Psychological Warfare & The Majestic Documents:
Little Evidence of Deception
By Ryan S. Wood
The possibility, however remote, needs to be considered that the professional hands of psychological warfare and propaganda experts are or were involved with the Majestic documents and the Special Operations Manual. Be it modern day covert planning and leaking or old psychological warfare documents that have leaked out of the garage into mailboxes and via personal meetings; this paper seeks to examine these theories and other relevant probabilities along with expert testimony as they relate to psychological warfare and propaganda operations. Let’s begin with a couple of modern definitions of psychological warfare and psychological operations both from the Joint Chief’s of Staff Publication 1, 1987.
- PSYWAR: The planned use of propaganda and other psyche logical actions having the primary purpose of influencing the opinions, emotions, attitudes and behavior of hostile foreign groups in such a way as to support achievement of national objectives.
- PSYOP: Planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning and ultimately the behavior of foreign government, organizations, groups, and individuals. The purpose of psychological operations is to induce or reinforce foreign attitudes and behavior favorable to the originator’s objectives.
Most experienced corporate citizens will recognize the above basic principles of marketing, “spin” and salesmanship. What is different is the focus on national objectives and foreign audiences. The reader should feel comfortable that these are not exotic, exclusive, expert-only skills: it is really just standard marketing practices, except the stakes may be higher and the tools to deliver the message may be forged documents delivered by covert means.
If you give a man the correct information for seven years, he may believe the incorrect information on the first day of the eighth year when it is necessary, from your point of view, that he should do so. Your first job is to build credibility and the authenticity of your propaganda, and persuade the enemy to trust you although you are his enemy.”
—Psychological Warfare Casebook, Operations Research John Hopkins University, 1958
Do the Majestic documents show any evidence of a history of building credibility, let alone a long one, with potential targets of deception, such as the Soviet Union or China?
The goal of this paper is answer these questions and determine the extent to which there is any real and hard evidence that covert psychological warfare techniques were used in conjunction with the Majestic documents.
It is generally conceded that only a foreign or domestic intelligence agency has the resources, intelligence and sophistication to deliver an alleged psychological warfare deception using the comprehensive, often-sophisticated, intertwined Majestic documents. Such an undertaking, if true, would have started at least as early as 1981 (Air Force Office of Special Investigations Telex[i]) and used six different sources, psychically planted documents in government archives as well as mailboxes. They would have had numerous trained psywar experts thoughtfully creating an expensive, clever deception targeted at a foreign power for the past 19 years. Does that sound credible?
It is certainly not beyond modern intelligence service capabilities to have fabricated some or all these documents, and it is not beyond thinking they would mount such an effort for marginal or even illogical reasons. Even that a psywar team would intentionally or carelessly include some anachronistic “ringers” is believable.
However, there are severe disconnects between the wide scope, possible purpose(s), presumed target(s), likely risks, and extended duration of this alleged psywar operation.
The real question is how do we test for the use of psychological warfare and propaganda? Ask yourself the following questions.
Criteria For Determining Psychological Warfare In Documents
- Is there low risk of attracting foreign intelligence organizations to the targeted topic? What is the extent of the risk involved with such a deception? Is it worth the tradeoffs?
- Has there been a long multi-year history of credible relationship between the target of deception and the authors of the deception?
- Is the reaction of the target predicable; will they swallow the bait and move in the desired direction for some length of time?
- Is there a specific purpose, goal, objective or intent of the deception; can it be clearly stated?
- Does the phrase, sentence or document establish believability in the eye of the target of deception?
- Is there any direct evidence that the documents were ever launched at the target?
- Are there a credible number of unique language words to draw suspicion about authorship?
- Do the historically competent experts in Psychological Warfare agree with the answers to these questions?
How Does Reason Stand Up To These Questions?
First, if we are intellectually honest, we cannot discard the possibility that the documents are genuine and represent the intent of the authors at the time they were written, even with their misspellings, currently unresolved “anachronisms-” and occasional errors. It is important not to think that discrepancies — such as the misspelling of “celestial,” (Einstein, Oppenheimer June 1947[ii])or “several B-36’s on arctic patrol” (Majestic Annual Report, 1952[iii]) instead of the current evidence of “one” on arctic patrol — are not evidence of psychological warfare. To date there is not a single anachronism or other error that has been raised and then thoroughly researched that clearly shows the documents to be false. An error may be misleading or it may be incomplete, but the examples are not outside the scope of reasonable error in human bureaucracies.
Now who might be the authors and who might be their target? We know, by analysis yet to be published that SOM 1-01 is on original 1954 paper and that other documents are on original paper with watermarks from the proper period. Thus, if there were a psywar operation, it could have been created and launched on its target during the cold war of the 50’s by someone with access to such materials. Using the law of Occam’s razor, the simplest source for such materials is the United States. Targeted against whom? Naturally, the only believable target is the Soviet Union: they had nuclear capability and so did we. The alleged deception foisted on them via the documents could be, “Don’t mess with the United States — we have extraterrestrials and their technology and amazing advanced weaponry.” Is creating an elaborate series of mutually reinforcing, incredible documents over nearly two decades necessary to accomplish credible deterrence? Hardly.
Is North Korea a viable target of deception for the majestic documents dated before 1951? No, not really. It defies most military historians to believe that any leaked UFO document, even something as intriguing as, “SOM 1-01: Extraterrestrial Entities and Technology Recovery and Disposal” would have changed any tactical or strategic objective, troop movement or anti-aircraft battery. Psywar was certainly used during the Korean conflict — with typical operations involving dropping leaflets out of airplanes urging surrender. “Genuine” UFO reports from soldiers during military action seemed to have had no impact on the course of battles.
Again, how do these documents serve a valid, officially authorized Cold War purpose, assuming they were U.S.-produced. Would they desensitize Soviet air defenses to the meaning of sudden unexplained radar returns? If so, how does that square with the Robertson Panel’s public report available to the Soviets, which debunked UFO reports as a valid input to air defense calculations? Would they conceal experimental aircraft development — as if anyone would doubt that we are proceeding in this direction anyway? Would they mask some other terrestrial but overwhelming American super-technology? This would stimulate greater espionage to acquire it, clearly undesirable.
Or do the documents create a “fire break” against learning an even deeper secret? Suppose that any one of the explicit and controversial sentences, let alone entire documents, of the MJ-12 material is genuine in the sense that it was produced by a real psywar organization. It is conceivable to concoct a very closely similar, but intentionally different, project as a smokescreen or firebreak against a deeper secret. Is the secret being concealed one of those truths so precious that a “bodyguard of lies” must protect it? What would warrant such an effort? Is the current Majestic discussion of crashed extraterrestrial discs and technology a smokescreen for live ETs and fully functional lines of communication and technology transfer? This argument leads deeper than the debunkers can dare imagine.
If the Majestic documents are mere fabrications, how far must we go to rationalize creation of such documents? Is it credible that a crack psywar disinformation team — whether operating out of the bowels of the NSA, the underground Groom Lake mine or elsewhere — would decide to be “really clever” and try to hide some super secret, or divert the enemy’s attention by taking an existing highly secure project (MJ-12), use its actual name, subject matter, along with identifying scores of living personnel, then change presumably key details and reveal this alleged deception to a target, and potentially the public? As one fellow researcher said to me, it’s “like doing the dance of the seven veils with wet Kleenex.”
A logical conclusion might be that one of the most highly protected super secrets of our time was intentionally revealed (whether to a wider public, or to foreign intelligence — it does not matter). The initial disclosure would be very risky, as it would draw attention to the general nature of the UFO and ET matter, irrespective of clouding the details, and would certainly prompt more intensive and sophisticated intelligence targeting by foreign intelligence assets. In short, if it is a psywar operation, revealing the MJ-12 documents is inept because it will attract — and has attracted — much new attention. I can say this based on just looking at where the www.majesticdocuments.com website visitors come from.
Alternatively, did the Soviets or Chinese create these materials, insert some in the files of the National Archives and Records Administration, then release most of them in the 1990s after the fall of the Berlin Wall in order to bring the capitalist enemy to its knees? America, your government is hiding UFOs: throw off your chains and embrace the glorious socialist future. Judge for yourself.
[ii] Relationships with Inhabitants of Celestial Bodies, Top Secret, June 1947,
[iii] Majestic Twelve Project, Annual Report, page 14, item 5, Top Secret