by Elze van Hamelen

September 2022

from GlobalResearch Website









social engineering has become

standard operating procedure

for governments...



These articles were previously published

in the reader-funded Dutch newspaper

De Andere Krant.









Part I
The Netherlands:

Government Sponsored Behavioral Control

and Social Engineering Experiments
September 20, 2022


Image is from



A government-wide network of behavioral experts - the Behavioral Insights Network Netherlands (BIN NL) - has been supporting all departments in conducting behavioral experiments since 2014.


The experiments aim to use behavioral knowledge from the social sciences to steer citizens toward "right" solutions and choices.


At their core, they involve large-scale application of manipulation techniques, in policy development, implementation, monitoring and communication.


Although much information about this can be found on government websites, most citizens are probably unaware of these social engineering experiments. Nor has there been a public discussion about the desirability of applying this knowledge.

According to BIN NL,

"almost all government policy focuses on behavior change."

The network was established in 2014 because the cabinet,

"would like all ministries to experiment with applying behavioral insights to different policy themes, and a government-wide network to drive this."

These behavioral insights are based on knowledge from psychology, social science, behavioral science and behavioral economics, and focus on steering people toward desired behavior so that they automatically and unconsciously make the "right" choices.


This can be done, for example, through 'nudge' in the right direction, without the imposition of coercion or economic incentives.


For example, you can encourage healthy eating by presenting the healthy food in the cafeteria first, and the croquettes last. In policy terms, this is called "adjusting the architecture of choice."


There are many methods for directing people's behavior in this way: by rearranging the environment, by presenting information in a certain way, by playing into feelings of belonging to a group or fear of exclusion, or otherwise by evoking emotions such as fear, shame, pride, guilt, etc.


The behavioral sciences specialize in applying these insights.

The interest in applying this knowledge arose in 2004 as a result of experiences of the Dutch army in conducting psychological operations in Afghanistan.


The Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR), whose task is to advise the government and parliament on social issues, investigates the possibilities for the government to apply behavioral knowledge and issues an opinion in several reports, such as,

"The human decision maker" (2009), "Making policy with knowledge of behavior" (2014), and "Knowing is not doing" (2017).

To this end, she works with government officials, policy makers, politicians, scientists, and the "social field."

The core idea that emerges in these reports is that citizens have limited rationality and can no longer cope with all the choices and complexity in society.


In "Knowing is not yet doing," the WRR writes:

"Today's society makes high demands on the resilience of citizens, there is quite a difference between what is expected of citizens and what they can actually cope with."

The WRR continues:

"From the behavioral sciences, it has been shown that people's ability to weigh information and make rational choices is limited," namely because of so-called limited "non-cognitive abilities, such as setting a goal and making a plan, taking action, persevering, and being able to deal with temptations and setbacks... these [non-cognitive abilities] are often referred to in everyday life as 'personality' or 'character'."

The non-cognitive abilities or character traits are also referred to as 'doing abilities' in policy documents.


The government can "help" overcome these "limitations" by guiding behavior.


The WRR, in its report "Making policy with knowledge of behavior," states,

"more and more policymakers are exploring how to use choice architecture to compensate for cognitive limitations of citizens."



Mindspace - A Guide to Behavioral Manipulation

The British Behavioral Insights Team (BIT) is cited as an example that is attracting international attention with successes.


Author Laura Dodsworth, who wrote the book "State of Fear" about the application of behavioral insights in the UK during the corona crisis, writes of the BIT,

"The BIT was established in 2010 by the government of David Cameron. Britain is so good at applying behavioral insights that it has become an export product.


The BIT is now a profitable company with a 'social purpose,' with offices in London, Manchester, Paris, New York, Singapore, Syndney, Wellington and Toronto.


In 2019 alone, they carried out 750 projects in 31 countries worldwide. In total, they trained more than 20,000 public servants in applying behavioral knowledge."

She continues:

"Behavioral science and nudges focus on distracting or making certain choices difficult. It is used to avoid discussion and instead manipulate people without them realizing it.


It is an attack on people's ability to decide for themselves what is good for them."

"Should the Netherlands also have such a team?" the WRR writes, advising the government to respond as a government "to the limited doing abilities of citizens by adapting the choice architecture."

