Sunday, September 29, 2013

September 29

"[I]t's got no propaganda in it. And I think they like that. It's just a pure, simple soap opera."

--Associated Press Asia correspondent Tim Sullivan, explaining why North Koreans read Gone with the Wind, which came to North Korea in the 1990s;  image from, with caption: Korean-American and B singer Lena Park lights up this Gone With the Wind homage in the arms of the Clark Gable impostor.


(a) Yes and Yes Abroad - "The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program, funded by the U.S. Department of State, provides scholarships for secondary school students (age 15-17) from countries with

significant Muslim populations to spend one academic year in the United StatesScholarships for the YES Abroad Program are also available to U.S. citizens attending high school (age 15-18) to spend one academic year in select countries."

(b) Sports Diplomacy in Motion -


A Conversation With Hassan Rouhani [interview] - Council on Foreign relations:

"Rouhani (through translator): Among the programs that the government has considered seriously is to ensure that people must have sufficient access to information, and that in the access to information, they will -- can benefit from the various ideas around globally, get a sense of what it is globally, and, of course, just as I also said in an interview, any country, when it comes to the virtual world, has some moral and ethical frame of reference that it tries to keep up and preserve. And in the same token, the Islamic Republic of Iran expects that its ethical framework, the frame of reference for approaching the virtual world, is preserved. But at the same time, to expand the opportunities for our people, to access information globally, we are interested in seeing nations have closer relations with each other. Perhaps to bring Iran and the United States closer, the initial steps may likely have to be taken by the people. They have to start it, very likely. If an environment is created where the -- you know, the exchanges are done easily, more easily Iranians can come here more easily and people from here can go to Iran more easily, then this will be actually create a public diplomacy venue that will also expand the overall diplomatic activities and the extra steps that we need to take." Image from

US-Iran: Inching Towards Détente - Mahmoud Reza Golshanpazhooh, "The pace of developments in Iran's foreign policy has been very high during the last week of September 2013. Iran's effort to take the best advantage of the general atmosphere at the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly led the new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to put his power and the power of his foreign policy team in the area of bilateral and multilateral relations, especially public diplomacy, to the first test. Many domestic and foreign analysts believe that he has successfully passed that test. ... In the midst of diplomatic exchanges, the cultural measure taken by the United States for giving the historical Silver Griffin back to Iran was also a symbolic step taken

to demonstrate Washington’s goodwill which should not be easily ignored. ... During the entire past 34 years, contacts between the two countries did not go beyond insignificant cultural exchanges, encounters in sports fields, or sitting at the same table for indirect negotiations, which were also limited to the two countries’ ambassadors or deputy ministers (and even that took place only once). A comparison between the recent developments and what happened in the past will clearly reveal the huge importance of the recent steps taken to shatter this age-old taboo. ... Sharp remarks made by certain American officials, which are meant for propaganda purposes and are aimed at consoling Israel or initiating a new round of arms sales to regional states, can ... increase suspicions and pessimism on the side of Iranian officials." Image from

Iran sees tourism as effective means of public diplomacy - “'I would like to emphasize once more the great significance of tourism as one of the most important means of public diplomacy that can help create relations and interactions among nations and lead to cultural proximity and mutual understanding of cultures and traditions,' Iran's President Rouhani

said while addressing a conference on tourism. Tourism as one of the most effective means of public diplomacy can help improve interactions between nations and lead to peace and fraternity, said Iran's president on Sunday. ... Iran is expected to attract some 20 million foreign tourists by 2025, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said last month. 'We can reach that level (in attracting foreign tourists) if we work on scientific, religious and health tourism,' Iranian Permanent Ambassador and Delegate to UNESCO Mohammad Reza Majidi told Tasnim. Iran's '20-Year Vision' document projects investment of over $32bln in the country's tourism sector. The document also predicts that Iran will be able to attract two percent of international tourists by 2025." Image from entry

Iran-Syria Bashing - Stephen Lendman, "WaPo [Washington Post] editors don't explain. They focus instead on bashing Iran unjustifiably. 'Mr. Rouhani was in New York on Tuesday not because democracy triumphed in Iran but because Iran’s real leader decided to give the soft-sell strategy a try,' they said. 'A genuine renunciation of the capacity to build a weapon, and the acceptance of international controls that would enforce that commitment, looks far-fetched. 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."

Iran President Hassan Rouhani Live-Tweeted His Historic Call With Obama - Slade Sohmer, Quotes former State Department Internet guru Alec Ross:

  1. A logical and necessary next step is for @HassanRouhani to announce an end to blocking social media in Iran.
Rouhani cannot justify using Twitter for public diplomacy if he denies his citizens the right to use it.

Israel's Cassandra moment: Israel must find more effective and less shrill ways of making the case for caution, vigilance, and strength regarding Iran's nuclear ambitions – or risk being left alone and unheeded - David Harris, "Israel succeeded in helping galvanize the world’s attention to the imminent threat of the Iranian nuclear program. Yet now there are new faces in Iranian public diplomacy, figures who complicate a tableau made starkly simple by the combative and offensive former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. ... Rouhani and Zarif [Foreign Minister Javad Zarif] are on the move, employing social media, their fluency in English, initiating public appearances galore, and participating in marathon diplomacy to send a message of engagement, openness, and moderation.

And, no doubt, they sense they have at least one other card to play – the belief that the West really does not have the appetite for confrontation with Iran, with its built-in risk of military conflict. ... So, unless Israel wants to continue to find itself largely alone on the world stage, it will have to find new ways to make its case, so that it is not just talking to itself and its supporters." Image from article, with caption: The Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran.

Experts Agree: Interim Accord is a Bad Deal for Israel: At roundtable discussion, experts say unilateral Israeli moves would be a mistake, and would only teach the Palestinians not to compromise - Arutz Sheva, "Several Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center research associates agree that an interim accord or unilateral Israeli moves would be a mistake, and would only teach the Palestinians not to compromise. ... The panel included ... Prof. Eytan Gilboa, an expert on American-Israeli relations, U.S. policy in the Middle East, American and Israeli politics, public opinion, international communication, and public diplomacy. ... Gilboa: Israel needs to launch a well-organized global public diplomacy campaign to explain Palestinian inability and unwillingness to sign a peace accord with Israel." Image from entry, with caption: London rally for 'peace'

What Jewish leader is willing to take up the opportunity Rouhani has provided? - Marc H. Ellis, "DICKERSON3870 says: September 27, 2013 at 1:22 pm RE: 'Yesterday Iran’s President Rouhani continued to discuss history’s political topic of topics, the Holocaust. There isn’t another historical event in the world that engenders such political discussion.' ~ Marc Ellis MY COMMENT: Israel and its supporters have turned the Holocaust® into nothing more than a litmus test. Everyone (excepting Palestinians, who are not at all welcome) is expected to go on bent knees (with wreath in hand) to Yad Vashem (ironically built within full view of Deir Yassin) to provide a photo op for Israel’s 'public diplomacy'! ! !"

UN Matters For US –- OpEd - Keshav Prasad Bhattarai, "Amid Syrian Crisis, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin employing public diplomacy in a skillful way, made an exceptional appeal to the American people on Syrian Crisis with an article that was published in The New York Times. The day the article published [September 11], was itself a most sensitive and painful day for American people. Putin’s idea worked. It saved Barack Obama and United States from a war that could endanger American interest more critically in already an unpredictable region at a time when United States has already begun to suffer from its huge cuts in its defense spending.
Vladimir Putin’s direct appeal to American people and Congress members worked."

Vladimir Putin, Syria and Why the UN Security Council still matters - Martin Sieff, "[P]ure vintage Russian foreign policy. ... I first encountered this tradition in the post-Cold War world while attending the 1998 Wehrkunde, or War Studies Conference in Munich as a member of the U.S. delegation.

