U.S. Military to Conduct Psychological War Operation Against  Residents of
Hamilton, Ontario

16-17 June 2001

Father's Day Coalition for Peace
(905)  528-5925

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.

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