Thursday, September 29, 2011

September 29

"As a veteran of World War 2, I know propaganda when I see it. ... Trust me."

--Gene Glarson, letter to the editor to; image from


Thank you, Admiral Mullen!‎ - Shamshad Ahmad, South Asian News Agency: "Coercive and sometimes accusatory and slanderous approaches towards Pakistan, its armed forces and security agencies have been counterproductive and have only fuelled anti-Americanism. Any perceptional differences could have been sorted out through mutual dialogue channels, not through media or military-led public diplomacy. There is something fundamentally wrong with US public diplomacy when it comes to Pakistan. Our most distinguished frequent diplomatic interlocutors from Washington are not State Department officials but hardcore senior officials and military commanders from the Pentagon and the CIA. Leon Panetta, Admiral Mike Mullen,

Gen Petraeus, and the likes of Bruce Reidel are now the ones calling ‘diplomatic’ shots when it comes to Pakistan. Ambassador Munter, poor he, is standing on the margins caught in this most undiplomatic CIA-led militarist volley against Pakistan. It is time to correct this approach lest the mastless US public diplomacy leads to total alienation of this country and its 180 million people. Indeed, since 9/11, it is the US military or the CIA that communicates with foreign audiences, at times through missiles and drone attacks. American diplomacy in Pakistan, in particular, is a classic manifestation of this approach. According to a veteran US diplomat, this 'mission creep' has gone way out of hand. Pentagon-led US public diplomacy is a dismal failure. Never in our history did we have so much public resentment against US policies and behaviour. Critics all around, Washington insiders and the public beyond the Beltway, members of both major political parties, even America’s friends abroad, all recognise that US public diplomacy has had a great fall. A number of separate studies, reports and findings on American diplomacy prepared by academic groups and non-governmental commissions endorse this conclusion. The common theme in these reports is that the US now has totally different priorities in the world. US image-building is now left to the Pentagon, leaving very little to non-military institutions for articulation of America’s 'ideas and ideals' overseas and advance its foreign policy goals. Instead of continuing with the lamentable 'blame game' using Pakistan as an easy 'scapegoat' for their own failures in this war, the US and its allies must accept the reality that for Pakistan, Afghanistan is an area of fundamental strategic importance. ... The problem is not the US-Pakistan relationship. The problem is its poor and shortsighted management on both sides. For Washington, it remains a transactional relationship. On our [Pakistani] side, this relationship has been used by our inept rulers solely as their political and economic crutches, and for their self-serving notorious deals. It is time to make this relationship a normal relationship based on mutuality rather than one-sided transactions, conditionality-based aid packages or notorious deals impinging on this country’s sovereign independence and dignity. ... The writer is a former foreign secretary."  Image from

Reinvigorating the US–Thailand Alliance‎ - Walter Lohman, "With the Cold War long over, no Vietnam or Korean War to fight, a rising China that represents both a challenge and an opportunity, and a changed regional balance that presages a closer relationship between the U.S. and Vietnam, what the U.S.–Thai security alliance needs is not strategic context, but rescaled, vigorous cooperation.

The U.S. and Thailand should expand their relationship to fully enable a new era of security cooperation, trade, promotion of shared values, and public diplomacy cooperation, building on the U.S. embassy’s role as a nexus for regional relations. The U.S. needs to take stock of the vast pattern of cooperation already underway and engage in a sustained policy dialogue at multiple levels of government—including the highest—to make the best use of it." Image from

Public Schedule for September 29, 2011 - Public Schedule, Office of the Spokesperson, U.S. Department of State: ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS ANN STOCK "9:00 a.m. Assistant Secretary Stock delivers remarks via digital video conference to public affairs foreign service officers serving in the African Affairs Bureau who are meeting at the Department of State. (CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE) 2:00 p.m. Assistant Secretary Stock attends a selection committee meeting for the Department of State’s Achievement in Corporate Excellence awards, at the Department of State. (CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE) 5:00 p.m. Assistant Secretary Stock attends the swearing-in ceremony for Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Dave Adams, at the Department of State. (MEDIA DETERMINED BY HOST)"

Diplomacy, Journalism, and the New Media – Part I - Daryl Copeland, Guerilla Diplomacy: "The elemental qualities of immediacy and interactivity that characterize Internet-based communications are particularly evident in the explosive growth of blogs and blogging. While not quite the equivalent of face-to-face contact, blogs represent something much closer to “live” conditions than the publication of documents posted on static Web sites. These attributes make blogs especially effective at breaking down cultural barriers. Bloggers from Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East have brought the human toll of those conflicts to desktops around the globe: executions have been streamed live on anti-occupation sites, and the Abu Ghraib prison pictures spread faster than Seymour Hersh’s writing in The New Yorker could ever be distributed.

