Information operations · Information Warfare · Public Diplomacy · Strategic Communications

Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy “Seen on the Web”


April 23, 2017

Seen on the Web 1937-2002

This is a compilation of news, articles, essays, and reports on strategic communications, Public Diplomacy, public affairs, U.S. government international broadcasting, and information operations.  The editorial intent is to:

  • share with busy practitioners the academic and policy ferment in Public Diplomacy and related fields
  • from long speeches, testimonies, and articles, flag the portions that bear on Public Diplomacy
  • provide a window on armed forces thinking on the fields that neighbor Public Diplomacy such as military public affairs, information operations, inform-influence-engage, and cultural learning, and
  • introduce the long history of Public Diplomacy by citing some of the older books, articles, reports, and documents that are not available on the internet.

Public Diplomacy professionals always need a 360-degree view of how ideas are expressed, flow, and gain influence.  Many points of view citied here are contentious, partisan, and/or biased; inclusion does not imply endorsement.

Edited by

Donald M. Bishop, Bren Chair of Strategic Communications, Marine Corps University

Jeffery W. Taylor, University of Mary Washington, Assistant

TABLE OF CONTENTS

In the News

  1. THE ADMINISTRATION

Instruments of Informational Power

  1. PUBLIC DIPLOMACY
  2. BROADCASTING
  3. INFORMATION OPERATIONS
  4. D-I-M-E

Professional Topics

  1. SOCIAL MEDIA ▪ INTERNET
  2. CYBER
  3. DISINFORMATION, FAKE NEWS
  4. SOFT POWER
  5. WAR OF IDEAS
  6. GRAY ZONE
  7. INFORMATION WARFARE
  8. MEME WARFARE
  9. COUNTERING VIOLENT EXTREMISM
  10. RADICALIZATION
  11. HISTORICAL NARRATIVES
  12. LOOKING BACK AT USIA
  13. LESSONS FROM THE PAST
  14. MEDIA SAVVY ▪ EDUCATION ▪ JUDGMENT
  15. IDEAS, CONCEPTS, DOCTRINE
  16. IDEAS OF AMERICA

Countries and Regions

  1. RUSSIA
  2. CHINA
  3. SYRIA
  4. ISLAMIC STATE

Toolkit

  1. CASTOR OIL FOR THE PUBLIC DIPLOMACY OFFICER’S SOUL

In the News

  1. THE ADMINISTRATION
  • . . . what’s feeding this homegrown violence? . . . a major contributor is the internet. From anywhere, all across the world, terrorist organizations are sharing hateful propaganda with impressionable people. They publish revolting how-to manuals . . . trade dehumanizing pictures with grotesque captions—headless bodies, innocent people being thrown from buildings, rape victims being stoned to death. If you are a terrorist with an internet connection . . . you can recruit new soldiers, plan attacks, and upload a video calling for jihad with just a few clicks.

Home and Away: DHS and the Threats to America, Remarks delivered by Secretary Kelly at George Washington University Center for Cyber and Homeland Security

John Kelly, Secretary of Homeland Security, Department of Homeland Security, April 18, 2017

  • Most important of all, however, is the message that was sent to Moscow. While Vladimir Putin has been playing a poor hand deftly, using a combination of old KGB active measures, propaganda, and surrogates in Europe and the Middle East, Trump made it clear that some behavior is simply unacceptable.

Making American foreign policy ‘great again’

Bart Marcois, The Hill, April 13, 2017

Elements of Informational Power

  1. PUBLIC DIPLOMACY
  • Advocating on behalf of U.S. interests overseas means pushing the boundaries of professionalism in both a public, formal capacity and in private, personal life. Questions about America and U.S. foreign policy come from unexpected places, whether engaging with a market vendor or making small talk at the dog park. But it is this exposure to foreigners overseas that truly makes our nation’s diplomatic corps an integrative and efficient mechanism for positive influence.

The Foreign Service: A Unified Voice for America Abroad
Frances Jeffrey-Coker, American Diplomacy, March-April, 2017

  • . . . President Donald Trump has decided to end financing for the Baltic states.  This screaming headline was published in March 2017 by the website rubaltic.ru . . . . In three days, the article was republished by 37 different Russian-language websites . . . . The problem is that the story is not true. Rubaltic.ru is another cog in the Kremlin’s Baltic disinformation machine . . . . Quoting the conservative Fox Business channel, the author of the article . . . alleged that the new U.S. administration under Donald Trump would slash funding for public diplomacy and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Therefore, “Washington has said the Baltic states and other parasites, who are used to living off of U.S. State Department grants, won’t get a damn thing.”