The government followed up on the WRR's advice, in 2014 by setting up BIN-NL so it can support ministries in conducting behavioral experiments, and in 2018 with integrating behavioral considerations into policy development.


In January 2018, then-Minister of Law Sander Dekker and Minister of the Interior Kasja Ollongren wrote in a letter to the House of Representatives that,

"in principle, the Cabinet sees added value in freedom of choice and that the degree of freedom of choice should be considered on a case-by-case basis."

The core team of BIN-NL meets monthly and organizes various activities, such as lectures, a training module for government trainees, and the congress Day of Behavior.


Every two years, BIN NL issues a report to the Senate and House of Representatives, which reports on the experiments in the areas of health, work, education, finance and more.


The idea that behavioral control is necessary to achieve policy goals comes up repeatedly in it, for example for achieving climate goals, the digital transition and the inclusive society.

When developing policy, officials apply the Integral Assessment Framework (IAK), which is a set of questions that must be answered before policy or regulations are submitted to parliament. It provides structure for developing good policy.


On June 29, 2018, Minister Dekker wrote to the Senate that in order to,

"make broader use of behavioral insights," "the criterion of do-ability will be included in a number of existing policy instruments," including the IAK.

How will this work in practice?


If there is "reason to correct behavior," the IAK provides a convenient step-by-step framework for applying behavioral insights.

Step one maps out "what current behaviors are perpetuating, exacerbating or improving the undesirable situation. In doing so, also look at what facts and figures are known about the behavior."

In the next step, the official determines the target group so he knows "which target group you want to change the current behavior."


Step three formulates "the behavior you want to see in your target group": "Instead of the current behavior, who will exhibit what behavior in the future, where and when?"


Step four maps not only the target group, but also the "context, motives and drivers.


The next step is to map what process/steps the target group goes through in exhibiting the desired behavior and which parties that person will have to deal with.

In what context does the target group find itself?


What does someone have to do to exhibit the desired behavior?


With which parties does this person come into contact?".

Based on these steps, an intervention plan (step 5) is developed, with which "people are as it were automatically guided towards a sensible choice", which is tested in a "pilot or living lab" (step 6).


In the last step, effects are evaluated, and there is also a possibility of monitoring for long-term effects.


The implication of all these interventions is that a lot of behavior needs to be monitored. Although not referenced, the step-by-step scheme is very similar to the Behavioral Dynamics Methodology (BDM) developed by British SCL group, which is used by defense.


The BIN-NL supports civil servants in applying behavioral insights.

Applying behavioral insights:

Step 1. Map current behavior

Step 2. Determine the target group

Step 3. Formulate the Desired Behavior

Step 4. Context, motives and drivers

Step 5. Develop an intervention plan

Step 6. Implement the intervention

Step 7. Evaluation


In a free society, should governments apply social engineering?

Most examples of pilots and experiments that BIN-NL reports on every two years seem harmless at first glance: paying off your student debt faster, eating healthier, or setting off fireworks safely.


But the underlying assumption is that citizens cannot think for themselves, that the government must then do that for them, and that the government is therefore right in its problem analysis and chosen solution.


It ignores the fact that there can be disagreement - discussions for which there is less and less room.

However, other topics are less innocent. BIN-NL writes:

"The Netherlands faces many different transitions. Think of the climate transition and the digitalization transition.


They have at least one thing in common:

behavioral change is needed to achieve policy goals.

This also applies to major policy themes such as health, housing, mobility and an enabling and inclusive society."

Digitalization is strongly related to the prison of air that is being built around us with current technology.


Should we allow ourselves to be manipulated in it, or is deliberately choosing analog solutions where possible a way to maintain autonomy and privacy?


The government's ideal image for living seems to be life in a "smart city," regulated by cameras and sensors, with no room for farmers.

The desirability of this is anything but fixed.

The "inclusive society" mostly represents a radical "woke" agenda. Should behavioral scientists already be working to get us, through "choice architecture," to "choose" that dystopia ourselves?

Nor does there seem to be any doubt - is it the government's job at all to direct the behavior of citizens?


In a free society, citizens are allowed to choose how they behave, provided they do not harm others.

Is the problem that citizens are "cognitively limited," or is the problem that we have an out-of-control, opaque, impenetrable byzantine bureaucracy as a government, that tries to micromanage the lives of individuals?


