Monday, October 31, 2011

October 30-31

"In the space of a generation, the vast imperial metropolis of Rome fell into disrepair, the aqueducts broken, the splendid marketplaces deserted."

--Empire commentator Niall Ferguson; via JB on facebook; image from Ferguson's article, "America's 'Oh Sh*t!' Moment: Has the U.S. deleted the very things that made it great? Niall Ferguson on how America can avoid imminent collapse," Los Angeles Times 


U.S. has work to do in post-Gadhafi Libya - Robert Gosende, "A reset is certainly needed now in U.S./Libyan relations and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent remarks announcing the re-establishment of the Fulbright Program and U.S. government-sponsored English teaching activities are most certainly welcome. Our programs in Libya should be focused on international education. These activities, which will allow young Libyans and Americans to come to know each other and each others' countries through academic collaboration, are the most important thing we can be doing as Libyans work to create their new political order. ... Though the Fulbright Program and U.S. government-assisted English teaching efforts are important, they will only be a very small part of the international education effort that needs to go on between the United States and Libya.

Libya was my first assignment 45 years ago when I became assistant cultural affairs officer/English teaching officer for the Foreign Service in Tripoli. We worked out assignments then for two Fulbright professors and established English-teaching programs in Tripoli and Benghazi, where then-Lieutenant Gadhafi was one of our 1,500 students. But the most important thing we were able to do was to draw together a consortium of American oil companies to begin sending Libyans for undergraduate study in the United States. The first 106 students arrived under auspices of this oil companies-sponsored program in the academic year 1968-'69, but the program was cut short by Gadhafi's coup in l969. ... Robert Gosende is a visiting professor of public diplomacy at the University at Albany." Image from article, with caption: Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters sit on top of a pick up truck in the city of Sirte on October 28, 2011. NATO decided to end its mission in Libya on October 31, declaring it fulfilled its "historic mandate" to protect civilians as contact was made with Moamer Kadhafi's fugitive son

Social Media and Public Diplomacy - "Organizations and businesses have jumped on the social media bandwagon to promote themselves, and the government tries to do the same. Every governmental department has a Twitter account. You can 'like' them on Facebook. Yet, once again, the U.S.’ attempts at public diplomacy falls short. The reason I believe that these attempts at public diplomacy through social media outreach fall short is based on authenticity.

Facebook was successful because it provided an opportunity for you to learn more about your friends and connect with people (although most people use it for gaming now). Twitter allows you to interact with your favorite celebrities. However, when the government gets involved, we know that someone has been hired to craft the messages that are being sent out. Even if we guess that this is happening with our favorite actors and musicians, we know that this is the case from our government. People don’t go to social media outlets for serious business, they go to have fun and keep in touch with their networks. Ultimately, the people that are the most candid on Twitter have the most followers. This may be why the official State Department Twitter account has about 175,000 followers, while Snooki from 'Jersey Shore' has 3.5 million. Or maybe this just means that the Rapture is imminent." Image from article

Public Diplomacy”: America’s Public Relations Campaign - "To a degree, public diplomacy is America’s PR campaign. We constantly need to maintain our image to the rest of the world, and that involves some of the same methods used in business PR. ... Knowing how to communicate properly is key. Proper listening tools

are also very handy, especially if the conversation is filtered through several interpreters. ... This is the same as it is with your business. If you don’t learn how to talk to your customers, your business is toast. And if you forget to do proper research and offend even a small portion of people with something you say, you could be looking at the end of your business." Image from. On "tools" for public diplomacy, see John Brown, "Let the Fools Have Their Public Diplomacy Tools," Notes and Essays.

At House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, Secretary Clinton hears proposal to add a VOA Sindhi Service - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting.

Follow the advice of the host of VOA's Straight Talk Africa, and he might buy you lunch - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting.

Image from article

At a camp for Somali refugees, "the crackle of shortwave radios" and a VOA soccer ball - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

No small wonder‎ - Rachel Marder, Jerusalem Post: "The creators of the new documentary Israel Inside: how a small nation makes a big difference are looking to re-brand the Jewish state in America’s living rooms as an innovative, ethical country working tirelessly to find solutions to global problems of the day. ... Israel Inside premiers December 1 on PBS in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, Florida, but an audience in Jerusalem got a sneak peak this month at an event that also featured a panel discussion with Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center. ... The documentary is a smart and savvy approach to hasbara (public diplomacy) because it does no persuading, arguing or advocacy whatsoever. Politics could not be further from this film. Rather, it’s an emotional, inspiring look at what makes Israel tick, what accounts for its technological and financial success over the last 63 years. Featuring interviews with leading entrepreneurs, academics and politicians like President Shimon Peres, Naty Barak, chief sustainability officer at Netafim – the global leader in drip irrigation – and Harvard University professor and Israel advocate Alan Dershowitz, the film puts a heroic and approachable face to Israel."

Inside a U.S. Embassy: Diplomacy at Work - BU Today: "Author Shawn Dorman discusses her book, Inside a U.S. Embassy: Diplomacy at Work. Inside a U.S. Embassy is widely recognized as the essential guide to the Foreign Service.

This all-new third edition takes readers to more than 50 U.S. missions around the world, introducing Foreign Service professionals and providing detailed descriptions of their jobs and firsthand accounts of diplomacy in action. In addition to the profiles of diplomats and specialists around the world--from the ambassador to the consular officer, the public diplomacy officer to the security specialist--is a selection from more than twenty countries of day-in-the-life accounts, each describing and actual day on the job." Image from Blog Updates - "This page provides further updates to the main site pages of, with breaking news, brief analyses or extended versions of Twitter posts. The home site is currently under construction and should be properly operational by late summer. Political scientist specializing in and/or commenting on International Relations, Global Media, Public Diplomacy, Strategic Studies & Irish Foreign Policy."


50th reunion weekend welcomes back 1961 U-M band members who toured Russia - "Among the Class of 1961 alumni returning to the University of Michigan campus for the 50th Reunion Weekend (Oct. 27-30) are a group of musicians who share a particularly special bond. They are the former members of the U-M Symphony Band, a group that made history when it toured Russia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe for 15 weeks in 1961, at the behest of the U.S. State Department. The alumni are being honored with the 2011 'Hall of Fame' award bestowed by the School of Music, Theatre and Dance Alumni Board. 52 of the band’s original members will be making the trek back to Ann Arbor for the celebrations. Still the longest State Department sponsored tour in U.S. history, the groundbreaking odyssey was conducted at the height of the Cold War and was only the second cultural mission of its kind to take place during that tense political period. Under the direction of legendary conductor Dr. William D. Revelli, the Symphony Band musicians were America’s cultural emissaries, using music to forge common ground with our adversaries.

It was an eye-opening experience for the band members, exposing them to cultures and ways of life that were completely new to them while also providing thrills, challenges and invaluable professional experience. ... The 1961 tour was also a major inspiration for last May’s tremendously successful China tour by today’s U-M Symphony Band. Several events will celebrate the reunion of the 1961 Russian Tour Band during the 50th Reunion Weekend, including ... a panel discussion of alumni, faculty, current students and China tour members titled 'Cracks in the Wall: U-M Cultural Diplomacy and the Cold War.'" Image from

La Colmenita Honored in Richmond, California - Jennifer Socorro Ramon, Prensa Latina: Talent, creativity and energy were the main reasons given by Richmond's Mayor Office for honoring the Cuban children's theatre group La Colmenita. Richmond's Mayor Gayle McLaughlin attended the performance of the group at the Richmond Center for the Performing Arts and declared it had been 'simply extraordinary'.

McLaughlin also said that the members of the cast are carrying out a real 'cultural diplomacy', since the message they are sending is a message of love and fraternity in this tour of different US cities. 'La Colmenita has come at a very important moment. They can help to reduce the tensions and conflicts between the United States and Cuba', she said." Image from article

Music provides a bridge between cultures ‎- Ashley Yeaman, The Baylor Lariat: "Monday the Baylor and Waco communities will have the opportunity to listen to a performance of traditional Kurdish music by two Iraqi musicians as part of the program 'American Voices: Art in Difficult Places.' There will be a corresponding lecture on the power of cultural diplomacy and the work of the non-governmental organization

American Voices, which has presented summer youth performing arts academies, workshops and concerts around the world for more than 16 years. American Voices works in countries emerging from isolation or conflict, said John Ferguson, the founder of the organization. 'In many cases, we are the first Americans people have seen who are not diplomats or soldiers,' Ferguson said. The organization travels to countries around the world, teaching classical, jazz and other types of music, usually instrumental, along with hip-hop dance, singing and theater performance. Ferguson said this creates dialogue between the countries they visit and the United States." Image from article, with caption: Rebin Ali, a musician from Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, holds an oud, a guitar-like instrument used in North African and Middle Eastern music. See also.

A Maestro's Tale: Edvard Tchivzhel - leader of the symphony orchestra, patriot and rock star, of course - Courtney L. Tollison, "One evening 20 years ago, when the United States and the Soviet Union remained entangled in the Cold War, one of the USSR’s most renowned orchestral conductors sat amid the cacophony of videogames, simulators, and animated stage shows at Chuck E. Cheese’s on Haywood Road in Greenville. Edvard Tchivzhel

was in the United States for a month-long tour with the USSR State Symphony Orchestra, and was enjoying time with his wife and son and Lena Forster, then director of the Greenville Ballet, who was serving as the maestro’s translator. In his native Russian, he took an enormous leap of faith: although there was no way to be sure that Forster was not working with the KGB, the Soviet Union's national security agency, he decided to trust her. He said he 'wanted to stay.' She is said to have responded: Chuck E. Cheese’s did not close until 10 p.m. The maestro had something different in mind. He wanted to stay in America. ... He was a member of Russia’s elite arts community, widely recognized and respected throughout the communist bloc and in many countries around the world. But in 1991, he left it all behind. In February of that year, Tchivzhel, his wife Luba (an accomplished violinist), and their 4 year old son Arvid left Leningrad with hopes of achieving asylum in the U.S. They bristled under a heavy handed communist system: political and economic corruption, lack of widespread opportunity, and extreme governmental interference into the personal and professional lives of the people. Their multi-city tour of the U.S. included Greenville; the USSR State Symphony Orchestra's performance at the Peace Center was the first scheduled orchestra performance in the newly completed facility. As conductor, the maestro was an important representative of the USSR's cultural diplomacy efforts, a joint program which used the arts to thaw relations between the Soviet Union and the United States. ... The Soviet Union crumbled in December 1991. Eight years later, the Tchivzhel family became U.S. citizens and Tchivzhel became the music director and conductor of the Greenville Symphony Orchestra." Tchivzhel image from

Video: Islamic art as cultural diplomacy - BBC News: "One of the finest collections of Islamic art in the world has been given a new home at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Drawn from the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and Asia the artefacts on display evoke the rich diversity of Islam. As well as captivating the public, the Metropolitan Museum is hoping its new galleries will also help dispel stereotypes about Muslim culture in the United States.

Michael Maher reports on the exhibition, which opens on 1 November." Image from, with caption: The Met’s Islamic collection returns to view in what are now being called the galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia and Later South Asia. A carved wooden arch in the Mughal South Asia gallery

Govt to open cultural centers abroad - The Jakarta Post: "As part of its international cultural diplomacy, Indonesia will open cultural centers abroad, with Japan and the Netherlands already on the list. 'There are many foreign cultural centers in Indonesia such as Germany’s Goethe Institute, France’s Culturel Francais or the Dutch Erasmus Huis, so Indonesia must also have similar centers abroad to promote Indonesian and its culture,' Deputy National Education and Culture Minister Wiendu Nuryanti, said last week. Wiendu told reporters recently that the centers would be set up in countries with which Indonesia had relations. However, the deputy minister has yet to detail the plan, saying it was still being discussed. ... Cultural diplomacy is one of the five principles included in a blueprint for cultural development that is now being prepared by the ministry, along with different stakeholders such as sociologists and artists. The other principles are character building; history, heritage and cultural innovation; human resources and institutional building in culture; and cultural infrastructure."

Pinoy artists to mount 'Art Trek' exhibit in Singapore - "Filipino artists in Singapore, including avant-garde icon David Cortez Medalla, will hold a 'Philippine Art Trek' exhibit in Singapore in November, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said. The Philippine Embassy in Singapore said 'Art Trek V' includes a month-long series of performance art, lectures, and exhibitions of works by established and emerging Filipino artists in Singapore's top galleries.

'Art Trek has showcased the works of more than 150 Filipino artists in Singapore since 2007, helping to deepen the cultural interaction and friendship between the two countries,' a report on the DFA website said. ... Since it started in 2007, Art Trek V has earned a spot in Singapore's annual arts calendar as the centerpiece of the Embassy's cultural diplomacy program." Image from

Ryukyu-Okinawa Traditional Performing Arts Tour‎ - press release, ‎"Long ago Okinawa used to be an independent kingdom called the Ryukyu Kingdom. During the era of the Ryukyu Kingdom, from the 14th to 19th centuries, Ryukyu’s performing arts became a major cultural asset and played an important role in 'Cultural diplomacy' by the Ryukyu Kingdom. The spirit of the arts cultivated during this period still very much alive today in Okinawa’s traditional performing arts."

UNESCO commends ADACH for culture and heritage initiatives - "Mrs. Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UNESCO, received Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Advisor of Culture and Heritage in the Court of His Highness the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Director General of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) on the eve of the general conference of UNESCO which kicked off in Paris. In the meeting which was held at the organization's headquarters in Paris on Sunday, the two parties discussed the Authority's long-term commitment to the consolidation of cooperation with UNESCO, which resulted in a series of initiatives that enhanced the Authority's technical capacity in the management of culture and heritage. Bokova highlighted the leading role played by ADACH in the Arab World through its strategic projects as well as international contributions to the culture and heritage affairs. The meeting was attended by Dr. Sami El Masri, Deputy Director-General of ADACH for Arts, Culture and Heritage and Director of Strategic Planning, Abdallah Al Nu'aymi, UAE Ambassador to UNESCO, Dr. Awad Salih, ADACH's Adviser for Strategic Affairs of International Cultural Cooperation, and Basim Qudsi, Advisor in Cultural Diplomacy. On the UNESCO side, Kishore Rao, Director of the World Heritage Centre, and Hans d'Orville, Director of Strategic Planning at UNESCO."

