Spotted this link by sole, who is working on an audiobook with the author Douglas Valentine who writes about ‘counter terror’ tactics in Afghanistan, the Philippines, Vietnam, El Salvador. Link

Origins of ‘Counter-Terror’

Government terror teams are nothing new. My father-in-law, Andy McKevitt, who is 98 years old, remembers British soldiers leaving their barracks at night, dressing as civilians, and murdering IRA leaders.

The Brits would gather the wives and children of missing IRA leaders in the barn and burn it down, shooting anyone who ran outside to escape the flames. The idea was to send a message to the community at large – support the IRA and you’re horribly dead.

All the CIA did in Vietnam was to formalize this venerable practice, and give its terror teams a cutesy name: Provincial Reconnaissance Units (PRU).

Three CIA officers were instrumental in developing the PRU in South Vietnam. The first, Edward Lansdale, managed a successful anti-communist counterinsurgency in the Philippines in the early 1950s.

His innovation was using “combat psywar” tactics to exploit the religious beliefs and superstitions of the Filipinos. In one case designed to terrorize the local people into supporting the government against the communists (Huks), Lansdale sent in a combat psywar team to plant stories among town residents that a vampire lived on the hill where the Huks were based.

In his 1972 memoir, In the Midst of War, Lansdale wrote:

“Two nights later, after giving the stories time to circulate among Huk sympathizers in the town and make their way up to the hill camp, the psywar squad set up an ambush along a trail used by the Huks.

“When a Huk patrol came along the trail, the ambushers silently snatchedthe last man of the patrol, their move unseen in the dark night. They punctured his neck with two holes, vampire fashion, held the body up by the heels, drained it of blood, and put the corpse back on the trail.

“When the Huks returned to look for the missing man and found their bloodless comrade, every member of the patrol believed that the vampire had got him and that one of them would be next if they remained on the hill. When daylight came, the whole Huk squadron moved out of the vicinity.”1

Former advertising executive Lansdale used language to construct a squeaky-clean, Boy Scout image in the U.S., behind which he masked a perverse delight in atrocity. He defined the above incident as “low humor” and “an appropriate re­sponse … to the glum and deadly practices of communists and other authoritarians.”2

Lansdale’s combat psywar operations relied on other forms of terror. In the Phil­ippines, his teams would creep into town and paint an eye (copied from the Egyptian eye that appears atop the pyramid in the Great Seal of the United States) on a wall facing the house of each suspect.

As Lansdale writes, “The mysterious presence of these ma levolent eyes the next morning had a sharply sobering effect.”3

In South Vietnam, Lansdale’s Eye of God trick would take a ghastly twist. CIA officer Pat McGarvey told Seymour Hersh that “some psychological warfare guy in Washington thought of a way to scare the hell out of villagers. When we [by which he meant counter-terror teams composed of Americans] killed a VC there, they wanted us to spread eagle the guy, put out his eye, cut a hole in the back [of his head] and put his eye in there. The idea was that fear was a good weapon.”4

As one American counter-terrorist told me, “We left our calling card nailed to the forehead of the corpses we left behind. They were playing card size with a light green skull with red eyes and red teeth dripping blood, set against a black background. We hammered them into the third eye, the pituitary gland, with our pistol butts. The third eye is the seat of consciousness for Buddhists, and this was a form of mutilation that had a powerful psychological effect.”

The purpose of terror tactics like these is to drive people into a state of infantile dependence on the authority they fear. CIA psywar spells are also meant to fracture a society into opposing factions and project their repressed homicidal impulses onto the “Other.” This is what happened after 9/11 – and is continuing today with the wild conspiracy theories of Fox News’ Glenn Beck.