Thursday, October 6, 2011

October 5-6

“I swear to God I did not eat any part of him."

--Omaima Nelson, 43; cited in Diana Marcum, "Parole denied for woman who cooked, ate husband: Omaima Nelson says she is a changed woman, adding, 'I am not a monster.' The victim's daughter and an original prosecutor in the grisly 1991 killing speak against release," Los Angeles Times; image from

NEW: PDiN Monitor, September Issue, Oct 4, 2011, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "This latest issue of PDiN Monitor takes a closer look at Public Diplomacy in a Post 9/11 World. The recent 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks provided an opportunity for reflection and discussion of how the tragedy impacted U.S. public diplomacy. The latest edition of PDiN Monitor provides two perspectives

from Master of Public Diplomacy candidates--one American and one Arab. In Good Will Hunting: U.S. Public Diplomacy Since 9/11, Jerry Edling discusses how the U.S. missed an opportunity to capitalize on the outpouring of good will following the attacks into a potent public diplomacy strategy. In The 9/11 Anniversary Through Arab Eyes, Mona El Hamdani examines the absence of coverage of the 10-year anniversary in the Arab media."


Why We're Stuck With Pakistan‎ - Christian Whiton, Fox News: "A new book by James Farwell, 'The Pakistan Cauldron: Conspiracy, Assassination and Instability' clarifies anew the dysfunction of Pakistan and the challenging path for U.S. policymakers as President Obama begins to draw down troops from neighboring Afghanistan. ... Farwell writes that 'Americans want to think of Pakistan as a ‘strategic ally.’ Pakistanis view the relationship as transactional.' Farwell comes back time and again to the device of 'strategic communications,' which in a less politically correct time was known as 'political warfare.' He defines it as the 'use of words, actions, images, and symbols to mold or shape the attitudes and opinions of target audiences to influence behavior and advance interests, policies, and objectives.'

The U.S. used to excel at this practice—especially out of necessity in the early years of the Cold War. We no longer do. Those who doubt this need only look the bipartisan public diplomacy failures of the last decade, or today at the critical elections in Egypt, where the U.S. has an astonishing lack of situational awareness and influence. Those who challenge us abroad face no similar deficiency. Farwell aptly captures our conundrum: '[Pakistan’s] strategic communication with the United States, on whom it has keenly depended for aid, has been measured, duplicitous, and calibrated to providing a stream of misleading information and outright lies. Its disingenuous behavior offers an object lesson in dealing with other states: The Pakistanis’ own interests come first, and their use of strategic communication reflects that reality.' And yet, despite this atrocious reality, the U.S. must persist with Pakistan."  Image from

Social networks used to counter al Qaeda: 2011-10-05‎ - Shaun Waterman, Washington Times: "Anwar al-Awlaki may be dead, but the war he helped al Qaeda wage for the hearts and minds of Muslims continues — and on the battlefield of social media, the United States is fighting back with what critics say is a tiny and ineffectual army. Fewer than 10 diplomats make up the State Department’s digital-outreach team, which is charged with countering al Qaeda’s recruitment efforts via social networks, blog posts and Internet videos, according to current and former officials. The 'eight or nine' team members hang out online with angry young Muslims to steer them away from terrorist radicalization, a senior State Department official said on background. The team is part of a new interagency initiative at the State Department called the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, which President Obama established last month by executive order. Team members declare up front that they represent the U.S. government before joining Internet bulletin boards and chat rooms where young men discuss current events and religion, the State Department official said. The team has Urdu and Arabic speakers and is 'adding Somali to the mix,' the official said. They are 'focused on those people that al Qaeda is trying to recruit those young men who are vulnerable to al Qaeda’s mythologization of itself. They go on the [Internet] forums where the jihadis phish' for recruits, the official said of the team. It was on such Internet forums — rather than the password-protected sites where the convinced jihadis meet - that blog posts and videos by al-Awlaki proved such an effective recruiting tool for al Qaeda. ... But critics say the State Department’s response to al-Awlaki’s online recruitment efforts typifies the ineffectual character of the hearts-and-minds campaign. No U.S. agency made any effort to publicize the U.S.-born al-Awlaki’s two citations for soliciting prostitutes when he lived in San Diego, said J. Michael Waller, professor of public diplomacy and political warfare at the Institute for World Politics in Washington. 'What about [Osama] bin Laden’s porn?'

