Cognitive warfare: war of a new generation

MOSCOW, 24 Dec 2021, RUSSTRAT Institute.

From the very moment of its existence, mankind has waged wars. Initially, they were conducted on land, then the sea, air, and space were added. Over the past few decades, this list has been supplemented by cyberspace.

Modern wars are being waged in several “spaces” at once, accompanied by support for political protests, economic coercion, and active disinformation. That is why modern wars are called “hybrid”.

Military thought is moving, and the “human sphere” has become the territory of war. NATO technologists call this “cognitive warfare”. The purpose of such a war is to harm not so much the military as the whole society. It is noteworthy that not only the population of the opposing state, but also its own population is called as an “enemy”. The potential threat is the possibility of civilians being “sleeping cells”, “fifth columns” that challenge the stability of liberal Western democracies.

Cognitive warfare technologies were tested in the Soviet Union, then it was Ukraine’s turn, and the current Russia and Kazakhstan are in the processing stage. It was also been observed in Afghanistan. But, as we already know, NATO has failed in the fight for the minds of Afghans.

The author of the technology is Francois du Cluzel, a former French officer who helped create the NATO Innovation Center (iHub) in 2013. The centre is stationed at Norfolk Base, Virginia. iHub receives funding from the Allied Transformation Command (ACT), which is one of the two strategic commands at the head of the NATO military command structure.

The essence of the technology is the systemic impact on people’s consciousness, their way of thinking.

According to the new NATO concept, the task of cognitive warfare is to “break into the personality” by using the “vulnerabilities of the human brain” for the subsequent application of “social engineering” in order to reformat a person. In short, the formation of a new personality with other values, morality and understanding of good and evil.

Despite the fact that cognitive warfare has been designated as a type of combat operations relatively recently, the means of carrying it out appeared in the 20th century. These are printed publications, feature films, literary works. Today they have all been replaced by the Internet. Within the “internet” even advertising is involved in systemic influencing. Through it, the interests of a particular person are monitored. This is followed by the purposeful influencing of his consciousness, taking into account personal inquiries and priorities.

The massive collection of data by Western intelligence agencies was confirmed by Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who disclosed information about the intelligence agencies’ surveillance program for Americans and foreign citizens via telephone and the Internet – PRISM.

The creator of Wikipedia, Larry Sanger, also spoke about the substitution of concepts. On his website, he reports that his brainchild has become something like a “thought police”,and democracy cannot exist in such an atmosphere. That is, an online encyclopaedia supposedly open to democratic discussion has turned into an opponent of democracy, and simply into an enemy of it.

The methods of cognitive warfare are massively manifested in attempts to replace traditional values with liberal ones, replacing the concepts of “nation”, “people”, “dignity”. These, in fact, military goals are promoted through the ideas of the globalists, the green movement and others.

One of the new installations they are introducing is the gradual abolition of private property in favour of leased property. This will apply not only to housing, but also cars, clothes. A ban on beef, pork, and fish is being imposed on the global society to “combat carbon emissions around the world and to preserve biological resources” and the transition to a compost surrogate for food 3D printing.

According to the idea, everything will be rented, private property will disappear, and food will be delivered directly from test tubes. But, of course, this is all for the proles – elites will continue to live in their own homes as they have been doing, as well to eat high-quality meat and fish.

Not only the military are involved in this active work. In one of the published reports, Du Cluzel called for combining neurobiology and human ecology, transforming civilian scientific knowledge into military knowledge. There was a call for large corporations to invest more money in the waging of cognitive warfare. And that’s what we see.

The next stage is digital control over each person and the replacement of nation-states with transnational bodies.

Objects of cognitive influence

It is also necessary to say which spheres of society’s life are affected. This is education and culture.

The first includes general, professional, and additional education. Already, many experts say that secondary education in Russia is in a terrible state. There are a small number of schools (mostly private) in which education is “at the level”. However, the level of teaching and the quality of education in most schools, to put it mildly, leave much to be desired.

