The KSeeker

In Search of Knowledge…

Psychological Warfare

Posted by Girish Krishnan on July 30, 2006

Found a good example of psychological warfare in one last weeks’ news items – It could be a similar phone call that sends chills of fear through the spines of an entire society!

This one was to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip: “Hi, my name is Danny. I’m an officer in Israeli military intelligence. In one hour we will blow up your house”. The guy who got the phone call took it seriously and got all the people in his building out of it. An hour later, the building was blown up by three Israeli missiles!

Similar messages were received by the Lebanese also. There were even leaflets showered from helicopters which called on people to act against the so called terrorist group in their country and pass information in exchange of their safety. So what is psychological warfare exactly used for – As i understand it is basically used to destroy the morale of the enemies or societies in which they live and win over them. It can be used to achieve several objectives.

One of the major targets of this kind of warfare are the enemy leaders. It could be a very effective strategy to cause damages to the so called “enemy brain” – esp if this can lead to the troop members’ losing faith or them even starting to hate their leader. A direct example of such an initiative was the one against Yasser Arafat where there was continuous campaigning to brand Arafat as a corrupt authority surrounded by a gang of thieves! The campaign actually proved to be successful in painting “corrupt” on Arafat among the Israeli and international circuits.

Some societies may have strict norms and their collective unity in obeying those norms is itself an indication of their strength in their belief. Psychological warfare is used to break these feelings thats nurture patriotism and strengthen idiology. To site an example, the CIA has earlier been accused of operating “Muslim Porn” sites as part of a campaign of psychological warfare against the Islamic world.

This kind of warfare can also be used to drive up internal strength. The hatred against Arafat has been pretty strong among Israelis and this gives the government the right to do what they want to (with the automatic support from the masses/international bodies).

In 2005, there were reports that the Israeli army was setting up a special psychological warfare unit (PWU) whose main role is to “disseminate disinformation” and “carefully manipulated information” about Iran and other countries in the Middle East deemed to be “hostile”. According to Israeli sources, this unit which was disbanded years ago, is staffed with mostly Arabic speaking intelligence officers including Shin Beth operatives(Israel’s domestic Intelligence service)


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