he said, referring to the stash of pornography reportedly recovered by U.S. forces from the slain al Qaeda leader’s compound. 'There’s no legitimate reason for that stuff to be classified. Get it out there. Why is [the State Department] so loath to destroy the images, reputations, ideas and ideologies of the extremists’ role models?'” Image from

Mitt Romney: Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani Death Sentence an “Outrage Against Humanity” - "From FOX News: U.S. leaders have denounced Iran’s actions and called for greater respect for religious freedom from the country’s government. Calling religious freedom a 'universal human right,' House Speaker John Boehner (R–OH) urged the Iranian government to 'abandon this dark path' and release Nadarkhani without conditions. ... Secretary of State Hillary Clinton weighed in on the situation, saying the United States is 'deeply concerned' about the religious persecution perpetuated by the Iranian regime . ... The need is great for the international community to speak out against the serious religious oppression of the Iranian government and particularly the looming death of Nadarkhani. The profound importance of religious liberty to upholding other democratic freedoms, as evidenced in America’s own history, should be integrated into U.S. public diplomacy."

U.S.-Russia Young Journalist Exchange Program - "On Tuesday, October 4 in Moscow, the BPC Media Group announced a new, two-year exchange program that will offer 48 young journalists from Russia and the United States the chance to work in newsrooms and build mutual understanding. The program will be operated by the International Center for Journalists and the Moscow Union of Journalists, with additional funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Dawn McCall, Coordinator of the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP), and Mikhail Gusman, First Deputy Director General of the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS, hosted the second meeting of the BPC Media Group and made the announcement on October 4. Coordinator McCall and 11 media leaders from the United States, representing such institutions as the San Francisco Chronicle, the Newspaper Association of America, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the International Center for Journalists, and leading U.S. schools of journalism, traveled to Moscow to continue the discussion that began in Boston in March 2011 on the changes to the media profession in the U.S. and Russia. The Media Group held sessions on the Business of Media, the Evolving Practice and Profession of Journalism, and New Media Technologies, and met with journalism students from the Russian State Humanities University. In addition to the new young journalist exchange program, the delegates completed two other joint projects agreed upon in March — a round table discussion on ethics in journalism and a new online platform, introduced by SocialSphere that will allow the U.S. and Russian delegates of the Media Group to communicate and work on joint projects online in English and Russian.

Acting Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Ann Stock was also in Moscow this week to lead the delegation and to conduct meetings with her Russian counterparts. She met with Ambassador Mikhail Shvydkoy, Special Representative to the President for International Cultural Cooperation. They opened the meeting at ITAR-TASS headquarters, with ITAR-TASS Director General Vitaliy Ignatenko, and delivered opening remarks on ways in which the United States and Russia might partner together to strengthen people-to-people exchanges through education, culture, media, and sports. Acting Under Secretary Stock also met with Minister for Education and Science Andrey Fursenko and discussed launching negotiations on a new umbrella education initiative between Russia and the United States." Image from

Public Schedule for October 6, 2011 - U.S. Department of State: "ASSISTANT SECRETARY ANN STOCK (R): 2:00 p.m. Assistant Secretary Stock (R) delivers remarks to the 163rd class of Foreign Service Officers, at the Foreign Service Institute. (CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)"

Zuhdi Jasser's Counter-Jihad - R. James Woolsey, Seth Leibsohn, National Review Online: "Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the American Islamic Forum on Democracy ... a practicing Muslim, is a physician and former lieutenant commander in the Navy — someone who ... served his country with distinction, and continues to do so both in his medical practice and in his public warnings and teachings about the dangers from radical Islam. ... Last year, recognizing the need for a shift in our thus-far-ineffective public-diplomacy program, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and others nominated Dr. Jasser to serve on the State Department’s U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. The commission is charged with 'Appraising U.S. Government activities intended to understand, inform, and influence foreign publics.' There could be nobody better suited to serve in this role."

The crime of making Americans aware of their own history - William Blum, Foreign Policy Journal: "The biggest lie of the 'war on terrorism',

although weakening, is that the targets of America’s attacks have an irrational hatred of the United States and its way of life, based on religious and cultural misunderstandings and envy. The large body of evidence to the contrary includes a 2004 report from the Defense Science Board, 'a Federal advisory committee established to provide independent advice to the Secretary of Defense.' The report states: [']Muslims do not hate our freedom, but rather they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the long-standing, even increasing, support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan and the Gulf states. Thus, when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy. ['] The report concludes: 'No public relations campaign can save America from flawed policies.' (Christian Science Monitor, November 29, 2004)." Image from

James Zogby on Syria - "In a recent Huffington Post article titled 'Support Syria’s People', James Zogby declared the Syrian regime has lost its legitimacy and called on the league of Arab states to 'suspend' Syria’s membership in the organization. ... That the self-appointed spokesperson of the Arab-American community is continuing his decades-long pattern of self-serving pandering to U.S. officials comes as no surprise to anyone. Zogby’s shameless behavior is so well known and established by now that Arab-Americans have been mostly ignoring the omnipresent careerist and his hijacking of the collective community name. ... Arab-Americans can help advance the cause of the 2011 Arab uprising by speaking honestly to their fellow Americans about US foreign policy and challenging the prevailing narratives and assumptions about the Arab world and the US role in the region. The American people and the Arab revolutionaries share, in their common humanity, the same aspirations for freedom, dignity, and justice. We must insist on the universality of human rights by rejecting the cynical manipulation of these ideals by American government spokespersons pursuing public diplomacy and propaganda campaigns and the odious hypocrites within the Arab-American community that pander to them."

Let the fools have their Public Diplomacy tools – John Brown, Notes and Essays: "American public diplomacy is far more than using a tool to 'produce' something -- it is, at its best (which is not always the case), about building and nurturing human relationships for the good of our country."

US Public Diplomacy: No Longer Engaged? - John Brown, Notes and Essays: "As I've pointed out elsewhere, 'engagement/'engaging' is a buzzword for the Obama administration's public diplomacy (See also Nick Cull's great piece on the subject.)  'Engaging,' granted, was also used to define the PD function by the State Department under previous administrations, as its homepage pointed out in recent years; but 'engaging,' under Bush II, in real life played second fiddle to 'influencing' first, and 'informing' second, two of the three key words still used by the State Department to define PD ('engaging, informing, and influencing key international audiences'). But now lo and behold, another State Department PD definition, also on its homepage, doesn't mention 'engagement.'
The mission of American public diplomacy is to support the achievement of U.S. foreign policy goals and objectives, advance national interests, and enhance national security by informing and influencing foreign publics and by expanding and strengthening the relationship between the people and government of the United States and citizens of the rest of the world. The Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs leads America's public diplomacy outreach, which includes communications with international audiences, cultural programming, academic grants, educational exchanges, international visitor programs, and U.S. Government efforts to confront ideological support for terrorism. The Under Secretary oversees the bureaus of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Public Affairs and International Information Programs, and participates in foreign policy development. Ann Stock, Assistant Secretary of State (R), assumed the authorities of the Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs on July 8, 2011, following the departure of Under Secretary Judith McHale.
... [P]erhaps some editorial sweet soul, no matter of what sex and probably buried in one of the countless cubicles at the Department, deeply in love and looking forward to wedding bells, feels 'engagement,'

in its most accurate meaning, should properly refer to what people engage in before they get married. So, undaunted by fears of being discovered for being out-of-line, this lover of love decided furtively to keep the 'E' word out Foggy Bottom realpolitik Gobbledygook -- seeing it as a deeply private commitment that has little to do with international 'affairs.' Or perhaps -- most likely -- the above linguistic observations have no meaning/importance at all. " Image from

Obama's Jewish Team Lays Out Path Back to White House - Nathan Guttman, Forward: "In just a few months, Shapiro [Obama’s new ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro],

who took up his post in July, managed to turn his position in Tel Aviv into a major hub of public diplomacy activity, which has, in turn, helped increase the visibility of the Obama administration’s relations with Israel in the eyes of Israelis." Shapiro image from

