Saturday, October 5, 2013

October 4-5

"America is indeed exceptional. But that’s not necessarily a good thing."

--"End of History" guru Francis Fukuyama, senior fellow at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law; image from


America and Iran: Backchanneling In Plain Sight (October 2) - Team Celebration [Suzanne Maloney?], "President Barack Obama confirmed in an interview broadcast today that he has exchanged letters with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in what may be the first successfully reciprocated communication between leaders of the two countries. The confirmation vaults what had been a quietly evolving process of bilateral diplomacy between the two long-time adversaries into the public eye at a particularly sensitive moment — immediately on the heels of a U.S.-Russian deal to avert military action in Syria and right on the eve of Rouhani’s departure for his first-ever visit to the United States. In my recently-released Brookings Essay on Iran, I make the case that Rouhani was elected in order to staunch Iran’s economic troubles by reorienting its approach to the world. This latest development only strengthens my conviction that what we are witnessing is a historic shift by Iran — one that is nowhere near complete and that may still go up in smoke, but one

that if carried to fruition could result in a reduction in the threats posed by the Islamic Republic to its neighbors and to its own citizens. While today’s interview represents the first official confirmation of the U.S.-Iranian dialogue, it is worth noting that the news of high-level American communication with Tehran was first leaked in the Iranian press more than two weeks ago. The allusions to the letters were largely overlooked by the Washington press and punditocracy, excluding reports in the Los Angeles Times and Radio Free Europe. Ironically, many seemed more consumed with Iran’s flashy new public diplomacy campaign — including Rouhani’s semi-official Twitter greetings and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s Facebook debates — to pay much attention to its more traditional modes of official outreach. As a result, under the cover of plain sight, it would appear that Washington and Tehran began the opening steps in a delicate dance of arms-length bilateral diplomacy." Image from article

Your People Can Tweet My People: Twitter Diplomacy Takes a Step Forward, But Let's Not Get Too Excited - Jimmy Leach, "There's been a good deal of excitement (well, relatively speaking) about the recent twitter exchanges between US President Barack Obama and Iranian president Hassan Rouhani. ... [I]t was polite chit-chat, talking about a phone call they had had. ...  And yet the ... ahem... twiplomats get excited. And the head honcho at Twitter, Jack Dorsey even called it 'inspiring'. Digital diplomacy has reached the sharp end, then? Well, not quite - this is, after all, a public reference to private diplomacy of the old-fashioned kind. Nothing more than an official spokesman would tell the press anyway. They had a polite call, they discussed serious issues, including the nuclear thing. They talked about the traffic. It was friendlier than exchanges with Iran have been for some time - but we don't get the details. So it wasn't public or digital diplomacy - not least since it took place on a medium (Twitter itself) denied to the Iranian people. Public diplomacy that's only half-way public." See also.

Yes to Negotiations, Yes to an Agreement - Amos Yadlin, "The final weekend of September 2013 saw the Iranian charm school at work in full force, with a campaign comprising every component of a sophisticated public diplomacy strategy: moderate advance articles in leading newspapers signed by past and present Iranian presidents; TV interviews at the leading networks with senior female journalists (with the hijab and without); background discussions with senior analysts; non-belligerent speeches at the United Nations that said “the right things” and avoided the extreme rhetoric typical of Iran’s most recent former president; meetings of foreign ministers that were a thing of the past; and – on the way to JFK Airport – an historic telephone conversation between the Iranian and US presidents. ... Negotiations between the United States and Iran could go in three directions, two of which could be positive for Israel: a good agreement that would keep Iran far from the bomb, or a resounding failure that would grant legitimacy to other actions designed to stop the project. The challenge facing Prime Minister Netanyahu is to prevent a bad agreement and reach an understanding with the United States on the questions of process and essence: what sort of negotiations process and what sort of deal would be detrimental for America’s and Israel’s vital interests. It is important to understand, influence, and if possible reach a conclusion on what America’s policy will be if the negotiations fail or the agreement is violated in the future, and how effective levers of influence on Iran – sanctions and a credible military option – can be preserved, as only they are capable of changing the Iranian behavior."

Where We Stand On Iran - Barrie Dunsmore, "After a whirlwind week of high power public diplomacy focused on Iran’s nuclear ambitions, where do we actually stand? ... [N]ew talks on Iran’s nuclear program, in addition to being technically complex, are going to be fraught with each country’s domestic politics. In both America and Iran there are strong feelings about compromise – and such forces could complicate negotiations."

Iran/Syria Bashing - Stephen Lendman: "On September 24, Washington Post editors headlined 'Testing Iran's soft-sell strategy,' saying: ... 'The danger is that, in the fevered atmosphere generated by Mr. Rouhani's skillful public diplomacy, the United States and its allies will be induced into further, unwarranted concessions - or deluded into believing that a 'grand bargain' is possible with Iran.' ... WaPo's hostility shows what Rohani faces. Decades of good faith efforts failed. Don't expect him to fare better. ... Criticizing Iran's legitimate nuclear program is red herring cover for regime change. It's been long sought. Obama wants pro-Western subservient governance replacing Iranian sovereignty."

Emergency Red List of Syrian Cultural Objects at Risk Released - Hrag Vartanian, "At an event last week at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) officially released The Emergency Red List of Syrian Cultural Objects at Risk, which outlines the categories of cultural goods most vulnerable to illicit trade during the Syrian war. With growing reports of widespread damage and looting at cultural heritage sites throughout Syria, ICOM’s publication, which was supported by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, provides a concise guide that can be used by museums, auction houses, art dealers, collectors, and customs officials to identity possibly looted or stolen items as the war in Syria continues. ... Bonnie Burnham, president of the World Monuments Fund (WMF), spoke about the various incidents of damage

to historic sites in Syria, including the shelling of Aleppo’s ancient citadel by Syrian government forces, and the use of the medieval fortress of Krak des Chevaliers by Syrian rebels. She outlined WMF’s work in Cambodia and Iraq, as examples of past successes comparable to the situation in Syria, and she applauded the U.S. governments dedication to historical preservation as part of a larger post-conflict mission. 'We’re proud that this work is being recognized as a legitimate form of public diplomacy by the US government and its Department of State,' Burnham said. 'In fact, we’ve been told that the US-government supported heritage conservation is one of the most successful areas of post-conflict assistance that our government was able to mobilize in Iraq.'” Image from entry releases "Social Oil" video - Amanda Read, Washington Times: "'Even though we depend on oil every day of our lives, it’s easy to forget how integral it is to our lives personally and to civilization generally,' says Amanda Achtman, a recent graduate of the University of Calgary who produced the informative video Social Oil.

The 92-second YouTube video highlights the fruitful opportunity provided by Canada’s oil sands, the ethical problems that arise from being dependent on Saudi Arabian oil, and it invites the viewer to choose between 'Social Oil' and 'Conflict Oil.' Robert R. Reilly, author of The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis, said in an interview with the Wynnewood Institute that oil is 'the oxygen supply of the industrialized world' and that 'the less we are dependent on the Middle East, the better for us and for everyone else - particularly in respect to Saudi Arabia, which has the single most retrograde form of Islam that exists and which has out-spent the United States by tens of billions of dollars on its form of public diplomacy in spreading the Wahabi retrograde form of Islam.'” Image from article

Police chief’s Haiti trips cost North Miami taxpayers $14,000 - "North Miami Police Chief Marc Elias traveled to Haiti seven times since April 2012 for purposes including a swearing-in ceremony, an 18th anniversary celebration for Haiti’s police force, and to provide security for a vacationing North Miami Mayor Lucie Tondreau. The city-funded visits earned Marc Elias 'a usual room' at La Villa Creole, his hotel of choice nestled in the hills of Petionville. In all, the city shelled out $14,000 for the trips. Records obtained by the Miami Herald show that the money came from the city’s Law Enforcement Trust Fund, money seized from criminals. ... During his recent August stay in Haiti, Elias told his boss he was there to provide security for Tondreau, who was on a private vacation, and to teach Haitian police about community policing over a two week period. But Haitian police officials and the U.S. government, which is leading efforts to strengthen the Haiti National Police, said North Miami is not among the law enforcement agencies involved in the effort.

Haitian National Police created the community policing unit earlier this year in partnership with the U.S. Department of State. This week, a group of officers on bicycles were wheeled out in Cité Soleil, a volatile slum in Port-au-Prince. Only the New York City Police Department has partnered with the Department of State to train with the Haitian National Police on community policing,' wrote Christian Cali, public diplomacy officer at the department, in an email." Image from entry, with caption: Chief of North Miami Police Department Marc Elias, Jr., poses for a picture at the North Miami Police Station on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012.

Mark Your Calendar: Cape May County chamber to hold forum on international students - "The Cape May County Chamber of Commerce will hold a forum Tuesday morning on J-1 Visa employees for businesses who hire international students. This informative session at the Golden Inn in Avalon will provide important information on new regulations of the program as well as updates on hiring requirements to seasonal businesses that supplement their staffing needs with international students. ... The J-1 Visa program is a work-study program governed by the State Department as a public diplomacy program, giving international students a realistic view of American life while they work here during their summer break while in college."

Africa Business Talks To Raizcorp - Thandisizwe Mgudlwa, "[I]ts unparalleled track record and remarkable track record has led to Raizcorp being recognised by the *World Economic Forum*, the *African Heritage Society*, and many other local and international socio-economic organisations as a pioneer in the field of business incubation.

The unprecedented success of Raizcorp’s projects led the US Under-Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale to visit Raizcorp in 2011. She lauded Prosperation as 'a model for Africa'. Raizcorp’s innovative high-touch, adaptable entrepreneurial development programmes and its successful funding model allow Raizcorp to meet the local economic development investment needs of large companies, multinational corporations, government agencies, and NGOs." Uncaptioned image from entry

Alhurra's big scoop: Exclusive video of car chase near US Capitol - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting.

Image from entry; see also John Brown,  "USG-funded Alhurra TV -- 'once' aimed at foreign audiences -- covers America ... for Americans via the USA MSM," Notes and Essays

Online anonymity tool Tor is torn among the different goals of different federal agencies, including the BBG - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Reporters sans frontières condemns harassment of Iranian relatives of VOA Reporter - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting.

Image from entry

AFGE Tribute to BBG Governor Susan McCue: AFGE1812 Salutes a Governor and a Lady - BBGWatcher,

Broadcasting Board of Governors: Part II - "If you missed yesterdays post about the BBG, you can play catch up HERE. I did some MORE DIGGING and this organization is connected with some of the MOST EVIL people on the planet.  Majority of them are from Chicago too."

"Domestic news, foreign owners." CCTV and Al Jazeera in the USA - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Camera, lunedì convegno “Più regole, meno violenze” con Boldrini - "La presidente della Camera, Laura Boldrini, aprirà i lavori del convegno 'Più regole, meno violenze - Aspetti innovativi del Trattato internazionale sul commercio delle armi' che si terrà lunedì 7 ottobre alle 15 nella Sala del Mappamondo di Montecitorio. ... L’evento è realizzato in collaborazione con il ministero degli Affari Esteri, la Nato, la Società Italiana per l’Organizzazione Internazionale e con il sostegno di Nato Public Diplomacy Programmes."

China-U.S. intercultural dialogue helpful for strengthening bilateral relations: experts - "An intercultural dialogue between China and the United States is helpful for strengthening bilateral relations and building a new type of relationship, Chinese and U.S. experts said here Friday. ...  The China Energy Fund Committee is a nonprofit, non-governmental think tank devoted to public diplomacy and research on strategic issues, with emphasis on energy and culture."

2013 APEC China Day Held In Bali Indonesia - PRNewswire, "Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit will be held in Bali, Indonesia from October 5th to 8th, 2013. “Towards Resilience and Growth, Reshape the Priorities of Global Economy — APEC China Day” event was held at Udayana University in Bali, Indonesia to promote the economic, cultural, non-governmental exchanges and understandings between China and the APEC host country. Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Dr. Zhang Lijun, Chairman of China APEC Development Council, representatives from APEC Economies, Students of Udayana University, Chinese Indonesian, and the world media representatives attended the 'APEC China Day' ... China Day will be a fabulous platform for government, business and academia exchange and a kind of public diplomacy which can promote frank exchanges on China issues between the APEC members as well as adjust the context of China among governments, companies, and media in advance during the APEC meeting."

PM Shinzo Abe scheduled to meet President Yudhoyono - "Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to meet with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Nusa Dua, Bali. 'I cannot yet confirm you the exact time of the meeting; but, it is scheduled, said Deputy Director-General for Press and Public Diplomacy Koichi Mizushima, in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Friday, as quoted by Antara news agency."

