Friday, April 7, 2017

"Seen on the Web" (#63) -- Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy

John Brown

"Seen on the Web" (#63) -- Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy

Donald Bishop Thu, Apr 6, 2017 at 9:53 PM

Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy “Seem on the Web” (#63)
April 6, 2017
Seen on the Web 1754-1816


In the News
[U.S. European Command]
[U.S. Policy Toward the Balkan States]

Instruments of Informational Power

Professional Topics
  6. CYBER                        

Countries and Regions


In the News

[U.S. European Command Posture Statement]

● Going forward, we must bring the information aspects of our national power more fully to bear on Russia, both to amplify our narrative and to draw attention to Russia’s manipulative, coercive, and malign activities.
General Curtis Scaparrotti, Senate Armed Services Committee, March 23, 2017

● “The Russians see it as part of their spectrum of warfare,” [General Curtis] Scaparrotti told the committee, and their coordinated use of “social media, TV, cyber” to create effects and spread misinformation is “a force to be reckoned with.” A US and NATO counter-program “exists, but it needs to really be reinforced.” On cyber warfare, Scaparrotti said NATO has clarified that “Article 5 could be triggered by a cyber event,” but it would be “a policy decision” as to how serious a cyber attack would need to be in order to evoke a NATO response.
Wilson Brissett, Air Force Magazine, March 24, 2017

● "We have information operations that are military and I have those that are countering malign influence in Europe. But what we really need is we need a whole of government approach, a whole of government information campaign . . .."  During the Cold War, the United States operated the U.S. Information Agency and several official and semi-official radio stations. USIA was disbanded in 1999, and U.S. radio programs are poorly led and funded.  "We need somebody to lead that and then we need to finance it and form a governmental strategy," Scaparrotti said.
Bill Gertz, The Washington Free Beacon, March 24, 2017

[U.S. Policy Toward the Balkan States]

● [Vladimir Putin] has pursued a policy of subversion against his neighbors and other countries further afield, including propaganda, bribery and corruption, and support for those who favor chaos over those who favor any order opposed to him. The Kremlin leader and others call this a “hybrid” war, one that doesn’t look like a real one and that gives him plausible deniability in many cases.
Paul A. Goble, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, March 22, 2017

 New U.S.-supported international and local Russian language media projects have begun to gain wider exposure and have enjoyed some considerable success. These efforts are in their infancy, and may take time to begin significantly impacting public discourse among Russian speakers in the region. For such efforts to maintain credibility, they must assiduously avoid the temptation to match propaganda with propaganda . . .
Matthew Rojansky, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, March 22, 2017

● Russia practices information warfare (propaganda) with a level of sophistication and intensity not seen even during the Cold War.  It uses the immediacy, anonymity and ubiquity of the internet to confuse and corrode Western decision-making and public life.
Edward Lucas, House Foreign Affairs Committee, March 22, 2017

Elements of Informational Power

● The digitalization of diplomacy has once again altered the role of ambassadors. This is due to the fact that power is now migrating back from the ministry to the embassy. While world leaders may have assumed part of the responsibility for multilateral issues, embassies have reasserted their importance in the fields of public diplomacy.
Ilan Manor, USC Public Diplomacy, March 16, 2017

● The information tools available to the United States for a successful strategy toward Russia are in need of modernization and adaptation to global communication flows . . . . a top-to-bottom reevaluation of the authorities, tools, organizations, and resources dedicated to public diplomacy and other tools available to U.S. policymakers to compete with Russia in the information space with a clear strategy and purpose.
Lisa Sawyer Samp, Kathleen H. Hicks, Olga Oliker, et. al., Center for Strategic and International Studies, March 2017

● Elevate Public Diplomacy:  It is time to take public diplomacy out of the State Department and give it back the agency status it once had.  We are losing the war of ideas around the world.  Social media has changed the way we practice public diplomacy, and we are not keeping up with it.  To help make America great again, we need to do a better job telling its story and explaining its policies.
Ray Burson, Foreign Service Journal, January-February, 2017

● [Dina] Powell will now be charged with helping to explain Trump’s policies, including his proposed ban on travelers from several Muslim-majority countries, to allies that have been shaken by the president’s stances on issues such as trade and intelligence.
Jordan Fabian, TheHill, March 30, 2017