These days it has expanded and transformed itself into the Munich Security Conference and has become a global media platform for the leaders of RussiaChinaIndia and other nations to wage their public diplomacy before a world-spanning audience. ... The fundamental Russian concern over Kosovo in 1998 was exactly the same as Putin’s argument against unilateral U.S. intervention in Syria today." Image from article, with caption: Putin: Unilateral Syria strike would up-end world order.

Vladimir Putin: Master Of The World’s Greatest Imitation Democracy - Nick Kosturos, "Putin’s contradictions are too many to count. He holds elections only to rig them. He praises the impartiality of the Russian judicial system, and then uses it to jail political opponents. He projects himself as a world peacemaker and continues to support murderous regimes. He expresses a desire for public diplomacy but constantly stimulates anti-foreigner sentiments among his people. He worships state sovereignty and then uses obstructionist tactics to bully other nations into economic and military cooperation."

Voice of America English and Russian News Ignores Walesa Human Rights Award for Khodorkovsky - BBGWatcher, "As a further example of how mismanaged and provincial the Voice of America (VOA) has become, the U.S. taxpayer-funded broadcaster for overseas audiences has failed to report on Sunday (as of 5PM Washington, DC time – 11PM Gdansk, Poland ) that the son of Russia’s imprisoned Mikhail Khodorkovsky accepted a human rights award for his father from Solidarity leader, Nobel Peace prize laureate and Poland’s former

President Lech Walesa, who turned 70 today. The $100,000 Walesa Human Rights Award was announced on Thursday, but the Voice of America also missed the news on Thursday on both its English and Russian news websites." Image from entry, with caption: Lech Walesa Photo from 2002 Voice of America Interview

BBG Governor Susan McCue Nominated to Millennium Challenge Corporation Board - BBGWatcher, "We hope that the new BBG Chairman Jeff Shell and other new BBG members will have enough determination to continue the reforms which are desperately needed to save U.S. international broadcasting, particularly at the Voice of America (VOA). Most of the problems, for which the BBG Board is often blamed in the media and by public figures such as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who herself was an ex officio BBG member, can be traced to the permanent IBB executive staff that has not changed in many years despite record low employee morale, as measured by the OPM, and many embarrassing scandals, some affecting U.S. public diplomacy and America’s image aboard."

Facebook entry and comment:
Speaking of rocket science... the Chinese are now building what US the used to build (and abandoned)
Chinese engineers are proposing a Moon rocket more powerful than the Saturn V of the Apollo missions and matching the payload of NASA's planned Space ...
Like ·  ·  · about an hour ago · 
  • Ben Davis Yes, with stolen U.S. tech at that!
  • John Brown On a "hearts and minds" level, the Chinese are now building what the US used to build -- "public diplomacy" as implemented by the now defunct USIA. How they -- a souped-up Saturn V and late 20th-century US PD -- are applicable/relevant in our new century is of course open to question.

See also.

Seeing Through Perception Management - Greg Guma, "[A] concerted effort to influence public opinion ... would soon be labeled 'perception management' in a Defense Department manual. Basically, this tactic involves both conveying and denying information 'to influence emotions, motives, and objective reasoning.' The goal is to influence both enemies and friends, ultimately to provoke the behavior you want. 'Perception management combines truth projection, operations security, cover and deception, and psychological operations,' according to DOD.

In the Reagan years this type of operation was euphemistically labeled 'public diplomacy,' which was officially expanded to include domestic disinformation during the Bush I administration. In those days it was mostly about stoking fear of communism, the Sandinistas, Qaddafi, and anyone else on Reagan’s hit list. Clinton modifications were outlined in Directive 68, which still showed no distinction between what could be done abroad and at home. When Bush II took office, the name was changed again, this time to 'strategic influence.'" Image from entry

Sex Jihad and Ill-fated Tunisian Women - "Al Arabiya is known for being an arm of Saudi foreign policy or what can be termed as public diplomacy weapon. It is seen as being part of ‘a concerted Saudi attempt to dominate the world of cable and satellite television media in the Arab world’. Barack Obama gave his first formal interview as president to Al Arabiya delivering the message to the Muslim world that US is not the enemy of the Arab people."

Korea opens mobile science lab at DU - "South Korea has inaugurated a mobile science laboratory at Dhaka University whose members will visit different schools to make science education popular. State Minister for Science and Technology Yeafesh Osman opened the lab on Wednesday and lauded Korea’s role in Bangladesh’s development particularly in the modern technology.

Korea’s development arm, KOICA supported development of the lab with the help of the Hanyang University in Korea. Ambassador Lee Yun-young said his government 'always recognizes Bangladesh as one of top priority countries in the region'. He cited ‘friendly’ relations between the two countries in the last 40 years of diplomatic ties. Korea is celebrating its 40 years relationship with Bangladesh this year with intense public diplomacy. Earlier, it inaugurated a ‘Korea corner’ at Dhaka University Central Library to help students studying Korea. Vice-Chancellor Prof AAMS Arefin Siddiqui acknowledged KOICA’s contribution at his university and hailed the ‘friendship’." Image from

Green sees vast opportunities for British exporters in KSA - Rashid Hassan, "A technology partnership between Saudi e-commerce firm 3Omlati and UK tech firm Ixaris was signed Wednesday in the presence of UK Minister of State for Trade and Investment Lord Green, who is in Riyadh to boost bilateral trade and investment. The deal will allow 3Omlati to use Ixaris' cloud-based payment software. 'The minister visited the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) for a discussion of science and technology collaboration and the signing of a technology partnership between Ixaris, a UK firm, and 3Omlati, a Saudi company, a public diplomacy and communications official at the British Embassy in Riyadh told Arab News."

Welcome to MOFA: the false ceiling is gone! Women diplomats carved a niche for themselves in top echelons and their rise continues - Qudssia Akhlaque, Ms Leena Moazzam holds the post of director-general Policy Planning and Public Diplomacy . ... Pakistan Foreign Service opened to women only in 1973 as a result of the 1972 Administrative Reforms but so far no government has appointed a woman foreign secretary. However, given the steady rise of competent and committed women professionals in the top hierarchy and on the frontlines of diplomacy, the prospects of Pakistan having its first woman secretary are not remote."

Comedy Club: Callous Comedian Cuffed For Clocking Correspondent Over Twitter Punch Lines - "Beastly behavior. Comedian performing at Wednesday night’s DC’s Funniest Celebritypunches Daily Beast/Newsweek scribe Josh Rogin after Rogin tweeted nasty about his performance

And he wasn’t joshing.  UK Daily Mail. Josh Rogin Facebook commenter: Maybe you could take on a 'safe' job as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs … A slam at TIME mag’s managing editor Richard Stengel who just defected to the aforementioned Obama gig." Rogin image from entry. See also

International Conference on Media in Transformation: Exploring Role of ICT, Innovative Communications, and New Media - "Can a better world be achieved via better communication education? This is a perpetual question concerning communication researchers and practitioners over centuries. It is our vision that free and balanced communication between communities, nations, and civilization is the path to a peaceful and prosperous world.

Public diplomacy can be a potential means to achieve this. Public diplomacy is closely related to the development of each individual. It is also interrelated with community and global contexts. ... The 6th GCRA International Conference aims to provide a forum where researchers, practitioners, media workers, trainers and students can engage in a comprehensive dialogue exploring the role of ICT, strategic communications and new media in democratization." Image from entry

Contemporary History: Whither American Seapower?, Oct. 3 - "The Contemporary History Institute speaker series presents Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Seth Cropsey on the current state of America’s maritime defense strategy, 'Whither American Seapower?,' on Thursday, Oct. 3 . ... During the period that preceded the collapse of the USSR—from 1982 to 1984—Cropsey directed the editorial policy of the Voice of America on the Solidarity movement in Poland, Soviet treatment of dissidents, and other issues. Returning to public diplomacy in 2002 as director of the U.S. government’s International Broadcasting Bureau, Cropsey supervised the agency as successful efforts to increase radio and television broadcasting to the Muslim world."

Diplomat advises for global careers - Chuck Mason, "Michael McClellan, a senior foreign service officer for the U.S. State Department, is about to retire from a profession 'he just fell into.' The Bowling Green area native has 29 years of public diplomacy under his belt in 11 different embassies around the globe. However, when he was in his mid-20s, pursuing a doctorate, he didn’t really have a clue what he wanted to do. McClellan spoke Thursday evening at Gary Ransdell Hall on Western Kentucky University’s campus about 'Successful Careers in the Age of Globalization,' sponsored by the WKU Honors College. ... McClellan told the students there were 13 qualities they could seek in themselves that will not only prepare them for a possible career in foreign service, but also increase their opportunities for success: composure; cultural adaptability; ability to integrate information; apply initiative; exercise judgment; discern what is appropriate, practical and realistic; objectivity and integrity; oral communication; planning and organizing; tracking trends seen in data; resourcefulness; the ability to work with others; and written communication. 'You have to be ready for unanticipated circumstances,' he said."

Historical Dictionary of American Propaganda Martin Joseph Manning Herbert Romerstein 2004 - "Review [:] 'Dictionaries are usually dry but useful resources for moments of uncertainty, Martin Manning, a research librarian in the Bureau of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, has created an uncharacteristic volume that tells an intriguing story of U.S. and some foreign propaganda. More than a dictionary, it reads like an encyclopedia and, for those so inclined, is worth reading from front to back....[p]rovides a wealth of information, some of which cannot be readily found elsewhere, and is a useful resource for researchers interested in propagandas role in American history."

Urgently required: Finance Officer (full time) Education Partnership Outreach Services - "Finance Officer (full time) – "Education Partnership Outreach Services Full time position Position open to Indonesian Nationals only URS is the managing contractor of the Education Partnership Outreach Services (EPOS), providing project management and technical support. The objective of EPOS is to deliver a public diplomacy and outreach program that will ensure Australia’s profile as a partner supporting Indonesia’s education development goals are both visible and recognised."


Bashir denied US visa; Sudan angry - AP, The Sudanese Foreign Ministry summoned the US charge d’affaires in Khartoum to protest Washington’s failure to grant a visa to the country’s president, who faces war crimes charges, media reported Saturday. President Omar Bashir requested the visa to attend the UN General Assembly in New York. The charges are linked to the bloody conflict in the Darfur region.

“It is with deep regret that I inform you of the refusal of the authorities of the United States, the host government, to give an entry visa to President Bashir and his delegation,” Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti told the UN General Assembly. Bashir image from entry

The Mystery of Washington's Waning Global Power - Dilip Hiro, TomDispatch: In the future, the indecent haste with which Barack Obama sought cover under the umbrella unfurled by his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in the Syrian chemical weapons crisis will be viewed as a watershed moment when it comes to America’s waning power in that region.

Al Qaeda opens first official Twitter account - Bill Gertz, An official al Qaeda website that is restricted to members of the terrorist group opened its first Twitter account this week in what U.S. officials say is an effort to resolve a major split over Syria’s Islamist rebels.

The Shamukh al-Islam website, used as an official clearing house for al Qaeda members to communicate and issue propaganda statements, started its first Twitter account on Tuesday. Image from article

Brian Williams' Iran propaganda: The NBC star tells his viewers that Iranian leaders are 'suddenly claiming they don't want nuclear weapons', even though they've been saying it for years - Glenn Greenwald, Guardian: NBC News feels free to spout such plainly false propaganda regarding Iran - "suddenly claiming they don't want nuclear weapons!" - because they know they and fellow large media outlets have done such an effective job in keeping their viewers ignorant

Children killed for Anti-Syria Chemical Weapons Propaganda [September 22] - Finian Cunningham, Several reports have tied the involvement of Saudi, Turk and Israeli intelligence with the supply of toxic chemicals to the foreign-backed militants fighting in Syria for the Western agenda of regime change against the government of President Assad. These intelligence agencies are closely aligned with those of the US, Britain and France.


Spying on lovers at the NSA | USA NOW video -; imagefrom


The U.S. ranks 99th in peacefulness -


I’ll Have What She’s Thinking  - William J. Broad [sic], New York Times: At Rutgers University scientists have repeatedly had female volunteers put their heads into giant machines and focus their attention on erotic fantasies — the scans reveal that the pleasure centers of their brains light up

in ways indistinguishable from everyday orgasms. At Rutgers, Dr. Komisaruk expanded his research to brain scans. In 2003, the first images confirmed the earlier study. Pleasure centers lit up more or less identically whether the women reached sexual highs by hand stimulation or by erotic thoughts. Image from


--Александр Сенников (Sennikov) via IK on Facebook

Saturday, September 28, 2013

September 28

"Stengel is Obama's new propaganda chief."

--Commenter ahandout regarding Time editor Richard Stengel’s recent decision to leave his managing editor post at Time magazine and become undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs; image from


Iran’s messenger has changed. Its message has not - Robert Menendez and Lindsey O. Graham, Washington Post: "Robert Menendez, a Democrat representing New Jersey in the Senate, chairs the Foreign Relations Committee. Lindsey Graham, a Republican representing South Carolina in the Senate, is a senior member of the Armed Services Committee. We remain skeptical about Tehran’s intentions. Iranian leaders are skilled negotiators with expertise in delay tactics and obfuscation. Yet to ignore the overtures coming from Iran during this period of furious public diplomacy would have been imprudent, especially when a peaceful resolution preventing Iran from achieving nuclear capability is the outcome we all aspire to achieve. ... As [Iranian President] Rouhani returns home, diplomacy remains our hope and goal. But our resolve to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear weapons capability remains unchanged."

Lake Titicaca - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Lake Titicaca! I love to say it, and yes, I am 12 years old. It looks like I am heading to Bolivia

after Venezuela next spring to do some Hawaiian cultural diplomacy there. Such as teaching Bolivians in bowler hats to hula!" Image from entry

Azerbaijani political scientist: Authorities accuse opponents of sympathy for Armenians but talk about public diplomacy - "Azerbaijani Ambassador to Russia Polad Bulbul oglu stated that they need to 'continue looking for common ground between Armenians and Azerbaijanis' . ... According to the Azerbaijani political analyst Zafar Guliyev, the ambassador’s statements are certainly agreed with the authorities. ... ['] I am positive about the possibilities of the public diplomacy if they are initiated by the people, public officials. However, it is not effective when these games are held by the power structures,' the expert said."


Oral diplomacy at its best - John Brown, Notes and Essays: "Dental workers of various faiths and nationalities come together in the interest of peaceful international relations - Stanley M. Bergman and Dr. Amid I. Ismail, USA Today"

Now, the Hard Part - Editorial, New York Times: The Iranians haven’t actually done anything to satisfy concerns about their nuclear program. In fact, Mr. Rouhani has repeatedly affirmed Iran’s plans to continue enriching uranium. Moreover, it is hard not to worry about how crushing, and possibly dangerous, the disappointment will be if the two countries fail to settle differences over Iran’s nuclear program and begin to build a new relationship beyond that. Below image from

Charmed by Rouhani, but only to a point:The Iranian president's message was refreshing. Now comes the hard work - Doyle McManus, The main message to the U.S. and the rest of the world of Hassan Rouhan, Iran's new president, was undeniably refreshing: Iran wants to work quickly and seriously to end the dangerous confrontation over its nuclear programs. For all the haziness of Rouhani's rhetoric, at least one of his bromides was true: This is a window of opportunity, and we should seize it — if only to determine whether there's substance behind the charm.


--Everything Wrong With America In One Simple Image (INFOGRAPHIC)


Four Catholic men and a Catholic woman were having coffee. The first Catholic man tells his friends, "My son is a priest, when he walks into a room, everyone calls him 'Father'."

