Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Jokes As PSYOP?

In my youth in Brooklyn I was pretty good at ‘ranking out’ or belittling an opponent verbally. In fact, that skill put me on the math team in high school. I didn’t solve many problems. My job was to ‘psych out’ the other team. Many people say that my skills have improved with age.

Last week I heard how the Australian Olympic sailing team worked on their British opponents by congratulating them on the win of the Silver Medal – of course the Aussies wanted the gold!

Turns out monitoring jokes is good entertainment, a source of counter-intelligence and potentially OPSEC vulnerabilities as well. The British Daily Mail of Wednesday, Sep 26th 2018 featured an article    (see: The CIA joke-book: US declassifies cache of Soviet jokes its agents compiled during the Cold War to gauge public mood in the USSR” (see:, which is a photo source).

You can find the two pages of the original, which was approved for release on 16 September 2013 at:

In PSYOP we can employ humor in a subtle way to influence the target’s behavior. The Soviet intelligence agents were checking the morale and potential vulnerability of their population to subversion by monitoring their jokes.

One sample from the article goes like this: “'An American tells a Russia that the United States is so free that he can stand outside the White House and yell "to hell with Ronald Reagan."
The Russian replies: 'That's nothing, I can stand outside the Kremlin and yell "to hell with Ronald Reagan too!"
Here’s another one: “'A Russian man reappears in Moscow after an absence of 15 years and explains he was in prison for calling Josef Stalin a fathead.
"That's a long sentence for criticizing the leader," his friend says.
"Oh, only got a year for that" he replies. "I got 14 years for revealing a state secret."
Given the state of today’s news – I felt we all needed a break!

Friday, September 7, 2018

Facebook Emerges As Major Weapons System in Libya

The NY Times article in the September 4, 2018 print version was “Libyan Fighters Wilde   Screens” (see:, which is also a photo source).
Facebook Like a Weapon”. The online version headline was: “A Face book War: Libyans Battle on the Streets and on

Facebook has become not only a bully pulpit for “boasts, taunts and chilling threats”, and a source of ‘fake news’ and hate. In addition to its role in cyber influence, Facebook is also an intelligence source wherein enemy forces provide detail information on how to locate and destroy potential targets.

Pages attributed to terrorist leaders can be found at:

While Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg defended her company’s efforts to the Senate Intelligence Committee (see for example: Facebook continued to serve as an information conduit for arms dealers (here’s what Facebook considers a firearm: and misinformation. The company’s efforts to remove content that violates its principles such as organizations or people who are involved in organized violence are noteworthy they are the 21st century equivalent of cleaning the Augean stables. (Get the book on iTunes at:

There have been many analyses of the conflicts in Libya. You can read one of them at: Libya remains a fertile ground for conflict and crime. This is yet another proof point for the power and versatility of social media.

Social Media is clearly a battlefield multiplier and ‘we’ need to insure that our cyber

influence force is the most capable in the world and that we can also apply Counter Intelligence and Counter Propaganda tools to help advance our goals and objectives.