Online Psyops and Perception Management by Anthony Forwood

Online Psyops and Perception Management in the Targeted Community

My post A Crisis in Sensemaking was in part inspired by this text. Online Psyops by Anthony Forwood is only about 30 pages long, so more of an extended essay. It’s worth reading for anyone who uses the Internet (it’s also free). There are some things which I remain skeptical about that the author posits as a psyop. But the overall diagnostics of how online psyops work is excellent.


You, and the public as a whole, are constant targets of extremely well-planned and executed psychological operations (psyops), and there are any number of these media-facilitated programs taking place at any given time

Even though this might sound like an extreme statement, the powers-that-be are intent on enacting total mind-control on the entire global population.


In psyop programs, as opposed to more traditional military warfare, ‘soft force’ methods of covert influence are used rather than ‘hard force’ methods of direct overt attacks. Therefore, psyop programs target a person, group, or population on a psychological level, rather than on a physical level. This means that Psyop Specialists resort to various methods to manipulate a target’s perceptions in such a way that the target’s opinions and beliefs change as a result. If the attackers can alter a target’s perception of supposed facts and information, they can shape or influence the beliefs and motivations that result from those perceptions, and through that, they can control the target.

These tactics have proven so effective with foreign audiences that they are being employed more and more frequently on home ground, to manage the perceptions of their own citizens. We see this most dramatically in staged events like the Oklahoma City bombing, the Columbine massacre, the 9/11 tragedy, etc., which were all high-profile psyop programs that were enacted to influence an exaggerated perception of escalating terrorism in our world and particularly at home. The ultimate goal of these orchestrated events has been to influence the targeted population to give ever more power to those within their own government who secretly enact these operations, while thinking that doing so will protect them against the perceived enemy.

You need to recognize that your perceptions of your situation as a target are always being carefully managed through ‘soft force’ methods in order to keep you off balance by presenting you with information that is inaccurate enough to effectively limit or misdirect your perception of reality, while at the same time limiting your access to accurate information as much as possible.


The first step in any psyop program involves data collection and analysis. This includes collecting information on the intended target – whether a person, group, community, or entire population – and assessing such things as their knowledge, opinions, beliefs, motivations, habits, routines, emotional and intellectual strengths and weaknesses, information sources, interests, capabilities, dependencies, uncertainties, etc. The more information about a target that can be gathered, the higher the situational awareness of the attacker, which will give them greater ability to create the most effective plan of attack on the individual or group.

After enough data has been collected, a person or group’s actions can be predicted with a very high degree of precision. With the ease of computer automation, data collection and analysis can be conducted in real-time, and prescribed responses can be decided and initiated instantaneously or precisely timed for the greatest effect.


One of the main aspects of information warfare is the need to minimize the amount of useful or accurate information to which a target has access. As a targeted individual, your attackers will therefore want to minimize the amount of useful and accurate information you have access to that might enable you to understand the true nature of your attacks so you can defend yourself or fight back. This might involve limiting your sources through ‘denial of service’, by which you are denied access to certain sources (particularly online) through apparent communication breakdowns, but more commonly (in order not to raise suspicions) it is just as easily affected through ‘information overload’, where you are provided access to an overwhelming amount of information, where much of what seems useful is actually false or misleading, while the majority of it is useless in that it is irrelevant and/or overly repetitive


The ultimate goal in information warfare and perception management is to degrade the opponent’s perception of reality by way of inaccurate information, so manipulating perceptions through the continual denial or distortion of accurate information is employed rigorously.

it is also achieved through the heavy dissemination of inaccurate information where it will most likely be picked up by the targeted person or group it is intended for.


The growing degradation of accurate perceptions leads to the incapacitation of the target to properly understand their situation so that they become less and less capable of defending or protecting themselves against their attackers.

… this degradation can be increased until the target is completely incapacitated and their perceptions are totally misaligned with the reality of their situation. They become intellectually isolated more and more and incapable of properly dealing with their situation or making sound judgments. This forces them to seek out sources that might better provide the information they need, and in the online community, this will lead them into groups with common needs and interests. However, these groups are also susceptible to being targeted, and might even be set up for the purpose of drawing these targeted individuals in and identifying them, thereby gaining further control over them.

LC: Shoot out the same information from apparently separate sources of information by creating many different organisations with different names and logos but all controlled by one entity (i.e. different news sites or scientific journals etc).

The old adages of ‘strength in numbers’ and ‘say it long enough and loud enough and eventually it will be believed’ both apply here

When the information comes from multiple sources and repeated over a long period of time, no matter the reliability of the sources, the effect is just as good.


Youtube videos and podcasts are two such outlets that are being used to great effect to capture target audiences and disseminate carefully crafted information that is designed to manage audience perceptions.


It’s human nature to fall into the routine of always going to the same places for information and entertainment, and of following the same interests over a long period of time. Worse, it’s human nature to fall into the habit of avoiding what we aren’t familiar with.


if you hear about something for the first time, what you hear will tend to be already accepted when you hear later versions, and the first version will influence how you interpret those later versions.

LC: This massive bias is maybe why top secret projects are made movies of. Movies will almost always be the first version of something the public hears about. I.e first response to “aliens” – oh that’s make-belief movie stuff!

… the purpose of psyop programs is to induce or reinforce thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors favorable to the originator’s objectives,


Through their repetitive use in specific contexts, they can be used to mold and influence the thoughts and beliefs of a target audience. Over time, they can become part of a larger lexicon used within that group.

Certain words and phrases can be introduced in specific contexts so as to give them specific meanings – usually with the effect of limiting or distorting their original and more accurate definition.

These specially created words and phrases distort the meaning of any information an audience receives once that audience has been conditioned to think in terms of them.

For example, when most people hear the term ‘UFO’, they automatically think of it in terms of extraterrestrial craft, and rarely consider the proper, more general meaning of ‘unidentified flying object’

LC: case in point, when I asked [a friend] about political correctness his answer seemed to suggest that he defined that phrase as “being nice”. Rather than seeing its very self-explanatory meaning “politically” & “correct”. I.e. to say what is correct politically and not go beyond what the current political power wants, to tow the party line.


An image can be made to convey a specific meaning when it’s repeatedly presented in a specific context until such a point that it takes on that context. When it reaches this point, it has become a symbol.

… the tendency to believe a complete stranger is always much higher if what they state closely matches to what we already believe.

A Psyop Specialist and his team can generate a large number of posts in these forums to make a targeted individual feel that they are among like-minded people who believe similarly

LC: classic case in point of bitcoin subreddits and forums.

LC: where online strangers opinions can influence: The Student Room, uni forums, Facebook groups, Facebook pages / reviews, Google Maps reviews, YouTube comments, comments on any articles (plus the articles themselves), your real-life FB friends (for the latter because even if you don’t read online strangers’ comments, it’s likely some of your friends do).


… one that you need to be especially careful about is the use of personal experiences to legitimize perceptions.

Another thing to watch for is information that’s almost entirely supported by established fact (such as the known laws of physics), but then goes a step further and introduces material that’s beyond anyone’s ability to verify, or doesn’t actually match the facts when we look more closely.

Alarmist content/excessive intensity Using extremes, ignoring grey areas Using rhetoric or opinion as filler material Drawing unwarranted conclusions
Using false analogies

These words and images will be consistently repeated again and again over time so that the target audience will begin to think in terms of a certain version of reality and accept that version as true.

A psyop program will take advantage of the most popular errant beliefs and misconceptions that have already been established among a target audience, as well as through the use of skillfully crafted and well placed pieces of information that will help to give these beliefs the appearance of legitimacy.

The sophisticated data collection and analysis systems available to a Psyop Specialist are able to reveal far more about a target than the target will even know about themselves.


Psychological Assessment System (PAS)

The information derived from these comparisons define categories that include such things as what a person’s greatest fears are, what motivates them, if they’re good role- players, if they’re easy to hypnotize, if they’ll be loyal or if they might pose a threat, if they have sexual or criminal deviancies or if they are morally rigid, if they can be influenced to act a certain way and how it can be influenced, etc.


In terms of a psyop program, this makes online groups ideal places for leading targeted individuals into extreme positions regarding their beliefs, serving to coalesce them into an even tighter group. Groupthink causes the group to shut out any alternative ideas or opinions, making it ever harder to bring any of the participants back around to a more realistic perception of their situation and experiences. In extreme cases, and with the right direction, such polarization can easily lead the group into forming into a full-blown cult

Unfortunately for their followers, but ideally for a Psyop Specialist, these high-profile leaders remain almost completely out of reach of their audience and it’s therefore hard to ever question them directly about the information they present. They rely on their credentials, popularity, and ability to continually spew out a never-ending flow of material that keeps their target audience captivated.

LC: so a personality like Alex Jones spews out continuous flow of content that attracts particular people. He keeps spewing out these views and the people get more and more isolated as they keep looking to Alex Jones for solace. Then these groups are targeted by Psyops Specialists to entrap them even further in certain views.

Among this audience were many targets of other secret government programs that stemmed from MKULTRA who thought they had had UFO/ET experiences, and the perception of reality that they were being led to believe worked as a cover for these secret government mind-control programs.

Outsiders who don’t know the lexicon are far less able to criticize the logic that the group uses as a foundation for its beliefs.

The only person you really have left to trust is yourself. Therefore, it’s very important that you know how to do that and not be fooled by your own mistakes in judgment

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