Saturday, September 20, 2014

September 15-20

"It is only that which has no history, which can be defined."

--Nietzche, Genealogy of Morals (II, 13); Nietzche image from


Blogs by Council members - Public Diplomacy Council

Public Diplomacy Links -

Foreign Service Blogs -


Google Kills Blogsearch -- But here's How You Can Force Google to Display It


Data-Driven  Public  Diplomacy Progress Towards  Measuring the Impact  of Public Diplomacy and  International Broadcasting  Activities - See also.


The Digital Diplomacy Bibliography, Volume 6, Issue 3, Summer 2014 -


Under Secretary Stengel: US in Information ‘Battle’ with IS, Russia - "U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel says that in the face of strong foreign propaganda machines such as Russia and the Islamic State, the U.S. needs to harden its 'soft power' with its own participation in the global conversation. Speaking in Washington Tuesday at an event hosted by the non-partisan American Security Project, Stengel called engagement 'a sign of strength,' and said the United States should be the nation that listens. He said recent changes in technology, including the rise of social media, are suitable to making public diplomacy more important in the 21st century than ever before, as the world is seeing 'a reemergence of history, a reemergence of blood and borders' from Ukraine to the Middle East to Southeast Asia. The U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy also met Tuesday in Washington to discuss the impact of international broadcasting and recommendations for engaging foreign audiences. On Russia and the global conversation about the Ukraine conflict, Stengel said when he took up his post at the State Department in February, he was 'surprised and displeased' by how powerful the Russian propaganda machine was – not just in Russia, but in the surrounding region of Russian speakers. He said competing with Russian news, which he described as 'nothing like what we think of as objective,' is something the U.S. is now focusing on, including through the Voice of America. VOA Director David Ensor was present for Stengel’s remarks.

Stengel, who came to State after seven years as the managing editor of TIME magazine, said the U.S. is focused now on getting its point of view out in the Russian language, but not through broadcasting, which he called 'an old model.' Instead, he said the U.S. is turning to social media. The Russian leadership has been criticized recently for a wave of Internet restrictions that appear designed to stifle dissent online. The closing off of the Internet information space has 'grave implications' for public diplomacy, said Stengel, and it is a trend against which he said he is trying to campaign. The Kremlin denies allegations of censorship or pressure on the media, but online activists and journalists have been increasingly concerned that President Vladimir Putin is seeking to tighten control over Russian society, amid the bitter dispute between Russia and the West over Ukraine’s future. Stengel also addressed the rise of the Islamic State militant group, which has overtaken large amounts of territory in both Iraq and Syria, saying that apart from its 'savage' beheadings of American journalists and other violence, the group has proven 'very adept' at information warfare. ... Stengel, fresh from a trip to the Middle East with Secretary of State John Kerry, said the U.S. is in a battle with the Islamic State that is not just being fought on a 'kinetic battlefield,' but on an 'information battlefield' as well. But he said the group’s ability to recruit foreign fighters has more to do with conditions the U.S. does not control, such as region specific economic and social problems. Some media advocacy groups have expressed concerns about the U.S. government waging 'information warfare' through its international broadcasting institutions such as VOA, Radio Free Europe and Radio Free Asia. Reporters Without Borders Secretary-General Christophe Deloire issued a statement in May saying that would be extremely regrettable. Deloire’s statement came in response to a bill the House of Representatives passed in July that would overhaul U.S. international broadcasting to support U.S. foreign policy." Stengel image from entry

Slick video with hostage John Cantlie shows Islamic State is upping its game - Howard LaFranchi, The Christian Science Monitor: ". 'There is no battle of ideas with ISIL [because] ISIL is bereft of ideas: They are bankrupt of ideas,' said Richard Stengel, the US undersecretary of State for public diplomacy and public affairs, speaking this week at the American Security Project think tank in Washington. US officials charged with developing the ideological dimension of the administration’s anti-IS strategy bristle at the suggestion that the US is in a battle with a group whose ideology is attractive to significant numbers of young Muslims around the world. IS is nothing more than 'a criminal, savage, barbaric organization,' Mr. Stengel said. But he acknowledged reasons the group is able to recruit foreign fighters, including the lack of economic opportunity for many young Muslim men and a scant 'ability of individuals to be empowered in the Arab world.' Stengel, a former managing editor at Time magazine, also acknowledged what many media and communications experts have said for months: IS knows how to manipulate modern media methods. ... The latest IS video [with hostage John Cantlie] offers additional evidence of that sophistication."

US Needs to Toughen 'Soft Power,' Says US Propaganda Czar - Kevin McCauley, "The US needs to 'do more to harden our soft power' to best combat Russia's 24/7 propaganda machine and counter the rise of ISIS, according to Rick Stengel, US Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy. The Russian media are 'nothing like what we think of as objective news,' he told the American Security Project think tank on Sept. 16.

He was 'surprised and displeased' by the power of Russian media at home and in surrounding regions. The US recently launched a Russian language, narrowcasting messaging service aimed at individuals who are deemed to be 'swing voters,' according to Stengel, a former managing editor of Time. ... He said ISIS' ability to recruit members has more to due with the lackluster economic condition of the Arab World. In Stengel's view, social media presents the biggest challenge to public diplomacy because it is empowers 'bad guys' too. 'Social media enables conversation to happen in a way it was never able to happen before,' said Stengel. 'I want us to be in that conversation." Image from entry, with caption: Stengel in Malaysia in April.

What Should U.S. Diplomacy Strategy Be in a Time of Terrorism? - Helle Dale, "Without question, the Obama administration has been slow in coming up with a strategy to counter the threat from ISIS terrorism. This week, Rick Stengel, Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, made the case for soft power. He told a packed audience at the American Security Project his office faces challenges as momentous, but far more complex, than any the United States has seen since the fall of Soviet communism. Stengel, a former TIME magazine editor who has been on the job for six months, is the eighth person to hold the public diplomacy post since it was created in 1999. Regardless of who serves in the post, U.S. messaging will be only as convincing as the man in the White House, where a gaping international leadership vacuum has developed under President Obama. Stengel described U.S. leadership in the 21st century as a 'gyroscope in a multifaceted world.' Hardly words of comfort for countries in trouble such as Iraq or Ukraine. In discussing the part public diplomacy can play in the 'gigantic global conversation,' Stengel inadvertently made a troubling point. 'We need to figure out what to answer when people talk to us,' he said.

'We have to explain our policy. We should be the nation that listens.' This reflects the Obama administration view of the Internet as the key tool for public diplomacy. It is a view that has caused a de-emphasis of other public diplomacy tools such as U.S. International Broadcasting, one of the largest accounts in the public diplomacy budget, but one that is constantly under stress even as countries such as Russia and China beef up their broadcasting capability. Stengel acknowledged reliance on the Internet can be problematic. 'We are seeing a closing off of the Internet and the information space by illiberal autocracies,' he said. 'People can close off information space. We did not expect this.' He also said he was 'amazed at the surge' in Russian propaganda 'in the Near Abroad,' although growing Internet censorship and other similar Russian behavior have hardly been secrets. ISIS propaganda is the other main challenge of the moment. Stengel correctly described ISIS as combining savagery with sophistication in the digital space.  Here the main weapon is the State Department’s Center for Strategic Counter Communication—a small, but critical office whose mission is to “coordinate, orient and inform government-wide foreign communications activities targeted against terrorism and violent extremism.” Six weeks ago, the CSCC added English to the languages in which it broadcasts, which also include Arabic, Pashtu and Dari. Elements of a more serious strategy did appear to be emerging relating to the Middle East. 'We need to harden the soft-power landscape,' Stengel acknowledged. He said fighting lies about the United States among Middle East conspiracy peddlers probably would be a wasted effort, but we should 'focus on persuading people that being in a coalition with the United States is in their interest.' But to do that the United States has to be seen as a bedrock of commitment, not a 'gyroscope.'” Stengel image from entry

US public diplomacy attempts to confront Islamic State -
"Richard Stengel, a former managing editor at Time who became undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs six months ago, told a Washington audience Sept. 16 that the US aim was not to fight a 'battle of ideas' with committed members of IS, which he called 'a criminal, savage, barbaric organization.' Asked by Al-Monitor how the United States could convince the wider Muslim audience that the country was not somehow responsible for the rise of the terrorist group — a commonly held view in the Middle East because of the US invasion of Iraq and support, albeit tepid, for opposition to the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria — Stengel conceded, 'This is a very difficult problem. The good news is that pretty much everybody hates [IS]. The bad news is that a lot of people think we are responsible, which is absurd.' 'How do you rebut a lie?' Stengel continued. 'Sometimes you just feel like you are beating your head against a wall.'

