• Counterinsurgency,  Psychological Struggle,  Terrorism

    Cartel Info Ops: Power and Counter-power in Mexico’s Drug War

    By John P. Sullivan Mexico’s cartels are increasingly using refined information operations (info ops) to wage their war against each other and the Mexican state, as noted in a recent post “Mexican narcos step up their information war” here at MountainRunner. These info ops include the calculated use of instrumental and symbolic violence to shape the conflict environment.  The result: attacks on media outlets, and kidnappings and assassinations of journalists by narco-cartels to obscure operations and silence critics.  Editors and journalists turn to self-censorship to protect themselves; others have become virtual mouthpieces for the gangs and cartels, only publishing materials the cartels approve.  Cartels are now beginning to issue press…

  • Now Media,  Psychological Struggle,  Public Diplomacy,  Terrorism

    State of the Media: Adversarial Exploitation of the Digital World

    We have long recognized the importance of information to shape attitudes and create action. The online environment is no different, but do you think you know what non-English speaking users of Google.com or YouTube.com see? You probably don’t. My friends at the White Canvas Group do and they provide fascinating insight into the online world of adversarial exploitation of online products. Our adversaries understand the utility of the online world as a medium that seamlessly blends with “old media” to influence global audiences. A lot of funding that the brothers are getting is coming because of the videos. imagine how many have gone after seeing the videos. Imagine how many…

  • Terrorism

    Underwear bomber predicted on The Daily Show back in June 2006

    Surely I’m not the only guy remembering these things, but back in June of 2006, The Daily Show had a prediction of an ‘underwear bomber’. Calvin Trillin suggested there was a person in AQ named Khalid the Droll who convinced us to remove our shoes at the airport. To get to the point, jump to the 4min mark on the below video. The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c Calvin Trillin www.thedailyshow.com Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Health Care Crisis

  • Events,  Interagency,  Media,  Psychological Struggle,  Social Media,  Terrorism

    Event: Homeland Security’s Wicked Problems

    “Homeland Security’s Wicked Problems: Developing a Research Agenda for Homeland Security” is a two-day event co-hosted by The Heritage Foundation, Center for Strategic and International Studies, The U.S. Army War College’s Center for Strategic Leadership, and The George Washington University’s Homeland Security Policy Institute. The location is The Heritage Foundation’s Allison Auditorium and the dates are November 12, Thursday, 9a-4p and November 13, Friday, 9a-12:30p. RSVP to attend. I will be on the first panel Friday morning at 9:30a: Communications During Crisis: Roles, Responsibilities, and Capabilities. On the panel will be Jonathan Thompson, Executive Vice President, Systems Media Group, and former Director for External Affairs, Federal Emergency Management Agency; Kimberly…

  • Media,  Psychological Struggle,  Terrorism

    Al Shabab, Minneapolis in the news again

    US Special Forces killed Salah Ali Nabhan, the man Somali-Americans who traveled to fight for the Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist organization identified as one of their trainers. The coverage of this ‘made for the movies’ attack should draw attention to the not-neutral territory of Minneapolis where Al Shabab has shown significant success in recruiting. This is as a good a time as any to reread my Censoring VOA article at ForeignPolicy.com: Earlier this year, a community radio station in Minneapolis asked Voice of America (VOA) for permission to retransmit its news coverage on the increasingly volatile situation in Somalia. The VOA audio files it requested were freely available online without copyright…

  • Terrorism,  War

    Interesting readings on Swarm Warfare

    Postcard from Mumbai: Modern Urban Siege by John P. Sullivan and Adam Elkus According to many television news reports, the Mumbai terrorist attacks were a “siege.” But there were no catapults, cannons, or breaching ladders. Instead, a dozen men with guns paralyzed one of the world’s largest cities, killing 173 with barely concealed glee. Sadly, Mumbai heralds a new chapter in the bloody story of war in cities—the siege of the city from within. The polis is fast becoming a war zone where criminals, terrorists, and heavily armed paramilitary forces battle—and all can be targeted. All the while, gardens of steel spring up, constricting popular movement and giving way to…