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From the website for "Strategic Communication Laboratories":

Homeland Security

The last 5 years have seen a flurry of Homeland Security scenarios enacted and re-enacted on the streets of our cities. What if there is a biological attack, or the detonation of multiple explosive devices? Many of these simulated scenarios are excellent planning exercises for the emergency services and security forces.

However, a major flaw has emerged in many of the scenarios - the unmanageability of civilians. They do not behave as they are supposed to. When a virus hits a city, civilians do not line up for vaccination: they run for the hills. When terrorists are looking for a target, it is the predictability of civilian behaviour that makes the terrorists' job easier. What if there was a way to control civilian behaviour when it counts?

Company literature describes SCL's niche specialties as "psychological warfare," "public diplomacy," and "influence operations."

More beyond the speed bump ....

A live "ops center" in a country SCL won't identify.

An excellent article in Slate describes a hypothetical scenario where SCL's "services" might be utilized:

 LONDON--Over the past 24 hours, seven people have checked into hospitals here with telltale symptoms. Rashes, vomiting, high temperature, and cramps: the classic signs of smallpox. Once thought wiped out, the disease is back and threatening a pandemic of epic proportions.

The government faces a dilemma: It needs people to stay home, but if the news breaks, mass panic might ensue as people flee the city, carrying the virus with them.

A shadowy media firm steps in to help orchestrate a sophisticated campaign of mass deception. Rather than alert the public to the smallpox threat, the company sets up a high-tech "ops center" to convince the public that an accident at a chemical plant threatens London. As the fictitious toxic cloud approaches the city, TV news outlets are provided graphic visuals charting the path of the invisible toxins. Londoners stay indoors, glued to the telly, convinced that even a short walk into the streets could be fatal.

This scenario may sound like a rejected plot twist from a mediocre Bond flick, but one company is dead set on making this fantasy come to life.

Strategic Communication Laboratories, a small U.K. firm specializing in "influence operations" made a very public debut this week with a glitzy exhibit occupying prime real estate at Defense Systems & Equipment International, or DSEi, the United Kingdom's largest showcase for military technology. The main attraction was a full-scale mock-up of its ops center, running simulations ranging from natural disasters to political coups.

While Londoners fret over fictitious toxins, the government works to contain the smallpox outbreak. The final result, according to SCL's calculations, is that only thousands perish, rather than the 10 million originally projected. Another success.

Of course, the idea of deluding an entire city seems, well, a bit like propaganda.

Sure, this is great, isn't it?   If civilians were lied to in order to protect them?  Well that's just an example they give us for public consumption.   And even in this case, it's pure disinformation:

The smallpox scenario plays out in excruciating detail how reporters would be tapped to receive disinformation, with TV and radio stations dedicated to around-the-clock coverage. Even the eventual disclosure is carefully scripted.

Uh, that's assuming that "the eventual disclosure" actually happened.   Hey, if it worked so well, why disclose it at all?   It's optional, after all, isn't it?   You might even safe a few bucks by having them skip the "disclosure" part.

The company's own website describes how draconian the tactics will be:

"The [ops center] can override all national radio and TV broadcasts in time of crisis," it says, alluding to work the company has done in an unspecified Asian country.

When the link to SCL's homepage was first sent my way, I really thought it might be fake.  You know, something from "The Onion" or whatever.  It's not.  It's for real.

And they're pouring a lot of money into it, even using show-business professionals to help hawk their services at a huge military trade show:

Their stand area was an impressive 2,100 sqm (60x35m), it took five days & a crew of 31 to build, with 21 to man & operate throughout the show, plus 8 SCL staff. It contained a 12 screen media feed, a 4x3m LED presenter video wall, 62 computer screens, a large 6x4m rear projected screen plus an enormous 10x4m Operations Overview Screen, which ran at a resolution higher than film 3,500 x 1050 pixels. We also centrally controlled 12 plasma screens that were arranged around the exhibition floor, which displayed movie style trailers for each of the scenarios. The stand also took two days to disassemble.

Nigel Oakes (CEO) was delighted with the final result, and quoted that the stand had been an even greater success than they'd originally expected. The stand also won the honour of "Best of Show"

Obviously they are not at leisure to disclose exactly who their clients are.   However, the Slate article mentions they've worked for South Africa and the United Nations.

Here is a partial list of their "typical" projects, from the company's own website:

Design and develop a permanent military strategic communication
facility capable of delivering strategic and operational psyop campaigns for a South Asian country.

Production of a five-tiered training programme covering strategic, operational and tactical Psyop and the design and re-equipping of a communication facility. The personnel had to be able to take over the new facility after only six months.

Design, build and install a Homeland Security Centre for an Asian country. The Opcentre can override all national radio and TV broadcasts in time of crisis.

Design, build and install a diplomatic communication centre staffed by researchers, writers and spokespersons for an International Organisation.

