Friday, October 5, 2012

October 5

"[T]he administration defines militants as all military-age males, typically those between 18 and 65."

--Jennifer Gibson, "Living with death by drone: U.S. drones hover over villages in Pakistan, with the residents never knowing when they will strike," Los Angeles Times; militant Brown image from his blog


A) Clinton jubilant over Gaddafi's death: "We came, we saw, he died"; via PVB

B) Chris Hedges: Propaganda and the Psychosis of Permanent War; image from

C) Russia Today Exposes CNN's Propaganda


Cultural Fellowships in Russia; via MS


Russian Spies, or "USA-Style Making it" as Part of the Aspiring Upper Bourgeoisie in the Former USSR -  John Brown, Notes and Essays


Opinion Leaders: Still the Most Important PD Audience - Mary Jeffers, "The Office of U.S. Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy Tara Sonenshine began several months ago to distribute summary PD activity highlights to interested members of the U.S. public. In a series of blog posts starting today, I’d like to showcase some of these highlights, and use them to illustrate key facets of ongoing U.S. public diplomacy work. Last year, after diving into the world of public diplomacy scholarship as a Fellow at GWU’s Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication (IPDGC), I began to realize that a frequently missing piece of the academic puzzle is concrete discussion and analysis of what public diplomats actually do in the field.

And considering that U.S. public diplomacy remains significantly field-driven, this feels like a major gap. Thus a blog series is born. Each piece will begin with a few thoughts on what the selected programs and activities have in common, and what is significant about that common theme. The highlights speak for themselves. Today’s theme is Opinion Leaders. Future topics will include: Not Always Setting the Agenda; Messaging Creatively; Arts Programs as Communication; and more. As always, readers, I welcome your interest, your feedback, and your additional thoughts." Image from entry, with caption: Diplomeet Tweetup co-sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Morocco and the Social Media Club of Casablanca.

US Prepares for Overthrow of Venezuela: Rigged polling, coordinated Western propaganda campaign, and open conspiracy to install Henrique Capriles Radonski as head of new Western client-regime - Tony Cartalucci, "In a NED post literally titled, 'How Chávez ‘plans to steal Venezuela’s election’' part of a corporate-financier funded Heritage Foundation report is reproduced . ... The report enumerates 'steps' the US should take, in regards to the elections in a foreign sovereign country, to 'defend democracy in Venezuela while advancing U.S. interests and values:' ... [Among them:] Conduct systematic public diplomacy. The Administration should prepare a public diplomacy brief examining the erosion of democracy and the unfair advantages accumulated by Chávez. It should report the fact that electoral conditions are far from fair."

Image from entry, with caption: NED is anything but a "promoter of democracy and freedom." Representing some of the largest corporate-financier interests spanning Wall Street and London, it merely couches global, neo-imperial hegemonic ambitions within the guise of "freedom" and "human rights." For Venezuela's opposition, it is indefensible to take money and support from NED, and indicative of their service to foreign interests, not the people of Venezuela.

More PRs and fewer journalists threatens democracy -  Greenslade Blog,  "In his 2008 book, Flat Earth News, Nick Davies pointed out that there were more PRs than journalists in Britain. Some four years on, there are even more PRs and still fewer journalists. Public relations, as the Financial Times's media editor, Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson, reports today, 'has become a big business.' He points to the Holmes Report, which ranks PR firms, and records global PR revenues amounting to $10bn a year. The ratio of journalists to PRs in the United States has also moved in the same direction as Britain. ... If the current trends continue, we will end up without the essential 'media filter' that, despite its own penchant for spin and misinformation, acts at its best on behalf of a public deluged with self-interested public relations material. And much of that emanates from governments. Davies's book records that the UK government had 1,500 press officers, issued 20,000 press releases a year, and spent millions on PR firms. The foreign office alone spends £600m a year on 'public diplomacy'. In the States, in 1978, the CIA spent $265m (£165m) on 'information operations'. What we're talking about here, as we chart the rise of PR and the simultaneous decline of journalism, is an assault on democracy."

Ensor headlines as CPD in DC expands to monthly lunch forums - Adam Clayton Powell III, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "David Ensor, Director of the Voice of America, was the lead speaker this week at the first monthly USC public diplomacy lunch forum here on Monday. Ensor began by discussing U.S. international broadcasters’ coverage of the 2012 election campaign, noting that tonight’s debate will be carried live by several VOA networks.

Asked about VOA’s credibility as a government-owned broadcaster reporting on U.S. elections, Ensor said the network’s credibility is very high abroad. It is in Washington D.C., he said, where VOA credibility was questioned more often. And one reason Ensor offered was that Americans do not see or hear VOA programs, because of the Smith-Mundt Act prohibiting VOA from broadcasting to domestic U.S. audiences." Ensor Image from article

Whither RFE/RL Russian? Withering barrage of criticism for mass firing of journalists - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: [Elliott comment:] "During this bizarre chapter of US international broadcasting, questions abound and conspiracy theories flourish."

‘Roma o Morte!’ - Don H. Doyle, New York Times: "[Theodore] Canisius was a German-born Illinois newspaper publisher whom Lincoln bankrolled during his presidential bid to help win support among Illinois Germans. The newspaper later failed, and as a favor the president gave Canisius an appointment in Vienna.

'The place is but $1,000, and not much sought,' Lincoln rationalized to Seward, 'and I must relieve myself of Canisius.' ... Canisius’s adventure in public diplomacy ... [payed] rich dividends for the Union cause across Europe. Large demonstrations expressing support for Garibaldi and scorn for Napoleon III, the pope and the Italian government erupted in Italy and elsewhere in Europe. In London enormous riots broke out in Hyde Park. On Sunday, Sept. 28, a group of radicals meeting to express sympathy for Garibaldi were assaulted by a gang of Irish Catholics shouting 'Long live the pope!'” Image from

The first annual conference “NATO and Armed Forces 2020: the Way Ahead” welcomed the elite of the international security scene - "The first annual international conference “NATO and Armed Forces 2020: the Way Ahead”, organized by the Centre for European and North Atlantic Affairs (CENAA) under the auspices of the Slovak Ministry of Defence and the NATO Public Diplomacy Division is now finished."

Kosovo after Supervised Independence: Interview with Petrit Selimi - Petrit Selimi is not the most typical of Balkan diplomats. ... He convinced a Western telecom operator to bring the American performer 50Cent to Prishtina, and organized the star’s concert in a memorable night that put Kosovo on MTV a year before the declaration of independence. ... [H]e currently works with Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj, a prominent member of Kosovo’s post-war academia. Traces of Selimi’s past engagement remain in his new position, in the form of public diplomacy as a favorite tool; this has included establishing partnerships with the Aspen Institute, the European Council of Foreign Relations and even ecumenical organizations and art galleries.

We talked with Selimi on the margins of the Aspen Institute’s recent conference on security in SE Europe, in Durres, Albania. ... [Selimi:] Kosovo sports and culture had a great year, adding power to our fight for a place under the sun. The MFA launched a massive public diplomacy effort, and we have worked with top foreign policy institutions to facilitate a greater understanding of Kosovo in the global processes, and vice versa. So all in all, I was proud to have made a small contribution to this enormous team effort. ... Improving Kosovo’s overall image and making sure our message is clear, via public diplomacy efforts, is also essential for more recognitions and more investments. I don’t think Kosovo has to re-invent the wheel- we must just heed the good advice of the many friends we have been lucky to gather since our liberation efforts began. Selimi image from article - "In Japan around the Diaoyu Island opposite more intense, Chinese public diplomacy to Japan to participate in degree is higher."


Living with death by drone: U.S. drones hover over villages in Pakistan, with the residents never knowing when they will strike - Jennifer Gibson, Last week, Stanford University and New York University released a major study about the use of drones in the ever-evolving but never-ending war on terror.

Unfortunately, many commentators missed the report's key message: Drones are terrorizing an entire civilian population. Image from article, with caption: A Pakistani villager holds a wreckage of a suspected surveillance drone which crashed in a Pakistani border town along the Afghanistan border.

Peace Talks With the Taliban - Editorial, New York Times: The United States has not and should not give up completely on a negotiated solution or at least some movement toward reconciliation. And it can’t wait until 2014 or later. With American troops leaving Afghanistan, there should be an interest in advancing a political system that insurgents might see as an alternative to armed conflict.

Syria becomes a wedge between U.S. and Turkey - Soner Cagaptay, Washington Post: As turmoil in Syria has grown over the past 18 months, Ankara has presumed that the United States and Turkey were on the same page regarding regime change. Now, though, differences are emerging.

Is Islam an Obstacle to Democracy? - Room for Debate, New York Times: As Arab populations “pursue values like freedom, justice, equality, autonomy and pluralism, and new models of democracy and of international relations,” the scholar Tariq Ramadan wrote in The New York Times this week, “they need to draw on Islamic traditions.” But what would that look like? Does Islam encourage or discourage democratic government?

Protecting Diplomats Post-Embassy Attacks: More Fortresses or Rethinking Fortresses? - Domani Spero, DiploPundit: In the aftermath of the Benghazi attack and several breaches into our embassy compounds, diplomatic security will be in the front burner once more.

Image from entry, with caption: The Krak des Chevaliers as it was in the Middle-Ages. From Guillaume Rey : Étude sur les monuments de l’architecture militaire des croisés en Syrie et dans l’île de Chypre (1871).

The China-Japan island dispute is becoming propaganda - Radhika Seth, he island dispute between China and Japan is taking many twists and turns, more like a mind-game of chess where for every move by China there is a counter move by Japan or a subtle move by the US.

China has even resorted to gimmicks like ads in international newspapers, but the underlying point is, no one is actually resolving the issue by engaging in a meaningful dialogue. Some agencies are viewing the escalated row as an international propaganda war. Image from article


"Kayden Kross is bright, attractive, articulate. She's also the winner of 2011's 'Wildest Sex Scene' award, among others. She's offended that the government would order her to have sex in an approved fashion, even as part of a production.

Kross began her career in 2008, and initially insisted on her film partner using a condom. But she said that after one scene, she was so abraded and uncomfortable by the condom that she feared she could not return for her second, which she was under contract to perform. 'This is not making love,' she said of her work. 'It's athletic. It's sweaty. It's done for the camera.'"

--Jim Newton, "Porn, safe sex and Measure B," Los Angeles Times; Kross image from


"I have nothing to say/ and I am saying it/ and that is poetry/ as I need it."

--Composer John Cage, "Lecture on Nothing" (1949)

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