Friday, November 22, 2013

November 22

“I look forward to an America which will not be afraid of grace and beauty ... an America which will reward achievement in the arts as we reward achievement in business or statecraft."

--President John F. Kennedy; image from


John F. Kennedy: Years of Lightning/Day of Drums [1964] - United States Information Service: "The program dramatizes the thousand days of John F. Kennedy's presidency, from his inauguration in 1961 to his tragic death on November 22, 1963. The videotape emphasizes Kennedy's and America's hopes for his term as president. Via LJB


Cultural Diplomacy and Soft Power in Latin America - Joe Johnson, Public Diplomacy Council: "[Public Diplomacy] Council Vice-President Robert Albro is flagging a Nov. 25 symposium on Latin America’s cultural industries as something of interest to members. The conference 'explores options for government and multilateral promotion of the cultural sector, and … one dimension of this includes soft power considerations of the relationship between promotion of national creative economies and public diplomacy.' ... For more information you can contact: Marcela Torres ( or AU's Center for Latin American and Latino Studies: 202-885-6178."


Round-up: American Ambassadors Presenting Their Credentials (Photos) - Domani Spero, Diplopundit: Among the photos [U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James's Matthew Barzun], with caption:

@MatthewBarzun Diplomacy is a balancing act, like wearing a top hat. Preparing for my #CredentialsCeremony


Nation remembers assassination of JFK - "[T]the role of soft power is key as Washington seeks to better integrate Beijing into a network of regional and global institutions and alliances. In so doing, this will help incentivize China even more strongly toward a path of constructive partnership. In the Middle East meanwhile, U.S. standing in numerous countries has unfortunately been at a low ebb now for at least a decade. Only 11% of the population in Pakistan, 14% in Jordan, 16% in Egypt and the Palestinian territories, and 21% in Turkey, currently have favourable views toward the United States, according to Pew Global. Despite some U.S. overtures, the challenge remains monumental. This is such a critical issue given the wide-range of U.S. priorities in Middle Eastern and other Muslim-majority countries, including the 'campaign against terrorism.' JFK would surely have appreciated, there is a compelling need for redoubling efforts to win the battle for moderate 'hearts and minds.' This can be best achieved through a

vigorous re-assertion of U.S. soft power, combined with prudent use of hard power. Such an agenda would require much greater resourcing for activities such as public diplomacy, broadcasting, development assistance and exchange programs. U.S. public diplomacy is in particularly strong need of revitalization, with a clearer long-term strategy essential." Image from entry

[J]ohn Kerry introducing Nisha Biswal at swearing in 21 November Washington's South Asia boss - Nisha Biswal, "The new State Department Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal, who was formally sworn in by Secretary John Kerry on Thursday 21 November, is no stranger to the

inner circle of President Obama and his closest policy team. ... Ms. Biswal brings to the state department's South Asia Bureau which should be noted by Sri Lanka to give a revised focus to its foreign relations with more emphasis on better public diplomacy and strategic communication." Image from entry, with caption: Nisha Biswal and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough at swearing-in

Sanje Sedera - on road to Nevada State Assembly - gets major endorsements - "Sri Lanka-born Sanje Sedera who is running for Nevada State Assembly on Democratic Party ticket has received endorsements from highly visible, state-wide prominent and Washington leadership linked politicians and political activists. ... Sedera's

entry to the fray in next year's Nevada State Assembly election has already energized the Asian-American community in Las Vegas and obviously will draw attention of those who handle public diplomacy for Sri Lanka, and of course not forgetting the Sri Lankan Diaspora spread in other nations in the West." Image from entry, with caption: Sanje Sedera with former Democratic Party Congresswoman Shelley Berkley

The Challenge of AIDS diplomacy: South Africa Short-changed? - Allan Richards and Kathy Fitzpatrick, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "[T]he Obama administration’s decision to cut South Africa’s PEPFAR [President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief] budget in half by 2017 and transfer responsibility for its HIV program to South Africa has raised concerns among citizens worried that their country might not be able to sustain current levels of HIV/AIDS treatment without U.S. aid. ... [T]he South African HIV/AIDS initiative provides a good laboratory for understanding how collaborative public diplomacy works and how it might work effectively in other parts of the world. At the same time, the decision to roll back PEPFAR funding in South Africa raises questions about the long-term impact of public diplomacy efforts perceived to be short-changed by targeted publics. Questions about America’s credibility. Questions about America’s commitment to the South African people. Questions about responsibility. Questions about trust."

2013 Forum Keynote - Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy - Joe Johnson, Public Diplomacy Council: "[VOA Director David] Ensor that the Voice of America is no longer just radio. That goes for other BBG broadcasters as well. Public diplomacy practitioners haven’t always been aware that the Voice and its kin are their allies in the same enterprise."

