Friday, September 19, 2014

Ken Burns' Roosevelts documentary

As I look at this essentially visual piece -- the commentary is pedestrian -- I can't help but think of Norman Rockwell's propaganda images.

A thought on NFL players and domestic violence

Sure, if you look at porn movies you won't become a sex maniac. Sure, if you read the Old Testament you won't sacrifice your son. Sure, if you you look at constant car ads on Tee-Vee you won't give up walking. And sure, if you read the New Testament you won't want to crucify anybody.

But I simply cannot help but make a correlation between the senseless violence of professional American football -- players maimed, beaten, brutalized by each other -- and the domestic violence (as reported by the press) of some NFL players.

Cause-and-effect between playing professional football and beating up women? Of course, very hard to prove. But worth a minor thought.

A final minor thought: Aren't the rent-a-body NFL "cheerleaders" the ultimate proof of NFL female humiliation (none dare call it violence ...) ?

Image from

Sunday, September 14, 2014

September 14

"There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full."

--Henry Kissinger; image from


Background Briefing En Route to Ankara, Turkey - Special Briefing, Senior State Department Officials, En Route to Ankara, Turkey, September 12, 2014 - "MODERATOR: We’re on our way to Ankara, Turkey. We’re going to do a backgrounder to preview our trip there ... QUESTION: Hi. Can you tell us any more about progress on counter-extremism messaging? You told us in the call the other night that that was going to be a priority. Do you have any specific commitments or anything you can tell us on that front? ... MODERATOR: Yeah. One thing I would just add ... is that one of the reasons that Rick Stengel came, our Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy, is to talk about – yes, I know, but for the purposes of the transcript – it was to talk about this issue and kind of hear what many of these countries were saying.

And this is something that he has been and will continue to be engaged in moving forward. So it wasn’t the focus of the meeting, but it certainly is a continuous conversation." Image from

Anti-Islamic State Egypt Cleric Opposes U.S. War on Group [September 14] - Alaa Shahine, "Richard Stengel, under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, will visit the Middle East this month to work with governments and news organizations against giving favorable coverage to Islamist militants, said a U.S. official who asked not to be identified because the trip hasn’t been announced. Among the steps being considered are efforts to raise the profile of leading Muslim clerics and scholars who oppose the Islamic State, the official said."

Hancher's Yarrow to participate in online cultural diplomacy presentation: The U.S. Department of State is hosting a Google+ Hangout on the power of music diplomacy "Jacob Yarrow, programming director for the University of Iowa’s Hancher, will participate in a conversation about cultural diplomacy hosted by the U.S. Department of State. Hancher is a participant in the Department of State’s Center Stage program, which brings musicians from around the world to the United States to engage with American audiences and communities.

On Mon[day], Sept. 15 at 2 p.m., Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Even Ryan will lead a Google+ Hangout on the power of music diplomacy to connect local and global communities in the United States and around the world. Members of the public can participate by joining the Hangout." Yarrow image from entry

Hoba Hoba Spirit Opens DC Leg of US Tour at Kennedy Center’s Millenium Stage - Elisabeth Myers, [September 10]: "Hoba Hoba Spirit, a Casablanca-based band, played to a full house last night for the second concert of its US tour, at the Kennedy Center’s Millenium Stage in Washington, D.C. Incorporating traditional Moroccan instruments such as qarqaba (Moroccan metal castanets) and darbouka (dumbek/drum) into their original rock music, and singing in Darija (Moroccan Arabic), English and French, Hoba Hoba Spirit’s seven members play Morocc’n Roll, a mixture of homegrown roots, rock, and reggae, with the rythmic swagger of North Africa. The band’s energy and irreverance got the crowd on its feet dancing to the North African beat. The band has a repeat performance at Bossa Bistro in DC tonight. Mara Tekach, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Professional and Cultural Exchanges at the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, introduced the band. Representatives of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco, Driss Alaoui, Counselor, and Yasmina Ait Lahri of the Cultural Section, attended the concert.

Also attending was Stacy White, Cultural Programs Division Chief for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. 'Morocco appreciates the State Department’s Center Stage program which contributes so much to international cultural understanding,' said Mr. Alaoui. 'We welcome all of these energetic ambassadors of Moroccan culture, such as Hoba Hoba Spirit, to the US and wish them well on their tour.' The tour is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State in conjunction with the New England Foundation for the Arts as part of the Center Stage program. The band has engagements in Seattle, Atlanta, New York, Austin, and Cedar Rapids." Image from entry, with caption: Moroccan band, Hoba Hoba Spirit, opened the second leg of the band’s month-long Center Stage tour to the United States with a concert at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage yesterday." Image from entry, with caption: Moroccan band, Hoba Hoba Spirit, opened the second leg of the band’s month-long Center Stage tour to the United States with a concert at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage yesterday

Voice of America executives took a break at ice-cream social to forget about John Kerry - "Thanks to the power of social media, we have seen photos of Voice of America (VOA) executives, whose six-figure salaries and generous benefits are paid by U.S. taxpayers, relaxing at an ice-cream social

during government office hours on September 9, 2014. While we do not know whether these executives took annual leave to eat ice-cream, the social event

still had to cost U.S. taxpayers plenty of money and staff time while Voice of America was not making adequate arrangements for important news coverage and interviews, including an interview with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry." Images from entry; lower image has caption: Voice of America poster for a bingo night social

The scriptwriter - Mosharraf Zaidi, "[O]ne of the biggest changes in Pakistan is that the state and the idea of the state, have been drained of legitimacy and authority to the point of paralysis.  That single factor is what enables a perpetual stream of invective to be hurled at the country’s institutions, interrupted only by commercial breaks. Parliament is ‘fake’, the judges are ‘sold’, the armed forces are authoring ‘scripts’ and the world is ending! This is the kind of public diplomacy that terror strategists for organisations like Al-Qaeda and the TTP have salivated about for the duration of their existence."

U.K. Embassy accepting scholarship applications - "The British Embassy is now accepting applications from Korean students for the United Kingdom’s Chevening Scholarships until Nov. 15 for the 2015-2016 academic year. North Korean settlers in South Korea are also invited to submit applications for the scholarship, an official at the embassy said. Chevening Scholarships offer the opportunity to study for a one-year master’s degree at any U.K. university, including tuition fees and a monthly stipend. The Chevening Scholarships are awarded to outstanding established or emerging leaders across a wide range of fields, including politics, government, business, the media, the environment, civil society, religion and academia.

The program provides future leaders with a unique opportunity to build a global network of professionals and establish social, cultural, academic and commercial partnerships with Britain, the embassy said. The program operates in 150 countries around the world, and this year will support approximately 1,500 individuals. Around 20 Koreans were selected for the 2014-2015 academic year and an equivalent number of student are eligible for next year, too. The embassy said that the scholarship makes up an important part of its public diplomacy efforts and grants young professionals who have displayed outstanding leadership the opportunity to study in Britain." Image from

Catalan activists look to Scottish campaign as an object lesson - Tobias Buck, “[T]the Catalans are determined to turn Scotland’s independence referendum into a precedent for their own struggle: the regional government in Barcelona says it will hold a regional plebiscite on Catalonia’s political future less than two months later, on November 9. ‘It was feasible in the UK. It was feasible in Canada. So it should be feasible here in Spain,’ says Albert Royo, the secretary-general of Diplocat, the Catalan body that handles public diplomacy.”

