"761 buildings, 445 sets of grounds, and 2,325 apartments, at roughly $1.7 billion"
--The Italian newspaper Libero's estimate of the market value of the Vatican's Propaganda Fide's real estate holdings; image, with caption: shots of seminarians from the Propaganda College in their college cassocks from
The Last Three (Virtual) Feet: U.S. Embassy Baghdad Launches New Online Outreach: U.S. Department of State U.S. Department of State 31 December 2010, 11:19 am - Zikkir: - "At U.S. embassies around the world, State Department Public Diplomacy Officers are constantly asking themselves, 'How can we find new ways to communicate with foreign audiences?' Social media has opened new doors of dialogue for American diplomats seeking to engage foreign audiences. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have become new tools in the diplomatic toolbox of the modern Foreign Service Officer.
Here in Iraq the U.S. Embassy is dedicating greater resources and personnel to using social media to advance U.S. foreign policy objectives. At a time when explaining our new relationship with the government and people of Iraq is of critical importance, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has launched a new program on the embassy's YouTube channel entitled, 'Window into the U.S. Embassy.' The new program features Arabic-speaking American diplomats who explain how the United States and Iraq are building an enduring partnership through America's robust civilian commitment. Under the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement, signed in November 2008, both countries are building bridges of cooperation that will endure and strengthen Iraq (and the United States) as America fulfills its commitment to withdrawing all U.S. troops by December 2011. I'm a firm believer in Edward R. Murrow's tried and true words about effective communication with foreign audiences: 'The real crucial link in the international communication chain is the last three feet... one person talking to another.' While there's no substitute for meeting Iraqis face-to-face, and building relationships over a cup of steaming tea or a plate of kebabs, here at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad social media is helping us open windows into new audiences and build bridges across those last three (virtual) feet." Image from article
How will WikiLeaks impact public diplomacy? - milos, Persuasion, the Essence of Diplomacy: "Public diplomacy operates best by precept and example. By allowing WikiLeaks to publish, the USA would redeem its democratic ideal . ... Transparency may also boost public diplomacy discourse, which allows greater flexibility than traditional diplomacy. The basic premise of effective public diplomacy is that those governments utilising it have a lot of mutually beneficial things to share with the world, and reasonably little to conceal. To couple the above with an open media space, it also implies that public diplomacy will have to be honest rather than just serve as a smoke screen behind which corrupt and authoritarian regimes may continue to strive. Operating in such an environment could potentially cajole more introverted governments to open up, and thus self-reinforce adherence to transparency and further accountability to their respective publics. Finally, WikiLeaks may have pointed out missteps that have brought American public diplomacy into disrepute, but it has also offered a potential path to rehabilitate it by insisting on a more transparent engagement with the rest of the world based on a search for win-win outcomes to non-zero-sum games."
RFE/RL now providing "Belarus Crackdown" web section - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting
Tourism and Tequila Worms: Expanding an Exchange Program in Tepic, Mexico - Luke Fernandez, itintheuniversity.blogspot.com: "Dina Berger [Holiday in Mexico: Critical Reflections on Tourism and Tourist Encounters (edited by Dina Berger and Andrew Wood)] explains that U.S.-Mexican tourism has also served as a form of informal diplomacy: Tourists, through pleasure travel, learned what made Mexico tick and learned to appreciate cultural difference and likeness….. those who enacted it seemingly played some role in forwarding foreign policy agendas, whether aware of it or not….tourism can and has acted as a medium for improving Mexican-U.S. relations. After all, through the act of travel, members of different nations came face-to-face with one another in a potentially meaningful exchange. And like more formal programs of public diplomacy, a certain image of national identity was portrayed by both host and guest. p.111-114"
2010 'confirmed increasing importance of Azerbaijan' - news.az: Inessa Baban, PhD candidate in geopolitics at the Paris-Sorbonne University, France: "The year 2010 confirmed the increasing importance of Azerbaijan at the regional and extra-regional level, as it was a focus for important actors like Turkey and Russia, the EU and US. Azerbaijan’s energy resources, its political, economic stability and strategic position obliged these actors to pay special attention to Azerbaijan and, consequently, to strengthen or improve their relations with Baku.
This external interest in Azerbaijan can be measured by the quantity and quality of official visits made by senior representatives of the EU, US, Turkey and Russia to Baku during the year. In turn, Azerbaijani policymakers managed and capitalized on this external interest in a smart way, advancing Azerbaijan’s interests by means of its traditional energy policy and adding very active public diplomacy - Azerbaijan hosted international cultural and academic events such as the Gabala International Musical Festival and the First Annual Symposium of International Relations Scholars. The establishment and development of a strong dialogue with Azerbaijani diasporas and its involvement with the implementation of this public diplomacy represent one of the most important achievements of Azerbaijan’s government and its foreign policy in 2010." Baban image from article
Ambassador Namik Tan - Larry Luxner, The Washington Diplomat: Besides his posts in Washington and Tel Aviv, Tan
has served as deputy undersecretary of bilateral political affairs and public diplomacy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2009-10), as well as deputy director-general at the ministry’s Information Department (2004-07). Image from article
KRI Dewaruci Pukau Italian Visitors - Embassy of Indonesia:
Oemar Ambassador, accompanied by Musurifun Lajawa, Counsellor of Socio-Cultural Affairs and Public Diplomacy, held a meeting with Lieutenant Colonel Suharto La Djide, Captain of KRI Dewaruci and Crews.
OhTen - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "One more year honing the craft of public diplomacy, one more year practicing the fine arts of knight errantry."
2010 Dedham Transcript's Year in Review: Dedham Council on Aging director fired for violating the conflict of interest law - dailynewstranscript.com "Following a matter that evolved into a heated public diplomacy hearing, Town Administrator William Keegan upheld his decision in February to fire Dedham Council on Aging Director Rita Kalcos for what he said was a 'blatant violation of the conflict of interest law.' The issue surrounding her termination involved the hiring of Nicholas McDonough, Kalcos’s son. McDonough was hired in 2009 to teach senior exercise classes until a permanent hire could be made. Keegan argued, because Kalcos oversaw the rate of pay for her son, this violated the state conflict of interest law. At her public hearing Kalcos continued to argue that she didn’t know she was in the wrong."
E-mail from Len Baldyga - "Dear Colleagues. I regret to inform you that Barry Zorthian, one of the legendary figures in the history of USIA and the Voice of America, passed away December 30. A funeral service is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday of next week at St. Mary's Apostolic Armenian Church, 4125 Fessenden St., NW, Washington, DC. A memorial service and burial at Arlington Cemetery will take place at a later date. Barry's wife Margaret passed away in July of this year. He is survived by two sons, Gregory J. (Robin) of Greenwich, CT and Stephen A. Zorthian of New York, NY. ... . Len Baldyga"
WikiLeaks cable dump reveals flaws of State Department's information-sharing tool - Joby Warrick, Washington Post: Before the infamous leak, the 250,000 State Department cables acquired by anti-secrecy activists resided in a database so obscure that few diplomats had heard of it. It had a bureaucratic name, Net-Centric Diplomacy, and served an important mission: the rapid sharing of information that could help uncover threats against the United States. But like many bureaucratic inventions, it expanded beyond what its creators had imagined. It also contained risks that no one foresaw. Millions of people around the world now know that the State Department's secret cables became the property of WikiLeaks. But only recently have investigators understood the critical role played by Net-Centric Diplomacy, a computer initiative that became the conduit for what was perhaps the biggest heist of sensitive U.S. government documents in modern times. Partly because of its design but also because of confusion among its users, the database became an inadvertent repository for a vast array of State Department cables, including records of the U.S. government's most sensitive discussions with foreign leaders and diplomats. Unfortunately for the department, the system lacked features to detect the unauthorized downloading by Pentagon employees and others of massive amounts of data, according to State Department officials and information-security experts. The result was a disastrous setback for U.S. diplomatic efforts around the globe. Via LB
WikiLeaks' Collateral Damage: Julian Assange's reckless behavior could cost Zimbabwe's leading democrat his life - James Kirchick, Wall Street Journal (subscription)
The West still leads the world in propaganda - raganwald.posterous.com: As relayed from Reddit though Hacker News: Someone was talking about a colleague of his who was Chinese and had come to the US, and who, over dinner with some other colleagues, said: "I can't believe how smooth your propaganda is here in the US. In China it is crude and everyone can see through it, but here you almost miss it."
To which all of the other colleagues replied: "What are you talking about? We don't have propaganda in the US!" Image from
Cuba Releases Political Prisoner - Efe, Fox News Latino: The Cuban government released on parole political prisoner Egberto Angel Escobedo Morales, who was serving a 20-year sentence for espionage and engaging in enemy propaganda, the former prisoner told Efe.
