Wednesday, March 30, 2011

March 28-30

“Operation Earnest Voice"

--The Central Command communications program which, according to Gen. James Mattis, the CENTCOM commander, will “reach regional audiences through traditional media, as well as via Web sites and regional public-affairs blogging.” Image from


New and old information operations in Afghanistan: What works? - Walter Pincus, Washington Post: "After years of spending hundreds of millions of dollars trying to get its message out to Afghans, the United States is still experimenting. The State Department, for example, is trying a new communications approach in Kandahar by turning to old media — radio and television. It’s planning to lease free space to Afghan service providers on a radio-TV transmission tower recently built within the area of Kandahar Airfield, which is controlled by the U.S. military. It’s the first of several such broadcasting towers to be constructed by State in Afghanistan. 'The program is designed to improve the access of Afghans in underserved areas to a variety of radio and television signals,'

said David Ensor, a former CNN correspondent who is director of communications and public diplomacy at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul." Image from

Losing the Propaganda War in Afghanistan: Operation Earnest Voice is missing one important fact: in order to win an information war, the information has to be on your side - Jean McKenzie, GlobalPost: "New media, old media … the U.S. government is still agonizing over which approach to use in its 'information war' in Afghanistan. The trendy use of cell phones to communicate news in areas inaccessible to radio signals is one such inspiration. A lot of time and money has also been sunk into projects that focus on social networking, in the hopes that a 'Twitter Revolution' just might occur on the streets of Kandahar, breaking the back of the Taliban in 140 characters or less. But in all the hype (and funding) over how best to get our message across to the Afghan people, one very important factor has been overlooked: the message itself. Operation Earnest Voice is the brainchild of

CENTCOM (U.S. Central Command, which oversees operations in what are now the dodgier parts of the world – Afghanistan, Iraq, the Middle East.) Among other brilliant devices, OEV will allow a California-based information technology company to create fake Internet personas to help 'direct' virtual debates over such issues as civilian casualties in Afghanistan. I have a tip for CENTCOM,  the State Department, and all other government organizations hoping to shuffle the media to create a more positive message: save your money. No amount of ingenious spin is going to make the very real issues in Afghanistan go away. How, for example, will Operation Earnest Voice counter the sickening photographs published on the Rolling Stone website, of U.S. soldiers cavorting with the corpses of Afghans civilians they had plotted to kill? We are told that the Taliban will make use of this 'rogue incident' for propaganda purposes. It is more than likely. We certainly would." Image from

Obama, US Power, and American Exceptionalism - John Robertson, Chippshots: "Peter Beinart contrasts: Obama's with John Bolton's sense of American exceptionalism. For Bolton, American virtue is a given. American presidents should never apologize because America never has anything to apologize for. Our mistakes are never crimes, and if others don’t see our moral greatness that just proves their moral cynicism. ... [B]y my lights, those media outlets who choose to provide Bolton a platform upon which to thump America's chest serve only to kneecap US public diplomacy."

We're Jamming - Laura McGinnis, manIC: "[O]n the television, where President Obama is engaging in some monologic diplomacy and demonstrating, once again, that Obama diplomacy is generally public diplomacy. ... I'd use the term nation branding, if I had more faith in it, but we'll avoid it right now and just point out how he's framing his argument. American is in Libya because that's Who We Are. We are drawing on a history, a culture, a value system that demands our presence there . ... [O]f course, the U.S. is not leading the operation, but assisting with aspects like surveillance, search-and-rescue and communications jamming.

The last of these is particularly relevant because of its PD potential, or rather, its anti-PD potential. By jamming Ghaddafi's communication, the U.S. and its allies can prevent the spread of the regime's messages and values and, consequently, promote their own. ... I'm sure the professional pundits will have all sorts of opinions on the highs and lows of the speech, but in strictly PD terms, I thought he did a great job." Image from

Balancing Public Diplomacy with Diplomacy - Melissa Moreland, The Number One Blog on Public Diplomacy: "President Barack Obama's tour of Latin America last week showed the importance of public diplomacy to the President, especially since he left in the middle of the crisis in Libya and after the devastation of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan."