The second Catholic man chirps, "My son is a Bishop. When he walks into a room people call him 'Your Grace'."

The third Catholic gent says, "My son is a Cardinal. When he enters a room everyone says 'Your Eminence'."

The fourth Catholic man then says, "My son is the Pope. When he walks into a room people call him 'Your Holiness'."

Since the lone Catholic woman was sipping her coffee in silence, the four men give her a subtle, "Well?" She proudly replies, "I have a daughter, slim, tall, 38D breast size, 24-inch waist and 34-inch hips... When she walks into a room, people say, "Oh My God!”

--Via SL by email; image from

Friday, September 27, 2013

September 26-27

"DPRK art of any kind is state-supported, prolific and serves to educate people about the government and revolution. This gives artists freedom of subject matter, except for abstract art — something open to interpretation does not a message make."

-- DPRK Art – Demystifying Propaganda Posters -, with English caption: “Lets [sic] Introduce Successful Scientific Study to Economic Development Projects”; image from entry


Forget the public diplomacy, Iran and the U.S. have a long road ahead - Peter Jones, The Globe and Mail: "The past weeks have seen a shift in Iran-U.S. relations. Instead of the usual bombast we are seeing measured, even respectful points from the two presidents. We hear that Iran’s Supreme Leader has, in his usual round-about and never entirely certain way, blessed the idea of talks. All of this is good news, but it

does not mean that the problems have been solved; not by a long shot. We are witnessing the setting of the stage for talks. The talks themselves have yet to begin. There is no reason to expect that they will be quick or easy. Indeed, one of the major problems they may face is expectations, based on the recent public diplomacy, which are too optimistic." Image from

Iran’s ‘charm offensive’ hits gravel - Michael Wilner, Jerusalem Post: "Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made his debut in New York this week with a combative speech, asserting that Western governments misunderstand the intentions of the Islamic Republic. ... Calling for 'immediate, timebound and results-oriented' talks with the goal of an agreement within six months, Rouhani proposed few details on just how far his government would actually be willing to go . ... The US government put that political will to a key test on Monday, offering an encounter between President Barack Obama and Rouhani, which the government in Tehran declined. The US leaked the offer anyway, in a clever move of public diplomacy intended to publicize America’s willingness to negotiate and gauge reaction in Iranian media to the private exchange." See also

A Meeting That Was Not Held "Hastily" - Davoud Mohammadi, "The issue of relations between Iran and the United States has taken a new turn in the past months, particularly in the past few weeks, which has convinced even the most cynical observers that the time is now ripe for a 'change' in those relations. ... The new trend is in stark contrast with the fact that during the past 34 years in which official relations between the two countries have been severed, Western media have been teeming with rumors about 'covert' direct talks or indirect and 'mediated' consultations between Iranian and American diplomats.

An example to the point was a trip to Tehran by an American delegation in June 1986. Despite controversial accounts that were released on that trip at first, it was finally confirmed by officials in the two countries. ... When the American delegation went to Tehran in 1986, since proper information was not provided to the public before the trip came into the light, radical elements in both the United States and Iran were offered with a golden opportunity to forcefully enter the scene. Subsequently, they mobilized the public opinion in their respective societies and turned that opportunity for the improvement of relations into a threat which prevented further progression of negotiations. Now, the two countries seem to have learned their lesson from that incident and its consequences, and have chosen for a 'public' diplomacy in order to reduce tension in their relations. In this way, they will both have the support of the public opinion on both domestic and international levels, and strip the radical elements of any possible excuse, thus, restricting their maneuvering room and thwarting their efforts aimed at forestalling a diplomatic agreement between the two sides." Image from

Testing Iran’s soft-sell strategy - Editorial, Washington Post: "A small accord with Iran — a reduction of nuclear capacity in exchange for a partial lifting of sanctions — would be preferable to unchecked development by Tehran that provokes U.S. or Israeli military action. The Obama administration has aimed at such a deal since 2009 — and has responded to Tehran’s intransigence by sweetening its offers. 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. Better to swiftly demand that Mr. Rouhani make clear his bottom line — and prick the bubble he has been inflating."

US-Iran: Hints of hope in presidents' speeches - Dina Esfandiary, "In the eight weeks Rouhani has been president, the tone of diplomacy has changed, political prisoners have been released, letters have been exchanged and Rosh Hashana greetings have been extended to all Jews. Although the Iranians have always been adept at public diplomacy, it would be unfair to say that Rouhani is all talk.

The US and Iran have not had diplomatic relations, or any significant interaction, for more than thirty years. The expression of a willingness to talk and meet with Secretary Kerry to address Iran’s nuclear program and ultimately perhaps resolve their differences is a feat in itself." Image from

A New Trio: US, Russia and Iran - Verda Özer, "Rouhani’s pledge to engage in constructive interaction with the world, specifically the U.S., underlines his new pragmatic and seemingly peaceful public diplomacy. This radical change provides an unprecedented diplomatic opportunity to transform the relations with Iran. The chances would never be this high again. Tehran’s move, however, points at a more dramatic international development. Iran is likely to have a significant behind-the-scenes role to end the Syrian war. While Russia is getting tough with Assad, the Iranians could join the U.S.-Russia efforts for a settlement. Tehran, like Washington and Moscow, is also frightened of the increasing power of the radical Islamists in Syria."

What’s Behind the New Iranian Charm Offensive - Karl Vick, Time: "Close students of Tehran recognize that the most encouraging development in months was the behind-the-scenes role Iran evidently played in the deal to bring Syria’s chemical and biological arsenal under international control, to which Obama alluded. The stars were aligned for that cooperation, what with Iran’s wrenching history

with chemical weapons and weariness with Assad. In terms of public diplomacy, it’s just possible the mullahs don’t realize they’re talking as loudly as they are — simply because they’ve never before been saying the same things, together, at the same time." Image from article, with caption: Iranian President Hasan Rouhani speaks at his first press conference since taking office, at the presidency compound in Tehran, on Aug. 6, 2013.

Hearts and minds: leaders court Western public in media blitz - James Blitz, Financial Times: "Shashank Joshi of the UK based Royal United services Institute, a think tank, says the leaders of Iran, Syria and Russia are making a bigger effort at public diplomacy for several reasons. First, he says, Mr Assad and Mr Rouhani are a new generation of western-educated Middle Eastern leaders who understand better than their predecessors the importance of trying to change public opinion in the US and Europe. But the bigger point is that after the experience of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, western societies are living in an era of doubt about foreign policy. They are highly sceptical when US and western leaders threaten military action because of Iran and Syria’s nuclear and chemical weapons. As Mr Joshi puts it: 'They want to tap into pre-existing currents of thought, of doubt, of scepticism.' Whether this will get any of these leaders very far is hard to say. Americans and Europeans certainly have a fairly defined and negative view of Mr Putin and of Mr Assad and will be reluctant to give them a hearing. Mr Rouhani is in a different situation, however. He is a new figure on the international stage and one whom most broadcasters tend to label – rightly or wrongly – as a moderate. It will be hard for the US to make arguments for military action against Iran in the next few months if its leader looks so approachable. And the Iranians surely know this."

Caroline Kennedy: a Perfect Choice as Ambassador to Japan - William Brooks, "Forget any brickbats in the media: Caroline Kennedy is a wonderful choice to be the new U.S. ambassador to Japan. Japan, like Britain, has become a key ally and friend of the United States; and Tokyo has become like London a leading cosmopolitan city. It is a logical place for a U.S. President to award a distinguished ambassadorial post to a close supporter and confidante. Unlike her grandfather, Joseph P. Kennedy, the U.S. Ambassador in London during The Blitz (1940), she will enjoy the trust of the President. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy can be expected to bring traditional diplomacy to Japan.