Design and installation of a Strategic Communication Centre to improve a country's ability to conduct Public Diplomacy.

Recruitment, training and equipping an operational and tactical Psyop and Civil Affairs military unit for a British Commonwealth country.

And check out what a typical "ops center" might include:

A fully equipped OpCentre would include a large research department (group, audience, media, source, intel) , a high-level strategic planning, scenario planning and contingency unit and a complete suite of output options that may include TV and radio studios, rumour management satellite transmission and various others depending on the exact requirement.

Rumor management!!  That's a job I want.  How much do they pay for a "rumor manager"?

And here's their "money line" -- from their homepage:

In a world where the perception is the reality, all countries need to have the capability to manage their own perceptual alignment - otherwise someone else will.

Here are a few other stories to chew on:

Experts Say WMD Threat Exaggerated

Rumsfeld's Roadmap to Propaganda

And the next time one of those bin Laden audiotapes is released, remember this story:

When Seeing and Hearing Isn't Believing

Originally posted to theyrereal on Fri Apr 28, 2006 at 03:59 PM PDT.


Are we currently under the influence of Psyops?

2%11 votes
93%378 votes
3%15 votes

| 404 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  My my my.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    theyrereal, TalkieToaster

    The world just gets more and more like V for Vendetta everyday doesn't it. If those who have seen the movie will remember London was setup just this way except the movie was set in 2025 not 2006. They had this override capability it's how V broadcast his message to the people of London and why the government couldn't do anything to stop it being seen.

    Spooky spooky times....

  •  With stories like this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    viscerality, theyrereal

    you wonder how anyone can take anything these guys say seriously.

    "Just when they think they know the answer, I change the question!" -Roddy Piper

    by McGirk SF on Fri Apr 28, 2006 at 04:04:29 PM PDT

  •  it's all been done before (0+ / 0-)

    and recently.

    you know the saying "if it seems too good to be true it probably isn't" ?

    do you believe that?

    well... there are lots of things that, as far as all of our governments are concerned, are too good to be true.

    Psy-ops is the order of the day.

  •  Shaping the message (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cognitive dissonance, theyrereal

    Funny, I wrote a diary the other day and the Lasthorseman pointed me to this site. Glad to see the issue being addressed again.

    It's all about perception and the ability to perceive.

  •  Excellent job (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    viscerality, theyrereal

    I shall go forth and find more.  
    BTW, Comcast called me tonight and asked if I would like their phone service.  So I asked them about how Comcast stood on the issue of net neutrality.  The woman who called was baffled.  Never heard of net neutrality.  So I explained it.  She said she was going to look it up!
    As to Lord said, go, go forth and spread to word!
    "Tho shall hear of wars, and rumors of wars".

  •  Ein Volk, Ein Reich..... (5+ / 0-)

    Ein Network

    Fascism is indistinguishable from any parody thereof.

    by mbkennel on Fri Apr 28, 2006 at 04:25:36 PM PDT

  •  From their website (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    viscerality, theyrereal, Lasthorseman

    Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) is the world’s first provider of strategic communication solutions that can change minds, reduce casualties and manage major incidents.

    Our History

    Formed in 1993, SCL is a successful project company with 12 years experience of managing and executing military and humanitarian strategic communication campaigns for governments worldwide.

    Its customers include NGOs, police departments, military forces, municipal authorities, and the UN.

    During this time the company has invested nearly $20 million into research at the Behavioural Dynamics Institute (BDi), the world’s leading authority on persuasion, communication psychology and public diplomacy. The powerful new methodologies developed from this research are proprietary to the company and have allowed SCL to help its clients achieve outstanding results through the use of strategic communications.

    SCL was formed as an agency that did not rely on creativity (such as advertising) for results, but on proven scientific method. The demand for the agency grew out of the failure and frustration many clients experienced when trying to apply traditional marketing techniques to non-commercial issues, such as resolution of wars and civil strife, strike aversion, international crises and riot control.

    SCL’s management board comprises: Chairman Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Pattie PC, Chief Executive Nigel Oakes, Directors - Alex Oakes and Alexander Nix, and advisory board members Rear Admiral John Tolhurst CB, Peter Varnish OBE, Dr Andrew Stewart, Lord Birdwood and Lord Ivar Mountbatten.

    Funding for SCL has been provided by a number of private high net worth individuals all based in the UK.

    A privitized business venture formed by a bunch of MI5 & MI6 operatives and spooks?

  •  So this is Where the money Goes (4+ / 0-)

    Bush PR costs taxpayers $1.6 billion.

    As J.R. Bob Dobbs said, "People will pay me to tell them what to think."

    Same shit, different asshole.

  •  observation (0+ / 0-)

    this is the first time I've seen 100% agreement in a poll with more than one choice.

