Thursday, September 30, 2010

September 30

"I come from a culture that understands storytelling. The president's advisers do not understand that a convincing tale can have only one plot."

--A fictional interior monologue, as plausible as any, recorded by Bob Woodward, the author of "Obama's Wars," of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reflecting on Mr. Obama's administration; image from


Daily Digest Tuesday, September 28, 2010 - "Senate Chamber Action Routine Proceedings, pages S7565-S7669 Measures Introduced: Eighteen bills and eleven resolutions were introduced, as follows: S. 11, 3848-3864, and S. Res. 652-662. Pages S7668-69 Public Diplomacy Program: Senate agreed to S. Res. 660, expressing support for a public diplomacy program promoting advancements in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics made by or in partnership with the people of the United States."

Senator Kaufman Gives Farewell Speech on Senate Floor - "Senator Kaufman full remarks: ... Along with Senator Brownback, I co-founded the Senate Caucus on Global Internet Freedom to promote greater access to freedom of expression and freedom of the press online.

I also highlighted the importance of U.S. public diplomacy efforts, especially international broadcasting. I have sought to raise awareness of limitations on press freedom in countries such as China and Iran through the passage of resolutions, and have co-authored legislation funding the development of Internet censorship circumvention technology in Iran." Image from article

Judith McHale to Deliver the 2010 Frances McNulty Logan Lewis Lecture‎ - Rockbridge Weekly: "Judith McHale, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, will deliver the 2010 Frances McNulty Logan Lewis Lecture for the George C. Marshall Foundation on Thursday, October 7 at 7:30 pm in Lee Chapel in Lexington. Under Secretary McHale will talk about 'Enduring Leadership: Marshall’s Legacy for American Public Diplomacy in the 21st Century.' The public is invited."

Meles In A Jam Again With VOA - Alex Belida, VOA News Blog: "[Ethiopian Prime Minister] Meles Zenawi believes it is permissible for Ethiopia to jam VOA broadcasts into his country because the U.S. legally bars the dissemination of VOA programming within the United States itself. (See this on Smith-Mundt Act.)
There’s just one problem with that attempted justification. As VOA Director Danforth Austin tells the NewsBlog: 'The U.S. government doesn't jam foreign broadcasts heard and seen by U.S. citizens. The Ethiopian government does jam foreign broadcasts heard and seen by Ethiopian citizens. I think the question has to be: What is it about these international broadcasters that Meles Zenawi and his government fear?'" Melawi image from

What's really mind-blowing is how much conservatives want to increase government spending on international broadcasting - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: Heritage Foundation, The Foundry blog, 24 Sept 2010, Helle Dale. "'It is ... amazing and disturbing to find that China has now, in certain areas of international broadcasting, overtaken the United States. While strategic decisions have been made here in Washington to reduce the amount of global short-wave broadcasting produced by the U.S. government in favor of TV and Internet, China has been moving full speed ahead. According to the World Radio TV Handbook, China Radio International now broadcasts on short-wave in 45 languages, compared to Voice of America’s 32, and does so on 284 frequencies, compared to Voice of America’s 200 frequencies. And most mind-blowing of all is the fact that China Radio International carries more English language broadcast hours than Voice of America.' [Elliott Comment:] It's not so mind-blowing from a market-based analysis. (Heritage is more into central planning.) This is international broadcasting, as in broadcasting to other countries, as to countries where they speak other languages. China Radio International includes as target countries the United States, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland. VOA targets none of these countries, especially not the United States, not even Americans abroad. So, outside of Africa, CRI has much more reason to broadcast in English than does VOA. And if CRI wants to invest in shortwave when it is obviously declining in popularity, it's their money. Note that China was manufacturing steam railroad locomotives until 1999."

Columnist says Radio Free Asia Korean "is facing an immediate budget cut" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "This is the first I have heard of any budget cut for RFA Korean. Given the present importance of North Korea to US foreign policy, I would be surprised if such a plan exists.

RFA and VOA (unmentioned) each broadcast in Korean five hours a day, not concurrently, for a total of ten hours USIB output per day. Any expansion would get into sleeping or working hours in North Korea. Is Free North Korea Radio funded by the State Department, or by the National Endowment for Democracy?" Image from

Artist Lisa Vershbow Discusses Her Artistic Overseas Experience at Morrison House - "Morrison House Lecture Series Presents: Art and Diplomacy: A Torpedo Factory Metalsmith Makes Cultural Diplomacy with her Craft. Accompanying her husband, Alexander Vershbow abroad for eleven years with three back-to-back Ambassadorships to NATO (Belgium), Russia and Korea, Lisa set up a studio and worked at each posting, made connections with local artists, participated in exhibitions, and taught. She was active with the State Department's Art in Embassies Program and also organized two exhibitions including fellow Torpedo Factory colleagues.

In Art and Diplomacy, Lisa will share images of some of the places that inspired her own work, projects in Moscow and Seoul with Torpedo Factory colleagues and a few glimpses into life in an Embassy. Lisa Vershbow, a Torpedo Factory artist and Art League instructor, spent over 30 years as a Foreign Service spouse. She has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions both at home and abroad. Her most recent solo exhibition was in June, 2010 in Seoul and her work is currently in the Madeleine Albright exhibition of brooches in the Smithsonian Castle. In 2005, the American Foreign Service Association awarded her the Avis Bohlen Award for public diplomacy in the arts while in Russia." Image from article

Israel Sincerity on Peace Weakened by Minister's Remarks, Palestinian Says - Gwen Ackerman, Bloomberg: "Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath said Israel’s credibility in peace talks was undermined by its foreign minister’s UN speech, as the U.S. accelerated efforts to resolve an impasse over Israeli construction in the West Bank. 'He provided a very, very clear reason for all our skepticism,' Shaath said today in a phone interview, referring to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s comments yesterday at the United Nations. Lieberman, who heads the second-largest party in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition, called for an 'intermediate' accord with the Palestinians because it will take 'a few decades' to establish the trust needed for a so- called final-status agreement. ... Netanyahu isn’t likely to push Lieberman out, said Jonathan Spyer, a political scientist at Israel’s Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. 'While Lieberman’s remarks are harmful to Netanyahu from a public diplomacy point of view, the prime minister is not desperately keen to broaden his coalition at the moment,' Spyer said. 'This incident shows the strange and unusual nature of Israeli coalition politics, where a foreign minister thinks he can express a different foreign policy than the government’s without resigning.'”

Strenger than Fiction / Political learnings for make benefit of understanding glorious nation of Israel - Carlo Strenger, Ha'aretz: "Israel after years of dedicated experimentation has developed the Glorious New Method of Government by Chaos. It is my pleasure to introduce readers to the basics of this method, in the hope other countries will benefit from it as well. ... This is a truly wonderful system, in which most groups genuinely feel that they are running the country. I suggest that Israel’s Ministry of Public Diplomacy, which is showing enormous creativity lately in explaining Israel, should offer courses for aspiring politicians from around the world on Israel’s glorious new method of governing. Unfortunately there is a dwindling minority in Israel that has so far not made the transition to government by chaos, and continues to adhere to outmoded notions like the rule of law, equal rights for all citizens, the separation of state and religion and even wants government to follow coherent policies."

Israeli invention for electric hair removal device contributes to female happiness worldwide - ‎Belén Fernández, Palestine Think Tank:

"Viewers interested in multilingual pictorial change are invited to visit a website established by the Israeli Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, which refers to visitors as 'Novice Ambassadors' . ... For those of us convinced that Israel’s presentation to the world has nothing to do with what its Air Force does while hypothetical foreigners in vests are busy propagating stereotypes about ... , the website provides an arsenal of rotating factoids on the right side of the screen for use in countering barbs of criticism against Israel. I have listed a few below: An Israeli invention for an electric hair removal device makes women happy all over the world.

85% of the garbage in Israel undergoes treatment to make it friendly to the environment. Each month Israelis consume close to 15 million bags of [the snack food] Bamba; every fourth snack sold in Israel is Bamba, and 1,000 bags of Bamba are manufactured every month. Muslim terror takes place throughout the world with no connection to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Palestinian issue, Israel-US relations or the existence of Israel and its policies." Images: (1) (2) Zog / Hair-removal Laser device by RADIANCY, from Isreali Design Center

University of Leicester focuses on the Olympics‎ - press release, 24dash: "On Monday, 8 November, Professor Gary D. Rawnsley will deliver the lecture on Media and Communications at Beijing. The Beijing Olympics of 2008 are considered as China's 'coming-out' party, representing the country's 'peaceful rise', astounding economic development and growing stature in the global community. On the other hand, it is clear that hosting the Olympics was a huge risk: with thousands of foreign journalists descending on Beijing, all of whom were promised unprecedented freedom of movement, China was in the world's spotlight like never before. This lecture provides an overview of Chinese public diplomacy and soft power - China's attraction via national values and cultural appeal - and tries to understand how the Olympics and their media coverage helped the projection of modern, dynamic and peaceful China."

Public diplomacy can help resolve Karabakh conflict‎ - News.Az: Irina Ghaplanyan News.Az interviews Irina Ghaplanyan, a graduate student of politics and international studies at the University of Cambridge. ... What role can public diplomacy and cultural dialogue play when the positions of the two sides on Karabakh are completely different? Public diplomacy builds bridges that are used to conduct cultural dialogue, which in turn increases awareness about the two nations that are socially and culturally rather similar, but have been forcefully isolated from each other for almost 20 years.

An increased awareness about commonalities in the cultural and socio-economic lives of the two nations will gradually increase the social as well as political will to find a mutually beneficial resolution of the conflict. The root problems of the conflict stalemate today are, first of all, a lack of political will and, secondly, an absolute lack of trust. I believe that through public diplomacy and cultural dialogue both problems could be addressed and the way paved to a resolution." Image from

Akhmadov followers caught - Stan Rogers and Rukhshona, Central Asia Online: "[T]he Tajik opposition Social Democratic Party suggested making the Rasht Valley a public diplomacy zone, reported September 28."

Russia: “Web of Justice”‎ - Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos: Last week, Russia's foreign broadcaster - Russia Today TV (RT) - ran a report about Russian bloggers and how they, heroically, expose crimes and corruption in the system. ... [I]t seems such stories would serve Russia's public diplomacy well, especially given President Medvedev's attempts

to demonstrate to the world that Russia can be en par with the West in terms of technological progress, as well as the social and economic transformations that accompany it. ... [T]hey might as well be examples of what the Tangled Web referred to as 'an old strand of thought in Russia, where the tsar was fundamentally decent and it was the corrupt mid-level officials who were to blame for everything.' It should be mentioned, however, that democracy - real or virtual - proves itself, time and again, as being very relative. When even some of the more prominent Western democracies have major issues with Internet access and surveillance, perhaps Russia should not be judged as strictly?" Image from

Cyber Probing: The Politicisation of Virtual Attack - Matt Armstrong, "Despite its pervasiveness in our daily lives, from social media to electrical networks to banking, the critical nature of the online remains ill-understood or appreciated. 'Cyberspace,' a recent report asserts, 'remains inadequately defended, policed and indeed comprehended.' This is the conclusion of Alex Michael, a researcher for the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom. In Cyber Probing: The Politicisation of Virtual Attack, Alex dispels the comfortable belief – expressed in practice and conceptualization of online and new media – that the cyber world is somehow separate from the 'real' world. ... This unclassified report will be required reading for the graduate course on public diplomacy that I teach at USC. 'Cyber Probing' demonstrates that distinguishing between 'old media' and 'new media' is naive and dangerous in the environment of blended offline and online activities we live and operate in. My term 'now media', focused more on information activities, addresses this reality. Alex’s paper shows the 'convergence' is greater, deeper, and more pervasive than many appreciate."

Missionaries, Carpetbaggers, Highjackers, and Honkies: Dharma in the West - "If you want to engage in quick and dirty, tactical persuasion of a target population, do an opinion poll, call a press conference, and massage the results. It is done all the time, for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes we call it public diplomacy, and other times we call it plain, old-fashioned spin doctoring. When we do it to sell toothpaste, we say that nine out of ten dentists agree, and call it truth in advertising.

Truth be known, it is all bullshit." Image from

"Tuesday Came and Went One, One September ... " - Emily, Life, Hope, Truth, Trust, Faith, Pride, Love, Lust: "And since I’m considering ... these serious commitments (an FSO is like a military officer who is stationed in places for a certain amount of time), I am looking into what area I’d join in. Especially since you have to tell them as soon as you let them know you want to be recruited. So if I do the foreign service officer route for the Department of State, I’m considering being either a consular officer or a public diplomacy officer. As a consular officer, I’d 'make judgments about foreign nationals who want to travel to the US. [I’d] also facilitate adoptions, help evacuate Americans and combat fraud to protect our borders and fight human trafficking.' I think public diplomacy is pretty obvious. But since I’m not exactly a diplomatic person in all conditions (aka when I get angry), then maybe consular would be best for me."


Can Twitter Lead People to the Streets? - New York Times: In The New Yorker this week, Malcolm Gladwell offers a bracing critique of the notion that social media like Twitter and Facebook are reinventing activism -- claims that were broadly made after Twitter became identified with protests in Moldova and Iran last year. "Social networks are effective at increasing participation — by lessening the level of motivation that participation requires," he writes. And the "weak ties" created by these platforms, he adds, cannot promote the discipline and strategy that true political activism requires. Can social media tools like Twitter nurture political action? What are their limitations and how might that change as social media mature? Contributors: Power of the Personal Message Timothy B. Lee, computer scientist; Virtual vs. Real Protests Evgeny Morozov, author; In China, Even Weak Ties Are Crucial Michael Anti, blogger; Digital and Traditional Tools William Powers, author, "Hamlet's BlackBerry"; Following and Leading Online, Howard Rheingold, author, "Smart Mobs."

Most Tweets Produce Zero Replies or Retweets - Jennifer Van Grove, Sysomos, maker of social media analysis tools, looked at 1.2 billion tweets over a two-month period to analyze what happens after we publish our tweets to Twitter. Its research shows that 71% of all tweets produce no reaction — in the form of replies or retweets — which suggests that an overwhelming majority of our tweets fall on deaf ears. Above image from article

Shadow Elite: Pat Tillman & Why Soldier Hero Worship Serves The Powerful ... Not the Soldiers - Andrew Bickford, Huffington Post: To understand how soldiers are imagined, we need to go back to the word "aesthetics" in its original Greek meaning- to experience the world through bodily feeling and emotion. This is also the basis of the word "anesthetics," to block out pain, feeling, and emotion. Our conceptions of soldiers as heroes comes from this interplay. By imagining our soldiers - all of our soldiers - as heroes, we create not only a class of heroes, but also a class of superheroes - men and women who can do no wrong, whom we think of as invincible, and perhaps more troubling, as indestructible. As a propaganda term, a term that shapes the political playing field, "Hero" does not simply mean someone who has done a single heroic act: it implies someone who will always perform heroically, again and again and again.

