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23 March 2016


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Bill, not that it matters, really. Why are you mentioning this here?

First, full discovery: I (endured) training on public relations ending with something like a diploma in Public Relations.

The course did include the history of public relations, it did not including the trade's respective self given ethical framework. In politics e.g. elections, there is a more specialized branch.

Public relations simply is a particle of marketing and/or to different percentages of information and involvement on the organizational level the publicly visible communicative arm of any enterprise.

Do you realize what percentage of the news you read is ultimately one way or other triggered by people working in the trade? Never mind it may not be visible to you as reader.

But since Bernay caught your attention. I would like to direct your attention to something related: "The Spiral of Silence".

I suppose, I wouldn't have found this bit of academic work as interesting as I did, once it caught my attention, if I hadn't experienced the phenomenon myself. And in a rather astonishing way. In any case, me a friend and a rather huge crowd of people was confronted with a comedian badly imitating a more famous one over here. At one point, she turned over to me and asked: what did I think of him? I answered with only one word, meant for private communication (really), which she then shouted out loud for everyone to hear. It was quite fascinating to watch what happened after. In any case, the poor guy wasn't able to deal with it, and left the stage.



System of radio-optronic suppression President-S



James Vanasek

IMO it would be prudent to avoid writing anything that might be interpreted as a draft strategic plan for IS. pl


All Re. The lack of SAA numbers.
Are these numbers being supplemented from previous hostile groups who have laid down arms post cessation? or at least has not having to fight them freed up A significant number of SAA force for redeployment.
I had assumed when areas came back under government control suitably vetted individuals would be entrusted with local area supervision which would free up combat troops.
Has this happened, or is it happening, and if so is it significant - in terms of numbers released for other duties.


You can argue that the ISIL-brand will be a thing for as long as their shahada-prestige carries weight with jihadi-groups, rather than their status as having lasting "futuhat" on the resumée of their self-declared "amir al-mu'minin", "caliph" al-Baghdadi. After all, the pushback against the kilafah's heartland in Mesopotamia clearly demolishes their status as being an invincible "proto-state".

Once even the martyrdom-status starts waning, the various jihad-outfits in Africa and elsewhere, Libya included, likely won't have too much trouble to just roll up the ISIL-flag and just carry on being independent groupings or such that pledge allegiance to "the base", al-Qaida, as they did before the declaration of the "Islamic State".


COL Lang:
WRT Iraq I think that it is still likely that retaking Mosul remains "Wishful Thinking", and the conditions are far from being set for the Iraqis to do anything soon; much less a successful operation:
-Political: This current Islamic Dawa Party government is still trying to consolidate power and is currently being challenged politically. Other than the initial gestures in 2014 it has done little to show it is interested in sectarian reconciliation, which will be a requirement to be able to take and hold Mosul. The Kurds will not/cannot do it for them. Sunnis continue to show that they prefer ISIL occupation to that of the sectarian Shia governments that have existed since 2005. Only the Kurds are willing to ask for a US presence. The Abadi Dawa government is just like its predecessors, and under Iranian influence and in competition with the other Shia parties and militia organizations.
-Military: When GEN Talib al-Kinani was recently in Tampa he carefully answered the question about retaking Mosul to say that the "Prime Minister has announced" that Mosul will be retaken in 2016. I believe that the current Commander of Ninewa Operations Command is still MG Najim Abdullah al-Jaburi. If that is the case, it makes retaking Mosul even more unlikely. He is the former Police Chief and Mayor of Tel Afar who has been living in the US, and was put in charge of the NOC at US insistence. He is a Sunni with strange close Dawa ties. He is also a former Air Defense officer whose emigration to the US, close US ties and insistence upon promotion and upon wearing of "Staff College" insignia when he wasn't eligible for either have garnered him little support in the Iraqi military. To the best of my knowledge the Iraqi Army and Federal Police have yet to fight any significant engagements over the last two years. While the US has transferred some more equipment and provided some more "initial entry" training, they have not been able to change any of the calculus on why those in the ISF are unwilling to fight. The CTS/SOF forces have shown that they are willing to fight and win, but there are not enough of them to retake Mosul or to hold simultaneously in other key locations, like Baghdad. They are also not under direct MOD control which makes them problematic in sectarian Shia Iraq. The PMC/PMF (Iranian controlled Shia militia groups) have shown that they will fight, but they will also slaughter civilians and will be unable to hold in Sunni areas without bad consequences. Their priority, as well as that of the militias not under notional PMF control seems to be arming themselves with US-provided equipment in preparation for future intra-Shia conflicts for power. Only IRGC control seems to be stopping Shia militia groups from turning on the US, who they believe is aligned with and aiding ISIL.
The US political and military leadership remains in denial (unfortunately since 2003) that the Iraqi Shia political parties are not interested in reconciliation and are focused on increasing their own power. However, the risks are greater now for the small military and diplomatic presence, and an additional small conventional force with the mission of training the ISF or conducting limited ground ops would be extremely vulnerable and have limited impact. Unfortunately, there is nothing the US can do right now to help the ISF, and any promises of the Abadi government to protect the US presence are meaningless. We can continue to strike high value ISIL targets, help the Iraqi Kurds, and work through them and other Arab allies to train and assist the Sunni tribes.


