CIA releases full Contras manual on "Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare"

CIA releases full Contras manual on “Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare”

Unexpurgated edition contains passages on “neutralizing” law enforcement, recruiting criminals for unspecific “jobs,” and deliberately creating martyrs for the cause

Written by
Edited by Michael Morisy

In response to a FOIA appeal by Emma Best, the Central Intelligence Agency has released in full a copy of “Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare,” a manual on “Armed Propaganda” techniques written for the Nicaraguan Contras during the civil war of the mid-’80s.

Initially, the Agency had responded with a copy of the version of the manual available on its declassified archives, which is slightly truncated. This version, however, appears to be a complete copy.

Of particular interest are the footnotes scattered through the manual, which both highlight and attempt to contextualize some of the manual’s more controversial passages.

Violence is caveated as “not desirable” …

the infamous paragraph on “neutralizing” targets is blamed on translation,

and two passages, on the use of criminals and the deliberate creation of martyrs, were supposedly edited or removed entirely.

Finally, in a bit of morbid irony, the manual frequently draws examples from other guerrilla movements, including the Hukbalahap in the Philippines

without bothering to mention the CIA’s pivotal role in crushing that rebellion, particularly through its use of psychological operations.

Read the full manual embedded below, or on the request page.

Image via Wikimedia Commons and is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0