Psychological intelligence (psyint) as the name implies, gathers information and analyzes the psychological make-up of a group or individuals e.g., an enemy commander, a hacker or a terrorist. Part of behavioural science, its rudiments have not been researched in this country. Today, a body of knowledge exists that enables us to predict how a group, say LTTE or an individual, like Prabhakaran would behave. There are tools and methodologies available for behaviour forecasting e.g., modeling, simulation, time impact analysis, trend analysis, and scenario development, which have reached a stage of maturity and are being put gainfully to use. The problem lies in gathering this information.
How did we go wrong in our assessment of the fall of
? What would be Prabhakaran’s next move? What motivates a Tiger? What would be the fate of the devolution package? Answers to these questions trouble us, as they do Sri Lankans, and the rest of the world. In intelligence gathering, one never gets actionable intelligence on a platter, as the Kargil Review Committee seems to believe, and accepts its absence as an alibi for failure. It is the bits and pieces of information, culled and analyzed that create a total picture.
No organization has ever spawned such fanatic, ruthless, committed and self-sacrificing cadre as the LTTE. Their morale, even in adverse circumstances, has never waned. This cadre is not a voluntary body. It is recruited using force and no one dares leaves it. In
, the LTTE is more feared than liked. Rich or poor, educated or uneducated, the people of
dislike paying taxes to the LTTE, more than that they resent abduction or forced recruitment of their children. No parent wants his child to grow up into a vagabond, without education, and a home. Jaffna Tamils, highly sensitive liven in the dread of nocturnal knocks, reminiscent of Nazi Germany, whenever Eelam Tigers controlled the city.
was the training headquarters of LTTE. It was appalling to see the vandalism and destruction that the university had been subjected to. Once a vibrant campus, it was reduced to a fortified camp. Every trace of liberalism was removed and instead cultural hegemonism imposed. Manivannan, an LTTE propaganda expert has said, “Some Tamils living in
who consider themselves the cream of intelligentsia have formed themselves into an informal organisation, called the Jaffna University Teachers for Human Rights, without even the knowledge of
administration, to smear the image of the Liberation Tigers for the sake of position and money.”
LTTE is a one-man show. It is widely known that the Supremo, made of steel nerves, is a ruthless killer, a dreaded terrorist, a cunning bargainer, and a hard-hearted and cruel leader. That he is also a behavioural scientist will surprise many. He has successfully transformed the belief of the populace he controls. He leveraged the belief systems embedded in Tamil history and culture for personal aggrandizement and to lend credence to his cause. Endurance testing, flaunting kupi (cyanide capsule), suicide bombing and implicit faith in the Supremo are all part of this belief system. It is born of emotional intelligence, a term coined by John Mayer and Peter Salovey in 1989. It is the ability to perceive, understand and generate emotions to motivate, stimulate or provoke conduct, which may be rational but, more often, is irrational. It is this quality of understanding emotions and exploiting them that makes Prabhakaran a commander par excellence. He understands the strengths and limitations of both, the enemy and his own cadre, and can emotionally take advantage of the former and blackmail the latter.
Is it opportune to go for military targets in a set-piece attack? If not, then why do it, and why not wait? The time impact analysis explains why
did not fall. The unilateral cease-fire was a clever ploy to regroup and shift the pressure elsewhere. Suicide bomber attacks were more rewarding and less costly in terms of overall casualties. Relentless pursuit of the objective, withdrawing in the face of superior force, biding time, deception, propaganda, repudiation of agreements and Machiavellian deals are all in the game.
Psyint analysis creates a picture, fitting jig-saw puzzles. It has logical answers to our questions. Let us therefore make a serious study of it and not under-estimate its virtues.