His aim, he said, is 'not so much to persuade the people who think we are the root of all evil but the swing voters.'  ... Stengel, in response to questions, said that longer-term, the only effective counterweight to IS was to improve the economic situation in countries where disaffected youth have been attracted by the jihadists. In the short term, however, he said it was important for the United States to be 'part of the conversation' on social media with potential IS recruits, who are heavily influenced by what they see and read on the Internet. ... One impediment to conducting this conversation successfully, Stengel said, is the increasing tendency of authoritarian governments to try to limit the space for free sharing of information by filtering the Internet. Dan Whitman, a former State Department employee who worked in the public diplomacy field for 40 years, told Al-Monitor after the event at the American Security Project that Stengel was 'the least bad' undersecretary in the field 'we’ve had for a while.' Whitman said Rick Ruth, an adviser to Stengel and many of his predecessors, once described the job this way: ‘We’re not trying to communicate with those who want to kill us. Our target audience is those who hate us but are inclined not to kill us. We want to encourage them in that direction.’” Image from entry, with caption: Islamic State fighters wave flags as they take part in a military parade in Syria's northern Raqqa province, June 30.

Ричард Стенгел: США ведут информационное сражение с «ИГ» и Россией - Алекс Вильяреаль, "Как заявил заместитель госсекретаря США по общественной дипломатии и связям с общественностью, для того, чтобы противостоять мощным пропагандистским машинам, которыми располагают Россия и 'Исламское государство', Соединенным Штатам необходимо сделать свою 'мягкую силу' более жесткой, проводя более активную информационную политику на международной арене. Выступая на состоявшемся в Вашингтоне во вторник 16 сентября мероприятии, организованном в рамках Проекта американской безопасности, Ричард Стенгeл охарактеризовал активизацию информационной политики как признак силы, подчеркнув, что Соединенные Штаты должны быть страной, умеющей слушать." [Summary translation of this Voice of America Russian Service article: The U.S. must make its soft power tougher in order to offset the propaganda machine of Russia and ISIS.]

The Visa Waiver Program: Enhancing Security, Promoting Prosperity - David Inserra and Riley Walters, "The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is a valuable tool supporting U.S. tourism and trade, public diplomacy, and national security. The VWP allows residents of member countries to visit the U.S. without a visa for up to 90 days in exchange for security-cooperation and information-sharing arrangements and reciprocal travel privileges for U.S. residents. The VWP is extended only to U.S. allies and friends that meet certain security and immigration requirements.

News of European passport holders joining the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), however, have created concerns about radicalized Western fighters abusing the VWP to engage in terrorism here in the U.S. While radicalized Britons or Germans are certainly of great concern to all nations threatened by Islamist terrorism, it is not a good reason to end the VWP." Image from

U.S. Hopes Face-Saving Plan Offers a Path to a Nuclear Pact With Iran - David E. Sanger, "The Iranians are clearly doing far better in public diplomacy ... than are the United States and its allies."

Morocco’s Ribab Fusion Kicks Off Their US Tour at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C - Georgina Welch, [September 17]: "Last night Ribab Fusion kicked off their month long tour in the United-States with a concert on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Ribab Fusion’s music celebrates Morocco’s Amazigh (Berber) culture, moving from 70s-style funk to Afropop dance vibes, from slow jams to high-energy call-and-responses choruses.

The one-stringed bowed ribab, an instrument similar to a violin that originates from the Souss region of Morocco, is the thread that brings all the diversity of their music together into a wonderful sound. ... The band’s tour continues at the FirstWorks festival in Providence RI on September 20th with further performances in New York NY, Gainsville FL, Miami FL, Albuquerque NM and at the Joshua Tree Music Festival in California on October 11th. The tour is organized by CenterStage, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, produced by the New England Foundation for the Arts." Uncaptioned image from entry

Exchange Student Rejected By Public H.S. Offered Spot At Top NJ Private School - Sibile Marcellus, "Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey (My9NJ) - 17-year-old Netherlands resident Thomas Van Uggelen traveled over 4,600 miles by air to attend school in New Jersey, only to get rejected once he arrived in the Garden State. 'I didn't expect this at all. I know a few other exchange students and everything was going well with them and then I had all of this,' he said. Van Uggelen planned to leave his home country for a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a public high school student in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. When he got to Hasbrouck Heights he was greeted with open arms by his host family, but the school district had a very different reaction. 'The first school, his high school, they didn't treat him that well so it was very disappointing,' Mrs. Van Uggelen recalled of her son's experience.

AYUSA is the student exchange program that has been placing students from abroad successfully in U.S. high schools for the past 30 years. The program is regulated by the U.S. Department of State as a part of the country's public diplomacy program. Northeast regional manager Kathy Edenzon says that this is the first time in all her time working with AYUSA that a high school has rejected a student after vetting their program. The superintendent of schools was not able to be reached for comment, but late Friday night another school came to the rescue. Van Uggelen was accepted into one of New Jersey's top private schools, Don Bosco. Don Bosco offered the exchange student a free ride for the entire year after hearing what he had gone through. In Addition, the local technical school also offered to admit the exchange student into their program as well." Image from entry, with caption: Exchange Student Rejected by by Public H. S. Offered Spot at Top BJ Private School

Why Won’t the Obama Administration Fund Efforts to Make the Rest of the World Not Hate Us? - Mike Gonzalez, "The United States International Communications Reform Act of 2014, or H.R. 4490, won’t fix the Obama Administration’s ideological biases, but it would do much good.Among its many positive aspects, H.R. 4490 would provide adult supervision for the $700 million broadcast group, replacing the BBG with a 'United States International Communications Agency,' and establishing within the agency a Board of Directors and a Chief Executive Officer.

The role of VOA in public diplomacy is moreover underlined: the bill expresses the sense of Congress that VOA 'has been an indispensable element of U.S. foreign policy and public diplomacy efforts and should remain the flagship brand of the Agency.' The other so-called 'surrogate' institutions, such as Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcasting Network, would be consolidated into a 'Freedom News Network' to facilitate better management." Image from entry, with caption: Voice of America Interview

U.S. Senators Back Funding To Battle Russian ‘Propaganda' - "A bill passed by the U.S. Senate’s foreign relations committee authorizes $10 million in annual funding focused on countering Russian 'propaganda' in Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova. The authorization is part of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, which the committee passed 18-0 on September 18. It prioritizes the funding for Voice of America and RFE/RL broadcasting in the three former Soviet republics over the next three years. The funds would be separate from other U.S. government financing aimed at combatting “Russian Federation propaganda,” according to the bill. The Ukraine Freedom Support Act also authorizes further sanctions on Russia over its role in the Ukraine crisis, and $350 million in military assistance, including lethal aid, for Ukraine. It is unclear when and if the bill will come up for a vote in the U.S. Senate."

No invasion of Ukraine if U.S. had 24/7 Russian TV channel, Paul Goble says - "In a lecture on the topic of Putin’s disinformation war, delivered at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, top U.S. expert on Russian disinformation Prof. Paul Goble said that if the United States had invested some time ago in a 24/7 direct-to-home satellite television channel in the Russian language, targeting not only Russia proper but also Russian-speakers in the former Soviet republics, the Russian invasion of Crimea and eastern Ukraine would not have happened because disinformation messages from the Kremlin would have been countered.