Korea promoting Bangladeshi products - "South Korea has moved to make Bangladesh’s products visible in their market, its Ambassador in Dhaka says. "Lee Yun-young while hosting a reception on Thursday celebrating their National Day said, in July they had taken a Bangladeshi business delegation there for business meetings. He hoped such exchanges between business communities would help increase trade and investment. Bangladesh’s main export item, readymade clothes, is one of the many products that go to Korean market. ... Apart from its economic presence, Korea is also stepping up its public diplomacy with Bangladesh. Recently, Seoul appointed Bangladeshi actress Nusrat Imrose Tisha as its Goodwill Ambassador in Dhaka mission.

Apart from politicians, diplomats, businessmen, the National Day reception also drew celebrities as well as cultural personalities together. Marking the 40 years of diplomatic ties, Korea also organised several cultural shows. A special cultural delegation comprising four leading Korean musicians led by well-known opera singer Park Ra-hyun also mesmerised the Thursday gatherings. Citing Rabindranath Tagore’s poem 'Korea is a lamp-bearer in the East', the envoy said, 'If so, Bangladesh is a lamp-bearer in the south. I hope the two lamps will flame together.'" Uncaptioned image from article

Kenya: Rufftone Is Korea's Public Diplomat - Elly Gitau, "Gospel artiste Roy Smith Mwatia better known as Rufftone has been appointed a goodwill ambassador for Public Diplomacy of the Republic of Korea. According to the Korean ambassador to Kenya, Chan-woo Kim, the Mungu Baba hit-maker will play a major part in linking the Korean and Kenyan people via cultural advocacy between the two countries. 'Rufftone is an acclaimed artiste with distinctive quality. We worked with him before when we hosted the K-Pop Contest in Nairobi early this year, he said. At a credentials presentation ceremony held at the embassy of Korea in Nairobi on Monday, the singer said, 'I'm happy to be honoured and trusted with such a role. Personally, I feel there is more these two great countries can do together. We need to have Korean music artistes perform in our concerts, more Korean sporting activities being taught and integrated into our own. I want to take it away from the internet and actualise it. I will work hard to see that Kenyan people, especially the youth, understand what Korea has to offer. I thank my fans because if I did not have a fan-base, I could not have been accorded such an honour,' said Rufftone."

Time for collective action - You can know about Bangladesh: "Economic diplomacy backed by public diplomacy, people to people contact and exchanges, trade, and attracting investments through easing visa restrictions within Saarc countries, Myanmar, China and the Asean should be the major thrust of our diplomacy."

Caymanians sought for scholarship - Tad Stoner, "Marking the 30th year for the United Kingdom’s annual Chevening Scholarships, online registration for the one-year master’s degree program has opened worldwide for the 2014/15 academic year. The scholarships are funded by the U.K.’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, frequently in conjunction with a range of partner organizations, both private and public, and are open to anyone of any age. Since its 1983 inauguration, Chevening

has enabled 42,000 students in nearly 120 countries to gain postgraduate degrees from U.K.-based universities. ... While applications are welcome from any 'talented professionals who are potential future leaders, decision-makers and opinion formers,' the organization especially seeks candidates in the fields of good governance; financial management; public administration and law; commercial and/or economic development; and the environment, the website reads. 'The scholarships are an important element in Britain’s public diplomacy effort and bring young professionals, who have already displayed outstanding leadership talents, to study in the U.K. The objective of the Chevening program is to support foreign policy priorities and achieve FCO objectives by creating lasting positive relationships with future leaders, influencers and decision-makers,' it says." Image from

Australian cultural festival back in India with second edition - "Beginning this month contemporary fashion, music, comedy, film and food from Australia are set to travel across India in a big festival that aims to showcase the Australian culture and diversity. The 'Oz Fest', which had a smashing debut in the country last year, is returning again this time with 'diverse line-up of innovative and exciting events'. ... The festival scheduled to run between October 2013 to February 2014 is focusing on both Australian and Indian contemporary music and film. 'Our main focus this time would be to work on developments and connect with Indian people so that they get the taste of Australian culture here in India', said Kathryn Deyell, First Secretary, Public Diplomacy Australian High Commission."