Video Hints at Executions by Pakistanis
- Jane Perlez, New York Times: "An Internet video showing men in Pakistani military uniforms executing six young men in civilian clothes has heightened concerns about unlawful killings by Pakistani soldiers supported by the United States, American officials said. The authenticity of the five-and-a-half-minute video, which shows the killing of the six men — some of whom appear to be teenagers, blindfolded, with their hands bound behind their backs — has not been formally verified by the American government. The Pakistani military said it was faked by militants. But American officials, who did not want to be identified because of the explosive nature of the video, said it appeared to be credible, as did retired American military officers and intelligence analysts who have viewed it. After viewing the graphic video on Wednesday, an administration official said: “There are things you can fake, and things you can’t fake. You can’t fake this.”

Beyond The Rhetoric: The Human Impact Of Settlements - Cynthia Schneider, Sam Schneider - Newswire – CPD Blog & Blogroll, US Center on Public Diplomacy: President Obama faces his own catch-22: to tolerate the renewal of settlement activity to keep the talks going, and possibly force Abbas to walk; or to pressure Israel to cease building at the risk of turning Netanyahu away from the talks. We hope that the President can keep the talks going and keep his word in the Cairo speech of a “complete settlement freeze”. Mr. President: show that America is not a “land of hypocrisy”.

Young Kim's debut isn't exactly picture-perfect: The son rumored to succeed his father as North Korea's leader finally shows his face, and it's more "Where's Waldo?" than "Look at me!" - John M. Glionna and Ethan Kim, Los Angeles Times:

For an official photographic introduction to the world, the picture of North Korean strongman-in-waiting Kim Jong Eun released by the reclusive regime Thursday had anything but a marquee wow-factor. This is no larger-than-life propaganda billboard heralding a dazzling visage of Kim Jong Il's mysterious youngest son — rumored to soon succeed his ailing 68-year-old father. Rather, it's a grainy postage-stamp-small image of the jug-eared Jong Eun, perched awkwardly amid a group of grim-looking politicos at this week's national convention of the ruling Workers' Party. Image from article

Not Much Hope for Change as Kim Jong-il Prepares to Ascend His Double Rainbow Back to Baekdu Mountain - Paul Sogge, He was portrayed as a cockroach in the movie Team America. "He was portrayed as a drunken lecher by his former sushi chef. And much less convincingly, Kim Jong-il has been portrayed as a brilliant and benevolent leader whose travels are often accompanied by miracles in the natural world. This week, as expected, his son Kim Jong-un was awarded various official titles by the Workers' Party of Korea and seems destined to become third and final dictator of the world's last remaining Stalinist regime.

Will we miss the Kims? It is difficult to imagine the world without its parallel universe--a version of reality that has fascinated me ever since I heard my first North Korean propaganda while living in China in the early 1990s." Image from article

North Korea's US 'trophy' ship is tourist site - Ian Timberlake, AFP: North Korea denies involvement in a deadly attack on a South Korean warship this year, but proudly shows off the "trophy" it captured from the United States in another maritime incident 42 years ago. The USS Pueblo -- still listed as a commissioned US Navy vessel -- sits docked and open to visitors at a riverside berth in the capital Pyongyang. A steady flow of tourists, including some Americans, boarded the vessel for a guided tour one day recently. The price of admission: Watching a lengthy propaganda video that mentions terms like "US imperialist aggressors" and "brazen-faced US imperialists" repeatedly as it recounts what happened on January 23, 1968 and over the next 11 months before the captured crew were released. 1A8A North Korean army guide aboard the captured USS Pueblo - a vessel still listed as a commissioned US Navy boat.


"David Letterman: Top Ten Ways Barack Obama Can Boost His Popularity With Younger Voters:

10. Refer to himself as the Chillaxer-in-Chief.

9. Limit speeches to 140 characters or less.

8. Broadcast all Oval Office addresses in 3D.

7. Replace Rahm Emanuel with a hunky, brooding vampire.

6. Trade in Air Force One for rocket-powered Obama-cycle.

5. Answer tough questions with 'Whatevs.'

4. Change name to Bajustin Obieber.

3. Refer to his abdominal muscles as 'The Administration.'

2. Check into rehab, go to prison, check back into rehab, go back to prison; check back into rehab.

1. Join Team Coco."

--From Bulletin News, LLC.


"Here are 7 possible reasons that no one responds to, or retweets your tweets:

1. What are we supposed to say when you tweet that you 'love Mom’s cooking.' Are we REALLY supposed to care?

2. You tweet all sorts of cheesy inspirational quotes. This is more likely to elicit a punch in the nose than a retweet.

3. Twitpics of your latest pair of socks are of no interest to us.

4. We cannot figure out how to respond when you tell us, via Foursquare, that you’re 'at the Fuckandshuck Oyster Bar and use the hashtag #foodporn'

5. You are not a member of a Tea Party Republican chapter (don’t laugh, those nutjobs are a tight-knit bunch of freaks)

6. You follow no one and are not @KanyeWest, or @britishmonarchy – time to get over that ego

7. You run the official Twitter account for BP

Have a great day!"

--Jackson Wightman, Proper Propaganda


from Boing Boing

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

September 29

On the war in Afghanistan:

"Basically we're screwed."

--U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Karl W. Eikenberry, quoted as saying

"you can't win."

--National security adviser James L. Jones's view

"This is a house of cards."

--Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, who is the senior coordinator for Afghanistan on the National Security Council; image from


Walter Isaacson: America's Voice Must Be Credible And Must Be Heard - RFE/RL: "Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) Chairman Walter Isaacson tonight announced a new direction for U.S. international broadcasting that 'seizes on the latest media tools and technology to stay one step ahead of those who seek to repress free information around the world.' As Chairman of the BBG, Isaacson oversees RFE, VOA, Radio Free Asia, Radio/TV Marti, Radio Sawa, and Alhurra TV, which have a combined weekly audience of more than 171 million people. 'The challenges we face in the new global struggle against repression and intolerance are as great today as they were during the Cold War,' he said at a reception marking the 60th anniversary of RFE's first broadcast.

'And just as the founders of Radio Free Europe succeeded in developing creative and innovative ways to get news and information to people suffering behind the Iron Curtain, so too must today's U.S. international broadcasters respond to modern threats to freedom in new and inventive ways.' Speaking at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., Isaacson said, 'America cannot let itself be out-communicated by its enemies.' 'Our traditional role of delivering the news top down needs to be complimented by a new approach that catalyzes social networks,' said Isaacson. 'By creating peer-to-peer global communities, we help guarantee the universal human right of access to the free flow of information.'" Isaacson image from article. [PDPBR compiler note: According to the invitation to the event, it was made possible "With generous support from the Freedom Broadcasting Foundation." Little information about this organization is available on the Web]

Get Green Alerts‎ - Bob Jacobson: Huffington Post: "As the [Shanghai] Expo nears completion, it's difficult to point to a single aspect of the USA Pavilion that has genuinely and honestly kept to the Expo's sustainability theme. Not a single one. And with each USA Pavilion faux pas, Clinton's argument for privatizing public diplomacy grows weaker. The bottom line: turning the State Department's functions over to Beltway bandits and Hollywood hucksters is not in the interest of the American people. And never will be."