'Outsourced' Is My Personal Nightmare‎ - Alyssa Rosenberg: "Because of my ... fondness for inflicting terrible things on myself, I watched a bunch of Outsourced . ... The show is, in fact, not good. It doesn’t do nearly enough to undermine the stereotypes it sets up as the basis of its humor. Rajiv is a tremendous creep in a way that totally undermines the fact that he’s right about Todd’s cultural imperialism. ... Outsourced

is everything I’m pushing back against. It’s not just that the show is set in a call center where the employees sell the lowest of the low-brow artifacts of American culture, and the Americans they encounter on the phone tend to be frat boys and people who are excited by bird-feeders with deliberately stupid misspellings, although that doesn’t help. The bits of culture Todd ends up explaining to his workers are things like Cheesehead-dom. It’s not that rooting for the Packers is not a noble past-time, but there’s something really depressing about the prospect that the collected ephemera of a novelty catalogue is what passes for cultural diplomacy." Image from article

International Nurse Leader Appointed Director and Chair of Nursing at GSU - "Dr. Martha Mathews Libster has been appointed Chair and Director of Nursing for the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) at Governors State University (GSU). Libster comes to GSU from Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA, where she served as Director and Chair of Nursing.

She is an international nurse leader in the field of nursing history, cultural diplomacy, and holistic nursing — particularly healing traditions, nurse-herbalism, and foot reflexology. She has authored numerous journal publications and five books, including Herbal Diplomats, for which she received the prestigious 2005 Lavinia Dock Award for Excellence in Research and Writing from the American Association for the History of Nursing." Libster image from article


U.S. Planning Troop Buildup in Gulf After Exit From Iraq - Thom Shanker and Steven Lee Myers, New York Times: The Obama administration plans to bolster the American military presence in the Persian Gulf after it withdraws the remaining troops from Iraq this year, according to officials and diplomats.

That repositioning could include new combat forces in Kuwait able to respond to a collapse of security in Iraq or a military confrontation with Iran. Image from

Obama's Tragic Iraq Withdrawal: The president says we're leaving because of Iraqi intransigence—but he never took negotiations seriously - Max Boot, Wall Street Journal: Iraq will increasingly find itself on its own, even though its air forces still lack the capability to defend its own airspace and its ground forces cannot carry out large-scale combined arms operations. Multiple terrorist groups also remain active, and almost as many civilians died in Iraq last year as in Afghanistan. So the end of the U.S. military mission in Iraq is a tragedy, not a triumph—and a self-inflicted one at that.

U.S. had advance warning of abuse at Afghan prisons, officials say - Joshua Partlow and Julie , Tate, Washington Post: Across the street from U.S. military headquarters in Kabul, shrouded from view by concrete walls, the Afghan intelligence agency runs a detention facility for up to 40 terrorism suspects that is known as Department 124. So much torture

took place inside, one detainee told the United Nations, that it has earned another name: “People call it Hell.” But long before the world body publicly revealed “systematic torture” in Afghan intelligence agency detention centers, top officials from the State Department, the CIA and the U.S. military received multiple warnings about abuses at Department 124 and other Afghan facilities, according to Afghan and Western officials with knowledge of the situation. Image from

Israel: A true ally in the Middle East: Israeli contributions to U.S. national interests, underappreciated by many, include enhanced counter-terrorism, intelligence and technology useful in urban warfare - Robert D. Blackwill and Walter B. Slocombe, Israel's substantial contributions to U.S. interests are an underappreciated aspect of this relationship and deserve equal billing to shared values and historical responsibility as rationales for American support of Israel.

Under Western Eyes: Interests of energy security should drive India’s foreign policy - S.L. Rao, American policy in Asia has been governed by the desire to control hydrocarbon

reserves, protect Israel at all costs, contain terrorism of the Islamic kind, and act as a check on Chinese expansionism. India’s policies at last appear to be moving in the direction of our self-interest, though we continue to be persuaded by propaganda of Western governments and media against many hydrocarbon rich Muslim countries and those who are apparent threats to Israel. Image from

Mystery UK Reporter Defends China Soap Opera Ban - Tom McGregor, In the Chinese media, a big debate has erupted over the Ministry of Propaganda’s new law that would severely curtail the airing of entertainment programs on TV that would begin on January 1, 2012. China’s soap opera ban has ignited criticism even from reporters working for China’s state-run media. CCTV China aired a showed called ‘Dialogue’ that discussed the problems of the new law. The Chinese host and two guests appeared to express concerns over Beijing’s rigid censorship laws over entertainment shows. Yet after a brief commercial break, the host introduced an obscure radio presenter from the United Kingdom, Alex McNab, who boldly claimed that China’s soap opera ban is necessary because censorship is very important. He claims that censorship is a good thing. Image from

U.S. Embassy air quality data undercut China's own assessments: One day this month, the reading was so high compared with U.S. standards it was listed as 'beyond index.' But China's own assessment that day was that Beijing's air was merely 'slightly polluted' - Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times: Perched atop the U.S. Embassy in Beijing is a device about the size of a microwave oven that spits out hourly rebukes to the Chinese government. It is a machine that monitors fine particulate matter, one of the most dangerous components of air pollution, and instantly posts the results to Twitter and a dedicated iPhone application, where it is frequently picked up by Chinese bloggers.

One day this month, the reading was so high compared with the standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it was listed as "beyond index." In other words, it had soared right off the chart. "You couldn't get such a high level in the United States unless you were downwind from a forest fire," said Dane Westerdahl, an air quality expert from Cornell University. But China's own assessment that day, Oct. 9, was that Beijing's air was merely "slightly polluted." Image from article

GOP presidential candidates share foreign policy strategy: Republican hopefuls largely ignore the topic – and when they do speak out, it's to criticize anything President Obama does - Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times: After a string of successes — the dispatch of Kadafi, the killing of Osama bin Laden, the decapitation of Al Qaeda's leadership — it will be tough, as things stand, to paint Obama as a Democrat who is feckless on defense and foreign affairs, a staple of past Republican presidential campaigns.

Tunisian Media and Propaganda - M. Adnen Chaouachi, The political debates and programs broadcast on some Tunisian media outlets have played a significant role in misleading the public opinion. There was a gap between the media’s understanding of the political situation in Tunisia and the reality on the ground. Parties were demonized and accused of benefiting from foreign funds and assistance. The media thought that attacking these parties would weaken them and pave the ground for more liberal voices to occupy the seats at the Constituent Assembly. This strategy and propaganda, however, has had the opposite effect because it was based on accusations without evidence.

N. Korea strengthens pro-regime propaganda after Gadhafi's death - North Korea is stepping up propaganda aimed at young citizens in an effort to preempt a revolt similar to the one that recently killed Libya's longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi, sources familiar with the regime said Monday.

The communist regime is strengthening its control over hundreds of North Koreans working in Libya and other nations affected by the Arab Spring revolutions, another source said. Image from article, with caption: North Korea's embassy in Libya.

Comics: Holy Terror by Frank Miller Review - "Having never read Hitler’s Mein Kampf, Frank Miller’s Holy Terror is probably the most ridiculous, shallow, offensive piece of propaganda I think I’ve ever read. Pretty? Sure. Any good? Absolutely not. So why did I enjoyed the hell out of it? Unless you’ve been living in a nerd-proof bunker, you’ve most likely heard that the original title of the book was Holy Terror, Batman!, and the concept was basically Batman vs Al Queda. When the book moved from DC to Miller’s own company, Legendary, not much changed.

Sure, the characters have different names, but they’re still pretty much Batman and Catwoman without the ears. There’s even a panel where Miller clearly forgot to erase one of the ears off the Catwoman character’s shadow. ... Frank Miller’s Holy Terror is terrible. It really is a bad book. The art is great, but everything else is just plain lousy. The thing is, it’s the kind of lousy that makes Michael Bay so successful. It’s the kind of lousy that you pick up at an airport bookshop. It’s not well written. It’s not intelligent or original or even tasteful, but if you want to kill an hour with some mindless tripe, Holy Terror is a good looking way to do it." Image from article


Illegal silicone buttock injections can be deadly, experts say - Amanda Gardner, USA Today

Image from


“If a man were called to fix the period in the history of the world during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from the death of Domitian to the accession of Commodus.”

--Edward Gibbon, author of “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”;

via AB on facebook; image from

Sunday, October 30, 2011

October 29

"I doubt those who believe, and believe those who doubt."

--A valued  PDPBR subscriber, responding to a similar thought by French writer AndrĂ© Gide; image from


Clinton seeks to bypass dictators and despots through technology - Jamie Crawford, "Gone are the days

where statecraft was conducted primarily between diplomats in world capitals, and large summit meetings between world leaders with grand signing statements. Clinton is harnessing the use of so-called 'smart power' which uses public diplomacy, development aid, public-private partnerships, and most visibly – social media, as a means to advance U.S. interests in an era of increasing austerity and tighter defense budgets. ... During her tenure, Clinton has pressed her ambassadors to expand their use of Facebook and Twitter, and requires every diplomat who attends the foreign-service institute to get training in social media." Image from

The Tale of Two Web Initiatives -

"Two very different stories dealing with Iran, the internet, and the United States have been getting attention this week. One story is about a computer virus, the other is about a 'virtual embassy'. Taken together these stories tell us something broader about the nature of the American relationship with Iran. The first story is about a new computer virus that has recently been discovered by internet security experts. The virus, named Duqu, is similar to the more famous Stuxnet virus. Both viruses are so-called 'Trojan' pieces of code that are unsuspectingly planted into a specific computer system only to be activated at some later date. In the case of Stuxnet, the virus was used to directly attack Iran’s nuclear program. ... The second significant story was about the United States’ plan to open a 'virtual embassy' for Iran. The purpose of the embassy will be to provide Iranian citizens information about visas, educational opportunities, and other ways to communicate with the United States. This effort is a primary example of how the United States uses 'public diplomacy' to try to reach the people around the world directly. It is also a clear indication that any issues that the United States has with Iran are not with the people, but with the government. Both of these stories demonstrate that the United States is highly capable of utilizing technology to advance its interests. This includes covert action, and efforts to connect with people of good will throughout the world. Our approach to our adversaries isn’t one of diplomacy or punishment, it is both. It is the Iranian regime’s choice which type of engagement the United States places at the forefront of our approach to Iran." Image from article

In interviews with BBC Persian and VOA Persian, Secretary Clinton announces plans for US "virtual Tehran embassy" - Kim Andrew Elliott Reporting on International Broadcasting. See also.

The State of U.S.-Pakistan Relations [event announcement at the United States Institute of Peace] - "In September, Admiral Mike Mullen surprised observers of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship when he called the Haqqani Network a 'veritable arm' of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency. Subsequent weeks have seen heightened tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan, followed by fresh efforts at intense public diplomacy to repair the damage. While both sides continue to underscore the central importance of the bilateral relationship for regional stability, their strategies with regard to the end game in Afghanistan remain unclear and uncoordinated. As the future of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship navigates shaky ground, Pakistan’s domestic instabilities pose a further challenge.

Though large scale militant attacks have subsided in the country’s major cities, political fragility has been increasingly evident, from the constant shifting of political party coalitions to the decreasing popularity of the current government due to power shortages and inflation, and in the case of Karachi, the country’s financial hub, the worsening law and order situation. For Washington, the state of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, particularly as it pertains to the approaching ‘end-game’ in Afghanistan, is key to

short-term interests, while long term interests depend just as greatly on Pakistan’s internal stability. Join USIP in hosting three eminent experts, all of whom have recently authored new books on Pakistan, to discuss these issues, with a special focus on the recent developments within Pakistan, and in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship."  Mullen image from; other image from

Public Diplomacy: Suggested US-Israel conference  - John Brown, Notes and Essays: "As the growing tension between the U.S. and Israel never ceases to end, despite hopeful intervals on the healing of the relationship, may I suggest that a think-tank with a public-diplomacy focus organize a symposium on the slightly provocative (perhaps politically incorrect, but I hope that would create an "honest" intellectual buzz) topic: "What's Israel Done for (to?) the United States?" (Of course, there could be also be a session on "What's the United States Done for (to?) Israel.") The discussion on this topic would, assuredly, bring the attention of the media -- and, perhaps, the public -- in both countries, leading, let us hope, to a more honest, constructive relation between the two countries."

Foreign students say visa program abused  - Pamela Constable, Washington Post: "For years, it as been touted as a form of vacation diplomacy: a U.S. government program that selects college students from across the globe to come work at beach resorts, amusement parks and other seasonal jobs. In the process, the visitors are expected to imbibe American culture, practice English and take home fond memories. But this August, a group of students complained that their work conditions were closer to a sweatshop than a summer break, sparking demands for government intervention and a firestorm of bad publicity that federal officials are now trying to tamp down. More than 300 young foreigners, packing candy in a warehouse in Pennsylvania, staged a high-profile walkout and protest against their employers and the State Department, which oversees the program.

They alleged that they had been worked to exhaustion and had met few Americans except supervisors who pressed them to pack faster and threatened to have them deported. ... The non-profit guest-worker group took up the students’ cause and filed a formal complaint against the State Department, as well as Hershey and the Council for Educational Travel USA (CETUSA), charging that they had exploited the students as cheap labor. The strike ignited a media frenzy and raised alarms in Congress, in part because of concerns that American workers were being displaced. CETUSA, which manages the program for the State Department, denied the allegations. Company officials suggested the striking students had been misled by union activists, and said they had placed other students at Hershey for seven summers without any problems. Hershey officials said they owned the building but had no role in hiring or supervising the students, which were handled through sub-contractors. ... [T]he bad publicity stunned and embarrassed the State Department. Officials there promised to investigate the alleged abuses and review the program, which brings more than 100,000

to the United States every summer." Top image from article, with caption: John Bilan of Romania leads the chant as members of the AFL-CIO and SEIU march in Hershey, Pa., on Sept. 23. The unions would like Hershey to pay the J-1 visa students and return the jobs to the union; below image from

RFE/RL reporter in Turkmenistan released from prison - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

RFE/RL president Steven Korn on "the ability to let people make up their own mind based on accurate information - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

The MEK's Propaganda Machine - Paul R. Pillar, "[A]nything bad you ever heard about the MEK [the Iranian cult/terrorist group Mujahedeen-e-Khalqis] a product of propaganda from the Iranian regime [according to a National Interest piece]. Evidently this means that anyone, either inside or outside of Iran, who has ever been critical of the group must have been brainwashed by the propaganda. If that were true, those responsible for U.S. public diplomacy have a lot of valuable lessons to learn from the Iranians; their propagandists must be doing something right."

China's CCTV, in international expansion mode, will find that ¥45 billion can't buy credibility - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

India Blog Series: Public Diplomacy: An Education - Aparajitha Vadlamannati, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "This year, nearly 100,000

Indian students are enrolled in American colleges (a number that continues to grow), but only 3,000 American students are studying abroad in India. The U.S. and India clearly have much to gain by encouraging exchanges. ... Students contribute to the public diplomacy efforts of both nations by building stronger alliances through open dialogue. Though problems exist, if both India and the U.S. work to mitigate them, then both they and the world at large stand to greatly benefit from this form of public diplomacy." Image from

ASEAN, preventive diplomacy and bilateral conflict‎ - P.L.E. Priatna, Jakarta Post: "It will build momentum, in turn, for ASEAN’s stakeholders to formulate a new and stronger and more workable framework for regional preventive diplomacy. Entering the ASEAN Community 2015, in terms of public diplomacy, it is a big challenge to gain public justification, even in just simplifying the split between 'bilateral and regional issues'."

Guest Post: Bread Before Ballots – The Need for Food Diplomacy - Emily Chin, Ren's Micro Diplomacy: “With unrest, hunger and desperation spurring continued unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, now is the prime time for U.S. public diplomacy in the form of

food aid.' source: from article


Tweets are new weapon in war against Taliban‎ - Pakistan Observer: US forces in Afghanistan say they’ve developed a new tactic in their war with the Taliban, using Twitter’s 140-character messages as information weapons. “The Taliban were just constantly putting out false information and propaganda,” Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings said. “Some of it was so wrong we finally had to start engaging, and backing up our information with the facts.”

Social media was the weapon of choice, he told CNN. “It allows us to keep our followers dynamically informed while also keeping the enemy’s statements in check,” Cummings said. A Twitter account that frequently puts out news reports favoring the Taliban recently teeted, “Mujahideen bring down U.S. helicopter in Kunar.” International Security Assistance Force headquarters was quick to respond with its own tweet, CNN reported. Image from

Taliban Propaganda Watch: Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight - MILNEWS.Ca.Blog: 25 NATO invaders killed in martyr attack in Kabul city.

Out of Iraq: The U.S. withdrawal will only strengthen Iran's already strong ties with the Shiite government - Frederick W. Kagan and Kimberly Kagan, The American withdrawal, which comes after the administration's failure to secure a new agreement that would have allowed troops to remain in Iraq, won't be good for ordinary Iraqis or for the region. But it will unquestionably benefit Iran. Far from assuaging Iraqi leaderMuqtada Sadr's anti-Americanism, the announcement of U.S. retreat has apparently fueled it and driven him (or his Iranian backers) to seek an even greater success through continued attacks on the U.S. Embassy and its personnel.

Many Americans felt a sense of relief when the president announced that "America's war in Iraq is over." That relief must be tempered, however, by the recognition that Tehran has achieved its goals in Iraq while the U.S. has not. Henceforth, Iranian proxy militias are likely to expand their training bases in southern Iraq and use them as staging areas for operations throughout the Persian Gulf. Image from article

U.S. tracks 'millions' of dollars stolen by Iraqi officials - Eamon Javers,, USA Today: Out of the billions of dollars in cash that the U.S. shipped to Iraq during the war, "hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars . . . was stolen by senior Iraqi officials for their own personal gain," the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction tells CNBC.

17 detained after attack on US embassy in Sarajevo‎ - Monsters and Serbian police raided homes in the largely Muslim Sandzak region on Saturday, detaining 17 people following the attack on the US embassy in Sarajevo in neighbouring Bosnia, Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said. 'This morning at 5 am an operation against the extremist Islamic Wahhabi movement was launched on the territory of Novi Pazar, Sjenica and Tutin,' Dacic said. Propaganda material relating to the movement, which is the dominant form of Islam in Saudi Arabia, had been seized, he said.

Islamophobia used as war propaganda, says UK peace activist - “One of the reasons why Islamophobia has become so virulent in the last 10 years in British society and elsewhere is that is used as a way to try to justify the wars the West is fighting against Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East, in Africa and south-east Asia,” said

Nineham, a national officer of Stop the War Coalition (SWTC). “It is a kind of war propaganda in a way really and that is the link,” he said in an interview with IRNA. “It has been no coincidence that in the last decade, Islamophobia has rose because the West is fighting these wars,” he said. Nineham image from article

Iran Blasts Saudi Arabia Over US Cooperation – Jim Kouri, This week top officials in Saudi Arabia made harsh statements against Iran following the exposure of its plot to assassinate the ambassador of Saudi Arabia in Washington. The declarations further reinforced the anti-Saudi sentiment expressed of late by the Iranian press, according to an intelligence report from Israel’s the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center Radical Islamists in the Middle East and northern Africa blasted the Saudi Kingdom’s choice to side with the United States in what they termed “baseless allegations against Iran” They accused the Saudi Royal Family of reacting to the developments in Bahrain and Yemen — where radical Islamists see a chance for government takeovers — and Saudi anger with Iran for morally supporting the people of Bahrain. “Its regional status compromised by the popular uprisings in the region, Saudi Arabia is forced to cooperate with the United States in its psychological and propaganda war against Iran,” claim Iranian officials in their state-run news service. Islamist propaganda is telling the Arab and Muslin world that there is an internal and external crisis facing the Saudi authorities. The propaganda alleges that there were attempts made by the United States to generate a crisis between Iran and Saudi Arabia, but it won’t work because the Saudi Kingdom is currently unable to become involved in a propaganda war or military confrontation with Iran.

Ungrateful India ‎- Mohammad Jamil, Pakistan Observer: Indian military’s chopper that violated Pakistan’s airspace was allowed to return to Kargil within hours after the crew explained that it was due to the bad weather that they entered Pakistani airspace. Instead of appreciating and expressing gratitude, India chose to unleash propaganda against Pakistan stating that “Indian security has been breached in the sensitive Siachen Glacier-Aksai Chin-Ladakh-Kargil sector as Pakistan Army downloaded the GPS coordinates of all helipads from the army helicopter that strayed across the Line of Control (LoC) into Skardu region."

The narratives of hegemony — Salman Tarik Kureshi, "In common journalese, the word ‘hegemony’ is usually applied to international affairs. We speak of India’s ‘hegemonistic designs’ in the South Asian region. Or we refer to the US as the ‘international hegemon’ who wishes to control all energy resources, or is waging a war against Muslims, or is conspiring to break up Pakistan, or whatever. But the sense in which I wish to use it in today’s piece is in

the hegemony of a dominant group or class ‘within’ a society to exercise domination over other groups or classes. ... The dominant group exercises its control in two ways. First, it uses the power of the state — the midnight knock, the police knout — to suppress any tendencies that threaten its dominance. Secondly, it uses the tool of propaganda to propagate an idea, a narrative, which conceals its hegemony. This is the case even in democratic societies. Edward Bernays, an American thinker in the earlier part of the 20th century, wrote a famous book called Propaganda. Bernays argued that the manipulation of public opinion was a necessary part of democracy. He called this scientific technique of opinion-moulding the 'engineering of consent'." Kureshi image from article

China limits television programs that are "overly entertaining," e.g. "record the dark and gloomy side of society" - Kim Andrew Elliott Reporting on International Broadcasting

“Azerbaijan may use its status for propaganda only”
- “It is obvious that Azerbaijan can use the fact of becoming a non permanent member of EU for propaganda only,” the RPA member Karine Achemyan said today to According to the deputy the thing is that the 3 OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries are permanent members of the UN Security Council, and they have announced for many times that the NKR issue cannot be moved to any other platform.

US Propaganda Poster A little bit of WoWp artwork - "[W]rote a little poem in the WoWp forums, and it got good reviews. Then someone asked if I could make it into a poster, and I quickly whipped up this":

Image from article

Marina Naprushkina in dialogue with Eugen Radescu - “The Office for Anti-Propaganda” was founded in 2007 in Frankfurt. The “Office” produces an archive of videos, texts and picture material on the subject of political propaganda. The focus is on Belarus because but its political model can be transferred to some other East European and Latin American countries from which Belarus gets political support. Belarus is also an outstanding example of how to establish a modern dictatorship and how the western democracies handle this “problem." “The Office for Anti-Propaganda” is the result of long-standing work in gathering and archiving the original propaganda material and the works of the artists. It is shown in the form of an installation with an archive, which every viewer can use: select and watch the videos, read correspondence between the office and German authorities, or page through the original Belorussian “patriotic” ideological literature. Marina Naprushkina, born 1981 in Minsk, Belarus. Her works is a range of media including painting, video and installation to develop critical examinations of power and the structure of the State, often using material acquired from contemporary Belarus. A rich source is the propagandistic material delivered by governmental institutions.

There so obtained images and symbols become either slightly changed or inserted in a different context in order to reverse the original message. The artist’s painstaking dissection of the visual and linguistic structure of the authoritarian regime and research-based works demonstrate how state authority affects society, and transforms democracy into an illusion for those living under the persistent hegemony of the ruling network. Eugen Radescu (b. 1978) is politologist (specialized in moral relativism and political ethics), cultural manager, curator and theoretician. He writes for various magazines and newspapers. He curated, among others, Bucharest Biennale 1 with the theme “Identity Factories” and “How Innocent Is That?” at Pavilion Bucharest. He published a book “How Innocent Is That?” at REVOLVER BOOKS, Berlin, Germany. He is co-editor of PAVILION – journal for politics and culture and co-director of Bucharest Biennale (with Razvan Ion) and the chairman of the organizational board of Pavilion and Bucharest Biennale. He is associate professor at Bucharest University and Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj. Lives and works in Bucharest. The coloring book “My daddy is a policeman. What is he doing at work?” appeared as a part of the civil campaign against police violence in Belarus “Beware, police!." Image from article

Anglo-Saxon Propaganda in the Bayeux Tapestry (Studies in French Civilization) Overview - This study details the secret, subversive and sustaining Anglo-Saxon messages encoded in a work of art that purportedly celebrates the Norman French conquest of England.

Image from article


National debt nears size of U.S. economy - Richard Wolf, USA TODAY: The ever-escalating national debt will hit

and then surpass the size of the entire U.S. economy -- an ignominious distinction previously achieved by the likes of Japan, Italy and Greece. Image from


--From The New York Times

Friday, October 28, 2011

October 28

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

--AndrĂ© Gide (1869 - 1951); image from


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMAGE: Just a Zombie Poodle, via Boing Boing