Politics: Out-Bibi-ing Bibi in DC: On a whirlwind tour of the US, Naftali Bennett talks to the ‘Post’ about his adventures in public diplomacy  - Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post: "This week, Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett followed in the footsteps of his mentor-turned boss turned rival, Prime Minister Netanyahu. On his first visit to the US since joining the cabinet, he used his own flawless English to unapologetically explain Israel’s views on Iran and the Palestinians. ... As economy and trade minister, Bennett

tried to present Israel as the 'Lighthouse Nation' that projects light around the world, in fields like alternative energy, agriculture, cybersecurity and medical technology. 'We need to reignite the vision of Israel and inspire the Diaspora,' he said. 'Israel talks too much as a country of conflict. Why do we keep on fighting on that narrow battlefield? With hasbara [public diplomacy], our problem is not money. We’re simply fighting the wrong battle.'” Image from entry, with caption: Naftali Bennett in an interview with Fox News, November 10, 2013

Iran’s Twitter offensive - Arad Nir, "During the first round of talks (Oct. 15-16), I was at the Geneva conference center where the journalists covering the renewed negotiations were gathered. After the second round, I followed the negotiations at a distance through classic journalistic means and through social media.

These two vantage points allowed me to analyze the conduct of the two sides. In Geneva I witnessed Iranian public diplomacy in action, and later on I saw how it had succeeded in influencing the talks and creating a particular atmosphere." Image from entry, with caption: Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif works on his computer during the first round of P5+1 talks in Geneva, Oct. 16, 2013.

More attacks likely but Iran won’t respond in kind - Mirella Hodeib, The Daily Star: "The twin suicide attack targeting the Iranian Embassy in Beirut Tuesday marks a significant escalation that is a direct result of Iran’s role in Syria and is unlikely to be the last of such deadly incidents in Lebanon, analysts told The Daily Star. ... Foad Izadi, a professor of political communication at Tehran University, believed that Iran’s response would be carried out at the diplomatic level.

'Iran will not respond by attacking these groups because it has long avoided and discouraged sectarian violence,' Izadi said. Instead, according to Izadi, Tehran will make use of public diplomacy to discredit this kind of 'terrorist activity in the eyes of the Lebanese.'” Image from entry, with caption: A forensic expert inspects the entrance of the Iranian Embassy in the Bir Hasan neighborhood of Beirut, Tuesday, November 19, 2013.

Major militant elements in Pakistan since 2012 - Ammarah Rabbani Rao: "It seems Pakistan has not done much for its image building inside Afghanistan. Security measures to thwart anti-state militant attacks or cross border attacks by Afghan National Army are definitely of vital importance but Pakistan will have to do a lot of work on diplomatic, political as well as public diplomacy fronts to change public perceptions across the country."

404 Not Found - The Indian Express: "The Ministry of External Affairs is about to be restructured. ... [T]he Public diplomacy division is being merged with the External publicity division."

Removal Of Visa Barriers Would Allow Russia And EU To Develop Humanitarian And Economic Ties  -- Analysis - Penza News: "According to some observers, visa-fee regime or simplification of visa requirements stimulates socio-cultural contacts, is favorable for economic co-operation between the countries and contributes to the development of public diplomacy, which makes a significant contribution to strengthening international understanding. Korean scholar Giwon Kwon noted in an interview with news agency 'PenzaNews' that the visa-free agreement signed between Moscow and Seoul is 'very good choice.' ...  Meanwhile, future visa relations between Russia and the European Union, which is one of the most popular tourist destinations for Russians, remain uncertain."

Samed Seidov: “Azerbaijan and Israel to speak as single front in EU” - "Interview by Peter Lyukimson, Israel, exclusively for Vestnik Kavkaza. ... [Q:] What fields of cooperation between Israel and Azerbaijan seem the most important to you? -

[A - Samed Seidov, head of the Azerbaijani parliamentary commission for international affairs:] Traditionally, people tend to answer this saying that it is the economic field, as the fundament for development of relations in all other fields. For me, it seems to be the humanitarian field: culture, education, public diplomacy, strengthening ties between people." Uncaptioned image from entry

Talking about Public Diplomacy: Promoting the Conversation - Emily T. Metzgar, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "[A]podcast series I’ve launched [is] titled Passport PD.

The goal is to straddle academia, non-government efforts, and the policy world in the interest of promoting a broader understanding of public diplomacy in all its manifestations." Image from entry

CrowdRise Launches Holiday Charity Challenge Because Giving Back Is Supposed to Be Fun: Craig Newmark of craigconnects and a Few Other Generous Philanthropists Offer $200K in Prizes for Winning Charities; Any 501c3 can join, plus anyone else can fundraise for and donate to their favorite causes - craigconnects, PRNewswire: "Launched in March 2011, craigconnects is Craig Newmark's personal, Web-based initiative to support philanthropy and public service. The initiative spotlights individuals, organizations, and agencies working for veterans and military families, open government, public diplomacy, back-to-basics journalism, consumer protection, and technology for the common good."