What are the ethical frameworks for large-scale behavioral experiments by government that citizens have not chosen nor been informed about?

The BIN-NL website has no information on this. The behavioral experts seem to see mostly the opportunities and benefits.



Het Behavioural Insights Netwerk Nederland (BIN NL) 

Met kennis van gedrag beleid maken 

Kabinetsbeleid Integraal afwegingskader voor beleid en regelgeving (IAK) 

Toepassen gedragsinzichten





Part II
Mindspace - A Guide to Behavioral Manipulation
September 19, 2022

The publication of the British report 'Mindspace - Influencing behavior through public policy' from 2010 seems to have been the worldwide kickstart of systematic application of knowledge from behavioral science to public policy and implementation.


The report summarizes a century of behavioral science research, and provides recommendations on how governments can apply it.

Mindspace was compiled in response to a commission from top British civil servant Sir Gus O'Donnell and Sir Michael Bichard, head of the Institute for Government, a think tank that advises and supports the British government through research.


Following this report, the Behavioral Insights Team (BIT, see main article) was formed, and Prof. David Halpern and Dr. Michael Hallsworth, who co-authored the report, later became CEO of BIT and "Managing Director BIT Americas," respectively.


Mindspace distinguishes two ways of processing information:

"reflective processes" and "automatic processes."

Reflective processes are used when we consciously process information, think about it and evaluate facts.


Presenting facts so that people can make their own judgments and choices about them is what the report calls the "traditional interventions" of policy.


The contrasting model, on which behavioral scientists primarily focus, focuses on automatic processes, which proceed through an already present bias. Messages are shaped to be processed unconsciously.


Attention is intentionally shifted from facts and information to influencing the context in which people act.




How does this work in practice?

In the article "MindSpace, Psyops, and Cognitive Warfare - Winning the Battle for the Mind," which appeared on the site "Canadian Patriot," poet David Gosselin describes in detail how these kinds of messages to "shift context" are constructed.

One example:

The slogan "Stay home, save lives" seems very simple.


But, Gosselin writes, the unconscious message is, "If you don't stay home, lives may be lost."

The context or reality is framed as a binary choice - there is no room for the distinction that for most it is not dangerous to go out the door, and that it does not put others at risk.


It distracts from facts, while the fear of killing reinforces the unconscious message.


The message also reinforces a scapegoating process:

those who dare just venture outside have no problem causing deaths! They are almost inhuman.

During corona, we have been bombarded by such manipulative slogans and government campaigns that shift attention away from facts and toward an emotion-driven fictional picture of reality.

The word Mindspace is a mnemonic for officials for responding to bias, and automatic and unconscious processes:



The messenger greatly influences how we take the message. This is why, for example, the government paid influencers to promote vaccination.


rewards work strongly to motivate us, such as we can go "back to normal" if you get vaccinated, or "you can sit on the terrace again" if you show your QR-code.


We are strongly influenced by what others do. Therefore, not wearing a mouth cap when everyone in the supermarket has one on can be perceived as very threatening.


Messages like "millions of people took this shot, and trusted the science," also signal a social norm, fueling a need to join the group.


We are quick to follow a preconceived easy choice. A vaccination bus stationed in front of a high school, or other accessible vaccination and testing sites support this.


Our attention is drawn toward new or salient information. To persistent infections and deaths in the headlines, for example.


These are small signals or messages, an image (people with mouth masks), feeling (mouth mask), and slogans, creating a subconscious idea that causes us to change our behavior.


For how this works in practice, see this fascinating explanation of stage hypnotist Brian Halliday.


Emotions have enormous influence on our behavior and choices, communication campaigns therefore deliberately play on fear, shame, guilt, etc.


Public commitment increases the likelihood that someone will carry out intentions.


The statewide Corona Behavioral Team and the GGD conducted a field experiment to test this - people in a test lane filled out a survey afterward committing to compliance with the stay-at-home rule.


People like to maintain a good self-image.


Speeches by president Mark Rutte: When you comply, you help society, and when you don't, you choose to perpetuate lockdowns and other measures.

Many people may have felt manipulated.


When you see the science and organization behind the communication campaigns in context, it becomes clear how particularly sophisticated this large-scale manipulation campaign is.




Part III
COVID Measures:

Biggest "Social Conformity Event" in History.

