Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October 13-14

“Marshall announced that no taxpayer money would be spent on modern art again, and the State Department issued a directive that no artist suspected of being a Communist or fellow-traveler could be exhibited at government expense."

--Louis Menand,“Unpopular Front: American Art and the Cold War,” New Yorker, October 17, 2005, regarding Secretary of State George Marshall's (in office 1947-48) reactions to the State Department's art exhibit, Advancing American Art; Marshall image from

"Secretary Marshall['s] ... [European Recovery] plan ... I believe is the greatest example in our nation's history of Public Diplomacy done right."

--Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale


(a) Expo US - Silverfish Media: "This was one of a series of films celebrating the success of the US pavilion at Expo in Shanghai. It was a fascinating experience to shoot leading figures such as Senator Schwartzenegger and President Carter, but even more so to see just how much work and commitment from the staff went into making this project a success. We used track and dolly shots as well as lots of timelapses and moves to give energy and dynamism to the film which reflected the energy of the USAP. The film will be shown at events in the US and around the world." Via BJ

(b) A follow-up to Russia Today TV's fury over BBG Chairman Walter Isaacson's comments last week. Via Global Chaos

(c) BBG October Meeting Video: The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) met on Wednesday, October 13, 2010, in Prague, Czech Republic.


Public Diplomacy Officer Roberto Quiroz II (left) Mr. Mgunga Mwa Mnyenyelwa (second from left), Cultural Affairs Assistant Frida Mwenegoha (third from left), New York Battery Dance Company members Robin Cantrell (rear column, eight from right), Sean Scantlebury (rear column, seventh from right), Mira Bai Cook (fourth from right), and Tanzanian participants of the Dancing to Connect program at the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam on October 12, 2010. (Photo courtesy of the American Embassy) Image


Free Iran - ‎Emanuele Ottolenghi, Wall Street Journal: "Western democracies therefore ought to target the [Iranian] regime for its human-rights record, bolster the country's internal opposition, and speak directly to the Iranian people over the heads of their brutal regime. After the Islamic Republic rigged last year's presidential elections and crushed the ensuing protests, the veneer of order has returned to the country. But underneath, the embers of revolt still burn. Western democratic institutions and civil society can stir them to keep the flame alive. Symbolic public acts to highlight the regime's atrocities inside Iran should become the stock-and-trade of Western public diplomacy. Every encounter with Iranian officials is an opportunity to humiliate them for their human-rights violations and to show the Iranian people how isolated their government is. It's not enough to speak just generically about human rights.

Western politicians must raise specific cases of dissidents and imprisoned opposition figures, demand their swift release and exact a price for noncompliance." Image from article: An Iranian protestor in Tehran holds a photo of peaceful protester Neda Agha Soltan, who was shot to death in a demonstration.

China Roiled by Washington's October Surprise‎ - Eric Ehrmann, Huffington Post: "Media in South America responded passionately to Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa receiving the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature for his cartography of the structures of global power. But with China establishing a stronger economic footprint in the region, coverage of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo has been more circumspect. US public diplomacy has morphed the Liu case out of the soft power human rights community into the hard power arena of economic warfare designed to pressure Beijing to revalue the Yuan and give Democrats badly needed credibility, votes and dollars in the run up to US midterm elections. Liu is a former president of the Independent China PEN Centre. PEN International president John Ralston Saul said that giving the Nobel award to Liu 'is an affirmation of the central importance to everyone of freedom of expression, of which he is a courageous exponent.' A professional activist and asset of the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Liu was awarded the ... Prize, ostensibly for defending the right of Chinese workers to freely express their discontent, including dissatisfaction with low wages in an economy designed to produce high value goods for US-headquartered globalist giants like Wal-Mart, HP and Japan's Honda. ... China's histrionics and Washington's big public diplomacy play have overshadowed the fact that a groundswell of young Chinese writers are taking to the internet to campaign for a more open Chinese society. One-third of the 37 names on the current PEN International Writers in the Prison List for China are serving long sentences for using the internet. Even if Beijing rolls out its own brand of digital democracy conflict between netizens and Chinese security officials -- who shut down websites as a form of job security much as US cops issue parking tickets -- will cause that number to increase big time."

