"[Once it was] holding on to something in your room, now it's about engaging with others online around a social object."
--Harvard tech culture researcher David Weinberger, regarding the notion of "possession" in our digital age of "the cloud, that shared virtual warehouse-in-the-sky being built out by Google, Amazon, Apple and others, where they await retrieval via our phones, tablets and computers." Image from
(a) Dadipad. Via LP
(b) Ugandan Girl: ‘KONY 2012′ is US Military Propaganda
Letter from the President Regarding the Administration's Comprehensive Interagency Strategy for Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication - Text of the entry: "Attached is text of a letter from the President to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Committees on Armed Services and Appropriations
and the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations regarding the Administration's comprehensive interagency strategy for public diplomacy and strategic communication." [The letter cannot retrieved via Google at 9:15 am March 16]. Image from
State/OIG: Bureau Overseeing Youth Exchange Program “Exaggerated” On-Site Review Results and Compliance - Domani Spero, DiploPundit: "The same day that MSNBC’s Rock Center aired allegations that exchange students were sexually abused in youth programs overseen by the State Department, it also ran a companion piece featuring the State Department’s official spokesperson, Toria Nuland defending the foreign exchange program (see Critics blame State Department for turning a blind eye on sex abuse). Quick excerpt below:
The State Department defends the high school exchange program, and maintains that the vast majority of the 200,000 students who have come to America over the past decade have had an overwhelmingly positive experience. 'These kids have an enormously gratifying, rich, fantastic American experience that lasts with them for a lifetime,' said State Department Spokesperson Toria Nuland. State Department staffers told NBC News that a fraction of one percent of high school foreign exchange students reported sexual harassment or abuse by a host parent for the 2010-2011 academic school year.The very next day after the MSNBC report aired, the Office of the Inspector General finally released its much awaited review of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) who has oversight over this program and multiple other programs, from Fulbright to the Summer Work Training (SWT) program."
Aid to Russian Democracy, US Seeking Use of Funds - MOSCOW - kertmakson.typepad.com: "The Obama administration is pushing to free $ 50 million in long-Stalled aid to Promote democracy and civil society in Russia, an attempt That Comes amid a drumbeat of accusations That the United States is meddling in Russia's internal politics. ... The United States ambassador to Russia, Michael A. McFaul, drew new attention to the money to this week in Washington, where 'ET [?] is working to persuade Congress to lift cold war-era trade restrictions ahead of Russia's formal entry Into the World Trade Organization. In a speech to the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics, Mr. McFaul Said the money ... [w]ould [b]e [u]sed as a year of efforts by the United States 'to advance rule of law, to advance Accountable government and civil society ...' . Asked about allegations That ET and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton Were working to sow unrest in Russia, Mr. McFaul Said [t]hat [h]e [w]as using Facebook and Twitter [a]mong [o]ther [t]ools to conduct 'public diplomacy.'"
U.S. Drawdown: A Heritage Roundtable - kalel, conservativepapers.com: "Helle Dale [Heritage Foundation [:] Unrequited love might be the best description of European feelings about President Obama. The state visit by British Prime Minister David Cameron and the Obama Administration’s decision on further drawdown of U.S. troops based in Europe capture the badly troubled nature of the transatlantic relationship. Cameron is in the U.S. to cement relations with President Obama, whom Europeans are convinced (indeed hope) will remain in office for a second term. Yet, at the very same time, the Pentagon has announced a further drawdown of U.S. troops based in Europe. 'In another chapter on our incredible shrinking military, Team Obama has decided to reduce US forces in Europe by about 15,000 troops (of an estimated 80,000)
Obama treats Cameron to courtside action - bigpondnews.com: "Basketball fan-in-chief President Barack Obama has given British Prime Minister David Cameron a front-row seat to the top college tournament, taking his European partner to an election swing state for an NCAA tournament game. ... The two men are practising a brand of public diplomacy uniquely appropriate to two young, athletic leaders, said Heather Conley, senior fellow of the Europe program at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a DC-based think tank. 'Historically, the special relationship has always been about the shared history and culture, close military and economic ties,' she said. 'But the 'special' part is the quality of the relationship between the two leaders.' Especially at a moment when potential adversaries are sizing up the strength of the alliance, she said, 'It's important to project that close partnership.'"
