Saturday, July 23, 2011

July 23

"Facebook et Twitter, j'ai horreur de ca." (Facebook and Twitter, I'm horrified by it.)

--Possible French presidential candidate Martin Aubry, from the Socialist Party, who recently opened a Twitter account; image from


US Public Diplomacy Goes "Twitting" - "While technology is changing the modalities of foreign policy, the essential question to ask is the degree to which the web (short of sabotage acts and spying) has an impact on the substance of foreign policy and its targeted domestic and foreign audiences. Given that the US diplomacy has gone 'Twitting' to keep up with tech changes in mass communications, it would be foolish to expect the rest of the world not to follow America's lead in public diplomacy as well as web spying, sabotage and espionage - cyber-missile that may be more effective than a ballistic one. 'Twitting' is a mechanism that allows foreign ministries to have instant response and to reach the world through the web on any issue, respond to any news or official publication, or promote any position to influence government policies,

commodity markets, financial markets, etc. Whether it comes to responding to Wikileaks revelations, reacting to the volatile sociopolitical situations in Haiti and Tunisia, or trying to promote Hu Jintao's state visit, the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs has the web at his disposal as yet another tool of public diplomacy within the larger ISA structure. The beauty in 'Twitting' is that any government using it can claim that it is employing a 'democratic' process, intended to be 'open' with the public. ... In the age of high tech mass communications, the 'Twitting' is not merely a new tool, but a new religion designed to capture peoples' hearts and minds. The question is for whose ultimate benefit is this new 'Twitting' religion working, and does it have any traces of 'democracy'?" Image from

Campus Ministry Drops 'Christ' From Name - FOX report posted at "One of the nation’s most prominent Christian ministries has decided to take Christ out of its name – a move that has generated cries of political correctness from within the evangelical community. Campus Crusade for Christ International announced this week that it will change the name of its U.S. Operations to 'Cru' in early 2012. ... [Comment by] Ancalagon Habitual Linestepper: If you think 'Cru' is bad, how about MISO? We changed our name to Military Information Support Operations in order to gain us easier access to areas we want to operate in.

Both foreign governments and the a significant portion of the State Department (over half our MOS works out of embassies wearing suits) were turned off by the name Psychological Operations. The name change has helped us perform our mission of being the public diplomacy arm of the US Government. If a name change helps you get shit done, you change your damn name and drive on. Not seeing the problem here." Ancalagon Habitual Linestepper image from entry

The US Government Opportunity Costs For Fighting The Global War On Terror - "Suggested military expenditures to heighten success of global war on terror Venture No. Venture Costs (billion of US dollars)...10 18 Increase public diplomacy 0.78 (Pan et al, 2008)"

Somalia: Al-Shabaab Should Not Block Humanitarian Aid, U.S. Says - Charlene Porter, "The United States, the United Nations and other partners in the international community stand ready to help an estimated 3 million or more Somalis who are suffering from famine, but the anti-Western terrorist group al-Shabaab on July 22 tried to deny the existence of food shortages and announced it will resume a ban on assistance from the international community that has been in place since January 2010. ... 'I think this brutal and senseless decision shows al-Shabaab's true colors," said Bruce Wharton,

deputy assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy in the State Department's Bureau of African Affairs. 'They will continue to wage war against the people of Somalia even as the United States and the international community seek to provide food, medicine and other humanitarian assistance.' Wharton and other U.S. officials provided these details at a July 22 briefing at the Foreign Press Center in Washington." Wharton image from

Deadly attacks hit UMNO leaders could not see past their Sinful actions End of UMNO is GOOD is Good for Malays - "According to a Wikileaks transcript released by Malaysia Today, US Ambassador to Malaysia James Keith told Washington that Umno leaders could not see past their actions. ... [From the Keith cable:] For the time being, we should continue to press hard the bilateral initiatives currently underway as these are tied directly to profound U.S. interests and support the development of a more transparent and accountable set of systems in Malaysian government and society. As we begin to develop our public diplomacy programs for the coming fiscal year, we will seek to give pride of place to the rule of law. ... If the authorities are able to get through the next several months without doing fatal damage to the rule of law in Malaysia, I hope the public diplomacy dimension of our bilateral ties will take on a decidedly more legal and judicial cast."

VOA labeled as "propaganda mouthpiece" and (same day) "official broadcasting service of the USG" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Cambodian PM denounces VOA and Radio Free Asia, put praises Radio France International - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

RFE/RL reporter fined in Belarus, another warned in Turkmenistan (updated) - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

The ICD, Berlin, Announces Call for Applications to a Series of Intercultural Relation Events - Mark Donfried, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy (ICD), posted at "The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy (ICD) is an international, not-profit, non-governmental organization with headquarters in Berlin, Germany, whose goal is to promote global peace and stability by strengthening and supporting intercultural relations at all levels."