21st Century Security Arrangements - The Cypress Times: Daniel Gallington: "Brazil, Japan and India ... are large democracies: As such, these are the countries that have the most in common with us as we take on an increasingly belligerent China, Pakistan and the lawless narco-states. These are also countries with huge economic growth potential, and therefore the most to lose by the influences of radical Islam, as it declares war on more of the civilized world. Do we need formal treaty regimes with these key

countries? Not necessarily, less formal arrangements can address a whole series of issues with more specificity, e.g., defense and intelligence cooperation, co-production arrangements, public diplomacy programs, co- operative education and exchange programs, trade and energy cooperation, advanced research programs and space exploration, to name a few." Image from

China: an Indispensable Enemy? - Harry C. Blaney III, Rethinking National Security: "Recently, Walter Isaacson, the Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors that oversees US official media for foreign audiences said his organization needs more money to fight its enemies. Though he should know better, he explicitly included Russia, Iran, Venezuela and China onto this list. This is what happens when fear-mongers wave the bloody shirt to justify increased funding to their projects. It certainly did not help our public diplomacy effort amongst those countries. Fortunately, Mr. Isaacson later retracted his maladroit statement. He should be a leader in seeking constructive dialogue rather than confrontation."

Americans afraid of foreign media? - Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos: "Peter Lavelle hosted a discussion at his CrossTalk, yesterday: a follow-up to Russia Today TV's fury over BBG Chairman Walter Isaacson's

comments last week. This time, I should admit, this show was very interesting. ... The fact that every news outlet offers its own 'twist' on events depending on its source (geographic, political, or financial) is not news to anyone who has ever followed anything on the international media. Nonetheless, what surprised me most (and still does), is the refusal of many in the U.S. to understand that (or, at least, to admit that fact). For some reason, no matter what CCTV, Press TV, Russia Today TV, or even Al Jazeera report is considered to be 'propaganda' for many, while Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Farda, (etc..) and the likes of the CNN International are providing perfectly unslanted news. ... [L]et's turn to media production that is actually intended to sway foreign audience's perceptions, attitudes, and behavior. Ironic (ridiculous?), but true: the Smith-Mundt Act, forbidding the broadcast of VOA, RFE, and the like within the United States (although long obsolete and irrelevant, it is still there!), was passed primarily due to the concern that these broadcasts might be affecting the American public as well. What was their true intent, then, one might ask? Oh, excuse me: it's public diplomacy." Image from

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 - Rush Limbaugh Report: "UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS JUDITH MCHALE Under Secretary McHale leads the 2010 Global Public Affairs Conference, at the Department of State."

America Remains the Most Admired Country Globally in the 2010 Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index (SM) - press release, "The United States continues to lead the world in global image, according to GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications, a division of GfK Custom Research North America and Simon Anholt, the leading policy advisor. Results from the 2010 Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index(SM) (NBI), which measures the global image of 50 countries, shows the United States holding the top spot for the second year in a row as the country with the best overall brand.

Among the top 10 nations, Southern Europe has seen several changes, with Spain no longer part of the top 10, and Italy overtaken by Canada. France is now ranked lower than Germany. ... For more information on the Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index(SM) (NBI) and Anholt-GfK Roper City Brands Index(SM) (CBI), please visit and/or ... Simon Anholt is recognized as the world's leading authority on national image and identity. He is a member of the UK Government's Public Diplomacy Board, and works as an independent advisor to more than 20 other national, regional and city governments on identity strategy and public diplomacy. Anholt developed the concept of the Nation Brands Index in 2005. He is founding editor of the quarterly journal, Place Branding and Public Diplomacy." Image from

Nobel Politics - ‎Stephen Lendman, Mathaba.Net: "Broadcasting US propaganda globally, the Voice of America was jubilant over [Chinese dissident] Liu's [Nobel Prize] award, saying the Nobel Committee 'issued an explicit challenge, calling on China to respect political rights as it rises toward economic great-power status.' Omitted was America's support for wealth and privilege, not populist and human rights it disdains."

