Sunday, September 19, 2010

September 19

"The impact of the Nazis' distinct visual language combined with unique public relations rhetoric comes close to exemplifying how contemporary branding strategies operate."

--Steven Heller, Iron Fist: Branding the 20th-Century Totalitarian States (2008) p. 75


Islamic Extremism and the War of Ideas [Review of John Hughes, Islamic Extremism and the War if Ideas: Lessons from Indonesia, Stanford, California: Hoover Institution Press, 2010] - John H. Brown, American Diplomacy:

"Ultimately, it’s policy, not better organized propaganda, that counts on how America is viewed on our small planet; what we do, not just what we say. This, sadly, is the basic public diplomacy lesson lacking in Mr. Hughes’s not uninformative little book." [posted September 20]


The Internet Freedom Fallacy and the Arab Digital activism - sami ben gharbia blog: "Many people outside of the U.S, not only in the Arab world, have a strong feeling that the Internet Freedom mantra emitting from Washington DC is just a cover for strategic geopolitical agendas. ... Talking about mapping bloggers’ networks during a conference at the U.S. Institute of Peace on January 8th, 2009, John Kelly [of the Berkman Internet and Democracy project which is sponsored through a grant of $1.5 million from the US Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative] insisted on the need to 'think about nurturing and shaping these networks when they are small, as they grow very large very fast'.

All this of course is aimed to shape the development of online media to promote U.S. public diplomacy. ... We know as well how untrue the claim made by Jared Cohen when he said 'we don’t have an internet freedom policy towards one country or another, we have a global internet freedom policy, we support efforts to get around politically motivated censorship globally.'“ See also. Image from article

Doubts about putting digital activism "into the hands of the policy-oriented DC crowd" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

U.S. Embassy, Ministry of Education Launch the 2011 National Spelling Bee - Liberian Daily Observer: "The Public Diplomacy Section (PDS) of the U.S. Embassy, in collaboration with the Liberian Ministry of Education, launched the '2011 Liberia National Spelling Bee' on September 17, 2010.

According to a press release from the Embassy, its PDS will also partner with Essence Communications Ltd., an educational promoter based in Accra, Ghana, which has acquired a franchise to conduct the National Spelling Bee in Ghana and Liberia." Image from

Public Diplomacy 2.0: Israel's website for diaspora and supporters abroad - Madhurjya Kotoky, The Public Diplomacy Blog: "In some earlier posts I wrote about newer concepts such as engagement of diaspora using social media, global citizen diplomacy, creating platforms for networked communications etc. Israel recently started a website that will help Israeli diaspora and also supporters of Israel in countries abroad to shape perceptions about the country. It was conceived after a poll conducted by Israel's Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora affairs found that around 91 percent of Jewish Israelis believed Israel had a very bad image abroad. Following is the link for the website: With both Hebrew and English versions, the website provides information on current events, tips for 'novice ambassadors' - diaspora and Israelis traveling abroad, Israel's spectacular achievements in sciences, myths and facts about Israel and Arab nations etc. What is interesting is that the website also has training courses in defending Israel. The site is intended for the diaspora and the English speaking supporters of Israel in countries abroad. It is intended as a tool provided by the state to involve citizens in managing Israel's perception. Interesting!"

China needs cool minds in heated disputes - Global Times:

"China should also be equipped with diversified diplomatic tools, involving the government, society and individuals to tackle the risk brought on by China's rise. The government should also create conditions to release the power of its public diplomacy. In the future, China can expect further challenges and provocations from various players around the world, and as a result more clashes will follow. China will not actively seek confrontation, but it will also not be afraid of conflicts thrust upon it." Image from

Online Diplomacy: Is your campaign a “best practice”? - niligoldberg, Diplomarketing: A new era for Public diplomacy on social media: "When it comes to public diplomacy, theres a lot to learn from the commercial marketing pro’s [sic]. When it comes to social media the measurables are similar if not the same."


2010 Aspen Cultural Diplomacy Forum - October 4th - press release, "The Aspen Institute, The Phillips Collection, and NYU's John Brademas Center for the Study of Congress present the 2010 Aspen Cultural Diplomacy Forum. The Forum will feature key political and cultural leaders now shaping the policies and practices of cultural diplomacy in the public and private sectors. These experts will discuss how the United States might use culture and cultural exchange to communicate with other nations. When: Monday, October 4 @ 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. EDT

Where: The Phillips Collection - 1600 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC." Image from

Life's rich tapestry - BBC News: "In a carefully-judged piece of cultural diplomacy timed to coincide with the Pope's visit this week, the Vatican has lent the Victoria and Albert Museum in London ... four of the huge tapestries from the series The Acts of the Apostles, commissioned by Pope Leo X at the beginning of the 16th Century. ... In their day tapestries were part of an international contest in artworks between rich and powerful rulers across the Christian and Muslim worlds. Their enthusiasm for emulating one another in acquiring gorgeous Renaissance things - often commissioned from the same artists - kept a conduit for dialogue open between them, in spite of their ideological and doctrinal differences.

Last week's handing over by the British Museum of the precious sixth-century Cyrus Cylinder to the National Museum of Iran on a four-month loan, is perhaps an example of how we might go about building equivalent cultural bridges today." Image from article

Iran lays claim to British Museum's Cyrus Cylinder‎ - The Guardian: "The Cyrus Cylinder, sometimes called the world's first human rights charter, was excavated in Babylon, Iraq in 1879. It was not an easy decision for the British Museum to lend one of its most treasured artefacts to a country which has a notoriously prickly relationship with the UK. So curators in London are paying close attention to an Iranian threat not to return the famous Cyrus Cylinder — now embroiled in political intrigue in the Islamic Republic. ... 'Isn't it correct that the Cyrus Cylinder belongs to Iran?' asked the Keyhan newspaper, mouthpiece of hardline conservatives. 'Isn't it true that the British government stole this valuable and ancient object of ours? If the answer to these questions is positive, which it is, why should we return [it] … to the party which stole it.' The correct answer, insists the British Museum, is that the cylinder was not stolen but excavated in Babylon, Iraq in 1879.

Its loan was a triumph of cultural diplomacy for Neil MacGregor, the museum's director, after relations between London and Tehran were strained to breaking point with the expulsion of British Council staff from Iran, the launch of the BBC Persian TV channel, and the violent and repressive aftermath of last summer's disputed presidential election. The loan reciprocates those made by Iran's national museum to the successful Forgotten Empire and Shah Abbas exhibitions at the British Museum." Image from article

Iran cultural exchanges rooted in Islam - "Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Mohammad-Hossein Saffar-Harandi says the activities of Islamic Republic's cultural attachés are embedded in the rich Islamic principles. Addressing the sixth gathering of Iran's cultural attachés themed 'The Cultural Diplomacy of the Islamic Republic,' the minister said the influence of Islamic Republic in the region and the world originates from Islamic ideology. 'Any attempts stemming from such ideology will certainly be influential in the world,' he said.'"

The museum that was written down‎ - Gareth Harris, Art Newspaper: Orhan Pamuk,

winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2006 and author of My Name is Red (1998) and Snow (2002), is standing among a sea of objects—sewing machines, clocks, soda-bottle tops, buttons, lottery tickets, china dogs, birdcages, cigarette lighters and false teeth—that will soon go on display in The Museum of Innocence, a four-storey building in the Çukurcuma neighbourhood, central Istanbul. This venue, not just a chamber of curiosities, is the real-life incarnation of the museum painstakingly assembled and detailed in his book The Museum of Innocence (2008). ... What of the complementary role, history and function of museums, seen by Kemal as 'repositories of those things from which western civilisation derives its wealth of knowledge, allowing it to rule the world'? Is cultural diplomacy a key weapon in Turkey’s ongoing quest to be a member of the European Union? Or as one of Pamuk’s characters put it in Snow: 'Can the west endure any democracy achieved by enemies who in no way resemble them?' Pamuk won’t be pinned down on whether the planned museum is inherently political, only saying: 'We don’t want the museum to be political. There will be no deliberate politics.'” Pamuk image from article

Greece - MFA - Presentation of key foreign policy axes to diplomatic correspondents by the Foreign Ministry’s political leadership - ISRIA: "Full transcript of the press conference (translation): ... Mr. Droutsas: Thank you very much. A warm welcome to everyone and let me wish all of us a good autumn. A very warm welcome to our fellow Ministers, the new members of the Ministry’s political leadership . ... Spyros Kouvelis will be competent for the same issues he has been handling thus far, i.e. economic diplomacy, green diplomacy, environmental diplomacy as we call it and another point which we want to emphasize, cultural diplomacy. ... And I think that on cultural diplomacy one need not say many words, how important it is for a country like Greece to put forward its comparative advantages and open doors of cooperation."

Looking East / Move over pop culture: Try some rock culture - Takamasa Sakurai, The Daily Yomiuri: "Nearly three years have passed since I began my involvement in cultural diplomacy through Japan's pop culture. During this time, I have come to understand how truly popular our country is around the world. A watershed moment during these three years was a performance by Japanese rock group Miyavi I saw at the Japan Expo in Paris in July 2008.

Anime is one of the key elements in bringing Japan's entertainment to the world at large. The popularity elsewhere of anime such as Dragonball and Saint Seiya have made the genre something special. But interest in Japan now extends beyond anime and manga; this country's music and fashion are attracting their own legions of fans. I was astounded, no, flabbergasted by the scene I saw at the Miyavi show: 15,000 young French Japanophiles had been driven into a frenzy." Image from

Singapour Festivarts To Kick Off In France‎ - Gov Monitor: "Singapour Festivarts aims to present an exciting line-up of arts and cultural events in Paris to showcase Singapore’s rich and vibrant culture and heritage. Besides portraying Singapore as a dynamic global city with a unique arts and cultural heritage that has evolved from a diversity of cultures drawn from some of the world’s oldest and greatest civilisations, the Festivarts also offers a unique platform for Singapore and her artists to reach out to one of the most culturally vibrant countries in Europe and forge relationships through cultural diplomacy."

Exhibition on Power Cloths of the Commonwealth‎ - "The XIX Commonwealth Games in India

are not just about sport. RMIT Gallery is finishing preparations for its exhibition Power Cloths of the Commonwealth, Australia’s only cultural representation at the Games. ... During the Games, events displaying Indian culture, heritage and folklore will be held across the city. The diverse cultural panorama will include folk and classical dances, classical music, theatre and films as well as other creative skills, arts and crafts. RMIT Gallery Director Suzanne Davies said it was significant that RMIT Gallery was partnering with India’s premier museum in presenting Australia’s only cultural representation at the Games. Ms Davies, who sits on the board of the Australia-India Council and is its former Chair, said the exhibition was an example of cultural diplomacy in action." Image from

Diplomat says he feels 'at home' in SA - Teneshia Naidoo:Times Live: "Suresh Goel, the director-general of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), was in South Africa for the Shared History festival. Goel, who served as consul-general of India in Johannesburg from 2002 to 2006, said he was pleased to see that the country had grown economically. ... He said his role as director of the ICCR was aimed at building cultural diplomacy. It was not limited to the performing arts, but also provided opportunities for professional sectors such as engineering and management."

Euro Night party at the French Embassy is once again a great success - "It was another successful - and sold-out - 'Euro Night' event that was hosted at La Maison Française at the Embassy of France on Reservoir Road in Washington, D.C. on Friday evening, September 17, 2010. This cultural journey and culinary buffet - for the third consecutive year - has become a tremendously popular tradition in the nation's capital."

Image from article: Luis Chang Boldrini, who is Head of the Public Diplomacy Department at the Embassy of Peru, and Camilla McCaslin.


Members of U.S. platoon in Afghanistan accused of killing civilians for sport - Craig Whitlock, Washington Post:

According to charging documents, the unprovoked, fatal attack on Jan. 15 was the start of a months-long shooting spree against Afghan civilians that resulted in some of the grisliest allegations against American soldiers since the U.S. invasion in 2001. Members of the platoon have been charged with dismembering and photographing corpses, as well as hoarding a skull and other human bones. Image from

Domestic politics color Iran's susceptibility to Western courtship - Ray Takeyh, Washington Post: The tragedy of U.S.-Iran relations is that the most persistent advocate of dialogue with America is Iran's firebrand president.

Message to Muslims: I’m Sorry - Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times: Radicals tend to empower radicals, creating a gulf of mutual misunderstanding and anger. Many Americans believe that Osama bin Laden is representative of Muslims, and many Afghans believe that the Rev. Terry Jones (who talked about burning Korans) is representative of Christians.

Afghan turnout low amid violence‎ - David Nakamura,Ernesto Londono, Washington Post: In the presidential election last year, more than 5.5 million votes were cast, albeit in a contest characterized by widespread reports of fraud. Saturday's elections were viewed as a major test of the ability of Afghan and international forces to prevent violence and fraud and restore the public's faith in the democratic process. Asked why turnout might have declined this year, Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak suggested that "one possibility is that the propaganda of the enemy affected the psyche of the people."

Image from article: Women vote in Afghanistan, where 2,500 people ran for 249 seats in parliament. The Taliban warned voters to avoid the polls. (Majid Saeedi)

Fraud, turnout weigh on early Afghan vote count: Will take weeks to assess election, get results - Reuters, Sunday Times: Turnout appeared high at least in Kabul, where many observers representing candidates kept a close watch. “We did not expect the election would take place because of the serious propaganda of the enemies, but it seems most of the people took part,” student Shafiqullah Khan told Reuters. Others were downbeat about the level of fraud and threats.

Once More The Taliban Fail To Halt National Elections - President Karzai has agreed with his foreign sponsors that he will destroy the drug business and control the Taliban (and the international terrorism the Taliban supports). Karzai believes the only way out of his conundrum is to make some kind of political deal with the Taliban. That's a long shot, because too many Taliban leaders believe their own propaganda, and want it all. Worse, the majority of Afghans (nearly all the non-Pushtuns, and many of the Pushtuns, in other words, over 80 percent of the population) want the Taliban and drug gangs gone.

Taliban Propaganda Watch (RC South) – 182250UTC Sept 10 - Blog

Video: Fallen soldier’s mom: NFL son was ‘propaganda tool’ - There’s a new documentary that focuses on the death of pro football star-turned-soldier Pat Tillman, killed in the mountains of Afghanistan.

Pat’s mother, Dannie Tillman, says the film is an educational piece that shows how the U.S. military used her athlete son as a “propaganda tool” for the war on terror. (Today Show). Image from

Time to Wise Up - It is time that Americans wise up to Islam, and stop buying all the propaganda put out by Muslims and their liberal friends.

A 21st-Century Potemkin: Putin is still building grand illusions - Owen Matthews, Newsweek: The pretty façade has been an organizing principle of Russian life for centuries. Prince Grigory Potemkin put his name to the phenomenon when he put up the façades of pretty villages along Catherine the Great’s route through the newly conquered lands of Ukraine and Crimea in 1787. As late as 1980, the Soviet propaganda machine convinced the world that it would soon overtake America economically and militarily even as its industry was crumbling.

Today’s Russia is papering over the reality of demographic decline, industrial stagnation, and the reality of a country falling behind the developed world in almost every field except the begetting of cash for oil and metals. At the same time, the Kremlin has systematically dismantled the institutions that could challenge the official version of reality, from the free press to parliamentary opposition to independent governors, prosecutors, and courts. The only window on reality left is the Russian Internet, known as Runet—where most of the material punching holes in official lies appears. But fewer than 25 percent of Russians use Runet regularly, and instances of crazy nationalist conspiracy theories far outnumber those of honest reporting. Image from article

"Neither the internet will destroy the Putin regime, or the regime will destroy the internet" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Kremlin Kid Kamp Features Nazi Condi's Head On A Stick - Princess Sparkle Pony's Photo Blog: "[T]here's Condi's face, plastered on a mannequin head wearing a Nazi helmet and mounted on a stick,

a treatment similarly afforded to Hilary Clinton and those evil fascists, the European Court for Human Rights" [at "a weird Soviet-style youth camp in central Russia put on by the not-at-all sinister sounding Federal Agency for Youth Affairs."] Image from article.

Struggle against Turkish-Azeri propaganda necessary, Armenian scholar says - Information-Analytic Agency "We must hold rallies of protest to say we will not allow the Turkish Government’s further manipulations. We will not let Turkey, which is not meeting its international commitments, continue showing disrespect for Armenian Christian values," Director of the Museum of the Armenian Genocide Hayk Demoyan said. He pointed out that the international community is concealing its attitude to the Turkish Government’s behavior, as it is the second time that Turkey has used Surb Khach church for propaganda. The situation would be quite different if Turkey would renovate a number of churches during one year and placed them at the Armenian community’s disposal. Most of them are either half-destroyed or were turned into mosques. See also.

Islamists seize Somali radio stations
- Will Ross, BBC: Radio stations seized by al-Shabab have been used to broadcast Islamist propaganda Islamist insurgents in Somalia have seized control of two radio stations in the capital Mogadishu. The stations, Horn Afrik and GBC, were raided on Saturday by militants from the groups al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam.

The groups, who are trying to topple the transitional government, have targeted media by killing journalists and banning music from the airwaves. Other stations captured by the militants have been used to broadcast their propaganda. Image from

Tier 5 Update: Stimulus Money Wasted on Propaganda for Socialist Obama Agenda and a New World Order - World News: There are laws against propaganda being put forth by our government. The laws are very clear that propaganda is not to be put forth to the American people. Printed propaganda, whether in the form of signs like these, or pamphlets (Kathleen Sebelius!) is illegal. These are tactics used by Communists like General Mao.

Dalek propaganda poster - Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing: Arkizzle sez, "The BBC has put up a great quality version of the propaganda-style, Daleks' To Victory! poster, from the newest Doctor Who episode." Image from article

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