Corona Policy Was Aimed at "Changing Behavior",

Not at Improving Health.
September 21, 2022



Corona policy was primarily focused on directing citizen behavior such as wearing mouth masks, keeping a distance, staying home, and test and vaccination readiness - experimental measures with no scientific basis.


This is evidenced by the large-scale use of behavioral scientists in implementation and communication of corona policy.


The government and media are supported in this behavioral management by the RIVM (the Dutch CDC) Corona Behavior Unit and the government-wide Corona Behavior Team.

The application of behavioral insights is taking off during corona, and various government departments are working together to develop "interventions" that make citizens more compliant with corona rules.

"This is the first policy topic on which the government has deployed relatively large amounts of behavioral expertise," BIN NL writes in report "Rich in Behavioral Insights" (2021).

This behavioral expertise focuses on fueling autonomous and unconscious behavior by acting on emotions such as fear, shame, guilt, wanting to maintain a positive self-image, or wanting to belong to the group.


Or, by presenting information or possibilities in such a way that the 'right' choice is automatically made.

At the beginning of the crisis, in March 2020, the RIVM Corona Behavior Unit will be established.

The behavioral unit aims to "promote the physical, mental and social health of the population," and is supported in this by an advisory board and several expert teams including 40 professors and 19 doctors.

They conduct research with which they support government communication and policy.


The unit reports to, among others, the National Coordinator for Terrorism and Security (NCTV, the Dutch version of 'Homeland Security') and the National Crisis Communication Core Team (NKC).


In addition to BIN-NL, the RIVM Corona Behavior Unit, the government-wide Corona Behavior Team is was established.

They cooperate on developing interventions to promote compliance.


The NKC coordinates press and public communications, drawing on the behavioral recommendations of the RIVM Corona Behavior Unit and the Corona Behavior Team.

The commitment to behavioral guidance is very explicit in a memo released under a FOIA request from the Ministry of Health dated May 12, 2020:

"It takes more to guide behavior.


But it also takes more than nudging. It's about thinking about the whole journey that people make in certain situations, contexts, moments in the day, and so on. And what choices they make in the process.


What is difficult or easy to do? What can we do to help people exhibit the right behavior? You want people not to have to think. How do actions and choices come about?


Key questions then are:

  • How can we properly engage the unconscious part of people with cues and prompts (e.g., washing hands, how does a new ritual arise?)?

  • How do people stay intrinsically motivated?

  • How can people themselves become experts in making good judgments?"

The RIVM Corona behavior unit is asked in the memo for advice and support:

"In what way can we, in the very short term, give nudging a better place in the communication of the national government when it comes to monitoring measures?"

The NKC applies these insights, by,

"rewarding exemplary behavior or speaking from 'we'."

They are asked,

"what need is there at the local and regional level, for example, a toolkit, or an overview of principles of nudging?"

The report "Rich in Behavioral Insights Edition 2021" that was published by BIN-NL, shows how efforts were made to manipulate citizen behavior, and that the focus was not on health outcomes.


The research and interventions focused on whether citizens stay home after a positive pcr test, on willingness to test regularly, and on stimulating large-scale testing even when there are no symptoms.


The behavioral scientists overlook the fact that the tests have no diagnostic value, and that asymptomatic transmission has not been scientifically proven - and that staying home when you have no symptoms but a positive test is of no medical benefit.


Meanwhile, without context, the "infections" resulting from large-scale testing are presented day in and day out in the media as a measure of the pandemic, thus creating lingering fear.

Additionally, investigations documents that were released under FOIA, show even more explicitly that government interventions were focused behavior change.


For example,

in the summer of 2020, experiments were be conducted in Amsterdam and Rotterdam investigating the effect of wearing masks on distancing, a measure that the RIVM notes has "modest scientific support."


It was already known that wearing masks would not prevent the spread of the virus.


The experiments measure do not measure any health indicators.

One behavioral expert substantiates masking as follows:

"Masks have become the most visible evidence of Covid".

Seeing the masks causes anxiety, in addition they signal the "social norm," who follows the rules, and who does not.


They are very effective for continued obedience...





Similar to the Netherlands, the British government has several departments that advise on the application of behavioral knowledge.