Michael Poole Attends Islands Developing States Meeting - "MLA Michael Poole is currently overseas attending the United Nations Third International Conference on Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) in Apia, Samoa. The theme for the conference is ‘the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States

through genuine and durable partnerships.’ ... The SIDS conference concludes on Thursday 4th September, after which MLA Poole and Mr Rendell will spend time in the Pacific region carrying out public diplomacy." Image from

Buffalo Bill lecture set for Sept. 24 in Bozeman - MSU News Service, "Buffalo Bill will be put in transatlantic context when historians from Montana State University and the Netherlands team up to present a free public lecture on the showman Wednesday, Sept. 24, in Bozeman. MSU professor Robert Rydell and Utrecht University professor Rob Kroes will discuss 'Buffalo Bill in Bologna and Beyond from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Baxter Hotel at 105 W. Main St. ... William F. Cody, also known as Buffalo Bill, and his Wild West troupe toured England and Europe several times between 1887 and 1906.

The show appeared twice in cities and towns across Italy. Buffalo Bill played the Vatican in 1890, and a delegation of his performers met with Pope Leo XIII. He was the hit of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee in 1887 and of the Paris Universal Exposition in 1889. By 1906, when the Wild West show returned to Bologna, Italy, Cody was no stranger to Europeans. ... In their Bozeman lecture, Rydell and Kroes will reflect on the show’s significance, especially for the trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific worlds. The Wild West shows always featured cowboys and Indians, but what is often overlooked is that the show also featured performers from Russia, Japan, South America and the Middle East. By the end of Buffalo Bill’s career, when he joined forces with another showman, Pawnee Bill, the show was billed as the 'Far East and Far West.' 'Was this show just for fun?' the professors ask. 'Or, should it be taken more seriously as a form of public diplomacy?'” Image from entry, with caption: MSU and Dutch historians will present a Sept. 24 lecture on Buffalo Bill. (Image courtesy of the Library of Congress)

Did EC president Juncker break protocol by tapping Muscat’s head? He is the President of the European Commission so he will touch your head if he wants to... - Kris Bonnici, [scroll down link for item]: "Making a good impression is important. ... Before founding Diplomatic Envoy Consultancy, Kris was a career diplomat. He worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malta, in the Protocol and Consular Services Department, and then spent tours of duty in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. Serving as Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy in Cairo and Canberra, his diplomatic duties included protocol and etiquette and public diplomacy."


White House still seeking coalition in Mideast war - Charles Babington and Lara Jakes, For the last week, Secretary of State Kerry has traveled across the Mideast, to Turkey and finally Paris, to pin down nations on what kind of support they will give to a global coalition. But Kerry has refused to detail what countries have committed. He said some nations are still

deciding whether their contributions will target foreign fighters or financiers helping the militant group, send more humanitarian aid to Syrian and Iraqi refugees, mount a propaganda campaign to decry the extremists’ brand of radical Islam or join a military mission. Image from entry, with caption: Sailors prepare to launch aircraft from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) on Sept. 13 in the Arabian Gulf

When Doves Cry: Why would we trust U.S. intelligence about anything, including the lack of an ISIS threat? - Ron Fournier, "What is the enduring lesson of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, when the Bush administration overestimated and, in some cases, exaggerated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein? Some say it's to be skeptical of government officials who are making the case for war. I say the legacy should be skepticism toward government officials, period – all of them. Their hidden agendas can shade the case for peace as well as war, which might explain why there's no consensus among so-called experts about the threat posed today by ISIS. ... Some people understandably assume that the U.S. government, aided by a compliant media, is overselling the threat. ... According to this school of thought, evidence of a successful propaganda campaign lies in polls showing that 90 percent of Americans consider ISIS a serious threat. In other words, the American people are lemmings. How arrogant. My fight is with the small number of people – hawks and doves alike – who've already hardened their views on the nature of the ISIS threat and the best way to confront it, and who cherrypick officials' assessments to support their biases."

What ISIS Is Trying to Achieve With Their Slick Videos - James Phillips, ISIS aims to horrify Americans to discourage increased U.S. military involvement in combating the Islamic State. But there also was another target audience: supporters and potential recruits for that terrorist movement. The slickly-packaged jihadist propaganda seeks to stimulate and galvanize members of the movement, spur potential recruits to join in the carnage and incite additional terrorist attacks against the United States.

Obama's anti-IS strategy: Difficult Task in Challenging Region - James Reinl, America’s 154 airstrikes so far have struck mostly IS sitting ducks in wide-open Iraqi deserts. That will change when the targets are command centers and bases in IS-run cities of Iraq and Syria, and we see military mishits like those that dent US credibility in Afghanistan. The IS, also known by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL, has a slick public relations division. You Tube videos of dead children being pulled from burning schools in Raqqa would be potent propaganda tools for extremists. It will look like Hamas holding out against Israel.

Beheading Shows Just How Bad U.S. Intelligence Has Become - Michael Rubin, Neither the United States nor United Kingdom has much of an idea about where its citizens are being held hostage. Given the importance to ISIS of its propaganda campaign, this means in turn that the United States and United Kingdom likely have little to no idea about where high-value ISIS targets are.

I’m Not Afraid of ISIS - Chris Ernesto, "I live down the street from the US Capitol. If ISIS struck in the belly of the beast, my family and I would likely be negatively impacted. But I’ve never lost a minute of sleep worrying about it, and I never will. Not because I’m 'tough' but because I’m not a pawn of the government controlled media that misleads Americans into accepting Obama’s propaganda to 'scare' us into more war."

US Will Use “ISIS Airstrikes” in Syria as Aircover for Rebels, Hit Syrian Military Targets - Patrick Henningsen, We’ve been observing US airstrikes overseas for a few decades now, long enough to understand

the reality beyond Pentagon propaganda. Not to be naive, expect that the US will certainly use any air strikes in Syria to offer real time air intel to the rebels, provide air cover, and create much-needed corridors for the FSA Syrian rebels. Image from entry

Tactic of terror: What’s behind the gruesome strategy of the Islamic State? - "Another video portraying the beheading of a foreign hostage was released Saturday by the Islamic State. What's behind this gruesome strategy? Tom Sanderson from the Center for Strategic and International Studies joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss the issue. ... TOM SANDERSON:... At this point in the current state of the battle, the U.S. can hit ISIS with impunity: we’ll have drones in the battle, we have aircraft now — we don’t need boots on the ground — so ISIS can’t hit back and bleed us, but they can through our civilians, through the reporters, through NGO workers, humanitarian workers or whatever. So this to them levels the plain field to some degree. It’s also about revenge, clearly — the orange Gitmo jumpsuit is about hitting back, and it’s very difficult to strike the U.S., so this gives them that opportunity to satisfy that need of actually inflicting the pain on the West. ... That brings me to ... the recruitment element, the propaganda tool. And this is very satisfying for young men who come from countries where they are marginalized, where they are subject to harsh treatment, where they feel denuded and impotent. And this gives them a sense of power that they are probably never had before."

he American who coordinates the Islamic State’s online propaganda efforts... - The American who coordinates the Islamic State’s online propaganda efforts was caught on tape by the FBI in 2006 plotting “peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches” from “culinary school” — code for terrorist attacks and training camps.

ISIS may have 24 western hostages including Britons and even jihadists who changed their minds - Steve White, The videos of the decapitated David Haines, James Foley and Steven Sotloff are unlikely to show their actual murders, but have instead been released as “propaganda,” it has been claimed.

‘Act of Pure Evil’: ISIS Video Depicts Beheading of British Hostage - Ken McIntyre, Steven Bucci, director of Heritage’s Allison Center for Foreign and National Security Policy, addressed the propaganda motives of this latest ISIS murder of a hostage, which follows the beheadings in recent weeks of two U.S. journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff. “This is unlikely to drive a wedge between the U.S. and our strongest ally, the UK,” Bucci said. “It is obvious that ISIS does not remember other attempts to intimidate the British people — Hitler and the terror bombing of London, for example.”

UK Muslims 'need to do more to stop fanatics' [scroll down ink for item]: Signatories to a letter to David Cameron from a coalition of organisations and imams admit that UK Muslims need to do more to dissuade their young men from being misled into taking part in the extremist group rampaging through Syria and Iraq's "hatred and poison. Sughra Ahmed, president of the Islamic Society of Britain, told the Observer: "These extremists aren't us. This isn't the Islam that we recognise. But we need to do more than just say 'not in our name, not for our faith'. We need to work together and make sure that these fanatics don't get the propaganda that they feed off."

Father of Australian Islamic State fighter warns parents to be vigilant about extremist behaviour - Allan Clarke and Mohamed Taha, Thousands of people attended the community barbecue, Muslims Love Australia, in Lakemba in Sydney's south-west on Sunday. Event organiser Jamal Rifi said the gathering was organised to quell the pressure the local Muslim community was feeling, by inviting the wider community to break down misconceptions over food. 'We have different faiths, colours and races all here to enjoy an Australian barbecue,' Dr Rifi said.

Dr Rifi said many young Australians were being drawn into the conflict by IS propaganda on social media. 'My message to our young people is 'Imam YouTube' and 'Shaykh YouTube' want your head,' he said. 'They are attacking you to attract to a war that is non-Islamic. What they are doing is barbaric — it has nothing to do with Islam." Image from entry, with caption: Muslims Love Australia organiser Jamal Rifi (centre) with Immigration Minister Scott Morrison at the event.

Say ‘no’ to war and media propaganda - AGB/HRJ. "[The] decision by the United States/NATO to create a high readiness force with the alleged purpose of countering an alleged Russian threat reminds me of the war propaganda of lies, half-truths, insinuations and rumors to which we were all subjected in order to try to soften us all up for the Iraq war and subsequent horrific wars of terror which were carried out by NATO allied forces."

Russian TV Softens Rhetoric on Ukraine - The Moscow Times: Russian television news broadcasts have softened their rhetoric with reference to Ukraine in recent weeks, having shied away from referring to the Ukrainian authorities in Kiev as a "junta," according to Medialogia research company.

In fact, the term "junta" has not been mentioned in this context since Sept. 4. Ekho Moskvy radio's deputy editor Vladimir Varfolomeyev posted a graph on Sunday, compiled by Medialogia, illustrating a drastic change in Ukraine rhetoric on the government-leaning television channels, some of which have faced accusations in the past of having disseminated propaganda. Image from entry, with caption: Most Russian television channels began to refer to the Ukrainian central government in Kiev as a junta after former President Viktor Yanukovych fled the country in February.

N.K. calls on Seoul to stop propaganda leaflets - North Korea on Saturday denounced South Korea’s recent proposal to hold high-level talks, saying that Seoul should first stop all anti-Pyongyang hostile activities, including floating propaganda leaflets into its territory, before making such a “deceptive” offer.

Wartime film idol, propaganda tool Rikoran dies at 94 - Film idol Yoshiko Yamaguchi, who was known as Rikoran and symbolized Japan’s dreams of Asian conquest, has died at the age of 94. Known as Shirley Yamaguchi in the United States and one of the biggest Japanese film stars during and after World War II, Yamaguchi died of heart failure Sept. 7, according to NHK.

Born to Japanese parents in northern China in 1920 and raised in Japan’s wartime puppet state of Manchukuo, Yamaguchi was adopted by a Chinese friend of her father and was renamed “Xianglan,” or “Fragrant Orchid,” when she was 13. She debuted as a Chinese singer Li Xianglan — Rikoran in Japanese — and starred in Chinese-language films made by the Japanese-run Manchurian Cinema Association, many of them propaganda movies. Uncaptioned image from entry

Hitler's final moments uncovered and how the Daily Express reported his death 69 years ago - Dominic Midgley, Whenthe Daily Express reported the death of Adolf Hitler, it refused to dignify his passing with a picture on its front page and in a box entitled "Obituary" said: "The Daily Express rejoices to announce the report of Adolf Hitler's death. The front page dated May 2, 1945 - two days after what is now acknowledged to be the day of Hitler's death - reports that the Hamburg radio station that broadcast the announcement spent one and a half hours telling its listeners to stand by for grave news and played a piece by Hitler's favourite composer Wagner, Twilight Of The Gods, part four of the Ring Cycle known in German as Gotterdammerung.

When it came to the detail of the announcement the Nazi propaganda machine exhibited its customary mendacity: "Adolf Hitler has fallen this afternoon in his command post in the Reich Chancery fighting to his last breath for Germany against Bolshevism." One element of the Daily Express's coverage offers a revealing insight into the propaganda tricks employed by both sides - the Allies as well as the Nazis. It notes that Hitler was born with the surname Shickelgruber. This is now believed to have been the work of psychological warfare experts keen to belittle the Fuhrer using all means possible, including by attributing to him a name that sounds slightly ridiculous to British ears. In fact, while Hitler's father had been born out of wedlock to a woman called Shickelgruber (or Schicklgruber), his paternal grandparents later married and the Nazi leader's father legally changed his name to Hitler 12 years before his son Adolf was born. Image from entry


Athens 2004 Summer Olympics Main Fountain Entrance

From: 30 Haunting Photos Of Abandoned Olympic Stadiums. It's Scary To Think Sochi May Be Next...; via MV on Facebook

Saturday, September 13, 2014

September 13

"Propaganda, of course, goes hand in hand with policy."

--From a letter by George Creel, Chairman of the Committee on Public Information (1917-1919) to President Woodrow Wilson, December 27, 1917; located in Box, 3 George Creel Collection, Library of Congress Manuscript Division; Creel image from


Digital Last at Voice of America with John Kerry –- Good Enough for Government Work - BBGWatcher, "This commentary describes how Voice of America was 'Digital Last' in its handing of an interview with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. The author of 'Digital Last at Voice of America with John Kerry – Good Enough for Government Work' is a former Voice of America correspondent who wants to remain anonymous. ... There may be more in the way of background to this that we don’t know, but think of it — if CNN, BBC, MSNBC, FOX interview Kerry, the president, or some other high official during a road trip, audiences would never see only a still photo unrelated to the interview, a late posted transcript and a SKYPE interview only with the correspondent. (There was no video, no photo, no Facebook post, no YouTube, no correspondent report in on-demand online radio newscasts about VOA interview with Kerry, no social media engagement of any significance compared to what BBC, CNN, or RT regularly get. Read our report. Editor’s note.)"

India and China must think outside the ‘bureaucratic box’ - Tansen Sen, "There are contradictions between the India–China joint declarations about promoting people-to-people exchanges and the implementation of these measures. Intra-ministerial disagreements, mystifying constraints, narrow visions and a reluctance to involve competent people often render these processes ineffective.

These initiatives are usually categorised as ‘public diplomacy’ and epitomised by heavy handedness and restrictions imposed by bureaucrats who treat them as no more than symbolic gestures. In fact, free interactions at the grassroots levels — that could potentially advance mutual awareness and knowledge — have never been fully encouraged seemingly for ‘security’ reasons. Consequently, the rhetoric and false narratives of friendship get recycled while the general public remain in the dark and utterly confused about the actual policy goals." Image from

Public Diplomacy and the Globalization of Terror - "For Nigeria, the West does not seem to be doing enough militarily and in terms of public diplomacy."