USAid opens regional office in the Pacific - Solomon Star: "The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) opened its new Pacific Island Regional office in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea October 5. ... The U.S. Embassy confirmed that US$8.9 million has been transferred to USAID to add to the already existing US$3.5 million in 2010 Pacific Adaption funds. Program goals are to develop capacity in regional organizations to allow for regional capacity building and benefit, said U.S. Embassy Public Diplomacy Officer Brian Asmus. Regionally, according to Asmus, the U.S. also is spending US$66 million in Coral Triangle Initiative funds, US$21 million to help nations

adapt to climate change and US$5 million per year to increase raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in Papua New Guinea." Image from article, with caption: Acting Director of the USAID Pacific Regional Office Daniel Miller; PNG National Planning and Monitoring Department Minister Sam Basil, Ambassador Michael Maue, Secretary of the PNG Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and U.S. Ambassador Teddy Taylor cut a ribbon to formally open the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Pacific Regional Office.

Radio/TV Martí sending "up to 24,000 text messages a week" to Cuban cell phones - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

For Belarusian musicians who lack official approval, RFE/RL's "Night Liberty" provides an outlet - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

"Turkmenistan Convicts RFE/RL Correspondent In 'Bogus' Trial" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Arab Spring to be debated in Istanbul‎ - Hurriyet Daily News: "Prominent intellectuals from Europe, the United States, the Arab world and Turkey will gather Thursday and Friday for a conference focusing on the future of the Arab Spring. The conference, 'Transitioning Dictatorship to Democracy: Workshops in Best Practices and Insight Sharing,' will be organized by the Turkish Prime Ministry’s Public Diplomacy Office and Washington, D.C.-based Georgetown University’s

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, or ACMCU. The meeting – hosted by İbrahim Kalın, director of Turkish Prime Ministry’s Office of Public Diplomacy and senior advisor to the prime minister, and John L. Esposito, founding director of Georgetown University’s ACMCU – aims to assess the current situation in the Arab world, set new goals for the future, and identify ways to get there." Image from article, with caption: Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Islamist Ennahda movement

Israel recalls deputy envoy to US over leaks to media ‎- Mark Weiss, Irish Times: "Israel has dismissed its deputy ambassador to Washington over alleged leaks to a journalist, prompting complaints from foreign ministry staff of a witchhunt being conducted by foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman. A statement by foreign ministry director general Rafi Barak, sent to all foreign ministry employees, said Dan Arbell was recalled to Jerusalem after admitting to giving sensitive confidential information obtained in the course of his job to an Israeli journalist. ... The incident in question took place in 2009 and concerned information given to the Ha’aretz newspaper before Mr Arbell

was appointed Israel’s number two diplomat in Washington. Angry over repeated leaks from foreign ministry staff, foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman ordered an investigation and took the unprecedented step of tasking the Israel security agency, the country’s internal intelligence branch, to find the culprit. ... The move prompted an angry reaction from some foreign ministry staff who complained of a reign of terror since Mr Lieberman was appointed foreign minister by prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu. They noted that Mr Arbell was a veteran diplomat and one of the most respected and professional staffers in the ministry. ... Nachman Shai, a member of the the opposition Kadima party in the Knesset, said the dismissal was clearly aimed at silencing and intimidating foreign ministry workers. 'The foreign minister and director general need to realise that in the world of public diplomacy, where Israel fails again and again, we need to draw the media and its representatives closer to the ministry and its workers, and not push them away,' he said." Arbell image from

Battlefield on the electronic dance floor‎ - David Brinn, Jerusalem Post: "It’s not often you come across a tireless self promoter with a track record that speaks for itself. That’s part of the yin and yang that fuels Yoel Silber, a 35-year-old self-made entertainment mogul who’s channeling his boundless energy into realizing a dream – transforming Tel Aviv into one of the electronic music capitals of the world and by doing so, solving all Israel’s hasbara (public diplomacy) problems with one droning beat. The driven mastermind behind the upcoming first Tel Aviv Electronic Music Festival on October 20 at Hangar 11 – featuring 12 hours some of the world’s top DJs, including Boris, Hex Hector, Chris Liebling and local electronic faves Astral Projection – Silber, the Bronx-raised son of Israeli parents, is pouring tons of time and effort into the project, which he boisterously claims will change the face of the country’s music scene."

Esc and Ctrl: - video‎ - Jon Ronson, The Guardian: "In the latest episode of Jon Ronson's series about controlling the internet, he returns to his earlier investigation into online astroturfing. He goes to Tel Aviv to talk to members of

Latma, an Israeli media criticism website, and visits the Israeli ministry for public diplomacy." Latma image from

Gül to Turkic world: We six states need to act as one nation - "Turkish President Abdullah Gül said on Wednesday that Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan needed to act as 'six states with one nation' and display solidarity with each other.

Speaking in Ankara at an international meeting to mark the 20th year of the independence of Turkic republics, Gül said: 'This is the challenge before us. Those who are not in solidarity with each other face difficulty when they are alone. Being in solidarity never puts a shadow on mutual, equal and respectable relations.' The meeting was organized by the Turkish Prime Ministry Office of Public Diplomacy and the Atatürk Culture Center for Strategic Strategies." Image from article, with caption: Gül stands with women dressed in traditional costumes of the Turkic republics during an international meeting to mark their 20th year of independence.

China Grows More Belligerent, Unexpectedly - Dean Cheng, AOL Defense: "Over the last few days, Chinese foreign policy seems to have undergone a 180-degree change. Only a month ago, the Chinese had published a white paper on its policy of 'peaceful development,' underscoring that China's approach to foreign policy was oriented towards peaceful, friendly relations with all states. Yet, in the past week, the message

from Beijing has not been one of peace, but one of increasing bellicosity, especially towards its neighbors. ... It is unclear what might have precipitated this precipitate shift in Chinese public diplomacy. Nothing seems to have transpired in the South China Sea, especially regarding Vietnam or the Philippines, to elicit such a series of over-wrought Chinese reactions. ... With little to go on, the safest conclusion is that, like the old Chinese 'curse,' China's neighbors and the United States may be forced to live in 'interesting times' in 2012." Uncaptioned image from article

CFR Launches Online Interactive Iran “Crisis Guide” - "The Council on Foreign Relations launched a new online interactive 'Crisis Guide' to Iran. The portal features a timeline of Iranian history, traces its 'evolution as an Islamic republic,' and outlines 'the controversial nuclear program.' The resource also offers information on Iran’s role in the region as well as internal dynamics. Finally, the Crisis Guide presents multimedia illustrations of policy options, including sanctions, opposition support, public diplomacy, covert action, and preventive strike. To access the Guide, click here."

Diplomat Tristam Perry makes campus visit | Berkeley - U.S. career diplomat Tristram Perry stood before a room of 50 Emerson students Monday night, gesticulating wildly as he outlined the pros and cons of working in his field to the Crisis Communication class. 'How many of you were in a car chase this weekend?' Perry called out to the attentive group, 'Well according to Hollywood you are all wearing bikinis, having sex, and [are] constantly involved in car chases.' Perry, who has served as a diplomat in Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Washington D.C. and most recently Pakistan, took classes at Emerson while living in Boston about 10 years ago. He returned to campus this week to speak with students in the political communication department by request of his close contact and former professor Gregory Payne. Perry explained during his presentation that Hollywood culture makes his job more difficult, because international cultures have a skewed version of Americans as a whole. While at Emerson this week, Perry met with the Communication, Politics, and Law Association (CPLA), spoke to a Public Diplomacy class, and for his final visit today, will talk to a communication theory class."

Department of State Foreign Service Officer to Address UA Students - "David Newell, a foreign service officer for the U.S. Department of State, will present a lecture, 'Lessons Learned from a Life Abroad,' Oct. 7 at 11 a.m. in room 205 of the Gorgas Library on The University of Alabama campus. ... In his position as dean

of the School of Professional and Area Studies at the Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute, he oversees 11 divisions, including political, economic, consular, public diplomacy and management-tradecraft training, as well as specialized training." Newell image from article

A Public Diplomacy Legacy - Alvin Snyder, PD News – CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Public diplomacy mourns yet another practitioner who helped tear down the Berlin Wall during the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

Mo Rothman, a former top Hollywood film executive, died at the age of 92 in Los Angeles on September 15. Mo was a member of our volunteer Film Acquisitions Committee at the U.S. Information Agency in the 1980's. ... There ought to be a U.S. Public Diplomacy Hall of Fame that could be sprung from someone’s budget, to honor the unsung heroes of that era." Image from, with caption: Mo Rothman, left, meets with Charlie Chaplin.

A Covert Affair: Julia and Paul Child in the OSS by Jennet Conant: Book Review Essay - Patricia H. Kushlis, Whirled View: "A Covert Affair is as much about the life of an intriguing, larger-than-life but little known woman [Jane Foster, the only child of a wealthy San Francisco doctor and director of Cutter Laboratories] whom the Childs had befriended – first in Ceylon when and where all three worked for the OSS and then later in Paris: Paul Childs as head of exhibits at the US Embassy, his wife Julia as chef-in-training, and this mysterious woman friend pursuing an artistic career – and who knows what else. ... After

the OSS [where Child worked during WWII] folded, Paul Child was offered a job with the State Department as an exhibits officer at the US Embassy in Paris. When State’s overseas information arm became the US Information Agency in 1953, Paul joined USIA. That Paul Child was suddenly summoned back from Bonn in 1954 where he ran the high profile exhibits office at the US Embassy to be subjected to interrogation by two special agents, W.H. Sullivan and A. W. Sanders, then ensconced in U.S. Information Agency Headquarters to ferret out Communists in this allied State Department agency may well have been because of the Childs’ friendship with Jane [Foster]. But the Childs never knew for sure – although more recently declassified documents that Jennet Conant used indicate that Jane had been a Communist and likely a KGB agent although she apparently never provided the Soviets with information they couldn’t have found in the media or through other open sources." Image from article

URGENT! Don't be like those Occupy Wall Street hacks... - "Right. You actually WANT a job.

You want to serve your country in some manner. You want a job that can give you great experience, satisfaction, and fantastic compensation potential. ... IO/ MISO/PSYO Planners Wanted! Available for Immediate Placement. Join an A-Team of Info Operations. We are seeking SC Planners to work Afghanistan, in support of USFOR-A, to provide expert advice and assistance with regard to specific influence products, target audience, analysis and communication methods at the local, regional, and national level. Our SC planners will facilitate IO integration for combined military and civilian-military campaign plans for Afghanistan. Candidates should have experience in joint/multi-national operations, experience in Information Operations, PSYOP, Public Diplomacy, Commercial Marketing or Influence Modeling, that can facilitate USFOR-A staff integration and synchronization, information flow, and dissemination as it relates to cultural, economic, political, religious, social, newsworthy, and tribal issues in each supported entities AOR. We are looking for professionals who have knowledge of, and experience with, strategic message development in a cultural context that supports the overall strategic communication planning process. Regional experience is a must." Image from


State Dept Angst Over Peter Van Buren's Book - It Never Got to Give an Affirmative Clearance - "[J]ust posted an update on Peter Van Buren's book saga in Could Not Stick to 'No Comment,' the State Dept Finally Has Nothing and Something to Say on Peter Van Buren's Case [.] Also, on September 30, the Public Intelligence Blog had this to say about

Peter Van Buren's book [We Meant Well]: 'This is a great book, an important book, and I salute the Department of State people with integrity that approved it for publication, while scorning the seventh floor craven autocrats that have bullied the author for telling the truth.' Well, hold off on that salute, will ya? Under 3 FAM 4172.1-3(C) the Review Office for State Department employees in the United States is, you guess it - the Bureau of Public Affairs (PA). Now PA reportedly is in great angst over this book because the folks there perceive that the FSO-author did not act 'in good faith in getting clearance.' A State insider who is not authorized to speak about this matter said that Mr. Van Buren submitted the book, and when 30 days had elapsed without a response, the author took that as State Department clearance per regulations in the Foreign Affairs Manual. And PA folks are now grousing that they never got to give an affirmative clearance. Oh, dear! Hey, stop laughing over there!" Via LB. Image from

Daum: The Amanda Knox moral — there's no place like home: Relief at her return is due at least partly to Americans' fear of travel in foreign lands - Meghan Daum, Los Angeles Times: Amanda Knox is the 24-year-old American whose conviction for killing her roommate four years ago in Italy was overturned Monday.

