Friday, September 30, 2011

September 30

"The real test of a relationship is how quickly you can get out of bed after making love to check your email." Image from

--The boss of a wired company -- speaking a decade ago


Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Ann Stock Travels to Moscow October 2-4 for Media Meeting of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission - Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, U.S. Department of State: "Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Ann Stock will lead the United States’ delegation to a Media Sub-Working Group meeting of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission (BPC) October 2-4 in Moscow. Assistant Secretary Stock and Russian Ambassador Mikhail Shvydkoy will open the meeting and deliver opening remarks on ways in which the United States and Russia may partner together to strengthen people-to-people exchanges

through education, culture, media, and sports.  During her visit, Assistant Secretary Stock also will meet with other Russian counterparts to advance the vital business of the Education, Culture, Sports, and Media Working Group, which she and Shvydkoy co-chair. Assistant Secretary Stock has assumed the authorities of the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and will co-chair in this capacity. 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, will host the second meeting of the BPC Media Sub-Working Group. Coordinator McCall and 11 media leaders from the United States, representing such institutions as the San Francisco Chronicle, Yahoo!News, the Newspaper Association of America, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the International Center for Journalists, and leaders of several U.S. schools of journalism, will continue the dialogue on the changing nature of the media arena

they started with their colleagues from Russia in Boston last March. They will hold sessions on the Business of Media, the Evolving Practice and Profession of Journalism, New Media Technologies, meet with journalism students from the Russian State Humanities University, and conduct a roundtable discussion on Ethics in Journalism. An agreement will be signed during the meeting for an exchange of 24 young journalists from each country in 2012 and 2013, funded and administered by the Knight Foundation, the International Center for Journalists, and the Union of Journalists of Moscow."  Above image from; below Image from

Senate Appropriations Committee rejects BBG proposal to drop VOA Chinese radio and TV - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Secret Cables Reveal Exercises Used as Cover for US Military - "The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today called attention to secret cables from the US Embassy in Manila published by the website revealing the use of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the annual Balikatan joint military exercises as 'legal cover' for the involvement of US military forces in combat operations in the Philippines. ... 'Even so-called humanitarian missions are being used as a ‘public diplomacy tool’ with the aim of

drowning the issues of sovereignty and military interference,' pointed out the CPP. In another cable prepared by former Ambassador Kristie Kenney dated January 17, 2008, she said that these 'humanitarian missions' 'are relatively inexpensive activities (which) are critical to ensuring future access to these ports and deflecting leftist and elitist critiques of U.S.- Philippine military engagement.' 'The US imperialists continue to treat Philippine sovereignty with utter contempt,' said the CPP. 'The Filipino people must heighten their patriotism and continue to struggle to put an end to US military interventionism.'” Image from article

Cosplay Diplomacy‎ - Eddie Walsh, The Diplomat: "Cosplay – in which participants dress up as fictional, typically sci-fi or manga characters – is becoming increasingly popular in the United States. It’s a potential source of soft power that Japanese policymakers should be keeping a better eye on. ... Initially, Cosplay was a specialized form of costuming, with most Cosplayers making their own costumes.

But it ultimately caught on with the appearance of commercial, pre-made Cosplay costumes. Still, in the early days it was limited to Japanese cultural influences, particularly anime and manga. ... [A]round 2008 ... Cosplay established a major presence at both San Diego Comic-Con and Dragon*Con, the largest comic book and sci-fi conventions in the world. ... Japanese public diplomacy practitioners should take notice of the growing US interest in Cosplay." Image from article

Members suggested that the United States restrictions on Chinese Reporters - "Most Americans think that China is the world’s most likely to challenge the United States of America countries .... many people even think that China will replace the dominant position of the United states. The United States lawmakers finally realized this challenge. This is not only the military and economic challenges, but also extends to the media and public diplomacy. At least, Congress determined that some people face these challenges."

