Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October 29

"If someone attacks us, it isn't a foreign war, is it?"

--Franklin D. Roosevelt; FDRimage from


NSA Propaganda Video Among Highest Downvote Percentages in Youtube History [includes video] - storyleak.com: The very epitome of propaganda, a video put out by the Department of Defense Youtube channel featuring calls by the NSA Director to limit journalism and expand spying has now achieved one of the highest known percentage of downvotes in Youtube history (4500 downvotes, 70 upvotes).

RT - David Datuna - Gallery SHCHUKIN "Eye to eye" (American artist juxtaposes Vladimir Putin and Nicholas II in a Moscow gallery)


Merkel’s American Minders - Karl-Theodor Zu Guttenberg, social-europe.eu: "There is much talk today about the risks of a new era of American isolationism and a lack of US leadership in the world. It is important to remember that isolationism can be triggered not only by a potential retreat from global affairs, but also by the rather imprudent use of America’s hard and soft power on the world stage. To escape the NSA mess, various options will be discussed. The new Franco-German push for an intelligence-sharing agreement with the US is probably difficult to put into practice, especially considering that spy services operating around the world are not always fully controllable.

As a first step, Obama must rediscover the great communications skills that propelled him to the White House in the first place. From a public-diplomacy perspective, his handling of the surveillance scandal has been a complete failure. To contain the damage and begin to rebuild much-needed trust, Obama must issue a credible apology to Merkel, other Western allies, and their citizens. In the American political context, issuing an apology, especially to foreign governments, is often viewed as a sign of weakness. In the case of the NSA scandal, an unequivocal apology by Obama is the only viable solution to leave the past behind and move forward. Unfortunately, the window of opportunity for such a gesture to be viewed in Europe as a much-awaited olive branch – and a sign of real American strength and conviction – is closing fast." Image from

Droning About Drones: What Else is in the Toolkit - terrorwonk.blogspot.com: "There are good reasons for the U.S. to be using drones against the Pakistani terrorists, but drone activity is simultaneously undermining the Pakistani government. Long-term, fostering a stable not too awful Pakistani government ought to be a U.S. priority . ... [T]he great fear of terrorist leaderships is losing control over their units. Al-Qaeda documents have endless disputes about money – operatives spending too much and leaders not providing enough – as well as tactics. Sowing dissension within a group might be a useful alternative to simply killing group members. Spreading stories about corruption and other forms of impropriety could do more to reduce operational efficiency. ... This strategy – to a limited extent has been used against FARC in Colombia and others.  But it may not be appropriate in the Pakistani hinterland. Literacy is low, and running a public diplomacy campaign would be by word or mouth, which requires extensive on the ground knowledge. But that doesn’t make it impossible and it is at least worth trying."

A First Read on Post-Revolutionary Egyptian Media - Joseph Braude, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "A new book by Naomi Sakr, Transformations in Egyptian Journalism (I.B. Tauris, 2013), should be required reading for American public diplomacy specialists who want to engage Egyptians through the media.

Bilingual Sakr, a media policy professor at the University of Westminster and director of its CAMRI Arab Media Centre, draws on new research and decades’ experience tracking Arab media trends to offer a readout on how Egyptian journalists and their employers have been struggling and coping yet also innovating since the 2011 revolution. For those who believe that part of America’s public diplomacy strategy in Egypt should involve supporting indigenous media that share American values, Sakr’s book provides guidance on whom to engage and what types of support they need most." Image from entry

Ambitions, Not Threats, Are the Key to European Defense - Jan Techau, Carnegie Europe: "There is no generally shared, strategically meaningful threat perception among the NATO or EU member states. There is a general unwillingness to invest, and there is no appetite for substantially more cooperation or pooling and sharing of defense capabilities. When an approach has not delivered results for twenty years, maybe it is time to try something else. During a recent workshop at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, it became clear that any public diplomacy strategy designed to increase public and political support for a more active defense policy would have to be tailor-made for individual countries. The focus would have to be on individual nations’ interests instead of a one-size-fits-all approach to threats. This approach seems to make eminent sense, but it should go one step further. Rather than focusing on interests, which are often perceived as selfish and too materialistic, policymakers should focus on national ambitions.

Yes, that’s right, ambitions. Every country, even the ones most reluctant to engage militarily in the world, has a national ambition. They might not call it that, or they might even deny it outright; but in reality, every country wants to stand for something. ... If the goal of European defense is to maintain a minimum level of cohesiveness in a splintered security market, its strategy should appeal to each country’s individual calling. ... No doubt such an approach will make defense-related public diplomacy a lot harder. And no doubt, to some, the idea of a 'national ambition' is too divisive to even contemplate. But it is clear that decisionmakers need to try something new. In a Europe that faces a collective defense crisis, the tedious exercise of examining each country’s soul is still much better than making them collectively irrelevant." Image from

'Prime time' to invest in Europe - Bao Chang, China Daily: "During the 'Go To Europe' Investment Forum recently held by the China Public Diplomacy Association in Shanghai, the European Union delegation urged China to explore the potential of Europe as a unified market and sign a comprehensive investment pact with the bloc."

I hate Halloween, Koreans overreacting to Japanese defense moves, Korean wins X Factor Hojustan, and more - Robert Koehler, rjkoehler.com: Yonhap talked with a crap load of US experts about Japan’s push to claim a right to collective self-defence. "I might translate it later, but to make a long story short, US wonks think Korea is overreacting—there’s no way in hell Japan would send troops to Korea without Seoul’s consent. Personally, I think smart public diplomacy on Japan’s part would make this a whole lot easier, but regardless, if the shit were to ever go down on the Korean Peninsula, I think the last thing Seoul will be worrying about is whether the JSDF is supporting to US forces in Japan."

Adelson-Backed Group Surveys Israeli-Americans on Level of Loyalty to Israel, Then Censors Survey - Richard Silverstein, richardsilverstein.com: "An L.A. based pro-Israel group, the Israeli-American Council (IAC), with the financial support of Sheldon Adelson, has compiled a survey measuring the level of loyalty of Israeli-Americans to Israel and America. The survey was disseminated to tens of thousands of Israelis living in the U.S., with the collaboration of the Israeli embassy and consulates, which used their e-mail lists to distribute it.  The IAC appears to have pretensions of becoming an Israeli-American version of Aipac.

Apparently, several Israeli diplomats finally examined the poll they were promoting and determined there were several intrusive, even embarrassing questions. Word spread to the media, where the story was covered by Haaretz. Though at first the foreign ministry (currently run by settler MK and deputy minister, Zeev Elkin, after the resignation of Avigdor Lieberman just before the last elections) defended the project and said the government had nothing officially to do with it, the prime minister has suspended further circulation of it. ... There is something terribly defensive about this poll. It seeks to measure negatives: how much loyalty has Israel retained among those who have left? How much can it rely on them to fight the good fight? Instead of discussing values, hopes and dreams, the respondents come across as commodities or promotional material to be used in the effort to sell Brand Israel." Image from entry

Public diplomacy [scroll down link for item] - Philip Brieff, Letter to the editor, Jerusalem Post: "Sir, – Martin Sherman’s 'Dereliction of duty' (Into the Fray, October 25) was a good description of the sad state of some current international Israeli public relations. Defenders of Israel often attempt to counter lies about Israel with the truth. This is not a winning strategy, because the audience does not know whom to believe. A winning strategy would be to point out the Islamic war against non-Muslims, which goes on all the time. Major media outlets ignore this war. To win neutral minds Israelis must attack their detractors. It is not enough to argue that they are lying."

Cultural Diplomacy Hard Power – Paul Rockower, Levantine: “I'm out in LA prior to my domestic tour with Keola Beamer and co, and staying in Hermosa Beach with my cousins. Unluckily, I was awakened this morning to the sound of teenage angst reverberating through the floorboards as one of my 15 year-old cousins was blasting her music before heading out to school, and the bass was palpable a floor below.

That offers me the perfect segue to point out the use of  Brittany Spears as deterrent against Somali pirates. Who says cultural diplomacy can't have a hard power side?” Spears image from

Culinary Diplomacy: Breaking Bread to Win Hearts and Minds - Sam Chapple-Sokol, The Hague Journal of Diplomacy 8 (2013) 161-183. Via LO-S on Facebook

Branding the Cyrus Cylinder - Jay Wang, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Branding is never a be-all-end-all (not even in the corporate world). It is, however, crucial to making a cultural organization’s communication and interaction more compelling and engaging."

Concert, opera to commemorate Kristallnacht: Cantors and choirs will perform Sunday at Strathmore Hall - washingtonjewishweek.com: Suzanne Pollak, "A discussion with arranger Sheridan Seyfried and moderated by Tara Sonenshine, former under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, will precede the concert. Following that, there will be a short service to commemorate Kristallnacht."

Twitter wants a woman with international clout for its board of directors - Alex Dalenberg, upstart.bizjournals.com: "Word is that Twitter will get its first woman board member sometime after next week’s IPO. ... The New York Times has its own lengthy list of potential candidates, but two with international clout are Charlotte Beers, a former Ogilvy and Mather chief executive who served as Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and Judith McHale, a former chief executive of Discovery Communications who served in Beers’s Under Secretary role in the Obama Administration."


Obama and the NSA: Information is Power - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: Obama, the president of the United States, Commander-in-Chief and self-proclaimed leader

of the free world, says he did not know about his own government’s spying on multiple allied world leaders until quite recently. This means that Obama learned of this amazing thing same as we did, basically via Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing. Image from entry

Obama May Ban Spying on Heads of Allied States - Mark Landler and David E. Sanger, New York Times: President Obama is poised to order the National Security Agency to stop eavesdropping on the leaders of American allies, administration and congressional officials said Monday, responding to a deepening diplomatic crisis over reports that the agency had for years targeted the cellphone of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.The White House has faced growing outrage in Germany and among other European allies over its surveillance policies. Senior officials from Ms. Merkel’s office and the heads of Germany’s domestic and foreign intelligence agencies plan to travel to Washington in the coming days to register their anger. They are expected to ask for a no-spying agreement similar to what the United States has with Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which are known as the Five Eyes. Image from

The White House on Spying - Editorial, New York Times: The White House response on Monday to the expanding disclosures of American spying on foreign leaders, their governments and millions of their citizens was a pathetic mix of unsatisfying assurances about reviews under way, platitudes about the need for security in an insecure age, and the odd defense that the president didn’t know that American spies had tapped the German chancellor’s cellphone for 10 years.

Germany Hasn't Earned Its Spying Outrage: It's far easier for Chancellor Merkel to feel put upon by America than to accept the responsibilities of global leadership - John Vinocur, Wall Street Journal: Funny how the chancellor of the world's third-largest arms-dealing country, in her reluctance to talk of any use of force anywhere, is looking like Mr. Obama's doppelgänger. Yet Merkel says America needs friends—although surely not ones thinking Washington will want to spy less effectively.

What did President Obama know and when did he know it? - Dana Milbank, Washington Post: How could Obama not know his spies were bugging the German chancellor?

The out-of-control NSA - Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: The NSA collects information as massively and indiscriminately as possible on the theory that if you assemble a database of all the world’s communications, the few you seek — those involving terrorists — will be in there somewhere.

This is not just a massive invasion of privacy that the people of France, Spain and other countries understandably resent. It’s also a mistake. Image from

Mr. Kerry’s empty words on Syria - Editorial, Washington Post: In truth, the United States is probably the only nation that could rescue Syria’s civilians. It could do so by offering Mr. Assad the same choice on humanitarian access that it gave him on giving up chemical weapons: Do it or face a campaign of airstrikes.

Syria’s brutality continues at will - Michael Gerson, washingtonpost.com: After years of inaction regarding Syria, America now stares some unpleasant strategic realities in the face: Six months from now, will any responsible opposition be left to support? Will America have any acceptable partners in the fight against al-Qaeda in Syria?

Hijacked link sends Barack Obama's Twitter followers to Syrian propaganda - Adi Robertson, theverge.com: Yesterday, President Barack Obama posted an article on his Twitter account: "Science fair nightmare: This #climate change denier is the world's most embarrassing dad," he wrote.

But the attached link didn't go to his campaign site. Instead, it directed readers alternately to an apparent malware site and a propaganda video called "Syria Facing Terrorism." It appeared that the Syrian Electronic Army had claimed another victim, all the way at the top of the US government. Update: The Syrian Electronic Army has claimed responsibility for the hack, and the White House has corrected the link. Its tweet shows, and Quartz has confirmed, that the Gmail account of a campaign staffer with Organizers for Action was hacked, likely giving the SEA either login information or password reset privileges to the link shortener. Post has been updated with details. Image from entry

Media analyst: Americans not interested in pro-Muslim propaganda network - Chad Groening, onenewsnow.com: Time Warner Cable and Al Jazeera America have announced they've reached a deal for the cable company to start carrying the controversial Qatar-based network that has been a mouthpiece for Islamic terrorist propaganda. Over the next six months, the channel will be added to digital basic cable packages in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas – making Al Jazeera America available to a total of almost 55 million homes. Since going live in August, the network has struggled in the ratings. Since going live in August, the network has struggled in the ratings. Tim Graham, director of media analysis at the Media Research Center, says it’s obvious that foreign-owned news outlets like Al Jazeera don't do well in front of American audiences.

How to negotiate with Iran: A deal struck for its own sake on Tehran's nuclear program would be worse than no deal at all - Dennis Ross, Eric Edelman and Michael Makovsky, latimes.com: The most pressing national security threat facing the United States remains preventing a nuclear-capable Iran. U.S. actions: Intensify sanctions and incentivize other countries to do the same, issue more forceful and credible statements that all options are on the table, initiate new military deployments and make clear the support for Israeli military action if conducted.

Fury in the Kingdom - Roger Cohen, New York Times: It is over Iran that the Saudis are most exercised — and it is not the Iranian nuclear program that has them so upset. Rather, it is the idea that the pre-revolutionary relationship between Iran and the United States could somehow be revived, extending Iranian influence in the region and relegating Saudi Arabia to being, as it once was, the lesser party of America’s “twin pillar” policy in the region.

A Lopsided U.S. Visa-Waiver - Yousef Munayyer, New York Times: The State Department has been able to offer little assistance to U.S. citizens of Arab or Muslim origin who are denied entry to Israel, despite what our passports say about allowing Americans to “pass without delay or hindrance.”

Instead, the U.S. government has regularly yielded to Israeli demands when it comes to the discriminatory treatment of Americans.Under no circumstances should the United States extend visa-waiver privileges to Israel, or any other state, unless it is willing to guarantee and demand equal treatment of its citizens and their protection from discrimination based on religion, ethnicity or national origin. Image from

A question of competence - Richard Cohen, Washington Post: An erratic presidency has made the world a bit less safe.

Perpetual War: How Does the Global War on Terror Ever End? - Jeremy Scahill, TomDispatch: as Obama embarked on his second term in office, the United States was once again at odds with the rest of the world on one of the central components of its foreign policy. The drone strike in Yemen the day Obama was sworn in served as a potent symbol of a reality that had been clearly established during his first four years in office: U.S. unilateralism and exceptionalism were not only bipartisan principles in Washington, but a permanent American institution. As large-scale military deployments wound down, the United States had simultaneously escalated its use of drones, cruise missiles, and Special Ops raids in an unprecedented number of countries. The war on terror had become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The question all Americans must ask themselves lingers painfully: How does a war like this ever end?

The Red Menace: Anti-Communist Propaganda of the Cold War - kuriositas.com: Every age has its bogeyman. If you grew up in 1950s and 60s America you would have been bombarded with anti-communist propaganda. In hindsight it is perhaps easy to raise a wry eyebrow. Yet at the time the threat was taken very seriously indeed. Here, hysteria intact, are a few of the stranger messages delivered to the American people. Among the images:


22 Pictures of Miley Cyrus' Open Mouth - stereotude.com. Image from entry


Teen followed Danvers teacher into bathroom, killed her with box cutter - Pamela Brown, Don Brown and Greg Botelho, CNN - How was Danvers High math teacher Colleen Ritzer killed? With a box cutter the suspect, 14-year-old Philip Chism, had brought into school, a source close to the investigation says. What happened to her body afterward? It was stashed in a recycling bin, rolled outside, then dumped about 20 feet into woods behind the northeastern Massachusetts high school's athletic fields, adds another source. It was left there -- not buried, not even covered. And where did the alleged killer go afterward? After changing his clothes, he went to a Wendy's fast food restaurant and a movie, sources say, before police in a neighboring town saw him walking on a busy road under the pitch-dark sky early Wednesday.


Hitler finds out about Obamacare Exchange Problems - familysecuritymatters.org


Catholic Officials: “Bishop Of Bling” To See His $40 Million Mansion Turned Into A Soup Kitchen - classwarfareexists.com: When Jesus spoke out against greed, German Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst must not have thought he was referring to him. It was recently uncovered that the Bishop living in the diocese of Limburg, home to about 650,000 Catholics in Germany, had been doing some eyebrow raising renovations to his quarters.

The Catholic church discovered after some investigation that it was footing the bill for such lavish additions to the place as a $20,000 bathtub, built-in closets costing nearly $500,000, a $35,000 conference table, $1.1 million in landscaped gardens, a massive fitness room, and a personal chapel. All of it totaling an astonishing $40 million. When it came to light just how much the Bishop had been spending, he earned the moniker “Bishop of Bling,” and the less lighthearted distinction of “Suspended until further notice.” With the Bishop gone, the question then turned to what to do with the massive estate. An idea by some Catholic officials is both brilliant and fitting: They want to turn it into a refugee center or soup kitchen. Uncaptioned image from entry


--From; via MT on Facebook

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