One such department is "SPI-B," the "Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behavior," was concerned in March 2020 because a large number of citizens see did not feel sufficiently threatened by the virus because they knew it posed no risk to their age group.


Therefore, the behavioral unit recommended that,

"The perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased among those who are complacent, using hard‐hitting emotional messaging based on accurate information about risk."

The British government followed with a campaign featuring images of elderly people on respirators with the messaging "Look her in the eyes. and tell you never bend the rules".


In Germany, a similar recommendation leaked out from the Interior Ministry.


This recommendation to increase fear in became known as the 'panic paper'. It is known that manipulating fear is one of the most effective ways to install obedience.

Although no "panic paper" came out in the Netherlands, communication campaigns surrounding corona played on fear, for example by presenting images of mass graves and headlines and through headlines or advertisements such as:

"Nearly 170,000 new infections a day as British variant engulfs Netherlands" (AD, January 2021)

"British variant more than 60 percent deadlier" (NRC, March 2021)

"1.5 meters can save your mom's life" (Amsterdam, 2020)

"Keep your grandmother out of the ICU" (Amsterdam, 2020)

"A corona test is free. Your grandma priceless" (Do What Must Campaign, The Hague).


Behavioral guidance for vaccination readiness

"What kinds of messages are most persuasive for increasing vaccination willingness?",

this question was investigated by five scientists affiliated with the prestigious American University of Yale.


They developed and tested messages aimed at self-interest, guilt and shame, anger, courage, trust in science, regaining personal freedom and economic freedom, and published their findings in the article "Persuasive messaging to increase COVID-19 vaccine uptake intentions," in the scientific journal Vaccine.


The scientists write,

"Persuasive messages evoke a sense that vaccinating is social, address concerns about how others see you, and also help convince others to get vaccinated, and condemn those who don't."

The first part of the study was be conducted between May and July 2020, well before the first corona vaccine is developed, let alone temporarily authorized.


The scientists do not address whether concerns about vaccine safety or effectiveness may be justified.


The assumption is that vaccinating is the solution to the crisis, and the use of behavioral knowledge is desirable to increase vaccination willingness - an assumption that we also find among behavioral units and government in the Netherlands.

Examples of recommended messages include:

"Stopping Covid is important because you can get sick, and die from it. It is dangerous for people of all ages. Getting vaccinated is the most effective way not to get sick."

"By getting vaccinated you can protect everyone around you, it reduces the risk of your family or people around you getting sick."

"Imagine how guilty you feel when you make someone else sick..."

"Imagine how embarrassed you feel when you make someone else sick..."

"Those who do not take a vaccine are not brave, but reckless... they are putting their family's health at risk."

"The only way to defeat Covid is to follow scientific approaches... the people who refuse a vaccine are not aware of the science"

"Every person who gets vaccinated reduces the likelihood that we will have to go back into lockdown."

The messages are echoed almost one-to-one in the Dutch campaign to encourage vaccination readiness:

"Either you get vaccinated, or you get sick" (Hugo de Jonge - July 2021)

"Corona vaccination: 'we roll up our sleeves. To protect yourself and those around you, vaccination is the most important step" (Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport)

"Do you want to embrace the other again? Will you get vaccinated against corona?" (Poster in retirement home).

"Slow vaccination suspected cause of high excess mortality in the Netherlands" (2022, Trouw)

"An unvaccinated person in the ICU costs four to ten people their operation" (Trouw, October 2021)

"Mayor of Amsterdam Femke Halsema: vaccine refusers often ill-informed" (AT5, December 2021)

"Unvaccinated people are egoists. Thanks to them society remains locked. (Noordhollands Dagblad).

In the Netherlands, there is a particularly strong commitment to regaining (!) freedom:

"Vaccination makes more and more possible" (Tv spot, Ministry of VWS)

"OMT: end of January room for relaxations, provided enough booster shots are taken" (January, 2022).

"Camping with my grandfather again, that's what I do it for. Daan, 22 years old". (Campaign Only Together)

"I want to be able to just go to school again. That's why I got the shot. Get your vaccinations without an appointment" (Girl year at 14, advertising GGD Amsterdam)

"I feel like going to a festival again. Just give me the jab!" (GGD Amsterdam)

"This weekend DJs at vaccination location NDSM to win over young people" (AT5, July 2021)

"Heineken: the night belongs to the vaccinated" (Advertisement)

Later, pressure to get "vaccinated" has been greatly increased by stepping up pressure, coercion, threats of exclusion and intimidation:

"Non-vaccinated are often poorly educated, 'right-wing Christian' or immigrant" Trouw, November 2021)

"Majority vaccinated think people without vaccinations can be refused entry to public places" (EenVandaag July 2021)

Minister of Health Hugo de Jonge: "We continue to vaccinate, neighborhood by neighborhood, door by door, arm by arm" (Press conference, 2021)

Minister of Health Hugo de Jonge: "I do not resign myself to the right to say no to vaccine" (Press conference, December 2021)

The slogans and messages play purposefully on automatic, unconscious processes.


As a result, an image forms, under the radar, that if you get vaccinated you care about your family, are fulfilling your social duty, are helping society come out of lockdown, you are smart - because you understand the science, and that those who don't participate are particularly antisocial, evil and stupid.


None of the slogans provide real information that helps you make an informed, educated choice, worse, the unconscious image that is created causes a resistance to do go look at that information.




Replacing political debate with social engineering

The behavioral influence campaigns rest on the assumption that we are dealing with a potentially apocalyptic virus that justifies the extreme measures.


But it was clear very early on in the crisis, in part because of the research of Stanford's top virologist John P. A. Ioannidis, that we are dealing with a disease similar to severe influenza, which is primarily a risk to the elderly.


Nor are the measures - such as 1.5-meter distance, wearing masks, mass testing, lockdowns, or achieving maximum 'vaccination' coverage - to prevent the spread of the virus that for most gives a 99 percent survival rate, had a good scientific foundation.


What we now know, based on the investigation of documents that have been released under FOIA, is that this was also known to the government.

This shows the real problem with behavioral influencing: rational exchange based on scientific, factual information was not possible within the public domain. Indeed, it is actively censored, suppressed, blackballed and excluded.


At the same time, the social engineers assume a consensus therefore behavioral control would be justified.

Politics is replaced by social engineering.

Had real open discussion of alternatives been possible, the money spent on behavioral control, communication and surveillance could have gone instead to expanding care and supporting caregivers.


Where the justification for manipulation starts with the assumption that citizens have "limited rationality," and that the government must therefore 'guide' them in their choices, it morphs into the desire that those citizens should rather stop thinking for themselves altogether.



Stappenplan overheidscommunicatie en interventies

RIVM Corona Gedragsunit–en-je-nooit-wordt-verteld-2021-12-27

Jullie gedragsexperiment was in opdracht van het rijksbrede Corona Gedragsteam.

State of Fear. Laura Dodsworth. (staat ook de Biderman coercion chart in)

Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behavior (SPI-B), a subcommittee that advises the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) in the U.K.

SPI-B warned in March last year that ministers needed to increase 'the perceived level of personal threat' from COVID-19 because 'a substantial number of people still do not feel sufficiently personally threatened.'

Then, the so-called "Panic Paper" was leaked, which was written by the German Department of the Interior. Its classified content shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that, in fact, the population was deliberately driven to panic by politicians and mainstream media.

Crowdsourced verzameling van nudge boodschappen:

We blijven vaccineren, wijk voor wijk, deur voor deur, arm voor arm





Part IV
Citizen's Brain is the Battlefield in 21st-century Warfare
September 22, 2022




Image from Graphene Flagship




NATO has added to the traditional domains of warfare - land, sea, air, space and cyberspace - a new one:

"the cognitive domain."

This is not just about imposing certain ideas or behaviors, as in traditional propaganda and psy-ops, but about modifying cognition - influencing the process by which we ourselves arrive at ideas, insights, beliefs, choices and behaviors.


The target is not primarily an enemy army, but the citizen.


Winning the war is no longer determined by moving a border on a map, but by ideological conversion of the target.

"Cognitive warfare is one of the most debated topics within NATO," researcher François du Cluzel told a panel discussion on Oct. 5, 2021.

He wrote a foundational paper "Cognitive Warfare" for the NATO-affiliated think tank Innovation Hub in 2020.


Although cognitive warfare overlaps with information warfare, classical propaganda and psychological operations, du Cluzel points out that cognitive warfare goes much further.


In information warfare, one "only" tries to control the supply of information. Psychological operations involve influencing perceptions, beliefs and behavior.


