Friday, February 25, 2011

'Psy-ops' team accused of targeting US senators

By David Usborne, Independent

The top United States commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, has ordered an investigation into allegations that members of a psychological-operations team – known as psy-ops – were ordered to target American Senators and other dignitaries visiting the country to help to persuade them to provide new troops and money.

Among politicians reportedly targeted by the team, whose ostensible mission is to manipulate the thought processes of the enemy, were former presidential candidate John McCain and fellow senators Al Franken, Carl Levin, Joe Lieberman and Jack Reed.

The man in charge of psy-ops, Lieutenant-Colonel Michael Holmes, told a reporter for Rolling Stone magazine that he received orders to turn his focus on visiting politicians from Lieutenant-General William Caldwell, one of the top commanders in the country. "How do we get these guys to give us more people? What do I have to plant inside their heads?" the chief of staff to Lt-Gen Caldwell purportedly asked Lt-Col Holmes.

That General Petraeus reacted so quickly reflects the potential gravity of the claim. Using psy-ops on your own side is prohibited by Pentagon policy and is likely to be seen as against US law. The article was penned by Michael Hastings, who last year wrote an article about a climate of disrespect among commanders towards President Barack Obama. That piece resulted in the firing of the then US Commander, General Stanley McChrystal. Lt-Col Holmes told the magazine that he resisted the order but was reprimanded for it. Among the allegations was a claim that his men were told to compile profiles of the politicians ahead of their arrival in the country to identify not just things such as their voting records on the war, but also their likes and dislikes and the things that aroused their passions.

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~ See also: Another Runaway General: Army Deploys Psy-Ops on U.S. Senators ~

~ Via CLG News ~

Gaddafi’s son’s PhD: the role of civil society in democracy

By Jason Walsh, News Whip

Not content with being the son of a dictator, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is also a scholar. The title of his University of London PhD thesis? You're not going to believe this…

Yes, that's right, scion of the Gaddafi empire and (now) reluctant TV star, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, was a doctoral student at the acclaimed London School of Economics, part of the University of London.

His thesis? Wait for it…

The Role Of Civil Society In The Democratisation Of Global Governance Institutions: From 'Soft Power' to Collective Decision-Making?

Good man yourself, Saif.

The thesis proposes reforming international organisations (such as the UN or the IMF) with a view to a more "formal system of collective decision-making by the three main actors in global society: governments, civil society and the business sector."

The proposed alternative system would be called "collective management." ...

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