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Imperial Slippage
Citizen Zed - 2/24/11

The Rolling Stone has published an important piece, detailing evidence that the Army has violated Federal law by directing psychological warfare against high profile U.S. politicians - and sought to leverage social networking to broaden effectiveness: Another Runaway General: Army Deploys Psy-Ops on U.S. Senators:

"The U.S. Army illegally ordered a team of soldiers specializing in 'psychological operations' to manipulate visiting American senators into providing more troops and funding for the war, Rolling Stone has learned – and when an officer tried to stop the operation, he was railroaded by military investigators."

Consider Watergate for a moment. America had been using the CIA to subvert the sovereign spheres of other nations, often working against democracy for the sake of "US Interests". But in what appears to be an ironic, inevitable slippage, the same mindset mobilized against another American political party. Watergate was the tip of an iceberg there. Here it looks like the same kind of slippage. A different scenario and, yet, one firmly within a rubric of power projection.

A Lt. Colonel Michael Holmes objected to illegal employment of US psy-ops assets against visiting U.S. Senators. The programme also involved exploiting blogging, facebook and Wikipedia as outlets for psy-ops conditioning of American public opinion. See pages 3 & 4 of Arstechnica's recent piece in the wake of the Anonymous group's humiliation of HBGary for what appears to be prima facie corroboration of this disturbing picture.

Both Holmes and a Major Laural Levine were subjected to retributory "investigations" for their lack of team spirit:

"Levine, who has a spotless record and 19 service awards after 16 years in the military, including a tour of duty in Kuwait and Iraq, fears that she has become 'the collateral damage' in the military’s effort to retaliate against Holmes. 'It will probably end my career,' she says. 'My father was an officer, and I believed officers would never act like this. I was devastated. I’ve lost my faith in the military, and I couldn’t in good conscience recommend anyone joining right now'."

This would appear to be another example of a problem recently highlighted in the Atlantic, "Why Our Best Officers Are Leaving", featuring the central claim that "the military is creating a command structure that rewards conformism and ignores merit". When we add ignoring legality, the problem appears particularly acute.

See Michael Hastings story at the Rolling Stone

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