Friday, October 1, 2010

October 1

"Where’s the gossip website outing the sex lives of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard leaders?"

--Journalist Melik Kaylan, on Kaylan, see; image from


RFE/RL Celebrating 60 Years of RFE Welcome and Introduction: Jeffrey Gedmin, President, RFE Remarks by Walter Isaacson, Chairman, Broadcasting Board Of Governors, President/CEO, Aspen Institute Tuesday, September 28, 2010 6:30 P.M. Washington, D.C. Transcript by Federal News Service Washington, D.C. Via


Ahmadinejad Pushes Our Buttons‎ - Melik Kaylan, Forbes: "However insane the views about 9/11 conspiracies, the mindset leads to dead American footsoldiers and attempted bombings of Times Square. We are in a lethal propaganda war. We need to get serious. During the Bush era I spoke to a lone voice inside the administration tasked with undercover public diplomacy abroad, that is with keeping up the public image of America. All his resources and funding had migrated to the Pentagon. Was that such a bad thing, I asked rather caustically. What did he do actually? He told me of an example. In Guatemala, a rumor had somehow spread during the late 1990’s that Americans were going around stealing or buying local babies. Americans there had been assaulted, spat on, threatened, as a result. He had intervened through the embassy and the local media to counter the poisonous rumors. But he had begged and borrowed and scraped in order to do so. The Bush administration simply ignored that kind of vital activity, especially where it mattered most, in Iraq and the Muslim world generally. The US, the most media-savvy nation in history, couldn’t gain any traction in Iraq for credible pro-occupation newsmedia until two or three years into the war.

Iraqis, this merely seemed like we cared more about fighting than persuading effectively. There were many cynics in Iraq – I was there five times – who believed that, at the very least, the Bushies would plant a few chemical labs and warheads in situ to avoid a disastrous propaganda failure. When none were found, they concluded that America had no interest in hearts and minds. That kind of insane logic arising out of local conditions is the reality in many places. If we expect our soldiers to crawl in dirt, we should expect that our ideas should battle the lowest of enemy propaganda however vile or preposterous. Where are the documentaries, the multi-part broadcasts and detailed refutations of 9/11 distortions – in Peshto, Urdu, Arabic and the like? The accusations are out there; they can be refuted point by point. Where’s the creativity, skepticism and brilliance of American media in our dealings with our opponents? Where’s the gossip website outing the sex lives of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard leaders? I know it sounds counter-intuitive but a humorous documentary skewering George Bush for lacking the competence even to plant phony chemical weapons in Iraq would do more for American credibility than a hundred drone strikes. As it stands, every year a bearded despot comes to push our buttons and leaves us sputtering incoherently like a dodgy matron whose virtue is impugned – who can offer only outrage in place of argument." Image from

USAID's Weil jumps to State - Laura Rozen, Politico: "USAID Press Director and spokeswoman Lynne Weil is jumping to the State Department to serve as Senior Advisor to Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Judith McHale, she informs colleagues and friends. Weil previously served as the long-time spokesperson for the House Foreign Affairs Committee under Howard Berman and before that Tom Lantos. She'll be turning over USAID press duties to Deputy Press Director Lars Anderson."

Strengthening America's Global Engagement (SAGE) Initiative‎ - Matt Armstrong "Last week the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars launched Strengthening America's Global Engagement (SAGE) Initiative,

which aims to develop a cogent business plan for enhancing American public diplomacy and strategic communication efforts." Image from

Does everyone hate USAID?‎ - Matt Armstrong, "Development and other foreign assistance is ... a key component in the struggle for minds and wills around the world. (Historical note: U.S. public diplomacy was in large part established because of the need to provide informational support to the success of the largest development project ever: the Marshall Plan.)"

U.S.-German Partnership: Strengthening Global Security and Fostering Prosperity - Ethiopian Review: "About the Authors: Kara Aylward serves as Germany Desk Officer and Ron Hawkins serves as Public Diplomacy Desk Officer in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs."

Former US Consul General to join Murdoch University - "Murdoch University is delighted to announce the appointment of the former United States of America Consul General to Perth, Dr Kenneth Chern, as Professorial Research Fellow.

Dr Chern, an expert in Asian affairs, will not only play a key role in supporting Murdoch’s world-leading research in that field, but also work with Western Australian business and industry to boost relationships with the US and Asia. ... Dr Chern speaks fluent French, Chinese and Vietnamese and has been awarded three individual Superior Honour Awards by the US government for his work in counterterrorism, human rights and public diplomacy." Chern image from article


NATO convoys attacked in Pakistan‎ - Chris Brummitt, The Associated Press:

Senior US officials acknowledged high tension between the two capitals. On the Pakistani side, the incursions into Pakistan by US forces fighting in Afghanistan provoked an unusually strong government condemnation. On the US side, publication of a video that may show Pakistani military officers summarily executing insurgents threatened to undermine public and congressional support for US aid. Image from article: Pakistani police officer stands guard on still smoldering oil trucks in Shikarpur, southern Pakistan on Friday Oct. 1, 2010. Suspected militants set ablaze at least 27 tankers carrying fuel for U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan on Friday, police said. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

India’s propaganda against Pakistan and China - Sajjad Shaukat, Although Indian officials and media have always implicated Pakistan and China on various issues, now with the help of American media, they have started a new phase of propaganda against these two countries in respect of Gilgit-Baltistan.

Image from

Foreign films show in North Korea - One of the world's most tightly-controlled societies got a rare glimpse of the outside world at the Pyongyang International Film Festival last week, where even Western films were screened.

Communist North Korea strictly controls access to information, including via mobile phones and the Internet, leaving most North Koreans in ignorance of the wider world. A tour guide had never heard of the late pop star Michael Jackson. Yet participants in the 12th Pyongyang International Film Festival, which ended on September 24, say it helped open a window for the impoverished country. Image from

Tron: Evolution a challenge for Propaganda Games - It's hard enough designing a video game based on a movie — the truism is that many such efforts turn out poorly. It's even harder to try and remake a cult hit that has a rabid fan base, since it's almost impossible to please its obsessive audience. Vancouver's Propaganda Games is bravely attempting both with Tron: Evolution, a game scheduled for release in December to coincide with the opening of the Tron: Legacy film. The movie is a sequel to the 1982 science-fiction film Tron, which saw a software engineer enter a computer mainframe to battle malicious programs. While the film wasn't hugely successful at the box office, it gained a cult following for its innovative special effects, such as the illuminated costumes worn by characters and the “light cycles” they drove.

It also spawned perhaps the most successful film-game crossover ever, with the arcade game of the same name earning more than the movie did. Propaganda clearly has a challenge. Image from

No comments: