Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September 22

"the water bugs," the "Politburo," the "Mafia," the "campaign set"

--National security adviser James L. Jones, privately referring to Obama's political aides

"a complete spin doctor."

--General Petraeus telling an aide what he considered the president's senior adviser David Axelrod to be

"the most egotistical bastard I've ever met"

--Vice president Joe Biden on State Department envoy Richard Holbrooke; see also; image from


Can I Get You Some Tea With That Airstrike?‎ - Kelley Vlahos, American Conservative Magazine: "[A] seven-person company called Development Transformations ... is getting paid at least $1 million for the job [to train U.S personnel in the field]. ... USAID is often complaining, along with the State Department, that the military has taken the lead in areas traditionally advanced by the civilian agencies, like development and public diplomacy, and that up to now, they have not had the resources to compete.

Now it seems they’re happy to let the military be the face, and to hire outside folks to teach Marines to engage in what amounts to micro-level public diplomacy. 'It’s more efficient,' said Eric Kotoue from USAID." On Development Transformation, see " See also. Image from

Contingency Planning Memorandum No. 9: Electoral Violence in Nigeria - John Campbell/CFR, posted at "The United States can capitalize on the value elite Nigerians place on the bilateral relationship to hedge against the worst outcomes 2011 elections might produce. Tools include carefully worded White House, Department of State, and congressional statements, financial and technical support for elections, and diplomatic planning and outreach to emerging political groups and international partners. Public Diplomacy. Through diplomatic channels including the Binational Commission and public statements, the United States should reiterate that the conduct of Nigeria’s 2011 elections affects the bilateral relationship. In the run-up to 2011, the administration should not accept uncritically Jonathan administration claims and assurances that elections will be free, fair, and credible. The United States should also advocate for INEC’s independence from the presidency, publicly hold Abuja responsible for controlling ethnic violence, and continue to support through small grants those Nigerian nongovernmental organizations working for peace and reconciliation."

On Radio/TV Martí appointment, is President Obama drilling a hole through the firewall? - Kim Andrew Elliot Reporting on International Broadcasting: "Miami Herald, 22 Sept 2010, Juan O. Tamayo:

'President Barack Obama has proposed Carlos García-Pérez, a Cuban-American lawyer in Puerto Rico, to head the Radio/TV Martí stations that broadcast to Cuba, sources said Tuesday. García-Pérez is a leading member of the Cuban American National Foundation, which has harshly criticized the U.S. government Martí stations and acted as an Obama administration sounding board on Cuba. ... García-Pérez was proposed by Obama but must be confirmed by the [Broadcasting Board of Governors], said three knowledgeable people who asked for anonymity because they are not authorized to comment on the issue. ... García-Pérez would replace Pedro Roig, a 69-year-old lawyer and registered Republican who resigned Aug. 27 after seven years at the helm of the two stations.' [Elliott comment:] The Broadcasting Board of Governors was created in large part to depoliticize the appointment of the senior managers of US international broadcasting, thus giving USIB newsrooms the independence necessary to achieve credibility. It is therefore unhelpful that President Obama has proposed (if this report is correct) a director of Radio/TV Martí.The most important attribute of a BBG member is courage. Courage is needed to resist pressure from the administration and Congress on matters concerning content and appointments. If Mr. García-Pérez is not qualified for this job -- he has an impressive résumé but apparently no journalistic experience -- the BBG will have to say no to the President. In fact, because the director of Radio/TV Martí is not a political appointment, shouldn't this job be advertised? Mr. García-Pérez can apply, using President Obama as a reference." Image from

BBG announces the appointment of IBB director Richard Lobo, and specifies his duties - Kim Andrew Elliot Reporting on International Broadcasting: "Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 21 Sept 2010: President Barack Obama has appointed Richard M. Lobo as director of the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), following Lobo's confirmation by the U.S. Senate. ... The IBB Director manages program placement and transmission services for the BBG, the federal agency that supervises all U.S. civilian, international broadcasting. The IBB manages a global network of transmitting sites and an extensive system of leased satellite and fiber optic circuits, along with a rapidly growing Internet delivery system. For the agency's federal components, the IBB provides research, manages the evaluation of broadcasts and is responsible for VOA editorials, along with support services including human resources, Equal Employment Opportunity, procurement, security, administrative, and graphics. 'I am proud to serve my country in this role and through this Administration,' said Dick Lobo. 'IBB plays a critical role supporting our broadcast services and I am delighted to be a part of it.' See previous post about same subject. [Elliott comment:] Notice how specific this press release is about Mr. Lobo's duties. It indicates that the presidentially-appointed Mr. Lobo will not be involved in content, other than the VOA editorials (and, perhaps, 'the evaluation of broadcasts').

Mr. Lobo echoes this by saying his role will be 'supporting our broadcast services.' That's plenty of responsibility for any one person. Disclosure: Mr. Lobo is now the boss of the boss of my boss." Lobo image from

VOA stringer in Uzbekistan "could face several years in jail" for various charges (updated) - Kim Andrew Elliot Reporting on International Broadcasting

Kids to Kids Selected as a Top 10 Program by U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy - press release, PR Web: "The U.S. Summit for Global Citizen Diplomacy is a national meeting presented by the USCCD in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. The Summit is designed to broaden the momentum generated from the work of the USCCD as a national resource base and network for Americans to be engaged as citizen diplomats, and two major leadership forums focused on the revival of citizen diplomacy as a critical component of U.S. public diplomacy and foreign policy strategy. The Summit will be the first such meeting since President Eisenhower’s People-to-People conference on the same subject 54 years ago, and will serve as the launch for a 'Decade of Citizen Diplomacy' with a goal to double the number of American citizen diplomats by 2020."

‘Jihadi Cool’ - mbt maliza brown womens: "Scott Atran is an anthropologist who studies the kids who keep Al Qaeda and its spinoffs going. They’re young people like the ones who grew up to blow up trains in Madrid in 2004, carried out the slaughter on the London underground in 2005 and hoped to blast airliners out of the sky en route to the United States in 2006. Atran has looked at whom Herve Leger Bandage-lacing Sleev they idolize, how they organize, what bonds them and what drives them. And he’s reached an unconventional but, to me, convincing conclusion: what has inspired the 'new wave' terrorists since 2001 is not so much the Qur’an as what Atran calls 'jihadi cool.' If you can discredit these kids’ idols (most notably Osama bin Laden), give them new ones and reframe the way their families and friends see the United States and its allies, then you’ve got a good shot at killing the fad for terror and stopping the jihad altogether. For Atran, a senior fellow at the Center on Terrorism at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, this is pretty much Public Diplomacy 101. But he’s found that the battle of ideas is not just hard to win in the field, it’s a very tough slog at home. In Washington last year he was briefing White House staffers on his findings when a young woman who worked for Vice President Dick Cheney said in the sternest tough-guy voice she could muster, 'Don’t these young people realize that the decisions they make are their responsibility, and that if they choose violence against us, we’re going to bomb them?' Atran was dumbfounded. 'Bomb them?' he asked. 'In Madrid? In London?' So when Atran went back to Washington to brief National Security Council and Homeland Security staff in January this year, he went armed—with comic books. He wanted to show that nothing cooked up by the Bush administration’s warmongers and spinmeisters comes close to delivering the kind of positive messages you can find in a commercial action

adventure series called 'The 99.'” Image from

Wilmington Trip - Rotary Club of Lahore Mozang: "A delegation from RC Lahore Mozang consisting of 9 Rotarians from Pakistan will be visiting USA from October 1st on the invitation of Rotary club of Wilmington USA. This Trip has full support of USAstate department which has arranged special briefings at the statedepartment with the public diplomacy wing."

Ghazni governor signs memorandum for Lincoln Learning Center‎ - Katherine Roling, War On Terror News:

"Ghazni Province’s governor, Musa Khan, and the Ghazni Department of Information and Culture chief, Hamidullah Sarwary, signed a memorandum of understanding for the proposed Lincoln Learning Center, Sept. 20, at the Governor’s Compound in Ghazni City. John R. Crosby, the Public Diplomacy field director for the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan, flew down from Kabul to be the third signer for the LLC, a project that will be a venue for the population of Ghazni province to learn about American culture, access print and multi-media resources, learn English and computer skills, and hold and attend cultural and civil society-related events." Image from article

TRADOC’s Lt. Gen. Michael A. Vane on the Army’s New Operating Concept - Scott R. Gourley, "Jumaa Sayeed, director, Wasit Independent Media Center, and Steve Smith, public diplomacy officer with the U.S. State Department's Wasit Provincial Reconstruction Team, meet in the new headquarters of the WIMC, in Kut, Iraq, March 19, 2010. The WIMC is a non-governmental organization working toward an Iraqi media able to perform competently and independently of political and business influence.

