Friday, 6 May 2011

Psychological Operations

Psychological Operations or PSYOP are planned operations to convey selected
information and indicators to audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of organizations, groups, and
individuals. Used in all aspects of war, it is a weapon whose effectiveness is
limited only by the ingenuity of the commander using it.
A proven winner in combat and peacetime, PSYOP is one of the oldest weapons in the arsenal of man. It is an important force protector/combat multiplier and a non-lethal weapons system.
Psychological Operations (PSYOP) or Psychological Warfare (PSYWAR) is simply
learning everything about your target enemy, their beliefs, likes, dislikes,
strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities. Once you know what motivates your
target, you are ready to begin psychological operations.
Psychological operations may be defined broadly as the planned use of
communications to influence human attitudes and behavior ... to create in target
groups behavior, emotions, and attitudes that support the attainment of national
objectives. The form of communication can be as simple as spreading information
covertly by word of mouth or through any means of multimedia.
A psychological warfare campaign is a war of the mind. Your primary weapons are sight and sound. PSYOP can be disseminated by face-to-face communication, audio
visual means (television), audio media (radio or loudspeaker), visual media
(leaflets, newspapers, books, magazines and/or posters), subliminally (high
frequency repetitive audio messages and micro-second flashes of images e.g. on
TV. or some websites). The weapon is not how its sent, but the message it
carries and how that message affects the recipient.
For instance, your country’s’ flag, when it flies in a sporting event or in a parade or when you hear our national anthem played do you feel a sense of pride?
.also when certain newspaper headlines accompanied by certain images affects the
entire mood at your workplace and its all the topic that day be it good or sad.
How does a woman’s wail in the night bring out all the neighbor’s ready to
respond to whatever the crisis the person may be going through…there is a
psychological link hardwired in the subconscious…..notice how politicians are
able to rally national support by picking on a neighboring country….
Some good uses of psychological messaging can be found hidden in nursery and early school rhymes,fables and stories which are loaded important life lessons and observations that most of us carry throughout life albeit absentmindedly.......

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

wanted to erase a painful memory?

All of us have wanted to erase a painful memory at some point.

Now scientists claim they are on the verge of a breakthrough after

finding a way to potentially delete trauma from our minds.

They have discovered a link between a protein called PKM and our

recollection of disturbing events.

Their study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, could have

profound implications for war veterans, the victims of violent

crimes and those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Lead researcher David Glanzman, from the University of California,

Los Angeles, said: 'I think we will be able to alter memories

someday to reduce the trauma from our brains.

'Not in the immediate future, but I think we will be able to go

into one's brain, identify the location of the memory of a

traumatic experience and try to dampen it down.

'We can do this in culture, and there is no essential difference

between the synapse in culture and the synapse in your brain.'

Professor Glanzman, a cellular neuroscientist, and his team

reported that they have eliminated, or at least substantially

weakened, a long-term memory in both the marine snail known as

Aplysia and neurons in a Petri dish.

The researchers said they have gained important insights into the

cell biology of long-term memory.

They discovered that the long-term memory for sensitisation in the

marine snail can be erased by inhibiting the activity of PKM, a

protein associated with memory.

The research could also help treat drug addiction, in which memory

plays an important role, and perhaps Alzheimer's disease and other

long-term memory disorders.The researchers studied PKM in the

marine snail, which has simple forms of learning and a simple

nervous system, so that they could understand in precise detail how

PKM's activity maintains a long-term memory, a process that is not

well understood.

They looked at a simple kind of memory called sensitisation. If

marine snails are attacked by a predator, the attack heightens

their sensitivity to environmental stimuli - a 'fundamental form of

learning that is necessary for survival and is very robust in the

marine snail,' Professor Glanzman said.

They succeeded in erasing a long-term memory, both in the snail

itself and in the circuit in the dish.

The researchers are the first to show that long-term memory can be

erased at a connection between just two neurons.

Monday, 2 May 2011

seven ways to spot a liar

Slips of the tongue
The mind is distracted with creating the next lie, or considering the fragility of the one just told.

Hesitation before answering
This means the person is considering any flaws in the deception about to be offered
Forced facial expressions, such as smiling too long
Done in order to convince the interviewer of their lack of worry.

Change in the rate of blinking or in the pitch of one’s voice
An uncontrollable reaction to guilt or the worry of being discovered.

Eyes that divert when the interviewer stares into them after a difficult question
Indicates worry that the investigator is going to pick up some “window to the soul” signal.

Increased hand activity, like fiddling with an object on the table in front of them
This is emotion being turned into a physical need to relieve the stress of lying. Or, as I have seen:

Sitting on their hands because they become conscious of the movement being a tell

The Diary of A Nigerian in jo'burg

In Nigeria they have a saying: “He who ventures into the land of the dead must be
ready to dance with night spirits.” It’s a phrase that seems custom-made for Hillbrow’s overcast
drug underworld.
And any valiant heart that has dared to linger along this Joburg inner-city slum’s tapered
thoroughfares after 10 pm, especially over weekends, would agree that this dance could have
intricate — and often fatal — choreographies.
As I cruise along Louis Botha Avenue into Empire Road, I wonder what the many
people do who hang out next to the closed-down Mimosa Hotel and the nearby petrol station.
Adorned in sterling bling-bling that could bring eyesight to the blind, I can’t help noticing
them. They’re mostly garbed in imported fancy blue jeans, tight-fitting silk shirts to display their
muscles and scare off smash-and-grab thugs, and heavy Caterpillar boots or sparkling white
Puma, Adidas or Nike takkies.
To round it off, they’re usually leaning against something, feet and hands crossed, eyes
scanning their environment as they speak in loud voices.
Along Jagger Street, a rifle shot away from the Mimosa Hotel, are more buildings haunted
by those night spirits. Down Banket Street, close to Louis Botha, is the Safari Hotel. Night spirits
reign supreme outside its curio doors. I continue down Twist, across Van der Merwe, passing an
endless succession of closed-down residential hotels and high-rise apartment buildings. We all
know who the area boys are around here.
Down Pretoria Street, then east into Abel, past Tudhope to the intersection with Lily;
around the corner into Soper. The pattern continues: hotels and apartment buildings that are
“closed” yet occupied, like many other buildings in the area, mostly by Nigerians.
The truth is, drug peddlers have mapped out Hillbrow. It’s theirs and they won’t be
leaving it anytime soon. Many of the buildings are owned by Nigerian drug barons and they
let them out only to pushers, pimps and prostitutes. Shutting down the buildings won’t solve
anything. Ask the city council and they’ll agree. The drug peddlers mutate.
I had met a Nigerian after Mass at the Catholic Cathedral of Christ the King, in
Doornfontein, and asked if he could connect me with a drug peddler I could spend a night with
to see how business is done.
The Nigerian goes as James, although his real name is Iyke. He owns a TV repair shop
from which he earns his keep — legit, or so he says. After arriving in South Africa in 1995 he
peddled drugs at the notorious Statesman Hotel on Joel Street, made a killing — and decided to
go straight.
Many of his compatriots hankered after straight lives too but, alas, they weren’t smart
enough to dance with spirits. Their remains now lie in some cemetery, never to see home again.
Others are stuck deep inside Diepkloof prison.
James’s contact is Emmanuel, who sells rice and stew next to the Mimosa Hotel.
Everyone’s scared of being set up, so we slate a rendezvous at Emmanuel’s place. James tells me
we’re down for Wednesday 7 pm.
Wednesday night. Emmanuel — real name Chibike — lives in a flat in the Park Lane
Hotel. He used his South African girlfriend’s ID to get the place after the hotel’s management
purged the Nigerians a few years ago, blaming them for the building’s poor hygiene. The
management also claimed that the cops had repeatedly broken down the door to look for drug
dealers — all at the expense of the hotel.
Inside his bachelor flat on the seventh floor, Chibike kills the lights and lights a candle.
He opens the drawer of a small table and pulls out a sleek 9 mm pistol. My heart starts dancing
on my tongue. I am alone; Iyke left shortly after introducing me to Chibike.
“Do you want to bicom a huzzuler, my men?” he asks, his fiery red eyes piercing mine
as he tries to decipher my motives.
“Only for one night,” I stammer, scanning the room for the nearest exit. He flings the
gun at me. “Have you fired one before — I mean at somebody?”
Before I can respond he gestures for me to hand it back. Then he begins demonstrating.
On the street, never hold the gun with two hands — only gays or women do that. Never hold
the gun with one hand, the other supporting it underneath — it shows you had some military
Because the street is so vast and unpredictable, and you might find yourself surrounded,
you should hold the gun with one hand, spraying bullets at the person who set you up, while
using the other hand to ward off other advancing attackers, all the while using your head to look
for a way to get out of the mess.
Chibike then walks up to me and feels my arms. About 2 kg of raw muscles each. My
chest, about 6 kg. My height: 1.83 m. “My men, Iyke told me you used to play soccer. Huzzuling
is like soccer. You have to out-muscle the other guys if a jonkie pulls over,” he says, adding that
with good physique you can gain area control.
After cross-examining me to make sure I’m not trying to set him up, Chibike finally
agrees to take me to the street on a Friday — month-end. We’ve spoken in Pidgin, English and
some Ibo. As I dash out of the room, he warns me once more about what happens to people who
set other people up.
I spend several hours in the gym on Thursday. Friday morning I read Chinua Achebe’s Eze
Goes to School to prepare myself mentally and to polish my knowledge of Nigerian society.
The door swings open on a chilly Friday night. Chibike is busy cutting chunks of rock
cocaine into smaller pieces (atuke in street Ibo and orgu in real Ibo). Each costs R50. The loading
Chibike lies down on his stomach on the bed. His girlfriend lines little white rocks tied in blue
plastic bags along his spine. Then she plasters them down and applies iodine to the plaster.
It’s a trick to fool the cops. They usually do not search people’s backs, so that’s where
peddlers hide “kommodity”. If they do happen to search a back, the cops get the smell of iodine.
The peddler tells them that he’s just out of hospital after a back operation. To get your hands on
a rock, simply pretend to scratch your back and peel off a batch.
Next are Chibike’s shoes. The soles come off and rocks are hidden inside the cavity. He
slips the 9 mm inside his socks and hands me a revolver.
“I hear you’re Katholic and sings Latin kantor during the 11 o’ klok Mass. I love hearing
Latin at Mass. Say some prayers in Latin — it might be our last,” he says as he tucks in an
expensive blue-black shirt and reaches for a black leather jacket.
I pant and then stammer: “Deus in adjutorium meum intende. Domine ad adjuvandum
me festina. Amen.” (“Oh God come to my assistance. Oh Lord make haste to help me. Amen.”)
We all shout “amen” and make the sign of the cross.
“Let’s make monie, my men.”
We flag down a cab in front of the Hillbrow Inn. Chibike says peddlers at the Inn cater
for the prostitutes and pimps there as well as for clients from the Summit Club. He points to
two guys leaning against a wall outside the Inn. “They’re South Africans. They huzzule ganja
As the cab waits for traffic to clear along Claim, Chibike points to a group of kids under
a tree next to the Twilight Children street shelter at the corner of Van der Merwe. He says they’re
selling mandrax.
A fact of the Hillbrow scene is that the various drug dealers all stick to one type of drug.
Cocaine is left to the Nigerians. Mandrax and ganja are sold by South Africans. Don’t try asking
the wrong dealer for the wrong drugs — especially at night.
