Does Video Quality Really Matter?

Does Video Quality Really Matter?One of my favorite military sources, “Task & Purpose” featured an article “North Korea Blasts US Arsenal in Fresh Propaganda Video with TerribleGraphics” (see: http://taskandpurpose.com/north-korea-blasts-us-arsenal-fresh-propaganda-video-terrible-graphics/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=send by e-mail&utm_campaign=tp-today&utm_content=button; which is the photo source.) You can also read in this area the video in the Japan Times at: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/03/20/asia-pacific/north-korean-state-run-propaganda-website-depicts-u-s-aircraft-carrier-bomber-engulfed-flames/#.WNMNio61ufXYou can find the nearly three minute video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70MTvxFzZ-Y. Sorry to say it’s in Korean with no subtitles, a likely intelligence indicator of who the target consultation for the video is. After watching the sepia toned mélange of photos and clips, it seems to me that the consultation is like to be North Koreans.While not being able to be with you the dialogue, it seems to me that the intent of the video is to convince the view that the North Koreans will prevail hostile to the meagre weapons of the decadent West. While the quality is supposed to be the same as ‘professional’ news organizations, it would not likely pass for a product from an advanced news agency such as the BBC or US outlets.Does that matter?In my opinion, it really doesn’t matter. The North Korean viewing public is a captive consultation and likely has lower standards in terms of video production that those outside the country who have access to other news sources.Another principle at work here is that it is harder to change someone’s mind than it is to reinforce an existing opinion.  North Koreans have been conditioned to acknowledge government information as truth for generations so that the government can control the content and flow of information that their citizens receive.The same work product would likely have small effect on Western Viewers who are able to explore a variety of different sources including www.defense.govand military defense contractors such as http://www.lockheedmartin.com/ or their competitors such as: BAE Systems, Boeing, Cassidian (Airbus Military), Dassault Assemble, Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH, Finmeccanica, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Panavia Aircraft GmbH, Raytheon, and SAAB AB.Reader feedback welcome as always.

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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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Global Engagement Center – New Focal Point for Countering Propaganda & Disinformation

Global Engagement Center – New Focal Point for Countering Propaganda & Disinformation As a parting holiday gift, President Obama signed the National Defense Act which, included (on page 547) Section 1287 Global Engagement Center (see: https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/s2943/BILLS-114s2943enr.pdf) According to Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and his co-sponsor, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT): NOTE: The bipartisan Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act is methodical around two main priorities to help achieve the goal of combatting the constantly evolving threat of foreign disinformation from our enemies:The first priority is developing a whole-of-government strategy for countering THE foreign propaganda and disinformation being wages hostile to us and our allies by our enemies. The bill would increase the authority, resources, and mandate of the Global Engagement Center to include state actors like Russia and Plates as well as non-state actors. The Center will be led by the State Department, but with the active senior level partaking of the Department of Defense, USAID, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the Intelligence Community, and other relevant agencies. The Center will develop, integrate, and synchronize whole-of-government initiatives to expose and counter foreign disinformation operations by our enemies and proactively advance fact-based narratives that help U.S. allies and interests.Second, the legislation seeks to control expertise from outside government to make more adaptive and responsive U.S. strategy options. The legislation establishes a fund to help train local journalists and provide grants and contracts to NGOs, civil society organizations, reckon tanks, private sector companies, media organizations, and other experts outside the U.S. government with experience in identifying and analyzing the latest trends in foreign government disinformation techniques. This fund will complement and help the Center’s role by integrating capabilities and expertise available outside the U.S. government into the strategy-making process. It will also empower a decentralized network of private sector experts and integrate their expertise into the strategy-making process.Source: http://www.portman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=F973E46B-AA8C-4F3E-91B4-8EC0FC7F2F3EThere are two ways to look at this latest attempt at central coordination of shape. The clear view is that there is finally recognition that the US does not have a contemporary shape strategy and needs one very terribly. The new law and organization also concedes that the government does not have the internal capability to develop and do this strategy itself. By placing the Global Engagement Center within the Department of State, it can legitimately foster the President’s shape goals as the diplomatic arm of the cabinet.The other, more unenthusiastic view can found in The Event Report (see: http://www.theeventchronicle.com/fake-news-agenda/obamas-christmas-gift-america-countering-disinformation-propaganda-act/#), which is also the photo source and The Right Pundit (http://truepundit.com/obama-quietly-signs-the-countering-disinformation-and-propaganda-act-into-law/). The unenthusiastic view is deeply distrustful of government shape activity and compares the new Global Engagement Center to "The Records Department of the Ministry of Truth" in George Orwell's book 1984.As with many polarizing actions, the truth probably lies somewhere in between. The US clearly needs an overarching shape strategy and critics have legitimate cause for concern based on what many perceive as the dismal track confirmation of shape hard work in Afghanistan and Iraq and the media criticism of the use of contractors to further DOD shape goals abroad.Of course DOD’s actual role is unclear and the establishment of the Center within Department of State follows the civilian rule of government theory. Experience has shown that the practice will be far more hard than the conception.Reader input keenly sought.