Settlers take their case to the European Parliament - "In addition to the tours the council organized for European parliamentarians, the two [Samaria Regional Council Chairman Gershon Mesika and his deputy Yossi Dagan] decided to establish an office of foreign affairs -- an international umbrella organization amalgamating three separate associations functioning in Israel, Europe and the U.S. The office's mission was to promote the status of Israel and its borders in an international campaign. The office decided to appoint Shay Attias as the organization's chairman. Attias is young, secular and ambitious. He holds a graduate degree in public diplomacy from Harvard and was one of the founders and head of the public diplomacy department in the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry.

He has said that one of the organization's main goals is to connect directly with the international public and its leaders while bypassing the international media and anti-Israel organizations. Tours for European parliamentarians and American congressmen were the fruits of these efforts." Image from article, with caption: The European Parliament -- a stronghold for anti-settlement sentiment -- has for the first time held an official assembly dealing with the Jewish settlements. Pictured above: Israeli lawmakers with EU officials


U.S. government shuts down American memorials in Normandy - Jessica Chasmar, Washington Times: Visitors have not been able to pay their respects to the 9,387 military dead at the Normandy American Cemetery

and Memorial at Omaha Beach since the U.S. government shut it down on Monday, The Associated Press reported. Ten additional cemeteries in France, as well as others in various European countries as well as Mexico, Panama, Tunisia and the Philippines, will remain closed during the shutdown, the report said. Image from article

Press Corps to State Dept: What are the numbers … will we ever know? Jacha-cha-cha-cha! What does the fox say? - Domani Spero, DiploPundit: Another day, another State Department briefing with a diplomatic press corps “obsessed” with numbers.  The agency’s deputy spokesperson Marie Harf remains unable to provide furlough numbers for the department. Another day, another State Department briefing with a diplomatic press corps “obsessed” with numbers. The agency’s deputy spokesperson Marie Harf remains unable to provide furlough numbers for the department.

President Obama must work hard to reengage with Asia - Matthew P. Goodman and Michael Green, Washington Post: President Obama’s decision to cancel his visits to the economic and political summits in Asia is a setback for the U.S. position in the region. The president needs to reinvest in his Asia policy. The administration’s actions over the next few months will determine whether this cancellation is seen as a blip or a longer-term setback to U.S. relations with the world’s most dynamic region.

In Iran, a softer line on web censorship? - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting.

Image from entry

Insurgents in Syria: Propaganda offensive of the jihadist rebels - The revolt against Syrian dictator Assad is changing: Goods few months ago, only individual combat units Islamist, the radicals are now more and more followers. Extremists have now established an “army of Islam.” This is a well calculated PR coup in the first place. The image looks at first glance like a normal group photograph: Approximately 70 men huddle in a semicircle in front of the camera. One offers its neighbors a piece of pizza, others fool around when the photographer pulls the trigger. But here, not a harmless meeting is shown.

The photo shows the foundation of the “Army of Islam”, in which 43 units have joined radical Syrian rebels in and around Damascus on Sunday. The Islamist force published its inaugural conference videos on the internet. Chairman of the Alliance is reported to the militia Sahran Allusch, the leader of the major “Liwa al-Islam” is. This brigade fought in the greater Damascus against the Assad regime. [Here the article switches into German:] Die Gründung der “Armee des Islam” ist in erster Linie ein Propaganda-Coup.

Sexual jihad: propaganda or truth? - Abdulrahman al-Rashed, Terrorism advocates are similar to some market traders. They do not hesitate to promote certain beliefs for the sake of marketing their products. Al-Qaeda used all means, including sex, to recruit young men and women from anywhere they have a recruitment network. They promise them martyrdom, gardens of delight and 72 virgins after death and they seduce them with female slaves while alive. Algerians suffered from these barbarous groups for two decades. They took refuge in the mountains and then attacked towns and city suburbs in order to loot, kill and kidnap women to use them as sex slaves and maids. Let us remember that raping the mind poses the biggest threat. It is through this act that brainwashed people can be directed to commit any crime. These victims of brainwashing enter Syria, where people are either besieged or pursued and the world has given up on them. They have deceived many people into joining them under the slogan of fighting the Syrian regime. People have thus found that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is not any less evil than the Assad regime which they revolted against.


--madonna dare; Madonna in the November 2013 issue of Harper's Bazaar. (Photo: Terry Richardson for 'Harper’s Bazaar'); image from

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