High-Tech Jihad: Stopping Zuckerber's 'Terrorism Network' -- Exclusive: Larry Klayman explains his lawsuit against Facebook for enabling ISIS et al. - "Due to the lack of liability attached to Internet entities, such as Facebook, for permitting and furthering terrorist conduct on their forums, terrorists groups are using the network to grow much stronger. As outlined in my lawsuit against Facebook and Zuckerberg,

I came across the 'Third Intifada Page' on Facebook. The page, which had over 300,000 followers, contained terrorist death threats and calls to carry out said death threats against all Jews. As a person of Jewish origin and pro-Israel activist with a highly public opposition to radical Islam, I feared an imminent attack to cause me severe bodily harm or even death. My fears were justified because I received death threats as a result of the page. Consequently, I, along with the public diplomacy minister of Israel, simply asked Facebook to take down the page. Facebook refused, and as a result, Jews actually DIED. The page remained on Facebook for a staggering two weeks!" Klayman image from entry


What Obama Didn't say - Philip Gourevitch, New Yorker: Until now, the pretext for our more limited air war against ISIS has been that we were protecting American personnel in Iraq. Obama said that he “insisted that additional U.S. action depended upon Iraqis forming an inclusive government.” That new government was put together “in recent days,” and so he said that he was ready for action. He did not discuss the heaviness of America’s hand in creating it. Are we really to believe that this untested client regime in Baghdad is the foundation for Obama’s drastic reversal of course? Or was it the beheadings of the American journalists by ISIS butchers who taunted Obama directly in their grisly propaganda snuff films?

Springtime for Russophobia: Putin the “New Hitler” and Anti-Russian Propaganda - Mark Hackard, In decadent madness

the Pax Americana seeks to subjugate Russia. Image from entry

N. Korea calls on Seoul to stop sending propaganda leaflets - North Korea on Saturday denounced South Korea's recent proposal to hold high-level talks, saying that Seoul should first stop all anti-Pyongyang hostile activities, including floating propaganda leaflets into its territory, before making such a "deceptive" offer.

Belgrade Theatre Welcomes Actor-Musician Cast for PROPAGANDA SWING, Running Now thru Sept 27 - The Belgrade Theatre in Coventry has announced casting for the UK premiere of Peter Arnott's gripping WWII drama Propaganda Swing, playing on the Belgrade Main Stage for two weeks this month. This brand new co-production with Nottingham Playhouse will feature a cast

of eight actor-musicians and follows in the success of the two theatres' previous co-production of Charlie Peace: His Amazing Life and Astounding Legend which premiered in Nottingham in September 2013. Directed by Belgrade Theatre Artistic Director Hamish Glen, Propaganda Swing is a captivating combination of WWII intrigue and drama set against a backdrop of glitz, glamour and Big Band swagger. Image from entry

High praise for the less-hyped at Toronto [includes video] - Janice Page, “Red Army”: Maybe it was just that I was in Canada, at a premiere where the audience included legendary player Wayne Gretzky and coach Scotty Bowman, but no TIFF screening was more fun than this documentary about the great Soviet hockey machine led by Vladimir Krutov, Igor Larionov, and Sergei Makarov (the KLM line), with Alexei Kasatonov and Viacheslav Fetisov on defense. Even when director Gabe Polsky overreaches to support his sports-as-propaganda narrative (Pucks for Perestroika!), there is wit and ESPN-quality playfulness to his filmmaking. Don Cherry shows up in a laughably menacing clip. If you don’t know who that is, this isn’t your movie.


Полицейская Лос-Анжелеса присматривает за брошенным ребенком, устроив его в своём столе. [1971] (loose translation: LA police officer looks after an abandoned child, accommodating the child in her desk; via DM on Facebook

MORE QUOTATIONS FROM CHAIRMAN CREEL (from the Library of Congress Manuscript Division George Creel Papers)

Creel was the Chairman of the Committee on Public Information, 1917-1919, created by Woodrow Wilson by Executive Order on April 14, 1917; arguably it is the USG's first propaganda ("public diplomacy?") agency)

(image from)

"Once, too, he [Woodrow Wilson] looked up at me with a twinkle in his eye, and said, 'I'm afraid, dear boy, that I was born without your passion for adjectives."

--Creel letter to his son, George Bates Creel March 21, 1931, Box 1

"One of the most effective of all our propaganda agencies was THE OPPRESSED NATIONALITIES OF AUSTRO-HUNGARY with Tomas G. Masaryk and Ignace Padereski as its leaders."

"By wireless and able, we send 1,000 words a day to the countries of the world."

--Creel letter to Wilson, July 23, 1918, Box 2

"For four months I have been trying to get some effective posters from the artists of America and I have not yet seen a single one that appeals to me as the real thing."

--Creel to Wilson, June 20, 1917, Box 1

(image from)

"The CPI's maintenance of its own set-up in both neutral and Allied nations was another reason for the State Department's persistent antagonism. Ambassadors and ministers thrust to one side as entirely useless for our work, nagged and blocked."

--Creel undated note appended to a his July 31, 1918 letter to Wilson, Box 3

"The volunteer censorship is being observed with few violations. Our matter goes into the papers by thousands of columns, and aside from the personal attacks of a few New York newspapers, like the World, feeling has grown very friendly."

--Creel Woodrow Wilson, November 18, 1917, Box 3

"Mr. [Hugh] Gibsons's idea

 (Gibson image from)

of a 'first class man' to organize and coordinate the work of disseminating timely information in Europe, is a man who speaks French, acts French, and is as little as an American as is possible." On Gibson, see.

"I have dismissed myself from the payroll today, March first."

--Creel to Wilson, March 1 1919, Box 2

"[T]he Republican majority in Congress destroyed the Committee on Public Information on June 30, 1919 ... the Committee was dispossessed on July 20, and the ledgers and files of two years were loaded into amy trucks and dumped in vacant offices in the old Fuel Administration building. It was not until August 21 that you [Wilson] found power to appoint the Council of National Defense as the Committee's liquidating agency and for a second time, records, receipts, bills and checks were piled into trucks and carted to a new resting place."

--Creel to Wilson, March 1, 1919, Box 2


"In the estimate you submitted the other day for the Committee on Public Information, I found no provision, at any rate no definite provision, for yourself. I cannot be content with that arrangement and write to you to beg that you will do me the favor to provide a proper compensation for your own services. I could not be content with anything else."

--Wilson to Creel, May 14, 1917, Box 3

"I am no expert in publicity."

(image from, with caption Publicity Calendar for the Cigarette Paper Manufacturer 'Rizla', Depicting President Woodrow Wilson)

--Wilson to Creel, July 21, 1918, Box 2

"I believe that proper cooperation of the newspapers to be impossible because of the small but powerful lawless elements among them who observe no rules, regard no understanding as binding, and act always as they please."

--Wilson to State Department Third Assistant Secretary of State Breckinridge Long,  November 20, 1917, Box 3


1940 -- Traveled to Mexico to help establish a Mexican Ministry of Public Information and Propaganda

Friday, September 12, 2014

September 11-12

"Perhaps propaganda is the most dangerous drug of all."

--Leonid Bershidsky,; image from


U.S. Department of State To Host Google+ Hangout on Music Diplomacy on September 15 - Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC, September 11, 2014 - "Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan will participate in a Google+ Hangout on September 15 to discuss the impact of music diplomacy with participants from the State Department’s Center Stage and American Music Abroad programs. Representatives from the New England Foundation of the Arts and the Association of American Voices will also join the conversation. Interested musicians, practitioners, and the general public are encouraged to tune in and participate by submitting questions in advance. Cultural exchange programs, in music, dance, film, visual arts, and the humanities, connect the United States with new audiences, foster cross-cultural understanding, and demonstrate shared values. The State Department’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs’ music initiatives, including the Center Stage, OneBeat, American Music Abroad, and Next Level programs open dialogue, encourage collaboration, create economic opportunities, and empower youth. The Hangout will be broadcast live at 3:00 p.m. EDT on the U.S. Department of State’s Google+ page and YouTube channel. Questions can be submitted in advance on the Google+ page and via Twitter by using #MusicDiplomacy."

