Monday, June 21, 2004


The grieving family of Paul Johnson, the US military contractor beheaded by Saudi extremists last week, was still awaiting word on the whereabouts of his body yesterday even as Saudi security forces claimed a major victory against al-Qa'ida with the killing of four of Mr Johnson's alleged abductors.
Psychological operations are part of any counter-insurgency war. Obviously one of the main aims of psychological operations is to influence the way people think. This is often done by using strong actions, strong images, strong talk with the aim of creating strong feelings. Sometimes these feelings are of terror; sometimes they are of revulsion; sometimes they are feelings of victory; sometimes they are feelings of defeat. Presented reality is not always what it seems. There are a lot of questions surrounding this Saudi operation. The only thing that is sure is that Mr. Johnson was an unfortunate victim of a particularly brutal slaying, and that the Saudi authorities are somehow presenting a victory from this.


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