Psychological Operations and the Verbiage of War

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Rachel Koresh with Cyrus and Star Koresh.  In the words of the PsyOps technicians, Rachel's two children living in her home under her care were "hostages."  Photo published in Newsweek, May 3, 1993, pg. 22.

Modern warfare uses public relations (now called "psychological operations" or "PsyOps") as a tool in the pacification of an occupied territory.  Thus it was during Operation Trojan Horse.  Integrated in the military plan was a public relations strategy designed to neutralize national opposition to the military action about to unfold.

The strategy called for the language of war and law enforcement to be collapsed, and then reversed.  The language of war was ascribed to civilian activity, and the language of civilian law enforcement ascribed to military activity.

Redefinition of Words

Thus, the simply made plywood home of the Branch Davidians was redefined as a "fortress," "compound," or a "fortified compound;" a fourth-floor residential tower became a "watchtower" or "lookout tower;" tornado shelters became "bunkers;" and shooting back in self defense became an "ambush," etc.  (See Newsweek, May 3, 1993.)

(The redefinition of words became so bad that Encyclopedia.com writes: "…the FBI had fired flammable tear gas into the Davidians' prairie bunker, sometimes known as Mount Carmel."  Cached)

The children of the Branch Davidian were no longer their children.  The Branch Davidian children became "hostages" of their parents.  The so-called "news media" obediently parroted this verbiage in every mention.

Meanwhile, the US soldiers who strafed a building full of mothers and children with machine guns one Sunday morning were called "law enforcement officers" engaged in the execution of a "search warrant" (extended usage of term "law officer" also seen in Dallas Morning News, March 2, 1993).  The black helicopters, surely belonging to the Special Operations covert 160th Task Force, were described as "National Guard" helicopters, even though, when used in federal service, the "National Guard" operates on federal (Pentagon) command lines.  Even states' rights issues were used to divert attention from the military nature of the attack.

The military occupation of the US, achieved through the redefinition of words at Waco, can no longer be doubted.  Witness the armored personnel carriers deployed to Jordan, Montana during the Freeman siege in June, 1996.  The war vehicles have been painted over with the letters "FBI" (The Washington Times, June 1, 1996).  It seems as though someone forgot to take the masking tape from the hasty stenciling of the letters — it is visible in the photograph.

Everybody's Satan: How Political Opposition Was Neutralized

Every one of us has areas of strong beliefs or strong dislikes which move us to action or make us turn our faces away.  For most, there is a class of activity that is abhorrent.  In the language of the propagandist, these areas are called "buttons."  Propagandists associate the buttons with persons or subjects or images — we have all seen the macho Marlboro man riding his stallion: "Smoke Marlboros, and you, too, will be manly," is the message.

This marketing technology was used to neutralize political opposition to the annihilation of the Branch Davidians.  David Koresh was marketed as everybody's Satan.  To the atheist, he was presented as the religious fanatic; for law-and-order types, he was presented as the killer of four law enforcement officers.  And to the fundamentalist, demonization was effected by juxtaposing two allegations anathema to their ears: Koresh claimed to be Jesus Christ, and he kept a harem of other men's wives.  Koresh was also variously presented as a gun nut, a New Age adherent, and involved in the drug trade.  Finally, the coup de grace: David Koresh was a child molester. Was there anyone in the US not offended by this picture?

Of course the Branch Davidians had been cut off from all contact with the outside world during the siege and they could not respond to any of the charges.  The news services conducted no critical investigation of the charges made by the government or disaffected Branch Davidians — they just repeated the allegations as fact.  The media became full partners with US government officials in creating an orgy of hatred and contempt.  See, for example, the Dallas Morning News, April 10, 1993, which describes a press conference at which reporters and FBI staff roared with laughter as each tried to outdo the other in ridiculing the Branch Davidians.

After the government/media hate campaign, the public was so taken up with derision that the words "due process" and "tolerance" was not even whispered by civil libertarians, civil rights leaders, or churchmen.  As a result, the US was able to torture, gas, shoot, and burn to death 80 peaceful men, women, and children on daytime TV, to the virtual roar of public approval.

Rachel Koresh and her two babies were among them.

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