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Thread: US General Accused of Using "Psyop" on Americans in AFG

  1. #21
    Council Member 82redleg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve the Planner View Post
    Ron:
    It is hard to believe, however, that in the scope and role of DoD budgeting, it is the job of a field implementer to directly pursue, sell, manipulate the appropriators. The reported conduct is quite a bit beyond showing your efforts in the best light, or even "puffing" them.

    The problem of lack of resources is a matter to be brought by a field implementer to his higher-ups.
    If that is your issue, then your issue should be with the Senators making the war tourist visits to Afghanistan, not with the command for hosting them. The Senators choose to make the trips, they aren't forced. Once they are there, you have to deal with them.

    I've read other places that LTC Holmes wasn't even a PSYOP officer (37A) but an Info Operations officer (30A), which are two very different things. If that's true, either RS did a hatchet job, or he misinformed them. Either way (whether he was a 37A or not) he was not assigned as a PSYOP officer, but as the IO. I think that he didn't want to do his job, and was more interested in (1) fooling around with his girlfriend and (2) getting things set for his company start up to do his job, and running to RS was his response to being called on his failure to do his job.

  2. #22
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    Gulliver over at Ink Spots wrote what I think is the best take on this I've read so far.
    Last edited by Entropy; 02-25-2011 at 02:18 PM. Reason: fixed link
    Supporting "time-limited, scope limited military actions" for 20 years.

  3. #23
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
    Gulliver over at Ink Spots wrote what I think is the best take on this I've read so far.
    Entropy, is there a better link? The one you posted dosen't seem to work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Entropy, is there a better link? The one you posted dosen't seem to work.
    Sorry slap, I hosed the link, try it now.
    Supporting "time-limited, scope limited military actions" for 20 years.

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    Council Member BayonetBrant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 82redleg View Post
    I've read other places that LTC Holmes wasn't even a PSYOP officer (37A) but an Info Operations officer (30A), which are two very different things. If that's true, either RS did a hatchet job, or he misinformed them. Either way (whether he was a 37A or not) he was not assigned as a PSYOP officer, but as the IO.
    I would chalk this up to a difference between journalism (which frequently uses synonyms to make the prose more elegant) and military doctrinal terminology (in which synonyms are verboten as each term is expected to have a distinct meaning). I've had to deal with enough journalists who don't get that the military doesn't deal in synonyms, and enough LTs/junior CPTs who didn't quite get it, either.

    Now, it also makes for sloppy journalism to not recognize the difference between the terms as the subject of your article understands them and uses them. But this isn't one I'd chalk up to maliciousness, but rather to incompetence. Unless someone knows Hastings well enough to confirm a contrary opinion...?
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    Council Member Brett Patron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BayonetBrant View Post
    Now, it also makes for sloppy journalism to not recognize the difference between the terms as the subject of your article understands them and uses them. But this isn't one I'd chalk up to maliciousness, but rather to incompetence. Unless someone knows Hastings well enough to confirm a contrary opinion...?
    The media is confusing various aspects of the military? Really? This is news?

    Most of those cats don't know the difference between a squad and a batallion. We expect them to understand the difference between an "IO" guy and a "Psyop" guy? Hell, I wonder if IO and Psyop guys know the difference!

    Having said that, why do we use the word "journalism" with salicious tales like this? We elevate the weak on the backs of the few who actually still (at least try) to practice the craft.

  7. #27
    Registered User Big.Palook's Avatar
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    As a MISO professional, who believes in the possibilities of influence (if done correctly and legally), I am cowering a bit in the preparation of of a potential Tsunami of finger pointing and allegations that will in fact weaken the Army.

    I will be watching from the sidelines with caution.
    Think the tsunami will come when they begin looking at what doctrine LTG Caldwell used. As noted, he has a joint command and should have been guided by JP 3-13 and it's supporting pubs. But as the CAC Commander, LTG Caldwell was very heavily involved in the 2008 version of FM 3-0 which articulated how the Army conducts information operations through the Army information tasks. The words are correct, but in the figures it appears the Army blurred the lines between informing and influencing by binning PSYOP with PA.

    Lines have been further blurred by FM 3-0 Change 1 which hit the streets this week. Replaces the information tasks with Inform and Influence Activities and Cyber/Electromagnetic activities. As with the 2008 version, believe the words are correct, but the figure blurs the lines between inform and influence by having MISO (formerly PSYOPS) spanning both lines of effort.

    If this quote from the second to the last paragraph is true, my bet would be he was operating IAW the 2008 version of FM 3-0.

    Effective immediately," the memo read, "the engagement in information operations by personnel assigned to the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan and Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan is strictly prohibited." From now on, the memo added, the "information operation cell" would be referred to as the "Information Engagement cell." The IE’s mission? "This cell will engage in activities for the sole purpose of informing and educating U.S., Afghan and international audiences…."
    This will all be under a microscope shortly and the FM 3-0 change may be very short lived. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
    "I haven't failed...I just found 10,000 ways that don't work."

  8. #28
    Council Member 82redleg's Avatar
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    "Holmes was not trained in psychological operations per se. According to U.S. military officials he never graduated from psy ops training at Fort Bragg, though he was in "information operations" which can include a psychological component."

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011...ators/#content

    He was not a PSYOP officer. If he claimed he was (when he talked to Rolling Stone) and its not the reporter misunderstanding, then LTC Holmes is a liar, and deserves to be punished for that (Conduct Unbecoming). This whole deal just makes my Army and my officer corps look bad, and that is a bad thing. One bad apple, and all that.

    Gulliver's commentary (linked above by Entropy) is cogent. I disagree on the point that GOs should not influence politicians, however. At the 3* and 4* level, GOs are either strategic leaders (operating in the strategic domain- for example, the CJCS, CSA, CSAF, CNO, and their primary staffs) or operational leaders, who have to link strategic decisions and objectives with military/tactical ways and means. This is the level LTG Caldwell is operating at. An example of this is GEN Luck telling President Carter that war with North Korea would cost a billion dollars and a million lives, informing the political/strategic decision of how to respond to NK nuclear activities in the 90s (see pg 43 of this book http://books.google.com/books?id=xww...0korea&f=false). This is the same thing LTG Caldwell is "accused" of doing.
    Last edited by 82redleg; 02-25-2011 at 11:24 PM.

  9. #29
    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Post This was all unfortunately predictable

    albeit somewhat painful due to the very fact that once DOD started to actively become more effective in the information environment there was always a guarantee that the "real" influence peddlers would be upset by its ability to hold its own in conversations with its leaders.

    That does not however equate to the same thing as abuse of "influence" capabilities.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve the Planner View Post
    Ron:

    I am fine with accurately reporting conditions, when asked, during a VIP visit.

    It is hard to believe, however, that in the scope and role of DoD budgeting, it is the job of a field implementer to directly pursue, sell, manipulate the appropriators. The reported conduct is quite a bit beyond showing your efforts in the best light, or even "puffing" them.
    While stating it that way basically sets the stage for anyone to reasonably agree with you , Is that really what we're talking about here, or is it more explicitly the current accusations which seem to have been crafted to give one exactly those impressions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve the Planner View Post
    The problem of lack of resources is a matter to be brought by a field implementer to his higher-ups.

    Otherwise, everybody is a Matthew Hoh and/or every program/project manager would be out hunting his own private earmarks from a handful of senators. The system cannot function effectively like that.
    Are the finances the Higher ups responsibility, hmmm yes I guess I can buy that- of course there is the fact that that Higher up has to be getting their heads up from somewhere

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve the Planner View Post
    Forget about the military thing for a minute.
    Ill try, no guarantees though

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve the Planner View Post
    There is a very specific relationship between Legislators and Administration that is being under appreciated here.

    What if the same conduct was undertaken by an FBI Intel Unit? Let's use our wiretap and research tools to see how many senators we can influence to support our program.

    Isn't it supposed to be Hoover's role to manage and apply the "blackmail" files, and not every spook group in the joint?
    I'll grant you all that but raise you an open source, common sense approach-
    Take all the hearings over the last 10 years on CSPAN/PentagonChannel/Newspaper OPed's from all those administrators, bills passed, Think tanks Rep's produced, lessons learned rep's from past, etc

    Who needs wire taps to do what any joe with a computer, tv, and a library card can come up with.