Those images effectively branded the US presence in Iraq, and turned Bush-era public diplomacy into something akin to mission impossible. In the wake of developments such as these, it is not entirely surprising that Rand Corporation analysts recommended that the US military try Madison Avenue Internet marketing techniques to win hearts and minds in Iraq and Afghanistan. The most innovative, technologically sophisticated public diplomacy, however, will never be enough to compensate for failed policy. What a country does will always have more impact than what it says, and when those two dimensions diverge, the resulting “say-do gap” can have a devastating impact on international credibility, reputation and influence. In part as a result, the image and reputation of the USA in much of the Arab and Islamic world is today as bad, or even worse that was the case five years ago." Image from

Number three in NYC‎ - Editorial, Jakarta Post: "So much for our public diplomacy. When the Indonesia mission’s offices in New York City renege on paying parking fines and instead simply rake up the bills, what does it really say about the nation’s reputation abroad? The Foreign Ministry has been working hard and has succeeded in crafting Indonesia’s image as the third-largest democracy in the world, the largest democracy in a Muslim-majority nation and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono never tires in reminding us that as a member of the G20, Indonesia ranks among the 20 largest economies in the world. New Yorkers aren’t impressed. As far as they are concerned, Indonesia is the third largest offender of the city’s parking rules. This year, up until July, it had collected US$725,000 in parking fines, behind Egypt with $1.9 million and Nigeria with $1 million."


Sex and the Single Drone: The Latest in Guarding the Empire - Tom Engelhardt, Tom.Dispatch: When we build those bases on that global field of screams, when we send our armadas of drones out to kill, don’t be surprised if the rest of the world doesn’t see us as the good guys or the heroes, but as terminators.

It’s not the best way to make friends and influence people, but once your mindset is permanent war, that’s no longer a priority. It’s a scream, and there’s nothing funny about it. Image from

Trapped in Guantanamo: While once it was the conditions at the prison that were cause for concern, today it's the fact that scores of prisoners cleared for transfer remain in custody - Joseph Margulies, Conditions at Guantanamo are vastly superior to those at any maximum-security prison on the U.S. mainland. The military deserves the credit for improvements

at the prison, not the Obama administration. The whole truth is that the prison remains a disaster. While the great moral bankruptcy of the base was once its conditions, today it is the shameful fact that scores of prisoners who have been cleared for transfer by two administrations remain in custody. Image from article, with caption: The two Americans released this month by Iran have reported that when they complained about conditions in their Tehran prison, the jailers would "immediately remind us of comparable conditions at Guantanamo Bay."

The Defense Contractors of Islam‎ - Daniel Greenfield, FrontPage Magazine: The defense contractors of Islam have not only wormed their way deep into the national security infrastructure, often under false pretenses, but then, after sucking up

taxpayer money through defense contracts, they have turned around and used that money to fund Muslim groups tied to the Muslim Brotherhood and propaganda films featuring some of the same Islamic clerics whose disciples are trying to murder American soldiers on and off the battlefield. Image from article

Ahmadinejad Dismisses Propaganda Campaign against Iran as "Futile" - Fars News Agency: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stressed growing support for Iran among the world nations, and added that enemies' media and propaganda campaign against Tehran has and will fail to yield any result. Addressing a gathering of the war disabled in Tehran on Wednesday evening, Ahmadinejad said that today many nations of the world are supporting and standing right beside the just cause of the Iranian nation. He pointed to the enemies' negative and fabricated news on Iran, and noted, "The West's non-stop media campaign and propaganda against the Iranian nation and revolution will produce no effect."

