Saturday, July 31, 2010

July 31

"Ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right."

From a statement by The Anti-Defamation League opposing a planned mosque and Islamic community center near NYC’s ground zero; image from


Disco and Atomic War - Basil Tsiokos, Indie Wire: “'Disco and Atomic War' reveals the unusual, provocative, and very funny story of how 'Dallas' and 'Knight Rider' led to the fall of the Iron Curtain.

A story of coming of age under Communism, the documentary cleverly and cogently argues that the influence of 'soft power' - pop culture via illegally intercepted Finnish TV broadcasts of Western media - weakened the tenuous foundation of the Soviet system in Estonia, hastening the collapse of the Soviet Union." Image from article


Mouse-Click Insurgency - Adam Elkus, Rethinking Security: "At this point, it seems apparent that WikiLeaks is waging an information war against the US national security establishment. ... WikiLeaks is no longer about an abstract desire for transparency--it is about advancing its founder's specific--if somewhat incoherent--policy agenda. For all of the volumes of writing since 9/11 about public diplomacy, information operations, and such this is a bona fide adversary information operation and a very successful one on the tactical level. Of course, it seems doubtful that WikiLeaks is going to actually change the course of policy."

Were Al Arabiya, Al Jazeera, and VOA way ahead of WikiLeaks? - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Mr David Cameron and Pakistan - Voice Of Karachi: "[W]hen reports and studies emanate from various sources, aiming at demonising Pakistan, it is expected that our intelligence agencies and foreign missions would track them to counter such initiatives. There is indeed a pressing need for well-funded and adequately staffed Public Diplomacy organisations, which have links with think tanks, foreign intelligence agencies, universities, as well as the print and the electronic media.

If groups of well-educated and intelligent analysts are developed to trace and examine studies, reports, journals etc, keeping themselves abreast of ideas emerging from seminars and conferences, only then useful material can become available for the purpose of decision making at higher levels. Presently, and in the past too, all that our government or Foreign Office does whenever volleys are fired, is to issue statements of protest which soon enough fade away." Image from

Gen Pasha's goal: Burnishing the ISIs image - Rupee News: "In Pakistan, Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha,

the director-general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), is more often in the news than many of the country’s ministers. Pasha’s influence should not be surprising: ISI, the country’s apex intelligence agency, is often described as a 'state within the state,' operating autonomously and sometimes in direct confrontation with constitutional powers. ... [U]nder his [Pasha’s] leadership the ISI has embarked on an unprecedented mission to revamp its international image. On the one side, this has led to a campaign of 'public intelligence,' in line with the very fashionable public diplomacy concept. Never before have so many Western journalists and delegations been invited to visit ISI’s headquarters in Islamabad, where they are object of an intense PR campaign 'over tea and PowerPoint briefings.' On the other side, on the terrain, the agency has also tried to at least give the impression that it is distancing itself from the radical nest of Islamic extremist organizations it had nurtured in the past." Pasha image from

“Turkey’s New Foreign Policy Direction – Implications for U.S.-Turkish Relations” - Jennifer, POMED Notes:

"The U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs held a hearing to discuss changes in the direction of Turkish foreign policy and their effects on U.S.-Turkey. In particular, the hearing focused on shifts in policy toward Iran, Israel, and Palestine of concern to policymakers. To discuss these issues, the full committee – chaired by Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), with ranking member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) in attendance –requested the testimony of [among others] ... Dr. Soner Cagaptay, Director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy . ... Cagaptay suggested pursuing a strong public diplomacy program aimed at reducing anti-Western attitudes and misunderstandings in the Turkish public, as well as pushing EU membership as the key element in bilateral relations to discourage Turkish mediation in Middle East issues." Image from

"Voinovich's View" - A Legacy of Fighting for Freedom - Senator George V. Voinovich, American Chronicle: "Extending visa waiver privileges to allies of the United States has also been one of my top priorities, and I worked to make it easier for our allies´ citizens to visit the United States. ... I continue to work to improve our national security and public diplomacy through the Visa Waiver Program."

Setting the Record Straight - Sam duPont, NDN:

"Working in a geeky little niche as I do, it's never a surprise to encounter well-informed people who actually don't have a clue what I mean by 'mHeatlh' or 'digital learning' or 'intermediary liability.' But (and maybe this is just the IR student in me) I expect more from Foreign Affairs. Their online article 'Getting Digital Statecraft Right,' by Betsy Gelb and Emmanuel Yujuico is so flawed and misinformed, I feel the need to set them straight here-- a bloggerish indulgence that I don't usually go in for. ... The authors compare our government's efforts to leverage the global communications network to Henry Ford's crackpot scheme to build a model midwestern town in the Amazon rainforest, and to the One Laptop Per Child program's misguided attempts to shower the developing world with inexpensive technology. It's entirely unclear how these failed schemes relate to State's efforts to conduct public diplomacy via social media, or their effort to see internet censorship treated equally to offline censorship. But somehow, the authors take the lesson that Secretary Clinton is overreaching with her 'grandiose' strategy. ... But deeper than all that, what Gelb & Yujuico misunderstand is that the State Department's efforts are not rooted in some messianic desire to change the world. The truth is quite the opposite: 21st Century Statecraft and Internet Freedom are initiatives crafted in response to changes in the way our world works. We're not throwing technology at other countries and hoping it makes them prosperous and democratic. The technology is already there. The network is already global.

And what the State Department is doing is an attempt to use the same tools that everyone on earth is using, for the same objectives they've always pursued." Images from (a) (b)

natural hair - TolonTolon: "I am suspicious of the phrase '21st-century statecraft'. I am suspicious because I can't define it, even though I've listened to Alec Ross speak about it twice. (Mr Ross is the senior advisor for innovation at America's Department of State.) Is it a new kind of state-run broadcaster, a digital Radio Free Europe? Is it a new kind of public diplomacy? Is it a ... new kind of foreign aid, a digital USAID? Is it a quicker, less centralised way of determining America's public response to an international event? Does it signal a focus on the role the internet plays in human rights and international trade? . ... I've decided that '21stcentury statecraft' is just a grab-bag; it means all of those things. Some of them are good ideas. Some of them are not. And all they have in common is that the internet exists." On Ross, see.

Thing 23: Virtual Worlds - Mariam al Maskary, IRC Muscat: "A virtual world

is a computer-based immersive environment in which users control their surroundings through the use of a personalized 'avatar' (a virtual representation of oneself). Virtual worlds enable avatars to manipulate and interact with virtual elements or other avatars in a two- or three-dimensional setting. assignment: 1. public diplomacy can use AVATAR to promote awarness of issues such as saving energy, environment and facilitated information. example, how saving environment save future generation and vice versa damaging environment with irresponsible actions kill the coming generation and deprive them from resources. 2. creating virtual books might help spread knowledge. 3. we can use virtual worlds in teaching how to use encyclopedia, teaching English, social networks and courses like this one: Learning 2.0: 23 things to do." Image: virtual plastic surgery

Public Diplomacy in Croatia - Goreto - "Ivan Sverko and Daniel Carev are both Ron Brown alumni. Ivan did an MBA degree from University of Kentucky, Louisville, KY and works for Hypo Alpe Adria Bank in Zagreb. He was one of the initiators of a special memorial site in Cavtat, Croatia where Secretary Brown’s plane crashed and after whom the scholarships are named. Daniel did an MBA from Emory Atlanta, Goizueta Business School, Atlanta, GA."

“The Domestic Political Ramifications of the Beijing Olympic Games” - Jian Wang,

"Jian 'Jay' Wang studies international corporate communication and public diplomacy and teaches public relations at USC Annenberg’s School of Communication." Image from

Communication Specialist - Madagascar - Naombakazi.Com: "The USAID Mission in Madagascar is soliciting expressions of interest from qualified individual to serve under a resident hire one (1) year Personal Services Contract (PSC), as a Communication Specialist in the Program Development and Assessment Office (PDA) Office. ...Serves as the USAID point of contact for USG interagency efforts and planning to promote communications and public diplomacy in Madagascar. Liaises with other US agencies represented at post and communicates information back to USAID as needed. Ensures that clearance on communications materials is obtained clearance from the Public Affairs Officer as necessary. Works with the Embassy Public Affairs section to establish guidelines for USAID regarding communications. This includes acceptable format, permissible contact with the press, and timeline for submission before events."


TIME’s Epic Distortion of the Plight of Women in Afghanistan - Derrick Crowe, Tomorrow, TIME Magazine will treat newsstand customers everywhere to one of the most rank propaganda plays of the Afghanistan War. The cover features a woman, Aisha, whose face was mutilated by the Taliban, next to the headline, "What Happens If We Leave Afghanistan."

Far more people will see this image and have their emotions manipulated by it than will read the article within (which itself seems to be a journalistic travesty, if the web version is any indication), so TIME should be absolutely ashamed of themselves for such a dishonest snow job on their customers. Readers deserve better. Let’s clarify something right off the top when it comes to this cover: Aisha, the poor woman depicted in the photograph, was attacked last year, with tens of thousands of U.S. troops tramping all over the country at the time. This isn’t the picture of some as-yet-unrealized nighmarish future for Afghan women. It’s the picture of the present. Image from

Polling Pakistan: America the Unloved - Patricia Lee Sharpe, Whirled View. Via LB.


"If Paul Revere had been a modern day citizen, he wouldn't have ridden down Main Street. He would have tweeted."

--State Department Senior Advisor on Innovation Alec Ross; image from

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