    Long and short I agree with most of your concerns, might even have experienced some of those things in my own life, but in the end unless you see and know that Real assets were/are being pointed where they shouldn't be, or manipulation in the true sense(not merely well prepared urging) Then just like me your probably fighting more of a sense of injustice rather than a real one.

    Just seems to me we owe those who we give impossible missions to at least the respect to withhold judgments of their moral clarity to a higher standard then RS or some pissed off ex-employee
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    Default Rolling lame

    I suspect Rolling Stone has a bad case of Assange-envy going on. They seem hell bent on whatever smears they can create or mine. I'm biased I'll admit though.

  11. #31
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    Default If this is a case of PSYOP

    on American Congressional Leadership, MisoMan asks the following questions:

    1). What was the actual task presented to the Information Operation Field Support Team?

    2.). Where is the target audience analysis to ascertain what behavior was exhibited, and what was the desired behavior to achieve?

    3). Why is LTC Holmes the sole voice in this story? What does MAJ Levie and the other two mystery members of this team have to say - with regards to the illegal IO Campaign?

    4.). What is the parent unit (71st Theater Operation Group) position and interpretation with regards to the employment of the FST? After all, they are the subject matter experts in IO.

    5). Finally, why now? Why wasn't the complaint filed through NTM-A, ISAF, and CENTCOM? Why not follow correct procedure and even address the investigation as potential retribution within military channels?

    Too many questions and scenarios to suggest that this sensational story was a ploy to address a subsurface agenda.

    That is all.

  12. #32
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    Default Romney Redux ?

    This situation reminds me of George Romney's "brainwashing" snafu, George Romney presidential campaign, 1968 - Wiki (emphasis added):

    The "brainwashing" reference had been an offhand, unplanned remark that came at the end of a long, behind-schedule day of campaigning. By September 7 it had found its way into prominence at The New York Times. Eight other governors who had been on the same 1965 trip as Romney said no such activity had taken place, with one of them, Philip H. Hoff of Vermont, saying Romney's remarks were "outrageous, kind of stinking ... Either he's a most naïve man or he lacks judgment." The connotations of brainwashing, following the experiences of American prisoners of war (highlighted by the 1962 film The Manchurian Candidate), made Romney's comments devastating, especially as it reinforced the negative image of Romney's abilities that had already developed. The topic of brainwashing quickly became newspaper editorial and television talk show fodder, with Romney bearing the brunt of the topical humor. Senator Eugene McCarthy, running against Johnson for the Democratic nomination, said that in Romney's case, "a light rinse would have been sufficient." Republican Congressman Robert T. Stafford of Vermont sounded a common concern: "If you're running for the presidency, you are supposed to have too much on the ball to be brainwashed." After the remark was aired, Romney's poll ratings quickly nosedived, going from 11 percent behind Nixon to 26 percent behind.
    So, one of the factual issues today is whether a thorough brain scrubbing or a light rinse was given out.

    Jack Goldsmith writes at Lawfare, Psy-ops Against Congress - Count Me as Skeptical (emphasis added):

    First, Congress exercises a lot of control through appropriations over military operations, especially COIN operations that require throwing around a lot of U.S. dollars. It is commonplace for soldiers in the field to try to present an attractive picture on the ground for visiting congressional delegations in order to persuade them to continue or increase funding for missions. It is also commonplace to frame the pitch to address the interests, pet projects and peeves, inclinations, concerns, and the like, of visiting officials. Doing so requires research.

    Second, as far as I can tell, the factual charges against General Caldwell come from a single source, Colonel Michael Holmes, the leader of one of Caldwell’s information operations units. Hastings states that Caldwell and his subordinates asked Holmes to “conduct an IO campaign against” visiting officials. But the facts offered in support of this supposed operation are thin. Holmes was (by his account) ordered to research and provide background assessments on the visitors, and prep the General for his meetings. When Holmes complained about the order, it was clarified to specify that he should “only use publicly available records to create profiles of U.S. visitors.” Holmes colors this seemingly innocent tasking in dark shades. He says that Caldwell sought a “deeper analysis of pressure points we could use to leverage the delegation for more funds” and claims that Caldwell asked: “How do we get these guys to give us more people? What do I have to plant inside their heads?” The “plant inside their heads” phrase conjures up an image of Caldwell asking Hastings to help him play psychological tricks on the visiting congressmen. But at bottom the story says only that Holmes was asked to do backgrounders on visiting dignitaries and to advise General Caldwell about how to brief the dignitaries in a persuasive way.