Cocaine peddlers will tell you there are two types of junkies: clean and dirty. Corporate
types are clean junkies. The peddlers say they’re usually white or Indian. Prostitutes, pimps,
strippers and members of Hillbrow’s new black and coloured gay community are called dirty
How do they get their names? It’s simple: clean junkies don’t waste time asking for
discounts or for peddlers to sell them half of a R50 rock. They don’t attempt to swop takkies or
black-and-white TV sets or sex for drugs. They don’t even enter Hillbrow without first making
a few phone calls. In short, like the Nigerian drug peddlers would say, “Clean jonkies pai flat.”
In Hillbrow there are very few new junkies. If you were to encounter a new one, he
would most likely be accompanied by an old bird who knows the terrain and already has a
It’s a big gamble to buy or sell drugs, even for seasoned dealers and their clients. Nobody
rushes to meet a car. You wait for a car to slow down and the driver to lower his window and
signal “5” or “10” with his fingers to indicate how much cocaine he wants to buy. “Five” is a
R50 rock and “10” is two R50 rocks. Not knowing this code has cost lives.
Clean junkies are drug peddlers’ best payers — and their worst nightmares. It’s very easy
for clean junkies to set the dealers up or to orchestrate a big bust. However, it is fascinating to
see how clean junkies are approached by the dealers.
To circumvent a potential set-up, a peddler puts a R50-rock in his mouth, his index
finger on the trigger of the 9mm in his jacket and his right hand on the roof of the car as he talks
to the buyer. When the junkie passes R50 the hustler spits the drugs into the car.
The risks are always there. A peddler might trick a junkie by selling him soap wrapped
in plastic. Or a junkie might give the dealer counterfeit money and speed off with the drugs.
Quite rarely do they pull tricks on each other at the same time. If it does happen, the dealers say:
“When a crook crooks another crook, the devil smiles.”
Cops often grab peddlers by the throat to prevent them from swallowing the drugs
— but then the dealer could pull a gun. Peddlers used to put their hands and head into a car to
collect money and chat to a client, but this has often proved fatal.
Outside the petrol station on Louis Botha, Chibike introduces me to a group of hustlers.
Some are wearing balaclavas to ward off the cold. They all call me “nigga”.
As Chibike rushes to a client in a black Mercedes-Benz, a hustler called Chinedu
approaches me. “If you’re new in dis bisinezz I tink you must start tolkin with di dirty jonkie.
Some of di dirty jonkies will one day bring you a clean jonkie and if you treat dem nice, money
will start rollin in within a munth’s time.”
Chinedu says he’s from Abba in eastern Nigeria. He tells me that the thought of spending
the rest of his life behind bars is the one thing that scares drug peddlers like himself to death.
“Nigga, I tell you, do whotever is possible not to go to jail in this kountry. Our people
are pripared to pay thousands of bush [dollars] to avoid jail. If you go to jail, pay it to the cops.
After all, you can make 10 000 bush in less than a munth’s time.”
I also find out from Chinedu that drug peddlers are damned superstitious. For example,
they believe that if you kill someone, you must not allow the victim’s blood to touch any part of
your body, as the killer will inherit all the victim’s sins.
Soon Chibike comes back, takes me behind a lamppost and gives me R300 to hide inside
a special black cap he’s given me. He says Hillbrow police have become clever. “They know we
always hide money in our socks or inside our shoes. To survive in Hillbrow you have to be a step
ahead of di police all di time.”
Then he reaches for his shoes, rips open the right sole and empties its content into his
big palm. He hands me a razor blade and asks me to split the rocks in half.
“It’s after midnight,” he says. “Dirty junkies are soon coming. Strip shows in di hotels
around here start at 1 am. You have to start huzzuling them dirty junkies. Oya, let me show you
how tu do it.”
He asks me “not to listen to stories from dirty jonkies and to be aware of the cops”
— whom I’ve now learnt are called snakes (eke or aguo in street Ibo).
Selling to dirty junkies requires a different method. After slicing each R50-rock into two
R25-pieces, we hide the drugs under pebbles on a nearby pavement.
When a dirty junkie approaches, you chat amicably, collect R25 — some junkies swear
they have only R20, only to pop out another R20 after they finished “drawing” the first rock —
and point to a particular pebble. The junkie lifts the pebble and heads off with the merchandise.
This way hustlers can’t be set up.
My first client is Amanda, a Summit Club stripper. Her tousled face tells the story of
someone who’s been in and out of rehab before finally succumbing to the lethal sting of crack
cocaine. She’s nearing 40 and Chinedu tells me she used to work at Hillbrow police station.
“Where’s Tony? I’m talking to no one but Tony,” squeaks the dirty brunette. Chinedu
begins to bark, pointing at me, “Here’s Tony’s brodda. You can buy from him. Don’t we have di
same stuff like Tony?”
Cocaine peddlers are known to their clients as Mike or Tony. Chinedu says it often
happens that a junkie who’s new to the scene would walk into a crowd and ask for Tony — not
knowing that he’s staring at a whole bunch of Tonys.
“Tony treats me nice. He supplies me with a pipe free of charge. Are you Tony’s brother?”
she asks, drunk and irritable. She hands over R15. “This is all I have, but I promise you I’ll be
back with the rest. I’ll bring my friends.”
I decide to gamble without telling Chibike. Amanda staggers off into the dark. By 3 am she’s
back. For once a junkie told the truth. She has three girls with her.
“This is...”
“Nigga, Tony’s brodda,” I finish her sentence. One of the ladies pops out R100, saying
she doesn’t want to have to come again because it’s too cold. The other gives me R20 and
Amanda waves R50.
They’re back half an hour later.
By 5 am I’ve lost track of the amount of cash I have on me. It’s beginning to drag me
Chinedu and some other hustlers approach me. They’ve heard that I speak a few
languages. They’ve been looking for an agent to be stationed in Brazil (Obodo Pele in street
Chinedu says because he and the others can speak only Ibo and a bit of English, they
have difficulty controlling business from Portuguese-speaking Brazil. As a result the flow of
drugs into South Africa has been punctuated by mishaps — dealers have been set up in South
America and cartel representatives have run off with huge sums of money.
“If we had our own guy there we’d be able to start our own group and kut out di
middleman who always let us down,” says one of the hustlers. And they’re willing to pay.
They’re always on the lookout for “pipole who’re serious about bisinezz” — legal
representatives, dealers, agents to be stationed in Latin America, drug distributors, trustworthy
bankers, club owners who’ll let them sell to patrons.
But before I can be lured by their promises of big money, Chibike arrives. “It’s six . Let’s
go. Another group is coming now.”
Back at the Park Lane we count our takings. I’ve made over R1 000 while Chibike has
made about R4 500. His girlfriend, meanwhile, has prepared huge pots of rice and stew for
Chibike to sell on the pavement. A plate costs R5. This operation makes them over R2 000 a
Two plates are served. We wash them down with soft drinks. Chibike will get two
hours’ sleep; he has to be ready to sell rice and stew by 8 am. He knocks off at 3 pm, goes to the
supermarket to buy stock for the next day — and then he heads for “the blackies to change rands
to bush”.
The drug peddlers name each currency they trade in after that country’s leader. “Bush”
is their parlance for dollars; British pounds are called “Thatchers”. Countries are named after
great personalities, which is why Brazil is called “Pele”.
These names are used both to fool the cops and to determine who’s coming to set you
“Blackies” — black-market dealers — are Senegalese who change rands into other
currencies. Chibike wants me to come along.
The world of the blackies is intricate and murky, perhaps even more so than that of the
drug peddlers. That’s why their story has not yet been written. The dance of the spirits never