Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November 20


“We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima — the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too. There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing. Then they’d really call for a cease-fire.”

--Gilad Sharon, the son of Ariel Sharon; image from


A Personal Message from "Iron Dome" Fighters. Via DS on Facebook


Virtual Indoctrination and the Digihad: The Evolution of Al-Qaeda's Media Strategy - Jeremy White, smallwarsjournal.com: "The battle for the hearts and minds of the Muslim world will not be won through American intervention. Instead, the United States should more emphatically deploy the art of public diplomacy and cease interfering in a manner that feeds directly into al-Qaeda’s narrative. Just as al-Qaeda has used the Internet to defend its own narrative, Western governments must also use all the media tools at their disposal to influence negative perceptions in the Muslim world and clarify the ugly true nature of terrorism. Public diplomacy officers must redouble their efforts to reach out to trusted voices within Muslim communities to speak out in favor of the truth and denounce the un-Islamic actions of Jihadi groups. In the same vein, Arabic-language news networks like Al-Jazeera should be afforded greater access to American policymakers in order to foster an atmosphere of dialogue rather than mere exchange of rhetoric. This is a long-term struggle that will ultimately be won by allowing al-Qaeda’s Muslim critics time to defeat the organization and its ideology on their own terms."

Obama in Myanmar: How Ozomatli's 2009 visit served as a barometer - Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times: "With President Obama’s visit to Myanmar on Monday, a long-secluded country has earned a rare moment on the world’s stage. ... It’s a world away from 2009, when Los Angeles band Ozomatli became the first American musicians to officially perform there in decades. Touring as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. State Department, the band played two concerts and took part in a number of outreach programs in the country’s biggest city, Yangon.

As Ozomatli's manager Amy Blackman recently wrote to fans, 'We have been to some hairy places, but Burma was next level hair.' ... Ozomatli had been working with the State Department on these sorts of tours since 2007, having signed on to travel to places where American music is seldom experienced live. Before its tour of Thailand, Vietnam and Burma, Ozomatli had performed at outreaches in locations such as Palestinian refugee camps, rural India and Madagascar." Image from article, with caption: Ozomatli performed in Burma in 2009 as part of a U.S. State Department outreach program.

How Twitter Is Changing the Face of Foreign Policy - Eva Harder, pbs.org: Twitter is changing the face of diplomacy; in fact, it's creating an entirely new concept in foreign relations that is changing the way publics are informed by governments. 'Twi-plomacy' is a term that many in the social media world may not yet be familiar with, but it's becoming prevalent among government offices. It describes an increasingly relevant phenomenon of global communication: Twitter's growing influence over the way world leaders communicate with other governments, their own citizens, and the general public. The use of social media in diplomacy is generally referred to as 'eDiplomacy.' ... Alec Ross, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's senior adviser for Innovation whose position at the State Department was created specifically to blend technology with diplomacy ... said, 'If Paul Revere had been a modern day citizen, he wouldn't have ridden down Main Street. He would have tweeted.' The State Department is known for its heavy tweeting, but Ross stated that it's not to be trendy, but to engage the public on foreign policy discussion. Ross did concede, however, that Twi-plomacy can have negative consequences, echoing Secretary Clinton's statement that, 'information networks are like nuclear power. They can fuel a city or destroy it.' Below image from

“Twiplomacy” – How the global communication has ‘opened up’ diplomacy? - ivetakamdem, Public Diplomacy and Global Communication B: A group blog by students at London Metropolitan University: "Social media can be a good instrument of public diplomacy. ... The 'tweeting tradition' is becoming to be part of day-to-day diplomacy, especially in U.S. foreign office. ... There are different opinions over the e-diplomacy or twiplomacy. Some argue that social media improves diplomatic preparedness and brings politicians and diplomats closer to people. While others claim that social media do not reinvent diplomacy, but merely add to it - world leaders still have to meet face to face."

Broadcasting Board of Governors – Information War Lost – Insubordination and Rebellion - The Federalist, usgbroadcasts.com/bbgwatch: "The United States Government’s international broadcasting has been rocked with a variety of disasters over the 21st century. One of the most egregious has been the firing of dozens of journalists in the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Russian Service Moscow bureau. The consequences of that action – and what was put in place afterward – continue to send shockwaves through the international broadcasting arena. Radio Liberty supporters and its audience in Russia have rebelled against the new RFE/RL management, which responded by engaging in an act of internal censorship. BBG Watch has published many reports, commentaries and analyses on this continuing story. One most recent piece is entitled, 'RFE/RL president Korn refuses to provide information to BBG committee on Masha Gessen and his trip to Moscow.'”