Until now, this highly social and elegant form of statesmanship seemed more appropriate for European capitals than for Asian ones. The famous Kennedy name and the new ambassador’s personal credentials will be a tremendous boost for this kind of American-style public diplomacy. Moreover, the new ambassador will have the ear of the President, as well as the Secretary of State – extremely important for a Japan that often has seemed off the radar for Washington policymakers." Caroline image from

Cool War With China? - Joseph A. Harriss, The American Spectator: "It would be hard to find a better symbol of the relative decline of American influence and the rise of Chinese sway than the attractive building on this piece of prime Paris real estate. Located on an elegant, tree-lined boulevard hard by the Seine, the seven-story glass-and-steel structure houses the Centre Culturel de Chine. With a friendly, accessible Chinese staff of 20, the first-class operation offers language lessons—currently some 800 Parisians are being taught Mandarin by 15 teachers in half-a-dozen multimedia classrooms—and other instruction in its Confucius Institute. It organizes art exhibits and screenings of Chinese films, and makes available an array of newspapers, periodicals, and thousands of books in its luminous, glass-walled library. Its slick quarterly magazine, Chine sur Seine, and website promote exchange programs and social activities. Sorry if I can’t compare that with America’s outreach program in Paris. After serving as an important Left Bank contact point for Parisians starting in 1934, the embassy-sponsored American Cultural Center closed years ago. Many a Frenchman got his first taste of American literature, theater, cinema, and jazz in its quarters, not to mention an introduction to U.S. democracy. The privately financed American Center for Students and Artists, where a number of aspiring French painters, musicians, and actors got their start, carried on the mission for a while before closing in 1996. When I called the American Embassy to ask about the defunct official center, the press officer said offhandedly in the tone of today’s Clintonized ('What difference does it make?') State Department, 'I guess it’s somewhere on our website.' It wasn’t, so I tried the embassy’s Resource Center, a disembodied cyberpresence and email drop that briefly confirmed the center’s closing 'for budgetary reasons.' ... Good luck to any potential French friends who might want to learn English, explore our history, or find a book by an American author. Our shabby showcase means you no longer have a ready source of information on how ordinary Americans live or how democracy and free markets work in our country. ... The same is true all over Europe. Berlin’s Amerika Haus, which attracted up to 2 million annual visitors during the Cold War, closed in 2006. London’s situation is the same. I know of no European country where we have an outreach/dialogue program remotely comparable with China’s. Where’s the U.S. Information Agency, 'Telling America’s story to the world,' when we need it? Oh yes, it closed in 1999, subsumed by the tin-eared State Department. Forget 'Lafayette, we are here!' Now it’s more like 'Lafayette, we’re outta here!' As a result of this myopic penny-pinching, the U.S., the country that invented modern media along with marketing, advertising, and other forms of gentle persuasion, is forfeiting the competition with China for the world’s hearts and minds. (Full disclosure: I once did a stint as a senior editor at USIA.) ... Today relations between the two countries [France and China] are thriving. France has a big Alliance Française operation in Beijing and two other sites, claiming over 10,000 Chinese following language courses and a range of other activities. ... If I dwell on the Franco-Chinese love fest, it’s to show in microcosm—in this case, one of our oldest allies—the extent to which the oft-foretold decline of American global influence is actually here and now. ... [I]t would help to inform more people around the world—many of whom today get their impressions of life in the U.S. from ubiquitous TV serials like Desperate Housewives and movies like Texas Chainsaw Massacre—about the real America. It’s easy to mock 'public diplomacy,' 'soft power,' and 'hearts and minds.' But if we’re in a cool war with a smart, nimble opponent, they’d better be part of our arsenal."

US advocates and Pillay follows enforcing norms on Sri Lanka - Daya Gamage, Asian Tribune Since the conclusion of the Sri Lanka-Tamil Tiger battle in May 2009, the United States has been steadily but in slow measured pace moving toward hauling Sri Lanka toward an international investigation to scrutinize its management, conduct and execution of the battle against the separatist Tigers. ... The pro-Eelam Tamil media and the proponents of separatism within the Tamil Diaspora who were once providing 'material support' to Tiger leader Prabhaharan declared - and most successfully - that the US was concealing Sri Lanka's war crimes and was aiding and abetting the 'genocidal regime of Rajapaksa' to 'white wash' its 'crimes' against the minority Tamils. It paid to push the US, Blake [Former American diplomatic envoy to Colombo and later assistant secretary of State for South Asia Robert Blake], Obama's national security advisers to adopt a strong attitude on Sri Lanka and the Rajapaksa administration. The global pro-Eelam Tamil media and the proponents of separatism in the Tamil Diaspora use of the basic principles of public diplomacy and strategic communication worked very well."

Turkish Drama in the Arab World: Social Impacts, Religious Reaction and Dramatic Void in the Arab World - Mohamed Zayed, "Turkey and its government should be thankful to the soap stars who are conquering hearts and minds on their behalf — and on the cheap. The government can claim the benefit and ride a wave of popular support among the Arab masses, something which burnishes Turkey’s already popular image in the Arab world (indeed, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is already considered a hero on the Arab street due to his strong show of solidarity with the Palestinian people; rather for his Israel-bashing). Between topics including romance and social upheaval that rattles traditional values, and highlighting the Palestinian cause, one can see a blurring of the lines between art and reality, and the effect one has on the other. Who said that capturing hearts and minds in the Muslim world is mission impossible?

It’s just that the United States hasn’t figured out the right way to do it. Sometimes, it seems the U.S. government still thinks that public diplomacy is exchange students and a few diplomats who can speak Arabic and struggle on satellite television in the region to explain U.S. foreign policy. Welcome to the power of the stars! I am not talking about the ones in the sky, but rather a handful of good-looking blond and dark Turkish movie stars who are taking the Arab world by storm (during the Ottoman Empire, most of the Arabs would not have regarded this as occupation since this was a Sunni Muslim regime, the Young Turks are only a very late phenomenon in that history). The Arab world is embracing Turkey, opening its living rooms and flocking around their television sets to watch over 140 episodes of second-rate Turkish soap operas that don’t even do well in Turkey itself." Image from article

Time’s Stengel latest in long line of reporters who jumped to jobs in Obama administration - Paul Farhi and Billy Kenber, Washington Post: "Jay Carney says it was a simple calculation. He could continue as a reporter and writer for the rest of his working life, or he could try something new and different. He chose something different. After 20 years as a reporter at Time magazine, Carney accepted an offer to become communications director for Joe Biden, the newly elected vice president, in late 2008. Carney would go on to become President Obama’s press secretary two years later. ... The latest hire: Richard Stengel, Time magazine’s managing editor (and Carney’s former boss). Obama nominated Stengel last week to be the State Department’s undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, a top communications post. Stengel will succeed Tara Sonenshine, another journalist (ABC News, Newsweek) who became part of the government she once covered. ... Every administration draws in a few journalists, typically as speechwriters and press secretaries, a natural given the overlapping skills. A young reporter named Diane Sawyer went to work in Richard Nixon’s press operation in 1970, eventually helping Nixon write his memoirs. Tony Snow, the late columnist and Fox News host, wrote speeches for George H.W. Bush and served as the press secretary for George W. Bush from 2006 to 2007. Edward R. Murrow, the legendary CBS anchor and perhaps the most famous newsman in America at the time, headed President John F. Kennedy’s U.S. Information Agency, overseeing the U.S. government’s broadcasts around the world."

