Monday, February 22, 2010

February 22

"You can't assume we always have something to say to each other."

--Naomi Baron, an American University linguist who studies digital communication; cited in Michael S. Rosenwald, “Obsessed with smartphones, oblivious to the here and now,” Washington Post; image from


Chossudovsky: U.S. Propaganda "Out of Whack" - Laura McGinnis, ManIC:

"As I've argued before in this space, the disconnect between language and action in U.S.-Iran interactions has created room for broad (mis)interpretation. If the United States wants its message abroad to be clear, the language and actions of its representatives must be coordinated and consistent. ... While some U.S. politicians have advocated for dialogue and an open hand, others have adopted what is clearly being interpreted as an aggressive tone. Is there a solution? I would argue that there is a great need for clarity and cohesion in traditional and public diplomacy efforts, to reduce the risk of misunderstanding. And, as always, targeted public diplomacy outreach could go a long way towards generating goodwill and better understanding of U.S. objectives abroad." Image from

Where Morozov is Wrong - China Media Blog: "Georgetown fellow Egveny Morozov wrote a must-read op/ed piece for The Wall Street Journal that is being Twittered a lot today, and deservedly so. He takes to task those who believe (including, apparently, the U.S. Secretary of State) that the route to global democracy is digital openness. This is little more than wide-eyed, hopeful utopianism, and Morozov makes a clear case for the Obama administration to back away from its current approach to Internet freedom around the world. ... Public diplomacy has been dying in the United States since the fall of the Berlin Wall. This has been a foolish oversight, and Morozov is shortsighted to so lightly consign it to the dustbin just as the international relations experts are starting to ask how to most effectively update and use the tools for direct 'G2C' outreach. With public diplomacy in the early stages of a renaissance, the digital means of conducting such efforts will undoubtedly be awkward at first, but this is no reason to warn the U.S. government off of experimenting with such channels. As U.S. military and economic power wane, the Obama administration would be foolish to cast off whatever tools are available to ensure the continued influence of the United States in world affairs. We can be sure that the governments of India, China, and Russia, to say nothing of a host of non-state actors, will not do so."

State Department visits UCF to recruit students - Nicole Gauzens, Central Florida Future: "More than 100 students crammed themselves into a tiny classroom in the Business Administration building Thursday night to hear a list of the benefits and rewards of a career in the U.S. State Department.

Students listened as Hilarion Martinez, a diplomat in residence at Florida International University, joined by Miriam Hughes, a DIR at Florida A&M University, explained the careers and student programs available through the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Service and the process of getting them. Martinez said the U.S. Department of State hires 1,000 new Federal Service Officers a year. 'There is always a need,' he said. Foreign Service Officers are diplomats through the U.S. Department of State that focus on five career tracks: consular, economic, management, political and public diplomacy, according to the State Department’s Web site." Image from

Visit to RFE is subject of 1960 television documentary - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Peace Now to PM: PR site right-wing - Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post - "Peace Now secretary-general Yariv Openheimer

sent a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Sunday protesting the government’s new public relations web site,, saying it is right-wing. The site was unveiled last week as part of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein’s initiative to recruit ordinary Israelis to defend the country abroad." Openheimer image from

Peled, Eitan top candidates for IBA portfolio -- Shai: PM cannot control public broadcasting - Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post: "Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to decide next month which Likud minister will be given responsibility for the Israel Broadcasting Authority in place of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, who gave up the job last week. The IBA, which includes Channel 1 TV, Reshet Bet radio and the IBA English News, is in the midst of a painful and controversial reform that is intended to save Israeli public broadcasting from closing down. Edelstein gave up responsibility for the IBA after his candidate to run the authority, businessman Amnon Dick, was rejected three times.Likud sources said the main candidates for the post are Ministers-without-Portfolio Yossi Peled and Michael Eitan. Peled is a natural choice, because he was head of the Second Television Authority when Channel 2 was founded and headed a government committee on communications. Eitan is a former science minister and has a reputation as a very hard worker. ... Meanwhile, the responsibility for the IBA is in the hands of Netanyahu and Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Eyal Gabai. ... 'The IBA has lost the remnants of its independence now that it is under the prime minister’s direct control,' said Kadima MK Nachman Shai, a former IBA chairman, editor and military correspondent. 'There must be a barrier, especially when the IBA is in the worst state ever.'"

Better public relations won't improve Israel's image abroad: 'We must delegitimise the delegitimisers' the Prime Minister has been quoted as saying - Donald Macintyre, Independent: "In December, Benjamin Netanyahu identified the need to combat the 'Goldstone effect' as a foreign policy priority. In particular he charged that Judge Richard Goldstone's report on war crimes during the 2008-9 military offensive in Gaza was being used to 'delegitimise' Israel's right to self defence.

