Friday, November 23, 2012

November 23


"[Y]ou really can’t win a lasting peace by arguing on Facebook."

--Tom Watson, Forbes; image from


A 21st Century Vision for U.S. Global Media - A. Ross Johnson and R. Eugene Parta, "This paper proposes a new vision for U.S. International Broadcasting in the 21st century: a single, non-federal, congressionally-funded broadcasting organization that unites the current six entities into one with a revitalized mission employing the latest technologies in an 'audiences-centric' communications strategy.' See also.


Video: Thousands of Volunteers Advocate for Israel -


Tara Sonenshine on the Campbell Conversations - Grant Reeher, "The new frontier in international diplomacy is something called 'public diplomacy'--it involves expanding the domain and practitioners of diplomacy beyond traditional government-to-government communication, and threatens the long-standing emphasis on controlling the message.

Tara Sonenshine, the State Department's Undersecretary for Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy, guides the United States' efforts in this area. In this edition of the Campbell Conversations, she discusses the challenges involved, and the techniques employed." Sonenshine image from

Kerry is the right choice to lead US diplomacy - Jonathan Alter, "President Barack Obama’s biggest and most- revealing decision this year may be which candidate he chooses to be his new secretary of state. It will tell us whether the president allows comfort to trump qualification. The two candidates are Susan Rice, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, and Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Both would be impressive, though they bring different strengths. Rice’s advantage is that she has a closer personal relationship with the president, making her better integrated in the administration’s policy-making apparatus. Kerry’s edge is that he’s a heavyweight who would be more effective representing the U.S. around the world. ... Obama should choose Kerry. ... Having accompanied Hillary Clinton on international trips, I can testify to how helpful it is to have a woman in charge of public diplomacy. Most of the positive things going on among nongovernmental organizations are spearheaded by women, who would like seeing the third woman in a row (and second African-American by the name of Rice) in the top job. still, the next secretary of state may be called on to broker Mideast peace talks between Israel and Hamas or conduct high-stakes talks with Iran on its nuclear program. Wouldn’t it be better to have someone at the table with wide experience and the political clout to make things happen?"

US News and World Report reporter examines VOA and USIB (updated: responses from BBG) - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

China’s "soft power" offensive in Africa: As western powers cut back their spending on international broadcasting, China launches an offensive to win the continent's hearts and minds - Martin Plaut, "China has launched a drive to win 'hearts and minds' in Africa just as western powers – including Britain and America – are cutting back on their spending on international broadcasting. In January China Central Television (CCTV) launched its first African hub in Nairobi. At 8pm in the Kenyan capital CCTV Beijing hands over to its Nairobi team for 'Africa Live', an hour-long flagship program designed to be a 'new voice' for African news and build Sino-African relations. Its Africa bureau chief, Song Jianing, says he has major plans for expansion. ' I want to grow in leaps and bounds,' he told a seminar at St Anthony’s in Oxford. This comes on the heels of the Chinese news agency, Xinhua, which already has an established reputation for fast, accurate news. Wang Chaowen, the agency’s Africa director says her operation covers 47 African states, with 28 branch offices. A glance at almost any African newspaper will see the result, with Xinhua articles faithfully reproduced. Nor is it just the traditional media.

In 2011 Xinhua launched a news service for mobile phones, in Africa, in both English and Chinese. ... Hil [l]ary Clinton told a Senate hearing earlier this year: 'We are engaged in an information war and we are losing that war,' she said. China and Russia have started multi-language television networks, she said, even as the US is cutting back in these areas." Image from article, with caption: Pang Xinhua, the managing editor of China Central Television Africa talking to local journalist

Chinese Domestic Debates on Public Diplomacy - Maria Wey-Shen Siow, "Summary [:] Maria Wey-Shen Siow, East Asia Bureau Chief of Channel NewsAsia based in Beijing, explains that 'Overall, there is widespread acknowledgement of the importance and necessity of public diplomacy and soft power in explaining China to the rest of the world.' "

Israel-based U.S. interns enlist in hasbara warfare: Displaced by rocket fire, young people spending the year interning in Israel organized a campaign to defend their host country back home - Judy Maltz, "[V]olunteers at the newly established International New Media Center in Jerusalem [had] assignments ... listed in bullet points on the board: Get up the new blog, choose a Facebook cover photo, upload videos to YouTube, finish up the poster and make sure all posts go viral (the last one followed by a punctuation mark for added emphasis).

All post-college age and mainly from the United States, they had come to Israel on the increasingly popular five-to-ten-month-long internship programs organized by Masa – a joint project of the Jewish Agency and the government that aims to strengthen the connection of young Jews abroad to Israel. ... The new media center was set up in coordination with the National Information Directorate, the Foreign Ministry and the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Unit. The group that showed up late last week consisted of about a dozen volunteers, all except one from the United States. Their objective, according to 22-year-old Josh Neuman, of Walnut Creek, California, 'is not so much to take a stance on the conflict' but to show the world the other side of life in Israel – that life goes on despite the rockets and missiles. 'And I think that’s a very important message,' he added." Image from article, with caption: Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky joins Masa volunteers at the new media center on its opening day this week.


Crowdsourcing Propaganda: Gaza and the People's Information Ministry - Tom Watson, Forbes: The digital media aspect of the Gaza conflict is public and raw, brutally transparent and wildly uncontrolled. And it pits large government agencies with a strong interest in propaganda (the Israel Defense Forces and its digital outreach team, for instance) against a swarming sea of people with cell phone cameras and mobile connectivity. the firefight over propaganda and how it’s waged. This is the kind of regional conflict with worldwide implications: the main combatants know that in addition to being on a battlefield, they’re also on stage. And each is attempting to shore up its traditional backers using media networks. On the surface, you can find the same kind of disproportionality that is obvious in the military struggle itself, and in the body counts. The Israeli social media operation is sophisticated and highly integrated. Just taking the IDF social outreach alone (and leaving the politics aside for the moment), Israel has launched a large-scale social media campaign that seems to have been well-planned and masterfully executed to coincide with its military action and coalesce both domestic and outside support for Israel. On the other side, a well-branded, highly integrated social media campaign is a secondary objective, at best.

In Gaza, continued connectivity is the goal in a territory where telecommunications access is almost entirely controlled by Israel. “There has been no other case in the history of modern warfare where one side controls all the communication infrastructure of the other, as is the case here,” wrote Anshel Pfeffer in Haaretz. “All of Gaza’s telephone networks and internet servers go through Israel; every phone conversation and email is routed through Israeli territory and from there sent on through underwater fiber-optic cables to the rest of the world.” The scenario of shutting off digital access to Gaza’s citizens prompted activists to team with the hacker collective Anonymous, which launched a series of cyber-attacks against Israeli sites and IT infrastructure as a kind of warning to keep the pipes in Gaza. While there has been no full shutdown of Internet access by Israel, there have been the kind of limited outages that bombing brings. The stories and images are raw and at this stage in this long, endless, multi-generational conflict, you can’t win the social war, you can’t win the battle for hearts and minds, you really can’t win a lasting peace by arguing on Facebook. Image from

Propaganda images by pro-Israel groups show mock attack on Dublin - Mark Weiss, Photoshop images by pro-Israel advocacy groups purporting to show Dublin under rocket attack have been circulating on the internet and Facebook. They show plumes of smoke rising from areas of Dublin, with a CNN breaking news caption “missile attack in Dublin," and an RTÉ breaking news caption “A missile from Gaza hit Dublin a short while ago."

A question underneath asks: “Would you be willing to live like this for one day? If Dublin was targeted every day like Israel, would you agree to live like that? Share if you agree it’s Israel’s right to defend itself.” Similar Photoshop images appeared with pictures of other European capitals under rocket attack. Image from article

More obvious propaganda: Iranian arms ship takes weapons, supplies to Gaza, Debka says - Debka Files is connected to Israeli intelligence. Its primary purpose is not to inform the public but to spread disinformation and propaganda - always under the pretense that intelligence sources provide validity. For starters, Netanyahu has been eager for a while to start a war on Iran, so it was more or less expected that Israel would try to link the attack on Gaza (or anything for the matter) to Iran. Second, it does not make sense for Iran to give Israel and the US an excuse to bomb them, as that would be remarkably suicidal.