Image from article, with caption: Traditional Rwandan Dance at ICD The Berlin International Congress (Berlin 9th-12th March, 2011)

Web 2.0 is a "fait accompli" in France. But what about the French version of Gov 2.0? - Yaron Gamburg, small talk 2.0: Israeli diplomat talking about public diplomacy, social media and what is in between - Public Diplomacy 2.0: "'France succumbed to Twitter' - this is today's headline in one of the most popular French newspaper 'Le Parisien.' Two million French are using Twitter as of today. This number is nothing compared to the true success of Facebook on the French soil.

Half (!) of the population in France are using the biggest social network in the world. The success of social media in France is undoubted. ... [But] the [F]rench ministries (with some rare exceptions), state and public employees, representatives of local government still haven't discovered Gov 2.0 - the idea that the modern government could - and even should - use the social media to improve its services and to have direct dialogue with citizens. The idea that social media could be incorporated into the functioning of the government is far from being explored and conceptualized. One of the rare examples is the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs that opened an official Twitter account." Gamburg image from his blog

Murdoch’s News Corporation scrambles to defend its media interests in Australia - Patrick O’Connor, World Socialist Web Site: "Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation is engaged in a frenzied defence of its media interests in Australia in the wake of the News of the World phone hacking scandal. ... Murdoch is currently attempting to secure permission to take over rival pay-television network Austar, and is pressuring the Labor government to approve its [his?] bid for control of the Australian Network, a publicly-funded broadcaster that airs in Asia and the South Pacific. Both proposals are now in doubt as a result of the phone hacking affair. ... In an extraordinary speech delivered two years ago, ABC chief executive Mark Scott bluntly asserted the need for the Australia Network to serve Canberra’s interests in the region. 'Both Australia Network and Radio Australia represent a significant public investment in public diplomacy objectives,' he declared. 'When you look at the expansion of international broadcasting as an arm of soft diplomacy, governments are using their public broadcasters to do this work. You shouldn’t outsource your diplomatic efforts.'”

Communications + Marketing - "To showcase Copenhagen’s bicycle culture, Copenhagenize Consulting, in association with the Danish Foreign Ministry’s Public Diplomacy Office,

created a photo exhibition called Monumental Motion to travel the world." Image from

Thoughtful Khan aspires to unify titles, cultures - "The relationship between sport and religion is sometimes shamefully close, a truth that over time might define how American boxing fans view the fighter known as King Khan. He is the world's best 140-pounder whose fight against Zab Judah tonight at Mandalay Bay Events Center will unify the WBA and IBF junior welterweight titles. ... This is the third time Khan has fought in America and the second in Las Vegas. He beat Marcos Maidana at Mandalay Bay in December in a 12-round unanimous decision that some labeled 'Fight of the Year.' Barely 4,000 were in attendance, and many of those traveled from England. Tickets remain for tonight's fight. Amir Khan is far from a sure thing at the box office here. How much does public diplomacy matter when choosing which sports standouts to support? Has the memory of 9/11 left such a profound effect that many Americans would find it hard to cheer for Khan as they have another foreign talent in Manny Pacquiao?"

Romania's Ambassador on Her Love of Ribs, Cherries, Adour - "Ambassador Simona-Mirela Miculescu

has had an impressive and varied diplomatic career. Prior to her appointment as Permanent Representative of Romania to the UN, she was the Director of the Department for Communication and Public Diplomacy within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs."

Turkey FM personally calls ambassadors about their new assignments - "Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has personally called Turkish ambassadors

on Friday night and informed them about their new assignments. ... Deputy Undersecretary in charge of Public Diplomacy, Selim Yenel, was appointed as Turkey's new EU Permanent Representative." Uncaptioned image from article

Current Event-Mike McLean - "I’m not implying that political campaigns and politicians employee a vast unit of in-house designers, just that people on their staffs have some exposure to design elements and can work knowledgeably with contracted design firms. The only way to avoid blunders ... is to hire and cross train your organization’s employees in design related principles. That is why I’m glad that my program, Public Diplomacy, makes its students take more technical course such as GRA 617 so that we have the exposure and skills necessary to navigate the growing world of design. Most of the students in the Public Diplomacy will not go into technical fields, however the skills we are gaining ... will provide us with a more robust and well rounded education, which we can utilize in our future careers."

British Embassy Beijing is seeking Deputy Head of Communications and Head of Campaigns - "The Communications Team is responsible for coordinating all public-facing aspects of the network of UK Embassies and Consulates in China. The Head of Campaigns will have a key role in driving forward the UK’s ‘soft power’ efforts in China. The successful candidate will be responsible for devising,

designing and delivering public diplomacy projects that support the UK’s messages. The jobholder will be tasked with coming up with ideas that engage and influence our target audiences. This role requires the jobholder to apply public relations and marketing principles to country-to-country engagement." Image from


Propaganda offensive against Pakistan - Muhammad Jamil, There is a perception that in the event Pakistan withdraws from the war on terror, the US can then cobble together international force on the basis of concocted stories, lies and ruses the way it had done in the case of Iraq. The US and western media had unleashed propaganda that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, stockpiles of biological and chemicals weapons, and had imported uranium from Nigeria. After destroying its infrastructure and killing thousands of Iraqis, it admitted that there were none. And the objective was to rid the Iraqis from dictator Saddam Hussein. Anyhow, there are no two opinions that security of its nuclear assets is a top priority for Pakistan, and to guard against any untoward incident leading to security lapse would be a matter of life and death for the state.