Palestine UN bid: Where does China stand?‎ - "Today ... it is China's interest in improving its image in the Muslim world as well as its 'long-term desire' to obtain strategic parity with the United States that encourage China to lend its backing to the PA attempt to gain recognition in the UN. Bordering Pakistan and home to 10 million Uighur Muslims, who insist on their distinct, non-Chinese identity, China has serious security concerns along its north western border as evident in recent knife attacks. Officials in Beijing are of the opinion that supporting the Palestinian cause is a 'valuable public diplomacy tool' which will not only help China improve its standing amongst Muslims, but will, at a minimum, fend off any potential Arab criticism of Beijing's unsympathetic attitude towards

Uighurs. Meanwhile, supporting Palestinians can considerably boost China's approval rating in the Arab world, thereby further encouraging Arab governments to look to China 'as a potential check on unrestrained American dominance'. With US popularity at its lowest point on both the state and public levels, and a diminishing Western influence in the horizon, the Palestine UN bid has provided China with a golden opportunity to further expand its soft power in a region that is of immense strategic importance to China's uninterrupted economic growth, and hence the successful execution of its military modernisation plans." Uighurs image from

Chinese retro-public diplomacy - John Brown, Notes and Essays: "How I wish a bright graduate student with a background in Chinese culture/Chinese language would consider writing a paper on China's public diplomacy as an anachronistic 'imitation' of US Cold War public diplomacy. The censorship-obsessed mainland authorities are following the USA Cold-War script, as they see it: 'ideologically safe' international TV propaganda programs not offensive (above all) to the homeland leadership; 'educational,' i.e, 'indoctrinating' cultural centers overseas; well-controlled people-to-people exchanges.

I'm simply amazed by how even intelligent commentators in the U.S. see Chinese PD as a 'threat' to America -- it's more like an aged dinosaur, moaning and groaning, about to die because the social-media comet (pardon the bad metaphor) has crashed on Mother Earth." Image from

RT (Russia Today) will be "available globally on smartphones, iPad and tablet devices" via Yamgo mobile TV network - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Interesting move by Swedish embassy in london - "Swedish embassy replacing furniture with new swedish design and opening up its doors during London design week, in a new take on openness in public diplomacy."

Stoutt outlines comprehensive plan to repair VI education system - "Independent First District candidate Preston Stoutt recently outlined a comprehensive plan which he believes will significantly improve the quality of education delivered in the Virgin Islands. Stoutt is contesting the First District seat against the incumbent Andrew Fahie who is also Minister of Education. ... Stoutt said . ... 'Education serves as the tentacles of our society as it relates to jobs, socio-economics, crime rates and in general, the sustainability of our VI Territory.

Instead of using ‘perception management’ or ‘public diplomacy’ as a tool to engage and sway the general public regarding our educational system we should be ‘managing the expectations’ of the parents and Territory when it comes to the education of our children and their future. Educational needs are being dealt with on a superficial level instead of delving deep into ‘the core’ part of our educational system.'” Stoutt image from article

Time to Teach Those Around South China Sea a Lesson? - Samuel Wade, "The author is an analyst at the China Energy Fund Committee, 'a nonprofit, non-governmental think tank devoted to public diplomacy and researches on strategic issues with emphasis on energy and culture.'”


How the State Department Came After Me: For telling the truth about what I saw in Iraq - Peter Van Buren, Foreign Affairs: "We have been battered to death with public statements from the Secretary of State on down demanding the rights of bloggers and journalists in China, Burma and the Middle East be respected. While the State Department does not lock its naughty bloggers in basement prison cells, it does purposefully, willfully, and in an organized way seek to chill the responsible exercise of free speech by its employees. It does this selectively; blogs that promote an on-message theme are left alone (or even linked toby [sic] the Department) while blogs that say things that are troublesome or offensive to the Department are bullied out of existence. This is not consistent with the values the State Department seeks to promote abroad. It is not the best of us, and it undermines our message and our mission in every country where we work where people can still read this.