The new Army Operating Concept recognizes the need for a whole of government approach in achieving the nation's goals. Photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Carney, USDS Public Affairs." Image from article

What's PD to do with Selective Perception - Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos: "Interest in communication strategies has driven me to the School of Communication this semester, again, for a class on Communication Theory (very useful stuff, by the way!). Although every single reading or discussion we have had so far can - in one way or another - be directly related to public diplomacy, this week's focus on selectivity and biased information processing was of special relevance, given my previous interest in cultural hegemony and spheres of cognitive influence. [E]ven if public diplomacy strategists overcome the issue of exposure (think access: digital divides, language barriers, authoritarian governments, etc, etc...), they are mostly dealing with cultures and worldviews (pre-existing beliefs, knowledge, experience) that are truly different and are, very often, unclear to the communicators themselves. ... American policy-makers and analysts who are concerned about Russian 'anti-Americanism', should also consider the possibility of traditional public diplomacy approaches - 'telling America's story to the world' - not only failing, but also backfiring. Given the selectivity discussion above, this can be an even bigger issue in the case of more authoritarian and hostile countries such as Iran or China. (Yes, there are dissenting voices internally, but the discussion here is more concerned with the actual mass publics.) Thus, it might not matter - really - how many hours al-Hurra broadcasts or how many 'media freedom' speeches Secretary Clinton gives, when they are perceived and interpreted through lens that are 'distorted' by cultural and historical factors. ... Putting it in public diplomacy terms, it is very important to engage foreign publics in more relational communication - i.e. be much more culturally aware and intelligent (although, I'm using this term here with reservation), and allow for more two-way, reciprocal exchanges. This implies getting rid of the 'communicator --> recipient" model and, as discussed on many occasions before, adopting a more horizontal and network-based approach, where all sides are equally empowered and engaged, actively participating in the communication process.'"

Shanghai Noon -- Showdown Near Senkaku - Laura McGinnis, manIC: "Japan has done a lot to improve traditional and public diplomacy in Asia, as I've written in the past. From pop culture cache and technological supremacy to cultural exchanges and language education, Japan has attempted to broaden its soft power resources. But it looks as if Japan's diplomatic efforts could use a Pikachu-powered jolt of energy as diplomatic relations with China have been suspended this week, the latest development in a standoff following a maritime fender bender near the Senkaku islands."

New book compiles documents about Western broadcasts during the Cold War - Kim Andrew Elliot Reporting on International Broadcasting: "Central European University Press: Cold War Broadcasting: Impact on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, edited by A. Ross Johnson, former director of Radio Free Europe and the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Research Institute, and R. Eugene Parta, retired Director of Audience Research and Program Evaluation for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Prague. 'This book examines the role of Western broadcasting to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe during the Cold War, with a focus on Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.

It includes chapters by radio veterans and by scholars who have conducted research on the subject in once-secret Soviet bloc archives and in Western records. It also contains a selection of translated documents from formerly secret Soviet and East European archives, most of them published here for the first time. Previous studies have examined the history and organization of RFE / RL and its place in American national security strategy. What has been lacking until now are studies of the impact of Western Cold War broadcasting, on both societies and Communist regimes, that draw on archival material from the other side of the former Iron Curtain.'" Image from

Ahmadinejad optimistic on dialogue - Kaveh L Afrasiabi, Asia Times Online: "Reiterating a message of conciliation and cooperation on regional and global issues conveyed since arriving in New York on Sunday, Ahmadinejad said Iran would abide by the decisions of the Palestinian people, but expressed pessimism that the latest round of peace talks would yield tangible results. ... After several days of hectic public diplomacy, which to date has included appearing on Larry King Live, Ahmadinejad on Wednesday will hear Obama address the UN General Assembly; the Iranian president's own speech is scheduled for Thursday."

