Monday, October 7, 2013

October 7

"They're British, and we don't tell them anything."

--Scientist Al Peaslee, "the gangly figure of a fellow" working on the design of nuclear weapons, reflecting the view expressed by his atom-bomb-making colleague Jeremy Bernstein that, at the height of the Cold War, "We simply did not trust the British to keep secrets"; upper quotation cited in Bernstein's review of Churchill's Bomb by Graham Farmelo; image from (PDPBR compiler not responsible for erroneous French spelling)


BBC Caught Staging Syria Chemical Weapons Propaganda? Former Ambassador labels video “stunning fakery” - Paul Joseph Watson, "UPDATE: Within 2 hours of posting this story, the BBC filed a copyright claim with YouTube to get the 45 second clip removed. This shows how nervous the BBC is about this information coming to light. News organizations routinely rely on dubious copyright claims to censor damaging revelations." See also John Brown, "Fakery (?), Facebook, and a BBC report on Syria," Notes and Essays

US split: Collapse of 'shattered union' to begin with Texas? -

Sports - Raw: Putin, Security Guard Light Olympic Torch - A gust of wind briefly extinguished the Olympic flame lit by Russian President Vladimir Putin Sunday. A security guard used a lighter to re-ignite it as the 39,000-mile torch relay began. [Latest information re this clip: "Oops, we can't seem to find that page. Why not try searching for it using our site search. Or check out one of our other pages... start with the home page to get the latest news and updates."]


Symposium on Public Diplomacy: Nov. 5 - "On November 5, 2013, the Nippon Communications Foundation and the German Friedreich-Ebert-Stiftung will jointly host their third annual international symposium in Tokyo. This year’s event will explore the importance of a positive international public image to nations today, as well as strategies for building such images. Participants from around the world will offer ideas on the role of public diplomacy in the foreign policies of their own nations. Where has soft power worked, and where it has not?"


ASEAN Summit: The Malaysia Curse: Will a U.S. President Ever Get to Kuala Lumpur? - Ernie Bower and Kathryn Tinker, "President Barack Obama canceled plans to visit Kuala Lumpur on October 11 after Congress failed to reach a budget deal and forced a partial shutdown of the U.S. government. ... President Obama’s team confirmed that Secretary of State John Kerry will go to Malaysia and the Philippines in the president’s place. Kerry will be accompanied to Malaysia by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman. ... In the absence of the president, Kerry, Pritzker, and Froman should make the most of their visit.

This should include working to ensure the support of the Malaysian government on TPP [see] completion, and pursuing initiatives such as a business leader dialogue and a bilateral dialogue on strategic energy planning. Domestic politics has recently hindered Malaysia’s advances toward completing the TPP. Kerry should engage in public diplomacy and speak directly to civil society to quell fears about the agreement. Image from entry, with caption: Flags of the United States and Malaysia decorate a table during a reception on a U.S. aircraft carrier at a Malaysian port.

US-Iran Thaw Puts Israeli Attack Options on Ice - "Israel is reassessing its dwindling options for combating the Iranian nuclear threat as a war-weary White House and other world powers meet in Geneva later this month to probe diplomatic prospects for a deal with Tehran.

Government and defense sources here said US President Barack Obama’s readiness to 'test the diplomatic path' has severely undercut Israel’s strategy of compelling complete dismantlement of Iran’s nuclear program through strengthened sanctions and the credible threat of military force. ... With talks between Iran, Germany and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council likely to extend well into the new year, experts here say Israel will intensify public diplomacy in support of sanctions and continue its successful covert war against Iran’s nuclear and cyber programs." Image from article, with caption: Talking to Tehran: US President Barack Obama speaks on the phone from the White House with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sept. 27.