I have a job now at State that has nothing to do with Iraq, something I enjoy and something I am competent at. To me, there is no conflict here. I'd like to keep my job if I can, and in the meantime, I'll continue to write. I have no need to resign in protest, as I don't think I've done anything wrong absent throwing a few pies at some clowns and bringing to daylight a story that needed to be told, albeit at the cost of some embarrassment to the Department of State. That seems to me compatible with my oath of office, as well as my obligations as a citizen. I hope State comes to agree with me. After all, State asks the same thing of governments abroad, right?" Van Buren image from article. Via LB. See also.

What’s behind the U.S.-Pakistan rift - David Ignatius, Washington Post: President Obama’s goal remains a political settlement with “reconcilable” elements of the Taliban, and secret contacts have been continuing around the world.

"World media tycoons" meet at the World Media Summit in Beijing and say nothing especially interesting - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting.

Image from article


Meghann Curtis

Vassar College Class of 2001

Major: Undecided

So what about me? Why am I here--in this class that is? I ask myself the same question. I can't speak a word of German, I've never lived in Germany,

I'm not German by decent [sic] and I'm not trying to fulfill a requirement. My mother did live in West Germany for a time, however, and when she was there, she had this nanny who didn't speak English but taught her how to play this little piece on the piano. My mother taught that piece to me too--its [sic] the only thing I can play besides "Heart and Soul". [sic use of non-American punctuation]  I think that is my only connection to Germany. Anyway, I digress. So what brings me here?

--Ms. Meghann Curtis, evidently the new Deputy Assistant Secretary for Academic Programs U.S. State Department; above image from; below image from


Arnold commissions statues... of himself

Thursday, September 29, 2011

September 29

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

September 28

"If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?"

--Albert Einstein; Einstein image from


The US in the Obama Era: Superpower or Doormat?‎ - Helle Dale, "Regrettably, 'It was only a speech' applies to so much of the Obama Administration’s diplomatic efforts, going back to

President Obama’s hapless attempt to secure the 2012 Olympics for his hometown of Chicago in the first months of his presidency. ... It will be the hard but necessary job for the next U.S. President—whoever it may be—to restore the international standing and credibility of the United States. Preserving the nation’s military strength, bolstering its international diplomacy, and using public diplomacy to remind the world of U.S. achievements and clout should all be a part of that task." Image from

Proactive response‎ - Frontier Post: "[I]t is only the Chinese who have spoke up for Pakistan amidst ... American blusterous onslaught. No voice in its support has from any other world capital. If at all something is happening on the diplomatic channels on this score, that is the official echelons’ closely guarded secret. But clearly this global reticence is all due to this country’s official hierarchy’s utter fall in the public diplomacy domain. Pakistan’s case

is very strong and impressive. Only its hierarchy has failed to put it across to the world in any coherent, sustained or orchestrated manner. But the Americans have employed this public diplomacy weapon shrewdly and cunningly to put Pakistan in the dock for their own grand failures in Afghanistan. ... Indeed, so apathetic has this Islamabad hierarchy been to public diplomacy that never has it bothered to demolish the myth of US aid to Pakistan. The insiders say the actual reality about this aid is very unpalatable; firstly, because the figure being cited by American panjandrums is far too bloated; and then much of it is just reimbursement of what Pakistan has spent from its own pocket on fighting America’s false war on terror. Yet in the face of Islamabad’s apathy, the Americans have played up this aid charade so shrilly that the world has come to view the Pakistanis as very dishonest people who have eaten up the American money without delivering what they were expected to." Image from

Dale Carnegie of the Middle East - John Feffer, Foreign Policy in Focus: "U.S. democracy promotion efforts in the Middle East have been based on a bizarre notion: that U.S. society can serve as a model for the region. Talk about a tough sell. Congress is a bruising rugby scrum, and the U.S. economy is a shambles. U.S. warplanes and drones target Muslims abroad, and Islamophobia permeates the political discourse at home. Washington has supported Arab dictators and stood by Israel through thick and thin. We’re telling the world about the benefits of fruits and vegetables and then turning around to sell what looks like wormy apples and rotten tomatoes. No wonder that U.S. public diplomacy has largely fallen flat in the Middle East. As the U.S. brand sits dusty on the shelves, consumers in the Middle East are eagerly lining up for the competing product: Turkey. ... Standing up to Israel is not the only policy that has endeared Turkey to the Arab world. 'Starting with the Jasmine Revolution, Turkey began to condemn violent crackdowns and encourage leaders to listen to the voice of the people,' writes Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF) contributor Richard Javad Heydarian in Arab Spring, Turkish Harvest. 'Ankara explicitly welcomed the strongly secular, populist, and even liberal character of the popular uprisings, setting itself apart from other regional powers.'"

