A joint report by CBS and the AP says that police just identified the man who shot and killed 7 people at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin yesterday is 40-year-old Wade Michael Page, was a member of the U.S. Army’s psychological operations unit in Fort Bragg.
In June 2010, the U.S. military’s psy-op was renamed the more innocuous-sounding Military Information Support Group.
Psychological Operations is really just another name for psychological warfare. Here are excerpts from Wikipedia’s entry on the U.S. military’s Psychological Operations (PSYOP):
“Psychological Operations are planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals. The purpose of PSYOP is to induce or reinforce behavior favorable to US objectives. They are an important part of the range of diplomatic, informational, military, and economic activities available to the US. They can be utilized during both peacetime and conflict.”
There are three kinds of PSYOP: white, gray, and black. Black PSYOP refers to activity that “appears to emanate from a source (government, party, group, organization, person) usually hostile in nature. The interest of the U.S. Government is concealed and the U.S. Government would deny responsibility. It is best used in support of strategic plans.
Covert PSYOP is not a function of the U.S. military but instead is used in special operations due to their political sensitivity and need for higher level compartmentalization. Further, black PSYOP, to be credible, may need to disclose sensitive material, with the damage caused by information disclosure considered to be outweighed by the impact of successful deception.” (Read more here.)
Let the conspiracy theories begin!
I’ll update as we get more information.
CBS News: Shooter Identified As Former US Military Member
August 6, 2012
OAK CREEK, Wis. (CBSDC/AP) — Authorities tell CBS News that the shooter behind the deadly massacre at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin Sunday has been identified as 40-year-old Wade Michael Page.
Page previously served in the U.S. military, but was no longer on active duty, sources tell CBS News.
CBS News reports that Page enlisted in the Army in April 1992 and was given a less-than-honorable discharge in October 1998. He was last stationed in Fort Bragg, N.C., serving in the psychological operations unit.
Sunday’s shooting outside the temple in suburban Milwaukee left seven dead, including the suspect, and three others critically wounded in what police called an act of domestic terrorism.
Satpal Kaleka, wife of the temple’s president, Satwant Singh Kaleka, was in the front room and saw the gunman enter the temple, according to Harpreet Singh, their nephew.
“He did not speak, he just began shooting,” said Singh, relaying a description of the attack from Satpal Kaleka.
Kaleka said the 6-foot-tall bald white man — who worshippers said they had never before seen at the temple — seemed like he had a purpose and knew where he was going.
Read the rest of the news article here.
Wade was killed outside the temple in a shootout with police officers after the rampage that left terrified congregants hiding in closets and others texting friends outside for help.
Officials had previously described the suspect as a heavy-set, 40-year-old Caucasian with numerous tattoos.
Sources tell CBS News some unspecified evidence suggests race or ethnicity may have played a role in the violence, but no links to extremist groups have been confirmed. [...]
Local police called the attack an act of domestic terrorism, but other sources tell CBS News correspondent Bob Orr it may be more accurate to refer to “an investigation into a possible hate crime.”
Neither local nor federal sources provided further details or suggested a possible motive, including whether the suspect specifically targeted the Sikh temple. [...]
Records show that Page was the registered inhabitant at an apartment in South Milwaukee from December 2011 until the present.
CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy reports Page is only believed to have lived at the residence for two weeks, according to neighbors.
“Nobody has really seen him,” neighbor Alma Rayes tells CBS News. “We heard here and there that they’ve been doing a lot of arguing, between him and another female, but I haven’t seen him.”