    Third, as the Washington Post notes, Hastings’ article “did not cite evidence of false or misleading information being provided to the senators and other visitors.” Nor does Hastings provide much support for his claim that Caldwell acted illegally. Holmes apparently believed that what he was asked to do violated the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948. I believe this law, as amended, prevents the State Department, not DOD, from directing foreign propaganda at domestic audiences. (Hastings says as much.) But I also believe that there are laws, presidential directives, and military regulations that prohibit DOD from using true psychological operations against members of Congress. (Hastings mentions, but does not cite or quote, prohibitions in Defense Authorizations.) Whatever the law might say, Hastings’ only support for the assertion that Caldwell acted illegally comes from Holmes himself, who is apparently not a lawyer. Hastings also cites an email from a JAG to Holmes, which stated: “Using IO to influence our own folks is a bad idea . . . and contrary to IO policy.” The JAG did not state that what Holmes claimed Caldwell asked him to do was illegal.

    Fourth, Hastings throws out so many unsupported and unfair zingers against Caldwell that it makes me question the credibility of the entire story. There are too many to list, but one of the most egregious (already noted by Andrew Exum) is when Hastings says that Caldwell “seemed more eager to advance his own career than to defeat the Taliban.” The evidence for this charge is Holmes’ claim that Caldwell “seemed far more focused on the Americans and the funding stream than he was on the Afghans.” But this unsupported assertion, even if true, does not mean that Caldwell cared more about his career than about the Afghanistan mission. The reality is that keeping Congress informed and on board is a vital element both of American democracy and success in Afghanistan.

    Fifth, Hastings notes that Holmes was subsequently subject to an AR 15-6 investigation for “going off base in civilian clothes without permission, improperly using his position to start a private business, consuming alcohol, using Facebook too much, and having an ‘inappropriate’ relationship with one of his subordinates.” Hastings makes the investigation seem like retaliation. But on the evidence presented, it is also possible that Holmes’ feeding of the story to Hastings was retaliation for the 15-6 investigation. The Hastings story does not provide enough information to permit us to decide.
    Jack's five general points need to be resolved - or the contested factual positions laid out - before anyone can analyze whether what went on was "legal" or "illegal" (which does not necessarily equate to "terminal dumbness"). Like Jack, I'm not an SME in this legal area.

    Regards

    Mike

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    Default Wash Post opinion piece calls it...

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...030304229.html
    By: Carl Levin, a Democrat from Michigan, is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Jack Reed, a Democrat from Rhode Island, is a member of the panel.

    They start off calling it "now discredited". Man I'd say... You folks tore this thing up with good information & good arguments right off. No weaseling around about it either.

    This thing didn't pass the smell test for me right off because of some of the characteristics that the guy had, that the journalist had, & because of similarities to this kind of behavior I'm more familiar with in different circumstances. Piled onto that was my own experiences & observations about dealing with people in the military. It just didn't match up with what I've seen. Besides that a more rational context for what was being requested seemed to be a lot more in keeping with what happened. Occam's razor & and all that. However this isn't a job I knew details about, so I wanted to see what people who actually knew about this sort of thing had to say. At this point, I feel rather safe in saying that it was very educational for me overall to do that. That's the case a lot with topics on the site for me. I know sometimes it might seem like some of the debates beat dead animals, but if you're like me and need to learn a whole lot of stuff you didn't know, it's very useful stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    .....I'd be willing to bet it's pretty accurate and this item:rings true to me because I've heard too many Colonels and a random General or two say the same thing or close to it.
    May very well be true.. but from the article:

    Holmes believed that using his team to target American civilians violated the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, which was passed by Congress to prevent the State Department from using Soviet-style propaganda techniques on U.S. citizens. But when Holmes brought his concerns to Col. Gregory Breazile, the spokesperson for the Afghan training mission run by Caldwell, the discussion ended in a screaming match. "It’s not illegal if I say it isn’t!"
    It's not illegal under Smith-Mundt, not because a COL or General says so... but rather, because it ISN'T illegal under the Smith-Mundt act!
    A PSYOP'er (MISO....er?) would know that.

