Tuesday, September 27, 2011

September 27

"Вы не против, чтобы Путин снова стал президентом?
You are not against Putin again becoming president?

[ ] Да, не против     [ ] Yes, not against
[ ] Нет, не против [ ] No, not against "

--Russsian joke; via JM; Image: Maria Shtilmark shared Vladimir Ovcharenko's photo via Facebook


U.S. Domestic Politics and Public Diplomacy in Asia
 - Steven R. Corman, COMOPS: “[O]ur political problems in the U.S. aren’t just a domestic matter.

They have public diplomacy functions too. At the moment they are sending a very bad message about the U.S. and its viability as a world leader–at just the time, incidentally, when China is seen as ascendent."  Image from

Public Schedule for September 27, 2011 – U.S. Department of State: "ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS ANN STOCK 1:00 p.m. Assistant Secretary Stock delivers remarks at the East Asian and Pacific Affairs Deputy Chief of Mission and Management Officers Workshop, at the Department of State. (CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE) 2:00 p.m. Assistant Secretary Stock attends the farewell reception in honor of the Ambassador of the Republic of Iceland, Hjálmar Hannesson, hosted by Ambassador Marshall at Blair House. (CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)"

When the World Outlawed War‎ - The International News Magazine: "[A] public statement [in 1927 from Aristide Briand, the Foreign Minister of France ] .... proposed that the United States and France sign a treaty renouncing war.

This was public diplomacy at its most public. The Foreign Minister of France was proposing a treaty through the Associated Press. The only downside to such methods was that a response could not be required. And in fact, no response from the U.S. government was forthcoming." Briand image from

Netanyahu terms Erdogan comments 'outrageous, false'‎ - Herb Keinon, Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post: "Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman ... lashed out at Erdogan [Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogana] calling his administration 'a radical Islamic extremist leadership that supports and develops terror.' He mocked Erdogan’s accusations against Israel in media interviews during the United Nations General Assembly in New York. 'I saw Erdogan on CNN, and I think [his performance] was great for us,' Lieberman said. 'If I wanted to improve Israeli hasbara [public diplomacy], I would buy media outlets around the world and have Erdogan talk from morning until night.”

Correa on media and democracy in Latin America - exchangediplomacy.com: "On Friday, President Rafael Correa of Ecuador addressed a crowd of journalists, students, and academics at Columbia University in New York. His speech, entitled 'Vulnerable Societies: Media and Democracy in Latin America,' was delivered on the heels of an appeals court decision on September 20 to uphold a criminal libel conviction involving Correa. In February, the Ecuadorian newspaper El Universo published an opinion column titled 'NO a las mentiras' (NO to lies), which referred to Correa as a dictator and, as the president claims,

included unfounded information. The case, which led to a sentence of multi-million dollar fines and prison time for the writer and two newspaper directors, is one that Correa hopes will set a precedence for defamation in the country. ... During his speech at Columbia, Correa emphasized the need for preservation of honor in the press while still allowing freedom of expression. As he told the crowd, 'We live in a world where the media, with its media power, has tried to replace the Rule of Law with the Rule of Opinion.' From a public diplomacy standpoint, the Rule of Opinion and the need for free speech must be balanced." Image from

Thought it couldn’t get any worse than Solyndra? Now look who’s awarded $1.37 billion ‘stimulus’ for another risky solar plant - kleinonline.wnd.com: "Obama’s ambassador to France, Charles Rivkin, is a member of the PCIP ['Pacific Council on International Policy, a globalist organization whose members can be found throughout the Obama administration']. Last October, he invited a 29-member delegation from the PCIP to a conference in France, the stated purpose of which was to discuss Arab and Islamic relations in the country. Rivkin was at the center of a scandal when WikiLeaks released a cable in which he proposed the U.S. embassy in France initiate in multi pronged effort to 'engage' and help to 'empower' France’s Muslim minorities. Rivkin called the effort a 'Minority Engagement Strategy,' which was largely directed at Muslims in France.

Ernest James Wilson, a member of the PCIP board, was elected chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in September 2009. He served as a policy advisor on Obama’s presidential transition team on matters of communication technology and public diplomacy." Wilson image from


Is Pakistan Too Big to Fail? The country's generals behave with impunity because they believe the United States will always blink first - Sadanand Dhume, Wall Street Journal: As for the too-big-to-fail bluff, the U.S. should calmly inform Islamabad that nobody will be hurt more by a potential jihadist takeover than the army itself.

Panetta & Mullen’s Lesson For Pakistani Media - Aurangzeb, No American politician or journalist questioned the two men on the failures of US military and CIA. Everyone just focused on Pakistan, like a team. While no one questions US military and CIA in Washington, Pakistani media carries commentaries questioning and sometimes ridiculing the country’s core national security interests in the region. Some commentators have even openly endorsed American claims. [Some are doing this because they have been expressly funded by US government to influence Pakistani public opinion and media in covert ways.]

