Mobile Phones and Facebook Are Everywhere

Mobile Phones and Facebook Are Everywhere Any normal person on a two week vacation in Europe would not take time out to do a PSYOP Blog – but then again perhaps a right PSYOPer is not quite normal. It’s one thing to speculate in this area the media environment in a location and it’s quite another to visit that location and get a look on the ground. I had the opportunity to spend several days in Rome in early September 2016.The addiction to mobile phones and to FaceBook in particular appears to be an global phenomenon. In wandering through Rome in shops and tourist spots alike, nearly everyone was glued to their buzz.Entrepreneurs were selling mobile buzz clamps attached to ‘selfie sticks’ and to tripods so that tourists could capture their latest adventures. Of greater interest was the fact that nearly every buzz I could take a look at was set to FaceBook.It seemed like everyone - couples, individuals, taxi/limo drivers, etc. were all hooked on FB. While the prevalence of the people were in the 30s and 40s, the FB addiction was not limited to those under 40 as ‘even’ seniors were updating their status.Moving afloat to our cruise ship, either the price of shipboard internet access is lower (at least in proportion to other expenditure) or the need for constant connection is stronger than it was in 2010 when we took our last cruise because nearly everyone has their mobile buzz with them – even at sea!Not to be outdone the cruise line encourages people to update their FB status and share their photos on FB, Twitter, etc.Of course, Rome is not a predictable location, and probably not a house where we would engage in PSYOP or MISO, but, the addiction to mobile phones and Social Media is a vital factor in winning the cyber shape battles of the prospect.While Social Media is a mostly benign way for people to communicate, let's not lose sight of the potential for harm or evil as well. We are all mindful of the fact that airplanes were not considered weapons until 15 years ago today.

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At Least Russia Knows Influence Wins ‘Battles’

At Least Russia Knows Influence Wins ‘Battles’ While the US Government continues to flop around like a fish on a pier trying to figure out what is shape combat on the grand scale and to coordinate all operational levels and departments, Russia is already dominating the shape war with fake information.The NY Times of August 28, 2016 ran “A Powerful Russian Weapon: The Spread of Fake Tales”, see: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/29/world/europe/russia-sweden-disinformation.html?ref=world&_r=0, which is also the photo source.)The Russians are no newcomer to the shape war having capitalized on misleading and accurate information to befuddle NATO, the EU and others. The Russians recognize that different mediums are complimentary and are well versed in employing complementary media such as Internet trolls to propaganda not to mention their own news bureaus. There is no shortage of excellent examples. The Ukraine and the flight of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was one. A report in this area immigrant violence in Germany is another excellent example cited by the article. The article concludes, appropriately sufficient with a quote from Dimitry Kiselyev, a well loved Russian TV anchor, see: (Dimitry Kiselev is Redefining the Art of Russian Propaganda” at https://newrepublic.com/article/118438/dmitry-kiselev-putins-favorite-tv-host-russias-top-propogandist, the second photo source. “Today, it is much more costly to kill one enemy soldier than during World War II, World War I or in the Middle Ages,” he said in an interview (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQErhwknhp4  -n Russian) on the state-run Rossiya 24 network. While the business of “persuasion” is more expensive now, too, he said, “if you can persuade a person, you don’t need to kill him.” Perhaps the new administration, having waged multi-media; social media and traditional media campaigns will be more aware of the cost effectiveness of the shape weapon and will orchestrate the change needed for the US to not only counter other national hard work such as the Russian, but to take the shape high ground.

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Counterintelligence & PSYOP

Counterintelligence & PSYOP We often talk in this area the symbiotic relationship between PSYOP/MISO and intelligence. We know that we have to go Intelligence Preparation of the Shape Battlefield (IPIB) and that this requires a amalgamation of intelligence sources and work products. General intelligence can yield information in this area the target area, demographics, terrain, weather, etc. Media specific intelligence can compare different media such as announce (tv/telephone system), photograph (newspapers/magazines) and social media to determine the consultation composition of each and to suggest what amalgamation of media would be the best for the mission at hand.Not much plotting seems to be given to the relationship between counterintelligence and PSYOP.The August 20, 2016 edition of the Economist ran an article “Driving away the shadows” (see: http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21705307-early-intervention-prevent-terrorism-tough-get-right-britain-does-not-do-terrible, which is also the photo source.)From a MISO perspective the relevant paragraph in the article states: “Other parts of the programme have grown, too. In 2015 social-media snoopers indifferent 55,000 pieces of propaganda, 22% more than in 2014. The government’s counter-propaganda was viewed 15m times, compared with 3m times in 2014. A predictable example features interviews with the parents of British IS fighters, interspersed with scenes of Syrian devastation.”  The term ‘social-media snoopers’ is fascinating not just because of the catchy name, but because of the gathering. One could argue that these ‘snoopers’ are PSYOP analysts whose job it is to spot and remove enemy propaganda. Is that an intelligence or PSYOP gathering? Removal of enemy propaganda would logically reduce its effectiveness (as not compulsory by data in the article) and could also be seen as a way to bolster OPSEC as well. In any event, it would appear that CI and PSYOP/MISO are closely related. This relationship is no doubt strengthened because of the use of Social Media for enemy propaganda and the real time interaction it generates. The article also stands for the ancient adage that ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a beat of cure’ importance that excellent CI (and clear shape of course) can be part of a comprehensive program designed to thwart recruitment hard work.