Image from article, with caption: Egberto Angel Escobedo Moralez shown here with his wife after his release from prison. He served 15 years on espionage charges.
Evil Empire Round Up: Russia Today Promotes Hamas Propaganda Edition - mah29001.wordpress.com: Oh indeed Russia Today, the propaganda arm of the Kremlin is supporting Hamas, as Russia itself is also supporting Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups in the hopes that they will “not train” Chechen terrorists on the home front who pretty much say the same garbage about Russians being “occupiers” like the Palestinian Islamic radicals do with the Israelis…but don’t tell RT that. Aside from that, there are many YouTube Jihadis also praising the support for a well known terrorist group which Russia Today is purposely doing.
Most under-reported Vatican stories of 2010 - John L. Allen, Jr, National Catholic Reporter: 4. Scandals at Propaganda Fide and the Vatican Bank. In 2010, two venerable Vatican institutions, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (the department for missionary activity still known by its old name, Propaganda Fide) and the Institute for the Works of Religion (popularly called the Vatican Bank), faced accusations of financial shenanigans. For centuries, Propaganda Fide has been a financial empire all to itself, owning scads of prime real estate and managing large bank accounts in order to fund overseas missions. The cardinal-prefect is informally dubbed the “Red Pope,”
a reference to the power and influence those resources generate. (The Italian newspaper Libero has estimated the market value of the congregation’s real estate holdings, which reportedly include 761 buildings, 445 sets of grounds, and 2,325 apartments, at roughly $1.7 billion.) Many observers have long believed that the wealth of Propaganda Fide, coupled with its near-total autonomy, made it ripe for a financial scandal, and 2010 turned out to be the year those chickens came home to roost. In June, Italian prosecutors announced that Italian Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe of Naples, who headed Propaganda Fide from 2001 to 2006, is the target of an anti-corruption probe. The theory is that Sepe gave Italian politicians sweetheart deals on apartments at the same time that millions of Euros in state funds were allocated for remodeling projects at Propaganda Fide, including its headquarters in Rome’s Piazza di Spagna. In effect, the suggestion is that Sepe bribed public officials to fund work that in some instances was never completed. As of this writing, an investigation by Italian prosecutors is on-going. Sepe has declared his innocence, saying, “I acted solely for the good of the church.” Image from
Vietnamese bishop rejects government propaganda - catholicculture.org: Bishop Chau Ngoc Tri of Da Nang, Vietnam, has condemned a government propaganda campaign against Catholic activists who oppose the seizure of church properties.
Chinese Government bans VoIP - Telecoms News: The People’s Republic of China, so giving and generous to its population, and not at all restrictive. Yeah right, who are we kidding? The latest pitfall subsequently in the way of Chinese propaganda enthusiasts? Skype. That’s right. China has blocked its millions of workers from cheap calls via VoIP
by banning the communication, and will only allow state-owned enterprises; China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom to offer Internet phone services linking telephones and computers. China has also barred popular sites such as; Youtube, Flickr, Blogspot, Twitter and Hotmail. Even Internet search engine giant, Google, obey by China’s strict censorship laws, displaying only China approved sites in its searches. Image from
Google sites harder to access in China. New domestic search engine the reason? - Kim Andre Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting
NKorea's state TV airs British film 'Bend it Like Beckham' - timesofindia.indiatimes.com: Read more: NKorea's state TV airs British film 'Bend it Like Beckham' - The Times of India: Breaking the monotony of regular programmes and propaganda on North Korea's state TV, the channel has broadcast first ever western film -- Gurinder Chadha's 'Bend it Like Beckham'.
The 2002 film was aired on December 26 starring Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightley is set in London and revolves around an Indian family. The film tells the story of an Indian girl who aspires to be a soccer star against the wishes of her conservative parents. Image from
MORE QUOTATIONS FOR THE DAY
"Consumers use Google to get to other places, but they log on to Facebook to stay."
--Ylan Q. Mui and Peter Whoriskey, Facebook passes Google as most popular site on the Internet, two measures show, Washington Post
“America is the only country on the face of the earth where you won’t feel like a foreigner once you get in."
--Turkish Ambassador to Washington Namik Tan
"You've got to go to Europe and run for president of Europe!"
--Arnold Schwarzenegger, telling the Los Angeles Times what his children were thinking about him; image from
Via SP by e-mail (no link) -- Happy New Year!