● Tillerson’s style marks a clean break with traditional notions of what it means to be America’s top diplomat. For decades, public relations was as much a part of the job as private negotiations, both to champion American ideals and to make sure the guy on the other side of the negotiating table didn’t control the message.
Nick Wadhams, Bloomberg, March 23, 2017

●…there is widespread agreement in Congress and elsewhere that, in exchange for continued funding, these government broadcasters must do more, as part of the national security apparatus, to assist efforts to combat Russian, ISIS, and al-Qaeda disinformation.
Dan Robinson, Columbia Journalism Review, March 30, 2017

Professional Topics

 Over the last year, the number of mobile phones overtook the world population. In countries like the United States, mobile subscribers outnumbered traditional landline users and half of Americans shifted to mobile-only to communicate.
Marco Balduzzi, Trend Micro, March 31, 2017

● Technological change may also be less favorable to the advance of human freedom than previously assumed. Advanced technologies have, certainly, enabled citizens to contest authoritarian rule, as demonstrated by the role of social media in the Arab uprisings of 2011. Yet we have also seen growing evidence that dictators are harnessing technology to better police and repress their citizenry.
Hal Brands, Peter Feaver, William Inboden, and Paul Miller, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, March 27, 2017

● Recent research into the roots of persuasion in the brain yields some important clues about how people are convinced to propagate news that is not true or poorly sourced. Bottom line: fake news appeals directly to the portions of the brain associated with social acceptance.  Activity from those regions has a bigger effect on decision-making than logical argument. . .
Patrick Tucker, Defense One, March 23, 2017

● To date, U.S. efforts to monitor ISIS's use of social media and counter its online propaganda and recruitment efforts have been tentative, hesitant and amateurish. Responsibility for counter-messaging has shifted between various organizations, but these agencies do not seem to share lessons learned or even operate using a cohesive strategy.
Andrew Byers and Tara Mooney, TheHill, March 21, 2017

 . . . motivated by the political disruptions of 2016, the rhetoric around “fake news” and alternative media, and this nagging feeling that there was something in our online rumoring data that could provide insight into these issues, we completed a systematic study of alternative narratives of mass shooting events . . . .
Kate Starbird, Design Use Build, March 14, 2017

● Cognitive neuroscientists say all that time we now spend in front of screens has changed the way we read and comprehend. Internet browsing has shortened both our attention spans and our patience. And it's doing a number on our memories. * * * * * it's worth highlighting a few of the more recent disorders that experts blame on our digital obsession:  1. Nomophobia * * * 2. Technoference * * * 3. The phantom ring * * *  4. Cyberchondria * * * 5. Truman Show Delusion
Tammy Kennon, The Week, February 28, 2017


● The Magshimim after-school program — for gifted high schoolers from underprivileged parts of the country — teaches computer programming, coding, encryption and how to defend a computer network against hacking.  The program is overseen by Israel’s defense establishment and co-sponsored by . . . a philanthropic group. It's part of Israel’s efforts to invest in youth as a way to build up the country’s cybersecurity prowess.
Daniel Estrin, Public Radio International, March 30, 2017

● President Trump informed Congress Wednesday that he will continue the cybersecurity national emergency first declared by then-President Obama in 2015. * * * "Significant malicious cyber-enabled activities originating from, or directed by persons located, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States, continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,” the statement to Congress reads.
Christopher Diamond, Fifth Domain Cyber, March 30, 2017

● Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections has brought the issue of cyberwar again to the top of the news, but the possibilities it raises are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the role of cyber operations in modern warfare. Most—although not all—analysts agree that cyber will be a key domain in the conflicts of the future. Exactly how cyber will impact these future conflicts, however, is hard to say with any certainty.
Christopher Chivvis and Cynthia Dion-Schwarz, World Affairs Journal, March 30, 2017

● In late 2015, an adversary nation-state’s hackers cracked into one of the U.S. government’s unclassified national security systems . . . That’s nothing out of the ordinary.  When the U.S. government network defenders discovered the hackers, however, instead of taking flight as they normally do, the attackers stuck around and fought back.
Joseph Marks, Defense One, March 22, 2017

● Ever wondered why creators of fake news seem to enjoy writing and disseminating bogus stories? The answer could lie in a new browser-based game, "Fake It To Make It".
Zoey Chong, CNET, March 28, 2017

● "Fake news" has finally made its way to the AP Stylebook. * * * Fact-checking also is essential in debunking fabricated stories or parts of stories done as hoaxes, propaganda, jokes or for other reasons, often spread widely on the internet and mistaken as truth by some news consumers."  There is a difference between sloppy reporting and "fake news" . . .
Sarah Westwood, The Washington Examiner, March 27, 2017

● Decidedly less delicious, but no less real: “fake news” has beaten out “halal snack pack” to be named Macquarie Dictionary’s word of the year for 2016.  The committee announced . . . . it as “disinformation and hoaxes published on websites for political purposes or to drive web traffic” and “the incorrect information being passed along by social media”.
Elle Hunt, The Guardian, January 24, 2017

● First, the United States must live up to commitments vital to our own security. Priority should be placed on ensuring coherent and convincing messages — in word and in deed — where confusion could lead to military conflict through miscalculation, such as with North Korea, Iran, Russia, and China. Case in point are the efforts of several leaders to strengthen the deterrence message with Russia in the first several months of the administration.
Kathleen Hicks, War on the Rocks, March 31, 2017

● Through empirical analysis of twenty-nine US military operations, this paper demonstrates the tactical and operational superiority of “clear-hold-build” operations over conventional and “counterterrorist-plus” approaches.* * * * *Consistent within the “clear-hold-build” COIN framework, developmental aid is essential for signaling credibility among the population and promoting the necessary controls against insurgent attacks and propaganda.
Blair Wilcox, Modern War Institute, March 31, 2017

● . . . beginning about a decade ago there was much discussion about “whole of government” and “smart power” solutions that has morphed into the “soft power” language today. The idea that the State Department, USAID, and NGOs would play indispensable roles in places like Afghanistan and Iraq in achieving peace seemed plausible. Civilians would have their own “surge” into conflict to build institutions and take other steps to establish peace. Nice concept, but it never truly worked.
Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., Just Security, March 29, 2017

● The difficulty of [irregular warfare] lies not in theory but in practice. “Winning hearts and minds” seems intuitively obvious but proves exceedingly hard to do. How do you convince a population of your righteous view when you are an outsider and don’t speak the language or know the culture?
Dr. John T. Farquhar, Air & Space Power Journal, Spring 2017


● …we need to take the debate up a level to talk about strategy to counter mal-influences.  * * * First:  Go on offense.  * * * Our government does not appear to believe that we have a good product to sell, despite US influence in the world being overwhelmingly positive * * * We need to call out the monotonically negative influence by Ru/Ch/Ir/IS that only benefits the local ruling class and Ru/Ch/Ir/IS.  * * * Second, we need to mount a strong defense, counterpunching when Ru/Ch/Ir/IS spread disinformation around the world or, esp, in the US.  * * * Third, we need to be willing to take chances on messages. * * * Fourth, we need solid metrics that that measure the impact of messages…
Joel Harding, To Inform is to Influence, March 31, 2017

● Adversaries are increasingly targeting U.S. proficiency in the information environment — the complex area wherein space, cyberspace, communications, and command and control networks intersect. U.S. forces, along with the rest of American society, are increasingly reliant on exquisite and assured communications, information technology, and infrastructure.
William Dries, War on the Rocks, March 27, 2017

● Russia leadership has also publicly prioritized its information warfare and cyberweapons. “Information is now a species of weapon,” wrote Russian major general Ivan Vorobvev in 2013.
Nicole Softness, Defense One, March 24, 2017

● In order to stimulate exchange of knowledge, lessons learnt and to identify promising practices in addressing and countering information war, GLOBSEC Policy Institute organised Advanced Research Workshops in Tbilisi…. They attracted more than 100 participants from 15 counties and produced . . . relevant recommendations reflecting different aspects of information war…
Daniel Milo and Katarina Klingova, Globsec Policy Institute, accessed April 4, 2017

 The Administration must communicate a sustainably credible series of messages about terrorism.
Trump Counterterrorism: The Five Foundations for SuccessRichard English, Georgetown Security Studies Review, February, 2017 (pp. 77 ff)

● In the ideological sphere, the counter-radicalization Prevent program, which was introduced by the Labour government in 2003 but only really fleshed out post 2006, aims to “stop people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.” Prevent allows local government, the police, schools, universities, prisons, hospitals, and Muslim communities to work together to identify and challenge Islamist extremist ideology . . .
Robin Simcox, Foreign Affairs, March 28, 2017

● Factors contributing to violent radicalization processes can be: familial, social, gender-based, socioeconomic, psychological, religious, ideological, historical, cultural, political, propaganda, social media, or Internet-based.
Sir David Veness, Georgetown Security Studies Review, February, 2017

● Jihadist propaganda offers an extreme, violent solution to these people’s identity conflicts, luring them with a different concept of nation: the nation of Islam as promoted by Islamic State but also al-Qa’ida
Fernando Reinares, Georgetown Security Studies Review, February, 2017, pp. 70  

● . . . we have identified ten 'risk points' where refugees are vulnerable to radicalisation in camps and along the migration route, and have made suggestions on how to minimise these risks by increasing safeguarding and resilience against extremism.
Haras Rafiq and Nikita Malik, Quilliam, February, 2017


● Successful campaigns are a complex construction, made up of multiple different types of messaging (offensive and defensive, identity and rational-choice) dispatched through multiple mediums (online, print, tv, radio, oration), all in support of and mutually re-enforcing, a central narrative and synchronised with action on the ground.
Dr. Alastair Reed, International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, March 17, 2017

● These concepts – redeeming fallen honor, perpetual victimhood, international responsibility, and achieving through guilt what politics and force of arms cannot – are cultural ideas, transmitted endlessly by Palestinian leaders and through their educational system and media.
Alexander H. Joffe, Middle East Forum, March 26, 2017

● These weaknesses notwithstanding, I still definitely recommend [the film] Bitter Harvest. To be fair to Mendeluk, covering a complex issue like the Holodomor in a non-documentary film is an extraordinarily difficult undertaking, and he does a very good job. I hope Bitter Harvest will increase Americans’ public awareness of both communism’s bloody legacy and Russia’s history of aggression against the people of Ukraine.
George Barros, Providence Magazine, March 24, 2017

● As chairman of the Committee on Public Information, [George] Creel became the mastermind behind the U.S. government’s propaganda campaign in the Great War. * * * * * Creel is today remembered as a pioneer of a distinctive American approach to public diplomacy: telling America’s story with a flourish, but doing so with an emphasis on truth.
Nicholoas J. Cull, American Experience, March 21, 2017

● By both highlighting and hiding the Mao memorabilia, Zhao says her goal was “to focus one’s attention on the impact a political agenda can have on the everyday lives of a population and how much it altered the vernacular visual language of China’s history.”
Karly Domb Sadof, The Washington Post, March 10, 2017

● During the Korean War (1950-1953), this use of soft power was intended, in the words of Public Affairs Officer James L. Stewart, “to create democratic-minded people in Korea friendly to the United States.” For much of the war, the State Department’s domestic film-making campaign in Korea was headed by a single American, William G. Ridgeway, and staffed by dozens of South Koreans who had reinvented themselves as film industry workers.
Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, accessed 4 April, 2017

● Between 1941 and 1943, an exceedingly peculiar series of transmissions reached radio sets in Germany. The broadcaster called himself Der Chef, or the chief, and his Berliner accent and prodigious knowledge of military affairs suggested he was a high-ranking German of the old guard, probably an army officer.
Matthew Shaer, Smithsonian Magazine, April 2017

● World War I had a lasting impact on the American art scene, from artists making a name for themselves through military recruitment posters to filmmakers who memorialized war experiences in popular movies. Here’s a glimpse into some of that art.
Laura Monsen, Share America, March 31, 2017

●  Security in the century ahead will depend more on our moral imagination — and with it, the ability to develop concepts of restraint — than it will on amazing technological breakthroughs.  This in turn suggests a final reality about warfare in the age of cyber.  Regardless of the innovations that lie ahead, technology by itself will neither doom nor rescue the world. Responsibility for our fate, for better or worse, will remain stubbornly human.
David Patreaus, The World Post, March 29, 2017

● Ours is an age of information abundance, flooded with images and sound bites. . . . merely providing accurate information is neither sufficient nor effective to inform and influence one’s stakeholders. Nor do facts speak for themselves, given the incapacity of fact-checking to dispel falsehoods and stop their spreading. * * * it is equally important to reveal and embody emotional truth, based on understanding each other at a deeper level.
Jian Wang, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, March 28, 2017

● The desire to help those struggling abroad gain the freedoms enjoyed here at home has remained a uniquely unifying force in American politics. . . . Democratic internationalists have found common cause with Republican anti-communists, who’ve aligned with liberal Amnesty International volunteers, who’ve sided with conservative church groups sponsoring refugees . . . behind the belief that the United States should promote something beyond its immediate self-interest.
Tom Malinowski, The Atlantic, March 25, 2017

● Those leaders who have declined to identify Islamist jihadism as a motivation for terrorism seem to be operating on two assumptions, (a) that the American (or British) people will retaliate with mass violence against perceived Muslims . . . . I'm absolutely sure that concern (a) represents a view of the American people so factually wrong as to amount to group libel. It sees the American people as a dim beast easily provoked to hateful rage.
Michael Barone, The Washington Examiner, March 23, 2017

Countries and Regions


● Across the continent the hand of the Russian state has been perceived in an array of cyber attacks on government and state institutions, in the phenomenon of "fake news" and disinformation, and in the targeted funding of opposition groups.
So how real is the threat and what form does it take?
Becky Branford, BBC News, March 31, 2017

● The Russian disinformation campaign goes even beyond elections, Watts said. An April 2014 petition on the U.S. White House website demanded the country give Alaska back to Russia.  The petition generated 39,000 signatures in a short time, with many signatures appearing to come from bots used to push Russian propaganda months earlier, Watts said.
Grant Gross, CSO, March 30, 2017

● We already know that social media makes it much easier for the Russian state to spread disinformation. Less attention has been paid to the Russian private businessmen who make it much easier for the Russian state to win friends and buy influence than their Soviet counterparts did.
Anne Applebaum, The Washington Post, March 26, 2017

 The U.S. has not done enough to reinforce its own and NATO’s nascent efforts to fight Russia’s prolific propaganda against European allies, the top military commander in Europe told lawmakers Thursday.
Joe Gould, Defense News, March 23, 2017


● The Baltic nation has long had an adversarial relationship with its Russian neighbor. As a result, its press and public have become adept at recognizing and debunking Kremlin propaganda.
Aliya Sternstein, The Christian Science Monitor, March 24, 2017


● Arguing that the Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians are more russophobic than any other nation in the world, the Russian propaganda site, SputnikPogrom, outlines how Moscow must work to split up the three countries into smaller units dominated by ethnic and linguistic minorities to put them on course for reabsorption into a Russian empire.
Paul Goble, Estonian World, March 24, 2017

● Critics say the blasphemy law is being used to silence Pakistan's media because even the allegation can be enough to incite hardliners to kill.
Kathy Gannon, Associated Press, March 24, 2017


● Last month the Marrakesh Security Forum, a semiofficial annual conference of experts and policymakers hosted by Morocco's leading foreign policy think tank, marked the diplomatic reunion of Morocco and the African Union with intense discussion of common continental interests in confronting violent jihadi threats.
David Pollock, Fikra Forum, March 27, 2017


● . . . Xinhua News Agency released an animated music video with a rap song about the “six things close to Xi Jinping’s heart.”
supchina, March 8, 2017

● All of that leaves local artists struggling to find meaning in the city’s upheavals, art professionals said in interviews. And while some of their recent works are more overtly political than others, many are infused with a sense of helplessness toward what is widely seen here as the city’s increasing subjugation to Beijing’s authoritarianism.
Mike Ives, The New York Times, March 30, 2017

● Previously, they watched foreign movies and soap operas on DVDs smuggled into the country, but in recent years they have developed a preference for USB sticks and SD cards, which are easier to hide. They plug the USBs or SD cards into their DVD players — which are permitted, although only to watch North Korean propaganda — and make sure to have a DVD in the drive in case of a spot inspection.
North Korean regime is finding new ways to stop information flows, report says
Anna Fifield, The Washington Post, March 1, 2017

● …expanding network connectivity to a broad swath of the population is arming the North Korean government with a new array of censorship and surveillance tools that go beyond what is observed even in other authoritarian states or closed media environments. It is clear that the state’s information control strategy, while changing, is not ad hoc or ill-considered. Recent technological innovations and policy changes, on balance, may be giving the North Korean government more control than they are ceding.
Compromising Connectivity
Nat Kretchun, Catherine Lee and Seamus Tuohy, InterMedia, February, 2017


● . . . the overall picture—that teenagers from abroad overwhelmingly think that American schools demand less of them than schools in their home countries—is not exactly a ringing endorsement of this country’s educational establishment.  
The American Interest, March 23, 2017

No comments: