Thursday, March 8, 2012

March 8

“Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.”

-Attributed to American psychologist and writer Timothy Leary (and also to Marilyn Monroe). Leary image from


Open Letter to Members of House Appropriations Committee on Silencing of America’s Overseas Broadcasts - BBGWatcher, USC Broadcasts/BBG Watch: "The independent, nongovernmental Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB) has released an Open Letter to Members of House Appropriations Committee on silencing of America’s broadcasts to Tibet, China, Chechnya and other nations without free media. Most of these cuts and reductions ordered by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) affect the Voice of America (VOA) which is celebrating its 70th anniversary.

A former deputy director of VOA said that under the Obama administration’s proposed FY2013 budget, 'the potential damage to the nation’s flagship publicly funded overseas network, the Voice of America, would be unprecedented if Congress approves it.' VOA faces net cuts totaling $17 million, several times more than any other broadcaster managed and funded by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, VOA’s parent agency. VOA would lose 170 professional front line broadcasters and producers in the proposed budget if it is passed by Congress. ... The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB) has been adamantly opposing these cuts, calling them unnecessary. CUSIB believes these cuts are a result of mismanagement and excessive spending by the Broadcasting Board of Governors staff on executive salaries, bonuses and unproductive bureaucratic overhead." Image from

Alhurra program acquisitions include "Quest" and "Super Factories" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Ambassador George Venable Allen, Smith-Mundt, and the Voice of America - Matt Armstrong, "Secretary for Public Affairs, following William Benton and Archibald MacLeish. MacLeish, the former Librarian of Congress, was the first office holder, when it was known as the Assistant Secretary of State in charge of Public and Cultural Relations. Benton changed the title to simply 'Public Affairs.' Throughout, however, the role was fundamentally the modern equivalent to the combined responsibilities of the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy (and Public Affairs) and the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs. The Assistant Secretary’s job would change several years later with the establishment of the United States Information Agency.

Allen’s comments on the purpose, and temporary nature, of the Voice of America are enlightening, especially in the modern context of the Smith-Mundt Act." Allen image from article

Promised Land, Crusader State - Gary Rawnsley, Public Diplomacy and International Communications: "[T]he main thesis of my research ... [is] that Taiwan is communicating the wrong theme in its public diplomacy - culture (and traditional Chinese culture to boot) rather than the more exciting and appealing story of Taiwan's democratisation. However, I might benefit from understanding better how other 'new' democracies have engaged in public diplomacy, and where better to start than post-Revolutionary America. ... I picked up a copy of Walter A. McDougall's Promised Land, Crusader State: The American Encounter with the World Since 1776 (Mariner, 1997). This is proving a wonderful read and I am learning so much that I can apply to my own understanding of not only American and Taiwanese public diplomacy and soft power, but also Chinese approaches. ... In Hamilton's 'Original Major Draft' of George Washington's Farewell Address which established the notion of the Great Rule of American Unilateralism I detected parallels with Chinese public diplomacy."

Western Armed Forces and the Mass Media in Historical Perspective - Stephen Badsey, "Although the importance of public diplomacy and strategic communications – with information operations as their highly controversial military offshoot – is well recognised within international relations, the difficulties in reconciling particularly the approaches (and even the vocabulary) of media and communications studies with those of war studies

and military thought has meant that any coherent theory of this relationship is still some distance in the future. ... The US armed forces have in fact enjoyed considerable advantages in their dealings with the mass media in wars since Vietnam. Largely, this is because their military institutional cohesion and focus allows them to develop and adhere to policies and doctrines in support of their own interests, whereas the news media remain highly diverse, and apparently institutionally incapable of defending themselves against increasingly sophisticated military manipulation. However, the issues raised by this military success are part of the much larger issue of the chronic failure of the US armed forces since the late 1950s to develop truly effective military strategies for their expeditionary wars. Like the earlier 20th century German armed forces on which they are largely modelled, they are expert at winning swift and high-tech battles, but struggle to win wars particularly when public opinion is an important factor. A focus on the technology of communications, and on manipulation of the media rather than an understanding of its place in society, lies close to the heart of this problem." Image from

BBC World Service director: US is "underserved" by media often "slanted" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Advocating for Israel, through soldiers’ eyes - "Two Israeli soldiers visiting Connecticut this month will recount their personal experiences and share insights of serving in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The soldiers share experiences that are rarely heard in the media or other public venues. Sponsored by StandWithUs (SWU), Adam and Lital

