It is axiomatic in the modern era that in order to conquer a country, before there are boots on the ground, there must be propaganda in the air. Citizens of the United States must be the latest enemy, as a recent article reveals the U.S. military's plan to conduct just such a media manipulation operation here at home.
Forbes' contributor Michael Peck’s article from September 17 reveals a secret plan by the arm of the Department of Defense that oversees the various Special Forces and Special Operations units of the U.S. military to “effectively give it control over every FM and AM radio station in an area.”
The Pentagon's plan was discovered when Peck came across a website where SOCOM was advertising for someone who could sell them “a radio broadcast system capable of searching for and acquiring every AM and FM radio station in a specific area and then broadcasting a message(s) in the target area on all acquired AM and FM radio station frequencies.”
The special forces commanders want equipment that is portable, but sophisticated, capable of finding radio signals and then flooding those airwaves with the Pentagon-approved messages.
Forbes reports that the Defense Department can’t wait to control the radio, demanding that any vendor who wants the contract have a product that is “fully developed, tested, and ready for use.”
Quoting an anonymous “military expert,” Peck writes that the need is “urgent” and that SOCOM wants to acquire an “advanced form of Software-Defined Radio (SDR) as a solution for their tactical and theater psyops or MISO missions.”
As of 2010, the military’s operations to communicate approved information and indicators to a defined audience in order to influence their emotions, motives, behavior, trust, and allegiance (whether the target be individuals or governments) is no longer called Psychological Operations (PSYOPS). The new, less Machiavellian, though slightly more Orwellian monicker for these activities is Military Information Support Operations (MISO).
Control of the media by any other name smells just as sinister.
Why would the Pentagon want to be able to conduct these brainwashing operations inside the United States? Consider the definition of PSYOPS given in the “Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms,” written by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2010 and amended last month:
The integrated employment of the core capabilities of electronic warfare, computer network operations, psychological operations, military deception, and operations security, in concert with specified supporting and related capabilities, to influence, disrupt, corrupt or usurp adversarial human and automated decision making while protecting our own.
What this means is that our own military is attempting to acquire technology that will allow them to carry out this broadcast coercion not in Syria or Afghanistan, but within the borders of the United States of America.
Radio stations, once under the control of the special forces, will carry “carefully tailored information — truthful or not” — not to affect the minds of some foreign foe; rather, We, the People will be pumped full of the Pentagon’s propaganda.
In his Forbes article, Peck defines the MISO mission.
“MISO units have the mission to broadcast information and messages to neutral, hostile and, in certain cases, friendly audiences,” says Bryan Karabaich, a former Special Forces colonel and a consultant to the U.S. government on information operations. “Obviously, to do that, one needs to know where on the broadcast spectrum people are listening and what is being said.”
The tools used to create this pro-establishment information pipeline are also described by Peck:
Currently, U.S. special operations forces (SOF) use a Flyaway Broadcast System (FABS), according to SOCOM spokeswoman Lt. Comm. Ligia Cohen (an example of FABS gear for natural disasters is here). However, FABS can only broadcast on a single frequency. “Historically, one got a receiver that operated on the desired spectrum and worked through the channels. An operator would note time, signal strength and perhaps content, then move on,” Karabaich notes. “If it seemed important, another operator with another set would go directly to the frequency and monitor. If there were multiple frequencies in use, one needed multiple sets. Then scanners came along and things speeded up. However, one still needed multiple sets to go back to exploit the hits. One problem was that as the scanner progressed, it wasn’t listening to other channels. Should someone come up and broadcast after the scanner passed by, it could be several seconds or longer before it came back.”
Forbes provides additional details of the potential deployment of this immense power over a significant band of the publicly owned airwaves:
An automated, software-based system that could scan and transmit over multiple frequencies would save time and manpower. But there is another benefit as well, and that is electronic warfare. If U.S. forces are transmitting messages over local radio frequencies, then local stations can’t broadcast their messages. And if this happens to every station in an area, then the target government’s ability to communicate with its people, such as exhorting them to fight the Americans, would be muzzled. “This system could be used to jam a frequency,” says Cohen. “During a conflict, an enemy radio station would not be able to broadcast their message at the same time. The FABS capability is required to meet combatant commanders’ need to shape foreign attitude and behavior in support of U.S. regional objectives, policies, interests, and theater military missions.”
There are legal limits on the domestic use of this type of media-based psychological manipulation that are given short shrift in the Forbes analysis.
Under provisions of 10 USC Section 167, a statute called “Unified combatant command for special operations forces,” and Article V of the National Security Act of 1947, the military is expressly forbidden from targeting populations within the United States for psychological operations: "Furthermore, citizens of the United States may not be targets of psychological operations no matter where they are in the world."
There are also, of course, exceptions. As set out in the U.S. Army’s Field Manual for Psychological Operations:
U.S. PSYOP forces will not target U.S. citizens at any time, in any location globally, or under any circumstances. However, commanders may use PSYOP forces to provide public information to U.S. audiences during times of disaster or crisis. The precedent for the limited use of PSYOP forces to present public information to a U.S. audience was set during the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Tactical Psychological Operations teams (TPTs) were employed to disseminate information by loudspeaker on locations of relief shelters and facilities. Information support to a noncombatant evacuation operation (NEO) by PSYOP forces to provide evacuation information to U.S. and third-country nationals would also adhere to the order.
Not surprisingly, given the nefarious ends to which this power could be used, the language of that section (and the regulations and executive orders it cites as authority) is unacceptably ambiguous and leaves large gaps through which the federal government could justify seizing control not only of the AM and FM radio bands, but of any type of electronic communication that would enable the military to “rapidly disseminate information.”
Furthermore, “times of disaster or crisis” are not nearly defined clearly enough. In an era when gun owners and Christians are described by the Department of Homeland Security as potential “homegrown terrorists,” and the attorney general threatens to send federal agents to enforce unconstitutional federal acts in states that have dared resist them, it doesn’t stretch the boundaries of reason to believe that any attempt to oppose the imposition of federal authority could be classified as a “disaster or crisis.” A crisis that justifies seizure of not only the radio, but cellphone signals and the Internet.
Once again, the government robs citizens of their God-given liberties, promising to exchange it for safety.
Companies vying to sell SOCOM the tools it needs to seize control of the AM and FM radio bands must have their bids turned in to SOCOM headquarters at McDill Air Force Base, Florida by September 20 at 8:00 a.m. EST.