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TV Producer Insight is Solid MISO/PSYOP Advice

TV Producer Insight is Solid MISO/PSYOP Advice When a consensus is found amongst media professionals, it’s worth sharing. As a Red Cross Public Affairs Officer my boss often sends some useful media references. Here's one in this area local TV producers are looking for: ‘“Air” Conditioning: Human-Interest and Visual Angles are Keys to Pitching TV’ (at: https://www.bulldogreporter.com/air-conditioning-human-interest-and-visual-angles-are-keys-to-pitching-tv-2/, which is also the photo source.)I’ve opined in the past that the word is becoming more visual and that media trends seem to be moving toward interactivity so that any media producer whether TV or Internet would be looking for sweet much the same things.Here are the highlights:1.     Highlight Visual Potential2.     Aim for Broad Appeal3.     Place a Human Face on The Story4.     Research Your Targets ( the media you hope to use)5.     Implementation News JudgmentThere are a couple of other tips, but these five are the key ones. You will also need to bear in mind some production tips as well.Putting a Human Face, especially a face that the viewer can identify with, is vital to the credib ility and impact of the report. Consider that as a major element of your hard work. If you are producing the video remember that  you can edit video, but you can’t edit audio. Any report that involves people talking should make sure that the speakers have their own microphones. Lavalier microphones are not expensive. See: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Lavalier/ci/8535/N/4291086006?origSearch=Lavalier%20Microphonesfor a reasonable selection.If you are working with a particular media outlet make sure you be with you their news rhythm so that you can help them schedule your report for maximum effect. Be a helper – providing security, transportation and perhaps some water or a meal can mean the difference of whether your report gets covered or not.Reader input encouraged.

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Can International Law be a theme for MISO?

Can International Law be a theme for MISO?The Economist published an on-line article from their 16 July 16 Photograph edition, “The South Plates Sea – Courting Distress” (see: http://www.economist.com/news/plates/21702069-region-and-america-will-now-nervously-await-chinas-response-un-appointed-panel?cid1=cust/ednew/n/bl/n/20160714n/owned/n/n/nwl/n/n/NA/n; which is also the photo source.) The upshot of the article  is that “the Permanent Court of Arbitration, an global panel in The Hague, has declared Plates’s “historic claims” in the South Plates Sea invalid”. The details of the case are not necessarily vital here, and you can read in this area them in the article or somewhere else.From a MISO perspective, let’s say you’re in a conflict where a case has gone to this venue or another respected global jurisdiction and the verdict came down on your side. Does this make it a fantastic theme for MISO?You might be tempted to jump to the conclusion that a respected global venue would certainly be a fantastic explanation and MISO theme. But, like many things legal related – it depends.If your consultation is one that respects global law and that court in particular and/or the consultation is more or less in favor of your argument, then it just might work.Sorry to say if your consultation doesn’t believe that the court is honest or if the consultation is  blatantly and perhaps irrationally different to your point of view , then your “global law argument” is not likely to be very effective.If you run the campaign anyway, you might convince some people, but more likely you will provide fodder for the adversary.Reader input encouraged!

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Internet of Things – A MISO Tool Whose Time Is Near

Internet of Things – A MISO Tool Whose Time Is NearGiven all the recent terrorist attacks by Daesh and their brethren, I was looking for an slant for MISO that had some legs. In my ‘day’ job at TAL Global Corporation in addition as serving as General Counsel, I’m the technology guy. This means that I manage data forensics investigations and integrate technology into investigations (e.g. covert video) when it makes sense under the circumstances.I’m also the proud owner of a new vehicle that sends me more e-mail than my younger son. Consequently, he Internet of Things (IoT) seemed like a logical topic. For those of you who are not familiar with the concept, the IoT is connecting of formerly independent devices such as your car, TV, refrigerator, home thermostat, etc to the Internet.  You can find out more at: https://www.wired.com/2015/12/2015-the-year-the-internet-of-things-got-hacked/A excellent example of how the IoT can make a PSYACT is show on the video in the link for this posting’s photo (http://www.secureworldexpo.com/criminals-are-going-high-tech-and-driving-away-stolen-cars?utm_source=SW+Post+July+7%2C+2016&utm_campaign=SW+Post%3A+July+7%2C+2016&utm_medium=send by e-mail).The article and the video show a proof of concept of how it is possible to take over a target’s car remotely. While the temptation might be to turn that opportunity into a more lethal operation, combining the control of an vehicle with a video message would seem to be a sweet excellent way to get someone’s attention.Of course, this is probably a tactic you could only use once on a target because they would be sweet stupid if they did not increase the physical security of their vehicle after such an incident, but perhaps once is sufficient.Reader input encouraged!