Leading through civilian power: an overview - Richard 'jimmy' Hill, Public and Cultural Diplomacy B: A reflective group blog by students on the Public and Cultural Diplomacy module at London Metropolitan University[A]n article written by Hillary Rodham Clinton, entitled Leading through civilian power, redefining American Diplomacy and development ... outlines that

'increasing global interconnectedness now necessitates reaching beyond governments to citizens directly and broadening the US foreign policy portfolio to include issues once confined to the domestic sphere'. In her suggestion it is clear that this is a reference to a new understanding of the importance of public diplomacy in a new world within which a realisation has occurred, that groups must work together in solving problems." Image from article

When the Right Thing to Do Isn’t the Right Public Diplomacy Thing to Do -
Education Makes Strange Bedfellows - "Life is full of surprises. The Institute of International Education (IIE), a US nonprofit best known for its administration of the Fulbright Program, the US Government’s flagship international exchange program, is partnering with the US Commercial Service in Vietnam to offer two US higher education fairs on 6 April in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and on the 8th in Hanoi.

(This is part of an Education Trade Mission to Indonesia and Vietnam organized by the US Department of Commerce, the Vietnamese portion of which culminates in the 4th Annual Education Conference on 9 April.) Consider this: IIE’s main sponsor is the US Department of State. In the fiscal year ending 30 September 2009 (the most up-to-date information available on its website) IIE’s total revenues were $363,511,000, of which $333,781,000 was for sponsored programs. Over half (51%) of IIE’s funding was from 'US government agencies,' primarily the State Department, for its administration of the Fulbright Program. While State and Commerce officially represent the same government, they don’t exactly see eye to eye when it comes to the role of that government in promoting US higher education. The former issued a policy statement in 2009 forbidding its 450 EducationUSA advising centers around the world from developing partnerships with private-sector recruiting agents who have contracts with individual U.S. higher education institutions." Image from article

There is a new Executive Director of the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy - Matt Armstrong, "Matt Armstrong, author and publisher of, was sworn in as the Executive Director of the Advisory Commission. The immediate impact is the suspension of blogging, including the publishing of guest posts, at"

50 years after Peace Corps' founding, volunteers reflect - Carolyn Davis, Philadelphia Inquirer: "[T]he Soviet Union and the Cold War are no more, but the Peace Corps survives as an icon of U.S. public diplomacy. ... At 50, like most middle-agers, the Peace Corps has had victories and failures."

Africa Center Hosts American University Students - Africa Center for Strategic Studies: "Africa Center faculty and staff served as hosts March 24 for a group of American University international relations students and several International and Counter-Terrorism African fellows who are attending National Defense University in Washington, D.C. ... According Claudia Anyaso, the students’ instructor, their visit to the Africa Center complemented what they have studied in international relations theories, the National Security Strategy, U.S. foreign policy towards the various geographic regions of the world, and as they begin studying transnational issues, international development, conflicts, terrorism, military force, the intelligence community, global finance and business, and NGO’s. ... No stranger to African affairs, Ms. Anyaso,

before becoming a faculty member at American University, was a member of the Senior Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State. She served for 38 years retiring after having been the Director of the Bureau of African Affairs’ Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Ms. Anyaso was a Department of State member on the Implementation Planning Team for AFRICOM."

The Nanny: American public diplomacy at its finest - "While helping with Vacation Bible School last week at a church in an impoverished area of San Jose, one kid's name tag stood out. Amid a sea of children named José and Juan, I was struck to see a name tag that read, 'Brighton.' I was puzzled as to why a child in the middle of rough neighborhood in Costa Rica would be named for a posh English resort town. I casually brought it up to Brighton's dad, through a translator. He flashed a broad smile and proudly explained that he and his wife watched the American TV show, The Nanny.