Russia Today Continues its Anti-Israel Propaganda, Going Even Further Than Arab TV - Lakkana Nanayakkara,

From Russia With PR - Justin Elliott, ProPublica: Several opinion columns praising Russia and published in the last two years on CNBC’s web site and the Huffington Post were written by seemingly independent professionals but were placed on behalf of the Russian government by its public-relations firm, Ketchum.

The columns, written by two businessmen, a lawyer, and an academic, heap praise on the Russian government for its “ambitious modernization strategy” and “enforcement of laws designed to better protect business and reduce corruption.” One of the CNBC opinion pieces, authored by an executive at a Moscow-based investment bank, concludes that “Russia may well be the most dynamic place on the continent.” Russia, often criticized for human rights abuses and corruption, paid handsomely for the public-relations work. From mid-2006 to mid-2012, Ketchum received almost $23 million in fees and expenses on the Russia account and an additional $17 million on the account of Gazprom, the Russian state-controlled energy giant, according to foreign agent filings. Image from article, with caption: Russia's President Vladimir Putin, left, and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev watch a parade in Moscow's Red Square in May. Russia has paid public-relations firm Ketchum almost $23 million since 2006.

Beijing to become more 'involved' on world stage - Qin Zhongwei, China will adopt a more proactive policy to engage in international affairs and be a responsible nation that promotes peace and stability by enhancing cooperation and bringing benefits to its neighbors and other nations. Those were the comments of experts and scholars on China's foreign policy direction after the conclusion of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. "China will be more prepared and involved in dealing with international systems and institutions and push the development toward a fair and just direction," said Zhang Yuyan, director of the Institute of Word Economy and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He was speaking at a forum on the transformation of China's foreign policy organized by Tsinghua University in Beijing on Sunday. As the world's situation is complex and volatile, it offers more opportunities for China to be involved in many areas of international cooperation, and China will be more willing to engage, according to Zhang. Yuan Peng, an expert on American studies with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, has a "cautious optimism" about the Sino-US relationship, one of the most important bilateral relationships for China, as the two countries have stepped-up cooperation on nearly all aspects of their relationship.

Serbia’s Political Propaganda Blitzkrieg – Again! - While the term Blitzkrieg is usually associated with the “lightning war” tactics used by Germany in WWII it is just as applicable to political propaganda. The effects of Blitzkrieg included creation of doubt, confusion and rumours that would surely paralyse both the government and the defending military. I trust the current onslaught against Croatia and 1995 Operation Storm that liberated Croatian territory from Serb occupation will not paralyse Croatian Government in knowing how to defend its greatest and the most humane achievement in its history of plights for freedom and self-determination of its people.

Reactions to the ICTY’s Appeal Chamber’s majority ruling which acquitted Croatian Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac of any guilt in the alleged joint criminal enterprise/ forced deportation of Serbs from Croatia emanating from Serbia’s political and government leadership, its media and former ICTY Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte is nothing short of a vicious propaganda Blitzkrieg. Serbia’s leadership and media are on a vicious mission to absolve Serbia of any wrong doing, of any crimes its army had committed in Croatia during 1990’s – of any consequences for its horrible crimes in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Image from entry

Kim Jong-un propaganda - Hill-side propaganda praising Kim Jong-un: The propaganda reads “Long live the sun of

Songun (military-first) Korea, General Kim Jong-un!” and it is positioned just behind the Samsu Power Station (Google Earth Coordinates: 41.308824°, 128.157993°). Image from entry

Hello, Europe: On its current trajectory, America will look like France or Greece before long - Pete Du Pont, Wall Street Journal: What we may see over the next four years is the opposite, the continuing Europeanization of America, putting the government in charge of all that we do—from stricter management of the economy and family and health decisions, to higher taxes and higher government spending.

War on women: Propaganda postcards from suffragette era show fierce battle fought by American women to get the vote... and Obama can thank them for his job - Among the postcards:


“[B]y 2030 machine capabilities will have increased to the point that humans will have become the weakest component in a wide array of systems.”

--The prediction of an Air Force report

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