Renowned NY museum bridges cultural divide through art - The China Post: "Throughout November, the Museum of National Taipei University of Education (北師美術館, MoNTUE) has been hosting the 'MMA Curator Talk' series to celebrate its exhibition partnership with the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art (MMA). The series includes free collective public speeches titled: 'Curator in residency.' In order to tighten the artistic and cultural connection between the U.S. and Taiwan, the MMA has donated to MoNTUE 100 pieces of plaster sculptures that date from between the Medieval period to the late 19th century.

The Public Diplomacy Section Chief of the American Institute in Taiwan, Sheila Paskman (裴士蓮), said that cultural soft power and diplomacy have brought Taiwan and America a new method of communication and exchange. ... The artistic director of the Taishin Bank Foundation for Arts and Culture, Lee Yu-lin (李玉玲), encouraged Taiwanese artists to follow Cloud Gate Dance Theatre Director Lin Hwai-min (林懷民) in joining the Fulbright scholar exchange program. ... From Gothic to Contemporary, the MMA, New York and MoNTUE, Taipei have just written the new chapter on art communication that strives to foster the cultural understanding between Taiwan and the U.S." Image from

Cultural diplomacy at its finest - manilastandardtoday.com: "It was like a homecoming for Bayanihan, the national dance company of the Philippines as it performed at the Lincoln Center in New York and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. early this month. Bayanihan is the first Filipino group to perform on Broadway in 1959. It also has the distinction of being the first non-American dance company to take to the stage at New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, as well as the first Philippine cultural group to perform in Russia, the People’s Republic of China and throughout South America. ... Bayanihan’s performances in the US was upon the invitation of the newly launched US-Philippines Society in Washington, D.C. with the support of the Philippine embassy in the US led by Ambassador and Mrs. Jose L. Cuisia Jr. It was the first cultural undertaking of both the Embassy and the US-Philippines Society. ... Aside from its performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Bayanihan also held a special show for a group of American diplomats, servicemen and high school students. The special performance was at the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus in Southeast Washington, D.C. The event was co-presented by the Philippine Embassy and the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. The project was initiated by Ma. Victoria J. Cuisia, wife of Philippine Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr., as part of the embassy’s cultural diplomacy thrusts."

PM Thanks Public Diplomacy Activists - israelnationalnews.com: "Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held a video conference on Monday with volunteers who are working to assist in the national public diplomacy effort. Participating in the video conference were personnel from the Prime Minister's Office National Information Directorate, the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry, the Foreign Ministry (from Dublin), the IDF Spokesperson's Office New Media Division, and students and public diplomacy activists. 'It is good to see you,' the prime minister said.

'I want to thank you. You are doing very important work; I follow your activities. We are [operating] on four fronts: The military front, the home front, the diplomatic front and the public diplomacy front. What you are doing greatly strengthens us on the public diplomacy front. We must fight for the truth, for the facts, and your help is worth more than gold. The fact that you are focusing on refuting the industry of lies and that you are reaching so many sectors is a significant addition for the State of Israel. I want to thank you. Continue your important work and I tell you that we will yet face great efforts and responsibilities in the coming days; therefore, thank you very much. I wish you all success. Thank you.'" Image from

Masa Israel Volunteers Get Involved With Israel’s Public Diplomacy - ejewishphilanthropy.com: "The Jewish Agency for Israel and Masa Israel today opened an International New Media Center in Jerusalem which is staffed by volunteers from around the world who are participating in various Masa Israel programs.

The center will allow the volunteers to share their personal experiences of living in Israel under rocket fire with people around the world through social media. The volunteers come from English, Spanish, Russian and French speaking countries." Image from article

Israeli beating of activist causes uproar Fox News-spun3 - machi-work.org: "Israel feels it is actually unfairly singled out internationally and is obsessed about its worldwide image. Leaders typically plain about what they say are unfair efforts to 'delegitimize' the country with boycotts, divestment calls as well as other campaigns. The country even has a ministry of public diplomacy that aims to promote the country’s image overseas. But critics say that Israel’s policies, not its public relations efforts, will be the trouble."

The limits of Israel's online hasbara - Anshel Pfeffer, haaretz.com: "The generals of hasbara have already declared victory. We are 'ruling Facebook' and 'winning on Twitter,' they say. No one will ever complain again that the IDF prevails on the battlefield while losing the media war. ... But at the end of the day, will anyone ask the critical question – what did we get out of all this? ... A quick Google search reveals the unwelcome news that in fact, Israel is not winning on Facebook or Twitter. The supporters of the Palestinians are fighting back, there are many of them and we are not convincing them. Israel still has the somewhat limited support of the U.S. administration and European Union, but this is not due to the PR efforts, only geopolitical interests. ... Neglecting the info-wars or deserting the Internet is not an option for Israel but it has to acknowledge its limitations. Hasbara can achieve at most a tie. The electronic stalemate between Israel and Hamas has created also an equivalent perception of either side. It’s no longer an orderly sovereign state fighting a terror militia in a tiny coastal strip but two Twitter accounts wrestling with each other." Image from entry, with caption: Body of innocent Gazan child lifted from under the rubble of his bedroom after the Israeli air strikes hit his home killing all his family while they asleep

From the Office of Israel Public Diplomacy - israpundit.com: "Talking Points for Operation 'Pillar of Defense'." [12 talking points]. On the Israel-Hamas conflict, more below in "Related items."

(Re)Brand USA: Karen Fiss - Eric Heiman, blog.sfmoma.org: "What I am troubled by, and have been researching for my own scholarship, is how nation branding campaigns influence citizenship, belonging, and memory work undertaken in young nations attempting to establish representational systems of governance—particularly those that are emerging from a period of political turmoil, such as South Africa and Vietnam.

The corporate gurus who have pushed the field of nation branding to the foreground of public diplomacy, sell their services to postcolonial countries that often do not have the traditional nation-building constellation of ethnicity and language. Branding, then, becomes a matter of fabricating a shared heritage, though of a different kind, and a form of social engineering." Image from

Truli Media Group Names Dr. Varun Soni to Board of Directors - buyersteps.ulitzer.com: "Dr. Varun Soni Bio [:] Dr. Varun Soni is the Dean of Religious Life at the University of Southern California (USC). He is a University Fellow at USC Annenberg's Center on Public Diplomacy, an Adjunct Professor at USC's School of Religion, and a member of the State Bar of California, the American Academy of Religion, and the Association for College and University Religious Affairs."

Pioneering PR company announces its who's who - asopa.typepad.com: "JACKSON PR ASSOCIATES has announced a 15-strong professional team of Associates - and the launch of a newsletter to keep them informed about the company. The firm is the first PR company to provide services focusing on a footprint covering Australia, Papua New Guinea and the south-west Pacific. ... The full list of Jackson PR Associates ... Marsali Mackinnon Brisbane Public Affairs Consultant Public diplomacy, media and government relations."


Pentagon overseas propaganda plan stirs controversy - Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY: Senior officers at the Pentagon are being advised on countering Taliban propaganda by a marketing expert whose company once weeded out reporters who wrote negative stories in Afghanistan and helped the military deceive the enemy in Iraq, according to military documents and interviews. Since 2000, the military has paid the Rendon Group more than $100 million to help shape its communications strategy, analyze media coverage, run its propaganda programs and develop counter-narcotics efforts around the world, Pentagon documents show. On Oct. 12, Rendon appeared at the Pentagon at a forum to help the military "synchronize our strategic narrative and counter the Taliban's," according to an announcement about his appearance.

It was an off-the-record event and included dozens of senior military officers and civilian officials. They gathered in a Pentagon conference room outfitted with large television screens to allow officials in Kabul, Pakistan and Tampa, home of U.S. Central Command, to take part. Currently, employees of The Rendon Group provide "communications support" to the Pentagon and U.S. embassies, for counter-narcotics programs, according to Lt. Col. James Gregory, a Pentagon spokesman. That support includes tracking local print, radio, television and online reporting and helping countries such as Pakistan and Colombia "conduct effective communications in support of U.S. and partner nation counter-narcotics objectives." Those contracts were worth more than $11 million in 2011 and 2012. The top officer at Rendon could cost a federal agency such as the Pentagon as much as $2,490 a day, or $908,000 on an annual basis, for salary, benefits and overhead, according to a government price list for a recent contract. Image from Rendon Group homepage

Gaza conflict threatens Obama's plans for Mideast diplomacy - Paul Richter, Angeles Times: In a region thrown into turmoil by the "Arab Spring" uprisings, U.S. support for Israel and its right to defend itself has been one of the few constants. That has not changed, despite the well-publicized rocky relationship between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But by all accounts, the damage to U.S. influence in the region is likely to grow if Israel sends ground troops into Gaza to stop the Hamas militant group from firing rockets into Israel. The conflict also could ease international pressure on Iran to curb its disputed nuclear program, a top priority for the administration. Iran is a longtime supporter of Hamas, and may gain credibility in some countries for its hostility toward Israel.

How Obama Can Use Pressure to Bring Peace - Dan Raviv and Yossi Melman, New York Times: Working with Washington should be stressed as the only certain path to regional leadership for Egypt. The United States should insist that Mr. Morsi become the core of an active and creative coalition that promotes peace. Turkey should also be part of that, and President Obama can easily let Mr. Erdogan claim the leading role he obviously wants in the region.The president must convince Mr. Netanyahu that the best way to ensure American support for Israel in slowing, sabotaging or destroying Iran’s nuclear program is to genuinely take part in a broad American-sponsored effort to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Above image from

The Wrong Man for the C.I.A. - Gregory D. Johnsen, New York Times: For all of the Obama administration’s foreign policy successes — from ending the war in Iraq to killing Osama bin Laden — the most enduring policy legacy of the past four years may well turn out to be an approach to counterterrorism that American officials call the “Yemen model,” a mixture of drone strikes and Special Forces raids targeting Al Qaeda leaders. Rather than promote the author of a failing strategy, we need a C.I.A. director who will halt the agency’s creeping militarization and restore it to what it does best: collecting human intelligence. It is an intelligence agency, not a lightweight version of Joint Special Operations Command. And until America wins the intelligence war, missiles will continue to hit the wrong targets, kill too many civilians and drive young men into the waiting arms of our enemies.

Disabled but determined, U.S. diplomat Jeffrey Glassman sues over forced retirement - Pamela Constable and William Wan, Washington Post: In addition to fighting an incurable illness, Glassman is battling the federal government, which forced him to retire four years ago. In 2010, he sued the State Department for discrimination, claiming that it repeatedly denied him chances to move up the diplomatic ladder — even as it bent over backward to accommodate his physical needs. He also sued on behalf of all Foreign Service officers with disabilities, demanding that the department do more to help them navigate a competitive system and develop a better affirmative action program as required by federal disability laws.

Hamas Propaganda is Terror Art: With an enemy like this, with its warped logic, there is no common language - Yisrael Medad, jewishpress.com: Israel does not target, with malice aforethought, children and other non-fighter populace. 50,000 warning phone calls were made last week to residents at potential locations that could be attacked. Hamas places its weaponery amidst the civilian population. Its rockets also kill their own children when they explode on ignition or fall short. A poster like this

is not only horrendously gruesome and posed but evil misrepresentation. With an enemy like this, with its warped logic, there is no common language.

Israel’s ‘right to self-defense’ – a tremendous propaganda victory - Amira Hass, sabbah.biz: "One of Israel’s tremendous propaganda victories is that it has been accepted as a victim of the Palestinians, both in the view of the Israeli public and that of Western leaders who hasten to speak of Israel’s right to defend itself. The propaganda is so effective that only the Palestinian rockets

at the south of Israel, and now at Tel Aviv, are counted in the round of hostilities. The rockets, or damage to the holiest of holies – a military jeep – are always seen as a starting point, and together with the terrifying siren, as if taken from a World War II movie, build the meta-narrative of the victim entitled to defend itself.' Image from entry,  with caption: Body of innocent Gazan child lifted from under the rubble of his bedroom after the Israeli air strikes hit his home killing all his family while they asleep

Child Dumpster Deaths Turn Propaganda Against Party - blogs.wsj.com A tragedy torn from the pages of a Chinese primary school lesson on the horrors of capitalism has rattled the country’s online community and drawn a dark line under one of the most challenging issues facing the Chinese Communist Party’s new generation of leaders. China’s state-run Xinhua news agency on Tuesday said it had confirmed the identities of five children, ranging in age from nine to 13, who were found dead on Friday inside a trash bin in the southwestern province of Guizhou.

The children, all male and all surnamed Tao, died of carbon monoxide poisoning after lighting a fire inside the bin and climbing inside to take shelter after temperatures fell to around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, Xinhua said citing local police. In a country where the ruling party sometimes likens its role to that of a parent feeding and nurturing its children, the vast majority of public anger over the deaths was directed at the government. “In an environment where leaders are the first to escape when things go bad, who’s going to consider the poor, the homeless, the orphans?” one microblogger asked in a post that was later deleted. Image from article, with caption: A screenshot shows an image, posted on Sina Weibo, of the trash bin where five children were found dead on Friday. The children had climbed into the bin to take shelter from the cold and died from carbon monoxide poisoning after lighting a fire inside, according to Chinese state media.


Image from

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--U.S. Constitution

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