(their last names are withheld for security purposes) are part of 'Israeli Soldiers’ Stories,' a program that brings reserve-duty Israeli college students to communities to give a human face to the IDF uniform. The two are graduates of the StandWithUs Israeli Fellowship, a unique public diplomacy program that selects and trains 150 student leaders each year from six Israeli universities. Founded in 2002 and based in Los Angeles, StandWithUs (SWU) is an international, non-profit Israel education organization that supports Israel-advocacy efforts on campuses and in communities throughout the world, through speakers, programs, and conferences, as well as website resources and printed materials." Image from article, with caption: Adam and Lital are part of “Israeli Soldiers’ Stories”

Iranian Broadcasting Targets Latin America‎ - Helle Dale, "Challenges to U.S. international broadcasting and public diplomacy continue to mount. Iran, joining China and Russia, also nourishes ambitions as a global power and is moving forward with soft-power advances in Latin America. (Not that there is anything 'soft' about Iranian soft power.) Part of the explanation is that Iran is desperate to boost its image and economy as it faces broader sanctions and a potential European oil embargo. Iran may also be focusing its propaganda efforts on Latin America to build influence with the Lebanese Shia diaspora there, where its ally Hezbollah has established roots.

Most recently, hoping to 'limit the supremacy of dominance seekers' (i.e., the United States), Iran has launched Spanish-language satellite TV, which will broadcast Iranian news, documentaries, and movies 24 hours a day. Though news of Iran may not rivet every Latin American viewer, many of the shows capitalize on anti-American sentiment and are critical of the U.S., including a story claiming that most Americans did not favor sanctions against Iran, a piece criticizing U.S. 'plots' against Syria and Venezuela, and a speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad describing the U.S. as a 'selfish and bullying minority. ... Beyond broadcasting, Iranians have stepped up their public diplomacy efforts in Latin America. On his tour of Latin America in January, Ahmadinejad promoted various investment and aid projects, despite the fact that Iran has yet to deliver on any of their previously promised aid. ... At a recent Senate committee hearing, panelists showed concern over growing ties between Ahmadinejad and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez; the shadowy shuttle operation among Tehran, Damascus, Caracas, and Bolivia; and Iran’s manufacturing projects in Latin America. Many lawmakers think that these Latin American countries are 'playing with fire.'” Image from

James Appathurai's Answers on Global Partnerships and the Arab Spring - Editorial Team: The NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy has responded to your questions and policy recommendations . ... "[Q:]Arik Segal, conflict management consultant, Israel: Considering the recent intervention against American human rights NGOs in Egypt and general anti-Western sentiment among Arab societies, how does NATO plan to engage with the new actor in the Middle East - the Middle Eastern people? [A:] James Appathurai: Good question.

In fact, I would say one of the most active areas of cooperation for the Alliance for the last, more than 10 years, has been the public diplomacy outreach. We've been very very active in the region, from seminars, and speeches and articles and TV interviews and conferences and meetings at universities to try to explain what NATO is and what we're doing in the post-Cold War world. And Libya showed, to me anyway, that a lot of that work has succeeded." Appathurai image from article

NATO Seminar Highlights Smart Energy Projects - "In support of NATO’s efforts for a sustained effort to spend limited resources more effectively and efficiently amidst the international financial crisis affecting the defence budgets of NATO allies in unprecedented ways, the alliance's Emerging Security Challenges Division and the Public Diplomacy Division, at a seminar early this week, focussed on ways to use existing smart energy technology in a military setting.

Speakers from several NATO member nations highlighted their experiences with the practical application of smart energy solutions to reduce fossil fuel consumption in their respective militaries. Smart energy and smart defence." Image from article, with caption: The participants at the Seminar on Smart Energy at NATO headquarters

Celebrating women’s role in peace and security - "Every year, International Women’s Day on March 8th honours the achievements made by women all over the world.It also focuses attention on the commitment made by many organisations, including NATO, to protect women and children in areas of conflict where they are disproportionately affected. This year, March 8th also marks 10 years since NATO began improving the gender balance of its own workforce. ... The Secretary General ... released the first annual report on 17 November 2011 detailing NATO’s work to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. The resolution recognises the disproportionate impact war and conflict has on women and children. ... The report reflects the commitment by NATO Allies and partners to make the principles of UNSCR 1325 an integral part of their everyday business, including their political, civilian and military structures, and their operations and missions.

It focuses on the six-track approach implemented after Allied leaders agreed at the 2010 Lisbon Summit to underscore NATO’s work on Resolution 1325. The six tracks are: operations; mainstreaming UNSCR 1325 in policies, programmes and documentation; cooperating with international organisations, NGOs and civil society; education and training; public diplomacy; and national initiatives." Image from article

VOL. VIII NO. 5 February 24-March 08, 2012 - The Layalina Review on Public Diplomacy and Arab Media

Telling the Story of the ‘Indian Dream’ - Madhurjya Kotoky, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "[G]lobal competency skills are the new requirement for many Indian managers including the ability to collaborate and compete across cultures. This significantly shapes national image and contributes towards telling a story of India. For corporate India, it is important to understand the ‘idea of India’, to tell its story, and for the policy establishment, the onus is to integrate the efforts. It’s no longer India’s economic story, it is the story of the ‘Indian Dream.’"

My Jakarta: Faye Belnis, British Diplomat‎ - Jakarta Globe: "Today is International Women’s Day, so what better way to mark the achievements of girls who grew up to be powerful women than by interviewing one of our own most prominent diplomats, Faye Belnis, the head of press and public diplomacy and spokeswoman at the British Embassy? Faye tells us all about her role models, from figures like our very own World Bank managing director, Sri Mulyani, to the relentless mothers of post-tsunami Aceh. In honor of International Women’s Day, Faye

and the embassy will mark the event with some of the leading women in Indonesia as they promote gender equality. [Q:] Tell us a little bit about your role as the head of press and public diplomacy and spokeswoman at the British Embassy in Jakarta. [A:] My job is all about communicating. I communicate UK government policies to the Indonesian public through the media and our other partners, ensuring that the messages we put across are well understood by the public. This includes in reaffirming our position on global issues such as climate change, democracy and human rights, business and investment, and education, as well as supporting British nationals in Indonesia. Image from article, with caption: 'I Am Not a Feminist Type but I Am A Great Believer in Gender Equality’

22 SXSW Panels You Can’t Pass Up This Year - "This week kicks off the 26th anniversary of SXSW, a two-week festival celebrating the best in film, music, technology, journalism and publishing. Every year, we wade through the conference lineup — more than 500 sessions — and select must-see speakers, screenings, workshops and panels. ... SUNDAY ... Time: 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. What: Fulbright: How the First Social Network Adapts to Social Media Who: Doug Mitchell, Katie Day Good, Megan Neff, Vijay Renganathan Where: AT and T Conference Hotel, Salon D Why: This is a great chance to learn about how Fullbright [sic] intersects with public diplomacy in an era of digital transformation."

The Obama Doctrine at Year Three: An Assessment - "On February 22nd The Heritage Foundation hosted a panel discussion on the concept of whether there is an Obama Doctrine for foreign policy

and, if so, how well it has worked over the last three years. The panelists addressed issues of current geo-politics including the 'Reset' with Russia and the Administration’s response to the Arab Spring. ... [Among the panelists:] Helle Dale, Senior Fellow for Public Diplomacy, The Heritage Foundation." Image from entry

LUMS students at prestigious New York conference - wo LUMS students attended a unique conference, held over four days in New York City and Washington DC, in February. The International Conference on Cultural Diplomacy and the UN brought together 140 students from top universities in the USA and Europe, with representatives from government, NGOs and the commercial world. Lisa Simon (BA Economics and International Relations) and Marlon Litz-Rosenzweig (BA Philosophy, Politics and Economics) are both in the final year of their

Lancaster Economics degrees and it was the first time that either had attended a large international conference. ... The conference took place at the UN headquarters in New York City and the Bulgarian Embassy in Washington DC. Speakers included the Assistant Secretary-General of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs at the UN, the director of UNESCO and professors from Yale and New York University. The range of ideas discussed was very wide: from culture used as a tool for peace and sustainable development, to the future of the UN, and the challenges of Eurocentric approaches to global governance. The conference brought together everything the two students had been studying on their undergraduate degrees at Lancaster said Marlon. 'It was really the culmination of our three years’ of undergraduate study. Cultural diplomacy is not something I’d immediately associate with the study of management or economics. But management is really important when it comes to implementing cultural diplomacy projects.'”


The Russian Presidential Election and the Future of the Reset - Mark Adomanis, Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your view of the importance of "values" in foreign policy, the designers of the reset are not radically different from their predecessors but are merely slightly more rational and patient than the democracy promoters who occupied George W. Bush’s administration. The Obama administration has, in maintaining a hard and uncompromising line on foreign policy, been in broad continuity with the Bush administration.

The one major difference is that Obama’s team has, in general, been far more adept at picking its battles because it has a far more perceptive understanding of America’s real strengths, weaknesses, and interests. Russia is just not an easy place for America to influence and it makes perfect sense to focus, as the Obama administration has, on the very few areas of genuine common interest such as fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan and reducing the number of nuclear weapons. The alternative to the reset is not a Russian policy that magically forces the Russians to do our bidding, but a policy that guarantees mutual suspicion and heightened tensions. Via PS on facebook. Image from

How Obama Is Losing Afghanistan - William A. Levinson, American Thinker: Niccolò Machiavelli wrote that war should be the predominant study of an Italian prince, and Sun Tzu said that mastery of the art of war was of vital importance to the state. Colonel Paul Linebarger's Psychological Warfare (1954) added the same of his science: "Yet success, though incalculable, can be overwhelming; and failure, though undetectable, can be mortal." Linebarger adds that any communication, no matter how honest or benevolent, whose purpose is to influence attitudes and beliefs, is propaganda by definition. Barack Obama's apology for the burning of Korans is the most recent example of incompetent propaganda. The Afghan people recognize only that American troops burned Korans, and they are unaware of the circumstances of the incident in question.

Obama's Sweet Deal for North Korea: Diplomacy has costs. Tehran's mullahs will be watching - John Bolton, Wall Street Journal: The two sides agreed that Pyongyang would suspend uranium enrichment and other "nuclear activities" at its Yongbyon facility, allow very limited international inspection, and implement a moratorium on long-range missile launches. In State's telling on Feb. 29, we gave nothing in return for the North's (apparently) unilateral concessions, "designed to improve the atmosphere for dialogue and demonstrate its commitment to denuclearization." How sweet.

Unfortunately, the Leap Day deal is worse than just another failed effort to chitchat North Korea out of its nuclear weapons. It provides a political and economic lifeline to Kim Jong Eun's uncertain new regime, and it schools him on how to outwit America. Tehran's mullahs will take careful note of the Obama administration's desperation to announce a deal, any deal, that can be described as "progress" on the nuclear-proliferation front. Image from

Israel’s Escalating Rhetoric: By following Israel in lawlessness, the US is sullying its own constitution - Abolala Soudavar, Israel explains the bombing of Iran as a necessity to avert an existential threat. But how can Iran pose an existential threat to Israel? In the worst case scenario, Iran must kick out the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors; shut down cameras that constantly monitor its nuclear operation; then enrich Uranium from 20% to bomb grade, which it hasn’t done yet; and then produce a nuclear bomb, for which it may or not have the technology. But when and if it produces bombs, which can be no more than a few, it has no effective aviation or accurate missile to deliver the bombs. On the opposite side though, Israel has, by all knowledgeable estimates, between 150-200 nuclear bombs, with one of the most advanced fleet of war-planes as well as submarines to carry and deliver them. It can in fact bomb Iran

back to the stone age. Common sense dictates then that if there is an existential threat, it’s the other way around. It is Israel’s huge nuclear arsenal that poses an existential threat to its neighbors and not vice versa. So the question is: what is the real motive behind Israel’s incessantly escalating rhetoric? To me it’s a Madoffian reaction to cover up criminal actions that Israel has committed and continues to perpetrate, by means of a fiction that it has created: Israel being an island of democracy, a model nation in respect to international law, and surrounded by villains. Like Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, the fiction is to divert attention from its criminal activities, i.e., land grabbing. While Israel advertises the democratic nature of its state, it must hide the theft and terror that it is perpetrating. The latter go hand in hand, because terror is a necessary instrument of Israeli theft. Image from

‘Ignore the intelligence reports, let’s make war’ - Stuart Littlewood, The international community, including the US and the EU, says it is committed to a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the Middle East. The only impediment, of course, is Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons, which menace the whole region and perhaps beyond. Some experts believe that Israel has around 400 nuclear warheads and, naturally, various means of delivering them. Iran has none. Iran’s nuclear facilities are open to IAEA inspection; Israel’s are not.

Vietnam jails 2 for disseminating anti-gov't docs - The Associated Press, Two Catholics have been convicted of spreading anti-government propaganda and sentenced to prison in Vietnam, where local church officials and the ruling Communist Party have had an uneasy relationship for years. Vo Thi Thu Thuy, 50, and Nguyen Van Thanh, 28, were sentenced to five and three years in prison, respectively, at a one-day trial on Tuesday, said Pham Van Phuc, a court official in central Vietnam's Nghe An province.

The Hacks of War: The Media and Iran - Dave Lindorff, Counterpunch: The sorry state of American journalism is on full display in the coverage by the corporate media of the ongoing crisis surrounding Iran’s nuclear fuel program. The leaders of both Israel and the U.S. have publicly threatened to attack Iran — Israel saying it could do so within weeks, President Obama warning that he would consider attacking Iran militarily if he were convinced that that nation was building an atomic bomb. Not once, in reporting on these threats of aggressive war by Israel and/or the United States, has any major U.S. news organization, in print or on the air, included any reference to the U.N. Charter or to the fact that what is being contemplated is an invasion by Israel or the United States of a country that has not even been shown to be producing or planning to produce a nuclear weapon, much less to be in possession of one.

Media coverage of the Syrian conflict: heroism and revisionism - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Stop Kony Campaign Galvanized By Invisible Children Video - Ben Johnson, Slate: Propaganda is important, whether you’re the brutal leader of a violent army or the people trying to stop him. The organization Invisible Children has a new video about Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony, and the 30-minute take down piece has gone viral online. Kony, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity, has been on a violent campaign against the Ugandan government since 1986. The warlord and his army have reportedly displaced more than 2 million people, and abducted 66,000 children.Filmmaker Jason Russell’s video, titled “Kony 2012,” scored nearly 3 million views just this week, with some social media help from the likes of Roger Ebert, and a groundswell of young people sharing the 30-minute piece online.Invisible Children hopes the video will keep the pressure on world leaders by making it an issue for young people around the world. Below image from

KONY 2012, Invisible Children's Pro-AFRICOM and Museveni Propaganda - Invisible Children's goals initially may have been to publicize the plight of children caught in Uganda's decades-long conflicts; lately, IC has been acting as apologists for General Yoweri K. Museveni's dictatorship and the U.S. goal to impose AFRICOM (the U.S. Africa Military Command) on Africa. IC has produced a brilliant film that's making the global rounds on Facebook. It's a classic as propaganda pieces come. The short but overwhelmingly powerful film uses all the best tear-jerk techniques. In the end, the film denounces Joseph Kony, the leader of the brutal Lord's Resistance Army, while giving the impression that Museveni's dictatorship and his brutal military, which was found liable for war crimes in Democratic Republic of Congo by the International Court of Justice, has nothing to do with the atrocities committed against children in Uganda.

Did Time-Travel TV Really Kill Two Chinese Schoolgirls? - A Chinese newspaper claims two young girls committed suicide in hopes of traveling back in time like the characters on popular TV shows. Is this a real case of death-by-TV, or is it government propaganda? The English-language site People's Daily Online has the story, which apparently originated at the paper China Daily. Fifth-grader Xiao Hua (not her real name) apparently "realized she lost the remote control for a rolling door at her house." So she decided to commit suicide. Her friend Xiao Mei (also a pseudonym) decided to die with her, "because they were the best friends." She, however, had bigger concerns than a remote control: "She planned to travel back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) to make a film of an emperor; and she wanted to visit outer space." The two wrote suicide notes and then drowned themselves in a pool.

Fracking and Psychological Operations: Empire Comes Home - Steve Horn, Truthout: Recent examples abound of the tools utilized on the periphery of the American Empire eventually making their way home to its core, above and beyond the gas industry's use of psyops tactics on US citizens.

US Army Propaganda - Here's a Second World War US Army Leaflet on how to tell the difference between a Japanese and Chinese. It is, as you might have gathered, a tad racist and not entirely accurate. The Japanese equivalent would be interesting if anyone knows of where they can be found.

Images from entry

“Women’s Day” Today is Old Soviet Propaganda Ploy - International Women's Day (March 8) is a longtime Communist propaganda tool.
What does it say when an official Soviet holiday is enshrined in our mainstream culture? Clearly, Communism isn't dead; it has just morphed into other forms like Feminism.


--From Russian criminal tattoo archive - Russia Beyond the Headlines. Via LV on facebook.

No comments: