CIA Manual – Psychological Operations in Guerilla Warfare

Agitators of Rallying Cries and Applause. They will be trained with specific instructions to use tried rallying cries. They will be able to use phrase such as “WE ARE HUNGRY, WE WAND BREAD,” and “WE DON’T WANT COMMUNISM.” There work and their technique for agitating the masses is quite similar to those of the leaders of applause and slogans at the high school football or baseball games. The objective is to become more adept and not just to shout rallying cries.


In a revolutionary movement of guerrilla warfare, the mass concentrations and protest demonstrations are the principle essential for the destruction of the enemy structures.



The separate coverage in these sections could leave the student with some doubts. Therefore, all sections are summarized here, in order to give a clearer picture of this book.

Motivation as Combatant-Propagandist

Every member of the struggle should know that his political mission is as important as, if not more important than, his tactical mission.

Armed Propaganda

Armed propaganda in small towns, rural villages, and city residential districts should give the impression that our weapons are not for exercising power over the people, but rather that the weapons are for protecting the people; that they are the power of the people against the FSLN government of oppression.

Armed Propaganda Teams

Armed Propaganda Teams will combine political awareness building and the ability to conduct propaganda for ends of personal persuasion, which will be carried out within the population.

Cover (“Facade”) Organizations

The fusion of several organizations and associations recognized by the government, through internal subjective control, occurs in the final stages of the operation, in close cooperation with mass meetings.

Control of Mass Demonstrations

The mixture of elements of the struggle with participants in the demonstration will give the appearance of a spontaneous demonstration, lacking direction,which will be used by the agitators of the struggle to control the behavior of the masses.


Too often we see guerrilla warfare only from the point of view of combat actions. This view is erroneous and extremely dangerous. Combat actions are not the key to victory in guerrilla warfare but rather form part of one of the six basic efforts. There is no priority in any of the efforts, but rather they should progress in a parallel manner. The emphasis or exclusion of any of these efforts could bring about serious difficulties, and in the worst of cases, even failure. The history of revolutionary wars has shown this reality.


The purpose of this appendix is to complement the guidelines and recommendations to the propagandist-guerrillas expressed under the topic of “Techniques of Persuasion in Talks and Speeches,” to improve the ability to organize and express thoughts for those who wish to perfect their oratorical abilities. After all, oratory is one of the most valuable resources for exercising leadership. Oratory can be used, then, as an extraordinary political tool.

The Audience

Oratory is simultaneous communication par excellence, i.e., the orator and his audience share the same time and space. Therefore, every speech should be a different experience at “that” moment or particular situation which the audience is experiencing and which influences them. So the audience must be considered as “a state of mind.” Happiness, sadness, anger, fear, etc., are states of mind that we must consider to exist in our audience, and it is the atmosphere that affects the target public.

The human being is made up of a mind and soul; he acts in accordance with his thoughts and sentiments and responds to stimuli of ideas and emotions. In that way there exist only two possible focuses in any plan, including speeches: the concrete, based on rational appeals, i.e., to thinking; and the idealized, with emotional appeals, i.e., to sentiment.

For his part the orator, although he must be sensitive to the existing mass sentiment, he must at the same time keep his cold judgment to be able to lead and control effectively the feelings of an audience. When in the oratorical momentum the antithesis between heart and brain comes about, judgment should always prevail, characteristic of a leader.

Political Oratory

Political oratory is one of the various forms of oratory, and it usually fulfills one of three objectives: to instruct, persuade, or move; and its method is reduced to urging (asking), ordering, questioning and responding.

Oratory is a quality so tied to political leadership that it can be said that the history of political orators is the political history of humanity, an affirmation upheld by names such as Cicero, Demosthenes, Danton, Mirabeau, Robespierre, Clemenceau, Lenin, Trotsky, Mussolini, Hitler, Roosevelt, etc.

Qualities in a Speech

In general terms, the most appreciated qualities of a speech, and specifically a political speech in the context of the psychological action of the armed struggle, are the following:

~ Be brief and concise

A length of five minutes [line missing in Spanish text]…that of the orator who said: “If you want a two-hour speech, I’ll start right now; if you want a two-minute one, let me think awhile.”

~ Centered on the theme

The speech should be structured by a set of organized ideas that converge on the theme. A good speech is expressed by concepts and not only with words.

~ Logic

The ideas presented should be logical and easily acceptable.

never challenge logic in the mind of the audience, since immediately the main thing is lost – credibility. As far as possible, it is recommended that all speeches be based on a syllogism, which the orator should adjust in his exposition. For example: “Those governing get rich and are thieves; the Sandinistas have enriched themselves governing; then, the Sandinistats are thieves.” This could be the point of a speech on the administrative corruption of the regime. When an idea or a set of guiding ideas do not exist in a speech, confusion and dispersion easily arise.

Structure of a Speech

Absolute improvisation does not exist in oratory. All orators have a “mental plan” that allows them to organize their ideas and concepts rapidly; with practice it is possible to come to do this in a few seconds, almost simultaneously with the expression of the word.

The elements that make up a speech are given below, in a structure that we recommend always putting into practice, to those who wish to more and more improve their oratorical abilities:

~ Introduction or Preamble

One enters into contact with the public, a personal introduction can be made or one of the movement to which we belong, the reason for our presence, etc. In these first seconds it is important to make an impact, attracting attention and provoking interest among the audience. For that purpose, there are resources such as beginning with a famous phrase or a previously prepared slogan, telling a dramatic or humorous story, etc.

~ Purpose or Enunciation

The subject to be dealt with is defined, explained as a whole or by parts.

