Wednesday, November 9, 2011

November 8-9

"I can hardly imagine they spend the entire day on Facebook!"

--American University student Jessica Andrews, an attendee at the Public Diplomacy conference at George Washington University, "The Last Three Feet," wondering what, aside from using social media, "fills the days of a Foreign Service officer in Public Diplomacy"; image from

US Public Diplomacy and Democratization
Monday, November 14, 2011
George Washington University
1957 E Street, NW, Room 602

NEW: PDiN Monitor, October Issue, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: Nov 2, 2011: "The latest issue of PDiN Monitor takes a closer look at Turkish Public Diplomacy. Turkey's public diplomacy has gained increasing attention recently in the media and not just because of the recent earthquake that struck the country. This issue shines a spotlight on this public diplomacy actor. In Turkey's New Foreign Policy and Public Diplomacy Dynamics, Tugba Soysal Ozoner discusses how Turkey is becoming a major player on the world stage and utilizing public diplomacy. In PDiN Highlights: Turkish Public Diplomacy, Sarah Myers examines critical public diplomacy stories coming out of Turkey in the past month, including issues around the earthquake and the European Union.

Other items in this issue: •PDiN Roundup presents key stories on public diplomacy issues from around the world; •CPD Extras highlights upcoming CPD Events; •PD in Print includes the most recent CPD Blog posts, the latest CPD Perspectives and more. To read the complete October 2011 issue online, click here."

Video: Liar Liar Iraq On Fire; via


"'I cannot bear Netanyahu, he’s a liar,' Sarkozy told Obama, according to the Reuters news agency, whose reporter was among those who heard the gaffe. 'You're fed up with him, but I have to deal with him even more often than you,' Obama replied, according to a French interpreter.'"

--Jason Ukman, "Sarkozy to Obama: Netanyahu is a ‘liar’," Washington Post; image from article


“Serious concerns” shroud Iran’s nuclear program: While not a "smoking gun," the U.N. report buttresses U.S. case for tougher sanctions - Michael Adler, Salon: "Analysts and pundits have spent the past two weeks puzzling over the alleged Iranian plot to assassinate a Saudi diplomat in Washington, in part because of a complete lack of either motive or benefit for the Islamic Republic. ... Instead of scrutinizing the 'whys' of Iran’s involvement, it may be more illuminating to examine Washington’s motivation in advancing this bit of political theater.

The criminal charges were followed by high-profile statements and sanctioned leaks from the White House, the departments of State, Justice, Treasury, Defense, FBI and the CIA, well orchestrated for maximum impact. The U.S. government then sought to persuade the global community via the U.N. Security Council and 'phone calls to many capitals' of the gravity of the charges. Such fanfare went beyond the service of prosecuting a single crime. More likely, the charges being leveled at Iran came in the service of 'public diplomacy,' an attempt to establish a broad narrative that serves a policy decision. Pushing the narrative of the Iranian 'boogeyman' is not unusual in U.S. policy circles. What may be new is the emphasis on this story in the aftermath of Arab uprisings throughout the Middle East." Image from

Iran's Nuclear Project‎ - Michael Rubin, National Review Online: "Sometime this week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will release a report which, according to press leaks, concludes that Iranian nuclear scientists have sought to create a nuclear-bomb trigger and conducted extensive computer modeling of a nuclear weapon. ... The IAEA’s findings are not only an indictment of Iran, however. They also reveal the fundamental corruption of Mohamed ElBaradei, the Egyptian diplomat who was the IAEA’s director general from December 1997 to November 2009. While his job was to administer a technocratic agency, ElBaradei repeatedly intervened to distort the inspectors’ findings. Rather than confront the Islamic Republic on its cheating, he coached Iranian officials on their public diplomacy. He also repeatedly ignored mounting evidence of secret Iranian facilities until these were publicly exposed by other means."

Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate - Office of the Press Secretary, The White House: "Tara D. Sonenshine, of Maryland, to be Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, vice Judith A. McHale."

Obama Nominates Public Diplomacy Czar - Greg Hazley, O'Dwyer's Blog: Covering PR, public affairs, marketing and the world of communications: "Tara Sonenshine, a National Security Council communications advisor during the Clinton administration, has been nominated by President Barack Obama to the State Department’s top PR post targeting the international public. The White House said Obama intends to nominate Sonenshine as Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy, to replace former Discovery Communications chief Judith McHale, who stepped down in July.

Sonenshine is currently executive VP of the United States Institute of Peace, the non-partisan federal institution best known for convening the Iraq Study Group in 2006. A former producer and reporter for ABC News, she held several posts during the Clinton administration, including special assistant to the president and deputy director of communications for the NSC. McHale took up the global PR post at the State Dept. in April 2009 with a goal of helping repair the U.S. image abroad following the launch of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the global financial crisis in 2008. She traveled extensively touting State Department exchange and education programs and expressing, among other beliefs, the need for the U.S. to 'listen more and lecture less' and follow a more strategic public affairs approach. 'This is not a propaganda contest – it is a relationship race,' McHale told the Center for a New American Security in Washington, D.C., in June 2009. 'And we have got to get back in the game.' She stepped down in 2006 as president and CEO of Discovery after 20 years there. Karen Hughes, now with Burson-Marsteller, former ad exec Charlotte Beers, and diplomat Margaret Tutwiler held the public diplomacy post during the Bush administration." See also. Sonenshine image from

“Kampala Model” of U.S. Public Diplomacy in Africa praised; Results Include iCow - Adam Clayton Powell III, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "U.S. embassies in Africa have created new models for public diplomacy, models which are already producing significant advances. That was the word at a conference here last week from Bruce Wharton, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy for the Bureau of African Affairs. Wharton, who was appointed last year, described the 'Kampala model' of public diplomacy, named for the perhaps unique structure in the American embassy in Uganda. 'In this model all agencies are entitled to PD support,' said Wharton, 'and all agencies are expected to follow and support the PAO’s [Public Affairs Officer]

lead.' Yes, you read that correctly: at the U.S. Embassy in Uganda, according to the Secretary, PD is in the lead. 'Strong PD leadership ensures that foreign publics receive consistent information about the U.S.,' he continued, 'and that programs such as Embassy Kampala’s game show-based, national HIV/AIDS education campaign are stronger and more successful.' Another example cited by Wharton was to apply technology to longstanding agriculture challenges. The U.S. invested $50,000 in a local contest, and the result was the creation of 'iCow.' ... Wharton noted that these and other PD efforts have attracted praise in high places, quoting from an article in Foreign Policy magazine: 'Interested in Africa? Probably the best ‘follow’ is the U.S. Embassy in South Africa (@USEmbPretoria), whose wide-ranging feed is a model of good Twitter etiquette and '21st-century diplomacy.' Secretary Wharton made his remarks at 'The Last Three Feet,' a conference at George Washington University, co-sponsored by the Public Diplomacy Council and the Walter Roberts Endowment." Image from

First EducationUSA Fair in Iraq Attracts More Than 1,000 Students - "According to an Institute of International Education (IIE) press release (note: the US State Department outsources EducationUSA marketing and other tasks to IIE), 'More than 1,000 Iraqi students, eager to pursue their graduate studies in the United States, attended the first EducationUSA University Fair in Iraq last week. Students traveled from all across Iraq to meet representatives from 21 U.S. higher education institutions. The fair, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and implemented by the Institute of International Education (IIE), took place in Erbil (Iraqi Kurdistan Region) from October 14-15, 2011. With the goal of

increasing the number of Iraqi students at colleges and universities in the United States, this fair provided participating institutions with an opportunity to talk directly with interested students and share with them the programs and academic options available at American campuses.' ... While I’m all in favor of overseas study for all of the usual reasons and maybe then some, and have spent my entire career in international education, I couldn’t help but wonder about the many ironies at play here. Invade and occupy a country under false pretenses, destabilize its society, murder innocent civilians, wreak havoc on its economy, preside over a mass exodus of said country’s middle and upper classes and, now, EducationUSA to the rescue!" Image from article

UGA to Highlight Global Learning ‎- Mike Rast Jr, GlobalAtlanta: "The University of Georgia will celebrate International Education Week Nov. 9-18 by hosting a series of programs on funding foreign-study trips and events highlighting public diplomacy, global cultures and sports. The U.S. departments of State and Education designated Nov. 14-18 as the official week for schools around the country to highlight global learning, but UGA’s Office of International Education has organized events in Athens prior to those dates. The kick-off is a seminar on funding opportunities for researching and teaching abroad through the State Department’s Fulbright Program, to be held Nov. 9 at 12:30 p.m . ... Speakers will include State Department and UGA officials as well as the consuls general of Australia, Canada, Germany, Haiti, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, and the honorary consuls of Denmark, Hungary and Liechtenstein."