"the first to bring a knowledge of mass psychology"

did he? It seems Freud, no matter how much he needed abstraction, we all do more or less, but wasn't Jung more involved with how psychological matters could be related to the masses?

But well yes, sounds familar:
"He also provided the blueprint for Goebbels, who respected him immensely. He was personally quite odious, and his disdain for many cherished ideals (such as the notion of freedom of choice) led to him being intellectually shunned."

Are you sure, Goebbels needed Bernay?

David Habakkuk


The 'spiral of silence' theory is new to me, but looks interesting. There is however something I do not understand. It seems to me clear that its author, Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, was reflecting Germany's – and her own – experience in the Nazi period.

In relation to Britain, however, this kind of conformism among élites is vastly more powerful now than it was a generation ago – the sheer intellectual intolerance of the British 'Borg' is, I think, new. How one should explain this lamentable collapse in the intellectual and moral quality of our rulers is an interesting question.

It seems to me clear however that part of the explanation has to do with the propensity of propagandists to believe their own propaganda.

And – although having not read his study I cannot be sure – I suspect that this may point to a fundamental problem with the approach taken by Bernays. What he appears to take for granted is that an élite can lie like troopers to the 'hoi polloi', while retaining, in its internal deliberations, an accurate view of reality.

Clear-eyed Machiavellianism of this kind may sometimes exist. But it certainly is not the general pattern in modern 'democracies'. A fundamental, and inadequately appreciated, characteristic of the 'Borg' is its lack of candid cynicism.

Incidentally, I see that the Bernays 'Propaganda' study is available as a free download, at

https://archive.org/details/Propaganda1928ByEdwardL.Bernays .


"What he appears to take for granted is that an élite can lie like troopers to the 'hoi polloi', while retaining, in its internal deliberations, an accurate view of reality."

I think elites have always felt this way*, it's part of what defines their societal status. Plato's Noble Lie and all that jazz https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_lie

[*of course there are always exceptions to this & it's not meant to imply all elites are 'bad']


Curtis made an intriguing documentary about Bernays, called "A century of Self":


Curtis' discussion of the evolution of society in the second half of the 20th century, probably can be extrapolated to explain the current state. It deals with more than just "propaganda". It makes me shudder that the "Century of Self" are the first steps towards a society, that is a mirror image of "Brave New World" morphed with/into "1984", on a global scale.


The Borg never sleeps. Trying to win at the negotiating table what is being lost on the battlefield. See https://twitter.com/GebeilyM/status/713056745354997760.

For background on Ms. Kodmani, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bassma_Kodmani.

And she attends the “right” conferences. See http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-regime-change-on-bilderberg-agenda/31210

I’m surprised she wasn’t invited to speak at AIPAC 2016.

James Vanasek

Col Lang,

Very understandable.



OK. what do you suppose the mission is for the USMC artillery fire base near Makhmour? I have assumed that it was there to provide fire support within its range fan for an advance on mosul. pl


"It seems to me clear however that part of the explanation has to do with the propensity of propagandists to believe their own propaganda."

This is a major, if not defining, factor. This, plus sheer incompetence in most fundamental issues of human activity among which war and industry (and all immediately associated with them fields) are of paramount import. Lawyers (nothing personal against them) make very good bullsh.., I mean politicians, they seldom make great military strategists or leaders and are hardly good at producing something of true value. Organization of aircraft or MRI machines' production, as an example, requires way more than it takes to pass the bar exam and so does the (good) command of motor-rifle Brigade or Division, let alone writing good realistic National Security or Military doctrine.


