Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 30

“To sleep with him — no danger.”

--Ekaterina Zatuliveter — a 26-year-old blonde accused of passing parliamentary secrets to Russian intelligence -- writing in her diary regarding her affair with Mike Hancock, a Liberal Democrat lawmaker serving on the sensitive Defense Committee; cited in Gregory Katz, "Femme fatale ruled not a spy; can stay in UK," Washington Times; Zatuliveter image from article


US Motives in Myanmar Are on China's Radar - Edward Wong, New York Times: "Thomas E. Donilon, Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, wrote in an opinion article published on Sunday in The Financial Times that the United States intended to 'maintain and enhance a strong network of allies and partners' in the Asia-Pacific region. Some Asian countries, Vietnam especially, have expressed concern over China’s growing clout.

Myanmar has been more circumspect, even under the new government of President Thein Sein, who American officials say has signaled a tolerance for experimentation with political and economic reforms. But one action this year — the suspension by the Burmese government on Sept. 30 of a Chinese-financed, $3.6 billion dam project that had ignited popular protests — caught the attention of Chinese leaders. Some Chinese officials and scholars contend that the Obama administration played a role in persuading Mr. Thein Sein to block the dam or even in stoking the protests. The administration has not acknowledged any involvement. 'The incident sends a clear signal to China,' said Ms. Mu [Mu Gengyuan] [a] scholar at the Chinese Institute of International Studies, which is linked to the Foreign Ministry. 'With the U.S. strategy of refocusing on the region, it is already making inroads in Myanmar. It also acts as a reminder that the public diplomacy of China still leaves much to be desired.'” Image from

Serving our country through public diplomacy - Mahtab Farid, "I had the honor of receiving the State Department 'Expeditionary Service Award' from Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy on behalf of Secretary Hillary R. Clinton on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011 in a beautiful ceremony at the State Department in Washington, DC. ... There is no greater honor than representing United States of America. I was fortunate to share the American values with Afghans and build a bridge

through personal and public diplomacy. I owe my service to many of our military colleagues who kept me safe and protected me like an ambassador. I also like to thank my family and amazing friends who supported me with their love during my service in Afghanistan. My service wouldn't have been possible without the friendship and support of our Afghan friends. There is no greater honor than serving our country through public diplomacy." Image from article, with caption: Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy with Mahtab Farid

Public Diplomacy…2.0 or 1.x? - William Nyikuli, "My questions of Public Diplomacy in this blog post are within the context of use of New Media communication platforms. One reason that I remain skeptical about use of Web 2.0 and new media by large organizations, is that I wonder how much actual interaction is going on versus how much of it is what I’ve seen referred to as a 'glorified news feed'. By that I mean, yes an organization has a facebook page, yes 'they’re on twitter' and yes, they have a blog. However, how much actual interaction is going on? ... To be fair, in some cases, like the State Department for example, they do have a blog and they actually allow commenting on it (I’m assuming comments are not censored other than for national security issues/secrets), though I don’t know if the comments are read–many high profile blogs are notorious for (ghost) authors that don’t read the feedback received."

For historians/academics interested in Public Diplomacy (a growing "intellectual" cottage industry): Mr. Clean - John Brown, Notes and Essays: "Place: US State Department Human Resources [:] Time: Early 2000's Persons Involved: No-Smiles Human Resources officer (NSHRO), sitting behind her desk in an office at Foggy Bottom; returning from overseas posting Public Diplomacy Foreign Service officer J. Brown (PDFSOJB) NSHRO: So you are looking for a job now that you're back from Russia. PDFSOJB: Yes, Madam.

(Moment of solemn silence. NSHRO prints out paper.) NSHRO (Looks at paper; then slowly raises eyes to PDFSOJB): You look pretty clean. PDFSOJB: Thank you, madam. NSHRO: In over twenty years [of service], all your postings abroad except one have been hardship posts. Not bad. PDSOJB: Yes, madam. Thank you. NSHRO: Only one and half years in Washington during that time -- not bad. PDSOJB: Thank you, madam. NSHRO: Yes, you look pretty clean. PDSOJB: Thank you, madam. But why pretty [emphasis] clean? NSHRO: But you are PD, aren't you?" Image from article

Walter Isaacson refused Voice of America request for interview about Steve Jobs biography, could have expected uncomfortable questions - BBGWatcher, BBG Watch: "Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs’ biography who is also the Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a federal government agency, is more than happy to help his CNN friends get high paying federal jobs at the Voice of America (VOA), which is managed by the BBG, and at the BBG itself … But when it comes to giving the Voice of America an interview about his just published biography of Steve Jobs, it is no go. He flatly refused, VOA Insider reported to BBG Watch.

It seems Chairman I[...]sa[a]cson does not think much of the Voice of America, its public diplomacy mission of presenting important American cultural events to audiences abroad, and of VOA employees who work for American taxpayers under his supervision except when one of his former CNN associates needs a high-paying U.S. federal government job, a VOA employee who does not want to be identified told BBG Watch. The top posts at VOA are now occupied by individuals with professional links to Isaacson and CNN. They in turn are making plans to hire more former and current CNN employees, BBG Watch sources reported." Image from article

Back to the Middle East - Naveed Ahmad, "In terms of realpolitik and public diplomacy both, the Arab spring opens a new chapter for people-to-people contacts between the Pakistanis and the Middle Eastern and North African nations. Besides trade, Pakistan can assist such nations in building and strengthening election commissions, identity registrations, parliamentary and judicial services."

How Jews Try to Brainwash Gentiles on College Campuses - Bashie, "Hasbara refers to the propaganda efforts to sell Israel, justify its actions, and defend it in world opinion. Using contemporary euphemisms, it is public diplomacy for Israel, or using a pejorative interpretation, it is apologia. Israel portrays itself as fighting on two fronts: the Palestinians and world opinion. The latter is dealt with hasbara.

The premise of hasbara is that Israel's problems are a matter of better propaganda, and not one of an underlying unjust situation. ... The Hasbara Handbook: Promoting Israel on Campus, is now available online." Image from article

Israeli Hasbara (Public Diplomacy) Delegation in NYC [video] -

Image from entry

Tatjana Zhdanoka: Europe has big hope for Russia - "BNN published the first part of the interview Tatjana Zhdanoka on November 29 ( She spoke about how Russians are perceived in the eyes od Europe. The second part deals with her initiative – the 5th Europe-Russia forum held in Brussels. ... [Q:] Young people also participated in the forum.

What do you think young people can bring to the rather complicated relations between Russia and the EU? [A:] Young people discussed the form of public diplomacy. Strategic partnership can not be maintained only for mutual benefit. Sincere affection can be the only basis for reliable human union. And the younger generation of Russian politicians are called upon to renew those personal ties and affection, which provided the unity of the European and Russian elites a century ago." Zhdanoka image from article

Human Resource Development and the Str[e]ngth of Public Diplomacy - "Human Resource Development is a relevant theme to be explored in the field of public diplomacy. Although new technologies are being created rapidly, more attention and research should be dedicated to strengthening human capital."


Can we make a deal on VIP visits to Iraq? - Peter Van Buren, Any time Obama or another Washington VIP says anything about success, victory or accomplishment in Iraq, drink grain alcohol

until you fall asleep on the couch. Image from

Ghosts in El salvador - James Morrison, The Washington Times: The U.S. ambassador to El Salvador stirred up ghosts from her past when she wrote a newspaper article praising the president of the Central American nation for supporting the homosexual agenda. Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte now finds herself again at the center of controversy, as Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, raises questions about old charges that Cuban intelligence agents tried to recruit her as a spy and criticizes her for embracing gay issues in El Salvador.

U.S. suspects NATO was lured into raid - NATO forces may have been lured into attacking friendly

Pakistani border posts in a calculated maneuver by the Taliban, according to preliminary U.S. military reports on the deadliest friendly-fire incident with Pakistan since the Afghanistan war began. Image from article, with caption: Protesters condemn the weekend NATO strikes on Pakistani border posts as they demonstrate in Lahore, Pakistan, on Monday, Nov. 28

Pakistan to Shut Down Foreign News Spreading “Anti-Pakistan Propaganda” - Sabrina Siddiqui, The All Pakistan Cable Operators Association announced Tuesday that it will shut down all foreign news channels airing “anti-Pakistan” content.

The declaration comes amidst rising tension between the United States and Pakistan over the NATO air strike that killed 24 Pakistani troops near the Afghan border. "We want to send them a strong message to stop this. If they don’t stop this, then it is our right to stop them,” said Khalid Arain, president of the association, in a live news conference. BBC was specifically targeted during the conference for its documentary “Secret Pakistan” and will be shut down imminently. Such programming was deemed “anti-Pakistan propaganda” that furthers the notion of Pakistan as a corrupt entity and untrustworthy ally to the United States. Image from article, with caption: Protests continue over NATO strikes that killed 24 Pakistani troops

Islamabad's Language Police - Wall Street Journal: The Pakistani Telecommunications Authority (PTA) has banned a list of 1,600 "obscene" words, the majority in English, from being used in text-messages and has instructed wireless service providers in the country to block texts with these words

Russia Calls America’s Condemnation Of Anti-Gay Propaganda Law ‘Inappropriate’, Pushes Back Second Vote - Igor Volsky, A Russian diplomat condemned the United States State Department for speaking out against St. Petersburg’s pending anti-gay propaganda bill, saying that American interference is “inappropriate.” “We view with bewilderment the American side’s attempts to interfere, what’s more, publicly, in the lawmaking process,” foreign ministry representative for human rights, Konstantin Dolgov, told the Interfax news agency. The bill — which would fine groups and individuals for “public actions aimed at propaganda of pederasty, lesbianism, bisexuality, and transgenderism among minors” — has passed the first of three readings, but has stalled as lawmakers work to agree on specific language. The second reading had been tentitivley set for November 30th, but has now been postponed “until after parliamentary polls on December 4.”

Propaganda Parade: The Raid on the British Embassy in Iran Raid Was Merely an Occupy Protest - John Hudson, In today's tour of the Middle East, Iran finds its own Occupy movement, Israel sends a message about dating to American expats and a mystery explosion remains.... mysterious.

Let's begin the Propaganda Parade. Uncaptioned image from article

Who is behind attempt to kill Israel through propaganda?
- Joanne Hill, Diaspora Jews must consider carefully their own role and responsibility in helping Israel survive demographically, according to Moshe Arens, Israel’s former foreign minister. Arens: “[You] have to be part of the effort…to defeat this very pernicious attempt to put an end to Israel, not by armies, not by terrorists, but by propaganda. It’s a battle that is being waged on many, many fronts and… you have to participate: of course, for Israel, but also for you in the Diaspora here in Toronto. Who is behind this attempt to attack Israel, to kill Israel, by propaganda? Many blatant antisemites; many antisemites that have come out of the woodwork who had run for cover after the Holocaust and realized it wasn’t politically correct to attack the Jewish state; many left-wing organizations; many hypocrites; many Holocaust deniers; and some self-hating Jews; and, surprise, surprise, even some self-hating Israelis. So it’s a big, big coalition with which we have to contend.”

Pinkwashing, 2008-2011: Obituary for a Hasbara Strategy - Benjamin Doherty, The basic idea of pinkwashing is to portray Israel as a country that espouses ostensibly Western liberal or progressive democratic values such as feminism, gay rights and multiculturalism. The hope is that this will induce target Western audiences to identify with Israel and thus discount concerns about Israel’s

human rights abuses against Palestinians. This “Brand Israel” campaign also seeks to portray Israel as an environmentalist and high-tech hub and has become a mainstay of hasbara or pro-Israel propaganda from official and unofficial bodies. The strategy is implicitly racist and Islamophobic because it often manifests in arguments that Israel is morally superior to Palestinians in particular, and Arabs and Muslims in general, who are portrayed as inherently lacking these “progressive” values. Image from article

Lies and Truth About Syria - Thierry Meyssan, For eight months, Western leaders and some public media have been agitating for a war in Syria. The extremely serious accusations leveled against Assad intimidate those who question the justification

for a new military intervention. But not everyone, because – on the initiative of Voltaire Network – some came to Syria to investigate for themselves and were able to measure the extent of NATO’s propaganda. Image from article, with caption: Created in Paris under French sponsorship, the Syrian National Council aims to overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. It is chaired by Burhan Ghalioun, professor of sociology at Sorbonne University (he is seen here with French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé, 23 November 2011)

Propaganda as subtle as anything the Nazis and Soviets ever did - Russia sends warship to Syria in support of Assad (whose soldiers have killed 256 children)

Flight as Propaganda in Fascist Italy [...] - The Fascist Italian state in the 20’s and 30’s wanted to be seen as a modern, industrial power with prestige rivaling any other nation on Earth. One way in which Mussolini and his officers attempted to create that image is through the use of airplanes, a relatively new invention that was just beginning to see use in everyday life. By making and flying airplanes that set new standards for the industry, Italy could appear modern without having to spend too much money or occupy too much of their industry, and with the help of Italo Balbo, that is just what Mussolini did. Through large formation cruises across great distances, record-setting flights by prototype airplanes, and simply the swagger and personality of Balbo himself, Italy enhanced its image through propagandistic aviation.

Trajan's Propaganda and Urban Renewal - Trajan’s forum did not only represent a place to proclaim a military triumph, but stood as a cultural center of Rome. It embodied the laws, learning, and religious tradition as represented by the Basilica Ulpia, a library complex, and Trajan’s temple.

All of these ideals were masterfully represented in the craftsmanship of the forum. Thanks largely to the spoils of the Dacian wars, no expense was spared in creating a place that represented the power and majesty of Trajan’s principate.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November 29

"When a man’s actions are just and honorable, the more they are known, the more his reputation is increased and established. If I was sure therefore that my valet de place was a spy, as probably he is, I think I should not discharge him for that, if in other respects I liked him."

--Benjamin Franklin, widely acknowledged as America's first "public diplomat"; image from


"I receive

the PD Press and Blog Review at my State [Department] e-mail address each day ... There seems to be no firewall. Since it's not forwarded to me, but sent instead via a listserv, maybe there's a good technical explanation for the issue that your source indicated." Image from


Open-Source Diplomacy: Instead of hunkering down in the wake of the WikiLeaks fiasco, Foggy Bottom should move toward a less secretive diplomacy  - Jonathan Spalter, "It has been the role of so-called 'public' diplomacy to manage the increasingly important government-to-citizen and citizen-to-citizen interactions on behalf of the United States. And by any measure, the mission of public diplomacy has become only more central to U.S. foreign-policy objectives. Nevertheless, of the total $54.6 billion budget requested for 2011 by the State Department, public diplomacy programs accounted for just $1.29 billion—less than 2.5 percent of the department’s total

budget request for the year. With only 1,070 public diplomacy officers within the Foreign Service, public diplomacy is the second smallest of the department’s five career tracks. Indeed, as of 2009, the State Department employed 60 percent more diplomatic security professionals than public diplomacy officers. The consequences of these trends have not been auspicious. ... What WikiLeaks—and the open-source technology environment of which it is as much a symptom as a catalyst—has made jarringly clear is that the U.S. government alone can no longer fully control what remains classified and out of public reach. ... The fundamental question for American diplomacy will be whether it will withdraw more deeply into a musty and increasingly outmoded cathedral of secrecy, or if it will seek to accelerate efforts to be more transparently and muscularly engaged in managing the nation’s interests in an open-source world." Spalter image from

Did You Know Your Perceptions Are Being Managed? - Dava Castillo, "Perception Management, although coined by the Department of Defense, has migrated into American culture to mold and influence public opinion to everything from political motifs to what kind of insurance you 'should' be buying. Perception Management is also known as 'public diplomacy.['] It is a propaganda strategy originally devised for controlling how a target population views political events refined by intelligence services as they tried to manipulate foreign populations.