One of the characters name's is Brighton. Thinking it sounded cool and American (sorry, Brits), they used it for their son. The U.S. may not be capable of passing a budget. But it's somehow encouraging to think that we make TV shows with that kind of reach." Image from

The Shape of Secret Government in the White House - "NSDD Number 77 is a good example of how Bush and Reagan employed NSDDs to serve secret agenda goals. It allowed the National Security Council to coordinate interagency efforts for what was called the 'Management of Public Diplomac[y] Relative to National Security.' This directive served as a the basis for 'public diplomacy activities' (i.e., propaganda) by enabling 'organizational support for foreign governments and private groups to encourage the growth of democratic political institutions and practices.' In reality, the directive created propaganda ministries in the National Security Council, the State Department and the White House."

When writing about international broadcasting, Washington think tanks can be comedy clubs - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

VOA Studio 7 to Zimbabwe jammed. "Your best reception would be on shortwave" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Libya Intervention Highlights Global Security Gaps - Judah Grunstein, "The need that NATO fills with regard to coordinated trans-Atlantic politico-military action highlights a ... gap ... with regard to China, but that needs to be addressed more generally: namely, the absence of an operational structure that is politically broad enough to integrate not only the traditional trans-Atlantic alliance, but also emerging powers. China, India and Brazil chose to sit this one out [intervening in Libya], in part due to their commitment to nonintervention. But as attractive as that doctrine might be in the aftermath of failed interventions

like Iraq and Afghanistan, it will prove less rewarding in the event of a successful Libyan intervention, with all the public diplomacy payoffs that will provide for the intervening powers." Image from

NATO Re-Considered: From The American Spectator - Gleanings and Musings, Courtesy of a Veteran Cold Warrior: "One of the clearest signs of the [NATO]Alliance's identity crisis is its bloated PR operation -- when its mission was obvious, it didn't need an advertising campaign -- euphemistically known as the Public Diplomacy Division. Its multinational staff of 125 labors "To raise the Alliance's profile with audiences world-wide." Equipped with two television and 10 radio studios, it generates a torrent of programs, press releases, pamphlets, magazines, DVDs, and audio-visual presentations. It also organizes frequent international conferences, seminars, and other media events boosting NATO. It runs the web-based, where slick films show what it's like aboard a submarine or to go on patrol in Afghanistan. But mainly it carries every speech, statement, declaration, and press conference by Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen."

WCS2010 - single: "Six cosplayers from 3 countries (Spain, the United States and Mexico) paid courtesy calls on the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economy, Trade and Industry on July 28, 2010. At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they discussed the anime,

manga and games, as well as the approach of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to familiarize Japanese culture in the world, with Foreign Affairs State Secretary Osamu Fujimura and Director-General Kenjiro Monji of MOFA Public Diplomacy Department."  Anime image from 

NDRF team reaches Japan, to help in quake relief - "New Delhi, Mar 28(PTI)A 46-member team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) reached Tokyo this morning to help Japaneses authorities in relief and rehabilitation works in Tsunami affected areas. The team, on their way to the earthquake and tsunami affected areas in the Miyagi Prefecture, is carrying special equipments to facilitate their operation, Ministry of External Affairs said here today. A medical doctor and two paramedics are also accompanying the team, which will be based in worst-affected Sendai area, to attend to any medical emergencies. The team has wide experience in dealing with natural disasters in India and abroad and was expected to remain in Japan for around 10 days, Public Diplomacy department of MEA said."

Facebook page supporting Palestinian intifada pulled down - Kevin Flower, CNN: "A controversial Facebook page calling for another Palestinian intifada has been pulled off the social media website, following complaints from the Israeli government that it incited violence against Jews. ... Yuli Edelstein, Israel's minister of public diplomacy and diaspora affairs,

said Tuesday in a statement that the removal of the page showed that 'Facebook management understood that the page is a blunt abuse of freedom of speech to incite to violent actions.'" See also

Brief a Bishop: Egypt - Ethics and Foreign Policy: "Foreign Governments should ensure that their own public diplomacy recognises the complexity of the situation in Egypt and in turn avoids sweeping generalisations that label all Islamist parties as extreme and reactionary."

Sendai quake shakes up East Asian politics - Kiyul Chung, The 4th Media: "It might be inappropriate to equate the havoc of the Sendai earthquake in Japan with the impact of the 9/11 attack on the US. After all, they are totally different, one being a natural disaster and the other a terrorist attack. ... Lots of overseas media reported that the quake furnished a valuable chance for easing Sino-Japanese disputes. One of my Japanese friends told me that China was more helpful than Western countries, which were occupied with discussing the strike on Libya and rarely cared about Japan after the quake hit. If it is true that most Japanese people hold these views, it could inspire powerful public diplomacy and let the Japanese believe that China is a reliable friend in need."

Finland appoints the first ever full-time press counsellor to China - "The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has appointed Mikko Puustinen to the post of press counsellor at the Embassy of Finland in Beijing. The rising importance of China in the global economy and world politics is now reflected in the staffing of Finland’s diplomatic missions in China.

Puustinen is the first full-time press counsellor appointed to Beijing to handle public diplomacy affairs, whose task involves the advancement of Finland’s objectives through communications, culture and other means of promotion. Public diplomacy affairs at Finland’s diplomatic missions in China were previously handled by personnel in addition to their other tasks." Image from

Europeans increasingly view China’s economic rise as negative. Will public diplomacy help? - chinarelations: "Globescan/PIPA has just published the results of a new poll on global rising concern about China’s increasing power. The poll contains bad news for China. In spite of China’s public diplomacy efforts, the percentage of people with a negative view of China’s growing economic and military power keeps increasing, in particular in Europe and North America (US and Canada)."

MBT schuhe preise yzp leic vkcz - straight25kiHL: "[T]here is a reason, I think the reason is China's own, it should be said that the past is right, we pay special attention for many years and the government level, I do your official work, I'll be your own Merkel work, but we were a bit neglected, gradually changing in recent years, neglected to do the private sector, media, public opinion of the work, so that our next step should be to strengthen the external, of Germany, the EU public diplomacy."

Cricket diplomacy‎ - Yeshiva World News, Qaisar Rashid, The News International: "Cricket diplomacy is the opposite of the notorious 'gunboat diplomacy,' in which forces are deployed and coercion is used against the opponent. In the context of Pakistan-India relations,

the history of diplomatic episodes in the name of cricket is not new. ... It is interesting that sports diplomacy is taking precedence over public diplomacy." Image from

Malaysia Jumps on Gastrodiplomacy Bandwagon - Paul Rockower, Daily Beast: "Public diplomacy is a field predicated on the communication of culture and values to foreign publics; gastrodiplomacy is the act of winning hearts and minds via stomachs. Gastrodiplomacy uses culinary delights to appeal to the global public’s appetite,

and thus helps raise a nation’s brand awareness and reputation. ... Malaysia’s gastrodiplomacy campaign has been a delicious way to create better awareness of Malaysia through its cuisine. Many other countries looking to engage in such forms of digestive diplomacy would be wise to study Malaysia’s recipe." Image from article

Azerbaijan joins public diplomacy of Islamic Conference - Azerbaijan Business Center: "At the initiative of the Turkish-Asian Centre for Strategic Studies (TASAM) on 30-31 March Istanbul will host the II Forum 'Public diplomacy' of the member states of the Islamic Conference (OIC). The Centre for Strategic Research (SAM) under the Azerbaijani President informs that SAM senior fellow Javid Veliyev will participate in the forum. The aim of the event is to make the OIC in one of the major players in the region and in the global arena in a way of more efficient use of public diplomacy means. The delegates will discuss issues of support for research, public organizations and civil society institutions to provide a basis for joint projects."

وَ مَا نُرْسِلُ الْمُرْسَلِینَ إِلَّا مُبَشِّرِینَ وَ مُنْذِرِینَ ...‎ - Sultain Shain: Mention of public diplomacy.

The subtle distinction between Cultural Diplomacy and Propaganda - giuseppecolucci, Torno Subito: "[Is]Cultural diplomacy a kind of propaganda? It depends. Let’s say that if it is true that

diplomacy has been always understood as a tool used by official institutions in each country, is also true that this interpretation could be theoretically widen[ed] to the private area of the citizens, the so called 'cultural ambassadors' of the no profit-non governmental organizations." Image from 

Public Diplomacy and Marketing Communications - Materi Ilmu komunikasi: "It should be noted also that public diplomacy is not the same with marketing communications. Equation of this function resulted in many countries fail in their implementation."

The Privatizing Of American Power – An Issue Americans Can’t Afford To Ignore - Cari Gittard, Newswire, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: [O]ne issue .. is the mass privatization of American power. We are exploring this theme in my Corporate Diplomacy II course this spring ... I am ... in violent agreement that there needs to be a candid public discussion about how we fund and execute foreign policy and fight wars."  Image from

Theoretical Implications of Strategic Communication Part 3: Cutting SC Down to Size - Robin, Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "At present there seems to be a tendency to see the US public diplomacy problem through the lens of CVE and neglect the strength of other aspects of the US position eg as here and here."

A Fail -- Strategic Communication Management - Albany Blog: "A strong case can be made that contemporary strategic communications, as ‘synchronized coordination of statecraft, public affairs, public diplomacy, military information operations, and other activities’ ... , is failing to achieve its potential at the national level due to organizational failings as well as problems within its constituent parts. ... Within this management challenge is the continuing top-down management processes within the foreign policy process, out of kilter with the contemporary information environment. Faced with a rapidly changing environment, with regard to public diplomacy, as Nicholas Cull claims: 'None of these changes is as challenging as the reorientation of public diplomacy away from the top-down communication patterns of the Cold War era.'” Image from

Comment on what caught Liza's eye this week - lynn, SIS Public Diplomacy: The Group Five Blog: "Liza, I wanted to respond to you question regarding whether we are all now diplomats. I don’t disagree that 'Diplomacy is beginning to be redefined into how we as individual diplomats are helping solve global problems.' But I would caution that this new era of individual diplomacy and this 'global environment that [has] altered the practice of traditionally diplomacy,' has resulted in a world where misinformation is spread even at the highest levels."

Lobbying and government relations in the public sphere - Mark Phillimore, Media Impressions: "The University of Greenwich is part of an Erasmus Intensive Programme (IP) submission providing Masters students in PR and communications
the opportunity to research and study government relations and public lobbying in the European public sphere over an intensive two week period. ... The programme will be exploring issues around public diplomacy, agenda setting in public, legitimacy and transparency in lobbying and government relations based on a public sphere model of practice." Image from

CPD Distinguished Speaker Series: Shashi Tharoor – Dianscuffman: "[Video] CPD Distinguished Speaker Series: The Public Diplomacy of the Emerging Great Powers Shashi Tharoor – INDIA ( Video Rating: 4/5."

Academia and Public Diplomacy: a new relationship - Matt Armstrong,"There was something new at the 2011 International Studies Association conference in Montreal, Canada: a working group on

public diplomacy. Organized by Craig Hayden, assistant professor at American University, and co-chaired by Kathy Fitzpatrick, professor at Quinnipiac University, it was a unique discussion to create a community of scholars across the many disciplines that comprise 'public diplomacy.' Keynotes were given by Matt Armstrong and Maureen Cormack, Executive Assistant in the Office of the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs."  Image from

Landing a Job in the Foreign Service - Landing a Job in the Foreign Service: "Event Description Are you up to the Foreign Service challenge? Find out what it takes to land a spot in the esteemed U.S. diplomatic corps, with Shawn Dorman, a former Foreign Service Officer who is now editor and publisher of Foreign Service Books and associate editor of the Foreign Service Journal. ... Attendees will learn…• Which Foreign Service Career Track is right for you? (Consular,Attendees will learn…• Which Foreign Service Career Track is right for you? (Consular, Economic, Management, Political, or Public Diplomacy)."


Is There an Obama Doctrine? - New York Times: President Obama, in his speech Monday evening on the American military role in Libya, said that the United States had a responsibility to intervene in foreign conflicts "when our interests and values are at stake." Whether they agreed with the president or not, many analysts were quick to see the outlines of an Obama doctrine -- a grand strategy for American involvement in wars abroad. Did the president articulate such a blueprint? If so, what is it and what are the long-term risks and implications?  Image from

Looking for Luck in Libya - Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times: It is naïve to think that we can be humanitarians only from the air — and now we just hand the situation off to NATO, as if it were Asean and we were not the backbone of the NATO military alliance, and we’re done. Any kind of decent outcome there will require boots on the ground.

The Speech Obama Hasn't Given: What are we doing in Libya? Americans deserve an explanation - Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal

Mission: Inscrutable - James Taranto, Wall Street Journal: Obama's Libya speech echoes Bush's worst Iraq flub.

Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links: Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi's regime - Praveen Swami, Nick Squires and Duncan Gardham, Daily Telegraph

Image from article, with caption: Mr al-Hasidi admitted he had earlier fought against 'the foreign invasion' in Afghanistan. Via LB

US fights with words as well as arms - CBS News: Coalition planes broadcast messages, drop leaflets encouraging Libyan troops to refuse orders and turn against Qaddafi.Although each day the Pentagon reports the number of bombs it has dropped in the week-old Libya intervention, it has said little about the information campaign blanketing the country. But coalition planes have dropped leaflets a number of times, most recently Sunday near Qaddafi ground troops near Misrata, military officials said Monday on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the effort. The U.S. also has broadcast messages to Libyan forces from the Air Force's EC-130 Commando Solo,

a specially-modified Hercules transport that conducts information operations and psychological operations and broadcasts in AM, FM, high-frequency radio, TV and military communications bands. Image from article, with caption: A 2004 file photo of the U.S. Air Force EC-130J Commando Solo, an aircraft designed for broadcasting messages across hostile territory

US forces fighting with words in Libya: Leaflet drops, radio broadcasts part of battle - Pauline Jelinek, Lolita C. Baldor - FOX Toledo Online

Finnish Radio Hobbyist Confirms Covert Radio Broadcasts in Libya - YLE News: A Finnish DX radio hobbyist has confirmed that the United States has made its Commando Solo aircraft available to coalition forces engaged in operations in Libya.

The special craft is being used for propaganda radio broadcasts currently aimed mostly at the Libyan Naval Forces. Commando Solo is used to conduct psychological operations (psyops) and other missions, broadcasting in standard civilian and military communications bands. The latest version of the craft is capable of broadcasting color television on a multitude of worldwide standards. Image from article

Our new allies, eastern Libya and Al-qaeda - Jim Pickard, (blog): When Colonel Gaddafi accused the eastern rebels of being Al-Qaeda there was a presumption that this was merely propaganda from the Libyan dictator. A Nato US commander has suggested that intelligence reports indicate a potential “flicker” of al-Qaeda within the resistance. James Stavridis, Nato’s supreme allied commander for Europe, was speaking during Senate testimony today. Here is the relevant transcript: “We have seen flickers in the intelligence of potential Al Qaida, Hezbollah. We’ve seen different things. But at this point I don’t have detail sufficient to say that — that there’s a significant Al Qaida presence or any other terrorist presence in and among these folks. We’ll continue to look at that very closely. It’s part of doing due diligence as we move forward on any kind of relationship.” For now it seems that no one knows precisely who is leading – or joining – the rebellion in eastern Libya.

Libya: the latest offensive in the West's war on humanity - Toni Solo,

When Unrest Stirs, Bloggers Are Already in Place - Jennifer Prestion, New York Times: Global Voices is a volunteer-driven organization and platform that works with bloggers all over the world to translate, aggregate and link to online content. Via GD

Al Jazeera English is still "can't-see TV" in the United States - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Yuri Gagarin comic dubbed 'propaganda' in Russia - BBC News: A comic book written by Wiltshire space enthusiasts about Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin

has been condemned as propaganda in Russia. Image from article



--Name given to a child in Cosa Rica by his parents, watchers of the American TV show, The Nanny, thinking the name of one of its characters sounded cool.


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