfire. The soldiers shoot with silencers. The bullets from the M-16 rifles tumble end over end through the children's slight bodies. Later, in the hospital, I will see the destruction: the stomachs ripped out, the gaping holes in limbs and torsos.

Yesterday at this spot the Israelis shot eight young men, six of whom were under the age of eighteen. One was twelve. This afternoon they kill an eleven-year-old boy, Ali Murad, and seriously wound four more, three of whom are under eighteen. Children have been shot in other conflicts I have coveredódeath squads gunned them down in El Salvador and Guatemala, mothers with infants were lined up and massacred in Algeria, and Serb snipers put children in their sights and watched them crumple onto the pavement in Sarajevoóbut I have never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport.

We approach a Palestinian police post behind a sand hill. The police, in green uniforms, are making tea. They say that they have given up on trying to hold the children back.

"When we tell the boys not to go to the dunes they taunt us as collaborators," Lt. Ayman Ghanm says. "When we approach the fence with our weapons to try and clear the area the Israelis fire on us. We just sit here now and wait for the war."

goesh
02-08-2007, 07:58 PM
I suppose from an attrition stand point, what works works and the IDF reference previously cited brings to mind the US frontier adage quoted above. IDF did some broadcasting in their last dust-up and sent some CDs to hizbullah outlets, which of course weren't broadcast south of the Litani or north of it for that matter, not that they were expected to do so. Im' not convinced to the contrary that my idea would prove to be totally inaffective since our point of reference on the matter is anything but paternalistic. We we don't fully understand its cultural dynamics and the implications and potential for exploitation. Call it casting a stone in the pond of ethnocentrism.

tequila
02-08-2007, 08:08 PM
Note that the IDF was not exactly fully successful in achieving its objectives in the last fight. Also that one did not see Hizbullah or Amal fighters running out into the open upon having their manhood challenged but rather fought a semisuccessful defense of their fortified villages.

goesh
02-08-2007, 09:50 PM
Some on the fringes might act erratically, runners and lookouts and part time combatants to the point of making a mistake and being caught, or for that matter getting killed. You're spot on, Tequila, that no seasoned veteran is going to respond out of character to such provocation but it darn sure would gnaw at them and would do no harm. I really wonder what affect it would have on them knowing their women are hearing said propoganda. It couldn't be enhancing their home life any. They are hypersensative to their manhood and gender roles. I recall another Peace Corps situation in which I participated in some agricultural training that involved women, slotted for secretarial stuff of course, and towards the end of the training the participants were informed they would be issued Honda scooters. When one of the women asked if they would be getting scooters too, the majority of men became enraged and actually started yelling about it. One guy was going to teach a woman to drive a scooter and it got real tense and menacing for him and he backed off. These guys were pretty much the cream of the crop from their culture. I can't be convinced that this type of propoganda would not gnaw at jihadis, even the vets. It darn sure would give our troops a good laugh and any morale boost is good in a combat zone. It seems to me we don't have much of anything 'in the black' when it comes to psyops. I hope I'm wrong on that.

Bill Meara
02-09-2007, 06:12 AM
I realize that people are kidding around a bit in this thread, but I think this discussion illustrates one of the big problems faced by those who are tasked with doing PSYOP: Everyone out there thinks they are an expert, everyone thinks they have a great idea about what will affect the enemy. The worst thing is that these armchair/amateur PSYOPers sometimes have stars on their collars, and their "brilliant" ideas actually turn into leaflets, radio broadcasts, etc. This is often disastrous and counterproductive.

When we were training the Salvadorans, we taught them a disciplined, calculated, systematic approach to PSYOP. Start out by determining what you want the target to do. We usually wanted him to surrender or at least just go home. (We were not trying to enrage him, we didn't seek to humiliate him. We didn't talk about his momma or his prowess or his manhood. What good would that do?) Then develop themes, campaigns, and finally products that would fit into those campaigns. Ready to go, right?

Wrong. Before you pack your leaflets into the O2-B, you need to test those products on what the pollsters call "focus groups." Even when working in your own culture (as our students were) you'll often find that your beautiful, brilliant leaflet will have the opposite effect from the one you desire. If you are working outside your culture, and if you don't speak the language, you will almost certainly get it wrong.

During WWII some of the PSYOP products we launched at the Japanese were actually used by enemy commanders to motivate their troops. Some of the suggestions thrown around in this thread seem likely to become part of this PSYOP Hall of Shame.

Stan
02-09-2007, 11:25 AM
Hello Bill !


When we were training the Salvadorans, we taught them a disciplined, calculated, systematic approach to PSYOP. Start out by determining what you want the target to do.

Back in 99 together with our CA folks, we wanted to create products for mine action awareness. Something positive, but not filled with too much gore nor difficult terminology.

Nothing like this had ever been done, yet alone funded (the USG funded ours). The target population was children between the ages of 7 and 15. That target was determined by examining stats on deaths and injuries involving UXO. An intensive survey was performed and pamphlets and leaflets immediately printed.


Even when working in your own culture (as our students were) you'll often find that your beautiful, brilliant leaflet will have the opposite effect from the one you desire.

The first school house we visited would tell the tale. Little to no interest in the pamphlets, and only in the Estonian Language (the Russian kids would be segregated).

3 months later, new pamphlets, leaflets and videos in both languages were produced.

It worked and worked well.

We went from 81 explosions/detonations, 10 deaths and 26 injuries in 1995 to 11 explosions/detonations, 0 deaths and 11 injuries in 2006.

Regards, Stan

marct
02-09-2007, 01:41 PM
Hi Bill,


I realize that people are kidding around a bit in this thread, but I think this discussion illustrates one of the big problems faced by those who are tasked with doing PSYOP: Everyone out there thinks they are an expert, everyone thinks they have a great idea about what will affect the enemy.....

Before you pack your leaflets into the O2-B, you need to test those products on what the pollsters call "focus groups." Even when working in your own culture (as our students were) you'll often find that your beautiful, brilliant leaflet will have the opposite effect from the one you desire. If you are working outside your culture, and if you don't speak the language, you will almost certainly get it wrong.

In many ways, you are quite right. One of the difficulties is that the SWC is, primarily, an "idea generator" setting, not a research planning setting. As with any idea generator, you get some really wacky ideas coming out. Some times, they can be brilliant, sometimes they can be potentially disastrous, but always they are grist for the mill in building a research model.

You mentioned focus groups, and they are one component of producing a good IO/PSYOPs (or advertising) product. I was working on one project last year where we used ethnographic research, focus groups and surveys to produce an integrated understanding of the behaviour we were looking at. This produces a much more robust model of the behaviour, since you use each method to refine the succeeding on and guide your questions and interpretations.

Some type of multi-layered research is crucial when you are dealing with other cultures or specialized sub-cultures if for no other reason so that you get a decent map of their language. By that, I don't mean a transliteration but, rather, a map of the symbolic connections and accretions on those symbols. Let me give you an example of this.

A number of years ago when I was a Ph.D. student, I was asked to help an undergrad work on a survey they were trying to do studying modern neo-pagan witchcraft. Now, I had done my MA on this group ad I knew if quite well. One of the questions they had on the survey was "When did you first decide to worship the Devil?". Now, to witches, this question is both meaningless and highly insulting; the closest equivalent for Christians, in terms of a semantic reaction, would be to ask "When did you first decide to become a cannibal?". It took me about 2 weeks to get her head shifted around to the point where she could produce a question that would have any sub-cultural validity.


During WWII some of the PSYOP products we launched at the Japanese were actually used by enemy commanders to motivate their troops. Some of the suggestions thrown around in this thread seem likely to become part of this PSYOP Hall of Shame.

Sure, if they were acted upon. Again, we are looking at this as an idea generation area, and all ideas generate data. Let's look at what is proposed and see what it says both about "them" (actually "our" perceptions of "them") and about "us". Ideas that would not work on the insurgents may well have application for internal campaigns.

Back to Japan and WW II for a minute. The single most effective piece f research ever produced was, probably, Ruth Benedict's The Chrysanthemum and the Sword (http://www.amazon.com/Chrysanthemum-Sword-Ruth-Benedict/dp/0618619593/sr=1-1/qid=1171028446/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/104-0046598-2588730?ie=UTF8&s=books) which, later, became the plan for occupation. Take a look at the methodology section, and you will see what I mean by an integrated approach.

Marc

Tom Odom
02-09-2007, 01:43 PM
Wrong. Before you pack your leaflets into the O2-B, you need to test those products on what the pollsters call "focus groups." Even when working in your own culture (as our students were) you'll often find that your beautiful, brilliant leaflet will have the opposite effect from the one you desire. If you are working outside your culture, and if you don't speak the language, you will almost certainly get it wrong.

Exactly correct. I ran into this issue on demining ideas for Rwanda; the first proposals were from the Brits and a specific NGO who did mine awareness globally. They got tossed out of the Ministry of Defense and they came to see me because they had heard I had good ties with the RPA. I took one look at their products and keyed on the problem: they were cartoon like depictions of bloodily disentegrating children and women--including pregnant women. I asked them had they never heard of genocide or the Vice President/Minister of Defense MG Kagame ever speak of his countrymen as traumatized? Answer: we used this in the Balkans so it must work here.

We used PSYOP and CA to devise and train our counterparts in the Rwandan-US Demining Office. Our products were simple and to the point without gore and it worked--and still does. Sometimes however even those charged with being culturally savvy can be dense; I had that issue with 2 B-team commanders in succession. Neither lasted the exercise.

Best

Tom

goesh
02-09-2007, 01:57 PM
I like that idea of polling to get an idea of what would work in Iraq - it's sort of like the self-actualization therapy modality espoused by Carl Rogers, reflective listening. We would have to dress female pollsters in hijabs to get into the women's quarters in homes and their segregated section in the masjids in order to crunch the numbers. I like the idea of flyers with the message that tells 'em to just say NO to the jihadi that wants to use their home as a safe house and threatens to shoot the kids if they don't comply. I can envision a picture of a woman in a hijab and veil with a pack of kids behind her standing in front of the door of her house with her arm making the classic "STOP" sign with the palm of the hand, confronting a armed, male jihadi. Scene 2 of the flyer shows the jihadi slinking away with his head hanging down, shamed into inaction by a female. Even the Liberals at Berkeley would like that. One good fatwa could end a multi-million dollar flyer campaign, on-the-spot. Jihadis certainly exploit the air waves and print, but they don't control it like in a dictatorship. I would suggest that we don't really have a clue about the dynamics at play with Islamic gender roles, separation and segregation there-in, the mechanisms that define the distinctions and enforce the distinctions. We have even less of a clue as to how they perceive our perceptions of them and thirdly, we have no cultural back-drop of similiarity, no point of equal reference to develop models of exploitation. My theory is that it takes more human energy to sustain distinct and harsh gender separation than it does in cultures with blurred, enmeshed roles, hence anything that requires additional human energy to sustain said distinctions takes that energy away from other enterprises and activities. I doubt this potential has been closely addressed by the psyops community and if anything, the whole 3rd world may well be lumped into one model where-in one approach is expected to work equally well in all cultures simply because they are of the 3rd world. I further suggest that we are dealing with a 4th world, the one of magical realism and our traditional approaches are not working as well as we want them too. The amount of input in this thread bears that out and anything that can alter an enemie's pattern of violent response warrants consideration.

Stan
02-09-2007, 04:06 PM
Hi Marc !


Some type of multi-layered research is crucial when you are dealing with other cultures or specialized sub-cultures if for no other reason so that you get a decent map of their language. By that, I don't mean a transliteration but, rather, a map of the symbolic connections and accretions on those symbols. Let me give you an example of this.

As always straight to the point ! Where were you years ago ? Would have been easier, but then, we would not have learned anything :)

marct
02-09-2007, 04:24 PM
Hi Stan,


As always straight to the point ! Where were you years ago ? Would have been easier, but then, we would not have learned anything :)

Depends on how many years you want to go back :D.

Honestly, I've seen to much junk produced, and called "research", that I get a little heated about the topic. Then again, my Ph.D. committee thought I went overboard in my theoretical model (what's wrong with 220 pages of dense, complex theory going from individual neurobiology up to global macro-social change?????), so I might just be a bit biased ;).

Marc

Stan
02-09-2007, 04:45 PM
Honestly, I've seen to much junk produced, and called "research", that I get a little heated about the topic.

Marc, those are fine qualities in a person today :)
I hate the status quo. Why do we insist on believing this Bravo Sierra Bible Study, when we know good and well it's BS ?

Put somebody on the ground (there) and get it right.

Oops, forgot the ending ! 15 years back will do just fine Sir !

marct
02-09-2007, 04:55 PM
Hi Stan,


Marc, those are fine qualities in a person today :)
I hate the status quo. Why do we insist on believing this Bravo Sierra Bible Study, when we know good and well it's BS ?

Put somebody on the ground (there) and get it right.

LOLOL I keep telling my students that.. :D.


Oops, forgot the ending ! 15 years back will do just fine Sir !

15 years back? Hmm, just finishing off my MA at that time; writing up my thesis, going through the first year of my marriage, getting yelled at for suggesting that Anthropologists should work with businesses and the military :eek:.

Marc

Tom Odom
02-09-2007, 05:06 PM
Honestly, I've seen to much junk produced, and called "research", that I get a little heated about the topic.

Now, Marc, drink the Kool-aid and calm down...:D

Research is often much like intelligence analysis based on cherry picking; it stands up until someone asks the magic question, which identifies the branches between those cherries.

Tom

Stan
02-09-2007, 05:09 PM
15 years back? Hmm, just finishing off my MA at that time; writing up my thesis, going through the first year of my marriage, getting yelled at for suggesting that Anthropologists should work with businesses and the military .

You would have been perfect. (Ahem) Somewhat young and open minded. I had three marriages, and yes, got yelled at more times than I care to remember.

It would appear, that an Anthropologist indeed should work with the military.

I, for example in two short months have learned a lot (and free) :D

marct
02-09-2007, 05:25 PM
Now, Marc, drink the Kool-aid and calm down...

It's a good thing Canadian culture is based on both English and French. For example, I've noted that the Australians are producing a very palatable Merlot "Kool-aid",and it is lunch time.... :D


Research is often much like intelligence analysis based on cherry picking; it stands up until someone asks the magic question, which identifies the branches between those cherries.

You're definitely right, Tom, there are a lot of similarities. I actually got interested in Intel analysis as a way of improving my research - well, that and its historic ties into Anthropology.


You would have been perfect. (Ahem) Somewhat young and open minded. I had three marriages, and yes, got yelled at more times than I care to remember.

I like to think that I am still open minded, although my wife (he same one as 15 years ago) keeps mumbling about"holes in the head" :D.


It would appear, that an Anthropologist indeed should work with the military. I, for example in two short months have learned a lot (and free)

Yeah, yeah, yeah... She's still bugging me about that :rolleyes:. Okay, maybe I should start thinking about exams :eek:.

Marc