Information operations · Information Warfare · Public Diplomacy · Strategic Communications

“Seen on the Web” 21 May 2017 — Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy

DIME: elements of national power – Diplomatic, Informational, Military, Economic


Edited by

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

Jeffery W. Taylor, University of Mary Washington, Assistant


Instruments of Informational Power


Professional Topics

  2. CYBER

Countries and Regions

  9. CHINA
  11. IRAN




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Elements of Informational Power

  • It is a deeply challenging time for our public diplomacy efforts, which are critical to our broader diplomatic and national security efforts. We should engage every PD asset and every trusted influencer available to us in every community around the world that is sympathetic to Western values. Why not start with mothers?

The Mother of All Influence

Cari E. Guittard, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, May 8, 2017

  • The report examined how state-sponsored propaganda and deliberate misinformation campaigns can impact and disrupt public diplomacy efforts.

Panel talks propaganda, fake news bots at public diplomacy event

Liz Konneker, The GW Hatchet, May 10, 2017

  • The third week of ambassador school sees students pair up for classroom role-playing to help prepare them for facing the international media as a diplomat. “They take turns sort of peppering one another with hard questions and testing their responses,” Murphy said.

Back to school for Branstad: Ambassador 101 required before Beijing

Kyle Munson, The Des Moines Register, May 11, 2017

  • The management of information and public diplomacy are critical aspects of modern governance. To that effect, the information service serves as an important tool of the state. Not the ruling party, mind you, but the state itself. The men and women employed by the state’s information apparatus – can, should and do – try to influence what goes into press. . . . But to think that this cadre can, in a democracy, ensure that a paper does not run a news item is wishful thinking.

On the notification itself

Pakistan Today, May 7, 2017

  • The Congressional Periodical Press Gallery committee has denied Sputnik, a Russian state-owned news website, a permanent congressional press pass.

Sputnik denied permanent congressional credentials

Hadas Gold, Politico, May 5, 2017


Simply put, that mission is to further the nation’s agenda as forcefully as possible without engaging in propaganda. This is nothing to apologize for. Despite the occasional mistake, VOA has always sought to uphold the American tradition of truth-based persuasion, rooted in constitutionally protected freedoms of speech, press, and debate.

Don’t Kick Voice of America When It’s Down

Martha Bayles, The American Interest, May 17, 2017

  • . . . this is a marked shift, in my perspective, from conflicts in the past. Information operations, cyber activities, space and counterspace, and ballistic missile technology have made the character of war today much more dynamic and complex, in my assessment, than it has been in the past. And we’re going to see such capabilities fielded by both state and non-state actors. And conflicts are very quickly going to spread across multiple combatant commanders, geographic boundaries and functions.

Gen. Dunford’s Remarks and Q&A at the Center for Strategic and International Studies

General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., Joint Chiefs of Staff, October 5, 2016

  • This soldier died to take a picture of the explosion that killed her and four Afghan soldiers. Specialist Hilda I. Clayton, I salute you. May you rest in peace, brave soldier.

The Army just released these haunting images taken moments before a combat photographer’s death

Joel Harding, To Inform is To Influence, May 2, 2017

Spc. Hilda I. Clayton, May 21, 1991 to July 2, 2013

Military Review, May/June 2017

Professional Topics

  • “We are also experiencing a new and wholly unprecedented capacity of individuals to use social media to shape actions by millions of others, which in turn is shifting how many perceive authority and define allegiance,” [Nancy McEldowney] added, referring to the ability of Facebook and Twitter to mobilize protests but also to spread misinformation.

Foreign Service Institute Prepares Government Workers for Global Careers

Mindy C. Reiser, The Washington Diplomat, May 5, 2017

  • In interview after interview, students defaulted to business jargon to discuss their online lives. They talked of their names as brands, of having multiple “audiences” or “publics,” of social media as a marketing tool for the self. Words like “curate,” “cultivate,” and “craft” came up often in descriptions of their approaches to posting.

Instagrim: Why Social Media Makes Students Miserable

Donna Freitas, The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 7, 2017

  • About 42 percent of constant checkers specifically point to political and cultural discussions as causing stress. And the impacts play out in real life—35 percent of constant checkers say they are less likely to spend time with family and friends because of social media.