Fact or fiction? Barack Obama’s top ten insults against Britain – 2012 edition! - truthaholics.wordpress.com: "For the past two years I have published a list of Barack Obama’s biggest insults against America’s foremost ally, Great Britain, during his time in office. Here is an updated list to accompany President Obama’s hosting this week of an official visit to the White House by the British Prime Minister, as a reminder that a basketball trip to Ohio and a bells and whistles state dinner do not erase a track record of major insults by the Obama administration since it took office. Mr Obama has been by far the most anti-British president in modern American history, kicking off his presidency with the removal of a bust of Sir Winston Churchill from the Oval Office, and continuing today with a policy of knifing Britain in the back over the Falklands.
fling a bust of Winston Churchill out of the Oval Office and send it packing back to the British Embassy – not least as it was a loaned gift from Britain to the United States as a powerful display of solidarity in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. Obviously, public diplomacy is not a concept that carries much weight in the current White House, and nor apparently is common sense. Three years on, the Churchill bust incident continues to embarrass the Obama White House, and remains a sad symbol of this administration’s contempt for the Special Relationship as well as one of the greatest figures in British history." Image from article
An American Cultural Diplomat in Pakistan: Frustration and Motivation - William Harvey, cdnews1.wordpress.com: "I committed anew to the exigency of cultural diplomacy, which is the hose that can douse the fires of hatred and misunderstanding that threaten to consume the world we live in. Whether Pakistani or American, we must keep reaching
Newest VOA English-language product is from VOA Burmese - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting
"Why fighting Mullah Radio is not easy" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting
Afghanistan: $2 Billion a Week for Hatred is Too Much, FBI Says Now It's Coming Here - Ralph Lopez, Daily Kos: "[T]hanks to a fearlessly outspoken line officer, Lt. Col. Daniel Davis, we now know what we don't know about Afghanistan. In his bombshell report which is to Afghanistan what the Pentagon Papers were to Vietnam,'Dereliction of Duty II: Senior Military Leaders’ Loss of Integrity Wounds Afghan War Effort,' Davis all but calls his top commanders skilled, habitual, wouldn't-know-truth-if-it-hit-them-in-the-head bald-faced liars about the situation in Afghanistan. ... Davis brings to bear as evidence the words of officers in charge of safeguarding and refining what can only be called a culture of deception among the top military command, in which the American public is seen as just another opponent against whom to conduct psychological operations. Davis quotes an article by Colonel Richard B. Leap ('Strategic Communication: An Imperative for the Global War on Terrorism Environment'), in which Leap says: 'the US Government must clarify the roles, responsibilities, authorities and relationships between Public Affairs, Public Diplomacy and Information Operations to not only influence foreign target audiences, but to safeguard US national will.' Davis writes: ['] It seems not to have occurred to the Colonel that the drop in American public support...might have had something to do with the actual deteriorating battlefield conditions and not a 'failure' on the part of PA to accurately 'frame' the matter....what's to say the implication isn't that we can 'frame' only the positive information while suppressing the negative - or to manufacture positive information if none exists. Colonel Leap concludes his article by recommending several actions designed to strengthen 'Military Information Operations,' such as specifically addressing 'all prior legislation beginning with the Smith-Mundt Act that is limiting the effectiveness of Information organizations in the
Beijing Floods the Zone - freebeacon.com: "The Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda machine is ramping up across Washington, D.C., in ways large and small. The principal cog in China’s effort to influence U.S. thought leaders is China Daily, an English-language newspaper that takes an uncritical look at the People’s Republic of China and toes the Communist party line on a range of issues, including the economy and politics. The paper, which is engaged in an advertising partnership with the Washington Post that some experts describe as unethical, is delivered on a weekly basis to nearly every office on Capitol Hill and is readily available in newspaper dispensers across the city. “It’s in all of the offices,” an aide to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R., Calif.), an outspoken critic of China, told the Free Beacon. “It’s one more component of a very broad-based campaign to influence U.S. public opinion.” China is waging a carefully orchestrated campaign to push its party propaganda among unsuspecting Americans and D.C. insiders alike, the source said. “We should emphasize the broad nature of this,” said the staffer. “The sum total is greater than any one part.” China Daily routinely distorts the news in service of the Chinese Communist Party’s agenda. ... In early February, the Chinese launched an American version of China Central Television (CCTV) based in Washington, D.C. CCTV is a state-controlled news operation that routinely releases flattering portraits of the ruling Communist regime. 'They’re trying to get into the mainstream,' said the Rohrabacher staffer. 'Each one piece [of China’s media blitz] has not [had] a great effect, but there’s a cumulative effect. All of these themes, ideas, and concepts will work into other areas.' China experts have noted that the Communist government is especially concerned with foreign propaganda. 'The Chinese government puts a high value on propaganda work, describing it as the life blood (shengmingxian) of the Party-State in the current era,' Anne-Marie Brady, an associate professor at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, told the USCC in 2009. “China’s foreign propaganda experts are extremely critical of what they call the ‘Western media’s ideological assault on the rest of the world.’” See also.