White House fights bid to kill Pentagon propaganda sites - Tom Vanden Brook, USA Today: The White House has announced opposition to a Senate measure that would shut down Pentagon propaganda websites in foreign countries aimed at countering "extremist ideology." The Senate this week has begun debating the National Defense Authorization Act, the bill that sets policy for the Pentagon.

The Trans Regional Web Initiative should be spared the budget ax, the White House says, because it is the Pentagon's "only synchronized online influence effort able to challenge the spread of extremist ideology and propaganda on the Web." The Senate Armed Services Committee sees the $20 million Special Operations Command initiative differently, and has a report from the Government Accountability Office report to back up its opposition. The GAO, in a report obtained by USA TODAY, found the websites were poorly coordinated with U.S. embassies, among other issues. In 2012, the Pentagon spent $22 million on the sites for each of the combatant commands, including Central Command in the Middle East. A Special Operations Command document released earlier this month shows the command is considering expanding the number of websites it runs. The command asked contractors to propose how they would run the existing sites or create new ones. Image from entry

‘Sucker’s deal’ - Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post: Regime survival is the only thing the mullahs value above nuclear weapons. And yet precisely at the point of maximum leverage, President Obama is offering relief in a deal that is absurdly asymmetric: The West would weaken sanctions in exchange for cosmetic changes that do absolutely nothing to weaken Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.

Understanding media propaganda about recent talks over Iran’s nuclear program - The media effectively accepts the U.S. government’s framework that Iran’s rights derive from Washington, D.C.

Don't clone Guantanamo: The U.S. shouldn't build, much less operate, a Gitmo-like prison in Yemen or collude in indefinite detention - Editorial, Even if additional prisoners are moved out of Guantanamo, it's vital that the U.S. not solve its immediate problem by replicating the prison elsewhere.

Image from entry, with caption: U.S. military guards walk within Camp Delta military-run prison at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba.

Book review: ‘Magnificent Delusions ’ by Husain Haqqani, on U.S.-Pakistan relations - Richard Leiby, Washington Post: Pakistanis are not the enemy. Just like average Americans, they simply pay the price of their leaders’ magnificent mistakes.

Kerry's condemnation of Israel's settlements based on propaganda - Murray Brand and Meiers Corniers, Letters to the Editor, Staten Island Advance: By Kerry repeating that Israel’s settlements are illegitimate, he is in fact buying into, and even fueling, the Palestinian propaganda narrative and exerting unfair pressure on Israel.

Stop being distracted by Israeli propaganda - Seth Morrison, A self-proclaimed western democracy fulfilling its obligations to Jewish LGBT citizens is not news. Illegal occupation, settlements, discrimination are news. The American people must stop being distracted by Israeli propaganda and demand that Israel obey international law and live up to all of its obligations.

Suspected Chinese Propaganda Expands from Washington Post to the New York Times - The New York Times has joined theWashington Post Wednesday in hosting the paid advertisement supplement from China Watch, which has been affiliated with China Daily, a known supporter of the Chinese regime.

The China Watch supplement in the New York Times is similar to the Postin looking like a typical section of the newspaper. Articles have formal headlines, bylines, and special sections. Along the top of the page in small print is an advertiser notification. Image from entry, with caption: Chinese propaganda

China's Colorful Family-Planning Propaganda: As Beijing announces plans to relax the one-child policy, photographs from the Chinese countryside reveal how the government uses billboards, murals, and signs to promote population control - Adam Century, Atlantic: For visitors to urban China, evidence of the one-child policy is barely noticeable, but in the countryside, the policy constitutes a central—and highly visible—aspect of local life. Every village has a “family planning service center” where abortions are conducted and local officials keep close tallies of population figures.

Image from article, with caption: A propaganda mural in Guizhou province reminds residents that "giving birth to a son and daughter are the same—daughters are more filial."

Kim Jong-un ordered propaganda war against Park gov't: official - Yonhap -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was found to have ordered an intensified propaganda war against the Park Geun-hye administration last month in a possible policy shift, a South Korean government official said Wednesday. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said South Korean authorities picked up intelligence that Kim ordered Kim Yang-gon, the head of United Front Department of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, to lash out at Park and her government.