The goal of cognitive warfare is,

"to turn everyone into a weapon," and "the goal is not to attack what individuals think, but how they think."

Du Cluzel:

"It is a war against our cognition - the way our brains process information and turn it into knowledge. It directly targets the brain".

Cognitive warfare is about "hacking the individual," allowing the brain to be "programmed."

To achieve this, almost every domain of knowledge imaginable is applied: psychology, linguistics, neurobiology, logic, sociology, anthropology, behavioral sciences, "and more."

"Social engineering always begins with an understanding of the environment and the target; the goal is to understand the psychology of the target population," du Cluzel writes.

The basis remains traditional propaganda and disinformation techniques, enhanced by current technology and advances in knowledge.

"Behavior, meanwhile, can be predicted and calculated to such an extent," according to du Cluzel, "that AI-driven behavioral science 'behavioral economics' should be classified as a hard science rather than soft science."

Because almost everyone is active on the Internet and social media, individuals are no longer passive recipients of propaganda; with today's technology, they actively participate in its creation and dissemination.


Knowledge of how to manipulate these processes,

"is easily turned into a weapon"...

Du Cluzel cites the Cambridge Analytica scandal as an example.


Through voluntarily submitted personal data to Facebook, detailed individual psychological profiles had been created of a large population. Normally such information is used for personalized advertising, but in the case of Cambridge Analytica it was used to bombard doubting voters with personalized propaganda.


Cognitive warfare "exploits the weaknesses of the human brain," recognizing the importance of the role of emotions in driving cognition.


Cyber-psychology, which seeks to understand the interaction between humans, machines and AI (artificial intelligence) will be increasingly important here.

Other promising technologies that could be used are,

neuroscience and technologies, or "NeuroS/T," and "NBIC" - nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, cognitive science, "including developments in genetic engineering."

NeuroS/T can be,

pharmacological agents, brain-machine couplings, as well as psychologically disturbing information...

Influencing the nervous system with knowledge or technology can produce,

changes in memory, learning ability, sleep cycles, self-control, mood, self-perception, decisiveness, confidence and empathy, and fitness and vigor.

Du Cluzel writes,

"The potential of NeuroS/T' to create insight and the capacity to influence cognition, emotions and behavior of individuals is of particular interest to security and intelligence agencies, and military and war initiatives."

Waging war on individuals' cognitive processes represents a radical shift from traditional forms of warfare, where one tries, at least in principle, to keep civilians out of harm's way.


In cognitive war, the citizen is the target and his or her brain is the battlefield. It changes the nature of warfare, the players, the duration and how the war is won.

According to du Cluzel,

"cognitive warfare has universal reach, from the individual to states and multinational corporations."

A conflict is no longer won by occupying a territory, or by adjusting borders on a map, because,

"the experience of warfare teaches us that although war in the physical realm can weaken an enemy army, it does not result in achieving all the goals of war."

With cognitive war, the end goal shifts:

"whatever the nature and purpose of war itself, it ultimately comes down to a clash of between groups that want something different, and therefore victory means the ability to be able to impose desired behavior on a chosen audience."

In effect, then, it is about bringing about an ideological conversion in the target population.

The enemy is not only civilians in occupied or enemy territory - but also their own civilians, who, according to NATO's estimates, are easy targets for cognitive operations by enemy parties.

"Man is the weak link this must be recognized in order to protect the human capital of NATO."

This "protection" goes a long way:

"The goal of cognitive warfare is not merely to harm militaries, but societies. The method of warfare resembles a 'shadow war,' and requires the involvement of the entire government in fighting it."

War can thus be waged with and without the military, and du Cluzel continues:

"Cognitive warfare is potentially endless, what for this type of conflict you cannot make a peace treaty, or sign a surrender."



Dutch citizens are also targeted

According to the Cognitive Warfare report, China, Russia and non-state actors (non-state actors) also value cognitive war.


Therefore, NATO sees it as an important task to be able to face this form of warfare. According to correspondence that emerged from FOIA requests, the doctrine of cognitive warfare is allready strongly entrenched in the Dutch military.


The independent news site reports,

"The Lieutenant General of the Land Forces Command writes on August 4, 2020 in a memo to then Minister of Defense Ank Bijleveld that 'information-driven action' (IGO) takes place in 3 dimensions:

the physical, the virtual and the cognitive.

Acting in the land domain involves operating within these three dimensions to achieve desired effects achieve within a political-strategic objective.


Because country action takes place, by definition, among human actors and groups, effectiveness is in the cognitive dimension is crucial.

At its core is taking away the will to fight at or impose our will to opponents.


By the way with this, we are following the NATO doctrine for the land domain."

This modus operandi, in which the entire government is involved in information and cognitive war, and seeing the citizen as a possible enemy, who must be manipulated toward correct behavior must be manipulated, we see strongly in the corona period.


Not for nothing did the Netherlands organize in the spring of 2020 organized a Navo Innovation Challenge, focused on Covid-19.

"We are looking for innovative solutions to identify, assess and identify, assess and manage biological threats, so that NATO forces, allies and civilian units are protected are protected," the announcement reads read.

It specifically seeks for,

"surveillance, inclusive measures to monitor health monitoring" and "collaborative opportunities between military, civilian health and research institutions, officials at the local and national level and surveillance analysts."

The Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad reported in November 2020 that, without legal basis, the Land Information Maneuver Centre (LIMC) had been established - a department that is under the land forces that surveilled Dutch civilians during the corona period, using Behavioral Dynamics Modeling.


BDM is an approach developed by the British SCL group, the parent company of the aforementioned Cambridge Analytica, and with which the military gained experience during missions in Afghanistan, civilians were not only monitored but also actively influenced.


FOIA documents released in early 2022 revealed that the LIMC worked closely with police and the NCTV (Unit combating terrorism, similar to Homeland security).




The invisible war

How is it possible that for some it is very clear that we are facing a coup, revolution or even Third World War, while for others everything is seeming 'normal'?

"My father prepared me for the previous war," Sebastian Haffner writes shortly before his escape from Nazi Germany in 1938.

In the book 'Defying Hitler', he describes how he experienced World War I as a boy of seven, growing up during the interwar period and how he experienced the rise of Nazism.


He imagined by war a trench warfare, and was not prepared for terror, mass hysteria and demagoguery.

We imagine war as a demagogue. For example, look at all the unwanted leaders that are demonized- Trump, Putin, Assad, etc. - who are branded "a new Hitler" by the mass media.

War is an army invading, soldiers in the streets, cities being bombed.

We are now in the midst of a revolution - in the classic sense - a radical upheaval of the organization of the state system and power relations.


Kees van der Pijl clearly explains in his book "States of Emergency" how this revolution, unlike, for example, the French and American revolutions, has not been initiated from below, but from above, by the oligarchy.


They implement policy through co-opted governments and organizations such as,

...supported by Big Tech companies.


The system being worked toward is totalitarian, technocratic and centralized.


Relatively few people realize how radical the upheaval we are living through, probably because this war has not been initiated by direct physical force, but by cognitive war, directed at civilians.


The doctrine of cognitive warfare shows that modern war is waged primarily as an advanced psyop. It does not conform to the classical image of warfare.


That is why it is not visible to most.




Do they remember what freedom is?

None of the documents on cognitive warfare shows any sign of awareness of how far this methodology diverges from the basic values that are the foundations of a free society: centering on the rights and freedoms of the individual to do, think, organize his or her own life, without external interference.

Cognitive warfare is sold as a way to "win war without fighting," so that there will be fewer (civilian) casualties.


This seems positive at first, but, this approach, especially when applied on a large scale AND to its own citizens, does not give any space to the individual to gather information for himself, assess it and act accordingly.


The citizen is no longer an independently thinking human being, but a vulnerable subject with "limited rationality."


Behavior that deviates from what the NATO, the LIMC or the government identifies as problematic should be "corrected."

Is the government or the military rational?


Is rationality a prerequisite for making choices, decisions or beliefs?


Why is a citizen not allowed to have a dissenting opinion without being labeled as "potentially state dangerous"?

Wanting to correct "state dangerous" citizens with "wrong" beliefs are reminiscent of the literature on Soviet Russia, Mao-China, Pol-Pot.


It has no place in a free society...




Cognitive Warfare Project - Reference Documents

NRC - Soft maar gevaarlijk wapen

NATO Innovation Challenge focuses on COVID-19 crisis (in NL)