Friday, July 27, 2007

Your tax dollars at work: The First Earth Battalion

"The First Earth Battalion was the name proposed by Jim Channon, an American soldier who had seen service in Vietnam, for his idea of a new US military to be organised along New Age lines. Such a battalion was never formed.

According to the book The Men Who Stare at Goats (ISBN 0-330-37548-2) by journalist Jon Ronson, Channon spent time in the seventies with many of the people credited with starting the New Age movement and subsequently wrote an operations manual for a First Earth Battalion. Rather than using bullets and munitions, Channon envisaged that this new force would attempt to conquer the hearts and minds of the enemy using positive vibrations, carrying lambs symbolic of peace and employing unconventional but non-lethal weapons to subdue others.

The "official" First Earth Battalion T-shirt design

Lethal force was to be a last resort. Members would practise meditation, use yogic cat stretches and primal screams to attain battle-readiness, and use shiatsu as battlefield first aid.

Some ideas proposed in the writings of Channon later found their way into military procedures for psychological warfare. Ronson specifically cites the First Earth Battalion manual's proposal to use music to effect "psychic mind-change" as one. ([1]) However, the American military has adopted loud sound as a psychological weapon, not to win hearts and minds. For example at Waco, Texas, the the repeating the techniques used four years earlier in an attempt to drive Manuel Noriega from his sanctuary, an earsplitting cacophony of noise was played at the compound 24/7, that included the sound of rabbits being slaughtered, chanting Tibetan monks, roaring jet engines, and the Nancy Sinatra hit, "These Boots Were Made For Walking."
Created in 1979 with the purpose of creating "Warrior Monks," soldiers capable of walking through walls, becoming invisible, reading minds and even killing a goat simply by staring at it. Some of the characters involved seem well-meaning enough, such as the hapless General Stubblebine, who is "confounded by his continual failure to walk through his wall." But the Battalion's bizarre ideas inspired some alarming torture techniques being used in the present-day War on Terror. One technique involves subjecting prisoners to 24 hours of Barney the Purple Dinosaur's song, "I Love You," and another makes use of the Predator, a small, toy-like object designed by military martial arts master Pete Brusso that can inflict a large amount of pain in many different ways ("You can take eyeballs right out... with this bit,")"

....This is a true story

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