Wednesday, February 17, 2010

February 17

"No empire of history could boast such tenderhearted legions."

--Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, regarding the US Marines; image from

"Propaganda specializes in great stories, immersive worlds and meaningful choices."

--A description of Propaganda Games, Disney Interactive Studios' premier action and role-playing game developer


Message from Steve Redisch, VOA Executive Director, re article "Is the Voice of America Pro-Iran?" - John Brown, Notes & Essays


Protest in Pandora: Palestinians, dressed as characters from the movie Avatar, protest controversial Israeli barrier in the West Bank village of Nilin. Via CD


Good Press/Bad Press: Balancing Public Diplomacy and Operational Effectiveness in Afghanistan - Elise Hogan, Global Security Monitor:

"One thing is for sure: a complete focus on either public diplomacy or operational effectiveness at the expense of the other is disastrous. To reverse the Taliban’s gains of the last years, coalition and Afghan forces must ultimately make the population feel more secure being protected by Afghan forces than living under Taliban rule. This goal is relative—not absolute. Thus, the U.S. and NATO must constantly assess the balance between hammering the Taliban and minimizing civilian causalities while accepting that sometimes one costs at the expense of the other." Image from

US Fact Sheet: Internet Freedom in the 21st Century - Frontierindia Strategic and Defence: "In a January 2010 address at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered a major foreign policy address on Internet Freedom. Secretary Clinton emphasized a commitment to defending the freedom of expression and the free flow of information in the 21st century. The free flow of information and ideas over digital technologies is in our national and global interests: it is important for economic growth; for U.S. diplomatic relationships; for building sustainable democratic societies; and for meeting global challenges in the years and decades ahead.The State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are working with a wide range of partners outside of government to support these principles. They are pursuing an active agenda to promote Internet freedom, to boost online access across the developing world and to train civil society activists in online organizing. Many U.S. Government development and public diplomacy programs emphasize to our partners the communication benefits of new technologies."

As Saudi Women Meet Clinton, No Talk of Rights - Mark Landler, New York Times: "Jidda, Saudi Arabia — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke to young women at a Saudi women’s college here on Tuesday ... . None of the students picked up on Mrs. Clinton’s observation about how the American media portrays Saudi women, which had been a point of contention when Karen Hughes, the under secretary of state for public diplomacy in Bush administration, visited this college in 2005.

In that session, Ms. Hughes raised the hackles of some in the audience when she said the image of Saudi Arabia in the United States had been tarnished by the country’s refusal to allow women to drive." Image from article

Pentagon Hires Public-Diplomacy Veteran - Spencer Ackerman, The Washington Independent - "Forgive me if this reads like I’m greasing a source, but as part of the holds on administration appointees released by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) last week, Douglas Wilson became the Pentagon’s new assistant secretary for public affairs. Why’s that significant? Because at a time when global skepticism about U.S. military power is still in evidence — and when U.S. troops are still engaged in a war in Afghanistan — Wilson stands out as a decades-long veteran of public diplomacy efforts at a variety of agencies. He spoke to me last year when he was up for the top public-diplo spot at the State Department, a job that ultimately went to Judith McHale of the Discovery Channel. He’s also the rare senior communications official who’s put together a concerted interagency strategy for public diplomacy, which you can read about in this post."

IIP responds to Pat Kushlis on IIP's "Creative Destruction" - Matt Armstrong, “On February 4th, I posted a provocative comment sent by fellow blogger Pat Kushlis that drew a parallel between Microsoft's 'Creative Destruction,' as described by a former Microsoftie in The New York Times, and the State Department's Bureau of International Information Programs. Pat is a retired Foreign Service officer who was with the US Information Agency from 1970 to 1998. Several people in today's IIP worked for Pat. That post drew a response from Dan Sreebny, also a friend but more importantly a senior foreign service officer who is now Acting Coordinator for the Bureau of International Information Program.” [Response is included in blog].

Islamabad Boys - BeeSting, "Real Americans Defend Israel" "Because it is right": From January 27 2010 article in the New Republic by Michael Crowly: "Last year, [Head of the Joint chiefs of Staff] Mullen penned an article for the military publication Joint Force Quarterly decrying 'a certain arrogance' in America’s approach to strategic communications.

'Good communication runs both ways. It’s not about telling our story,' Mullen wrote. 'We must also be better listeners. … [W]e need to worry a lot less about how to communicate our actions and much more about what our actions communicate.' Such frank talk was unusual for a senior military man, and it impressed public diplomacy specialists. Mullen’s emphasis on listening also put the admiral squarely in line with Obama’s foreign policy. It was a sign that Mullen is as much a diplomat as a warrior." Image: Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Michael Mullen Totally Look Like Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers from SNL’s Weekend Update

Israel struggling to mend tarnished image - Press TV: "Tel Aviv will launch a campaign initiated by Information and Diaspora Minister Yuli Edelstein, training ordinary people to represent Israel outside the occupied West Bank and present a positive message to the world. ... The initiative Tsva Hasbara LeYisrael, the Israeli Public Diplomacy Forces, includes distribution of pocket pamphlets at Ben-Gurion Airport and launch of the new Web site, Varied groups, ranging from politicians through businessmen and tour guides to youth group delegations and ordinary Israelis, will also be invited to training workshops to be held across Israel." See also (1) (2). Below image from

Western media, not Israeli hasbara - With the dreadful threat of yet another Israeli war in the Middle East looming, Israeli propaganda machine is likely to go into full gear - Ramzy Baroud, Arab News: "Israel has now largely lost the media war, and the tide since the Gaza war has been turning, thanks to the underfunded, but solid and increasingly determined efforts of independent media groups, intellectuals, citizen journalists, civil society activists, artists, poets, bloggers, ordinary people and those in the media who possess the courage to challenge Israeli hasbara and its devotees."