First Bell: ‘Wax museum’ brings science to life today at Deerfield; mayor to proclaim ‘U.S. International Education Week’; Tonight’s ‘Science on Tap’ to address argumentation - Mark Fagan, Lawrence Journal-World: "Next week will be U.S. International Education Week in Lawrence, and if you don’t believe me, talk to the mayor. Mayor Aron Cromwell is scheduled to issue a proclamation declaring Monday through Nov. 18 as said week in Lawrence, 'and urge all citizens to join in this observance.'

The proclamation includes four 'Whereas' sections, outlining the background for the proclamation: that international education is key in 'building and strengthening mutual understanding with our neighbors around the globe'; that local, state and national governments are celebrating the week; that international education provide 'public diplomacy' that plays a 'critical role' in U.S. foreign relations; and that some 7,000 students from abroad are studying in Kansas, and that more than 1,000 Kansans will studying abroad this year." Image from

Maxwell, Newhouse to co-host Murrow Program for Journalists [late entry] - Jill Leonhardt, "For the sixth consecutive year, the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications will co-host 17 international journalists participating in the State Department's Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists. This year's cohort represents 12 Near East countries including: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine Territories, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen. The participants will spend three weeks in the United States, beginning with an orientation phase at the State Department in Washington, D.C. They will be on campus from Nov. 2-8, participating with faculty and students in various academic seminars at both Maxwell and Newhouse. While here, participants will focus on topics related to how a democracy functions and the responsibilities of a free press in a democracy."

Overseas Military Service Photos Sought - "As Veteran's [sic] Day approaches, remembering the service of military veterans to the American nation comes to mind. Many families in West Virginia and surrounding states have families with military connections with stories to share. In conjunction with the State Department, the Department of Defense has announced it seeks donations of photographs of U.S. military service life overseas from current and former service members for use in a photo recognition exhibition.

This unique collaboration is in conjunction with the office of ART in Embassies celebrating 50 years of international cultural exchange. The ART in Embassies program plays a vital role in our nation's public diplomacy. The ART in Embassies program was originally established by the Museum of Modern Art in 1953 -- and formalized by the Kennedy administration in 1962. It is one of the premier public-private partnership arts organizations in continuous operation, with a presence in some 200 venues within 180 countries worldwide. The project called 'Serving Abroad...Through Their Eyes' will choose images that depict six specific categories: daily life, friendship, places, faces, loss or triumph. ... 'America's Foreign Service officers and military personnel represent our country all over the world and often in the most difficult of circumstances. This photography exhibition provides a unique view of their work to resolve conflicts and forge new partnerships and advance America's interests and values. So I am delighted the office of ART in Embassies is honoring the service of these brave men and women,' said Secretary of State Hil[l]ary Clinton." Image from article

Fire Destroyed Nearly 800 Buildings In Boston "Five years ago: ... Champion figure skater Michelle Kwan was appointed America's first public diplomacy envoy by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice."

Diplomacy, Analysis, and Decision-Making - the Need for a new Paradigm - Bruce K. Byers, American Diplomacy: "Despite its upbeat outline of a new diplomacy and stronger 'civilian power,' the QDDR [Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, 2010] remains, in my opinion, a conventional assessment of the world and the challenges facing U.S. foreign policy.

It focuses more on 'new global threats' than on new international opportunities. It barely mentions the efficacy of expanding cultural contacts and interactions between Americans and citizens of other nations. It conflates cultural affairs and public diplomacy as though cultural diplomacy did not exist. The QDDR is more concerned with new strategies for answering threats to U.S. national security. Its view is from the ramparts of Fortress America towards the rest of the world although it does mention cooperation, collaboration, and interaction with different groups and organizations in other nations." Image from article