~ Appraisal or Argumentation

Arguments are presented, EXACTLY IN THIS ORDER: First, the negative arguments, or against the thesis that is going to be upheld, and then the positive arguments, or favorable ones to our thesis, immediately adding proof or facts that sustain such arguments.

~ Recapitulation or Conclusion

A short summary is made and the conclusions of the speech are spelled out.

~ Exhortation

Action by the public is called for, i.e., they are asked in and almost energetic manner to do or not to do something.

Some Literary Resources

Although there exist typically oratorical devices of diction, in truth, oratory has taken from other literary genres a large number of devices, several of which often, in an unconscious manner, we use in our daily expressions and even in our speeches.

Below we enunciate many of their literary devices in frequent use in oratory, recommending to those interested moderate use of them, since an orator who over-uses the literary device loses authenticity and sounds untrue.

The devices that are used the most in oratory are those obtained through the repetition of words in particular periods of the speech, such as:

Anaphora, or repetition of a word at the beginning of each sentence, e.g., “Freedom for the poor, freedom for the rich, freedom for all.” In the reiteration, repetition is of a complete sentence (slogan) insistently through the speech, e.g., “With God and patriotism we will overcome Communism because…:

Conversion is the repetition at the end of every phrase, e.g.: “Sandinismo tries to be about everyone, dominate everyone, command everyone, and as an absolute tyranny, do away with everyone.”

In the emphasis, repetition is used at the beginning and at the end of the clause, e.g., “Who brought the Russian-Cuban intervention? The Sandinistas. And who is engaged in arms trafficking with the neighboring countries? The Sandinistas. And who is proclaiming to be in favor of nonintervention? The Sandinistas.”

Reduplication, when the phrase begins with the same word that ends the previous one. For example: “We struggle for democracy, democracy and social justice.” The concatenation is a chain made up of duplications. For example: “Communism transmits the deception of the child to the young man, of the young man to the adult, and of the adult to the old man.”

In the antithesis or word play, the same words are used with a different meaning to give an ingenious effect: e.g., “The greatest wealth of every human being is his own freedom, because slaves will always be poor but we poor can have the wealth of our freedom.”

Similar cadences, through the use of verbs of the same tense and person, or nouns of the same number and case. For example: “Those of us who are struggling we will be marching because he who perseveres achieves, and he who gives up remains.”

Use of synonyms, repetition of words with a similar meaning. For example: “We demand a Nicaragua for all, without exceptions, without omissions.”

Among the figures of speech most used in oratory are:

Comparison or simile, which sets the relationship of similarity between two or more beings or things. For example: “Because we love Christ, we love his bishops and pastors,” and “Free as a bird.”

Antithesis, or the counterposition of words, ideas, or phrases of an opposite meaning. For example: “They promised freedom and gave slavery; that they would distribute the wealth and they have distributed poverty; that they would bring peace, and they have brought about war.”

Among the logic figures are the following:

Concession, which is a skillful way to concede something to the adversary in order to better emphasize the inappropriate aspects, through the use of expressions such as: but, however, although, nevertheless, in spite of the fact that, etc. For example: “The mayor here has been honest, but he is not the one controlling all the money of the nation.” It is an effective form of rebuttal when the opinion of the audience is not entirely ours.

Permission, in which one apparently accedes to something, when in reality it is rejected. For example: “Do not protest, but sabotage them.” “Talk quietly, but tell it to everyone.”

Prolepsis is an anticipated refutation. For example: “Some will think that they are only promises; they will say, others said the same thing, but no. We are different, we are Christians, we consider God a witness to our words.”

Preterition is an artifice, pretending discretion when something is said with total clarity and indiscretion. For example: “If I were not obligated to keep military secrets, I would tell all of you of the large amount of armaments that we have so that you would feel even more confidence that our victory is assured.”

Communication is a way to ask and give the answer to the same question. For example: “If they show disrespect for the ministers of God, will they respect us, simple citizens? Never.”

Rhetorical questions are a way in which one shows perplexity or inability to say something, only as an oratorical recourse. For example: “I am only a peasant and can tell you little. I know little and I will not be able to explain to you the complicated things of politics. Therefore, I talk to you with my heart, with my simple peasant’s heart, as we all are.”

Litotes is a form of meaning a lot by saying little. For example: “The nine commanders have stolen little, just the whole country.”

Irony consists of getting across exactly the opposite of what one is saying. For example: “The divine mobs that threaten and kill, they are indeed Christians.”

Amplification is presenting an idea from several angles. For example: “Political votes are the power of the people in a democracy. And economic votes are their power in the economy. Buying or not buying something, the majorities decide what should be produced. For something to be produced or to disappear. That is part of economic democracy.”

The most usual plaintive figures of speech are:

Deprecation or entreaty to obtain something. For example: “Lord, free us from the yoke. Give us freedom.”

Imprecation or threat, expressing a sentiment in view of the unjust or hopeless. For example: “Let there be a Homeland for all or let there be a Homeland for no one.”

Conmination, similar to the previous one, presents a bad wish for the rest. For example, “Let them drown in the abyss of their own corruption.”

The apostrophe consists of addressing oneself towards something supernatural or inanimate as if it were a living being. For example: “Mountains of Nicaragua, make the seed of freedom grow.”

Interrogation consists of asking a question of oneself, to give greater emphasis to what is expressed. It is different from communication, since it gives the answer and is of a logical and not a plaintive nature. For example: “If they have already injured the members of my family, my friends, my peasant brothers, do I have any path other than brandishing a weapon?”

Reticence consists of leaving a thought incomplete, intentionally, so that mentally the audience completes it. For example, “They promised political pluralism and gave totalitarianism. They promised political pluralism and gave totalitarianism. They promised social justice, and they have increased poverty. They offered freedom of thought, and they have given censorship. Now, what they promise the world are free elections…”

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