So this happened - Josh Rogin on Facebook: "Comedian Arrested After Punching Journalist Josh Rogin at D.C. Funniest's Celebrity Competition -- [Comment by PDPBR compiler John Brown on Facebook:]

"Maybe you could take on a 'safe' job as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs ..." Rogin image from Facebook

International Media Accused of Being in 'Propaganda Mode' - "The head of the media arm of Azerbaijan's Central Election Commission, Azer Tagiyev, expressed concern today over what he called the 'propaganda mode' of

presidential campaign coverage by RFE/RL, Voice of America, and the BBC, accusing the outlets of trying to influence voters in violation of Azerbaijani legislation on elections." Image from article, with caption: Azerbaijan -- detained journalists in Baku - 02Aug2013

Director of Radio/TV Martí describes his station's media mix - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcaasting

VOA's Willis Conover has a (memorial) Facebook page - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "'Willis Conover (1920-1996) was one of VOA's treasures, an internationally-known jazz aficionado, well-connected within the jazz community but little-known in the United States. Although few Americans knew the name

Willis Conover, his distinctive baritone was the voice of jazz — that quintessentially American music — for millions around the world. From 1955 until 1996, Conover’s Music USA Jazz Hour brought sounds that Louis Armstrong once called 'not too slow, not too fast — kind of half-fast' to listeners of the U.S. government-sponsored Voice of America radio service.'" Conover image from entry

When you have nothing nice to say... - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Shut up. Israeli public diplomacy, of course, did the opposite regarding the president of Iran's visit to the U.N. Unfortunately, walking out of a man who is talking moderation and peace makes you look shrill and small. Such actions are an albatross on your pd image, because it makes you look like the extremist.  ... Oh Israel, always such a tin ear when it comes to public diplomacy."

Pro-Israeli agents boost activity in UK universities - Charleston Voice, "As students begin a new academic year, there are signs that pro-Israel propaganda initiatives at Britain's universities are being given a boost in order to undermine Palestine solidarity, a new report says. The Union of Jewish Students (UJS) has established a new role within the organization of 'Israel Engagement Officer', a post being taken up by Canadian Beca Bookman. Bookman comes with considerable experience in working with the Israeli regime to undermine Palestine solidarity, and is a past recipient of a

'Hasbara in Action' award from the Menachem Begin Foundation. According to the advertisement for the job, the position is part funded and supported by UJIA, Jewish Agency for Israel and, the Community Security Trust (CST). In addition, the work of the Israel Engagement Officer will be complemented by another new addition: an 'emissary' (schlicha) from the Jewish Agency for Israel, sent to Britain in part to help hasbara initiatives on campus. These changes are being overseen by new president Joe Tarsh, who hopes to serve in the Israeli army and believes 'UJS should be representing Israel on campus'. In preparation for the term, the UJS team has met with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK Daniel Taub, and held a training summit that featured speakers from the Israeli embassy (Director of Public Diplomacy), Israel lobby group BICOM, and Labor Friends of Israel. Representatives of liberal Zionist advocacy group Yachad, BICOM project ‘We Believe in Israel’, and StandWithUs UK have also held a panel discussion on campus hasbara, which is concentrating on promoting Israeli regime’s policies among British students and picking pro-Israel student leaders from among the students." Image from

Re-visioning governance: Hollande’s weak hand and the French malaise - Lara Vergnaud, "France is flailing. Under President François Hollande, an economic and political decline a decade in the making looks to have accelerated. True, the Socialist leader inherited a country in crisis. True, he is suffering the repercussions of stodgy fiscal policies, an unsustainable welfare state, and institutionalized protectionism (both in trade and language). But thanks to his unsure-of-itself leadership, France’s standing — especially in Europe — and domestic confidence have taken a hit. As have Hollande’s approval ratings: he is now the most unpopular French president in five decades. With the president’s political house in disarray (exemplified by his unruly Socialist party and contradictory socio-economic policies) amid growing subservience to Germany, little wonder that France’s soft power is on the wane. ... [T]he first few months of Hollande’s term were marked by ideological paralysis as the reality of France’s economic woes set in. However, inactivity proved less dangerous than the contrary. Hollande was lambasted by his own party as he uneasily traversed the political spectrum, echoing Sarkozy’s fiscal hard line as well as his most controversial social policies: tough restrictions on full-length veils and Roma deportations. While the former has broad domestic backing, it too could hurt France’s image abroad. During Sarkozy’s tenure, a government-commissioned report warned Paris that such policies 'baffled or angered observers in other nations,' and that better public diplomacy was needed. ... Amid all the flak, Hollande has held fast to the narrative of his nation’s legacy of greatness. After six months in office, the president gave a press conference from the pomp-filled Elysée Palace, stating, 'decline is not our destiny.' In June, he came to verbal fisticuffs with European Commission President José Manuel Barroso over France’s insistence on cultural exceptionalism. ... Of course, France is still a global power. Despite economic setbacks, the country has significant military assets — as attests the Mali operation — and one of the highest birthrates in Europe. It remains a top tourist destination and one of the most popular countries in the world (5th, according to the BBC’s annual poll). But its soft power has shrunk alongside French’s displacement by English as the world’s lingua franca and the lack of competitiveness of French schools and businesses in global markets."

The Long Road to Resolution: Conflicted Break-Away Regions of the EaP - Adrienne Warren, "The OSCE Minsk Group, specifically charged with moderating the [Nagorno-Karabakh] conflict and finding a basis for resolution, has a newly appointed US Co-Chair, James Warlick. Warlick was received on Friday of last week by the President of the

Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Bako Sahakyan. President Sahakyan reportedly congratulated co-chair Warlick on assuming a new post and wished him success. While Warlick’s new to the post, many are hoping that this new appointment will bring a fresh impetus to the conflict-resolution effort. Broers [ Dr Laurence Broers, the Caucasus Projects Manager of UK based Conciliation Resources], however, takes the Minsk Group’s current actions with a grain of salt: 'Unfortunately, the Minsk Group does not engage in public diplomacy except for occasional statements (usually expressing frustration), so what is there to report on? People just don’t hear about the Karabakh conflict, especially next to what is happening in the Middle East.'” Image from

Russia’s Regional Militarism and the Case for Public Diplomacy - Philip Seib, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Those wishing to wield soft power through public diplomacy

can find plenty of venues for doing so. ... [P]ublic diplomacy efforts could help bring some much-needed balance to the politically tense Baltic-Russian relationship." Image from

How Al-Shabaab uses the internet to recruit Americans: The terrorist organization, responsible for attacking a kenyan mall, has a sophisticated social media presence - Neal Ungerleider, "Before being removed from Twitter, Al-Shabaab used an English-language feed to both manage its public diplomacy and taunt regional enemies. The group regularly taunts the Kenyan military and other actors; Twitter is also used as a platform by the group--much like conventional nation-states and nonstate actors like Hezbollah--to enhance its prestige and reputation."

Culture and Understanding in China-Europe Relations: International Conference 19-21 September 2013 - "Clingendael – "Netherlands Institute of International Relations presents: Most people are conscious of existing cultural differences between China and Europe. In the meantime, relations between both sides are becoming more and more important and diverse. This closed conference centers on the cultural dimension of soft power in China-Europe relations. It assumes that further rapprochement between China and Europe is fundamental to support policy agendas on global issues in international economics and in the field of security.

About forty cultural relations experts and practitioners from China, Europe and the United States aim to deepen our understanding of Europe-China exchanges; to explain, share and understand each other’s world views and ways of thought. The meeting will compare Chinese and European approaches in cultural relations and public diplomacy, and the roles played by various levels government, non-state actors and civil society. Changing patterns of governance and public participation can be observed in Europe as well as China, and this conference will reflect on their importance in the context of cultural relations." Image from

Professor discusses celebrities’ influence on public diplomacy - Selena Ng, Daily Trojan: "The USC Center on Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism hosted Professor Ira Wagman of Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada to discuss the origins and historical context of celebrity diplomacy. Wagman, who teaches communication studies at the School of Journalism at Carleton University and is the Fulbright research chair for Canada, discussed how celebrity involvement in humanitarian issues has changed the practice of diplomacy. Wagman opened the discussion with an introduction of the first celebrity diplomat Danny Kaye, an entertainer in the 1950s who visited Southeast Asia for children’s charities and became the first ambassador for UNICEF. He spoke about how Hollywood in the post-war era was feeling the tumultuous effects of the House Un-American Activities Committee, the anti-communist sentiments of the public and the suspicions of the American government aimed towards the film industry. Wagman said this drove the establishment of celebrity involvement in diplomatic affairs, enhancing the reputations of both the charity organizations and the celebrities. Wagman then discussed the public perception of celebrity diplomacy. ... Center of Public Diplomacy alumna Leah Rousseau, who now works at the Canadian Consulate of Los Angeles, attended the event and commented on the lasting effects of celebrity diplomacy. 'Do [celebrities] have any set goals for when they show up to these events? Bono can throw a charity concert, but that doesn’t have a lasting effect on the people attending it,' Rousseau said. ... Jocelyn Coffin, a first-year graduate student studying public diplomacy, had a positive viewpoint on celebrities’ involvement in charities and other causes. ... Danielle Saroyan, a graduate student of public diplomacy, also appreciates the use of celebrity diplomacy as a way of publicizing charitable causes."

