Wikileaks, has recently released the sensitive but unclassified US Special Forces counterinsurgency manual FM 31-20-3, which outlines tactics to be used in the suppression of rebellions and guerilla movements worldwide. Official Special Forces policy, the document promotes pervasive surveillance, censorship, warrantless searches, imprisonment without charges, hiding human rights violations from the media, and particularly psychological operations (PsyOps) to facilitate population and resource control.
But it was the recent death in Afghanistan of UK’s Corporal Sarah Bryant, a member of the Psychological Operations Group, a tri-service PsyOps support service to the British Armed Forces, which really brought PsyOps to the news foreground. The key role of PsyOps is Target Audience Analysis (TAA), similar to US military’s human terrain system, or for that matter, market research. It is the systematic study of people’s attitudes to map the military psychological environment, identifying weaknesses, and using them to base lines of persuasion. The key to its success is ‘maneuverism’, that is, striking suddenly and unpredictably at weak spots, instead of trying to overwhelm by sheer force. Armies recruit human scientists (a mixture of psychologist, sociologist, anthropologist, economist) for their PsyOps branches. The US Army is forbidden from carrying out such operations within the country, but the FBI and police seem to be excluded from this ban, as PsyOps tactics were used in the 1993 Waco Siege.
US Special Forces counterinsurgency manual FM 31-20-3, Wikileaks.org
‘I love her now and always’ - husband’s tribute to Sarah Bryant, first female soldier killed in Afghanistan,TimesOnline.Co.Uk
15 (UK) Psychological Operations Group Annual Report 2007/08, PsyWar.org