Sunday, August 9, 2009

August 9

“Propaganda is that branch of the art of lying which consists in nearly deceiving your friends without quite deceiving your enemies.”

--Poet Frances Cornford; Cornford image from; see also


Second post-election unrest trial held - Tehran Times: "The second session of the trials of detainees arrested during the post-election unrest was held in Tehran on Saturday. … The indictment said the plans included efforts to create insecurity and foment discord in Iran, to contain Iran’s regional power, to support so-called human rights groups, labor unions, business organizations, and civil rights groups opposed to the Islamic Republic, and to encourage the imposition of economic sanctions on the country. The indictment said these plans were pursued through 'public diplomacy' and 'covert action' by taking advantage of the freedom in the country. According to the investigations and confessions made by the accused, the main actions were directed by foreign governments, especially Britain, the indictment said." Image: In this photo released by the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA), local staff member of the French Embassy in Tehran, Nazak Afshar, weeps, at the court room in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2009.

Take an online trip of peace – Chris, Made a Difference for That One: A Surgeon's Letters Home from Iraq -- Read about the Experiences of an American Military Surgeon Deployed to Iraq: "While in the military, I attended Air War College, and learned the thinkers in the military realized the strategic importance of conducting Internet communication as a form of soft power. In fact it seemed as if Al Qaida had realized the value of the online channel and was using it as a means of recruitment and propaganda. I learned about Public Diplomacy, a little known and less well understood function of our State Department that aims to communicate to citizens of other nations that the USA is a land of freedom and opportunity. I also learned that it received very poor funding."

Obama needs reminder of Taiwan's democracyTaiwan News: "Taiwan-centric civic reform and social movement groups should put securing support from international human rights and civic society organizations on the top of their public diplomacy agenda. The DPP [the opposition Democratic Progressive Party] in particular should bolster its presence in the U.S., re-energize its Congressional contacts and reach out to grassroots and civic organizations with public diplomacy to constantly remind American society of the uniqueness of Taiwan's democracy and its importance in the defense of democracy in the Asia-Pacific region." Image from

The Dawning of Fascism in America: Fascism is a totalitarian system of government that bases its economy on capitalism - Bear Market News: "Perhaps the single most important action Reagan took to further fascism in America was the creation of the ministry of propaganda for the rabid right. He systematically created various organizations, and think tanks to further their aims. Quoting from the footnote on page 370 of 'The Last Investigation ... ; by Gaeton Fomnzi, ISBN 1-56025-052-6.' Soon after Ronald Reagan became President in 1981, he and his clique of rock-hard Cold Warriors decided on a grand strategy of taking the war to the enemy, particularly to the spreading Evil Empire of Godless Communism in Latin America. Chief architect of that strategy was the newly appointed CIA Director Bill Casey.

To mobilize support for the strategy and neutralize the post-Vietnam public opposition to US military intervention aboard. Casey set up a 'public diplomacy' program as cover for a covert domestic propaganda effort. To that end, one of Casey's moves was to establish political and financial power groups that would intimidate and control both the legislature and the public. One of the power groups secretly seeded by Casey's intelligence apparatus was the Miami-based Cuban American National Foundation (CANF), which quickly rose to be the most powerful lobbying force in the country." Image from


Greece: Modern Greek at Cambridge in danger - Makki Marseilles, University World News: "Professor David Holton, currently chair of modern Greek at Cambridge University, spoke recently at the Academy of Athens in a celebration organised by the British Embassy to celebrate Cambridge's 800 years.

Holton said that despite an immense contribution to research of the Greek language, the department was facing closure unless some form of rescue was on the way and he appealed for support. … Justifiably, he claims that his modern Greek section at Cambridge, together with a few others spread around the world, are engaged in a sort of 'cultural diplomacy' which is far too important for the Greek state, wealthy patriotic Greek individuals and Greek society to ignore. The funds needed to sustain the Cambridge department are not only small but also great value for money." Holton image from

Artistic director Richard Tognetti loves to hang 10 - Suzanna Clarke, Courier Mail: "Slowly Tognetti has seen his work with the ACO [Australian Chamber Orchestra] make a difference. 'When we started going to Brisbane there were just a couple of hundred people in the audience. It was quite enervating ... now we play to a packed crowd.' Similarly, his work overseas, including as artistic director of the Maribar Festival of classical music in Slovenia, has had a broader impact. 'We are a small part of changing people's eyes and ears, adding to cultural diplomacy,' he says. 'It's all part of the parcel, just being part of the evolution of Australia.'"

The man who would be chancellor: Frank-Walter SteinmeierThe Local: "Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who launched his campaign Monday to unseat German Chancellor Angela Merkel, has won respect as foreign minister but has struggled to galvanise his party for battle. … He took over the foreign ministry in November 2005 and has had, time and again, to defend his remit against encroachment by Merkel. They clashed openly on Germany's approach to Russia and China, with Steinmeier warning against alienating either country with too strident criticism. Steinmeier has also tried to bolster Germany's 'soft power' with an emphasis on cultural diplomacy, frequently inviting painters, musicians and novelists to accompany him on official visits abroad and present the country in a more flattering light." Steinmeier image from

Foreign Ministry tests global communications network - "The Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs is building a global communications network with a view to enhancing communications with its offices worldwide. The telecom network is being built by the Vietnam Datacommunications Company (VDC) in coordination with Orange Business Service, the enterprise division of the Orange France Telecom Group. A memorandum of understanding on the collaboration between the Ministry’s Information and Communications Centre and the VDC was signed on August 6. To mark the signing ceremony, the Foreign Ministry organised a test video conference between Hanoi, Paris and Singapore, focussing on simplifying administrative formalities, work on Vietnamese living overseas and cultural diplomacy … During the video conference, Nguyen Sanh Chau, Director of the Foreign Ministry's Department of Cultural Diplomacy and UNESCO affairs, requested that participating ambassadors promote activities relating to cultural diplomacy overseas and widely publicise domestic cultural festivities to foreign friends."

Confucianism at large in Africa - Bright B Simons, Asia Times: "China has in recent years taken great pains to show the world that it is a well-rounded emerging power with a complete strategy for engagement in places like Africa. Its Confucius institutes are an interesting feature in this show of sophistication. The Hanban - the Chinese National Office for teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language - began spreading them from 2004 when it set up the first one in the South Korean capital of Seoul. … In March, the Confucius institutes headquarters' website counted 19 Confucius institutes in Africa, with four of these classified as 'classrooms' in existing African universities, and another three in the offing. The tone of reports of this nature tends to be self-congratulatory, with little indication of definite educational outcomes or how such outcomes are being integrated into China's broader international cultural cooperation effort. … Yet, in many African countries where Confucius institutes operate, extensive anecdotal evidence and empirical research in New Zealand and Australia appears to suggest there has been a gross exaggeration of the demand for Mandarin and related Chinese culture courses among students and professional learners." Image from

Databank to woo Kenyans in the diaspora establishedBusiness Daily: "Kenyan ambassadors and high commissioners in 48 missions abroad are meeting in Mombasa and will discuss how to involve the diaspora in national development, Prof Kabaji said. The ministry has already developed a comprehensive foreign policy, the first of its kind in Kenya’s history, to help the country improve its image abroad which was dented following the post election violence early last year. The policy has five pillars and diaspora diplomacy is identified as a key component that will open up Kenya’s economic interest in foreign countries. Other issues identified include the environment, peace, economic and cultural diplomacy. The ambassadors will sign a performance contract after the five-day conference."


The North Korea Fallout - Henry A. Kissinger, Washington Post:

A visit by a former president, who is married to the secretary of state, will enable Kim Jong Il to convey to North Koreans, and perhaps to other countries, that his country is being accepted into the international community -- precisely the opposite of what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has defined as the goal of U.S. policy until Pyongyang abandons its nuclear weapons program. Image from

Iraq Mulls Web Site Bans, Fuels Censorship Fear - Desta Bishu, Ethiopian Review: Iraq is considering blocking websites deemed pornographic or that incite violence or crime, triggering fears of a return to Saddam Hussein-style state censorship and government propaganda.

Taliban launch another mouthpiece propaganda in S Afghanistan - Wang Hongjiang, Xinhua, China View

How Russia Defines Genocide Down - Clifford J. Levy, New York Times: After the conflict between Russia and Georgia broke out a year ago, each side accused the other of atrocities, but the Russians went farther. They spoke of marauding Georgian soldiers who systemically killed hundreds if not thousands of civilians in the separatist enclave of South Ossetia. Georgia was guilty not just of war crimes, they said. It was genocide. Last week, as Russia used the anniversary of the war to undertake a public relations effort to press its case that Georgia caused it, the genocide charge was largely absent. The Georgian conduct was instead labeled criminal.

Russia on the Propaganda Offensive as It Marks the One-Year Anniversary of Georgia Invasion - Giorgi Kvelashvili, Georgian Daily

The Russian Propaganda War Rages On – Roland Oliphant, The Faster Times: The anniversary today of the beginning of the Russian-Georgian war last year has been surrounded by bellicose statements from all sides. But if your only source of information were the Russian media, it would be easy to feel we’re on the verge of another war.

Budd Schulberg, Screenwriter, Dies at 95 - Tim Weiner, New York Times: Schulberg spent World War II making information and propaganda films for the War Department and the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency, working with the Hollywood director John Ford.

In Germany at the war’s end, he helped put together filmed evidence against the Nazis for the Nuremberg trials. To help in the editing, he tracked down Leni Riefenstahl, who had made powerful propaganda films for Hitler. Dressed in his military uniform and with a warrant in his pocket, he drove to her Bavarian chalet and returned with her to Nuremberg in an open-air military vehicle. Image from


Obese Texas inmate hides gun in his flabs of fat - AP, USA Today: An obese inmate in Texas has been charged after officials learned he had a gun hidden under flabs of his own flesh.

Twenty-five-year-old George Vera was charged with possession of a firearm in a correctional facility after he told a guard at the Harris County Jail about the unloaded 9mm pistol. The Houston Chronicle reported Thursday that Vera was originally arrested on charges of selling illegal copies of compact discs. The 500-pound man was searched during his arrest and again at a city jail and the county jail, but officers never found the weapon in his rolls of skin. Vera admitted having the gun during a shower break at the county jail. Vera image from article.

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