The practice eventually found its way into domestic U.S. politics as a way to manipulate post-Vietnam-War-era public opinion and into a public relations strategy for corporations and advertising. ... Branding is an extension of Perception Management. Branding delivers a clear message of a corporation’s image, confirms credibility, connects the target population to the prospects of the corporation emotionally, motivates the 'buyer' of the image, and cements user loyalty. ... Is it ethical for corporations to hire ‘perception management’ firms to influence public opinion? Do you ever manage perceptions? How? Are these actions about telling truth or the illusion of truth?" Image from article

Ambassador Munter Promotes Leadership, Partnership and Solidarity at LUMS - "Ambassador Munter and his wife, Dr. Marilyn Wyatt, focused on inspiring Pakistan’s next generation of leaders on the first day of their visit to Lahore. Addressing more than 150 students at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) today, U.S. Ambassador Cameron Munter emphasized the themes of leadership, partnership and solidarity. ...  On partnerships, 'LUMS has partnerships with eminent American institutions like Harvard

and the University of Chicago. LUMS has partnerships with leading American businesses like Pepsi and Citibank. Together, we can do great things.' ... Dr. Wyatt inspired young students at the Children’s Literature Festival held in Lahore today. Reading from the American classic Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, Dr. [Marilyn] Wyatt remarked on the power of books to inspire the best in children. The U.S. mission provided a $10,000 grant to support the two-day festival." US Islamabab Embassy image from, with caption:  Ambassador Munter visits  [with Dr. Wyatt -- JB] Eidgah Shareef Shrine in Ralwalpindi.

Raising awareness about HIV/AIDS through street art - "Graffiti artist, Maxx Moses, arrived in Bulawayo on Sunday as part of a U.S. Embassy program to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS through street art. Moses, who calls himself a 'concrete alchemist,' will spend a week in Zimbabwe’s second largest city working with local artists to create two murals on the sides of major buildings. ... 'Worldwide, AIDS activists are focused on creating an AIDS-free

generation. In order to do this, we need to use every possible tool to get prevention messages across to young and old alike. Maxx’s work is the perfect medium to do this – it’s innovative, engaging, and certainly eye-catching,' says Michael Brooke, Public Diplomacy Officer at the U.S. Embassy. ... Issued by the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section." Moses image from article, with caption: Maxx Moses with local artist Enock aka “Just Kause” in Makokoba, Bulawayo on Monday.

Rare Cultural Diplomacy US-China Relations Hearkens to the Past - "Ever wonder what cultural and public diplomacy looks like? These pictures of the 'Jazz Ambassadors' will help, and a related NPR blog tells the story. So will this story focusing on a successful and important Asia Society program that appears to be a rarity in this era of budget shortfalls and short-term thinking: 'The event was part of the U.S.-China Forum on the Arts and Culture, which brought over such artists as Mr. Ma, the actress Meryl Streep, the director Joel Coen and the authors Amy Tan and Michael Pollan. It included an organic cooking class (in the land of MSG and pesticides), a discussion on media censorship (in a country with elaborately monitored Internet), movie screenings and, at the Friday night concert, the improbable sight of Mr. Ma and Ms. Streep mock-kowtowing to each other, ending up prostrate on the floor and leaving the mostly Chinese audience in stitches. via Cultural Exchange Offers Respite in U.S.-China Tensions –' Don’t miss the observation of public diplomacy’s slow death by Nick Cull, one of the top experts in the field at USC."

Success is bittersweet for VOA’s Croatian journalists - Tara Bahrampour, Washington Post: "A tall, elegant man with a goatee and an Eastern European accent ushered a guest into an office where meat pies, apple strudel and red wine were spread out on a table. 'We are having a party now,' Zorz Crmaric said, 'celebrating our own demise.' It was a funerary feast for the Voice of America’s Croatian service, of which Crmaric was chief until last Wednesday. Born in 1992 as bloody ethnic wars strafed the former Yugoslavia, the service was eliminated as Croatia, a NATO member, stands poised to join the European Union. ... In 1992, when Yugoslavia was breaking apart, 'there was no question' that VOA services were needed, said John Lennon, the associate director for language programming. But VOA is now putting more emphasis on Africa, the Middle East and East Asia. The

last one to close was the Hindi service, in 2010. ... Ten other former East bloc language services, opened in the 1940s and ‘50s, including Polish, Hungarian, Czech and Estonian, were closed in 2004. New services have opened: Kurdish in 1992, Bosnian in 1996, Macedonian in 1999, and Somali in 1992 and again in 2007. In 2006, VOA started a Pashto-language radio station aimed at a lawless region on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Yugoslav service, which started in the early 1940s, split apart in 1992." Via LB. Image from article, with caption: Voice of America has a bittersweet reception, celebrating its last Croatian service broadcast in Washington on Nov. 22, 2011.

VOA Persian's "Parazit" gets some static on Al Jazeera English - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "The concept of news that is funded by a government but not controlled by that government is slightly difficult to explain."

Image from

On C-Span, several interviews with the several directors of the several USIB entities - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Korean ambassador to speak in Reno on Thursday - Asian trade issues are often discussed by state leaders trying to find ways to improve Nevada's economy. This week, Nevadans will have a rare opportunity to hear about Asian trade and economic issues first-hand, from the Ambassador from the Republic of Korea to the United States, Han Duk-soo,

as well as the former Ambassador from the United States to the Republic of Korea, Kathleen Stephens. ... Stephens served as ambassador from September 2008 until October 2011 and is a career minister in the U.S. Foreign Service. Before serving as ambassador, she was principal deputy assistant secretary of state for the U.S. Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, responsible for overall bureau management and public diplomacy and for management of U.S. relations with Japan and Korea. Han Duk-soo image from article

Graduate and Undergraduate Student Presentations: Summer Research and Internship Experiences - "Wednesday, November 30 12:00-1:30 pm  Room 1636 International Institute 1080 S. University Brussels: a Lesson in Public Diplomacy and Culture Alina Charniauskaya (BA REES/Political Science, Modern European Studies Minor) CES-EUC Summer Research and Internship Grant recipient."