Backpack Diplomacy - Di Wu, PD News – CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Before travelling to Beijing, United States Ambassador Gary Locke bought coffee at a Seattle airport Starbucks while carrying his backpack. Several days later, United States Vice President Joe Biden had lunch at a small Beijing eatery after talks with high-level Chinese leaders. The two scenes seemed ordinary to Americans, but they were so unusual for the Chinese people that stories about the two American officials went viral. The mainstream media grouped the two stories together as they both represented informality and down-to-earth behaviors of the U.S. officials. Some Chinese netizens even compared them with Chinese officials’ lavish behaviors. The most quoted article was Chen Weihua’s writing in China Daily that 'in China even a township chief, which is not really that high up in the hierarchy, will have a chauffeur and a secretary to carry his bag.' However, close scrutiny of the two stories reveals that it caused different reactions among Chinese netizens, as

Ambassador Locke received overwhelmingly positive comments, while public opinion of Mr. Biden’s lunch was negative. ...One of the obvious reasons behind the different feedbacks is that while Locke’s visit to Starbucks was authentic, Biden’s visit to the small restaurant was intentional. Genuine behaviors have better effects because audiences are not favorable to contrived plots. More specifically, the Chinese public is familiar and even tired with political shows conducted by Chinese leaders. It is not rare to see Chinese leaders going to small villages and having simple lunches with villagers. Biden’s lunch only added one more example to that list. On the contrary, seeing a high-level official with his family at an airport is unusual, let alone seeing him order coffee by himself. Furthermore, as Locke later said to the press, buying himself coffee and carrying his own bags is common for him. This genuineness earned him praise. ... [S]ocial networking sites as media channels are critical to successful public diplomacy. Biden’s 'noodle diplomacy' was first picked up by Chinese state media, but Locke’s backpack photo was taken and posted onto Weibo (China’s version of Twitter) by a Chinese entrepreneur. His intention was not to show the down-to-earth side of Locke. His original microblog post says he saw the Ambassador at the Seattle airport and wished him good luck. People tend to trust their friends more than traditional media, especially in a country with information censorship. In such countries, projecting information through traditional media may weaken the effectiveness of the message, while people-to-people communication can be more powerful." Locke image from

BBG may delay birthday present for PRC; no immediate RIFs of VOA journalists - "BBG Watch has learned that due to overwhelming protests, including a full bipartisan rebuke by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Broadcasting Board of Governors may delay the planned termination of Voice of America radio and TV broadcasts to China. BBG executives initially picked October 1, the start of the new U.S. government fiscal year, as the date for ending these broadcasts. This is also the anniversary of the founding of communist China, something that these foreign policy, journalism, public diplomacy and Congressional relations experts apparently did not know. They are also accomplished and sensitive managers, not. They chose Valentine’s Day to tell 45 VOA China Branch reporters that they will soon lose their jobs because China no longer needs their TV and radio news. We hear that 45 VOA journalists who specialize in human rights reporting to China, whom the BBG wants to fire, will not receive their pink slips this week and may be safe for the time being, but we don’t know for how long."

Voice of America likes Facebook - Intelligence Online (subscription)

Members suggested that the United States restrictions on Chinese Reporters - "Most Americans think that China is the world’s most likely to challenge the United States of America countries, Related Topic: American media around Europe but look on China for help, many people even think that China will replace the dominant position of the United states.

The United States lawmakers finally realized this challenge. This is not only the military and economic challenges, but also extends to the media and public diplomacy. At least, Congress determined that some people face these challenges, the United States to ensure that the Chinese government will not be brazen opportunism that we did not examine media freedom and the chance to succeed in the environment." Image from

Looking Ahead to the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit - Christopher Ford, "HEU [highly-enriched uranium] removal has been a major U.S. policy priority, with numerous successes, for many years – with 22 research reactors being converted under the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) program created in May 2004 by President Bush. ... But all is not entirely rosy. The most dramatic recent setback has been in Belarus, which amidst some fanfare in December 2010 signed an agreement with the United States whereby it would transfer its HEU back to Russia in return for supplies of LEU [low-enriched uranium]. ... Thinking that how he brutalizes his own people is nobody’s business but his own, Lukashenko

did not take kindly to this – and promptly suspended the HEU agreement. Belarus now says that it will resume HEU relinquishment only if Washington lifts the human rights sanctions. This is obviously a setback for the NSS agenda, but it really points to a bigger issue than just the misbehavior of one particular dictator: the potential moral hazard problems that can arise when showy multilateral public diplomacy initiatives get entangled with the acquisitive politics of a wayward few." Lukashenko image from

Enough talk, Julia Gillard, time to do something‎ - Greg Sheridan, The Australian: "While our aid budget balloons beyond the wildest dreams of bureaucrats who struggle to find ways to throw the money away fast enough, we cannot fund a diplomatic service even in Asia. The French and Germans do more on public diplomacy in Asia. We do not have consulates across China and India and Indonesia, as we should have. We do not even have an embassy in Mongolia. We do not need another inquiry to tell us this, we need a government with some sense of national priorities."

Weekly school news, Sept. 29 -- Ambassador talk — Bangor Daily News: "BANGOR — Retired U.S. Ambassador Patrick Duddy will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5, in Gracie Theatre at Husson University. His topic will be 'Is the Monroe Doctrine Still Relevant — Adapting U.S. Policy to a New Reality.' ... As former ambassador to Venezuela, Duddy

is one of the Department of State’s most senior Latin American specialists with broad experience in trade, energy, public affairs and crisis management. He oversaw one of the most complex political, economic and public diplomacy portfolios in the Western Hemisphere. Duddy image from

The Privilege of Doing Good - Michele F. Gartner, Social "I’ve studied power and privilege since I was an undergrad, writing a thesis on white privilege, and a graduate thesis on restoring power to the public, in public diplomacy.

I do not admit at all to having the answers or the expertise on how to overcome some of these challenges. But I do know that once aware of our privilege and of the power it wields, we do have the possibility of moving forward." Gartner image from her blog


Kennedy Center Criticized for Staging Red Ballet: ‎Work glorifies Maoist campaign that murdered hundreds of thousands - Matthew Robertson, The Epoch Times: The communist regime in China sometimes has a funny way of building international understanding. Last weekend, for example, propaganda and cultural czars took the bold step of holding a Cultural Revolution-era “red ballet” at the Kennedy Center in Washington. The ballet, called The Red Detachment of Women, glorifies the history of the communist land reform campaign in China, which included torture, arson,

live burials, smashing, and theft directed at “class enemies.” Image from article, with caption: Chinese human rights activist Wei Jingsheng testifies before the House of Representatives' Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in 2009. Wei spoke of China's communist propaganda ballet "The Red Detachment of Women," presented recently at the prestigious Kennedy Center, as "very dangerous."

Russian Propaganda Station Supports US Protestors - Kremlin propaganda station Russia Today is openly supporting the tiny, but growing wave of anarchist/socialist/communist led protests currently building across America. In true Soviet style, the Russians are trying to spin the actions of a few leftist malcontents as the beginnings of a mass movement against the existing American social order.