Ornate Links Tethering Cultures in Flux - Karen Rosenberg, New York Times: "Big anthropological surveys are feats of cultural diplomacy, requiring years of negotiation and persuasion. And when regular diplomacy breaks down because of hostility or instability, museums feel the impact.
Reconstructing Public Diplomacy in the Context of Policy, Communication, and Technology: An Examination of U.S. - Mexico Border Relations - Protocolo de Relaciones Exteriores: Bienvenidos! Ésta página fue creada con el fin de introducirlos un poco más en el mundo de las Relaciones Internacionales, así como el modo de hacer negocios en diferentes regiones del mundo: "El artículo habla acerca de que la diplomacia pública no ha sido bien utilizada por Estados Unidos especialmente respecto a la frontera México-Estados Unidos y esto ha generado que Estados Unidos tenga una percepción negativa en nuestro país.
Image: Mexico-US border counties
Arab Spring Media Monitor: One Year of Coverage - Rachel Chan, PD News – Media Monitor Reports, USC Center on Public Diplomacy. Contains numerous references to public diplomacy.
A documentary on a doyen of contemporary Indian art - artexpoindia.blogspot.com: "As part of its proactive public diplomacy outreach, the external affairs ministry has decided to don the mantle of filmmaker. It has done so with the recent premiere of a special documentary, entitled 'A Brush With Life', on the life of master artist Satish Gujral who overcame various physical challenges to emerge as a stalwart of his era with immense contribution to contemporary Indian art. ... [T]he joint secretary (public diplomacy) in the external affairs ministry, Navdeep Suri, was reported in the media as saying: 'The ministry has been making films for the last three decades or so to project India in various interesting and diverse ways. But very few are actually aware of it. We are making special efforts now to dub them in all the UNESCO languages and hosting clips on YouTube.'"
Public Diplomacy - Tsolmon Davaa, ubpost.mongolnews.mn: "Public Diplomacy is one of the new trends in international relations. To begin, let’s settle on a simple definition of Public Diplomacy, 'that element of diplomacy that involves a government reaching out to a public, rather than to another government.' A more complete definition recognizes that it need not be a 'government' that reaches out. Multinational organizations, NGOs, corporations, and the like may do so as well. Not only do governments possess this tool of public diplomacy, but also the public expects them to use it. To varying degrees, people feel intellectually and politically liberated by the technologies that enable them to be part of the larger world. A nation that does not reach out through public diplomacy today will not be considered a global leader, and it will not be adequately serving its own international interests. Nowadays practitioners and scholars point out that even small countries really need to pay a great deal of attention to public diplomacy because the need for greater attention to public diplomacy is partly a function of globalized communication, which has sharpened the points at which policy and the public meet. ... In the past few years a number of publications are being published on public diplomacy and there are centers and offices in charge of that kind of work. ... When it comes to public diplomacy (PD), the experts can’t seem to agree on much. 46 years after
Open Governance and Public Diplomacy - Ryan J. Suto, exchangediplomacy.com: "This post will focus on what I see are the theoretically similar foundations of both open governance and public diplomacy. I argue that both these concepts rely, in large part, on the concept of ‘transparency’. Transparency here will be defined as the intentional exposure of internal information to external publics. Thus, transparency is an important feature of public relations theory, which serves and the basis of public diplomacy. In the context of government, transparency lies at eh hear of open governance, itself a necessary component of effective democracy."
Social Media Masters: Atlanta - whatisaweathervane.com: A few nice social media images I found: Social Media Masters: Atlanta [:]
Social Media Hub Image by Darren Krape [.] The Social Media Hub is an internal Department of State site to centralize information on the use of social media for public diplomacy. It was developed in WordPress and included a number of custom plugins." Images from article
How Not to Attract Tourists - Mark Vanhoenacker, New York Times: As Americans, we like to imagine our country as we think of ourselves: open-hearted and welcoming; efficient and practical; easygoing, above all. These values are the foundation of our culture, of an open economy fueled by ideas and immigration, and of our soft power — America’s ability to change the world simply because it is admired. Whatever foreigners think of the American experiment, though, it’s unlikely the experience of crossing our border has made them think better of it. A 2006 survey by the U.S. Travel Association
found that foreign travelers were more afraid of United States immigration officials than of terrorism or crime. The security mind-set occasionally veers into the absurd. Recently, two young European tourists were detained at Los Angeles International Airport for tweeting loose banter about plans to “destroy” America (an apparent reference to partying) and to disinter Marilyn Monroe. Vigilant border personnel reportedly searched their luggage for shovels, then deported them. Let’s get rid of customs forms — saving money, trees and time — and do what many countries safely do: post customs limits to assist the law-abiding, and use intelligence and random searches to catch criminals. Image from
Fmr. CIA head of Bin Laden unit on US soldier: could be moved back to Afghanistan - On Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien, Gary Berntsen, former commander of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit in Afghanistan, discusses the potential fallout of the U.S. moving the Afghanistan shooter to Kuwait, Leon Panetta security scare and sustained American presence in the country. He says , “They did a poll about a year ago on the Afghan men between the ages of 20 and 32, and 90 percent of them didn't know why we were there, didn't know about 9/11. Afghanistan is a country with a very, very low literacy rate. We are losing the I.O., the information operations war, the propaganda war. The Taliban respond very quickly to attacks. They put out information that the United States are occupying force, despite the fact that we're there at the desires of the Afghan government that we built thousands of schools. I mean, we've done a lot of good work there. The majority of Afghans support our presence there, but, you know, Pakistanis, Iranians, militant groups on the Afghan border don't want us there and are conducting a propaganda war against the U.S. with some success.”
NATO’s measured exit plan in Afghanistan faces new obstacles - Ernesto Londoño and Karen DeYoung, Washington Post: The measured Afghanistan endgame
McManus: A Plan C for Afghanistan -- Election year or no, Obama needs a new plan for getting out - Doyle McManus, latimes.com: An increasing number of Afghans, including some who were once resolutely pro-American, have had enough. That's why the United States and its allies face a genuine crisis in their effort to keep troops in Afghanistan until 2014 and beyond.
The Pentagon’s cold feet on Syria - Max Boot, Washington Post: Today, in the case of Syria, any military action needs to be carefully thought through, but we should not refuse to act simply because of the worst-case scenarios being raised by the Pentagon. U.S. personnel could play a critical role by using
NPR Propaganda Watch. Faux Debate on U.S. Role in Syria - John Walsh, antiwar.com: NPR’s “All Things Considered” ran a “discussion” about Syria and the U.S.
Iranian Involvement: Marches to Israel's Borders March 30, 2012 - rightsidenews.com: A number of simultaneous marches to Israel's borders from the various Arab countries are planned for March 30, 2012, referring to themselves as part of the Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ). The marches are expected to take place in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. The anti-Israeli boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign is also planning a so-called "global activity day," combining propaganda events in various places around the world with Land Day, marked by Israeli Arabs. The organizers of the events set up committees and umbrella networks in the various countries to deal with logistic deployment and propaganda.
Getting It Right: "Israel and the Plight of Mideast Christians" - John L. Esposito, Huffington Post: While it is accepted that ambassadors speak for and defend their country's policies, Michael Oren's March 12 Wall Street Journal article, "Israel and the Plight of Mideast Christians" exploits a real issue, the fears and plight of Christians in some Muslim countries, to engage in a cynical and distorted piece of propaganda. In recent years, as Oren correctly notes, attacks against segments of Christian communities by militant Muslims have threatened the security, churches and lives of Christians from Nigeria and Egypt to Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Malaysia. While often rejected by the majority of citizens, religious freedom is indeed under siege. Iraq is a strong case in point. As Oren observes, "Since 2003, 70 Iraqi churches have been burned and nearly a thousand Christians killed in
UN Official Caught Spreading Anti-Israel Propaganda - astuteblogger.blogspot.com: Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor called Wednesday for the dismissal of a UN official who earlier this week tweeted a picture of a Palestinian child covered in blood and falsely claimed she was killed by an IDF strike. Kuhlood Badawi, an information and media coordinator for OCHA, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, posted a link to the picture of a young girl covered in blood being carried by her father, along with the tweet: “Palestine is bleeding. Another child killed by #Israel... Another father carrying his child to a Grave in #Gaza.” The picture, it emerged, was published in 2006 by Reuters and was of a Palestinian girl who died in an accident unrelated to Israel.
The International Obsession With Joseph Kony Is Already Ending: The Kony 2012 campaign treated its audience like children with short attention spans, and now that's how many of them are behaving - Max Fisher, theatlantic.com: Almost exactly one week after viral video campaign Kony 2012 alerted millions of viewers to the horror of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, the start of what was supposed to be an international activism campaign to spur the U.S. military to arrest him, the world appears to have lost interest.
Ugandans reacted with outrage to the film's patronizing treatment of Africans and its glorification of white NGO workers. Images from article. Via ACP III on Facebook.
#StopKONY Now!!! – Roger Cohen, New York Times: This superficial video and its viral wave have troubling aspects.
Norwegian fury over Stockholm 'propaganda' - thelocal.se: Frustration over Stockholm's claim to be the "Capital of Scandinavia" has reached new levels, as angry Norwegian delegates tore up entrance cards bearing the slogan at
France. The dust up over which city reigns supreme in Scandinavia took place at a real estate and investment show in Cannes, France, where some 200 Swedish representatives placed banners and advertising with the slogan "Stockholm: The Capital of Scandinavia." The move sparked a fierce backlash from Norwegian and Danish delegations miffed by the Swedish capital's unsubstantiated claim to be the top city in Scandinavia. ”This is typical Swedish megalomania,” said Erling Fossen to Norwegian Afenposten newspaper. Image from article
How Iceland Is Rebuilding Its Economy With Social Media - by Samantha Murphy, mashable.com
How the AP Selected Its North Korea Reporter - John Hudson theatlanticwire.com: It's the most restricted place in the world, and if you want to run a news bureau there, you're going to have to play ball with the powers that be. For the Associated Press, which launched the first full-time, all-format Western news bureau in North Korea in January, that means hiring local journalists from a list of names provided by the North Korean government, ranked 178th out of 179 on the Press Freedom Index.
Russian Esquire editor fined for drug propaganda - gazeta.ru: Roskomnadzor (Federal Supervision Agency for Information Technologies and Communications) fined Dmitry Golubovsky, editor in chief of Esquire Russia magazine for 40,000 rubles (approximately $1,300) for propaganda and the advertizing of illegal drugs.
Saudi and Orientalist Propaganda at the British Museums’ Hajj Exhibition - "The Hajj Exhibition at the British Museum is viewed as a great dawah
Mark H. Teeter on Facebook: TONITE’S BEST BET: Парк советского периода / Soviet Park (2006) (Tsentr, 20:15). A Soviet-era theme park—just imagine!
Disney’s Propaganda Films - garendaly.wordpress.com: Posted on March 16, 2012 There was a time when propaganda films were known for what they were, propaganda. For example, during World War II Hollywood studios actively helped in the war effort. The most famous of these films was Frank Capra’s “WHY WE FIGHT”, a collection of informational films designed to explain what the war was about. Lesser known were Walt Disney’s animated films. The next time you turn on Fox News, and to a lesser extent, MSNBC, turn up the critical eye. See how they are using images and words to manipulate the content. You will discover that things have not changed all that much from the 1940s an Disney’s propaganda films. The only real difference is back then we had a real enemy. Now, as Pogo once said, the “enemy is us.”
The “Stab in the Back” Legend (1942) - Randall Bytwerk, germanpropaganda.blogspot.com: "While looking for other things I came across this vivid cartoon from Der Schulungsbrief (#1/2/3 of 1942). This was the Nazi Party’s periodical for 'political education.”
Priceless posters stolen by Nazis returned - thelocal.de: A valuable collection of posters stolen in 1938 by Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels will be returned to a Jewish family in the United States, Germany's supreme court ordered on Friday. The collection of some 4,300 posters, valued at around €4.4 million ($5.7 million), was taken by the Nazi propaganda ministry from Jewish dentist Hans Sachs, the top poster collector in Germany from the early 20th century.
ONE MORE QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"My children aren't interested in physical representations of media, they are far more intrigued by objects they create themselves."
--Jyri Engestrom, an Internet entrepreneur and founder of Ditto, a social networking site
ONE MORE VIDEO
Sex-deprived male flies go for the booze, study finds
--From: California is OK - Jason Weisberger, Boing-Boing