Thursday, September 9, 2010

September 9

"Like all Americans, I like big things: big prairies, big forests and mountains, big wheatfields, railroads, and herds of cattle, too."

--Theodore Roosevelt; cited in Yasmin Sabina Khan, Enlightening the World: The Creation of the Statue of Liberty (2010), p. 4; image from


Madam Secretary: Clinton: Don't judge America by 'aberrational Quran-burning plan - P.J. Aroon, Foreign Policy: "When asked today about the Quran-burning plan of a Florida pastor, Secretary Clinton once again condemned 'this outrageous and distressful, disgraceful plan' and said, '[W]e want to be judged by who we are as a nation, not by something that is so aberrational.' (That's probably how Muslims feel when judged by 9/11.) She made the remarks this morning in the question-and-answer session after her pep-talk speech when Richard Haass, president of the

Council on Foreign Relations, asked her, "What's your view on all this from the Department of State? How does this complicate your life?" Clinton responded: ... '[A]s I remind my friends around the world, in the environment in which we all now operate, anybody with an iPhone, anybody with a blog, can put something out there which is outrageous. I mean, we went through the cartoon controversy. We went through the Facebook controversy in Pakistan. Judith McHale, who is our undersecretary for public diplomacy, is on the front lines of pushing back on all of this all the time. And so we want to be judged by who we are as a nation, not by something that is so aberrational. And we'll make that case as strongly as possible.'" Image from article

Petraeus Warns of Consequences from US Islamophobia - Eli Clifton, "In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, General David Petraeus condemned the plan of as small Florida church to burn Qurans on September 11th, once again emphasizing his acute awareness of the public diplomacy challenges the U.S. faces in the Middle East."

Why 9/11 gave rise to a carnival of confusion‎ - Frank Furedi, Spiked: "For a brief moment, many observers believed that 9/11 would represent a rallying point and provide the West with a sense of mission. For a few months it did. However, in the absence of a coherent system of meaning, the West has struggled to promote its own values. Instead, it relies on tawdry advertising and marketing. In October 2001, advertising executive Charlotte Beers

was appointed US secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs. Her mission was to gain the assistance of Madison Avenue public relations firms in helping to rebrand and sell America to a hostile Muslim world. This focus on improving ‘the image’ indicated that American was not prepared to engage in a serious battle of ideas. That was then… and now, nine years later, Washington still hasn’t realised that the profound problem it faces is not one of branding. General Petraeus has warned that the image of Korans burning could be as bad for America as ‘the images from Abu Ghraib’, revealing that America’s military and political leaders still see their problems in terms of imagery alone." Beers image from

Plan to burn Qurans ignites debate on rights - Larry Copeland, Rick Hampson - USA Today: "Florida preacher Terry Jones prepared for a bonfire of the Qurans on Saturday — the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks — despite protests from the White House, the Vatican, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, fellow Christian evangelicals and veterans' groups. ... Although many Americans, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, expressed frustration that a small fringe group could command such attention, ignoring Jones was not an option. Not after Petraeus warned that 'images of the burning of a Quran would undoubtedly be used by extremists ... to inflame public opinion and incite violence.' Not after the Vatican accused Jones of 'an outrageous and grave gesture.' Not after Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, said, 'I don't think there's any excuse for it.' Alan Wolfe, director of Boston College's Center for Religion and American Public Life, said Washington shouldn't ignore Jones: 'This requires public diplomacy by the administration to point out how repugnant this is to most Americans.'"

Move it: Moving the 'Ground Zero' Muslim cultural center would be courteous - Should a Muslim cultural center, two blocks from Ground Zero, be moved? - Karen Hughes, Florida Times-Union: "I believe that most Americans who oppose locating a mosque near Ground Zero are neither anti-freedom nor anti-Muslim; they just don’t believe it’s respectful. ... That’s why it is so important that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his congregation make what I fully understand would be a very difficult choice: to locate their mosque elsewhere. ... Karen Hughes,

a global vice chairwoman at Burson-Marsteller, served as counselor to President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2002 and as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs from 2005 to 2007." Hughes image from

9/11 and our responsibility for waging peace‎ - S.M. Rashed Ahmed, The Daily Star: "The West can significantly help the process by reorientation of its foreign policies and resolution of the outstanding international issues of conflict involving Arab-Israel, Afghanistan, Iraq, Chechnya and other flash points of conflict. The focus has to shift from seeking a military solution to such conflicts to diplomacy and negotiations to address the core issues underlying such conflicts. The huge savings which would result from eventual withdrawal of troops from foreign countires and decreased military expenditure should be diverted for wining the hearts and minds of the people by meeting the critical development needs of the people in Muslim countries. This should be followed by vigorous public diplomacy and interfaith dialogue at all levels, and greater people to people contact and exchanges. Formal diplomacy should be supported by Track II diplomacy."

President Otunbaeva: RFE/RL is Krygyzstan's "leading source of accurate, credible information" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting. Below image from

BBG chairman "will outline his vision for the future of U.S. international broadcasting" at RFE anniversary event - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Ready, aim, seek legal counsel‎ - Ariella Ringel Hoffman, Ynetnews: IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Avi Benayahu: "Up until three years ago, there were two superpowers – the US and China. Today, Facebook is the third superpower. There are people that live there, get there information from there. One quarter of internet users use the blogosphere at the expense of print. The conventional terms of being a spokesman, public relations, and the media are making room for the huge place of public diplomacy."

Fighting Fire with Fire - Laura McGinnis, manIC: "Expanding foreign influence is,

after all, one of PD's major objectives. But if China truly wants to maintain and improve its foreign relations, it needs to ensure that increases in power--hard or soft--don't increase wariness or suspicion abroad. To that end, its actions will speak louder than its words." Image from

Andrew Whyte prepares for top Foreign & Commonwealth Office comms role‎ - PRWeek UK: "The Foreign & Commonwealth Office's incoming comms director has said the 'changing nature of Britain in the world' will be among his priorities when he starts work in his new role next month. ... Whyte's main responsibilities will be to oversee the department's press office, internal comms and digital presence. He will also be involved with strategic comms and the FCO's public diplomacy work."

Ellen ‘Did Not Send Me to America to Spy': Gabriel Williams on Barnes Recall - Nat Nyuan Bayjay, [Source: FrontPage Africa]: "Gabriel Williams, the Minister Counselor for Press and Public Affairs at the Liberian Mission in Washington, D.C. has rejected suggestions that he was sent to the U.S. to keep an eye on recently-recalled Ambassador Nathaniel Barnes. Williams, in a letter of clarification to FrontPageAfrica Wednesday said his mandate from President Sirleaf to take up the post in Washington is to revitalize Liberia’s public diplomacy

so as to positively project Liberia’s image to the outside world. 'My responsibility includes engaging Liberians in the Diaspora and Americans by creating public awareness about the encouraging progress Liberia is making, as well as the challenges facing our post-war country.'” Image from

Rosarito Film Festival in August - Away from Tarraco: "After a year of work on the RediscoveRosarito campaign, I finally got to come back to Rosarito just in time to give a hand coordinating the communication for the 3rd Annual Rosarito Film Festival. This event was created by Mayor Hugo Torres in an effort to project a positive image of the town of Rosarito. ... [W]e are honoring our dear friend Pedro Rodrigues, a public relations expert, who passed away two months ago. We are having a special award under his name. We called it PEDRO RODRIGUES PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AWARD to 'excellence in public relations and public diplomacy in promoting cross-cultural understanding.' All in all, this has been a very enriching week full of practical work regarding cross-cultural communication, public diplomacy and event planning, all while remembering those who helped us on the way and experiencing first hand the mexican culture."

Layalina Productions is looking for a full-time New Media Intern stipend; Washington, DC (9/8/2010) - Intern Alert: "Layalina is seeking a full-time New Media Intern with Desktop Publishing and Web Design Skills. Interns will leave with a complex understanding of television production, press freedom infringements, technological media advancements, and public diplomacy efforts in the Arab world and the U.S. Interns who distinguish themselves will have the opportunity to interact with media experts, foreign diplomats, and international journalists. ... Layalina Productions, Inc.

is a non-profit, private sector corporation that develops and produces Arabic-language television programming for airing on existing Arab satellite networks. Layalina’s original productions address the misconceptions and negative stereotypes about the United States, its people, culture, and policies through entertaining and educational productions that are culturally appropriate. Through its programs, Layalina aims to present a new vision of the United States and its values to the Arab world, in their vernacular." Image from


As midterms loom, Obama has lost his rhetorical touch - Michael Gerson, Washington Post: Obama the communicator seems lost.

Exclusive: Whistleblower Claims Many U.S. Interpreters Can't Speak Afghan Languages; Says Translators Failed Language Tests, Were Still Embedded With US Troops In Afghanistan - Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross And Joseph Rhee, ABC News: More than one quarter of the translators working alongside American soldiers in Afghanistan failed language proficiency exams

but were sent onto the battlefield anyway, according to a former employee of the company that holds contracts worth up to $1.4 billion to supply interpreters to the U.S. Army. Image from

Iraq Troop "Withdrawal" Propaganda - The reported drawdown in American troops from Iraq has been portrayed as a "withdrawal of the U.S." from Iraq, but it is really just a pretend end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. The removal of combat forces still leaves 50,000 so-called "military trainers" in the country, a huge number of American troops compared to eight years ago, when there weren't any in Iraq at all.

