Saturday, January 23, 2010

January 23

“propaganda, otherwise known as advertising”

-- Dan Vergano, "Psychologists: Propaganda works better than you think," USA TODAY; image from


Inadvertently Hilariously Bad Chinese Military Propaganda Video - Civilian Military Intelligence Group


Cartazes de propaganda fascista: 1921-1930, 1931-1940, Francisco Gomes


The Internet Freedom Agenda - Marc Lynch, Foreign Policy: “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as everyone on the internet knows, delivered a speech yesterday outlining America's commitment to 'internet freedom.' Evgeny Morozov, Ethan Zuckerman, and many others already have posted some good responses.

But from where I sit, a good way to make sense of the international politics of Clinton's speech is to juxtapose it with another article published yesterday by two key Bush administration public diplomacy officials, James Glassman and Michael Doran, calling on the U.S. to use the soft power of the internet to promote regime change in Iran. The problem for the U.S. is that when Clinton talks, most of the world hears Glassman and Doran. The problem for Glassman and Doran is that when they talk this way, it makes it less likely to work... and opens up a whole basket of moral hazard issues. ... Glassman and Doran, who both held important public diplomacy positions in the previous administration ... have long been enthusiastic advocates of using the internet. For Glassman and Doran, the point is not abstract, universal freedoms -- it is using those tools against an adversary. They urge the U.S. to use the new media to undermine the Iranian regime and to help the Green Movement by providing moral and educational support, increasing communications within Iran and between Iran and the outside world, refuting Iranian propaganda, and imposing harsh sanctions while explaining the regime's culpability for the resulting suffering. ... The key point here is that internet freedom, which Clinton presents as an abstract universal good, is here clearly and unapologetically a weapon to be wielded against the Iranian regime. For better or for worse, most of the world probably assumes that Clinton has the same goal in mind as Glassman and Doran, even if she doesn't say so. And that's a major problem if you think about it.”

What Robert Gates Didn't Say - And US Media Hides - About Blackwater In Pakistan - Ahmed Quraishi, International Analyst Network: ‎ “The US Embassy in Islamabad has made it its business to mount pressure on owners of Pakistani newspapers to curtail or expel columnists and commentators critical of US policy. Of special target are those who expose how US Embassy is meddling in Pakistani affairs and expanding the US footprint inside Pakistan. Last year, Ambassador Patterson sent a letter to one of the largest Pakistani media groups accusing a columnist of endangering American lives and succeeded in pushing her out. The US Embassy is also recruiting opinion makers within the Pakistani media, academia and military in order to promote the US agenda even at the cost of Pakistani interests, dismissing critics as ‘conspiracy theorists’ and accusing them of anti-Americanism. A senior Pakistani journalist Syed Talat Hussain exposed US activities in the following words, ‘Pro-American lobby in Pakistan is growing in direct proportion to the scaling up of suspicions about the US. The main task of this lobby is to reduce the complexity of the US’s objectives towards Pakistan to romantic levels of trust (…) A motley crew of former diplomats, retired generals, socialites, slick civil society begums, self-styled analysts, businessmen, journalists, and now also lawyers — they are the darlings of the US embassy staff. They are the instruments of positive outreach and public diplomacy that US diplomats are so keen to expand in Pakistan.’”

US unveils civilian aid strategy for Pakistan - “Here are some salient features of America’s civilian strategy for Pakistan, Secretary Clinton outlined in her message to the Pakistani people: ... The expanded US commitment to Pakistan will be supported by a new communications effort.

Innovative programmes will empower Pakistanis to discredit extremist propaganda and increase support for the Pakistani government’s efforts to roll back the insurgency. We will also work aggressively to alter misperceptions regarding US policy. People-to-people ties The US is expanding its bilateral relationship beyond military-to-military and government-to-government ties by reaching out directly to the Pakistani people, through more frequent and direct contacts, putting forward an ambitious public diplomacy campaign, addressing the social and economic needs of Pakistani people, and building relationships with a wide array of Pakistani civil society groups. These efforts will foster greater understanding in Pakistan for US policies and reinforce their long-term partnership.”

Clinton Vows Long-Term Commitment To Pakistan Stability - Brunei News: “The United States will maintain a long-term engagement with Pakistan and help its people overcome development challenges, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday while identifying wide-ranging areas of cooperation toward stability of the country. ... The U.S will also expand its public diplomacy effort to build increased people-to-people contacts, convey American policies effectively, and challenge the extremists’ narrative.”