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A PSYOPerator Has to Been More Than PSYOP Qualified

A PSYOPerator Has to Been More Than PSYOP Qualified One of the reasons I like working exercises is that they are a way to see what you can do and what you can’t do. A couple of weeks ago I served as the IO Role Player in an implementation simulating assisting a country with some disaffected military and political issues. This required me to act as the Personnel IO Officer, but more importantly I’m in the weeds of the MISO help to the operation. While the scenario and MESL are both pre-written, sometimes the Implementation Director throws a curve ball. During the last implementation I had to plot a MISO from scratch. Of course I had to figure out the MISO part – but there were other things I had to do and know before I could even approach the MISO component.First I had to reckon like the CDR. No matter how detailed the CONOP, or how many briefings are given and received, there is always something that is left out and you need to be with you the hidden or implicit elements of the huge operation and your piece of it.You need to be comfortable with mapping the main operation and your piece. In our world this may also mean understanding the nuances of the terrain and the weather as they might effect leaflet drops or telephone system wave procreation.We also need to be with you the information and digital battlefields. This means meaningful  your traditional high payoff media, and how you might integrate social media and mobile phones. Consider how the country would be knowledgeable of a natural disaster across a large area and be sure you be with you the legal and regulatory landscape as well.Once you have crafted your MISO, you’ll need to develop MOE. Lastly you need to develop different MISO COA so that you can quickly change your shape fires depending on the outcome of your MISO and the ‘huge’ operation.As always, reader input is encouraged!

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Building A Task Force? Start at the top.

Building A Task Force? Start at the top.One thing in this area the military and that is you can count on a manual or a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for just in this area anything. Whether it’s marching or filling out a form, there’s sure to be a document around to tell you how to do it.So – why does it often make sense not to even open the book?I’m on assignment where we are simulating the personnel of a MG that has been hastily assembled in response to a quandary in a foreign country. As typical, I’m the IO SME and the task of establishing the nature of the MISO task force falls to me.My starting point was the probable rank of the Task Force (TF) CDR and a SWAG (Scientific Wild Ass Guess) as to the comparable size of the MISO unit. Having had many years of production with real and notional Task Forces as well as a perspective on their size and leadership through the years, my gut feel is sweet excellent and, as it turns out, backed up by doctrine as well.Over the years I’ve learned some valuable lessons. One of those is that success on a personnel may be due in part to your ability to gain access to the right meetings and working groups and to be able to hold your own in these groups. Sending an exceptionally talented officer who is too junior in rank might work in the commercial sector, but not in a senior center of operations.I recall that my boss in Bosnia was an 06, while I was a humble 05. He felt that access to the GOs was so vital to the ultimate success of the unit that he insisted on billeting with them at the NATO HQ while I was ‘with the troops’ on the other end of town.Turns out that he was right as some battles where just to get in and see the right person to able to state your case. Access was very much based on rank rather than competence.Reader input is encouraged.

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Rules for Playing On the Islamic Home Field