U.S. Navy Band bringing country shows to Tulsa - "The Navy Band acts as a outreach arm of the Navy as it travels to perform concerts in communities across the country, as well as at international events. 'Today, Navy bands are still performing around the world, acting as agents of public diplomacy for the American government, improving relations with our allies and winning the hearts and minds with the universal language of music,' said Capt. Brian O. Walden, commanding officer for the Navy Band." See also, which notes the statement by Walter Pincus of the Washington Post that there are "more military band musicians in the Defense Department than the State Department has Foreign Service officers." See also John Brown, "A Modest Proposal: Make the Pentagon Our Very Own Ministry of Culture!" Huffington Post

Broadcasting Reform: Time to Rearm, and Fight Enemy Propaganda - Helle Dale, "On July 28, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4490, the United States International Communications Reform Act. The bill eliminates the dysfunctional Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the agency that oversees U.S. civilian international broadcasting. Its decisions have for years been marred by strategic errors—like eliminating broadcasting to Russia and Ukraine. ... While

there is time, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee should consider the following changes to improve H.R.  4490Remove the new broadcasting advisory broads from any role in selecting a director. Directors should be nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Support continued shortwave broadcasting, which is being eliminated by the current BBG in favor of Internet messaging. Vast areas of the world are not on the Web, or even have electricity. Move the Office of Cuba Broadcasting in with the other surrogate radio broadcasters, such as Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, whose mission is to promote democracy and broadcast news to countries under authoritarian regimes. The Senate must move quickly to consider its bill. The United States needs strong messaging to troubled regions of the world. This no time for complacency or delay." Dale image from entry

Yigal Palmor steps down after six years as Foreign Ministry spokesman. Media overexposure, he says, ‘is not good for anyone.’ - Jerusalem Post: “'People always say there is not enough hasbara [public diplomacy],' Palmor

said, repeating a common complaint. “But the real problem is that there is not enough diplomacy.” And the reason for this, to a large extent, is due to lack of means." Image from entry, with caption: Yigal Palmor: ‘Everything needs interpretation. Everything needs to be explained.’

The war in Gaza: Canards (continued): Unless we extricate our policy-making mechanisms from the destructive influence of these corrosive canards, our goose may be well and truly cooked - Martin Sherman, Jerusalem Post: "With respect to supposed pressures from the international community and the US administration, reference to these actually constitutes more of an excuse to justify the outcome than a motive that explains Israel’s military restraint.

In large measure, ‘pressures’ tend to come from Israel’s incompetence and impotence in the conduct of public diplomacy." Image from entry, with caption: Islamic Jihad digging new tunnels in Gaza

Army opens criminal probe of IDF strike on Gaza beach that killed 4 kids and attack on UNRWA school: "[W]hile the IDF has provided large amounts of material on a public diplomacy basis to combat broader allegations

that it fired artillery indiscriminately during the fierce Battle of Shejaia in eastern Gaza City, such as that it warned civilians to leave, Hamas systematically used human shields to prevent evacuations and huge areas were booby-trapped, it has not yet addressed the broader allegations there legally." Image from entry, with caption: Man carries child on Gaza beach after Navy shelling.

Asean media urged to practice ‘peaceful, constructive journalism’ - Dennis Atienza Maliwanag, "Beijing seeks to allay fears in Asean as it strengthens its economic and military clout in the region. One way to do this, an official said, is for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to engage in what it calls 'e-public diplomacy.' From August 30 to September 6, 20 Southeast Asian journalists and media executives and two officials of the Asean Secretariat joined the China-Asean Journalists Exchange Program held in Beijing and Zhejiang.

The eight-day study tour saw Asean journalists exchanging views with prominent members of the Chinese media, academe, local government officials and executives of leading business groups. The program was facilitated by Zhu Xiaozhong, deputy director of E-Public Diplomacy Division; Wu Shenghao, first secretary of the Public Diplomacy Office; and Tian Qi, information staff of the Public Diplomacy office, all from the foreign affairs ministry. The Asean member nations—Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam—are formally integrating as an economic bloc in 2015." Image from entry, with caption: Asean journalists listen to Ash Sutcliffe (center), public relations officer of Geely, during a meeting at the Chinese automaker’s head office in Hangzhou City.

'Independencia!': Protesters demand Catalonia vote - Kim Hjelmgaard and Katharine Lackey, USA TODAY: "About 55% of Catalans support independence from Spain, according to the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia, a government-supported group that seeks to raise awareness about the region."

Image from entry, with caption: People wave independence flags as they celebrate Catalonia National Day on Sept. 11in Barcelona, Spain. Red and yellow flags filled the streets as Catalan nationalists rallied to demand a vote on breaking away from Spain

Media and foreign policy in the digital age: New information and communication technologies have now entered the realm of foreign policy, and they have a direct impact on international relations in the 21st century - "How will the new, expanded media landscape and active participation by members of civil society influence decision-makers’ scope of action? What role do (international) media have as ambassadors and mediators? Is digital diplomacy a harbinger of global media democracy? Should international organizations rethink their diplomatic strategies? What consequences will access to new communication technologies have for rapidly growing economies in developing countries? How can new media be integrated into conventional forms of public diplomacy?

Experts from around the world will explore these and related questions at the 2015 Global Media Forum." Image from entry


How Obama Learned to Love the Bomb - Daniel McCarthy, The American Conservative: Obama resorts to bombing because our pundits demand that he “do something.” Leaving Iraq to its own devices, to suffer, burn, and ultimately rebuild, is too cruel, and ISIS with its spectacular propaganda videos makes a great cable news bite and social-media campaign.

It’s evil, it’s scary, it’s on YouTube, so what are we going to do about it? Obama would be weak and callous if he did nothing. That he can’t actually do much that matters in the long run is unimportant—our humanitarian urges and Islamophobic fears will be satisfied as long as we get some kind of action right now. So we bomb. Uncaptioned image from entry

ISIS has mastered high-end video production in its new propaganda wing - Bruce Wallace, The terrorist group ISIS is known for its sophisticated social media outreach. Now it seems they are bringing that sophistication to their video propaganda, too.

The videos are notable for their high production values and for their apparent target audience: Westerners. Not only are the videos more sophisticated than ones produced by other Islamist groups, there are more of them and they come out faster. Image from entry, with caption: A man purported to be Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the miltant group ISIS, during what would have been his first public appearance at a mosque in Mosul, according to a video recording posted on the Internet.

Germany bans Islamic State symbols, propaganda - German authorities have banned all activity on behalf of the Islamic State extremist group, including the distribution of propaganda material and the display of its symbols. The decree issued Friday closes a legal gap that made it difficult to prosecute Islamic State supporters in Germany. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said in a statement the group represents a "threat to public security in Germany" and its recruitment efforts need to be stopped. Security agencies estimate at least 400 people from Germany have joined the Islamic State group and similar organizations.

Propaganda Army Speaks Fluent Kremlin - Oleg Sukhov, Russia doesn't have the highest standard of living or the best democratic institutions, to say the least, but many believe it is a world leader in one field - propaganda.

Since President Vladimir Putin began consolidating the country’s news media under his control in 2000, the Kremlin’s indoctrination machine has not stopped growing. The pursuit of truth is not on the agenda. Demonization of Ukraine is now the main focus of the Kremlin’s propaganda, with Ukrainian events accounting for the bulk of news coverage. Entry lists members of the "propaganda army" including, among others, Alexander Prokhanov (and the only American on the list, Stephen Cohen). Prokhanov image from entry.

Russian activist proves lie of Kremlin's propaganda (Video) - Activist Aleksei Sidorov published a video refuting statements of the Kremlin's propaganda that Russian soldiers do not fight in eastern Ukraine. He checked a news article published in Novaya Gazeta saying that Russian soldier Anton Tumanov of Kozmodemyansk, 20, died in the Donbas region, Obozrevatel writes. The investigation confirmed this information. Details can be found in the video taken by Aleksei Sidorov.

Video Game Fan Art Mistaken for Historic WWI Propaganda - Benjamin Sutton, A video game fan’s vintage-style artwork claiming that “Soldiers Eat Babies” was sufficiently convincing to fool the makers of the Russian documentary series “World War I” into including the image in a segment on US propaganda during WWI. An artist who goes by the name of TankTaur originally posted the image—which shows a monster-like soldier about to ingest a crying baby accompanied by text urging viewers to join a clan in the wildly popular multi-player video game Team Fortress 2—on DeviantArt in 2009, but Russia’s Channel One took the image to be much, much older. “My third and final poster for the TF2 Propaganda contest,” the artist wrote in 2009.

“The message is rather outrageous, but that’s what propaganda is for, to make your enemies look bad.” The artist added an update to the listing recently: “Apparently this was featured on Russian television as an example of actual historical US propaganda. It’s an easy mistake to make, I’m sure.” Apparently so. As the Channel One documentary has it, the poster was one of the crude works of propaganda art created at the behest of the United States Committee on Public Information. The documentary’s narrator explains: “The American public had to firmly acknowledge that Germans are evil…Britain was virtually drowning in the ocean of posters and leaflets. Its horror-propaganda would churn out new and heartbreaking accounts.” Image from entry, with caption: Team Fortress 2 poster by TankTaur. Courtesy TankTaur, via DeviantArt.

When war meant getting people to sign up - Kevin Hartnett,
Long before robot planes ruled the skies, the only way to wage a war was to get citizens to sign up. That’s one takeaway message from a new exhibition of World War I propaganda at the Boston Athenaeum called “Over Here: World War I Posters from Around the World.”

Many of the posters feature stark illustrations of soldiers accompanied by slogans like, “Go and help!” and “Boys come over here, you’re wanted.” What those boys were wanted for, of course, was their bodies, in a war where the last man standing won. Image from entry , with caption: Unknown Artist, Don’t Stand Looking at This, Go and Help!, 1915. Color lithograph. Adelaide, Australia


Камчатка побережье Охотского моря (the Kamchatka shore along the Okhotsk Sea). Via IM on Facebook

Thursday, September 11, 2014

September 10

"News and truth are not the same thing, and must be clearly distinguished. The function of news is to signalise an event, the function of truth is to bring to light the hidden facts, to set them into relation with each other, and make a picture of reality on which men can act." 

--Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion; cited in César García, "Rethinking Walter Lippmann’s legacy in the history of public relations, "PRism 7(1), p. 6; image from; see also


The Achilles Heel of U.S. Public Diplomacy: Race Relations and Police Violence - Bethany Pullen, "If racism in America was an international problem in the 1950’s, it is that much more pertinent in the digital age of Facebook and Twitter.

American public diplomacy practitioners should develop a strategy for addressing these concerns externally, but real solutions must also be pursued internally." Uncaptioned image from entry

Barack Obama’s Social Media Flame War Against ISIS - Alex Altman, "Th[e] digital battlefield has become a vital theater in the war on terrorism, and for the U.S. government, the front lines are the digital outreach team in a small State Department office, the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC), which began operation in 2011 on orders from President Obama. With a budget of only $6 million, and about two-dozen staffers, the group is spearheading the campaign to combat the sophisticated propaganda ISIS is spreading on social media and Internet bulletin boards. Working in Arabic, Urdu, Somali and now English, its analysts comb the Internet for radical material, wading into everything from Twitter to Yemeni tribal forums to counter and rebut jihadist claims.

What these State Department staffers are looking for is an opportunity to 'engage in our very particular brand of adversarial engagement,' says Alberto Fernandez, a former ambassador to Equatorial Guinea who serves as coordinator of the CSCC. (The center reports to the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Richard Stengel, who is a former managing editor of TIME.) Staff try to cast extremist activity in a negative light, tamping down the lure of jihad for ordinary people whose political grievances might draw them toward to groups like ISIS. Sometimes this entails direct confrontation, but such confrontations are not the group’s goal. 'Our target audience is not the extremists,' Fernandez says. 'It’s the people the extremists are talking to, trying to influence. It’s people who have not yet become terrorists.' ... Fernandez acknowledges that it is difficult to calculate the impact of his cyber-warriors. 'You can’t prove a negative,' he notes." Uncaptioned image from enntry

Defeating ISIS: An Integrated Strategy to Advance Middle East Stability - Brian Katulis, Hardin Lang, and Vikram Singh, "As with efforts to counter extremism elsewhere, defeating ISIS will require a concentrated effort over time. Any successful U.S. strategy must be built on a foundation of regional cooperation that requires coordinated action from U.S. partners—a central concept of the Counterterrorism Partnership Fund that President Barack Obama

proposed earlier this year. The strategy will be multifaceted, involving intelligence cooperation, security support, vigorous regional and international diplomacy, strategic communications and public diplomacy, and political engagement." Image from entry, with caption: Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, are seen in Raqqa, Syria.

State Department Enters Propaganda War With ISIL - "The State Department is launching a tough and graphic propaganda counteroffensive against the Islamic State, using some of the group's own images of barbaric acts against fellow Muslims to undercut its message. While the department since 2011 has operated a small unit devoted solely to the task of analyzing and countering terrorists' messaging around the world, that unit – the 50-member Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications -- has shifted gears in recent months to concentrate more on the Islamic State threat. The social media presence – on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and beyond – has started using some potentially risky tactics to go after the militant network, also known as ISIS. The item grabbing the most attention lately is a shock factor-heavy YouTube video set up as a fake recruiting ad for the Islamic State."

State Dept Touts Anti-ISIS Propaganda Campaign: Senators See Parody Video as 'Bizarre' - Jason Ditz, "The State Department is touting what it believes is a 'vital' stage in its propaganda campaign against ISIS recruitment, releasing a new video attempting to parody the ISIS online recruitment videos. The 'Think again, turn away' campaign is aimed at discouraging Westerners from going off to join ISIS, showing images of mosques blowing up and people being decapitated, something Sen. Ted Cruz (R – TX) called 'bizarre.' Some Congressmen are pushing for a propaganda campaign that is a bit more focused and a lot more serious than the parody-style video, which ends by declaring 'travel is inexpensive, because you won’t need a return ticket.'

Yet past efforts at propagandizing that the US has carried out during the global war on terror have been similarly unsuccessful,  and enormously expensive. The US government simply isn’t very good at these sort of marketing campaigns that try to manufacture a positive view for US war efforts, or a negative view for their enemy of the moment. Uncaptioned image from entry

The State Department’s plan to spark a global SOPA-style uprising around Internet governance - Nancy Scola, "For years now, there has been a fight brewing over whether Internet governance should rest with the 16-year-old California-based nonprofit called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers or be shifted to a United Nations-affiliated body.

ICANN and the 150-year-old International Telecommunications Union, which has long acted as the traffic cop of global non-Internet telecommunications, might be headed to a crucial face-off next month. And so, the U.S. State Department, which wants ICANN to retain control of Internet governance, is making a bid to broaden the debate and engage an audience all over the world with a simple proclamation: 'The Internet belongs to everyone.' ... Tweeted Macon Phillips, who directs public diplomacy for the State Department, 'Strategic assumption of @KeeptheNetOpen [is] that nerds in every country care about [the open Internet].'" Image from

Op-Ed: Propaganda war in which Voice of America helps Putin - Ted Lipien, "In an incredible display of naiveté, Voice of America executives agreed to do a discussion program with a Russian business television channel just as President Putin was moving more Russian troops and heavy equipment into Ukraine. It would be extremely foolish for anyone to assume that this project was not carefully coordinated and is overseen by top propaganda advisors to the Kremlin. They saw an opportunity to embarrass VOA and the United States while scoring points for Putin with domestic and perhaps also some international Russian-speaking television audiences. The two programs with a Russian TV channel so far have been an absolute disaster for the United States and a great win for the Kremlin's propaganda, according several Russian scholars, journalism, and propaganda experts from the United States and Europe, all fluent Russian speakers."