Pakistan raises issue of Dr Fai with State Department - Government of Pakistan has formally raised the issue of arrest of Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, executive director of the US-based NGO Kashmir American Council, and negative propaganda against

Pakistan in this regard with the US State Department. Fai was arrested in Virginia earlier this week for allegedly funnelling at least four million dollars from Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI into American political activities with the aim of influencing American policy on the Kashmir issue. Image from article

Puppets in Revolt: Afghanistan , Iraq , Pakistan and the United States - James Petras, The events of 9/11/2001 were thoroughly exploited to launch sequential wars of colonial conquest. In the name of a “word wide military crusade against terrorism,” plans were made, massive funds were allocated and a mass media propaganda blitz was launched, to justify a series of colonial wars.

Thoughts of an American Warrior - Roger Cohen, New York Times: A century after World War I, a half-century after Vietnam, a decade of Afghanistan, the United States is at a military turning-point. Think drones not divisions on the ground. But it is still at war.

Cartoon conflict: With films about current wars dying at the box office, Hollywood churns out jingoistic sci-fi caricatures of combat. The good guys always triumph - bloodlessly - Tirdad Derakhshani, Philadelphia Inquirer: It's wartime in America. It has been for a decade, but as critics have pointed out, you wouldn't know it at the multiplex. Films about the war on terror have been few and far between. Audiences didn't exactly flock to theaters for World Trade Center (2006), Rendition (2007), Green Zone (2010) or Fair Game (2011). Our leaders told us to mobilize and make sacrifices during WWII, and Hollywood inspired us with exciting, patriotic, propaganda-rich pics such as Destination Tokyo (1943), A Guy Named Joe (1943), and even 1942's Casablanca. Today's politicians seem to prefer the war to be as unobtrusive as possible. (A lesson learned from Vietnam, which was all too visible on the nightly news.) For the most part, Hollywood has followed suit.

But that doesn't mean that hawkish propaganda films no longer exist. They've just undergone a cartoonish, sci-fi makeover. Instead of Raoul Walsh's 1945 Objective, Burma!, we have Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Battle: Los Angeles; Skyline; and Falling Skies. American viewers increasingly see war depicted only in fantasy-soaked films that often glorify violence in the name of a crude, blind form of jingoism. Image from

“Captain America” and Hollywood Propaganda - Russia Today: The stars, the stripes and the shield – Americana of questionable taste at its best. The comic book hero created at the dawn of the Second World War– Captain America is back – costume-clad and ferocious. Back then – the hero provided an extra boost at a time of pride and strength for the US. “America is kind of like an old athlete standing in front of its saggy trophy case, his paunch going over, remembering his old glory,” said poet and philosopher Phil Rockstroh. Meant to lure youth into the “magic of war” back then, could propaganda still be the Cap’s purpose today? “Now, it’s so sophisticated that you don’t always realize it, because of the audience’s tastes. They don’t like tricks ranging from way to obvious product placement all the way to up to propaganda,” said Megan Angelo, entertainment editor at the Business Insider.

Getting Kadafi to leave is Libya's best option: With Moammar Kadafi holding out despite NATO bombing and rebel successes, a negotiated settlement of the conflict would be in the best interests of the Libyan people - Editorial,

China's news service to Africa may not be "propaganda-free," but it is cheaper than the competition - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "'Propaganda-free' is a stretch, but the writer does have a point. African news outlets may be tempted to subscribe to Xinhua because it is much cheaper than Reuters or AP. Xinhua content is certainly more news-like than Pravda of the Cold War era. But propaganda can be accomplished in more subtle way. Some newsworthy topics can be ignored. Other subjects can receive more attention than is warranted. Certain details can be left out of the stories that are transmitted. And it is interesting how similar Xinhua stories are to Reuters stories that are issued a few hours earlier."

China censors reaction to star-studded propaganda film - The creators of "Beginning of the Great Revival," a new film about the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, have spared no expense to make it a popular success. Done in a popular Chinese soap opera style, the movie features more than 100 stars, along with leading directors and producers. Then, the government enlisted information authorities to wipe out negative news coverage, according to international media reports.

The Central Propaganda Department ordered media outlets not to publish negative reviews of the film, the U.S.-based China Digital Times reported. The movie review site douban and theater ticketing site Mtime disabled online ratings and reviews for the film after the majority posted were negative, according to PC World. Ratings of the film's 2009 companion, "The Founding of a Republic," remained visible on the sites, although averaging only around 6 out of 10. Image from article, with caption: In Shanghai, a promotional poster for "Revival."

It Speaks to Me: Sam Durant on a 1953 Cold War poster at the Wende Museum in Culver City - This Soviet propaganda poster from 1953 depicts an American child looking at a sign that says “school closed.”

It shows America as a sort of crumbling, Third World-looking country, very dark and ominous — probably close to the way we thought of Russia at the time.


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