Social Media Are Driving Americans Insane

Deena Shanker, Bloomberg, February 23, 2017

  • The National Constitution Center, with the support of Microsoft, has assembled leading scholars and thought leaders to publish a series of five white papers, entitled A Twenty-First Century Framework for Digital Privacy. We’ve asked these contributors to reflect on the challenges that new technologies pose . . .

A Twenty-First Century Framework for Digital Privacy

Jeffrey Rosen, National Constitution Center, accessed May 16, 2017

  1. CYBER
  • DOS is an attack used to deny legitimate users access to a resource such as accessing a website, network, emails, etc. or making it extremely slow. DoS is the acronym for Denial of Service. This type of attack is usually implemented by hitting the target resource such as a web server with too many requests at the same time. This results in the server failing to respond to all the requests. The effect of this can either be crashing the servers or slowing them down.

DoS (Denial of Service) Attack Tutorial: Ping of Death, DDOS

Anil Minz, Anil Minz Info-Tech, May 9, 2017

  • Cybercriminals are often looking for a way to make a buck, so attacks on financial institutions make sense, the report said. But because governments hold sensitive personal information, budgetary data and national security information, they have been increasingly targeted . . .

Cyberattacks on governments double

Matt Leonard, GCN, May 8, 2017

  • Several European countries were subjected to pro-Kremlin disinformation over the past two weeks. It was claimed in Sputnik that Lithuania follows totalitarian laws and that all Baltic states use “Soviet methods to combat Sputnik journalists”. No mention was made of the fact that all three Baltic counties ranked high in the recently published 2017 World Press Freedom Index. For a record of Sputnik journalism see here.

Accusing Europe

EU East Stratcom Task Force, Disinformation Review, May 11, 2017

  • . . . Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu announced the creation of “information operations troops” (“cyber troops”) within the Armed Forces. He emphasized that state “propaganda should be smart, accurate and effective” and that that these new formations “will be much more efficient than the ‘counter-propaganda’ department that operated during the Soviet period”

Russian ‘Cyber Troops’: A Weapon of Aggression

Sergey, Sukhankin, The Jamestown Foundation, May 11, 2017

  • In the first four months of 2017, the use and threat of American military force (hard power) has substantially increased, while diplomatic and socioeconomic efforts (soft power) have been notably marginalized, with little concern for the appropriate mix of the two (smart power).

Beware the Limits of Hard Power in 2017

Kyle R. Brandy, Small Wars Journal, May 6, 2017

  • There has been an array of approaches for using law to undermine adversaries, approaches that can be put under the aegis of lawfare…even private litigation is working to deny access to the banking and social media platforms terrorists increasingly rely upon.

Lawfare 101: A Primer

Charles Dunlap Jr., Military Review, May/June 2017

  • The kind of information warfare favored by Russia can be defeated by early warning and rapid exposure.

Hackers Came, but the French Were Prepared

Adam Nossiter, David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth, The New York Times, May 9, 2017

  • Let us be perfectly clear about what has happened here. Russia employed its full arsenal of what I’ve termed Special War—interlinked espionage, propaganda and subversion—against yet another Western country in an illegal effort to elect a leader more to Moscow’s liking. That this operation failed in France, just months after working in the United States, means that the Kremlin ought to reassess the viability of its clandestine model.

Putin Declares War on the West

John R. Schindler, Observer, May 8, 2017

  • According to a large and growing chorus of Russian foreign policy experts, the “Putin doctrine” has ominous ramifications for the United States…. Among its chief tenets are these: * * * 4. The energetic use of sophisticated social media and information warfare techniques in an “active measures” campaign to de-stabilize relations between members of the Western alliance, and shape political developments within their societies in a manner congenial to Russian interests.

How the West Contained Russian Aggressions

James A. Warren, Daily Beast, May 7, 2017


  • Information Warfare aims to socially engineer an audience, rendering a group or community utterly incapable of recognizing the truth, even when it should be evident. The effects can cause the dissolution of social constructs such as law, order, leadership, and civility if intended. Due to the advent of the internet and its many permutations, our culture continually consumes so much information that it’s become deconditioned to the fidelity of the digested content, a symptom indicative of susceptibility to the full effects of Information Warfare.

Beyond the Operational Environment: Reflections on Information Warfare

Evan Salbego, Small Wars Journal, April 8, 2017

  • This paper examines how and why Russia is extensively employing information warfare to ensure regime survival and in the service of its increasingly aggressive foreign policy goals. A theme throughout is how the West has yet to grasp the full implications of the Russian word informatsia and the challenge posed by Putin’s information strategy.

Protecting Falsehoods With a Bodyguard of Lies: Putin’s Use of Information Warfare

Deborah Yarsike Ball, NATO Defense College, February 2017

  • The manifesto includes three notable departures from the earlier charter, though they are heavily conditioned. First, Hamas accepted the establishment of a Palestinian state —at least provisionally—based on the June 4, 1967 lines. Second, the document attempted to distinguish between Jews or Judaism and Zionism. . . . . The new platform also lacked the anti-Semitic language of the 1988 charter. Third, the document did not even reference the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas was originally an offshoot of the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood.

Is Hamas Rebranding with New Manifesto?

Aaron David Miller, Wilson Center, May 2, 2017

  • Whether it is professionally developing cadets both in and outside of the classroom, grooming the Downing scholars to be the Army’s future senior leaders, producing new knowledge in the field of terrorism studies, or advising the nation’s top counterterrorism leaders, the [Counter Terrorism Center at West Point] is a unique institution unlike any other in the Army.

The Combatting Terrorism Center, A Strategic Asset for the Nation [Scanned Image of article]

LTC Bryan Price, West Point Magazine, Spring 2017

  • Media portray these women as joining jihadi groups through romantic adventurism such as the “jihadi brides”, naivety, or a sense of their own marginal lives lived in the West. However, most of the incentivizing narratives employed by ISIS . . . is the same that has been employed for young men. The fact that there’s an opportunity to join a cause and to fight for the rights of Muslims that are portrayed as besieged and assailed is touted by ISIS through sustained propaganda efforts.

Female terrorists and their role in jihadi groups

Beverley Milton-Edwards and Sumaya Attia, Brookings, May 9, 2017

  • It has recently been revealed that Syria is not the only country in which young, eager minds receive Islamic State schooling. According to some reports in Turkish newspapers and prosecutor indictments, such schools have operated in Turkey, as well.

The Brainwashing of Turkey’s Children by ISIS

Uzay Bulut, Middle East Forum, May 8, 2017

  • First, decision-makers in Paris and Berlin respond to terrorist threats in a one-sided and linear way. Second, they disregard that the very CT measures are likely to fuel radicalization. In this light, polarization and stigmatization breed radicalization. . . . recommendations include a more symmetric integration of local actors in the overall de-radicalization effort.

Polarization, Stigmatization, Radicalization. Counterterrorism and Homeland Security in France and Germany

Dr. Witold Mucha, Journal for De-Radicalization, Spring 2017

  • Counter speech videos, such as those of the German campaign Begriffswelten Islam . . . published on YouTube, offer alternative perspectives and democratic ideas to counteract extremist content. YouTube users may discuss these videos in the comment sections below the video.

Hate Beneath the Counter Speech? A Qualitative Content Analysis of User Comments on YouTube Related to Counter Speech Videos

Julian Ernst, Josephine B. Schmitt, et al., Journal for De-Radicalization, Spring 2017


  • The current study focuses on the process of deradicalization. While a number of studies have begun exploring this issue with regards to the actual process, this study focuses on the perceptions of deradicalization from the public.

Perceptions of extremists and deradicalization programs among university students in Kuwait

Kyle A. Msall, Journal for De-Radicalization, Spring 2017

  • Exploring interactive and participatory media encourages public expression and builds momentum. Documenting the impact closes the feedback loop. When purpose and momentum wane, these narratives show that participation can create change, and build a stronger democracy.

Democracy Needs Storytellers

Kawandeep Virdee, The Atlantic, May 6, 2017

  • The myth of the Great Patriotic War is one of the driving elements of Russia’s expansionism and war in Donbas. The Kremlin leadership uses this myth today as one of the foundational elements of the modern Russian nation to solidify the support of Russians for a strong military leader.

The Soviet foundations of Russia’s Great Patriotic War myth

Yana Prymachenko, Euromaidan Press, May 9, 2017

  • The rapidly growing popularity of Stalin in Russian society, a popularity promoted by the Kremlin, has “already born sad fruit” in the North Caucasus, Yevloyev says, with “the number of people in Russia who assert that Stalin’s repressions against the Caucasus peoples were completely justified growing” emerging from the margins and becoming mainstream.

Ever More Russians Say Stalin was Right to Deport North Caucasians

Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia—New Series, May 7, 2017

  • The Putin regime not only has completely restored the Stalinist conception of World War II but is promoting it in the media and the schools in ways that will make it ever more difficult for Russians to break out of that ideological straightjacket . . .

Moscow Completely Restores and Actively Promotes Stalinist Conception of World War II, Pavlova Says

Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia—New Series, May 7, 2017

  • A casual consumer of Russian propaganda outlets in advance of Moscow’s commemoration of Victory Day this year could be excused for thinking that the USSR defeated Hitler all on its own and that the Russian people were the only component of the Soviet war effort.

Even Oppressed Non-Russians Made Important Contributions to War Effort in World War II

Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia—New Series, May 6, 2017

  • From Kaliningrad to Vladivostok, Russian schoolchildren are preparing for the most important holiday of the year: Victory Day. * * * Amid the euphoria surrounding the event, however, Russia’s history teachers are finding themselves under pressure to conform to the Kremlin’s interpretation of the war.

How Russian Kids Are Taught World War II

Ola Cichowlas, The Moscow Times, May 8, 2017

  • In Arkhangelsk, officials barred activists from carrying the photographs of British and U.S. sailors who died providing Lend-Lease supplies to the Soviet Union, citing the current “political situation.”

Russia’s Immortal Regiment: From Grassroots To ‘Quasi-Religious Cult’

Svetlana Prokopyeva, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, May 12, 2017


Propaganda was a very powerful tool for each country that used it during World War II. The United States was no exception to this, as it helped unite the public and the military in the fight to win the war.

American Propaganda in World War II

Lincoln Riddle, War History Online, May 10, 2017

  • . . . nickels [leaflets] cannot – and are not intended to – replace bombs. Nickels perform an entirely separate function, but are none the less valuable for that. Like bombing they form part of the general strategic plan. They are a weapon aimed not at men’s bodies, but at their minds.

Why Drop Nickels?

Psywar, May 5, 2016


  • The main purpose of the [five Indian Field Broadcasting Units now {WW2} operating in Burma] is to carry out front-line propaganda against the enemy, and also behind the enemy lines. This is accomplished by loud-speaker apparatus, by distribution of leaflets, cartoons and other printed material by hand and by mortar, and by patrols whose ostensible purpose is to sell trade goods to local inhabitants. This trade goods programme, while it secures the growth of goodwill toward the Allies among the local inhabitants, is also highly productive of intelligence about the enemy’s movements, plans and general behaviour. The IFBU’s are thus able to assist local formations outside their propaganda distribution role.

Indian Field Broadcasting Units: Their Purpose and Activities

Psywar, November 11, 2015


Freedom of speech is an indispensable weapon of information warfare, in the fight against enemy propaganda, for suppression of narrow party, nomenclature or commercial interests…. According to [President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė], an independent free word, affirming the principles of democracy and freedom, critical thought and openness, was and will be an undeniable value for Lithuania in strengthening the state.

Grybauskaite: Freedom of speech is an indispensable weapon of information warfare

Belaruspartisan, May 16, 2017

  • The rise of digital technology has coincided with unprecedented political polarization in this country. From think pieces to casual conversations, many feel technology exacerbates these divisions. They are left to wonder how tools meant to bring us closer together can sometimes drive us further apart.