Advocacy, Citizen Ambassadors and Public Diplomacy - Naomi Leight, Public Diplomacy Corps: “I am a part of the Israel Diplomatic Fellowship program sponsored by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Taglit-Birthright Next program. The Fellowship allowed me to go to Israel for pennies over the summer and experience from an 'insiders' perspective a government sponsored PD initiative. It was eye opening to say the least. ... Where do countries draw the line between pushing their citizens to be public/citizen diplomats and pushing another country's citizens to be public diplomats?”

Global Chaos: Happy Birthday, Kosovo! (a.k.a. Oh, these map wars...) - Lena: "[T]he Kosovo issue is complex, and I don't want to get into a discussion on the legitimacy of its independence. What I found noteworthy, however, is an online paper by André Aprigio, where he analyzes the importance of public diplomacy for Kosovo, and its recently launched nation-branding campaign. He rightly points out that in circumstances where conducting traditional diplomacy is impossible - due to international factors, as well as lack of strong domestic institutions - public diplomacy can play the role of a viable substitute, and perhaps even provide Kosovo with a comparative advantage in the international sphere (since the techniques rely on new media and the Internet, particularly on facebook, YouTube, and Twitter). For a country that made the latest alteration to Europe's political map (even if acceptable to just 65 countries around the world), where the people are still struggling to recover and rebuild, and where the average age is about 26, a brand motto 'Young Europeans' seems to be more than just appropriate. The problem, however, is that a positive image cannot really be built on weak foundations (local population's skepticism attests to that), and therefore, Kosovo will need a much faster and stronger economic and social recovery."

Korea’s ‘rare’ idol: Kim Yuna has become far more than the first Korean figure skater of any renown. No figure skater ever has been celebrated in her home country than Kim is – Philip Hersh,, posted at News on Korea & International News: "On her flight to visit Seoul last month as a U.S. public diplomacy envoy, skating legend Michelle Kwan found out what Kim means to her country while talking to a Korean passenger.

"The man told me [Kwan said], `Yuna is the nation's daughter.'” Yuna image from

Rescheduled: public meeting of the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy – Matt Armstrong, "Last week's event with the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy for February 11 was postponed due to weather in Washington, DC. The meeting is now rescheduled for Monday, March 15, 9:00a to 11:00a, in the conference room of the International Forum for Electoral Systems (IFES) located at 1850 K Street, NW, Fifth Floor. Note the duration is now 2 hours instead of the previously scheduled 1.5 hours. The public may attend this meeting as seating capacity allows. To attend this meeting and for further information, please contact Carl Chan at (202) 632-2823; email: I will be one of two or three presenters at the meeting."

Information as Power survey: what date works best for you ... ? - Matt Armstrong, "The successful Information as Power event was last week and even during the Snowpacolypse in DC, it was a success (not counting the few who were unable to attend due to weather). I am now working on the next iteration which will be in one (or both) of the following formats: a 2-day course with 12hrs of instruction (9-4 with 1hr lunch) or a 1-day intensive (9-5 with working lunch). If you are interested in the course, indicate your preferred days for either the 2-day or the 1-day event at this link: The full name of the course is 'Information as Power: Now Media and the Struggle for Minds and Wills.' The purpose is to inform and empower those involved in public diplomacy and strategic communication to understand the requirements and methods for preactive, proactive, and reactive engagement in the struggle for minds and wills of today and tomorrow. The modern information environment is characterized by fallen barriers to information acquisition, packaging, and dissemination, and destruction."

Multimedia Alumnus, Darren Krape develops cross media program for President Obama – College of Media and Communication, The University of the Arts in Philadelphia: "When the White House was looking for ways to increase U.S. engagement with the African people during President Obama’s recent trip to Ghana, the staff came to the State Department’s Office of Innovative Engagement (Bureau of International Information Programs).

There, Darren Krape (2004 Multimedia alumnus) and his colleagues developed a cross-media engagement program using newspapers, radio, cellphone, text messages, and the web. On this and other public diplomacy programs, Darren uses the skills he developed in the multimedia program at the University of the Arts to develop innovative, cutting-edge programs for audiences around the world." Krape image from article

No Love for The U.N. Special Tribunal for Lebanon – John Nahas, Neon Tommy: "John Nahas is a student in the Masters of Public Diplomacy program. He is the President of the Association of Public Diplomacy Scholars (APDS), as well as a Senior Editor for Public Diplomacy Magazine."

Candid Look at PD, Life as an FSO in the 1940s and 1950s - Ren's Micro Diplomacy: "Oral History Interview with John M. Begg

U.S. Department of State, 1941-53: Assistant Chief, Cultural Relations, 1941; Acting Chief, Motion Picture and Radio Division, 1944; Chief, International Information Division, 1944-46; Chief, International Motion Pictures Division, 1946; Assistant Director, Office of International Information and Cultural Affairs, 1947; and Director, Private Enterprise Cooperative Staff, International Information Administration, 1948-53. Also served as consultant, U.S. Delegation, London Preparatory Commission, UNESCO, 1946; Vice-Chairman, U.S. Delegation to International High Frequency Broadcasting Conference, 1947; Special Assistant to U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands, 1949; and Deputy Examiner for Board of Examiners for the Foreign Service, 1952-53. Washington, D.C.July 11, 1975 by Richard D. McKinzie." Begg image from article


'Government in a box' in Marja: No doubt the U.S. military will succeed in clearing the Afghan town of the Taliban. But can we bring lasting change? - Andrew J. Bacevich, The purpose of Operation Moshtarak (Dari for "together") is to clear the Taliban from the city of Marja and then to fix the place, winning the hearts and minds of the local population. Yet when the last American climbs aboard a departing helicopter -- probably within a few years at most -- Marja will remain incorrigibly Marja.

Image: Marja Lehtonen, 2007

Is capture of Taliban leader beginning of a trend? – Editorial, Washington Post: Only by convincing Pakistani leaders that it is determined to defeat the Taliban and stabilize Afghanistan under its present government can the United States obtain cooperation in eliminating the movement's leaders and sanctuaries.

Taliban leader's arrest in Karachi propaganda: Pak - Oneindia: Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Tuesday, Feb 17 that the report of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar arrest in a joint secret operation between Pakistan's and US intelligence services was a 'propaganda'.

America's tenderhearted legions in Haiti – Michael Gerson, Washington Post:

The Marines are practicing a kind of noninvasive surgery -- providing structure and security, but cultivating community institutions that must continue to stand after America leaves. Where in the world did U.S. Marines learn this kind of cultural sensitivity? Lt. Col. Rob Fulford, in charge of the Carrefour operation, answers: "In Iraq and Afghanistan, where the equivalent was dealing with tribal sheiks. . . . There is a maturity level inside our Marines that didn't exist in 2003 when we invaded Iraq. A cultural awareness. An ability to leverage relationships." Image from

The United States: Debtor and Leader? Why Lech Walesa is right to worry about declining American influence - Judy Shelton, Wall Street Journal (subscription)

Jerusalem Conference's Wednesday 17 Feb schedule begins with Livni, concludes with PM Netanyahu – Joo Tube: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 ... 6:00PM–7:30PM Plenary - Anti-Israel Propaganda on Campuses in Israel and Abroad.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad U.S. Cell [1988-95]: The Ideological Foundations of its Propaganda Strategy [review of Tally Helfont: The Palestinian Islamic Jihad U.S. Cell [1988-95]: The Ideological Foundations of its Propaganda Strategy. Center on Terrorism and Counterterrorism at the Foreign Policy Research Institute; December 2009, 57 pp. Found at] - Norvell DeAtkine, American Diplomacy

Generation Jihad: Young people 'brainwashed with Al Qaeda propaganda on the internet - Liz Thomas, Daily Mail - Religious extremists are increasingly turning to the internet to find, indoctrinate and radicalise young Muslims, according to a new documentary series.

Like sexual predators they prey on vulnerable young people, quickly brainwashing them with Al Qaeda propaganda and very quickly turning them into potential terrorists. New BBC2 series Generation Jihad claims that growing numbers of bright young men dubbed ‘entrepreneurs of jihad’ are using the internet as a tool to foster extremism. Image from article: Website: Aabid Hussain Khan was imprisoned for 12 years in 2008 on 23 counts of possessing articles for terrorism.

British Propaganda - "That is a British World War II propaganda poster. ... This poster actually asks you to keep quiet and submit.

Actually, it reminds me of 1984. And it’s interesting that it comes from Britain – the country which gave birth to Orwell and which even today has the strictest, foulest privacy-invasive policies." Image from article

Propaganda - fiction beats news - The Cold Equations: "Fiction may also have an advantage as a channel for propaganda in that viewers may not notice they are being propagandized. They see that the good or attractive people behave one way, and the bad guys and the losers behave another way. No argument needs to be made.

If I were an activist or a propagandist, I would forget about doing things like writing a blog that is mostly read by people who already mostly agree with me. I would write screenplays, or learn to draw and post cartoons on Youtube, or do something to become the next Mike Judge or Trey Parker. Or try to get a job in academia where I could influence the next generation of artists and writers. Preferably at a top institution." Image: the author of this blog; corrected when the author of this blog informed your PDPBR compiler (see below comment) that "Thanks for the link, but that picture of 1970s Sean Connery isn't really me!"

1 comment:

The Cold Equations said...

Thanks for the link, but that picture of 1970s Sean Connery isn't really me!