In post-Soviet countries, the lack of adequate school history textbooks has already become the norm. Several generations of people who do not know world and national history, raised in nationalist traditions, have grown up.

A culture that includes the norms of morality, ethics, customs, traditions has long been under pressure. This can be seen by the number and images of informal youth leaders, public opinion, protest moods (again, mainly among young people), general nihilism, inability to verify information, to argue for their actions and to be responsible for them.

We can say that this is only a theory. Therefore, I will give some examples. After the end of World War II, the Emperor of Japan was to be tried for war crimes. The commander-in-chief of the allied occupation forces in Japan, Army General Douglas MacArthur, asked American specialists who know the Land of the Rising Sun well to comment on these plans. The latter prepared a report with the justification that if the Emperor is convicted by a military tribunal, the communists will win in Japan and a new war awaits the American army. As a result, the Emperor was excluded from the list of persons subject to military court.

Another example. There are many Western publications on the web explaining why the United States is pushing Russia and China into each other’s arms. According to American ethnologists, there are too many differences between the peoples of these countries, in economy, culture, history and in traditions, including the presence of territorial disputes. Consequently (according to Western ethnologists), the close rapprochement of Russians and Chinese will lead to an increase in misunderstanding of each other, as well as subsequent conflicts that will result in armed confrontation.

Cognitive warfare technologies

In the long term (from one to several decades) this is a reboot of historical self-consciousness, the system of education and upbringing, the basic meanings and goals of society. Including the rewriting of history, the destruction of traditions, ways of life, faith (religion) and basic values.

In the medium term – the implementation of influencing norms of behaviour, undermining confidence in the authorities, the split of society. Formation of the “fifth column”.

Both technologies use informational and psycho-emotional components.

The information component involves changing the content of knowledge, facts and information. That is, misinformation, substitution of concepts. The objects of influence are: news, analytical and sociological data, study programs in higher educational institutions and schools.

The psycho-emotional component uses manipulation of consciousness, moods and emotions, when the right moods, assessments, opinions about something, about someone are indirectly introduced to an individual, groups of people and society as a whole, and all this is accepted by people unconsciously, without understanding the essence.

Studies conducted by Western experts have shown the highest efficiency of mind manipulation technologies: according to laboratory tests at this stage – about 70%.

Everything suggests that a war is being waged against us, aimed at the destruction of Russian civilisation. It is conducted not only “outside the perimeter”, but also inside the country. Russia is positioned as a territorial and political aggressor, a source of cyber attacks, a violator of international norms.

Wars of a new generation

People used to kill each other with stone axes. With the development of new technologies, the methods of killing a neighbour were improved. Today, war is being waged in the information field and in the minds of people. Virtual reality wars are just around the corner. The borders between the opposing sides have been erased as such. The opponents are no longer countries, but nations, the population of the earth. New wars have appeared. Cognitive warfare is one of them.

Cognitive warfare is a war for the human mind. And here the goal is not the destruction of man. It is “reformatted”, turning into a semblance of what the aggressor wants to see.

As a component, cognitive warfare has absorbed information warfare. In the tools: misinformation, substitution of concepts, social engineering, technologies of manipulation of consciousness, emotions. It is waged 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of the time of year.

It can only be affected by the complete absence of the Internet and mobile applications. However, the latter is no longer possible. There are generations growing up on the principles of morality and worldview, norms and rules developed in closed laboratories. Our country is one of the first priority in the list of objects of influence of this new terrible type of war.

How can we resist cognitive influence

The first step is the formation of an ideology for the entire population of the Russian Federation through the creation of an appropriate regulatory framework. One that would be understandable and close to each of its inhabitants.

The second is the restoration of a fully-fledged and free education and healthcare system.

The third is the re-development of the non-black earth zone, the development of territories “beyond the Urals” (which Shoigu recently spoke about, and what the RUSSTRAT Institute wrote about). The introduction of uniform standards of quality of life, territorial structure, urban planning.

The fourth is to prevent the penetration of extraneous world views, religious traditions, including through migrants, settlers, refugees.

Institute for International Political and Economic Strategies – RUSSTRAT

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