According to Prof. Goble, 24/7 direct-to-home satellite television is truly a new media model in terms of effectiveness in shaping public opinion. He said that direct-to-home satellite TV is more effective than social media, which is important in some areas, but not nearly as much as satellite television that can be viewed at home at any time. Prof. Goble observed that it was up to the United States or the European Union to launch such a satellite TV channel because governments of countries like Ukraine were reluctant for political reasons to initiate Russian-language television broadcasts. Prof. Goble disagreed with views that broadcasting is an 'old model' or that the U.S. should rely on social media in its information outreach abroad. He pointed out that a former U.S. Ambassador to Russia had a very limited audience and not much impact using Twitter. ... In his lecture, 'Natalie Grant and the Critical Importance of Understanding Disinformation' at the Institute of World Politics on September 17, 2014, Prof. Goble made a clear distinction between propaganda and disinformation. He pointed out that propaganda consists mostly of lies and has little effectiveness, while disinformation can consists of information that is 90 to 95 percent accurate. Disinformation is far more dangerous because false and misleading information and views are obscured by true information which the audience wants, Prof. Goble noted. He also observed that the best weapon of U.S. international broadcasting is true and uncensored news, whether it is good or bad for the United States. Members of Congress should have more self-confidence when they discuss reforms of U.S. international broadcasting and not think that propaganda has to be countered with propaganda, Prof. Goble said. But Prof. Goble noted that countering disinformation requires knowledge of foreign languages and special expertise which American diplomats and journalists are lacking. ... View entire lecture: 'Natalie Grant and the Critical Importance of Understanding Disinformation' Prof. Paul Goble at The Institute of World Politics on September 17, 2014." Goble image from entry

Russian TV with Voice of America: Obama – stupid, McCain – warmonger, journalists – fakes - "In what one West European expert on disinformation and propaganda described as a 'Russian triumph in terms of info warfare,' audiences in Russia to a local television program, with willing participation of U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA), heard comments that President Obama is stupid, Senator John McCain hates Russia and wants to fight it, the U.S. punishes Russia with unjust economic sanctions while President Putin seeks peace, and journalists who report on Russian troops in Ukraine offer fake information. All of these comments were made by the Russian anchor in Moscow in a TV program with the Russian Service of the Voice of America in Washington. No one from VOA specifically challenged the Russian TV host when he said that Senator McCain hates Russia and wants war. ... Our view is that for making strong public diplomacy messages in Russia, the State Department and U.S. diplomats try much harder to get on Russian television directly. Such appearances, in our view, would be much more effective and less subject to information warfare interference as the VOA-Russian TV program is. VOA, on the other hand, should strive to be in total control of its program content and to seek program delivery without compromising its journalistic standards and its effectiveness."

White House on VOA-RFE/RL Russian TV, controversial VOA – Russia TV project not mentioned - "In the 'FACT SHEET: U.S. Support for Ukraine,' the White House has announced a mid-October launch of a daily, 30-minute Russian language television news program that will be a joint production of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Voice of America. According to the White House announcement, the program will be shown on television affiliates in Ukraine, as well as in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Moldova, Georgia, and possibly other countries. The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which oversees the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty as well as other U.S. international media outreach entities, will seek to make the program available to Russian-speaking news-seekers worldwide via digital platforms, the White House announcement says.

As of 2:00 PM EDT, Friday, there is nothing on the Voice of America or the Broadcasting Board of Governors websites expanding on the White House announcement with regard to the new Russian language TV news project. The White House’s U.S. Support for Ukraine Fact Sheet makes no mention of Voice of America’s recent and highly controversial television cooperation with the Russian Business Channel (RBC). Experts on Russian disinformation believe this project is used by the Kremlin to promote powerful anti-American and and pro-Putin disinformation themes to the Russian-speaking television audiences with participation of VOA journalists and guests." Image from entry

Hillary Clinton, Obama, Biden, Bicentennial of U.S. Anthem — All Ignored by Voice of America - "U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA) did not cover Hillary Clinton during her visit to Iowa this weekend. The most likely next Democratic Party candidate for the U.S. presidency and possibly the next U.S. president if she is nominated and wins the presidential election in 2016 no doubt could have said something or could have been asked about the ISIS threat and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, but VOA executives and managers did not arrange for sending VOA English, VOA Kurdish, VOA Ukrainian or VOA Russian reporters to Iowa. ... It appears that no one among dozens of SES and GM-15 executives and GM-15 or GS-15 and GS-14 VOA senior managers and senior correspondents was paying attention to national political news of international importance or news stories to seminal events in American history, such as the Bicentennial of the Star-Spangled Banner."

No slowing down for USAID's nearly 30-year-old Farmer-to-Farmer program - Timothy May, "Winrock International’s Farmer-to-Farmer — or F2F ... [is] approaching

its 30th year as a quietly effective mainstay of U.S. public diplomacy." Image from entry, with caption: Animal epidemiologist David Henzler visits a market at Lake Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan.

The American interests in FATA - Farman Kakar,  "Manifest Destiny was in high gear when the US attacked Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. The Americans, unlike the rest, had a higher purpose to serve: to protect liberty and promote freedom. These cherished values were camouflaged in Operation Enduring Freedom. Launched on 7 October 2001, OEF [Operation Enduring Freedom] purported to ousting Taliban regime, neutralising al Qaeda and arresting Bin Laden. In order to realise its foreign policy goals, in retrospect the US has been using a host of foreign policy instruments at its disposal. They include the threatened use of force, war and propaganda, covert operations, military aid, the sale of arms, economic sanctions, and economic assistance and public diplomacy."

US House calls for tougher fight against anti-Semitism: Resolution pans global upsurge in hatred of Jews while calling on Kerry to use influence to combat phenomenon - Rebecca Shimoni Stoil, "Noting a 'clear and troubling pattern of increased violence against Jewish persons and their property,' the US House of Representatives unanimously approved a resolution Thursday evening condemning anti-Semitism and calling on US Secretary of State John Kerry to take additional steps to curb the international tide of anti-Jewish incidents. ... The resolution

also calls on Kerry to take a number of steps to combat anti-Semitism in the international arena, including ensuring 'that the instruments of United States public diplomacy, including the United States Representative to the Organization of Islamic Conference, are utilized to effectively combat anti-Semitism.' It also suggests that US embassy personnel be trained to 'analyze and report on anti-Semitic violence against persons and property as well as the response of governments to those incidents.'” Image from entry, with caption: Anti-Semitism in Europe features on the cover of Newsweek.

Poll: Israelis care more about peace process and EU than Iran - Raphael Ahren, "The poll was conducted between September 9 and 11. Thirty-six percent of respondents said promoting ties with the United States should be the chief Israeli foreign policy goal. Nearly a third wished their government would primarily focus on improving public diplomacy ('hasbara') in general."

Ramat Gan think tank: Only 13% describe country’s  international standing as ‘good’ - Tovah Lazarof, Khaled Abu Toameh, "According to the survey, the top foreign policy priorities for the Israeli public are ties with the US, public diplomacy, the peace process and developing ties with moderate Middle Eastern countries."

Into the fray: The TBS of the TSS - A chronicle of irrational fanaticism - "Recently ... despite the gruesome display of savagery by Israel’s adversaries; despite the enthusiastic support such conduct receives from the Palestinian public; despite irrefutable evidence that every time land is transferred (or abandoned) to Arab control it becomes a platform to mount lethal assaults against Israel – a particularly disturbing and distorted push for patently perilous territorial concessions is being energetically advanced by two of Israel’s best-known figures in the political arena. The one is Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, former head of Military Intelligence and current head of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), one of Israel’s best-funded and highest-profile think tanks. The other is

Michael Oren, formerly Israel’s envoy to Washington, currently holder of the Abba Eban Chair of International Diplomacy at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, arguably the country’s top private institute of higher learning. ... While Yadlin and Oren should be warmly commended for their past achievements, they must be severely condemned for their current endeavors – which to the best of my judgment constitute a grave strategic danger to the existence of the Jewish nationstate. ... Michael Oren, after making some valid points concerning Israel’s gross dereliction of duty in the conduct of its public diplomacy in his plenary address, lapsed into following much the same (il)logical lines set out by Yadlin." Oren image from

Turkey's place in the fight against jihadists in Syria and Iraq - "Turkey has its longest border with Syria and least secure border with Iraq and has everything to lose from participating in a combat operation in Iraq and Syria. When bombarded, the IS militants will run towards the mountainous areas in Turkey or Jordan, and Turkey may find itself challenged by a new wave of terrorism much worse than that of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Ankara's hesitation to join international combat missions should not be regarded as a determined anti-Western or pro-jihadist stance. And the use of media coverage in a way that will push Turkey towards a 'with-us-or-against-us' game is certainly counterproductive. We have seen what such a useless public diplomacy game has led to in Turkey's European Union membership bid. Declaring that 'Turkey has always been a trusted member of the NATO alliance' will do much more to convince Ankara to take the risk. Turks -- and this is not unique to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, although he has pushed this feeling to its limits -- love to be loved and hate to be hated. Ankara, on the other hand, has to realize that air strikes on the IS are now an issue of when, not of whether. When the air bombardment starts, it won't help Turkey not to have let the NATO fighter jets use its İncirlik NATO base."

The Causes of Third Iraq War and the Global Struggle Against IS - "ISIS does pose a potential threat to the region and across its so-called caliphate because most of the lands it stakes a claim to are in regions with copious supplies of rare earth and minerals as well as oil that the world economy requires. So in that real sense it is a 'global threat'. Public diplomacy requires that the population is given an simplistic narrative in which there are evil terrorist ready to attack Britain or France because a war to secure resources is seen as lacking the necessary heroic uplift that a cosmic battle between good and evil has. In the US, statesmen and advocates of geopolitical strategies are usually more refreshingly more candid about the importance of strategic control over resources than in Britain where politicians think it's rather bad form to mention the grubby reality of oil needs in front on the electorate, that is, the children."

The untrustworthy, friendless superpower - Jennifer Rubin, "Unsurprising to those who grasp the basics of public diplomacy — a critical function in influencing others and defending oneself from domestic criticism — the Iraqi prime minister said he didn’t need U.S. troops. Oh, and he continued his outreach to Iran, which is already seeking

a foothold in his country and looking to sweep Iraq into its orbit. This was the only thing he could say — after the president slammed the door in his face and showed zero ability to round up a Sunni coalition. Desperate men resort to desperate acts. (Put differently, Iraq trusts Iran more than it trusts the United States.)" Image from

Chinese Cultural Diplomacy: Confucius Institutes - Jian (Jay) Wang, "China’s Confucius Institute program turns ten years old this November. Since its inception in 2004, the program, funded by the Chinese government and with the mission of promoting Chinese language and culture globally, has grown rapidly around the world. It now has a network of 1,086 affiliates (440 institutes and 646 classrooms) in 120 countries.

Among similar cultural organizations, only the Alliance Française has more than 1,000 classrooms or institutions, and only the Alliance Française and the British Council are in more than 100 countries. ... The forthcoming issue of the CPD Perspectives on Public Diplomacy, titled Confucius Institutes and the Globalization of Soft Power, provides three analyses of this timely and important topic." Uncaptioned image from entry

Korea-China partnered in public diplomac[y] - "Eighty high school and university students from Korea and China took a pledge on Thursday: They promised to write only supportive comments on the Internet and encourage others to do the same. The group pledge was part of a ceremony to launch the 'Young Korea-China Adults Sunfull Cyber Public Diplomatic Corps,' a joint project between the Chinese newspaper the People's Daily and the Seoul-based Sunfull Movement Headquarters.

The name 'Sunfull' comes from a Korean word meaning 'positive replies.'" Image from entry, with caption: Young Korean adult representative Kim Joo-wan, left, and Chinese counterpart Yang Lisha, right, pledge to write positive comments on the Internet, along with other participants at the opening ceremony of the "Korea-China Young Adults Sunfull Cyber Public Diplomacy Corps" at the Korea Press Center in Seoul.

Chinese President Xi's India Visit: Xi Jinping's singer wife Peng Liyuan to go on charm offensive - [September 16]:  "'Wife diplomacy', which has become focus of China's new leadership, would come into full play in India tomorrow when Chinese Xi Jinping arrives in Ahemdabad along with his singer wifePeng Liyuan, who has become a fashion icon here. ... Commenting on 'Wife diplomacy', Zhouli Jiali, Lecturer with the department of diplomacy and foreign affairs said wives of senior officials often attend activities on the topics of women, children and charity during foreign visits, which is helpful to fully show country's national image. It contributes to public diplomacy which aims to increase soft power and gain a reputation for a country in the international community, he said.

China and India must think outside the ‘bureaucratic box’ - Tansen Sen, "There are contradictions between the India–China joint declarations about promoting people-to-people exchanges and the implementation of these measures. Intra-ministerial disagreements, mystifying constraints, narrow visions and a reluctance to involve competent people often render these processes ineffective. These initiatives are usually categorised as ‘public diplomacy’ and epitomised by heavy handedness and restrictions imposed by bureaucrats who treat them as no more than symbolic gestures. In fact, free interactions at the grassroots levels — that could potentially advance mutual awareness and knowledge — have never been fully encouraged seemingly for ‘security’ reasons. Consequently, the rhetoric and false narratives of friendship get recycled while the general public remain in the dark and utterly confused about the actual policy goals."

'Modi-plomacy' continued: How the PM should tackle his next 100 days - Saurabh Shukla, "Despite having a public diplomacy division that the Foreign Office has created and some creative thinking in the last year, India needs a high voltage public diplomacy campaign that not only explains the idea of India in India and abroad but also effectively uses new media to reach out to youth who shape public opinion.

Many countries like the US are already doing it effectively. It will be in sync with PM Modi’s initiative of ‘Digital India’ and the Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj’s initiative to do diplomatic outreach through states, which can be done by integrating the colleges and schools to impart education on key foreign policy issues." Image from entry, with caption: Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj's (left) diplomatic outreach will reach out to youth

India’s Soft Power Advantage: Deeply entrenched factors make India a uniquely attractive great-power partner - Kadira Pethiyagoda, "It remains to be seen how India’s international reputation will fare as its strategic interests expand throughout the Indo-Pacific and beyond. With some diplomatic craftsmanship, Delhi can convert its somewhat ethereal values-based soft power advantage into hard strategic and economic gains. [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi’s government seems to have recognized this and is building on Congress’ initiatives to enhance India’s public diplomacy toolkit.

India’s soft power has rare characteristics when compared with the other great powers of the emerging multipolar world: U.S., China, Russia, Japan and Europe (as a unified entity). Its relatively neutral, non-threatening image will make India a uniquely attractive great-power partner for countries looking to hedge against future fallout between the U.S. and China, and not wanting to antagonize either superpower. Australia has chosen a wise time to solidify ties with one of the world’s most dynamic rising powers." Uncaptioned image from entry

Mumbai underground: Digging up skeletons - "The security department of Mumbai University has often complained of weak security measures and lack of resources at the varsity’s campuses. However, the department officials are on cloud nine after Australian prime minister Tony Abbot himself praised the security team for their arrangements. The Public Diplomacy officer of the Australian consulate even wrote to the Vice Chancellor praising the security department for their arrangements on the recent visit of the Australian PM to the varsity’s Fort campus. The Public Diplomacy officer in his letter stated : 'I acknowledge the efforts and relentless energy of the security in charge.' However, despite this, the security officers are still awaiting better security infrastructure, resources and even a proper boundary wall for the varsity’s campuses."

Yee's daughter set for role as envoy – “Yee Tsai Siew, the eldest child of former Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai and Datin Vicky Yee, is willing to serve the nation in any of the 109 Malaysian Missions abroad. … Like her parents, she was also called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn, UK, at the end of 2008. 'When I returned to KK, there was a public diplomacy road show organised by the Foreign Ministry.

I was encouraged by my parents to find out what diplomacy was all about. Perhaps they spotted something in their daughter that I myself was not aware of then. I met and spoke to senior officers at the roadshow and instantly got attracted to the nature of the work, and was confident. The rest is history,’ she recalled. Yee noted that lady diplomats are a rare breed in the country." Uncaptioned image from entry

Russia and Azerbaijan can develop cooperation in energy sector, MTC and agriculture - "Russia and Azerbaijan can develop cooperation in the energy sector, the MTC and agriculture, Sergei Markov, member of the Public Chamber of

the Russian Federation on the development of public diplomacy and the support of compatriots abroad said Sept.18. ... 'We are ready to expand our military-technical cooperation with Azerbaijan, in particular, to sell the latest weapons systems,' he added." Uncaptioned image from entry.

British consul general at Claflin Wednesday - "Claflin University’s Visionary Leadership Institute will host a dinner reception for British Consul General Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford . ... Pilmore-Bedford took up his appointment in Atlanta, Ga., as consul general in August 2013.

He leads a team that works throughout the Southeast United States to promote United Kingdom-U.S. trade and investment, support British nationals, conduct public diplomacy on key issues and build scientific cooperation. He also sits on the Marshall Scholarship selection committee." Pilmore-Bedford image from entry

Former US Ambassador Christopher Hill reveals how diplomacy really works and why ISIS is such a threat -  "On social media diplomacy — [Hill:] It is true that today there’s a lot more diplomacy aimed at the general public than aimed just at each other’s foreign ministries. So you’ll see a lot of public diplomacy as we call it or ‘social media-type diplomacy’.

I still believe that the focus of diplomacy is really through private channels and trying to be frank with each other so there are no misunderstandings.Image from entry, with caption: Christopher Hill (R) speaking to media about a landmark agreement on disarming North Korea.

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts - Federal Information and News Dispatch, Inc.: "President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts: "Mary Catherine Phee, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of South Sudan, Department of State ... Mary Catherine Phee, a career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, is currently Chief of Staff at the Office of the Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, a position she has held since 2014. ... Ms. Phee was a Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy in 2002."

U.S. Department of State Energy Official to speak at International Energy Conference - "Matthew McManus with the U.S. Department of State, along with leading experts in the energy industry, will discuss the state and future of the global and domestic energy resource development at Oklahoma City University Meinders School of Business' International Energy Conference. ... McManus ... [is] deputy director of the Office of Public Diplomacy and Policy Analysis from the Bureau of Energy Resources with the U.S. Department of State."

Arresting the Messengers: The State Department and the Cuban Five - Stephen Kimber, "[A]n unclassified cable from the US Interest Section in Havana to the State Department, the White House and more than a dozen American embassies ... [has the] subject heading: 'FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS U.S. RESPONSIBLE FOR CONSEQUENCES OF RECENT HAVANA BOMBINGS.' Reference: 'KOZAK/JACOBS TELCON AUGUST 21.' (In government-speak, a telcon is a telephone conference, this one presumably between Michael Kozak, the then-head of the US Interest Section and someone named Jacobs, perhaps Morris E. 'Bud' Jacobs, who 'held several public diplomacy and policy positions for the Department of State and the U.S. Information Agency' at the time.)"

Kenya: Day in the Life - Pauline Murgor, "Public diplomacy is a role that all Foreign Service Officers must undertake to a certain extent. At the same time, it is a separate career track of its own and the officers in that track play a crucial role in shaping international perceptions of a country or state. Ms Murgor engages and networks with a full range of host nation contacts to shape the public message and perceptions about the United Kingdom as well. She also maintains contacts with key people who influence public opinion. Her daily schedule involves engaging, informing, and influencing opinion leaders, local non-governmental groups, the next generation of leaders, academics, think tanks, government officials, and the full range of civil society in order to promote mutual understanding and support for U.K policy goals. ... Pauline Murgor is a Public diplomacy officer at the Foreign Office."

Cheeseburgers and Wood Pellets in Paradise
: Mohegan Diversification Goes From Fat to Frying Pan - "Despite a steady annual decline in casino revenues since 2008, Mohegan Tribal Chairman Kevin Brown believes betting on the casino industry is still a sure thing. ... Brown became Tribal Chairman on October 7, 2013. He served a 25 year career in the army and retired as a colonel.

His background includes aerospace engineering, a masters degree in operations research and systems analysis, another masters in public diplomacy, and Lean Six Sigma helped him understand how to efficiently operate a business." Image from entry, with caption: Mohegan Tribal Chairman Kevin Brown stands with a bronze sculpture of his ancestor Mohegan Chief Matahga, Burrill Fielding.

Combine Solicitation - USPSC - Strategic Communications Officer - Overseas - Federal Information and News Dispatch, Inc: "The Office of Crisis Surge Support Staff (CS3), formerly the Office of Civilian Response (OCR), is hiring a Strategic Communications Officer who will be U.S. Personal Services Contracts (USPSCs) on intermittent contracts providing support when changed circumstances in a country necessitate an increase in staffing or additional specialized skills. ... The Strategic Communications Officer may be required to: ... Maintain a good working relationship with USAID Legislative and Public Affairs Bureau, Embassy Public Diplomacy staff, and outside NGOs and external partners."

Notice - Washington Post: "James Herbert De Cou, of Le Vesinet, France, passed away July 31, 2014 after a brief illness. Born December 1, 1928, Jim, or 'Jazz' as others later knew him, was born and raised in Atascadero, California. He attended Stanford University, graduating magna cum laude in 1950, and subsequently served in the Air Force prior to joining the foreign service as a career diplomat. An inherent interest in cultures, peoples and language, combined with a strong sense of political values and the ideology of democracy, the diplomatic mission proved a good fit for his demeanor, keen intelligence, interests, and tact.

He assimilated well in all assignments, learning the native language while fully immersing himself into the local culture when overseas. Over a twenty-five year career with USIA, he served assignments in Afghanistan; Rhodesia; Honduras; Laos; Vietnam; Martinique; Canada; Upper Volta; and Cameroon." Via LJB. De De Cou image from entry


The Media Has Swallowed Five Russian Myths That Have Helped Putin Win In Ukraine - Avik Roy, The US and the EU should realize that it was not solely militias in Eastern Ukraine or Russian weaponry that secured the upper hand for the Kremlin. In its campaign in Ukraine, Russia’s propaganda and information warfare have been far more effective than military action in helping Moscow achieve its agenda while largely tying the West’s hands in its attempts to respond.

Russia Propaganda Rises Again: Fake Maps Depict a Much Smaller Ukraine - Helle Dale, Russian propaganda specialists, political technologists if you will, are flooding the Internet with redrawn maps of Ukraine, shrinking the country

to half its actual size. Image from entry, with caption: via

Vladimir Putin accused of using Soviet-style propaganda strategy to control Russian media - Mary Gearin, Mr Putin may not be doing the dirty work himself, but those who have suffered are under no illusion about who is pulling the strings. Once popular independent Rain TV has seen its audience shrink as broadcasters abandon the station. TV Rain was once a fresh, and popular, voice in the Russian media. But powerful figures wanted it silenced. The recent events in Ukraine have also seen the return of old-style Soviet propaganda. The only difference with the modern day propaganda is that it is entertaining, something even Mikhail Zygar, a producer with TV Rain, acknowledges. "Now it's passionate, now they have fire in their eyes, now they have hatred," he said. "That's why it's much more popular and interesting for the average viewer. It's become exciting - thrilling, but horrible. "Sometimes there is a feeling free speech is not needed, that propaganda, one-sided propaganda, is so popular that everyone's happy with it."

U.S. Official: New ISIS Propaganda Video Shows Group Is "Losing Some Traction" - Jacob Fischler, SIS released a 55-minute long propaganda movie on Friday that a U.S. official said is “clearly aimed” at people outside the Middle East. The English-language video, titled “Flames of War” [Response at link: This video has been removed because its content violated YouTube's Terms of Service, Sorry about that] features high-quality imagery alongside professional-style editing, and is narrated by someone with an American-sounding voice. The highly dramatized video opens up with footage of explosions from the Middle East and quotes from former president George W. Bush. But a U.S. counterterrorism official says the video is actually a sign of ISIS’s decline. “The video is clearly aimed at English speakers from outside the Middle East since ISIL is losing some traction in the Middle East,” a U.S. counterterrorism official told BuzzFeed News in an email. “Arab Muslim countries are unifying against ISIL, the Syrian opposition has been fighting ISIL for over two years, and the Iraqis too are uniting against them.”

Islamic State steps up anti-US propaganda with calls to attack Times Square: Online propaganda videos and messages posted by Isil supporters encourage "lone wolf" attacks against numerous US tourist destinations

and details how to make homemade pipe bombs - Oliver Duggan, The Islamic State (Isil) has encouraged “lone wolf” attacks by extremists equipped with homemade pipe bombs on Times Square and other high-profile US tourist destinations, according to reports. Image from entry, with caption: The Isil post encourages would-be attackers to target Times Square in New York.

ISIS Continues Propaganda Campaign With 55-Minute 'Flames ofWar' Video -
Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai - Two days after releasing an explosion-ridden 2-minute trailer, the Islamic State, released the full-length propaganda

video titled "Flames of War" on Friday. (The militant group is also known as ISIS or ISIL.) The 55-minute video is narrated in English by someone with what sounds like a North American accent and shows a series of scenes from ISIS battles in Syria and Iraq, as well as recordings of speeches by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The video looks to be mostly a propaganda and recruitment tool, with messages declaring that "the fighting has just began."
Image from entry, with caption: A fighter is shown standing in front of an ISIS flag in the "Flames of War" propaganda video.

ISIS anti-USA Video – Nazi style Propaganda - Bryon Morrigan, While many Western outlets have been describing the Islamic State’s videos as “slick” and “Hollywood-style”, they are really nothing that a teenager with a pirated copy of Adobe Premiere couldn’t whip up in a few hours. The problem is that treating these murderous rapists like some kind of evil “rock stars” is possibly swelling their ranks.

There will always be those who are drawn to the “bad guys”, particularly when they portray themselves as powerful, and the world treats them as such. In many ways, it is a phenomenon quite similar to the aesthetics of the Nazis, whose ideology continues to attract youths in Western societies who feel like outcasts or are dissatisfied with society. Image from entry, with caption: Modern converts flocking to the Islamic State watch these videos and picture themselves as some kind of Muslim versions of comic-book supervillains, but when the mask is pulled back, they see that they have cast their lot with child-raping psychopaths.

Editorial: Losing to Islamists on the propaganda front - Since 2001, radical jihadists have expanded their areas of influence across a broad swath of southwestern Asia, the Arab world and Africa. Their ranks are growing, not shrinking, largely because of their effective use of social media to reach out to disaffected young Muslim men and women around the world. The United States and European nations have failed to devise a persuasive counterargument to the radicals’ recruiting efforts. A major reason President Barack Obama must redouble efforts to bring Muslim countries into the fight against Islamic State radicals is that jihadists want to use the spectacle of Western occupation troops as a potent tool in their recruitment campaigns. Jihadist propaganda typically depicts U.S. forces as evil infidel crusaders coming to occupy Muslim land. And this message appears to be resonating.

Battling 'crusaders': ISIS turns to glossy magazine for propaganda - Jethro Mullen and Brian Todd, CNN: ISIS has used videos of its shocking beheadings of Western hostages to seize the world's attention, threatening the United States and its allies. But the Islamic militant group is also pushing its extremist views in a slick online magazine. The publication -- named "Dabiq" after a town in northern Syria that symbolizes a clash between Islam and the West -- portrays U.S. President Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain as "crusaders" who will "bring about the complete collapse of the modern American empire." It also carries images evoking apocalyptic battles between the Sunni extremist group's fighters and the rest of the world -- including American soldiers enveloped in flames. By producing the magazine, ISIS is taking a leaf out of the book of its former ally al Qaeda, which has praised and advocated terrorist attacks in its glossy publication, Inspire.

Swing time for Hitler: how the Nazis fought the allies with jazz: Jazz was verboten in the Third Reich – until its propaganda value became clear. Andrew Dickson on the surreal songs of Charlie and His Orchestra - Andrew Dickson, Officially, the Nazis detested jazz. The Führer thought it primitive and depraved. For Goebbels it was Entartetemusik – “degenerate music”. From 1933, radio stations were forbidden to play anything that resembled it; musicians were issued strict instructions on how to hold their instruments so as not to resemble black performers. In conquered Czechoslovakia, an order reportedly forbade “hysterical rhythmic reverses characteristic of the barbarian races” (improvisational riffs). Swing – a music rooted in African-American culture, popularised by Jewish musicians – was doubly verboten. But that reckoned without its potential as a weapon of war. In 1939, Goebbels’s propaganda ministry decided on a drastic new move – taking swing to the enemy. They would recruit their very own band from the best Germany could muster, their salaries paid by the government. Fronted by an Anglophile crooner-cum-civil servant called Karl Schwedler, led by a jazz-obsessive saxophonist called Lutz Templin, their mission was to record American-style dance music, change the lyrics, and broadcast it to the Allies. If bombing raids and u-boats failed, perhaps the Nazis’ stealth weapon could be syncopated antisemitism. They were christened Charlie and his Orchestra.

The story of Karl/Charlie and bandmates arrives in Britain this week, courtesy of a new show at Coventry’s Belgrade theatre. Entitled Propaganda Swing, it’s written by the Scottish playwright Peter Arnott, and describes the band’s journey from inception and fame to dissolution in the chaos of the crumbling Nazi regime.  Image from


--Иван Разумов (Ivan Razumov); from; via OY on Facebook


--From Fiona Macdonald, "Nadav Kander: Radioactive ruins of secret Soviet towns,"




--Via Facebook friend

Sunday, September 14, 2014

September 14

"There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full."

--Henry Kissinger; image from


Background Briefing En Route to Ankara, Turkey - Special Briefing, Senior State Department Officials, En Route to Ankara, Turkey, September 12, 2014 - "MODERATOR: We’re on our way to Ankara, Turkey. We’re going to do a backgrounder to preview our trip there ... QUESTION: Hi. Can you tell us any more about progress on counter-extremism messaging? You told us in the call the other night that that was going to be a priority. Do you have any specific commitments or anything you can tell us on that front? ... MODERATOR: Yeah. One thing I would just add ... is that one of the reasons that Rick Stengel came, our Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy, is to talk about – yes, I know, but for the purposes of the transcript – it was to talk about this issue and kind of hear what many of these countries were saying.

And this is something that he has been and will continue to be engaged in moving forward. So it wasn’t the focus of the meeting, but it certainly is a continuous conversation." Image from

Anti-Islamic State Egypt Cleric Opposes U.S. War on Group [September 14] - Alaa Shahine, "Richard Stengel, under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, will visit the Middle East this month to work with governments and news organizations against giving favorable coverage to Islamist militants, said a U.S. official who asked not to be identified because the trip hasn’t been announced. Among the steps being considered are efforts to raise the profile of leading Muslim clerics and scholars who oppose the Islamic State, the official said."

Hancher's Yarrow to participate in online cultural diplomacy presentation: The U.S. Department of State is hosting a Google+ Hangout on the power of music diplomacy "Jacob Yarrow, programming director for the University of Iowa’s Hancher, will participate in a conversation about cultural diplomacy hosted by the U.S. Department of State. Hancher is a participant in the Department of State’s Center Stage program, which brings musicians from around the world to the United States to engage with American audiences and communities.

On Mon[day], Sept. 15 at 2 p.m., Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Even Ryan will lead a Google+ Hangout on the power of music diplomacy to connect local and global communities in the United States and around the world. Members of the public can participate by joining the Hangout." Yarrow image from entry

Hoba Hoba Spirit Opens DC Leg of US Tour at Kennedy Center’s Millenium Stage - Elisabeth Myers, [September 10]: "Hoba Hoba Spirit, a Casablanca-based band, played to a full house last night for the second concert of its US tour, at the Kennedy Center’s Millenium Stage in Washington, D.C. Incorporating traditional Moroccan instruments such as qarqaba (Moroccan metal castanets) and darbouka (dumbek/drum) into their original rock music, and singing in Darija (Moroccan Arabic), English and French, Hoba Hoba Spirit’s seven members play Morocc’n Roll, a mixture of homegrown roots, rock, and reggae, with the rythmic swagger of North Africa. The band’s energy and irreverance got the crowd on its feet dancing to the North African beat. The band has a repeat performance at Bossa Bistro in DC tonight. Mara Tekach, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Professional and Cultural Exchanges at the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, introduced the band. Representatives of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco, Driss Alaoui, Counselor, and Yasmina Ait Lahri of the Cultural Section, attended the concert.

