Tag Archives: children

Informers for a Day

In war-torn Saravena, a town of 30,000 in Arauca department in eastern Colombia, soldiers dressed as clowns befriend local children by offering them candy, rides on armored personnel carriers, and the use of the army’s swimming pool in return for the opportunity to pummel them with pro-army and anti-rebel propaganda. Children have become the focal point of Psychological Warfare Operations (PsyOps) being conducted by the Colombian army in this embattled town that is currently home to 40 U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers who arrived in January as part of the Bush administration’s global war on terror. Like the PsyOps used by the U.S. army as part of the Phoenix Program during the Vietnam War, these programs are not only geared to winning over the “hearts and minds” of locals, they are also being used to elicit information from the civilian population, especially children, about rebel activities in Saravena.

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