The Cry Baby is on sabbatical ....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rand corporation tried to figure out how best to scare the hell out of ‘peasants, old people and… ignorant workers’

This sounds more like something straight out of "The Men Who Stare at Goats" .

‘What types of superstitious appeals will be best adapted to the various audiences to be propagandised? A study of local superstitions as reflected in popular folk lore might be profitable in providing answers to these questions" 

Seems the Rand Corporation kept themselves extra busy during the old Cold War days producing a report "The Exploitation of Superstitions for Purposes of Psychological Warfare" (PDF here). The paper was published for the US Air Force on 14 April 1950.

The paper outlines PSYOPS missions that made the locals nervous by exploiting their superstitions. A couple examples the report references:

• In the1920s on Afghanistan’s Northwest Frontier, the British planted loudspeakers in planes warning tribal peoples that God was angry with them for breaking the peace with India 
• During World War II the Germans projected imagery onto ‘drifting clouds’ 

The report details the use of chain letters to clog up enemy communications networks  and the use of bogus fortune-tellers and false astrological data to lower morale in civilians and their leaders.

This come from Mirage Men and you can read a lot more about this  on their site.


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