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Ed Webb

Iran's Rosh Hashana Twitter diplomacy stirs amazement, disbelief | The Back Channel - 0 views

  • Iran’s new Foreign Minister Javad Zarif joined President Hassan Rouhani in tweeting “Happy Rosh Hashanah” greetings Thursday, on the occasion of the Jewish new year’s holiday, setting off a new wave of amazement, and some disbelief, in both the social media and policy universes.
  • The rare and unusually direct Twitter diplomacy between Iranian leaders and western policy observers “will go down in history,” one Hill staffer, speaking not for attribution, said Thursday, expressing the wider sense of amazement heard from many veteran Iran watchers at the display of tolerance and public diplomacy initiative coming from Tehran.

    The welcome change in atmospherics has added to hopes for a diplomatic opening created by Rouhani’s election. But it must be accompanied by substantive progress in nuclear negotiations to lead to a broader easing of ties, western analysts and officials said.

Ed Webb

Israeli-Arab Facebook group meets in Berlin - Region - World - Ahram Online - 0 views

  • Nimrod Ben-Zeev of the YaLa-Young Leaders group says 18 members from Israel, the Palestinian territories, Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Iraq and Kuwait met in Berlin over the weekend.
  • the group was selected from the most active of YaLa's 162,000 Facebook members
  • the movement wants to empower Middle Eastern youths to work together to improve their communities. It plans an online university next year
Ed Webb

Disinformation flies in Syria's growing cyber war - Yahoo! News - 1 views

  • "Cyber attacks are the new reality of modern warfare," said Hayat Alvi, lecturer in Middle Eastern studies at the US Naval War College. "We can expect more... from all directions. In war, the greatest casualty is the truth. Each side will try to manipulate information to make their own side look like it is gaining while the other is losing."
  • In April, Saudi-based broadcaster Al Arabiya briefly lost control of one of its twitter accounts, which was then used to spread a string of stories suggesting a political crisis in Qatar. Tweets included claims that the Qatari prime minister had been sacked, his daughter arrested in London and that a coup orchestrated by the army chief was underway.
  • there seems little sign such incidents made a significant difference either on the ground in Syria or to the wider geopolitical picture
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  • Some believe Assad may be getting technical support from his long-term allies in Tehran, who successfully crushed their own post-election protests that were in part organized over the Internet. China and Russia too are has amongst the world leaders in managing online political activism and dissent, with the latter at least also seen likely helping out in Syria.
Ed Webb

Israel asks Arab visitors to open emails to search - news.yahoo.com - Readability - 0 views

  • the agents discovered her address while rifling through her personal papers.

    "That's when they turned their (computer) screens around to me and said, 'Log in," she said. When she refused, an interrogator said, "'Well you must be a terrorist. You are hiding something.'"

  • A female interrogator ordered Doughman to open her Gmail account, threatening she would be deported if she didn't.

    "She typed in gmail.com and she turned the keyboard toward me and said, 'Log in. Log in now,'" Doughman recounted. "I asked, 'Is this legal?' She said, 'Log in.'"

    She said the agent searched for keywords like "West Bank" and "Palestine" and made fun of a chat in which Doughman talked of reading graffiti on Israel's West Bank separation barrier.

    "After she read a bunch of stuff, humiliating and mocking me, I said, 'I think you've read enough,'" Doughman said, adding that agents jotted down names and emails of her friends as they inspected her chat history

  • "The interrogator asked me, 'Do you feel more Arab or more American? ... Surely you must feel more Arab," Doughman said. "I told her I was born in the U.S. and studied there, but she didn't like my answer."

    After hours of questioning, both women were told they would not be allowed in. They said they were subjected to strip searches, placed in a detention center and sent back to the U.S. the following day. Doughman said they weren't allowed to call the U.S. Embassy.

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  • Emanuel Gross, a law professor at Haifa University, said such a practice would seem to be illegal in Israel.

    "In Israel, you need a search warrant to go into somebody's computer," he said. "I'm skeptical that the security guards asked a judge first for a warrant and I'm skeptical that a judge would give it."

Ed Webb

How social media users are helping NATO fight Gadhafi in Libya « Shabab Libya - 0 views

  • a committed cadre of social media users who have become, in effect, volunteer intelligence analysts. On Twitter, Facebook and other services, they discuss satellite images, vessel tracking data and the latest gossip from their sources inside the country.

    In the past few days, NATO officials have acknowledged that social media reports contribute to their targeting process

  • In a press briefing on June 10, Wing Commander Mike Bracken, a NATO spokesman, described the so-called “fusion centre” that pulls together intelligence.

    “We get information from open sources on the Internet; we get Twitter,” Wing Commander Bracken said. “You name any source of media and our fusion centre will deliver all of that into usable intelligence.”

    Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard, the Canadian who commands the operation, ultimately decides whether to trust what he’s hearing.

    “He will decide, ‘That is good information and I can act on it,’ ” the spokesman said. “Where it comes from, it’s not relevant to the commander.”

Ed Webb

Pentagon Official Questions U.S. Message to Muslims - NYTimes.com - 0 views

  • The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has written a searing critique of government efforts at “strategic communication” with the Muslim world, saying that no amount of public relations will establish credibility if American behavior overseas is perceived as arrogant, uncaring or insulting.
  • “That’s the essence of good communication: having the right intent up front and letting our actions speak for themselves,” Admiral Mullen wrote. “We shouldn’t care if people don’t like us. That isn’t the goal. The goal is credibility. And we earn that over time.”
  • most strategic communication problems are not communication problems at all,” he wrote. “They are policy and execution problems. Each time we fail to live up to our values or don’t follow up on a promise, we look more and more like the arrogant Americans the enemy claims we are.”
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  • “there has been a certain arrogance to our ‘strat comm’ efforts.” He wrote that “good communications runs both ways.”

    “It’s not about telling our story,” he stated. “We must also be better listeners.”

  • Coinciding with the publication of his essay, Admiral Mullen released a YouTube video inviting questions from members of the armed services and the public on a range of national security and military personnel issues for an online discussion.

    “The chairman intends to use social media to expand the two-way conversation with service members and the public,” said a statement announcing the interactive video question-and-answer session.

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