Charges against Turkish activist include one stemming from VOA interview - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

VOA contract to South African company for "strategic planning and media buying" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

"Even the managers of [Iranian] state television watch BBC Persian and VOA Persian television"
- Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting. Above Elliott image from

BBG expresses "grave concern" for VOA stringer on trial in Uzbekistan - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Croatian ex-employee continues her appeals against RFE/RL - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Farsi1's all-entertainment fare to Iran, versus the "overt political propaganda" of BBC and VOA - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

How U.S. consultants changed the face of world politics - Reuters, The Great Debate UK: "[I]n the late 1960s and 1970s. It was then that U.S. consultants (at the vanguard of which was the New York-based Sawyer Miller agency, whose alumni include James Carville and now-Lord Mark Malloch Brown) began applying their skills internationally. Sawyer Miller alone worked in dozens of countries with success stories including Cory Aquino’s long shot election victory against the corrupt Marcos regime in the Philippines in 1986. What started as elections and campaigning work branched out into providing an increasingly large number of foreign governments, political leaders,

and bodies such as tourism and investment authorities, with international communications advice and, ultimately, what is now known as ‘country branding’. Country branding is founded (like disciplines such as public diplomacy) on the realisation that, in an increasingly overcrowded and complex global information market place, countries and political leaders are, in effect, competing for the attention of investors, tourists, supranational organisations, NGOs, regulators, media, and consumers." Image from

Slovak embassy in Kiev hosts a NATO regional meeting‎ - Slovak Spectator: "The Slovak Embassy in Kiev hosted a meeting of regional contact embassies of NATO, the SITA newswire reported. The Slovak embassy in Ukraine has been a contact NATO embassy since 2007. Diplomats from contact embassies in Ukraine, Russia, Moldova and Belarus exchanged their experience from the area of public diplomacy in countries which are members of NATO and initiatives for improvement of operation of contract embassies. Representatives of the NATO Public Diplomacy division from Brussels and representatives of NATO’s Information and Documentation Centre and the NATO Liaison Office in Kiev participated in the meeting, according to information supplied by the press department of the Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry to SITA."

Edition of Al Qaeda’s English Magazine Released – What Does it Mean? - "Al Qaeda Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), probably the fastest growing element of Al Qaeda, just released its second edition of its Inspire Magazine. For those that have not seen it, this magazine can be a very insightful read into the mindset of AQAP and its attempt at influencing its followers and enemies alike. Its layout is professional, and the English prose is fairly decent. While having an English propaganda tool is nothing new, what is interesting is the increasing professionalism of these efforts and their direct targeting of Western audiences.

The messages are the same, but the packaging is far better. The United States and its allies should not ignore or shrug off these efforts. This magazine shows Al Qaeda is still a viable and potentially growing threat, and its propaganda wings such as As Sahab and Al Malaham should be taken seriously and studied. While there is nothing new in the rhetoric, the presentation is fresh, dynamic, and professional. United States Information, Public Diplomacy, and Intelligence personnel should not discount this magazine, but put some hard work into dissecting it to fully understand what the intent of this magazine is. At the same time, the United States should increase efforts with its allies in the Middle East to keep the pressure on AQAP." Image from article

Lebanon Eyewitness: Watching Iran and Hezbollah's Public Diplomacy (Khatib) - Lina Khatib, "Lebanon today witnessed one of the largest public diplomacy 'events' staged by Iran, in the form of a formal state visit by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. While a state visit as such is not normally framed as a public diplomacy event, Ahmadinejad’s visit to Lebanon was marked by a degree of idiosyncrasy. This is not just because of Ahmadinejad himself (who excelled at the role of modest and earnest leader), but also because of the role played by Hizbullah in this public diplomacy event. Hizbullah is of course a political party with Iranian backing, so it is not surprising that it would arrange a warm welcome for Ahmadinejad on his first visit to Lebanon. However, Hizbullah on this occasion acted like a local public diplomacy partner for Iran. Lebanese, pan-Arab, and Iranian television channels all prioritized Ahmadinejad’s visit, covering most of it live. Al-Manar, Hizbullah’s TV station, dedicated almost all of its air time to chronicling the event and welcoming 'Lebanon’s great guest'.