Taliban using Public Relations in Afghanistan: Worth a Look - PR Strategy and Application's Blog: “The Taliban are using a wide variety of tactics and channels in their public relations operation. Their action have used word-of-mouth, cellphones, and the Internet, all of which are staples of viral campaigns. Not long ago the Taliban denounced the Internet as evil but now the Taliban are posting their own videos to the Internet.

The same viral techniques used to promote products are being used to promote the Taliban’s new reputation. It should be noted that the Taliban efforts are not the simple image projection of past public diplomacy efforts. Oppressive regimes often hire public relations firms to win them positive media coverage without ever changing policies. The Taliban have at least tried to make some policy changes that serve as a basis for the reputation management effort. If civilian casualties do decrease from these changes, that is positive change. Still there are many other reasons to dislike the Taliban, their methods, and their ideas.”

US Policy in Gaza Remains Unchanged - Charles Fromm, Ellen Massey, Common Dreams: “Rep. Keith Ellison ... represents one of only a handful of U.S. elected officials who have visited the Gaza Strip, while more than 70 members of Congress have traveled to the region. During his trip to the territory in February 2009, Ellison met with residents of both Gaza and the Israeli border town of Sderot. ‘When someone like [Rep.] Keith Ellison visits Gaza, I would say that does more for American security in the Middle East and your public diplomacy than virtually anything else we've seen this year,’ Levy [Daniel Levy, co-director of the Middle East Task Force] said at a briefing on Capitol Hill Wednesday. But Ellison remains an outlier among members of Congress.”

America's UN Ambassador Has Been AWOL - Brett D. Schaefer, National Review Online (blog): “Richard Grenell, director of communications and public diplomacy for the United States permanent representative to the United Nations from 2001 to 2008,

wrote a blog post today that is a must-read for those interested in U.S. policy at the United Nations. Grenell details how Amb. Susan Rice has essentially treated her position at the U.N. as a part-time job, spending half her time in Washington.”

The NNIC Global Gala: The Northern Nevada International Center celebrates its 11th Annual Global Gala on Friday, April 2, 2010 - “We are pleased to invite you to attend the 11th Annual Global Gala on Friday, April 2 at the Eldorado Hotel Convention Center. The theme of this year’s gala is: Global Citizenship: Inspiring the Next Generation to Succeed in a World Economy. We are delighted that Dr. Jill Derby, a fourth generation Nevadan who is committed to our state’s role in global diplomacy, has agreed to serve as honorary chair for this event. In addition to our keynote speaker Judith McHale, the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, we will we will showcase Reno’s cultural and culinary delights, a silent auction with an international flair, and our annual international awards that honor three individuals who have contributed to the internationalization of Nevada.”

The publicized and unpublicized schedules of VOA Creole - Kim Andrew Elliott Reporting on International Broadcasting

Commando Solo aircraft broadcasts, and other Haiti media news - Kim Andrew Elliott Reporting on International Broadcasting

Effective Public Diplomacy - A Parisian Panel Discussion - Mark Taplin, Global Publicks: ”As I mentioned in class, here's a positive example of public diplomacy in a prominent setting -- at a bilingual CNN-sponsored panel discussion on U.S.-French relations one year after President Obama's inauguration. Among the featured speakers are U.S. Ambassador to France Charles Rivkin (who hosted the event at his official residence in Paris), former French FM Hubert Vedrine and French secretary of state for European Affairs Pierre Lellouche. On the question of humanitarian relief to Haiti in the wake of last week's devastating earthquake, Rivkin stated that the U.S. and France were 'working hand-in-hand,' while Lellouche emphasized that it was 'absurd to introduce the idea of competition between the U.S. and Europe' into the common international challenge of helping Haiti.

This appears to be an effective riposte to comments earlier in the week by the French minister for international cooperation, who had called for a U.N. inquiry into the U.S. role in Haiti and asked rhetorically whether Washington's efforts were aimed at 'helping Haiti or occupying it?' (According to press reports, several French aid flights were initially prevented from landing at Port-au-Prince's overstretched airport.) There will be more public affairs challenges for governments and NGOs alike in the Haitian relief effort...”

Haiti in the Aftermath - Patricia H. Kushlis, Whirled View: “DeLong was US Embassy Cultural Affairs Officer in Haiti at the time she died last week during the devastating earthquake that destroyed Port-au-Prince and engulfed her in the rubble of her house. Assignments to Haiti are not among the cushy. ... Last May, I reviewed Christopher Teal’s book Hero of Hispaniola (Praeger 2008), the biography of Ebenezer D. Bassett, American’s First Black Diplomat who was appointed US Ambassador to Haiti (or Hayti as it was then spelled) soon after the end of the Civil War. ... US Ambassador Kenneth Merten, like Bassett with a clear attachment to the island and its people, arrived in Haiti last summer. Unlike Bassett, Merten is an experienced career diplomat, a fluent French speaker and someone who served in the US Embassy in Port-au-Prince twice before. ... Despite an early Chinese public relations relief effort coup - apparently a plane carrying relief supplies flown in from China was the first to arrive - and a similar gesture from the Israelis who have now set up a hospital in Haiti – the major and sustained relief is coming from the US and the UN.”

Background on U.S. Public Diplomacy – Congress and Law:

“This section provides an overview of the legislative authorities for the conduct of publicdiplomacy activities within the U.S. government.”

El Viento Viene, El Viento Se VaPaul Rockower, Levantine: “I left Panama City at the witching hour, bidding Lina goodbye ... . My trip ends with a single enduring thought and dream of La Panamericana, the unity of the south. It is the fiery dreams of Bolivar and San Martin, and so many others. Perhaps my work will be that of Bismark or Garibaldi, only in the soft power side: to work to unite the south through public diplomacy.”

Bismark image from; Garibaldi image from; Rockower image from; University of Southern California image from; Rockower USC bio at

Farit Mukhametshin: Russia attaches great importance to the forum in Baku - Viktoria Dementieva, APA: “The 1st Azerbaijan-Russia Forum on Humanitarian Cooperation continues within the framework of sections in Baku ... . Chief of foreign affairs department of Azerbaijan’s Presidential Administration Novruz Mammadov and head of Russian Federal Agency Farit Mukhametshin chaired the section on nongovernmental organizations. Prior to the section, Farit Mukhametshin told journalists that the forum would help the development of the relations between Azerbaijani and Russian communities. ’A unique forum is being held in Baku. Famous figures of Russian and Azerbaijani science, culture, education, sport have gathered in Baku. We are studying each other’s experience to develop our relations in the field of public diplomacy. Therefore, Russia attaches great importance to this forum,’ he said.”


The Clinton Internet Doctrine: 'An attack on one nation's networks can be an attack on all' - Review & Outlook, Wall Street Journal: Kudos to Hillary Clinton, who on Thursday launched a U.S. State Department campaign to preserve and expand Internet freedom around the world—and hit out at regimes that continue to tighten Web censorship.

A Good Fight – Editorial, New York Times:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton picked the right battle this week, calling for an end to Internet censorship and naming governments that suppress the free flow of information — including China, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Tunisia and Uzbekistan.

Propaganda Is What The Other Guy Does - Spencer Ackerman, Attackerman: "I understand there’s a legitimate debate in defense circles about how far information operations go before they run up against the 'propaganda' barrier. And I have no desire to inhibit that debate. But really. No debate is ever served by euphemism, and there’s not a single rigorous definition of 'propaganda' that boils down to 'something bad the other fellow does.'”

Haiti: A View from the Middle East - Jamal Dajani, Huffington Post: Israeli television stations have been airing daily updates of Israeli humanitarian efforts in Haiti.

Images of a five-month-old Haitian baby boy being nursed at an Israeli field hospital in Port-au-Prince were looped endlessly. IBA television aired segments of a report prepared by CNN's Elizabeth Cohen marveling over Israel's quickness in setting up a field hospital. "It's all propaganda," said an analyst on Nile TV from Cairo. "They're willing to travel ten-thousand kilometers to deliver a baby in Haiti, but won't allow food and medicine to cross 100 meters into Gaza where children are's all propaganda." Arab countries, especially the oil-rich ones, have been criticized in Western media for not doing enough to help the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. In reality, many of these countries have already either pledged or sent their support to the devastated nation. Jordan TV showed a report about Jordanian medics heading to Haiti...but this was not reported on CNN.

Venezuelan president: US tectonic weapon caused Haiti quake – Boing Boing

Russia spends more on Propaganda than Unemployment - La Russophobe

Hiding War Horrors from Americans - Common Man News: Editor’s Note: Propaganda is not just about lying, indeed outright falsehoods are a minor part. Effective propaganda is about highlighting favorable information and hiding the negative. And it’s especially effective if the work is done by a supposedly “free” media.