Advancement in Science and Technology Does Not Give Israel the Right to Act like a Nazi State - Khalid Amayreh, Intifada Palestine: "Israeli hasbara officials are quite desperate these days trying to stop what seems to be a slow but definitive worldwide awakening to Israeli criminality and hateful racism. ... [T]he Palestinian people have been the most uninterrupted victim of Israeli colonialism, racism and genocidalism. A few weeks ago, the Israeli minister for Diaspora and Public Diplomacy, Uuli Edelstein, tried to sound smarter than his fellow Jewish propagandists. He pointed out that the best approach to 'handling' efforts to boycott Israeli apartheid practices was to spread information about how relevant Israel is to the world and thereby change the atmosphere that makes boycotts accepted. In other words the minister wanted to make the peoples of the world forget or ignore the children being murdered, nearly on the daily basis, in Gaza and the West Bank…because these victims 'are not Jews' and their lives are not worth the world’s attention let alone active intervention."

A Moooving Factoid - lguren, The Technogeek Diaries: From the Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs: (And yes, we have one…)[:'] Israeli cows produce the largest amount and highest quality of milk in the world Israeli cows have the world record in milk yield.

Their average milk output is higher than even Dutch and American cows. What’s more, Israeli cows produce 40% less methane gas than that produced by cows in other nations. The lower emission has environmental significance, as methane gas is considered the principle contributor to global warming.[']" Image from article

Is Pakistan Losing Young Kashmiris? - International Analyst Network: "Pakistan has several news agencies, like the Kashmir Media Service, exclusively focused on spreading the word on Kashmir internationally. But despite their good intentions, they live in the 20th century. Pakistan Foreign Office has no public diplomacy sections, no hired talent that can pick a cause like Kashmir and turn it into a catchword in the trendy worlds of television and cyberspace. Pakistan’s giant state-run media and the private 80+ television news channels are incapable of conveying Kashmir’s voice to a global audience in an attractive way. Compare that to how young Kashmiris are creating compelling videos of Indian military atrocities and posting them to YouTube."

Review by Robert D. Steele for The Rise of Global Civil Society: Building Communities and Nations from the Bottom Up - Law and Legal Expert:

"Highlights for me: ... Propaganda (public diplomacy or strategic communication or covert action media placements and influence operations) DOES NOT WORK. What works is good works for the right reasons." Image from article


The Trouble with Going Global: American universities are eagerly recruiting foreign students and setting up outposts overseas. What’s wrong with the new expansionism - Newsweek: Schools are clearly looking for new ways to grow. Yet if growth were the sole aim, colleges could establish two-year branches on their campuses or nearby, since that’s where the real educational need is. Globalization is one of the mantras of the moment; press releases about making an imprint in South Korea or India have an undeniable cachet—not to mention comfort-class visits for university administrators and photo-ops with heads of state.What seems forgotten in this academic Manifest Destiny is that the purpose of higher education is education, especially for our own undergraduates, who all too often are an afterthought at their schools.

Book says aides doubt Obama's Afghan strategy - AP: There are reports that U.S. has intelligence showing that manic-depression has been diagnosed in Afghan President Hamid Karzai and that he was on medication. In Kabul, Waheed Omar, Karzai's spokesman,

said those allegations were untrue. "This is a baseless, inflammatory comment that has its roots in a defaming propaganda campaign against President Karzai's personal integrity, leadership and his stances on matters of Afghan national interests," he said Wednesday. "The president is safe and sound. I can confirm that he takes no medication." Omar image from

Ahmadinejad says propaganda against administration unprecedented‎ - Tehran Times

Iran calls stoning sentence controversy foreign propaganda - The controversy over an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery was a media propaganda exercise against Iran, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday. "The case was from the beginning organized media propaganda against Iran and to build up a human rights (violation) case," ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said.

A great filmmaker's descent into clumsy propaganda - Robert Fulford, National Post: Whether he knows it or not, Julian Schnabel, the celebrated painter and movie director, has become part of the relentless international campaign to isolate and condemn Israel.

Miral, the film he brought to the Toronto International Film Festival this week, scheduled for theatrical release in December by the Weinstein Company, is a piece of blatant propaganda that does all it can to denigrate Israel and arouse sympathy for radical Palestinians. It's a chronicle of history without a trace of fairness: All Israelis are brutes; almost all Palestinians are angels and victims. Image from

Armenians made a new propaganda movie again, when are we going to make a movie? -


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