Doctrine of Silence - Roger Cohen, New York Times: As the U.S. military prepares to depart from Iraq (leaving a handful of embassy guards), and the war in Afghanistan enters its last act, he owes the American people, U.S. allies and the world a speech that sets out why America will not again embark on this kind of inconclusive war and has instead adopted

a new doctrine that has replaced fighting terror with killing terrorists. (He might also explain why Guantánamo is still open.) Image from

Pakistan's Border Outrage: A break with America isn't in Islamabad's best interests - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: For both the U.S. and Pakistan, the better option remains to repair this dysfunctional and damaged alliance—in the words of former

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, to "keep working" at a "troubled marriage." Pakistan has an interest in a stable Afghanistan, and it can help first by backing the elected government in Kabul over the terrorists hiding in its own hills. Sometimes a relationship has to hit bottom to bounce back. This is where we are with Pakistan. Image from article, with caption: Pakistani protesters shout slogans against America and NATO in Lahore, Pakistan.

What Happened on the Border? - Editorial, New York Times: It’s not clear what led to NATO strikes on two Pakistani border posts this weekend, but there can be no dispute that the loss of lives is tragic.There are many questions that need to be answered. Who first fired on the American-Afghan force? Pakistan’s army is far too cozy with the Taliban. Were fighters sheltering near the Pakistani outposts? What about Pakistan’s claim that the NATO strikes continued for two hours even after Pakistan alerted allied officials? What needs to be done differently going forward? The two sides need answers if there is any hope of finding a way back from the brink.

U.S. Faces New Afghan Test - Nathan Hodge, Wall Street Journal [susbcription]: The Obama administration faces a real-time test of its elaborate strategy for supplying troops in Afghanistan following a deadly allied airstrike that sent relations between Washington and Islamabad to new lows. At least for now, the incident leaves U.S. troops in landlocked Afghanistan dependent on alternate supply routes that have been painstakingly set up to help steer clear of the region's treacherous geopolitics.

WWII "gremlin" Safety posters - Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing.

Image from entry


"In its origins 'propaganda' is an ancient and honorable word."

--Ralph D. Casey, "What is propaganda?," War Department Education manual EM-2 [published during WWII], Section on "The Story of Propaganda"; image from item

Monday, November 28, 2011

November 28

"First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me."

--Statement attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller; image from


"This is a reminder of tomorrow's meeting of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy [November 29] at and in partnership with the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, CA. The topic is narratives. ... The event will be webcast live at I'm told the online audience is limited to the first 45. The format of the 9am-3pm event is Q&A and we will be taking questions from the online audience. A transcript will be published as will the video of the event." - email message from Matt Armstrong, Executive Director, U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy


VOA and BBG Briefing and Tour: Thursday, December 8, 2011 from 8:30 AM to 10:45 AM (ET) Washington


To the best of my knowledge, based on Google Analytics and e-mails from PDPBR readers, the totally harmless (granted, as I see it) Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review continues to be "firewalled" in mainland China, the only country on our small planet to do so, a judgment arrived at on my part with regrettably limited information. Given the PRC's interest in "public diplomacy," this apparent censorship seems like a somewhat odd and rather parochial attitude out of step with the twenty-first century, based as it should be on "open communications."

Perhaps the endless number of American delegations, from both the public and private sector, who visit China to achieve "mutual understanding" between the two countries (on the American side, not infrequently at taxpayers' expense) could bring this minor matter up, raised by an ordinary US citizen/blogger, when they deal with Chinese counterparts on public diplomacy matters.

I have also been informed, by a most reliable source on several occasions, that when the PDPBR is forwarded to State Department e-mail addresses it is "firewalled." If this, I am sure honestly made, statement is off-the-mark, would appreciate hearing so at: Image from


Top U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors official racked up $108,000 travel - ted, Blogger News Network: "BBG Watch has learned that a top Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) executive has racked up $108,000 in travel expenses so far this year. Sources tell us that the official has no real responsibilities but likes to show up to take credit for the work already done by other BBG employees. According to one source, 'he has no job that we know of, spends most of his time on the road. As far as I can tell, he has accomplished absolutely nothing. He often goes on travel and then meets his family in some exotic locale.' The same source reported that the BBG executive made a stop-over in Paris on a recent trip to Asia.

BBG Watch has not identified the official. ... A BBG Watch source also reported that a top Voice of America manager travels frequently at U.S. government expense to Miami where his family lives. BBG Watch asks 'why is this allowed?' BBG Watch suspects that some of these BBG officials have managed to get for themselves 'blanket U.S. government travel orders' which make it possible for them to initiate their own travel without having to seek higher level approval each time they want to visit their family or meet them in an exotic location abroad. ... [BBG Chairman] Walter Isaacson has plans to privatize the Voice of America, Radio Marti and TV Marti. Critics fear that such a privatization would turn VOA and the U.S. government-funded stations broadcasting to Cuba into a CNN-clone run by former CNN employees." Image from article

BBC Global News exec: "We continue to deliver twice the audience for every pound invested than the American broadcasters" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "[T]he combined weekly audience of US international broadcasting (five entities in 59 languages) is 187 million, larger

than that of BBC World Service (27 languages) at 166 million. The weekly audience for BBC Global News, adding World Service, BBC World News (the global English television news channel), and the international version of, is 225 million. The annual budget of the US Broadcasting Board of Governors is $760 million, versus $338 million for BBC World Service. BBC World News is, in theory, self-funding through advertising, and the international has already announced a profit." Image from

Idea for graduate thesis: compare and contrast Central Asia Online with RFE/RL's Central Asian services - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "RFE/RL's content might resemble that of Central Asia Online [funded by the Defense Department] if US international broadcasting is 'coordinated' in a US strategic communication framework, as advocated by some Washington think tank fellows."

Jacque Robinson Chosen for International Exchange with China: Group of Political Leaders Will Focus On Chinese Governance -  [Pasadena, California] CouncilmemberJacque Robinson has been selected by Washington, D.C.-based international education NGO the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) for a 9-member bipartisan delegation of American political and policy professionals to China. The delegation will leave on December 2nd. This marks the 32nd year of exchange partnerships with the All-China Youth Federation. ... Each ACYPL exchange provides a unique opportunity for politically diverse individuals to explore common concerns and points of difference. The American participants going to China include Democrats and Republicans.

Since its founding in 1966, the American Council of Young Political Leaders has designed, organized and managed unique international exchange activities for young (age 25-40) political and policy leaders worldwide who are selected based on their current political leadership roles and potential for future achievement. ACYPL programs are designed to promote mutual understanding, respect, and friendship and to cultivate long-lasting relationships among next generation leaders. Each year, with support from the US State Department and a wide range of corporate, labor, foundation and individual partners, conduct exchanges with 25-30 countries around the world. ACYPL has a network of over 7,500 alumni in 100 countries, many of whom have risen to positions of national and international prominence, including over 40 current members of the US Congress, 6 current US governors and ambassadors, and cabinet ministers and parliamentarians around the globe." Uncaptioned image from article

VOA Croatian Service closes; was descendant of VOA Serbo-Croatian dating to 1943 - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting.

Image from

RFE/RL reports on initial audience reactions to the new Al Jazeera Balkans - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "[From the report:] '[There are] fears in some Balkan observers that Al-Jazeera

may have set stakes in the region with the hopes of turning its focus away from Europe and closer to the Middle East.'" Image from

Serbian House opens in London - EMportal: "Minister of Foreign Affairs Vuk Jeremic and President of the Serbian Olympic Committee Vlade Divac opened yesterday the Serbian House in downtown London, which during the 2012 Olympic Games will be the place of gathering and promotion of the Serbian culture and economy. ... Public diplomacy is a growing segment of diplomacy, and the best way for Serbia to be visible in the world are sporting achievements, said the Minister and expressed the belief that our athletes will achieve good results at the upcoming Olympics. We should take a moment of attention to promote Serbia in every way, given that tens of millions of visitors will be in London at the time, he said."

Turkey to host Global Entrepreneurship Summit - "The 2011 Global Entrepreneurship Summit will take place in Istanbul between December 3 and 6 under the auspices of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. According to the web site of the Turkish Prime Ministry's Public Diplomacy Department, the summit would take place under the auspices of Erdogan at the Istanbul Harbiye Congress Center.

The summit is designed to help global entrepreneurship and facilitate cooperation between entrepreneurs from all corners of the world. U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden will also be one of the participants of the summit." Image from

Only Erdoğan can save NATO - Kadri Gürsel, "In the midst of the Arab revolutions, in which NATO is an intervening party, it becomes a must that Turkey-NATO relations are discussed. At the beginning of last week, the meeting I attended in Brussels had this aim. Last Tuesday, I learned at a meeting organized by the International Relations Council of Turkey, which is based at Kadir Has University, and NATO Public Diplomacy Division that NATO was preparing a campaign in Turkey for the 60th year of its membership. ... The fact that NATO feels the need to explain itself to a country that has been a member for three generations is a sad situation from the point of view of the alliance. And at the same time, it is an understandable reaction. Given that only 37 percent of the country thinks 'NATO membership is important regarding the country’s security' (Source: 2011 Transatlantic Trends survey), then it becomes clear why NATO wants to increase its level of acceptance. According to NATO officials, 'misperception' or the 'wrong conceptualization' of the alliance is not the only reason that NATO support in Turkey started dropping after the end of the Cold War.

The deterioration of Turkish-U.S. relations as well as the decrease in the support for the European Union also plays a role in this. ... During the meetings, a striking proposal came from academic Ahmet Han from Kadir Has University. 'The most valid remedy is that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan personally praises Turkey’s NATO membership and NATO to the Turkish nation,' he said." Image from

Former EU commissioner urges Turkey and EU to work together on Arab Spring - "[Günter] Verheugen, who was invited by the Prime Ministry’s Office of Public Diplomacy to deliver speeches at several conferences

on the foreign policies of Turkey and the EU and the Arab Spring, believes Turkey has a place in the EU." Uncaptioned image from article

Member States amend certain EU financial instruments for developing countries - "The [European] Council approved to amend certain EU financial instruments for developing countries. ... This programme supports in particular the promotion of economic partnership and market access for European companies. In addition, it also contributes to actions concerning public diplomacy and people to people links, for instance the Erasmus mundus programme for exchanges among students and higher education institutions between the EU and those states. Over the period 2007-2013, the budget of the instrument amounts to €176 million."

Ministry taps social media to tone up image abroad - Karthik Subramanian, "The Public Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of External Affairs is tapping the ever-buzzing world of online social networks for improving the image of the nation worldwide. Its ongoing short video challenge, ‘India is,' has received more than 50 entries from across the world since October 1. The competition's official page on Facebook has a following of more than 20,000 users, and Twitter is abuzz with mentions. 'One of our key objectives is to engage with diverse audiences around the world,' Navdeep Suri, Joint Secretary and head of the Division, said in an email interview with The Hindu.