Legendary psy-warrior Edward Lansdale once said the trick of great propaganda was not to plant your information in what the public knew to be a controlled media – since their defenses would be up – but to use media that was perceived to be unbiased, so people’s skepticism would be low. Never was that truer than when the United States went to war in Iraq in 2003 and the supposedly “objective” U.S. news media joined with the military in shielding the American people from the horrors of war.

Psychologists: Propaganda works better than you think - Dan Vergano, USA TODAY: Psychologists have shown that people respond far more readily to propaganda, otherwise known as advertising, than they are willing to believe: •Just giving medical students pens with a drug's name on them made the students significantly more favorably disposed toward the medication than otherwise, despite their immersion in classes aimed at letting them rationally evaluate drug benefits, found a 2009 Archives of Internal Medicine report. •Remember shaking hands with Bugs Bunny at Disneyland? Roughly a third of people presented with a fake ad depicting a visit to Disneyland that featured a handshake with Bugs later remembered or knew the meet up with the 'wascally wabbit' had happened to them, according to a 2001 University of Washington study. Even though Bugs is owned by Warner Brothers and verboten at a Disney facility, so it couldn't have happened. •In a famous 1951 experiment led by Swarthmore's Solomon Asch, 76% of people conformed at least once to what they heard other people arguing was the correct length of a line on a scale right in front of their face, even though it was plainly wrong. The people arguing for the incorrect measurement were all plants, but overall, 33% of participants went along with the group, even though they were spouting nonsense. A follow-up study in a 1955 Journal of Abnormal Psychology report found even under anonymous conditions, about 23% of people preferred to believe what people were saying about the line rather than the evidence in front of their own eyes. In 1928, pioneering public relations expert Edwards Bernays, "the father of public relations," published the book, Propaganda, which argued: "conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country." Bernays suggested advertisers rely on a "herd instinct" in people, much like the desire to conform demonstrated by the 1951 experiments, to sell their products.

the end of propaganda = the end of the world as we know it - Florin Flueras, Postspectacle: draft text for tonight debate (20.00 CNDB) propaganda - the base of our way of life, the political systems strongly based on propaganda.. twitter - the best instrument to kill propaganda.. the possibility to dissolute the propaganda constructed frame of thinking (operating system)..

from channeled propaganda model to very free one, everyone is a publisher, an author.. internet in real time now, direct not mediate any more.. changing the governance and the hierarchical functioning of information.. /a shift of focus from an individualist centred attitude towards network, relation.. is a new paradigm for communication, instrument that will radically change the brain (how the books, cinema and tv did it before).. humans like cells for a bigger collective consciousness.. questioning the functioning of society - a lot of institutions or business models have to change completely or to disappear (schools, papers, tv, government).. every one is a writer, an artist.. is ethical to share not to keep private.. people meet online and action - they decide to go together in one place and start something based on their common interests, courses on twitter, experiments (to write all about a same issue in a same day).. a tool for direct democracy.

The Propaganda Machine of the Wealthy - Socialist Worker: The media is in the public good and provides information that is beneficial for society. This, at least, is the official version of the role of the media in a modern society. The reality is very different. As the Italian Marxist, Antonio Gramsci put it, there is often a 'contradictory consciousness in society'. On one hand, people let the propaganda of the elites seep into their brains almost without thinking - but many times these ideas directly clash with their own experience.

Print and Propaganda – Clive, Art And The Aesthete [BELOW IMAGE FROM ARTICLE]: "This one [the poster] below is a rather fascinating poster, from 1943. It is an interesting piece of propaganda by Richard Blank, and it roughly translates as 'Shh, the enemy is listening'. Not quite as fun as 'Loose lips sink ships', but interesting nevertheless. I didn't realise it until the third time, but there was a strange murky mark on the image. I thought it was interesting, but not sure why Blank had done it, until I realised the enemy is a monstrous shadowy figure with a hat on. I love the complicated industrial structures....wonderfully Germanic.

For the First World War, this piece of propaganda by Martin Lehmann suggests that people buy war bonds. I especially love the Gothic lettering, but the thing that struck me immediately was the proto Pop Art component to the images, and the dramatic colouring."



Cherimoyas, green-skinned, heart-shaped fruit native to the Andes, grown by Rancho Santa Cecelia in Carpinteria. (David Karp)


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