Why it matters that Netanyahu doesn’t know that Iranians wear jeans - Max Fisher, Israeli Prime "Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave an interview last week to the BBC's Persian-language station, which is beamed directly into Iran, in which he made a gaffe that ended up drawing quite a bit of criticism. 'If the people of Iran were free, they could wear jeans, listen to Western music and have free elections,' he said. The elections might not be so free, and some Western music is officially banned, if generally tolerated. But

Iranians do wear jeans -- as a great many of them pointed out by posting photos of themselves in denim online, often with a message deriding the Israeli leader for his ignorance. It's not exactly shocking that Iranians, inside the country and in the larger diaspora, would mock Netanyahu. This was an opportunity for Iranians to express their dislike of the Israeli leader as well as their own national pride, a significant force in any country but particularly in Iran. But there's more here than meets the eye, and the incident is a small but telling little flashpoint in the ongoing American-Israeli-Iranian dance over the future of Iran's nuclear program. Netanyahu's comment touched on a common perception in Iran: that the country is mistreated and misunderstooD by a bellicose and condescending West. ... It's a telling little irony that, when Netanyahu criticized Iran's severe restriction of civil liberties, it led Iranians not to criticize their government but Israel's -- and to do it using the very social networks, such as Facebook, that are banned by Tehran. This was a relatively minor misstep in public diplomacy, but it's a worrying indication for Washington and Tehran of the sort of role that the Israeli leader sees himself playing in their burgeoning outreach." Image from

Art is so complex and bizarre in its rules and game - "In 2009,Netanyahu re-styled the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs as the Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs under Likud Party loyalist Yuli Edelstein,thus stripping the Foreign Ministry of its lead role in Israel’s foreign information strategy-usually known by the Hebrew word hasbara ('explanation')."

China-US intercultural dialogue helpful for strengthening bilateral relations: experts - Thomas Whittle, "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."

Islamabads [sic] Myopic View of New Delhi! - Haider Mehdi, posted at "It is absolutely clear that the 'reconciliation' comments at the end of the Sharif-Singh meeting were made at the urging of the US, which has been pursuing its own geo-political and economic interests by promoting Indian’s hegemony in the region, and possibly in

entire South-East Asia and beyond, as a US strategic partner in its China-Russia 'containment policy'. Also the reconciliation announcement at the end of the meeting was utterly meaningless public diplomacy rhetoric for public consumption and for the political purposes of both Pakistani Prime Minister and his counterpart in India." Image from entry

“India – Culture in EU external relations” - Yudhisthir Raj Isar, “Indian cultural actors both governmental and non-governmental display an attachment to international cultural relations mainly as an end in itself, placing instrumental considerations decidedly in second place. The terms principally used in the country are ‘international cultural relations’, ‘cultural exchange’ and, to a limited extent, ‘public diplomacy’ as well as ‘cultural diplomacy’. The instrumental language of ‘soft power’ has also begun to be used in the country, however, notably by the Public Diplomacy Division in the Ministry of External Affairs and by a few prominent Indians."

Regional fix for education visas - "The Abbott government last week announced Indonesia's agreement to take part in a trial next year of the New Colombo Plan, which will send undergraduates into the region for study and internships. Visas are expected to be a potential difficulty, especially in a country such as Indonesia with its immigration bureaucracy and a rise in protectionist sentiment ahead of national elections next year. Foreign minister Julie Bishop, who has spearheaded the New Colombo Plan as an exercise in public diplomacy, has said Australia will negotiate visa and other issues through 'bespoke' bilateral agreements with each country that joins the scheme."

Social Media in the Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict - “'When looking at the role of public diplomacy and communications in conflict resolution, it is no longer possible to ignore online communications,' Sarah Crozier, Press and Public Information Officer for the OSCE Secretariat told Osservatorio. 'When an ever greater number of people can make their voices heard online, and information – or misinformation – can quickly spread, it is important that those involved in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and post-conflict rehabilitation can get beyond casually used terms like ‘e-diplomacy’ and ‘Twitter revolutions’ and have a clear understanding of what the real potential of online communications is in this area.'”

Russian Expert Predicts Obama Will Declare Martial Law in America by End of 2012 (off by a year) - "Igor Panarin, dean the Russian Foreign Ministry School for future diplomats, believes that President Obama will announce martial law by the end of 2012. He explains: 'There’s a 55-45% chance right now

that disintegration will occur.' ... Panarin conceived a number of other ideas, given below in chronological order, which also reflect his views on the respective subjects. One of them (the rouble-denominated oil-trading exchange) has already been implemented. ... Panarin conceived a number of other ideas . ... Reforms of Russia's foreign policy propaganda system: proposed in February 2005. First steps – introduction of the post of Foreign Policy Propaganda and Informational Counteraction Advisor of the President of Russia, creation of a State Commission for Public Diplomacy of Russia (later renamed to a Council for Public Diplomacy; in December 2008 he amended an Information Security Committee and an Information Counter-intelligence Service among the others within it).[citation needed] Panarin also proposed the submission to Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Voice of Russia radio and the RIA Novosti press agency (further, based on the so created structure, formation of a Foreign Policy Media Holding within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia) and creation of non-governmental organisations of Russia, acting on the territory of the CIS countries, the EU, and the USA." Image from entry

Sovereignty, Diplomacy, and Democracy: The Changing Character of “International” Representation — from State to Self? - Alan K. Henrikson: "The American innovation, 'public diplomacy,' a concept that the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy helped to originate, might even be understood to derive from the theory of popular sovereignty."

Speakers Line-Up: Dr. Roger Hayes - "Roger Hayes completed his Doctorate in Public Relations and Public Diplomacy in a Globalised World at Henley Business School (2012), conducting research in eight countries. A graduate of London University (Bsc Economics) and the University of Southern California (MA International Relations), he often writes and lectures on leadership communications and public diplomacy issues around the world." Executive Editor Dies - "Jack Payton, executive editor of VOA’s principal English-language web site,, has died at the age of 69." Via LJB


Israel, the Palestinians and the one-state illusion: In the Mideast, the two-state solution is not idealism — it's a practical way to avoid more war - Jeremy Ben-Ami, A two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians is the only way to give them both what they want: national self-determination. Getting there is going to be tough.

The parties need all the help and support they can get from the United States and the rest of the international community. They need imaginative mediation and patient diplomacy backed by firm U.S. leadership. They may well require the resolve of an American president willing to step in at the right moment with a plan that both sides can accept. Image from article, with caption: Will a two-state or one-state solution be the better option for Mideast peace? Above, an Israeli flag waves near the Dome of the Rock Mosque in Jerusalem.

Americans at War in Africa: Two weekend raids show al Qaeda is a long way from defeated - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: The tide of war against al Qaeda is expanding, as two weekend raids by U.S. commandos illustrate. The raids show the skill and reach of American special forces, but also the enduring nature of this conflict with Islamists and the need to counter its African expansion. The Administration has seemed reluctant to act forcefully against al Qaeda in Africa lest it undermine President Obama's claim that the terror network is defeated. The raids are a tacit admission that Mr. Obama has been overselling victory, but we're nonetheless glad to see the U.S. going back on offense.

Venezuela, on the path to implosion, expels diplomats - Editorial, Washington Post: The expulsion 
of three U.S. diplomats by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro last week should be taken as one more symptom of the unravelling of the crackpot socialist regime inflicted on the country by the late Hugo Chávez. Sadly, “total collapse” is where Mr. Maduro’s regime appears to be headed. But far from plotting that disaster, the Obama administration spent much of the last year courting Mr. Maduro, in the naive belief that relations with Venezuela could be rebuilt following Mr. Chavez’s demise.

A million vets are coming to DC to demand their monuments be opened - Susan L Ruth, Washington Times: According to the Million Vet March website, the organizers are not concerned about what anyone’s

political leaning are, be they Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, if anyone who saw the World War II veterans barricaded from their memorial this past week and felt outrage. World War II memorial image from article

Obama's "Propaganda Village" on display in D.C. - Cliff Kincaid, The fact is that people can easily climb over or through the gates in order to see the memorials anyway. That is what they did on Tuesday at the World War II Memorial.

Parsing The Anti-al-Assad Propaganda - Gilles d'Aymery, In the NYT Sunday Review -- that was September 22, 2013 -- Nicholas Kristof had an Op Ed, "The Boy Who Stood Up to Syrian Injustice." Kristof, Cohen, and Keller have been relentlessly advocating the Obama line -- bomb the latest Hitler out of his cave. Let America remain the indispensable light of goodness to the world. Roger Cohen could not be more explicit in his September 12, 2013, Op Ed, "An Anchorless World." America über alles.But ask yourselves these two questions: Can you stop the violence by pouring fuel on the fire and arming all sides? Have you seen the results of regime change in the neighborhood? Think carefully.

Terrorist Propaganda (and Counter-propaganda) After the Nairobi Attack - Oussama Romdhani, The Nairobi attack has shown the growing sophistication of terrorist propaganda globally. Combating it requires first and foremost involvement of Arabs and Moslems. But the counter-propaganda effort in the region is still too fragmented, too confused, and too western in origin. Countering anti-terrorist propaganda requires first and foremost involvement of Arabs and Moslems themselves.

Propaganda against Pakistan - It is very unfortunate that some Pakistani expatriates play active role in proliferating anti-Pakistan propaganda. They exhibit hatred towards their mother country by indulging in venomous attacks which blemish the soft image of Pakistan.

NK Propaganda Media Lays into Daily NK - Lee Sang Yong, “Uriminzokkiri,” the propaganda site aimed at South Korea by the North Korean Committee for Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, attacked Daily NK on September 30th for besmirching the "highest dignity" of North Korea, meaning leader Kim Jong Eun.

Black Propaganda In Feminism - Douglas, To those who do not know, black propaganda is information from a source that is not what it claims to be. It can be used in nefarious ways to manipulate movements and people. It is usually the domain of sophisticated intelligence agencies and media companies.

When it is done by ordinary people and has an actual effect, it is quite interesting. It is also hilarious when it exposes the stupidity of its intended audience ... Douglas is a booze slinger and part time soldier who enjoys shaking people's beliefs and learning the systems of the world. Image from entry


The Rev. Billy Graham’s dire warning: America is drowning in ‘sea of immorality’ - By Cheryl K. Chumley, Washington Times: World-renowned Rev. Billy Graham, 94, said President Obama’s campaign promises for “hope and change” are little more than meaningless cliches and the reality is the nation is facing a dire future, about to collapse on its own immorality. Mr. Graham made the statements to Newsmax in an interview about his latest book, “The Reason for My Hope: Salvation.”

America is suffering from a “sea of immorality,” he said, adding that in his opinion, the second coming of Jesus Christ is imminent. Meanwhile, the trend in America is oppression — increased threats to First Amendment freedoms from an ever-encroaching government that is using digital data and technology to monitor innocent Americans, he told Newsmax. Mr. Graham will be 95-years-old this month. “Our early fathers led our nation according to biblical principles,” Mr. Graham said, Newsmax reported. ” ‘Hope and change’ has become a cliche in our nation, and it is daunting to think that any American could hope for change from what God has blessed. Our country is turning away from what has made it so great. But far greater than the government knowing our every move that could lead to losing our freedom to worship God publicly, is to know that God knows our every thought. He knows our hearts need transformation.” Graham image from article, with caption: The Rev. Billy Graham speaks during an interview at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., in December 2010.


From: US Embassy Caracas Gets a New Chargé d’Affaires – Philip G. Laidlaw - Domani Spero, DiploPundit


The problem with political jokes is they get elected. ~Henry Cate, VII

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. ~Aesop

If we got one-tenth of what was promised to us in these acceptance speeches there wouldn't be any inducement to go to heaven. ~Will Rogers

Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber. ~Plato

Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river. ~Nikita Khrushchev

When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it. ~Clarence Darrow

Why pay money to have your family tree traced; go into politics and your opponents will do it for you. ~Author Unknown

If God wanted us to vote, would have given us candidates. ~Jay Leno

Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel. ~John Quinton

Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other. ~Oscar Ameringer

I offer my opponents a bargain: if they will stop telling lies about us, I will stop telling the truth about them. ~Adlai Stevenson, campaign speech, 1952

A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country. ~ Texas Guinan

Any American who is prepared to run for president should automatically, by definition, be disqualified from ever doing so. ~Gore Vidal

I have come to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians. ~Charles de Gaulle

Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first. ~Ronald Reagan

Politics: [Poly "many" + tics "blood-sucking parasites"] ~Larry Hardiman

Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks. ~Doug Larson

Don't vote, it only encourages them. ~Author Unknown

There ought to be one day -- just one -- when there is open season on senators. ~Will Rogers

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