'Social media is emerging as one of the key instruments that helps us in achieving this objective.' ... The Ministry's Facebook account has close to 20,000 fans, says Mr. Suri. The demographics of the Facebook fans makes for interesting reading: persons from South Asian countries, Indonesia and Egypt are some of the largest groupings. And nearly 52 per cent of them are in the 18-24 age group. 'We are trying to deploy Facebook to engage with the younger generation and build a community of ‘Friends of India' who are interested in diverse facets of Indian culture and, perhaps, in Indian foreign policy too,' he adds. The official Twitter account of the Ministry ( has 19,000 followers." Image from

On Citizens’ Day, Estonia Recognises Promoters of Public Diplomacy - "In honour of Citizens’ Day, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet is thanking and recognising active promoters of public diplomacy with thank-you letters. The recipients have helped to introduce Estonia and strengthen its ties with other countries. According to Foreign Minister

Urmas Paet, all people can help increase Estonia’s foreign political influence and good reputation abroad through public diplomacy. 'Public diplomacy is a good opportunity for small countries, and we wish to encourage public diplomacy activities. Close communication among people plays a vital role in introducing Estonia and in intensifying relations with foreign countries,' stated Paet. 'We highly value the contribution of those people who have taken it upon themselves to introduce Estonia and to actively maintain Estonian culture abroad,' emphasised Foreign Minister Urmas Paet." Image from

Rising Power PD - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Prof. Robin Brown of University of Leeds has a very interesting article about Brazil's public diplomacy challenges as a rising power, given the growing apprehensions of its neighbors. I wrote a bit about Brazilian consensual hegemony and its attempts to use soft power to "soften" its rise regionally. I am quite interested to explore the topic of rising power pd further. With great examples found in China, Brazil, India and Germany (and Japan in the 1980s), there is ample wonky pd fun to be had. I have been kicking around a working concept of what rising power (or emerging power) public diplomacy entails, and how it differs from the public diplomacy of middle powers. It is kind of a middle power+ pd strategy, that relies on a broader version of niche diplomacy, a more pronounced approach to soft power projection and a consensual hegemony model of projecting value and utility. Perhaps it could be mixed in with conceptualization of the public diplomacy of regional hegemons, and then I could include South Africa or Nigeria into the mix. Sounds like some fun stuff I will get to work on for PhD research."


Enraged Pakistanis burn Obama effigy, slam US - AFP: Hundreds of enraged Pakistanis took to the streets across the country Sunday, burning an effigy of President Barack Obama and setting fire to US flags after 24 soldiers died in NATO air strikes.

The rallies were organised by opposition and right-wing Islamist groups in major cities of the nuclear-armed country of 167 million people, where opposition to the government's US alliance is rampant. They carried placards and banners, and shouted: "down with America," "down with NATO," "Yankees go back", "vacate Afghanistan and Pakistan" and "stop drone attacks" -- a reference to a CIA drone war against Islamist militants. Image from article

In Fog of War, Rift Widens Between U.S. and Pakistan - Steven Lee Myers, The NATO air attack that killed at least two dozen Pakistani soldiers over the weekend reflected a fundamental truth about American-Pakistani relations when it comes to securing the unruly border with Afghanistan: the tactics of war can easily undercut the broader strategy that leaders of both countries say they share. Pakistan had reason to feel that the United States had violated its sovereignty.

Pakistan secretly helps, publicly hits U.S. interests - Rowan Scarborough, The Washington Times: U.S. military personnel who have served in the region tell The Washington Times that Pakistan does far more in secret than either side acknowledges.

It wants money from Washington to keep flowing, yet fears a democratic Afghanistan could one day align itself with archenemy India, analysts say. Image from article: Protesters rally in Lahore, Pakistan, on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2011, to condemn a NATO airstrike on Pakistani troops that killed 24 along the nation’s border with Afghanistan

Afghanistan is safer today but still needs our help - Simon Gass, Washington Post: Afghanistan wasn’t always the war-torn country that we see in the news. It was once peaceful. And if we can bear the cost for just a little longer, it can be again. That would be good for Afghanistan and good for us, too. The writer is NATO’s senior civilian representative in Afghanistan.

Translating Afghanistan: The interpreters of the U.S. Third Infantry Brigade Combat Team on America's mission, the Taliban, and the future of their country - Anne Jolis, Wall Street Journal: Meet the interpreters of the U.S. Third Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the 10th Mountain Division. All are Afghan natives, though some are now U.S. citizens as well. For the moment, they all call the base home. And in the past month, three of them have gotten engaged—an occasion to celebrate. While a wrist-flicking, single-sex dance party is rare enough in America, the interpreters are also engaging in an activity more familiar among Western men: arguing about politics. Specifically, the looming U.S. drawdown from Afghanistan.

Pentagon Spends Millions Protecting Uzbekistan Dictator - Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov is notorious for heading one of the world’s most oppressive regimes, and millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are being given to a for-profit

military contractor turned propaganda machine to make sure he remains a faithful and able ally in the global war on terror. Freedom House, a D.C.-based nongovernmental organization that conducts international human rights research, gave Karimov’s Uzbekistan the lowest score possible in its Freedom in the World report. Uncaptioned image from

Motives of foreign student recruiters questioned - Alan Scher Zagier, Associated Press, Washington Times: As American universities welcome ever-greater numbers of international students, some professors and admissions counselors are questioning the motives of the very professionals who have helped attract so many foreign scholars to their campuses. Higher education recruiters are under fire from detractors who say they put profit ahead of students' best interests. Critics accuse them of sending thousands of unqualified applicants to the U.S. every year, sometimes allowing students to skip basic English tests and falsify applications to make a quick commission.

