Sunday, February 21, 2010

February 21

“Part of the job is to try to identify body parts."

--Air Force captain Sam Nelson, a drone pilot at drone operations at Creech Air Force Base, the command center for seven Air Force bases in the continental U.S. where crews fly drones over Iraq and Afghanistan. Above Image from; below image from

a nice guy who can't deliver."

--Nabil Fahmy, a former Egyptian ambassador to the United States, regarding how Arabs view President Obama


Bolton Admits That ‘Things Could Go Wrong’ After Military Strike On Iran – ThinkProgress: "Back in December, [ex-Bush administration official John] Bolton argued that a simple 'campaign of public diplomacy' would prevent Iranian civilians from rallying around the regime after a military strike on the country’s nuclear facilities.

Yesterday at CPAC, ThinkProgress asked Bolton if this strategy would work if civilians are killed in a military campaign against Iran’s nuclear program. 'I don’t accept that' civilians would be killed, Bolton replied. However, he later admitted that he’s unsure if civilians would die, but even then, his 'campaign of public diplomacy' would still work." Includes transcript. Image from

Major setback for US public diplomacy - Chippshots: Comments and Analysis from John Robertson on The Middle East, Central Asia, and U.S. Policy: "Mr. Obama's Justice Department has decided that John Yoo and Jay Bybee, the two DoJ lawyers whose memos provided the legal cover for the Bush-Cheney 'enhanced interrogation' (torture, waterboarding) regime, will not be held legally responsible for those actions. ... No punishment. No law licenses revoked."

From Iran's police chief, more accusations and warnings about BBC and VOA - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

An American discovery - Amir Oren, Ha'aretz: "[Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike] Mullen was actually here [Israel] on two separate missions, one professional and the other involving public diplomacy, with little connection between the two. Behind closed doors, military and intelligence discussions took place over exchanging information and a description of the lessons learned by the IDF. Officials talked about the IDF's outlook and plans to enhance its power amid the kind of threats the Americans are also encountering. Outside, facing the press and further afield the Israeli public, Mullen recited a page full of messages from President Barack Obama and his administration. The Iranian threat is a tough case but not a cause for despair - urgent but not desperately so, serious but not fatal. It's something that must be headed off but not through an attack. And so on and so on. Mullen distilled his doctrine down to a few lines in his Twitter messages:

'Arrived in Israel today for meetings with military leaders. [I am] committed to this relationship and to Israel's security.'" Image: "Head of U.S. Armed Forces Joins Twitter" from digital inpiration

Israelis recruited to PR Corps - If reserve military duty wasn't enough for them, Israeli tourists are invited to join efforts to improve State's image abroad. Ministry of Information launches campaign, complete with training centers. Remember: Israel developed cherry tomatoes - Itamar Eichner, Ynetnews:

"A survey carried out for the Ministry of Information and Diaspora under MK Yuli-Yoel Edelstein (Likud) revealed that 91% of Israeli citizens believe that Israel's image abroad is extremely negative.

Some 85% were ready to join the effort to improve this image. What can be done? The new project, launched Wednesday, aims to train citizens to be Israel's PR representatives. As part of the project, an extensive media campaign is underway to encourage Israelis to enter the website and learn how they can help. The Ministry will also distribute booklets containing most of the information available on the website to the three million Israelis going abroad each year. Israeli airlines El Al, Israir and Arkia have agreed to distribute the leaflets too. ... The booklet begins, 'Before you fly, allow us to tell you about the project, 'Explaining Israel'. How many times have you come across information about Israel that is nowhere near the truth? Probably many times. Now's the time to help.' ... If you want to impress your audience, you can present a number of positive items: Israel is the only state in the world in which the number of trees has not fallen in the 21st century. Israeli inventions: Drip irrigation systems, a system for beaming pictures from space back to the earth, desert agricultural techniques, and much more. And the grand finale: Israel developed the most popular varieties of cherry tomatoes."

1st cherry tomato image from; Edelstein image from article; 2nd cherry tomato image from

My Word: Doing what comes naturally: The idea of training ordinary Israelis to represent the country abroad is a welcome effort at (peacefully) fighting back - Liat Collins, Jerusalem Post: "Israel might have won (just about) all the wars launched against it by its neighbors but there’s one ongoing battle the country is obviously losing: The public diplomacy war. Meet the latest weapon – coming to a street, campus, restaurant or bar near you. Ordinary Israelis. If there are two traits that are meant to typify the average Israeli it is the fear of being a freier and an innate inability to apologize. Despite these stereotypes, most Israelis with whom I’ve discussed the national image crisis believe the country has been acting as suckers

and over-apologizing (even for incidents, like the Mohammed al-Dura case, in which it is now clear that Israel was not the guilty partner). Hence the idea of training regular Israelis how to represent the country abroad, a campaign launched last week by Yuli Edelstein’s Ministry for Public Diplomacy, is a welcome effort at (peacefully) fighting back. Thousands of citizens are willing to help get across the message that Israel is a modern, democratic country with an impressive list of achievements. Now they can learn how. The preparation runs from workshops for official delegations to pocket pamphlets distributed at Ben-Gurion Airport for regular travelers, and – as becomes the modern media age – information contained on the newly created Web site. The initiative has been dubbed by Edelstein Tzva Hasbara LeYisrael, the Israeli Public Diplomacy Forces, a play on the Hebrew name of the IDF and the concept of 'hasbara' or public information." Image from

Hussein El Kamel: Pyramids to the Great Wall - Hussein El Kamel, "Hussein El Kamel is an international Cooperation Senior Advisor for the Egyption Cabinet Information and Decision Support Center. ... [El Kamel:] We, in Egypt, admire China's culture and the economic bridges it has built with Egypt, the gateway to Africa and the Arab world.

We also admire China's Confucian institutes, their educational objectives and the role they play in developing China's image worldwide. Chinese efforts at public diplomacy are admirable. Shanghai and its international role have played an effective part in this regard. I think that China needs to address more of its public diplomacy to the Islamic and Arab world." Image from Egypt on Stamps: "The Souvenir Sheet, which shows the Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza, the Great Wall of China and includes both stamps, was produced in relatively small quantities and is now rather expensive. The stamps are still quite reasonable in comparison."

Customer Acquisition Techniques That You Must Know - Options as a Strategic Investment:

"* Perception management: You may have seen advertisements and websites that use attractive ways to convince customers to buy their products or services. In addition of their ability to euphemise information (until being a truth in itself), they also bring in new customers along with successfully retaining old customers. Public diplomacy or perception management is believed to be a very important customer acquisition step in today’s world." Image from Perception Mangement, Inc.


Educator to the World - As told to Patricia R. Olsen, New York Times: Luther Luedtke, president and CEO of Education Development Center, Inc.: "After getting a Ph.D. in American civilization at Brown University, I became a Fulbright lecturer at the University of Kiel in Germany. ... I was president and C.E.O. of California Lutheran University for 14 years before the Education Development Center recruited me in 2006. E.D.C. is a nonprofit organization that develops programs to solve economic, health and education problems in the United States and around the world. ... When I traveled to India with my wife and children in the fall of 1984 to the American Studies Research Center in Hyderabad, a bomb exploded at the international arrivals terminal at Madras airport a few weeks before we landed there. Soon after, I had to evacuate the center during the riots following the assassination of Indira Gandhi. I learned to appreciate the importance of cultural diplomacy and development work. E.D.C., with its domestic and international projects, is a good fit for me."

Pulling together to make ASEAN Chair a success - "Head of the Information and Press Department under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Nguyen Phuong Nga granted an interview to a Radio Voice of Vietnam (VOV) reporter about Vietnam’s foreign affairs promotion in 2009 and its tasks in 2010. ...

MOFA [Ministry of Foreign Affairs] has devised a plan for externally-oriented information in 2010, which focuses on the following issues [including]: ... 2- Take the initiative in providing more information on the Party and State’s official opinions to help the world understand the fine nature of our regime, and its achievements in terms of democracy and human rights. In a determined way, we will also refute misguided arguments about Vietnam. 3- Improve Vietnam’s externally-oriented information work through the application of new methodologies and the introduction of new content via various channels such as political, economic, and cultural diplomacy, as well as party external relations, and people-to-people diplomacy. 4- Manage externally-oriented information work in a better more unified manner, aiming to reduce overlap and inconsistency between different press agencies and create more harmony among them." Nga image from article

UN listings a boost for local heritage - Viet Nam News: "Viet Nam made several breakthroughs in terms of cultural diplomacy in 2009, with its biosphere reserves and cultural heritages added to the list of UNESCO-recognised sites.

Image from article: Paradise: The Cham Islands, 20km off the coast of Hoi An in the central province of Quang Nam, were officially recognised as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO last May.

Shashi Tharoor's new choreography: Dance diplomacy - Little About: New Delhi, Feb 19: "Diplomacy tends to be practiced in a rather predictable way. But now, Minister of state for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor has come up with a new concept - dance diplomacy. 'I wanted to give diplomats a feel of our precious cultural heritage. Diplomacy tends to be practiced in rather predictable patterns and I wanted to break free of the mould and try something different,' said the minister, who hosted an evening of Bharatanatyam dance at Ganesa Natyalaya in the capital Thursday. ... The hour-long recital-cum-brief lecture was conceived and choreographed by guru Saroja Vaidyanathan as a part of an out-of-the box cultural diplomacy exercise - one of the first of its kind initiated by Tharoor."

Boeing Distinguished Guest Lecture in International Business to Feature Indian Ambassador - Jeanette Grider, Saint Louis University: "ST. LOUIS - Her Excellency Meera Shankar, Ambassador of India to the United States, will be the featured speaker at Saint Louis University's Boeing Distinguished Guest Lecture in International Business at 4 p.m. Monday, March 1, in Busch Student Center, 20 N. Grand Blvd.

Shankar, who joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1973 and has held numerous key positions over the last three decades, will discuss 'U.S.-India Relations.' Ambassador Shankar has served as director in the Prime Minister's Office for six years before being posted to Washington, D.C. as Minister of Commerce from 1991-1995. She went on to head the Indian Council of Cultural Relations in New Delhi overseeing India's cultural diplomacy. Prior to her current assignment, she also served as Ambassador of India to Germany." Shankar image from article

AUC holds fall 2009 commencement ceremony for undergraduates - Al-Bawaba: "Minister of Higher Education and Minister of State for Scientific Research Hany Helal delivered the keynote address on behalf of Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif at AUC’s undergraduate commencement ceremony.

Minister Helal focused on AUC’s role in promoting science and technology in Egypt. 'We are all expecting that AUC will continue its contribution to develop the leaders that Egypt needs,' he said. 'In research, AUC is a catalyst and partner in science and technology, engaged in a new kind of cultural diplomacy,' he added." Image from The American University in Cairo School of Continuing Education Student Enrollment Services

Nigeria: Enforcing Indigenous Languages in Homes - Yemi Adebisi, - "The National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation appears to be set to encourage the use of indigenous languages in Nigerian homes. The institute also frowns at the mode of dressing of most Nigerian children, which it described as 'near nudity,'

blaming this on the nonchalant attitude of Nigerian parents and the lack of respect for Nigerian culture. It has therefore assured that it would use its medium to address the total emancipation of Nigerian cultural details and encourage its proliferation. This would, according to the institute, help to market the value of Nigerian culture, home and abroad, when the essence and awareness of the culture is encouraged. ... The Institute has the primary responsibility of harnessing Nigeria's cultural resources to meet the challenges of social integration, peace, unity and national development. It also serves as vital force for promoting Nigeria's programme of Cultural Diplomacy and energising the various cultural establishments in the new direction advocated by Nigeria's Cultural Policy and the World Decade for Cultural Development (1988-1997) declared by the United Nations." Image from

Upcoming Event at the Elliott School – anthropology works: "For those in the D.C. area, The George Washington University Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting are hosting a fascinating event on Monday.

Details below: Afghanistan: The Human Factor Monday February 22, 20101957 E Street NW, Lindner Family Commons (Room 602) Image from


Broken 'engagement' in the Middle East: A year of intense outreach to the Muslim world has revealed a disconnect between the priorities of the Obama administration and those of its potential Mideast allies - Doyle McManus, What core value is shared by many American voters and much of the Muslim world? Disappointment in Barack Obama.Obama and his foreign policy team have engaged in an energetic outreach over the last year to the world's 1.5 billion Muslims. Unfortunately, it has backfired -- at least in one important way. A year of intense "engagement" between the United States and the Muslim world has had the paradoxical effect of revealing a disconnect between the priorities of the Obama administration and those of its potential Mideast allies.