Daily news updates on AudioNow - Isah V. Red, "As part of the Embassy of the Philippines’s efforts to serve better Filipinos in the United States of America (USA), DZBB, now offers daily five-minute news headlines on any kind of phone in the US through its partnership with AudioNow, the world’s leading call-to-listen platform. GMA Network joins other industry leaders, such as Veritas 846 AM, Catholic Media Network, and People’s Television Network, as a part of a Philippine Embassy initiative to give Filipinos in the US access to media. The pioneering initiative also features Radyo Tambuli, a virtual radio station created by the Embassy.

Its programming includes news, interviews, folk music and opinion polls. ... 'We applaud GMA’s initiative to join in our efforts with other leading Filipino broadcasters to serve the diaspora. This is another great step towards a digital public diplomacy for the Embassy,' said the Honorable Ambassador Jose L.Cuisia, Jr." Image from

Not everyone is against us; some might even like us if... - Yossi Beilin, "[S]ome good people took part in European rallies against the Gaza war. Some were well-informed, others apparently not. They were exposed to images of suffering and refused to remain indifferent. They were not convinced by the rhetoric of Israeli officials, just as we don’t buy the accounts of Michael Brown’s killing by Missouri police. Investing more in public diplomacy won’t help, either (though one assumes the defense budget will be increased precisely at the expense of public diplomacy, or 'hasbarah' in Hebrew)."

The (il)logic of Israel’s land grabs as a form of punishment - Yossi Mekelberg, "Nothing more clearly conveys to the Palestinians that the Israeli government is not sincere in negotiating the two state solution with them than the constant expansion of settlements. ... This recent episode of settlements expansion is also indicative of the shortcomings of the Israeli decision making process. In the face of U.S. anger at the announcement of the expropriation of the settlements, a number of the Israeli prime minister’s advisors claimed that he was not informed about the announcement by the Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon in advance.

The latter responded that he did not have to do so because this was discussed and agreed upon in the government, following the murder of the Israeli teenagers and in any case it was within the minister’s authority to do so without informing the prime minister. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was quick to jump into the fray. He claimed that the thinking behind the expropriation of land was to consolidate settlements blocs. It was actually nothing to do with punitive measures towards the. This latest charade exposes a government which is in complete disarray, without a coherent policy or the slightest understanding of handling public diplomacy." Image from

Public seek chances to thaw ties - "A latest poll unveiled on Tuesday that tapping public diplomacy to repair bilateral relations continued to attract public support from both China and Japan. ... Among the Japanese public who supported public diplomacy, 70.7 percent of them believed that 'mutual understanding between the two peoples will be deepened through exchanges', compared with 66.2 percent last year. Similarly, 56.7 percent of those in China who supported public diplomacy believed that people-to-people interactions 'expand the foundation for the shared interests of both nations'."

A Government Official from Singapore Wins ‘Quiz on Korea’ - "A government official flying over from Singapore won the top prize on ‘Quiz on Korea,’ a quiz show in which foreigners around the world compete against one another about facts or knowledge relating to Korea. Cohosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), the final round of the third ‘Quiz on Korea’ was held at the KBS station in Seoul on September 5 with 21 finalists.

The 21 finalists went through the local quiz shows where 1,500 contestants took part at the Korean embassies around the world. ... An official at MOFA said, 'We will make this quiz show as an annual event. The contestants who show a keen interest in Korea are playing a significant role in spreading the Korean wave Hallyu across the world. Likewise, we will keep promoting our public diplomacy through this event.'” Image from entry, with caption: The final winner turned out to be Su-mei Tan, a Singaporean government official.

‘Tourism needs structured financing to rehabilitate’ - "The tourism sector needs structured financing to rehabilitate, re-tool and re-kit the infrastructure to enhance its competitiveness, Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Walter Mzembi has said. 'This enhances our competitiveness in meeting international standards demand by our clientele,' Mzembi said at a seminar on tourism investment at the United Nations in New York on Monday. ... The seminar was organised by the Spanish Permanent Mission to the UN together with Casa África, Spain’s main public diplomacy institution dedicated to the African continent, and Real Instituto Elcano, one of the most prestigious think-tanks."

From gunboats to cultural diplomacy - Nicky Gardner, "[I]ssues of nationality, identity and territory are rarely neat and unambiguous – especially in the Barents region. ... In the mid-19th century, the District Commissioner for the Finnmark region worried about the movement of goods and people over the river at Grense Jakobselv. ... The District Commissioner was anxious that there be a visible marker at Grense Jakobselv, something that would deter cross-border forays into Norwegian waters. He suggested that having a Norwegian gunboat permanently positioned at the estuary would be a good idea. It was a military officer who countered the District Commissioner’s proposal with an alternative plan.

The officer noted that gunboats are expensive to maintain and so too are their crews. He indicated that building a Norwegian church at Grense Jakobselv would be a far better option. The church proposal was accepted. Cultural diplomacy won out over the gunboat. ... Borders are regions of opportunity rather than fracture lines on the map of Europe. Cultural diplomacy has achieved more in the Barents region than military muscle ever could. Therein surely lie a few lessons for the rest of Europe – particularly at a time when nations in our divided continent are perhaps becoming a little too confrontational." Image from

Cultural diplomacy an underused instrument - Gillian Jakab, "The U.S. government has gone through phases of pushing cultural diplomacy programs during periods of tension, and then letting them slip in importance alongside its self-interest in cultural influence. Sometimes, privately funded exchanges take up the slack without government sponsorship (though visas can be an issue). This summer, New York’s Lincoln Center Festival presented the Bolshoi Ballet and Opera amid another tense time in U.S.-Russian relations. Though non-governmental organizations make their own curatorial choices and certainly do not take it upon themselves to represent American diplomatic interests, the exchange is nonetheless influential. Sharing art and culture gives soul to perceived national strangers, or enemies. Though these can help to some small degree when troubles arise, the power of cultural diplomacy doesn’t lie in its ability to provide instant strategies for conflict resolution. It lies in building ongoing collaborations and exchanges to facilitate mutual understanding that can prevent future prejudice and violence born of misinformation and misunderstanding."

'Thai Kitchen to the World' exchange - "The Australia Thailand Institute and the Thai Embassy in Australia partnered with Tasmania’s Guilford Young College in August, to deliver an imaginative culinary program in the north and south of the state, aimed at enhancing skills in preparing Thai cuisine. Local chefs, apprentices and hospitality students in secondary colleges received first-hand tuition from three senior Thai cooking instructors. 'Thai Kitchen to the World' culminated in a reception catered and served by students from the course, attended by the Thai Ambassador to Australia Maris Sangiampongsa, Tasmanian Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockcliff.

'Establishing strong people-to-people links is one of the main foundations in any bilateral relationship,' Ambassador Sangiampongsa said. 'My officers will continue to look for opportunities to support cultural exchanges, particularly in regional parts of Australia.'” Image from entry, with caption: Students Remo Glendinning(l) and Lily Evans (r) are joined by Thailand's Ambassador to Australia, Mr Maris Sangiampongsa, as they learn from master chef Miss Chachaya Raktakanista, Manager and Director of Suan Dusit International Culinary School, and Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, Bangkok, in the GYC commercial kitchen on the Hobart Campus.

Mitchell: "What is great in Great Britain?" [Google translation] - James Mitchell, "James Mitchell is Professor of Public Diplomacy at the University of Edinburgh. In his scientific work, the political scientist who specializes in the Scottish question."


Can Washington Tame France's New Tart-Tongued Ambassador? - Colum Lynch, A glib remark or an uncomfortably frank statement can go viral, fueling a major diplomatic crisis and ruining an otherwise distinguished career in government. Consider the public skewering of Matthew Barzun, the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom, when he expressed disdain for Britain's national cuisine. Asked by Tatler magazine what he would serve for his ideal meal, Barzun quipped: 'I'll tell you what I would not serve -- lamb and potatoes.

I must have had lamb and potatoes 180 times since I have been here.' Or consider Michael McFaul, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, whose every word and tweet was scrutinized by the Russian Foreign Ministry and often used to fuel public attacks against him." Image from

Gut check time on Iraq - David Ignatius, Is America walking into a trap that has been constructed by the Islamic State — launching attacks that will rally jihadists around the world? From everything the jihadists proclaim in their propaganda, we can sense that they have been dreaming of this showdown. This is why America needs to make sure that, with every step it takes, it is surrounded by Muslim friends and allies.

Washington's seedy propaganda campaign: Satellite Images of Alleged Russian Artillery in Ukraine Come A-Cropper - Dave Lindorff, In the ongoing propaganda campaign mounted by the Obama administration to claim that Russia has "invaded" Ukraine from the east, it offered up some grainy black-and-white satellite images purporting to show heavy Russian military equipment inside the Ukraine.

Now an alert reader from the agricultural state of Texas (Laredo, TX to be precise), has sent a note suggesting out that what the incriminating images most likely show are combines in a field of grain or some other crop planted in rows. He sent along photos showing harvesters, which of course feature a long, straight "cannon-like" tube which is used to shoot the harvested grain up and into an accompanying truck to be hauled off to market or to a storage silo. Image from entry

ISIL Stealing Upwards of $1 Million a Day to Fund Its Terror Regime: ISIL could strike ‘here at home with no warning,’ top counterterror official warns - Adam Kredo, The United States’ top counterterrorism official warned that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) is stealing some $1 million dollars a day to fund its operations and could have the ability to convince its American sympathizers to conduct terror strikes “here at home with no warning.”

Matthew Olsen, director of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, recently delivered a candid and at times surprising assessment of ISIL’s capabilities and threat, concluding that the group “poses a direct and significant threat to us,” according to a transcript of his remarks before the Brookings Institution. Image from entry, with caption: Demonstrators chant pro-al Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as they carry al Qaeda flags in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul.

Al-Qaida battles ISIS to lead global jihad: ISIS has captured imagination of new generation of jihadists - Tim Lister, CNN: ISIS has captured the imagination of a new generation of jihadists -- from Arab and European states alike -- with its ruthless pursuit of a Caliphate, dramatic territorial gains and relentless propaganda machine.

Opinion: ISIS and Arab Unity - ISIS does not pose a serious threat to Arab states’ political systems, but it is winning the propaganda war by broadcasting misleading news to parts of society that lack political awareness and tools to process and analyze information.

ISIS Uses One-Eyed Baby For Apocalyptic Propaganda [Video] - ISIS is spreading apocalyptic warnings by using a picture of a one-eyed baby depicted as the Dajjal or the Islamic Antichrist. The propaganda is aimed at spreading fear about the coming end of the world and that Muslims are the only people to be saved.

If Putin's actions in Ukraine aren't an invasion, then what is? - Trudy Rubin, In 1949, George Orwell published "Nineteen Eighty-Four," his famous portrait of a totalitarian regime whose "Ministry of Truth" spews rank propaganda called "Newspeak" that turns historical facts on their head. Newspeak has been alive and well these past weeks in Moscow, where President Vladimir Putin flatly denied any Russian presence in Ukraine, even as thousands of Russian troops and heavy weapons invaded that country.

What's more disturbing is that NATO leaders meeting in Wales last week to discuss Ukraine refused to denounce Putin's aggression as an "invasion." Image from

Russia and the Menace of Unreality: How Vladimir Putin is revolutionizing information warfare - Peter Pomerantsev, There is one great difference between Soviet propaganda and the latest Russian variety. For the Soviets, the idea of truth was important—even when they were lying. Soviet propaganda went to great lengths to ‘prove’ that the Kremlin’s theories or bits of disinformation were fact. In today’s Russia, by contrast, the idea of truth is irrelevant. On Russian ‘news’ broadcasts, the borders between fact and fiction have become utterly blurred.

Azov fighters are Ukraine's greatest weapon and may be its greatest threat: The battalion's far-right volunteers' desire to 'bring the fight to Kiev' is a danger to post-conflict stability - Shaun Walker, The Guardian: Russian propaganda that claims Kiev's "fascist junta" wants to cleanse east Ukraine of Russian speakers is overblown.

The Azov are a minority among the Ukrainian forces, and even they, however unpleasant their views may be, are not anti-Russian; in fact the lingua franca of the battalion is Russian, and most have Russian as their first language. Indeed, much of what Azov members say about race and nationalism is strikingly similar to the views of the more radical Russian nationalists fighting with the separatist side. Image from entry, with caption: An Azov battalion soldier stands next to an armoured personnel carrier at a checkpoint in Mariupol on 4 September.

Russian Parents Want Topless Dolls Banned for 'Sexual Propaganda' - A parents’ committee in the Urals has expressed outrage over what it sees as “sexual propaganda” put shamelessly on display in several of the region’s toy stores: scantily clad dolls.

Members of the Urals’ Parents Committee sounded the alarm after discovering a risqué doll in a “Children’s World” store in Nizhny Tagil, UralInformBureau online news agency reported Tuesday. The group says they intend to file a complaint against the store owners with the children's ombudsman and local prosecutors after a thorough check of all children's stores in the area. Uncaptioned image from entry

The Problem with Al Jazeera - David Andrew Weinberg, Oren Adaki, Grant Rumley, Few Americans realize

how faithfully the channel has parroted the propaganda of terrorist groups. Uncaptioned image from entry

North Korea to put US national on trial - Critics claim that North Korea's 'show trials' of American citizens are more for propaganda reasons than punishment.

Three US nationals are presently held in the communist country. Image from entry, with caption: The regime wants legitimacy, claim critics.

Israel Must Put Security First - Isi Leibler, Mr. Netanyahu displayed determined leadership, resisting demagogic public demands from security cabinet ministers who called for an all-out invasion of Gaza. He understood that, had Israel proceeded to “crush Hamas” with a full-scale land invasion and occupation, it would have incurred further casualties, and also, most likely, global pressure to withdraw under humiliating circumstances — thus providing Hamas with a propaganda victory.

'Night Will Fall': Film Review - Stephen Dalton, A mere 70 years in gestation, German Concentration Camp Factual Survey was a powerful Holocaust documentary that spent decades in limbo for politically dubious reasons. Filmed at the end of World War II, it was only recently completed in a painstaking full-length restoration by London's Imperial War Museum. The project has long been part of movie folklore, partly because directing legends Alfred Hitchcock and Billy Wilder were both briefly involved in shaping it. This British-American-Israel documentary adds extra star power, with Brett Ratner and Stephen Frears serving as producers. The director is André Singer, whose own production credits include multiple Werner Herzog projects plus last year's prize-winning Oscar contender The Act of Killing. Following its U.S. launch in Telluride last month, Night Will Fall opens theatrically in the U.K. next week. The combination of grimly compelling subject matter and fabled Hollywood names should add up to healthy audience interest.

An incredible photo from the time when Nazis walked freely on US soil - This is the LZ 129 Hindenburg being moved into a hangar in Lakehurst, New Jersey, on May 9, 1936.

A year later—on May 6, 1937—it would be destroyed by fire in one of the most famous air accidents in history. It just seems fascinating to me that Nazis could freely prance around the world like that—even while it was clear that it was a military regime shrouded in racist and imperialistic propaganda.

Dew House display tells the story of family during World War I - Rick Weber, The exhibit features panels containing photos, local news articles,

reproductions of original posters and timeline information. Image from entry, with caption: This poster of World War I Belgian Rescue Dogs is one of the many colorful posters that is displayed at the Historic Dew House/DeWalt Heritage Center through Sept. 28.


Street painting of Russia's President, Vladimir Putin. From