Disinformation and Fake News Giving Propaganda A Good Name

Disinformation and Fake News Giving Propaganda A Good Name On March 2, 2017 the Brookings Institute ran an article “Disinformation campaigns target tech-enabled citizen journalists” (see: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/techtank/2017/03/02/disinformation-campaigns-target-tech-enabled-citizen-journalists/?utm_campaign=Brookings%20Brief&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=send by e-mail&utm_content=43768809which is also the photo source).The article starts out talking in this area how today’s technology is ubiquitous and plentiful. Consequently nearly anyone with a smartphone can become a crusading reporter and expose wrongdoing. This can be especially problematic in countries where governments want to control their citizen’s perception of events. The article talks in this area a “troll factory’ where disinformation artists are paid to alter the perceptions of citizens by pumping “Out fake information in hard work to obfuscate Russian war crimes in Ukraine and Syria and retaliate hostile to Western investigators.Several disinformation techniques are noted and touched upon.All of this points to the need for more emphasis on countering disinformation hard work. Given the nature of disinformation and the sheer digit of participants, perhaps the approach should be a very unPSYOP one – that is use technical measures. If the Internet of Things (IoT) could be harnessed by criminals to launch Denial of Service attacks (see: https://arstechnica.com/security/2016/10/double-dip-internet-of-things-botnet-attack-felt-across-the-internet/for example), why couldn’t the same technique be employed as a disinformation jammer?I’ll leave that one to your imagination and your comments.

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UAVs – The New Commando Solo?

UAVs – The New Commando Solo?I had a bit of writer’s block and a dearth of material for this week’s posting so I chose to just surf around for a while and see what I could come up with. I started with one of the darlings of today’s battlefield – the UAV. For background I found: “Making The Most of New UAV Capabilities in Video/Announce Product” (see: http://www.creativeplanetnetwork.com/news/expertise/making-most-new-uav-capabilities-videobroadcast-production/610167; which is also a photo source).The article was published in June 2015. Not exactly ancient, but not exactly new by Internet standards either. The article provides facts and insights into today’s broadcasting technology and urges the entertainment industry to learn how to use UAVs in their work.UAVs and MISO are made for each other.  1.     PSYOP/MISO in Denied AreasIt seems to me that we will always need a need to project PSYOP/MISO announce products into denied areas. The areas may be denied because of the tactical situation the geography or because of a natural or man-made disaster.2.     MSIO Specific IntelligenceUAVs could be used to recon a new AO from a PSYOP/MISO perspective. This would include obtaining imagery of billboards, posters and graffiti. It could also include surveying an urban area to determine the density of satellite dishes and traditional TV antennas. 3.     Different PlatformsIf the contemporary media landscape is unsuitable or uncooperative UAVs might be able to offer flexibility in delivering the message to the target consultation employing an different transmission schema.4.     Psychological Act (PSYACT) PossibilitiesThe Killer is a incredible weapons system. You can find the official US Air Force fact sheet at: http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/FactSheets/Spectacle/tabid/224/Article/104469/mq-1b-killer.aspx(also a photo source). While formerly used for surveillance and reconnaissance, the Hellfire Missile equipped UAV has been credited with a digit of very successful terrorist attacks. Consequently a small creativity can help control the presence of even an unarmed UAV as a Psychological Act.Of course the AO’s ROE will impact the use of UAVs and an emerging body of law concerning them, especially their impact on privacy may also factor into their use.In any event, the UAV will undoubtedly emerge as an effective shape weapon as it has in its previous missions. Will they replace Commando Solo? At this point it is highly unlikely, but in fairness, we are now only scratching the surface of their potential.

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Communicating in An Urban Disaster