Iraq War Propaganda: The Audacity of Cynicism – Barack Obama’s Iraq Speech - Elise Hendrick, Moral Philosophy and Current Events: Obama’s Iraq speech is an impressive entry in the annals of war propaganda.

In it, he glosses over a criminal war as ‘a remarkable chapter’ in US history, and creates the false impression that the occupation of Iraq is over. He places the responsibility rebuilding a society out of the rubble we created on the shoulders of the Iraqi people (we are, of course, blameless), and tells us that it’s time to ‘turn the page’ on a crime that is continuing, and for which not a single perpetrator has yet even been indicted. It is a wonder that he wasn’t struck by lightning before finishing. Image from

Taliban Propaganda Watch – 090010 Sept 10 -

On 9/11: Defend the Islamic Center - Workers' World: The George W. Bush administration exploited propaganda dehumanizing Muslims in order to promote the imperialist invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. The same kind of vicious propaganda aids Washington’s continued threats against Iran and Somalia as well as its support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Anti-Muslim propaganda is essential to the U.S. imperialist war drive.

Anna Baltzer: Palestinians "come second" at peace talks‎ - Christian Avard, Huffington Post: Anna Baltzer, Huffington Post: Anna Baltzer. Baltzer is a Jewish-American granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. In 2005, she was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to teach English in Ankara, Turkey and volunteered with the International Women's Peace Service in the West Bank. Baltzer: "The 'Israel is innocent and virtuous' narrative is no longer sustainable given ... . 'Yes,' the narrative goes, 'Israel sometimes does bad things, but it's just a cycle of violence and it's very complicated. We are working on it and you mustn't pressure us.' This in some ways is more insidious than the previous narrative because it gives the illusion of balance where there is none and removes Israel's responsibility as the occupier. Calling it 'complex' is a way of obscuring the reality and avoiding responsibility.

Jewish emotions surrounding Zionism are complicated; the prospect of both sides healing in the future from years of conflict is complicated; but the injustice of Palestinians being oppressed and denied their fundamental human rights simply because of their ethnicity and religion is not complicated. The propaganda campaign is not working. Americans are increasingly open to the idea that Israel may not be the righteous, peace-seeking country they thought it was."
Image from

N. Korean heir praised with tech code word - Peter Goodspeed, National Post: North Korea has never been known for the spellbinding quality of its propaganda. So it is not surprising the latest catch-phrase employed to bolster support for the world's only communist monarchy is "Computer Numerical Control" or "CNC." The phrase, which has been popping up in official news broadcasts and on propaganda posters and factory bulletin boards for more than a year, is a peculiar code for Kim Jong-un, dictator Kim Jong-il's youngest son and supposed heir. "CNC" is supposed to be the key to North Korea's future greatness. It is meant to convey concepts of youth, modernity and the implementation of cutting-edge technology to transform the Stalinist state's moribund economy.

Image from article: North Korean officials commemorate the 62nd anniversary of the country's founding yesterday. One of the gathering's apparent aims is to prepare the nation for Kim Jong-il's youngest son, Kim Jong-un.

China's Blockbuster Propaganda‎ - Dan Edwards, The Diplomat: Modern Chinese blockbusters continue to propagate a vision of history that’s in line with the Communist Party's current outlook, even if this outlook has shifted radically since Mao’s time. A key part of these films’ function, in fact, is to airbrush Mao's ideology and its traumatic effects out of the picture. Although numerous different kinds of movies are made in China, the state's control of distribution and broadcasting and extensive online censorship mean non-approved works are still rarely seen by the public.

EU Propaganda Machine Slammed: A call for the EU to fund a new communication campaign was today slammed by MEP Paul Nuttall - “This is a full frontal assault by the EU to create a propaganda machine and buy off journalists to saturate the media with pro-EU spin,” said Mr Nuttall, North West Euro MP for the UK Independence Party.

Leftists Artists Create Propaganda Not Art - Joseph Lindsey, "Once a year the portrait of Chairman Mao that hangs above Tiananmen Gate is replaced by a new one. Who the artist is has never been disclosed. For Napoleon, Jacque-Louis David was his favorite painter and the man most responsible for creating his iconic image. Artists like these do not toil away at their craft because they love their leader, they are told to paint.

That’s what makes Obama art so dangerous, the artists do it for love. In the last election the public plastered the image of Obama to America with the same hormonal glee that I did when I nailed Farah Fawcett to my childhood wall. ... The sophomoric art of the Bush presidency was only hailed as artistic because artist[s] were creating it for an audience that was, at the time, susceptible to anything they created. And, if it could ultimately hold their morning coffee or cover their waxed chest, all the better for them to show the world their outrage while making money off hyped up Hope and Change fools." Image from article

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