America The Invisible - Patricia H. Kushlis, Whirled View:

Observations by Ms. Kushlis regarding public diplomacy in the comments section [scroll down link]: "[T]he Internet and its social networking components are powerful tools but they should be seen as one part of an information officer's tool box not as a substitute for bricks and mortar (information centers and libraries) or one-on-one communications (Murrow's last three feet.) ... Publicly accessible Information Centers and Libraries are crucial outreach tools. ... I'd like to see the USG take a proactive role in top level international expos. ... Military strategic communications and civilian public diplomacy are not the same and should not be mixed intellectually or in reality - although they employ some of the same communications tools. They play by different rules and have different goals. ... If and, hopefully when, the US government reduces its military footprint abroad, I think it should increase, not reduce its public diplomacy efforts. ... I think the BBG needs to be depoliticized and broadcasting rethought. ... I really like Ari Fisher's communications continuum employed by the British Council and Foreign Office to encapsulate the UK's public diplomacy approach. ... And finally (enough already) I continue to think that a separate public diplomacy agency with a permanent charter needs to be created - or recreated. The bifurcation of the functions has, with only a few exceptions, not worked well for so many reasons." Image from

Discussion & Webcast: Freedom vs. National Security: Finding a Middle Ground - Matt Armstrong, "The Voice of America is hosting a discussion and webcast entitled Online Freedom vs. National Security: Finding a Middle Ground. Government efforts seeking new controls over the Internet and mobile communications are raising concerns about the possible erosion of human rights and basic freedoms. Participating are: Bob Boorstin, Director, Corporate & Policy Communications, Google; Arnaud de Borchgrave, Director & Senior Advisor, Transnational Threats Project, Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS); Julie Barko Germany, Vice President for Digital Strategy, DCI Group; and Marc Rotenberg, President & Executive Director, Electronic Privacy Information Center. When: Tuesday, October 5, 2010, 10:00am ET - 11:00am ET. Where: Voice of America Briefing Room 1528-A 330 Independence Ave, SW Washington, DC 20237 RSVP at or call (202) 203-4959 [Armstrong comment:] It is not clear to me that this worthwhile and necessary discussion should be available to audiences within the borders of the United States as a result of continuing Congressional censorship found within the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948. Further, will someone mention irony of the firewall at the US border that inhibits informing audiences both abroad (at the very least by such engagement to Americans, including its value and content) and ignores diasporas (real or manufactured through empathy, sympathy, or other joining beyond the traditional ethnic, cultural, or linguistic bonds)?"

Pentagon Burns Books in Name of National Security... - LaurenceJarvikOnline: "The book is called Operation Dark Heart: Spycraft and Special Ops on the Frontlines of Afghanistan -- and the Path to Victory by Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, and the Pentagon has bought the initial press run to burn before reading, according to this article in Digital Journal ['Pentagon purchases and burns memoir written by ex-officer'].

I just have one question: Has anyone considered the public diplomacy implications of this story for US credibility in relation to freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and so forth in the struggle against Islamist extremism? IMHO, I'd say that after the handling of Abu Gharib torture pictures, this is the second worst P/R move I've seen since 9/11 from the United States government." Image from

1 October Event at American Center - TonyEnglish: English learning environment for English learners: "Join State Department Public Diplomacy Officer, Peter Velasco at the American Center as he takes a look at the current state of political affairs in the U.S. Speaker Program: Mid-term Elections in the U.S. Time: 9:30 - 10:30, October 1, 2010 Venue: The American Center, 1st Fl, Rose Garden Tower, 170 Ngoc Khanh Street, Hanoi."

Radio Free Europe was rather more than "a flea on the behind of an elephant" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "Canada Free Press, 27 Sept 2010, Ron Ewart: 'In the 20th Century, with the new technology of radio and eventually TV, the news reached the people virtually instantly. But never have the people of the planet been able to obtain so much news and information and communicate, discuss and debate that information amongst themselves, individually, until the Internet and e-mail was born. The World Wide Web has brought the citizens of the world together like no other time in history. Never before have the roots of freedom been able to reach almost anyone in the world with a computer and internet access. Radio Free Europe was a flea on the behind of an elephant, in comparison to the millions who are now wired into the Internet.' [Elliott comment:] In Cold War Eastern Europe, RFE/RL and VOA were the two main sources of information, with BBC and Deutsche Welle also important.

With this paucity of competition, each station was assured of large audiences. When East Europeans were able to get access to satellite television in the 1990s, they had a choice of a hundred or so channels. When the internet emerged, hundreds, then thousands of websites were available. Blogs were easier to produce than conventional websites, so tens of thousands emerged. With the social media, millions are participating. With the migration of to the internet, international broadcasting finds itself in an environment of vast oversupply. The large audiences of decades past have been subdivided." Image from

Daily Press Briefing ‎Washington, DC September 28, 2010 - US Department of State: "MR. CROWLEY: ... [B]efore taking your questions, we’d like to welcome our guests today at the briefing, the spokesperson for the European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton, spokesperson Darren Ennis, also her senior media advisor Kasper Zeuthen and Silvia Kofler, who is the spokesperson and head of the office of press and public diplomacy for the EU mission here in Washington, D.C."

00 minutes 10 seconds at the 8th September, 2,010 29 - WeBLOG Nagashima Akihisa: Google translation: "Dear Prime Minister Naoto Kan, We would like to advance our views on the responses regarding the recent collision between the Chinese fishing boat and the Japan Coast Guard patrol vessels near the Senkaku Islands

of Okinawa Prefecture . ... [W]hen we look back at reports in the international media of the past couple of weeks, especially in relation to international public opinion, we should have pressed for an understanding of the legitimacy of asserting our claim of the islands and our series of measures involving domestic order of law, but it is highly regrettable that there was a decisive lack of efforts in public diplomacy to capture firm support." Image from

Hitler at the gate: ‎Nevertheless, how can Netanyahu refrain from an action to stop Hitler's heir, Ahmadinejad, when the year is already 1939, if not 1940? - Aluf Benn, Ha'aretz: "According to Netanyahu's reasoning, if he refrains from acting history will condemn him for 'not preventing a crime' . ... This, of course, is not going to happen. The risks are too great and the intention here is not to give operational advice but rather to demonstrate the gap between those shouting from the opposition and those in power, and between 'public diplomacy' - Israel's latest official translation for the term hasbara, which is something between self-justification and propaganda - and statesmanship.

When you are talking and looking for messages to get yourself into prime time, you can say anything without taking risks. But when you are the prime minister, the constraints of reality become clear and the gap between talk and deeds is revealed. Therefore, it is best to be cautious in speech and to remember that not everything is hasbara, as even a media gimmick can come back to haunt you. And perhaps I'm wrong. Could it be the elite special operations unit is training and Ahmadinejad and Nasrallah are on their way to secret detention facility 1391, to the cell that served the captives Sheikh Abdel Karim Obeid and Mustafa Dirani?" Image from

Everything Democracies Can Do on Social Media, Terrorists Can Do Better - David Saranga, Huffington Post: "This month I was invited to participate in a conference held by the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT). The talks at the panel in which I spoke - 'New Media, Terror and Counter-Terrorism' - all led to the same conclusion: everything democracies can do on social media, terrorists can do better. However, as someone who is engaged in Public Diplomacy and Social Media, I wish to examine this question from a different angle, and propose a different approach, which in the long run might reduce the motivation of young people to join terrorist organizations, and challenge them within the very social environments where terrorism is bred. ... I believe, therefore, that if we remain committed to presenting the truth objectively, and avoid cheap propaganda, chances grow that we can help reduce the motivation to carry out terrorist actions against Israel. It's important to emphasize that I am not talking about government activity: messages coming from a government, any government, will always be perceived as tendentious propaganda.

I am talking about the kind of communication that civil society, and in this case, Israeli civil society must establish with its neighbors, and this is possible by means of the social networks, which are making great inroads even into Arab societies in the Middle East." Saranga image from

Another ways to pursue public diplomacy – Foreign Policy Focus: "The development of social networks is offering a wide array of opportunities for public diplomacy. And equally, for abuse and widespread hate and terrorism on line. I was this year to a conference about the Middle East where one participant, originally from Pakistan, was encouraging the contacts between Westerners and people from the Muslim world, as a way to exchange ideas and share insights from the two worlds. On the other side, the reality is that, from my own experience, this kind of dialogues are limited unfortunately to sharing our own stereotypes and taking the advantage of anonimity for sharing the hate. In this case, a mix between classical public diplomacy tools to be continued and pursued in the virtual environment. Using only one tool is not enough and the enthusiasm is not a miraculous cure of old and aggressive hates."

Family Time; Dialogue of the Deaf - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "As we were walking up, we noticed two Taiwanese guys talking in sign language. Ellen [Paul Rockower's sister], who speaks ASL, ran over to see if she could communicate. They were floored, and we sat on the concrete, drinking tall boys and watching Ellen try to communicate with her hands. Although ASL and Taiwanese signing is different, they were able to connect enough with international signing that they could communicate. The deaf guys were overjoyed at this American girl speaking their language and conversing with them. As was Ellen, who was bursting with joy at this unexpected but poignant moment of public diplomacy and cultural exchange."


In flood-ravaged Pakistan, no sign of American aid - David Ignatius, Washington Post: The U.S. military has been working hard to provide flood assistance, but most of that is invisible to Pakistanis.

They read about American drone attacks but not about helicopters bringing food supplies. That lack of recognition upsets U.S. officials, but they haven't been able to change it. Image from

Pink Cadillac: The Communist Party propaganda film with an all-American sponsor - Review & Outlook, Wall Street Journal: Moviegoers in China will probably find few surprises in the Communist Party's latest propaganda biopic, "The Great Achievement of Founding the Party." But readers outside of China may be surprised to learn the identity of the film's sponsor: Cadillac.

What Is Russia Today? The Kremlin’s propaganda outlet has an identity crisis - Julia Ioffe, Columbia Journalism Review: When there’s nothing for the propaganda channel to propagate, RT’s message becomes a slightly schizophrenic, ad hoc effort to push back against what comes out of the West.

And if there’s nothing to push back against, other than the ghosts of a bygone era, then what, really, is left to say that others aren’t already saying, and saying better? ... [Comment Mark Adomanis] That RT is a government mouthpiece, and that its reports should be treated with skepticism, is a given. But governments have always had mouthpieces and they always will. Compared to Western countries, Russia is poor and ramshackle, and it's therefor not at all surprising that its pet media outlet is often not quite as flashy or presentable as RFE/RL, the BBC, etc. Image from



--Afrikaans word to be left spongy or rotten from jetlag; cited in Paul Rockower, Levantine

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

September 28

“It robs me of my greatest excuse for everything — I’m broke.”

--McArthur $500,000 grant winner David Cromer, 45, a theater director and actor recognized for his work Off Broadway and for revivals of classics, regarding his award; image from


Pakistan Security Brief -- September 27, 2010 - Critical Threats Project: "Officials in Washington are calling on aid agencies to advertise [flooding] relief that is funded by the United States. American officials have called on international organizations and USAID

to label goods provided by the U.S. in order to bolster US public diplomacy efforts. The United States has pledged nearly $350 million in disaster relief, and senior officials, including Richard Holbrooke, believe that labeling goods will help change local perceptions about America. A number of aid groups have resisted the effort, saying that such labeling would put them at risk from groups who have vowed to attack relief workers." Image from

The Shrinking of Humanitarian Space in Pakistan - Current Intelligence (September 7): "Preventing humanitarian diplomacy by neutral agencies with groups to whom the US is politically opposed has drawbacks for the US as well. Under such circumstances, the aid organizations most likely to get access to civilians in those areas will be those funded by non-Western sources. In terms of public diplomacy, or what the US calls 'hearts and minds work,' this risks wasting the opportunity for Western-backed aid groups to provide secular assistance and protection to the Pakistani people. This role is likely to be picked up instead by those elements of the (admittedly diverse) Islamic humanitarian sector who are least dependent on Western funding sources… including elements in Pakistan that may be using humanitarian 'soft power' for very different ends."

Trying To Keep Out The World - Yoani Sanchez, Huffington Post: "We live in the midst of a real war of radio frequencies on this Island. On one side we have the broadcasts of the station called Radio Marti -- banned, but very popular among my compatriots,

they are transmitted from the United States -- and on the other side the buzzing they use to silence it. The radio receivers sold in the official stores have had the module that allows you to hear these transmissions removed, and the police are in the habit of searching the roofs for the devices that help to better capture these signals." Via; image from

Calculating - Laura McGinnis, manIC: "Public diplomacy enthusiasts spend a lot of time focusing on the need to drum up foreign support for foreign policy, but it's important to remember that domestic support is equally important. ... Is the United States capable of developing and sustaining a cohesive foreign policy strategy without the support of the public?"

Gates charity's other mission: Funding free presses in the developing world - Shelley DuBois, CNNMoney: "On the list of items that US foreign aid gives to the Middle East, radios might not come to mind first. But they're a key part of reinforcing stability in the country, according to Jeanne Bourgault, CEO of a non-profit organization called Internews. Internews tries to build a free press in countries all over the world that don't have one. Last week, the leaders of the non-profit's new project 'Media Map' spoke at Mashable's Social Good Summit in New York about the two main challenges facing the organization.

First, it has to justify its reasons for investing its foreign aid money in other countries' media operations. Second, it has to figure out a sustainable business model for media outlets in resource-strapped countries at a time when media outlets in the developed world are rapidly changing. ... The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donated over $600,000 to fund Media Map. For the project, Internews will take two years to study how independent journalism across the world can help build strong, economically stable democracies. ... Internews is still roughly 90% funded by USAID government grants, and 10% funded by private donors. So building a free press is 'linked to other priorities,' says Susman-Peña [Tara Susman-Peña, the director of research for the Media Map project], but 'we definitely still divorce it from public diplomacy.'" Image from

The President And I - Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, "On September 21, 2010, on the occasion of President Ahmadinejad's participation at the UN General Assembly, I was given the opportunity to conduct a candid interview with Mr. Ahmadinejad. ... The time had come for me to verify or refute a research I had conducted as a Public Diplomacy graduate student while attending USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. At that time, I had examined the media's role in fashioning the image of Mr. Ahmadinejad. It is a rewarding experience to bring one's research to a practical conclusion. ... I firmly believe that Ahmadinejad is misrepresented by the corporate owned media."

Think Tanks Flourishing in China - ‎Jaya Ramachadran, IDN InDepthNews: "China has become a key player in international politics. But beyond the countless articles and reports on the economic and political rise of China, very little is known about the intellectual revolution unfolding in parallel. Though, since the opening up of the country in the 1980s and the end of Maoism as a political model, China has rediscovered its Confucian, intellectual tradition and is now buzzing with new ways of thinking. A new study points out that, with expanding numbers of graduates, it is hardly surprising to see that bright, well-travelled and polyglot young analysts join the ranks of Chinese research institutes and think tanks, thereby bringing new blood and new working methods to their host institutions. According to Thomas Bondiguel and Thierry Kellner, associated fellows at Brussels Institute of Contemporary China Studies (BICCS), by 2010 China had 428 think tanks,

which placed it on a number two position behind the United States. ... Besides delivering expertise, think tanks are also expected to convey the government's viewpoint to audiences abroad. Experts have become an important part of China's public diplomacy, says the study. It points out that few people inside and outside China have realized the extent to which informal diplomacy and think tanks permeate the Chinese diplomatic structures. The image of a mammoth monolithic state structure is increasingly further from the truth as Beijing tries to accommodate the mounting complexity of issues now faced by the country, and the tremendous speed with which this process is taking place." Image from

Public diplomacy: Means and ends - Malcolm Cook, "I read Annmaree O'Keeffe and Alex Oliver's report (which Richard Grant has recently blogged on) with great interest. My own career has been shaped greatly by public diplomacy (I received a full scholarship to study in Japan) and I had the pleasure of watching my first ever Wallabies game in Manila on ABC Asia Pacific in 1999 as part of my cultural awareness preparations for my pending move down under. We are not a major power in East Asia and have much less ability to influence the trajectories of these societies, societies that have a much broader selection of media choices. If I remember correctly, ABC Asia Pacific was channel 50-something out of the 70-some on my cable TV package in Manila, and I only discovered it after I knew I was coming to Australia and thought I should learn something about my next home. I was a regular watcher, though, of the BBC, CNN and many Philippine news sources, all of which came well before ABC Asia Pacific in the channel listings. ... Maybe AusAID might be a more reliable funder for the Australia Network and Radio Australia than DFAT and the ABC. While DFAT's budget, and particularly its public diplomacy one, has been having a tough time of late, both major parties in Australia are committed to boosting aid funding significantly."

Oh motherland Ethiopia, till when insane “Politika”!!‎ - Eyassu G. Feleke, I have served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia in Addis and the Ethiopian Consulate Office in Frankfurt, Germany, for a total of seven and half years. In all these years I have been assigned to different positions until I was finally assigned at consular and public diplomacy posts at the Consulate in Frankfurt where I served for three and half years. ... Let me just mention the degree of party domination in the Ethiopian civil service by taking the Ethiopian embassy in Germany as example. Out of a total of eleven diplomats ten are members and affiliates of the ethnic based parties that formed the EPRDF. To work independently with out cadre influence and harassment amid a house full of party members is unthinkable. ... I made my mind and said to the regime, I QUIT!!!"

ISA Workshop on Public Diplomacy - Robin, Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "I'm still wrapped up with the beginning of the academic year but I thought that I’d just advertise that registration for the International Studies Association

Workshop on Public Diplomacy: Interdisciplinary Research, Teaching, Practice is now open here. The workshop will take place before the Montreal ISA Convention in March next year." Image from

Getting a Global Perspective while Interning at the Department of State - Melissa Pettigrew, InternPulse: "This summer I interned with the Department of State’s Office of Innovative Engagement. They are the office that set up the texting town hall before President Obama’s trip to Ghana; where African citizens texted in their questions to Obama and he answered several in a podcast! So during my internship, Facebook and Twitter use is not only permitted, but strongly encouraged! In early August, I had the unique opportunity to be involved in the President’s Forum with Young African Leaders.

I was recruited to get the captions for the event’s photos that the delegates and the public can see on both and Flickr. For four days I followed the photographer Matt Whatley and got the names of delegates and speakers and that job led me on an incredible adventure! I went to the Museum of African Art, Newseum, Peace Core Headquarters, the Dirksen Senate building, DC Central Kitchen and the Capital Area Food Bank. I was in the audience when Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke to the 115 African delegates from 46 countries and I was able to hear Senator Dick Durbin, Congressman Donald Payne, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale, Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero speak. Though hearing all these important political and public figures speak was a fantastic and unforgettable experience, the delegates were the ones who really made an impact on me." Image from

And t[h]e journey continues - johnniedowspelleddough: "I remember an I-Tunes University class recommended to me by an old boss – call 'Nuke, Kooks & Democracy in Iran'. This lecture was given, ironically enough at Stanford university by an person who lived in Iran through the last 30 years of history – much of it having US involvement. ... really would encourage you to listen to the lecture it is free and available on I-Tunes University – you will look at that region differently and have a better understanding of what public diplomacy – apparently intelligent people use and briges to a real outcome."

- Email from Leonard Baldyga: "Dr. Frances Ann 'Fay' Lewis, who ran AF academic exchanges at USIA for a time and then went on to work at Meridian International Center (focusing on Africa), died on Saturday evening. She was married to Ambassador Arthur W. Lewis (Sierra Leone)."


Annals of Innovation: Small Change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted - Malcolm Gladwell, New Yorker: The instruments of social media are well suited to making the existing social order more efficient. They are not a natural enemy of the status quo.

Gladwell Misses the Vesica Piscis - Rita J. King, The Internet is used in extremely creative ways by those who realize that Facebook and Twitter are not the sum total of the opportunities created by this new dimension in human interaction. Via JS

It's time to fight back against death threats by Islamic extremists: A federal law is needed to cover threats against free-speech rights. Across media and geographies, Islamic extremists are increasingly using intimidation to stifle free expression - Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Daniel Huff,

China's quiet power grab - Anne Applebaum, Washington Post: The scariest thing is the power

China has already accumulated without ever deploying its military or its diplomats at all. Image from

Iran rejects malware infected N plant‎ - Press TV: Iran has rejected reports that a complicated cyber worm has damaged computer systems at the country's first nuclear power plant. Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in his weekly press conference on Tuesday that the report was part of the “soft war” and a “propaganda stratagem” against Iran.

Kim’s sister seen as regime guardian - Christian Oliver, Financial Times: Now that Pyongyang has given an important public title to Kim Jong-il’s son, the state propaganda machine will most probably cast him publicly and very visibly as the dauphin.

Image from

A Close-Up On Kazakhstan In New 'Borat' Film - RFE/Rl: A Kazakh director is shooting an unauthorized sequel to the Hollywood film "Borat," which left some Kazakhs feeling insulted by its depiction of a naïve easterner bumbling through America. In response, director Erkin Rakishev has set out to show the “real” Kazakhstan to the world. Via MP

Author's Soundtrack for Modernism, Media, and Propaganda - Mark Wollaeger Homepage: "In conjunction with the publication of my book, Modernism, Media, and Propaganda: British Narrative from 1900 to 1945 (Princeton University Press, 2006), I have put together a sequence of songs that resonates with key points of my argument. Technological limitations and copyright prevent me from posting the actual songs. Here instead is the playlist that accompanies the book in my imagination.

Sadly, Noam Chomsky could not be talked into singing his contribution." Image: Noam Chomsky gets interviewed by Ali G

Monday, September 27, 2010

September 27

"[T]he most effective propaganda paradoxically uses information to drive information out of circulation."

--Mark Wollaeger, Modernism, Media, and Propaganda: British Narrative from 1900 to 1945 (2006), pp. 143-44; image from


Re the Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review being "firewalled" in mainland China, here is an observation, kindly provided to its compiler, by a PDPBR reader who is familiar with that part of the world: "Yes, unfortunately one needs a VPN to get it [PDPBR in China] but there are many people with it." Re VPN, see.


President Obama's interview on BBC Persian analyzed - Kim Andrew Elliott Reporting on International Brodcasting: "There was consternation at VOA because BBC Persian,

and not VOA Persian News Network, was granted this interview. The White House may have selected BBC because of the perception, however incorrect, that VOA is the administration's poodle. This perception would also not be helpful for VOA. Instead of trying to get its own interview with the President, VOA Persian News Network should wait for the next occasion in which British-Iranian relations are in the news. Then, using its large audience in Iran as collateral, try to get an interview with David Cameron, Nick Clegg, or William Hague. For the same reason the White House opted for BBC, Whitehall might choose VOA PNN as its avenue to speak to the Iranian people." Image from

Going (Lady) Gaga Over Headlines Just(in) Time for Ahmadinejad! - Alex Belida, VOA News Blog: " headlines are pretty straightforward – i.e. serious.

That’s understandable. We are a serious news organization. But a lighter touch might occasionally be more effective. The problem is: how do you link Ahmadinejad with Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber? Hmmm. Send us your suggested headlines." Image from

Afghan students connect online with Soldiers‎ - U.S. Army Sgt. Albert L. Kelley, Clarksville Online: Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan – "Female students from a local Jalalabad high school recently spent a morning chatting online with three female Soldiers from Forward Operating Base Fenty September 21st. The students were participating in a State Department sponsored program called the Global Connections and Exchange program. The GCE is administered through a grant to the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club Foundation located in San Diego. 'The purpose of the program is to promote mutual understanding and democratic values in Afghanistan through links with American teens,' said Anna Mussman, a Department of State Public Diplomacy Officer attached to Task Force Bastogne. 'These links encouraged Jalalabad students and teachers to conduct research, improve their English language skills and learn about life in the United States.'”

Image from article: U.S. Army Spc. Jessica A. Walker, of Anoka, MN, noncommissioned officer in charge of psychological operations, assigned to the 319th Tactical Psychological Operations Company, Task Force Bastogne, participates in an online chat session with a teenage female Afghan student in the city of Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province Sept. 21st.(Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Albert L. Kelley, 300th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

Lesson 27 People-to-People Power - Larry D. Lauer: Pioneer in Integrated Marketing for Academic and Nonprofit Institutions: "I was invited by the CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Lee Hamilton (also the former co-chair of the 9/11 Commission and the Iraq Study Group), to participate in his Center’s new project to design a business plan for an independent organization to conduct US public diplomacy. The first meeting of the Wilson Center project took place this past week. Much of the discussion centered on the urgent need to harness more of the country’s strategic communication talent to utilize all the communication tools in the tool box (especially new and social media), and to call upon the human and financial resources of corporations, foundations, universities, nonprofits, and other organizations, to explain the 'idea of America' around the world. The most compelling argument is that establishing such an organization independent of prevailing government policy is the only way to achieve genuine communication credibility. In other words, there is nothing more credible, or powerful, than people-to-people communication."

Pete Peterson and the New America Foundation - masaccio, "[Comment by] Frank33 September 26th, 2010 at 5:40 pm 4 The NAF

is the young, edgy and hip Think Tank, as they catapult the corporatist propaganda. Most of these phony shills are sponsored by the same old disaster capitalists. ... Peter Peterson has been one of the biggest supporters of Endless War. He set up a 'Corporation for Public Diplomacy' to catapult endless war propaganda paid for by taxpayers." Image from

September 27, 2010 - "New Strategic Policy for an Alliance in Transition. Memo 25: Focusing on the core mission, strengthening global partnerships, and launching broad public diplomacy initiatives are’s top three recommendations for NATO’s new Strategic Concept."

The man with the world on his shoulders: The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, talks to Ian Williams about his critics, Israel and the challenges of global leadership - New Statesman: "[O]stentatious do-gooding is not in the quiet style of the former South Korean foreign minister.

Indeed, his focus on internal diplomacy with heads of state has caused him to neglect some of the public diplomacy opportunities offered by his current position." Ban Ki-moon image from

UN-dignified: Our no-show at Obama’s UN speech – Succot notwithstanding – is yet another expression of our nonchalance to public diplomacy efforts - Jeremey Ruden, Jerusalem Post:

"President Barack Obama devoted a good portion of his [UN] speech to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Among other things, he was optimistic about an agreement. He called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to continue the settlement freeze, and warned countries against questioning Israel’s legitimacy. When watching excerpts from the speech, I was shocked to see the empty seats of the Israeli delegation when the camera cut to their position. Seems our representatives took time off to observe Succot. This is a prime example of how to fail in the sphere of hasbara – a sphere where we cannot afford any more blunders. Without making light of the Feast of Tabernacles, priorities must be drawn. When that camera pans to empty seats, it looks like Israel is boycotting the speech. ... Furthermore, those same representatives must be available for media appearances afterward. We don’t need any more misunderstandings. It was just as important for us to be on the floor for the hate-filled speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which took place on the same day. Our delegates should have walked out in disgust, together with our American and European allies." Image from

Jewish Peoplehood Leadership Conference Launches - Dan Brown, "With a vision to contribute to the cohesiveness of the Jewish people, the International School of Jewish Peoplehood Studies (within Beit Hatfutsot) in collaboration with Israel’s Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, the NADAV Foundation and KolDor hosted the first, of what is planned to be annual, Jewish Peoplehood Leadership and Entrepreneurship Conference. At yesterday’s all-day event, several hundred participants gathered at Beit Hatfutsot to connect and re-connect. While the attendees crossed generations, many of them were 'the usual suspects'. That said, there was a fair mix of new, younger, faces coming from countries including France, Germany, Sweden and Venezuela."

In the Arab world, impact of online media "has not always been positive" - Kim Andrew Elliott Reporting on International Broadcasting: Palestine News Network, 21 Sept 2010, Daoud Kuttab: "'Until the mid-1990s, radio and television stations that Arabs were able to follow were mostly government owned. With the exception of international radio stations such as BBC, Voice of America and Monte Carlo radio, hundreds of millions of Arabs were forced to hear and see protocol news of their presidents and kings leading and dominating newscasts. ... The [later] success of media entrepreneurs in using the Internet to circumvent government controls was not without a strong governmental response in most Arab countries. While some countries applied strict proxy restrictions banning locally produced content from being seen by the country’s citizens,

or carried out brutal crackdown actions, the majority of the Arab regimes decided to join the revolution. When it became clear that they couldn’t totally stop many alternative websites, Arab governments decided to either co-opt existing sites or create their own sites camouflaged as independent sites. ... Oppressive governments also used a number of other ways to clamp down on alternative media. Bloggers and media owners faced various bureaucratic problems that included travel bans, imprisonment and in some cases physical punishment.' ABC News, The MidEast Memo, 22 Sept 2010, Lara Setrakian: 'What’s happening online is a catalyst, not a revolution. It’s a first alert for human rights groups monitoring Arab countries from thousands of miles away, and a prompt for greater accountability from governments. ... ‘The question isn't, 'How many regimes have social media overthrown,' because the obvious answer is 'None,' ' columnist Mona Eltahawy told VOA. 'The question should be…how are social media enabling those most marginalized groups in the Middle East to mature and go into the realization that their opinions count and that they have the ability to bring about change in a region that is largely run by dictators?'" Image from

A New..Muslim Superhero! - A Kind Word and a 2x4: "Oh...goody? Wait it gets better..the hero is not only a muslim teenager..he's disabled. Which means of course that anything derogatory I say about the new super hero will be consider anti muslim...well duuhhhh, and social inept, and hateful towards the disabled. Oh boy. 'The new superhero is the brainchild of a group of disabled young Americans and Syrians who were brought together last month in Damascus by the Open Hands Intiative, a non-profit organization founded by U.S. philanthropist and businessman Jay T. Snyder.' Now this here should be your FIRST warning. Yep a rich Philanthropist..who is also a Democrat Party activist. "\'From 2000 to 2001, Mr. Snyder served as Public Delegate, United States Representative to the 55th United Nations General Assembly, functioning as a representative ... on general policy matters, reform issues, and the Millennium Summit, and formulated and presented statements before the U.N. on a variety of public diplomacy questions.'"

Image from Washington Post: In this artwork provided by Liquid Comics, LLC, the "Sliver Scorpion" is shown. The new superhero is Muslim, who loses his legs in a tragic landmine accident and must learn to come to terms with the reality of his disability while learning to use his newfound power to fight for social inclusion, equity and justice. The "Silver Scorpion" is the first cross-cultural superhero with disabilities created by bringing together Syrian and American youth with disabilities in Damascus, Syria as part of the Open Hands Initiative’s inaugural Youth Ability Summit.

Supper, China's "big shots" who. Today, Buffett, Gates will arrive in China, "Charity Dinner" in the final countdown. A simple gathering of the world's two wealthy charitable act. September 29 night, whether to give China what charity? What can change? - "On the eve of Bill Gates and the 'Warren' Warren Buffett, 14, issued a 'Bill Gates and Warren Buffett response to the Chinese Xinhua News Agency interview letter.' Reads as follows: There are a few weeks, we will visit China again. In this trip, we will have the opportunity with the Chinese group of successful business people and philanthropists to China's charity work and learn about the profile of philanthropy in China, and sharing (how donations impact on society and the world?) experience. ... However, the 'wealth donor commitment' is just one of many forms of charity. We do not yet know, for China, this model is appropriate? There is some speculation that we trip to China, will persuade people to donate - in fact, is not the case. ... After attending the Beijing Foreign Studies University hosted the International Forum on Public Diplomacy (2010) and the Third diplomats Forum, Feng [Patriot Feng: no need to leave the children a penny Feng Jun] received a press interview. He said that would honor its promise to donate the entire property, not to leave children a penny, let the children live on their own ability."

India, CWG and Beyond - madhavibhasin, "There is no dearth of reports, articles and analysis on India’s preparation or the lack of it for the Commonwealth Games (CWG) 2010. Apart from the Indian news channels inviting ‘experts’ of all hues to comment on what went wrong and the national mission to discover where the ‘buck stops’, criticism in the international media has been equally acute. The level of corruption and delayed preparations are a cause of concern and hopefully the CWG experience will allow the Indian state to get its act together. However the sweeping criticisms have two dimensions which need to be disentangled: what the Indian state is capable of achieving in the context of the country’s social milieu and what the international community expects of India. ... Undoubtedly, the Government of India should have been more vigilant in organizing the Games; but does this failure on part of an Indian state agency spell doom for India? The Guardian selectively puts together reports and über leftist opinions to show that many Indians see the CWG crisis as a 'symptom of a failed state.' I agree that the Indian state should have done better and its under-performance is inexcusable. The handling of the CWG by UPA-II [United Progressive Alliance] particularly disappointing. This was an excellent public diplomacy exercise for the Indian government which has now gone wasted. Thus in meeting the expectations of the international community the Indian state has fared poorly. ... Though the verdict on India’s poor performance on the CWG is already out there little rationale for referring to an administrative failure as a verdict on national incompetence.


The Airport Scene - Time to Change Those American Welcome Mats - Patricia Kushlis, Whirled View:

Rehabbing international airports, significantly expanding the number of immigration officials at the booths, decreasing wait-times for visa interviews at US Consulates abroad, and seeing that immigration officials have access to the most recent databases should be the priority. After all, it's clear that at this point the US doesn't do a very good job of welcoming visitors from abroad that do travel here. Image from

Survey: Officers favor ‘soft power’ - Andrew Tilghman, A majority of military officers — especially the mid-career officers in the O-4 and O-5 paygrades — support giving more money and strategic emphasis to nonmilitary initiatives such as diplomacy and economic development in order to advance U.S. security interests, according to a recent Via PDC

Al Jazeera journalists released after being "treated humanely" by NATO-led ISAF in Afghanistan - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Ahmadinejad stands by 9/11 probe call: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stood by his call for the establishment of an independent fact-finding committee to investigate the 9/11 attacks -

The Iranian chief executive again underscored that the US-led invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan came under the pretext of the 9/11 incident. "Under the same excuse, all Muslims, revolutionaries and justice-seekers around the world were accused, and the fiercest propaganda campaigns were launched against hem," he noted. Image from article

Iranian Poems for Peace - Iran Book News Agency: Rira Abbasi has won the Parvin E’tesami Poetry Award in 2005 and is a member of Iranian Writers’ Association and director of the Biannual International Poetry of Peace Festival since 2007. Maryam Ala Amjadi, an Iranian poet and translator, conducted the following interview with Rira Abbasi. MAA: What is your opinion about the propaganda launched by the Western media against I.R. of Iran to distort its image? RA: I think the world is poisoned by the Western media. The media, specially the television produces a sort of poison for which they have a ready antidote. The media know the extent of the damage they inflict with this poison. In such circumstances, as you have pointed out, we are aware of the fingers that point at our country, the homeland of Rumi, Hafez, Saadi, Khayyam and Cyrus the Great, as a den of trouble. Iran is a country with thousands years of civilization. No great power can deny this fact.

Digital media makes more work for ministry of truth - Michael Sainsbury, The Australian: Traditionally, the propaganda department has preferred to use the telephone and face-to-face meetings to transmit its directives to editors-in-chief, who are generally selected by the department. The idea has been to leave no paper trails and editors are often ordered not to take notes but memorise instructions and deliver them verbally. But the advent of digital media has opened a crack in the system. With a multiplying number of websites and media outlets to deal with, the internet monitoring department now delivers instructions via email, creating documents that are more easily leaked, said Xiao Qiang, founder of China Digital Times and adjunct professor at the Graduate School of Journalism, University of California at Berkeley. The US-based, bilingual website CDT, which is blocked in China by the Communist Party's great firewall, started to translate and publish a selection of these directives in March. Like much of China's state apparatus, the propaganda department operates in a grey region. Its head office is a big but unremarkable building on Beijing's main thoroughfare, Chang'an Avenue, close to the impenetrable walled leadership compound Zhongnanhai that sits between the Forbidden City and a string of picturesque lakes. The department is not officially part of the government that is controlled by the state council and is therefore not technically in legal control of anything. But as an arm of the party, it sits above any decision made by the government, reporting only to the CCP's ruling 25 main politburo and its pre-eminent Hu Jintao-led standing committee. This consists of nine men, one of whom, Li Changchun, is in charge of ideology and is therefore the country's propaganda chief.

Irish Falun Dafa Association Seeks Arrest of Visiting Chinese Official - Gerald O'Connor, The Epoch Times: Li Changchun was promoted in 2002 to the standing committee of the politburo, the leadership unit of the Chinese Community Party. His current role in the Chinese government is to head its "propaganda machine" according to the press release sent from the Irish Falun Dafa Association. Due to the tight control the Chinese government holds over the media in China, and Chinese media throughout the world, Li Changchun can dictate what stories appear, or do not appear in the media, thus having a powerful influence over the views and opinions of Chinese people. Above image from article

My Conscience: Why Africa must not be Scared of China - Makwaia wa Kuhenga, The Citizen, Tanzania: The propaganda against China most often than not is as if China is poised to grab vast swathes of land in Africa to meet this Asian country’s “hunger” for raw materials and energy! But the real worry of those projecting China in this manner with the intent to scare African countries is that the owners of these multinational media

agencies are wary that Africa may diversify its trade relations in favour of China, thus ditching Africa’s former colonial powers. Makwaia wa Kuhenga image from article

North Korea: Personality cult - round three - Petteri Tuohinen, Helsingin Sanomat: Propping up the personality cults of the family dynasty is evident everywhere in Pyongyang, but no pictures of Kim Jon-un have been seen in the city yet. Everybody over the age of 13 wears a Kim Il-sung lapel pin. Massive monuments and statues tower over everyone. Secondary school pupils spend a sixth of their time in school studying the thoughts of the country’s leaders. “Defend the leader! What have you done for our nation?” asks a propaganda poster on the wall of a Pyongyang school.

A list of the school’s friendship cities in different countries is displayed as evidence of the extraordinary position that North Korea has in the world. They exist in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chile, and Pakistan. Image from article


"Celebrate the Lowly Comma!"

--Alex Belida, VOA


French Burqa Ban Represents Islamophobia - Sam Schneider,