Rules for Playing On the Islamic Home FieldWith the 50th Super Bowl around the corner, sports metaphors abound this time of year. The PSYOP Community finds itself playing in ‘home fields’ around the world. Many of today’s AOs are in the Islamic world, an area of the world and a culture that are foreign to many of us.I had the fantastic pleasure of attending a lecture sponsored by the Safe Communites Institute, a part of the USC Price School of Public Policy. The speaker, Dr. Doron Pely is the Executive Director of the Sulha Research Institute (see: www.Sulha.org) and a colleague of mine at TALGlobal (www.talglobal.com).While we are taught that it’s often perilous to generalize, sometimes an educated, Kentucky windage leveraged analysis is a surpass house to start than one of ignorance. Today’s posting is a synthesis of the hour and half lecture. The data upon which it is based comes from a few sources. The essence is a comparison of perceptions of Israeli’s by Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and vice versa – the perception of Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza Strip by Israelis. Arabs gathered Arab perception data while Israelis collected Israeli perception data.The yucky generalization is that these perceptions will closely align with perceptions of the “West” by Islamic populations in areas of conflict, especially those AOs with active military operations. How does the target consultation perceive you?According to the research, the West is viewed with the subsequent descriptors:·      Terrible, dishonest and uneducated.·      Cowardly and cruel.·      Violent with a lack of pity.The research also indicated that the West is perceived as lacking understanding of Islamic culture and lacking in empathy. This last point is vital because empathy is a vital prerequisite for conflict resolution.Research also showed that the Palestinians were split sweet evenly as to whether they felt it was beneficial to achieve a peaceful agreement. This point means that most Islamic conflict AOs will start with the West playing bump-up in gaining the trust and confidence of the population. The New “Normal”Those of use who have studied psychology in Western Universities learned the classic Maslow hierarchy of needs as shown below. (Diagrams courtesy of Sulha Research Center)But, the Sulha Pyramid below shows a juxtaposition that is fundamental to understanding Islamic culture. Notice that the basic physiological needs are in the middle of the pyramid with Honor & Admire needs as the base and Belonging as the second layer. Prior to wrapping up, let me offer the best practices provided in the lecture.1.     Mind the rituals.Small cuts won’t cut it. Building trust and respecting the process is a key to success.2.     Watch the state of Honor.Honor as fundamental in Islamic culture as fundamental as food and drink in the West.3.     Mind PrecedentsJust as you would with a court case, do some research to validate that what you want to do now has been done in the past.4.     Remember your role.A vital hint is that those with power ‘pull’ while those who perceive themselves as victims will ‘push’. Pulling implies indirect pressure.5.     Keep the constituencies in mind.Consider each party’s perspective.6.     Use creative reframing.Constantly insure that you are in empathy with the process while framing your positions.We in the PSYOP community need to be lifetime learners, sometimes this also means we need to search for new perspectives that help us optimize our hard work in diverse AOs.Reader input encouraged!

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Case Studies & PSYOP

Case Studies & PSYOPThe beginning of a New Year is always a time to reckon in this area new perspectives. One of the staples of business education is the case study. Sometimes referred to (at least in the olden days when I went to school as the Harvard Case Method (see: https://hbr.org/store/case-studies?cm_mmc=cpc-_-google-_-domestic-_-cases&referral=02276&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=dom_cases&gclid=CPKZo4iokcoCFUhcfgodY4QCBQ) The students received a mini-booklet that described a company. By design it included financial statements, marketing information and panoply of other stuff. Your job as the student was to figure out what was incorrect with the company and offer your recommendations on how to fix the company.I had one entrepreneurial professor during my MBA program at Babson College who gave us an assignment on a case study with a different slant. Our job was not to solve the company’s problems, but to get the consulting contract wherein the company would pay us to solve their problems.This assignment required a whole different set of skills and, in retrospect, formed some of the basis for my starting and running my own successful consulting business.One of my sources directed me to a LinkedIn piece which in turn directed me to an article: “Russian Propaganda, Disinformation And Estonia’s Experience – Analysis (see: http://www.eurasiareview.com/04102015-russian-propaganda-disinformation-and-estonias-experience-analysis/, which is also the photo source).The content of the article is sweet excellent – but I am referencing it as a potential tool for PSYOP/MISO education. Given the range of contemporary and potential adversaries and AOs, it is incumbent on us to develop the processing of thinking for PSYOPers.I would point to regionally-oriented on-line sources as a way to do this. The site referenced above seems to be a excellent one and I’m sure that there are others as well. In particular I feel we should be leveraging this type of implementation to stimulate the student plotting process and to learn in this area other parts of the world notably Asia, Africa and Latin America.Reader input encourage and the best and brightest of New Year’s to all y’all!

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Combatting Radicalization Through Government Influence: Good, Bad or Ugly?

Combatting Radicalization Through Government Influence: Good, Bad or Ugly?The NY Times on October 19, 2015 published an article “Britain Unveils Plans to Fight Extremism in Young Muslims” (see: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/20/world/europe/david-cameron-britain-muslims-radicalization.html?_r=0)While this proposed program is only in it’s formative stages, the article has some key points that are worthy of consideration by the shape community writ large.Here are a couple of key points:1.     How aggressively can a government confront extremism lacking alienating their opposing moderates?2.     Will promoting a nation’s values (British, American, German, etc.) raise strong concerns of moderates in the target consultation?3.     Is it really possible to ‘clamp down on the broadcasting of extremist messages… by involving the “industry government and the public”’?The article itself is concerned with shape hard work inside Britain, yet the three points above are applicable to many contemporary and potential shape battlefields. The notion of domestic shape is one that has not been widely considered.Recent incidents conducted by non-affiliated terrorists (e.g. Boston Bombing) or by domestic terrorists (Oklahoma City) confirm that the threat exists in the US as well as Britain. The implication is that anyone inside a country may be radicalized. Does the government have a duty to try and prevent the radicalization by employing its resources to disrupt the radicalizer and minimize the effectiveness of their messages and if so, how likely is it that they will succeed?Taking each point in turn.Any shape effort needs to strike a balance. This implies careful research and perhaps pre-testing, focus groups and enlisting moderates to help craft the campaign and its messages.Secondly, promoting one’s values to another is IMHO not a excellent strategy. Others outside your sphere really don’t want your values – they have grown up with theirs and only multi-generational evolutions can alter that path.Lastly, given the porous and borderless nature of social media, this would seem like the digital equivalent of cleaning out the Augean Stables. Even so, is it worth the attempt?Reader input invited.

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Is Media “Support” A MISO Mission?

Is Media “Support” A MISO Mission?On September 22, 2105 the Altlanticist ran an article “Western Media Must Fight Russia’s Letha Propaganda More Aggressively” (see: http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/western-media-must-fight-russia-s-lethal-propaganda-more-aggressivelywhich is also the photo source.)The thesis of the article is that Russia controls its media in a way that puts a pro-Russia spin on events that amounts to a “major global propaganda effort”.  Muzzling media is often a two edged sword. On one hand you can try to silence critics, but on the other you risk alienating freedom of the press advocates and incur their wrath on the global stage. A key point made by the article is: “It is possible that democratic tools and the standard requirements for balanced journalism are simply incapable of production with virulent state-generated propaganda.” Does it make sense for the US to harness its shape assets (importance State Department Public Skill and MISO) as a means to try and counter balance Russian hard work?One could argue that since most media is now digital, resources in the form of content or funding could be channeled to key digital media outlets that help US policy and goals and which could help in a counter  Russian propaganda campaign.Of course since this type of resourcing is not military in nature, but more in the diplomatic realm, State would have to be in the lead and MISO could be tasked on a project basis to help breed needed content and/or to provide monitoring and analysis of Russian propaganda as well as content recommendations.This would appear to be a win-win situation because:1.     MISO personnel could bring needed language skills.2.     The work would be valuable training for MISO personnel.3.     MISO personnel would be subcontractors to the Department of State who ruins in the lead.Such media help could be extended to other areas as well such as ISIS. The name of the game being to counter unenthusiastic propaganda, because unanswered propaganda becomes more believable over time lacking regard to its lack of truth.Reader input invited.

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Poetry and Music: Keys to Defeating Daesh?

Poetry and Music: Keys to Defeating Daesh?The Havok Journal, an on-line publication featured an article free: “Jihadis, Poetry and the Ongoing Bromance of ISIL: Are We Sending The Right Message?” (see: http://www.havokjournal.com/national-security/jihadis-poetry-and-the-ongoing-bromance-of-isil-are-we-sending-the-right-message/?utm_source=Havok+Journal&utm_campaign=233c4aaba2-Havok_Journal_Daily&utm_medium=send by e-mail&utm_term=0_566058f87c-233c4aaba2-213402489which is also the photo source.)The main thesis of the article was that dominating the information high ground hostile to Daesh will require taking the offensive with the poetry and music that is a part of the Arab culture. In help of this position, the article states that Osama Bin Laden was recognized for his eloquence of the classics and postulates that poetry is the way that Daesh communicates.The author clarification: “Rather than littering Raqqa, as we recently have, with pamphlets full of cartoons and meat grinders to try to push disenfranchised Muslim youth or already hardened ISIL fighters away from the cause, we should engage them in dialogue they be with you and hammer.[7]  Suggesting that Uncle Sam should sit down and pen ISIL a poem to open up dialogue seems like a ridiculous stretch, but if we place this responsibility in the hands of those capable of crafting the right message, perhaps we can take this understanding of culture and use it to our advantage.”Is this really “a ridiculous stretch”? I frankly don’t reckon so. The essence of communication is that the messages are in tune with the receiver’s system. Deciding what media to deliver the message is a different choice than what the messages ought to be. Leaflets may or may not be the right standard in that particular AO, but, we must not lose sight of the fact that the messages are more vital.Understanding the culture is a prerequisite to crafting and delivering effective messages. Having said this, really understanding a culture is not a trivial matter or a quick undertaking. One needs to enlist not only the reservoir of published material, a degree of immersion, preferably with a assemble of knowledgeable and cooperative ‘natives’ of that culture is another key ingredient.Given that we will be engaged for quite a long time, this investment seems not only prudent – but, necessary.As always, reader comments encouraged.

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