CIA Manual – Psychological Operations in Guerilla Warfare

In this respect, each work team will be able to cover some six towns approximately, in order to develop popular support for our movement.

The Team should always move in a covert manner within the towns of their area.

They should vary their route radically, but not their itinerary,. This is so that the inhabitants who are cooperating will be dependent on their itinerary, i.e., the hour in which they can frequently contact them to give them the information.

The danger of betrayal or an ambush can be neutralized by varying the itinerary a little, using different routes, as well as arriving or leaving without previous warning.

Whenever the surprise factor is used, vigilance should be kept in order to detect the possible presence of hostile elements.

No more than three consecutive days should be spent in a town.

The limit of three days has obvious tactical advantages, but it also has a psychological effect on the people, on seeing the team as a source of current and up-to-date information. Also, it can overexpose the target audience and cause a negative reaction.

Basic tactical precautions should be taken. This is necessary for greater effectiveness, as was indicated in dealing with the subject of “Armed Propaganda,” and when it is carried out discreetly, it increases the respect of the people for the team and increases their credibility.

The basic procedures are: covert elements that carry out vigilance before and after the departure and in intervals. There should be two at least, and they should meet at a predetermined point upon a signal, or in view of any hostile action.

The team’s goal is to motivate the entire population of a place, but to constantly remain aware that defined target groups exist within this general configuration of the public.

Although meetings may be held in the population, the cadres should recognize and keep in contact with the target groups, mixing with them before, during and after the meeting. The method for holding this type of meeting was included in the topic “Armed Propaganda,” and will be covered in greater detail under the title “Control of Mass Meetings and Demonstrations.”

The basic focus of the Armed Propaganda cadres should be on the residents of the town,where their knowledge as formers of opinion can be applied.

In the first visits of identification with the inhabitants, the guerrilla cadres will be courteous and humble. They can work in the fields or in any other form in which their abilities can contribute to the improvement of the living style of the inhabitants of the place, winning their trust and talking with them; helping to repair the fences of their cattle; the cleaning of the same, collaborating in the vaccination of their animals; teaching them to read, i.e., closely together in all the tasks of the peasant or the community.

In his free time, our guerrilla should mix in with the community groups and participate with them in pastoral activities, parties, birthdays, and even in wakes or burials of the members of said community; he will try to converse with both adults and adolescents. |He will try to penetrate to the heart of the family, in order to win the acceptance and trust of all of the residents of that sector.

The Armed Propaganda Team cadres will give ideological training, mixing these instructions with folkloric songs, and at the same time he will tell stories that have some attraction, making an effort to make them refer to heroic acts of our ancestors. He will also try to tell stories of heroism of our combatants in the present struggle so that listeners try to imitate them. It is important to let them know that there are other countries in the world where freedom and democracy cause those governing to be concerned over the well-being of their people, so that the children have medical care and free education; where also they are concerned that everyone have work and food, and all freedoms such as those of religion, association and expression; where the greatest objective of the government is to keep its people happy.

The cadres should not make mention of their political ideology during the first phase of identification with the people, and they should orient their talks to things that are pleasing to the peasants or the listeners, trying to be as simple as possible in order to be understood.

The tactical objectives for identification with the people are the following:

To establish tight relations through identification with the people, through their very customs.

To determine the basic needs and desires of the different target groups.

To discover the weaknesses of the governmental control.

Little by little, to sow the seed of democratic revolution, in order to change the vices of the regime towards a new order of justice and collective well-being.

In the motivation of the target groups, by the Armed Propaganda Teams, the cadre should apply themes of “true~ groups and themes of “false” groups. The true group will correspond to the target group and the false one to the Sandinista regime.

For the economic interest groups, such as small businessmen and farmers, it should be emphasized that their potential progress is “limited” by the Sandinista government, that resources are scarcer and scarcer, the earnings/profits minimal, taxes high, etc. This can be applied to entrepreneurs of transportation and others.

For the elements ambitious for power and social positions, it will be emphasized that they will never be able to belong to the governmental social class, since they are hermetic in their circle of command. Example, the nine Sandinista leaders do not allow other persons to participate in the government, and they hinder the development of the economic and social potential of those like him, who have desires of overcoming this, which is unjust and arbitrary.

Social and intellectual criticisms. They should be directed at the professionals, professors, teachers, priests, missionaries, students and others. Make them see that their writings, commentaries or conversations are censored, which does not make it possible to correct these problems.

Once the needs and frustrations of the target groups have been determined, the hostility of the people to the “false” groups will become more direct, against the current regime and its system of repression. The people will be made to see that once this system or structure has been eliminated, the cause of their frustration s would be eliminated and they would be able to fulfill their desires. It should be shown to the population that supporting the insurrection is really supporting their own desires, since the democratic movement is aimed at the elimination of these specific problems.

As a general rule, the Armed Propaganda teams should avoid participating in combat. However, if this is not possible, they should react as a guerrilla unit with tactics of “hit and run,” causing the enemy the greatest amount of casualties with aggressive assault fire, recovering enemy weapons and withdrawing rapidly.

One exception to the rule to avoid combat will be when in the town they are challenged by hostile actions, whether by an individual or whether by a number of men of an enemy team.

The hostility of one or two men can be overcome by eliminating the enemy in a rapid and effective manner. This is the most common danger.

When the enemy is equal in the number of its forces, there should be an immediate retreat, and then the enemy should be ambushed or eliminated by means of sharp-shooters.

In any of the cases, the Armed Propaganda Team cadres should not turn the town into a battleground. Generally, our guerrilla will be better armed, so that they will obtain greater respect from the population if they carry out appropriate maneuvers instead of endangering their lives, or even destroying their houses in an encounter with the enemy within the town.

A Comprehensive Team Program – Mobile Infrastructure

The psychological operations through the Armed Propaganda Teams include the infiltration of key guerrilla communicators (i.e., Armed Propaganda Team cadres) into the population of the country, instead of sending messages to them through outside sources, thus creating our “mobile infrastructure.”

A “mobile infrastructure” is a cadre of our Armed Propaganda Team moving about, i.e., keeping in touch with six or more populations, from which his source of information will come; and at the same time it will serve so that at the appropriate time they will become integrated in the complete guerrilla movement.

In this way, an Armed Propaganda Team program in the operational area builds for our comandantes in the countryside constant source of data gathering (infrastructure) in all the area. It is also a means for developing or increasing popular support, for recruiting new members and for obtaining provisions.

In addition, an Armed Propaganda Team program allows the expansion of the guerrilla movement, since they can penetrate areas that are not under the control of the combat units. In this way, through an exact evaluation of the combat units they will be able to plan their operations more precisely, since they will have certain knowledge of the existing conditions.

The comandantes will remember that this type of operation is similar to the Fifth Column, which was used in the first part of the Second World War, and which through infiltration and subversion tactics allowed the Germans to penetrate the target countries before the invasions. They managed to enter Poland, Belgium, Holland and France in a month, and Norway in a week. The effectiveness of this tactic has been clearly demonstrated in several wars and can be used effectively by the Freedom Commandos.

The activities of the Armed Propaganda Teams run some risks, but no more than any other guerrilla activity. However, the Armed Propaganda Teams are essential for the success of the struggle.


In the same way that the explorers are the “eyes and “ears” of a patrol, or of a column on the march, the Armed Propaganda Teams are also the source of information, the “antennas” of our movement, because they find and exploit the sociopolitical weaknesses in the target society, making possible a successful operation.



The development and control of front organizations (or “facade” organizations) is an essential process in the guerrilla effort to carry out the insurrection. That is, in truth, an aspect of urban guerrilla warfare, but it should advance parallel to the campaign in the rural area. This section has as its objective to give the guerrilla student an understanding of the development and control of front organizations in guerrilla warfare.

Initial Recruitment

The initial recruitment to the movement, if it is involuntary, will be carried out through several “private” consultations with a cadre (without his knowing that he is talking to a member of ours). Then, the recruit will be informed that he or she is already inside the movement, and he will be exposed to the police of the regime if he or she does not cooperate.

When the guerrillas carry out missions of armed propaganda and a program of regular visits to the towns by the Armed Propaganda Teams, these contacts will provide the commandos with the names and places of persons who can be recruited. The recruitment, which will be voluntary, is done through visits by guerrilla leaders or political cadres.

After a chain of voluntary recruitment has been developed, and the trustworthiness of the recruits has been established by their carrying out small missions, they will be instructed about increasing/widening the chain by recruiting in specific target groups, in accordance with the following procedure:

From among their acquaintances or through observation of the target groups – political parties, workers’ unions, youth groups, agrarian associations, etc. – finding out the personal habits, preferences and biases, as well as the weaknesses of the “recruitable” individuals.

Make an approach through an acquaintance, and if possible, develop a friendship, attracting him through his preferences or weaknesses: it might be inviting him for lunch in the restaurant of his choice or having a drink in his favorite cantina or an invitation to dinner in the place he prefers.

Recruitment should follow one of the following guidelines:

~ If in an informal conversation the target seems susceptible to voluntary recruitment based on his beliefs and personal values, etc., the political cadre assigned to carry out the recruitments will be notified of this. The original contact will indicate to the cadre assigned, in detail, all he knows of the prospective recruit, and the style of persuasion to be used, introducing the two.

~ If the target does not seem to be susceptible to voluntary recruitment, meetings can be arranged which seem casual with the guerrilla leaders or with the political cadres (unknown by the target until that moment). The meetings will be held so that “other persons” know that the target is attending them, whether they see him arrive at a particular house, seated at the table in a particular bar or even seated on a park bench. The target, then, is faced with the fact of his participation in the insurrectional struggle and it will be indicated to him also that if he fails to cooperate or to carry out future orders, he will be subjected to reprisals by the police or soldiers of the regime.

~ The notification of the police, denouncing a target who does not want to join the guerrillas, can be carried out easily, when it becomes necessary, through a letter with false statements of citizens who are not implicated in the movement. Care should be taken that the person who recruited him covertly is not discovered.

~ With the carrying out of clandestine missions for the movement, the involvement and handing over of every recruit is done gradually on a wider and wider scale, and confidence increases. This should be a gradual process, in order to prevent confessions from fearful individuals who have been assigned very difficult or dangerous missions too early.

Using this recruitment technique, our guerrillas will be able to successfully infiltrate any key target group in the regime, in order to improve the internal control of the enemy structure.

Established Citizens, Subjective Internal Control

Established citizens, such as doctors, lawyers, businessmen, landholders, minor state officials, etc., will be recruited to the movement and used for subjective internal control of groups and associations to which they belong or may belong.

Once the recruitment/involvement has been brought about, and has progressed to the point that allows that specific instructions be given to internal cadres to begin to influence their groups, instructions will be given to them to carry out the following:

~ The process is simple and only requires a basic knowledge of the Socrates dialectic: that is the knowledge that is inherent to another person or the established position of a group, some theme, some word or some thought related to the objective of persuasion of the person in charge of our recruitment.

~ The cadre then must emphasize this theme, word or thought in the discussions or meetings of the target group, through a casual commentary, which improves the focus of other members of the group in relation to this. Specific examples are:

Economic interest groups are motivated by profit and generally feel that the system hinders the use of their capability in this effort in some way, taxes, import-export tariffs, transportation costs, etc. The cadre in charge will increase this feeling of frustration in later conversations.

Political aspirants, particularly if the are not successful, feel that the system discriminates against them unfairly, limiting their capabilities, because the Sandinista regime does not allow elections. The cadres should focus political discussions towards this frustration.

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