'We must delegitimise the delegitimisers,' the Prime Minister has been quoted as saying. And in doing so he unleashed a wave of debate, which reached its zenith at the annual Herzliya conference this month, over how Israel could better conduct 'hasbara' – literally 'explaining' – to make its case abroad. The familiar belief that the country's image is merely a matter of 'hasbara' is all too easy to deride. The problem, it suggests, has nothing to do with what did or didn't happen in Gaza, only how good Israel is at conducting its public diplomacy. But it also misunderstands the larger context of the international criticism now faced by the Netanyahu government." Netanyahu image from

[Comment on article: My Word: Doing what comes naturally by Liat Collins,Jerusalem Post] - Norman G. Finkelstein Blog: "Tips to ordinary Israelis representing Israel abroad: Do not raise your arm at a 45 degree angle and shout 'Heil Hitler!' Do not sing or hum 'Israel uber Alles!' Do not drop white phosphrous on your neighbor’ s home! Do not shoot your neighbor’s baby especially if it is holding a white flag."

Finally returning fire - Rachel Raskin-Zrihen,

"Israel is finally firing back in the propaganda war against the Jews. For years, the Israelis and the Jews generally, have mostly adopted the attitude, in the face of ugly, slanderous lies, that they weren’t going to dignify them with a response. The thinking, likely, was that only the most un-evolved ignoramuses would buy the crap the anti-Semites are selling. It turns out that’s an ineffective and dangerous approach. It seems that Goebbels was right, and if you repeat a lie often enough – even (and maybe espec[ia]lly) a really big one – it becomes the truth. In short – not answering the lies, distortions and accusations has worked against us. ... JTA reports the Jewish campaign will stress 'that for a small country, Israel has achieved global renown in science, medicine, technology, business and humanitarian aid.' The second push, which runs concurrently with Apartheid Week, will be called 'The Truth Campaign,' and will feature posters saying 'Don’t Twist the Truth' and 'Don’t Play With the Truth,' JTA reports. A third, surprise campaign involving 'social media' is also planned, according to reports." Image from

what are the key points to make a long distance relationship work?
- "Hello, Okay I work for the Department of State as a Public Diplomacy Officer (aka diplomat) and my wife is an officer in the army. I have an assignment in Kuwait while she is stationed in Heidelberg, Germany. Even though we are financially well off and when we meet each other on the holidays I make it the best days we ever had, I was just wondering what are some keys thing I should do when we are far away. I want to make this thing work, I really need help thank you."


NATO airstrike kills 21 Afghan civilians: The target was a convoy believed to be carrying insurgents in a province bordering Helmand, where a U.S.-led offensive on Marja is in its 10th day. The airstrike was not related to that campaign - Laura King,

Manufacturing a "victory" - Socialist Worker Online: U.S. officials scored a propaganda victory with operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan that were universally hailed by the mainstream media as signs of real progress in Washington's war against the Taliban.

But beneath the charades and the celebrating, none of the war's basic features have changed. The Afghan revolt against the U.S. occupation has spread more widely than ever, and Western tactics of counterinsurgency, along with the brutality and corruption of President Hamid Karzai's government, are stoking further discontent. Image from

Target Iran's Censors - Roger Cohen, New York Times: With the Islamic Republic weaker than at any time in its 31-year history, fractured by regime divisions and confronted by a Green movement it has tried to quash through force, U.S. sanctions are abetting the regime’s communications blackouts.

Will Iraq be an Obama achievement or nightmare? - Jackson Diehl, Washington Post: If the administration can see Iraq through the next six months successfully, it will record an achievement whose long-term importance is unlikely to be matched by anything else it does abroad. If it does not -- then Washington will awaken to an Iraq that once again has become an endless nightmare.

CNN Broadcasts Major Cyber War Game Propaganda - Kurt Nimmo, Prison CNN rolled out a slick propaganda presentation this evening. It is called “Cyber Shockwave” and it posits a cyber attack on the United States.

The Difference between Propaganda and Art with a Message - the Vomitoria:
Objectivism meets Absurdism. Yea: Art inspires. Propaganda nudges. A message is simply part of the fabric of both. Art might like you to get the message but it can be successful even if you don't agree with it. Propaganda is an abject failure should you not understand the message, and, matters not one bit if you think it artful.

Propaganda T-Shirt - TeeCraze

Image from blog

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