From the Russia Today website: "Cops might be cracking down on Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York City, but activists are now bringing their big-bank bashing across the country with demonstrations springing up from coast-to-coast. More than a week after protests began in Lower Manhattan, the Occupy Wall Street movement is moving, well, off of Wall Street. Both Los Angeles, California and Chicago, Illinois have both hosted demonstrators in the days since the first protest kicked off in New York, and now dozens of more locales across America are expected to be swarmed upon by citizens sick and tired of corrupt corporations and financial institutions run amuck by mismanagement and greed." Image from article

Western media criticized for negative propaganda‎ - Pakistan Observer: Peshawar—A one day conference on problems of peace and pashtun was held at Pashto Department University of Peshawar in which speakers uprooted lack of tolerance, diversion from its own cultural norms and lack of development in education and manufacturing sector as the main cause of turmoil on Pashtun soil. They said, peace is becoming a global challenge but the big powers are not serious to take long term measures to annihilate its very basic causes and in most cases they themselves are becoming culprits in creating a war like situation in the under privileged countries. The participants criticized western media for a negative propaganda against pashtuns and their soil, and blamed them of presenting a false picture of pashtuns to the world, thus bringing a bad name to them. They said that western media is manipulating the facts while the exact scenario is that actually external powers are using our soil as a battle field for their long term financial and strategic gains.

Al-Qa'ida online magazine lauds September 11 attacks‎ - Paul Maley, The Australian: Al-Qa'ida has marked the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks by publishing a special edition of its online propaganda magazine Inspire, dedicated to the "greatest special operation of all time."

Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula, the al-Qa'ida franchise behind the English-language magazine, also takes the Islamic Republic of Iran to task for spreading "ridiculous" conspiracy theories about the 2001 attacks on the US. Image from

Al Qaeda To Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Stop Pitching 9/11 Conspiracy Theories - Al Qaeda’s propaganda division reportedly wants Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to shut his big yapper. According to a report in the Jerusalem Post, Al Qaeda propagandists are sick of Ahmadinejad saying the U.S. government was part of a conspiracy that carried out the 9/11 attacks. The Al Qaeda sympathizers reportedly published a lengthy opinion piece in their English-language magazine Inspire. Abu Suhail, the author, reportedly suggests that Ahmadinejad is trying to deflect credit for the 9/11 attacks from Al Qaeda because, in essence, Iran is jealous.

Chinese Mistrust State TV's Claim to Reform Itself‎ - Fang Xiao, The Epoch Times: Faced with a growing public credibility crisis, the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece China Central Television (CCTV) says it will “reformat” one of its primary news programs to be more in touch with the lives and livelihoods of common people. But Chinese people think that’s beyond the realm of probability.

CCTV, one of the main organs used by the communist regime to disseminate Party propaganda and shape public opinion, is planning to make a change to its primary evening news program “Xinwen Lianbo” next year by increasing coverage of common people’s lives, Chinese media reported on Sept. 21. Although the news program is aired daily by most mainland TV channels, many Chinese say they have stopped watching it years ago; as it is controlled by the Communist Party they have no trust in its reporting. Image from article, with caption: The China Central Television (CCTV) complex is pictured behind a barbed-wire fence in Beijing on Aug. 13, 2010.

‘Bully for Garibaldi’ - Don H. Doyle, New York Times: Appointed minister to Belgium by President Abraham Lincoln, Shelton Sanford also served, unofficially, as head of American secret service operations in Europe, running spies, fostering propaganda and planning covert activities. Sanford had arrived in Italy with an offer, authorized by President Lincoln and Secretary of State William H. Seward, inviting Giusseppe, Garibaldi, the celebrated champion of Italian unificationto serve as major general in the Union Army. It was the purpose of the war that seemed to concern Garibaldi most. “Could slavery not be abolished?” he asked Sanford. If it was not being fought to emancipate the slaves, he told

Sanford, “the war would appear to be like any civil war in which the world at large could have little interest or sympathy.” Since his arrival in Europe, Sanford had been trying to tell Seward that Europeans expected this to be a war of liberation, without which they would as soon see the nation fall apart. But to Garibaldi’s question Sanford could do no more than explain Lincoln’s legalistic apology for the federal government’s limited constitutional power to interfere with slavery in the states. Sanford image from article

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

September 27

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Blogger Lu Van Bay serving four-year sentence - Reporters Without Borders condemns the continuing detention of

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

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

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

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

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


Monster burgers with big calories, USA Today:

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