Military to Conduct Psychological War Operation Against Residents of
16-17 June 2001
Day Coalition for Peace
On June 16-17, Fathers Day Weekend, the U.S.
Military will be conducting a sustained psychological warfare operation (PSYOP)
against the residents of Hamilton as well as all those attending the
Hamilton International War Show at Mount Hope Airport. These operations
will also be conducted under the guise of similar "air" shows across
Canada and the U.S. this summer.
Members of the Fathers Day Coalition for Peace, which will be staging two days of a Festival of Life at the war show entrance, as well as nonviolent direct actions to protest the war show, are concerned that the Canadian government is allowing a foreign military power to use its own citizens as the target of this warfare operation.
According to Psychological Operations, an Air Force Doctrine Document dated August 27, 1999, "PSYOP are an integral part of today's aerospace strategy...Air Force PSYOP forces support US national and military objectives through planned operations to convey information to target audiences. PSYOP provide a low-cost, high-impact method to deter adversaries and obtain the support of friendly or neutral target audiences," according to Timothy Kinnan, Major General, USAF.
Although they may not realize it, major Hamilton media outlets who are sponsors of the war show are part of this psychological warfare operation. The doctrine advises that the military "use transmission medium or media which are reliable and readily accessible by target audiences. US forces must ensure message media are tailored for the local populace. Media can range from leaflets, to posters, to radio, television, and digital broadcasts. Planners should ensure transmission media can reach and be understood by the target audience."
Indeed, the Hamilton Spectator, CHCH TV, and radio stations such as CHML (all media sponsors) have almost universally condemned protests at the war show, and unquestioningly praised the annual event.
"Air" shows fall under psychological warfare operations in a category called "Military Operations Other Than War," and are useful because they "support the elements of US national policy objectives, national security strategy, and national military strategy; modify the behaviour of selected target audiences toward US and multinational capabilities; gain and sustain foreign popular belief in, and support for, US and multinational goals and objectives; increase foreign popular support for US and multinational military operations; diminish the legitimacy and credibility of the adversary political system," according to the US Air Force doctrine.
At a time when the world's major military powers are incessantly searching for new reasons to come up with newer and more sophisticated killing machines, the role of air shows is a key component of psyop targetted at North American audiences. By building support for these planes as an inevitable means of solving world conflicts, war shows can perform a vital role, as the related document entitled Public Affairs Operations notes, to "support the warfighter [and] gain and maintain public support for military operations, and communicate US resolve in a manner that provides global influence and deterrence.
"Commanders should consider community relations activities as a fundamental part of building public support for military operations. Public affairs operations bring together Air Force people and the civilian community through events such as air shows that feature the US Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron (the Thunderbirds), open houses, anniversary activities, civic leader tours, support for local community activities, and recruiting efforts. Effective community relations create mutual acceptance, respect, appreciation and cooperation between the Air Force and civilian community."
Indeed, even what may seem innocuous-the presence of an air force band-is nonetheless part of a larger strategy, as bands "capitalize on music's emotional appeal to promote morale, encourage recruitment, and build public support for the armed forces." Hence, it is no accident that popular rock music plays when the warplanes take to the skies at air show-it's all part of the package that portrays war as glamorous, adventurous, and sexy.
During the trial of the Hamilton war show resisters last May, former War Show Chair Wayne Thompson admitted in court that the war show "has no interest in showing the ugly side of war," a statement well in keeping with the psyop conducted by the air force, which advises that "commanders should consider the possible advantage of releasing selected information." Thus, while we learn about the potential power of a B-52 bomber in Hamilton, we will not learn that it has been used to murder millions around the globe.
Protesters point out the ultimate purpose of the Hamilton War Show-as well as the thousands of similar shows across the world and their historic precedents in the USSR (massive May Day parades of military might) and Nazi Germany (the Nuremberg rallies) is outlined in the statement from the US Air Force which points out, "Public affairs operations support a strong national defense, in effect preparing the nation for war, by building public trust and understanding for the military's contribution to national security and its budgetary requirements. These operations make taxpayers aware of the value of spending defense dollars on readiness, advanced weapons, training, personnel, and the associated costs of maintaining a premier aerospace force. With public and congressional backing, military leaders are able to effectively recruit, equip, and train airmen to perform the full spectrum of military operations."
In a world that continues to spend over $800 billion annually on weaponry while social service needs which could be met for a fraction of the cost are ignored, the role of the war show is to convince us that we are on the right path when we increase military budgets, dress up our children as soldiers, and continue to study war as a natural and inevitable part of life.