Also attending was Stacy White, Cultural Programs Division Chief for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. 'Morocco appreciates the State Department’s Center Stage program which contributes so much to international cultural understanding,' said Mr. Alaoui. 'We welcome all of these energetic ambassadors of Moroccan culture, such as Hoba Hoba Spirit, to the US and wish them well on their tour.' The tour is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State in conjunction with the New England Foundation for the Arts as part of the Center Stage program. The band has engagements in Seattle, Atlanta, New York, Austin, and Cedar Rapids." Image from entry, with caption: Moroccan band, Hoba Hoba Spirit, opened the second leg of the band’s month-long Center Stage tour to the United States with a concert at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage yesterday." Image from entry, with caption: Moroccan band, Hoba Hoba Spirit, opened the second leg of the band’s month-long Center Stage tour to the United States with a concert at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage yesterday

Voice of America executives took a break at ice-cream social to forget about John Kerry - "Thanks to the power of social media, we have seen photos of Voice of America (VOA) executives, whose six-figure salaries and generous benefits are paid by U.S. taxpayers, relaxing at an ice-cream social

during government office hours on September 9, 2014. While we do not know whether these executives took annual leave to eat ice-cream, the social event

still had to cost U.S. taxpayers plenty of money and staff time while Voice of America was not making adequate arrangements for important news coverage and interviews, including an interview with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry." Images from entry; lower image has caption: Voice of America poster for a bingo night social

The scriptwriter - Mosharraf Zaidi, "[O]ne of the biggest changes in Pakistan is that the state and the idea of the state, have been drained of legitimacy and authority to the point of paralysis.  That single factor is what enables a perpetual stream of invective to be hurled at the country’s institutions, interrupted only by commercial breaks. Parliament is ‘fake’, the judges are ‘sold’, the armed forces are authoring ‘scripts’ and the world is ending! This is the kind of public diplomacy that terror strategists for organisations like Al-Qaeda and the TTP have salivated about for the duration of their existence."

U.K. Embassy accepting scholarship applications - "The British Embassy is now accepting applications from Korean students for the United Kingdom’s Chevening Scholarships until Nov. 15 for the 2015-2016 academic year. North Korean settlers in South Korea are also invited to submit applications for the scholarship, an official at the embassy said. Chevening Scholarships offer the opportunity to study for a one-year master’s degree at any U.K. university, including tuition fees and a monthly stipend. The Chevening Scholarships are awarded to outstanding established or emerging leaders across a wide range of fields, including politics, government, business, the media, the environment, civil society, religion and academia.

The program provides future leaders with a unique opportunity to build a global network of professionals and establish social, cultural, academic and commercial partnerships with Britain, the embassy said. The program operates in 150 countries around the world, and this year will support approximately 1,500 individuals. Around 20 Koreans were selected for the 2014-2015 academic year and an equivalent number of student are eligible for next year, too. The embassy said that the scholarship makes up an important part of its public diplomacy efforts and grants young professionals who have displayed outstanding leadership the opportunity to study in Britain." Image from

Catalan activists look to Scottish campaign as an object lesson - Tobias Buck, “[T]the Catalans are determined to turn Scotland’s independence referendum into a precedent for their own struggle: the regional government in Barcelona says it will hold a regional plebiscite on Catalonia’s political future less than two months later, on November 9. ‘It was feasible in the UK. It was feasible in Canada. So it should be feasible here in Spain,’ says Albert Royo, the secretary-general of Diplocat, the Catalan body that handles public diplomacy.”

Michael Poole Attends Islands Developing States Meeting - "MLA Michael Poole is currently overseas attending the United Nations Third International Conference on Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) in Apia, Samoa. The theme for the conference is ‘the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States

through genuine and durable partnerships.’ ... The SIDS conference concludes on Thursday 4th September, after which MLA Poole and Mr Rendell will spend time in the Pacific region carrying out public diplomacy." Image from

Buffalo Bill lecture set for Sept. 24 in Bozeman - MSU News Service, "Buffalo Bill will be put in transatlantic context when historians from Montana State University and the Netherlands team up to present a free public lecture on the showman Wednesday, Sept. 24, in Bozeman. MSU professor Robert Rydell and Utrecht University professor Rob Kroes will discuss 'Buffalo Bill in Bologna and Beyond from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Baxter Hotel at 105 W. Main St. ... William F. Cody, also known as Buffalo Bill, and his Wild West troupe toured England and Europe several times between 1887 and 1906.

The show appeared twice in cities and towns across Italy. Buffalo Bill played the Vatican in 1890, and a delegation of his performers met with Pope Leo XIII. He was the hit of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee in 1887 and of the Paris Universal Exposition in 1889. By 1906, when the Wild West show returned to Bologna, Italy, Cody was no stranger to Europeans. ... In their Bozeman lecture, Rydell and Kroes will reflect on the show’s significance, especially for the trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific worlds. The Wild West shows always featured cowboys and Indians, but what is often overlooked is that the show also featured performers from Russia, Japan, South America and the Middle East. By the end of Buffalo Bill’s career, when he joined forces with another showman, Pawnee Bill, the show was billed as the 'Far East and Far West.' 'Was this show just for fun?' the professors ask. 'Or, should it be taken more seriously as a form of public diplomacy?'” Image from entry, with caption: MSU and Dutch historians will present a Sept. 24 lecture on Buffalo Bill. (Image courtesy of the Library of Congress)

Did EC president Juncker break protocol by tapping Muscat’s head? He is the President of the European Commission so he will touch your head if he wants to... - Kris Bonnici, [scroll down link for item]: "Making a good impression is important. ... Before founding Diplomatic Envoy Consultancy, Kris was a career diplomat. He worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malta, in the Protocol and Consular Services Department, and then spent tours of duty in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. Serving as Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy in Cairo and Canberra, his diplomatic duties included protocol and etiquette and public diplomacy."


White House still seeking coalition in Mideast war - Charles Babington and Lara Jakes, For the last week, Secretary of State Kerry has traveled across the Mideast, to Turkey and finally Paris, to pin down nations on what kind of support they will give to a global coalition. But Kerry has refused to detail what countries have committed. He said some nations are still

deciding whether their contributions will target foreign fighters or financiers helping the militant group, send more humanitarian aid to Syrian and Iraqi refugees, mount a propaganda campaign to decry the extremists’ brand of radical Islam or join a military mission. Image from entry, with caption: Sailors prepare to launch aircraft from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) on Sept. 13 in the Arabian Gulf

When Doves Cry: Why would we trust U.S. intelligence about anything, including the lack of an ISIS threat? - Ron Fournier, "What is the enduring lesson of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, when the Bush administration overestimated and, in some cases, exaggerated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein? Some say it's to be skeptical of government officials who are making the case for war. I say the legacy should be skepticism toward government officials, period – all of them. Their hidden agendas can shade the case for peace as well as war, which might explain why there's no consensus among so-called experts about the threat posed today by ISIS. ... Some people understandably assume that the U.S. government, aided by a compliant media, is overselling the threat. ... According to this school of thought, evidence of a successful propaganda campaign lies in polls showing that 90 percent of Americans consider ISIS a serious threat. In other words, the American people are lemmings. How arrogant. My fight is with the small number of people – hawks and doves alike – who've already hardened their views on the nature of the ISIS threat and the best way to confront it, and who cherrypick officials' assessments to support their biases."

What ISIS Is Trying to Achieve With Their Slick Videos - James Phillips, ISIS aims to horrify Americans to discourage increased U.S. military involvement in combating the Islamic State. But there also was another target audience: supporters and potential recruits for that terrorist movement. The slickly-packaged jihadist propaganda seeks to stimulate and galvanize members of the movement, spur potential recruits to join in the carnage and incite additional terrorist attacks against the United States.

Obama's anti-IS strategy: Difficult Task in Challenging Region - James Reinl, America’s 154 airstrikes so far have struck mostly IS sitting ducks in wide-open Iraqi deserts. That will change when the targets are command centers and bases in IS-run cities of Iraq and Syria, and we see military mishits like those that dent US credibility in Afghanistan. The IS, also known by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL, has a slick public relations division. You Tube videos of dead children being pulled from burning schools in Raqqa would be potent propaganda tools for extremists. It will look like Hamas holding out against Israel.

Beheading Shows Just How Bad U.S. Intelligence Has Become - Michael Rubin, Neither the United States nor United Kingdom has much of an idea about where its citizens are being held hostage. Given the importance to ISIS of its propaganda campaign, this means in turn that the United States and United Kingdom likely have little to no idea about where high-value ISIS targets are.

I’m Not Afraid of ISIS - Chris Ernesto, "I live down the street from the US Capitol. If ISIS struck in the belly of the beast, my family and I would likely be negatively impacted. But I’ve never lost a minute of sleep worrying about it, and I never will. Not because I’m 'tough' but because I’m not a pawn of the government controlled media that misleads Americans into accepting Obama’s propaganda to 'scare' us into more war."

US Will Use “ISIS Airstrikes” in Syria as Aircover for Rebels, Hit Syrian Military Targets - Patrick Henningsen, We’ve been observing US airstrikes overseas for a few decades now, long enough to understand

the reality beyond Pentagon propaganda. Not to be naive, expect that the US will certainly use any air strikes in Syria to offer real time air intel to the rebels, provide air cover, and create much-needed corridors for the FSA Syrian rebels. Image from entry

Tactic of terror: What’s behind the gruesome strategy of the Islamic State? - "Another video portraying the beheading of a foreign hostage was released Saturday by the Islamic State. What's behind this gruesome strategy? Tom Sanderson from the Center for Strategic and International Studies joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss the issue. ... TOM SANDERSON:... At this point in the current state of the battle, the U.S. can hit ISIS with impunity: we’ll have drones in the battle, we have aircraft now — we don’t need boots on the ground — so ISIS can’t hit back and bleed us, but they can through our civilians, through the reporters, through NGO workers, humanitarian workers or whatever. So this to them levels the plain field to some degree. It’s also about revenge, clearly — the orange Gitmo jumpsuit is about hitting back, and it’s very difficult to strike the U.S., so this gives them that opportunity to satisfy that need of actually inflicting the pain on the West. ... That brings me to ... the recruitment element, the propaganda tool. And this is very satisfying for young men who come from countries where they are marginalized, where they are subject to harsh treatment, where they feel denuded and impotent. And this gives them a sense of power that they are probably never had before."

he American who coordinates the Islamic State’s online propaganda efforts... - The American who coordinates the Islamic State’s online propaganda efforts was caught on tape by the FBI in 2006 plotting “peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches” from “culinary school” — code for terrorist attacks and training camps.

ISIS may have 24 western hostages including Britons and even jihadists who changed their minds - Steve White, The videos of the decapitated David Haines, James Foley and Steven Sotloff are unlikely to show their actual murders, but have instead been released as “propaganda,” it has been claimed.

‘Act of Pure Evil’: ISIS Video Depicts Beheading of British Hostage - Ken McIntyre, Steven Bucci, director of Heritage’s Allison Center for Foreign and National Security Policy, addressed the propaganda motives of this latest ISIS murder of a hostage, which follows the beheadings in recent weeks of two U.S. journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff. “This is unlikely to drive a wedge between the U.S. and our strongest ally, the UK,” Bucci said. “It is obvious that ISIS does not remember other attempts to intimidate the British people — Hitler and the terror bombing of London, for example.”

UK Muslims 'need to do more to stop fanatics' [scroll down ink for item]: Signatories to a letter to David Cameron from a coalition of organisations and imams admit that UK Muslims need to do more to dissuade their young men from being misled into taking part in the extremist group rampaging through Syria and Iraq's "hatred and poison. Sughra Ahmed, president of the Islamic Society of Britain, told the Observer: "These extremists aren't us. This isn't the Islam that we recognise. But we need to do more than just say 'not in our name, not for our faith'. We need to work together and make sure that these fanatics don't get the propaganda that they feed off."

Father of Australian Islamic State fighter warns parents to be vigilant about extremist behaviour - Allan Clarke and Mohamed Taha, Thousands of people attended the community barbecue, Muslims Love Australia, in Lakemba in Sydney's south-west on Sunday. Event organiser Jamal Rifi said the gathering was organised to quell the pressure the local Muslim community was feeling, by inviting the wider community to break down misconceptions over food. 'We have different faiths, colours and races all here to enjoy an Australian barbecue,' Dr Rifi said.

Dr Rifi said many young Australians were being drawn into the conflict by IS propaganda on social media. 'My message to our young people is 'Imam YouTube' and 'Shaykh YouTube' want your head,' he said. 'They are attacking you to attract to a war that is non-Islamic. What they are doing is barbaric — it has nothing to do with Islam." Image from entry, with caption: Muslims Love Australia organiser Jamal Rifi (centre) with Immigration Minister Scott Morrison at the event.

Say ‘no’ to war and media propaganda - AGB/HRJ. "[The] decision by the United States/NATO to create a high readiness force with the alleged purpose of countering an alleged Russian threat reminds me of the war propaganda of lies, half-truths, insinuations and rumors to which we were all subjected in order to try to soften us all up for the Iraq war and subsequent horrific wars of terror which were carried out by NATO allied forces."

Russian TV Softens Rhetoric on Ukraine - The Moscow Times: Russian television news broadcasts have softened their rhetoric with reference to Ukraine in recent weeks, having shied away from referring to the Ukrainian authorities in Kiev as a "junta," according to Medialogia research company.

In fact, the term "junta" has not been mentioned in this context since Sept. 4. Ekho Moskvy radio's deputy editor Vladimir Varfolomeyev posted a graph on Sunday, compiled by Medialogia, illustrating a drastic change in Ukraine rhetoric on the government-leaning television channels, some of which have faced accusations in the past of having disseminated propaganda. Image from entry, with caption: Most Russian television channels began to refer to the Ukrainian central government in Kiev as a junta after former President Viktor Yanukovych fled the country in February.

N.K. calls on Seoul to stop propaganda leaflets - North Korea on Saturday denounced South Korea’s recent proposal to hold high-level talks, saying that Seoul should first stop all anti-Pyongyang hostile activities, including floating propaganda leaflets into its territory, before making such a “deceptive” offer.

Wartime film idol, propaganda tool Rikoran dies at 94 - Film idol Yoshiko Yamaguchi, who was known as Rikoran and symbolized Japan’s dreams of Asian conquest, has died at the age of 94. Known as Shirley Yamaguchi in the United States and one of the biggest Japanese film stars during and after World War II, Yamaguchi died of heart failure Sept. 7, according to NHK.

Born to Japanese parents in northern China in 1920 and raised in Japan’s wartime puppet state of Manchukuo, Yamaguchi was adopted by a Chinese friend of her father and was renamed “Xianglan,” or “Fragrant Orchid,” when she was 13. She debuted as a Chinese singer Li Xianglan — Rikoran in Japanese — and starred in Chinese-language films made by the Japanese-run Manchurian Cinema Association, many of them propaganda movies. Uncaptioned image from entry

Hitler's final moments uncovered and how the Daily Express reported his death 69 years ago - Dominic Midgley, Whenthe Daily Express reported the death of Adolf Hitler, it refused to dignify his passing with a picture on its front page and in a box entitled "Obituary" said: "The Daily Express rejoices to announce the report of Adolf Hitler's death. The front page dated May 2, 1945 - two days after what is now acknowledged to be the day of Hitler's death - reports that the Hamburg radio station that broadcast the announcement spent one and a half hours telling its listeners to stand by for grave news and played a piece by Hitler's favourite composer Wagner, Twilight Of The Gods, part four of the Ring Cycle known in German as Gotterdammerung.

When it came to the detail of the announcement the Nazi propaganda machine exhibited its customary mendacity: "Adolf Hitler has fallen this afternoon in his command post in the Reich Chancery fighting to his last breath for Germany against Bolshevism." One element of the Daily Express's coverage offers a revealing insight into the propaganda tricks employed by both sides - the Allies as well as the Nazis. It notes that Hitler was born with the surname Shickelgruber. This is now believed to have been the work of psychological warfare experts keen to belittle the Fuhrer using all means possible, including by attributing to him a name that sounds slightly ridiculous to British ears. In fact, while Hitler's father had been born out of wedlock to a woman called Shickelgruber (or Schicklgruber), his paternal grandparents later married and the Nazi leader's father legally changed his name to Hitler 12 years before his son Adolf was born. Image from entry


Athens 2004 Summer Olympics Main Fountain Entrance

From: 30 Haunting Photos Of Abandoned Olympic Stadiums. It's Scary To Think Sochi May Be Next...; via MV on Facebook