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Forget the Internet – You Need People To Stop ISIS Recruitment

Forget the Internet – You Need People To Stop ISIS RecruitmentLawfare, an on-line site publication had an article on August 16, 2016, “To Stop ISIS Recruitment, Focus Offline” (see: https://www.lawfareblog.com/stop-isis-recruitment-focus-offline). The article seems counter to the well loved believe that the Internet is the major recruiting source for ISIS. There is no doubt that the Internet can provide information, act as a communications standard, and serve as a refuge for some. It can also be a communications standard where views and information are exchanged. The article states “A assess by the Program on Extremism of the 100 ISIS-related legal cases in the United States shows that, with rare exceptions, friends, families, and romantic partners tangibly influenced the radicalization process.”The level of shape from person to person contacts is probably higher than that in the virtual world. The article and others point to live social interaction as a starting point for relationships that grow into help and recruiting hard work.The Islamic community in Minneapolis, the subject of the article, has been profiled in other articles such as the CBS Evening News, November 19, 2015 (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/minneapolis-community-struggles-with-isis-recruiting-tactics/, which is also the photo source).A key tread is the isolating felt by youth in the community. Isolation can be assuaged through friendships made over basketball or other social activities. Once the individual’s trust is earned, then the recruiting can start in earnest perhaps starting with propaganda videos and Internet activities.The impact of the Internet should not be doubted. Here’s another piece first published by CNNMoney on September 30, 2014 (see: http://money.cnn.com/2014/09/30/technology/isis-recruiting/) which does a nice job addressing the Internet side.Reader comments encouraged.I’m also looking for any feedback on the use of MISO Companies to help BCTs rather than MISO Companies supporting divisions.Thanks,Larry

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Cultural Knowledge 101 – Vital to PSYOPers

Cultural Knowledge 101 – Vital to PSYOPers NFL Summer training camps always start with the fundamentals. I came across an article in the July 31, 2016 photograph edition of the NY Times, “When ‘Yes’ Means Not A Chance”, it appears on-line as “How to Deal With A Foreign Colleague Who Can’t Say No” (see: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/31/jobs/how-to-deal-with-a-foreign-colleague-who-cant-say-no.html?_r=0, which is also the photo source). The essence of the article is that you need to be familiar with local culture and customs no matter where you go. The article addresses some basic concepts such as “on time”, which in many cultures, means whenever it happens.The article touches on graft and corruption as an every day fact of life in many places and how the notion of ‘law and order’ doesn’t necessarily mean that at all. The need for cultural familiarity, to include nuances and small known ‘rules’ is a vital element in the success or failure of localizing products from a far off location.I worked for Symantec for many years in Corporate Marketing. Corporate was the keeper of the brand and the source of global campaigns and marketing materials. But, each region needed to not only pick and chose what was appropriate for their market and their audiences, but how to modify the corporate piece so that it would be effective.As your team hits the practice field – maybe you should too.A very unique ‘shout out’ to my brothers and sisters attending the POVA meeting in Fayetteville – I’m with you in moral fiber.

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Sarcasm Is Not A Good Approach To Tackle ISIS

Sarcasm Is Not A Good Approach To Tackle ISISAs many of you know, as a native Brooklynite, I have been often accused of being sarcastic. Over the years I’ve learned that sarcasm can be a sharp weapon of humor, but not a general-purpose approach. I believe successful sarcasm is steeped in hint and must be tailored to a particular situation. It came as somewhat of a surprise to me that the State Department was employing sarcasm in their shape campaign as detailed in a NY Times article of Friday, July 29, 2016 (see: U.S. Drops Snark in Favor of Emotion to Undercut Extremists at: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/29/world/middleeast/isis-recruiting.html?_r=0; which is also the photo source.) which is also the photo source.)The article goes on to describe the approach to shape those who might leave their native countries to fight on behalf of ISIS. Media include: Facebook Instagram and Twitter. The article clarification that there is also a need to distance the message from the source. That it is very likely that any message which appeared to come from the US government would be discarded out of hand. The viewer or reader was more often ‘annoyed at its smug sarcasm rather than appalled at the horrific metaphors on the screen’ according to the article. This comment resonates with me because the target consultation has a mental picture of their personal assessment of ISIS where even horrific metaphors purportedly portraying them would not go the shape needle.Perhaps another error in judgment with the sarcastic approach is that one size or in this case, one message does not fit all. Research cited in the article and a dose of common sense would seem to indicate, that while there are common threads of motivating factors, the mix influencing each individual would differ significantly. The shape missions is a hard one and the disparity of the consultation in terms of geography may very well be just as varied as the reasons that shape them. One thing though is for sure -  the sarcastic approach is not working here.

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