Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June 28

“I plan to work very hard every day.”

--The second sentence of the dictation New Times columnist Roger Cohen had to write when he became an American citizen; image from


Tomorrow (6/29): Global Twitter Q & A with Under Secretary for Press and Public Diplomacy Judith McHale - U.S. East Asia and Pacific Media Hub, U.S. State Department: “The the first ever global Twitter Q & A with Under Secretary for Press and Public Diplomacy Judith McHale wull [sic] be hosted on @StateDept Twitter feed starting 9:30 am DC time – evening in Asia on June 29, 2011. Connect directly with Under Secretary McHale and exchange ideas about public diplomacy and cultural exchange on @StateDept. Under Secretary McHale Bio: http://www.state.gov/r/"

“American Seasons “ in Russia – unique cultural event‎ - Eugene Nikitenko, The Voice of Russia: "U.S. Embassy in Moscow has announced a unique year-long American arts and culture festival in Russia. It is both a fresh start in this sphere of relations between the two countries and homage to Sergei Diaghilev’s Russian Seasons in Paris. As such, it will start with performances in Moscow of the famous American company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Meeting journalists on June 27th – and speaking Russian, U.S. Ambassador John Beyrle said: 'The performances of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre is the beginning of a very important programme of the year-long festival supported by our Embassy and the Russian-American Bilateral Presidential Commission formed in 2009 to increase cooperation. Sergei Diaghilev’s 'Russian Seasons' aimed at showing Europe the best of Russian culture.

The U.S. 'Russian Seasons' also aim at showing the widest possible range of the best of American culture to the Russian public. Taking the relay baton from Sergei Diaghilev, we decided to open this festival with the performances of our world-renowned dance theatre, a synonym of the American dance arts. Of course the activities of the Bilateral Presidential Commission are increasingly important, but the main thing is the extending contacts between our peoples, and we hope that 'American Seasons' will contribute to this.' Other highlights of the 'American Seasons' in Russia include the MOMIX Dance Company, and the three-times Grammy winner hip-hop/salsa fusion band from Ozomaitli, an exhibit of Annie Leibovitz photography at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, performances of New American plays translated into Russian to be staged in many parts of this country. The Russian public will also be offered three performances in Moscow and St.Petersburg by the famous Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Riccardo Muti. Mikhail Shvydkoy, Russia’s special presidential representative for international Culture Cooperation, gave some details about the 'American Seasons' festival: 'The idea was born at the very first meeting of our bilateral; commission on cultural and education exchanges of youth, Mrs. MacHail [sic], senior deputy State Secretary for public diplomacy and Ambassador Byerl[e]. American culture is represented in Russia well enough, but mainly in the mass culture sphere. It’s American movies and literature, but the highlights of U.S. culture is not very much presented here. The preparation of this festival has been going on for several years, and we hope that it will be the first in a long series of festivals and events demonstrating the best of American culture, one of the most developed intellectual cultures. I hope that next year we will hold a reciprocal Russian cultural season in the United States, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Fort Ross in California. 'Russian Seasons' in America will also highlight some significant cultural events that we find it hard to hold within the framework of other events. I hope that 'Seasons' may become regular, ['] said Mikhail Shvydkoy, co-chairing the press conference dedicated to the opening of 'American Seasons' culture festival announced by

the United States Ambassador John Byerle."  Top image from; below Byerle image from

Kissinger optimistic about China-US relations‎ - Qin Zhongwei, China Daily: "China and the United States should have a non-exclusive and mutually supportive relationship around the world, Henry Kissinger, former US secretary of state, said on Monday. 'I'm optimistic about Sino-US relations, and confident that we will overcome difficulties and build up a structure of friendly cooperation,' he said. Kissinger was in Beijing for a series of public and private meetings to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his secret mission in July 1971 to break the ice in China-US relations. ... Kissinger said

that when he first came to China, he knew little about the country, but now he admires the Chinese people and Chinese history. Kissinger has visited Peking University four times between 2001 and 2008 for face-to-face talks with students, according to Yuan Ming, director of the American Studies Center at Peking University, who witnessed the four visits. Qu Xing, director of China Institute of International Studies, said Kissinger set a good example in bringing the two countries closer by promoting public diplomacy, increasing understanding between China and the US through non-traditional means." Image from article, with caption: Henry Kissinger, former US secretary of state, shakes hands with a participant at a forum in Beijing on Monday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his secret mission to China.

Salalah Meets Washington - susanalshahri.blogspot.com: "I'm on my way home after spending an incredible week on the US Foreign Press Centre Tour on blogging/writing for social and political change that took place in Washington DC and Minneapolis. ... A couple of months ago I was contacted by the US Embassy in Muscat asking if I would be interested in participating in the tour, based on my work for this column. Candidates were selected from countries that are currently struggling with social and/or political tension. Never one to turn down an interesting opportunity, I agreed immediately. ... Social media has forever changed the face of politics in the US, and I'm sure, in the years to come, the same will be true for Oman. Judith McHale, the Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs,

said something to us on our first day that kept coming up again and again in our official and private discussions for the remainder of the tour. She said, 'The days of one-to-one government relations are over.' Thinking about it now, what she said was very true. With online social media tools and websites like WikiLeaks available to hundreds of millions of people around the world, it will become increasingly difficult for governments to withhold information from their people. ... Overall, the tour was an eye-opener for me and I am bursting with new ideas. Oman may not seem like the most democratic of nations, but we are pretty stable and are definitely on the right track. We have more freedom of speech than we think and we have much to be thankful for. I left the US feeling inspired, empowered, and extremely proud of my country. I honestly feel blessed to be living in Oman." Blogger's image from her blog

GAHS honors Hermann H. Eisele and Barbara E. Nahlik - German American National Congress: national Blog: "The German American Heritage Society (GAHS) of Saint Louis honored Hermann H. Eisele with its 2011 Friedrich Hecker Freedom Award presented by president, Lansing Hecker on March 5 at the organization’s 21st Anniversary celebration of its founding at the Racquet Club – St. Louis in 1990. The gala celebration was attended by 54 members, Charter Members and guests. ... The event’s guest of honor was, Dr. Hans-Ulrich von Schroeter, Deputy Director of the German Information Center at the German Embassy in Washington , D.C. Dr. Schroeter provided fascinating insights on the mission of the German Information Center (GIC) in the United States,

as well as in other selected German Embassies around the world. In addition to providing a weekly, electronic English language 'window on the world' with The Week In Germany (TWIG), the GIC also provides extensive support of annual public diplomacy programs primarily to remind high school and university students of America’s contemporary ties to Germany over the past 60 years. In recent years, these programs have included: The 60th Anniversary of the Berlin Airlift; The 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall; 20 years of German Unity; and in 2011, Germany’s hosting of the Women’s World Cup Soccer matches, as well as focus on the advantages of learning German as a second language." Image from

Tahrir among the Gaza flotilla - S.H.Moulana, asiantribune.com: "Israeli defense sources have said the fact that most, if not all, the flotilla participants will be European peace activists presumably not interested in violence will present

a ‘more difficult public diplomacy challenge’ and Israel wants to avoid clashes with the activists." Image from article, with caption: The Canadian Boat to Gaza campaign announces today the successful conclusion of arrangements to purchase and register a boat to carry the Canadian delegation to Gaza. The boat’s name Tahrir (Liberation in Arabic) has been chosen to honour the square in Cairo that was the focus of the democratic uprising that has spread hope across the Middle East.

Australia's public diplomacy and social media - "On 6–7 June 2011 the Forum on Public and Citizen Diplomacy was convened in Canberra to formulate recommendations for Australian public diplomacy practitioners, with the aim of identifying best practice and emerging trends in this field. Innovative ways of conducting public diplomacy,

including through the use of social media, have been advanced by Australia's partners." [Article contains brief description of public diplomacy as prcticed by the U.S., the U.K., the European Union, and Australia]. Uncaptioned image from article

Casa África supports African participation in Masdanza Dance Festival - mzansicultura.es: "The África en Movimiento (Africa in Motion) programme is a Casa África initiative for promoting the presence of African stage artists in Spain, with the premises of public diplomacy for cultural cooperation events that are applied by the institution, avoiding paternalism and using these disciplines to bring Africa and Spain closer together. Initially, the programme will be focused on contemporary African dance, although it does not exclude the idea of becoming involved with other arts. The confirmation that an enormous amount of choreographic wealth exists in the neighbouring continent, which has yet to be discovered by Spanish audiences, has been the deciding factor for setting this programme into motion. ... Casa África´s commitment to Pan-African stage arts rests on these objectives: 1. To bring Africa closer to public Spanish opinions by using stage arts to provide a real image of the continent, its potential and heterogeneity. 2. To work closely with the professional stage arts industry in Africa so as to understand its interests and priorities, contributing towards finding potential counterparts in Spain and promoting contact. 3. To act as a speaker of this industry´s interests and priorities for Spain and the European Union."

Europe Does Not Need American Protection Anymore - Joerg Wolf, atlanticreview.org: "9/11 has accelerated the divergence of European and American geostrategic interests. Europe does not need American protection anymore, with the exception of the nuclear guarantee, says Nick Witney, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. ... At a time when so many US journalists and pundits are questioning the relevance of NATO and express their increasing disappointment with the Europeans, I would like to recommend the ten minute video below to better understand why most European countries are not spending more on defense and do not send more troops to US led wars. To paraphrase Nick Witney: Secretary Gates' words have fallen on deaf ears in Europe, because we don't see a particularly productive

use for our militaries. America has global aspirations and has the Pacific to worry about, whereas Europeans are just concerned about their neighborhood and don't feel the need to maintain strong militaries. This trends towards demilitarization is probably dangerous, but it is not a sign of decadence or free-riding. We don't want to be on the 'ride' that has taken us into Iraq and Afghanistan. ... Nick Witney spoke on the panel "New challenges and old alliances? EU, NATO and a security architecture for the 21st century" moderated by Dr. Ulrike Guérot, Head of the Berlin Office of the European Council on Foreign Relation's (ECFR). You can watch the recorded livestream from the entire panel with Dr. Stefanie Babst, NATO's Acting Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy Division, Walter Stevens, Head of Crisis Management and Planning Department at the European External Action Service, and Dr. Dimitar Bechev, Head of the Sofia Office of the ECFR." Image from

2011 entrance voluntary reporting - newjackets.in: "Fujian High Admissions Notice: Fujian Province June 9, 2011 onwards into the marking period, candidates can expect about 24 inquiries HKALE know their score and ranking. Fujian Province is expected to move 25 or so committee meetings, public subjects class, taking control of batch lowest score. June 26 began voluntary reporting. ... ⒋ political science class: the international political thinking Political Science and Public Administration Education Public Diplomacy"

Essay on Martin Luther King, Jr. published - Svend White, Tikkun Daily: "I’m pleased to report that a 2008 essay I wrote for Religion Dispatches on the occasion of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday has been published in a collection of short essays on the issues involved in his assassination and legacy. The book in question is The Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. , edited by Noah Berlatsky and published by Greenhaven Press this year. ... The format of the book is 'opposing viewpoints.' Thus, my contribution was placed in opposition to another essay. From, err, a U.S. Government website (title: 'King’s dream has transformed America.'). So much for a

career in public diplomacy!" Image from


On the Mend? America Comes to Its Senses - Andrew J. Bacevich, TomDispatch: That the United States should avoid wars except when absolutely necessary no longer connotes incipient isolationism. Given what polls indicate is a growing public unhappiness over the Afghan War, speaking out against that war these days doesn’t exactly require political courage. Still, the possibility of our legislators reasserting a role in deciding whether or not a war actually serves the national interest -- rather than simply rubberstamping appropriations and slinking away -- now presents itself. God bless the United States Congress.

Foreign affairs chair wants Syrian ambassador recalled - Seung Min Kim, politico.com: House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen released a statement Monday calling on the U.S. to recall the ambassador to Syria,

Robert Ford, while subtly digging President Barack Obama for appointing him during a congressional recess. Calling Ford’s recess appointment in December an “ill-advised overture,” the Florida Republican said Ford’s continued presence in Damascus only serves as fodder for propaganda by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Image from

How Obama Bungled The War In Libya: Former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton on how President Barack Obama’s handling of the conflict in Libya could leave Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi alive and empower Islamist elements within the Libyan opposition – Daily Beast

Taliban add song to the armory - Hejratullah Ekhtiyar, Asia Times: "I have a five-year-old son who doesn't listen to music, but he asks me to play the Taliban songs for him and then sings along with them," Dawlat Khan said. These "Taliban songs" are stored on Dawlat Khan's mobile phone. A resident of Nangarhar province in southeastern Afghanistan, he and his son have joined the growing band of fans of the songs and video clips produced by the insurgents. Much of the material is propaganda designed to stir up emotional support for the insurgents' war, especially among young people. Passed from hand to hand even among avowed enemies of the Taliban, the songs are capturing the popular imagination in ways that more overt appeals for support - from both the insurgents and the government - have failed to do.

Gaddafi spokesman says propaganda not slowing down - Washington Post: With the recent decision by the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant against Gaddafi, Allen Pizzey reports on the latest of the leader's propaganda effort in Libya. (CBS News video)

North Korea: propaganda cartoons reach kids - Emily Lodish, Global Post, newsday.com: In "Pencil Rocket," a young boy learns that he must studying hard, learn to use a protractor and fend off U.S. enemies. You better learn to use a protractor.

Or else you won't be able to fend off an attack by a fleet of U.S. military tanks. That's the message in this North Korean cartoon, "Pencil Rocket," made for the purpose of teaching kids how to use a protractor. Image from

Flotilla activists planning to kill Israeli soldiers, just propaganda? - Anissa Haddadi, uk.ibtimes.com: Israeli army sources told the Jerusalem Post on Monday night that new intelligence information obtained in recent days shows that participants of the flotilla planning to break Israel's sea blockade over the Gaza Strip later this week plan to kill Israeli Defence Forces soldiers who board their ships. The sources told the newspaper that some of the participants have prepared sacks with sulfur, which they plan to pour on the soldiers as they board the vessels. "This is a chemical weapon, and if poured on a soldier it can paralyze him," an IDF source told The Jerusalem Post Monday night. "If the sulfur

is then lit on fire, the soldier will light up like a torch." The information was obtained from closed meetings held by participants on the ships during which some voiced their intention to "murder Israeli soldiers," according to the IDF. In response to the IDF's statements, Dror Feiler, an Israeli participant on the upcoming flotilla, told Army Radio that the claims "are an attempt to justify in advance IDF violence." Image from article, with caption: Pro-Palestinian activists wave Palestinian flags during the welcoming ceremony for cruise liner Mavi Marmara at the Sarayburnu port of Istanbul December 26, 2010.

RT America Called “State Propaganda Channel” on BBC - verumserum.com

Belarusian TV bashes Medvedev (Video) - Charter 97: Belarusian TV (BT) has severely criticized Russia and Russia’s president Dmitry Medvedev. The tone of the propaganda programme was in striking contrast with Minsk’s dependence on Moscow to overcome the deep economic crisis, Russian BBC service reports. The Belarusian television said on Sunday evening why president Medvedev did not visit Brest on June 22, the 70th anniversary of the begging of the Great Patriotic War, and how Russian media and Russian business stand against Belarus. Analysts in Minsk say Russia was bashed in the style earlier applied only to the West and Belarusian opposition.

Television Travel and the Strange Beauty of Chinese TV: A former expat on what cartoons and propaganda films tell us about modern China—and how channel 32 always transports her back - theatlantic.com: In China, most of our channels

were controlled by the state-run CCTV, so propaganda was obvious. One, for example, showed villainous anti-Japanese World War II docudramas every single night, or so it seemed. And of course the news broadcasts were filled with stately images of President Hu and kindly images of "Grandfather" Wen. Sometimes, news just disappeared; foreign broadcasts would go abruptly off air, blocking what China considered sensitive segments about, say, Tiananmen or Tibet. Image from article

Gene Weingarten: How ‘branding’ is ruining journalism - Washington Post. We are slowly redefining our craft so it is no longer a calling but a commodity. From this execrable marketing trend arises the term you ask me about: “branding.” Via manIC

Washington Post Profiles Two OSS Women Agents - mclean.patch.com: Betty McIntosh, 96, and Doris Bohrer, 88, were among the few women who worked for the CIA in its infant years. In the early 1940s, Bohrer and McIntosh fell into jobs at the Office of Strategic Services, the nation’s first intelligence agency, created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and led by William “Wild Bill” Donovan, a Wall Street lawyer and World War I veteran.

They were among the rarest of operatives, women working overseas during World War II. In China, McIntosh, a “black propaganda” specialist, whipped up fake news stories to undermine the morale of the enemy — including an effort to convince the Japanese emperor’s soldiers that their wives were procreating with other men back home. Stationed in Italy, Bohrer analyzed aerial photographs of Germany, helping select sites to air drop and rescue OSS officers behind enemy lines. Image from


"Since 2006, athletics budgets at 219 Division I public schools have increased 22%, and subsidies — the part of the budget that comes from student fees and university money — have increased 26%."

--USA Today

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