Major Pakistani newspapers often reproduce American media stories and statements that are of a propagandist nature without questioning them, using the same titles. This approach acts as a force multiplier for US government propaganda in Pakistan, all happening inadvertently, without design. Although Pakistani media is by and large nationalist during difficult times, it has failed to effectively counter the intense anti-Pakistan rhetoric of the US media since 2004, often reproducing American statements and claims without questions or fresh analysis. Washington’s success in demonizing Pakistan in world media since 2004 is not just a function of effective American propaganda, but also a result of the absence of robust Pakistani counter blitz. The Pakistani story, reasons, explanations, counter-arguments, have all been missing for too long. Image from article

Tomgram: Peter Van Buren, WikiLeaked at the State Department - Peter Van Buren, TomDispatch.com: Would anyone claim that there isn’t irony in the way the State Department regularly crusades for the rights of bloggers abroad in the face of all kinds of government oppression, crediting their voices for the Arab Spring, while going after one of its own bloggers [the author of this blog] at home for saying nothing that wasn’t truthful? Peter Van Buren spent a year in Iraq as a State Department Foreign Service Officer serving as Team Leader for two Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). Now in Washington, he writes about Iraq and the Middle East at his blog, We Meant Well.

Blogger Lu Van Bay serving four-year sentence - en.rsf.org: Reporters Without Borders condemns the continuing detention of

Lu Van Bay, a blogger who was sentenced on 22 August to four years in prison and three years of house arrest on a charge of anti-government propaganda under article 88 of the criminal code. He was not allowed access to a lawyer at his trial, which lasted just a few hours. Luv Van Bay image from article

Making “Good” Games for Change - gamingo.ro: Over the past two days, a heated and lively discussion has taken place on the listserv for Games for Change (G4C), the New York based non-profit focused on so-called “serious” and social impact games. While some have bickered, the majority of the advocates, academics, and game designers contributing to the conversation have offered well-meaning insight into the dilemma of uniformly supporting the painfully vague concept of a “game for change.” Games can both educate and indoctrinate. Indeed, we imbue all our cultural constructions with our own personal beliefs and ideologies, both intentionally and unintentionally. As one G4C member astutedly pointed out, “education is a political act.” The difference between persuasion and propaganda is a thin line, particularly when it comes to digital systems, that can all too easily hide their intent behind a shroud of “fun.”

App helps travelers speak in foreign languages: Program uses crowd-sourcing to improve translations - Reuters, msnbc.msn.com

Frank Miller's 'Holy Terror': A Propaganda Comic That Fights Faith Instead of Evil [Review] -
David Brothers, comicsalliance.com: "Frank Miller's post-9/11 propaganda comic Holy Terror has been through a few changes. In 2006, it was announced as Holy Terror, Batman!, and was due to be a piece of DC comic that pitted Batman, one of the most popular comic book heroes ever, against Al-Qaeda, perpetrators of 9/11 as well as other terrorist attacks all around the world. Miller's logic was that since Captain America and other heroes had punched out Hitler and killed Nazis during World War II, what we needed was a superhero to punch America's new enemy in the face. Partway through the story, Miller realized that he'd 'taken Batman as far as he can go,' and moved the story outside the DC Comics Universe. Batman became The Fixer, Dirty Harry in a costume, and the character who had been Catwoman became Natalie Stack, a cat burglar. Holy Terror is out this week, after five years of waiting and it's... complicated. Holy Terror is tough for me to wrap my head around, because propaganda is a tricky beast. It requires convincing everyone of the righteousness of your country's cause, turning your enemy into something other than you, and simplifying matters to an almost absurd level. In World War II, propaganda was easy. There was a clear enemy, notably the Nazis, who had committed clearly hateful crimes. And even then, the otherizing aspect of propaganda gave rise to a metric ton of racism and bigotry

, which was nonetheless seen as justified or even acceptable in the face of the atrocities that had been committed. So, a propaganda piece about Al-Qaeda, an entity that is fractured and spread all over the world, is a strange and possibly (probably) terrible thing. The conversation about terrorism and Al-Qaeda in the United States has too often drifted into a critique, or worse, of Islam itself. How do you define your villains as being Al-Qaeda first and Muslims second? Their beliefs are an integral part of their motivations and actions, but they don't represent Islam as a whole. Is it possible to walk that fine line without being offensive? I think that Al-Qaeda is as worthy of being fictionalized and turned into a comic book villain as any other real-life entity, but there's a very fine line to walk there. Without care, you run the risk of portraying Al-Qaeda not as a radical Islamist terrorist organization, but as representative of Muslims as a whole, a factually incorrect position. I personally benefitted greatly from the guidance or teachings of Muslim men and women as I grew up, so I'm always wary of conversations that are framed as 'Us versus Them,' where 'Us' is a nebulous notion of 'Americans' and 'Them' equates to 'Muslims,' because that is a false divide."


Monster burgers with big calories, USA Today:

And from: