Friday, October 28, 2011

October 28

"Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it."

--André Gide (1869 - 1951); image from


An American Virtual Embassy in Tehran? - Javad Rad, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "In a clear act of public diplomacy, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared on BBC Persian this week to engage the network's Iranian audience on a range of issues regarding the state of relations between Iran and America. ... Throughout her remarks, she brought up one eye-catching idea, an American virtual embassy in Tehran, which could be regarded as the most recent initiative of the Obama administration to communicate with Iranians. Such a concept appears to be noble at first glance, especially when one acknowledges the fact that the United States has had no official embassy in Iran for more than three decades now.

But there are some serious questions about the possibility and responsibility of such an embassy which, if not clarified, would downgrade the initiative into simply yet another international information program of the State Department. ... The Obama administration has, in fact, used Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and other networking devices to win the hearts and minds of Iranians. Secretary Clinton's American virtual embassy in Tehran, despite its glamorous name, appears to be yet another public diplomacy enterprise. If it fails to perform the traditional duties of an embassy, it would be very much like, a State Department project launched during the Bush administration but which soon failed to achieve its goals. It remains to be seen whether the American virtual embassy in Tehran will face the same music." Image from

What If Davey Crockett Skipped The Alamo? - JustOneMinute: [Comment by Captain Hate:] "Steyn has an amusing take on the whole bibliophilic

attempt at public diplomacy [Marc Steyn, Bulk-Ordering While Rome Burns, 'The dwindling band of federal taxpayers will be heartened to discover that its hard-earned dollars are not merely being sluiced to green start-ups to build unwanted eco-cars in Finland or used to buy guns for Mexican drug cartels to kill large numbers of people. They’re also being deployed to stimulate the publishing industry by purchasing huge numbers of the president’s books at public expense to give away to all the new friends America has around the world.'] Shades of Jim Wright." Image from

U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (Meeting Announcement for California) - International Law Prof Blog: "The U.S. Department of State announced a meeting of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy to discuss what narratives are, how they are shaped, and how they are countered; also, the conference will delve into the impact on narratives of actions and words and the impact of environmental factors. The meeting will be November 29, 2011, 9 am, the RAND Offices, 1176 Main Street, Santa Monica, California."

PB #5 – A Trip to the State Department – Natalie Phillips, "On Wednesday our class visited the State Department. I found the trip to be very enlightening and inspiring. A public diplomacy officer by the name of Aaron Snipes gave us our briefing. He specializes in the Near East region, which encompasses what we consider the Middle East. He was very informative and obviously enthusiastic about his job. He was very thorough, well spoken, and answered our questions very thoughtfully. It was a pleasure to be given the opportunity to hear what he had to say. I believe he possessed numerous qualities needed to be an effective diplomat.

You could tell he genuinely cared about all the topics he was addressing and he communicated very effectively. Mr. Snipes was very personable and it was interesting to hear his own story and not just cut and dry facts in the form of some lecture before he moved on to the next group of people waiting to speak with him. Being a diplomat it is important that you can communicate with all types of people and it was obvious that he was very capable of that. I thoroughly enjoyed this trip and I would love to meet more people like him." Image from "When freedom's not free at the State Department," by Peter Van Buren,

US drone base in Ethiopia is operational‎ - Craig Whitlock, Washington Post: "The Air Force has been secretly flying armed Reaper drones on counterterrorism missions from a remote civilian airport in southern Ethi­o­pia as part of a rapidly expanding U.S.-led proxy war

against an al-Qaeda affiliate in East Africa, U.S. military officials said. ... Last month, the Ethio­pian Foreign Ministry denied the presence of U.S. drones in the country. On Thursday, a spokesman for the Ethio­pian embassy in Washington repeated that assertion. 'That’s the government’s position,' said Tesfaye Yilma, the head of public diplomacy for the embassy. 'We don’t entertain foreign military bases in Ethi­o­pia." Image from article

Mongols Georgia - Asian Economist: "[T]he Georgian government cherishes the hope of dismembering Russia through the promotion of a so-called First Caucasian channel. He are reported to the media, will begin broadcasting in the republic of North Kavkazv from the first days or weeks of the coming year. ... Representatives of the Georgian opposition leaders are warning one day, the results of this "propaganda" would be to Georgia unenviable, and offered to give up the idea. But things are there. Well, the Georgian society more clearly imagine what is happening with the leadership, and where lie the sources of all political evils. In 2010 this regard would be largely determinative. Suffice it to say, especially about the favor of public opinion for public diplomacy and its efforts to establish ties with Moscow."

The Battle for Hearts and Minds: Using Soft Power to Undermine Terrorist Networks (Washington Quarterly Readers) Overview - Posted by songsa at Criminal Law: "Although military operations have dominated media coverage of the war on terrorism, a much broader array of policy options may hold the key to reducing the appeal of global terrorist networks, particularly in economically destitute areas. These strategies involve the use of 'soft power,' a term first used by political scientist Joseph Nye in a 1990 article in Foreign Policy to describe nonmilitary strategies to shape international relations and behavior. The Battle for Hearts and Minds discusses four aspects of soft power.

The first section of the book considers failed or failing states as havens for transnational terrorist networks, and examines the most effective ways to build stable nations in unstable regions, including focused looks at Afghanistan and Sierra Leone. The second section explores postconflict reconstruction, including in-depth examinations of security, justice and reconciliation, opportunities for achieving socioeconomic well-being, and increased participation in government. The third section examines public diplomacy, asking whether the United States needs new policies or simply a new image to increase its appeal in the Arab and Muslim world. The final section of the book looks at foreign assistance, and assesses the potential of the current administration's 'Millennium Challenge Account' (or as one contributor puts it, 'Compassionate Conservatism Meets Global Poverty') to combat poverty, increase democracy, and reduce the appeal of terror. The Battle for Hearts and Minds presents a balanced assessment of the role that nonmilitary options can play against transnational terrorist networks." Image from article

Oh that "Soft Power" - Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos: Now that I'm half-way through Nye's Future Of Power, and successfully completed his not-so-new sections on soft power and public diplomacy, I cannot help but think back - yet again - to good old Gramsci and his all-important concept of hegemony. ... The resemblance of hegemony to the concept of soft power is more than just striking. Nye - of course - sees this critique coming and attempts to refute this suggestion, claiming that hegemony is about coercion, while soft power is about attraction and free will (pp. 87-90). And yet, it seems Nye is distorting the very meaning of hegemony, which - at its core - refers to the projection of an actor's own way of seeing the world over others through means that are not necessarily coercive. Therefore, hegemony can involve 'free will', with the 'free' component (relative in this case) being engineered through the actor power. In short, Nye is walking a very fine line between hegemony and soft power, all over again, being in denial all along."

Engaging the Arab World through Social Diplomacy by Rianne van Doeveren - email from Ms. A.C. Molenaar, MA, Head Library and Documentation Centre, Institute Clingendael: "As the winds of change sweep through the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Western governments need to reconsider their public diplomacy strategies in order to jump through this window of opportunity and improve their relationships with the people, not just with governing elites and their associates. This Clingendael Paper aims to contribute to this goal by addressing the challenges and opportunities for Western countries in the light of current fundamental shifts. For public diplomacy to be legitimate and effective, the paper argues, it has to serve a broader purpose than narrow national interests.

This has become most apparent in the Arab world, where the West needs public diplomacy most but where it finds it hardest to pursue. Meanwhile, new actors, most notably from civil society, have emerged on the scene. They have proven much more effective in fostering relationships, containing crises and improving mutual understanding in a process that can be called social diplomacy. This paper takes the first steps in combining public and social diplomacy approaches in a customized approach to the MENA region, as much by conceptual clarification as by making recommendations for Western governments. This online paper can be downloaded for free at
Image from, with caption: The Clingendael Security and Conflict Programme (CSCP)

PlayhouseSquare Honors Broadway Producer Margo Lion - "PlayhouseSquare honored Broadway producer Margo Lion with its highest award, The PlayhouseSquare

Star Award for Achievement in the Performing Arts, at its annual Chairman's Dinner on Tuesday night. ... Read more: Lion ... serves on ... the Advisory Committee for the Public Diplomacy Collaborative at Harvard."