Its website featured a banner with the image of Ahmadinejad smiling and raising his hand in salute, with the cedar tree, Lebanon’s emblem, in the background along with a logo merging the Iranian flag and the Lebanese flag. But most notable was the extensive use of billboards, banners and balloons bearing the same images as Al-Manar’s banner and lining the road to and from Beirut’s airport. Since the end of the 2006 attack by Israel on Lebanon, Hizbullah has exclusively used billboards on both sides of this road to commemorate key events, mainly anniversaries of the attack and religious occasions like Ramadan or Ashura. This is the first time that billboards welcoming a foreign president have been used in this way in this location. ... Ahmadinejad’s visit to Lebanon is perhaps Iran’s shrewdest public diplomacy statement about where it stands, and where it wants to be in the region’s political game." Image from article

Public Diplomacy 2.0: Blogs by UK's Foreign Office - Madhurjya Kotoky, "UK's Foreign Office has taken to blogging in a big way. Recently the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) observed the multilingual blogging day on September 26th. to mark the European Day of Languages. Several FCO 'blogger diplomats' are posting in different languages - French, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese etc - on diverse topics. ... [I]t is really interesting to see how the FCO is trying to use new media to engage with the world. There are some really interesting, informative and useful blog posts by diplomats."

The International Press Center of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Holds a Ceremony to Celebrate Its 10th Anniversary - "On October 12, 2010, the International Press Center (IPC), which just moved into the newly-built south tower of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, held a ceremony to celebrate its 10th anniversary. More than 200 delegates attended the ceremony including Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun, members of the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy of the ministry, spokesmen of the ministries and commissions of the State Council, foreign journalists based in Beijing, and press officers of foreign embassies. Ma Zhaoxu, Director-General of the Information Department, hosted the ceremony. ... Zhang pointed out that foreign journalists today enjoy more open and lenient environment to do reporting in China. The channels and facilitations greatly increased.

In the new environment, the International Press Center (IPC) has also found the direction for its further work. 'I' is the Information, which represents the most important service of the center, which will continue to explore ways and work with various departments and localities to provide reporting opportunities and convenience for foreign journalists. The center also expects the journalists to communicate, exchange, and share information in the center. 'P' is the Platform, which represents the most fundamental role of the center, which is willing to continue to leverage its advantage to provide a cooperation platform for foreign media to establish contacts and communicate with the Chinese government, for them to understand and cover China, and for China to go global. 'C' is the Cooperation, which represents the core work concept of the center." Image from article

Sino-Japanese relations officially on the upswing‎ - "Both public diplomacy and Japan's domestic politics have played equally important, yet controversial roles in Sino-Japanese relations. Friendly groups and frequent people-to-people contacts were once among the crucial momentum that finalized the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1972. However, nationalist sentiments, from time to time, have been disturbing the ties in the past decades. ... Nevertheless, the mainstream of the bilateral relations remains steady and healthy, as growing interdependence has shaped the two countries to respect each other's fundamental interests."

Australia's global image hit by attacks on Indians, says expert - "Australia was seen as a 'pariah state' by a growing number of countries

after violent attacks against Indian students badly damaged its global standing, a public diplomacy expert said on Thursday. Branding guru Simon Anholt has advised 45 governments across the world on questions of national identity and reputation, and conducts an annual poll of 26,000 people worldwide to gauge international attitudes." Image from

India to share poverty reduction strategies with Africa - "India and Africa will hold their second summit in an African country next year. New Delhi hosted the maiden India-Africa Forum Summit in 2008 that outlined a blueprint and a plan of action for transforming the India-Africa partnership in tune with realities of the 21st century. As part of public diplomacy outreach, the external affairs ministry has invited 19 journalists from 10 African countries to India for a week's visit."

SA urged to ‘think through’ its security council votes - Loyiso Langeni, "Foreign policy experts yesterday warned SA to carefully consider the consequences of supporting controversial resolutions during its two-year term as a nonpermanent member of the United Nations (UN) Security Council. ... Siphamandla Zondi, executive director at the Institute for Global Dialogue, urged Department of International Relations and Co- operation officials to be proactive in explaining decisions. ... The department will be seconding chief director Nomfanelo Kota

to handle communications at the UN in New York before the end of this year. Several sources also confirmed that former SABC journalist Clayson Monyela will become deputy director-general of public diplomacy in an effort to bolster the communication unit." Image from

The Twitter Craze. This Time, It's a Worm… - Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos: "Apparently, as the Kremlin was hosting an honorable guest on Tuesday evening - German President Christian Wulff - the dinner menu for the Governor of Tver region, Dmitry Zelenin, included an extra shot of protein: a live earth worm. ...

The most interesting mention, however, is certainly that by Russia Today TV, which not only featured two separate segments on it, but also had managed to capture the actual photo, before it was removed. Weird public diplomacy: I guess they did not consult Prikhodko before airing or publishing these." Image from article

Public Diplomacy in a Changing World (Paperback) - "Although the concept of public diplomacy has been part of America's wartime strategy as far back as the Revolutionary War, the term itself is relatively new. In the wake of the events of September 11 and the ensuing War on Terror, there has been an increasing awareness of the negative global image of the United States and intense concern over how communication may be used to improve that image. Within that context, the concept and term public diplomacy have become more notable among practitioners and the American public.

Yet public diplomacy has mostly been neglected by scholars and only recently begun to attract academic attention. This volume of The ANNALS commences the first collection of scholarly articles focusing on public diplomacy--the practice through which international actors attempt to advance the ends of policy by engaging with foreign publics--and examines it as an international phenomenon and an important component of statecraft. Most of the papers of this compelling volume sprang from the Center on Public Diplomacy, at the University of Southern California, which launched the first master's degree program in public diplomacy." Image from article

New York Times columnist Cohen due in Turkey - "New York Times columnist Roger Cohen will pay a visit to Turkey to address a conference in Istanbul on October 20. İstanbul Municipality Culture Center and Prime Ministry Public Diplomacy Coordinator's Office jointly organized the conference titled, 'Middle East Perception in Western Media'."

Joe Lockhart and Ed Henry Discuss Media and Domestic Politics During "Dateline: The White House," Oct. 14: SMPA Fellows Provide Perspective From Both Sides of the Podium - "The School of Media and Public Affairs and the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University will host SMPA fellows Joe Lockhart, White House press secretary under President Bill Clinton and a managing director of The Glover Park Group, and Ed Henry, CNN White House correspondent, to discuss information dissemination in a changing media landscape, public diplomacy and domestic politics from both sides of the podium in an event entitled, 'Dateline: The White House.'”

Take Five: Patricia Harrison stresses the public in Corporation for Public Broadcasting - Dale Singer, "CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting [since] 2005 ... Patricia Harrison came to CPB from the State Department, where she was acting under secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs. That experience has helped inform the new direction that she has taken the agency. Instead of networks being places that send information out over the airwaves to a waiting audience, she sees her role as turning the media into two-way communication. 'Forty years ago,' she said, 'the idea of broadcasting was taking content and delivering it to a person in an easy chair or on the couch. For a long time, that was appointment television.

Everybody would gather around the box in the living room or wherever it was and watch a show together, whatever that show was. Appointment television is gone, for the most part. We have Americans on the move, taking their techno-toys with them. So how do public media remain vital and relevant in their lives? By continuing to deliver this content, but on many different platforms, whenever people want it. And accepting the idea that the greatest ideas do not open in the boardroom but in the community, and being a real partner with the community.'" Image from article

Kevin Klose - "Kevin Klose (b. Toronto, Ontario, Canada, September 1, 1940) is a journalist, author, broadcast executive, and academic administrator, currently serving as the dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park. ... He serves on the Advisory Board of the University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy." Image from article

Notice of EGM - Circular - Air China Ld: "AIR CHINA LIMITED (a joint stock limited company incorporated in the People's Republic of China with limited liability) ... (PROPOSED APPOINTMENT OF DIRECTORS AND SUPERVISORS ... Mr. Han Fangming, aged 44, is a Hong Kong permanent resident. He was a member of the 10th and 11th of National Committee of CPPCC and is currently a vice chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of CPPCC and the convener of the Public Diplomacy Team."

In Profile: ERA Ltd, Building the Contingency System - "So who are the ERA Board and advisory council? ... Chris Powell (one of the Powell brothers)is now NESTA’s Chair. Formerly of the Institute of Public Policy Research think tank; The British Council’s Creative Industries Advisory Panel and Vice Chair of the Public Diplomacy Board."

Leveretts At Yale—An Interview On Iran And The Nuclear Issue With The Politic - "Scott Lucas says: October 13, 2010 at 5:59 am Just wondering: why was journalist Emaduddin Baghi arrested in December 2009 and subsequently given a six-year prison sentence? ... M.Ali says: October 13, 2010 at 7:20 am Look at what our dear Scott Lucas has been doing at EA for the past 1.5 years. Every single update has been an attack on Ahmedinjad, you will never read a good news about Iran. Most of his 'snap analysis' has been wrong, but he never revisits the wrong ones. ... Liz says: October 13, 2010 at 11:35 am Scott Lucas, As usual you show your ignorance. You are a poor agent of US public diplomacy. If you were literate in Persian/Farsi, you would have an answer. However, your green buddies neither read mainstream newspapers nor do they know much about what’s going on in Iran and you are left blind as usual. You come here and ask questions to get information in order to fill up your junky website.

Pathetic." Image from

Thank you‎ - Matt Armstrong, "Thank you to the London-based Behavioural Dynamics Institute and the IO Institute for an unexpected award ... and an even more unexpected and generous gift that supports my efforts in the areas of strategic communication and public diplomacy and the launch of the MountainRunner Institute."

Working at PCIP Members Weekend - Di Wu, Di's Quiet Moment: "Two weeks ago, I had a chance to participate in Pacific Council's Members weekend as a membership and programs intern. For those of you who are not familiar with Pacific Council on International Policy, it is a non-profit membership based organization focused on policy issues of special resonance on and to the West Coast. ... [M]y area of focus is in East Asia security issues.

Mr. Harry Harding was on one of our plenary sessions, so I got the chance to chat with him. When I told him I'm from Shanghai, he started to discuss with me about the Shanghai Expo. He told me that he wrote a blog piece saying why Shanghai Expo is a yesterday's fair. His opinions are always on the edge and challenging to tradition. I also talked to my professor Philip Seib. He's the head of USC Center on Public Diplomacy. We talked about our project on Expo and other things." Di Wu image from her blog.

OA practice questions - I'll take mine... to go, please! I am a mother to three kids. A former art teacher. Sometimes artist. I like the outdoors. And animals. I live in the burbs. I'm waiting to hear if my former-journalist husband will get invited off the PD register. I may just go bonkers while waiting. Good times -

"You are a public diplomacy officer accompanying a humanitarian aid mission into the jungle. You are distributing food and medical supplies. You learn that the head of the mission is not really a human at all but a cyborg sent here from another planet to gather samples of primates from the jungle. The cyborg is just about to add a tamarind monkey to a burlap bag. You... A.) Ask him to verify his mission, then document what he's doing (in triplicate), then call your superiors, asking if there is money in the budget for eradicating false-humanitarian-aid-turned-cyborg-primate-collectors. B.) Distract the cyborg with a sashay and twist, adding in jazz hands if necessary, freeing all the primates. C.) Call security, to save the day. D.) Show him that you could be considered a primate too and jump in the bag. Maybe the planet this cyborg is from could be a cool R&R. Ok, Obviously, the correct answer to both is the 'sashay and twist' answer. My husband is gonna rock this test!!" Image from blog


Elements of Taliban are 'ready' to talk peace, key Afghan negotiator says: 'We are taking our first steps,' head of new peace council says - The Afghan Taliban have denied having discussions. In a message posted on its website this week, the group said the notion of talks with the enemy was "baseless propaganda" and that negotiations would be a "waste of time."

'Iran's regional influence growing' - "The political establishment of many countries in the region is backed by the global arrogance, but Iran's policies in the region have been influential," said Chairman of Majlis (Parliament) Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy Alaeddin Boroujerdi,

quoted by ISNA on Wednesday. Boroujerdi said that the warm welcome that the Lebanese nation accorded to President Ahmadinejad demonstrates Iran's strong influence and thwarts the propaganda campaign that the enemy has waged against the Islamic Republic. Boroujerdi image from article

Muslims discovered America, Jesus was Palestinian and other facts in new American textbooks - The Saudi-funded Muslim propaganda machine is now writing textbooks for American public schools. And there’s no telling what your kids might be learning.

Post-Peace Prize: As the West applauds Liu Xiaobo's Nobel, China sees another attempt to impose Western values on it - Timothy Garton Ash, Below image from

The Peace Prize's Subversive Potential: The Soviet Union faced pressure after Andrei Sakharov won the Nobel in 1975. Now it's China's turn - Gal Beckerman, Wall Street Journal

China: The art of censorship - As Communist Party elders call for free speech in China, Wen Yunchao reveals how the government’s strict control of online content is supported by a finely tuned infrastructure of laws and censors - Index On Censorship: Day-to-day censorship in China falls into two categories. The government’s propaganda authorities supervise websites that are legally licensed to carry news, while those without a license are dealt with by the public security authorities and the internet police. Unlicensed websites that are considered particularly influential may also be overseen by propaganda officials. All news sites operate on more or less the same lines: a combination of instructions from the authorities and self-censorship. Instructions are issued requiring the deletion of specific articles. Usually, the propaganda authorities will have automated indexers that use key words to identify pages which may be of concern and, once read by the censors themselves, these pages may be flagged for deletion. The authorities may also request the publication of specific content. News sites receiving such instructions must act quickly. Instructions may range from an order to delete content, or all related content, not to publish certain content, or not to ‘play up’ a news item. Below image from

In China, silence greets talk of reform‎ - Keith B. Richburg, Washington Post: A group of former Communist Party officials has weighed in on a debate over political reform, censorship and China's premier, bluntly criticizing the party's Central Propaganda Department as an "invisible black hand" powerful enough to censor the prime minister and calling for an end to government control of media outlets. The outspoken criticism, contained in an open letter that surfaced Wednesday and was itself widely censored here, comes at a particularly sensitive time, as the leadership continues to grapple for a response to the selection of jailed pro-democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo as this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Berlin exhibition views Hitler's hold on Germans - Geir Moulson, AP: A major Berlin museum is launching an exhibition that seeks to explore how Adolf Hitler won and held mass support among Germans for his destructive regime. "Hitler and the Germans — Nation and Crime," which opens Friday at the German Historical Museum, juxtaposes the Nazis' propaganda images and artifacts such as 1930s Hitler busts with footage and documentation on the regime's brutality and Germans' involvement in it.

Germany has seen many exhibitions exploring the events of the Nazi era, but this one puts Hitler himself more squarely at the forefront. It comes more than 75 years after the Nazis took control, as Germans increasingly look at Hitler not just as a one-dimensional tyrant, but as a man who enjoyed vast popularity before plunging the country into war. Image from article

The Propaganda War - Dave Helfert, Huffington Post: As much as we might like to believe the use of propaganda as a tool of national policy has been "left on the ash heap of history," or reserved for particularly backward or oppressive regimes, the United States of America is awash in propaganda, and the tide has been rising for decades. Propaganda, very simply, is a form of communication aimed at building or diminishing support for some cause or position. It may be cloaked as credible and unbiased information, but it usually offers very selective information, and frequently in a way intended to produce an emotional rather than rational response. Propaganda is agenda driven. A civil society and civil political discourse demand at least a passing regard for the truth. Sure, there's political spin, but pointing out the best characteristics of your candidate and the worst of the opponent is a legitimate persuasive tool. However, the current political dialog has gone way past spin. In fact, the rhetoric flowing out of the Offices of the House and Senate Republican Leaders over the last two years, now echoed in television spots and other messaging includes textbook propaganda techniques.

Influence and Propaganda Conference - Matt Armstrong, The Influence and Propaganda Conference continues tomorrow. Today’s discussion was fantastic.


O'Reilly/Rice Dialogue (from Princess Sparkle Pony's Photo Blog; image also from Sparkle Pony):

"Condi book tour continues! She was on with the O'Reilly person yesterday, and, ha, did he ever try to bait her! So funny, but you can't catch the Condibot in that old trap. ...

O'REILLY: So that's tough. I mean, you know, when you're in a family and you have to perform as a child, you had to perform.

RICE: But I didn't feel that way about it. I felt that they were giving me every possible opportunity, and I was taking advantage of some and not of others.

O'REILLY: But they -- you correct me if I'm wrong. They structured your day so that you had to study, you had to do the piano, you had -- or what was it, the instrument?

RICE: Piano.

O'REILLY: Piano, right. You had to do this stuff, and you weren't allowed, you know, to be -- I wasn't really allowed. I just did it. But you weren't a little thug -- a little thugette?

RICE: I was actually a little tomboy."


"'Extraordinary, Ordinary People' is often aloof. There are few unguarded moments, little humor. There’s rarely a hair out of place. (She [Rice] does talk about several of her boyfriends over the years, including, in the mid-1970s, the Denver Broncos kick returner Rick Upchurch.) Like so many public figures and those in government and politics especially, Ms. Rice is not especially reflective. Her energy is directed out, not in.

It’s frustrating. Here’s a woman, you think, who has been secretary of state and provost of Stanford University. During the fall of the Berlin Wall, she was George H. W. Bush’s adviser on Soviet policy. Her doctoral dissertation was published by Princeton University Press. Surely there’s a keen and kaleidoscopic mind in there. But that mind is rarely apparent in this softly flowing book. Reading it, from the perspective of ideas and intellect, is like watching a Toyota Prius compete in the Indianapolis 500.


"Rice's genius and foreign-policy expertise are more image than substance, as recent biographies by Elisabeth Bumiller and Marcus Mabry suggest. In her ascendance to power, Rice's main instrument has not been ground-breaking thinking about important international issues, but rather what Mabry characterizes as 'her phenomenal skill at spinning.' ...

No human mind, of course, can ever be adequately evaluated ... , but does Dr. Rice actually possess the intellectual capacity needed to handle her all-important positions in the US government? Sadly, the answer is no. Despite her vaunted academic credentials, Rice has been the willing servant of an administration where intellect has little importance. ...

'[P]olicy-making is 90 percent blocking and tackling and 10 percent intellectual,' Rice once stated to her students at Stanford. Perhaps more than any official White House or State Department pronouncements, this observation tells us why the Bush team has been such an utter failure on the world stage, with its mindless 'blocking and tackling' leading to torture, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and thousands of innocent victims of US military actions spread across the Middle East and Central Asia. The simple and sad lesson we have learned from Condoleezza Rice, Ph.D., and the 43rd President of the United States, a Yale and Harvard grad, is that action, without thought, leads to chaos and needless human suffering. "


“God won.”

--Mario Sepúlveda, the second miner to reach the surface in Chile

--image from


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