    I had a teacher in high school that told us a story of an African tribe that would tell their children every few years, growing up, that everything they had learned up to that point in their life was a lie.

    Trying to read more international news sources, especially the ones that aren't in English.

    Note, this isn't just media! For example, physicians are sometimes trained to lie to their patients to protect them from harm, or not mention certain information. Other professions do this as well.

    I'd also guess that the reporters don't know that they are reporting lies, more believable story that way.

    "It's OUR money".no it ain't. It's the Peoples Republic of China's money. You just borrowed it-and anybody want to bet they probably will want it back? -daulton

    by Eric Novinson on Fri Apr 28, 2006 at 04:49:44 PM PDT

  •  The money is running out though (0+ / 0-)

    and they aren't getting value for their dollar with W being at 32%


    Assassin: Its worse than you know. Malcolm: It usually is. 宁静

    by TalkieToaster on Fri Apr 28, 2006 at 04:55:09 PM PDT

  •  the trend seems to be (0+ / 0-)
    toward the blurring of "private" and "governmental".

    You can now hire "soldiers" from Blackwater Security.  

    If you open a brokerage account at E-trade, Equifax can have your account suspended because of "Homeland Security concerns" (which is what the e-trade guy told me).  

    "The Sopranos", which is always in tune, has American Express "cops" in its latest episode investigating credit card fraud in Artie's restaurant.

    Wasn't it Mussolini who warned us that fascism was the merger of the corporate with the governmental?

    Yeah, that was it.  

    Didn't he end up hanging from a rope?

    The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer -- Henry Kissinger

    by theyrereal on Fri Apr 28, 2006 at 05:16:31 PM PDT

    •  Company site references projects in the USA (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      theyrereal, Picot verde

      Wonder what those might have been?  

      What laws, if any, limit contractor propaganda that is privately or foreign sourced?  Anything on the books to prevent the interruption or alteration of communications within the US?

      Come next January, the Democratic Congress needs to look into this and lay out some real felony penalties.

      •  the billion dollar question (0+ / 0-)
        is exactly that.

        That's the entire problem with this Neo-Fascism -- there is no governmental accountability insofar as private "contractors" taking the place of governmental roles.

        Like the Blackwater Security mercenaries in Iraq.   There, they operate under completely freedom from ANY laws whatsoever.  Not even the Geneva Convention because they're not even soldiers.  They are utterly immune.

        Scary times we're living in.

        The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer -- Henry Kissinger

        by theyrereal on Sun Apr 30, 2006 at 08:45:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  But, for psy-ops to work (0+ / 0-)

    wouldn't it take an uneducated population that placed too much of its faith in authority figures?

    -- What really makes America, America?

    by mike101 on Fri Apr 28, 2006 at 05:37:07 PM PDT

    •  faith in the "liberal media" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Novinson, eru
      I used to have it, too.  I used to think that if anybody got too out of hand, that our journalists would catch wind of it and write it up and there would be accountability.

      That's because I grew up during Watergate.

      Now things are completely different.

      We DO have a population that believes the bill of goods handed to it by the media.

      Judith Miller's reporting for tne NY Times is a perfect example.   68% of the population believing that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11 comes to mind.   Over half the country now thinking that Iran is an actual threat.

      The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer -- Henry Kissinger

      by theyrereal on Fri Apr 28, 2006 at 06:29:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm with you on this. n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  V for Vendetta (0+ / 0-)

    If anyone has not yet seen this film---GO.

    This is what the "news" in London is like all the time in this future (I wish) fantasy.

  •  an interview with a Colonel (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Col. Sam Gardiner, to be exact.   Was just going through my old bookmarks and stumbled across this.  He addresses some of the psyops used on the American people in the run-up to the Iraq invasion.

    Gardiner:  There is absolutely no question that the White House and the Pentagon participated in an effort to market the military option. The truth did not make any difference to that campaign. To call it fixing is to miss the more profound point. It was a campaign to influence. It involved creating false stories; it involved exaggerating; it involved manipulating the numbers of stories that were released; it involved a major campaign to attack those who disagreed with the military option. It included all the techniques those who ran the marketing effort had learned in political campaigns.

    Zeese: Can you give some examples of false or exaggerated stories put out by the Bush administration in the build-up to the war?

    Gardiner: In the summer of 2003, we know from the Downing Street Memo that the Administration was talking about justifying a war by arguing that Iraq was the nexus of terrorism and WMD.

    The terrorism argument was what propaganda literature would refer to as the big lie. The Administration's objective was to make enough arguments connecting Iraq to terrorism and Bin Laden that the American people would believe Iraq was behind the 9/11 attacks. They used a technique called the excluded middle. Iraq supports terrorists. The attacks were by terrorists. Iraq must been behind the 9/11 attacks.

    We the WMD story fairly well. We know the story of the uranium from Niger. We know about the aluminum tubes that were not for uranium enrichment. We know the biological labs Powell showed to the UN did not exist.

    Beyond these there are many exaggerations that have gotten very little notice. Let me mention just a few.

    A New York Times reporter was told by the Administration that Iraq was buying excess quantities of atropine to get ready for chemical warfare. It turns out the quantities were consistent with the Iraq use of the substance for routing medical purposes.

    The President told us in a speech in Ohio that Iraq had drone aircraft that could possible deliver chemical weapons into the United States. When that facility was found, the officers reported that it looked more like a school project than a serious military program.

    The Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz told the Council on Foreign Relations that Iraq had the capability to attack US computers. They did not.

    We were lead to believe a Navy pilot shot down during the first Gulf War was alive and being held in Baghdad. He was not.

    We were told on the State Department web sit that Iraq was forming units of children to fight the United States. Iraq did not do that.

    We were told the French were supplying air defense missiles to Iraq. That was not ture

    There were many more.

    The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer -- Henry Kissinger

    by theyrereal on Fri Apr 28, 2006 at 07:05:13 PM PDT

    •  and more from Gardiner (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Gardiner: We need a commission. This one would not be about intelligence. This would be focused on strategic communications. I have been able to uncover some of the manipulation that went on before and during the war, but I think I have only scratched the surface. Some is still classified or buried. For example, who within the US Government told the press that the French gave Saddam Hussein a passport so he could sneak out of Iraq? Who told the press Saddam Hussein was hiding in the Russian embassy?

      The United States needs a robust public diplomacy effort, but I believe we cannot allow government officials to insert non-truth into media that will be seen by Americans. We can't allow officials to damage democracy in the name of extending democracy.

      The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer -- Henry Kissinger

      by theyrereal on Fri Apr 28, 2006 at 07:08:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great job! Psy-ops in communications -- big, bad. (0+ / 0-)

    Scary, but well documented.

    Thank you.

    Never, never brave me, nor my fury tempt:
      Downy wings, but wroth they beat;
    Tempest even in reason's seat.

    by GreyHawk on Fri Apr 28, 2006 at 07:35:53 PM PDT

  •  So this is where that 'missing' money is going? (5+ / 0-)

    You know, that "missing" BILLIONS of Iraq war "black ops" budget? You know the $4 BILLION that Bush can't account for, or the $8 BILLION that just went missing in Iraq under the occupation government a few years ago?

    Where did it go? What did it get spent on?

  •  Now we know where Rove will go (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Once he resigns or is forced out.  This place is a great fit for him!

  •  Iraq Psyops (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I caught CNN earlier today, (around 1pm pacific time), and they had a story on "Baby Noor," a female infant from Iraq that supposedly has spinal bifida and was rescued by a sgt. and his troops.

    I might be paranoid, but the "Baby Noor" story reeks of psyops. Sure there are plenty of good people in the armed forces, but this story is too "feel good," to be real. Think for a moment, of the plausibility that in the middle of a warzone a group of American troops would go to all the trouble of securing medical treatment for an Iraqi infant in the US, it's too good to be true.  

    Another possibility is that the soldiers were genuine about their concern for "Baby Noor" and that military psy ops units seized on this good deed and saw an opportunity to air propaganda pieces to sustain and garner support of the war. This story is a great way for the Pentagon to "convince" Americans that US forces are only in Iraq to help the Iraqis, not torture and kill them. Afterall, to paraphrase what Colbert said: "Reality has a liberal bias."

    Lies, Torture and the American Way! (My Apologies to Superman)

    by Darksyde888 on Sun Apr 30, 2006 at 05:19:47 AM PDT

    •  As far as I know it's true (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Hospital staff in the ATL were discussing the case and there were a lot of streets blocked off on the day of the operation. But ultimately I agree with you that it's a puff piece - "Look! We saved an Iraqi baby!" - while probably killing at least several children in Iraq the same day.

  •  Close Encounters (0+ / 0-)

    Remember the dead cows...

    Any other examples, real or cinematic? This isn't a new ideea at all.

    "Only the dead have seen the end of war." - Plato

    by Astoria Chris on Sun Apr 30, 2006 at 08:41:26 AM PDT

  •  Hook, line and sinker (0+ / 0-)

    Suppose you want to slurp from the Homeland Security trough.  Which business plan do you choose?

    A.  Develop advanced proprietary lying behavioral technology with scientific power to fool an entire citizenry in a crisis when docile compliance will thwart terrorism and save millions of innocent lives.

    B.  Develop a sci-fi movie set with videos and blinking lights.  Deploy time-honored behavioral technology - Barnum's Law - with power precisely calibrated to open the hefty wallets of generals and secret policemen lusting for 'A'.

    These professional liars claim to be able to sucker a whole country at the push of a button.  

    You know they're good at what they do when all of the commenters seem to believe the marketing pitch and take it at face value.

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