Communicating in An Urban Disaster --> PSYOP/MISO are often called upon to help out in Disaster Recovery by communicating information to those affected by the disaster. San Jose is the 10th largest city in America with over 1 million people. The Coyote Creek runs north from Morgan Hill, CA. It is feed by Lake Anderson, a lake behind an earthen dam – Anderson Dam. For years the dam has needed seismic retrofitting and was supposed to be kept at 68%. Due to the recent rains here the dam was at 100%. A spillway is used to drain the water. The spillway flows into the creek which meanders through San Jose. If you Google “Rock Springs, San Jose” you’ll get a nice map.At one point 14,000 people were under mandatory evacuation orders. These were ‘delivered’ block by block. There was also wide spread TV and other media coverage.. This week my wife and I are working for the Red Cross in help of the San Jose (CA) Coyote Creek Floods. My role is that of Lead Public Affairs Officer.Government and community organizations needed to get information out to the affected people and the general public. The Red Cross opened two shelters to help those impacted by the disaster. Given this as background, here’s what I’ve learned so far this week.1.     Nearly everyone is glued to his or her cell buzz. 2.     Charging stations and WiFi are more vital than washers and dryers.3.     Language skills are always useful. They are helpful in working the and of course, those impacted by the disaster.4.     No matter how urbanized an area may be, you will need low-tech communication media. There is no substitute for face-to-face communications or flyers. Merely putting something on-line is not sufficient.5.     As in war, no plot survives contact. The dynamics of a disaster and the effects on the population are always unpredictable.6.     Once the disaster subsides, politicians will rush to pin the blame somewhere else.7.     Announce media channels are competitors. They are each scrambling to find the best metaphors.8.     Reporters and politicians say what they reckon their viewers/viewers or constituents are most likely to want to hear and not consider the huge picture of what actions people should take or not take to lessen the distress.Reader input invited as always.Photo Source: The Author

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Leaflets Still On The Job In Age of Social Media

Leaflets Still On The Job In Age of Social MediaWhile we are attached to our smartphones day and night, it’s useful to bear in mind that in black and white media such as leaflets are still powerful tools in today’s PSYOP arsenal. Leaflets are still effective in hard to get to areas. Operation Inherent Resolve’s PSYOP team is employing leaflets in Syria, Iraq and somewhere else. (see: https://www.dvidshub.net/news/217046/leaflet-use-finds-renewed-purpose-operation-inherent-resolve; which is also the photo source). For information on Operation Inherent Resolve, you can check out their web page at: http://www.inherentresolve.mil/The 3rd Military Information Help BN, part of the 4th Military Information Help Assemble soldiers are deployed in help of operations in the Middle East. The article quotes the operations SGM for the Military Information Help Task Force (MISTF) who commented on the use of leaflets in denied areas:“Creative ways to communicate must be found and used to ensure our message is received in denied territories.”“Recipients on the ground will sometimes take photos of the leaflets and post them on social media thus amplifying our message,” the operations sergeant major added.Each ‘order’, or set of leaflets is custom tailored for that customer and that situation. Production is closer to the customer as a means of improving delivery time. The Production facility is located in Qatar rather than back at the US HQ at Fort Bragg, NC. Teams rotate from Fort Bragg into Qatar, but the quality of the product and the spirits remain high. According to the SGM “The team has done incredible work,” he said. “The professionalism of the team led to every job being timely delivered even if it meant working extra hours or during scheduled down time. It was a pleasure working with a dedicated, mission-focused team.” Of course leaflet deployment requires considerable plotting. In addition to content, it’s import to consider how the consultation will respond to paper fluttering down from the sky and to factor in the wind and other variables that will impact delivery. The point is that today’s world is not all iPhones and FaceBook. Shape comes in a variety of flavors. PSYOP/MISO personnel must be conversant in a variety of media so that they can use the best ones to the job at hand.

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EW: The Forgotten PSYOP Weapon

EW: The Forgotten PSYOP WeaponIt’s been a sweet busy week and I nearly didn’t make a posting. That is until I spotted an ancient piece in this area garage doors and the Navy. The headline reads “” Telephone system signal from U.S. Navy submarine base blamed for mystery of garage doors in Connecticut opening and closing at random” (see: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2178027/Telephone system-signal-U-S-Navy-submarine-base-blamed-mystery-garage-doors-Connecticut-opening-closing-random.html; which is also the photo source). The essence of the report is that telephone system signals from the Naval Submarine Base New London (which is gives its street address as Groton, CT) were the probable cause of the bewitched garage doors. The sub base noted that the signals were part of the Enterprise Land Mobile Telephone system (ELMR) System.  A quick Google search came up with RadioReference.com which claims that “This system is deprecated, and may no longer be in use or is superseded by another system. (see: http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=6804)Having started my career in the EW/SIGINT world I know that there are excellent things and terrible things associated with jamming. For those of you who are not EW aficionados, jamming means overpower a friendly signal so that its intended receiver cannot receive it.The excellent news is that you can deny the enemy the effective use of his transmitters be they radios, television broadcasting or mobile phones. The terrible news is that it’s not stealthy. Targets generally know when they have been jammed.  Another element is that jamming is generally a broad based weapon importance all electronics are effective; although there are some ways to jam only selected frequencies.The use of EW can also have a psychological effect. For example if an enemy force feels that they are not only surrounded physically, but they are cutoff electronically, this may induce them to give up.While TTP should dictate that EW should easily be brought into play, this is not necessarily the case. The tactical fighter typically does not have EW resources on hand. Furthermore, a sophisticated analysis needs to be performed of the impact zone of the proposed jamming to determine the nature of guarantee impact. What does this all mean?It means that the MISO CDR needs to be thoroughly familiar with and connected to their counterparts in other disciplines. Today’s posting scratches the surface in this area EW. The posting urges MISO CDR not to overlook adapting tools of combat that have not typically been included in PSYOP or MISO.Reader comments invited as always.I’m presenting at the RSA Talks in San Francisco next week – shoot me a comment if you want to connect.