Chinese journalism and American soft power - Public Diplomacy and International Communications: Thoughts and comments about public diplomacy, soft power and international communications by Gary Rawnsley: "On Monday November 7 Xinhua, China's state-owned news agency, celebrated its 80th birthday. Its efforts to create what China's propaganda chief, Li Changchun, described as a 'top-ranking international media organization' have been well documented, with a lot of attention devoted to Xinhua's ambition to follow the example of Al-Jazeera. ... What is worrying is a proposal by US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and two other Republican congressmen to require parity in the numbers of Chinese journalists in the US and American journalists in China. But here I must make an important qualification; the bill, if passed, will only refer to journalists from state or government-owned news organisations. Apparently the US in 2010 issued visas to 650 Chinese journalists working for state-owned media, while two US journalists from government-owned media were issued vias in China. There are two problems with this: First, parity is impossible. The US does not have a tradition of state-owned media; the only journalists this bill would affect are those working for the Voice of America and other US international broadcasting outlets such as Radio Free Asia (whose journalists cannot work in China anyway). Second, by seeking to restrict the number of Chinese journalists in the US, the bill will damage American soft power. 'An eye for an eye' is a dangerous strategy to win hearts and minds, and by limiting the number of visas for Chinese journalists, the US is sending a strong signal to China which undermines its own soft power credentials." Below image from

More discussion of the Rohrabacher bill to require US/China parity in visas for "state-backed journalists" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "It has been my understanding that RFA has no staff reporters in China. China has provided visas only to VOA reporters. Because most domestic media in China are government-owned, and most domestic media in the United States are not, the Rohrabacher bill could create a disparity in the other direction -- and result in fewer Chinese visas for correspondents of US private media. In China, Blue Ocean Network claims to be privately owned. If it were to apply for US visas, a US court might have to decide if BON is truly private."

Congress Should Overhaul BBG Management - Helle Dale, “Congress should undertake much overdue oversight of the management practices and structures of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). U.S. international broadcasting needs professional management and a transparent structure and does not have it at the moment. ... Options for Congress at this point include: •Undertake much overdue oversight of the management practices and structures of the BBG with a view to rewriting the legislation that created the BBG. The U.S. international broadcasting desperately needs professional management and a transparent structure. •Include an independent strategic overview of the entirety of the broadcasting entities of the U.S. government. This can factor in the BBG’s own strategic review but should also draw on outside media experts and audience research.• Repeal the Smith–Mundt Act, which prevents international broadcasters from showing their products domestically here in the United States. Not only would foreign communities find much of interest and relevance; so would Americans interested in foreign affairs—and in how their taxpayer dollars are spent." Via MC on facebook

The Economist: BBG head of innovation says most Iranians don't know, or care, that "Parazit" is produced by VOA - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "The Economist, 5 Nov 2011: 'It is no surprise that a satirical television programme called 'Parazit' that delights in skewering Iran’s politicians is going down a storm. 'Parazit', meaning 'static' in Persian, itself a dig at the government’s tendency to block seditious broadcasts, came on the air shortly before the disputed presidential election of 2009.

It is produced by Voice of America (VOA), the state-funded international broadcaster. Despite—or perhaps because of—its tie to the Great Satan, the programme has proved enormously popular in Iran. ... Raina Kumra, head of innovation at the broadcasting board of governors which runs VOA, says that most Iranians who watch the show either do not know it is produced by VOA—or do not care. 'We’re just the holding company', she says; 'Parazit' is its own creature. The producers insist that it is not a tool of American propaganda. 'Our job is to present the facts and highlight the hypocrisy,' says Saman Arbabi, one of the show’s presenters. 'We’re not here to lead any movement, to lead any regime change.' If the people of Iran want to topple the regime, he says, they must do it themselves." See previous post, third item, about Parazit." Image from article

Every year, around Halloween, the VOA Persian detractors emerge - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

BBC and other international media providing localized editions for India - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

India Blog Series: Sesame Workshop and a new generation of citizen diplomats - Maya Babla, CPB Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Sesame Workshop has 30 international co-productions with 120 other localized versions of the program. Episodes of the local Sesame Street are broadcast around the world, addressing issues ranging from religious tolerance in Pakistan to health and hygiene in Bangladesh.

Sesame Workshop provides a top-notch creative model for addressing the Millennium Development Goals, and for conducting public diplomacy. But the real significance of this program is that it appropriates the power of citizen diplomacy to the youngest of the youth population." Image from article, with caption: The star of Galli Galli Sim Sim, Chamki, who wears her school uniform to send a message of the importance of education for girls.

Australia Network is the latest victim in Gillard-Rudd war‎ - Julie Bishop, Sydney Morning Herald: "An important element of Australia's engagement with our region is the taxpayer-funded international television service Australia Network, which broadcasts to more than 44 countries in the Asia/Pacific/Indian Ocean. The broadcasts are a powerful tool of public diplomacy, furthering and promoting our foreign policy and national interests through the dissemination of ideas, information, values and beliefs and building greater understanding among the billions of people who live to our north, east and west.Australian international television broadcasting has been around in one form or another since the early 1990s, when the ABC launched Australia Television International. The ABC operated the service until 1998 when the Seven Network was successful in winning the tender. The service reverted to the ABC in 2002, and the national broadcaster was successful in winning subsequent tenders. The Gillard government announced the most recent tender in December 2010 with the tender documents issued in February 2011. At stake is $223 million over 10 years for the successful bidder, and Australia's 'soft power' capability. ... The ongoing uncertainty about the Australia Network and its operations sends a negative message to our region that Australia does not take seriously this broadcasting service. Furthermore, it again puts on public display the dysfunctional relationship between Prime Minister Gillard and Foreign Minister Rudd."

EU and Japan talk the talk ... - Axel Berkofsky, Asia Times: "The good news (arguably in a sad way) is that realistically nobody expects the EU and Japan to jointly make major contributions towards the resolution of global crises, so any progress or lack of it does not raise too many eyebrows. ... As regards bilateral political, security and sectoral cooperation, the basics have yet to be defined - it remains to be explained plausibly as opposed to vaguely what exactly the EU and Japan meant in May 2011 when they announced a 'binding political agreement'. Whether 'binding' would mean a 'legally biding' agreement which de jure obliges both Brussels and Tokyo to implement the policies and initiatives listed in the (yet non-existent) agreement is yet unclear.

Given the rather unimpressive EU-Japan track record of actually implementing and adopting policies announced in numerous joint declarations and statements over the last 10 years, adding the word 'binding' to 'political' could be part of a 'this-time-its-different' public diplomacy campaign as opposed to a tangible qualitative change of future EU-Japan cooperation in politics and security." Image from

Social Media in Public Diplomacy - Jessica Andrews, International Exchanges: Students at American University blog about international communications: "This week’s Public Diplomacy conference at GW, The Last Three Feet, was a really interesting way to consider some of the theories and methods we have been discussing in class. One thing that was mentioned over and over was diplomacy as an act of understanding. Many of the panelists and Thomas Shannon, the ambassador to Brazil, said diplomacy is not just about talking and emoting communication. They said it’s also about receiving communication, which means hearing, listening and responding. I was surprised by how much the talk revolved around social networking as an official Public Diplomacy method. Obviously the internet and new media have become an important tool for anyone in any sort of communications role, such as someone in public diplomacy. But I was surprised to find how much they used Facebook and Twitter on an extremely regular basis."

CPD hosts Sanders for talk on how the world views U.S. - Jessica Zech, "The Center on Public Diplomacy at USC Annenberg hosted Barry A. Sanders, who discussed his new book, 'American Avatar: The United States in the Global Imagination,' and how the world views the United States. The book focuses on images that people around the world have about the United States

and how they formed those images, which can be helpful for diplomats. 'Public diplomacy at its core is an effort to affect what people think about a country or about policies that a country has,' Sanders said. 'It seems to me that if you are going to try to affect someone’s ideas, you need to have some understanding of how they came by them.' ... He said diplomats should focus on people outside the United States who are persuadable and sell them on the things most people worry about America. Sanders pointed out five of these aspects: steadfastness, openness, acting in the interest of others, compassion and hypocrisy." Sanders image from article

Information Operations Matters: Best Practices Review - Network Practice Test: "Armistead's 'Information Operations Matters' is a thoughtful and thorough piece of scholarship. ... Armistead takes a broad view of perception management as including psychological

operations, public diplomacy, and strategic communications [sic]. 'all of these terms can be considered analogous, and the author has elected to use these terms somewhat interchangeably.' (p. 5)." Image from article

EA in the Classroom: Talking Terrorism, Discussing US Foreign Policy - Scott Lucas, "I will be in a series of seminars all day

at EA's home, the University of Birmingham. Topics range from the rise of "modern terrorism" to propaganda and public diplomacy to an assessment of US foreign policy in the 1950s and 1960s. Updates to the LiveBlogs will be limited until early afternoon." Image from article

Ralph Lauren Corporation Names Judith McHale to Board of Directors - "Ralph Lauren Corporation (NYSE: RL, the 'Company') today announced that Judith McHale, former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs for the U.S. Department of State, has joined the Company’s Board of Directors. ... Ralph Lauren Corporation (NYSE: RL)

is a leader in the design, marketing and distribution of premium lifestyle products in four categories: apparel, home, accessories and fragrances. For more than 44 years, Ralph Lauren's reputation and distinctive image have been consistently developed across an expanding number of products, brands and international markets." Image from


Pakistan calls accusations about security of nuclear arsenal ‘pure fiction’ and ‘propaganda’ - Karin Brulliard, Pakistan has grown accustomed to foreign news articles and U.S. officials accusing it of collusion with Islamist militants. Government officials typically respond with icy silence. But few subjects get Pakistan’s back up like the integrity of its cherished nuclear arsenal, and that defensiveness was on full display last weekend. The catalyst was a story in this week’s Atlantic magazine, which cast strong doubt on the security of those weapons. According to the article, Pakistan moves its nukes

in unmarked trucks on public roads – the same used by militant groups that have attacked military bases – while a worried United States hones plans to secure them in the event of a terrorist takeover. In a statement on Sunday, Pakistan’s foreign ministry slammed the article, dismissing it “pure fiction, baseless” and “part of a deliberate propaganda campaign meant to mislead opinion.” Pakistan is a U.S. ally, but is is a commonly held view here that the true American mission is to seize the country’s nuclear weapons. U.S. officials reject that, though they do not deny that the spectre of nuclear warheads falling into the hands of Islamist insurgents, of which there are plenty in Pakistan, is frightening. Still, in a nation where the animosity toward the United States is fierce, American diplomats were stirred to do their own damage control. In a statement on Monday, the U.S. Embassy expressed “confidence that the government of Pakistan is well aware of the range of potential threats to its nuclear arsenal and has accordingly given very high priority to securing its nuclear weapons and materials effectively.” Image from article, with caption: Pakistan Army troops prepare for a curfew patrol in 2009 in Bannu, on the edge of Pakistan's lawless tribal belt Waziristan.

U.S. put new restrictions on CIA drone strikes in Pakistan: The changes, which came in response to public outrage in Pakistan, have increased the percentage of 'high-value' militants killed by the drone strikes, a study says - Ken Dilanian, Los Angeles Times: The White House over the summer put new restrictions on CIA drone strikes in the wake of concerns that the program was primarily targeting lower-level militants while provoking anger in Pakistan, U.S. officials said.

Since then, according to an independent analysis, the strikes have yielded a significant increase in the percentage of people killed whom the government considers "high-value targets." But the program is still killing mainly rank-and-file fighters, the study indicates. Image from article, with caption: Supporters of the Pakistani politician Imran Khan and chief of Movement for Justice party, burn a replica drone as they shout slogans during protest rally in Islamabad against the U.S. drone attacks in Pakistani tribal regions. Image from article

Iraq, Iran and the Nuclear Phantasm: We’ve Seen this Picture - Juan Cole, Informed Comment: Everything we know about Iran’s nuclear enrichment program points to it mainly being for civilian purposes. There is no known nuclear weapons program as such. Whatever computer simulations or other measures Iran has taken would be consistent with seeking nuclear latency as a deterrent against an invasion. But the propaganda will say otherwise. Just so we remember what propaganda looks like, here is a compilation (video in entry) of the Bush administration’s out and out lies about Iraq’s supposed “weapons of mass destruction” (itself a propaganda term meant to sweep old canisters of mustard gas up with nuclear warheads).

U.S. on smear campaign, Iran claims - The United States is spreading propaganda about other countries to divert attention from its economic and political woes, Tehran said. The International Atomic Energy Agency last week said it wasn't able to verify Iran's nuclear activity wasn't used for illicit purposes. In October, Washington accused Iran of plotting to assassinate the Saudi envoy to Washington with the help of a member of a Mexican drug cartel.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, however, told the official Islamic Republic News Agency that Washington was launching a smear campaign to distract attention from its own woes. Image from article, with caption: Iranian students pass by the American embassy during a celebratory demonstration marking the 32nd anniversary of the capture of the American embassy by militant students in front of the former US Embassy in Tehran, Iran on November 4, 2011.

America’s Unnecessary Secrets - Elizabeth Goitein and J. William Leonard, New York Times: The danger of excessive government secrecy is a lesson we should have learned over the last decade. Although the proper classification of information is vital to keeping the nation safe, “overclassification,” as the 9/11 Commission found, jeopardizes national security by inhibiting information sharing within the federal government and with state and local agencies.

Al Zawahiri: To plot or not to be - Michel Moutot, sundaytimes: Four months after succeeding Osama bin Laden at the head of Al Qaeda, Ayman Al Zawahiri

is spreading jihadist propaganda over the Internet but must mainly be preoccupied with his own survival, experts say. On June 16, six weeks after Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden was killed in a US raid, 59-year-old Egyptian Zawahiri was chosen to replace him as “commander-in-chief” of the Islamist militant group, a post previously unknown to the outside world. Al Zawahiri image from article

Livni: Netanyahu trying to control the press - Jerusalem Post: Opposition head Tzipi Livni said that Prime Minister Binyamin "Netanyahu believes in propaganda and not diplomacy, so he tries to control the press," in an interview to Army Radio on Tuesday. The comments came in response to a decision my the Knesset Economics Committee to table a request by Channel 10 to postpone its debt payments to the government for one year. A postponement would throw the channel a financial lifeline, and prevent its possible closure. "Netanyahu took control over the broadcasting authority. He comes from an ideology that says the media is against him, so the way to avoid criticism against him and his statecraft is to control the media and turn it into a mouthpiece," Livni said.

'Cultural genocide' behind self-immolations: Dalai Lama - The Dalai Lama on Monday said Tibetans faced "cultural genocide" under hardline Chinese rule that he blamed for a recent wave of self-immolations in China's southwest. "Chinese communist propaganda create a very rosy picture. But actually, including many Chinese from mainland China who visit Tibet, they all have the impression things are terrible," the Dalai Lama told journalists in Tokyo.

Why Occupy Wall Street Hasn't Hit Russia - Richard Lourie, Moscow Times: "A few years ago, a Russian friend visited me in New York and expressed a desire to see Wall Street. But when I took her there, she exclaimed with almost angry disappointment, 'That’s Wall Street?!'

Years of Soviet propaganda had led her to expect a vast avenue bristling with monstrous skyscrapers, and here was some small twisty street out of Dickens. ... Can any sort of spontaneous revolt happen any time soon in Russia? The obvious answer is 'no.' Putin is still genuinely popular, and Russians have had enough of tumult and chaos." Image from

PKK hacks Ministry of Finance website‎ - Mehmet Şimşek, Hurriyet Daily News: The Turkish Ministry of Finance has said their official website was hacked late last night by members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) for "purposes of dirty propaganda."

The ministry deactivated the website soon after, assuring citizens that it would be back online as soon as possible. Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek further said an investigation has been launched to find those responsible. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. Image from article, with caption: Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek

Kenya: Army Warns of Terror Propaganda - Dominic Wabala, Kenya Defence Force has warned Kenyans to be wary of an elaborate propaganda by al Shabaab militia aimed at discrediting the military's operation in Somalia. Military spokesman Emmanuel Chirchir advised Kenyans to ignore information coming from groups sympathetic to al Shabaab. " Al Shabaab is spreading a lot of propaganda. Ignore anything you cannot verify and check ownership of media outlets. Kindly be advised that as Kenya soldiers destroy a Shabaab, the militia have heaps of propaganda," Chirchir said on a post on his Facebook page.

Ciudad Juarez seeks image makeover - Rob Reynolds, An outdoor rock concert kicked off a big public relations push by the city of Juarez to clean up its crime-tarnished image. Called “Competitiva Juarez”, the city-sponsored two-week-long series of business, cultural and trade events is meant to promote a city notorious for sky-high rates of murder and drug fuelled crime. Mexican President Felipe Calderone spoke at the opening conference. Former New York mayor Rudi Giuliani and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev will also make speeches.

The Story Behind the Propaganda Masterstroke - Rob Hardy, Jew Süss: Life, Legend, Fiction, Film (Continuum) is by historian Susan Tegel, and true to the subtitle it covers all four facets of the story of Joseph Süss Oppenheimer.Süss really existed, but as you might expect, he was not as important or as influential as the legends and the movies represent him. He was born in 1698. His parents died when he was young, but relatives brought

him up and gave him a traditional Jewish education. He had, however, a loose tie to religion for most of his life, and was a free-thinker without inclination or disfavor to religion. It is not entirely clear how he made his career as a businessman and financier, but he was successful enough to become a "Court Jew" (Hofjude) in Württemberg. No version of Süss's tale has had the fame or influence (or financial success) as Jud Süss, the 1940 German film deliberately made to invoke hatred for Jews. The Nazis early recognized the power of films and in 1938 the Reich Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, flatly ordered that German studios should start putting out antisemitic movies. The effort produced Der Ewige Jude (The Eternal Jew) and Die Rothschilds, which were far less successful. Goebbels was directly involved in the script and production of Jud Süss, deliberately cranking up the hate. A successful director, Veit Harlan, co-wrote the script, and was deeply involved in depicting the Jews and their religious ceremonies as demonic. He selected extras from the ghettos in Prague. After the war, those who made the film claimed they were forced to participate. Harlan the director was tried twice for war crimes, but was acquitted, and went on to make other films. The movie is banned in Germany and other places, but still pops up unexpectedly. In 2009, a self-described "white activist" donated a copy to the state of Florida, via the then governor Charlie Crist. The governor sent a thank you note to say how proud he would be to share it with the people of Florida, and when the note went up on the web, he then had to backtrack. It isn't a story covered by Tegel, but it is hard to imagine that she has missed much else in this fascinating account. Image from article

Revolution: A Photographic history of Revolutionary Ireland, 1913-1923 - Orla Fitzpatrick, This new book covers a period that is particularly fascinating, albeit somewhat confusing, for photographic historians. The Irish revolutionary period offers a rich photographic archive.

Portraits range from official mugshots held in government archives to family portraits commissioned from commercial photographic studios. Snapshots taken by onlookers and documentary images captured by press photographers offer powerful depictions of armed combat and its aftermath. All of these could be and were manipulated and circulated for the purpose of propaganda or indeed suppressed or hidden by the various sides. Image from article

Art as Propaganda - jhbutash, Propaganda still dominates much of our society. From last election's Obama Hope posters, to the current Occupy Wall Street posters, art can definitely become an influential tool. Interestingly, both the Obama Hope posters and the Occupy Wall Street posters

were created by Shepherd Fairey. Like the Hope poster, Fairey continues to create posters with overtly political themes. The Occupy Wall Street poster looks to the past for inspiration, reminiscent of the 1960s and 1970s. This poster, like many of Fairey's work, rouses emotions and encourages the involvement of a younger generation. It is meant to be all-inclusive, open to people from all backgrounds. But is it propaganda? It simplifies a complicated issue, it is biased, and it employs symbols to achieve a particular goal. But to me, "propaganda" has such a negative connotation. But advertising is just that: a method employed to sway public opinion. Can something be both art and propaganda, though? Art often has an opinion -- political, religious, etc., and it intends to influence people.

Video: Propaganda – Full Movie - ockOn Snowboarding presents their latest snowboard film, entitled ‘Propaganda’. The full movie released this last week. Filmed

by Jakob Preischl and Lukas Tielke, directed by Lukas Tielke and Philipp Ramhofer, you get a full 17 minutes of snowboard action, getting you in the right mood for the winter that is just around the corner. Image from article


"Cain exhibited no inappropriate sexual behavior during the dinner, though he did order two $400 bottles of wine and stuck the women with the bill, she said."

--Susan Ferrechio, "Fifth woman raises questions about Cain's behavior," Washington Examiner


"Stocks end higher as Italy's PM say's he'll leave" -- Headline in USA Today (11/09/11). See the blog, Apostrophe Catastrophes


"Study: Big Babies Face Obesity Risk"

--Headline in Express (Washington, 11/08/2011)


--Image from

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