Hillary Clinton and the Limits of Power - Massimo Calabresi, Time: Hillary Clinton argues in our cover story this week, now available online to subscribers, that America is not so much in decline as adjusting to a world of increasingly diffuse power, where like-minded networked individuals, non-governmental organizations and other non-traditional global actors may steer events as much as great power capitals.

Clinton lays out “smart power” strategies for protecting and advancing U.S. interests in that new non-polar world. We argue that Clinton is something of an expert at coming up with strategies for maximizing limited power given her life experiences, including being a First Lady with high visibility but little official swat, and a Secretary of State in the administration of her former rival, President Obama, who makes the final call on most major foreign policy and national security decisions with a small group of aides at the White House—and without Clinton. Image from article. Via LB

The continuing need for a strong NATO - Tom Donilon, Washington Post: The demise of Moammar Gaddafi — and the liberation of the Libyan people from more than 40 years of tyranny — demonstrates the powerful forces for change that are reshaping the Arab world. It also highlights the unique and irreplaceable value of U.S. leadership of strong alliances.

Naked, Bloody Imperialism Or "We Came, We Saw, He Died" - Joe Quinn, OpEdNews: Among the many comments we have read and received on the alleged death of Gaddafi, the one most often repeated goes something like this: 'Gaddafi was a brutal dictator who deserved what he got'. The widely-held belief (at least in Western nations) that Gaddafi was a 'brutal dictator' is the result of over 30 years of (primarily) US, British and French propaganda against the former Libyan leader.

The reasons for this long-running propaganda campaign are many, but chief among them is the fact that Gaddafi was not only fiercely independent as regards his native land, but he persistently sought to bring financial independence to other African nations. Image from article, with caption: Libya's new 'pro-Western' leaders

Disgusting LA Times Propaganda - Michael S. Rozeff, The headline says that "Kadafi's Hidden Riches Astound." It mentions more than $200 billion. Much further down, it mentions Libya's sovereign wealth funds, but it still insinuates that these investments were for personal purposes. This is ridiculous, since these investment authorities and the investments were quite well known.

This was one of the means by which Gaddafi sought to achieve political aims, including an African union and independence of Africa from western finance. These funds and this independence are one of the very reasons that Gaddafi has been overthrown. It is not enough for the West to have murdered him and wrecked the country, possibly initiating a long period of trial, turmoil, hardship, lower living standards, bloody retribution, and civil violence; no, his persona and character must also be discredited in propaganda stories such as this. Image from, with caption: A revolutionary fighter exits the drainage pipe in Surt where Moammar Kadafi the day before was found and later killed. Revelations of Kadafi’s hidden wealth may further enrage the Libyan people, about one-third of whom live in poverty

Bahrain Propaganda 101: Foreign Minister Gets a Boost from Washington's Journalists - Scott Lucas, On Wednesday, during a talk by Bahraini activist Maryam Al Khawaja, I ventured the comment that the 'success' of the Bahraini regime's propaganda effort would not come through social media, where its supporters' efforts have become a source of annoyance at 'trolling' or of comedy. Nor was Bahrain's monarchy getting much value of the US and British PR firms who, for quite expensive contracts, were trying to dress up State press releases as 'news' and putting out clumsy opinion pieces on The Huffington Post. Instead, I suggested, the 'success' would

come through mainstream Washington journalists. Sometimes this is through the re-cycling of the regime's claims, citing unnamed sources --- see the recent effort by David Ignatius of The Washington Post. Sometimes, it is the attempt by a regime official to use an article as a podium for the right line. Josh Rogin of Foreign Policy magazine gives us an example of the latter with his 'Bahrain Foreign Minister on DC Charm Offensive', published Wednesday." Bahrain Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa image from article

La Colmenita: Cuban kids to perform at Fort Mason - Mary Flaherty, The Cuban children's theater company La Colmenita will perform one of its own creations, called "Abracadabra," at Fort Mason on Friday and Saturday. The play will be in Spanish, with super titles in English, meaning this performance is best for either Spanish speakers, or non-Spanish speakers old enough to follow the writing. Like all La Colmenita's productions, this one includes rock music and dancing, ranging from high energy to rock and pop to slow ballads with an acoustic guitar.

Bill Martinez, the lawyer who helped the group members get visas, said he saw them perform another production in Havana a few years ago. "It was funny. It was really well done, wonderful theater, very creative," he said. "At times I just forgot they were kids." "Abracadabra," directed by Carlos Alberto Cremata, was co-written with the children. The story is inspired by the Cuban 5, who have been jailed in the United States for many years on charges including conspiracy and being unregistered foreign agents, but are considered heroes in Cuba. Supporters say the men were gathering information in the United States to prevent Cuban exile groups from attacking Cuba. One of the Cuban 5, Rene Gonzalez, was released from prison this month. Martinez, the lawyer who works getting visas for international artists, spoke in support of the group's visit. "If we don't have communication between countries, we're reduced to rumors and problems," he said. "What better way to bring people together than through culture?" Image from article. See also "Castro dictatorship using children as propaganda tools,"

Stop pointing fingers at others : Tibetan exiles tell China - Baldev S Chauhan, Tibetan refugees in India have dismissed the Chinese government’s allegations that the ‘Dalai clique’ is motivating the self-immolators and the self-immolations of the Tibetans as an act of terrorism through its propaganda machinery. The Tibetan parliament-in-exile would like to state that these allegations of the Chinese government are completely baseless and is a shameless act of pointing fingers at others while hiding its own failed policies in Tibet.

China’s Icelandic conqueror
- Yuqun Zhang, The Chinese tycoon billionaire investor, adventurer and poet Huang Nubo

is on a mission to purchase 300-square kilometres of Icelandic land – 0.3% of the country’s landmass – has become a household name in both countries. Before going into business, Huang worked for the Chinese government’s Central Propaganda Department for 11 years. Nubo image from article

The Propaganda Model and Independent Journalists - "I recently completed an essay as part of a midterm assignment for my theory class about whether or not the five filters of Herman and Chomsky’s Propaganda Model apply to 'journalist bloggers.' It’s an interesting question.

When Manufacturing Consent was published in 1988, media concentration was arguably an even larger issue than it is today. While ownership is more concentrated, there were fewer economically viable options for alternative news outlets to publish to a global audience. The internet, of course, makes it possible for a journalist to function more independently and not just as a freelancer working for some larger organization. But all news organizations have blog sections and most encourage journalists to run a blog of their own for easy additional content. In the documentary based on the film, there’s a segment where Chomsky talks about independent and alternative media being absolutely necessary, or something to that effect." Image from article

The Real Causes of America's War: A Revisionist View - "War is the health of the state." These famous words of Randolph Bourne have been confirmed throughout the course of American history. This course will examine the origins of a number of America's wars. In each case, we will study the real origins of the war and compare this with the officially circulated mythology. All too often, America's wars are presented as conflicts between the "good guys," us, and the "bad guys," our enemies. Propaganda to view the wars in this way played a key role in advancing the power of the state, and it is essential for libertarians to understand the issues involved. After World War I, a group of historians including Sidney Bradshaw Fay, Harry Elmer Barnes, and Charles Callan Tansill challenged the view of World War I popular during the war. These historians, called "revisionists" because they wanted to revise the war-guilt clause of the Treaty of Versailles, denied that Germany bore

exclusive responsibility for the onset of war. Tansill in particular exposed Wilson's unneutral conduct in leading America into war. In part as a result of these historians' research, American public opinion in the 1930s came to see America's entry into World War I as a mistake. Unfortunately, this shift in opinion did not prevent Franklin Roosevelt from maneuvering America into a new war. A similar revisionist movement arose during and after America's entry into World War II. Many of the World War I revisionists, including Barnes and Tansill, again joined battle against the official propaganda line. Murray Rothbard highly esteemed these writers and was himself a notable contributor to the movement. This course will emphasize the contributions of the revisionist historians and will consider extensions of their approach to other wars, along the lines set out by Rothbard. Image from article

IMAGE: Just a Zombie Poodle, via Boing Boing

1 comment:

Mr Lonely said...

walking here with a smile. take care.. have a nice day ~ =D

Regards, (A Growing Teenager Diary) ..