Knox is a poster child for staying put. She's proof that the world outside our borders is so depraved that a simple junior year abroad can lead to a 26-year prison sentence. Parochial as that sounds, it's not far off from the sentiments directed at Knox by her fellow Americans, many of whom seemed to feel that, her guilt or innocence notwithstanding, she just shouldn't have been in Italy in the first place. You just need to be a person who, no matter how many stamps are on your passport, is always just a teeny bit terrified of the rest of the world — in other words, an American. Knox image from article

The Education of Susan Rice: A shocked ambassador learns what the U.N. is really about - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: Real steps are being taken against Damascus. The U.S. and the European Union have already adopted sanctions targeting Syria's oil exports, along with the assets of the regime's top officials. Turkey broke its ties with Damascus, and Ankara this week announced military maneuvers along its Syrian border. So why, except for reasons of masochism or moral abdication, does the Obama Administration insist on obtaining a symbolic and toothless U.N. resolution?

US senator urges Twitter diplomacy in Latin America - Marcos Brindicci, Andrew Quinn, Reuters: The United States should move aggressively to use social media such as Twitter and Facebook to promote its agenda in Latin America and help newly wired citizens cement political gains, said a new U.S. report obtained by Reuters. Senator Richard Lugar said countries such as Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua still sought to curb economic and political freedoms, while other Latin American countries needed help buttressing emerging civil society groups. Social media tools on the Internet, which played a central role in the "Arab Spring" uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East, may be even more influential in Latin America, said Lugar, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.Alec Ross, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's adviser on innovation, said Lugar's report was in harmony with U.S. government efforts to expand Internet access around the world through everything from "tech training camps" for bloggers to developing software that can bypass firewalls imposed by government censors. "For us, (social media) is a way of connecting and engaging with people who tend not to sit at mahogany tables in diplomatic conference rooms," Ross told Reuters.

Beware of 'Al Chavezeera': Competing narratives through channels such as Telesur and Al Jazeera has US diplomats worried, WikiLeaks cables show - Nicholas Kozloff, If past diplomatic cables are any indication, the Obama White House may be interested in perpetuating the ongoing US propaganda war in Latin America. According to classified correspondence recently released by whistle-blowing outfit WikiLeaks, Washington saw Venezuela as an upstart power whose public relations campaign stood to interfere with important US messaging efforts. It's no secret that the Bush administration was

paranoid about media coverage which had been critical of its international foreign policy, yet as more and more cables have come to light, it is eye-opening to see just how far the State Department was willing to go in equating Middle Eastern media with newly formed South American news outlets. What seems to have concerned US diplomats most was the possibility that Al Jazeera, whose coverage of the Iraq War had gotten under the skin of the Bush administration, might collaborate with the likes of Venezuela as well as other South American nations. Image from article

War With America - In Pakistan, decades of anti-American and anti-Indian propaganda, and support for Islamic radicalism, has brought the country to the brink of disaster.

Libya: NTC propaganda reported as news‎ - Katerina Nikolas, The continued use of propaganda by Libya's new rulers, the National Transitional Council, has the backing of the West. Yet its lies are being more frequently exposed.

Inside China - Miles Yu, Washington Times: China on Sept. 29 successfully launched its first space lab, the 8 1/2-ton station called Heavenly Palace-1. By design and mission, the orbiting station is similar to the first space lab orbited by the Soviet Union, known as Salyut and sent aloft 40 years ago. Chinese Communist Party central authorities turned this event into a national media and propaganda extravaganza. All print and electronic media outlets produced prolonged and saturated coverage of the launch. What was significant was not just the scale of the media orgy, but the cantankerous and even taunting tone of the propaganda

blitz. In addition to the usual party propaganda hailing the launch as yet another landmark achievement of the brilliant leadership of the Communist Party, the script appeared carefully choreographed to express China’s dismay against the alleged U.S.-led exclusion of China from taking part in past international space programs. Image from

Recent North Korean defectors "recalled listening to South Korean propaganda radio broadcasts" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

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