LBJ – The Right Man, in the Right Place, at the Right Time: Interview with Sylvia Ellis author of Freedom’s Pragmatist: Lyndon Johnson and Civil Rights - "UPF [University Press of Florida]: What are you working on next? SE [Sylvia Ellis]: I’m working on a number of smaller articles on LBJ and JFK –mostly related to their presidential records – but my next big project is on public diplomacy and Anglo-Americans relations."

His Excellency Minister Dr. Tamás László Fellegi, LL.D., Ph.D. - "Minister Dr. Tamás László Fellegi is former Minister of National Development of Hungary and a Distinguished Fellow of New Westminster College. ... Minister Fellegi's skills and expertise includes [sic]: ... Public Diplomacy."

Jobs In U.S Consulate Karachi Sindh Pakistan - "U.S Consulate has Published jobs Vacancies Political Assistant.The demanded Education for Career Opportunities is Bachelors Degree in Political science, history, journalism, public diplomacy, sociology & law with related 2 years Professional exposure."


America’s Afghan Victims: Even among staunchly antiwar politicians and pundits, few bother to mention the cost of the war to civilians - Bob Dreyfuss and Nick Turse - The Nation: When an Afghan dies in the war—especially an Afghan civilian—her death is rarely noticed by the outside world. Often, it’s not even recorded by Afghan hospitals or morgues.

Asked whether his country keeps records of civilian casualties, Said Jawad, the former Afghan ambassador to the United States, sighs. “In Afghanistan, you know, we don’t even have birth certificates,” he says. “Do you know we don’t even have a list of Afghan soldiers and police, members of the security forces, who are killed?"

Iraqi interpreters feel frightened and ‘fooled’ as U.S. visa program ends - Kristina Wong, Washington Times:  Thousands of Iraqis have applied and have waited for years as the State Department has run applicants and their relatives through a complicated series of background and security checks that involve several agencies. An ostensible six-week process routinely is stretched into a more than two-year ordeal, say attorneys at the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project. The visa program was designed to grant 5,000 travel permits a year to Iraqi interpreters. Of the 25,000 visas available, the State Department had issued 4,839 as of June 30 — almost 20 percent. The program ends Monday.

Obama to World: Bad News. The American Empire Is Dead - Colum Lynch, Ty McCormick, Foreign Policy: U.S. President Barack Obama presented world leaders at the United Nations with an image of America as a reluctant superpower, ready to confront Iran's nukes and kill its enemies with targeted drone strikes, but unprepared to embark on open-ended military missions

in Syria and other troubled countries. That, he hinted, should give the world cause for anxiety. "The United States has a hard-earned humility when it comes to our ability to determine events inside other countries," he said in his address before the 193-member General Assembly. "The notion of American empire may be useful propaganda, but it isn't borne out by America's current policy or public opinion." Via MC; image from article

A Small President on the World Stage At the U.N., leaders hope for a return of American greatness - Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal: Barack Obama's reputation among his fellow international players has deflated, his stature almost collapsed. World leaders do not understand what his higher strategic aims are, have doubts about his seriousness and judgment, and read him as unsure and covering up his unsureness with ringing words.

Obama’s myopic worldview - Jackson Diehl, Washington Post: Obama warned the General Assembly on Tuesday that “the danger for the world is that the United States, after a decade of war . . . may disengage, creating a vacuum of leadership that no other nation can fill.” Sadly, it is not just a danger. It was the message of his speech — and the tangible result of his presidency.

Eugene Robinson: Obama’s reality check - Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: If President Obama ever was a ­foreign-policy idealist, he’s not one now. The address he delivered Tuesday at the United Nations amounted to a realist manifesto for defending U.S. “core interests” — using force, when necessary — without trying to impose American values on unready or unwilling societies. The speech laid out an Obama Doctrine for confronting a rapidly changing world full of dangers new and old. “I believe America is exceptional,” the president said, citing the nation’s historic willingness to offer “the sacrifice of blood and treasure ... for the interest of all.” But his updated vision of U.S. leadership, although sweetly phrased, was tightly focused and unsentimental.

Some Progress on Syria - Editorial, New York Times: The resolution to rid Syria of its chemical weapons, agreed to by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, is a useful, if imperfect, step toward a credible international response to a bloody war that has killed more than 100,000 Syrians.

Talking to Tehran makes sense: Despite distrust between the U.S. and Iran, a diplomatic solution to the nuclear issue is worth pursuing - Editorial, Obama noted that mistrust between the United States and Iran has "deep roots." The difficulty of forging a better relationship was symbolized by the fact that the U.S. officials were unable to arrange even a casual meeting between Obama and Rouhani at the United Nations. But the absence of a presidential photo-op will be forgotten if lower-level officials are able to make progress on the nuclear issue.

Dealing with Iran: Get ready for a wild ride: The Obama administration's effort to negotiate a deal on the nuclear issue is going to be an unpredictable ride - Aaron David Miller, The Iranian charm offensive has focused new attention on the nuclear issue and accelerated the clock. Whether zero hour turns out to be a negotiated deal or a military strike remains to be seen.

The Iranian ‘moderate’ - Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post: Detente is difficult with a regime whose favorite refrain, fed to frenzied mass rallies, is “Death to America.” Detente is difficult with a regime officially committed, as a matter of both national policy and religious duty, to the eradication of a U.N. member state, namely Israel. It doesn’t get more zero-sum than that.

Former Soviet states stand up to Russia. Will the U.S.? - Carl Gershman, Washington Post: Russia’s post-communist neighbors prefer the relative dynamism of Europe — with all its debt and growth problems — to Russia’s stagnant economy, and they have no interest in sharply raising tariffs, which joining the protectionist Eurasian Customs Union would require. The process playing out in Europe has attracted little attention in the U.S. media or from the Obama administration, which has been mostly preoccupied with the Middle East and its pivot to Asia. But the opportunities are considerable, and there are important ways Washington could help.

Mass Slaughter and Obama's Mystifying Indifference: In 2007, as a presidential candidate, Barack Obama said ignoring Darfur would be 'a stain on our souls.' Now: nothing - Mia Farrow and Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Wall Street Journal: President Obama's critics have denounced his foreign-policy choices, which they believe have weakened the global credibility of the U.S. But Mr. Obama has managed to avoid scrutiny about his most tragic foreign-policy failure: standing by as Sudan's Islamic regime perpetrates a slaughter against its own citizens who belong to non-Arab ethnic groups.

CIA’s Deadly Cultural Ignorance: Fear of officers "going native" keeps our intelligence agencies ill-informed about Somalia, Syria, and other hotspots - Philip Giraldi, American Conservative: So where are the American counterparts of the British Colonial Service expatriates who, convinced of the superiority of their imperial mission, dedicated their lives to the colonies they administered? They do indeed exist in the form of U.S. born employees of charities, religious groups, and other transnational organizations committed to working in the world’s forgotten regions, but they are largely absent from government. Organizations like the Foreign Service and the Central Intelligence Agency have a deep institutional prejudice against their employees “going native,” rotating officers every two or three years to avoid someone’s becoming too identified with local interests and cultures. CIA has long had an endemic problem in training its officers in foreign languages up to basic proficiency levels, partly due to the not unreasonable perception that in 18 months to two years, one might well find oneself in another country confronting yet another foreign language.

Propaganda, little else, unites Africa's jihadist groups - Michel Moutot,
African Islamist groups claiming links to Al-Qaeda spout the same propaganda and sometimes collaborate in minor ways, but they are chiefly focused on their own localised goals, experts say.

General Carter Ham, Commander of the Untied States Africa Command, which monitors the region from Germany, was more alarmist. "Al Shebab, AQIM, Boko Haram, each of this organisations is by itself a dangerous and worrisome threat. "What really concerns me are the indications that these three organisations are seeking to coordinate and synchronise their efforts." Image from entry

Special Report | Syria: Deciphering the Propaganda War over the Ghouta Massacre - Nafeez Ahmed, The politicised debate over the realities of last month's chemical attack in Ghouta is a further manifestation of a propaganda war - being fought on all sides and for competing national and geopolitical interests - that shows scant regard for the human cost of the conflict.

3 Ways Bashar al-Assad Uses Female Sex Appeal in Propaganda - There is an old dictum that says sex is a weapon of war. The Syrian Civil War is ongoing proof of this dictum. Very little is written about sexual and gender politics in Syria. We occasionally hear about the prevalence of rape, but not often. These stories usually (but not exclusively), involve regime soldiers or security forces abusing women suspected of being with the opposition.

As the Syrian regime attempts to disguise these crimes, the media has become a central battlefield for the regime. Syrian TV and social media are attempting to spread the message that the regime is an adamant protector of women's rights. Much media attention has been paid to the president's wife Asma al-Assad as a "beautiful, modern, westernized, liberated and uncovered" woman.   The Syrian media consistently showcases "attractive, liberated, and uncovered" women arguing on behalf of the regime. Sex in Syria is a psychological weapon. To truly understand this, one must juxtapose the image of these "liberated women" next to the "bearded" rebels. A narrative emerges based on these contrasting images. These are three media through which the Syrian regime channels this message. Image from entry, with caption: Via: Female soldier in Assad's army

Terrorists Wage War on Each Other in Syria; New Round Of Propaganda Begins - Brandon Turbeville, As the deranged coterie of extremists, religious fanatics, terrorists, and mercenaries known as the Syrian “rebels” begins to disintegrate both from the constant assault by the Syrian military and their own inability to cooperate even amongst themselves, a new attempt at propaganda regarding the nature of the “rebels” is beginning to take shape within Western media outlets. Indeed, the death squad fratricide now taking place within Syria is slowly but surely being turned into a false narrative of “moderate” versus “extremist” in the death squad camp which will possibly be used to bring the propaganda full circle and provide a representation of some of the death squads as democracy-loving freedom fighters who only want freedom from an oppressive government – a representation which couldn’t be further from the truth.

Hitler understood propaganda, so do the Palestinians: Faking news has become a Palestinian cottage industry. The most diabolic aspect of Palestinian propaganda is the use of children as stage props. Much Western media is happy to play ball - Michael Curtis, The use of propaganda has a long history, going back to the Persians in the 6th century B.C. Arguably, the use of propaganda by Palestinians to gain compassion and political support has been their one great success.

The Palestinian narrative of victimhood, with its falsifications of history and politics, its portrayal of themselves as not only innocent but the most compelling victims in the world, its staging of events to blame Israel for atrocities they themselves have committed, its deliberate concentration on alleged injuries or deaths of children, and its achievement in persuading much of the media to accept and advance its manipulation of language and action, have all been part of its success in the propaganda war. That success is shown by the fact that a considerable proportion of the European population accepts the Palestinian propaganda that Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians, in spite of the reiteration by Palestinian leaders of their determination to eliminate the State of Israel. Image from entry

Israeli Students Push Propaganda; Iraq/Iran Déjà Vu; USS Liberty Survivors - Victor Thorn, Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet, especially since its been confirmed that the Israeli government—working in unison with the National Union of Israeli Students (NUIS)—pays Jewish college students upwards of $2,000 per year to disseminate state propaganda online. Concealing their identity under an assortment of generic-sounding corporate names, NUIS teaches recruits how to smear opponents of Israel, photo-shop images, alter news reports, and muddy the water of chat room conversations with ridiculous claims. The NUIS approach is so complex that participants are provided with specific scripts to use on enemies, complete with details involving sensationalized accusations against enemies, divide-and-conquer strategies where one individual is pitted against another, plus a variety of distraction techniques and the marginalization of opinions that differ from the official Jewish party line. Other tactics include denying inconvenient facts, refusing dialogue by sending conversations off into absurd directions, or dishonestly manipulating sources to entrap a foe.

Erdogan to use Twitter as propaganda tool: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to have 6,000 volunteers tweeting on behalf of his ruling AKP party in an attempt to revamp the government's negative image. He once called Twitter "the worst menace to society" - Despite dismissing Twitter as "the worst menace to society" in June, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has now decided to use the social media site as a tool to revamp his government's public image. According to Turkish media reports, Erdogan's AKP party plans to have 6,000 volunteers tweeting its political messages. As Turkish newspaper Hürriyet reports, the party wants to install "representatives for social networks" in about 900 districts in Turkey - with about 1,000 of the 6,000 volunteers based in Istanbul, 600 in the capital Ankara, and 400 in Izmir.

"Social media has been so successful during the protest movement that it has made independent media redundant. That was very frustrating for the Turkish government," said sociologist Yasar Adanali. It became clear during the recent protests that mass media was controlled by the government. "Over the past years, the influence of business on media has grown significantly. But social media and micro-blogging on Facebook and Twitter aren't easy to control," he said. Because social media has been so successful, Adanali thinks the AKP has now realized that its dominance could be destroyed by a decentralized opposition and its social media power. But banning Twitter or Facebook isn't really an option, since the government is already being criticized as anti-democratic. "It is well aware of the fact that the only solution is to become more active itself," he said. Image from article, with caption: Erdogan wants to use social media to improve his image

Propaganda chief takes swipe at 'ant' - Tony Cheung, British foreign office minister Hugo Swire overestimated his ability to stir up trouble when he joined the debate over universal suffrage, Beijing's Hong Kong propaganda chief suggested. Hao Tiechuan, publicity director of the central government's liaison office, compared him with an ant trying to move a tree in an article in the Hong Kong Daily News - his third piece in moderate Chinese-language newspapers in five days. In an opinion piece in the South China Morning Post on September 13, Swire said it was important for voters to have a real choice, and "Britain stands ready to support in any way we can." Hao said Swire's words came as "no surprise at all … because everyone knows the British make trouble whenever they withdraw from a colony."


--Man Entering Movie Theatre by Colored Entrance. Belzoni, Mississippi, in the delta area. October 1939, 1939. Via DP on Facebook


--Image from, with caption: "Would you buy an insurance policy from this woman?"


Image from, with caption: Detroit, Michigan. This hulking Beaux-Arts train station was the tallest train station in the world at the time of its construction in 1912. It was designed by Warren and Wetmore and Reed and Stem—the same architects behind New York's Grand Central Terminal—but has been abandoned since 1988


Image fromLomonosov Moscow State University


Image from, with caption: During the Second World War, the British Royal Navy constructed a series of sea forts for an advanced line of defense against inbound air raids and potential sea invasions from the Axis powers. The Maunsell Sea Forts still stand today, silent and abandoned a few meters above the North Sea. One, however, remains inhabited, now a nation of its own referred to as the Principality of Sealand. These sea forts are a favorite of maritime explorers, a lonely collection of stilted fortresses not far off the coast of eastern England. 


“an op is an op is an op.”

--Words of senior [CIA] Agency officers, who are disproportionately minimally language capable, generally excusing themselves by meaning that spying is not culture specific.