Propaganda versus democracy - Guy Baker, We could take Edward Snowden as a cautionary example. He must agonise over every word he writes or says, knowing there is a giant, government-funded propaganda machine ready to make a huge, enduring issue out of any slightly incorrect wording, thus ready to destroy his credibility and him. Journalism is not a game for children or a hobby for immature thinkers. Credible, responsible news media are components of the engine of democracy. Without those components, a would-be-democracy is simply scrap metal.

Hollywood: a peddler of U.S. political propaganda - Ted Rall, Paul Greengrass is a gifted director who specializes in historical reenactments, a once marginal genre that in recent years hits the sweet spot, earning critical plaudits as well as bringing in bank (Greengrass’ “United 93,” Stephen Frears’ “The Queen,” Oliver Hirschbiegel’s “Downfall,” about Hitler’s final days in his bunker). Greengrass’ latest entry in this field is “Captain Phillips,” a retelling of the 2009 hijacking of a container ship by Somali pirates. Tom Hanks stars in the title role. Greengrass has created the most frightening kind of propaganda — so effective that for most people it will become the definitive historical account of an event. Unlike the hilariously shrill propaganda flicks of the past, from “Triumph of the Will” to Cold War-era artifacts like “Rambo” and “Red Dawn,” the new breed pretends not to editorialize. Affecting a quiet, Zoloft-inflected tone and economical, apparently straightforward script-writing, this movie plays it close to the vest, coming as deadly fair and serious. Which makes it easy to miss what is left out.

The Art of War: PMA holds world war propaganda exhibit - Alisa Festagallo, Walking in to the new “Design of War” exhibit at the Pensacola Museum of Art, you might just think there are a bunch of cartoon posters on the wall, but these posters portray the blood, sweat and tears that American soldiers shed during World War I and World War II. Patrick Rowe, a professor of art at Pensacola State College, collected the artifacts for two years and donated the 125-piece collection to the PMA.

Christina Glover, an adjunct professor of art at PSC said she was immediately drawn to the collection. “The posters on display in the exhibition illustrate themes such as recruiting, fundraising drives, conservation of resources, defense, victory and the preservation of freedom,” Glover said. “In addition to the collections visual and historical appeal, this exhibition is intended to bring awareness to the present-day issues facing our most recent veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Image from entry

New STAR WARS REBELS Propaganda Poster - Mark "RorMachine" Cassidy, This latest piece of promotion for the upcoming animated follow-up to Star Wars: The Clone Wars wants YOU

to jump in a Tie-Fighter and take on some rebel scum as part of the Galactic Empire. Image from entry


Now You Can Own A George W. Bush Painting - Paige Lavender, The Huffington Post: Former President George W. Bush recently made headlines for his paintings of dogs and cats and his self-portraits in the shower. Now, you can own a painting by the former president thanks to the Bush Presidential Center. For $29.98, you can purchase

a Christmas ornament featuring an untitled Bush painting of a cardinal. Image from entry


"Chart of the Week: Americans on the move" - Drew Desilber, How can you display the moving patterns of 7.1 million Americans without a map? Chris Walker, an independent data journalist and visualization blogger, came up with this compelling interactive graphic (even if it looks like a piece of spin-art at first). Walker built his graphic using 2012 state-to-state migration estimates from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. If you go to the interactive version on his blog and hover over each state’s colored segment along the rim of the circle, you’ll see its overall in-migration and out-migration numbers and isolate its migration links with other states; states that gained or lost a lot of people, such as Florida or California, look like exploding fireworks. (Walker only charted links with at least 10,000 people moving between states. As he explains on his blog, “I had to set a cut-off for drawing a link between two states, because otherwise the whole graphic would look like a tangled hairball”). The thickness of the lines reflects how many people moved between any two states. Hover over a single line to get the specific traffic figures: For instance, an estimated 53,009 New Yorkers moved to Florida last year, while only 27,392 Floridians moved to New York. Despite their restless, rootless image, most Americans stay put in any given year, and those who move usually don’t go far. Last year, according to the ACS, 85% of Americans lived in the same place they did a year earlier; 12.2%, or 37.7 million, moved within the same state. Along with the 7.1 million (2.3%) who moved to a different state, 1.8 million (0.6%) moved overseas (including to Puerto Rico or other U.S. island territories). Via TP on Facebook


"Gary Powers’s U-2 plane flew from a base in Pakistan’s northwest, and Pakistan permitted the installation of a National Security Agency listening post."



From: "Newfound Giant Dinosaur Ruled Before T. Rex: Allosaurus cousin was top predator 98 million years ago" - Brian Switek, National Geographic: In the Nature Communications study published today, Lindsay Zanno of North Carolina State University and Peter Makovicky of Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History add to our knowledge of gigantic dinosaur predators prior to the days of Tyrannosaurus rex, which lived some 67 million years ago. At full size, the two-legged carnivore may have weighed more than four tons and stretched nearly the length of a school bus.

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