Information Warfare: The Air War Over North Korea‎ - Hans Johnson, Strategy Page: North Korean refugees, operating from South Korea, have led the psyops (psychological warfare) effort against North Korea in recent years. They started shortwave radio transmissions with U.S. government funding and launched helium balloons loaded with DVDs and leaflets. The South Korean government had halted its official propaganda as part of an agreement with the North in 2004. But the torpedoing of a South Korean warship and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island last year changed all that. The South Korean military has jumped in with both feet. The Joint Chiefs of Staff established a psyops unit.

It resumed transmissions of the Voice of Freedom, an FM propaganda network. Voice of Freedom is produced in Seoul and then relayed via the military’s Mungunghwa 5 satellite to six FM transmitters along the DMZ. Programs include plenty of pop music in the popular (in North Korea) “trot” style. The station plans to expand to AM, a better choice as there are few FM receivers in North Korea. The military has joined the dissidents in distributing leaflets via balloons. Five ton trucks with printers aboard can produce up to 80,000 leaflets a day. The trucks receive the design and layout of a particular leaflet via a roof-top satellite dish. The leaflets are chosen from a database of 1,300 that are jointly produced by American and South Korean psyoperators. There can be as many as three launches a month if the wind and weather are right. A new leaflet is tried each month. Some South Korean lawmakers have objected to the military targeting North Korean civilians, but the effort continues. Another outlet is loudspeakers. Four have been set up in the DMZ. Measuring 4 by 3 meters, they can be heard 12 kilometers away during the day and twice as far at night. Each cost about $165,000. But they have yet to be turned on as North Korea threatened to shell any speaker that starts broadcasting. Image from

North Korea threatens to fire at loudspeakers‎ - South Korea says it is boosting its military presence at the demilitarized zone to thwart a possible assault by North Korea on propaganda loudspeakers.

Yonhap News Agency said South Korea has resumed its anti-Pyongyang propaganda operations after a six-year moratorium but has yet to resume using the loudspeakers. Image from article, with caption: North Korea has threatened to fire at the loudspeakers if they are returned to use. This undated Department of Defense photo shows a sign in the Demarcation Line (MDL) separating North and South Korea.

EuU Lessons In Schools Are Propaganda Not Education - Express.Co.UK: Not content with forcing British buildings (on pain of a fine) to fly the EU flag on Europe Day, Brussels is now determined to foist compulsory “European citizenship” lessons on our school children. Five‑year-olds will be taught the so‑called “benefits” of the EU. This is indoctrination pure and simple. It is outrageous that a non‑critical view of the EU should be the orthodoxy. Teach children about it by all means but give them the facts about the ongoing debate over federalism and the superstate.

Retiring Abroad? Making a list and checking it thrice. They will find out who's naughty or nice- John C. Dyer, UK correspondent, Whirled View

Bomb at Illinois Islamic Center Turns Out To Be Burned Qurans, Hate Propaganda - Chad Garrison, A bomb scare inside a mosque north of Centralia, Illinois, yesterday is now being investigated as a hate crime.

Central Illinois' WJBD radio reports that a church member found a box in the bushes outside the center and brought it inside thinking it was a donation for the food bank. Soon other church members grew suspicious of the package and called authorities who, in turn, called in the bomb squad. Some 25 nearby residents were evacuated from the scene as the bomb squad used a water cannon to blast open the package. It's contents? Burned Qurans, anti-Islamic propaganda and newspaper clippings.

Soviet propaganda at Polasek Museum - Matthew J. Palm, Orlando Sentinel: "Darker Shades of Red," on view at the Albin Polasek Museum in Winter Park, provides a rare opportunity to revisit the Cold War era through the exploration of the Soviet Union's official imagery.

Strikingly graphic in its socialist imagery, the collection of posters and assorted ephemera reveals the economic, social and political ideology of the Soviet Union from the 1940s to 1991. The idea of freedom was vitally important to Polasek, the Czech-born sculptor who emigrated to the United States and fell in love with its concept of democracy. The museum is named for him as it's located on the grounds of his retirement home. Image from article, with caption: "Leninism, Our Banner," is from 1982. (Albin Polasek Museum)

Lumiere Gallery Fall Exhibitions: Photography As Propaganda - [Announcement; no text]

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