The Register: US Special Ops operates psywar websites targeted at UK

Paul Mobbs mobbsey at
Wed Sep 16 19:59:50 BST 2009

Hash: SHA1

"It would appear that any UK media site or channel which appears to be 
functioning without any visible means of support appropriate to its expenses 
may in fact be a tentacle of US Special Ops psywar command. (Or the Iranian 
equivalent, perhaps.)"

Damn! That sounds like the FRAW website ;-)


US Spec Ops operates psywar websites targeted at UK

The Register, 16th September 2009

The secretive US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has awarded arms globocorp 
General Dynamics a $10m contract to set up a network of psychological-warfare 
"influence websites" supporting the Global War On Terror. France and Britain 
are specifically included as "targeted regions".

SOCOM is principally famous for its large contingents of elite, secret 
operatives from all four US armed services (Navy SEALs, Green Berets, Delta 
Force, Team-6/DevGru, "the Activity" etc etc). What's less well-known about 
the organisation is that it also includes the US forces' active psychological-
warfare apparatus. According 
( to the 4th Airborne 
Psychological Operations Group - the only full-time psywar unit in the US 
Army, and part of SOCOM:

    PSYOP is the dissemination of truthful information to foreign audiences in 
support of US policy... these activities are not forms of force, but are force 
multipliers that use nonviolent means in often violent environments... they 
rely on logic, fear, desire or other mental factors... The ultimate objective 
of US military psychological operations is to convince enemy, neutral, and 
friendly nations and forces to take action favorable to the United States...

    Their purpose can range from gaining support for US operations to 
preparing the battlefield for combat.

Now SOCOM's Joint Military Information Support Command, which "orchestrates a 
24/7 multi-media campaign formatted to the cultures and languages of relevant 
audiences" in "what has become a tough, entrenched war of ideas" has deployed 
what it calls the Trans-Regional Web Initiative (TRWI). Specs on the programme 
were issued last year 
R-0003_Draft_7_Oct_08.pdf) and earlier this month General Dynamics was awarded 
$10,116,177 to run the Initiative for the first year.

The Initiative contract goes into detail:

    Special Operations Command requires the capability to posture for rapid, 
on-order global dissemination of web-based influence products and tools in 
support of strategic and long-term U.S. Government goals...

    [Contractors will] develop, design, construct, operate, and maintain a 
series of synchronized influence websites supporting [Global War On Terror] 
requirements ... Government estimates a minimum of two and no more than twelve 

The SOCOM psywar sites will be run much in the same fashion as any normal web-
media portal. There will be "indigenous content stringers and editors" within 
"targeted regions" providing 24-hour "original features, news, sports, 
entertainment, economics, politics, cultural reports, business, and similar 
items of interest to targeted readers".

All the standard bread-and-butter methods will be employed:

    Government will require the use of XHTML, PHP, Java scripting, and flash 
development... Free email service for users of TRWI websites, as determined 
feasible by SOCOM, in order to integrate them as active participants of the 
site... Contractor is required to incorporate into TRWI websites the use of 
web logs (blogs), streaming Video/Audio, moderated chat rooms, downloads of 
wall papers (inclusive of calendars) when directed by SOCOM... contractor 
will, at a minimum, develop Internet-based marketing procedures such as use of 
Google AdWords and Search Engine Optimization to prioritize search result 
listing of the applicable websites.

The difference will be that rather than a normal media boss, the Initiative 
websites will be controlled by managers reporting to SOCOM based in US 
regional command HQs around the world - managers holding US Top Secret/Secure 
Compartmented Information clearances, with "extensive public diplomacy, 
journalism, and mediarelations skills". Rather than ads or venture capital, 
the cash will come from SOCOM's psyops war chest.

Then there are hints of unconventional web tactics, different from your normal 

    The Government will require the contractor to provide “ghosted” websites 
that are protected by username and password and ready to go active upon 
approval by SOCOM.

So who are the "targeted readers" who are to be steered into supporting US 
policy, in particular the War On Terror?

A hint is given by the list of required foreign target languages, which 
includes obvious ones like Arabic, Urdu, Farsi, Russian, Malay etc - but also 
French, and "English (British dialect and spelling)".

There's also a suggestion that operations similar to the Initiative may 
already be running, supporting the "24/7 multi-media campaign" spoken of last 
year http://armed- by SOCOM's 

    The Government will provide the contractor with Government Furnished 
Information (GFI) from any existing, USSOCOM-operated influence website 

It would appear that any UK media site or channel which appears to be 
functioning without any visible means of support appropriate to its expenses 
may in fact be a tentacle of US Special Ops psywar command. (Or the Iranian 
equivalent, perhaps.)

We've obviously checked with our upper management regarding the identity of 
our backers, but it seems we don't have any need to know who they are. 

- -- 

"We are not for names, nor men, nor titles of Government,
nor are we for this party nor against the other but we are
for justice and mercy and truth and peace and true freedom,
that these may be exalted in our nation, and that goodness,
righteousness, meekness, temperance, peace and unity with
God, and with one another, that these things may abound."
(Edward Burroughs, 1659 - from 'Quaker Faith and Practice')

Paul's book, "Energy Beyond Oil", is out now!
For details see

Paul Mobbs, Mobbs' Environmental Investigations
3 Grosvenor Road, Banbury OX16 5HN, England
tel./fax (+44/0)1295 261864
email - mobbsey at
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