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Response to hobbit709 (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 17, 2015, 02:20 PM

40. $300 mil. doesn't cover the budget of a single U.S. State Dept "public diplomacy" program

Last edited Fri Dec 18, 2015, 01:43 PM - Edit history (1)

Not like the Russians are the only ones or the biggest spenders on propaganda in the world. In fact, if that figure quoted is remotely accurate, it wouldn't cover one US Government agency program that sponsors Syrian opposition propaganda and "nonlethal aid."

The term is "public diplomacy" or "perception management" not "trolling." It isn't just a game played by the Russians.

Most US global perception management comes from the State Department, its contractors and foreign program beneficiaries, since USIA was folded into State Public Diplomacy and Public Affiars in 1999. http://www.publicdiplomacycouncil.org/commentaries/11-11-15/murphy-and-kuehl-national-information-strategy-i-%E2%80%93-introduction

During the Cold War, the two note, “USIA was to act as the agency responsible for achieving strategic cognitive information effects globally in support of U.S. strategy and policy.” Currently, however, “no single executive government agency is in charge of the information instrument of national power overall.” Looking beyond connectivity, they see inadequate attention to “content” and its linkages with “cognitive effects” (might we say “influence”?).

USIA was folded into the Department of State in 1999, so the Public Diplomacy cone has succeeded to this national imperative. I’m not aware that any other branch of government has claimed it.


The State Department runs what it classifies as $330 million in "non-lethal assistance" to the Syrian opposition. The Department describes the media component of that as follows:

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/09/232266.htm
Home » Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs » Bureau of Public Affairs » Bureau of Public Affairs: Office of Press Relations » Press Releases » Press Releases: 2014 » Press Releases: September 2014 » Syrian Crisis: U.S. Assistance and Support for the Transition
Syrian Crisis: U.S. Assistance and Support for the Transition

Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 29, 2014

U.S. non-lethal assistance includes training and equipment to build the capacity of a network of more than 3,000 grassroots activists, including women and youth, from more than 400 opposition councils and organizations from around the country to link Syrian citizens with the national- and local-level Syrian opposition. This support enhances the linkages between Syrian activists, human rights organizations, and independent media outlets and empowers women leaders to play a more active role in transition planning.

Support to independent media includes assistance to both television and radio stations; mentoring from Arab media experts to broadcast professionals inside Syria; training for networks of citizen journalists, bloggers, and cyber-activists to support their documentation and dissemination of information on developments in Syria; and technical assistance and equipment to enhance the information and communications security of Syrian activists within Syria. U.S. technical and financial assistance is also supporting the Coalition’s outreach to Syrians through the internet, local, independent radio stations, and satellite television.

An example of a program funded through State to achieve "strategic cognitive information effects" is as follows: https://consortiumnews.com/2014/12/25/selling-peace-groups-on-us-led-wars/

Syrian dissidents received funding from the Los Angeles-based Democracy Council, which ran a Syria-related program called the “Civil Society Strengthening Initiative” funded with $6.3 million from the State Department. The program is described as “a discrete collaborative effort between the Democracy Council and local partners” to produce, among other things, “various broadcast concepts.”

James Prince, the founder and President of the Democracy Council, is also an adviser to CyberDissidents.org , a project created in 2008 by the Jerusalem-based Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies, founded and funded by Sheldon Adelson, a patron and confidant of Benjamin Netanyahu.

Other resources include postings on social media and alternative websites with sensational stories such as the anti-Assad activist “Gay Girl in Damascus” who turned out to be a middle-aged American man in Scotland or Syrian Danny Abdul Dayem, who was frequently interviewed using fake gun fire and flames in his interviews.

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