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President Trump’s Actions Make Winning Hearts & Minds Even Harder

President Trump’s Actions Make Winning Hearts & Minds Even HarderWhen I was in marketing in High Tech, there was always a fantastic dread of tarnishing the brand. Actions that made our company look terrible and causing our potential customers not to buy our products and services.President Trump has taken three actions that are tarnishing the American brand and making our job even harder. “Travel Ban”The first is the ‘Travel Ban’. While the administration maintains it is necessary for national security, the depression is that it is anti-Muslim, a clear go away from America’s tolerance doctrine and a step towards fascism. One article on that topic is from Brookings. (See: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/markaz/2017/02/01/first-they-came-for-the-iranians/?utm_campaign=Brookings+Concise&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=send by e-mail&utm_content=41813767, which is also the photo source)“The Wall”Building a wall on the Mexican border is not an effective way to stem the tide of illegal drugs and immigration from that fantastic nation. Even the President’s own Homeland Security Secretary believes it won’t work (see: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/25/us/politics/homeland-security-john-kelly-border-wall.html?_r=0); also a photo source)The Russians tried a wall in Berlin and we know how that worked out(See: http://history.howstuffworks.com/past-events/berlin-wall.htm; and their picture at right).Selling the “American Brand” or influential people around the world that democracy and constitutional freedoms are the best sort of government is hard sufficient. When you tell some ‘you are not welcome’, you are not only denigrating the ideals, but also adage “I despise you!”. While the administration maintains the travel ban is not a ban hostile to Muslims, the world thinks differently, resulting in fantastic danger for people who have helped us in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’m talking in this area interpreters in particular. These native citizens literally place their lives on the line to help US and Coalition troops. By invoking such a draconian go, we are turning our backs on the very people responsible for our success.TortureThe third way President Trump is making our job harder is by espousing the believe that torture is really a productive intelligence technique. (See: http://www.factcheck.org/2017/01/trump-on-torture-again/)It appears that I am in excellent company. Even James “Mad Dog” Mattis, Secretary of Defense opposes the ban. (see: http://thehill.com/policy/defense/316356-mattis-ruins-different-to-torture-pentagon-says; which is another photo source)I’ve been an analyst of one kind or another – intelligence, market research or legal analyst for most of my adult life, which has been a sweet long time so far. I’ve also taken more than a couple of sales training courses. I am firmly persuaded that torture is not an effective interrogation technique. Even if that repulsive method was helpful, the amount of information gained would in no way come close to the harm in terms of how many new terrorists have been recruited.I know that the President believes in what he is doing, and strangely sufficient for a politician, really subsequent through with campaign promises. I just wish he would have looked at the larger picture before acting.

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Can A Head of State Control Independent Media?

Can A Head of State Control Independent Media?President Trump has taken the most of aggressive position with regard to media than any President in my lifetime (and that’s a long time!). His appointment performance in the debates, his criticism of the media and his constant Tweeting are public confirmation. Recently the President tried to ‘gag’ the USDA, a go that was swiftly reversed after a public outcry.Can any head of state really control a free press in the eyes of the citizen consultation?One pundit, admittedly a very liberal one and former Secretary of Labor under President Clinton is Robert Reich. Nicknamed the “Evil Dwarf” when he was in Washington. Mr. Reich is now Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies.He recorded a video on December 22, 2016 that paints a picture (literally with a plotting based cartoon) of how President Trump purportedly attacks Freedom of the Press. (See: http://robertreich.org/post/154819980595, which is also the photo source.)Reich claims that “tyrants have tried to control the press using 4 techniques that, worryingly, Donald Trump is already using.” He lists the techniques as:1.     Berate the media and turn the public hostile to it.2.     Limit media access.3.     Threaten the media.4.     Bypass the media and communicate with the public directly.Fascinatingly sufficient, Professor Reich does not cite any specific examples of anyone who used these techniques.As professional influencers, I’d like you to step back, listen to the small (less than 3 minute video) and let me know what YOU reckon.

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Media Bias: An International Trend

Media Bias: An International Trend Now that Mr. Trump is the Tweeter-n-Chief, it’s appropriate to reflect a bit on the state of the media. Mr. Trump, amongst others was very vocal in criticism of his treatment at the hands of the media. The NY Times Sunday, 15 January 2017 ran an article “Learning to Speak Al Jazeera” (see: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/14/opinion/sunday/learning-to-speak-al-jazeera.html?_r=0, which is also the photo source). The thesis of the article is that nearly every media outlet is biased and has its own agenda. I did a bit of research to quantify Media Bias a bit more and came across an article in the Student News Daily (see: https://www.studentnewsdaily.com/types-of-media-bias/), which listed the subsequent types of Media Bias:By omissionBy selection of sourcesBy report selectionBy placementBy labelingBy spinIn my view this is a sweet excellent list and could relate to how most people gauge their every day interactions. But these are not the only kinds of bias.Yesterday (19 January 17) I was in a Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Class (MCLE). As a California attorney I am required to take 25 credits of MCLE in a 3-year period. Of these 6 hours are required:Legal Ethics: 4 hours (required)Competence Issues (formerly known as Prevention, Detection and Treatment of Substance Abuse or Mental Illness): 1 hour (required)Recognition and Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession and Society: 1 hour (required)Source: http://mcle.calbar.ca.gov/Attorneys/Requirements.aspxAs it turns out I was earning my Elimination of Bias credit, which ironically is very hard to get, when our instructor pointed out that there were two kinds of bias – the kind you know in this area, and the kind you don’t (hidden). Hidden bias is, according to our instructor, the most insidious of all. She referred to Harvard’s Project Implicit a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public on hidden biases (see: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/aboutus.html). They even offer an on-line implicit association test (IAT) test so that you can do some self-calibration. I took one of these tests and upon reflection, its result was not a huge surprise or hidden.In comparing my results with all others who have taken the test I was in the largest assemble – 30% of the total, the next largest were 24, 19 and 18.In summarizing what does all this mean. There are personal and professional biases. You are not very likely going to be able to change personal biases. But, being aware of your biases in your professional life is something to work on. The instructor relayed that training on hidden bias was mandatory. As a result of the training one of the attorneys chose to use a ‘duty roster’ to assign work to his Associates in a more methodical and honest manner.For we in the PSYOP/MISO community, it is vital that we recognize the lenses of our professional and personal biases as we approach our missions. We need to filter these as best as we can in order to be more attuned to our target audiences and surpass able to accomplish our mission.As always, reader comments are encouraged.

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Grassroots Influence – Can It Work?

Grassroots Influence – Can It Work? We all appreciate the complexity of the Middle East. In the hurricane of social media is it possible for a grassroots shape effort to succeed? One example may come from Baghdad, Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and Damascus. The effort employs Bahlool, a reputation (at right) is a Judge from a ‘very ancient time’ and is well-known in Arabic countries and is designed for the consultation to identify with. The target consultation is men and women between 15 and 25 years ancient. The team is split having people in both Iraq and Syria, they claim that some of their cartoons have gotten over 1 million views.This grassroots effort has been active in jump starting their hard work via FaceBook and YouTube. The effort started in late 2016 and in November, the team claimed: Here’s a quick snapshot from Facebook (as of 25NOV16): Total Likes:                                          119,259 Weekly Page Engaged Users:             446,764 Weekly Total Get to:                           3,151,389 Weekly Organic Get to:                      520,067 Weekly Total Impressions:                 8,499,788 Source: E-mail In December the assemble reported thousands of ‘likes’ and that they were getting many clear comments, suggestions and people wanting to help. Many of the comments were coming from displaced people in Falluja, Ramdai and Anbar. The team summarizes its philosophy by adage we fight ISIS by the thought, not by the gun because guns do not get to the mind. Reader comments encouraged.

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