I think you're right, and I think that's a good mission for us as the KRG deserves our (limited) support. We can generally depend on both KDP and PUK Kurds for perimeter security within the KRG footprint. We can't depend on any Shia militias, which unfortunately mean the entire ISF... It appears we are developing relationships with the PYD/YPG guys in Syria, but their relationship with the PKK is problematic. It will be interesting to see how the KRG responds to Iranian and Turkish pressures.
If this is the end of the campaign we would need the Iranians to want to take Mosul, but I don't think we've seen any indicators of that yet, do you?



I never said Bernays was using Freud. Mass psychology was a field at the time pursued by a wide range of people.

Goebbels was a student of his trade and widely read the available literature of his time. Most introductions to Bernays' books contain a contemporary anecdote that has Goebbels highly praising a volume of Crystallizing Public Opinion. Bernays has had a massive fall in name recognition over the years, but that does not make him a lesser intellect. It also does not diminish Goebbels to point out that he used techniques first articulated by others. In that trade, the execution matters as much as the method.



"their relationship with the PKK is problematic" That is true if you think Turkey is really an ally. I could imagine a joint KRG/Iran advance on Mosul but I have not seen any sign of it as yet. It will be interesting to see how far Operation Fatah will go. Did you take the job? pl

Bill Herschel

Absolutely not. I disagree concerning "believe their own propaganda". When Andrew Higgins writes a puff-piece/whitewash of the most odious criminal murderer thug in Ukraine in the Times, he knows the truth and that he is attempting to deceive and control the public.

They know what they're doing. Ignorance would not be a defense if there were ignorance, but there is no ignorance.


The first interview with Colonel General Alexander Dvornikov, the Russian commander in Syria is at


English translation will be needed by Yandex (good quality) or Google.

Pretty candid and interesting.


The point seems to me to be that that the ISIS economy is in decline. They are are no longer able to pay their soldiers, and so they don't fight so hard.

This must be in relation to the oil exports. With the Russian bombardments funnily enough everything has stopped, although they they didn't under US attacks.

Antiquities was nothing, and local taxes of farmers were next to nothing, as long as ISIS was putting fear into the peasants, they won't sow.


Archaeological connection, but not current.

Report on Syria Direct March 21 that Da'esh force in Tadmur was mostly
' young people from the town, teenagers who IS enticed and conscripted after taking control. Their ages range from 17-20 years old. There are also some other Arab fighters. I haven’t seen foreign fighters in four months, the last ones I saw were a French fighter and another from Indonesia.'

As of 0130UTC, SAA is reported to have taken Cham Palace hotel (Hotel Dedeman) and to be advancing across the 'archaeological zone', and into the 'orchards' area (date plantations and the like). Also advancing across the north of Tadmur, possibly to limit Da'esh options for retreat, or prepare for another front of attack on the town itself. Solid progress.


A nephew of Sigmund Freud. A very accomplished family


OT: I waited for English version. Today Russian Spetsnaz officer died calling in the fire on his position around Palmyra. For a week he directed strikes against IS, then got detected and surrounded. He drew friendly fire.


RIP. Anyone who dies defeating this scourge is a hero in my book.


Meanwhile, those EU cretins place Why (Purqua)signs in Brussels.

P.S. I remember this Texan kid in his funny trunks running out at one of FOBs to shoot..."freedom fighters" some years ago. How "unsophisticated"....


Daesh is on the border of Israel and refuses to fire a shot in that direction. They were showing pictures of Daesh fighters fighting along side the Saudi coalition in Yemen. They kill normal Muslims like DDT kills bugs. So I can't really imagine the brand having much more room to fall.

ex-PFC Chuck

re " What he appears to take for granted is that an élite can lie like troopers to the 'hoi polloi', while retaining, in its internal deliberations, an accurate view of reality."

The discussion of this sentence so far has focused on the first part, the "lie . . to the 'hoi polloi.' The last clause, however, is also important, and it is here where the "sprial of silence" notion comes into play. I haven't read the full wikipedia entry on the "Spiral of Silence" yet but from the first few paragraphs it's focused on its effects on the general public - the hoi poloi. However it's also operative within the inner circle, i.e. the self-defined elites, where it is what drives groupthink. And an inner circle of policy makers that has fallen victim to groupthink is in danger of losing touch with 'an accurate view of reality." This is where the "West," led by the United States, is now.

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