Daily Archives: April 20, 2012

Quickie: Louis, this is the beginning of a nasty something online ….

Via Wired.com

The U.S. military’s propaganda activities — known formally and euphemistically as “information operations” — has this week faced serious accusations of targeting Americans, a major infraction. According to USA Today, military personnel (or contractors) apparently took to the web to unleash a vitriolic, and embarrassingly transparent, smear campaign against two of the paper’s staff members. Why? Because they published a damning investigation of the military’s dubious propaganda campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

USA Today reported on Thursday evening that a reporter and an editor, Tom Vanden Brook and Ray Locker, respectively, had been victims of a web campaign intent on damaging their professional reputations. Though the paper couldn’t confirm who was behind the attack, they’ve got their suspicions: It started shortly after the two staffers kicked off an investigation of the Pentagon’s own propaganda contractors.
[...]
The military has been quick to deny involvement in any smear campaign. “We’re not aware of any participation in such activities, nor would it be acceptable,” Lt. Col. James Gregory, a Pentagon spokesperson, told the paper.

On the off-chance that the smear campaign was the work of some random troll unconnected to the Pentagon, that would be merely a massively toolish thing to do. But if the amateurish initiative really was the work of Pentagon staffers or contractors, it’s a flagrant attack on freedom of the press and possibly illegal, since “information operations” are never supposed to target Americans.

Read in full here.

Gawker has identified the purported culprit, and it turns out the same company reportedly owed at least $4 million in federal taxes when the contracts were awarded.  Stripes reported on April 16 that “The tax problems of the military’s top propaganda contractor in Afghanistan would not have prevented the Pentagon from awarding it multimillion-dollar contracts. Oh, dear!

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has his hands full these days but surely, he can easily be persuaded to add one more?

Domani Spero

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Filed under Afghanistan, Contractors, Defense Department, Huh? News, Media

Round-Up: Headgears in the Foreign Service

Headgear, headwear or headdress is the term for any element of clothing worn on one’s head for a variety of purposes — for protection, fashion, social convention or religious purposes.  And our foreign service has bunches of this:

US Embassy India

US Mission Japan

US Mission Afghanistan

US Mission Pakistan

Ambassador Cameron Munter during a tour of a complex of three newly-inaugurated schools in KP Province. The schools were rebuilt with U.S. government support after their destruction in the 2005 earthquake. He is shown here wearing a pakol, a soft, round-topped men's hat, typically of wool worn by many all over Pakistan and Afghanistan. (Screen grab from YouTube video)

US Embassy Switzerland

US Embassy Marshall Islands

US Embassy Cameroon

US Embassy Micronesia

US Embassy Malaysia

US Mission China

US Embassy Lebanon

A Special Mention – from Afghanistan

via

Maj. Gen. John Toolan dances (in full Afghan gear) during a farewell dinner for distinguished members of the Afghan governmental and police forces and II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) senior officers on March 8. (Photos by Chief Petty Officer Leslie Shively)

Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s not, but neither last … we hope you enjoy this round-up.

Domani Spero

 

 

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Filed under Ambassadors, Consul Generals, Diplomatic Life, Facebook, Flickr, FSOs, Photo of the Day, Round-Up