Small time propagandists

StopFake, April 19, 2017

  • With its universalistic values, open culture, and vast popular cultural resources ranging from Hollywood to foundations and universities, the United States seemed uniquely placed to affect how others viewed the world and us. Of course, it did not make us attractive to everyone. * * * * * The role of public diplomacy is not to try to convert the hard core, but to convey a positive message to those who surround the hard core, and whose help we need if we are to isolate and deal with the hard core.

Q&A With CPD: Joseph S. Nye, Jr.

USC Center for Public Diplomacy, April 18, 2017

  1. BROADCASTING
  • View360, a daily news magazine show for Pakistan produced by Voice of America’s Urdu language service, debuts April 17, 2017. The Urdu language program will provide its Pakistani audience objective and impartial news, as well as analysis on national and international events. “This show will give Pakistanis a chance to hear directly from the policymakers of the United States and Pakistan,” …

VOA Urdu Launches New Television Show in Pakistan

Voice of America, April 14, 2017

  • Among the long-needed reforms are: streamlining the management, better handling of human resources, fixing the duplication of language services, investments in new technology, enhancement in overall professionalism, and fulfilment of the broadcasters’ charter. * * * what kind of qualifications should the Trump administration look for in a candidate for the top job? . . . 1. A CEO who has demonstrated success in managing a large and complex bureaucracy. * * * 2. Someone who is prepared to undertake major structural reforms * * * 3. Someone with a solid grasp of the mission of U.S. international broadcasting and experience of the way the media works. * * * 4. Someone who has the trust and backing of the president * * * someone with nerves of steel.

US International Broadcasting Needs Deep Reform. Here’s What Trump Should Look for in Choosing Its Leader.

Helle Dale, The Daily Signal, April 19, 2017

  • The analysis shows that [for RT and Sputnik in France], their most active followers can be broken down into four main categories . . . . supporters of nationalist and isolationist parties, especially French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen’s Front National; supporters of Russia and its international allies, notably Syria; opponents of centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron; and automated “bots.”

The Kremlin’s Audience in France

Joel Harding, To Inform is to Influence, April 14, 2017

  1. INFORMATION OPERATIONS
  • U.S. Army and Department of Defense (DoD) policy and doctrine must clarify a host of difficult issues relating to social media usage, in particular its use in deception and Psychological Operations (PSYOPS).

Social Media—The Vital Ground: Can We Hold It?

Ian Tunnicliffe and Steve Tatham, Strategic Studies Institute,

  1. D-I-M-E
  • As the draft copy of the Capstone Concept for Joint Operations notes, “The contexts of conflict represent a complex mix of diplomatic, informational, economic, and social problems… . The military can enable stable conditions in which to address these problems, but whole of government efforts are better suited to solve them.”

Joint Publication 3-20, Security Cooperation: Adapting Enduring Lessons

Keith D. Smith, Mark H. Lauber, and Matthew B. Robbins, Joint Force Quarterly, April 01, 2017

  • Joint Publication 3-68, Noncombatant Evacuation Operations, is the current joint doctrine for NEO operations. The main thrust of the publication is the tactical aspects of NEOs, but it also includes discussion of interagency coordination, strategic communication, military deception, defense support to public diplomacy, information-sharing, geospatial intelligence, and use of psychological operations.

The Need for a Joint Support Element in Noncombatant Evacuation Operations

George K. Dixon, Joint Force Quarterly, April 01, 2017

Professional Topics

  1. SOCIAL MEDIA – INTERNET
  • In the past, we thought of addiction as mostly related to chemical substances: heroin, cocaine, nicotine. Today, we have this phenomenon of behavioral addictions where, one tech industry leader told me, people are spending nearly three hours a day tethered to their cellphones. Where teenage boys sometimes spend weeks alone in their rooms playing video games.

Why We Can’t Look Away From Our Screens

Claudia Dreifus, The New York Times, March 6, 2017

  • Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and the rest do present a cool way for “gathering information, analyzing information, documenting evidence, and/or presenting conclusions.” But to deconstruct our mental ruts and attain better conclusions we will have to be “tapping [into] unusual sources of data, asking new questions, applying unusual analytic methods, and developing new types of products or new ways of fitting analysis.”

You Can Hack Propaganda Like a CIA Analyst: Richards Heuer Describes the Approach

Toamatau, Myth Composer, April 7, 2017

  • LEARN.  Use social media yourself.  Study relevant case studies.  Educate senior executives.  Hear from practitioners.  Explore the latest trends. . . . LISTEN. * * * ENGAGE IN CONVERSATION * * * MEASURE AND REFINE * * *  PRIORITIZE OBJECTIVES * * *  ESTABLISH GOVERNANCE * * *  DEFINE ACTIVITIES * * *  DEVELOP CAPABILITIES

Launch of Social Media Strategy Framework

Ross Dawson, rossdawson.com, accessed April 19, 2017

  1. CYBER
  • As the Trump administration confronts the nuclear ambitions of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and the toxic fallout from Bashar al-Assad’s chemical warfare against Syrian civilians, it is worth remembering that both dictators also command cyber-units. On the face of it, their impact is significantly less lethal, and they can easily be underestimated.

Don’t underestimate the cyberthreat from Syria and North Korea

Ted Koppel, The Washington Post, April 15, 2017

  • Diplomacy has a significant role in cyberspace alongside the intelligence agencies, ministries and law enforcement structures, highlighted Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodor Meleșcanu during a briefing on cyber security issues at the Tallinn-based NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence.

Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs: Diplomacy Has a Significant Role in Cyberspace

NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence, April 11, 2017

  1. DISINFORMATION, FAKE NEWS

While there is scant evidence that the spammer’s arrest had anything to do with the election, the success of that narrative is a sterling example of how the Kremlin’s propaganda machine is adept at manufacturing fake news, undermining public trust in the media, and distracting attention away from the real story.

Fake News at Work in Spam Kingpin’s Arrest?

Brian Krebs, KrebsonSecurity, April 11, 2017

  • Several EU and NATO nations, including the US and the UK, have signed up to establish a center in Helsinki, Finland to counter cyberattacks and other emerging threats, such as the spreading of disinformation and propaganda.

US, Europe partner to counter ‘fake news’ and cyberattacks

Zack Whittacker, ZD Net, April 11, 2017

  1. SOFT POWER
  • This makes the fate of failed, fragile and lawless states directly and unavoidably relevant to the conduct of the war against terrorism and the defense against other threats. American interests must be defined broadly enough to include things such as the effective delivery of social services in Afghanistan, the surveillance for pandemic disease in rural Tanzania, the construction of classrooms in refugee-stressed Jordan . . . . It is an absurd misnomer to call the exercise of power in these areas “soft.” The matter is simple: Will the United States merely respond to security threats? Or will it also try to shape the security environments in which threats emerge?

Trump’s administration doesn’t understand the meaning of power

Michael Gerson, The Washington Post, April 17, 2017

  1. WAR OF IDEAS
  • Some outside observers have assessed that the U.S. is losing the so-called war of ideas. Initially spurred on in light of the propaganda campaigns orchestrated by the Islamic State group, this can now be applied generally to the information operations and active measures that Russia allegedly applied in the 2016 presidential election.

Combatting Information and Disinformation Campaigns

Mark Pomerleau, C4ISRnet, April 7, 2017

  1. GRAY ZONE
  • Russia’s actions in Ukraine represent what is often referred to as “gray-zone” warfare, or the aggressive application of asymmetric and conventional techniques (including diplomatic, informational, military, economic, and other political forces) designed to achieve political goals while maintaining hostilities below the threshold of conventional war.

Toward a Unified Metric of Kinetic and Nonkinetic Actions: Meaning Fields and the Arc of Effects

Bradley DeWees, Terry C. Pierce, Ervin J. Rokke, and Anthony Tingle, Joint Force Quarterly, April 01, 2017

  1. INFORMATION WARFARE
  • To harness the information age and enable IW capability toward the success of future U.S. conflicts, a new organization should be created within the U.S. Government. The Cold War has passed, and so has USIA; however, it is possible that a new version of USIA is required as Russia continues to test its limits of power. As in the case of Ukraine, Georgia, and Estonia, as well as the need to combat terrorist groups such as ISIL, a renewed effort on U.S. information warfare is required.

Information Warfare in an Information Age

William R. Gery, SeYoung Lee, and Jacob Ninas, Joint Force Quarterly, April 01, 2017

  1. MEME WARFARE
  • As political discourse in the US has become more polarized and contentious, so too has its symbology. Pepe the Frog and Expendables posters have given way to images of actual violence that political extremists spread and celebrate …. Much of it resembles military propaganda. The meme warriors, it seems, have become a militia.

Don’t Look Now, But Extremists’ Meme Armies Are Turning Into Militias

Emma Grey Ellis, Wired, April 20, 2017

  • The answer, some experts argue, lies in memes . . . . A small contingent of academics and experts want NATO to get in on the action to confront pro-Russian, anti-NATO trolls, or to push back against internet jihadists in the cyber space.

Can NATO Weaponize Memes?

Robbie Gramer, Foreign Policy, April 13, 2017

  1. COUNTERING VIOLENT EXTREMISM
  • The issue of credibility and voice is not new … . Yet, in both theory and practice, it remains a thorny issue, lacking in nuance. So, how do we begin to identify and empower with authenticity grassroots groups and individuals?Enabling local people to express their knowledge through participatory approaches is key to empowering credible voices.

Credible Voices: How to Empower and Deploy

Lucy Froggatt, DefenceIQ, April 10, 2017

  1. RADICALIZATION
  • As we progress in getting the most marginalized girls into school across the globe, we are alarmed that some of the most vulnerable girls in conflict-ridden areas are becoming precariously tied to extremism.

How girls’ education intersects with violent extremism

Amanda Braga and Christina Kwauk, Brookings, April 13, 2017

  • Catalonian authorities detected a network of the Islamic State focusing on the recruitment of women to their cause. According to the report, the terrorist group uses the dark net and social media platforms to find women for their cause.

Islamic State Network Focusing On The Recruitment Of Women Detected In Catalonia

Benjamin Vitaris, Deep.Dot.Web, April 11, 2017

  • First, coalition partners can prevent radicalization and recruitment through Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs, which leverage community engagement and resilience and provide countermessaging and counseling to prevent potentially radical views from being acted upon.

To Defeat ISIS, Cooperation Is Key

Ryan B. Greer and Amir Bagherpour, Foreign Affairs, April 10, 2017

  1. HISTORICAL NARRATIVES
  • “Fake news” is all the rage today, but fake history may be even worse . . .

Fake history is worse than fake news

Noemie Emery, Washington Examiner, April 18, 2017

  • Meanwhile, Protestants challenge the party’s teachings openly and operate as the country’s only real civil-society groups. The Early Rain church rewrites official Chinese history to restore the contributions made by foreign and local missionaries.

China’s Great Awakening

Hugo Restall, The Wall Street Journal, April 11, 2017

  • Many in Russia still struggle to accept the reality of Ukrainian independence, seeing the country as a core component of a greater “Russian world” . . . centered on Moscow. Kyiv was the center of the Kyivan Rus civilization . . . while the Russian Orthodox Church traces its origins to Kyiv and the tenth century conversion of the Eastern Slavs to Christianity. This makes many in Russia prone to blaming any manifestations of Ukrainian national identity on a radical nationalist minority.

Why Did Putin Get Stuck in Eastern Ukraine?

Peter Dickinson, Atlantic Council, April 10, 2017

  • “Once upon a time, people yearned to be free of the misery of capitalism. How could their dreams come true?” a plot synopsis for the book reads. “This little book proposes a different kind of communism, one that is true to its ideals and free from authoritarianism.”

MIT Press Publishes ‘Communism for Kids’ Book

Elizbeth Harrington, The Washington Free Beacon, April 10, 2017

  • [Daniel] Polisar convincingly establishes that Palestinians collectively hold three related views of Israel: it has no historical or moral claim to exist, it is inherently rapacious and expansionist, and it is doomed to extinction. In combination, these attitudes explain and justify the widespread Palestinian demand for a state from “the river to the sea,” the grand Palestine of their maps that erases Israel.

Breaking the Palestinians’ Will to Fight

Daniel Pipes, Middle East Forum, April 10, 2017

  • … the international security environment has shifted to …a situation characterized in part by renewed competition among …the United States, China, and Russia. Other emerging characteristics … include … renewed ideological competition . . . . the promotion in China and Russia through their state-controlled media of nationalistic historical narratives emphasizing assertions of prior humiliation or victimization by Western powers, and the use of those narratives to support revanchist or irredentist foreign policy aims.

A Shift in the International Security Environment: Potential Implications for Defense—Issues for Congress

Ronald O’Rourke, Congressional Research Service, March 23, 2017

  1. LOOKING BACK AT USIA
  • When President John F. Kennedy “called upon us to do something for our country, I took it to heart.” He moved to Washington, D.C., to work for the U.S. Information Agency, which supported U.S. foreign policy abroad and was then under the direction of the great broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow.There Mr. McCullough ran a magazine published for the Arab world …

David McCullough’s History Lessons

Alexandra Wolfe, The Wall Street Journal, April 14, 2017

  1. LESSONS FROM THE PAST
  • Another president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, revised the media rules in equally profound ways. Like Trump, he feuded with the mainstream media; like Trump, he used a new medium as a direct pipeline to the people. He also used the government’s machinery to suppress unfavorable coverage

FDR’s War Against the Press

David Beito, reason.com, April 5, 2017

  • … because colonial rule was so psychologically demeaning to Africans … that post-independence African governments were so determined to expunge many of the colonial institutions. Since rule of law, accountable government, property rights and free trade were European imports, they had to go. Instead, many African leaders chose to emulate the political arrangements and economic policies of a rising power that represented the exact opposite of Western free market and liberal democracy – the Soviet Union.

How Africa got left behind

Marian L. Tupy, Human Progress, April 12, 2017

  • The [British] 1st Army Field Propaganda Company went into action with the Eighth Army in the Western Desert in June 1942. The Company consisted of four officers and 27 other ranks and had both a mobile radio broadcasting section and mobile printing section.

British Army Political Warfare Field Units

Lee Richards, psywar.org, March 5, 2017 

  1. MEDIA SAVVY, EDUCATION, JUDGMENT
  • Facebook has turned to an unexpected tool to expand its ongoing fight against fake news online: the print newspaper. The social network ran full-page ads in France and Germany that outline the ways that readers can evaluate news stories and identify false reports.

Facebook fights fake news online with full-page print newspaper ads

Hayley Tsukayama, The Washington Post, April 14, 2017

  1. IDEAS ▪ CONCEPTS ▪ DOCTRINE
  • Here are three common mistakes of losing candidates: 1. Failure to develop in advance a comprehensive campaign plan, including a timetable and a realistic budget.  2.  Spending too much of the campaign funds on paid media and polling and not enough on building a grassroots organization of large numbers of people in campaign activities. 3. Failure to respond properly to continuing negative information, whether from an opponent, the news media or both. Ignoring a continuing negative issue won’t make it go away.

Candidates lose their elections for a variety of reasons

Leadership Institute, accessed April 19, 2017

  • Political ideologies built on the idea that man can create a perfectly just society by means of collective coercion are therefore doomed to failure. “There are definite limits of moral goodwill and social intelligence,” he writes, “beyond which even the most vital religion and the most astute educational programme will not carry a social group, whatever may be possible for individuals in an intimate society.”

Picking What We Like From Niebuhr

Barton Swaim, The Washington Free Beacon, April 16, 2017

  • It is quite clear that American citizens have a profound interest in supporting Ukraine as a fellow democracy that has been invaded…. And while is also quite clear that Americans as taxpayers have an interest in supporting Ukraine…focusing on or more precisely reducing Americans and their interests from citizens to taxpayers reflects a dangerous habit of mind.

American CITIZENS Should Care about Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia—New Series, April 15, 2017

  • … my point isn’t that journalists, commentators and media bosses choose to be liberal or conservative for nefarious reasons and should be called to task. Rather, it is that the business model for daily news drives its content to the left and the business model for talk radio tends to drive its content to the right. If we are to make serious progress in bridging our political divide, we have to deal with these business models.

The great media divide

Mark Jamison, American Enterprise Institute, April 12, 201

  • But if we want free speech and also redress when publishers spread information they know to be false or without any care as to its veracity, the answer is to apply the incentives for good behavior that already exist in statutory law. The problem is current judicial interpretations of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996.

Fighting Fake News

James Freeman, The Wall Street Journal, April 12, 2017

  • In hindsight, much of the coverage of Donald Trump’s candidacy could have run under the same headline: “Unexpected bull poised to enter china shop.” But commentators spent virtually all of their energy expounding on the first half of that metaphor. * * * What was unusual is how matter-of-factly the analysts cast America’s institutions as a china shop.

A Trump in a china shop?

Andy Smarick, American Enterprise Institute, April 10, 2017

  • Policy research institutes first appeared just 70 years ago — there were essentially none before the late 1940s. Most proceed from a settled philosophical disposition; some are forthrightly attached to a political movement or creed. All aim to move the world: they address themselves not only to other academics but also to government officials and the general public; they pay careful attention to the crafts of writing, speaking, and marketing;

In Defense of Think Tanks

Christopher DeMuth, Real Clear Policy, April 10, 2017

  • U.S. power and influence cannot survive a two-front assault on intellectual development by cutting both support for education and programs designed to harness talent from abroad. The United States must invest in education with an emphasis on subjects that most benefit the country’s global interests, or Americans must welcome foreign intellectual talent that its national security establishment requires. U.S. standing around the world would be best served by doing both.

The New Know-Nothings: National Security and Investment in the American Intellect

Anthony Eames, War on the Rocks, April 7, 2017

  • Russia modernized its cold war disinformation campaign apparatus with social media platforms to achieve unprecedented scale for its campaigns of influence. The Kremlin exploits the best attributes of the internet – that anyone can be a publisher and can potentially reach everyone – to create divisions for Russia’s political goals. Social media – once promised as a force to democratize the world through the free and unfettered flow of information – is now distributing extreme content that could pose a significant threat to democracies everywhere.

Opinion: How to counter the Kremlin’s hacking playbook

Anup Ghosh, The Christian Science Monitor, March 29, 2017

  • Toxic people … engage in maladaptive behaviors in relationships that ultimately exploit, demean and hurt … Here are the 20 diversionary tactics toxic people use to silence and degrade you . . . . Gaslighting. . . . Projection … Nonsensical conversations from hell…Blanket statements and generalizations … Deliberately misrepresenting your thoughts and feelings to the point of absurdity… Nitpicking and moving the goal posts ….7. Changing the subject to evade accountability . . . . Covert and overt threats . . . . Name-calling . . . . Destructive conditioning . . . . Smear campaigns and stalking . . . . Preemptive defense… Triangulation . . . . Bait and feign innocence . . . . Boundary testing and hoovering . . . .Aggressive jabs disguised as jokes . . . . Condescending sarcasm and patronizing tone . . . . Shaming … Control.

20 Diversion Tactics Highly Manipulative Narcissists, Sociopaths And Psychopaths Use To Silence You

Shahida Arabi, Thought Catalog, June 30, 2016

  1. IDEAS OF AMERICA
  • As George Orwell wrote, patriotism stems from “devotion to a particular place and to a particular way of life.” Nationalism, by contrast, “is inseparable from the desire for power.” It’s worth noting that even patriotism makes some uncomfortable. They often see it in the same light as the word “chauvinism,” which is defined as “excessive or prejudiced loyalty or support for one’s own cause, group or gender.” It’s a mistake, however, to view patriotism as nothing but chauvinism in bright colors.

Why we don’t call it Nationalists’ Day

E.J. Dionne, Jr., The Washington Post, April 16, 2017

Countries and Regions

  1. RUSSIA
  • Yes, Russian trolls did target the U.S. elections. * * * Trolling is tough (but the money makes it all worthwhile) …. Russia’s politicians are expert trolls. . . * * * Trolling isn’t as effective as you want to believe. * * * The trolling industry is changing. * * *

Revealed: Confessions of a Kremlin Troll

Katie Davies, The Moscow Times, April 18, 2017

  • As a professor of Soviet history with an interest in media studies, I’ve been following Russia’s response to the chemical attack and subsequent U.S. missile strike—the various television and print news stories, tweets and analyses put forth by Russia’s domestic and international media outlets. Together, they’re reflective a larger Russian information strategy: Stress a unified message at home but sow discord abroad

Inside Russia’s Alternate Media Reality

Cynthia Hooper, Newsweek, April 15, 2017

  • The Euromonitor group, using UN and national data sets, reports that the number of people using Russian in the post-Soviet states has declined by ten percent or more since 1994, a decline that reflects the re-orientation of these nations away from Moscow and puts paid to Vladimir Putin’s efforts to base his “Russian world” on the Russian language.

Russian Language Use in Former Soviet Space Declining Precipitously

Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia—New Series, April 14, 2017

  • If you want to sleep soundly at night, do not talk to Molly McKew about Russia. The information warfare expert . . . spends her time thinking about the sinister ways that the Kremlin tries to undermine Western democracy. . . . Below are some key takeaways …Openness is Weakness: * * * We are Not Ready * * * We Have No Idea What Goes on Out There * * * The Russians Play Dirty * * * Do Not Believe Everything You Hear

Who’s Afraid of the FSB? Talking Russian Interference with Molly McKew

Philip Balson, The Huffington Post, April 14, 2017

  • Realizing that we are at war, and understanding how we can fight back, is now urgent business. The story of MH17, and Russia’s exposure, offers a grim but useful case study.

Russian Disinformation Technology

John Pollock, MIT Technology Review, April 13, 2017

  • The White House said Russia is involved in a “sophisticated disinformation campaign” to help cover up Syrian regime culpability for the deadly chemical attack last week that left at least 80 people dead.

Russia Involved in Disinformation Campaign to Help Assad Escape Responsibility, White House Says

Kaitlan Collins, The Daily Caller, April 12, 2017

  • …the Russian government, which is allied with Assad, has been publicly and privately offering alternative theories on the attack that killed dozens of people, including children. White House officials say the information from intelligence sources does not support any of what it called “disinformation” from the Russians.

White House: Russia Is Lying About Assad’s Chemical Attacks

Michael Warren, The Weekly Standard, April 11, 2017

  • There was a time when the Russians — or at least their rulers — were masterful liars. The lie would be well organised, backed up with apparently creditable research and internally consistent. Nowadays Moscow puts out any old rubbish, multiple alternatives to the truth and none showing much professional pride in the traditional trade of disinformation.

Putin fires a weapon of mad deception

Dominic Lawson, The Sunday Times, April 9, 2017

  1. CHINA
  • On the dusty plains of the Chinese heartland, a bitter fight over a mosque exemplifies how a surge in anti-Muslim sentiment online is spreading into communities across China, exacerbating simmering ethnic and religious tensions that have in the past erupted in bloodshed. It’s also posing a dilemma for the ruling Communist Party . . . .

Unfettered online hate speech fuels Islamophobia in China

Gerry Shih, Associated Press, April 10, 2017

  1. SYRIA
  • … U.S. policymakers must convey this nation’s resolve to the rest of the world. The audience is not just Assad and his pals in Moscow and Tehran, but also people across the globe who have been horrified by the ongoing tragedy of Syria. This is an opportunity for the United States to define its role in a world in which violence, especially within states, proliferates.

Military Power and Soft Power

Philip Seib, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, April 7, 2017

  1. ISLAMIC STATE
  • In this article, we will be exploring the digital tools and social tactics that Islamic radicals employ to entice, recruit, and organise western individuals to take up their cause. Topics that will be covered include the use of the dark web, digital literature, how social media apps are utilised leading to the creation of a ‘Virtual Caliphate’.

Tools and tactics of radical Islamic groups hiding in the Dark Web

Philip Green, Defence IQ, April 10, 2017

  • ISIS has taken the radical step of positing that Christians are to Egypt what the Shia are to Iraq, embracing the position that they can be killed indiscriminately and for no reason other than for what they believe. Since the December 2016 Cairo church bombing, the group’s supporters online have been forcefully pushing this notion…

Why ISIS Declared War on Egypt’s Christians

Mokhtar Awad, The Atlantic, April 9, 2017

  • On a strategic level, ISIS is winning the war on social media with effective branding, information distribution, and agenda-setting.

How to Fight ISIS Online

Audrey Alexander, Foreign Affairs, April 7, 2017

  • The authors … discuss IS’ growth model . . . . the narratives and themes used by the group to mobilise foreign fighters and jihadists groups. . . . how IS deploys its narratives in those territories where it has established a foothold . . . . IS’ direct engagement strategy and how it is used to facilitate allegiance of other jihadist groups [and] . . . a menu of policy options that stakeholders can implement to counter IS’ global propaganda efforts.

The Islamic State’s Global Propaganda Strategy

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Nathaniel Barr, and Bridget Moreng, International Centre for Counter-Terrorism-The Hauge, March 2016

Toolkit

  1. CASTOR OIL FOR THE PUBLIC DIPLOMACY OFFICERS SOUL
  • … change in the United States has slowed down. . . . we move across state lines at much lower rates . . . that we used to, we Medicaid ourselves much more frequently, we’re not so willing to let our children even play outside, there are schools that have banned the game of tag because it’s too violent, startups are a percentage of overall businesses activity, … our physical infrastructure has barely progressed in many parts of the country, it’s gotten worse, travelling is harder than it used to be.

America’s complacency problem: A brief Q&A with Tyler Cowen

James Pethokoukis, American Enterprise Institute, April 10, 2017

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