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Monday, May 30, 2011

Pakistan Under Psychological Attack

"Psy warfare is not just media blasting but the extensive media hype after an action that demoralises the nation." Raja Mujtaba

By Hamid Waheed
The reality considered an absolute value has becomes dynamic with the uni-polar world moving towards information operations (IO) and information warfare. The psychological (Psy) operations as part of information operations (IO) launched against Pakistan now focus on creating confusion and demoralisation amongst Pakistanis and increase the wedge between the leadership, security apparatus and general population. In aftermath of Raymond, Osama and Naval base incidents of April-May the covert ground operations are being conducted through help of terrorist organisations who move hand in hand and terrorise the hearts and mind of target population through building and harnessing perceptions. The ideal covert operation are always carried out by a state through non-state actors. The amount of involvement of other state is measured through intended objectives of such operations. Covert ground actions supported by media and intelligence mostly compliment IO under such environment .

The naval base attack of Karachi is seen as part of psy war launched against Pak. The concept of psy warfare has been discussed in my article “Challenges for Pakistan” published in a News paper and “Pakistan: Fighting Perceptions” on a website. In this form of warfare IO are the main operations and covert guerrilla and intelligence operation supplement the achievement of IO objectives to break the will of target population. The Pak Army trained in conventional warfare takes this incident as a terrorist attack launched by Talibans. The Naval Chief calls it an attack on Navy by extremists. I find many experts and analysts comment that such attacks where the attacker is on suicide mission are almost impossible to be averted but no one is questioning the intended and achieved objectives. The clear objectives were to reduce defence capabilities of Pakistan, hit economically and most important psychologically demoralize the target population. Under such environment we must look for the enemy who would benefit the most. If we follow the post incident reports, the initial figure of 10-15 terrorists reported in media were reduced to 6, four dead and two found successful in escape. Dead space in between two installed security cameras was decleared the entrance and exit points of the attackers . The interior minister indicated Taliban terming them as Zaliman involved in the attack. The FIR registered in the police station shows twelve attackers, four killed and eight managed to escape. Naval Chief’s statement ‘No security Lapse’ which he never said was given widest projection. All this speaks of unprepared confused minds creating more confusion in target population and intentionally or unintentionally supporting enemy psy warfare.
Understanding a problem is the first major step to its solution. Did Osama die of a conventional raid or part of Information Operation? Mohammad Bashir lives a stone’s throw away from the purported Bin Laden compound that was raided on May 1. In an astounding interview with Pakistani news channel Samaa TV, Bashir describes how he watched men land in the helicopter and enter the compound. However, in contrast to the official story, Bashir then claims the helicopter exploded and killed the men as they were re-entering the chopper to leave. Bashir said that the men who landed in the helicopter spoke Pashto, an Iranian language spoken in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
According to a translation of the comments that was posted on the Veterans Today website, Bashir told the interviewer, “There was a blast in the first helicopter and it was on fire, we immediately came out, when we reached there, the helicopter was burning, then after about 20 minutes the army and police arrived, they pushed us back, now we are asking that if Osama was here then who took him to America because all those men that came in the helicopter died in the blast, now if Osama was in that helicopter he must have died and got burnt in that helicopter too, then how they took him?”
“We saw the helicopter burning, we saw the dead bodies, then everything was removed and now there is nothing,” said Bashir.
Top US government insider Dr. Steve R. Pieczenik, told The Alex Jones Show in first week of May 2011 that Osama Bin Laden died in 2001 and that he was prepared to testify in front of a grand jury .Pieczenik cannot be dismissed as a “conspiracy theorist”. He served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under three different administrations, Nixon, Ford and Carter, while also working under Reagan and Bush senior, and still works as a consultant for the Department of Defense. A former US Navy Captain, Pieczenik achieved two prestigious Harry C. Solomon Awards at the Harvard Medical School as he simultaneously completed a PhD at MIT.
There are many such happenings which exemplifies the importance of understanding the new game. The most noticeable impact of this warfare is seen on the target segment of population. In this case the target is generally Pakistanis and specifically the security elements. In the present environment effects of morale boosting statements by the leadership has been compromised. The mid and lower level decision makers in target population want to know the steps which will be taken on occurrence of such incidents in future. Raymond Davis, Osama and Navy base incidents need to be seen from psychological point of view. What additional measure has been placed, what additional instructions have been passed to avoid reoccurrence and enhance confidence of the Nation and the security apparatus. The strategy of secrets steps in conventional warfare may be a strong battle loosing factor in IO. It is equally important to handle a incident psychologically to defeat the enemy’s psy objectives. Perceptions play an important role and can only be fought with pre planning and forecasting events.
A sincere, confident and trustworthy leader ship having close connect with the Nation will prove much powerful than the atomic deterrence .We need to rely more on own public support for which leadership has to decrease the existing class differences and encourage simplicity. The trust deficit with public can only be reduced by sharing truth. The actions only will bridge as words have lost their credibility. These trying times demand that leaders must come out and take steps in the interest of Pakistan and have trust in the nation. Our institutions are time tested , they have always proved their worth in natural as well as other calamities. The nation must identify the enemy and their moles within to defeat the enemy Psy attack.

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