  15. #35
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anonamatic View Post
    I suspect Rolling Stone has a bad case of Assange-envy going on. They seem hell bent on whatever smears they can create or mine. I'm biased I'll admit though.
    They only appear to be unnormal because investigative journalism has dwindled away in the U.S. and because the people aren't used to it any more.

  16. #36
    Council Member 82redleg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    They only appear to be unnormal because investigative journalism has dwindled away in the U.S. and because the people aren't used to it any more.
    If the load of bull$hit that RS published in the LTC Holmes story passes as "investigative journalism" to you, then I'm sorry.

    The idiot author obviously didn't investigate anything, there were so many half-truths, misconstructions and misconceptions in that article, it hurt to read it. Critiques of the article have been posted- I'm not going through them again. I'm just arguing with your characterization of the article as "investigative". It read more like a semi-retarded junior high student puked back up whatever crap LTC Holmes fed him, after spinning it in the worst possible way.

  17. #37
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Heh, I think you just made his point...

    I doubt Fuchs thinks that's a paragon of investigative journalism. Doubt anyone does. I sure don't -- but I do agree with
    Fuchs that the genre is virtually non-existent in the US today -- what now passes is for it amounts, like the subject article, to a supermarket tabloid sort of expose.

    Thus you get the Assange's etc. out looking for some muck to rake. We started out with sensationalist news media, finally got real in the 1940s and 50s but it's been back down the hill pretty much since. It's really pathetic...

  18. #38
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    My take is that Rolling Stone at least attempts to do some investigative journalism. I don't like this to be termed 'Assange envy'.

    I recently read how some newspaper praised itself for exposing that presidential wannabe despite his denials. It took them months and apparently a huge amount of work hours. This kind of effort has become rare in a media landscape that hires pundits for partisan brawling, sends its reporters into war zones as embeds (cuz it's so cheap), uses viewer-made videoclips fished out of Youtube or even directly asked fro in shows (CNN) and and and...


    Regrettably, the German media landscape hasn't much investigative journalism either, but at least we have a bit less of the other superficial stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    We started out with sensationalist news media, finally got real in the 1940s and 50s but it's been back down the hill pretty much since. It's really pathetic...
    40's? Really? Weren't three years of that decade soaked in wartime propaganda?
    50's? Really? Weren't three or four years of them soaked in McCarthy's media whoring?
    Last edited by Fuchs; 03-13-2011 at 08:39 PM.

  19. #39
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Nah, not that bad...

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    40's? Really? Weren't three years of that decade soaked in wartime propaganda?
    Well, 3/10=30%. that means the vast majority were at least somewhat journalistic (which is not the same thing as totally accurate...).
    50's? Really? Weren't three or four years of them soaked in McCarthy's media whoring?
    Nah, less than one and a half -- that's only 10-15%, thus >85% was reasonably sensible most of the time...

    In the 60s things started downhill, fairly slowly, continued to decline slightly in the 70s and 80, took an abrupt downturn in the 90s as the entertainment industry bought all the TV news guys -- who in turned adversely influenced the print media.

    Maybe, hopefully, it's cyclical; and they'll have an epiphany.

  20. #40
    Council Member Pete's Avatar
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    Investigative journalism is a double-edged sword and at times can be downright pernicious. After Watergate a generation of reporters thought they too could be superstars if they played their cards right and found some dramatic and shocking story. Most news is boring and shouldn't be jazzed up to make it seem to be more dramatic than it really is. The other night I reread stuff about the Janet Cooke affair at the Washington Post in 1980; she was an attractive African-American woman reporter in her 20s hired by the Post who fabricated a story about an 8-year-old heroin addict in Washington DC. When she was awarded a Pulitzer Prize the Toledo Blade contacted the Post and said there were falsehoods in the canned biography of her that the Pulitzer people were publishing. After that Bob Woodward and another Post editor confronted her and after questioning she admitted that her news story and the educational credentials she claimed to have were fakes.

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