How Platforms Are Poisoning Conversations

Maeve Duggan, The Atlantic, May 11, 2017

  • The U.S. must be simultaneously a nationalist power, focused on the prosperity and security of its own people, and a globalist power working to secure the foundations of international order that Americans need. Mr. Trump appears to understand this truth better than many of his most vituperative critics. The task now confronting the president and his team is to develop and execute a national strategy based on these insights.

‘Nationalist’ Shouldn’t Be a Dirty Word

Walter Russell Mead, The Wall Street Journal, May 1, 2017

  • Ignorance of the basics “is a critical flaw because it’s why we were admired and respected for so long, it gives us our national identity, it tells the world who we are and why we are who we are, and without a frame that gives us values that stand behind the Bill of Rights, we’re just floating in the air and our sectors of society are not connected,” [Richard Dreyfuss] said.

Actor Floors Carlson With Comments About Free Speech, Civics Education

Jack Davis, Western Journalism, April 29, 2017

  • That’s what the founding fathers understood. They also understood that democracies are not perfect. We are imperfect, but our message to the world — in many ways our best message to the world is that you just get up every day and you keep working to overcome those imperfections.

Condoleezza Rice interview: Full Transcript

John Dickerson, CBS News, May 7, 2017

Countries and Regions

  • . . . we’ve always hoped that the Russians would see their role in the world as one built on the respect that comes from economic power, from soft power. But unfortunately, it’s turned to military power again to establish itself.

Condoleezza Rice interview: Full Transcript

John Dickerson, CBS News, May 7, 2017

  • . . . what brought back the orange-and-black ribbon was a 2005 PR campaign at Russia’s RIA Novosti state-run news agency . . . tasked with coming up with a souvenir to accompany the site’s online project collecting family memories about the war. . . . “We took a familiar combination of colors, a familiar context. * * * By 2014, more than 100 million ribbons had been distributed. Columnists at RIA Novosti claimed that its “grass-roots” campaign had succeeded where top-down efforts to create unifying symbols of Russian identity had failed.

How an Unlikely PR Campaign Made a Ribbon the Symbol of Russian Patriotism

Andrew Roth, The Washington Post, May 9, 2017


  • How does the world look from inside a pro-Kremlin disinformation outlet? We rarely get the opportunity to hear from the people who work in such organisations. So it is something of a scoop every time a whistle blower surfaces and offers a testimony.

Inside the Kremlin’s media machine

EU East Stratcom Task Force, Disinformation Review, May 3, 2017

  • Vladimir Putin issued a 27-page executive order on Thursday instructing the federal government to devise new mechanisms to rein in online media and limit Internet users’ anonymity.

Putin’s New Executive Order Cracks Down on Internet Media and Online Anonymity

The Moscow Times, May11, 2017

  • The hacking didn’t work. The leaks didn’t work. The fake news didn’t work. And the smear campaign didn’t work. So now the Kremlin is saying: can’t we all just get along? In his congratulatory message to Emmanuel Macron yesterday, Vladimir Putin called on the French president-elect to overcome the “mutual mistrust” between Paris and Moscow. That’s pretty rich when you consider who created the mutual mistrust.

The Daily Vertical: Putin Shoots Himself in the Foot (Transcript)

Brian Whitmore, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, May 9, 2017

  • This paper scrutinises the Kremlin’s propaganda machine and its popular narratives about the EU in order to understand how Russia’s media presents the EU and why less than a quarter of the population has a positive opinion of it.

How We Have Become an Enemy in the Eyes of Russia

Kristina Potapova, Martens Centre for European Studies, March 2017

  • If you watch Russian state-controlled TV, you will hear about a country called “Germany”, but it’s rather unlike the Germany you may know. Here is what we found out about this alternative Germany on Russia’s four big state-controlled and state-loyal TV channels:

Alternative Germany

EU East Stratcom Task Force, Disinformation Review, May 5, 2017

  • Just like other EU countries, Denmark has had its fair share of pro-Kremlin disinformation. It has for example been depicted as a country with food shortages and poor hygiene standards. Now an investigative article entitled “Focus on the information war: This is how Russia’s agenda spreads in Denmark” by the Danish online magazine Zetland provides more details on how pro-Kremlin disinformation migrates into Danish debates.

Pro-Kremlin disinformation in Denmark

EU East Stratcom Task Force, Disinformation Review, May 10, 2017

  • Ukraine has accumulated vast experience in fighting the Kremlin propaganda and is ready to share it with its partners, Deputy Minister of Information Policy of Ukraine Dmytro Zolotukhin said.

Ukraine has vast experience in tackling Kremlin propaganda, ready to share it – experts

Unian, May 12, 2017

  • Ministry of Defence has noticed false news stories about international military exercise Summer Shield XIV being spread on the media in an apparent attempt to intimidate public.

Fake news about Summer Shield XIV exercise

Media Relations Section, Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Latvia, April 26, 2017

  • NATO is recruiting Russian speakers in Latvia to use as guinea pigs for psychological and biological experiments.  German soldiers are assaulting women in Lithuania. And troops from the Western alliance are apparently taking LSD to prepare for an invasion of Russia.  What? You haven’t heard these things? Well you would have learned all about them had you been reading the Russian-language media in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.  Welcome to the weird, weird world of the Kremlin’s active measures and disinformation in the Baltics.

The Daily Vertical: Absurdity Can Be Deadly (Transcript)

Brian Whitmore, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, May 4, 2017

  • Bulgarian fake-news agents often promote Moscow’s line not for Russia’s sake, but for their own political interests

Made in Bulgaria: Pro-Russian Propaganda

Michael Colborne, Stop Fake, May 9, 2017

  1. CHINA
  • Life in China is saturated with pretense. People feign ignorance and speak in ambiguities. Everyone in China knows that a censorship system exists, but there is very little discussion of why it exists. . . . At first glance, the censorship seems invisible, but its omnipresent washing of people’s feelings and perceptions creates limits on the information people receive, select and rely upon. The content offered by the Chinese state media, after its processing by political censors, is . . . information that has been chosen, filtered and assigned its place, inevitably restricting the free and independent will of readers and viewers.

Ai Weiwei: How Censorship Works

Ai Weiwei, The New York Times, May 6, 2017

  • When trade routes open up, that’s when the sharing starts; Resources changing hands, and shipping auto parts; Ideas start to flow, friendships start to form; Then things impossible, all become the norm.

An amazing video showing why free trade is great… produced by China

James Pethokoukis, American Enterprise Institute, May 11, 2017

  • After the cringeworthy OBOR bedtime story video from the China Daily, and Xinhua News Agency’s OBOR in poetry video (in Chinese) that features traditional graphic motifs and quotations . . . the People’s Daily has produced a video (in Chinese with English subtitles) called “Xi Jinping on the world stage,” which says that . . . Xi is “familiar with the histories and cultures of different countries” . . . .Not to be outdone, Road to Rejuvenation Studios, the production company behind memorable Xi-era new media propaganda such as this song and psychedelic video about China’s 13th five-year-plan, has also released an OBOR video.[OBOR=One Belt, One Road]

No respite from cringeworthy propaganda — OBOR is coming to town

Sup China, May 11, 2017


  • There is only one way to prepare now to mitigate the effects of six decades of indoctrination and to help prepare the way for unification. The ROK must initiate a comprehensive information-and-influence activities campaign. This must be done on multiple levels against target audiences . . . . defector organizations have been having success penetrating the North’s information defenses. From cellphone contacts through China to the proliferation of . . . DVDs, CDs and USB drives . . . some of the most sought-after forms of entertainment are South Korean serial dramas that show how people live in the South.

Can South Korean-made TV dramas prepare the North for reunification?

David S. Maxwell, The Washington Times, March 30, 2016

  • North Korea has been hurling wild, unconfirmed accusations at the U.S. and its allies for years. Most recently, Pyongyang accused the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) Friday of hiring a North Korean lumberjack working in Russia to detonate a “radioactive” and “nano-poisonous” bomb at a military parade to eliminate Kim Jong Un.

CIA Plot To Off Kim Jong Un Is Just One Of Half A Dozen Wild North Korean Accusations

Ryan Pickrell, The Daily Caller, May 6, 2017

  • . . . human rights activists are scaling up efforts to take out the [North Korean] regime via sitcoms and pop music on thumb drives that they get into the reclusive country in increasingly creative ways.

The Dangerous Mission To Undermine North Korea With Flash Drives

Adele Peters, Fast Company, May 8, 2017 

  1. IRAN
  • Iranian authorities seemingly haven’t given up their decades-long efforts to discredit the office of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Iran . . . . The latest attempt came in the form of an article published on 15 March 2017 by state-owned Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). Citing an unreliable source, it alleged current Special Rapporteur Asma Jahangir would soon secretly travel to Saudi Arabia — a country whose relationship with Iran is strained at best — where she would be offered bribes to adopt anti-Iran stances.

Iranian News Agency Publishes ‘Fabricated’ Story Accusing UN Special Rapporteur of Misdeeds with Saudi Arabia

Mahsa Alimardani, Global Voices, May 4, 2017

  • Exposing ISIS’s True Nature: On February 28, representatives from 38 countries met with media and tech companies in London to enhance efforts to counter ISIS messaging under the auspices of the Counter ISIS Coalition Communications Working Group. The group’s campaign targeting vulnerable audiences in Tunisia, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia has expanded to Libya, Jordan, and France. The U.S. Global Engagement Center reported reaching more than 19 million people with social media campaigns aimed at giving families, youth, and community organizations tools to safeguard their communities against violent extremism; engaging women against violent extremism; and showing that ISIS is a corrupt, exploitative organization.

[Report] Operation Inherent Resolve: Report to the United States Congress

Glenn A. Fine, Lead Inspector General for Overseas Contingency Operations, Mar 2017

  • . . . the videos released by the Islamic State are edited pieces of propaganda, which likely have been carefully crafted to make the group—and its capabilities—look impressive. What isn’t being shown are all of the times U.S. and Iraqi forces have downed the Islamic State’s quad-copters3 or instances when the Islamic State’s new drone bomb drop tool were less accurate.

CTC Perspectives – The Islamic State’s Drone Documents: Management, Acquisitions, and DIY Tradecraft

Don Rassler, Muhammad al-`Ubaydi, Vera Mironova, Combatting Terrorism Center, West Point, January 31, 2017

  • . . . what we need now is for global forces to focus their energies toward debilitating the branch of ISIS that, in our view, is the primary threat: the manifestation of ISIS-inspired ideology that has permeated, through the medium of ever-advancing technology, the very fabric of Western societies.

The Trump Administration vs. ISIS: Will this new strategy work – Muhammad Fraser-Rahim

Murshed Madaser, Quilliam, April 28, 2017

  • ISIS recruitment in the U.S. is for the most part Internet based and has resulted in the actual and attempted recruitment of over 100 individuals residing in the U.S. with over 200 Americans traveling to Syria to join terrorist groups. To date very little counter-narrative material exists and most of it is cognitive versus emotionally impactful.

Beating ISIS in the Digital Space: Focus Testing ISIS Defector Counter-Narrative

Videos with American College Students

Allison McDowell-Smith, Anne Speckhard, and Ahmet S. Yayla, Journal for De-Radicalization, Spring 2017


  • Through their programs and events, American Spaces serve to build bridges between people of other countries and the United States; increasing understanding, collaboration, and partnership.

[Report] The Office of American Spaces 2016 Annual Report

Bureau of International Information Programs, United States Department of State, May 2017

  • Just because two cultures share a common language or are in a similar part of the world does not necessary mean that they share a common business culture. This sounds like an obvious point, but it’s one that people often overlook when doing business overseas, especially in countries with superficial similarities that can mask important underlying differences.

A Common Language Doesn’t Equal a Common Culture

Andy Molinsky, Psychology Today, April 1, 2017

  • Education City (Qatar), an initiative of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development, covers over 14 square kilometers and houses world class university extension programs such as Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Northwestern University, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar, and HEC Paris to name just a few of the participating universities in this endeavor.

Education Cities: The Future of Learning?

John Schembari, LinkedIn, May 10, 2017



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