"There are very good recruiters out there who are very solid and do all the right things," said George Wolf, the school's vice president of enrollment management. "And then there are recruiters out there just to a make a buck." Image from

Piracy vs. an open Internet: In seeking to protect copyright holders from online piracy, especially from sites overseas, bills in both the House and Senate go to risky extremes -, Editorial: To avoid the reach of U.S. copyright laws, numerous online pirates have set up shop in countries less willing or able to enforce intellectual property rights. Policymakers agree that these "rogue" sites pose a real problem for U.S. artists and rights holders who aren't getting paid for the rampant distribution of their music, movies and other creative works. The question is how to help them. Lawmakers keep offering proposals, but they don't seem to be getting any closer to the right answer.

When droids take your job: A duo from MIT argue that rapid computer advances may be vaporizing careers faster than workers can train for new ones - Editorial, The challenge

for the United States — and every other country — is helping more people to take advantage of that leap in power rather than being left behind by it. Image from article

Nalbandian calls EU attention to Baku’s anti-Armenian propaganda
- On November 28, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian met with the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the Crisis in Georgia, Philippe Lefort. The parties focused on a vast range of Armenia-related issues, including the recent visit of EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, as well

at Brussels-hosted EU-Armenia sitting. Nalbandian and Lefort discussed recent developments in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement, with the Foreign Minister calling the EU envoy’s attention to Baku’s anti-Armenian propaganda, Armenian Foreign Ministry’s press service reported. Uncaptioned image from article

Five Best [Books about Soviet espionage] - Allen M. Hornblum, Wall Street Journal

Obey Giant: Worldwide Propaganda Delivery - GlobaLove Think Tank:

Image from entry


The 21st Century Family of Man
 - [Nov 19, 2009] "Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English. I'm Mario Ritter. Over fifty years ago a photographic exhibit called 'The Family of Man' opened in New York City. It was a popular show with critics and the public. This fall, a similar exhibit opened in Los Angeles. It was organized by the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. Barbara Klein tells about 'The Twenty-first Century Family of Man.' In nineteen fifty-five, photographer Edward Steichen organized a collection of more than five hundred pictures of and by people all over the world. The photographers were professionals and non-professionals alike. The collection was called 'The Family of Man.' It was shown first at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The show was designed to express the connections that link humans everywhere.

Nick Cullen [should be Cull -- JB] is a professor of public diplomacy at the University of Southern California. He says Steichen's exhibit brought in crowds as it traveled from country to country. NICK CULLEN: 'I think part of its success was that everybody could recognize something of themselves in the exhibit and so the Family of Man show belonged to everybody.' Twenty-nine-year-old photographer Paul Rockower shows his own Family of Man pictures in the new exhibit at the University of Southern California. He says it is a re-imagining of the first show with a modern touch. Mr. Rockower has traveled and studied outside the United States since he was a teenager. He always had his camera with him. He took pictures of people, places and things around him. The exhibit presents about seventy of those images. PAUL ROCKOWER: 'I think the theme that comes out is really the unity of mankind, that we are all the same, the things that we share are things like family, like faith, like friendship. These are the things that are universal qualities found everywhere you go.' 'The Twenty-first Century Family of Man' exhibit continues at the Annenberg Gallery at U.S.C. in Los Angeles until May of next year.'" Image from


Man dies after collapsing in shopping center during Black Friday: Goes unnoticed by other shoppers - Kathryn Kattalia, New York Daily News: A Black Friday shopper who collapsed at a West Virginia shopping center — and later died — went virtually unnoticed by others racing to snatch up early-bird sales. Walter Vance, 61, of Logan County, W. Va., was shopping for Christmas decorations

around 12:15 a.m. at a Target in South Charleston, W. Va., when he got sick and fell to floor, local news station WSAZ reported. Witnesses said shoppers continued walking around the store, some even stepping over the man's body. Image from article, with caption: Walter Vance, 61, of Logan County, West Virginia, who collapsed and died at Target in South Charleston on Black Friday.

42% of L.A. sidewalks await repairs: Los Angeles' backlog of sidewalk repairs could cost up to $1.6 billion and, at the current rate, take nearly 70 years. The city considers handing the responsibility to property owners - Ari Bloomekatz,

Image from article, with caption: Judy Griffin, a West Los Angeles resident who uses a motorized wheelchair, says she often has trouble with the condition of the sidewalks.

Here's Your Latest Recurrent Callista Gingrich Scream Nightmare Horror - Princess Sparkle Pony's Photo Blog. Image (one of several close-ups of Callista) from blog.

In the nation’s capital, underground is where it’s at - Christian Davenport, Washington Post: For the moment, let’s say we’re not buying the official, nothing-to-see-here story the White House is dishing about the gaping hole being ripped into the lawn outside the Oval Office. Let’s say we suspect the construction crews that have been dipping their backhoes into the most secure soil in the free world are doing something more complex than mere utility work.

The feds may claim that it’s just “upgrades and replacement of utility infrastructure” of a size and complexity that require the excavation of a hole so big it could easily fit the entire Cabinet — and maybe some members of Congress, too. But they’re somewhat vague as to the specifics. And so we wonder. It’s a bunker, right? It’s gotta be a bunker. Image from article, with caption: A deep hole in front of the West Wing.


American bunkers - Built in apprehension of the enemy that never came, Alex Fradkin has photographed the architecture of war along the coastal landscape of the San Francisco Bay area. The earliest bunkers date from the Mexican–American War all the way up to the Cold War.