The revolution was not tweeted – Mary Fitzgerald, Irish Times: The notion that Twitter and other social media played a defining role in orchestrating one of the greatest challenges the Islamic Republic has faced in its 30-year history always seemed vastly overcooked to anyone who was on the ground in Iran at the time. The Iranian Twitter Revolution meme is thoroughly debunked in Cloud Culture, a new study examining the impact of social media on the way we live our lives.

It reports that a third of Iranians have internet access and the number of Twitter users in the country during last June’s unrest amounted to just 0.082 per cent of the population. “It’s clear that its influence in co-ordinating a serious challenge to a powerfully entrenched regime was wildly overstated,” the report notes. The Example of Iran poses broader questions regarding the use of new media for social and political activism in authoritarian states. The novelty of these tools and their potential to change the way we behave and interact has given rise to what some have termed techno-utopianism. One of the sceptics when it comes to techno-utopianist ideas about the power of the web as a tool for dissidents in oppressive states is Evgeny Morozov, currently the Yahoo! Fellow at Georgetown University. Morozov, whose book on the internet and democracy will be published later this year, argues that the more democratic a country already is, the greater role social media can play. Via. Image from

Deadlock in The Middle East and Western Responsibility - Mourad Bencheikh, NewsBlaze: The current US president should be given credit for the conciliatory speech delivered in Cairo. But President Obama's good intentions should be followed up by a concerted effort to create a less biased trend against Islam and Muslims in "the hearts and minds" of the American public. So far, it does not seem that things are moving in the right direction. The neo-conservatives still wield a great deal of influence. The teaching of the Arab language and Islamic civilization is given a low priority in the US education system. In all likelihood, the American public for the foreseeable future will continue to believe in the inevitable clash with the Islamic world. The most burning issue for the Muslim world is certainly the ongoing crime against humanity in Palestine, which has been occupied for more than sixty years. Obviously this continuous occupation is a part of the "greater Israel" strategy claimed or suggested by all the Israeli governments from the inception of the Jewish State. In addition, there is the insidious propaganda war waged by Israel and it's apologists to excuse and cover up Israeli excesses under the pretext of a war against terrorism.

Book review of 'The Empire Strikes Out,' by Robert Elias - - Steven V. Roberts, Washington Post: Robert Elias seems to hate America and hate baseball. His disdain oozes from every page of this tirade called "The Empire Strikes Out." In just one example of his ideological intolerance, he accuses the major leagues of "adopting an often militaristic and jingoistic nationalism that sometimes makes baseball into merely an extension of the government or armed forces.

This blind patriotism has linked baseball with policies that have put the game in a bad light." So if you think the rise of the home run reflects a country "addicted" to projecting power on the world stage, if you think the export of baseball has produced an "American nightmare" for many foreign-born players, if you think the World Series "became infected with machismo" and shouldn't even be called the World Series because other countries play the game, too, then this book is for you. Image from

The $320,000 European Propaganda Comic That Actually Looks Quite Good - Rich Johnston, Bleeding Cool: A hardback glossy comic book for a dollar? Sounds like a bargain right? Not if you’re the Taxpayer’s Alliance in the UK.

And are complaining about the 400,000 print run for a new graphic novella created by the European Union and distributed free to individuals and schools across the continent. The bill naturally picked up by the taxpayer. Hidden Disaster is a new BD album created by Erik Bongers, The graphic novel follows the adventures of the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) as it struggles to secure funding for the fictional state of Borduvia, which has been devastated by an earthquake. Image of comic from article

Anti-Kaiser Propaganda - Alex Von Schmidt, Tall Boots in Art


Matt Wuerker/Politico


"The advent of instantaneous brain-to-brain communication, while inferior to the word in its ability to communicate intricate meaning, may one day emerge as superior in terms of simply relaying information quickly. The notion that the written word and the complex system of grammatical and cultural rules governing its use would retain its viability in an era where thinking, talking, and accessing the world’s storehouse of information are indistinguishable seems uncertain at best."

--Patrick Tucker, senior editor of The Futurist

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